More Truthiness: Part 2 of Our Conversation with TheTruth17
How important is your local hobby shop to you and what you do?
One hundred percent. If it weren't for my local hobby shop, I would never be able to do any of the things I am doing with cards. You know, it's the same hobby shop I started going to when I was ten-years-old. I've known the guys that own that place forever. I have grown a wonderful relationship with them, especially over the last three years. I am over at that card shop at least five days a week. I love to just go in there to hang out. To be honest, I buy everything from them: top loaders, supplies and even the bubble mailers! I've always believed in supporting your local hobby shop if you can. Not everyone has a local shop, but that's one of the wonderful things about the Internet. You know, you have Chris from The Hobby Box, he's the local shop for so many people that don't have one nearby.
What are the card companies doing right?
Well, they are giving you the players that you want, in one form or another. There is no one out there that is really unattainable through a card right now. I think that they are effectively putting out product for each type of collector. I don't mean just in price point or a price bracket.
Like Topps is still coming out with regular Topps that the kids can buy for a buck and a quarter a pack.The companies are starting to see more kids finally getting back into cards. I know at my local shop, I see so many more kids coming in nowadays than I had in the last two years. Some of the products geared towards the kids are really good.
In general, I love that they give us products where we can pull some super rare pieces of the athletes' uniforms like the patches and logo shields. They are putting that in most of the products, from the lowest to the highest end. Anybody can pull those kinds of cards. Back a while ago, you would have to buy something like Exquisite to get a sick nasty jumbo logo patch. I think that they are making it available to more collectors.
What are the card companies doing wrong?
Redemptions are number one. They are at an all-time high. It's unheard of. I have never seen so many as in the last year. A couple of years ago, at least when you got one, you knew it was going to be someone really good. Now, you're getting redemptions of guys that are just drafted in the NFL. I've opened 16-box cases of stuff that have had 18 redemptions in them.
It's annoying, not just for me, but a lot of people. You want to see that card. You want to see that card live. You don't want to say, "Look at my redemption autograph card of Tom Brady!" It is so much more exciting to slide that card out of the pack. You get to hold it right away.
Then, how long is it going to take to get the damn thing? There has got to be a point where you draw the line. You can't have something like 15 guys in the set be redemptions. Either cut the set or just don't make it until you can get the guy's auto. That's what I think.
I also think there should not be an expiration date for them. Why do they expire? Do they throw the card away when it expires? That leads to not wanting to get any of the older products. I could get a Ken Griffey Jr. auto in a 2007 whatever, but if I get the redemption, are they still going to send me his auto? And forget about the "replacement" card, I have never had a "replacement" be comparable.
I also think that they over-produce. They over-produce auto and jersey cards. You know, the new football product has 100 different guys in it. Each guy has a jersey card, each card is number to 250. The card companies are so enamored with each box having to have three or four hits in it. Not every product has to be like that. Sometimes it's just too much. Some guys autos are numbered to 3,000, then another player is numbered to 200. It makes the product flooded. Nobody wants a guy in there with a piece of their combine uniform with their auto numbered to 2,000, and they'll probably never play a down in the league. You can eliminate so many of those cards.
Honestly, I think they could cut the amount of product they make in half. Some of the products are virtually the same. Like you have Gridiron Gear, then you got Rookies & Stars, then Classics, then Elite. You could take those four products and make two products out of them.
You don't have to have fifty different Tim Tebow rookie cards every year, or whatever rookie that comes out. In this new modern technology era, it is starting to remind you of the "overproduction era", when they were flooding the market. Everyone was buying and they just made more and more. In the long-run, the plain jersey card will be seen as regular card. That's why they are pushing to make cards with diamonds and gold and videos.
What do you think is the future of sports cards?
I think it is growing and back on track. More and more people are getting involved. It's not going away. As far as the cards, I think it may be the video cards. They may start to hammer that. I have no insider info, but with more kids getting involved, I think they are aiming towards kids with technology. These kids are playing video games all day long. Everyone has an iPhone and iPod or GameBoy. There will be more technology mixed in.
For myself, I don't know if that's a good thing. At what point does it not be a card anymore. Is it a card, or is an iPad with a picture of Kobe on it. I honestly believe if the card community had a voice, a real voice, they would want the NFL, NBA and MLB to open their doors and let more companies sign with them and make their products. I've seen a decline in baseball the most over the last couple years in the quality of the product. I think when competition is involved, the companies compete against each other to have a better product. It gives us collectors much more to hope for and chase. It gives us quality to collect. I think that's going to happen at some point, which will be a big boost to our hobby.
I think as collectors, the longer we collect, we will start to value true rookie cards more. I think lots of the stuff now, unfortunately, won't hold its value unless it is super high-end. For example, we may look back at some of these jumbo patches and there are so many of them that, unless it is attached to a superstar player, it won't hold value. In the end, it will always go back to the rookie card. This is going to go one direction or another: the companies will push technology, but what people really want is the basic piece of cardboard.