I completely understand the anguish many people have about the Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes super short prints in 2012 Topps Series 1. I was also dismayed about it… at first. But after I let the news digest a bit, I said to myself “Screw this. I’m not going to get upset about it. “
Topps can number the sets however they want, but I will consider my 2012 Topps set complete without Pujols and Reyes, just like the 2006 Topps set is complete without Alex Gordon… Just like what I consider to be a “complete” update set has fewer than 330 cards because I’m generally not interested in the All-Star cards or the Home Run Derby cards or the multiplayer cards, I’m really just interested in the rookies and updates. Anything else gets sold or given away.
I collected postage stamps for a few years, and one of the first things you learn is that you can’t collect everything. There are too many stamps issued by too many countries each year. As a result, every stamp collector has a defined subset of what they collect. You might collect stamps of former presidents, or national landmarks, or stamps related to space exploration, or Lithuanian commemorative issues, or stamps that are blue, but whatever you specialize in, you specialize in it because it’s what you enjoy and because you have to specialize. I think that’s where the sportscards hobby is today.
Many of you collect only team sets from new releases, or collect particular inserts, and that’s really no different: You collect what you want, you ignore the rest. What I’m suggesting is just on a larger scale. You decide what constitutes a set. You decide when it’s complete. You stake out your own little corner of the collecting universe, and you have fun with it.
It’s not a revelation to declare that this hobby is not centered around set building. If it were, then Topps Total would be going into its 11th year. It’s also not a revelation to declare that everything works on the lottery mentality, it runs on the mojo, the hit, and as long as that’s true, then we’re going to get shenanigans. It doesn’t matter if the blogosphere moans and wails, as long as a buzz is generated by gimmicks, as long as sales are driven by gimmicks, there will be gimmicks. How you approach this is up to you.
So yes, I will be buying (and hopefully enjoying) 2012 Topps, and I will be working towards completing what I consider to be the set … and, should I get a Pujols or Reyes, I’m selling that baby and using the money to buy something I’ll enjoy more.