File under ridiculous douchebag bullshit: Major League Baseball
and Topps have reached an agreement
to make Topps the only licensed maker of baseball cards.
I'm not going to try and be balanced or fair about this. This is fucking bullshit. Of all the shitty things MLB has done over the years - and they are legion - this one just may take the cake. Licensing only one company to make baseball cards? Really? In what alternate universe is this a good idea?
Of course, I probably shouldn't be entirely surprised, seeing as how the CEO of Topps is now Michael Eisner,
the man who nearly brought the Disney empire down in flames
. Apparently not happy with ripping the hearts from the dreams of America's youth with his previous company's awful films and mind-numbing pandering to the lowest common denominator, Eisner has now set his eyes on the true soul of American childhood. Baseball card collecting is one of the few somewhat pure pursuits left; it may not be the Norman Rockwell-esque endeavor the 1950s would have us believe, but it's close.
Eisner at the unveiling of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Shortly after this photo was taken, he clubbed two children to death with a baby seal.
One of the great pleasures of card collecting is all the different brands (which were lovingly showcased in our Baseball Card of the Week series
.) When I was young and big into baseball cards, there was a hierarchy of desirability; Upper Deck
at the top with their glossy photos and hologram logos, then O-Pee-Chee
because they were Canadian and you didn't see them very often, then Topps
all with solid, middle-of-the-road cards, and then Fleer
at the bottom, with their ugly color combinations and weird printing habits.
In my house growing up, you could tell what kind of a payday it had been by the brand of card I could weasel out of my mother each week. If things were good, I was bringing home a couple foil packs of Upper Decks. When things were bad, it was one pack of Donruss or Fleer, or worse yet, the promise that I could have an extra pack next week, when things are a little better. Somehow, Mom never remembered that promise when the next week came.
Even Tom Brunansky is pissed at the decision.
Now kids are going to get one official brand, with all the other companies scrounging around, trying to figure out some way of producing baseball cards without mentioning MLB or the team the player plays for. It's going to be Topps and then seven different varieties of Fleer. Ugh.
Personally, I just can't believe Selig and MLB agreed to something this asinine. I suppose I shouldn't find this so shocking; after all, this is the man who made an exhibition game determine home field advantage for the sports' championship and has somehow allowed the Florida Marlins to continue existing all these years. Still, though, this may represent a new low for the game of baseball. I just can't think of the words to properly communicate how shitty this really is.
And just to top off this shit-sandwich, we have Eisner explaining the problem with sluggish card sales thusly:
"[The card business] causes confusion to the kid who walks into a Wal-Mart or hobby store," due to the large variety of products available.
So how does one go about reducing the confusion? Just eliminate the competition, that's how! If you only give people one choice, they have to make the right choice!
I say to hell with all of it. Mr. Selig, I thought I couldn't be more disappointed in your tenure as commissioner, honestly. I thought after all the steroid scandals that have dragged the sport I love through the mud, and the ridiculous crap with the All-Star game, and the complete absurdity that is the MLB scheduling process these days, that you simply couldn't piss me off anymore. Turns out I was wrong.
And Mr. Eisner, my mother always taught me it's wrong to wish ill on another human being. Thus, I shall refrain from saying I would pay good money to see you fall into a giant vat of government-created SuperAIDS.