Did Upper Deck give up on baseball?

Take a look at the images below. You are gazing into previews for 2009 ‘X’, Spectrum, SPx, Icon, and a Piece of History. I have to say this right now before my head explodes: FIRE WHOEVER IS IN CHARGE OF DESIGNS!

Not counting the good showing of U.D’s flagship brand, you are looking at three brands with almost identical designs and two which look like Update versions of 2008 products. Where did the creativity go? You are fucking Upper Deck for Christ’s sake, you can do a lot better than this. Don’t believe me? Buy a box of ’08 Ultimate Collection or ’07 Sweet Spot.

Please don’t take this as anything more than constructive criticism. It’s almost 4 in the morning and here I am staring at your 2009 designs in Photoshop wondering how you could possibly let something like this happen to your company. Right now is not a good time to get complacent, look no further than your basketball department for proof.

You guys know Topps’ flagship and Heritage completely took you to school. With no Masterpieces or Sweet Spot slated for 2009 it’s starting to look like an unfair fight. Please, for the love of the Hobby… get this train back on track before it’s too late. I have been supporting you guys since the beginning of Wax Heaven but I cannot hold my tongue any longer.

Upper Deck collector since ’90

-Mario Alejandro

21 thoughts on “Did Upper Deck give up on baseball?

  1. Upper Deck has yet to put out a product in 2009 that interests me. The base set looks a lot like Documentary and I’m not the first or only person to say that. I don’t think that’s a good sign when anyone is comparing your flagship set to Documentary.

    X and Spectrum? Bleah.

  2. Someone at Upper Deck definitely has an unhealthy obsession with the letter X… Icons does kind of look like rehashed Documentary too, doesn’t it. Their base set does look awesome, but you’re right, Topps just blindsided them with all these crazy retail parallel sets and then smacked them with an uppercut with Heritage. Unfortunately these five products are pretty much the next 2-3 months for UD aren’t they? Not good.

  3. I don’t even know what to say here. Seriously, UDX, Spectrum and SPx look like the same damn product just different subsets. WTF. Seriously guys, you gotta put a little bit of effort into this. The thing that really pisses me off is that SPx looks EXACTLY like UDX from LAST YEAR! Spectrum looks like last year’s with different colors. UDX is, well, it’s UDX. The design looks a little bit better than last year but it’s still crap. I thought Icons looked okay for a low end product that should probably replace UDX…until I found out the price point and realize it isn’t supposed to be low end. $90 for a box of Icons? I thought it was going to be $40 for a box. I thought they did a pretty good job with UD 2009 base set inserts and the design grew on me. But this year belongs to Topps. Heritage and Allen & Ginter will probably end up becoming the “it” sets this year. Upper Deck really needed to be competitive this year and bring their A-game but they just didn’t bring it.

  4. Absolutely agree 100%, but I sort of like the Piece of History designs, and I probably will buy a box. I bought two in 2008, so I want to see if I’ll like it.

  5. Allow me to grade, in order, of what I think of these 5 designs.

    Crap, crap, recycled crap, SHIT, and eh.

    How can UD allows Topps to absolutely pimp-smack them across the board on all products? And the worst part is that UD doesnt even seem like they give a flying f__k.

    Let’s reinstate Donruss and take UD’s baseball license for a couple of years and see just how much they miss turning out a good product that people with sell their first child off to bust a case of it.

  6. First of all, get some sleep Mario. Lol…
    The problem with these sets is that the base cards look like inserts you would like to pull from their flagship instead of stand alone products. I believe this is a result of forcing 17 pdts a year, quality is going to suffer. Remember the 90s? There were many companies and each of them have the time and effort to churn out something. But MLB and MLBPA got greedy and the card companies got pushed so we the collectors have to suffer this.

  7. I’ve never loved UD like many of you shiny/gimmick card loving guys, but Masterpieces, Sweet Spot and Legendary Cuts were always top notch to me. Now 2 are gone and 08 LC were a freakin joke. The stuff pictured here I would never buy in the first place, but they all look worse than I thought. I can’t believe they are rehashing the ugly stuff and dropping the good stuff.

  8. What happened to the focus on photography that UD was known for? Just take a look at 1993 Upper Deck, when it really came into its own. These cards have a LOUD design, but at the same time are BORING.

  9. The graphic designers were the guys laid off in order to make sure that the 43 Upper Deck Vice-Presidents all were able to keep their jobs!

    After all, as Steve pointed out on his blog, actually coming up with a design is about the tenth or eleventh step when creating a product.

    Gotta decide the price, number of hits, and where it’s going to slot into the release calendar, before you even start thinking about what the cards are going to look like!

    Seriously though. Upper Deck has been mismanaged for years, had two rounds of layoffs in the last three months, and for all we know may be teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. And you expect them to put out good products ???

  10. I agree with everyone – these cards are horrible. At this rate, I won’t be buying a single pack or box of any 2009 Upper Deck product. I will try to add the Rays cards to my collection though.

  11. Upper Deck has been going down hill on product quality for a while. Of course I am boycotting UD as is for personal reasons anyway so not that it would matter to me.

  12. Those designs looked geat…3 years ago. Taken individually they aren’t too bad. But when you line them up side by side, it makes me sad how uncreative it all is.

  13. Actually, that really wasn’t constructive criticism; criticism of a constructive sort offers suggestions for improvement, rather than simply criticizing what’s there.

    See, what you wrote was: your Upper Deck, but your latest designs suck! Get this train back on track!

    Constructive criticism would have been: your latest designs for all but your basic product seem to recycle last year’s designs, so perhaps simplify them. Forget the gimmicks and the holograms and the fancy embossing, and consider the design elements that made Sweet Spot work. Use on card autographs over stickers. Consider the designs of your products that worked for different sports and try them out for baseball.

    Constructive criticism is, literally, constructive, i.e., the recipient can use that criticism to improve and to build. It might point out flaws, but it always offers a suggestion for how to fix those flaws.

  14. after getting no hits in 2 09 ud hobby boxes, the announcement that Masterpieces isn’t coming back and seeing these previews… I have NO need to buy any UD this year.
    In an economy like this you have to innovate and try hard to give people value for their money. It looks like UD is doing the opposite.

  15. Given that UD just laid off another 100 or so people last week, closed all operations except San Diego HQ building, and is forcing remaining staff to take pay cuts and lose benefits – no wonder there is no one available to create new imaginative designs.
    Things are going from bad to worse in Carlsbad. No reason to believe things will get any better.
    At least not until 90% of the senior management is replaced – starting with the CEO.

  16. It’s starting to concern me how much UD is using the “x” in thier products. Is someone using MDMA around the depleted offices?

  17. Latest UD layoff was March 4, 2009. Heavy hits in production and creative, but managers intact. People who cared about product quality are cut while the speed at which you complete the work has become the priority. Time allowed to spend on color correction and photo work in production has more than halved over the last 4 years. They track each employee and “encourage” the older, (trained thoroughly by previous jobs) more careful ones to “get up to speed.” Some are among the terminated. Do you think it shows? Employees retained are by manager whim, not production quality or commitment to product/company.
    Unfortunately for you guys, creative is one of the worst areas for management problems. They couldn’t communicate their way out of a box, and don’t care a bit what their employees think. Last year they tried manager/employee lunches for a short time (3 months) but the fear of retribution is too great for most employees to speak up. In fact, many who did are now gone. The manager there often passed off the lunch to department heads at the last minute or canceled. He is well known for looking the other way in the hall rather that saying “hi” to an underling in the hallways.
    In fact, it’s a plant joke/challenge about trying to make him say “hi”.
    Part of the problem is the farming out of the press work (used to print at Carlsbad) and the move of the finishing company (dies and foils) from Carlsbad to Texas to “cut costs.” This idled over a million $ in new equipment and severely hit quality. Upper management seems to have little actual knowledge of production and
    printing yet continually hack away at the worker bees that could save quality in the interest of their bottom line – which is ever sliding into oblivion. As of now the back side of UD Carlsbad is a huge vacant cavern. The building is up for sub-lease.
    Millions were spent on lawsuits involving Topps, Komari and Jetsource over the last 2 years. McWilliam tried to get an exclusive NBA contract and cut out Topps and ended up losing it all to Panini.
    Moral is in the toilet with pay cuts to all remaining. Sad situation for the little guy.

  18. Ud and its hobby boxes suck except for maybe three the two just plain upperdeck part 1 and 2 and upperdeck piece of history were disant this year with the exception of some flaws spectrum would be ok if it was nt focused around getting kim kardashians auto but with ballpark collection coming out this stuff is going to be good me my self have enjoyed simply buying blasters of ud with garenteed game used than by a stinking hobby box enough said.

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