The Upper Deck / Razor fallout

8 05 2009

When I received the leaked memo I never expected to receive the kind of attention it did. First of all, I wasn’t the only one who got a copy but I was the first to make it public. Just so everyone knows, I contacted Upper Deck through phone and e-mail about the memo. I knew it could damage my relationship with the company but I felt it was right to post the image, as it was news-related.

As of now, it appears that Upper Deck has decided to throw their support to Beckett Media, which is fine by me. Everyone should know that apart from sending over 40 boxes of product to review, they were also very helpful anytime I needed something answered or a reader wanted me to send something over to them. I have no reason to have hard feelings over the situation.

It’s been over 24 hours and no one has commented on the memo, including the usually outspoken owner of Razor, Brian Gray. Steven Judd, the writer of the very popular Sports Card File was planning on doing a follow-up and has been curiously silent as well, which in some way worries me. I’d love to know if this memo was indeed legit or part of some crazy hoax or set-up.

I have to admit that when I began blogging, I never expected that there would be so much drama involved in the behind the scenes aspect of trading cards. I took a big risk in posting the memo. I have already been contacted by a lawyer who said it was not the best idea. I would not be surprised to see MLBPA, Upper Deck, and/or Razor all show up to serve me with a lawsuit. This is a crazy industry.

In the last two days, Wax Heaven has received over 10,000 visitors. I’d like to think it’s because of my wonderful writing and Jose Canseco coverage but it’s not. From every part of the online community, this memo is being discussed and analyzed. In the next couple of weeks, Wax Heaven will hit one million visitors. If a card industry hit man hasn’t been hired to track me down, you can expect a historic contest when we hit the magic number.

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26 responses

8 05 2009
TomtheRipper

hahah, thats some good shoppin’ right there

8 05 2009
Snarfy

That’s part of the problem in the hobby, the companies want to do what they want, however they want, and tell whoever they want. Honest sites who want to provide honest news and information and make sure people are informed collectors end up being pushed under the rug because they’re not the #1 Authority on helping the companies save face.

8 05 2009
rosschrisman2003

too bad upper deck sided with beckett.

8 05 2009
tommy boy

thats a sharp card lmao

8 05 2009
Dinged Corners

So to speak.

8 05 2009
gobigpelf34

If U.D sues you, just show them that they put Razors/weapons in childrens products!

8 05 2009
ToddUncommon

I had thought about that too, if this were a late April Fool’s joke, or if someone were out to pull a fast one on you. It might have been a good idea to consult a lawyer before posting the memo, as I doubt anyone else with a copy would have stuck their necks out in order to scoop you.

I have no insight to the memo’s veracity, and I understand UD’s discomfort with the apparent revelations, whether true or not. Their collective silence leads me to believe that it’s not a fake, and that it will all blow over soon.

Given the Hobby’s (and UD’s) past, this is not the worst transgression. It pales compared to the tomfoolery of the early 90s. You have to expect that old habits die hard, and that Beckett can reasonably expect to receive exclusive updates or notices to keep that long-standing relationship alive.

I do hope that UD gets past whatever discomfort they have with this memo’s public release, concentrate on fixing what’s broken, and then do the smart thing and support both old and new relationships.

8 05 2009
Voluntarheel

How does one go about ‘throwing support behind Beckett’? Were they in need of additional support?

If they broke ties with you without comment to the collecting community about the document, then they are pinning their hopes on this thing losing steam and taking the route of a fart in the wind.

And that makes Beckett the shelter of the naive and blissfully uninquisitive.

And worse, it puts UD in the same class as a snot-nosed bully who seeks the refuge of his mommy once he is busted by an authority.

8 05 2009
The Mojo Hand

Hey Mario

You got my support bro. Bold move. Always remember what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Mojo

8 05 2009
Dave

I don’t see how they could sue you. You didn’t do anything illegal.

You did a great thing for the hobby by posting the memo. Imagine if your blog didn’t exist – there’s no way that Beckett or other forms of hobby media would have broken this story. Thousands of collectors owe you a debt of gratitude!

8 05 2009
DC

Beckett is weak for not covering the story.

8 05 2009
iamjoecollector

If the memo is false, it could be defamation. Anyway, truth is an absolute defense to defamation.

8 05 2009
JBob

The laws of libel would seem to fall in your favor. You can always win a case if the allegations are true so if you dont get served you can pretty much rest assured that the memo was true.

8 05 2009
Joey

I’m sure the ALCU or some other organization would have your back if push came to shove. Don’t be bullied!

8 05 2009
DDoubleplay Sports/Paul

Mario my friend I have your back along with my brothers and sisters in blue! Keep up the excellent job! Thank You for bringing us the readers the right information that we need to arm ourselfs with! Have a great weekend! I’ll be on the hunt for some cardboard Gold! The truth could never escape justice!

8 05 2009
DDoubleplay Sports/Paul

P.S. Fuck’em!

8 05 2009
Steve McGarrett

Mario:

Technically, anybody can file a lawsuit. Winning a suit is another matter. Having worked in newspapers in the past, I can tell you that printing a leaked memo is not necessarily grounds for winning a lawsuit, if the memo was actually sent. After all, how many times have you seen a story on “60 Minutes” or that kind of show where they use contents of a memo as background for a story?

If the information in this document was indeed delivered to the “certified agents,” it became a statement of record from the MLBPA, no different than if they made the same announcement while standing at a podium at a convention of “certified agents.” It may not have been intended for the general public, but it’s a written statement and any false statements would have been their problem.

Where you may have left yourself open to trouble is when you said “This information in this memo has not been verified by anyone.” If the memo had never been sent, or someone created the memo and sent it to you to see if you’d fall for the bait, so to speak, you could be held liable in a suit. The excuse, “it sure looked official,” would not be a legal standing. In this case, a call to an agent confirming the memo was distributed would be your defense.

That said, while bloggers promote the fact their comments aren’t influenced by threats from advertisers or potential advertisers, you are required to take the same basic steps to guarantee a story’s truth as any other media outlet — especially if that story gets linked to from other sites. There is a difference between stating an opinion that hurts someone’s feelings and stating something that is presented as fact that causes actual harm to their their business (which is why some bloggers who carry out their “vendettas” against certain companies are sometimes treading on thin ice.) If the fact isn’t true and the writer did not take reasonable steps to show it was true, the same rules apply in terms of your liabilities as they would a newspaper, TV station or other outlet offering information for public consumption.

8 05 2009
kris

Hey Mario,

As far as I recall, you didn’t present the memo as anything more than a unsubstantiated rumour. You’re perfectly within your rights presenting pretty much anything, so long as you make it perfectly clear that you are presenting it as fact.

With that said, I’m sure if you talked to a lawyer, he’d have said this — 20 G’s to them to file the papers, even if they’re bullshit, is pretty much nothing to them. But for you to have to respond in kind, with a defense, even if the case gets thrown out the door — You’re still stuck with probably 5 months worth of footing a lawyer bill.

If there’s even a hint of evidence, you’re pretty much screwed by lawyer fees. It’s a douchey thing to do, but it’s also an incredibly smart thing to do if you know you have a good-bit more money than your ‘opponent’

With that said, they’d lose a lot of money if they ever sued a blogger — shit’s like wildfire, yo! I wouldn’t make financial sense unless you really pissed ’em off, like giving his daughter herpes kind of pissed him off.

8 05 2009
Kory

maybe you could pimp some of iamjoecollector’s case breaks as payment for his legal services

8 05 2009
Bryan

This is yet another reason why I won’t give another dime to UD or Beckett.

8 05 2009
jl

Who would have ever though that a sportscard company would have this much power. My point, these are cards. Meaningless, card stock with a photo. To have a lawsuit threatened, or even have to get a lawyer involved, man that is like taking things out of control. Upper Deck is the bully of the industry, they have to much power, and to boot they are getting to out of control. The CEO is in my opinion the Anti-Christ of the sports card industry.

8 05 2009
Mario A.

To be fair, the only person/company to ever threaten me with a lawsuit was Brian Gray/Razor about three months ago.

8 05 2009
jl

even though did you ever think that collecting or talking about sports cards would become such a issue of morals

8 05 2009
mfw13

Curious that Sports Card File hasn’t said a word about this…

8 05 2009
DC

They probobaly threatened to cut off Judd’s severance $$. That’s how UD controls former employees.

10 05 2009
Lonestarr the Cardbarian

Dang, interesting stuff always happens whenever I stop paying attention to the card blogs for an extended period of time. I shudder to think what will happen the next time I look away… :/

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