The Beckett-Exquisite Dilemma

When I announced over a year ago that Upper Deck would be sponsoring Wax Heaven, all hell broke loose. Many predicted I would become a shill, while others simply stopped supporting the site. Looking back now, anyone who reads the site knows very well that everyone (even Panini) gets equal coverage.

Recently, some dust has been kicked up because Beckett Media received an entire case (or more) of Upper Deck Exquisite. My personal opinion is that in order for me to write a full, detailed review I have to have the product in my hands. I simply cannot go off by what others report and/or scan on message boards or through eBay auctions.

Perhaps creating a “Sample Pack” for each product would be the best way to go. The sample pack would include 5-7 base cards, 3-5 inserts & parallels, and 1-3 “hits”. It would be more affective than sending out an entire box to a small number of websites or in Upper Deck’s case, $2,000+ dollars worth of product to one site.

Besides, with sample packs, more than just a few would be able to review new releases. Not everyone has the resources to pick up every single product released; this would be the perfect solution. Remember, the more product you can get out to the masses, the more coverage your product will receive.

Note to Beckett: You guys need to step it up on your box breaks. These things are harder to watch than an episode of “Packs to the People”. It would help if Chris would stop looking miserable for at least a few minutes.

Tell him to pretend it’s World of Warcraft or something…



  1. He does always look sad. It’d probably help if he changed his clothes once in a while, and ditched the pocket protector. I’m not talking shit – he seems to always have the same outfit on. Maybe cut the hair too. Listen to me, sounding like I’m Carson from Queer Eye.

    At first I was a bit shocked that Upper Deck would deliver an entire case to Beckett, just because of the blog-shitstorm it would kick up. That being said, with them losing their NBA license, I can’t really fault them for making a big push to make one final licensed splash, and to try to hook people for their future unlicensed product. I’m not saying it’s right, or wrong – just my .02.

    And I may be way off base… wouldn’t be the first time.

  2. Yeah, that is total bullshit. We are all viable “media outlets”. Where’s my case Upper Deck? Stop playing patty-cake with the company partially responsible for totally effing up card values, and focus on the REAL collectors!

  3. If UD sent a pack that had: 5-7 base cards, 3-5 inserts & parallels, and 1-3 “hits”, I don’t think it would be a true sample…. that’s more of a promotional pack and not neccessarily indicative of what a true customer may receive.

    To be a true sample of the product, Beckett or whomever should go to a random card store, buy the product off the shelf, and open the product on the spot. That would create a true sample.

    To accomplish this:
    1 – Upper Deck would send a voucher/coupon to Beckett and blogs.
    2- Beckett/Blog takes the voucher to a card shop and gets the product off the shelf.
    3- The card owner sends the voucher to UD to get his payment.

    That scenario puts a true sample to share with everyone and puts money in the pockets of store owners. It also saves UD the money and issue of mailing the boxes/cases.

    The only problem would be the product isn’t reviewed before the product is released, but I think it’s more imporant to get a more valid product review.

  4. The main problem I have is that when you set the prices for the uninformed half of the industry, it looks more like a kickback or a bribe when stuff like this happens. Even more so when you think that only a portion of these cards make it out to the collectors they are supposed to go to.

    The bottom line is that Beckett has no responsibility to the collector to provide an objective news source, the only responsibility is to their profit margin. There is no regulating body, and stuff like this only furthers the conflict of interest that the whole magazine presents.

  5. UD is losing basketball soon (or at least basketball as we KNEW it) so why not send a whole case out? It gets Beckett talking about them and when they later give out the cards, they can say how UD so graciously sent them a case and then print a contest in their publication on how they will give it away. Everyone wins.

  6. ya know, I really hate the personal stuff aimed at Olds

    He’s actually a great guy, with honest intentions. I realize your experience has been different, but man why carry on a one man feud?

  7. Everyone wins.

    Not the collectors who should be receiving those cards in sealed boxes at their hobby shop. Plus, the influence this gains over pricing will tend to lead to underlying problems too.

    So far, no one important has won.

  8. I love feuds, especially family feuds. Shit is sick. It’s like legalized, televised race-wars. If you ever wondered what the apocalypse would look like, check out John O’Hurly on weekday mornings.

    With that said, I do not like Chris Olds. He is however better than 17-year old kids saying “SHIT, THAT’S SICK, HOLY SICK. CHECK OUT THE SICK PATCH, SICK”. To do a proper review, yanno one that focuses on what the collector will actually get — they need a special box, and it shoudln’t contain Derrick Rose.

    I don’t understand the point of opening a sample box. It does very little to inform the collector what they’ll actually get. It simply shows the collector what they’d get if they got the best box off the line.

    Beckett should be informing people that they could get an awesome patch/rookie but they could also get a base rookie, or a printing plate.

  9. Not the collectors who should be receiving those cards in sealed boxes at their hobby shop. Plus, the influence this gains over pricing will tend to lead to underlying problems too.

    >>>>>>>> So far, no one important has won.

    Meaning you haven’t won. What about the collector that wins a contest and gets a card that he/she will keep and otherwise couldn’t afford. C’mon Jellyman, you know if you had won that Exquisite Peterson 1/1, you would’ve bathed with it, run through the fields with and spent long nights by the fire with it. Sounds just like sour grapes, which is what your entire site is fueled by.

  10. Free stuff is ripe for abuse, and we have seen it. Once again shame on UD and Beckett for the gross act. This is just like the 07 debacle.

  11. I really like James’s idea, it would promote buying from the financially hurting card shops, and we would know it would be an honest box. Plus it would get rid of the hand picked boxes that everyone hates so much. ehem…joe jackson bat relic

  12. When book publishers discard books that should never be sold, they tear off the binding. Clothing manufacturers deface the tag on defective clothing. Music publishers insert audio right in the middle of the song stating that it’s a promo song.

    Maybe baseball card manufacturers need to do the same. They could print “PROMO COPY” or “PREVIEW” on the front of each card they send out for review, or somehow deface the product so that it has no resale value.

  13. “Plus, the influence this gains over pricing will tend to lead to underlying problems too.”

    I struggle to find the relevance of this statement. Many a site has said that Beckett’s price guide is irrelevant as we are in the e-bay age, so does it really matter if they list Exquisite as being more valuable then it’s competitors?

  14. James has a great idea. I don’t know if it could ever really be put into play, because it probably depends if there is even a card shop in the area of Beckett’s headquarters, but if there would happen to be one, I think it would be received much better. Plus, it would serve as free advertising for a card shop that may be in dire need of it.

    And Olds used to do random blaster breaks as well, and rate the pulls. It was nice for people to see what buying retail could provide them, especially for people like me who were getting back into the hobby.

  15. If Beckett went out and bought the case, the end result is the same–there’s one less case out there for everyone else. If attyball can bust 40 cases of the stuff, there’s obviously not a shortage of it and people who want it are getting it. How many of us are purchasing this stuff? Not me, so if Beckett gives away the cards, that’s a chance for me. And for Beckett prices, when is the last time anyone really used them?

  16. TONS of people still try to use Beckett values when trading online, and a lot of dealers will still try to pull out a copy of Beckett when selling at shows. He has a valid point there. It has also been shown that they NEVER give away all of the cards.

    That being said Mario, why is R- still allowed to post his personal attacks on here?

  17. the real way to judge if a product is good is by watching chris’ youtube breaks… and for what I see of this product people are getting an extra base instead of a hit too many times.

  18. I was under the impression from reading through many a discussion board that the majority of collectors realize that eBay’s market value is the true value of a card and Beckett is irrelevant. In fact Beckett is so irrelevant the EPA should investigate Beckett’s impact on global climate due to the number of tree’s used to print their magazine’s and the amount of energy used to power their offices (I actually just made that up but you get the point)

    But if TONS of people are using Beckett when trading online and a lot of dealers will still try (do or do not there is no try) to pull out a copy of Beckett when selling at shows it seems as though Beckett’s price guide still is relevant.

    Forgive me for playing devil’s advocate. I just like to see the anti Beckett guys get all worked up.

  19. Gentlemen,

    I recall observing a recent post whereby someone was kicking around someone named Gellman, saw that Mario sought to take corrective action and later learned he was a fellow blogger, yet now observe several bloggers who are now happy to kick around someone by name just because they work at Beckett?

    If the blog world is or becoming more pertinent to us masses than Beckett, why keep kicking around Olds (and Hacker or whomever else) personally? The guy is employed in the industry, just like other people at card companies that you may or may not like, and has the right to earn a living in the hobby as he sees fit.

    I don’t see any articles in Beckett kicking around specific bloggers by name nor even the blog industry. Just because the internet gives us the freedom of expression, the personal attacks have zippo to do with CARDS, men.

  20. Charlie,

    No one is going to want to hear this, but as a non-blog site owner and independent reader, I believe that R- was not the initiator of personal attacks. In fact, he attempted to diffuse the anger directed at Beckett but taken out by naming Olds personally.

    Olds is not Beckett. He is just doing his job.

  21. Have to agree with Mario, and that’s why I haven’t done any product reviews. Not that I /expect/ to get anything from the companies, given that I average 2k hits a month, if that. I am, however, amused that Panini was all willing to send me stuff without me asking when they mistakenly thought I was with the Houston /Chronicle/, and since then, nothing.

    But that’s fine, I’ll buy old stuff off eBay.

  22. Slowdog,

    I don’t care what anyone says about Chris Olds. R- has directed several personal attacks towards Gellman, and there is absolutely no reason for it. I don’t care if he wants to talk shit about his blog, his opinions, etc. There is no place however, for him to make personally disparaging statements about Gellman himself, and frankly it bothers me that those comments get approved.

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