A Slap in the Face

Due to the massive hype of Shohei Ohtani and what is currently the most popular card in The Hobby, his 2018 Bowman Autograph, collectors are buying up anything with a Bowman logo on it. Late last month, Jumbo boxes with (3) autos were pushing the $400 range. Those lowly Retail blasters, the guilty pleasure of collecting, became the hottest commodities around, with $19.99 boxes selling on eBay for almost twice as much. Even rack packs were being gobbled up by collectors at an alarming rate.

In part, 2018 Bowman sales has also been helped by Blowout Cards, who is offering a $60,000, $75,000, $100,000 reward for the Shohei Ohtani Superfractor. Yes, the price keeps going up and considering they have one of the largest supplies of 2018 Bowman, one would think there has to be a conflict of interest somewhere. I find it odd that every other major Superfractor is pulled within months of its release (not counting Longoria) but this particular card appears to be missing.

Considering this hobby caters to whales like #VegasDave, it wouldn’t surprise me if Blowout Cards or someone close to them pulled the Super and is holding it hostage until they sell off the majority of their supply. I mean, if that card had been pulled the first week of release, none of this Bowman craziness would have occurred. Remember, this hobby is still populated by some absolute scumbags who care more about making $$$ than they do taking care of their customers or preserving The Hobby.

But what I wanted to talk about today has nothing to do with the Ohtani Superfractor. It’s about the poor saps overpaying for Hobby, Jumbo, and Retail boxes of 2018 Bowman and pulling out the scraps from the bottom of the barrel. There is a great post on Blowout’s forum detailing this exact phenomenon. Sure, you may pull a Green Ohtani but more than likely your purchase will look something like THIS. I guess it comes as a shock to some that every lotto scratch off doesn’t win you $10,000?

Not every guy gets to take home the prettiest girl in the bar. Not every man gets millions to play a game in front of 50,000 fans; some just sit in a cubicle analyzing databases for 8 hours a day. Also, not every collector who shells out big bucks for 2018 Bowman pulls a Shoehei Ohtani autograph (or the 2-3 other big names). Most guys will walk away with 2020’s next great middle-reliever for the Brewers OR worse, a guy who had the tools and the drive but never made it to The Show for one reason or another.

So can you imagine the kick in the nuts from NOT pulling a major autograph but instead finding the card you see below in a pack? What’s worse is that despite lackluster numbers in FSL’s A-league this year, Andres Gimenez’ cards sell for decent prices on the secondary market due to his relatively young age (19) and because he is destined to be a big market team’s future short-stop. Sure, he could wind up being the next Jose Reyes, but odds are he will be the next Rey Ordonez.

Even worse, collectors are complaining on popular card forums but are still hoarding this kid’s 2018 Bowman cards. Gimenez’ base auto only sells for about $10 dollars but a Gold Refractor sold for nearly $400 dollars and his Superfractor, which perhaps carries his worst scribble to date, sold for thousands. So clearly, collectors could not care any less about his lazy autograph. I understand, too, because if this kid puts on some weight and starts smashing home runs, it won’t matter how he signs.

Look, I understand not every player will be a closet collector like Dmitri Young or an autograph hound and enthusiast, like Pat Neshek. I get it, cards are only a level above comic books in the “icky” department, especially considering how many middle-aged men (and older) are fawning over pictures of players born in 1999. Even back in the day during the Baseball Card Boom in 1991, I only knew maybe 4 or 5 kids who were avid, true collectors. The rest had cards their parents bought to “put away”.

So I don’t expect a “jock-type” player to care about the expensive-looking cards he is likely being paid next to nothing to sign. However, it would be nice if some of them appreciated the fans who help pay their salary. The fans who come to all the home games and scoop up their memorabilia. And finally, the guy or girl who is still out there hustling to find a little piece of shiny cardboard in a world full of smart phones, virtual reality, and yes, even Sex Robots.