Card Grading In It’s Current Form Is A @#!%$ Joke – Human Graders Must Go

Years and years ago I gave card grading a shot.  This took place well before Sports Card Info existed.  Because I didn’t do it very often I either went with BGS or SGC.  I had some modest success, but most of the time my cards came back 8’s or 8.5’s.  Those types of grades on the cards I was sending in actually diminished their value.  Two cards came back 9.5’s – 1991 Topps Stadium Club Brett Favre #94, and a Ryan Howard 2003 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Status Die-Cut #’ed/57.

To put it simply, card grading is a scam.  It always has been.  The first card PSA graded is the infamous Honus Wagner 1909-11 T206 which came back a NM-MT 8.  That card was altered and trimmed from day one.  PSA looked the other way because they knew the publicity they would receive.  Looking the other way for publicity and/or giving high grades based on a customer’s grading volume for more profit has been ingrained into grader’s skulls since the beginning.  Its a sickness that needs to be eradicated.

In 2019 we have seen card altering and trimming scandals exposed one after another.  Everywhere you look another one pops-up.  They’re like roaches.  Just check out some of the most recent articles from Sports Card Radio, and what the investigators on the Blowout Cards forums have dug up.  I think its safe to say that every card encapsulated in a grading holder should be questioned.  That’s if you get your cards back at all.  Wait times are atrocious, and PSA has been known to openly admit to throwing cards out.

Grading has a place in the hobby.  Just not in it’s current form.  Right now card grading is way too corruptible.  How do we eliminate this corruption?  Well, I don’t believe we can get rid of it completely.  Removing the human component would certainly help.  An A.I. and/or highly advanced computer system would most likely be the best way to go.  It would need to have a vast database filled with perfect examples of every card ever printed.  Scanning the card down to the very molecules its comprised of would result in an overall detailed grade unheard of today.  I want a grading system so unbiased/advanced when that Mickey Mantle rookie card is placed inside the machine it’ll tell you which part of the country it was pulled and what else the customer purchased that day.

But not even the most futuristic grading system will stop the skeptics.  Who’s to say the system’s designers won’t program it to be biased towards cards in their own collection?  What if someone hacks the system to improve their grades?  Nothing is full proof.  But as we sit today, the human graders need to go.  Humans are too tempted by greed.  Graders, trimmers, and cosigners are all in bed together.  The FBI is coming folks!  Until some drastic changes happen, I wouldn’t take card grading seriously.

We all had a feeling shady stuff was going on behind closed doors, but most simply looked away hoping the talking would stop.  With all of the garbage that’s been uncovered this year nobody is going to forget about it.  This topic and the players in it need to be dealt with.  More and more collectors should be on major alert.  If these graders did what they’re suppose to do, not a single altered/trimmed card should have made it passed them.  Money is more important to them than their integrity.  As long as people continue to turn a blind eye, pay top dollar for high-grade cards, this cycle will continue.  Lets break that cycle and inform as many people as possible about what’s going on.  With each scandal that breaks, more consumer confidence is lost.

With the National Sports Collectors Convention right around the corner, I’m sure companies like PSA, BGS, PWCC, Probstein123, and many more will have some explaining to do.  Some of these people shouldn’t even be allowed in the building.  Lots of great cards will be on display.  Just keep in mind that they might not have always looked so nice.  Promotional subpoenas for everyone!!!

It all started with this one.

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Who’s Going To Win The 2019 MLB World Series? – Introducing Topps Now Future Cards

Official Topps press release from the awesome Susan Lulgjuraj.

“The Topps Company, the exclusive trading card partner of Major League Baseball, is offering an innovative way to collect cards.  Topps is excited to announce TOPPS NOW Future cards for the 2019 Major League Baseball season, giving baseball fans a chance to win rare and valuable prizes that only Topps can offer.

Topps is combining a fantasy sports element with trading cards by giving fans a chance to win by getting the 2019 World Series champion Future card.

Starting Tuesday 3/26, TOPPS NOW Future packs, which contain three random cards, will be on sale for $12 each.  The cards will feature players from all 30 teams.  Scratch the back of the card to reveal a code and enter it on Topps.com.  If the team represented on the card wins the 2019 World Series, you win the prize indicated on the back of the card.

“This is an exciting way to follow your team all the way to the World Series,” said David Leiner, Topps Global General Manager of Sports & Entertainment.  “These exclusive cards can’t be found anywhere but on Topps.com.  TOPPS NOW continues to push the envelope with its innovations year-after-year.”

The limited-edition packs are only available while supplies last and the World Series packs won’t be offered again this season.  Prizes can range from special rare card sets to autographed trading cards from a player on the World Series winning team.  TOPPS NOW Future packs for other events are planned throughout the season.

Head to Topps.com to get these exclusive cards for a chance to win.  For a full list of rules, visit – Topps.com.

Sports Card Info’s thoughts

Just like the Home Run Challenge cards, I think this is a very cool idea.  Anytime you can win stuff based on a team/player’s performance makes watching the games even more exciting.  Once these TOPPS NOW Future cards are in the hands of collectors, you know that many will hit the secondary market.  As teams perform well and/or go into a slump, it will be fun to watch the prices fluctuate.  The prizes Topps plans to offer are going to be highly sought after.

Complete Checklist

How To Take The Topps RBI Baseball 19 Cards One Step Further

Gamers heading to Walmart planning to pickup a copy of RBI Baseball 19 have the opportunity to score an exclusive set of Topps baseball cards.  Specially marked copies of the game will contain an entire 7-card set.  The cards have been printed using the 2019 Topps Baseball flagship design, and also feature the RBI Baseball 19 logo.  Players in the set include:

  • Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees
  • Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Toronto Blue Jays
  • Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals
  • Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics
  • Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
  • Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves

XBOX One and Nintendo Switch copies will have a special label on the outside indicating whether or not the set is inside.  No label means no cards.  You better get your hands on them while supplies last.  Not every copy has the set.

How about we take this idea of baseball cards and video games one step further?  Lets say you’re playing RBI Baseball 19 and you get a big hit or make an incredible play.  I’d like to see the gamer be able to capture a screenshot of that play, export the image to Topps, and have them make it into a card.  Who knows?  Maybe even autographed versions could be made.

Topps is constantly looking for ways to attract new collectors.  During their recent Industry Summit in Scottsdale, AZ they announced an interesting statistic.  According to Topps, 93.4% of MLB fans are not collecting cards.  They would really like to change that.  In order for that change to happen, you have to see how MLB fans are enjoying the sport.  If not through cards, then what?

Video games are very popular.  MLB fans spend countless hours playing them.  Its a large source of enjoyment.  In an age where everything is about the individual (nonstop Facebook updates, selfies, etc…) being able to own a physical baseball card containing an image of a play I made would be quite innovative.  Not to mention cater to that “look at me” mentality of the world today.

Will This Be The Next Topps Print-On-Demand Product?

After a long day of work, I like to check out what news is shaking up the hobby.  In addition to that, I look forward to seeing what new Topps NOW cards are available.  I’m a fan of the Topps NOW program.  I’m a picky collector, so I choose wisely as to which ones I decide to add to my collection.  In it’s first year of existence, I bought almost every Phillies card they made.  After 2016, I cut back a bit.  Upon the success of the Topps NOW program, Topps has spun-off and created Throwback ThursdayOn Demand, and Topps Living sets.  I’ve been picking up every Phillies card from the Topps Living Set as I really enjoy the artwork.

I’d like to make a bold prediction as to what the next print-on-demand product will be from Topps.  One of these days we are going to see a weekly set of 5-10 cards based on young prospects who make Baseball America’s Hot List.  Thanks to products like BowmanBowman Chrome, and Bowman Draft, prospecting has become an extremely large part of the hobby.  People are willing to spend thousands of dollars on players who have yet to make it to the big leagues.  Cards of players who make it onto Baseball America’s Hot List tend to spike in popularity.  At least for the week that they’re on there.  Some stick around longer than others.

If this were to happen, I’d suggest only having the cards up for sale for only a few days.  You definitely would want them to come down before the next Hot List comes out.  Baseball America’s Hot List and print-on-demand products are very momentary and “right now” things.  I’m confident that collectors would purchase these specially made prospect cards that correlate to the weekly Hot List.  It only seems natural the two would go together.

The Baseball America name has appeared on many Topps cards before.  So the two aren’t strangers.

Panini’s Rip-Off Strategy Could Benefit NASCAR Collectors

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Collectors will get to see the first Panini made NASCAR cards within their 2016 Father’s Day promotional set.  Panini mainly holds these promotions to help dealers move all that unwanted product off the shelves.  Trust me.  There is a lot dealers want to get rid of.  Most of the products you’ll need to buy in order to participate will be ones that performed poorly.  The odds are good that Panini will bring back all those crappy products again next year because that’s what they do.

During the NFLPA Rookie Premiere last month, Panini showed off a lot of cards that we’ll see in their 2016 products.  One of their new NFL products is called Panini Origins.  Taking a look at it, you can clearly see its a straight up design rip-off of Topps Inception.  Panini has such a difficult time coming up with original content on their own.  Its bad enough that they have an NFL exclusive.  Ripping-off another company’s designs just shows you who should truly be allowed to make licensed NFL cards.  Don’t get me wrong, Panini Origins looks good only because it mimics the design of a Topps product.  This makes Panini look just plain lazy.  I use to be a big supporter of them, but all they do is copy others.

Getting back to NASCAR.  Panini’s rip-off strategy could benefit NASCAR collectors.  If they plan to rip-off designs made popular by Topps, why not apply those designs to NASCAR cards.  I wouldn’t mind seeing some Inception-like racing stuff.  Football fans may have seen these designs before, but certainly not NASCAR collectors.  If ripping-off designs is their strategy, at least use it for a sport that hasn’t seen it yet.

In addition to the 2016 Father’s Day set, Panini is suppose to be releasing four NASCAR products – PrizmCertifiedNational Treasures, and Torque.  We have yet to know when these will come out.  If anyone of them has the slightest possibility at featuring a ripped-off Topps design, it would be Torque.  Collectors sorta know what to expect when it comes to the three other brands.

I highly doubt Panini will follow through here with any of the suggestions I’ve made.  It would be nice if they came up with some original ideas, but that doesn’t happen very often.  I don’t expect as much on-card autograph content with Panini’s NASCAR products compared to what Press Pass had.  A lot of drivers have posted pictures on social media of them signing stickers.

MacGyver’s Baseball Card Episode

Back in April I signed up for Netflix.  Marvel was debuting it’s first Netflix original series Daredevil, and being a big superhero fan I couldn’t let it pass by.  The next exclusive Marvel show to hit Netflix is Jessica Jones which comes out this Friday.

After watching Season 1 of Daredevil a few times, I decided to look around to see what else Netflix had to offer.  It didn’t take long for me to find MacGyver.  Netflix currently has all seven seasons.  I remember MacGyver being on television when I was little, the type of character he was, and the cool things he did.  But as far as the story lines for specific episodes, I couldn’t remember that much.  MacGyver has been my go-to show in between a few others.  He has definitely got to be one of my favorite T.V. action stars.

Its exciting to see sports cards carry over into a T.V. show or movie.  Imagine what I thought when I saw MacGyver standing in a card shop.  That’s exactly what happened during the episode I watched last night.  My head almost exploded.  Episode 11 in Season 6 is entitled “Squeeze Play”.  Frank Colton, a bounty hunter, is out of town when his box of baseball cards is stolen from his mother’s house.  Mamma Colton asks MacGyver to help get them back.  MacGyver finds his way to a local card shop where he meets Wendy, the daughter of a famous baseball player named Novis Riley.  Together they discover a counterfeiting operation.  After the counterfeit cards have been made, they’re put up for sale in the card shop and/or this very primitive looking online marketplace.  But things get even bigger once we find out that the main bad guy who operates the printing facility, where the fake cards are made, has information on Novis Riley that could expose his gambling habits.  Plus he kidnapped Wendy too.  Riley is currently in the process of helping to open a baseball museum with the help of Reggie Jackson.  Jackson plans to donate memorabilia he used during the 1977 World Series.  If Riley doesn’t steal that memorabilia and give it to the bad guy, his gambling habits will be exposed and Wendy will be a goner.  Riley steals Reggie Jackson’s memorabilia and heads to the printing facility.  MacGyver follows and it all leads up to a big fight.  MacGyver fights it out with former Eagles linebacker Tim Rossovich who plays a bodyguard like character.  The head of the whole operation is taken out in a way that resembles Robert Redford in The Natural.

The scenes in the card shop are probably my favorite.  There was a lot of 1990 Topps and 1990 Donruss.  Makes sense as this episode aired on December 17, 1990.  Its a great snapshot of what a card shop looked like back then.  Off the top of my head I remember seeing counterfeit cards of Lou Gehrig, Robin Yount, and Stan Musial.  One of the cards from Frank Colton’s collection was a Mickey Mantle 1953 Bowman Color #59.

MacGyver had it’s share of sports celebrities make appearances – Randall “Tex” Cobb, Hank Aaron, Lyle Alzado, and even Dick Butkus.  I heard there is a new MacGyver show in the works.  It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be connected to the original show.  This time the character of MacGyver will start off young when he’s in his twenties.  Richard Dean Anderson needs to make an appearance in the new show, even if its just for a quick cameo.  He could play the guy who gives the new MacGyver his pocket knife.  The show itself never had any trading card sets made.

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After implanting a baseball with a tracking device, MacGyver goes in disguise as “Dexter” to make a trade with the crooks.

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Reggie Jackson and MacGyver.

Panini Takes A Beating With Flawless & Thorpe Relics

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This industry of ours has taken a few big blows to the head within the last week.  Its always taking hits, but these kind hurt big time.  When you have an industry that’s based on trust and authenticity its going to happen.

First off, let me say that anyone who purchases a box of cards that costs over $1,200.00 is completely nuts.  I don’t care if you have more money than god, there is no reasoning for this.  The cards found in 2014 Panini Flawless Football are very nice looking, I’ll give them that.  But there is nothing in this product that we really haven’t seen before.  This is just my opinion, and I’m sure there are people out there that strongly disagree.  Slapping a high price on the same old stuff doesn’t make a product innovative.

By now you’ve probably heard about the tiny problem Flawless Football has with the event-used versus game-used swatches.  At first I didn’t think much about it, especially when it was just a couple of players.  Its happened before.  But then the list got longer.  I’m glad Panini is owning up to the problem, but that’s only happening because they got caught.  Event-used relics shouldn’t have been anywhere near a product of this caliber.  What grinds my cookies the most is how fast Panini responded with such accurate numbers.  Its almost as if they knew what they were doing.  If they wanted to play things out, they should have waited a bit to release the info on which cards were effected.  That would have at least made collectors believe Panini was doing some digging to get that info.  Releasing that much highly-detailed information so fast looks like they were documenting it in the first place.  This just shakes the trust all around.  And this is the company buying up all the licenses.  Someone needs to stop turning a blind eye to all those cleared payments.  Cutting corners to help the bottom line isn’t going to fix anything.  Can you really trust anyone?  The simple answer is no.  I wish we could, but in the words of Rocky Balboa “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.”  We live in a world where you need to question things and look beyond the flashy show.

I usually don’t write a lot of posts like this.  Panini has been very kind to Sports Card Info over the years by supplying boxes to review and including me in their NFL Player of the Day blogger promotion.  But something had to be said.  Even though what I’m saying has already been said before by other collectors.  I suppose another voice can’t hurt.  Things will just blow over though and not much will come of it.  Just like it has for years.  It won’t be long before another incident rises up.

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Speaking of another incident, I’d stay away from every single Jim Thorpe baseball relic made from 2005-2014.  Apparently the jersey used to make over 2,000 relic cards never even was in the presence of Mr. Thorpe.  Its sad to see people still spending tons of cash for these cards.  Panini has really taken a beating the last week.

I will always enjoy opening up packs and boxes.  As long as there aren’t too many base cards.  I don’t need meaningless base cards and inserts.  Low numbered parallels and “hits” are what I enjoy.  But sometimes it can really hurt when you see what goes on behind the scenes.  This industry can be like sausage.  You may like to eat it, but you don’t always want to watch it being made.