The Upper Deck & MLBP Settlement

Well it looks like its another one of these weeks in The Hobby.  Yesterday we saw Press Pass get an exclusive license to make Tim Tebow cards for draft pick products, and today we’ve seen Topps get the exclusive license to the USA brand.  In addition to all that, just a few moments ago Upper Deck settled its dispute with MLBP.  Its events like this that make me proud to be part of the blogosphere.  I think its crazy if we all had to rely upon one hobby news source for information, especially one that comes in magazine format and most likely would be outdated by the time it reaches your mailbox.

From what I have read, Upper Deck won’t be allowed to make baseball cards for a very long time.  Their only way around it would have been their USA cards but Topps grabbed that away from them today.  Here are some of the items Upper Deck got smacked with during the settlement:

  • Upper Deck will pay MLB Properties more than $2.4 million (the entire amount in dispute) for Upper Deck’s 2009 debts.
  • Upper Deck will pay MLB Properties a substantial sum of money for the unlicensed cards it sold in 2010.  The specific sum of that payment is confidential.
  • Upper Deck agreed it will not make any new sets of cards using MLB logos, uniforms, trade dress, or Club color combinations.
  • Upper Deck also agreed it will not airbrush, alter or block MLB marks in future products.
  • Upper Deck must receive approval from MLB for the use of baseball jerseys, pants, jackets, caps, helmets or catcher’s equipment in future products featuring players.

Basically it sounds like Upper Deck is out of the baseball card business.  I don’t even think they can get around the rules this time.  I think if it would have gone to court, Upper Deck would have been hit even harder.  So hard in fact they would have been put out of business.  It looks like Upper Deck will have to survive on football and hockey.

What cracks me up about the whole situation is how MLBP thinks the benefit goes to the collectors.  Upper Deck released some great stuff, especially on the high-end side which I enjoy.  Topps will seriously need to beef up their high-end baseball products if they want to win over collectors.  I think I’ll miss Legendary Cuts the most and I didn’t even open a ton of it in the first place.  I just liked seeing all the cool cut signatures pop up for sale, plus they made the first relic card of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

What will you miss the most about Upper Deck not making baseball cards?

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R.I.P

UPPER DECK BASEBALL

1989 – 2010

Take Away Their Relics & Autos: My 2¢ On Upper Deck’s Lawsuits

I have held my tongue for awhile about Upper Deck and its legal troubles, and I promised that I wouldn’t write an entire post about it but thats not what having a blog is for.  A blog should be used to speak your mind and be a platform for your voice to be heard.  Its not a place to hold your thoughts back.  If you have something to say, just come out and say it.

It surprises me that entities such as MLB and Topps would think that taking away Upper Deck’s right to use certain logos would prevent them from making baseball cards this year.  It sure didn’t work when Donruss/Playoff was told they couldn’t use MLB logos.  Since when have collectors purchased cards just for the logos?  Thats right.  Is been a hell of a long time.  When you have a market filled with collectors willing to spend well over $100.00 for a single pack, I’m betting they have a good idea who those players have played for.  And if by chance the collector doesn’t see a logo, what stops them from just researching who they played for online?  Nothing at all is the answer to that question.  Collectors don’t need logos which is why I think Upper Deck shouldn’t have put them on with their newest releases in the first place.  Upper Deck was just asking for trouble when they did that.  Its something they could have easily avoided and certainly didn’t need to get all wrapped up in after having to pay millions of dollars to Konami for counterfeiting a ton of Yugioh cards.

Upper Deck has been one of the top, if not the top manufacturer when it comes to high-end cards.  Collectors aren’t looking at logos when the card they just pulled contains some jumbo, multi-colored, World Series logo patch.  They are looking at the quality of the relic and of coarse the serial number.  If you want to take a shot at a manufacturer and really nail them below the belt, simply take away their autographs and relics.  That is what most collectors are looking for in the first place.  I’m no legal expert, and I doubt this would even be possible, but if you take away a company’s relics they would have to survive by doing something else.  I can’t even think of the last product released that didn’t contain at least one autograph or relic per box.  If they couldn’t stay alive its most likely they would go under and there would be one less manufacturer in The Hobby which is really what entities like the MLB want.  At least thats what they appear to want when they give exclusive licenses to companies.

Many people believe Upper Deck has a good chance of filing for bankruptcy due to all their current financial problems.  Just because a company files for bankruptcy doesn’t mean its going away.  There are all kinds of bankruptcy.  If by chance, and I mean this is a small chance, Upper Deck were to leave The Hobby altogether I think all the bloggers within the card blogosphere should get together and start-up their own manufacturer.  Bloggers by far know more about this hobby than certain executives only in it for the bottom line.

So who’s with me?

Manufactured Patches Done Right…. Is It Possible?

I refuse to dedicate an entire post about the legal drama thats unfolding at Upper Deck this year.  Who cares about who can and cannot use logos for their trading card products.  I just hope Upper Deck is prepared to pay out some hefty legal fees.  Gellman over on SCU thinks its a possibility that Upper Deck could go under.  If that happens, I think its time that all card bloggers come together and start a new card company 🙂

I know manufactured patches don’t get a good rap within The Hobby.  Some collectors would rather pull a Barry Bonds ’87 Topps RC versus one of those manufactured letters where you can barley read the player’s signature.  Currently I only own one card like this in my collection and the only reason its there is because I can’t move it.  Nobody wants it!

While looking at some of the Phillies stuff coming out of 2010 Topps Series 1, I discovered a few commemorative manufactured patches which I think look really good.  I must not be the only one either, because they have been selling anywhere from $30.00 to $60.00.  I believe certain manufactured patches should be welcomed, but certainly not all.

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’08 World Series logo commemorative patch – I like the look of this card a lot.  I still think a manufacturer should try and include pins into a card somehow.  I bet it would look something like this.

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I know this isn’t a piece from an actual hat worn by Richie Ashburn, but it is made from hat material.  I’m also glad to see that Topps used the old Phillies “P” instead of the modern one.

Imitation Is The Greatest Form Of Flattery

“Imitation is the greatest form of flattery”

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1971 Topps

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2009 Upper Deck OPC

I don’t think they look alike at all 🙂