Thursday, December 18, 2014

Parallel-Insanity

So with the release of 2014 Bowman Draft and Bowman's horrible decision to include Luis Torrens, I now have a new rainbow to chase. And boy is it fugly.


In 2014 Bowman Draft, Luis Torrens has the following...

Paper Rainbow:
Base
Red
Blue
Black
Asia-Exclusive Black
Green
Silver Ice
Red Ice
Purple Ice
White Ice
Orange Ice
Four different printing plates.

Chrome Rainbow:
Base
Refractor
Super-Jumbo Refractor (WTF?)
Blue
Black
Green
Blue Wave
Red Wave
Silver Wave
Black Wave
Gold
Orange
Purple
Red
Superfractor
Four different printing plates.

If my math is correct (and it usually isn't) then that's a total of 34 different colored cards I'd theoretically need to get from this one product. THIRTY-FOUR!

Now I'm one who's usually willing to forgive parallels because having parallels in moderation can be a good thing since it stimulates a good chase. But this is a bit too excessive for even me.
I mean, of the 34 different parallels I listed up there:
*Eleven of them are 1/1's.
Eight printing plates, a 1/1 Black paper parallel, the White Ice paper parallel and of course the superfractor.

*Seven of them are exclusive to certain types of boxes/continents.
The black paper, black refractors and white ice parallels are exclusive to hobby boxes.
The orange ice paper parallels are exclusive to the jumbo boxes.
The green paper parallels and "super-jumbo refractors" are exclusive to the super jumbo boxes.
The Asia-exclusive black paper parallels are only found in 2014 Bowman Draft Asia Edition.

*Two of them are pretty much the same
The black 1/1 paper parallel and the Asia-exlusive black paper parallel are pretty much the same except that one has 1/1 stamped on the back.

Now those three bulletpoints alone are scary. But here's the scariest part, it could've been worse. A LOT worse. Looking through just the Chrome parallels I can name at least six parallels Bowman could've included to drive collectors even more insane.

Actually no, that's not the scariest part. The scariest part is that all of these parallels are for recently drafted minor leaguers in the 2014 Bowman Draft set. Even though I'm a prospect head, I can't imagine anybody sane actually willing to invest so much time and money into players that have yet to reach the majors and whose value only comes from "potential." (Note, families and close friends of the card subjects do not count).


Now, I understand why Topps/Bowman does this. They need certain parallels to be exclusive to certain kinds of boxes so they can move more units. What's the point in buying a box that's three times more expensive if the contents are the same? They need a gimmick to help out sales on their new Super Jumbo boxes while also making sure hobby boxes and regular jumbo boxes keep selling. But knowing that doesn't help. In fact I dare say that it makes it worse.


Looking at that giant list again I'm suddenly reminded of Night Owl's post about the impossible Puig checklist. He mentioned how Yasiel Puig had 42 different cards in 2013 Topps Update. And yes that's quite a task but keep in mind that those 42 cards can be divided into four different entities, US46 (and its parallels), US250 (and its parallels & short print variations), US330 (and its parallels), and finally inserts (and one autograph). This time you've got 34 different variations for basically one card. And if you're going after a player with an autograph (the autographs have 34 parallels too) or an insert in this set (inserts have parallels too) or an insert autograph you're probably going need to track down nearly 100 different cards when it's all said and done.

Then I'm reminded of one more part of that Night Owl post. The very end where he reminisced on how there was a time when you could accumulate every card of a player with just one card. Now by the time I came into this hobby parallels were already engrained into the collecting world so I've never known a world where there weren't any parallels. In fact, what's pretty disappointing is that almost all of the players I chose to focus on have parallels.

*Luis Torrens - He has at least 34 parallels in this product alone
*Dellin Betaces - Just Rookies, Tri-Star & Upper Deck made a complete Betances collection impossible
*Hiroki Kuroda - His Hiroshima Carp era cards even have parallels!
*Jack Chesbro - Even Chesbro T206es have parallels (Piedmont backs, Sweet Caporal backs, etc...)

Okay at this point I'm just rambling about some minor #FirstWorldProblem that doesn't have an effect on the world in any way and I apologize for that. It's just that ever since I read that Night Owl post, there's been a small part of my brain going "man, it'd be nice to say I own every Luis/Dellin/Big Hirok/Cervelli card in this year's *insert product name here* with just one card." And these 34 new cards are basically Topps/Bowman's way of giving me the finger.

What's worse is that I'm sure they're not done here. Now that Torrens is on the map (in addition to the previous accolades he was recently picked as the ninth best prospect on Baseball Prospectus' top 10 Yankees prospects list) it's only a matter of time before he's inserted into products like Pro Debut and Heritage Minors, two products that also keep adding more parallels with every new edition.

So to all of you future player collectors out there, go for guys who aren't highly touted at all and yet managed to make it to the majors and stay there (like Shane Greene). Otherwise you'll have to track down 1000 of their pre-rookie cards and then 2000 more after they make it to the majors.
And to all you future team collectors out there. Just give up now and look for another hobby. It's better for your health (and wallet).

Anyway thanks for stopping by and tolerating my negativity (or not).
Take care everybody :).

8 comments:

  1. Topps has pretty much eliminated the possibility of anyone being a super player collector every again. There was a point in the early 90s when I had at least one of probably 95% of all the different Ryne Sandberg cards ever produced. It was fun chasing down oddballs and the like.

    Now? You're right, you have to go for a mid to low level prospect unless you have unlimited resources. That's why I was chasing ROCK SHOULDERS and the Vogelmonster.

    The parallels are getting out of control and I don't think it'll stop anytime soon. There seem to be two types in the collecting world: collect for fun and collect for profit. The profit guys have Topps' attention and it's becoming less fun for the rest... especially if you're a player collector who MUST chase the parallels.

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    1. I also put the blame on Panini and Leaf. Even without a license they're churning out more products too. I give them an B for effort but F for execution and an F- for fun.

      Luis was once on the same tier as Shoulders and Vogelbach. Sigh.

      Yeah the parallels definitely won't stop. Unless the market crashes again (which is pretty likely).

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  2. That is an amazing amount of parallels. Shocking.

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    1. And it's only going to get worse from here :(.

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  3. I've gone a little nuts working on my 2014 Bowman Draft rainbow for Gavin LaValley. I think I've secured 10 different so far. In my defense, this is really the first card I've tried rainbowing hard, so it's still somewhat fun and novel. I don't think I'll make a habit of it. And at least LaValley isn't very hyped so his prices are ok.

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    1. Very nice, I've just reached five parallels I've managed to secure.
      Good luck with that Gavin rainbow.

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  4. I wish I would have started something with Nick Kingham. Pretty decent prospect at an affordable price. Good luck with the Torrens. I'll keep my eye out.

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    1. Yeah at this point it may be a bit too late for Kingham who has been on radars since 2012. Although if you're not a total completist you could put together a nice PC :).

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