Thanks to a never-ending stream of mainstream news articles, we are aware of what's going on in the boardrooms and back rooms of our favorite card companies. But what about in the product development departments? What are they up to? Presumably, Upper Deck will have a lot on its shoulders should it capture Topps: if the cards aren't right for 2008 and beyond, wouldn't it follow that collectors would show their disgust and demand better cards? Or spend their money on other things?
But what is it, exactly, that makes a card set great to today's collectors? Admittedly, what I would consider the cornerstones of a great set are probably not relevant to the collector weaned on inserts, autographs and relic cards, short prints, parallels and refractors. Do today's collectors (and by 'today's collectors' I mean collectors that specialize in new sets) really want insert sets like Topps' 'Generation NOW', or do they want it because they are told to want it? I don't know if I have a definite answer, though I'm leaning towards the latter.
We all want to see the hobby flourish, right? When even the most pessimistic readers write that they see card collecting as a dead hobby, there's a pang of sadness in their words. No one wants to see the hobby die. So wouldn't it follow that the card companies (or company) would make it a habit of listening to collectors before they create another crappy set that no one can afford?
And even if it turns out the companies don't want to add it to their agendas, I want to know. That's why I'm writing today.
Leave a comment to this post and tell me what you want to see in a set and what you think makes a set great. Ask your friends, go into the shops and ask dealers, other collectors, guys at shows, the message boards you post on, the guys and girls you trade with or even the man on the street. Everybody's got an opinion on what baseball cards and the act of collecting means to them. Now's the time to express it.