Here's a funny thing to consider: the term "relic" means something from a bygone era, or of historical interest. Only recently has it taken on the connotations of game-used memorabilia. And only really recently has the term come to mean both: cards with game-used jersey swatches and bat shavings are in such proliferation that the idea no longer seems fresh.
So how do we remedy the situation? There's the argument that companies create less of these cards, but telling someone interested in making a profit to create less of something rings too naive. Instead, what if companies begin Game-Date Stamping?
A year ago I was all up in arms because Topps rammed the Generation NOW insert set down the hobby's throat. But there was an interesting idea at the root of those cards: the celebration of an individual achievement. The problem was that it was replicated ad nauseam. But what if companies married the two––relic cards and Generation NOW--together?
I read yesterday that Major League Baseball is asking teams to collect all the bats that break over the course of this season. Card companies should buy up those broken bats, keep records of those games in which they broke, and then serial-stamp the date of the game onto cards containing a shaving of the broken bat.
Let me put it another way. Which would you rather have: A bat card of Jason Varitek, or a bat card of Jason Varitek stamped with the game date of the bat's final use? I think Game-Date Stamping would inject life into the state of game-used memorabilia cards.