Machado Topps Now Relic draws ire … but why are we so angry?
Sometime yesterday afternoon I received a text message from a hobby friend advising me that the Topps Now program was preparing to release that afternoon Topps Now relics containing swatches of the table cloth used during the Manny Machado contract signing press conference held Friday.
I admit: My first reaction was not positive.
In fact, it went a little something like this:
That’s dumb … That won’t sell out.
I didn’t go too much further than that. Afterall, I was busy at work. Then I started seeing the negative reaction from the Twitterverse, which of course does NOT represent everyone in the hobby, and people seemed legitimately angry.
And so I thought some more about my initial reaction, about why I also disliked the idea. And then the more I thought about it, the more I found myself not really understanding my anger.
The whole point of Topps Now is to document things through the year. And this year the market had/has two major free agents in Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. Machado signs a 10-year, 300-million contract and Topps decides to document the moment with Now base cards, and then the special relics, which include a piece of the cloth on the table during the press conference.
Why is that bad?
Did Topps FORCE anyone to buy them? No. In fact, they priced the relics cheap enough that they were way less than any other relics offered through the program. If you ever wanted to own anything through the program, this is a fair shot at doing it.
What Topps did by creating these relics is made them available to anyone who wanted them; who wanted a part of the action, which is not really unlike any of us who collect random swatches of players not used during any specific year, season of event.
So, why the hate?
Well, I think there are three reasons why:
- People like to complain, especially when it involves Topps doing something they are not used to. Topps is the exclusive licensed manufacturer of MLB cards so the company draws a lot of criticism regardless of what it does or does not do.
- It’s Manny Machado, a player with tremendous talent but was the easy target to pick on for his antics during the Post Season. The once hobby darling definitely has lost a lot of love.
- It’s the Padres. The team does not have a major fan base, so even though Topps did something to finally cater to the fans of the team in San Diego, it draws the ire of non-Padres fans because it’s seen as a gimmick.
So, while I admit again that my initial reaction was not positive, I will say I am changing my tone. I do understand why this Machado Topps Now relic exists and I am not going to hate on it going forward, or any other effort that Topps does to legitimately get us closer.
I am curious what the reaction would have been if this happened last year when the Angels signed Shohei Ohtani, or what it might be in a few years when Mike Trout is set to hit the market.
The Machado relic clearly is not for everyone, which is fine. But why must we hate on Topps for trying something different?
I leave you with this thought: We get so bent out of shape about this Machado relic, yet we have a large portion of the hobby still clamoring over relic cards containing pieces of jerseys worn by rookies during a photo shoot. And the market somehow allows for these relics cards — often not really featuring anything more than the aforementioned Machado — to sell for hundreds of dollars. Does that make a lot of sense? Nope.