Yet Another Reason to Hate Beckett

Feeling rather angry with the hobby these days — not the least of which is the way with which Beckett editors communicate with collectors. For the latest example, check out their stenography reporting on Topps’s recent handling of redemption cards.

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6 responses to “Yet Another Reason to Hate Beckett

  1. I guess this guy Chris Olds, an editor at Beckett who has responded to most of the posts, knows which side his bread is buttered on, but his comments do make him seem like nothing but a shill for Topps. E.g., “As Topps stated in its past sessions with collectors at the NSCC and where these questions came up more than once, redemption cards are only used when a deal is in place with a player and, for whatever reason, the player fails to do the signing in time. Could be playing schedule, could be injury, could be mood, could be one of a million things — and that leaves Topps (and collectors) hanging.”

    I just searched eBay for <> and found 481 active items. When you narrow it down by sport and then look at the teams that are available, there are 27 MLB teams and 24 NFL teams. That seems to me to be more than just “only used” in the case where the player screws up and leaves Topps hanging. It seems pretty systemic to me.

    This is not the reason why I essentially never buy hobby or retail boxes anymore, but it does make me feel good about my decision to just buy complete sets (or, better, nearly complete sets, leaving me with some work to do) on eBay.

  2. The phrase I searched for didn’t come through–I must have created some html code with those brackets. It was “Topps redemption auto.”

    • My experience has left me far more hesitant to purchase redemption cards off of eBay. The sad thing is that Topps previously fulfilled three redemptions with no problem whatsoever. In principle, I understand and accept Topps’s authority to do what they did — it was the actual execution that led a lot to be desired. As I said in another reply to a comment to this post, I intend to contact Topps customer service and see if there is someone willing to answer on record a few questions I have for them regarding the redemption process.

  3. Beckett’s coverage on the subject hasn’t extended much past reposting Topps press releases, so it is fair to question their objectivity when you consider that they get lots of freebies from Topps. While, as Chris Olds stated, the freebies themselves don’t come with any strings attached, we all know how these deals really work – play ball and the gifts keep coming, criticize and you’re on your own. Maybe that’s not a motivating factor in how Beckett manages its coverage, but just saying “you’re wrong” with nothing to back it up isn’t going to satisfy anyone.

    Beckett is under no obligation to cover the Topps redemption fiasco or to be unbiased if they do, but they should expect to be called out if there’s the appearance of bias. Some people aren’t going to like how you report on things no matter what you do, which is why it is usually a bad idea to read the comments. Chris Olds does read the comments though and frequently responds. This is usually a good thing, but this time he came off as confrontational and condescending. It was a bad call on his part and certainly doesn’t make Beckett look any better.

    Like Chris, I have a Matt Harvey redemption auto that is nearing its second birthday. Unlike Chris, I have been critical of Topps for the delay. Two years for an autograph card from one of the hottest players in baseball and you just shrug it off as bad luck? They don’t have that much trouble with Willie Mays. Even if you understand the reasons for redemptions and the reasons for delays, two years with no resolution beyond “cards were dropped off with Matt in Port St Lucie yesterday, hopeful will be signed shortly!” a year and a half in is just unacceptable. There is something very wrong here.

    This story goes deeper than autographs though, which makes the “these things happen, everything’s fine” attitude even harder to defend. I can accept that autographs are not entirely under their control and can take time to obtain for big stars or when cards are being printed/updated at the last minute. What I don’t understand is when relic cards are delayed for over a year for players with relic cards that are live in later products. Did they have big plans for those specific cards that require an item that they haven’t been able to source? Did they just forget about the cards? Is it too much to ask to get a status update after every year that a card is delayed? If you don’t have the staff to handle a task like that, then you have a much bigger problem on your hands.

    I’ve been dealing with redemptions since 2000 and have never seen a situation this bad. Back in 2001, I was excited to get the first Keith Hernandez certified autograph, only to be sent a Sandy Alomar Jr. / Andy Pettitte dual autograph in its place because Topps was unable to get Hernandez to sign that year. I wasn’t happy, but I could understand and accept what happened. Today, in the age of online redemptions and social media providing countless ways to connect with customers, I can’t understand what’s happening and Beckett seems far too willing to accept things as they are. There’s a disconnect between what collectors are seeing and what Beckett is reporting and Chris Olds needs to either recognize this or refrain from fanning the flames with his comments.

    • I think it’s clear from my comments in that thread (it’s not difficult at all to ascertain which are mine, as I’m sure you surmised), that my feelings are very similar to yours. I plan on writing something far more in depth later this week — a coda, if you will. I also intend, though admittedly not expecting much in the way of a return, to contact Topps to see if I can get somebody willing to go on record with answers to a few questions I have for them.

      • Good luck with that. I would be really surprised if you get a response considering the current situation at Topps. It wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t even have the staff to answer questions anymore, they sure don’t have enough staff to do the day-to-day work. The redemption problems go beyond redemption cards; Bowman Blue Wave wrapper redemptions have been handled so poorly that we may have seen the last of them (the parallels that had been wrapper redemptions in Topps Series 1 were instead issued in hobby store promo packs for Series 2, so the change may already be upon us). Topps told people to stop sending wrappers in just five days after Bowman launched, which was a bit faster than expected based on previous promotions. The real strange part was what got shipped out. Some people were reporting having sent enough wrappers for two packs and receiving 10, others sent in for 10 but only received 2 (and all sorts of combinations in between). Some people who sent in wrappers late already got their packs, while some who sent them in early are still waiting. Mine were sent out the day after release but didn’t arrive until the following Tuesday (thank you, USPS…) and I have yet to see any packs. Topps has been silent on the issue, but they’ve probably been too busy figuring out how to post a PDF onto their web site. I guess with the MLB contract locked up for a few more years they don’t need to bother being competent at their job.

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