Even being a greenhorn to collecting cards, I know what a monopoly means.
For many years out here in Oregon, Comcast ruled the roost. They were the only gig in town, and if you wanted to see cable or HD television, then you were pretty much subjected to a standard 6-month rate increase, and there was nothing you could do about it.
Then along came Verizon, and that saved the day. Now not only do I have a little wiggle room with Comcast, they are actually scared to lose customers so much, that they will pretty much offer you the keys to the city if you casually mention wanting to check out Verizon. You always get the "hold please" and then they come back with some great six-month offer. In six months, I call back again, say "my bill is too high" and wash and repeat.
Since this is my first year collecting, I have tried out a very wide variety of product trying to find my niche as to what products I would like to collect in the future. I have spent way too much on conducting this "research", but now that I am learning the ropes, I have a better strategy for next years offerings.
Now, while I definitely don't consider myself a Topps "Homer", I did find myself for the most part disappointed with Upper Decks "mail it in" product line. I made no secret my disappointments, starting with the commemorative Red Sox set and continuing through this years UD flagship offering. 1000+ cards? Insane. I also don't dig the cut out figures placed on various computer generated backgrounds...especially when you are expected to pay 5-10 bucks a pack for said product.
That being said, I did like SOME of UD's offerings. I fell in love with the SP legendary cuts. The cards are unique, and the hits were pretty classy too, but I have made a critical error in attempting to collect SP's 101-200. I have about half, but probably will never see the other half. The price of the product is just ridiculous too. I have seen them at nearly 120 a box! Cool cards, but I learned a lesson here.
Masterpieces was brilliant, WAY better than the sketches offered in this years A&G. Goudey is a fun set because of the artistic quality to it. But for the most part I would say any live-photo product was lacking any originality and thus my anti-sentiment towards UD.
BUT, any business needs competition, and it concerns me a bit when Michael Eisner says that he wants to return the hobby back to the kids. What exactly does that mean? Does it mean that we are going to return back to an 80's and 90's massive overproduction of cheap cards? I am like everybody else, I am looking for sets, but also enjoy finding little valuable surprises in the packs.
Will Topps rest on their laurels like the Madden football and 2K sports franchises have an put out sub-par product? I am far too new at this hobby to raise much concern just yet, but I am definitely curious as to the fallout of this deal.