Angry: The craziness in the hobby lately

There is a lot of craziness going on in the hobby right now. A lot of it involves card grading companies and backdooring. I feel that it is a missed opportunity with AngryCardCollector not saying anything about it. I worry that by not saying anything that I am falling into the trap of cronyism in the hobby, and I am kind of guilty of that. Well, lets stop that. For the most part, grading is something that has been a novelty to me; despite being a big deal to other collectors. I feel that the bigger issue is Probstein on eBay which I will discuss below as well. Before I go deeper, SportsCardRadio has been reporting like crazy on this. While, it is easy not to like the way that they are reporting these things, and I certainly don’t blame you if you do, you cannot deny the facts that they present. You can find them at http://www.sportscardradio.com/ Now let’s dive in.

With the grading, you are talking about trimming, grades that aren’t true to the card, and people with an uneven number of perfect cards. In one case a grader got a bunch of 10s. All of these have been proven as facts and are not baseless. Whether you like the people reporting the facts, you cannot deny that there is too much evidence to ignore.

Now as for my thoughts:
Regarding trimmed cards: with centering being such a huge part of grading, I am appalled at the carelessness of the grading companies. I do not think the grading companies let the trimmed cards intentionally; which angers me even more. People like myself, are underemployed and desperate for jobs. If card grading must be rushed as I feel that it has with this carelessness, then hire more people are up the cost of the product.

I have heard from numerous people that they think grading is rigged. They think that people who put mass submissions are guaranteed a perfect grade on some cards. I am not sure if I believe this. I think this might be more of a case where one person is grading tons of cards and they feel that by nature some cards must be perfect. I think this self inflicted pressure has resulted in faulty grades. This one however is one that too many with tons of experience and respect in the hobby believe. While I don’t think this is case, I cannot dismiss the fact that people I respect in the hobby have told me this. If certain people believe it, I feel that there is some truth to it.

As for a certain former grader getting perfect cards that are definitely not perfect, well this one annoys me. They say that graders have no idea whose cards they are grading. I feel that this case proves this is total garbage. If one of your best former graders thinks cards are perfect, then I feel the person grading his card is taking his word for it. This boils down to more carelessness.

Now the backdooring of cards and selling them to employees is more carelessness. I don’t think that any hits were specifically given but the volume that was given is alarming. Furthermore, I feel it is a blatant disregard of ethics to sell cases to an employee who will sell them. Yes, Brian Gray, I am calling you out. I feel there is a huge conflict of interest to employ someone who has a side income of selling cards for a living. If we were talking about one guy who breaks every now and then, I would have no problem but we are talking about someone who probably made more from selling product for a living than he did as an employee. That is a conflict of interest to me. We don’t allow this in politics and other avenues so why should be we allow this in the hobby? There are so many layers to this and every layer reeks of favoritism and indecency to me. If a company sees no problem in doing this then I question how they would treat the average Joe who would buy the product. As for saying that you won’t sell to employees now, well too little too late. I don’t know about you but I can’t look someone in the eye with egg in their face. Leaf produced some good product this year but as of right now, I am not buying anything from Leaf until they prove to me that they care about the consumer.

For me to turn further heel on Brian Gray and prove that this hobby is full of cronyism, I would like to point out one more thing. This is a guy who publicly backed Rick Probstein on the Scammers page. Before all of this happened, I thought Probstein was the only major problem in the hobby. The fact is there is way too much shill bidding and fake cards being sold by that account connected to Probstein. Too many people take notice and yet Probstein is still being sung praises by higher ups in the hobby and eBay takes no action. The amount of evidence against Probstein goes further than Blowout forums. This is another case where the evidence is alarming. It is a joke that eBay hasn’t made any effort to clean up his account. It embarrasses me as a deeply religious person, like Rick Probstein is, that this stuff happens. I feel that he must practice what he preaches. I would never put my name on anything that has to do with these proven accusations, it is a shame that Probstein has. Furthermore, he has done nothing to eliminate it other than some basic codes of conduct. Criminals don’t adhere to a code of conduct, and those that enable criminals are criminals themselves.

People worry that all these scandals will put eyes on the hobby. Here are the facts, there are eyes on the hobby to begin with. Just like every online culture, there is intelligence done to make sure things are on the up and up. As a big Twitter person, I can confirm that one or two hobby accounts have an agent behind them; confirm. In one case, I know of someone who was investigating and fell in love with the hobby, and became a huge part of it. The eyes are there, don’t discount it. People think that no one is watching their sleazy activity but they are. I know of one person who is actively building a case against someone who has a history of scamming others in the hobby. Every wrong step is a step in the right direction towards their prosecution as it establishes behavioral patterns. Behavioral patterns, something that we can look at with Brian Gray and Rick Probstein as being guilty of.

In the hobby we see too many times where companies prioritize and play blatant favorites with people who spend money. This needs to stop. It needs at the level with companies that product cards. It also needs to stop at the merchants who sell a mass amount of cards like eBay, Dave and Adams, and Blowout. If you want to have an exclusive promotion with them, then so be it but don’t play favorites. I started this site because I am sick of the cronyism in this hobby and I will continue to call it out until it is remedied.

TLDR: My opinions are that I feel that trimming and grading is caused by carelessness and something must be done, Brian Gray of Leaf has lost my business, Probstein needs to be shut down.

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Angry: 2019 Contenders Draft Picks blaster…a points rant

 

I was originally going to have this be a few sentence ‘Random Review’ like past ones but this took a life of it’s own. Instead, you are getting a rare ‘Angry’ post. I am so Angry that you aren’t getting a picture of the box because I destroyed it.

Readers of this site know that I love Contenders Draft Picks football. In 2017, I put together all the non auto sets. I also have a healthy chunk of the autographs down as well. This year, I really liked the design of the product. I wanted 2 of those autographs in my collection like the box promised. I would have much rather pulled a redemption than points.
This leads me to the following: I like pulling autographs of random people. That is a selling point for me. This is a time where a lot of hits sell for cheaper than boxes, and even packs. If I wanted an autograph of a certain player, I would have bought it. I am not pissed that I missed on a Daniel Jones card, okay I am mad about not pulling him because I like him, but I am not mad that I missed on Joey Bosa or Dwayne Haskins; I am mad that I was robbed of a player to cheer for. Even if I did pull a Bosa or Haskins, I would now have a reason to cheer for them. Fact is, the average collector is like me and doesn’t flip cards anyway. I would much rather get a redemption for a random player, and not just because I don’t want to pay the shipping cost that you have with points. Heck in most of my cases, the shipping cost more than what I paid for the points.
Also let’s focus on the production run. Contenders has a ton of autographs in it’s checklist. I get that athletes don’t always send in their autographs in time for production. However I have pulled redemption cards specific to a player in Contenders before. So what does it say that Panini puts in points? My takeaway from this is that maybe they are making too many of these.

Now normally, I really like points. I used to love it when collectors rejected points because a bottom feeder like me can pounce on them for cheap. I have grabbed some cool stuff from the program. I grabbed a Walker Buehler autograph on there for 150 points before he became huge. I also finished off random cards for my Prestige college. However now that so many people have been exposed to points, I am finding the benefits to them few and far between. Those examples are 2 to 3 years old. I feel that points have run their course. I feel that Panini needs to do something to freshen up the market for little guys like me who don’t have tons of points laying around for the bigger offerings. They definitely need to get rid of the shipping cost because in most cases the shipping costs more than the card is worth and I hate the concept of paying twice for something.

Let me end this with rant about the offerings on points:
I don’t like the Kaboom or White Sparkle packs either. First they are too expensive for my taste. Second, I feel like they ruin something special. What used to be case hits is now dumbed down to a pack. Just because people are paying as if they are case hits, doesn’t mean they are. Who know’s how many Panini produces because they don’t release the production numbers. To me, those feel like the most blatant money grab possible. Sorry for my poor grammar in this paragraph, that is what happens when I get angry.

Angry: eBay Adventures

Worth mentioning before you dive into this: Upper Deck epack has a buy one get one free on most football. I snagged 2 Notre Dame boxes for $20.

For good measure here is a $3 coupon on eBay. Enter PERKS4ME. I just used it as of 3:05 pm Pacific on Tuesday April 30th.

Adventure 1:
Since I put together the Luminance base set, I have been gobbling up its printing plates. Now that it is in Plates and Patches, this is affordable for me to do. I bought a bunch of plates from a seller. Naturally I didn’t get any of them.

Beginning of April/End of March: I buy them
Week after: A package arrives from the seller. It has one card in it and eBay says all 5 have been delivered. I contact the seller and the seller says that they will ship items.
Week after that: I message the seller and ask what is up as I have since bought stuff and received it so clearly they didn’t ship. They ask for my address.
Week after that: eBay has a feature now that let’s seller offer discounts on products you made an offer on. The same seller offers me another plate for $5. Since I have not received my items from the seller, I decline.
Last Monday: I file cases.
This weekend: Seller never responds to the cases. eBay rules against me because there is tracking. Naturally I call them and appeal the decisions immediately. It takes them 30 seconds to reverse the decisions. They reverse 4. For the final 1, they initiate a return at the lowest value card. If seller doesn’t respond, I get refund.
Today: I got refunded and got to keep the card. I am not convinced that it was sent by mistake.

I would say the seller’s name but if you bid on someone with 92% feedback on eBay then you deserve the damage the seller will inflict.

Adventure 2:
Last week I read about how Casey Mize is tearing through the minor leagues. Out of curiosity, I check the price of his autograph and it is cheaper than a blaster. COMC has the cheapest but there are some $25 cards that I can offers on. I make offers on 2 cards.
I start with my perfect price and get rejected so I move on to a dollar less than COMC. I go back and forth with one seller in particular. In my notes, I even put that ‘if this get’s rejected, I am going to COMC.’ Seller counters with a higher offer and I reject immediately as I am ready to go to COMC.
In the minute that it took me to go to COMC, the seller messages me on an item that I have for sale saying that he never saw my message and he will do it at my price. As I got the message, I thought how odd it was to get a message on a women’s shoe item at 11 pm and that it would be funny if it was the Mize seller.
Side note: immediately after that the seller of the other card counters at a decent price point. I reject it. Sellers, timeliness is key with offers. When I make offers, I sometimes have 2 or 3 out on similar cards. With me, it does not pay to get cute. Monday: Mize pitches a no hitter. I stress if the card got shipped. By the time that I got home, the card was there.

 

Thanks for reading. I hope to have 2 reviews up of current products within the next 7 days.

Angry: Thoughts while helping on Scammers database

As some of you may know, I picked up a minor side gig the past few days. I was doing data entry for Sports Scammers Exposed. I added a dozen pages of from the feedback list to the searchable database. A lot of people have many ideas of them. I figured that I would share some of my thoughts that came during my data entry.
I am not affiliated with them. I do endorse them. I had limited editing power on the site and my guess is that I no longer do as my work is finished with them.

  • There were two different labels: scammer and negative feedback. For the most part, negative feedback was for people who didn’t pay for cards they claimed and people whose ethics were questionable but did not scam. For example I put people under negative feedback who were reported for calling someone’s wife to report a scam when they were not involved in the deal.
    I am sure that some of you will question this but I personally like this. If someone is stirs the pot, then I would have no interest in dealing with them. I block a ton of people who comment on entries because of how they act. One of the entry’s that I added was of someone who trolled an autistic person who was guilty of scamming.
  • I like that the listings say things like ‘kid’ and ‘autistic.’ I added a lot of kids.
  • I personally took a liberty and removed words like ‘weird guy’ when they were with someone’s accusations unless there was an example given.
  • There are some people who do a ton of reporting. So when searching the database, you should search who reported them. Some of the people who report a lot might be room administrators but they will be easy to weed out. Taking out the admins, there are a ton of people who report a lot.
  • Which leads me to this, for all the entries, there is a ton of things that would be on this list that are not reported. For example, I know that I have been guilty of not paying for a card I claimed. I know that if Dan at DMN Takeover reported everyone, the list would be longer.
  • My favorite entry that I added was this:
    Denny McClain – Former MLB pitcher for Tigers – Negative feedback for not showing up at an Indianapolis card show autograph signing event he’d promised and confirmed on. Texted the promoter on the day of the show, saying that his wife was in the ER. Then seen later that day tweeting, promoting a different show he’d gone too in Columbus. Reportedly he’s done this several times to different show promoters. (5/2/18 – Brian Mayne – SSE). Has been imprisoned for drug trafficking, embezzlement, and racketeering. Also known for gambling, and addiction. Also sells signed memorabilia from other players at shows he sets up at. (SSE). https://www.facebook.com/denny.mclain.9
  • Most common names I added: Brad (and variations like Bradley), Kyle, and Rob (and variations like Robby and Robert). Not as many Daniel’s as you would think. Not a scientific guess but an educated guess based off the names I entered.
  • None of my friends in the hobby were on the list. Interestingly, people that I knew elsewhere were on the list. Wrestling community, I am looking at you. Also, one relative of my former neighbor.

 

Sports Scammers Exposed is bashed a ton. A lot of the reservations are actually understandable. However after working with it, I see it more as a Wikipedia. For example, Wikipedia is put together by people. There will be people with certain agendas on there. The majority of people who are behind it are good people. You cannot use it as a definitive source it but you use it as a guide. You should use it as a guide.

Random Review: 2018 Topps Fire Blaster Round 2

I wasn’t going to post this but I just opened what I feel is an awful box of Topps Fire. No numbered cards or relics. While the inserts of prospects were decent, there is still no guarantee with prospects. Thankfully I am doing this for the set and chasing base but I just wanted to show you because I know that average collector is not doing the same with this set.

 

Angry: Hiding Collecting

A prevalent theme in the card community this week has found people being asked if they hide their collecting habits from their loved ones. It was GoGTSLive’s question of the week and Sports Card Collectors have a nice post up on it. You can find their post here: http://sportcardcollectors.blogspot.com/2018/09/do-you-hide-hobby.html

Every couple of weeks, I am reminded of why I started this site. The fact that I hide my collecting from my family is one reason. By doing this site, I am trying to turn my collecting into something positive. I see the gambling nature of collecting cards, my family sees it.

One of the big struggles that I have with my family is answering why collecting is worth it. I have one very close friend who does not understand why I open packs and then put the cards in a box and do not showcase them. In a perfect world, I would showcase them. I have some of my favorite, less valuable cards hung up in a display case of about 20. I also have some cards hanging up by that sticky gum thumbtack alternative. That has been my go to. For the most part, those are Panthers base cards. My friend being hard on me in that regard actually helped me. That said, I do find myself hiding the hobby from her. Sometimes when we are in Target if she drags me into a female clothes aisle or women’s magazine section, I will make sure that she stays with me in the cards aisle. That is if I feel secure. Problem is, I never feel secure so me looking at cards with her, or any of my friends, is usually looking over the cashiers shoulder to see what is there.

My sister, who I live with, absolutely hates it when I buy cards. I have gone to lengths where I will put maildays in my car before bringing the mail in if she is home. I do this even for contests. Her fear is that I am putting cards over survival.

Lastly, I have had some girlfriends who have been great about my collecting. I don’t think they ever realized the scope of my collecting. Even with them, I still went to some lengths to hide my collecting. If they were in my room, my storage boxes were never out in the open.

I have nothing against people who don’t understand my collecting. Truthfully, I don’t understand it. We all need healthy hobbies. Hopefully I am collecting healthily. Everyone has a vice. We need a hobby to zone out in this crazy world. My best relationships, especially with my significant others, have been the ones where me have a mutual understanding to not talk too much about our hobbies too much and focus on each other. If you can find that balance then the more power to you.

 

Here is the GoGTSLive poll:

I am convinced that a good 25% lied or answered the way that they did because they do not have a spouse.

 

I was going to do a Random Review for this week’s post but the product that I was expecting has not come.

Angry: Sick of being scammed?

I have posted about the Sports Card Scammers Exposed Facebook group before on here, out of all topics a ‘This is what’s great about the hobby‘ post, but I don’t recall ever giving it my full blown endorsement. Also because of a lacking Twitter presence, a lot of people are still unaware that it exists.

Basically it is one huge feedback list that has accumulated over time. If you want someone to get on it, you are required to post proof of being scammed. No scam is too small. The group is also great at fishing out aliases of known scammers. If you feel that you are undeserving of being on the list then you can clear your name.

Beware, the people that comment on it have a tendency to talk to hear themselves. Forget scamming, I have blocked a ton of people because of their behavior in the group. 2018 is the year where people don’t think before they say something on social media and that is definitely the case there. They have been doing things to keep this issue in check by not allowing gifs but lets face it: trolls will be trolls and in 2018 they are the cockroaches that are on any page, no matter what it is. Regardless, it is still worth checking out as the group and list itself is an invaluable service to the hobby.

That said, today I saw a post where the first words were “It’s amazing what this page can do…”

So go check them out.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/135534423676517/
https://twitter.com/hobby_scams
http://www.sportscardscammers.info/sports-card-scammers-list/