Topps digital baseball cards the new trend?
Topps digital cards have become the new fad for young collectors. I collected baseball cards as a kid – it was something that was fun and exciting because you never knew what players you were going to get when you opened a fresh new pack. Every trip to the store was ended with a frantic plea for my mom to let me get a pack of cards. They were right by the checkout lines not to mention that she always would grab a People magazine or something similar. Topps and Upper Deck were like my People.
There are always new cards to be collected, and nowadays it is not as exciting to get a famous player’s card because it is not the super rare version of the card. The thing is, kids today aren’t going to know what an actual card looks or feels like because Topps has released an iPhone app that lets users collect digital baseball cards.
Digital baseball cards! That is one of the dumbest ideas to me. I get it that it makes it easier to “collect” cards, that you can trade with your friends and complete strangers anonymously to get new players, and that it is a good business opportunity for a younger generation of fans and nonfans alike. However, as a lifelong baseball fan and card collector myself, the idea of digital cards is absurd.
I did download the app and try it out myself. I will probably keep it and open it occasionally as you collect a daily reward for doing nothing you can use to buy new packs of cards. When you open a new pack, a piece of bubble game breaks away to reveal the cards you just got. Gum was never the best idea to implement with baseball card packs, and unless you have ever tried the gum in one of those packs, it makes no sense. They are bad. Let’s leave it at that.
One of the rarer finds in card collecting is signatures. If you get an autographed card in a physical pack of cards, it is like finding gold. Unless you are a hardcore collector who buys packs that guarantee to have special cards like autos, seeing ink on the face of a card is a great feeling no matter who signed it. You feel like you won the lottery.
The digital collection from Topps also has signature cards. You can’t trade them in for a real-life autograph card. You can’t put it in a protective case to protect it. You can’t brag to your friends about it and become their idol for a week. It’s a digital card with a digital signature. Unless there is something I don’t know about, this means there is no value at all. Just like most other digital and virtual achievements, there is nothing tangible to show for it.
The vast collection of cards will be easier to update for Topps digital when players get traded or join new teams. That cannot be done in a timely manner with actual cards. But I would rather have a concrete newly outdated card than a current digital one. Call me old school, but digital card collecting will never truly replace the appeal of opening a new pack of cards, or for the bigger collectors, the box sets that card companies offer. Every card in the set is already there.
Do I have the Topps digital card app? Yes I do. Do I embrace new innovative ways to make baseball a more easily accessible hobby to everybody? Of course. Will I brag about my super rare Mike Trout digital card to my friends? Absolutely not. Not only would I not personally care, but it is unlikely to happen, hence the term “super rare.”
If you enjoy collecting cards, then by all means check out this app and get your free cards for signing up. Then go and buy a real pack of cards from Target or Wal-Mart and tell me which you enjoyed more. Unless you need to have anything and everything attached to you in your phone, I’d be willing to bet that a fresh Topps 2014 pack on sale for $2.99 will put a smile on your face more so than pressing a few buttons on your Topps digital screen.