Tuesday, August 8, 2017
My rules for buying a Topps Now card
The charade is over.
I can no longer pretend that the price of a Topps Now card is prohibitive. I can't pretend that I can't pay it or won't pay it. I can't say it's outrageous, should be boycotted, or that it ruins what is one of the best concepts for a set conceived in the last quarter of a century.
I can't say that because I've paid.
I paid $9.99 for a card produced and issued in 2017.
I am a sucker.
This is the first time in the year and a half that Topps Now has existed that I have bought one of the cards for full price. Several weeks ago I bought a Topps Now card of Cody Bellinger for a reduced price, which was still pretty outlandish if you're taking a hard line against the cost of these things.
But I don't regret my purchase. I don't feel like a sucker at all. The purchase, while maybe not the most efficient or frugal, seems appropriate. I'm actually proud of it, in fact. And I started to think of why that is.
From that bit of musing came my rules for buying a Topps Now card.
These are my rules only. Nobody else has to follow them. I don't want anyone getting snippy and demanding who put me in charge. Go do whatever the hell you want. I'm talking to myself here and whoever wants to read it.
So there are plenty of reasons why you could buy a Topps Now card. But what makes the most sense to me? When does shelling out that $9.99 -- if you must -- come with zero guilt feelings and is actually satisfying? What caused me to buy the card in the above cardboard envelope without hesitation?
1. Discover money in your PayPal account you didn't know was in there.
Free money! Well, actually it's not free. I probably had to do something really brain-numbing at work, like write a headline for local recreational softball tryout physicals, to earn that money. But still, unexpected money!
2. The subject has appeared on few cards or even no cards with my favorite team.
This was the reason I sprung for the Bellinger card earlier and the reason I thought about buying the Yu Darvish card, too. The less likely that the subject will appear as a Dodger in a future release adds to appropriateness.
3. The moment being commemorated is particularly memorable.
Is this something you will want to remember after the season is over? Two years from now? Did your team just win the World Series? By all means, get that Topps Now card!
4. It may not be Game 7 of the World Series but this could be the high point of the season.
Now we're getting to a key reason why I bought this card.
5. All the stars aligned perfectly for this moment.
In other words, a 27-year-old third-string catcher, called up for his first major league game, delivers the game-winning double in the 11th inning in his first major league at-bat to give the Dodgers a 3-2 victory, and their second late-inning comeback of the game, against the distasteful Giants of all teams.
This win clinched yet another sweep for the Dodgers, added to the string of amazing moments during this season, and I remember thinking to myself just after it happened: "This very well could be the high point of the season. No matter what else that happens for the rest of the year, no matter the outcome of the postseason, there always will be this moment, when the Dodgers appeared to be absolutely unstoppable, to everyone."
And that's why I sprung for this card:
Kyle Farmer may never have another card. So getting this seemed like a requirement.
I don't really like the "call-up" designation on the card, but that's quibbling. Everything else about it -- that follow-through for his opposite-field double is unmistakable -- is perfect.
I don't recommend spending $9.99 for a Topps Now card more than once a year. That's definitely the limit for me anyway. I'll go the $5 or $6 route online if I feel the need again.
In terms of whether this is an actual card -- there are those who think Topps Now shouldn't be considered a card in the traditional sense -- yes, I consider this a card. But when I put my Dodgers sets in order in my binders, every set is listed alphabetically except for Topps Now. Topps Now goes at the very end, as kind of a punishment for sealing the coffin on my dream of obtaining every Dodger card. It was just a flicker of a hope for many years anyway, but now it's dead forever. Topps Now killed it.
But at least I got a Kyle Farmer card out of it.
And not a tinge of guilt.