Video boxbreaks and how they help save money.

Or something. Recently we were asked to say what hobby box we might like for Christmas. We weren't sure, thinking, well, maybe 2009 Legendary Cuts...the base set is exceptionally nice (especially if you have a mild case of numismatism). We also considered A Piece of History (because there are pretty purple cards in there, which You Know Who might enjoy). Pretty green, too:But UD had to go and mess up these pretty autographed cards by using STICKERS, and cheesy stickers at that. Unlike the slightly more acceptable, fake-official Topps version:So for that History card, basically David Price signed a sheet of stickers and someone slapped a sticker on the card. Does that not diminish your enjoyment of an autograph?

They often don't even put the sticker on straight, althought perhaps diehard fans might not mind.

We thought about T206, although $69-$80 seems a lot to spend on a hobby box when you will only get one mini per pack, if lucky. And we only like the minis.

Then we thought about Goodwin Champions...the full, glorious, colorful, garish, Goodwin Champions! which we like a lot. Again, the mini cards are few and far between (although the moonlight cards look nice). But still...you know how it is. Sometimes a cardboard nutcase simply wants to open a lotta packs. Not brilliant, but true nevertheless. So, we watched a few box breaks on YouTube of each style of the abovementioned cards. This allowed us to experience the ridiculous hopefulness, the letdown, the vague notion that you are once again suckered by a cynical corporation, the realization that there are a bunch of cards you don't want in a hobby box, and we could even savor, if we wished, the sound of foil wrappers being torn open and flying through the air. Yes, all of it is there to ponder on the YouTubes.

The result of this brief watch-athon is that we decided to take the money we'd spend on a hobby box and instead spread it around to some 100 percent positive sellers and pick and choose a few things from each design that we would like to own. When we find time to do that, we'll let you know the results. In the meantime, here's a boxbreak video question: Is there a single boxbreaker who ever slows down to look at the base cards? It couldn't be more clear that the folks who do these videos only care, only only only, about the hits.

Is that secretly true of most people who buy a hobby box? The hits are what matters? If that is true (as the videos imply), then why buy the box? Why not just obtain the hits on eBay? Perhaps it's the thrill of the hunt or the chase that people are paying for when buying hobby boxes. But if these videos are true, buying a hobby box is usually comparable to a fishermen going out hoping for an award-winning swordfish and coming back with a can of tuna.

If you aren't trying to put together a base set, and when you know with every fiber of your being that you could make much better use of your money than to buy a hobby box, especially with access to the grazing, hunting, meanderingness of online auction sites...why buy hobby boxes? Does the thrill of the chase make collectors lose all reason? It don't make no sense. Do it?


Ken said...

Yeah I get a little sick when I see people whip through a pack of cards without even fully exposing the base. They sorta fan the cards in a flash. Part of the reason is to keep the box break video short, but I find it hard to believe they slow down and read the stats or cool card info when off-camera.

It's funny how different baseball card bloggers are from youtube box breakers. Opposite ends of the spectrum (generally speaking). How many blog posts do we see analyzing just one card and the history of the player? And that post gets like six or seven comments. It's great.

Baseball card blogs are everything romantic, enduring, and generational about the hobby.

night owl said...

I rarely watch video breaks. Most of the ones that I have seen are depressing, for the reasons you mention. I don't see how you're ever going to be happy in this hobby if you collect like that.

Like you say, if you're in it solely for the hits, buy what you want online. You'll be happier.

I'm entertained by both the base cards and the hits, so that's why I still buy boxes (when I can afford it).

paulsrandomstuff said...

I think for many people, buying hobby boxes is like buying lottery tickets.

Sure, there are more sensible ways to spend your money -- but you're hoping that you'll be lucky and get something way better than what you started with.

Dinged Corners said...

Of COURSE we meant philately. Just checking whether you're paying attention. PS Are you really a numismatist?

Dinged Corners said...

PS That was directed to an excellent comment from dayf which seems to have disappeared into the mist.

NicoLax24 said...

i watched soooo many box breaks on you tube when deciding what hobby boxes to ask for for xmas and I have grown to hate them!! The breakers rarely ever enjoy the base cards and half the time they refer to any hit that isn't their favorite player as being a lousy hit!! Somehow they expect to magically pull perfect hits every time. Why not take the time and enjoy the base cards, observe the photography and details of the cards? You know the hits are in there, why rush through?

NicoLax24 said...

One of my bigger pet peeves is when they scroll through saying "Base, base, base..." or, "darn all base cards". GRRRR if you are gonna break a box on video, do it right!! let the people see what you're getting and quit whining about base cards!

But the ultimate peeve of mine is when these people pull a great hit of an all time great player and they can't even pronounce his name, nor do they even know who he is!! Excuse my boldness but if you can't identify 90% of the all time greats when you see them, you don' belong breaking a hobby box!! Learn your stuff and appreciate the history of the game.

Jeremya1um said...

Those idiots who just scan through the base cards and look for inserts wouldn't tick me off so much if they would at least give the base cards they don't want a good home. I rarely have disposable income to spend on cards, and it ticks me off to see somebody throw any Tigers/Rays cards into a pile that they'll just put in a 500-count box that will never again see the light of day, when I would be happy to give them a good home. Money and greed has ruined this hobby.

AlbuqwirkE said...

I buy hobby boxes when I am working on sets simply because I enjoy opening the packs. For sure, it would be cheaper to buy a set already put together by someone else, but that isn't much fun.

I don't watch box breaks either. I get a good enough of an idea what cards look like from scans and photos of samples on my favorite blogs.

If someone busted a case, I would probably watch because I've never seen an entire case opened. I probably never will either, unless Night Owl and I purchase a case of 1975 Topps minis...

Drew said...

Guess what? You've been nominated for the 2009 Card Awards! Check it out!


dayf said...

I had a feeling that post would end up flying into the aether. It took me a few tries to submit it.

I am indeed a nusmitologist, many a time I have wished I took that $20 I blew on a crummy blaster and went out and got a beat up ol' Morgan Silver dollar instead. Once of these days Topps is going to infuriate me and I will show off my Indian Head Cent collection on the blog for a month solid.

Summarization of my vanished post: Wax is for suckers, but it can be fun.

GCA said...

The best reason to watch box breaks is to see what an average Joe can get in a box. You can't rely on the Beckett videos or company sample sheets, because they're contrived to yield better stuff.
But you're right, most of the producers of these breaks are Joe Collector mojo hunters that don't value base cards like set collectors. There should be a system in place to distribute unwanted base cards to set collectors instead of wasting them.

I buy hobby boxes for set collecting when I want to complete some or all of the inserts that come with the set. You generally get more of them in a hobby box vs. retail. If I just want the set and nothing else, I'll buy jumbo packs.

Lonestarr said...

When I bust the occasional box on Jtv, since there's no reason to rush, I do show every single card, even when I did a retail box of '08 Upper Deck and it's 400-ish cards, lol. I like to savor it when I bust a box, since I can only afford about one per month usually. I will be doing two boxes soon, Fantastic Four Archives tonight and 2009 A Piece of History whenever it gets here, if anyone is interested.

Joe S. said...

I kind of merge all these theories - I build sets that come in affordable hobby boxes that have a couple nice hits per box. I love relics and really like autos, so why not pull a few along the way while collating a set?? UD Heroes and Masterpieces are great, because they're cheap, have two to four hits each, and have easy-to-collate base sets!

The only "lottery" purchase I make regularly is Sweet Spot - I realize I can purchase almost every single card for way cheaper than the $20 pack price, but I've pulled a 1/1 case hit in a pack, which made it worth it!

skoormit said...

I ask myself this question all the time. The math doesn't add up. Someone has to break cases in order to sell singles on eBay. Those people have to be losing their shirts every time. Or at least 99% of the time, and the one time they don't is when they pull the best card from the set and make some profit.

To me, this is a big problem for the hobby. Forget hobby boxes; I'm never going to buy a hobby box since I really care more about the base cards than the hits. But I almost never buy retail boxes either. I look at blasters all the time. I'l stand there in the card aisle for ten, fifteen minutes looking over everything on offer, trying to find one that will make me pull the trigger. And it's not that I can't afford it. My wife and I make six figures between the two of us, we have a reasonable mortgage payment, our cars are paid for, our lifestyle is far from extravagant. I could drop $20 on a blaster a couple times a month and probably not notice much on the bank statement. But when I stand there in the card aisle and do the math, it comes up like this: "Hmm, 2008 Stadium Club blasters are half off. That's ten bucks for 40 cards. A quarter a card. How many of those will I want? I can get singles on Sportslots for eighteen cents each, plus eight cents for shipping if I get at least 25 cards. That's 26 cents each, but I'll only get the cards I want. And the tax on this blaster makes it 27 cents per card anyway."

If I won't buy a blaster of Stadium Club, a product I L.O.V.E., at half price, you can surmise that I do not often buy any blaster. But I'll admit I'm a little bit of an odd duck since I don't place much value on the thrill of pulling a "hit." Still, I will pick up hits of my DBacks off of eBay for a few bucks each. I never have to deal with pulling hits I don't want out of a box I paid a lot of money for.

I have a hard time seeing why people buy hobby boxes. Frankly, it feels like a little voice in my head is telling me that the hobby as currently constructed is too good to be true for me. At some point the madness has to end, the case busters stop taking a bath trying to flip their pulls, and I can no longer buy all the singles I want for less cost per card than opening a blaster, and all the hits I want for a few bucks each.

Dinged Corners said...

skoormit, really well said. it DOESN'T make sense, and so how long can it last? the whole 'box break' phenomena brings to mind, well, Wall Street.