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Olbermann opens 1967 Topps pack ...


When I stopped by one of those online hobby forums today, the first thing I spotted was a thread talking about Keith Olbermann opening a pack of 1967 Topps on his Countdown show.

(I should note that this is a corrected version of my blog, which I posted early this morning after apparently misunderstanding much of the important stuff, like the fact that it happened last night.)

These postings are typically quite brief, so there wasn’t much information beyond the bare fact, though he did say that Olbermann shows off the folded poster insert of Hank Aaron and reveals the cards one at a time. According to the post, the pack was provided to Olbermann by Topps to be used as part of his consultant work promoting Topps baseball cards, which for the last several years has involved a fun plug on his show every spring.

This time the emphasis is apparently to trumpet the Million-Card Giveaway, which I also think is a swell idea, albeit one saddled with the unfortunate nuance that such a huge percentage of the million cards are commons that a recurrent theme of disappointment is unavoidable.

Still, the psychologists will tell you of the vast power of intermittent reinforcement, and that’s presumably a big element of the allure of opening older packs.

The guy who did the posting quite properly declined to reveal the contents of the pack, though another poster seemed to later on in the thread. That's more of the corrected part, since the posting suggested the piece hadn't aired yet, when in fact in aired Tuesday night. This I found out at lunch Wednesday when I was asked if I had seen it. Guy said there was a Ralph Houk and that was all he could remember.

Some of the lame baggage of online discussions quickly sprang up on the thread, with a number of readers voicing their dislike of Olbermann. Phooey.

Not merely because he is a friend and an SCD contributor, I would point out that, much like Alan Rosen, Olbermann has done a great deal to promote our hobby on a stage that far exceeds our traditional confines. That, in and of itself, would be reason enough to applaud his latest effort.

Our hobby needs every bit of national exposure that it can get, and I could have qualified that statement with a “positive,” which is precisely what these annual visits to the joy of opening baseball card packs are all about.

I get it that by the nature of his fierce political advocacy he is a lightning rod for similarly strident reactions from the opposite end of the political spectrum, but even in that there ought to be a limit.

I know vast numbers of people from my boomer generation and older who don’t have a thing to do with the Internet, in part because so much of what masquerades as discourse is nothing more than malicious gibberish.

Thus a poster who opines that he would like to see Olbermann and his collection incinerated has contributed nothing whatsoever, other than to reinforce the widespread view that reading much past the initial posting of information is often a waste of time.

Such drivel ought to be renounced by those eager to provide rational commentary, since all it does is make it less likely that the less virulent and even potentially useful stuff will be read.

For the record, I would have been willing to watch Strom Thurmond open a pack of 1959 Topps on Fox News at high noon on Martin Luther King’s birthday.

That may just mean I’m a card whore.