Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Snorting Bull Awards: Goat of the Year

2014 Goat of the Year 

Last year there was a clear winner, in the form of Alex Rodriguez for this award.  I spent a lot of time thinking about this award for 2014, but there was not a player who was a clear and dry no brain winner.  ARod's play has declined, there have been loads of steroid problems off the field, and the values of his cards have plummeted over the last two years.  ARod did not play this year and his cards did not drop anymore so I am going to let him off the hook.  

There were a few steroid rumblings during the past year with players like Ryan Braun and Johnny Peralta, but their card values did not really seem to be hurt by their suspensions and time away from the game.  Peralta played fine for the Cardinals, but Braun had an off year for the Brewers.  Braun had career lows in almost every category, but his cards are still selling and doing quite well.  Sure there are still a few bargains out there, but generally his cards seem to sell for roughly the same prices now as they did last year.  Steroid user for Goat of the Year?  No.  

I also considered a few players who had declining performance on the field.  Joey Votto and Evan Longoria both received careful looks.  Both franchise players had power outages during the 2014 season and set career lows in several categories.  Both players saw the values of their cards fall during the 2014 season, but the fall in card pricing was not drastic.  Both players remain very popular in the hobby and ares still highly collectable.

So, who is my Goat of the Year?  Be prepared for a little bit of outrage out of some people.  I am going with Bryce Harper.  I know, I know, but hear me out for a couple of minutes.

1.  Falling Prices

While there are still some very strong Harper autograph sales there are also some chinks in the armor of his hobby pricing.  Several years ago collectors could hardly scratch a Harper autograph for anything less than $100.  There are still many Harper autographs that still sell for big dollars, but those are either rookie cards or low print, high end products.  Want a base autograph of Harper out of a Topps set?  The price is now just about half of what it used to be a few years ago.  For patient collectors, who are willing to wait out the right autograph, Harper autographs are now starting to drift below $50.

Want to take a shot on a redemption card and you can find things for even less than this.  In person autographs are all the way down into the 20s, but there is more to Harper receiving this award than card prices that are declining.  So, what can possibly stop the decline of prices on Harper cards?  I am not sure there is much that can slow this trend down.

2.  Falling Performance

I understand that Bryce Harper is a really young player with plenty of potential.  I have watched plenty of Minor League baseball and I can see that he is more than capable of being a very special player.  I also understand that we are only three years into his career.  Again, plenty of time to grow as a player.  Especially for a player who is only 22.  However, Harper's career seemed to take a step back last year.  Sites like FanGraphs are optimistic that Harper can bounce back in 2015, but how long can a .275 average with 25 home runs is going to justify autographs that sell over $100?  That question is already starting to be answered.

3.  It's A Business, Take It Out on Your Fans

Harper is a young player and he has signed a ton of autographs in his career already.  As a long time collector I am always appreciative of the players who take time to sign for fans.  Whether they sign for fans at the park, outside the stadium, answer fan mail and takes a person literally seconds to sign their name and it can mean so much.  I recently ran into a Nationals fan, locally in Raleigh, who was really upset at Harper for skipping out on the Nationals Fan Fest this past month.  They had planned on attending the event for months and they were disappointed that Harper bailed on the event.  Why you ask?  Surely there was a great reason not to spend an afternoon talking and signing for your loyal fans.  Nope.  If you have not been following Harper this offseason, he's filed a grievance (and settled with a 2 year $7 million contract) over his arbitration rights.  There are several articles floating around the internet about Harper skipping the FanFest, and while an excuse was offered by the Harper/Boras camp, nobody is really buying.

If Harper wants to kick the A logo behind home plate in Atlanta that's fine, but kicking the fans that show up and support you?

There have been some bad missteps by Harper this year and his status in the hobby has certainly started to erode.  Personally, I own Harper cards and have a copy of his rookie Bowman autograph.  I would love nothing more than for Harper to come out and hit 30 home runs this year, but given what transpired this year I have my doubts.  In the meantime, the falling card prices, declining performance on the field, and mistreatment of fans off of it have earned Bryce Harper my Goat of the Year.

FYI- The goat of the year is named after this fine fellow.


  1. I plain hate the guy. He is everything wrong with sports today - an arrogant douche who thinks everyone owes him something. His sportsmanship is piss poor and his attitude to the people is horrible. Personally, I hope he does get worse and worse. I feel bad for those that use him as an investment, but when I pulled an SSP of his from Archives a few years back, I sold it as fast as I could. His pissy attitude was all I needed to make sure he wasn't part of my collection. And with each passing day, I don't regret it.

    1. I am not sure why more do not see it. I actually thought it might improve when Davey Johnson left the Nats. He has always had some personality guys on his teams which have taken things a bit too far, but it actually seems to be getting worse. I wish him well, but the longer and longer I see him play the more and more I think he's going to flop.

  2. Harper is so flippin' talented. I hope he reads posts like this one and realizes he has some maturing to do. Happy New Year!

    1. That would be nice Fuji, but I think Harper is going to have to lose out on a paycheck or something before the dots start to connect for him.

  3. Harper is so flippin' talented. I hope he reads posts like this one and realizes he has some maturing to do. Happy New Year!