Thursday, March 31, 2011

Toppstown 2011

Those of you who've been regular readers of the site for a bit, or who've gotten to know me a little, probably won't be too surprised by this piece. Sometime this week, I believe it was Monday or Tuesday, Topps went live with code entry at Toppstown. As you may remember, I ended up spending a week or so back in January frantically trading up and building a complete set of 230 cards (along with a huge pile of doubles) from just 8 code cards (64 "virtual" cards in all) right around the code deadline. I may well have been the only person above the age of 18 who was really looking forward to the '11 offering, and for the 2 months that code cards were available but non-functional, I was mildly annoyed. Well, once I got wind of things on Tuesday night, I got to work, using the codes from my mostly complete set of Toppstown cards (minus the code from my Roy Halladay card, which someone apparently used before I got it; no worries!). 2 days later, and without any need to create a wanted poster for the Martin Prado card this time, I've got a complete '11 Toppstown "virtual" set!

As I did with the '10s, I'm going to make a gallery of the completed "pages", and as I did with the '10s, I'll issue the following disclaimer with it, which, in a perfect world, wouldn't be necessary, but since we don't live in one of those, it is: 

Since this is actually an entire set's worth of data on a recent product, the following disclaimer is in order: these screenshots are presented for informational purposes only, by a fan who had a lot of fun playing around with Toppstown recently and is proud of nailing a silly achievement like this, even if I used more code cards this time, so I wanted to show off a little! Do not reproduce these for commercial purposes (which isn't my intention, either), don't spoil the look of the cards for your kids, and don't make me regret not using a watermark on the screenshots in question! If anyone at Topps would like me to take these down or at least use fewer of them, email me and we'll work it out, no need to send nastygrams anywhere or such. Thanks for your cooperation, and enjoy!

(For best results, click the images in question and look at the ginormous screenshots of each 2 page spread.)


Pages 1-2: Ichiro (no last name, like Lindsay!) to Domonic Brown. Note that Topps used the cool throwback Padres uni for Heath Bell. They really love that this year.


Pages 3-4: Jay Bruce to Nelson Cruz. The Aroldis Chapman card looks totally menacing.


Pages 5-6: Miguel Cuddyer to Adrian Gonzalez (in Red Sox uniform). I haven't spent enough time examining the pictures to see whether they stalled this year's release a bit to get players in their updated uniforms wherever possible.


Pages 7-8: Carlos Gonzalez to Ryan Howard. Hey, Topps! Where's Bryce Harper?


Pages 9-10: Tommy Hanson to Clayton Kershaw. The Jeter card may be one of the toughest "pulls" in the set. Glad I lucked into one, because I didn't notice anyone trading it.


Pages 11-12: Ian Kinsler to Victor Martinez. Finally, you-know-who shows up in pocket #6 on page 12! I pulled this one, and traded for a double that I haven't used yet (give me a yell if you need it). I don't know if Topps issued an update at any point last year, but there are far fewer "legends" in the '11 set than the '10 one, at least for now. The Liriano card was the last card I traded for, using a 5-for-1, get-this-over-with special to do it.


Pages 13-14: Hideki Matsui to Angel Pagan. Even from this thumbnail, I can see that the Matsui card probably falls in the "hella Photoshopped" category.


Pages 15-16: Jonathan Papelbon to Colby Rasmus. Haha, Prado! Not only did I beat you in Toppstown this year, but I also have you on both of my fantasy teams! (This could be a bad omen for you, my fellow Prado owners.) Also, it should surprise absolutely no one, but if you don't pull it, expect to have to give up a lot to get the Posey card.


Pages 17-18: Jose Reyes to Luke Scott. The set's other "legend" appears on page 18. It shouldn't be too hard to pick him out.


Pages 19-20: Grady Sizemore to Koji Uehara. BEHOLD! ON PAGE 19! THE STRASBURGULAR! That Stanton kid who's, you know, actually playing right now is on there, too. One thing I do like about the "fewer legends" deal is that there's plenty of emphasis on teams that don't play in New York, Boston or L.A.; for instance, Pittsburgh has 4 representatives (Jones, McCutchen, Tabata and Walker) in a set that's mostly supposed to be "stars". I'm sure some kids will curse up a storm about this, but I appreciate the parity, and the few remaining Pirates fans in the world probably will too.


Pages 21-22: Dan Uggla to Jason Werth. Hey, there's Danny Valencia and Brett Wallace! While there wasn't a Harper card, the folks at Topps were pretty OK about including the youngsters in this set.


Pages 23-24 (partial): Josh Willingham to Ben Zobrist. "This is the story of a lonely little Zobrist..." Hey, where's Brian Wilson's beard? They had it in base Topps, but nothing in Heritage or the online Toppstown cards now! Weird.

And that's a wrap. I haven't played Attax online yet, so I'm not sure if anything's changed there, but given that the Toppstown infrastructure looked unchanged otherwise, it's probably the same. That's fine. I can live with familiarity in the age of Facebook changing layouts every three minutes. I made my improvement suggestions in the post about '10 Toppstown, and if they get to them, they get to them.

This year's set, though a little smaller than last year's (which makes me wonder if they're going to do an update or put Attax-exclusive cards in those packs/starter decks), was fun to build, and came together quickly. If any of you are working on building the set, or wanna play Attax some night, I am still...

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