Thursday, January 30, 2014

2014 Topps First Day (that's lasted 3 days) Wrap-Up

Well, it's out.

And it even has a Kolten Wong.

I actually debated whether or not I was going to buy packs of '14, because the set design's pretty uninspiring and because I think I'm buying a factory set in July, but I had a fairly rough couple of days and was driving home past Target on Monday night, so I grabbed a few packs and a rack pack. That actually may be all I get from Series One, in terms of packs. They're not terrible, but they're not great either, and I just think my money's better spent by not opening packs and not chasing insert sets (especially this year's, which are really lacking). That said, here's some of how I did...

Don't they use this picture of Altuve on every card of him? Oh, no, wait, they Photoshopped Trout into it because they think that's the only way people will care. Poor Astros fans. Not because of their team, but because of the way Topps treats them.

Finally! Glad I pulled one, even if I am getting a set. This is one of my favorites from the set so far, and it tells a story: the reason Billy Hamilton wasn't in '13 Update is because he was running too fast to be photographed before the print date! See?

The card Mo's fans were simultaneously waiting for and dreading. Glad I pulled this, too. There's also a really nice retirement card of Todd Helton in the set (which I don't have yet), whose farewell tour really got overshadowed by Mo's and, well, you know...

Worst. Throwback. Uniforms. Ever.

One last card of McCann on teh Barves for dayf to cry in his beer over. Topps just couldn't help themselves here, going for a play at the plate before they're OUTLAWED, and of course having Captain Old School do it. They kinda should've gone horizontal with the card, though. Like a few of the vertical cards with action (Wong, Altuve), it's pretty cramped.


I'm glad I got to see this kid pitch in person before he got Strasburged. He wasn't GREAT (of course, Wainwright has a way of making good pitchers not look quite as good), but he was pretty good. Here's hopin' he bounces back OK in '15!


Wait, there was a non-base card in there. You mean you wanna see those?


No, seriously. Someone at 1 Whitehall Street got paid to come up with "BOOGYA!". I mean, it's not uncommon for people in that part of lower Manhattan to be paid to come up with complete nonsense that's offensive to the sensibilities of, well, everyone, but...


Anyway, moving on to the next affront...

Elapsed time from re-introduction of Topps minis to Topps totally screwing them up: 2 years. Seriously, these things are terrible. What're you smilin' about, Trouty? (Yes, this card is available for trade. Please, get it out of here.)

Waiter! I need a Darryl Strawberry card to cleanse the palate from that last card! Darryl aside, the inserts in this set are really boring.

Seriously, '99 Topps called, it wants its insert sets back. (This card is also available for trade. Ugh.)





Actually, I can't decide how I feel about GREEN SAMARDZIJA. I either love the border color or I hate it. It's hard to love alternate border colors when 1. there are so many of them and 2. you and I will never, ever complete a set of them. (As for the other 3 border colors, Gose is mine, Belt 30/99 is up for grabs and Ryu is already promised to Night Owl.)

So, that was my PUIGLESS MONDAY, or Retail Day One, which I still think is some unfair bullshit to be pulling on the hobby stores, but like I said, I'd had a rough day on Monday so even with a trade package in the mail from Kyle D. of Nolan's Dugout that I'll get into in one of my next few posts (spoiler: his cards were better than these cards), I still needed a pick-me-up and didn't want to be all "ANTI-CAPITALISTA!".

Today (well, technically yesterday now because I've been scanning cards for an hour), I hit my local to catch up with Bob and see how Series One was workin' out for them. I did see a regular hit a Ricky Nolasco auto and a relic of someone, forget who, on consecutive jumbo packs, so there was that, and I picked up a few more cards, too (actually, a bunch more if you count all the non-'14 Topps cards, but I'm too tired to start scanning Islanders and it'll dork up the theme of this here post).

What's wrong with you, Topps? Don Mattingly was always great! Well, at least until he hurt his back, then it was kinda like The Passion Of The Donnie. He was great in this picture, though! I mean, look at that mustache!

Still don't like the design or the foil, but hey, Henry Aaron!

One of my other favorites from Series One. Look at that uniform!


Actually, I paid $.30 plus tax for this card. As I said on Twitter earlier, "What a difference a year makes".

So, that's Series One. Like I said, unless someone decides to dump mass quantities of the base set on me (which I'm not looking for), I'm probably just gonna grab a factory set in July to be done with it (and after that, I'll trade off the base cards I have), and spend my money and trade bait on other cards (Heritage, Donruss if I'm feeling weird, eventually Archives/Ginter/Finest/etc.) or other stuff that isn't cards (You guys, BARRY GIBB IS TOURING!). The base set design's ho-hum. There are a few nice cards within the base set but it's a real step down from '13, even. The inserts are pretty crap looking. And, of course, I'm just not in it for the mojo (and honestly, that's kind of the deal with the inserts; Topps seems to have pulled a Panini and designed all the inserts for auto/relic purposes). It leaves me even colder than expected, and I wasn't expecting much. Your mileage may vary, but that's where I'm at on this.


  1. No more plays at the plate?

    ***Hangs head***

  2. Best review of 2014 Topps yet. And that "booya" discovery makes me dislike the set more than I already do.

  3. Seriously, Owl, I know that we all bag on Topps, maybe a bit unfairly at times because we're a bunch of cranky old people, but this set just isn't very good. It's not outright terrible, but it's really not very good either, and the inserts are really, really half-assed, which is odd considering how they seem to be trying to replace base cards with inserts. Whoever's responsible for trying to equate Boog Powell with Manny Machado (Manny passed Boog as youngest Oriole to hit 2 HR in a game) by inventing such an awful term has to know that they're never going to hear the end of it now, too. Calling it now: "BOOGYA!" will be to trading cards what "turkey time" was to film.

  4. I will take any that you have for trade. Please send me an email at

  5. I would be interested in the Belt, Mattingly and Aaron. I don't love or hate the design this year but the set collector in me will once more go after the base set and insert sets out of habit.

  6. As with last year, there isn't much of an appeal to the flagship set for me. But since '89 was where I started, I do want to build the minis set...

  7. Sigh.

    All I can muster up. Solid review.

    I'm tired of putting so many older players and legends in the insert sets. It's fine once in a while, but every single year there are multiple different insert sets featuring the old timers. It's overdone and it's in EVERY SET. I know baseball is all about history, and that's great, but it's really not special anymore to pull cards of Mattingly, or Babe Ruth for that matter. I know the '90s were insane with the numbers of brand and sets, but look at something like Fleer Ultra..."Hit Kings, Season Crowns, Power Shots, First Year Phenoms" etc...they always had a nice base set, with a parallel (Gold Medallion), and solid, 10-12 card insert sets that didn't feature Ruth, Mantle, Jackie, Yogi, Hank over and over and over. And I liked it.

    Also, Topps has overdone the throwback to their previous designs thing. Between Heritage, Archives (which isn't Archives at all), CYMTO, and the Minis over the last few years, I feel like every design has pretty much been re-released now.

  8. Ugh. That Trout has got to be one of the worst cards ever. They butchered the 1989 design, and puked all over the colors (but I'll take it if you really want to get rid of it!).

  9. Caitlin: right now, the only card that I have that isn't spoken for is the Matt Holliday insert, but I'll be releasing more into the wild once factory sets are out in July.

  10. Arpsmith: the Belt is yours if you're interested, Mattingly and Aaron are mine, though.

  11. Tom: I'll throw Ugly Trout aside for you.

  12. Yeah, you know... When you bust that first pack of the new year and the most you can muster is resigned indifference, something is terribly, terribly wrong. Topps has really screwed the pooch on this one. I haven't seen enthusiasm for the cards anywhere on line. Lord knows, I don't have any. They will still sell enough this year...force of habit for many. But they better go back to the drawing board and really knock 'em dead in 2015. Otherwise the flagship is dead. Among my recommendations--no more foil stamping, a design that isn't so Game Boy/X-Box gen, more color in the base design, fewer color parallels, fewer parallels period, creative player assortment (they'd do well to ask some team fans who THEY'D like to see on cardboard). Here's a subset/insert idea, Topps: Players who never had cards. Go back and pick one or two players per franchise that never got preserved on cardboard. Instead of Seaver and Gooden, Mets fans get Brock Pemberton and Dan Boitano. And who wouldn't want a legitimate, fully licensed card of Seattle Pilot Billy Williams? I know its counter-intuitive, Topps, but I bet you'd have a hit on your hands.

  13. Here's the thing, as we've seen over and over again: Topps doesn't really care what we think. They're still selling cases to breakers (though they lose some of those from time to time), boxes to compulsive gamblers, packs/factory sets to the casual buyers and from what I've seen, the kids buy stickers, not cards so much. The folks who read my site and others like it, we're not money to them. We barter. We bargain hunt. We're not *as* fooled by "manufactured collectible" bullshit as some folks are, because we've all lived through a few hobby crashes, possibly 2 of them simultaneously (the strike for cards and Death Of Superman for comics). They flog the hell out of tradition, but in their minds, if it's not profitable, it's more or less meaningless.

    As for the "players who never had cards" thing, I'd love to see a Tony Horton card, especially in the '71 design, but as long as he's alive, it probably isn't happening. Some others may be more receptive, though. There are quite a few Dicks who didn't have Topps cards, by the way!

    1. That may be true, as far as it goes. But what are collectors like you, me, Night Owl and others doing? We're refocusing our efforts on vintage, rather than building the flagship (which we used to do). While that may be "flattering", that's money Topps isn't getting that they would be if their product served us anymore. And we're pretty easy. It wouldn't take that much to win us back. The other groups will stick. So the question is...will Topps make the minimal effort required to keep set collectors in the fold or will they just let that money walk out the door, quite possibly to Panini or another competitor?

    2. By continuing to cater to the tiny group of lottery players, they are not gathering new collectors. Eventually, that group of money-tossing case busters will get old with nobody to replace them. I understand the need for hits and gimmicks to meet their needs, but the 1990s inserts had thought put into them. There's almost nothing in Topps for us, and it's not hard for them to change what's there to meet our needs.


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