Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2016 Topps Flops

My first and last look at 2016 Topps Series One. 

I've made a little noise about giving up on buying Topps flagship products for the foreseeable future, but you can't honestly judge something until it's right in front of your face. I'm not giving up on being a team collector, so I went in on the Cardinals from a jumbo group break hosted by Nachos Grande.

Here is the entire team set from Series One. At only 9 cards, this likely leaves a lot more players for Series Two, though the Cardinals probably won't be as highly represented in this year's products as they have in the past now that everyone is in love with the Cubs. Kolten Wong, Trevor Rosenthal, Randal Grichuk and whoever our first baseman is going to be this year are among the missing.

I'm going to try to contain my rant here and just hit some key points.

  1. I was already getting worn out on the flagship set long before this. I'm just tired of the thin white glossy cards that they churn out year after year. Buying the packs started feeling like more of an obligation than an intrigue.
  2. Specifically, I strongly dislike this year's design because they have done away with the backgrounds. Half of the fun of baseball cards is that they become some sort of historical record. There's stats on the back of how that player was doing and a photo on the front. It could be a night game, a day game, some awkward photo shoot or an early spring training moment. It was only three years ago that we got the amazing Jon Jay card from a key moment captured on film (and card) from late in the 2012 season. All of the players on these cards are lost in a fog. I realize that sets like Allen & Ginter remove the background completely from the equation, but expectations are different for that set.
  3. The success of Topps's digital trading card products seems to have bled into their decision making process for the physical flagship set. There's been a lot of chatter on Twitter about this where some folks with ties to Topps have defended the process and denied that there's any relation between the decision making process across both the physical and digital teams. It makes sense that they'd say that, but I suspect that Topps BUNT is making the company a lot more than they expected (with the crossover success of the Star Wars digital cards) and money usually drives decision making processes more than anything. It seems impossible that scalability to the digital product had no impact, since they effectively share the same design. Even if this is truly not the case and that BUNT had no impact on what design was chosen, I don't like the direction that Topps is heading in.

On to the rest of the cards. This is one of the rainbow foil parallels, although it's not evident by the scan as is usually the case. These are similar to last year's parallels.

I landed a short printed photo variation of Jhonny Peralta in a camo jersey. There are two more of these to track down, including a so-called SSP Yadi card.

Similar to reprint style inserts from the 2010 and 2011 sets, Topps is honoring the designer of the legendary 1952 Topps set Sy Berger with a reprint insert set. I'm not sure why Carlton's 1967 card was chosen over his rookie card. Maybe there are licensing issues with the "other guy" on the card, Fritz Ackley?

It's not the most expensive card in the world, but this is probably the closest I'll come to owning a Pujols 2001 Topps Traded card unless I happen upon a generous trader or find an absolute steal on one.

I have a few of these originals, though.

I don't even know what to say about this. Who would want these? No one wants these.

This was a neat idea for an insert set, but there's no reason for Stan's inclusion here since they clearly don't have a photo of him actually pitching. Instead, we get a photo we've seen used a million times before, which is an unfortunate problem with certain HOFers that's never going to go away.

Does this mean they're going to start having insert sets for other stadium anniversaries?

We've seen Topps do the combo insert thing nearly every year, but it doesn't work as well when the cards aren't landscape (horizontal) in my opinion.

I had already read quite a bit of backlash about these Perspectives inserts, and with good reason. Here, Topps takes some nice photos (hint, hint, your base set design SUCKS and needs more photos like this) and completely ruins them by throwing in this weird 3D rendered lettering that look like it's straight out of a Windows 95 screensaver.


These would have looked so much better with a player name in small writing, out of the way... in the bottom corner or something.

I landed a buyback in the form of a 1974 Rich Folkers. The stamps are color-coded this year according to rarity, and this is apparently a "rare" one. I don't think 1974 Rich Folkers cards are exceptionally rare, though. Just to be clear, the foil stamp itself is the true rarity.

The game-used cards look nice. I have no complaints here. I need to track down Michael Wacha and Yadier Molina's cards at some point.

My 2016 want list is up to date. I'm only missing some retail-only inserts, parallels and rare stuff. If you have anything like that, let me know. Also, if you need a Cardinals team set for some reason, I have several extras.


J. Meeks said...

I think you hit the nail in the head, at least in my eyes. The Rangers had seven cards in the set. That was disappointing. A lot of people seem to like the full-bleed look of the images, but. Miss the frame/border. I may be the only one. Also, not a fan of the filtered look and, like you, I hate the lack of a background. That's always been one of my favorite parts of the card.

madding said...

And it's not even full bleed when they fog out the corners of the card like that!

night owl said...

Last I checked I think the Dodgers have 43 cards in Series 1. ... OK, they have 20, which is still nuts.

The Junior Junkie said...

I really like the Perspectives cards. I'm weird.

kevincrumbs said...

I've stopped with Bunt because they got stingy with the free coins but have went full on into Kick (have actually bought coins) and as terrible as this sounds with a trading card blog, I understand why the digital cards are big because of the instant gratification and the fact that I don't have to worry about finding physical space to store all of my cards. Also, I am most likely a terrible person.

Interesting stuff about Bunt affecting the physical product, though, and yes, these cards look pretty terrible.