Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blog Bat Around: Fixing Topps Baseball

Over at Stale Gum, a question was posed for the Blog Bat Around:

Michael Eisner has just fired the entire Topps Product Development staff and chose to hire you to take their place. Mr. Eisner has given you carte blanche to do whatever you want with Topps Baseball -- as long as you keep it under $2/pack.
If you were in charge of Topps, and based upon what you've seen of 2011 Topps Baseball Series One, what (if anything) would you have done differently?

First, a disclaimer: I have all of eight blog entries to my name, so I may not even be qualified to participate or share my opinion. But as someone who has been away from the hobby for quite a while, maybe I'll bring a different perspective.

Immediately I'll say that overall, I liked 2011 Topps Series One. I bought a blaster, and I thought the card design was nice. I was thrilled that there was no fascimile signatures on the front of the cards. As someone who collect TTM autographs on Topps cards, I hate seeing two signatures on one card...the fake one and the real one. It gets messy.

With that, here is what I would do differently:

  • My biggest complaint is the gloss. A lot of fans use these for TTM or in-person autographs and are tired of rubbing the cards down. I want cardboard, not flimsy, slippery cardstock.
  • There are a lot of inserts. A lot. To the point where getting an insert isn't special anymore. As someone who collected in the mid-90s, getting an insert was a big deal to me. Getting several in one pack...unheard of (unless you got one of those Fleer Hot Packs). Cut back on those, please.
  • Increase the size of the base set. A lot of people have said 792, and I'd be fine with that.
  • Order the card numbers by team, or group teams together. Why is Jason Kubel #4? Why is Zack Duke #96? It's so random. I've always appreciated sets grouped by teams.
  • As a Yankee fan, even I'll say: enough with Mantle. It was cool in the late '90s. It's 2011. We've seen every Mantle photo ten times over.
  • Bring back the mulitple rookies/prospects on a card, or a special designs just for rookies (think Jeter in 1993). Those are a big piece of your history. Let Bowman have the stand alone rookies.
  • Where are the manager cards? Always enjoyed those.
  • Experiment with technology a little. The inserts aren't very distinctive. Die cuts, clear cuts, laser cuts. Or something new that we haven't seen. Give it a shot.
  • Finally, I know 99% of collectors don't do anything with them, but keep the Topps Town codes. It's easy for the hobby to forget kids. A collector I know asked a group of us for any spare codes that weren't going to be used because he and his daughter collect these and play the games together online. How amazing is that? Something a parent can enjoy with his kids and get them interested in collecting. You'll have a whole new group of fans to please...and fans that are going to keep Topps alive for years to come.
Overall, these are small changes. I'm by and large a big Topps fan, and I like Series One. But as with anything, it could be a little better.

1 comment:

  1. I agree on ditching the gloss - I wasted about an hour last week prepping cards I wanted to mail out to spring training camps.