Tuesday, February 9, 2016

2016 Topps - one week later

On Saturday, I carved out a little bit of time to head to Target and finally snag some 2016 Topps Series One.

I was happy to see the cardboard aisle fully stocked when I got there. While still disorganized, I was able to find a ton of blasters, hanger boxes, jumbo packs, and individual packs.

As I was contemplating what to get, my wife called me and said that my daughter was throwing up everywhere and to hurry up and get home. Also, get more paper towels. I had intended on really weighing my options and making a calculated purchase. Instead, I was rushed into my purchase by a barfing toddler. Parenting!

I’ll also note that I had a $20 giftcard, which would cover my blaster. I then opted to get an additional 72-card hanger and a 36-card jumbo pack. It’s kind of silly to spend $20 on a blaster and get 101 cards, and for the same amount of money I could have gotten 144 cards had I bought two hanger boxes. However, in the past I’ve noticed bad collation with the hangers, and I didn’t want to risk too many duplicates. Plus, the big 72 card brick just isn’t very fun to open. I find it stressful. Topps chucks the inserts in the middle, and it’s just hard to take in all the base cards at once with such a thick stack. So in the spirit of wanting to open packs, a blaster it is.

I opened the 36-card jumbo pack first, then the hanger, then the blaster.

First card of the year? Blah.
I will use this chance to say that I really like the base design. They are different, and who knows if they’ll stick out like a sore thumb in the grand scheme of Topps designs, but I like the change. I have zero issues with these looking like TV graphics. TV graphic packages are often far more technologically advanced than print or digital graphics, so why not? Plus, TV plays a massive part of the game. Huge rights deals from Fox, ESPN, and local RSN’s are the reasons payroll and player salaries are soaring (not to mention owners' pockets). TV is good for the game. My cards can reflect that. Plus, it's just for a year. I'll be curious to see if Topps keeps expanding going in this direction, or if we'll see a more traditional design next year. Regardless, it's one year and not everyone is going to like it. That's life.

I don’t mind the cut-off team logo either. I know what the logo looks like. It’s on the back too. The smoke is a bit excessive, and the Instagram-like filters on some of the players make them feel a bit too cartoony. As for full-bleed photography and name presentation, I think it’s solid though. I like that the player name lacks foil as well.
I got several Yanks, which I was pleased with. I have a team set on the way, but nice to have a few dupes for TTM purposes. I am not a set collector so it won’t bother me beyond an observation, but those light gray card numbers on the back are bad. I’m curious if that was something that was missed during the design approval process, or simply not considered. Who knows? 
As for Topps Gold, I like them more than I thought I would. The player name is a little hard to read, but I actually like the design quite a bit. With that being said, I don’t understand the rainbow foil parallels. I know there is usually an additional parallel beyond the Gold, but these are just a bit boring to me. Also, those two Jayson Werth cards were literally back-to-back in a pack. That hurt.

Now for the inserts. Growing up, I loved inserts. It felt so special to get one, even when they came one per pack. Now, I don’t really care. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older or the insert craze has worn off, but I just find myself flipping past the insert with quite a bit of indifference. I remember buying Fleer Ultra basketball cards growing up, and when I’d pull a Jordan insert I’d be on cloud nine. Now I can pull a Trout insert and just not care. That's sad.

As for the individual sets:

Back to Back are fine. Good concept. The designs are ok. Very Pixels-esque. I saw one card where the guys didn't actually go back to back. Come on.
I really like the concept of Pressed Into Service. I would have liked to see the pitching line on the back, although usually it’s not pretty, but that's the fun. I guess making the players not look foolish is a priority for Topps, and I don’t blame them. I'm sure the Player's Association wouldn't appreciate that. On another note, it also just sort of seems like an Opening Day insert set, right?
MLD Debut. Ho hum. Looks very much like the First HR inserts from last year. There are obviously different colors based on the product you buy. I also noticed the foil printing is all over the place. You can see Babe's name is toward the bottom of the banner, while Cano's is floating toward the top.
Berger’s Best. Dumb. Tired of reprints and having to check the back of the card to see from which year.
Amazing Milestones. Amazingly boring. There's basically an iteration of this set every year, right? Babe hit 714 HRs. Got it.
Walk-off whatever it is…I don’t understand the design. It looks like a 2014 Update Power Players design a little bit.
First Pitch. No issues with this set. I like commemorating last season's first pitches and whatnot. I was surprised how much the gold foul logo stuck out. What a sweet old lady. I hope she reached the plate.
Wrigley set - cool. Not for me, but no issues. They look nice.
That brings me to Perspectives. Honestly, I was expecting more. Womp womp womp, I know. It feels like poor man’s Stadium Club with cheap graphics. I thought the player name and “Perspectives” word mark would be more intricately designed, but up close, I’m not impressed. I feel like it could have been done much better with a bit more time and effort.
Sticking with the TV-graphics theme, this really isn’t a new concept. Deadliest Catch promos have been doing this sort of effect for years. I can't say I've ever watched the show, I just remember the effects in the promos. I notice these sorts of things as a marketer.
To be fair, I do like the concept and appreciate Topps really issuing a different insert set that breaks the mold from their normal look and feel. I really do. I just felt like these were built up so much that perhaps I had an unreasonable expectation when I saw them in person. I applaud the concept though, and I'm glad that so many collectors have enjoyed it. Hopefully Topps notices and continues to take chances on new, exciting insert sets.

Lastly, the guaranteed manu-relic in my blaster was Bernie Williams! I was pretty pumped. Looking at the checklist, it’s probably the one I would have wanted most, so I felt good about pulling it. I've seen a ton of people pulling the Cespedes, so I was expecting that. I would be annoyed if it was my hit in a box, but when it’s the expected manu-hit in a blaster, I am fine with it and thrilled I got a Yankee.
So that's my story and I'm sticking to it. In short, I like the base and gold, appreciate the effort on Perspectives, and think the rest of the inserts are a bit lackluster. But I'll gladly be collecting the Yanks base and desperately trying to get one signed for my Topps Yankees Project.


  1. You may have all my 2016 Topps cards then. I was wincing as you described them. Just so bad.

    1. No thanks. Not a set collector, even if I like the design.

  2. Glad you pulled the Bernie. I haven't even opened a pack yet. The checklist was not too kind to the Pirates. I did make one purchase on eBay that I hope to showoff this week.