Saturday, February 19, 2011
The 2011 Topps Series 1 cards are here and I have a few opinions and observations. (Don't I always?)
The Base Set: Absolutely beautiful! I thought 2010 was the best looking Topps set of the last 20 or so years and they have blown those away this year. I love the the Old English D over the baseball. I love that the elements of the design are very minimal, yet effective and easy to read. My only knock with these cards (hey, you know it as well as I do....) is the continued use of foil stamping on base cards. It adds nothing to the card. I think the cards would look even better if they replaced the foil with the contrasting team colors. I'll look forward to seeing what they do with the Opening Day series, which in my opinion ALWAYS looks better than the regular series base cards because of the lack of foil stamping. But again, major kudos for an otherwise outstanding design this year.
The Variations: Who doesn't love these? For years I have wondered why Topps doesn't just do these as a part of the regular set. To me, these are about the only cards worth chasing the last three years. Hmmm....maybe I just answered my own question. (I am a little more excited this year, as the Hank Greenberg card pictured is the first Tiger variation that I've added to my collection. I'm on the lookout for the Ty Cobb variation. I have 2010 variations of Walter Johnson and Steve Carlton, and a 2009 variation of Duke Snider if anybody is interested in a trade....) I also like that the baseball on the front of the card has a sepia/yellowed tint compared to the white baseball on the base cards. Subtle, and very nice.
The Parallels: The gold cards are gold cards. The diamond cards are nice and sparkly. That's about the best I can do. As a one year thing, the diamond cards are slightly interesting, but if they never return to future Topps sets I won't be heartbroken. They kinda remind me of the 1994 Topps parallels with the funky varnish pattern over the player photos. I'm not too sure about that Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull thing replacing the OED though.
The Inserts, Part I: I'm going to divide this up into two groups. Part 1 is going to be about the reprint cards. If I were to subtitle this even further, it would read something like: Enough With The Fucking Reprints Already. Let me preface this by saying that I have held true to the vow I made last year to not purchase any more packs of baseball cards. 2011 Series 1 has come and gone and I've managed to find all the base cards and almost all of the inserts at the local card show circuit. I found the two Tigers pictured for 25¢ each. No big deal.
I can muster a little love for the reprints that date back before 1980. I suspect that's why Topps continues to do this. But if I was still buying packs and trying to build sets (and I was not a Tigers fan) it would piss me off to no end to pull an insert card that's a reprint of a card that was issued just five years ago!!! Crap like this is exactly why I have given up trying to build sets (Ok, along with a lot of the other insert offerings.....and the fact that you have to buy $100 worth of packs to finish one series when you can spend $50 for a factory set in August.....but I digress......).
Giving credit where credit is due, I dig the "pre-Topps" older cards that have the designation with which I have no clue what it stands for (CMGR = Cards My Grandpa Rolled smokes with?). I'm not a huge fan though, mostly due to the abundance of Tobacco era related cards in the last few years anyways like T206, Turkey Red, Chicle, etc......but I can dig pulling cards of HOFers AS OPPOSED TO REPRINTS OF PLAYERS FROM SETS THAT ARE ONLY FIVE YEARS OLD!!!!! It may be time for me to grab another beer, and to move on from reprint cards......
The Inserts, Part II: There is nothing noteworthy here. Just a lot more bloated, uninteresting sets. Diamond Duos = Legendary Lineage. Nothing more, nothing less. At least Legendary Lineage sounded cool. As for Topps 60, I don't even really get the point? The random statistical categories assigned to these make these humorous at best. Miguel Cabrera: 2008 American League Home Runs? I would be much more interested if it read Miguel Cabrera: My Top Ten Favorite Brands of Scotch. Who knows, maybe that's in the works for Series 2.....
IN CONCLUSION.....I have nothing but high praise for the base cards. It's a magnificent looking set (even if the Tiger selections for Series 1 are pretty sketchy.....I know that by that end of the year there will be cards for everybody....). But Topps has missed the mark on all of the insert sets. Again.
PS: 2011 RobbyT Cards are in the hopper. I'm just waiting on some spring photos to start rolling in. I saw a really great looking mugshot this week to use as my first one.....