So as promised in my last post/tease, I cracked open some brandy dandy new 2014 Topps in the form of two blasters and two Target jumbo peg hanger packs. These are the fruits of those delightful labors.
These nine will be immortalized as the 2014 Topps page (until I decide to change it). Topps has stepped up its photo game since the disasters of 2008/2009. They are crisp and clean and there is a great variety of shots. This is by the far the strongest element of the flagship set this time around. The design is a step down from last year's minimalist piece of perfection. I can describe it as sort of like the 2005 Topps and 1984 Donruss designs had a May/December love child. I find the team logo and the team name on the right side redundant - one or the other would have been enough - but the nice little wave with the name and position is pretty cool. In fact, that little wave reminds me of this gem and if Night Owl needs a suggestion for a name, Catch the Wave seems pretty appropriate.
Here are the Mets I pulled. Topps really liked those new blue jerseys, huh?
I am sure Matt Harvey will look back on the face he is making on this card with great fondness. There were probably 10,000,000 photos of Matt Harvey taken last year and that is the one they went with? On the other hand, there is some nice action on the Turner and Lagares cards. I'll need to add the other Mets to my want list.
Some other base cards of note that are staying in the collection:
Of course the all star rookies must stay. The Wil Myers photo is nicely cropped with his trophy. I only wish he could afford the extra L and E for his name. The World Series cards make me quite happy this time around since my baseball mistress won it all last year. Napoli's beard deserves its own card. I really liked the two photos on the Chapman and the Cespedes, it is just coincidence they are both Cuban. Those 1969 A's throwback uniforms are magnificent.
My blasters promised manu-patch cards and this is what I got:
Too bad Prince got traded from the Tigers because that patch is amazing. A Detroit fan could not be taken to task if they decided to just cut that card into a square to highlight that patch. Pity the Miggy patch has the classic D and not this. That Bryce Harper is nice, though it is destined for eBay unless someone has to have it.
Also here is the coupon book from the blaster. These are very useful coupons for the Target card aisle shopper:
$5 off a 2014 Heritage value box
$1 off three packs of Opening Day
$1 off two packs of Gypsy Queen
$1 off two packs of MLB Chipz (the only one I probably won't use)
$1 off an Archives jumbo pack
$5 off a Topps series 2 value box.
The coupons are dated to coincided to a 2 month window when the products are released. I like the inclusion of this, my being a cheap bastar...I mean a frugal sort, I never look down upon using a coupon.
Inserts? Oh yeah, we got your inserts. This year's theme is The Future is Now:
These are sort of painted/graphic art photos with of all things lens flares involved. JJ Abrams approves these cards.
I am not sure why Topps feels the need to have theme, but here are some more inserts following the "theme":
The top six cards are called Upper Class and they are nice enough, I guess. They cover the rookie class of each year and highlight the best of the bunch. Yankees fans can wallow in seeing Cano in the pinstripes one last time. The bottom three cards are from a set called 50 Years of the Draft and in a stroke of luck I got not one but two Derek Jeter cards. Joy.
I am greatly disappointed that the All Star Rookie Cup inserts are hobby only. I will have to pick these up on ebay I suppose. Must. Have. Trophy. Cards. (If you have these to trade, you know what to do...)
Since Topps has decided to constantly shove minis down our throats, this is what we got this time around:
These aren't just minis, they are die cut minis based on the 1989 design which I guess kind of reflects this year's base design. I am personally minied out and all these do is remind me of these. Underwhelming, to say the least.
Lastly, Topps pulled out the old 1983 Super Veteran idea and made it as bland and boring as they possibly could:
Also there you see the 14th year of the numbered gold parallel which would be fine if they didn't make any other parallels...and oh boy, are there parallels.
In the jumbo peg boxes were yellow parallels:
The one thing I can say about these is I am glad that they have taken the celebration photos out of the super short print realm and made them base cards. And no, I didn't get any super duper short prints in these boxes, not that I care much.
Topps also has these Power Player parallels, which are plain parallels with no foil:
They have codes on the back and I have no clue if this is a game or a contest or whatever Topps has been doing the last few years. If anyone wants these codes, I happily will let you have them if you have the other Mets cards or something.
These are the shiny red hot foil parallels:
I think I preferred last year's shiny green ones.
These being Target boxes, there were also red Target exclusive cards.
They also do blue for Walmart and purple for Toys R Us. Since I don't shop in Walmart at all and have no need to ever go into TrU, I only ever see get these in packs. I like the bold red border, it doesn't really clash with too many teams - though the Royals and Brewers come close - and for teams like the Phillies, Nationals, and Red Sox, they look great. And for the A's, they of course become accidentally Christmas themed.
My only issue with all these parallels? Well, look:
In two blasters and two jumbo packs, I got 40 of them. Forty! Three each in the jumbos and two in each pack of the blasters and that is way way waaaaaay too many. Unless this is unusual and I just have a shit load of them. Not shown are the camo, black, pink, clear(!), platinum, and the printing plates. You can make a rainbow page with just the flagship set now. I would rather have more base cards.
Speaking of base cards, lets get back to them:
Like I said, there is some great photography going on in this set. I also like that the design works well both horizontally and vertically; this is not always the case. The backs are decent and include for the first time WAR, which is appreciated (though they do not say which version they are going with). It is also pretty nifty that they tied in the wave element from the front to the back. They also have a little blurb from everyone's rookie year since, hey, everyone was a rookie once.
So. More themes. More parallels. More minis. Topps seems stuck in a rut. The look on Mike Trout's face kind of covers my overall feelings about all this - "meh" with a touch of dread and disgust. There has to be a reason for all this stagnation and a lack of innovation and in fact, it is right there on the wrapper if you look closely...
Yup, there's you're problem.