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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Questions I have for Topps

I got curious this morning and found a 2010 Topps release calendar. Actually, it's more of a general release calendar but it told me what I needed to know. Here is what Topps has already released or has scheduled so far this year:

Topps Series 1
Topps Attax
Topps Heritage
Topps Opening Day
Topps Pro Debut
Topps Finest
Topps National Chicle
Bowman (5/12)
Topps Series 2 (5/27)
Allen & Ginter (6/25)
Topps Tribute (7/22)
Topps T206 (9/1)

Seeing everything Topps has lined up in one place brought these questions to my mind:

Why does one third of the scheduled releases so far this year consist of retro sets?

Why were the two releases specifically aimed at children both released before the first game was even played?

Why is the only release geared toward high-end collectors (that would be Tribute, Finest is not even remotely high-end) being released after the All-Star Game?

Why is Topps Pro Debut a Hobby-only product?

Why does Bowman even exist in its current form when you have Topps Pro Debut??

Why is there a product for Opening Day, but nothing special for the All-Star Game or the Playoffs?

Why can't we have Legends sets anymore?

Why can't I find a decent release calendar on your own website?

And the main question I really need to ask:

Why am I so bored with 2010 baseball cards???

Sure, there will be another half-dozen sets released like Topps Updates and Highlights Series 3, Bowman Draft, Heritage High, Triple Threads and whatnot, but those will just raise further questions.

Seriously, folks, I'm just utterly uninspired right now even though I really like a few of those sets on that list. Is this a Topps problem or a Me problem?


Captain Canuck said...

it's a hobby problem.

how's that stamp collection going?

FanOfReds said...

It's a lack of variety problem and it seems to be permeating across most of the blogs I frequent! I know that if it weren't for the group breaks I've hosted lately I'd be going bat s**t crazy too... I wasn't inspired by this year's Heritage set so I haven't had "new" cards to buy since Series I...

Joe S. said...


I've resorted to purchasing junk wax boxes for display in my sports room and the occasional bargain relic purchase from COMC. I can't find anything new to justify spending my money on.

Sharpe said...

Here's what I know . . . I'm sick of sets that mix older and newer players.

A Chicle set with at least 10 players from each of the current rosters would be cool. I feel like it's the same old players over and over. What's the point?

One thing I did realize is that once I start my 2010 collecting, I'm leaning more and more toward the base Topps set.

I'm completely uninterested with another T206 set. Why another? I don't get it. As FanOfReds said, Heritage this year is pretty uninspiring.

I am interested in getting some of those Topps redemption codes, maybe I should work on that . . .

AdamE said...

I was done with Topps Base a week after it released. I have no interest in Pro Debut (Bowman Jr.) or Attax so I havn't bought harldy any new cards. I did find a way to spend my money on cards though:


I see myself buying 1 box of A&G and that is it in 2010. Only one box because I am bored with A&G design. Same thing each year. Heck I didn't even buy one box last year. I guess this just gives me more money to spend on vintage.

madding said...

I think the problem is that most of those things say "Topps" in them. Exclusivity deals are bad.

night owl said...

Well, let's look at what was in the card aisle at this time last year aside from Topps:

2009 Upper Deck base
2009 Upper Deck first edition
2009 Upper Deck Goudey
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum
2009 Upper Deck Piece of History

Those weren't exactly inspirational products. Most thought they downright sucked. I know I did.

Judging from the pattern of the last couple of years, early May is a bit of dead period (altho we do have Chicle now) ahead of the late spring/summer releases.

While people are uninspired, I don't necessarily think last year was any better, even with more product. I think people are focusing a little too much on what they don't have (Upper Deck), when the real problem is the dead period and a year of some unsatisfying releases (Heritage mostly) by Topps.

handcollated said...

While you're at it, ask them why nothing was relased from late march to late April. Twenty releases and there's really a month gap where nothing comes out?

As far as the boredom, I'm with Night Owl. There's nothing new and exciting this year, but then, there was nothing all that great in 2009 either.

This year, most people are probably hit by the economy as well. I've seen a lot of those "downsizing the collection" posts as people realize their limits. I haven't purchased a single new box yet this year and only a handful of packs.

I think even though there was an explosion of blogs last year (which bouyed excitement), but there's a lot less to talk about this year. No shakeups, no scandals - and that compounds the boredom of no exciting new releases.

There's also less Dinged Corners. The Baseball Card Blog's return has been kind of limited at best. And there's no Wax Heaven, which was like the front porch for people to gather on and talk cards.

I think most blogs start as people return to the hobby. That's what mine was. I was excited by all the new sets I missed, but now that I'm used to it all, things have lost the shine. So all the voices last year shouting "how cool" are now simply stating "meh."

GCA said...

I believe the reason you can't have Legends sets any more is because the MLBPA (non-collector clueless suits) REQUIRES every set made to consist of some percentage of rookies. Which is completely ridiculous.
The other stuff is largely due to the sales figures and marketing research of the manufacturers (non-collector clueless suits) that only listen to what Beckett and Joe Collector think is a good product.

cynicalbuddha said...

Yep BORing. My question is if you've got an exclusive deal why not try something new. There's nothing new on that list, except Pro Debut which is a minor league product anyways. How bout some new brands new styles something! And Chrypes on a cracker Pro Debut uses the Topps base design anyways. Hell I know it's bad when at all the card shops in town all the bargin pack bins are bare!!

Sharpe said...

To jump back in, less would be more IMO.

Between T206, Heritage, Chicle, and A&G it's all basically the same stuff, different design.

If the sheer number of sets was scaled back and a set was actually expanded to include more players this could be what is needed.

I get that the number of products allows for hit and miss on design. If all Upper Deck had last year was Base and Goudey with no Goodwin Champions, I think you'd have heard how bad it sucked.

That being said, if Topps had its 900 card base set, a 600-900 card Chicle set, and a 600-900 card high end set (fill in the blank, I don't play much in this space) you might feel like you had more to chase over a longer period of time.

My perspective as a Brewer fan is that having a set give me Fielder, Weeks, Braun, Escobar, Hoffman, and Gallardo with some Yount and Molitor tucked in there is damn tiresome.

Now give me a set with an awesome design like Chicle with maybe 15-20 current players to chase and if you have to, some bygone era classics, I might hang around buying packs all summer.

But realistically, how many Braun cards do I need? How many 300 card sets with 100 short prints can a guy collate?


AdamE said...

Would any of these be more interesting??


willworkforcards said...

I think that this is definitely a Topps problem. I think if these sets were released a couple years ago (even if we didn't have Upper Deck then, either) that these sets would be fine...but that's a couple years ago. The card companies have ridden on the retro wave for too long and its just getting stale.

Other than those retro sets we have series 1, which I'm done with by now, opening day (WHICH IS THE EXACT SAME THING AS SERIES 1 ANYWAYS!!!), the present day Finest that Topps has run into the ground, Pro Debut...another prospect set, really?, and Attax...no thanks.

Call me crazy, but Honestly I think this is good for the hobby in a way. I think that with the stuff that they are putting out now that more people are inclined to look at older product or vintage, and that's fine with me. I'd much rather work on my '71 set than worry about short prints. Back to my point though, if these people are switching focus I think that either the MLB or Topps will catch on and we will either get

1) slightly better product
2) exclusitivity will become obsolete (PLEASE!) I don't care who it is, Donini, Upper Deck, whoever, we need some variety for the love of God.

I don't know, maybe I'm just too optomistic about the future of our hobby. But I totally agree with everyone else, something needs to be done about this.

...rambling now over.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Instead of releasing 98 different sets, Topps should focus on one base set WHICH INCLUDES EVERY PLAYER and is priced in the range of everyone (including 7-year-olds), one premium set WHICH INCLUDES EVERY PLAYER directed at high-end collectors, and one retro/Heritage-type set WHICH INCLUDES EVERY PLAYER in the card styles of years ago.

This proliferation of current-player sets is just a ruse to separate us from our money. (How many Albert Pujols cards does someone need?) People can redirect their excess coin to acquire REAL vintage cards, not quasi-retro stuff that Topps advertises as vintage.

And I agree with the other comments denouncing the mixing of former and current players. What sense does it make to include Mantle, Sandberg (AND BABE RUTH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD) in a current player set?

paulsrandomstuff said...

If Topps is hitting their sales goals, it's a "you" problem. If Topps isn't, it's a Topps problem.

We're getting a million retro sets because people buy them. We're getting Bowman & Pro Debut because the prospectors will buy them.

I've never seen anybody buy Opening Day on purpose, so that's a mystery.

I'm bored with card collecting because I don't need 50 David Wright cards each year. I'm focusing on the base Topps set and picking a few other singles that catch my fancy. I'd almost certainly be doing the same if we still had five different manufacturers.

Todd Q said...

The sad part about this is that Topps isn't smart enough to respond to this (Even if the questions were somewhat rhetorical). You have the most popular card blog going and Topps is too dumb to get with the program and interact with their customers.

The Wax Wombat said...

This is why I've been buying older boxes - or non-sports boxes (which are only getting better).

G_Moses said...

Just come over to the dark side and buy some basketball cards already.

At least it will be a change of pace.

dfwbuck2 said...

i'm down for some stickers...just like the 80's gimme a sticker album, price em at 50 cents a pack of 6 and i'm in...no fancy backs making me have to decide whether or not to peel off the back...no parallels, no relics, no autos...350 stickers...10 players per team, 20 foil all stars, one logo per team...

The Chop Keeper said...

I like what Night Owl said- even if Upper Deck were still in the game, there would be those same lame products. Having just recently re-entered the hobby, I know that I'm not excited about anything other than the base Topps set (tradition), and the Heritage set. I see the Finest set as really no different (design wise) as when I left the hobby 8 years ago. Bowman I used to dig-but think it's a cheaper re-hashing of what it once was, and Chicle, T-206, and A&G (save the inserts) are all unnecessary-IMO. Part of the reason I got out of the hobby was because of the abundance of sets to choose from, and while it's not nearly as bad as it was, I don't want to see the hobby move back into that direction. I'll stick to the two sets I collect, pick up a few others here and there, and just put the rest of my $ towards vintage stuff.

Play at the Plate said...

Yea...what they said. There's a lot of good comments here. I'm sure the fine folks at Topps are taking all of this under advisement. I won't hold my breath. I'm hoping we'll see something positive come out of the Q&A Topps had with some of the bloggers recently.

Christopher said...

After going knee deep in Heritage I can't bring myself to buying any more "vintage" type sets. I'm still chasing short prints for Heritage. My sanity won't allow me to try Chicle.

However, I look forward to Bowman probably more than any other product. There is something about the refractor chase of Brewer & top propects that makes me keep coming back and forking over cash.

I think also the biggest thing that keeps me from "trying" new sets is simply, I can't stomach anymore Mantle or Ruth or any other Yankee they keep pushing down my throat. Bowman saves me from this torture! Not all of us are Yankee fans or from New York, goodness!

Sharpe said...

Some really great comments here. Granted I've only been around for a year, but I'd say I haven't been around for such a discussion.

Someone made reference to the "front porch" being gone in terms of a frontline place that every gathers to talk about the big news or stories of the moment. I know I've enjoyed getting some thoughts out here and seeing what other people think.

I agree, the Q&A someone mentioned seemed like a step in the right direction for Topps, so I think they are listening to collectors, or at least valuing getting our input.

In the end, as someone else said, if Topps is making their numbers, it's not a Topps problem, it's an us/you problem.

I even get the Red Sox/Yankees/Cubs stuff being shoved down our throats. They are the biggest market and every sport/industry will cater to it's largest market. All I'm asking for is a little more love in general for all the teams in baseball. 300 card sets with 55 big market players and 100 short prints are quite tiresome and I'm glad to here others echo this sentiment.

ernest of canada said...

after indulging in abit of this year's heritage, i'm limiting my focus to vintage. but i like dfwbuck's suggestion. if very affordable packs of stickers were out there, i'd complete a set.