To the surprise of absolutely no one 2012 Allen & Ginter retail popped up a few days before it's supposed to hit Hobby stores. Don't believe me? Check eBay. There's even a Heyward mini up right now.
I will preface this by stating that I very much like the fact that the structure of the A&G set has remained the same after all these years and that this year's design is a very attractive Art Deco-ish thing that looks fantastic. However, there are three things I don't like about this card and I like everything about every Jason Heyward card. First of all it's a horizontal card. Horizontal cards work in Allen & Ginter if and ONLY IF the photo of the player is such that it has to be horizontal in order to work. A batter stretched out in full swing. A fielder laying out for a diving catch. Hustling back to first on a pickoff is not such a picture. The card of my favorite player not named Chipper looks like ass because the put a vertical picture (and a really boring one at that) on a horizontal card.
The second thing I don't like about this card is that Heyward is a short print. Again. Fine it was cool last year, and I enjoy snapping up a bunch of Heyward short prints for 50 cents a pop because collectors got bored with him, but I don't want to be chasing short prints of J-Hey my entire life. While Allen & Ginter short prints are honestly not that much harder to find than base cards (Do the math, they are about twice as scarce in hobby packs and even less than that in retail) it does mean that I'm only half as likely to pull a Heyward card out of a box. Considering I was already seriously on the fence about buying a box due to apathy and financial concerns already, that was a pretty big blow. I think the final nail in the coffin was struck when I checked out the back:
Apparently Old Planter has been downsized. The Allen & Ginter backs no longer have Old Planter on the back. Now they have this A&G shield. I did a little late night research and the closest thing I found to this design was a shield on the back of the N44 World's Decorations set. The wacky front design may have inspired the from of the '12 set too for all I know. As you can see from my header. I freakin' LOVE Old Planter. And in a year where I'm desperately looking for excuses not to buy a set sending Planter off to pasture might be a deal breaker. Besides, have you seen the inserts in this year's set? Tall buildings? Military leaders? People of the Bible? You've got to be kidding me.
Ok, so the Sea Monkeys card looks pretty cool. I'm not buying a box just for a 1:12 chance at a case hit.