Monday, December 19, 2011

Blog Bat Around - Best of the Year...Isn't It Obvious??!

If it wasn't for the Sports Card Blogroll, I would have missed the opportunity to join in on the latest Blog Bat Around.  This would be my ninth BBA post out of the ten that I've been aware of (there might have been others, but I'm only aware of ten).  To review the first nine:
The Blog Bat Around was started by Gellman as a way to unite the Hobby Bloggers into writing about a common topic. It proved wildly successful. So successful in fact that he also hosted the second one. The baton was passed to Dave of Fielder's Choice for Fiesta #3, Patricia of Dinged Corners batted cleanup with #4, and dayf the Cardboard Junkie grabbed the reins for #5. The sixth one was hosted by Gellman, the seventh bat around was hosted by Thorzul. Gellman brought it home once again, meaning he hosted four of the first eight. And earlier this year, Mr. Stale Gum hosted the ninth party.

So here we are, the tenth Blog Bat Around.  The invitation to this Hobby mixer was sent out by Ryan G of This Card Is Cool - My Life In Baseball Cards.  The topic:

The 2011 baseball card collecting season is finally over - other than Bowman Sterling. What set or release stands out as your favorite from the year? What set or release brings your lunch back up to your throat.

Well let me just say that 2011 was a great year to be a Topps Baseball Card collector.  Many of the sets focused on set collectors were huge hits for the company this year.  From the new Gypsy Queen, the established Allen & Ginter, and even the now one-year wonder Topps Lineage are now sets I want to collect/acquire (among other sets from the last two to three years that I haven't done yet).  Topps even figured out a way to make playing Topps Attax more than a glorified Pack Wars, that was cool too.  And I haven't even touched upon Heritage, which always has its supporters.  But I don't collect Heritage, so I can't speak for it.

But is it really that big a surprise for all of you out there that the one product I'm going to pick as my favorite set of the year is 2011 Topps???

From the time the sell sheets came out in 2010, I had a feeling that this set was going to be awesome.  The design for the base set was great as it was minimal (with an arched name banner along the bottom of the card), the team logo prominently displayed, and the pictures seemed to bring us closer to the action. clean.  The insert sets were actually interesting, even if Topps really had to stretch to get some of their preferred subjects into the Topps 60 set.  I loved that Topps tried to incorporate a bit of their history by highlighting a card from their past 59 years on the back of the card.  One of these days, I will get around to putting the chosen cards online.

Yes, there were some things that could have been avoided, like having a regular AND an original back version of the 60 Years of Topps set, which of course was SHORTPRINTED!!!  I didn't like it in 2010, and I really didn't like it now, if only because it meant that there were more cards to find.  Going back to the base set, I didn't see the point of having two cards for each of the All-Star Rookie Team players (one with, and one without the Rookie Cup) short of glorifying Topps' golden boy Stephen Strasburg.  But it was a nice touch that Topps made a second set of cards for each of the other ten players on the team too.  Only drawback here was that meant 11 players were left out of the set.  But then again, Topps has been leaving out many players since 2006 when they felt that 330 card series were the way to go.

But Topps eponymous set and the insert sets contained within had its good qualities too.  The History of Topps was a clear winner as it allowed us the collectors the chance to learn a bit about the Company's past.  Obviously, a lot has been written about Topps, and there are many different books that wax poetic about them, but these cards at least make a good starting point before delving into the details.  Kimball's Champions was a nice set for the annual Tribute set (akin to the Turkey Reds in years past) even though they were mini cards and the cards were hard to squeeze into the fifteen pocket pages.  The Toppstown cards seem to be more collectible than ever, I'm still having a hard time finishing my Update Series set because it turns out that they did not come one per pack like in previous years.  But hey, it's something to work on before 2012 Topps arrives in February.

Is there a set that is so stomach churning that it "brings my lunch back up?"  Not really.  I mean, even though Panini (which will now also be known here as that other company) has a license, they still can't make cards with team logos or the like.  And while there really isn't a precedent regarding how they will now do their cards (heck, even Topps featured players in high school uniforms, college uniforms, and what could only be described as yearbook pictures in past cards), it remains to be seen how it will all work out in the end.  I still feel that the other company will do fine as people will find ways to buy their stuff, but I don't think Topps is going to lose a lot of sleep over this new development.

Overall, it was a good year for the Company, and I can't wait for 2012 to get here.  The design is starting to grow on me, and maybe when the cards come out, it will all make sense.  As for my collection goals, as long as I can get full master sets of the flagship brand and the update series, and all 30 team sets, I'll be happy.


JayBee Anama

1 comment:

Ryan G said...

The Topps flagship release was very strong this year. I didn't find interest in every insert set released, but I still recognize them as being attractive and they have decent concepts. I think some people didn't like certain inserts for the repetition from last year, and you're right about the original back inserts - it's just overkill.

I already know I'll like the 2012 base set, but the inserts have yet to win me over. I suppose I'll find out in a couple months!