When reviewing products I know the goal is to be as objective as possible. I know this but sometimes it's hard, like right now. I opened up this box rather quickly, and was impressed in a few areas and let down in others. You all know how I feel about this product if you have talked to me before or read this blog however, we will just leave that out of it (or try to).
I broke down each type of card in the box down to a number just to satisfy my curiosity.
Base cards: 127 total, 17 of non-baseball subjects
Short prints: 12
Honestly, if anyone can make themselves look like a clown it's Dirk Hayhurst. Not sure this guy could be any more full of himself. Hard to be "cool" when you look like a total jackass on a baseball card. Topps should be smacked for allowing this idiot to look like this on a card. Then you have a guy like Manny who retired in March as a short print. Yes, I am fully aware that they are adhering to a checklist however there are those little words on all of the pre-sell sheets that say, "checklist subject to change". How about having removed him and put a guy in that plays everyday? At least someone on the 40-man roster.
Now the upside. I like that Topps attempted to make these cards a little bit more than just a player on a white background. The border on the cards and the bottom logo is far better than any base set of years past. They are definitely moving in the right direction trying to change things up a little bit while keeping the same type of design.
Hometown Heroes: 18
I like this subset because it is all baseball and it has a nice design element to it.
Code cards: 2 gold, 1 black
Sketch cards: 4
The sketch card highlights are always one of the better parts of Ginter each year and they are usually the ones I look to grab before base cards. To me, these always look nice but never warranted buying an entire box for just a couple of them.
Now what can I say about the mini cards? I love mini cards so in my eyes Topps can never go wrong with them. Mini cards seem to be a hit amongst almost all collectors and we all love chasing down our favorite players. The mini cards are another element of this product that make it popular if you ask me.
Mini regular back: 8
Mini A&G back: 6
Mini back border: 2
I like that the borders have changed this year. They kind of look like a marble notebook which is fun.
Animals in Peril: 2
Not a fan. I see no need to include animals in this set. Create some other type of baseball subset.
Uninvited Guests: 2
World's Most Mysterious Figures: 2
Portraits of Penultimacy: 2
Step Right Up: 1
As soon as I saw this card I began singing the Big Apple Circus commercial theme song. Snooze set.
Ascent of Man: 4
Honestly, if any of us cared to learn this or see the picture progression we would be reading a science book on the theory of evolution not picking up a pack of baseball cards with the hopes of getting our questions answered.
Minds that Matter: 3
Floating Fortresses: 3
Ryan Dempster Game Used Jersey
Billy Butler Game Used Jersey
Tim Hudson Game Used Jersey
This year Topps made an attempt to do something a little nicer for the base cards and give it a fresher look. I am a fan of the borders this year and like the way the cards look. The mini black border cards are especially nice looking as well.
This grade is based on the price of the box (somewhere in the $85 ballpark) and that you get 3 hits per box and an assortment of all inserts. It's nice when you buy a product to have a chance at getting cards from all subsets or of your player in a subset.
There were no doubles in the box, no damaged cards, and the cards show continuity in card stock from years past.
While this set isn't for everyone, I can see the appeal to other collectors who enjoy pulling a card of someone from another sport or walk of life and even having a chance at an auto or piece of their clothing. If all these elements make this product a hit for Topps, I know they will keep making it... Just doesn't mean I have to like it or buy it. Again, there are plenty of upsides to this product if you can deal with the huge variety of non-baseball subjects.