The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You're (NOT) The Topps

After going through my collection of Series One Baseball cards over night, I've come to two conclusions:
  1. Topps is having quality-control issues with some of its early run printings of its checklists, and
  2. Their card design people have completely run out of ideas for new trading cards.
I came to the first conclusion after doing a cursory check of my duplicate checklist cards - the ones that they "throw in" with every odd pack (instead of those annoying "Work Hard Get Cards" Topps of the Class Program ads, which now feature David Wright shilling for them). The first thing I noticed was that a few of them, instead of having blue "bubbles" in the circus-styled title, they instead have reddish bubbles. And, apparently, the blue-bubble variant has a completely different checklist than the red ones. The red ones apparently were released earlier, because they contain a longer checklist - with a lot of card that aren't listed on the blue variants.

I know that the checklist Topps had provided on their website didn't match the final product (for one, Barry Bonds is not in this set), but did someone just not pay attention and release an incorrect checklist? If so, a lot of the earlier packs had the wrong checklists - making for some really interesting error cards.

As for the second observation: Whose idea was it to put Rudy Giuliani in the Red Sox team photo of the World Series celebration? And for the love of Pete Rose, who in the hell is Kazuo Uzuki? Somebody in product development is too much of a Photoshop geek, because the idea of "adding" famous figures to photos of cards and putting no-names on "special" cards is just getting ridiculous. And as much as it might have been a neat idea in the past with the American historical figure inserts, do we really need to have Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama cards?

Whatever happened to the idea of putting a player's picture on the front of the card, a bit of biographical data on the back with some stats, and just put it out there for public consumption? Did we lose that somewhere along the way, with all the variants and inserts and "short-prints" that are driving price? Call me the old fogey who's chasing kids off his lawn, but isn't discretion sometimes the better part of valor? Can't "simple" be the new buzz-word in card set creation?

And don't even get me started on the Topps set design. It's bad enough that the Mitchell report and the congressional hearings have made the game a media circus in the off-season; do we need to add to the feel officially by picking up a Roger Clemens card that looks like it should be balanced on the nose of a seal and be handed out by a clown with big shoes holding an umbrella?

But that's not my real question. My real question is this: Who in the heck is Andy Sonnanstine, and why do I have not only two of his cards, but two gold-foil versions of his cards?