Monday, December 19, 2011

Blog Bat Around: 2011 Year-in-Review

Another Blog Bat Around has been started over at This Card is Cool.  For this edition of the Bat Around, the topic for discussion is the following:
The 2011 baseball card collecting season is finally over - other than Bowman Sterling (coming out December 21st). What set or release stands out as your favorite from the year? What set or release brings your lunch back up to your throat?
First, a quick run down of my thoughts of the various releases for the year...

I liked the base Topps set enough to collect all of Series 1 and 2 - and I've collected the vast majority of the inserts from each of the two series as well.  However, I find myself burnt out with "more of the same" by the time the Update set is released and so I haven't bothered to purchase a single pack of that stuff.

I liked Topps Attax enough to try and collect the set - mostly because it was cheap, sort of fun, and came out at a time when there wasn't a lot to buy.

The Topps Heritage set is one of the sets that grew on me as the year progressed.  I'm not nearly as much of a fan of the design it is based on as many people seemed to be - but I LOVED the backs of the cards.  In fact, the care that went into the backs of the cards was the reason that I reversed course and decided to try and collect the set.  At this point, I'm still missing a few of the base cards (I think I accidentally traded them away) and a few more of the short prints.  If you have any of the following let me know!
 2011 Topps Heritage needs:  31, 37, 63, 426, 436, 443, 445, 453, 454, 456, 460, 464, 467, 468, 475, 482, 488, 489, 499
Gypsy Queen.  The set that people hated before it was released, was disappointed with upon the initial release of the hobby boxes (mostly because of missing hits and a David DeJesus auto in every box), and then absolutely loved at retail because so many blasters were loaded!  As for me, I liked the set enough that I'm happy it is coming back for a second go-around next year.  I simply hope Topps changes it up enough to differentiate it from Allen & Ginter and Heritage.  The 300 base cards and 50 short prints routine works for Ginter because the short prints are fairly easy to pull - not so much with Gypsy Queen (as evidenced by my want list).

Of course, the big behemoth set in terms of anticipation was Allen & Ginter.  To be honest, while I liked the set this year, I didn't love it...which is a stunning turn of events based on how much I've enjoyed the last few years of Ginter.  I missed the inanimate objects and world landmarks in the base set and I missed the fun and quirky minis.  The Step Right Up minis were quirky enough but the rest of the minis were lame (ok, the flowers were quirky too but they were much too rare when you consider that it is is a seed within a card).  I wasn't a big fan of all the regular sized inserts in Ginter.  The Floating Fortresses set would have been AWESOME in mini form - in regular form they were just "ok."

After Ginter, Topps released Lineage which also caught my attention.  The base cards have been blasted for being so boring...and while that is true, if Topps had put full statistics on the back they set wouldn't have been much more than Topps base set Series 2.5.  It was a set driven by nice inserts anyhow - plus an on card autograph in each box (and some nice 1975 mini relic cards).  I don't have any particular interest in Lineage making a return next year but it was fun for 2011.

A set that I didn't buy any of for myself but that I did bust a 6 box case was Topps Tier One.  It's clear that high end cards aren't for me - too expensive and too disappointing when you don't get anything good (although as a whole the case I busted was quite nice).

So, in the end, what does it all mean for 2012?  Well, I'll probably buy some of the base set (though not as much as this year I'm guessing), and I'll certainly take a look at Heritage (though I'm still weary of the Heritage line).  I don't think I'll have interest in sets like Attax and I gave up on Opening Day years ago.  I'm pumped for Allen & Ginter, though I have some lofty expectations for the set to deliver on after this year's semi-flop.  Finally, I'm interested in Gypsy Queen though the price will probably stop me from trying to complete the set unless blasters hold a large number of cards.  As for the other sets that Topps releases, well, most of them can go away.  I'd be happy with Topps releasing a single Bowman set and stopping with the 200 different versions of Bowman.  I'm not interested in one set, I'm certainly not interested in 20 other variations of the set with newer (and longer) names.  I'd be happier to see the Update set discontinued or re-branded as Series 3 with continuous numbering.  And finally, I'd like to see something new in 2012.  It'd be awesome if Topps could convince some of the guys who used to work at Pacific a decade ago to design a new set for Topps - something so "out there" that it can't help but be cool.

And yes Topps, I'm still waiting for that promised "game changer" you talked about earlier this year...



Ryan G said...

Funny you mention Bowman. It's the topic of this afternoon's post - especially what you talked about.

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