Thursday, January 24, 2013

What's next? Looking Back on Topps Exclusive MLB License Part 3

I won't lie, we are less than a week from the release of 2013 Topps Series 1 and I'm kind of excited.  I always get excited for the launch of the new flagship set.   And I also won't lie, I'm a Topps collector, have been since I started collecting way back in the 80's.  Something about that first series.  It's new, there are new inserts and a base set to put together.  I'm less excited about Series 2 and Update, mainly because it's just an extension of that first series.  I still want to put the set together and my Brewers team set and have a few extras to send out for TTM's.  That being said looking at this years cards it's pretty much more of the same.  Topps was talking a big game posting on Facebook the last few days and releasing actually photos of some of the hits, which look nice, but looking at the inserts there's really nothing new.  I already did a review when the sell sheets went live, but basically it's 4 main inserts again, a mini (1972 this time), and a die-cut insert.  All will have relic and auto variations.  There will also again be manufactured "relics" as well as Topps Ultimate 1/1 Chase cards featuring cut signatures and relics of the greats and lots of parallel cards.  And some kind of contest or giveaway. Like I said nothing really new.  Sure the theme is different, but the basic outline is the same.  And for some that's fine.  Even for me that's sorta fine.  It's always nice knowing what to expect and what your getting.  But will there be a surprises?  That's  why I like Allen and Ginter.  Topps usually has a surprise in the set.  An unannounced insert or gimmick.Well we know that A&G, Gypsy Queen and Achieves will be back.  But yes there is a new gimmick coming out in May.  Topps Chipz. Which appears to be some sort of game featuring players on poker style chips, with relics, autos, and of course parallels.  That's nice, I love odd ball stuff and more than likely will be picking up a few and at least a set of my Brewers, which from the preliminary checklist there are three.

But nothing like Topps TEK, Fleer Metal Universe, Topps Gold Label, ect.  At least not yet. Remember when Topps Chrome came out in the late 90's?  There was some great attempts at innovation made between  1996 to 2003.

I had popped into Don's Sportscards the other day.  I ended up putting a huge dent in a few sets I was trying to complete and I wanted to ask the owner of the only pure sports card shop in Anchorage what he thought about the Topps Exclusive Experiment.  Don told me he'd love to see another company get a full MLB License much like the way the NFL split it up with Topps and Panini, but he wasn't to keen on seeing Panini get the other MLB license.  But he also made the point that he really like Topps high and mid range NFL stuff this year and that probably has something to do with the fact that Topps has competition in the market. So that begs the question.  If we want to see another company or two get a full MLB license who would that be.  Well obviously it would be Panini the other big boy on the block.  I'm sure a few of you would say Upper Deck of course, but with UD's recent money and legal problems that doesn't seem too likely, plus I doubt the MLB would even want to deal with Upper Deck after Upper Deck's blatant 2010 baseball release.  Leaf? ITG? Some new kid on the block?  There really aren't too many options.   And while I'm not a huge fan of Panini cards, mainly because they all seem to look the same and rookies always tend to be short printed making set building a pain, I am a huge fan of their customer interaction and support.  They have a great website, blog, and social media presence.  And for as much bitching as I seem to do about Topps I most certainly do not want them to go away.  Topps still puts out sets and products that I love.  I just really wish there was a better selection in the market place.  And while Topps in putting out about 20 products a year, basically the same number it put out in the nonexclusive times there just seems to be a huge lag between products I want to buy.  Not everything Topps puts out is geared toward every collector.  Would I love to open a case of Five Star? Absolutely, but it's way out of my price range considering I could buy a full case of Topps or Allen and Ginter for the same price of a couple boxes of the super premium stuff.  And let us not forget.  Topps didn't start a new collector's club last year for the ordinary collector.  No Topps started an exclusive club for the super spender.  Which I doubt anyone who reads this blog could join.

So if Topps gets another exclusive license will it be the end of the world?  No.  But I've seen a trend in the last couple of years that I'm not buying as much.  This also has something to do with my disposable cash, but last year Topps pissed me off with their wrapper redemption.  The year before you just had to keep all the wrappers from your box and send them in.  Last year Topps upped the wrapper requirement to about a box and a half.  I had been buying 2 Jumbos a release and putting two base sets together.  But that ended last year when Topps got greedy.  I bought my one jumbo and then yes 4 more packs so I could get in on the wrapper redemption and that was it.  I had my set and my free pack.  Any of the inserts I wanted I was going to chase on the secondary market.  I haven't heard if there's to be a wrapper redemption this year or not.

Alright, I think I've gotten this out of my system, well almost.

cb out.

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