Monday, May 25, 2020

Let's Talk About Topps Project 2020




Seems the sport card world has gone a little bit crazy as of late. Especially when it comes to one of Topps newest offerings. I'll be honest I was a little skeptical when Topps announced the project.  Twenty different artists doing their take on the same 20 iconic Topps cards.  It was an interesting concept. As an artist I actually really love the idea, but a few things popped into my head before Topps issued the first card. 

First, art is subjective.  What I mean by that it not everyone is going to be into every art style.  And I'll hand it to Topps they really did a great job of finding a group of artists who's styles run the gambit.  Second I worried about only doing 20 different cards.  First you narrow your market for team and player collectors and thirdly the same cards redone over and over just seemed like it would get boring.  I also thought the $20 price tag per card was a little steep.

I guess I was wrong.  Well sort of.  The project started off pretty slow.  Not surprising there was no major advertising for this other than on Topps social media.  So those of us that follow the card world knew what was coming, but I have to say the vast majority of people probably did not.  Also this project started right at the start of the pandemic lockdowns and the card companies still had new products coming out.  So the first few weeks print runs for the cards hovered between 1 and 2 thousand.  Not too bad.  Considering what other on-demand offerings sometimes sell.  Fast forward a couple months and the market for these cards has gone through the roof.  Especially the earlier cards that were issued when no one was really paying attention.

So what the hell happened??  Well it's really a perfect storm for Topps.  The printing facility in Texas that Topps uses to produce it's big brands like flaghip Topps, Bowman, Gypsy Queen, etc.  was shut down due to the Coronavirus, but Topps' on-demand printing is done in Florida and those factories were not shut down.  So when Topps had to push back their releases consumers eyes started looking elsewhere to fill the void.  I don't know if it was a combination of breakers, flippers, Gary Vee acolytes, bored housewives, art collectors branching out, or whatever, but the secondary market for the early Project 2020 cards went through the roof.  And it's still up there as I write this.  Not only has the secondary market skyrocketed, but the print run of the new issues has also picked up big time.  With print runs in the tens of thousands now.

We are only on card 88 as I write this so we have over 300 card more to be issued for this set.  So will demand continue?  Who the hell knows?  It's unlikely, but I didn't think the project would be that big of deal and seeing early print runs I was kinda right.  With Bowman finally hitting shelves and new releases getting updated release dates, society opening back up (for better or worse)  I think the big buyers scooping up these cards will start drifting on to the next big thing, but who knows?

With the uptick in popularity I can almost say with 100% certainty we are going to get another helping of Project 2020 or will it be Project 2021?











Thursday, February 20, 2020

Let's Play - Who's Still Here - Topps 2020 Series 1 Edition

If you're like me, and I doubt you are, when Series 1 Topps comes out I like to play a game called Who's Still Here?  Since the Series 1 checklist is finalized long before the baseball season starts there are plenty of players that find new homes from the end of the last season to the start of the next.  I like to go through the Brewers team checklist and see who's still on the team.  Now granted Spring Training has just started so even this list might change in the next month or so, but let's see who's still on the team.  I'll do this in card order. 

First up we have card #9 Trent Grisham, the teams lone rookie card in the checklist.  Is he still here?

Nope. Back in November Trent and Zach Davies were traded to San Diego for Luis Urias and Eric Lauer.


Next up card #32 Brandon Woodruff.  Is Woody still here?  Damn right, the fellow ginger beard had a great season last year going 11-3.  I look forward to seeing what he can do this year.

Card #52 Yasmani Grandal.  Man I really like this card, it also happens to feature another former Brewer Scooter Gennett.  Is Yas still here?   

Nope. Yasmani declined his option in November and signed a 4 year deal with the White Sox.

Next on the clock is card #62 Chase Anderson.  Is Chase still here?  

That's another big NOPE.  Chase was traded to the Blue Jays last November for Chad Spanberger, who's not even on the Spring Training invite list, as far as I can tell.


Card #149 Orlando Arcia.  Is Orlando still here.

Yes sir.  Orlando had a roller coaster of a season or maybe that was last season, they all blend together sometimes.  Regardless I like Arcia and look forward to seeing him on the field again.


On to card #189 Mike Moustakas.  Is Moose still here?  Nope again.  Mike signed a 4 year $64 million contract with the Red in December.

 Card #191 Jeremy Jeffress.  Is Jeremy still here?  Alas the on again, off again relationship with Jeffress is off again.  The Brewers released Jeremy last September and he signed a one year deal with the Cubs.


Card #200 Christian Yelich.  Is Yeli still here?  Oh yeah and he will be barring the Brewers doing something stupid through the 2021 season, maybe even the 2022 season or beyond, but I doubt the Brewers will be willing to pony up for him after that.

Card #238 Freddy Peralta.  Is Freddy still here?  Yes he is.

 Card #344 Ben Gamel.  Is Benji still here?  Yep.  You may also remember Ben's brother Mat played for the Crew a few years ago.
And finally...
#347 Ryan Braun.  Is Ryan still here? Yes he is, but this may be his last year with the team, as he has an option for next year.  

So out of the 11 player cards from the Series 1 Brewers team set we had 5 players no longer on the team featured in the set or about 45%.  I didn't do any research, but I feel that's about par for the course.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

TTM Success - Mark Loretta


I had a very pleasant surprise in my mailbox last week.  Way back in June I sent out four TTMs.  I got all of them back except Mark Loretta's.  But after I sent it out I also read that he had taken a position with Cubs as bench coach.  So it wasn't a big surprise that I hadn't heard from him since his PO Box was based out of Rancho Santa Fe, California.  I had pretty much forgotten about the request as depending on who I'm sending too many never get returned, but Matt had a great track record as a TTM signer so I was really happy to see this in my mail box last week.  According to the Cubs website Mark is no longer listed as Bench Coach and I haven't found any articles about him recently so I'm not sure if he's found a new position yet. But thanks to Mark Loretta for helping me complete my Brewers TTM project by filling in the 1998 spot and helping me close out the first 3 decades of the team.


TTM Stats
Address used
Mark Loretta
PO Box 9505
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

Date Sent: 6/10/19
Date Recieved: 2/7/2020

Thursday, February 6, 2020

2020 Topps Series 1 - First Taste



It's that time of year again.  I always get excited for new baseball and baseball card season.  Series 1 is always a little special as it really marks the start of both. I stopped by my LCS Bosco's trade night last night to pick up two jumbo hobby packs and one regular pack to start the set off right.  I also stopped by my Target and picked up 4 jumbo hanger packs.  Let's have a look at what I pulled from those packs.



Here are the odd for all three packs, they are slightly different and so is the NPN address if your into trying for some free cards.

Hobby pack odds
 Jumbo Hobby pack odds
 Retail Jumbo hanger pack odds

Once again the base card photos are great.  Some are definitely better than others, but overall capture the players very well.  Here are a couple of my favorites and some of the subsets.
This Austin Hedges card is great and I love the intensity with pieces of the turf flying.  I was torn with the design and while not my favorite it's not bad and allows for some great action shots, plus the players names are in order this year, that's nice.
 The backs are pretty standard from the last couple of years.  Topps is still marking the cards by series which seems unnecessary to me, but that's neither here or there.  Card number in the upper right side is well size for sorting and collating, so I'm a fan overall.
 Here's another great base card of Dansby Swanson.

 The World Series subset.

 The Future Stars subset featuring Carl's grandson Mike.

 Speaking of baseball legacy's here's a great checklist card featuring two of them.  I think the only thing that would have made this card better was...

 Having this guy on it as well.  And an example of the Rookie Cup.

 And the team cards, love my Brewers.


There are some product specific inserts this season. Lets have a look at the inserts I got.
Topps continues it's celebration of sets from 35 year's ago, for some reason, with this 85 tribute.




The overall theme of the set, is celebrating the decades so we get a bunch of decades inspired inserts. Each of the decades featured have their own design.



Next up are the Decades of Dominance die cut inserts.  I got some old timey Yankees guy. 


And lastly Topps also celebrates those players posed to dominate the next decade. Would be a fun insert to revisit in 2030 and see who actually made the cut.






This year Topps brings back it's Turkey Red homage with another insert set featuring the vintage set.  Topps put out three sets from 2005-2007 and then had two inserts sets in 2009 and 2010 Topps.  These Turkey Red inserts are a retail only exclusive and I'll say this right now, I'm all in.  I've put together the 2010 set and I'm almost done with the 2009 insert set, so I will bite and chase this down.  Each jumbo hanger pack comes with 2.  It's a big insert set with 100 cards and I'm not sure if Topps will continue it into Series 2 or Update.
















While I didn't find any relics or autos in my packs I did pick up some parallels and a couple of the sp variations.  You can tell which cards are variations, but the code on the back. SPs end in 284, SSPs end in 285, and advance stat variations end in 283.  All other base cards end in 269.  It wold be nice if Topps marked this a little better maybe with a note by the card number.




Speaking of Harper I also hit his sweet Memorial Day Camo parallel #/25


I've found the parallels can be subtle at times and easy to miss if your just speeding though your cards so be alert and vigilant my friends.

I must be on a Phillies hot streak because I also hit this Independence Day team card parallel.


And lastly and very anti-climatically there are the foil parallels.  This year Topps adds a twist with an unnumbered Gold Foil parallel as well as the rainbow foil parallel that are easy to miss unless you have both right next to each other.  I just pulled regular rainbow foils, I think.








There you have it my first taste of 2020 Topps flagship.  Anyone pull anything good?  I will probably stick to retail jumbo packs trying to build my Turkey Red set, plus it's a better overall value for me.  That being said I will probably pick up at least one tin if I can find them.  I've also heard rumblings  on twitter that hobby boxes are already jumping in price so retail is a nice alternative for someone who doesn't give a crap about chasing rookies.