Saturday, August 5, 2017

'18, I Just Don't Know What I Want...

So, as the whole card-lovin' world already knows, the base design for 2018 Topps has been released. And, like every other dope out there, I've got some thoughts on it. 

It's not odd that they used a Yankee for the preview (stunning that it wasn't Aaron Judge), but I was surprised they used the RC bug. Should we not expect Frazier to have a card in 2017 Update? Anyway, Topps is sticking with a borderless design and "TV-style" graphics (as in, something that looks like it is part of an ESPN game presentation) for the third straight year. The defining feature of the design seems to be that weird "wave" thing. This very much looks like something that once might have been considered for a Finest design and indicates that Topps is less concerned for the actual flagship design than for photo presentation and the chance for parallels (green wave! gold wave! pink wave!). [Actually, since I wrote this post, more images have come out and it seems that the wave color is based on the team colors]

By the way, I nominate that this set be referred to as "the Donny Darko set."

I think this set has the chance to be better-looking the the '16 (which I hated) or '17 (which I kinda liked) flagships. The design is far less invasive than either of those two and, if the photo quality continues as is, it could make for a very attractive set. But base design is just one part of how much I like any given set. The little things have distressed me far over the past few years. Things that I can only attribute to plain laziness on Topps' part. My top complaints, in no particular order:

Lack of unique subset designs. This I absolutely hate. Every goddamn card uses the same design with minor tweeks for team cards, all-stars, leaders, etc. It makes what should be some of the most fun cards in the set dreadfully boring.

I especially hate the highlight checklist cards. Highlight cards are a great concept, but checklists are totally obsolete today. Pay someone to write some damn copy for these highlight cards! And enough with the stuff like "NEW YORK ACES" cards that show a couple of Mets pitchers standing next to each other looked bored. No one wants this crap. 

The card backs also suffer from the dulls. Useless junk like social media tags and team logos take up way too much room. Again, get some copy written for these things. I can assure you, freelance sportswriters work VERY cheap. Also, full stats, please. 

Ditch the team cards. Who wants these? And who wants them to literally say, "Milwaukee Brewers Team Card" on the front?  If they had a unique design and actually had a season recap on the back... maybe with a manager on the front... I'd totally dig these. But I doubt I'll get this in 2018. I'll get a high-five picture and a 15-word blurb. 

Make it a 792-card set with multi-player rookies. Limit any player to THREE cards max in the base. I have a sinking feeling we're gonna get no fewer 15 Aaron Judge cards in 2018. 

So those are my main beefs. Frankly, what I'd love to see most is for the flagship to become an extremely insert-light issue. One parallel at most, no relic cards, no manu-relics, no weird variations. Focus on the set, not the stuff at the fringes.

Anyway, that's my dream. And I swear, the first card I pull in 2018 featuring someone from the MLB Network is going straight in the trash. My rats don't even want that crap.


  1. I suppose I don't hate the design -- same goes for the lukewarm '16 and '17 Flagship looks -- but I just worry the whole TV Graphics thing is causing a dark period for Topps. I doubt I'll remember what 2017 Topps looked like a decade from now (or 2018 Topps, for that matter). Heck, it takes me a few seconds to call up the 2014 Topps design in my head, and that was only three years ago.

    1. These seem to work in cycles. Another five years and we'll be in an all-new trend.

  2. "My rats don't even want that crap" lol