I know I've criticized Topps a ton of times so far this year, and it isn't even a fourth of the way through 2014. Really, a lot of their decisions boil down to the fact that they've gotten really cocky without any competition, so they're basically mailing in the same old shit every year, with the same similar design with a few subtle changes.
So with all they're doing, you'll be shocked to hear that now I'm criticizing them for something they didn't do.
You see, because I've been getting mostly hanger boxes of the product, I've been getting a lot of parallels. And the gold ones and shiny red ones I can definitely deal with, and keep in a separate part of my collection.
It's the other ones that are screwing me up
I pulled two different versions of a Hyunjin Ryu card. A shiny red parallel that, you know, actually sort of means something, and a lime bordered one. It's one of three meaningless parallels I pulled out of that box. Lime/Avocado Green, Target Red, and '91 Fleer Yellow. Three that are unnumbered, unglossed, simply colored-bordered versions of the base cards. Keep in mind that there are Blue Ones for Wal Mart shoppers, and Purple ones for Toys R Us shoppers, which makes the total five. And unless somebody gives them an excuse to make a black or orange one, that's (thankfully) all we're getting.
Five worthless parallels. Last year it was just the retail-exclusive ones, too, which makes three. But this year they added two more.
I was looking at some of the cards, like the Coco Crisp I also pulled out of the box with a yellow border, and the Ryu, and I was comparing them with ones with borders that fit the teams. It's cool when you pull a red-bordered Angel, Cardinal, Red, Phillie, National, or even Diamondback. Any other team, especially an ill-fitting team like an Oakland A or a Colorado Rockie, while it's cool, it doesn't work. They only look cool with lime and purple parallels respectively. The Crisp one actually looks pretty awesome with the yellow border, because it FITS!
And then it dawned on me.
With all the parallels in Topps 2014, Topps could have very easily just varied the color of the border by the team, instead of just making parallels of a white-bordered set. For instance, the Yankees would get Navy borders, the Red Sox would get maroon borders, the Pirates would get yellow borders, etc, etc. Then the parallels, and the random colored borders that serve no purpose other than just being a useless parallel set, would actually mean something.
But Topps would never do that in a million years, because they can't take such a risk without any real competition. Besides, do you even know how much time and money it costs to personalize a border to each of the 30 teams? It would be radical, different, and very risky, but Topps is afraid, and therefore absolutely unwilling, to take any risks.
That being said, if Topps ever color-coded the base cards for each team, not only would I buy it, but I'd stop talking shit about them.
I'm more than willing to make some samples for them someday. It's better than just plain white base cards. They've been doing that for 6 years, and there's been zero improvement.
All they can do is make parallels of the entire base set just because they can. And keep overlooking great ideas, even if they're waved in front of their faces like money or Stephen Strasburg.
It's sad. Topps just isn't even trying anymore.