Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Depressing Truth about Modern Topps: An Essay/Rant

(NOTE: I'm doing a rant-heavy post like this because the one blogger whose sole existence in the 'sphere inspired me to become a blogger myself has recently returned to blogging. Five years ago he was one of my favorites, and I'm glad to see he's back. However, there's more of a chance of him rooting for the Mets than him ever reading this blog.)

When I got into the hobby back in 2007, I fell in love with Topps, primarily because they seemed to do so many things that appealed to me as a 12-year-old. I collected a lot of Opening Day, which was still original back then. I adored a lot of their other sets like Turkey Red, and all the risks they took. I would collect Upper Deck a little, especially a few of their more outlandish releases, but I stuck to Topps, because, to me, they were more original, and more fun to collect.

Seven years later, it's no fun to collect Topps anymore. I hate to say such an awful thing, but it's sadly becoming quite true.

2014 Topps is a good set. It has fine photography, a crisp design, and serves the same purpose as every other topps set. The problem is that it's basically been the exact same product for 5 years, only with different names on inserts, and slightly different orientations on designs. I complained that 2012 Topps was exactly like 2011 Topps, and that 2013 Topps was just like the last two, and I PLEADED for Topps to try something different. Well, THEY HAVEN'T.

Their other products are quickly declining as well, because you can only do the same goddamn thing so many times. Allen and Ginter, Topps Archives, Triple Threads, and even Gypsy Queen are just falling down the same hole, because Topps rehashes them every year and they expect people to applaud the same damn thing, only, SURPRISINGLY, it doesn't work.

I get the feeling that Topps isn't even trying anymore, too. Every product they release seems phoned in, a carbon copy of last year's release. And remember, back in 2007 they put effort into every major release. They wouldn't be afraid to fail, like if they did a '52 Rookies set, or a set that's way out of their comfort zone. All of that is gone. All of the originality they had seven years ago is gone. And people will say that 2007 was much farther gone than how it was seven years before THAT. And so on, and so on.

The other problem is that Topps does not seem to listen whenever the older collectors, like myself and the senior bloggers, speak up and tell them what they're doing is wrong. You know what they listen to? That one dumbass who looks at a Topps product as if he's never seen it before, reacts in shock and awe, and trumpets to the heavens "THIS IS THE GREATEST BASEBALL CARD SET EVER"

They listen to praise they don't even DESERVE, and they run on that.

Topps is running on bullshit fumes. They've basically gone so far away from what they wanted to be that they won't even listen to critics, or won't even improve their products, or even CHANGE them. They'll just listen to the people that do like it. And I'm not dissing anyone who likes 2014 Topps. If you like it, go ahead. I'm dissing the people who completely overlook even the major, MAJOR flaws, the ones that even the set's supporters can recognize, and call those sets gold. Those people.

I don't care if nobody from Topps reads this, because nobody will. I've banked on that. If they do indeed read this, they won't listen. They'll just hand me four or five products' worth of 'hush cards', and make sure they slip in a hyper-mojo Yasiel Puig relic card. And they'll miss my overall point, that Topps doesn't put any effort into their sets, or into anything. And, consequentially, they'll be proving it.

I'm not done collecting Topps. I'll still pick up packs of their products in the hopes that they'll finally listen to the collectors and effing do something. But that's an incredibly large amount of hope I'll need.

This week somebody tipped me off that Panini is releasing a Donruss set. Panini, who is slowly becoming everything that Topps needs to be, is reviving a once-dead set, as well as, in subset-form, Diamond Kings, Studio and Rated Rookies. The only downside is that there won't be any logos, but I've come to expect, and tolerate, that. So, if the reviews are as good as I want them to be, I will definitely pick up some 2014 Panini Donruss.

Besides, that is an ORIGINAL idea, that looks like it's ORCHESTRATED WELL, with inserts that aren't rehashes of the same 'rookies', 'star accomplishments', 'Record Breakers', etc., and a design that looks old, but still looks revitalized enough to come off as original.

That sounds great!


(P.S.- This goes without saying, but also bring back Topps Total)


  1. Funny, I am working on a post about this exact topic. A little history for you in 2007 Topps, which was a publicly traded company, was taken private by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and company. Since then there has been almost no innovation in the Topps line.
    I'm looking forward to seeing what Panini can do with the Donruss line. I'm a little bummed that they are only doing a 200 card base set with minimal rookies, but I'm glad they decided to reinvent the brand and bring back some of the old Donruss inserts and favorites. I mean they could have just put out a Score baseball set and I'm sure we really don't need that, or maybe we do.
    And I second the motion for bringing back Topps Total.

  2. I guess I'm in the minority, because I spent more money on 2013 Topps product that I did on 2008 to 2012 combined. I absolutely loved their Archives Fan Favorites autographed set... and their on-card autographs in 5 Star and Museum were home runs in my book.