Friday, February 12, 2010

Troll Talks (Types) 2010 Topps

Don’t feel like reading this entire post? My 2010 Topps want list is HERE
I know that everyone in the entire Blog-o-Sphere has been waiting on the edge of their seats to hear my take on 2010 Topps. Well, here it is… It was driving me nuts seeing these posted everywhere when I couldn’t find a single pack, but finally they hit Bradenton and now they are everywhere. Topps is my favorite brand ever. It was the first brand I collected and will always be my favorite. I think that many feel this way and I think that the execs at Topps know this and exploit it. Like most of you I have taken several hiatuses from collecting. Each time when I return, I return to Topps. I had not ripped a pack since 1996 when noticed a 20 dollar box of Topps at Wal Mart in 2007. I didn’t look closely and assumed that it was a 24-pack box and 20 bucks seemed like a bargain. It was a blaster, but I didn’t know that at the time. I had some extra cash and I thought it would be fun. The first thing I noticed was the number of inserts in every pack. I hated it. In the mid-to-late 90’s inserts were the craze. Every brand had them and the display cases at card shops were filled with fancy inserts of Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey Jr. I still remember some of the better insert sets from back then. The 1995 Pinnacle set comes to mind. They had a subset called Red Hot/White Hot. The Red Hot cards were 1:20 in retail packs and the White Hot were the same odds in hobby boxes. It was an awesome set and if you were really lucky you had a shot to get two in one box. I know I went off topic, but that is what I remembered of inserts. They were special because they were tough to pull and you got excited if you got one because it meant you lucked out. When I ripped that first blaster of Topps in 2007 I had 3 inserts in my first pack. I thought for sure I had tapped into a cardboard goldmine. I beat the odds and got 3 inserts in one pack! I did the same thing in the other 10 packs, too. Apparently inserts went from sought after to irritating. I did end up getting back into collecting, but I gave up on Topps base (sort of) and adopted Topps Heritage as my drug of choice. The classic design, thicker card stock, no gloss finish and lack of inserts is what hooked me on that. In 2008 I resisted Topps all together. I didn’t like the design or the flimsiness of them and aside from the U and H that were crammed into packs of Heritage High #s in ’08, I avoided Topps completely. I took another hiatus from collecting, but it was less than a year. I fell off the wagon just in time for 2009 Topps series 2. There were things I didn’t like about it, but I fell in love with the set anyway. I ripped a lot of Series 2, but generally traded it away too quickly to build a want list and come close to chasing the set. I thought the ’09 design was the best design of the decade (I liked 2003 a lot, too). I did start ripping ’09 Updates and Highlights with the intention of finishing the set and I am around ¾ of the way done with it. The anticipation was killing me with the 2010 set. It was over a month after I began seeing the product on nearly every single blog out there that stores in my area finally started carrying it. My first purchase was 18 packs. As was the case in 2007 I got at least 1 insert in every pack, 2 or 3 in some of them. When you are buying packs to chase the set, nothing is more annoying than getting that many inserts and that few base cards. That is one thing I don’t like about it. It isn’t a new problem; it has been going on with Topps for at least 4 years, probably much longer. Of course the appearance of some of these insert sets is another problem. Last year the Topps Town inserts were hideous. I have been chasing Updates and Highlights for a couple of reasons. One is that it is force-fed to collectors who want Heritage High Numbers and they (I) don’t have a choice. The benefit of that is that you don’t get the inserts in those packs, just 3 base cards in every pack. You would have to open a minimum of 110 packs to get the set, but you don’t have to deal with any Topps Town nonsense. I will say that this year the Topps Town cards are better looking. I got one of these in the first pack that I ripped and in at least 50% of every pack that I opened after the first. Just like a drug dealer, Topps uses this method to hook you. Topps Town is a 25-card subset. I have ripped 35 packs and I have 13 of the 25 cards in the set. I don’t like the set at all. I don’t like anything about it. That said, I have over 50% of the set, so I can send away the 13 cards I do have to team collectors OR I can chase it. I will chase it. Last year I probably pulled over 100 Topps Town cards and I sent each away as trade filler. I probably would have finished the set if I had hung onto them. I know that I didn’t get anything good in return for them because no one else likes them either. This year, I will hang onto them. Topps hooked me. I get disappointed with each card I pull, but I am wasting 3 binder pages on these stupid cards and I know have my needs typed up on a list that says that I WANT Topps Town cards. Ergh. By the way, I did rip 35 packs and I have only 13 cards toward the set. That doesn’t mean I only pulled 13 cards. I have 4 copies of Roy Halladay, 3 of Evan Longoria and doubles of several. I went off way too much here. I could write a few pages about each of the subsets, but I won’t tonight. I have made a list of each and every subset. I don’t know which ones I will be chasing after yet, but I resolved to be a more organized list orientated collector, so that is what I am gonna do. I think the list for 2010 Topps that I just made looks pretty good. You can view it here. I will say a few more words about this set. I LOVE the price. 2 bucks for a pack with 12 in it, you can’t beat that. That is AWESOME. Were these 3 bucks a pop, I wouldn’t be nearly as interested. The retail stores around here got Upper Deck and Topps on the same day. I dropped 3 dollars on 1 pack of UD and spent 36 bucks on 18 packs of Topps. I haven’t pulled any hits yet. No jerseys, relics, auto or silks. I do LOVE the silks. Those are great. I did get 2 (1:24) original back versions of Cards Your Mom Threw Out. I suppose those qualify as hits. They are 1979 Ozzie Smith and 1999 Ivan Rodriguez. I like the Ozzie card. I have the real one, but mine is WAY off center. This one is much nicer and glossier and sharper looking. I have the real version of the Pudge card, too. They look identical. I don’t have it, but I saw that there is a 2008 Evan Longoria in the set. Really Topps? That is freaking stupid. The set is a cute idea, but it needed to be cut-off at 1983. Having cards from the 90’s in there is dumb. Cards from last year is freaking ridiculous and insulting to all of us. That was a major screw up Topps. My other HUGE issue, and this is an ongoing thing too, is their collation. I don’t expect to finish a set off of 35 packs, but that is because I have LOWERED expectations. You should be able to. 35 packs yields 420 cards and the set is only 330 cards. You should be able to finish the set with one box. Instead I have 25 Topps Town cards and a whole mess of dupes. Case in point: From 130-140 we have one card. Not a big deal, but I have 7 copies of that one card. That is a big deal. I have pulled 4 Turkey Red cards and 2 of them are of the same player (Ozzie Smith). I have 4 copies of the Roy Halladay Topps Town card. I shouldn’t get a bippings worth of one player and nothing from the next 10 numbers in the set. Even with the 2 dollar price tag, I expect better than that. That is my biggest issue with this offering. That doesn’t mean I won’t stop buying it, I will because I am a stupid consumer and an addicted collector, but they should really do better, even with their monopoly. You may notice that my needs list doesn’t include the when they were young subset. I like the idea, but the cards I pulled were of young players. The idea would work with Randy Johnson or Jim Thome, not Daniel McCutchen and Gordan Beckham. They ARE young. That said I do want to get a copy of the Brian Roberts card… I think that Turkey Red is and always has been a great set. I like combo cards, so I am drawn to the Legendary Lineage cards, but I really only like when the players are on the same team. I do NOT own this card, it popped up on a Google image search, surprisingly Shannon Stewart didn't make an appeaarance. Obviously it is awesome, but it would work better with Dick Allen and Ryan Howard. I like the past and present dual-player theory (sounds like an emo band name), but the lineage SHOULD be the same organization. The Peak Performance cards are boring. The History of the Game inserts are (yawning) okay. I like the Tails of the Game cards and I think those are a more difficult pull, too, which I like. I already mentioned that I like the silk cards, those are awesome. I am expecting the Akinori Iwamura card any day now and I will post it as soon as I get it. The Peak Performance relics are neat. I haven’t seen any autos yet. I like the black card versions, but haven’t actually seen one in person yet. I REALLY like the base card design. I like the backs, the easy to see numbers, stats and positions. The swirly wave of color as a border is neat and the giant logos stick it to UD, but make it easy for team collectors, too. It is a winning design and very affordable without feeling cheap. I would give it a 7 out of 10 troll bridges overall. Extra points for value, design, franchise history cards and player selection and points lost for poor collation, insert overload and the inclusion of modern and junk wax cards in the Cards Your Mom Threw Out subset. Your Mom threw out your 1987 Bo Jackson because you had 50 of them! Please check out my fancy want list and get in touch if you want to do some trading. Up on the block right now are the 2 original back cards and the Ozzie Smith Turkey Red. I have about 50 base card doubles so far. I WILL be ripping more of this product. Thanks for reading; it’s good to be back. Click for want list. I love this hobby. Oh, as an endnote, there is a contest in the planning stages here at the CT. This blog presently has 89 followers. When it hits 100, there will be a contest. It will be limited to the first 100 followers only. If you are follower #101, you would not be eligible. It could take a year to pick up 11 more followers, but it is something to consider... Go Rays! Troll out.


  1. I have the Roberts When They Were Young and a Crawford/Henderson Past And Present for you. Only problem is I already mailed you a package yesterday. I'll start a new stack for you with those two cards and ship it when it is substancial enough to mail

  2. Glad to hear you are okay, Mr. Troll.

    Good review. As someone who doesn't chase sets I like inserts, but I can see how it would drive some to frustration.

  3. That is one tenacious review. Fierce, even.

    I like most of the inserts, so even though I'm a set collector, the inserts don't bother me if they're enjoyable.

    But every time I see one of those Peak Performance things or toppstown, I start muttering about collation again.

  4. I am interested in the Ozzie and likely any future Turkey Red doubles that you may end up with. I've bought some of this stuff and don't plan on keeping any of it beyond the Turkey Reds and Cardinals. In fact, I'm off to buy some more now, so I'm sure I have some stuff from your want list to send you. I'll let you know at a later point.