Topps is getting it right, Part II

About that design. Call this a spur of the moment posting. I truly meant to get back to my thoughts on Topps at a bit of a later date, but the surprising linking by Wax Pack Gods (Thanks!) got me thinking I should actually flesh out my thinking on baseball cards this year beyond a sentence.

(For background, check Topps is getting it right).

For the longest time, Topps typically had designs that reflect the basics. It still does, but in a different way. If you look at the design of the Topps basic set of baseball, the borders were the same. Some of the design work looked to be tweaks on older designs.

The last two years, the designs for Topps are more of a reflection of today’s design work elsewhere. You can see the inspiration from what people see in other mediums.

My critique of Topps for this year, at least with the base set, isn’t limited to the borders. What helps make Topps Topps is the stats on the back of the card. The format continues to have a familiar feel.

This year, we’re seeing that parallelogram look with the logos on the fronts of the cards, similar to what can be seen on highlights on SportsCenter on ESPN or other media outlets. The slashed partial logo is all the hype these days.

What makes this year’s Topps a standout, in my mind, is that design work is a good integration of having the standards – the stats, the MLB logos, the fonts, the clear writing – and a design that is wholy original with nods to what is hot at the moment in design work.

All of that being said, I won’t get into the inserts. The inserts are nice, but I am very influenced by the 1980s and 1990s cards I collected. It was the base set that you really collected. The design isn’t the only thing Topps is getting right, though. I collect cards based on what I crack from a pack of cards, not breaking numerous boxes or even a case in search of those cards that will get me paid back right away. I collect for me.

Getting the Topps Bunt app. I got the Topps Bunt app to give it a try. Like a lot of things in life, you get what you put into it. I don’t spend any hard money on it because I’d rather have the actual card. I want the cardboard.

It does keep my involved with my card collecting, though. And I get to see designs. New designs. One of the best designs that fits my flavor were the Spring Training cards. They were made to look like the classic “Greetings from…” whatever town. The city scape was there with the classic block lettering for the town. And, there was the player as a cutout. It just looked incredible. It was an idea I had never thought of, but the execution was perfect.

My hope is that perhaps the designers who create these cards for the Topps Bunt app get to see some of their creations actually make the hard cardboard set.

Beyond the daily rewards, checking into the Topps Bunt app just to see what is newly released is something I do nearly daily. That is, if my other responsibilities in life don’t get in the way first.

On demand cards, sort of. This is the final item in the Topps is Right rant, and it’s the creation of Topps Now. I love this concept for a variety of reasons. First, marking momentous parts of the season, as they happen, with a card that’s produced the very next day is remarkable. It takes having perspective, and a nuanced love of the game, to help decide what the card, or cards, are going to be for the previous day.

And yes, even the hammer headline of someone like Trevor Story, is a great reason to have this, too.

Because you’re going from game to game, day to day, event to event, those cards don’t necessarily have to be nested into the main Topps set the next year. Sure, it will get condensed down eventually, but a momentous occasion being marked is big.

The design itself is simple, which it needs to be considering that new pieces and parts needed to be interjected for the next day’s cards being offered.

The set itself should have immense value. Each card is $10 each. Now, if there were just one card produced for each 162 games of the regular season, that’s $1,620. But not all of Major League Baseball is off everyday. That only happens over the All-Star Game break, which I will get into later. Instead, that number is slightly higher.

Plus, Topps has produced two cards on a day and on one day, four. That day was the Jackie Robinson Day Card produced with three others. If Topps Now picks up cards produced over the All-Star Game break, including the Futures Game or the Home Run Derby or FanFest or whatever, events are going to be commemorated. What about the trading deadline? Maybe the blockbuster trades will be marked before Topps Update becomes available. Then, you have the postseason.

So, to complete a set, it may cost somewhere in the $2,500 to $4,000 range depending the amount of cards coming out.

Now factor in the print run. The reason for the 24-hour period for orders is to close the door, print the card and have a print run associated with it. Before April 20, 2016, the highest print run was for Nomar Mazara on April 10 with a print run of 1,427. Most print runs are 1,000 or less with the smallest print run being 226 cards of a Melvin Upton Jr. on April 16.

Keep this in mind: some of those parallel chase cards that are numbered 1-999 have a higher print run. These print runs rival some of those found in other sets by Topps.

I’m a Tigers fan, first and foremost. As of prior to 3 p.m., April 21, 2016, no Detroit Tigers have been featured in the Topps Now set. But, I know I plan to collect a team set of Tigers through the Topps Now set.

And, even more than the Topps Bunt app, when I get the email from Topps and there’s the announcement to see what that day’s Topps Now card(s) is, I check. I’m as bad as Pavlov’s dog.

That is how Topps, right now in the products I collect, is doing it right. I may not be the high spender on the high-end products. I collect the lower-end stuff, but the things I do pick up, or am interested in, I am enjoying it much more recently.

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