You may or may not have noticed that I, personally, have not busted a single pack of 2010 baseball ANYTHING. Be it Topps, Upper Deck, Heritage, Finest, whatever. I have not opened a single pack of 2010 product. You may or may not be wondering why, or you may or may not even care. I’m going to tell you anyway, so if you don’t give a shit, you may as well stop reading now. HERE is a nice picture to look at instead, since sadly, there are none to look at on this post.
For those of you that are still with me, I will tell you my reasoning is pretty simple. ALL OF THE 2010 RELEASES SUCK SO FAR. There, that’s it, I said it.
We’ll start with Finest, because I don’t have to tell you why this year’s Heritage is so terrible. My fellow blogging brethren have already told you why it is so awful, and even my blogging partner in crime has contributed his two cents worth on the subject. Finest, in my opinion, has been on the decline for a few years now. I didn’t know enough to have written this last year, but having busted both 2003 and 2004 Finest in the past year, I can say in all honesty that the 2009 version was downright awful, and 2010 look even worse. In 2003, all of the autographs were on card, and the checklist included more than just rookie autos and the occasional Finest Moment veteran signature. Those boxes actually had Hall of Fame autographs, and a decent relic checklist. Some of you who are new to the hobby may be thinking “relics in Finest?”. YES! relics in Finest. I pulled a Rod Carew bat AND a Gaylord Perry autograph from the box Mojo and I busted back in February. What do you get these days? 2 crummy manu-patch rookie autos, most likely of guys who won’t amount to anything anyway, and a boatload of refractors, that are good for little less than trade bait unless they’re of the gold or red persuasion, and even then, only if they happen to be of star player caliber. If you’re lucky, you may also pull a Finest Moments sticker autographs, like I did last year, when I pulled a David Ortiz auto from the lone box of Finest I busted.
My point is that Topps, in my opinion, has seriously dumbed down Finest. It’s not even worthy of the name. They give you less cards per box this year (2 mini boxes vs. the standard 3), while maintaining the same price point, and have seriously reduced the amount of quality names found on the auto and insert checklists. It’s now essentially no different than Chrome, except it carries twice the price tag. Don’t even get me started on the design this year. It might be even uglier than last year’s was. Finest used to look cool, and futuristic, now it just looks bland, and sort of boring.
Since Heritage has been covered elsewhere at length, that leaves us with the flagship sets, since nothing else has yet been released this year. I like each of them just fine, but in general, I am not much of a flagship collector. I trade for cards of my players and my team, but I’m not interested in collecting either set. That’s just how I am. We’ll start with Topps, whose flagship design this year I really don’t care for either. It looks childish to me, and that alone has caused me not to spend my hard earned cash on even a single pack. As if poor design wasn’t enough, Topps had to go and do what they always do and gimmick up their flagship set with legends short prints, and those gawd awful Yankees pie-to-the-face cards. Do collectors really go for that shit? If you’re a set collector, do you really want to drop a Ulysses S. Grant on a card depicting Francisco Cervelli getting pied? Unless you are a die-hard Yankees collector, probably not. Oh, right, I almost forgot about the ridiculous Abe Lincoln card(s) as well. Topps thinks they can do about anything, and us collectors will just eat it right up. There are also just flat-out too many insert sets this year, and the Cards Your Mom Threw Out COULD have been cool, if they had stopped at 1970 or something, and not 2008. My mom did not throw out any of my Longoria rookies. I doubt anyone’s mom has.
Am I starting to sound like Gellman?
Lastly, we have the Upper Deck flagship set. I can’t really speak too negatively of it, since out of all the products released this year, it would be the one I would be most apt to purchase IF ONLY IT WEREN’T SO DAMN BORING! Upper Deck does full bleed photography, we get it already. If there’s one thing Upper Deck got right with their flagship set, it was leaving the gimmickry to Topps. There aren’t 40 insert sets to chase, which is a good thing, but the few inserts they did include are just as boring as the rest of the set. Yawn. Yawn. Yawn. Yawn. Yawn. Even though I still won’t be buying any of this product either, I can tell you that boring is better than ugly, if only slightly.
Until there is a set released this year that is both well designed, and includes on-card autographs, I will continue to bust wax that is 5-10 years old. It’s a shame really, because there isn’t a single Orioles player who I am interested in collecting who played from 2001-2004, but the wax from back then was far superior to anything released today. Would you rather spend $350 on a box of Topps Tribute and pull a bunch of sticker autos and wooden seat chunks, or spend $140 on something like 2003 Topps Gallery Hall of Fame Edition, and wind up with some of the most beautiful cards mine eyes have ever seen, AND on-card autos of Hall of Famers? To me, that’s a no brainer.
Perhaps I will miss Upper Deck baseball products more than I initially thought. It’s looking like with the exception of Ginter, there are no “must have” releases on the calendar in 2010.