Ripping in the New Year – My first 2017 Topps Pack

I haven’t paid much mind to the newer Topps releases in some time. The last set I tried to build was in 2010 and, to be honest, I haven’t felt much draw to any set since. The past couple of years in particular, I didn’t care much at all for the look of the sets. I’m not wild about the 2017s, but given my vow to be more active in card blogging, etc, I just might give it a try. I live on the east side of Milwaukee and do not have a car, meaning the nearest card shop/Target/Wal Mart is a bus ride and more away, so picking up packs of the newest stuff is always a kind of luxury for me. Anyway, on a recent overnight trip, being the stupid idiot that I am, forgot all of my bathroom stuff, which necessitated a stop at a superstore, where I grabbed a jumbo pack of 2017 Topps – my first cardboard of the new year! Here’s what I found…

Mike Trout, #20

Photo Mar 07, 10 12 28 PM

Well there’s a pretty damned fortuitous way to kick-off a new card year. It’s a nice shot of Trout, too, in all his dopey-looking glory. Trout is, to my mind, the best ball player in probably a generation or more. But I also find myself kind of bored by him. He’s a Jersey kid, for chissakes. Can’t he grow his hair out or start mouthing off or get arrested or something? I’d give a toe for him to Trout to become the Kaepernick of MLB. Not even strictly for politics… just to stir the pot. And also, the Angels have been the LA Angels of Anaheim now for 12 damn years, when is Topps going to start acknowledging that?

Andrew Cashner, #186.

Michael Bourn, # 127

Hector Santiago, #336

Alex Bregman, #341

Photo Mar 07, 10 12 59 PM

I love the All Star Rookie Cup. The worst thing about the 2010 set – by a MILE – was that sickly new version of the cup. Anyway, Bregman was born in 1994 – After the best episodes of The Adventures of Pete and Pete had already aired. This makes me feel 1,000 years old.

Ardoys Vizcanio, #300

No picture here, because he’s a career 1.1 WAR reliever, but how in the HELL does this guy get a star number when Mike Trout gets #20? I’m almost certain Topps spends all their creative energies figuring out ways to disappoint people.

Kurt Suzuki, #27

Joe Musgrove, #219

Jackie Bradley Jr., #245

Photo Mar 07, 10 13 16 PM

At some point (I’m too lazy to fully investigate) Topps stopped placing a coma before the “Jr.” in names. You’ll note it on Ken Griffey, Jr. cards here and here. I prefer the comma for no other reason than I think it places the Jr. designation as more of sub-feature to the name, something that is by tradition dropped when the Sr. passes away. Anyway, this card gives a nice explanation for Bradley’s Jr., which is usually not recognized among ballplayers unless there was a Sr. who also played.

Joey Votto League Leader, #110

Photo Mar 07, 10 13 39 PM

It’s shit like this that keep from trying to put these sets together. I used to LOVE the league leader cards – they always had their own special design and featured a number of top players. As a Brewers team set collector, they were always a nice touch in the binder, a memorial of an exceptional season and a chance to chase cards beyond what the eBay team sets offered. But this crap! What is the point with this? There are THIRTY leader cards in series one this year. This eats up DOZENS of spots that could go to other players. And what did Votto leader the league in? Oh, yeah. Nothing. He was third in NL batting average. Terrific.

Jon Lester, (non) league leader, #163

Daniel Murphy, (non) league leader, #84

Albert Pujols, (non) league leader, #322

Photo Mar 07, 10 13 59 PM

Here’s the backside of a leaders card, if anyone cares. I would would also heartily support updating the leader categories as well. How about stolen bases or OPS+ or WAR? How about youngest and oldest players? That would be fun! Tallest? Fattest? Ugliest? I wholeheartedly support freak show leader cards.

Khris Davis (non) league leader, #291

Photo Mar 07, 10 14 11 PM

THIS is a great example of why the leader cards were so cool in the first place. There was always a weird outlier or two like Krush Davis that sneaked their way into a clutch of All Stars. But it only works if he has a little head shot among theirs. This is just another Khris Davis card. By the way, I totally miss Khris as a Brewer. He’s easily the most fun .240 hitter in baseball.

Corey Dickerson, #165

Jose Peraza, Throwback insert

Photo Mar 07, 10 14 30 PM

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. And I’ll continue to sleep through the remainder of the inserts.

Wilson Ramos, Award Winner insert

Eric Hosmer, Then & Now insert

Photo Mar 07, 10 14 51 PM

More Zs. I do like the idea of a “then and now” as subset, like back in the ’80s. But this… I mean, who cares? Now if you have a then and now of Bartolo Colon, that might be worthwhile.

Kris Bryant, Award Winner insert

Brandon Moss, #89

Justin Smoak, #316

Nomar Mazara, #233

Photo Mar 07, 10 15 18 PM

All of the leaders, inserts, and horizontal cards came bundled together in the sequencing of this pack. Is that typical? Anyway, I haven’t said much about the design of these cards. I actually don’t hate it. It’s bold and bright. They did away with that weird comic-book filter on the photos they’ve used for the past few years and cut way down on the dead space around the photo. I like the back, too, in theory. The elimination of career stats is a travesty and the inclusion of social media tags is gimmicky at best, but they look pretty nice. I might consider trying to put this together.

Chris Hatcher, #325

Trevor Story, #42

Steve Pearce, #169

Jeremy Hellickson, #348

Miami Marlins, #217

Photo Mar 07, 10 15 37 PM

I don’t know what to make of these “TEAM CARDS” anymore. Although it’s a little insulting that they feel the need to tell you it’s a team card – like you wouldn’t otherwise know. Again, this idea could be really cool. With a unique design and some cool stats on the back… it could work. But this just feels so damn lazy: same design as the base and about 100 words on the back. Interestingly, this card does mention the death of Jose Fernandez. A memorial card for Jose would have been a nice touch for the 2017 set, and I suppose it could be yet to come in series 2.

Kyle Schwarber, #73

Adonis Garcia, ##129

Colin Rea, #114

Raisel Inlgasias, #185

Zach Duke, #307

Carson Fulmer, #33

Taijuan Walker, #259

Teoscar Hernandez, #67

Derek Norris, #92

Photo Mar 07, 10 16 05 PM

This is one of the nicest-looking cards in the pack. The colors work, it’s a cool post-action photo and features a great bit of intensity in Norris’s eyes. This one also got me thinking about baseballs. As in, the actual ball. On most cards, you don’t actually see a ball. And it’s pretty rare – on cards from the 90s and onward – that you see a ball that’s not in motion. Someone should study this.