Okay - so, that might be a tad bit hyperbolic. After all, 2017 Topps was officially released this past Tuesday and I got my hands on a sampling on Friday - in the grand scheme of things, that's not a very long time. However, in the interim, watching blogger after blogger showing off their first cards of the new year got me more and more envious. By the time my local Target got the goods out on their shelves, a few days later, it felt more like a month than three days.
So, when I saw this in front of me last night, I felt like doing a little jig in the aisle:
Thankfully, I came to my senses before I got all Footloose. Plus, I wasn't wearing my boogie shoes, anyway.
Without any hesitation, I grabbed myself my annual 72-card count, hanger pack (or whatever you want to call it), made my way to the checkout, and drove home in my Chevy Blazer, brimming with anticipation. New card season feels like the Christmas season did when I was eight years old, even if the new design didn't really get me excited.
There we have it, a honest-to-goodness box of 2017 Topps, with cover boy Kris Bryant gracing it's packaging. I may be a bonafide Cubs homer, but I think putting "Sparkles" on there was an excellent choice.
Now, I'm hardly the first blogger to show off their initial sampling and thoughts on the new Topps release, so I'll try to keep this brief. But, I feel a touch obligated to show off my first experience with the latest Flagship product, no matter how what. I think there's something in the blogging bylaws about that...
Without any further ado, it's time to tear into this baby:
And the first card of 2017 is... Rubby De La Rosa. Well, that's not too exciting, but hey, we're off and running!
And the first Cub of 2017 is... World Series MVP, Ben Zobrist, turning a slick double play! That's more like it!
Some quick thoughts on this year's design. First, it does look quite reminiscent of TV broadcast graphics, but I don't hate that - maybe it's because I studied broadcasting in college and even did some work in the television field. However, I will say that the "lower third" display takes up far too much space and intrudes upon the photography.
As for the much ballyhooed backsides, where we loose the career stats for the sake of adding social media branding. I don't love this, but I don't hate it either. We constantly gripe about trying to get kids back in the hobby and, well, this is an obvious attempt to do so. That's what the kids care about, these days. I'd say that the team color-coded backs make up for that disappointment, at least in my humble opinion. The more colors, the better.
A couple of other base cards, featuring surprise World Series hero, Kyle Schwarber and 18-game winner Jake Arrieta. On the latter, "Jake the Snake" tied for third in NL wins, earning him a spot in the "League Leaders" subset, which has been expanded from multi-player cards individuals for the top three in each category, this year. I'm all about this - as a team collector, I like my Cubs cards to be purely Cubs cards.
World Series highlight cards are back and what a perfect year it is for them to make their grand return! Pulling this celebratory image from the Game 7 victory definitely brought a smile to my face. I still can't believe that they actually did it - it's surreal. Good things cards like this exist to prove it.
As for the inserts, I was lucky enough to pull a couple of Cubbies, as well. Kris Bryant appears in the Award Winners set for his selection as the NL's Most Valuable Player. Far more so than the base cards, these inserts suffer from over-the-top, TV graphic syndrome.
Also, Jake Arrieta hot box! My 1987 30th Anniversary insert, which I believe came one to each hanger, just so happened to be a Cub. Hot dog! The borders are pretty washed out in this scan, but they did a good job replicating this design (well, they should be good at it by now, right?), except for the fact that the logo is too small and there shouldn't be any, let alone that much, white space in that bubble.
See what I mean? Otherwise, though, the miming is pretty faithful. Also, the stamp is a welcome addition, differentiating the insert from the countless other '87 replications Topps has flooded the market with.
Anyway, that did it for the Cubs content. What about the rest of the contents?
Here are the other three Award winners that accompanied Mr. Bryant. I see my streak of pulling Corey Seager cards is still alive and well. Good thing there are a couple of Dodger bloggers on the internet.
My "Bowman Then & Now" also happened to be a guy that I should have no trouble finding a home for. I have to say, while this might be a bit of shameless self promotion for their Bowman brand, I think these are pretty cool. It's always fun to see how far are stars of today have come.
A couple of parallels in Edinson Volquez and Jose Bautista. I have to say, this year's design is much more conducive to colored parallels than last year's "fishing net" patterns were. Bautista is a gold parallel while Volquez looks straight up blue, it's actually a rainbow foil parallel. Tricky.
This may look like a reprint of a card from 2012 (how exciting, right?); but, there's actually less than meets the eye:
A look at the back reveals that this isn't even really a card, it's an advertisement with a picture of a card on front. While this may seem lame, at least it does add a teeny, tiny bit of collector value to what would otherwise be an easily disposed of bit of advertising copy. I mean, I know I consider this to be a Mike Trout card, even if it technically isn't a card, per se.
That did it for the insert portion of the hanger box, However, I wanted to take this opporunity to show off some examples of the awesome photography that is present throughout the base set:
Good, ol' "Lightening Butt" Ellsbury makes a "shocking" catch in the outfield as Jose DeLeon, now of the Tampa Bay Rays, celebrates so intensely that he actually, accidentally craps his pants on the mound.
Maybe I was being a little facetious there - the photography isn't world-beating in 2017 Topps, but it isn't bad either. Also, maybe it's just me, but the images don't seem as over-enhanced and Photoshopped as they did in the 2016 edition.
With that, we've exhausted my first sampling of 2017 Topps, Series One. I got a fair amount of Cubs out of the experience, so I'm a happy camper. Overall, I'd say that while I'm not a huge fan of this year's design, I would say that I like it a lot better than I did last year's template. Again, I just wish that the "lower third" graphic didn't take up so much of the 2.5"x 3.5" space.
How do you feel about it? Make your opinions known, in the comment section below.
Regardless of how I feel about the design, I will always be excited about the new Flagship set hitting store shelves. There's just something about opening up that first pack of cards that screams baseball to me. Not to mention, it's a nice reminder that spring training is right around the corner and baseball season will be ramping up, any day now. With that in mind...
THE NEW BASEBALL CARDS ARE HERE!!!