Saturday, May 25, 2019

Another Wave of Total

Just a few days ago, the third wave of Topps' reviled reboot of Total hit the web.  Without getting too deep into the weeds, the problem most of us collectors had with the return of the mid-00's, comprehensive beast had to do with the egregious price point ($10 a pack 😙) and it's online-only availability.  With all the clamoring certain segments of the blogosphere did for the return of Total, turning our beloved, bottom-shelf brand into a premium privilege felt like a crisp slap to the face.  Then, after the release, things managed to get even worse.

For as much as we are asked to spend on Total ($1 per card), it seems reasonable to expect a certain quality from the product.  The only thing is, when the cards started to show up in mailboxes, they've come with the QC one might expect from children's flash cards.  In verious openings, it became apparent the cards weren't very durable, with the gloss easily separating from the rest of the card. cards dinged up worse than a Vladdy Jr. autograph, and scuff marks dotting the surface of many pieces.  All in all, the whole thing quickly became a "Total" letdown.

However, I'm not going to lie and say I'm not a hypocrite - I'll certainly be tracking down soome singles on the secondhand market.  After all, within the first two waves, both Daniel Descalso and Allen Webster made it onto their very first Cubs cards thanks to this product.  I just wish I didn't have to depend on Ebay listings to come across them at reasonable prices and in a decent condition.  But, that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

Anyway, the third wave of Total was recently announced and the Cubs quotient included three players who have already seen representation in other products - Jose Quintana, Mark Zagunis and Tyler Chatwood.  Sure, they're not overly common names to see in Topps products, but they are already covered in my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection.  That being said, coincidentally, the latest wave of my own version of Topps Total has just hit the market too and it's checklist digs a bit deeper.

As a reminder, I make these Total customs for each player who debuts in a Cubs uniform AND doesn't already have a Cubs card on the market - Bowman included.

First, we have a pair of LOOGY's who have made their Cubs debuts since I released my first wave of Wrigley Roster Jenga-edition Total.  So far, Collins has been good in very limited duty while riding the Iowa-to-Chicago shuttle (one run allowed in 3.1 innings of work).  In fact, his phone just rang again, as he comes up from AAA to provide a little more reinforcement to a beleaguered and ineffective bullpen.  Meanwhile, Xavier Cedeno, one of the few MLB signings made over the off-season to fix the crummy pen has been hurt, bad, and now hurt again.  Did I mention the relief corps is terrible?

Rowan Wick is yet another fungible reliever who has bounced between Des Moines and the Windy City.  Of course, his Big League action had been limited to a single game's worth of mop-up duty.  The catching convert has a live arm and minor league options remaining; so, it's almost certain that we'll be seeing him again in Wrigley Field this season.

Closing out this round is a retooling of a card released in my previous wave.  Brad Brach has been leaned on heavily so far in 2019, with his addition representing the only high-profile signing to the MLB pitching staff.  He's been fine... useful but unspectacular (1.734 WHIP).  However, I wasn't happy with the image that I used on his first card; thus, since I'm the grand poobah of this project, I decided to call for a mulligan.

The original is lined up on the left, while the updated copy sits on the right.  Which do you think is more appealing to the eye?

And with that, the Total project has been officially been brought up to date.  However, I sure wouldn't mind it if another roster move occurred at some point in the near future... maybe sign Craig Kimbrel to fix this dumpster fire of a bullpen?  Can we finally fire Addison Russell into the sun and call up Dixon Machado, who has been absolutely tearing up the Pacific Coast League?  I'd be more than happy to re-fire Photoshop and get going on Wave Four of WRJ Total.

Has anyone out there in the blogging world purchased any of the real stuff since it debuted earlier this spring?  Has the quality of your ripping experience been as poor as it's been made out to be on social media?  Have you bought total straight from Topps or did you do what I plan on doing and go through a third party?  Do you regret your purchase or are you pleased with your experience?  Please feel free to weigh-in on the topic in the comment section below.

In the meantime, at least Total is back, in some capacity.  That is certainly a positive, no matter what mitigating circumstances surround the return.


  1. That Wick is just a defense mechanism so you don't have to add his STL era Bowman isn't it?

  2. I think I read two blogs featuring boxes of Topps Total. Padrographs was one of them... but can't remember the other. Although I'm not the biggest fan of this product, I'm sad to hear the parallel are already peeling. That's one of those everyone loses situations.

  3. Great post.
    Yes, fire Russell into the sun and bring up Dixon Machado.
    So bummed about Total. But I'll still be on the lookout for a Vogelmonster from wave 3.
    Craig Kimbrel? Yes, please!