I opened the first jumbo pack of Topps 2013 Series 1 this morning. Unfortunately, there were no hits and/or short prints, like there was with my first packs of 2011 and 2012. Maybe all the good stuff is yet to come. At any rate, I'm posting my initial thoughts on 2013 in this post, then I'm going to go and see what else I got.
I'm not sold on the white backgrounds at the bottom of the card that bleed into the white borders. They give the cards a kind of unfinished look. It's hard to put my finger on it, but it just seems like the cards need a defined boundary. Baseball is such a game about lines, that to see baseball cards without them is somewhat unsettling.
The "Career Chase" blurb on the back of the cards is, frankly, stupid. It's dumb because it's meaningless. Why put that "with 28 wins, Daniel Hudson is 483 away from Cy Young's record of 511." when everybody in the world knows that Hudson (or anybody) is never going to break that record. How about relatively meaningful stats like "Hudson is 72 wins away from 100 for his career" or maybe team records. Don't put that Ryan Howard needs 462 home runs to break Bonds's record - I can subtract 300 from 762 myself, and besides, Howard is not even halfway there and he's already washed up. The Career Chase is a completely useless feature that didn't have to be.
Okay, on for something I do like; specifically, for the first 60 or so cards (which the exception of Bryce Harper and card #1), Topps has assigned the card number to a person who wears that uniform number (although why they didn't give Mo Rivera card #42 is anyone's guess). That's a nice touch. Boo, however, for not issuing a Mickey Mantle card this year, while still keeping card #7 "retired", thus creating a big hole on the first page of the binder. Seriously, Topps, it's time to drop that stupid gimmick. If the Marlins can un-retire jersey #5, you can un-retire card #7. Hell, give it to a Yankee every time if you must. I can live with that.
The Three Stars of the pack:
3. Dustin Ackley batting. I'm a sucker for those shots taken a millisecond after the ball leaves the bat.
2. Adam Jones diving. As a coach, I appreciate defensive fundamentals, such as a fielder following the ball all the way into his glove.
1. Dee Gordon turning the double play. An otherwise routine defensive play made remarkable by the stunning presence of Brandon Moss's green-and-gold uniform in the foreground.
Here's Jose Reyes in an airbrushed Blue Jays uniform...
...and here's Heath Bell in an airbrushed Diamondbacks uniform
I'm not holding my breath to see Shin-Soo Choo in an airbrushed Reds uniform, but it would be nice if Topps held his card back to Series 2 so we didn't have to see him in Indians threads.
(Update: I just looked at the checklist. Choo is card #17 because he wears #17. Damn.)
No great insert cards of note. The most impressive was an Adam Jones die-cut card. Since I'm only planning on collecting four of the cards from that set, to get one that I needed straight away was a nice start. I also got a Bryce Harper insert card, which is good, I guess.
I don't plan on posting any more about Series 1 until I finish the whole box, and then I'll recap. Until that time, I'll be doing more baseball-related posts instead of card posts. I did have a major eBay purchase yesterday that I'll be sure to blog about once it arrives.