The Admiral and The Worm

Since the start of August Topps has released previews for six of their 2014 Baseball card products. I spent a few minutes last night looking over the sell sheets and reviewing what I’d written about them, and all I got was an overwhelming feeling of “Meh”!!

Been there, done that!!

There was nothing that really jumped out at me as new or innovative. Nothing that showcased Topps really ‘pushing the boat out’ in terms of new ideas or designs! With the exception of Heritage, each product looks pretty much the same as what we’ve been treated to these past two years, but with a bit of spit and polish and a couple of new inserts thrown in to ‘spice’ things up a bit! I exclude Heritage here because it’s the one product that you can rely on to change it’s base design with each release, although there aren’t often any huge surprises around its other content!

Maybe this is what Topps’ long-term plan is – to solidify their card product lines over the coming years by giving us pretty much the same thing year after year with a few add-ons around the edges to fool us into thinking that it’s different enough from the previous release that we’ll go out and buy it.

With the exception of whatever plans they have for their Football (Soccer) licenses, Topps really isn’t getting me that excited or invested in the future of their Baseball card lines. There are certain aspects of each new product that do stand out, that I do like the look of, but I find myself interested more and more in seeing what retro-themed release Panini has up its sleeve, like Panini Cooperstown or National Treasures.

So it’s at times like these that I get all retrospective, and start thinking back to the early days of my sports card obsession. As regular readers will know that started with Basketball cards in the very late 80’s and into most of the 90’s! This period in my life was brought home recently when I unearthed these two rookie cards – the last remnants of my old Basketball collecting days –

BK_Robinson BK_Rodman

It’s at times like these, while I’m wallowing under the general malaise and apathy brought on by my waning interest in the immediate future of Baseball card products, that I start to hanker back to those old Basketball card days.

I often think that I’d love to take another stab at building a collection from that era, especially with the resources that are available to us now that weren’t around back then – eBay, COMC, Collector Rev. To this day I still don’t know how I managed to build a 100+ collection of Jason Kidd cards, given how difficult it was to gain access to the cards over here in the UK in the first place!

There are a number of players from back then that I’d jump at the chance to build PCs of – Karl Malone, John Stockton, Dennis Rodman, Grant Hill, Eddie Jones, to name just a few – and now that a veritable ocean of these cards are available from the various online sources I mentioned above, the opportunity is even more enticing!

How does everyone else out there feel about the current state of Topps Baseball products? Does anyone else think that there’s a certain ‘staleness’ to what’s being released at the moment and what’s just around the corner? Or do you think that things are moving along nicely and all is good?

I can appreciate that there’s a tendency for us — ahem — older collectors to take these nostalgia trips every once in awhile, but if the future of collecting isn’t looking that exciting anymore, what other way is there to go?

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