How it pretty much went for me:
Topps is coming out with a physical version of their Bunt app? Yaaaaaawwwwwwwwwnnnnn.
Topps is coming out with a set that sells for $1 a pack, isn’t Opening Day and isn’t hideous? OK, tell me more…
2016 has been an unusual collecting year for me, to say the least. Here we are in August and my collection contains just 134 cards from 2016 Topps. That’s unprecedented for me. The only post-1968 Topps set in my collection which takes up less space is 1997 Topps, which has been purged down to 91 cards (but at one point was something like 200). I always had it in the back of my mind that I would, at some point, raid a dimebox to fill out my 2016 Topps set, but I haven’t been to a show or card store since 2015, so that kind of screwed up my plans.
Not buying packs of a major flagship set left a big vacuum for me.
So even though I knew that Bunt wouldn’t be THE ANSWER to my 2016 malaise, it at least piqued my interest… especially as it was, as I’d mentioned, a cheap yet non-hideous set. As someone tired of the lottery mentality of the hobby, it’s nice to be able to pay a buck a pack for something that is MLB-licensed and isn’t Opening Day.
I was in my Friendly Neighborhood Target Store the other day, and they had both loose packs and blasters of Topps Bunt. I was originally going to buy just a pack or two, but I was encouraged after seeing images and seeing some relatively positive reviews on other blogs… So I went crazy and shelled out $10 for 10 packs plus the ever-amusing “bonus pack”.
I opened the fist pack and saw the back of a Met card – David Wright. That’s a good sign (for this Mets fan, anyway).
As long as I’m showing the back, I will start with my biggest complaint about this set, and work my way up from there. Why on God’s good Earth would anybody have so much available real estate on the back of the card, and yet have such a relatively tiny card number? Bigger fonts are not more expensive, people, give us visually-challenged people a freakin’ break!
OK, that’s my biggest kvetch which applies to this set. Movin’ on, here’s the first card front I saw…
Not bad. Simple, somewhat appealing design. Less is more. Nobody’s trying to beat us over the head with design elements like (ahem) certain companies we’re all familiar with.
For the most part, the photos aren’t the most exciting you’ll see, but they’re cropped tightly enough that you can see the player’s faces while showing enough of the player to convey a sense of action.
This one is possibly my favorite out of the 5 or 6 packs I opened.
I suppose I should also show the front of the David Wright…
I appreciate the fact that this set is relatively straightforward. I don’t believe that there are any variations, just parallels and inserts. What you see is what you get.
Out of the packs I’ve opened, I pulled a pair of inserts.
This one is a “Program” insert….It’s not bad, but I think “Scorecard” would’ve been a much better name. “Program” has too many meanings and doesn’t convey the idea of a ballpark publication like “Scorecard”.
I like the concept of “Unique Unis”, but…
…Can’t we just pretend that these “Turn Ahead The Clock” uniforms never existed?
One thing I’m not wild about is the presence of retired players in a small-ish set like this.
…And this isn’t the best card to illustrate my point; I don’t mind getting Hank Aaron so much. What I really don’t want is another Chipper Jones card, and if I’m going to pull Don Mattingly he’d better be in a Marlins cap and have him listed on the card as a manager. I’d rather get a card of Odubel Herrera or Jonathan Villar (just to pick two guys who aren’t in the set) rather than the usual gang of Topps “legends”. By my count, there are 43 retired players out of the 200 cards in the set.
Good news for Braves fans: There are five Braves in the Bunt base set.
Bad news for Braves fans: Freddie Freeman is the only active Brave in the Bunt base set.
One last base card before I start to wrap up…
On the whole, I like this set. Maybe it’ll be like 2011 Lineage, which I liked at the time and later looked back and wondered why I liked it, but I frankly just like the idea of a cheap set that isn’t Opening Day.
That being said, I would like to see the following changes:
- A bigger base set… At least 300 cards.
- No retired players in the base set. We get enough of that in Archives and through various inserts and variations.
- Bigger fonts on the back, especially for the card number.
- A release date earlier in the year.
I broke the base checklist down by team and there are no surprises here… Red Sox (14 cards), Yankees (12), Mets & Rangers (11), Cubs (10), Dodgers, Giants & Cardinals (9), Reds & Royals (8), Rockies (7), Orioles, Indians, Astros, Twins, Pirates, Mariners, Blue Jays and Nationals (6), Braves, White Sox, Tigers, Marlins and Athletics (5), D-Backs and Padres (4), Brewers and Rays (3), Angels and Phillies (2) and Expos (1).
So to wrap up…
Is it one of the best sets of the year? Will I be attempting to build a set? No and no.
Will it’s appeal quickly fade? Will it show up in repacks in 2017? Possibly and probably.
Is the base set largely made up of the same active and retired players you’ve seen in every other 2016 Topps set? Pretty much.
Do I regret buying the blaster? Nope.