“It’s not as bad as I expected.”
That was my reaction when I finally – FINALLY!!!! – found a pack of 2014 Topps in one of my local Targets and was able to spend some time with the actual cards. The preview images that Topps had tweeted back in August did not paint a pretty picture for me, and started me thinking “factory set”.
Since this set has a “wave” motif of questionable appeal, I’d started to think of it as the “Seasick” set. I have several other thoughts of what the design reminds me of, but I’ll save it for the end of the post.
So, what do I think about the set?
It would be better without the foil… Use a team color for the big foil wave on the front. I also think the “Future Stars” graphic (on the Starling Marte card above) would look better in color, maybe like the rainbow graphic from the 1987 Topps cards.
The design works far better as a horizontal card.
Landscape mode minimizes the weird tab on the side and allows the wave to stretch out a bit and show a bit of the team color wavelets behind the foil wave.
I do like the fact that the design takes up a small amount of “real estate” on the cards, and allows the photo to dominate.
I like the fact that they’re not afraid of tight crops on the photos, giving us action while – NOVEL CONCEPT ALERT! – allowing us to see what the player looks like.
I like that they’ve got the player’s position on the front, even if it is easily overlooked.
I and my middle-aged eyes most decidedly do NOT like the small card number on the back.
Sorting through stacks of these cards is a job best left for you young whippersnappers.
Back in the day I used to like the League Leader cards, but ever since they’ve switched to the “three action shots on a horizontal card” format, I’d just as soon they leave it out. It just doesn’t work.
That being said, the aforementioned tight cropping does a lot to improve a bad situation.
I am very thankful that I got a Met, and especially that it is Matt Harvey.
I do not like that I had to carefully examine the Hamilton, Goldschmidt and Harvey cards to see if they were “Sparkle” variations. Seriously, “Sparkle” variations is one of the most dumb-ass gimmicks that Topps has pulled recently. Who the BLEEEEEEEEEP BLEEEEEP cares if Matt Harvey’s glove sparkles? And why would it sparkle in the first place?
Here’s my one insert:
…There are four ways of doing things on the field: The right way, the wrong way, the Dodger way, and my way. They do things my way, and we’ll get along.
Oh, wait, that’s not Puig, that’s Queeg.
Before I got this pack, the plan was to relegate 2014 Topps to a factory or hand-collated set, and instead focus my new card efforts on Heritage… and I’ve noticed a lot of other bloggers sharing the same intentions.
Now that I’ve seen the cards in person, that plan is not as cast-in-stone as it had been, but given all the stupid inserts that I’d be dealing with, it’s probably just as well to avoid them entirely. At any rate, it’s not like I have to make a decision right away.
So what were the other things that the 2014 Topps design made me think of?
For starters, it made me wonder if the head graphic artist behind this wave had one of these jerseys as a kid:
1995-96 Zenith #45 – Kirk Muller – Courtesy of COMC.com
…or perhaps was a fan of the helmets used by the Boston/New Orleans Breakers of the USFL…
1984 Topps USFL #77 – Marcus Marek – Courtesy of COMC.com
…or was a “Cokeologist” who preferred the taste of New Coke over Pepsi.
Catch the wave!
No matter, what’s done is done.
In years past, I might’ve been thinking “Let’s see what the other sets look like when they come out”, but thanks to Topps’ monopoly, I have but one thing to say.
When does Heritage come out?