UPDATE: I Found Update… 2018 Topps Update, That Is

I wasn’t even looking for 2018 Topps Update… and in my ready-for-the-weekend state I almost didn’t notice Update sitting there on the shelves.  My brain only registered them as “packs of Topps” until I went to move one box of wax packs to see what was behind it and I finally realized that the wax packs were ones I hadn’t seen before. That’s when it finally dawned on me that these were Update packs, on the shelves ahead of Monday’s official release date.

Topps would’ve loved to watch me last night, because I found the different pack configurations in ascending price order and kept upselling myself.  “Wait a minute, these are packs of Update!  I have to get some of these and – Wait, they also have fat packs, I may as well get — hey, hangers!  I’ll buy one… no two… since they don’t have any blas— Wow, they have blasters!”

So I bought a blaster… and in the blasters are special Jackie Robinson Day commemorative patch cards.  I’m generally not one for cards like this, but I have to admit, this is a nice-looking card… it looks nicer in person than in this scan.

My scanner kinda sucks, but sometimes in its washing-out of scanned images I see things I didn’t see on the original card.  The “Jackie Robinson Day” text behind Freeman is waaaay more visible in the scan than on the card.  I didn’t even see it until I was doing some tweaking of the scan in my photo editing software.

So, it’s Topps Update, and the general purpose of this – if you ask a collector, anyway – is to update Series 1 and Series 2… And it does provide us with updates.

Jonathan Schoop was traded on July 31st and, sadly, went from one of the Orioles better players to being a benchwarmer on the Brewers (although that wasn’t the Brewers intent up front).  Schoop’s appeared in just 3 postseason games this year and has yet to get on base in 11 plate appearances.  Nobody would’ve guessed this up front, but this trade would’ve been an O’s win if it were just Schoop for Jonathan Villar… but the O’s also got two minor leaguers.

Anyway…

Update also has, of course, rookie cards…. and rookie cards… and rookie cards… and “rookie cards”.

Ryan Yarbrough quietly won 16 games for the Rays this year. The fact that he started just 6 games is part of the stealthiness of his accomplishment.  In many games he entered in the early innings thanks to the Rays’ unusual handling of the pitching staff and starting rotation.

I had to double-check that this Miles Mikolas card is, in fact, a rookie card (and, somewhat surprisingly, it is).

Mikolas used up his rookie eligibility in 2012 when he appeared in 25 games with the Padres.  He also pitched in 2013 and 2014 before going to Japan where he refined his game.  After three years with the Yomiuri Giants he came back stateside and won 18 games to lead the National League.  In terms of baseball cards, however, he only appeared in minor league team sets before his Japanese rookie cards in 2014.

There are also “Rookie Combo” cards.

I was wondering how they would handle these given the 2018 flagship design;  the result is kind of interesting with the overlapping borderless photos and the duelling “waterslides” on the left and the right.  Unfortunately, the waterslides also make the text looking like “IREVOR OAKS” and “ERIC STOUI”.

If you like stats on your rookie cards, you’re plumb outta luck when it comes to Rookie Combos.

Ronald Acuña’s rookie card was in Series 2, so Update has a “Rookie Debut” for Acuña.

I had a few other base cards I wanted to feature before getting to the inserts…

Has this weird Craig Kimbrel posturing/posing been featured on a card before?  If not, then it’s about freakin’ time.  Every time he does this, I think “What the heck is that supposed to be???”

I liked this Cameron Maybin photo… almost Stadium Club-esque.

A cameo only a Mets or Cardinals fan would appreciate:  It’s JOSE OQUENDO!!!!    …oh, and, um, Tyler O’Neill.

There are a fair number of shout-y cards in this set.  I don’t like shout-y cards.  I get my fill of shout-y people on Twitter (Shameless Tweety plug:  @shlabotnikreport)

This was the first All-Star card I pulled and between the waterslide and the “gleam” effect and the darkness of this card (again, my scanner washes things out a bit), I really had to squint and magnify to work out that that logo is, in fact, the 2018 All-Star Game logo.

This card made me think of Julie from A Cracked Bat… A Detroit Tiger wearing the “tools of ignorance”… Julie herself could not have picked a more Julie-friendly photo if she tried.

For my fellow Mets fans, I want to include two Mets (although one is in disguise).

I was surprised, and pleased, to find Devin Mesoraco in one of my packs.

The trade of Mesoraco for Matt Harvey went from “exchanging problems” to actually kinda working for both teams.

Because he’s in the set as a Diamondback, I’d completely missed Jack Reinheimer’s name when I did my “wantlist” scan of the Update checklist.

This is actually an odd choice, now that I think about it.  Reinheimer appeared in only 2 games last year and had yet to appear in the Majors this year before being claimed on waivers by the Mets on July 31st.  After that he appeared in 21 games, but that was with the Mets, not the D-Backs.  I like Reinheimer – I’m instinctually drawn to a guy who has played for two teams and has never worn a number lower than 72 – but I’ll freely admit that nobody is going to get rich off of Jack Reinheimer rookie cards.

OK, enough with the base cards… Let’s get on to the insert cards which are new to Update.

Here’s a Jose Altuve from the “An International Affair” insert.

FYI, the dark text in the lower right is all silver foil.

Other than highlighting foreign-born players (and, of course, providing an excuse for an insert set), I’m not clear on what this insert set is about.  The back of the card mentions that Altuve’s from Venezuela, he played in the WBC for Venezuela and he does kind things for children in Venezuela.  So… Venezuela?

I pulled two “Don’t Blink” inserts.  Bo Jackson’s looks pretty cool.  The other card didn’t look anywhere near as cool.  Natually this insert set features players who are fast.

“Don’t Blink” makes me think of a very cool episode “10th Doctor” episode of Doctor Who… as well as the far inferior follow-ups featuring the Weeping Angels.  Should’ve left well enough alone, Steven Moffat.

I also, in my head, hear Gwen Stefani singing “Don’t blink… I know what you’re saying… So please stop explaining… Don’t tell ’cause it hurts…” (And yes, I know it’s “Don’t Speak” and I realize it’s a No Doubt song).

Storybook Endings highlights the final season of HOFers like Ted Williams.

“1960” and “Ted Williams” is in silver foil.

The blaster box gives the impression that “Postseason Prominence” is a Target exclusive.  The text at the bottom is gold foil, BTW.

One final insert and one final Target exclusive:  BRYCE HARPER!  Who doesn’t love Bryce Harper?  Yeah, me neither.  You can all put your hands down.

I do like the pseudo-presidential look about the card… almost “West Wing” like.  Now if the set included Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg, I might be interested in these inserts.

I still haven’t opened the last two packs of the blaster, I’m saving those for later… So I don’t know for sure that this blaster was largely hit-free, but it’s not looking good so far.

On the whole, it’s Topps Update.  I appreciate the updated players.  I enjoy replacing the hand-written placeholders in my Current Rosters binders with actual cards of Kirby Yates and the awesomely-named Isiah Kiner-Falefa (with the equally awesome position listing of 3B/2B/C).  The All-Star and Home Run Derby cards are largely checklist clutter, and I can take or leave most of the inserts. All in all, I don’t regret my purchase and will likely buy some packs here and there, and backfill with commons later on.