Pack Animal! — 2013 Topps Update

A lot of you consider Topps Update to be SSDW – “Same Stuff, Different Wrapper”.  For others it means updated base cards, different subsets and a couple of different inserts.

…And for bloggers, it means a day of not having to think about what to write… and that made the impromptu, hasty trip to Target completely worthwhile.

For those who haven’t seen these in the store yet, this is what the wrapper looks like.
2013 Topps Update Wrapper
Unfortunately, Matt Harvey here is as close as I got to getting a Met, but I did get some Orioles.

Topps likes to load the Update set with rookie cards, like promising Orioles rookie Henry Urrutia.
2013 Topps Update Henry Urrutia
I’ve seen Urrutia play in AA, I’ve seen him play in the majors, and I’m still not sure how to pronounce his last name. Oo-roo-TEE-ah? Oo-ROO-tee-ah? I certainly can’t count on the Orioles announcers, who never met a Latino whose name they didn’t mangle. I tried going to LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language MLB site, but my meager Spanish knowledge – thanks to a former co-worker I know more “bad words” than anything  – prevented me from navigating the site to find out if there should be accent marks over any part of his last name.

Anyway…

Along with rookie cards, we also have rookie debut cards, which allows Topps to get more Rookie Card logos in there… even though I wouldn’t think that anybody considers these to be rookie cards.
2013 Topps Update Gerrit Cole
The “Rookie Debut” text looks black in this scan, but it’s silver foil.

A new insert also seems to focus on rookies…
2013 Topps Update Franchise Forerunners Miller Gibson

There’s also the usual cluttery subsets of All-Stars and Home Run Derby participants. This card confused me briefly because I didn’t see the All-Star logo on the card, but it gets lost in Darvish’s jersey.
2013 Topps Update Yu Darvish AS

You may have heard that the Update series is introducing 1971 Minis rather than extending the 1972 minis of the regular set.
2013 Topps Update 1971 Mini Stan Musial
I will now officially declare that minis have jumped the shark.

I generally don’t care for minis, but last year’s 1987 minis were OK. This year’s 1972 were “meh”, and when I saw this card I declared it “stupid”.

…Out loud, but it’s OK because I was sitting in my car in the Target parking lot.

Something about these minis just diminishes the 1971 design, one of my favorite designs of the 1970’s… and when 1971 Topps are diminished, aren’t we all diminished a little bit?

Yeah, I don’t like minis.

One last thing I ran across in my packs — there are also traded players!
2013 Topps Update Bud Norris
I know!!!!!

Remember when the set was called the “Traded” set?  Yeah, that was awesome…

So, yeah, that pretty much covers what I found.  I also got a couple of parallels, a “Chasing History” insert and a “Making Their Mark” insert, none of which I deemed worthy of scanning.

I’ll be buying more of this, but as is always the case with Topps Update, I’m really just looking for the base cards that do what the wrapper says they do – update the base set.  I want rookies I don’t already have, I want players in new uniforms. I can do without the clutter, except when its for a player I collect.

Using My Fantasy Team As An Excuse To Make Customs

I had a really good season in my points league;  I wish I could tell you that I won, but I didn’t.  Had a “knock ’em out, drag ’em out” fight with another team and I lost by 14 points… Just to make clear how razor-thin this margin is, the actual totals from the league was 8,187 to 8,173… Close enough to give me thoughts like “If I hadn’t started Ricky Nolasco when he got shelled, I would’ve won…”

Once again, done dirty by the Dodgers.

As a way to begin wrapping up my 2013 TSR set, and as a way to pay tribute to this almost-team, I present customs of some of my better fantasy players.

We’ll start with my #1 pick (3rd overall), your MVP and mine, Miguel Cabrera!

Cabrera lead the majors in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and was second to Chris Davis in homers and RBI.
2013 TSR #700 - Miguel Cabrera
Not surprisingly, Cabrera earned the most points of any position player on my team. It is nice for a #1 pick to actually pan out.

Joey Votto batted .304/24/73, lead the majors with 135 walks and was second in MLB in on-base percentage.
2013 TSR #720 - Joey Votto

Dustin Pedroia was tied with Cabrera for 2nd in the A.L. in hits. He batted .301/9/84.
2013 TSR #730 - Dustin Pedroia

Yu Darvish went 13-9, 2.83 and was the ace of my virtual rotation – at least in terms of total points earned.  He lead the Majors in K’s and was second to Jose Fernandez in batting-average-against.
2013 TSR #742 - Yu Darvish

I will be back with more customs before I’m through;  if nothing else, I intend to get at least one custom for every team, and I’m not there yet.

2012 TSR Custom Preview #2: Whirling Darvish… or… “The Facts Of Life” are all about Yu

My goal with these customs is to create a sort of lost classic Topps set;  something they’d put out today if they hadn’t gotten all foil-y and glossy in the 1990’s.  A design that’s simple, colorful, appealing, easy to reuse and within the ability of an amateur pixel pusher… Something which could be adapted for subsets and horizontal cards…  Something I would like to have in my card albums, because many of them WILL be in my card albums.

Since I won’t likely have a Yu Darvish card until Topps Series 2 comes out, this one will most likely get printed off.  I guess that makes it a 1/1 shortprint.

While making the final tweaks for this set, I realized that these customs unintentionally draw upon elements of other card sets.    The font and parallelogram theme is similar to 1990 Topps, the stripe-y extension of the player and team name are very similar to 1982 Topps.

Once again, I’d appreciate any comments you might have.  I’m still tweaking these cards, and it seems like every time I look at them, I think “What if I did this…”  Right now I’m thinking I should’ve done something with that dark background…