Sunday, October 14, 2012

2012 Topps Update Braves

  "People invest an awful lot emotions in their sports teams-too much, probably, but whatever- and sometimes they get a lot of joy in return, and sometimes the experience just hollows out your innards, and coats the leftovers with bleach, and leave you feeling pale and confused and silent and sad." ~ Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post, after the Nat's lost the NLDS by blowing a 3-run lead in the top of the ninth.

  I can relate to the feelings of Mr. Steinberg. I am, after all, a Braves fan who has grown accustomed to disappointment and failure in the 32 years I have followed the team.

  The past three seasons, in particular, have been a bitter pill to swallow and leads one to believe they are trapped in a time loop. Only in this narrative, the main characters in this story (the players and manager) don't learn from past mistakes and can't change the outcome. I guess the great Shirley Povich was right: about all you can do as a fan is tuck your chin behind your shoulder the next time; and while you might protect yourself from the blows, it still hurts. Written like a true sports fan.

   The way the Braves season ended may have left me feeling incomplete, but with the recent release of 2012 Topps Update, my Braves Topps team set is now complete.

  Once again, Topps has given Braves collectors a large number of players to chase in its end of season product. And while they did a bang-up job on their selections by including Kris Medlen, Ben Sheets, Andrelton Simmons, Chad Durbin, and All-Star cards of Chipper and Kimbrel, I really wished they had included cards of Luis Avilan and Paul Janish. Both players were important pieces to this year's club-Avilan was a big surprise in the bullpen, and Janish filled in admirably for Simmons after the rookie shortstop went down with a broken finger. Avilan and Janish should make the club next spring, so perhaps they will be included in next year's product.
   As far as inserts, it's pretty much the same old-same old-with the "Golden" theme appearing again. Smoltz and Spahn are included in the Golden Greats series, while Tyler Pastornicky is included with an auto (sticker) Golden Moments. And yes, the mini's are back-this time with only the three Braves pictured above.
  What would a Topps set be without the Short Print variations? And yes, they sucked me into the hype by including Craig Kimbrel and Chipper Jones (of which I am awaiting shipment).

  The one insert I was expecting in my purchase, but did not receive, is a Blockbusters card featuring John Smoltz. Since the Smoltz/Alexander deal was probably the most important in franchise history, the card is a must have for any Braves fan/collector. There's also a parallel set of the Blockbusters which features manufactured embroidered patches. While it's not on my 'must have' list, the embroidered patch is one which will probably find its way into my collection.

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