Monday, October 26, 2015

A Long Season, and Musings on Update

I received a bit of a shock last Wednesday. We had just finished lunch and were about to head to the zoo, but first my daughter ran out to the mailbox to retrieve the junk mail (that seems to be all we get on Wednesday's). She came back in and let me know there was a package for me. The only thing I could think of it being was either a trade package or the Braves Topps Update team set I had just bought a few days before. And with the release date supposedly being that same day, it couldn't possibly be that, right?

Turns out it was the Topps Update team set that I had just ordered off of the 'Bay on Sunday. To say that I was surprised is a bit of an understatement. To get to Idaho on Wednesday from Iowa means the seller had to have shipped it on Monday. And on a product that wasn't supposed to be available until the 21st... Someone got their cards a little earlier than you would think.

Anyway, I wasn't expecting such a large number of Braves in this year's Update set- so when I saw the advanced checklist I was a little disappointed. Normally I would be bummed if there were, say, five or six Braves cards in the set. Eighteen seems a little excessive for any set. Especially when you consider that Series 1 & 2 combined for a total of 24 Braves.

Like so many other collectors, I really don't think we need all the All-Star cards in Update. Player cards. Home Run contest cards. I'm surprised they don't include an All-Star Game Snubs insert set. Let's get back to the N.L. All-Star (or A.L.) reference on the player's base card and be done with it, already. And we really didn't need the reminder of the horribly designed 'pillbox' caps.

Of the 60 players to appear in a game for the Braves this year, 36 were pitchers. And so it's understandable that many of the players donning the A in this year's Update set are those who take the mound.

Brandon Cunniff began his career by setting a Braves record for most appearances to start a career without allowing a hit (4- over four innings). Things could only go downhill from there- and they did, as Brandon would go 2-2 with a 4.63 ERA, 1.400 WHIP and a 1.68 SO/W ratio.

You know it's been a long year for your team when, upon examining the checklist for this year, you say, 'He wasn't a Brave!' I'm speaking of Ross Detwiler (pictured above) and Jason Frasor (below). Fraser only had 6 appearances between July 18 and August 1st, allowing 3 hits and 3 walks over 4.2 innings. Detwiler was horrible: 15.1IP in 24 games with a 7.63 ERA, a 2.348 WHIP, 16 walks to only 13 strikeouts. 

I haven't read many reviews of this product on the blogosphere, yet- but I can't imagine the 'Rookie Combos' being very popular among collectors. Personally, I don't mind split cards. I always had a soft spot for the prospect quad cards of yesteryear. Even if it meant a RC being shared with other players. My only complaint on these is the lack of any kind of vital stats/info (Year drafted, height/weight, career stats, etc) for the players. Instead, we get a paragraph with a little info that we could do without. The Combos work much better horizontally than they would had they been done vertically.

I have to voice my displeasure at what has become the norm the past three flagship releases: cheek-puffing and other facial features. Look through older sets, say 1984, and this isn't a thang. At least, it's not as noticeable. It might have something to do with today's cards having a much closer zoom on the player, where as earlier cards didn't have as many close-ups.

Speaking of all those close-up shots... doesn't anyone at Topps realize that in doing this, all the cards tend to blend together? There's no uniqueness- no diversity whatsoever to their sets anymore. I've mentioned recently that this very well might be the end of me pursuing the flagship team sets. Perhaps I need to add Stadium Club to my annual purchase- they still get that right, photography-wise. Can't we have both a unique design and unique photos? Apparently not.

This year's Update set will be remembered for its strong rookie crop. Correa, Buxton, Lindor, Rodon- among others. Will they live up to their potential? Only time will tell. I'm hoping that Braves rookie starter Matt Wisler (acquired in the Kimbrel trade) will be one of the key rookies from this crop. Matt had his ups and downs his rookie season, but finished strong after a summer swoon. 

You can't see me right now, but I'm still shaking my head as to why Topps felt compelled to include Eric Young Jr. in this set. If you can include players who were added to a team at the trade deadline, then why can't you pull a player such as Young from the checklist? Now, he didn't get sent to the Mets until August 22nd, but he had not been in Atlanta since June 3 and there was no way he was going to come back up to the Braves from Triple-A.

I guess I didn't thoroughly read-up on this product in advance because I had to do a double take when I looked at the back of Jace Peterson's card. 399? What? Doesn't Update contain the same number of cards as the first two series (330 350)? Eleven Hundred cards between 3 sets? Too many damn cards.

1 comment:

  1. AMEN! Too many cards! A set loaded with crap. 300 cards in an update set would be more than enough, imo.