I don't know what happened with me and Topps Update. Update used to be the most fascinating product outside of the first cards pulled from Topps flagship. But that was back when it was called Topps "Traded" and I don't think there's any going back.
This is probably more about me than the actual product, but let's review why Update and I have had a falling out:
a) I don't find it interesting anymore.
b) I don't know who these people are anymore
c) It seems to be more about new players, rookies and all-stars than what it once was: guys traded to new teams
d) so much extra crap in the set that doesn't need to be there. But I've written about that before.
Still we'll address each in painful detail:
A) Years ago, like during the first few sets of Update/Traded in the 1980s, the Update cards were the most mind-blowing cards ever. I've also written about this before, but here's an example of a card from the glory years of Update/Traded:
Look at that.
For almost the entire year of 1982, if you pulled a Fergie Jenkins card out of a Topps pack, Fergie was a Texas Ranger. He had been a Texas Ranger for four years. He was a Texas Ranger in Donruss and Fleer, too.
There's a good chance that if you collected in 1982 that you pulled the Topps Jenkins Texas Ranger card several times that year, too. And then ... AND THEN ... to find a card that looked just like the one you had been pulling all year, except that Jenkins was now a CUB with the Topps Cub pink and blue colors for 1982, well, that was an excuse to run around and show that card to the entire neighborhood.
And, of course, there was the back:
Every 1982 Topps card back was dark green, so you can imagine how many eyeballs were fried when collectors turned the card around and saw this beauty.
So, I guess what I'm saying here is that the Topps base set and the Update set are too similar in the way they look. Change it up a little! And I don't mean add even more All-Star cards (good gravy there are already too many), I mean make the back different or make the foil logo on the front say "Topps Update" or something. It's too much of the same.
B and C) Who are these guys?
This probably has to do with the fact that I don't pay as close attention to the players as I did in the '80s (the fact that there are more players than ever before doesn't help), but when I opened Traded/Update sets back then, I knew most of the players in the set. There were a lot of established players who had changed teams in the set.
Now we have this:
I don't know who he is.
It turns out he started 10 games for the Pirates this year. But unless he's in the league and pitching regularly for the next four years, he will quickly evaporate into the ether in terms of my "baseball knowledge".
After looking through the cards I pulled in a pack of Update (this is a pack break post, didn't you know?), I realize that -- yes -- this is my issue, not Update's. I just don't follow baseball closely enough to get excited about Update anymore. This is a set for big-time followers, people who check every boxscore each day, who get updates throughout the day, who don't care that there appears to be 1,500 people who play major league baseball each year now, etc.
But I don't do that anymore. No time.
D) Weeeeee, filler!
Nothing irks me quite like filler. Happy talk at the end of the newscast, movie plots with no point other than to pad the length, food packages filled with air when you open them. Filler is giving the viewer or consumer the impression that there is more to something than there actually is.
Welcome to Update.
Why are there Clayton Kershaw cards in Update? He's not a rookie, he wasn't traded, he doesn't need to be there. But he's there because of filler. He's a star, collectors collect him, if Topps wants people to buy Update then they need stars in the product, whether they were traded or not.
I wish I could tell you if there was a Jon Singleton card in Series 1 or Series 2 or another Singleton card in Update. I just don't pay attention enough to know. But I get the impression that there is, because when I turn the card over, there are no rows of stats, just a little write up about his debut.
This, to me, is a card that doesn't need to be here. It's puffery.
We have filler in the newspaper world, it's called "filler ads". I try like hell not to use them. But Update seems to be a product that relies on filler -- heavily.
So, what it comes right down to is Update isn't a product for me anymore. Hasn't been for awhile. Decades even.
So why did I buy a pack?
Got to see what's new I guess.
Here's what's new:
#US-80 - Josh Harrison, Pirates
#US-47 - Steve Tolleson, Blue Jays
#US-265 - Yoervis Medina, Mariners
#US-307 - Santiago Casilla, Giants (blaaaaaaaaargh)
#US-275 - Boone Logan, Rockies
#US-39 - Brock Holt, Red Sox
#US-62 - Adam Eaton, White Sox
#US-108 - Ryan Doumit, Braves
#US-106 - Collin Cowgill, Angels
#US-118 - Collin McHugh, Astros
#US-26 - Mookie Betts, Red Sox
#US-249 - Eduardo Nunez, Twins
#US-189 - Brandon Cumpton, Pirates
#US-71 - Justin Masterson, Cardinals
#US-22 - Kendrys Morales, Mariners
#US-139 - Jason Hammel, Athletics
#PPA-MS (stop it) - Max Scherzer, Tigers, Power Players insert
These look very 2003. And I'm glad I'm pulling Tigers, because suddenly there are a bunch of Tigers collectors.
#FN-JA3 - Jose Abreu, Future Is Now insert
#FF-GB - George Brett, Fond Farewells insert
I PULLED A GEORGE BRETT CARD THE DAY THE ROYALS CLINCHED THEIR FIRST WORLD SERIES BERTH IN 29 YEARS. THIS IS THE GREATEST PULL OF THE YEAR. GEORGE BRETT YOU GUYS GEORGE BRETT!!!! OH PLEASE, GEORGE GET YOUR ROYALS TO SMITE THE GIANTS DEAD! SMITE THEM SO CONVINCINGLY THAT MLB HAS NO OTHER CHOICE BUT TO CONTRACT THE GIANTS LIKE THEY SHOULD HAVE YEARS AGO AND WE NEVER HAVE TO HEAR 'THEY JUST KNOW HOW TO WIN' EVER AGAIN. PLEASE, PLEASE, GEORGE, FOR THE SANITY OF THE GREATER GOOD!
#TM-GSP (it'd be so much easier to type a number) George Springer, Astros, '89-style diecut
#US-88 - Jon Singleton, Astros, rookie debut
#US-110 - Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox
#US-125 - Jason Bartlett, Twins
#US-322 - Drew Pomeranz, Athletics
#US-197 - Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays
#US-259 - Craig Kimbrel, Braves, All-Star
The moment I saw these caps during All-Star festivities was the moment I wished I could unsee them. But of course now they're preserved on cards forever.
#US-247 - Tony Watson, Pirates, All-Star (I've got to figure out who is on the Pirates)
#US-234 - Feliz Hernandez, Mariners, All-Star (microphones!)
#US-253 - Kevin Kiermaier, Rays
#US-290 - Cam Bedrosian, Angels
#US-148 - Kyle Parker, Rockies
#US-50 - Jacob deGrom, Mets
#US-10 - George Springer, Astros
#US-176 - Michael Brantley, Indians, all-star
#US-292 - Chase Utley, Phillies, all-star
#US-315 - Carlos Gomez, Brewers, all-star
Supposedly that was 36 cards. I didn't keep track.
I did notice there were no Dodgers. So that was a waste of whatever I paid for it. Except the George Brett card, of course.
I bought these cards on Wednesday and am showing them on Friday, which is an unheard of delay in me buying new product and it appearing on this blog. That probably tells you where my head (and life) is at more than anything.
a) Update isn't for me anymore
b) I'm old
c) I'm really pissed off that the Giants weaseled their way into the World Series again with their pathetic 88 wins and second-place finish.
d) I'm old
e) I've got to buy some vintage quick
f) I'm too busy for cards and blogs
g) stupid managers are stupid
h) I'm old
i) and cranky, don't forget cranky
m) that's all, I promise
n) I promise
o) but vintage
p) OK, really, I promise
q) the end