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There are a lot of disasters these days, this is one

One of the most important conversations I had last year came in the final stages of my mom's life.
She was in the hospital and we had already endured the end-of-life discussions with doctors and specialists around my mom's hospital bed. But, now, my dad and I were back at home, sitting at the dining room table in a room that could only be called a disaster, talking with the head of the hospice organization in the city.
He explained, like I'm sure he has to many people, that the end of life is not tidy. It is messy. "Death and dying," he said, "is messy." I looked around the room at medicine bottles everywhere, bills and notes and get-well cards strewn about. Common items like car keys and batteries, random cash and 27 different kinds of pens were scattered across the table and the counter next to it.
What the man said clicked in my head. Yes, what we had been through all these months, and especially the past three months, was definitely a mess. This fit the definition. It was a revelation. And from that point on, I soldiered through the disaster knowing exactly what it was.
My dad didn't. He wasn't well himself, but we weren't focused on him yet. He refused to accept what the man was telling him. He was forever looking for a cure for mom, a tidy solution. His conversations were often filled with "if onlys". He wanted an out.
People don't accept the way things end. It's often messy. Whether it's a divorce or selling a house or a certain presidential speech at the end of his term, or getting diagnosed for coronavirus as your team is winning the World Series. There are a lot of disasters. There have been a lot of disasters in 2020.
This is one of them:
I was wandering through youtube last night as I often do after work. I came across a video break of 2020 Topps Update. I was sort of aware that Update was being released this week and I decided to see if I could spot any Dodgers in this break.
I knew that Update would be seriously hampered by the delayed 2020 baseball season but I didn't expect this:

That is card No. U-93 in Topps Update. Tyler White was released by the Dodgers in mid-July, before the season even started, and had not played in a Dodger game since 2019.

Also, White had already appeared in a 2020 Topps flagship set, in Series 1:

White played a grand total of 12 games for the Dodgers in 2019. So that's two cards of a player wearing a Dodgers uniform in a 2020 product who didn't play in 2020.

As a team collector, I don't even like the idea of having those two cards in my Dodgers binders. It's a disaster.

I was baffled. And I immediately looked for the Dodgers Update checklist to see what else was in this suddenly very weird set.

More astonishment. More messy.

Terrance Gore appeared in a grand total of two games for the Dodgers in 2020. No at-bats. David Price, as you well know, opted out for the season. The all-star cards aren't based on anything current because there was no All-Star Game in 2020. And the "Active Leaders" cards are simply filler.

Alex Wood and Joe Kelly are the only cards that could be considered true Update cards, the reason Update was created in the first place.

But there are more questions. Russell Martin on the checklist? He hadn't played since 2019 either.

This is something that happened in 2019, obviously.

I then looked at the variations and saw that Mookie Betts had a Dodger variation card listed at U-268 but there was no base Betts at U-268 on the Dodgers checklist.

I looked around and this is the base U-268 card:

Betts appears as a member of the Red Sox, a team he hasn't played for since 2019.

This stuff might -- might -- be acceptable in Series 1, but not in Update.

There are a number of other examples on the Update checklist. Luis Severino has a card in Update even though he's also in flagship and never changed teams. Same with Rich Hill. And several others.

Update is the end of the 2020 cards season. And like many endings, so I've come to realize, it is a disaster.

There are obvious reason for this. The baseball season didn't start until the end of July. Topps pushed Update's release date back a couple of weeks because of that. But usually, Topps gets its photos for Update from early-to-midseason and it's already going to print in the summer, I believe. A couple weeks isn't going to make a difference in terms of content.

So that is the main reason why Update is a pathetic version of itself. There are even Home Run Derby cards (never a reason I buy update) that show past Home Run Derby winners. What?
This is not a product I want to buy and the flippers can have all of the Update off the shelves that they want. I probably won't even bother looking for it.

Topps did the best it could with what it had to work with, I guess. Personally, I think it would have been better if Topps cut the Update checklist down from 300 cards to the original 132. Or just scrapped Update altogether since it couldn't do an adequate job.

I suppose the last thought isn't realistic.

But that's just me trying to find a tidy solution to a messy, messy problem. We all wish our disasters were a lot neater.


Old Cards said…
I don't see the connection between your point about being messy and the certain presidential speech.
Brett Alan said…
Man, I was thinking, OK, Tyler White was released, but he played last year, not so bad that he gets a card. But he already had one? That's crazy. That's Topps not being able to keep track of what they're doing.

I guess I like the idea of "Active Leaders" and past home run derby champs just because at least it gets some star power into the checklist. I did order a blaster of this from Walmart, so maybe I'm just trying to justify my purchase. Then again, I just got an email saying they're shipping the other item I ordered with it, so I wouldn't be surprised if they end up canceling the blaster order if they don't have enough.
Topps sucks. They are lazy. Things like this doughnut surprise me. Mommmm doughnuts.
I don't see the connection between always complaining about 2020 Topps cards, but buying them anyway.
night owl said…
Hope you're not talking about me. If so, you didn't read this:

"This is not a product I want to buy and the flippers can have all of the Update off the shelves that they want. I probably won't even bother looking for it."
I know what you mean on ALL accounts...I get it. As for the Update. The Braves have 7 cards, 5 of the players didn't play in the playoffs, 1 pitched a couple of innings, then Acuna.
Jeremya1um said…
I was looking at the checklist on Thursday and noticed that not only White, but Joe Jimenez of the Tigers, Stevie Wilkerson of the Orioles, Rich Hill of the Twins, and Luis Severino of the Yankees all had cards in either Series 1 or 2 and Update. I wish Topps would stop Tuckering us.
I was kind of wondering if the flippers are finished or if they are aware that Update is being released soon. I guess we’ll find out in the next week. I really hope not, because if so, the fun that is opening the first packs of a new set when they are first released at the beginning of the year will be done in 2021.
I’ll keep a lookout at places near me for Update so I can get you your second 2020 Topps Tyler White card.
P-town Tom said…
Outside of my silly addiction to Topps Big League, I'm done with modern day sets.
I reserve the right to ignore that statement if something is released which is similar to Tri-Star Obak from a decade ago, Panini Cooperstown, or a set which focuses on the Negro Leagues (other than the boxed set released this past summer).
After reading your post I looked at the Cubs:
Daniel Descalso - DNP in 2020
Jharel Cotton - Last played in MLB in 2017.
Ian Miller (Rookie) - appeared in one game as a pinch runner in 2020.
I do appreciate Alec Mills' first flagship card, but the above three I could do without.
Fuji said…
Damn. My brother and I had a very similar conversation at the dining room table, but it was the morning after my mom passed away. On one hand... it seems like yesterday. Yet March 2019 seems like years ago.

Anyways... these issues you brought up about Topps Update doesn't surprise me. Either they don't care or they don't have the right person in charge. And they don't have the motivation to change, because there are enough people who buy up this stuff.
Dennis said…
This is just what Topps is these days and why I stay the hell away from it. Padding their numbers like they're Matthew Stafford.
Chris said…
Thank you for warning us against this godawful set. Not that I was planning to buy any, anyhow. But on the off chance that I got the urge to rip open some packs and was forced to settle for whatever is on the shelf at my local Target..I'd pick another sport.

I think you had a similar post about 2020 Topps Archives, which I might have been excited for if Topps put any effort into the details. This is why the hobby needs some damn competition.
GCA said…
Yes, thank you. I was considering finding boxes online just to finish up the last Topps flagship set I'll build until they really impress me with a design, checklist, and/or inserts again, which hasn't happened for about a decade. But if it's this useless, and $100 a regular hobby box (instead of the previous $50-60 and the jumbos were $100) and there are a reduced number of the over-bloated inserts in each pack, then maybe I'll just stop with Series 2 right now.

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