How many times have you seen this card already? I know I've seen it on the blogs at least 4 or 5 times, probably more.
I think we've done it. I think we've killed 2011 Topps a week into its release. I opened my first packs Thursday night, and it felt like I was pulling dupes of cards I had never seen before in person.
But this is supposed to be a post that convinces you to look at my first 2011 Topps cards even though they have been displayed on at least 73 blogs in the last six days. So ... um ... let me just say you've never seen 2011 cards presented quite like this, all ... um ... night owly.
At least you know I'll kick ass with the scans. If I'm showing the first cards of 2011, I'm sure as hell showing more than three of them.
But before I display the two rack packs purchased at Wal-Mart (fully stocked with loose packs, rack packs and blasters), I just want to mention how well I did in A Cardboard Problem's case break of 2011 Topps. I selected the Dodgers, of course, and ended up with:
- A Clayton Kershaw leather nameplate hit
- A Matt Kemp jersey relic
- Kershaw and Pee Wee Reese Kimball minis
- Two Hong-Chih Kuo diamond parallels
- A Casey Blake gold parallel
- A Duke Snider 60 years card
- More Jackies and Campys than I could count.
So, it doesn't matter what I pulled in these two rack packs. Any duds can't hurt me. And, believe me, they tried to hurt me.
Here we go with the first cards of 2011 -- ignore all those other posts you've seen. They were just cheap imitations of 2011 cards. The cubic zerconia of 2011 cards, if we're staying with Topps' diamond theme:
RACK PACK 1
#116 - Russell Branyan, Mariners
First card of 2011 is a Mariner who hit .215 for Seattle last year. Out-standing.
#50 - Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
I mentioned several months ago that this year's 2011 design reminds me of 1997 Stadium Club, when Topps displayed the swoosh at the bottom of the card. But it also reminds me of this year:
Replace the baseball logo and curved name plate with a squished head and a straight name plate and you've got essentially 1996 Topps, with a little more modern photography.
#216 - Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
Nice card. By the way, the card stock is the same as always.
#323 - C.J. Wilson, Rangers
#265 - John Danks, White Sox
#161 - White Sox team
I may have found the card of the year already. I don't know what they're celebrating, but that is one awesome night card.
#73 - James McDonald, Pirates
Mis-stamped gold foil. I've really tried to cut down on the whining about cards, but this still irks me. If Topps is going to force foil on us every year, they should get it right.
#299 - Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
#185 - Peter Bourjos, Angels
#63 - Edinson Volquez, Reds
#98 - Bronson Arroyo
Topps is infatuated with Arroyo's leg kick.
#TT5 - Roy Halladay, Phillies, Toppstown
Toppstown letting out its inner foilboard self. It's not really foilboard, but it is shiny and very Upper Deckish, circa 2005.
#242 - Brad Lidge, Phillies
#194 - Andres Torres, Giants
An excellent time to show the back with a stinking Giant. I'm not too impressed with the backs. The right side mentions what player shared the current player's card number in a random set (For example, Gary Matthews was card #194 in the 1977 Topps set). It's too tiny to read and way too random to care.
#149 - David Aardsma, Mariners
#76 - Tom Gorzelanny, Cubs
#259 - Kyle Davies, Royals
#160 - Josh Tomlin, Indians
#4 - Jason Kubel, Twins
#294 - Luke Scott, Orioles
#274 - Michael Brantley, Indians
#303 - Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins
The horizontal cards are grouped together, like they have been the last couple of years.
#61 - David Price, Rays
#110 - Ardolis Chapman, Reds
Topps could've had some fun and given him card #105.
#306 - AL RBI Leaders
I find these league leader cards boring (they need to vintage-ize them with cheesy headshots). But I understand the gold parallels are more difficult to pull this year, so if I'm gonna get a league leader card, it might as well be gold.
#226 - Jose Guillen
A diamond variation card of a super hyper, PED-using Giant jerk. Oh, happy day.
#KC39 CC Sabathia, Yankees, Kimball Champions mini
Fairly nice minis. Can't compare to A&G minis, but I like them. I am happy to say both Dodgers on the list are already mine.
#DD-KT Killebrew and Thome Diamond Duos
These would have worked a lot better if they were die-cuts. But this is a nice pairing. Card is dinged in the lower right corner.
#T60-12 Prince Fielder, Brewers, Topps 60
Fielder really fills up that 60 in the background, doesn't he? I mean those are some round numbers back there. That's not a 1 and a 7. It takes a wide body to obscure a 6 and a 0.
#95 - Mickey Mantle, 60 Years of Topps Cards Your Mother Threw Out Or Something
I am not kidding when I tell you this card has two creases in it and is dinged up at the top center. Click on the scan. Pulled out of the pack like that. Classy.
#1 - Ryan Braun, Brewers.
I do not remember the Brewers ever wearing helmets with an "M" that large in their history.
#23 - Jaime Garcia, Cardinals
#44 - Martin Prado, Braves
#290 - Ike Davis, Mets
#176 - Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks
RACK PACK 2
#178 - Heath Bell, Padres
#93 - Paul Konerko, White Sox
#327 - Cristian Guzman, Rangers
#311 - James Shields, Rays
#224 - Milton Bradley, Mariners
#129 - Lucas Duda, Mets
#145 - Freddie Freeman, Braves
#213 - Brandon Snyder, Orioles
#319 - Braves team
#146 - Roy Halladay, Phillies, NL Cy Young
#CMGR-6 Christy Mathewson, Giants/Nationals
#TT9 - Adam Jones, Orioles, Topps Town
#308 - Ian Desmond, Nationals
#22 - Barry Zito, Giants
#101 - Gregor Blanco, Royals
#48 - Andrew Cashner, Cubs
#266 - Rickie Weeks, Brewers
Well, that was dull.
#208 - Clay Buchholz, Red Sox
This is how Buchholz should be featured. Far away.
#190 - Coco Crisp, A's
#288 - Matt Capps, Twins
#18 - Kevin Millwood, Orioles
#108 - Zack Greinke, Royals
Way to wait for Series 2, Topps
#126 - Padres team
#135 - Mike Stanton, Marlins
Yay! The gold rookie cup is back!
#77 - Tim Hudson, Braves
#181 - Magglio Ordonez, Tigers
#84 - Roger Bernadina, Nationals, diamond parallel
The parallels are not numbered on the back.
#KC19 - Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays, Kimball mini
#DD-SC Seaver and Chapman Diamond Duos
#T60-40 Michael Young, Rangers
#100 - Albert Pujols, Cardinals, 60 Years of Topps
Well, at least it gives me a chance to compare last year's design with this year's. I like this year's better. But 2010 had more character.
The back of this card mentions Pie-in-the-Face cards and describes them as a "current treasure." I've never been so happy to miss out on a treasure.
#203 - Bob Feller, Indians, 60 Years of Topps, The Lost Cards.
This is like some subset of the 60 Years of Topps insert set. Good luck keeping track of all that.
#125 - Evan Meek, Pirates
#92 - Chris Narveson, Brewers
#286 - Melvin Mora, Rockies
#147 - Jon Niese, Mets
And there you are.
So, do I like them?
Yeah, I do. The design is neat and clean. The photography appears to be better than last year, although it's a small sample size. I like the diamond parallels. A couple of the insert sets are cool, but nothing I'm interested in collecting, possibly because there are too many that are similar to last year.
And that brings me to the ultimate question:
Now that I've seen the cards, will I try to complete 2011 Topps like I completed 2009 and 2010 Topps?
I'm sitting this one out. Perhaps I'll regret it when someone proposes a trade and wants nothing but 2011 Topps in return, but I think my card money will be more useful in other areas this year.
I'll grab a pack here and there like I did in 2007 and 2008, but my heart's just not in it this year.
Besides, with all the Dodgers from the set I just landed, there really isn't any reason to buy any. Not Series 1, at least.
So, you have fun, guys and girls. Promise you'll write.