Thursday, July 6, 2017

The team set is a shell of its former self

That, right there, is a team set.

Yeah, I know you can't read it -- it's too blurry. Sorry, I scanned it instead of waiting forever for a photo of it to upload to my ancient computer. Sometimes you've got to take shortcuts.

Isn't that right, Topps? Sometimes you've got to take shortcuts?

Let's talk about this particular team set.

I live on the east coast. So I miss out on a lot of Dodger-centric items that appear only on the west coast. People know this and are good to me and sometimes send me some Dodger things you can find only "out there". That was the case with the team set. Angus of Dawg Day Cards found the 2017 version out west and thought of me. I am humbled.

Annually, I pine for the Dodger team factory set, because it's almost unattainable from where I sit (OK, I could stop complaining and just hop on ebay and buy the thing, but there are so, so, so many cards and so, so, so little time). The team set is interesting because often there are different photos from the flagship set or a manager card or a stadium card or some such wonderfulness. The very few Dodger team sets that I own from past years all have those little quirks that I love.

OK, NOW, let's talk about this particular team set.

The 2017 Dodgers team set has no quirks.

It is just 17 cards of the same photos of the same players that you can find in the flagship set.

What is the point of that?

Here. Here they are:

Adrian Gonzalez gets his own scan because, what the hell, Topps, 17 isn't divisible by anything.

If you are familiar with the Dodgers in the flagship set -- and I am that -- then you know you just looked at cards that are identical to those flagship cards, except the Topps logo lacks foil. On the back, the card number is different and the player's Twitter or Instagram handle is not mentioned like it is in the flagship set. That's all the differences.

So this team set has now lost the only point it had for existing. Why get the team set if it's just duplicates?

There are two slight changes in the team set -- really nothing worth obtaining unless you're the most rabid player collector.

The team set Corey Seager card lacks the Topps rookie cup.

The team set Andrew Toles card lacks the rookie card logo.

That's all that's different on the front.

Oh, except the cards that came out of the team set were slightly warped and I had a hell of a time lining them up evenly on the scanner. Not sure if that's because they were jammed into the packaging or it was the heat from out west or the fact that modern day cards ARE SO DAMN FLIMSY.

Hmmm, maybe that last one, huh?

The last month or two when I've visited the card aisle at Target, I've noted the team sets available here in my little corner of the east. Yankees, naturally. Red Sox, yup. For a really strange reason there is an entire row of Tigers team sets, which is very odd because there are no -- OK, there are five, five Tigers fans in all of upstate New York.

I'd look at those Tigers team sets and think, "If Tigers, then why not Dodgers? Why not?" If only.

And now I have one and, man, sound of a balloon deflating.

The lack of variety in the team set is a trend based on the last couple of Dodgers team sets. The blog cards as i see them mentioned that a few months ago.

But this was really disappointing. In a card year full of disappointment, I admittedly didn't expect to be won over by this team set -- given that I don't want to see the 2017 design on anything else -- but not one variation? The calling card of the team set?

One other thing.

The Dodgers' flagship set this year contains 28 cards. That seems on the high side, but not dramatically so. The 17 team set cards means that 11 players were left out of the team set -- actually 10 since one of the flagship cards is the team card.

Here are the flagship cards with the players who are in both flagship and the team set crossed off:

Van Slyke
team card

Most of the players who were not included in the team set are logical selections. Players who have moved on to other teams (DeLeon, Kendrick, Reddick, Ruiz), or are recent arrivals (Forsythe, Romo), or are marginal players/relievers who should never appear in games (*cough*Hatcher, Kazmir, Segedin).

Then there is Yasiel Puig.

He is not in the team set.

A regular on the Dodgers for four years. Not in the team set.

I suppose the reason these team sets are still being made is people are still buying. It's a shortcut for team fans who don't want to buy packs featuring a bunch of teams they don't care about. (Won't they be surprised when there's no Yasiel Puig card?).

But for us dedicated team collectors, it's just a package of dupes.

Now, back to my vintage.

(P.S.: I realize that other team sets may contain picture variations, but someone else will have to figure that out for themselves. I'm not buying any of the 15 Tigers team sets hanging on a rack at my Target).


  1. The Cubs factory set featured three players on their very first Cubs card - Jon Jay, Kohi Uehara and Wade Davis. As of yet, these three haven't yet shown up in flagship, via series 1 or 2. What a weird dichotomy.

  2. I swear Topps needs to let an actual baseball fan decide which players get into each sets.

  3. The Yankees Team Set is a hot commodity this year. It has both a Derek Jeter card not even in packs in Series 1 or Series 2 (to my knowledge), AND an Aaron Judge Rookie Card that is different than his Series One card.

    I collect the 2013 Team Sets - they have plenty of goodies inside. But it has been since about then that I have seen anything interesting in the Tigers Team Set.

  4. The team sets available at the Scottsdale Target that I went to were the Diamondbacks, Angels, Dodgers and Cubs. I knew that you were not usually able to find a Dodgers one so I figured I would send it. I picked up the Mets team set for myself when I went to Cooperstown at Easter.

  5. I'm shocked the buyer for your store decided to go with the Tigers over the Cubs for random team that makes no sense in northwest New York.

  6. That is nuts. The Tigers can't sell tickets let alone team card sets here in Detroit lately so maybe they thought they'd have better luck East.

  7. The Toles card also has another difference ... the "TOPPS" logo is not at the upper left of the horizontal card but was moved to the upper right.

  8. Interesting. I'm a little disappointed that they drop the rookie cup, but on the plus side I prefer the non-foil Topps logo and the dropping of the RC logo. It is nice to know when a card is a player's RC but now days a player can have a couple dozen if not a hundred RCs since each player gets 100s of cards each year now days.

  9. I'm sure the only place you'll find Jays team sets are here in Canada.

  10. In Portland, we get Mariners and the American League "stars". Not the National League, of course. That would be crazy!

  11. I know I'm late to comment, but I went to Target this weekend and found both the AL and NL stars set, two Red Sox team sets, and two Cubs team sets.

    Note: my address is ATLANTA.

    I don't get it. Is that how Topps distributed them, or is that what Target bought?