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Call it what it is

Back in 1998, Leaf released a set called "Rookies & Stars".

I wasn't collecting then, but when I found out about the set years later, the title annoyed me. "Rookies and Stars"? That's rather elitist. The No. 3 starter, the fourth outfielder, the set-up reliever isn't good enough for you? As a set collector, there is nothing more distressing to me than a set that ignores the "common" players that are the foundation of baseball.

"Rookies and stars" may put fans in the seats, but they're not what makes the game go 'round. If you don't have nine players on a diamond, 24 dudes on the bench, you're not going to win squat, no matter how many "ooohs" and "aaahs" you get from someone jacking a home run 500 feet that accounts for exactly one run, same as an RBI ground out.

However, it's fairly obvious that many people don't think the way I do or even collect the way I do. Because if there were, there would be a significant outcry over the sorry excuse for a product called "Update" that has been issued here in 2017.

I've already explained my issue with 2017 Update. In short-form it is this: The Dodgers' Chris Taylor isn't f'n in 2017 Topps Update. To me, that nullifies the quality of this product by itself. Taylor made more of an impact on a single team -- a team currently in the World Series -- than any other out-of-nowhere player this year. Yet, he's not in Update.

You know why?

Because he's not a rookie or a star.

This is not 2017 Topps Update. This is 2017 Topps Rookies & Stars. Call it what it is. The part of Update that I loved since the days of "Topps Traded" back in the early '80s was spotting players on cardboard in their brand new uniforms. George Foster as a Met. Reggie Jackson as an Angel. Stuff like that. The rookies were interesting, too, but guys in new uniforms was the big draw (if you have doubts about how I feel about this, just check out this post).

I guess with people regularly spending 10 bucks for a Topps Now card of Yu Darvish, we don't need that now.

There are precious few Update cards in Update. The majority of what I received out of a hanger box (I wanted to buy only a hanger pack, but there wasn't any available) were rookies and stars.

But enough of my crabbing about it, let's let the cards tell the story.

A red R will signify rookie. A gold S will signify a star. In between, you might just catch -- heavens is that a commoner in my pack of cards?????

Bring on the crap:

#US59 - Matt Joyce, Athletics

We actually start off with a card upon which Update was built long ago, a guy who changed uniforms in the offseason. But the shocking part of this is the background is purple. I've seen one other person address this. Why is everyone paying tribute to Prince?

#US10 - Ian Happ, Cubs R

One of the Rookies To Get If That's Your Thing. More purple in the background.

#US188 - Trevor Plouffe, Rays

#US231 - Reynaldo Lopez, White Sox R

#US217 - Howie Kendrick, Phillies

#US50 - Cody Bellinger, Dodgers R

OK, even I'm happy about that rookie. Nice pulling, night owl

#US189 - Chad Bell, Tigers R

#US212 - Jose Quintana, Cubs S

This is why I buy Update, right here. A guy who changed his uniform.

#US115 - "M" Is For "Mashing" (Manny Machado and Mookie Betts) S

These things were tired in 2008.

#US253 - Matt Belisle, Twins

#US21 - Christian Arroyo, Giants R

#US218 - Greg Holland, Rockies, All-Star S

I don't mind the All-Star cards in Update, even though it's a second version of a card you already received in Series 1 or Series 2. But they do contribute to the star-glut in this product.

#US143 - Trevor Cahill, Padres

They can get this dude (who by the way ended up with the Royals) into Update but not Chris Taylor.

#US225 - Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox, Rookie Debut R

He was in flagship and Opening Day. No reason he should be in Update.

#US258 - Francis Martes, Astros R

#US181 - Emilio Pagan, Mariners R

#US62 - Travis Wood, Royals

Andy Pettitte, Yankees, Heroes of Autumn insert S
Albert Pujols, Cardinals, Heroes of Autumn insert S

I don't need more cards of either of these two people. I have plenty. You know what I need more of? CARDS OF CHRIS TAYLOR!

#US140 - Sal Romano, Reds R

#US185 - Birds in the Garden, Cardinals (Dexter Fowler featured S)

Here is another thing I don't understand: Update was trimmed to 300 cards last year. Yet these things still exist. They are filler. I have an excellent suggestion of what could go in its place. Rhymes with Fish Mailer.

#US91 - Jordan Montgomery, Yankees R

#US14 - Blast Off! (Correa and Altuve -- this is prescient labeling given last night's game S).

#US260 - Carlos Correa, Astros, All-Star S

#US196 - Brad Hand, Padres, All-Star S

#US27 - Nolan Arenado, Rockies, All-Star S

#US 254 - Amir Garrett, Reds R

#US46 - Dylan Covey, White Sox R

#US216 - J.P. Howell, Blue Jays

Finally! It's a real, traditional Update guy!

#US133 - Keynan Middleton, Angels R

#US123 - Colby Rasmus, Rays

#US183 - Taylor Motter, Mariners

#US52 - Michael Fulmer, Tigers, All-Star S

#US150 - Alex Bregman, Astros, Rookie Debut R

Already sick of this guy. Also, he was in flagship.

#US274 - Mitch Moreland, Red Sox

#US106 - Kendrys Morales, Blue Jays

#US26 - Steve Pearce, Blue Jays

Three traditional Update guys in a row!

#US171 - Brock Stassi, Phillies R

#US298 - Brett Eibner, Dodgers

Earlier, I mentioned that this was a rookie card. It's not. I was unaware Eibner had played for the Royals and A's last year. But he also played all of 17 games for the Dodgers this year. Have I mentioned that a certain teammate of his who is not in Update played 140 games this year?

#US246 - Marc Rzepczynski, Mariners

#US72 - Joaquin Benoit, Phillies

#US233 Taijuan Walker, Diamondbacks

#US24 - Joe Smith, Blue Jays

#US201 - Nolan Fontana, Angels R

#US94 - Justin Upton, Tigers, All-Star S

#US118 - Bradley Zimmer, Indians, Rookie Debut R

#US240 - Jacob Faria, Rays R

#US28 - Drew Robinson, Rangers R

#US282 - Michael Martinez, Indians

#US108 - Wilson Ramos, Rays

#US158 - Phillip Ervin, Reds, gold parallel R

#USS-46 - Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, Topps Salute insert S

#US200 - Yoan Moncada, White Sox, SP, R

This is a short-print. I'm told these are easier to come by this year. I'm kind of over the novelty of SPs and refuse to spend more than a couple bucks for them. But if someone wants to give me $100 for this, that's another matter.

#U-26 - Rick Porcello, Red Sox, Untouchables insert S

#PC-20 Boston Red Sox, Postseason Celebrations insert

#PC-25 Brooklyn Dodgers, Postseason Celebrations insert

These, I believe, are retail/Target only. They're interesting only in the fact that I saw the Red Sox one first and thought, "everyone's so tiny and faded" and then saw the Dodgers one second and thought "OH COOL!"

#ASR-CBL - Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, All-Star relic S

Really have nothing to say about this.

#US19 - Eric Skoglund, Royals R (pitched 7 whole games for the Royals this year. With a 9.50 ERA. ... What's that? I think Chris Taylor just hit another postseason home run).

#HA-23 - John Smoltz, Braves, Heroes of Autumn insert S
#HA-24 David Ortiz, Red Sox, Heroes of Autumn insert S

Both are now doing work for Fox's World Series broadcast. I normally don't mind Smoltz, but he was annoying the heck out of me last night. Must be Joe Buck rubbing off on him.

#US7 - Adam Engel and Willy Garcia, White Sox, Rookie combos R R

Yes, by all means, let's jam more rookies onto cards!

#US235 - Nick Pivetta, Ricardo Pinto, Phillies, Rookie combos R R

#US112 - Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals, All-Star S

#US31 - Danny Santana, Braves

#US153 - Robbie Ray, Diamondbacks, All-Star S

#US144 - Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, All-Star S

#US205 - Zack Cozart, Reds, All-Star S

#US49 - Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Rangers R

#US268 - Miguel Sano, Twins, Home Run Derby S

#US286 - Jeff Hoffman, Rockies, Rookie Debut R

Also in flagship. Chris Taylor is not in flagship.

#US54 - Ronald Torreyes, Yankees

#US271 - Jesse Winker, Reds R

And the whole disaster ends with a rookie.

When I total up the numbers, this is what I see:

Rookies - 29
Stars - 22
Regular update guys - 22 (I counted Quintana in both the stars and regular update categories)

That's a lousy showing for some guys who in many cases played an entire season while several of the rookies barely sniffed a major league locker.

This fascination with rookies and stars has been going on for as long as I've been collecting. It started going overboard in the '80s and really kicked into gear during the period when I wasn't collecting. It is now tarnishing everything I loved about Update. I've liked this product less and less over the years, but now I can't even tell you what it is.

It's not Update. It's not Traded. Heck, it's not even Rookies and Stars.

Maybe it's "Rookies, Stars, Inserts, SPs and a Couple Of Regular Players That Some Cranky Old Guy Seems To Think Belongs In Our Set of Star And Rookie Worshiping".

If you want a pack of RSISAACORPTSCOGSTTBIOSOSARW, they're available in your big box store today.

You can have them all.

I'm not fucking touching it again.


Adam said…
I agree completely that Update has pretty well gone off the rails this year. The one player I was hoping would have a card in there (Bronson Arroyo) didn't but instead Phillip Ervin got in? He didn't do a thing for the Reds this year! The lone positives I found while going through this post is that the "Heroes of Autumn" inserts are pretty neat but they won't make me rush out and buy a pack from Target. Speaking of which, I usually buy one of the Update Chrome boxes from Target every Christmas but this year I think I'll skip it. There's better stuff I can spend my $15 on.
Anonymous said…
In a way, Topps did tip their hand... not by the banner which reads "2017 Update Series" but by the big honkin' picture of Aaron Judge.

I'm still completely dumbfounded as to how they can justify leaving out Chris Taylor while including guys like Lisalverto Bonilla, a guy whose rookie card was in 2015 Topps and who appeared in 10 games before being released by the 94-loss Reds. For a moment I even started to wonder if Taylor might have done a Ichiro/Wieters and bailed out on Topps, but then I remembered that Taylor's in Heritage High #'s.... So I got nothin'.
Trapper9 said…
I just hate the fact that Topps has cut everybody in half. Every pic is From the knees up.
steelehere said…
I agree with you on Smoltz being annoying last night (just like during the 2016 NLCS). He spent the 8th and 9th sounding like an Astros announcer by strategizing for Houston how to come back and then hold the lead as well as complaining about Roberts strategy of using Jansen for more than one inning because it wasn't the norm for Jansen (apparently John didn't watch that many Dodger games in 2017).

Interestingly, he didn't once question or even mention Hinch's decision to pitch Giles two innings even though it blew up on him.
TSHenson said…
If you want to unload any of the cards from this series that you do not like, I would be happy to take any Indians and that Albert Pujols insert off your hands.
Fuji said…
I think I've read close to 10 posts on Update and I finally found a card that I want. Best part about it is I'm sure I'll be able to find it in someone's dime box eventually. I'll have to, because there is no way I'm busting any of this stuff unless it's in the clearance bin.
Nick said…
I'm still puzzled at why the majority of this year's Rookie Debuts feature debuts from 2016. Makes absolutely no sense. And more painful is that even some of the "traditional" Update guys have themselves changed teams and are thus featured in the wrong updated uniforms -- Howie Kendrick is now a National, Cahill (as you mentioned) is a Royal, etc. Just a sad and discouraging effort all around from Topps.
GCA said…
Which one is it Fuji? I'll send it to you from my two boxes of "Series 3". Yeah, I went and bought them anyway. And still won't complete the '87 inserts from either series 2 or 3 for a while.

And those are called Untouch Ables. Geniuses didn't put the hyphen in. So it's two words.

Seems to me to be a case of the Hype Machine taking complete control of the checklist. "Let's put in as many hot selling rookies (Chris who?), and major market stars in as possible. Then fill in with SPs and the same redundant stuff that everyone LOVES from series 1 and 2".
zman40 said…
I, too, have also always loved their traded sets. But, with Topps essentially issuing their set in three series now, they need to revamp how they do things. Series one should be regular cards with unaltered photos from the previous year. Series two should work in guys that changed teams over the offseason and show them with their new team, like traded sets did in years past. Update should show off guys that made their debut during the season, guys that were written off in the first two series, and guys that got traded during the season. And they should just call it series three. I don't get how they have a couple of guys that got traded with their new team, but not everyone.
Michael Ott said…
I agree 'Update' is a misnomer, and your post clearly shows its true composition. Panini probably has dibs on the name "Rookies and Stars" though.

Maybe omitting Taylor is all part of a devious plan to make you buy "Topps Now"...
EbeSPN said…
Thank you, couldn't agree more. I doubted there would be a Justin Verlander Astro card, but seriously every team had their version of Chris Taylor that wasn't there. For me it was Manny Pena who was the Brewers main catcher this past year. I don't want 50 fake rookie cards, sorry a debut card is not the same as a rookie card. Instead each team could have had 2 more real players, especially for some guy who have not had a card in years. Brad Hand is a perfect example he gets an all star card but not a standard card which he hasn't had since 2011. I expect more from Topps, but lack of competition will do that.
GOGOSOX60 said…
I got the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers celebration World Series card if you need!! Always looking for White Sox WS card just the same.
I have to agree with you completely. Update does nothing for me, especially since it lacks the players that didn't make it into the base set which is what I was looking for. I'd love to trade for the Smoltz, Petitte, Pujols, and Ortiz Heroes of Autumn inserts as well as the Blackmon relic although I'm not sure exactly what I could offer. I'll look through my cards and get back to you.
YEP! I would much rather have the old 132 count Traded set.
Matt said…
I liked Update. It's what you expected from it. Lots of Judge and bellinger the selling points for baseball cards this year. And it's rookie heavy. Some of the most valuable/popular rookie cards are from it.
BaseSetCalling said…
That has been steady for 5 years at least.
BaseSetCalling said…
Lucky you didn't pull the Jason Grilli card, which proudly declares him to be the "oldest player in the American League." He was traded to the Rangers to 7-2-17. On 7-7-17, the Twins signed Bartolo Colon. Topps sold a ton of his Topps Now cards not long ago. But he doesn't get a card in "Update"

And you just might not want to read the back of the Mike Hauschield card. I'm still trying to figure out who he plays/played for.
BaseSetCalling said…
Ahh forgot to mention the ‘purple’ cards - these are from photos shot during a late afternoon game. Which used to be only when there was a two-night doubleheader, though no one likes those any more. But with the Fox Saturday Game of the week at 4 pm even on the East Coast, there are games that can produce such cards. One could call them Saturday cards now perhaps.

They have a bit of tradition in baseball cards though they are always pretty rare. I do like such photos and save out such cards. A great example is the 2011 Edgar Renteria card but my real favorite is the 2011 Aroldis Chapman RC.
BaseSetCalling said…
“Twi-night” doubleheader, thanks autocorrect.