I had to grab the 2023 Topps Dodgers team set for a reason only team collectors can explain, and probably do it sheepishly.
The Topps team sets aren't as fun as they were 10 years ago or even five. You always knew you were going to get "repeat" cards -- the front and back are the same except for the card number -- but there was enough variety to make it interesting. Either there were a few new players or a picture or two was different.
There's been less and less of that and now we team collectors are basically paying for a package of dupes.
But I'll show it off anyway.
These are the players who appeared in Series 1, all identical pictures except the Topps logo isn't foil.
The only player from Series 1 that doesn't appear in the team set is Cody Bellinger, now a Cub.
Part of the fun of the team set is at least getting to see what the Series 2 cards will look like. I kind of ordered this late -- Series 2 is supposed to be released June 7 (someone erroneously -- *cough, me* -- said it had been released already). Not a lot of time to enjoy the newness.
This year's team set's big attraction is James Outman, although it's lessened by him appearing in Series 2. Also, there's a slight nick in the upper left-hand corner of the card. These team set hangers are packaged pretty loose and if you order them through the mail they definitely slide around.
You can tell that J.D. Martinez is photoshopped into a Dodgers uniform. Trayce Thompson is the only horizontal card in the team set and if the photos hold for Series 2, he might be the only horizontal Dodgers card for an individual player in 2023 Topps flagship. That's no guarantee if we get different pix in Series 2 (fingers crossed).
There are two Series 2 Dodgers cards that are not in the team set. One is Miguel Rojas and the other one -- in another case of Topps wedging in rookies that don't belong -- is Yusniel Diaz.
Yusniel Diaz has been in pro ball since 2016, he's bounced around a lot. He got one at-bat, his first major league at-bat, for the Orioles last year. Just about anyone -- Jason Heyward, David Peralta, Evan Phillips, Brusdar Graterol, heck, Phil Bickford or Michael Busch -- would be a better pick than Diaz.
I know some people would say, it's kind of cool that this guy finally got a card, but that's what Bowman is for. I have 4 cards of Diaz from 2017 and 2018. That's all I need until he makes the majors with L.A., and not in a fictitious uniform. (He is hitting .342 in Double A right now).
So there's one guy in the team set that is not in Series 1 or Series 2 and truthfully, at least for this team collector, is worth buying the team set for, although I don't know if it's worth throwing down $14.
It's Noah Syndergaard, wearing a number he doesn't wear (he wears 43), looking more trimmed than he is now.
Obviously this is photoshopped. But it's a smart move putting him in the team set because with the way he's pitching, who knows if he'll stay on the team long enough to appear in the Traded set.
So not much excitement in the team set again this year, but it does feel good to get it in my possession. A lot of years I forget about it and then kick myself when I see a single variation.
Yeah, I'm a sucker. But I have company.