Wednesday, June 26, 2013

2013 Topps Series 2: Lost in the shuffle

I'm already starting to save for the National.

As a result, I haven't had a whole lot of cardboard rolling in lately. I've had to cut back on flea market trips and pack busting. (Luckily, I don't usually do much of the latter anyways.)

Still, when I heard that Series 2 was on the shelves, I had to treat myself to a little something. I plucked a rack pack from the card aisle at my local Target as a little treat.

By and large, I've always felt that Series 2 gets a bit lost in the shuffle every year.

It doesn't have the beginning-of-the-year hype that usually surrounds Series 1. And it certainly doesn't have the general excitement that seems to swirl around Update.

Nevertheless, Series 2 has earned a great deal of respect from me over the years. It always manages to provide a good bang for my buck.

While the player selection isn't usually what it is in Series 1 or Update, Series 2 is still a perfectly nice set that we should appreciate.

One of the first guys to greet me out of my rack pack was the "Big Papi", as you see above.

If the awesome Red Sox throwback is any indication, it didn't take long to find my first Series 2 masterpiece.

Series 2 gives us our first chances to see some of our favorite players in their new 2013 duds.

That's the first card I've seen of Brett Myers as an Indian, and only my third of Hamilton as an Angel.

Still, I'd very much appreciate if Topps could snap actual photos of guys in their new uniforms. I have no problems with photoshopping a bit here and there, but they've had more than enough time to get shots of these guys in 2013.

Heck. the Hamilton is the same exact airbrushed photo that Topps used for his Opening Day card.

But now we're getting back into the whole "recycled photos" discussion. Most of you probably know how I feel about that.

I don't want to beat a dead horse here.

Airbrushing aside, one of my favorite things about Series 1 involved the sheer amounts of awesome photos Topps used in their checklist.

Although a rack pack is a fairly small sample size, I'd say that the trend has been continued in Series 2. While he may not be a "binder guy", Mr. Gentry made for one of my favorite pulls of the day.

It's a stellar new addition to my "at the wall" mini-collection.

I don't know about you, but I always love a good dugout shot.

Smith's might not be as good as Brandon Inge's Series 1 piece, but it's certainly in the upper echelon in terms of photo quality.

Plus, this is what you could call the ultimate "cameo" card. So many different Oakland A's in one shot.

Including, as it happens, Mr. Brandon Inge himself.

I give Topps a lot of credit for their celebration shots over the past few years.

These "walk-off" home plate shots are among my favorites in the hobby today. A ton of great Reds "cameos" grace the front of Ludwick's card as well.

So, Topps, keep the celebrations coming.

Except the pies in the face, of course.

I'm sick of those.

A couple more nice base cards, courtesy of Series 2.

And, happily, both slot nicely into a couple of my many player collections.

Still, I wouldn't have even shown these...

...had I not pulled their accompanying Target red parallels from my rack pack.

In fact, the third red card I pulled was also the parallel of a base card I pulled in the very same break. (The one not pictured has been set aside for a fellow blogger.)

Coincidence? Perhaps.

Collation issues? More likely.

Still, these do look great in binders.

Especially when I have the base cards to go right alongside with 'em.

We've moved on to the insert portion of this post.

If you busted any Series 1 retail packs, you probably already know that these rather unspectacular foil-based "Chasing History" inserts were exclusive to rack packs.

Well, they're back for Series 2.


Both the "Making Their Mark" and "World Baseball Classic" inserts are new to Series 2.

While I'm glad to add yet another card of Mr. Cespedes to my binders, the "Making Their Mark" series looks to be somewhat of a repeat of the "Chasing the Dream" inserts from Series 1.

It's just another excuse for Topps to shovel more cards of the game's young stars onto the collecting universe.

As opposed to most Series 2 reviews I've read thus far, I'm rather partial to those "World Baseball Classic" inserts. Back when it was going on earlier this year, I'd begged Topps to create a special WBC base set.

Well, as it turns out, they gave us the next best thing. An insert set devoted to the tournament.

I'm still not sure if any members of Team Italy managed to sneak their way into the checklist. I certainly hope so, though.

I can't shy away from an opportunity to chase cards of fellow paisans.


The '72 minis are back for Series 2 as well.

However, unlike my largely apathetic attitude towards the "Chasing History" series, I'm more than elated to see these back in the hobby.

This Bautista is certainly a beauty.

While I'm sure I'll bust a bit more of the product sometime soon, that just about does it for my initial venture into Series 2.

Sure, it might not have the fire power that Series 1 and Update command. Most collectors would tell you the same thing.

Nevertheless, it continues to provide me with quite the thrill with each passing year.

I'll always appreciate it for that.


hiflew said...

Well that Ryan Ludwick is officially my least favorite card from Series 2. I normally don't like cards with that many players on them, unless it is a team card. That one is especially bad because you can see everyone's face EXCEPT the subject of the card. Surely there were better pictures that focused on Ludwick. That is a good photo...for a team card, which Topps should bring back. But that is a rant for another day.

Mark Kaz said...

Nice review, Nick! I have yet to get any Series 2 packs. I'm not sure what I'm waiting for. Like you have alluded to, I suppose it could be the "middle child" syndrome that Series 2 suffers from. Also, I guess it has taken a backseat to Heritage and Archives for the time being, at least for me.

Oh well, plenty of time. It's not like Series 2 packs are going anywhere. Those darn hangers, rack packs and blasters will be cluttering shelves well into September and beyond...

petethan said...

Wish I could read posts like this, but I'm trying to preserve, as much as possible, first viewing for when I'm busting packs.

But I have a stupid question. What's the "National?" I think I wanna be there, whatever and wherever it is...