Saturday, July 5, 2014

Let's fix Opening Day


Remember that interview I had at Topps?

Well, I got the job. They said I nailed the interview and liked what I had to say. The first few days was basically intern work. Grab coffee and donuts for the bigwigs, file papers away, you know the deal.

They finally gave me some real work to do the other day. I found a huge folder of paperwork on my desk, a simple note attached to the top.

Fix Opening Day.

I went straight to work. Luckily, I had a package of cards recently sent to me by Matt of the great blog "Bob Walk the Plank" sitting next to my computer. I studied them for hours as part of my research.

The folder they gave me contained the history of Opening Day. Nothing I didn't already know. It's been around for over a decade, one of their lower-end products, not meant for buyers of Topps Five Star, blah, blah, blah.

I've been buying Opening Day for years. And, while I've always thought of it as a nice effort, it's still a little rough around the edges.

Here's how I'd fix Opening Day.




The most glaring problem is with the base cards.

I feel like I'm getting doubles every time I buy a pack of Opening Day. That's because nearly all the shots included are repeats from Series 1 or ones that will eventually pop up again in Series 2.

The blue parallels make for exciting chase cards, but the boring base issues pretty much offset those. My solution is a no-brainer.

Use different pictures for the base cards in Opening Day. It'll make people more excited about the product.

Okay, Topps. I get it. It's more expensive to use multiple photos for different releases. We've seen that from your glaring number of repeats over the past few years.

There's a simple fix to that, though.




Cut down on the inserts.

That said, I can't stress what I'm about to say enough.

DO NOT get rid of the "Superstar Celebrations" series. These are what make the product to me.

They're fun, quirky, and embody everything that Opening Day aspires to be.




Honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing these "Opening Day Stars" inserts go.

They're neat, but I think their 3-D theme has become old hat. Still, I think putting these on the chopping block would alienate some of Opening Day's longtime buyers.

I guess they can stay for now.




These, though, serve virtually no purpose.

These "Fired Up" singles are far from awful. They're still better than a lot of inserts we see in the standard Flagship release every year.

Trouble is, I just don't see a niche for these in Opening Day. They don't seem to fit in anywhere.

I don't see much of a hassle in eliminating them.




These are a more curious case.

I personally love the '95 Fleer-esque quality of this year's "Breaking Out" inserts. They're flashy and colorful, which isn't something you see out of a lot of cards these days.

Still, I see these as more of a one-time deal than anything else. I don't know how excited I'd be if they returned next year.

There's no point in reusing the same idea over and over again.




This is my first look at this year's "Between Innings" series.

I already know that this is an insert set I definitely want to build. Much like the "Superstar Celebrations" singles, they have a certain childish charm that is vital to Opening Day.

I say keep 'em.

I know I'm not in accounting or anything, but I think that cutting a few insert sets could open up a little cash that could go towards acquiring new photos.

The types of people that buy Opening Day aren't in it for the inserts. They're more of a sidebar than anything else.

Make Opening Day a viable option for every kind of collector. The kid, the adult, the twenty-something guy just rediscovering the hobby he loved as a child.

That should be the purpose of Opening Day.

This is basically the gist of what I reported to Topps on how to fix the product.

Whether they'll actually take my advice is anyone's guess.

8 comments:

petethan said...

For me, the OD Stars insert has become one of the set's defining characteristics. I'm glad you didn't cut 'em. Sort of along the lines of your "too many all-stars in Update" thinking in your job interview, I like how you get one dude at each position in each league with the OD Stars. And the 3-D action makes for a nice yearly substitute for the old Kellogg's sets.

Matthew Scott said...

I'm for cutting the "Fired Up" insert.

arpsmith said...

I like the Stars 3-D cards and look forward to them every year, just like the mascot inserts.

I am 100% with changing up the photos. How about going further and only printing cards of the starting 9 in each team's debut? It might push back the release date and knock out some pitchers but to me that would be a great Opening Day set.

shlabotnikreport said...

The main thing for me is the photos. I don't collect parallels, and Opening Day is just a big parallel set with different numbering. I know it's more expensive to use different photos, but that one change would get me actually buy Opening Day as well as flagship Topps.

The inserts need to be fun without being condescending. Fired up isn't fun. 3D and mascots are fun.

I'd like to see some puzzle-back cards, maybe on one of the insert sets.

shlabotnikreport said...

The main thing for me is the photos. I don't collect parallels, and Opening Day is just a big parallel set with different numbering. I know it's more expensive to use different photos, but that one change would get me actually buy Opening Day as well as flagship Topps.

The inserts need to be fun without being condescending. Fired up isn't fun. 3D and mascots are fun.

I'd like to see some puzzle-back cards, maybe on one of the insert sets.

shlabotnikreport said...

Goddamn it, Blogger just hates me. It gives me an error that makes me think the comment didn't go through, and then I end up posting twice.

P-town Tom said...

I'm a big supporter of OD with one of the main reasons being the low price. But the last time I was at my LCS I found the store's price had raised to $1.29. Is that the new suggested retail price of is my LCS out of whack? If it is the new price, then what a shame.

John Miller said...

I think that Opening Day should be JUST what the set is called. Only players who actually played on Opening Day. Yes, there would be a slight delay, but using actually Opening Day shots would make the set highly desirable. With digital photography used today, there would NOT be an added expense for the different photos just for the printing of such and that would be made up easily from the VERY reduced set. Just my thoughts. Congrats on the JOB! LOL> Enjoy