Thursday, March 16, 2017
2017 Topps Opening Day: Cheap thrills
I'm going to a card show tomorrow, so there's really no reason I should be buying cards today.
Even more of a deterrent to buying anything before tomorrow is the fact that I have a large box sitting on my living room table full of cards that still need to be filed away from the two shows I attended last month.
But rarely does the sight of baseball cards foster rational thoughts. I was in a Target today, and even though I did my best to close my eyes and mumble REMEMBER THE CARD SHOW! over and over again to myself, I still wound up in the card aisle.
It was then I saw a fresh stock of the newest set on the shelves: 2017 Topps Opening Day.
It felt almost out of my control when my hand reached for the blaster, two rack packs, and single loose pack I ended up purchasing.
With any other brand, an impulse purchase of such quantity could've destroyed my bank account. But you know what the best part about Opening Day is? All told, my bill was slightly over eighteen dollars total, which is less than a single blaster of most brands these days.
Such affordability has always been Opening Day's premier selling point.
By now, you probably know what to expect from Opening Day: Flagship rehashings, some Series 2 previews, and a couple guys in new photoshopped jerseys thrown into the mix for good measure.
The base cards in Opening Day carry less of a punch than ever now that Topps has gone foil-less. There's literally no difference between these cards and Flagship besides the special Opening Day stamp. This is why it'd be difficult to express why I still buy Opening Day to non-collectors: it's basically like buying doubles most of the time.
Best I can put it, I buy Opening Day because it's there.
If the packs were all base cards, I doubt I'd still be an Opening Day consumer.
But there's far more to this brand than just the redundant base checklist. In fact, Opening Day is really the only set that I mainly buy for the supplementary fun. Among the bonus goods this year are these nifty blue parallels.
When the Trout fell out of one of the first packs of the blaster, I thought to myself: Man, I seem to have awfully good luck at pulling Trout stuff.
Just a few packs later came my only "Opening Day Stars" insert of the lot, which features, you guessed it: Mike Trout, who looks like he was a direct result of the Big Bang (or something to that effect) on this design.
Mascot inserts have always been a Opening Day staple, and they continue to be here in 2017.
I've never seen that Brewers mascot before (does he/she/it even have a name?) but it creeps the hell out of me for reasons I can't quite put my finger on right now.
Yes: there's actually an insert series in Opening Day called "Opening Day," which features panoramic shots from various Opening Days around the bigs.
Perfect for my "anthemic" mini-collection since the "National Anthem" inserts in this set are painfully short-printed thanks to some harebained Topps scheme and therefore impossible/expensive to track down.
Perhaps the most refreshing add to Opening Day's stable of insert sets is this year's "Incredible Eats" series, which features some of the most delicious dishes MLB ballparks have to offer.
I can hear my stomach rumbling already.
Finally, we've come to probably my favorite insert set in the hobby today: Superstar Celebrations.
And this one just so happens to feature the greatest celebration of them all, the exact moment the Cubs -- and Anthony Rizzo -- became World Champions. All I can say is that we might just have a new member in the running for Card of the Year.
At this point, Opening Day is never going to elevate itself to the top of the hobby, at least not while it's basically just Flagship Recycled. But as I've said year in and year out, it's still good for some cheap thrills, and cheap thrills are becoming harder and harder to find in the current hobby.
I'm going to be surrounded by flood lights, high-end dealers, and four-figure cards at the show tomorrow. It's a fun -- yet overwhelming -- experience. I needed some calm before the storm, and Opening Day certainly answered that call this afternoon.
Sometimes a quiet dose of Opening Day in the comfort of your own room is the best medicine.