They should just rename it that, 2012 Topps Opening Day Sells Well At Retail. That’s what I hear whenever Topps Opening Day is mentioned. The fact may be true but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a well received set. I recently opened a small jar of gerbils on the Twitter about Topps letting me, @CardJunk, and @stalegum having a crack at re-branding Opening Day into a respectable set for $1 a pack. They were all ears, and suggestions came quicker than….well, I’ll try and keep this clean, let’s just say they were listening. It got to be a bit much to keep up with so I thought I’d lay my suggestions out here. Here are a few things that I would do to make Opening Day better than what it is, and try not to add extra expense to the production.
- Cardboard stock with a classic original design at $.99 a pack. I think the key to it’s success at retail mainly lies on the $.99 price point. Hire back the guys who designed from ’82 to ’88 and have them cook up something new and original.
- Make the set big enough to make me buy a few boxes and still have to trade for those last 30 cards or so. That is why they used to be called Trading Cards after all, and not a pack of lottery tickets. 792 cards always has a good ring to it, but I’m not sure what the magic number is for the set, but I’m sure they could figure it out.
- Have a few key rookies make an appearance in the set, maybe slap some of the left over Bowman auto’d stickers to some of the cards for something to chase. Maybe a few of the cheaper older guys to sign some too. I’m pretty sure they could get Jody Davis or Mookie Wilson to sign for a reasonable amount.
- Bring back fun inserts. Am I not the only grown man who’d sport a fake tattoo? I know the kids love them! I could use a Starlin Castro magnet card to stick to the fridge, kids love to stick those to their lockers too. How about a Chrome #’d insert to give the kids a taste of the good stuff for the price of Opening Day.
- No game used cards! We don’t need them and we don’t want them.
- Limit the SP silliness. If they feel compelled to short print cards, at least make them inserts and not a part of the set. I don’t want to have to chase down 50 cards and pay $4 a pop on eBay because of manufactured demand. This is the reason I have never finished a Heritage or A&G set.
- Don’t necessarily aim it at kids! Do you know what kids really hate? When you try to sell them something that an old man thought they’d be into. They can spot that stuff a mile away. They know what they’re being sold and have just enough intelligence to be insulted.
- Parallels. I’m on the fence on this one. They’re like speckendickens(look it up), I like ‘em, but I don’t want a million of them. How about a real fancy hi-gloss version of the base card and call it a Tiffany parallel. Or a 3D version of the base card. Something different than just a blue border.
- I wouldn’t be totally offended by some manu-patches in a $.99 product either. When done right, they look great and add extra value, at what I would guess is, a reasonable expense.
Now that this is all typed out, I’m thinking they can keep Opening Day and could just release another set like this at $.99 a pack. Hell, if Opening Day does well at retail, why wouldn’t this? I may be way off on this, but I think a a classic “set collectors” set has a spot in the hobby. What do ya think Topps? I’m listening!
If you are reading this, chances are you enjoy baseball cards. I would suspect that some of you also enjoy playing fantasy baseball and football. I would go further to suspect that if you’re a fan of those, you would maybe also like contests, prizes, and giveaways. Well you’re in luck! I’ve figured out a way to have all three combined into one card.
I know it’s a bit of a polished turd but try to follow me here. What I’m proposing is a Topps Fantasy league. It would require a bit of work on their part, but I don’t think it would be impossible to get done. The first thing that would be necessary is an insert much like Topps Town or the giveaway cards from the last two years. Add a QR code and a mobile app for scanning and managing your collection. Then a website similar to The Topps Diamond Giveaway site would have to be set up and run much like it is already with one extra function, the ability to host a fantasy league. I imagine a partnership with an already established site wouldn’t be that hard to do.
Here’s how it would work. Special code cards would be inserted into packs like they already are. You would use a QR scanner built into the mobile app to scan the code. You would then be issued a three card digital pack, plus a chance at a prize much like the “Digs” from this year. The digital cards would make up your roster for your fantasy team. You could then trade with other players to improve your team or sell them for “Digs”. This way if people just want “Digs” they can sell their digital cards and people who are more interested in the fantasy aspect can easily improve their team. Both camps would be happy.
The Fantasy league would have two options. First would be the traditional leagues. You would get together with friends or strangers and set up your own private leagues. A commissioner would set up the rules and players would compete against one another. The other would be a public rotisserie league where every one would compete against each other in several statistical categories. Then it would be up to Topps to reward each leader with a prize. They could set up benchmarks during the season to reward smaller prizes throughout the season and have grand prizes for the end of the year leaders. If it was completely up to me I would make the prizes specific to the stat. For example, who ever has the most stolen bases at the end of the year would receive a Ricky Henderson autographed base. Most saves would win a Mariano Rivera autographed jersey. If you get the most home runs, you win an autographed Hank Aaron bat, because we all know he is still the true Home Run King! Obviously this would need some ironing out but I think it would accomplish a few things that are missing in the baseball card world right now. First it may bring in fantasy fans that aren’t necessarily collectors. Seriously, those guys are way more fanatical than most of us, and that is saying a lot! The other more importing thing would be the building of a community of collectors online. Not only would we be competing against each other, but it would give us a chance to trade and talk cards with people that we may not have been able to before. I would think it would be a welcomed added value to a pack of cards. It would be something that takes the cards beyond the shoe box or binder and extends the value of the purchase. I’m not sure how willing Topps really is to be “Game Changers”, but something like this would be a good first step.
If your like me, and I know you are, you would love it if one of the great card companies out there would get with the times and release a checklist app for our fancy phones. I mean c’mon, there’s apps for everything! If I want to find a recipe, there’s an app. If I need to know the weather, there’s an app for that too. Want to know your horoscope, there’s dozens of app for that! Topps even made an app for a card flipping game that nobody plays. Hell, the Kama Sutra has over 500 different apps available! But when it comes to the single most useful tool for us collectors, there isn’t a single one to be found. Even the #1 Authority hasn’t cashed in on this yet, but to be honest, we all know they’d just fuck it up beyond use and charge way too much for it! I tried to create an android app with their app creator program but I soon found out I wasn’t smart enough to do such a thing, so I did the next best thing, I figured out a simple way to use Zistle along side with Google Docs to create checkable checklists on the go. Here’s a quick an easy guide so you can do it too.
First go to Zistle.com. If you’re not a member, that’s cool, it’s simple, free, and easy to sign up. Not only is it your first key to getting mobile checklists, it will also help you break free from the Beckett chains!
When in Zistle, create a collection under the collection tab. For this exercise I went with the 2011 Topps main set. Mark the ones you have and the ones you want. It’s fast and easy. If you don’t have any cards for a set and just want to set up a checklist, just go through and add all of the cards from the set. It’s quicker to use the list option and display 100 per page.
The next step is to export your collection. Under the Dashboard tab you will find an Export My Cards option. After you select that you will be taken to to the Export File page. Choose collection if you want the whole set to be displayed or if you’d rather just have your wants or haves you can just choose those.
This may take a few minutes depending on how large the collection is. When it’s finished it will appear under My Exports. Click on that and then choose export file and then it will download the file to your downloads folder.
After that, you’re done with the Zistle side of things. From here we go to Google Docs. If you’re not familiar with Google Docs, it’s a cloud service for your various Office files. You will need to sign up and register for this too, but it’s as easy as having a Google account.
The first step is to upload the file you just created using Zistle.
Just click the little upload icon next to the create button and find the file that was created. In this case it was 324.csv. Once it’s loaded it will show up at the top.
When you open it it will look a little messy. You’ll have to delete a couple of columns and make the columns the right size for everyhting but in the end you should be able to make this…..
look like this……
From there, all that’s left to do is to download the Google Docs app to your fancy phone and you have a fully functioning mobile checklist. Pretty easy huh? If anybody wants to play around with this file here’s a link to it. All I ask is that you don’t erase anything or go hog wild with it, I put it out there just for an example.
You’d think the great minds at Topps and Panini would be able to bring something like this to market. It’d be as easy as making the app and putting QR codes on the dummy insert cards. Or better yet, instead of Topps continuing to mindlessly reprint their cards form the past, make those cards with a QR code for a checklist from the corresponding year. It’d be a lot more useful than that stupid card flipping game!
So you’re probably wondering why I hardly ever post anymore, and when I do, I come strong with a beat up Johnny Wockenfuss autograph? Is it because he’s a lifetime .262 hitter. Nope. Maybe it’s because he hit 86 career home runs over a 12 year career? Not even close. Maybe it’s because he’s a full-fledged member of the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame. Wrong again. The simple answer is, it’s my damn blog and I can do whatever the hell I want too! That, and I like players with funny names and cards that make me laugh! This covers both bases. I’m easy to please. That’s the beauty of collecting. Some go out and search for low numbered parallel rookie autographs of the hottest superstars out there or search high and low for the sickest multicolored patch card of their favorite player. That’s all fine and dandy for those who don’t mind spending a boat load of money, but for me, I like cheap! If you buy cheap it’s hard to get burned. The problem is when you’re a fan of cheap, it can be hard to find something worth collecting. Not for me. I can find as much, if not more, enjoyment in a beat up Johnny Wockenfuss autograph as others do in their 12 swatch 14 color patch cards. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have a shiny autograph of Hank Aaron or a Sandy Koufax Dodger Blue patch card, just not as much as I’d like to have the $400 one of those would cost me. It’s a lot easier to part with the $2 this bad boy set me back, and get the gratification of finding a hard to find autograph of one of the game’s greatest names! But that’s just me!
Here’s a list of other players that belong in my Great Name Hall of Fame Collection.
- Rusty Kuntz
- Harry Chiti
- Dick Pole
- Herb Score
- Woody Held
- Seth Morehead
- Pumpsie Green
- Razor Shines
- Charlie Furbush
- Johnny Dickshot
- Wonderful Terrific Monds
- Bake McBride
- Doug Fister
Feel free to hit me up with a trade offer on any of these guys! If you know of any others that I forgot, leave them in the comments. I’m always looking.
Last year I attempted to put together the Topps flagship set by buying a jumbo box of both series. I knew I could score a complete set for far less than one box on eBay, but I had the itch to bust some wax. After busting the two boxes I was left with a handful of cards to finish off the set, a Starlin Castro Red Hot Rookie redemption, a Kosuke Fukudome relic card, and a Rogers Hornsby bat card. You’d think this box was a Cub’s fan’s dream come true, right? Well, unfortunately Topps decided Hornsby looked better in this uniform than he did in the Cubby Blue.
I don’t know what they were thinking? That’s the ugliest uniform in the bigs! Anyways, after sitting on my shelf for a month or two it got tossed in a box and put away in the closet. I recently came across it and though about putting it on eBay. I checked the completed auctions and found a blue parallel version sell for $4. For $4 I decided to hold onto it and try something different. I sent out an email for help and an envelope of beat up vintage cards to the SlangKo Headquarters, and Sean was up for the challenge. And he blew it out the damn sky!
This card is far and above the expectations I had! I mean, he does great work, but this is far above great! This card looks a million times better than the other one, and it has nothing to do with the uniform! Wait, it gets better. Do you want to see what the back of a card like this is supposed to look like?
Classy, Huh! I’m not sure if you can tell, but the bottom line is in red foil. I sure as hell wasn’t expecting foil! This card literally went from something I had forgotten about in a box in the closet to something I will display and show off to who ever will look at it! And why wouldn’t they want to look at it, it’s beautiful!?
Side by side, there’s no competition. If you would choose the original over the SlangKo card, you must be out your damn mind or a Cardinal’s fan. In either case that would leave you out your damn mind.
Now this is where Sean tries to one up my bundle of vintage I sent him. We seem to do that to each other every time we send something, this time he won! As if making a custom game used card from scratch and doing an unbelievable job wasn’t enough he went and did this……
Big deal you say? Nine extra custom cards? No, these are only 9 of 32, one for every Cub to suit up in 1929! Front and Back! I can’t tell you how glad I am I decided to ask him for help! I’m already scouring eBay for more cheap relic cards and my collection for more beat up vintage to send his way! I heard he really likes the 1960 set! I think I got a bunch of those somewhere around here? Thanks again to Sean for an unbelievable job well done!