Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fool Me Once...

A couple weeks ago I posed about how previous incarnations of Gypsy Queen have pretty much flown right under my radar.  Well, I decided to avoid making the same mistake twice and get a good jump on this year's set.  Luckily the local show in Dayton is always ripe with about half a dozen dealers who are always on top of the latest releases.  I was able to snag almost the entire team set out of a dime box, and even found an insert for a quarter.

The mini's and SP's will probably still prove elusive.  But at least now the set looks a little less pathetic on my checklist.

 The Cutch Sliding Stars is a nice looking card, and I'm happy to see Topps incorporating more photos of the Pirates alternate black jersey.  They wear it both at home and on the road, so it sees a fair amount of use, particularly early in the season.
 Overall, I like the design of this year's set far more than previos editions.  The lighter green borders don't overpower the photos, but give more character to the card than the tan borders from a few years back.  I'm still not a big fan of the photoshopping on the images, but I do prefer the action shots to the dull posted photos in A&G.
 Topps did a nice job with player selection this year.  The stars are there, along with a few veterans (Ralph Kiner and Clemente are SP's, as well as a Stargell variant photo SP).  But what I really like about this checklist is the inclusion of those second tier players - Snider and Martin specifically.  To me, it's tough to get excited about adding yet another Cutch base card.  Garrett Jones, A.J., and Neil Walker are nice inclusions, and guys who probably could and should have more cards on the market.  But I get downright excited about seeing guys who have very few cards as a Pirate land even a base card.  Over the last few years, that type of player was usually only found in Update or Flagship.

 I'm split on how exactly I feel about the inclusion of retired stars.  Sure, it adds a nice flair.  And I'll never complain about getting a few more cards of Pops or Clemente.  But with Topps' exclusive contracts, it also seems to be the very same retired players in every single set.  A little variety would be nice.  But then again, I might be better off just going to Panini if that's what I'm looking for.

 I was thrilled just to see Travis Snider in the set.  After all, he didn't look so good in his time with the Bucs last year, and has never really produced in the majors.  But it was a double bonus to find this awesome action shot against the backdrop of the ivy at Wrigley.  My only complaint?  I would have loved to see this photo in Flagship so it would be in its original form, rather than the awkward photoshop masks.
Yes, the Pirate uni is photoshopped on.  But for all the posts I've read about Topps botching photoshop jobs this year (and they are all well justified posts), I think they did an awesome job with this card.  Perhaps the effects used on the card mask some of the jersey change elements.  But still, if I didn't know this photo wasn't actually in a Pirate uniform, I'd never know it wasn't in a Pirate uniform.  And there's your Yogi-ism for the day.

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