Topps Grabs By Ankles; Lifts, Shakes
Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?
2009 Topps Series 2 Baseball has hit the shelves, the middling release that everyone waits for but nobody is quite sure why. Yet here were are, more than 20% into the baseball season, with plenty of different products already released and some big ones on the horizon and I'm all excited for Series 2.
Sure, part of it is the fact that I'm a Topps collector at heart, and the Tigers offerings in Series 1 were weak, at best. Part of it is the fact that Curtis Granderson was left in the cold in Series 1 and that I needed to wait until now to get his base card. But there is one more piece of the puzzle. I once read that parallels are just doubles for idiots—I wish I could remember where, but I laughed out loud when I first heard it—likely after splurging on a semi-rare but not really parallel of some sort. On that alone, I must be quite the fool.
You see, back in Series 1 Topps did something that has drawn the ire of collectors for years. The dreaded “secret release." We've seen it before, with false gimmicks, real errors and other marketing ploys to try and get us out there to buy pack after pack (or more realistically, case after case). By and large, the collecting community grew tired of being strung along and these unannounced plots by Topps came under scrutiny.
Back to Series 1. Someone went to Walmart and bought a blaster. All of the cards in the box were black. Black borders, blackend background—you get the idea. Gimmick! Shenanigans! Packing Error?! People didn't know what to thing. They were at it again with an unannounced release of another meaningless parallel. Except for one thing--Topps came clean.
Specially marked blasters at Walmart (by UPC code) had all-black cards. Target had its own set too, with a retro logo on old time-y cardboard stock, also with a different bar code. Topps unveiled the sales plan—they even gave us the codes. Their plot was foiled.
But then a funny thing happened. People started embracing these alternative sets. Instead of being annoyed by pulling an unannounced parallel in every normal pack, people now had a choice. The choice to buy these sets or stick with the regular one. People could buy exactly whichever set(s) they wanted to. What a novel idea.
So now, with Series 2 upon us, I can't wait for Topps to tell us which UPC codes to use this time so that the chase can begin. Somehow, through some dark magic that I will never understand, Topps has gotten me excited to collect three versions of the same basic set. Kudos. Just don't do something tricky or secret to screw it all up. We may be idiots, but we're not dumb.
Dan Taylor runs the blog Grand Cards (grandcards.blogspot.com) and is blissfully aware of the fact that there will be 3 versions of Curtis Granderson to chase in Series 2.