Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Cal Ripken, Jr., 2012 Topps Golden Greats #GG-42
Anyhow, I’d already made up my mind to ignore 2012 Topps, because it worked out pretty well in 2011. It took me years to get fully on board with vintage, but it’s just more fun for me and can even be more affordable, if you know where and how to shop. Plus, those monopolistic, condescending dopes at the card company don’t get your money! But when I saw that the 2012s were out, I figured that I should get a taste. I’d be supporting my neighborhood hobby shop (that’s Sports Card Depot, tell your friends!), and $8 isn’t going to make much of a difference to Topps. After rifling through all four packs, I can say that I made the right choice staying away from contemporary set-buying-and-building.
The base cards are fine. I don’t particularly like the design, but it’s inoffensive and largely stays out of the way of the player photos, which are high-quality and varied. But we all know that Topps puts most of the focus on the inserts, and at two per pack, they certainly refuse to be ignored. However, they absolutely deserve to be ignored. Let me just list the inserts that I pulled: Golden Giveaway, Golden Greats, Golden Moments, Gold Standard. Do you sense that Topps just isn’t trying? That they’re maybe getting a little complacent without any competition? There’s nothing wrong with an overarching theme to your product, but this isn’t so much a theme as crushing monotony. Also, these inserts are just dull and ugly. They look more like commemorative plates from the Franklin Mint than baseball cards.
I probably would have sorted these cards with a shrug and moved on with my life, but this Cal Ripken, Jr. insert just touched a nerve. Any reasonably attentive Oriole fan (and most fans of baseball in general) could glance at the photo and tell you that it dates to the 1980s. But the card shines a spotlight on Cal’s phenomenal 6-for-6, 5-run, 6-RBI performance on June 13, 1999. For a company with the wealth of resources that Topps has, this is unforgivably lazy. It suggests that:
a) They were not able to find a photo from the correct DECADE, much less the correct year, anywhere in their 60-year photo archive.
b) They were not able to procure an appropriate photo from Major League Baseball, the organization that gave them exclusive rights as the only MLB-licensed collectible card company.
c) Failing all else, no one at Topps was able to do a quick search of the Dressed to the Nines database.
Those three scenarios all seem pretty implausible. It’s more likely that
d) They don’t care, and assume that we don’t care. They've been doing crap like this for years, after all. What's more, a quick peek at eBay tells me that there are later-years Ripken photos used on other cards IN THE SAME SET!
Well I do care, and I know that some of you do as well. Maybe it’s time to let them know about it, with our words and our wallets.
P.S.: Let’s not even talk about the stupid squirrel.