Triple Threads = Ratings

Topps released pictures from my absolute favorite set of the year today, and I think you will see why its my favorite each and every year it comes out. With what we saw from the 2010 set in the preview, it brought nothing but everything we expect from a Triple Threads set. Horribly designed cards with stickers built into the layout, so that they draw the eye away from the train wreck below. Cards printed on eye obliterating bright neon foilboard with more parallels than Panini could shake a stick at. Fold out booklet cards that are more concerned with spelling out obscure accomplishments in confusing die cut windows than actually making the card something to collect. A 180 dollar price point for two hits, one of which does not have an autograph. It makes me feel dumber knowing that I associate with collectors in this hobby that think this is ALWAYS the product of the year.

See that paragraph above? I wrote that two days after the release of the preview for the 2009 set. Almost 365 days ago. This set is so utterly predictable, that I could write an intro without even knowing what the 2010 cards would look like. In fact, these cards are so much more like 2009, 2008, and 2007, that there is not a visible difference other than the players on the card. I guess thats what you get with Topps High End. Overpriced boxes with ugly cards that only appeal to the people who dont consider what the actual product looks like, as long as it is stuffed full with “OMG MOJOZ!!!!111!” cards stuffed with 280 jersey pieces and five billion 1/1s.

I dont even think I need to say anything more about it. Its all been said before. Here is the preview, have fun. Im out.

First Look: 2010 Topps Platinum Football

Previews for Topps Platinum hit the web while I was out, and I am a little shocked by what I see. Although the design does look a lot better than last year, it still has a lot of the same flaws as 2009 Platinum, including some I was not hoping to see.

First off, I have been told for the last few months that Topps Platinum would be this year’s answer to the loss of a licensed SPA product. On card autographs, great design, and huge content in the box for a great price. Obviously that is not the case as the stickers are still built into the design, and your eye is drawn to the fact that some of the box will again cover up the player. I have never understood Topps’ reason for making the sticker the focus of the product, especially considering that stickers were invented to hide the fact that the cards werent handled by the atheletes.

Secondly, the way the players are silhouetted on the cards doesn’t lend very well to the chrome style stock. I mentioned last year that the cards themselves looked weird because of the solid silver, black, or red background. The reason the Chromes are so successful is because of how great the field pictures look on a chrome stock. It has always been an industry success story of how great chrome is, and when you take one of the elements out of it, things don’t look right. Its why foilboard always looks ridiculous, straight pics with no scenery don’t work. If it were flat stock it would be different a la SPA, National Treasures and Exquisite, but this doesn’t work.

Lastly, I do think this set looks better than last year, as some of the cards make last year’s look like they were designed by an amateur. However, this set is far from the level it should be at, despite the fact that it is a welcome January level product in September. I think Topps will no doubt have lots of success with it.

My LEAST Favorite Day of the Year – 2010 Triple Threads Baseball

I fucking hate Triple Threads. Other than maybe moments and milestones or Topps Sterling, it is the worst product ever. Its stale, its boring, and most of all its got sticker autos, slapped on ridiculously stupid cut outs, printed on rainbow neon foil, with a million parallels. I dont know how there could be a worse product out there. On top of all that, it costs a shitload per box, and you only get one auto and one jersey card.

If Triple Threads were a car, it would be a Hummer. Big expensive car with no other purpose than for idiots to show off that they have one. The Hummer hasnt changed much since its release, and neither has Triple Threads. The cards look exactly the same as they did last year, the cutout swatch windows are some how harder to follow than last year, and the only improvement they can boast is that the Rising Stars cards you get 8 per case of are signed on card. Yippee. Glad they finally determined that the crappiest part of the product is the only part that is going to be on card. Other than that, its foil sticker autos that are BUILT into the fucking design. Yup, its just as ugly as ever.
Not only that, but they are bringing back all terrible booklet cards, even expanding some to stickers as well as the jersey patches and bat barrels. Yes, because the only thing those cards needed is a foil sticker that covers half the player. Nice fucking job. Hell, even the worst cards in the entire fucking hobby are back with their 24 weirdly placed relics on a booklet card. Im so happy that I can now have a card that confusingly spells out entire sentences!
You know what the saddest part is? This product costs more than just about any other product that comes out during the year. At $150-170 a box, you are guaranteed an auto and a jersey, but the quality and design of the cards are so poor that they hardly ever live up to value. Then when you think you have a special card, you realize there are five million just like it with different ugly neon colors in the background. When just about every product at or below 100 dollars offers better cards with hard signed signatures, this price tag seems ridiculous. Ill give you an example. Ultimate Baseball had an MSRP originally below 100 bucks a box. It offered better looking cards, hard signed signatures, and similar ridiculous patches. Not only that, but there was no foil board, and there was no stupid fucking swatch window cutouts.
Even worse than that, Topps fucking loves this product. Their brass thinks this product is the best thing on the fucking planet, and I hope they wise up to their horrible fucking viewpoint. They need to figure out that instead of re-releasing the same god damned product every single year with the same ugly design, they need to revamp this whole bitch and hire a design team that actually has the power of sight.
I talk bad about a lot of products, but nothing gets me fired up like High End Topps sets. They are just that bad. When you look at how good their low end stuff is, it really makes you wonder how they could fail so badly at their expensive stuff. The gap between the two ends of the spectrum is even worse in football, and yet people still give them a pass most of the time. Triple Threads personifies that drift, with so many people either loving it or hating it. I have noticed that since SCU began its personal vendetta against this product, there are a lot more people that are wising up to the worst product of the year. Im in no way meaning to insinuate that I had anything to do with it, I just think that more and more people each year start to get that vomit taste in their mouth whenever they see this preview.

Topps posted a ton of pictures, you can see the rest here.

Topps is About To Have MAJOR Trouble on Their Hands

Ever since the sell sheet was released for 2009 Triple Threads baseball, I have posted on here how much of a horrid abomination the set looked like. From what I have been reading on the net, this card is a little bit more than just a bright blue booklet eyesore from one of the least visually appealing sets ever made. Its fake.

Here is the article posted about it when it was pulled a while ago. Since that timeframe, there has been nothing but skepticism over the authenticity of the Babe Ruth signature used for that card. I posted about it at that time, but now it looks like things are getting a little more hairy.
The person who pulled it, after reading about said skepticism, advised that he was going to send it for authentication with PSA. Not the best way to do it, but its better than nothing. After some time passed, the card was put up on eBay with no authenticating statement from PSA. The seller claims that he could not afford it. Whatever. Within a few days, the auction had been pulled under questionable authenticity from eBay, and no updates from Topps or anyone related to the production of the card or the pulling of the auction has been issued.
If you remember what happened when a similar thing happened to Upper Deck with a quad cut pulled out of EPIC, they had a lot of ‘splainin to do. They also made up for it with three (or possibly more) uncirculated 1/1s of the original HOF class, a Jordan/Lebron and a Tiger Woods. I think Topps may be on the same path if they do not own up to what happened with that Ruth signature that has been deemed fake by just about everyone.

Topps Platinum is to SPA As CZs Are To Diamonds

Topps Platinum has started to pop up on eBay and though some of the cards remind us of chrome-y like goodness in a good way, others remind us of horribly laid out cards with oddly placed pictures, patches and stickers. Jeff from New Card Smell has posted his thoughts if you want a more positive take on things. My commentary is not going to be as favorable.

Im sure most of you are familiar with Bowman Chrome’s disastrous rookie auto jersey cards from this year. You know the ones where the jersey window obscurred a good part of the player picture? Yeah, I get a similar vibe off these cards, mainly because they are using the player picture in such a weird way.
Instead of building the card around a good and well thought out space for the player picture, they decided to shove it behind three photoshop layers of sticker spaces and chrome backgrounds. When you try something like that, your competition with SPA ends in a loss.
Now, you may say that this product is not meant to compete with SPA, but its tough to ignore when the price point and the box set up is pretty much the same. The difference is that SPA is all on card, and one of the favorite sons of the hobby, while this is a rehashed chrome bastard to get rid of stickers. I dont mind the regular base cards all that much, they could pass for chrome if they came out around the same cards. However, when you start getting up into the autos and especially the auto patches, things get awfully ugly.
We will see how more of the box breaks shake up, but so far, this stuff looks to be not worth your time.