On the Radar: 2016 Topps Triple Threads

Today we got the preview for 2016 Triple Threads baseball. Since the product doesnt change much, I think its worth mentioning that my commentary has a right to continue to be as scathing as ever. Here is the way I started out last year’s post. Seems to be fine to basically say the same shit.

For the majority of the time I have spent writing this site, I have waged a war on Triple Threads that knows no hotter fire. Although Football has improved in terms of design and concept over the years somewhat, Baseball has remained as horrifically bad as ever. Now that we see what 2015 is bringing, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the one Baseball set that needs a complete overhaul.

Im pretty sure that what I say here means little to nothing in the way Topps approaches Triple Threads each year, and now that football will no longer be around to give any sort of progress to this STALE brand, I have no fucking clue why it is still being trotted out each year with so little of a change to anything the product offers.

Here is what the product is to me. Laughable at best:

Terrible Looking Designs

Sticker Autographs

Stupid Phrases Die Cut Over the Relics

Ugly Printing Plates

Horrible Rainbow Foil

I have commented many times that cards will need to continue to provide a reason why this Mike Trout auto is better than the 10000 Trout autos that came before, at least in order to be sustainable. I see Triple Threads as a prime example of why this is so important. This is the 11th year of the brand. Practically nothing has changed about this brand in many years, and I would even argue it has regressed. There used to be on card content that was available in the set, and now even that element is much more limited than it was in previous years.

Yes, you read that right. Collectors will pay close to 200 a box for this garbage and there is 2 autos per box and none of them look to be on card. Because the product offers those SICK MOJOZZZZZ PATCHES, it doesnt matter the way the cards look to deliver them. I get the appeal of nice patches, but when they come in ugly packages, why bother? When they come in ugly packages that havent changed in 8 years, good fucking god.

Topps’ addition of Kevin Costner relics to this product seems a bit forced and that’s just the start. For a product like Triple Threads, I dont see how the character or the content really fits in, especially when you see how they plan to use the likeness. I would much rather it be in Archives or Ginter and leave it at that. No reason to flood the market, especially after Leaf did the same thing. It takes the novelty out of the whole thing.

Either way, here are the pictures. Im about done giving a shit about this.

2016 Topps Heritage: Finding Extreme Value in Non-Hits

Every year I am continually shocked by Topps Heritage. Not only are people rabid about collecting the set, but the way the value is maintained through the box break is beyond surprising. For a hobby where almost everyone focuses on the hits in the box, Heritage has the most value arguably outside the hits. That’s not saying the big autographs dont sell for a lot, but its everything else that is shocking.

Check out these listings, you will be SHOCKED at some of the prices:

2016 Topps Heritage Carlos Correa Throwback Uniform Variation

2016 Topps Heritage Mike Moustakas First Name Error SSP

2016 Topps Heritage Matt Carpenter Throwback Uniform Variation

2016 Topps Heritage Kris Bryant Black Chrome Variation /67

2016 Topps Heritage Joe Mauer No Stat Line Error SSP

2016 Topps Heritage Francisco Lindor Gold Chrome Variation /5

The biggest source of surprising enormous value are in the errors and variations, some of which are estimated at around 10-25 copies. Master set collectors can drive the price of these cards into the hundreds, despite the fact that the only difference can be a piece of text or something as small as a dot above an "I" in someone's facsimile autograph.

Other cards like throwback uniform variations, color swaps, and wrong name error cards are also pretty valuable, and can bring a lot of value to a box break that has a cheap relic card as a box hit most of the time. Funny enough, the relic cards that are available in many products arent always as cheap as they are elsewhere either. Heritage is a different beast than just about any other set, mainly because of those loyalists mentioned before.

Additionally, the Chrome cards and rare parallels can also sell for a ton, which isnt necessarily out of the ordinary for the brand. Chrome cards have a history of selling high for low numbered parallels, although Heritage has taken that to a whole new level.

As we start to approach iconic designs that should be used in the coming years, I am curious to see how high some of the sets can sell. Heritage boxes are always in high demand, and though I am not a huge fan of the product, I appreciate any way a company can derive value in a set that doesnt use autographs or relic content.

Its become quite the phenomenon, and baseball might be the only place it can work.

SCU Go-Live Report: 2015 Topps Supreme Football

As we approach the final Topps product under their football license, I am starting to get more and more anxious – especially considering what looks to be in store when Panini takes over around April. Supreme is the second to last of what Topps has previewed, and it has become one of my favorite products that Topps has put out. Even though it is a sticker based product, they do have a lot of cool on card autographs, and some great looking quasi-hard signed examples. Supreme can generate some major firepower, as we have seen over the years, and 2015 looks to be no different.

Here are some of the big hits so far:

2015 Topps Supreme Marcus Mariota Drawn Play Oversized Booklet /5

2015 Topps Supreme Peyton Manning / Andrew Luck Dual Patch Auto Booklet

2015 Topps Supreme Dan Marino Inscription Booklet Auto /5

2015 Topps Supreme Andrew Luck Jumbo Patch Auto

2015 Topps Supreme Russell Wilson Quad Patch Auto 1/1

Let me start off, I hate when a company separates the signature area from the rest of the design. Somehow with Supreme, Topps’ design team has found a way to make it look good. Maybe its the gold foil, but I really do like the way many of the cards look. The oversized booklet cards seem to be the most coveted cards of the entire run, and I completely agree that they deserve a lot of attention. New for this year, Topps has included inscriptions and drawn plays from non-rookies, which have resulted in some really cool examples.

Supreme also picks up where Definitive left off on dual and other multi autos, coming up with some really cool combos of players. Multi signed cards are hard to produce because of how much cost each autograph adds to the production – especially with HOF players that can charge close to 100 bucks a sticker. With the license ending, obviously that isnt as much of a concern, as inventory no longer has to be preserved and production costs can be increased. Supreme definitely got the benefit of this situation.

My favorite auto relics of the product remain the jumbo patch autos, as the rectangular swatch on a horizontal card looks great. It gives a ton of room for design elements and a big player photo without compromising the size of the swatch. This year’s design works really well, and definitely fits in with examples from years past. I have a few targets to chase on this checklist, and the names can be some of the best around.

The logo booklets are back, and these are some of the best cards in the product. Its basically a 1/1 with whatever ends up being the best patch on the jersey, outside of the NFL shield. This means that there are some crazy logos that can be had, and with a booklet format, you get basically the whole thing. I have two of these in my personal collection, and they are awesome to display.

The above paragraphs are an example of why you can strike it big in Supreme, but it doesnt really show the major drawback of ripping this product. Supreme, like Upper Deck’s old Ultimate collection, is about as hit and miss as it comes. Some of the cards are insane and awesome, others are less so. With each box only giving out 1 hit, you can see where that would cause an issue at about 80-100 bucks a pop.

Overall, im going to miss Supreme, as it really did aim to get some nice non-rookie content out there every year. If you have a chance to break into a few boxes, I would definitely think about it, as the cards look very nice.

SCU Go Live Report – 2016 Leaf Metal Draft Football

Each year, Leaf has shown that they are in the pre-draft game to win it. With Panini continuing to deliver sticker products through week 10 of the regular season, Leaf should and does do some damage early on with great looking on card stuff. Collectors really dont seem to appreciate how great the on card stuff really is, but with Topps out of the game they might a little more this year.

Here are some of the big hits:

2016 Leaf Metal Draft Cardale Jones Gold Refractor Auto 1/1

2016 Leaf Metal Draft Derek Henry Black Refractor Auto /15

2016 Leaf Metal Draft Tom Brady Auto Insert 1/1

2016 Leaf Metal Draft Carson Wentz Auto Green Refractor /10

2016 Leaf Metal Draft Paxton Lynch Pink Refractor Auto

2016 Leaf Metal Draft Eziekel Elliot Blue Refractor Auto

This year has some extra firepower as well in Tom Brady autographed cards for the first time in an unlicensed set. Not only is this huge for a small run product like Metal Draft, but it is just nuts to think that Leaf was able to get the top signer in all of football on their roster. Brady’s autos sell like nothing else, and with a potentially shitty draft class this year, its clear that this could help float a product that doesnt offer anything but rookies.

As for the design of the product, Im a big fan this year. Not only is it simple and easy to take in, but it offers great space for the signatures and the photos look awesome to boot. I am so far pretty impressed with signature quality in this stuff, as the last few years have seen a growing number of give up signatures around the NFL. This year’s class looks to be much more dedicated to a higher level of quality autographs, which is great in a down year.

Leaf is not going to compete with Panini on this level, as much as they deserve to with the quality of the cards. On card Chrome is something that always works well, even if the photos are airbrushed. To think that Panini cant deliver similar levels of hard signed content is a big fucking embarassment, and another reason to stay away from their garbage through the beginning of the season.

A Tale of Spring Training: 2016 Twins in Ft Myers Florida

This year, my family and I decided to take a spring break trip to Florida for my son’s first birthday, including a day at Disney and a trip to Ft Myers to watch the Twins in Spring Training. Being that I am a huge Twins fan, and its been 15 years since I have gone to ST, it was going to be nice to see the new facility and spend some time watching the team up close and personal.


We knew it was going to be much more access to the team than we could ever think of at a normal game, even more so on a Wednesday morning before the crowds show up for the main slate of games that starts this week. What we didnt know was just how much access we would have and how amazing the players would be to us as they got ready to rock for the 2016 MLB grind.


We got there at about 10, which from what the suggestions we got from veterans was perfect timing. The players would all be out and practicing, and it would only be a few hours before they started to walk inside and we could meet them. The facility is brand new and gorgeous, with some nice practice fields and cages that the players used the whole day. You can literally go up to the chain link fence while they are playing, and talk to them if they are up to it. Overall there were about 100 people there, mostly Twins fans who live in the area, and fans making the trip to participate. It was like being there right along side them as they prep.


Around 10:30, Kyle Gibson and Jose Berrios did some bullpen work, which was awesome to see literally standing next to them. You really dont appreciate how hard they throw the ball until you can feel the ball whip past you as they throw it. Both were very nice, and teased my son about his strong arm when he threw a ball back to them that got away from the catcher. He was pretty proud of that. They were super nice and tossed him a ball when they were heading back to the clubhouse.


Around 11:15, the players started winding down, and signed for everyone as they walked off the practice field. Torii Hunter was there hanging out with the team, and having a good time knowing he was only there for fun for the first time in many many years. He signed for everyone as he was standing around, doing soft tosses for the players who wanted to hit in the cage. He spent some time hanging out with Tony Oliva, who was also there with the team – something very cool to see. Not every day you get two of the teams most recognizable guys hanging out and talking shop.


Brian Dozier was there taking some light hitting, and he made it a point to stop and sign for my son, take pictures and chat for a moment. He is my son’s favorite player, especially now. Literally the most personable guy on the team, making it a point to spend time with the 5-10 kids that were all there. Just amazing.


The guy everyone wanted to see was Joe Mauer, and I was a little surprised how much popularity he still has despite the few down years in a row. He was a superstar at the facility, and everyone there jammed the walkway when he came off the field. I had met Mauer a number of times, but my son said that he HAD to get Joe to sign his ball. Luckily Joe stopped for a second when my son reached out, and made sure he was having a great time.


Overall, if you are a baseball fan, and want to get closer to your team, this is literally heaven. I dont think I have spent time like this so close to a group that is actively training, and not part of an event. To see them make spring training an experience for everyone was literally one of the best experiences we have had.

Plus, the kids go right to sleep on the drive home! That is a true gift.