If you're like me, and you probably are, you can't wait for the next release. It seems like Opening Day came out right in time to replace my waning interest in Topps (being that I have nearly finished the set). But then Heritage came along right after it, running it over like a Hummer overtaking a Geo Metro. But what's next? And what are my plans with each set? You probably know about all of these releases, but here they are, all together, with some random short commentary added in. Links will take you to the sell sheets. Of course, stuff will move around, it always does.
April 6: Tribute. This stuff is way out of my price range. Six hits per box, plus parallel sets and of course the base set. This is a set that looks good in its simplicity - it is a fitting design to honor some of the greatest. Of course all the autographs look stickered, but at least the stickers match the shiny hit cards. I kind of like the design on the parallels. I say parallels because the sell sheet doesn't show what a base card looks like. I guess nobody who pays $250-300 for a box cares about the base cards. This comes out in a week, apparently. And to whoever pulls that Ichiro patch book, I'll give you $50 cash. In small bills if you want. Yup. Fifty big ones. I'm a big spender.
April 20: Gypsy Queen. Less than a month away, this is the next big thing for average collectors, or so Topps hopes. I'm going to have a base set, but there are also nine parallel versions (including the minis) and eight forms of autographs/relics. Inserts are fairly minimal - three sets with mini parallels, plus the Gypsy Queen with auto and relic versions. This feels like Allen & Ginter with only baseball. Or I guess a replacement for National Chicle.
April 21: Topps Attax. I like that Topps is pushing the "game" aspect of this more, and while $2 for a pack of cards can be a lot of money for a kid, $8 for a full starter kit seems pretty good. I don't see any mention of parallels or insert sets - which means this is strictly a game set. Maybe some of the cards will be rare, maybe not. However, I did notice that there will be mascot and ballpark cards which must figure into the game somehow. I would like to put together a set of the ballpark cards. Why is this being released the day after Gypsy Queen?
May 11: Bowman. Everbody buys this set for the rookies. Or do they? Does Platinum replace this as the RC set? I don't do rookie speculating, so I'm not big on collecting Bowman. I bet if I went through all my old Bowman cards there would be a few lucky hits in there somewhere. Anyway, this year's set looks basically the same as before. And as usual, there are gold, blue, orange, red, and plate parallels. They're adding an International parallel with a map in the background "pinpointing the respective player's birthplace." If these are easy enough to find, I may actually put that set together. Once again there are all the autos and relics and USA stuff you'd expect. The cut signatures seem interesting in that they're in book format with an original '48 or '49 Bowman card. Good luck with that 1/1. And the inserts don't excite that much either - including the rehash of the '94 Bowman's Best design.
June 1: Pro Debut. Topps reissues its minor league set, with four hits per box. Why is Topps doing cut sigs of rookies, cut from their own cards? Why? This is a fairly simple issue - autographs, relics, and a few parallels, plus All-Star inserts. I'm not really interested in minor league sets (as I said above, I don't do the rookie thing).
June 9: Topps Series 2. Just a week after Pro Debut, Topps finishes its flagship brand set. Well, Update really finishes it, but the card numbering restarts. Anyway, most of the Series 1 stuff returns, as expected.
June 22: Bowman Platinum. Earlier than last year, and with four hits per box. Like regular Bowman, the design isn't great, though all that silver can look nice when refractorized. You already know this is the premium version of Bowman - rookies and prospects, with autographs, relics, and parallels. I don't really have much interest.
July 14: Allen & Ginter. I've already talked about this set here. In fact, it inspired me to dream up my own relic set here, here, here, here, and here (in order). And I'll go after the full base set, and I hope to get several of the insert sets including the state relics. This will probably be my biggest interest this year.
July 28: Triple Threads. Another package I can't afford, even though this is $100 less per box. But then, you get four hits per box instead of six. Of course, some of those books look awesome, and I like the look of the Unity relics (if you had all three, of course), but the design isn't that interesting to me. It's all about the hits here.