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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2012 Topps Opening Day: Preview and Comments

The World Series wasn't even half over Friday when Topps was already looking forward to 2012 Opening Day - the set, that is. They released preview images from the annual budget set and set details to the public.

As expected, the 220-card set will look like the flagship issue without the foil. The blue bordered parallels return, serial numbered to 2012, according to the Beckett article.
 The one-per-pack inserts include Elite Skills (30 cards), Dream Team (30 cards), and the return of the 3D set Opening Day Stars (25 cards), Superstar Celebrations (30 cards), and Mascots (30 cards).
Printing plates and autographs return as the hits of the product. Ten younger players will sign, including World Series participants Neftali Feliz (seen below), Mitch Moreland, and Jon Jay.
 I'm happy with the 2012 flagship design, and as such the Opening Day design is acceptable. I'm looking forward to seeing the insert designs that haven't been released - the Elite Skills set (below) isn't my cup of tea, and neither is the Superstar Celebrations insert. However, I always enjoy 3D inserts, and Dream Team can have some promise.
Many people dismiss Opening Day as a cheap castoff, and it's true it's inexpensive, but it's a set that sells consistently through retail, for kids, casual collectors, and impulse purchasers. Because it is essentially a partial parallel of the flagship brand, it's a way for those who don't have the interest or budget to put together a full 660-card set to collect something each year.

I have one problem with the set, which I've voiced before, and I'm not the only one. Because the set simply reproduces part of the flagship set, it doesn't hold anything special for regular collectors. While I don't want Opening Day to reach its end, I would enjoy a set with a design geared more towards kids and families. A return of the Bazooka line is my answer, with more color to the base set design. Think 1992 Topps Kids, or 1993 Fun Pack. Yes, they're loud, but they're fun and entertaining. Topps Kids had great cartoons, while Fun Pack had all kinds of interesting subsets that included stickers, scratch-offs, glow in the dark cards, and "educational" cards to teach some of the finer points of the game. Yes, that's an Upper Deck product, but Topps has done cards similar to that in the past, and for a set that is geared towards collectors with lower budget, the product should be fun. Many of the insert concepts are fine, but need to be ported to a design that is more fun. Bazooka Comics was a great insert set, and most of the relic sets in Bazooka releases followed a comic panel style.

Opening Day is successful, mainly due to its price point. I believe it would be even more successful if it had a more exciting design with a bit more thought given to the insert sets. I know if it was a "unique" release, instead of a parallel of the flagship set, with a fun, playful, vibrant design and captivating inserts, I would buy more than a light selection of packs and maybe try to build a full master set. It worked for Panini with Score, so hopefully Topps will eventually take note and catch up in 2013.

What are your thoughts on Opening Day? Do you collect it? Do you buy any of it? Why or why not? Would any of my recommendations above increase or decrease your interest in the set?


  1. I always buy a few packs...and I'll be needing the Nefti and Moreland autos. I don't try to get the whole set, just the Rangers.

  2. I appreciate the price and as a result I usually end up buying some. A $9.99 blaster is always nice, plus I like that there are autos so it still feels like a more premium set. However, I never find myself getting overly into it because it's just not different enough from the flagship to keep me interested.

  3. I agree that Topps should try something a little more interesting with their lowest-end release rather than what's essentially just a cheap parallel set. I usually buy a pack or two of Opening Day but I think I'd be more inclined to spend an extra $1 here or there for a pack of something else. I think a set similar to the Topps Kids one you mentioned would be fun. They wouldn't need to go so over-the-top with 'kidding' it up, but something a little more vibrant and kooky than the flagship set would be welcomed. Something that appeals to kids but doesn't necessarily turn off adult collectors.