Topps released this image recently. Needless to say, I was pretty excited. And not because it's Bryce Harper.
The design reminds me a little of the 2003 and 2008 issues, with some differences, of course. I'm happy with the design above, though a little more color in the banner would be nice. But what will 2014 Stadium Club look like as an issue?
I'm hoping Topps learns from its past mistakes and keeps it simple. I want an obtainable complete base set - a return to the sets of the 1990s with a few hundred cards and no short prints. Especially not 33% of the set being short-printed. No silly variations, rookie SPs with two different versions, or 25% of the cards in the base set sporting autographs. Seriously. Short prints don't belong anywhere but Heritage if it's recreating something from the original issue. I hate them. 99% of the sets I collect are complete in my mind without the SPs.
I know they'll do parallels. The card above has a Members Only logo. First Day Issue and gold parallels were pretty standard back in the day, too. I don't care much about parallels, but they really need to cut out the rainbows because there are plenty with Bowman, Chrome, Finest, and these days flagship Topps. And I really hope they avoid Chrome and Finest.
If Topps wants to make Stadium Club Chrome or Finest again, that should be a separate insert with its own design. I liked the inserts Topps did for TSC Finest in the mid 1990s.
Speaking of inserts, Stadium Club hasn't had any really super-awesome insert sets. I liked the jumbo box toppers with the larger photos from 1993, and now they can be even nicer given improvements in photography. And as a photography-based set, Stadium Club should have some more awesome photos that fit into some categories - maybe celebrity photographers (Pinnacle's Brinkley Collection comes to mind), unique angles, fun dugout shots, and so on.
It could turn out that Stadium Club is an online-only product like Turkey Red or Minis. It could be a limited promotional issue that is used as a prize for the online game. Or it might be an insert in some other release. If it's attainable and attractive, I'll chase it any way. But if Topps goes nuts and makes it super high-end, I will be completely disappointed.
Topps, if you're out there listening, I hope you consider the real collectors when creating this product. I know you have to put the crazy 1/1s and super-limited autographs and patches that I'll never get to appease the money-throwing gamblers that drive your marketing strategy these days, but make sure the rest of the product - the stuff those gamblers don't care about - is great for the rest of your customers.
What do you think? Are you interested in a return of Stadium Club? On what conditions?