Saturday, June 7, 2014

Everyone Else is Doing It, so Why Not Me?

I'm not entirely sure what it is about the 2014 Topps Archives set that makes me think of an Irish alternative band from 1993.  But, here I am with a post title that references The Cranberries debut album name (Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?) and their second biggest hit, "Linger."

Let me think about this for a second and look to the lyrics from Linger....hmmm...the lyrics to Linger were written by Dolores O'Riordan as part of her audition to join the band.  The song, according to her, was about her "first serious kiss."  Or, if you look at the lyrics, it sure sounds like a person who feels trapped in a relationship but who cannot seem to break free from the relationship.

It might be a bit of a stretch, but I sort of feel that way about the Archives sets.

I loved the 2012 Archives when I got a couple of them off Amazon using some store credit I had there. Then, I admitted my inability to keep myself from buying two hobby boxes of the 2013 Archives when I went to my local card store in March.  So, I knew that I would want the 2014 version.

But, as I heard more and found out more about the set, it started turning me off.  The first problem: no Ryan Braun.  I guess Topps is okay about bringing back steroid abusers from the past, but anyone who has been suspended but is still a current player is persona non grata.  That's fine.  I don't have that big of a problem with that. I can work through that issue.

Problem Number 2: increasing the number of short-printed cards to fifty.  Each year, this number has creeped northward--from 41 thanks to the ridiculous shoehorning of another Bryce Harper card into the 2012 set to 45 last year.  Even this didn't make me wonder whether it was just a game to Topps.

Problem Number 3: using the same designs for the short prints as for the regular set.  Ugh.  One of my least favorite activities is continually flipping cards from front to back as I open the pack to see if the card is in the "high number" series.  In the past, at least, the distinctive designs helped identify the short prints.  Not this year:

While the 1989 Topps Design (another issue I have which I'll get to in a minute) provides the base set design for cards 151 through 200, this card of twice-convicted steroid user Manny Ramirez is card 204.

EDIT:  Oops, forgot to address the 1989 design thing.  Yeah, I get it that we're 25 years after 1989 and all. Not all anniversaries should be celebrated. I guess Topps is celebrating those years when it pulled the wool over everyone's eyes successfully and printed enough cards for every man, woman, and child to have put together three complete sets for themselves and one more to ship to Africa for those less fortunate.  Please let this design die, Topps.  Please.

Problem Number 4: Only 5 Brewers in the base set.  On the bright side, there are no Brewers in the short-printed high numbers.  I even picked up my Robin Yount card:

On the other hand, this is 5 Brewers as compared to:

  • Eighteen St. Louis Cardinals, all in the 1-200 base set
  • Eleven Boston Red Sox, including 4 short prints
  • Nine New York Mets, including 3 short prints, and 
  • TWENTY-TWO New York Yankees, including 7 short prints and this guy:
Nothing against Murphy, who is hitting well as Brian McCann's backup currently, but why do the Yankees get their freaking backup catcher in the set and the Brewers All-Star shortstop from last year, Jean Segura, doesn't get into the set?

Problem Number 5:  The elimination of the Fan Favorites being the high-numbered cards in favor of more cards of Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, and Justin Verlander.  One of my favorite parts of the 2013 Archives set was having cards of guys like Lee May, Charlie Hough, and Kent Hrbek included.  Yeah, there weren't any Brewers in those short prints last year, but the guys I mentioned were minor stars who were beloved in the cities in which they played.  This year, there are a few of those "fan favorite" types -- Darren Daulton is probably the best example -- but even here it just appeared to be an excuse to put in more New York and Los Angeles players into the set...Dusty Baker, Mookie Wilson, John Olerud (as a Met), and Graig Nettles (as a Yankee) are not the same.  

So I guess Problems 4 and 5 really are the problem of being a smaller market.  Bud Selig was right.

Other than those major complaints, 2014 Archives isn't a bad set.  Seriously.  I don't mind the 1987 "Future Stars" inserts that much, such as this one that I pulled:

I don't mind the All-Star rack-pack-insert-style cards either (I got a Gary Carter here, so it's been put away in its binder already).

I'm not even viscerally opposed to the Parallels.  I have a Felix Hernandez gold that I'd love to trade for something I actually collect:

I guess I just feel used.  I'm such a fool for these cards.  And seeing everyone posting on their blogs about them is making evident this set's ability to wrap me around its proverbial finger linger. And linger.  And that's my tortured way to understand thinking about The Cranberries.

But I'm done being a fool for Archives.  I'm not going to try to collect the full set this year.  I'll take the Brewers, but that's all for me, thanks.


  1. I agree about the checklists. The Yankees are over represented in all the new releases. If you try to join a box break online you can usually expect to pay 3 times as much.