Monday, September 19, 2016

The Day ToppsNow Died

My complaints about Topps Now are regular. They are numerous. Some of them are entirely unfair. Most of them relate to perceived slights from Topps for my Brewers.

They are tired of me tweeting at them. They don't respond to my tweets. They probably have me muted. They wouldn't block me, I don't think, since they still like my money and want me to spend it with them on the incredibly rare occasion that they acknowledge that the Brewers (a) are still a major league baseball team, (b) employ real live major league players, (c) have real live baseball Hall of Famers, and (d) Ryan Braun cheated but so did A-Rod, David Ortiz, Roger Clemens, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and any number of other players who have been lionized by Topps.

That last one was to see if you're still paying attention.

Anyway, Topps gave up their pretense of caring about Topps Now being about "celebrating baseball's greatest they happen" and, instead, decided to highlight "man rides bike to work two days ago."

You may have heard about Ben Zobrist. He did something pretty cool -- he rode his bike about one mile from his home near Wrigley in full uniform and wearing PF Flyers. He did this on Saturday, before the Cubs lost to the Brewers 11-3 thanks to a 3-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI game from Ryan Braun (taking Braun to 30 HRs and setting a team record for most seasons with 30 HRs) and with 2 SBs for Jonathan Villar (taking him to 56, 2 behind Billy Hamilton).

And yet, today is when this happened.

Yes, today was the day that Topps Now became "Topps sometime this weekend." After yesterday's six card orgasm that, in fairness, mostly deserved the Topps Now treatment (though again Topps decided on another "walk-off single" card after telling me when the Brewers' walk-off wasn't celebrated that, "not every walk-off is a Topps Now card") Topps decided that it would give a Topps Now card today to something that actually happened on Saturday

Topps stole a screencap from Ben Zobrist's wife's Instagram page -- hey Topps, does that violate your exclusivity agreement with Getty Images? -- and made a card out of it. If you're interested, here's the original post from Instagram:

A video posted by Julianna Zobrist (@juliannazobrist) on

Hey, it was kind of cool that he did it. Don't get me wrong. But this has been on social media since Saturday afternoon at 1:41 PM Eastern time. So, I guess it's okay now for Topps to decide that "Now" really means, "hey, when we get around to it and when we finally see something, we can print a card and call it 'Now.'"

Also, has anyone at Topps ever been to a game outside of their 5 boroughs? Or, rather, do they employ a web designer that knows how to spell important places?

Spelling is optional in Brooklyn, it seems. 

The real issue this raises to me isn't so much that this moment wasn't cool. The fact is that if Topps can decide that something is worth putting on a "Now" card a little later, why, then, couldn't Topps rectify clear oversights from earlier in the year? 

I mean, it's pretty well known that I got muted by Topps (probably) about the time that Topps ignored a TRIPLE PLAY by Milwaukee in favor of a David Ortiz homer in the middle of the game that allowed the Red Sox to win a game. 

Or maybe it was the time Topps decided that the Brewers' walk-off win wasn't worth a Now card. 

Or it could have been the time that Jonathan Villar hit homers from both sides of the plate to beat the Cubs 2-1 and that wasn't worth a Now card.

Not that I "deserve" an explanation as to why those particular events did not merit a Topps Now card. Or, maybe I do. I mean, I am a Topps customer, and customer service is supposed to be high on a company's list. Well, most companies, that is. 

And, if it's all about selling cards, why does Topps bother with cards for Jeremy Hellickson (print run: 204 cards) and his shutout Saturday, or Jose Ramirez's walk-off for Cleveland (221 sold) or Khris Davis's big game on September 4 (print run: 188)? 

Because those events matter and they tell the story of the season. Just like a triple play -- of which there have been 6 this year (3 of them by the White Sox, amazingly enough) matters. Just like a guy who is close to leading the league in steals who homers from both sides of the plate should matter (that's only happened 10 times this year, five times in each league).

And maybe like a guy who rides his bike to work matters.

Then again, maybe not.


  1. Topps did something stupid that was a big middle finger to collectors? SAY IT AIN'T SO!

    I refuse to include these gimmick cards (Now, 5x7, and whatever other crap they come up with) in my PC checklists since I see no reason they should count.

  2. I had many of the same thoughts when I saw this today. Give me a break Topps.

  3. I've said it before and I'll say it again ... I refuse to buy any Topps Now cards, especially one as dumb as this. It wouldn't surprise me if Topps used that same image and made it a variation/short print/whatever in next year's flagship.

  4. Hope you add up how much money they make from this endeavor. Total print run X $9.99 (even though it's misleading since they offer other packages. They've made hand over fist. Though not from many of us. I bought the McCutchen earlier in the year to try it out and beside it taken 20 days to arrive, there is really nothing remarkable about it. Pure gimmick.

  5. It was just an excuse to put another Cubs card out. Hard to release one when you get thumped over the weekend, so some genius came up with this stupid idea.

    Screw Topps Now.

  6. Have yet to buy one, I'll end up getting the dansby debut one down the line but no rush...

  7. I read that the reason for the delay had to do with getting rights for that photo as opposed to their usual agreement with Getty Images for card photos. Not commenting on whether or not it warrants a (late) Topps NOW card, but I think it had to do with image rights.

    1. I think you are right about that, RAZ. I would guess that Topps had to work out a deal with Zobrist's wife to make this card happen.

      All the more reason not to include it in "NOW" and make it a photo variation in another set.

  8. Basically every Gary Sanchez HR is getting a Topps NOW card. I'd gladly sacrifice one or two of those for a Brewers moment.

  9. I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now so I'm not surprised that Topps keeps ignoring the Brew Crew...but misspelling 'Wrigley' and stealing a photo from Zobrist's wife's Instagram is just inexcusable. Talk about lazy!

    It's been a rough year for your team and I can understand how fans of teams not based in Boston are getting tired of the David Ortiz love fest but...I cant tell if you were serious in comparing Big Papi's PED history to Braun, A-Rod, and others. Yankees fans are always trying to tell me that Ortiz is just as much a cheater as A-Rod and I'm like "No. Ortiz is as 'guilty' as Andy Pettitte. Manny Ramirez is our A-Rod."

    Anyway... how do you feel about the potential Braun for Yasiel Puig swap? If that deal had been done at the deadline it would have been worthy of a ToppsNow card for sure.

    1. I know the only place Ortiz was named as a steroid user was in a document that was not supposed to have been released to the public of those players who tested positive in 2003 for a supplement that he said everyone else was using. Braun is much more of a cheater for what he did when he tested positive the first time then threw the tester under the bus, though he is still an excellent player.

      I guess I could always point instead to Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Francisco Cervelli, and Antonio Bastardo (all Biogenesis lab suspensions), but the way Ortiz is lionized and the media is willing to look past Ortiz's positive drug test while refusing to put guys like Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds into the Hall of Fame is quite ridiculous.

      As for a Puig trade, the Brewers would have to get more than Puig to make the trade worthwhile. They have no need to trade Braun simply to save salary, and Braun's 30 HRs this year seem to indicate that he is getting over the back and thumb issues he's struggled with in the past couple of years.

  10. When I saw this card I immediately thought of you

  11. I'm just waiting for Topps Now to create a card of a fan making a catch in the stands wearing a Red Sox cap.

    The Pirates have been middle of the pack in terms of cards received in the NOW set. My main complaint was that on half the cards they used the most boring picture available. The first and most valuable card in the set is Francisco Liriano. That card has no distinguishing characteristic whatsoever.

  12. i have all of the dodger topps now cards. i like the idea, but agree with many of the complaints about the program. i didn't understand early in the season why the twins walk-off wins weren't getting cards when other teams were being represented for the exact same thing, but then i remembered that topps is just trying to make money.

  13. Tony I just got to this today and your take on Topps Now is on the money (pun intended). I bought a couple of there early on but I've gotten sick of all the garbage they are passing off as 'significant '. I lost interest when they began 'carding' the walk off singles. And lately it's become 'Gary Sanchez Now'. I have begun just deleting their emails without reading them.

  14. So basically, you're in a twist over Topps' definition of the word "now". Topps considers it to mean "recently" whereas you think it should mean "today".

    I'd be much more pissed over the numbers of our card-collecting brothers who hand Topps their money for this crap. Only when buyers say "No!" will any change ever come about. (And "no" doesn't mean "oh, I'm just going to buy 1 or 2 to try them out". Enough people do that, and Topps has a viable market.)