By Drew Pelto  AKA *censored*

I survived. Of the previous three weeks or so, I’ve been on the road for two of them. The last trip was to Portland, OR for my mom’s wedding. And now I’m back home. Special shoutout and props to Hoopla Sports Card Outlet, Baseball Cards and More, and Heaven Sent Sports Cards. It’s been about five years since I was last in a card store, and I found a good chunk of what I’m looking for in those three stores up there.

And now, I should be able to provide more regular offerings of the countdown as well. Starting with the current Topps release.

I’ll admit, I don’t know where to rate the latest offering from Topps.  Obviously we don’t know what will happen to rookies like Kyle Drabek, Aroldis Chapman, Yonder Alonso (who I mention just because of his name), or Freddie Freeman. Plus, when I wrote this back in May, only half of the set had been released.

2011 Topps. Insert your own witty caption here. I’m tapped out.

I do like the fact that Topps has abandoned the forced errors, as far as I can tell (and if they haven’t please do not tell me otherwise). However, they brought back that A/B variation from 2009 and 2010 that I so greatly hated. I also don’t understand the whole “Diamond Sparkle” thing. Yeah, it’s their diamond anniversary, I get that. But seriously, why? Unless it has an actual diamond in the card, I don’t get the point. I have no interest in a card that has some sort of diamond effect on a guy’s elbow, or foot, or glove. I’d rather just have the regular version and not pay a massive premium. Now if it had an actual diamond in it, okay, I could understand it. I remember Pinnacle doing that one year with a hockey product. It’s probably a good thing people don’t actually have diamonds in their body in random places. Really now, what if Derek Jeter, shown below, ever needed Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow with that diamond stuck in there? Having to replace that? Out 8-12 months AND several million dollars.

That’s gotta hurt, having a diamond surgically implanted! Wait, it’s not real? Or surgically implanted?

Going off-topic for a moment, the 2011 Topps Heritage set. I love that they finally got to using the 1962 design, one of my favorite sets ever done (you‘ll see in a few months). I know that Heritage set has some forced errors in it, as I call them. But the reasoning for it is to reflect actual errors in the 1962 set. I’ll admit, that’s a cool idea. Just don’t go creating “errors” just for the sake of doing it or to drum up attention.

Back to the 2011 main set, this could go higher or lower really. Like I said, it’s early, and I’m writing based off of just Series 1 (it’s May 12, and this piece won’t run until late June or early July; I just like being ahead of schedule).  Series 2 could vastly improve it, or it could totally miss the mark. Additionally, we won’t know enough to make a true judgment on these rookies for at least a good five, maybe ten years.

The design is decent enough. As you can probably tell, I’m more a fan of the classic designs rather than any sort of new computerized ones. While I don’t usually like the logo and the team name both on a card, they did it well, having the name surrounding it. At the very least, having the team name doesn’t preclude Topps from putting the player’s position on the card.  I’ve mentioned before that I like white borders over colored borders, but I think this is a design that honestly would look good borderless, something Topps hasn’t attempted with their regular set. Sure, they’ve done it with Stadium Club and others, but not the regular Topps set. Maybe 2012?

Nah, not 2012. They have to have a wood-bordered set to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1987 wood borders, which marked the 25th anniversary of the 1962 wood borders. Maybe a nice teak this time. Or cherry. Rich mahogany. Mesquite scratch and sniff borders with a parallel hickory set and 1/1 applewood versions. I’m just thinking out loud here. I will be sorely disappointed if 2012 doesn’t have wood borders.

Since this set isn’t complete yet, it’s hard to rate it and hard to write about it. And so, I’m calling it a day.

About the Author: Drew Pelto prefers older cards over newer, older music over newer, and old time hockey over the new NHL. He lives in Texas, which ironically is a newer state than his previous two states of Ohio and Massachusetts, however he liked Ohio and Massachusetts more.