By Drew Pelto, AKA *censored*

Back in May, I expressed my disdain for the 2007 Topps set. Fortunately, 2008 helped to bounce Topps back in my books, albeit only slightly. I think it’s one of the better efforts of the Texas era of my life (2006 to the present), but in the grand scheme of things, it’s still a lackluster set.

It would be a much more solid set if it wasn’t for two things: the stupid Giuliani-Red Sox error card and fake player Kazuo Uzuki getting a card. The Jeter-Mantle-Bush “error” in 2007 was bad enough. It was compounded with a card of a squirrel in the 2007 Topps Update and the Johan Santana no-hitter prediction in the 2008 Highlights set. ENOUGH! The fake errors, the drooling starry-eyed love for New York, and the Republican love are getting a little out of hand. Call me when Ron Paul or Ross Perot has a card.

Topps’ Director Of Product Development Clay Luraschi said of these cards “People are really enjoying them.” Don’t speak for us, Clay. I’m not, and I know a lot of other collectors who aren’t either. And if you think we enjoy them, then maybe your title should be Director Of Product Enhancement. Read the acronym, and you’ll understand why, because it’s exactly what you are: a dope. Sure, you can say that searching for errors is fun. And I agree, it is. And collecting should be fun. But make it seem like a legitimate error, and not some gimmicky junk that shows you and your employees have a basic knowledge of how to use Photoshop.

Please Topps. Just stop.

Anyways, I’ll leave that topic before I have a coronary. Seriously, my normally 110 over 60 blood pressure triples when I think of these “error” cards.

The overall design of the 2008 Topps set is one I like. First off, back to white borders after the 2007 season of black ones. Good choice. Again they go with the big team name at the top– good for those who like to collect a certain team. I like the team-colored circles to house it as well. The player name goes at the bottom; again, standard procedure. No position listed on the front, so it loses a few points there. I would have put it where the Topps logo is and moved the logo to maybe a similar spot on the bottom. Or, one could put the position at the bottom. Either way, it’s not a huge loss, but it’s a loss nonetheless.

The player selection is in its third year of No Bowman Effect. Because of that, 60 players make their debuts (that’s an average of two per team– pretty good).  That gives a decent pool for Topps to potentially have a couple of nice rookie hits in the set. And they got them, with Joey Votto, Clay Buchholz, and a few guys with potential like Sam Fuld, Nyjer Morgan, and Johnny Cueto.

Off-topic, although his rookie card is in this set, why hasn’t Bronson Sardinha really made it? He’s a .270 career minor league hitter and hit .333 (small sample size, I know) in a cup of coffee with the Yankees. I just want to see a guy with a 20-letter middle name (full name: Bronson Kiheimahanaomauiakeo Sardinha) on a major league roster for a full season. But considering he’s in AA Tulsa, part of the Rockies org, at the age of 28, let’s face it, it ain’t happening. With 2 errors in less than 30 innings in the field at the MLB level, his only hope may be DH’ing, and the Rockies don’t have that option.

Come on! We want the middle name too!

I like the design, the player crop is decent, and the filler is minimal (24 out of 660 by my count). But those forced errors just irk me to no end. If you have errors, it’s fine. If you want to fake an error, okay, whatever. But the idiocy of the fake errors that Topps has made are just getting ridiculous. They jumped the shark the moment they were started in 2007.

About the Author: Drew Pelto became the proud owner of a propane grill in 2008 and can make one hell of a brisket with it. He currently lives in Texas and has fallen behind to where this series might– MIGHT– be completed by Christmas.