I ripped my first packs of the year today, part of a box of '08 Allen and Ginter, and '10 National Chicle. So some of the most popular sets ever (in general) and one of the least favorite ever (it appears.)
I pulled a couple of no-name autos from Chicle, both of which are really nice cards, on card autos and everything, and a Francouer swatch from Ginter.
The other Ginter hit was a Clay Bucholz silk /10.
It looked like this, but silkier.
A rookie, of a player of my favorite team, number to 10. It might be the best card I pull all year, and I pulled it in my first rip session (I can never open just one pack...) of the year.
So. I ripped some older packs. And to be honest, I see myself doing a lot of that this year. After working on the 2010 Topps base set w/SPs, I ask myself, what is the attraction? What were the highlights of last year? What were the best sets? Base gets pretty blah after a few hundred packs, if not sooner. I like the 2010 Bowman design, but... exactly. But.
And of the rest, what is really that interesting? Ginter was cool, but the weakest design so far, and if the design is as uninspired this year, I won't bother beyond a blaster or four.
I like Chicle for the variety of cards and styles, but there are some clunkers. I honestly don't see Topps repeating it, although they don't really seem to be in touch with what collectors want (not that I am either) so it will probably come back, and half-assed. Call it what you will, but hiring a dozen or so artists to paint pictures for a set is not half assed.
But what is coming this year? Heritage is ok, I guess, but the set is such a pain in the ass to complete. It only works if you like the year that inspired the design.
Old Maid, or Old Judge, or whatever the tobacco design Topps regurgitated this winter is kind of blah too. I like that kind of set, but not when it is just a fancy wrapper around some crappy photoshop filter work.
But I am sure I will buy a blaster or six of that, too, to feed my cardboard addiction.
In sort, where is the inspiration? Where is the effort? There won't be an SP, for your high end glossy needs. There won't be a masterpieces, for your beautifully rendered baseball art. There will be an overabundance of inserts and gimmicks.
After a year back in the hobby, I just don't know what to think. Other than pass the vintage!