Dec 19, 2011

Blog Bat Around: 2011 Retrospective

The blog bat around returns with the question bugging all of us.
The 2011 baseball card collecting season is finally over -- other than Bowman Sterling. What set or release stands out as your favorite from the year? What set or release brings your lunch back up in your throat?

My favorite set this year was 2011 Topps.  I might not have liked all the concepts, I definitely did not like the configuration, I did not like the investment potential (even if I don't do that)...wait, this is supposed to be the positive paragraph.  There were a few great things about 2011 Topps that made me coming back for more (so much so that I'm slowly approaching the non-parallels master set.)

1. The Diamond Giveaway:  I never thought I would trade virtual cards so much.  Even with all the hiccups....hic...of the itself.   The concept this year was spot on.   There was an actual prize to strive for in the factory set, and the exclusive diamond diecuts kept my trade offers full with ridiculous offers and let offer ridiculous things of my own.
2.  The Diamond Anniversary Parallels:  I don't think a parallel for a Topps set has ever been so aesthetically pleasing.  Really, it wasn't something where I went, oh, what a waste of a card.  I actually actively collected a good number of them...not that I would try to complete the set or anything...that's just crazy.  If I never need a reminder of the beauty lacking in the world, I can grab the pages with these parallels and partake in the glimmering paradise.
3. Kimball Champion Minis:  I wanted them all, I got them all.  They look awesome in pages, exactly 10 pages.  It doesn;t matter about the backs.  The only negative for me is the repeat subjects across some of the series.

My 2nd favorite set this year has been Gypsy Queen.  It was almost perfect.  Design was great, I have an unhealthy obsession with mini cards, the insert sets fit the theme, the framed border parallels were upstanding examples of how to do a great parallel set, and the mini framed relics are always welcome.  The auto checklist could have been better, but for someone who bought only retail, it didn;t matter to me.

There are some sets that I find not so appealing.  For me, Bowman Platinum is something that I don't need to see anymore.  With Topps Chrome, Finest, and the other Bowmans dealing with prospect and rookie autographs, it was redundant and superfluous.  If there were no Finest or Bowman Chrome, it might work as a concept.  Otherwise, it's just hanging out there like an unattached incandescent bulb with no collecting niche.  

The one disappointment I had was Allen & Ginter, and it's not for the reasons that are often commonly cited.  I like the non-sport elements, I like the whimsy, I like the disregard for number symbols on the back.  It is its own brand.  This year, it went a bit too far in the number of insert sets that are dedicated to the sublime and unnatural.  All I want is more base set minis than insert set minis in a box.  Is that too much to ask?

2011 was a heavy collecting year for me.  Seriously, it;s pounds and pounds of cards.  They're not easy to transport.


Ryan G said...

Tell me about it. Lugging that big box of Phillies and Stadium Club around the show for a few hours? Strap those to your arms and go running and you have a major workout!

Milwaukee Southpaw said...

"...not that I would try to complete the (Platinum Diamond) set or anything...that's just crazy"

From experience, let me say yes....yes it is...