|2017 Topps #290 Shin-Soo Choo|
The photos are as sharp as ever, so much so that we get a fairly good look at the tattoo on Shin-Soo Choo's right forearm, and excellent color reproduction of those red batting gloves and blue batting helmet.
|2017 Topps #7 Gary Sanchez|
|2017 Topps #7 Gary Sanchez (Reverse)|
Much has been said about the card backs, primarily the shift to a very Donruss-like five lines of statistics. Sanchez is young enough that we still get his full MLB record, but that format does chop off his early Minor League experience. For a player like Choo, we're missing over half his career. Of course, many of us shifted long ago to checking baseball-reference.com, a treasure trove of statistics that just recently got a refreshed design.
A further illustration of society's shift to digital is the display of each player's social media handles, if they happen to have one. Choo doesn't, so Topps just put the #TOPPSBASEBALL hashtag on there. But this card helpfully informs me of the @elgarysanchez account on Instagram.
My favorite so far is Mike Moustakas' Instagram handle, @MooseTacos8.
Sharp-eyed readers will notice another change this year, as this is the first time since Mickey Mantle's uniform number was "retired" from Topps sets that a current player got a card #7. Mantle himself had a few card #7s since his death, but Topps decided to unretire it for 2017. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Mickey Mantle is synonymous with postwar baseball card collecting, and his death at just 63 led Topps to honor his memory via their set numbering, if only for a couple decades.
But if they're going to start using Card #7 again, at least it's still of a Yankee.
|2017 Topps #265A Charlie Blackmon|
The back of this card is very purple, which pretty closely approximates the new shade of purple the Rockies are rolling out for 2017. Topps may have just guessed correctly, but I wonder if they had advance notice of this change when designing this year's set.
|2017 Topps First Pitch #FP-5 Deshauna Barber|
A lot of bloggers and collectors have criticized the sharp angular elements that make up the bottom portion of the card, saying that some of the photo is getting cut off. And yes, it does have the potential to get in the way of an action shot like a slide, double play, ground ball, bunt, etc..., but for the types of photos Topps has selected for this set, it works pretty well. At least it's nothing like the 2008 set, where the Topps logo bump intruded into the headroom of most photos. Having a design element like that on the bottom mostly just obscures pant legs, knee-high socks, and shin guards.
Although when Miss USA is the subject of the card, that is a bit of a disappointment.
|2017 Topps MLB Awards #MVP-1 Mike Trout|
I'm not especially wild about the design. The background is a fairly boring light gray, and the large colored banners are sort of the Hulk version of the diagonal stripe that contained the logo in last year's main set.
|2017 Topps Now #NNO Mike Trout|
I'll go ahead and assume that all Topps Now customers from 2016 got a copy of this, likely the same group of collectors that received the 2016 year-in-review card. It's a preview of what's to come on a daily basis throughout the 2017 season, but it's also a coupon for 25% off a Topps Now Opening Day team set. I'll probably be hanging on to my $50 (or rather, $37.50), but the coupon code is SPRING25, if you're so inclined to add to your collection.
|2017 Topps #72 Chicago Cubs|
The Padres only visited Wrigley once in 2016, and the Padres took two out of three. I was going to date this card to May 10th, 2016, until I realized that Aroldis Champan, who appears on this card, wasn't a Cub yet. So I don't know when this is from.
But I do know that Spring Training is finally underway, and the Cubs are on the MLB Network as I write this. It's been a long winter, but exhibition games are happening, the World Baseball Classic is coming up in early March, and Opening Day isn't far behind.