Every year I consider Opening Day a throwaway set, and every year I find that I like it as much, if not more, than the regular Topps offering. The 2011 edition continues in that tradition in many ways.
Take a look at the full team set in the gallery below. My take on the set can be found after the jump.
#16 Max Scherzer
#82 Brennan Boesch
#100 Miguel Cabrera
#104 Victor Martinez
#177 Magglio Ordonez
#184 Austin Jackson
#188 Justin Verlander
#OD55 Miguel Cabrera
#UL5 Miguel Cabrera
TTOD21 Austin Jackson
There's not a whole lot that differentiates Opening Day from the Topps flagship, so all the compliments I have about the design are off the table here. This is a supplementary set, not a substitute for Topps, and it does have some strong points. Let's start with those.
1. The Opening Day logo on the front of the card. You may know this about me, but I'm a sucker for logos and stampings and other things that indicate that a card commemorates something special. Opening Day is special. All Star Games too. Sure, these is pure marketing gimmick, but I like it. A lot. Also, MLB updated their Opening Day logo this year, and it's the new one that made it to the cards, I'm pleased to say.
2. It's simple. There's a base set. And a couple insert sets. That's it. The regular Topps set should be this way.
3. STADIUM LIGHTS! I admit, I haven't actually seen one of these in person, but I've seen lots of scans and I love both the concept and the execution. This is the perfect insert set. Also, Opening Day starts with old-school 3-D stylings looks like a nice supplementary insert.
4. Just the cards. No real autographs or relics to speak of. This is refreshing. Also, why are relics still a thing?
5. Paws. That is all.
From a content perspective, Opening Day has done it again. It has many of the cards and none of the fat, making it the type of set that is right up my alley. What am I supposed to do with a million inserts, all of different designs and styles? I have no idea. Keep it simple. Don't make me create multiple binder pages just for inserts.
Unfortunately, this year's Opening Day actually ends up falling a little flat for me, in stark contrast to say, 2007 (superior white borders), and 2009 & 2010, (no foil, readable text) where Opening Day was the better looking product.
Here that isn't the case. I typically don't like foil on cards--it makes them hard to read, mostly--but I think that 2011 Topps looks so phenomenal with the foil that taking it away leaves it surprisingly dull. In all, the cards look flatter and less exciting than their vibrant 2011 Topps counterparts.
As per usual, the set size is far too small.
Also, can we stop with the photoshopping yet? Victor Martinez is the latest in a series of horribly infuriating examples of abysmal photoshopping. Dear Topps, the Tigers have two different "D" logos, one on the hat and one on the jersey. Please get them right kthx.
In all, Opening Day is not enough of a product to satisfy, well, anyone's collecting desires. The base set is too small, the team sets inadequate and this year's design falls short of the regular set. That said, it is a nice complement, especially with the mascots involved, and especially for the inserts. Topps should take a lesson from itself. Less is more. Opening Day has mastered less, Topps has mastered too much. Somewhere in between lies the perfect card set.