I went out a couple of days ago and got myself a blaster of 2016 Topps Opening Day. If you've been reading my blog recently you know that I recently purchased some 2016 Topps Heritage and went on a big rant about how buying retail packs is a huge waste of money. And that's still true when it comes to Heritage, mostly because of my expectations and my desired end-state with that product. Opening Day is a different animal just because it's cheap and fun and my expectations are lower.
The box says that it has 10 packs plus 1 extra pack. I couldn't tell which was which, so I am going to just lump them together and say it has 11 packs. Opening Day doesn't have a lot to it. You get one regular parallel, one super rare parallel, printing plates, some photo variations, a number of easy inserts, 2 slightly more difficult inserts, and some autographs and relics. The Mascot Autographs are arguably the big draw here, although the player autograph and relic checklists have some good names on them. Really, with the autograph checklist being so small and the odds being what they are, you could open about 4,665 packs and have a pretty good chance of having yourself a Kris Bryant or Carlos Correa autographed card.
I didn't scan all the base cards, but I picked out a few of the cards that stood out as I sorted through the stack. I've noticed that Budweiser signs are popping up more often in the background of cards. I know that there are periods when that stuff gets whitewashed out of trading cards, but I guess maybe that's gone out the window. Toronto should put up a statue of Bautista and find a way to suspend the bat so it just sits in the air and spins.
That method would probably require the bat to spin too fast, but I'm sure they could find some way to have it just spin lazily.
Here are another few standouts from the box. I like that Garcia photo, with fielding shot and the high socks. I hear that Kris Bryant guy is fairly popular. Jean Segura's bunting image is pretty nice, too, with the ball in the frame of the photo. I had to include R.A. Dickey because he's one of my main PC guys and I didn't get a lot of those among the base cards.
The Opening Day Edition blue foil parallels are marked on the packs as being serially-numbered and we all just take for granted that they are numbered to the year of the card, just like the Gold parallel in flagship Topps, but they aren't numbered. They are shiny and blue, though, and since I've collected this set each year since I got back into collecting in 2013 I am chasing this year's set. I already had these two cards, so this box wasn't any help in that regard. I bought one big lot on eBay and another on Just Commons, so I'm currently 35 cards away from finishing the set. I have Kris Bryant, but I am missing a lot of other big names like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Carlos Correa, and some of the rookies who are selling for more than they're worth (in my opinion).
The Striking Distance insert features players who are close to hitting certain statistical milestones. I got Miguel Cabrera and Francisco Rodriguez. The Heavy Hitters insert features players with powerful bats. I've got Miguel Sano on one of my fantasy baseball teams, so I hope he does some heavy hitting this season.
Superstar Celebrations shows players celebrating, usually by getting mobbed, pied in the face, or having some beverage dumped on them. It's a good fun insert for this kind of card set. Although I am in favor of a little bit of flair and bat flipping and face-pieing, something about the home plate mob bugs me. I haven't nailed down what exactly it is about that specific practice that bothers me, but I don't like it. Maybe I'm just part curmudgeon.
I like the Alternate Reality insert, which shows and discusses some of the alternate uniforms baseball teams wear. I probably couldn't have asked for three better players in this box, either. Manny Machado, Kris Bryant, and Carlos Correa are three of the hottest young players in the game right now. They should combine for about 3000 hits this year, with half of those being home runs.
One big calling card of Opening Day is mascot content. The mascot autographs are pretty desirable hits, but a lot of collectors chase the Mascots insert set. Neither of these mascots is a personal favorite of mine, but I could see myself chasing down the set.
I didn't get any of the 1:36 Bubble Trouble cards, but I did pull a 1:24 Opening Day Stars insert of Clayton Kershaw. Past iterations of this insert were shiny and lenticular, and I'm kind of disappointed that Topps did away with that. This card is more rare than the other inserts, but there isn't anything special about it to set it apart. I want my lenticular cards back!
Opening Day is just about the perfect card set, in my opinion. I think it could be perfect if Topps added a couple of intermediate parallels like one # / 50 and one # / 250 or something, brought back lenticular cards, added one superstar and one gimmick insert that were pretty tough to pull (like 1:288 packs or something), and increased the checklist a little for the relics and autographs. It would basically be combining some of the best things about today's cards (parallels, autographs, relics) with the best things about the 90's cards (gimmicky inserts, hard-to-pull inserts).
I was pretty happy with this box of cards. There wasn't anything crazy amazing in it and the blue foil parallels were ones I already have, but I got a few nice inserts and had a good time looking through the base cards. This is the one set I could see myself chasing through pack purchases, although I wouldn't have nearly all of the Opening Day Stars and Bubble Trouble cards before I had multiple base sets.