This is a weird post for me. I've got a ton of other stuff I need to be doing, and I even have several posts for A Pack A Day that are waiting to be written. This pack is something I shouldn't have even put in my shopping cart now that Allen & Ginter and Goudey are finally in stores. But for some reason I did buy this pack, and now I am compelled to write about it. First, the pack.
327 Kerry Wood
331 Bobby Jenks
346 Asdrubal Cabrera
315 Jon Lester
363 Luis Gonzalez
490 Alex Rios
445 Jason Bay
499 Ronnie Belliard
444 Tom Gorzelanny
SQ-51 Ken Griffey Jr. Starquest
Not a great pack, not a terrible one. Basically I got a Griffey insert and three cards that will go in my Sox, Indians and Marlins piles to be mailed out eventually to various other bloggers. The set is almost the same as the original First Edition that hit stores back in March. The main difference is that the subjects are from series two instead of series one. The StarQuest cards are the same as the Series Two cards, just with the First Edition Obnoxious Green (and I mean that as a compliment) backgrounds. There is one other change to the Update set which is probably insignifigant to most people but which cause me to do a double take. The stock now has a matte finish like last year's set instead of the slick glossy feel of this year's first First edition set. Which is something I complained about in my rip of FE a few months ago:
Anyone who bought First edition last year will remember that it was different from regular Upper Deck in two ways: it had no foil stamping and it was printed on a matte stock. This year's set still has no foil, but they changed back to the glossy stock which is a shame. Last year it was a distinct set from big boy UD, now it looks like a cheap knockoff.
While I'm not arrogant enough to think that my critiques of their products actually affect UD's production decisions, in the minuscule chance that some one from UD actually reads this blog, and takes any of my superficial bitching and complaining to heart, I have this to suggest for 2009 Upper Deck First Edition:
- Keep the matte finish. It distinguishes it from the base set and is great for autographs.
- Please, no foil. Give us one set with no foil. Foil up the rest of your stuff out the wazoo, but it's so refreshing to have one non-retro set that isn't all cluttered up with foil.
- The StarQuest cards are some of my favorites this year. Keep 'em or mine the old Collector's Choice sets for more ideas.
- Sneak in some insert sets too, the ones from last year's First Edition and Fleer sets made building a low end base set even more fun.
- Don't put less cards in the set, put more. Instead of cutting down the 500 card Upper Deck base set to make a 300 card First Edition set, ditch all the highlights and checklists and make First Edition a 600 card set and include all the middle relief and bench players that would never be considered for the regular Upper Deck set. Make it like UD 40-man, with full rosters for every team. Use the Update set late in the year to include traded players and a flood of RC's.
- This is the really, really REALLY important part: Keep the price a dollar a pack for 10 cards. I know printing and shipping is getting expensive as hell, but if you can put out a quality, comprehensive set at a buck a pop it'll sell. Topps has really screwed up their base brand lately, you have an opening right now to own the affordable base set niche.
Basically, if you merge 2007 Fleer with 2005 Topps Total and call it 2009 First Edition, I'll be your Best Friend Forever. Just some suggestions UD, from someone who has been impressed with what you've been doing the past calendar year despite the fact he is an unabashed fanboy for your competitor.