Welcome to the first annual Collective Awards!
It's the end of the year awards show where the categories are all made up by me on the fly, and the winners are who or what I choose, which is probably in the minority of popular opinion. At some point, maybe I'll come up with an actual statue design. In the tradition of the Oscars, we'll call them the Borgs for now.
First off, the award for Best Base Design. And the winner is, Allen & Ginter.
Base Topps was too foggy, Gypsy Queen was kinda weird. Bunt was cool, but plain. Stadium Club was decent, but the more I saw it, the less I liked it. Bowman was similar to every year (all of which I ignore). Panini Donruss wasn't bad, but kinda recycled. Everything else is either high end, or not a regular set in the first place. A&G is very elegant, even in black as X.
Next, for the Most Annoying Design Feature In A Base Set, Topps wins for the mist clouds.
Guess they were trying to create an ethereal effect, but it just looked like a brush fire at the ballpark. They had a line called "Fire", but this isn't what they had in mind.
Stay at the podium Topps, because you win the next one too! A second award for Biggest Attempt To Correct A Design Flaw goes to Topps Holiday.
The snowflakes look a lot better than the smoke, but they've only played a few games ever when it is actually snowing. Well played, Topps, just in time for Christmas - yet another version of a set you already put out.
Now, on a more positive note, for the Most Original Insert Concept, the award goes to Pressed Into Service.
Finally something we haven't seen before that is directly related to games and that doesn't just include the same old players. The blew the budget on the idea, because the design is a little lacking in the artistic elegance department, but kudos for the originality!
Continuing on the insert categories, the next award is for Best Continuing Insert Series. The winner is First Pitch.
Love these in that the subjects are very diverse, though the team choices - not so much. That may be just because of the predominance of Hollywood / New York / Chicago / Boston celebrities. The design has evolved to match the corresponding base set in the last couple years, but they still have enough of a common thread to tie each year's series together. Bonus points for the inclusion of some gorgeous ladies throughout. (I heart Haley Atwell.)
On the flip side, the statue for Worst Execution Of A Nice Concept (known as the UD Doc award) goes to Berger's Best.
What should have been an inspiring tribute to a man that was not only the heart and soul of the Topps creative team, but basically made cards in general what they were in the golden years and are still basically existing as today, ended up being another generic reprint set that only noted which cards were popular throughout the years. None of them mentioned a damn thing about Berger's contribution to their design, manufacture, or anything. They just had his picture on the back. Way to respect your elders, Topps.
Speaking of history, the Borg goes to 100 Years At Wrigley for Best Historic Insert Set That Doesn't Involve the Yankees.
The Wrigley series is a nice unique design, with the elements of that ballpark easily recognizable. A diverse selection of players (not just Cubs), events, and personalities makes these one of the best (and it turns out, most timely) insert sets they've come up with. I'm even happier about them now that I finally found the Bryant #1 that I was missing.
And not to bash the Yankees, (even though I'm an O's fan and they deserve it), they just get overdone.
My candidate for favorite 2016 card comes from this, but it's so outside my wheelhouse, I don't feel quite strong enough to make that official (you'll see why), the Best High Odds Insert of the year is Topps Laser.
Basically, it's only because I actually managed to pull one that I even list this as a category. Most of the time I consider stuff like this a pipe dream, but thanks to the box I got from Charm City Cards of Baltimore, I really did pull a Corey Seager Laser Relic two color patch! Real nice design in a booklet card no less. And I own one!
The "opposite" of that award is the double combo of Best Mojo-less Set and Best Rookie Saturation-less Set. And the hands down winner is Topps Bunt.
I said it before. Watch out Topps! I wouldn't be shocked at all if this product OUTSELLS all the other high end, "thuper mojo hitz" products, AND all the 100 real players + 350 rookies stuff that's put out COMBINED! Boost the graphical quality of the design with brighter colors and a little more dynamic look, and you'll have a huge sellout!
And the final award of the evening is also the biggest and far reaching. The prize for Corporate Monster Stomping On The Hobby goes to all the major companies for Sport Exclusive Deals.
You know the deal. We all say it. Exclusives benefit no one except the one company that can make proper cards for the sport any way they choose. Creativity doesn't thrive. Other companies efforts that would normally have surpassed the exclusive holder's offerings are opressed by lack of logos, team nicknames, and cropped photos. The promised innovation is a joke. You want innovation? Let them all compete against each other in a level market and see how they'd have to come up with original ideas to keep ahead of their peers. Rant over.
We hope you enjoyed tonight's show even though there were no poignant acceptance speeches, entertaining introductions, musical numbers, or hot babes leading the winners on and offstage.