Saturday, April 2, 2016

Design or first hits?

I usually blog about customs, but from time to time, I am going to start doing more posts about cards from my collection. In the last month, I bought 3 regular packs and 1 jumbo pack of '16 Donruss from Target and Wal-Mart. I've noticed that the set has been getting a lot of hate from bloggers lately. While I'll have to say that these cards would look so much better with logos and stuff, I really like what I've seen from the 4 packs I've got so far. The Rookies cards look amazing. The Prospect ones do as well, and while the base design is what it is, I think it is entirely different than the last 2 offerings of Donruss, quite to the contrary of most of the blogosphere. I think I'll be buying more '16 Donruss because I like the design, but mainly because of the insert cards I got out of my packs. These are some (not all) of the hits I got in my 4 packs. 

I was particularly impressed with the numbered cards. That Peraza card looks sweet! Wish they could've used that design for the base set. With all that being said, that kind of leads me to a question. 

I am the type of collector who will buy a few packs of most of the products in retail when they are released. I'll typically buy more of the Flagship Brand, especially series 1. If I like the cards, I will buy more packs as the budget allows, until I start to notice I'm close to completing the set, until I start getting a ton of doubles, or until something newer comes out. I'll typically do this with Series 1, Heritage (not so much), Bowman (maybe a few packs), Series 2, Update, Donruss, and every once in a while Chrome. I may be forgetting a release or two, but when you are on a budget and you don't have an LCS nearby, these are the main brands you see in retail stores. I think as a collector that some of what draws us to the product are not only the design of the cards, but also what you pull from those first few packs (maybe even more than the design). 

I remember in 2008, I was living in Montgomery, Alabama. We had a LCS, but it was more of a comic store, so I would usually get most of my cards from the local Wal-Mart and Target. Target usually had the better selection. I bought a few packs of '08 Upper Deck Piece of History, and in one of the first packs, I got a Mike Myers (actor) relic card. The base card design was blah, but I liked the hit I got, so a few weeks later, I bought a few more packs. I pulled a dual jersey card of Felix Hernandez/Carlos Zambrano. This time I noticed the packs either were thicker (containing a relic), or smaller (without one). I went one more time and bought 5 packs, each one being a thicker one. This was towards the end of the box. In these packs, I got a George Clooney relic, and a Justin Verlander jersey card, as well as 3 decoy cards. I would've probably never bought the last 2 sets of packs if not for the nice hit I got in the first packs I got. 

For some sets, the design does help. I bought a ton of cards last year because the Topps design was amazing. This years set is crap in my opinion, and the only thing that kept me buying packs as long as I did was trying to get Jacob deGrom's card (finally did after like 3 blasters). 

It makes me wonder if the amount of packs we buy of a product has more to do with the inserts we get from those first few packs. There have probably been tons of sets that I've just stopped buying packs of just because I didn't get any decent cards in the first few packs (2006 Allen/Ginter is one I can think of off of the top of my head. I'll admit that I've bought a ton of 2010 Bowman trying to get a Bryce Harper card even though the design was boring and I never pulled anything from the 4 blasters I bought, but most of the time, I buy packs of a set and continue buying because I like the cards I get. 

I just wanted to leave you guys with a few questions. 

1. Do you buy more packs of a product because of the inserts/hits/players you pulled in the first few packs?

2. Have you stopped buying a product because you didn't pull anything and then the product turns out to be something amazing?

3. Does the design have more to do with it?

Thanks for checking out my latest post.


  1. I'm an O.F. (Old Fart), so I prefer the older designs and classic poses and always have. I don't like the high-tech card designs or action shots at all. Heritage is obviously my favorite and I'll buy box after box. Even if I've completed the set--including all the SPs (which doesn't happen often)--I'll keep buying Heritage because its a special product to me. I also like Archives but didn't buy much at all last year because the odds on the SPs were ridiculous (being old school, I'm also a set builder type, so a product where it is impossible to build a set is a huge turnoff). My flagship purchases are largely based on the design. I liked last year's and bought a lot. Hate this year's and won't buy much.

    As you can see from that description, inserts don't really factor into my decisions much at all. I'll get annoyed if I fall outside the odds (if I don't get what I should get out of a box, for example), but not enough to change my buying habits.

    Panini's Donruss brand tends to be an exception for me. Donruss features a nice "entry-level" price point, which helps. But I find it a lot of fun to open packs of Donruss. There is the nostalgia factor, sure. But they also seem to strive to include something interesting in pretty much every pack (inserts or numbered cards). Ripping wax is supposed to be fun and, IMHO, Panini gets that more than Topps does. Maybe they have to. And its less the players or value involved than the fact that a pack of Donruss is more than likely going to have something funky and cool in it. I would add that I consider going for the thicker packs to be a form of pack searching, with which I do not hold.

    And I must also admit that, in 2013, I bought a few packs of Goodwins and did well with the inserts which did have me chasing that dragon the rest of the year. So I can't claim purity even though, more often than not, I'm not an insert/hit kinda guy.

  2. I gotcha. I like the shiny stuff like refractors and dufex, etc. Not so much into inserts, although some of them catch my eye. I also like relic cards, which was my downfall with the '08 Piece of History. Normally I don't go for the thick packs cause 9 times out of 10 they are a decoy, but with the Piece of History, I was having good luck with them so I went with it (the cardboard Gods are probably going to haunt me with only Yankee cards now for admitting that).

    While I don't really go for complete sets like you do, I do think it would be good for another set like a '93 Fleer to come out for example, with a decent looking base set, no SPs, an insert per pack, and nothing too hard to chase. I have a feeling if Topps did it, the content of the insert sets would suffer (see just about all the 1 in 5-10 pack inserts in the last 5 years in Flagship). If Topps would make nice inserts like First Pitch, Pride and Perserverance, no reprint inserts, maybe add mascots, add an auto and relic insert(no Manu-relics), bump the checklist up close to 1000 and put in more players per team, I think they could give me and the other low-end collectors what they want. Donruss is as close to that as we can get right now