2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball Review

Okay, let’s see if I remember how to do this whole “reviewing” thing.  The last time I personally reviewed a baseball product was last December.  I’ve done other Panini reviews since, but since I don’t think they like us anymore it’s back to the things we buy.

In this particular instance, I’m referring to our near-case break of 2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball cards.  I know it wasn’t that long ago, but those that want a refresher can see our video breaks right ‘chere, and we still have plenty of goodies available for sale that can be found me’yover n’year.  To make things easier on all parties involved (i.e., me), I’m re-using the scans from that post.  Don’t complain too much, now.  At least you’re getting new words.  Well…not “new” words, but rather words you’ve seen before arranged in sequences you haven’t.

Cards are not as blue in person as they appear

Prospects galore.

Main Set
Right away you can see a clear distinction over last year’s Platinum (see Andy’s FB vid and my APTBNL post).  Whereas the 2010 models were dull and lifeless with the tiniest hint of shine, the new and improved 2011 cards have some sheen, some refractory elements, some color, some “oooo” factor to them.  No longer are they annoyingly silver base cards.  Now the set is comprised of visually stimulating foil board (? I know I should know the terms, but I just don’t) for the veterans and refractors come standard on all your prospects.  Reflecting light makes all the difference in the world.

I say that, because it helps to overlook the hood ornament design scheme.  I know the set is called “Platinum” but does that mean you have to be all literal and create a metal oriented design?  Sometimes things can be too sterile and cold.  Last year’s design was worse, and I suppose I should be happy that the Transformer looking contraption is only taking up the bottom third of the card, but I can’t get behind a robotic ocean wave.

The card backs are nothing special either.  Thematically, they work as an extension of the fronts.  But again, too much space is wasted on garbage.  There’s one year of stats, the bottom third again is design and now team logo.  That’s half your card.  For the vets you get a Platinum Moment, which details an accomplishment of the player featured on the front along with an “On that same date” write-up about a retired legend.  Rarely do they have a connection to the other player, so why feature that trivia?  Check out Matt Holliday’s card and allow me to rant, will you?

“Holliday made his MLB debut on 4/16/04, drawing a walk in four plate appearance [sic] for Colorado in St. Louis.  On that same date in 1940, Bob Feller of the Indians spins the first-ever Opening Day no-hitter, defeating the White Sox, 1-0, at Comiskey Park.”

Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know this was a Holliday/Feller dual card.  What? It’s not?  Then why even mention it?  Not the same team.  Not the same position.  An arbitrary date that A) could be linked to any player in the set if you have to link things (and you don’t), and B) wasn’t that great of an accomplishment for Matt Holliday?  A walk in his debut?  That’s your “Platinum Moment?”  It couldn’t be his first home run, a walk-off home run, an All-Star appearance, or his role in that game 163 he played in during the Rockies’ incredible comeback run,  or anything else that is actually significant and “Platinum” worthy?  And why do you have to pad the write-up with extraneous wording.  Bob Feller of the Indians.  defeating the White Sox at Comiskey Park.  Sure these are facts, but they could be more concise or omitted, thus leaving more room for other cool stuff, more stats, maybe previous season platinum highlight bullet points. Anything.  Topps, you are way too obsessed with history. It doesn’t have to be in absolutely ever piece of cardboard you touch.

On the prospect side of things, they list draft position, that prospect’s accomplishments and give a couple bullet points (see… this is good!) showing his strengths and to whom in the majors he compares.  I’m fine with this.  Good, informative card backs with the information we would want to know.

Too bad these are only one per pack. And there’s 100 of them.  And there’s 100 veterans which come 3 to a pack.  What a terrible, terrible ratio.  It almost turns the main non-prospect set into junk wax.

Colors and whatnot

There are no inserts to speak of in this product, which you can see as a good thing or a bad thing.  You could see it as a lack of creativity.  You could see it as Topps not adding filler and giving the people what they want in prospects and parallels.

Well, I make it no secret that I do not like parallels.  One parallel set is tolerable, but when you get into three or more and then serially number some of them but not others, then it amounts to toying with people and diluting the marketplace with too many like items.  No one cares about the refractor vs. x-fractor vs. green to /599 vs. blue /199 vs. whatever else I’m missing.  People out there that are prospecting are only in it for anything numbered /50 or less.  And let’s not kid ourselves, this product is for the prospectors.  Not the team collectors who might care for all those versions, but would be annoyed at the 30 variants.  Not the set collectors who can buy a box and be done with the vets and have no chance at building the prospect side via packs.  It’s for the prospectors, which means they’re looking to eventually sell their wares.  And everything numbered higher than /50 is going to be $.99 +s/h on Ebay.  So, if people really don’t care about those parallels, why include them?  It’s a crock.

Do you care about this card?

Of course, with a product like this, having something low numbered isn’t enough.  You better have the right something.

I know this is coming off as a bitter box buyer who couldn’t sell off his singles, but that’s not true. It’s me pointing out what the purpose and market of this set is and why it doesn’t make sense for the average collector.  I’m also trying to point out that it probably isn’t the wisest purchase for the prospector since prospecting by opening a box of cards is explicitly tied to monetary value more so than the sheer fun of ripping something.

Did you know he threw a no-hitter in the minors recently?

I did have fun, even if we do end up taking a loss on this product, and the hits were a big reason why.  Again the hits suffer the same multi-level parallel problems, but that unfortunately is the nature of the hobby these days.

Not a prospect, or a rookie. Should not have a hit.

I will say that the low number on this version of the Jesse Crain jersey auto made it a much more exciting pull.

You will find 2 On-Card prospect autographs and 1 (usually) sticker relic auto in every box.  The three hits certainly increases the appeal and the on-card stuff looks great as you would expect.  There’s a nice big photo and a nice big writing area.  Not everyone utilizes every inch, like Wimmers did up there, but the option is theirs.  The relic autos aren’t too bad either.  The sticker feels slightly cramped above the jersey window, but the player picture is a good size once again.  I can’t speak to the quality of the checklist since these guys are almost all up and comers, but I was surprised and a little dismayed to see rookies and veterans included in the relic auto checklist.  Stick with the focus and make it only prospects. That’s what you’re hyping, why dilute it with rookies.  They may be good players like Starlin Castro, but that should have been last year, and if you missed it, then oh well.

My experience with last year’s Platinum baseball was limited to that one impulse rack pack, but I can tell you that this feels like a massive improvement.  Long rants on relatively insignificant details aside, I can say that I enjoyed my time opening the four boxes.

However, if I’m thinking like a prospector, or even putting my retail salesman hat on, I can’t see trying to flip this again next year.  There’s too much filler whether it’s the base set (which shouldn’t be considered filler), or the three non-auction-starter parallels, or the non-prospect hits.  If I were a gambling prospector, I’d simply buy the singles before people catch wind or buy a box of another Bowman product, because even with three hits, the odds aren’t with you on this pretty, yet sterile release.

Design – **1/2
Set Collecting – *
Parallels – ***
Hits – ****
Overall – ** out of 5

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>