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Monday, August 8, 2022
Home Sports MLB It's time for the Delayed Reaction Awards

It’s time for the Delayed Reaction Awards


I went out looking for 2022 Topps on Monday, a few days after release date. It was the earliest I could do something like that. I do not know how people are in stores that very moment it’s released. Maybe I used to be able to do that? Probably not.

But anyway, I struck out. I did not have the energy to look every place, not that there’s a lot of places to check around here. I checked the closest Target and the closest Walmart. Target looked like it hadn’t even thought about 2022 Topps. I had more hopes for Walmart, but there was no sign of cards there either.

Ever since The Great Disappearance Of Cards Off Retail Shelves, I’ve been confused by what my closest Walmart’s decision on cards is. It scrapped the card aisle and created a kiosk of various items where cards would go, if there were cards. But they’re never there.

It’s possible they’re only available at the service desk, but there’s no sign directing customers there, which I think is only good customer service. However, pretty much the last thing I want to do is stand in line at a Walmart service desk. I’d find another hobby if that was my only option.

So, I do not have any 2022 cards to show off. I’ll have them at some point. I do not know when will be. This weekend? Next weekend? March? Meanwhile, there are people on social media who announced four days ago that they were “over Series 1.” The only Series 1 card I’m over is the Wander Franco card, which I’ve seen approximately 126 times.

What I do have for you though is cards from last year! That’s right, I actually opened the 2021 Topps factory set that my sister-in-law got me for Christmas!

Curiosity got the best of me and I needed to check if I had a parallel set. There was no parallel set, which means I’ll be taking that set and putting it into a binder. But before I do, I looked to see what cards interested me. I’ve been so down on 2021 Topps – those player name sizes are still criminal – I wanted to see if there was anything salvageable.

And so, it’s time for the first Delayed Reaction Awards!

On with the festivities:

Best use of facemasks

I do not know if there are cards of players wearing facemasks in 2022 Topps – all I know is Wander Franco is not wearing one – my guess is that there are. But you probably could not come up with a quartet of them like in 2021, and I did not even include all of them.

Best cameo

Leave it to Topps to squeeze Shohei Ohtani onto another card. I wonder how many Wander Franco cameos will be in this year’s cards.

Best depiction of excitement when there is no excitement

Andrew Benintendi sure looks thrilled to get another game started – in front of no one. Show this card to someone 30 years from now with little knowledge of history and they’ll be mystified (or perhaps they’ll ask, “Where’s Wander Franco?”). There’s also the chance there will be no MLB in 30 years.

Best catcher close-ups

You do not get play-at-the-plate collisions anymore, but catchers are able to adjust better than any other position player, even Wander Franco. Catchers will always make for great photos.

Best of cameo

I do not know if this is Ryan Zimmerman’s final tribute card, maybe I should actually check the checklist to see if he’s in Series 1 with Wander Franco. But it’s the perfect kind of final card.

Best example of “depends on who you ask”

I did not need two cards referencing the Rays’ heartbreaking Game 4 victory over the Dodgers in the 2020 World Series. Baseball definitely was NOT fun at that particular moment. But at least the Dodgers won over the Francos … I mean, Rays.

Best cool individual player cards

I do not know what Miguel Sano is doing but it’s interesting. There were other examples of cool shots but both of my scanning options are kaput and I am reduced to photos only, so my patience for posting many images is even less than usual.

Best close-ups

About 10 years ago I was sick of all the close-up shots on Topps cards, the zoomed-in shots of pitchers making weird straining faces and such. But the story is different here.

Topps went out of its way to crop closely around players for the 2021 set, likely to keep all the emptiness of 2020 to a minimum. I especially like the real close crops with images like this. I wish there were more. And, bonus, no wacky faces.

Best what-the-heck-is-going-on-here card

Do not know.

Best happy card

Dominic Smith is the type of player that makes me miss long-gone Mets card blog Dinged Corners.

Second-best happy card

Also the best example of how bored players get sitting in the dugout.

Best worst logo placement

This is all about “the best” so I tried to avoid card dumbness like this, but that is not cool plastering the 70th anniversary stamp on Duffy’s forehead.

Best post-celebration shot

I do not know who Sam Huff is, but he apparently did something good enough to deserve a Gatorade soaking.

Best uniform development

There are dozens of cards of players wearing retro baby blue uniforms in the 2021 set. Long Live 1982 !!!

Team with the best cards

The two teams with far-and-away the best cards are the Twins and the Red Sox. The Red Sox are probably a bit more memorable, but I think there are more examples for the Twins, so I’ll go with the Twins.

And, so, finally, we’re at the final award of the night in the first (not first annual!) Delayed Reaction Awards.

The candidates for the Best Card of the 2021 Topps set are:

Randy Dobnak

Enrique Hernandez

Ryan Brasier

Josh Harrison

And the winner is …

RYAN BRASIER!

Man, that was tough. But I’m a sucker for arty portrait shots.

And, there you go. I’ll be filing all those cards in a binder in the next couple of weeks. And just maybe during that time, I’ll find some 2022 Topps.

Or not.

I have other, non-Wander Franco card ways to occupy my time.



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