Topps Opening Day is being released just about a week before when Opening Day for major league baseball was originally scheduled to happen. Due to a worldwide pandemic, that event is not going to happen as scheduled. All major sports were shut down for the time being, while Americans are being advised to avoid even minimal sized crowds. The start of the major league season has been indefinitely postponed, and it’s clear it will not happen any time soon, now.
It’s not clear what future releases will look like at this point, but Opening Day was released on time. This release follows the standard format. This smaller set is uses this year’s flagship design, with a more accessible price tag. It averages about one insert per pack, There are parallels, but not to the same extent as many of the other releases. This is also one of the few products to not guarantee any sort of hit in a box. That’s not to say there aren’t some available, but they are generally very rare. That’s one of the big trade offs for having the low price tag.
Once again, Panini returns with their flagship baseball offering. While Topps has an exclusive deal with major league baseball, Donruss can still offer baseball cards licensed by the players association, even if none of the cards are able to feature team logos or names. It can be striking at times, as you notice jerseys and hats are altered to not show team related icons, but you get used to it.
The general format of this set will feel familiar. There are 260 base cards, 2 SPs, and 2 additional Rated Rookies at the end, to bring the set to 264 cards. There are also a lot of base card variations, with pictures, nicknames, and more. You also see long time insert sets like the Elite Series and Dominators. Most of these also come in a large variety of parallels, including base parallels featuring emojis. As in recent years, this release also pays tribute to an old Donruss release from the 80s. This time, it’s 1986.
A box contains 24 packs of 8 cards. It advertises 3 autographs or memorabilia cards per box on average. This box contained:
This yearly release comes a little bit later during Wrestlemania season this year. In recent years, this has been a January release, but this time comes out on March 11. It also comes during the Covid 19 pandemic, which has begun shutting down major sporting events. At the time of this writing, a SmackDown episode was rescheduled to an empty Performance Center, while Wrestlemania is still tentatively planned, but with a lot of uncertainty.
This release features a 100 card base set showing major events from the previous year. It also contains a number of insert sets, including a 50 card roster subset. The cards show a pirate theme, as the planned location for this year’s Wrestlemania is Raymond James Stadium, the home of the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A box contains 24 packs with 7 cards per pack. It advertises two hits per box, one of which is an on card autograph.
This year’s Heritage baseball set pays tribute to the 1971 release. The original black borders are a fan favorite, but difficult to find in top shape. Hopefully these fare a bit better. The release itself is a well known format. We see a 400 card base set with an additional 100 SPs running 401-500. We also see an assortment of variations with action shots, errors, throwback jerseys, and team name color change. New this year are a set of variations missing the printed autograph on the cards.
The release seems much more polarizing than I can remember this year. It’s a pretty standard format, but it’s not the format of most current releases. This is not a hit driven product. That’s not to say there aren’t some big hits, but they are few and far between. A box advertises one hit, but it is much more like to be a relic than an autograph.
A box advertises 24 packs with 9 cards per pack, and includes a real out autograph or relic card in every box.
This has become a yearly release I look forward to. There’s no real surprise to it, but it’s still a nice release. As we’ve seen in the last two years, we see a base set focusing on scenes from Return of the Jedi, along with familiar insert sets like Behind the Scenes, Concept Art, Posters, and Iconic Characters.
I’ve noticed something that seems a bit odd to me, too. For the original Black & White A New Hope release, the base set had 140 cards. The Empire Strikes Back had 150. This one, however, has 133. I’m a bit surprised it jumps around so much, but I guess it really isn’t a big deal. A box advertises 7 packs with 8 cards per pack, with 1 autograph or sketch card per box.