We’re 9 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting, we’re in February and Ike Davis will be reporting to Florida on Wednesday, so baseball season must be right around the corner.

Topps has already released their 2013 Series 1 Cards and my first impression is a positive one. Here’s a picture of some of the cards I found in a blaster box (10 small packs – retail):

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The card design is nice this year. 2011 just screamed, “HEY WE HAVE EXCLUSIVE BASEBALL RIGHTS SO HERE’S A GIGANTIC LOGO FOR EACH TEAM BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE CAN SHOW THEM” and 2012 had a pretty busy front. This year is fairly minimalist as you can see with the Lucas Duda, R.A. Dickey and Justin Maxwell card. I included the Maxwell card to show Topps updated the Houston logo. The glue to the set is this idea of “the chase”. Every card features the career stat that player is chasing. For example, on the back of the Duda card it reads, “Career Chase: With 29 home runs, Duda is 733 away from Barry Bonds’ all-time record of 762″.

I wasn’t too impressed with the majority of the inserts, “Chasing the Dream” and “Calling Card”. However one series looks awesome. Some packs have 1972 mini cards that look sharp and authentic. They are well done.

The parallel cards are fairly similar to previous years. You have the gold cards that are numbered to 2013, emerald cards (that I think are new for this year), black bordered, one of one’s etc. Joining them this year is a pink bordered and a camo border, which I think is rather hokey but whatever. For the second year in a row, if you buy retail packs at Walmart, you can get a blue set, at target a red set, and at ToysRus a purple set. This makes collecting the cards less linear than just retail vs hobby. The red parallel is pictured above, so I guess you can figure out I got these cards at Target.

If you get blaster packs, you can collect a manufactured relic series. A Matt Holiday manufactured patch card is pictured above.

Verdict: If you like the basic Topps set, you’ll like this set. The cards look clean and there are a lot of different parallel sets to collect.