2004 Topps Own the Game
Wowsers! If style is not a substitute for substance, nobody told Topps when they were designing this card. It’s been a while since I’ve seen as much flair for the sake of having flair as this card presents.
First, the whole name is weird. Own the Game. Who are they talking to? Do I get to own the Game? Does Pedro Own the Game? I suppose he owns every game he pitches. Is that what they meant?
OK. The elephant in the room. What is with the graphics? Are they trying to go retro? The big star/baseball graphic? I’d say it was too ostentatious, but that would be ignoring the rest of the card’s lack of subtlety. What’s with the shiny swirly behind Pedro? Or the swirly stars? Or the checkerboard? Then the really strange part. Those graphics don’t take up the whole card. The top is left clean for the Topps and Red Sox logos. On a big thick blank stripe. Huh? If you’re going to give me a visual headache, might as well go the whole way, right? Maybe they did it so that I could pick out Pedro. Since his head sticks out into the border, I can actually find him.
I get it. It’s an insert card. They’re trying something new. They want to make the insert stand out in the pack. I certainly knew I got this card when I pulled it. I’m just not sure that should be their only goal when designing the card.
And to think, this was before the Topps monopoly.