I'm looking for the 2009 Topps 'throwbacks' blaster variation, but was only able to find one blaster at a local Target - the identifiable code printed above the UPC code did not match the code for the throwback blasters.
I'm interested in the Target variations because of the retro aspect and while Walmart black parallel cards maybe 'prettier,' I'm always looking for something a little different to get signed through my random autograph endeavors - though the throwback Topps parallel is probably not much different than regular Topps.
I ended up with the lone blaster I found because I wanted a manufactured patch card [Historical Commemorative patch card] - I figure I'd rip into the pack first to see what I'd find. I thought I'd probably get a Bill Mazeroski [a Hall of Fame legend who isn't in the insert set BTW], but got Roberto Clemente with a patch commemorating the 1962 All-Star Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
I've seen some of the patches and it seems you can barely read the lettering - at least the letters on this patch was legible.
As for the base cards - last year's cards took a step back as far as aesthetics were concerned. You look at the 2009 design [what baseball card blog doesn't have at least one 2009 Topps card posted] and it looks so much better.
Maybe the cropping on images is tighter, but I think the images used have improved as well - in past years, Topps was content to plug any run-of-the mill image for any particular card, but it seems like someone took their time to actually select some ideal images to use for this year's Topps.
The backs are another story - the names on the back of the card and the statistics/tidbits are hard to read depending on whose card you have.
I pulled Turkey Red inserts of David Ortiz and Ian Kinsler - I like my retro cards, but maybe except for Topps Allen and Ginters and 2008 Upper Deck Timeline, I prefer them as inserts instead of a stand-alone product.
I pulled a Odalis Perez gold parallel card serial #'d 1747/2009 - the gold parallel cards in Topps' flagship are fairly common and they are boring, especially if you get one featuring a journeyman like Perez.
I pulled a Legends of the Game insert of Cy Young - these cards are sort of flimsy, get nicked up and show 'white' too easily. I think the three most obvious defects to detract from cards fresh out of the pack are off-center cards, dinged corners and possible creases.
The ToppsTown cards are the same way, though I see them more as informational cards than true inserts - I really wish I have a Webcam, so I can download a program to supposedly make the players on the cards come to life [as I've read on a blog or two recently]. I think the ToppsTown cards are junk, but when it comes to motion having something to do with cards, I'm on it.