2013 Topps S2 – Packs 9 and 10

Rounding Home.

So, i was going to post the final two packs from my series two box last night but we had a nice family dinner night with my mother, mother in law and brother in law.  Where did we go you ask, well we went to Pok Pok.  If any of you ever venture up to Portland, it’s not to be missed.  The restaurant has received quite a bit of notoriety the past few years and a place that we love to visit whenever we get a chance.  If you do indeed make it to Pok Pok, you MUST get the wings.  They are unlike any other wings you have ever had, they are BETTER!  Just a little local Portland foodie plug for any foodies out there.  There is also a spot out in Brooklyn, which i’ve heard is not quite the same…guess you need that Southeast Portland flavor to make it great.

Back to cardboard.  I’ve only two packs left to share and there isn’t too much for gloriousness, as i’ve pulled the ‘hits’ already.  As has been the case with the previous posts, i like to show dueling or similar cards.  The two below feature great faces of intense physical exertion.  Joaquin and Jorge are both doing their ultimate lip pursing, almost to the point that their lips have disappeared…but they haven’t because that would be wierd.

13 T Joaquin Benoit Jorge De La Rosa

Next is the contorting Jered Weaver Cut to the Chase.  This photo gives you a great idea as to how much pressure pitching can put on your body…and of course there is more lip pursing.

13 T Jered Weaver Cut to the Chase

Enter Sandman Chasing History.  This is an open mouth lip pursing.  Something only legends can do.  Can you do it properly?

13 T Mariano Rivera Chasing History

Salvador Perez is super happy in this card.  I’m assuming it’s a walk off for the win…but no lip pursing.  Disappointing.

13 T Salvador Perez Black Border

Finally.  Tiny Tim Lincecum.  Look at those long flowing locks, splayed glove and a cream white ANTS jersey.  Does the MLB test for weed?  I know it’s not really a PED, but i can only imagine with this kid.  Inappropriate, i know…

13 T Tim Lincecum Chasing History

2013 Topps S2 – Packs 5 and 6

The last couple of posts have been about celebrations.  This post is going to be about great plays and faces…as in the faces of men celebrating something or working very hard at doing something.

The first pair of cards feature a very smooth and shaded Jackie Bradley Jr. gliding in to make a very nonchalant catch.  Jackie has a great name and also had a wonderful spring training rendering him the next superstar phenom…unfortunately, spring ended and so did his hot run.  He’s a great young player and is in that always awkward transition of being a major leaguer and a AAA player…he’s too young to say he’s a AAAA guy, plus I think he has a ton of talent.  One thing I can’t seem to understand is that the Red Sox always seem to have a great farm system and the Yankees continue to ignore theirs…or at least the Yanks don’t seem to be able to develop enough major league talent.  The other card is of Andy Dirks and he appears to have made the catch, good for him and better for the photographer for making this photograph.  This is one of the things I love about sports cards.  They can capture a singular moment in time and become eternal images on cardboard (card stock) forever.

13 T Jackie Bradley Jr Andy Dirks

The intensity of these next two faces is both fascinating and extremely disturbing.  Not sure what the expression being exhibited by Adam Dunn is about, but if I had a daughter I would keep her away from him…based on this one photo of him.  I know it’s judgmental, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut.  James Loney.  This is the face I make when i’ve become irregular and having a tough time with my situation.  Both intense faces, both disturbing faces.

13 T Adam Dunn James Loney

These next two cards are the epitome and possibly a little over the top of facial enthusiasm.  The Papelbon card is out of control, but so is Papelbon…this was probably a 38 pitch save in May, and this is how he’s reacting.  So Intense!  The Trouty card is kind of cool.  You have to love this kid.  He doesn’t get the fanfare that Bryce Harper does, for some odd reason?  Both are equally talented and are going to be a whole lotta fun to watch the next 12-15 years.  Wonder if Trout was in DC and Harper was in LA if Trout would get more love?  Harper would get attention regardless due to polarizing personality…just wondering.

13 T Jonathan Broxton Mike Trout

I’m not a Giants fan, I don’t hate them or even dislike them, I just don’t like them like them.  You know what I mean?  They are a solid team and should be successful for a very long time, or at least as long as this kid is healthy.  I have a feeling that this kid’s baby face isn’t going to age much, so I guess that would make him the Dick Clarke of baseball…no?

13 T Buster Posey Chasing History

I’m gonna end it with some mini action.  The Kid and a guy named BJ.  Why a guy would want to go by BJ is beyond me…but maybe that’s just my issue or maybe it’s because his name is Melvin Emanuel.  (ps. yes that is a hair…from my head linking the Kid and Melvin…i’m receding)

13 T Ken Griffey Jr BJ Upton Minis

2013 Topps S2 – Packs 1 and 2

It’s been a few weeks since i’ve done just a baseball post and I have a jumbo box of Topps Series 2 sitting here to my left.  Whattaya say we open it up slowly and see what we see kids!

There’s no need to go over the design of these cards since it’s been covered ad nauseam on your favorite bloggers website, so i’m just going to touch on the hits and fun cards that were pulled from the packs…two at a time.  Double your pleasure!

The first card is two cards, because i’m doubling your pleasure…remember?  I LOVE landscape base cards.  I think they are fantastic and would love to see more sets go this route…just for the fun of it, you know?  The only problem is that they don’t look as great when put in a binder which is where these two islanders are going.  HanRam, as some of you may know is one of my favorite players and along with Carl Crawford are the only two guys that I collect that haven’t played for the Yankees…yet.  Wait until they are 35, then they will be in pinstripes. Apparently that’s what the Bronx Bombers do these days.  Lose to the Orioles and sign old guys.  The Chapman card is also fantastic, plus he’s Cuban…and I love Cuba…PLUS he’s throws really really hard and fast.

13 T Hanley Ramirez Aroldis Chapman

The next two cards are one of the reasons why people hate Topps.  Although, I don’t think either one of these guys are SP cards they are still super gimmicky.  Of the two, I would rather be Justin Ruggiano becuase it’s either water or that crazy clear Ice Gatorade or something…I have no idea, the card doesn’t explain what is being expelled on his shoulder.  Anyone feel sorry for the sideline reporter on the Lombardozzi card?  Me neither…

13 T Justin Ruggiano Steve Lombardozzi

Alright, this is where is turn in to a singles hitter.  That said, here is Derek Jeter.  I love the Captain.  And there is nothing wrong with that, just like there is nothing wrong with starting a sentence with and.

13 T Derek Jeter

This is a cool card because it has Bryce Harper and the look of a child who got his hand caught in the cookie jar.  Brian is the older brother that gets in trouble for not keeping a better eye on his little brother.  Big Brother = Baltimore Orioles — Little Brother = Washington Nationals.

13 T Brian Roberts

Here is one of the 73 different inserts that Topps likes to entice people to collect.  I believe this is what they call an emerald card?  Please correct me if i’m wrong, and if you are correct, I will send you this card.  When scanned, it kind of looks like a forrest.  David didn’t do so well in the Home Run Derby this evening…on his home turf, but neither did Robbie Cano donchaknow.

13 T David Wright

Another insert, similar to the The Greats inserts.  Yes, I used The back to back.  As far as i’m concerned, this card would be better if it were Rickey Henderson.  Not to take anything away from the wizard, he was a phenomenal player, but when you have 73 inserts, it would be nice to get one of your favorite player, eh?

13 T Ozzie Smith The Elite

This rarely happens, but I pulled a box hit in one of my first two packs.  This heavy ass metal mettle coin card of Adrian Gonzalez.  I like this guy so much more now that his short stint with the Red Sox is over.  Great player, great cards…but still heavy.

13 T Adrian Gonzalez Proven Mettle Bronze 36:50

I gotta Feva!

Those immortal words were spoken by none other than the iconic Christopher Walken on the classic SNL skit…and now, I have a fever.  I don’t need a cowbell, just some sleep and the ability to breathe through my nose again…such a simple task when healthy.  I’ve become one of those neanderthal mouth breathers you find at your local gymnasium flexing in front of the mirror and twitpickin’…you know the type!

Another little bit of fever I caught today was some Spring Fever cards from the electronic bay of two of my favorite players.  Both guys are players that i collect and play(ed) for the Yankees, one a legend and one well on his way.

Here they are in all their glory!

Rickey Henderson

13 SF Rickey Henderson Spring Fever

Robinson Cano

13 SF Robinson Cano Spring Fever

There are a couple more players that i’m chasing for my PC with this set, but these are great cards for starters.  Unfortunately, these cards didn’t scan quite as nicely as they appear in person.  These are the first Spring Fever cards i’ve seen in person and am quite impressed with them.  I love that Topps has been doing these inserts with their new flagship releases (football kickoff cards).  It gets you in to the card shop and supporting your local shop.  Unfortunately when i went to the shop last week, i forgot my one redemption card…and as i talked to Rick, he had actually run out of packs.  Too slow on my part i guess.

I should have a nice post or two this weekend with some COMC mail but that’s it for now!

2013 Topps – Packs 3 and 4

The pack a day thing wasn’t working for me, so i’m doing two packs every other day.  Same thing, just a slightly bigger effect on pack days!  Plus organizing 100 cards is a larger, but still simple task.

The first card i want to look at is Will Middlebrooks #64.  This is a pretty fantastic shot and an awesome card in general.  Topps did a great job of not cropping any of Will in the photo.  It’s too bad the ump is in the background, but i guess he is in position and just doing his job.  Will is from north Texas and played high school football with the one and only LaMichael James.  James is still kind of a big deal for the University of Oregon fans up here and did a nice job for the 49ers at the end of the season and their playoff run.  Not sure what kind of football player Will was, but it sounds like he has made a good career choice in playing baseball.  As my co-worker and huge Red Sox fan tells me, Middlebrooks is a big stud.  Ok, that’s cool, i guess.  I’ve never been a Red Sox fan…mostly a Yankees fan (i will get in to that later, briefly…) so i’ve never been too partial to any Red Sox players…ever.  I guess the only Red Sox that i’m drawn too would be Ted Williams.  That’s all i can think of, I do like Carl Crawford, but he never really played for them…so let’s say 1 1/2 players.

13 T Will Middlebrooks

The next card is Rajai Davis #311.  This card is fantastic.  Quickly, how many hands in the air can you count?  if you guessed 1,000 you are wrong, but there is still a lot.  This picture is great in so many way.  First and foremost, the celebration with the team after a walk off win and the ecstatic joy on Davis’ face.  Just priceless.  This is why people who like sports, love sports.  Pure enjoyment and a sensation that you’ve accomplished or achieved something with other guys that share your same passion.  I have tried for years to convince my wife that sports is the best reality TV she could ever watch.  The other thing i love about this card is the way the editor blurred out his teammates and focused the photo on Davis.  If they didn’t do this than it would look like a team checklist card or team stats card rather than a card for Rajai Davis.

13 T Rajai Davis

Next up, Ryan Zimmerman card #80.  As i stated earlier, i am mostly a Yankees fan and have been since 1985.  And, as you know I am a Redskins fan…from Texas.  Not sure how these two teams mesh together eh?  in one sentence, i’m a Redskins fan because i hated Dallas so much and I’m a Yankees fan because Rickey Henderson played for them when i really became a baseball fan.  So they don’t really mesh together, i picked them “just because”.  That said over the last 5 or 6 years, my attention has been drawn to the Washington Nationals.  I tend to listen to a lot of sports talk radio from DC, thanks to the internet and podcasts and have by default become a DC sports fan.  I even care about the Capitals and Wizards, but not that much.  The Nats have become a team that has finally got something special and it all started with this Ryan Zimmerman guy.  He has been the cornerstone of the franchise for years and is just now hitting his statistical prime.  Most fans are expecting greater things from the Nats this year after the heartbreaking loss to the Cardinals last year.  Zimm should be in the center of the teams dominance for years to come.  Kinda like what Chipper Jones to the Braves.

13 T Ryan Zimmerman

Now for a non base card.  Ryan Braun Cut to the Chase.  Most of you have been following the whole PED thing and it’s not looking too good for this guy.  I have no idea whether or not he did anything illegal and personally, I really don’t care.  These guys are professional athletes and their job is to perform at a physical and mental level that most men cannot, each and every single day for 6+ months.  I understand the negative long term affects of the users and the physical health, but these guys careers are so short so they tend to think in short terms rather than 30 years from now.  It’s a difficult dilemma for MLB and they always seem to be picked on rather than the NFL.  It will be interesting to see what happens with all of the fallout in the next few weeks.  Either way, Ryan Braun is a fantastic player and has had a great start to his career.  Let’s hope he can keep it up and not go down with the PED ship.  By the way, i would love to hear some opinions on the whole PED thing.

13 T Ryan Braun Cut to the Chase

Now for the first hit from the jumbo box.  Yovani Gallardo Chasing History White Jersey card.  YoGa is a pretty good pitcher.  I had him on my fantasy team a few years ago when he first came up and he did me well down the stretch.  I don’t really follow the Brewers, so I don’t know that much about the guy.  But i do know that he has a FANTASTIC head of hear, or at least what’s busting through the boundaries of his hat.  The chasing history card is for his third 200+K season, surpassing Teddy Higuera’s record of two 200+K seasons.  Good job to you Mr. Gallardo, here’s hoping you make if four seasons.

13 T Yovani Gallardo Chasing History Jersey

That’s all for now kids.  I have some other boxes i’m attempting to open, but just can’t seem to do it.  I like the idea of saving them for when i feel the need to open something, rather than buying another pack or box.  Plus i picked up $7 of Redskins cards today that i want to discuss, that was the intention of this blog anyways, right?

2013 Topps – Packs 1 and 2

It’s been difficult of late to get in front of a computer and complete a post for the blog.  The last few weeks have been overwhelming for me with late nights and weekends at work which is about to come to an end.  My deadline is nearly complete at work and i should have a few moments at night for some new posts after the child has gone to sleep.  My lunch breaks have been the only time i can do some blog writing, but eating and typing on a smart phone ain’t that easy, plus a little messy.

So, to get back posting i wanted to open a pack from the 2013 Topps jumbo box i ordered a while ago from Dave and Adams card world.  In the past, i would get the box and just rip through it, sifting through each card so quickly and not taking the time to enjoy each card.  I have decided to follow the self controlled approach of fellow Portland metro area blogger Basketball Card Blog and open one pack every day or two.  My initial attempt failed, so i opened two packs.  Hey, it’s been a while.  I will exhibit some self control and open just the two jumbo packs for tonight.  100 cards.

I know the flagship card set from Topps has caused some heartache from the die hards, and i get it.  This is a set that all of us have put together at some point.  My first set was the 1986 Topps set which i still love to this day.  Being the collector that i am, i feel the urge to continue collecting and building the sets each year and continue with the tradition.  I can understand some of the negative energy about Topps, but i feel that if you are that opposed to it, don’t collect it.  Collect something else.  It will be alright.  This hobby should be fun and enjoyable.

As most of you have already started to tear in to the ’13 Topps cards, i won’t bore you with scanning cards you have already seen but rather focus on a couple of cards that stood out to me in the packs.  I may post a card you have seen a thousand times though…who knows…

The first one is the Jose Reyes card #331.  I never understood the desire to photoshop a players new team on a card when he hasn’t even played a game for them, not even a spring training game!  If the set came out in May and they wanted to show Reyes in a Blue Jay doctored jersey, i’d be cool with that.  It may make sense then.  We all know he played one season in Miami last year where he had a decent season on a crappy team, let’s see him in a Marlins jersey one last time!  Maybe i’m being overly picky on this one, but just a minor pet peeve for me.  I know companies have done this for a while and will continue to do it.  The one thing i can add is the photoshop work is pretty solid.  As someone who works with photoshop on occasion i know how difficult these things can be, luckily i have my wife to teach me new tricks…about photoshop that is…  The real issue though is the back of the card and A-Rod’s claim that Jose Reyes is “the world’s greatest player playing shortstop…and the most exciting…”  who knew?  Also, love the Career Chase stats on these cards.  Kind of snarky and fun.  Reyes is 996 SB away from Rickey Henderson’s all time record of 1,406.  Funny that this is the first card i chose as Rickey Henderson is my all time favorite player and childhood athlete idol.  I wear 24 in softball because of Rickey!

13 T Jose Reyes

Next up, Jose Altuve.  The problem with this card is the freakin jersey.  I HATE these mid ’80’s Astros jersey…that sounds really negative.  I grew up in San Antonio and was forced to watch endless amounts of Astros and Rangers games on TV.  I remember when these jersey weren’t trendy throw backs, just some ugly ass shirts the baseball club from Houston wore.  When i heard they were going to an old school look for the 2013 season, i thought for sure this is what they meant…luckily that didn’t happen and they went with a more subdued and honorable retro look.  Although, i’m sure they will whip these sherbert gems out every once in a while.  Sunday home games?  Back to the Astros and Rangers quickly.  I never became a fan of either team and never really bought in to the fact that you had to root for the local team.  I’ve always been a contrarian by nature so i picked my teams as i saw fit and avoided all affiliations with Texas teams, not hate, just not loving them.  Apparently Jose Altuve is short and he plays second base.  Seems about right i guess, most second basemen are vertically challenged.  He overcame his shortcomings in height and is a pro ballplayer, more than i can say for myself.

13 T Jose Altuve

The last two cars are the Adam Jones Cut to the Chase and Kenley Jansen parallel number to 62.  Ok, here’s a thing.  I have always had a color deficiency, not color blindness, but a deficiency.  All of these parallel cards confuse the hell out of me.  I never know what the color of the freakin card is.  I wish companies would put the color on the back under the serial number stamp or maybe a G for Green and R for Red because honestly i can’t tell.  If it wasn’t for the serial number i would have no idea what i have in my hand right now.  Two anecdotes on Kenley Jansen.  He has a ways to go to catch Mariano Rivera and he played baseball at Inland Empire…which i find to be a fascinating name for a town or city or whatever it is.  That could make a great road trip.  That Adam Jones card is quite nice and super easy to pick up with all the edges.  It’s glossy and shiny.  Has some visual texture to it as well.  I’m kind of diggin’ these.

13 T Kenley Jansen Black 3:62 13 T Adam Jones Cut to the Chase

Oh wait, one more card.  This guy, Adeiny Hechavarria.  Spell check hates his name and it took total concentration for me to spell it correctly, still not sure i got it right.  Anyways.  This kid is from Cuba.  A couple of summers ago, my wife and I ventured down to the island for 14 days and had a fantastic time.  Unfortunately we went during the baseball off season…summer…so i didn’t get to see any games.  Everyone there though loves Baseball and talking about the game.  I ended up meeting a guy there that was a big Phillies fan and ended up sending him some cards…no idea if he ever got them though.  that’s another post.

13 T Adeiny Hechavarria