2014 Topps S1 – Packs 5 and 6

I’m now 6 packs deep and haven’t pulled a big hit…but I’m going to show you what i’ve got anyways.  Because I know you all love to see some scans of base cards and stuff.

Donny Baseball was one of my favorite players growing up, not Rickey Henderson favorite, but way ahead of whomever was third at the time…maybe Nolan Ryan or George Brett?  Mattingly was always an elusive pull or me.  I never got his card in the packs I bought during the 1985 and 1986 seasons.  I got a whole bunch of 1987 Topps though…damn that set was so overproduced.  I think I had about 4 complete sets that year due to everyone in my family buying me boxes from Sam’s.  Mattingly seemed destined for the Hall of Fame and put up phenomenal numbers especially with a healthy Rickey Henderson hitting in front of him.  Seeing this young skinny photo of Donny baseball brings back some great memories of being a young collector.  I appreciate Topps pulling old stock photos of baseballs legends and the players that were really good.  It keeps the older kids connected and provides a great lesson for the kids that are starting to collect.

14 TO Don Mattingly 50 years of the Draft

Topps has also provided the kids with a look at their previous card designs, which is also a very good thing in my mind.  Although, i’m not sure if copying the late 80’s and early 90’s is the way to go.  Best to make up for it by making these babies die cut.

14 TO Clayton Kershaw 1989 Mini Die Cut

Here are some Power Player cards that have powerful players on them.  Yadi would like to salute you and Giancarlo is getting a Marlin cortisone shot to the knee…sorry…I couldn’t think of anything else to add to these cards.  It’s a parallel that could have been more parallel-y in my mind.  I guess changing the border color has been done a million times.  Maybe if they edited out the backgrounds…I don’t know, crap.  I actually didn’t notice these were Power Player cards at first pass.  My oversight was corrected when I realized that these ‘base’ cards should not have been in the middle of the pack.  I’m sleuthy!

14 TO Molina Stanton Power Players

Love the Mo cards.  Love the bottom one the most though.  Such a great baseball moment.

14 TO Mariano Rivera

The next two cards are last because they deserve to be last.

Although the back of Melky’s card doesn’t suggest anything about PED as Night Owl had suggested it should.  I find it telling that Topps decided to quote A-Rod with the very insightful “He’s a big, big, big-time player.”  That’s three bigs.  I would have gone with he’s a big, bigger, biggest time player but that wouldn’t make much sense either.  Don’t do drugs kids, especially if they are to be inserted with needles.

14 TO Melky Cabrera

Lastly.  This guy.  The finger pointer.  Topps was smart enough to not drop any photos of him with eye black.  I’m finding it difficult to justify writing what I feel about his homophobic eye black last year.  He seemed to play it off as ignorance and something that wasn’t a big deal.

14 TO Yunel Escobar

But, I’m an adult and I know words can be filled with hate and bad intentions.  My dilemma though, is that I’m a die hard Redskins fan.  Another term that has been deemed as hateful or oppressive.  It’s an unfair position for me to be ok with one derogatory term but not with another.  It doesn’t really matter if one is worse, if the words offend someone than it’s an offensive term…besides, what’s with finger pointing at the cameraman?  Who does that?

 

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

Box Break: 2013 Bowman

Bowman is one of those in between sets for me.  Do I buy packs?  A box and build the set?  Pull my favorites out and part ways with the rest of them?

I’m not a prospector, but I love to pull some of the great rookies that I read about.

I don’t put together too many sets, but I love to buy packs and sometimes a box of cards that I enjoy openings packs of.

I like inserts, but too many of them become overwhelming.

Bowman has a way of providing a response to each of these contradictions in my collecting habits.  When Topps brought back the Bowman cards in 1989, my friend Alex and I were all in.  The cards were weird and big and didn’t fit well anywhere, but they were cool and had a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.  Griff was the man in 1989 and his rookie cards were something every kid in America that collected cards wanted.  I had them all, and loved the oversized Bowman version (after the Upper Deck version of course…)  Although the cards weren’t that great.  The photography was a little grainy at times and the overall design was weak…plus the stat on the back were quite confusing and took some getting used to.  Either way I was going to collect this set…and all other versions that would come out in the future.  That was, until 1992 rolled around.  The card quality became significantly better and the rookie class was pretty stellar at the time (I still have my Raul Mondesi in a screw down holder, iknowright!).  1992 was also the time I began to realize I can’t collect everything…because I couldn’t afford it.  So I never completed the set and ended up getting rid of my other sets from the previous years.

13 BB Mariano Rivera Chrome RC Reprint

Fast forward to the future that is today.  The card quality has improved exponentially and in relation to the other stuff that’s being issued, Bowman is quite affordable.  I’ve purchased a box of these the past three years and took a bigger step this year and bought the jumbo pack box from Dave and Adam’s card world.  Here is my review.

13 BB Josh Hamilton Chrome RC Reprint

Card Design – 3 of 5

The overall design of the cards is quite simple, which I love.

13 BB Robinson Cano

13 BB Hanley Ramirez

No extra weird things going on here, just some simple graphics and all the basic information you need on a baseball card.  I do like the subtle variation on the front of the card that differentiates the Bowman Prospects from the Major Leaguers.  Bowman also carried this through as they do on the back of  the card with the numbering and color of the card stock.

Photography – 3 of 5

The photographs are your typical action photos mixed in with awkwardly posed for photos of young men in uniforms.  There are a lot of beards and facial hair in general around the world these days and the major league baseball franchise is no different.  I’m thinking Panini needs to do a facial hair card set.  Maybe Josh Reddick get the coveted #1 card?

13 BB Matt Kemp Bryce Harper Gold Border

Hits – 4 of 5

Like I said before, I’m no prospector.  I simply don’t have the patience or wherewithal to invest in people I don’t know and Bowman counts on people doing this.  That’s what makes this set so wonderful though.  If you do pull a great auto of a young talented player or a refractor you have a nice piece of cardboard.  If you don’t, well, you have something shiny to look at i guess.  Another thing with the hits is that you have to wait a couple of years for these guys to pan out and get a year or two under their belts.  Just because you are a top 100 prospect doesn’t mean you are going to be a star in the bigs.  All that said, It’s nice to get the ‘First Bowman card’ of a potential star.

13 BB Eddie Rosario Dorssys Paulino Top 100

Another thing that i really enjoy about the Bowman cards and the young stars is the names of these kids.  Damn.

13 BB Oliberto Amaya Calderon Maldonado Chrome

Review

Bowman is always fun to open and the cards are always a very solid quality.  I’m not sure if I will buy a jumbo box next year unless i plan to start building the sets again…but getting 32 cards in a pack is pretty cool.

13 BB Rodriguez Bundy Reed Rowen Gold Sparkle

The overall look and feel of the cards is great, nothing to complain about here, plus the price is right with Bowman, especially for what you get.

Mini’s are cool.

13 BB Skaggs Hanson Bradley Hensley Minis

So are Flags…

13 BB Davis Upton Alonso Maurer Hometown

and blue or maybe purple cards?

13 BB Brett Gerritse Blue Refractor 60:250and who doesn’t love them some autographs!

13 BB Eddie Butler Auto

13 BB Yordano Ventura Refractor Auto 79:500

13 BB Alex Meyer Auto

Box Break: 2013 Topps Heritage

Have you ever had a hot box, or better yet, been hot boxed.  Well, I was hot boxed over the weekend and it was wonderful.  I saw blue refractors everywhere while listening to the Stones.  There were giant heads and men shooting imaginary arrows after pulling ripe plantains out of their pants.  Others were smiling, giggling and simply staring in to space…and I swear I saw a Marlin with photos taken before and after a clean shave.  It was all magical, and now the trip is over…the flashback is now Monday night and I have a hangover.

Topps Heritage is a set that I LOVE putting together each year.  I know a lot of folks out there are indifferent or hate it, but I really enjoy the set.  I love that it’s set at a decent price.  I also love that you can complete a base set with minimal headaches while managing to still eat lunch each day.  I admit the SP’s and SSP’s are a little bit of a pain, but isn’t that what collectors really want?  They can definitely come off as gimmicks, but they also represent the desire to chase and build sets.  Part of my enjoyment with collecting cardboard is that I know I can’t have everything I want…even though I really want everything.  To me, that is the joy in collecting.  The chase.  I have binders of the flagship Topps set with all the cards in their proper position.  I have binder of Topps Heritage with huge chunks of cardboard missing.  It’s infuriating at times but I can’t quit it.  It’s like that girl in high school that talked to you enough to be a friend, but you just couldn’t get closer to her…it was the chase.  You didn’t hate her for it, you knew deep down that nothing would ever happen, but it never stopped you from trying did it?  That’s what I love about Heritage.  I will never complete all the Heritage sets I’ve started, but I will try and will buy boxes to open packs to put in sleeves…that’s what I do.  That’s why I collect.

To chase the un-obtainable.

Ok, I’ve been rambling a bit here tonight.  Each year I buy a few boxes of Heritage throughout the year to build a full set with all the SP’s.  This year I ordered my boxes in advance from Dave and Adam’s cardworld and have slowly started to open them.  Just out of curiosity, I did something I’m a little embarrassed about.  I weighed each box on a small digital scale my wife uses around the kitchen.  I found three different sizes of the boxes 1lb 4 3/4oz, 1lb 5oz and 1lb 5 7/8oz.  Hmmm.  Think I’m going to open the heavy box first.  Glad I did as it was what must have been a HOTBOX!

Holy Hot Rocks I’m Hot, so give up the props – just a little something from Redman to lead into the magical Blue Refractor imagery.

12 TH Jeter Rivera Blue Refractor

I also managed to pull an awkward looking Adam Jones Clubhouse Collection White Jersey Card.

12 TH Adam Jones Clubhouse Collection White Jersey

Here is the archer/plantain man.  Just watched him lock it down against the Netherlands.  Any fans of the WBC out there?  I’ve really been enjoying it this year, plus the Dominican Republic team is stacked like an all star team.

12 TH Fernando Rodney Chrome 88:999

A young stoned Stones.  This photo was taken before Keith Richards made his deal with whatever devil that allowed him to live to 150.  Maybe he’s a vampire?

12 TH Rolling Stones News Flashback

Lots of gigantic heads in the ’64 remake here.  Wonder if that was the trend in the mid 60’s, to get right up in a man’s face and release the shutter?  I’m not up on my camera lens history, but I imagine a lot of fixed lenses back then creating the up close shots.  One of the many reasons I like Heritage is their attentiveness to focusing on the mimicked set.  My one complaint about it would be the photos though.  I think Topps could take easily use the same angles and focal lengths, but get sharper photos rather than attempting to copy the grainy old school photos.  I know, I know…that’s the whole point of this set.  I just think the technology of today shouldn’t be limited in order to duplicate what couldn’t be done 50 years ago.

12 TH Cano Strasburg

I got a Heritage Suite card too, SSSP?

12 TH Pedro Ciriaco

The thing I love about this card is these two guys look like a before and aftershave photo.  Maybe Mr. Mattison can find a razor and trim that beast up a bit?

12 TH Kevin Mattison Tom Koehler Marlins Rookie Stars

Nothing to hide.

12 TH Chris Tillman

This guy is WAY TOO INTENSE.

12 TH Zack Greinke

Card Design 3.5 of 5

This isn’t one of my favorite designs, it’s a little too simple for my liking.  The backs are great and I think Topps has done a great job matching the original design and feel of the cards again.

Photography 3.5 of 5

The photography is what it is.  They are matching what was done previously.  Just think more can be done, especially with all the technology we have now.

Hits 3.5 of 5

Although this box was pretty dope, I can’t say that Heritage has great hits.  They just don’t and that’s what has a lot of folks upset.  That’s not my concern though.  I like the Clubhouse Collection cards as simple and non-descript as they are, I think they work for this price point and set.  The box toppers are only nice if you don’t get a panel.  The panels are terrible because you can’t really do anything with them and nobody wants them…at least that I know.

Review

I have a long way to go to completing this set, but I am going to enjoy every minute of it regardless of what people think.  I like the simple non glossy cardboard that is Heritage.  It reminds me of the cards I collected as a kid, only better stock.

2013 Topps – Packs 5 and 6

On to the next round of packs.  I actually opened one at 11:58 and another at 12:03 over night, so i guess this counts as a pack a day…back on track, for now.

The first two cards are Yankees.  I hadn’t posted any Yanks yet, so i thought i would get a start today and post two.  These are actually the two most notable Yankees in the box so far, so that’s the main reason i hadn’t posted others.  Anyways.  I LOVE the Mariano Rivera card.  Great shot and on a nice thick piece of card stock.  It’s just slightly off center, but i guess these things happen when you are making hundreds of them.  The border around the card looks like something you would pull in a higher end card pack, but i guess it is a jumbo pack?  Overall, a very nice elegant design.  The Reggie Jackson card on the other hand is a little weird.  I love the design of these Calling Cards and have already pulled a couple good players, but the whole “Abs of Steel” thing is kind of off putting for me.  Didn’t know he was that in to his abs but i guess doing 1200 sit ups a day will lead to an obsession.  If i had the time to do something 1200 times a day, not sure it would be sit ups…just saying.

13 T Mariano Rivera The Greats

13 T Reggie Jackson Calling Card

The next card is L.J. Hoes, only because of his name though.  Hoes.  It sounds like he has some talent as he won the Brooks Robinson Award for being the top player in the Orioles organization.  My favorite part of his card is this line “It was a dream come true for Hoes…”  That’s pretty fantastic.  All the Hoes out there should be proud, and so should the G’z. (Snoop Dogg reference)

13 T LJ Hoes

Next up, is the man that is ‘Next Up’, Jurickson Profar.  I coached a little league team for 4 years when i first moved to Portland and I remember being excited to watch the Little League World Series and remember watching Profar play.  I always wonder how many of those kids go on to play major league anything.  Some 12 year olds peak at 12 and their glory days get behind them quickly.  Profar as any MLB scout will tell you is the real deal and should be an everyday starter very soon if not on opening day.  I guess technically he has Elvis Andrus blocking him at SS, but they may be moving him to second, or third…not really sure.  Any Rangers fans out there that can help with this one?

13 T Jurickson Profar

Justin Upton is a phenomenal talent and I have always loved watching him play.  I’ve gone back and forth on collecting his cards and keeping them for my PC.  Ultimately deciding not to once he was traded to the Braves.  I was really hoping the Yankees would make a move for him, but it just wasn’t meant to be.  I think he is going to have a great year with his brother.  Maybe the Braves can get that elusive second World Series title…it’s a long shot, but they have a really talented outfield.

13 T Justin Upton

These next two cards came in the jumbo pack just like this, in the same order.  I thought it was pretty cool.  Kind of like a two page flip book.

13 T Andruw Jones

13 T Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Lastly, the second hit of the box is an autograph of Wily Peralta from the Milwaukee Brewers.  No idea who this guy is.  As a quick side note, i stopped playing fantasy baseball about 2 years ago and have enjoyed all of the free time, but man, i have no idea who a lot of these guys are anymore.  I used to do so much research on prospects and rookies.  I would be able to tell you everything about this kid 3 years ago…but now I’m doing a card blog.  I think i need to step up my research so i don’t keep saying “i have no idea who this guy is…”  Very unprofessional.  Back to the card.  I love that it’s one of the ‘Chasing the Dream’ cards and a rookie, just wish the auto looked cleaner.  No big deal though, hope he pans out.  I seem to have gotten a Brewer heavy box.

13 T Wily Peralta Chasing the Dream Auto

There you have it, past the halfway point in the box and 4 more to go!