2013 Topps S2 – Packs 3 and 4

For the first couple of cards, I’m going to stick with the twofers…and it goes a little something like this, HIT IT!

As usual, I’m late for the bus on this one.  I just wanted to add my two cents on the whole celebration card that Topps seems to be putting out more and more each season.  I like the concept, and sometimes it works brilliantly as it does with the Francisco Cervelli card.  Then there are other times when it doesn’t work well, like this Derek Norris card.  It’s more of an Oakland A’s team card and I fully expected to see some team leader stats on the back of the piece of card stock.  If the camera man was a couple of inches to the right, nobody would know who this card is for, including the wonderful mlb-baby-making parents of Mr. Norris!  I would have thought it was for Reddick or that little dude squatting in the middle of the card.  Get it together Topps!

13 T Francisco Cervelli Derek Norris

Here are a couple more celebration cards.  Am I the only one that thinks Homer Bailey and Christian Bale are twins lost at birth?  Maybe they should be doing those cheesy State Farm Chris Paul commercials.  This is a good example of a celebration card.  You can see his Batman looking face and yet, he is still sharing a personal moment with Chris Heisey after his no-no last year.  The Ryan Ludwick card on the other hand is all kinds of terrible.  Not only is his face nowhere to be seen, his nameplate on the back is blurry!!!  At the very least this should have been a Jay Bruce card because his unbridled enthusiasm is…unbridled (first time using that word on the blog and i drop it twice!).

13 T Homer Bailey Ryan Ludwick

Alright, enough whining.  These making their mark cards are nice and the player selection is great.  I love that they went with the young future superstars for this subset.  Both of these guys are great players…and I kind of have a baseball crush on Manny Machado…the kid is all kinds of awesome.  I’m no Orioles fan and have no idea when he will make the move to short, if ever, but he is going to become their rock for the next 10-15 years like Jeter has been for the Yankees.

13 T Manny Machado Yoenis Cespedes Making their Mark

Bryce Harper.  Stud.  Kind of want to do a player collection of him.  I think this kid is great and i’m sure i’ve mentioned it here before, but I would love for Bryce to be my sons favorite ballplayer.  If everyone played all out each play like he did, the game would be so much more fun to watch day in and day out.

13 T Bryce Harper Chase it Down

Here is a nice little cut to the chase Ernie Banks card.  You can’t ever go wrong with Mr. Banks and some die cut action.

13 T Ernie Banks Cut to the Chase

Last card for the night was my autograph hit from the box.  Alex Cobb chasing history.  I’m going to chase some whiskey with a little sleep.  Goodnight collectors of the internets.

13 T Alex Cobb Chasing History Auto

 

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

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

My GQ Post

Each year when Gypsy Queen comes out, I get a little excited about the cards…but it’s always tempered.  I think the cards look great and the photography is really nice, but i don’t love them.  Don’t hate them either.  Kind of indifferent I guess.  My annual buy in is maybe a few hobby and retail packs, possibly a blaster or two from target, but that’s about it.  I think my aversion to the cards is the lack of statistical information on the back…or it could be the overly ornate border?  As an architect, i’ve been trained to have a dislike for ornament and decoration so i guess that has carried in to my hobbies as well.  The celtic-like border is nice, just not my cup of tea.

13 GQ Yasmani Grandal AJ Ellis

One thing that i really do like about GQ is the inclusion of age old veterans in the base set.  Topps does a nice job with these and making them blend in nicely with the other modern players.  Rarely do the players appear dated and they are never irrelevant to current collectors.  PLUS, i always think it’s great to include HOF’ers and past great players so the young kids can learn a little history about the game and have a card from someone their parents or grandparents enjoyed watching play.

13 GQ Dwight Gooden Tony Gwynn

I also do enjoy the inserts that GQ comes up with.  The two cards below are  a great example of this.  It’s nice to have the a highlight reel play represented on a card.  We all remember the Trout catch last season as it was shown incessantly on the MLB network as well as the mothership.

13 GQ Mike Trout Jayson Werth Glove Stories

Mini’s.  Can’t go wrong with minis and you can’t go wrong with these two guys.  One thing i enjoy about the mini cards is that i can put them at my desk at the office for a little while to enjoy the new pieces of cardboard.  How great was Eddie Mathews?  When people talk about the all time greats, i feel like he is always forgotten.  Imagine if he played in New York how much more popular he would be?  And just look at Lou Brock…chillin…total GQ pose…the other one.

13 GQ Eddie Matthews Lou Brock Minis

Not overly excited about these inserts, but both pitchers are/were pretty great and the photos capture their intensity well.

13 GQ Nolan Ryan NH Felix Hernandez DA

Here is a ‘hit’ from the rack pack i bought.  It’s Jacoby Ellsbury.  He’s pretty big here in Portland since he played at Oregon State and from Madras…but he’s a Red Sock, so i’m not too excited about him…he is pretty great though.  Love that they mention how great a player he is when he’s healthy.

13 GQ Jacoby Ellsbury Blue Border 45:499

And the best has been saved for the very last.  Mr. Cano donchaknow.  Pretty cool to get the base and a retail white border card in the same rack pack of a player you collect.  Wonder why Topps removed teh vertical portion of the elegant border on the left and right sides as well as the name panel on the bottom?

13 GQ Robinson Cano Base and White Border

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 9 and 10

DONE!

I have finished opening 10 jumbo packs and am quite proud of myself.  The last two packs turned out to be pretty action packed as well as thick card packed.  There was a post over at Basketball Card Blog about the girth-iness of the Topps Cy Young card.  I was hoping I would pull one of my own and when i got to the 10th pack i noticed what looked like 10 cards glued together.  This reminded me of the time when i opened up an old shoebox of cards from the 90’s that had stuck together to form an un-bendable stack of good ole’ junk wax.  My heart broke as i ended up tossing most of these cards as they were damaged, that will teach you to put your 90’s glossy cards in some polypropylene sleeves for that long lasting protection.

On to the cardboard.

First card of note is The Big Hurt.  I absolutely LOVED this guy in the 90’s.  I remember going to my local flea market and buying 9 of his Score and Topps Rookie cards thinking i was investing in something really great.  Like most kids around this time, I was planning my investment strategies when these cards hit the $1,000 mark.  They sell for a few dollars now.  Frank Thomas was an unbelievable hitter.  Great command of the strike zone.  Herculean power and a fierce competitor.  One of my cousins from Phoenix City, Alabama tells me he went to school with Frank Thomas…i guess it’s believable since Thomas went to school in Columbus, Georgia just across the state line.  That anecdote had no other purpose than to be a topper, sorry.  These Chasing History cards are OK, not great, not terrible…just OK.  Topps has really gone out of their way to put retired players on cards the last 8+ years.  I think it’s a great theme to carry on, but maybe pump the brakes a little on this one.

13 T Frank Thomas Chasing History

Next up is Reggie Jackson and his super Abs.  This card is from his Athletics days.  Just look at those glasses and sweet ass afro busting out the bottom of his ear flapless helmet.  I couldn’t imagine players using ear flapless helmets these days…someone would be killed by an erratic fastball and claim some unwritten rule in doing so.  Still love these The Great cards, this one goes along with the Mo i pulled earlier.

13 T Reggie Jackson The Greats

This is my second Bryce Harper card from the box.  I got the base card #1 and this one.  These Chasing the Dream cards are kind of nice.  I would really like them if the name was easier to read on the left side…maybe that’s just due to my old, tired eyes.  Harper is going to be a great player and I really love the way he plays the game.  I want my son to go all out like he does.  Unfortunately, his temper gets in his way at times, Bryce Harper that is.  I think it’s going to get the best of him as he gets older and becomes a veteran and more comfortable pushing back.  Hope he doesn’t let it come to that though.  Topps absolutely loves this kid and it’s almost as if Mike Trout doesn’t matter that much…kind of crazy that the stat guys love Trout so much but his love is overshadowed fairly significantly by Harper, at least from what i’ve seen.

13 T Bryce Harper Chasing the Dream

Ok.  Here is my thick ass card.  It’s Alex Rodriguez.  Look at it.  That pompous smirk and his magnetic wrist band to increase blood flow to his wrists or from his wrists, i have no idea how those things work or if they work…snob.

13 T Alex Rodriguez AL Silver Slugger

If you knew me, you would know that I do not like A-Rod at all.  I think he is the worst of the selfish/narcissist modern athlete.  I really wish he didn’t play for the Yankees.  Anyone else but the Yankees.  I understand that a lot of athletes have personal issues and many are far worse than A-Rod, but something about him just kills me.  He is a false image of a great baseball player and overwhelmed with his own image that he diligently created.  I wonder if he just took less money and stayed in Seattle if i would feel this way?

Ironically, my last two packs contained these two minis.  Maybe it wasn’t irony but rather the cardboard gods (my apologies to the card atheists…) balancing things in a very confusing world.

One great humanitarian for the game that would drop everything to help people in need.  The other a self serving and self absorbed popcorn fed, orange spray tanning sucka!  Now, don’t get me wrong, A-Rod is/was a great talent.  Even with the PED rumors, i think he is one of the all time great players…it’s his attitude and entitlement that tugs at my short hairs.

13 T Clemente Rodriguez Minis

So that’s it.  10 packs and +/- 500 cards later.  Hope you enjoyed seeing what i pulled.

2013 Topps – Packs 7 and 8

I’m getting close to the bottom of this jumbo box.  As usual, it’s taken thrice as long as i had expected, but i can finally see the end in sight.  I’ve been a little lackadaisical in putting these things in their respective binder slots, but that will come in due time.  I’d like to get these cards organized so I can stay on top of completing the set during the baseball season…rather than waiting until the Super Bowl Big Game to wrap it up. (sorry NFL, didn’t mean to infringe on your copyright restrictions)

Let’s get started on the 4th row of packs.

The first card just might be my favorite card of the year.  At the very least it’s a front runner.  Gotta love the looks on these drunken fools faces.  Some have the look of panic like the blondie on the left and her overly tanned mom on the right.  Although their fear may be due to the double barrel gun show reaching out from the card’s left border and Hawaiian shirt from the right.  What about the guy, or girl…not really sure…with the black wife beater.  I will call him/her Pat.  Sorry if you are reading this blog.  I mean no harm, just unsure and i don’t want to assume anything here, but I do love the joy on your face dear sir, or madam.  Hey, what about that Pirates fan, he’s pretty stoked isn’t he?  If Mr. Raburn could see the grief/joy he was about to bring to these fans he would think twice about catching the ball.  My favorite though is the dude above the the glove in the stoner glasses.  I really need to get outfield tickets this season and make some sweet ass faces for the cameraman.  Anyway you call it, this card is awesome.

13 T Ryan Raburn

Don’t have much to say about the next two cards other than one guy had a great career and the other probably will.  The Past and the Present.  Manny looks like he’s going to be a super star for many years.  My man Jeet is nearing the end of his career and i’m not sure he will get another ring, but he will always be a legend.  Collecting his cards is one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life…there are exacting 50million cards and counting.  I’ve decided to only buy the ones that i think look really cool.  There are just too many to pick up.

13 T Derek Jeter13 T Manny Machado

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Putting this Verlander card in because he got down with Kate Upton…allegedly…and that’s good enough for my book.  It’s Kate Upton people, Kate Upton.

13 T Justin Verlander

Didn’t Topps have enough of the sparkle cards last season?  Didn’t we all hate them because simple sun flashes looked like SP starburst cards?  Are they back?  What the HELL is going on HERE!!!

13 T AJ Ellis

This is what the Jayson Werth card should have looked like.  How could they not have put Werth’s walkoff in game 4 on a card…unless i’ve missed it.  Morse wasn’t too happy with the Nats offseason and he is now in Seattle.  A place that has become baseball purgatory for a lot of player in recent years.  They do appear to be building something nice through multiple trades and good drafting.  There is a lot of young talent and Felix Hernandez is pretty nice with his.

13 T Michael Morse

You can never, ever, ever go wrong with a shiny Willie Mays, now can you.  I am pretty fond of this card, although when i was scanning it I noticed it didn’t fit within the 2.5×3.5 box.  It was slightly bigger, what does that mean?  Was Willie Mays on some delayed growth hormones that have miraculously affected his glossy cards?  Sorry, that was weak.  Mays is one of those guys that i wish i could have seen play in his prime…if only one game.  He was a true legend of the game and a phenomenal talent.  I would love to have the cash to collect his vintage cards, maybe one day when architects are paid what I think we are worth.

13 T Willie Mays Cut to the Chase

I could be this guys dad, in fact i may be older than his dad…

13 T Dylan Bundy

last two packs on their way, betcha can’t wait!