Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 Topps Series 1: Hanger Box

Continued from earlier, here is another bunch of new cards, this one in a larger scale.

68- Sean Burnett
150- ANDREW MCCUTCHEN! Great player, deserving MVP.
77- Aroldis Chapman, who could possibly be the next Mariano Rivera
20- Charlie Blackmon
2- Jhonny Peralta, who did not follow Men at Work's pleas.
109- David Freese. Now an Angel. And not as an offset of that car accident last year.
186- Clayton Richard
305- Steve Cishek, closer for the Marlins
236- Joel Peralta
256- Abraham Almonte
75- Brandon Barnes
209- Carlos Quentin, famous pissant.
38- Leaders, NL Homers
People I wasn't surprised to see on the list: Pedro Alvarez, Paul Goldschmidt, Domonic Brown, Hunter Pence
People I was surprised to see on the list: Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth
253- TODD HELTON Farewell checklist. Excellent card.
eight filthy doubles
131- Junichi Tazawa
165- Rajai Davis, now on the...oh, I don't know...
78- Bronson Arroyo. I don't think anyone's signed him.
54- Andrew Lambo
52- Jim Adduci
179- Gerrit Cole Future Star. GUYS, HE'S A STAR NOW!!!!
89- Jarred Cosart. Yeah, better.
127- Yusmeiro Petit
210- Jose Altuve, who must be glad the worst team in baseball keeps giving him money
317- Lonnie Chisenhall in a nice throwback
43- Mark Trumbo. I forget where he is now.
293- Mike Zunino Future Star
145- Jason Castro, who did not place fourth on American Idol in 2008.
28- Brayan Pena
188- Mark Melancon
155- Daniel Murphy
133- Xander Bogaerts ROOKIE. YAY I GUESS
136- Will Middlebrooks Future Star. This is his third season, and he STILL can't make it out of future star territory? Who is he, J.P. Arencibia?
22- WS HL Mike Napoli
103- AL Batting Average leaders
Doesn't count because Average isn't too trustworthy. Daniel Nava is on this list. Point taken.
59- Nate Schierholtz
104- Kurt Suzuki, set to become the new catcher in Minnesota.
32- Reymond Fuentes SHINY RED PARALLEL
Ian Desmond Power Players. I don't know what this is, but I hope it isn't a ripoff.
Upper Class insert of HANK AARON
A double of the Machado Future is Now insert
All Rookie Cup Team insert of Jim Rice. Nice!
235- Jason Kipnis RED
157- Matt Adams RED
SUPER VETERAN of Albert Pujols. I like that they brought this back, and I like that it reminds me of a 2005 Topps subset.
29- AL HR Leaders YELLOW
231- J.R. Murphy rookie YELLOW. Gotta admit, I kinda like the yellow ones.
199- Matt Davidson
316- Mike Minor
79- Garrett Jones
197- Onelki Garcia rc
327- KUNG FU PANDA! Hopefully he has a better season.
214- James Shields
176- Alex Cobb
275- Nolan Arenado, the new third baseman in Colorado.
303- Andres Torres
169- Nick Franklin Future Star
248- Travis D'Arnaud ROOKIE. THAT'S KINDA COOL
128- Erasmo Ramirez
114- Francisco Liriano, back to being a great pitcher.
96- Wily Peralta
313- Brad Peacock

And thus ends my first packs of 2014. I like the set. Inserts may need to grow on me a bit more. Parallels are fun. Good time had by all.

...we will soon return to your regularly scheduled Stadium Club.

2014 Topps Series One: Two Rack Packs

I have a sweet sixteen to go to tomorrow night, and it's pretty nice, because it'll be a small party the night before attending one of the hugest sporting events of the year. But I needed to get a card, and I needed to get an iTunes gift card, because that's what 16-year-olds like, evidently.

I couldn't have planned this more perfectly. Because the one place I needed to go for this gift was the one place I'd been wanting to go to since the release of series one.

...Hello, Target. My, what an excellent selection of new product you have.

Long story short, I got TWO RACK PACKS and ONE HANGER BOX of the stuff. Proudly about to be ripped. I will take on the rack packs here, and drag out the Series One train in a couple hours with the box.

2010- Omar Vizquel
2011- Michael Cuddyer
2012- Yadier Molina
2013- Kendrys Morales

Rack Pack 1-
The first card of 2014 is...
53- CLAY BUCHHOLZ. You know, I am willing to ignore the fact that Clay plays for the evil empire to appreciate his star power. Besides, James Earl Jones kicked ass on the Big Bang Theory last night. Villains are apparently epic these days.
101- Chris Nelson.
307- Jake Peavy, another Red Sock.
290- Chad Bettis, a pitcher for the Rockies who the team is really hope can pitch, seeing as their last reliable pitcher left in 2012.
100- BRYCE HARPER. One pack into 2014 Topps and I get the money card.
166- Dustin Pedroia. THREE! THREE RED SOX! AH AH AHHH!
42- Mariano. F--king. Rivera. I was told that this card was excellent, and I couldn't agree more. I think that Mo deserves a card as good as this. Well done, Topps.
39- David Murphy. Another excellent card for the king of awesome Topps cards.
294- Leaders- NL WINS
People I am not surprised are on this list: Jordan Zimmerman, Clayton Kershaw, Francisco Liriano, Adam Wainwright
People I am surprised are on this list: Jorge de la Rosa. No offense.
262- Jeff Keppinger GOLD #'D TO 2014. And it's someone I've heard of, too!
322- Emilio Bonifacio. I forget if this guy's still in Kansas City, but he's a lot of fun.
254- Brett Gardner, who, at 30, is still the youngest member of the Yankees' outfield.
65- Hisashi Iwakuma, who has become a nice second man for Felix Hernandez.
223- Joaquin Benoit
202- Jeremy Hellickson
244-Danny Farquhar, who is not as short as that name sounds like.
139- Rafael Betancourt
200- DEREK! JETER! I don't care if he's gonna be forty. He's one of the greatest Yankees of all time.
300- YUUUUUUUU DARVISH! Man, if he keeps it up he's gonna be dangerous.
70- Marcell Ozuna
239- Jeff Samardzija
124- Jay Bruce, who is basically just Joey Votto's sidekick at this point.
193- Ricky Nolasco, now on some team which I forget.
192- Pedro Alvarez, grinning and raising his arms.
274- Johnny Gomes. Another pompous shot of a Red Sock.
182- CARLOS RUIZ LIME PARALLEL. I honestly don't care what people think. I like these.
Upper Class insert of Buster Posey, which is a bit boring.
The Future is Now insert of Manny Machado, which looks pretty cool.
Gerrit Cole 50 Years of the Draft, which is an improvement.
32- Reymond Fuentes
83- Jonathan Schoop. This man will be taking over for Brian Roberts. Good luck, kid.
97- Alex Gordon
213- Justin Smoak, who is basically done being taken seriously
286- Josh Fields
41- Adeiny Hechavarria, one of the few talents on the Marlins.

Pack 2-
102- Matt Lindstrom
258- Jon Lester. And the Sox...keep...coming.
10- Junior Lake
272- Carlos Villanueva, with a mustache straight out of a 1930's serial.
196- COLE HAMELS. He's married to a Survivor. No, Larry David, not that kind of survivor. Cole's wife got fifth place on Survivor: Amazon, and posed for playboy. Way to go Cole.
154- Chris Iannetta. Still?
259- 2013 WS Game SI- Oh gosh I love this card. Papi and the helmet makes this so awesome.
47- Chris Davis Checklist
218- Matt Dominguez
87- Tyson Ross.
238- Alberto Callapso
147- Jason Frasor
310- Neftali Feliz. They're talking about moving him to the rotation. DON'T.
81- Anibal Sanchez
280- Everth Cabrera
171- Trevor Rosenthal
18- Future Star Jurickson Profar.
297- Max Scherzer, the Cy Young winner
141- Chris Tillman
251- Sergio Romo, the new closer for the Giants, no thanks in part to another, more famous beard.
289- Matt Thornton. Now a Yankee.
285- Jonathan Lucroy
164- Jaime Garcia, the lone 'meh' pitcher of the Cardinals rotation.
143- Leaders- NL RBI
People I was not surprised were on this list: Paul Goldschmidt, Jay Bruce, Adrian Gonzalez, Hunter Pence
People I was surprised to see on this list: Marlon Byrd, Allen Craig
142- Zack Greinke LIIIIIME PARALLEL!
Upper Class of Jim Abbott, which is pretty cool.
The Future is Now insert of Jean Segura. Does anyone else besides me pronounce his name as John?
260- Zoilo Almonte
3- Jarrod Dyson
184- Yunel Escobar pointing at the camera
67- Yasmani Grandal
264- Huston Street, still a nice closer
247- Anthony Gose

Those were some nice packs. I will open the hanger box later.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nostalgic Box Break: 1993 Stadium Club Series 1 (Part 3)

Today we wrap 93 Series One, and I'll say that I enjoyed this break. I enjoyed this set, too, and I feel like it was the last of the golden age of Stadium Club, before the little detour into risks and outlandish designs from 94 to 97. I may end up trying to track down a box of Series 2 one of these days, but maybe not for a little while.

Onto the last eight packs.

Pack 17-
Cards I needed: 0/14
Doubles: 14/14
Doubles of Hall of Famers: 0/14
ARGHs: 2/14

Pack 18-
Cards I needed: 4/14
Cards I needed that were actually notable: 0/4
Doubles: 10/14

Pack 19-
Doubles: 9/14
Cards I actually needed: 4/14
Inserts: 1/14
Expansion Teams: 1/14
Photo highlights. The darkness really suits Ben McDonald here, as the lights would go out on his career a short time later.
Rick Wrona's card is pretty cool. A shame I've never heard of him.
A very nice field shot on Phil Plantier's card.
Hey, guess what kids? Back in 1993 the Marlins were called the Florida Marlins, wore all teal, and were a new team. This was the one Marlin I got in the whole box, and while I wish it were somebody cool like Trevor Hoffman, I got Nigel Wilson, their first round expansion draft pick, whose post-this achievements are nonexistent. But that gradient.

Pack 20-
Cards I needed: 13/14
Doubles: 1/14
Potential Hall of Famers: 1/14
Perturbed Headshots: 1/14

Juan Bell's card has a nice infield shot. Matt Williams is a season away from embarking on a strike-shortened hitting streak, and he looks pretty damn pleased about it. Don Slaught has a nice catcher's gear shot. Gary Thurman does not want to be here.

Meanwhile, Sheff is flexing on this Members Choice card. In a span of months he would be decked out in teal for the Marlins. But at least he could let his guns out in Florida too.

Pack 21-
Cards I needed: 4/14
Doubles: 10/14
Doubles of Hall of Famers: 1/14
Doubles of 3000 Hit Club members: 2/14 (see cooperstown voters? see?)

Jeez, Matt Nokes was still a Yankee in 1993? Wow. Ya learn something new everyday.
Meanwhile, Rick Sutcliffe has a nice shot in Camden Yards, behind the batting practice netting.
Pack 22-
Cards I actually needed: 10/14
Doubles: 4/14
Doubles of HOFers: 1/14
Borderline Hall of Famers: 1/14
People who should have been kept on the Hall of Fame ballot for more than one year: 1/14 (sorry Kenny)

The highlights include a high-flying Carlos Baerga, a Members Choice of the current Chicago White Sox manager, a card of Kenny Lofton stealing a base, and a card of Mike Mussina pre-Yanks.

Pack 23-
Doubles: 7/14
Cards I needed: 7/17
Studio shots: 2/14
Overhyped rookies that went nowhere: 1/14
Underhyped rookies with two World Series rings and tons of fans: 1/14
Players I adore: 1/14

Lou Whittaker is severely underrated, and this shot is another awesome one for him. Also, Brent Mayne's shot here is very mysterious, under a darkened sky and blackened stadium lights.

The two big cards are a Tim Wakefield rookie card and a card of Jim Thome. Both are pretty nice, especially for the penultimate pack.
Pack 24-
Cards I needed: 4/14
Doubles: 10/14
Notable cards I needed: 0/4

This brings my ratio of cards pulled to cards in the set to 219:300, which is about 73% of the set, which is not bad at all. The other 27% is not hard to come by, especially in a blogosphere. Want list will likely be up within the week.

So, that was 1993 Stadium Club Series 1. It was fun, it was badly-collated, it was classic, it was better than 2014 Topps.

...which reminds me, I need to get some 2014 Topps.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Five Stages of Not Having 2014 Topps

(In this blog post, the part of Jordan will be played by Daffy Duck)


Wow, 2014 Topps Series One's out already?

Doesn't it always just creep up on you? Like, you're going around, biding your time, reading the funny pages, and then BOOM. 2014 Topps. You don't expect it.

I'm still thinking about football, too. I've got a Super Bowl to prepare for, one I actually might be attending (!!!!!), and I'm still picking up random packs of, like, Strata and Rookies&Stars and stuff. But now I gotta think about baseball cards. Quite a transition.


I don't need 2014 Topps. I still have some Stadium Club to sort.

YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT! From all those boxes I busted. I still need to take inventory, post wantlists, and maybe some tradebait. I need to reaffirm my status as a blogger that actually means something. I've been doing this shit for five years.

Besides, the 90's Stadium Club is so much cooler. The full bleed photos, the risky ideas, the photography. THE EFFORT. ALL THAT EFFORT PUT IN THERE IS UNRIVALED! Especially by today's sets. 2013 Topps, they slap on a logo. They don't spend time thinking 'how do I make this fun?'

No, I'm too good for 2014 Topps. I have nostalgia to rely on. I have the classics. Who needs Daft Punk when you've got the Rolling Stones, man? (Don't answer that, Night Owl)


...Good gracious, this set actually looks good.

The photography. The designs. The 89 minis. Coco Crisp's hair. Man, this might be their return to form. I mean yeah, there'll still be short prints and parallels out the wazoo, but this photography REMINDS ME of some of the Stadium Club sets I'm defending. Dugout shots, throwbacks, double plays, plays at the plate. Fun photography.

Topps could actually be harkening back to their glory days.


(rereads last sentence)



...Why the hell don't I have any of that?

Why the hell couldn't I have just hit Target today? Oh right. I don't have a car, I'm a poor teen, and I'm a high schooler.

Why the hell did I look at the blogs? Why did I have such a pining for seeing other people's crap? Oh, right. That's what lured me to this in the first place. And I can't back out now. NOOOONO. Not now.

...why couldn't it have been me? Why couldn't it be like 2009, where I just happen upon Series 1 on a whim, before anybody else, and I flaunt it to the (nonexistent) masses? Why does it always have to be everybody else that gets all the good crap?

(realizes he's pulled a Peyton Manning jersey, a Posey/Bench dual game used, an Andrew McCutchen jersey and countless other awesome stuff.)



...Man, I've gotta get my hands on some.

Wait until I get a racker. Or a hanger box. Or anything. I'll tear it to shreds right there in the store. I'll shake it around and throttle a box like it's a damned Bop-It.

Actually no. Pay first. Shake later.

I'll buy out the entire store's worth of Topps. Screw budgets. Screw gift card balances. Screw college funds. I'll take it all. Then I'll drag it out for the rest of the year. Into October. Hey, Update's out. SCREW YOU. I'VE GOT SERIES ONE.

I just need...for get to the Philly area...I'm like Jack Torrance at the end of the Shining over here.



Well, I guess all that remains is just to dream. To still check out the blogs, see what they get, and wait to experience it for yourself.

Boy, that'll be something.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Nostalgic Box Break: 1993 Stadium Club Series 1 (Part 2)

I should have mentioned that right on the inside of the box was a gigantic fold-out checklist, featuring 5 sample cards. Of the five, two are Hall of Famers, two flamed out shortly after this season, and one is still being paid by the Mets.

I should get on with the rest of the box.

Pack 9
Cards I needed: 6/14
Doubles: 8/14
Cards that resembled my expression upon seeing that Alomar card again: 1/14. You know the one.
Hall of Famers: 1

Here are the two cards that impressed me. They are a nice catcher's shot of Jeff Tackett, and a nice dugout shot of Wade Boggs, who is pictured as a Red Sock, though he was traded to the Bronx that spring.
Pack 10-
Cards I needed- 14/14
Doubles: 0/14
Steroid Abusers: 1/14
Currently Working in Broadcasting: 2/14 (Reynolds and Krukkie, sorta the dregs of the MLB broadcasting world)

Our four highlights. I threw Palmeiro in here because hey, people know him.
Reynolds looks pretty badass there. This is the season before they switched their uniforms to the much cooler turquoise and black duds.
Dennis Cook's throwback is pretty cool
And John Kruk, the man who was so large that having Chris Farley play him on SNL was a compliment, makes a rare infield play.

Pack 11-
Doubles: 0/14
Cards I need: 14/14
Hall of Famers: 1/14
Players that really wish it was 1985 right now: 1/14 (lookin' at you, Coleman)

Tony Phillips' card is an excellent double play, especially considering his position. The other two are decent pitching shots made awesomer with full-bleed, HD photography
Vince Coleman was still a decent-enough star in 1993. Learn something new every day.
Meanwhile, Greg Maddux was just beginning his awesome career, and he's pictured in a Cubs uniform despite an offseason trade to Atlanta.
Pack 12-
Cards I needed: 4/14
Doubles: 10/14
Cards of people Dayf swoons for: 1/14
Three really nice shots. I enjoy Rijo's, as it's a nice batting practice shot for a pitcher. I also really like Lemke's, because it's a cool shot of the guy, looking awesome, against a blue backdrop. Pretty cool.
Pack 13-
Cards I needed: 4/14
Doubles: 9/14
Cool Inserts: 1/14
Two generally nice cards from Danny Gladden and Craig Shipley.
This is a First Day Issue insert of Mark Gardner, which is pretty much the only insert you can get out of '93 SC. Pretty cool though.
Pack 14-
Doubles: 1/14
Cards I needed: 12/14
Inserts (?)- 1/14
Borderline Hall of Famers- 1/14
Nice shots all around, including one of Pat Borders, who was evidently a big deal in 1993, and of Mitch 'Wild Thing' Williams, who actually lives closeby me. Of course, Tim Raines is the showstopper, and that is a pretty sweet card of him there.
Ah yes, the dreaded 'master photo'. This was the giveaway Topps did in '93, where you'd mail that card in, and they would send you the original photo, in a larger scale. I got a Greg Maddux one of these in my box of Series 3, but this one is far less spectacular, of the much-maligned Danny Tartabull.
Pack 15-
Doubles: 4/14
Cards I actually needed: 10/14
Famous closing pitchers: 2/14
Famous closing pitchers in the Hall of Fame: 1/14
That is a very nice shot of Brian McRae, as the backfield wall is worked in. Very well lit, too.
I forgot that Gossage played for the A's, so it's pretty awesome to get a card of him from that era. I have a card from his Mariners tenure, but it's nice to get something from the A's years.
Pack 16-
Cards I needed: 7/14
Doubles: 7/14
Members' Choice inserts: 1/14
Larry Walker was such a big deal in 1993 that they slapped him on a Members' Choice subset, which is pretty nice. I especially like seeing the old Expos' uniform.

Well, that's it for today. Eight packs left, and I'll likely knock those out tomorrow. I might also look at getting another box of Stadium Club for another year.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Nostalgic Box Break: 1993 Stadium Club Series 1 (Part 1)

I know it's very risky to compare something to the Beatles, especially a baseball card series, but I'm comparing the entire Stadium Club brand to the Beatles. Now let me explain.
  • Like the Beatles, Stadium Club started out clean, crisp, and polite, and fans everywhere loved it. Those first three years of Stadium Club are like the 'hey, let's go around the world and play twelve more refrains of Can't By Me Love' era of the Beatles. The crowd pleasing days, that is.
  • Also like the Beatles, they tried some experimental things with the brand mid-decade, and it still looked cool, but it was a far cry from the early stuff. 1994 and 1995 Stadium Club are like the one-two punch of Rubber Soul and Revolver.
  • From there to the end, they're just revolutionizing everything, not caring about what anyone thinks, just putting out release after release of new, original, up-to-date stuff, that's so original and outlandish that by the end you can't help but wonder how the original stuff from the early days went into that. Even if the stuff by the end was still good, like 2002 Stadium Club and Abbey Road.
  • They tried bringing it back after a hiatus. One guy in particular was the forerunner, and it came close, but it wasn't the same. And yes, I am comparing Chris Harris to Lorne Michaels. Hell, these days you could say that Chris is funnier. But I digress. It never came back the same way, and it never will, yet fans still remember the old stuff, and still collect.
There. Analogy over. Let's get into the box. 24 packs. Here are the first eight.

Doubles: 0/14
Cards I actually need: 14/14
Hall of Famers: 1/14
Best photos of the bunch, including a batting practice Geronimo Pena, a clubhouse Bryan Harper, and an auto-signing Dan Plesac.
Three people who I would have definitely put into my binders in 1993, with Wells and Bonilla still being considered stars. However, Alomar is still a big star, and will always be a well-known figure, now that he's a hall of famer.
Pack 2
Doubles: 0/14
Cards I need: 14/14
Awesome shades: 1/14
Man/bat love: 1/14
Three great set-up shots, that include Pedro's brother Ramon Martinez on a nice background, Wayne Kirby behind the backdrop of Progressive Field (I think), and Oscar Azocar, famous for...this card, hugging his bat.
Pack 3-
Doubles: 0/14
Cards I need: 14/14
Hall of Famers: 1/14
Awesome shots of catchers: 3/14
Two of the aforementioned catchers. Benito Santiago looks awesome in this one. Maybe it's the mustache. Also, Mike Scioscia, whose tragic illness made us smile, poses as a member of the LA team he played for, as opposed to the one he ran into the ground managed. And Albert Belle, pre steroids, steals a base.
And no pack would be complete without an appearance from Eddie Murray, this time sporting a Mets uniform.
Pack 4-
Doubles- 8/14
Cards I needed: 6/14
Cards featuring the same expression I had once I saw the doubles: 1/14. You know the one.
Two generally okay cards. A star card of Doug Drabek, and a nice catcher shot of Joe Oliver.
And our nice star card is of Craig Biggio, who will probably end up in the Hall of Fame, after everybody who's evidently more qualified gets in.
Pack 5-
Doubles: 0/14
Cards I needed: 14./14
Hall of Famers: 1/14
Castmembers of the movie Kingpin: 1/14.
Jose Offerman, Mike Timlin, Juan Guzman and Rich Wilkins give four pretty nice shots. I'd say the Wilkins is my favorite, as that's a great play at the plate.
Ten years ago, if I told you that Roger Clemens would still be on the ballot for the HOF after two years, I'd get astonished gazes. If I told you Dawson got in, you'd be like 'oh, that makes sense.'

Pack 6-
Doubles- 0/14
Cards I needed- 14/14
Hall of Famers- 3/14 (!)
Deceased ballplayers- 1/14 (R.I.P., Rod Beck)
Three generally nice shots, including Jeff Montgomery.
Three Hall of Famers. One of them played for my team. One of them didn't. The other...well, I'm glad he got out of Boston while he could. Seriously, all three are terrific players, and all have my respect. Though...I do have a soft spot for Winfield.
Pack 7-
Doubles- 0/14
Cards I needed- 14/14
Hall of Famers: 2/14
Seinfeld Guest Stars- 1/14
Two great photos up top. One is of Ricky Bones, who is incapable of making a bad baseball card. The other is of Danny Tartabull, who just flat out pisses me off. The bottom is lined with good players from the 90's.
Two Hall of Famers, though one of them was already three years from retiring. Poor Kirby. Meanwhile, Cal was still at the top of his game, and would still BE at the top of his game for another 8 seasons.
Pack 8-
Doubles: 10/14
Doubles of Hall of Famers: 1/14
Cards I needed: 4/14
Future Phillies: 1/14.
The lone highlight from this pathetic pack, a Red Sock. This Joe Hesketh is actually pretty nice.
That's enough for today. Part 2 will likely be up tomorrow.