It's a weirdness I've never experienced because I wasn't alive in 1994, but...it's very weird having a moment in time where there's no baseball, but there's...cards on the shelves. Like, new cards.
It's slightly counterproductive. Successive card products being released for a season that's yet to start, and may be a little while away [had a dream it was pushed til September. The hell's the point of that? Snow-ball?].
And yet, I'm out in the aisles of a deserted Target to get some air, passing nonexistent other customers, and there are cards on the shelves. Gypsy Queen is out. Usually when Gypsy Queen's out, we're comparing the airbrushings on those cards to the real things playing their first round of new baseball. Now...we have nothing else to go by. The airbrush jobs are our reality.
So here's a blaster of 2020 Gypsy Queen, fresh off the shelf, adored by Philly hero (?) Bryce Harper. I'll tally up the airbrush jobs, and rate them.
55- Trea Turner. I pull Trea Turner cards a lot.
267- Peter Lambert
300- Mike Trout. Well at least I pulled the big one.
15- Justin Smoak. Airbrush job #1- he's shopped into a Brewers uniform from a Toronto one. Not only that, it's a new Brewers uniform. You can see the patch and hat insignia slapped on, but it's not bad. 6/10
227- Oscar Mercado
246- Brusdar Graterol, now on the Dodgers. Perhaps foolishly
66- Kirby Yates
286- Domingo Leyba [come and open the gate] [I don't care if it's an obscure reference i just watched that movie the other night and it's still great]
186- Evan Longoria BLUE BORDER NUMBERED TO 250. I have such weird luck with Gypsy Queen parallels. One time I pulled an Eddie Mathews mini #d to 199 out of retail. Coolest thing.
196- Mitch Keller
290- Tommy La Stella
269- Jorge Soler, home run slayer and probable future bad Yankee investment
265- Sam Hilliard
115- Dustin 'Gingergaard' May
Fortune Teller mini of AARON JUDGE. GOOD GOLLY IT'S SOMEONE I COLLECT. YE GODS.
49- Brandon Crawford
118- Ender Inciarte
134- Tim 'Taz' Anderson
257- Willi Castro. The other thing about GQ is they couldn't tell with Tigers were gonna catch on so they just made some educated guesses
169- ADAM OTTAVINO.
262- Andres Munoz
68- Randy Arozarena- airbrush job #2, in a Rays uniform from a Cardinals uniform. The uniform logo looks pasted in some points and adorned in others. The gloves are well hued though. 7/10
98- GERRIT COLE AS A YANKEE. Intriguing airbrush job (#3) this one, as he's not only in a Yankee uniform from an Astros one, but he's got a different, less wild back of the head, due to the Yankee freshening up rule. So they probably grabbed another Yankee scalp and put it on his, which is odd. Still, it works, and the uni is well hued to be blue. 8/10
207- Paul deJong
5- Dom Nunez. Lots of Rockies rookies
63- Austin Nola. There's ONE Nola brother
109- Andrelton 'Simba' Simmons
259- Starlin Castro, Airbrush Job #4. This is a weird one, as it's a Nats uniform from a Marlins one. On the surface, it looks great, as it looks like a great uniform, which makes me think they pasted Castro's head and arm on there. I dunno if that arm tattoo is his. Very interesting. But, as for the airbrush/paste, 9/10
150- Cody Bellinger. The other big MVP to pull
239- Nick Senzel
188- Matt Chapman
166- Max Scherzer. No shortage of star power in these packs
TAROT OF THE DIAMOND insert of Alex Bregman, aka THE JOKER. DAMN RIGHT. I like Alex Bregman as much as I like the 2019 film 'Joker'.
175- Hyun-Jin Ryu, airbrush job #5, which is an easy one, as it's Blue Jays from Dodgers. So, color is fine, uniform grey is fine, pasting is fine. Even the cap insignia looks natural. 9/10
264- Trevor Bauer as a Red, which is a welcome sight after UPDATE LAST YEAR DIDN'T HAVE IT.
232- Aaron Civale
62- Dylan Cease. Curious as hell that he would have gotten the 5th starter job over Kopech. Very curious
86- Anthony Rizzo
215- Anthony Rendon as an Angel, Airbrush Job #6, Nats to Angels, which would have been a perfect airbrush job had it not been for a uniform air-ruffle that the Angels logo is pasted upon, which takes me out of it a bit. 8/10
191- Victor Reyes
180- Keston Hiura
206- Christian Vazquez
52- Brendan McKay
229- Emmanuel Clase, traded to in the Corey Kluber deal.
271- Michael Brosseau. Still confused at Topps' insistence of calling him Michael. Like calling Castellanos 'Nicholas' and Boyd 'Matthew'.
249- Luis Castillo
282- AARON NOLA. There we go. Both Nola bros in the same blaster.
Not a bad blaster of this. I'm not the hugest Gypsy Queen fan, but this has some nice elements this year, and I got some nice pulls and airbrush jobs, 6 in total.
Monday, March 30, 2020
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Here now, the last 9 packs of a very nostalgic and interesting box of 2002 Topps Total. Expect more Nostalgic Box Breaks to follow until we get baseball back.
Guys I Have Never in My Life Heard Of: 6/11
Future Hall of Famers: 1/11
A very cool Total Production insert of Ichiro, in his second year (of 19). Ichiro might be one of those guys in contemporary baseball where you can't possibly be mad at pulling a card of them. There are very few people who fall into that category (Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Bo Jackson), and Ichiro's gotta be a charter member, despite his Yankee tenure.
Hall of Very Good: 3/11
Interesting Names: 1/11
Also, nice of Topps to give journeyman infielder Luis Sojo a sunset card.
Three very good players that are fun enough for fringe collectors to take upon. I still collect Beckett, and every once in a while I'll ponder if it's worth it to do Olerud.
Fringe NY Heroes: 2/11
Not much to report in this one, so here's a great mask shot of Eli Marrero and a solid shot of Brad Penny before he got big.
Guys Who Pitched Forever: 2/11
Legends Who Retired in 2019: 2/11
Ichiro's is the base, though it could be the checklist. Adrian's is technically a rookie. With Adrian, anything from 2000 to 2005 can be considered a rookie, because he didn't really start PLAYING-playing until 2005 or 2006. So all his Marlins issues are fun Pre-RCs, and I love pulling them. This is not TECHNICALLY his rookie, as he has 2000 issues, but...it's still a nice one.
Hall of Famers: 2/11
Steroid Abusers: 2/11
Phil Nevin was just coming into his own as a Padres mainstay, which says a lot about the 2000s Padres
Robby Alomar was starting his tenure in Queens, a tenure that would not be very well remembered whatsoever, but this Topps Total insert looks cool.
MOOOOOOOSE. This was only his second year in the Bronx, and he was still killing it.
Future Managers: 2/11
Personal Favorites: 2/11
2010 Phillies: 2/11
Our Topps Total insert is Aramis Ramirez, soon to be traded to Chicago. I'm still a fan of Robin V as a Yankee cards, as it's a very underrated, short tenure. And J-Rol is awesome, so I love pulling his cards as well.
Hall of Famers: 1/11
Fringe Heroes in Tampa: 1/11
Guys With The Same Name of People I Roomed With in College: 1/11
Steroid Abusers: 2/11
Gotta end on Thome. Dude was a hero of mine in Philly. This is a cool enough insert of Jim Thome to end the box on.
So, that was 2002 Topps Total. It's a fun rip, and you get a lot of fringe guys and uniform combos you don't see often, well-seeded inserts and ample hero cards. But, if you're a set collector, one box won't do it for Total. I feel like I pulled like a third of the base set? I dunno. 360 cards? And it's a 1000 card set. So if you have enough to buy 3 boxes, then MAYBE you'll have a base set. Or...probably more.
Still, it's a cool break. I got what I wanted out of it.
I'm gonna do another one of these in the next few days. I have a few other boxes archived. I could go early-2000s or 90s.
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Baseball should be happening right now.
If there weren't a pandemic swirling around the world right now, I'd be watching the first Yankee game of the year with my dad, acting like everything was as it should be. That's clearly not the world we're living in right now, and we might have to wait another month or so until we get the 2020 baseball season started.
...but if any day in the last few months of offseason was painful just being without baseball, the following few weeks will be even tougher. There's still a lot that needs to be done before players go out for the season, possibly more weeks of training of sorts, and we may not get that for a while. Any chance of a normal season has been lost.
Which sucks, because if 2020 were a normal baseball season, I would have loved to see so many things for the first time today.
So, as a way of sharing the entirety of the 2020 spring training customs, I thought I'd share a list of 30 things I would have loved fro see on Opening Day 2020, wishes for a season that may never happen as planned.
1. Anthony Rendon batting after Mike Trout in Anaheim. And if that got this team any further into the playoffs than Trout alone had gotten them.
Hopefully I'll get the answers to those questions soon. Not sure how much longer without baseball I'll be able to stand.