Sunday, May 30, 2010

Card-Ola: 2010 Topps Series Two

One Hobby box of 2010 Topps Series One (supplied by Topps)
36 packs per box, 10 cards per pack

The Video

The Pulls

Base Set: 240 of 330
7 doubles


6 Gold (1:6, numbered to 2010) N. Hundley, A. Ramirez, R. Zimmerman, J. Jaramillo, G. Parra, C. McGehee
1 Black (1:112, numbered to 59) M. Garza


27 Topps Attax (30 cards, one-per-pack)
11 The Cards Your Mother Threw Out (58 cards, 1:3) P. Rizzuto, Y. Berra, D. Snider, B. Robinson, J. Bunning, R. Jackson, R. Henderson, J. Smoltz, D. Jeter, M. Rivera, R. Zimmerman
1 The Cards Your Mother Threw Out Original Back (58 cards, 1:36) R. Sandberg
8 Vintage Legends (25 cards, 1:4) J. Mize, G. Sisler, W. McCovey, W. Johnson, M.J. Schmidt, R. Hornsby, N. Ryan, H. Wagner
6 History of the World Series (25 cards, 1:6) W. Johnson, M. Ott, J. Podres, Y. Berra, E. Renteria, Hollywood Hamels
9 Turkey Red (50 cards, 1:4) A. Dunn, A. McCutchen, J. Votto, T. Seaver, J. Morgan, E. Mathews, G. Sisler, K. Suzuki, T. Cobb, D. Jeter
9 Legendary Linage (50 cards, 1:4) Bench/Mauer, E. Mathews/C. Jones, J. Robinson/Ichiro, Rizzuto/Jeter, Killebrew/Morneau, Foxx/Fielder, Marichal/Lincecum, Berra/Posada, Sandberg/Chutley
9 Peak Performance (50 cards, 1:4) G. Kell, C. Buchholz, D. Lee, R. Zimmerman, B. Phillips, Y. Berra, R. Ashburn, J. Votto, T. Munson
5 Team 2020 (20 cards, 1:6) D. Price, H. Pence, R. Howard, P. Sandoval, Z. Greinke
8 Million Card Giveaway (10 cards)
2 You Sketch It!
0 Red Hot Rookies (10 cards, 1:36)


1 Peak Performance Jersey: Ichiro

Product Rating: 3 1/2 Gumsticks (out of 5)

Blah, blah, blah. It's the same old story for Series Two. There are too many meaningless inserts and not enough base cards in the set. Why is there a 1988 Topps card of George Sisler? Did Topps realize that Sisler died in 1973?

I guess, since I got this box for free from Topps, beggars can't be choosers; but I was shorted one card My Momma Didn't Quite Threw Away, one of those gimmicky "Vintage Legends," a "Team 2020," and a Red Hot Rookie. On the other hand I did get two You Sketch It's! Huzzah!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The "Seinfeld" of Inserts.

Finally, a baseball card about (literally) nothing.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

On-Location Blaster Break: 2010 Topps Heritage

They still don't have any Panini World Cup stickers. So, you have to make-do with what they have.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Card-Ola: 2010 Bowman

One Hobby box of 2010 Bowman (supplied by Topps)
24 packs per box, 10 cards per pack

The Video

Note: Part one of the box break was rejected by the fascists at YouTube for being over the 10 minute time limit. Fuck you YouTube.

The Pulls

Base Set: 82 of 220 (37.27%)
1 double
Prospects: 56 of 110 (50.91%)


24 Golds
1 Blue (1:17, numbered to 520): Youkilis
1 Orange (1:35, numbered to 250): K. Blanks
38 Chromes
1 Chrome Refractor (1:16, numbered to 777): A. Oliveras


12 1992 Bowman Throwback (110 cards, 1:2) Zimmerman, Soriano, T. Hunter, J. Reyes, Cap'n Cheesburger, R. Braun, Y. Molina, J. Lester, M. Buehrle, A. Jones, Ichiro, Z. Greinke
12 Topps 100 Prospects (100 cards, 1:2) M. Stanton, M. Moustakas, J. Vitters, D. Ackley, A. Romine, A. Cashner, L. Forsythe, C. Marrero, R. Kalish, J. McGee, M. Hobgood, H. Conger
8 Bowman Expectations (50 cards, 1:3) C. Jones/Freeman, Soriano/Castro, Mauer/Posey, Sandoval/Neal, V. Martinez/C. Santana, Ethier/Lambo, D. Price/McGee, Halladay/Drabek
5 Chrome USA National Team/18U National Team (42 cards, 1:4) T. Bauer, C. Colon, M. Newman, T.J. Walz, P. Pfeifer
1 Chrome Refractor USA National Team (42 cards, 1:16, numbered to 777) S. Gray

Autographs/Game Used

1 Chrome Rookie Autograph (14 cards, 1:113) S. Sizemore
1 Chrome Prospect Autograph (31 cards, 1:38) A. Gose
1 Chrome Prospect Autographed Refractor (31 cards, 1:96, numbered to 500) R. Brothers
1 Future Game Triple Relic (37 cards, 1:402, numbered to 99) M. Bumgarner

The Review

$80 for a box of this? That was my first impressions after I opened this box of 2010 Bowman. Oh sure, I pulled three autographs and a triple jersey card -- when all you're promised is one. And yes, there are the first MLB licensed pseudo-rookies of Stephen Strasburg, Aroldis Chapman, and others. Not to mention the first Topps card of Bryce whatshisface (the 16-year-old who was on the cover of SI last year). But $80 for a box of Bowman?

Obviously, the Quixotic quest for the Strasburg autograph has gotten Joe Collector to take notice of Bowman Baseball again, and is driving this product. And there are some redeeming qualities to 2010 Bowman: The autographs are all on-card and not on stickers or (worse) letter patches, and most (but not all) of the autographs are available as un-autographed base cards -- including the Strasburg. You can actually collect a set of Bowman Baseball again, and we should thank Topps for listening to The Hobby.

But $80 a box?

Unlike previous years, there are some true rookies in Bowman. Jason Heyward, Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner lead Bowman's strongest rookie card class since it went to this format in '06. And along with the aforementioned Strasburg and Chapman, you'll find pseudo-rookies of #2 overall draft pick Dustin Ackley and #3 draft pick Donovan Tate (all of whom did not appear in last year's BDP&P).

So the player selection doesn't suck, for once. But $80 a box?

The design is the same hackneyed red/green/blue bordered design Topps has recycled for over a dozen years. Most of the "Prospects" will never amount to much. There's the unnecessary one-per-pack Gold parallel and the even more unnecessary two-per-pack Chrome cards -- which look super cheap this year. The good news is that, for the first time in five years, there are inserts. The bad news? There are 302 of them! That's as many inserts as the base set AND the Prospects set put together! And really, isn't it a bit too soon to reuse the 1992 Bowman design?

Product Rating: 3 Gumsticks (out of five)

This is clearly not an $80/box product and once the hype dies down, it will settle to a more reasonable $65-$70. Topps has improved the Bowman brand, albeit slightly, but for a product that is still billed as "The Home of the Rookie Card," there are still very few true rookie cards.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In case you missed it...

Earlier today, I twitter-broke a box of the new Bowman Baseball. To see what I got, go to my Twitter feed.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Card-Ola: 2010 Topps National Chicle

One box of 2010 Topps National Chicle Baseball (supplied by Topps)
24 packs per box, eight cards per pack

Part One

Part Two

The Pulls

1 Chiptopper: Johnny Mize

Base Set: 177 of 329 (53.80%)
short set: 171 of 275 (62.18%)
Short Prints: 6 of 54 (1:4, 11.11%) A-Fraud, C. Jones, ManRam, D. Pedroia, B. Dlugach, M. Brantley

6 National Chicle Backs (1:4) T. Lilly, M. Kemp, T. Tulowitzki, R. Halladay, A. Gordon, V. Wells
3 Bazooka Backs (1:8) H. Matsui, A. Bailey, J. Vazquez

Inserts: NONE


2 National Chicle Autographs: H. Rodriguez, M. Bumgarner
1 Artist Proof (1:120, numbered to 10): C. Utley
1 Bazooka Back Relic (1:174, numbered to 99) P. Molitor

The Review

Babe Ruth as an Atlanta Brave and Ichiro as a Seattle Pilot notwithstanding, National Chicle wasn't as bad as we all thought it was going to be. With that said, it's really not that great either.

After opening a box, I still don't understand the purpose of this product. I guess Topps was thinking that 1) Collectors like art cards, 2) Collectors like "retro" products, and 3) Collectors like BIG MOJO HITZ!!!, so why not combine all three into a new product. Sounds like a winner, right?

Ummm, no. If Topps wanted to make another retro-themed product (as if Heritage, Heritage High Numbers, Allen & Ginter, and Topps 206 weren't enough), why did they choose a brand name associated with a football card set? A baseball card set done in the style of the 1935 National Chicle Football set makes about as much sense as a football card set done in the style of 1952 Topps Baseball.

The artwork is hit-or-miss. Some of the cards look amazing; others, not so much. But on the whole the 275-card short set was better looking than I expected. The 54 short-prints, on the other hand...

Back in January when Topps unveiled the first images of National Chicle, the cardblogosphere was up in arms over the "Babe Ruth as an Atlanta Brave," "Ichiro as a Seattle Pilot," and "Random White Sox Player on Frank Thomas' Rookie Card" cards. These three cards are all part of the three different short-printed subsets. There are 54 SPs in all and in a 329-card set is about the same proportion as other Topps "retro" products like Heritage and TA&G. Unfortunately, the SPs in Nat'lChic are 1:4/packs instead of the 1:2 in Heritage and A&G.

The SPs themselves are just stupid. It's not just Atlanta Brave Babe, or Ichiro the Pilot. Was is Ryan Zimmerman a Montreal Expo? Or Walter Johnson a Washington National? Seriously Topps, WTF?

But by far the worst are the "Rookie Renditions" -- the ones where current year rookies are painted to look like the vintage Topps rookie cards. That aformentioned unidentifiable White Sox player painted into Frank Thomas' rookie card has a name: Tyler Flowers. About the only thing Flowers and The Big Hurt have in common is that they wore the White Sox uniform. To compare a future Hall of Fame first baseman with a minor league catcher with all of 16 Major League at-bats is ridiculous and ten years from now will look awfully stupid.

About the only redeeming value of National Chicle are the two on-card autographs and one relic in each box. And judging by the very limited checklist on the "hits," you're pretty much guaranteed to get at least something of value in a waxbox.

The Bottom Line

I pulled a little over 60% of the base set, nine parallels, and four hits -- one of which was an "Artist Proof" of Chase Utley autographed by the artist. Six SPs in a box is a bit stingy, but considering that the cards the suck are all short-printed, that's not really that much of a loss now is it?

I like the concept of an art set, but National Chicle just doesn't work as a baseball card set. Maybe if they had called it "Topps Gallery" it might have worked.

Product Rating: 2 Gumsticks (out of five)