I love birthdays. Even though I never get any baseball cards on my birthday.
I love other people's birthdays. The correct thing to do for a friend or family member having a birthday is to buy them a birthday card, yes? And where do we buy birthday cards?
At the Big Box store of course. And we all know oh so well what's inside of those Big Box stores: Baseball Cards!
Let's see what I scored while I was out birthday shopping:
Yep, I picked up some 2013 Topps Chrome. I particularly didn't need these cards, because I have once again broken an old taboo I have about buying baseball cards, which I wrote about here quite awhile back now: I bought a whole Base Set at once.
For the first time in my collecting life I decided I wanted a set of Chrome. Mostly because I like the Sea Turtles so much that I want to see all the variations of them. And also because I wanted to get some fresh Trade Bait to encourage people to read over my kinda complex want list for Series 1 & Series 2 parallels. I think I accomplished that on the very first card I pulled out of the rack pack bonus pack which is shown above. I also pulled #69 Brad Ziegler and #218 B.J. Upton. (Yup, all up for trade). These orange parallels look sharp and indeed, an all-parallel collection of Chrome Turtles such as I am assembling for S1/S2/Update would also be a durn purdy set of baseball cards. But I have my hands full enough already with that project.
The amazing thing about buying a set of Base Cards all at once is the price. The Base Cards coming out of this pack cost about 5 times more than the ones I bought in a whole set of them. 500% more. Boo!
Which kinda makes me upset actually. I like collecting cards by buying packs and trading duplicates. It's a social thing, and a way to enjoy a set over time. But to do that, I have to subsidize all those ego stroking "hit" cards that make up the cost of each pack of baseball cards, whether I manage to "hit" them or not. The Base Cards depreciate instantaneously faster than electronic gadgets, new cars, or New York Yankee ball player contracts.
So I am seriously rethinking how I will collect cards next year. 500% increased costs are too much to be smart about money and collecting, so I might just end up buying another set of cards early next February when Series One pops. That will be boring. Maybe I'll just reach in the box and pull out a random gob of cards to binder up once in a while to simulate ripping packs. Zzzzzz.
Anyhow, I couldn't help myself with just one hanger pack. I had to get a blaster too....the cards are cheaper that way! And I wanted some more trade bait - purple parallels:
I was particularly happy to pull Verlander because he is pitching as I type. Pitching very well too. I like to buy cards the day of a big game for my team. This was a good omen I thought. The last time I bought a couple cards was last week when I had to also shop for a birthday card. The first card out of that pack was Bartolo Colon, that night's starter for the A's. That was a bad omen I thought. But come to think of it, the Tigers won that game by jumping on Colon for 3 runs right away in the first inning. Hmmm. Maybe I'm mis-thinking baseball card luck. Hurry and trade me something for that Verlander card before something goes awry!
As I mentioned I was looking for both trade bait, and new Sea Turtles on this fishing expedition at the Big Box store. I landed several:
Instead I got that card. Another apropos base-running shot for Crawford, cool. But I did not expect to see this image in the set, nor understand why it was used. I had the same thought on this one:
and even another Dodger card also:
Maybe Topps feels guilty about those Photoshop cards, so they determined to make some new ones for these players; who knows? But I also pulled this card:
I have written about Bourn's Series 2 card because it was so striking - a player who changed teams and then had a new card using an image taken in Spring Training, classical baseball card style. A great card actually, all lit up by the wonderful spring sunshine. Now in Chrome Bourn is on a card that looks like it could have been issued by an unlicensed manufacturer, save for Chief Wahoo there in the corner. A step backwards.
And if these players can get different pictures than their Series 1 or 2 cards, why can't all the players in this set? Oh, yeah, because Topps spends all their production budget on player signing fees these days, not on buying extra photos of ballplayers that they don't need. Collectors no longer care what picture is on a card, as long as it has a squiggled "autograph" on it.
Sigh. I also found what will probably be an image used in Update:
List List List page - yes, I do have a non-parallel list. There's lots of famous, collectible players on the list of course ... it's Topps Chrome after all.
I found a different such card in a group break of Chrome, which I participated in to rack up Trade Bait for next week's release of Update. I'll be in serious need of the /25 Sapphire parallels from the Update set itself, though they will issued for Series 1 and 2 as well - so your S1/S2 Rainbows aren't quite done yet and you will have to pay your Topps Rainbow Master one more time. I'm a bit worried Toy R Us won't issue purple parallels for Update, and there won't be Factory Set Orange to help on my project pages either. So I have several of these Blue /199 Refractors available for trade (list up on the Parallel Project page):
Which June, Topps? It's October now. New baseball cards are coming out after the season is over (another bitch session for another post). The front of the card tells me he plays for the Yankees. What is a young NL West fan to think about these mysterious doings in the American League? Is this an error card? You changed the card # on the back of this card and conveniently informed me I have a 'Refractor', but no one could be bothered to compose a couple new sentences for a popular player moving to his original team's arch-nemesis?
Speaking of that 'Refractor' designation under the card #, that comes in handy sorting these cards. I only pulled one Refractor, though in 7 packs at 1:3 odds I should have found 2. They are a bit hard to notice without that little designation, though they scan up quite differently than the Base Cards:
I'll probably end up chasing a set of those XFractors. Maybe that will give me something to do when the 2014 Base Set I already don't like looks like just another Bowman set...won't be chasing parallels of that, though I will be intrigued to see the clear parallel. I'll probably wait till later next year when Puig's prices cool off to ever complete it, and likely won't even start on trading for it till my crazy Parallel Project is over. If ever.
Webster has an interesting card there. Topps makes cards with different images for the autograph cards (as if the auto collectors even care), though I have no idea if they do this 100% of the time since I don't collect autos nor really plan to start; not even autographed Sea Turtles. But I have seen Webster's auto card in '13 Chrome, which is just a Photoshopped version of his neat card in 2013 Pro Debut.
Now of course we can't have a new set of baseball cards without some inserts. I did better in the blaster & rack pack combo on that front as I pulled two of the 1972 inserts, and none from the other silly insert sets. And no other "hits", though I am happy to get these:
A nice thing about these Chrome '72s is they are full-size. 1972 had a nice card back and I liked the ones in '13 Archives much better than the minis in Series 1 & 2. This card -
Now I couldn't wander off into the arms of a new Base Set without picking up just a few of my old faithful Base Cards from Series 2. I need those parallels; they appear generally one in every rack pack after all, and I'm over due to pull a Short Print. I didn't get a _needed_ parallel (Gold Pedro Florimon, sharp card), but I did make progress on 2 insert sets even after buying too many packs and pulled 3 Tigers and one Athletic, that had to be good. I got one Chase It Down that I still needed, a darn good insert set for a change ('13 inserts lists finally up on the regular List List List page), and one needed card that fits with the cards just above and is a perfect selection for today:
Mr. October! Surely good luck the day of a big play-off game. Way to go Topps collating machine. And a picture that I haven't seen on a Reggie Jackson card before...nice!
I also looked at those other cards. The ones that aren't picture cards of athletes. On that shelf I made a happy/sad discovery. Always happy to see new packages of Wackys:
But how could that make me sad? I haven't finished collating Series Ten yet! I'd better get ripping on that...I didn't even open all those packs yet. (I save them for particularly gloomy days). That will be fun. Also a nice shout-out to Topps on the visible sticker there on the bottom panel - that's a sticker in the set, not part of the wacky packaging promo material. So you can pack-search these quite simply for that last sticker you will need and it's a nice fuzzy warm memory of cello packs a little. I miss those. Ahhh.
Now of course I finally got within close proximity of these cards being sold retail by buying a Birthday Card. This a card blog I believe...check out this beauty:
I'm looking forward to handing out this one; even though it's not shiny it's the right card to go for the catch with. Her birthday is on Christmas Eve.