Saturday, June 8, 2013

Opening Day Mystery

The mysteries of baseball [cue soft organ music] ... are not the subject of this post.

Are there mysteries of baseball cards? No, I don't think so. People want them, so people buy them.

But of course, our dealer of desirable things, Topps, can act in mysterious ways.

Perhaps you noticed this insert checklist tucked in with the pre-release information about the 2013 Opening Day set:

ODH-1 Ryan Zimmerman
ODH-2 Miguel Cabrera
ODH-3 Felix Hernandez
ODH-4 Jayson Heyward
ODH-5 Jose Altuve
ODH-6 CC Sabathia
ODH-7 Clayton Kershaw
ODH-8 Roy Halladay
ODH-9 Jay Bruce
ODH-10 Jose Bautista

And then once you started buying the cards, you pulled cards from all of the insert sets and parallels, but never a single Opening Day Highlight.

This is what happened to me. This was my first year buying more than a pack or two of Opening Day cards, so I hadn't given it any thought until I bought a 'blaster box' at Wal-Mart and pulled my first Opening Day Highlight card. I was hip deep in Opening Day cards by this point, as I really like the blue sparkle parallels in the set, and several of the other insert sets. So my first Highlight card was surprising. It came from this box:

I didn't really consider the "Only At Walmart" phrase at first as I wasn't too concerned about the likelihood of winning some MLB tickets. I did check the box to see what was happening with the inserts inside:

And there it was, Opening Day Highlights, 1-for-8 packs. Note the Printing Plate at 1:2,627 and Base Card Variation at 1:616.

Now look at the wrapper, which came from this box:

Want a challenge? Try to scan or photograph a silver foil wrapper. Anyhow, on all 7 card packs of Opening Day, the Printing Plate odds are 1:2,628 and the Base Card Variation odds are 1:617.

At first I just thought the Opening Day Highlights just weren't ready for the initial release of the cards, and Topps slipped on changing the wrapper to include the odds for the small insert set. Perhaps this was the case, I don't know.

So after that purchase I have been looking for more of these boxes at Wal-Mart, as well as examining Opening Day packaging at all the other retail stores. I did find one other box at another Wal-Mart. But since then every Wal-Mart I have been to, and all other places to buy Topps cards, have not had Opening Day Highlights printed in the odds listing. I have not been able to examine any "Hobby Boxes", which are sometimes labelled as such for online sales, but I think I have also read that there is no "Hobby" box for Opening Day, only ordinary retail boxes. None of the half-dozen card stores I have been in this year carried any Opening Day cards of any kind.

I found the 2 boxes with the yellow tag line about 6 weeks ago, and have been in a handful of Wal-Marts in Ohio and Michigan since then as my work travels allowed. I quit buying Opening Day finally, although I still want more of the blue foil parallels. I guess I don't really care for the idea that there is no way to pull a card that I do want (see below), unless I find the right Wal-Mart somehow, though Wally World has become my least favorite place to buy cards as there is usually little chance of finding anything except the newest releases. Very little thrill of The Chase in there.

Basically, it appears this is a single retailer exclusive set. Not an exclusive parallel, but a set of cards that can only be purchased at one store. Somehow I don't think it will be the last. Or maybe it was all a production snafu at Topps, who knows?

And maybe it was just a regional thing, and your local Wal-Marts all had these. ?

Personally, I wish I could just buy a set of baseball cards a pack or two at a time, with no inserts, parallels, or "hits". I did discover a way to do that (retail), though I haven't finished counting average inserts in the various pack sizes and prices and will post that some other night. I suspect it will be a more expensive way to go.

So which Opening Day Highlights did I pull, and could we please look at some cards now finally? Here yas go:

Not the most exciting batch of cards, #s 8-10 there sequentially. I do like the use of red-white-and-blue, but given the irritation factor, I'm not going to try to complete the set, so these are up for trade.

I will have some want lists going up in the next few weeks finally; these will mostly be for all the various parallels of 2013 Topps. And I do want the Cabrera card from this set.

In the mean-time, I know what will happen when I pass near a Wal-Mart. I do need some binder pages...Archives is out....there is a Wal-Mart I haven't checked, just 23 miles away....

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