Lemme just clarify my thoughts on the All Star Game from last post. I don't want to sound like one of these media folks who drone on and on about how boring and staid the ASG is. This has been one of these go-to hack pieces of mid-summer for ages now. "The game isn't the same" - "Since cable/interleague/free agency came to be, the All Star Game has become less special" - "We now see all the players all the time so there is no reason to watch/play the ASG" - blahblahblah and on and on. The stories now pop up as early as when the all star ballots appear and usually peak somewhere around when the teams are announced. I find these types of "stories" to be not only the lowest form of hackery but also insincere and unfounded. The All Star Game itself is still pretty damn neat. I think the game is still vital to the season and to the game as a whole. I think the game is most important for - wait for it - kids! Yes, won't someone please think of the children! My point was that the game hasn't been special for me since I was a kid and there is a very damn good reason for that: it was still new and fascinating when I was 12 years old. But I would never get rid of the game because there are still plenty of young fans who think the game is a exciting as I did 25+ years ago. In fact, another story the baseball alarmists love to hammer over everyone's head is how the sport is dying because young fans find it boring. Well, the All Star Game is probably the best thing they could ever market to kids. The combination of tradition and freshness is perfect for that purpose. It would behoove the media to also plug into this notion and quit with the tired "The All Star Game is boring and sucks" storyline and remember that there are still young fans who think and want to think the game is quite interesting and awesome.
That said, what a horrifyingly boring game that was...after the first inning, it pretty much sucked.
So, what about the two blasters of Allen and Ginter I opened? Since I am on a ranting roll here, I'll say straight out that I know when you purchase retail blasters at the box store of your choice, you are not getting the high end hits...I know if you have two blasters, you have 16 packs and they will likely represent the 16 crappy packs you'd get in a hobby box (re: the ones without the cool hits). You are literally getting what you paid for. I know that going in and it still never quite soothes the disappointment when the blasters are what they are. Follow that? OK, let's get down to it.
I ate my burritos (by far the best part of my evening) and opened my blasters. Now, I am not gonna go pack by pack, I find that tedious. I am gonna show the highlights. First and foremost, lets look at the page that I made:
Now, I will admit that six of these cards came from doubles. There were a lot of doubles. I guess I grabbed the wrong two blasters. As for the cards themselves, I like the art deco borders. They look cool without taking away from the picture. They could have gotten ugly and busy fast but instead they are very understated and well done. The only knock I have on the design is that one of the quirks of past A&G sets was that sometimes the pictures bled off the card and I like that sort of thing. In fact, it would seem Topps went out of its way to strangle all the quirk out of this edition of Ginter. More on that coming up.
On top of those nine cards, there are six others that will join my collection:
I really really really (really) like the Wright and Seaver cards. The Seaver is a photo you don't often see and the Wright is very friendly looking. I have no idea who Ewa Mataya is, but I can always support a sassy looking female in a borderline sport on a trading card. I cannot say I am the biggest golf fan in the world, nor am I a big Arnold Palmer fan per se, but that is a pretty snazzy looking shot of him and I love his signature drink, so welcome to the vague sports binder, 2012 A&G Arnie. The last two are from the Baseball Sketch insert set that A&G has featured the last couple years. The subjects are usually very well chosen and presented, plus, how can you go wrong with Frank Thomas (one of my favorites) or Willie Mays (self explanatory)?
This is what I will refer to as the Ballad of Gilligan's Island end part: and the rest. The usual historic inserts are their usual well done selves. The code this year is a murder mystery, that as usual, I will have no interest in. Sadly, overall, this year's Ginter is very very usual.
I miss the Groundhog cards. I miss the revolving door. I miss Pluto. I miss Pablo Picasso, Edgar Allan Poe, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Having tons of retro superstars is very typical for any Topps set. How about some turn of the century players or some Negro League guys we don't always see? Having vague sports figures is not enough to keep me very interested. Gimme Chuck Woolery and Rutherford B. Hayes any day.
Seems I am underwhelmed with this year's Allen and Ginter (and I am). Do I have anything nice to say? Well, the collation of short prints was well done. In 16 packs, I got eight of them, that's 1:2 packs. Perfect collation. I wish I could say the same for the 10 base card doubles I got.
I will also say that Frank Robinson card is a showstopper.
The "What's in a Name" inserts are also very well done (and they were also perfectly collated).
It has a nice mix of today's stars and legends of yesteryear. The write-ups about the given names and the player's nicknames are also most informative. I will be making two pages of these, one of the current players and one of the retros. I like them that much.
And hey! They didn't cheat me out of any of my minis either. I got 16, one per pack. Sadly, the selection I got did not exactly fill me with uncontrollable glee.
I cannot look at Jason Bay in a Mets uniform anymore. I can't. He's dead to me. So is Jose Reyes. Derek Jeter was never alive to me in the first place. The Palmer, Lind, Ethier, and Billingsley have destinations, so if anyone wants to trade for any of the others, feel free to email me. In fact, I will also put up a list of all the base cards I have at the end of this post; if you are building the set and need any of them, email me and we will work it out. Wait, that is only 15, what happened to the other one.
Well, here it is. And it is also a keeper. Yup, that is Moses. Anecdote time!
My mother loves the movie The Ten Commandments. They show it every Easter and she has watched it every year since she was a kid. Her favorite part is when Anne Baxter squeals "Moses...Moses...Moses..." She does a wonderful impression of it, in case you ever come to Easter breakfast. Anyway, when she was pregnant with her second child (me) she decided she was going to name it Moses. For the first seven months in utero, I was referred to as "Moses," But then along came this guy:
Moses Malone was one of the first basketball players to come straight out of high school and go pro. This was a big deal back in 1975. For months, all anyone talked about on the news was Moses Malone.
Well, after a while, my mom got tired of the name "Moses" (she's not much of a basketball fan). She racked her brain and came up with "Max" after one of her favorite uncles. And I am just Max, not Maxwell or Maximilian, I am just plain Max. So I can thank Moses Malone for my name - as you can see I have plenty of his cards - and now I have one of the man who's name I almost had. Of course, this set would have been much more fun if it also had a Charlton Heston card in there as well.
2012 Allen and Ginter base for trade: 4, 5, 7, 9, 26, 36, 66, 72, 80, 96, 97, 105, 109, 117, 123, 126, 127, 131, 136, 143, 145, 147, 161, 172, 180, 192, 201, 206, 209, 221, 222, 229, 230, 231, 246, 255, 259, 266, 267, 286 SPs: 302, 311, 312, 317, 319, 325, 335, 340