Walking into K-Mart on a Friday afternoon before Halloween and the perfect killer Frankensnowideathicane 2012, in retrospect, was not the best idea. First of all, I bought candy a good 4 days before I am going to need it, which means most of it will be eaten between today and the Hallows on Tuesday. Secondly, I had to walk past the card aisle not once but twice and the siren song of new Topps and discounted product was just too much to ignore. I noticed that the Update series was out, so I grabbed a couple of the jumbo rack packs, just to amuse myself. I also saw there was some discounted OPC hockey from a couple years ago, so I snatched one of those too.
Quick aside: I noticed Topps puts their Twitter and Facebook right on the packages now. Even just 2 years ago, Upper Deck did not have that information on their wrappers. I will have to look to see when they started to put this on the packs. One thing I love about the old wax packs from the 70's and 80's are the clubs and freebies they advertise on the backs of the wrappers and how dated and odd they look now. I wonder if kids will look back at these packs in a couple of decades with the same sort of wonderment. "What the heck is a facebook?" they will ask and go back to playing their 3D imbedded sensory video games that are implanted at birth, or something like that. Anyway, back to the matter at hand.
The World Series often brings out a longing for baseball cards, new and old alike, in my heart. Granted, I haven't watched my team in one for a dozen years and haven't seen an actual winner in 26 (though 2004 and 2007 were fun), but there is still a rush that comes from the fall classic. I like to watch the games, or at very least have them on in the background. It is all the more enjoyable this year that the Yankees are not involved. Anyway, let's take a look at what came out of these packs. I don't like to list every card, so let's just go with the nine highlights:
Hey look, it's superman Mike Trout, I am touting him as MVP of the league. Sure Miguel Cabrera won the triple crown, but Ted Williams won TWO triple crowns, do you know how many MVPs he won in those years? Zero. So I don't think the triple crown is an automatic MVP win. Also here is the newly minted Giancarlo Stanton. If I had such a lyrical name as Giancarlo, I would never let anyone call me anything but that. I assume he went by Mike as a kid because other children couldn't say Giancarlo. Kids are the worst. We also have some rookie cards of Trevor Bauer and Will Middlebrooks (who is also on the Golden Giveaway card). I also got the obligatory Bryce Harper card. It is players like this that make me feel old. I am technically old enough to be his father (if I was very popular/irresponsible in high school, that is). Roy Oswalt tried to pull the Pedro Martinez/Roger Clemens trick of coming in halfway through the year and didn't fare so well. I have liked Roy ever since I read that he got a bulldozer as a signing bonus (or maybe he bought one with his signing bonus) either way, he went on his ranch and played with it for days. He didn't really have any heavy earth to move at the time, he just played with it...that sounds like a kid at heart if ever I heard one. On the bottom there are more 1987 minis, the shiny gold and, in a similar move to last year when they put the series 1 and 2 liquorfractors in update, they have the gold numbered parallels for the regular issue in the update. Why Topps chose to do this and not just, you know, put them in with the proper series, proves that Topps sometimes just likes fucking with us.
Here is Rack Pack #2, and not that it is a contest, but this one was far better:
I didn't get a single Met in the first pack, in this one, I got four, including two Dickeys. And I have proven time and again how much I love my Dickeys. Also there are one of my new favorites on the team, Jordany Valdespin, adored for his awesome name, goofy attitude, and hard hitting. Valdespin can't catch a cold, which means he will eventually find his way to the American League, but I will enjoy him for as long as he is on the Mets. On the complete opposite end of the love spectrum is Manny Acosta. The Mets bullpen in 2012 was made of kerosine, but Acosta was more water on magnesium. I watched him give up 3 runs in 2 innings and his ERA went down. He was awful. I mean car crash involving a school bus and a liquid nitrogen tanker awful. He was so bad, I heckled him in Citizen Bank Ballpark better than the Phillies fans could. If Manny Acosta is on the team next year, I will know the current regime has no plan on winning anytime soon. In that upper right corner is the very odd sight of Ichiro in a Yankees uniform. [UPDATE: Eagle eyed reader Nick of Baseball Dime Boxes tells me this cool card is the SP] I watched him the last couple of months of the season and all through the playoffs and I could not get used to this. I can only imagine what Mariners fans thought of the whole thing. That other base card is a great shot of the Reds catcher with a glove on his head. I enjoy silly cards like this and this one is kinda subtle since it does not feature the player listed on the card. This card will probably make it on to my 2012 Topps page. The last row is the inserts, which are the same kind as the other rack. I have no idea if that is the way they are supposed to be or if it is a coincidence. That mini Mattingly reminds me of the 1987 league leader mini, which is one of my favorite Mattingly cards. He had a very distinctive follow through on his swing and any card that captures it looks pretty damn good. If you are building this set/series, drop me an email with your wantlist and I will be happy to send what I have to you. Everything except the Mets, the Trout, the Ichiro, the Mattingly, and the Simon card are for trade. I did not use the Golden Giveaway numbers, either, so those are up for grabs if you drop me a line as well.
Wait! There was also hockey cards in this purchase. I am so mad at hockey right now, I cannot really express my feelings on the matter without swearing and screaming. The usual cliche anger of millionaire vs. billionaires is tinged with the fact that they just did this 7 years ago. How greedy/stupid/self-destructive do you have to be to have a lockout again?!? Anyway, the World Series always reminds me that hockey is around the corner, but this year, it just reminds me that once it ends, I have to wait for all this NHL nonsense to be cleared up; nonsense that really could be settled in a couple hours if everyone involved wasn't dumber than a box of hammers. I could rant and ramble about this for a long time, and I have done enough of that in this post...
OK, enough, let's look at the highlights of the 2009-2010 OPC pack:
I got one lonely Devil, Colin White, who isn't even on the team anymore. I also got one rookie, a dude named Matt Hendricks whom I have never heard of before, but I went to school with a bunch of kids named Hendricks and I am pretty sure one of them was named Matt. I am sure it is not the same one, though. Also here are former Devil Bill Guerin, rare black dude Wayne Simmonds, a whole bunch of goalies, and one of my favorite hockey names - Martin St. Louis. If you are a hockey fan/francophile, you know how to pronounce his name correctly. Why he hasn't been traded to the Blues, I will never understand.