Saturday, May 29, 2010

Major delayed reaction

I have a new way to gauge exactly when everyone is sick of a baseball card product. Here it is: when the product first hits the shelves in my backwater town, that's when those cards are officially the pet rock of the industry.

Hell, National Chicle was two baseball card releases ago!!! I counted the number of blogs that I follow that have already featured these cards. I could have missed a couple but I counted 24.

Woo-hoo! We're No. 25!!!!!!

But a quarter is worth more than a penny, you know. That's my spin and I'm sticking to it.

So, yeah, Chicle finally hit extreme northern New York on Friday. Given a choice between loose packs and one of two available blasters, I chose the blaster. I'm not going to collect this set, but I like it enough that I want to see what it's all about in person. And a blaster will help me do that.

The only problem is I am unable to say anything new about these cards. Everyone has said it all. Some people like them, some people hate them, some could go either way. That's basically the reaction that you get from people every time they enter an art gallery. So, I believe Chicle has done its job.

My reaction is this: If A&G didn't exist, I might consider completing this set. It's unique enough that it keeps my interest. But it's too inconsistent for me to invest everything I have into it. I don't know if I could stare at a binder full of the set when some of the paintings disturb me.

So, we'll file this under the title where most sets fall: "Give me all your Dodgers and forget the rest." I know that's rather a mean thing to say. It's kind of like saying you'll see a girl only if she wears one certain outfit all the time. But that's us collectors. We're a weird bunch.

Anyway, even though I have nothing new to say, I feel obligated to show the contents.

So let us proceed.

Eight packs. Six cards in a pack:


#156 - Luke Scott, Orioles

#131 - David Price, Rays
#85 - Justin Verlander, Tigers
#120 - Tommy Hanson, Braves

#139 - Yadier Molina, Cardinals

#114 - Felix Hernandez, Mariners

Pack 1 Notes: Luke Scott was the first card I pulled in both 2010 Topps Series 1 and Chicle. Under my "Rules of my 10-Year-Old Self" that would require me to adopt Scott as a favorite player. But as an adult I have no time to learn about middling Orioles. ...The Hanson card is a National Chicle back, 1:4 packs. I refuse to show it. I am officially pissed at variation backs. They are DEAD TO ME. ... Meanwhile, the Molina card is awesome. Might be my favorite one of the blaster.


#86 - Adam Jones, Orioles
#41 - Carlos Pena, Rays

#65 - Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

#260 - Drew Stubbs, Reds
#29 - Hunter Pence, Astros

#229 - Lou Gehrig, Yankees

Pack 2 Notes: Very pleased about pulling the Clayton Kershaw card. But even though I usually like Brian Kong's artwork, the Kershaw is only so-so. It looks like his cap is disintegrating. The perspective on the glove seems off. ... The Drew Stubbs card is a Bazooka Joe back. 1:8 packs. No, you don't get to see that damn eye-patched kid. ... The Gehrig card is fantastic. Makes me wonder how a whole set done like that would look. Probably kick-ass.


#16 - James Loney, Dodgers

#191 - Chase Utley, Phillies
#105 - Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks

#276 - Babe Ruth, Braves

#98 - Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
#153 - Alex Gordon, Royals

Pack 3 Notes: Chipper Ruth!!!! As you all know, that card is part of the "Retired Stars Revisited" short-print set. Ruth wearing an Atlanta Brave uniform. Topps is obsessed with doing stuff like this and it's really getting boring. Another thing: Stop putting Ryne Sandberg in a Phillies uniform. I swear there are now more cards of Sandberg as Phillie than as a Cub. ... The Loney card is unfortunate. It looks like the painter caught him in mid-jumping jack.


#146 - Scott Feldman, Rangers

#101 - Torii Hunter, Angels
#61 - Gordon Beckham, White Sox
#100 - Adam Dunn, Nationals

#213 - Paul Molitor, Brewers

#268 - Luis Durango, Padres

Pack 4 Notes: I don't know Rangers pitchers enough to know if that's a decent likeness of Feldman, but I really like the card -- uh, wait, his legs look too short for his body. This stuff happens all the time with this set. First I like the painting then I don't know what to think. ... The Molly card, meanwhile, is nice.


#21 - J.A. Happ, Phillies

#186 - Alfonso Soriano, Cubs
#155 - Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
#273 - Juan Francisco, Reds
#198 - Michael Saunders, Mariners

#168 - Jake Peavy, White Sox

Pack 5 Notes: The Happ card is disturbing. I can't fully express why, but it vaguely freaks me out. ... The Saunders card, which I didn't show, is a painting of that ridiculous pose that Topps used for him in Heritage. He looks like he's been hypnotized by aliens. He should sue. ... The Francisco card is a National Chicle back. ... I really like the Peavy card -- if I don't focus on his right hand.


#136 - Julio Borbon, Rangers

#106 - Todd Helton, Rockies

#66 - Johan Santana, Mets

#215 - Orlando Cepeda, Giants

#128 - Michael Bowden, Red Sox
#48 - Jason Kubel, Twins

Pack 6 Notes: Concerning the Todd Helton card: I have landed a trade with a Rockies fan. I am very pleased. Unfortunately, the trade package was sealed before I opened this pack. And I'm not opening the trade package back up now. ... Pulling old-time Giants seriously annoys me. Really. Even Mays. Peeved.


#26 - Rick Porcello, Tigers
#171 - Mike Cameron, Red Sox
#270 - Adam Moore, Mariners

#312 - Tyler Flowers, White Sox

#13 - Dan Uggla, Marlins

#238 - Johnny Mize, Cardinals

Pack 7 Notes: The Flowers-as-Frank Thomas short-print card is proof that Topps is both full of itself AND appears to be supplying mind-altering substances during creative staff meetings. Flowers is a CATCHER. In what dimension would this ever make sense? ... The Mize card, meanwhile? More of that.


#51 - Joey Votto, Reds
#81 - Hideki Matsui, Angels
#246 - Willie McCovey, Giants

#200 - Chipper Jones, Braves
#263 - Eric Young Jr., Rockies

#38 - Russell Martin, Dodgers


Pack 8 Notes: All of artist Mike Kupka's paintings (McCovey, Soriano, Scott, Porcello, etc.) seem to have the same background. It doesn't do it for me. ... Martin continues his trend of great cards.

So, as you can see, I'm seriously schizoid on this set. Even down to the individual CARD, I both like it and dislike it. I'm sure all of the artists love that because they're all about the viewer taking different opinions away from their paintings. Or at least that's what I was taught in the college art classes I slept/panicked through.

The set is slightly above OK. I know some will think I'm being too harsh and others not harsh enough.

But really, do you care? You've made your decision on this set. You've seen the cards for three weeks already.

OK, I'll be over here playing with my pet rock.


  1. Luke Scott is a crazy gun-toting nutcase. Avoid him like the plague.

    I don't like the Mize card for some reason. His face looks weird and cartoony.

  2. What I find disturbing about the Happ card is that his pitching arm appears to have just come detached at his elbow in the follow through.

  3. I still haven't seen a blaster of this stuff which is why 2 products later, I'm done with it. If you put all your Chicle Braves in my pile, I'll put all my Chicle Dodgers in the pile with your Spectrum Kershaw.

  4. It's strange that it made it up to "northern" NY before it made it to me in "central" NY. You seemed to have reasonable luck with artists with this blaster.

    Also, if you're looking to excommunicate some Rockies, I'm always willing to take some on for Dodgers.

  5. Stubbs, Scott, Adam Jones and King Felix? Man, I wish I had gotten that blaster!

  6. dayf ~ Done!

    Roy ~ I just boxed up a big bunch of Rockies for someone else. I'll see what I have left.

  7. You did well with the Giants pulls. :)

    I haven't seen these things in eastern Arizona yet. The local Wal Mart just has series 1 Topps, Heritage, and some Upper Decks that haven't been touched much.

  8. Your feelings on Chicle basically match mine. As a set collector, I find the rarity (and sheer volume) of short prints to be the final straw that breaks the collectability factor of the set's back. I bought two blasters of the stuff though - and if I ever see it cheap enough, I wouldn't mind buying some more to complete the regular base set. The one saving grace is all the short prints are numbered at the end of the set - I can simply pretend they don't exist. And yes, back parallels are stupid.

  9. Night Owl. I LOVE Hunter Pence and would love to trade with you. I have 3 cards you need...3 for 1 Trade? Email me at

    If you want to trade.

  10. That's a pretty reasonable likeness of Feldman, legs and all.

  11. I grew up in the same part of northern New York where you live. It's always been a little behind the wife (from Long Island) said this while walking through the town the first time I took here there: "So, this is what the 50s were like?" I guess we just accepted that everybody else was "with it" long before we were.

    Personally, I don't care for the new cards when I compare them to the original Art Deco design of the 1934-'36 Diamond Stars...but I do find the black-and-white legends intriguing.

    Finally, mentioning the bit about dating a girl in a blog about collecting baseball cards was unintentionally funny. Don't get me wrong, I'm married, but still aware of the stereotype about card collectors being a little socially awkward. It made me laugh when I thought about that.