I have heard and read about "hot boxes" and "mutant blasters" a number of times. They seem to be a slightly common occurrence among the blogs and message boards. In real life, not so much.
Then, on Sunday, I bought a blaster of A&G from Target. Unlike past blaster purchases, I did not grab the third one from the back because "that's where the hits are." I took the first one in the display and then headed out to the parking lot to pathetically open the box in the car.
I wouldn't call this blaster a hot box, because it didn't really contain any hits. But it was definitely "mutant." Probably more accurately, it can be called a "bizarro" blaster, as you will soon see.
I wasn't wise to what was happening until the second pack. See if you catch on quicker:
350 - Aclides Escobar
332 - Ricky Nolasco
304 - Carlos Pena
186 - Jose Reyes
TDH47 - Brandon Philips
Have you figured it out already? I hadn't. Yet. That's mostly because I was looking at the fronts of the cards, trying to determine whether I needed the card or not. I knew I needed the Escobar card and set that one aside. Then I got distracted by the lack of a mini in the pack. But that got to be old news very soon.
320 - Scott Sizemore
336 - Hiroki Kuroda
318 - Carlos Gonzalez
323 - Angel Pagan
LO23 - The Fates (cue Twilight Zone music)
TDH31 - Mark Teixeira
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OK, somewhere in the early part of Pack 2, it dawned on me that almost all the cards that I had pulled had been short-prints. I went back and checked Pack 1. Sure enough, only the Reyes card was not a short-print. Then I went back to Pack 2, immediately pulled "The Fates" card, and for the first time in my life got creeped out opening a pack of cards.
Part of me thought these were two mutant packs. Another part of me knew better.
312 - Carlos Ruiz
340 - Brad Lidge
337 - Joe Nathan
5 - Edwin Jackson
No number mini Angel Pagan
TDH50 - Alex Rodriguez
Do you see what's happening? The patterns for base cards and short-prints have been switched. The short-prints have become the base cards and the base cards have become the short-prints. The base cards even pop up in the same spot that the short-prints normally do, as the fourth or fifth card in the pack.
When I pulled the no number Pagan card, I let out a knowning chuckle. I knew the rest of the blaster would be interesting.
306 - Brandon Phillips
336 - Hiroki Kuroda AGAIN!
342 - Erik Bedard
313 - Ryan Doumit
SSS6 - Sailors of the Seven Seas, Cortes
TDH16 - Carlos Gonzalez
A short-print dupe in the box. It won't be the only one.
306 - Brandon Phillips AGAIN!
316 - Nate McLouth
337 - Joe Nathan AGAIN!
221 - Mike Leake
195 - Sergio Santos A&G back mini
TDH7 - Jason Heyward
Just the third base card so far
347 - Orlando Cabrera
346 - Ryan Theriot
327 - Vernon Wells
331 - Huston Street
TWO world's biggest minis -- Animal and Castle
TDH41 - Aaron Hill
I have to admit, at this point I was thinking for the first time in my life I'd get one of those crazy A&G hits, a jagged shard of a revolving door or something. I'll blow all suspense and say that didn't happen. But I was thinking it would.
324 - Randy Winn
346 - Ryan Theriot AGAIN!
309 - Casey McGehee
132 - David Price
185 - X-rays, black border mini. Also kind of creepy.
TDH55 - Ryan Braun
The Price card was the fourth and final base card in the whole blaster.
311 - Chone Figgins
333 - Roy Oswalt
310 - Placido Polanco
AGHS5 - Ichiro sketch card
NA16 - National Animals, Leopard
TDH66 - Curtis Granderson
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And that was that.
The blaster featured 27 short-prints and four base cards. Four of the short-prints were doubles, which should be annoying as hell, but when you grab a blaster with 27 short-prints it's hard to complain.
So, I suppose you think I have completed all the short-prints in the A&G set now.
I haven't. A&G set collectors know that not all short-prints are created equal. You can see some many times over (like Brandon Phillips for me), and others not at all. I still need 11 more SPs. But thanks to this bizarro blaster, my want list looks rather odd -- a respectable number of base card needs and relatively few SP needs.
This was the second-most interesting blaster I opened all year (ol' purple Strasburg has it beat). Considering that I've made an effort this year to limit my blaster purchases, I'm wondering if this was the latest maneuver by the cardboard gods to get me hooked on blasters again.
A nice try. But it's not going to work. I am the master of my own cardboard fate.
No matter what these chickies try to pull.