A few months ago, my financial situation wasn't the greatest. It still isn't now, but at least I'm able to buy a rack pack of cards without the guilt police trailing my vehicle.
During that cash-strained period, group breaks popped up everywhere. I had to go into shutdown mode and pass up I don't know how many of them. But there was one break I really wanted to join, and that was the case break at A Cardboard Problem for 2011 Topps.
I moped around for awhile trying to figure out what I should do. Marie of ACP waited me out, suggested I might actually have a good time, and, bam, I was in.
In the end, the cash didn't kill me, and when the break went off last week, I found out it was probably the best card decision I've made in a long time. The cards I received are already in hand, and there is some great stuff.
There was also some unexpected, super generous stuff, too, which I'll show at the end.
First I want to address the leather nameplate thingy that features -- or rather barely tolerates -- Clayton Kershaw's photo.
This was one of the hits in the break. Topps considers it on par with an autograph or relic card, or at least is featuring it as if it is. It's one of those manu-thingies that Topps is really hoping catches on so it doesn't have to pay a fortune in jersey and bat purchases.
Unfortunately, I'm not going to let Topps off the hook. It's not even close to matching the thrill of pulling an autograph or even a jersey swatch. I admit, it's mildly cool to have something like this of my favorite player, but like many have said before, the execution is not there. The only part of the "card" that feels like leather is the light area around the name. The name and number is raised off the "leather" surface and has a stitching effect. The remainder of the card is a simple glossed up picture.
I guess it's better than those manu-patch things you pull out of blasters. But it's no substitute for this:
That was the other hit from the break that came my way. I like these. The jersey cards in 2011 Topps look a lot better than the 2010 Peak Performance jersey cards.
There are a lot of Kemp jersey cards around -- I should know as I probably have more of him than any other Dodger -- but this is instantly one of my favorites.
Both of these hits came very early in the break, which I watched live. At one point, overjoyed with my luck, I babbled about what a great break it was, to which Marie said, "I told you it'd be worth it."
Yeah, yeah, I know, "that's what she said." Ba-da-bum.
Staying with the Topps 60 theme, here are the two Dodgers from that insert set. I still think this is a nice-looking set.
Now, on to the base Dodgers. There are eight base Dodgers in Topps Series 1. That's rather small. But then I was thinking of which Dodgers would be featured in Series 2 and I couldn't even come up with eight (Kemp, Billingsley, Kuroda, Furcal and Broxton are sure things). Damn McCourts.
Anyway, here they are:
The "twinkle" Dodgers are Ethier and Kershaw (figures). I received lots of dupes of the base Dodgers, but there were no twinkle variations, unfortunately.
In fact, there was only one sparkly Dodger. Period.
Got two Kuos.
I had better luck with the gold cards, which are supposedly rarer than the diamond variations.
That Casey Blake card is already one of my favorites in the set this year.
There's the Toppstown Dodger. I'm actually happy there's a Toppstown Dodger this year. Toppstown seems to ignore the Dodgers.
But you're not here for Toppstown inserts. You want to see the others.
OK, try to find a theme in this:
Piazza doesn't exactly fit in, does he?
I don't think I will ever have to wonder what it was like collecting during the 1950s, not if I keep getting Jackie Robinson cards in current packs every year.
Some of those cards are Reproduction thingies, others are 60 Years of Topps, and others are lost cards/never were cards. I do enjoy some of the Jackies. But I'd enjoy it more if Newcombe or Drysdale would show up once in awhile.
Anyway, yet another insert set to chase:
These are the Kimball minis that everybody loves. I think they're all right. But I think the A&G minis are a lot better, so I'm not sure why people are going ga-ga over these.
I saved this insert for last, and I have no idea why. That wasn't very good planning.
Oh yeah. There were a couple of these, too.
You might think that was a fantastic group of cards and how fortunate I was. And I'd have to agree.
But I'm not done.
A little while before the case break, A Cardboard Problem opened up a box of Bowman Sterling. They displayed the highlights and a couple of Dodgers caught my eye.
But I didn't say anything. I didn't really have anything to offer in exchange for the cards, and I figured they should do what they'd like with them without me badgering them for every last Dodger all the time.
So I shut my mouth.
This is what I got for shutting my mouth:
Autograph cards of two of the Dodgers best youngest pitching prospects, including last year's No. 1 pick Zach Lee.
Ladies, that was so totally worth it.
And, yes, that's what he said.
(P.S.: A plug is the least I can do for A Cardboard Problem until I can figure out how Topps can send me a free box and load it with Cano, Pujols and Jeter autographs. So if you think you're going to like Gypsy Queen and you're into one of the teams that are left, check it out).