Saturday, May 7, 2011
The Gypsy Queen bias
I'd like to make a little comparison.
There are two brand new baseball card products on retail shelves right now. One is Gypsy Queen and one is Topps Attax. At my particular Target, each product is offered in the exact same way, in a rack pack. That's the only way it is available. Gypsy Queen costs 5 bucks more than Attax and offers eight fewer cards per pack.
Yet, I have seen three blog posts about Attax and -- I'm trying to be accurate here -- 4,342,541,976,842,342,778,623,510,981,025 posts about Gypsy Queen. Two sites in particular converted their blogs into shrines to the Gypsy Queen. All hail the Queen.
Of course, you're saying right now, you don't actually expect collectors to treat Attax on the same level as Gypsy Queen, do you? Attax is a game. A kid's game.
Yeah, I get you. But to the outside world, they're all the same. And we've got a Gypsy Queen bias.
At my Target, the Attax packs were hanging up on racks next to all of their rack pack buddies, swinging in the breeze and catching the glint off the ceiling lights, calling out to everyone.
The Gypsy Queen packs were plopped down on a shelf surrounded by blasters. There is no way you could find them unless you were specifically looking for them. It's like the stock person said, "Oh, hell, there's no way anyone wants this brown crap, I'm not even gonna hang it up."
But I found them. I went out all out and purchased one whole pack.
Hey, Mother's Day is coming up soon. You all got moms, right? I can't afford more than one pack at a time.
And you're going to see all of it.
That's right, I'm going to be the one blogger to put you in a Gypsy Queen coma.
#58 - Dale Murphy. Is that Marla Collins in the background?
#197 - Colby Rasmus. That is definitely not Marla Collins in the background.
#177 - Bernie Williams. Bernie apparently has reached legend status on cards. It was only six years ago when you could pull 100 different Bernie Williams cards a year.
#36 - Vladimir Guerrero, framed copper sparkly card. I think the official title is "framed paper" and the color is "bronze" but I don't understand where the "paper" comes from and that's not "bronze" to me. And nobody has mentioned the sparklies yet. So there you are.
Also the card is dinged at the bottom center. Ouch.
#66 - Sandy Koufax, red Gypsy back mini
And suddenly I don't care about the ding anymore. This card by itself is worth the $8.99. I did a seated happy dance when I pulled this card. There were witnesses.
#FS8 - Jason Heyward, Future Stars. The back says that Heyward's nickname is "J-Hey Kid." Please tell me that's not true.
#6 - Frank Robinson. Now that's a legend.
#247 - Matt Garza. Despite whatever "dirty zombie" filter that Topps used for these photos, I can still tell Garza's photoshopped as a Cub.
#235 - Johnny Bench. I don't remember Bench being that skinny. And why are there so many wrinkles in everyone's uniform?
#277 - Derek Lowe. Didn't get a no-hitter tonight. But, good news, he's still a head case.
#110 - Todd Helton, red Gypsy mini.
Oooh, two red backs in one pack. ... I don't really care.
#GO11 - Johnny Mize, The Great Ones. I know for a fact that they took more than this photo of Mize during his playing days. So why don't they use another one?
Checklist 2 of 4. Look at all the legalese on the back! I've never seen it that thick! If you click on it, you can see the names Thurman Munson, Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig, Christy Mathewson, etc., etc., etc. That's why.
#30 - Hanley Ramirez.
#237 - Roy Campanella. What a photo. That's card of the year candidate material.
#135 - Ryan Dempster. Awesome batting cage set-up in the background. I like this card a lot.
#SF6 - Mark Teixeira, Sticky Fingers. Can't say the same for this. Please, someone get this out of my sight. Teixeira is making that face that he makes 178 times a day. Eww, just go away.
#147 - Kurt Suzuki, regular back mini. Good stuff.
#FS3 - Yonder Alonso, Future Stars. I keep pulling this guy. I have no idea who he is.
THREE CARD GREEN-FRAMED THINGY PACK
Tim Lincecum, CC Sabathia and Tom Seaver. That's a kick-ass pitching trio.
These green "paper" cards ARE AWESOME. I have no reason to buy another rack pack of this stuff except for the fact that THESE. ARE. AWESOME. If you haven't found any GQ yourself and are wondering what the big deal is, let me tell you that the scans tell you NOTHING because THESE. ARE. AWESOME.
Absolutely love them.
OK, so them's a rack pack of Gypsies.
Here is your postgame analysis:
I like it. Not in love with it. Won't collect the set. The base cards aren't very inspiring. But GQ works very much like 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes -- make the base card so dull that all the parallels look like the most breathtaking cardboard constructions of all-time. It works.
The framed parallels are tremendous. As many have said, they are a lot like Upper Deck Masterpieces' framed parallels. But I like these better. The frames are much more professional and classy.
As usual, I will be collecting mostly Dodgers from this set. Fortunately, a lot of the Dodgers from the base set are on their way to me -- so that's out of the way.
I will probably hang on to my framed cards. If people want to pry them out of my hands, they can offer something up -- but I'd prefer a GQ framed card for a GQ framed card.
As you could see, I didn't get a short-print in the pack, which is something I have experienced way too much in Heritage land. So that is the primary reason why I won't dive into this set.
But after all of that, I guess I have the Gypsy Queen bias, too. I started out talking about Attax and then dropped them flat for GQ.
Except that I didn't. I did buy a rack pack of Attax.
I couldn't help it. The Bison was peaking out of the pack at me (in an omen of tonight's Dodger game, I ignored the pack behind it that featured Jose Reyes).
There he is, rounded corners and all. I suppose these make it look more like a game. I think people who wanted to play the game figured out that last year's cards were a game, too. I think they were more collectible with the way they looked last year.
There are also mascot and stadium cards in Attax this year. Don't ask me what they mean. Each rack pack comes with game instructions and some sort of game board, so I'll put reading them on the list of things to do if I ever get a moment. It's officially No. 579 on the list.
I assume these are the foil cards. Only the scenery on these cards is shiny so it was a little hard for me to determine.
And, look, Toppstown cards with rounded corners! Who says Topps doesn't give collectors what they want?
This will be another set in which I take just the Dodgers. And I'll look at them about as often as I look at my MLB Showdown Dodgers.
So, yeah, I have the Gypsy Queen bias, too.
But really, what I actually have is the Allen & Ginter bias.
That's what I'm really waiting for -- to get all snobby about A&G.
I can't wait.