Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Not all that it's cracked up to be

A couple of years ago, Topps came up with something called "cognac" parallels. A lot of us dubbed them "liquorfractors," which was a much more appropriate name.

The cards were pretty cool because although they never scanned well, they were a sight to see in person. Throw that card under a lamp and the light would bounce off the surface like an inebriated stained glass window. They were nice because although they didn't look like much just sitting there, they had a greater purpose.

I'm pretty certain that this isn't the first time this reflective-glass technique has been used -- there were actual stained-glass-themed inserts in the '90s that reappeared again in this year's Archives -- and I'm sure it's been around since refractors were born.

But the liquorfractors seemed to have spawned a recent trend of putting what look like shards of glass on the surface of your cards.

Panini calls its Cooperstown parallels, like this one, "cracked ice," and you can see the individual "shards" on the outer frame of the photo.

Panini had these parallels with last year's Cooperstown set, too. But I wasn't very impressed with the set or the parallels, so I have none. I've made an exception for Scully, of course.

Bowman Platinum doesn't seem to have a name for its "glass shard" parallel. They simply call this the gold parallel and the Kershaw card at the top of the post the ruby parallel.

I think these are replacing the solid background color parallels that were in Platinum in the past.

I've got to say, I wish the solid colors were back.

The problem with these "shard parallels" is they don't do anything. If you tilt the card side-to-side, the foil part not covered by shards catches the light, but the colored shards do not. Shine a light on the card, and the shards just sit there.

Maybe it's meant to be some sort of artsy thing, and not functional at all.

But I got to say, I'm not impressed.

The Kershaw card arrived from Sam at The Daily Dimwit. I do appreciate the card because it's Kershaw -- Game 2 pitcher in the NLCS -- and because The Daily Dimwit unearths cards from boxes that I will never open.

Here are a few more he sent:

These are the shiny, baby blue parallels from this year's Bowman that pay tribute to past Bowman rookie cards. This is the way to do shiny parallels. Let your shiny parallel SHINE, Bowman.

I don't think this is a parallel at all. But it is shiny and it is from a product that I will never see in box or pack form. And it's of the uber-talented Hanley Ramirez, who just smoked the Braves, with six of his eight hits in the series going for extra bases.

More high-end goodies for a low-end guy like me, this time from Topps Museum.

Notice that the card features his name as it would be positioned in Korea, Ryu Hyun-Jin, instead of Hyun-Jin Ryu. This, by the way, is how you pronounce his name. The pronunciation you usually hear has been Americanized.

Here is this year's A&G mini version of Ryu. Great card. Depending on who you talk to, Hyun-Jin Ryu is either absolutely fine, or terribly injured. Got to love the postseason.

Finally, here is another mini, of the Wild Horse and the sensation of the cardboard world, Yasiel Puig.

This past NLDS has been endlessly fascinating with the way Braves fans treat Puig. They boo him like he's a puppy killer, which is a very bizarre reaction to someone who is possibly the best thing to happen to baseball this year (not that I'm biased or anything).

But then I looked up Puig's numbers against the Braves. He hit .500 against them with two home runs during the regular season. He had only a higher batting average against the Cubs.

Then, in the NLDS, Puig batted .471 against Atlanta. Only Hanley Ramirez hit higher.

It all makes sense now.

Puig gets hits against the Braves. The big meanie.

The latest fad in parallels may not be all that it's cracked up to be, but Puig is. Just ask a Braves pitcher.


  1. Completely off topic, but I read your posts all the time and I think this might be something you are interested in:

  2. Puig? This shouldn't be too hard to put together.

    1. People that aren't Dodgers fans typically don't like the Dodgers. It's probably an LA thing. If you like baseball enough, you probably aren't ambivalent about them.

    2. There's a well-worn sentiment about teams with massive payrolls, and considering that the Dodgers payroll is higher this season than the Yankees has ever been at any point, well...

    3. Puig is an import. I think, fair or not, feelings towards players who didn't "pay their dues" by coming up through the minor league system (via the draft) tend to run low to indifferent unless said player is on your own team. I don't think this is strictly a Cuban defector thing, but why isn't Yoenis Cespedes more of a star?

    4. The guy isn't exactly media friendly. I don't think most people sympathize with members of the media, but if you're an ass to someone there's a pretty good chance you're an ass.

    Anyway, I'm pretty sure he'll get booed no matter where he plays for the rest of the playoffs. Especially if he plays in Pittsburgh. They boo every single opposing player who comes to bat because they just started watching baseball this September and have no idea what they're doing.

    1. This does not exactly portray anyone who boos Puig in a favorable light.

      Go Pirates.

  3. Madding practically wrote a post, but I don't have that much time (read, I'm too lazy). I think we boo what we don't understand. Actually, I agree that he probably gets booed because he's gotten SO much media attention, which he deserved of course. I hope he does great, unless he happens to be playing against my team.

  4. Upper Deck had those too. At least I got some of Crash the Game cards from the 1996 Collector's Choice and they sure are a sight in person.