A year ago, you may remember that Topps pushed back the release date for Allen & Ginter to August because some skateboarder broke his arm and couldn't sign all of those cards by the deadline this is a true story stop looking at me so oddly.
I am still paying for this decision. August is a wretched month full of bills and no money. And because of that I still haven't completed 2013 A&G and don't know when I will.
This year, Topps returned A&G's release to July -- a month that is reserved for frivolous things like buying cards -- and because of this I found and bought a blaster three days after the release date. This is the way it should be. Topps, take note.
Also, because I'm still 34 cards short of my goal to complete A&G for a sixth straight year, I grabbed one of these:
If, nothing else, it would get me some minis for the binder.
Here are some of those very fine minis:
Unfortunately, I struck out on my reason for buying the blaster. I didn't pull a single card that I needed for the set. All four SPs were dupes, which makes me want to cry real tears so that a river forms all the way to 1 Whitehall Street. But I didn't. Because I also pulled this:
It's Miss USA 2012! Actually she was the runner-up that year but then took over when the real Miss USA became Miss Universe. It's all very complex and she doesn't have time to explain the ins and outs of beauty contest rules, which is why she signed her name simply "M". Also, she dated Shaq, so, you know, we're not talking Benchwarmer material here. "M" it is.
I will place this card with my other A&G oddities, I should be able to fill a glorious binder page very soon.
But that was last year. What you really want to see is this year's A&G.
I didn't disappoint you.
I scanned every last card in the 2014 blaster and here it is for you now:
#230 - Ivan Rodriguez, Rangers
They've got some new "legends" in this year's set, which is good to see, although these guys who played in the '90s always throw me off, like they're still playing and I didn't know it.
#PP-MT (still doing this "letters as numbers" crap) - Mike Trout, Pastime's Pastimes insert
These look as fantastic as you've heard. If this was 2009, I'd collect this entire set instantly. But I'll probably just end up trading them to people -- except the Dodgers, of course.
#OBA-4 - Butch Cassidy, Outlaws, Bandits and All-Around Ne-er Do Wells mini insert.
Another great topic. How do I know I like Allen and Ginter? I showed my wife the Miss USA autograph and this Butch Cassidy card back-to-back and she said, "I love Allen and Ginter." If my quirky, non-card collecting wonderful wife loves this stuff, then I know it's something I should be collecting.
#AGA-ARI - Andre Rienzo, White Sox, autograph relic
Wow. Two autographs pulled in one day. That's some kind of record.
I had to have someone on Twitter tell me who this guy is. Apparently, he's the first native Brazilian to pitch in the major leagues. I guess that's a little ammunition for when I trade this for a Dodger.
Also, I'm glad A&G has returned the ferns to the relic frames. I missed that the last couple of years.
#88 - Buffalo Bill Cody
The non-ballplayers have titles in this year's set. I don't know if I like that.
As for the design, it definitely has a wild west feel to it. I don't know if it's really "Allen and Ginter" anymore and some font junkie would have to let me know what they're going for with this, but I kind of like it.
#51 - Oswaldo Arcia, Twins
Right about now I started wondering why I decided to scan all these.
#280 - Whitey Ford, Yankees
#309 - Hunter Pence, Giants
The short-prints used to be the last base card in a pack. If this blaster is any indication, Topps has moved them to the third card in the pack.
#WC-04 - Beijing, China, World's Capitals insert
I read the other day how Beijing is attempting to be the first city to host both the Summer and the Winter Olympics. You gotta have goals, I guess.
#30 - Judah Friedlanger, regular-back mini
The first time I saw this guy, it was in that Dave Matthews video where he hugs everyone. After that, it was "oh there's that guy in the trucker cap." I've never seen "30 Rock" so I know nothing more than that. Sorry. I watch a lot of baseball.
#264 - Mike Piazza, Mets
Well, if you must put him in a Mets uniform. At least it's one less Piazza card I have to add to the Dodger binders.
#248 - Mark Teixeira, Yankees
REALLY regretting that "scan every card" thing.
#92 - Ernie Banks, Cubs
#93 - Willie Mays, Giants
Good to see some different pictures.
#60 - Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals, A&G back mini
#PP-AP - Albert Pujols, Pastime's Pastimes insert
Albert's pastime is philanthropy. I am now riddled with guilt.
#218 - Casey Kelly, Padres
#16 - Bartolo Colon, Mets
They hid his gut.
#105 - Cole Hamels, Phillies
#304 - Matt Cain, Giants
Another SP as the third card in. Also, that's my third Giant and not a single Dodger yet. The card god's a big joker.
#NW-09 - Marble Caves, Natural Wonder insert
#322 - Paul Konerko, White Sox, A&G back mini
Four hundred-plus home runs that the Dodgers could have had.
#161 - Tommy Lasorda, Dodgers
Yay! A new Tommy card! Not looking terribly svelte in this picture.
#170 - Matt Holliday, Cardinals
#PP-PG - Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, Pastime's Pastimes insert
OK, now that I've publicly declared my approval of these cards, I'm receiving only ones from teams I hate. I want a new card god. The one I have is a jerk.
#AGC-06 - RMS Carmania and SMS Cap Trafalgar, Coincidence insert set
I don't have the time to investigate what this is all about. Things in history that could have been coincidence or not, I gather.
#232 - Ozzie Smith, Cardinals, regular back insert
Ozzie is super tiny on this card.
Crack the code ad
I guess nobody cracked last year's code and now there's two to crack. This card also has an Old West look to it.
#160 - Daniel Okrent
One of the guys who created Rotisserie Baseball and hopelessly enslaved sports fans in fantasy team leagues for decades to come.
#180 - Ryan Riess
Poker player. With stacks of money.
#270 - Ryan Howard, Phillies
#140 - Matt Moore, Rays
#339 - Jeff Samardzija, Cubs
#NW-19 - McWay Falls, Natural Wonder insert
#WDP-02 - Hippopotamus, World's Deadliest Predators mini insert
This seems like a cool set. Hippos kill more humans in Africa each year than any other animal. Where's the Hippo horror film?
#30 - Judah Friedlander
#290 - Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers
Hanley is continuing in the fine Rafael Furcal tradition of "if you're a Dodger shortstop with talent, make sure you get injured as often as you can."
#68 - Gio Gonzalez, Nationals
#111 - Frank Robinson, Reds
#PP-FF - Freddie Freeman, Pastime's Pastimes
Freeman's pastime is hugs. Really. Oh, and he loves his family. I didn't know that was a pastime.
#59 - Hal Newhouser, Tigers, regular back mini
When was the last time we saw a Topps Newhouser card? 1952?
#62 - Diana Nyad
Nyad swam from Cuba to Florida at age 64. Between Pujols and Nyad I have no idea what I'm doing collecting baseball cards.
#163 - Jim Palmer, Orioles
#193 - Tom Glavine, Braves
#330 - Joe Kelly, Cardinals
#FAF-6 - Songkran Water Festival, Festivals and Fairs insert
#159 - George Brett, Royals, A&G back mini
I believe we saw this same pose in A&G a couple years ago.
#213 - Allyson Felix
It's too bad we know this is a photo from 2011 on a card that says "2014" underneath it. But I'm glad Felix is in the set.
And that gives you an idea of what 2014 A&G is all about.
As usual it's interesting. Some inserts work, others don't.
There are actually a few people in the base set that I don't think deserve to be in it. Fortunately, I didn't pull those cards, which is a good thing because it's Friday and I'm not in the mood for a rant. We'll save that for later.
Because, yes, I do intend to buy more A&G this year -- I have to find ONE Topps set that I can collect this year.
Maybe I'll do a better job of finishing it all this year. Otherwise, I'll be buying discounted blasters at this time next year.