Monday, June 20, 2016


Hey, I'm back. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be fully back.

I did receive some cards for Father's Day. My daughter, growing wiser by the minute, picked up a hanger box of Heritage for me. I have nothing to say about those cards because I basically like Heritage this year (graininess aside) and needed just about all of the cards.

My sister-in-law, who is usually very talented at selecting packs -- she grabs stuff I never buy, things like Bowman Chrome, and they almost always contain something cool -- didn't exactly step up to the plate with a fat pack of Topps Series 1.

However, it is better than no cards at all. We must all keep that in mind.

What I noticed in that Series 1 pack is a couple of word usage problems. I won't explain it more than that and just show you.

Amid the 32 cards in your regulation-size fat pack were six Future Stars cards.

That seems kind of high to me. That's more than 18 percent of the cards that came out of the pack. But when you see who Topps now defines as a Future Star, you realize why there are so many.

I've already devoted a post toward the "Future Star" and how it's changed since its inception in the 1980s. What was once the case in the late 1980s -- a "Future Star" is a player with either no major league experience or an abbreviated part of a season -- is no longer.

But with the above six cards, the definition of "Future Star" is as broad as it ever was. Both Matt Wisler and Joe Ross fall under the old rules. They each appeared in the major leagues for the first time in 2015, with maybe half a season to their credit. Wisler pitched in 20 games, Ross in 16.

Kris Bryant and Yasmani Grandal have more experience. Bryant played in 151 games in his first season. Grandal had played in at least 100 games in both 2014 and 2015. Grandal is no longer a prospect, but I suppose you could argue that he's still going to be a star in the future (although don't argue that point right now because you won't get very far). Bryant, although he played in a lot more games than the old "future stars," gets a pass. You can't help but slap the "future star" on a card of a player with that ability.

Now we come to J.D. Martinez and Carlos Carrasco. Martinez played in five MLB seasons before this season. Last year he hit 38 home runs. The year before that 23. You could argue he was a star a couple years ago. Saying he'll also be a star in the future is pointless. Carrasco, too, had played in SIX major league seasons before 2016. The last two seasons he's pitched in 70 games. In 2011, he struck out 85 batters. He's already missed a full MLB season because of injury! A little late to the game, Topps.

Still, "future star" is a subjective term and difficult to define.

Let's try this instead:

This (and please note how "this" is used) is a Berger's Best insert card featuring the 1992 Topps Cal Ripken card.

Let's turn it to the back:

Let's read together.

"Ten years after his rookie card came out, Cal remained a hot commodity among collectors. This 1992 Topps Gold issue (part of a parallel set released that summer) featured Ripken sitting next to the Lou Gehrig monument in Yankee Stadium."

If you were me when I read that, you glanced down at the tiny image of the card on the back.

Then you turned the card back to the front.

Then you turned back to the back again.

And read again:

"This 1992 Topps Gold issue ..."

There is no gold nameplate on the front of this card. The gold issues had a gold nameplate.

Now let's go to our handy dictionary:

"This" means "referring to a specific thing or situation just mentioned."

That leads me to believe we're talking about the card here in my hand, that is not gold.

OK, then.

Not only do they not make cards like they used to, but they apparently don't make words like they used to either.


  1. "But they apparently don't make words like they used to either"

    The misuse of the word "literally" is a good example of this I think.

    At this point Martinez and Carrasco are never going to be stars. Martinez had the potential to be one nearly half a decade earlier as a member of a rebuilding Astros team and there's an alternative universe where Martinez fulfilling the role that Correa is fulfilling right now. As for Carrasco, he's good but he's no Kershaw or Sale. Plus he plays for the Indians who haven't had a "star" since Bob Feller.

  2. I'm beginning to think that whoever the editor is for this set was not paying close attention. First the mention of the rare 74 mini set, then this. I stopped buying Heritage a few years ago when they messed up the League Leaders (2012) by not putting g the leader in the middle. The next year there is one 'LL card with four players on it, just because the corresponding card in the 64 set had four players. I could go on, but my blood pressure is already high today and I need to relax.

  3. I had an English professor in college who took 5 point off your paper every single time you used any of his "forbidden" words, one of which was the word "this." To this day, it pains me to write the word "this" in any format...and you'll probably find that my blog uses that word much, much less frequently than would otherwise be expected. And yes, only I would turn an entry about words into a statistical frequency discussion.

  4. Topps dropped the ball on the Ripken, Martinez, and Carassco. These totally would have slipped by me. Guess I'm just as lazy as Topps.

  5. My rant on your blog the other day did some good. I ended up with 3 packs of Topps series 1 for father's day.

  6. Topps is not the only one. Panini thinks Charlotte is on the West coast. Charlotte, North Carolina. This is the biggest blunder I've ever seen on the back of a card, from Upper Deck in 2000. There are grammatical and factual errors on this card, including a sentence with no ending.

  7. It's like Topps hires a whole different team to do the reprint cards like the inserts or Heritage now. The #1 qualification seems to be that they've never seen or heard of Topps cards from the past. Why they can't reproduce an old design exactly for Heritage, or why the write-ups seem so disconnected from the cards depicted on the inserts is beyond me. This is your OWN STUFF , how can you not get it right, or know what you're talking about? Non-collecting twenty-something corporate stiffs....