That early bird is an idiot.
Who needs worms? Late is great.
At least it is when it comes to cards. While everyone is hyperventilating over the newest card product, driving up prices on all the newness, being late has its advantages.
But first the backstory: I am not anywhere near completing my 2015 Allen & Ginter set. I still haven't finished 2014 A&G yet (*grumble, grumble, shortprints, grumble, grumble*). But when I started seeing signs of 2016 A&G appearing in stores, I knew I had to do my own tour.
I hadn't planned on doing it. But then Stale Gum posted on Twitter that he spotted 2016 A&G in Plattsburgh, of all places, with photographic evidence. Plattsburgh is about three hours from me and even more remote than where I live. If '16 A&G was in Plattsburgh, it had to be here.
We headed out to dinner and to do a little shopping afterward. I asked my daughter whether we'd find A&G in Target or Walmart. She immediately said, "Target," not because she cares, but because, unbeknownst to me, she wanted to shop for clothes.
So we went to Target and took our separate ways. I scanned the card aisle and realized instantly that there was no 2016 A&G on display. Yet I continued to scan the shelves as I debated whether being in Walmart on a Friday night was worth the inevitable pain and agony.
It was then that I spotted an A&G blaster tilted on its side, randomly placed with some NBA blasters. I noticed the discounted price right away and immediately felt butterflies. You don't find discounted A&G product out in the wild very often at all (it's always NBA or NASCAR around me). Hell, this was even better than finding 2016 Allen & Ginter! This blaster would actually be useful.
So after waiting out the clothes-shopping marathon, I arrived home and dug in. I had less than 100 cards from 2015 A&G before I found the blaster. I was going to do some damage.
However, I quickly remembered the reasons why I soured on 2015 A&G so quickly.
All that close-cropping. Ugh.
I haven't looked at enough 2016 A&G online to see if the close-cropping continues, but I'm hoping it doesn't. The sameness of the photos really kills my interest. People complain about all the A&G cards looking the same already. At least in past years -- particularly my favorite year, 2008 -- there were head-and-shoulders shots mixed with full-body shots and a wide variety of crops.
The different-colored borders, like I mentioned before (like a whole year ago), are nice.
Those were the three short-prints that I needed. There was a fourth that I already had (*grumble, grumble, repeat shortprints, grumble, grumble*).
Those were the Starting Points inserts. I've read recently about a couple different people collecting these. Point me in their direction.
Some more inserts. I like the full-size inserts from last year.
My favorite full-size insert is Keys to the City. Unfortunately, I had this one already.
Relic of some comic dude.
I don't know who Brody Stevens is. I tried looking him up on youtube a few minutes ago, but got bored pretty quickly and then had to write this post. I'll go back again and make a true evaluation.
I get weird with these non-baseball player relics. I love the fact that there are non-ballplayers in A&G. It's the No. 1 reason why I have completed six straight years of Allen & Ginter. But as far as relics, if it's not a baseball player, I don't give a damn. (Stevens apparently used to play baseball, but I still don't care).
The minis, of course, are the highlight of any A&G blaster, as well as the reason to keep buying A&G blasters even after you're finished completing the set.
Sadly, only the two minis above made it into my A&G mini frankenset. The others were either mini inserts or will be destined for future trade packages.
The Chris Carter is appreciated because it's an SP mini and there are still a lot of holes to fill between cards #301-350. Also, I never enjoy adding a Giant to my frankenset, but the Crawford card did allow me to do this:
That is my first completed frankenset page!
It's not the most interesting page -- every card has to do with baseball -- but still very cool for cards 46-60.
After picking up the discounted blaster, I didn't bother going to Walmart to see if there was any 2016 A&G. And I didn't bother going back Saturday or today, even though there's a good chance it's there somewhere. The thrill of a discounted blaster can last a long, long time.
After all, it's going to be another 3 or 4 years before there's a discounted blaster that I want to buy again.