Saturday, October 15, 2016

C.A.: 1998 Skybox E-X 2001 Cheap Seat Treats Mike Piazza

(Happy Sweetest Day. I had never heard of this day until I worked in a department store full of women when I was in college. They all seemed to have heard of it, and I didn't mind because they gave me candy. (*Sigh*). It's been a long time since anyone wished me a Happy Sweetest Day. Let's move on to baseball. This is Cardboard Appreciation. It's the 248th in a series):

I am treading lightly here, because the last time I posted a Cardboard Appreciation card, it wasn't able to muster a single comment. That is very rare for this blog. It had been almost three years to the day since a post had not produced a comment.

I got the message.

You want star power. You want '90s technology. You want oddity and thrills all in the same card!

I think I have that here. Like the Mike Piazza Slideshow card I showed a few days ago, I have had my eyes on this Piazza Cheap Seats insert for years. I've never pulled the trigger on it until a couple of weeks ago because I didn't want to shell out the couple bucks these things command. But finally the card has arrived where it belongs.

This is a much-celebrated insert from the late '90s. It was one of the many inserts that came out of that mouthful of a set in 1998, SkyBox E-X 2001. (I'm not going to get into how confusing it is for a set to include a year in the set name that is not the year in which it was issued). It's also weirdly named. "Cheap Seat Treats"? Are we calling players "treats"? That seems vaguely objectifying.

All of that aside, I've always been intrigued because the diecut action on this card has a purpose. Much of '90s diecuts are diecutting for the sake of diecutting -- which is fine in most cases. But Cheap Seat Treats has a specific intent. It is cut to resemble a folding bleacher seat. Very cool!

The execution isn't the greatest. Although the folding seat is spot-on, the card itself looks odd. Displaying it in a binder page or toploader, you've got merely a part of the player's head emerging from a seat that has closed on him.

To get the full effect of the card's purpose, you have to open it up. And that's where I go the extra mile.

I have seen very few examples of people opening up the seats on these cards. Never on the blogs and rarely anywhere else. I've seen so few examples that I was puzzled for a few seconds on how to open it. But I did open it -- because that's what you're supposed to do, play with your cards.

There is the "treat" inside the cheap seat. A full body shot of Piazza admiring a monster blast.

The card stands awkwardly and is difficult to view on its own -- unless it is standing on a table and you're lying on the floor.

Here is a better look at what you're dealing with when you open one of these:

(I guess I should be featuring Mike Marshall cards if I'm playing Go-Go's videos).

So, finally, on the blogs, you get a look at what's inside that bleacher seat.

Of course, since I opened up the card, it has been folded back up and re-inserted into its toploader. Soon, when I do my next reorganization, it will be inserted into a page in a binder. I'll have to do it carefully, because this is another delicate diecut that is easily damaged. Who knows when you'll see Piazza's torso and legs again?

In short, these inserts are definitely a treat. But they're like one of those Halloween treats, the ones wrapped in colorful orange or yellow but contain only faintly tasty taffy inside that you then spend too much time digging out of your teeth.

There is the back of Piazza, pinned between the seat. Ouch.

Still, I am very happy to finally have this card in my collection.


  1. Wow - I don't remember these at all - what a cool gimmick!

  2. Interesting... But at the same time... I don't think I like it..

  3. Nice. I never knew the cards folded out like that. Always thought they were just die cut. Thanks for showing what one looks like.

  4. That's certainly unique. The EX brand was always creative.

  5. Not sure if i could unfold it if i had one, but now i seriously want one. Need to find a Griffey!

  6. I have a few of these, but have never had the guts to open one up. Very cool!

  7. These are really cool! I need to pick up one for cheap so I can unfold it.