Wednesday, March 29, 2017

It's what's on the inside that counts

I'm sure this has happened to everyone. You leave your home. You reach your destination however many minutes later. And you realize that you have no memory of anything that happened on your travels in between.

That's how occupied I was yesterday as I headed out to run a few errands. I had planned to find most of what I was looking for in Target so I could then use the Target baseball card coupons that I kept forgetting. I had also planned to stop at the ATM to break in a new debit card.

But before I knew it, I was pulling into a parking spot at Walmart, of all places. "Oh, no, no, no, no, no," I said out loud in disgust as I realized where I was. I hadn't stopped at the ATM, I hadn't gone to Target where I had coupons. I was in the gross Walmart parking lot with absolutely no knowledge of how I got there.

Also, I had forgotten my Target coupons.

So, resigned to my fate, I opened the door and walked toward Walmart, past the broken down shopping carts randomly scattered through parking spaces, past the various garbage fluttering in the wind. And I muttered about how the card aisle was better stocked at Target.

But here I was inside. So I grabbed the few household items I needed and then shuffled over to the card aisle, which is actually about one-fifth of an aisle when you narrow it down to what I'm interested in: sports cards. Those damn Funkos are taking up more and more space every time I go there, which makes sense because what a space-filler.

I stared at the cards available and then suddenly realized there might be something in the discount bin on the bottom shelf. I dropped my head in that direction and saw this:

A single box of 2016 Allen & Ginter that apparently had been stomped on by an angry kid looking for a Funko.

I contemplated the box for a minute: discounted blasters of A&G are quite the find. They don't come around much. I would not call $5 off "extreme value," but still I was sold. The problem was the crushed box. What would I encounter inside?

I decided to take the chance. The minis would probably be unscathed, right? That's why I'm buying this anyway.

So I got it home, opened the box and pulled out the packs. The first two or three packs looked abnormally squashed and wrinkled on the bottom, but everything else appeared OK. And when I opened the packs, all of the cards were in fine shape.

So, let's see what's inside. Even though I'm not attempting to complete this set, old habits die hard (I've completed 2008-14 Ginter). You're going to see just the cards that I needed from each pack. Plus the mini. There's six cards per pack.

Here we go:

Pack 1

That's a pretty good start. Four cards I needed and a "black-bordered" mini (I'd like real borders again, Topps). I ended up dropping both Cardinals cards off the desk, onto the floor and dinged a corner on each, which is very painful with A&G. So much for worrying about the stomped box. I should've worried about myself.

Pack 2

That's a fine mini. Every time I pull a Trout I have to fight off the urge to see what it's selling for, because the prices for this guy's cards are weirdly inflated. Also, I dropped the Luke Jackson card in another card-dinging episode.

Pack 3

There is always a point in the set-collecting season when it's advisable to no longer buy blasters, especially for products like A&G and Ginter. The doubles become outrageous. I've far surpassed that point with 2016 A&G, but this blaster wasn't like that. Plenty I need and nice minis, too.

Pack 4

This is kind of a Teixeira hot box, which is awful and is giving me flashbacks to 2009 when I used to pull cards of this guy all the time. I am very pleased he will not be in card sets anymore ...

Oh wait, I forgot a card ...

How about that?

My relic luck with 2016 A&G has been great: Kershaw, Carew and now Rizzo. Six years ago I was pulling A&G hits of people like John Danks and Jeff Clement. I guess I must have gained some experience on which blasters to buy.

Pack 5

Easily the least successful pack. Nothing more to say here.

Pack 6

Allen & Ginter sure does love its New York teams. But I ain't complaining about a black-bordered Gary Carter mini.

Pack 7

True story: I have never seen a single episode of The Sopranos. I am almost the only person in this country who is not interested in mobster movies/shows.

Pack 8

Yay! A new card of Rickey!

I would say that was a very successful discounted blaster and well worth the risk.

As always, the moment after I open A&G, I must determine which minis make it into the frankenset binder.

Here are the ones that made it:

Trout fills an empty slot. Arrieta knocks out a 2014 Hiroki Kuroda (Yankee, bleh). But Carter does the best job because he replaces one of the two Jason Kubel minis that are situated right next to each other (#223 and #224!). Well done, Kid.

The other minis are available, as are any other minis that don't make the frankenset binder.

Now that I've had time to review the situation, I'm quite happy that I ended up in Walmart. I'm sure I wouldn't have found a discounted A&G blaster in Target, and I would have used my coupon on Heritage or Opening Day and likely found zip worth mentioning.

That's not to say I am recommending you proceed to your destinations on auto-pilot.

But sometimes you need to follow where the day takes you. And if that takes you to a seedy parking lot and a blaster that looks like it was used for hacky sack, then go with it.

It's what's on the inside that counts.


  1. I not only have never watched The sopranos I don't even get HBO. Steve schirrippa is a funny guy though. Hilarious on talk shows, especially Jay Leno's show.

  2. I've never seen an episode of the Sopranos either. My mother's family came from from Sicily in the 1920s. If I want to see mob guys I go to a family reunion.

  3. Nice Rizzo find! -I have never seen The Sopranos either, and I don't care to.

  4. That's quite impressive for a blaster that looks like it was just booted around during an elementary school kickball session. Never was interested in the Sopranos either, despite the masses saying it was one of the best shows ever.

  5. How dare you ding the Ginter. :D Nice blaster!

  6. I don't think my Target ever supplies decent "extreme value" boxes. It seems like they've had the same 2013 Press Pass Football forever.

  7. I noticed about a week ago that the marked down blasters have gone up, to $14.99. That makes a big difference in my impulse buying.

  8. My local Target usually only marks down racing and presspass products.

    Congrats on breaking the odds again with the Rizzo pull. You are on quite the retail hot streak.

  9. Nice blaster! I am also in the "never seen an episode of the Sopranos" club.

  10. I have only watched a few minutes of a Sopranos episode or two. Sometimes I would see the opening credit sequence. I'm guessing it was either before or after a show I used to watch. More likely after I show I watched and taped on VHS back in those days. I don't have a DVR or technically DVDR but still have a working VHS. I don't like MOB shows or movies either. I haven't even watched the Godfather or its sequels or Goodfellas.

  11. Ginter just keeps getting better.

    I'd never advocate damaging product, but I feel like kicking the boxes that still say "...and one extra pack" instead of just giving the count of the total because they're ALL THE SAME. The only "EXTRA" packs should be the ones with Manu-medallions or whatever in them. Stop using deceptive math, Topps!

  12. Sweet Rickey! Haven't watched the Sopranos in years. Might need to binge watch it over Spring Break.

  13. I almost posted when I read this with a little whining about why don't *I* ever find pulls like that when I buy "extreme value" marked-down cards packages. But I hadn't yet opened the "extreme value" hanger box of 2015 Series One flagship I had found at my local Wal-Mart recently.

    Mark McGwire. Autograph. 3/25.

    I think that it's going to be a long time before I can say I'm unlucky with these things.