Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Finally, something worth ripping

The next-door neighbor is having a new addition built onto the back of her house. You know what that means: just because the workers get up with the cows, everyone else is getting up early, too.

So with the sound of hammers and saws in my head, I showered and dressed and headed out to do some early shopping. My birthday was two days ago, so I was armed with gift cards and ready to do some damage.

Unfortunately, one of those gift cards was for Target.

The Target card aisle the last month or more has been depressing. You'd have to pay me to buy the cards offered there now and that's saying something, particularly in the middle of baseball season.

But I stopped there again and left less than 3 minutes later empty-handed. I decided to give Walmart a try even though it has been just as barren lately.

Then, as I was about to leave that card aisle also with nothing, I spotted hanging in the back of the shelf some 2017 Stadium Club rack packs. I seized one of them both eagerly and warily. The price on the hanger said $9.98. I know Stadium Club is steeply priced, but that seemed more outrageous than usual. "9.98 for 12 cards? That's 83 cents a card!"

I squinted at the tiny type on the hanger and noted it was for some Gypsy Queen thing so it didn't apply to Stadium Club. I hate how half the items in stores don't have prices ON the items. Gee, why would consumers need to see the price of something?

So, I assumed the SC packs weren't $9.98, but still wasn't sure and grabbed just 3 of them instead the whole 5 that were there. When I got to the register, they rang up $5.98, so only 49 cents per card, which is still crazy but at least more in line with the way the world works.

I was just excited to finally have something worth ripping. The urge has been unfulfilled for too long.

So let's see the pretty pictures I found in my packs. You know they're gonna be good:

Pack 1

#181 - Nolan Ryan, Rangers

The Rangers are No. 4 on the list of teams I'd like to see Ryan with on a baseball card. Angels or Astros are tied for first, followed by the Mets. Ranger Ryan I equate too much with junk wax. Not that there's a lot wrong with junk wax, I just saw it too much.

#221 - Cal Ripken Jr., Orioles

I did not clean my scanner before scanning these. Bad move. ... Anyway, this card makes me miss old Yankee Stadium and I can't believe I am saying that.

#247 - Gary Sanchez, Yankees

Last year's Aaron Judge. This is a surprise to no one, but as I was watching the Red Sox-Yankees game on Sunday night on ESPN (don't @ me, it was the only game available), I noted Judge's name mentioned 35 times in the first 3 innings. Also, ESPN during those first 3 innings spent the Red Sox's half of the inning talking about Judge -- twice, meaning while the Red Sox were batting, the announcers ignored virtually everything going on during the game to talk about the right fielder, who was just standing.

#153 - Roy Oswalt, Astros

Roy Oswalt was still appearing in Topps products in 2013. I am not nostalgic for Roy Oswalt yet. That would be like being nostalgic for Grumpy Cat.

#241 - Elvis Andrus, Rangers

KNOW YOUR RANGERS INFIELDERS! Andrus is the guy on the left. The guy the Dodgers should have never let go is on the right.

#43 - Jharel Cotton, Athletics

Another former Dodger.

#17 - Didi Gregorius, Yankees, gold parallel

I seem to have a knack for pulling SC gold parallels of Yankees.

#PZ-AP (PLEASE number your inserts!!!!!) - Albert Pujols, Angels, Power Zone insert

I'm on record as saying Stadium Club doesn't need inserts (or parallels). It's a fascinating enough set on its own. But we have to have ways to prevent set collectors from completing sets, so here we are.

#259 - Adrian Beltre, Rangers

Beltre gets to appear in two different Rangers uniforms in Stadium Club.

#297 - Curtis Granderson, Mets


#151 - Tim Raines, Expos


You ever see a card advertised prior to the set being issued and know you need to have it. Well, here it is. It helps that I've walked the very ground Raines is standing on here.

Oh, and night card. Duh!

#169 - Matt Carpenter, Cardinals

My first thought when I pulled this card was: "I hope this wasn't against the Dodgers."

Pack 2

#32 - Brandon Phillips, Braves

This would have come in handy for my bubble gum-blowing post.

#53 - Anthony Rizzo, Cubs

So who is actually Batman, Rizzo or the guy with the T-shirt? I think you know the answer.

#225 - Yangervis Solarte, Padres

The first card that gives me nothing to say, so let me just show this:

The font used for Stadium Club looks a lot like something Fleer Ultra used between 2005-07. Fortunately, the images are even better than those from Ultra, but this is two straight years of Stadium Club's font riffing off a Fleer product (last year it was 1996 Fleer) and I wish SC would use something more distinctive. Design matters to me, even with a set that has little of it.

#135 - Jameson Taillon, Pirates

Back to greatness.

I read something a few years ago about what men and women are attracted to in terms of photographs. I don't remember what it was for women (if Facebook has any say, it's baby animals and wine). But for men, "scenery" was way up there. I concur and the only thing better than this card is me sitting in PNC Park while holding a beer.

#164 - Kenta Maeda, Dodgers

Yay! A Dodger. ... That's almost a Clayton Kershaw move he's doing.

Here is an example of the card back. Stadium Club's card backs have become generic and boring for awhile, which is sad considering SC had the greatest card backs when it first appeared in 1991. Bring back those rookie card photos!

#140 - Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Get the smiles in, sir, before you have to say goodbye to half your teammates.

#184 - Cameron Maybin, Angels, gold parallel

I am made a bit uncomfortable by this photo.

#198 - Ryan Schimpf, Padres

#222 - Miguel Sano, Twins

The All-Star Game is still useful to a guy like me who isn't in the habit of watching Twins or Mariners games. I had no idea until last week that Miguel Sano should be an offensive lineman.

#10 - Danny Santana, Twins

Santana is the guy on the right. I only know this because I saw a Twins fan's card blog yesterday. He tells me the other guy is Jorge Polanco. I assume by what he is wearing and holding that Jorge Polanco is a ballplayer for the Twins.

#4 - Nelson Cruz, Mariners

That is not Cruz's buddy Joe West in the background.

#273 - A.J. Ramos, Marlins

I do not know what a bear's head (is that a bear's head?) has to do with the Marlins, or why a player is wearing it. But throw all that in with the shaving cream pies and a lot of free time and we have dudes with odd ways to define camaraderie.

Pack 3

#285 - Orlando Arcia, Brewers

#168 - Sandy Koufax, Dodgers

It took me a very long time to get Koufax's Stadium Club card last year. Very pleased that it arrived so easily this time.

#6 - Adam Jones, Orioles

#203 - Hernan Perez, Brewers

#110 - Michael Conforto, Mets

#216 - Odubel Herrera, Phillies

Bat flip!

#120 - Jon Lester, Cubs

#30 - Danny Duffy, Royals, orange parallel

These are the only SC parallels that interest me and, of course, they're not easy to pull. The lettering is orange (it didn't scan here) and the photo is sepia-ish. I think it was executed better in the previous two SC sets. Something about that Fleer Ultra font. (NOTE: These are actually the sepia/bronze foil retail-only parallels. BAH!)

#CS-AR - Addison Russell, Cubs, Contact Sheet insert

Remember when people were all giddy about Addison Russell and Pokemon? That shut down awfully quick.

#253 - Evan Longoria, Rays

Evan Longoria playing football in the Astros' park. Because that's what you do in Texas.

#284 - Chase Anderson, Brewers

Three Brewers in this pack. Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards has been alerted.

#56 - Ian Kinsler, Tigers

Ian is very excited that I'm done with this pack rip.

Stadium Club is the same as it's been the last three years. It is consistently one of the best products every year in terms of quality and being interesting. It's not cheap and collecting it can be a bit frustrating (I know from my completion quest in 2015), especially if you're not into the parallels and inserts.

Yet, it is far and away better than the stuff that has been sitting on the Target and Walmart shelves the last month. And, although I'm pretty sure those last 2 rack packs of Stadium Club that I left there are now gone, these packs I opened will keep me stopping by periodically (that and A&G releasing).

I'll never cure myself of the urge to rip.


  1. Also picked up two packs! Got that Koufax card right on the top, found a fantastic Reggie Jackson card in there and a card for a free autograph from Tyler Glasnow. Second pack got a Kershaw and of course being a White sox guy I got a Kris Bryant card. Love the photgrapy!!

  2. I think the Miguel Sano might be a black parallel, no? Very subtle parallel, which are the worst, in my opinion. Some great photos here. The Tim Raines is my favorite of this bunch.

  3. Love these cards. Happy belated birthday NO

  4. I'm surprised that you didn't make any mention of the bottom quarter of each card. The photos come across as smoky like last year's Topps set.

    1. I noticed it (but not the black parallel mentioned above). I didn't mention it because it's pretty subtle and not annoying like 2016 Topps was. They still need to stop doing it though.

  5. "Get the smiles in, sir, before you have to say goodbye to half your teammates."

    Night Owl the sports journalist predicting the first big trade of the midseason.

  6. When you have an itch, it's okay to scratch it. I won't tell on you.

  7. Nice to see so many Reds in the product. Oh wait. No. In fact, I believe the Reds are without a single autograph in the entire set. Nice looking cards though - I do love Stadium Club but the price per card makes collecting the set nearly unaffordable for me.

  8. They made a card out of the Rizzo tarp catch?? I must track this down!

    1. It was a Topps NOW card as well, so this is the 2nd one.

  9. So far... the Raines is my favorite card so far... although that Arcia would have been pretty sweet had they not chopped off his right toes.

  10. Ryan Schimpf has such a great name. It should be a word used for a particular type of mis-hit. "He really schimpfed that one!"

  11. I'm up to my eyeballs in new cardboard right now, so I wasn't going to make a point of hunting down Stadium Club... but man, those Raines and Taillon cards are nice!

    I'm convinced that any insert with an alpha checklist (PZ-AP) is an insert set with a checklist that isn't finalized until the very last moment... That way, if changes have to be made they won't run the risk of skip-numbering, they can just replace PZ-JB with PZ-AP. I recognize that the Night Owl response is still "Don't care. Hate it." :-)

    1. Guess they should have alpha-numbered the First Pitch and MLB Network inserts, because they screwed 'em up royally....

  12. The Taillon wins for best card of the pack in my eyes.
    Scenery. Is. Awesome.

  13. Did you notice Roberto Clemente made an appearance in two of those cards? (Granderson and Taillon). I don't recall the Roberto Clemente Award being featured much on cards, but I'm glad to see it.

  14. I need to get that Raines card at some point.. I really want to get some Stadium Club, but I likely won't be able to until the fall when I'm back to regular work.

  15. Taillon's card really reminds me of Randal Grichuk's in last year's set.