Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Free new cards

It seems that whenever I'm waiting for an interesting card package to arrive in the mail it always appears on a day when I'm too busy with work or some other soul-sapping obligation.

In fact, it seems that the card mailing gods purposely wait until I'm very busy for the package to arrive. I've encountered times when I was told I'd receive a package on a certain day -- a day off -- and the package didn't arrive, until the next day -- a day on.

Well, card mailing gods be praised, just the opposite happened today.

I won a blaster of 2018 Topps from P-Town Tom of Waiting 'Til Net Year and Tom said the post office targeted Tuesday as the time of my prize's arrival. Tuesday was a workday. But no 2018 blaster appeared in the mail.

Today was a day off. And guess what showed up?! On a day in which it snowed nonstop so I had to stay inside and not do anything productive! Except open my prize of free new cards!

This will probably never happen again.

I've done quite well as far as spending cash on 2018 Topps. Last week's first purchase of the stuff cost me just 6 bucks. And this blaster cost me nothing. Next week is Valentine's Day, a day in which I usually receive cards. Those will cost me nothing, too.

This just may be the Year of Free New Cards.

I'm going to open my prize pack-by-pack like I usually do. I'll show only cards that are notable to me though. I didn't want to spend my entire day off scanning.

Let's see what P-Town Tom got me:

Pack 1

#83 - Howie Kendrick, Nationals
#311 - Yulieski Gurriel, Astros
#195 - Avisail Garcia, White Sox, AL Batting Average Leaders (first double of the year).

#TS-23 - Mitch Haniger, Mariners, Topps Salute Father's Day insert

#DJH-27 - Derek Jeter Highlight insert (World Series Champion, 1998) (so sick of these already)

#OD-16 - Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, Opening Day insert

I don't mind these. They look very much like a graphic that you would see on the MLB Network (that is not an endorsement of MLB Network graphics, just an observation).

#294 - Jose Altuve, Astros, AL Batting Average Leaders (second double of the year)

#239 - Cleveland Indians team card

#120 - Carlos Carrasco, Indians
#220 - Nelson Cruz, Mariners

Kind of a boring pack.

Pack 2

#117 - Kendrys Morales, Blue Jays

I am old enough that my brain thinks the Blue Jays still wear these helmets every day.

#140 - Mookie Betts, Red Sox

#192 - Nolan Arenado, Rockies, NL RBI Leaders

#44 - Trea Turner, Nationals

I am not as much of a cropping militant as some collectors are. But it does bother me just a tad that this photo couldn't be zoomed out a little so all of Turner's right foot is in the frame.

LTM-YO - Yoan Moncada, White Sox, Legend in the Making insert

#135 - Atlanta Braves team card

Matt Kemp is still a Dodger.

#166 - Victor Robles, Nationals

Here is Topps' Twitter rookie poster boy when it's not Clint Frazier. I have no knowledge of this player or the Nationals farm system, but Topps really likes him.

#103 - Christian Vazquez, Red Sox
#69 - Jed Lowrie, A's

#131 - Jonathan Schoop, Orioles

The local TV news sports anchor pronounces Schoop's name as "shoop" because he's terrible and has absolutely no clue because he thinks his job is to joke about how much he likes hot dogs.

This was a slightly better pack, if only because I got to rag on the local sports anchor.

Pack 3

#198 - Marcus Semien, A's
#270 - Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox
#273 - Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, NL HR Leaders

#111 - Aaron Judge, Yankees, AL HR Leaders

Oh, thank goodness. I've been curled in a ball in a corner for days because I hadn't pulled any Aaron Judge cards.

#83-38 - Matt Kemp, Braves, 1983 insert

Some thoughts: Topps replicates the look of the 1983 set quite well with these, but it is nullified by the fact that the cards are modern and slick and that is so weird for an '83 design.

Also, I know I am the only one bothered by this, but what does Topps have against its 1988 design? If last year was the tribute to 1987 because of 30 years and all, doesn't it follow that 2018 would be a tribute to 1988? But instead we trample all over 1988's carcass and go straight to 1983, which has been featured in Archives and several other places? Don't get me wrong, I love 1983, it's one of my favorites, but 1988 DID EXIST. And it was good, too.

#OD-3 - Carlos Correa, Astros, Opening Day insert

#159 - Joc Pederson, Dodgers

Let the Dodgers cavalcade begin!!!

I hope Pederson stays in the majors with the Dodgers for awhile because he's showing a knack for making good cards.

#116 - Ariel Miranda, Mariners
#340 - Gary Sanchez, Yankees
#5 - Chris Tillman, Orioles

Packs are improving slightly.

Pack 4

#303 - Luis Severino, Yankees

#142 - Adam Jones, Orioles

#244 - Francisco Mejia, Indians
#278 - Lucas Sims, Braves

#SSS-38 - Eric Thames, Superstar Sensations insert

Have fun distinguishing Super Sensations inserts from Legend in the Making inserts in a couple of years.

#281 - Alex Verdugo, Dodgers

Ah, the Dodger meter is heating up.

#82 - Justin Smoak, Blue Jays, SP

Yup, this is a short-print of Smoak's base card. Yup, Justin Smoak has a short-print card. Nope, I never would have known this if not for all the online help in distinguishing short-prints.

#DJH-30 - Derek Jeter Highlights insert (World Series champion 2009)
#13 - Jay Bruce, Indians
#216 - A.J. Pollock, Diamondbacks

Best pack, so far.

Pack 5

#345 - Jose Reyes, Mets
#24 - Martin Maldonado, Angels
#245 - Willie Calhoun, Rangers

#TS-12 - Trevor Story, Rockies, Topps Salute, Jackie Robinson Day unis

#DJH-26 - Derek Jeter Highlights (World Series Champion 1996, I'm already getting dupes of this stupid set)

#OD-6 - Salvador Perez, Royals, Opening Day insert
#160 - Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees

#292 - Baltimore Orioles team card (as lava engulfs the ballpark, the Orioles infield is powerless to help).

#54 - Chase Anderson, Brewers
#250 - Buster Posey, Giants

#TN-4 - Aaron Judge, Yankees, Topps Now advertisement (Hey, kids, ask your mom or dad for 10 bucks so you can buy ONE baseball card! Go ON, ask now! Topps Now!)


Pack 6

#170 - Christian Yelich, Marlins

Now a Brewer ...

#50 - Anthony Rizzo, Cubs

#296 - Lewis Brinson, Brewers

... now a Marlin.

#224 - Dillon Peters, Marlins

LTM-CB - Cody Bellinger, Legend in the Making insert

I used to rip Mark Teixeira for making that blowfish face all the time and now Bellinger is doing it all over cards. I suppose I deserved that.

#OD-15 - Andrew McCutchen, Pirates. Opening Day insert

The first time I see McCutchen in a Giants uniform, I'm going to need a beer next to me.

#108 - Justin Turner, Dodgers, NL Batting Average leaders

#231 - Joe Mauer, Twins

This card advertises the Dairy Queen A1 Bacon Cheeseburger, available for a limited time as part of their $5 Buck Lunch. Good times.

#35 - Logan Forsythe, Dodgers

Woooo! ESPN is broadcasting. Wooooo! It's a three-Dodger pack!

#209 - Eugenio Suarez, Reds

That will be the best pack I open in this box.

Pack 7

#350 - Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

Or maybe not! Wooooo!

I continue to be underwhelmed by the choices for Kershaw's base cards. I wish they could show him in another park besides San Francisco. Getty IS in every ballpark, you know.

#175 - Jose Quintana, Cubs
#64 - Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, NL RBI Leaders
#346 - Max Scherzer, Nationals, NL ERA Leaders

#83-33 - Michael Fulmer, Tigers

Michael Fulmer was born 10 years after the 1983 set came out.

All right, I'm now so depressed I don't know if I can finish this blaster break.







#OD-5 Cody Bellinger, Dodgers, Opening Day insert

Wooooooo! I'm back! Nothing like a card of a Dodgers phenom to make me forget I'm old enough to be everyone on the field's dad!

#144 - Jean Segura, Mariners
#70 - Johnny Cueto, Giants
#150 - Nolan Arenado, Rockies

#33 - Dexter Fowler, Cardinals

Zoom out just a hair and you can get the entire ball in the frame, and the waterslide wouldn't be eating Fowler's foot.

OK, that pack was both depressing and exhilarating.

Pack 8

#293 - Felipe Rivero, Pirates
#184 - Mike Fiers, Astros

#213 - J.A. Happ, Blue Jays

Something very awesome about a red jersey with the word "blue" on it.

#58 - Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
#MLBA-18 - Brian Dozier, Twins, AL Fielding Award insert

LTM-GS - Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins

I made the mistake of reading the odds on the side of the box and every last insert has at least five different parallels.

#130 - Brian Dozier, Twins


#212 - Lance McCullers, Astros, World Series subset

#96 - David Dahl, Rockies

#163 - Mike Leake, Mariners

Aww, no Dodgers.

Pack 9

#41 - Daniel Norris, Tigers
#164 - Adeiny Hechavarria, Rays
#253 - Nelson Cruz, Mariners, AL RBI League Leaders

#TS-5 - Adam Jones, Orioles, Jackie Robinson Day insert

#DJH-18 - Derek Jeter Highlights (Siena College gives Jeter honorary degree, be still my heart)

#OD-11 - Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, Opening Day insert

Home Run Challenge game ad

#4 - Kevin Pillar, Blue Jays
#318 - Danny Duffy, Royals

#302 - Troy Tulowitzki, Blue Jays

#65 - Alex Wood, Dodgers

Pack saved by the final card.

Pack 10

#40 - Carlos Santana, Indians
#348 - Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners
#153 - Scooter Gennett, Reds (local TV sports anchor hack pronounced his name "Ghennett").
#256 - Eric Hosmer, Royals, AL Batting Average League Leaders

#239 - George Springer, Astros, World Series subset, foil parallel

Oh, dear, I should have known that Topps was going to troll me with the Astros this year. Somebody please take this off my hands before I boil it in a big pot of soup.

LTM-YD - Yu Darvish, Dodgers, Legends in the Making insert

My first Dodger Darvish.

#230 - Trevor Story, Rockies

This card fell into a pool of grape soda.

#52 - Brad Hand, Padres
#36 - Anthony Rendon, Nationals

#20 - Chris Sale, Red Sox

I was able to pull Dodgers from six of the 10 packs. That's pretty damn good.

Sooo, each blaster comes with a Players Weekend patch card thingy.

Here are the possibilities:

My guess on who I will get hovers around uninspiring-to-irritating, which means I will probably pull Byron Buxton, Daniel Murphy, Gary Sanchez, Jose Abreu, Nelson Cruz or Yadier Molina.

Also, since Giancarlo Stanton was in virtually every pack, I'm guessing it might be him.

Let's hope it's not Mike Trout either because I can't be looking at that haircut.

All right, here you go:


Well, that should make someone drool a little.

Many thanks, P-Town Tom for the extended look at 2018 Topps. You picked a good one.


  1. I'm in the distinct minority in liking 84 as much or more than 83. I think 84 gets as much love as 88 and its better...

  2. I used to tell my sons I felt old because I was older than all the players. Now I feel really old because my sons are older than most of the players.

  3. I hope that Haniger Father's Day insert had some cool story about his Father flying in from Antarctica to make it to the special game on his birthday, which fell on Father's Day, or something ... otherwise, leave it to Topps to create a "Special Uniform Day" card and then just use a photo that doesn't show anything Special on the Uniform.

  4. I think that, for whatever reason, the ability to replicate the 1988 design on a modern card has evaded Topps. When they had their 2010T 'legends in different Topps sets than you'd expect them' insert set, they tried a 88T McCovey that wasn't particularly close in terms of likeness. Maybe the technology has improved so much that they can't quite nail the font? Maybe they're lazy?

  5. For some reason it cracks me up that the Commemorative Patch disclaimer is on the front of the card. Is it even cloth? It doesn't look like it in scans, but I have not seen any in person.

    1. It's not cloth. I was going to mention that, but I suppose some plastic thing like that could be sewn on sleeve, therefore making it a "patch". Still seems silly calling it a patch.

    2. The other odd thing about the "manu" patch is that it is the same on every card on the Checklist, which is both new, and soooo Topps at the same time. A miniature patch that says "ALL RISE" would be a wee bit more popular, I would think.

      I didn't much care for that logo, that one weekend - looks too similar to man's evolution from monkey to Homo sapiens. But MLB created it in the first place, not Topps. I stick to hanger boxes these days anyway.

  6. The Opening Day inserts are kind of a cool design. I'm with you on the '83s...have a real odd feel to them; prefer Archives cards to these. And.... if you want to trade the Haniger Salute card and the Nelson Cruz LL card, I'd love to take them off your hands!

  7. I've notice there's a lot of night shots in the base set...

  8. Ok, I've got a question. Is there a reason other than the fact that Topps loves Derek Jeter for there to be a Derek Jeter subset again this year? Didn't they do one last year or the year before (I remember sending a card or two to someone who collected it)? Does it celebrate something I'm missing out on? A Jeter-versary of some sort? Or are we just still celebrating Derek Jeter because we can? No offense to Jeter fans intended. I don't even dislike the guy but when does it stop?

  9. My favorite four words in this post are the kinds of things you write that sets your blog apart: "be still my heart." HAHAHAHA

  10. I think the snow we had earlier in the week is what delayed your package, but I'm glad it made it to you on a day you could enjoy it.
    Nice job on pulling all the Dodgers and the Judge patch thingy.

  11. I like the Dexter Fowler card. The crop of Pirates this year was pretty weak in terms of checklist and photos.

  12. I can't believe Topps would put out cards patting themselves on the back for sales. But, nothing should surprise me anymore, really. You nailed it with the Topps Now motto.

  13. I just sold the Judge Commemorative Patch I pulled for a little more than the price of one of those blasters. Can't wait to turn it into $20 worth of vintage at the card show in a couple weeks! (Also, I'll take that Springer foil parallel off your hands if it's not already spoken for.)

  14. Thanks for this post. I came really, really close to buying one of these blasters at Target this afternoon. After seeing this post, I have zero regrets about putting the one in my basket back on the shelf.