Friday, June 15, 2018
Stuck in traffic with Series 2
In the whirlwind that has been my life this month, I found myself going absolutely nowhere for a portion of Thursday afternoon.
I was in the middle of yet another road trip, the third one this week. This one was for work, and because it was job-related, it became quickly apparent that it would be a waste of time. The only thing that could save it was a side visit to the nearby Walmart to see if I could spot some Topps Series 2.
I found it right away, which was shocking as I was pretty much in the middle of the country, where SUVs share the road with tractors and buggies. Who knew that the Amish wanted Series 2, too?
The problem was getting back into civilization to open the contents of the 72-card hanger box I bought. The neighboring village is undergoing a summer construction project smack in the middle of downtown. It's not much of a downtown, but the main road happens to be the main artery in the entire county. Everyone -- and by everyone I mean every tractor trailer hauling anything from Plattsburgh to Syracuse -- is driving that road through that tiny downtown.
And I had to drive that road, too.
I encountered the back of the traffic line way back near the golf course. I wasn't anywhere near downtown. And that's where I sat. I felt really sorry for the dog sitting in a portable kennel in the back of the pickup in front of me. We stared and stared at each other as the minutes passed, until I realized -- HEY! I have Series 2 in the car!
And so I opened it. There in a supposedly moving vehicle that wasn't moving at all, Series 2 made its debut in the middle of a traffic snarl.
Believe me, I had time to examine every card from behind the wheel. If I had set up that scanner app on my phone, I probably could have published this entire blog post while waiting for anything with wheels to move.
So let's take a look at what I found while stranded in that bucolic-yet-orange-cone-infested village:
#523 - Matt Bush, Rangers
Matt Bush's wild-and-crazy career stats line has been reduced to an uninteresting three lines on the back of this card. Gotta save room for #TOPPSBASEBALL, I guess.
#656 - Brian Goodwin, Nationals
Brian Goodwin appears to be looking for a second fly ball.
#671 - Tyler Clippard, Astros
#543 - Luis Castillo, Reds
This card is appropriate because every time I see a Reds game on TV, there is no one in the stands. It's one empty red seat after another.
#462 - Paul DeJong, Cardinals
#422 - Victor Caratini, Cubs
#698 - Ryan Sherriff, Cardinals
Are you counting rookie cards? Normally this is something I do with Update, but we've got two already, plus a future star/rookie cup.
#655 - Andre Ethier, Dodgers
OK, I can stop showing every card now, I finally pulled a Dodger.
Ethier's appearance is interesting as it was pretty obvious he wasn't going to play in 2018. With just 22 games in 2017 (and 16 in 2016), I wonder why Topps decided on the final tribute?
#683 - Adam Eaton, Nationals
#512 - Mike Napoli, Rangers
#513 - Mike Zunino, Mariners
#592 - Gorkys Hernandez, Giants
Much too nice of a card for a filthy, dirty Giant. Each player should have flies hovering around them. I wish bad things for this team this weekend.
#673 - Adam Frazier, Pirates
#572 - Dillon Maples, Cubs (3rd RC)
#503 - Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
I'm starting to become mildly surprised when I pull veterans. That's not a good sign.
#699 - Drew Smyly, Cubs
#521 - Jose Osuna, Pirates
#393 - Corey Kluber, Indians
Time for the horizontal portion of our show.
#595 - Addison Reed, Twins
#407 - Pat Neshek, Phillies
#447 - Carlos Gomez, Rangers
Please allow me an insensitive rant.
I am growing tired of the increasing number of hitters wearing the protective helmet guard across the side of their face. I understand some started wearing it after getting hit in the face, I get that. But have all these players had cheekbones shattered? I feel weird even saying this since it's a safety thing, but I don't like the look. It detracts from the personality of the game, and makes it more anonymous, like football. I get that the pitcher is throwing 100 but with all the arm armor already, does anyone have guts enough to step inside the batter's box as they are?
#551 - Yacksel Rios, Phillies (4th RC)
#564 - Mets team card
This card shares a card number with Joey Rickard but it is not one of the dozens of variations in the set. It's just a flat-out error. There is no card #565, just two #564 cards. "Oh what a tangled web we weave ..."
#365 - Dynamic Dodgers (checklist)
And here's the other card number out-and-out error. This card shares #365 with Mallex Smith. There is no card #364. It's like we traveled back to the 1950s when skip-numbers were a regular thing, except we've added a pile of variation cards, confusing the crap out set collectors again.
#567 - Felix Hernandez, Mariners
#403 - Luis Torrens, Padres
I think Zip-Zap should collect every Luis Torrens card, Tim Wallach style. I'm more than happy to give up a Padres card.
#494 - Adalberto Mejia, Twins
#578 - Melky Cabrera, Royals
The horizontal cards are much more interesting than the vertical cards. I think it's time for that all-horizontal set.
#620 - Chris Young, Angels
There is some photoshopping funny stuff going on with this card. Young does not wear No. 20 with the Angels. He wears No. 24. He did not wear No. 20 with the Red Sox, his previous team, either. He wore No. 30.
#644 - Carlos Perez, Angels
#367 - Liam Hendriks, A's
#622 - Ryan Rua, Rangers
#525 - Johan Camargo, Braves
#659 - Diamondbacks team card
Pretty card. The photo happens to have been taken in Dodger Stadium. It's also the first game of last year's NLDS against the Dodgers. The Dodgers won this game (and the series). Perhaps it should feature the Dodgers lined up instead.
#S-55 - Dillon Maples, Cubs, Topps Salute (5th rookie card)
This is the second Dillon Maples rookie card that I've pulled in this box. Try explaining this to the collector from 1983.
#351 - Bryce Harper, Nationals, gold parallel
Harper's presence on the front of the box is so powerful, it created a gold parallel inside.
#83AS-54 - Greg Maddux, Braves, 1983 All-Star insert
#579 - Carson Fulmer, White Sox, foil parallel
#585 - Brandon Crawford, Giants, image variation
My heart sank when I saw this. I knew it was an SP instantly and it had to be another dirty Giant. This will be packaged up for Adam as soon as I possibly can (which means it'll be in my house like a month too long). I hate that I even scanned it.
#II-13 - Mark McGwire, A's, Instant Impact insert
The scanner cut off the bottom of the card, but you get the idea. This is a new insert series for Series 2. It appears to be a rookie-retro theme?
#AJ-16 & AJ-6 - Aaron Judge Walmart series cards
These cards don't deserve their own individual scans. I clearly went to the wrong big box store, because the Target exclusives are Cody Bellinger cards. But I would rather collect colored border parallels than a bunch more Bellinger cards.
#LITM-12 - Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals, Legends in the Making insert
#LITM-5 - Kyle Schwarber, Cubs, Legends in the Making insert
I just know this is making some Cardinals and Cubs fans all itchy.
#568 - J. C. Ramirez, Angels
#664 - Gregor Blanco, Giants
#556 - Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox
#483 - Drew Pomeranz, Red Sox
#648 - Derek Holland, Giants
#371 - Cole Hamels, Rangers
#457 - Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox
#359 - Wade Miley, Brewers
#464 - Travis Jankowski, Padres
#598 - David Robertson, Yankees
#677 - Brandon Moss, A's
#499 - Justin Bour, Marlins
#385 - Jason Hammel, Royals
#449 - D.J. LeMahieu, Rockies
#687 - Blake Treinen, A's
#695 - Matt Davidson, White Sox
#582 - Albert Pujols, Angels
Wooo! I got a little bored there!
#541 - Dwight Smith Jr., Blue Jays
#496 - Leury Garcia, White Sox
#637 - Manny Pina, Brewers
#647 - Jose Urena, Marlins
#484 - Kenta Maeda, Dodgers
Yay! Just in time for his return to the starting rotation! The Dodgers are proving that you can have zero idea of where your next starting pitcher is coming from and still be in contention.
#373 - Jorge Bonifacio, Royals
#545 - Nicholas Castellanos, Tigers
#472 - Matt Garza, Brewers
#508 - Ryon Healy, Mariners
#617 - Doug Fister, Rangers
#507 - Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks
All right, as you can see toward the back half of the package I was getting as bored with the cards as I was bored sitting in backed up traffic.
But it did make for a nice distraction.
I have to say, I don't understand how commuters in major cities deal with traffic like this on a daily basis. I remember a cousin of mine mentioning -- when he lived in New Jersey -- that he spent four hours of his day driving to and from work. No thank you.
Not even if it allows for opening baseball card packs on the Thruway.