Sunday, July 15, 2018
Back to basics
Back in January, I received a monster package from Adam of ARPSmith's Sports Obsession.
It was filled with all kinds of Dodger memorabilia, and in the following months I've found a place for just about all of it. The books are on the book shelf (waiting patiently to be read), the baseball is sitting on my roll-top desk, the children's Yasiel Puig uniform is currently in research and development as I ponder framing it and hanging it wherever I can find space.
But the stars of the package were the baseball cards, a whole bunch of early '80s Donruss and Fleer and a healthy box of Series 1 of 2004 Topps. It took me months to file all those cards, but I just finished the last batch of '04 Topps and it's ready to go next to my '05 Topps cards.
This seems like the appropriate time to address another package from Adam sent more recently. This one is much smaller and much more current. It's all Dodger needs from Series 2 of 2018 Topps flagship.
I know everyone is tired of seeing Series 2 cards, but just ponder this for a minute:
How different are these cards than, say, Stadium Club?
People flip out over the images in Stadium Club, but can't you see the Toles card in Stadium Club? The Dodgers team card in Stadium Club? Even the Justin Turner card in Stadium Club?
They are all Stadium Club-esque images and as the quality of flagship photos has improved, and the borders have disappeared, flagship is looking more and more like Stadium Club. (Some of this was addressed in the comments of my previous post, but I wrote this post before those comments were made).
So when people say -- "why can't flagship be like Stadium Club?" -- I think it's more like Stadium Club than it's ever been. Hell, all the pictures come from the same place, Getty Images. The only differences between the two are a little more gloss and a bit higher quality cardboard.
I think flagship has recovered fairly well from the dark years of 2016 and 2017. I'll even admit that the pictures are better than 2013-15, when the obsession with focusing on players' nostrils began.
So while people may be bored with Series 2 already, it feels good to me to go back to basics when I look at the cards in that light -- that flagship is now Stadium Club lite (so, why am I paying so much for a 5-card pack of Stadium Club?).
Adam also sent several of the Target-exclusive Cody Bellinger 2017 retrospective insert cards.
As I discovered a little while ago, this is a 30-card insert set, so I have a little ways to go on these.
Also, even though I'm talking about flagship here, this is not 1985 flagship. Take a look at the card on the top right.
Every insert set has parallels now.
This appears to be a black parallel (note the black background at the top with the extra "highlights" word).
Doing a little bit of research on Trading Card Database, I found this set features blue, gold, platinum and red parallels. I didn't see black listed. And it's not numbered on the back, because why the heck would a collector want to know what they have?
Five different parallels of a store-exclusive insert in a flagship set is about the most modern thing about modern collecting. There is no way in the world I will be chasing all or any of those. And you can scratch that thing I said about getting back to basics.
I guess flagship is "basic-er" than some other current sets. But there is nothing basic about modern cards.