Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mood swings and a box of A&G


Oh, hi, there. Just wanted to get your attention.

I endured a very schizoid day today. Up one nano-second, down the next. Fortunately, you will see only the good parts, which include some random thoughts on my freshly opened box of 2010 Allen & Ginter.

But even while opening the Ginter goodies, I found myself ooing over one card and frowning over the next. I don't know if it was the mood I was in or if that is the state of this year's A&G. I hope to buy another box to find out. But at the price of boxes these days, I'll probably wait a good long time to come up with my final answer (yes, I pulled the Regis Philbin card).

This is the box that I will use for Gint-a-Cuffs II. So, I can't reveal everything here. But I'll show you just enough to reveal some of what I was thinking during the course of opening the box. I'll even post a running scale of my mood, so you can see how spastic I was during the whole thing.

OK, here we go:

Progress: Box just opened
Mood level: +10

Progress: Pack 2 of 24
Mood level: +10
Observation: Out of all of the base cards I wanted to pull in the box, this was the card. There is nothing more desperate than seeing someone beg for a card of their favorite player, having done that a few times and having to look myself in the mirror afterward. Kershaw looks borderline yokel-ish. Or he could be borderline psychotic. It's a fine line.

Status: Pack 3
Mood level: +7
Observation: At this point, I had a general idea of what A&G was offering this year. I have to admit, I need to get used to some of it. The pale blue background isn't doing it for me. It reminds me of the color on Champs hockey and that color reminded me of the color once used to paint hospital walls. It's not a happy color. Maybe that's my own hang-up, but it's there. Secondly, all of the people look like they're wearing rouge. Thirdly, that rookie card logo sure looks odd on a card that's supposed to appear like it's more than 100 years old. Finally, the feel of the front of the card is a little too slick for me.

Status: Pack 4
Mood level: +8
Observation: This national animals insert set is pretty cool. I liked all three that came out of the box, but this one was the best.

Status: Pack 5
Mood level: +2
Observation: I saw this card and let out an audible tone of disgust. I'm sure you've all seen this picture before. It was in just about every other pack of 2008 Stadium Club. Later in the box I pulled this card:

Yes, it's the disturbing Pujols photo. I haven't checked to see if this is the exact same picture that appeared in the 2009 Topps base set, but if it is, that's real shoddy work by Topps. If you're going to repeat a photo in multiple sets, do it in Opening Day. Don't do it in this set. Especially for someone like Pujols.

But there's more. As you'll see in a minute.

Status: Pack 10
Mood level: +3
Observation: In the category of the card that made me jump off the couch the highest, this card would have won, if not for second-to-last pack, when I pulled this:

Normally being surrounded by flames is a bad thing. I guess this guy, um, Wawra, has made it work for him. That and red-tinted contact lenses.

Status: Pack 17
Mood level: +5
Observation: This guy bears a faint resemblance to a man named Andre Ethier. I had to stare at it for a good while to make sure it was him.

Status: Pack 17
Mood level: -1
Observation: I know the majority of the A&G cards are posed shots, so maybe Topps thinks it can get away with things like this. But there are obsessive, squirrely people in this hobby who go back into the recesses of their collecting mind and turn up this:


But, wait, there's more! If you act now, you can pull this Jorge Posada card:

That looks like THIS Jorge Posada card:

Tartar sauce, Topps! What are you doing? All of this Strasburg short-print smokescreen stuff may be distracting other collectors, but it's not fooling me. FIND NEW PHOTOS. IT'S NOT THE 1960s ANYMORE!!!!!

See what you're doing? You're making the A&G apologist rag on his favorite product.

Status: Pack 19
Mood level: -3
Observation: One thing that bothered me the last couple of years with A&G is how small the image is with the horizontal cards. It's extremely noticeable this year, especially on the minis. Hawpe's head on this mini card is about the size of a pebble. Some people of limited visual ability are going to have to hold it either 2 inches from their face or a foot-and-a-half away in order to see the image.

Status: Pack 21
Mood level: -1
Observation: The "This Day in History" insert series totally rocks. I love "This date ..." stuff, and to marry it with a player's birthdate is an awesome idea. With one card in every pack, the design gets a little repetitive, but overall it's quite cool.

Status: Pack 22
Mood level: +2
Observation: Coolest card in the set? Maybe. The only thing holding it back is that the team Gonzalez plays for is annoying the hell out of me.

Status: Pack 24
Mood level: +1
Observation: At one point, I thought A&G had finally come around on the musician front and issued a card of honky-tonk country & western/southern rock pioneer Gary Stewart. I should have known better. This Gary Stewart bounced up and down on a pogo stick the most times in a row. I am not impressed. I don't watch "America's Got Talent" either.

A&G does a great job of recognizing authors and explorers, inventors and record-breakers, as it should. But musicians get semi-ignored. It would be totally cool if there was an A&G card of Johnny Cash or B.B. King or Robert Plant or Ann Wilson. Instead we get Jordin Sparks.

Final mood level: +2

Couldn't meet the hype, I guess.

As you may have noticed, I left out a number of key cards. Those will be revealed when I kick off my end of Gint-a-Cuffs in the next day or so. I've got to get the scoring system down. Maybe I'll take the day off from work to figure it out.

But it will take me longer to figure out where I rate this season of A&G with past years. We shall see.


  1. I can't stand recycled images, but it's even worse when an image is recycled on an 'art' themed set. Pathetic.

  2. I noticed the recycled images as well. Specifically when I pulled an Andy Pettitte, I remembered the card from last year because I picked up a regular and a code card of him.

    My full box results will be posted tomorrow because I don't know squat about this Gint-A-Cuffs malarky.

  3. I know you didn't show your hand here, but I have a feeling my own GaC break will be full of the same ups-and-downs you had. I havent decided if that's good or bad yet.

  4. That Stuart Scott card is sooo not accurate ... he needs to have a pronounced lazy eye.

  5. That Chamberlain 08 SC makes an appearance as a play at the plate card on my blog very soon. Like this weekend.

  6. I've about given up on the Topps monopoly, and your thoughts on this repetitive set just reminds me why (that and the multitude of inserts in their base product).

  7. The repetitiveness is unacceptable period, even worse in an art set as Joe said, and absolutely unacceptable in a set that is probably the highlight of many baseball collectors' year. It certainly has me less excited and less likely to buy any significant amount of these. I'm more likely to go with Chicle despite its own flaws.

  8. I totally support a much improved musician lineup. It would be sweet to see Eric Clapton, Freddy Mercury, and Eddie Vedder in the same card binder.

  9. BrooklynMet - this is EXACTLY why I've been buying Chicle this year! Some of the cards are bizarre, to say the least, but at least they're original.

  10. Maybe the recycled images have something to do with the code breaking stuff?

    More likely it's probably just Topps being lazy, though.

  11. I was already on the fence about this product, so I'm now leaning towards not collecting it. I think I may reallocate the money I would have spent on this towards finishing up my 2008 and 2009 sets as well as buying some packs from 2006 and 2007.

  12. I just got my first couple packs of '10 ginter. My second pack had a favorite of mine, Mark Reynolds. Where it happened to not be the same exact photo it was close enough. I am a little disappointed, I feel the did very well with the base 2010 Topps set, but they seemed to "mail" much of this "in".