Sunday, February 9, 2014
2014 Topps, here, there and everywhere
Fifty years ago today, the Beatles arrived on our television sets. Perhaps you've heard. At that particular time, the Dodgers were the defending world champions. And kids were getting ready to pull Sandy, Willie and Don out of packs of 1964 Topps.
In some ways, not a lot has changed. OK, the Dodgers don't win Series titles anymore. But we're still talking about the Beatles. And we're still waiting for that next time when we can pull cards from a pack.
The new cards are out now, but I haven't bought any since that hanger box from a couple of weeks ago. The weather -- yes, it snowed again today -- has kept me from even thinking of turning my vehicle in the direction of the big boxes. Not that I've been all that curious.
Fortunately, I haven't had to risk getting rear-ended by some newbie winter driver from South Carolina (I live near a military base) for the sake of some current cards. People from the east, southwest and northwest have all sent me 2014 samplings in the last few days -- most of the Dodger variety.
Here is one from Shoebox Legends. (Thanks for the Boyd, Shane, it will come in handy). Beckett really doesn't deserve a card after last season. I'd rather see a manager on a card instead of a guy who got into eight games -- unless we're going to pull a Topps Total here, which we're not.
This is an excellent card of Hanley. He needs to clean up his helmet because it grosses me out in that way when you spill jam on your hand. But otherwise, just keep the man healthy.
As Phungo and others said, all those angles and swoops on the border were designed for pretty parallels. We can't have thin borders anymore apparently. We also can't have non-white borders anymore either. And it's talk like this that makes me hate my parallel-desiring self.
This is the last 2014 card from Shoebox. I like these -- and I don't like many of the inserts. It's a nod to the '83 super veteran set that was done well. And, yes, this is going into the Dodger binder, where it can haunt me until I write a letter to Paul DePodesta that says, "You were supposed to be the next Theo!" in about 7,050 point type.
I also got a bunch of 2014 Dodgers from Tom out in Oregon. He's always sending me his excess Dodgers. What a great fellow.
Here is one of probably 49 Puig cards in this year's set. I'm sorry, I had nothing to do with that. But I'm hoping that he'll have a sophomore season that creates 149 Puig cards next year. Because it'll mean someone is doing something right.
OK, this thing.
Let's address this. Were we so fired up to make sure we got Michael Young in a Dodger uniform that we took whatever photo we could find from the 21 games he played for the Dodgers? This is just embarrassing.
Maybe it's not as embarrassing as this. But it sure makes me wonder if the card companies have some sort of vendetta against Young. It makes me hope I never show up on a card. If this is what happens, I can't imagine what Topps would select for someone like me or Stale Gum or Cardboard Junkie.
This is my first glimpse of the green parallels. Everyone's calling them "lime green" parallels. But that's not lime.
That is lime green. It's darker. Greener.
The parallels have a lighter look, like they would be at home on the back of the 1967 Topps set.
I prefer "pea soup" parallels.
Yup, Topps hired Linda Blair to throw up all over its parallels.
Yasiel Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Future Is Now Excuse To Put Young Stars In Endless Insert And Parallel Sets.
But cynical night owl does rather like the little rainbow circle effect.
This is a fancy, shiny, thick-but-not-too-thick insert. Some "Before They Were Great" mumbo jumbalaya. The back mentions Koufax's time at the University of Cincinnati. A picture of him in U of C gear would have been great. But it's a nice-ish card.
Meanwhile, I received two packs of 2014 Topps from Brian at Play At The Plate as part of a contest victory. Brian broke up a blaster and send the contents out to a few different winners.
I'm gonna open the packs here, because I haven't actually ripped an actual pack of 2014 Topps yet. All I did was open the shrink-wrap off of a brick of card from the hanger box.
But before that, two extra Dodgers that Brian included:
There's a card of Zack Greinke in a legitimate Dodger uniform and yet another card of Sandy, because he has more cards in 2014 than two-thirds of the guys who are actually playing in 2014.
OK, time to open some packs:
#261 - Michael Brantley, Indians
Someone I think about only when I open baseball cards.
#208 - Dayan Viciedo, White Sox
Same as above. If this is going to be an all AL Central pack, I can just move up bed time a few hours.
#29 - AL Home Run Leaders
These things still need to go away, although at least the photos are zoomed in on the faces more. I'd prefer the portrait look that we got in the '70s. It'd make the cards more memorable.
#FN-11 - Zach Wheeler, Mets, Future Is Now
Likely on its way to Max of Starting Lineup.
#72 - Michael Young, Dodgers, blue parallel
Mr. Young is still GUH-ing it out, Walmart style. I should have known a Michael Young fan would get a Young parallel for me.
#71 - Anthony Rizzo, Cubs, blue parallel
I both owe Cubs fans and know Rizzo collectors. Which means I'll probably be cutting this card into sixths.
#248 - Travis d'Arnaud, Mets
My pre-emptive strike against the YES network is to simply turn it to SNY each season. So I see an inordinate number of Mets games and get to know catchers like John Buck and Anthony Recker more than I really should. Get ready Travis, for my stalker-like knowledge of you.
#76 - Mike Aviles, Indians
... And back to the AL Central
#99 - Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays
Not a word on the back about being a PED user. That should be mandatory. I don't know how much of a deterrent it would be, but I'd enjoy sorting my cards by PED violations.
#64 - Will Venable, Padres
When are they going to send the Padres down to Level 2?
#UC-48 - Hank Aaron, Upper Class insert
Still fancy-yet-boring. But mostly what I'm thinking is why is Hank winding up for the pitch?
#126 - David DeJesus, Rays, blue parallel
Someone wants me to collected the dejesus out of DeJesus this year. Already have red and blue.
#195 - Nick Castellanos, Tigers
I am reminded that if you are buying blasters to complete a set, you are failing at life. I've been writing about this for at least two years. Eight cards in a pack and two are parallels (and one is an insert)? Yeah, that's worth $19.99.
#1 - Mike Trout, Angels
Cover boy. Thanks to the most annoying baseball fan I know -- who happens to be an Angels fan -- I will be rooting for nothing but bad things for cover boy in 2014.
#279 - Corey Kluber, Indians
Guy had 11 wins last year. And I've never heard of him. I'm bombing at baseball spectating.
#165 - Rajai Davis, Blue Jays
Blue Jay pack bookends!!!! WeeeeYaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!
OK, that pack blew. Except for Aaron, of course.
All of that should take care of the 2014 Topps itch for another week or more. I don't know what the week holds. Lots of work, I know. Probably more snow. By the time Friday arrives, maybe I'll be grabbing at some more Topps just to make the pain go away for 5 minutes.
Hey! Maybe that should be Topps' slogan next year.
"Topps Baseball. Temporarily Masking Your Pain"
But, really, thanks for all the new cards, guys.