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Something new ... happy?

Lately I've gotten the feeling that I'm boring readers.

Oh, not the diehard regulars, the ones who comment all the time. I'm still connecting with them and very appreciative. I'm referring to the casual readers -- the ones who appear in January, when the new baseball cards pop up and the buzz is in the air and then disappear at this time of year, when they've completely lost interest.

It happens every year. I've been around the block a few times now and I notice the readership numbers taking a dive every fall. It's that ADD epidemic, you know.

So I press on, because readers aren't the only reason I do this, and write about what interests me. That usually involves cards of the past, and the last few posts have been related to that. I actually think they were semi-interesting posts, examining the best of the 1983 Topps set, and how Dennis Eckersley's cards should get more play than they do.

I devoted quite a bit of time that I really don't have to pulling cards and scanning them and writing about them and then putting back the cards, all in order, to the tune of crickets. Yeah, I understand that the playoffs are on and people are a little distracted, but people are still wasting time at work, right? Has every office invested in a card blog filter at the same time?

So desperate times call for desperate measures. It was time to find some new cards to draw some readers who are bored with cards invented before they were born.

I've been trying to get to the store to buy a light bulb for a week and a half. It is literally that busy in my world where I've had to stumble around in the dark because life isn't letting me shed some light on it. Today was the day I could finally break away for a few watts.

I stopped at Target and grabbed a hanger box of Topps Update -- about as brand new as it gets. And I did it for you because it would have been a lot more logical to buy some Series 2 seeing as I'm very far from completing it.

Let's see what's in this set. I promise it's all people with modern haircuts.

#US30 - David Phelps, Marlins

A former Yankee who is now a Marlin. I had a lot more to say about Dennis Eckersley.

#US325 - Matt Kemp, Padres

Poor Matty is doomed to third-to-fifth place finishes for however long he can stand it. Maybe the Dodgers will trade Carl Crawford to get him back.

#US205 - Andres Blanco, Phillies

It wouldn't be Update if I knew everyone. Blanco played in over 100 games so I probably should know who he is. But like I said, I can't even find time to buy a light bulb.

#US157 - Noah Syndergaard, Mets

Here's the deal: if the Royals advance, I'm rooting for the Royals. If the Blue Jays advance, I'm rooting for the Mets. But really I'm rooting for a decent headline for the moment when whichever team wins it all.

#US122 - Marlon Byrd, Reds

Poor Update can't keep up with GM maneuverings. Byrd moved on to the Giants in their failed attempt to weasel their way into another postseason. It didn't work.

#US263 - Pedro Strop, Cubs

Not the least bit sad that the Cubs lost. I'd list reasons but I need readers, remember?

#US49 - Mark Canha, Athletics
#US348 - Jonathan Broxton, Cardinals
#US60 - Branden Pinder, Yankees

#US172 - Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers, All-Star

The first Dodger is in one of those goofy All-Star caps. I feared that these would appear in Update and they have. Those caps were pretty cool in the late '70s when they were all the rage (and I owned a Dodger one -- there is a photo out there with me wearing one, but nobody needs to see pre-teen night owl). But they don't look good now. At all.

#US369 - Cory Rasmus, Angels

#US202 - Manny Machado, Orioles, HR Derby

Home Run Derby cards. Still the worst part of Update.

#US222 - Arquimedes Caminero, Pirates
#US296 - J.B. Shuck, White Sox
#FHR-27 - Kolten Wong, Cardinals, 1st Home Run insert

#FHR-23 - Ryne Sandberg, Cubs, 1st Home Run insert

#US302 - Chris Sale, White Sox, All-Star

This seems like one of the 497 variations in Update this year. I'll have to look it up.

(I looked it up: it's not).

#US33 - Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, checklist

There's the feel-good comeback story of the year right now! I don't know about you, but I expected him to hit .146 and shoot-up steroids right there on the field. Who knew that Alex Rodriguez could swing a bat?

#US114 - Jason Garcia, Orioles; Scott Copeland, Blue Jays

I like these rookie combo cards. They're both old-school (reminiscent of the late '60s/early '70s 2-rookie cards) and new-school (action photos). Too bad the back doesn't include minor league stats like the old days.

#US154 - Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, All-Star

Goldschmidt and Trout. Two guys the Dodgers have no interest in seeing.

#US159 - Darren O'Day, Orioles

I like the photo, but you've got to help out the non-American League fan here. Can I get a "right" or "second from right" on the back, please? That's a little advice from the guy who writes captions for a living.

#US52 - Cody Anderson, Indians; Phil Klein, Rangers, Rookie Combos

#US134 - Steven Matz, Mets

Had no idea former Dodger Tom Goodwin was the Mets' first base coach.

#US82 - Francisco Lindor, Indians
#US291 - Eddie Butler, Rockies

#US257 - Josh Hamilton, Rangers

This card reminds me of the warm-fuzzy days of Update in the '80s when you could view the big stars who were traded in mid-season in their new uniforms. Granted, Hamilton was a Ranger before, but this card makes me happy I bought some Update.

#US297 - Wade Davis, Royals, All-Star
#US345 - Blaine Boyer, Twins

#US171 - Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals, All-Star

The man at left is Albert Pujols, because he doesn't have enough of his own cards.

#US330 - Nate Karns, Rays

#US27 - Nathan Eovaldi, Yankees

One of about 20 former Dodger pitchers that they could have used this year.

#US5 - Ryan Vogelsong, Giants
#US379 - Cameron Maybin, Braves
#US32 - Blake Swihart, Red Sox

#US382 - Dan Uggla, Nationals

#US35 - Justin Bour, Marlins
#US390 - Donovan Solano, Marlins
#US334 - Clint Barmes, Padres

#US179 - Adam Libatore, Dodgers

I am rather impressed that a moderately used relief pitcher made it into Update. Nice work, Update.

#US352 - Jose Reyes, Rockies

#US112 - Conor Gllaspie, Angels
#US200 - Adam Jones, Orioles, All-Star
#US132 - Gerardo Parra, Orioles
#US12 - Travis Ishikawa, Pirates
#US354 - Brandon Finnegan, Reds

#US63 - Kelvin Herrera, Royals, All-Star

Red-and-black Royals cap. You mad-cap MLB, you.

#US88 - Marc Rzepczynski, Padres

#H-63 - Babe Ruth, Braves, Highlight Of The Year insert

That's supposedly Ruth as a Brave. I don't need another Ruth card, but at least he's a Brave.

#RS-21 - Albert Pujols, Cardinals, Rookie Sensations

This happened 14 years ago. I'm old.

#US367 - Frank Garces, Padres, gold

Night Owl yawning loudly.

#R-11 - Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians, Rarities insert

This seems like a promising insert, celebrating rare feats. I kind of like the look, too.

#MLB - 18 - Max Scherzer, Nationals, All-Star Game Access Insert

These, meanwhile, look like something that fell out of Opening Day. They're retail only.

#WW-7 - Joe DiMaggio, Yankees, Whatever Works insert

These, I think (I'm so knowledgeable) refer to player superstitions. The back mentions how DiMaggio would always touch second base on his way to and from center field.

#US395 - Dexter Fowler, Cubs, gold

Stop crying in your beers, Cubs fans, it's a goldie!

#US71 - Joakim Soria, Pirates

OK, hold on to something, it's a Chicago-centric string of cards ...

#US208 - Addison Russell, Cubs

Future superstar who will bring the Cubs 12 straight World Series titles.

#US228 - Geovany Soto, White Sox

Former chemically-induced Cub.

#US244 - Colby Rasmus, Astros

Not Chicago-related, but scary-looking dude who should always be pictured from a distance.

#US283 - Kris Bryant, Cubs

Captain America. You know what? He's just a nice, down-to-earth guy who just loves baseball and is not a cranky bastard who is full of himself thanks a lot all you non-Cubs rookies who offended our very delicate sensibilities because you flipped a bat or wore lots of eye black. Jerk-offs.

#US268 - Troy Tulowitzki, Blue Jays

I've missed virtually the entire postseason. I don't even know if I was supposed to be outraged over Tulowitzki getting thrown out of that one game.

#US306 - Vidal Nuno, Mariners

#US136 - Byron Buxton, Twins

#US91 - Brad Boxberger, Rays, All-Star


#US128 - Brock Holt, Red Sox, All-Star
#US18 - Michael Blazek, Brewers
#US267 - Joe Ross, Nationals
#US130 - Jonathan Villar, Astros

#US129 - David Ross, Cubs

One of the few very slim Dodger connections on the Cubs this postseason.

#US280 - Mike Bolsinger, Dodgers

Let me clue you in on something, and I like Bolsinger. He will never be a star.

#US207 - Chris Young, Royals

#US103 - Joey Gallo, Rangers
#US141 - Glen Perkins, Twins, All-Star

And there you are. New enough for you?

Don't get me wrong. I wanted to buy the Update. There is still a part of me that likes the 2015 design so much that I want to complete all three series.

In fact, I ended up forgetting to buy that light bulb.

So I'll be making another trip again tomorrow.

We'll see if I get something sensible like Series 2.

Readers be damned.


Bubba said…
The first thing I did after I read this post was to click on the "autumn reader blues" label on the bottom. I was intrigued and was laughing at it. Alas... no such other posts. This should be a series. I think I enjoy cynical Night Owl.
Oh, Night Owl. Sometimes we readers just can't complete the post. I started two or three posts but with work and kids . . . well, ya know, there are times when other priorities get in the way.
I now have to tell you that I really enjoyed the best team player cards from1983 and the Eck blogs. Because I'm not a fan of new cards, although I'll still read about them, I enjoy what you have to say about the cards from the "good ol' days".
Keep on trucking. Do what you like best. Continue writing about the Dodgers, I understand. I'll keep reading. I look forward to reading what you have to share with us. Just keep doing what you do.

I agree about those AS hats. They ALL stink. Didn't like the ones from the 1970/80's either.

Oh, and by the way, who knew that Jose Reyes was still in the majors?
gcrl said…
yes, continue to write about what interests you. it's each person's perspectives on their collection that i like to read about. otherwise, i'd just read beckett stuff. as for the cards themselves, i bought a rack pack and got many of the same cards - i'm pretty sure in the same order from soria through boxberger. anyhoo, the fowler is actually a throwback insert and not a gold parallel.
JediJeff said…
GCRL is right about the Fowler. Now send it to me cuz I need that variation!
night owl said…
Whuuuuh? -- Can't. Keep. Up.
RAZ said…
I liked your Rodriguez comment. I failed at guessing the Rays. There is some pretty good UPF (Ugly Pitching Face) in this batch (Eovaldi, Young).
Jeff said…
A) That Goldschmidt goes in my Trout collection
B) I think GCRL answered it, but that Fowler "gold" looks different than the Garces "gold"
C) Why does the Bolsinger card say he grew up near Wrigley, when he grew up in Texas?
Marcus said…
I have a soft spot for those middle relievers that rarely if ever get cards, so it figures that Topps waited until the Padres had one of the worst bullpens in their Petco Park history to start adding these guys. Garces and Rzepchisknfwoeklnwosky were some pretty frustrating guys to watch. They also have a double-player card of two guys (Campos and Mazzoni) who combined to give up 23 runs on 24 hits in 9 innings. But at least we got Matt Kemp, right?
night owl said…
Quick research says he spent the first 10 years of his life in Chicago, but then apparently moved to Texas as he graduated from high school in McKinney, Texas. The "born" information on the back of his card is incorrect. He was born in Chicago, not McKinney, Texas.
Twitch said…
Dang, everybody's pulling awesome Cubbies today...
BobWalkthePlank said…
I like the cards like Darren O'Day as it showcases all the teams All Stars, but that Max Scherzer is terrible looking. Here is a card when you can only see the side of the face. It could have just as well been a Todd Frazier.
Tony L. said…
It's funny how readership spikes incredibly in April. Run a contest or two in April and your readership numbers soar into the half-a-thousand range. This time of year, I'm lucky to get 50 hits on a post!
Big Tone said…
I'm diggin' that Noah Syndergaard and Matz !Don't feel bad night owl,my site averages about 1 comment every 10 posts,lol!If It weren't for Matt and Nick from Dime Boxes,I would have to assume that everyone Is just pleading the 5th.Wouldn't want to incriminate themselves by admitting to being at the pub ;)
Commishbob said…
You make current entertaining, and for me, that's about as big a compliment as there can be!

And yes, Colby Rasmus is scary looking.

And yes, the ASG hats were awful.

And yes, Home Run Derby cards invariably make me think of Chris Berman so they are terrible.
Unknown said…
Thanks for sharing I have seen enough here to realize that I do not need to rush out and buy the Update set. They look very cool, but I just have so many other sets to catch up on, maybe in 2030 I can start putting together my 2015 sets.
Brian said…
You could have told me that the guy in the red shirt and sunglasses in the background was Brad Boxberger and I would have thought it was an odd framing choice, but couldn't have proved you wrong.
Mark Hoyle said…
Thanks for showing these. Now I have to search out who's in it for Redsox
Stack22 said…
"#US354 - Brandon Finnegan, Reds"

This set is just obnoxiously large.
Jeff said…
Nice catch. We had his birthplace wrong at the BR Bullpen.
Stubby said…
No "Pride and Perseverance" inserts? That's supposed to be both hobby and retail and a fairly easy pull at that. Its also possibly the best insert set Topps has done in years. How can you argue with an insert set that offers you cards of "Dummy" Hoy, Curtis Pride, Jim Abbott, and Pete Gray? And also Buddy Carlyle as a Met--the kind of relief pitcher who never gets a card. Again, no stats on the back (not even much of a write-up), but at least Topps thought of something new and kind of cool.

Stack22, I am fully in favor of "obnoxiously large". This is the first year in forever that Update actually feels like an update. Want it smaller? Convince Topps that everybody hates their All Star and Home Run Derby cards. The only thing they're missing, now, is manager cards.
Brett Alan said…
Is it just me, or does the Phelps look photoshopped?

As a Mets fan, I'd love to open the pack and get Syndergaard (great looking card!) and Matz, plus Byrd and Reyes. I agree that the Darren O'Day card (and really the Sherzer and Boxberger, too, are ridiculous.

As for the hats, the kind of hats they actually wore in the 70s with the pillbox shape would still look fairly cool. But just putting some lines on a regular cap doesn't work, and the white panels make it worse. Yuck,.

So, look, here I am, confirming your theory by writing a long comment here when I haven't commented on a post about old cards in a while. But I assure you I'm reading them all, and even though for whatever reason I'm not moved to comment on the old stuff as often (or maybe this is just coincidence, I don't know), I'm enjoying those posts, probably more so.
I get the total gist of the post. I have felt for a couple of months now that I was boring readers. Crap, I'd be happy with 50 readers, might make me go back to posting daily, but alas it is what it is and the new releases will be here. Although I prefer the older cards and then oddballish.
ToppsBawlyn87 said…
...can't wait to get my hands on this set. I've really enjoyed 2015 Topps.
bwvjones said…
I pulled the gold version of the Syndergaard card (US157 0765/2015). Drop me a line if you're interested in trading for it!
Eric P said…
Just for the record. I enjoy all of the posts. Thanks for blogging!!!!
Brett Alan said…
Not sure how to direct message you, but feel free to email me at my screen name (minus the space)




We do want to see him. Oh yes we do.