One of my missions with the latest COMC shipment was trying to finally ... finally ... finally, for the love of Hiram Bocachica, finish off my main 2015 collecting goals.
One of those main goals was completing the Set of the Year, 2015 Stadium Club.
I was seven cards away from reaching my goal before I received the shipment. I was able to find six of the cards that I needed.
The Yu Darvish card was one of them. Here are the others:
After receiving the cards, I then went through the stack of Stadium Club cards I owned to confirm that I needed just one card more to complete the set. Because you know how much a set collector's math can be off when it comes down to finishing a set.
And I confirmed it. I still need just the one card to complete the set.
This is the one card I need.
Isn't that funny? Imagine that. The last card I need is the Kris Bryant rookie card.
Wacky, right? What a coincidence!
Except it's not a coincidence.
I could have added the Bryant card to my COMC cart, but I'm not paying $13 for it, which was the cheapest one available. Even whatever I could negotiate down to would be too much for me.
But I don't blame anyone for selling the card for what people will pay. And I don't blame anyone for trading me Stadium Club needs but not the Bryant card. These are just natural reactions that come about when a popular player with a popular team is short-printed in a set that's not supposed to have short-prints!
Ah, you've stumbled upon a rant.
Actually, I don't believe the Bryant card is short-printed in the traditional modern sense. It's fairly obtainable. But Stadium Club suffers from that same collation issue that most other Topps modern sets suffer from in that it's rather obvious that certain cards are more available than others even though the perception is that every card from 1-300 is equal in terms of adding it to your collection.
But they're not. Because I've pulled like 5 Stadium Club cards of Brandon Guyer and not one of Bryant, or Clayton Kershaw, or Larry Doby.
Some of this is coincidence -- it's been going on since people first starting buying trading cards with their bubblegum. Some of it definitely is not. I've written about this before. Topps will never reveal the ratio that it uses for issuing cards, but there has to be a probability breakdown written somewhere. When I'm getting a card of Nick Castellanos three times as often in Stadium Club and a card of Carlos Beltran three times as often in Allen and Ginter than some other card I never see, something's up.
Back in the late '70s, Beckett or somebody else figured out that Topps was double-printing certain cards in its flagship set. I don't know if that has continued through every single year in some modified form, but I do know that whatever Topps is doing is never revealed or advertised. We're just supposed to keep on believing that every single non-SP card in a certain set is equally available.
There should be some sort of term for cards like the Bryant Stadium Club card. The opposite of double-printed. But not short-printed. Semi-short-printed? Maybe set cards should be broken down by "triple-printed," "double-printed," "single-printed," and "short-printed."
Anyway, it'd be nice to know what you're getting into with these sets. Had I known that Bryant would be an intentionally elusive card, maybe I would have tried to grab it early, or maybe I wouldn't have bothered attempting to complete the set at all.
So, the Stadium Club set's not complete yet, but that's not stopping me from showing some of my favorite cards from it -- favorite cards that you haven't seen a million times yet, that is. I found 10 cards that I like that are not Valenzuela, Brett, Eckersley, DiMaggio, Maddux, Puig, Banks, Gooden, Chipper Jones, Jackie Robinson, or all those ones you've seen over and over.
Take a look:
296 - Max Scherzer
I will never tire of sky backdrops or solid-color backdrops in general. The easiest way to get your subject to stand out.
277 - Oswaldo Arcia
Bat flip! Alert the authorities!
44 - Todd Frazier
Really love the ground-floor, stadium-backdrop photo, too. Although this card makes me sad as Frazier is now with the colorless White Sox. I'm a National League guy at heart. To see certain players switch leagues, it almost seems like they've been banished.
111 - Whitey Ford
Lot of praise for Whitey's 2016 Stadium Club card, but Topps has used that picture before. I don't know whether it's used this one, and it's pretty good, too.
192 - Kolten Wong
I'm not crazy about the Tiger Woods-like overexhorting that you see in Stadium Club and other Topps sets. I don't need to see a player's molars. Something more natural like this is more enjoyable. I'm thinking this is a walk-off of some sort.
140 - Jay Bruce
I'm not a photographer. But photography seems to be all about the angles. The dugout greeting shot is always pleasant and well-used. This angle makes it seem so much cooler.
264 - Alex Rodriguez
Dirt backdrops are just as good as sky backdrops. The grass cut-out and the uniform give away that this is a baseball game. But otherwise, I'd think A-Rod was in the desert scouting for armadillos.
190 - Stan Musial
What is it about players holding a lot of bats? I don't know, but it's definitely something. If I were to pick another "type" collection -- and I'll never do it -- it would be players with lots of bats. I don't even know exactly how many Musial has here.
104 - Billy Hamilton
Too bad he has his hand on the ground. But everything else I enjoy.
6 - J.J. Hardy
This card probably annoys some people who want a wider view of this play. But I love the tight crop because you see the whole story with as minimal detail as possible. Ump calls player safe despite catcher's diving tag and dugout celebrates. Really, I don't need full faces here.
I WILL get that Kris Bryant card. And for less than $10, too. It's only a passing aggravation. But I am not lying when I say that this is one of the reasons I'm not collecting 2016 Stadium Club.
Not going through that again. No matter how nice the set looks.