Friday, February 6, 2015

Topps 2015 - First pack open! (And some faces!)

I read a post yesterday - a Topps 2015 post - mentioning the significance (or lack thereof) for "first cards of the year."  For whatever reason, these always are a big deal to me - whoever I see first essentially opens the baseball season for me, and I like to spend a little extra time exploring that player.  So, without delay, here is 2015's first card:

By the way, I'm not going to "review" the cards yet - and I'm sure others will.  What I will say is that the cards look better in my hand then they do on the scan - does anyone out there agree with that?  I feel like the team color effect is pretty cool - yet on the scan, they look like some early 90's set.  You guys probably know (and can recite) which set better than me.  (Maybe late 90's?)

Anyway, back to first cards, this year it's Phil Hughes.  Doesn't he kind of look like Mike Pelfrey here?  As a New York area fan, there are certainly some parallels there.  A lot of potential, some flashes of greatness, but then eventually just moving on.  And both to the Twins, as well.  For Hughes, though, it was an excellent 2014, proving to be (at least initially) worth the money that New York sports radio laughed at him for getting (and which certainly looks like a bargain, now!).

Pelfrey's first year in Minnesota (5-13, 5.19) could not have been more different.

One additional note:  check out his face.  More on that soon.

WAR!  But no BABIP?  Maybe next year, Topps...  (and what about FRAA???)

Ah, back to the faces.  My daughters (3 and 1) were trying to mimic the Garza face before bedtime last night.  My wife was impressed.  Is this a theme this year?  The Garza is definitely the best, but Hughes and Flowers are noteworthy, as well.

I like team cards.  I especially like team cards with an interesting picture.  I wish the freaking Royals would have won that Series though!
Did anyone else hate how widely criticized Ned Yost was by the stat people?  I think it made me appreciate the Royals run even more - and root even harder for them.  Widely considered "one of the worst tactical managers in the game," Yost DOES show the ability to attempt to read the game, and a willingness to take risks to give his team an edge.  Advanced metrics people will scoff at percentages of success, but this game is not ALL numbers, is it?

And now, an insert.  It's Fernando!  And add his face to the intriguing ones in the pack.  I said this wasn't a card review post, but I do want to say that this isn't the most aesthetically pleasing card I've ever seen.

I was just old enough in '81 to remember Fernando-mania, though not quite old enough to fully appreciate it.  I like the story on the card back - gives a nice historical framework to the set.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

First ripped pack of 2015 - and it's... soccer!


Well, if you are a soccer fan, then you know that the first card I saw when I opened my first pack was a pretty darn good one!

And even if you are not a big fan, you might have noticed that Graham Zusi was one of the four "cover boys" that graced the outside of my hobby box.  A pretty cool start for me - usually my first card is Mark Reynolds...

Zusi is one of America's stronger players.  He made the World Cup team this past summer, and has been a star at Sporting Kansas City in the MLS. Zusi had 2 assists in the World Cup, but perhaps is most famous for a seemingly meaningless goal he scored in America's final World Cup qualifying match.  USA had already clinched its trip to Brazil in the previous game, but Zusi's goal in the final moments earned a 2-2 tie with Panama; his goal effectively knocked Panama out, and allowed Mexico to advance to the World Cup! 

Here is the back of his card:

Soccer is not really a "stat" sport, so baseball card fans may struggle with this look.  Also, why no career stats?  Odd, to me.

The rest of my pack seemed to be on Fire:

Yes, I went for the terrible pun.  But look at this!

That's my first relic - and my third Fire. (Flame? Damn these singular team names!)

I'd like to close my post with my favorite face of the pack:

When you add in the flowing locks, that's a big winner.  Thank YOU, Juan Toja!

Monday, February 2, 2015


Well, I have proven to be a most inconsistent blogger.

Actually, looking back at my past activity, that's not totally true.  It actually seems that I consistently return in late January and early February to start to wish away the end of winter by grabbing some packs of baseball cards.  Trying - I guess - to will "pitchers and catchers" into view.

Last year I tried to go with a more fiscally responsible route, purchasing a complete master set of Topps baseball.  I definitely missed the fun of ripping packs, though - and as a result, didn't post a single blog entry.

This year I aim to be different.

And my first post will mark a truly different slant to this blog - a whole new sport!

I have grown into a huge fan of NBC (and NBCSN) coverage of Premiere League soccer - never before have so many games been available - in Hi-Def - and with outstanding production and support.  As a result, I've probably watched more BPL soccer in the last two years than any other time of my life.  And this interest has bled into our local league as well, as I've tried to follow the NY/NJ Red Bulls towards a first league championship (and since I root for the Jets, Mets, Knicks and Rangers, you can pretty much bet that I am dooming this team to failure).

Of course, the quality of play in MLS is nowhere close - it perhaps is the equivalent of watching a lot of AA baseball.  But then again, I used to split a season ticket to the Trenton Thunder, so why not support this growing American soccer league?

And this brings us all the way back around to this post.  Although my collecting preferences certainly focus on baseball, I decided to kick off (haha, see what I did there?!) my 2015 card season with a relatively cheap pickup from DAC Card World - they were offering clearance prices on boxes from the 2013 and the 2014 season.

I'll post some of the results, and I hope I don't bore you too much with them.  Maybe you'll like some of what I find - and maybe I'll return to baseball with a fresh new approach.