Is there anything full of more hope and promise than an unopened box of baseball cards?
Okay, maybe that’s a touch on the melodramatic side, but think about it: think of the feeling that you have when you hold a still-wrapped box of cards in your hands. The sense of excitment and expectation when you still don’t know the contents of what’s inside. Why, there could be anything in there! Relics and autos of your favorite player. A 1/1 case hit. Better still, a case hit of your favorite player. Maybe even a hot box. Even though your brain knows better, everything is possible, everything is on the table, when you haven’t opened that box yet.
My jumbo box of 2011 Topps (the first cards I received under my new incentive program) arrived in the mail yesterday. So did my DSL modem, but that’s not important (and it doesn’t work). I am exercising great restraint – that box of cards still sits, in front of the television, in its shink wrap. But not for long.
I have some clear expectations and hopes for this box. As we go through what’s inside, hopefully the expectations will be met. Even better, the hopes will be, too.
• I am able to complete the 330-card base set with this box. For the past two years, I have bought hobby boxes of Series 1 and Series 2, and, with the exception of 2010 Series 1, I am still roughly ten cards short of completing those sets. On the other hand, I bought jumbo boxes of the Updates and Highlights series, and I have complete sets, thanks to the jumbo boxes alone.
• I get ten ToppsTown code cards. No more. I’d prefer it to be zero, but ten is better than 36. (This one should be easy)
• That I have the promised three hits in the box. Because I’m going to be pissed if I have to chase up a missing hit. At least I’m already saving the wrappers for the redemption program.
• That my three hits are an Ichiro, a Lincecum, and a King Felix. A kid can dream, right?
• That I get ten 60 Years of Topps cards and ten Diamond Duos cards. I also hope I beat the odds on the 60 Years of Topps original backs.
• That my gold parallels are of teams and players I collect, or, failing that, teams that I can actually use in trades. This means no Pirates gold parallels. I always seem to pull Pirates gold parallels.
• That my Diamond Parallel/Bedazzled cards are from the teams I collect, or at least cards that Nachos Grande still needs. Hopefully he can trade them for Bedazzled cards I can use. Got any spare sparkly Ichiros, Chris?
• That I beat the odds on the Diamond Giveaway cards. I already have one. I’d like to get at least four more so I can get that free pack of “vintage” cards (I didn’t know 1987 qualified as vintage now).
• That it’s insanely fun opening this box.
Without further ado, here’s the first pack:
Best three cards (in reverse order):
#3 – Starlin Castro (#247): A nice shot of Castro turning two. Loses points because he made the play against the Reds.
#2 – Seth Smith (#301): At first, I thought it was a shot of Smith arguing with the umpire. But why would he argue if the ump called him safe? This will definitely make an appearance in the Uniform Back series someday. And probably Play at the Plate, too.
#1 – Omar Vizquel (#243): He will go into the Hall of Fame someday. But it’ll probably take the Veteran’s Committee to do it. A great picture of Vizquel making the play, full extension at age 43.
There weren’t any that were really bad, just a bunch that were bland. I’m going to give the award to Lucas May (#91) because it’s his rookie card and you can’t see the poor guy’s face. Nice work, Topps.
Best card back:
This award goes to Travis Hafner (#257) because of the references to both the Pronk Bar and Pronkville on the back of the same card. It's a shame they also couldn't work in a mention of Pronk Beef Jerky.
Carl Crawford Topps 60
Justin Upton/Mike Stanton Diamond Duos
1977 Bruce Sutter 60 Years of Topps
Mickey Mantle 60YOT The Lost Cards
Jose Bautista Kimball Champions
Was there a hit? Is it available for trade?:
Yes, there was a hit. A Matt Harrison Topps 60 sticker auto. My excitement and faith in my brand new box was crushed in the very first pack.
You’re damn right it’s available for trade. Although what I can get for it, I’m not sure.
Any Diamond Parallel cards?:
Yes, Derek Lowe (#19). I hope Nachos Grande needs it.
Card I was most happy to see: The Chicago White Sox team card (#161). A nice scene, and it’s a night card. Although I swear it looks like they Photoshopped Michael Jordan’s picture in there.
Card I was least happy to see: The Harrison auto. Who’d have thought somebody would be so disappointed about a hit?
I know I’m not the first person to say this, but...Topps, it’s time to give the whole Mickey Mantle/Card No. 7 thing a rest. And by rest, I mean STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT!!! There’s a place for Mickey Mantle cards – they’re called insert sets. Free up card No. 7 for someone who’s at least lived in this century, much less played in it.
The other thought is about the whole “hit” thing. Man, that bummed me out. Matt Harrison is not a guy who’s exactly on my radar so to get an autograph card of him was underwhelming to say the least. But maybe getting a hit so early in the proceedings means this is a hot box...
...There’s that optimism again!
Set Progress: 48/330 (14.5%)