Sunday, April 5, 2009

Opening Day (2003 Style)

Opening Day is finally here! The Cardinals are set to take the field at Busch Stadium tomorrow afternoon to face the Pirates, where snow is in the forecast. I still don't know if I'll be able to see the game because the MLB Extra Innings schedule still isn't available online and my on-screen program guide doesn't show any baseball on the schedule at all. I'll still probably go to sleep tonight dreaming of baseball and pretending that I won't have to work all night tomorrow instead of geeking out on baseball for many hours. Rumor has it that 2009 Topps Opening Day was cancelled, while Upper Deck's First Edition offering is apparently live. (The gold stripe down the side looks awful and I imagine it being a lot like 2007 First Edition, which I really can't stand.) I'm a bit disappointed about the Topps news, because I wanted to see what kind of color scheme they were going to go with to use along with the regular 2009 design. I have to say that I actually liked last year's red cards better than the white base design.

Here's some packs from 2003 Topps Opening Day and 2003 Upper Deck First Pitch just for the heck of it. I ended up with a bunch of each in some repack boxes that I bought awhile back. Opening Day came with 6 cards per pack, plus a mini card that doubled as a scratch-off game, plus a separate card with the full version of the scratch-off rules and an ad for

Pack 1:
106 - Kevin Brown

129 - Aramis Ramirez (I really like 2003 Topps, and the dark blue color has a lot to do with it. This not-quite-teal, not-quite-aquamarine color works well, too.)
47 - Brian Giles (Back to back Pirates.)
18 - Bartolo Colon (The Expos were once rumored to be moving to Portland. I've always had the internal struggle with thinking about an MLB team in Portland and wondering who I'd root for if they played the Cards. Since I have no qualms about rooting for the Memphis Redbirds when they come to town every other year, I am thinking I'd probably go with St. Louis.)

162 - Oakland Athletics Season Highlights (The back of the card tries to compare Oakland's 20-game winning streak to the likelihood of flipping a coin and having it come up heads 20 times in a row. I'm thinking there is more involved in a winning streak in baseball than a simple coin toss.)
24 - Tsuyoshi Shinjo
- Mark Mulder mini

Pack 2:

74 - Troy Glaus (I have a bad feeling that Glaus will not play at all this season. Nothing I've heard or read lately about him has been encouraging.)
130 - Barry Zito (Zito was the answer to a crossword puzzle question my mother decided to call me about the other day. It took me several hours to think of him.)

147 - Jorge Posada
156 - Nomar Garciaparra (Nomar is back in the AL now. We'll see how that goes.)
69 - Benito Santiago (I always thought he was pretty overrated.)
1 - Alex Rodriguez (Ranger Danger)
- Mike Lieberthal mini

Pack 3:
87 - Jose Cruz Jr.
157 - Craig Biggio
53 - Juan Gonzalez (Gonzalez actually spent last year's spring training with the Cardinals, played reasonably well, then mysteriously came down with an injury and dropped off the face of the earth.)
2 - Jarrod Washburn
57 - Mark Buehrle

76 - Jim Thome
- Mark Prior mini

Pack 4:
119 - Jason Kendall

111 - Mike Cameron (I want to get up to Seattle sometime this season to see a game. I haven't gone since the Cardinals played there in 2002.)
146 - Kevin Millwood
14 - Paul Byrd
165 - Checklist
21 - Tim Hudson
- Curt Schilling mini

Pack 5:
103 - Mark Mulder
86 - Mo Vaughn (Vaughn struck out 181 times in 2000 and somehow did not lead the league.)
4 - Chipper Jones (The Braves won tonight. Fantasy baseball makes you do strange things, like root for the Braves.)
106 - Kevin Brown

148 - Fernando Vina
118 - David Justice

- Johnny Damon mini (The minis are basically the same color as the base set, with yellow lettering instead of gold foil.)

Upper Deck's First Edition Pitch packs contained 5 cards per pack and also used the base design. There were also 30 short printed cards in this set for some reason, seeded at 1 per 4 packs.

Pack 1:
154 - Jose Hernandez
210 - Derrek Lee

30 - Carl Crawford Star Rookie

105 - Dmitri Young (What a clown.)
290 - Tom Glavine (SP)

Pack 2:
206 - Kirk Rueter
256 - Bobby Estalella (I had never heard of this guy until it was mentioned that he would be testifying against Barry Bonds.)
125 - Jon Garland
60 - Jim Thome

123 - Paul Konerko

Pack 3:
258 - Terry Shumpert
106 - Randall Simon (Yes, the sausage races guy. If he'd done anything with his baseball career at all, maybe he would have gotten past that. But he didn't.)

50 - Roy Halladay
180 - Junior Spivey
5 - Brandon Larson Star Rookie

Pack 4:

55 - Ben Grieve (Every single card has "02" on the back. Did Upper Deck not know what year it was?)
134 - Jeff Bagwell
176 - Randy Johnson
12 - Kirk Saarloos Star Rookie

159 - Tino Martinez

Pack 5:
255 - Todd Zeile
103 - Paul Byrd

117 - Cristian Guzman
33 - Adam Kennedy (Kennedy is going to start the year in AAA for the Rays organization. Wah, wah, wahhhh.)
224 - Joe McEwing

Pack 6:
171 - Jon Lieber
3 - Jose Leon Star Rookie

112 - Torii Hunter (Hunter is not doing anything wacky or making crazy faces here.)
175 - Mark Bellhorn
206 - Kirk Rueter
196 - Troy O'Leary

35 - Bengie Molina (For some reason there were 7 cards in this pack instead of 5. Not sure why, but I'm not complaining.)

As usual, all of the non-Cardinal cards are up for grabs and will go into one of the many boxes I have of stuff to trade out.

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