Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The $10 Retail Challenge: The Man on the Box

The spokesmodel for Topps Series 2 happened to throw one of the game's most dominant no-hitters tonight, just in time for the conclusion to this series.

Hanger boxes are kind of a cheat. There are no shiny wrappers to peel open and the anticipation is only as great as you make it. You open the box, slide out the contents that are thinly wrapped in clear cellophane, and everything you will ever get is just laid out before you. A lesser person could easily toss chunks of base cards at the wall. (This is probably something that those crazy bulk case breakers actually do for fun.) I was really enamored with the little cereal boxes when Topps first introduced this concept, back in 2009, but it was more about looking at the little boxes with the legends on the cover than what was inside. It was a novelty idea. Topps soon made them look all gangly and uninteresting so they could do something functional like hang on a metal rack, and here we are.

In truth, however, if you're willing to sacrifice the thrill of opening several little packages for one big one, these are a good value.

I didn't manage to get a single Target exclusive red parallel in any of the loose packs I opened, so it was nice to see these make a return here even though they were all but promised to me on the outside of the box. I don't think the jumbo packs were Target exclusives (I think maybe they don't come that way) and I forgot to check the odds on the wrappers anyway, so maybe I wasn't super unlucky.

I was unlucky in that, for the third time, I pulled the a double of an insert. Not cool, Topps. Not cool.

Gone are the shocking yellow parallels that most people seemed to love and in their place are these hideous orangey brown things. eBay users are calling them "brown", but they don't really look like a real color that exists. Who am I to argue with eBay people? The yellow cards actually seem to cost a fortune, but I bet these won't quite hold the same value because they couldn't possibly be attractive to anyone. Plus, the two that I pulled have very slightly fuzzy corners anyway.

Hector Sanchez gets the award for being the Guy That's Been in the League For Four Years Who I Still Have Never Heard Of.

Here's another new insert featuring an extremely unflattering photo of a player that seems to be a bit of a shock that he ranks among the league leaders in anything. I guess that's probably the point here, though.

Here's the man of the hour. Tower of power.

Another red hot red card of a player for a red team.

Motte plain.

Motte gold. Much better! It's always nice to get a Cardinals "hit". And yes, this is what I consider a hit. Stop laughing.

Remember when everyone was scrambling to get one of the only cards that was printed of this Puig guy? I'm pretty sure that Topps Update is going to be nothing but 330 Puig cards, and only the inserts will have other players -- posing with and/or getting a bat flipped at them by Puig.

Okay, you know what? I'm not above this after all. These are turd parallels. In 2011, Topps had shiny chunky vomit colored parallels and now they're just churning out turds. Sorry, guys, I really tried.

I'll end it on a good note with this Michael Wacha Future Stars card.

So which configuration reigned supreme? I'm going to go with the hanger box, despite the "orange" parallels that I'm really not fond of. This whole experience seemed to have a heavy Dodgers feel to it, however. I don't feel great about that.

UPDATE: Well, this is awkward. It seems like I pulled one of those ridiculously silly sparkle variations as well. I should probably head off to eBay with this.


  1. Geez. That's a Dodger bonanza. I bought one of those today (it'll be up tonight) and I got a Nationals bonanza. What am I gonna do with those?

  2. Could you hold onto the Zach McAllister red card for me? I am working on piecing together another package of Cardinals and others for you. Thanks.


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