Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Topps's Weird Cousin

I have a soft spot for Bowman, possibly because it's rarely ever in my face.

In an effort to do something about my sad 2014 Cardinals want list, I worked out a trade with S.Mack Talk where only 2014 cards exchanged hands. This was a quick 'n dirty trade, free of my usual procrastination (months) and threats to send pounds of cards across the country. I should probably do more trades this way.

Jimmy sent me some 2014 Bowman Cardinals cards. I realize that, while it's never an eye-popping set, I never seem to get sick of Bowman. I just don't buy a lot of Bowman. I always seem to build up a stack of base Topps cards every year that I don't know what to do with, a byproduct of liking to buy packs but only wanting to keep those that interest me. But Bowman, with its slightly elevated price tag? I'll buy a pack or two and then promptly forget about it. And admittedly, I sometimes have a hard time piecing together a coherent want list because of all of Bowman's parallels and its later seasons releases (Draft and Chrome).

But this is a set that has gone with white bordered cards for 3 straight years, after quite a few consecutive years of black bordered cards. It's not innovative or exciting. In the Topps Exclusivity Era, however, we are left with this as the only semi-affordable licensed non-Topps option on the market. (Let's not consider that Topps actually makes these cards.)

What I could do without, however, are the unknown prospect cards. I realize that Bowman's big draw is whatever deal they struck with MLB to allow them to continue to make prospect/"pre-rookie" cards. This is, essentially, cards of recent draft picks and prospects who have yet to appear in the majors. I wasn't at all aware of what was going on in sports card collecting back in 2006 when the rookie card designation was formalized, but I never understood why this brand was reserved to produce cards of basically whoever they pleased. (Pro tip: Nearly every Bowman Prospect card is horribly Photoshopped.) My suggestion would be to at least limit the cards they are allowed to make to a list of actual prospects (Top 100?) because there are far more Steven Ramoses than there are Tim Cooneys in the grand scheme of thing. Cooney will be a big leaguer soon, but it doesn't look like Ramos is on that track. Leave it to minor league cards to cover the players who don't make it to the bigs.

Jimmy sent over some cards from the flagship Topps set as well. One of my favorite things about Cardinals cards in 2014 is that they get to show off the team's new Saturday uniforms. I think they're a well done alternate jersey that still respects the tradition of the team's vaunted jersey past.

I was excited to finally get an official Kevin Siegrist rookie card. Siegrist was a flame throwing marvel on last year's squad, basically an unheard of guy drafted in a round that no longer even exists anymore. He's struggled mightily this year, both with injuries and with his efforts to duplicate the mechanics that led him to so much success last year. He supposedly figured something out if the local broadcasters are to be believed, and tonight's outing was encouraging. Here's to hoping a rejuvenated Kevin Siegrist is on the 2014 playoff roster, provided that the Cards make it there.

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