Thursday, June 30, 2022

2022 Topps: The Sequel

A #CrackinWaxMailDay from @CrackinWax shows that sequels are rarely better than the original.

It practically became meme-worthy to dog on Series 2 when the second installment of the Topps flagship set dropped this month. The second series can never hold up to the excitement of opening a pack of cards for the first time in a brand new year. And with the continued production delays that contributed to a checklist running on empty, this year's version makes a strong case for Topps dropping the concept entirely and just issuing a single release. Would this be such a bad thing, even if the set had to be delayed until, say, March?

Let's check out who made the cut in the Cardinals portion of the checklist, courtesy of a group break from Crackin' Wax.

You can't fault Topps for this one. There was no reason to know that Paul DeJong would be smack in the middle of the Memphis Redbirds lineup for the foreseeable future when it came time to put this set together. The Cardinals have had a lot of injuries, but none of them have been in the middle infield spots.

Topps saved some star power for Series 2 and included this Saturday road game shot of Paul Goldschmidt in the blue jersey alternate.

Things get a bit weird here with J.A. Happ, who was a free agent at the conclusion of last season's World Series and has since retired. It has a nice photo, though, and will likely be the only Cardinals card of Happ's (aside from the parallels.) It wasn't until Happ was with the Cardinals that I learned that you are supposed to say his name "J. Happ" and not "J. A." for some reason.

Here's another really nice shot. This is the only Cardinals RC on the checklist. It's too closely cropped for my taste, but you can say that about most of the cards in this set.

Oof, well, this is awkward. Like Happ, there was absolutely no reason to put him in Series 2 when he became a free agent as soon as the World Series concluded. Unlike Happ, Carpenter eventually found new life as a mustachioed Yankees masher. Expect to see his first Yankees card in the Update Series sometime in 2024.

It took me a really, really long time to "get" this one. Does anyone use the word overarching in their everyday dialog? Oh, oops, I guess there is an Arch in St. Louis.

More star power here, although last season's 8th-in-MVP-voting outfielder has a ton of work to do to live up to the expectations of his previous season. It's a nice action shot with cool shades, tattoos and muscles... you know, the usual.

Here's the rest. Jack Flaherty's tricky shoulder is making me sad. Edmundo Sosa probably needs to play more, but the Cardinals infield is a crowded, talented place. Dylan Carlson is starting to hit, and hopefully he'll have more trophies to put on his shelf next to his Topps rookie cup.

I only ended up with one insert in the break, because it was a hobby box break and they are usually pretty light on the inserts and parallels. It's one of the omnipresent 1987 tributes. There's also a Goldy All-Star version of this, plus the silver pack thing and oodles of parallels of each.

I also ended up with a similar amount of... the horror... Brewers cards. This one heads to the trade boxes. If anyone is looking for a complete(?) Series 2 set of the Milwaukee team, let me know!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Trading in 2022

I'm at a crossroads. 
I had two rules when I started this blog. One was to use this space as a place to acquire cards that fit my collection while offloading the ones that don't. The other was to never talk about where I've been and why I haven't posted in awhile. The latter feels like such a bloggy blog thing that I just never wanted any part of it.

That being said, I've hit a bit of a rut when it comes to the card thing. It's starting to feel like my traditional methods of making trades with people through the blogs is starting to dry up. I've reached out to some people in recent days about offloading some of my cards and it didn't get a ton of responses. I've had an increasingly difficult time convincing people to claim their prizes from contests. I feel like a lot of people have moved on from posting/updating their blogs on a regular basis but are actively trading through TCDB. I have a couple of questions...

1. Is this a good idea? As it, will logging my tens of thousands of dupes into the TCDB database prove to be worth my time? I have avoided doing this for years because it sounded like a big time sink, but if it means moving more cards out of my home, it could be worth it.
2. What is the best way to trade through TCDB? I already have my personal collection logged there, which is one hundred percent not for trade. How can I get my "for trade" cards up on the site without having to field offers for the stuff I don't want to move?

If anyone has experiences (positive and negative) with the trading side of TCDB, I would greatly appreciate your responses.

The cards today, by the way, are from some recent pickups. I bought a blaster of Diamond Kings at Barnes and Noble (for some reason, this is apparently the only retail store to buy cards in the Portland area now) and pulled a couple of Cardinals inserts. The Court Kings card is from the much more expensive but still same-looking NBA equivalent. I like this design, but the Dame card is literally the only one I've seen from the set so far. Apparently, the only other Blazer cards in the base set are three distinct Keon Johnson rookie cards. That's weird, Panini.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Édition Limitée

Canadian Cardinals and a few Topps Heritage cards. 
Angus of Dawg Day Cards, who you probably know as a Canadian Cleveland Browns collector, sent over a few fun things around the end of winter. Because my forays into the pro football card world are pretty scarce, it's rare that I have many things to send to Angus. Because of this, I'm always extra-appreciative whenever I get something from him.

It took me awhile to decide which side of this Ozzie Smith card from a Canadian 1993 Post set was the front and which was the reverse. I settled on this being the backside, because it has a card number on it. That's not always a hard and fast rule. There's also a pull tab on the card, which makes me curious as to what's inside. (I didn't pull it.)

Even though this goes down in the official databases as a White Sox card, this 1983 O-Pee-Chee Steve Mura has a home in my Cardinals binders because he's still rocking the red and baby blue.

I don't think 1994 Upper Deck Fun Pack was a Canadian release, but it's one I am pretty sure I've never opened a pack of. I know I opened some of the previous year's Fun Pack set before I stopped collecting back in the '90s. I recall it trying a little harder to be "fun" for the kids than, say, Topps Big League.

Angus also sent over a few set filling needs from the 2018 Topps Heritage set. Alex Reyes looks a bit glum on this one, one of those pesky short prints. I'm hoping he can get his career back on track someday, but it's starting to look like his future with the Cardinals is a little bit murky.

Here's another short print from the same set. I don't have any recollection of Christian Arroyo's days with the Rays, but apparently he spent parts of two seasons there before moving on to Boston.

Rookie Performers are always a key highlight of the High Numbers version of the Heritage set, and they can get a bit tough to track down once the set's been out awhile. I was happy to add this one to my collection.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Not Quite Kings

Group break time from @CrackinWax with a #CrackinWaxMailDay look at the new Diamond Kings set. 
It's either underrated or under the radar, but I haven't seen or heard much about the latest Panini Diamond Kings set. For better or for worse, some of the design choices made with this year's set should make this one stand out. I bought into a couple of box breaks over at Crackin' Wax to see if we were going to get stuck with the same Stan Musial pose for about the seventh year in a row.

The base cards look interesting, I suppose. I can barely tell the difference between the 2020 and 2021 designs, so at least these will stand out in a binder. There's sort of a double border thing going on that leaves very little room for the player, though.

We see the same group of legends in this set year after year. I am guessing that Panini just has a small pool of players to choose from with whose estates or corporate interests they have deals with.

Kudos to Panini for finally breaking the streak and not using the same photo for Stan The Man. Some version of this photo has been used in every set since 2017, so it's good to see something different here.

 Yadi finally gets a DK base card for the first time since 2019.

Panini switched it up with their rookie cards this year, more closely resembling what they do with the Court Kings set for basketball. Rookies are split up into several denominations, which are usually based on rarity. Each has their own design. Nootbaar is a Rookies III card.

Juan Yepez is featured on the Rookies I design. This has more of a Topps Fire feel to it.

I ended up with a single insert from these breaks for my team binders. Panini likes to use these color splashes in backgrounds a lot.

I think it's been awhile since I've traded with a Phillies collector, let alone a Bryce Harper fan. This one heads to the trade box, of course.

I remember getting a Cedric Mullins autograph in a CW break a couple of years ago before I had any idea who he was. (This happened to a lot of people.) He ended up having a breakout season last year, although this year has been less than stellar for him. I always like the framed parallels, so this should make some Orioles fan happy.