Posted in Baseball, Baseball Cards, New York Mets

Easter baseball cards

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I hope everyone had a good Easter (or Passover… or just a nice weekend.) It sure feels like yesterday’s 60 degree spring-like weather was the April Fool’s Day joke, because we woke up to snow (again) this morning.

The Yankees’ home opener has already been postponed, and who knows if the Mets can clear the snow from Citi Field’s seats in time to play tonight’s game.

So today’s a good day to look at the Topps Opening Day baseball cards I got for Easter. While Opening Day is overlooked by most collectors, I enjoy it because it’s about the closest I can get to reliving the experience of opening baseball cards when I was a kid.

Opening Day packs are cheap, usually a dollar. They have a decent number of cards in them (by 21st Century standards, anyway.) And given the unlikelihood of pulling any autographs or memorabilia cards, if you’re opening Opening Day, you’ve got to actually want the base cards or the fun “regular” insert sets.

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There are two reasons that Opening Day isn’t perfect. Number one: except for a few Series 2 previews and PhotoShop uniform swaps, Opening Day cards are rehash of the Topps Series 1 cards that came out in February.

Number two: Opening Day has a limited checklist – just 200 cards. The positive to that point is that you’re much more likely to have at least one star player in every pack.

Shohei-Otani Opening Day’s March release spot does give Topps a little more time to do things like add our first rookie card for Angels’ pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (who impressed in his Major League pitching debut on Sunday.)

I’m kinda happy Topps used a press conference photo for this card – I love getting to see them on cardboard because they represent that time of optimism where your team’s new star player can do no wrong. There will be plenty of time for game action photos later. (I can’t wait to see what the card designers at Topps and Panini decide to do about including hitting and pitching stats on Ohtani’s cards next year.)

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While Ohtani’s rookie card is the draw for Opening Day this year, usually the inserts are the big thing. Card collectors who like mascots have to go for Opening Day. This year’s set also includes Team Traditions & Celebrations inserts, as well as an Opening Day subset and a Before Opening Day insert set.

I love the mascots and I think the Team Traditions & Celebrations set is a fun new idea. The other two leave me a bit flat.

The Opening Day cards have cool photos, but the backs are focused on how the teams did on Opening Day 2017…and that leaves them feeling a bit dated. If I were writing the copy for the card backs, I’d go with a more general focus. Maybe a particular team is unusually successful on Opening Day, or they have an active Opening Day winning streak. Maybe there’s a star player who does particularly well on Opening Day. Something…

The Before Opening Day insert set is worse, because the photos aren’t even that interesting. I’m pretty sure I don’t care which players had good springs in 2018. I know I don’t care about 2017 spring training performances. Hopefully this insert theme gets retired.

 Other odds & ends:

Posted in Baseball

Mets baseball cards of the week: 2016 Opening Day team set

It’s been a little while since we last talked baseball cards… a few new sets came out, and I even have two new 2016 Mets partial team sets to show you.

I’d really been looking forward to Topps Heritage, since this year’s set is based on one of my favorite classic Topps designs. Now that I actually have most of the cards in hand (thanks Stubby!), I find myself with mixed feelings.

So let’s save that for another day and focus on the product that wildly surpassed my expectations: Topps Opening Day. It’s been years since I actually bothered getting the Mets team set from Opening Day… the cards are almost identical to the ones from the Topps flagship set, but you don’t get all of the players because Opening Day is less than half the size.

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Except this year, I noticed half of the Mets in Opening Day aren’t in Topps Series One. Steven Matz and Lucas Duda will undoubtedly turn up in Series Two, most likely with the same image. Matt Reynolds and Ruben Tejada? Your guess is as good as mine… I could easily see Tejada getting bumped or digitally transformed into a Cardinal. (The better question is: “where’s David Wright?” but he did miss all but 38 games last season and is in Series One, so I’ll cut them some slack.)

(Tejada also has a pretty nifty super short print photo variation in Opening Day that I’d been planning to get, but the Mets released him before I had the opportunity and it has kinda killed my motivation. There are also super short print photo variations for Noah Syndergaard and Reynolds according to the Cardboard Connection’s gallery.)

So Reynolds’ first Mets baseball card (not counting autographs in Heritage and Spring Fever) was motivation enough for me to pick up Opening Day this year, but the set’s strength is in its inserts.

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Opening Day gave us Mrs. Met’s first baseball card appearance, as well as two cards commemorating the Mets’ playoff success last fall. (There’s also a less interesting Matt Harvey card in an insert set dedicated to teams’ alternate uniforms, but the Mets wear their blue alternates often enough that seeing Harvey in the home jersey that he always wears isn’t very exciting…still, what’s one “miss” in a product that’s so much better than I expected?)

In actual baseball news, Matt Harvey weathered a health scare, Bobby Parnell got released by the Tigers, Philip Humber retired after learning he wouldn’t make the Padres’ roster and Jeff Francoeur managed to make the Braves roster.

We’re just days away from baseball games that count…I’m looking forward to caring enough to watch more than one game a week. 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

Topps not seeing stars on this year’s Mets team

It’s becoming clear that Topps now thinks of the New York Mets as a second-tier team.

I'm pretty sure R.A. Dickey is a better choice for a spot in a baseball card set than Jason Bay in 2012, but Topps does not agree.

While there are 13 Mets cards in the 33o-card Topps Series 1 (14 if you count the National League Batting Leaders card), there are only three in the 220-card Topps Opening Day set that just came out (175 Jason Bay, 187 David Wright and 195 Ike Davis).

To compare, there are five Pittsburgh Pirates in the Opening Day set (17 Pedro Alvarez, 34 James McDonald, 144 Andrew McCutchen, 152 Neil Walker, 168 Jose Tabata and 193 Casey McGhee).

The Mets fare better in Topps Heritage, out this week, where they have at least 15 cards in the 500-card set:

1 NL Batting Leaders – Reyes, Braun, Kemp, Pence, Votto
27 Josh Thole
59 R.A. Dickey
78 Daniel Murphy
93 Johan Santana
107 Ruben Tejada
112 Mets – Team Card
191 Rookie Stars (Hendriks, Liddi, Moore & Schwinden)
204 Chris Schwinden
228 Rookie Stars (Hagadone, Satin, Hughes, Benson)
233 Terry Colins – Mgr
245 Lucas Duda
292 Justin Turner
363 Rookie Stars (Dominguez, Schwinden, Savery & Peacock)
426 Frank Francisco
436 Ike Davis
467 David Wright
475 Jason Bay

But then according to a preliminary checklist for this summer’s 350-card Allen & Ginter set, there are only five Mets cards to look forward to: 114 Johan Santana, 121 David Wright, 163 Tom Seaver, 164 Ike Davis, and 191 Jason Bay.

I can’t exactly argue that Topps is neglecting a lot of players with star power, but it does look like I’ll be saving money that I might otherwise have been tempted to spend on 2012 baseball cards this summer.

Posted in Uncategorized

Still haven’t found any Topps Heritage cards

I had to pick up a few things at Target, so I stopped in the card aisle. Still no Topps Heritage cards.

Instead, I bought a couple more packs of Opening Day. I only got one Met, but it was the one Opening Day card I really wanted:

2011 Topps Opening Day Mr. Met

Not bad, not bad at all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Opening Opening Day Cards Is Fun

2011 Topps Opening Day wrapper

While some baseball card bloggers were finding packs of Topps Heritage cards today, I had to get by with the older stuff. I came home with a blister package containing four Topps Series 1 packs and a Diamond Giveaway code card, and four packs of Topps Opening Day.

There was nothing really special in the Series 1 packs, but Opening Day is actually a fun baseball card set.

Continue reading “Opening Opening Day Cards Is Fun”