02 May 2014

Pack of the Day 67: Two Rack Packs of 2014 Bowman

Thursday was an eventful day for me. I have been sick off and on for the last couple of weeks, exacerbated by the stress of closing out the semester at school and dealing with family and work without a lot of time for sleep, exercise, or proper nutrition. So I had a sore throat and stayed home from work. My plan was to sit in my chair all day and study for the final I had in the evening. It was actually a final and a midterm. The grades were so bad on the original midterm that the instructor scrapped the grades and scheduled two tests for the last class session, covering material from the whole semester. Yuck!

One of my youngest sons was up most of the night feeling sick, so he had a doctor's appointment in the middle of the day. While my wife was gone with him she parked the other two boys in front of the television so I could keep studying while she made the doctor visit. That went okay, although the boys did their share of fighting and pestering me for this or that.

Some time after she got home I heard water running. 'Hmmm,' I thought, 'Those kids are messing around in the sink again.' So I jumped up to go sort it out. As I got to the stairs I realized that the sound wasn't coming from upstairs like I had thought, it was coming from the unoccupied bathroom downstairs. I opened the door and saw water cascading from the central air vent in the ceiling and pooling on the floor. That's not supposed to be happening.

Then I went upstairs and saw a ring of water extending out across the carpet, centered on the upstairs bathroom door. Sure enough, our oldest son had managed to clog the toilet and lock up the mechanism so that the water just kept running and running, spilling over the top of the bowl and falling through the floor vent into the ducts. It also soaked through the floor. Later it started coming down through various other parts of the ceiling and walls downstairs. I don't really know the full extent of the damage yet, but I hope we are able to get things all cleaned up without too much ruination.

Shortly after cleanup operations started, I had to leave for class to take my tests. My wife wound up doing most of the mopping and water collection because she is a good person.

The tests were relatively uneventful, and because the midterm retake used most of the same questions and answers from the original midterm and the final was almost entirely multiple-choice I passed them without too much trouble. I should get around a B in the course, which is better than I deserve by at least one letter grade.

On the way home I decided to stop at the store to see if there was any Bowman on the shelf. There was an empty box where the Bowman packs were supposed to go. I imagine that either 1) someone was super desperate to buy some Bowman and bought all the packs in one go or 2) the local pack searcher had beat me to the cards and had taken the packs to some more remote location in the store to feel them up out of direct sight of the customer service desk. There was also a peg where the rack packs were supposed to go, but there weren't any on there. There were two off to the side, though, so I picked them up. Here is what I got from my two rack packs:

My first impression is that the pictures are kind of blurry and washed-out. The foil is very difficult to read, especially the logos at the bottom of the cards. And I wish those little wing-things at the bottom corners were just solid colors or designs instead of having the photos bleed into them. As they are now, they are weird blobs of green, grey, and white that distract from the central images. That is a lot of negativity in one paragraph, but these cards are not my favorite design so far. It is kind of nice to get that Encarnacion card, with some Blue Jays love in the first pack. 

Matt Carpenter is a State & Hometown parallel, continuing the theme of putting a flag in as the backdrop for the player photo. I didn't really collect before last year, so I don't know how long that has been going on. I actually think it is a little better than the super-blurry backgrounds on the base cards. 

The foil logos actually stand out a lot better in the scans than they do in-hand. The player's names are easier to read (at most angles) in person, while the position designations vary from card to card depending on what color the bar in the background is. So far I don't have a lot to say about the individual cards in this pack.

The top half of the rack packs contain 11 base cards and 1 insert, with the bottom half containing 4 Prospect cards and 4 Chrome Prospect cards. I didn't pull any of the Chrome parallels, so I don't know if the Refractory stuff shows up in the top or bottom when it drops. I think I like the design on the Prospects cards a little better than the base set, mostly because the wing-things at the bottom are colored in. I think these look a little pinched at the bottom, though. The nameplates are easier to read. It is nice to get an Astros prospect in my pack, even if he isn't one of the big names.

Speaking of the bigger-hype Astros prospects, one of my Chrome Prospect cards is pitcher Mark Appel. The Chrome cards are probably the best-looking cards here, with the foil names replaced by easily-read black printed type. There are also a couple of A's prospects here, but I don't recognize the names. And that does it for the first pack. I am not exactly overwhelmed with joy here, but you know I'll probably wind up buying a bunch of it and try to complete the set. I actually have a hobby box on order that will be arriving on a UPS truck, hopefully on Friday evening.

Pack 2 starts off with some relatively young guys. I guess Xander Bogaerts is the big name here, although the other guys are all decent on their own. Freeman is a Brave, and I seem to have developed quite a grudge against Braves (and former Braves named McCann). Teheran is also a Brave, but I don't really have any feelings about him. I must have thought he was a Marlin or a Ray or something.

Well, I might as well stop buying Bowman now. I pulled a Masahiro Tanaka Rookie Card. He's been off to quite a start for the Yankees. I also pulled a card of my favorite player, R.A. Dickey, who has been on a bit of a roller-coaster this season. I guess that's what the knuckleball will do to you. The Tyler Austin card is a Chrome mini, which falls 1:8 packs. The State & Hometown parallels also fall 1:8 packs and between the two of them they are the easiest inserts to pull from Bowman retail. It looks like Topps may have done away with the 1-per-pack Gold parallels. 

Here are four more dudes that I don't have a lot to say about. Semien is off to a bit of a run the last little bit. I picked him up as a backup guy in one of my fantasy leagues recently because he is eligible at second and third base and can sub in when one of my main guys sits down for a night. Ventura has got quite the duck face going on, and he isn't even taking a selfie to post on Instagram or Twitter. 

Here are some more prospects, with a couple more A's that I've never heard of. I think I am familiar with the name Kris Bryant, but I couldn't tell you anything about him. Trey Ball I know I've never heard of.

And to close things off, here are another four guys I've never heard of, but at least one of them is an Astro! I guess if you want to pull Astros players, bust open the products that are prospect-heavy.

Overall I am not incredibly impressed with the cards, but I will probably chase a full base set and you know I will wind up chasing rainbows or partial rainbows of the R.A. Dickey and Josh Reddick cards. The best part of these two packs was probably the Tanaka, Austin mini, and R.A. Dickey run early in the second pack.


  1. Kris Bryant is a beast. The 3rd baseman was just drafted last year and he's already up in double-A.
    Trey Ball So Hard was the BoSox's first round pick last year and he's got one of the best baseball names in the minors.
    And I believe Julio Urias made headlines last year as a 16-year old pitching beast for the Dodgers.

  2. Hey man, I pulled the Dickey Hometown flag parallel the other day. It's yours if you want it. Shoot me your address at nsbell440@gmail.com!