30 July 2013

Pack of the Day 2: 2013 Bowman Baseball (a confusing product)

These Bowman packs have got a lot going on in them. As a younger collector I stayed away from all of the Bowmans and Topps Finest and SPx and Chrome and whatnot, generally because I couldn't afford the packs and also because you couldn't get as many cards per dollar as in budget products. But I thought I would try some Bowman out to see what all the fuss is about. This product has the opposite problem as the Panini Basketball I looked at previously. There are about 6000 different things listed on the back of the pack, all with varying odds written next to them. Maybe not 6000. I counted 33 different subsets/inserts with listed odds. Here is a picture of the front of the pack, and then we'll look at the cards:

First up, you get four base cards. In this case, there are two prospects and two veterans. They are differentiated by a different numbering scheme on the back of the card as well as a different color on the back of the card. The prospects get a white card-back and the veterans get a grey card-back (you could call it silver if you want your cards to sound fancier). I've opened a couple of packs from this product, and they all seem to follow the same general distribution pattern. The photos on the cards have got a blurred background with some sort of photo-manipulation being done to the player photograph. On some cards the manipulation isn't that noticeable, and on some cards the players look very cartoony. Just as in basketball, most of my baseball knowledge comes from fantasy leagues, so prospects aren't all that familiar to me. There are Dynasty Fantasy Leagues, where your roster is persistent from year to year and prospects thus become important for later success, but I have never played in a Dynasty League. In year-to-year leagues, the only important players are the ones who have a chance to contribute statistics in that particular season.

After your first few base cards, there appears to be a gold-bordered parallel seeded in every pack. I haven't found any stated odds for these, but so far there has been one in each pack, regardless of what else comes in the pack. So here is a gold-bordered Cody Ross.

Next up comes the pack's hit. In this case, it is an autograph (yay!) of a Mariners prospect. The border of the card is blue, which suggests that this is a Blue-Bordered Prospect Retail Autograph Parallel (1:117 packs) as opposed to a regular Prospect Retail Autograph (1:35 packs). It even gets a serial number on the back! I don't know anything about Ji-Man Choi, but the player description on the back of the card makes him sound like a promising dude.

Next in the pack are a couple of Bowman Chrome cards, which are shiny and I believe are exclusively made up of prospects. Aside from being shiny and having a different logo, the card designs are the same as the base set.

And finally, after the Chrome cards you get a couple more base cards. I just noticed that veterans also get a team logo above their name on the front of the card, while prospects don't get one.

 In the title of the post I mentioned that the product is a bit confusing. This is mostly due to the sheer amount of stuff going on inside of these packs. You get base cards, parallels, inserts, some shiny subset cards, and then more base cards. And everything comes with different odds. It's all a bit complex for my simple reptilian brain, but I guess I can see the appeal for people who either like to get a lot of different stuff or like to chase the lottery with all of the parallels and Refractor variants. I know you often see outrageous prices on some of the hottest rare parallels from this set. I think someone recently pulled a 1/1 Yasiel Puig Refractor of some kind and stuck it on eBay for $30,000 o.b.o. I am mildly curious to see how much it pulls in, but as more Puig stuff hits the market it is bound to drop in value. I am pretty happy with the autograph. I think living in the Northwest for a while has started turning me into a bit of a fan of Seattle teams. I have been thinking I'd like to start player collections of Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ken Griffey Jr., and maybe Marshawn Lynch of the Seahawks. Maybe I should just start a Seattle collection.

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