26 July 2013

Topps Opening Day 2013

I have a hard time keeping track of where I read what, but I saw on another blog that from now until August 3rd, Target is having a sale on a couple of Topps products. 2013 Topps Series 1 is $0.99 per pack, Topps 2013 Stickers are around $0.75 a pack, and 2013 Topps Opening Day is $0.49 a pack. I went to the Target nearest my home to check it out. There weren't any signs proclaiming a sale, but when I took the packs to the Price Check scanner they rang up at the sale price.

So I bought a few Series 1 packs and a bunch of Opening Day packs. The next day I went back and got more Opening Day packs. Then my wife went and bought the rest of the Opening Day packs at that store. By this point I had a complete base set and a good start on all of the insert sets, as well as a 1:463 pack Opening Day Autograph (Justin Turner, Mets Infielder).

I really like the Blue Parallels. Something about the color just works for me, and they are just a little bit sparkly, which I also like. I am entertaining the idea of trying to complete a set of them. Along that thought line I looked up prices for singles of the parallels, as there don't appear to be many lots of multiples out there on eBay. At that rate, I said to myself, I could probably save money on the parallel set by checking out the other two Target stores within driving distance of home. So off I went. Neither store had as many packs as the first, but I bought them all, probably about 50 packs total between the two stores, plus the 70-80 from the first store. The cashier at one of the stores asked me if I was a collector. I wonder if many non-collectors buy thirty packs of trading cards at a time?

I also pulled some Press Pass Racing cards out of the discount bins, as well as a couple of packs of Topps Heritage and a lone pack of 2012 Topps Archives, which contained a SP card I needed. In addition, I grabbed some Gypsy Queen off the shelves, as well as a blaster of Goodwin Champions.

Nothing of any import came from any of the other packs I grabbed, although I can say that I don't really like Goodwin Champions in spite of the fact that it is a product that contains cards of such folk as Abraham Lincoln, Bram Stoker, and Spud Webb. Something about it just leaves me cold. Maybe it's the artwork and the lack of logos. I am holding on to my Abraham Lincoln card, though, and the Bram Stoker is going to someone who I think will appreciate it. I also pulled a card of jockey Gary Stevens, who is from the next town over and gets talked about fairly frequently on the local sports talk radio station.

Gypsy Queen is a card set that I quite like. I guess you could argue that it is similar in design to Goodwin Champions, although I think Allen & Ginter might be an even closer match to Goodwin than Gypsy Queen is. I think the difference for me is partly in the presence of logos and mostly in the artwork being actual photos with paint effects applied rather than Goodwin's less-finished look. I will not be pursuing a base set of this product, but I really like the No Hitters and Dealing Aces inserts, which are some of the more attainable cards, and I will be trying to get all of those. I did pull two of the blue-framed insert #'d out of 499, Larry Doby and Tommy Hanson. They are sharp-looking cards, but I don't have any use for them.

I am going to participate in this year's Gint-A-Cuffs V, which is a contest in which bloggers purchase a box of Allen and Ginter from Topps and add up the cards they pull based on a number of criteria, generally by rarity of pull, but also including wacky stuff like extra points for favorite teams or players and negative points for pulling Yankees. You have to keep track of your points on a pack-by-pack basis and post photos of any cards from a pack that alter your points. As the official dealer sponsor of Gint-A-Cuffs V, Dave and Adam's Card World provided a case worth of boxes to participants at a special discount and the main sponsor, Topps, apparently has promised three boxes of Allen & Ginter as the prize for scoring the most points. I am not really sure what to expect, but I hope the experience is more like Gypsy Queen than Goodwin Champions. I think it will be, as the base set and many of the inserts are focused on baseball, while the wacky fun is all in the inserts. I really want to pull an Arachnology redemption, but they are 1/1 incredibly tough pulls.

So, I bought all of the 2013 Topps Opening Day in Southwest Idaho Target stores. I know for sure that I have one complete base set, and I estimate that there is at least 1 and maybe two more base sets in the stack of cards on my desk. I have 17/25 Ballpark Fun inserts, 17/24 Mascots, 20/25 Opening Day Stars 3D, 18/25 Play Hard, and 17/25 Superstar Celebrations. I was hoping to be a little closer on all of those, but I am still pretty close. I also pulled an Ike Davis Opening Day Autograph, so that is my second autograph and also a Met. He has not been having a great year in Fantasy Baseball, and my teams have suffered a bit because of it. Of course, several of my teams also featured B.J. Upton and Giancarlo Stanton, so that should tell you all you need to know about my 2013 Fantasy Baseball season. I am struggling to get out of last place in most of my leagues.

I wound up with 28 Blue Parallels, which is a decent number but leaves me with a lot of work to do if I want to complete the set anytime this century. I really do like them, though, so I will probably see it through to the end. The only card I really really wanted that I didn't pull was the R.A. Dickey variation card. The variation cards are even tougher pulls than the autographs, so there wasn't much chance of pulling one, let alone a specific one. R.A. Dickey is for sure on my list of players to collect. His career has been pretty hit or miss, as can be expected for a knuckleballer, but I like his story and his book was pretty good. I was surprised at how many Blue Jays I recognized from my fantasy teams. Sometimes I get so focused in on stats that I don't notice who a guy is playing for, but I've got a boatload of Blue Jays on my teams. For Gint-A-Cuffs V each participant has to pick a favorite player and team, and I might go with R.A. Dickey and the Blue Jays. Other guys who I want to start player collections for are Homer Bailey, Hisashi Iwakuma, Max Scherzer, Felix Hernandez, and maybe a couple of batters to be named later. But for the moment, R.A. Dickey for the new-school and Nolan Ryan for the old-school. I may grab up Paul Molitor cards, too, as he is one of the guys who sent me back an autographed card in the mail when I was a kid. I will have player collections from other sports, too, but I will discuss that some other time.

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