Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wall Painting Went Well, Maybe

Truth be told, I'm not very good at painting walls.  I hate doing it, I never get the thickness of the paint on the roller or the brush correct, and I'm never satisfied with my own work.  I mean, should a wall look like this?

Yeah, you got me.  That's Jackson Pollock -- Jack the Dripper -- and not my handiwork.  I did get out of finishing off my painting work today because I had to stop at the store for some supplies for a trip to the beach that we are making with my wife's family, though, so tomorrow will be radio silence from Off Hiatus.

Tonight, though, is 2013 Topps Series 2 Case Night.

When I was an eight-year-old kid freezing my nights away in bucolic, frost-bitten Washington County, Wisconsin, my mother was kind enough to let me warm myself with thoughts of baseball year-round through a subscription to Baseball Digest.  In that magazine, I would see ads like this:

Oh, the daydreams I would have about buying an entire case of unopened boxes of 1980 Topps cards -- and what fun I would have had with 12,000 of those babies in my grimy little 8-year-old paws.

Once I got back into collecting, I started having the same daydreams, but this time I was going to websites like Dave & Adam's Cards (where I got this box). I saw that the 2013 Topps Series 2 case was about $300, and it still seemed as far away in many respects as the $137.49 was in 1980.

Back then, though, I did not have a job -- shocking, I know -- and frankly getting packs was all I could do. Now, though, I can afford a frivolity every once in a while so I got this case.

It was way too much fun to rip through it. WAY too much fun.

Now down to the nuts and bolts of the box.  Let's talk first about collation of base set cards.  I have absolutely no idea what I have. I ripped through 12 boxes of cards and acted like your typical "new" collector -- ignoring the base set cards while looking for the hits and the inserts.  Suffice it to say that if you need any of the cards from Series 2 from last year, I bet I can find you one of them.

So, let's get to the inserts.

For those of you who may have repressed your memories from last year of what the inserts in Series Two were, here's a quick refresher course.

Row 1 features the World Baseball Classic, "Making Their Mark," and "Cut to the Chase" inserts. Row 2 has "The Elite," Chasing History, and the Topps 1972 Minis.  The bottom row has the "Chase It Down" insert. I have not had the opportunity to sort all of the inserts I got of these out completely, but I do know that I have 3 complete sets of the 15 WBC cards (plus about another 1/2 set), a complete set of the Series 2 Cut to the Chase (with a few duplicates), a complete set of the 20 The Elite cards (with a few duplicates), nearly 2 complete sets of the Series 2 Chasing History, and three complete sets (plus another half set) of the Chase It Down insert.  

Then, there are the parallels.  Because this was a hobby case, I have no Blue, Purple, Red, or Emerald Blue to show off. I did not get any Pink cards, nor did I get any "platinum" parallels. What did I get?

I got about 70 (rough number because I pulled the Brewers immediately!) of the Emerald Foil parallels. All of them were unique as well -- no duplicates.

I pulled out about 60 (same thing) Gold Parallels.  Again, no duplicates here.

The next two distribution sizes were strange to me.  Recall that the Desert Camo are serial numbered to 99, and the Black are numbered to 62. I personally would have expected more Camo than Black. Perhaps it is because of other cards being in my distribution, but I got the reverse of that:

I got just two of the Desert Camo -- and dear Lord do those red pinstripes, numbers, and hats for the Chicago White Sox look terrible next to the camouflage.  

On the other hand:

Four black parallels popped out.  The scan's a bit tough to read, so if you need help, it's Francisco Peguero, Matt Moore, Jose Iglesias, and Joel Hanrahan.

Now, a few other cooler items fall into the realm of parallels that I got.  You've already seen one of them:

The 1 of 1 Black printing plate used for Jeff Locke's card.  It sucks that the folks at the printers couldn't get the thing off and into a pack without smearing the black ink on the P, but it's still a one-of-one printing plate.

In that whole case, though, I only got one silk card:

It's a silk card serial numbered 42 of 50 of Scott Diamond.  Diamond had a pretty good 2012 -- a 12-9 record and a 3.54 ERA in 173 innings for the Twins.  He even led the league in fewest walks per nine innings at 1.6 BB/9.  Unfortunately, his margins for error were very thin since he struck out only 4.7 per 9 innings (league average is around 6.0 or a little above).  This season, he's getting shelled in the International League. But, hey -- he's Canadian!

The other interesting distribution issue is the fact that I got not one but two printing plates in the case.  To be fair, the other player is somewhat better than Jeff Locke:

Hamilton was on a track where he would have one huge year, then an off year, then a huge year, and then an off year.  This year was supposed to be his huge year.  He's been on the DL since the first week of the season after thumb surgery and is expected back next week.  

It's still better than Jeff Locke.

Finally, with respect to the base set, I did pull a few of those obnoxious "Sunglasses" short prints from this case.  As with all the cards and items here today, these cards might be available in trade:

Those have got to be some of the most ridiculous parallels around.  With the sunglasses on, Tim Lincecum reminds me just a little too much of figure skating announcer Johnny Weir:

One final short print was not a sunglasses one, but rather a very meaningful one.  It's the David Ortiz Boston-Strong short print:

Okay, enough of all those short prints and parallels.  Now, it's time for the hits.  I'm going to try to put them in my order of least interesting to most interesting:

Chasing History David Cooper
David Cooper has not seen the major leagues since he finished at .300 in an injury shorted 2012.  What a dumb reason to say someone is "chasing history."  That one deserved to be ripped on; the rest are presented without comment until the end.
Mike Olt Making Their Mark Relic
Lance Lynn Chasing History for 18 Wins
Chad Billingsley's "Non-Losing Seasons" History.  I don't mind Billingsley (even if I get something of his every single damn box), but this sounds ridiculous
If it's not Bills, it's Ryan Zimmerman showing up in relics for me.
You can definitely draw a line right here between the "Okay but maybe slightly annoying" and the "That's a damn nice hit -- let me look up that one on eBay!" relics and autos.

Felix Hernandez
Fellow Vanderbilt guy David Price
Paul Goldschmidt.  I sure wish I knew a D-Backs fan.
I do know a few Yankees fans...
There are two more hits to go.  One of them is a case hit, I believe, and the other one is Jason Kipnis.

But, it's Jason Kipnis Chasing History Gold Autograph serial numbered 2 of 10.  So, even though Jason Kipnis is starting to appear in literally every pack I open much like Chad Billingsley, I don't mind this one. Of course, he really needs to learn to sign his own name rather than making his mark on the card.  Even the notably illiterate Shoeless Joe Jackson did better than that.

Finally, there is the case hit.  It's a weighty card too:

It's a Joey Votto "Proven Mettle" Coin Card serial numbered 80 of 99.

All in all, I said it up top and I'll say it again: I really enjoyed plowing through these twelve boxes of packs. There is something that is almost cathartic about ripping through packs and packs of baseball cards looking for surprises and getting a few pleasant ones.

Again, if you're interested in any of the Series 2 inserts or any of the hits I've posted, drop me an e-mail and let me know.

Thanks for reading, and watch out for Jack the Dripper. 


  1. My buddies and I entertain the thought of opening a case a lot, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. We need a fourth person. Want to make the trip to Morgantown every couple months? That Kipnis auto is sweet!

    1. Maybe once or twice a year I could swing it....or maybe you should come to Atlanta for the West Virginia v. Alabama football game this August...

  2. Great case. I actually think the ink smear on the plate is really cool. I like the inked up plates better, not that I have any.

    I was a painter for 10 years if you ever need any advice.

    1. It's too bad you don't live closer...I'd not only ask for advice, I'd probably ask for a quote! :-)

  3. Dibs on the Ryu sunglasses and the Big Papi variation if they are up for trade. I'll shoot you an email in the next few days.

    1. I have a destination for Ryu, but not Big Papi, so he's yours.

  4. Cool case. It's been a few years since I busted a whole case of cards. Unfortunately for me... it's like eating a quart of ice cream. I love it when I'm doing it... but as soon as I'm finished, the regret seeps in.

  5. I've always wanted to bust a case myself...and bonus points for using the word "bucolic".
    I also need to read your posts earlier...missed out on the Ortiz :(

  6. Replies
    1. Me too. I kept a bunch of them not because I thought they'd have "value" but because I enjoyed going back and reading the articles. They can be a bit funny to read today in retrospect, but even now I find interesting stuff in them.

  7. I'm a huge Joey Votto fan and will buy or trade for the proven mettle card if you still have it.

    1. I'm trying to corner the market on Cincinnati Reds proven mettle cards. I have about sixty of them. Many other proven mettle team players to trade.....once I found out how much it would cost me to collect one of every proven mettle card made I quickly decided to only focus on Reds proven mettle.

    2. Ron -- shoot me an e-mail. I'd be very interested in a Ryan Braun

  8. jjjrmiller@aol.com is my email and I will be more than happy to trade you a Ryan Braun proven mettle iron numbered to only 50 for a copper Votto.

  9. Have Aaron and Spahn proven mettle also.

  10. Sent them this morning trusting you will like them....Braun, Aaron and Spahn .

  11. I have most of the other wrought iron proven mettle cards if any of your other trading partners are interested. I am just collecting cool Reds stuff now.