Blastin’ the Gypsy Queen

13 05 2011

It’s my first blaster of the 2011 season, and rather than continue to pound on a set that I’m trying to complete (2011 Topps Series 1), I thought I’d get something I had no intention of collecting at the time. Note the choice of verbs, kiddies, cause I think this blaster may have changed my mind.  But the money can make the mind a fickle thing, too, so who knows.  First, lets see what I gots…

Pack 1

20 – Andre Dawson
27 – Roy Oswalt
210 – Aaron Rowand
SF14 – Alcides Escobar
62 – Red Schoendienst mini

FMRC-SM – Stan Musial
FS16 – David Price

Definitely a strong start.  I’m not sure how anyone could not be an Expos fan to some degree after what happened to them, and this is the way Andre Dawson was meant to be seen, and not in those Chicago pinstripes.    The colors sure are bold and bright, and I think Andre would beat me with that bat if I didn’t like this stuff.  So a point for Gypsy queen.  I was pretty amped about the Musial bat, too, until I saw that Topps was giving these out like candy.  Or I thought they were.  I know there was a Cardboard Junkie post where he pulled two of these.  If I Google I can find it.  But Blogger tells me that post does not exist, which takes the punch out of my joke. I wonder what happened there…

Pack 2

115 – Jeremy Jeffress
203 – Brian Matusz
325 – Jason Castro
142 – Max Scherzer
281 – Juan Pierre Red Gypsy backed mini

42 – Jose Reyes Framed Paper 120/999

The framed Reyes kinda changes my mind, though, and here’s why. I think Topps knows how much love there is out there for the Upper Deck Masterpieces set, and they are trying desperately to find a formula that is similar to that, but still can make them money. That’s why they trot out stuff like Chicle. And yes, I realize the masterpieces was a bit of a rip off of Allen and Ginter, but Upper Deck was at least original in the way they presented the stuff.  This also would mean that  Topps is simply trying to imitate itself to a degree, which is kinda meta, I suppose.  If this were the first art based set I ever saw, I would love it.  But it’s not.  And after two packs, I don’t.

Pack 3

71 – CC Sabathia

35 – Pee Wee Reese
251 – Mark Buehrle
246 – A.J. Burnett
153 – Delmon Young mini
GO28 – Babe Ruth

Nice looking Reese card there, no?  Topps photo selections for the old timers on this one seems pretty good so far.  And while I probably have scores of Mark Buehrle cards (yawn), my collection of cards with Mr. Reese is pretty low, so I’ve gotta give a point back to the GQ for this one.

That GO card is part of the Great Ones insert set, for those not in the know.    I have a checklist card for the Great Ones insert set, and I see that Babe Ruth is included twice.  So is Nolan Ryan and Frank Robinson.  The set is only thirty cards long, so I have to ask, are there really only twenty-seven great ones that Topps thought of?  I’m guessing they feature the player for two different teams, but I’d rather see a Hammerin’ Hank, I think, or a Mike Schmidt.  Or Ricky!  Just about any other HOFer would be good, I think.  Half point deduction on that one.

Pack 4

16 – Chris Carpenter
276 – Ian Stewart
127 – Rickie Weeks
270 – Brad Lidge
199 – James Shields mini

GO8 – Jackie Robinson

No, I’m not turning into another Dodger blog. But that brown border really makes this Jackie look nice. Most of the insert sets look nice so far, actually, which is another point for GQ.  But a lot of the base cards are kinda blase, which is a point deduction.  Is it possible that three years of pictures of pitchers pitching and hitters hitting can make you tired of baseball cards?  It certainly takes some design to keep it fresh, I’d say.  And while the borders succeed, the base cards are a bit of a fail on this one.  Deduct a point.

Pack 5

19 – Jon Lester
244 – Scott Kazmir
209 – Tim Hudson
WC10 – David DeJesus

85 – Frank Robinson mini
HH8 – Prince Feilder

I’m pretty sure I’ve complained about the Oriole bias when it comes to Frank Robinson, so it was awesome to see him dressed up as a Red in this set. Point for the GQ, which apparently will be what I call Gypsy Queen from here on out.  Thanks for listening, Topps.  As for the minis themselves, well, it’s hard to screw up a mini card. These look great once more, even if minis are becoming the white jersey swatch of insert cards.

Pack 6

194 – Lorenzo Cain
286 – Jason Kubel
116 – Jake Peavy
SF5 – Elvis Andrus
14 – Brooks Robinson mini

FS15 – Jose Tabata

I’m not sure that Tabata will really be a future star, but that’s a minor quibble. I will say that I am now contemplating collecting the insert sets and skipping the base set, which would be a first for me, I think. I love the way the Great Ones, Future Stars, Wall Climbers, and to a lesser extent the Sticky Fingers inserts look. The colored borders really help these things stand out, even if this is a pretty generic set up for inserts.

Pack 7

29 – Ty Cobb

195 – Bronson Arroyo
155 – R.A. Dickey
218 – Austin Jackson
304 – Brian Duensing mini
308- Kila Ka’aihue

A Red! It’s one of twelve in the set, which seems like a pretty good number for a smaller market team that can barely make it on ESPN Sunday night baseball. An easy point for GQ!

Bronson has more starts in the NL than anyone since 2006, or so the back tells me. He pitches tonight in the series opener against what has quickly become the NL Central rival St. Louis Cardinals. As a fan, it’s nice to play against an actual rival again (we miss you, Dodgers!) and to have those rivalry games mean something, too.  A sweep this weekend would put the Reds in first place on Sunday night, and I will settle for nothing less, of course. Arroyo’s card is a good omen for tonight’s game, right?

Pack 8

64 – Josh Hamilton

199 – James Shields
283 – Rick Ankiel
WC3 – Nick Swisher
7 – Jim Palmer mini
HH13 – Manny Ramirez

Is Shields going all CY Young on the AL? Maybe. It’s still pretty early in the season, but both the Rays and fantasy owners have to be pleased so far.  I for one did not expect to see Tampa Bay at the top of the AL East, well, ever this season, really. And how badly do you think Topps wanted to get Manny out of their baseball sets this year?  Is this his last hurrah?   It’s too bad that a guy with all that talent turned himself into something of a novelty in baseball, and will now probably be best know for quitting the sport he was good at instead of facing the consequences of his actions. As a parent, I thank Manny for the easy lesson to teach to my kids.

So let me tally up the points here…  er, um…  calculator…  slide rule…  The results are…  inconclusive.  As I said before, I think I’d love this set if it were the first of its kind, but because it’s not, I have a hard time over looking that. Is that a fair reason to ding a set?  Probably not.   This does mean that more research is needed before I decided if I’m collecting this thing.  Twenty-nine base cards just isn’t enough…




One response

14 05 2011
Mike Von Krusze

Nice looking cards! Thanks for the review. I’m going to grab a box myself this afternoon.

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