I decided to try a blaster and a hanger box to kickoff the new collecting year. I was happy to see the 'Target Exclusive' Derek Jeter Highlights cards advertised on the front of the blaster. Others may be tired of new Jeters or new Yankees in general, but I'm excited to chase more cards of the Captain. I was just hopeful that the card design would look nice. I guess its an added bonus that there are also some coupons to use later. I decided to rip into the blaster first.
Here is a representation of the different subsets to be found. Future Stars, League Leaders, World Series Highlights, and team cards are all available. I scanned the Hosmer and Ozuna because I thought they were some of the more interesting photos from the blaster. I'm still not 100% sure how I feel about the design this year. I've heard some people refer to it as the 'Aquafresh' set or the 'wave' set. So far, for me, the design element that my eye tends to be drawn to is the effect found on the right side of the player and team name bars. It reminds me of the movie 'Pixels'. The more I look at it, the more it grows on me.
Here is a smattering of different inserts that I found. We've got Award Winners, Opening Day, Topps Salute, Superstar Sensations, 1983 35th Anniversary, and Legends in the Making. I was really happy to pull two Judge inserts after not having much luck pulling his RCs last year. I love the early career photo of the Straw-Man they used on the Salutes card. Across the bottom row, I scanned Verlander and Darvish because they show them in their new unis. While they may not be the first pieces of cardboard to do so, I still thought it was nice to see. I pulled 4 of the 1983 cards. I decided to scan Devers(despite being a Red Sox) because he is one of the most exciting young players to have RCs in series 1. I really like the way these look. However, they used a more modern card stock which leaves them a bit too slick feeling for my liking. I'm not sure if I'll make even a half hearted attempt at putting that set together. I feel like it would have been a real winner if they had used the same 'old school' card stock they used on the 1987 set last year.
The Captain!!! I was thrilled to find 4 of these Derek Jeter Highlights cards in the blaster and I'm really happy with the simple, jersey-inspired design. I will definitely need to track all of these down.
While I was excited to be opening packs of the first set of the year, the blaster had left me a bit underwhelmed until the second to last pack I opened. I had only pulled a single gold, a single rainbow foil parallel, and only a few rookies(none of which were the ones I really wanted to pull). However, right in the middle of that second to last pack was a card that helped redeem the box.
Willie Calhoun has been a pretty highly touted prospect in the Dodgers system over the past few years. The Rangers acquired him in the Yu Darvish trade and he was one of their September call-ups, playing in 13 games. This is the Mother's Day Pink parallel and is #/50. I beat pretty astronomical odds finding this in my blaster as they fall 1:694 packs. I still had the 'relic' pack to go too. This year, series 1 includes Manu-relics featuring the altered MLB logo that was used during Players Weekend. I thought this was a pretty fun idea for a 'relic' set which is the main reason I opted to go for the blaster and not just multiple hangers.
I still like the design of the card and I have no issue with pulling a Josh Donaldson. I do have an issue with their photo selection though. One of the most fun aspects of Players Weekend was the use of nicknames on the jerseys. Why have a set that is supposed to highlight Players Weekend if the photo selected doesn't showcase one of the main aspects of said weekend? I just don't get it. I have yet to see the Yankees from this set, but I sure hope that their nicknames are visible, especially since there is the added novelty of the Yankees never wearing names on their jerseys. I'm hoping they'll be really cool additions to my collection once I track them down. Let's move on to the hanger box.
Ahhh, finally a few of the RCs I will be chasing made an appearance in the hanger box brick. Since I'm a fan of any WS Highlight cards, I had to scan the WS MVP. As I'm sure anyone reading is aware, Kiermaier is one of my favorite players in the league. Robbing HRs has become fairly common for him, but I never tire of seeing photos of him in action. This particular one looks like he is doing his best MJ 'Jumpman' impression. I decided to include the newest Yankee for exactly that reason and I love the gritty detail on that Tapia. It's just a great baseball card. There were no inserts that I felt the need to scan, but there was one card I thought looked a bit different as I flipped through the brick of cards. A quick scan of the minuscule codes on the card backs confirmed my initial suspicion that I had uncovered one of the lower tier photo variation SPs.
I can't even put into words how thrilled I was that I had pulled an SP that would immediately slip into my PC. This is the variation on card #1 in the set. Obviously I love Judge(otherwise this wouldn't be his third appearance in this post), but am I the only one that can see Cameron(Alan Ruck) from Ferris Bueller's Day Off here?
It's not too much of a stretch, right? Anyway, to all who are searching for new product, I hope you find some and have great luck as you rip into the first cards of the year! I think I'll go searching for some loose and fat packs so I can use some of my coupons from that blaster. Thanks for reading.