Sunday, June 22, 2008
Featured pack break
2008 Upper Deck II fat pack [$4.99 each at Tarjay] - Though it doesn't come without perceived faults [read below], I do like the Upper Deck base brand [even though I'm not a set builder] because it seems like it is designed for more sophisticated collectors.
Blister one [18 cards per blister]#422 Nick Markakis - the card kind of dinged on the back.
#468 Ryan Freel - Farney's fan favorite
#625 Adrian Gonzalez - sporting the camo uniform
#484 Garrett Atkins - a little underrated for a very productive third baseman.
#676 David Murphy - a suprising talent, somewhere between a good reserve and a guy who should be starting on a semi-regular basis.
#642 Adrian Beltre - smiling on the back of the card
#513 Lance Berkman - wearing the shades
#552 Rickie Weeks - injured a bunch, brother Jemile was drafted No. 12 overall [by Oakland] in this year's amateur draft.
#504 Dan Uggla - suddenly the top slugger in baseball
#612 Geoff Jenkins - there is really nothing [in his stats] to suggest he is anything special, but you take a look at him and say, 'yeah, he looks the part of a Major Leaguer.'
#580 Brian Scheider - smiling on the back of his card
#689 Reed Johnson - what is he growing on his goatee [on the back of the card]?
#498 Edgar Renteria - as a shortstop, he seems to get knocked down a peg, but he almost has 2,000 hits in his career.
#729 Yasuhiko Yabuta - you can't beat pulling a true rookie card, even if it is of a 35 year old middle reliever from Japan.
#784 Carl Crawford - Season Highlights subset
#742 Jimmy Rollins - Season Highlights subset; all dirty as he crosses the plate and congratulated by teammate Ryan Howard.
#778 Joe Mauer checklist - I suppose it makes no difference, but checklist cards shouldn't picture players, because it is a waste of a player's image. I'd rather have the front of the checklist feature the company's logo, like a 'header card.'
#DC-12 Manny Corpas Diamond Collection insert - Corpas was a late season hero as the closer for the Colorado Rockies in 2007, but has been a flop in 2008.
Blister two [18 cards per blister]
#440 Joey Cora
#486 Brian Fuentes - you can see how his fingers extend after he releases the ball on his follow through.
#415 John Smoltz - I suppose the established veterans of the game are not getting younger and guys who have enjoyed 20-21 year Major League careers are are one step closer to leaving the game as active players.
#478 Asdrubal Cabrera - he was a late season hero for the Cleveland Indians in 2007, but has been a flop in 2008.
#670 Vicente Padilla
#532 Francisco Rodriguez - nice, a Halo
#695 Odalis Perez - at times has shown brief flashes of brilliance, but is now considered a journeyman.
#589 Robinson Cano - wearing the shades
#530 Torii Hunter - my first card of Hunter as a Halo
#564 Adam Everett
#453 Scott Linebrink - sporting facial hair
#673 Milton Bradley - first card of him in a Texas Rangers' uniform.
#601 Kurt Suzuki - ripping off his mask to chase after a foul pop up.
#715 Blake DeWitt - too bad his first-year cards came out back the year when he was drafted in 2004.
#797 Magglio Ordonez - Season Highlights subset
#764 Erik Bedard checklist
#701 Randor Bierd - another true rookie card pull, even if it features another middle reliever. At least his listed age says he is 24, not 35.
#DC-13 Mark Ellis Diamond Collection insert - has turned in a good defender at second base and an excellent player for the Oakland Athletics.
Comments - I think the minimal graphics on the front take away from the aesthetics just a little bit. I tend to think the card backs look just a little more impressive than the fronts of the card.
While the photography is top notch and generally sharp, it feels a little bit like Topps, where the images all over the place - the set is littered with great action shots, but you tend to feel no one took the time to select images showing something unique. I suppose it is more of esoteric gripe, but perhaps Upper Deck uses so many photographers or services providing them with players' images, there is no consistency.