Thursday, March 12, 2009

2009 Topps Heritage six pack break

So I picked up six packs of 2009 Topps Heritage at the local Target [$2.99 x6] - I heard the rumblings these are already out, so as much I'd thought about staying away, I was swayed by my curiosity.

Several chews and about a couple of minutes later - the taste lifespan of one piece of pink gum is spent.

Pack #1
#406 Dustin McGowan

#164 Cincinnati Reds team card - checklist
#381 Atlanta Braves team card - checklist; an apparent problem I have with 2009 Topps Heritage is there are ink 'speckles' on some of the cards. Is this a desired effect to mimic the originals or just careless print defects? I'll go with the latter.
#275 Skip Schumaker - annoying ink speckles again
#168 Felipe Lopez
#89 Garrett Olson
#350 Javier Vazquez
#326 Ichiro

Pack #2
#187 Bronson Arroyo

#263 Dioner Navarro - annoying ink speckles again
#198 Chris Dickerson
#69 Ray Durham
- annoying ink speckles again
#203 Chris Iannetta
#119 Wilkin Castillo

#213 Manny Acta - the manager cards have taken on a life on its own and it seems like Topps has made a way to find cards like this palatable. The banner with the team logo infront is unique and the back isn't stats and facts, but a cartoon.
#171 Matt Joyce

Pack #3
#283 Matt Clement

#261 Scott Kazmir - annoying ink speckles again
#223 Lou Piniella
#41 Dave Bush - annoying ink speckles again
#4 Edinson Volquez
#426 Scott Rolen - gray back; apparently an SP.
#87 Jarrod Washburn
#134 Phil Coke

Pack #4
#260 Power Plus subset - featuring Manny 'El Maniaco' Ramirez and Andre Ethier
#228 Jeff Suppan - from the times I've seen him sign autographs in-person, he seems like a down-to-earth and reasonably easy to talk to guy, considering he is a professional athlete.
#62 Greg Maddux - annoying ink speckles again
#NAP 6 Tim Lincecum - I want to jump on the guy's bandwagon, but nah. I do like Lincecum's MLB 2k9 video game commercial with his digital doppledanger being dressed down for his choice in music [Wang Chung: Dance Hall Days] and also by Randy Johnson in the locker room ["He should put a towel on"].
#83 Derek Jeter
#59 John Maine
#300 Ryan Howard
#414 Miguel Cabrera

Pack #5
#218 Ozzie Guillen
#159 Shin-Soo Choo

#225 Joe Torre - annoying ink speckles again
#NF-3 Weather Satellite Tiros-1 News Flashback insert - love how they put an old-school illustration of the first weather satellite.
#TME-HR Hanley Ramirez - Mayo insert; one reason I wanted to bust these packs is I saw scans of Mayo inserts from this blog: A Cardboard Problem.
#342 Asdrubal Cabrera
#331 Troy Glaus
- it seems like a long time ago, since he starred with the Angels [HR title in 2000, WS MVP in 2002].
#358 Yuniesky Betancourt - a reasonably competent Major League player, statheads don't like him because without getting a hit, he doesn't get on-base more and is more of a contact-first guy who doesn't really hit for adequate power. Also there seems to be grumbling about his defensive value and how he maybe on the downside of his career at his listed age of 27.

Pack #6
#46 Brandon Backe - annoying ink speckles again
#13 Garret Anderson - annoying ink speckles
#308 Zack Greinke - annoying ink speckles; I think the ink from the back of one card rubs onto the front of the card following it.
#351 Ben Sheets - annoying ink speckles
#456 Boston Red Sox coaches - annoying ink speckle; gray back
#273 Alex Rios
#214 Bruce Bochty
#409 Kurt Suzuki

Random thoughts about 2009 Topps Heritage
1.) It seems like the Heritage series have come in 'full bloom' with all sorts of colors - unlike in recent years, when Heritage meant the coolness of a retro product baseball card product symbolized by dour, subdued and boring cards.
2.) The quality control with the ink speckles makes me wary of purchasing more packs and a box - it seems like you want to embrace a baseball card product, but then find warts dulling your enthusiasm.
3.) I'm really tempted to build a set of these cards, but I'm not a set builder in a sense I'm going to devote my time looking to complete a set of baseball cards over the course of the year - I'm sure I'll fish out my share of the regular [non-SP] cards here-and-there, especially when looking for specific players' cards to get signed in-person/through the mail.
4.) I never thought any manager/coaches' cards would be worth my time - however, Topps did a pretty good job in making them appealing in this Heritage product. Naturally, I do like the managers' cards more than the floating heads coaches' cards.
5.) Topps did a good job in capturing some of the off-season moves, picturing some old and young faces in new places - albeit through the magic of Photoshop.
6.) The card backs retain a retro-quality, while still being easy to read - the cartoon images are always a nice touch and you get a short list of season highlights. The fact the backs feature only particular player's stats from last season and his career totals underscores the idea [ironically, in a retro product] we are in the age of the Internet, with Baseball - reference just a click away.

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