Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rock bottom

I think it's been a decent year for cardboard so far.

Flagship is the best it's been in quite a few years, and all of Topps's other releases have at least been passable. (Aside from perhaps Gypsy Queen.)

I shouldn't have much to complain about.

However, in terms of personal experience, it's been a fairly horrid year for the pack buster in me. As evidenced by my previous Series 2 hanger box break, my dad is actually the one who's had the hot hand.

I've pretty much had crap luck so far. Since I don't open too many packs these days, it hasn't been that much of a concern. All I can do is shrug my shoulders and say, "There's always the next one." (I guess it comes from my experience of being a Cubs fan.)

That brings us to a couple weeks ago, when I once again found myself with that familiar urge to bust something. Against my better judgment, I plopped down a few bucks for a Series 2 rack pack.

What I found staggered me. I'm not quite sure I've ever been more frustrated and disappointed with a pack in my life.

But we'll get to that in a bit. For now, let's focus on the positives. (Albeit the few.)

This shot of a diving Ryan Hanigan is one of the better cards I've seen thus far in 2013, another example of the brilliant photography Topps has utilized this year.

It'll make for a fine frankenset nominee.

I also pulled a couple team binder needs with Lackey and Hughes.

A couple of hits to my "set needs" list, as we have with the above pair, are always appreciated.


Those two were the only ones I pulled.

I'm not sure what it is about the packs at my local Target, but the collation has absolutely sucked for Series 2 wax.

I think this was the third rack pack of the product I'd purchased. Coupling those with the aforementioned hanger box from my dad, I'd say I've had the opportunity to pull about 125 to 130-ish base cards in total.

The Series 2 checklist, as you probably know, contains 330 cards. From my breaks, doubles should've been few and far between, if any.

Yet that's already the third Carlos Marmol base card I've pulled. Along with the fourth Brett Myers.

I counted at least 10 or 11 other doubles in this rack pack alone.

The collation gods were not on my side.

It seemed like the insert gods were, though.

At least for a while.

I've never devoted much time or effort into tracking down Fred Lynn cards, but this one is an absolute beauty.

In fact, it's inspired me to start looking for more cards of his at upcoming shows.

I needed all of the "Chasing History" inserts I pulled.

Crawford isn't a marquee player collection of mine, but I have been trying to track down a few of his Dodger issues lately.

And, despite the high prices his cards can sometimes command, I absolutely love collecting Mike Trout.

As you might be able to tell, my copy of Trout's insert had a bit of chipping at the top. Not a huge concern for me, as I'm not the biggest stickler for condition. Those pesky production gods get one every now and again, I guess.

An isolated incident, no doubt.

Or so I thought.

Sadly, Mr. Trout wasn't the only one.

Almost every single insert I pulled was warped in some way. As you can see, both of these parallels had nice chunks taken out of them.

Again, I'm not a big condition guy. Still, when you're buying something off retail shelves, you'd expect the product to be brand new.

It's especially sad because the Norris is one of my absolute favorite cards of the year so far.

But it didn't end there.

While not as extreme as some of the others, Bryce Harper succumbed to condition flaws as well.

The fact that absolutely none of the base cards I pulled from the top half of the rack pack leads me to believe that this wasn't some sort of production error.

I think it was an inside job.

More specifically, I can't help but think this pack was searched at some point. Or, at least, was attempted to be searched.

I could go on and on about how much I despise pack searchers, but I'm sure most of you have heard that speech before, so I'll save you the time.

This, right here, is the downside of pack searching.

It hurts innocent collectors.

If there was a light at the end of the tunnel, it came in the form of Chris Sale here.

My absolute favorite card of the rack pack managed to escape unharmed. I'm sure a lot of that had to do with the thicker and sturdier card stock on which these "Cut to the Chase" issues are printed, though.

So, yes, perhaps I got lucky with this one. And, true, I did pull a couple of other neat cards with the Hanigan and Lynn.

Still, I can't help but think this may have been my pack busting rock bottom for 2013. Between collation issues, condition flaws, and possible pack searching, I'm not sure it gets much worse.

I sure hope it gets better from here on out.


petethan said...

I'm with you. Condition isn't the end-all, especially when it comes to vintage. But when you buy something new in a pack you do expect that new card smell, not something that stinks.

Swing And A Pop-up said...

While I was reading and seeing the condition of the cards, I was thinking pack searching too.