In discussing cardboard, there occasionally comes a time where I feel like I've said everything I need to say on a certain topic.
For better or worse, I think I'm hitting that wall with many of the earlier 2013 releases. I've talked about many of them at length already on this blog, to the point where I'm not sure what else I can add.
Gypsy Queen is a general yawner. Archives is uninspired. Opening Day is...yeah, yeah, yeah. You've probably heard it all before from me.
So, when Chris of the great new blog "The Raz Card Blog" generously sent over two (yes, two) different packages chock full of 2013 needs, I grappled with what I'd actually write come trade post time.
In order to move this thing along, I've decided to involve something I haven't discussed as much on this blog as I'd like.
I love involving music in what I write, but I haven't done it as much lately. So, throughout this post, I'll be including a few "Tuesday tunes" from my MP3 player.
Don't get me wrong. I'm fully and unbelievably appreciative of all the 2013 needs Chris sent over. It's just that I'm having a bit of blogger's block in coming up with something new to say about any of them.
On that note, let's see what the dime box jukebox has in store today.
Even if I might not like the design, I have to chase any and all cards I need for my various player collections.
That's why I keep discussing GQ around here, despite my distaste for the product.
Still, if the Johnny Bench "Collisions at the Plate" insert at the top of this post is any indication, even a blind squirrel can find a nut every once in a while. The "Mr. October" base card (center-left) is a rather nice card from an otherwise bland product.
For me, it's kind of like the Smashing Pumpkins. I know how much a lot of other '90s alternative fans like their music, but I could never get hugely into them. (Even if they are from Chicago.)
Nevertheless, they at least have a couple good songs.
One in particular has received a fair amount of airplay around here lately.
In a lot that included this nifty Denny McLain short print...
...Chris also managed to knock out a good amount of my remaining Archives needs.
Personally, I think last year's edition edged out the 2013 version. Why Topps chose to highlight otherwise bland sets like 1985 and 1990 is still a head-scratcher.
If Archives returns next year, I'm worried it'll be yet another step backwards in this product's history.
Which reminds me of a song that I recently discovered through a friend.
With the exception of the Upton, all of these Opening Day issues were recycled in either Series 1 or Series 2.
Flagship/Opening Day combos are nice to have next to each other in a binder, but I'd still like to see Topps try something different with this brand.
As far as the base cards go, it's basically a mere imitation.
Somehow, all of my music-themed posts eventually wind up on the topic of R.E.M. As far as I'm concerned, the Athens, Georgia quartet is the best band of the '80s.
Although they kind of fell off in their later years (especially after drummer Bill Berry left the group), one of their more recent tunes is actually one of my favorites.
And, aside from this one, it might be the best music video they ever made.
Between the "Play Hard", "Superstar Celebrations", "Opening Day Stars", and especially the "Ballpark Fun" subsets, every single Opening Day insert set has something unique to offer.
In fact, these were probably the best part of the awesome couple of packages Chris sent over.
As you might guess, I'm most definitely impressed with Opening Day's insert selection.
If you like '80s alternative/college radio/whatever you want to call it, chances are you've heard of The Replacements. My parents were actually at their last-ever show in 1991.
Last-ever, at least, until this past weekend. Paul Westerberg (guitarist/singer) and Tommy Stinson (bassist) had a semi-reunion, headlining Chicago's Riot Fest on Sunday. I wanted to go, but, alas, it just wasn't in the cards.
Still, they'll always be a terrific band.
Sometimes, good can come in the most unexpected of places.
I hadn't planned on owning anything from this year's Goodwin Champions release until Chris sent along these two freebies.
Since UD can't use logos, they chose to give the collector a "sports swap" with guys like Gwynn, shown there during his early basketball days, and Aaron Rodgers, who looks to be trying his hand at cycling.
They're good for a laugh, if nothing else.
As far as music goes, I'll put this bluntly. Rap/hip hop and I don't mix very well. I don't keep up with what the majority of the kids are listening to these days.
Still, if you look hard enough, you might be able to find a few gems. As a result, some early rap is excluded from my "no rap" rule. I happen to like a few Run DMC and Public Enemy songs.
The same goes for the Beastie Boys.
Closing things out today is a rare sight in the trading world.
A Heritage short-print!
Chris helped knock out one of my long lost needs from last year's Heritage with this Jason Bay SP.
As any blogger will tell you, opening a brand new trade package is one of the better perks of being a part of the blogosphere.
It's a feeling unlike any other.