Friday, September 2, 2016

Is this pack searching?

So here's something I'm kind of conflicted about.

A couple weeks ago, I walked into the card aisle of my local Target and saw a handful of 2016 Topps Chrome rack packs up for grabs, not even knowing the set was live. I usually ignore Chrome -- I have a hard time justifying $10 for a grand total of 15 cards -- but I decided to flip through them nonetheless.

Through the transparent window of the very first pack on the rack, I could see a Yankee logo and the surname Miller staring back at me through the shrinkwrap (you can kind of notice it in the scan here).  That is, I knew one of the exclusive pink refractors in this particular pack was none other than Andrew Miller, perhaps the game's most dominant reliever and one of my personal favorite guys to collect.

That alone convinced me to take the plunge on this $10 rack pack, but it also put an unpleasant thought in my head: did I just pack search? Hardcore pack searching -- that is, bending and feeling up packs for a possible "hit" -- is a deplorable act, but I admit, I feel a bit strange letting inside contents influence my decision. But having the Andrew Miller card be visible to the naked eye through the shrinkwrap makes it fair game, at least in my head.

But what about the rest of the rack pack?

Pack 1:

#197 Jose Fernandez


A guy I collect kicks off the festivities.

#PC-17 Miguel Sano, "Perspectives"

I was kind of surprised Topps didn't bring back the "Perspectives" inserts in Series 2, as it was far and away the best insert series Flagship had going this year.

They're alive in well in Chrome, however, and with some new subjects, as Mr. Sano here will indicate.

#103 Jason Heyward, Gold Refractor /50


I never pull low-numbered parallels like this...and if I do, it's usually of someone I've never heard of and/or don't collect. But not this time. This golden beauty features Jason Heyward, a guy I've collected since his debut in 2010 and a someone I chase with even more vigor now that he's a new Cub here in 2016.

Sure, he's been kind of a bust thus far, but I'm still a fan of his all the same.

#158 Carlos Carrasco

Not a bad first pack, I'd say.

Pack 2:

#127 Rusney Castillo

Not much to say here, so I'll mention that the smoke effect seems to work a bit better with Chrome than it does in the standard Flagship.

#170 Garrett Richards, Prism Refractor

My scanner worked overtime with this one.

#93 Ross Stripling


#137 Brian Johnson

Oof, that pack was a dud.

Pack 3:

#56 Yordano Ventura

Good for a brawl a year.

#113 Mark Teixeira

One of the better shots from this year's Flagship.

#119 Craig Kimbrel, Refractor

Not bad...a refractor of a guy I collect in his new, unaltered 2016 uniform.

I'll take it!

#29 Richie Schaffer

Who has time for rookies when the bonus pack awaits?

Bonus Pack:

#176 Andrew Miller, Pink Refractor

Not much of a surprise here, as I've already detailed.

#143 Gary Sanchez, Pink Refractor

This was shipped off to a Yankee collector prior to Sanchez's recent Ruthian tear, back before I admittedly even knew who Gary Sanchez was.

#134 David Wright, Pink Refractor

A New York hot pack!

See, this is why I usually stay away from Chrome. I pull a gold refractor of Jason Heyward, a neat "Perspectives" insert, and two pink refractors of guys I collect (Miller and Wright)...and yet I still feel like I didn't get enough bang for my buck. Like I still got screwed somehow.

But it was far from a terrible rack pack overall, and hey, had I not seen Andrew Miller through the shrinkwrap, chances are I wouldn't have even pulled the trigger in the first place.

If this is pack searching, then Topps is ten dollars richer because of it, and I guess that's not all bad.


JediJeff said...

I'm saying no. In my mind, if you manipulate the pack in an attempt to see what in it, and possibly damage the cards within - that's deplorable. Being able to notice a player through the wrapper and picking said pack because it fits your collecting - that's fine.

My opinion. Others are free to have their's, and by no means is my opinion the right opinion. But it's right and fair to me. Considering how few cards the White Sox get is sets lately, I feel it's fair to guarantee at least one in my purchase, if possible.

RAZ said...

It's not pack searching, in my opinion. That Gary Sanchez card is worth approximately 70 billion prospecting dollars right now on the Blowout card forums.

Anonymous said...

I agree with JediJeff... You did nothing beyond the norm to find the Miller card, so it's fine.

I view this along the lines of when there were transparent cello rack packs, and you could clearly see 6 of the cards you were getting (3 fronts, 3 backs). I always went through all the rack packs looking for Mets or other cards I wanted.

Zippy Zappy said...

In my book it's not pack searching because you can clearly see the card without having to alter the packaging in any way. Remember those repacks where you could see four of the 50-100 cards inside?

The Lost Collector said...

Not pack searching. You're fine!

night owl said...

If that's pack searching then I've been doing it since I was 10 years old.

Tim B. said...

I'm with everyone else. That is certainly not pack searching. Heck, back in my early collecting days, they had cello packs where you knew who was on front and back and you usually knew at least 4-5 of the guys coming out of each rack pack. As a kid, I'd always pick the packs that had the guys I liked on the fronts.

Mike said...

Of COURSE its not pack searching, goof ball!

Back in the 70s,you could see the back card in the packs...I'd look through boxes to find someone I wanted...

Adam Kaningher said...

Not pack searching! The card visible through the cellophane influenced plenty of purchase decisions when I was a kid. It's not damaging what's inside, and furthermore, different collectors will pick different players anyway. Pack searchers are only after one specific pack always, but you and I could do this together in the Target aisle and probably both walk away happy.

Andy Stetson said...

Definitely not pack searching! After getting skunked on a few Wacky Packages I dug until I found a hanger with a Cubs sticker showing through the window. Same thing with other rack packs. If you can see through it, it's fair game. Only bending or looking for "hot packs" is considered pack searching to me. That's kinda why I love Panini products, the throw those filler blocks to fool the pack searchers.

Play at the Plate said...

Not. You are still a collector in good standing. :)

John Miller said...

Looks unanimous to me as I agree.....You did nothing wrong.

Fuji said...

Haven't seen these in my Targets yet, so I'm not exactly sure how tight or loose these parallels were packaged. If they're loose enough for collectors to use their thumbs to push the cards around (and damage the cards), then I put the blame on Topps. They should know better. However... if it's pretty tight and only reveals the front and back of one of the parallels, and collectors are sifting to see the best player available, then I don't consider that pack searching. As a kid, I loved digging through rack packs and cello packs to see who was on top.

Josh D. said...

Packsearcher!! What an egregious display of disregard! How do you live with yourself?!?!?!

J/K... you're fine.

GCA said...

I've heard the term "cherry picking" for that. As long as you're not molesting the cards in any potentially damaging way to the cards or the packaging, it's perfectly legit.

It's like picking produce, you look at several different ones until you find the one that looks best to you.

I think the companies should have more transparent wrapping....