Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset Bracket: Bevacqua Region (Pt. 1)


Let's take a look at how the latter half of the Alvarado Region played out.

#11 (Page 38) -- 1973 Topps #334 Freddie Patek (23 votes)

def.

#6 (Page 8) -- 2016 BBM Fusion #66 Norihiro Nakamura (18 votes)




#3 (Page 13) -- 1989 Upper Deck #117 Gary Pettis (33 votes)

def.

#14 (Page 39) -- 1997 Fleer #344 Tony Eusebio (7 votes)




#7 (Page 30) -- 1997 Topps #266 Eric Owens (21 votes)

def.

#10 (Page 71) -- 1987 Fleer #632 Bob Horner (19 votes)




#2 (Page 45) -- 1993 Pinnacle #404 Bob Zupcic (26 votes)

def.

#15 (Page 5) -- 1973 Topps #38 Mike Epstein (12 votes)

Not quite as upset-crazed as the first half of the matchups, but we still had a bit of a shocker (Patek over Nakamura and a battle that went all the way down to the wire (Owens over Horner).

With the #1 seed already out of the picture, I can't wait to see how the rest of this region plays out.

---------------


For now, however, we move on to the Bevacqua Region -- so named for the bubble-blowing champ of '70s lore.

Here's a look at the first round of matchups.





#1 (Page 51) -- 1973 Topps #456 Dick Green

VS.

#16 (Page 56) -- 2017 Topps #499 Danny Valencia





#8 (Page 41) -- 1967 Topps #363 Dave Johnson

VS.

#9 (Page 34) -- 1995 Collector's Choice #299 Chuck Carr





#5 (Page 69) -- 1988 Fleer #616 Sammy Stewart

VS.

#12 (Page 61) -- 1983 Fleer #543 Ron Gardenhire





#4 (Page 22) -- 2017 Stadium Club #197 Tyler Skaggs

VS.

#13 (Page 17) -- 1990 Upper Deck #151 Rick Honeycutt

That just about does it for this week -- the polls are now on the sidebar.

Happy voting!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset Bracket: Alvarado Region (Pt. 2)


Holy hell.

#16 (Page 49) -- 1996 Upper Deck #434 Al Martin (18 votes)

def.

#1 (Page 72) -- 1973 Topps #645 Bob Locker (17 votes)




#9 (Page 23) -- 1960 Topps #204 Ryne Duren (21 votes)

def.

#8 (Page 40) -- 1964 Topps #353 Wally Moon (13 votes)




#12 (Page 55) -- 1991 Upper Deck #492 Geno Petralli (20 votes)

def.

#5 (Page 64) -- 2013 Topps #568 Steve Lombardozzi (15 votes)




#13 (Page 16) -- 1998 Topps #140 Jay Bell (18 votes)

def.

#4 (Page 11) -- 2016 Stadium Club #93 CJ Wilson (16 votes)

Yes, you're reading that right: every matchup last week resulted in an upset -- including an unthinkable 16-over-1 takedown from underdog Al Martin over Bob Locker.

The voting was fairly close across the board, but in the end the Davids beat the Goliaths -- consider the bracket busted.

--------------------


The Alvarado region is already shaping up to be crazier than the card it takes its name from, if such a thing is possible.

Perhaps even more upsets are in the works -- let's find out with the final four matchups on this side of the bracket.





#6 (Page 8) -- 2016 BBM Fusion #66 Norihiro Nakamura

VS.

#11 (Page 38) -- 1973 Topps #334 Freddie Patek





#3 (Page 13) -- 1989 Upper Deck #117 Gary Pettis

VS.

#14 (Page 39) -- 1997 Fleer #344 Tony Eusebio





#7 (Page 30) -- 1997 Topps #266 Eric Owens

VS.

#10 (Page 71) -- 1987 Fleer #632 Bob Horner





#2 (Page 45) -- 1993 Pinnacle #404 Bob Zupcic

VS.

#15 (Page 5) -- 1973 Topps #38 Mike Epstein

That's it for this week's matchups. The polls are now on the sidebar.

Happy voting!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Certainties


I know of at least one certainty in life: that the first cards of the new year will always be exciting.

So much of time can get lost in the mix of joys and frustrations, essentially relegating it to the mundane. I've seen some of the same cards in my collection over and over again during countless flips through my binders, seen them so often I forget the thrill I once felt when they were new. This is often true with baseball itself. During the season I get used to the day-in, day-out rhythm of the game, a rhythm I only realize when the last out of the World Series happens and I'm faced with a winter of empty calendars, willing to do unspeakable things if it would just bring baseball back sooner.

Here and there in the last month or two I've looked over old posts I wrote at the beginnings of each card season, and I've often thought to myself -- wow, was I really ever THAT excited about 2016 Topps? And the answer is YES: because it was new. Because it carried possibility. Even if I despise 2016 Topps now, it was once a thrill to see it there, hanging in droves from the Target shelves.

Sometimes it takes the dawn of a new card season to remember that.




At this point, of course, I'm probably the 984th person to tell you that 2020 TOPPS IS HERE!

Like most new card seasons, I checked my Target (and even a Walmart) a couple times before the cards themselves finally showed up. Alas, I found them this past Friday -- coincidentally a work payday, which allowed me to go a bit more wild with my purchases than I might've at another time (think you can correlate all your release dates with my paydays, Topps?). All in all, I bought a blaster, a hanger box, a few rack packs and an obligatory loose pack.

And while I don't love this year's design by any means, you better believe I had a helluva lot of fun with my first taste of 2020 Topps.




The backs continue to be...okay, I guess.

I can never muster up much to say about Flagship backs because they've all run the same in my mind over the last few years (does Topps seriously not have any other fonts for the stat lines?).




One of the more understated benefits of Series 1 is that, thanks to Update's demise, it's often the first big set to show the previous year's late-season trade chips in their new uniforms.

Greinke and Hamilton both appeared in their updated duds in Topps Holiday (and possibly other late-season sets I haven't yet seen) but those are my first cards of Bruce and Aguilar for my Phillies and Rays binders.




All the young dudes.




One of the more self-centered ways I have of judging a set is by how many mini-collection hits it provides.




By that criteria, 2020 Topps rules!

Maybe it's just the release day rose-colored glasses, but it certainly seemed like I added way more themed cards to my lists than any other Flagship set in recent memory (and judging from what I've seen around the blogs, there's quite a few others I didn't pull).




It's hard to objectively rate a set on release day, but at the end of it all I doubt I'll consider 2020 Topps a banner year in the canon: too much gray and too much of the TV-graphic trend Topps seems to have fallen into lately (in addition to the trend of too many collation issues, as I pulled doubles and triples of quite a few cards).

But even middling designs usually still produce a handful of memorable cards -- these all grabbed my attention for various reasons (can't say I've ever seen a card of dudes reading a scouting report before).




More cards I loved -- aside from being a prime member of the "weather" mini-collection I've often thought of launching, Brock Holt will forever be the first 2020 card to be inducted into the frankenset.




This year's Topps continues the trend of Flagship inserts just kind of being...there.

In a card world brimming with forgettable and pointless inserts, those Topps Now Rewind (Topps cards of a Topps card?) may well be the most forgettable and pointless.




I can't muster up much excitement for parallels in a design without borders, and the others are fine but not particularly enthralling ('85 Topps is little more than a middling Topps set for me).




The Turkey Reds are by far the most intriguing inserts of the bunch -- I was a huge supporter of the brand back in the mid-2000s and was crestfallen when it disappeared following a few halfhearted runs as insert sets and online-only exclusives.

These don't quite have the same look and feel as the Turkey Reds I collected during my adolescent years, but they're still cool and the only 2020 Topps inserts I'll be chasing with anything resembling excitement -- though I can't for the life of me figure out why Topps decided to include Chrome parallels (pre-war designs should never, ever be chromed up!).




I also pulled this out of my blaster, and even though it's mega-thick I'll probably keep it, which is an improvement over most manufactured relics that leave me with the thought of what the hell am I supposed to do with THIS now?

As of this writing, I'm a fan of 2020 Topps because, well, it's still new to me. I still have plenty left to chase from it, and I haven't seen the same cards repeat themselves to death in packs and dime boxes. Maybe three or four years from now I'll be looking back on those words I just typed with confusion. They'll always be there: this comes with the territory of running a blog whose archives remain unchanged by time.

But here, in this moment, nothing can change the fact I've had fun with 2020 Topps -- nothing can change the certainty of that thrill I felt at the possibilities of this joyous card season.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset Bracket: Alvarado Region (Pt. 1)


Let's take a look at how last week's matchups played out.

#6 (Page 6) -- 1999 Fleer SI Greats of the Game #53 Joe Rudi (30 votes)

def.

#11 (Page 25) -- 1993 Upper Deck #224 Jay Buhner (8 votes)




#14 (Page 32) -- 1998 Stadium Club #284 Sean Berry (20 votes)

def.

#3 (Page 9) -- 2011 Topps Update #US74 Henry Blanco (19 votes)




#7 (Page 29) -- 1977 Topps #255 George Scott (28 votes)

def.

#10 (Page 46) -- 1970 Topps #413 Sonny Jackson (11 votes)




#2 (Page 10) -- 1992 Studio #86 Jose Lind (27 votes)

def.

#15 (Page 7) -- 2008 Bowman Prospects #BP58 Scott Van Slyke (12 votes)

The headline: Three Blowouts and an Upset.

Three of the four matchups went pretty much as expected last week -- runaways from the start. But the fourth, however, was a shocker. In a major upset, #14 seed (and future pilot?) Sean Berry eked out a one-vote victory over tough #3 seed Henry Blanco, a card I kinda expected to be a stalwart in this thing.

I don't know about you, but I sure didn't see that one coming -- as is the joy of a bracket!

-----------------


And so we move on to the Alvarado Region, named for the '73 Topps classic loved by collectors and car enthusiasts alike (and the runner-up in the first frankenset bracket).

Here's a look at the first set of battles.





#1 (Page 72) -- 1973 Topps #645 Bob Locker

VS.

#16 (Page 49) -- 1996 Upper Deck #434 Al Martin





#8 (Page 40) -- 1964 Topps #353 Wally Moon

VS.

#9 (Page 23) -- 1960 Topps #204 Ryne Duren





#5 (Page 64) -- 2013 Topps #568 Steve Lombardozzi

VS.

#12 (Page 55) -- 1991 Upper Deck #492 Geno Petralli





#4 (Page 11) -- 2016 Stadium Club #93 CJ Wilson

VS.

#13 (Page 16) -- 1998 Topps #140 Jay Bell

There they are -- the polls are now on the sidebar (and I swear I didn't plan the Moon-Duren matchup!).

Happy voting!