The name of this blog is dedicated to my mother. Back in little league, my mother used to stand back behind home plate and give me that one, simple batting instruction: "get the bat off of your shoulder!"

Friday, May 27, 2011

2011 Topps Heritage Ranting

I am not really sure what made me want to start collecting this year's Heritage set. It could be that it mimicked the 1962 design. I've always liked the wood grain look of the 1962 set, and it was the first real year for Angels' baseball cards. Yes, there are L.A. Angels cards in the 1961 set, but none of those are actual pictures - just a bunch of hatless guys in some uniform that is clearly not an Angels' uniform. I think Topps photographers required one picture with your hat on and one without just in case you got traded and they needed to use your picture again.

Anyhow, enough about the hats, on to this 2011 Heritage set. I just have one thing to say: They're ugly!

No, seriously.

They're really ugly. They are some of the ugliest pictures I've ever seen.

To make it worse, there is clearly some attempt at photo-shopping these pictures to look old, or to mimic what someone thinks a 1962 card looked like. And, if that was the intention - I have news for you - you failed and failed horribly.

Here's a good example, look at card of Aaron Harang. Aaron clearly didn't get the message that Topps was coming by for pictures today. He's been out all night as we can see by the dark circles and bags under his eyes. The photographer had poor Aaron pull off his hat, because, "Hey that's just how they did it back in 1961!".

So what we get is a sweaty brow, a bad hair day, skin-dentation where the hat dented in his brow.

This scan here isn't mine, I pulled it off e-bay - my card actually looks worse. He looks even more pale, and the black around his eyes even more pronounced. No joke - my 9 year old daughter who collects "weird" cards, thought it so perfectly fit her collection that she was willing to give me two 2011 Opening Day cards in exchange for it! Ryan Howard and Howie Kendrick, if it matters. She used the word "ghoul" to describe Harang's picture.

Runners up for ugliest card:

Vernon Wells - looks like Tweedle Dee, maybe it's Tweedle Dum, not sure.

Jonathan Sanchez - I don't know why, but I find the fact that professional athletes trim their facial hair to be discouraging. Where is Gorman Thomas when you need him?

Aroldis Chapman - What made them intentionally take a picture and mess with the coloration so badly that I can't tell the color of his hat from the color of his face!

Now besides the ugliness - let's look at the insert ideas they came up for in this set. The green tint idea is an OK idea, in principle, because it goes along with what the original 1962 set had due to some kind of inking problem. But then there's these other tints, like one color for Target cards, one for Wal-Mart cards, one for cards that come from hobby stores instead of Mega stores... and so on. What the hell is the point of that?

Next is the pointless "short print".
What used to be something unintentional is now made intentional to add some kind of artificial rarity to a card that is no more rare than the million others in your shoeboxes other than they just chose to make fewer of them. Why? Was that supposed to make it exciting?

Well, I'm not excited. I'm just annoyed.

Pissed that I have to pay $3 and up for someone like Matt Garza or Aubrey Huff.

Finally it's these black refractors that suck the most. What is normally an OK idea, looks crappy in this set. Reason being that the set has a thin wood border all around, except the lower right corner. Down there, the design is made to look like the picture peels up a bit and the Player/Team/Position text is there on the wood. But in these refractors, it's like they used the "airbrush" tool in photoshop to avoid colorizing the text. Double-ugh-ugly!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Now Isabel is in to cards

So Elizabeth, my 7 year old, and I get back from the card show on Saturday and now Isabel, she of 9 years, is jealous and wants some baseball cards! Another trip to Target, and a few packs of Opening Day later and we have a three card collectors in the house now!

I picked up another blaster of Heritage. I think that is the last I will buy. I seem to have crappy luck. I'll try trading doubles to get the rest. I am still at barely half of the collection after about $100 in cards. I know, I know, I'm old, and $100 is probably not a lot of money to spend on trading cards.

What makes it all worth while at this point is the Stan Musial signature card. I still can't believe I got that card. To think I've got something in my hands that Stan Musial had in his hands is pretty cool.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

E's first card show

I took my youngest to her first baseball card show. 7-year old girls at card shows is not a common site, so she had more attention than she knew what to do with.

One of the vendors there was selling plastic bags of random cards, about 10 in there for $1, so I gave her a dollar and had her pick one.

She took the one with Vlad Guerrero on top, a nice 2003 Upper Deck portrait. Good choice. Inside the pack was also a 1990 Topps Jamie Moyer. Yes, the same Jamie Moyer that threw for the Phillies last year. The card is with him on the Rangers, but I remember him with the Cubs before that, and if you'd told me he'd pitch another 20 years, I wouldn't have believed you.

We looked around the show a while longer, but it wasn't easy looking through cards with her on my feet so we headed home. But on the way home, she eyes Target and asks if we can get some more cards! How can the proud father say no, so I get her another pack of Opening Day. She pulls Howie Kendrick, and I pull the Pirates Parrot, and a trade is made.