Thursday, March 2, 2017

Finally Finished: 2015-16 Upper Deck Hockey

What happened to me this evening wasn't quite as good as finding a $20 bill in a jacket that you haven't worn in a few months, but I'd like to think of it as the hobby equivalent of good fortune.  

Around the first part of December, I was down to 12-15 cards to finish off the 2015-16 Upper Deck Series 1 and 2 hockey base sets, and an eBay seller had a great deal on the singles I needed. Fast forward to a few days later, the cards were in my possession and my sets were finished (or so I thought). 

As I was putting the newly acquired set finishers in their respective boxes, I started noticing quite a few gaps in the card numbering. I took the cards out, sorted through them, and jotted down about 25-30 numbers that I did not have after all, and started kicking myself for not doing a better job of keeping track of my set completion earlier on. 

Tonight I was rummaging around a couple of 100-count boxes, unsure of what exactly was in them. The last cards in the back were from 2015-16 Upper Deck Hockey, and I wondered what they were doing in this box, as my huge double and triple lot was in another box. 

Sure enough, what I found were the cards I was missing after I received what I thought were the final singles from eBay. I picked up a couple of blasters from Wal-Mart around Christmas time, and set what I needed aside in a 100-count box to be put away another day. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess...

Although finding that $20 bill would come in handy right about now, I'm glad I was able to cross two more sets off the list.

I've got a lot of 2015-16 Series 1 and 2 for trade, so if anyone out there still needs to finish sets, hit me up and I'll gladly trade. I don't have any 2016-17 Upper Deck Series 2 as of yet, so that is something I'd be interested in.  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

2017 Topps--The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Most, if not all, of you who are interested in 2017 Topps Series One have busted packs, blasters, boxes, and cases well in advance of this post, so I won't bore you with the details of Topps' flagship, but I'll just chime in with what I like to call The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good
Card design/layout: When I first saw the 2017 design on the sell sheets last fall, I wasn't impressed. The uneven cross-section of player position and player name looked like a misuse of space, and the angled player name and team name was a different approach from recent issues. However, once I opened my first pack, my opinion of the cross-section changed, especially seeing how much the team logo popped out from the rest of the card.

Photography: The players take center stage on the front of the card. The cropping highlights the player, putting less emphasis on what's going on the background of the photo. I've always been a fan of full-bleed card fronts, so while 2017 Topps isn't completely border-free, the lack of a top and side border allows the picture to stand out.

Card backs: This is a toss-up for me, with the good and the bad nearly canceling each other out (more on that later). What's nice about the card backs is the different range of colors as well as easy to read numbers, which make sorting easier.

The Bad
Card backs: While on the subject of card backs, it's only fair to point out the bad as well. For a stats junkie like myself, the fact that only the last five seasons' worth of numbers are on the back. I like to see how a player's career has progressed through the years at the big league level, or how a player has dominated at different minor league stops before being promoted to the next level. The player social media handles I can do without, as well as the additional team logo.

Inserts: I'll let this meme explain my position:

Off the top of my head, I remember 1987 Topps, Topps Salute (Jackie Robinson Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Throwback Uniforms, Rookies, Legends), Bowman Then and Now, First Pitch, 5 Tool, Original Card Stock, Rainbow Foil, and Gold among my pulls, and that doesn't count the relic and autographed versions as well. I'd gladly take less inserts for more base cards, leading to my next point.

The Ugly
Collation: After taking a two-year hiatus from the flagship, I come back in 2017 to see nothing has changed in regards to pack configuration/collation. At a card shop last weekend, I bought the first two jumbo packs out of a newly opened box, and got the same exact cards in each pack, save for the inserts. Bought two 36-card packs at Target and received half of the same base cards in the first pack as I did in the second. Then at Wal-Mart, I picked up two of the hanger boxes, only to have the same luck as I did with the jumbo packs from the card shop. I'd say the ratio of my set to dupes is 1.5:1. Not impressed, and I'm done buying Series One. I'm extremely tempted with pre-ordering a hand-collated Series Two set just to save money on excess duplicates and triplicates.

In Conclusion
When it comes down to it, I've always been and always will be a set collector at heart. It'll bug me not finishing Series One since I have so much money tied up in it already. My want list is posted, and I'm more than happy to help those looking to finish their set. Email me your needs and I'll see what I have.