2015 TSR: For The First Time, A Virtual Blaster

I’ve reached the point of the year where things are winding down with my virtual card set, and I start to run across semi-forgotten images and notes, and I say “Oh, yeah, I was going to do that…”

One of those things is a virtual blaster of 2015 TSR Baseball.

To quote Pee Wee Herman, “Why?  What’s the significance?  I DON’T KNOW!!!!”

Well, let’s take a look… Here’s the blaster, fresh off the shelves at ShlabotMart…

Topps Series 4 Blaster

I would ask you to pay particular attention to the blurb on the lower left of the blaster box.  “Cards on the back?”, you ask, “He couldn’t possibly mean that…”

Aw, hell yeah I could!

2015 TSR BOX 7 - Curtis Granderson

That’s right… You can keep your minis and your die cut cards…This is all about being oversized and hand cut!  Yeah, baby!!!!

Once the card is cut off of the blaster, it’s roughly 3.5″ x 5″… Twice the size of a standard card, roughly the size of an early 1970’s Topps “Super” card.  And, unlike Hostess cards or the “box bottom” cards of the 1980’s, blasters are shrink-wrapped, so surface wear is not an issue.

So that’s the big “reveal” for this post… Of course, the virtual blaster has virtual cards inside it as well.  Crazy, right? Let’s check out some of those.

The first card inside the blaster represents another idea I kept meaning to get around to… An insert set based on former MLB players who are currently active in foreign leagues… We’ll start it off with a Japanese player who established himself in Japan, played for 7 years with the Dodgers and Yankees, and went back to Japan for 2015.  I’m talking about none other than Hiroki Kuroda.
2015 TSR FF-1 Hiroki Kuroda
This past season, the 40-year-old Kuroda went 11-8 with a 2.55 ERA for the 4th place Carp.  For what it’s worth, it’s his third straight season with 11 wins;  he went 11-13 in 2013 and 11-9 in 2014.

Like the oversized blaster cards, I would be all over an insert like this.  I can’t see an insert set like this being very large, since I don’t expect that there would be much demand for cards of Dennis Sarfate or Wily Mo Pena… But I think it would be pretty durn cool.  (And *I* would want a card of former Oriole Sarfate…)

TSR Production hasn’t kept up with the postseason, so for now you’ll have to make do with a Mets N.L. East Champions card…
2015 TSR #501 - Mets NL East Champs

I would like to point out that someone other than Topps had sepia-colored inserts featuring throwback uniforms, and that someone started featuring them several months ago.
2015 TSR TB-2 - CJ Wilson
You’re welcome, Topps.

The latest issue of Baseball America lists Lucas Giolito as the Nationals’ #1 prospect.
2015 TSR FG-5 Lucas Giolito
…But what I find most interesting about Giolito is that he comes from Hollywood stock. His father, Rick Giolito, was a regular on “As The World Turns”, was in multiple episodes of “Twin Peaks” and is now a producer. His mother, Lindsay Frost, was also on “As The World Turns”, and has also appeared on “L.A. Law”, “Murder, She Wrote”, “Frasier”, “Lost”, “Boston Legal”, two different CSI’s (playing two different characters), as well as movies like “The Ring” and “Collateral Damage”. On top of that, Lucas’ uncle Mark Frost was co-creator of “Twin Peaks”, Lucas’ grandfather Warren Frost had a recurring role on “Seinfeld” (as “Mr. Ross”, the father of George’s ill-fated fiancee) and was also on “Twin Peaks” (imagine that)… anyway, you get the idea.

As long as we’re talking about Hollywood types, I saw this image of Debra Messing throwing out the first pitch at a Mets game, and couldn’t resist.
2015 TSR FP-1 Debra Messing
I can’t say that Topps stole my idea for first pitch cards, but neither did I steal the idea from them.

Oh, and there are some base cards in this blaster. Here’s one of…

BROCK HOLT!
2015 TSR #159 - Brock Holt
If you’ve ever wondered why people like Keith Olbermann (and me) always follow BROCK HOLT! with an exclamation mark, it’s a reference to a character on “Arrested Development”. I’d explain it further, but it’s the kind of running joke that doesn’t come across well in exposition.

…But at least BROCK HOLT! has one arm raised…

And I almost forgot the last card, which is a League Leader card for statistical categories you don’t normally see on League Leader cards…

2015 TSR LL-1a Hit By Pitch Leaders

I’ve gotta say, this is my favorite card out of the subset.

So that’s it for the blaster… I should have one or two more posts to wrap up the 2015 TSR set before we get to the 2015/16 “Hot Stove” set.  We’ve already had a number of managerial changes, last night the Rays and Mariners pulled off the first trade of the offseason, and our hard-working production team is feverishly working on finalizing the details for the “Hot Stove” set.  Like last year, it will be an homage to a 1970’s Kellogg’s set… but with some added elements that I think you’ll enjoy.

“Hot Stove” Custom – Mets Sign Curtis Granderson

2013-14 TSR Hot Stove #10 - Curtis Granderson

Realistic expectations about the newest Met, Curtis Granderson:

  • He is not going to single-handedly make the Mets a contending team.
  • His power-related numbers will drop because of Citi Field.
  • There’s a decent chance that he will not be “worth” the amount of money he’s going to receive.

Modest hopes for Curtis Granderson:

  • I hope that he will make the Mets more fun to watch… bearing in mind that “more fun” is relative.
  • I hope that he will NOT be another in a long line of disappointing big-name acquisitions in Mets history.
  • I hope that he will truly understand that he’s not going to put up “Yankee Stadium numbers” while playing at Citi Field.
  • I hope that this signing will get some of the more — *ahem* — vocal Mets fans to give it a rest, even if just for a little while.  Aaaaaaaaah, who am I kidding?  There’s no pleasing some people.

About this custom…

It came out OK, but it’s not quite what I set out to do.  Let’s just say that pinstripes are a pain to work with, and the next Mets custom you see will likely feature an alternate or road jersey.

But at least I can be smug that, unlike the NY Daily News, I did not give Granderson a retired uniform number or the 2012 “50th Anniversary” sleeve patch that he’ll never wear.

Oh, and for those of you who might be new to this blog, this is another in a series custom cards reflecting off-season changes.  The card’s design is based on the 1959 Bazooka set.

Coming Down the Home Stretch, Custom-wise

This is going to be the next-to-last post featuring my 2013 TSR custom set, and I’m going to let the customs speak for themselves…

No, wait, there’s one card I want to say something about… I couldn’t resist the opportunity to give the photo for this custom the patented “Topps tilt”.

2013 TSR #681 - Curtis Granderson

OK, now I’m going to let the rest of these customs speak for themselves…

2013 TSR #722 - Matt Carpenter

2013 TSR #751 - Zack Cozart

2013 TSR #146 - Yunel Escobar