Losers Weepers (2015 Topps Chrome Update)

Earlier this week I was in a different town and decided to stop in the Target store there… I needed some things, but I was also looking for these Topps Update Mega-Boxes which included the exclusive packs of Chrome Update.

When I got to the card aisle, I was disappointed to find that there was not a mega-box in sight.  This was the third Target I’d checked, and I came up empty again.

Dejected and looking for a “consolation prize”, I reached down to the cardboard tray on the bottom shelf to see what kind of discounted blasters they might have.

Down there, behind the discounted blasters, was a box that was larger than the others.  “Wonder what that is?” I thought as I reached for it.

I picked it up and realized…
2015 Topps Update Mega-box
…It was a mega box! I’m guessing someone hid it until they could come back with more funds, but I thwarted their nefarious plans. Nyah-ha-ha!

Lesson #1:  Just because you don’t see the product doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  I’m sure many of you have similar stories.

So you may be wondering about the cards…

I generally don’t go for parallels or shiny cards, but the Chrome Update cards are pretty nice. Here are a couple of examples…
2015 Topps Update Swihart and Walker

As it turned out, the second pack was custom-made for a Mets fan like me:
2015 Topps Update Syndergaard and deGrom RS
I love the deGrom, and the Syndergaard isn’t shabby either. It’s funny, I’ve pulled a Syndergaard variation, I’ve pulled a Syndergaard Chrome, but I still don’t have a base card for Thor.

This box comes with a second lesson… I’m starting to feel like an episode of Fat Albert: “If you’re not careful, you might learn a thing or two”…. Anyway, I got caught up in some of the mega-box excitement and didn’t properly do the math. I’d thought that the “Five packs of Update” were worth about $10 by themselves (5 packs * $1.99 ea.), meaning that I figured I was paying about $5 for the two Chrome packs.

But that’s exactly what Topps’ marketing people wanted me to think. Five loose packs are, indeed, $10… But those packs have 12 cards each, while the Mega-box packs have 8 cards each. The non-Chrome mega-box packs are probably worth more like $7, which means you’re paying something like $4 each for the Chrome packs… or $1 per card.

I don’t see myself getting another mega-box, but I also have no regrets… I have two Chrome cards I like, five more are already on their way to a new home, and I have yet to open a couple of the non-Chrome packs, so maybe there’s something super exciting hiding in there.

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2014 TSR: Can’t Nothin’ Bring Me Down

In yesterday’s post, I shared stories of baseball woe accompanied by custom cards.  Today, we’re going to look into some of the happier stories of the past week.

First off, I’ve got an update to a card in an earlier series of my 2014 TSR set. Yangervis Solarte was one of the “Feel Good” stories of April, playing well beyond the expectations of any journeyman minor league free agent.

2014 TSR #177 Yangervis Solarte

His bat cooled off, he lost starting time to Zelous Wheeler and on July 22nd he was shipped off to the Padres as part of a trade for Chase Headley.

In Solarte’s 11 games with the Padres he’s been hitting .318 with 8 runs and 9 RBI.  Because of his renewed success, he gets a 4th Series card in my custom set.

2014 TSR #447 Yangervis Solarte 2

Here’s hoping that he’ll maintain his success with the Padres.

By the way, the next batch of customs that I post (probably next weekend) will focus on guys who moved at or near the trade deadline, so we can all get that “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa??” moment out of the way when we see Yoenis Cespedes in a Boston uniform.

Speaking of Boston, the Red Sox took a look at this year’s team, said “We suck with you, we can suck without you” and traded off a good chunk of their World Championship team over the past couple of weeks.

So, with Lester and Lackey out of the rotation —

BREAKING NEWS!

— I just stumbled upon the fact that in Covington, GA there’s a funeral home called “Lester Lackey And Sons”.  That was just too odd not to share.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled post.

…With Lester and Lackey out of the rotation, the Sox dipped into their farm system to give prospect Anthony Ranaudo his Major League debut against the Yankees.

2014 TSR #477 Anthony Ranaudo

Going into the 2011 season, Ranaudo was the Red Sox #2 prospect and the overall #67 prospect (according to Baseball America). He’s fallen a bit on the Red Sox list over the past couple of years, but he’s still a valued arm.

Of more importance to some of you, he’s from Freehold, New Jersey… home of Bruce Springsteen.

So,  how did he do?

Ranaudo got the win as he held the Yankees to 4 hits and 2 runs in a 4-3 Boston victory.  Ranaudo’s first strikeout victim was Derek Jeter.  Yeah, Jeets!  I’m sure that moment was as appreciated by the Fenway faithful as it was by me.

Our final pair of cards feature Mets pitcher (and Shlabotnik favorite) Jacob deGrom and Marlins pitcher Steve Cisek.  These two shared the N.L. Player Of The Week honor for the week ending July 27th.

Jacob – who gets a new custom because I’m not happy with the original, and because I mistakenly called him “Jake” on it – went 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA as he beat the Marlins and Brewers.  I developed a bit of an emotional attachment to Jacob earlier in the season, because he was often pitching well but a lack of run support left him with more losses and no-decisions than he deserved.  Here’s a perfect example:  In his Major League debut against the Yankees, he pitched 7 innings, gave up just 4 hits, allowed the Yanks a single run after holding them scoreless for 6 innings… and he lost 1-0.  Where is the justice in that, I ask you?

He’s continued to pitch well, the bats have picked up, and deGrom has cemented his place as one of my favorite Mets of 2014.
2014 TSR #487 Jacob deGrom

Cishek got five saves during the week, and during those five appearances he struck out 8 and allowed just two hits. Cishek doesn’t rank highly enough in the TSR standings to get me to re-do his Series 1 card, which is what you see here (and which many of you had seen in March).
2014 TSR #83 Steve Cishek

If there are any players who make you feel good these days and you’d like to see commemorated on a TSR card, just leave me a comment… I’m always happy to fulfill requests!

Update:  Since I wrote this post during the day on Saturday, it neglected to mention that last night Mr. deGrom and Jake Peavy had a big ol’ pitcher’s duel last night, with neither team getting a hit until the 7th inning.  The Giants may have spoiled deGrom’s no-hitter, but the Mets countered with 4 runs in the bottom of the inning to move towards a 4-2 victory.  deGrom has now won 5 straight starts and has gone 66.1 innings without allowing a home run… Any Mets fan has got to love what this guy is bringing to the team.