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.

2015 TSR: Series Two Is LIVE! (…As If That Means Anything)

You’re probably wondering what the point is of having different series within a virtual card set.  Well, to be honest, there isn’t much point…But I do it because I strive to make this virtual set everything that I wish an commercially-available card set would be.  Even though I started collecting in 1974 and just missed the boat on collecting sets that came in 5, 6 or 7 series, I still love the concept and would like to experience it someday.

Having artificial series also gives me a sort of breaking point to introduce new subsets, inserts and the like… Plus the opportunity to tweak the wrapper every six weeks.

2015 TSR Series 2 Wrapper

Just like the wrapper says, there will be some faux rub-on tattoos in this series, as well as some other new inserts… I’ll talk about them when I get there.

By a stroke of incredible fortune, nearly all of the cards that came in this pack just happened to involve players and events that have recently impacted my two MLB teams and my two Fantasy teams (points and Rotisserie).

On Sunday, the Orioles called up a promising rookie pitcher to start the game… and the new guy showed why people view him as promising.
2015 TSR #135 - Mike Wright
Mike Wright looked pretty darn impressive in getting the win in his debut.  He shut out the Angels through 7.1 innings, striking out six, walking none and giving up just four hits.  I ended up watching him pitch for a while rather than mow the lawn, and let me tell you, that is a major sacrifice on my part (nah, it really isn’t).

Although it wasn’t his debut, Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard was also impressive on Sunday, giving up one run and three hits over six innings, on his way to his first MLB victory.
2015 TSR #133 - Noah Syndergaard
I recently saw… somewhere… somebody commenting on what the Blue Jays’s outlook would look like if they hadn’t traded away prospects like Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud and Jake Marisnick. Not that I have anything against the Jays, but its nice to hear that kind of talk about a team other than the Mets.

OK, now it’s time for the inserts!

Up first is a faux rub-on tattoo… The idea for this came last September when Matt over at Heartbreaking Cards Of Staggering Genius busted a box of 1986 Topps Baseball Tattoos.  The tattoos from that set were appealing and colorful, but one thing that struck me about them is that they were simple.  “Well, shoot, I could do something like that”… at which point the tiny Barney Stinson in my head said “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!”

So here’s the first one, featuring the Mets’ Matt Harvey. (The name and logo are backwards because it’s supposed to be a rub-on tattoo).
2015 TSR Tattoo - Matt Harvey
I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, but this turned out much better than I expected.  The artwork is more simple than you find with the 1986 Topps tattoos, and I’ll be frank:  calling it “artwork” is being generous, it’s really just my digitally tracing over a photo.

For the time being, I’m going to enjoy the way it looks… for a little while until I start to worry about whether I’ll be able to do as good of a job on the next one.

Since early in the season I’ve been meaning to feature the Astros… and why not? Given their loaded farm system and a few years of hard knocks, I fully expected the Astros to show improvement this year, perhaps be reasonably competitive… But I did not expect them to be in first place and 10+ games over .500 in mid-May.

The Astros had some lovely throwback uniforms to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Astrodome, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and introduce another new “insert”.
2015 TSR TB-1 - George Springer
Trivia for you custom card nerds: The yellowing effect on this card was cloned from an actual 1968 Topps “Game” insert card I bought recently. It is authentic Topps yellowing! How can you not like that?

I also love these throwbacks uniforms… Frankly, I think they should use these everyday, but nobody ever asks for my input on these things.

Moving on from the inserts to “Joe’s Fantasy Corner”…. Earlier this month I picked up a pitcher on waivers, and that guy has payed immediate dividends for my floundering team… That guy being Shelby Miller of the Braves.
2015 TSR #153 - Shelby Miller
Since I added Miller, he’s thrown two shutouts and was one out away from throwing a no-hitter this past Sunday. What more could you ask of a guy who didn’t get drafted?

I’m hoping I get a similarly-outstanding results out of my latest acquisition, Delino DeShields. DeShields is a Rule V selection from the Astros (and if they weren’t doing well, they’d probably being saying “D’OH!!!!” about DeShields’ success so far) and he’s been doing quite well in Texas.
2015 TSR #134 - Delino DeShields
I’ve seen him referred to Delino Jr., but he’s got a different middle name than his father, so I don’t think that really makes him a “Junior”…

I’m going to gush over my own custom again… I like the way this one came out, because him looking up like that is very “vintage Topps”. The photo of Delino actually a “Photo Day” image, and I added the background of The Ballpark At Arlington.

Before I wrap up, I’d like to bring up another MLB happening from the beginning of the week…

As most of you know, the Marlins recently made an unconventional choice when they replaced their manager.  The word on the street was that they were going to hire someone who was inside the organization while still being an “outside the box” hire…
2015 TSR MAS-1 Billy The Marlin
…But Billy The Marlin turned the position down, so they put GM Dan Jennings in the job instead.

Thanks, I’ll be here all week, you’ve been a great audience!

Tip your waitstaff!

It’s Like Two Syndergaards When All You Needed Was One

It’s like meeting Kathy Griffin instead of Olivia Munn
…and isn’t it ironic?
Don’tcha think????
2010 Bowman DP&P Prospects Noah Syndergaard
Nah, it’s really not ironic… but that song is what popped in my head when I sat down to write this.

I made a fairly large (88 card) COMC order back in March, and it seems like whenever I go COMC shopping I always end up inadvertently buying something twice… but up until now I caught it before shipment and put the duplicate card up for sale again. I guess at this point I’ll just hope that Syndergaard pans out for the Mets and a few years down the road I can make a profit on my mistakenly-purchased card.

For those who aren’t Mets fans, Noah Syndergaard is one of the prospects the Mets got from the Blue Jays in the R.A. Dickey trade. He’s pitching at Hi-A Port St. Lucie this year, so he’s not going to be helping the Mets anytime soon.

During the COMC “Spring Cleaning” promotion, I tried to build an instant Syndergaard collection; here’s the 2012 Pro Debut card I picked up.
2012 Topps Pro Debut Noah Syndergaard