This past week has been my school's spring break. As a teacher, it's a great time of the year to pause and have some fun. The last two springs, I've been able to head to Arizona to catch some Cactus League games, and before that, I went to South By Southwest, a big music festival in Austin.
This week, however, my wife has been sick, and so I've spent most of the week running errands and taking care of the kids. It's been great spending time with them, because they're pretty freaking adorable, but as far as having fun fun, well, it hasn't been one of those weeks. Such is life.
Things have gotten a little bit cleaner and a little more in order, so no complaints. Plus, the new Heritage set came out this week! Even though it took… a lot longer than I thought, I found that my local Walmart got theirs in last night.
Here's a few photos of the bounty, starting with the "first card I saw" in the pack up on top. Can't go wrong with Manny Machado.
These were my favorite non-Padre base cards. With a set of mostly posed photos, it's a little tough to make the photos interesting, but I like Chacin's "grip" pose. Prado was a guy I liked to follow (especially since I usually choose him for my fantasy team) before he joined the Diamondbacks (ug), so I still don't mind seeing his cards. Salazar has a good "non-posed" shot that still fits in with the feeling of the rest of the set.
Manager cards are in the set, which is fine by me, and Maddon is a guy I really like. The "Leaders" cards rarely interest me, especially since Cuddyer and Johnson don't really seem like "all time greats". Freeman has a lot of potential, but decided not to smile for the photo.
In 2012 I collected the Rangers team set, and last year I collected the Astros team set. I'm not really feeling any other non-Padre teams. Maybe the Orioles? I dunno, I'm not sure. I think I may want to chase after the All-Star Rookie team, especially since Jedd Gyorko made the cut. Also, I already have two off the list, in Henderson and Gattis. Big beards for a pair of rookies.
New Age Performers return again. I haven't ever been a fan of these.
I like the idea of these Then & Now inserts. It'd be cooler if I was a bigger fan of both of the players on the card. Mays and Davis are a good combo in that sense, but I don't know how you compare anybody in today's game to Willie.
Here are the three short printed cards I ended up with. Not too bad a haul, since I usually have a hard time pulling these. You could do a lot worse than Verlander, Longoria, and Mauer.
Since it was from Walmart, there were some randomly inserted blue parallels. Only got one here, which was a bummer, I guess. Not that I'm really interested in 'em, but my buddy Mark digs 'em. This one is going over to him in my next trade stack. Feelin' bad for him, since he's the biggest fan of Heritage I know, and he hasn't found any in his part of Delaware yet.
One thing that looks out of place on a Heritage card is tattoos. Hey, I'm turning 30 this year, I can start acting like an old man, right?
Last year, I read a few posts about the large amount of cards that showed players without their hats. Here are most of the ones that I pulled. Some aren't bad, like most of the ones on the bottom row, but Colby Rasmus at the top has some crazy kind of hairdo that I don't really care to see, and Brian McCann and Vernon Wells heads look… well, you can see for yourself.
In my last post, I mentioned that I had never seen the back of a card from 1965 until I added one to my collection. I really like the backs of these. Cartoons + little blurb at the top, plenty of room for stats (and no use of WAR this time around, like this year's flagship). Evan Gattis had the back that I liked the most, since it was the only cartoon that I got that had a Texas flag on it. UT Permian Basin is in Odessa, a middle of nowhere kinda place that I actually had a job interview in once. At the time, it seemed like it would've worked out, but now I am SO glad that it didn't. Wouldn't have minded having a minor league team so close in Midland, but not really worth… well, living in Odessa. Or as a friend of mine called it "Slow Deatha.
I didn't mention that there was a pack searcher at Walmart when I got there. Kinda just gave him a look and moved on. I guess I kinda feel bad for people who think that searching for "hits" in baseball cards packs is a worthwhile endeavor.
However, I'd be lying if I said that I never "pack search". However, instead of mangling the wrappers to see if any cards are thicker or feel different, I just try to see if I can see through the wrapper to the card on top to see if I can make out the Padres logo. My searching was fruitless, but I still wound up with a few Padres to start off the team set.
Tommy Medica has had a great spring training, so the Padres are working on finding a spot for him on the roster. It says that he's a catcher, but hasn't played there for a while due to a shoulder injury. He profiles more as a first baseman, but the Padres already have Yonder Alonso there, who hasn't been doing too bad for himself. I love him as an off-the-bench pinch hitter or as a guy who can fill in for Carlos Quentin in left when he gets injured. Which will probably happen. Rey Fuentes is a guy we got in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, but I'm not sure that I see him amounting to much. Maybe it's just his weird facial hair.
I'm not a huge fan of either of these Padres, but like most people who blindly cheer for whoever is wearing their favorite uniform, I hope they do well. This sounds weird, but in my head, I have this thing where, sure, maybe you're on the Padres, but your not a "real" Padre. It's probably stupid and not worth hashing into right now, since the criteria is really just based on how I feel about them, but neither one of these guys falls into the "real" Padre category for me. Not yet, at least.
However, here are a few "real" Padres. Not really good Padres, but Padres nonetheless. Maybe part of being a "real" Padre means coming up with the organization through the minors, like Blanks and Venable here. That definitely helps. Castoffs from other teams like Cameron Maybin and Chris Denorfia or guys that come over in trades like Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner still make the cut as well, though, so it's more than that. Regardless, I like the look of the Padres cards. Red and blue aren't the current colors, but they were the colors the old PCL Padres had, so it still works, although probably unintentional on Topps' part.
All in all, a very enjoyable set. Of all the sets that Topps puts out, Heritage is the one that I think is far and away the best. Good checklists, solid design, good feel, etc. Even now, if I was to see a cheap pack of any year of Heritage, I'd be tempted to pick it up. Not so with Chrome/Gypsy Queen/Archives, Allen & Ginter. The thing that would drive me crazy if I was putting it together, are the short prints and all the different variants they have out there.
However, the Padres have none of those cards this year. At all.
Don't get me wrong, I don't mind saving myself some sanity in having to search for those hard to find cards, but the fact that there isn't even one is a little sad. The closest thing the Friars have to that is a Yonder Alonso jersey relic, in which they use the same image as his relic card from last year.
Still, though, I'll probably pick up a few packs here and there, as the budget permits. But I'll be getting the rest of my Padres team set from you guys, right? The only cards I'm holding on to are the Padres, the All Star Rookies, and the Machado and the Maddon. The rest are up for trade, and as of publishing, only the blue parallel is spoken for.
Have a great Sunday everyone.
EDIT: Ug, I think four or so of the All-Star Rookies are of the high numbered short print variety, and two of them are Dodgers. Pass.