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Nachos Grande



A blog all about baseball cards, the Cincinnati Reds, and Barry Larkin.



Updated: 2018-04-21T15:18:05.179-04:00

 



Trade Stack 90: I Miss Upper Deck Retro!

2018-04-21T15:18:05.157-04:00

Here is how this works:Every so often (i.e. whenever I feel like it), I will add a card to a "Trade Stack".  Whenever the stack becomes appealing enough to someone, that person needs to comment on the post saying they'd like to claim the stack AND tell me which card they are sending off of my want list.  That's all you have to do - trade me ONE card (or more, of course) card from my want list for the entire stack of cards that I'm offering.  Each time, it will be first come, first serve...so act quickly (unless of course you are a gambler and hope to wait it out until there are 10+ cards in the stack that you want in exchange for a single 2004 UD Vintage card that I am looking for)!New rule:  Please note that shipping large packages to Canada (or overseas) has become too expensive, at least when it means that all I am getting in return is a single base card.  If you happen to want me to ship to a place not in the US, please contact me first.  Maybe we can work out a larger deal that will make the increase in postage worthwhile.  I am sorry for that as I have a number of great traders in Canada but I have no control over what the USPS charges for shipping!The Trade Stack:Last update: 4/21/18Today's addition to the Trade Stack is a card from one of my favorite Upper Deck sets:  Upper Deck Retro.  While that particular brand had a very short lifespan of only a couple of years, the Retro sets themselves are really nice (and the hobby boxes were actually lunch pail tins which was pretty cool)! I'll keep adding cards to the Trade Stack until someone jumps in to claim it...but the risk in waiting for another card to be added is that someone else may end up with the entire pile before you do!  It's a fun little game of risk/reward!Remember, you can claim the current Trade Stack in exchange for at least one card off my want list (or anything LEGO since I've been getting more and more into collecting LEGO as well)!1998 Upper Deck Retro:120.  Eric Milton (Twins)2018 Panini Donruss:American Pride Insert:AP20.  Tim Cate (USA) If you want the stack, remember - all you need to do is offer up any one card from my want list.  Want the card(s) in the stack?  Act fast - tell me which card you will send me off my want list in the comments below!  You must leave a comment on the trade stack post in order to claim the card - no more claims via email!  If no one claims this card within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours up to a few days, depending) - I'll add another card to the stack and the process will start again!Previously Claimed Trade Stacks:Stack 01:  2 cards by dayfStack 02:  8 cards by JustinStack 03:  17 cards by CamStack 04:  4 cards by CamStack 05:  9 cards by Daily DimwitStack 06:  4 cards by The Lost CollectorStack 07:  1 card by Baseball DadStack 08:  1 card by M. SpiegelStack 09:  6 cards by bwsmith25Stack 10:  6 cards by Baseball DadStack 11:  1 card by PatrickStack 12:  5 cards by Matt B.Stack 13:  4 cards by Steve G.Stack 14:  3 cards by ShaneKStack 15:  7 cards by Ryan GStack 16:  1 card by longlivethewhoStack 17:  4 cards by hiflewStack 18:  4 cards by PotchStack 19:  2 cards by AxemanohioStack 20:  5 cards by by Play at the PlateStack 21:  5 cards by BA BennyStack 22:  1 card by IkesCardsStack 23:  8 cards by AxemanohioStack 24:  1 card by BA BennyStack 25:  2 cards by Jeff P.Stack 26:  10 cards by AxemanohioStack 27:  1 card by BA BennyStack 28:  7 cards by ThingsAreFunnerHereStack 29:  3 cards by TheBrooklynMetStack 30:  4 cards by Adam C.Stack 31:  10 cards by Play at[...]



2018 Gypsy Queen: Box 2 - Packs 05 - 08 (in which I pull so many Yankees)

2018-04-20T20:01:26.745-04:00

The first four packs out of the second Gypsy Queen box were rather fun.  Let's hope the positive momentum continues as move into packs 5 - 8.

Box 2:  Packs 5 - 8:

Two of the four packs offered up nothing but base cards (which in and of itself isn't the worst thing since I do plan on trying to complete the entire base set).  The other two packs each had one card of note starting with the one promised short print per box...

That's a rather nice photo of Whitey Ford, though I can't help but feel like I've seen that image somewhere else before (I don't collect the Yankees so maybe I'm wrong about that).

Speaking of the Yankees, my other card of note was a logo swap variation of Giancarlo Stanton.

Those logo swap cards are 1:22 packs and I suppose I could have done much worse in terms of player selection.  Still, I can't help but be underwhelmed by the logo swap idea as a whole.  This one will probably end up on either eBay or in someone's trade envelope.

That does it for the second set of four packs.  Not the most exciting packs ever, but I do appreciate nailing down one more short print if nothing else.  Plenty more goodies to come including the two promised hits of the box.(image)



Trade Stack 90: So Shiny, So Sparkly!

2018-04-20T08:01:00.305-04:00

Here is how this works:Every so often (i.e. whenever I feel like it), I will add a card to a "Trade Stack".  Whenever the stack becomes appealing enough to someone, that person needs to comment on the post saying they'd like to claim the stack AND tell me which card they are sending off of my want list.  That's all you have to do - trade me ONE card (or more, of course) card from my want list for the entire stack of cards that I'm offering.  Each time, it will be first come, first serve...so act quickly (unless of course you are a gambler and hope to wait it out until there are 10+ cards in the stack that you want in exchange for a single 2004 UD Vintage card that I am looking for)!New rule:  Please note that shipping large packages to Canada (or overseas) has become too expensive, at least when it means that all I am getting in return is a single base card.  If you happen to want me to ship to a place not in the US, please contact me first.  Maybe we can work out a larger deal that will make the increase in postage worthwhile.  I am sorry for that as I have a number of great traders in Canada but I have no control over what the USPS charges for shipping!The Trade Stack:Last update: 4/20/18Today, we start the 90th Trade Stack in my ongoing series where I get rid of cards I don't want in exchange for one (or more) cards (or LEGO) that I do want!  Some Trade Stacks seem to really pile up for awhile before someone jumps in while others disappear after only one or two cards.  What will happen with this one?  Honestly, I don't have any idea.  I know a lot of people like shiny cards...and American flag cards...and inserts...  So who knows, this one might be gone before you even get to see what's in the Stack! Remember, you can claim the current Trade Stack in exchange for at least one card off my want list (or anything LEGO since I've been getting more and more into collecting LEGO as well)!2018 Panini Donruss:American Pride Insert:AP20.  Tim Cate (USA) If you want the stack, remember - all you need to do is offer up any one card from my want list.  Want the card(s) in the stack?  Act fast - tell me which card you will send me off my want list in the comments below!  You must leave a comment on the trade stack post in order to claim the card - no more claims via email!  If no one claims this card within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours up to a few days, depending) - I'll add another card to the stack and the process will start again!Previously Claimed Trade Stacks:Stack 01:  2 cards by dayfStack 02:  8 cards by JustinStack 03:  17 cards by CamStack 04:  4 cards by CamStack 05:  9 cards by Daily DimwitStack 06:  4 cards by The Lost CollectorStack 07:  1 card by Baseball DadStack 08:  1 card by M. SpiegelStack 09:  6 cards by bwsmith25Stack 10:  6 cards by Baseball DadStack 11:  1 card by PatrickStack 12:  5 cards by Matt B.Stack 13:  4 cards by Steve G.Stack 14:  3 cards by ShaneKStack 15:  7 cards by Ryan GStack 16:  1 card by longlivethewhoStack 17:  4 cards by hiflewStack 18:  4 cards by PotchStack 19:  2 cards by AxemanohioStack 20:  5 cards by by Play at the PlateStack 21:  5 cards by BA BennyStack 22:  1 card by IkesCardsStack 23:  8 cards by AxemanohioStack 24:  1 card by BA BennyStack 25:  2 cards by Jeff P.Stack 26:  10 cards by AxemanohioStack 27:  1 card by BA BennyStack 28:  7 cards by ThingsAreFunnerHereStack 29:  3 cards by TheBrooklynMetStack 30:  4 cards by Adam C.Stack 31:  10 cards by Play at the PlateSt[...]



2018 Gypsy Queen: Box 2 - Packs 01 - 04 (in which we find a 1:303 packs card)

2018-04-19T20:01:23.633-04:00

After the great start to the second box (see the post from a couple of days ago), I have high hopes for something great out of my final box of 2018 Topps Gypsy Queen.  Let's rip the first four packs to get it going!

Box 2:  Packs 1 - 4:

As I hoped, the box starts out strong!  First up, a Bazooka back parallel of A.J. Jimenez. 

The Bazooka backs are seeded 1:43 packs so that's nothing to sneeze at. 

I also ended up with a pair of inserts this time around - our first Tarot card and Fortune Teller card. 

I'm 99% certain I have that Fortune Teller card already...but I'll have to see when I actually sort all of my Gypsy Queen.  I think I needed the Tarot card though...and that's good since I'm thinking about chasing after that particular insert set!

Finally, we end with this one...

That is a Capless variation (normally seeded 1:121 packs).  However, this is the much, much rarer capless variation logo swap (note the different Gypsy Queen logo on the card).  Those are seeded an incredible 1:303 packs!

I think we did rather well so far, don't you?  Still lots of packs remaining...so there's a chance for even more goodies as we dig deeper into the box!(image)



Delivery Time! Remember the Astrodome Remembers Donruss for Me!

2018-04-18T20:01:40.549-04:00

So far in 2018, trade packages have been arriving at de Casa de Nachos in furious spurts.  I think I went two weeks where I had at least one package in the mail every day...and then about a month and a half with nothing.  Now, I'm back to getting almost daily packages (which is awesome).  I am willing to bet that it has something to do with my cycle of buying new cards - this year I bought a lot of Topps Series 1 and had plenty of trades but then I sat out Heritage and so trading declined.  Now I'm back on board with Gypsy Queen (and Panini Donruss) and trading is also back.  I know correlation does not equal causation but man, it seems pretty clear to me!

Speaking of Panini Donruss, today's mail day is a PWE from Marc over at Remember the Astrodome.  Marc dropped a pair of Donruss cards in the mail for me which helped me inch ever closer to completing the full base set!

Thanks for the surprise mail day, Marc.  And, as usual, if anyone else would like to trade, be sure to check out my want list and make an offer!(image)



2018 Gypsy Queen: Box 2 - The Box Topper (and it's a good one!)

2018-04-17T20:01:24.917-04:00

According to the online checklist, the 2018 Topps Gypsy Queen set has a single box topper called Glass Works.  In my first (of two) hobby boxes, I pulled a Corey Seager card...not the Jose Altuve I was hoping for but still a pretty nice card.  The question for me was, what would box #2 hold?

This time around, I ended up with Anthony Rizzo...but not the base version.  No, this is the much rarer indigo version (numbered 124/150 on the backside of the card).

Very cool - and a great start to box #2.  

I can't wait to rip into the rest of the box...here's hoping for some more fun stuff (and the remaining base cards that I need for my own set of course)!
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Barry Larkin Collection 599: 1998 Topps Stars - #65 - Bronze parallel (#/9799)

2018-04-16T20:01:05.168-04:00

Barry Larkin
Year:  1998
Brand:  Topps Stars
Card number:  65 (#1053/9799)
Parallel set:  Bronze

The 1998 Topps Stars set was distributed to Topps' Home Team Advantage stores only...and because of that, each base card is numbered out of a somewhat weird 9,799 copies (I have copy #1053 in my possession).  Even more confusing, there is a Bronze parallel of each base card that is also numbered to the same 9799.  From what I can tell, my card is actually a bronze parallel and not the regular base card (which I believe has red foil instead).  Even worse, there is a silver parallel (#/4399) and a gold parallel (#/2299).  Finally, there is a gold rainbow parallel numbered out of only 99.  Other than the bronze card you see above, I don't (yet) own any of the other versions of this card...I guess that gives me some new goals to try and track down!

As for the card itself, I guess it is okay. Honestly, it's nothing special...the front features a standard photo with some sort of weird background made up of starry blobs and a blurred out stadium crowd while the back of the car features a mess of fonts with a serial numbered printed over the secondary photo of Larkin.  I will admit that the set design fits withing the "Stars" theme of the set...but it doesn't do all that much for me.  I can't even say that I'm overly keen on trying to track down the remaining parallels...though if they happen to end up coming into my possession I certainly won't complain!(image)



2018 Donruss: Retail Comparison ($20 Blaster Box)

2018-04-15T20:01:27.027-04:00

Yesterday, I went through what I got from a retail hanger box of 2018 Donruss (cost of $9.99 for 60 cards).  Today, we take a look at a retail blaster of 2018 Panini Donruss (cost of $19.99 for only 56 cards).Is it worth paying twice as much money for four fewer cards?  Read on to find out.Unlike the hanger box, the blaster contains actual packs of cards inside (7 packs with 8 cards per pack).  That certainly makes the opening process a bit more fun than it was when ripping the single clear cellophane wrapping used for the "brick" of cards in the hanger box.As stated already, the blaster comes with 7 packs but only 6 of those packs are "regular" packs.  The seventh pack contains blaster exclusive holo blue and crystal parallels so let's start with that pack first!While none of those cards jumped out at me, I will say the two designs look quite nice.  I'd definitely like to trade for the Barry Larkin cards from the two parallel sets (and the hanger green foil parallels as well).By now I imagine that everyone has seen more Panini Donruss base cards than they ever needed to and so I won't scan the contents of each pack.  I will, however, show off the highlights.  Before I do so, I should at least mention that I ended up with 39 different regular base cards plus 7 variation base cards.  Of the 39 base cards, I only needed two of them which was definitely disappointing!!If you are doing the math at home, that only leaves two cards unaccounted for.  The first is a blank back parallel of Elvis Andrus.The black backs are pretty tough pulls from what I've seen, but unfortunately they don't excite me much (though I wouldn't turn down either of the Larkin blank backs if they were offered to me).  As it is, this is a nice enough pull but it didn't move the excitement meter much.The final card was exciting, but more so because it was totally unexpected...That's (yet another) Twins autograph...but from a retail blaster it somehow feels a bit more special.  I don't know a thing about Mitch Garver but based on eBay sales I'm note expecting much out of him.  Still, it's always fun to pull an unexpected autograph!That's it for the blaster...and so now we have to make a decision as to which is the better buy.  Personally, I think it's clear...the $9.99 hanger box offers more cards for half the price.  I do like the blaster's blue foil and crystal parallels better than the green parallels from the hanger but not $10 worth better.  Heck, I even beat the odds and pulled an autograph...but selling that auto won't recoup the extra $10 I had to spend (and then I'd be down another card).  No, it seems quite clear to me that if you are a set collector that the hanger box is the way to go.  If you are only interested in possibly pulling an autograph, you are probably better off just buying it directly from eBay (or some other site). At this point in time, I should point out that I'm still looking for some 2018 Donruss cards for my own set.[...]



2018 Donruss: Retail Comparison ($10 Hanger Box)

2018-04-14T20:01:28.996-04:00

This year, I decided to go all in on the 2018 Panini Donruss set.  Truth be told, I can't tell you exactly why I decided to do so (it probably didn't hurt that Barry Larkin is featured on two different base cards), but that's what I did.I already bought (and showed off the contents of) two hobby boxes of the product.  Since I was still quite a ways short from the full set, I went ahead and bought a pair of retail boxes as well.  The first box was a small box containing 60 cards for $9.99.  The second box was a typical $19.99 blaster which only had 56 cards in it. Yeah, that seemed like fuzzy math to me as well so I had to know what the deal was!  Luckily for you, I spent $30 so you don't have to...  Here's the breakdown of the $10 box and I'll have the blaster contents in the next post.Retail $9.99 box:Base:  I ended up with 48 of the regular base cards plus 7 variation base cards.  There were no duplicates (which is expected but should still be mentioned).  I ended up with 16 new cards for my base set which wasn't terrible (though I was hoping to do a bit better than that since I am still missing so many cards)!Inserts/Parallels:The final five cards of the box were special exclusive holo green parallels.I did alright with the "names" of my parallels - though the Twins curse strikes again! Verdict:The 60 cards in the box all came packaged in a single clear cellophane block of cards.  This leads me to believe that you aren't likely to get anything overly interesting in the box - you'll notice that other than the five promised parallels, there wasn't a single insert or numbered card in the box.  The $9.99 box is certainly helpful for base set collectors since you really aren't paying for anything other than base cards...none of that Topps' business with an insert or more in every pack.  On the other hand, I can't say that these are particularly exciting to open since you only get one "brick" of cards with little to no chance of something out of the ordinary (it should also be noted that Panini does not publish pack odds which is infuriating to me)![...]



Trade Stack 89: Jose Altuve Joins the Stack!

2018-04-14T14:07:29.614-04:00

Here is how this works:Every so often (i.e. whenever I feel like it), I will add a card to a "Trade Stack".  Whenever the stack becomes appealing enough to someone, that person needs to comment on the post saying they'd like to claim the stack AND tell me which card they are sending off of my want list.  That's all you have to do - trade me ONE card (or more, of course) card from my want list for the entire stack of cards that I'm offering.  Each time, it will be first come, first serve...so act quickly (unless of course you are a gambler and hope to wait it out until there are 10+ cards in the stack that you want in exchange for a single 2004 UD Vintage card that I am looking for)!New rule:  Please note that shipping large packages to Canada (or overseas) has become too expensive, at least when it means that all I am getting in return is a single base card.  If you happen to want me to ship to a place not in the US, please contact me first.  Maybe we can work out a larger deal that will make the increase in postage worthwhile.  I am sorry for that as I have a number of great traders in Canada but I have no control over what the USPS charges for shipping!The Trade Stack:Last update: 4/14/18My wife and I have been spending most of our free time lately getting our nursery ready for the arrival of our first child next month.  As such, I haven't had nearly the amount of time that I may prefer to keep things such as the Trade Stack up-to-date.  In fact, I haven't added a card to the pile since March...  Since I was able to carve out a little bit of baseball card time today, let's add a card to the Trade Stack while I'm thinking about it.  Today's addition comes from the 2018 Panini Donruss set..and it's a fellow that many of you collect.  On the other hand, if you are only interested in collecting the Donruss set this year, I have a ton of cards available for trade here.Remember, you can claim the current Trade Stack in exchange for at least one card off my want list (or anything LEGO since I've been getting more and more into collecting LEGO as well)!2018 Panini Donruss:166.  Jose Altuve (Astros)1988 Topps Big:85.  Ron Darling (Mets)1994 Upper Deck Collector's Choice:Silver signature parallel265.  Mike Stanley (Yankees)2018 Topps Heritage:291.  Jose Ramirez (Indians)385.  Michael Brantley (Indians)2011 Bowman Platinum (maybe?  Bowman sets confuse me):BPP14.  Ronnie Welty (Orioles)2004 Topps Bazooka:4-in-1 Stickers:  28 of 40.  Ellis Burks (Indians)Livan Hernandez (Expos)Derek Lowe (Red Sox)Kazuhisa Ishii (Dodgers)I scanned the front and back of the card for you.If you want the stack, remember - all you need to do is offer up any one card from my want list.  Want the card(s) in the stack?  Act fast - tell me which card you will send me off my want list in the comments below!  You must leave a comment on the trade stack post in order to claim the card - no more claims via email!  If no one claims this card within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours up to a few days, depending) - I'll add another card to the stack and the process will start again!Previously Claimed Trade Stacks:Stack 01:  2 cards by dayfStack 02:  8 cards by JustinStack 03:  17 cards by CamStack 04:  4 cards by CamStack 05:  9 cards by Daily DimwitStack 06:  4 cards by The Lost CollectorStack 07:  1 card by Baseball DadStack 08:  1 card by M. SpiegelStack 09:  6 cards by bwsmith25Stack 10:  6 cards by Baseball DadStack 11:  1 card by PatrickStack 12:  5 cards by[...]



Barry Larkin Collection 598: 1998 Bowman - #63 - International parallel

2018-04-13T20:01:30.886-04:00

Barry Larkin
Year:  1998
Brand:  Bowman
Parallel set:  International
Card number:  63

The Bowman International parallel set is actually a kind of cool parallel.  Each card features a map of the player's hometown as the background image rather than the usual stadium shot.  The scan make it virtually impossible to see here, but you'll have to trust me that this is actually a very cool parallel.  Other than the background change, nothing else is different about this card as compared to Larkin's regular base card from the set (i.e. the same boring card back is present).(image)



2018 Gypsy Queen: Box 1 - Packs 17 - 24 (Finishing off the box)

2018-04-12T20:01:58.530-04:00

We found both the promised hits in the current box of 2018 Gypsy Queen which means I think I can quickly rip through the final eight packs in a single post without fear of having a scan heavy blog post!

Box 1:  Packs 17 - 24:

We begin with the only short print of the box (which is what the odds suggest since they are seeded an absurd 1:24 hobby packs).  Luckily for me, I still needed the Koufax (and surprise, surprise, it's another Dodger card that I pull)!

Moving on to the useless parallels, here's another missing nameplate card. 

I have absolutely zero interest in the missing nameplate parallels so this one will probably end up on eBay for a couple of bucks.  I guess any bit that I can make back on my purchase cost is good, so I'll take it.

My second parallel of the final third of the box was another Brave, but this time it's a black and white (seeded 1:41 packs) and numbered 49/50 on the back of the card.

Finally, we end with a pair of regular inserts - my last Tarot of the Diamond card (Chris Sale) and my final Fortune Teller card (Amed Rosario).

And that does it for box #1.  I still have a second hobby box to bust - and I picked up some retail Donruss to show off as well (including a surprise autograph)!

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2018 Gypsy Queen: Box 1 - Packs 13 - 16 featuring some Angels' rookie you might have heard of

2018-04-11T20:01:04.088-04:00

In terms of my box of 2018 Topps Gypsy Queen, yesterday was a big day in that I opened up eight packs and pulled my two promised autographs.  However, with half of the box remaining still there is an outside chance that I might find something else cool.

Box 1:  Packs 13 - 16

We start with what might become the most desirable base card in the set - a Shohei Ohtani rookie card.

The verdict is still out as to whether or not Ohtani will live up to the hype, but getting his rookie card is nice no matter what...either he'll be like Mike Trout or Jose Altuve in which you are glad to have the rookie card or he'll be like Todd Van Popple in which you'll attach a story to the rookie card and therefore be glad to have it (so long as you didn't invest in it I guess).

I also got a second Angels' card of note in this set of packs - my second indigo parallel of the box.

Another Angels' rookie but definitely not the one you hope to pull a parallel of at the moment.  This one is numbered 231/250 on the backside for those that care about such things.

And finally, we end with our second Tarot of the Diamond card of the box.

The Tower is a pretty cool name for a card featuring a pitcher.

Not bad, not bad at all.  Eight more packs remain still...who knows what other mysteries lie within the box.(image)



2018 Gypsy Queen: Box 1 - Packs 9 - 12 featuring our second autograph of the box!

2018-04-10T20:01:02.362-04:00

This morning, I ripped four packs of cards from my 2018 Gypsy Queen box and found a nice Dodgers' autograph card.  Tonight, I decided to rip the next four packs...and wouldn't you know it, another autograph popped out (though not a Dodger for once).  Who did I get?  You'll have to scroll down to see...

Box 1:  Packs 9 - 12:

Truth be told, other than the autograph which I already eluded to earlier there wasn't much of note in the next four packs.  In fact, two of the four packs had nothing but regular base cards (which is fine since I hope to build the set).  I did get one insert though - and it's another Fortune Teller card.

No complaints about pulling a Mike Trout card - easily one of the more desirable cards in the set I would imagine.

The other card of note would be the autograph...our second hit of the box.

That's two autos and both are rookie card autographs.  Not exactly the "big names" I was hoping for...but at least it's a nice signature and it's on card.  Still, I can't help but be a bit underwhelmed by the two autos...though perhaps the cardboard gods will smile upon me and grace me with some other special card in the second half of the box? 


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2018 Gypsy Queen: Box 1 - Packs 5 - 8 featuring (of course) a Dodgers' autograph!

2018-04-10T08:01:16.468-04:00

Last night, I ripped the first four packs out of my hobby box of 2018 Gypsy Queen.  While we didn't find either of the two promised autographs, we did get a card that was essentially a box hit (seeded 1:22 packs). What will we find today?  Let's rip in together!Box 1:  Packs 5 - 8:The next set of packs ended up producing two parallels.  The first was a missing name plate parallel (seeded 1:16 packs) of Ryon Healy.Honestly, the name plate parallels don't interest me much at all...to me all it looks like is an unfinished card.  That said, I am sure there are a number of team collectors out there who would like to collect 'em all so have at it!The second parallel was more interest to me - a blue (i.e. indigo) parallel of Erick Fedde (who I've never heard of).The indigo parallels are numbered on the back, this one is 144/250.We also got a single insert this time around - and it's from my favorite insert set in the Gypsy Queen set (at least from those that I've seen so far).That's a Tarot of the Diamond card of Carlos Correa, named the Ace of Wands.  Definitely a cool card and a fitting design/idea for inclusion in a set called Gypsy Queen!And finally, our first of the two promised hits for the box - an on card autograph of Alex Verdugo of the Los Angeles Dodgers.Once again, I have more "luck" pulling Dodgers than I do cards of virtually any other team.  This card is well-designed, but the bad thing is that I don't know anything about Verdugo.  It is a signed rookie card so I suppose it could be quite the pull down the road if Verdugo amounts to anything.That does it for the first third of the box.  Still 16 packs (and one more promised autograph) to go...what are the chances that I get a NON-Dodgers hit for my second auto?![...]



2018 Gypsy Queen: Box 1 - Packs 1 - 4 featuring an "almost" box hit!

2018-04-09T20:01:13.142-04:00

Yesterday, I showed off the box topper from my first (of two) hobby boxes of 2018 Topps Gypsy Queen.  Today, we get to rip the first four packs out of the box.  I should mention that the box holds 24 packs with two promised on-card autographs lurking within.  

Box 1:  Packs 1 - 4:

This year's Gypsy Queen base card design is much nicer than in year's past.  I like the extra pop of color as well as the little design details.  I didn't pull very many Reds from my three blasters so I am happy to land a Red in the first four packs here (and it's one I didn't yet own which is even better)!

I ended up with two inserts in this group of packs, both of which were Fortune Teller cards (seeded 1:6 packs).

I don't anticipate going after the Fortune Teller set...but I guess I'll wait and see how close I am to completing the full thing by the time I'm done going through both of my hobby boxes (I also got a couple of the Fortune Teller cards in my retail blasters).

And finally, the big "hit" of the first four packs was this logo swap card of Adrian Beltre.

In hobby packs, the logo swap cards are seeded 1:22 packs or slightly more often than one per box.  Perhaps there are some Rangers fans out there who are interested in this one?  Otherwise, all my logo swap cards will end up on eBay in an effort to recoup some of my costs of the boxes.

That does it for the first four packs - not a ton to see but that only means that future posts should be more exciting since I still have the two promised autographs to discover.  
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The Year of the Baseball Card!

2018-04-08T20:01:01.397-04:00

I think that 2018 has definitely been the year of the baseball card (for me).  Probably more so than any year since 2008 or 2009.  Part of that is probably directly attributed to the upcoming birth of my first child (i.e. enjoy baseball cards now because I won't have much free time later) but another big reason is that I've genuinely liked a lot of the recent card releases. In fact, this year alone I've collected the vast majority of Topps Series 1 and I'm over halfway done with Panini Donruss.  I liked Topps Heritage (but I won't be collecting it since I'm still refusing to collect  Heritage set until I finish off the older Heritage sets that I've been working on forever).  And now, thanks to three blasters of Gypsy Queen, I decided to go for that set as well.And that brings me to today's big purchase:Yep, two hobby boxes of 2018 Gypsy Queen, all for me!  I don't know the last time that I bought a pair of hobby boxes for myself (other than Allen & Ginter).  What can I say, I happen to like this year's GQ set a lot!Over the next few days, I hope to rip both boxes (and update my want list).  I probably won't do a post for each and every pack, but I do hope to show off the highlights from both boxes.  To get the party started, for today let's rip the first box and see what we ended up with for our box topper.Box 1 - Box topper:Each hobby box comes with a GQ Glassworks chrome box topper.  The checklist for this set is nice (though there are no Reds which isn't suprising).GW-AB Andrew Benintendi - Boston Red SoxGW-AJ Aaron Judge - New York YankeesGW-AR Anthony Rizzo - Chicago CubsGW-BH Bryce Harper - Washington NationalsGW-BP Buster Posey - San Francisco GiantsGW-CB Cody Bellinger - Los Angeles DodgersGW-CC Carlos Correa - Houston AstrosGW-CK Clayton Kershaw - Los Angeles DodgersGW-CS Corey Seager - Los Angeles DodgersGW-CSA Chris Sale - Boston Red SoxGW-FF Freddie Freeman - Atlanta BravesGW-FL Francisco Lindor - Cleveland IndiansGW-GS Giancarlo Stanton - Miami MarlinsGW-IH Ian Happ - Chicago CubsGW-JA Jose Altuve - Houston AstrosGW-JD Josh Donaldson - Toronto Blue JaysGW-KB Kris Bryant - Chicago CubsGW-MB Mookie Betts - Boston Red SoxGW-MM Manny Machado - Baltimore OriolesGW-MS Max Scherzer - Washington NationalsGW-MT Mike Trout - Los Angeles AngelsGW-NA Nolan Arenado - Colorado RockiesGW-NS Noah Syndergaard - New York MetsGW-PG Paul Goldschmidt - Arizona DiamondbacksGW-TS Trevor Story - Colorado RockiesFor my boxes, I'm definitely hoping to get Altuve! So who did I actually get?  Well, in the first box it should be no surprise to long time readers of this blog...it was yet another Dodger!That's Corey Seager - and I definitely could have done worse in terms of player selection, I will say that.  These Glass Works cards are gorgeous - and quite thick.  I'm a huge fan - they are just as nice in person as I was hoping that they would be!Come back soon for more out of my Gypsy Queen boxes.  Each box promises two autographs so there should be some fun stuff in each box - and hopefully in the process I can complete my base set (I won't complete the pesky short prints, however, since they are seeded one per box on average).[...]



Three Blaster War: The Conclusion!

2018-04-07T20:01:05.918-04:00

This is it, the final pack out of each of the three blasters.Overall standings:Target 2:  57 pointsTarget 1:  39 pointsWalmart:  33 pointsIt's going to take some work to pass the Target 2 blaster...but perhaps one of the other two boxes has a little something special in store.  Let's find out together.Walmart:16.  Luis Severino40.  Zack Greinke64.  Cole Hamels159.  Travis Jankowski160.  Chad Bettis242.  Daniel MurphyMy wife loves Murphy so +2 for that.  Unfortunately, that Yankee Severino will cancel out those gains (-2).  And that's about it for that pack for Walmart...unless the other two packs are full of negative scoring cards, Walmart is eliminated.Pack total:  2 - 2 = 0 pointsBlaster Final Score:  33 pointsTarget 1:4.  Lucas Giolito101.  Jed Lowrie117.  Starlin Castro151.  Xander Bogaerts214.  Manny Margot258.  Hector NerisI'll give +1 for the Bogaerts since I like the photo but otherwise this was also a dull pack to end the blaster.Pack total:  1 pointBlaster Final Score:  40 pointsTarget 2:14.  Yoenis Cespedes87.  Anthony Rizzo210.  Domingo Santana255.  Roberto Osuna310.  Mariano RiveraBazooka back:  276.  Homer BaileyWow.  So, Target 2 brought the heat in the final pack despite already having a commanding lead.  The bad news is that I have to deduct 2 points for the Rizzo (Cubs) and four points for the Rivera (Yankee) but the Rivera is a short print that's worth 24 points before the Yankee deduction.  I also have to give +1 for the neon green orange sleeve that Cespedes is rocking...but all of that pales in comparison to the Bazooka back card (1:57 packs) of a Cincinnati Red!  That's 28 points for the Bazooka plus another 10 for being a Reds hit.Pack total:  -2 - 4 + 24 + 1 + 28 + 10 = 57 pointsBlaster Final Score:  114 pointsWell, that ended up being no contest.Overall standings:Target 2:  57 pointsTarget 1:  40 pointsWalmart:  114 pointsThat sure was a lot of typing and scanning...but I think it was a fun exercise and it really let me enjoy the cards by truly looking each one over as I went through.  The best news was that I didn't get a single base duplicate card (even though I did get a couple of the special parallels as duplicates).  I also ended up with a short print in each blaster which was awesome and totally unexpected - as was the pair of logo swap cards.  All things considered, this isn't the last of 2018 Gypsy Queen that you'll see on my blog - easily one of my favorite editions of Gypsy Queen to date![...]



The Three Blaster War: Loving the Tarot Cards

2018-04-06T20:01:18.651-04:00

We had a shakeup at the top of the standings in our last round of the Blaster War.  Will we see any more movement at the top this time around?Current Standings:Target 2:  55 pointsTarget 1:  45 pointsWalmart:  31 pointsAs always, we start with the last place blaster which is still the Walmart one.Walmart:17.  Jeff Samardzija98.  Manny Machado133.  Lance McCullers, Jr.142.  Clayton Richard163.  Ozzie Albies298.  Salvadore PerezLet's see, not much here to be honest.  +1 because I like the Perez card and +1 for McCullers.  That's about it.Pack total:  1 + 1 = 2 pointsTotal so far:  33 pointsTarget 1:104.  Felix Jorge147.  Jason Heyward148.  Josh Donaldson167.  Masahiro Tanaka194.  Corey Kluber283.  Luke WeaverOuch, this pack was worse than the Walmart one...  -2 for the Cardinal, +1 because I like Kluber, -2 for the Yankee, -2 for the Cub, and -1 for the Twin. Pack total:  -2 + 1 - 2 - 2 -1 = -6 pointsTotal so far:  39 pointsTarget 2:70  Jose Quintana114. Dominic Smith187.  Matt Olson251.  Hunter Pence296.  German MarquezTarot of the Diamond:  TOD-16.  Kevin KiermaierOh sure, I don't really have any desire for Rays cards...but I'm still happy with that 1:9 Tarot of the Diamond card (+4 points).  The only negative was the one Cub (-2). Pack total:  4 - 2 = 2 pointsTotal so far:  57 pointsOverall standings:Target 2:  57 pointsTarget 1:  39 pointsWalmart:  33 pointsWith only one pack remaining in each blaster, it's going to take something special to pass Target 2.  Stay tuned to see if we actually do get something special.[...]



The Three Blaster War: Pulling a 1:1,127 Packs Card!

2018-04-05T20:01:00.305-04:00

We are down to our final three packs in each of the three blasters.  At the moment, our standings are as follows:Current Standings:Target 1:  42 pointsTarget 2:  21 pointsWalmart:  11 pointsAs usual, we start with the last place blaster.Walmart:34.  Matt Boyd76.  Chris Taylor196.  Nick Williams233.  Robinson Cano240.  Jose Abreu302.  Jeff BagwellOur second short print out of the three blasters (which is better than expected since they are a tough 1:48 packs this year)!  That's 24 points off the top for Walmart which puts them right back in the running.  I do have to take off 4 points from the Bagwell however because he was part of the Astros' teams that I hated (back when they were the Killer B's in the Reds' division).  The new Astros I love, the old Astros...not so much!  Still, a solid pack!Pack total:  24 - 4 = 20 pointsTotal so far:  31 pointsTarget 2:84.  Josh Bell202.  George Springer235.  Avisail Garcia263.  Sean Manaea266.  Aaron Altherr308.  Carlton FiskThat Fisk short print is actually a logo swap short print which are seeded 1:1,127 packs!!  By my rules, that would make that card worth about 600 points which seems crazy...especially since I'm a set collector and that Fisk is actually worthless to me (in the sense that it doesn't "fit" in my set since it's a parallel).  Still, I think that's a great pull - and hopefully someone on eBay will agree with me when I get around to listing my cards!  I think I'll award 30 points for the Fisk since a quick eBay search says that it's probably worth around $10 or so despite how difficult of a pull it is.  I also have to give 2 points to Garcia for the awesome retro White Sox uniform and 2 points to Springer for being on the Astros team that I actually like.Pack total:  30 + 2 + 2 = 34 pointsTotal so far:  55 pointsTarget 1:74.  Noah Syndergaard95.  Jon Lester99.  Tyler Glasnow138.  Jose Urena152.  Chance Sisco190.  Matt KempI like the Syndergaard (+2) but then -2 for the Cubs' Lester and -2 for the Dodgers' Kemp.  The Chance Sisco rookie card is a pretty cool card, especially for a rookie.  For whatever reason, I like that one a lot, so much so that I'll give it +5. Pack total:  2 - 2 - 2 + 5 = 3 pointsTotal so far:  45 pointsWith that round, we have a new leader in the clubhouse and it's Target 2!  I guess a short print seeded 1 in every 4 cases will do that!Current Standings:Target 2:  55 pointsTarget 1:  45 pointsWalmart:  31 pointsThat was a fun round of packs to open.  What are the chances we find anything else cool in the any of the three blasters?  Truth be told, I feel like we've done better than we could have expected/hoped for as it is!  Two more packs remain, however, so who knows?![...]



The Three Blaster War: Those Tarot Cards are Pretty Sweet!

2018-04-04T20:01:00.313-04:00

The two Target blasters are looking alright while the Walmart blaster has fallen on hard times.  Will those trends continue or is Walmart simply slow playing us?Current Standings:Target 1:  39 pointsTarget 2:  12 pointsWalmart:  -2 pointsWalmart:21.  Juan Lagares43.  Gerardo Parra228.  Brad Ziegler267.  Dustin PedroiaFortune Teller:  FTM-1.  Aaron JudgeIndigo parallel:  298.  Salvador Perez (#027/250)I guess Walmart had enough of getting stomped by Target in this Blaster War.  That Fortune Teller is seeded 1:8 packs so that's +4 points though I have to take 2 points off since it's a Yankee.  The indigo parallels are seeded 1:23 packs making that a +11 point card. Pack total:  4 - 2 + 11 = 13 pointsTotal so far:  11 pointsTarget 2:12.  Maikel Franco92.  Zack Cozart119.  Austin Hedges127.  Scott Schebler130.  Michael Fulmer162.  Francisco MejiaThe Mejia card is a nice looking rookie card, +2 for that one.  Schebler is my second Reds card from the set (+5).  I also happen to like the Hedges card (+2). Pack total:  2 + 5 + 2 = 9 pointsTotal so far:  21 pointsTarget 1:3.  Andrew Stevenson33.  Zack Granite112.  Logan Forsythe221.  Sean Newcomb241.  Brad HandTarot of the Diamond:  8.  Clayton KershawThat Tarot card is pretty cool and it's worth 4 points since those are seeded 1:9 packs.  I won't even take points off for it being a Dodger since Kershaw is a pretty good fit for the title "Magician."  That's a really cool card in fact!  Other than that card though, this pack is pretty dull.  I gotta take a point away for a Twins rookie I've never heard of, but otherwise let's just enjoy that Tarot card.Pack total:  4 - 1 = 3 pointsTotal so far:  42 pointsThat was an interesting trio of packs overall.  Our leading blaster didn't do much which allowed the other two blasters to close the gap a bit once again.  Can either of them overtake the first Target blaster?  There are still three packs remaining in each box so anything can happen still!Current Standings:Target 1:  42 pointsTarget 2:  21 pointsWalmart:  11 points[...]



The Three Blaster War: Our First Short Print (1:48 packs)

2018-04-03T20:01:03.396-04:00

The battle is heating up, here are our current standings:Current Standings:Target 1:  9 pointsWalmart:  3 pointsTarget 2:  2 pointWith only a seven point spread from first to worst, any of the three blasters still has a decent shot to take home the crown.  It's time for the third (of seven) packs from each box.As usual, I'll start with the last place blaster.Target 2:7.  Rick Porcello149.  Anthony Rendon177.  Jeurys Familia209.  Kevin Gausman247.  Richard Urena279  Keon BroxtonI can't say that there is a single card in that pack that interests me - but at least I needed each card still for my set.  Other than that, there's nothing to report here.  Oh wait, what's in the corner of that Gausman?  Yeah, that's a GQ Logo Swap card (seeded 1:29 points) which means it's worth 14 points for the purposes of this little contest.  Of course, I have to subtract 4 points from that total because the Orioles are another virtually untradeable team these days.Pack total:  10 pointsTotal so far:  12 pointsWalmart:24.  Byron Buxton60.  Stephen Piscotty94.  Nick Markakis134.  Marcell Ozuna135.  Addison Russell278.  Javier BaezThe Buxton and Baez are both nice enough images (+1 each) but then this pack gets hammered for having two Cubs (-4), a Cardinal (-2), and a yet another Twin (-1). Pack total:  1 + 1 - 4 - 2 - 1 = -5Total so far:  -2 pointsTarget 1:46.  Adam Duvall123.  Alex Bregman171.  Tzu-Wei Lin261.  Dexter Fowler286.  Jake Lamb304.  George BrettAlright, our first Reds card from any blaster.  Easy +5 points for that!  I give +3 to the Bregman since I like the Astros quite a bit but -2 to the Fowler because I really dislike St. Louis.  Finally, that George Brett is one of the short prints in the set (seeded 1:48 packs) making it worth 24 points!Pack total:  5 + 3 - 2 + 24 = 30 pointsTotal so far:  39 pointsCurrent Standings:Target 1:  39 pointsTarget 2:  12 pointsWalmart:  -2 pointsWow, the Target 1 blaster keeps bringing the heat!  A Reds card (our first from any blaster) plus the nice short print boosted their score considerably.  Still, Target 2 is within striking range - especially if they too produce some sort of fairly rare card.  As for the Walmart blaster...well, the less said the better right now.[...]



The Three Blaster War: A Fortune Telling Dodger

2018-04-02T20:01:16.458-04:00

We've now ripped one "real" pack plus the special parallel pack from each of the three blasters.  As it stands currently, the first Target blaster is in the lead (by 7 points) while the second Target blaster and the Walmart blaster are seemingly only battling for last place (point difference is only one).Current Standings:Target 1:  9 pointsWalmart:  2 pointsTarget 2:  1 pointWill Target 1 increase its lead again or will either of the other two blasters produce some good cards in an attempt to pass by?  Let's find out together!  As before, I will open the blaster packs in the reverse order of their current standings (meaning I will begin with Target 2).Target 2:26.  Clint Frazier91.  Julio Teheran189.  Miguel Cabrera197.  Evan Longoria268.  Roughned OdorFortune Teller:  FTM-10.  Cody BellingerThe Fortune Teller minis are seeded 1:8 packs, so let's make that worth 4 points up front (seeded rate divided by two).  That said, the insert is a Dodger (because of course I would pull a Dodger) so that has to knock it down 2 points.  The Frazier is a Yankee (-2) but I do like the Cabrera card (+1).  I feel like this could have been worse...but I also think that Target 2 squandered a prime chance to land a lot of points by producing a Dodger insert.Pack total:  4 - 2 - 2 + 1 = 1 pointCurrent total:  2 pointsWalmart:65.  Trevor Story88.  Jose Berrios150.  Clayton Kershaw282.  Tim Anderson284.  Jake Odorizzi300.  Aaron JudgeI love the bubble blowing Story in the field (+2) but I'm not pleased to pull another Twin (-1), especially a rather creepy photo like Berrios'.  Kershaw is a Dodger which would normally be a negative but it seems like Kershaw is a tough guy to track down when I need him for a set so I'll be content to add him to my set binder.  In fact, the exact same thing goes for the Aaron Judge card...I won't even apply the usual Yankee negative score since Judge is another guy who isn't readily available via trades typically.Pack total:  2 - 1 = 1 pointCurrent total:  3 pointsTarget 1:109.  Jordan Zimmerman143.  Yoan Moncada198.  Didi Gregorius213.  Mitch Haniger239.  Carson Fulmer271.  Kole CalhounWell, Didi isn't Judge so the -2 Yankee penalty applies.  That said, I'll give him a point back for the cool shades.  If I worked for State Farm I'd be happy with the free advertising on the Haniger card...but I don't so I can't award points there.  I like the retro look that Fulmer is rocking in his card (+1) but otherwise this was an uninspiring pack if I ever saw one.Pack total:  -2 + 1 + 1 = 0 pointsCurrent total:  9 pointsWell, one insert but it was a Dodger so there wasn't a whole lot of scoring in this round.  Counting the parallel pack, I've now opened up 9 packs of Gypsy Queen and I still haven't found a single Cincinnati Reds card.  Ugh.Current Standings:Target 1:  9 pointsWalmart:  3 pointsTarget 2:  2 pointThe bottom two blasters each gained a single point on our current leader.  Pretty ho-hum so far.[...]



The Three Blaster War: The "Real" Packs Begin!

2018-04-01T20:01:06.813-04:00

Whether you celebrate Easter, April Fool's Day, or simply the start of another month, here's to a good one to you and yours! For me, I know that I'm ready for April to both start and be over with...for one thing, the work semester is over at the end of April (my college usually gets out a week or so earlier than most which is nice).  Furthermore, my wife and I are expecting our first child at the end of May....so April will be an agonizing month of anxious waiting! Luckily for me, I have plenty of things to do to keep me busy.  While I didn't have to hide Easter eggs this year (maybe next year I will?), I do have some baseball cards to go through including my three blasters of 2018 Topps Gypsy Queen that I recently purchased.  Yesterday, I started the blaster war and as a reminder, here is where we currently stand after the "bonus" pack of parallel cards.Current Standings:Target 1:  8 pointsWalmart:  1 pointTarget 2:  -4 pointsNow, it's time to crack into pack 1 from each blaster.  To keep things fair, I'll vary which blaster I start with (since duplicates get penalized as I pull them).  For consistency, I think I'll start with the last place blaster and work my way up to the blaster that is currently in the lead.  Thus, it's time to start with the second Target blaster.Target 2:52.  Anibal Sanchez71.  Ken Giles82.  Paul Goldschmidt108.  Garrett Richards164.  Hunter Renfroe181.  Jarrett ParkerA mostly lackluster pack for our last place blaster...let's see what we can salvage though.  First, the Goldy is nice (+2) and I like the emotion displayed on the Giles card (+2).  I'll give an extra point for the Giles being an Astros card since they are my "adopted" team for the past three years while my Reds (forever my main team) waste time going nowhere fast.  The good news is that there are no duplicates here since this is my first real pack of GQ for the year.Pack Total:  2 + 2 + 1 = 5 pointsTarget 2 total:  -4 + 5 = 1 pointWalmart:32.  Martin Perez103.  Trea Turner145.  Paul Blackburn200.  Cody Bellinger211.  Corey Dickerson281.  Andrew MillerNot a lot to see in this pack, +2 for the Bellinger image but then -1 because all I seem to pull are Dodgers (plus Rays, Twins, and Marlins).  Speaking of the Rays, -1 for the Dickerson.  Finally, +1 for the Turner because of the fans in the background - for some reason I simply like that card.Pack Total:  2 - 1 - 1 + 1 = 1 pointWalmart total:  2 pointsTarget 1:5.  Andrew Cashner36.  Jack Flaherty137.  Carlos Gonzalez176.  Jacob deGrom204.  Tommy Pham293.  Daniel MengdenLots of points here, some good and some bad.  In number order:  +1 for Cashner for the beard, -3 for Flaherty (Cardinal stink), +4 for deGrom (one of my wife's favorite players), -3 for Pham (more Cardinal stink), +2 for Mengden's Rollie Fingers-esque mustache.Pack Total:  +1 - 3 + 4 - 3 + 2 = 1 pointTarget 1 total:  8 + 1 = 9 pointsCurrent Standings:Target 1:  9 pointsWalmart:  2 pointsTarget 2:  1 pointWell, the overall standings didn't shift at all...but the Target 1 blaster made up some ground on it's two competitors.  Now the span from first to worst is only 8 points.  Still not a single Reds card to be found.[...]



The Three Blaster War (2018 Gypsy Queen - WalMart v. Target 1 v Target 2)

2018-03-31T20:01:04.321-04:00

The other day I found myself in Walmart and they had one blaster of 2018 Gypsy Queen sitting on the shelf.  Less than 24 hours later, I found myself in Target and they had two blasters of Gypsy Queen.  I ended up buying all three and figured it'd make for a fun Blaster Wars.Each blaster contains 7 packs plus one bonus pack of exclusive parallel cards.  I'm not sure if the parallels are different for each of the major box stores but we'll find out soon enough.I'll probably do one pack per post since I've got a bunch of packs (and I like to spread the joy of opening cards out over time).  Since I'm curious about the parallels, let's start with that pack for each blaster.Scoring will be determined entirely by me on the fly - but each blaster will be accumulating points throughout the entire Blaster War.  Let's get it on!Bonus Pack:Walmart:  24.  Byron Buxton74.  Noah Syndergaard99.  Tyler Glasnow278.  Javier Baez294.  Nomar MazaraAlright, let's see here.  First, it must be said that these parallels are kind of weird.  I can't decide if they are actually ugly or simply just weird.  In terms of images, Baez and Syndergaard are the two highlights so +2 for each.  However, the Cubs are almost as bad as the Cardinals (remember I'm a Reds fan) so -2 for Baez.  I also have to take off a point for the Twins' Buxton because cards of the team from Minnesota are haunting me lately and (virtually) no one likes the Twins!Total:  +2 + 2 - 2 - 1 = 1 pointTarget 1:63.  Alex Gordon92.  Zack Cozart162.  Francisco Mejia250.  Max Scherzer256.  James PaxtonI like the patriotic shot of Scherzer, the majesty of the Mejia image, and the bat boy in the background of the Gordon card, plus 6 total.  I'll also award +2 for Cozart as an ex-Red who I still will root for...and an additional +1 for the SS/3B wedged into his position circle.  Only the Gordon is on a team that is virtually untradeable but I do have to take off a point for that since I'll be looking to unload most of these parallels I think. Total:  6 + 2 + 1 - 1 = 8 pointsTarget 2:24.  Byron Buxton166.  Ben Gamel266.  Aaron Altherr278.  Javier Baez289.  Tyler SaladinoNo, your eyes don't deceive you.  That is, in fact, two duplicate parallel cards out of the pack.  And of course one of those would be a Twin, why not?!  -4 for the duplicates and another -3 for the Cubs/Twins pairing.  I still like the Baez and Buxton images as well as the Altherr so +3 there.Total:  -4 - 3 + 3 = -4 pointsAnd that's the first pack.  I can't say that the parallels interest me much - in fact, other than maybe the Zack Cozart, I think the rest will be available for trade/sale (I may through them all up on eBay as a lot, we shall see). Current Standings:Target 1:  8 pointsWalmart:  1 pointTarget 2:  -4 pointsA 12-point spread separates the blasters after the first pack.  A few Reds or other cool cards can get any of the blasters back in the lead though...and we still have 7 more packs for each blaster to go so this is a long ways from being over.[...]