I was approached by a band of 10-year-olds as I tried to convince myself to buy a $20 blaster box of Topps Opening Day. I felt silly enough standing there by myself in Target, right up next to the cash registers; an open target for the silent judgment of the other shoppers. But to be given advice by a pack of 4th graders really took me down a few notches.
That said, what they told me was very interesting. They said that there was no reason to buy Opening Day, that it was crap because it didn't have memorabilia cards. They said what I really should've bought was Topps Chrome. When I mentioned that you only got 4 cards per pack and the pack cost $3.50, they said it didn't matter. Chrome was what I should be buying. And here I was getting psyched about mascot cards aimed at the very audience who rejected them.
Here's something I just noticed about the Allen & Ginter checklist. The Hero Numbered cards are all of players who are currently Topps spokesmen: Alex Rodriguez (#1); David Wright (#100); David Ortiz (#200); Ryan Howard (#300, #400). I wonder if this has been a common practice for Topps; I've never noticed it before. Then again, maybe it's never been this obvious.
Jose Valverde I'm not quite sure who or what Jose's looking at in his photo, but it sure ain't the camera.
Troy Glaus How did Glaus get out of the Mitchell Report stranglehold with nary a scratch?
Gil Meche Every time I get a card of Meche, I can't help but think of Philip Roth's Great American Novel, and now that Topps has included a card of Gilgamesh in its 'Ancient Icons' insert set, well...
Howie Kendrick Here's another photo taken from the ground up. Kendrick is 5'10". Why couldn't the photographer just stand up and take the shot at eye level? I understand the fundamental reasoning behind shooting someone from the ground up: you want to give the subject a larger-than-life persona. But it gets tiresome, especially when the guy you're trying to immortalize platoons at second base.
Jason Giambi Watching the Yankees/Red Sox series, it's interesting to note how different Giambi's arms look from his steroid days.
Mini Ryan Braun Nice-looking card. These mini cards would've been even cooler had Topps used photography not on the players' regular cards. It would've been twice the amount of work, sure, but collectors are not exactly shelling out chump change for these cards.
Shane Victorino/Hawaii state flag This is the first time I've ever seen the Hawaii state flag, and I have to say it's already my favorite.
Empire State Building What a great card! You know what the best part is about the 'World's Champions' subset? It's a subset, not an insert set. Also, the WCs for 2008 are a much better class than in previous years, if you ask me (though still no Sir Garry Sobers).
Pack 4 Success Rate: 75% (6/8)
I was psyched for this to be a great pack, but the inclusion of Kendrick and Valverde makes it only above average. And by the way, I know I should be pleased to get Jose Valverde in a pack, but I'm not. It's a bad photo, and really I don't care very much about relievers or the Astros in general.
Pack 5 coming soon!