Sunday, August 20, 2017

More Topps Bunt? I Think So

As I've reentered the hobby (sorta) and gotten back to into collecting (kinda), I've had quite the urge to bust some real packs. Alas, with my imminent move to NYC in just over a week, buying real cards is simply not in the cards (hehehe).

Once again, I've had to scratch this itch by turning to the digital realm, spending fake coins on fake cards for real pleasure.

I seem to learn more and more about how things operate in Topps Bunt every day, most recently discovering how awards work.

Users are awarded "Award Cards" for meeting certain collecting goals. The awards featured most predominately in the game are associated with collecting parallels of an entire team. There are ten parallels for each base card, each with a corresponding point multiplier for the fantasy aspect of the game: White (1x), Green (1.2x), Red (1.5x), Blue (1.7x), Orange (2x), Teal (2.5x), Purple (3x), Black (3.5x), Silver (5x), and Gold (10x). If a user collects all ten white, green, and red cards, they are give an award; awards are also awards for collecting blue and orange, teal, purple, black, silver, and gold. The way cool Steve Garvey card above is the award card for collecting all ten black parallels of Series One Dodgers, and it's limited to just 316 copies (at least until other users earn the award).

Cards are released in real-time along with their real life counterparts, and awards are given out for Series 1 collections and Series 2 collections.

Though collecting in the digital realm is not quite the same, I do enjoy the Topps Now inserts -- cards that are realized almost on a daily basis that recognize big moments and historical feats. I picked both of these guys up, numbered 848 and 500 respectively, in a pair of trades over the past week.

Kyle Farmer, a young Dodgers backstop, was called up a few weeks ago and got his first taste of big-league action against the Giants with the Dodgers down 2-1 in the bottom of the 11th inning. Farmer lined a double down the right field line for the win, his first big league hit, and this card (albeit digital) captures that wonderful moment.

Though I love myself some fantasy baseball, I'm not a big fan of the fantasy portion of the app. Scoring is heavily skewed in favor of hitters, and the scoring is a bit confusing. Still, I participate on a daily basis, choosing my nine best players in the hopes that I'll score enough points to win some prizes. Prizes offered range from a pack of cards to equipment tickets, tickets that can be traded in for limited edition cards. Case in point, this sweet faux-vintage Kershaw. I don't recognize the design, so I'm assuming Topps created it strictly for this set, but please let me know if I'm wrong.

Speaking of Clayton Kershaw, I also nabbed this beauty in a trade last week. I feel like I should recognize the moment shown here, but it's simply not clicking at the moment. The days of A.J Ellis feel so long ago, so it's weird to think he only changed jerseys around this time last year.

One of my newest additions came as quite a surprise, as I received a trade offer in which I received eight low numbered inserts and the sweet Duke Snider relic seen below.

I was irrationally excited for a digital relic (a plain one at that), but they aren't easy to get a hold of, so it's definitely a cool addition.

Shortly after I wrote my last post on Topps Bunt, I swapped my Paul Goldschmidt auto for this Corey Seager Jumbo Patch (again, very plain, despite the digital format that allows Topps to maybe throw in some color). In hindsight, I probably could have extracted more value from the Goldy auto, being that autos are more valuable than relics despite the card count, but I'm happy with the swap.

At the end of the day, I've found this app to be quite addicting, good fun, and a welcome alternative to traditional card collecting. I'll most likely continue to use the app daily, at least until real cards are once again a reality.

Bunt Username: ChavezRavinin

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The One Where I Pull A Corey Seager Auto...Redemption

I've long spoken about friendships on this blog, whether they have been virtual (Nick at Dime Boxes or William at Foul Bunt), virtual turned real (Matthew at Dodger Penguin or Greg at Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle), or just plain real (my buddy Dikran, for instance). Card collecting is a wonderfully fun hobby, but it seems like collecting with friends makes it even better. Dikran and I have been collecting together for a few years now, and before I head off to New York in a few weeks, we thought it would be fun to go out and bust a couple of packs one final time.

And man. It was worth it.

After browsing the rather messy card aisle at Target, we walked away with a couple of hangar packs of one of my favorite products, Stadium Club.

Stadium club is well-known for its great photos and full-bleed design (though flagship has gone that way in recent years), and the quality of the cards makes a pack well worth the $5.99 price tag for 12 cards. SC differs from most other Topps products in that it is filled with non-action games shots, much like the Strasburg above. I love when the dugout serves as the backdrop for a card.

Of course, SC also features some past players, much like Dave Winfield here. I totally dig Winfield's pose, and everyone's gotta love those old-school brown and yellow Padres' unis. Here's to hoping Gavin at Baseball Card Breakdown can successfully convince the Padres management to bring them back full-time.

I've been out of the card game for too long, and I cannot remember which blogger has a subset for 'desert cards,' but I certainly think this Adam Jones black parallel fits the bill. 

Inserts are also seeded every few packs this year, and I managed to score a pair of pitchers trending in different directions. Verlander, arguably the best pitcher in baseball a number of years ago, has been losing steam as he enters his mid-thirties; the back of the card points back to a pair of scoreless starts he had in 2007. On the other hand, Julio Urias, the 20 year-old Phenom, appears to be on the rise. That is, until the injury bug hit, wiping out the remainder of this season and possible all of next year as well. Here's to hoping his incredible talent makes some headlines soon.

Two cards into my pack I uncovered this gorgeous Beltre, the newest member of the 3000 hit club. Too bad the Dodgers let him walk after the 2004 season. #CrossingMyFingersForAnOffseasonTrade

The best card of the pack, however, goes to a slice of cardboard that isn't really a card at all: a Corey Seager Black Foil Autograph. 

These are numbered to just 25 copies, so its seems like the baseball gods were on my side after this purchase. I think this is just the second autograph we've ever pulled from a retail pack (I cannot remember the first), and it's definitely an exciting way to end my card collecting in California. 

Dikran is holding on to this bad boy until Topps sends in the real card, though we still haven't decided who is gonna keep the card after it arrives. I suggested we can share the card, with me keeping it on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays a la Bart Simpson's idea in "Three Men and a Comic Book", but Dikran didn't seem too enthused. Regardless, it's a hell of a pull, and a fun way to close out our random retail splurges. 

Though I've taken my collection digital in the recent weeks, there's nothing like busting open some real packs. Perhaps that Corey Seager auto was a reminder that I can't fully give up the real stuff.