Everything Hits At Once

I have no idea what’s going on with my Target when it comes to stocking cards. It used to be the case that I would find new releases on schedule every time – occasionally even a day early. This year, they’ve been delayed by a week or even more. I’m not certain if that’s part of Topps release strategy just playing out, or if my Target has just gotten particularly unlucky when it comes to new product.

Case in point: last week, when I was on yet another Target run, I did my routine check of the card aisle, expecting to be disappointed once more. Not only had Stadium Club finally showed up on the shelves, but also that cool new Big League Baseball set made it – and Allen & Ginter was almost on time! Yep, just like the good ol’ Spoon song says, “everything hits at once.” I bought a couple rack packs of SC, a few blasters of BLB, and two blasters of A&G, and called my retail cardboard buying pretty much done for the year. I’m gonna touch on all of them here – it’s going to be a lengthy post picture-wise, but I’ll try to keep it brief. Stick around until the end though, there’s something nice there. First up: Stadium Club. This is typically one of my favorite releases, usually for the stellar photography and the sublime layout. I’m not big on the text formatting this year, but it does have some good photos laced throughout it. And wouldn’t you know it, I managed to land a George Springer in the lot! I really dig the photos with the “Houston Strong” patches on the uniforms, given how much that meant to our city last year.

Georgie boy wasn’t the only ‘Stro in the packs, either. I got my first Gerrit Cole Astros card, and a Jose Altuve Never Compromise insert. Those are actually pretty nicely done, and they were a favorite of mine in the old 1998 set.

Here’s another pair of cards I saw fit to keep: former Astro Domingo Santana in a nice shot celebrating while wearing the Brewers Cerveceros jersey, and a Chrome parallel of Twins stud Jose Berrios.

Here’s the last couple that I’ll show off. I landed a First Day Issue parallel of young Dodger Julio Urias and a Special Forces insert of Kris Bryant. That insert doesn’t strike me nearly as much as the Never Compromise one, so the Bryant is up for grabs.

Two blasters of A&G, and I got two Astros. In fact, I got two, in duplicate.
I got a ton of minis, too. I kept a few, but the bulk are up for grabs. The ones on top – except Wagner – are A&G backs. 

More minis! I landed two of the baseball superstitions mini inserts. I’m trying to put this set together.

 A few non-sport minis crept into the blaster as well.

I’m not going to build the set, and most of the cards I pulled will be up for trade. Here’s a couple nice cards of some studs that I’ll be keeping, though. I’m not big on the “peeling corner” look – I don’t like it on the ’62 set either. 

Here’s an excellent pair of HOFers that I’ll be keeping as well – love that awesome brown and gold uniform on that smiling Dave Winfield.

Some rookies! Ohtani is a keeper. How old is Harrison Bader though? Twelve? How is he in baseball? (He’s available, if that wasn’t clear.)

Ah, Allen & Ginter. Here’s a pair of cards that don’t need to exist. One for a park that doesn’t exist yet. One for a guy who hosts a quiz show on an app. I mean, my wife and I will play HQ, and even she said that this was a dumb card.

These, though – I can get behind these. A card for the Bullpen Car? Hell yes, I’m going to get Collin McHugh to sign it. He was the first one to ride it in to the mound. Epstein? Sure, he can have a card. I may even try to send it to him for a signature, but I think he only sends back business cards, which means he probably has a stack somewhere that an intern stuffs.

I can get behind these as well. Genie Bouchard is a great tennis player – probably my favorite solo sport – and H. Jon Benjamin is one of my favorite voice actors. You probably know him best as Sterling Mallory Archer and Bob Belcher.

Finally, a couple more inserts I can get behind. I’ve got five of these Baseball Equipment of the 
Ages inserts now – definitely one I want to build.

I do like some of the non-baseball inserts too. The one that really stuck with me this year is the Magnificent Moons set, so I am building that one. It, uh, seems kinda lame that our moon is just named Moon, though.

It’s time for some Big League Baseball! Hooray, you made it this far – you’re a champ! Hold on for just a little longer. I landed quite a few Astros in my blasters, including these two Altuves. I love that they put these League Leader er, Stat Kings cards into the set.

I got a couple of JV cards in there as well.

Like I said, there were plenty of Astros. I really enjoy this set design, and the set in general. It’s got good photos, It’s got a nice layout. It’s inexpensive, and Topps somehow managed to restrict themselves when it came to inserts and parallels. Sure, there are the dumb SSPs, and the checklist could be a bit longer, but other than that, it’s pretty phenomenal.

One more trio of some big Astros stars. Bregman is out of his mind this season, and Yuli Gurriel doesn’t get his due. Correa was the only gold parallel Astro that I pulled.

Speaking of parallels, I’m not sure which of these I enjoy more. I think I like the way the Blue pops even more than the Gold parallels. Oh, and this makes the second phenomenal Keon Broxton card that Topps has issued this year.
I’m not sure how rare these foilboard cards are odds-wise, but I like that a numbered parallel to 100 is one of the rarer things in the set. There are black & white versions numbered to 50, and of course there’s a 1 of 1 parallel, but this seems better for a kids set. Not a bad hitter here, either.

So the Diamondbacks are getting all the coolest cards this year, huh? The Bullpen Cart and the team celebrating in the pool? That’s pretty sweet.

See what I mean? This is a keeper – but it’s also an Astros card, y’all, and it’s going into my team binder. Orbit should sneak into more cardboard.

Some of the horizontal shots are really nice, and work quite well in this set – such as this Edwin Encarnacion batflip. This is a much more fun card than him running the bases while holding the fake parrot on his shoulder (which doesn’t translate well to cardboard). Also, good on Topps for putting batflip cards into a kids set. Baseball is fun, y’all. Let’s keep it that way.

Here’s another epic horizontal shot. My only qualm with this is the giant red ads eat up your visual attention, but if you can take time to refocus you’ll see an outstanding Mookie Betts card.

These threw me for a loop at first – I hadn’t seen them on a checklist and they didn’t seem to be an insert. No, these are Players Weekend nickname parallels. This is a really nice design. Except, the choices are kinda weak. Matt Olson as “Oly” is a stretch, but ok. How are you going to put Mookie Betts in there when his jersey name was just his first name, though? The Adrian Beltre “El Koja” card is a prime example of what these ought to be.

Three more nice keepers for the collection – and another Ohtani. Torres has had a pretty darn good season and has helped my fantasy team quite a bit. I dig how Topps let the bats extend outside the borders here.

My favorite part of Big League, though, is the Box Cards! Topps, you need to be doing this for all your sets. This is so fun, and I was genuinely surprised when I saw them in the store. It’s part of the reason I shelled out for three boxes instead of some other mixture. Now I just need to find a Trout to complete the run.

You made it! I said there was a big reveal at the end, so thanks for sticking around. As I mentioned, I was quite surprised to see not one but three new sets at my store. When it came to the A&G, I hesitated. I’m no pack searcher, but I do have a bit of a routine when grabbing blasters. I have to pick up a few and take whichever one “calls to me,” so to speak.

Well, I guess I grabbed the right one, because inside one of the packs was this outstanding framed mini-relic card of Manny Machado. Apologies to Cliff, CommishBob, and all the other O’s fans out there – I know this one was probably a painful trade. Manny and this tiny orange jersey swatch will most certainly have a place in my collection, though.

0 Replies to “Everything Hits At Once”

  1. Topps should have called our moon "Luna". Nice hit on the Machado. He was a good player for the Orioles but is attitude could use some work. His demeanor will probably fit more in upscale LA than blue collar Baltimore.

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