I was at Target for legitimate purposes, like the acquisition of paper products, when I stopped in the card aisle. To be fair, I stopped in the card aisle twice. Once for a quick pass over of the picked over remains of those sturdy red shelves we all know and secretly love and a second for some targeted searching of every pack and box that remained.
During my second set of searching, after being tricked into picking up the Justin Bieber cards for the fourth time in a Target, I see some of our beloved repacks. Most of the repacks were football, which makes sense given the time of year, but there were a few baseball ones. The promise was 10 packs with 40% off retail. In the front slots were two rack packs, 2009 Goodwin Champions and 2007 Upper Deck. I like rack packs, I think Goodwin Champions has some interesting designs, so I take the box over to the price scanner.
At $20, I was clearly priced out, since I cannot fathom what packs inside might be worth over $3 each, but at $12, I might be priced in. So, the scanner turns up $11.99 and off to the register I go. Now, if you've seen Trainspotting, there is a scene towards the end where they are going to make the big score and Mark hears the story and goes, "Mike Forrester. Russian sailors." in a tone clearly indicating the high probability of failure that is about to befall everyone. Despite hearing this in the back of my head, I still forward with the purchase. To date, I've only opened two of the packs from the box, with the other 8 remaining in my car. This way, I only break wax at my steering wheel, rather than opening all the packs up front and slowly bleeding out what I want.
Pack 1 - 2009 Goodwin Champions
Rather than spoil my thoughts at the whole process of opening the package, let's just jump into the packs themselves.
2 - Derek Jeter
23 - Kevin Youkilis
28 - Brian McCann
51 - Carlos Beltran
67 - Josh Beckett
86 - Brooks Robinson Mini
This looks like a strong product with some interesting cards. All baseball to start, but that is never a bad thing. The mini was a nice touch and to date, the best card I've opened in this box.
54 - Kosuke Fukodome
60 - Matt Garza
88 - Peggy Fleming
108 - Tim Lincecum
114 - Michael Jordan
141 - Bobby Orr
What a great set of players, why there is even a crease on Bobby Orr. Wait a minute, that's not an action shot of Bobby Orr and that crease runs right through the middle of the card. That's right, the entire bottom half of the pack was creased in the middle. Quite disappointing actually and presumably a sign of the epic fail which is surely going to follow this box to its final resting place in a 4,000 count box.
Pack 2 - 2011 Topps Series 2
339 - Alexei Casilla
363 - Aaron Rowand (With a tremendous quote from Aubrey Huff "He'll play if he's 10 percent.", which is incredibly true, given his production in the orange and black, about 10% of a quality centerfielder. I can here, "Put me in coach, I'm only sub-replacement due to my eroding skills and injuries.)
377 - Esmil Rogers
405 - Ian Kinsler
474 - Jeff Mathis (Whose card starts with "Jeff is a defensive catcher, but can rake when it counts." I see his professional gardening duties have gotten in the way of learning to hit. Otherwise, there is an outright lie on the back of this card and completely beneath Topps.)
505 - Tommy Hanson
542 - Mike Pelfrey
554 - Cedric Hunter
579 - Jeff Niemann ("Jeff just wins. Dating back to July 24, 2006 (when he was in Double-A), his "Ws"outnumber his "Ls", 55 to 27." What an amazingly useless and seemingly error ridden stat. First, I can only find 53 total wins from 2006 to 2010 for Jeff Niemann. Second, in order to make the stat look good, they needed to lop off the first five decisions of 2006 for Niemann, all losses, before he wins five straight. Third, it ignores the differences in competition and removes part of his Major League career, since he went 2-2 in 2005. As you can tell, I love these amazingly awful writeups. If they were just basic stats pulled from a list or an event, I could move on. But the way they wrote these cards is phenomenal and even stunning.)
603 - David Murphy
TDG-12 - Diamond Giveaway 1974 Mike Schmidt (It might be 1952 Mickey Mantle or it might be expired...I'm going with expired.)
581 - Fernando Rodney Diamond Parallel
While no cards of note were found in the pack, the tremendous value in discovering what Topps thinks is a good write up made this pack more than worthwhile. Almost enough to see what else is written on the back of the other Topps cards in my possession.