Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Pity Prize Group Break (Part 1: The Rockies)

Back in October, Nachos Grande ran a group break consisting of some later 2015 releases: Stadium Club, Heritage High Numbers, Chrome, etc.... I signed up for my usual Rockies slot, knowing full well that he'd throw in some extras regardless of what came out of the primary boxes. And what did come out of those boxes was all sorts of shiny goodness.

2015 Topps Chrome #108 Rafael Ynoa (RC)
Rafael Ynoa has yet to really make his mark as a Rockie, but with the Rockies continuing to stockpile outfielders, and Arenado firmly entrenched at third base, there might not be much room for him on the roster, especially given his late arrival to the Majors. Still, he got a card in Topps Chrome, and I really like that the chromey outline that usually just surrounds the player extends to the ripple and curved lines on the bottom. See all the extra things you can do without a plain white border?

2015 Topps Chrome #66 Nolan Arenado
Arenado's Chrome card came my way too, which shows off his uniform number in a great post-swing pose, just like the rainbow foil version that I got via trade earlier this year. The curl on this year's Chrome cards isn't too bad, and the awesome border of the 2015 set gets even more accentuated with the shiny treatment.

2014 Stadium Club #132 Wilin Rosario
I'm pretty sure I had this one already, as my trading career in the cardsphere kicked off right around when 2014 Stadium Club launched. Rosario is stoked about something, and you can even see a reflection of Coors Field in his helmet. There was a bit of 2015 Stadium Club as well, which I'll get to later, but of the two, I think I prefer the 2014 set. It was pretty groundbreaking when it came out (assuming you're not an autograph collector), and the photography really couldn't be beat. 2015 is pretty similar, but I prefer the color coding found in 2014.

2015 Topps Heritage #532 Daniel Descalso
I've never been that interested in Heritage High Numbers; usually the first series is sufficient. All I'm really after with Heritage is the design. They don't need to deliberately reproduce the same errors and gimmicks that existed 49 years ago. Still, it is nice to see some of the lesser-known players in this later series. Descalso pretty much flew under the radar for his first year as a Rockie, but it's always nice to have a guy or two with playoff experience in the clubhouse. Just in case. His 44 postseason games are even the subject of the cartoon on the back.

2015 Topps Heritage #540 Rafael Betancourt
Wherever they shot Descalso's photo, they also shot Betancourt's and most of the other Rockies in this set. I can't quite tell what that structure is behind them. Probably the back of the scoreboard in whichever spring training facility they're in, but at a distance, it looks like the mesh fence at the edge of a driving range.

2015 Stadium Club #242 Troy Tulowitzki
I usually don't have much of a problem with foil, but that's really all there is on the front of 2015. I like to see just a bit of color. Of course, it has the stellar photography this brand is known for, and they even spelled his name right. I got Morneau's card too, which somehow looks even sharper. Printing technology has progressed dramatically, so I can see plenty of detail with that magnifying glass I just got.

2012 Triple Play #26 Todd Helton
2012 Triple Play was a late addition to the group break, and this might be my first time seeing it. I built the complete short set of 2013 Triple Play, and I feel like the caricatures that year were way more interesting than this inaugural (and penultimate) year.

2012 Panini Prizm #170 Drew Pomeranz (RC)
Let's not forget Prizm, another Panini brand that Chris threw in later on in the break. This Prizm set has the MLBPA logo front and back, surely to compensate for the fact that they don't have an MLB license. It's more or less a Topps Chrome equivalent, and now that we have a couple years of the resurrected Donruss under our belts, the little printed (though textureless) indentations look a lot like 2014 Donruss.

2012 Panini Prizm Prizms Green #162 Jordan Pacheco
This Pacheco rookie card parallel was the only "hit" I got from this break. My luck ran a little short, and I didn't end up with any other inserts, parallels, or relics/autos. I was shut out on the Topps High Tek box, which is fine, since I struck it big last time.

So if this is the only one, at least it's green.

Now, I don't tremendously mind the lack of logos and team names on Panini products, but the fact that they totally altered his jersey does bug me a bit. The Rockies have never worn solid white jerseys; their home jerseys have always had pinstripes. He is clearly at Coors Field here, so they did some pretty extensive photo editing on this one. All the black trim and accessories make him look like he's on the White Sox, but they have pinstripes, too!

But at least it's green.

2001 Stadium Club Diamond Pearls #DP19 Todd Helton
So is this one of Helton, though it's a different shade than I usually see. We're past the main group break items, so now we're into the stack of extras that Chris invariably throws in. It's an insert card from early in Helton's career, but toward the end of Stadium Club's initial run. I've seen so few of the late-90s insert sets that every one is pretty much new. This even lives up to its name, as the white area of the infield really does have an iridescent look. Even all the little white baseballs front and back look like pearls.

2008 Topps Gold Foil #25 Kaz Matsui
Kaz Matsui was one of the heroes of the Rockies 2007 postseason, drilling a grand slam in game 2 to set them up for the NLDS sweep. Though he became an Astro the following year, I won't soon forget his performance as a Rockie.

Even better, this is the gold foil parallel, one of which was found in every other pack. I wasn't really collecting that year, and all I know is the usual silver foil on the base cards. They kept up the tradition of printing a gold-bordered card with a /2008 serial number, but these gold foil cards aren't serial numbered. They do make the 2008 design look a bit better, even though that Topps logo encroaches on the photo, leading some to call this the "uvula set".

2008 Upper Deck X Xponential 2 #X2-TT Troy Tulowitzki
The second horizontal Tulo card in this post is brought to you by the letter X and the number 2. Upper Deck really likes the letter X. You've seen Xponential cards before, as I got an Xponential Griffey from a Collector's Crate box about a year ago, which is the most common of four insert sets. But this is the rarer Xponential 2 insert set (Xponential Squared?) which had fewer cards and was harder to find in packs. Perhaps one day I'll find cards from the Xponential Cubed and Xponential to the power of 4 insert sets.

That's not really what they were called. I'm just a math nerd.

1994 SP Die Cuts #164 Dante Bichette
When I was a kid, I knew of Upper Deck SP, but it was way out of my price range, and I liked Topps Finest better, anyway. It wasn't until the last few years that I started seeing SP cards. I knew I had seen the standard-cut version of this card before; turns out Chris sent it to me as a bonus card in his previous group break! Oddly, this card has a silver UD hologram on the back. I had always thought that SP cards came with a gold hologram, but I stand corrected. I like the shape, too. In my interpretation it's supposed to look like a Hall of Fame plaque, something any Rockie has yet to earn.

It doesn't end there, though! In Chris' judgment, my Rockies slot did the "worst" of all the 30 teams, so I ended up with a special prize as a consolation. Keep an eye out for my next post on that.

1 comment:

  1. Dig that green Prizm, for the worst spot you didn't do too bad I'd say