Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Shiny Donruss Group Break

Two months ago to the day, the cards from Colbey's Donruss Optic group break showed up in my mailbox. After a bunch more travel in September, and a nail-biter of a sudden-death game last night, I have a little time to get back to blogging. In the 2018 NL Wild Card Game, the Rockies managed to hold the Cubbies to a single run in 13 innings, the longest-ever elimination game in MLB Postseason history, advancing to the NLDS and bringing the month of Rocktober back to Colorado.

The cards that arrived from Cardboard Collections looked pretty familiar, and I've seen plenty of 2016 Donruss in the past few years. It's a common fixture in trade packages, and it's only 150 cards large, not counting short prints. But the shiny version, Donruss Optic, basically a clone of Topps Chrome, is a bit harder to come by. $4 to add the shiny quasi-parallels was literally a small price to pay.

2016 Donruss Optic #107 Nolan Arenado
Nolan Arenado will start us off today, and he began the scoring last night with a sacrifice fly, allowing his buddy Charlie Blackmon to score from third. Charlie was sent back to third after a ground rule double ended the previous play before he could score. But number 28 came through in the first, though he and much of the Rockies offense were shut down by Jon Lester and the Cubs bullpen for most of the game.

It was one of the greatest pitcher's duels I've ever seen, and to have Kyle Freeland on one end of it was amazing.

There are a handful of parks with brick behind the plate, and this Donruss Optic card may have gotten its photo courtesy of Wrigley Field. It's a bit tough to tell for sure. Regardless, Nolan won't soon forget his most recent game in the Windy City, including that odd hug with Javy Baez.

2016 Donruss Optic #48 Jonathan Gray RR (RC)
The Rockies gave Jon Gray the ball in last year's Wild Card game, which they lost to the Diamondbacks. Gray is notoriously unreliable in the first inning, so Bud Black decided not to go with him this time around. He'll surely start at some point in the NLDS. 

He's long past being a Rated Rookie, perhaps Donruss' most famous subset besides Diamond Kings. And he's shortened up his name, just going by Jon these days. He's a strong pitcher, and I'm glad to have him in the rotation, but he hasn't quite been able to handle the pressure like Kyle Freeland. 

2016 Donruss Optic Purple #53 Trevor Story RR
It doesn't seem that long ago, but Trevor Story was once a Rated Rookie, too. His flurry of home runs at the beginning of the 2016 season is mentioned on the back, but no one knew that he'd soon take to regularly launching home runs onto the left field concourse at Coors Field, some even eclipsing 500 feet. I've seen him hit home runs in person, and I can assure you, he absolutely puts them into orbit.

This purple parallel (a border color tailor-made for Rockies cards) shows Story in the field, where he's no slouch, either. In fact, he speared a liner yesterday with a man on, which kept the momentum on the Rockies' side.

I've noticed that Donruss is prominently featuring player's uniform numbers on these photos, which is just as well, since this is of course an unlicensed set. Gray's #55 is a bit covered up, but #27 and #28, the stellar left side of the Rockies infield, are clearly visible, and show one of the more significant uniform changes since Marvin Freeman and the early days of the franchise. 

2016 Donruss Optic Purple #56 Tom Murphy RR
There were about as many purple parallels in this shipment as base cards, and that Rated Rookie logo is enjoying its time back in the spotlight, after years of being shoved into basements and closets.

Tom Murphy, #23, played in a handful of games for the Rockies this season, but there is a bit of a logjam at the catcher's spot this year. Chris Iannetta is enjoying Rocktober once again, and apparently Drew Butera became a Rockie about a month ago, unbeknownst to me. But the real catcher hero yesterday was none other than Tony Wolters (which ESPN kept mispronouncing "Walters"). With two outs, Wolters singled Trevor Story in during the top of the 13th, and it ended up being the game winner. Scott Oberg wasted no time in striking out the side in the bottom of the 13th, and the Rockies got to pop some champagne for the first time in quite a while.

2016 Donruss Optic Aqua #72 Carlos Gonzalez /299
CarGo has been a Rockie for ten seasons, but other than when they clinched a playoff spot last year just edging out the pre-Yelich Brewers (and I guess Friday when they sealed this year's spot), yesterday was the first time CarGo got to spray champagne around the clubhouse. It couldn't have been easy for the Cubs to watch two teams in two days celebrate in Wrigley Field as visitors, but that's how it ended up this year with the two tiebreaker situation. One of the four teams had to lose two winner-take-all games in a row. I would have preferred it if that had been the Dodgers, but we'll get them in the NLCS, unless the Braves take care of them first.

The Yankees have won the AL Wild Card as I wrap up this post, so I'll close with this Aqua parallel of Carlos Gonzalez' Donruss Optic card, serial numbered to 299 copies. I bet this one is at Wrigley, too, judging by that brick and the fan in blue and red apparel. Maybe even from the same game as Nolan.

CarGo's Diamond Kings card from 2016 Optic is the only one from the set that has appeared on this blog before, a trade post concerning Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary. Looking back, that was one of my favorite posts I've ever written. It might be a while before I find the time to do an 18-card post like that again, but five cards at the beginning of the month is a good start, and that means I might be able to do multiple posts in October.

Er, Rocktober.


  1. Aqua and Purple look nice together. I expect there's a bit of Optic in the package I Just mailed to you. It's a nice product and - may sound weird - I love the smell of the cards fresh from the pack. Does this make me a junkie??? I already know the answer.

    1. I like some very specific smells. Fresh cards is one, glossy printed brochures, and especially a warmed-up stereo amplifier.