Saturday, January 14, 2017

Post-holiday Roundup

Now that we're a few weeks removed from the annual commotion that is Christmas, it seems like a good time to look back at a couple cards I got as a present. I used to put the Topps complete set on my list every year, but lately I've just been buying it at Target when it gets released, roughly around the All-Star Break. But my mom still makes sure to check my Eight Men Out list for the latest parts of my collection that are conspicuous by their absence.

Hanukkah started late this year, with the first night beginning on Christmas Eve. I can never remember it starting that late, but it occasionally overlaps Christmas. My mom marked the annual Festival of Lights with a couple toploaders inside a Hanukkah card.

2008 Upper Deck Documentary #2798 Willy Taveras
We've wrapped up our first year of Topps Now, and there are some pretty strong opinions out there about it. The concept seems to be generally well-liked, but there are some pretty big objections around the delivery time, and more importantly about the $10 price for a single card. Despite those downsides, I still bought two, and others bought way more.

Less than a decade ago, printing on demand like that just wasn't feasible. But Upper Deck still wanted a way to highlight important moments of the 2008 season. So they took a brute-force approach with 2008 Documentary, a set that would just about fill a 5,000-count box. Both the home and away team got a card for each MLB game that year. I have a few cards from the set, but none from any of the three games I attended that season. I put this one on the list, from July 18th, 2008. My dad was a Wells Fargo customer at that time, and they ran a 2-for-1 special on Club Level seats for a while. He got us a pair of tickets, and we got to see a Rockies win from the luxurious 2nd deck.

Willy Taveras is pictured here, I'm guessing from when he stole second in the 2nd inning. He led off the first with a triple, but his pace looks a bit too leisurely here to be legging out a three-bagger. However, a more memorable moment from this game was Seth Smith hitting an inside-the-park home run in the 7th. UD did make mention of that home run on the back of the card, along with Matt Holliday's and Brad Hawpe's, but didn't point out the unusual nature of Smith's.

It's a great reminder of the team the Rockies fielded when they were a playoff contender, and of course of going to the ballpark with my dad.

2015 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini Birds of Prey #BP-3 Great Horned Owl
The other card my mom ordered for me is this Allen & Ginter mini. A&G is well-known for including all sorts of offbeat topics, from space probes to fighter jets. Which are actually pretty similar things, I suppose. But I enjoy nature and wildlife in addition to space exploration and aviation. I usually schlep a heavy DSLR with me when I go hiking in case I spot something like this, but the one time I saw an owl, it was perched on the ridge of the roof of the building across from me. It was well after midnight, and was too dark to snap a picture. But it was a majestic-looking animal.

I happen to be writing this during the Falcons/Seahawks NFL Division Playoff game, and I got to wondering: what is a seahawk, anyway? Is it actually a bird? As a matter of fact, it is. Apparently, it's a more mascot-friendly way to refer to an osprey. The Seattle Ospreys doesn't sound like any team I'd root for. Of course, I don't root for the Seahawks anyway, but still.

Some of the other birds in this set, like the California condor and even the barn owl won't be winning any beauty contests. But these modern-day dinosaurs are as good a subject as any for an A&G insert set.

Thanks, mom!

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