Time Machine: 2013 Bowman Baseball Preview

Apparently Bowman week at Pack a Week continues.  Today Bowman posted a preveiw of their 2013 base product on Facebook (see gallery for images).  So here is my take on the new edition of my favorite product.

The good:  Autographs, autographs, and more autographs.  Bowman is including, as usual, as many rookie and prospect autographs as they can pack in.  Beyond their usual chrome prospect and rookie autos, they are bringing black the Bowman Black autos (black card, silver marker, super sleek) and including Franchise Dual Autographs.  Bowman is also throwing in Oversized 1948 Style autograph box topper cards.  I love the idea and, given that they are limited to /20, they should make for good chase cards.  It is the 65th anniversary of Bowman and I like them going back to the well and making chase cards out of the original design.

Let us not forget prospects, prospects, and prospects; it’s what Bowman is known for.  We don’t know the checklist yet, or who we’re going to be chasing, but it’s so much more interesting getting a new guys first card then Pujols 10,004th.

Bowman returns all the normal paralells, which produce good return on the secondary market (it’s always nice to off-set the cost of the box).  Certain paralells, and the printing plates, are jumbo only.  That may be a bad in some peoples eyes, but it’s a good for me because I always buy a jumbo box.  As an aside, anyone who can afford the jumbo that doesn’t buy it is a fool, you get so much more bang for your buck.

The mini trend made it’s way over to the sister product.  Bowman is inserting Mini Chrome Prospect cards in the packs.  I love the little guys and I would love them more if they weren’t chrome.  Which brings me to the bad.

The Bad:  Too much chrome.  Bowman already puts out a 100% Chrome product, why must there be so much Chrome in the base product this year.  Almost all the inserts and autos are chrome.  Even the Top 100 prospect set is chromed, which bums me out because it’s my favorite insert and brings me to my next point.  The Top 100 prospects insert set looks hideous.  The design is stupid and futuristic and the inclusion of refractors and die-cuts only makes it worse (bad designs are not improved by making it even shinier or giving jagged edges, it’s poop either way).  The Top 100 set will only be redeemed if I pull a die-cut auto that I can then sell for a Benjamin.

The most disappointing thing, however, is that the base card design is not so hot.  The borders are intrusive and busy, and as you know I hate busy.  The base set really reminds me of a Topps set, which is ok but doesn’t fill me with the same joy as the normal, simple, clean Bowman designs.  Every few years Bowman has an off year where they go overboard on the design elements and disappoint me.  I can get past it because it’s Bowman, but I really wish they would stick to the simple formula that makes them my favorite.  Bowman cards really need to continue to rely on solid prospect checklists and autographs and clean designs with good photography; it is the essence of the hobby.

The Interesting:  The Ultimate Prospect Card featuring autographs of 25 players.  How big is this card?  Is a two card book covered in stickers or a 25 card book, ala Panini, with a single card for each player.  How much will it sell for?  Will the ebay price make me angry?  What if I pull it?  Just kidding, I never pull anything like that, but I am interested to see what this thing is.

Lucky 5 Redemption.  What is this?  Will they be buybacks?  I love buybacks, especially if they’re autographed.

Blue Sapphire Refractor Program.  These cards will be inserted across various Bowman products next year.  They appear to be reprints of iconic Bowman cards with shiny blue borders.  I love the reprint idea to celebrate the 65th anniversary, however the blue borders look gaudy.  I will reserve judgment until I see the checklist and the cards in person.

In closing, Happy Anniversary Bowman.  I can’t wait until May.

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