Tag Archives: Chrome

Prizm…Yawn

I picked up a couple of packs of Prizm basketball and…well…I don’t have much to say.  As has been made clear I’m not a fan of chrome cards and this doesn’t change when you call them Prizm.  I find the design to be boring at best and kind of ugly at worst.  I believe it was Mojo Beardy who mentioned that they have a Topps Finest vibe, and I would agree.  However, my nostalgia for Finest, which I loved as a 9 year old precisely because it was shiny and new, is lost here.  Making a card shiny shouldn’t obviate the need for good design, but in most instances I think that card manufacturers thinks it does.

I do appreciate Panini limiting the number of inserts in the set and providing a solid checklist of on-card autographs which have a good mix of rookies, legends, and current stars.  However, the design is so boring and lazy that I can’t see picking this over Panini Threads.

As for my packs themselves I pulled a Kyrie Irving rookie and legends cards of Isaiah Thomas and Wilt Chamberlain.  I didn’t pull any inserts or autos and the rest of my cards were commons.

Recommended for chromies and auto chasers but no one else.  1.5/5 (almost completely because of a solid autograph checklist).

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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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Retail Pickup: 2012 Bowman Chrome

‘Tis Chrome season.  First Topps then Bowman.  While Chrome is not my favorite color, I do love Bowman so I was more excited about last weeks release then I was about Topps Chrome a few weeks earlier.  I thoroughly enjoyed this years Bowman design.  It had clean lines as usual, quality photography, and nice borders.  While I prefer the non-Chrome version, I appreciate the design even at it’s shiniest.

I decided to forego a box of Chrome (I’m saving my remaining yearly box money for Bowman Draft Picks) and did not have time to hit up the local card shop, so I settled for a value pack from the local retail outlet.  The value pack includes three packs and bonus pack of green refractor cards.  The packs contain three cards each, with one being a prospect.  The package advertises a “bonus pack of 3 green bordered xfractor propspect parallel cards,” but they are lying they are not all prospects and they are not xfractors.  I will forgive them for their oversight, but only because I couldn’t stop buying Bowman if I wanted to.

Here’s the haul:

Green Refractors of Gio Gonzalez, Jason Heyward, JaDamion Williams.  Nothing too exciting here, two minor star types and a speedy prospect with potential to move up in the Twins organization.

Is it just me or did Jason Heyward age 15 years?

All-Star Futures Game Tommy Joseph insert.  These inserts are are moderately tough pulls at 1:12.  It would have been much nicer if it had been the relic version.  As for the design itself, I find it to be overly stylized and busy.  It’s a definite eBay listing in my book, though I’m not sure the market exists for Joseph.

Jordanny Valdespin rookie.  Best. Name. In. Baseball.

Jordaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaany Valdespiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Base cards of Paul Goldschmidt, Nelson Cruz, Dan Haren, and Yunel Escobar.  I’m a big fan of Goldschmidt.  He reminds me of Adam LaRoche with more upside and hitting at Chase Field could mean some monster home run seasons when he fully develops his power.  The D-Backs are my NL team, so I’m hoping that him and Justin Upton can really come together in the next few years to get the D-Backs back in contention.  By the way, what the hell happened to Dan Haren, he fell off a cliff.  His groundball rate is down, his home run rate is up, and he’s walking a lot more guys.  Truly a recipe for disaster.  I’m wondering if he’ll bounceback or if this is it considering he’s 32.

Finally, prospect cards of Roberto De La Cruz, Lane Adams, and Jamal Austin.  I don’t any of these guys by name or reputation.  Basing my opinion completely off the information contained on the back of the cards I would say that De La Cruz is the most interesting.  He is a 20 year old third baseman out of the D.R.  He’s a power hitter who looks like he could stick at third.  The last time the Cardinals had a Dominican power hitting third baseman in the minors he turned out to be Albert Pujols.  Wishful thinking I suppose.

I love this years Bowman design and the checklist is solid, including multiple autograph sets (a must in a Bowman product), Futures Games Relics, and Futures Game Hat redemptions (this is where they send you a dude’s hat, pretty sweet), so I’ll give it a 4/5.  The value pack was a decent value even if the cards weren’t Harpers or Trouts and I would recommend it for those on a budget.

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Topps CrCl4 (or something like that)

I mentioned in my Topps Mini post that I’m not a fan of the shiny cards.  This remains true, but since I’m now producing a sports card blog I figured I should overlook my personal biases so I can discuss the new stuff.  So without furthe ado, 2012 Topps Chrome baseball.

Chrome adopts the design of the Topps base set, so no need to go into that, and makes it shinier.  If you like the Topps base design or regular things made shinier then this product will suit your fancy.  Personally, I don’t see myself buying more than the two retail packs I picked up but that doesn’t make it a bad product, it’s just not a product for me.  It does have a solid autograph list, including all of this years relevant rookies and Mike Trout.  The rookies are signed on-card, which is always a plus.  There is also an autograph insert set called Chrome Encounters that has a really nice design, too bad neither of my packs yielded one.

Good looking design, bad sticker drop

There is also a limited number of autographed buybacks, featuring players like Robinson Cano and Prince Fielder autographing their Chrome rookie cards. There is also a die-cut insert that is everything I hate in cards, gimmicky, shiny, and takes the emphasis off of the photograph, I will discuss it no further.   As usual there are a plethora of different refractors, which are always popular amogst the completists and the obsessive compulsives (just kidding, I love all collectors and their goals).  In the end 2012 Chrome is exactly what you would expect: it’s shiny, it has a good rookie autograph checklist, and its heavy on paralells.  I’m not buying anymore but I’m not saying that it’s awful, 2.5/5.

My packs yielded a few rookies and a Kevin Youkilis refractor.  I also got a Madison Bumgarner base card, which I mention only only to talk about the fact that Madison Bumgarner is a great pitcher (and is killing it for my fantasy team this season). Given the fact that Bumgarner has to share the spotlight with Cain and Lincecum, I sometimes think that he doesn’t get his due, but he’s sporting a low 3’s ERA, a 1.04 whip, is strikig 8.31 per 9.  He’s an ace on most staffs, even my beloved Yankees.  The advanced stats back up solid play, pegging him at a 3.35 xFIP, meaning that he’s ERA is right about where you’d expect it given his strikeout and walk rate.  He’s also only 23, so gievn the common conception that players tend to get better as they move into their mid to late 20’s, we should be seeing some improvement from the guy.  What I’m trying to say is that I want the Yankees to pull some strings and get Madison Bumgarner soon.  Trade Dellin Betances for him, do something.  Dave Cameron agrees with me, what else can I say.

Check out the Chrome checklist over at Cardboard Connection.

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