Thus, as soon as the work day was done, I hopped in my car and made the journey to a store that I otherwise try to avoid. My reasons aren't unique - the business model, the crowd of people it attracts, the mass of humanity, blah blah blah. For pizza cards though? Everything went out the window.
However, my enthusiasm was quickly squelched. While they had a large stock of Marketside brand pizza available, none of the boxes were decorated with baseball themed markings... well, damn.
Here I was, in a place I despise, with no food-issue cards to be had. So, while many in family drowned their disappointments with the bottle, I instead turned to the cardboard isle because that's what I do. It's much easier on my liver.
At the price of 10 bucks for a blaster, it's not too bad on my wallet either.
It wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, but I figured a healthy amount of pack ripping would assist me in getting over my worst pizza-related disappointment since Pizza Hut didn't call back after my interview when I was just out of college, broke and desperate for work.
But enough of that darkness - what'd I get?
As far as base cards go, it doesn't get much better than these two as a Cubs fan. A new Kris Bryant card is always a welcome addition and I quite like the image of Addison Russell climbing the ladder to snare a line drive used here - quite fitting for the defensive wiz.
Just one more Cubs base card to be had and it's of the usually lights out closer Hector Rondon. Can you believe we stole this guy in the Rule 5 draft? Also, sweet tat, Hector!
Like I said, that was the final Cubs base card to be found; but, there was still one more Cub hidden:
Kris Bryant hot box! This is a pretty cool still-frame from literally fractions of a second before being doused with Gatorade and ice. The Superstar Celebrations insert seems to be a pretty popular one each year in Opening Day; in pulling this one that honors "Sparkles" walk-off homer over the Indians last summer, I can see why.
There was also one former Cub included in D.J. LeMahieu - a reminder of one of the few bad deals made by Theo & Co. since their rebuild began. Of course, you gotta break a few eggs to make an omlet, right?
So, since that's the end of the cards that fit into my collection, what goodies made their way to my trade bait box then?
Well, since we were just on the topic of Superstar Celebrations, here's a couple more.
I have to say, pulling that Daniel Murphy celebration was a nice little dig for this Cubs fan - stupid Daniel Murphy. Also, Justin Bour was plucked out of the Cubs system in the Rule 5 Draft and seized the Marlins starting first baseman gig. Meanwhile, I think we Northsiders can get over that thanks to some dude name Rizzo that's manning the spot over here.
A couple of Striking Distance pieces were to be found. I do enjoy the concept of this set, honoring players who are nearing significant statistical milestones. They're like the complete antithesis of those stupid "career chase" notes found on the back of 2013 Topps Flagship
Thanks for the urgent update, Topps...
Also, let me just take this moment to wonder that despite the fact that this is going to be his second year with the Marlins and he's also played 2.5 years in the Bronx, am I the only one who still has to look twice when I see Ichiro in anything but a Mariners jersey? Especially in those garish, orange monstrosities, Ichiro just looks like a fish out of water in anything but Seattle colors.
Here we have a couple of heavy hitters and speaking of the Marlins...
This insert set is pretty darn straightforward and I certainly can't argue against either man's inclusion; although, I guess Chris did have an off year in 2015. Either way, I don't have much else to say about these... other than I thought that the little circle on the very bottom, right edge of these cards was some kind of flaw when I was reviewing the pictures for this post until I saw both had it.
The last pair of inserts that fell out of the blaster were these two Alternate Reality cards. Honestly, when I read about this insert set being included, I initially envisioned some sort of checklist of guys Photoshopped into uniforms of different teams which they COULD have been playing for today, if circumstances had been different. Wouldn't that be awesome?
Something like this double-take machine, perhaps?
Instead, these inserts show off the alternate uniforms sometimes trotted out by each player's ACTUAL franchise. Nevertheless, while far less creative, I still like this concept; I'd like them better if the images used showed off the jersey better. but that's just me.
I also found myself a couple of Opening Day parallels of guys whom I care nothing about. I must admit, the rainbow foil with blue design accents would mesh well with a Cubs card though. Maybe I'll have to hunt one of those down, just for funsies.
Then, of course, there's the mascot cards, the Opening Day's most popular niche.
The Rangers' Captain mascot is pretty ho-hum. On the other hand, Hank the Ballpark Pup was the subject of some serious ballpark "controversy" earlier this spring; so, it was kinda cool to pick up a card of the supposedly dead and replaced with a look-a-like canine.
Seriously, that was a thing. I also read that if you really pay attention to the fade out of the Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever, you'll hear Lennon say "Hank is dead."
Additionally, there were a few regular, ol' base cards that caught my eye as well. For instance, this card of local product Mike Foltynewicz - Mike was born in Sterling, IL and attended Minooka HS, just a little bit south of where I hail from. As such, I tend to hang onto his cards and truly hope that he makes good in Atlanta this year.
Meanwhile, while Avisail has yet to make good on his untapped intentional for the other team in town, this is still an exceptional "at the wall" shot. with a cameo by the "Winning Ugly" throwbacks too. Love it!
Another White Sox card that I kinda like? Jeeze...
These are my first cards of a couple of youngsters with seemingly bright futures. Maybe these will be worth something someday and I can pay off my student loans when they're being inducted into the Hall of Fame... oh wait, it's not 1987, is it?
Speaking of the 80's, here's Brian Johnson, who's apparently a pitcher with the Red Sox. But, I only include his name here because his namesake has been in the news lately - that is, the Brian Johnson who, until recently, fronted the legendary rock band AC/DC.
Please allow me to temporarily switch into music fanboy mode.
In case you missed it, Brian Johnson's hearing has been deteriorating for a little while now and doctors have ordered that he sit out for a while, maybe for good, pausing their current tour. Rather than hang up the school boy uniform, Angus and Co. are planning to soldier on with a new frontman. Bizarrely, the rumored singer is supposedly going to be Axl Rose... yea, THAT Axl Rose, as if there are any others.
I didn't realize I was getting the frontman of AC/DC's auto when I pulled this.
If you completely ignore the fact that it's Axl and just judge the match based on his voice and singing style, this seems like a perfect fit. Rose's range and ability to hit the high notes are unparalleled in the world of rock - it doesn't seem hard to imagine him being able to pull off Brian's high-pitched snarls. That being said, it just kind of feels weird to have Axl Rose fronting AC/DC - it's like, if Eddie Van Halen ran off and joined Motley Crue or something...
Not to mention, this would probably be a good time for AC/DC to just call it quits. Between the loss of Brian Johnson to hearing problems, Malcolm Young's to dementia and Phil Rudd's to all sorts of unsavory activity, it feels like AC/DC is one step away from playing your local summer carnival... It's like Griffey, Jr. his second time through Seattle - you just have to know when to walk away...
OK - back to baseball cards:
Let's close out with a neat bunting shot of former Brewer Jean Segura and that darn Justin Bour again. I'll set this one aside for my recently started "Coulda Been a Cub" collection of MLB guys whose contracts were once property of the Cubs franchise, but never played in an MLB game with the team.
With that, we can close the book on my first ever blaster of Topps Opening Day. not too bad for a consolation prize.
I'll still probably stop by Wal-Mart again, in hopes of finding a fresh roll out of Marketside pizzas with the proper Topps adornment. In fact, I might venture out to the other one a few towns over and see if they've received any shipment yet... I have problems.
So, if I end up with another post about a blaster on Monday, it's probably because I got skunked at the Wal-Mart in Orland Park tonight. We shall see.
Can you picture Axl Rose belting this out?