On the other hand, Topps has unfortunately continued to let it's bias towards the major markets show. The most egregious example that pop into mind comes from everyone's favorite Brewer blogger, who has made his displeasure about a Milwaukee triple play being ignored in favor of a random David Ortiz homer heard loud and clear. I can't say that I blame him, either.
However, I still wanted to acquire at least one of these, I'll try any product once. before passing any judgement myself. As a cheapskate, the idea of paying $9.99 for a single baseball card most certainly did not appeal to me. On to the secondary market!
Luckily, boots1893 from Addiction as Therapy decided to bite on a few of the Jake Arrieta no-hitter honorary cards and was offering the extras for trade. This was my perfect opportunity - I get to unload a nice bit of extras for his set-building goals and clear up space while simultaneously getting my first, non-base card of baseball's best pitcher. That's the textbook definition of win/win.
First off, my God was this a fun game to watch. It was especially satisfying since I missed most of his no-hitter last year while chauffeuring people to, from and around Six Flags all day and night.
Second off, the card itself is nothing flashy. No serial number, foil, shiny gimmicks, etc. - just the name, what happened and the date. I kinda like it that way; as the old saying goes: KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid. They also picked a nice shot of the properly exuberant Jake the Snake. My only complaint about the card itself is that there is a slight flaw/smudge in the clear plastic coating on the surface, which is slight enough that you can't see it in the picture above. Is this a product of trying to print these cards quickly enough for NOW?
We're still adhering to the KISS principle on the back, with a quick write up on the event depicted, the normal legalese on the bottom and a card number in the upper right. If anyone is trying to build this full set, I feel quite sorry for your wallet. That said, I do like having the contiguous numbering for record keeping purposes.
All in all, I'd say it's a nice enough card and an excellent concept. However, I don't think that these cards are really worth what Topps is currently charging for them. I wouldn't be opposed to adding more of these bad boys to my collection at all (and there will probably be several more with the way the Cubs are playing), but only on the secondary market. Hopefully, Topps can work out the kinks with NOW (big market bias, printing flaws due to rush, price point) in the future because this concept is chock full of potential.
Meanwhile, Boots was generous enough to not only give me my best Jake Arrieta card yet (into the CATRC binder it goes), he also included a couple of bonus cards, one of which commemorates another specific moment as well:
I've made my fondness for the Wrigley inserts in this year's Flagship set rather well-known - bricks and ivy just look so beautiful on a baseball card. I've acquired most of the full set; however, this one had managed to elude me. Target acquired!
Besides being a needed card from a lovely set, this card is also special because the picture used of the best Cubs third baseman since Ron Santo hails from one of the greatest walk-off wins in my time as a Cubs fan; ummm, if you're reading this Tony L., I advise you to look away:
That win provided the turning point for the eventual 2007 NL Central champs, having been as many as 8 games under .500 previously. Good times!
This is now the second card in my collection which features imagery from this particularly exhilarating win. If you notice in the video, while crossing home plate, there is one dude he gets some impressive air jumping up to get into the celebratory mass:
That dude was Alfonso Soriano and that is perhaps the most pure form of elation ever documented on a baseball card - love it!
Anyway, how appropriate is it that this Ramirez card and it's subsequent nostalgic recounting of a specific event accompanied my Arrieta no-hitter Topps Now card. This is what baseball cards are truly about. looking back and remembering the good times.
With that, I'd like to put my final stamp on this particular post:
For good measure, Boots also threw in this nifty box topper from Heritage from a few years back, an "advertisement" for stamps based on the 1962 Topps issue. This is actually the first box topper to have entered into my possession, so that's pretty damn nifty!
Thank you for the excellent trade Boots - everything included was very much appreciated. Your return package is currently in the mail and, if your want-lists were up-to-date, should prove to be quite useful!
Before I go - what does everyone else think about Topps NOW? I'm curious to hear everyone else's opinions on the product. Is there potential, despite it's flaws? Is it doomed to fail, in your eyes? Say something in the comments section below.
In the meantime, I've got a Jake Arrieta start to go watch - maybe another Topps NOW card will be needed tomorrow :)