While scanning the racks, which had finally been updated and restocked (they just now got Gypsy Queen up), I was surprised to see that Bowman was already sitting on their shelves. With catching prospect Willson Contreras inching ever closer to the Bigs and this being his mainstream card debut, I figured I should give it a shot.
So, I whipped out my coupons, with all the grace of an elderly lady doing her Sunday grocery shopping, and found one of those cards with two special offers on it, depending on the product. I think one was $1 two regular packs of any 2016 Topps stuff and the other was $2 off of a value pack.
As you can see, I went with the value pack as my sampler.
Also, I like to have a drink in my hands when I'm sorting through new cards, so I grabbed a can of this fancy looking stuff. I was wavering between this and my go-to Kickstart; however, the guy next to me recognized my predicament and mentioned that Black Label was pretty good. Thus, I decided to branch out a little bit.
Anyway, back to the cards. I fully expected the coupon thing to be a hassle with the checkout process - coupons almost always seem to be a pain in the you know where, in my experience. Imagine my surprise when the cashier not only processed the whole thing without a hitch, but also applied both discounts to my single value pack.
I'm not sure if it was done out of generosity or if it was a mistake, but either way, I got my big ol' pack of cards for almost half off. So, that's pretty neat!
Even better still, I actually got a Cub out of the thing - I usually seem to just have terrible luck with pulling Cubs from packs. While it wasn't my muse Contreras, I'll take a Carl Edwards, Jr.; I don't have many cards of him in my collection.
Topps seems to have gone all in on the "String Bean Slinger" this year, as he's shown up in every release thus far. Meanwhile, he's been in AAA since camp broke, so I guess will see if he proves this as a wise choice.
Note the blue and red background coloring.
I love that the back makes mention of his awesome nickname - if you read his vital stats, you'll notice that the nickname is exceptionally befitting of the young man (6'3", 170 lbs).
Meanwhile, the rest of the pack wasn't particularly great for me and my collection. However, that doesn't mean there weren't some nice cards to restock my trading stacks with:
Nobody buys Bowman looking for the current Major Leaguers, but this is notable to me because I enjoy seeing players in their new digs on cardboard for the first time. This Upton brother just looks bizarre as a Tiger.
That said, I mostly included Upton in this post in order to show off the color coded backs. I absolutely adore when card sets make use of this design feature - I mean, who doesn't like it when one's cards are sporting the same colors as your favorite team?
Also, I see a mention of how many followers Justin has on Twitter... how long until we see such information in the player's stat line?
Ah, now here's the real money-maker for Bowman, the prospects. Above, you'll see my two favorite base pulls from the value pack.
I may be a Cubs fan, but I'm also a Chicagoan who loves baseball. As such, I keep myself fairly up to date with what's going on in the world of the White Sox too and Carson Fulmer is a name I know well. Here's hoping that Carson and his sweet glasses can come up and provide a boost to the pitching staff soon, maybe even this summer.
Meanwhile, I decided to spotlight Manaea since he just got the call that every child dreams of shortly before I pulled this card. The blue chip prospect acquired in the Ben Zobrist (Cubs connection) trade last summer made his debut shortly thereafter.
Honestly, I'd never heard of any of these Chrome prospects before opening this pack, except for Andrew Suarez. I might have a pretty good knowledge of the Cubs deep and talented farm system; however, outside of that, I'm pretty lost when it comes to the pre-rookie crowd.
No matter - I'll make sure to find these cards some good homes, where somebody knows their name.
Now, let's move on to the inserts:
Calling Rusney a sophomore standout might require a little bit of fluffing, seeing as he batted only .253 across 80 games and his inability to hit breaking pitches. However, he's a highly collectible name, so get him on as many cards as possible, says Topps.
Okay, they might be overly snarky, here's hoping that Rusney finds his groove this year.
I love the fact that Taveras looks absolutely lost in this photo. It's as if some random teenager accidentally wandered onto the set while looking for the bathroom and they threw a BP jersey over his dress shirt and plopped a Bowman hat on his head before he could say anything.
Wait, this isn't Gary Pettis' younger brother again, is it?
As for the card, I like the concept behind this insert set, seeing as international signings, outside of the mega-deals, often get lost in the shuffle. Again, I just have no clue who Leody is.
Damn you, Pettis!!
And there you have it, my first experience with 2016 Bowman, an experience that came at half price thanks to a random Target cashier. I'm not complaining.
While I like the designs of both the Major League and prospect base sets, they do feel rather crowded. It's as the designers they had more good elements than they knew what to do with, so they threw them all in at once.
I think Design on Deck intimated these feelings in the best way and offered up an excellent "remix" of the design that I would gladly plop down my hard-earned money for. So, why don't you all give him a few clicks and see what I'm talking about.
Furthermore, as for that Mountain Dew Black Label stuff, it was yummy, but it tasted almost exactly like the newly-resuscitated Pitch Black, just a tad smoother. Marketing gimmicks: 1, Tony Burbs: 0