One thing you learn rather quickly when you live in Chicago is to pretty much disregard everything the local weatherman says. Trying to get a grip on our weather is a fool's errand; as we say around here, "if you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes." Even still, the forecasts throughout the weekend were calling for more than a foot of snow to drop onto the south suburbs of Chicago last night and I truly wanted to believe them.
After all, I work at a school now and that would mean a bonus three-day weekend for me. Plus, it'd be pretty cool to feel that child-like rush again, the adrenaline that comes with a snow day.
Alas, it wasn't meant to be. All in all, we got no more than two or three inches; in fact, some of it has even started to melt already. This is why I don't trust the weatherman. Oh well, at least I got to experience a different sort of snow day on Saturday afternoon. This snow day wasn't predicted correctly by Tom Skilling either:
Yup, I finally bit the bullet and got myself a Topps Holiday Box. You know, that set that they released a few weeks ago that replaces the much-maligned fog/wispy smoke in the corners of the Flagship design with snowflakes. Sure, it's another lazy, parallel product built around a gimmick. However, it's a novel gimmick and, for the price of a blaster, it made for some good afternoon entertainment on a budget.
Plus, I'm not going to lie, the guaranteed hit was kind of enticing as well.
In case you were curious, since the only way to buy this product is in a sealed box, this is what an individual pack of the Holiday product looks like:
Can't jam much more star power onto a pack wrapper than that, can you?
So - here's the breakdown: 10 packs of 10 card each, resulting in 100 total snowy baseball cards, one of which is either a relic, an autograph or a combination of the two. Furthermore, one should also receive five "metallic snowflake" parallels, as those fall in 1:2 packs. I was really hoping that at least one of those five would be a Cub or that, by the grace of God, the promised hit would be a Northsider. I've only pulled one Cubs hit in my collecting lifetime.
Shall we see how I did?
Things got off to a great start, seeing as this Addison Russell card was the very first card in the very first pack. As you can see, the set basically takes the marquee players from S1, S2 and Update and simply changes the smoke to snow. Otherwise, the design remains exactly the same, as do the great majority of the photographs. Like I said, this, like Chrome, is essentially a parallel product injected with some holiday spirit.
Overall, I did pretty well with the base cards in this particular box:
I landed more than half of the Cubs base team set - I'm missing Heyward, Bryant, Schwarber, Lester and Fowler. Thus, if I anybody has those lying around in their trade stacks, perhaps we can arrange a deal. I do believe I'll be including the Chapman in my CATRC binder; maybe some fanciful Christmas decoration can help me get around my distaste for him as a Cub. Maybe.
I did land one more Cubs base card than what you see above. Remember, I mentioned that MOST of the photos in this set are the same as Flagship - there are a few that got some special treatment:
Here we have playoff hero Javy Baez, both in Holiday and Flagship form (well, technically Factory Team Set form). As you can see, the powers that be decided an image where you can see the young man's face would be more apropos; although, the face mask would definitely suit the theme of the Holiday card more. The irony!
Also, no doubt due to his October heroics, Baez has also earned the coveted "Future Stars" header. Here's hoping he maintains that momentum.
I was also lucky enough to find a base card of a "Cub of a Different Color" - recent outfield signing, Jon Jay. Previously, I only had a card of him in Cardinals colors for use in my CATRC binder - I think I'll be using this frosty version to hold down the fort instead, until he gets his first Cubs card.
That did it for the relevant base card content, let's take a look and see how I did with the "metallic snowflakes," eh?
Well, I got my five - however, not a single one is donning a blue, Cubs uniform. Drat. Although, D.J. LeMahieu will stay in my collection as a "Cub of a Different Color," so it wasn't a total loss. Also of note, I'd like to mention that Bryce Harper looks like he's a kid who's jumping into a big, fluffy snowbank... which seems like something he'd do.
You can't really tell from these photos, but the metallic snowflakes are basically just glitter glued to snowflake portion of the card layout. They're quite sparkly in person, though not exactly what I'd call metallic. Still fun though.
And now, the moment we've all been waiting for - the hit. My promised hit waited until the very last pack to rear it's head and, let me just say, it's a relic from an earlier time:
That time being before the Winter Meetings. I pulled a relic from a Chicago baseball team; unfortunately, it was from the wrong side of town. womp, womp. At least I know I'll be able to find this "Chris-mas" card a good home.
Do you suppose Sale ripped up this little swatch himself? I hear he's quite handy with a pair of scissors.
Thus, concludes my Topps Holiday Box. It wasn't an overwhelming success; but, I sure didn't walk away empty-handed, without any Cubs cards and a Miami Marlins relic (this is a constant fear whenever I decide to splurge and buy a blaster). No, no, I ended up with a healthy amount of the base, team set and some decent trade bait. If anyone is working on the set, let me know and I'll inform you as to which "other team" base cards I ended up with.
All in all, I would say that this was a nice, little diversion. The set might be gimmicky; but, then again, aren't baseball cards just a gimmick themselves? As a standalone product, I think it's a fun experience. However, if Topps decides to do this every Christmas season, it's going to get very stale, very quickly.
Meanwhile, I still have my fingers crossed for a real snow day before the month is out.