Thursday, February 25, 2021

2021 Pokemon McDonald's 25th Anniversary


Hope everyone is doing well.  After a couple weeks of well below freezing temps, we here in the northern Chicago suburbs were in the low 40's Tuesday.  The foot to 2 feet of snow we got on the ground started melting quick, with long buried Christmas lawn decorations starting to reappear again.  I always feel sorta sad when the melting starts; I'd much rather wake up one evening and see all the snow gone than see it gradually melt and leave muddy lawns everywhere.

So apparently 2021 is the 25th anniversary of Pokemon.  McDonald's decided to get in on the celebration by putting a pack of Pokemon TCG cards in their Happy Meals.  When I heard about it, I figured I'd wind up getting a pack or two for the younger son, since he casually collects the cards, and actually takes better care of them than his older brother does with his baseball cards.  Then I read articles like this, and my heart sank a little.  Flippers are going after Happy Meals now?  Go to eBay and search for "pokemon mcdonalds".  Ugh.

I notified The Wifey since due to my schedule if the boys get McDonalds she will most likely be buying.  She was able to get a pack a week and a half ago (I forgot to ask if they put a limit or made her buy a Happy Meal, but I saw no evidence of a Happy Meal in the garbage).  Due to errands, I wound up getting McDonalds for the boys back on Monday, and they were all out.

It appears the pack comes in a commemorative package.  You can see the "4" at the bottom right.  I will assume Pikachu's doing different things on each package...I don't know how many packages are there.

My boy tells me this is a picture frame.  Notice the 25th anniversary logo at the bottom.  Looks like you slide your favorite Pokemon card into the frame from the top.

Here's what the pack looks like.  You get 3 cards and 1 foil version.  There are 50 total cards in the set, 25 Pokemon and their foil versions.  The 25 Pokemon in the set are Pikachu and 24 other "starter" Pokemon, which I assume are the ones you can choose from when you start playing one of the video games.

Here's what he got in his (probable) only pack:

#8/25 - Grookey (foil)

The foil is in the background of the picture.  You again have the 25th Anniversary logo on the right and  the card number and a small write-up on the bottom.

#22/25 - Froakie

Weaknesses and Resistance are also listed on the bottom.  Looks like Froakie wouldn't like it if 2 Grookeys (Grookies?  Grooki?) show up.

#23/25 - Popplio

If you really really want to see the checklist, here you go.  And if you want to see more Pokemon for some reason, here's a fellow blogger to tell you all about it.

#19/25 - Mudkip

Looks like all of these water Pokemon aren't fans of tree Pokemon...or something like that.

Anyway, that's the pack.  It's too bad flippers have to go ruin Happy Meals now.  I do hope the kids are somehow able to get some cards without paying too much for them.  Enjoy the weekend, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

2020 Donruss Football Retail (Dollar Tree)


Hope everyone is doing well.  With the big box store card shelves still barren, collectors have to go elsewhere for their card fix.  Some go online and others go to their localish LCS.  A few brave souls go card hunting elsewhere, hoping to find a retail outlet that sells cards the card bros don't know about.

There's been tales of Big Lots having packs in bulk.  Others have been lucky at the Dollar Tree, which is where the topic of today's post comes from.

Back before Christmas, The Wifey asked me to get some cards for the eldest because she hasn't been able to find any.  I explained that it's possible there's no packs available so she was ready for nothing.  Luckily for Santa, I found a Topps Update hanger box and a rack pack at a Target.  Since I had a few hanger boxes already, I opted to give the hanger box to the boy and the rack pack to me (foreshadowing).  On a whim, I went over to the Dollar Tree across the street to try my luck.  Santa knew my mission because I found 3 packs of Donruss football hidden amongst the stickers.

I was going to open the Update rack pack and football packs when I got home, but the jolly old elf had other plans in mind, and directed his minions to hide the packs and put it in my stocking on Christmas morning.  

I took pics of 2 of the 3 packs.  5 cards per pack, where's what I got:

#123 - Quenton Nelson
#35 - Mark Ingram II

The design's alright; not a real big fan of the mini football on the border.  The player name could also be bigger.  

#210 - Jason Kelce (Yellow Press Proof Parallel)
#331 - Cole Kmet (Rated Rookie)

The yellow parallels are exclusive to Dollar Tree.  One comes in each pack, but I don't know if all yellow parallels are Press Proofs.

Cole Kmet had an OK rookie season for the Bears.  I think the brass wanted more from him though.


#151 - DeVante Parker
Kid Reporter Promo

I wonder if this year's Kid Reporter gets an IOU.

Here's the second pack:

#144 - Brandin Cooks
#167 - Jarrett Stidham

Stidham was the Patriots' third string QB, getting mop up duty here and there.  

#229 - Rob Gronkowski (Yellow Press Proof Parallel)
#299 - Tommy Stevens (RC)

Nice to get a yellow parallel of Gronk.  

Tommy Stevens was released by the Saints back in November and was signed by Carolina a few days later.

#218 - Diontae Johnson
Kid Reporter Promo (back)

If you need to see the checklist, there you go.  There are 400 cards in the set, including 250 base cards, 50 rookies, 50 Rated Rookies, and 50 photo variations.  Panini's counting the photo variations as part of the main set?

Here are the backs:

I forgot to scan backs from the first pack.  No collegiate stats were listed for Cole Kmet, and no defensive stats were listed for Jason Kelce.

Anyway, those are the packs.  I actually don't mind if I get Panini football and basketball cards from the Dollar Tree.  I'm not as big on the inserts from those two sports for some reason, making this option the  more cost effective.  Of course, I came to this conclusion during the pandemic, so I guess that really doesn't matter right now.

Enjoy the rest of the week, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 04, 2021

2020 Topps Stadium Club Chrome Hobby


Hope everyone is doing well.  I went to Meijer after work last week to grab some items.  It's a little out of the way, but it's open when I get there, there's not many shoppers in the store that early in the morning, and there's a chance there could be cards there.

In the age of the pandemic, however, the card section there is just as empty as those in Targets and Wal-Marts.  The card aisle in Meijer is with the toys, and in this store, the toy section is at the back.  

The last couple of times I went there it happened to be on the day the card vendor was showing up, because there was a group of flippers standing around back there.  The Meijer by me doesn't have a sign up limiting the number of packs that can be purchased so for all I know it's a free for all when the poor guy's done.  This last time was the epitome of this sorry display; when I got to the aisle to see if anything was there, amongst the flippers standing around was a card bro...sitting in his own lawn chair.
Needless to say, it'll be a long time before things return to normal there.

I should have went with a football pack for Super Bowl week, but oh well.  It's a hobby pack of Stadium Club Chrome!

I picked up a pack the last time I was at the LCS, picking up my Facebook auction winnings.  I noticed they had blaster boxes in stock, the type you can get at the retail store, but they weren't charging the retail price for them.  They were at least $35, which disappointed me greatly.  Yes you pay more for packs at the LCS, but if it's true they're obtaining retail blasters and jacking up the price, ugh.  

This pack was $14 I think.  I would normally not pay this much for a pack so I'm not sure why I got it.  It was probably since my buddy joined me for the LCS run so it was an impulse buy after the blaster box letdown.  Let's see what I got:

#13 - Yadier Molina

I was not aware that there could be different images used on the cards.  Both images are pretty good in my opinion.

#8 - Michael Conforto

Here's the Chrome checklist.  There's 400 cards in the Chrome set as opposed to just 300 in the regular Stadium Club set.  

#70 - Bob Feller

My buddy was pretty excited that I pulled a Feller, thinking it was a rarer card.  Since he hasn't been buying new cards in a while I had to update him on current state of the industry.  I'm still pleased to have pulled him, just not for the reasons he was.

#BT-13 - Yordan Alvarez (RC) (Beam Team)  

Beam Teamers come 1 in 4 packs.  Nice to get one of the "hottt rookiez."

#276 - Kyle Schwarber

Cubs fans will miss the Schwarbombs, but signing Joc Pederson, who by most statistical accounts is a better defensive version of Kyle, eases the sting slightly.  

For some reason, his card was facing backwards so for a brief moment we were excited for a possible autograph.

#229 - Tim Anderson

I heard somewhere that Anderson is the face of this year's edition of RBI Baseball.  I'm not entirely convinced that Anderson is the real deal, but being a cover boy sure helps out.

Here's some backs because The Big Game:

Anyway, that's the pack.  Again, way too pricey for the amount of cards in the pack, but my buddy got a kick out of it and the LCS is being supported.  And you guys got to see more Chromey goodness.

Enjoy the rest of the week, and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

2020 Topps Series 2 Hobby


Hope everyone is doing well.  There's an inauguration happening today.  I hope and pray no one tries any shenanigans.  

After I posted the Topps Update pack I realized Series 2 has yet to be shown here.  The full onslaught of the pandemic lockdowns and the rise of the card flippers happened around the June release of Series 2, so I checked the piles of cards in the makeshift card room (in actuality the guest room) so see how much of Series 2 I was able to get.

I have 3 hanger boxes, one rack pack (foreshadowing), and one regular pack.  And as you can tell by this post, the regular pack doesn't really count...I had to go to the LCS for it.  The relationship between LCS's and flippers must be like garlic to vampires.

But you pay a price for the sanctuary of the LCS.  In this case, six bucks for 14 cards:

350 cards in the's what I got:

#523 - Corey Kluber
#388 - Dustin Pedroia

Dustin didn't play in 2020 due to persistent knee issues.  He has played 9 games since 2018.  Unless Topps pre-emptively made this his final card, I think they could have given his spot to a more deserving player.

#691 - Brock Burke (RC)
#613 - Isiah Kiner-Falefa

Rangers fans, rejoice!  19 Rangers are in Series 2...well worth the wait for that special Globe Life Park Inaugural Season logo...not.

#608 - Sam Gaviglio
#622 - Brett Phillips

Here's the checklist for those who are interested.

#628 - Julio Urias
#683 - Jakob Junis

#399 - Adrian Houser
BTN-1 - Juan Soto (Best of Topps Now)

If I read the back of the pack right, the Best of Topps Now is a 1 in 18 pull.  When I uploaded the picture I noticed I got part of the flash on the bottom of the Soto card.  I considered taking the picture again but didn't...because it would be for a 1 in 18 card advertisement.

#672 - Chris Sale (Gold #870 / 2020)
#85TB-11 Sonny Gray (1985 35th Anniversary)

The Gold parallels are 1 in 9 packs and the 1985 tributes are 1 in 8.

#563 - Danny Jansen
#445 - Spencer Turnbull

We end the pack with a nice Detroit Negro League throwback.

Here are some card backs because peaceful transition of power:

Anyway, that's the pack.  Yep, it was a blah pack so it was a waste of 6 bucks for me.  The things I do for the site.  Enjoy the rest of the week, and thanks for reading!

Friday, January 08, 2021

2020 Topps Update Series Retail


Hope everyone had a great Christmas and a fun New Year's celebration.  May your 2021 be much better than 2020.

Of course for many of us, the crappiness of 2020 has and will continue into the new year.  We still have The Virus to contend with.  We also have the (hopefully) peaceful transfer of power later in the month.  For the regular card collector, the card aisles are still barren.  And for this blog, there'll still be packs from last year to post:

I've noticed that in the Targets around me recently, the card flippers have left 2020 Update largely untouched.  Undoubtedly, it was because they eventually found out how generally crappy the release was...lots of rehashed concepts and no "hottt rookiez."

I didn't realize how bad it was until I bought too many of it, for me anyway.  I had enough of the release based on the 2 blaster boxes and 3 hanger boxes I was able to find.  Still, I came across several of the specially-packaged 2 packs the other day, and because the site doesn't have a retail pack, I grabbed one for you guys.

I believe it was $6 for the 2 pack.  I don't know if this a Target-only thing or if Wal-Mart also had a 2 pack.  As you can see, I found one with a Cub as the red parallel (and a no-hitter pitcher to boot!).

16 cards in the pack, with 300 cards in the set.  Here's one of the two packs:

#U-46 - Jose Suarez
#U-287 - Chris Sale (All-Star)

Sale has 2 cards in the base set, an All-Star and an Active Leader.  Since there was no All-Star Game, Topps went with All-Stars from prior games.  They should have done more bench and bullpen players from this year, or All-Stars from the 1960's through 1980's, or done less cards, or scrapped the Update set altogether...

#U-3 - Turner / Difo (Nationals Combo)
#U-158 - Jason Kipnis

Go here if you want to see the checklist for Update.

#U-132 - Daniel Descalso
#U-202 - Asdrubal Cabrera
#U-109 - Pedro Strop
#U-44 - Jorge Alcala (RC)

Another issue with 2020 Update is the player selection.  Descalso didn't play for the Cubs in 2020.  However, Jeremy Jeffress, who had a card in Series 1 as a Brewer, was an important part of the Cubs bullpen and should have had an Update card.

#85TB-42 - Bob Gibson (#4/299)

This was a nice surprise from the pack.  If I read the odds right, the black boarder 1985's were a 1 in 550 pull.

#TR-19 - Lewis Brinson (Turkey Red 2020 Chrome)
#TR-36 - Mark Grace (Turkey Red 2020)

There are 50 cards in the retail-only Turkey Red Update set.  The Chrome cards come 1 in every 10 packs.

#U-37 - Yoenis Cespedes (HR Derby)
#U-174 - Logan Forsythe
#U-283 - Thomas Nido

No All-Star Game means no Home Run Derby, thus we get filler flashback cards.  Didn't Topps have an insert set for classic Home Run Derby a couple of years ago?

If Topps wanted to have Home Run Derby cards in Update, they should have done cards for the participants in that old Home Run Derby show from 1960. 

#U-138 - Tommy Pham
#U-184 - Miguel Cabrera (Active Leaders)

Miggy has 5 cards in the Update set, 1 All-Star and 4 Active Leaders.  Geez.

Here's some backs for you:

So why does Cabrera get an Active Leader card when he's not the Active Leader in Home Runs?  Why not give it to Nelson Cruz or Ryan Braun, neither of whom has a card in the Update base set?

For those who were wondering about the orientation of the card backs, all of the cards before the inserts faced one way and the 5 after the inserts faced the other way.  I still haven't found a reason online why this happened.  Own up to it, Topps!

Anyway, that's the pack.  Enjoy your weekend, and thanks for reading!