Friday, May 26, 2023

2022-2023 Panini NBA Hoops Value Pack


Hope everyone is doing well.  The NBA Finals are quickly approaching.  Joker and the Nuggets are waiting to see if Miami can seal the deal or if Boston can pull off the impossible.  Anyway, I'm finally kinda on time with a basketball post:

While fans eagerly wait for Topps to get back into the NBA card game, Panini continues to churn out dozens of sets.  I like the shiny as much as the next guy, but I also want to sample cards and still have some money left in the wallet.  Hoops is still on the inexpensive side at 7 bucks a Value Pack, so I'm in:

#28 - Immanuel Quickley
#85 - Clint Capela
#43 - Dalano Banton
#1 - Jayson Tatum

Here's what the release looks like.  You can't really tell from the picture, but the space surrounding the border is gray at the top and slowly turns white by the bottom.  Players can also pop out of the border, 1988 Topps Baseball-style.  The stars under the player's name seems unnecessary.  I do like the border color matching the team colors though.

#50 - George Hill
#8 - Grant Williams
#66 - Darius Garland
#24 - Derrick Rose

I came across an article discussing the NBA's uniforms.  I was looking for something that can break down why a team appears to have more than 3 jerseys to wear.  Yeah, I know it's because money, but I didn't know it's been the Wild Wild West since 2017.  Thanks, Nike.

#184 - Robert Covington
#141 - Brandon Ingram
#198 - Jarred Vanderbilt
#156 - Joe Wieskamp

Take, for instance, the baby blue Clippers uniforms Covington's sporting.  Nice throwback.  Apparently, this was their City Edition jersey.  The uniforms Jarred and Joe are wearing?  That's their Association uniform.  There's no longer a Home and Away jersey, but rather silly things like Icon, Statement, and Earned.  

I didn't mind the Alternate jersey back in the 90's.  Then again, I'm following the Bulls...Jordan in the home whites and away reds, with the occasional alternate blacks to freak the opponents out a little.  Now a team could have as many as 6 uniforms, and wear them whenever they want, as long as they're not similar to their opponents (the Timberwolves and Spurs couldn't wear their Association uniforms against each other).

#136 - Jaren Jackson Jr.
#193 - Jeff Green
#110 - Mo Bamba
#168 - Landry Shamet

Mo Bamba's wearing the Orlando City Edition jersey.  But that's not this year's City Edition Jersey!  Yep, teams can swap them out for new designs from year to year.  I hope someone at Nike or the NBA did their research to find out how profitable all these uniforms are, but I'm just annoyed by it.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.

#280 - Tyrese Martin (RC)
#210 - Anfernee Simons
#251 - Christian Braun (RC)
#283 - Jabari Smith Jr. (Hoops Tribute)

The set was released back in January.  There's 300 cards in the set, with the rookie cards starting at #231 and the Hoops Tribute cards (honoring the 1992-93 set) starting at #281.  Some players have 2 cards in the base set, with their second card in Hoops Tribute.  

#246 - AJ Griffin (RC)
#209 - Josh Hart
#245 - Mark Williams (RC)
#282 - Chet Holmgren (Hoops Tribute)

Chet was the #2 pick in the draft, but did not play this year due to a foot injury in August.  That didn't stop him from getting some All-Star votes.

#240 - Johnny Davis
#204 - Darius Bazley
#67 - Evan Mobley (Teal Explosion Parallel)

We've reached the inserts section of the pack.  Yes, the inserts are found at the end of the pack.  I'm only guessing the Mobley is the Teal Explosion Parallel mentioned on the pack wrapper.

#13 - Jalen Duren (Rookie Greetings)
#20 - Malaki Branham (Arriving Now)
#272 - Luke Travers (RC) (Purple Parallel)

As usual, Panini does it's best Han Solo impression and never tells us the odds.  Again, I'm assuming the Travers RC is a Purple Parallel.

Here are the backs because playoffs:

Anyway, that's the pack.  It's standard Hoops, and other than the lack of stats (they had a 5 years on the back a few years ago) it's fine by me.  Hurry up, Topps!  I want to see 20 years of stats on the back of a LeBron card!

Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Topps I ♥ Bunnies

Last year I made a post on Topps packages on panda figures. I found something similar yesterday at a trip to Target this time with bunnies. It's the year of the rabbit. Like the motto of this site, we rip anything. $4 later this what I got.

A fuzzy green rabbit name Gumdrop. There are 14 figures to collect. Here's the checklist
A cute nice item to give to your kids.

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

2022 Topps Home Run Challenge


Hope everyone's doing well.  Like my other recent posts, I was planning to put this up during Spring Training to hype up the upcoming baseball season.  But we are well into baseball season now, so the hype is unnecessary.

I have yet to see a post in the blogosphere from someone who wrote about the Home Run Challenge, so here goes:

The Topps Home Run Challenge started back in 2018.  You could get special cards in packs (usually in Flagship) of a MLB star player.  There is a scratch off area on the back of the card; if you choose to reveal the code, you would then register the code on the Topps website.  After registration, you would then choose the date in which you think the player will hit a home run.  If you are correct, you win a card of that player.  I have no idea if there's one code assigned to the player, if the player has multiple codes, or some other goofy thing.

In case you were wondering what date(s) Ol' Jafronius would choose, it's pretty simple.  My boys (June 23 and September 18), The Wifey (August 3), and I (July 16) all have birthdays during baseball season, so depending on when I remember to submit my entry, I would choose one of those days, or something close to it if the player was off that day.

I tried my luck back in 2018 and 2019 and was unsuccessful.  For every guy I thought I had a chance with, like Ronald Acuna, Jr (67 HRs in those 2 years) or Matt Carpenter (51 long bombs in 2018 and 2019), I also had to roll the dice with Scott Schebler (only 19 homers in 2018 and 2019 combined) and Joey Votto (27 total in those 2 years).  I didn't play in 2020 or 2021; I assume I didn't care about it due to The Virus.  When 2022 rolled around, it was time to try again:

#HRC-6 - Aaron Judge (Home Run Challenge)

Judge was my first HRC pull, found in a rack pack of Topps Series 1.  This was probably what kick-started my wish to play again, since hey, if you'd bank on someone to hit a homer, it would be Aaron.

Welp, there goes that plan. 

If the code wasn't scratched off, I very likely would have won.  Using my birthdate strategy, Judge homered against the Red Sox on July 16, and hit 2 against the Brewers on September 18.

I also picked up a blaster of Series 1 around the same time:

#HRC-24 - Freddy Freeman (Home Run Challenge)

Freddy was the second player I got to play with twice, with the aforementioned Matt Carpenter going 0-for-2 in the 2019 HRC.

My guess is the ink used for the Judge code was much lighter for whatever reason.

Freddy was with the Dodgers at the start of the 2022 season so I used LA's schedule.  He failed to homer on The Wifey's birthday in 2018, so I tried my birthday instead:

At the 4:50 mark, boom!

Notice the option to "Double Down" on the back of the card; if I wanted to, I could risk not winning a card or getting a parallel card if the blast went more than 425 feet.  I chose not to "Double Down", and Freeman's bomb went 399 feet, so winner, winner, chicken dinner!

I got the card back in mid-September.  The card came in a case covered in bubble wrap.  

#HRCW-24 - Freddie Freeman (Home Run Challenge Winner) #56/206

I would have appreciated a follow-through swing for Freddie, since the card celebrated him hitting a home run.  I'm assuming the 206 is the total print run for winners choosing Freeman to homer sometime in July.  I don't know if I was the 56th winner or if I was randomly chosen to receive #56.

I do know there's an insert card in 2023 Topps celebrating the homer!

Moving on, I was able to get another card in a Topps Series 2 blaster pack:

#HRC-12 - Bo Bichette (Home Run Challenge)

As you can see, the code is unused.  I must have forgotten I had Bo when I entered my codes.  Turns out it was no big deal, since he did not homer on any of my family's birthdates.

I came across one more card in a Rack Pack of Series 2:

#HRC-2 - Juan Soto (Home Run Challenge)

If I got Juan at the start of the season, I would have been using Soto with Washington's schedule for a June and July entry.  By the time I got the card, he had already been traded to San Diego.   I had already missed my August window, so September it was...

...however Ol' Jafronius totally forgot to put the entry in for my son's birthday!  It was a bummer too, because he hit one that night against Arizona.  I looked at the rest of the schedule and saw that they were playing the Rockies in Colorado that weekend, so I randomly chose September 23:

Woo!  Unfortunately, I once again did not choose to "Double Down," and lost out on a parallel card.  Soto's homer went 440 feet.

I got the card in late November, in the same type of packaging as the Freeman card.

#HRCW-31 - Juan Soto (Home Run Challenge Winner) #63/370

Since Freeman kept the same number even though he changed teams, I would have assumed the Soto card number would have been HRCW-2.  There are only 30 cards in the checklist, so I don't know how high the numbering went.

Anyway, those are the cards.  Hope the tale was entertaining for you all.  Enjoy the rest of the week, and thanks for reading!