Ohh, retail. Why can't I quit you?
I don't need to ask. I know the answer.
Back in the day (TM) before pack searchers and absurdly overpriced retail, great cards often came from your local supermarkets and big box stores. Jersey cards were routine. Parallels were less common, but attainable, and make the rush of ripping pack worth every penny.
Nowadays, I rely on sales. Of late, Target has been picked clean, while SprawlMart has actually had some decent selection as far back as 2010 sets, including $12 blasters of O-Pee-Chee and Topps 206 from that year, as well as hoards of 2011 Topps S1 and Update with those ever-so-enticing manupatches - fo' free!
But I'm so damn sick of 2011 Topps - one of the worst sets ever released in my opinion, that I just cannot pull the trigger on it anymore, especially when the patches only run you $1-$5 on the 'bay.
The last time I wandered into WalMart, I grabbed a steal of a deal 2010 Bowman Chrome blaster for $12. It was a great box. Feeling lousy this morning and pining for more pug-tail-curled 2012 BowChros, I headed back there in search of some Canada Dry for my guy and some BowChro blasters for my heart.
I guess someone else noticed and wiped them out of the 5+ blasters that remained. Bummed, yet determined to rip, I decided to put my long-going feud with Bowman Platinum to the side, resolve out differences, and grab the remaining four $5 rack packs featuring good 'ol impossible-to-pull Yu Darvish.
In case you're unfamiliar, Bowman Platinum rack packs from 2012 are constructed as follows: three four-card packs, each featuring a blocker (free shipping material!) regardless of whether there's a hit in the pack or not, and one clear, three-card pack of Purple Prospect Refractors, or Purpspectfractors, if you will.
I'll start with some base cards, which in this set are all refractorish, but don't call them refractors - those have somehow borderless borders on them. I guess. You'll see when the one I pulled comes up.
Overall, I like the base cards. They're mostly uninteresting poses (save for the Pineda here and the Sandoval which I should have scanned), but the design is clean and elegant. The coloring of the borders matches the team colors, and since the cards are entirely holofoil, it manages to work.
Since this is a Bowman product, there are prospects aplenty, and I assume they fall one-per-pack, the ideal seeding for them:
Photoshopped, sure, but a great selection of prospects, considering my usual luck with Bowman Platinum. Liriano is a very solid prospect for San Diego, but from what I hear is rather unpolished at this point. Montgomery is close to making the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays roster after coming over in the Shieldsy trade, but I assume he'll start 2013 in Durham - where I'll hopefully see him playing in Syracuse versus the National's AAA squadron. Brentz is also farther away, like Liriano, but a good prospect none-the-less.
And my "refractor" is Matt Adams. Oddly enough, this card scanned the least refractory of the bunch. I have a propensity to pull Matt Adams cards, so I am hoping he makes something of himself. However, I do not expect it to be with the Cardinals, as fantasy baseball superhero Allen Craig and that guy you just wish would go away, Ty Wigginton are ahead of him on the Cardinals depth chart.
Prospect refractors are supposed to fall 1:4, but I only managed one. It's okay though, they're not at all impressive and I made up for it elsewhere.
If you frequent this blog, you'll know that I adore parallels, and I crushed the odds with these rack packs and grabbed the following:
Golds are supposed to fall 1:5, so in 12 packs I would expect only two, but managed four of them. Two pale hosers, Cat Latos and Adrian Gonzalez. The AGon is scanned, but not posted here, as he'll show up again later. All of these are available for trade.
Well, I expect one of these to be claimed almost immediately. Please, Dodgers fans, no pushing, shoving, biting or stabbing. Emeralds fall 1:10 and I lucked out to pull two of them, and great players too.
My 1:20 ruby was once-superstar Hanley Ramirez. GREAT looking card. For the Marlins, I wish there was an orange parallel - Topaz, I suppose, to fit the set theme.
Keeping with the colorful theme, I present you the highlights of my individually wrapped Purpspectfractors:
I was very happy that these three were all the front cards in their individual packs. One is very fast, and a Blue Jay. Another is a top Marlins prospect. The third is one of the best prospects in baseball right now.
...and hell, these guys are pretty good, too. I expect Walker to break camp with the Mariners. Simmons was solid enough last season to garner NL ROY votes. Walker, Keenyn is also a solid prospect, and further contributing to the quality of White Sox cards I have been pulling lately.
As long as it's not Alexis Rios, we're good.
The Taijuan Walker, Gose and Olt are not available for trade, sorry.
Hey! A die-cut, you guys!
Adrian Gonzalez cards annoy me. It's also a concern that he's been traded twice in two years or so. He's seemingly aloof and never seems into the game of baseball. Really not my kind of player. This one is very much up for trade.
Unexpectedly, in my third of four packs - I found this:
Whoo hoo! I do manage to get some low-numbered parallels and relics on occasion, but I almost never pull autographs when they're not guaranteed. Plus, Dillon Maples is actually a decent prospect. These fall at a reasonable 1:33 and might be my best pull of the year so far. Sorry, Will Middlebrooks.
On one of my more agreeable prospects websites, the great John Sickles of Minorleagueball.com has Maples listed as #7 in the Chubs system:
7) Dillon Maples, RHP, Grade B-: Could develop into a number two starter due to promising fastball/curveball combination, but we need more data from higher levels to see if his command improves and if his mechanics (which some scouts don't like) become an issue.
Hey, that'll do for me. This card is not for trade at the moment, as I am still living off of the rush of pulling an autograph after a long drought.
Of course, it wouldn't be retail without some weirdness and an excessive Yanking:
Well, at least he's a solid prospect, and a catcher! Although, I highly doubt he'll stick behind the plate, typical of Yankees C prospects: hit, hit, hit. Though John Sickes like to add to the Yankees TOP prospect's profile:
1) Gary Sanchez, C, Grade B+: Youngest of the top Yankee hitting prospects, and plays the most difficult position, showing enough defensive improvement to give decent hope that he can stick there.
Hey, if you like 2012 Bowman Platinum, check back here later for a big hit from this set from one of my PC guys, and an even bigger on from this year's Turkey Red release...
...in the business, we call that a teaser.