Thursday, December 3, 2009

2009 Topps Chrome Hobby Box Break

If you're anything like me, you're miserable.  No, no.  Well, you might be miserable if you opened your first 2009 baseball card box with less than 30 days remaining in the year.  I'm always about a year behind the times.  The upside is I get some pretty good deals.  The downside is I spent 2009 opening 2008 products.  It's not ideal but it works for me.

Remember, this product is old hat to you, but it's shiny new hat that looks futuristic from any angle to me.

2009 Topps Chrome Hobby Box.
24 packs, 4 cards per pack.
2 Autos per box.
$50-ish dollars.

Either the cards are the 'small parts' or I got ripped off.  I didn't find any miniature baseball statues or baseball pins or micro pennants or anything resembling something I could choke on.  Look, I know kids choking is no laughing matter, but any baby that could eat a Chrome baseball card belongs on 'Ripley's Believe It Or Not'.  I think I just lost some enamel trying to bite through one these things.

Like many others I really love this product but have one complaint I'll get to later (no it's not how they taste).  First, here are some of my favorite base cards from the box:

Now that's a great action shot.  This is the kind of picture you might expect to see from a third baseman, but a pitcher!?  Outrageous effort.  Weaver fans can always point to this card if Weaver is ever accused of  dogging it in the field.  Weaver could call this card to the stand as a Defense Character Witness in his own criminal trial.  That would be weird, though...because it's a card.

In 15 years when Longoria is knocking at 600 career home runs and being mentioned as one of the all-time greats, it seems to me this card will be a fan favorite; the Topps Trophy, the slide, the clean card design of 2009.  This card has what my high school art teacher used to call "Elements."  She also told me I look like a cow when I chew gum.  After she caught me several more times she began telling me I look like an ignorant cow when I chew gum.

Safe or out?  Gotta be out.  One thing I don't like is the inside out pants pocket on the Rockies (?) player.  When I was a kid if your back pocket was sticking out you'd have ten people screech at you about it.  It looks sloppy and lazy, unprofessional.  You rarely saw it happen in the major leagues.  But these days I've noticed a LOT of players have their back pocket flipped inside out.  I know they know it's sticking out.  And I know they know we know they know it's sticking out.

So that means one of three things:

1)  They don't care.

2)  They think it looks cool.

3)  They are superstitious and think an inside out back pocket brings good luck...or at least wards off the dreaded "BAD LUCK!"

I fear it is indeed a new age superstition.  If it is option one or two, that is even worse.

Did you ever notice baseball player's superstitions never involve anything classy?  You never hear a guy has a superstition that requires him to comb his hair super perfect before putting on his hat (well, don't count Steve Garvey - that was just vanity).  No player insists on wearing a tuxedo on plane flights home or simply must read a chapter from a Dostoyevsky novel before every game.

No, it's usually goofy stuff like hopping over the scary white baserunning lines or tickling the resin bag when nobody is looking.

Just as often it's something deliberately catered towards bad hygiene.  A guy will wear the same urine soaked jock or stinky socks for weeks on end if he's hitting the ball where they ain't.  Or facial hair will take on epic proportions to the point that announcers spend a half inning describing a player's mustache only to find the inning ending before they can fully convey all they intended.

If this inside out pocket thing really is a new and epidemic superstition, it seems to be the most annoying one I've ever seen.    There's humor in the other superstitions.  There's fun or it's funny.  At the very worst it's a stink we can't smell.

But now we have this pocket issue.  Some even have both pockets inside out.  It all rings of a disrespectful apathy whereas most superstitions scream out a desperate desire to succeed.

Anyone know what this is pocket fiasco is all about?


Old school.

Any card that shows a ball mid-flight with a player readying to dive is top notch in my binder.

I got doubles of this card.  Doubles of Tim Hudson and the Jared Weaver card too.  This Ellsbury card is a really unique dugout perspective.  Very creative shot.  Sea of red.  I'm not a Red Sox hater despite being an Orioles fan.

Speaking of the Orioles.  Flat-Breezy!  I miss George.  He wasn't the closer type, but he is a heck of a weapon in middle relief.  I was hoping he'd be around for a decade.  The Orioles did get Josh Bell for him and he seems to be a strong player.  A third baseman who hits for decent power, batting average, and who WALKS, is pretty rare.  The Orioles core is forming.  Fear us!  Run!  Hide!

Speaking of running and hiding.  Before I get to the hits, here is my one complaint with 2009 Topps Chrome.  I really dislike the WBC cards of players that most likely will never play Major League Baseball.  I also feel like we are expected to high-five a friend when we get one.  I dunno.  These cards are one small step above the Constitution cards Topps put out.  No offense to those who enjoy this stuff.  I wish I did too. If so it'd be high-five heaven around here.

On the other hand, I kinda like the WBC cards that ARE major leaguers or at least guys in the minors.

Okay, now for zee hits:

 SN:  #259/500.

SN: #205/500

SN: #1 of WHY

No, no.  That got in here by mistake.  Shaun Cassidy:  His Blue Period.  It's been said that the only person who couldn't make Shaun Cassidy cry was David Cassidy.  Shaun wept openly and often around all others.

SN:  #03/25

The man so nice, they gave him a last name twice.  Despite how hopeful the back of this card reads, in 2009 Mr. Rodriguez hit 3 home runs in AA at age 22 (436 ab).  His OPS was just .651.  He doesn't steal bases, he doesn't walk, he doesn't hit for power, and he plays the outfield.  But, but, but...the serial number is so low!  I don't care what the numbers say, I'm gonna root for him.

SN:  #042/199

I have always loved the blue refractors and I only have a couple.  I was very happy with this card.  A star and BLUE.

SN:  #093/499

The background in this card is great.  It just looks like a perfect day for baseball.

Freese has had a strong career in the minors.  His lifetime OPS in the minors is a robust .916.  Impressive.  He also plays third base.  Unfortunately he didn't start his professional career until age 23.  He's already age 26.  He'll turn 27 in April 2010.  He has time to have a nice major league career but not enough time to make a big impact.  I don't even know if he'll get a chance in 2010.  This card seems to be selling on Ebay for a bit more than one would expect given that he is essentially a 27 year old with 31 major league career at bats.


The big hit.  Or the biggest hit in this box, at least.  Billy Beane is at it again.  Anderson is just 21 years old.  He was 11-11 with a 4.06 era in his rookie year in 2009.  A young lefty who had a solid rookie season and was strong in the minors is a good auto to get in my opinion.  Anderson came from the Diamondbacks in the Dan Haren trade.

All told I really enjoyed opening the box.  The three WBC serial numbered hits is definitely overkill but the look of Chrome 2009 and the on-card autos makes me want more.  I think I will wait for the price to drop another 10 bucks before getting another Hobby box though.  


  1. HI, I would be interested in trading you for any of the WBC cards that you don't want, one of the Jered Weaver dupes, and any giants cards that you may have pulled. What do you collect?