Thursday, June 30, 2016

2015 Topps Baseball Retail Break Part 2

Welcome back for the conclusion of the 2015 Topps Baseball Series 2 retail break.  If you missed my first post highlighting some of the cards, you can check it out here.

I don't have as many cards as the first post to discuss but here we go.  

I don't like Mike Trout.  He's too good and he plays in the AL West, where my team the Mariners also play.  It's hard to believe that he is only 24 but has already won an MVP and ROTY award. He's been an all-star every full year he's been in the league.  He already has a WAR above 4.0 and it's not even the all-star break.

The only reason I included this card is because I thought it was a very cool image.  It's easy to get fatigued with the typical baseball card picture but this one is different.  I'm surprised Topps didn't put this is a short print since they are keen on doing that these days.

Highlight of the Year insert
The Babe.  What a legend.  I'm always a fan of baseball history cards.

Free Agent 40 insert
As far as free agent signings go, Cano was likely one of the biggest for the Mariners.  Consistent all-star, gold glove award winner, and positive clubhouse personality.  This signing, and the money to go along with it, showed that the Mariners' front office was serious about contending.  In 2014, his first year with the Mariners, Cano played like a the multi-million dollar man he was.  Unfortunately, the Mariners missed the playoffs by 1 game.  In 2015, Cano struggled mightily at the beginning of the year and the Mariners finished below .500.

This year he has been playing close to his 2014 level but the Mariners have tanked in the month of June and Cano's flaccid bat this month is partly to blame.  I still think he is an all-star this year but he will have to turn it up in the 2nd half if the Mariners have ANY chance of making the playoffs.

First Pitch insert
Local product Macklemore loves Seattle and all it's sports teams.  He's a good ambassador for Seattle sports.  His music is good too.

Baseball History insert
Any card with Casey Kasem is alright with me.  His voice is legendary.

I'm sure I've talked about Pineda before so I won't talk much about him.  Former Mariners prospect that has not seemed to play up to his potential yet.  This year his ERA is a whopping 5.51.  He had a rough start to the year but in June he has been pitching better.

Future Stars - Base - Gold Parallel
The Future Stars tag on DeGrom has been pretty accurate.  In 2015, the year this set came out, DeGrom was an all-star and pitched his way to a 14-8 record with a 2.54 ERA.  He also pitched pretty well in the playoffs last year with the exception of his lone World Series start where he gave up 4 runs in 5 innings.  This year is ERA is a little higher, WHIP is up and his strikeouts are down.  I don't follow the Mets/NL so I can't say for sure how he is doing but the numbers suggest that he's not pitching the same.

Initially I was going to correct the rotation on Fernando Rodney but on second thought I decided to keep it.  Rodney was Mariners closer for a few years and watching him pitch was like riding a roller coaster.  One game he could go 1-2-3 no problem to get the save.  The next game he could walk every batter to load the bases and then get three easy outs.  There was no consistency.  An upside down picture seemed appropriate.  I still like the dude though.  He's been pitching very well this year so congrats to the Padres.

Last, and kinda least, Rick Porcello with the gold parallel, serial numbered to 2015.  I have no affinity for Porcello as I'm not familiar with him.  I just wanted to include the other serial numbered card.  He seems to be doing alright with the Red Sox this year so he's got that going for him.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Collector's Choice Statistical Breakdown

36 packs and 432 cards later, the box has finally been broken, sorted, and cataloged.  

Rather than make this post a card review (which I will likely do at a later date), I'm going to make it a statistical breakdown.  I bought this box for a specific reason: to backfill my collection.  I needed specific cards to complete Series 1.  To see whether this box was a success, the best way is to crunch the numbers.

Total Cards 432 100%
Base 365 84.5%
Inserts 67 15.5%

Some packs ran only 1 insert per pack (a mini-card) so to end up averaging 2 per pack worked out well.

Cards Needed for Series 1 42 100%
Completed 41 98%
Outstanding 1 2%

Considering how many cards I needed, the fact that I didn't finish off the base set is somewhat of a disappointment.  Even more so, it wasn't an all-star card like a Michael Jordan (which I didn't get) but rather Chuck Person of the San Antonio Spurs (#141).  On the bright side, this card should be cheap and easy to find.

A few highlights of the cards I received.  The current league lacks a good short man. 

Nowadays this would be a special insert that's tough to get but this look at the Bulls' record setting regular season is a sleek 5 card base-run.

Duplicate Cards
Base 324 89%
Inserts 38 57%
# of packs containing duplicate cards 6 17%

The number of duplicate cards is not surprising.  I had a small number of base cards remaining so by default I was bound to end up with many leftover base cards.  The number of duplicate inserts is also not a shocking amount.  The majority of insert cards were the mini-cards.  I had most of the mini-cards for Series 1 so duplicates were to be expected.  At least I finished off the minis.

What was upsetting was the fact that 6 packs contained duplicates of cards that were in that very pack.  For instance, a pack would contain two of the same team checklists.  I wonder if this issue has plagued other sets.  I certainly hope it doesn't happen now.

Inserts Found New
Mini-cards 36 2
Super Action Stick-Ums 9 8
Gold Mini-Cards 1 1
Silver Crash the Game 7 6
Gold Crash the Game 1 1
Meet the Stars Instant Win 1 1
NBA Draft Trade Card 0 0
Meet the Stars Trivia 12 10

The main impetus for buying a box was to find inserts and specifically Meet the Stars inserts.  These are throwaway contest cards, featuring trivia questions.  No players (well I guess Jordan is faintly in the back), no teams.  I'm sure these cards were inserted into all Upper Deck products that year but I've rarely seen them in the wild.  There wasn't even a checklist on TCDB until I added one a few months back.  I didn't acquire any low number trivia cards so I also question whether they exist in Collector's Choice.  Anyway. Inserts.  Yeah I got some.  I hope to collect them all one day.

Karl Malone seems like the obvious choice here
Silver insert

Gold Parallel

Future Supersonics player

Mini-cards.  Just tempting little kids to break them apart

Insert Card Odds Found Beat the Odds?
Mini-Cards 1:1 36 Tie
Super Action Stick-Ums 1:4 9 Tie
Gold Mini-Cards 1:35 1 Tie
Silver Crash the Game 1:5 7 Tie
Gold Crash the Game 1:49 1 Yes
Meet the Stars Instant Win 1:79 1 Yes
NBA Draft Trade Card 1:144 0 No
Meet the Stars Trivia 1:3 12 Tie

I'm always curious as to how true the odds are for finding inserts.  Based on my box, I'd say the odds are pretty accurate.  I was lucky with the Instant Win and Gold Crash the Game cards.  The others were break even.  I didn't count on the Trade Card.

The only card I didn't find were the Stick-Ums base cards.  The wrappers didn't say anything about the bases so I don't know where they come from.

In the end, this was a successful box.  The base set is a reasonable 400 cards so I think I can complete it one day.  The inserts will be a harder challenge.  Unlike modern day sets though, the number of inserts isn't outrageous and there are no base parallels.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Congratulations! Instant Winner.

Damn! I mean... damn!

I have been working on opening packs for the 1996-97 Collector's Choice set and in one pack I found an instant winner card.  These cards were listed with pull odds of 1:72.  Having only 32 packs to open this was a decent find.  

However, I was immediately faced with a dilemma?  Do I scratch the card? Or leave it intact for preservation?  I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep if I didn't scratch it so I decided to deface my card.  First, I made sure to scan the card intact, for archival purposes and to add to the Database.

Did I win the all expenses paid trip to see Michael Jordan?

Friday, June 17, 2016

A quick basketball pack before bed

About a week ago I put up a new page listing some of the sets I collect.  I didn't make a new post about it as I'm sure everyone would see it at some point.  The set I put up at #1 is the 1996-97 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Basketball.  In my introductory post way back when I mentioned this set as one I collected when I was a kid.  Even if it's not the best or a classic set from the 90s, it holds a lot of memories for me.

As I browsed eBay to see how I could finish off the set (it's about 61% complete) I had a few options.  I could get a factory set, a series 1 box, and/or a series 2 box.  The factory set probably would have been the best option but I also wanted to try for some inserts. I ended up getting a Series 1 box, even though I already have 75% of Series 1.  Oh well, I don't always make the smartest choices.  I'll end up with more duplicates than I know what to do with of Series 1, yet I think I'll get some good inserts out of it.

Here are the 9 base cards I pulled from the first pack tonight.  Chucky Brown was the only new card, the rest were all dupes. I will definitely do a more in-depth/review post of the set later but I just wanted to throw this post up quick because I was excited.

The mini-cards were a dupe but the other two inserts were new to my collection.  Shawn Bradley was quite the interesting player to watch.  Yes there have been really tall guys before him but they aren't always as lanky.

That's it for now.  I will open up more packs later but it is currently time for bed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Retail Box Break - 2015 Topps Baseball

Topps had a Memorial Day sale so if course I had to see what they were offering.  The only thing that caught my eye was a retail box of 2015 Series 1 baseball cards -- 24 packs for $20. Since I wasn't actively collecting in 2015 I figured now would be a good chance to get some baseball and catch up on a prior set.

After an excruciating two-week wait, the package finally arrived on a Friday.  I knew my weekend plans.  As I opened up the packs on Friday night (okay I couldn't wait until the weekend to get started) I actually started to feel a bit stressed.  "There are a lot of cards here.  How am I going to blog about all these cards? There is going to be so much scanning to do." *deep breath*

At first I thought I might scan a pack a day and do an individual post on each pack.  That seemed like overkill though as 24 packs would take a while and this is last year's set so people have probably seen these cards enough.  Then I narrowed down my options to maybe 3 cards per pack to highlight but that still ended up being a significant number of cards.  Finally, I settled on going through the 3 cards I originally picked out per pack and winnowed that number down even further to cards I could actually write about.

With my plan settled, I started scanning the noteworthy cards.  I still scanned a decent amount of cards and I'm going to turn it into a two-part series.  Otherwise, I think the posts would be too long to enjoy, especially since these are not the latest and greatest Topps.

I want to make a quick note that cards are not in any order from packs pulled.  

Now that the behind-the-scenes look into my psyche is out of the way, on to the cards!

Future Stars - Base Card - First Pitch Insert
The benefit of opening last year's Topps cards is that I can look at whether or not a Future Stars card turned out to be true.  In the case of Xander Bogaerts, he is absolutely a future star.  He is currently 1st in All-Star voting for shortstop.  All-star voting is not always an indication of a player's actual all-star worthiness (I'm looking at you Royals fans) but for Bogaerts, he fits the bill.  In 2015, his 2nd full year in the majors, Bogaerts hit .320 with 81 RBI.  He also earned himself a Silver Slugger award.  This year he is hitting even better with .359 batting average and already 44 RBI.  He is a solid defensive player as well.  

On the flip side we have Alcides Escobar.  2015 was actually a good year for him.  He won a World Series Ring, an ALCS MVP award, a Gold Glove award, and he was an All-Star.  While this year he is 2nd in All-Star voting for shortstop (behind Bogaerts), he has particularly played like an all-star.  His batting average is down, fielding percentage is down, and his OPS is down.  I admit I don't track the Royals but I'm sure the team is expecting more out of him this year if they want to defend their title.

Jack White is a not a shortstop but I'll still talk about him anyway.  I like the First Pitch inserts as it's always fun to see some celebrities mixed in with the baseball players.  I have never been a listener of The White Stripes but I can appreciate the band for what it is/was.  In addition, White is pretty dedicated to the independent music scene and runs a great label called Third Man Records.  One day I would like to go to their record store in Nashville.  

Base card
I actively dislike the Yankees, which par for the course for most non-Yankees fans.  However, Jeter is a quality baseball players and I like that the photo on this card captures a special moment.  I saw Jeter on his farewell tour last year when the Yankees made a stop in Seattle.  I thought I had a picture from the game but can't seem to find it.

Gold parallel - SN 1941/2015
These high serial numbered parallels aren't the flashiest of cards but for a retail pack I can't complain about getting a serial numbered card.  I like the gold border, too.  Zimmermann had an okay year with the Nationals in 2015, going 13-10 with a 3.66 ERA.  This year he's on an improved pace with an 8-3 record so far.

Robbed insert - Baseball History insert - Future Stars 
The Robbed insert is presumably a feature of a team's best outfielders.  The fact that Dustin Ackley was considered Seattle's best outfielder is laughable and sad.  It's laughable because Ackley was converted to an outfielder (first center then left) late in his career after he didn't pan out as a 2B.  His story is unfortunate because he was a drafted second overall in 2009 and was considered an absolute lock for success as a power hitter.  However, he never lived up to the hype and was eventually shipped off to the Yankees where he has achieved even lesser success.  I won't even get worked up about the fact that Mike Trout was drafted later in the 1st round.  Oh well, the Mariners would have found a way to screw him up anyway.  But I digress.  

Based on the aforementioned let down in Ackley's career, it's sad that he was at one time considered Seattle's best outfielder.  He did have some nice plays and this one comes to mind:

Luckily, the Mariners have an improved outfield with Leonys Martin, Nori Aoki, and even Nelson Cruz.

The baseball history card is a little confusing since Dick Clark has nothing to do with baseball but I like him on a card nonetheless.  

Masahiro Tanaka was a pitcher I was hoping the Mariners didn't have to face regularly when he joined the MLB back in 2014.  Unfortunately, he went to the Yankees, which meant we would have to seem him a few times a year.  He's had the Mariners' number so far this year going 1-0.  Tanaka has had some stuggles, including an injury last year and the fact that he has struggled on 4 days' rest versus 5 days.  Overall though I would say the Future Stars label was not inaccurate.  

Inspired Play insert
I'm not totally on board with the comparison here.  Cano has only been with the Mariners for a few years and joined them in his prime so their rise to fame is a little different.  Yet they are both dominant players at their respective positions.  Either way, I like both of these players.

Base cards
Mike Zunino is another disappointing Mariners prospect.  He was supposed to be the Mariners' catcher of the future but has been beset by Seattle's poor farm system and an inept general manager who rushed him up to the majors waaay too soon.  As a result, Zunino struggled mightly offensively.  His defensive and pitch framing abilities were there but he struggled at the plate.  Thankfully, with Jerry DiPoto now in charge, Zunino is given time to develop in AAA.

I don't have much to say about Paul Konerko as I didn't really follow him as a player.  I just liked this photo as a nice tribute to him.  It's always a breath of fresh air when a photo is other than the typical action shot.

Base - Baseball History insert
I can't stand Kendrys Morales.  He had a nice season with the Mariners in 2013.  In the off season when Mariners tried to re-sign him he didn't take their offer.  He then proceeded to sit out part of the 2014 season until he signed with the Twins.  Towards the end of the trade deadline, the Mariners brought him back as they were trying to make a playoff push.  Morales was very disappointing and was nowhere near repeating his 2013 performance.  The Mariners missed the playoffs by 1 game and their decade long playoff drought continued. The following year Morales went to the Royals, returned to his old form, and won a World Series ring.  So yeah, can't say I have fond feelings of Morales.

Rounding out this post is another non-Baseball History insert.  This time it's the start of CNN.  Once a reputable news source, CNN has degraded into tabloid-journalism and click-bait worthy news stories.

Phew! This post was long despite all my best efforts to pare down the cards I talked about.  This wraps up the first half of Topps 2015 and stay tuned for the next one!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Great Fakeout

Today I had a doctor's appointment near my Target and since I had a bike pump to return there it only made sense to check out the cards.  I didn't know what cards I was in the mood for but there was a sale on 2015-16 Panini Threads basketball.  The packs were a dollar off so that sealed my fate.

When I reached for a pack out of the box, the first one I picked up felt heavier than normal.  I assure you I was not pack searching and this was literally the first one I touched.  I picked up another pack to see if my hunch was correct and I was right; the second pack felt lighter.  I quickly put down the second pack and moved on because I was irrationally worried that someone would think I was pack searching.  The day before I had watched a Youtube video where some guy explained how he confronted a pack searcher, who was doing things like weighing packs on a scale and amassed about 10 packs worth of probable hits. So while I was not doing anything suspicious, I was still nervous for some reason.

I happily paid for my pack and I even waited until I got home to open it rather than doing it right outside the store.  I wanted to make sure no one would see me get a hit card.  When I got home I went straight for the thick card and this is what I saw:


Nothing.  It was a darn decoy card!  I should have expected this.  Oh well.  Let's see what I actually got instead.

It's too bad the foil doesn't scan well.
 I ended up with some decent cards.  I'm always glad to get Celtics cards and #36 is my favorite number so I doubly liked getting Smart since his jersey is #36.  Kevin Love may not be earning his pay this NBA Finals but I always liked watching him in college.  Paul Pierce! Another Celtics card, except he's actually in a Clippers uniform reunited with Doc Rivers.  The Celtics former Big 3 (plus Rondo) are still some of my favorite players.

I'd rate the base set as just okay.  Nothing stands out about it and I don't like the silver foil bar.  The front also feels too dark to me.

Back base
The back of the cards look better with some more color.  The backs are also stylized  with some jersey-like look, i.e., the "threads."

Century Greats Insert
My sole insert card from the pack but I really like it.  Panini fully incorporated a threads look into this insert.  The old school photos are also fun to look at.  No information on the back but for an insert I suppose that's a lot to ask for.

I was disappointed about the lack of a relic card.  However, the Smart and Pierce cards, along with the Elgin Baylor insert, help make up the difference.

I doubt I will buy any more Threads packs not because I have a sour taste in my mouth but rather I don't care for the base cards.  At $4.50 a pack, Threads isn't doing itself any favors, either.

I hope your pack hunt this weekend is better than mine!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My first card show

My transportation for the day
This past weekend was the annual summer card show put on by the Washington State Sports Collectors Association.  When I started getting back into collecting cards I wanted to attend a card show.  Fortunately, I found out about this show before it happened.  Even more fortunate for me was that the card show was pretty much in my backyard! After biking to 7/11 for a Slurpee (which was absolutely necessary on this 90 degree day) I headed down to the show.

Only half of the room with more to the right and behind me
This was my first card show so let me talk about it a little bit before I get to the goodies.  All the dealers were really nice and it was cool to see the hobby in action.  There were a lot of cards on display, new and old, as well as other sports memorabilia.  It wasn't that packed on Sunday but a few of the dealers I talked to said that Saturday was really busy, which was good to hear.  Still, most of the dealers still had their tables set up until closing, which must mean that they were doing good business on Sunday as well.  I'm kinda glad I went on Sunday because I think dealers were probably more willing to let cards go for a little cheaper.

First Stop

Top: 2008 Topps Chrome Insert -- 2006 Topps Chrome
Middle: 2008 Upper Deck - Starquest (common) -- 2006 SP Authentic (serial numbered) -- 2008 Topps Chrome - X-Fractor
Bottom: 2008 Topps Heritage - Black Back (short print) -- 2008 Topps Updates -- 2009 Topps Updates
Heading into the show I didn't have any sense of what I was looking for so I let the cards do the talking.  The first table I stopped at had an assortment of football, baseball, and basketball. Eventually I honed in on some Ichiro cards.  The cards from this box were advertised as $1 per card or 6 for $5.  My first thought was that this was going to be a pricey purchase but it turned out to be a good deal.  

I love the 2008 Topps design so I the two cards I found with it were a must have.  In addition, the x-fractor parallel was neat looking.  I loved the green looking Starquest card.  The serial number card was worth a pickup since I knew it would cost less than the dollar.  The short print heritage was also another one worth getting because of the low overall price.  All told I purchased 7 cards for about $0.85 each.

1993-94 Ultra

1996-97 Upper Deck

1992-93 Ultra + 1 Collector's Choice and McDonald's card

This same dealer also had a 5 cent car box with an with an assortment of basketball.  He had a deal of 25 cards for a dollar and I got 27.  He had a few 1996-97 Upper Deck cards and since that is one of my favorite sets, I grabbed all I could see not worrying about duplicates of my collection since they were so cheap.  I've also decided recently that I enjoy the 1992-93 Ultra set design and I bought a few cards to get me going on my set collection. It's a shame Fleer got lazy and reused the design for the 1993-94 Ultra set but I'm not too disappointed.

Second Stop

Top Row: #B25 1996-97 Collector's Choice Insert; #220 1995-96 Collector's Choice
Bottom Row: #103 & #193 1995-96 Fleer Metal
Top Row: #179 94-95 Fleer Ultra,; #FB20 1996-97 Upper Deck Insert; #117 1996-97 Upper Deck
Bottom Row: #179 1996-97 Upper Deck; #9 2001-02 Fleer Authentix; #295 1993-94 Upper Deck
I didn't know I wanted to build up my Gary Payton but when I found a dealer who had a big box of nothing but Payton cards at 10 cents a piece, my fate was sealed.  The cards were mostly base but I did find a few inserts.  I managed to find four cards for sets I was collecting; three Upper Deck and one 96-97 Collector's Choice.  I made it an even 10 cards to break off a dollar..

Third Stop

2014 Panini National Treasures - Colossal Materials #46 (09/99)
Next stop was a dealer who had a lot of memorabilia/serial numbered cards including quite a few Seahawks and Mariners.  These cards were definitely pricier than all the previous cards I was looking at but I wanted to come away with at least once jersey card.  I ended up with a very nice Kyle Seager card.  A large teal blue patch, numbered 9/99.  This is a Panini card so no mention of Mariners (boo), only "Seattle Baseball Club." The low serial number for both the specific card (9) and the overall set (99) appealed to me because they were so low so I happily paid my $6.  This dealer also had the Will Ferrell Mariners card when he played for 10 different teams during Spring Training.  The card was $6 as well and I didn't quite want to pay that much.  I don't know the value of that card so it may have been fair but it didn't pass the gut check.

Fourth Stop

1992-93 Ultra
Next was another box of assorted basketball cards featuring well known players.  I flipped through not really looking for specific players but then I saw a 92-93 Ultra NBA Jam Session card and found another.  I liked this set so I thought I would see how many more I could find.  I ended up with 6 (including one duplicate that I had already bought that day, doh!) for the low price of 75 cents,

Final Stop

1996-97 Collector's Choice
Dealers were starting to pack up and I was getting tired so I made one last pass around some tables I hadn't looked at yet.  After looking through another basketball binder I found 3 cards from the 96-97 Collector's Choice Set I didn't have yet.  I don't have any proof but I feel like these One on One will be harder to find in the wild since they feature all-stars.  Three cards for $2. Not a bad deal.

Take away the $3 admission fee and I spent only $20 for over 50 cards. A successful day!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Kindness of Strangers

Soon after I started this blog, TCDB user CrazieJoe posted on comment on the blog saying he was willing to send me some Mariners and Supersonics cards as a welcome gift to the blogging world.  I happily accepted his gift and he sent me some cards.  Thank you Joe!

Be sure to check out his blog: CrazieJoe's Card Corner!

Old school Sonics cards 
I suppose at this point, all Sonics cards can be considered old school (R.I.P Seattle Supersonics).  Nonetheless, it was cool to have this nostalgia rush.  The Shawn Kemp painting card is something unique.  The SP Authentic cards look cool and represent the "new" era of Sonics players. Ray Allen was such an amazing shooter and I'm glad he finally won his championship ring with the Celtics.  

Through reading CrazieJoe's blog I realized that the SP Authentic cards were likely part of his Santa Lot 20.  I'm not familiar with the origin of Santa Lot 20 but all I know is that Joe has a lot of hockey cards to go through and he has been posting his findings on his blog daily.  So another reason to follow his blog!

Mariners stickers
 A set of Marienrs stickers from the good years.  Martinez (x2), Johnson, Boon, Buhner, Griffey.  Wow, what a team.

Even more classic Mariners players. The Mariners didn't hit their stride until the mid 90s but the early 90s cards are nice because they show the players as they were developing.  I also didn't realize that Harold Reynolds used to play for the Mariners.  I'd say he is one of my favorite national broadcasters.

There were a few more baseball cards but I wanted to show the highlights.  Thanks again Joe for your generosity!

Friday, June 3, 2016

2016 Score Football

I picked up my first blaster pack of 2016 Score Football in mid-May.  I thought it was way too early for football cards but maybe Panini was trying to capitalize on the buzz of the NFL Draft.  In some respects the set is too early as certain players are on the wrong teams, or even retired.  For example, Matt Forte is in a Bears uniform and Marshawn Lynch is included in the base set even though he retired (but I'm not complaining about getting a Lynch card). On the other hand, the set has rookie cards of players in their college uniforms, which is nice to see.

Base cards including the rookies
The base cards have little to no flash about them but I appreciate the fact that Score didn't try and go overboard with the design.  Less is more.  Simple design but it gets the job done.  The same image is on the front and back, which is a little disappointing.  Panini also seems to only include the last year's stats on cards, which I don't know if I like or not, but it can give you a sense of where the player is at in their career.

Seahawks inserts!
I apologize for the quick and dirty photo but these cards did not show up well at all when scanned.  Anyone have any tips for scanning these type of reflective cards?  I love the gold look and the fact that it is a Russell Wilson card.

Draft insert

No-Fly Zone Insert
The other two inserts were also nice looking, including the No-Fly Zone which was a red variation of the main insert.

Seeing as how I liked the base and the inserts, I was willing to buy more packs.  This led me to the $5 pack which contained a way better deal of 52 cards.  In it were more inserts and base cards.  This set has a lot of inserts and variations of the inserts so if you like collecting the same insert over and over again, this one's for you.  I like the green inserts the most so I think I will try to collect all the Seahawks who have green inserts.

After getting a good feel for this football set, I was ready to make the jump to a $20 box.  This one came with 11 packs for a total of 132 cards.  The box also indicated that each box contained one helmet piece, on average.  I pulled a lot of nice base cards and more rookies but I won't be posting them all because that's a lot of cards.  I will post a few more insert highlights.

A disappointing patch
The phrase "1 per box on average" made me a little nervous that I wouldn't get a patch at all but I did indeed pull one.  It is a huge disappointment though.  The patch is nothing unique at all.  No specialization in relation to the player featured on the card.  They could have at least made some color difference based on the player's college.  If all the rookies are going to have the same patch then I'm not interested at all in collecting any more.  This is the biggest disappointment for me in the set.

Boy, I bet this is a card Score wishes it could have back.  This is also another reason why the Score set came out too early.  Manziel will, mark my words, never play in the NFL again.

I like the themes for the different inserts so no complaint from me there.  Again, I do think there are a few too many color variations but it gives collectors options.

After all these packs I have 33% of the set completed.  I'm really torn whether I want to push forward with completing the rest of the set.  There are a couple things though that will lead me to be happy with what I have.  First, as a mentioned above, the patches are a big let down.  Second, if I went the hobby box route, the memorabilia/autograph cards didn't appeal to me much.  I didn't recall seeing any Seahawks players.  I know the likelihood of getting such cards is slim but without even the chance to get them, it makes me hesitant to go that route.  I only need five more Seahawks base cards and three more Seahawks rookies, which I think I can procure through cheaper means.   Furthermore, a hobby box is $100, which seems steep for this set.

In sum, I like this set and it's inserts.  I don't know if I'm committed to completing the set but if not, I like the cards I have.