Friday, April 14, 2023

Hey Now! Hey Now! Hey Now!

It feels like ages ago that Mariners broadcaster Dave Sims unleashed his signature catchphrase "Hey Now!" after Cal Raleigh rocketed the Mariners to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.  The Mariners' limping start to the 2023 season hasn't instilled confidence in the fanbase that we'll see another playoff run.  Deep breath. It's still early.  

2016 Topps Now - #281 Ken Griffey Jr.

I've been a supporter of Topps Now since the beginning in a literal sense and figurative sense.  I believe my first Topps Now purchase was of Griffey's induction to the Hall of Fame in 2016.  Before Topps Now, would we have ever had a card like this in a main set? Perhaps.  But unlikely.  In 2016, I went on to purchase other cards capturing moments like Felix Hernandez becoming the Mariners all-time win leader, Hunter Renfro hitting a ball onto the roof of the Western Metal Building at Petco Park, and former Mariner Mike Montgomery throwing the final pitch of the Cubs' historic World Series victory.

I put my money where my mouth is so here is a list of my Topps Now purchases to show my support for the idea:

Year Cards Purchased
2016 9
2017 21
2018 38
2019 54
2020 19
2021 10
2022 16
2023 2

It's easy to forget the highlights of a 162-game season so Topps Now helps memorialize those moments.  Some Topps Now moments can feel pointless at the time and even more so when looking back on them.  I like looking at a Topps Now card and remembering, "oh yeah, this happened."  

2022 Topps Now - #899 Julio Rodriguez

Last year, at the only Mariners game I attended, Julio Rodriguez achieved a rookie milestone.  The next day, Topps released a card of that moment.  The memory of that game probably would have been lost in the cavern of my mind but now I have something that can anchor me to that time.  Although I captured my own moment of Julio's achievement, it's nice to have a card to go along with it. 

At some point in the past few years, Topps added random parallels to Topps Now orders.  Topps likely added this chase element because the pre-sale market on eBay was significant.  Why pay $10 on Topps' website for a card when I could get the same thing for $5 on eBay?  Now with the parallels, buyers are incentivized to buy directly from Topps for a chance to hit a parallel.  I'll admit that I am now more likely to buy from Topps.  I don't do it especially when I know a card is going to have a high print run, thus decreasing my odds.

As I was going through some of my Topps Now purchases from last year, I realized I hit two parallels across my half-dozen or so orders.  Even though no typical baseball collector would be excited about hitting a Luis Torrens parallel, when you buy Topps Now for fun it makes the parallels that much sweeter.  

Blue Parallel - #/49

Red Parallel - #/10

The Topps Now program has evolved through the years and the number of cards each year is dizzying.  I'll continuing buying cards that make me remember the Mariners' successes and other fun moments throughout the season.  Without feeling like I need to buy every card, even of the Mariners, I'll enjoy the ride.