One of the frustrations of being a Canadian baseball card collector is that baseball cards are actually somewhat tough to come by in any quantity. Hockey cards are another story but it's summer and I want my baseball fix. And while I prefer to support hobby shops, economics dictate that $20 for a small box of cards is more feasible than a $80 box that simply offers a handful of extra cards and an additional "hit". So whilst in California I took advantage of a little story called Target and found myself a ten-pack blaster box of 2008 Upper Deck Series 2 Baseball.
In the last month I've fallen in love with 2008 Upper Deck Baseball. I snagged a hobby box just before I left and while I wasn't totally into the Team USA-centric focus on most of the inserts, the base set has it all: simple design, awesome photography, a strong checklist (for those of us who like more than three or four guys per team) and complete stats. That box break and a full review will [hopefully] come shortly.
I paid $19.99 for this blaster, which promised one game-used card. Exclusive to Target packs are a set called Hit Brigade that focuses on 15 sluggers. The design is reminiscent of late-1990s inserts minus the foil. There's also a continuation of the retail-only Starquest cards and, of course, more Yankee Stadium Legacy cards.
As I opened the packs in my hotel room, a trio of patterns emerged: Pedro, Miguel and God. Here's the findings:
541. Jason Schmidt
531. Ervin Santana - Cool. Saw him pitch against the Indians at my first live game on Tuesday. Not a memorable start, though.
596. Bobby Crosby
770. Jimmy Rollins "Team Checklist"
733. Carlos Beltran "Season Highlights"
USA Junior Team USJR-5. Jeff Malm
Hit Brigade HB-14. Todd Helton
Starquest SQ-40. Daisuke Matsuzaka (Common)
487. Ryan Spilborges
433. Jason Varitek
425. Melvin Mora
631. Randy Wolf
697. Elijah Dukes
655. Troy Glaus
559. Jason Kendall
Starquest SQ-49. Joe Mauer (Common)
654. Skip Schumaker
562. Francisco Liriano
577. Pedro Martinez - Pedro Martinez #1
748. Ryan Braun "Season Highlights"
763. Victor Martinez "Team Checklist"
714. Hiroki Kuroda RC
Yankee Stadium Legacy 4772. Ron Guidry
Starquest SQ-58. Troy Tulowitzki (Common)
676. David Murphy
642. Adrian Beltre
513. Lance Berkman
532. Francisco Rodriguez
708. Kosuke Fukudome RC
758. Carlos Zambrano "Team Checklist"
787. Ichiro (Suzuki) "Season Highlights"
Starquest SQ-53. Miguel Cabrera (Ultra Rare) - Cabrera #1. There's a code on the back I can scratch to reveal and go for extra Starquest points. But seeing as how the contest is only open to those under the age of 17 I'll keep it unscratched. Or maybe I'll sue for age discrimination ; )
416. Tyler Yates
460. Brian Anderson
616. Tom Gorzelanny
511. Jorge Cantu
666. Jason Bartlett
683. David Eckstein
636. Rich Aurilia
Starquest SQ-44. Eric Byrnes (Common)
497. Carlos Guillen
471. Norris Hopper
UD Jersey UDJ-RC. Ryan Church - Another biblical card. Pattern officially formed.
This pack felt a lot thicker than the rest so it was pretty obvious this was the "hit" pack. Church is pictured in a Nationals jersey but listed as a member of the Mets. I hate this with jersey cards (actually I hate it with all cards, especially those that are released after Opening Day).
570. Mike Lamb - Lamb is another oft-used Christian symbol. Could Lamb be the savior of the World Series this year? This blaster box could be foreshadowing it.
464. Francisco Cordero
606. Pedro Feliz
669. Edwin Jackson
SQ-55. Pedro Martinez (Rare) - Martinez #2
695. Odalis Perez
589. Robinson Cano
563. Pat Neshek
501. Marcus Thames - This is a sample shot of why I love this set.
746. Matt Holliday "Season HL"
702. Brian Barton RC
779. Nick Swisher "Team CL"
SQ-35. C.C. Sabathia (Common)
479. David Dellucci
406. Eric Byrnes
450. Geovany Soto
623. Paul Maholm
409. Tom Glavine
522. Brett Tomko
Yankee Stadium Legacy 4747. Willie Randolph
SQ-42. Derek Jeter (Un-Common)
472. Josh Barfield
442. Carlos Zambrano
617. Jason Bay - CANADIAN!
630. Mark Prior
515. Miguel Tejada
449. Jon Lieber
641. Brian Wilson
SQ-53. Miguel Cabrera (Common) - Cabrera #2
519. Branson Backe
677. Ramon Vazquez
656. Anthony Reyes
786. David Ortiz "Season HL"
723. Matt Tolbert
Presidential Predictors PP-11. McCain/Obama "Taxes" - Sweet! These weren't advertised.
Hit Brigade HB-13. Miguel Cabrera - Cabrera #3
SQ-55. Pedro Martinez (Super Rare) - Martinez #3
For $20 I could have bought a couple of more bottles of water at the mouse's house, but this was a fun mini break and it might even taste better. Sadly, without a target for a few hundred miles, this will be my retail blaster fix for the next few years until I make it state-side again.