Monday, October 15, 2007

2004 MLB Showdown '04 Trading Deadline

I tried a different Target and this time found a repack box I could live with. This one also had a Bowman Heritage pack (I actually like the set despite its ugliness) and one pack each from Fleer, Donruss and Upper Deck. I liked the equal representation and the packs are decent, unlike the base Upper Deck and MVP junk I found on the other boxes. From Topps I got the Bowman Heritage, Upper Deck is represented by 2006 Upper Deck Update, Donruss by 2005 Champions and we finish up with 2005 Fleer Patchworks. I opened up the box and it was held together with some amazingly tough rubber cement. The packs are all glued to the cardboard structure inside the box so it was just as difficult to get the packs off of it. The Donruss and Bowman wrappers shredded as I took them off. As indicated on the box, there is also a little cardboard box full of 100 cards and a bonus item inside.

I'm going to start off this week by opening the bonus pack - a 2004 MLB Showdown Trading Deadline edition pack. If anyone's not familiar with this stuff, it is Wizards of the Coast (the folks responsible for Magic: The Gathering) attempting to cash in on the baseball card collecting crowd with a collectible card game. It never really caught on with the card collectors because they really look nothing at all like baseball cards plus all the good players were short printed on shiny foil. It never caught on with the CCG players because the game was somewhat complicated, the rules changed every year, and who wants to play a baseball card when you can lob lightning bolts and fireballs at each other instead. It never caught on with the APBA and Strat-O-Matic crowd (the only people who might have overcome the complicated gameplay) because what's the point of buying a baseball game when you don't even get all the players. They used to have these things displayed with all the Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards at Target but I haven't seen it it a long time. I'm guessing between the poor sales (I used to snag tons of it every year when Target inevitably dumped it all on clearance) and the 2006 license purge, it didn't make it.

091 Billy Wagner
031 Robert Fick
090 Francisco Rodriguez
017 Eric Young
041 Rafael Palmeiro
038 Howie Clark
010 Khalil Greene
066 John Burkett
S12 Caught Napping
S1 Dialed In
S20 Robbed!
Checklist 1 of 8 American League East

Each pack has eight player cards and 3 game cards. This is a decent pack considering it's basically Showdown's version of a traded set. Billy Wagner is on the wrapper and in the pack. K-Rod's a nice closer. Palmeiro would have been a great pull in 2004, he's a little tarnished today though. Khalil Greene is technically a rookie in this set, a designation that can be used for bonuses on the game play cards. The rest of the players are pretty blah, and I have never heard of Howie Clark in my life. I think he might be a quality control guy at WoTC playing a joke.

The three game play cards are basically filler cards. They are useful if you play the game, but they 're kind of useless otherwise unless you can figure out who the player is featured on the card. I'm pretty sure the Caught Napping card is Carl Everett in an Expos uni, but the awful photo of him tripping over his own shoelaces isn't terribly attractive. The Dialed-In card shows a Padres lefty pitcher with no name or number visible and his face obscured by shadow. He's got a big gut so I suppose it could be David Wells. The Robbed! card is actually a really nice shot, I just wish I knew who that guy was. Willie Harris maybe? He played for the Sox that year and similarly stole a homer away from Delgado in '07. There is also a checklist card for the AL east in there. According to the list Javy Lopez, Curt Schilling and A-rod are short printed. Rey Sanchez, Aquilino Lopez and Paul Quantrill are not. Oh yeah, that makes me want to go out and buy a pack.

I'm happy with the bonus, but I can see how most card collectors would not be. One pack of cards by itself is useless as a game, and as baseball cards they absolutely suck. The photos are pedestrian, the stats non existent, and the design is dominated by gameplay stuff that is meaningless unless you play the game. I'll start on the real cards next post and open up the Donruss pack. It's already wide open anyways from trying to pry it off the box, so why not.

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