Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Waiting Game: 2006 Topps Opening Day

Since dayf threw down the gauntlet for Caddyshack quotes last week, I submit the following:


I spent my entire day at work on Friday jittery with anticipation, having checked UPS' tracker and received confirmation that my jumbo box of 2008 Topps (and a jumbo box of 2006 Topps Series Two) was to arrive that very day. When I finally got home at 6:15 that night, I was welcomed by the odious sight of a yellow and white sticker on my front door. I guess I should be appreciative that the dealer requested my signature on such a costly purchase. But dammit, I'm an impatient man! My irritation nearly boiled over when I realized that my roommate had been home at the time of the attempted delivery, but had been napping in his room obliviously. Yeah, yeah, he taught history and religion and math to smelly middle schoolers all week, cry me a river. Thankfully, I actually read the small print on the UPS sticker and found out that I can waive the signature requirement. It's a risk I'm willing to take for the deliciousness of 2008 Topps. I'm a sick man.

So...what to do in the meantime? Fortunately I had received a stray pack of 2006 Topps Opening Day from dayf as part of my prize in the Topps '52 Rookies contest. Let's rip it, but first let's take a moment to recognize dayf's artistic genius:

I had to laugh out loud when I pulled this pack out of the bubble mailer. This is why dayf is the Man. On with the show:

104 Jeremy Bonderman
119 Alfonso Soriano
128 Luis Castillo
131 Dmitri Young
88 Rich Harden
161 C. J. Wilson RC Red Foil Parallel
11 of 25 Miguel Tejada SI for Kids Max Action

Not bad. We've got two talented young righty starters, two ridiculously Photoshopped veterans, D'meathook, a great shot of a then-Orioles star sliding into third base, and a parallel rookie card of the Rangers' closer of the future. C. J. might be best known for the firestorm over his actions on MySpace early last year.

But back to the Photoshopping for a second: it seems like a lot of people are annoyed by Topps' recent return to their airbrushing roots. In general, we seem to take Topps' sloppy attempts to show a player in his new duds with a grain of salt as long as they're far in the past. Some, like Mike Laga's pink ensemble in 1987 have even taken on a mythic status. Over time, these oddities just become a charming quirk of the Good Old Days. So why is it such an affront for Topps to do it now? Is it because the superior technology at their fingertips should produce a much crisper fix than they've shown? Or is it because we lump altered player unis in with the company's more unscrupulous Photoshop shenanigans, like Jeter, Dubya and the Mick or Rudy and the Sox?

Tomorrow: 2008 Topps - A dream delayed, a dream fulfilled. I even have some beer left in the fridge from my Super Bowl festivities...maybe I'll partake in Chris Harris' drinking game.

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