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I was reminded again this weekend why it’s a good idea to always check the markdown bins. In there, I found a mini-box of 2005 Bowman Sterling for 9. 99 — these carry a typical retail price of $40-something. In there, I found these three cards (along with the two base cards).

Humberto Sanchez FY AU

David Ortiz GU bat

And the bonus for me, Scott Elbert FY AU/”Player-worn” jersey

There’s just something totally amusing about reading Topps’ disclaimer of “the relic contained within is not from any specific game, event, or season.” That’s about as non-specific as it gets! Given this card is from Elbert’s first professional season, it’s not likely that the jersey piece is from a Dodger uniform. And the non-specific language could very well mean this is a jersey swatch from something he wore on draft day, for that matter. Oh well. It’s still a nice card.

Also, what is with Topps’ UV-coated cards (Chrome, BDPP, Sterling, etc.) curling up like they do? That’s really annoying!

Now on to the others.

TriStar Prospects Plus had a great-looking design in 2006, but I found that their production lacked quality control — so many of their cards were badly miscut. In 2007, the design was once again simple and aesthetically pleasing, and this time the quality issues appeared resolved. I also liked the one-per-pack autograph seeding, not to mention the players themselves. In a draft class with standouts such as David Price and Matt LaPorta, it was a nice thing to be able to pick up their rookie cards for far less than their Bowman Draft counterparts cost.

But in 2008, I feel TriStar took a step back, for several reasons. One was totally out of their control — Razor snatched up a large chunk of the marquee draftees in this class and signed them to exclusive contracts, leaving both TriStar and Bowman’s checklists lacking. Two, while the production quality again appears to be fine, this is just an awful card design.

matusz

I don’t get the little rectangular border extensions into the photo. The card would’ve been fine — albeit boring, but fine — without the border funkiness. I also don’t care for five-card hobby packs for $5, a far cry from last year’s 1o-card packs + one auto for $10. Given the checklist issues, the design, and the price point, I seriously doubt I’ll be pursuing this set.

And then there’s UD Documentary. Before I even mention my critique, take  a close look at these cards.

martin

In the above card, Russell Martin readies himself for a play at the plate … at Coors Field. Notice the score is from a game against the Cubs … that they lost. The “youngsters continue to lead the charge offensively,” to the tune of just one lone run — which was driven in by Andre Ethier, not Russell Martin.

rowand

In this card, Aaron Rowand is swinging away at Dodger Stadium. The game mentioned on card? Tim Lincecum fired a gem … against the Rockies.

hoffman1

And finally, former Padres CLOSER Trevor Hoffman graces this card, which mentions multi-hit games coming to the aid of a veteran starter … Greg Maddux. But notice the score … evidently those multi-hit games weren’t quite enough since the Dodgers pounded the Padres.

I realize it’d probably be a monumental task to secure a photo that was actually from each individual game mentioned. But UD could’ve easily accounted for things such as making sure the right player was pictured, or that their write-ups made sense when juxtaposed with the box scores and photos.

I didn’t even bother taking a closer look at the rest of the cards, but I imagine the same lack of oversight ruined them as well. In a year that’s been chock-full of lackluster, pointless releases from Upper Deck, they f inish the year with arguably the worst one of all. If you’re going to to try to do a documentarian set, then try a little harder. This set is weak, and is filled with so many non-intentional errors it’s aggravating. Then again, given UD’s predilection to not even bother with fact-checking, it’s no surprise really.

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2 Comments

  1. I agree on the UD Documentary cards. I also realize how difficult it would be to find proper photos for every game. But if you’re going to tackle something like this, at least make half of an attempt at it.

    Nice Elbert pull!

  2. Perhaps the product name is really the issue here.

    doc·u·men·ta·ry

    1. Consisting of, concerning, or based on documents.

    2. Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film.

    They should have called it:

    hodge·podge

    A mixture of dissimilar ingredients; a jumble.


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