Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Delayed Opening Day

Every year, Topps Opening Day is my jam. I like it because it's affordable and a box will usually complete a set for me. So I get the fun of busting packs and the satisfaction of completing a set but without a big hassle. There are usually a few fun inserts, too. My yearly tradition is to pre-order a box and hold off on breaking it until MLB's Opening Day.

This year, I went a little bit different route. The hobby boxes I saw were more than I am used to paying and I was reluctant to open my wallet more, so I didn't buy a hobby box. Instead, I picked up two blasters. Two blasters cost less than one hobby and yielded 22% more cards, but there is more of a risk of duplicating cards when mixing two sources. I ordered with enough time to sit down and break some packs on Opening Day, especially since I was sitting at home all week after surgery, but some shipping snafu on the part of the seller meant that I didn't receive the cards until the following week. Major League Baseball delayed its Opening Day, and my annual "opening" day was delayed even further. One week after the season started, I finally got to open my Opening Day.

When I finally received my cards after the aforementioned shipping error, I was pleasantly surprised to see the seller had gifted me a few loose packs along with the blasters. I thought that was a nice gesture.

And I loved the sight of a fully stuffed box when I opened it up. None of these folded cardboard dividers holding six packs in place inside a mostly empty box. No sirree, this box was wall-to-wall packs!

My first 2022 baseball card was Jean Segura. It came from the loose packs because I decided to open those first. Now the question is whether or not I was able to complete the 220-card set from the 343 total cards in two blasters plus.

I've seen some 2022 Flagship on the blogs, but I haven't had any personally, so this is my first up-close look at the design. I have to admit that I like it more in person than I do on the screen. It's probably not my favorite of the last few years, but it's definitely not my least favorite. I love the Wisdom rookie cup. Max Scherzer in that all-blue Dodger alternate is jarring. But not as jarring as my first post-Cub cards of the traded trio on the bottom row.

Here are a few fun action shots from the base set. 

Mascots are the classic Opening Day insert. I don't collect mascot cards, but I always know that I'll pull some, and I can usually find someone who wants them in trade. I think I doubled up on all of these cards and Clark and the Parrot both came in both blasters and in the loose packs, so I have three each. I pulled seven mascots in each box and each box just happened to have the exact same seven.

I pulled one blue foil from each box. The Triple Play inserts are new this year. I pulled six of those over the course of two boxes. These are all the unique ones. That means that I pulled three Triple Plays in each box, and both boxes just happened to have the exact same three. I'm not going to collect the Triple Play set, but I am hanging on to one copy of the Vlad Jr. for my All-Star MVP collection and one copy of the Jose Abreu for my Rookie of the Year collection.

I always enjoy the Opening Day insert set. I like it this year, too. I like the transparent Opening Day font superimposed over the photo and the quintessential day-at-the-ballpark feel of the images. I pulled these five from each box, meaning that pulled the same five cards in each blaster and doubled up on all of them. If the collation had been better, I could have 10 of 15 cards already. As it stands, I don't know how much interest I have in tracking down the other ten of the set.

The insert set I am going to build is this Bomb Squad. My collation luck was better here, as I pulled 16 total cards and all were unique, putting me at 64% complete from the get-go. The checklist includes older legends, more recently retired players, and current sluggers.

I'd be more upset about the collation had I opened one single hobby box and had so many cards duplicated. I knew that might run into that problem by opening two separate boxes. What I didn't expect was to have two nearly identical boxes. I finished the break with 185/220 cards (84% complete). The big stat is that 96 of those 185 (52%) were doubled up. Yes, in two boxes over half of my base cards  and 45% of my inserts were duplicated. There was one major saving grace to help ease the pain of seeing doubles.

Beating the odds.

The odds of pulling a Dugout Peeks variation are 1:1,132 packs, or roughly 2 in every 3 cases. The thrill of a pull that is tougher than a case hit makes the whole break worthwhile. My past three years of Opening Day have brought a relic card, which is not guaranteed in an Opening Day box. I beat the odds again this year but did even better this time. 

With 35 base cards to go, I hope to complete the base set by the end of the year. As always, it was a fun break, even if it came a week late.


  1. Looks like I wasn't the only one with collation issues. I opened up three blasters and barely completed one set. The good news is I have some duplicates (and even a few trips). If you email me your wantlist I might be able to help you out.

  2. Do you have of your needs for Opening Day? I have opened three blasters and have extras.

  3. Excellent Dugout Peeks pickup! I also read about collation issues, but this year it seems extra fishy. How can the same inserts appear in two supposedly random boxes? I was tempted to get a second blaster of OD, but maybe not.