Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Box Break - 2014 Panini USA Baseball

The yearly Team USA products are generally one of my favorites. The autos and jerseys aren't that big a deal to me, as I am after the base cards to get IP autographs. For whatever the reason (perhaps the $90!! box price), I haven't seen as many of the base cards offered through the various online sources, and with the autograph season right around the corner, I've been getting a bit nervous.

The base set of 81 cards has been going online for ~$30 which seems a bit much to me. I've had a $100 Amazon Gift card from work just lying around, so I decided to bite the bullet and pick up a box for roughly $100 after tax and shipping. Sigh (I am rationalizing this as a free purchase). Trust me, boxes are definitely NOT my thing. Why spend money on a crapshoot when I can spend the same amount of money and knowingly purchase what I want? Anyways, the box arrived in the mail today, and here are the results:

Personally, I don't think the base cards have as nice of a design as last year's product, but beggars can't be choosers. Turang, Cameron, and Funkhouser look to be the top prospects from the 15U, 18U, and Collegiate teams, respectively. Turang is the son of former big leaguer Brian Turang, and Cameron is the son of long time major leaguer Mike Cameron.

Each box promises 9 "hits", 7 being autographs and 2 memorabilia cards. Of the 4 base autos I received, I was most pleased with the Garza and Molnar, two local products who I have seen pitch in the past. I have the ticket stub from Garza's first collegiate win for Cal State Fullerton, and I saw Molnar pitch a no-hitter last year. I happened to be scoring the game, and he signed the scorecard for me afterwards.
The three additional autos are of players I have not heard of before. I do like the look of the Gold AU, even if it is a sticker auto.
Last but not least are the 2 memorabilia pieces. I am not familiar with L.T. Tolbert (apparently he is committed to South Carolina), but the Jumbo Jersey Patch numbered out of 20 is probably my favorite card from the box. Just a beautiful looking card. 

It appears that around 20 of the 65 unique player cards are of guys that may be in my area this year. As such, I will try to keep a running track of any IP successes during the year.