When the pandemic hit... blasters started disappearing off of retail shelves faster than hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Ultimately this didn't really impact me, because I haven't seen fully stocked shelves in the card aisle at my local Targets and Walmarts in years. In fact... I've written posts about how I'd have to travel to Portland and Vegas to find blasters in the wild.
Recently... I've actually started seeing blasters on Target's website... so I scooped a few up and decided to bust open a box of Gypsy Queen along with a box of Allen & Ginter for my birthday (which isn't actually until tomorrow).
I figured I'd have these two blasters battle it out using the following scoring guidelines that were created to fit my collecting interests:
My original plan was to go pack by pack... but unfortunately these boxes don't have an equal number of packs. Luckily when you factor in A&G's bonus pack, Gypsy Queen only has one additional card in their blaster... which I assume won't make too much of a difference.
Instead... I'll break down the blasters into the four categories: base cards, parallels, inserts/short prints, and autographs/relics.
Are you ready to rumble? Well... it's time. Fight!
Round 1: Base Cards
Larkin (+2), Thomas (+5), Smith (-1), Abreu (-2), Javier (-1), Clemente (+2),
Bregman (-1), Spahn (+2), Cole (-2), Banks (+2), and Sanchez (-2)
Allen & Ginter: +4 Points
Luzardo (+2), Murphy (+2), Olson (+2), Cronenworth (+2), La Stella (-1), White (-1),
Stanton (-2), Bauer (-1), Abreu (-2), Garcia (-2), and Gracia (-1)
Gypsy Queen: -2 Points
I can't believe I didn't pull a single A's or Padres base card out of my box of Ginter. The Big Hurt came through though and received points for being both a PC guy and a hall of famer. His five points made the difference as A&G starts out strong.
Round 2: Parallels
Perez (+4), Pache (+2), Cole (0), Caldwell (+2),
Parmelin (+2), Carter (+2), Musial (+4), and Bleier (+2)
Allen & Ginter: +18 Points
Allen & Ginter (Round 1 + 2): +22 Points
Kaprielian (+4), Moniak (+2), Merryweather (+2),
Mateo (+5), Pujols (+2), Muncy (+1)
Alvarez (+1), and Merrifield (+2)
Gypsy Queen: +19 Points
Gypsy Queen (Round 1 + 2): +17 Points
2021 Gypsy Queen Sepia #263 (#'d 06/99)
The Jorge Mateo rookie parallel (#'d to 99) was a cool pull and nice addition to my San Diego Padres PC. It also helped Gypsy Queen close the gap. After two rounds, Allen & Ginter holds a five point lead.
Round 3: Inserts & Short Prints
Freese (+2), Jeter (+2), Urias (+1), Bradley Jr. (+2), Matsui (+0), Berrios (+2),
Blue Spruce (+2), Eclectus (+2), Elephant Seal (+2), Machado (+4), Adell (+2), and Blue Shark (+2)
Allen & Ginter: +23 Points
Allen & Ginter (Round 1 + 2 + 3): +45 Points
Trout (+2) and Bogaerts (+2)
Gypsy Queen: +4 Points
Gypsy Queen (Round 1 + 2 +3): +21 Points
Allen & Ginter made it obvious that my point system is flawed. If I ever do this again, I will reduce the bonus points awarded to inserts and parallels. These days Topps pretty much inserts two inserts/parallels into each pack of A&G and at least one into each pack of Gypsy Queen. This gave A&G a huge advantage... which led to a landslide victory.
I was going to give bonus points to the Trout insert, because I really like that card and I only own a handful of his inserts. But in the end, it wouldn't have made a difference anyways. If I ever do something like this again, I will probably award points to favorite cards and possibly key rookies.
The final round was cancelled due to zero hits being pulled from these two blasters. So here's the final score in this year's Battle of the Birthday Blasters:
2021 Allen & Ginter Blaster: +45 Points
2021 Gypsy Queen Blaster: +21 Points
As with any box purchased and opened, there's going to be risk involved. I definitely did not pull what I consider to be $41.54 worth of cards. However there was value in the entertainment of opening packs and sorting cards. It also provided cards for future blogger care packages. So I'm not going to complain about this little birthday present to myself.
Happy Tuesday and sayonara!