For now, here's another thing that I absolutely cannot pass up when perusing a cheapo box. My first two posts on my utter weakness in the face of cards probably rang true to many of you. There are lots of collectors out there who like the Retro. Many people love the minis. Hardly ANYONE will identify with this post. For I am completely incapable of passing up...
MLB SHOWDOWN FOIL SHINIES
Over/Under on readers who know what the hell this stuff is is around 30%. I'll take the under. In 2000, Wizards of the Coast tried to take their wildly successful CCG concept and leap into the baseball card market. This had been done a couple of times before with the most spectacular flop coming from 1995 Donruss Top of the Order. At that time WotC was the CCG King and they thought they could storm into the market with a collectable baseball card game. Nope. They promoted the hell out of it and probably sold a lot in 2000, but each year the sales dwindled and it was dead pretty quick.
This Cal Ripken Jr. foil shiny card (and it is shiny, the scan doesn't do justice) if from the first set in 2000. Note the Edition 1 stamp at the bottom corner. This is to show that this is a card from the initial printing and thus, will eventually be rare when they have to reprint zillions of Unlimited editions of this card due to popular demand. This was a common trick in CCG sets to get you do buy cards as quickly as possible at the beginning of the release instead of waiting 6 months when the packs were all in the clearance bin because the new series (Limited Edition!) came out. While Limited Edition is always music to collectors' ears, this sucker is a holographic foil short print card inserted something like 1:27 cards. That's right, the odds were listed by the card, not by the pack. When I snagged this card from the dime box, I showed it to Chris Harris. "Hey! A foil Showdown card of Cal Ripken Jr.!" His response: "That and 50 cents gets you a cup of coffee." That's preposterous! I dare you to find a cup of coffee under a buck nowadays. Double DOG dare you.
While a product that combines baseball cards and a collectible card game is a good idea in theory, in practice it will almost always fail. This is why: People who collect baseball cards usually don't care a whit about playing games with the cards. People who play CCGs generally don't give a crap about sports. Now, there is a very small sliver on the Venn diagram of those two groups of people who like both, but it's not enough to support a product. And even the ones who get into it ultimately end up disappointed. The card collectors are frustrated because all the really good players in the set are short printed foils like this one. Old School Strat-o-Matic and APBA gamers are peeved because it's impossible to put together teams and leagues when a quarter of the cards are still missing after ripping two boxes. Hardcore CCGers just want to be able to have Pedro Martinez shoot a Fire Blast at Barry Bonds. Actually, I want that too.
Failed product or not, if I see one of these forgotten and unloved Showdown cards alone in the wild I feel compelled to take it home and have it join its friends in an official 2000 Showdown collector box with Chipper Jones on the front. And how can you pass up a shiny Cal! It's not possible. You have to buy the shiny Cal. It's the right thing to do.
The shiny Freddy Garcia... I ... I can't rationalize that.
Oh, if you want to actually play the bloody came it goes something like this:
Take the batter's On base number and add it to the pitcher's Control number.
Roll a 20 sited die.
If the result it lower than or equal to the sum, use the pitcher's card. If it's higher, use the batter's card.
Roll a 20 sited die again.
Look at the chart on the card to determine the result.
First roll is an 8. That means you look at the pitcher's card.
Second roll is a 16. That means Cal flew out.
Cal demands a rematch.
This time he rolls an 18, so you look at Cal's card this time.
Second roll is 16 again. Double for Cal!
Then there are defensive bonuses, and speed ratings and innings pitched counts and team building points and a bunch of Strategy cards which make things really really complicated. Just play Strat-o-Matic.
Oh, look. Speak of the Devil...