Saturday, May 22, 2010

2010 Topps Attax: Battle of the Ages. Like the Concept, But...

I mentioned this past Thursday that I bought Topps' first Topps Attax "theme deck" called "Battle of the Ages." While I don't have the complete regular set either Topps Attax product, (from either year...that is something I'll be working of these months), I thought getting this product, especially because of the idea of "retired legends vs. today's stars" really appealed to me. Imagine, pitting Nolan Ryan against Ryan Howard in an Attax battle (you know how the game is played right???)

Photo gratuitously borrowed from Beckett Media. Thanks.

I first saw the set about a week ago at Meijer's, and didn't think much of it, only because I wasn't sure what was going to be in it. I mean, there was no checklist anywhere, and who was to say that this wasn't a glorified "starter kit." And that there would be a whole slew of cards relegated to this product that would have more legends to seek out in packs and on the bay. So I put it back on the shelf and went back to work. Then this past Wednesday, the boys and girls at the number one source of the Hobby wrote about it. After reading it, I gave the product a second look. With Meijer's selling the tins at under $10.00, "what's the harm?" I thought. With the tin in one hand, and a couple of packs of 2010 Topps in the other hand, I proceeded to the parking lot (paid for the cards first of course), and opened the tin.

It's a really large tin, and there is a lot of black foam used to protect the cards. I don't know how environmentally friendly that would be (and I don't know why I even bothered writing that bit of information now...), but the cards were well protected. There were two separate decks inside, one of the legends, and one of the modern day superstars. Each deck contained 17 cards, 15 regular cards and two foil parallels (I'm guessing that each player in the deck gets one and that these are seeded randomly...don't quote me on it). There is also a game "mat" (all trading card games have some kind of mat or playing board), that also doubles as the instructions on how to play the game. For those that want to know how the game is played, here are the rules:
  1. Pick your players. Each player (2) will need 13 cards for the game: 9 batters and 4 pitchers.
  2. Player 1 selects a pitcher and places the card face up in the "pitcher match up space" (the pitchers mound. Player 2 selects a batter and places the card face down in the "batter match-up" space (the batter's box).
  3. Player 1 calls out a pitch and player 2 turns over their batter. Compare ratings. If the batter's rating is equal or higher, he scores, and goes to the "runs" stack (no running to first base, no hitting a home's a run). If it's lower, he goes to the "outs" stack. So it's either you get a run or your out. That's it.
  4. Repeat step 3 two more times. Use a new pitcher and batter each time. Remember, you can only use each pitcher once per inning. After player 2 has been at bat three times (no three outs required if he scores a run, any combination of runs or outs totalling three), the side is retired. Now player 1 is the batter and player 2 is the pitcher. Battle it out three more times. This will complete the first inning. There are two more to go.
  5. Once all 9 batters have been used by both players, the game is over. Count the number of cards in the "runs" pile. The player with the most runs wins. In case of a tie, players can go into extra innings by picking three batters and three pitchers. Play a complete inning to break the tie.
That's all there is to it. Now, when I bought this stuff last year, and I taught my daughter how to play, I made sure that she picked one player from each position (1b, 2b, 3b, ss, 3 of, 1 c, 1 dh), and then at least 2 starting pitchers and 1 reliever (the extra pitcher could be a starter or a closer...didn't matter). At least this way the "lineups" used has some semblance of a regular starting lineup. So after looking at the rosters on both sides, I was thoroughly disappointed. Nothing wrong with the players chosen, but take a look who made each of the squads...

(ignore the space)

Legends Lineup

  • Stan Musial, 1b, Cardinals
  • Jackie Robinson, 2b, Dodgers
  • Mike Schmidt, 3b, Phillies
  • Cal Ripken, Jr., ss, Orioles
  • Ty Cobb, of, Tigers
  • Rickey Henderson, of, Athletics
  • Bo Jackson, of, Royals
  • Reggie Jackson, of, Yankees
  • Mickey Mantle, of, Yankees
  • Babe Ruth, of, Yankees

Legends Pitching Staff

  • Bob Gibson, Cardinals
  • Jim Palmer, Orioles
  • Nolan Ryan, Rangers
  • Tom Seaver, Mets
  • Cy Young, Spiders

Modern Stars Lineup

  • Prince Fielder, 1b, Brewers
  • Ryan Howard, 1b, Philles
  • Albert Pujols, 1b, Cardinals
  • Evan Longoria, 3b, Rays
  • Alex Rodriguez, 3b, Yankees
  • David Wright, 3b, Mets
  • Derek Jeter, ss, Yankees
  • Manny Ramirez, of, Dodgers
  • Ichiro Suzuki, of, Mariners
  • Joe Mauer, c, Twins

Modern Stars Pitching Staff

  • Zack Greinke, Royals
  • Jon Lester, Red Sox
  • Tim Lincecum, Giants
  • CC Sabathia, Yankees
  • Justin Verlander, Tigers
Neither team has a complete lineup. The legends lack a catcher (what, no pictures of Bench, Fisk, or Campanella???) The modern stars lack a second baseman (take your pick with Pedroia, Hill, Utley, Phillips), missing a third outfielder (take your pick...anybody would have worked). Neither team has a closer (Eckersley, Sutter, Fingers, Hoffman, Rivera, Cordero). That's just being nitpicky...the rules do not say that you HAD to have a player for each position. You just needed 9 batters.

Some of the choices of players that did make the cut leave me scratching my head. Of the fifteen "legends" one is not a Hall of Famer. Don't get me wrong (and don't send me nasty e-mails about it), I'm not dissing his achievements. But presently, I don't see why Bo is even in this set (Bo knows somebody at Topps...dig on an old commercial slogan...). Jon Lester? Really??! What, Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay not available??? No Buehrle? No Ubaldo? Is Lester even the ace of his staff???

Overall, if you like Topps Attax, this is a great variation to play. And this does put the "legends vs. modern day players" concept to life in card form. But if you were hoping for more players, or more legends to play with (or modern day stars for that matter...I guess you could use regular Topps Attax cards but the backs of these are so different...whatever), you will be seriously disappointed.


JayBee Anama

1 comment:

Offy said...

I might be biased, but I don't have a problem with the inclusion of Lester. The only reason he's not the ace of the Red Sox staff in name is that Beckett got these first. Laster has definitely outperformed him over the past two seasons though. He had his usual slow start this season, but he's in a groove now, has won his last 4 decisions and is averaging more than a K per inning. He'll most likely win 20 games this season after winning 18 last year.

There's six Yankees in the set so they had to fit at least one Red Sox player in there.