Sunday, May 13, 2018

The LaValley of the Shadow of Death (clean version)

[Ok, my first draft of this post was angry and obscenity-laden. Let's take a deep breath and try it again with a better mindset.]

So Gavin LaValley got a card in 2018 Bowman. It's first first mainstream card since 2014 when he was in Bowman Draft and Panini Prizm Draft, both cards I rainbowed pretty hard, eventually getting down to a handful of scare parallels remaining. So I figured I might see about going hard after his 2018 Bowman card, too.

A while back, Mr. LaValley shared photos on social media of him signing 2018 Bowman autographs, but they didn't end up in this product. I guess that means they're going to be included in 2018 Bowman Chrome..? Either that or they ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor, I suppose.

But still he's got a base card ("paper") and a Chrome card in 2018 Regular Bowman. I figured I'd get a good foothold in a rainbow and I ended up winning an auction for a player break of 12 cases (8 JUMBO BOXES + 4 HOBBY BOXES). I was pretty sure that would land me some good stuff. The only question I had was if I'd walk away with only 1 printing plate or maybe I'd get lucky with 4 or 5 printing plates.

Well, queue the sad trombone. Not even one stinking base refractor! Just a fat stack of each base card and NOTHING ELSE. Wow. By far the worst player break I've been involved in. Never have I gotten such a brutal shaft, and this was easily the largest break I'd ever gotten into, so it just doesn't make much sense from a mathematical standpoint. I was crestfallen when I went through the package. I almost quit collecting right then and there. Twelve freaking cases -- not boxes, CASES! -- and not even one lousy parallel? That's ridiculous. The cardboard gods really kneed me in the crotch there. I mean, it only cost me a bit over a blaster, so it wasn't a huge financial hit, but still devastated me emotionally.

To the breakers credit, he threw in a bonus pack of 2018 Series One and a pouch of penny sleeves. That was a nice gesture, I guess. (There wasn't anything good in the pack.)

And anyways, I decided I'm not going to rainbow this card now. Too painful. Plus, turns out there are 5x7 Topps website-only parallels of it. Listen up: I vow right now here today to NEVER rainbow any card that has any 5x7 versions. I HATE oversized cards. Maybe an occasional big oddball can make it's way into my collection, but those 5x7 cash-grabs Topps puts out with various numbered parallels really irk me. I will never chase them.

2014 Panini Prizm Draft sure were ugly cards, but you gotta respect that there were no oversized versions. And no printing plates to chase! That makes for a very supercollector-friendly rainbow. I recently scored the /10 gold parallel of the non-auto.

That leaves me with only one last card for the MASTER RAINBOW. Just need the non-auto 1/1 "Infinite Black Prizm" (Panini's version of a superfractor). I've never seen it for sale, but I'll keep an eye out and hope to land it someday. I've got the auto version of it, as you can see in the upper right.

While I'm not happy with how '18 Bowman treated me, I'm still trying to score low-numbered LaValley parallels when I can find them reasonably priced on eBay.

Paper yellow plate.

Chrome Magenta plate.


As for LaValley, last I checked he was hitting .214 in AA. Hmm.. well. I hope he starts raking and becomes the next Mike Trout, but regardless, it was quite the ride supercollecting him for a while there.

Thanks for reading.


  1. I don't blame you for being so mad. Not one refractor in all those packs/boxes? How is that even possible? This is why I stopped prospecting-way too many damn parallels, and it's way too hard to get anything decent.

  2. What a pain! I definitely see your frustration.

  3. Man that's rough. I'd want to completely shut down and quit the hobby too (this is why I refused to take part in any breaks last year for Torrens' rookie cards in Update). I know I mentioned this already on Twitter but I want to repeat my sentiment that either you joined a rigged break, or overproduction on Bowman has gotten so insane that it's gotten harder to pull parallels.

  4. I agree with ZZ. Sounds rigged to me.
    I've participated in breaks before and felt shorted on occasion. Once I even called out the breaker and it turned out he was a teacher who was having kids from his class sort cards after school. He blamed them for not including my parallels and a good chunk of my paper and chrome cards in my package. I didn't buy any of it and told him I crunched the numbers and expected X number of paper and Y number of chrome cards from the break plus at least a handful of parallels. I chastised him for fabricating a story and trying to scam the customer. I received a second package the next week... my paper and chrome cards were there, but no parallels.
    Many breakers don't show every card in their videos and I think they try to skim a set or two off the top thinking no one will notice and call them on it. Who knows what they do with all the parallels they don't show.
    All in all, it is enough to really grind my gears and certainly makes me not want to play with my cardboard anytime soon. Argh.
    I feel your pain.

  5. That is too many parallels of one card to collect. How are you supposed to get all of them?? Topps needs to stop! Congrats on the printing plates and super fractor.
    Also congrats on getting closer to completing the rainbow on the Prizm card. I know how you feel just missing 1 card. I am looking for a 1/1 ‘16 Elite Extra Edition Gold Status card. I would try for the autographed versions, but my wife would kill me, and I believe one of the 1/1s has already been pulled and I have no way to track it.

  6. I think the odds on pulling parallels have gone down significantly over the last couple of years. My inclination is to believe that there is an awful lot of Bowman being printed. The big rookies of the last couple of years have pushed box prices higher, and I think print runs have also gone up quite a bit as the card companies try to cash in.

  7. That just seems to defy all odds out of 12 cases

  8. Raz put my thoughts out here better than I could have. I've cut way back on box purchases. The only breaks I've ever done were with Nachos Grande. Although we already know he's an honest collector, I appreciate the time he takes to show each card. As far as those 5x7s go, I own two - Ty Cobb and Altuve, my two main PC guys. I picked up an Altuve 'Finest' a couple years ago. The photo gave it a sharp appearance - gold/10. Glad I got it cheap cuz it may be gold but it's plain paper on heavier stock. Nothing Finest about it.