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Mets baseball cards of the week: 2016 Opening Day team set

It’s been a little while since we last talked baseball cards… a few new sets came out, and I even have two new 2016 Mets partial team sets to show you.

I’d really been looking forward to Topps Heritage, since this year’s set is based on one of my favorite classic Topps designs. Now that I actually have most of the cards in hand (thanks Stubby!), I find myself with mixed feelings.

So let’s save that for another day and focus on the product that wildly surpassed my expectations: Topps Opening Day. It’s been years since I actually bothered getting the Mets team set from Opening Day… the cards are almost identical to the ones from the Topps flagship set, but you don’t get all of the players because Opening Day is less than half the size.

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Except this year, I noticed half of the Mets in Opening Day aren’t in Topps Series One. Steven Matz and Lucas Duda will undoubtedly turn up in Series Two, most likely with the same image. Matt Reynolds and Ruben Tejada? Your guess is as good as mine… I could easily see Tejada getting bumped or digitally transformed into a Cardinal. (The better question is: “where’s David Wright?” but he did miss all but 38 games last season and is in Series One, so I’ll cut them some slack.)

(Tejada also has a pretty nifty super short print photo variation in Opening Day that I’d been planning to get, but the Mets released him before I had the opportunity and it has kinda killed my motivation. There are also super short print photo variations for Noah Syndergaard and Reynolds according to the Cardboard Connection’s gallery.)

So Reynolds’ first Mets baseball card (not counting autographs in Heritage and Spring Fever) was motivation enough for me to pick up Opening Day this year, but the set’s strength is in its inserts.

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Opening Day gave us Mrs. Met’s first baseball card appearance, as well as two cards commemorating the Mets’ playoff success last fall. (There’s also a less interesting Matt Harvey card in an insert set dedicated to teams’ alternate uniforms, but the Mets wear their blue alternates often enough that seeing Harvey in the home jersey that he always wears isn’t very exciting…still, what’s one “miss” in a product that’s so much better than I expected?)

In actual baseball news, Matt Harvey weathered a health scare, Bobby Parnell got released by the Tigers, Philip Humber retired after learning he wouldn’t make the Padres’ roster and Jeff Francoeur managed to make the Braves roster.

We’re just days away from baseball games that count…I’m looking forward to caring enough to watch more than one game a week. 🙂

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We gotta believe

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This was the view outside my window this afternoon… it hardly seems possible, but baseball season really isn’t that far away.

In addition to our usual off-season silliness – articles about how the Mets should retire Mike Piazza‘s #31 to “steal the Yankees’ thunder,” Las Vegas oddsmakers’ predictions about how many games your favorite team will win, and Jerry Seinfeld still trying to get Bobby Ojeda‘s SNY job back – there were actual glimmers of baseball news from Port St. Lucie.

While Bobby Parnell won’t address the media until tomorrow, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin says that the Mets’ once and future closer is only likely to spend the first two to three weeks of the season on the disabled list after having Tommy John surgery on April 8, 2014.

And while that’s definitely good news, I’m not all that concerned about Parnell’s absence even if it lasts longer. I’m confident that Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Vic Black can handle the job. Parnell will just give Terry Collins another option. (If anything, I’m concerned about whether Terry can effectively balance the bullpen workload or if he will overuse “favorites” while failing to get enough regular work for others.)

I certainly like the attitudes of our bullpen guys.

“I think this is the year,” Familia told NJ.com’s Mike Vorkunov.

When asked about Matt Harvey‘s talk about the Mets winning a World Series championship, Mejia told Vorkunov. “I think that’s good because we gotta believe,” he says. “If we don’t believe about our team, we’re gonna lose.”

On February 17th with icicles outside my window, I agree with Mejia. We gotta believe that we’re gonna see baseball weather, that the Mets are gonna be good, and this really could be the year.

What does the Mets’ interest in Grant Balfour say about the team’s bullpen & budget?

The Tampa Bay Rays signed reliever Grant Balfour to a two-year, $12 million contract to be their closer on Thursday.

This is interesting mainly because multiple reports suggested that the New York Mets had also made an effort to sign him to add depth to their bullpen.

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