I can't help getting excited about new releases, even releases packed with players whose names are unfamiliar to me. With 2017 Bowman releasing, I toyed with the idea of buying a group break slot or something, but couldn't quite bring myself to pull the trigger on it before the breaks I was looking at closed. Then I considered what a Hobby box would cost, and decided that wasn't really something I wanted to pursue, either. It seems like I've been on a bit of a cold streak recently with Hobby wax, and I hate that down feeling I get after busting a disappointing box of cards. But circumstances last night led to me driving past Target, and I found myself inside looking to see if Bowman had made it to the shelves yet. It had, and I debated between the rack pack, value pack, and blaster variations before selecting a blaster off the shelf.
The box promises 7 packs + 1 bonus pack, for a total of 80 cards inside. This is Bowman's 70th Anniversary, so there are a couple of retro inserts and buybacks stamped with a big foil '70' logo.
Here are the odds and the NPN information. I learned from Zippy Zappy's click-bait post that the paper autographs are retail-exclusive, so I guess that's pretty neat.
Here's the pack design, which mirrors the branding on the box. I didn't scan the back, because the insert odds are in larger print on the side of the box, and also because I am lazy.
One of the appealing / confusing things about Bowman is that there are three different sets within the one product. There is the base set, with mostly stars and rookies. Then there is the Prospects set, with minor league guys and maybe some recent call-ups. The Prospects set has a Chrome parallel, aptly called Chrome Prospects. So you get a mix of cards from those three sets in your packs, along with any parallels, inserts, or autographs you might encounter.
I got 33 cards from the base set in this blaster. I scanned some of the bigger names along with any Astros I found, as I don't know that Joe Musgrove is considered a big name.
I got 23 of the regular Prospects cards. I tried to scan names I've at least heard, but I am not good at following all of the minor league players. I can barely keep up with a handful of major league rosters. There are some cards in the Prospects set for participants in the World Baseball Classic, although I don't see any mention of ties to specific MLB teams. Maybe they are just guys who got buzz from the tournament. I don't know.
Here's the back of some of the Prospects cards. It looks like Bowman, with all of the lines and the bullet-point list of attributes or anecdotes for a scouting report on the player.
The Chrome Prospects cards are like the Prospects cards, only shinier. I got 16 of them in this blaster. One thing I find kind of weird is that there is usually also a Bowman Chrome product that comes out later in the year, so each year you get a couple of prospect-based Chrome sets, with one as a standalone product and one as a subset of the Bowman product. The Bowman brand is not for people who like simple card products.
And to round out the 'regular' cards, here are a few card backs from the Chrome Prospects I pulled.
I only pulled one parallel from this blaster, and it's so subtle that you can hardly even tell without seeing the serial number on the back. I was watching a Bowman break yesterday, and the guy had to flip through every stack of base cards from the back to find the Silver parallels. Without much of a border, the light silvering effect on the corners of the card is barely discernible. The odds say that a Silver Prospects parallel is a 1:47 pull, and this one is numbered # 364 / 499.
Topps has rolled back the number of parallels available in many of their Bowman and Chrome offerings, and I kind of miss all the crazy colors from earlier years. That's how I remember it, at least. Maybe I'm just looking at the past with Refractor-colored glasses.
I got five inserts in the box, with four of them being of the vertically-oriented variety. The Clayton Kershaw in the upper left is a 1951 Bowman Reproduction insert, a 1:16 pull. The Riley Pint card comes from my favorite recurring Bowman insert set, the Bowman Scouts Top 100, which is basically a ranked list of the top 100 prospects in baseball. I like ranked lists, and a list-based insert set is pretty awesome. With these being seeded at 1:8 packs, you can expect to find one per blaster. The Yoenis Cespedes card is a 1992 Bowman insert, seeded at 1:11 packs. The final insert in this scan is a Carson Fulmer ROY Favorites insert, which is seeded at 1:8 packs, or about one per blaster.
The final insert is this Talent Pipeline card, which falls 1:11 packs and features a player at each level of A-ball for a given team. It's a pretty decent idea for a prospect-based insert, if you ask me. I don't have much investment in the Diamondbacks, but this is a neat insert idea.
I did get one of the buyback cards, with the Bowman 70 foil stamp. These are seeded 1:12 packs, so you can expect one every 1.5 blasters. My buyback is a 2000 Bowman card of Junior Brignac, who never made it past AA ball.
I pulled a hit in this blaster, one of those paper autographs mentioned above. This is a Green parallel of Tanner Scott, who is working his way through the Orioles' minor league system. The odds say these Green autographs are pretty rare, falling 1:614 packs. This one is numbered # 89 / 99. It would be a pretty exciting hit, but it came out of the pack damaged. On the top edge it looks like it got pinched in something mechanical, leaving it with a substantial crease. Oh well, at least I didn't have to look too hard for the cloud around my silver lining.