2008 albuquerque isotopes team set review

2008 Albuquerque Isotopes team set
Official Score – INSIDE-the-PARK-HOMERUN
Manufacturer: MultiAd Sports
SGA sponsor: Waycor Materials, Inc.
SGA date: Thursday, June 12, 2008
Final game score: Isotopes 8 – Round Rock Express 7
Attendance: 6,040 (first 3,000 received free cards)
Retail price: $5.00

Checklist: 36 cards
1 – Waycor truck
2 – Dean Treanor (manager)
3 – Steve Phillips (hitting coach)
4 – Rich Gale (pitching coach)
5 – Steve Miller (trainer)
6 – Robert Andino (inf)
7 – John Baker (c)
8 – Chris Barnwell (inf)
9 – Daniel Barone (p)
10 – Kenny Baugh (p)
11 – Andrew Beattie (inf)
12 – Tagg Bozied (inf)
13 – Dante Brinkley (of)
14 – Brett Carroll (of)
15 – Marcos Carvajal (p)
16 – Frankie De La Cruz (p)
17 – John Gall (of)
18 – Alexis Gomez (of)
19 – Marc Gwyn (p)
20 – Gaby Hernandez (p)
21 – Paul Hoover (c)
22 – Bobby Keppel (p)
23 – Chase Lambin (inf)
24 – George Lombard (of)
25 – Dallas McPherson (inf)
26 – Jai Miller (of)
27 – Joe Nelson (p)
28 – Scott Nestor (p)
29 – Chris Seddon (p)
30 – Dallas Trahern (p)
31 – Brandon Villafuerte (p)
32 – Randy Williams (p)
33 – Jason Wood (inf)
34 – Steve Woodard (p)
35 – Orbit (mascot)
36 – Sophie

I would be exaggerating if I claimed that I was stunned when I saw that the very first card of the set contained the exact same photo used in the first card of the 2007 team set. In reality, I was overwhelmed as I was handed an entire uncut 19″ by 26″ proof sheet for my review… and didn’t notice the reuse of the image for several minutes. Even later I realized that the photo was different, but only slightly, and was able to determine that it was definitely shot during Media Day 2007. Oh well… I understand that the sponsor needs an ad in the set, and the card is still good for obtaining signatures of players who didn’t make the team set.

I was extremely pleased to see that the Isotopes selected MultiAd’s “Style N” template with the distinctive enlarged offset grayscale photo used for the background. Without question, this style lends itself very well to highlighting player autographs as any possible dark backgrounds are removed from the equation. Again, card thickness is typical for a minor league set. Similar to the Isotopes 2007 team set, the backs consist of two-color (black and red) printing over white matte, with player stats and short bios. Surface treatment is an “autograph friendly” clear coat that lends itself very well to taking a Sharpie signature. If you can resist touching it for a few seconds, or convince a player to not slide the card under another one immediately after signing, the signature will not smudge. Drying time may vary slightly in more humid places such as New Orleans or Des Moines as compared to the dry climate of the desert southwest.

The photography in this set is first rate! A tip of the cyber cap is in order to the fantastic photographers who shoot for Kim Jew Sports. It would not be a stretch to claim that this is easily the most aesthetically pleasing baseball card set produced for the Albuquerque Isotopes (to date).

In a set that could prove difficult for many fans to select a favorite, one card stands out to me above the rest- catcher Paul Hoover. Normally I’m not a fan of cards of catchers wearing all their gear and a mask, as it tends to obscure what they look like, but this particular card is fabulous as it captures the intensity of Hoover’s eyes as he stares into the dugout for signs from manager Dean Treanor.

For comparative purposes, this card of catcher John Baker lacks any distinguishing features that would set him apart from say, any random bullpen catcher- which is a shame as Baker has one of the more colorful personalities of all the players on the current roster. What proof of that do I have to offer? Check out this video that is often played between innings on the jumbotron to entertain hardcore and casual fans alike. How many of the other Albuquerque Isotopes and/or Florida Marlins players can you identify? (I’m BEGGING you to please vote for “Finding Nemo” as the next movie to be created for Topes Cinema!)

I would say that my second favorite card in the set is of hitting coach Steve Phillips. In spite of the black uniform, this photo is one of the better shots I’ve seen of Steve. Much like the aforementioned Hoover card, this one depicts the determined look that is often spread across the faces of Isotopes players and coaches during gametime.

Speaking of determined faces… I’m including this scan of infielder Chris Barnwell’s card since his tongue sticking out of his mouth illustrates that he is loading his cannon prior to unleashing a bullet across the field to throw out a visiting hitter well before he reaches first base. Ever since I was a kid, I have used my tongue to help guide my hand while I draw, color, or cultivate weeds out of the garden, so I understand and appreciate the usefulness of such a great aiming device. Another great thing about baseball cards- I just realized that Barny and I share the same birthday.

For a person named “Gaby,” Hernandez is a player who keeps pretty quiet.

Finally, when I recently asked Chase Lambin if he spent much time working on his sweet signature, he replied that he worked most of it out during high school when he should have been paying attention in class.

Overall, this set has a fantastic design that is backed by a strong checklist. You could get way less for your five bucks picking up some random pack of four to seven major league cards than investing in this wonderful 36-card team set. If you have a complete duplicate minor league team set that you would like to offer in trade, drop us a line with the details of your proposed trade. I’m pretty confident that people trading sets can ship for less than any retail outlet would charge you. Amazing how that happens, eh? I’m pretty sure they also have a few uncut sheets available in the Isotopes team shop, but they don’t seem to be available online.

Subjectively yours,

– Kris

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