If you’ve ripped into packs of 2018 Topps Series 1, odds are that you’ve seen one insert that you may not realize is a bit different than the rest.
It’s the Topps Home Run Challenge, which is a new contest card (one per hobby box) that weaves some fantasy baseball elements into your collecting experience in one simple way — predicting home runs.
The Jake Lamb card you see here? It’s what I found in a box of 2018 Topps that I ripped yesterday, so I opted to see what it was all about.
I read the instructions, scratched the code and hit the link on the card — but only after I scouted Lamb’s splits for last season and noticed that he had the most home runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers and most of his homers were at home. Then I checked the season schedule and, what do you know, his Arizona Diamondbacks host the Dodgers to open April. I picked Game 3 of their series on April 4, figuring deeper into the rotation might be better odds for a home run. (In other words, aiming to avoid Clayton Kershaw.)
Now, of course, there might be a better strategy for these cards — waiting until a player gets on a hot streak and then enter your code for example. (You have to enter them by 11:59 p.m. the day before.) Or, you wait to avoid injuries. Plus, if you happen to enter a code and there’s a rainout — not an issue in Arizona — your code isn’t rescheduled like the game is. Or, perhaps, you want to pick a day where there’s a doubleheader to better your chances? (Yes, that’s possible but you can only win one time per card.) Then, of course, there are the issues of bench time and Disabled List stops … now I wonder if I should have entered my code at a later time.
If your player homers on the day you select, then you get a parallel card of him (a different one each month for those who pull players who homer often) and then you’re entered into a monthly drawing for memorabilia pieces, autographed baseballs and other possible items from Topps. A grand-prize winner is a trip for two to next year’s Home Run Derby at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
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