Tuesday was supposed to be the day that pitchers and catchers officially reported to spring training. Instead, the MLB lockout is headed towards its third month and spring training has been delayed until March 5 at the earliest.
Nonetheless, baseball will be back at some point and Topps, the global leader in sports and entertainment trading cards and collectibles, wasn't going to let a little lockout stop them from celebrating the upcoming season, and their launch of the 2022 Series 1 Collection.
To celebrate, Topps rented out The Majestic Downtown, a historic hotel that first opened in 1924, and has been the premiere spot for events, weddings, and parties in downtown Los Angeles ever since. With its high ceilings, gold chandeliers, and one-of-a-kind architecture, The Majestic was the perfect venue to host Topps' exclusive event.
Decorated within the great hall of the hotel was giant Topps' cards of Dodgers' superstar Mookie Betts, Angels' slugger Mike Trout, as well as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Aaron Judge.
In addition to the food drinks, music, photo booths, and displays, there was a giant coloring book for guests to fill in with sharpies, as well as a Topps' display board of cards to "take one, leave one," and an incredibly cool and unique "make your own Topps card" booth.
The event was to celebrate Topps' 71-year history of baseball carts and the launch of the new Series 1 Collection that features a 330-card base set including modern day starts, new rookies, as well as team cards. 2021 American League MVP Shohei Ohtani was the collection's cover and number one card.
The first Series 1 pack of the 2022 season was ripped open by a surprise guest on stage, hall-of-fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
“Topps and baseball go hand in hand, like having a hot dog at a ball game," said Sandberg. "I really enjoy the signature series. I love it when they arrive at my house and I can sign them. I’m in my family room signing them. Nothin’ wrong with that!”
Sandberg told NBC LA that he didn't collect cards as a kid, but wished he would have. Instead, he focused on baseball, and was selected in the 20th round of the 1978 MLB draft by the Philadelphia Phillies.
After making his debut with the Phillies in 1981, he was traded to the Cubs just before the 1982 season. Starting at second base, he became a 10-time All-Star, a nine-time Gold Glove Award winner, a seven-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and the National League MVP in 1984.
After his playing career he managed the Phillies from 2013 to 2015, and said his favorite part of today's baseball is watching the younger players like Trout, Ohtani, and Fernando Tatis Jr..
After opening a pack alongside Michael J. Duarte of NBC LA, the duo made a blockbuster trade based on those aforementioned names: Trout and Ohtani for Tatis Jr. straight up.
Now that's a baseball blockbuster!
Check out the new 2022 Series 1 Collection as well as the newest releases at Topps.com.