500 Level Fan Presents…The Packs Game

When I was a kid I was a huge card collector.  I would sometimes spend entire Saturday’s at the card shop, spending my allowance on packs of Upper Deck, or searching through boxes of commons to try and complete my sets.

It was always such a great feeling, opening a fresh pack of baseball cards.  The only thing that topped it was the excitement of pulling your favourite player.  For me, seeing the beautiful smiling face of a Tony Fernandez was worth the price of the pack all by itself.  In fact, pulling any Toronto Blue Jay was always good for a thrill.

If you read those first two paragraphs and got a smile on your face from the fond memories, AND if you like drinking enormous amounts of beer, then 500 Level Fan has the perfect game for you. 

We call it the Packs Game.

The Packs Game was invented a few years ago, after a Jays game that saw a few of us have one or two (or six) too many brown pops.  Walking along the concourse of the dome, we noticed a series of vending machines scattered all over the 500 Level (they are also on the 100 and 200 levels).  In the machines were rows upon rows of baseball cards.  And not just any baseball cards – the premium cards of my youth.

I saw 1991 and 1992 Upper Deck.

1989 Donruss.

1991 Fleer.

1991 Score.

They were all there.  And they looked glorious.

So what else would a group of guys in their 20’s do but buy a ton of them?  Of course we would!

Stopping at the nearest bar we could find, we ordered drinks and proceeded to invent the greatest game ever played.

Here are the rules:

It is very similar to the card game War, where everybody plays one card at a time, and whoever has the highest card wins.

In the Packs Game, everybody grabs a pack, preferably the same pack.  1992 Upper Deck is a classic.

With the cards hidden so nobody can see ANY (either yours or anybody elses), each player puts one card on the table.  Whoever has the highest priority card wins the entire collection of cards on the table.

How do you determine the highest priority card?  Like this:

First Trump – A Blue Jay, in full uniform.  If anybody pulls a Jay, say a Lloyd Moseby, or a Devon White, or a Dave Stieb, they win.

Second Trump – A Blue Jay, not in uniform.  This is a player who at one point in their career played for Toronto, but did not play for them on this particular card.  Maybe it’s a Tony Fernandez card when he was a Padre, or Rickey Henderson as an A, or Joe Carter as an Indian.  Because the actual Blue Jay logo doesn’t appear, they lose to the First Trunp.

Third Trump and Above – If none of the above were pulled in the round, it’s time to have fun.  The third trump is something that the entire group agrees upon before the game begins.  It can be a stat.  It can be geographical.  It can be physical.  Some popular plays in the past have been:


– Most Career HR

– Lowest Career ERA

– Most Stolen Bases in 1988


– Team closest to Toronto

– Hometown that is the earliest alphabetical


– Fullest moustache

– Fattest man

Once it is determined who wins the round, that player gets every card that was played.  At the end of the pack, the player with the most cards wins.

But that isn’t the fun part.  The fun part is this:

The player with the fewest cards is penalized.  Heavily.  By drinking.

If you’re at a bar, order a shot of something.  If you’re at home, make the loser do a shotgun.  Better yet, place bets on the outcome.  Once we had a man guarantee he wouldn’t lose or he’d shotgun three consecutive cans.  He lost.  He shotgunned.  The resulting burp was incredible.

So next time you’re at the Rogers Centre and you walk by the baseball card vending machine, do yourself a favour.

Stop and buy a few packs.

You won’t regret it.

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