Monday, August 14, 2017

An Alternative Baseball Card Day

I didn't make it out to a card shop on Saturday to pick up my pack of free Topps cards for National Baseball Card Day.  My schedule Saturday morning was packed.  When I woke up I had to finish cleaning the house and yard for my wife's baby shower that afternoon.  We will be having a baby boy at the beginning of October!

After cleaning up, I needed to leave the house before the two dozen ladies stormed upon my house.  I planned to see Dunkirk in IMAX, which didn't leave me any time to swing by my LCS. I did, however, have a chance to stop at Target to pick up a blaster and hanger pack of Topps Chrome since it is next to the movie theater. There was nothing of interest in my packs so I'm not going to bother showing them off.

Dunkirk in IMAX should be the only way you see the movie. The tension of the movie felt ratcheted up even more given that the screen was larger and the sound had greater depth. I've read some articles about how the movie is not completely accurate but these inaccuracies do not take away from the powerful nature of the film.

Anywho, while I didn't partake in the official pack openings, I did pick up a Seattle Mariners stadium giveaway set on eBay.  I didn't need cards of the jabronis Topps was giving away on Saturday. I wanted my Mariners!


Cano leads off the Seattle team set and is the Seattle representative in the main promo set.  This design is much better than the Topps flagship design.


A quick look at the back of the cards.  


This could be Iwakuma's last card as a Mariner.  He has been sidelined with injuries this year and with his age, the Mariners will likely move on from him.  



I appreciate the fact that Topps included a current season photo of Segura.  I can tell by the patch on his right arm.  




I do wish Topps would use a new photo of Mitch Haniger.  They have been using this photo since the Spring Training Topps Now set.  The Topps Now sets were supposed to be unique.  When Topps continues to use the same Spring Training photo, when Haniger has surely plenty of regular season photos, it is very disappointing. 


Diaz has not been the reliable, lock down closer that I had expected him to perform like.  He's still been pretty solid in the closer role.  He's young and I think he will get even better with more experience.  


This is my favorite card in the set.  The Paxton photo looks excellent with the 40th Anniversary patches prominently shown.  Paxton was pitching lights out this year until his most recent injury. This is his second stint on the disabled list.  He loves going on the DL. 


I believe every team set featured one legend card.  A Griffey card would have been nice but Edgar is nothing to sneeze at.  The Mariners retired his number over the weekend, making a big show about the retirement weekend.  In typical Mariners fashion, they lost every single game against the Angels. They sure do know how to disappoint their fans.

I hope everyone had a good National Baseball Card Day!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Trading with Condition Sensitive

This year I've opened only one current hobby box.  The usual suspect would be Topps but the Flagship design didn't interest me.  Other Topps boxes are overpriced thanks to the Aaron Judge gold rush.  None of the other set designs have grabbed me either.

What was the lucky box, then? It was 2016-17 Panini Presitge. I previously posted about this set, remarking how I enjoyed the cards.  Even after opening a box, I'm still a lot of cards short of the base set.

I saw Rosenort at Condition Sensitive post about opening some packs of Prestige and decided to see if I could chip away at my want list.


Is JR Smith copying Nik Satuskas or is Stauskas copying Smith? The world may never known.


I miss the old Raptors with their cartoon logo and purple uniforms.  I can understand why they would change away from it though.


The always elusive rookie cards. Diamond Stone saw a measly 7 games of playing time. Marquese Chriss saw far heavier playing time. He played in 82 games averaging 21 minutes per game. He's clearly the better rookie out of this trade.

Thanks for the trade, Rosenort!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Bo Knows Baseball, Bo Knows Trades

Bo over at Baseball Cards Come to Life! recently acquired a huge lot of cards and graciously listed the sets, offering to comb through the cards for people.  Not only that but he offered up a little game afterwards for a chance at even more cards.

Before I jump into the package, I want to give a shout out for Blue Tape and Pull Tab Awareness Week.  You can head over to Gavin's blog to read all about it.  Bo's trade came nicely packaged in a hard plastic container, so no complaints from me!

With the procedural matters out of the way, let's see what Bo found for my set want lists!


Here we have a selection of 2016 Bowman base. I know people typically pay no attention to the base set in Bowman but when I first got back into the hobby last year I didn't realize prospects were the main focus.  I like the designs of the cards so I'm working towards this modest 150 card set.  


I've slowly been working on series two of 2015 Topps and I am still about 100 cards away.  I'm in no rush to finish this set as these cards will likely be in high supply for some time.


2013 Panini USA Baseball Champions.  Last year I opened a cheap box of this set chasing Kris Bryant autos.  I came away with no major hits, unfortunately.  I did come close to a complete base set, minus the short prints at the end of the checklist, so I'd like to finish it mainly for that reason.


Back again we come to 2008 Topps, this time the Chrome set.  Not much to say about these!


A gold foil parallel from 2008 Topps.  The gold foil parallel isn't the most exciting.  Neither is Rick Van den hurk.


The last card in the trade was Edgaaaar Martinez from 2016 Stadium Club.  Loved by all of Seattle, here we see him in action as the Mariners' hitting coach.  Hopefully soon we will see him in the Hall of Fame.


This set of 1990 Topps Traded was not part of my wish list but as part of Bo's game.  As a set collector I can really appreciate getting any complete set, even if it was not a set I was after.  Notable rookies in this set include Wazzu star John Olerud, overhyped Kevin Maas, David Justice, Todd Hundley, and current Mariners TV color commentator Mike Blowers.

Thanks for the excellent trade, Bo!  I'm working on a return pack and hope to get that out to you soon!


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Seeing Gold

536 Gold 2008 Topps + Update Cards

I've never been one to chase parallel sets. It's hard enough as it is chase the best set.  I can understand why people put together "Frankensets" as an easier way to make a parallel set.

2008 Topps has only four parallels (/2008, /67, /1, and non-serial numbered gold foil) so a Frankenset does not make much sense.  I had my eyes on a couple gold starter sets for 2008 Topps on eBay. After selling some Magic cards on eBay I decided to splurge seeing as how this is my favorite set.

Between Topps and Topps Update, I acquired 54% of the gold parallel set.  Not a bad haul! The seller said he has another 200+ gold cards that he could sell, which I'm seriously considering.  The toughest card to find will be the gold Kershaw from Update.


Many of the gold Update cards had slight printing issues, unfortunately. The cards have a gold base and then a gold sparkly printed on top.  This resulted in an overlap of the gold printing.  The flagship cards did not appear to have the same printing issue.


As you can tell, the gold circles do not match up. This is the worst of it.  The rest have minor issues, if any.

Lastly, some pointless trivia for each set:

Flagship highest serial number 2004 and lowest serial number 3.  Topps Update highest serial number 1975 and lowest serial number 301.

Being only 54% complete for the sets, it makes me wonder, have you ever completed a parallel set?


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Day 7: 90s Vibes

30-Day Challenge: Day 7


Happy Fourth of July to all the Americans out there!  By the time you are reading this I should have hopefully finished a 5K race that I decided to run at the last minute.  Why not preemptively burn off those hot dog calories?

  • Card: A card you bought in person and the story behind it
    • 1994-95 Sports Stars USA - #123 Ken Griffey Jr. 
  • Music: A song to drive to 
    • HOME - Resonance


I can tell you exactly two things about this card:
  1. I bought it at a card shop in Concord, New Hampshire off Main Street in the 1990s
  2. I paid $5 for the card, with the screwdown case
There is no particular story behind this card.  My parents took me to the card shop to buy probably some Magic cards and I spotted this card behind the display case.  The big price tag (for a kid), the shiny lettering, and the fact that it was in a special case were all highly influential in my decision to buy this card.


Unless I am mistaken, this card is unauthorized.  I had no idea back then though.  All I knew was that it looked cool.  It is well made and I don't think I will break it out of its case any time soon.

Griffey ruled the 90s.  There is no doubt given his influence on a little kid that couldn't even stay up to watch his games on the West Coast.

The Simpsons have been deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric of America ever since the show took off in the 90s.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise that the 90s was the best and only good decade for the show.



A while back I stumbled upon the musical genre of  SIMPSONWAVE  (the stylizing is intentional).

What the Hell Is Simpsonwave, you ask?  Simpsonwave is a genre of Youtube music videos consistent of classic Simpsons footage overlayed with a VHS quality filter and washed out colors. The soundtrack to the videos is exclusively vaporwave, which is a type of electronic music that has many other influences I don't know even bother to know outside of looking it up on Wikipedia.

The genre is perfectly encapsulated in the above video.


The essence of the song is distilled into this 6 second clip originally posted on Vine.  I recommend watching the Vine as the music quality is better and gives you a nice bass: https://vine.co/v/eYrrPU2wbul

The Vine clip is what I'm really into most about this song.   During the course of drafting this post I listened to the above video twice.  That's a six second clip, looped for 10 minutes, twice.

I can picture it now: open road; windows down; summer weather; no destination.  

I can drive to this song. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Beginning to Breakdown a Heap of Cards

Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown recently celebrate his 1000th post on his blog.  Let me just say that is a helluva lot of posts.  My hat is off to you Gavin because that takes some dedication.

To celebrate, he held a contest giving away a medium flat rate box of cards.  Thanks to the ineptitude of the Red Sox and Tigers' pitching staff, I came away as the lucky winner!  A week or so later, a heavy box of cards showed up at my door step.  True to his word, the box was filled with cards. Close to 2000, I'd say.

Thanks Gavin for all the wonderful cards!

I have not gone through every card but I will do my best to capture the essence of the package.


First up we have 2017 Topps Archives.  I really liked the sets they chose to recreate this year, with 1992 Topps probably being my #2 favorite set overall.   If, and when, 2008 Topps makes it's appearance in Archives, I'll be all over it.  Anyway, I put collecting the '92 cards on the "maybe someday" list but now I'll have to see how many more I will need.  


Here are a few random singles that made up a portion of the box.  There was a nice amount of cards from the 90s and 2000s that I've never seen so I'm excited to go through them all.


They weren't all a decade or two old.  Gavin included a good assortment from cards from the last few years.  Anything pre-2016 is likely absent from my collection and even 2016 has quite a few set needs.


Hot rookies! I feel like the buzz surrounding Benintendi has cooled off whereas Judge is grabbing the headlines launching baseballs into space.  These are both great cards to have.



 Since you've made it this far, it's time to treat you with an autograph.  I do not know much about Tony Oliva.  He appears to have been an excellent player who would likely be in the Hall of Fame were his career not derailed by injuries.  AL ROTY, 8x All-Star, Gold Glove Award winner, and 3x batting champion.  He's also a 2x World Series Champion with the Twins as a coach.  Quite the baseball resume.


There was a small lot of Rays, which makes me wonder whether Gavin had/has a Rays PC or was PC certain Rays players?  I'm guessing it is the latter.  Included is one half of the Mariners hair sensation, Taylor Motter.  Motter's bat has struggled lately but he still brings speed and defense.



Gavin caught wind that I was trying to build up my Padres collection and since he is a Padres fan himself, he was happy to spread the Padres love.  New, old, Tony Gwynn, you name it, it might be in the box.  If Tony Gwynn and/or the Padres do not move into the Top 2 for my player and team collections, I will be very surprise.


I'll need to buy a new pack of mini card sleeves as there are a lot of Mariners and Padres minis.  I know some people aren't a fan of the minis but I sure am.  



If the Padres don't overtake the Mariners for the #1 spot in my team collection, it will be because the box contained many Mariners cards.  I can say with confidence that at a minimum 90% of these cards will be new to my Mariners collection.  Looking through these cards is a nice trip down memory lane of all the Seattle studs (Harold Reynolds, Felix Hernandez, Alex Rodriguez) and duds (Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, Stephen Pryor).  


The box was not all baseball. I collect a little bit of everything, sports and non-sports, and this box fills that niche.   


I minored in U.S. History and these Heritage cards are right up my alley.


I think this marks the first Olympics cards to enter my collection.  These are from the 1992 Olympics.  I'll have to check for some cards of the Dream Team. 


A handful of college football cards.  Seeing these cards makes me upset that Panini has an exclusive license.  Upper Deck produced some nice cards.


I majored in Political Science and I'm a politics junkie.  I have a few of the 2016 Decision cards so I'm ecstatic to receive more.  I think the guy behind the Bench Warmers cards is the brain behind the Decision set.   


Speaking of Bench Warmers--there were a bevy of beautiful babes.  Out of all the cards I collect I probably won't start collecting these so they are up for the ogling, I mean, taking.  


You won't catch me listening to contemporary country music so you likely won't catch me keeping these around in my collection (any country music fans interested?).  I do not mind older country such as a Hank Williams.  For modern stuff, I will take some alt-country like Ryan Adams or Wilco though.  


Now the Beach Boys I can get into.  I've seen boxes of these for cheap on Blowout and I've been tempted to buy a couple hoping to get a Mike Love autograph.  


 I get e-mails from Topps advertising their newest card of the day and the Garbage Pail Kids make an appearance at least once a week.  The new GPK cards aren't shocking or grotesque like the ones from the 90s.  Yet the cards still find a way to be relevant with clever titles.


A manufactured patch card from Captain America during his pre-superhero days.  At least I think that's when it is from. I don't keep up with Marvel.


Getting close to the end. Hang in there!  Here we have two 2004 Topps Retired Signature Edition cards.  One of Bill "Between the Legs" Buckner and the other of Vida "I've got more WS Rings than Buckner" Blue.


Gavin does an excellent job with his custom cards.  


*takes a deep breath* Last and certainly not least, the crown jewel of the box, the icing on top of the cake: a Wade Boggs autograph on one of Gavin's Simpsons customs.  Not only that, it is stamped 1 of 1!  When Gavin said that this was the mystery card prize it took me no time at all to decide that this was the one I wanted.

A unique card featuring the Hall of Famer from one of the best Simpsons episodes.

Phew! This box of cards will keep me busy for weeks trying to input all of them into my collection.  I'm only having slight anxiety at trying to figure out where I will store them all as I ran out of room in my shoe box house months ago.  Tough problem to have, right?

Thank you again to Gavin for your generosity and the thought you put into this package.  I truly appreciate it!