Saturday, November 4, 2017

Showing Signs of Life at the Card Show

You may or may not have noticed my absence from blogging over the past few weeks.  It has all been for a very good reason.  On October 10, my wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Theodore.  Since then my life has been occupied with 3AM feedings, daytime naps, poopy diapers, and the occasional videogame to de-stress (Super Mario Odyssey is awesome btw).  I haven't even had time to keep up with reading blogs.

Newborn Theo

Newborns are supposed to feed at least every 3 hours so I figured I would have time in between those feedings to do card related stuff.  Nope. In between taking care of myself, my recovering wife, and making sure household chores don't pile up, time goes by quickly.

Now at the almost 1 month mark, things are normalizing somewhat.  My wife was even gracious enough to let me attend my local bi-annual card show.


The largest purchase of the day (literally) was a complete set of 2008 Upper Deck First Edition.  The big draw here was the price: $5.  The design is decent enough but the real kicker was the inclusion of a relic card.


It's not a card show without picking up a few additions for my Felix Hernandez collection.  I love picking up Topps Museum cards on the cheap ($1) considering these are from a high-end set. 

The playing window on Felix is closing soon.  He deserves the respect of being an opening day starter but next year he might be pushed back to #2.  That will be a sad day.


These cards are from this year's Topps flagship set.  Gimmicky as they are, I enjoy seeing players in their holiday/special event jerseys.  When I get several more cards of these alternate jerseys I'll have to branch them out into their own PC.

 

With the birth of my son, I've added a few players to my collection roster.  I'm collecting players who share a birthday with my son.  I plan to expand upon this idea in a separate post to come later.  Andrew McCutchen is a great player and I'm excited to start collecting him.  I don't know if this 2005 Topps Update card counts as his first rookie card but either way, it's a nice looking card.

The card on the right is from Panini's 2016 Father's Day promo set.  It is the thick stock parallel numbered to 50.  For only $1 it was an easy pick up.


Troy Tulowitzki is another player who shares a birthday with my son.  Tulowitzki had a down year last year with the Blue Jays, which hopefully will help soften the price on some of his cards.  


Typically I stay away from collecting Griffey in a Reds uniform.  I'm not upset or anything that he left Seattle, it's just that with so many Griffey cards I need some focus.  I made an exception for these cards since they feature the 2001 All-Star Game logo when it was held in Seattle.  As a bonus, this is a two-card oddball set from Ritz/Oreo.


The 2016 Panini Diamond Kings Rookie Signatures Silver is the only relic (and auto) set I plan to complete.  I have over half the set and was surprised to see a set need show up at the show.  


Retail relics from 2008 Topps. I love 2008 Topps. 


At the last card show I found a WSU Cougars Smokey set.  As luck would have it, I found another set at this show.  Since the cards are unnumbered I wasn't sure if I found the complete set or not.  Unfortunately, after checking the Trading Card Database, I discovered I am one card short: Drew Bledsoe.

It will be difficult to find that card available as a single so I might have to purchase a complete set.  Bummer.

That wraps up my card show for this year.  It was a nice feeling to get back into cards! Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Finding Gold in a Burlap Sack


On the hunt for a Bellinger rookie, I purchased a hanger box of 2017 Topps Heritage High Number.  I have his Topps Chrome rookie, which won't cut it.  I much prefer the design of Heritage of regular Topps. 

No Bellinger cards were found.  Instead, I found a few other nice rookie cards and one amazing non-rookie.


Asuaje, along with Manny Margot and others, was acquired from the Red Sox in the 2015 offseason in exchange for Craig Kimbrel.  He was promoted from AAA at the end of June this season and became a fixture at 2nd base.  He didn't much for power with only 4 home runs and 14 doubles in 89 games.  However, he had a respectable .270 batting average and .334 on-base percentage.  Asuaje also played well defensively this year.


Starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery pitched his way onto the Yankees' ALDS roster after going 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA this season.  He was a back-end starter this year and I doubt he will make a start in this first round.  Tanaka pitches Game 3 and I'd be shocked if Severino does not start Game 4.  Corey Kluber is scheduled to start Game 5 for the Indians so the Yankees might send Gray back out on the mound.


One of these cards is not like the other.  Actually, I'm not so sure.  Vogelbach is obviously Photoshopped into Safeco Field.  At first glance I thought Haniger's background was legit but now I'm not so certain.  Even if it is, the background looks much more realistic than Vogelbach's.

Haniger started off the year red hot, slashing .342/.447/1.054 through 21 games.  That was until he suffered an abdominal injury.  Upon his return, showed little signs of life, slashing .203/.303/.618 through 37 games.

Haniger suffered another injury, this time taking a Jacob DeGrom pitch to the face.  After coming back from that injury, he posted a slash line of .318/.344/.923 for 38 games.  A weird turn of events if you ask me.

Vogelbach on the other hand, he doesn't have a good excuse for his limited performance in the big leagues.  Granted he has a grand total of 44 plate appearances in the majors.  Sample size beware.  Still, it's clear the Mariners do not consider him a long-term solution at 1st base.  


I really like the look of these playing card inserts.  Trey Mancini is rightfully overlooked due to the likes of Judge and Bellinger but he was still a solid contributor for the Orioles. 

Finally, we have a non-rookie card that is something beyond what I would ever expect to pull from a retail box...


An on-card patch autograph of the likely 2017 AL Cy Young award winner, Corey Kluber.  The card is serial numbered 1 out of 25, which is even better.  There is something nice looking about having serial number 1.  The jersey stripe is also well appreciated.  Looking at the checklist for this insert set, I could have only done better by pulling a Derek Jeter. 

I'd normally be disappointed about not getting a Bellinger rookie but I think the Kluber autograph is a nice consolation prize.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Day 12: Returning to Normal

30-Day Challenge: Day 12


Now that I'm down stirring up trouble with Panini, it's time to return to the 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge!

  • Card: One of your favorite cards from the 1980s
    • 1989 Topps - #647 Randy Johnson
  • Music: A song from your preteen years
    • Rosenshontz - Crazy for Dinosaurs (1988)


My affinity for 1980s cardboard is not that high.  I was not a collector during that era.  Any cards I received were after the 80s ended. 

I selected this card because it's a Randy Johnson rookie card.  Although he was traded away from the Mariners far too early, I will always remember watching him pitch for Seattle. 


A song from my preteen years?  It is really hard to think back that far and remember what I was listening to.  The only thing that sticks out in my mind is Rosenshontz.  Rosenshontz was a children's music duo from the 70s and 80s.  I had (and still have) a couple of their tapes while I was living in New Hampshire that I listened to regularly.

The music and lyrics are obviously kid friendly.  At the same time, the songs are not so obnoxious that adults' ears would bleed.  The songs range from are a mix of folk and rock.  The song above sounds like it could be a Van Hallen song.

This song doesn't have it but sometimes it sounds like Bob Odenkirk is singing. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Panini's Response To Contest Error

A quick update to my post from yesterday alleging that Panini failed to award the proper winner of their Player of the Day contest.  Panini responded to someone else on Facebook asking about the contest results.  Their response is completely underwhelming.  


Their response boils down to a shrug of the shoulders. 

They claim the box score they referenced was incorrect.  What box score did they use? When did they check it? Halfway through the game?

They claim it is now too late to correct the problem.  I reached out to Panini on Facebook and Twitter within a couple hours yesterday after they announced the winner.  You mean to tell me it was too late to fix their mistake then?  Panini doesn't even offer to contact the correct winner and offer a consolation prize. 

Panini says they will be "moe careful" in the future.  The optics are not great when even their response contains a mistake.

Overall, this goes to show how little Panini cares (at least on the social media side) about their football card customers. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Did Panini Botch Its Own Contest Results?

Full Disclosure: I entered the Panini Player of the Day contest I am talking about.  My guess was not correct and therefore I have no stake in the outcome of this contest. For the record, I guessed 54 yards.

Panini has wronged the football card community. I am here to bring awareness to the issue.  The mistake appears to be so obvious, I must be wrong.  That's the only way I can explain this gross incompetence.   If am I wrong, please someone point it out for I cannot see it.

Panini, through its Player of the Day brand, held a contest for yesterday's Monday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. Panini asked people to guess the total number of yards (rushing, receiving, and returning) gained by rookie Ryan Switzer.  The prize was an autographed card of Ryan Switzer.

Exhibit 1a: Twitter Contest Post
Source: https://twitter.com/PaniniPOD/status/912366929372950530

The Facebook post was worded slightly differently but the entry was still the same.

Exhibit 1b: Facebook Contest Post
Source: https://www.facebook.com/PaniniPlayerOfTheDay/posts/1636444633090207


Switzer had a mediocre night against the Cardinals. He rushed for a total of 3 yards.  He had one punt return for 18 yards.  Finally, he had four kick returns for a total of 43 yards.  He had no receiving yards.  All told, Switzer earned 64 yards against the Cardinals.

Exhibit 2: Pro Football Reference Ryan Switzer Game Log
Source:  https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SwitRy00.htm; see also ESPN Box Score http://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=400951668

Today being the day after the football game, I checked their Facebook page to see if my guess was correct.  It was not.  Instead, I saw Panini award the card to a guess that was nowhere close to the box score results.

Exhibit 3: The "winning" comment on Facebook as awarded by Panini

Panini declared the winning guess to be 31 yards.  Less than half of the 64 yards Switzer earned according to the box score.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  I re-read the contest announcement to see if I missed something.  Nope, Panini said total yards.  

I double checked multiple box scores.  They all showed the same results.  I even used a calculator in case my mental math was incorrect.  Nope, the calculator showed 64 yards.

In disbelief, I went to their Twitter page to see if someone else was awarded the prize.

Exhibit 4: Twitter Reply

Same thing.  Panini declared the 31 yards was the right answer. Unbelievable.  

I posted a Facebook comment on the contest asking how 31 yards was the correct answer.  I also tweeted at Panini saying the same thing.  I have received no response.  

I'm probably making a big stink over nothing.  However, if Panini is making even small errors such as this one, how we can trust that Panini is not making errors elsewhere? Indeed, Panini has made quality control mistakes, including the Dak Prescott autopen controversy and the usage of Mitchell and Ness jerseys for game-used veteran cards.  

Again, if I am wrong please point it out.  I will have egg on my face but I am completely fine with that.  I just want to get to the bottom of this. Maybe Switzer had 33 negative yards that are not reflected.  Who knows?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Day 11: Finally Showing Off A Vintage Card

30-Day Challenge: Day 11


Like clockwork, fall is here.  The Mariners are out of the playoffs (17 year running) and the Seahawks are off to a sluggish start.  At least one bright spot is the play of the WSU Cougars Football team, who have played to an impressive 4-0 record.  As always, the true test will be the start of conference play.

  • Card: One of your favorite cards from the 1970s
    • 1973 Topps - #43 Randy Moffitt
  • Music: A song that you never get tired of
    • Phoenix - 1901 (2009)


If it is apparent by the past two posts in this challenge, I am not a vintage card collector.  This is not due to my aversion to vintage cards.  Instead, it's more related to the fact that I have not had much exposure to vintage cards.

I've become more aware of vintage cards though thanks to the blogging community.  There are a lot of nice vintage sets out there and maybe some day I'll track down a card or two.

I do have a couple cards from the 1970s, mostly thanks to Topps' buyback program.  I know that some collectors dislike the stamping of cards.  I agree it's not the best but at least I can say it helped me get some of my first vintage baseball cards.

The Randy Moffitt card earns the nod for today's entry due to it's bright color photo, simple design, and those sideburns.


Speaking of timeless, today's song choice is actually my #1 most listened to track according to last.fm.  I've been scrobbling with last.fm since 2006 and while it can't account for every song I've listened to over the last 10+ years, it comes close.  If I listen to a CD in the car I will make sure to play that album through iTunes overnight so I get the credit on last.fm.

The album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is more synth driven than their previous albums and marked a successful musical change.  1901 is likely the best representation of old and new Phoenix up to that point.  It gets me moving for sure.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dealing with Poor eBay Sellers


In my last trade post recap I posted about a Collector's Choice oddball I hadn't seen before.  I also mentioned that I found the complete 40-card set on eBay for $12 and purchased it immediately.  I received the cards a few days later. 

The cards were packed in a bubble mailer, which is always a great sign.  However, the cards were placed loose in a plastic sandwich bag that had clearly been used in shipping multiple times.  The bag was soft and wrinkled.  Nothing like a new plastic bag would look and feel. 

Due to cards being packaged loosely, over 25% were damaged in some sort of manner.  Dinged corners and bent edges.  The eBay listing did not disclose any such damage so the only possible explanation is that they were damaged in shipping. 


I sent the eBay seller a message explaining the situation and asking if he might have any replacement cards.  I didn't receive a response after several days so I then filed a refund request.  Again, I didn't hear a response for a couple days so I sent one more message.  After I didn't hear back, I escalated my claim to eBay.


Within an hour, eBay refunded my entire purchase.  Although the whole ordeal was a slight headache, the end result is that I received the complete set for free.  The cards are little dinged up but I think I can live with it.

This is the first time I've ever had to file a complaint with eBay.  Hopefully it will be my last.