Friday, April 14, 2023

Hey Now! Hey Now! Hey Now!

It feels like ages ago that Mariners broadcaster Dave Sims unleashed his signature catchphrase "Hey Now!" after Cal Raleigh rocketed the Mariners to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.  The Mariners' limping start to the 2023 season hasn't instilled confidence in the fanbase that we'll see another playoff run.  Deep breath. It's still early.  

2016 Topps Now - #281 Ken Griffey Jr.

I've been a supporter of Topps Now since the beginning in a literal sense and figurative sense.  I believe my first Topps Now purchase was of Griffey's induction to the Hall of Fame in 2016.  Before Topps Now, would we have ever had a card like this in a main set? Perhaps.  But unlikely.  In 2016, I went on to purchase other cards capturing moments like Felix Hernandez becoming the Mariners all-time win leader, Hunter Renfro hitting a ball onto the roof of the Western Metal Building at Petco Park, and former Mariner Mike Montgomery throwing the final pitch of the Cubs' historic World Series victory.

I put my money where my mouth is so here is a list of my Topps Now purchases to show my support for the idea:

Year Cards Purchased
2016 9
2017 21
2018 38
2019 54
2020 19
2021 10
2022 16
2023 2

It's easy to forget the highlights of a 162-game season so Topps Now helps memorialize those moments.  Some Topps Now moments can feel pointless at the time and even more so when looking back on them.  I like looking at a Topps Now card and remembering, "oh yeah, this happened."  

2022 Topps Now - #899 Julio Rodriguez

Last year, at the only Mariners game I attended, Julio Rodriguez achieved a rookie milestone.  The next day, Topps released a card of that moment.  The memory of that game probably would have been lost in the cavern of my mind but now I have something that can anchor me to that time.  Although I captured my own moment of Julio's achievement, it's nice to have a card to go along with it. 

At some point in the past few years, Topps added random parallels to Topps Now orders.  Topps likely added this chase element because the pre-sale market on eBay was significant.  Why pay $10 on Topps' website for a card when I could get the same thing for $5 on eBay?  Now with the parallels, buyers are incentivized to buy directly from Topps for a chance to hit a parallel.  I'll admit that I am now more likely to buy from Topps.  I don't do it especially when I know a card is going to have a high print run, thus decreasing my odds.

As I was going through some of my Topps Now purchases from last year, I realized I hit two parallels across my half-dozen or so orders.  Even though no typical baseball collector would be excited about hitting a Luis Torrens parallel, when you buy Topps Now for fun it makes the parallels that much sweeter.  

Blue Parallel - #/49

Red Parallel - #/10

The Topps Now program has evolved through the years and the number of cards each year is dizzying.  I'll continuing buying cards that make me remember the Mariners' successes and other fun moments throughout the season.  Without feeling like I need to buy every card, even of the Mariners, I'll enjoy the ride.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

COMC 10-Count

It's been a almost exactly six months since I last made a post.  I've made no posts in 2019.  It's time to change that.  Fortunately, I have this post I originally drafted and finished around Christmas of last year. Life is so hectic and free time is so short I rarely have the energy or desire to blog.  If my heart's not into it then why force myself to do it?

Now that my son is older he requires so much attention and energy.  The two or so hours between picking him up from daycare and bed is a non-stop whirlwind of play time, dinner, bath, and getting ready for bed.  By the time he's asleep around 7 PM, I'm pooped.  Then I have to worry about the stress of keeping the house together so I any sort of downtime feels like a very guilty pleasure. Plus, baby #2 is on the way is T-minus two months, which means life is going to be even busier.  Unbelievable! I'm sure my hectic life is no different than other parents out there but it doesn't make it any less real. 

Anyway, let's get on to the cards---

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I requested shipment of my 100 card COMC order.  It's an order that had been building since at least the spring.  The plan is to show off 10 cards at a time from that order over the next 10 posts [spoiler alert: this won't actually happen].  I haven't looked at the full order so it will be fun for me as a go through each card.

The "surprise" of remembering what I bought is one of the best parts of ordering from COMC.  

2017 Panini Encased

Encased is a high end set, featuring 5 cards per box and only 1 base/parallel card per box.  With ridiculous collation like that I'd be crazy to put together the 100 card base set, right? Well, yeah, you're right.  But I did it anyway in a Frankenset fashion.  Featuring both the basketball and football releases, I put together a full 100 card set to include at least 1 card from each team and 1 parallel. It was a significant undertaking and a lot of fun.  I didn't waste any money on actually buying a box so everything was purchased on the secondary market. One day I'll show off the Frankenset.  For now, here is a base card.

2014 Topps Chrome - Refractor

James Paxton is a great pitcher so it was sad to see him get traded. He would have been the Mariners #1 starter for the 2019 season.  He did have trouble with staying healthy (albeit last year getting whacked in the forearm was not his fault), which did give me concern [in what should be no surprise, he injured himself again this season.  Poor guy].  I'll root for him, even if it's on the Yankees.

2017 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions - World Traveler Map Relics

I really like this card and think the design is neat.  For some reason though they seem to be more expensive than what you think.  Victoria Falls, Africa, for instance, is going for $114 on COMC! The map pieces aren't anything special.  Upper Deck likely went down to whatever gas stations were nearby and bought out all the Rand fuckin' McNallys.

I'm a maphead and I've been to the Notre Dame.  That's good enough for me for $3.

2018 Topps Stadium Club

You don't buy Stadium Club for the design, you buy it for the photography.  These cards are no exception.  The oversized position letter is a bit much for me.  Though that doesn't take away from the magic of The King's Court and Diaz's electricity.  At $0.55 and $0.59 respectively, these were an easy buy.

2008 Topps - Gold

A card you'll probably be seeing a lot: 2008 Topps - Gold.  I'd like to complete the gold parallel of 08 Topps and Update.  A tall (read: expensive) task considering Kershaw and Scherzer are in Update.

2018 Topps - Rainbow Foil

I remember seeing a blogger (sorry don't remember who) show off this card and I thought it looked cool with the fireworks and foil.  The card did not disappoint. 

This was supposed to be a gif but for whathever reason it didn't take. 

2016 Panini Diamond Kings

There have been a handful of times I thought I've completed this set only to discover when I look at my binder that it is in fact, not complete.  I'm sure this purchase was intended to fill in a hole.  Hopefully after this COMC order I've finally finished it.  This set was one of the first I decided to put together when I got back into the hobby.

2014 Topps Opening Day - Breaking Out Basebal

Machado is not a player I collect so at first blush this appears to be out of place in my collection.  Flip over to the back and you'll see why I picked this up.  It fits into my birthday PC! I collect cards featuring my birthday (not counting player DOBs) as a nice way to celebrate the history of that day.

2004 Topps - All-Star Stitches Jersey Relics

I've been working on putting together a collection every Mariner base All-Star Game relic.  I'm not concerned with parallels or jumbo patches, just the base.  Although I do collect jersey color variations.  I believe 2004 is the earliest Topps started including ASG relics.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you again at least once more before the end of 2019.  See you then!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Secret Santa Drops an F-Bomb

For this year's blogger Secret Santa, I was the lucky recipient of cards from Peter over at Baseball Every Night.

Let's see what Peter delivered!

In Peter's letter he hopes that these are cards I still need and I can say for sure that these cards are well needed!

First up is a trio of 1983-84 O-Pee-Chee hockey cards of Ken Solheim who had a short-lived and unspectacular career in the NHL.  I collect these cards as a small tribute to my dad who shares the same name with this player.  I've posted the story before about how my dad received a call from a young woman asking for Ken Solheim but my dad was not whom she was looking for. 

This 1978 Topps team card of the Mariners goes into my Stadiums PC.  As ugly as the Kingdome was, it still had a certain charm.  I attended a fair share of Mariners and Seahawks games at the Kingdome so I still have fond memories of the place.

Oh shit! I mean, oh fuck! It's a Fuck Face Billy Ripken card!! This had been on my want list ever since I found out about it a few years ago.  I received this card at the time when everyone was freaking out about the Menendez brothers Mark Jackson card and I'd take this card over that one any day! I think it's just such a hilarious story and an iconic card.

Thank you for all the wonderful cards, Peter! 

Friday, December 7, 2018

2018 Card of the Year

It's that time of the year! P-Town Tom of Waiting Til Next Year is again holding a contest for bloggers to show off their favorite card of the year.  Last year I went with a card that was a major retail pull but this year I'm taking it in the other direction.

2018 Score - Red Zone #355 Luke Falk SN20

My favorite card represents my favorite set of the year and the player I collected most of this year.  2018 Score became an instant hit in my eyes the moment I saw it.  The checklist also contained Luke Falk, in his WSU uniform.  I'll always collect WSU players so to see him included in one of my favorite sets was a huge bonus.

I've posted about my search for his rainbow and while I'm pleased to say I'm closer to my goal, it's still not complete.  The only cards I need are from the dumb retail parallels.

The Red Zone parallel matches up perfectly with the WSU colors, which is why it's not only my favorite card from the set but my favorite card of the year. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Spreading the Secret Santa News!

Jon over at A Penny Sleeve for Your Thoughts is hosting Secret Santa this year. I've partaken in the blogosphere Secret Santa before and it's a good time! Go sign up over on Jon's blog!

You too can become Santa's little helper by signing up for Secret Santa!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Celebrating National Baseball Card Day

My wife gave me the go ahead to participate in National Baseball Card Day on Saturday so long as I took the baby with me.  Seeing the deal as a no brainer, off we went to the first of two stops.

The first shop was the shop I typically go to when I'm buying new boxes.  It's never been my favorite place mainly because I feel my interactions are always just transactional.  I've never really stopped to talk with the owners or opened any packs with them.  Partly it's because I'm usually dealing with the wife owner who I get the sense is not that into cards.  She's nice and everything but like I said, our interactions are just transactional.  The other part is that my personality is not the type to hang around and just strike up conversations.

Although I will say today that when I brought my son in to the shop she took interest in him so we talked about him for a minute or two.  That was pleasant. 

When I entered the shop I asked the husband owner if they were giving away free packs.  He asked me if I had a redemption ticket and I replied that I didn't think we had to have a redemption ticket.  He said it was no problem and gave me a pack anyway.  

I looked at the pack and they appeared to be standard 2018 Topps cards; not special NBCD cards.  I didn't say anything because I thought maybe I was confused as to which packs were being given out today.  He's usually on top of promotions so I don't know what happened.  He also mentioned that if I spent $10 on Topps products, I'd get a free Aaron Judge card.  So clearly he knew at least somewhat about the NBCD promotion.

The free pack of cards was as I suspected just base 2018 Topps.

Hey at least I got a Hoskins rookie out of it.

I did not want to leave without buying something new so against my better judgment I bought one box of 2018 Topps Clearly Authentic.

For $50, I would get exactly one autographed card.  This could have turned out really poorly or really well.

Turns out, it fell about somewhere in the middle.

On first impression: not the best autograph I would hope to get but a far cry from the worst.  On the plus side, I do not have a Jose Canseco autograph so this card will fit nicely into the collection.

I looked up comps on eBay and Canseco signatures from this product are actually going for more the price of the box.  That helps vindicate my purchase knowing that in theory I got full value out of the box.  

Looking at the checklist on Cardboard Connections it appears that these reprint autographs are a case hit! Double score!

Despite the mix-up with the free pack of cards, the trip worked out nicely.


The second stop was a place I've never been to before--Diamond in the Mall  It's actually even closer to my house than the other shop.  Upon entering I quickly got a sense of the shop.  It's main focus is selling singles.  The wall of wax was rather spare and contained mostly Topps flagship products.  That's perfectly fine.  It must be pricey to keep up with all the differing releases.

I asked the shop owner if he had the free packs and then he pulled out the box of correct packs and let me pick out which one I wanted.  He then saw my son in the stroller and said since there was two of us I'd get another pack.  I'm liking this shop already! 

The collation on my two packs was hot garbage.  Out of 5 cards, four were duplicates.  I've already turned the Posey duplicate into an Ozzie Albies card so at least the duplicates are coming in handy.

Here are the two cards that were not duplicates.

After looking at the display cases, I settled on four hobby packs of 2018 Topps Chrome.  During this time I was chatting with the owner and got the sense that he truly enjoyed cards.  After paying for my packs I told him I might as well open up the packs in the shop.  He indicated he was interested and even offered to sleeve any good cards! That's the kind of experience I've always wanted from an LCS. 

I opened my three packs and as you'll see below, I didn't really hit anything noteworthy for a hobby box.  While I was opening the packs we continued to talk and even ventured into topics outside of cards such as raising kids and the changes going on in the area.  He was a great guy to talk to. My son was getting pretty fussy so I had to bail.  Otherwise I probably would have stayed a little while longer. 

No numbered parallels; only one notable rookie; no autographs. 

After I left he flagged me down to call me back into the shop. He told me he forgot to give me the bonus cards since I bought Topps products.  He then pulled out a stack of the Judge cards and a stack of the Hoskins cards.  The owner said since I spent $20 I could take one of each.  Hoskins isn't supposed to come out until a couple weeks later but I'll take it!

It sounds like the promotion isn't being well explained to shop owners.  Oh well, I still had fun.

Even though the new shop I visited doesn't keep up too much with new products, I'll still try to visit semi-frequently if just to buy a couple singles here and there.  The shop owner is a cool guy and even if his store isn't the flashiest, it feels like an old school shop.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Speed Dating at the Card Show

With a baby at home, my free time during the day is limited.  Fortunately, I was allowed to attend the biannual card show that happens right in my back yard.  Unfortunately, I was given a hard deadline of two hours.

That might seem like a lot of time but with this show there are quite a number of tables.  To maximize my time, I had to treat the show like it was a round of speed dating. 

Don't spend too much time at one table and make superficial judgments about what's for sale.  Looks like mainly sports memorabilia? Don't even bother.  Heavy vintage? Sorry, not into the older stuff.  Cards in glass cases?  Too rich for my blood.  Boxes of wax? Forget about it!  Unorganized boxes of cards? Actually, that's probably what I'm looking for.

First purchase was these game-used jerseys and autograph.  2 for $5 which I guess is a decent deal but still not a screaming deal.  Still, I was happy with getting some game-used material from two of my favorite players.  Marcus Moore goes into my WSU collection, thus it was a necessary pick up.

My next purchase came from a dealer who is an older guy, loves to talk, and is friendly as all can be.  I initially wanted to purchase the two 2008 Topps uncirculated cards when he then handed me a stack of cards that were to go into his 50% off box.  I plucked out the Tulo autograph and he offered me $5 for the lot.

He asked me if I thought that was fair and I said that was more than fair.  I looked on COMC and the Tulo autograph goes for $8.  I'd say I got a good deal.

The next dealer is a guy I've bought from before so I knew he would have some decent cards. On the top row we have some shiny chrome cards.  On the bottom row is a nice selection of serial numbered cards.  Ever since I pulled an autographed relic of Kluber I've taken a bit of shine towards him.  

1992 Topps is one of my favorite designs so I'm trying to complete the portion of 2017 Topps Archives that uses the 1992 design.  

I'm also always on the lookout for 2008 Topps cards I need.  I rarely see 08-09 basketball chrome cards and at a quarter a piece, these were a no brainer.

To close out the day I was torn between a completed set of 1993 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes and this box of 2018 Score.  As you can see, I ended up with the Score.  I don't like to buy retail boxes but this one has exclusive green parallels.  I noted in my last post that I'm going for the Luke Falk Score rainbow and green is a parallel I have never seen for sale.  I'm hoping I can pull one from this box.  Plus, I still need plenty of cards to complete the base set.

I bought the Score box was from the older, friendly dealer I mentioned above.  He owed me $1 as change from the Score box and instead said I could grab 2 or 3 nice cards from his baseball box that he had just restocked.  I figured for $1 I could find a couple good cards.  I'm pleased with my trio of all-stars. 

In two hours I was able to find a nice selection of cards.  It was a speed dating success!