Saturday, July 30, 2016

Adventuring in eBay: Quad Relics

Every day it seems like I'm adding something new to my wantlist.  Whether it's a new set to check out, a card to add to my player collection, or a new player to start collecting.  That is one thing I love about the hobby: there is always something new out there.

2016 Topps Museum Collection Four-Player Primary Pieces Quad Relics
Did Not Purchase This Card
With so many cards to collect, I try to be selective on what I'm going to pick.  While the two cards in this post were not on my radar I couldn't pass them up anyway.  I was browsing COMC and come across this quad-relic card.  It features all the essential current Mariners, Cano, Cruz, Felix, and Iwakuma.  You could maybe make an argument of  Kyle Seager over Iwakuma but I'm satisfied.

The above card has a couple awesome jersey pieces with the teal from Felix and the multi-color patch from Iwakuma.  However, the price for this one card was more than I wanted to spend.  Especially for a card I wasn't chasing.  Still, I liked the card concept and I checked out eBay to see if I could find it a little cheaper.  


Enter the above two cards.  An auction had the Mariners card for a few dollars more than COMC but, and this is a big but, it came with a second quad patch card!  I'm not a Tigers fan, and I don't dislike them either, but two cards is better than one.  The Tigers card is somewhat bland, except for the Carbrera piece. Although I thought if I wanted I could use it as trade bait in the future.

The Mariners card I won is just as good as the card I didn't buy.  It still has two different colored pieces plus it's a lower serial number.  The card layout looks nice and it was a good way to get four relic pieces from four of the best the Mariners have to offer.

Even though these cards were off my radar, they were a nice add to my memorabilia collection.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Box Break for the People: 2014 Topps Update Baseball

I think I've done 1 or 2 blaster breaks for the blog, either explicitly or not.  And I'll probably keep buying them  As such, I've decided to turn blaster breaks into a specific feature.  Every good blog needs named features, right?

Even though not everyone has a local card shop they can visit, they surely have a Target or a Wal-Mart nearby.  Hence, anyone can get one of these blaster boxes, making these breaks "for the people." I wanted to create a catchier title rather than a simple title like "blaster break."  

Today's box break is an EXTREME VALUE!  Seriously, that's what the sticker said on the box.  This just isn't any box, it's a blaster of 2014 Topps Update.  I was drawn to this box for a few reasons.  The price (discounted to only $13), the inclusion of a World Series patch card, the availability of All-Star Game cards, and that I haven't opened any 2014 Topps packs.

With 10 packs and 1 patch card, let's see what the blaster holds:

Pack 1

I picked this card because the image is unique and well timed.  Figueroa himself has bounced around the league since his debut in 2014.  I think this image might be from the May 23, 2014 game against the Red Sox when he batted in the winning (and only) run.  He didn't really do much else of note in 2014.

Wainwright had a solid year in 2014 going 20-9 with a 2.38 ERA.

The All-Star Game cards, which were just what I was hoping to get.

Pack 2

Normally Seth Smith would be a card I would quickly pass over but he's a Mariner now.  As such, I was give him is proper due and acknowledge him on the blog.  He's a decent hitter who can provide some pop and get on base.

I liked that some of the rookie cards also included the debut date.

Pack 3

Having previously lived in New England, I still root for Boston teams although they don't take precedence over Seattle teams.  The Ortiz mini replicates a 1989 design.  However, I'm bothered by the fact that this card uses a stat line from 2006.  That's not how it works. That's not how any of this works. 

It's a Trout card so I have to give my obligatory "Fuck Mike Trout."  Notwithstanding Trout, I still like the card. 

Pack 4

A pink card, huh?  Oh it's serial numbered to 50?  Sweet pull! And I've heard of Morneau before! These pink parallels run one every 253 packs.  I'm not ready to call this box a success but I'm getting there.

This card made me wonder how many cards out there haven't been pulled?  This box is 2 years old and there are only 50 of these cards in existence.  I image there has to be rarer cards that have never seen the light of day.  Of course the catch 22 is that we won't know what cards haven't been pulled.

Sadly, Taveras died in a car accident after the season ended in 2014.

Pack 5

Ellsbury got a lot of heat from Beantown after he left the Red Sox and signed with the Yankees.  Dude got paid though so good for him.

Springer is certainly impressing so far in his young career.  

Your 2016 Home Run Derby champion.

Pack 6

Pack 7

One of the few Cal Ripken Jr. cards I have in my collection.  That's not acceptable.

2014 was Seager's only year as an all-star so this is a great card to pull.

Pack 8

It's a numbered parallel, which I'm a sucker for, so I have to include it.  That makes 2 serial numbered cards out of this box.  

I would not normally highlight a Yankee but pulling this card was fortuitous as you'll soon see below.

I highlight this card because look at that kick! I am not that flexible.

Pack 9

I picked this red foil insert because....

Pack 10

..I pulled the base card in the same pack.  What are the odds?

I still wish there was a Topps Now for the Odor/Bautista punch.

Won the Rookie of the Year award in 2014.


The included patch is none other than Mariano Rivera.  I thought it was interesting that I pulled the Rivera World Series Heroes insert and patch card in the same box.

This was a great break overall considering the cost.  Two numbered parallels, one manufactured memorabilia, two current Mariners, and several All-Star Game cards.  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bad to the Bone

(Pre-Blog side note: This post is going up on the same day the Ken Griffey Jr. is being inducted into the Hall of Fame.  To celebrate an occasion such as this I would have put up a post about Griffey cards but I've decided to save that until next weekend.  The Mariners are having their own ceremony next weekend at the game, which I'm attending.  I want to tie something in from that game as well.)

I've seen a couple bloggers post about the cards they won off Listia and I decided I needed to try it for myself.  Listia is a lesser version of eBay and instead of using money to bid, bids are placed using credits that can be earned for free.  Listia seems very hit and miss when it comes to cards but I've seen people get some decent cards from there so I'm hopeful.

1996 Topps Stadium Club #333
I recently won my first auction that was for the Jay Buhner card you see above.  This card cost me all of 1 credit.  To get a sense of how much that is in real dollars, currently 14,300 credits = $1.  I "paid" not even 1 cent for this card.  Although I did have to pay $1 for shipping, which I didn't realize a head of time.

Other than a couple years in the minors with the Pirates and Yankees organizations, Buhner was a Mariner for life.  He was the ultimate Mariners player.  He hit for power, played good defense in the outfield, and was an all around fan favorite.  Buhner continues to be involved with the organization and even provides color commentary for games now and then.

Buhner, whose nickname is "The Bone", even had his own promo night regularly called Buzz Cut Night.  If a fan was willing to come down to the Kingdome and get their head shaved, they would get into the game for free.

Buhner shaving heads for Buzz Cut Night.

Turning to the card, the front looks great.  There is gold foil for the letters and the banner is gold foil as well.  The picture is perfectly timed and framed, with the ball and dust just coming off the bat.  I also like that Buhner is wearing sunglasses in the photo.  This photo screams classic Buhner.

The back of the card is a mess.  The right half of the card has a frosted red glass look that does not fit in well.  The Skills Matrix table also looks ugly.  The back does get a bonus point for a having a different photo.  Overall, I'm a fan of this card, especially at the price point.

I hope my next Listia win is just as great.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Contest Winnings

If you've never checked out the blog Sport Card Collectors, he runs great contests from time to time. One of his latest contests was a month long battle of baseball knowledge. The first three weeks you got points for picking the winners of certain weekend games.  The final week was picking WNBA winners, with a bonus option to bet points on a Top 5 finisher in the Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400.

I don't follow NASCAR anymore but I was either going to win this contest or go down in flames.  I decided to bet all my points on the bonus pick.  NASCAR has a certain element of chance so I knew this was a big risk.  Regardless, I staked my future on Brad Keselowski.  He had won the race the previous year and in the previous week he had a Top 5 finish.

Much to my surprise Keselowski not only finished in the Top 5, he finished first!  Unbelievable. Needless to say, this won me the contest.  My winnings recently arrived, which consisted of a shoe box house with six 1600 count boxes, two packs of card dividers and a box of spacers.  The shoe box house holds 9600 cards so my collection would only fill up 2/3rds of this.  It also conveniently fits in the corner of my room. 

This was a great prize for a great contest, thank you Sport Card Collectors!

I think I'm set on storage for a while
What better way to celebrate getting new card storage than buying a pack of cards?  I bought a small pack of 2016 Stadium Club.  From what I've seen of this set so far I'm a big fan.  I hope to do a bigger post later.

Nice pull with the Schwarber.  It's too bad he was injured early in the season.

At first I was apathetic about these cards since it's the National League and I wasn't familiar with these names.  However, Lucroy is playing pretty well and made the All-Star Game.

Zach Lee was recently traded to the Mariners for shortstop Chris Taylor.  Another forgettable transaction in Mariners history, which is why I didn't immediately recognize Lee. Taylor played well in AAA but always struggled in the majors.  Of course he hits his first career home run, a grand slam, after he leaves the Mariners.  Lee is currently running a 7.12 ERA in AAA for the Mariners.

An injury plagued Reds player who has only one good year under his belt. *yawn*

Three out of five cards were actually worth talking about so I'll consider this small pack a success.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Hey I know that card!

Have you ever looked at a card at thought, "I wonder when this picture was taken?"  Most of the time it's impossible to figure out.  Card images tend to be generic in the sense that the picture is an isolated shot of the player.  Sometimes there will be another player in the background but even then it can be hard to know which game the photo took place.  Especially if it's two teams that play regularly.

The Topps First Pitch rectify this mystery by listing exactly when the first pitch was thrown by the person being featured.  Makes sense.  A person doesn't get the chance to throw out the first pitch any ol' day of the week so it's important to specify the date.  I like the insert because it gives non-players, and even non-celebrities, a chance to be featured on their own card.

Topps 2015 Baseball #FP-12
I've shown this card before in a post about the 2015 Topps set.  I post about it again because I realized I omitted some crucial information about the card--I was at the game! I have a terrible memory sometimes and this only helps prove it.  The only reason I remembered I was at this game was a recent post on the Baseball Hall of Fame website about Macklemore and the Mariners.

In my defense, part of the reason why looking at this card didn't trigger my memory is that there is no mention of his bobblehead.  One small mention of his bobblehead and I would have remembered that "oh yeah, he threw out the first pitch at his own bobblehead night, I got said bobblehead, I was at the game with some co-workers, and that the Yankees were in town and this was Jeter's last game in Seattle."  One small cue and a whole bunch of memories are triggered.  It's weird how the mind works like that.

Are there any cards like this that you have some connection to, such as you were at the game or you remember watching it on TV?

To close out the post I'm including Macklemore's tribute song to Hall of Fame Seattle Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus.  Makes me happy to be a Mariners fan and live in Pacific Northwest.  Even baseball cards get a shout out in the video!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The baseball All-Star Game is on; let's talk basketball

I'm sitting here watching the all-star game so you'd think I would post something about baseball right?  Well that would be the logical step but unfortunately I don't have a baseball post ready at the moment.  I don't have much interest in the ASG since only Robinson Cano is representing the Mariners.  Baseball is still baseball though and it's fun to see all the greats of the year.

Anyway, enough baseball talk.  Let's talk basketball.  Not just any basketball, 90s basketball.  And now let me take a moment to thank today's sponsor: Billy Kingsley of Cardboard History.  He didn't sponsor this post exactly but he did send along the cards featured in today's post so thank you Billy! He runs a great blog so take a look!

This is the first thing I think about when I see Mutombo.

On my post about my first card show I posted quite a few early 90s Fleer Ultra cards.  I really liked the design for the 92-93 and 93-94 sets.  Billy sent me a message saying he had some cards for me that he thought I would really like.  He was definitely right; the Fleer Ultra cards are great.  He sent over a few more cards than are in this post so now he's got me wanting to finish off this set.

Bennett won't be remembered for his playing days, as he only spent 3 seasons in the NBA.  However, he's turned out to be quite the coach.  I first became familiar with Bennett when he took over for his father, Dick Bennett as the head coach at Washington State University.  The Bennett's transformed the WSU basketball program into a winning one.  He lead WSU to the NCAA Tournament twice, going so far as the sweet 16! That's impressive for a program that's usually ignored.  Bennett even helped recruit Klay Thompson who in all likelihood would have never come to WSU without Bennett.

After a few good years at WSU, Bennett left to coach Virginia.  I'm still mad about that.  However, I completely understand.  WSU would always be a small time program, whereas Virginia has more money and notoriety to make the men's basketball team bigger.  Virginia has done well under Bennett, much to my disappointment

 He actually played on the Sonics for one year.  Cool.  Looks like he was mostly a bench/role player.

I like that these NBA Jam Session cards aren't part of some hard to get insert but are actually part of the base set.  I'm coming close to having all of the Jam Session cards.  

Sprewell is probably best known for choking his coach.  That's too bad because he was a decent player.

Sorry McCray, try as you might to imitate Jordan with your #22 jersey but you ain't him.  *does some actual research on him* Oh, looks like he wore #22 ever since he was drafted 3rd overall in the 1983 draft, my bad.  He won a championship with the Bulls last year so he retired on top.

That wraps up this sample of cards so thanks again to Billy!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Is it Football Season Yet?

Seattle weather has been hit and miss this summer.  As I write this Thursday night, we had a full day of gray gloom with some solid rain in the evening.  Where's the sun? Where's the warm weather?? Where's the Mariners???

Ahh yes, the "will they, won't they" story of the summer.  I'm talking about whether the Mariners will make the playoffs.  Right now it's about 50/50 split.  As of late the Mariners swept the Orioles, got swept by the Astros, and lost the first game of the Royals series in a walkoff fashion.  This All-Star break cannot come soon enough.

I'm not giving up on the Mariners but with new football cards rolling out into stores, I can't help but pay attention.  The latest release in stores appears to be Panini Prestige.  I'm not familiar with the Prestige brand but based on these cards I'm guessing they are aiming for mid-tier range with class to boot.  10 cards per pack, which is a good amount.

Nice full frame images.  The name plate has crisp, sharp lines but that's about the most positive thing I can say.  The semi-transparent name background doesn't work for me with the more muted colors like gray and black.  I think the fact that the text of the name fades into the background, rather than popping out, is what sets me back.

I've been watching the All or Nothing documentary on Amazon that follows the Arizona Cardinals during the 2015 season.  It has been pretty fascinating so far and I highly recommend it to any football fan, even if not a Cardinals fan.  Johnson came in as a rookie for Arizona and had to fill into the second string due to injuries and seemed to fill the role well. 8 rushing TDs along with 4 receiving TDs.  Pretty good for a rookie.

Again, the dark background does not look good.

Here the red pops a little bit and I think this suits the card better.

Ok the light gray looks alright here but I think the blue is what helps accent the gray.  Gore has always been a rumbling runner so I wonder how long he's going to go.

Don't sleep on Robinson, otherwise you might end up in the lake.  Literally.

The orange looks good here.  I actually like the Dolphins' colors.  Otherwise, I don't pay any attention to Miami.

Solid Pats receiver.

This is something we don't see all the time, an offensive player without the football.  I wonder what he was doing here.

 And we get 1 rookie in the pack.  I like the fact that it's a college uniform because a lot of times we don't get that.  There will be other sets with rookies in their current teams' uniform.

I'd be remiss if I didn't include a shot of the back.  Same image as the front but at least Panini made an attempt to make the image look different with the color grading.  I make the same complaint here as I would other Panini cards and that's there aren't enough stats.  One year just isn't enough.  

I'm glad I picked up a pack but I won't pursue any more packs.  I might try to get the Seahawks base cards on Sportslots later (since commons usually run $0.18 there) but that's about it for this set.