Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Smashing Secret Santa Gift

Red Sox Nation has been well-represented in the sports card Secret Santa exchange hosted by Matthew Scott at his blog Bob Walk The Plank. As luck would have it, I was assigned a fellow Red Sox fan to buy a gift for and a different Sox fan to buy for me 

Matt, author of the blog Diamond Jesters, sent me some Sox cards, some set fillers, and some presents to open. (side note: I think this is the fourth or fifth Matt I've met on the baseball card blogs. Matts are more abundant than Red Sox fans!) He also included a card:

..with a very thoughtful message inside. Is everyone doing that? I didn't include a greeting card in mine; just a handwritten note akin to "Here's your Secret Santa Gift. Enjoy!" Anyhow.. Matt sent some junk wax-era Red Sox:


and some 2016 Topps cards I needed:

These are the "presents" he sent so I'd have something to open:


I'm psyched that GPKs are back on the shelves, they were a staple of my childhood. This Battle of the Bands set was new to me, and something I knew I'd enjoy. Since I'm much more familiar with 2016 Topps, I opened that first:

Another John Lackey. Figures. Which means that I only got two (more) cards I needed: Kela and Cabrera. The Tyler Chatwood in the top left corner is a shiny rainbow foil parallel thing. But for some reason the code at the bottom of the card back is the same as the base card code. Topps is so frustrating.

Now the moment you've all been waiting for...the Garbage Pail Kids. Here's pack one:

Green 'puke' parallels are one per pack. There are also 'phlegm' parallels and 'fool's gold' parallels, which are much tougher pulls. My daughter immediately recognized TV Tom, as it resembles a classic GPK character.

The Barfin' Billie card got me there a Smashing Pumpkins card?

Yes, there is a Smashing Pumpkins card. And it was in the second pack. And it's everything I would expect it to be: angry bald Billy bashing the other Pumpkins (poor James Iha!)

This Billy Corgan card is one of my favorite next-gen GPKs - and the best pack-pulled GPK I could hope for, since this Jennifer Lawrence card was part of an online-only set of Oscar Nominees:

I kind of miss the original Garbage Pail Kids characters, but I have to admit it's fun to see entertainers I like (and don't like) get the GPK treatment.

Here's the rest of the pack-including Taylor Swift, Daft Punk, and Sonic Youth. Awesome!

Matt, thank you so much for this Secret Santa gift!


Monday, December 11, 2017

Baseball News (and a Major Announcement)

A lot happened in baseball over the past three days. Shohei Ohtani passed up bigger markets and more money to play with Mike Trout and co. in Anaheim, which seems unusually honorable to most fans outside New York. 

The New York media didn't see it that way:

 Better than being called a "fat, pussy toad" I suppose.

Yankees fans may have felt rejected by the "next Babe Ruth" but the Cash-man more than made up for it by acquiring the current Babe Ruth, Giancarlo Stanton. The 2017 NL MVP slugged 59 homers last year - the highest single-season total of any non-Yankee who didn't use PEDs (allegedly)  

Fortunately for the Bronx Bombers, Big Mike was brave enough to accept the challenge of playing in New York City. It will cost them 1/4 of a billion dollars, but the Yanks had to address their glaring need for a power-hitting right fielder.

Not to sound bitter, because I really didn't want the Red Sox to trade for Stanton... but what if David Ortiz were running the Marlins? Would he send the reigning NL MVP to Beantown for, say, Jackie Bradley and a bag of balls? Would everyone be cool with that? It's a moot point; Stanton had a full no-trade clause and he used it wisely. But I would have liked to see him say "yes" to San Francisco. Giant-carlo would have been marketing gold. 

Away from all the Hot Stove action, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame by the Modern Era Veterans Committee. Though Morris fared better than Trammell on the writers' ballot (and on the veterans' ballot), his selection has been panned by most baseball experts. 

I'm not going to quibble with it. I don't think of myself as a 'big Hall' guy, but I'd say there are about a dozen more deserving players still waiting for the call (including Ted Simmons, who was one vote short on the Modern Era ballot) And I dislike the notion that electing Morris or Jim Rice or Bill Mazeroski somehow lowers the bar and cheapens the honor. If that makes me a 'big Hall' guy, then so be it.

I think I have a Jack Morris Starting Lineup figure somewhere; the dealer who sold it to me more than 20 years ago told me at the time that Morris would be a Hall of Famer. I also have about a dozen Tigers cards to pull out of my commons binders and add to my Star Player/Hall Of Famer box:

My card collection is a mess right now, with hundreds of cards from Gavin still unsorted and most of my COMC order unsorted and unscanned. I also have a huge Dave and Adam's order on the way - half cards, half supplies - paid for with my not-yet-received Christmas bonus. Hopefully all of this will keep me busy well into 2018, because I have given myself a challenge. In an attempt to focus on other, long-neglected aspects of my life... 

I am announcing my plan to spend no money on sports cards for one year

This might be the hardest thing I've ever done. I might get depressed or frustrated with some aspect of my life and buy a blaster box of Upper Deck hockey two weeks into January. I might last until August and then spend all my birthday money on renewing my PSA membership (the only exception I would allow myself, btw) The last year that I did not spend any money on sports cards at all was 1985 -- and that's because I was five years old.

My family needs me to do this, but they don't think I can. I don't think I can. But I have to try. 

So I've built up a war chest of cards, a list of topics to blog about (Friday feature coming soon) and a list of things I want to do with the time/money I would otherwise spend on sports cards. My initial idea was to merge my two blogs into one and call it "A Year Without Cards" or something, but now I'm leaning towards renaming my other blog and putting all of those posts there. I've got more than enough ideas for both blogs - assuming I can stay motivated. 

Would anyone be interested in reading my journal-entry posts about what I might be doing instead of obsessing over baseball cards? Should I keep the topics on separate blogs, or merge them together here? Any feedback would be helpful and appreciated.

Also, I don't know what to call my weekly series of posts about my recent COMC order: 500 Friday? Fridays with the 500? Five Hundred Card Friday Feature? I thought of a cool name for it on my way home from work...but then I forgot. Any suggestions?



Saturday, December 9, 2017

Snowed in with music and cards

Merry Cards-mas, everyone! It's the most wonderful time of the year.. when COMC Black Friday orders and blogger gifts arrive at mailboxes and front porches all across the cardsphere.

I had planned to visit my mother in Connecticut this morning (and a card shop in CT this afternoon) but Mother Nature had other plans and bestowed upon us the first snowfall of the year. 

Fortunately there were two major mail deliveries to my door this weekend - a box of CDs and cards from Gavin, author of Baseball Card Breakdown arrived Friday, and my long-awaited (and snow-covered) COMC order arrived today.

Let's start with the music box (first come, first served) As you probably know, Gavin did some downsizing and offered up a flat rate box of CDs from his collection - plus some cardboard goodies - for the low, low price of $20. I was slow to take him up on that offer, but I'm glad I found the room in my budget because it was well worth the Jackson:

Gavin sent 40 CDs* and over 250 cards.  He also offered to throw in two encased cards - but I got three:

I might jailbreak these - unless someone wants to trade for the Diamondbacks?

About half of the box was full of random cards, including some surplus Padres...


And this extreme collector card of yours truly:

You can't prove it's not me, lol

The other 130 cards were things I collect. About 120 were Red Sox, but I'll just scan the shiny:


 Flatbush legends:

A Trevor Williams numbered parallel! And my first Frank Gore card. (random fact: Taryn Southern also attended 'the U' in the early aughts. Perhaps they knew each other?)

 And no BCB mailing would be complete without Gavin's famous custom card creations:

Best Clemens card ever! (Okay, maybe not..but definitely the best 1991 Fleer card ever.)

My backyard is full of snow, my floor is full of freshly opened boxes, and my room is full of new, fun toys to play with. The holidays are here! But there wont be any traditional Christmas tunes playing in my house for a while...

*Technically Gavin sent 40 discs, but one CD had at least fifteen other CDs on it that he burned for it's more like 55+

A huge thank you to Gavin for all the great music and cards! I shall spend this weekend playing some new (to me) songs and sifting through my COMC order: 500 cards purchased over 9 months --and I plan to scan up every single one of them. 

2 down, 498 to go...

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Basketball Box from Billy

I can't wait to see who my Secret Santa is this year, not just to thank them for their gift (hint hint)  but because I'm excited to find out who they are and what they collect.

Last year, my Secret Santa sender was Billy, author of the blog Cardboard History. Billy's blog is one of my favorites for a lot of reasons, in particular because he's an expert on a sport I know little about (basketball) while quickly becoming a big fan of a sport I've followed for decades (hockey)

Earlier this year I sent Billy a box of surplus hockey cards, to help grow his collection. In return, Billy hit me back with a box of basketball cards. But before he did, he asked me if there are any specific teams or players I'd be interested in. I don't really have a favorite NBA team, so I just asked him to fill some holes in my collection. 

He sent the box on Saturday and it arrived Sunday - which has to be the fastest delivery I've ever received. Also, because it came on a Sunday I wasn't expecting it.. the box sat on my porch all day until I took the recycling out that night. Good thing no one swiped it!

Billy packed 225 basketball cards into a small flat rate box, including 60 cards from my favorite recent set - 2015-16 Donruss. This is my first Giannis card and one of my favorites in the stack. 

I love the team color borders and the photo selection - but I noticed one little inconsistency among these cards...

Anyone want to play Spot the Difference'?

Setting these aside for a moment (and a possible set build) much of the remaining cards were from teams underrepresented in my basketball binders - mostly Southeast teams, strangely enough:
I'll have a post about 1988-89 Fleer in the near future
Brandon Hunter will go with my Celtics cards
Baby Jordan! I used to have a ton of those Upper Deck cards
Catledge will go on my Bullets page, along with this card:
Bill Laimbeer cameo! This Collins card would be my oldest NBA card, if not for these two cards from 1972-73 Topps:

I think that's all the pre-1990 NBA cards Billy sent.

..almost forgot that Olajuwon. The Rockets are another team I was light on, along with newer teams like the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, and OKC Thunder.

My first Westbrook base cards (I do have two inserts.) This post is getting scan-heavy so I'll wrap it up with some new additions to my star player box:
I didn't have any base cards of King James until now
That Steph Curry card is awesome Yep, I made another 3

When this year started I was able to fit all of my basketball cards in one binder, with room to spare. Now I need a third binder just for base commons - and my star player box is packed, too. 

Billy, thanks again for all of the great cards!


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Bonus Credit Blaster

I've got a busy Saturday ahead - including my 8 year old daughter's birthday party - but I wanted to throw out a quick post before I go.

As you may know, I had been holding all of my COMC purchases since the beginning of March at their warehouse until their big Black Friday special. I did this partly for the scratch-off tickets (which of course they're not doing anymore :/ ) but also for the shipping credit. Because I had 502 cards shipped to me I earned $25 in COMC cash..and this is how I spent it:

Your Latest Purchases
Bought 12/2/2017 6:59:56 AM for $5.25
1956 Topps - [Base] #97.1
Jerry Lynch (Gray Back) [edit] [share]
Item: 47475351
Bought 12/1/2017 9:16:32 PM for $2.50
Front Thumbnail
1956 Topps - [Base] #93.1
George Susce (Gray Back) [edit] [share]
Item: 47475350
Bought 12/1/2017 9:16:32 PM for $2.13
Front Thumbnail
1956 Topps - [Base] #7.2
Ron Negray (White Back) [edit] [share]
Item: 47475368
Bought 12/1/2017 9:16:32 PM for $1.75
Front Thumbnail
2017 Bowman - Chrome Prospect Autographs #CPA-JO
Josh Ockimey [edit] [share]
Item: 45046485
Bought 12/1/2017 9:13:39 PM for $13.38

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Devils-Ducks deal

I've got so many cards incoming that I wanted to take a few days off before blogging again .. but the the Devils had to go and make a blockbuster trade, sending forward Adam Henrique to Anaheim in exchange for defenseman Sami Vatanen.

The trade addresses glaring needs for both clubs - New Jersey is desperate for a top-4 defenseman and Anaheim is shorthanded at center with injuries to Ryans Getzlaf and Kesler.

Henrique hasn't been producing at the level that Devils fans had hoped for - he's only got 4 goals this season and he's been passed on the depth chart by a slew of younger, cheaper forwards. Still, it's tough to see "Rico" go. He was a fan favorite, a guy who made a long-term commitment to the team at the bottom of a rebuild, and was traded for a defenseman just as things were starting to look up (sounds a lot like Taylor Hall.)

Henrique and Hall were junior teammates on the Windsor Spitfires, which explains the Panini Prime card pictured below. They weren't quite 'fire' together in Jersey, but Hall cited Henrique as someone who helped acclimate him to the Devils and New Jersey.

The last five years have been among the worst in Devils franchise history, and Adam Henrique has been one of their best players over that stretch. As a result, his hockey cards have been plentiful and affordable. I almost picked up a second copy of that Jumbo Materials jersey last week; there was one on COMC for $2.05.

I've got plenty of Henrique cards in my collection as you can see, and I kept this in mind while doing my Black Friday shopping. Adding another Adam wasn't a priority for me - but this incoming card was too good to pass up:

This Ice auto cost just $3.45 on Black Friday, due to surface wear, edge wear, and corner wear. I guess we'll see how severe it is in a week or two. 

It has been a surprisingly solid year for the Devils so far - and Sami Vatanen will surely boost the blueline. But I doubt he'll score a series-clinching OT winner:


And I highly doubt we'll see another Devil score two series-clinching OT winners in the same postseason:


Thanks for everything, Rico. Good luck in Anaheim!