May 24, 2017

Busting Some Mega Boxes

I haven't seen any mention of these in the cardsphere to this point(though that doesn't mean there hasn't been any). Topps went ahead and released another one of those retail exclusives that mixes packs of a current product with packs of a new chrome parallel of said product. Similar to the Update Chrome set that has been released the last two years, there is now a 'Mega Box' version of 2017 Bowman available at your local Target(or maybe not as the case may be). I became aware of this product early last week and have been on the search ever since. When I hadn't found any by this past weekend, I did a quick eBay search and found that these boxes that are priced at $14.99 for 5 regular Bowman packs and two of the exclusive Bowman Chrome packs were easily going for $30+ per box. This week has been a bit crazy at the office, but I continued my search and it finally paid off last night on the way home. I found 5 boxes and briefly considered buying them all. Once I looked a bit closer at the boxes which were pretty banged up, I settled on the two boxes with the least amount of damage.

This is what all the hype is about. When I got home and got the kids to sleep, I quickly ripped into both boxes. Since Bowman has been out for a while now, I won't share any scans of those. I will however mention that I have picked up more Bowman than I care to admit to this year. Even after these 10 additional packs, I have yet to pull a base Aaron Judge RC from this product...just crazy. Though the box doesn't state this, each of the Chrome packs contains 5 cards instead of the standard 4. Yay, thanks for small favors Topps!

Highlights from box one included the red-hot Dodgers rookie, Cody Bellinger and the next generation Vlad. Though the scan doesn't do them justice, you can hopefully see that the pattern used is the same as was used on the Silver Pack promo cards from flagship series one. I like it pretty well(not as much as the Update Chrome pattern, but still). In fact, I have seen a similar pattern utilized many moons ago and I liked it then too. That can be a topic for a post sometime in the future. Let's get on to pack two, shall we?

Again, not too shabby. I only included 3 in this scan because the insert I pulled from the second box was a dupe of the Padres Talent Pipeline. These were nice and all, but ey weren't all that I unwrapped in the two boxes. Each box had at least one numbered/color parallel.

I was thrilled to see the Rutherford in box one. The Holmes and the Pirates Talent Pipeline were both included in the second box I opened. In case it is hard to see in the scan, all three were purple parallels and were numbered /250.

I really like these! I guess you can say I'm a sucker for the 'special' chrome issues. As much as I'd like to chase the entire set, it is unlikely I'll take that plunge due to the set size. I'm pretty sure that it is 200 cards deep. I will, however, be on the lookout for a few more boxes to break and perhaps a few specific singles(assuming I'm not lucky enough to pull the ones I'm looking for). If anyone is interested I. This product, it should be noted that there are autos inserted in these packs as well. Aside from the auto chase, Topps also slipped the first English language card of Japanese league and WBC star Shohei Otani. If any of you watched the WBC, you'd understand some of the desirability of this card. Don't believe it's a hot commodity? Check the eBay sold listings for this one...they're through the roof. Darn prospectors! I'd want a copy because I enjoyed watching him play in the tournament, but if prices hold where they are or increase at all, I'd be hard pressed not to sell if I happen to pull a copy. Man, I feel bad saying that. Oh well, I guess I'll cross that bridge if I get to it.

For those that didn't know about this, sorry if I've now set you on your own quest to find some. To those who may be like me and have been unsuccessfully searching, I hope you enjoyed the brief glimpse. Thanks for reading.

May 17, 2017

Not the Post I Intended to Write Today

No, I didn't change my plan due to any bad news or anything like that. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Topps released the checklist for Pro Debut today. Check it out here if you're interested:

Historically, I haven't been too terribly thrilled by this product. I've picked up a few cards from the different sets over the years, but I've certainly never had a reason to buy a box or to consider putting a set together. This may be the year that at least one of those things changes. Assuming today is not the first time you're reading this blog, you probably know that I have an affinity for my 'local' Minor League team, the Durham Bulls. Thanks to Topps, this year I get to kick my Durham Bulls PC into a higher gear. There are not only one, but two Bulls related relics available in the Fragments of the Farm insert set this year. Earlier today, I caught a glimpse of one of them:

I must have this card! Not only is it related to my local team, but it also contains a piece of an iconic part of the park. I'll be after the second card with almost as much anticipation. It apparently contains a piece of the backstop netting from Durham Bulls Athletic Park. I'm loving the increasing instances of 'out of the ordinary' relic materials being used. Bat chips and jersey relics are nice, but they don't offer much in the way of variety. In addition to these, there are bunches of autographs, manufactured relic patches, and even a SSP variation of Mets farmhand Tim Tebow. Only time will tell if this all will lead to my first box break of this product. Release date is one week from today so I guess I need to decide quickly.

On a semi-related side note, I suppose now is as good a time as any to roll out the next bit of info regarding the blog changes I have in mind. If anyone has visited here over the past few days, you may have noticed that my Cardboard Wishlist has gone through a makeover and been split into two separate lists. I've been experimenting with color scheme/photographic changes, but haven't found the right change in that capacity yet. Last housekeeping update of the night, the blog-related Twitter account is live. Search @CardpocalypseNC if you want to check it out. If you don't, you won't be able to figure out how any of this blog news is 'semi-related' to the post content. I'd also like to take a second to thank all of you that commented your thoughts/experiences/support after I wrote about making changes to the blog. The feedback was much appreciated! I hope you all enjoy the changes(already made and still to come). Thanks for reading.

May 15, 2017

Recapping Derek Jeter Night

Yesterday was a great day to be a Yankee fan. Despite the score from the second half of the doubleheader against Houston, there was a great deal of celebration. It was Derek Jeter night. The Captain's number '2' jersey number was retired in a great pre-game ceremony.

His family, former teammates, scouts, and coaches from all points in his career were all in attendance for the festivities. Additionally, Jeets' plaque for Monument Park was unveiled.

Ahhh, the Core Four(plus Bernie Williams)! It doesn't get much better than that for Yankee fans of my generation. Now that these honors are in his rear view mirror, the next stop is Cooperstown!

Of course, this is a card blog so I do have a cardboard tie-in to this theme. During a recent trip to the local Target card aisle, I was surprised to find this team set staring back at me from one of the pegs.

Here's a quick look at the checklist.

I was pleasantly surprised to see this, not only because the Target's around me didn't carry any team sets last year, but more importantly because there was a Jeter in 2017 flagship design staring back at me! Here are a few faves from the set.

Across the top, despite his outing in the second half of yesterday's double dip, Tanaka is the clear ace of the rotation. Castro and Gregorius have quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the middle of the diamond(and in the batter's box). Along the bottom, Judge is the hottest rookie since Gary Sanchez in the second half of last season. I really like this pic better than the one that appears on his flagship RC(this one is shared by his Opening Day issue). Speaking of Gary Sanchez...and then we've got Greg Bird. He's been hurt quite a bit, but his showing in late 2015 and throughout this spring sure has me hoping he can bounce back, stay healthy, and be a highly productive player for a long time. These were great, but the star attraction of the team set, for me, was the new Derek Jeter on the front of the set.

It's not the most exciting picture to grace cardboard, and honestly pales in comparison to his most recent flagship offering, but I'll overlook all of that simply because I'm excited to own a new Jeter. If anyone is in need of this team set, send me a message. I can definitely arrange to send one (or more) your way. Thanks for reading.

May 6, 2017

Discounted Stadium Club and Some Blog News

I'll make sure to get the card related portion of the post out of the way first so that those of you that aren't interested in the blog news can easily skip that.

The other day, I posted about a Bowman 'value pack' that I found at the local Walmart. That pack turned out to be a pretty awesome break, but I found some other packs that same day.

I love discounted packs. As previously mentioned, I'm still trying to put this set together so I couldn't pass up 'clearance' Stadium Club. Oh, who am I kidding? I wouldn't have been able to pass them up even if I'd already finished the set.

This is not too shabby. The gold foil Trout is definitely the highlight of the first pack, but the pics on the Forsythe and Soler are top notch.

Pack two was also pretty darn good! A Kershaw insert, Bryant, and a cool pic of Bumgarner throwing at my head top the second dozen SC cards. I suppose at some point I'll get it together enough to post my needs list for this. Until then, I'll keep my eyes peeled for more discounted product.

I've spent a lot of time over the past few weeks trying to figure out why I've allowed the blog to go for multiple lengthy periods of time with little to no activity. It's certainly not because I'm not interested in the cardboard. Though you wouldn't know(since I haven't written much), I've been acquiring cards at the same alarming pace that has characterized most of my blogging history. Some have been through FB group trading, some through case breaks, and some through my normal purchasing habits. Sadly, there haven't been many acquired through the cardsphere. As I considered the reasons I haven't been as active in the blog community there were many reasons. The constant feeling of being behind on scanning/writing about trades with fellow bloggers, guilt at not packing up outgoing trade packages on a regular basis(though I definitely have the stacks available to send out), and a lack of creative subject matter are all pretty high on the list. Utilizing my 'free' time for other card-related activities(recently discovered COMC challenges and digital card apps) also ranks up there. However, there is one other reason that my mind kept coming back to: my blog feels stale and isolated. The original design of the blog has served me well, but I no longer feel like it is fresh and exciting like I once did. Additionally, I've established multiple collecting communities(cardsphere, FB groups, in-person, etc) and they all feel isolated from each other. This leads me to the conundrum of being extremely excited about recent additions to the collection, but then holding off on posting about it anywhere due to a feeling of paralysis by analysis. I end up feeling unsure of how to tie together the new card(s) when the source isn't a part of the community I'm trying to share with. I realize even as I'm writing this that this reasoning may be rather silly, but it's a glimpse into my thought process. So, what does this long-winded, rambling bit of nonsense have to do with anything? I suppose the short answer is: whatever readers I still have left will probably be noticing some significant changes to the look of the blog. Additionally, I'll be launching a new, blog-specific Twitter account that will hopefully help me to begin integrating the multiple communities I wrote about earlier. In the long run, I hope that these changes will make the blog feel fresh again and eliminate some of the inexplicable hesitancy I've had to write about a bunch of stuff in recent months.

Sorry for the wordy, pictureless announcement. If there's anyone still out there that made it to the end of this, please take a moment to comment. Do any of you feel like your various collecting communities are isolated from each other? Clearly I'm overthinking all of this, huh? Anyway, thanks for reading.

May 4, 2017

Happy Star Wars Day!

May the fourth be with you!!! A quick post in honor of one of my favorite film franchises.

The first piece of cardboard up serves as a really great recap of the first six episodes and it's got a pretty great photo of Darth Vader as a bonus. While this is a really cool recent release, I am slowly but surely trying to piece together some of my favorite cards from the vintage Star Wars sets.

With that being said, I've always been a huge Yoda fanatic. This card from the Empire Strikes Back set highlights one of my favorite sequences of the original trilogy. I hope you've all enjoyed today's 'holiday'. Thanks for reading.

April 30, 2017

First Sampling of 2017 Bowman, More Like WOW-man

I must admit, I've gotten a bit spoiled with finding new releases either a few days early or at least on release day. It's been a busy few weeks between my daughter's spring break and an unexpected increase in responsibilities at the office so I haven't written in a while. However, I have still been active in the hobby(which you'll likely be able to read about in the coming days/weeks). I was eagerly anticipating the release of Bowman this week. After a few exceptionally long days at the office on Monday and Tuesday, I stopped at the local Target on the way home Tuesday evening. The shelves were unexpectedly bare. Dejected, I went home empty handed. The rest of the week was quite a whirlwind. Fast forward to Friday afternoon. After meeting the school bus to pick up my oldest after school, my three girls and I loaded into the car and headed to one of our local Walmart to do some grocery shopping(don't judge, it's the closest option to our house for groceries). I am usually underwhelmed by the card selection at this store, so I didn't go in with high hopes. As usual, I did have to have a look at the card aisle when we arrived. Much to my surprise, I found some cardboard worth taking home.

I know, I know. This is not Bowman. Since I'm still trying to piece this set together, I couldn't pass up a few discounted value packs though. I'll write more about these at a later date. A few pegs over from these 'clearance' packs, I found 'value packs' of Bowman. I snagged one, especially happy that the 'bonus' pack of retail-only, yellow parallels contained 5 cards instead of the 3 that I would have gotten if I had found the pack at Target.

There it is in all its glory. Once I got home, got the car unpacked, and started cooking dinner, I quickly ripped into the pack.

Well, that looks like a good start! Senzel is one of the bigger names in the product and seeing his yellow parallel gracing the front of the 'bonus' pack set the tone for this value pack.

There is the first card of my first Bowman pack of 2017. Don't worry, I didn't scan each card, I was just trying to stretch the enjoyment of my first pack ripping experience over the past few weeks. Overall, I like the design of this year's set pretty well. It's (mostly) clean with the exception of this extraneous pseudo-explosion design surrounding the team logo and a faint, white 'right angle' design behind the Bowman logo. Neither of these unnecessary design elements bothers me enough to take away from my enjoyment of the set. The first pack was solid, with a few decent vets(Harper and Posey) but no prospects I recognized in either paper or chrome form.

Seemingly random side note - I am not big on the idea of recording my pack breaks. This is mostly due to the fact that I absolutely cannot stand listening to my own voice on a recording. However, after I ripped into the final two packs here, I wished I had recorded this break simply for believability purposes. Okay, back to where I left off...

After cracking the three packs, I decided not to specify highlights of each pack, but rather highlights of each subset included. Here are three of the paper prospects that I've heard/read about. I didn't scan any vets/rookies, though I did OK there as well. I was lucky enough to pull Trout, and rookies of Glasnow, Renfroe, and Alfaro.

Up next, the contents of the yellow parallel pack. Senzel was definitely the best of the bunch, but I figured he would be. It was great to pull a Chrome version of Clint Frazier. It's my first card showing him as a Yankee prospect and with any luck, it will end up with an IP auto a bit later this season when the Railriders come to Durham. Here's where the unbelievability comes into play.

Smack in the middle of the second pack was that green Chrome auto which is #/99 and only found in retail product. So right there, I figured the value pack way exceeded expectations. Then, right in the middle of the third pack I flip to that paper auto(also retail exclusive). Of course, I have no idea who either of these guys are, but to pull 2 autos out of a retail value pack was incredible to me. Apparently, good things come to those who wait(even if the wait wasn't by choice).

Not-so-random side note - in my recent absence from writing I have spent a lot of time interacting within several Facebook-based collecting groups. Assuming the break posts that I've seen(GQ and Bowman) are truthful, Walmart retail packs and blasters have been yielding some incredible hits in relation to their Target counterparts. I realize this correlation is about as far as you can get from scientific data, but if you have the itch to bust some retail product, perhaps it's worth exploring for yourself. At the very least, you'll walk away with 2 more parallels than you would otherwise. I can certainly say that I'll be on the lookout for another value pack or two during my next trip to Walmart(sorry Target, I still love you though). Thanks for reading.

April 12, 2017

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day 3

Today I'm back with the third day of my baseball card challenge. The topic for the day is 'a card from the first set I tried to complete'. In the early days of my collecting history, my cards were sourced by my brother. He gave me dupes of stuff he had. However, in 1989 I began hearing the buzz about the Fleer Billy Ripken error. That just so happened to coincide with my local convenience store putting boxes of cards on their shelves for the first time. I used a lot of allowance and birthday money on packs of 1989 Fleer in hopes of finding that 'other' Ripken with the curse word on it. I also bought a few packs of Upper Deck that year. While I liked the design and the 'premium' feel of those cards, I often opted for the Fleer packs because they were less expensive. Sadly, I hadn't heard as much about the Ken Griffey Jr RC. If I had, perhaps I would have bought more UD packs. At some point, I actually began sorting all of the Fleer cards I had and started a list of the numbers I needed. One day, my family drove out to a flea market and I somehow convinced my dad to buy me a Fleer factory set thinking it was the guaranteed way to finally get my hands on that Ripken error(I was a kid and didn't know how those things worked). Obviously, I got home and flipped through each card in that set and was disappointed to find a black box over the bat knob when I came to that card. At that point, I gave up my chase with somewhere around only 20 or so cards to go to complete my hand collated set. To this day, I still have that opened factory set sitting on a shelf in my closet. There are some interesting cards in the 1989 Fleer set. Here is one of my favorites:

Though I've always been a Yankee fan, I really loved watching the A's in the late '80's and early '90's. During that time, Jose Canseco was probably my favorite MLB player not named Don Mattingly. I love this card because it's a reminder of an incredible achievement by an exciting player prior to his name and legacy being ruined by PED use and whistle blowing. Thanks for reading.