November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving on Cardboard

Happy Turkey Day to all in the cardsphere! I hope it's an enjoyable day wherever, however, and with whomever you're celebrating. I've written about Thanksgiving themed cardboard that highlights outstanding performances from the day's NFL games before. So, today I'll share a card that is all about the holiday.

Just posting this picture makes me hungry! This delicious looking piece of cardboard was included in the 2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History set. The back gives us our history lesson for the day:

I'm thankful for my family, good health, roof over my head, and my friends(including my great trade partners in the cardsphere)! Thanks for reading.

November 22, 2017

Traveling for the Holiday

No, the title doesn't mean that I spent all day on he road heading out of town for Thanksgiving. Fortunately, we are staying close to home and won't have to fight the ridiculous holiday traffic. Instead, the post title refers to the miles I had to travel to find a card shop that was participating in the Topps Holiday Promo this past weekend. Nether of the shops that I consider to be my actual LCS were participating so I figured I wouldn't be able to grab a promo pack. I figured I'd just pick up a few select singles. However, I found myself with a few hours free on Saturday morning so I decided to pack up my youngest daughter and drive about 90 minutes to a shop in Greensboro, NC. I arrived and it turns out the shop shared a building with indoor batting cages. The shop was up front and the cages were down a long hallway. Pretty cool concept!

When I got to the main showcase, I was happy to see the promo poster hanging. I asked and they still had packs so I was in business. The selection of wax was small, hardly anything open for packs and heavy on football, but they did have a few packs of Heritage High Numbers for $5/pack so I grabbed two to meet my $10 purchase requirement. There were several 5000 count boxes stacked on some shelves. Most were labeled 'NFL 2 for $1' but there was one that had baseball in it so I decided to take a look. There wasn't much organization to the box and I wouldn't consider paying $0.50 for most of the contents, but I found a few singles to add to my stack and rounded out my purchase by picking a few out of one of the football boxes(mostly for trading purposes). I made my purchase, got my promo pack and went back to the car for the long drive back home.

There's my underwhelming return on spending three hours in the car. Sadly, the HHN packs didn't have anything worth showing off. No, that's not an excuse to be lazy. There was really nothing good in them. The stack of singles will mostly find their way into trade packages eventually so the Snell on top is all I'll share at this time. The focus of the post is really the promo pack anyway. It contained three cards(chances for SN parallels and/or autos) and an advertisement card.

Apparently, the silver pack promo will make its return when Series One releases. I'm not sure how I feel about the flagship design, but I am looking forward to finding a copy of that Clint Frazier RC.

The back of the ad card actually teases something that interests me. Depending on the specific details of this Home Run Challenge, it could be a real bright spot in the product. I'm envisioning something along the lines of the Predictor card contests in Upper Deck products from back in the day. I really enjoyed those. I hope this ends up being similar.

There are my three base cards. No ugly sweater or turkey parallels to be found in my pack. I suppose the pack was saved by the presence of the Vlad Jr. I was really hoping to find at least one of the actual holiday themed cards in pack since Topps created a Rudolph, a snowman, and a new Santa Claus card for the set, but no such luck. I'll definitely be hitting eBay to try to add those singles. Thanks for reading.

November 11, 2017

White Whales Exist, Don't They?

Let me start off tonight by saying Happy Veteran's Day to you all and thank you to any vets or anyone currently serving our country. Your service is definitely appreciated. Sorry my post content today isn't related in some way.

In an effort to avoid the lack of posts due to the paralysis induced by overthinking what I should write about, I'm going to explore a topic that was floating around the cardsphere several weeks(maybe it was months) back. Sure, there is a lot of stuff I have to share that has piled up during the time I was absent from posting. There will definitely be trade posts, more ripping product posts, and a few really big additions to my collection all forthcoming. However, today's topic will be the ever elusive white whale. I really enjoyed reading some of the lists I saw a while back and thought that I should work on a list of my own. I decided to keep it to 5 pieces of cardboard that haven't found their way to my collection(or maybe anyone's collection) as yet.

1982 Oneonta Yankees Team Set - John Elway
First up, a card I wrote about way back in my first week writing this blog. It is truly my current Holy Grail. In my opinion, it may be the piece of cardboard that most perfectly sums up my sports fandom. My favorite MLB team drafts a prospect that turns out to be a HOF caliber, Super Bowl winning quarterback for my favorite NFL team. This gem has eluded me for two reasons, price and authenticity. While there are not an unlimited number of these available, I can easily find it on eBay right now. It's definitely not within my hobby budget right now. I'd ultimately like to find a low grade copy in my price range just so I can be sure it's the real deal and not a counterfeit. Since I'm not one for graded cards, I'd probably have an internal struggle over freeing it from its plastic prison once I had it in hand. Oh well, let's not put the cart before the horse.

2001 Topps Chrome What Could Have Been - Josh Gibson refractor
Yes, I realize this borrowed picture is not a refractor. Though I searched high and low, I could not find an image of the parallel version of this one. I've had a few chances to spear this 'whale' over the years. However, for one reason or another, my aim was never true enough to successfully reel it in. I lost a few auctions here and there. I thought I had a deal to acquire it in trade finalized, but it fell through at the last minute. I even found an auction for the entire 10 card refractor set with a really reasonable starting bid and while waiting for the ending date to draw nearer so I could pounce on it, the seller had a change of heart and decided to keep the set(I know because I messaged him/her about my interest and that's what I was told). At this point, I haven't seen a copy in the wild for just shy of a year. It's the centerpiece of the refractor set that I am halfheartedly building. Perhaps if I can ever snag a copy of this elusive gem, I'd be more inclined to actively chase the rest of my set needs down.

2014 Topps Update - Kevin Kiermaier clear(acetate) parallel /10
I have only seen this card on e auction block one time. It was earlier this year, I believe. I was ecstatic! It had a slightly larger than I wanted to pay price tag on it, but I figured I would sell a few cards to raise the PayPal needed to pull the trigger on a really limited RC parallel of one of my favorite Former Durham Bulls. I was regularly checking in on the listing to make sure that it was still available while I waited for a few items to sell. It was there. Still available. Then I get a notification that one of my items sold(one that would get me to a point where I could click the Buy It Now button). Unfortunately, while I was waiting for the buyer's payment, someone else beat me to the punch on the Kiermaier. It was as close to heartbroken over a card as I've ever been. Oh well, maybe one day I'll have a shot at one of the nine that remain.

2007 Allen & Ginter Bruce Lee Framed Relic
This piece of awesomeness was released during a period when I was not active in our hobby. Once finding my way back to the familiarity of collecting, it took me a while to warm up to A&G. I'm still not its biggest fan, but I do love it for cards like this. I really dig some of the non-baseball items they have included on the checklist over the years. When I was a kid in Upstate NY(Orange County for anyone who cares), one of the first activities I got the chance to participate in was Tae Kwon Do classes. I was about 6 or 7 and met a pair of brothers that were 2 or three years older than me. We worked our way up the ranks, earning our more advanced belts and at some point, we began choreographing our own demonstrations that we would perform when the facility we held class in would have an open house. We bonded over Bruce Lee(and campy, Bruce Lee look-a-like) films and like many young martial artists, wanted to emulate his every move. While visiting my family in California, I even begged my cousin and brother to take me to find his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame(they did - I still have the picture). I've seen this incredible relic once or twice, but it is far outside my hobby budget. Hey, a guy has to have dreams, right?

Alright, that's four of my five white whales and the reasons are all really similar as to why I haven't added them to my collection yet. The fifth and final card on the list is an entirely different story, a 'whale' of a different color if you will(though I won't call it that ever again).

2017 Topps Pro Debut Fragments of the Farm - Durham Bulls Snorting Bull sign relic
This is the second time I've written about this card here on the blog. Earlier this year, this image was released as part of the promo materials for the Pro Debut set. I was jacked! I knew I needed a copy of this card and figured it would be pretty easy to track down once the ripping of the packs, boxes, and cases of product began. However, my searching over the week's immediately following the product release turned up no sign of this card. Right about then, some of the factors that contribute to my unplanned blog hiatus began to kick in and when I had time for cards, it was more readily attainable items and this hunt went on the back burner. I always had a saved eBay search though. A few weeks back while I was trying to compile this list, I tweeted to see if I could find a confirmed sighting of this beast or if its existence was a myth. I received several replies saying they would keep their eyes open and let me know. I also got a reply from a fellow blogger that is also in search of one of these. Yes, the card in question's namesake blog(The Snorting Bull) author replied confirming that he had seen no evidence of its existence despite actively hunting for it. All of the evidence pointed me in the direction of giving up the search for a copy. That is until Topps replied to my inquiry stating that the image used in the marketing(and copied above) was taken of the actual card prior to pack out. However, when I inquired about its potential rarity, I got no further reply. So, if I am to trust Topps, I should apparently keep hope alive that I will one day see a copy of this in real life. I suppose only time will tell. Thanks for reading.

November 8, 2017

Anyone Still Out There?

WOW! I feel like I've blinked and it's been a bit over 5 months since I've posted here. I'm pretty sure I can already hear the crickets... I've got no excuses for my absence. Yeah, life and work and all are a touch crazy, but the truth is I simply haven't made the time needed for scanning and writing. I've certainly still been actively acquiring new cardboard over these months and more often than not, I've been reading the blogs I follow regularly(even if comments have been few and far between). After being  inactive for a certain amount of time, it just becomes difficult to find something worthy of breaking the silence. Well, today's retail find seemed worthy enough and it gave me a great excuse to return to this great community. I happened to be out running some errands with my two younger daughters and what should I happen to find but this sitting on a shelf staring back at me:

About a week ago, I read that this product was returning and that the package format would be different than in years past and I was looking forward to finding some on a Target shelf eventually. I was happily surprised that eventually came sooner rather than later. There were two of these on the shelf so I scooped them both up and carried on with our errands. Once I got home, I commenced ripping right away.

First up, the inserts:

I found one refractor in each box and they're #/250. The only true insert set is a chrome version of the Rookie Cup set. These four were the highlights best of the 6 I pulled. I was especially thrilled to pull the Jeter.

Rookies and Rookie Debuts are the primary focus of the set and here were some of the better pulls. My inability to pull Aaron Judge from packs continued, but at least I found another Bellinger. Interestingly, I found both of the Moncada cards in the same pack. These highlights made for a solid, if unspectacular first experience with this product and I would have been content if that was the best of what was found, but good fortune happened to be shining on an otherwise rainy/overcast day.

I'm not a Rockies fan by any stretch, but pulling an auto was pretty awesome. Pulling a gold parallel auto #/50 was even better! Assuming these boxes don't dry up like every other retail-exclusive product has, I'll likely build the set. Finding seven chrome packs per box versus two packaged along with five base Update packs will certainly make that an easier task, even taking into consideration the larger set size(100 instead of 50 in years past).

I hope this post finds some of my former audience and that you'be all been well. Thanks for reading.

June 4, 2017

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge - Day 4

It's been a while, but I'm back on track and tackling the day 4 topic: a rookie card of one of my favorite players. I went back and forth about which player/card to focus on. Something that happened Friday night made my decision for me though. One of my favorite former Durham Bulls, Taylor Motter hit his second grand slam of the season(and career) for the Mariners. I'd venture to say that this one was far sweeter than the first because it came against his former team, the Rays! I hate that the Rays traded him during the offseason. He became one of my favorite players during his time in Durham. I even got the chance to meet him a few times at the ballpark. He's genuinely a nice guy and I had hoped he would earn the role of super utility guy in Tampa. While that won't be happening in the foreseeable future, I am still pulling for him to have a great season.

As it relates to the cardboard, I'm kinda cheating since I'm about to highlight two different parallels of one of my favorite player's rookie cards. I've had these tucked away in my collection for a few months now so there's no better time to show them off.

As any modern-day collector knows, there are typically 20-30 different RCs to chase of any given player. However, this is one of only two official RCs featuring Motter. That makes it easier for a player collector to go parallel hunting. Though you can't tell from the scan, the card on the left is the reverse stock version. These flip the finish from a 'normal' card. The front is rough and has a flat finish to it, whereas the back is smooth and slightly glossy. On the right, we have the red back version. These aren't serial numbered, but they have a reported print run of 10 copies. For what it's worth, I'm still looking for the far more common gum-stained back. If anyone reading happens to have one, I'd love to trade for it. Thanks for reading.

June 2, 2017

Patch Card Chronicles - Vol. 1

A quick contest promo: if you're quick and like contests, Julie over at A Cracked Bat is running a contest that closes in just under an hour. Click here to see how you can enter.

I have envisioned a series that explores some awesome patch cards for quite some time. However, it's not easy to find unique and affordable relic cards. A few weeks back, I was able to do just that! I'm sure I won't be able to make this a regular theme on the blog, but I had so much fun prepping to write this one. Volume 2 will follow at some point.

There it is! I was thrilled to find this Kiermaier with such an interesting swatch(and auto) for a really affordable price. When I saw that patch, I knew I wanted to add this card to my former Durham Bulls collection. As I've previously mentioned, Kiermaier is one of my favorite players in the league right now. As I was waiting for this card to arrive, I started searching for where this piece of embroidered goodness came from.

I was able to find this pretty easily. This pic not only let me see the patch in its entirety, but it also gave me an idea of where to look for shots of it in game action.

There it is! Just like that the card became all the more awesome to me. The Rays wore that patch on their pseudo-retro faux-back jerseys. Like many of you, I dig the throwback unis and I especially love that Tampa developed their own version since they didn't actually have team history to draw from. Yes, I know that is a picture of Longo rocking the retro theme, not Kiermaier. It's one of the only pics I could find of anyone sporting the faux-back with the patch visible.

Speaking of 'the Outlaw'...

Like I said, this was a lot of fun to research/prepare. I hope I'll be able to write another post in this theme sometime soon. Thanks for reading.

May 31, 2017

Breaking Mega Boxes - Episode Two

Amidst the frenzy surrounding the Bowman Mega Boxes, I found a Target that hadn't been completely pillaged. There were two boxes still on the shelf, so I decided to drop the $30 on what may be my last chance to rip some of these packs. For a split second, I thought about flipping at least one of the boxes, but by the time I was driving out of the parking lot, that thought had passed. As soon as I got home, I tore into the boxes like the Tazmanian Devil. Once again, no base Bowman in the scans.

I was fortunate to pull three of the bigger prospects that I hadn't already found in the first few boxes. Not too bad... The inserts were a little better to me though.

I've really been digging the Talent Pipeline insert in regular Chrome and these 'mojo' refractors. I was thrilled to pull the Yankees from one of the boxes. I'm thinking about trying to get in-person autos of all three guys on it. It would be quite the challenge, but I think it would be pretty awesome if I was able to pull it off. The Cubbies Pipeline and the Moncada insert were nice bonuses. There was one more pretty great card in one of the boxes.

I definitely didn't expect to see an auto as I was flipping through the packs and I certainly was thrilled that the ink was from a Yankees prospect! As great as it was to pull this auto, it still wasn't the highly sought after Shohei Otani that has caused the clamoring for this product. Since I figured my chance to pull one had passed me by, I turned my attention to the secondary market, not really expecting I'd find one for a decent price. Diligence paid off though(and came with a pretty sweet bonus).

I found a guy in a FB group that was selling this for $60 or best offer. He had a few other cards that he was 'listing' as well. I found a second card I had been wanting to add for some time and sent a PM to the guy making an offer on both. We countered back and forth and he decided he could accept my second offer. I sent payment and he quickly shipped the two cards out. I received them yesterday. Here was the second card I got in the deal.

The best part is that I got them both for $50. I know sets a lot to pay for only two cards, but considering the Otani has been regularly selling for more than that, I figured it was a good deal. Of course, that may change if Trout's injury alters the trajectory of his career path. Here's hoping that it won't and he'll pick back up where he left off, being one of the best players in baseball. Thanks for reading.