January 15, 2017

UFC Fight Night - The Prodigy Returns

I really dig the base card since it shows him exactly as I always want to remember him: arms raised in celebration and a title belt around his waist! The Bloodlines insert is pretty awesome since it highlights his Hawaiian heritage with the state flag in the background and the 'Hawaii/USA' designation under the Topps logo. The main reason I went after the lot was the following card though.

At the time, it was my only UFC relic and I was thrilled that it was a 2-color swatch. I was even more thrilled that the three cards set me back less than five bucks shipped. Tonight, I get to be thrilled to watch his comeback fight. It's been a few years since he has set foot in the Octagon, and while I am happy to see him fight again, I can't shake the feeling that I'm going to see him get beaten down...badly.

Here is the only 'card' I own of his opponent.

This is an extremely limited digital insert of the guy who may systematically destroy one of my favorite fighters of all time. Rodriguez is young, dynamic, and currently ranked #10 in the Lightweight division. Here is how they match-up:

Yes, I'm pretty frustrated that the UFC site doesn't even have most of Penn's info filled in to this comparison, but the 'significant strikes' section paints a fairly grim picture for The Prodigy. I sure hope he can find a way to pull out a 'W'. Thanks for reading.

January 14, 2017

My 2016 Recap/Looking to Head to the Top of the Class in 2017

Here we are almost a full two weeks into a new year and I'm just getting around to revisiting my 2016 goals and setting some for the 2017 collecting/blogging year. Better late than never, I suppose. To start things off, I had hoped to complete both the vintage Topps Game and Deckle edge sets. Well, I succeeded in half of that goal as I was able to finish off the Topps Game set relatively early in the year. There are still a few I'd probably like to upgrade at some point, but it's complete nonetheless. I fell a bit short on the Deckle edge set, but in all fairness, I really didn't put forth much effort towards that end. Most recently, I picked up this:

I found this shortly before Christmas at a relatively new LCS that was hosting a 'trade night'. It set me back a whole $2. Sadly, I'm still at six cards to go to complete the set with Clemente, Gibson, Robinson, and McLain being among them.

My next goal was to increase my post total. Well, I fell significantly short of that thanks to the lengthy post-less time periods that filled the last few months of the year. In the end, I ended the year 30 posts short of my 2015 total. The second part of the increased productivity goal was an aim to write some 'creative' posts. I can't really judge that for myself. I was hoping maybe some of you could help me on that. The idea was to not have to rely on trade, pack or box busting, and eBay/Listia win related posts alone. Perhaps, I'll know better than to set a goal that I can't evaluate on my own for this coming year.

My last goal of 2016 was to control my impulse spending...I can say that I definitely failed terribly in this one. Here is some recent proof:

I found this box at said LCS for a reasonable price and decided that I would pick it up. Why, you ask? I'm not exactly sure. Other than being a UFC fan and the fact that it was there for the taking at a 
decent price, there was no true reason. I guess it fulfilled my desire to break a premium product without spending premium dollars.

Base card #1. Not a bad way to start the box considering he was considered the best pound for pound fighter in the world a few years back. I never really liked 'The Spider' while he was beating anyone set in front of him and I was actually quite happy when he lost to Chris Weidman(twice), but I can't argue with his greatness.

Base card #2. Perhaps the current best pound for pound fighter in the world. McGregor is currently a dual weight class champion. I kinda like his showmanship, but I was also thrilled when he was upset by Nate Diaz a few months back.

Here was my promised 'jumbo' relic. I don't have much to say here besides at least the swatch was two colors.

Auto #1. Teixeira was formerly a big deal. He had some pretty lofty expectations to live up to upon entering the UFC and he hasn't really delivered on any of that potential as yet.

Auto #2 puts the finishing touches on a solid, if unremarkable box break. Mighty Mouse here certainly has the ability to manufacture a win even if he doesn't get many spectacular finishes.

It was a fun break. However, what I'm left with are some high quality cards that I'll eventually be looking to sell or trade in hopes of either picking up BJ Penn/Robbie Lawler cards or making as much of the box price back as possible. I'd actually love to build he base set, but it might be quite difficult with just two per box.

So, where does this leave me for the 2017 collecting year? I'll set some modest goals:

1. Complete the vintage Deckle edge set. I've only got six to go and even though there are some of the biggest stars in the set still left, I know this is easily achievable if I actually put forth the effort.

2. Reorganize the blog layout. With this, I intend to create two separate 'most wanted' lists, one that highlights cardboard that is more likely out of reach for whatever reason(cost, availability, etc.) and the other that focuses on the more easily attainable(but still elusive). Yes, I realize this is not a new concept and I am ripping off several other bloggers out there, but I have come to realize over my 2+ years of contributing to this community that I have only been able to cross off three cards from the current version of my 'most wanted' list(one of those I snagged from eBay). My hope is to facilitate greater success in adding the cardboard from these lists to my collection. Additionally, I will be overhauling my 'who I collect' page. Some of the names will be changing and some other sports/entertainers may be making an appearance. I'll be sure to make a brief announcement once their change is complete and I hope you'll all check out some of my new collecting interests.

3. My third and final goal for the year is to send more trade packages and run more giveaways/contests. Ultimately, I'd like to add a tracker/counter to keep up with the number of trade packages that make their way to my PO. Over the past few years, I have added a good bit of cardboard that simply doesn't fit anywhere into my enjoyment of our hobby. Therefore, that cardboard is better off taking a trip to another home where it will be appreciated more than it is here. I don't think I can possibly move all of the cards that I want to through trade packages alone, so I plan to channel those creative impulses I tried to let loose last year into some (hopefully) interesting contests/giveaways. Details on the first of these will follow shortly(after I can finalize the two Anniversary contest winning packages - should make a serious dent in these with the first card show of the year coming up this weekend).

There you have it. I'm sorry for the lengthy post, but I wanted to get the recap/goals post out of the way before finishing off the 12 days of trade posts and getting into some other content. I've got a few box breaks, repacks, eBay/Listia wins to share soon and I hope to have a huge haul from the show. Oh yeah, I'm several months behind on talking about the grand opening of that new LCS I mentioned. I was quite excited about the first visit haul and the subsequent finds(and wins). Yes, wins...more on that some other time. Here's to big things in 2017! Thanks for reading.

January 6, 2017

Rink-ing in the New Year + Blogaversary Contest Results

Yes, I know that title is a really bad play on words. Sorry for that. Happy New Year a few days late! I celebrated on New Year's Eve when I received my last piece of cardboard for 2016. It was a big, expensive win from the Land of Listia. In recent months, I hadn't spent much time searching there, but I continued to see emails reminding me of how many credits I had and one day after Christmas I decided to take a look and see if I could go on a 'shopping spree' to remedy the fact that I wasn't gifted any cardboard(except for my Secret Santa package). After a few minutes of looking, I happened to find this awesome hockey relic.

The 'Canes are my 'local' hockey team and I have enjoyed taking my girls to a game or two. Ron Francis was the heart of the Hurricanes teams that went to the Stanley Cup finals in 2002 and brought the 'Caniacs out of the woodwork in NC. Sadly, he had left the team by the time they were able to bring the cup to the Triangle. He also happens to be the team's current GM. Finding this in my mailbox was a great way to end my collecting year.

Now, on to the long overdue results from my blogaversary contest. This year, there were 17 total entrants which is down by one from last year's contest. I was pretty happy with that considering my multiple, long posting droughts in the later part of the year. With that in mind, I've decided to have two winners again. However, this time around, one winner will be the person on top after the nine randoms and the other winner will be the person who is at the bottom. Thank you to everyone who entered the contest, your support and kind words mean a lot. Good luck to all. Without further delay, here is the final round from the randomizer:

Congrats to Angus and night owl! I will start working on putting together your customized prize packages right away. Thanks for reading.

December 30, 2016

On the 7th Day of Trade Posts...

...another two PWEs! Let's take a look at a few Rays that came to me from Stealing Home.

The Longos are pretty nice, but I really like the rainbow foil Odorizzi. Others have said this, but the Future Stars tag is a bit off the mark. It's still a nice card to add to the collection of former Durham Bulls.

Next up is the most recent PWE from Brian over at Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary.

I was thrilled to see the black border retail parallel of Blake Snell! The Boggs hails from one of the 'ultra premium' sets of the mid-90's, Leaf Limited. Rounding out the highlights of this envelope was the awesome dual-rookie Johnny Barbato/Ben Gamel rainbow foil. These guys may not be household names, but I've had fun watching Gamel several times when the Scranton Railriders have come to Durham.

Thanks for the great cardboard guys! I'll definitely be putting together return packages for you both early in 2017. Thanks for reading.

December 28, 2016

Time to Hit the Reset Button

It's been an up and down few days since Christmas. I fully intended to just keep plugging along writing the 12 Days of Trade Posts, but then I considered writing about the lack of cardboard I received as gifts. I began that draft and then Carrie Fisher passed away... I immediately began a draft of a tribute post. As I fought with how to express my thoughts/feelings about the loss of my first boyhood celebrity crush, I just stopped. That is when I wandered into Target for the first time since a few days before the holiday. I halfheartedly searched for some cards to purchase figuring that I wouldn't find anything terribly exciting and geared myself up for deciding what to settle on. Then I saw these hanging on a peg:

I knew these were going to be released, but had no idea they were out or that they would be available at the local Target. I figured that posting about this set would be a nice break and an effective way to get me back on track. I hadn't read much about what to expect from this set, so I just dove in.

Let's start with a few goal keepers and some of the more mundane pics of the pack. My first impression is that I need to work on putting this set together. It uses the same design as the MLB set from this season. It's clean and perfect to put the focus on great photography.

Two more rather boring pics of the guys fromEverton, but the Borini and Martial show quite a bit more action. I love the goal celebration shot and the RC designation on the Martial. It is by far my favorite base card of the pack.

The Kane is the final base card of the pack and is back to a boring shot, but he was the top scorer last season. The Vardy is a gold foil parallel. To close out the pack contents, I pulled two cards from the Golazo insert set.

Overall, the base set is relatively small at 100 cards. Hobby boxes sport 16 packs with 8 cards per and promise 2 autos and a handful of inserts and parallels. Therefore, even with good collation it would take a hobby box plus in order to complete the set. Judging from this retail jumbo pack, it would be a fun break. I just might have to jump on in. Thanks for reading.

December 25, 2016

I Wish You a Merry Cards-mas!!!

Ho, ho, ho...Merry Cards-mas! This marks my third annual Christmas Day recap of the new cardboard Santas in my collection. This year, the additions are few, but I definitely feel like it is quality over quantity.

First up, we have this mini insert from 2010 Allen &Ginter. Creatures of Legend, Myth, and Joy were relative tough pulls at 1:128 packs(from the info I could find).

I like the mini history lesson on the back. Apparently Topps produced relics of a few of the cards from this set. Sadly, a Santa relic for this set was not produced by Topps. No, for 'game used' Santa gear, I chose to go all the way back to 1998.

This oversized gem comes courtesy of Upper Deck. This is the size of two regulation cards side-by-side and is complete with a sizeable swatch of Santa's red suit! I love that he design borrows directly from the early 'game-worn jersey cards that UD was known for. It's not the only Santa relic available, but for now it'll have to be he only one that has a permanent residence in my collection. I was able to add these two for a little over the cost of a blaster and hey definitely fill me with more holiday cheer than rolling the dice on another retail box!

I hope you all have a safe and Merry Christmas! Thanks for reading.

December 24, 2016

Let Me Breakdown the Sixth Day of Trade Posts

Like so many others around the cardsphere, I was fortunate enough to receive a trade package from Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown just in time for the holidays. I didn't realize until I read his recap of the cardboard I sent his way that this was actually our first trade of 2016. Seemed hard to believe, but it was definitely true. It was a package that certainly made up for lost trading time.

A pair of new-to-me Bernies lead things off. Of course I have that Collector's Choice, but this is the silver signature parallel(though it's a bit hard to see). Then we move on to a few former Durham Bulls, beginning with Lee. He was all,set to join the big club as their starting SS a few seasons ago, since he was tearing up Triple A. Unfortunately, his season was cut short when he tore up his knee and his career hasn't quite been the same since.

Here's a great new Longo and a pair of Kiermaier inserts that I hadn't picked up yet. As great as these additions were, the highlights of the package were the first of Gavin's awesome customs that I could call my own.

We'll start in the world of WWE. Historically, I've sent a few AJ Lee cards to Gavin and he was thoughtful enough to send this great custom of her my way. I've seen many of his customs on Gavin's blog and various others, but actually having one in hand gives me a whole new appreciation for his work. These are top notch!

This great Donnie Baseball was also included.

I totally dig it. All I can say is if you haven't been on the receiving end of one of Gavin's custom works of art, you should work out a trade or make a purchase for one. There was one last highlight in the envelope.

Yup, I was one of the lucky recipients of the Tony Gwynn Rip Card!

Mine was close to being an eBay 1/1 and for about a split second I considered leaving it intact...

That didn't last though! There you have it, I pulled a 1/1 custom mini magnet of The Commerce Comet! Thanks for an all around wonderfully entertaining trade package, Gavin. I'm already working on putting together the first envelope of 2017! Thanks for reading.