August 22, 2016

Chrome-y Topps Star Wars - TFA

A few days ago, while looking for some Chrome Baseball at an out-of-town Target, I found these:

I had to pick up a few to see what they were like.

Pack 1:

Base cards are exactly like the regular version, but given the Chrome treatment which is great if you like Chrome(like I do).

Found this insert, not too shabby.

I found a refractor too! These are incredibly cool because they look more like the various 'wave-style' refractors that have been found in Bowman Chrome the past few years. They're not numbered, but they look so dang cool, they don't have to be!

Pack 2:

I was a bit bummed that of the 4 base cards in the pack, two were already dupes for me.

Another insert. This one doesn't do anything for me at all. I'm not a huge fan of these behind the scenes cards, at least not his one.

Though you can't really tell in the scan, this was another refractor. I really like these. Too bad it would be incredibly difficult to put together the refractor set...

Overall, a nice product. I may have to snag a Hobby box since there are Daisy Ridley(Rey) autos in there. Who knows, I could get lucky and pull one, right? Thanks for reading.

August 21, 2016

An Olympic Edition Single Card Post Sunday

A quick one time return of the Single Card Post Sunday in honor of the Olympic Closing Ceremonies tonight. I've had a blast watching as many events as possible over the past two weeks. I found a blaster of the Topps Olympic set and was fortunate to pull this out of it:

That is a Team USA patch of four-time gold medalist(5 overall), Simone Biles numbered #/99. I figured it would be a great time to show this one off since she will be the US flag bearer during said Closing Ceremonies. The only downer is that it came out of the pack with a crease that is kinda visible down the edge of the relic closest to the pic of Simone. Probably won't try to get it replaced, just cool to have a card like this of one of our most dominant athletes. Anyone have any favorite Olympic moments to share or are you happy they are over for another four years? Thanks for reading.

August 16, 2016

My National Baseball Card Day Experience

I know I'm late to the party, but I'm finally getting around to writing about my NBCD haul from this past Saturday. I've been excited to see so many fellow bloggers that were able to participate and have enjoyed reading about everyone's experience. I truly hope that this becomes an annual event from Topps. In the days leading up to the big day, I did my homework about the rules and had a plan to maximize my returns. I convinced my wife to come out to the shop with me along with my daughters. I figured this would net me four packs since I was certain that hey wouldn't give one out for my 8 month old. I also planned to snag a few jumbo packs of Topps Chrome to get me over the $20 mark. Somewhere I thought I had read that there would be a limit of 2 Bryant cards per purchase. We arrived at the shop about 15 minutes after they opened and I was surprised to find we were the only customers in the store. I joked with the sole employee a out the lack of a rush and he curtly replied to me that they had just opened. When I tried to explain I figured there might be a bunch of people out for NBCD, he shrugged his shoulders and said 'yeah, well...' and he kept sorting whatever he was sorting. I inquired about the shop's rules for the day instead of assuming that my plan would go the way I thought it would. Boy, am I glad I did that... He laid a single pack on the counter(telling me it was one free pack per person) and told me that the Bryant and the one-touch case were available with a $10 purchase. I asked if there was a limit and if there were particular products that qualified. He snapped at me that it was one Bryant per person and it must be brand new Topps Baseball. I grabbed a single jumbo Chrome pack and walked around the counter to pay. He told me the total and I paid. At this point, my two oldest daughters were standing next to me at he register and my wife was a few feet away pushing the 8minth old in her stroller. He bagged the Chrome pack and handed me a copy of the Bryant and reached back for the one-touch. I opened it and put the Bryant in it to protect it while in transit. At that point, he was done with us. So, I began asking my daughters(loudly) if they were going to ask the man for their pack of cards. They were being shy and my comment did nothing to move the guy to hand them a few additional packs. I ended up having to explicitly ask him if they could get packs too. He said 'yeah...'with a deep sigh and said one per child. He placed two more packs on the counter as my wife walked up behind us pushing the stroller. He guy just went about his business and I decided to just walk out instead of pushing for a pack for my wife as well. I mean, after all, I didn't want to seem greedy. Honestly, I was a bit perturbed by he whole experience, but I appreciated that we were able to participate in the day's festivities. It wasn't until I had read so many others' experiences that were so much more positive that I really got frustrated by the whole thing. So, I'm sorry that you've read my rant because had I been able to write this post on Saturday as I intended, it would have read completely different. Well, let's get to the purpose of the day shall we? Free cardboard!!! I had  shrewdly set aside some non-sports packs that I knew my daughters would like to rip so hat I could trade for their NBCD packs since neither of them are into sports cards(yet).

Pack one:

This was the first one he put on the counter, so I guess it was technically 'my' pack. Nothing Earth shattering for me in here, but I really like the design and there are some seriously heavy hitters(and pitchers) in there.

Pack two:

For me, a little less wow overall, but at least there's former Durham Bull Evan Longoria and an Arenado in here.

Pack three:

It was probably my favorite of the three packs. Lindor is solid, I kinda collect Sale, it's always nice to pull an Arrieta these days, and I was thrilled that Ichiro was in the middle of the pack. So, no disappointment at not pulling an auto and I was happy there were no dupes.

There's my purchase necessary card which I'll definitely need since I'm going to try to complete the set. Btw, if anyone out there has any that don't fit into your collection, I'd love the chance to make a trade for them. Send me a message and help me finish this set if you're interested.

The jumbo pack of Chrome was just frosting on the 'free pack' cake.

A Maeda RC and that Mazara insert were nice ways to start things off. I honestly would have been happy if they were the best pulls to come out of the pack.

That's a Hamels refractor, an Escobar prism-y refractor, and the refractor parallel of the Eickhoff rookie auto(#/499). That some pretty decent frosting! Here's looking forward to NBCD 2017!!! Thanks for weathering the early post rant and thanks for reading.

August 9, 2016

National Baseball Card Day Details

It seems like forever since the announcement of Topps' reincarnated National Baseball Card Day back in February. At the time no further details were available. It's even been weeks since the official date was announced with no further details provided. Here we are less than a week removed from the NSCC and finally some real details are trickling out. This Saturday, August 13 is the big day. According to what I can find, collectors can pick up free, 6 card packs from participating hobby shops. The set consists of 49 cards which can be found in packs with a 50th card available with a qualifying purchase. Here is a look at that 'purchase required' card of none other than Kris Bryant.

I like the design well enough though it seems a bit reminiscent of mid to late 2000's Upper Deck. I'll definitely be trying to make it out to my not-so-local card shop to grab a few packs. For a much more detailed account of what to expect, check out this post from Blowout Buzz or this article directly from Topps. To everyone who  has a participating shop remotely close to them, let's get out there to show support for this event. Thanks for reading.

August 5, 2016

Celebrating the Games of the XXXI Olympiad

This evening the Opening Ceremonies will officially kick off the Rio Olympic Games. I remember watching the summer games every four years going back as far as the 1984 LA Games. At the time I was too young to understand how the political climate impacted those games. I was captivated by the grand scale of the event which was supplemented by the excitement of having family that lived in LA. Ever since, I have actively followed as many events as possible during the fortnight. So, as I anxiously await the Opening Ceremonies and the swimming events that will follow tonight, I want to share some Olympic themed cardboard.

On my many trips to the local Target, I've seen these sitting on the shelf. In previous incarnations, the blasters had promised an auto or relic. This year there is no mention of a guaranteed 'hit' so I opted to drop a few dollars on two loose packs from a freshly opened box.

Here are some highlights. There are silver, bronze, and gold(not shown) medal parallels for each base card. I think he design is pretty clean and I like the Team USA across the top. The inclusion of Paralympic athletes is one of the best things about the set for me. In recent years, I've done my best to follow along with those games as well. While I didn't pull any of the big names like Phelps or any of the basketball squad, I did pull this:

Franklin won 4 gold medals and a bronze in London four years ago and is one of the favorites for gold again. I mean, she's the cover girl of the product! Definitely a decent pull from a loose pack. Moving from the mainstream to the oddball, we have a set that could be found on the backs of cereal boxes in 2012 featuring 'Team Kellogg's'.

Here are six of the eight cards in the set.

Here are the final two that round out the set. Each box of this:

...contained a complete set on the back. At the time, I had no idea that there were cards of any kind on these boxes, but I was lucky enough to find a set in pretty good shape on Listia for next to nothing. I've got other Olympic themed cardboard that I may share as the games proceed, but for now I hope you enjoyed these. I'm going to go get ready to watch the Opening Ceremonies. Go Team USA! Thanks for reading.

August 4, 2016

First Taste of 2016 Topps Chrome Baseball

Over the past few days I've been seeing a bunch of breaks posted for Topps Chrome. Honestly, ive thought about grabbing a spot in one of them. My local retail stores haven't even put any Ginter on the shelves as yet, so I assumed it would be some time before I'd be able to grab any Chrome-y goodness. This morning I was proven wrong. Though my local Target still doesn't have any Ginter on the shelf, they did have a few of the Jumbo/Rack packs of Chrome. I quickly grabbed one and it was practically busted before I got back to the car. Let's take a look at it pack by pack. Please pardon the less than optimal photos I took in the car.

Pack one:

The Russell Future Stars looks really nice and I was thrilled by the unexpected Youth Impact insert of Piscotty. They fall at a rate of 1:12 packs so I was happy to start off ahead of the game and he's not a bad player to pull either.

Pack two:

This pack was a home run for me! Two Yankees(albeit one of them now a former Yankee), Harper, and a refractor of Kluber. I may not actively collect Harper, but I always love to pull his cards. The refractors are noteworthy for two reasons. First, the front has the 'honeycomb-like' effect in the corner which helps in identifying it, but also...

...they printed 'refractor' on the card back! All I can say is that it's about time. At least it will be easy to pick them out this year.

Pack three:

The base cards here were pretty pedestrian, but I really bucked the odds by pulling a second Youth Impact and it was awesome that it was Trevor Story. Bummer that he's likely done for the season after suffering a thumb injury a few days ago.

Pink refractor pack:

These really look nice in hand. I could have done better as far as player selection, but overall I can't complain about the Jumbo/Value Pack. I will definitely be hunting for more of these as the days go by. As for the product, it was easier for me to tolerate the 'cloud effects' on the Chrome cards than on the flagship. Perhaps it is because I've grown used to seeing it. Maybe it just really looks better in Chrome. After all, everything looks better with a little bit of shiny added to it, right?
Thanks for reading.

August 1, 2016

New Yankees on the Farm

The 2016 MLB Trade Deadline has come and gone and there was a whirlwind of deals being made. It's been some time since the Yankees were sellers at the trade deadline. While I, like many, may not be happy with the departure of Andrew Miller, I am thrilled with the returns that will soon be reinforcing the NY farm system. I did a quick search through some of my recent cards to find some cardboard of the newest Yankee farmhands. In no particular order, here they are.

Pieces of the Beltran, Chapman, and Miller deals from left to right.

Here is the centerpiece of the Miller deal. I hope this kid continues to develop and that he ends up wearing pinstripes in the Yankee Stadium outfield one day. This is my best card of any of the new additions. It's the gold parallel of the Top 100 from this year's Bowman and is #/50.

Here is the centerpiece of the Chapman deal and perhaps the guy that I am most excited about them acquiring. He may or may not fulfill his massive potential and he does currently play SS(where the Yankees have a lot of young talent) but it is exciting to think he may become a part of the new core of the team.

Last but not least is this guy. He is not a new farmhand, but I sure am glad to have him rejoin the team. I was a big fan while he was putting up solid numbers as a middle reliever.

Farewell and good luck to Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, and Ivan Nova. I sure hope some of this young talent ends up helping the big club, but at the least New York began the process of becoming a younger, more athletic team. Thanks for reading.