March 31, 2016

Single Card Post - WrestleMania Moment Edition

WrestleMania, the biggest wrestling event of the year is just a few days away. For me, it's always exciting to keep up with the results of 'The Show of Shows'. Tonight, I want to show off a card that helps me remember one if the greatest matches in 'Mania history: the Iron Man Match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at WMXII.

After 60 minutes of top-notch action, neither were able to secure even a single pinfall or submission and they went to sudden death. A little bit of Sweet Chin Music, and the rest is history, HBK walked away with his first WWE Championship! Thanks for reading.

March 30, 2016

Marketside Pizza Set Update

My search for more food issue cards has mostly proved fruitless since my last post. However, last night I was able to find a single meat lover's pizza that came with an elusive pack of cards.

True, it was the not the most exciting pack I could have pulled, but it did provide three cards that I need for the set completion. Additionally, more details have surfaced about the specifics of the set. Most notably, the complete checklist is now available. Check it out here. Also, it is reported that these should be available in pizza boxes(when you can find them) through June.

At a whopping 50 cards, this set will be a bit difficult to finish, but I'm gonna do it. Hopefully I can avoid eBay as much as possible since most cards currently listed have asking prices of $8-10/card and even higher for the likes of Trout, Bryant, Correa, Harper, and Schwarber. I'll try my best not to flood the blog with constant info about this set, but I will say that periodic updates will pop up here and there.

Current completion: 9 out of 50 in hand, one additional card pending in trade. Wow, I'm 20% done. Too bad the biggest name I've pulled from the set so far is the Seager RC. Oh well, like I said, lots of pizza eating to be done! Thanks for reading.

March 27, 2016

Happy Easter from the Macho Man, Ohhhh Yeahhh!

To those that celebrate in any way, I wish you a Happy Easter. While today may be Easter Sunday, this day 28 years ago was Wrestlemania IV. What could the WWE(then WWF) do to follow up on the record breaking show they put on a year earlier? They held a first time ever World Championship tournament on 'the Grandest Stage of Them All'. I was ten years old, a huge wrestling fan, and it was the first PPV that I watched 'live'. There were larger than life personalities, both literal(Andre the Giant) and figurative(Hulk Hogan). The night wouldn't belong to either of them though. One year after performing in one of the greatest matches of all time, Randy 'Macho Man' Savage would prevail to win his first World title.

This iconic image is one of my lasting memories of that day. I had no idea that this card existed, but was fortunate to recently find a lot of two of these on Listia. I probably over-bid on the lot, but it knew that I needed to own this card and I've since sent the second copy off to a home where I'm pretty sure it will be appreciated as much as it is here in my collection. Thanks for reading.

March 26, 2016

What Are the Odds? Opening Day Edition

While I was out hunting for baseball card filled boxes of pizza, I happened to stop by the Walmart card aisle as well. There was a single, lonely jumbo pack of Opening Day hanging on one of the pegs. What could I do? I mean, I couldn't leave it there all alone, so I added it to the rest of the stuff in my cart. I actually kinda forgot about it in all of my excitement about opening the food-issue packs and posting about them. Since the dust had settled by the time I woke up this morning, I decided to go ahead and bust that lonely pack.

I didn't find any super interesting base cards that I didn't already write about so let's skip to a few of the inserts. I'm not a big fan of the Heavy Hitters insert, but I was still pretty happy to pull a Schwarber. I have a few others from this set and I kinda thought there was a printing defect on the bottom edge, directly below the second 't' in 'Hitters', but every card I've pulled from the set has he same mark in that same spot. I guess it's an intended part of the design. I do like the Striking Distance insert and was thrilled to pull this Ichiro. Apparently there is a second Ichiro in this set that I have to track down(focused on career SB). I was pretty bummed that I didn't pull another Superstar Celebration in this pack. Instead, I found my first Opening Day Stars. To say the least, I am not impressed. Historically, I love this insert because they have been done in much the same way as the Kellogg's issues of the past, but this year, these are supposed to be stickers? Other than the stock being a bit lighter than the rest of the cards, I wouldn't be able to identify these as stickers. Maybe if I tried to peel it, but I'm not going to attempt that. As I flipped through the pack, I thought that wrapped up the insert portion of the pack. Upon closer examination, I was wrong. Initially, there was another card that kinda stuck to the back of the Stars card...

I couldn't believe my eyes! In years past, I've hardly had the luck to pull more than a few of the regular mascot cards. In fact, after opening a blaster and a few other jumbo packs, I had only pulled the two mascots I highlighted in my blaster post. All of a sudden, I pulled an auto?!? From a pack of Opening Day? Wow, it's a heck of an auto too! I like that it is made to look like a law print. When the disbelief wore off a bit, I couldn't help but wonder what the odds on that pull were.

The odds are a whopping 1:287 jumbo packs! I was almost twice as likely to pull either a relic or a player auto instead if this awesome mascot signature. Its monetary value may never reflect the difficulty in pulling it, but for now, it's a welcome addition to my growing mascot collection. Thanks for reading, I think it's time for a anyone?

March 25, 2016

Eureka! I Found Some Pizza!!!

Late last evening I was reading a post on Night Owl's blog. If you missed out, it talked about food issue cards. Almost everyone I've come across here in the cardsphere loves food issue oddballs. What excited me most about NO's post was the mention of a present day set being distributed in this way. It's true! Topps has partnered with Walmart and will be issuing three card packs of fully licensed cards along with the Walmart brand, Marketside Pizzas. Details about the set are sparse at the moment. No ideas how many cards are in the checklist, no idea what players are on the checklist, no idea how long these will be in the deli case shelves. According to Cardboard Connection, their best information is that the set is at least 24 cards deep because they have Bryce Harper at card #24. Of course, I had to venture out to see if I could track some of these down today. Walmart number luck. So I modified the plan of fun for my daughters and I to bring me into the vicinity of a second store that I could search. As I walked over to the deli area, I had little to no hope that I'd be walking away with any new Topps oddball cards today. When I got there, it looked as if my suspicion would be correct, but as I lifted a few pizzas to check the ones below, I struck gold!

Well, green, actually! I found three of these XL Supreme pizzas with the special Topps promo on them. I picked out two of the three(the box on the third was pretty torn up, so I didn't trust the contents). When I got home, I fired up the oven and cracked open these boxes.

BOOM!!! Before I continue with the excitement of ripping these plainly packaged gems, let me share some reservations about this program. I really want this promo to be a huge success! If it is, I hope that it bodes well for the possibility of other oddball card-food item tie-ins. In fact, I kinda hope that maybe Target has(or will have) its own exclusive set. Topps has been making store-exclusive inserts for years, why can't I dream that they'd do something similar with this? I can already say with certainty that I will be trying to build this entire Marketside set, regardless of how big it ends up being or how difficult it is to track down. However, after my first purchases I am worried about the manner of distribution. Why? Well, the pizza boxes are NOT sealed and the card pack is just placed in the box underneath the chilled, packaged pizza. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. I mean, we've got pack searchers in the card aisles already, it would be exceptionally easy for an unscrupulous collector to open several boxes and slide the packs into a single pizza that they intend to buy. This leaving multiple, specially marked packages without the silver-packed payoff! If the intent of the promo is to potentially bring in casual or brand new collectors deeper into the hobby or even convert non-collectors, you have to guarantee the card pack is going to be in the package. Maybe I'm just being cynical. Anyway, back to the important stuff, the contents of the silver packages.

Here is the first pack I opened. I really like the design of the set. It's mostly clean with a touch of 'Tetris' in the background. I actually like it better than the flagship design(and I'm one of the rare few that doesn't mind flagship this year). Let's take a look at the card back:

It's very simple, consisting of a short write-up about the player. Seager was the highest number card I pulled, so I venture the guess that the checklist will be at least 48 or 50 cards deep. Let's move on to pack #2.

I'm not sure I agree with the inclusion of Olivera in the set, but the other five are no-brainers for any size checklist. Each pack also includes coupons and a Topps Bunt code for a free jumbo pack within the app.

Here's what the coupons can save you. I'm not really giving away the Bunt code because both were the same and the fine print allows for 5 code redemptions per account. There you have it, a concept that I assumed was dead has made its return. What do you guys think? Is it worth the chase? Who else do you think is on the checklist? How many cards do you think are in the set? Sorry, I'll reign in the excitement. Looks like I'll be eating a LOT of pizza! Thanks for reading.

March 24, 2016

So, I Got This Blaster of 2016 Donruss...

I've gotta be honest, had the tag line about one auto or relic per box not been on there, I probably would have skipped this. I couldn't resist taking the gamble on which relic or auto would show up. Here we go.

This is what the base cards look like. I pulled some pretty decent players, but I absolutely had to show this one off. I especially like the back:

That's a great card back write-up!

The Rated Rookies look pretty awesome. I don't even miss the logos on that Schwarber!

The box was jam packed with inserts. I was a fan of 'The Rookies' sets when I was younger, so I'm not only glad that they are included, but I also like that they created a spin-off 'The Prospects' set.

Last year, I liked the 1981 inspired cards, and it just so happens that I like these that were inspired by the 1982 set almost as much. I particularly love that the Kiermaier photo was taken at Yankee Stadium!

The Power Alley inserts of old make a return as does the Studio set. I've seen a few cards from the studio set so far and it's once again my favorite insert set. As much as I wanted to skip showing off the Swanson, it's not a terrible card...

So, what was my relic or auto, you ask? No, I didn't pull the San Diego Chicken relic that I covet so much. The relic was not something I was interested in for my PC, so one of you will be finding out which card it was when it shows up in your mail box. I would have been happy with that value out of the blaster, but there was one more interesting piece of cardboard that I unwrapped.

I was pretty stoked when this bad boy fell out of the second to last pack of the blaster. It's the Studio Press Proof parallel, numbered /99. 

Overall, here was plenty of value to be had out of the blaster, and it was an entertaining break. If you can find these blasters, I'd highly recommend busting one(or two). If you happen to find that Chicken relic, I'd be happy to give it a good home if you're interested. Thanks for reading.

March 23, 2016

I've Always Got Time For Cardboard

A short while ago I received a message from Andy, who at the time was a reader. He was looking to set up a trade. Since I'm always in the market to add new trade partners, we exchanged some emails and next thing I knew I had a bubble mailer in the mailbox. Andy has since taken the dive into the blogging world and I highly recommend you check out his awesomely titled Ain't Nobody Got a time For Cardboard!

First up, there were a few Broncos. It's not often that you see cards of the punter(or even the kicker) anymore. The Rouen is the gold parallel to boot(no pun intended).

Next up, Andy chipped away at a few set needs for me. I swear that one of these days I'll be able to put series two and Stadium Club to bed.

This was such a well rounded package. I had a ton of fun flipping through the contents. The Scherzer crosses off yet another set need from the retail-exclusive All-Star Access insert. I was also pretty psyched to see that Spring Fever Trea Turner hanging out in here. The Desmond is the purple parallel and is serial numbered. I really wanted that Heritage Severino too. Now I just have to track down the SSP single player version of the Severino. The goods didn't stop there though. During the email exchange we had prior to the package arriving, Andy told me that there would be a special Rays card of a prospect that hasn't risen above A ball yet. The only hint he have was that the kid has a brother in the majors.

Despite the hint, I wasn't able to come up with this guy. I'm thrilled to have this auto, especially if he is as good as his brother Kolten.

I'm not sure if I'd mentioned before, but I really dig shiny cards. I especially took a liking to last year's Farm's Finest insert out of Bowman. I was fortunate to have found this purple parallel of Michael Taylor which is #/250. Super shiny, serial numbered, and a PC guy make for one heck of an addition to the collection. Last, but certainly not least, we come to the card that started it all.

Andy actually contacted me initially to let me know that he had this card available and was wondering if I'd be interested. Ummm, of course I was interested! Super shiny, serial numbered, and a PC guy...wait, is there an echo or was that just Déjà Vu?  Anyway, the rest of the trade took off from here. I really appreciate the high quality cardboard, Andy. I'm working to finish up your return package right now. I'll have it out to you soon. Thanks for reading.

March 19, 2016

Checking Out Some Opening Day Before Opening Day - The Rest

MLB returns with live, regular season action on April 4th, but Topps Opening Day went live earlier this week. In past years, I have only picked up a handful of packs here or there. Yesterday was the first time in my collecting career that I decided to buy a blaster of the stuff. It's not a bad deal really, 11 packs with 7 cards in each for $9.99.

Let's dig in.

These two perfectly illustrate how the brand can both improve and ruin cards from series one. The Bryant gains from the loss of the foil on the Future Stars designation across the top of the card. However, the iconic 'bat flip' card loses effect since Topps decided to crop the pic closer. I think that the zoomed out view on the series one card carries more emotion and weight. This version seems more sterile somehow. Maybe it's just me... Moving on to a few of the series two 'preview' cards.

We have Betances rocking the porn 'stache and looking a bit like Cuba Gooding. I'm extremely disappointed in the Sanchez RC. It's pretty tough to tell in the scan, but it is an extremely low quality, pixelated photo. You're kidding me, right Topps? Couldn't afford a better pic? Raul Mondesi Jr gets his first RC after making his MLB debut in the Fall Classic and Addison Russell gets a pretty awesome Future Stars card of his own.

Next up, some horizontal 'preview' cards. Decent action shots of Wong, Shields, and Cain. The Cain is the best of this bunch because I'm pretty sure that that play at the plate was an important moment in the World Series.

Now, let's move on to some inserts. The Mascots make their return. I'm always happy to pull any of those. I like the concept of the Striking Distance insert and it's actually executed fairly well. I like that the milestone within reach is actually listed on the card front. I'm also digging the concept of the Alternate Reality set which showcases players wearing their team's alternate unis. I am a tad perplexed with some of the inserts though. Across the OD base set, the Topps logo is not done in foil and it looks great. On some of the insert sets, the logo is foiled and I don't think it fits well. Maybe I'm being nitpicky, but I think the logos would look better if they were done in the same manner as the base set.

The Superstar Celebrations insert is my favorite of the group this year, bar none. I think I may actually try to put it together for the first time. The Keuchel is my favorite of these from this blaster even if it does highlight his gem against the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game last season. The Reddick is a close second just because he has the double whammy of the pie in the face and the Gatorade shower going on in that pic.

I only pulled one blue foil parallel in the blaster, and once I saw it, I was in love! It's my second favorite card pulled. These are really nice in hand. Once again, they're not serial numbered, but they're probably my favorite parallel of this year's design. I think the blue will really work well once I track down some of the Yankees.

As usual, you're not going to pull any Earth shattering stuff in here, but this was a really fun blaster to rip. I may end up busting another one or two of these before all is said and done. Thanks for reading.

March 18, 2016

Checking Out Some Opening Day Before Opening Day - The Favorite

Today I did something a little out of character. I bought a blaster of Opening Day... I'll expand upon that tomorrow, but I wanted to devote this post to my favorite card of said blaster.

I certainly have grown as a collector and sports fan in general. As I've stated previously, there was a time when I wouldn't have given this card a second thought after flipping past it once. I mean, it's a Red Sox card after all. Fortunately, when I flipped to this card today, I stopped and took it all in for a few minutes. Then I researched when the pic was taken and under what circumstances. Now, I'm sure there are a bunch of you out there that could tell me that info off the top of your head, but I couldn't pinpoint it. Here's what I found out, for those that don't already know.

This photo was taken on 9/21/15, nine days after Ortiz joined the 500 HR Club while on the road. The BoSox held a pre-game ceremony to honor his achievement. Now, this is a great card! Iconic player? check. Significant baseball moment? Check. Captures the emotion of said moment? Check! At this point, I think I like this card even better than the Bautista bat flip that everyone has gone bananas over so far this collecting year. True, the design elements take away from the photo slightly, but not as much as the butcher, crop job Topps did(as usual). What do I mean? I'm glad you asked.

Here is the Original version of the photo from MLB. Had Topps cropped a little less, the '500' in the outfield would be clearly visible and the '500s' on the facades near his left wrist and forearm wouldn't be so obscured by the 'mist' design element. It's a small grievance, but a really great card could have been even better. Topps is gonna have to step up their game for this guy's sunset card in 2017 Topps if they expect to match this one.

Tune in tomorrow if you have any interest in seeing how the rest of the blaster looked. Thanks for reading.

March 17, 2016

The Best Custom Sketch Card Ever

Sorry for another quick single 'card' post tonight, but it's been a long day and when I got this yesterday, I couldn't wait to share it! When I picked my oldest daughter up from school yesterday, we did the usual - she worked on homework and it worked on taking care of her two younger sisters. Against all odds, by the time she was done with homework, both of her sisters had fallen asleep which left me with some rare one on one time with my oldest. She went to her art supplies and told me she was going to draw something for me and that I couldn't look until it was done. A short while later she told me to close my eyes and put the following into my hand:

She told me to open my eyes and said 'look daddy, I made you a baseball card'! I didn't know what to say. I know I'm biased, but it think it's a pretty good effort for a 5 year old! She quickly told me to turn it over to look at the back.

She said it's card number six! Now, I'm not sure who this guy is, but look at all those sports he plays! He's a four sport athlete! I'm pretty sure he plays for the Dinosaurs! I've read all about the sketch cards out there and I know there are a few of you in he cardsphere that make custom cards, but this is the best custom sketch card ever! I even put it into a penny sleeve and top loader. It's found a permanent home in my collection. I can only hope that some other day she decides to make me another one(or two or three). Maybe I'll have to ask her to make me one for Father's Day. Thanks for reading.

March 15, 2016

Off Hiatus Tony Knocked My Socks Off

Recently, I was the lucky recipient of two separate packages from Tony L. from Off Hiatus Baseball Cards. The first was a complete(almost complete) set of 1978 Topps Burger King Yankees.

A while back, Tony had posted that the recently acquired set was up for grabs and I pounced. I had a few singles from the set, but nowhere near the complete set. As it turns out, when Tony inspected the 'set' prior to posting it, he found that it came with two Fred Stanley's and was missing Bucky Dent. Soon enough, I'll track down a Dent to complete it.

Shortly after this arrived, I found the first #supertrader package from To y in my mailbox. I was pretty excited for this because Tony had posted some hits pulled from 2015 Panini Contenders and 2012 Topps Mini that were going out to the Super Trader group. I was fortunate enough that he had pulled a Rays  auto and a relic from those products.

Here is the auto from Contenders. Granted, it's not as awesome as the Moncada auto that also came from the box, but I'm psyched to have my first Garrett Whitley auto. He was the Rays' 2015 first round draft pick and is currently the 5th best prospect in their system, as ranked by Baseball America.

Here is the mini relic. It's not my first Longoria relic, but it is the most interesting one I have. You gotta wonder what that writing says, and who wrote it. That wasn't the only good stuff in the Super Traders package from Tony.

More minis from 2012 Topps! Three great pitchers who have moved on to new teams(or multiple teams).

That black bordered parallel of Matt Moore is #/62 and the Bowman Platinum is the purple parallel. Great stuff, but it doesn't stop there.

More relics! I love that Wade Boggs. I dig the Golden Moments inserts anyway, so when you add a relic to one it's even better! Crime Dog in Tampa duds isn't something that you see everyday. We round things out with a David Price jersey relic. It may be a plain white swatch, but it's a relic and it is a season highlight(winning the Cy Young Award and the quest to win it back to back) so it is doubly awesome. Thanks for another great trade package, Tony. I've got some Brew Crew cardboard ready to ship your way really soon. Thanks for reading.

March 14, 2016

Return of the Single Card Post - Spring Training Edition

Since I needed a quick post tonight, I thought I'd pay tribute to a pretty darn good career. Thought it is unlikely to ever become a HOF career due to the cloud of PEDs, it's still been quite the ride. Alex Rodriguez has been quite the polarizing figure for most of his career. As he prepares in Spring Training, ready to enter his age 40 season, I pay tribute by sharing one of the first cards released if his. A card that I had wanted for the better part of 21 years(give or take). Back in the day, this card was way more than I would be willing to spend on a single card.

Upper Deck released this HoloView card in his RC year of 1994 in the same SP packs that his most sought after RC could be found. Late last year, I finally added a copy of this to my collection. I was even able to do it for 'free' by rescuing it from Listia. I know many stopped collecting A-Rod, but I've stuck with him all along. Why? I thought he was a great player, I cheered when my beloved Yankees signed him, and more recently, I hoped for his redemption. Perhaps he will never be truly redeemed, but I must say that I am quite pleased with how he twilight years of his career seem to be playing out. Here's hoping that his love of the game keeps shining through until he decides to hang up he spikes and call it a career. Thanks for reading.

March 13, 2016

Night Owl Sure is a #supertrader

I've had the good fortune to trade with Night Owl on a few occasions before. Recently, another padded envelope arrived from the nocturnal one. It was stuffed with two filled team bags and a note saying that this was half return package and half #supertraders content. It hit on many aspects of my collecting preferences.

To start, these stacks brought me 7 cards closer to completing the Stadium Club set and 14 cards closer to finally finishing Topps series two.

There was a healthy dose of oddball too. I love those Conlon Collection cards, and the Whitehall Collection Babe Ruth Hologram is pretty nice too! Though I chose not to scan it, this package also contained my first MooTown Snackers card(Kevin Maas).

There were cool horizontals too, some of the parallel variety. I really like those Opening Day cards. This is the second of those that I've picked up. I think the brand should go back to highlighting 'actual' opening day games in some way.

Lastly, there was plenty of shiny to go around. I loved all of these, but especially the gold Kiermaier RC. It was probably my favorite card of the package. He's one of my favorite non-Yankee players right now and my favorite, current former Durham Bull. Of those recent Durham guys that actually have a decent number of cards, I think Richie Shaffer may be my favorite. That purple parallel from Bowman Platinum was probably a close second for favorite card of the package. Thanks NO, I appreciate the great cardboard! I'll be putting together a Super Traders package for you in the near future. Thanks for reading.