May 31, 2016

Digging Into Archives

Before I start, I want to thank everyone for their support on the Cal Ripken raffle/good deed post from over the weekend. You're all really great for helping in any way you can! If you haven't gotten your ticket and you'd like to take the shot at the Cal auto, you have until this Friday night/Saturday morning at midnight. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can get caught up right here.

Believe it or not, until I walked in today, it had been an entire week since I had set foot in my local Target. I really wasn't looking for anything card related but as I always do, I had to check out that aisle. Much to my delight, I found this:

Honestly, it hadn't even occurred to me to look for it. I knew that it was being released this week(tomorrow to be exact), but I've got a Hobby box with my name on it that I'll be picking up Jimmy(my enabler) who formerly owned/operated Big D's Sports Cards brick and mortar store in Raleigh. Now he just runs Big D's(on a much smaller scale) online. Despite having a box to open later this week, I couldn't leave this blaster on the shelf. Here is a quick rundown of the contents.

Before I start with my impressions, I am not a stickler for original design details. I would much rather crack these packs and focus on the cards that look good regardless of the fact that they are not exactly the same as their historic counterparts. That being said, I love the Satchel Paige in the '53 design and the Bryant and Betts in the '79 design are pretty nice too. 

I noticed as I flipped through the contents of these packs that most of the cards I really liked hailed from the portion of the set that is paying tribute to the 1991 set. That is one of the first sets that I have fond memories of building with my older brother. No matter what has gone on between us since then, I can always think back on putting that set together and smile. I was lucky to pull the blue parallel of Roger Maris which is #/199. It's not often I pull a nice parallel like that AND it's a Yankee.

Here are the inserts I unwrapped. The Topps Super set up top is going to be the next insert set I put on my set building list. They are nicely done.i guess I'm a sucker for those vintage oddball tribute sets from the past few Archives releases. I dig the Father-Son and the Draft Picks because I remember flipping through the originals in my collection when I was younger. I'm not thrilled with the players I pulled though. Last but not least, the big draw for me...

This year, there is a small insert set that immortalizes characters from one of my favorite baseball movies on cardboard. I am going to actively hunt down as many of the Bull Durham cards as I can. Base inserts, colored parallels, autos, etc...I want them all.i am quite disappointed that neither Crash Davis nor Annie have base insert cards. Their likenesses will only be seen on cards sporting their signatures. Maybe I'll get lucky enough to pull the Crash auto from my box later this week. Hey, a guy can dream, right? Thanks for reading.

May 29, 2016

A Championship Exclusive

The UEFA Champions League final was played yesterday and sadly I didn't get to see it because I was at work. I was able to watch the highlights of Real Madrid winning the CL trophy for the 11th time, a record. Best I can tell, it was an exciting match, but I always hate it when any tournament or championship match ends up going to PKs. To me, it becomes as much about luck as anything else at that point. Like it or not, yesterday's match did in fact come down to PKs. When all was said and done, one of the best players in the world toed the line with a chance to put the game on ice. That's exactly what he did. Love him or hate him, Ronaldo was the hero. I thought this was the perfect time to show off a card I picked up from Listia a little while back.

Though it may be tough to tell, this is a really cool acetate card that is part of the series that Leaf put out at last year's National. The only thing I dislike about this card is the lack of logos. Having it in hand makes me think I might chase after some of the other subjects from this set. It has a pretty eclectic checklist ranging from soccer to baseball to Al Bundy, the pride of Polk High football. Thanks for reading.

May 28, 2016

Trying to do a Good Deed - Please Read

I will begin this post by apologizing in advance. Historically I have not wanted to use this space for the type of content that follows, but as I briefly explained a few posts back, a situation was recently brought to my attention that I feel is worth going 'off script' for. 

I am a member of a Facebook collecting/box and case break group on FB. A few weeks back, a post on there caught my attention and has held it pretty firmly since. In short, the guy that runs the group found out that one of the members(Chris) had a young daughter(Delia is still shy of her first birthday) that is in need of a heart transplant. The admin of the group took it upon himself to do some fundraising even though Chris didn't ask him to do so. I felt compelled to participate in the fundraiser there and have since become FB friends with Chris. So, why am I writing this up on here? When I first read about Delia's need it really hit home since I have three daughters of my own. I thought to myself that I could only hope that if one of my daughters was ever in a similar situation and needed something, there would be someone willing to go out of their way to offer some assistance the way that the group admin(and many of the group members) did. As I said, I donated and felt pretty good, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it wasn't enough. I messaged Chris and asked him if it would be OK to share Delia's story(and their family struggles) with this great card blogging community. He gave me his permission and I began silently brainstorming a way that I could potentially maximize the additional help I hope to offer. This is part of the reason that posts on here have been few and far between over the past few weeks.

With all of that said, here is my plan. I am going to raffle off this bad boy.

Before outlining details, I want everyone to know that 100% of the funds generated through this raffle will be going directly to Chris and his family.

As some may remember, I was fortunate enough to pull this awesome Cal Ripken Jr. auto from my jumbo box of Topps series 1. At the time, I didn't think I'd be planning to let it go. I honestly think it is the card that could generate the most interest in what I hope to accomplish, so here it is. This is open to anyone who reads regularly or happens to find this post by any means. the cost is $5/'ticket' or spot in the raffle. I am not going to put any limits on the number of entries per person. If you're interested, please comment how many 'tickets' or spots you would like to purchase. Payment can be sent via PayPal. The email associated with my account is:  Please make all payments as friends/family and do not write any comments. I'm going to let this run for a week. All entries should be in by 12:00AM next Saturday, 6/4. All entries will be fed into the randomizer in the order they are received. All entries will be randomized 8 times(the Ironman's jersey number). If all entries are paid, I will run the random sometime 6/4 AM and will post the results on here the same day. Please feel free to share this post anywhere you feel comfortable, I'd love as much visibility for this post as possible. 

Once again, I apologize for using this space for a 'contest' of this sort, but i hope you can all see why I though this was important enough to do so. If anyone is interested in donating on their own, or just learning more specifics about Delia's situation, please check out her GoFundMe page. For anyone who is compelled to send their own donation, please label it with the hashtag: #cardsphere4delia. I always thank you all for reading, but on this post, I appreciate it more than usual.

May 23, 2016

Wrapping Up the Card Shop Visit

Once again, my best laid plans didn't work out. I intended to write and publish this yesterday and to move on to a more serious topic today, but it didn't quite work out that way. So, I will finish up the recent trip to the card shop today and hope that by the time I get to my other planned post that I may have a little bit of the readership numbers back closer to my pre-absence numbers. Let's take a peek at a reminder of what is still left to highlight.

Here was the pic of the homemade repacks I picked up the other day. Let's start with the goods from the varied Bowman products in the middle row.

Leading off strong with some awesomely shiny inserts. Heck, in this neck of the woods, the Teams of Tomorrow featuring Dansby Swanson was worth the price I paid for all 25 repacks($5 plus tax) alone.

Next up, we have a few Draft/Dividends, a Brendan Rogers(perhaps destined for some ink if I can make it to Asheville once he's healthy), and a card that would have been pretty decent a few weeks back. That's a blue parallel of Raul Mondesi #/150. Aphid I pulled that and tried to move it prior to his suspension for PEDs, I probably could have gotten a decent return.

Shiny is a good way to start and end any bunch of highlights. I was pleasantly surprised to pull refractors of two of Tampa's better prospects at the moment. I may even get to warpath them both play in Durham someday. Pulling the Urias refractor and a base chrome of Benintendi wasn't too shabby either.

The remaining repacks were filled with various Base cards and inserts from this year's Donruss.

Team USA starts things off with a cameo from Mr. AL MVP. I'm totally digging the Power Alley reboots.

When I first saw the 1982 Donruss subset, I toyed with the idea of chasing the 50-card set. I quickly came to my senses and decided to pick up only a few of my favorite players instead. The Kershaw and Posey were two of the better ones that fell out of these packs. If anyone is trying to complete the set, let me know, I can probably help. Though I'm not a huge Daimond King fan like most, these were still standouts from the repacks.

Here is the real cream of the crop. I love the Grier parallel! It's just a bonus that it's #/299. The pink Arenado is probably the only Donruss card here that is going into my collection. Beyond that, the Swanson and the two Rays prospect refractors are the only other keepers. If anyone is interested in any of the other cards from this post, I'd be up for trading them. Just let me know. Thanks for reading.

May 21, 2016

More From the Semi-Local Card Shop

My recent trip to B&D Sports Cards yielded me more than just a bag full of homemade repacks and a new set to collect. I also decided to flip through the various quarter and 'priced as marked' boxes that share shelf space with unopened product. Each time I've looked in these boxes, the stock seems to be almost entirely different from the time before. It gives me the 'I could find anything' feeling that I get when I'm at a card show. When I was ready to call it a day, I had picked out 15 singles to bring home for my collection and a few that will make their way into trade packages.

Let's start things off with a few of my favorite Broncos from their first two championship teams. I especially love the Certified Elway since the photo was from Super Bowl XXXII. Oh, and I love Shannon Sharpe sporting the older school jersey and helmet.

From key players in the first two championship teams to Mr. Super Bowl MVP, Von Miller. I couldn't pass up that cool die-cut Cody Latimer RC. I'm hoping for big things from him this coming season.

I was really disappointed that Osweiler wasn't re-signed, but he was a big part of the championship season, so I decided to add this awesomely shiny RC. Speaking of awesomely shiny, there is a prismatic RC of the aforementioned Cody Latimer. Wrapping up this scan is the RC of Shane Ray from Topps' Take it to the House promo set. Each of these new Broncos set me back a shiny quarter which I considered quite the deal!

Here are more quarter box finds. Hey, wait a minute. Isn't his blog written by a Yankee fan? Yes, it is. Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you, I picked up this trio of BoSox for my own collection. Why? The Napoli card is one of the reare pieces of cardboard where the World Series trophy shares the spotlight. I really like Mookie Betts, so I had to take the opportunity to add an new-to-me RC. That's a horrible picture from a product with no logos but it has two things going for it. First, it's shiny and I love shiny cardboard. Second, and most importantly, it's a Christmas card. If you look closely, you can see the 12/25 serial number. I just couldn't leave that in the quarter box.

These are the last three I snagged for my own collection. The Soler is a bronze framed parallel and is #/499. Again, I couldn't pass hat up for a quarter. I've said it before and I'm sure I'll have a chance to say it again, but Kiermaier is one of my favorite former Durham Bulls. I needed this base Classics RC. The last single I picked up nearly broke the bank. Whereas all of e others were snagged from the quarter boxes, that Arenado RC refractor set me back a whole dollar. He had a great season last year and he has picked up where he left off. The more I get to see him play, the more I like him and it doesn't hurt that he was my first round draft pick for my fantasy team this season. This is the first rookie year Arenado I have thus far. That wraps up the singles I picked up on my recent visit. Tomorrow I'll plan to show the contents of the remaining repacks. Thanks for reading.

May 20, 2016

The Incidental Set Build

A few days ago I took a trip to my favorite semi-local card shop, B&D Sports Cards in Danville, VA. It had been a little while since I had visited and I was hoping to find some great cardboard to bring home. As it turns out, none of the packs/boxes on the shelf were calling my name. So, I decided to dig through the large bin of homemade repacks. I've written about these before, but here's a brief refresher. They are team bags filled with 10 cards each and they usually stick to a certain product throughout. Oh yeah, they're priced to move at 5 for a dollar or a quarter a piece. For that price I'd binge on them even if all I ever found was plain old base cards, but that's not the case. I've pulled refractors, colored parallels, and serial numbered cards from these in the past. Okay, back to the other day...

I may have gone a bit overboard. That's twenty-five packs(250 cards) which set me back all of $5 plus tax. For this post, I focus on the top row. A while back when I ripped my only pack of 2016 Spring Fever, I wasn't blown away by the design and I certainly had no intention of trying to complete the set. However, as I was digging through the repack bin, I kept seeing pack after pack of these floating around in there. Hen all was said and done, I couldn't resist the temptation to pick them up at that price. So I walked out of the shop with 9 packs filled with Spring Fever cards. When I got home I broke them down first. I now had 90 cards in front of me which I figured might give a decent shot at a complete 50 card set. Unfortunately, these packs were hiding some of those MLB Wacky Packages promo cards that came in the real Spring Fever packs. All told, I found 15 of those. That left me with 75 cards to piece together the set. Once I finished sorting, I fell 6 cards shy of going 50/50. To be honest, that was a touch disappointing, but the silver lining is that Kris Bryant is the only huge hobby name that I didn't find. The other five I need are: Sal Perez, Johnny Cueto, Dustin Pedroia, Joe Mauer, and Jose Bautista.

I only pulled one of the Seager RCs, but I pulled three of the Correa, four Schwarber RCs, and four Piscotty RCs among other dupes. I've officially this set to my needs list. If anyone has any of these that I need sitting around collecting dust, I'd be happy to trade for them.

I'll recap the rest of my purchase in the coming days and I'm putting the finishing touches on my plan to help my cardboard collecting acquaintance in need. Thanks for reading.

May 18, 2016

Getting Back in the Saddle - A Double Dose of #Supertraders

First, I want to apologize for my unplanned absence over the past few weeks. Through a Facebook card group I learned about a situation that a fellow collector is going through. In short, his very young daughter needs a heart transplant. As many of you who have read this blog are aware, I have three daughters of my own and the struggle of this online, card collecting acquaintance really hit close to home for me. So most of the time I would have normally spent writing on here over the past few weeks was instead devoted to participating in a fundraiser on said FB group, messaging my support to that entire family, and wrestling with some of the brainstormed ideas on how I could help a little more that have flooded into my head. In the long run, I think I've settled on writing a more detailed post about this and probably busting out a tactic that I really hesitate to use in this space. Sorry for being cryptic, there will be more details in the next day or two. 

Today, I want to turn my attention to two really great trade packages I received a little while back from fellow Supertrader group members. First up, was a jam packed envelope from Adam K. from Infield Fly Rule. There were two team bags bursting at the seams, full of Rays.

First up, minis! This is the last year that I liked the way Topps did the Future Stars logo. It was modern with a touch of the old school design. It would have been better had it been foil-less, but the foiled, blocky font that they've been using of late is just not interesting to me at all. Btw, I've loved Archer from back in his Durham days. The photo on the Cobb has also been one of my faves since the first time I saw it.


A trio of Matty Moore RCs are my favorites from this scan though I really dig the Kazmir SC 1st Day Issue too.

We finish up the highlights of the package from Adam with a little bit of shiny, a few more RCs, and a short trip to Toppstown. I'm conflicted when I look at the Hamilton Finest. On the one hand, it reminds me of his younger days when he was full of potential. I so hoped to see him play in a Bulls uni, but then his career was derailed. I love that he was able to make a comeback and become one of the best players in the league for a short time. I'll always remember he show he put on at Yankee Stadium in the HR Derby a few years back. On the other hand, looking at that early career card naturally makes me wonder 'what if'. Anyway, huge thanks to Adam. I've got a rather large stack of Rockies to package up and send your way.

Next up was my first trade package from the Junior Junkie. It too was a jam packed envelope filled with Rays cardboard.

Check out all of the shiny in here! I almost went blind from the glare during the scanning process! As much as I like those X-fractors, the purple refractors really frame the Rays players quite well.

Wade in a Rays jersey is a section of my collection that is sorely lacking. Though you can't read the name, the bottom left corner is the purple parallel of prospect Patrick Leonard who happens to be on the Bulls roster this season. I can foresee a bit of ink in that card's future. The Cantu is my first white Bowman parallel and is #/240. Lastly, who doesn't love the Stadium Club Triumvirates? Thanks Junior Junkie! Mariners will be headed to your neck of the woods really soon! Thanks for reading(whoever is still left out there).

May 5, 2016

Gotta Love a Completed Set(Kinda Sorta)

Wow, I can't believe that I didn't have the chance to share an awesome new Star Wars addition yesterday on Star Wars Day. Oh well, another time. Today I share my most recent completed 'set'. I use the quotes because for the first time, I chased after a Bunt related insert and completed the set before their imposed deadline so I also received a bonus 'card'. I've never completed a set like this before, nor have I really had the interest in it. However, for some reason, I've really gotten into the fantasy aspect of playing the free contests within the app. Early this week, they released an April  League Leaders insert set. Eight cards that score higher points than the base cards and look pretty nice too. Four hitters and four pitchers were included with the 'bonus card' being the player that scored the most points within the app for the month. I was game. Here we go.

Pitching first. Here's a guy that's rapidly becoming a usual suspect since he owns one of the most dominant arms in the game right now.

It pains me to see Price in a BoSox uni...but he is pitching as well or better than ever so far this young season.

Back in the closer's seat, Jansen is also back to his dominating ways.

Perhaps this one hurts the most. I collected Zimmermann, passively but still, while with the Nats and then he jumped ship to the Motor City. He sure has been stingy in the runs allowed department. Now we move on to the hitters.

Mr. NL MVP is picking up where he left off last season.

I love the way Altuve plays the game. He's at 100% all the time.

Of course, you can't forget the rookie sensation. He lands a spot in the set courtesy of his red hot first week in the majors.

Here's the card so many folks are waiting on. There's been a lot of disappointment that he hasn't made his debut on a Topps Now card as yet(and rightly so). I remember the last time that a rookie in St. Louis put up huge numbers to start his career and basically never stopped the production. Time will tell if Diaz can keep up the onslaught as Pujols did in 2001.

Those are the eight base cards. Here was the bonus card awarded for completing the set.

Arenado quietly put together a heck of a month. If he keeps up at this pace, he might even make a run at NL MVP honors.

There you have it, my first completed digital set. I'm not sure if it'll be e only one or if it's the first of many, but I can say that I have been able to abide by my self-imposed rule of not spending money within the app. Thanks Topps for the daily coins reward. You're funding my digital pack ripping habit addiction. Thanks for reading.