March 28, 2018

The New Season is Almost Upon Us!

As we sit on the eve of a new MLB season, hope springs eternal. It's the time of year when fans of every team can still have hope for a playoff run to culminate in a World Series Championship(no matter how unlikely it may be). I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I have this exact feeling about the Yankees this season. It's an exciting time to be a fan of that team from the Bronx. The addition of Giancarlo Stanton via offseason trade is one reason of course, but the team is also stocked with young, homegrown talent. In fact, my hope is that this year will be the dawning of a brand new 'Core Four'. Much like Jeter, Posada, Pettite, and Rivera were just coming into their own in the mid '90's, there are currently four youngsters that are establishing themselves as some of the best players in the league.

First, the starting pitcher:

Sevy had quite the season last year. He logged just shy of 300 innings, won 14 games, registered 230 K's, and finished among the league leaders in ERA. I was beyond fortunate to pull this blue parallel of his Chrome RC auto from a discounted retail hanger I found at Walmart a few months back. The auto is on card and one of the cleaner looking examples I've seen.

Next up, we've got the relief pitcher:

Betances came up through the Yankees system and began making an impact as a setup man, much like Mariano Rivera. Dellin had a brief opportunity as the closer, but has taken the backseat to Chapman since his return from the Cubs. Even back in the setup role, Betances has been pretty dominant. I picked this blue Chrome RC auto up a few years ago before he really had his breakout season. I really love the Yankee Stadium facade in the background. I feel like it makes for quite an iconic RC.

Lastly, we've got the backstop and the humble superstar in the making.

These guys aren't Jeter and Posada, but they sure have been fun to watch over the past two seasons. It should be really interesting to see these two continue to develop over the next few years. This is perhaps my best pull of the year thus far. I was in my local Target and there was a single hanger box of Heritage left sitting behind a few blasters of Series 1. When I opened the cello pack inside, I was a bit bummed that there wasn't a Deckle edge insert in the stack of cards. However, when I reached the middle of the stack, this card was peeking out at me. At the time I didn't know the details about these parallels(except that I really like the gold stamp). I thought they were serial numbers, but when I flipped it over, there was no numbering to be found. After a bit of research I found that they have a print run of only 25 copies.

So, therein lies my hope(s). Not only that the current group of young guys can sustain a high level of play like their predecessors, but also that this year is the beginning of their success. After all, the original Core Four made their initial playoff debut as a wild card in 1995, didn't make it to the World Series that year, and won their first championship as a group the next year. Hmmm, the Core Four Redux team was a wild card entry into last season's playoffs...perhaps history does repeat itself. I guess we will see in about 8 months. Thanks for reading.

March 26, 2018

A Trade Package Breakdown

Today I begin the process of digging out from underneath some trade packages that should have long since been featured with thanks given to the generous folks that sent them. I begin with the most recent package to grace my mailbox. This one comes from Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown. We have exchanged several envelopes over the years and as usual, this one packed quite a punch. It began when I claimed a few cards from a trade bait post of his, but Gavin threw in a few great surprises as well.

The trade bait post contained Tanaka, Torreyes, and all three on the bottom row. I was thrilled to be able to pick up a copy of the blue Torreyes. While they're not serial numbered, they have an announced print run of only _ copies. Not to mention 'Toe' has become quite a fan favorite in the Bronx. Prism refractors of the Outlaw and Gumby were nice additions as well and I'm always looking for Game inserts for the various sets I'm still trying to complete. Finally, I was very happy that no one claimed the gold Tanaka rookie debut. It has been on my COMC watchlist for a while now. The Judge RC was one of those surprises at first glance, but after thinking about it for a bit, I realized that I did comment on a post several months before saying that I'd love to have a chance to trade for his dupe copy of this Judge. Huge thanks to you Gavin, for not trading this away before now and for remembering that request from way back. As per usual, the surprises didn't end there.

What would a trade package from Gavin be without some awesome customs added in? The Mattingly RCs that never were are really something and of course the Bellinger/Judge 1990 throwback is incredible. However, the one that really caught my attention was the Jeter minor league style throwback. It's got great photo selection and a classic design. I really appreciate these awesome new additions to my Yankees PC. Gavin, I look forward to our next exchange! Thanks for reading.

March 13, 2018

Opening Day Came Early

Yes, I realize the MLB Opening Day is still 16 days away, but tonight I was fortunate to find some Topps Opening Day on the eve of its official release. However, when I saw the blasters on my local Target's shelves, I almost decide to pass on picking one up. I always enjoy OD, primarily for he inserts but almost as much for the price point. Here's a look at what was staring back at me from the card aisle:

Notice anything that seems off? Opening Day has always been $9.99 for a blaster of 10 packs. I was ready to spend that much for my cardboard fix, but as much as I like the product there isn't anywhere near $20 entertainment value for me in it. I'm not sure what made me carry a box to one of those price scanners, but I did. Fortunately, the bar code scanner at $9.99 like always. So, that learned, I snagged a box and was on my way.

First up, a look at some of the interesting base cards. The Banda and Thames were some of the most unique photos in the bunch. It's not surprising. I always tend to enjoy the horizontals. I included DeJong simply because of the Rookie Cup. Ozuna and Solarte are Topps Photoshop specials - AKA touched up photos of them in their new unis. I had to include the Andujar since I pulled it. Sorry all of you non-Yankee fans out there.

The OD blue parallels really pop this year! I'm looking forward to tracking down some of the Yankees of this variety. As always(and stated on the box) OD is packed with inserts. I'm not sure I'm a fan of the Before Opening Day set that is making its debut this season, but I do love those mascots! I hear they not only have mascot autos, but auto/relics as well this year.

It hurts me to see Chris Sale in a BoSox uniform, but that National Anthem insert is really nice...and a tough pull at 1:286 packs! The Opening Day insert keeps with the anthemic vibes, highlighting more pre-game festivities. Perhaps the insert I was most looking forward to, Team Traditions & Celebrations was the set I was most disappointed in(so far). This one boasts a 'rookie card' of The Freeze from Atlanta, Yankees Old Timer's Day, Sweet Caroline in Boston, and Take Me Out to the Ballgame in Chicago. As you can see, I'm stuck with a bunch of paper K's, a parade I didn't know existed, and the dang Rally Monkey. I was shut out of those inserts I was really anticipating in addition to an obtainable Ohtani RC and a photoshopped Stanton in a Yankees jersey. Oh well, I guess that just gives me an excuse to pick up some more of this to continue that hunt. Thanks for reading.

March 2, 2018

The Other NFL QB to Play in the Yankees

Three weeks ago word broke that the Yankees had traded for Russell Wilson. When I saw this news, I immediately tweeted to Topps that I really wanted to see this represented on cardboard. We may not get to see that realized in a proper release, but Tuesday a Topps Now card showing him in his Yankees gear at the Spring Training complex was issued. As soon as I got the email notification, I set a reminder for myself to go purchase a copy when I finished work for the evening. While it's great to know that I have that mail day to look forward to, I'm quite impatient. Fortunately(depending on how you look at things), the Topps Bunt app had issued a digital version that could be 'pulled' from 'packs'. I use those two terms loosely since we are talking about flipping through images on your phone or tablet. I opened the app and settled in for what I assumed would be a futile attempt(based on the long odds and multiple different Now cards) to find a digital copy to tide me over. Much to my surprise, it appeared in the first pack I opened!

There he is, once again spending his offseason in a Spring Training camp. Too bad he isn't destined to be the next to follow in the footsteps of Bo Jackson, Brian Jordan, and Deion Sanders. Perhaps one day in the future we will get to see another two sport star. Here's a quick look at the flip side.

I am thrilled to add another Russell Wilson baseball card to my collection and the pinstripes suit him well in this fan's opinion. I can't wait for the physical copy to arrive. Thanks for reading.