Thursday, May 31, 2018

School's Out for Summer! Break #2

In my last post, I mentioned that I have begun a personal tradition of breaking some kind of cards on the last day of school.  This year I picked up a blaster of 2018 Heritage, which I already posted, and a blaster of 2018 Score football.  Let's have a gander at my first taste of football cards this year.

Since Topps lost its football license, I've found myself collecting more baseball and less football.  I don't altogether dislike Panini, but I have noticed that I tend to get fewer cards for the same money with Panini products than Topps, so tend to collect where my money goes farthest.  Score is a good option for collecting on the cheap, however.  There is a wide checklist (which we shall see) and decently designed cards (which we shall see), but it has its drawbacks, too (which we shall see).

So, shall we see what my first football card box of 2018 brought me?

A wide-ranging checklist includes defenders who rarely get any love from card companies.  And we have a center and a kicker spotting!  Nowhere but Score can you find any of these players nowadays, except for Khalil Mack.

Of course, the downside to such an inclusive checklist is having cards of players like these.  I know both are skill position starters in the NFL, but let's be honest, a skills position starter for a team like the Colts doesn't necessarily mean a good player.  I like seeing offensive linemen in my box, but players like these don't get me too excited.

In fact, this entire box was missing some star power.  These are seriously the biggest names from the box.  The design is what I expect from Score--white border, a splash of team color, and nothing flashy.

Only two Packer base cards in the box, which is a tad disappointing, but Jamaal Williams is currently my favorite player, so I'm good.

Despite the lack of superstar vets in the box, I did manage to pull most of the top rookies.  No #1 overall Baker Mayfield, but #2 overall Saquon Barkley and the other three top QBs all made appearance.  Guice and Michel were beasts in college and Leighton Vander Esch is phenomenal.  I don't know how much national exposure he got, but I saw a few Boise State games last year and his name is constantly being mentioned by the announcers as he flies around the field.  The rookies are one of the drawbacks to Score, though.  I love that Panini has a license for NCAA, and they use it well.  Full college uniforms look great on cards.  But I don't like the fact that Score releases before the Draft and the pro teams are still unknown and therefore unnoted on the cards.

Lots of colorful inserts is another Score staple.  Another kicker sighting here, and an insert no less!  My wife can't stand cards, but I may just have to give her the Tucker, since she's had a celebrity crush on him since she saw the video of him singing.  Rodgers is the last Packer from the box.

These captains cards are kind of cool, but the gold parallel, modeled here by Julius Peppers, is way better looking than the originals.

Some horizontal inserts.  None of these sets really draw me in.  The Scoreboard card is a good concept, but I don't like the look of it.  This is the second Adam Thielen appearance in this post, as I pulled two of his inserts in the box.  Don't expect to see two Thielens on the blog again.  Finally, the Le'Veon Bell Celebration card is too busy.  My eyes can't figure out what is going on that they're supposed to focus on.

I pulled two each of two parallels--Gold and Scorecard--with Zeke being the obvious winner here.

These are my favorite inserts of the product, however.  College cards done right: players in full, uncensored college unis.  Since the insert is marked as NFL Draft, I don't have a problem with the lack of a pro team mentioned.  The colors are great.  I didn't think much of them until I put them together for this scan, and now I want to chase the set just to have a binder page full of these cards together.

If you were paying attention to the box, you noticed that it promises a hit.  One autograph or memorabilia card per box.  I fully expected a relic card, since that usually how blasters go.

In my third pack, I pulled a Rico Gathers autograph and thought, cool, I just beat the odds to get an auto as my hit.  But the very next pack had a thick card right in the middle.  Jameis Winston jersey card.  Boom!  I beat the odds and got two hits from the box!  Gathers will probably end up on ebay, but I think I keep Winston for my Heisman winner collection.

In all, the box was what I expected.  Lots of white, basic design, lots of cards, including some inserts.  I may not have found a lot of star power, but I pulled some good rookies for my first cards of 2018 and beat the hit odds.  It's a good way to end the school year.

School's Out for Summer! Break #1

Since I've gotten back into the hobby, I've made it a tradition to break something on the last day of school.  I figure that if I'm going to break something, it is probably best for me to break some boxes of cards.  This year, I used some Target gift cards to pick up a blaster each of 2018 Topps Heritage and 2018 Score football.

The blaster of Heritage came with a coupon for a free pack of Topps, so I picked up my first flagship of the year.  Yes, it is May and I'm barely breaking into flagship this year.

I really like flagship this year, so that's not the reason I haven't gotten into it.  Here is most of the free pack.  Ozzie Albies seems to popping up in everything I open lately.  I'll gladly take the Judge insert for my ROY collection.
 Three horizontal heroes in the pack.  Maybe I'll have Walker Buehler in my ROY collection by the end of the year, too?  He sure looks impressive so far, and Dodgers always seem to win Rookie of the Year.

Now, on to Heritage.

 A good homage to the great 1969 design. Here are a few of my favorite base cards from the box.  I really like the Brantley with the blurred out Pirate? in the background.  It's a nice change of pace from the posed shots, but doesn't seem to break the '69 mold too much.  Darvish is now struggling with the Cubs, so I like having the card documenting his short-term stop with the Dodgers.

 Only two Cubs in the box, but two good ones to pull.

All the cards I pulled in the box that fit into my various player collections were of the ROY type.  Both Jose Abreus came from the same pack.  I didn't notice until I was typing this that the photo used in both cards was the same.  I think my favorite card of the entire box is the Carlos Correa.  It looks like it should be some kind of SP or photo variation.

 I already showed two All-Star subsets, but here are the other three I pulled.  I really like these cards.  They look really sharp and the black and white action shot in the background is a nice touch.  I might just hang on to these, whether I collect the player or not.

 Rookies from the box.  Another Albies jumps out at me, but I think the biggest name may be Miguel Andujar.  He's one of the many exciting young Yankees that is making it harder for me to dislike them anymore.

 As per the odds, I expected 2-3 SPs, and that is what I got.  Not the biggest names, but this year's SPs aren't all the big names, unlike some years past.  I have to admit, however, that I have no clue who Vince Velasquez is.

Finally, here are the inserts from the box.  I don't really like the 1969 Collectors Cards, but Scherzer isn't a bad guy to pull.  I love the deckle edge cards, but the star of this show is obviously Harper.

In all, I don't feel that I hit it big with SPs or inserts, but this box brought me a lot of good new cards for my collections.  I might pick up some more Heritage later, but right now I'm not planning on getting too much into it this year, even though I like the '69 design.  Next post will feature the second half of my End of School Celebratory Break.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Big eBay Lots

A few days ago, Fuji asked his readers where they got the bulk of their cards.  For me, it's trading on TCDB and COMC.  I don't get too much from ebay because shipping costs kill me and single cards that I'm after usually come cheaper for me elsewhere.  A little while ago, though--after breaking some early 90s junk wax boxes--I hopped on ebay to find some "you pick" lots to complete my sets.  I came across a seller who had 1992 Fleer and Ultra and 1993 Fleer in one posting, and I had significant needs in all of those sets.

He had a deal for 140 picks for $14.75 shipped, which wasn't too bad.  I asked him if I could do two of those 140 card lots and he came back with a better offer: 500 cards for $35 shipped.  I know of places that I could buy a 500-count box for less than $35, but for 500 cards that I hand-picked for my collection?  I'll do that at seven cents a pop.

My main concern was the commons to fill my set needs, like these 92 and 93 Fleer.  But with 500 picks, I suddenly could branch out a little bit and pick up from other sets he had listed.  Basically, it was a variety of Fleer offerings from 1990-2008.

I'm not completing 1991 Fleer, but I could use some singles from the set.  I waffle back and forth on how I feel about 1991 Fleer football.  It's not the most exciting of designs, but it actually doesn't look too bad.  The single-color gradient background is team color coordinated, which is a plus.  Overall, I don't hate it and I don't love it.

It turns out that the seller was from Green Bay, so he had plenty of Packers to choose from.  Moving on in our tour of Fleer, we've seen 1991-1993, so here is 1994 and 1995, with a few 94 inserts.

 Here is Ultra from 1995, 1997, and 1998.  It's interesting to see the differences in the Gold Medallion parallel.  In 1995, it was in-your-face shiny gold all over the card.  In 1997, you can see from the two Sean Jones cards above, that it was completely different.  The Jones on the left is the base, and the Jones on the right is the Gold Medallion.  The picture is different.  The way to tell the Gold from the Fleer Ultra logo, which is gold foil on the Gold Medallion.  Also, this is my first Desmond Howard as a Packer card.  The Super Bowl MVP finally takes his place in my collection!

Before I move on from the Pack, I wanted to show off the Brett Favre Classic Draft that the seller threw in after asking me if I was a Packers fan.  There aren't too many Favre rookies that I don't have yet, so one that I didn't have was a nice surprise.

In the late 90s, Fleer branched out from their Fleer and Ultra brands.  The top row here is 2002 Box Score.  It definitely screams early 2000s to me, but I like the design with newspaper box scores in the background.  Some of my greatest education came from reading the box scores each day, but I don't know how many kids are doing that anymore.  It makes me kind of sad.

Below is 2006 Fleer.  All of the cards here are All 2000s team players, except for Cris Carter, who held the honor the previous decade.

Finally, this post will come into focus.  Fleer Focus, that is.  These are the Fleer Focuses (Fleer Foci?) from 1999, 2000, and 2002.

This was obviously not nearly the full 500 card pick up on ebay, but I don't think many of you care to see all the common base cards from 1992 Fleer, so I just hit the highlights.  I've said it before, but I really miss Fleer.  They always had some of my favorite designs and put out some great looking cards during their run.  I'm glad to add some that I didn't have before.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Shopping for a Trade

2012 Cooperstown High Praise Set Build
I recently completed a trade on Trading Card Database in a unique way: I had to go shopping on Sportlots for my wantlist.  TCDB member dboninjr sent me a private message on TCDB asking if I was interested in a trade. Hey, I'm always willing to look at the trade offers that come my way. 

1992 Pinnacle Team 2000 Set Build

In a departure from your typical trade on the site, however, I couldn't just peruse his tradelist to see what he had to offer.  He doesn't keep a tradelist on TCDB.  Instead, he sent me a link to his Sportlots store and said that anything for sale was for trade.

Jordy Nelson PC--We'll miss you!

In a way, it was a harder way to select cards.  But I also kind of enjoyed it.  It was a nice feeling to pick out a stack of cards and feel like I had house money, knowing I wasn't going to spend a dime more than shipping my own cards to receive them.

BYU Players
It was a big trade, with over 150 cards involved in total.
I was able to cross off some set needs.  It's ridiculous how far I am from the Wrigley Field set from 2016.  I guess since I bought literally zero packs of Flagship that year, I didn't get much of a jump on the inserts.

I got some fun player/NFL team/college team cards, like this J-Swag Daddy, who fits all of those criteria.  I hope he makes some great strides this year and keeps flashing his skills like he did as a rookie last year.

Speaking of rookies, I picked up some nice cards for my Rookie of the Year binder.

Here are some older and newer cards of All-Star MVPs, including some early 80s O-Pee-Chee.

It was an unconventional trade, but dbonin's Sportlots store was fun to peruse.  There were plenty of other cards that I placed in my cart, but I had to cut for the final trade.  I only had so many cards for him.  The cards I did receive fit many parts of my collection and spanned 35 years.  It was a good, fairly big trade.

Friday, May 18, 2018

It's the Cardboard Clubhouse--Come Inside; It's Fun Inside!

Image result for mickey mouse clubhouse gif

My two-year old daughter has recently discovered Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  For those of you who don't have kids between 0-10 years old, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is a computer animated kids show along the lines of Dora the Explorer.  It's nothing like the old Mickey Mouse Club (Cue Paul Simon: Where have you gone, Annette Funicello?).  Instead it features a magical playhouse and a toolbox that flies around and just happens to have the correct random items that will help solve the episode's problems.  For an adult, it's a bit painful to watch.  The theme song is especially annoying, and its only redeeming quality is the fact that it's performed by They Might Be Giants, whom I have enjoyed since my youth.  But this song is annoying and--even worse--catchy.  So it had been in my head for a couple of weeks when I opened up my mailbox to find an unexpected PWE from Adam at Cardboard Clubhouse.  Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity-dog!

When I opened up the PWE, I saw that I had struck gold.  Well, green and gold, to be more specific.  Adam sent me a handful of Packers cards with a note saying that he hoped they would be useful for me.  Well, they were.

I'll always welcome Charles Woodson to my collection.  He is undoubtedly one of my favorite Packers ever.  The next two cards are 1993 Skybox Impact.  I don't own nearly enough of this set.  Impact was consistently one of my favorite set designs of the year from the time it debuted in 1992 until 1996.  I didn't really care for the 1997 effort, and then it went away.  The 1995 version is shown on the bottom in Bryce Paup.  Paup was not with the Pack long enough.  He became a full-time starter in 1993 and earned a nice big contract with the Bills.  He was a great pass-rush specialist and guy I missed when he left.

Thanks for the PWE Adam!  See ya real soon!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Can You Believe What This Dimwit is Giving Away?!

For anybody who may not be aware, acclaimed Astros collector and case breaker Dimwit has returned to blogging.  To raise awareness of his latest activity, he's holding a contest.  Check it out here.  Enter to win and good luck!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bowman Baseball Trap

I have plenty of other posts queued up, but after reading Gavin's and (Evil) Zippy's rants about 2018 Bowman, I thought I'd add my two cents.  I had a Target gift card burning a hole in my pocket and then last week we received a special "$5 off of $15 purchase" coupon in the mail in celebration of our local Target's now-finished remodel.  The time was ripe for some discounted card purchases.  I picked up a couple blasters (which I am saving for a later date) and three loose packs of Bowman.  I'm usually not a fan of Bowman because I'm just not much of a prospector, but I figured that if Bowman this year is just a lottery ticket for a Shohei Ohtani card that could bring in some extra cash, then I'd buy a few lottery tickets and hope to find some cards that I could keep.

I pulled these prospect cards out of those three packs.  Rutherford and Flaherty are the only names that sound familiar, but that doesn't mean that I know them to be great prospects.  Flaherty I only know because he has already made his Major League debut with my team's rival.  I do like the Eric Pardinho card, however.  I had never heard his name before, but learning that he is Brazilian was cool.  I gravitate to Brazilian athletes in the US since I lived in Brazil for a few years.  There aren't  too many baseball players who come from Brazil to play pro ball in America.

Here are the Chrome Prospects.  Once again, nobody I had heard of, but at least one is a Cub.  That's a keeper.   I should probably know the guy who is currently ranked as the Cubs' #5 prospect, but I don't.  In my mind, the Cubs' farm system currently consists of Jose Quintana, Mike Montgomery, Justin Wilson, and Aroldis Chapman, since that's where the investment of prospects has gone in the past few years.

From the "veterans" portion of the set, I need the Cody Bellinger for my ROY binder.  It's still embarrassingly skimpy on Bellingers.  I kinda, sorta collect Arenado, at least in the sense that I tend to hang on to the cards I pull.

With one insert per pack, I pulled these three.  At the beginning of the year, I was holding onto Willie Calhoun as a ROY candidate, but right now it seems that Ohtani is running away with the AL award.  Lindor is a great player, but I don't care much for the Birthdays inserts.  Something about them just doesn't work for me.

I was completely underwhelmed with my packs, but I don't know what I expected.  I mean, I knew that at least half the pack would be players who I would have to research just to have any notion of who they were.  But I bought it anyway.  That's not the end of the story, though.  I could have ranted like some of my fellow bloggers and been done with it.  But no.  I had to buy more.  Yes, a few days later, I saw a combo pack with 3 packs and 5 Camo parallels, and I bought myself another Ohtani lottery ticket.

The combo pack brought these prospects.  Yay!  I know Jordan Hicks!  Boo!  He's a Cardinal!  At least Jeren Kendall is the 1st Bowman card.

Some shiny prospects.  If you've really been paying attention, you probably noticed that three of these four have already been shown as the paper version.  Somehow I ended up with many of the same players from my two purchases.

Case in point: Bellinger, Buxton, Crawford, and Donaldson are all repeaters here.  Mejia and Banda are supposed to be pretty good down the road, but they both have struggled early in their MLB careers.

Nothing to complain about with these inserts.  Albies is a viable ROY candidate this year while Tatis should be something big later.

It's a Dodgers hot pack!  I'm not gonna lie--Senzel was the only name I recognized here.  But apparently Juan Soto is a pretty good prospect for the Nats.

This combo pack was better than the loose packs, but I've saved a little something for the end.  One pack was just what a pack should be.

Three veteran base, including a Rhys Hoskins rookie.  I won't complain about that.  Not one, but two inserts, and a parallel to boot.  Nick Williams has struggled a bit after a good call-up stint last year, but he still looks like a good enough player that I'm excited to pull an insert of him.  Not only did I pull a Chrome parallel, but it's also numbered to 50 and a Cub.  That goes straight to the collection.  And what's this last card in the pack?  It's a prospect card of Wunderkind Ronald Acuna!  This is one great pack.

Overall, I'm still not a fan of Bowman.  I can probably think of better ways to have spent $20.  But as I said before, I knew what I was getting into and throwing money after a chance to come away a big winner is never too bad when you get some other cool cards as consolation.  Still, a large part of me is wondering what possessed me to go buy Bowman again after it failed to impress me the first time.  I think I can safely say now that this will be the extent of my Bowman purchases this year.