Thursday, August 17, 2017

But Wait, There's More!

Bonus cards from a retail giant. 

As I mentioned the other day, I wasn't super proud of my recent online baseball card purchase, but it was a super deal. Along with two Allen & Ginter blasters and two retail jumbo packs came two 5-card promo/insert(?) sets specifically made for this massive retailer. None of the players from my team were involved, but hey... free cards!

These cards are actually a little bit more substantial and glossy than your garden variety flagship insert. They also look like they'd make good poster fodder in some child's bedroom.

I'm not sure how these were originally intended for release, but a little bit of sleuthing reveals that the Allen & Ginter special isn't the only way to acquire these. I've also seen on eBay that they are sometimes referred to as Topps Electricity. Kershaw is the only pitcher featured.

Here's Miggy.

This is the guy who broke up Yadi Molina's stranglehold on the All-Star game NL catcher starting spot. He's also indirectly responsible for the incredibly stupid but not quite misguided (or is that the other way around?) rules about blocking home plate. Perhaps you've heard of him.

Here's a look at the back of one of the cards. There's a few words, but not much more.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Collecting Moments of Indecision

Is it time to give Allen & Ginter a rest? 

Every year it seems I question my own sanity and wonder if I should stop collecting the Allen & Ginter set. I enjoyed it the most in 2008, but it's had it's moments over the years as they've continued to add more and more inserts and other silliness. In the end, I always come back to the base cards, and I really don't like them this year.

Last year's design won me over, but I am really not feeling the 2017 version. This is the "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall" version of Allen & Ginter.

I don't like it. However, I do like that I got some Cardinals out of this set, courtesy of a huge blaster deal I went in on at a website I don't care to repeat. The deal was one blaster, plus one retail jumbo pack (the $5.99 variety) and a store exclusive 5 card set (not Ginter related) for less than $19. With two of the lots, I qualified for free shipping.

Let's have a look at some more cards from the packs I tore into as soon as they showed up on my doorstep. Topps honored the World's Fairs of the past, a concept that seems like it was ripped out of another dimension at this point in my life.

This is just one full size card, but it makes me wonder if there were too many insert design concepts floating around the office and someone got the clever idea to combine two of them. I haven't gone fishing since I was a little kid, but jerkbait sounds like a funny word to me.

Like many of the inserts, this one has a familiar feel to it, if not exactly recycled.

I don't know my revolutionary battles any more, but I probably should.

There are still mini inserts. This year, we get horses as our featured animal.

The Required Reading minis show that people sure did talk funny in them thar days of yore.

Oh yeah... baseball players! This is a baseball card set, isn't it? The beauty mirror frame looks a little more fitting with this black bordered design.

Cool. I forgot to warn you all, by the way, that this post was going to be a little image heavy.

The big baseball insert set highlights great individual game performances by noteworthy players. This was Ichiro breaking the single season hits record.

Here's Maris's 61. Come to think of it, neither of these last two cards are about a particular great game as they are commemorating the day a big record was broken.

Monorail? I can't even see the word without thinking of the late, great Phil Hartman.

Found along with an absolute atrocity (the double-stamped 1999 buyback), here's a crappy '88 card. I actually used to have a Graig Nettles branded glove when I played Little League, so I have nothing against the man. This is just like upgrading a Taco Bell bean burrito to a Taco Bell bean burrito with extra onions.

Did anyone really call Piazza the Pizza Man? That seems lazy. I don't remember this.

The recently demoted. I'm hoping Piscotty has a big bounceback year in 2018, as we all know Tommy Pham is due to suffer another absurdly unfortunate injury. (JUST KIDDING, HE'LL BE FINE!)

Billy Ripken's bro.

This is more fitting of the concept to me. Here's a guy who isn't a HOFer (or HOFer to be) yet. He just went out and had himself a day. He threw a 2-hit shutout with 9 K and 0 BB one April night.

This looks like it's from a completely different set, reminding me of Tristar Obak or some other weird off-brand thing. Is the "Dude" motif supposed to be clever?

Today's horse.

Another fish and a thing that hooks said fish.

Why, oh why, is "granny" spelled that way?

I scanned this card thinking it was an insert card, but it's just a garden variety mini version of a base card of trees. This apparently commemorates a large (record breaking) scale tree-planting effort.

If you still have a poster on your wall of an active Tigers player, it's probably going to be Verlander. People can talk all the want about how much it makes sense to accumulate prospects and commit to a franchise rebuild, but it's got to be tough to think about selling off your team's history for some unproven kids.

It's time for me to go read some Thoreau and think about what I've done. (I'll just pretend I'm not actually too busy reading Rick Ankiel's memoir right now.)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Mixed Feelings

I had a very different post planned for this evening. 

It was to begin with the astrocity you see above. I mean... why?! does?! this?! exist?!

This card was going to be featured, too. But I looked up and something amazing has happened. The Cardinals have a winning record all of a sudden. The Cardinals are only 2.5 games out of first place. Could this actually be happening?

Matheny is still the manager, isn't he?

Eh... more to come...

Monday, August 7, 2017

Tony Gwynn Has a Beer

And it is good. 

There are some things in life I enjoy more than baseball cards, and one of them is definitely beer. Craft beer, specifically. I was delighted to merge a couple of my big interests recently when I spotted this imperial (i.e. souped up) version of a Tony Gwynn beer brought you by San Diego's Alesmith Brewing Company. San Diego is home to a number of excellent breweries (and seems to be ground zero for the war between Craft Beer and Craft Beer Sellouts), so I felt comfortable in my purchase.

Is it any good? Yes, it was pretty good! I am enjoying the remnants of this bottle right now. It starts off both bready and hoppy, with the unmistakable flavor of a West Coast IPA. (To me, the distinction between Imperial Pale Ale and Imperial IPA can be pretty difficult to draw once it comes down to the drinking part.) It's a beer worthy of the Hall of Famer himself, and I would certainly recommend it if you happen across it in a store or on tap somewhere.

Should I do more beer reviews? Find me some more baseball-themed beers!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Chrome is Back to Save Us All

Shiny and new. 

The Topps baseball release schedule is really crazy, with new products hitting the shelves seemingly every week this summer. My local store appears to have skipped right over Stadium Club and Allen & Ginter (more on that later this week), and headed right to Chrome Town. That's fine with me, because my favorite thing about last year's Chrome is back this year, the value packs with the bonus pink refractors. I feel like I get just enough "value" out of these without feeling like an idiot for shelling out $3 for 4 measly cards.

This was a good pack for a Rockies fan, as I picked up pink versions of last year's batting champ...

... and a guy I'd never heard of until this season but have on one of my fantasy teams. Cool, I guess?

Let's just out the rest of the non-base cards I received.

It seems like top prospects get traded a lot these days. I wonder if that hurts the collectibility of their earliest cards. This is one of those fancy "Prism" refractors.

The love affair with 1987 Topps continues. Springer is one of my favorite current players with no ties to the Cardinals organization. I have a couple of his cards squirreled away for whatever reason.

And here's a regular old refractor of the so-called Toddfather. This was also a great pack for the White Sox fan out there, except that Frazier has already been traded and Giolito has been mostly terrible the past two seasons. But, you know, there's always next year!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Basketball Cards for You (and Me)

Time to renew your free membership for free cards. 

It's been awhile since I've taken a look at the list of Guilt-Free Basketball Card Club members. I have scores and scores of cards to send out to people and am planning on a pretty serious purge of any unclaimed teams or players in the near future. If I haven't heard from you in awhile, please contact me and let me know if you want some basketball cards for pretty much nothing (that's why it's "Guilt Free"). All I ask is that if you run across some Blazers cards you think I might like, or really anything else from any of my collecting interests, just keep me in mind. No strict trades, no details, no guilt.

Please also let me know if you've signed up before and are interested in other players/teams not listed or are no longer interested in certain things. Just visit the page, and let me know.

Here are some members who I am considering for deletion if I don't hear from soon. It's not that you've been bad, I just haven't heard from you in a long time or don't have your mailing address (that last bit eventually becomes important.)

  • Catching Up With Collecting (Ryan H)
  • Henry M
  • View From The Skybox
  • Mariner1
  • Potch (Darren W)

Here's just one example of a card that would get sent to the Great Auction Site in The Sky if no one signed up for the Warriors (seriously, no one likes the team that won 2 out of the last 3 championships?)

One Basketball Card Club member in great standing is Twitch, who is responsible for sending me the sweet CJ rookie jersey card and many other great cards of late. Let's take a look at what else he sent recently.

Hey, it's an original sketch from the man himself. Nic Batum was one of my favorite Blazers, so much that he was the first player of any sport whose shersey I decided to purchase. (50% Adidas employee store discounts help.) I still wear it on occasion, especially during basketball season/

Twitch sent Cards cards, and since this is a Cards blog first and foremost you were probably expecting that. Someone at Panini who gets to crop old photos and digitally remove logos really needs to do a Reddit AMA one of these days.

The Matt Carpenter backlash this year has been tremendous, and tremendously stupid. No, he isn't having an All-Star season at the plate like he usually does. Yes, all those walks are good for him. You'd think with all of the progress we've made as baseball fans with advanced stats and whatnot, no one would be overlooking Carpenter's contributions in getting on base with frequency despite not taking bases with contact as often as normal.

The once and current Cardinals closer: now in pink flavor!

Twitch also remembered that I like the Eagles, which is something that comes up on occasion. Brent Celek is one of my favorite Eagles. He's one of the only links to the Donovan McNabb era and he's an old school fundamentals-over-athletics tight end that just happens to have caught a ton of passes in his career. He's a great "bail me out" option in the passing game, which just so happens to be my go to move in every football video game I've ever played.

Shady, from a Panini Black Friday promo, numbered to just 25. I think this is some sort of "Black Ice" card?

Finally, it's Press Proof Rated Rookie parallel of new and current QB Carson Wentz. If things go the way of the hype train for Wentz, this card could be worth a pretty good chunk of change. On the other hand, it could also end up as exciting as a Bobby Hoying rookie Press Proof card. I suppose we'll wait and see.