Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mega Blast

It's just a blaster with a big box. 

Topps Chrome Update has been an odd retail-only end of the year cash grab since 2013, but this time around they dropped all pretenses that someone might actually want the plain old flagship update packs in another configuration. With a $5 jump in price, this is just a blaster in a funny package. You get 7 packs of the small Chrome Update set, with each pack containing 4 cards. With Target selling all Topps cards at 10% off this week (along with my 5% "red card" discount), I convinced myself that this was a good idea. I don't know that anyone actually puts together sets of Chrome cards, but they make nice trade bait at least.

Altuve took home AL MVP honors today, which was nice to see. I was waiting for the writers to screw this one up, actually. Unfortunately, this All-Star photo isn't the one with Altuve standing next to Aaron Judge, but that would have taken too much of the focus away from this truly amazing player.

I'm not sure how Topps can convince itself, let alone us, that this is actually a rookie card.

The requisite insert set for this product is a Rookie Cup reprint set. This isn't really a bad thing on paper, but I'm pretty sure I have the actual Harper card from 2013 so this doesn't seem like anything special.

And then, of course, there's the weirdness with old designs on new(er) Chrome cards.

The NL ROY runner-up DeJong will probably be a forgotten trivia answer in a couple of years, but his future on the field is exciting nonetheless. The Cardinals were decently represented in this 100 card set.

This was essentially the hit of the box, a low numbered (06/25) red refractor of one of the game's top sluggers. I feel like he's under-collected.

Again, not a rookie card.

It's a former Cardinals guy in another uniform. This is always weird to see.

Speaking of soon-to-be forgotten trivia questions, the 2017 NL MVP vote was certainly a strange one. The top two vote getters were neck-and-neck (Votto was narrowly edged out by Giancarlo Stanton) but you had to look down to 3rd place before finding a player on a playoff team (Goldschmidt).

Yadi may not have received any MVP votes, but he's #1 in our hearts!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hoops Dreams

A look at 2017-18 NBA Hoops. 

I picked myself up a post-birthday present the other day in the form of my first real basketball cards of the young season. I wasn't able to find anything in stores, but the price I found for a blaster online wasn't too outrageous. Besides, each box comes with either a memorabilia card or a certified autograph, so what could possibly go wrong? Last year, some lucky folks even ended up with their very own Festus Ezeli Trail Blazers auto!

More on that later. He's a look at an insert design that crops up every season, the Lights Camera Action cards. This would probably make a good set on its own, since NBA cards tend to be very light on action and focused more on close-ups and dribbling.

Speaking of dribbling, here's Blazers all-around goofball Evan Turner... dribbling.

Even though Moe Harkless is usually in the starting lineup, he is more of a role player on a team that features a ton of shots by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Blocked shots are fun.

This is my first card of the former Oregon star Jordan Bell. The first of many, hopefully. Please send me all of your Jordan Bell, Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks cards. It's crazy to have so many Ducks making the jump into the NBA all at once.

I bet the whistle blew long before this dunk.

Alex Len got into it with Blazers rookie Caleb Swanigan in preseason. That tells you how intense he is, or something.

Man, Hoops cards really do look the same every year.

Now in blue form! There were two of these parallels in the box, and not the half dozen or so that I originally reported.

I can't believe I scanned a Russell Westbrook card. Anyone want this?

This is Dennis Schröder. He has an umlaut in his name. I just realized that those "lights" are part of the design and not really there, by the way.

There is, inexplicably, a Shaquille O'Neal-themed NBA2K18 insert set featuring video game Shaq, numbered 16 through 25. Perhaps 1 through 15 are in another product? Also, this rainbow foil card actually shows human Shaq and isn't numbered at all. What is this?

Here's video game Shaq, non-shiny, with an actual card number on the back.

Looking for more? I posted the whole first pack over at APTBNL.

And now that you've waited this long, here is my hit. This set seems to just be an excuse to get rid of extra pieces of jerseys that didn't find their way to rookie cards in the last couple of years.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Cubs Box

I need to purge. 

At some point in 2016, when it became completely clear that the inevitable was going to happen and the Chicago Cubs were actually going to win the World Series, I decided I needed to rid myself of every trace of the team. Fortunately, there are a lot of Cubs fans out there and I was able to distribute a lot of stuff to people I trade with that I knew they'd appreciate, just by my natural process.

As I went through all of my cards, I started tossing out every single Cubs card. And from there, the Cubs Box was born. Since transferred to the two Loot Locker boxes you see above, I have a bunch of Cubs cards that I need to get rid of.

That's where you, the reader, come in. Do you want a bunch of Cubs cards? Great. All you need to do is send me one thing from my want list. It doesn't really matter what, as long as it's clear that I do want it. I will cover all of the shipping. I just need to get rid of these cards. I doubt I will continue to exclude Cubs cards from the rest of the sorted masses of things I have available to trade, but getting rid of all of this will certainly make me feel better for whatever reason. If you want to send me more than one card, that's totally fine, but I'm not expecting it. Bonus points if you hit up something from my Top 10.

Disclaimer: There's a lot of junk wax in here. There are some cards from the (late) 2000's as well as some current and newer stuff from the 2010's in here, but, I mean... if you look at the picture, I'm sure you're going to recognize the healthy stacks of '91 Fleer, '90 Donruss, etc. If you want to recycle or donate a lot of this stuff after you receive it, I'm totally cool with that.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

All Over the Place

Some idle thoughts about some random cards. 

I'm all over the place tonight. Sometimes, that is the best frame of mind to be in when writing about cards. We'll see how that goes. Here are a few thoughts about a few cards sent to me by Night Owl Cards.

I'm not going to pretend I like Topps BUNT all of a sudden, but I do want to express my appreciation for serial numbered cards. I am always a sucker for them. I really don't know what Topps was going for with these weird, washed out color parallels in this set, though.

The 2015 World Series seems like a long time ago right now! If you had asked me yesterday what the World Series cards looked like in the 2016 Heritage set (or the 1967 set it's based on), I probably would have shrugged. I do like the designs that look like old TV sets, though, which probably explains why I'm a sucker for that one old Bowman set.

I'm not wild about the non-baseball subjects that have crept into Allen & Ginter in recent years. I suppose it's a sign of running out of ideas, or a desire to cover as much ground as possible. Truthfully, I went ahead and scanned this card because the other two set filling needs I received from the 2015 set were both PED users. I think people's attitudes are starting to gently shift towards not caring so much about this anymore, but I can always find all sorts of excuses not to scan cards for the blog.

Ted Simmons was recently announced as a member of this year's Modern Era Hall of Fame ballot. I hope he gets in. I don't have any specific memories of Simmons as a player, but I know that he was one of the top catchers in the game in the '70s. I did see him play a bit in his waning years on WTBS, so I am obviously and perfectly qualified to cast a ballot.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

2017 Allen & Ginter Want List is Finally Up

Another plea for cards. 

The want list is finally up, and you can check it out here. It's lengthy. Does anyone have an extra Aaron Judge to trade me? I have his 2017 rookie cards from Bowman, Heritage and Archives that I would be up for swapping one of for his Allen & Ginter equivalent. I have a funny feeling I'm never going to pull that one.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Good Luck Ducks, Week 9: That's Why They Play The Games

Oregon heads up north to face their top ranked conference rival. 

Last week, the Ducks were able to stop their losing skid in spite of playing without starting QB Justin Herbert for the fourth straight game. It put the young team just a win away from bowl eligibility and undoubtedly restored some confidence. This was a team that had taken quite a few lumps in October. While they're still not exactly healthy, Herbert should be back soon. A bowl game is more reachable now than ever.

On the other hand, Herbert still hasn't been declared the starter for tonight's game, where the Ducks will be taking on a Huskies team that thoroughly destroyed them last season on their own home turf. The less said about that game, the better, but tonight's game is up in Seattle. Washington is #12 in the current college football playoff rankings, which makes them the top ranked team in the conference. While no one has been unbeatable in the Pac-12 this year, the gap between the two schools has suddenly become so wide, it's resulted in Oregon being a larger underdog than any point in the last 13 seasons.

If Herbert doesn't go, the logic goes that he will have a bye week to recover. Looking ahead, the next opponent is suddenly scary Arizona (expected to be a pushover but suddenly carries its own CFP ranking) and what's left of Oregon State (suddenly extra motivated to finally win for their interim head coach.) It won't be easy. No one is expecting a Ducks victory tonight, except perhaps the players themselves. Oregon will have their hands full with Jake Browning, and you never know. As [insert old sports cliche spouting man here] always said, that's why they play the games!

Some links for you:

Chris Solomona and the Ducks defense got the 12 year winning streak started in 2004.

Game time is 7:00 PM PDT. Broadcast channel is FS1. Your scheduled broadcasters are Aaron Goldsmith, A.J. Hawk and Danny Kanell. Go Ducks! Let's start another streak!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Blazers in Stickers

They're not real cards, but I put them in binders anyway. 

The new NBA season is upon us, whether we like this or not. I felt the need to seek out new cards from the new season, but was thwarted at every turn. Fortunately, the internet and stickers (a crazy combination!) were there for me. I bought a bunch of 2017-18 Panini NBA sticker packets, guys!

The Blazers stickers are adorned with the new team logo, but the players are pictured in last season's Adidas duds. Damian Lillard is not a dud, so he gets the foil treatment.

It looks like some of the star players get multiple stickers, while a number of players are left out altogether. It's kind of like society. I think there's a foil CJ in addition to this non-foil.

I did get other stickers besides Blazers players, but those are getting filed away for future padded envelopes. By the way, if you do like basketball and like one of those other teams, maybe you should check this out. There are still something like a dozen unclaimed teams.

This is one of these cards stickers that truly makes me cringe as a team collector. I really don't want this, and yet, it will end up in one of my binders. Crummy.