Friday, March 29, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 2013 Topps Opening Day #36

We are three days away from Opening Day! This is not a drill. On Sunday evening, the Texas Rangers battle the remnants of the Houston Astros, American League style. Those festivities (?) then give way to a nearly full slate of MLB action on Monday, like Abner Doubleday (or whatever British dude actually invented the game) intended. I am taking the day off from work just to geek out on sportsgames all day and I suggest you do the same. Wait, your boss isn't cool with it? Fake an illness or injury! Wait, you're unemployed/going to college/living in your mom's basement? Just pretend it's dark outside and crack open some cold ones! Peanuts! Caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts! Disregard any interest in ever returning! Bases Ball!

Who is this week's victim, and why do we care? Tommy Hanson is a former Next Big Thing who is teetering dangerously close to Shoulda Coulda Woulda Been territory. He had a rough season last year and could be suffering from some sort of ailment that affects most pitchers at some point in their careers.

Why is this a thing? Hanson was traded in the offseason to the Angels for one time closer Jordan Walden. He was the reliever the Angels were all buzzed up about until Ernesto Frieri passed him up, and both pitchers probably needed a change of scenery. And as usual, the Topps Opening Day set once again serves as a breeding ground for Photoshopped masterpieces. Oh Adobe, is there anything you can't do?

Airbrushed Fridays is a weekly feature as the name seems to imply. If you know of a card with an altered photograph that you'd like to see featured, please contact me. You probably won't win anything other than a hyperlink and some defecated coffee, but you never know!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Nacho Nacho Trade

How is everyone doing in the tournament? You realize that everyone you picked has already lost, right? I meant to do this a couple of days ago at a logical break in the action, but I just checked and it looks like Spiegel currently has a slim lead in the "potential points" category, which is usually the best indicator of who has the best chance of winning. Noted Juan Pierre superfan AJ is in the overall lead right now, as he's hoping to ride Marquette's odd uniforms all the way to the bank.

Adding to the mood of those who are depressed about the state of their brackets, I thought I'd take a look at a few cards that Nachos Grande sent last month from the still-in-progress 2012 Allen & Ginter set. 

Whales are no sharks (see 2008 A&G), but they are still pretty impressive. What's next on the sea creature power rankings? Will we be treated to a future mini set of impressive octopuses?

Until I received this package, I had zero Culinary Curiosities cards. Were these hobby only or just difficult to pull? In any case, I'd already been pre-warned not to read the backs of these cards too carefully. This is some sort of rancid shark meat. The other card that I received had something to do with coffee and defecation.

Baseball cards, everybody!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Trade in the Dark

Wandering through a dark room and picking up a stack of cards, almost at random - that's how I came up with tonight's post. Sometimes it just has to be done. I have a lot of trade posts to catch up on, which is not exactly a new thing, but this one was a shiny gemerald that was calling to me tonight even though I couldn't see a thing. My Cardboard Mistress and I exchanged cards last month (and plan to do so again soon), and here are some of the fruits of this exchange.

David Freese is on ice. Silver Ice. And the Disabled List. That's tough. Apparently his back froze up a bit and he's been told to cool off for the first 10 days or so of the season. He's just going to chill for now while his ABs go to Daniel Descalso or possibly even Ryan Jackson. Ryan Jackson?

Foilboard cards scan for crap and I still keep slapping them on my scanner tray, like this time is really going to be the time that it turns out awesome. It didn't. Eric Davis was part of the parade of former '80s/early '90s stars that joined the Cardinals towards the end of their careers when Tony La Russa had secured his spot in the dugout.

St. Louis is desperate for some offense at 2B right now, which is why they are converting Matt Carpenter to the position. It doesn't suggest nice things about Kolten Wong's prospects, but he's still very young and could  still develop further.

Yes, what you're looking at here is a Duck Bipping. This might have been one of the most effective Bippings (Bips?) ever, as I was truly excited when I pulled out the first Darron Thomas card. I had zero cards of the former Ducks QB who had virtually no chance to make it as a pro, but I knew that at least one of his cards existed. Every five or so cards in the package was this same card, which was pretty hilarious. By the way, this is what happened to the Leaf brand name. It was purchased and resurrected by some fourth rate hack card company upstart, who somehow has a big signing deal with Damian Lillard right now. It now has nothing to do with any of the brands like Donruss (or Playoff?) that Panini owns. 

Back to Cardinals cards, with this Upper Deck insert that foretold the future in a way. Even though Vladdy is long gone, Pujols eventually became an Angel and isn't even looking all that strange in their uniforms. Maybe it's the red thing.

Scott Rolen is still looking for work. David Freese is on the DL. Just sayin'. (I'm sighing and looking wistfully at my Jim Edmonds World Series photo now. DON'T JUDGE.)

Oh, it's this guy again. Well, this is a fine card all in all, unless it's really a piece of some Foot Locker employee's gym shorts. In which case, it's amazing, obviously! I don't have many Pujols memorabilia cards, so this will fit right into my collection nicely.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Some New Want Lists and Some New Cardinals

I have some new want lists. Feel free to peruse them at your leisure. I finally came to a decision on the 2013 Topps Heritage set, and despite how pretty the colorful Chrome refractors look, I just don't feel like they fit into my collection unless they're a player or team that I collect. This is good news for anyone who had their eye on the purple refractors that I pulled in my so-called "hot box". I am at least going to attempt to collect the black retail cards that come in the 3-pack blister packs, though I have to admit to being a little worried when I looked at the back of the ones I got today and noticed they have regular card numbers on them. Does that mean that there are 500 of these to collect? I surely hope not.

I also posted my first basketball set want list over the weekend. Don't expect to ever see any other NBA set on the list again. I just like that particular one.

Apropos of nothing, I figured I'd show off a few baseball cards that I snagged for my own collection at this month's card show. I spent the vast majority of my time at the show in front of a couple of different tables that had nickel and dime boxes, and ended up with more cards for others that I grabbed for myself. I did get some nice cards for my collection for peanuts, and I'm pretty positive that nothing I am showing off here cost me more than $1.

This is from the 2005 Heritage set. Topps seems to abandon traditions on a whim, so it's interesting to me that they've pretty much stuck with all but one of the insert sets that they brought with the very first incarnation of Topps Heritage they released 12 years ago.

I don't know anything about these inserts, but this Musial card looks amazing and I had to own it. I am not always that into cards of legendary players in modern sets, but I am still glad that they exist for those few times that they really "nail it". I am not going to own a late '40s Musial card no matter what I do, and I've come to accept that.

At the height of both of these player's careers, I fully expected them to retire as Cardinals, but so much has changed since then.

I had to actually shrink this image in Blogger to make it look like a mini. I am still working on the 2008 Goudey set proper, but it's nice to pick up one of the extra-curricular Cardinals cards on the side in the meantime.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 2011 Topps #458

We're just a little over a week away from spring training. It's so close, I can almost taste it! It also means I'm going to totally forget about this little college basketball tournament thing that's going on right now, unless, of course, if Oregon can beat Saint Louis and advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

Who is this week's victim, and why do we care? Javier Vazquez is a Puerto Rican right handed starting pitcher who hasn't pitched in the majors since 2011. Some news came out recently that he wouldn't be pitching in the majors in 2013, which was a surprise to anyone who had thought that he might pitch this year, considering that he didn't pitch in the majors last year, either. He has established a good body of work, which includes an All-Star appearance in his first of two stints with the Yankees.

Why is this a thing? Vazquez followed up his second, more disappointing stint with the Yankees by being snapped up by the Marlins for what would be his final MLB season. Topps gave the Opening Day treatment to his Series 2 card, making the Marlins logo look (even more) hideous on his jersey than it needed to be.

Airbrushed Fridays is a weekly feature as the name seems to imply. If you know of a card with an altered photograph that you'd like to see featured, please contact me. You probably won't win anything other than a hyperlink and some cold McDonalds Fish McBites, but you never know!

Potchy Potch and the (Late) Tradey Trade

That's it! I'm finally done with my January trades. Now that it's nearly April, I'm almost ready to look at cards I received in the dead of winter. That... make sense, doesn't it? Potch signed up for the Basketball Card Club, claimed some players, and also was kind enough to send me some cards from both the sports that I love.

I don't show off many '80s cards here - not nearly enough, to be quite honest. Part of it has to do with me having seen almost every Cardinal from every overproduced set about 923428 times a piece. Yet, there always remain some things I either haven't seen or just don't own, like this oddball Danny Cox Fleer card. I really miss those drug and variety store Fleer sets that came in the little tiny boxes. Can you imagine if something like this existed now? People like me would gobble them up whenever they came out.

In addition to a batch of Cardinals, Potch also sent me a few Heritage cards, including a couple of tasty short prints. Yeah, I just used the word "tasty". Shut up.

Allen & Ginter was on the menu as well. Ben Franklin sure had some tasty inventions, didn't he?

Of course, I was just stalling before I showed you all the real prize, and the card I was by far the most excited about when it fell to my hands after opening the package. This Blazers card is way before my time, but I think it's awesome. Look at that font that they used for "BLAZERS"! Check the multi-colored stripe in the corner. It's a shame the Heritage brand never really took off in basketball, or we could have been (re-)treated to some great card designs. Then again, I could just go and buy some '70s basketball cards. That'd make more sense.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Two Trades, Passing in the Night

Two trade posts are better than one, right? I guess if you do the math on that, trying to cram two trade packages into one post means you're only getting half of the word out, but I'm honestly near the breaking point as far as being able to keep up with the number of trade packages I've received while trying to acknowledge them all publicly. I always try to give every trade its due on the blog, but I am going to be forced to double or triple them up on occasion. I promise that I won't feel so bad about this when they involve people I've traded with in the past.

I pulled off one such swap with the venerable Thorzul Will Rule. If sports card blogging was an artistic movement, or at the very least something akin to music history, Thorzul's blog would definitely be First Wave Ska or something. His blog was one of the few that was around when I first dipped my toe in the pond, and I am always curious about what he's up to.

He sent over a few goldies, including this fine Anthony Reyes card that will fit nicely into someone else's collection, ahem, ahem.

I have to admit to being mildly confused when confronted with a card that is sealed shut. What am I supposed to do? Who exactly am I letting down if I pop the top? Are the tiny little dudes playing baseball beneath Gibson's mug going to kick my face in if I break the seal?

In other trade news, fellow Portland-area resident Guy from the Basketball Card Blog expressed a common interest in the 2012 Heritage set and recently sent me some goodies that he couldn't find a place for. While he likes the original 1964 Topps set a ton, he couldn't find a place for the buyback cards and I completely understand. On the other hand, I have a weird time not turning my back on these cards and have happily accepted them into my collection.

I can't envision a situation where I would actually spend money on one of the Heritage buyback cards (unless it was a Cardinal, of course!), but I still like these just the same.

Guy is also a Blazers fan, and more importantly, one of the biggest Nicolas Batum fans around. Batum is a player I get really dorkily excited about as well, and it came to me as a surprise when I found out that some of his rookie stash were going up for purchase.

These two serial-numbered Batum rookie cards pretty much immediately launched themselves to the upper echelon of my Blazers collection because, let's face it, I have a ton of Blazers cards yet 99.5% of them aren't really worth a whole lot. I will probably try to change that someday and pursue some nicer cards, but I've been jaded since I was an early teenager about the price of Blazers cards in my hometown.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March Radness: Last Chance to Win Some Free Baseball Cards

The time is upon us! Sign up, fill out those brackets, or let them go, well, unfulfilled. Kind of like (insert your favorite school's hoops team)'s chances this season. You may win a 2013 Topps Heritage blaster, other unopened packs of cards, so-called hits or even some (rather worthless) stuff that I found while I was cleaning out my closet!

Man, you don't want to be in the NIT this year, do you?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Ginterfication of Topps Heritage

After wrestling with the decision that many other Topps Heritage collectors do at this time of year, especially in these "You're Gonna Get Topps and You're Gonna Like It" times, I did the only logical thing I could possible do. I bought a box. More specifically, I found a blaster for $15 at the monthly card show. It comes with the downside of not getting a special red or blue bordered card that you would get in a blaster from Walmart or Target, but it had one very curious bright spot...

Pack 1:

260 - Drew Stubbs - Here's my first Heritage card of the year. I didn't know that Stubbs has a new team. So here's the thing about the cards and where I finally decided just to go for the set once again this year. They look nice. They look so nice, in fact, that I realized that they are basically Allen & Ginter cards with a design inspired by 1964 Topps. I can't complain about that. I'm just lamenting the fall of the classic thick and chewy dark cardboard cards that we'll likely never see again.
205 - Howie Kendrick - Don't tell Topps, but Howie prefers to be called Howard these days.
85 - Todd Frazier
71 - Carlos Gomez

244 - Jon Jay - First Cardinal!

461 - Marco Scutaro - I can live with Scutaro's follicly challenged dome because it's an SP.

HC4 - Yadier Molina Chrome Purple Refractor - Yeah! Wait, what? Purple? It's not serial numbered, so history tells me that it's probably not rare. I also shouldn't get too excited about this card because I'm going to need another one for myself.
198 - Gavin Floyd
416 - Paul Maholm

Pack 2:
110 - Mark Trumbo
350 - Matt Cain
256 - Torii Hunter
100 - Robinson Cano - Congrats are due to the Dominican Republic on their impressive WBC run, by the way.
330 - Johnny Cueto

NAP-DW - David Wright New Age Performers - I'm a big fan of this design, I must say. I know there are about 35,325 David Wright collectors out there for some reason. Sorry, I have to keep this.

HC9 - Ian Kinsler Chrome Purple Refractor - Huh. I guess these are one per pack for some reason? I am not turning up much information through Google searches except that it's happened to other people, too, and it may be some sort of "hot box" situation. I don't know how I feel about this. They look amazing, but I don't consider Chromed up anything to be in the spirit of why I collect these silly sets.
45 - Brandon Phillips
327 - Heath Bell

Pack 3:
234 - Adeiny Hechavarria / Tyson Brummett Rookie Stars
9 - Braun / Stanton / Bruce / LaRoche NL HR Leaders

147 - Kyle Lohse - Has anyone signed Lohse yet?
370 - Bud Norris
201 - Manny Machado / Dylan Bundy Rookie Stars - I have to admit that I know next to nothing about this year's rookie class, but I keep hearing that people are excited about this card in particular.

HC52 - CC Sabathia Chrome Refractor (002 / 564) - Wow, this refractor business is getting crazy. The Yankees don't seem to be terribly popular among people I trade with, which has resulted in a huge glut of their cards in my boxes. Has anyone had luck with simply selling Yankees cards? The wrapper tells me that this is a 1:42 pack pull, if Topps is believed. I honestly don't know why anyone would believe them, considering how many disclaimers about virtually everything they put on their stuff, but it's nice of them to at least provide some hypothetical odds. Upper Deck gave that up years before their license expired.

HC18 - Matt Cain Chrome Purple Refractor
24 - Anibal Sanchez

406 - Jaime Garcia - More Cardinals! I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for a healthy and productive 2013 for this lefty.

Pack 4:
294 - Liam Hendriks
62 - Starling Marte
243 - Darin Ruf / Tyler Cloyd Rookie Stars - These sound like fake player names one of my old baseball video games made up.

3 - Gonzalez / Dickey / Cueto / Lynn NL Pitching Leaders - 5 Cardinals cards in 4 packs! Yes, I consider a quarter of a Cardinal card a full Cardinal card.
273 - Matt Moore

MM-TR - Teddy Wins First Presidential Mascot Race Memorable Moments - You have got to be kidding me. Wow.

HC27 - Matt Kemp Chrome Purple Refactor - This looks nice, but Kemp has other opinions.
246 - Josh Hamilton
396 - Jeff Karstens

Pack 5:
358 - Casey Kotchman
250 - Prince Fielder
12 - Cabrera / Hamilton / Encarnacion AL RBI Leaders - Not pictured? Josh Willingham, who had the exact same number of RBI as Edwin Encarnacion! I would be pretty ticked if I was a Twins fan.
277 - Seth Smith
42 - Tommy Milone - A's cards are purple for some reason. 1964 made no sense.

476 - Yovani Gallardo - The Cardinals have owned Gallardo recently, even as he's continued to be one of the better pitchers in the NL Central.

HC32 - Jay Bruce Chrome Purple Refractor
197 - Mark Buehrle
187 - Tyler Clippard

Pack 6:
145 - David DeJesus
228 - Jason Vargas
55 - Brett Lawrie
351 - Matt Thornton
343 - Daniel Nava
214 - Jean Segura - Snooooze.

HC45 - Troy Tulowitzki Chrome Purple Refractor - Yeah! There we go! I'm awake now.

40 - Carlos Beltran - Beltran's Puerto Rico team came up just a bit short, especially on the offensive side.
400 - Kris Medlen

Pack 7:
288 - Logan Morrison
190 - Derek Jeter
220 - Matt Garza
93 - Christian Friedrich
206 - Huston Street

460 - Ryan Braun - Is it okay to hate Ryan Braun? I hate Ryan Braun. I hope he falls into a bucket of piss someday.

HC52 - CC Sabathia Chrome Purple Refractor - Oh, this guy again.
155 - Will Middlebrooks / David Ortiz Red Sox Sockers
78 - Mike Napoli - Napoli is still pictured with the Rangers because it took forever for his deal to go through.

Pack 8:
157 - Charlie Manuel
98 - Quintin Berry
213 - Michael Morse
272 - Matt Joyce

160 - David Freese - That makes 7 Cardinals by my count. Nice box!

NF-WF - 1964 World's Fair News Flashback - I guess this is better than a 2012 Teddy Roosevelt costume.

HC98 - Darin Ruf / Tyler Cloyd Rookie Stars Chrome Purple Refractor - These guys again.
398 - Jeurys Familia / Collin McHugh Rookie Stars
135 - Domonic Brown

So that's it. I may hang on to the purple refractors for a bit longer to see exactly how difficult they are to find, but there's a good chance I won't keep any of the ones that don't fit into my player or team collections. I am putting this set together and don't believe I have any doubles yet, but I will start listing the stuff I have for trade when the time comes.