Tuesday, February 28, 2017

New, but Not New Enough

Another one card wonder. 

One of the big reasons I feel like I haven't quite gotten into the flow of 2017 yet is that, for the second year in a row, I have made the decision not to buy any of the Topps base product. I'm still going to collect the team, the inserts, and all of the other detritus that bubbles up and has red birds on it. This solidly means, however, no packs to bust for me for awhile. That all could change this weekend with March's release of 2016 Topps Heritage. I am in the process of deciding if I'm going to bother to continue on with the Heritage tradition, something that seems like it needs to have an end point with me. Do I wait until they are reprinting cards in the year of my birth (1975)? What about 1979, the oldest cards I was freely allowed to touch with my grubby little mitts as a kid (in hindsight, I shouldn't have been allowed.) What about 1970? That sounds a bit arbitrary. I could just wait until I feel like I've lost interest, and I think I'm about as close to that point as I was in 2013 when the cards were inexplicably printed on Allen & Ginter card stock. In any case, if I manage to find some packs or boxes this weekend, I at least won't feel guilty purchasing them like I would the base set, even if I don't end up collecting this year's model.

This bring's us to Lou Brock, who came to me courtesy of The Lost Collector. Coming out of 2016 Topps Chrome Update, this is still one of the newest cards that I own. I have since picked up a few base Cardinals cards from the 2017 set, but Lou's shiny insert card reminds me that I haven't really let last year go. I was a fan of the Chrome set in spite of what I didn't like about the base set, but I couldn't bring myself to buy any of the Update Megaboxes because I would just be stuck with packs of the stuff I swore off buying. I'm pretty sure the local Fred Meyer's still has a couple of these boxes, but they aren't tempting me. I'll have to continue to seek out trades and look at COMC and possibly other sites to fill certain needs, something I will probably be doing more of in 2017. Once it really gets going, of course.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Let's Get Crackin'

There's new grass on the field. 

Did you know that actual, factual baseball will be played as soon as this weekend? We may still be knee deep in one of the worst weather winter's we've had in quite some time, but baseball doesn't care about your stupid calendars. Spring Training is here! It's time to get excited about baseball, Ron Gant style! Julie from A Cracked Bat recently exchanged our first volley of baseball cards, and I'm here to show off a few of those things in anticipation of finally being able to follow box scores again.

This one just kind of blends right in with a white background, but I think there's something really elegant about this card design. Those Fleer Greats sets of the '00s are a favorite of mine, and every year seemed to have a completely different design.

Hobie Landrith is just a great name. This is just my seventh '58 Topps card for my Cardinals collection, but it's the first Hobie I've ever owned.

From rustic and old to shiny and new, here's a trio of Topps Tribute luminaries. Can baseball cards be considered "rustic"? Sure, why not?

I'm not quite sure how purple these cards are, but the internet tells me that these are purple Gypsy Queen minis. The backs tell me that they are each numbered to just 250 cards. The fronts tell me that these are players I've heard of. The things you learn!

Julie also sent a whole heaping helping of Cardinals cards from the 2015 Topps Mini set, a thing that I did not know was an actual thing. Sure, the image is scanned to scale, so you can't tell it's a smaller version of its main counterpart, but the lack of foil shows that there's something a little different about these. I assumed, wrongly, that Topps gave up on their retail only Mini sets after 2014. Apparently they just shifted to a cheaper, boxed set model.

Yadi Extension Watch 2017 is officially on right now. With one of the top catching prospects in baseball right on his heels in Carson Kelly, many (including me) are still holding out hope that Yadier Molina will retire a Cardinal. With his bounceback season at the plate in 2016, he surely seems to have some value left beyond just his amazing handling of the pitching staff.

When is National Baseball Card Day 2017? Does anyone know? Where can I celebrate this?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ducks and More

Football has the longest offseason, but that's fine with me. 

Reader Brandon has exchanged cards with me a few times, and he's been able to track down some quality Quack Attack cards in the past. This time was no exception. I usually save the Ducks cards I get in trades to post on game days, but that's not always fair to do. Let's check in on some former Ducks.

De'Anthony Thomas, the diminutive back with deep ties to Snoop Dogg, has had a strange pro career so far. He's remained in the Kansas City Chiefs plans for three seasons running, but hasn't accumulated a ton of offensive opportunities on the field.

Kenjon Barner didn't pan out with the Panthers, but his former college coach Chip Kelly gave him an opportunity with the Eagles. When Kelly's own opportunity ran out, Barner surprisingly stuck with the Eagles and provided some moments last season when others were injured. He's a restricted free agent currently, but I'm hoping the Eagles bring him back.

Another small Duck back, LMJ was one of the most amazing college players I've ever seen. Although he worked out for the injury-depleted Seahawks as recently as a couple of months ago, it seems like he may be done with the NFL. There's been chatter about him getting more involved with the University of Oregon again, which is cool.

I don't give a whole lot of attention to Ducks basketball players/cards here, but that's mostly because there just haven't been a ton of players who have had a lasting role in the NBA. When you're looking at the post-junk wax era and wondering who I might collect (without flipping the cards over or doing some light Googling), you're pretty much talking about Aaron Brooks (2007-present), Joe Young (2015-present) and Luke Ridnour, who recently retired. There's been a few other guys sprinkled in there, but it's those three that have the most cards. That could certainly change next year, with as many as three Ducks players projected to be drafted.

Brandon didn't forget that I liked baseball cards, either. He sent a stack of cards for my sadly neglected 2014 Allen & Ginter collection. I need more of those!

Thanks again to Brandon. I'm hoping to get the trade gears greased and activated again soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A New Season

Pitchers and catchers, reporting for duty! 

The sporting world has been rather rough to me lately, at least when it comes to my rooting interests. After sitting through another agonizing Trail Blazers loss last night, a card arrived in the mail from Peter of Baseball Every Night, reminding me that pitchers and catchers were due to report the next day and everything would soon be alright with the (sporting) world. True, last Cardinals season left a bit to be desired, but there's nothing so exciting as a brand new slate of 162 games out on the green grass and occasionally springy domed surface.

Or so I thought. Some terrible news hit this morning when the words "elbow discomfort" and "MRI" were used in connection with one Alex Reyes, one of the shrinking number of reasons to get excited about Cardinals baseball (and baseball in general, to be honest.) Every one of his appearances on the mound last season was must-see-TV in a season that was trudging towards inevitability (i.e. Cubs title.) But now, it is all but certain the next time we see the kid put on a baseball uniform will be in 2018, and that's one of the bitterest pills to swallow.

It's also a new year of cards (and Cards on cards), and I am less than impressed with Topps once again. There's a good reason parallel and perpendicular is a tried and true design element while weird angles is a turn off, and this is a good example. Based on exactly one card available for review, it seems like the background photo effects aren't as pronounced as last season, but that's all I can really say for this card. And yet, it's the back of the card that really gets me. As someone who grew up with Topps baseball cards as the official statement of record for baseball player statistics, it's beyond saddening that we no longer get to see a player's complete Major League Batting Record anymore. These card get the crappy '88 Donruss treatment, which just plain sucks. I know that almost everyone is just a few key presses away from baseball-reference.com these days, but I hate this. No, no, I really hate this. This is now my lone 2017 Topps baseball card, and I will need to get all of the other Cardinals cards in this set somehow, but I can't support this.

Well, here we are. Baseball will go on in 2017. Some will be ecstatic and many more will be disappointed. Brandon Moss signed with the Royals, I think? Cool for him.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

You Can Still Supertrade in 2017

More envelopes of joy from a new Supertrader. 

Now that we're about a week into February, it's time to finally post about some of the first things I received in this doomed new year. Johnny's Trading Spot is one of the latest to join the group of crazed individuals that sends baseball cards around the country to fans of particular teams. Translation: more Cardinals cards for me.

I avoided reprints for the most part when I was a kid, so I missed out on some of the early '90s Topps reprint sets. They were printed on glossy cardstock, which was rather novel for the time, but it's an odd match looking back. This does give the collector a rare look at some clear and crisp renderings of the classic sets, whose cards are usually found all scuffed up and dull looking. They're not my favorite things in the world, but it still makes me happy that I've put a good dent into a team set that I had no intention of ever collecting. I need to add these to my want lists soon.

One of the biggest collecting surprises to me has been how much some of the inserts from the junk wax era (mostly 1993 and beyond) have held their value and at times remain a difficult find. For example, I'd never even seen this 1993 Leaf Ray Lankford insert card before. It's mine, now. Hands off.

While not a rare mid-90's insert, this 1994 Fleer Jose Oquendo is a treasure all of its own. Why? Well, because I didn't own it until now! That, and he's bunting.

Yeah, that's all I've got.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Nice Things Are Nice

No 2017 Topps will be opened here, now or ever. 

Dennis from Too Many Verlanders / Manninghams has similar collecting interests as me... just, you know, different teams. While my Ducks collection surely would be put to shame next to his Michigan treasures (not to mention the fact that it's not yet organized in any way, shape or form), I still love getting the Ducks cards in the mail as a nice change of pace from my typically baseball-centric trades.

The Detroit Tigers fan also manages to find some really nice Cardinals goodies for me, including this Statline parallel of one of my all-time favorite players (Jim Edmonds if the scan is too unclear), from 2003 Donruss Team Heroes.

I have no idea where this gloriously airbrushed card came from, but my guess is that it was some sort of promotional card included with a PC game. Did you know that Tony La Russa had a line of PC baseball simulator games? I may have known this at one point, but I am pretty sure this fun fact fell out of my brain awhile back.

Big Mac takes top billing on this goofy 2000 CD-ROM "card", which seems pretty funny considering what we know about all three of these players in 2017. I had a number of McGwire's cards (and "cards") from the 1999 PowerDeck offering, but this is my first from 2000.

This is another fine example of an early to mid 00's insert card. I love this stuff.

Finally, as usual, I like to hold out the Ducks cards for one of my weekly posts about the team during football season, but I thought I'd show a little teaser here. Look at all those autographs!

(P.S. 2017 Topps is no good! Bring back the stats, man.)