Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Case Break Ship Came In

It's a #crackinwaxmailday as we look at my case break goodies from 2019 Topps Series 1. 

Crackin' Wax is easily my favorite case breaker site out there, even though I feel like I haven't been able to take advantage of their services nearly enough. (The Cardinals are a popular enough team that their slot is often gone when it's a PYT (pick yo' team) break.) They do a lot of things for charity and just generally seem like some good people. I did sign up for a year long prepayment program for some upcoming Topps and Bowman breaks, so this won't be the last you see from Crackin' Wax.

If I really want to enter this sweepstakes, I guess I need to find another one of these cards. I don't want to scratch off the code. Of course, I could probably use a code for a player who I don't make a collecting priority.

Man, gold parallels keep somehow getting more and more disappointing. Long gone are the days of the shiny metallic gold finish. In its place are some ovals or something.

This is another one of the gold parallels (numbered to 2019, of course.) Ponce de Leon's elbow got lopped off by my scanner, probably because it was angry that the card is actually slightly crooked. How does that happen these days?

Here's Harrison Bader's Rookie Cup card on the Topps Vintage Stock parallel. It's numbered to 99. As I always say, I wish all of these cards could be printed on so-called vintage stock like this.

In yet another one of those endless parallel scenarios, Jack Flaherty's Future Stars card appears on the same design as the gold -- only this is blue. Apparently it's for Father's Day. It wasn't released on Father's Day, however, so it just seems like a confusing name. (It's numbered to 50. Cool!) Flaherty was great last season and hopefully avoids any sort of a sophomore type slumpy thing.

The case break left me just one short of the 1984 tribute insert team set. I still need Miles Mikolas, if anyone has one to spare. A lot of Molina photos that are used show him in his catching gear, so it's nice to get a bit of a change with this one.

Another cool thing that Crackin' Wax does is include the cards hobby promo packs (aka "silver packs") that they earn by spending $$$ on hobby stuff. I think other breakers probably do this as well, but I still think it's nice. It's another shiny Ozzie for my collection.

Patrick Wisdom finally got his shot at the big leagues last season and played reasonably well, at least with the bat. Of course, with the glut of hitters who aren't known for their defensive skill at a particular position, he promptly got himself traded this offseason for utility guy Drew Robinson.

This was one of the biggest hits of the break, which of course makes it all the more disappointing that Wisdom is with the Rangers now. I don't really want to bust out the checklist now and whine that it wasn't Player X or Player Y, though. It's always awesome to get a low numbered autographed card on my favorite team. It's certainly not something that happens to me often, especially when dealing with the luck of the draw.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

New NBA Cards and an Announcement

The latest and greatest from @PaniniAmerica and their basketball line. 

Donruss Optic is hot off the presses, and I was surprised to see it on the shelves already when I was out shopping last Friday night. Of course, by the time I finish writing this, there will probably be three new Panini products out on the streets that I don't even know about. Such is life in the crazy sports card world.

I picked up one of those three-packs-and-a-bonus $9.99 rack pack deals, along with one of the same from Panini Prizm (that one was a bit of a dud.)

In the old SAT analogy style, the answer to Optic:Donruss is Chrome:Topps. Of course, Topps Chrome fans are way more likely to go for Panini Prizm than they are for Donruss Optic, but I can't really figure out if that's a supply thing or if the Donruss designs are just less exciting. (They're less exciting for some reason.)

Someone else can have this insert card.

Ditto. Ugh.

Oladipo suffered a gruesome injury and was just replaced with Wesley Matthews, which makes me wish I was a Pacers fan. I am not a Pacers fan, though.

Troy Brown Jr. was just a one-and-done guy at Oregon, but this is still a good reminder that I just completed some extensive work on my Oregon Ducks collection. You can check out my newly updated wants page here.

Here's the bonus pack. These are exclusive "blue velocity" parallels... whatever that means. I could have done a lot better with player selection, but someone might give one or two of these a home?

I almost forgot... here's the announcement! Did you happen to wonder why I included images of players I normally cringe at in this post? Doubtful, but... in any case, I am planning on re-launching the Guilt-Free Basketball Card Club soon, and thought if I showed off some of the more interesting stars in these packs, it might help spark some interest. The goal, of course, is for me to get rid of cards! I am expecting this to function pretty much like how it always worked, but I wanted to make sure to give new opportunities to people who may have been left out, as well as flush out anyone that isn't so into getting/sending cards through the mail anymore. Some of us, understandably, have the High Postage Blues.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Only New Baseball Cards on the Shelf

More 2019 Topps because it's there. 

While I wait for my case break Cardinals to arrive, I dipped my toe into the 2019 Topps pool once again. On Friday, I picked up a $9.99 box that was hanging on the rack at the local Fred Meyer store while everyone else in town was preparing for a snowmageddon of unimagined proportions. (Seriously, people bought every single last organic banana. Why?! Also, it turned out there was nothing to freak out over weather-wise.)

The Chris Sale jersey card came from the box, as did this Al Kaline reprint. I'm really not interested in reprints of vintage cards when they're on the thin glossy stock of present day Topps, so this does nothing for me.

Topps is paying tribute to their 1984 set this year, as we all know. I think they did a solid job with the fonts on these, for what it's worth.

This is one of those Rainbow Foil parallels of a Reds player. I'll probably see Winker 20 times this season because of MLB's unbalanced schedules.

There were Cardinals to be had in the box as well, including this 'RC' of Adolis Garcia. I'm not sure he'll play a lot for the team in 2019, which fits with a lot of rookies that end up in Series One, typically.

Former Cardinal Luke Weaver appears here on his 1984 tribute. This is my second Cardinals insert so far from this set, which is nice because the rumor has it that all inserts are a tough pull relative to their overproduced base brothers.

Matt Carpenter gets the rare 1B/3B designation here. His annual position change takes him back over to 3B to make room for Paul Goldschmidt.

During an errand run on Sunday, I snagged some more cards -- one of the $4.99 jumbos. With loose packs rising to $2.99 this year for the first time (more cards, I guess, but still...), these seem like a better option. The gold foil stamped 150 Years parallels are fine, but I wish they would have just replaced the rainbow foils. We definitely don't need more parallels.

There were even more Cardinals to be had in Sunday's pack. This feels like an important year for Paul DeJong in terms of finding out if he's going to be a star or just another cog in the machine.

Finally, here's Yadi! After I pulled this card, I realized his "face mask close-up" card that was circling the Twitters when this set was first released was actually his short print (or super short print? so dumb.) variation. This is the actual card I will end up with piles of.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Are We Ready for 2019 Topps Heritage?

Are you? Am I? 

I picked up this well-loved, but still cool card of the late Red on Listia the other day, and it dawned on me that this is what the next Heritage set is going to look like. I think I addressed my uncertainty towards my Topps Heritage collecting future in a recent post. We've hit 1970, after all. This set is older than me, but not so old that everyone considers it old. I feel like we've officially crossed a threshold. I'm a huge sucker for anything even slightly "retro", though, so I am not overly optimistic that I will be able to quit this thing cold turkey. I even bought a bunch of packs of Topps Archives last year, even though that set is far less interesting to me than what Topps continues to do well with their Heritage line. It's really one of their only enduring products that I can't find a lot to gripe about.

For a fun exercise, at least for me, I thought I'd stare some cold hard facts in the face and look at how many cards I still need to complete from prior Topps Heritage sets. I am only going to count base cards (no variations!) here. That also means short prints. I'll start with 2008, the first year of Cards on Cards, even though I have the entire 2007 base set (it was a bargain bin staple for awhile.)

  • 2008: missing 4 cards
  • 2009: missing 2 cards
  • 2010: complete
  • 2011: complete
  • 2012: complete
  • 2013: complete
  • 2014: complete
  • 2015: missing 44 cards
  • 2016: missing 47 cards
  • 2017: missing 17 cards
  • 2018: missing 18 cards

Now, keep in mind that 2008 was particularly weird (short prints were skip-numbered and there were a ton of black back parallels that seemed almost more common than their "normal" counterparts) and there are six sets that included a separate "high series". I also made a decision not to collect the box set only "high series" sets from 2012 to 2014. Those just weren't as fun, although I really consider the Cardinals cards a priority for my team collection. Still, it's no great surprise that all of my incomplete base sets are from the same years that there were both regular and "high series" full-sized sets.

In any case, this wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. I am kind of surprised that I am still missing so many cards from 2015 and 2016, but I feel like I purchased more packs/blasters in the past two years than I did in previous years, when I probably acquired more cards via trade in previous years. I don't think that I necessarily trade less than I used to, but I do feel like I've prioritized my team collection over these sets. I definitely don't feature the cards on the blog as much as I used to.

Speaking of which, if anyone has any extra Heritage cards lying around, let me point you to a list of Heritage want list links. I do need tons and tons of cards from the first six years of sets as well, because I didn't even think about cards back then. Life was so much simpler then.

Monday, February 4, 2019

A Tale of Two Blazers Breaks

One was great, and one was not so great. 

In my continued quest to be a little smarter about my card purchases, I went back to the eBay well and bought into a couple of breaks. As usual, I snagged the Trail Blazers. Last year's Donruss Optic had a "Fast Break" configuration that includes some parallels and fancy sparkly signed cards. While I didn't get any of the parallels (and there are way too many parallels in Panini products especially), I was able to finish off my Optic base team set and ended up with this gaudy Damon Stoudamire sticker auto. Not bad! I wish the Blazers could wear throwbacks like the one Stoudamire is wearing, which I believe dates back to around 2004?

On the other hand, Panini's Crown Royale is a hobby only (I think?) product with an all-die cut set. It probably has some nice inserts and such, but I wouldn't know as I only ended up with two of the base cards and nothing else.

There's a certain amount of failure built in to every group break, just like any pack or box one might purchase. I didn't check the configuration carefully, so it's entirely possible there just weren't many cards available in this auction. I still need to track down most of this team set, now that I know it exists. I just won't be all that motivated to, because as a product this Crown Royale set just feels a little flimsy and gratuitous.