Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Why I Have Want Lists

A bunch more most wanted wants go down. 

While we wait to see if MLB and MLBPA are ever going to resolve their collective bargaining issues, let's check out some Cardinals sent to my mailbox by Brian of Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary. Brian took down quite a few of my "top ten" needs, and has a package of want list needs of his own (+ Twins cards) headed his direction.

Piscotty made his debut in the middle of the 2015 season and has been a lineup mainstay ever since, so he'd had one of the longest "rookie card" lifespans of a Cardinal that I can remember. This is the gold parallel version of his 2016 Stadium Club card. This is a nice set.

I don't even know how long I've been missing this card, but it's mine now! The Stars inserts were hobby only if I remember correctly. I mostly bought the Topps rack packs with the 3 "vintage" cards in 2006.

Another from the "top ten", this is a really fun Fleer design from 1981.

Wacha is either moving to the bullpen or getting traded, depending on who you listen to. In either case, hopefully he can avoid the injury bug that has plagued him in his young career.

Here's another one that I feel like I've needed forever, but since it came out in 2014 it really hasn't been that long.

I should really buy more 2016 Chrome. These are really nice looking. Sorry, regular inferior base Topps.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Good Luck Ducks, Week 13: Civil War for Pride

It all comes down to Ducks vs. Beavers with state bragging rights on the line. 

Something very unexpected happened last week that I'm still having trouble grasping. The Ducks beat then-12th ranked Utah. On the road. It was their first road win. Today they head to Corvallis for their final game of the year, taking on in-state rival Oregon State. The Beavers are also coming off a win, although theirs was a little less surprising as they took out punchless Arizona. Usually, there's quite a bit more at stake for at least one of these teams, but for today it will all come down to pride and the usual rivalry beef.

There are actually more story lines here, but I think they will get temporarily buried in the hoopla of this rivalry game. Oregon could actually still head to a bowl game with a win here, even though they are not technically bowl eligible. College football has become positively lousy in recent years with lousy bowl games, meaning that schools with losing records will inevitably be invited to some games that need filler material. This happened to several programs last season. Oregon could be among those chosen and could conceivably accept an invite, but it has to be tough and not all that rewarding to count on at this point. Oregon's head coach could also get fired after this game. On the whole, to say things have not gone well since last winter is a huge understatement.

I think this will be a fun game to watch, and while both schools have had more downs than ups lately, it will be a chance for all involved to have fun on the football field one last time in 2016. This could also be Royce Freeman's last game, as the junior has had a disappointing season but could jump to the NFL. Unless, of course, that lousy bowl invite happens.

The Beavers made it tough on UO in 2010, with Oregon on their way to a national title game appearance.

Game time is 1:00 PST with national coverage on Pac-12 Network. Go Ducks!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

This Package is Fire

Cue the emojis. 

I figured I'd go into the Thanksgiving break on a high note with this one. A treasure trove of wondrous cards arrived from buckstorecards recently, which ticked boxes in all corners of my collections. (Well, maybe not the hockey ones. I'm still saving that for another time.)

I think this is my first 2016 Topps Pro Debut card. I am not sure if I've been inside of a card shop this year, and hobby stores (and the internet) are pretty much the only way to get minor league cards these days. The one I used to make a trek to a few times a year closed suddenly, and we hardly even have a pro baseball team to speak of.

I'm not sure where someone in Canada might dig up a card of the 2012 Texas League champs, but I'm glad to have it! This team featured a lot of players that are currently mainstays with the big league club. At center stage is Carlos Martinez, holding the trophy.

This is my annual reminder to those who read deep into blog posts that I'm actually kinda sorta an Eagles fan and kinda sorta will take on their cards. Brent Celek is a trooper who has been through some dark days and plenty of quarterback changes. I don't understand NFL fans, really.

Here's the latest guy, the #2 draft pick, a rookie that is supposed to make us all forget the horrible Vick days (please don't send me his cards) and the Chip Kelly/Sam Bradford experiments. He's had his ups and downs, like most rookie quarterbacks.

Back to baseball, here's a sponsored insert from this year's Topps Update. In a few years, I expect every baseball card to have some sort of corporate sponsored tie-in.

This is one of the first cards I got to see from any 2016-17 NBA set, so it got me excited about the new basketball season. I'm not sure I should get excited about Festus, however, as it seems like he's not very likely to be a part of the Blazers plans this season.

Here's the impetus of the trade, a numbered (69/99) rookie year autograph from the one and only Marcus Mariota. The former Duck all-everything player is starting to turn some heads in the No Fun League, and my personal assistant assures me that this card is a wise investment that will pay off dividends in the future.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

New Allen & Ginter Want List Online

About six months too late. 

I finally added my 2016 A&G want list to the blog, if anyone has any extras laying around. Also, this bad boy is up for grabs if you've got something similar to offer, and more in the Cardinals department of things. I pulled it in a blaster last night. My neighborhood grocery/variety store finally added a proper trading card section, which means it's going to be a long winter. I had been dreading this for quite some time.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Good Luck Ducks, Week 12: Brunch with The Ducks

Oregon takes on 12th ranked Utah today. 

We're down to just two games left on the schedule in an extremely forgettable Ducks season. A quick check of the Pac-12 standings reveals that the Utah Utes, today's opponent, are in the thick of a three team race for the South Division title and a berth in the conference championship game. The same quick check reminds us that Oregon has nothing left to play for but pride, and even that has been in short supply of late.

Things are bleak if you're an Oregon fan. After showing signs of life for roughly a game and a half, the Ducks regressed to the point of getting their beaks stomped in consecutive weeks. Both USC and Stanford are quality teams with bowl games on their respective dockets, but it was disheartening to see Oregon get pummeled the way that they did the last two weeks. Considering that the Ducks lost to the Utes by 42 points last season, a road revenge seems fantastical at best.

The script isn't likely to change today, but as a famous gasbag once said (and then kept on saying...), "that's why they play the games."

Yes, this is the greatest video clip of all time. There is no other.

Game time is 11:00 AM PST with national coverage on the Pac-12 Network. Go Ducks!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It's All About Me

Cards I purchased that you didn't send to me. 

The vast majority of my posts here show off cards that others send me. When it comes down to it, the point of this blog for me is to acquire new cards that I'm interested and trade off ones I'm not. It maintains the trading "circle of life" so to speak to always give a nod to whoever sends me stuff and some of the things they send, and I am sure that most people enjoy seeing their own efforts acknowledged in a public forum. But for whatever reason, I can never get myself fully on board with blogging about the stuff I buy for myself. I'm not a huge sports card shopper, but I occasionally splurge for a small pile of cards that fit into some of my various collections. When I hit up COMC earlier this month, for once I didn't immediately catalog and file away the stuff I bought for myself.

My card shopping mantra, which extends beyond just the online world, is that I'm up for buying pretty much anything if it's less than a buck. I'm not entirely sure what led me to this, but I plugged in "Topps Black" and "Cardinals" into the search engine and ended up with a whole pile of minis. Somehow, a Gypsy Queen sneaked in there among all of the Allen & Ginters.

These black parallels from last year's Stadium Club set supposedly have a print run of 201 cards according to the internet. Because they aren't actually numbered, they seem to be extremely affordable. I wonder what's going to happen to "Topps Now" cards in a year or three...

I can't remember where I first saw this card earlier this year, but I knew I had to have it. It's modeled after the original 1991 Fleer Ultra set and features a vibrant (colorized?) photo of Dan Fouts with the Ducks. If Oregon was smart, they'd roll out this kind of throw back someday. Just don't do it this season, because I don't want to remember anything about this season.

Another entry from the "Topps Black" search netted me one of these harder-than-you'd-think to find Walmart parallels from the 2011 Topps set. Certain Series One blasters from that year could be found containing nothing but the parallels making those an easy get, but starting with the next series, they became much more of a rarity on par with the shiny foil parallels from the past few sets.

I bought Blazers, too. Imagine that! Maurice Harkless is beginning to emerge as a much needed third scoring option in Portland's lineup after being acquired from Orlando for the proverbial bag of beans (a late 2nd round pick from 2020+).

More Topps Black. Beyond Matt Holliday, there is just a dark void. Similarly, entering a Walmart store is like disappearing into another plane of existence.

I usually hold back the Ducks cards for a weekend pep talk gameday post, but it might be time to clear the deck with everything I've been holding back and start something new next season. I like this card. I need more shiny non-airbrushed or Photoshopped Oregon cards.

This guy is becoming a media giant. Massive shoe contract, State Farm commercials, hip hop album... he's ticking all the boxes. Oh yeah, also, he plays basketball pretty well most of the time.

Mason Plumlee is kind of fun center to watch, if you're into watching a modern unconventional style of center. He's going to get a triple-double before this season is out, just mark my words. This is a fairly low numbered jersey card that was very affordable, although the back of the card revealed that his jersey bit came from his time with the Nets.

Noah Vonleh! He's shown some flashes of being an NBA player. I just felt like I needed something of his with the Blazers because he doesn't have a ton of cards at this point.

Thanks for bearing with me. Next time, it will be about you again.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Good Luck Ducks, Week 11: HELF!

The Ducks take on Stanford today because the schedule requires it. 

Oregon took a big step backwards last week, regressing to the point where they were dominated again. This time it was at the hands of USC, and it had the unfortunate feeling of a team just playing out the string. The Ducks had come off of a couple of encouraging outings and seemed to be headed in a positive direction, but the Trojans are now starting to resemble the team that was expected to contend in the Pac-12 South.

This afternoon, the opponent is Stanford, in another matchup that's usually a "big game" type of deal. The Cardinal enter the contest at 6-3, with some crushing defeats on their ledger (blowouts to both of the Washington schools) as well as a weird 10-5 loss to a tough Colorado team. They've been perfectly acceptable in all of their wins (as most teams are), but are out of the running for the conference title with 3 conference losses as both of the Washington schools are somehow undefeated.

With nothing to lose but pride (and a possible bid in a bowl game in some remote corner of the country), it would great to see the Ducks turn it around this week. Stanford star Christian McCaffrey began the season with Heisman hopes similar to Royce Freeman, but both have been hobbled with injuries this year and have seen their numbers suffer. The better player today could be the key factor in a win, so it will be interesting to watch nonetheless.

Game time is 1:00 PST with national coverage on the Pac-12 Network. Go Ducks!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Incoming Cards, Outgoing Players

What a terrible world, what a beautiful world. 

Man, the world is upside-down right now, but I suppose there's always time to talk about cards. Fellow Cardinals fan Ray of All Cardinals All The Time (a blog title I could learn a bit from myself) sent over some same team needs for my own collection, including some players who are on their way out of town. It's weird to say goodbye to Matt Holliday, and even though he got quite an emotion sendoff in the final weekend of the season, I'm not quite ready for it. He's fallen into a rather steep decline, so it makes sense to move on and not pick up his option, but a lot of his decline can be attributed to injuries and I'm sure someone will pay him handsomely for his services in the near future.

Someone I'm having less of a hard time with his departure is Brandon Moss. Moss always seemed like a better idea of a player in theory rather than in practice. His low batting average was offset by his power and run production, but it also seemed like when he was off (the second half of 2016 and pretty much all of his time with the Cards in 2015) he looked atrocious. He did a solid job in the field, however, and seems like a nice dude. Best of luck to him.

Allen Craig has been gone awhile, and remains one of the greater mysteries in baseball. He was a late bloomer who could do no wrong at the plate, until one day when he suddenly looked like an actor. Very odd. Again, major injuries never help, but his career still remains a head-scratcher.

One of my favorite card things to receive is regionally issued stuff, having never lived in Cardinals territory. Here's a card for both my team and player collection that I probably would've had a tough time purchasing even over the internet. Carpenter is expected to be moved to 1st on a full-time basis with the departure of Moss, leaving the future of Matt Adams also a bit questionable.

The Cardinals have been incredibly patient with Kolten Wong, and are expected to continue down that path by making him -- once again -- the full-time starting second baseman. I don't mind Wong, really, I don't... though part of me feels like this is a "what could possibly go wrong?!" situation here.

Thanks again to ACATT for the great Cardinals stuff. A long overdue package should be sent back hopefully in the next week or so.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Good Luck Ducks, Week 10: Business

Two unranked teams just doing some business on the field. 

The Ducks may just have a quarterback on their hands. A week after throwing a record tying 6 touchdowns, Justin Herbert tied another school record with his 489 passing yards last week as Oregon finally got back in the win column by outgunning the Arizona State Sun Devils. Airing it out on nearly every possession may be the only way this team can win, as the defense has proven to be ineffective and the normally rock solid running threat Royce Freeman has been stuck in the mud after getting injured earlier this season.

Today the Ducks hit the field to take on USC, another similarly humbled team that had larger aspirations at the beginning of the season. Unlike Oregon, however, USC pulled it together earlier in the season and has a winning record (5-3) compared to Oregon's 3-5 mark. A win today would be another step in the right direction for a Ducks team that still has an outside chance at becoming bowl eligible, while USC still has an outside shot at a Pac-12 South title. These are big stakes, but not the usual kind of stakes you would see in an Oregon/USC meeting.

It'd been awhile since an Oregon win, so let's look at some highlights from last week's 54-35 victory over ASU.

Game time is 4:00 PDT with national coverage on ESPN. Go Ducks!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Mo' Hoops

Time to quit while I'm ahead. 

I went back to the well and ordered up a second blaster of 2016-17 NBA Hoops, and was shocked to pull a Will Barton patch card from the days where he played for my beloved Blazers. Shocked, I tell ya! Barton was drafted by Portland but traded to Denver a couple of seasons ago in a trade that really didn't pay off for the Blazers. Still, this will probably be the best thing I ever pull out of a cheap retail blaster, so I can't complain.

Along with a few more Blazers base cards towards my team set and a Joe Young card for my Ducks collection, there were the usual crop of inserts and parallels. Let's look at 'em.

It's the Greek Freak, freakin' on the hoop.

Chris Bosh might not ever play again, so it's kind of weird getting his card.

I have no idea who this is.

The young Lakers beat up on the superteam Warriors tonight. I still dislike the Lakers.

This looks like the cover of a bad Sega video game.

This again. Moving on...

Nope, I still don't get it.

Closing things out with a couple of dopey looking expressions...


And a Stuckey.

These will be queued up for various Basketball Club participants, but feel free to let me know if any of these looks particularly interesting.