Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I Missed National Baseball Card Day

I had other, not necessarily better things to do. 

I sat National Baseball Card Day out this year, as I've done every single year since its inception. This was probably the first time I was actually aware of the date ahead of time, and I even went so far as to look into finding out if there were any participating shops in the Portland metro area. This was mostly because there aren't really any card shops, period, in Portland anymore. I did discover a new place I might check out someday near Washington Square, but I didn't have time for that kind of trip on this particular day.

I picked up the lone Cardinal card off of eBay for 99 cents plus PWE shipping. Aledmys Diaz kind of got the short shrift from the Cardinals this season, the one struggling player over the past couple of seasons who has been exiled to AAA and never recalled. Having a red hot rookie and superior option in Paul DeJong at short certainly helped these matters along.

There's also an autographed version of the Diaz card, which would be nice to get someday but is definitely not a priority at the moment. What I'd really love to get my hands on is the stadium giveaway Cardinals set of this same design. I believe each team did something like this, with 10 cards in the checklist including one former star. I really want that set, but I don't really want to pay $25 for some crazy reason.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Repack "Hits"

Coming soon to a bubble mailer near you. 

Repacks are my weakness, especially these days. They are my bonbons if you will. My pizza rolls, if I was still unemployed and in my early 20s. They are bad, bad, bad... rarely good. Sometimes, I manage to find stuff that's interesting or tradeable, and sometimes you find out there's actually a dude named Polin Trinidad.

Here are some cards that came out of recent dalliances with the Fairfield Company. It's probably a good thing that I can't find anything they sell online, or this little obsession might turn into a full blown problem. Some of the cards seen here are the incentives thrown in for buying this stuff, while others (like Correa's card up there) were pack pulled.

There's a 20 packs for $19.99 product that Fairfield sells, which includes a bonus relic for the first time that I can recall. This was actually one of the better prizes I found, and after some careful examination of the card I discovered that it was manufactured for the Topps 2015 factory set rather than one of those one-per-blaster toys.

The 4 packs plus an autograph deal is one of the sketchiest looking things you can find at the Target aisle. Unlike all the others, there's no catching a glimpse of what lurks inside one of these. At least Mr. Avery is seen here wearing a major league uniform, even if he's just pretending.

Here's a pack pull, and a fine card. Topps Archives makes me consider what a do-over would look like in card collecting. If I could suddenly gain back all of the money I've thrown towards Heritage and Ginter, might I consider investing instead in being a Topps Archives super-collector? There's something I really love about these no frills on-card autographs of retired guys that you don't see plastered all over other sets all the time. This was definitely my best pack pull in terms of interest to me, even though it's very much up for grabs.

Another pack pull, a blue parallel (numbered to 150) of Punchin' Miggy.

Brad Peacock is in the midst of his best season in MLB this year. He's been in the Astros rotation of late, which is a good place to be on such a winning team. This was another one of the relic bonus cards.

So, yeah, this was apparently a real guy. He spent most of his career in the Astros organization. He has the cap to prove it, I guess.

Pryor was a former M's prospect and this is the worst kind of guaranteed autograph by far. Even James Avery is shaking his head.

This isn't numbered, or swatched or inked or anything of the like, but it's a Bryce Harper rookie. Well, sort of? I actually still have a huge problem with the 2012 Panini Prizm set, which was released in 2013 with 2012 stats only to be followed by 2013 Panini Prizm just months later. You would think that a "premium" Bryce Harper rookie card would be more sought after than some crusty old flagship Topps card on thin white paper stock, but it's not. Still, I guess it goes into the box of trade bait cards in top loaders, the most secure box of cards I probably own.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Chase for Base

Cards are disappearing from the shelves at a rapid rate. 

This year more than ever, it's been tough to put together my Cardinals team sets by the method with the most collecting satisfaction (if not the most economical): buying packs. Things are flying off the shelves for whatever reason, even with the hot rookies of the season coming back to earth. (Well, to be fair, one fell down a well and the other's production evened out before landing on the DL.) Even with my buying habits increasingly shifting towards online sites, I've had to reach out to fellow bloggers like Peter from Baseball Every Night to pick up those pesky little base cards.

To be fair, I'd never be caught dead in a supermarket line buying Topps BUNT packs, unless I had one of those freebie coupons (or the market was dimly lit and I was wearing a disguise.)

The recently deposed Cardinals closer Oh now has a chance to reclaim his spot, with Trevor Rosenthal likely out of action until 2019, or at least until we've all been reduced to radioactive dust. He hasn't really pitched like he's the answer to the team's bullpen woes, but then again, no one has. I'm guessing some minor league guy is going to be the only solution, though this time will be rather fortunate to even have a bullpen problem to solve a month from now.

It's only been two games, but it's good see Stephen "MoMo" Piscotty back in the lineup after spending some time on the farm. Also, I would definitely be caught dead buying Stadium Club packs, just as long as you don't peek at the receipt.

Yadi! Yadi! Yadi!

Thanks to everyone who has helped me out on my collecting needs in 2017. You can check out my Cardinals want lists for the current year (and last year) right here.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

But Wait, There's More!

Bonus cards from a retail giant. 

As I mentioned the other day, I wasn't super proud of my recent online baseball card purchase, but it was a super deal. Along with two Allen & Ginter blasters and two retail jumbo packs came two 5-card promo/insert(?) sets specifically made for this massive retailer. None of the players from my team were involved, but hey... free cards!

These cards are actually a little bit more substantial and glossy than your garden variety flagship insert. They also look like they'd make good poster fodder in some child's bedroom.

I'm not sure how these were originally intended for release, but a little bit of sleuthing reveals that the Allen & Ginter special isn't the only way to acquire these. I've also seen on eBay that they are sometimes referred to as Topps Electricity. Kershaw is the only pitcher featured.

Here's Miggy.

This is the guy who broke up Yadi Molina's stranglehold on the All-Star game NL catcher starting spot. He's also indirectly responsible for the incredibly stupid but not quite misguided (or is that the other way around?) rules about blocking home plate. Perhaps you've heard of him.

Here's a look at the back of one of the cards. There's a few words, but not much more.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Collecting Moments of Indecision

Is it time to give Allen & Ginter a rest? 

Every year it seems I question my own sanity and wonder if I should stop collecting the Allen & Ginter set. I enjoyed it the most in 2008, but it's had it's moments over the years as they've continued to add more and more inserts and other silliness. In the end, I always come back to the base cards, and I really don't like them this year.

Last year's design won me over, but I am really not feeling the 2017 version. This is the "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall" version of Allen & Ginter.

I don't like it. However, I do like that I got some Cardinals out of this set, courtesy of a huge blaster deal I went in on at a website I don't care to repeat. The deal was one blaster, plus one retail jumbo pack (the $5.99 variety) and a store exclusive 5 card set (not Ginter related) for less than $19. With two of the lots, I qualified for free shipping.

Let's have a look at some more cards from the packs I tore into as soon as they showed up on my doorstep. Topps honored the World's Fairs of the past, a concept that seems like it was ripped out of another dimension at this point in my life.

This is just one full size card, but it makes me wonder if there were too many insert design concepts floating around the office and someone got the clever idea to combine two of them. I haven't gone fishing since I was a little kid, but jerkbait sounds like a funny word to me.

Like many of the inserts, this one has a familiar feel to it, if not exactly recycled.

I don't know my revolutionary battles any more, but I probably should.

There are still mini inserts. This year, we get horses as our featured animal.

The Required Reading minis show that people sure did talk funny in them thar days of yore.

Oh yeah... baseball players! This is a baseball card set, isn't it? The beauty mirror frame looks a little more fitting with this black bordered design.

Cool. I forgot to warn you all, by the way, that this post was going to be a little image heavy.

The big baseball insert set highlights great individual game performances by noteworthy players. This was Ichiro breaking the single season hits record.

Here's Maris's 61. Come to think of it, neither of these last two cards are about a particular great game as they are commemorating the day a big record was broken.

Monorail? I can't even see the word without thinking of the late, great Phil Hartman.

Found along with an absolute atrocity (the double-stamped 1999 buyback), here's a crappy '88 card. I actually used to have a Graig Nettles branded glove when I played Little League, so I have nothing against the man. This is just like upgrading a Taco Bell bean burrito to a Taco Bell bean burrito with extra onions.

Did anyone really call Piazza the Pizza Man? That seems lazy. I don't remember this.

The recently demoted. I'm hoping Piscotty has a big bounceback year in 2018, as we all know Tommy Pham is due to suffer another absurdly unfortunate injury. (JUST KIDDING, HE'LL BE FINE!)

Billy Ripken's bro.

This is more fitting of the concept to me. Here's a guy who isn't a HOFer (or HOFer to be) yet. He just went out and had himself a day. He threw a 2-hit shutout with 9 K and 0 BB one April night.

This looks like it's from a completely different set, reminding me of Tristar Obak or some other weird off-brand thing. Is the "Dude" motif supposed to be clever?

Today's horse.

Another fish and a thing that hooks said fish.

Why, oh why, is "granny" spelled that way?

I scanned this card thinking it was an insert card, but it's just a garden variety mini version of a base card of trees. This apparently commemorates a large (record breaking) scale tree-planting effort.

If you still have a poster on your wall of an active Tigers player, it's probably going to be Verlander. People can talk all the want about how much it makes sense to accumulate prospects and commit to a franchise rebuild, but it's got to be tough to think about selling off your team's history for some unproven kids.

It's time for me to go read some Thoreau and think about what I've done. (I'll just pretend I'm not actually too busy reading Rick Ankiel's memoir right now.)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Mixed Feelings

I had a very different post planned for this evening. 

It was to begin with the astrocity you see above. I mean... why?! does?! this?! exist?!

This card was going to be featured, too. But I looked up and something amazing has happened. The Cardinals have a winning record all of a sudden. The Cardinals are only 2.5 games out of first place. Could this actually be happening?

Matheny is still the manager, isn't he?

Eh... more to come...