Monday, December 31, 2018

Good Luck Ducks: Redbox Bowl

Oregon heads to Silicon Valley to play in the 99 cent video rental of bowl games. 

So you wanted to play in a bowl game, didn't you, Ducks? After an 8-4 season, the Bowl Game gods have rewarded the University of Oregon football team with a trip to the... Redbox Bowl?! Well, at least it isn't the Cheez-It Bowl.

The Ducks final test of 2018 is the Michigan State Spartans, a team they played a home-and-home series against somewhat recently, with the first game (2014) a Marcus Mariota-led victory and the second (2015) a missed opportunity helmed by grad transfer Vernon Adams. That was a few years ago, however, and while the Spartans are still coached by Mark Dantonio, the Ducks are a couple of head coaches removed from those days.

MSU is just 7-5 on the season, which included an early loss to a Pac-12 opponent that Oregon beat (Arizona State). Oregon's record, however, is somewhat inflated by a ridiculously easy nonconference schedule. The Ducks have, at times, looked Cheez-It worthy. It will be interesting to see which team shows up, although many on the team will hopefully be looked to erase the bad taste left in everyone's mouths after last season's Las Vegas Bowl debacle.

Justin Herbert is expected to play after missing a sizable chunk of the Civil War due to a shoulder injury. Will this be his final game in a Ducks uniform? It's certainly possible, although for now he's escaping the recent trend where top NFL prospects skip their bowl games. With a standout performance today, I would guess Herbert's chances of remaining at Oregon will shrink.

The Ducks and Spartans have another home-and-home scheduled for 2029-2030. Will this be the last time these teams face for another ten years? Will this planet even be habitable in ten years?

Bowl Game Links:
The 1998 game between Michigan State and Oregon was one of my favorites of all-time. (Spoiler alert: it was a blowout). Enjoy what appears to be the full broadcast in all its blurry glory.

Game time is 12:00 PM PST on FOX. Joe Davis, Brady Quinn and Bruce Feldman are on the call. Go Ducks! Beat Sparty!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Almost Belk Time!

There’s less than 10 hours left until the Belk Bowl kicks off! Submit your prediction at the original post if you haven’t entered yet. You do not need to be entered into the main contest to win.

UPDATE: I may have jumped the gun a little bit. You still have until Saturday morning! I’ll be checking those timestamps, though.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Mr. Haverkamp Delivers!

Older set needs and cool Cardinals stuff.

The man they call Mr. Haverkamp has been a frequent participant in my contests over the years, and also found the time to send over some cards I needed from my various want lists. (I need to pay him back... soon!) This particular stack of cards has been sitting in a particular box since early September, which means I really need to come up with a better system of organization. You can check out Mr. Haverkamp's want list right here!

The bulk of the cards I needed came from sets from the 2000's (as in, last decade). It's been awhile since I've knocked off any needs from the 2008 Allen & Ginter set, and I seem to recall these World's Greatest Victories cards being particularly tough to pull.

Check out Baby Dexter Fowler, on his 2006 Bowman Heritage Prospects cards. I do wish there was even a slight difference in design between the base cards in this set and the Prospects set, but, well, there isn't.

Here's Jack Wilson, a non-Prospect. He's wearing the very regrettable Pirates cap that fortunately disappeared with last decade. The classic 'P' is the only way to go.

Taking it all the way back to 2003, Mr. Haverkamp included a quadruplet of Giants cards from this older Bowman Heritage set. Ray Durham gets to represent the bunch here.

Obligatory Cardinals Card Alert! This here is a mini parallel from the 2008 Allen & Ginter set from one of my favorite players of all-time. It goes in the Cardinals collection.

From the Prospects of Yesteryear department, I can't say I know much about Eddie Degerman. I assume people called him "Da' German".

The 2003 Topps 205 minis are much more fragile than the later Allen & Ginter minis, even though they occupy roughly the same dimensions. This is a Polar Bear version of Jimmy Baseball's mini Topps 205 card. I didn't scan the back, so you'll have to take my word for it.

Actually, it turns out that I did scan the back, back in September when I first got this package and was adding this card to my The Trading Card Database inventory. So, there you go.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Cards from the Old School

An envelope of goodies from an old school blogger. 

If you haven't been keeping up with reading the blogs, you should drop what you're doing right now and go follow Cardboard Junkie and his return to Cardmas. It's a worthwhile, somewhat profane ALL CAPS read. Just what we need in the waning moments of 2018. These posts got me thinking about how I got (re)interested in cards and how I would gobble up all internet content related to baseball cards at one point.

Another long-time blogger, GCRL, who now authors the excellent Cards as I See Them, sent along an envelope full of Cardinals a few months back. Now is the time to share the contents of said envelope.

Luke Weaver joins other recent young Cardinals (Stephen Piscotty, Aledmys Diaz...) with tons of cards in sets and no place in St. Louis anymore. There was a time that I was really excited about Weaver, and I still think he will probably be a pretty good pitcher, but his career now continues in Arizona thanks to the Paul Goldschmidt trade. Carson Kelly was part of the deal as well, but he doesn't nearly have as many cards as Weaver.

I have a huge soft spot for the 1981 Topps design, so I was pleased to see it part of this year's Archives set. My first ever baseball card -- and I'm not really sure how I acquired it -- was a copy of Robin Yount's 1981 Topps card. I still believe it was some sort of cereal box giveaway, but my limited research has not produced any evidence of a special cereal set in 1981. No matter where it came from, the Yount card (sadly no longer with us) must have been a garden variety 1981 Topps card.

Topps Fire is sort of like the Marvel blockbuster action movie set, only for baseball cards. Does what I said even make any sense? I'm not sure anymore. All three of these guys are still with the Cards and figure to have prominent roles on next season's roster. Hopefully Martinez's health will allow him to stay in the rotation this time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

More Goodwill Finds

I bought stuff I didn't need. 

After my interesting binder purchase a few months back, I hit up the local Goodwill again and came home with a couple of boxes. I'm posting about it here in case there are any collectors of this stuff out there.

The '80s football box caught my eye because I am not used to seeing cards from these sets in such good shape. I haven't gone through it all yet, but you can assume that there are no high dollar cards in the bunch. Still, if you're working on any '80s football sets, perhaps a few of these could be of use to you? Predictably, the 1985 cards have more wear and tear than the other sets. There are some 1988 cards as well, but those are less interesting to me.

1994 Bowman's Best was a weird set, where they apparently paired up all of the veteran players.

Prospects get a standalone treatment. This is sort of the opposite of what you see in most sets. I ended up with about half a box of these.

The other half of the baseball box was full of 1990 Leaf. This set is more familiar to me, as I'm sure it is to you. Still, this was a pricey set to collect at one point, so if there's anyone out there missing some 1990 Leaf cards, I may be your guy!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Contest Time! College Bowl Pick 'Em #10

Pick the bowl games, win some cards! 

For the tenth straight year, I am giving away free cards to the best prognosticators of (mostly) meaningless college football games. Past winners include Adam from Thoughts on Sox (2009-10), Mark from Stats on the Back (2010-11), AJ from The Lost Collector (2011-12), Royal Dan (2013), The Prowling Cat (2014), Jeff from One Man's Junk (Wax) (2015), Matt of Bubba's Bangin' Batch of Baseball Bits (2016), MrHaverkamp (2017) and last year's winner Anaconda37.

If you want to skip all the blah blah blah and just get to the free stuff, go to the bottom of the post for the sign-up link and make sure you submit picks for every game. There's even a separate contest for non-ESPN people, but you don't care about that because you've already tuned this out and started paying attention to the latest episode of Vanderpump Rules.

If you've participated in the past, this should work more or less the same as previous years, but it will be hosted over on I will be sending out invitations via ESPN's automated system if I happen to have your email address (which as mentioned previously, may not be the case.) If you don't get an email invite, follow the manual procedure at the bottom of this post (and if all else fails, send me an email and I will try to help you out.) For the rest of you, here are the rules and prize details, which should be similar to past years:

  • First place will receive: a 2019 Topps Series 1 blaster OR suitable equivalent (subject to availability)... as well as a small plastic pouch of cards from your favorite team/player(s)/etc.
  • Second place will receive: a Priority Mail padded envelope full of cards from your favorite team/player(s)/etc. (this usually ends up being around 8 bags/pouches or so)
  • The Rhubarb_Runner Trophy (formerly known as Worst Place) winner will receive: whatever I feel like sending you. Be very afraid to finish last. I don't advise it. You say how the enemy of your enemy is your friend? Well, I'm none of those. Of course, as past "winners" of this prize can tell you, you will still receive some cards targeted toward your favorite team/player(s).
Because there's no such thing as a free lunch, at least without a copious amount of rules and guilt, here they are (basically copied from previous years):
  • Participants must sign up through the official ESPN link. Unfortunately, this means that you must have an ESPN account. I know this is a deal breaker for some, but I am not fancy enough to figure out a good system on my own that wouldn't require more time than I allot to this project.
  • Promote this contest! No, that doesn't mean you need to "follow" my blog, nor does it mean that you'll gain any competitive advantage by posting about this contest. I just want to see a lot of people participate, and will be willing to award more prizes if there are more participants. Send some tweets! Tweet some sends! Put a subliminal message on your blog post. Make an animated gif. Send a mass email with a questionable file attachment. Write a BuzzFeed style article complete with slideshow (number 6 will shock you!). Casually tell your co-workers in the break room while discussing Eli Manning's disappointing fantasy numbers.
  • Points are scored according to the Confidence System. This basically means that while you are predicting which team wins which bowl game, you will also be responsible for ranking how confident you are in each pick. The higher you rank those games, the more points you'll get when they win and prove that you're totally right and deserve all the I-told-you-so's in the world.
  • Email me your contest information after you sign up. You can't assume that I will automatically recognize your clever contest name, nor will I necessarily disbelieve your "friend" who claims your prize after everything is said and done because he swears he's BuckeyeFan4Lyfe and is "stoked" about his "sick pickz".
  • You can change your picks at any time, so long as your pick is made before the official start time (usually the TV broadcast time) of each game. This is what ESPN calls a "rolling lock" time.
  • "No tanking" rules are in effect. You must make a pick for every game to be eligible for the "worst place" prize. The prizes aren't that great, folks. I'd much rather award the prize to someone who failed in spectacular fashion than someone who intentionally went with picks that are doomed to fail.
Click here to sign up, and click on the 'Play Now For Free' link! It's free! First timers are very welcome.

Group ID: 222813
Password: quackquackquack

DEADLINE: There's a deadline of Saturday, December 15th at 10:30 AM PST to at least get your first pick in. That's the start time of the first bowl game.

But wait... there's more! Available to all entrants as well as non-entrants who don't want to use ESPN, there's a bonus contest:

Leave a comment here predicting the final score and winning team of the BELK BOWL before the Belking officially begins (the game is on the 29th) and win a retail jumbo pack of 2019 Topps Series 1. Whoever is closest gets it. Belk on, Belkers!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Traded Thorzul Anything

The annual Topps Update-for-anything swap. 

Veteran blogger Thorzul has been doing an annual trade thing now that's been going on seven years. It's a simple premise and a great idea. He buys a hobby box (jumbo? I can't remember) of Topps Update when it hits the streets, and offers up all of the cards that he doesn't have marked for himself. All you have to do is to promise to send something - the "anything", in this case, is a free-for-all. As he always gives a full write-up of whatever you send, people are usually very generous with their "anything".

The two cards I claimed were the Marcell Ozuna rainbow foil parallel, and this Ozzie Smith Don't Blink insert. Good stuff for me. I still need a lot of inserts from Update.

It's a great idea and something I should consider stealing someday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Filling in 2018

Ticking off some more boxes thanks to @marcbrubaker before the calendar winds down.

Remember The Astrodome stopped by the ol' mailbox once again with another envelope of Cardinal needs. This time, everything was from 2018 sets, which is great. I would like to take down some more of these base needs before the calendar flips to 2019. (Is there an Ohtani for 2019? It kind of concerns me to consider what could happen if Topps doesn't have a shiny new object to focus on.)

I still can't tell you why, but I enjoyed this flimsy little Big League set. With Paul Goldschmidt joining up with the Redbirds today (I can't believe I just typed this!), Gyorko will be returned to his rightful place as a utility guy.

2018 Topps Big League base cards still needed: 167, 254, 378

Topps Fire is a set I love to rip on, but certain people seem to love. And I'm okay with that. I actually don't mind these nearly as much as the "art" sets that Topps puts out these days.

Yadi! It's always good to get a Yadi card.

2018 Topps Fire base cards still needed: 14, 64

Seen on this '93 style Coming Attraction insert from 2018 Topps Archives, Jack Flaherty had a terrific rookie year. I am hoping he will only continue to build on his successes.

2018 Topps Archives base cards still needed: 147

Thanks again to Bru! And feel free to let me know if anyone out there has any 2018 set stuff that I could use.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Trade with a Fellow Cardinal Collector

I should do this more often. 

Reader David, also a fan of the Birds on the Bat, hit me up a couple of months ago with a trade proposal. You can check out his want list on the still alive and kicking Zistle, if you've got some Cardinals you are looking to offload. I have tons and tons and tons of Cardinals extras, so it would be really helpful to my shrinking storage situation if I traded with more Cards fans. Feel free to hit me up if you're one of those.

David hit me up with an excellent PWE, which included a couple of Cards cards from last year's Topps Gallery set. I never mess with Walmart exclusives, so it's always nice when someone sends me these.

I'm not a big fan of the recent Topps artwork-based sets, but this is a pretty life-like rendition of the former Cardinal Randal (with one L) Grichuk.

Topps Chrome Update is just a retail cash grab, but people tend to open up the wallets a little wider later in the year, and shiny retail exclusives are hard for me to resist. This is one of the inserts from 2016's Chrome Update (or is that Update Chrome?)

Keeping with the former Cardinal theme, Magneuris Sierra is here on a rainbow foil parallel from last year's Topps Update set. He's in the Marlins system now and the jury is still out on him as an actual player.

Finally, here's Bruce Sutter in the classic baby blue jersey. I was just reminded that these were called "Victory Blues" back in the day. The Cardinals are bringing these back (or a version of these, anyway) on a limited basis next year. As for Sutter, well, he's a little sweaty.

Monday, November 26, 2018

New (Donruss) Hoops

Another new crop of basketball cards, featuring the Portland Trail Blazers. 

A couple of weeks ago, I bought into a group break from a new basketball card set as a cheaper and more satisfying way of collecting for me. I was pleased. I took another shot at the group break thing with the new Donruss NBA set. Let's see how that worked out.

There are just seven base cards in the set, and this time I landed the whole team set several times over. Not bad! (Hit me up if you're interested in one, or some of my spare Blazers inserts from this set and the new Hoops set.)

The set uses the same design we've seen in the Donruss baseball and football products this year. I'm not the biggest fan, with the NBA set's biggest issue being that it can be difficult to read the player's name unless you hold the card up to direct light or are in a well lit room.

The photos are also pretty dull. I think it can be a challenge to get exciting action basketball shots, especially in the current game where everyone wants to shoot 3's all of the time.

Here's big Zach wearing the blindingly red "Statement" jersey. I wish they had done away with this one instead of making a change to their "City" jersey.

With just five of the team's rotation players, the set leans heavily on its Rated Rookie subset. These don't appear to be short printed in any way, as I received tons of each Blazer rookie.

Both Gary Trent and Anfernee Simons are looking for playing time in any way they can get it. Simons is the only one who has played any meaningful minutes this season, as he stepped in for an injured Seth Curry.

The inserts were plentiful. I absolutely love new Clyde Drexler cards, especially ones that feature him as a Blazer. Panini went with a very different design for these than in the past, but they retained the same texture/feel to the card.

This is one of the most shocking designs I've ever seen. It's like Miami Vice meets early '90s SkyBox? I guess? I don't know... it's incredible. Look at those fonts! I'm too stunned to remember that the players wore those weird "huge logo" All-Star jerseys last season.

Sticking with the goofy faux retro theme, here's a look at the Court Kings inserts. I still need Dame's card from this.

This photo of Petro has been seen on a lot of cards, but it never gets old.

Kid Simons (Lil' Penny?) gets his own insert card here.

Press Proof parallels only differ from the base set with their use of silver foil (and serial number).

It wouldn't be Panini without parallels of parallels, so we get a look at a lower numbered color Press Proof parallel of young Trent. This could be a nice one if Trent starts to develop.

I didn't really score with any Blazers "hits", but a bunch of Sonics cards were included as well. I'm not sure if I lucked out in some sort of random draw, or if it was a proximity thing, but it was awesome to get this signed card of a Sonics legend. I also scored some Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp inserts. I'm almost tempted to start collecting Sonics cards on the side, but that would be... weird.

Finally, the eBay seller (hobbylegends) also threw in a pack of last year's Donruss into my package. Inside was a nice /25 parallel of T.J. Warren, who is one of the Suns better players these days. Not bad!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Good Luck Ducks, Week 13: Bury the Beavs!

It's Civil War time! 

It's time for the final game on the regular season schedule for the Oregon Ducks football team, and that means only one thing: it's time to face the Oregon State Beavers. The Beavers are about to wrap up another terrible season as they try to regroup from last year's sudden coaching change, while the Ducks have been all over the map this year. Last season's record 69-10 beatdown is still bound to be fresh in many player's memories, but things likely won't be so one-sided with the game being played in Corvallis this year.

Oregon came out hot and aggressive last week against Arizona State, looking a bit like their old selves, or at least starting to resemble the team that fought the Huskies to the death earlier in the schedule. Unfortunately, the second half saw things grind to a halt for the Ducks, who just had enough in the tank to hang on for the win. Win or lose today, just about every bowl scenario imaginable is still up in the air for the Ducks, aside from the big ones (Rose, Holiday, Alamo...)

Civil War games have historically featured some interesting things no one has seen during the regular season. The Ducks have won 9 of 10, so recent history should be on their side. However, their last trip to Corvallis ended in defeat, and Justin Herbert was the starting QB that day. I'm sure he's itching to leave his mark on the OSU field. Friday football, guys!

Civil War Links:

Dillon Mitchell, who sits 36 yards shy of the Oregon all-time single season receiving yards record, scored twice in last season's blowout at Autzen.

Game time is 1:00 PM PST on FS1. Chris Myers and Evan Moore are on the call. Quack, quack, quack!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Set Needs, Cardinals and More!


Last time, we featured a 2018 Topps Heritage card from the NL Cy Young Award winner and tonight we are showing off a card from the same set of the runner-up. It's hard to find a better pitcher in baseball than Max Scherzer right now, who struck out 300 (!) batters this season. That just shows you how good deGrom was. This card and more were sent my way by Jason of Hoarding Cardboard, as a totally cool "thank you" for the stuff I gave away over the summer.

It's always nice to get cards from older Heritage sets. Rookie Performers (from High Series) have become rather challenging to track down once the unopened stuff disappears from shelves, so it feels satisfying whenever I get one. Incidentally, I recently snagged a David Price Rookie Performers card from 2009 off of Listia, and was unable to find any copies on COMC or recently completed auctions on eBay. I doubt the Price card is worth all that much, but it was super cool to find it.


Jason sent some Cardinals along, too, because he probably heard that I like the Cardinals. Imagine that! It actually seems super crazy to me that all three players on this 2018 Bowman Talent Pipeline insert actually had significant playing time. In fact, it was the Single-A guy (Hicks) who had the most prominent role of the three.

Confusingly, I only just learned the gold parallels from 2007 Fleer Ultra Retail are numbered while the hobby versions are not. I assume the hobby versions are actually more rare, but who knows what that print run was? I remember having just started exploring the hobby again for the first time around when this set came out and learning that Fleer Ultra hobby packs were selling for around $20 a pop, which seemed insane. I'm sure they're not that expensive anymore. Anyway, this super cool Yadi is of the gold retail variety, which means it is numbered.

Jason noticed that I liked the Ducks as well, which is why he sent this Demtrius Williams card from a set called Aspire that I'm sure I'd never heard of. He sent along some Eagles, too, but they are crummy right now and don't deserve my time. (Sadly, at 4-6 and with the injury to Alex Smith, they could still easily win the division at this point, because it's just that terrible this year.)

Thanks again to Jason!