Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Postage Rates are Out of Control

In better news, it looks like someone checked the want list. 

I've had to restrict my shipping to Canada of late, with the rates to send tiny packages with just a handful of cards from US to Canada threatening to overtake the cost of a decent dinner. PWEs are the way to go these days when shipping internationally, which unfortunately introduces increased risk that your stuff isn't going to show up (or might get eaten by wolves.) Fortunately, the envelopes I sent off recently to Condition Sensitive seem to have arrived in passable shape.

Domestically speaking, we're suffering through our second major postage increase in just the past four months. This is hitting people (like me) hard -- people who like to ship some team bags around the country without breaking the bank. Check this chart out below, which is for First Class Package Retail service:

Ouch! Now, just consider the fact that the "Old Rate" column was actually the NEW rate increase from September 2017. Bad news all around. If you have the means, definitely take advantage of the cheaper rates that come with online shipping through third party commercial arrangements.

It's not all bad news, though. We have some great cards to look at, thanks to Condition Sensitive. Although he caught on briefly with the Red Sox minor league system last season, Johnny Peralta may have played his last big league game. If so, he did it in a Cardinals uniform, which is certainly the best uniform.

In addition to some Cardinals cards, because... well, that's I do here... I also snagged a healthy stack of Blazers cards. There was a common theme with these cards. (No, they're not all little known outside of NY Erick Barkley.) I needed them all! Someone clearly checked the want list, or at least the "haves" list I have posted up at TCDB. What do you call a "haves" list, anyway? A reverse want list? I'll go with reverse want list.

Nurk! Jusuf Nurkic came to Portland in a trade deadline deal last season with division rival Denver. Nurkic has had his ups and downs, but I'm generally in favor of him being the starting center of the Blazers. There aren't a lot of quality centers in the league (there never has been), and he will sit for stretches when the team goes small to match up with the other trendy small lineups out there. I'm not sure how they're going to afford to pay him, though.

Scottie Pippen was the first in a long procession of past-their-peak star players to wind up in Portland in the early '00s. For all things considered, he was probably the best.

I don't want to say the same things I always say when I write about a Sabonis card here, so I'll just say this: Sabonis was legend. Is legend. Is. Legend.

Our local alt-weekly's cover story this week is about the so-called Jail Blazers era, and leaves us with this artistic gem featuring Rashe... oh, just click on it!

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Allen & Ginter Motherlode

@cardboardhabit helps me build a set the laziest way possible. 

Allen & Ginter is a popular set every year, at least with the blogging crew. For that reason, I can always count on someone having a ton of available extras to help me out. This time, Cardboard Habit came through with a massive assortment of cards from the set I should have dug a little deeper into this past year. Maybe 2018 will be the year I actually manage to collect something on my own?

I can't even explain the sheer volume of cards I received. It was larger than any reasonable person could cram inside a padded envelope. Along with Adam Wainwright, I scanned all of the Cardinals that are heading to my Cardinals binders -- which means I need another copy of these.

As you can see, there were heaps of minis. I do like minis. Everyone should like minis. This group includes the recently departed (to the A's, not to the afterlife) Stephen Piscotty.

Of course, the Ginter bounty was full of non-Cardinals representation. I just selected a few to scan. Let's face it, you've seen a lot of these cards before elsewhere.

Unsigned Free Agent Alert! Unsigned Free Agent Alert!

Was Young MC even in this set? Please tell me he was.

She looks a little sneaky. Better keep an eye on her.

Would you allow yourself to be examined by this sketchy device? I'm sure this came with zero health concerns whatsoever.

Now, excuse me while I get back to sorting. This was quite an impressive stack of cards.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


The Eagles are playing in the NFC Championship (is a very strange thing to say). 

It's shocking how quickly this Philadelphia Eagles team came together. It was 9 years ago that the Eagles were last here, in what would prove to be Donovan McNabb's final game in a Philly uniform. It feels like a lifetime ago. The franchise has gone through some dark days since then, including a stretch where I refused to watch any of the games when Michael Vick was under center. The team quickly turned around from the Chip Kelly experiment, finding themselves a win away from their first Super Bowl appearance since 2005. They face the same franchise they beat in 2005 (Vikings), and would likely face the same team they faced in the Super Bowl (you know the one). Of course, all of the faces have changed, except the dastardly Brady and Belichick, of course.

But we're getting way ahead of ourselves here. Let's relax for a minute and check out a few 2017 Panini Prizm cards I picked up on Listia. This was basically a mini-team set purchase for a small amount of credits. I just checked, and am now just missing Torrey Smith and a bunch of rookies (well, all of them.)

Zach Ertz has been Carson Wentz's go to guy since Wentz came into the league. Ertz has started chewing up yardage the way he chewed up yardage in the Pac-12 at Stanford. The long and mostly successful run of offensively skilled Eagles tight ends has continued throughout various coaching changes.

I feel like it's every Eagles receiver's responsibility to be at least a little disappointing, and it was easy to feel that way about Alshon at times this season. He's starting to grow on me, though.

And then, of course, we have Carson Wentz. Wentz was the odds-on favorite to win MVP this season until he went down with a season ending ACL injury. This is pretty much what happens to everything and everyone I root for in this stupid sport people call football (but mostly only in this country). Wentz was essentially the perfect player for the Eagles sometimes suspect and always injury-plagued offensive line, as his ability to scramble and improvise were keys to some huge wins all season long. Now the offense is under the direction of the capable pocket passer Nick Foles. You could certainly do a lot worse for a backup quarterback than Foles. I wouldn't trade him for some team's starters. But his stationary style combined with the Eagles fairly conservative play-calling has shifted the focus dramatically towards the running game. Of course, it was the defense that bailed the Eagles out time and time again last weekend, and it will be needed to come up big again against Minnesota.

This isn't an Eagles card, per se, but it was included in the lot I purchased as Jay Ajayi was the rare midseason acquisition that bolstered the Eagles season which ultimately led to their #1 seeding throughout the playoffs. In fact, trades in the NFL are so rare, let alone midseason trades, that Ajayi is the first player to rush for more than 300 yards for two different teams in the same season*.

All in all, no matter the results of Sunday's game, it was an extremely successful season. Did anyone see this coming?

*Source: Me. This is probably a completely made up stat, but I swear that I heard it during a game broadcast recently. And Ajayi actually topped 400 yards this season for both franchises.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Future is Bright

It's also shiny, and occasionally serial numbered. 

I'm still working my way through documenting groupings of cards received back in November. This one was particularly shiny and full of low-numbered things I collect. Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown (and new Twitter account @PadresBreakdown -- note to self: starting a side social media project might be a more effective way of getting rid of the eight thousand or so excess Cardinals dupes you own) handed off to me another stellar bunch of cards I needed for my various collections. This one was heavy on Cardinals content, which is a boon to this blog considering its namesake.

Carlos Martinez as the Cardinals ace is still something I'm getting used to. He is tremendously talented, though, and earned his second All-Star nod last season. This purple refractor is numbered to 75.

The Cardinals made a key trade this offseason (Marcell Ozuna) without giving up any of their top prospects, including Jack Flaherty. While Flaherty's results in his brief time with the big league club were, frankly, not great, there is still plenty of optimism for him. It was great to get this silver 2016 Bowman parallel as I've not done well with Bowman parallels of late.

I have a soft spot for the old gold Topps flagship parallel cards, but my appreciation goes up tenfold when looking at these rare hobby-only black parallels. I only have a handful of these in my collection and would love to get my hands on more. Assuming they are still making these, I'm sure I would be pretty disappointed in the black parallels from the past couple of sets considering what they've done with the golds.

Considering my love for the flagship 2003 Topps set, I really ought to think about putting together (or just buying) the Retired Signatures set from the same year. It uses the same design, only with white borders. I wish we could still have all-retired sets. I don't even remember why this isn't allowed anymore. I'm guessing it probably has something to do with The Great Rookie Card Reform of Ought-Six.

Topps Pack Wars was post-MLB Showdown, pre-Topps Attax and was something I totally missed. Scrunching the player photo down to such a small space on the card doesn't really make this super collectible, but the foil backing and low serial number certainly help.

Scott Rolen has been getting a lot of positive attention from the baseball pundits about his Hall of Fame candidacy, even though I expect his vote totals to be low. Hopefully he can stay in the collective consciousness long enough to make a run at the Hall a few years down the road.

Surprisingly, this 2014 Finest parallel does not come with any seizure warnings on the back.

Yadi more or less confirmed what we all suspected yesterday when he announced that he expected the final season of his current contract to be his last season as a player. It's hard to imagine the Cardinals now without Yadier Molina. It also makes me feel really old. It doesn't feel like his rookie year was all that long ago.

Along with the low numbered (/75) "blue wave" refractor above, here's Yadi's base card from the most recent Topps Tribute set. I would never in my wildest years buy a pack or box or whatever configuration of this stuff, but the base cards are great card show finds when you can get them.

It's been a little basketball heavy around here, but I couldn't sign off without at least one Blazers card. I remember James Edwards as a Pistons player (center on those "Bad Boys" teams) but have no recollection of him as a Trail Blazer. My mind is a pretty good resource for even the more obscure Portland players over the years, but the mid-90's P.J. Carlesimo era is a bit fuzzy.

Speaking of fuzzy, I have totally neglected this 2012 Topps Archives 3D insert set along with some of the other smaller collections (Opening Day Stars, Turkey Red, etc.) I should probably check out some of the sites that other blogger people write about to fill some of these holes.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Christmas Loot

I bought myself a Christmas @thelootlocker present. 

Incredibly, I've had something close to a 90% success rate with boxes from The Loot Locker. (My definition of success is certainly subjective, but whatever.) December's featured hobby packs in the lowest price tier for baseball were 2017 Topps Heritage High Numbers, 2017 Donruss Optic, and 2017 Topps Chrome (x2).

With the Heritage pack, I must have hit some sort of Bradley Zimmer superpack. Along with the purple Chrome refractor (which I believe you only find in so-called "hot boxes", though hobby boxes are a different sort of animal...) I found my first Heritage photo variation SP in quite awhile. I think it's been years since I've pulled something like this from a Heritage pack. While the purple Zimmer will be headed out in a trade package at some point, this one is a keeper.

I also managed to pull three (!) base cards that I actually needed for my set. Again, this was a hugely successful pack, probably the pack of the year for me in 2017 (that I actually opened in 2018.)

The shiny card from my Optic pack ended up being this David Paulino Prizm parallel, which complements the pink Prizm of this very card I pulled earlier in the year. Paulino hasn't spent a ton of time on the big league roster. Are Astros fans excited about him?

In the first Topps Chrome pack came this insert of young Pirates hurler Tyler Glasnow. I jumped all over Glasnow as someone who might help out my fantasy team, but his numbers were rather eye-popping, in the not good sort of way.

Finally, earlier this week I mentioned that I'm becoming a Ryon Healy collector whether I like it or not. This is now my second autograph from the former Oregon Ducks star. (By the way, is this how younger people sign their names now? He could fit that thing on a postage stamp.)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Contest Results and a Group Break Plug

If you see your name, send me your mailing address! 

Before we get to the good stuff, I want to give a quick shout out to Tracy's Box Breaks. Tracy has a super affordable group break going, and there's still slots left. Someone is going to win a low numbered Derek Jeter card!

Now, here are the contest winners (and "winner"):

  • Anaconda37
  • redemptioncousin
  • Matt Stupienski
  • defgav
Anaconda37 won the big contest, with redemptioncousin finishing in second place! Matt (are you also redemptioncousin?) had the closest Belk Bowl guess, while Gavin will walk away with some discarded cold cuts from Subway for finishing with the worst score.

Thanks again to everyone for playing. March Radness is just around the corner, which also means... Spring Training!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Catching Up with All The Sports

A multi-sport trade package from up Canada way. 

The various stacks of cards around my home are starting to get dangerously high. They tend to wobble a bit whenever I am near them. This means that I'm overdue for some organization and some trades, which means we're going to be looking at another trade posts here at Cards on Cards. This package came from buckstorecards and covers all of the sports, which is a good thing!

Jordan Bell and Dillon Brooks are the Ducks stars that have been getting most of the attention (and playing time) from last year's Final Four team, but young Tyler Dorsey has gotten some action of late with the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks have been dreadful this season as they are going through a rebuild, which leaves them plenty of leeway to be patient with someone like Dorsey.

I was super excited (and surprised) to get a certified auto of Elgin Cook, son of former NBA player Alvin Robertson. Cook starred for the 2015-16 Ducks team, but went undrafted. He's playing professionally in Germany currently. It's always great to get cards of players in Ducks uniforms.

Speaking of Ducks, while I don't officially collect UO baseball players, I am starting to put together a nice grouping of Ryon Healy cards. I am thinking I will probably stash these somewhere, not that there are any A's collectors out there that would be beating down for more A's cards. Healy was recently dealt to Seattle, which means that I'll be seeing more of him on TV as I live in Mariners broadcast territory.

I couldn't not scan a Marcus Mariota card after the playoff game that he had. He can really do it all!

I swear I will watch an NHL game at some point this season before the playoffs start. I started to watch the Winter Classic the other day, which unfortunately didn't involve the Blues.

Noah Vonleh's playing time has disappeared like any threat of winter weather here in Portland, but I am still excited about this 25/25 Artist's Proof parallel from the new Hoops set.

Finally, here's a throwback to an Eagles star from a few years back, Shady McCoy. The Eagles head into this weekend's meeting with Atlanta as the first #1 seed in league history to be an underdog in the divisional round. Losing Carson Wentz was painful. Yikes.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Another Contest Update and a Quick Trade Post

Don't forget to make your picks for the championship game! 

Well, it was quite a New Year's weekend in the college football ranks. Unfortunately, I spent the entire big day traveling, so I didn't see either of the playoff games. I'm a bit bummed that Oklahoma did not win, even though Baker Mayfield is kind of insufferable. I was hoping to have someone to root for in the title game, as Erin's family has OU ties and I basically can't stand the SEC.

As we stand now, it's down to three competitors for the top contest prize: Anaconda37, redemptioncousin and Mr. Haverkamp. Meanwhile, the sadness prize is a toss-up between defgav and ketchupman36. (If Gavin takes this, his prize could conceivably be a lukewarm Subway sandwich...)

Meanwhile, Trevor from the Bump and Run Football Card Blog is sitting in the middle of the pack in the contest, and I figured this was as good of a time as any to show off some cards he sent me.

Here's rookie year B-Roy, wearing the last actually good red Blazers jersey. As much as I disliked the redesigned red jerseys the Blazers wore in the Adidas era as recently as last season, this year's Nike reds are just murder on the eyeballs.

I have little recollection of LeGarrette Blount as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, for whatever reason, despite a stellar rookie season. This card is apparently part of some sort of Topps redemption promo, but it's great because I don't feel like I have a ton of rookie year Blount cards in my Ducks collection.

Speaking of Ducks, Marcus Mariota has a big playoff game today. He's taken his lumps this year, but I am hoping he finds a way to get it done. (I also kind of like the Chiefs, and wish that the few NFL teams I actually don't hate wouldn't find a way to have to play each other in an elimination game, but I don't make the rules.)

Despite being my so-called favorite pro team, I haven't talked much about the Eagles remarkable season this year. It was, admittedly, a huge bummer to lose Carson Wentz to an ACL injury just as the MVP trophy was being prepped for engraving. Oh well. The Eagles are usually good, and they certainly aren't the Browns, but I am hoping they will make it back to the Super Bowl at some point even if this isn't their year. Malcolm Jenkins has been a huge part of their on field success, so it was cool to get this holofoil card of his.

Like many posts around here, I'll end this with a Yadi - who is walking in a winter wonderland.