Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Logoless Opening Day

It's Opening Day. Let's look at some new cards! 

I hit up Target looking for some cards the other day, and Panini's Donruss was pretty much the only stuff on the shelves to be found. I grabbed packs of the $5 and $10 variety. Let's take a look at some of the cards I got, in no particular order.

I don't really know any way around this, but I find this design to be just plain hideous. Scrubbing all of the logos off of the photos just makes it worse. There's also minimal stats (just the most recent season line and a career line), and nothing else that really makes it, you know, Donruss-y.

The inclusion of the 1984-inspired design is a nice touch, though. I ended up with 4 versions (2 dupes) of this Cody Bellinger card, this one being a green foil parallel that falls 5 to a box in the $10 configuration. Unlike previous years, the '84 tribute cards are part of the base set and not inserts.

This is called How To Ruin A Moment in One Photoshopped Fell Swoop, but they couldn't fit it on the swoosh down there. Also, what is with the blank swooshes on these player combo cards?

It was cool to get a hit (out of the $5 already pack searched pack, strangely enough.) However, this has to be one of the ugliest card designs I've ever seen. It's so ugly that I'm starting to come back around to it, actually. This is up for grabs.

Now, this is a nice looking card. Considering that Gwynn was around for '84 Donruss, it just makes sense. This is clearly a photo from the '90s, but that's okay.

Okay, I'm going to try to say something positive about "nickname" variations... nah. I've got nothing.

This bedazzled Khris Davis insert is numbered to 349. It's kind of fun.

These nickname cards can't be rare, considering how many of them I pulled (3? I think?)

In the past, I felt that Panini tended towards selecting photos where the photo alterations wouldn't be so clear or even necessary. This isn't one of those. I think they must have hired some extra staff for Photoshop work this year.

Here's another nickname card. I hadn't actually heard of Francisco Lindor's nickname prior to this set.

Not all was bad, as I pulled a ton of Cardinals, which isn't exactly typical. The one blue foil card in the $5 pack ended up being The Wizard.

I also pulled the green foil version. Nice! All I need now is the base card, and probably some other rare version I don't want to know about.

This is a really nice photo that even Panini couldn't ruin. Look at that green! (Did they mess with the green? Please don't tell me.)

Ozzie Smith is looking like some kind of spaceman on this heavily doctored card with Ryno.

People seem to like the Trout.

Finally, here's a look at the Diamond Kings design for this year, which is super busy and just... not good. I miss Dick Perez.

Contest Update!

And a baseball card because it's Opening Day. 

A couple of updates here. You may recall that I had difficulty getting rid of the top prize in my last contest, so I opened the thing up and held a mini contest (a meta contest?) where I gave away the contents minus any cards I need. It turned out that the only card I needed was this Yadier Molina Legends in the Making card, which is very topical right now because he literally just hit a 2-run bomb off the left field foul pole at Citi Field.

Finally, March Radness has been... interesting. Somehow, I didn't math right and incorrectly calculated that I had already won "worst bracket". As it turns out, it is still an open competition, with Jeff's "One Man's Junk Bracket" currently sitting in the driver's seat, with 490 points and zero PPR (possible points remaining). I think. I didn't figure this out correctly last week, so I could be talking nonsense. Big time Giants fan ARPSmith44 is the overall leader. He is looking for Kansas to win to take away the top prize. I've traded with him before, so I'm not worried about him claiming his prize if he wins it.

Monday, March 26, 2018

From the Pointless Parallel Dept.

Nothing pointless about this @Lost_Collector trade pack, though. 

Let me just say that I'm glad Topps BUNT is gone. Of course, I bet the phone app is still alive and kicking for 2018, but it sounds like Topps opted to ditch the physical BUNT cards and come with something at least a little more inspired like their new Big League Baseball. (I'm kind of hoping this set is a bit like Panini Complete with kid-friendly inserts, only... y'know... less "complete" unfortunately.) The BUNT cards to me just exist in a weird place between "promotional tool for an app" and "uh, it's another release, I guess." The colored parallels just use a weird filter similar to some of the cards in last year's Gypsy Queen set, something I wasn't a huge fan of. However, I still want these cards because they're Cardinals and it's always nice to get a low numbered card even if the overall concept isn't terribly inspiring.

Now that I've dumped all over the arguably best card (sorry! I do appreciate this despite my harsh words for Topps!) in this nice trade package from The Lost Collector I received back in January, let's take a look at a few more. (Besides, he might be too distracted by all of the home runs being crushed out of Yankee Stadium by the home team to even read this post.)

Frascatore sounds like a dish featured on the menu of a moderately priced Italian restaurant my family might have taken me to in the '80s. I don't have many cards of this former Cardinals reliever.

Bernard Gilkey is about to be abducted by old-timey alien spaceships. Metal Universe is a weird universe, guys.

Matt Morris, just goofin' around.

This looks like your ordinary Yadier Molina 2017 Topps card, but a keen eye would note that the Topps logo is not foil, yet there's no Opening Day logo. What does that leave? This just leaves the blister pack team set and NL stars sets. This is from the latter. I liked it better when they actually had the National League logo on it.

I've been making huge dents in my Blazers collection lately thanks to great traders like The Lost Collector. I also have put a lot of work into my want list. It's now current through the '90s, and then starts back up again around 2012 to present day. It's going to take me a bit longer to fill in the gap.

I'm not sure that I have any recollection of James Edwards as a Blazers player, but I've managed to acquire a few of his Portland cards lately. I thought I'd show off the back here -- look at that impressive wall o' stats!

Finally, a number you have sent me this Royce Freeman card lately, which is awesome. It's fun to get a card of a Ducks great before he's even been drafted. That being said, are all of you SI For Kids subscribers or what? (I kind of wish I was.)

Friday, March 23, 2018

My First Cards of the New Year

Some cards from @nightowlcards (nearly three months in to 2018.)

Well, the pressure is on now, as I suddenly have an unprecedented number of groupings of sports cards to "check in" to my collection, thanks in part to last night's Cardblogger Con NW '18. There's also been a flurry of mailings lately, which I will have to get to... uh, later, I guess?

The first official trade package of 2018 came from Night Owl Cards, which should be of little surprise to anyone considering how many times I've seen his name in my mailbox in the decade I've been doing this thing.

Team photo cards are always awesome, especially when they are older than I am. There's no checklist on the back of these to mark off, so this one is in great shape and not marked up. At some point, I'd like to get a complete run of Topps Cardinals team cards and do one of those huge posts where it's nothing but pictures to gawk at. That would be nice.

Carlos Martinez is a 2-time All-Star and the ace of the staff these days, with Adam Wainwright sliding back towards more of a mentor role. I'm cautiously optimistic about Waino this season, for reasons I can't really explain. But I'm confident about Carlos Martinez. I think he's ready to throw his name in the ring of Cy Young candidates this season, although his prospects will be dependent on how successful the team is overall, of course. Check the number on this one, it's 1/50!

Jason Motte, shown here on a pukefractor from 2011, didn't make the 25-man roster in his Cardinals comeback attempt, but all indications are that he'll sign a new minor league deal to start the season in Memphis. It would be really cool to see him back at some point.

I have a lot of versions of this card, both flagship and Heritage, but this is my first gold parallel. Three excellent pitchers with different career paths.

I know absolutely nothing about 2017's Topps Gallery revival, but it was cool to get this Yadier Molina card from it. It's actually a Bowman Heritage design. It's confusing.

And now, it's on to the set needs. A significant chunk of the package was dedicated to stuff from sets I collect, including this requisite second copy of a Lou Brock/Dee Gordon team-up. There are so many Lou Brock/Dee Gordon cards at this point that I can't really keep track of which ones I am still missing.

This is a gold parallel of perpetually broken former Dodgers prospect Jose De Leon, not to be confused with former Cardinals pitcher (think '90s) Jose DeLeon. Has anyone ever actually seen this guy pitch? I never actually saw whatever configuration of packs that last year's Ginter gold parallels were available in, so I have very few (two) of these cards. It will probably stay that way for years to come, as retail exclusives usually become scarce as soon as the calendar turns to the next year.

It's always great to get a needed short print from a Heritage set, especially one that's a few years old.

Luke Weaver really shined in the waning days of the 2017 season, so I'm really excited to see what he can do this time around. I think I've mentioned this before. Excitement abounds!

At some point I'm going to regret not really paying attention to Mike Trout's cards (or Trout in general). I'm afraid it's going to be like my indifference to Michael Jordan back when he was nearing his peak, which led me to not really own any valuable Jordan cards. I hope I never actually owned his 2011 Topps Update card, because I bought a lot of those packs way back when.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

March Radness Update

Where things stand after the first week. 

Well, that was a crazy first week of college basketball tourney play. Of course, you could pretty much say these same words every year, but there's something about what went down this year that makes things feel extra crazy. For the first time, a #1 seed lost to a #16 seed, but that's not even the half of it. In a year where ranked teams lost games during the regular season at a historic rate, it's not surprising that many prolific teams have fallen to seemingly lesser opponents.

Let's check out where we're at in the contest.

OhioTim and Aslack12 lead in total points by a slim margin, but the similarities between their two brackets end right there. OhioTim's PPR (Potential Points Remaining) vastly outweighs Aslack12's, while mjolivet331 is in the driver's seat when you consider PPR and total points accrued so far. Meanwhile, thirteen brackets have already seen their champion fall, which is putting those whose champ is still in the mix at a serious advantage.

Meanwhile, yours truly, by way of picking Virginia (R.I.P.) along with a series of other questionable decisions has already locked up the title of Worst Bracket. Yes, there will be no "worst place" prize for this contest, for I am already worse than all of you.

Good luck to the rest of you, unless you chose UVA, Cincinnati, North Carolina, or Arizona to win it all... because there's no help for you. Duke is probably going to win, guys. Duke.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Last Call for March Radness!

Sign up now! 

There's just a handful of hours left to join the contest. Get in before the first game tips in the morning!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Last Trade Stack of 2017

Happy new year? 

We've already seen some more sets released in 2018, so it's high time I get caught up with trades and other things from the previous year. Here's a leftover bundle I received in person from Gavin before I escaped Portland for the holidays, the highlight of which was this awesome low numbered copper parallel of ex-Blazer Allen Crabbe. It's a Panini card, of course, but it still looks awfully similar to Topps's X-Fractor (or is that xfractor?) design.

Panini isn't throwing fake snowflakes on cards... yet, anyway. I am still missing a lot of these Topps Holiday cards from the past two years, but they are a Walmart concoction so it makes sense.

One of the nice stories of Spring Training 2018 has been the return of Jason Motte in a Cardinals uniform. He's in camp on a minor league deal, but is gunning for a major league spot. That would be a cool story, indeed. I never get tired of seeing him celebrate with Yadi and the rest of the 2011 team.

Michael Wacha seems to be in line for a rotation spot, despite some outside speculation that he could be better utilized in a bullpen role.

There's a new Donruss set on the shelves, or so I hear. Following in line with the previous two sets paying tribute to 1982 and 1983 designs, this year has a pretty decent looking 1984 homage. This, of course, is the Yadi '82 tribute card. There's now a copy for Erin and a copy for me, which is nice.

Friday, March 9, 2018

March Radness Reminder!

There are multiple blasters to win! Participate! 

March Radness X (as in tenth, but also EXTREME) is nearly upon us. Fill out a bracket and you might win some baseball cards.

Happy Thigh-Day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Want List Unlocked

Is anyone putting together 2018 Topps Heritage? 

I got an early start on my want list for this year's Topps Heritage set, which means my want list is nearly the whole set. I think that's okay, though. It's always good to know what you're taking on.

Out of the five short printed cards that I've pulled so far, two of them were dupes. This really shouldn't happen when there's one hundred of them out there, but such is life. This awkward pair is up for grabs for anyone who is trying to put this thing together.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Cardinals and Ducks, Ducks and Cardinals

Both are birds. 

Well, we're well into March and I'm still cleaning up last year's mess. Dennis from Too Many Verlanders / Manninghams has been sending me great stuff for years, and I'm always excited about what he sends. What I'm not always excited about is scanning cards, but you know the drill.

Dion Jordan came back last season to play his first meaningful football in a really long time. He's had a lot of off-field battles to get back to football. While he's likely never going to live up to his lofty draft selection (3rd overall), I'm excited about his future. (Also, these triangular quasi-3D cards are weird. If it was orange, it would almost be a traffic cone!

I'm a hypocrite. I'm always leading the call for preserving the sanctity of old card designs and card stock, and I think things like the Topps Heritage Chrome parallels are pointless and unnecessary. And yet, why do Topps Archives Reserve cards look so good to me?

Fleer/Flair Showcase was one of those fancy multi-tiered products, and as you can see by the serial number, this isn't your run of the mill base card. (The base cards generally look great, too.)

Speaking of shiny and fancy, this is a refractor parallel of a Haloti Ngata rookie year card that I already owned. I mean, I didn't own this particular card, just the non-refractor version of it. Now I have the shiny version. Clear? Good.

As I continue to catalog my entire Cardinals collection on TCDB, I am starting to realize that I will probably end up with more Pujols cards than any other player. I was already disappointed in Mark McGwire's status as the (temporary) No. 1 in my collection, but now that I realize I think I have enough unique Pujols cards to fill an entire standard binder without even going through all of the fancy/serial-numbered/whatever cards of his in shoeboxes, I am betting that he's going to end up on top over Ozzie. And yet, I've never really made much of an effort to collect him. In any case, this is just a simple base card but it filled a need. I just can't wait until I have two dedicated Albert Pujols binders...