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!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Good Luck Ducks, Week 12: An Evening with the Sun Devils

Will Oregon avoid the Cheez-It Bowl? 

The Jekyll and Hyde act that is the 2018 Oregon Ducks football team continued last week, as they came out flat and lifeless and ultimately didn't have quite enough to finish off Utah last week. It wasn't good. This is the time of the season where injuries are felt the most, but other teams (i.e. Utah) have adjusted well. Oregon, apparently, hasn't.

Given where the Ducks are headed, a bowl game, it seems safe to say that this season has been an improvement over the Taggart Year and Mark Helfrich's disastrous final season. However, I'm not sure that they are actually better than last season. In the games Justin Herbert was able to play last season, Oregon had no trouble marching up and down the field on people, and the defense was mostly robust all season. This year's team has been maddeningly inconsistent on both sides of the ball, and with two games left, they are starting to feel like the football equivalent of cringe comedy. Only, you know, less funny.

Not all is doom and gloom, of course. There have been great individual efforts on both sides of the ball. The cohesion will need to be back for the Ducks to win in their final home game of the season. Next week will be a short week as Oregon heads to Corvallis for Civil War on Black Friday. Tonight, it's time to shine for the Autzen faithful.


ASU's last trip to Eugene featured plenty of scoring, starting with an emotional opening score by Pharaoh Brown.

Game time is 7:30 PST on the Pac-12 Network. Roxy Bernstein, Anthony Herron and Lewis Johnson will be on the call. Drink every time they say "Pac-12 After Dark".

More Cards From Bru!

A little big closer to Heritage goals thanks to @marcbrubaker and another envelope. 

It seemed like I was getting hit right and left with envelopes full of cards from Remember The Astrodome for awhile there. Here's some stuff I received back in September.

I was able to cross off a number of 2018 Topps Heritage needs, including this newly crowned Cy Young Award winner. Erin is still lamenting the loss of his luxurious locks, though.

Cardinals were included, because we love the Cardinals here (did you know?!) I'm not sure if the 2018 Donruss design will ever grow on me (and now it's here in basketball), but I am always a sucked for chrome'd up and shiny cards, both of which this Carlos Martinez card fits the bill.

Here's another Donruss Optic Prizm parallel. We haven't yet truly seen Tyler O'Neill's prodigious power be sustained in the majors, but some consistent playing time would help. It's nice to see the Rated Rookie logo live on for another day.

This is just a straight up base card from the same set, using the confusing Diamond Kings design. These aren't the Diamond Kings that I know. Waino is back for 2019. Have I mentioned that? Probably.

Thanks again to Bru! I have a feeling we'll be seeing more from him soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Good Luck Ducks, Week 11: Rice-Eccles

The Ducks head down to one of the more strangely named stadiums. 

Fresh off of a convincing win over a rebuilding UCLA team, Oregon hits the road once again to take on conference newbie Utah. The Utes joined the conference in 2012 during the Great College Football Expansion, but still have one of the smaller stadiums in the conference. While the Ducks are healthy at most of their skilled positions, Utah will be missing both their starting QB and starting RB, the latter (Zach Moss) suffering a season ending knee injury after being on pace this season to break the single season school rushing record.

All eyes are on Justin Herbert once again, as his elite skills are sure to be on display this afternoon. His primary target, Dillon Mitchell, is having a monster season that shouldn't be overlooked. It's just unfortunate that Oregon's season will largely be kept out of the national spotlight, with a won-loss record that has them likely headed to a mid-tier bowl game instead of the vaunted College Football Playoff system.

The Ducks will need to clean up some stuff on defense, undoubtedly. However, it's still a road test today, and considering the outcome in their last game away from Autzen (Arizona, yikes!), nothing should be taken for granted.

A few links:

The Ducks pulled off a stunner in their last trip to Utah.

Game time is 2:30 PM PST on the Pac-12 Network. Ted Robinson, Yogi Roth and Jill Savage will be on the call.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

New Hoops

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

I dove into the deep, shark-filled waters of eBay group breaks to get my first taste of 2018-19 NBA Hoops. My logic was sound: I can avoid buying all of the packs and boxes and just concentrate on the team that I collect. And it all would have worked out splendidly if it wasn't for that lousy collation!

There are 10 Blazers in the 300 card base set, but I didn't get a single copy of the Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum cards, while getting several copies of other cards. Fun!

The base design is, you know, fine. It's Hoops. It doesn't really change. I didn't bother scanning the backs of any of the cards, because if you've seen the back of one (Panini) Hoops card, you've seen them all.

I mentioned a lack of a Lillard card, but Dame actually has two cards in the set for whatever reason. The final 20 cards in the set are part of a "Tribute" subset, and have a different design. Mostly, these are retired players, but there are a few current ones sprinkled in for some reason.


Rookies are shown in one of their media day poses over a dark wooden backdrop. Pretty standard stuff.

Trent was a one-and-done Duke star, and is the son of former Blazers draft pick... you guessed it... Gary Trent!

Big Z is having a big year already. This is exciting.

Ah, but there were inserts, too. Amplifiers crank up the volume in the crowd, apparently. I can't complain about an insert concept I haven't seen before, though.

Two of the Amplifiers out of a ten card set are Blazers, so CJ joins Dame here. He shoots threes at a high volume, but so does everyone these days.

Damian Lillard stars here on another insert design that I'm not as much of a fan of. We really don't need the same photo twice.

The draft picks that they got to pose for these photos are going to probably have a good laugh at these in a few years. Or, at least, we all will. Anfernee (yes, he was named after Penny Hardaway) skipped college altogether, playing out a year in purgatory at a prep school. He looks all of 13. The Blazers are playing the long game with him. It would be cool to see it pay off.

Lest ye accuse an eBay seller of messing with the base cards (why would they?), you can see (ye can see?) that I didn't get stiffed on a hit. Everything is a sticker auto in this low end product, but I was happy to get a brand spanking new Blazers autograph.

Good stuff all around. I just need to find the rest of the team set.