Saturday, August 31, 2019

Good Luck Ducks, Week 1: Big Time Opener

Like it or not, it's officially football season as the Ducks take on an SEC foe in Texas. 

It doesn't seem like all that much time has passed since the last boring all-SEC college football championship game, but here we are on Labor Day Weekend where, by decree, there must be football of a collegiate nature. Oregon takes on Auburn at a neutral site (Arlington, Texas where the Dallas Cowboys play) in the weekend's marquee matchup. Both teams have plenty of preseason hype and the meaningless (at this point) rankings next to their names. College GameDay alert!

Justin Herbert is back and is expected to be the #1 pick in next year's NFL Draft, and along with him is four year starter and team leading tackler Troy Dye and one of the best offensive lines in the country. Head guy Mario Cristobal led the team to a 9-4 record, hopefully signaling a bit of a turnaround in a team that was spiraling a bit (and cycling through coaches) since their last appearance in the title game when Marcus Mariota ruled the campus. (He still kinda rules the campus.)

There's plenty of preseason hype for the Auburn Tigers (not to be confused with their conference brethren LSU Tigers) as well. They bring in a highly touted freshman quarterback in Bo Nix, who hopes to make up for his ridiculously short name with a big performance.

  • The Last Game: The less said about the Redbox Bowl, the better. The 7-6 win over Michigan State may have been one of the most dreadful bowl games of all-time.
  • Know Your Opponent: Tigers fans are understandably nervous about Jordon Scott, but also seem to be licking their chops about the prospects of breaking in a new defensive coordinator and scheme at UO.
  • The Unis: White with dark green pants and helmets. "Nightmare" green, they're calling it. Yikes. The uniforms are tweaked a bit this year with a new Nike redesign.
  • Mario Cristobal's "Crystal Ball" prediction: Oregon's energy is "growing more and more". Signs point to yes.

  • Luke Skyywalker's Crystal Balls say: 2 Live Crew frontman Luke (aka Luther Campbell) is a noted Miami Hurricanes enthusiast, so he can't be giving love to a team from Alabama. Let me hear you say, "Hey hey and more hey"
Game time is 4:30 PDT on ABC. Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Maria Taylor will be on the call. Go Ducks!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Night Post

They only come out at night. 

Back in May, I received what is my estimation the 347th package of cards from Night Owl Cards. You've probably heard of this guy before. I do seem to pull a lot of Dodgers and we've been exchanging cards for what is probably coming up on a decade for now. The passage of time is crazy. Night Owl primarily does his blog publishing at night, and so do I -- or at least I did back when I was on a more regular posting schedule. I am not really sure what you'd call what it is that I do any longer, but I do try to keep this place active and show appreciation for the stuff I receive from folks all over the country.

My scanner, however, did not really appreciate this Bill White card from 1969. It's cropped a little aggressively, but I can assure you that there is a real border on all four sides on the card itself.

Here's another chance for me to gripe (I think I do this a lot more than I used to) about how the Topps gold parallels ain't what they used to be. But they ain't. I like the shiny metallic look that they used to have. This is just a different splash of color applied by a computer application. It's boring.

I actually really like this one, even with how much real estate the name of the insert gets on the card. Perhaps it's because it's Ozzie that I'm a bit more forgiving. It's kind of cool.

I promise that I'm not going to pick apart every card I scanned here, so I'll just say that with two readily attainable full parallels (blue and gold... ish? goldenrod?) in both of the Big League sets so far, I'll probably feel like I'm never going to finish off these sets. There's a lot of cards. It's nice to pick another parallel off the list, however, especially one with this kind of star power.

Night Owl also sent a stack of set needs, including this pile of hair on the set that paid tribute to the set that Bill White was shown on earlier in this post. If you had asked me earlier today, I wouldn't have guessed that Jayson Werth was still in pro baseball as recently as 2018, but here you go. (He spent some time in AAA Tacoma, apparently.)

Thanks again to the legendary Night Owl Cards -- there's another Night Owl trade post in the queue, I'm sure.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Gum-Free Cards from Community Gum

Trying to get over a frustrating rain-shortened loss with... cards. 

As I've mentioned previously, I'm trying so desperately to catch up with the cache of cards I need to post about on the blog by the end of the month. I'm definitely not going to make it. In fact, I've only thrown gasoline on the fire by my call to get more trades going. What's wrong with me?

Tonight's cards were sent my way by Jon of Community Gum back in April. The bulk of these were set needs, especially from last year's Allen & Ginter offering. However, I'm just going to focus on the Cardinals here because I really want to dwell on tonight's frustrating loss or something.

Matt Carpenter might be back in the Cardinals lineup, but I'm not sure that he's Back. With some of the contributions from the call-ups and prospects this summer, I knew the point that the team started to get healthy again was going to make for some frustrating lineup decisions, but this is something that I feel like almost every team goes through at some point or another. (And yes, I might be thinly advocating for the benching of a guy in my so-called PC here, but I'm a Cardinals fan first and a whatever-you-want-to-call-me collector a distant second.)

This is a great looking photo from last year's Archives set, and it's surprising that I missed this card because I felt like I opened a lot of it. I know that a ton of the old-timey photos on modern Topps cards are colorized, but they still can look nice. Sometimes.

I like shiny cards as much as the next guy, but can anyone honestly name the year of any given Finest card based on the design, once you get past the first couple of years? I certainly cannot.

All of the cards are "the good stuff", but now we're getting to the good-er stuff. Yes! I need more cool Jack Flaherty cards like this numbered-to-100 parallel from last year's debut Big League set.

And then there's Panini Chronicles, which is just such as weird idea. I believe this is from the first year (2017) that Panini tried this out, and I'm still not sure what I think. Certainly, like every other Panini baseball set (minus perhaps some of the fuzzy mock-art Diamond Kings cards I suppose), it suffers greatly from a lack of logos. This one is a blue parallel of sorts in a set that is more parallel and inserty than anything I've ever seen, short of those Moments and Milestones sets that Topps rolled out last decade.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Keepers from the Box o' Fun

Everything I kept from the huge $10 box. 

I did actually manage to find a place in my collection for a few cards out of the huge box that I purchased recently (let's get some trades going!) Let's take a look at what you won't be getting if you trade with me, because that's fun.

See! Stuff! At very reasonable prices! With two exclamation points!

Here's a pair from the big stack of 2003 Donruss Team Heroes. This isn't the greatest design or best set really, but it does contain a nice mix of young players (like these two), established stars and former players/legends. Bud Smith goes into my binders because he's still pictured in a Cardinals uniform, even though he has moved on to Philly. And Carp goes into the Carp binder because he's Carp.

Here's another group that illustrates my point of what I do collect. Cardinals. And Cardinals that have moved on to other teams, as long as they're still shown in Cardinals gear. The Terry Pendleton in the old road blues looks nice, although a more era appropriate team logo would have fit better here.

There were a ton of 2004 Donruss Classics cards. Because it's a relatively small set, I have cards of some guys many times over.

Surprisingly, there was a weird bunch of basketball cards from the 2003 UD Top Prospects set. I will probably have a hard time unloading these as there were a lot of lesser known European players mixed in with players in college uniform only, with no NBA team affiliation mentioned. I did keep this card of Viktor Khryapa, who would begin his NBA career with the Blazers. To date, I have no other Khryapa cards, so this will start a new spot in the Blazers binders.

An addition to my DK PC is always a good thing. This is from 1997, the set with the weird shiny embossed player nameplates.

Most of the box was base cards, but there was a little stack of parallels from the 1998 Score Rookie & Traded set. I pretty much always need '90s parallels.

Like I mentioned, this team collecting goes the other (more logical) direction with me as well. Here's a guy (we'll call him Reggie) who has joined the Cardinals but is still pictured with his former team. The card says "Cardinals" and the logo is there, so that's enough for me.

Finally, this was the biggest and most random surprise out of the box of surprises. This is the lone card from the '70s and, needless to say, the lone signed card in the bunch. If it had been any other team, this would have ended up as someone else's random surprise. Is it real? Well, I don't know if there are too many people going around forging Eric (don't call him Harry!) Rasmussen signatures these days, but I guess you never know.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Goods

A high quality cache of cards from @breakdowncards includes multiple numbered Yadis. 

I've reached a point in my card wheelings and dealings that I definitely feel like I'm overstuffing a lot of packages and just hoping something sticks. I just have entirely too many cards that don't fit my collection right now. I really need to stop buying packs, boxes, random lots at shows... yikes! In any case, this is big reason why it can be nice to receive a small amount of cards in one of these exchanges, where every card is super excellent. In the case of this grouping from Breakdown Cards, it was even free of shipping charges.

Aledmys Diaz hasn't done a ton since his surprising All-Star rookie season campaign, but he seems to have settled in as a solid infield utility type with the Astros, who are basically an All-Star team by themselves at this point.

Sheesh, I don't know what to say about this guy. Some pitchers just seem to be completely snakebitten with the injury stuff. The card looks really nice, though. I love the blue frame with the black border.

How many minor league team logo cards are there in the world? There needs to be a lot more!

Roger Maris doesn't have a ton of Cardinals cards, so I'm always excited when I obtain a new one. To someone who grew up in the '80s, it's somewhat shocking to realize that Maris isn't in the Hall of Fame considering how much I would hear about his single season home run record and his mentions among the Yankees greats. I feel like his early death probably worked against his campaign for the Hall.

I was really excited about Oh, the man who came to MLB with multiple nicknames, but he didn't really stick. He spent a couple of half-seasons as the Cardinals closer, but it wasn't memorable.

This is really awesome. I actually thought it was a custom at first, but it turns out it's from a 2003 food issue (!) honoring the 35th anniversary of the Padres. This is definitely my favorite Ozzie acquisition of 2019. I might have to celebrate and actually eat at a Carl's Jr.

The Carl's Jr. card is even better than this Padres throwback of the Wizard, and that's saying something. People love these cards. I kind of love these cards. I don't really know why, but it's true. I have a copy of the same Diamond Anniversary parallel of Ozzie's card with the Cardinals (from Series 1), but this was new to me. I just need to chase down the other parallels now.

Finally, here's a Yadi parallel numbered to 199. I'll let you in on a little secret, for those of you who are still reading by this point. Molina's cards often conclude my posts because Blogger batch loads uploaded images by filename when you go that route, and I usually name these images yadi(whatever). The letter Y is late in the alphabet, so there you have it. I could obviously rearrange these images to my heart's content, but that would cost me precious seconds.

Anyway, what I was going to say is that Panini Chronicles is super weird and intimidating. I bought a blaster and a jumbo pack of this year's basketball release, and I couldn't even bring myself to write about it. It seems to be their backdoor way to release even more sets without releasing even more sets, and it breaks my brain. You can get Score baseball (and basketball, which is weird) cards in 2019, but Panini won't even make a real Score baseball set. How hard would that be?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Why Would You Trim a Card?

Doesn't everyone like soft corners and fuzzy borders? 

I picked up this Ray Sadecki online for a little bit of online currency, and when it arrived it just seemed a bit off. Physically altering cards (and not in the good way) seems to be in the news a lot lately, hopefully finally exposing the whole "grading" thing as the sham that I've always felt it was.

This card takes up less space than a modern card (not as wide), which could also be the result of some sort of factory cutting error. But with all of the dirty business going on, I was quickly supicious of the card.

This card in any condition isn't really worth all that much, which makes this even stranger. Do we have people going through boxes of low series vintage commons now with their super laser box cutters? I am definitely not mad at owning this particular copy of this particular card, or really accusing anyone specific of wrongdoing. Who can say what really happened here? It just seems really fishy, and I would rather the card was left alone.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Let's Make Some Trades!

Someone needs to update this stock photo and make it just dudes in their 40s. 

I have too many cards, and I need to find a way to get rid of them. I've said this many times over the past... well... many years. I think I've finally pushed things over the top again after purchasing a box of roughly 3000 cards for $10 at this past weekend's card show. I am not interesting in keeping 99% of them. It will be fun to go through the cards, however, and I'd like to put these (and other) cards in the hands of people who will appreciate them more.

Here are some of the sets we're talking about:

  • 2002 Donruss Diamond Kings
  • 2004 Donruss Classics
  • 2001 Donruss Studio
  • 2004 Donruss Team Heroes
  • 2003 Donruss Team Heroes
  • 2003 Donruss Champions
  • 1997 Topps Stadium Club
  • 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites
  • 2004 Fleer Tradition 

That's not all there is, but you get the point. I also have stuff from other sets (late '00s Allen & Ginter primarily) that is completely unsorted from Erin's stuff because she stopped collecting pretty much everything not named Altuve or Yadi some time ago.

This is all primarily base cards, but I have plenty (plenty!) of other things including recent cards and inserts and so forth to augment any sort of trade package.

If we've never traded before, or if we've traded before, but it's been awhile -- let's get something going! Point me to your want lists. Or just tell me what team you like if you want a bunch of random mostly-not-from-1990 cards. And if we exchange stuff all the time, I'll probably send stuff your way anyway. I do appreciate those want lists, though!

One important thing to note... I'm not really looking for even trades, exactly. I just want to have a place to send this stuff. I do always appreciate something in return, even if it's in a plain white envelope.

Speaking of PWEs, let's tear through a couple more while we're here. Twitter guy @Markhoyle4 dropped this special Utz branded Paul DeJong card on me back in April without warning. This is the best kind of plain white envelope to receive in the mail. (There are some I want to light on fire, but they don't contain cards.) I had my very first bag of Utz chips pretty recently, and it was pretty delicious. I don't think they are easy to find on the west coast (I first heard of the brand from Mad Men, actually), so I had to snatch up a bag when I saw it. I doubt we ever got the bags that contained free cards, sadly.

Back in the early part of this big league season, AJ of The Lost Collector sent a PWE containing a cool orange parallel of Jack Flaherty. Jack has had some tough luck in the run support department, but he still looks like a future ace to me.

And here are some more cards from back in April that were needs at the time, including Miles "Mik" Mikolas on his not at all short printed variation Donruss card.

Feel free to hit me up in email or on Twitter with your addresses, links to want lists, cool money making schemes (well, maybe not), etc. I'd love to hear from you, and would love even more to send you some cards.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

What Time Is It?

It's Chrome Time! @CrackinWax #crackinwaxmailday 

We've reached the time of the baseball season where Topps rolls out the shiny stuff. Enter Topps Chrome, for (by my count) the 24th season. Thanks to a year-long subscription, I was in on a case break of the stuff, which means I probably won't have to touch so much as a blaster of the stuff, at least until Update comes out. In the break, I managed to snag the team set several times over, plus a parallel of each player, and insert and a special prize. Money... heh. Who needs it, right?

As we all know, the base cards don't always scan so well, so I mostly stuck to the shiny stuff. Here's a regular refractor version of the Cardinals current closer. I would love to see him get right and back into the rotation next season, but who actually knows what is going on with him.

Dakota Hudson has shown some promise in his rookie season as he's been a starter since the opening week and hasn't relented. He has some questionable peripherals, or so they tell me, but he's still mostly pitched like a middle of the rotation guy -- pretty impressive for a rook.

Paul Goldschmidt makes his Cardinals Chrome debut on a prism (NOT PRIZM HAHA PANINI) refractor. I really, really wish they had chosen a new photo for his Chrome card, something they've done in the past, but instead we're still stuck with this Photoshopped wreck.

Here's the promised insert. I'm not sure Miles Mikolas is a future star, but he was the de facto ace last season and has turned in a pretty good second half to date after being bludgeoned by the new-and-improved(?) baseballs in the first half of 2019.

Ponce de Leon's turn in the rotation didn't last long, as he was roughly as effective as his predecessor Wacha, which is to say... not very.

Yadi! Shiny Yadi! I believe Yadi is due back in the lineup soon.

Here's that promised special prize. Yes! I like that Chrome autographs are signed on the card after a long period of time in which they weren't, and I really like that Topps opted for a different photo on this one. Let's hope that Dakota is making this gesture a lot when he takes the mound against Pittsburgh tomorrow night.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Enter... The Collector

Baseball isn't fun right now, but collecting cards still is. 

Chris from The Collector (we'll just call him The Collector from now on?) signed up for the Basketball Card Club awhile back. I try to send out stuff periodically for those who are interested, with (generally) no questions asked. It's always a nice cherry on top when someone sends me something back, which is what The Collector did here.

I don't think I'd ever seen or was aware of embossed Topps Finest cards, but I knew as soon as I pulled this Matt Morris card out that something was different. It's definitely embossed, as some sort of parallels. The text and especially the player are raised in a quasi-3D fashion.

Topps did pink parallels in 2015 that were numbered to 50. I haven't seen many of these in the wild, so this was a cool find. Shelby Miller was once a very promising future ace-type pitcher, but he's had nothing but calamitous injury issues for what seems like a long time now.

It's almost time for some football, so I won't cringe so much at posting some football cards. Here is Ducks and NFL legend Dan Fouts towards the end of his career in one of those '80s football action photos. Fleer made entire sets out of these, but I see that they eventually made their way to the Topps NFLPA licensed sets.

Less action here... but more fancy 2017 graphics? The NFL rolled out this weird and usually awful "color rush" uniform thing that was specifically targeted for their little watched Thursday night games. Is it working now? I don't know if it's working. Anyway, it's cool to add another Blount card to my Ducks collection.

Finally, here's a Blazers card. It's a Zach Collins rookie card from the 2017-18 Panini Threads set. Somehow, I managed to completely miss the 2017-18 Threads set as these were totally new to me when they ended up in this package from The Collector. Panini puts out too many sets! I can't even tell you what I've missed from this past season.

Thanks for reading. I'm going to go and be really sad about David Berman now. (And I'll continue to temporarily pretend that baseball doesn't exist, which is what I have to do with the Cardinals current state of play.)