Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Opening Night Hoops

New basketball cards for a newer season. 
The 2021-22 NBA season begins anew tonight! A couple of weekends ago, I actually found brand new unopened basketball cards in a retail store for maybe the second time in the past couple of years. Granted, these are 2020-21 cards, but it doesn't look like we are going to have any 2021-22 NBA cards for quite some time so we'll take what we can get.

I picked up a hanger box of Panini Select from Barnes & Noble of all places. This is the first time the set has been available at the retail level, and all of the base cards are blue instead of their normal (hobby) silver. They're not the best things I've seen, but beggars can't be choosers at this point. Let's check out what I got.

Here's a rookie and a former MVP from years ago. As you can see, the retail cards are a pretty serious blue, not just a sky blue.

A couple of LA team guys, although Williams had already moved on to the Hawks at this point.

On average, about half of the base cards were rookies.

The big base card is the rookie cover dude here.

An idiot and a Kiwi walk into a bar... there's probably a joke here, somewhere.

A couple of rookies here. Josh Green (boring name!) and Isaiah Joe (two first names!)

RJ Barrett is here on the apparently rare Courtside design along with superstar Luka.

Each hanger box promises some exclusive red, white and orange "shimmer" parallels. I was fortunate enough that two of these are team collection needs, including this rookie Elleby card.

This is the first Norman Powell card that's headed for my Blazers binders.

The third exclusive "shimmer" parallel was none other than Kristaps Prozingis.

Midseason Pacers acquisition Caris LeVert rounds out the group of shimmers.

Here's some bonus Luka!

The last two cards were color base parallels.

The blue Prizm parallel shows off the retail exclusive design a lot better than the non-Prizm cards.

Enjoy the games tonight... and the season!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

PWE Time!

Another recap of plain white envelope goods including Kellogg's goodies from @CardHemorrhage and more. 
I've just about wrapped up shipping everything from... *checks calendar*... Spring! Cleaning. I just need to figure out how to contact the person that claimed the Nationals and send out packages to three of you that picked the Cardinals. (Yeah, you're going to get a lot of stuff.) Here's some more small envelope stuff, including two of the first to respond and send me things in exchange for Spring Cleaning goodies.

First up is reader Derek, who found my collection on TCDB and was kind enough to dig up some stickers (!) from north of the border for my collection.

In the junk wax era, there are still plenty of stickers that I am still in need of. I don't think I'd seen this dual All-Star sticker before, which features Gary Carter and Jack Clark. I like the All-Star logo here from the 1987 game.

This design is a little more familiar, but I'm still missing a number of these from the 1989 Panini set.

Even more odd than oddball stickers are these Stuart cards from 1987.

Is Stuart a food issue card or the name of a chain store? Surely one of our Canadian readers can fill us in.

I actually began trying to put together the whole 1990 Panini sticker album years ago, and Derek found my want list for it and send me a nice pile of non-Cardinals that will eventually get stuck in the album itself, assuming I can find it.

Next up is a pair of serial-numbered cards from the Cards from the Quarry weekly Sunday trade bait posts going back to last spring. These recent Panini Donruss parallels are always ridiculous, but I'm not going to turn down the chance to pick one up for the team collection in a trade.

Purple Parallel Power! I'm not sure I've seen another Malik Collymore card other than various versions of this one. This is numbered to 149.

Lastly, Giants fan Jay from Card Hemorrhage passed a couple of Kellogg's "3-D" cards my way. Kellogg's cards are just about the best thing in baseball cards from the '70s if you ask me.

They're better than all the Topps flagship cards and they're better than those food issues that you cut off of the box. They're even better than the TCMA/SSPC stuff, even though those sets produced some interesting photo player-team combinations that Topps never touched. The only thing I like about as much as '70s Kellogg's cards is '70s O-Pee-Chee cards, but that's a topic for another day.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Good Luck Ducks, Week 7: Getting Back on Track

Oregon hosts Cal after nearly two weeks to think about how their season exploded. 
The Stanford loss was rough, to put it mildly. The Ducks lost star running back CJ Verdell for the season after entering the game with yet another key injury (a broken leg for Bennett Williams) and missing their offensive coordinator and play-caller due to a health scare. The complete lack of cohesion showed, and they've really only resembled a top tier football team in one game this season. That being said, they had the game in their pockets with the clock winding down and completely handed it to the Cardinal.

After a timely bye, Oregon is back at home hosting California under the Autzen Stadium lights on a Friday. The Golden Bears have had a rough time of it of late. Coming off of an 8-5 season in 2019, Cal only played 4 games last "season" and has seen their lone win in 2021 come against an FCS team (Sacramento St.) They're led by Justin Wilcox, the former star Ducks defensive back who has coached at a number of schools in the past two decades. Former Ducks QB Bill Musgrave is their offensive coordinator! It's hard to really make sense of what kind of team the Bears are at this point, though, but it's clear that this should be another game where the Ducks outclass their opponent. Should. Should!

The Verdell-less Ducks will attempt to navigate this Friday night special without Kayvon Thibodeaux as well. To add insult to injury (and to further insult), Thiodeaux got hit with a targeting foul late in the game. I absolutely hate the way this rule is handled and I hope they make some significant changes to it after this season. I rarely say anything in praise of the NFL, but they handle dangerous hits so much better in that league. Furthermore, it'll be interesting to see what Anthony Brown has to offer this week. It's been a rough time watching the Ducks play this season and the quarterback's play is where everyone's eyes are focused. Let's hope that he has a big night tonight and can get his (and the team's) season back on track.

Series History: This has been a fairly even series (42-40-2 in favor of Cal) and in many years has been quite a contentious rivalry game. It's been a little bit since it had that kind of feeling, though, but Cal's lone 2020 win did come against the Ducks last season following an Oregon run of ten out of eleven.

Opponent Talk: "Cal football is in a bad place." Yikes.

Oregon took down a 4-1 Cal team in their last trip to Autzen (2019) in a low scoring affair.

Game time is 7:30 PM PDT on ESPN. Go Ducks!

Monday, October 11, 2021

All Gold All Day

A #CrackinWaxMailDay from @CrackinWax takes a look at some new Topps Gold Label. 

Topps Gold Label is back. It seems like production (??) issues have delayed so many products that the baseball release calendar is heavily weighted towards the end of the year, but such is life in one of the final years of Topps as we know it. Crackin' Wax had a half case of the new shiny stuff on offer, and I was tempted as ever by the chunky framed autographs and had to check it out.

The Cardinals have four players on the base checklist this year, up from the usual three. As always, there are Class 1, 2, and 3 versions of each base card, which different photos popping up in the foreground of each.

You've now seen all three flavors of Arenado. I can't complain about that.

Dylan Carlson is on the checklist and gets his own gold RC logo to go with his Class 3 card. The Class label is difficult to read on the base cards in certain lighting.

Of course, there are color parallel versions of each version of each base card, because of course there is. Along with some numbered colors are these unnumbered black parallels. These tend to look better than their base counterparts, but I have noticed some printing issues on every black parallel I've seen so far.

You didn't think they would leave Yadi off of the checklist, did you? Assuming 2022 is really Molina's final season, it's going to be weird not seeing him in practically every set anymore. (I'm also not going to assume that Fanatics is going to make "sets" in any form that we know and are used to. It's best not to assume anything at this point.)

My scanner tends to make these look a lot more blue than they really are, but foilboard cards are always a bit tricky. These don't quite "pop" the way they have in other recent sets, but I am still always looking out for Gold Label cards that I don't have.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Long Live the Streak

Some brief comments on the Cardinals season, plus a PWE round-up and @coffeebreaks40 nets me a stylish Bob Gibson card. 
Admittedly, I never addressed the Cardinals unprecedented seventeen game winning streak that launched them into Wild Card position because I didn't want to jinx it. I'm not that superstitious, but things seemed to be going along pretty well for awhile without me talking about it, so I just... didn't. In truth, this 2021 team never felt like it was worth talking about much. I see their big streak as sort of... regressing to the mean in reverse? (progressing to the mean?) This is a good team with good players that were just performing badly for a long stretch of time. Maybe it was due to continuing adjustments to barely playing anything that resembled baseball for all of last year or maybe it was something else. In any case, in the solidification of their 2-3-4 punch of Goldy, O'Neill and Arenado, the other bats started to come around as well, as they often do. Other pitchers were pulled off the scrap heap to put a stop to the endless parade of free passes. Suddenly, we have a team in a Wild Card play-in game. Let's check back in a couple of days before we get excited about the playoffs.

Here's the man that at age 40 will take the hill against the Dodgers. These cards come courtesy of cards as i see them, a fan of the team that has unlimited resources. When you already have the highest payroll in the game and then you go out and grab two of the biggest stars (Trea Turner and Max Scherzer), well that's... I don't know, some people like the Dodgers for some reason. I don't!

I won't throw too much shade, though, because I get great cards from this Dodger fan all the time, including a low numbered Mother's Day parallel of the Cards starting centerfielder. Harrison Bader is pretty ridiculous, and I mean that in a good way.

I also ended up with a nice assortment of old Heritage set filling needs. Many of these seem like Dodgers doubles. I think at this point, more than half of all of the expendable cards in my collection are Cardinals cards, so I know how this is.

Here's more Heritage cards from 2001 and 2002, including a guy I redacted (mostly because I didn't realize I'd scanned one of his cards until it was already done, and I thought it was funny to do this) and one David Jonathan Drew. Yes, that's right: J.D. Drew's initials are actually D.J.

Next up is an envelope stuffed with more Heritage cards and a needed Tommy Edman Holiday base card from Diamond Jesters. Matt is a big Red Sox fan, and his team faces the Yankees tonight in the AL Wild Card game. After all of the excitement this past weekend, I couldn't think of a more boring outcome than a Yankees/Red Sox game (and nothing else?), but I don't make the rules. I'm sure it's exciting for Red Sox fans, whose team wasn't expected to do a whole lot this year.

Here's a few cards for my 2021 set build. I've actually made some headway into all of these Heritage sets recently, but the cards are tied up in my COMC account and I haven't pulled the trigger on a shipment yet.

Of these six, only Aaron Judge advanced to the postseason.

Finally, because I didn't know where else to fit this, I recently participated in my first Coffee Breaks break, which was a baseball "mixer". (This essentially means that there's boxes from a variety of products rather than one specific set.) I didn't do so well, as is often the case with these things, but I didn't land this shiny Bob Gibson insert parallel from the 2021 Panini Prizm set. It's numbered to 99.

Enjoy the playoffs and Go Cards!

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Good Luck Ducks, Week 5: Cardinal Fever (and not the good kind)

The #3 Ducks hit the road to take on Stanford in an afternoon affair. 
We are four games into the season, and it feels like have fallen short of expectations in three of them. This isn't quite what you'd expect from a highly ranked college football team. At the same time, I'm not sure that it shows that Oregon has played down to the level of their competition as much as it's been a bit conservative at times against teams you'd expect that they'd outclass. I did think that they'd open things up a bit against Arizona, but that didn't really prove to be the case. An uncomfortably close game ended up looking like not much to be concerned about if you looked at the final box score, of course. (Five interceptions certainly helped.)

The Ducks are in Palo Alto today to take on the Stanford Cardinal. The Cardinal's record is an even 2-2, with wins over a flailing USC and perennial SEC doormat Vanderbilt along with losses to a couple of good teams (Kansas State and UCLA.) Stanford is led by quarterback Tanner McKee, who is off to an impressive run as a starter three games in. 

On the Oregon side, the Quack Attack saw the return of Kayvon Thibodeaux last week, albeit in limited doses. Thibodeaux was only in for a handful of plays, by design, apparently to get him acclimated to game action again without putting too much stress on his injured ankle. Let's hope he's a full go for this one. Anthony Brown Jr. did return as expected to start under center, but wasn't a huge factor in the game that was mainly dominated by an opportunistic Ducks secondary. I'm still interested in seeing what a "normal" games looks like for Brown.

Series History: Stanford owns a 49-34-1 edge, with the series being very competitive in recent years. They have split the ten games since David Shaw took over for Jim Harbaugh as Cardinal head coach.

Opponent Talk: The Tree-lovers are hoping that history repeats itself (like 2012 and 2013.)

In their last trip to Stanford Stadium, the defensive minded Ducks held the Cardinal to just 6 points.

Game time is 12:30 PM PDT on ABC. Go Ducks!

Friday, October 1, 2021

The King of Kings

A late spring trade package included some low numbered Cardinals and Topps Heritage fun. 
Happy Friday, everyone! Here's a few cards I got back around the end of May from The Diamond King. I am in the midst of wrapping up the last few packages from my so-called Spring Cleaning feature, which will include a massive box headed up north to the King himself.

There were not one, but two Donruss Elite Matt Carpenter numbered parallels.

The card design is pretty hideous, but look at that... rarity! Carp is likely in the middle of playing his last games for St. Louis at the moment, but at his peak he was an outstanding player. (It also took me, weirdly, until this very year before I started calling him Carp. To me, "Carp" is always going to be Chris Carpenter. And not Cris Carpenter. Or the other, lesser Chris Carpenters.)

Adam Wainwright will be back next season, however, as announced today. This is exciting news, though thoroughly expected at this point.

In another much anticipated move, Waino will be tapped to start the play-in game on Wednesday against the dreaded Dodgers or Giants. At this point, I really don't care who they play, but I do hope the Dodgers catch the Giants so they're forced to play an extra game. (I really don't want to see Max Scherzer in a win-or-go-home game, basically.)

The Diamond King also sent a stack of 2021 Topps Heritage cards for my set build. Look at this trio of short printers!

To top it off, I also picked up this New Age Performers insert of the guy they make fun of because his last name is like that other guy that people make fun of.

Thanks again to The Diamond King and everyone else who has sent me cards this year!