Thursday, December 29, 2022

Contest Reminder!


Who will get the mayonnaise bath?! 
You've got until tomorrow morning to get your prediction in for the Duke's Mayo Bowl. The winner will get a prize!

Meanwhile, let's check in on our main contest and see how things are going. Right now, there's a tie for first place between Chasin' Bucky and Go Gators!!! Both have successfully picked 18 of the 27 winners so far. On the other side of things, The Diamond King is currently bringing up the rear as the only sub-.500 entrant so far, remaining on track to take the not-so-coveted worst place prize.

A big thanks to all of you who have participated in either contest this year. May your condiments always be near your plates and not on your head.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Good Luck Ducks: Holiday Bowl Edition


The Ducks are back in action, taking on a basketball school in San Diego. 
The last we saw of the Oregon Ducks, they were coughing, sputtering and ultimately crapping out just short of the goal line. A solid win over their in-state rivals was turned into a horrifying loss, a turn of events that seemed to play out in slow motion just to torture the fans of the green and yellow.

The Ducks will look to pick up the pieces today. The transfer portal has been predictably busy. Offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham took the head job at Arizona State and has been replaced by UTSA coach and former Louisville quarterback Will Stein. It was assumed (by me, at least!) that Bo Nix had played his last game at Oregon, but he returns not only for the bowl game but also for next season. The new look Ducks will have some of the same tonight, with a talented backfield and an experienced (and hopefully healed) quarterback. They will face a North Carolina team that had a strong season, but seemingly doesn't have the depth of talent that their opponent contains.

Notes and other things:
  • The famed basketball school has a top tier passing quarterback in Drake Maye. Could both Maye and Nix be in the mix for Heisman consideration next season? I suppose anything is possible.
  • The Holiday Bowl is played at Petco Park in San Diego. I'm always curious to see how the seats are configured in a football game at a baseball stadium. This is one of the few bowl games that isn't owned and operated by ESPN, so it will be interesting to see what the attendance is like. (Attendance is, apparently, not important in most of those lower tier ESPN games.)
  • Play-calling will be done by committee for Oregon, apparently, with Stein still getting acclimated. All eyes will be on what they can and will do with Bo Nix.
  • Due to opt-outs and transfers, both teams will be short-handed defensively. If I was a betting person (I am not!), I would take the over on this one, whatever that means.
  • h/t to Dennis for the excellent Kenjon Barner card!
Game time is 5:00 PM PST on FOX. Go Ducks!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

'Tis the Season

A little holiday cheer including a special @breakdowncards custom. 

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays and got lots of fun card-related gifts. I spent my Christmas Eve Eve opening a hobby box of the new Topps Heritage High Number, a rare indulgence that I decided to treat myself with. (Pro tip: hobby boxes of this stuff are so cheap right now that it's a much better deal than buying blasters.) I'm going to be spending the remainder of my night updating my want list for this set.

I did also get a number of packages of cards both big and small to go through yesterday and will get to posting about those in due time.

Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown did send over this one that seemed best suited to show off this weekend. He sent over other stuff recently, but I'm allowing this one to jump the line. Gavin has put together some pretty fun custom cards over the years, and this one is a little different. It has a plastic overlay so the original Ozzie card is unblemished. I have absolutely no idea how this came to be a white card instead of the standard '91 Fleer yellow -- is it a custom within a custom? I'll just chalk this up to a little Christmas magic. [EDIT: If you really wanna know, check out Too Many V's post on this.]

Happy holidays, everyone! Let me know if you end up with anything cool under your tree or in your stocking.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Nothing but Treasure


Cardinals cards from @batcavelv include a surprising relic. 
We're rapidly approaching the end of the year, and it feels like everyone is in Greatest Hits mode. Everyone is sharing their yearly recaps and "best of" lists. For me, there isn't a better time to catch up on piles of cards that I still haven't shared. This latest group of cards came from Rockies fan Tracy.

I wish Topps would bring back Topps Total in the way that the set was originally intended, but I'll settle for these glossy online exclusives any day. I would just love to actually open a big box of these, much more than most Topps products at least. I don't think that's going to happen any time soon, though.

The photos on these cards are not like what they put into current sets. They're not heavily processed or so closely cropped that there's no background to look at. Maybe I should just go find an old Topps Total box from the 2000's to open.

The whole envelope was full of oddities (I mean, just check the Yadi coin at the top) including a numbered parallel from the 2020 Topps UK set. When everyone was stuck at home in 2020, I remember this set briefly being a big deal. Apparently they also released a UK set in 2021 as well as a Topps Japan set at some point. I would have loved to have gotten into box breaks for those sets, but they flew completely under my radar.

Here's another Topps online exclusive. According to the back, this is from the 2020 Topps x Derek Jeter set. When did everyone start using X to indicate some sort of collaboration?

There are a ton of different Score parallels based on the 1997 set. I won't get into all of the different versions and varieties here, because it's kind of a headache. These are the things you learn from using TCDB a lot over the last several years. What I do know is that, while none of these cards individually are particularly rare, it can be a huge slog to get ahold of all of the ones you need to satisfy your team collection. I'm always grateful to add these to my collection (there were a bunch in the package.)

Here's a card that I really didn't know that I needed, but I'm glad to have. Of course, this would show up on team checklists as a Braves card, but I collect anything bearing a Cardinals uniform or logo. Plus, it's Bruce Sutter! On a food issue card!

What else can I say about Adam Wainwright that I haven't already said here? I am looking forward to the 2023 Waino Farewell Tour, but I also hope that it lasts forever.

As we all know, the annual Topps gold parallel that is numbered to whatever year it is has devolved from a shiny golden thing to more of a copper-brown bore. Here's another example. Sure, I do collect these when it suits me, but I wish they'd bring back gold parallels that actually look, you know, gold. The hobby exclusive gold/rainbow foil parallels are doing a better job.

Lastly, we have a shoe relic! Yes, it's a piece of Jimmy Baseball's shoe. What piece it is, we'll never know. The days of anything and everything being shoved into a small section of a baseball card are long past, but that doesn't mean we can't still celebrate this kind of glory on a regular basis.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Contest Reminder! And... Nado, Chuck and the Unwanted Dodgers

Catching up with a @nightowlcards summer trade package. 

Before we get into it, there's less than 24 hours left to sign up and make your picks for my annual Bowl Pick 'Em Contest. Picks are locked in at the start of each game.
Back in August, I received a small envelope of cards from Night Owl which was chiefly comprised of Dodgers cards. This is, of course, both the blessing and the curse of being a team collector. You end up with a lot of cards of the players that play for your favorite team, and you end up with heaps of dupes. Next thing you know, you find yourself in the midst of listing more than 8000 dupes on your "For Trade" list on TCDB (well, maybe that's just me.) Fortunately, Night Owl found an outlet for a few of his unwanted extras because of this Cardinals collector's bad habit of trying to put together old sets without actually opening packs.

I did find a couple of Redbirds in the package, including this charmingly off-center Chuck Taylor (not the inspiration for the Converse shoes?) and a nice red framed Diamond Kings Nolan Arenado. The Cardinals always look good in red.

The rest of the envelope was dedicated to Bowman Heritage cards from the '00s. The 2004 set is one of the few where I've actually picked up a handful of packs to open, so I actually have a decent amount of it. Someday I might feel brave enough again to buy loose packs on eBay, but now is still not the time for that.

I'm also partial to the 2005 set, which is based on the 1951 design. There's something nice about the simple block letters on the black background. I wonder if it felt modern at the time.

Cesar Izturis shows up again here and gets an action shot. Half of these guys are actually former Cardinals.

The first Bowman Heritage set, from 2001, is one of the most boring. You're stuck with modern black and white head shots which largely fail to look like the original 1948 set. It wasn't until the final two Bowman Heritage sets from the '00s where the level of boring approached this again. I have opened plenty of packs from 2006 and 2007, but there's virtually no chance of me opening a 2001 pack as it's the Pujols and Ichiro year.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Small, Slick and Weird


A quick #CrackinWaxMailDay from @CrackinWax delivers a few cards from the smallest Topps online product. 

Topps Mini has been an online exclusive for years and years. I don't think it's terribly popular. Since moving to the "on-demand" format where cards are supposedly printed to order for a limited period of time, the print runs have become closer in line with the Topps Now cards. Oddly enough, I think this has led to this product becoming even less popular. I do like oddball stuff like this a lot, and recently bought into a group break at Crackin' Wax where a few boxes (well, packs basically) were opened.

Aside from the lack of foil on the Topps logo, the cards look indistinguishable from their regular base set counterparts. It's only when you have the cards in hand that you can notice the difference, aside from the slightly small size. This year's cards are extra glossy, which is again more in line with what you'd expect out of Topps Now, minus the Topps logos on the back that stand out in direct light.

I only ended up with three Cardinals (plus one dupe), so there will be plenty more of these to collect... if anyone else happens to actually open them. The set spans the entirety of Series 1, Series 2 and Update, meaning the checklist contains nearly 1000 cards.

The Mariners were my randomly assigned team, which gave me a slight chance of landing a rare card of the top rookie in the game, Julio Rodriguez. Instead, I got this trio of M's.

I did end up with this pink parallel of now-former Mariner Abraham Toro, which is numbered to just 25. All of the Mariners cards will end up in my trade boxes eventually.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Contest Time! College Bowl Pick 'Em #13


It's time once again to pick the outcomes pointless college football games for a baseball card prize. 
It's officially Contest Time here at Cards on Cards once again. After getting some feedback from a few of you, there will be a couple of changes to the usual proceedings this year, but it's mostly going to be the usual business. Ultimately, it wasn't feasible to accept entries manually from people who won't or can't use ESPN, so there will be another bonus contest for commenters this year. The big change is the switch to "standard" rules and away from the "confidence" system, which means that you can pick the games without concern for how much weight you should give them. Since a couple of you did prefer the confidence system, we'll test this out for this year and reassess next year at this time.

Our past winners include Adam from Thoughts on Sox (2009-10), Mark from Stats on the Back (2010-11), AJ from The Lost Collector (2011-12), Royal Dan (2012-13), The Prowling Cat (2013-14), Jeff from One Man's Junk (Wax) (2014-15), Matt of Bubba's Bangin' Batch of Baseball Bits (2015-16), MrHaverkamp (2016-17), Anaconda37 (2017-18), Trevor of Bump and Run (2018-19), GLM1 (2019-20), and Johnny G (2021-22). We've still never had a repeat winner!

If you want to skip all the blah blah blah and just get to the free stuff, go to the bottom of the post for the sign-up link and make sure you submit picks for every game. There is a separate sub-contest for the non-ESPN people (or whoever!) which should only require a modicum of thought. If you don't have an ESPN account and don't want to give your personal information to Disney, there are burner email options out there (like ProtonMail)... just saying!
  • First place will receive: a 2023 Topps Series 1 blaster OR suitable equivalent (subject to availability)... as well as a small plastic pouch of cards from your favorite team/player(s)/etc.
  • Second place will receive: a mystery unopened sports cards item and a bubble mailer containing cards from your favorite team/player(s)/etc. So mysterious!
  • Third place will receive: a bubble mailer including cards from your favorite team/player(s)/etc. I will also probably toss in a few cards from whatever happens to be lying around on my desk.
  • The Worst Place winner will receive: whatever I feel like sending you. This is probably also going to involve whatever happens to be lying around on my desk and hopefully nothing illegal.
Here are some rules you should really read (important stuff in bold):
  • No ghosting! Almost every year, someone fails to claim their prize (the top prize, even). Please email or DM me your contest information after you sign up. You can't assume that I will automatically recognize your contest entry name. [Blogger profile / Twitter profile]
  • Participants must sign up through the official ESPN link.
  • Promote this contest! This is not an actual requirement for entry, nor does it mean that you'll gain any competitive advantage by posting about this contest. I just want to see a lot of people participate.
  • Standard scoring system rules apply - see ESPN for complete details.
  • You can change your picks at any time, so long as your pick is made before the official start time (usually the TV broadcast time) of each game. This is what ESPN calls a "rolling lock" time.
  • Don't be a jerk and lose on purpose just to try and claim a prize. There are many, many of us who are bad enough at picking these without extra help.
Click here to sign up, and click on the 'Join Group' link! It's free! First-timers are always welcome! Password: quackquackquack

DEADLINE: There's a deadline of Friday, December 16th at 8:30 AM PST. That's the start time of the first bowl game.

But wait... there's more! Available to all entrants as well as non-entrants who don't want to use ESPN, there's a bonus contest:

Leave a comment here predicting the final score and winning team of the DUKE'S MAYO BOWL before the Mayonnaising officially begins (the game is on the 30th) and win a retail pack of 2023 baseball cards (subject to availability.) Whoever is closest gets it. Make sure you wait until the end of the game because someone will be getting an actual mayonnaise bath.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Bowl Pick 'Em Contest Changes

It's almost contest time again! Let's discuss some potential changes. 
'Tis the season to make predictions of college football games that hardly anyone cares about for a chance at some free cards. Here are some changes I'm thinking of making for this year to make things a bit more streamlined. Please let me know what you think in the comments!
  • Change the scoring system from "confidence points" to "standard". This would stop the need to "rank" each game and switch to a pure point system weighting each game the same, which should save us a lot of time when making the picks. This would also allow me to consider opening the contest up to non-ESPN users.
  • Accept contest entries via comment/email/Twitter. This would only be available for people who can't/won't use the ESPN site. (See above.) I could theoretically add contest entries on the ESPN site manually for these users if there aren't too many, but I wouldn't allow making/changing picks on the fly (ESPN allows this if the game hasn't kicked off yet.)
  • Change the prize structure somehow. I don't have as many trade-worthy cards for team collectors at the moment, since the bulk of my trading has gone over to TCDB. I'll still have to figure something out here that makes everyone happy. First prize would still be a Topps Series One baseball blaster as usual.
  • Require contact information (email or Twitter name or what have you) prior to entering the contest. This one is probably the most important change (to me) but could potentially keep the number of participants down (no more automatic invites), unfortunately. I've had way too many winners ghost me after the contest is over (why?!), so I'd like to know up front that I can at least get ahold of you if you win something.
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Better Late Than Never


A big ol' case break of Allen & Ginter from @CrackinWax brings us the latest #CrackinWaxMailDay like it's summer in November. 
If it felt strange to be getting my first look at Allen & Ginter around the late November holiday season, last year's blog post confirmed it: this set is very late. With everything continuing to be delayed, it made me wonder if this was just a repeat of last year's late arrival, but an August release wasn't nearly as far off from the norm as this year's schedule. After doing a bit of waffling, I did finally get into a case break from Crackin' Wax for this year's version. Like last year, I think it's just alright. I don't love it, but it is distinctly Ginter.

The design seems like it was some concept art for the pack design that crept its way into the card border itself. It leaves less space than ever for the player photos.

An 'RC' logo is always going to look funny on vintage-inspired sets, but I do prefer the standard logo to times when they've tried to make it blend in with the design and color it all sepia-toned or gold or something.

The way the border just fades away into nothingness on the right is surely going to drive the people who freak out about card centering up the wall just a bit.

Tim McCarver made the short list of SP subjects, which is a nice switch from the usual group of HOFers (and McGwires) the Cardinals typically end up with.

Minis, as you'd suspect, look very similar. They're smaller! There's even less room for the photo. I do really miss the first few sets (2006 through 2008) that would use much smaller photos, because they made the minis look a lot nicer.

Black minis are also small and, you know, black. I actually think this is one of the best black mini designs (giant logo aside) as they tend to switch these up from year to year.

Here's another black mini featuring the new NL MVP. Congrats, Goldy!

As usual, there are some full-sized inserts featuring various baseball players. This set is a bit on the boring side. It would be nice if the front featured something about the season besides the year in huge letters.

There are "final year" Pujols cards in the set, but this one is a throwback to his initial Cardinals run. I sure do miss the old Majestic jerseys.

This one is for the pitchers, and Gibby makes an appearance again. They did a clever thing with the background on these, I guess.

I landed two "hits" in the break. This was easily my favorite. Topps can do their Ginter thing year after year, but the mini framed cards always look awesome. Plus, it's Noot! Nooooooooot!

Of course, I much preferred the framed mini relics to the full-sized things, but I'm guessing these are a lot cheaper to produce. I certainly can't complain about adding another special card of the MVP.

What does everyone think about this year's Ginter set? I should probably get some duck cards, huh.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

My Second Brendan Donovan Card

Another #CrackinWaxMailDay from @CrackinWax brings the Panini weirdness and a nice bonus. 
Brendan Donovan had a really nice season. Not only was he consistently one of the Cardinals toughest outs, he started at six different positions (not including DH) and racked up the league's first Gold Glove Award given to a utility player. The crazy thing is that he did all of this in his first year in the league.

All season long I lamented the lack of Brendan Donovan cards, and a group break from Crackin' Wax finally helped me out. While he still didn't start showing up on base checklists until Topps Update recently came out, I was able to land an autographed card from the extremely weird Panini Chronicles set. 

If you're not familiar, the rookie-heavy set shows off designs of would-be sets for brands that Panini owns. For the most part, the set is comprised of things that didn't get their own release. If you see plain old Donruss cards, it's actually intended to be in the form of an "update" to the main set. In the NBA Chronicles sets, the checklist is numbered so that it's one gigantic set numbering in the 600 or 700 range, but for some reason the MLB set sticks to numbering each individual design as its own separate thing. I'm not sure if this is due to licensing agreements or if it's something else.

Chronicles is about 90% rookies, so if you see a guy like Juan Yepez, he's going to pop up again and again... sometimes even in the same pack.

An acetate "Clearly Donruss" set would have looked nice as its own thing, although I'm sure the price would have been prohibitively expensive.

Even though the Chronicles break was the only thing I bought from CW this particular week, I ended up with a really nice second stack of bonus cards. The foil stamped 582 Montgomery Club factory set is sent to, presumably, Montgomery Club members each season and I was gifted a Cardinals team stack from it. The only card I need to eventually track down is a multiplayer card with Adam Wainwright on it. I won't bore everyone with more scans from this set as it's truly just the regular Topps factory set (series one and two) with a stamp on it, but it will certainly make a nice addition to my binders.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Good Luck Ducks, Week 13: War Were Declared


Ducks and Beavers clash in the 126th edition of what we're not supposed to call the Civil War anymore. 
It's always much more fun when it comes down to this. Both Oregon and Oregon State are good teams this year. This is exciting! At stake is a spot in the Pac-12 championship game next week, at least for Oregon. The Ducks will face USC next week if they win, and they could still back into the game if Washington falls in the Apple Cup. The Beavers, on the other hand, have been pretty good this year but will have to settle for one of the pool of Pac-12 affiliated bowl games outside of the Rose Bowl regardless of the outcome.

Oregon's nail-biting win over Utah late last Saturday night showed that they were able to grit out a big win even with a diminished version of their star quarterback. The key to today's game will be Bo Nix's health. Reports are saying that Bo College, as I like to call him, is feeling and doing quite a bit better than last week. Nix led the Ducks to the narrow victory last week while being a stationary quarterback only until the very last play when he scrambled to a touchdown. If he's back to the mobile dual threat that he was for the rest of the season, the Beavers could have their hands full. If not, it could be Beaver Fever for Jonathan Smith's squad in Corvallis today.

Notes and other things: 
  • The only thing better, of course, would be if the Rose Bowl berth was on the line for both teams. I think OSU is good, but they might still be a year away from that level.
  • Reser Stadium's capacity is down to just around 26,000 currently as there's been a bunch of construction happening with their stadium. I'm guessing that Ducks fans will feel the squeeze the most.
  • In previous seasons where the Beavers have been good and also had the opportunity to play spoiler, the Ducks have generally been firing on all cylinders. It's that today's outcome will be fully dependent on whether Bo Nix is the would-be Heisman candidate instead of the cautious pocket passer.
  • This is the final regular game on the schedule, and it looks like that bad weather game is not coming! It looks to be crisp but dry in Corvallis today.
Game time is 12:30 PM PST on ABC in Corvallis. Go Ducks!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Good Luck Ducks, Week 12: Revenge?


Oregon looks to regroup against Utah with a new potential quarterback late in the season. 
Things changed a lot during last week's game. The Ducks went from fringe playoff contenders to Rose Bowl hopefuls. Bo Nix went from fringe Heisman candidate to injured onlooker. All Oregon has to do now to maximize their season is win out and hope for New Year's Six glory.

Enter the Utah Utes, who dominated the Ducks twice late last season, dashing their hopes in an unfortunate weird echo of the way this season is starting to play out. Utah can again keep the Ducks out of the conference title hunt (as can Oregon State next week.) We knew it was going to be a tough task, but after flopping against Washington and possibly losing their starting quarterback for someone who has looked dreadful on the field in very limited action, things are looking even tougher now. The Utes are once again led by Cam Rising and their only conference loss was on the road at UCLA. Oregon's suspect pass defense was exploited last week once again, and it will be a big thing to watch tonight.

Notes and other things: 
  • The QB that might be making the start is former 5 star recruit Ty Thompson. The Backup Quarterback Fan Club that seems to exist in nearly every fanbase wanted desperately to see Thompson get a look last season whenever Anthony Brown would get predictable, but Thompson has yet to show anything promising on the field, though he's also yet to play more than a few meaningful downs. If he is indeed the dude tonight, it'll be interesting to see what he can do with a full gameplan.
  • It's Senior Day at Autzen, and the comfort of the home crowd should help. After last week, though, hopefully the energy will still be there.
  • With conference expansion again on the discussion table, it was interesting to look back at the two school added a decade ago. At the time, it was thought that adding Colorado from the Big 12 was the more exciting move, while Utah coming over from the Mountain West seemed to be less intriguing. As things currently stand, Utah is in the upper crust of the conference while Colorado can't hang with anyone.
  • Aside from the obvious, I'm not totally sure what I'm rooting for here tonight. If Oregon wins, it will make last week's blunders all the more painful. On the other hand, three losses to the same team in less than 365 days is really brutal and cannot stand.
Game time is 7:30 PM PST on ESPN in Eugene. Go Ducks!