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 Offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham took the head job at Arizona State and has been replaced by UTSA coach and former Louisville quarterback Will Stein.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!