Thursday, December 28, 2023

Mayo Contest Winner and a Reminder


Congrats to The Lost Collector, who had the closest guess in this year’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl. WVU handily defeated UNC by a 30-10 score. The Lost Collector will win a new chunky pack of baseball cards to be sent sometime in the new year.

If you’re part of the big contest, don’t forget to make any last minute picks you may have left until the end. And make sure to come back after the big games on Monday night to make or adjust your championship predictions before the big big game.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Too Many Sports

Trying to avoid the end of year sports fatigue. New cards like these will help. 
A couple of blog announcements before I get into the good stuff from Too Many Verlanders
  • If you missed out on the big college bowl contest this year, don't worry. There's still plenty of time to pick a winner of the dumb greasy white condiment bowl game. All you have to do is leave a comment on the original post with your predicted score. Even if you did enter the big contest, you can drop a guess there as well. Winner gets some sort of new pack next year.
  • I am no longer active on Twitter for reasons that should be fairly obvious by now. I am on Bluesky, however. Let me know if you need an invite. I don't post tons and tons of content, but you will get a link to any new blog posts as soon as they drop (or as soon as decides to post them.)

So, where was I? Oh, yes. Sports. I am suffering from quite a bit of sports fatigue right now. The Eagles seem to be hell bent on pissing away their season. The Ducks made quite a run towards a potential playoff berth but couldn't figure out how to beat Washington... twice. The Blazers are probably going to end up tanking for the third season in a row with an awful head coach. (I can handle a bad Blazers team, but they've never been less fun to watch than under Chauncey Billups.) The Timbers just finished up their second straight playoff-less season in a league where it's increasingly difficult to miss said playoffs. The Cardinals finished the past season with their worst record since 1995, a year where I am quite certain I watched zero baseball games.

And yet, the cards keep rolling on in from great trade pals like Dennis from Too Many Verlanders. Dennis sent tons of great stuff, including cards of lesser known Eagles players like Nate Allen. He also included a bunch of oversized cards, a baseball pin and other great things I can't even fit into this space here. For the sake of brevity (and my sanity), I just chose the cards that I scanned for the TCDB site to show off here.

Fortunately, no current Eagles were harmed in the making of this blog post. I might have had something really grumpy to say about them if they were. To be fair, Miles Sanders would probably rather still be with this trainwreck of a Philly team than his current 2-win Carolina Panthers.

In happier times, there was Donovan McNabb. I did realize the other day that I've seen the Eagles play in 3 Super Bowls (winning 1, though they really should have won all 3.) That's more title opportunities than some teams I root for.

I love the "New Breed" font on this Matt Barkley jersey card. So futuristic!

There was another version of last night's Eagles/Seahawks game that would have had Marcus Mariota starting in place of an ill Jalen Hurts. (And not ill, like '80s cool.) I wonder what that would have looked like.

Hey, it's baseball! Dennis included a few of these Moments & Milestones cards with the package. I'll never have them all, but it's fun to accumulate them.

At some point I may invest in a new scanner. I've had my current one since early 2009 when it was purchased at a Circuit City (!) closing sale. And it still works just as well as it did on day one, but part of me always wants to see if I can solve the "foilboard looks terrible when scanned" conundrum. (It does also tend to wash out certain colors like red, but there's probably a setting or two I could tweak there.)

Clayton Whoson? Apparently he quarterbacked Northwestern, a bit of trivia I would have maybe known if the Oregon Ducks had joined the Big Ten sooner. Erin asked me the other day who all was in the Big 10 now, and I got through maybe half the list before I gave up. I might be able to recite that list from memory by this time next year, but I'm not going to guarantee it.

Here's another of those Moments & Milestones parallel-o-rama cards. This is a rarer black version that is numbered to just 25.

We end things here with Akili Smith, whose son (Akili Smith Jr.) is an Oregon QB recruit for 2025. Of course, with the transfer portal madness, he'll potentially follow in the footsteps of Bo Nix, Dillon Gabriel (Oklahoma transfer for 2024) and Dante Moore (UCLA transfer). Or maybe not? Sometimes these dudes just up and leave.

Thanks again to everyone who has sent me cards this year! I'll try to be less grumpy next time.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Contest Reminder and District Update!


There's less than 24 hours left to sign up! 
Don't forget to sign up for the big 14th annual bowl game contest thing! The first game kicks off tomorrow morning, so if you have already signed up, make sure you start getting your picks in.

While we're doing reminders, here's another one: there are cards for sale up at District that might be calling your name. And there's now a code that can get you $10 off your first purchase of $10 or more - just enter CARDS24 at checkout. I just added a handful of cards to the site in the past couple of days, but the code should work for the whole marketplace. More details here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Affordable is the Right Price


It's another batch of group break cards. 
We're inching closer to the end of the year, which also means the end of the baseball card year. It's been a weird baseball card year. Let's catch up with some Cardinals (and Eagles) cards from some 2023 releases thanks to another batch of Affordable Group Breaks from Cardboard Collections.

I was very delayed on getting my hands on any Topps Update cards this year, but for good reason. There's only five Cardinals cards in the entire 330 card base checklist, so I wasn't really in any hurry to start buying boxes of the stuff. This Nolan Gorman Rookie Debut card means that I'm 80% done with the tiny team set.

Fortunately, while the base Cardinals cards might be lacking, I did snag a pair of the 1988 style Chrome inserts.

I'm really hoping Adam Wainwright gets a final card into the 2014 Topps set. It would be extra nice if he got card #50, but I'll take anything at all.

I added a few more 2023 Allen & Ginter cards to my team collection here as well. I wish I liked these more, but I'm glad I decided not to collect the set.

I'm really distracted by the A&G logo in the lower corner of this design. It makes it look like it's a team logo, but it's not your team's logo.

A couple of cards from an earlier set managed to sneak in here. These are both lime green parallels from the 2021 Donruss Optic set. Does anyone know what Panini's plan is for baseball cards in 2024? Is there one?

These are all supposedly base cards from the 2023 Bowman Platinum set. They all look like they could be red parallels to me, but that's not how this set was designed. I think this is still a retail only product, something I never see on the shelves because it's mostly sold through Walmart.

Topps Pro Debut always seems to be a blink-and-you'll-miss-it release, probably more known for its autographs of prospects than most people's desire to collect minor league cards. I happen to like minor league cards, however, and wish that there were more of them.

I promised some Eagles in this post, and here we are. Two of these guys (Smith and Brown) form one of the deadliest receiver tandems in the NFL. The other two are a former star QB (McNabb) and a rookie I've never heard of. I'm hoping this current Eagles team can get it together soon after suffering a couple of humiliating defeats in consecutive weeks.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Contest Time! College Bowl Pick 'Em #14


Step right up and make your picks for a chance to win some prizes by knowing which college football teams will beat other college football teams. 
It's officially Contest Time here at Cards on Cards once again. This is the 14th year of the College Bowl Pick 'Em contest. Since some of last year's participants did express that they prefer the "confidence system", we're going back to that for the 2023-24 games. If you aren't familiar, this basically means that you'll need to pick the winner of each game and rank each pick in order of how confident you are on said pick. Read on for more details.

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), Johnny G (2021-22), and Nachos Grande (2022-23). 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 Proton Mail)... just saying!
  • First place will receive: a 2024 Topps Series 1 blaster box 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 / Bluesky 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.
  • Points are scored according to the Confidence System. This basically means that while you are predicting which team wins which bowl game, you will also be responsible for ranking how confident you are in each pick. The higher you rank those games, the more points you'll get when they win and prove that you're totally right and deserve all the I-told-you-so's in the world. 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 Saturday, December 16th at 8:00 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 December 27th) and win a retail pack of new baseball cards. Whoever is closest gets it. Make sure you watch the end of the game because someone will be getting an actual mayonnaise bath!

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

New Archives


Temporarily jumping back into the group break fold with some Topps Archives. 
Traditionally a summer release, the past few years have seen Topps Archives tacked on to the end of the calendar year after the baseball season is already well past complete. This year's version features the usual dip into the past design templates. I picked up an Archives group break slot from Crackin' Wax over at District. (FYI, you can use the code CARDS24 for your first purchase from the Crackin' Wax marketplace at District for $5 off anything priced at $10 or more. Nice, huh?)

The 2003 Topps design is one of the few that hasn't been completely done to death (looking at you, 1987) and so the burnout hasn't set in. In fact, the original set is such a favorite of mine that I built the flagship set from scratch (and am only two cards away from completing the Rookie/Traded set.)

The 2003-style cards actually feel a bit cheaper/flimsier than the real thing, which is odd because that set pretty much used the same card stock and gloss that today's flagship sets use. Of course, these have a matte finish to them.

The 1956 set is another of the three main design inspirations. When people complain (okay, that includes me) when one of these things doesn't quite look like the original, I have to keep reminding myself that they're supposed to be "inspired by" the original set. They don't have to look exactly the same.

This Rogers Hornsby insert is inspired by (there, I said it) the 1957 Topps Hit Stars set, which featured various big time stars of film and stage of the day. It's pretty cool, although I think this is a colorized version of the most overused photo of Hornsby in existence...

... which makes it all the more disappointing that the same photo is featured on Hornsby's base card, on the 1965 Topps design that makes up the remaining third of the set. I realize that there's a finite amount of decent photographs of old retired legends of yesteryear, but c'mon Topps: please try a little harder.

My group break bunch did result in this fantastic on-card auto of Jordan Walker, with a special green border. It's numbered to just 99 copies. Since Archives is typically known for its lower cost Fan Favorites autographs that tend to feature a lot of players that never got the typical superstar treatment, hitting this high-powered rookie was a pretty big surprise.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Good Luck Ducks: Pac-12 Championship Edition


Oregon's biggest game in nearly a decade sees them in a rematch with the only team that beat them. 
Here it is! After a full season of dominance, aside from a bit of a hiccup against Washington, we've finally arrived at the final Pac-12 Conference Championship game. This rematch wouldn't have even been possible just a couple of years ago, but a decision was made to effectively eliminate the divisions in the conference and just have the top two teams battle it out for the title. (This change, of course, did not save the conference.) Setting aside the fact that the title actually loses a bit of its meaning when it no longer pits the best from one division against the other, this should be a really exciting game!

Oregon has been, shall we say, on one since the unfortunate loss to UW. Bo Nix has the offense humming. School records have been falling week after week. Could the Ducks be any more prepared for this one? I don't think so. It would be the ultimate capper to everything this team has accomplished if Oregon could take the final conference title home tonight.

Washington will have something to say about this, of course. In the first game up in Seattle, which feels like a lifetime ago, a lot of what went wrong in the end felt self-inflicted. In the weeks since, none of this poor decision-making has cropped up again, although to be fair the Ducks haven't really been in a close game since.

Notes and other things:
  • If we were still operating under the old rules, Washington would be playing 9-3 Arizona tonight. That would still be a fun game, but super frustrating considering where Oregon stands in the overall rankings right now. Hey, the Pac-12 finally got something right!
  • Where Are They Headed? As mentioned previously, Oregon and Washington will meet during in late November every season for the foreseeable future. While tonight's game will close the books on the old conference (and a number of hugely successful college careers), the rivalry and all that goes with it will go on.
  • Ducks Ranking This Week: 5. Oregon still finds themselves outside the top 4, but have a chance to move up if they win tonight. Nothing is certain, however.
  • Bo Nix Heisman Watch: Not only are the conference title and playoff hopes on the line, but this game could decide the Heisman race as well! The primary competition for Nix and Penix is Jayden Daniels, whose season is already complete.
  • Game time is 5:00 PST on ABC in Las Vegas. Go Ducks!

Thursday, November 30, 2023

New Address PWE Round-Up


Loads of Cardinals, football players, pink cards and mini cards (and pink mini cards?)
If you hadn't heard, I recently moved after being in the same spot for more than seventeen years. It was quite a chore! Thankfully, everything is done now and I had a number of envelopes with cards in them sent to the new place. Let's check out a few of them.

First up is a stack of Cardinals cards from gcrl / cards as i see them. I'm not sure how he ended up with so many pink parallels from the 2019 Topps Mini set, but I'm certainly glad they were sent my way!

As you may have noticed, all of these cards are numbered to just 25 copies. I don't believe the print run for the base cards from this online exclusive set was all that high to begin with, but this is still really cool.

Speaking of low print runs, I also found this Sapphire Chrome card inside the envelope. This is a set that I would never join a group break of, let alone buy a box. It's so expensive! That's why I enjoy picking up the odd common Sapphire card every great once in awhile. They're just parallels (or parallels of parallels?) but they at least look nicer than when they just slap a foil logo on the flagship factory set and call it good.

I think they dropped these Walgreen's exclusive yellow parallels after a time, which is too bad, because the pharmacy closest to me just started regularly stocking cards.

Next up was a cool batch of Redbirds from Marc Brubaker, another long time trading buddy. I haven't bought any of this year's Panini baseball products since they lost their MLBPA license, so it's always nice to pick up some of those Cardinals through trading channels.

Speaking of stuff that I'm not buying, it's the new Allen & Ginter set. I finally put my foot down and decided to end my run of trying to put together this set every year. It's not that I don't like the way these cards look. They just don't really look like Allen & Ginter cards anymore, so what drew me to this brand seems to have been totally lost. If you slapped the dreaded GQ logo on these, I'm not sure that most would really notice.

Here's a couple of really nice minis. Pujols has the A&G logo on the back, and Walker is, obviously, a black parallel. 

Speaking of sets I've been avoiding, well... here's another one. This is another "art" set where they take a photo of a player and add some effects to it to try to make it look hand drawn or something. Instead, it kind of looks like all of the photos are AI-generated. Has anyone played around with Bing's AI image generator to try to make fake baseball cards? I know what I'm doing tonight!

It's AI Arenado!

This last group of cards is from the football realm and comes from buckstorecards. I have come to really appreciate these Draft Pick sets that Panini churns out year after year because they feature players in their college uniforms. I think that tends to diminish their overall value, but it makes it really fun to collect for me, especially as I've always been a bit lukewarm on the NFL game. Here Christian Gonzalez is showing off the Ducks eggshell uniform that they break out a couple of times a season.

On this one, Gonzalez is wearing more of a classic green. I do like the all green look and wish we'd see it a little more.

These aren't Ducks uniforms, but they are (former) Ducks players! I always love getting CFL cards from across the border, since I tend to never know who is in them. Apparently Upper Deck also does an e-Pack line of CFL cards, which is something that I wish existed for baseball. (Well, maybe.)

If you have any spare Dodgers (gcrl), Astros (Bru), or whatever the heck buckstorecards collects (he has diverse interests!), definitely consider dropping them in the mail to these guys.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Good Luck Ducks, Week 13: The Last Civil War?


It's the Ducks final conference meeting with their Corvallis-based rivals. 
The 127th meeting between Oregon and Oregon State on the football field is their last scheduled game together. When Oregon finally bit the bullet and decided to join the Big Ten after seeing other schools seize their own opportunities, most local fans immediate thoughts were "welp, there goes the Civil War." And it's true: there will be no more last week, Black Friday or late November rivalry games between these two teams no matter what they end up working out in the future. There's persistent talk of Oregon trying to back out of or adjust their contract with Boise State that is supposed to run for the next three seasons in order to get that Beavers game on their non-conference schedule next year (which would happen in mid-September), but they're eventually going to face a long term scheduling issue to try to keep alive a rivalry that now spans multiple conferences.

Tonight's game is particularly notable, because the Ducks have managed to pass all of their tests following the regrettable loss to Washington with flying colors. The Huskies hung on at the end last week in Corvallis to remain undefeated. The possibilities are still there, with Oregon being the consensus pick for "best one loss team in the country" and a potential rematch with UW in the very last Pac-12 Championship game looming. A Ducks win tonight and a Huskies win in their last Pac-12 Apple Cup would set it all up. From there, it would be up to the voters to determine if an Oregon conference championship would be enough to propel them to a coveted top four playoff spot. Thanksgiving is over. There aren't many games left now.

Bo Nix was absolutely stunning last week against an overmatched Sun Devils defense. He threw for a school record six (!) touchdowns, all in the first half, before being treated to a lot of second half rest. Troy Franklin broke the school record for most receiving yards in a season, still with games left to play. These Ducks have reportedly been replaying the horror show that was last season's Civil War 4th quarter on loop to prepare for tonight's game. It's something as a fan that I would never want to revisit, but at least this year we know we're in for good clear weather and no obnoxious chainsaw sounds blasting through the PA. I certainly can't complain about the last real Civil War game being played in Eugene.

Notes and other things:
  • I don't often talk about whatever random Ducks card I feel like attaching to these posts, but this one I just received from buckstorecards strike a particular interest. I do really like sports cards where you can pinpoint exactly what game the photo is from, and this one makes it clear that it's from the 2013 Fiesta Bowl win over Kansas State. That game was notable for being only the second ever game with a recorded 1 point conversion safety.
  • Where Are They Headed? Well, it still seems that Oregon State is heading nowhere. There's been no indication that either of the last two standing Pac-12 members are wanting to join up with anyone else, with a potential long term plan being to lure members of other (lesser) conferences to head to them. I don't know how this would even work or what their schedules will look like going forward, but I wish them luck. I hate that this breakup is happening.
  • Ducks Ranking This Week: 6. This should be the last week of no significant changes among the top six ranks. Many eyes will be on the Ohio State/Michigan game.
  • Bo Nix Heisman Watch: I mean, 6 touchdown passes in a half while hardly breaking a sweat? What more could you ask for?!
  • Game time is 5:30 PDT on FOX in Eugene. Go Ducks!