Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Keepers - Darryl Strawberry edition

As collector's we tend to impose arbitrary rules to our collections and our collecting habits.  These rules help us focus on what type of collection we have.  I'm sure there are those out there that might argue with this logic, but it's these rules that separate a collection from an accumulation.  We can put labels on the types of collector's we are.  Team collector, player collector, set collector, autograph collector, etc, etc.  As a collector of cardboard I'm no different I have my own rules governing over how and what I collect, but......but there are those cards in my collection that break those rules.  Cards I keep and cherish in my collection, but don't fit into my collecting rules.  I call these cards my keepers.

The first card in my keepers collection is this great 2010 Topps Tribute Darryl Strawberry Auto Relic.
I personally pulled this from a pack over 8 years ago and even blogged about it back then.  That pack of Tribute marks the most I've ever payed or will pay for a pack of cards.  And I remember pulling it and thinking dang that's a pretty sweet hit.  If you grew up collecting cards in the 80s, like myself, you most likely had a few Darryls in you binder.  Regardless of his personal tribulations he was a fun player to watch.  I'm not a Mets fan or really a big Darryl Strawberry fan, but this card found a place in my personal collection.  Maybe it was the nostalgia, maybe it was the fact that this was my hit from the most expensive product I've ever ripped a pack of, or maybe it's just a sweet card.

Anyone have any keepers?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Clearing off the Desk - Thank yous and a new addition

Been a busy couple of months here at world headquarters, but I would be remissed if I didn't at least make an effort to say thank you to a couple great bloggers and their generosity.

First up Chris aka Raz from Raz's Card Blog. He sent me an unexpected packaged a couple weeks ago.  Chris was the door prize winner and a finalist in my World Series contest from last year.

 First up was a pair of shiny Braun cards.
 A nice trio of 2017 Topps Holiday cards.  I didn't pick up any of the holiday boxes last year and these are my first 3 holiday parallels
 There was also a pair of 2017 Topps Mini cards.
 There was also this Eric Thames 2018 Donruss card.  I haven't had time to see if this the base or one of the many parallels available in the set.
 A nice Orlando Arcia Topps High Tek rookie card.  I have a small PC for Arcia (I know he's a Brewer and I would be collecting him anyway), but I'm cautious because every time I decided to add another Brewer to agressively collect the team trades them away (Scooter Gennett ahem).
For me the best card of the bunch was this Robin Yount card.  Anytime I can add a new card to my PC is a boon.  It might be hard to tell but this is the Rainbow Foil parallel.

Next up another Chris this time the proprietor of  Nacho's Grande sent me a nice little package as well.  Chris had ripped some 2018 Donruss and pulled a Brandon Woodruff autographed card. I had asked Chris before I left for my vacation if he'd be willing to trade for it.  The card is the blue parallel numbered to 99.   It's my first auto from the young player.

Chris also sent along a nice selection of Brewers cards (there were a lot more I didn't scan).
And a nice 2017 Topps Gallery Arcia Artist Proof parallel

 I still need to send Chris my end of the deal, but we've traded enough to know that I'm good for it.  I'm hoping to get my package sent next week.

And finally I broke down and bought another Topps Now card.  I have a feeling, like last year, this will be my one and only card, unless the Brewers manage to make it to the World Series and then all bets are off.  I picked up Josh Hader's recent card for setting a MLB record throwing 8 strikeouts in less than 3 innings.  That hair is dreamy and I've jumped on the Haderade train.

Thank you to both the Chris' the cards were great and well apprciated.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Collecting with laser beam accuracy

I figure I'd do my monthly post to make sure I let everyone know I'm not dead.  Especially since I'm on the edge of leaving for 2 weeks to see family.  I'd call it a vacation, but visiting family is never really a vacation.  Ahem.

If you follow me on Twitter, @cynicalbuddha, you know I've been knee deep in a massive Brewers team set organization and documentation this winter.  I've been a member over at the Trading Card Database for almost 10 years, but just recently started using their collector's tools to inventory my collection.  I've had a couple thousand Brewers cards sitting in boxes from trades and acquisitions that I hadn't organized.  My winter project was to start to sort through all that and figure out what I had, what I had dupes of, and rework my team sets needs list.  And I'm happy to say I'm still not even nearly done.
Although  I have made a little progress.
I also got tired of trying to remember what sets were which in my binders so I got a little anal about my organization and started making pocket checklists for each set.
I started doing this because trying to tell sets apart like the Turkey Red, Topps 206, or the thousands of set from the mid-2000's was hurting my eyes squinting on the backs of the cards.

The Night Owl put out a blog bat around a couple weeks ago and while I had thought about participating in it, I didn't, but it did get me thinking about my own current state of collecting.  To save myself a ton of money and space I decided that I wasn't going to do any more set building, at least for the foreseeable future.  I actually stopped last year before the 2017 Update set.  I still potentially plan to pick up factory sets, but building sets from packs and boxes has just become too expensive and I'm running out of space for all my dupes.

I've decided to focus on two main areas of my collection.  My Brewer's team sets and my Robin Yount player collection.   My other player collections have taken a back burner as well, but I still try to add to them opportunistically.

That being said I'm still looking to finish what I started and my set needs are up-to-date.  My Brewer's team set needs are still a work in progress.

So my goals this year is to focus my collecting with laser like precision and minimize and reduce my stacks of unwanted cards.  Will see how I do.

See you all next month.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Return of the Affordable Group Break

If you've been around the Blog-o-sphere awhile you may remember Colbey, aka Flywheels, use to put on an affordable group break pretty regularly.  He stopped for awhile, but it looks like he's itching to get back into it with a new facebook group and a new break.  There are a couple classic boxes of Pacific waiting to be ripped.  You get your choice of one team and then a random team from the remaining unclaimed teams.  Spots are only $7 and the includes shipping!! 

Still lots of great teams to choose from.  Go on over to Cardboard Collections or find the Cardboard Collections Group Break group on facebook to join.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Card Anatomy 2018

Well the 2018 card season started a couple weeks ago.  I decided a while back I would not be putting a set together from pack buying, but I did break down and buy a couple packs when Series 1 came out.   And my overall feeling for the card design is: I don't hate it.  How about that for an endorsement?  Let's take a really close look at the base card design and break it all down.

The front of the card is the glamorous side of the card, the party, the looker,  from now on I dub the front of the card the Mullet.  I just so happen to have a very nice scan of Mr. McCutchen's last Topps flagship card as a Pirate to look at.  Overall the basic design isn't bad.  I wouldn't go so far as to call it great or groundbreaking, but it's not bad.

This is the third year in a row that Topps has gone borderless.  I kind of miss the borders, but the 2015 set was a tough act to follow, arguably my favorite set in the last decade.  I've only casually looked through the set, but of the cards I've seen Topps has done a nice job with photo selection and the card design really reflects that Topps is letting the photos shine.
While the lower banner takes up a good section of the bottom of the card for the most part it's unobtrusive and presents the basic elements pretty well.  The player name is large enough to be easily read, team name present, team logo a tad large, but not imperious.  Waterslide?  Present, but I don't hate it.  The only gripe I have is the digital disintegration at the end of the name and team banners seems pointless and unnecessary.

Alright we've had our fun time to get to the business side of the card.
There's a lot going on back here.  The card number is large and readable, although I think it could have been bigger. It's also harder to make out with some of the colored backgrounds like the yellow here.  Once again Topps is putting the series on the back of the card.  Not a terrible idea, but honestly unless they are going to start putting our 3 or 4 different series again it's kind of pointless.  I will say having what series the inserts came out of is much more helpful.

We also are still only getting the last five years of stats on the back of the card I guess that's to make room for the much more important social media handles the player uses.  This is the second year for that addition and it seems timely and odd.  In 10 to 15 years will anyone care what McCutchen's Twitter handle was?  Would it hold up if Topps had put player's Myspace account on cards back in 2006? 

Topps also has just enough space for a short blurb or factoid.  I think McCutchen's trade took most people by surprise so can't fault Topps for the mistimed platitudes.

So to sum up, not terrible.  It seems Topps has this cyclical pattern of coming out with something pretty awesome, like the 2015 design, and then they tone it down and play it safe for a few years.  While the waterslide design seems a little funky it does show that Topps put some effort into the design.  I do like the full bleed photos on the front, but maybe it's time to mix it up with a border, or an inset photo or a back photo. 

So how do you guys like the set this year?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner - 8th Annual Almost the Easiest Super Bowl Contest on the Web Wraps up!

What a great Super Bowl.  I love when the game is close and I have no horse in the race.  They said it was going to be a shoot out, but man that was a pretty crazy game with a few questionable calls, but over all I really enjoyed it.  In the end we had 15 players who were still in it, we had 3 players pick the correct match up, but in the end we had only one player who pick the Eagles to beat the Patriots, so no need for the tie breakers, but the correct prediction would have been:

Eagles over the Patriots, 74 total points!!, 5 Field Goals

jasongerman9 - Patriots over Eagles, 59 points, one field goal.

night owl - Patriots beat Saints. 56 points. 2 field goals.

Matt Stupienski - Patriots over Vikings, 58 pts, 4 FG

The Angels In Order - Patriots over the Rams, 53 points, 4 FG.

Mark Hoyle - Pats over Saints. 65 points 5fg

Swing And A Pop-up - Patriots over Rams. 61 Points, 4 FG.

Vrooomed - Eagles over Patriots - 45 points, 4 FGs.

Eric C - Pats over Eagles - 51 pts - 4 fgs [AnalogKid @ TCDB]

Sport Card Collectors- Pats  over Vikings 52 points 5 fg

Fuji - Patriots over Vikings, 64 points, 5 FG.

GCA - Patriots over Saints, 32 points, 3 FGs, PIMP

Jafronius - Patriots over Vikings, 44 points, 2 FGs

Trevor P - Patriots over Saints. 69 points. 2 FG.

arpsmith - Eagles over Steelers, 55 points, 3 FGs

Red Cardboard - Patriots over Saints, 49 points, 0 field goals

Congrats to Vrooomed, who interestingly enough is the second person from the Trading Card Database community to win one of my contests.  And he also happens to be an Eagles fan.

Now onto the door prize... I entered all the entries into Random.com and randomized the list 3 times, if you promoted my contest you got an extra entry into the door prize drawing.  And the winner is..

Adam K who writes the great blog Infield Fly Rule!  Wins a nice stack of shiny cheerleadere cards.

I'll be contacting both of our winners shortly.

I want to thank everybody who played.  I may not post much, but it's nice to see we had great participation.

And you know baseball is just around the corner.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

2017 the year of meh

The French have this great word.  It's called ennui.  It's also now an English word as the English language is not above stealing words from other languages to express what needs expressing.

en·nui  (ŏn-wē, ŏn wē)
Listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest; boredom: 
[French, from Old French enui, from ennuyer, to annoy, bore; see ANNOY.]

That one word sums up my current mood about the sports card hobby.  As a matter of fact it sums up the whole 2017 for me.  I don't remember going into the year feeling this way, but as I sit writing this it sure hasn't left.

2017 was a big year of change for me.  Nothing as large as the birth of my son, or getting a new job, but there were definitely some big events.  Late in 2016 we put our house on the market and didn't get any takers so we hunkered down for the winter and in early spring 2017 put it back on the market.  We also took a nice trip to visit my family in Wisconsin, which turned sour when I had a gallbladder attack, and that eventually culminated in me having it removed.  But we sold our house and in June 2017 the stars aligned and we closed on our old house and upgraded to a much larger house.  The best upgrade was going from a small 2 bedroom house with one toilet to a 4 bedroom with 3 toilets.

What resulted was that my awesome wife let me take over one of the spare bedrooms for an office/man-cave/studio.  It also allowed me to bring everything out of storage and spread out.  And wow I've got a lot of crap.

 My first collecting passion was comic books, which started around 1985-86 and it's always been there.  I started dabbling in trading cards around the same time with few packs of Topps baseball and Garbage Pail Kids.  1987 is the year I consider my start as a sports card collector as the 87 Topps set was the first one I can remember trying to put together.  So 2017 marked my 30 year anniversary as a card collector.  And as I look around the man cave all I can think about is I have so much I don't really even want taking up space.

I'm getting a little off topic, but I am coming to a point, maybe.  I think over the course of one's collecting experience we evolve.  As with any endeavour as we learn and experiment our focus and tastes change.  I've always kind of considered myself a three pronged collector: a set collector, a player collector, and a team collector.  And as the year's have gone on I still consider myself all three.  I've always enjoyed the challenge of putting together a base set, I have my two main sports teams I focus on, the Brewers and the Packers, and I have a handful of players I focus on, most of which fall within those two teams, but I do also collect Frank Thomas and Reggie Jackson and I have spots for the Milwaukee Braves, especially Hank Aaron.  In 2015 when Topps lost their license for the NFL and we now had complete exclusivity of the 4 big sports leagues I really started to see my collecting focus and habits change.  Panini puts in a good effort to make a few baseball products to compete with Topps, but without the logos or even correct color schemes it's just not the same.  And I've had no desire to buy any football products this year.  I miss having a nice flagship set.  Sure there's Score, but that comes out before the draft.  There's Donruss, but I just feel the set is incomplete and way too small.  After 8 years of Topps exclusivity I feel the same way about baseball.  Topps continues to put out a decent flagship product, but honestly the last couple year's just feel phoned in.  The shift to hit driven products has been a big reason I've been pushed away from the market.  As a player, team, and set collector, these higher end products that offer few cards, but guarantee autographs and relics are not appealing to me.  Especially as a fan who's baseball team is always underrepresented.  These hit driven products really turn me off because I know if I spend 50, 100, 250, 25,000 dollars on the product there is very little chance I'd hit something I'd want to add to my collection and I'd only be opening the product to resell and you seldom make your money back.

I've found that I'm buying less and less product and really being drawn to just buying the few cards I want from ebay or getting cards through trades or sifting through the dime and quarter boxes looking for cards I want.  Last year the only set I tried to put together was Topps Flagship baseball.  I still haven't finished it.  I didn't even buy a pack of update.  I've attempted no football sets in the last 2 years and except for a couple random packs here or there and haven't bought much.   I've found my collecting evolving away from set collecting.  I've decided I'm not going to try to put together the 2018 Topps flagship set. I'll either pick up a hand collated set later in the year or a factory set and save myself a couple hundred bucks.

Before my son was born I had made a large effort to cataloged, sort, and store my Brewers team sets.  That got put on hold when I had to give up the spare room for my son and mothball most of my collection.  I still tried to pick up team sets for all the major releases, but just keeping up with what was coming out was about all I could do.  It's the same with my player collections.  I have 5 major player collections, Brett Favre, Reggie Jackson, Rollie Fingers, Frank Thomas, and Robin Yount.  My primary PC would be my Yount collection.  And it's the only one in the last 4 years that I've really bothered to try and add to.

So what's the point CB, who cares?  As I sit in my melancholy at the being of 2018 I decided since my collection was at my finger tips I'd do something about it.  I've been a member over at the Trading Card Database since 2009, but never used the collecting tools the site offered.  I've been busying adding images, updating and editing checklists, but never bothered to enter my collection into the site.  So I've slowly started working through my team and player collections, logging which cards I have, setting aside any cards that don't have images uploaded to the site and scanning and adding them.  Slow, very slow I started to come out of my collecting funk, but the evolution still remains.  And as I sit and write this I'm still contemplating what the new year will bring.

If you've read this far down and are still with me you are a saint.  The last couple years I've really slacked off on this blog.  2016 marked a low point for me in effort with last year not far behind.  I'm hoping maybe to find some inspiration this year to maybe make a little more effort in posting on the blog, and not just contest and trade posts, but actually taking the time to come up with a few good posts.  Posts worthy of the bloggers I read 10 years ago that eventually spurred me to start my own blog(s).  We'll see, I've said this before.  Thanks for reading and letting me rant.

CB out.