Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I got a Nolan Ryan auto

After posting nearly everyday for a good stretch there, things are slowing down again slightly at Baseball Card Breakdown. Between things picking up at work (back to full-time till September.. poo! The money is nice, but I loved sleeping in and working 6-hour days) and just general blogging ennui, expect to see me back to posting just 2 or 3 times a week for a while.

Now, here's just a quick post to show off a neat card I picked up recently. This was a "wedding gift to myself" that I bought (on eBay) while honeymooning in Maui last month.

I very rarely drop three-figures on a card, but this is a pretty sweet Ryan with a print run of just 35 (though it's not serial numbered), enticing enough for me to spend a little over a C-note on it. While 2004 Topps Retired gets most of my adoration, I also am a fan of the 2003 and 2005 Retired sets, the latter being whence this card came. (I've still got an eye out for a reasonably priced 2004 Retired Ryan auto; I've seen a couple pop up on eBay in recent months, but in the neighborhood of a $400 buy-it-now, which is crazy.)

Nolan Ryan is obviously one of the game's all-time greats, so this is a pretty nifty addition for me; certainly a centerpiece of my collection. No offense to the Lone Star State or Big Apple, but as a Southern Californian child of the 70s, I think my favorite Ryan Express era is his stint with the Angels, so I'm happy with this photo selection (though an action shot could have been better than Suttoning). Nice-looking on-card autograph. Still in the uncirculated hard case (a couple scuffs behind Nolan's back, but not too bad). And of course, the full stats on the back, which I appreciate so much more than a "Congratulations" back. Yep, I like this card a bunch.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Card Contest Karma

After the negativity of my last post (a drunken rant stemming from a headache sending out cards to a contest winner), life made it up to me. I just won 1st prize in Chavez Ravining's latest contest, which I'm pretty happy about! And I also recently got 2nd prize in the big contest at Red Cardboard. I've never been super into hippy-dippy karma stuff, but man, it seems when I run contests on my blog, I seem to win contests on other blogs. It just goes to show you that when you give, the universe will give back to you! Really!

But back to Red Cardboard's contest, the Junior Junkie got first place, and chose the enticing vintage lot.. but my 2nd choice was the mysterious "big box". I think I also won 4th place (out of 8), so I also got some sweet parallels as well.

The big box was specifically a 660-count box, full of various cards, mostly from the past few years but stretching back a bit to the 80s (but not much junk-era), with a heavy weight on Reds players (about a third of the cards), which is cool with me since I like the Red alright. It arrived yesterday and it's been a lot of fun going through it and checking out all the cards. A lot of it will make its way into my for-trade box, but also many, many cards will be new additions welcomed lovingly to my collection.

Let's take a look at a few highlights.

I'm a sucker for sparkly cards shimmering all about.

Between this box, and some past misc Padres lots I've gotten, I have found myself with a mess of Mat Latos cards.
Lots of Reds greats included. Love 'em.

Some cool non-Reds cards too.

Now, I like Gavin Floyd as much as anybody, but I think Matt overpaid for this one.
 Just for fun:

I've heard of cracked ice parallels.. but melted ice?! LOL
There were also a ton of other cards. Dozens of current/recent Reds stars like Jay Bruce, Adam Dunn, Homer Bailey, and the like. Big thanks for all the cards, Matt! Hopefully I'll get a few Reds cards you need someday and can return the favor.

Back to Chavez Ravining, the grand prize was getting to pick a free team in his upcoming 2014 Topps Chrome break. It's often tough for me to pick a team in a group break. Sure, "my team" is the Padres, but you gotta be a fool to grab San Diego in a break of anything these days unless it's heavily discounted. So then the question is do I load up on trade fodder of a team? I can always use more Red Sox to send off to Mark Hoyle, for example. But I decided to pin my hopes on a hot player. If the White Sox were still available, I probably would have went with them hoping for a nice Jose Abreu card. But instead I ended up asking for the Angles, trying my luck for some Mike Trout goodness. Fingers crossed.

There are still a lot of good teams available in Alex's break, so check it out and consider signing up for one of the remaining spots. Here's the link.

Friday, July 18, 2014

I really hate my local post office

I've bitched before about how I hate the guys behind the counter at my local post office. I can pretty much always avoid them and just use the automated postage machine except when I either (a) get an orange pick-up slip or (b) have to mail a package outside the US. And after another horrible encounter the other day, I'm afraid I need to make it official:

From now on, I will only ship within the US. I offer heartfelt apologies to all cardosphere buddies in Canada and Europe, but I just cannot take dealing with the post office assholes. I can deal with the postage costing thrice as much as a comparable domestic package, it's the assholes behind the counter that I have to avoid at all costs. Fuck them. I'm done.

The winner of my recent Flip the Bip happened to be domiciled in the Great White North, which is all well and good. Hell, I'd love to live in Canada.. the land of milk and honey moose and hockey. But sending his winnings to him was an harrowing experience that pissed me off greatly. There are only 2 guys ever behind the counter at the post office: a couple of old assholes, David Carradine-looking Asshole and Cubby Asshole With A Beard (slightly less of an asshole, but I always seem to get the David Carradine-looking asshole). This time, Carradine had a black eye, so I could at least have nice daydreams about how he got it.. Hopefully got knocked the-fuck out by a customer who was sick of his shit.

So yeah, sorry to say it. But for my own well-being, I have to take drastic measures to avoid bringing that negativity into my life. So for the time being, I can only trade with other folks living in the good ol' United States of America. And my contests will only be open to those with US addresses.

Now, if somebody offered me a Bip printing plate in a trade or something else very exciting to me, and they happened to live outside the US, I suppose I'd probably reluctantly make an exception with my new xenocentric policy. Maybe I'd drive out of my way to try my luck at a different post office. But I just don't have the time to make it a regular thing.

Well, wait a sec.. I guess a PWE can be sent for 2 or 3 stamps without needing to jump through hoops (Last time I mailed a package to Canada, I was told I didn't need to fill out a customs slip (that I had thoughtfully filled out beforehand like an idiot).. but this time, I didn't bother filling one out, but then the guy told me I did need to, but I hadn't (like an idiot). And then, when I filled it out [incredibly confusing new version of the form where it doesn't make sense where you're supposed to write in the info], then I had to stand there for like 5 minutes as the guy slowly typed in the info from the slip I handed him into his computer. Hunt and peck. Glaciers melting. Scolding me for not putting last name first, like it matters worth shit. THE FUCK?! Fuck you, Autoerotic Asphyxiation Fuckhead.

But yeah. So, ok, NEVERMIND. My bad. When I send something internationally, I just need to remember to make sure it fits in a regular envelope and isn't more than a quarter-inch thick. I'll just slap 3 stamps on it, drop it in the box, and hope for the best. But anything big enough to need a bubble mailer that forces me to stand in line to deal with a postal worker behind the counter, that's a deal-breaker. In hindsight, maybe I should have tried to send the Flip the Bip winnings in a PWE, but it felt like a Miguel Cabrera certified auto deserved a bubble mailer to fully protect it. Oh well. Shit. Lessoned learned.

Guys, never send anything bigger than a PWE internationally.

This post counts as my quarterly "breakdown" to justify the blog title.

Come n' gint it! (2014 Allen and Ginter trade bait)

I bought my first A&G recently in the form of a blaster. Yesterday I posted the few cards I'd like to hang onto. But these cards today are all on the table for trades, so just let me know if you want to work something out. As always, my general wantlist is here for your perusal.

Let's start off with some inserts.
Here are some retired guys. Mussina is an SP.

Here are some active guys.

And some horizontal ones.

Minis. The bottom 2 have the big "A&G" logo on the back, which I think is some sort of variation but I really know very little about Ginter. (Hopefully it means they're crazy rare and I can sell them and retire off the proceeds! The Abreu mini I showed yesterday is also like that. But I suppose pulling 3 in 1 blaster would indicate they're not that special.)

And finally, some terrible non-baseball cards, including a guy (gal?) making an uncomfortable face, and a different guy who is probably somebody's uncle or something. Polar Vortex is an SP.

There you have it. If anything caught your eye, check my wantlist and get in touch. Thanks!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

We've only just beGunt

I've never been a ginter, but I'm slowly beginting to gint. Maybe someday I'll look back in disgunst at the days before I gunt.

I'm on record saying Allen & Ginter just doesn't do it for me. I've bought nary a pack in my life up to this point in linear time, to tell you the truth. Never even picked up any singles I can recall. What few A&G cards I have in my collection were from blind trades, plus one pack that came out of a repack a few months back. But dang it, the 2014 design is pretty suave and managed to reel me in, featured lovingly on so many other blogs in these recent several days (peer pressure? Stockholm Syndrome?), and so I dropped a Jackson on a blaster.

Today I'm just going to post the "keepers" that I plan to hang onto, and then tomorrow I'll post some trade bait for all you ginters out there.

Finally got my first Jose Abreu card! A mini, at that. Also a tiny Bob Gibson and full-size Fisk.  
Some inserts of dudes I like.

More cool old-timers. The Killer is apparently an SP.

I should probably keep a couple current players too.

And I suppose I should hang onto at least 1 or 2 non-baseball cards. These 2 seem ok.
So that's it; my first ginting. A decent sampling, but no big hit or anything. [sigh.] Fun enough product, but I'm still not head-over-heels for it. Maybe next year I'll get a box and join in the Gint-a-Cuffs fun, but still just a spectator for now.

Again, check back in a day or so for the '14 A&G cards that I've got available for trade.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Hoyling featuring a literal odd ball and a 73 milestone

Mark Hoyle dropped a nice package of cards (and non-cards) on me the other day.

Let's start with this curious piece. Yes, this is literally an oddball, since it's odd and also ball-shaped. I had never seen one of these tiny spheres with a baseball player's floating head in it before. It's similar to a small marble. Turns out it's from a game called Baseball Marbles put out by a company called Creative Creations back in 1968. Very cool addition to my Dick Allen collection. Here's the back:

Mark also sent some less-literal oddballs, a sweet McCovey 1976 Hostess card and a Tony Oliva stamp.

Mark has also been spreading around some 1990 Classic (Yellow) cards lately, and I was the recipient of 3 Padres, my favorite being the Fred Lynn, whom I've had on my mind lately thanks to an upcoming post I'm working on.

And of course no mailing from Mark would be complete without some 73s!

Among the highlights here are RCs of Bill North, Lee Lacy, and Jack McKeon. This generous stack helped me reach the two-thirds complete point with the set!

66.95% complete
as of 7/15/14

Wow, just a third left to go. Unfortunately for me, Mark says he's getting near the end of his 73 dupes. Maybe one more mailing and then his well will be dry. So my progress will likely slow down on that front. But it's cool; I'm not in a huge rush. Plus I've recently started casually trying to put together a poor-condition 1971 set as well, so I've got a backup option for my vintage set-build fix.

Thanks as always, Mark! I've got a stack of Red Sox just about ready to send your way in return shortly.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

15 lucky hits

The 2014 All-Star Game is in the books, with the teams totaling 15 hits between them. John Hazen was lucky enough to be assigned #15 in my 100 Subscriber Celebration Contest by random.org the other day, making him the big winner. Congrats, John! Please let me know which auto lot you want. The Miggy you mentioned you had your eye on in comments of the One-Year Anniversary contest has already been claimed by the winner of Flip The Bip, sorry to say, but hopefully another lot is also to your liking. (If not, or I don't hear from you after a week or so, I guess I'll have to figure out a way to pick a different winner.)

Thanks again to everybody who entered. As I mentioned last time, I'll try to sneak in one more chance to win in the next couple weeks before closing up contest season for a while. Then the cards in the prize pool will essentially become trade bait, so if something caught your eye and didn't get picked, and you've got a certified auto or something else cool that fits into my wantlist, feel free to get in touch about a trade.