Sunday, November 8, 2015

Trading music for cards / 2015 Update epic adventure

Back when I was in my long hiatus from card collecting, my "collecting fix" came by way of music. I had a pretty sizable collection of tapes and CDs as a teenager, and once mp3s became all the rage, my collection exploded exponentially. Never one to be content with whatever hit songs the radio or MTV fed me, I was always searching out obscure stuff, trying to find that unknown perfect song hidden in the gutter. That's not to say I totally ignored pop music, though, as I was definitely a fan of many big names.

A quick aside, my handle "defgav" comes from back around 6th grade when my best friend Doug and I liked to pretend we were a hip-hop act. He was MC Doolay and I was DJ Def Gav. It derived from the fact that my favorite rock band back then was Def Leppard. Plus we were also into mainstream rap of the time like MC Hammer, Tone Loc, and Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock. "Def" was a slang word for cool that those guys used a lot, like in Def Jam. And of course the Gav part comes from my name being Gavin. Flash-forward to many years later when one day I'm trying to think up a username to use on a message board or something. I wanted something short and that wasn't likely to be used already elsewhere on the web (so I'd hopefully never again have to spend time trying to think up a username). Boom, with a sentimental throwback to my imaginary DJ days, defgav was born anew. I've since used that for my username countless times when creating accounts online at various sites.

So that's the story behind the name defgav in case you were curious.

Back to music, in high school I got really into the band Jane's Addiction. My "collecting gene" was activated in full force, and I spent much of my free time tracking down live and rare recordings from the band and their side-projects. In cardboard terms, I was a Jane's Addiction supercollector, with nearly all their "oddballs" and "parallels" and even some very rare "one-of-one" items. (For the record: While I still dig the old stuff, I think the current incarnation of Jane's is a joke. Lead singer Perry Farrell's wife is a horrible person [seriously, follow her on Twitter or Facebook and just try to resist the urge to slap her] and has sadly steered him into mediocrity.)

But like with my card collecting, I had "PCs" of lots of different artists. A couple other bands I collected pretty heavily were Neutral Milk Hotel and Rilo Kiley. Oh, and I was a big Frank Black/Pixies fan. I suppose I still am. Weezer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, and Pavement are some more popular bands I've got days of recordings from in my collection. Local favorites Rocket From The Crypt are another band I was a pretty hardcore fan of. I also collected some relatively obscure bands like Three Mile Pilot, Paw, Toadies, dig, Mercury Rev, John Frusciante, Hum, and Hopewell.

I did a lot of trading live recordings ("bootlegs") back in the late 90s and early 00s, first swapping cassette and VHS tapes with other traders, then moving up to CD-R and DVD-R once that technology caught on. It wasn't all that different from my card trading these days, with a few frequent trading partners, and the occasional one-off deal. Like today, I'd end up with something and be like, "So-and-so would really love this!" or see something on somebody's list and be like, "Ooh, I need that one!"

My live music collecting eventually mellowed out. I'll still pick up a show here and there, but nowadays it's all digital, rarely getting anything on disc anymore. I'm an active member on a private mp3 site, and I get most of my music from there. Every year or two, I generate an updated list of my music collection and share it with my ol' buddy, the aforementioned MC Doolay, and let him go nuts requesting stuff to be hooked up with, and give it to him for Christmas or whatever. Plus it's handy for me to have a current list so I can refer to it and hopefully avoid downloading stuff I already have. (Again, it's not that different from card collecting.)

I just recently got an updated list made, and figured I'd share it on the blog:
Gavin's digital music collection list

At 5000+ albums, I think it's safe to say I've got something for everyone. My taste leans towards indie/alternative rock, but I've also got a good helping of classic rock, pop, metal, rap, classical, even a little country. (I don't much like country music.) Feel free to peruse the list if you're really bored.

How is all this relevant to a baseball card blog? Well, back during my collecting hiatus, I still had a very casual interest in cards, and would mention on my music wantlist that I would consider trade offers for sportcards among other "barter" things I might be interested in, for guys who didn't have any recordings I wanted. Over the years, I got a handful of card packages this way, trading for music. The most notable card I can think of was a John Elway RC (sweet card, though unfortunately this copy had a "fish eye" printing flaw right between John's eyes that really hurts the card's eye appeal.) So even though I wasn't actively collecting cards, I still brought in a few cards here and there through such trades.

It had been years since I traded music for cards, but recently, a guy found my old, neglected bootlist and wanted to get me something off Amazon in exchange for a live Jane's DVD I have. Sounded good to me, but my Amazon wishlist didn't have many interesting items around the fair price range. So what did I do but of course load up my wishlist with unopened baseball card products! Amazon is rarely a good source for cards, with prices typically around 20% more than what you can easily find elsewhere online. But it's doable if you have a giftcard to burn and can finagle free shipping. It's also nice to have a wantlist there, because then people can buy stuff and have it sent directly to you if they choose.

I decided to ask the guy for a blaster of 2015 Topps Update in exchange for the DVD. While there were hobby boxes of many other products I was more interested in, I didn't want to push the guy's generosity, so I kept my request to a blaster. While I stated a while back that my interest in 2015 Update was mainly the Pride & Perseverance insert set which I already picked up for $5, I figured I'd take a chance on a blaster and hope for a cool parallel or something. (By the way, if you're interested, feel free to take a look at my Amazon wishlist.)


As I draft up this post, I haven't ripped the blaster yet, so let's do it "live" now...


I got shutout with coverboy Kris Bryant, but I did land a couple of the other big RCs in the set, Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton. Alliteration.


Always love adding new Clementes to my collection.


Red Sox legends are well represented with a couple Ted Williams inserts and a Fisk.


These are a couple cool inserts.


The Todd Frazier Home Run Derby card was my only rainbow foil parallel. Plus a couple gold /2015 parallels.


Here are some more inserts. These are available for trade.


I noticed the Feliz Rookie Sensation insert has a little foil "star" on the right side. It's probably just a little printing flaw, but I'd like to believe it's a SSP sparkle variation or someshit.


My promised medallion was Edwin Encarnacion, unfortunately not a player I collect. Up for trade, if you want it.


I'm not trying to build the set, so if you are, please let me thin out some of this stack on you in a trade.

So that was the blaster. Not amazing, but totally worth copying a live DVD and mailing it out. Thanks, Frank, if you happen to stumble upon this post.

But this post has a bit of a twist! Between drafting up the rambling first part of this post and ripping the blaster a day or two later, I actually got myself some other 2015 Update. I was really enchanted with what I saw of the Chrome cards available in retail-only "holiday mega boxes" so I made a trip to Target on Saturday morning on a quest to find some.


They were in fact in stock and I grabbed a couple. I took a look at the clothes on the clearance rack, but nothing grabbed me and so the cards were the entirety of my purchase.


The first box had some Angels love with a nice Trout insert and a /50 Johnny Giavotella. You don't see many mauve cards these days. Wish it would have been a more desirable player, but them's the breaks.


Finally landed a Bryant, even if it's probably the least desirable of his several cards in this set.

And now for the headliner...


These Chrome cards did not disappoint in-hand. Kudos to Topps for making them all like this, and not a parallel where you're lucky to get just one or two in a box. I was happy to pull the Ted Williams (though the sparkly effect is a bit more subdued on these inserts), and a few decent RCs too.

But the big hit...


Sweet! My first ever Bryce Harper relic, and it's a nice one, with a bold red swatch from his All-Star Game workout jersey, and the rainbowy sparkles really making the card come alive. As somewhat of a "No Hit Wonder" with busting cards, this may be one of my better pulls ever.

Onto the 2nd holiday mega box...


Some horizontal highlights from the base.


Dodgers.


Inserts.


Maybe my favorite card of this break besides the Bryce relic, this Clemente looks incredible and tells the story of the only time in MLB history a player hit a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam. I hadn't heard that before, as if I could hold more awe for the guy.


The Chrome cards in the 2nd box couldn't compete with the Harper relic of the other box, but still some good stuff. The Kemp might be my favorite, but I was also happy to pull the Gallo.

So that wraps up my adventure with 2015 Update. I doubt I'll pick up any more, unless maybe the mega boxes find their way into the card section of my local grocery store (none there yesterday), in which case I may pick up another one. But as I said, I'm not looking to complete the set, just trying to land some decent cards of guys I collect. So again, please feel free to ask about shaking out a trade if anything caught your eye or you need base cards from this set.

Thanks for reading!

25 comments:

  1. Sweet post! And also neat that devgav has a younger music group reference, as SpastikMooss does for me as well (not sure if you knew that). It was our band in 7th grade that never played any real music and we spelled it all wrong because Korn was really cool as the time (technically our 2nd s was backwards like their r).

    Fun fact: Learned a year or two ago that there really was a Spastic Moose band operating when we were "operating." Only on the west coast. Weird minds think alike I guess.

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  2. Please let me know if you can set aside any Clayton Richards (including the one you posted) for when we trade!

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    1. Yeah, no problem. I'm sure I can fish a few more Clayton Richards cards from the wasteland that is my "misc. unsorted Padres" boxes.

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  3. I'll take any unwanted Cubbies whenever we trade again.

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    1. And now I'm headed out try & hunt down a Holiday Mega Box as soon as I finish typing this. So thanks for putting me over the edge, I guess. I gots to get that shiny like now!

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    2. Best of luck in your Holiday Mega quest!

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  4. I'd be interested in the Encarnacion.

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  5. Congrats on the great looking Harper pull! I am trying to complete the Chrome base set, so I would trade for any of them that you would make available. I need all of the ones you pulled except for the Kemp.

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    1. Thanks, I'll definitely keep you in mind. It's gonna be a tough call for me deciding which I want to hang onto, but I'm sure I can send some your way.

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  6. Always wondered about the Defgav, I'd love the E.Rodriguez, Also gave a music collection

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    1. Sure, I'll set aside the E.Rod for you, Mark.

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  7. I am so old it is baffling to me that 6th graders were pretending to be rap stars. When I was in 6th grade everyone wanted to spit blood like Gene Simmons.

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    1. We listened to Please, Hammer Don't Hurt Em and To The Extreme (Vanilla Ice) back then way more than either of us would care to admit. Still probably better than what the next young generation had, like Spice Girls, Ricky Martin, and N'Sync.

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  8. I did the same thing with music but it was mp3s and records for me. Records got cool and expensive so I got back into cards.. if that gold Shelby Miller is for trade I'll check your wants

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    1. I'll set it aside for you, no problem.

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  9. Damn, I used to have a cassette tape of a poorly-done bootleg recording of a Jane's Addiction concert. Pretty sure it's long gone though I'll take a look around just in case

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    1. Cool. Unless it was something you or a friend personally recorded, chances are I've got it. There isn't much out there circulating that I don't have. Rarely listen to them these days, but still got them backed up.

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    2. I have no idea - it was something I picked up from a street vendor in the city for a dollar maybe fifteen years ago. I didn't realize it would be live tracks, thought it would be just from their albums. It sounded like someone had a tape recorder in their coat pocket at a concert - very muffled and hard to hear. Unfortunately I think it was in some boxes I had to throw out due to some basement mold issues a few years ago. Glad I was smart enough not to put my baseball cards in the basement!

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  10. The Toadies...I actually grew up on Possum Kingdom Lake (yup, that Possum Kingdom). When I was younger, i tried to go to many of the concerts, only to learn they were always sold out. Ironically, when I moved to Omaha, I had the opportunity to not only see them, but hang out with them before a show. Turns out, very few people in Nebraska know who they are.

    That being said, I'm interested in any Rangers you might have available!

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    1. Very cool. The first big rock show I saw as a kid was the Toadies opening for Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1996. Then I caught a headlining show a few years later. Good times.

      And yes, I'd love to drop a bunch of Rangers on you. I need your current address.

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  11. Awesome post Gavin. Up until I had my daughter I was pretty good about finding new music. Now I only have so much time in the day and baseball cards defeated music. I still listen all the time and get to some shows every once in a while, but not nearly as much. Most shows consist of mainstream acts where before I would go to festivals or small venues to listen to new bands.

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    1. Thanks, Matt. Yeah, I get to maybe a couple shows a year these days, whereas in my 20s and early 30s it was more like at least a couple per month. And nowadays it's mostly catching old favorites as opposed to up-and-coming new bands. But I still try to keep my ears open and check out unfamiliar stuff that seems interesting to me. During an average workday, I listen to about 3 hours of music on my iPod, a good chunk of it being new-to-me, and I'm happy to say I still occasionally find new stuff that excites me.

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  12. Nice pull on the Harper relic. When I was in 6th grade AC/DC's Back in Black was king. Come to think of it, it still is.

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