Monday, March 14, 2016

Embracing 12/25 cards (more beer n' cardboard)

I know I'm not officially among the #supertraders, but I'd like to be considered the unofficial Super Trader for 3 niche groups of cards: cards serial numbered 12/25, players named Gavin, and players who went to Granite Hills High School. Cards from these groups aren't likely to be pulled all that often, but when they are, please give me first shot at them! I'm sure the super trader assigned to that team will understand. Thank you. I will also take your Marlins cards, on the condition that the player's last name is Stanton. First name could be Mike, Giancarlo, whatever.. it doesn't matter to me.

In 2015, I curtailed my Christmas Card collecting a bit. I felt like there were wiser ways to spend my hobby dollars. Additionally, my posts featuring Christmas Cards typically don't get a lot of views. It might have subconsciously been as instance of the blog dictating my collecting habits. I bet some of you other bloggers out there have also had purchases influenced by the thinking of whether or not the card(s) in question would make for a popular blog post.

But that's a dangerous trap to fall into. You gotta collect for yourself, not your readers. And you know what? I find collecting Christmas Cards to be a lot of fun! When I'm holding a card in my hands and see that stamped "12/25" glimmering back at me, it just makes my heart happy. So screw it, I'm gonna keep on going after Christmas Cards. I've picked up a bunch already here in 2016, and page views be damned, I'm going to post about them once in a while!

Speaking of Christmas, while I've already covered the "Beermas" beers my wife gave me last year, my in-laws also surprised me with a nice selection of craft brews as a gift for my xmas eve birthday. While they've long since been drank, I've been keeping the bottles around for weeks now, meaning to photograph them for posterity / a blog post. I finally got around to it! My wife will be happy these bottles can finally be tossed in the glass recycling bin!

Upton/Downton. I think this is my first 2016 Donruss card. While a definite step up from the 2015 design which I hated, I don't know why Panini keeps making tiny little tweaks to the base design and calls it new. Yeah, I'll admit the 81, 82, 83 Donruss sets has similar designs, but they weren't that close. I'm especially sick of the white border. If they went with a black border, as like a nod to 85 or 87, I'd probably love this design. Hopefully Panini will get some balls for next year's product.

As for Justin Upton, he was a moderately bright spot for the Padres last season as a one-year rental. I never collected him too hard, but wish him the best in Motown. This is a Test Issue parallel or somesuch, with a faux black-printing-plate feel to it. As for the beer, I seem to recall this Downtown Brown ale was tasty.

Liberty/Free man. Get it?! This 2015 Pro Debut stickergraph is #'d 12/25 on the back, trust me. Mike Freeman isn't a huge prospect or anything, but he hit .317 in AAA last year, splitting time between 2nd and the outfield. Maybe Arizona will call him up this season. This beer was tasty, best I can remember.

Christian Yelich is a solid young player on the Marlins. This 2012 Bowman's Best diecut Xfractor was just about $3 shipped (plus came in the sweet magnetic one-touch!). I sometimes dislike Belgians, but this Brother Thelonious abbey ale was tasty, as far as I can remember. Here's the back of the card:

See? I told you it was a Christmas Card. Why didn't you believe me?!

Here's some tangerine wheat beer with a couple 2014 Bowman Chrome Mini prospects. Shae Simmons made his MLB debut for the Braves last season and did pretty well in relief, putting up a 125 ERA+ over 26 games. Spencer Adams was a 2nd round draft pick of the White Sox in 2014 and has put up pretty solid numbers in the low minors so far. At only 19 years old, he can't legally partake of this tasty beer yet.

So there was an eBay seller who obviously had busted a ton of 2014 Bowman Chrome Mini sets (they're only sold as factory sets, and each one comes with a few parallels). He had a key Gavin LaValley card I needed (upcoming post foreshadowing!), and he also had a bunch of these 12/25 yellow parallels for around $3-4 each with no additional shipping, so I grabbed a few. Jordan Paroubeck is pictured here as a Padre, but was dealt to the Braves in the Kimbrel trade, then shipped to the Dodgers. He's been slow to advance out of Rookie League, but has hit .308 as a pro so far. Robert Whalen was traded from the Mets to the Braves in the Juan Uribe deal. Rogue's Hazelnut Brown Nectar is among my all-time favorite beers. Dare I say tasty?

Cheating a bit here as this Chocolate Bock wasn't among the beers I was gifted by my in-laws, rather it was included in a Samuel Adams variety pack we picked up from Costco a while back (Well, the in-laws pay for our Costco purchases, so I suppose this can be considered a gift from them, too). If you like beers with some sweetness to them like I do, this and the aforementioned Hazelnut Brown really are the cream of the crop. In a word: tasty! Kevin Encarnacion? Lane Thomas? Meh, nothing interesting to say about them.

This one was really good tasty. It had one of those fancy champagne-style corks. Not sure if he's a "pranQster" but Joe Gatto hasn't performed that well in the minors so far after signing with the Angels as a 2nd round pick in 2014. Harold Ramirez, on the other hand, has impressed greatly. He's been the Pirates' breakout star in spring training so far, batting a ridiculous .625 thru his first 17 plate appearances. He's probably still a year or two away from being ready for the majors, but he's proving himself as one to watch for the Bucco faithful.

That's gonna do it for this post. Thanks to my in-laws for the tasty beer and thanks to you for stopping by. Expect to see a few more Christmas Cards on the blog soon (without the beer theme), including a nice one in the next trade roundup that Jeff Jones surprised me with recently.


  1. I was salivating just reading this. Nothing pairs better than baseball cards and microbrews!!

  2. Nice. I'm thirsty and want to bust packs. I'll keep an eye out for 12/25s for you.

  3. Now I want new cards AND craft beer... Thanks a lot, Gavin! Know any good sours?

    1. I don't know if they are available in the Chicago area, but Almanac out of California makes some of the best sours you can find.

  4. There be a Chrimmus card in the trade package I sent out this evening.

  5. That Harold Ramirez is a beauty. He is another in a long line of toolsy outfielders the Pirates seem to keep developing.

  6. You gotta collect for yourself. Huge truth.

    Great stuff.

  7. Solid Christmas PC. Any 12/25 cards are yours. I agree with you about collecting for yourself instead of your readers. I'm sure there have been a handful of cards I've purchased over the years with the pure intention of blogging. However... if I have... it's not very often.

  8. Some great beers there, G. Luckily, I've tasted a few of those, so I can relate to your reviews.
    I really like that Brother Thelonious.