Saturday, April 30, 2016

Return to the Quarterbox (Card show recap)

I was pretty efficient at the card show today. Came in and went straight to my usual guy's bins. I wasn't too impressed by what I was seeing in his dollar bins (7 for $5), so I slummed it down in his quarterboxes. Ended up with 120 25¢ cards, nearly half for trade fodder (lots of Braves, Pirates, Cubs, and Brewers). Probably not as impressive of a haul as last month's quarterbox crushing, but I was satisfied and called it good with just that one purchase. I kinda feel bad that I didn't even look at any of the other dealers' stuff, but it's not like I haven't been buying a bunch of cards lately. I even got a big COMC order delivered today. So it wasn't too hard for me to have some restraint.

Let's look at a few of my pickups.

I was ready to ask Mark Hoyle what these were, but a quick COMC search answered my question: 1971 Dell MLB Stamps. Yaz, Kaline, and Seaver. Nice vintage PC additions.

A quartet of quarter cards for my Vlad PC. That guy was a beast in his prime. Due to my love of quirky cards, I had been wanting to get one of those "net" cards from Pacific, so I was happy to come across this one.

Here's a better look at the net. It's fun to take it out of the top-loader and sleeve to give it a touch. It's not game-used or anything, just another funky gimmick from Pacific. And my blog's hits always go through the roof when my jade plant makes an appearance. I brought a tiny ~2 inch piece of plant from my back patio with me in a plastic bag when I moved up from San Diego and was able to grow it out up here. I even split it off into another plant and discovered jade plants do not live through Portland winters outside. But enough botany, back to cards!

Parallels #'d /99 for a couple active pitchers I collect, Chris Sale and Cole Hamels.

Man, I really like Pristine. These faux 65s are great looking cards.

Am I starting to collect Bartolo Colon? It's tempting, but I probably shouldn't. But these 2 low-numbered cards were too hard to pass up. The encased Pristine card is #'d /99, while the Triple Threads is /150.

I think I'm gonna stop today's post here, but I'll likely be showing off more cards from my haul throughout the coming week.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A box of 2016 Topps Museum Collection

If you've been following this little saga, Topps asked me to be a dear and stop selling custom cards that happen to bare a striking resemblance to Topps brand cards. I complied and they showed their gratitude by sending me a box of 2016 Museum Collection. These things sell for around $180, so it's definitely a generous gesture, and very appreciated.

Let's rip this puppy and see what's in there.

There are 4 packs (mini-boxes) in a hobby box, each containing a hit and graced on the outside by the legendary Roberto Clemente.

Pack 1:

The Reggie Canvas Collection is kinda cool. The 3 base cards don't do much for me. As for the hit..

(Sorry that the foil text on a dark background makes these hard to read in photos/scans.) Byron Buxton auto/relic 67/99.. Nice. He's a highly touted top prospect who has yet to cash in on his immense potential on the major league level, but you gotta believe the Twins will give him ample opportunity. Off to a slow start this season, but hopefully he comes around.

Pack 2:

Nobody I really collect in the base cards here, but that's a nice quad-relic...

Pad in the Hall, Mike Piazza #'d 54/99. He's a guy I collect. Nice addition to the PC.

Pack 3:

The non-hits are highlighted by a Yoenis Cespedes parallel #'d 174/199. And for a better look at that relic...

Jay Friggin' Bruce. Gotta be a sad trombone whenever you pull a hit of him these days, even if you're a Reds fan. Too bad, too, as that's a great looking relic, with that badge/shield shape and the stripe going right down the middle. #'d 41/50. If this were like Trout or Harper I'd be crapping myself over it.

Last pack, #4:

Base cards highlighted by a Kris Bryant. Looks like every pack has a parallel, though the bronze parallels are the most common and unnumbered, represented here by Chris Davis.

My promised on-card auto is Mr. Stephen Piscotty, not a bad pull. #'d 134/299. He had a nice partial season debut last year and is doing fine so far this year, patrolling right field for St. Louis. I recently drained all my decent Cardinal tradeable cards on Madding to score a Michael Conforto auto, so this is a nice hit for me. It very well may end up with said Portland neighbor one of these days, but for now I'll enjoy it as one of the better cards from this box that I was magnanimously gifted directly from Topps.

So yeah, not a terrible box, but no huge mojo hits nor all that impressive as far as guys I personally collect, but still a fun box to bust, especially seeing as I didn't pay $180 for it. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth (again, I'm very grateful for it!), but this box could probably be considered a dud, seeing as none of the hits would be likely to sell much above single digits on the secondary market. The lowest numbered card was the Jay Bruce #/50; pretty high for a box of this type of product. But with my luck ripping cards, it was to be expected. Maybe someday I'll pull an auto of Koufax, Trout, or Harper or something like that, but not this time.

Let's see.. the untouchable/PC cards for me here are the Reggie canvas, Piazza relic, and Bryant base.. otherwise, I could be talked out of these, so check out my wantlist and get in touch if you'd like to propose a trade for anything.

Thanks for reading and big thanks again to Topps for the high-end gift!
. . .
Contest reminder.. I'm running a little "handwritten post" contest for my fellow bloggers this month. If you've got a blog and want to take part in the contest, get your handwritten post up by the end of April (Saturday night). Don't forget: to be entered in the contest, you must post a comment on this post with the URL to your entry.

Speaking of which, another guy who got a box of 2016 Museum Collection is Sport Card Collectors, and he's got a contest going to give away one of the hits from his box. So go check it out and enter. SCC just won himself another contest! It's really ridiculous how often his guy wins stuff, as I've noted here before. But he also runs a lot of contests, so I guess it's good karma coming back to him.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tiny follow up to yesterday's post

Topps came through with an awesome "no hard feelings" gift!

Looking forward to busting this.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Gentle Art of Selling Customs (aka Finally Got My Cease and Desist!)

I've been photoshopping up digital "cards that never were" since the early days of this blog. Last year, I began taking it to the next level by printing out hardcopy customs. I eventually got pretty good at it and was so happy with the results that I wanted to spread them around a bit. These days, the majority of trade packages I send out have at least one custom in them to spice up the batch of cards and give my own personal touch. I know not everybody cares much about "fake cards" but most collectors at least get a mild kick out of a well-crafted custom, treating them as quirky oddballs.

I got to the point where I was so proud of the cards I was coming up with that I started trying to make a few bucks selling them on eBay and Twitter. It was slow at first, but eventually I got into a groove for a stretch where I was maybe selling a card or two per day at around $5 a card. After various costs/fees, it wasn't much, but I got to the point where I was pretty much supporting my hobby purchases with my PayPal balance rather than the associated bank account. So that was nice.

This Trevor Story card of mine was a good seller. Topps Now is a great idea. Topps won't get shut out with any out-of-nowhere rookie sensations thanks to this card-making system. But even with the several ToppsNow Trevor Story cards available, I saw quite a bit of interest in this faux 1983 card for the rookie who came out of nowhere to a blazing start this season.

But perhaps I flew too close to the sun, getting brazen offering it and other customs on Twitter. Two or three haters started tweeting shit like, "Does @toppscards know he is making fake cards with there (sic) logos[?]" The next morning (moments after I started drafting this rebuttal post, funny enough), I got a firm but polite email from Topps' Deputy General Counsel essentially telling me to stop selling fake Topps cards.

I gotta admit it gave me a big smile. It was an honor to have even gotten on Topps' radar. Just some collector fanboy printing a small handful of cards on his home printer, apparently good enough to threaten Papa Bear of the baseball card world. For a trip back in time, check out my January 2015 blog post "Concern over counterfeit and custom cards on the market" highlighting my feelings over the rise in ease of making customs, and more dangerously, counterfeits. I lamented the fact that Topps seemed to do nothing to stem the tide of fake cards flooding the market. So in that regard it almost feels like a win.

I've made no secret on this blog over the years that I'd love a job in the sportscard industry. I'd like to think the fake cards I've come up with over the years have been like a "portfolio" showing that I'm capable of coming up with good ideas for cards and adequately executing those ideas. And the fact that I've put out several customs that've seen strong interest has helped validate that for me.

To my credit, I definitely never attempted to counterfeit any cards nor tried to trick people into thinking my customs were actually put out by Topps or whomever. I always made it very clear that the card I was making available was a fan-crafted "card that never was" meant to fill a void real card companies hadn't filled. My customs were clearly marked as such on the back. There's no doubt that my customs were supplementary to real cards, never in direct competition.

But yeah, I may have gone a bit overboard and totally understand Topps draping a wet blanket over my little operation. I hope they continue their pushback against fake cards-- Counterfeits, specifically (customs aren't really that big of a threat), but yeah.

And for the record, any profit I made from selling customs went straight back into the hobby. I recently pre-ordered a couple hobby boxes of 2016 Topps Archives that I'm excited to get when that product releases in a few weeks. I also used that Trevor Story custom money to buy a real Trevor Story card:

I can tell you that without the extra padding in my digital wallet, I would not have pulled the trigger on that card. Big picture, me selling a handful of homemade cards helped the hobby and Topps way more than hurt it.

But yeah, I've agreed to not sell any more Topps custom cards going forward. I quickly compiled with Topps' request the day they sent it and did my best to remove any posts/tweets where I had offered faux Topps cards for sale. They were pleased with my cooperation and even offered to maybe send me some product as a thank-you if I'd be so kind as to provide my address. Realizing this might just be a ploy to have my information on file with their legal department, still I couldn't resist the possibility of free cards, and happily responded with my full name and address. I'll let you know if anything shows up. (Update: They sent a box of 2016 Museum Collection! Nice!)

Let's wrap up this post. Will I stop making cards? I don't think I can; it's like a form of self-expression for me. But I'll definitely do my best to tread lightly in regards to stepping on toes from a legal standpoint, especially if I attempt to make a buck off them. I'm thinking more original designs and tributes to forgotten oddballs. I'd love to follow in the footsteps of someone like fellow custom card creator, the guy behind Gypsy Oak, who seems to squeak out a living cranking out original-ish cards. But he's an incredible artist whereas my sketchcards would barely get me a passing grade in a high school art class, much less make me any money. So my dream of supporting myself with baseball cards is not likely to be realized anytime soon. Still though, making cards is a lot of fun. This is a great hobby and I'm happy to be an active part of it.

Very cool Roberto Clemente 1965 penny card I got from Gypsy Oak
So there you go.
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Deja Vu.. another 2016 Donruss blaster flies into my cart

Just like last Saturday, I bought another blaster of 2016 Donruss at the grocery store today. It was the last one they had out. Would that be good luck for me?

Ever the groundbreaker, I took a photo of the blaster in mid-air. Because why not.. you know what the box looks like.

Panini should do a separate set with just these.. like "Donruss Heritage". Photo-wise, these tend to be the most interesting cards. Rickey walking around carrying stolen bases is pretty cool. The rest are available for trade.

Nothing too notable in the inserts, but these are fine.

Base cards of some guys I collect.

Base cards of guys I don't collect (available for trade). Nice to see the Expos make it into the set via Andres Galarraga.

Gawl dang it, my two "best cards of the box" are both Giants. Boo. They were back to back in the same pack, too. At least the relic is a nice big piece of orange jersey (better than a plain white swatch, right?), though the name Tyler Beede means nothing to me. It's unnumbered. The Matt Duffy press proof is #'d 84/99. The only Giants fan I ever trade with, ARPSmith, has been MIA for a while, I think changing jobs or someshit, so these will likely collect cobwebs in my tradebox unless any of you guys want to trade. Just drop me an email. I know I've got a few pending interested parties from my last few trade bait posts, but I'm hoping to get a batch of packages out here shortly. If you were interested in something from me in the past and I've left you hanging, please don't be shy to drop me an email to rekindle a deal.

Anyways, this box probably wasn't as good as the last one with the A-rod bat chip, but could have been worse. I doubt I'll buy any more of this stuff, though. I was on the fence about this one as it was, and I think I'm good with two.

Thanks for swinging by!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Minor League lot

If you've gone looking for modern minor league cards on eBay, you know there's really only one game in town: gosportscards. That guy has the hook-up for minor league issues from the past few years. I snagged a few singles from him the other day to take advantage of combined shipping. Here's what I got..

Zippy Zappy gave me a heads-up the other day that John (formerly known as "Johnny") Omahen has a retail-only autograph in 2016 Bowman, releasing 4/27. I'm very excited about this and will likely try to rainbow it with all the parallels I can get my hands on. But for now, I've grown my Omahen PC with this pair of 2015 cards. I'm hoping he can become just the second guy from my high school to ever pitch in the majors (after Tom Fordham in the late 90s). His is a nice story, as after being released by the Marlins and spending 2013 on an independent team, he latched on with the Diamondbacks organization and had a fine 2015 season, going 13-3 with a 3.07 ERA. Looks like he's off to a rocky start in AA so far this year, but it's still early.

Finally got my first real Brian Carroll card! Maybe you remember last year I made a few customs and had an adventure at the ballpark attempting to get them signed in person. Another Guy From Granite, he battled injuries to finish 2015 strong, ending up with a .306 average and 14 steals in his first professional season. Not sure where he'll play this year, but I'll be keeping an eye out.

Travis Taijeron is back in AAA this season, but you gotta figure he's waiting in the wings if/when the Mets need any outfield help. I was a little surprised to see him shut out of the 2016 Bowman checklist after impressing last year in AAA and this spring training. Hmm. Well, hopefully he gets another mainstream card soon, but for now, this lot of 4 minor league cards will tide me over.

Ok, now we've finished with the players who went to the same high school as me, and moved on to the players named Gavin portion of the order.

Seller gosportscards always puts the keyword "rookie" in his eBay listing titles. Sometimes this makes him look kinda stupid, as this Gavin Floyd card definitely ain't no rookie. He had 5 rehab starts for the Gwinnett Braves in 2014. Since he's only got one card from his stint in Atlanta (2014 Topps Update), I thought it'd be cool to pick up this minor league Braves card. Mr. Floyd has been having a good start to 2016 out of the pen, looking like a shrewd pickup by Toronto. Hopefully he gets a card as a Blue Jay soon.

Gavin Glanz is a guy I successfully got a TTM back from last year. He had some good starts in 2015, but ultimately finished the season at 2-5 with a 4.84 ERA in the low minors. Not sure where he's at this year, but I'll be rooting for him.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A baseball Bark Box and an eBay blaster's worth

I've talked about Bark Box here before, which is a company that sends out a monthly grab-bag of dog goodies. My in-laws got it for us (--well, for our dog) a couple Christmases ago and renewed it for another year. There's usually a loose theme to each box, and this month it's a baseball theme, so I figured I'd work it into a blog post.

They use a few different sized boxes, but this is the standard size they seem to go with most often, and I'm always happy when this one shows up because I use these particular badboys for storing my cards. I'll cut off most of the flap to use as a divider, and it's a great size for two rows of cards large enough to accommodate top-loaders and the like.

They included this oversized baseball card with a cutout in the middle so your dog can have a card. It's obviously inspired by 1965 Topps, a great choice. If you've got a tiny dog, you can put their face in it, but if you've got a medium/big dog like mine, you just gotta hold it up in front of them. I took a few photos with Annie and this one turned out the best. She's lucky she's around to pose for it, seeing as yesterday she got a little over-excited to go to doggy daycare and slipped out of her collar and dashed across the street, with a driver slamming on the brakes to come within inches of hitting her. She's usually a good girl, but occasionally goes nuts and pulls shit like that. The Mrs. and I were quite upset with her, but she's a cutie, so it's hard to stay mad at her for too long. Looks like she'll be wearing the dreaded gentle leader (harness that goes on the snout) while going to daycare from now on.

Here's a better look at the card. I might end up using this as a "box topper" for my '65 Topps setbuild.

Here's a mitt chew toy. Annie used to tear up her toys, sometimes in mere minutes, but as she's gotten older (she's 3), she seems to have gotten more gentle with them and they last longer. So now she's got a ton of toys, with a couple more coming each month via Bark Box. We should really toss or give away some of the old, neglected ones.

Anyways, the cards I'm showing off in this post are a few autos I got in a combined-shipping order from an eBay seller for a few cents under the price of a blaster. Since this toy is called the Yogi Barka Mitt, I've paired it with a Yankee. Jacob Lindgren, a 2nd round pick in 2014, is projected to be a solid major league reliever soon. This 2015 Topps Chrome purple refractor is numbered /250.

Next up we've got a Leaf clear Gavin Lux auto. This was only $1.99 + shipping and the catalyst for me placing this combined order. I've got a pretty decent Lux collection going now, and hopefully the kid will go on to a nice professional career, though he's still in high school. Since he's just a "pup" I've paired him here with a bag of treats from House of Pups. As you can see, I've torn these open moments before snapping the photo. Annie gobbled it down quickly, but she pretty much loves all treats, so it's no surprise. These are kinda cool in that they look like baseballs, a nuance that is likely lost on her canine brain, but a human baseball fan can appreciate.

Now here's a 2014 Bowman Chrome refractor auto /500 of Edwin Moreno, a 22-year old Padres prospect out of the Dominican Republic. His stats generally haven't been great so far, but he hit .308 in A ball last year, so who knows.. might make something of himself one day. At $3.99 it sounded like a good deal, as Bowman Chrome Refractor Autos are like the gold standard for prospect cards. Plus I like the Padres. These "Sliders" dog biscuits might be stretching the baseball theme, but sure, there definitely is sliding in the game of baseball, so it counts. (update: And as Johnny reminded me, a slider is also a type of pitch. Duh.)

Here's a photo of my dirty kitchen rug with a duck treat stick and a 2015 Bowman's Best Cole Tucker auto. Maybe you recall I pulled a printing plate of this guy from a box of 2015 Pro Debut a while back? Well, since I'll eventually be sending that off to Matthew Scott (who by the way has now been mentioned in 3 straight posts on my blog!), I figured I'd throw a cheap auto of him in my cart so he'll at least still have some representation in my collection. As for the treat, I'm sure Annie will chomp this down quickly, though personally ducks are one of my favorite animals, so I avoid eating them or buying duck meat products as best I can. Seriously, they can walk, swim, and fly! That's the triple crown of bodily movement! Respect, ducks. Respect. Plus ducks are cool. They just chill and don't bother nobody. Geese on the other hand, fuck them, they're assholes. Eat all the goose meat you want. And I'm not sure what this treat has to do with baseball other than I suppose sticks of dried meat look vaguely like bats.

Finally, here's a 2015 Bowman Chrome Prime Positions auto of Robert Stephenson, a top pitching prospect with the Reds. He made his ML debut earlier this month and has been good so far, winning both his starts, with an ERA of 3.00. So yeah, I went ahead and threw a cheap auto of his into the order with no additional shipping cost. The toy here is a stuffed hamburger that comes apart in sections thanks to velcro. Kinda cool, though I'd say a hot dog would fit better in the baseball theme. But whatever, close enough. It's all the same to a dog anyway.. soft and squeaky.

So there you have it.. some dog goodies for the pooch and some card goodies for me, all under a baseball umbrella.

Thanks for checking it out and we'll see ya next time!

Oh, and sad to hear about the passing of Prince. He was pretty damn cool and I like a bunch of his songs. I would link a YouTube video here (probably "7" -- great song), but he was a bit overprotective of his music, so there don't seem to be many videos to choose from online, unfortunately.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Andrew McCutchen collection

I wanted to show off my Andrew McCutchen collection, so here we go. He's a fun guy to collect. Great player, solid dude. I've only really been collecting him for a year or two, so the number of cards I've got trails behind some of my bigger active-guy PCs such as Goldschmidt and Giancarlo. But I recently took a big step in legitimizing my collection of his by adding an auto.

And here it is! Nice on-card signature, first-year card.

Some more early cards, highlighted by an eTopps RC /999.

I don't have any Cutch relics yet, but that manipatch Pirates logo /99 is pretty cool. A black parallel is my lone 2011 card at the moment.

Decent bunch of cards from 2012.


2014. Love those orange refractors.

2015, featuring a couple cameos and 3 customs.

Just one 2016 card so far.

So there you go. If you can help me fill any holes in my McCullection and want to trade, just drop me a line. I've still got a long way to go to reach my goal of 100 different cards.

This post is dedicated to my homeboy Matthew Scott over at Bob Walk The Plank. The big Pirates fan is down in my old neck of the woods, on vacation in San Diego catching the Pirates vs. Padres series at Petco. Let's squeeze in some beer talk in his honor.

It was a lovely weekend, and me, my wife and dog enjoyed a nice afternoon at Green Dragon, a favorite haunt of ours. My wife did some grad school reading homework, while I brought along my Dick Allen book. I suck in that I've had this book for like 3 years yet I'm such a bad book-reader that I'm still only about a third of the way through it. That's no reflection on the book, as I'm enjoying it, I'm just lazy about cracking books. I should read on the train to/from work, but it's just a bit too heavy for me to want to throw it in my backpack. BTW, I tweeted this pic and Mr. Allen retweeted it.. so cool! Anyways, there's my wallet card making an appearance. I had a couple real nice beers. The first was a Buckman Brewery Salted Caramel Doppelbock. The second was an Ex Novo Coconut Vanilla Porter. Both were very nice. Dark and smooth with a touch of sweetness.

Green Dragon is right next to Rogue Brewing (and owned by them), and they were having one of their "garage sales" where they blow out overstocked cases of their beer for a fraction of what you'd pay elsewhere. Since we don't make it over to that part of town quite as often as we used to, I decided to stock up:

This should last me a while! These are all great beers, with the Hazelnut Brown Nectar on the shortlist of my all-time favorites.

Hope you're enjoying San Diego, Matt! Sorry 'bout the Friars squeezing out the win last night. Are you taking in any brewery tours while you're down there?

That's it for today. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

a buzzed blaster of 2016 Donruss

At the grocery store this afternoon, I was looking for some celebratory cards (got the taxes mailed out earlier in the day.. hurray! finally!). Probably would've gone for 2016 Gypsy Queen, tbh, but they didn't have any, so I settled for Matthew Scott's favorite, 2016 Donruss.

Seems David Ortiz and Tony Gwynn take turns being the Donruss coverboy.

My first hit of the box. A checklist. SSP? Prolly. I'm entertaining offers on this card. SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY. And no, there's no highlight photo on the reverse, just more names and checkboxes. Didn't think they made these things anymore. But there you go. Ultra rare.

I like these guys. The retro cards are just "off" enough to bother me, with the upper right sitch being too big/busy, and the team name (er, city) too tiny. But I'm happy with these dudes nonetheless.

Here are some guys I enthusiastically collect.

Here are some guys I indifferently collect.

I will say the base design of 2016 Donruss is a big improvement to my eyes over the past couple years, though the photos are still very boring and generic. At least Mattingly is fielding.. that's something.

Chris Sale is sailing along pretty well so far this season.. nice to land his DK. And always cool to pick up a new Brett insert, I suppose.

A pair of Pucketts. The HOF one of the right is apparently an SP. Pretty dumb variation, with just the bottom text different, plus the back is upside down. Whatever. I'm probably due for another trade with Brian one of these days.

Here we have Cal Ripken reenacting the JFK assassination. Too soon, Cal. Too soon. :/

Trade bait!!!!
They clearly save their interesting photos for the '82 inserts. The pink parallel is cool.. but really, any color besides white would be an improvement. You think Panini is kicking themselves for choosing nobody Richie Shaffer as a Rated Rookie while had they given Trevor Story a card, they would've sold twice as many boxes of this stuff?

Base trade bait!!!

And my promised hit... (drum roll)

Well, it's a guy I (indifferently) collect, at least, so I'm not complaining. A-rod cards are worthless these days unless an auto, but still, I'm reasonably happy with this unnumbered bat chip. Pretty blue. The photo makes it looks like Alex ate some bad fish that's catching up to him.

According to baseball-reference his name is "Álex Rodríguez". Really? Seems like too many accents. He's off to a slow start so far this year, so Barry Bonds is getting cocky about his tainted home run record being safe, and he's probably right. Maybe if Bryce or Trout stays healthy and plays into their 40s, but otherwise safe.. and Barry would long be dead from a steroid-related heart-attack by then anyways, so it's fine.

That's it. A fine li'l box. Not the best $20 I ever spent, but not too bad, and again, I was celebrating the end of a stressful week.
Hope you're all having a nice weekend. Get your taxes in!