Sunday, December 31, 2017

contest reconciliation + Festival of Lightsabers 2017

Sorry I've been putting it off, but I've got a recent contest to find a winner for. Thanks again to those of you who stuck around and followed along with my 12 Days of Christmas Cards & Beermas series during the busiest time of year. I appreciate it!

Before we list out the entries, some bonus entries to announce. Everybody guessed low on the card count of my Gwynn PC. Once A Cub posted the highest guess (523), and so he gets the bonus for being closest to my count of 651. Also, for commenting on all 12 posts in the series, Fuji and Matt Stupienski each get some bonus entries (and even if they don't win, will at least get a consolation PWE to say thanks).

Here are the entries in order of entrydom :

Rod (initial entry)
Brett Alan (initial entry)
John Miller (initial entry)
Jon (initial entry)
Daniel Wilson (initial entry)
Nick (initial entry)
ketchupman36 (initial entry)
Mark Hoyle (initial entry)
Trevor P (initial entry)
gcrl (initial entry)
The Lost Collector (initial entry)
JayP (initial entry)
John Sharp (initial entry)
The Turrdog (initial entry)
jasongerman9 (initial entry)
Jafronius (initial entry)
Scribbled Ink (initial entry)
Matt Stupienski (initial entry)
Matthew Scott (initial entry)
Matt [Diamond Jesters] (initial entry)
Nachos Grande (initial entry)
CaptKirk42 (initial entry)
Bo (initial entry)
John [ferret] (initial entry)
Sport Card Collectors (initial entry)
Fuji (initial entry)
Bru (initial entry)
Rob (initial entry)
Greg Zakwin (initial entry)
Rod (Kevin Mitchell bonus entry 1)
Rod (Kevin Mitchell bonus entry 2)
Brett Alan (12/25 question bonus entry)
Angus (12/25 question bonus entry)
Bru (12/25 question bonus entry)
JediJeff (12/25 question bonus entry)
Nacho Grande (12/25 question bonus entry)
ketchupman36 (12/25 question bonus entry)
Bo (12/25 question bonus entry)
P-town Tom (12/25 question bonus entry)
Matt Stupienski (12/25 question bonus entry)
Fuji (12/25 question bonus entry)
Matt [Diamond Jesters] (12/25 question bonus entry)
Jafronius  (12/25 question bonus entry)
mrbasepauly (12/25 question bonus entry)
Once a Cub (Gwynn PC count bonus 1)
Once a Cub (Gwynn PC count bonus 2)
Fuji (comment all 12 days bonus 1)
Fuji (comment all 12 days bonus 2)
Fuji (comment all 12 days bonus 3)
Matt Stupienski (comment all 12 days bonus 1)
Matt Stupienski (comment all 12 days bonus 2)
Matt Stupienski (comment all 12 days bonus 3)

Now here are the entries randomized.. but as always here on the Breakdown, I must stress that the below list is not picking a winner, but rather assigning numbers. For extra randomization, the winning number will be the combined point total of both teams in this afternoon's Raiders @ Chargers game.

Best of luck to everybody!

Update: They combined for 40 points. Congrats Dimebox Nick!

- - - -----o

Star Wars stuff.

This year was the 11th Annual Festival of Lightsabers in my house. It's where I have myself a Star Wars film festival during the week between Christmas and New Years. The past couple years, it has creeped up a little, as my wife and I have started a tradition of watching the current movie in the theater on Christmas Day. I've actually kept records on the Festival throughout the years, so in case anyone is curious, here's how it has gone down:


2007 - 1st Annual Festival of Lightsabers
IV, V, VI - special editions

2008 - 2nd Annual Festival of Lightsabers
IV V VI - original theatrical versions
Ewok movies

2009 - 3rd Annual Festival of Lightsabers
IV V VI - theatrical

2010 - 4th Annual Festival of Lightsabers
I [The Phantom Edit fan edit]
II [Attack of the Phantom fan edit]
III [regular]
IV V VI - special editions
Robot Chicken star wars special I
Family Guy - something something dark side [empire]
Star Wars Holiday Special w/ Rifftrax commentary

2011 - 5th Annual Festival of Lightsabers
Family Guy - It's a Trap [Jedi]
Clone Wars II animated film
IV V VI - original theatrical versions
Family Guy - Something, Something Dark Side [Empire]

2012 - 6th Annual Festival of Lightsabers
Rifftrax prequels
Trilogy special editions

2013 - 7th Annual Festival of Lightsabers
New Hope [original]
Empire [original
Family Guy (New Hope)
Jedi [original]

2014 - 8th Annual Festival of Lightsabers
IV, V, VI - special editions

2015 - 9th Annual Festival of Lightsabers
IV - special edition
V - special edition
II "Attack of the Phantom" fan edit
VI - theatrical
VII (in the theater, IMAX 3D)
+ All 3 Family Guy specials
+ Fanboys

2016 - 10th Annual Festival of Lightsabers
25 - Rogue One (in the theater, IMAX 3D)
26 - A New Hope (special edition)
27 - Empire (special edition)
28 - Attack of the Clones
29  - Revenge of the Sith
30 - Jedi (special edition)
31 - Force Awakens

2017 - 11th Annual Festival of Lightsabers
24 - Force Awakens
25 - Last Jedi (in the theater, IMAX 3D)
26 - Family Guy Blue Harvest + Robot Chicken SW Episode I
27 - Rogue One
28 - IV (theatrical)
29 - Family Guy Something Something Darkside + Robot Chicken SW Episode II (I also watched the Star Wars episode of that Netflix "Toys That Made Us" show)
30 - V (theatrical) + Robot Chicken SW Episode III
31 - VI (theatrical) + Family Guy It's a Trap

This year was the first Festival where I watched zero of the prequels, thanks to the new movies picking up the slack.

I thought The Last Jedi was ok.

Some Star Wars cards from my recent COMC order:

I fell short on my goal of completing 2017 Topps Star Wars 40th Anniversary before I turned 40, so now my goal is to complete it while I'm 40. I've got about a year to knock off the 8 remaining cards I need: 8, 15, 29, 42, 57, 58, 108, 180. If anybody can help me out, drop me a line.

Happy New Year, and of course, May the Force be with You! :P

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Taking a deep breath with my Xmas gift to myself

Man, the last few days were stressful for me as I strove to meet my year-end goals at work to ensure I got my full bonus. Thankfully, I achieved what I needed to on the last workday of the year. Quite a relief.

Now, after a deep breath, I need to catch up on some stuff. Atop my to-do list for the holiday weekend is to work out the entries for my recent contest. Sorry for the delay there, but hopefully by my next post that'll be taken care of. Also some trade posts I need to write up for some generous card packages I've gotten in the past week or two. Lots of card sorting and posts I want to make.. almost overwhelming.. just gotta take life a card at a time. lol. But for now, here's a quick one-card post of what I consider my Christmas gift to myself for 2017:

Kirby Puckett 1996 Leaf Signature Series Extended Auto

This was pricey, but still a good deal compared to what they usually go for. The Century Marks parallel of the same card from the same seller at the same time went for $600+. It's the same card but with "Century Marks" written in foil along the top, and the signature in blue ink, and a print run of 100. It's nice the seller listed these both at the same time (the guy was based in Minnesota, so likely a Kirby Kollector trying to recoup some xmas expenditures), so this one slid by under the radar for less than what it probably would have otherwise.

This is a "white whale" card for me, so feels good to snag it. It's my 2nd Puckett auto. I like this one more, so I might consider selling/trading away the other one in the future.

I love that Kirby's wearing a Breathe-Right strip in the photo! I too occasionally slap one of those on my nose at night to help open up my nasal passages. Not for snoring reasons, but just for breathing at full capacity. Not being able to get oxygen at 100% really sucks, and often seems to strike me at night, making it tough to fall asleep.

Anyways, it's a sweet Kirby for me to give me a pat on the back for making it through another year, one that had many ups and downs.
Happy New Year, everybody!

Friday, December 29, 2017

my Hall of Fame ballot

I recently followed on Twitter and have enjoyed checking out the incoming HOF ballots. I don't know anything else about him, but Ryan is a guy who tracks that kind of stuff and shares his findings with his followers. Yeah, I know the Hall is a joke and none of this really matters, but it's still interesting to me in an otherwise dead time of year for baseball.

Obviously, cardbloggers don't get an official vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame (yet), but I figured I'd get a post out of picking what my hypothetical ballot would look like, using my "best card" from each of these guys. These are in alphabetical order.

Barry Bonds. No comment.

Roger Clemens. No comment.
This is a custom overlay. (Here's the original post.)

Vlad narrowly missed last year, his first on the ballot, but looks like a lock this time.

Voters haven't been making it easy on Trevor, but he's got a solid chance of sliding in this year, trending just above the minimum percentage needed so far. I don't think it's just the talk of a San Diego homer with this pick. The guy was the premiere lights-out closer in the NL for a long time. Gotta add the "in the NL" qualifier thanks to how great Mariano Rivera was in the AL, but you can't penalize Trevor for that.

I like the Braves fine and all, but for whatever reason, was just never a big Chipper fan. Still though, can't deny that he belongs in the Hall.

Edgar is right there with Hoffman on the cusp of victory in early voting.

Fred McGriff should be in the Hall of Fame. He won't be getting in anytime soon, but hopefully someday.
But let's talk about that glorious card! I considered doing a whole post on this new addition to my collection, but will instead just include it here. But yeah, I had been wanting a Padres certified autograph of Crime Dog for a long while, but everything he's got on the market is either Blue Jays, Braves, or Rays.
Buybacks to the rescue! This was a 1992 Leaf card and is now a 2014 Leaf Memories buyback autograph, #'d 10/29.

I only recently started collecting Jim Thome in earnest a year or two ago, and don't have all that many of his cards. Looks like he's easily going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, if early results are any indication.

I guess I'm a fan of longevity. If you play in the Major Leagues for 20+ years, I say you belong in the HOF regardless of your numbers. Omar Vizquel was an elite shortstop for a looong time. Sure, he was overshadowed by the likes of Ripken and Jeter, but come on, put him in. Looks like he's in store for the Alan Trammell treatment.

And rounding out my picks is Larry Walker. He gets dinged for playing in the rarefied air of Colorado for much of his career, but his stats on the road during that time were nearly as good. Like McGriff, he won't be getting the Call to the Hall anytime time soon... but one of these days, people will look back and wake up and realize how great these two were in the juicing era that prevented them from standing out as much at the time.

So there are my 10 picks. You probably disagree with some of them, but that's the nature of this stuff.
Feel free to post your choices in the comments. If I could vote for more than 10, or vote for guys not on the current ballot, I definitely would.

Thanks for reading and have a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

don't look a gift hobby box in the mouth

Time to close out my 2017 holiday haul. These 2 boxes are courtesy of my in-laws.

2016 Topps Tier One. This is the Asia Edition, which as far as I can tell is the same as the US Edition, but for some unknown reason is in a slightly different box and can be found for a few bucks cheaper than its US counterpart.

Corey Kluber is very good. He just won his 2nd Cy Young.

Richie Shaffer spent all of 2017 in AAA for the Indians org. On the plus side, he cranked 30 taters down there, but on the minus side, his average was .227. And unless Jackée is involved, 227 is not good.

The 3rd and final card of the box is a Kolten Wong relic. Welp, it's always a plus when the swatch isn't plain white or grey. He had a solid 2017 season. I seem to end up with decent Kolten cards from time to time, but can't bring myself to formally start a PC. This'll likely end up with Kerry from Cards on Cards. He recently hooked me up with a nice package of cardboard (post forthcoming), so it's nice to pull decent redbirds to hit him back with.

And here's another box of 2016 Legacies of Baseball. You may recall from a few days ago that I got a box of this stuff from my mom and pulled a Trout 1/1. This box here is from my mother-in-law. While normally I wouldn't ask for 2 of the same product at the same time, well nothing else in the desired price range really grabbed me. I considered asking for some Panini stuff, but ultimately stuck with good ol' licensed Topps.

Hey, Sonny Gray is pretty decent. Perhaps he'll become a big star on the Yankees. Sure seems to have a lot of A's autos on the market, though.

Hard to complain about pulling an Al Kaline. Numbered 14/99. I don't collect him these days, but I'm sure this'll come in handy next time I need to throw a little oomph into a trade package for a Tigers fan.

Hey, here's a guy I collect, Hall of Famer Rod Carew. These Vault Metals ingots are pretty cool in-hand. Probably wouldn't make a good wallet card, though. But I guess if somebody stabbed you in the ass, it could save your life.

Last time I flipped one of these around, I was surprised with a beautiful "1/1" numbering. How would I fare this time?...

Meh, the /135 pressings are the "base" versions, so while I'm not complaining about the player selection, this isn't a big hit.

But you know what, I'm just glad that I haven't hit a Henry Owens card yet. That's the biggest risk when opening 2016 high-end boxes from Topps. For some reason, they really flooded the market with him, in all products, high-end no exception. Despite respectable numbers in the minors, he always seemed to choke in his Big League opportunities, and even loyal Red Sox collectors grew sick of the guy and don't especially want his cards.

So yeah, GOOD THING i haven't pulled any cards of his in this box breaking spree, right?

Ok, now let's take a look at the final card of my 2017 holiday haul:

Goddamn it!!

So close to escaping with no Henry Owens "hits". Not the best way to end things. Oh well. Still fun to open boxes like these, especially when it's not my hard-earned money on the line. Big thanks to my mother-in-law for indulging my xmas list requests, even if it turns out I would have been better off with the cash equivalent. The Kluber auto was nice. And the metallic Carew, too. Over all, the best pull from my birthday/xmas boxes was clearly the metal Trout 1/1. So at least there was that! And some other solid pulls to go along with it. Add to that the intangible anticipation and thrill of the rip, and I'd call the experience a success overall. The damn fool I am will probably ask for more boxes along these lines next year. At least I stayed away from those expensive 1-card boxes like Topps Dynasty. That's when pulling a Henry Owens really hurts. At least he has 3 other decent cards to soften the blow this time.

Not only do my in-laws graciously gift me with expensive boxes of baseball cards for Christmas, but they have also fallen into the tradition of hitting me with a six-pack of assorted craft beer for my birthday each year. So it's like the 12 Days of Beermas typically gets extended to nearly 3 weeks. Nice haul this year, selected by my father-in-law. I'm excited for these, though some of them will have to wait a while to get drinken (sic) because I said I'm gonna have a sober January, and I'll stick to that.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all had a nice holiday!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2 boxes 4 me: 5 Star and Tier 1

Today we've got more from my holiday haul.

A hobby box of 2016 Topps Five Star Baseball. Only 2 cards per pack, both autos.

A pretty nice Jim Rice auto. The only auto I previously had of him is a logoless stickergraph, so this is definitely an upgrade.

The other card in the pack is Omar Vizquel. Another good-looking card. It's my first auto of his. I'm a little surprised at the lack of HOF support he's been getting so far on this, his first year on the ballot, but he'll probably get in eventually.

So that box was decent, with a couple HOF-caliber guys, though I'm a little bummed both were unnumbered base autos.

Let's keep on crackin'...

2017 Topps Tier One. Three cards in this one.

Sweet. Carlos Correa is a guy I collect.

Steven Matz is a solid young pitcher for the Mets who had some injury issues this past season. Kinda cool, though it's a sticker and plain grey swatch.

Finally, here's a Javier Baez auto #'d 3/10. Not bad! A few days ago I showed off a similar one of these, a Christmas Card of Tyler Austin. Love the silver ink.

That's it for today. Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Holy Crap.. My birthday Trout luck continues!

Merry Christmas, those of you readers who celebrate it!

I get a nice onslaught of gifts this time of year, thanks to my b-day being 12.24. I'm lucky that I have folks and in-laws that have disposable income to play with, and are cool with my Christmas/B-day list requests for high-end baseball card boxes.

This year kicks off with a box of 2016 Legends of Baseball, or whatever it's called (update: Legacies of Baseball) courtesy of my mom. Since I haven't heard of a 2017 edition coming out, I guess this was a one-and-done high-end product. It's got some cool stuff, like real metal cards and plenty of lovely on-card autos. Boxes were reasonably priced (as far as high-end boxes go), so I threw it onto my Christmas list. Just 4 cards per pack, so it's a bit of a gamble and you gotta just hope for the best.

Edgar Martinez! Not a bad start. Looks like Edgar has a good shot at a HOF nod in the current vote, trending at around 82% with early results coming in. I never collected him too much, but like him well enough, and am happy to add a nice auto from him to my collection. The "Loyalty" distinction at the bottom is nice.. with Edgar spending his entire 18-year career with the Mariniers

Here's a base card (or I suppose I should say "non-hit card").. a nice-looking Warren Spahn. He's a guy I collect, so I'm happy to add a low-numbered card of his to the PC.

The 2nd and final auto is Miguel Sano. Not bad, not bad. He's developing into quite the elite slugger. I'll take it!

And finally, here's a Mike Trout original vault metal. This steely "card" came in the plastic sleeve right out of the pack, perhaps to protect the other cards from it. Pretty cool vault metal card of the game's best player.

So there you have it. Not a bad haul. But for a $100+ box, it's a bit ho-hum. Edgar and Sano are great players, but their autos generally aren't all that pricey (~$10). So it's looking like a bit of a dud.

Oh, hey... wait.. before I end this post.. perhaps we should take a look at the back of that Trout....

*abruptly clears throat* Didja catch that??
Shablam!!!! Trout 1/1, baby!!! Nice! One-of-one black parallel? Yeah, ok, turns out this was a good box after all! Thanks, Mom!

So last year I pulled two Trout autos from one box from my mom on my birthday. And now I followed that up with a pack-pulled Topps 1/1 Trout. Can't complain about that. It seems my mom's got a hot hand for Trout hot boxes. At this rate, I'm due for a Trout superfractor from her gift on 12/24/18.

More high-end box breaks coming this week thanks to my generous folks and in-laws! So check back soon. Will I be able to top a Trout 1/1? Probably not, but we'll find out.
Thanks for reading, and again Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Matt Ginter turns 40 (and I'm a published photographer now!)

Damn it, Matt, we're 40 today. I guess it could be worse; we could have not made it to 40. So cheers to us. I don't know about you, but this past year was the year my metabolism finally caught up to me. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted and drink all the beer I felt like with no repercussions, but no more.. now I've got a beer belly that is stubbornly sticking around despite my frequent trips to the gym. On the plus side, I'm otherwise in peak health despite that nasty finger infection I dealt with a couple months back. A positive outcome there was for the first time in my adult life, I quit the habit of biting my nails. Talk about an old dog learning a new trick!

Turns out I'm the internet's go-to Matt Ginter collector. He's a guy I collect due to the fact that he's the only major leaguer that was born the same exact day as me. A few months ago, a journalist who was working on a piece on him for a hometown periodical approached me for permission to use some of my scans of his cards from old blog posts here. I said sure, of course. Then she said, "er, actually, could you get me better quality pics?, the ones on your blog are crap." (I'm paraphrasing here.) And I said sure. The deal was I would get a copy of the magazine and photo credit therein. A month or two later, it showed up in the mail.

cover (no Ginter content on there)

Very cool that on some very minor level, I can officially consider myself a published photographer. Just like how I consider myself a "professional musician" thanks to that one time my band got paid a few bucks to perform a decade ago. Hey, according to olympic committee rules, that counts!

Here's the article:

Very cool! Seems like a good guy. Big thanks to Whitney for the copy of the magazine. Nice to feel like I've gotten to know my birthday buddy a little closer now.

Here are a couple recent additions to the PC. The uncut proof Bowman refractor shared with Adam Eaton is pretty neat. The 2000 Omega card is shared with Brad Penny and is #'d 431/999.

-    -    -  -  ----  ----------o

12 Days of Christmas Cards and Beermas - Day 12

We've reached the end of this series. Thanks to you guys for following along.

The final beer is a 2017 Reserve edition of The Abyss by Deschutes Brewery. I'm no stranger to Deschutes, with their Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale being go-to selections around here, but I don't spring for their fancier stuff too often, so this is a nice treat. Thanks again to my wonderful wife for another great Beermas selection.

I don't have a Matt Ginter Christmas Card, but I do have an Allen & Ginter Christmas Card.. close enough! Just got this in this past week in a trade with prominent reader/non-blogger John H. He dropped me an email letting me know he pulled this Stephen Vogt hand-numbered Brooklyn Back Mini out of a blaster of 2016 Ginter, and I was able to swap some of my Giancarlo Stanton dupes for it. Thanks for the trade, John!

Looks like we're getting a white Christmas here in Portland this year. May your days be merry and bright.

Contest update: The entry period will end 12/24/2017 at 11:59.59 PM Pacific Time, so any commenting you wanna do for contest consideration, get it in by then. Give me at least a couple days to figure out the entries and then we'll find a winner or two. Sorry the bonus entry opportunities and additional cards to the prize package kinda dried up at the end there, but I was pretty slammed and just didn't have the time to mess with any non-essential blogging, lol. But trust me, I'll add some good cards to the prize, hopefully tailored to the collecting habits of the winner.

Thanks as always for reading and hope you have a Merry Christmas!