Thursday, July 23, 2015

Life is nuts

I feel like I start all of my posts the same these days: ahhh life is crazy, I don't have a ton of time to blog or do card-related things blah blah blah. And you know what, it's true.

As previously mentioned, we are moving next week to a house in the NJ suburbs. As many of you may recall when we first traded or exchanged packages, I was living on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. Then we had our first kid, and out to Hoboken, NJ (just across the Hudson) we went. It was still city life, just a little more space and more kid-friendly. Now, we've outgrown that space, and are full-on headed to the 'burbs. It's still a short commute to NYC for work, but now we have a house, a yard, and more space. Please feel free to ask for my new address.

Speaking of my commute into NYC, I just started a new job last week. Timing is insane. So I'm getting up to speed with the new role with a new company (first time in 9 years!), plus I feel extremely disheveled, to put it lightly.

I've still been getting cards in, as well as trying to keep up with blogs, but I won't lie, I feel a bit LOST (see what I did there?!). I look forward to some form of normalcy in the next few weeks/months.

Ok, I've gone too long without showing a card. Here's a neat new card that came in - a Ty Hensley 1/1. It looks like some sort of Leaf Draft test or proof. It's hand-numbered 1/1 (upper left) and comes in a fancy sealed case. I don't know much about it, so it was a fairly uninformed purchase. Other cards like this of other players exist, so I'm pretty sure someone isn't tricking me with it. Maybe they are.
Thanks for listening. I know everyone has busy lives and I'm not special, but just wanted to fill you in a little on where I am right now.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

An eBay idiot

I tend to be pretty tolerant with ebay sellers. The vast majority I have bought from have been great. Once in a while you get one who is a bad apple or maybe could have shipped a product better. Then another time, you get a complete jerk like the one I dealt with yesterday.

A few days ago, I found a Ty Hensley card I needed that doesn't pop up often - a 2012 Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor. Shipping was $3.50, which I hate, but I knew the bidding wouldn't be high, and I really wanted this card, as it's not common to come across.

I won the auction for $1.37 + the $3.50 shipping. You'd think that would mean a bubble mailer and tracking, right? Right? Nope. Here's how the card arrived:
I have zero issues with a PWE if shipping is free or $.99. Really, I don't. I expect a PWE in those instances. But a PWE for $3.50?!

I sent the seller the following note, word for word:


I'm very disappointed in the shipping of this item. $3.50 for shipping and it was sent in a plain white envelope? The card was halfway out of the top loader as well.

For $3.50, this should have been in a bubble mailer with tracking.

The seller responded with the following, again, word for word:

send it back ill give your $back
about you dont buy any of my cards refracters for 1.37
if thats how you feel give me bad feed back

Really? So basically, the card didn't sell for what he hoped, so he decided to make a little extra on shipping. Shady.

I knew this wasn't going to go far, but I followed up once more:

Gladly left negative feedback for your rude response. It's not hard to be courteous. Enjoy making money off shipping.

Best of luck. 

He sent two more emails after that:

luck this 

bite me $1.37

I don't know if I'm dealing with a child or what, but I let it go. No sense in clearly getting into a juvenile back and forth. I need the card, so I'm not sending it back. It's not worth the time. However, this guy is clearly making money off of shipping, and justifies it by what the card sells for. Unreal.

So, my advice, don't buy from: dlcarpets09.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Just a Derby Day reminder...

...that despite who wins tonight's HR Derby, Tino Martinez was the champion in 1997!

Ok, now that I got that out of the way, I'm interested to see how the HR Derby and its newest format goes tonight. I don't mind MLB trying to spice it up a little bit. I feel like every couple of years it needs a change to stay exciting. Even if it's not, it's mostly an event for kids, and as long as they are entertained, that's what matters. Baseball has a major youth problem, so anything that keeps kids interested and excited is a win in my book.

That's why I get annoyed when adults take to Twitter/social media to talk about how stale or boring it is or how annoying Chris Berman is. While all things that are usually true, if the kids are liking it, and they think Berman's shtick is great (I know I did as a youngster), then that's a win for baseball and the event. It's the same thing in the NBA. The dunk contest hasn't been good in ages, but the NBA does a great job parading around Drake and making it an event that kids love.

My pick for tonight? Anthony Rizzo. Not sure why, but I just feel like he's going to do well. I like Todd Frazier, but the pressure of being in front of the home crowd might be a bit too much to overcome. Either way, I hope it's an entertaining night.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Striking while the iron isn't hot

Sadly, injuries can make cards more affordable. My Michael Pineda collection flourished during his 2+ years of injury. Now, it's hard to get his better cards at a decent price, even with his up and down season.

The same tends to go for prospects. Jacob Lindren, the Yankees first pick in the 2014 draft, was on the fast track to the Major Leagues. In turn, his cards went up quite a bit with the anticipation that he'd be an important part of the Yankees bullpen.

Lindgren finally got called up, and he was ok. He had some good outings, and a few rough ones. After dominating AAA, he pitched in seven games for the big club, striking out eight but allowing three HRs. Welcome to The Show, Rook! This ain't the minors!

He was then optioned to AAA, and it later came out that he was on the DL. He had a bone spur removed from his elbow, although the timeframe for his recovery is less than 12 weeks. Still, I'm not sure how timing will work for the rest of the season and if he'll be back in time to help in September. Even if he is, he might not pitch in meaningful games. Or the Yanks will play it conservative with him. Who knows?

Still, he's just 22, and has a bright, bright future as a reliever.

Since the rocky debut, the prices of his cards have settled down quite a bit. I was able to grab his Bowman Chrome auto, as well as this Topps Pro Debut gold parallel auto for quite a bit less than I would have been a month ago. Injuries suck, but sometimes you gotta strike while guys are on the shelf.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Robert Refsnyder, welcome to The Show

I woke up with then intention of a Robert Refsnyder-themed post, but Zippy Zappy of Torren' Up Cards already dominated one, so I'm just going to refer you to that: CLICK HERE.

However, a few brief thoughts on the much-anticipated promotion of Robert Refsnyder:

For starters, I'm glad to see it finally happen. Stephen Drew has been weird. I was all for signing him to a one-year deal to hopefully reap the benefits of a bounce back year to reestablish his value. If you told me he'd have 12 HRs at the All-Star break, I'd have said "perfect!"

However, like last year, he's still hitting below .200. Over the last two seasons, he's approaching 600 PA's where he hasn't hit above .200. I still think he's better than that, but at some point, the numbers have to show proof. Everyone has been more than patient waiting.

His defense has been fine for a guy who has been a shortstop all of his career. He's not the best defensive 2B out there, but he's been perfectly fine with the glove, in my opinion.

So in comes Refsnyder to start against two lefties this weekend at Fenway. Interestingly, Jesus Montero was the last offensive prospect with this much hype to be called up, and he too debuted at Fenway. You can't predict baseball, Suzyn!

So what to expect? I don't know. I'd love to see him get hot and win the job outright, but I don't think that'll happen, nor is it fair to expect. He's not going to be a savior, but he can be a solid contributor. I'd like to see him show flashes - not be overmatched, look decent with the glove, and put some pressure on Drew to perform.

I wish Robert Refsnyder the best of luck, and hopefully this is the start of a new era at 2B for New York.

Friday, July 10, 2015

And I said, what about Breakfast at Tiffany's?

One of the first Tino Martinez cards I ever bought in 1996 was his 1988 Topps Traded RC. I got one of those of mailings that had a list of cards for sale, then I had to write back and ask for the complete list of each player. I think you could ask for three lists without having to pay for shipping, so I selected Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs, and Tino.

I probably bought 10 Tinos for a couple of bucks, and definitely his RC. I can be certain the only other card I remember was his 1996 Topps Laser issue. Since then, I've amassed a bunch of this same Traded RC, however, I've never had the fortune of owning the glossy Tiffany parallel. Until now.

While surfing eBay, I found a list of 65 Tino cards for $.99 plus $3 shipping. I usually stay away from those lots because they are nearly all dupes. If there are a handful I need, I'll buy, but that's rare. But this one was rare. It contained one of the Tiffany RCs. The card usually goes for a few bucks on its own, but I was able to land the whole lot for the minimum bid.

Boom! It looks...just like the non-Tiffany versions, but there's definitely a lot more gloss to the front of the card. You can't tell from the scan and just need to take my word for it.
The lot was mostly dupes as predicted, although I think I did add three or four new Tinos from it. However, the most important was this gray whale (h/t Zippy Zappy).

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Treat Yo-self - Tino edition

I recently went on a Tino Martinez splurge. I found a seller that had a bunch of inserts for a buck with free combined shipping, so I went on a mini tear. I even checked my "have" list for a change to make sure I wasn't duplicating efforts. Most of these are from 1996-97 on some very forgotten sets. 

Pinnacle Aficionado? Check.
Pacific Prisms? Check.
One of the 9,000 Pinnacle brands? Check.
Gold Medallions? Die-cuts? Refractors? Check, check, and check.

Did I say refractors? I meant ATOMIC refractors.
Upper Deck trying to be old school? Check.
Awkward Studio shots? Yup.
Not a bad haul whatsoever!

A little advice

Currently, I am packing up my apartment to move to a new house a little further out in the suburbs. We'll still be renting for the time being, but if we like the area enough once we get settled, we'll buy a house.

If you're a card collector, moving brings a lot of stress. You have to pack up all your cards and make sure they move without damage. Last time I moved, I labeled the boxes with my cards as "cook books" so that the movers wouldn't be interested. I may do that again.

However, for me, once the actual move is over, I'm excited. I'll have a lot more room to organize and store cards. You should see my makeshift storage solutions right now. I need to re-organize soooo badly, but I'm not going to do it until I'm settled.

While going through a box of random card stuff during a packing session, I found the following printed on a white piece of paper. Undoubtedly, it's advice someone game me once I started a blog. I'm sorry, I just can't remember who it was. I went back through old emails and searched, but came up empty-handed. If these are your words, I apologize for not properly crediting you. However, they still ring true now that I've been blogging for over four years, and figured it couldn't hurt to pass them along. Some will ring true, some you'll disagree with:

1. Don't go overboard and buy everything.
2. Figure out what you like and focus on that.
2a. See rule 1.
3. Find a good local card shot - this might be tough but if you find a good one you're set.
4. Wax is for suckers. It's all a gamble, so treat ripping wax like you're gambling. Do it for fun, not profit and only rip what you can afford.
4a. See rule 1.
5. Putting a little time into organization will bring you great happiness later.
6. Ebay and other online relailers are good places to find some obscure things and bargains.
6a. See rule 1.
7. Seek out some of the blogs and forums and get some trades going - it's a good way to get rid of junk for what you like.

So there you have it. Can anyone claim these words or know where they came from? What rules would you add, whether it's for new collectors, re-energized collectors, or season collectors?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


A couple of weeks ago, I got my March Radness NCAA Tournament prize from Kerry of Cards on Cards. I think this is the first year I actually placed near the top. I won a prize in the contest once before, but that was a pity prize for finishing dead last. I blame Syracuse on my success this year. Since they were banned from post-season play, I did not feel the need in my heart to pick them, so I was able to be a little smarter about my choices.

The results? Baseball cards!

Kerry definitely went out of his way to snag this sweet Ty Hensley die-cut auto for me. It's a green parallel that I needed for my PC, and I know Kerry checked my 'have' list to see if I had it. Very cool. I love it.

Of course, Kerry also used it as an opportunity to get ride of a bunch of Yanks, something he likes to do like most collectors. Here are some of the goodies, including a Billy Martin I had never seen before.

And last but not least, I'll never turn down a Tino Team USA 1988 Topps Traded RC.

Thanks, Kerry. Hopefully I'll win next year!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Gold at the (almost) end of the rainbow

At some point, I hope to complete the Ty Hensley 2013 Bowman Draft non-1/1 rainbow. I've never officially stated that I'm going to go after it, but I'm far enough along now that I'm keeping an eye out for the cards I need. I'm at the point where one I need pops up every couple of months now, but when it does, and the price is right, I pounce.
My latest addition was this gold refractor, numbered to 50. It only cost a couple of bucks. Now I have the following from this set:

2013 Bowman Draft Top Prospects #TP-23 
2013 Bowman Draft Top Prospects Blue Parallel #TP-23 (233/500, 429/500)
2013 Bowman Draft Top Prospects Orange Parallel #TP-23 (089/250)
2013 Bowman Draft Top Prospects Purple Ice #TP-23 (09/10)
2013 Bowman Draft Top Prospects Red Ice #TP-23 (08/25)
2013 Bowman Draft Top Prospects Silver Ice #TP-23 
2013 Bowman Draft Top Prospects Yellow Printing Plate #TP-23 (1/1)
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Top Prospects #TP-23 
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Top Prospects #TP-23 (signed via TTM)
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Top Prospects Refractor #TP-23 
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Top Prospects Refractor Black #TP-23 (18/35) 
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Top Prospects Refractor Blue #TP-23 (38/99)
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Top Prospects Refractor Gold #TP-23 (31/50)
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Top Prospects Refractor Green #TP-23 (57/75)
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Top Prospects Refractor Red #TP-23 (3/5)
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Top Prospects Refractor Wave Black #TP-23
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Top Prospects Refractor Wave Blue #TP-23
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Top Prospects Refractor Wave Red #TP-23 (20/25)
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Top Prospects Refractor Wave Silver #TP-23 (07/25) 
By my count, I need:
Chrome Superfractor (whatever)
Red Paper (/5)
Black Paper (1/1 - whatever)
Paper Printing Plates (Black, Magenta, Cyan - whatever)
Chrome Printing Plates (All)
Black Ice (1/1 - whatever)
Orange Chrome Refractor (/25) - where are you Orange Refractor?! There's one on eBay for $8.99 and COMC for $15 right now....ehhh, a little more than I want to spend.

Someone keep my calculations honest here, but I believe all the non 1/1s I'm missing are a red parallel #'d to 5, and the Orange Refractor. Zippy Zappy, does that look right to you? So I think I can complete the non-1/1 rainbow with a little more patience. The red paper will be tough to find. COMC has one for $45, which is simply absurd. The Orange Refractor #'d to 25 shouldn't be too pricey, it's just a matter of finding it for a cost I'm happy with.

Monday, July 6, 2015

After 18 years, it's mine

When you're an adult, you can do things that you couldn't when you were a kid. You can eat eat cookies for dinner. You don't have to eat your veggies or brush your teeth, although both are recommended. You can also buy things that you might not have been able to as a kid.

That's part of the allure of being an adult when you're a kid. Mom won't buy me a pack of cards? Fine, when I'm grown up I'll buy as many packs as I want!

Rarely does it work like that. Bills, mortage, student loans, kids, etc. make sure of that. But don't tell me that when I'm 12. Let me dream that I'll have all the money in the world to spend on foolish things.

When 1997 Donruss Signature came out, I remember seeing pictures of the cards in Beckett and vowing to one day own one. When I saw that Tino was in the set with an on-card autograph (his first, I believe), I needed one. Little did I know I wouldn't get one until 2015, but alas, I finally own this:

I can't buy all the cards I want. Far from it. However, I had some money in my paypal account from a few sales, and was able to fund this card 100%. I don't feel bad about that. I lost on a couple of auctions before landing this one.

I was thrilled when it came. It lived up to everything I thought it would. I really felt like I was holding a piece of my card-collecting history, and I hope I made 12-year-old me proud that I stuck to my promise of owning this card.

It'll take a place with some of my most special Tinos in my collection.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

From Tiny via someone else

A while back, Uncle Tiny said that I'd be receiving a package, but it was from someone else. I believe that he set up a trade with another collector, but had some of it shipped it to me. A very unique and cool idea!

The package itself was full of Bengals, with a few highlights below. I've really enjoyed trading with Uncle Tiny, and I thank Jaybarkerfan for putting us in touch. I've found Tiny to be a very kind, generous guy who is always up for some good card chat.

Thanks again, Uncle Tiny!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Stars, Stripes, & Big Mike

Happy 4th! I'm a big fan of this holiday. The week at work leading into the 4th is always slow. People take off early. In the NYC area, everyone goes to the Jersey Shore, the Hamptons, or Cape Cod, so the city and the surrounding area is usually pretty quiet. Plus the kids are running around, eating burgers and dogs, and it makes for a great couple of days.

Keeping up with the theme of the day, here's a Panini USA Baseball Stars & Stripes Game Gear relic of Yankees 2015 first rounder James Kaprielian. A report this past week said that he and the Yanks are close to a $3mil deal. I'd love to get him signed and wrapped up. Given his workload for the season at UCLA, I'd expect him to make a couple of starts in the low minors/rookie ball, and then jump into full season ball to start next yeah. He should move quickly.

After an epic win last night, the Yanks and Rays face off today in a matinee. The weather here in NY is cloudy and fairly cool, but the chance of rain looks to be diminishing. Big Mike is on the hill for the Yanks.

I recently picked up this 2015 Topps Archives gold parallel of Pineda, and I gotta say, the card stock is a joke. I'm not usually one to care about that sort of thing, but it feels like I'm holding a promo card for a free t-shirt or something. It just feels so flimsy and cheap. Too bad. The card is #'d 05/50...palindrome!
I hope you and your families have a terrific 4th! Go Yankees!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Being Productive

Now that I'm Mr. Mom for a few weeks until my new job starts, I feel pressured to be productive at home. Yesterday I did a load of laundry and the dishes. Today I cleaned the toilets and picked up 800,000 toys. I showered today too!

I don't want my wife working all day then getting mad coming home to find out that I did nothing all day, even if I have watched Shallow Hal and Back To The Future today alone.

Being productive reminds me of good hitters. I enjoy stats like OPS (and OPS+), as a guy that gets on base and slugs is usually pretty productive. Captain Obvious, I know...

Back in 1998, Donruss featured this groundbreaking stat, although they named it Power Index because it sounded cooler, I guess.

It's a pretty cool card, with the serial numbers matching the Power Index numbers. However, one thing that seems weird to me is that the guys higher on the list end up having more cards in the print run. Theoretically, those are the better players, and it feels like they should be rarer. I guess it's not a big deal, I always just found it odd.

I also think they should have explained that Power Index = OB% + SLUG%. I know it's not a big deal now, but back in the day it certainly wasn't well known, and wasn't intuitive at all from the card.