Tuesday, February 28, 2017

COMC Black Friday: The Autos

Am I behind in sharing my Black Friday haul from COMC? Probably. I was going through a few envelopes, and realized that I had never posted on my last delivery, which were a bunch of Yanks purchased on Black Friday. Combine that with my lack of new cards to show off and topics to write about, and now I've got a little fodder while I wait for some darn TTMs to trickle in.

There's nothing too fancy here, as it was more bargain bin shopping, but still, a couple of neat cards that I got for super cheap prices.
Stuck in 2011, this was a card I wanted but never got. Obviously Jesus Montero is a failed prospect - and failed Big Leaguer at this point - but for awhile, he was the #3 prospect in the game behind two guys - Trout and Harper. Pretty good. I always liked the way this card looked, and it was a tough pull. In November of 2016, I bought this for a little over $1. Prospects - they'll break your heart!
Gosuke Katoh looked like he was on his way to becoming a top Yankee prospect, but he's had a tough go of it the last few seasons. He's still just 22, so perhaps he can still make some strides this season. However, it's fair to say he's quite behind a bunch of middle infield prospects right now. I've always liked him though, and am pulling for him to put it all together this year.
Drew Finley is a guy that's easy to forget about, but he's a Top 20 Yankees prospect according to MLB.com. He should get his first taste of full-season ball this year, and I wouldn't be shocked to see him become one of the Yankees better pitching prospects as the year goes on.
Lastly, a cool signed card of Angel Aguilar. I like his signature a lot. I don't know anything about this set, but it's a decent looking card.

Monday, February 27, 2017

ToppsNOW: Gary Sanchez

I enjoyed the concept of ToppsNOW last year. Like many of you, I think the price is a bit outrageous at $9.99 per card, but after my first few purchases, realized I could buy them on eBay for quite a bit less. SO after ordering probably four or five from Topps, I then just started turning to eBay for any I wanted after.

I was still paying like $6-$7 a card, which is kind of crazy for a frugal card-spender like myself, but I really enjoyed watching Gary Sanchez, and wanted these cards as a testament to his rookie season.

I'm only missing one from the season, which I really should just bite the bullet on and buy on eBay before it gets impossible to find. It's #368 - 5 HRs in 15 games. The first card, from August 10, was going for like $80-$100 on eBay for awhile. It was tempting, but I hung onto it.

I'm not sure what my strategy will be for 2017 regarding ToppsNow, but we'll see soon enough. For now, here's a look back at my 2016 Gary Sanchez haul.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Big summer blowout

Credit: http://otionsoap.com
Overall, I'm not the biggest Blowout Cards guy. I appreciate the site, but I have found the message boards to be a bit of a mess, and mostly indicative of the current state of the hobby where most collectors only care about hits and high-dollar cards. I know it's not the case for every collector on there so I don't want to generalize too much, but I've seen that in a lot in my limited interactions on the site and forums.

However, I do spend time in the TTM section of the forums. I like to see what other collectors are obtaining via TTM, and share some of my successes. For the most part, my TTM successes are my blog posts that perform the worst and get the least amount of interractions. That's ok, that's not why I blog and am not upset when a post gets little views and no comments. No big deal to me. However, the forum gives me an alternate space to share some of my successes with those who are a bit more interested.

Although, I must say, for a TTM forum, a lot of people post in-person (IP) successes. Kind of odd, but whatever. There are a lot of prolific IP 'graphers, so it can be cool to see of their loot.

From time to time, a collector will list some autographs for sale, mostly obtained IP. Recently, someone listed hundreds of cards for $.75 each, mostly of minor leaguers. While I tend to stay away from purchasing autographs that aren't certified, I have no reason to believe that members of a TTM forum are screwing people over. So I decided to take a look and see if anything struck my fancy, and as it turns out, I was able to add three new Yankee autos for a total of $2.25.
Thairo Estrada, one of ZZ's favorites, is a guy that has eluded me TTM, so I was happy to pick up this one for $.75. He's definitely under-the-radar in terms of current Yankee prospects, mostly due to the fact that he's so young. However, he had a great 2016 as a 20-year-old in mostly high-A ball, so I think his days of going unnoticed are numbered.
The second guy I picked up, and two of the same card, is Tyler Wade. Wade is one of the best, most-advanced shortstops in the Yankees system, and projects to be a solid Big Leaguer. I think we'll see him in the Bronx at some point this season. The Yanks are trying to make him into a Ben Zobrist-type to help his path to the Majors, including him playing OF in the AFL last season. He doesn't sign TTM (as far as I can tell), and I haven't picked up a Bowman auto yet, so I figured this was a decent gamble.

I don't think I'll make a habit of buying from sales like this, but it's a great option once in awhile for those tougher-to-get signatures.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Don't sleep on Didi

There is a lot of excitement in Yankees camp this year, and rightfully so, as the newest batch of prospects – some new to the organization – will be front and center.

Not all of them will pan out. That’s how it works with prospects. However, the Yankees have enough quality right now that several of them should become at least solid Big Leaguers, either for NY or someone else.

With all the hype surrounding these guys, it’s easy to forget about the current players. Take shortstop, for example. Gleyber Torres is widely considered a Top 10 prospect in the game right now, and the next great Yankees shortstop. But I’ve been reminding myself that the Yankees have a pretty good one in place right now – Didi Gregorius.
Gregorius isn’t the sexy name and he had the dubious task of following Derek Jeter, but he’s also no slouch. He plays excellent defense, and last season belted 20 HRs as a 26-year old. It’s not like he’s some aging player keeping the seat warm for the rising star. He’s entering the prime of his career, and has steadily been improving each season.

There aren’t many shortstops these days with 20-HR power and great defense.

I’m going to consciously make an effort to enjoy Didi and appreciate the job he’s done as a Yankee, and hopefully other fans do the same, instead of just waiting for Torres or Mateo or some other shiny new toy to come along. It’s ok to be excited about the future, but it’s important to remember that the present is pretty good too.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

TTM Success: Brooks Robinson

Yesterday, during my post-work commute, I had the thought that I really wanted to return home to a TTM success. I have a lot of spring training requests out, and I've been hoping that a few early ones trickle in.

I did in fact get a success, but it wasn't from spring training. No, sir. Just a Hall of Famer and one of the best 3B to ever play the game:
Mr. Robinson was kind enough to sign my card. I included a $5 fee, which he kept. No issues at all with handing over a $5 bill for an auto like this.

It looks great. I'm thrilled to add another HOF autograph to my collection.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Unintentionally indifferent

I got a kick out of the Twitter frenzy last night when it became apparent that MLB was doing away with traditional four-pitch intentional walks. There aren’t many more amusing things than Twitter overreactions over anything and everything.

I am completely indifferent on this subject. Sure, we won’t have the blooper-reel staple of a pitcher airmailing a slow pitchout. I guess we’ll just have to live with the bat hitting Tommy Lasorda and the ball bouncing off of Jose Canseco’s head to get out laughs in between those long commercial breaks at the ballpark.

And sure, we’ll also miss the very rare instance when a player hits a pitch meant to be a deliberate ball. Gary Sanchez did this last year, nearly hitting a HR. He wound up with the deep sac fly, and was immortalized on a Topps NOW card. Unfortunately, Topps zoomed in on the photo to ungodly levels. A nice, wide shot from center field would have been a much cooler way to capture the feat than a waist up shot that looks like any old swing from this man child.
The above examples aside, I literally do not care and will not miss intentional walks for a second. We all know it’s coming anyways, and ~99.9% of the time, the guy takes his base uneventfully. I don’t live for the 0.1% chance that something wacky will happen. Take your base and let’s move on.

It has nothing to do with game flow or speeding up the game. I just don’t care. It’s not going to stop me from watching baseball. It’s not going to turn me away from the sport. It’s not going to keep me away from the ballpark. The high ticket prices already do that.

I’m sure we’ll see many more rule changes over the next few seasons…some as minor as this, others a bit more extreme. Regardless, it’s going to take a lot more than this to upset my fandom.

Like putting a runner on second base in extra innings.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Contest winner announced

I had nine entries in my contest for my spare Juan Gonzalez TTM auto:
I listed all nine in order of when they commented, and did one Random.org list randomization this morning:

And the winner is Johnny of Johnny's Trading Spot! Johnny, I'll be sending this card out to you this week.

Thanks to everyone who entered. It definitely wasn't a contest that appealed to many, but still happy to give away a spare auto I don't need.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mirror, mirror on the wall

There aren't too many Tino Martinez cards showing up at The Lost Collector Headquarters these days.

It's not that I'm not trying to add them. I'm just not coming across many I need. Plus, I'm still saving up for that Jeter auto, so I haven't been on the prowl like usual.

Still, I did pick up one recently - a 2004 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror White Bat Relic.

I prefer the Mirror parallels from the mid-90s, but this isn't the worst looking set. The bat relic is just sort of cut into the card, not really integrated. The just slapped it across Tino's legs. However, for a minimum bid, it was a good addition to the slooowly growing Tino collection.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Voice of Yankee Stadium

In 2017, it’s really easy to have a custom card made. Many times, I’ve gone on the Rookies App and printed off a pack of cards, and use those cards for TTM purposes. Here’s an example:
That took a whole 20 seconds to make. On my phone.

Growing up, it wasn’t this easy. When I wanted to send a TTM request and my subject didn’t have a card – or an easily attainable card – I had to improvise.

In one such instance, I wanted to send a card to longtime Yankees PA announcer Bob Sheppard, The Voice of Yankee Stadium. Hmm, but what to send? Luckily I had a bunch of Yankee pocket schedules, so I sent him one of those. He graciously signed and returned it:
I wish he had signed the cover, but alas, still a very cool success of a true baseball legend. His signature sure matches the precision in which he spoke.