Friday, August 17, 2018

Time to sort

Lately, my kids have been getting on the Harry Potter movie train, much to my enjoyment. I'm a big Potter fan - I read all the books and usually saw the movies the night they opened. So it's been fun for me to see my kids take in movies 1-3. I won't let them watch movie 4 and beyond just yet, as they are still a but young and the series gets a bit more sirius after that.

One of my favorite scenes from the entire series is the first time we see the sorting hat. It's a great scene:
Sometimes, I wish there was a magical card-sorting machine so I wasn't always so behind.

Luckily, there is at least some hardware now that can help make the sorting process easier. I'm talking about BCW's card sorting tray!

I already got one of these back in December, but always kicked myself that I didn't order a second one at the same time. However, that changed this past week. You see, I'm part of Sport Card Collector's Fantasy Baseball League, and I had the top winning percentage in July. I had the choice of choosing between a sorting tray or a Topps Finest autograph. I chose....GRYFFINDOR! Errr, the sorting tray!

It arrived earlier this week, and I'm looking forward to putting it to good use. Thanks to SCC and BCW Supplies for the great prize!


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Going beyond the rainbow

Yesterday morning, I ventured into my collection to take a few photos of my Ty Hensley 2013 Bowman rainbow. Then I checked the blogs, and Zippy Zappy happened to do a tremendous post about the discipline it takes to complete a rainbow. It was like fate that on the same morning I decide to take a few photos of my rainbow, Zippy goes and puts together a terrific post. If you haven't read it, click here.
My Ty Hensley Bowman Rainbow was actually done quite a long time ago. Since then, I've been going slightly beyond the rainbow.

For example, I was content with just one printing plate. Then I found this, so figured I'd buy it.
I know I'll never have all the plates, but I did like adding another.

Then I sent Ty a TTM request, using some of the duplicates from collecting this rainbow.
So I've gone past the rainbow and there's no stopping. I'm not as manic as to get each card of this rainbow signed. That's too aggressive. But I do like adding to it here and there. Most notably, I'm content with it its current state and won't stress if this is the end.

But if more of the plates pop up, I'm definitely going to be on it.

And if Ty is playing again next season, I'll probably send him a few more of these to get signed.
ROY G BIV, my friends. ROY G BIV.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

BFG winnings from June

Back in June, Johnny was kind enough to host another Big Fun Game. I selected a door, my prize was revealed, and no one took it. I came away with 75 cards of start players from the past 20 years or so!
It was a really fun lot to go through, and I came away with some nice Yankee cards of Jeter, Mo, and Clemens.
While many of the players aren't guys I collect, they will find a nice place in my son's HOF binder. I'm always down for that!
I enjoyed finding a low-numbered Ichiro!
And a cool oddball Clemens.
And I'll never turn away a Fleer Metal card of a HOFer.
Johnny, this was a really fun group of cards. Thank you!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

#NationalBaseballCardDay

I haven't been very good at supporting the hobby the past couple of weeks, so I decided to try and participate in National Baseball Card Day today.

The shop that is about 6 miles from my house, Skybox Cards, was participating. We had some intense storms here, but I still hopped in the car and made the 16-minute drive over.

I feel bad, but it was only my second time in the store since I moved to my current town three years ago. No excuse, really. I just don't go to card stores very frequently, especially when my preference is to buy blaster boxes with my limited card funds.

Upon entering, I spoke to Bill the owner for a bit. He said the store was packed earlier in the day (it was empty while I was there but was almost closing time), mostly because of National Baseball Card Day. Hey, whatever works to get paying customers in the door! He said he had some of the free packs left and gave me one, as well as asked if I wanted Aaron Judge or Rhys Hoskins as my free card. Enthusiastically I said "Judge!" He explained that several people before me chose Hoskins.
Bill was really great to talk to, and it turns out we both love autographs (especially TTM!). We agreed it's gotten a lot tougher to get autographs through the mail now, mostly because of the ease of pulling autographs in packs.

I only had a few bucks in my wallet and it's a cash-only store, so I wasn't able to really help business out too much. I did find two Yankee singles to buy from Bowman Platinum:
 
He also explained to me that his most popular products are autograph grab bag envelopes he has out on the counter. These are $5 each or three for $12, and are guaranteed at least two autographs per envelope, sometimes more. He has the envelopes in a stack in a box, and you give him a number between 1 and 96. I chose 24 for Tino, and my envelope ended up with four autographs! No one noteworthy, but still a fun idea.
I was only there for about 20-30 minutes, but feel I did my small part in supporting National Baseball Card Day. Thanks to Bill and Skybox Cards for the enjoyable trip to the store!


Friday, August 10, 2018

Beam me up, Steiny

A few weeks back, Peter of Baseball Every Night reached out asking if I needed some Yankees from Stadium Club. I have found ZERO Stadium Club where I live, so of course I was more than willing to take them off his hands.

The highlights for me were the Beam Team cards. I don't think I ever pulled one back in the day - baseball or basketball - so they still feel exclusive to me. The "beams" this year feel more like a building going up under construction, but can't argue with the two players:
I only have a couple of Clint Frazier cards, so always glad to add those to my collection. I hope he gets healthy down the stretch, as concussion symptoms are no joke.
I like the Power Zone inserts a lot as well, although I always knew these to be a Topps Finest insert set.
Peter also sent a few base and parallels, including a Matsui base and black foil.
A red foil parallel of Don Mattingly rounded out the package. I've always loved Mattingly's post-swing pose.
Earlier that week, Peter also sent me a PWE with an early Tino Martinez card. I always get a kick out of Tino wearing #53 early in his career.
Thanks for all of the great cards, Peter!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Big League IS Bunt

I finally found a single pack of Topps Big League at Target last week. That was all that was there. Literally one lonely, loose pack. Having not seen or received any, I bought it to sample the product.

I've seen it enough on the blogs and Twitter to know what I was getting, so I wasn't surprised by anything. What does surprise me is all the praise this set is getting for replacing Topps Bunt. That's because this set is Topps Bunt, with a different name and $.99 more per pack (although I do believe a pack of Bunt had 7 cards versus the 10 that Big League provides).

It's not exactly apples to apples, but these sets are far more alike than many will admit or want to hear, starting with the card stock. Bunt seems to have been taboo because of the connection to the digital card app, which I never understood. To me, the set could easily be enjoyed without worry about any connection to app.

As for the Big League cards, I expected a more traditional cardboard feeling product, almost like a late '80s card or a modern day Heritage (maybe a little less thick). The card stock reminded me exactly of...
Hmm, 2016 Topps Bunt. 2017 Bunt were inexplicably slippery and glossy, but holding a 2016 Bunt against a 2018 Big League is nearly identical.

I also found a retired legend in my pack. Hmmm, you know what else had legends in the set? 2016 Bunt.
 I even found - gasp - an ad for a Topps digital product.
True, this set is twice as big as both 2016 and 2017 Topps Bunt, which came in at 200 cards. But the set does have legends plus ballparks and league leaders, so I wouldn't exactly call it a 400-card set of current players.

And the backs of the cards resemble a more traditional card back with a few years of stats and a write-up versus the few-sentence write-up that Bunt has. I do like that better. But does that justify $1.99 per pack versus $.99? 2018 Bunt, if it existed, could have easily had both of these things.
Both Bunt and Big League have similar parallels as well. 2016 Bunt had Platinum, Topaz, and Crimson (1 of 1). 2017 had a parallel per pack, just like Big League, which has one gold card per pack (although it looks very yellow to me...I thought I got a rare yellow/canary card), Rainbow Foil, Black and White, and Red Foil (1 of 1). Interesting that Crimson was the color of Bunt's 1 of 1s, and Red is the color of Big League's 1 of 1s.

They both have a few inserts too. The first year of Bunt had: Unique Unis, Future of the Franchise, Light Force, Programs, Title Town, Moonshots, Stadium Heritage, and Autographs. Big League has Players' Weekend, Ministers of Mash, Autographs, and Rookie Republic autographs. And of course, the inserts have parallels.

None of this is to poo poo on Big League. It's a fine set and a good effort and I like it a heck of a lot more than A&G or Gypsy Queen. I just find it interesting how many people dismissed Bunt the last two years because of the digital connotation to the app, while praising Big League as a set that really gets what collectors want. They are by and large the exact same product, but the dollar price point was taken away from us. That's a big deal, at least to a frugal collector like me.

I tip my cap to Topps Marketing team for this one. They created a product that could have easily been branded as the third year of Bunt, gave it a generic baseball name (Big League!), and increased the SRP from $.99 to $1.99...and seemed to have created a winner in the minds of collectors. It truly was just a re-brand, but I think they did a great job making it feel new and different. That's some sound marketing.



Monday, August 6, 2018

Opting in

As many of you have surely seen, Colbey from Cardboard Collections recently held a free group break for a couple of boxes of 2016 Donruss Optic he opened. I claimed the Yanks, hoping for a Greg Bird or Luis Severino autograph.

While that did not quite happen, it was still a success that netted me some very nice Yankees cards. ARod led the way with a few Diamond Kings, include the Refractor (Prizm? Holo?) version.
He was also in the base set.
One thing I learned is that Aroldis Champan's first name is actually Albertin. I did not know that!
It feels like forever ago that Brian McCann was on the Yankees.
I was able to score a few of the Rated Rookies, including Severino and Bird. It also feels like forever ago that Robert Refsnyder was a top Yankees prospect.
My favorite card of the break was the Mariano Rivera Masters of the Game. Just a very nice card!
I also got a few of the purple parallels, including McCann and Bird. The Bird is a particular favorite.
Thanks for the break, Colbey!

Friday, August 3, 2018

TTM success from another Yankees prospect

The Yankees have traded a lot of minor league pitchers over the past week or so. I read somewhere (forgetting where) that they were comfortable doing this because the strongly believe in the crop of pitchers that they have behind the guys at the upper level.

One of these pitchers is Garrett Whitlock. Drafted in the 18th round last year, he's had a huge year between three clubs from low A to AA, and he currently sits at A+ Tampa. He's gone 7-5 with a sterling 1.85 ERA and 105 Ks in 102 IP. For his efforts, he has shot up to #11 on the Yankees MLB.com Top 30.

Whitlock was nice enough to sign this (old) Yankee Stadium card for me in about 6 weeks time.
I am quickly running out of my generic Yankee cards. I really don't like the blank "signature" cards, so I'll have to re-invest in a lot of logo/stadium cards like this one.

Thanks for the autograph, Mr. Whitlock!