Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July! Hoping you can all find ways to enjoy the holiday while remaining safe and healthy.


Friday, July 3, 2020

Fuji makes it 3 to go

I recently got back to back PWEs from Fuji. Most were chock full of Tino's. I feel a bit bad, as one 1 of the Tino's was new to my collection:
For whatever reason, I never snagged this 1995 Donruss Top of the Order. I wonder if I had it at some point of my life, as I remember my grandmother purchasing these for me at some point. I recall they came in a small, deck-sized box given it was a playing card game.

Admittedly I never learned the game. I feel like that's a common them with baseball card games, between Top of the Order, the back of 1996 Bazooka cards, those old Classic trivia cards, MLB Showdown, Topps Attax, etc. Baseball card games just don't seem to gain traction. Maybe...just maybe...the cards are enough on their own.

While I wish more of the cards were brand new to my collection, I wasn't disappointed. There exact opposite. Fuji came across a bunch of Tino's and it made him think of me. That's a really cool thing.

Plus, sometimes I get so focused on the next Tino that I don't enjoy the ones that have been around for years.

I made sure to take a moment and really re-read and observe the Tino's. Not just to double check if I had it, but to take a look at the breadth of card designs, stats, and write-ups on the backs. Many are from a time where I, personally, feel the hobby was more fun and attainable. It was a nice trip down memory lane.
Fuji, thanks for the PWE and contributing to my chase for 1K unique Tino cards. It's greatly appreciated that you, and so many others, think of me when they come across Tino cards.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Will we see Schmidt?

It's going to be a weird year for prospects.

With no minor league season, key up and comers will be missing out on a crucial year of development. By this time we would have seen guys putting themselves on the map, others taking a step back, and then the start of short season rookie ball for new draftees. We might have even gotten our first glimpse at Jasson Dominguez.

Instead, teams will bring some prospects to Spring Training 2.0, but the numbers won't be vast. It'll be guys who need to keep developing and are close to the majors, which can be a combination of top prospects and organizational depth.

Yankees top pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt fits that mold. He's a guy that would have been knocking on the door at some point this season, assuming he stayed healthy.

Now, he'll have the chance to help the Big League club. Whether the Yankees will need to turn to him or not is another thing. The Yankees starting rotation should probably be Cole, Tanaka, Paxton, Happ, and Montgomery. I'd bet money on the Yankees needing to dip into that depth with the injury history of some of those guys.

Should they need a sixth or seventh starter, Schmidt could be in line.

I'm all for it. He's 24. If you can get something valuable out of him this season, I say you do it. In a year like this, it's almost like you might need to throw service time out the window if you've got a shot.

I've continued to pick up Schmidt cards here and there, although they have much more momentum now than they did a year ago, when I was routinely picking up autographs for $5.
Yes, it'll be a weird year for sure. But with that weirdness could come the debut of some prospects I've been looking forward to seeing.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

A little Big League

On Friday night, I was fortunate enough to join a 2-box break of 2020 Topps Big League hosted by Colbey at Cardboard Connections. Today, I was able to open my own blaster.

I've been ordering blasters on Amazon with regular success. I usually have to pay $3-4 more than the suggested $19.99 price tag, but it beats schlepping 15 minutes to Target only to find zero cards. I'd rather just spend the extra few bucks and let it come to my doorstep. Plus, coronavirus could be at Target.

After enjoying Colbey's break, I decided I'm ready to like 2020 Big League. Not much else needs to be said about the design. Simple and classic. 2009 Upper Deck OPC has definitely been thrown out, and I agree with that. This year's is so much better than last year's mess! Leaps and bounds. Not close. I know many liked it, and that's fine. You do you, people. I was not one of them. I thought it was putrid and a big step backward from 2018.
Trash design.
But that's every set and part of the fun of collecting. One year the design can stink. The next, it can be really good. Or somewhere in between. And even when it stinks as bad as 2019, plenty of people still like it. Different tastes. I liked 2016 and 2017 Bunt, you didn't! It's ok to not all like the same thing, you know?

I thought the inserts and parallels were both done better this year, as well. Colbey called the one-per-pack orange parallels "safety orange." And I think that's a good assessment. As a Syracuse grad, give me more orange. I'll never say no to orange. I love the brightness, especially.
The one-per-blaster blue pack didn't yield much, but give me a little more Syracuse orange and blue when I put them next to each other.
As for the inserts, well done, Topps.

The Caricatures look a lot better in 2020, I think. A little less weird, and the cards are a bit fuller.
Here was 2019. Not totally different, but a little less weird. I think the team logos in the back help.
Roll Call is a good-looking set as well with a big old last name taking up most of the card. It reminds of these old Pacific cards, although in design alone with the giant name behind the player. Even though I like this set, it shouldn't be put anywhere near my Pacific pedestal. Enough of that nonsense. My fault.
Flipping Out is really fun, memorializing all of those disgusting bat flips today's players tend to do. We might even see more of them with twice the amount of DHs now. The horror. I was lucky enough to pull Aaron Judge from my packs. Colbey pulled Aaron Hicks for me too. I am happy about his inclusion because he has some great bat flips. Actually, they are more like bat drops. But they have a lot of swagger. He drops the bat like Bonds did.
Defensive Wizards are a lot more cartoony than I realized, although I don't have a problem with that. They are very neat cards. I didn't look at the checklist to see if they actually kept it to really well-regarded defensive players, but Gio Urshela is in the set, so it's good in my book. They would have looked great with some '90s foil!
Going back to the base for a second, I wasn't prepared for the backs all having a different color, which is a nice touch. For all you card-graders, be careful. The backs are very chip-prone.
My one real complaint about the set is how many tri-cards there are. Holy hell are, every other card felt like it was a league leader of some sorts. Doubles, Walks, IP, and on and on. That part of the set feels a little tedious. They aren't bad looking. They are just plentiful.
One thing Colbey's hobby boxes didn't have is the cutout card on the side of the box. I guess a downside to Amazon is that I couldn't choose who I got. Annoyingly, I got Miguel Cabrera, but will send it over to Scribbled Ink.
Solid effort by Topps Big League, and a breath of fresh air from an uninspiring flagship and the craziness of Bowman.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Coot Veal?! What!

Quarantine has seen a bunch of dormant bloggers come back.

One of them is not Coot Veal and the Vealtones run by DHoff...so far! Never say never. But he still resurfaced...via eBay!

I unknowingly bought a card from him, a Tino Martinez 1989 Bowman Tiffany. This card puts me at four Tino's to go to hit 1,000. DHoff hit me with an eBay messaging saying he assumed that this was The Lost Collector, and he was absolutely right. What a fun coincidence!
The Tino arrived perfectly, and I certainly trust that it;'s a Tiffany. DHoff wouldn't steer me wrong. The Card is certainly brighter than most 1989 Bowman, a good sign. The gloss level is much higher too. Yep, a Tiffany!

I believe there were only 6,000 of these made, so I'm glad to finally have one.

He also threw in a Jason Giambi, numbered to 999.
DHoff, nice to see you. Thanks for the sale!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Another old TTM success rolls in

Early on during 2020 Quarantine, a few TTM successes rolled in. I figured a few would pop in here and there, as current and retired players were at home with time to pass.

After getting a few in late March, all went quiet again. I did not send out any requests during this time out of respect to these athletes. I'm mostly done with this part of the hobby anyways, as the only part of it still desirable to me is to keep my Topps Yankees Project moving.

In 2019, I had a bit of a hard time early on getting a success to check off the current year, but eventually got Chance Adams to return his card. Later on, I replaced him in my set with Troy Tulowitzki, which felt like a fun one to include. However, one that rolled in yesterday might give Tulo a run for his money:
Yankees reliever Chad Green! I sent this is February of 2019, so about a year and a half ago. The bold signature looks really good, and Green is obviously a Yankees bullpen staple. He has appeared in 169 games for NY over the past four seasons, putting up a 5.3 WAR, 347 Ks in 259.1 innings, and posting a 3.16 ERA. He's been an excellent force for NY, especially since his move to the bullpen in 2017.

I'm still 0-for in my quest for a 2020 signed Yankees card, but glad I have a few really good options for 2019 should I decide to change my mind.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Hope

It's really a stupid thing. I'm a Bengals fan.

I was born into it. I have no Cincinnati ties. Never even been there. I hear Skyline Chili is actually quite gross.

But my Dad knew someone whose son was drafted by the team, and that coincided with the team actually being good in the 1980s, twice going to and losing the Super Bowl. So fans were born.

By the time I was old enough to pay attention to the NFL, the Bengals were perennial losers and an overall joke of a franchise. So while my friends in update NY all latched onto the Giants and Jets (no one cared about the Bills despite 4 SB appearances), I was stuck rooting for a constant loser. Not only a loser, but often a joke of a franchise.

I've seen this before, but I hope this time is different. There's reason for hope. Because the Bengals just drafted perhaps the best QB prospect to come out of college in the last 10 years.

Joe Burrow is from Ohio. He was supposed to lead Ohio State, but ended up at LSU after transferring. The rest is history, as he put top the most prolific season a college QB has ever had.

He's now a Bengal, and the fanbase has high expectations that this time is different. That this time, we have someone who can lead the franchise into and beyond the first round of the Playoffs. While I don't college football, I did snag his Panini Instant draft night card.
Time will tell. And there will be some growing pains this season. But for once, I have hope.

Don't let me down, Joe.