Friday, November 29, 2019

Being supportive of a new hobby

In the last couple of months, my son has picked up collecting Pokemon cards.

It's not just him. It's his entire second grade class. Boys. Girls. All of them walk to school clutching a binder that doesn't include schoolwork, yet includes pages and pages of Pokemon.

I gotta say, props to Pokemon for being able to appeal to kids. This isn't an indictment on sports cards. I think we all know that fewer and fewer kids collect and that this is a "grown ups hobby," despite what the hobby puppeteers say on Twitter about how packed with kids card shows are or when that kid who works for Topps pops up on Twitter. Had to hide Tweets from that account, I won't lie.

My son is more into Pokemon cards than anything I've ever seen him show an interest in. He talks about them 24/7, in the same way I did about cards when I was younger. I get home from work, and he doesn't even greet me. He just says "Dad, you won't believe this trade I made today" and then he goes on to say a bunch of things I don't understand.

It actually reminds me of being younger and showing my dad a stack of Fleer cards, and they'd put in a "Flair preview" and I remember him holding it and going, "wow, this is how cards are now. Aren't they nice?" in response to the imagery and cardstock and design. I appreciated that.
While I selfishly wish it was something I relate to a bit more, I do appreciate his enthusiasm and dedication. I had never seen him stick to a hobby for this long. He spends hours pouring over and organizing his binder. He has a digital collection on the online game (something again, shunned by sports card collectors...GASP digital cards!), and he watches YouTube videos of people opening packs.

It's been a bit challenging for me to not try and put my imprint on his collecting. I've found myself sometimes saying "want a pack of baseball cards too?" when we're at Target and he's having a hard time deciding what sort of Pokemon pack to buy. I've tried giving him trade advice, such as "it's ok to trade three dupes for one card you want in return." As a parent, it'a always natural to try and push your kid into what interests YOU. Would I rather come home and him show me the Aaron Judge card he just traded for? Yes, but that's because it's something I can relate to. But I'm trying to refrain.

Being a parent is often about letting your kid find their own path and interests, and supporting them along the way.

Sometimes my wife and I roll our eyes at how nerdy it all seems, but then I always try and take a step back and remember that I, a grown man, collect baseball cards. So maybe I'm the real nerd. Just because it's sports doesn't make it less nerdy. We're all nerds, and I think we know that.

I'm just happy he's found something he's passionate about, for now. It's going to make Christmas shopping quite a bit easier, that's for sure.

This post is to remind myself to remain supportive. Maybe it'll turn into sports card collecting. Maybe he'll grow out of it next year and his binders will collect dust. Whatever it is, I enjoy seeing his passion for his new hobby, and the fact that it's helping me grow as a parent by not trying to steer him one way or another, and letting him collect the way he wants to.

And regardless of my effort, I don't think I'll ever understand the names of the characters or how to play or what card is what.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

TCDB was made for #TeamPWE

By now you've heard me sing the praises of The Trading Card Database.

I really like how it's gone for my collecting habits so far. I've kept it very small - 2-3 PWE trades per week, which feels neither overwhelming nor like a time suck. It's just right for me at this time. I have several hundred cards available for trade, mostly from 2019 Update. It's proved to be a solid inventory, as I've gotten some good offers and made a few myself.

Every collector I've come across has been fair and courteous, and shipping, while all PWE, has been great. #TeamPWE is alive and well on TCDB.

And best of all, I find myself sending away cards I don't need for 1-2 I'm happier to have. 6-7 Topps Update base cards of players I don't care about for a Gleyber Torres card? All day long.

Speaking of Torres, I've gotten the most of him on TCDB. I found that not many people have old Tinos I need on there, so in order to make trades, one needs a semi-current want list. Torres, being awesome a guy who is still a bit overshadowed in the hobby, was an easy "add" to my wantlist on the site, and has proved to be a smart addition. My collection of him has greatly grown. While I don't anticipate becoming a full-on Gleyber collector, picking up cards of him at this stage is something I'm interested in.

With that being said, here's my latest batch of trades. I'm up to 12 or 13 completed trades overall.

This was a quick one for one with member sandd0522. I sent him a 2019 Topps 150 stabbed Citi Field, and got this Gleyber insert in return:
The next was from bravefan1, who as you might guess, collects Braves. I also sent him a few of those Berger's Best reprints from a few years back. In return, I got back for Gleybers, which is a perfect trade, really. I especially like the Gallery RC.
The next trader needs to introduction, as it's from Colbey aka Flywheels of Cardboard Collections. I sent Colbey a few cards from his 2019 wants, and got back four Yankees 2019 Topps Holiday cards.
And he also threw in an unexpected Gleyber. Very nice!
A quick 3 for 2 trade was next with Hittinaway. My end of the deal brought me a new Stanton and Sanchez:
I found a trader who lives just about 10 minutes away named alanfromnyc. Kind of cool to be so close! Maybe Alan will eventually be an in-person trader since we live so close. I sent him more quantity than anything else, with 9 inserts from 2019. In return, I got an AWESOME Gleyber refractor (didn't scan well), followed by a 2018 Topps Holiday RC.
Last but not least for this go-round, billwill305 found some 2019 Topps Fire that I put on my wantlist. I also added another Gleyber from 2019 GQ.

This post ended up being a bit of a card/trade dump, but just goes to show how quick and easy these deals can be!

Monday, November 25, 2019

A private signing for me

The other day, I came across a Tino Martinez autograph from Panini called "private signings." I had never seen this particular card, so I figured it was new.

It's actually six years old!

I don't follow Panini sets at all, so I wasn't too sure where this was from. Turns out is was from a 2013 set, and were special packs given out with the purchase of some higher-end Panini boxes.

It's funny how new-to-you cards can pop up after so many years, isn't it? It happens a lot with oddball sets, but I like to think I have a pretty good grasp on on what Tino cards are out there, so it's always a little mystifying when a brand new one (to me) comes out of no where.

While this was limited to just 8 copies, thankfully Topps has flooded the market with Tino autos, and his price has been driven way down. Throw in an unlicensed brand, and there's even less demand. I was able to win this for under $10 shipped, something that wouldn't have been done last year when Tino autographs were fairly rare.

I guess I should say #ThanksTopps? Regardless, add another notch in my Tino Martinez autograph collection.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Adding a Yankees Legend to my Topps Yankees Project

Most are likely familiar, but a few years ago I set out to collect at least one signed Topps Yankees card for each year that Topps has put out a product. I did this all via TTM autograph requests, and didn't purchase any of the autographs via a 3rd party. I also didn't repeat players. Here is the last time I posed all the cards together, in 2017.

Given current signing habits, it's gotten tougher and tougher. But it's still doable.

In 2019, this had been my entry so far. I was fine with it, but the personalization was something I was hoping to not include in my project. Just a weird quirk, even though I don't mind at all when I get personalized autographs.
Then yesterday, this 'lil beauty arrived in my mailbox.
That right there is from Yankees legend Troy Tulowitzki.

I was all for the Tulo signing last winter. People bitched and moaned, because that's what they do, without understanding that the Yankees were getting him for the league minimum at a time when their starting SS was going to miss the first half of the season with TJ surgery. I know it's a hard concept to grasp: no risk, high reward.

Tulo then had himself a great spring training, and was the Yankees opening day shortstop.

Sadly, as most likely would have predicted, he got injured after just five games, and eventually called it a career. At the age of 34, he just couldn't stay healthy enough to keep playing. It's a bummer, because he was an elite player when healthy. I'm glad he was a Yankee, albeit for a short time, because he idolized Jeter (wore #2 in Colorado and Toronto), and I know it meant a lot to him. He even hit his last career homer as a Yankee.

Tulo then latched on with the University of Texas as a coach, which is where this TTM request was sent.

So if it comes down to Chance Adams versus Troy Tulowitzki for my 2019 project entry, I might just have to give the nod to the five-time All-Star, two-time gold glover, all-time Mets killer, and all-around cool dude and Yankees legend.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

I'm a Tek nerd

The year of Tino's re-emergence in the hobby continues.

I don't really run to check out new checklists when they are released on Twitter. Plus, new checklists come out every few days since Topps is releasing about two new sets each week. That number may or may not be fabricated.

I find out about new Tinos when I open my eBay saved searched and all of a sudden there are a bunch of his cards I've never seen. This is happening very often in 2019!

A week or two ago, my search was once again flooded with unfamiliar looking cards. In this instance, Tino was included in 2019 Topps Hi-Tek. I've always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with this particular set. First and foremost, it's confusing, with a million patterns and parallels. Back in the late '90s, there was a home/road version of each card, and then about 30 different patterns of each. Crazy!

On the flip side, they are usually some of the cooler looking cards Topps releases. I'm a sucker for clearcut/acetate cards, going back to the early '90s when I first saw them start to pop up. They've always caught my eye. Something about a see-through card is just very appealing to me. Some of the coolest sets of the '90s included acetate, like 1996 Ultra Season's Crowns, Skybox EX, and Stadium Club Clearcuts.

I still have no idea how many parallels or versions there are, but I did snag the green parallel for what I considered to be a good price. I'm sure I'll find the others as the product newness works off. And of course, there are autographs.
While I'll never fully be on board with this set, I can't deny that it looks great and that I still love clearcut cards. 

I guess I'm just a Tek nerd at heart.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Oh there's no place like Doon for the holidays

Blogging legend Napkin Doon recently went on a Topps Holiday binge, and he was kind enough to send me an early holiday package.

Last I knew, he was building the 2019 Topps Holiday set, but was closing in on completion. I'm not sure if he's 100% there or not. To help his cause, he joined Trading Card Database. You can find him here.

Santa Doon's package consisted of a few items, including two broken down blaster boxes of the product itself. Doon has noticed I'm a crafting geek and make some coasters out of old blasters, so he helped send me some supplies. These will go to good use.
And if you're wondering, here was my first dabble at coasters. More to come.
I saw a lot of critics of this set from the whiney card collecting community on Twitter. Me? I think it's great. The design is a lot better than the snowflake pattern of the last few years. I don't even mind the gimmicky present and candy cane short prints and all that. To me, this is the perfect time to be gimmicky in a fun product like this.

Doon sent me my first sampling of them, and I like them in person as much as I hoped I would. Well done here, Topps.
While I remember the pattern of the last few years, I didn't remember this one from 2017. The snowflakes are embossed and sparkly. I thought that was cool. 
Nap also sent me a nice team bag of cards, included some Clint Fraziers. I still like Frazier a lot and seems like he always get a raw deal. He'll hit 40 HRs for the Pirates one of these years.
A nice numbered card of Yankees HOFer Mike Mussina! No logo on his cap if fitting!
And here's a lazy photo of a stack of cards. There was a nice Judge Bowman, and a vintage Bobby Richardson.
Thanks, Nap. As for everyone else, feel free to flood his TCDB was trade offers and pleas to come back to blogging.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

This fan's favorite

As the onslaught of 2019 Tino Martiez cards continues, I've found the best strategy is to wait a few weeks before pursuing.

The autographs in the newer products were going for quite a lot, as Tino is a guy that generally didn't have a ton of autographs on the market. As they tend to do, Topps changed that and has flooded the market with Tinos. In turn, it's driven prices down.

I was impatient at first, but now know to wait a few minutes until the next Topps release comes out, and now I'm able to score cards like this for much less I would have been a month or two ago.
Topps Archives Fan Favorites feels like the most natural set for Tino to actually be included in a 2019 Topps set. It was fun to see this design again, and I don't recall ever seeing this photo. Double win in my book.

He's certainly always been my favorite, and I'm glad I have card that reflects that.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

TCBD trades are flying in

I'm up to eight completed Trading Card Database trades, with two more in-transit. Pretty cool. I'm having a bit of a hard time using the "matching" tool to find people to trade with. It's a bit cumbersome and clunky. But others seem to be using it just fine, so I assume it's something one learns in time.

The first was a great deal because I got rid of 8 cards, and only one came in. I like being net -7 and not accumulating a bunch of cards. I sent user hilochef seven cards from various 2019 sets, and got one lovely RC in return:
Love it! Gleyber RCs are a nice thing to have these days, and the Chrome Update version is a nice one.

My next trade was with Detfan6897, obviously a Detroit Tigers fan. I sent him three Tigers from three different 2019 sets, including a Jordan Zimmer 2019 Topps Fire. In return, I got a Tino I needed, as well as another Gleyber RC (a rookie debut card from 2018 Update), and a cool Future Stars try-card of Torres, Frazier, and Andujar. Nice little three for three swap!
A slightly larger trade was made with user stoob, in which I gave away seven cards from 2019 Topps Update, and got seven back in return. The highlights for me are the really fun Jeter-esque Gio Urshela, as well as a plethora of RCs in the name of Mike Tauchman (although not supposed to be a RC I don't think), Mike Ford, and Thairo Estrada. There was also a beautiful Giancarlo Stanton 1984 Refractor. Those look so sweet.
And speaking of Gio, I received a sweet Topps Gold of that same card from natemedmonds. I sent him four cards, and got this beauty in return. Yankee card of the year?
I still need to do better about getting Tino Martinez cards I need and not accumulating current Yankees, but it sure is fun to sent unwanted cards to set builders for cards I'd rather have.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Freezer Day

In elementary school, one of the items on the lunch menu at the end of the school year was "Freezer Day."

I always enjoyed buying lunch on Freezer Day because there was so many delicious items available. I was a bit too naive (aka dumb) to understand that it was literally the lunch staff's way of cleaning out everything left in the freezer from the school year. Nuggets, fries, hamburger, ziti, meatballs, steakumms. All served to unsuspecting kids so that it didn't go to waste.

Pretty gross.

And awesome.

When I was looking through my scanned folder, I just saw a bunch of cards that are leftovers. Cards that have been sitting there for the last year or so without a post to call home.

So I'm taking a mishmash of what's left in my folder and creating my own little Freezer Day on a Sunday evening.

First off, Tino has to be part of Freezer Day. I remember buying this SI for Kids card because I thought I needed it. But when it arrived, it turns out it was a dupe. That happens a lot.
This was a recent pickup because I didn't realize Pinnacle Mint had cards that were printed with a medallion, versus the physical coin that usually goes in there. I have a few of the card and coin combos, but I was surprised that this version existed.
Wrapping up the frozen Tino section, my most recent pickup. It was another instance of me complaining on Twitter about crappy shipping by a seller who charged nearly $4 and sent it in a PWE. Two in a row!
Back in the spring, I bought this card, and I'm not sure why. Probably because "cucked" is funny and this guy's last name is Kucks? Cool signature and card though.
This Tyler Wade autograph was from last winter. I think I thought Wade was going to be awesome. He's mostly been overmatched in his short Big League career, but he was a bit better down the stretch and I think he'll continue to be a useful utility guy.
Stanton relic? I think got it during the COMC Black Friday sale, along with this cool Judge Tarot and Frazier Fortune Teller. The Tarots are very very cool.
When Mariano Rivera got elected to the HOF, I bought the two Topps NOW issued cards. I guess they arrived a few weeks after the news, so I never got along to posting them.
Lastly, spring chicken is on the Freezer Day menu, with this Yankee young'un. Deivi Garcia is the most promising Yankees minor league pitcher since Luis Severino. I'm excited to see him (hopefully) debut next season. I bought this card with some leftover eBay bucks last quarter.
That should do it for this Freezer Day. Glad I could finally clean this cards out of the depths of my scanned folder.