Wednesday, September 30, 2020

3D x 3

In his latest Save Second Base contest, Collecting Cutch has asked us to show off some 3D cards.

There are a bunch if ways to go with this. Donruss Pop Up cards, Denny's Holograms, Topps Embossed, and more. 3D cards have been a part of collecting baseball cards for years.

It's also been a part of all facets of life. I remember getting cereal boxes that came with 3D glasses, or even a receiving a set of glasses to watch TGIF for a night of special 3D episodes as a kid. I remember watching Tim Taylor on Home Improvement shove a 2x4 into my living room that night.

About 10 years ago, it looked as if 3D TVs were the next big thing. The technology was actually very cool. But people didn't want to watch TVs with special glasses. I haven't heard much about 3D TVs in five or six years.

Recently, I bought a big box of cards of a social media marketplace. The contents looked good from the pictures, and I've had some really good luck with them in the past. This one ended up being pretty good too, as I've already made my money back while keeping the stuff I wanted, including a few Jasson Dominguez cards and a Vlad Jr. autograph.

However, there were a few cards in there that I'd say qualify as 3D cards.
The first that stuck out to me was this Tony Gwynn from Pinnacle's 1995 UC3. At first I thought this was an Upper Deck product, so I was surprised to see both Pinnacle AND Sportflix on the back. It actually says "Sportflix, a Pinnacle Brand." It looks like Pinnacle tried to make a higher end Sportflix? The card itself is nice and clean, and the 3D effect is fairly well done. There is no movement like a traditional Sportflix, but there's plenty of depth.
The next is a basketball issue, from 1996-97 Upper Deck SPx. This is the type of card I'd never find in the wild as a kid, but one I'd see in Beckett and want it. Not only is it diecut, but also hologram!? Be still, my heart. All that's missing is some clearcut acetate! The hologram itself is a bit more on the 3D side with a picture-in-picture effect with a headshot in the foreground and an action shot in the background.
My last entry is a bit of a stretch, as it's more of a 3D texture than card effect. There was a stack of these  bordered 2012 Gypsy Queens. Not really 3D, but the framed is raised and the card is set back within the frame. That counts, I think.

Be sure to check out Collecting Cutch all of October and support his annual Save Second Base event.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Finishing Lineage by cheating 9 years later

Back in 2011, eleven days before my son was born, I said I was going to collect the 2011 Topps Lineage set as his "birth year" set. My rationale was simple. It was an attractive 200-card set, featuring Hall of Famers, retired players, current (at the time) stars, and a few rookies. It would serve as an education for him, of sorts. Here's how the game looked the year you were born.

Turns out I probably should have collected 2011 Topps Update for him.

It also turns out that I don't set collect, so I probably got about 90% of the way there and never saw it through.

Recently, I had the opportunity to fix that.

Nachos Grande ran a big, bracket style Ultimate Allen & Ginter mini set bracket. Somehow, I ended up with the winning bracket. I really finished second but the winner didn't identify themselves. In full disclosure, I felt a little guilty about winning. I don't like A&G and I sure as heck don't like A&G minis. So I 1. didn't expect to win and 2. felt a bit hesitant to claim my prize as the bracket winner.

However, I didn't just fill out the bracket to be a prize hound. Chris put a lot of work into it, and I appreciate that. He's also been sharing his love for A&G, and specifically A&G minis, since I started blogging. He even has a signed custom mini of himself! I wanted to participate because Chris is a great dude, has always been generous to me, and filling out a bracket is a small thing to support someone I consider to be a hobby friend.

Back to Lineage. So as mentioned, I was crowned champion of picking the winners. I wish I had a method to my madness, but this is definitely like Janice in accounting winning March Madness by blinding picking schools to win. Chris listed some very generous prizes, but one immediately stood out:

A complete set of 2011 Topps Lineage.

Fate! So I jumped at that, and now can say I (cheated) and collected the set for my son. Maybe I'll binder it up for him and stuff it away. But happy to have that one officially done, even if it's nine years later!

Chris, thanks for the prizes and congrats on successfully running the bracket!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Miss you, Dellin

One of the many. many things missing this baseball season for me is Dellin Betances in a Yankees uniform.

Dellin was a homegrown player who took quite a while to develop, but eventually became a 4x All-Star reliever. His career was a bit up and down, and the injury bug found him a few times as well. But when Dellin was going right - as John Sterling often reminds us - he was one of the best in the game.

Betances is a now a Met. which makes it even worse. He's also been injured, but he's pitched a few times against the Yankees. It was odd to see.

I didn't realize how much I missed him until this card showed up from Oscar aka Stealing Home over at All Trade Bait All The Time.

I have never counted my Dellin autos, but I must be in the teens somewhere (thanks to ZZ). It's a nice card, and a nice reminder of a guy who was a great Yankee for a while and didn't really get a proper goodbye or welcome back.

Oscar also threw in a nice assortment of Yanks, including something you don't see every day in card packages: Topps Embossed!

I also really liked this Score Summit Andy Pettitte. The gold team label always stood out to me.

Here's a few of the other goodies:

Thanks, Oscar!

Sunday, September 20, 2020


When Collecting Cutch challenged us to post about our favorite John Travolta movie, I wasn't sure which direction to go. 

Pulp Fiction is an obvious choice. I like it, but wouldn't say I love it. Randomly, I really like Look Who's Talking, but I think that more has to do with watching it as a kid. Can't really miss with Grease, but I've seen it so many times (family favorite so it was on A LOT), that I actually sort of despise it now.

But when PWE showed up yesterday from a TCDB, it hit me like a bolt from the sky. Phenomenon

That's my favorite. I haven't seen it in a long time, but I certainly remember the story well. An average guy who can do extraordinary things. I sort of relate that back to this guy, who impresses me more and more by the day:

The story starts when George Malley, Travolta's character, sees an unexplained bolt of light from the sky. It sort of looks like this when it hits him:
Bam! The story goes on to show George suddenly being in touch with parts of his brain that most aren't, from quickly learning languages to being able to move objects to predicting disasters. He became a true phenom in every sense of the word, which is the name given to many young players in baseball. First-year phenoms or future stars:

(Although I must admit that it's quite a stretch by Topps calling Mike Tauchman a future star)

Ultimately the story has a sad ending, which I won't spoil. 

And while unconventional, I definitely think that this movie is my favorite of all of Travolta's hits. And if you want to read more on Travolta and how he unfortunately lost his wife to breast cancer, take a look at Collecting Cutch's contest post here. And let's continue to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Friday, September 18, 2020

I'm such a flipper and ruining the hobby

Man, right now blogging and life just isn't mixing. Not that I' prolific and my "look what I got" posts take much effort, but even those are hard right now. Between the busiest time of the year at work and helping the kids with their virtual school, it's been insane.

I hope virtual school is going well for those of you who are dealing with it. It's not easy. I feel bad for the kids. I feel bad for the teachers. I feel bad for fellow parents. I've already upgraded my internet connection (1 Gigabit, suckas), plus have a wifi extender set to arrive tomorrow. There's a lot of bandwidth needed in my house right now.

One piece of card-related activity I dealt with this week:

Yeah, I bought it. I entered the Topps online lottery thingie, got an email I was one of the chosen ones, and bought it for $250...well, $280 after taxes and overnight shipping. I had no intention of ever cracking this open. I was always going to do my small part to ruin this hobby by flipping it for a substantial profit.

And I did.

Pre-sale prices when this first came out hovered in the $900-$1,000 range. I didn't want to do a pre-sale. I wasn't comfortable with it. So I waited until it was in-hand to list it. Luckily I got mine fairly quickly compared to most.

I listed it for $749.99. Got a $700 offer, and took it. That's a nice profit of about $325+ after fees. And before you silly people ask, no, the time it took to do all this wasn't much of an additional cost. Let's say 5 minutes to buy the box, 5 mins to list on Ebay, and then 15 minute trip to the post office to mail it.

Am I contributing to the demise of the hobby? Maybe. But am I $325 richer after paying myself back first? You bet I am. Am I going to spend that profit on cards? You bet I'm not.

I mean, maybe I'll buy one nice card. But I'm still pretty bored with collecting right now, so I'm not looking at this as hobby play money. I'd actually rather buy a share or two of Apple. You know, real stocks instead of card stocks. 

At the end of the day, even though all went smoothly, it was a bit stressful to have the box in hand. It sort of felt like when the Hogwarts crew had Slytherin's locket. If there is another Topps lottery thing for an online-exclusive, I'll definitely enter. Why not, as long as prices stay extraordinary.

So I apologize for contributing to the demise of the hobby. But my bank account doesn't.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Running from Yankee Stadium to Wrigley Field

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a virtual 5K I ran, as Tony of Wrigley Roster Jenga was the race director.

I mentioned in that post how much I hate running, so I won't re-hash that. However, it's a cheap way for me to stay somewhat in shape as I get older, so I do it. Usually against my will. When I was younger someone told me: "never let your legs get old." I didn't listen.

One thing I realized though, is that when I run for a cause or have something to push me, it comes a little easier.

So when I got an email about the Yankees holding a virtual 5K of their own, I decided to register. For those who don't know, a virtual 5K is just like a regular one, but each participant does it on their own course on their own time. Runners don't gather at a park or in the streets for an early run. You clock 3.1 miles on your own, and usually upload your time to a website (if you choose).

The Yankees were also offering some cool swag for signing up. Check it out:
The medal is pretty cool, as is the shirt. It's actually a pretty nice shirt, and not one you might typically get for a 5K. You know, the ones with 500 local sponsors on the back.

So I got a bib, a shirt, and a finisher medal. And what was left of my entry fee when to Covid-19 outreach. Pretty cool! I did log my official time, although I wasn't pleased with it, as it was about 30 seconds slower than the time I ran for Tony Burbs' 5K. Boo, me!

Hoping to do another one, I googled "MLB virtual 5K" and found a slew of offerings. The Dodgers had one. So did the Giants. But ultimately, I settled on the Cubs, an event called "Race to Wrigley." This is an annual event where fans run in the area surrounding Wrigley Field, with the end of the run taking place in the stadium.

I thought this was a fitting event. About three weeks before the United States shut down for Covid-19, I was in a snow-covered Wrigley Field, taking part in a tour during NBA All-Star Weekend. That was really the last bit of travel I did before the pandemic. Even then, news of the virus was present. I saw people already masked up in the airport. Of course, I didn't expect the ensuing months to unfold the way they did. That trip now seems like it was about five years ago.

Once again, the entry fee covered a charitable donation. And once again, I received a package of swag, including a shirt, bib, bag, mask, and medal. I only plan to keep the medal. The shirt and bag will be going to a Cubs friend.
The run itself was one of my better ones. Maybe it was the cooler temperatures? Certainly possible. I was thinking during the run that I've been running all summer without much of an improvement on my time or stamina, so it was nice to run a quicker time than I previously had.

Maybe I'll do another virtual run this fall, but I'm definitely happy to have the Yankees and Cubs medal as a memory of this unforgettable summer. Plus, virtual 5Ks allowed me to do two runs in the state of Illinois that I wouldn't have run otherwise.

And that, in its own right, is pretty cool.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Finer Things Club

One of my favorite episode of the office is when Pam, Toby, and Oscar form "The Finer Things Club" to discuss a book they are reading. The club becomes the envy to many in the office, with Andy and Jim trying to join, while others disrupt the civilized conversation.

At one point, I'd say Topps Finest was the most exclusive club Topps ran. But now, not so much. Finest usually comes out each year without much fanfare. I guess it's old news now. I don't think I've ever even opened a pack, let alone seen one in real life. It's probably online exclusive now by now, or something. I don't know.

But TCDB has been a great resource to pick up some Finest singles. It really is a great place to trade, if that's your sort of thing.

The first single I received was this DJ LeMahieu. The design is familiar, as it's the famous 1993 Finest All-Star. I can't not think of Don Mattingly when I see this. This card was from the Finest Flashbacks set, which was an exclusive box Topps sold online, with a limit per customer. The re-sale value of the boxes was very high, I believe. In fact, I have one of the Ben Baller Chrome boxes coming this weekend, and I plan to never open it. So if you're looking for one, Ive got a deal for you...
Here is what the 2020 Finest base set looks like. This is your run-of-the-mill Finest set, unrelated to the Flashbacks set. It's fine. Very Finest. If you told me this was 2017 Finest, I would have believed you. They all blend together a bit do A& do Stadium do do Gypsy Queen.

These also made their way to me via TCDB.

I still like Finest. But it definitely doesn't reek of being the most exclusive offering anymore. Maybe that'll change again one day.

Monday, September 7, 2020

"I found a Tino for you"

"I found a Tino for you."

Music to my ears. Given my Tino Martinez collection, I know I can be hard to shop for. More often than not, someone shoots me a batch of Tinos, and they end up being dupes..or trips...or quadrupes.

And I always appreciate the thought!

But then there are times when someone checks my 'have' list, notices one they have isn't there, and sends it my way.

This just happened with good-guy Daniel of It's Like Having My Own Card Shop. He shot me a DM on Twitter and said that he found a 2002 Topps Gold Label Tino Martinez. Sure enough, I didn't have it. And no sooner did I say that that he sent it over in a PWE.
These are some of the best kind to me. There are always going to be big-time autographs from current products I don't have. But a random card from 2002, when Tino was a Cardinal? I've missed a lot of these in my collection.

It arrived safely and is a beauty. Thanks, Daniel!

Friday, September 4, 2020

What wood you do?

Every so often, one of those eBay coupons gets passed around Twitter.

Sometimes it's for $3. Sometimes it's for $5. It works for some. For others, no dice. I'm not sure who is valid or why they work or don't. I'm not even sure if eBay knows. It's a crapshoot.

But this coupon was $25 free if it worked. That's not chump change! The requirements were that the card must have been priced $25.01 or more, before shipping and taxed!

Tip: you can set a min price of $25.01 to start your search.

I hurriedly went to my saved listings, where a few cards fit that bill. I put a card in my cart (without committing to buy), entered to promo code to see if it worked, and sure enough, the code was successful!

I didn't have a card that struck me right away as a must-have for that money. My wish list is kind of bare right now, as I'm sort of in an unfocused hobby rut. I'm a little bored with collecting right now, honestly. I could have gone a few ways with it, I guess. But nothing popped into mind directly. No autograph I've been wanting. No vintage card I've been drooling over.

Not wanting to take too much longer out of fear of the code no longer being valid, I snagged a Tino I had been eying for a while. It was in the running to be my 1,000th Tino if I decided to splurge. And since I never did, I applied the code and got this for $6 plus shipping.
Pretty awesome card. It's a 1998 Leaf Z2 Axis Fractal Materials Wood Die Cut. I don't know what all that means. I just know it's got an attractive die cut, which always appeals to me. It's one of just 20 copies, numbered 17/20. The woodgrain on the card is really attractive, as well. I've never seen another one of these, and it had been sitting on eBay a while, so into my Tino collection it goes.
I wish I was a little more organized or focused right now, but when in doubt, I can always find a rare Tino. So in that, it was a success!

Did you see or take advantage of this code? If so, what did you snag?

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

A Surprise from Sunrise

One of my oldest trading buddies from around here is Robert from $30 A Week Habit. He and I started blogging around the same time, and have exchanged many packages and envelopes over the years.

While the envelopes have slowed a bit - mostly on my end because I haven't been good about sending out cards - Robert was kind enough to shoot me a PWE recently.

The highlight for me was a Holo Red 2020 Donruss Gleyber Torres. This is one of the variations, as well. The holofoil looks nice, I admit.
I also think Donruss slander has gone overboard. The set is super weird, and the variations are silly. But the foils are really nice, and buying Donruss provides good value for the buck. In fact, at the beginning of the Pandemic, I found two hanger boxes of Donruss at Walgreen's and I was ecstatic, and they were fun to open.

I won't hold Donruss base set against Panini. I still think if they had a license they'd be kicking the shit out of Topps, from Optic to Prism to everything in between. And I don't think it'd be close, either.

I won't let a turd like Donruss speak for all Panini products, just like I won't let a turd like flagship speak for all of Topps.

The red foil really does stand out, and I'm happy that Robert thought of me when he came across this card.

I had seen this 2019 Topps Gallery a few times and have admired it. The shot of the Empire State Building in the background, with the stars flanked by other buildings, gives this card plenty of Big Apple flair.
I haven't been to NYC since March 9. That is unfathomable, especially after going into the city for work everyday since May of 2006.

The final card was a 2019 Topps Stadium Club of Gary Sanchez. Definitely a cool shot. Gary is such an enigma. The talent is endless. When he is hot, there is no better hitter in baseball. But the problem is when he is cold, he is basically a pitcher at the plate. There is no in-between. It does not make sense how extreme the extremes are.
Still, the pose on his card is pretty cool. A catcher making his way to the dugout, likely after a bullpen session. Gatorade towel soaking up sweat. Just a very cool card.

Robert, thanks for the surprise. Appreciate it, and glad we're still pals after all these years.