Friday, June 18, 2010

The breaks of the group break

I've been completely out of the loop today. First, I had relatives visiting, then the usual kick-ass time at work, then a graduation to attend. I've hit the blogs for a grand total 10 minutes. If something important happened, you'll have to fill me in (and by "important," I don't mean anything involving a sport in which you play an entire game and no one wins -- or loses).

So, let's go to a time when I was clueless in a different way. When I first started this blog, I had never participated in a group break. I didn't even know what they were. I came upon card blogging by reading Ben Henry's The Baseball Card Blog and going from there. I started blogging purely from a writing interest. But I know that's not how everyone comes to card blogging. There are others who start blogging from a card acquiring/trading interest.

For them it's nothing to participate in group breaks on forums or watch breaks on youtube. I don't do any of that. It doesn't interest me.

But I have participated in many group breaks conducted by bloggers. They are more my speed. The bloggers are trustworthy, they have an interest in cards comparable to mine, and they make breaks fair and interesting.

When I participate in breaks, I go in spurts. I'll do a few at a time, and then, when the money runs out, I won't do any for awhile. Right now, I'm in a period of doing none at all. I've had to turn down a couple. Sorry, guys, I just can't afford it.

But prior to that, I was involved in three breaks at a time. The breaks were fairly different, and I came out of them pretty successful in two and not successful at all in one. That's the gamble of the group break. It's something I've learned goes with the territory.

For example, I paid about $20 to nab the Dodgers in a group break at Nachos Grande. Here are some of the cards that I received from that break (I'm not showing dupes or Dodgers I already have):

That's some good stuff there. I needed both Nomo cards, the Wallach Stadium Club card is strangely goofy and cool at the same time, and the Clear Cut Stadium Club Mike Piazza card was thrown in by Chris because I didn't get a box hit in the break. It is a fantastically awesome card.

Now, about the same time that the Nachos break was going on, I threw in $26 for a group break conducted at Thorzul Will Rule. Thorzul was busting a box of 2006 SP Legendary Cuts. Because of the crazy hits involved, I decided to jump in, even though I have at least half of the Dodgers in this set already.

Here is what I received -- minus the doubles (of which there were many and must have totally pissed off people who bought large quantities of this product):

Yup. Three cards. While I am enormously happy to own a card of Pete Reiser, one of the best "what if" stories in baseball history, if I regularly paid $26 for three four-year-old cards -- and base cards at that --  my wife would take control of all the household finances and pay me a weekly $3 allowance -- in pennies.

But them's the group break breaks. I realize that. I skipped the next Thorzul break (too steep for me), but am looking forward to the next one.

Of course, the best group breaks are the ones that cost NOTHING. I don't know how people who put on breaks do that, but I am grateful that they do.

One such break was by Joe at The Sandlot. He was busting all kinds of cool boxes and I grabbed some great Dodgers for nada. Let us see what came home to daddy:

To recap: I need the Nomos, the Mondesi cards are awesome, and the Worrell card is baffling. As has been mentioned many times before, Emotion XL could never get the "emotion" thing right. "Humming"?

So there's an example of how your results may vary in group breaks. But I guess that's part of the appeal. Gambling is supposed to draw us card collecting types, isn't it?

Hopefully, I'll be back in the group break game soon somewhere (well, not at Joe Collector's -- I can never get in that thing). Meanwhile, thanks to Chris, Thorzul and Joe for going through the effort to put together things like this.


  1. That's a good way to put it, "gambling".

    Anyway, glad you liked the break. I'm looking forward to doing some more in the future!

  2. Rickey Henderson looks a lot like Ice-T on that card.

  3. Group breaks are fun, but it is definitely gambling.

  4. Just saw that Campanis and thought, wasn't he *that* guy? Looked it up and, sure enough, he was *that* guy. As in the Nightline guy. It's got to be tough when one incident defines someone, but he is an interesting choice for a card.

  5. I agree with your group break sentiments, I'm not much of a gambler myself and more often than not end up disappointed with group break results (the Reds rarely seem to have anything good in sets anymore). That said, when I hold a group break I try to make sure everyone involved gets "something cool" even if it is out of my personal collection. There will always be some teams that do better than others (that's the nature of a group break) but that doesn't mean other teams need to end up with nothin'.

  6. I was just explaining to my wife the other day that participating in a group break is very much the same as buying a lottery ticket or gambling. You're not guaranteed much of anything, but you may get lucky.

    I participated in a few and it was a lot of fun, so much fun that I tried my hand at hosting a break last month and another one this weekend. I didn't make any money the first time around (lost a little actually) and it appears I may break even with this month's break. I don't host them to make money, I host them because it was something I enjoyed and I love send people stuff! I also try to keep the breaks relatively cheap because I know he are all on tight budgets these days.

  7. Wow, I never knew Henderson played for the Dodgers. He must have played for about ten teams!