Saturday, April 30, 2016

The card aisle on the other side of the fence

What would you do if you had that fully stocked Target card aisle that featured the very most up-to-date card product that you've read that other collectors have?

What would you do if you had one of those monthly card shows that you hear about from other places?

What would you do if you had a card shop just down the road, like some lucky people?

What would you do if you could drive easily to a flea market once a week or a month?

I know what I would do.

I'd be at that card aisle every day. I'd have a collection you wouldn't believe because I'm at a card show once a month. I'd be sharing vacation pictures with the card shop owner because I'd be there so often. And I would be able to drive to that flea market blindfolded because I knew the route so well.

But would you? Really?

Or is that just jealousy talking?

Here is what I mean.

A couple of days ago, I read a post on I Love the Smell of Cardboard in the Morning. Tim apparently lives in that North Carolina sweet spot where the second new product is created, it's pumped directly to that area. This wasn't the first time I had read about the latest card issue -- this time, Bowman -- on his blog.

It didn't help matters that he pulled two different Kenta Maeda cards. I probably wouldn't have even left a comment if he didn't. But he did and I saw green, and not the money kind. Arrrrrgh! He got the new cards! He got MY cards!

It probably doesn't matter much in the whole scheme of things. I mean it's Bowman. I don't collect Bowman anyway. But, when you live where I do -- with no card shop, a mediocre card aisle, a card show twice a year if I want to drive the hour-plus, and no idea where I could find a decent flea market, you get a little flustered once in awhile.

And then, not more than two days later, I found out what it was like in one of those glorious places -- in this case, in the card aisle on the other side of the fence. And it's not necessarily greener.

Just yesterday, I traveled to a town about 20 minutes from New York City. Even though it is a relatively small village, it featured things you can't find where I live. For example, book stores. The last book store abandoned ship around here maybe 3 to 4 years ago.

While wandering around a mall there with more restaurants than I have ever seen in one enclosed area, I discovered a Target. I had to check out the card aisle. So I did. It wasn't as impressive as I had imagined in my brain as I walked over there. But it did feature some card items that probably won't be in the card aisle back home for a number of weeks.

I picked up one of those Topps National League team sets in the blister packs, with Clayton Kershaw on the front ... and then put it back.

I picked up a pack of brand, shiny new 2016 Bowman -- me, the guy who doesn't understand Bowman could have been like the second or third blogger to show a pack of Bowman -- and then I put it back.

I just didn't care.

Maybe it was because those products aren't the most exciting. But that's never stopped me before. I think it was more because of all the things that were going on around me at the time. I was so busy with other things and so overstimulated by what was available to me, that suddenly the cards didn't seem that important.

That might be what it's like for a collector with so many other options where they live. It comes down to "what do you feel like doing today" instead of "this is my only chance I got to go NOW."

So that was my glimpse at life on the other side of the fence.

But I still think if there was a monthly card show, I'd be there every damn month.

Oh, you still haven't seen a card have you?

That's from a one-card PWE from Weston at Fantastic Catch.

He said after combing my want lists, this Bowman Chrome prospect card of Alex Verdugo is the only item he found that I needed.

Don't worry, Weston. When Bowman finally does show up here, I'll break down and open a pack. And then you'll see the inevitable 2016 Bowman want list.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

By the numbers

You know when one of those bloggers lists all of the zip codes on their outgoing packages? And you excitedly scan the list for your zip code?

Finding your own zip code is a thrill I can't describe. It's almost like finding your name on the roster on cut day.

But what if you find your zip code twice?

I wasn't prepared for that. Wasn't even a thought.

It turns out it's a little bit different feeling than seeing that zip there once. And that feeling begins with: "Uh oh."

I sat and stared at the list on Jaybarkerfan's Junk mentally determining where these cards were going to go, and how long it was going to take to file them, and what I was going to say about them. And then going through that process a second time, because my zip code was there TWICE.

I was just about to make an appointment to get my eyes checked, when I heard this banging noise out on the porch. The mailman was putting all his force into getting the packages into what had always been a perfectly good-sized mailbox until that point.

I shooed him away with my "there are CARDS in there, man" wave, and yanked out the packages. Yup, sure enough, there were two of them. Both from King Supertrader Wes.

Well, what we gonna do now, night owl? Guess we better start scanning cards -- looks at owl decoder watch -- um, now.

I had no idea how to present two jam-packed large yellow envelopes full of cards, most of which weren't ordinary in any way. But there were so many serial numbered cards in the package that, at the risk of ignoring the non-numbered cards, I thought I'd do a countdown of serial-numberedness.

Don't worry, I'll show some of the other cards at the end, too. But first, here is a by-the-numbers showcase from two envelopes, from largest number to tiniest. That should get all you sick mojohunters excited.

Here we go:

No. 3476
Out of: 4500
Gotta say something here: Any 1998 card from Mike Piazza is a sad one. By the time you pulled this card, he was a Marlin. Or a Met. I'm very close to calling the Dodgers' current World Series drought the "Curse of  the Piazza."

No. 2008
Out of: 2015
Gotta say something here: I have a lot of Joc cards.

No. 1893
Out of: 1985
Gotta say something here: I promise you I'm not throwing an ordinary 1985 Donruss card of Orel Hershiser here and claiming it's numbered.


No, I have no idea why.

No. 1482
Out of: 2006
Gotta say something here: Goldies of 2006 Dodgers have been a bitch for me to find. But I'm gathering them slowly, my pretties.

No. 855
Out of: 1017
Gotta say something here: I scanned this card for the sake of this exercise -- for you -- because I hate scanning foilboard cards.

No. 715
Out of: 2007
Gotta say something here: What is Mark doing here? Signing something? Reading the scouting report? Watering the grass?

No. 504
Out of: 599
Gotta say something here: Burt Hooton likes to sign. I think this is my fifth or sixth Hooton autograph card. Still think it's kind of nasty to make a '70s Dodger legend like Happy sign 599 stickers. Guess that's my fault, because I love the card.

No. 354
Out of: 999
Gotta say something here: There is so much going off on this card that I missed the serial number the first time.

No. 341
Out of: 1962
Gotta say something here: Still mad about the 2011 MVP.

No. 337
Out of: 384
Gotta say something here: Missed the serial number on this one, too. Upper Deck and its bronze age.

No. 306
Out of: 2008
Gotta say something here: While trying to figure out what Chad Billingsley is doing now (I still don't know) I found out that he just donated money toward his old high school getting a new press box. We sportswriters like hearing that.

No. 233
Out of: 499
Gotta say something here: I have no idea why this card is numbered. The photo doesn't look familiar to me, maybe that's it. I will never figure out Bowman.

No. 177
Out of: 199
Gotta say something here: Black borders should have been the way to go, Panini.

No. 167
Out of: 200
Gotta say something here: Sick scoreboard card, dude!

No. 114
Out of: 250
Gotta say something here: Look, Zach Lee is pitching in a storm of antibacterial gel. Sure does make a pretty mini card, though.

No. 110
Out of: 150
Gotta say something here: Moments & Milestones is the only time in history that the words "collect them all" were not spoken encouragingly but derisively.

No. 108
Out of: 199
Gotta say something here: I don't think Rathjen has done nearly enough to receive this beautiful purple card.

No. 84
Out of: 249
Gotta say something here: That's a good-looking relic card. And good to see Ramirez is keeping his eye on the ball.

No. 76
Out of: 500
Gotta say something here: I had this card in my cart when JBF's package arrived. I love when that happens. Free cards save me money!

No. 62
Out of: 200
Gotta say something here: Really don't understand the point of making the painting smaller so you can fit in more geometric shapes.

No. 22
Out of: 99
Gotta say something here: Windle is now in the Phillies' organization. All that blue gone to waste.

No. 19
Out of: 2003
Gotta say something here: Pierce never made it out of A ball. But at least I have 10 different cards of him!

No. 15
Out of: 15
Gotta say something here: This is a very fancy card. Even the sticker is fancy. Matt Magill is with the Reds now and hasn't been in the majors since 2013, but very, very fancy.

No. 14
Out of: 1490
Gotta say something here: These logo patch cards crack me up. At least Brown eventually made the majors. I'd hate to see all that thread go to waste.

Those were all the numbered cards. But there are still cards to show, because we all know serial-numbered cards aren't everything. Here are just a few without gold-foil stamping.

Wes doesn't skimp on the relics. These are two pretty ones.

I love this card. The write-up on the back is thorough and insightful.

This must be a Tek card. Sandy on a Tek card. Doesn't seem right.

Very nice-looking cards for Bowman. Just avert your eyes from the monstrous "TM" in the background.

These are all Bowman minis. With your next superstar, Corey Seager, in the middle. The most impressive thing about this might be that I lined them up pretty straight on the scanner.

Henry Rodriguez is a sore subject. I knew the whole time he was struggling to make the Dodger lineup that the minute he left the Dodgers he would excel. You're welcome, Expos fans.

This card is actually not green, it's gold. It's also in a screw-down, but I cropped it out because I don't have time to open it (but I do have time for long posts).

Truly my favorite card of the entire package. Love these late '70s Renata Galasso cards so much. You will see a want list someday.

There was so much more. So much more that I've already scanned, too, but I've already taken up too much of your time.

This is what happens when you see your zip code listed twice.

There's still a lot of work to do.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

C.A.: 2010 Topps Update More Tales of the Game insert, Ruth Laps the League

(Happy Babe Ruth Day. It was 69 years ago today that a dying Babe Ruth was honored with his own day at Yankee Stadium. Let's recognize that with a little Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 239th in a series):

It's not like me to pay homage to a Yankee.

But when a Yankee completes a set -- an insert set at that, a second insert set at that, then I must put allegiances aside and ... ack ... honor a Yankee.

This particular card, which I received from Dennis at Too Many Verlanders just the other day (I'll show how he decimated my Nebulous 9 on another post), finishes off the More Tales of the Game insert set from 2010 Update, which was a continuation of the Tales of the Game insert set in the flagship set that year.

This is one of my favorite insert series of the last five or six years, because I do love cards that tell a story. The set is a little too heavy on Yankees (imagine that, Topps overemphasizing the Yankees). But it does a good job of conveying the well-told stories handed down from generation to generation, as well as adding some new stories from recent years.

The Ruth Laps The League card is based on his performance in 1920 when he it 54 home runs, which was more than any other team hit that year.

The photo on the card looks like a painting. Perhaps it is. I can't even tell if it's really Ruth. Maybe it's William Bendix or John Goodman.

No matter. The More Tales of the Game set is complete. As is the Tales of the Game set.

Let's see them all together (I've shown them together on at least a couple of posts, but this time you really are seeing ALL OF THEM).


It only took me 5-plus years!

Happy Babe Ruth Day everyone.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Let's open some packs

But not Gypsy Queen or Donruss or any of that sad stuff on the store shelves right now -- old packs -- packs from 1983, the best damn year on the planet!

I'll get to Mr. Magnum in a little while, but I wanted to let you know I was graced with a super fun kind of package from Angus of Dawg Day Cards not too long ago. He included a whole bunch of oddballs and also a handful of unopened packs.

This is my kind of package.

Before the grand opening let's see some of the cards that were loose and free. They're doozies.

OK, these two haven't exactly been let loose, but they will be. I've completed the full set of Kellogg's Dodgers (aside from variations which I will not chase). But I refuse to turn down extras. And Sutton will go toward my quest to complete the '76 Kellogg's set.

Curvy cards! The Ron Cey is a '77 Isaly's/Sweet William disc and will go nicely with my chocolate ice cream-stained Cey Zip'z disc. The Andy Messersmith is a Dairy Isle disc and my first Messersmith spherical card. The Fernando is a 1984 Slurpee with Sportflics action before there were Sportflics!

How could this package get better, I ask you?

Well, with this:

"Hey," you're saying. "Dopey night owl, you have all those cards already."

And I'm saying ...

"No, I don't. They're O-Pee-Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

Check out those Buckner and Lopes mustaches. They're just as strong in Canadian. And they'll prepare you nicely for more mustache to come.

Angus did not skimp on the O-Pee-Chee. Here are a few more:

These are all from 1989, obviously. And two feature the tell tale "Now with ..." typewritten message on the front.

These '89s aren't the easiest to find.

Which is why I was impressed when I saw the unopened packs that Angus sent.

That's some Gomme Balloune Avec Cartes right there from 1989 and 1990.

Let's open those up.

But first ...

OK, now let's open the 1989 pack.

Not bad at all. Way awesome to pull an OPC Rock Raines card.

'89 OPC packs actually featured seven cards. Here is the seventh:

If gum is going to stick to a card, this is proper technique. Ruin the Giants card, the Giant is already ruining it.

The 1990 OPC pack featured 10 cards.

Let's open that one.

The first six. Pretty standard fare.

On to card No. 7 ...

I am aghast. My most impressive OPC pull of all-time.

This card will be packaged in a mailer tonight that will be headed to the Junior Junkie. It's about time I tracked down another Griffey for him.

And the other three cards. I was so dancing up a storm over my OPC Griffey Party that I didn't notice until now the "Now with" notation on Mark Langston's card. Always cool.

Also cool were the three nonsports packs that Angus sent.

One was the Magnum, P.I., one is a pack that I'll open on A Pack To Be Named Later because I've been delinquent on that site and I know it hasn't been opened there. The other is a pack of M*A*S*H cards.

Angus was gearing for a spot in my '70s TV/Movies binder. M*A*S*H is definitely the '70s, but the cards came out in 1982 just as the series was ending.

To me as a kid, M*A*S*H was "that adult show," and too sophisticated and serious for me. Even when I got older I never watched it. But it was so pervasive that I knew all the characters and some of the storylines.

Here are the cards from the pack:

Some very straightforward rectangle squares. No writing, just pictures and puzzle pieces on the back.

Lucky me, I have a card of Alan Alda in the shower, and the card on the middle right apparently got caught up in the machinery so it's ripped a couple different ways. But at least I pulled Klinger as Dorothy!

Let's open the Magnum P.I. pack.

The obvious goal to this opening is to pull a card of a car. You can say what you want about what Magnum P.I. was about, Selleck, great weather, babes, The Tigers, Hawaiian shirts, mustache wax, whatever. We all know it was about the vehicles.

Let's see the cars ... er, cards:

I can't see anything on that one.

Let's try again.

Three (maybe four, I can't make out that figure in the distance on the bottom card) are cards of Magnum, three cards are of Higgins, one card is of Zeus and Apollo, and there's maybe half a card of a car.

Well, that's disappointing.

For me, the best part of this pack is the design on the back of the cards that aren't puzzles:

That sums up your show. Love it.

Just one final thing before I'm done.