Sunday, October 5, 2014

Card Shows

The October card show is always supposed to be the best here in CNY. I don't know why, but that's always the way it seems. Maybe it's because two of the other ones are in January and April, months notorious for near-death winter driving situations and the blossoming of a new baseball season.

Either way, I always manage to make it to the October show. Winter and Spring be damned. So rather than be a pessimist about the state of the hobby, I rolled on down the road fifteen minutes and walked in to Collectorsfest.

We'll start with a nice black wave refractor of young Dodger Julio Urias. Black waved aren't particularly rare (they're not even numbered) so this plus another black wave, the Harper and Abreu you'll see later, and a few others were landed for eight bills. 

Could have been worse. It was evident right away that no one was really looking to give cards away today. Card dealers with prospects are just getting more and more greedy, it seems. 

Needless to say, I heard the term "book value" way more times than ever necessary today. I'm walking away if you bring up book value. Get the net, bro.

Oh my, these cards seem to have melted. Landed for $0.50 each, I also grabbed Javier Baez and Oscar Taveras. Might go after the whole set.

Sadly, this Jose Fernandez sparkler looks like it could have been taken at the moment his delicate ulnar collateral ligament shredded earlier in the season. I'm looking to add Jose Fernandez to my collections. I enjoy the players with personality and brightly coloured uniforms.

So send me some, I'll send something back.

A lot of folks were placing a large emphasis on the Kershaw-Wainwright match up Friday night, pegging it as the best possible starting pitcher match up in the National League. Not so. It's Fernandez versus Kershaw, and it's not even close.

Get well soon, big guy, We miss you.

Oh, Salvador. 

Salvy is getting worked like a dog right now. The Royals have a perfectly capable backup in Erik Kratz. Give him some playing time.

The swatch here is actually off-white, almost cream. I'll have to do some research to find out when the Royals ever wore jersies like that.

My Salvador Perez collection is doing good, but I am up to further developing it.

The Perez was a $1 throw-in to the following Jake Marisnick card. I could have had a matching refractor of Zach Walters, but some mouth breathing basement dweller hovered for a good 10 minutes over that one. So I had to settle on the base autograph, which was only two bills.

LeVon Washington only set me back $2. I unloaded pretty well on one guy who's head was firmly planted up his Yankee-worshipping ass. I mean, how else could you let this slip by in a $2 bin?:

That's numbered 04/10. TEN. 

Roberto came from the same box. Like shooting fish.

Kevin Siegrist auto? Sure, why the hell not. What else?

Salvador Perez goodies kept coming. Only fifty of these made, and that's probably for the best. The silks were nice for one year. Now, whatever.

How about some Nationals?

The aforementioned Zach Walters and a Bryce Harper. After watchign Zach in Syracuse for two seasons, he was finally called up in 2014. Then  swiftly traded to the Cleveland Indianes.

So it goes.

Ugggghhhhhhhh. Drew Storen.

A mini! Since blogspot popped this in  about the same size as the rest of the card, I shrunk it. It's my first Byron Buxton, mostly just to say I have a mini Byron Buxton.

And a nice Gavin Cecchini pick up. Not a Cecchini collector, but loved the orange swatch from this insert. Looking for both blue and orange version of AJ Jimenez.

Of course, it taked until the end of the post to show a Blue Jay, which is just how it goes at card shows nowadays. And probably all of the days before. I could have had this one many times, but decided to add it in to the pile with the old friend who sold me the black wave refractors.

And finally, RED, WHITE AND PUIG

Friday, October 3, 2014

will there ever be a rainbow

Yeah, I'm still here. I still have baseball cards, still like baseball cards and especially baseball itself, and am still collecting. So, no worries there.

But things change. Priorities move around, budgets are crunched, hobbies are malleable. So while not posting with anything resembling regularity, I'm still here. Just quiet.

And kind of angry. Mostly angry because Stadium Club is back, and Topps absolutely whiffed on their own concept for a set. But that's a post for another time. This post is about young baseballers and chasing rainbows. 

Other bloggers are rather sore about the rookie card, and even base cards for that matter, rainbows. And that's fine. They all like Allen & Ginter's, which is a totally bullshit gimmick set. So to each their own. 

I like the rainbows. They indeed are something to chase, and I've got some in the works.

These have been easier to come by than I originally thought. You're looking at the refractor and the base chrome of Aaron Sanchez.

Aaron Sanchez is very good at throwing baseballs.

So is this guy, and they just so happen to be very good friends:

Stroman cards have blown up in pricing of late. It's pretty disappointing. His cards were super cheap until he debuted and smoked the competition. Marcus has plenty of enjoyable facial expressions, and this card captures that quite well.

Roberto Osuna has sort of been lost in the Blue Jays' young pitching armada, and that's fine. He had Tommy John surgery in 2013, so he's fallen a bit behind. Pretty sure he's only about 20 years old, too. Also - 2014 Bowman Inception is a beauty.

2014 Sterling, however, was some hot garbage. Knee deep in rapidly dissolving refraction. Mondesi is even younger than Osuna. Look it up

So that's where I am. I needed to start somewhere. So I did.

See you soon.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Big Deal(s)

Two posts in one month is kind of a big deal now.

Don't get me wrong. I am as excited as ever for the 2014 baseball season. 

Even if the Blue Jays are set to have another mediocre year, there is plenty to look forward to. I have a few fantasy baseball leagues - including some with some fine bloggers around here - that will serve as a time sync and post generator for this here blog. 

In theory, anyways.

Things always come up. Like this:

We're buying a house. And that's kind of a big deal. Don't let the photo confuse you, though. The house is currently buried in an unimaginable, unmeltable amount of snow right now. But by the time we're there, I'll finally have space! Sweet, glorious space.

Space for my brewing equipment.

Space to chase my dog(s, eventually) around.

And space for things like this:

Anthony Gose cards. They're becoming a theme here. Why? He's fast. I like fast. He's a good fielder - and underappreciated tool now. 

He's just not a great hitter. And as such, his cards come cheap. Like this one:

Granted, this 2014 Gypsy Queen auto never broke anyone's bank. But at minimum bid and manageable shipping costs, this was easily mine. And it's a good one. A good photo. And the auto isn't on some heartless Topps propaganda sticker. So, you know, it looks good.

Not as good as this, though:

Topps finally got it right in 2013 after years of barf designs (which of course, was resurrected in 2014!) At the height of this was the sepia refractors of Chrome. At release, this one would have set me back a bit. Instead, it was received for $2.99 shipped with the next card and a 2013 Allen & Ginter's common. 

This card, which looks like it could have come from a 2005 Upper Deck release. MVP, maybe. Which, I suppose, is why I like it. 

That's right, a 2014 Topps card I like. Other than Anthony Gose's base card. Two out of 400 isn't bad, right?

But hey, baseball season is coming. I heard Vin Scully's voice today. On a television. While baseball was happening.


So cheer up.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The prose that comes and Gose

Baseball is still two months away.

Sure, by the end of February, the magical headlines will read "Pitcher and catchers report to Spring Training" will be scrolled across newspapers and blogs all around the land, but all that really means is incessant shots of thirty-something millionaires in the "Best Shape of their Lives (TM)" stretching across bright green carpets that us Northerners can only dream of for the next three months. 

But still. Two months is better than, say, November, when the season ended. Baseball season is my new years. No January resolutions for me. Just months of sitting, waiting. 

And damn have I been patient with this offseason. The Jotas Azules have signed Dioner Navarro. And that's it. I myself just stare out the window, when it's not buried in snow or iced over by freezing rain, dreaming of Spring. I've chipped away at a few collecting goals, but I haven't bought a pack since my Heritage Minors break. I've brewed a few beers. A deep winter porter with maple syrup and a West Coast grapefruit pale ale, in dreams of warmer times and porch-sitting.

 IN collecting, a large quotient of the Old Man's Club got all hot and bothered yesterday over this article. I couldn't get too upset, other than a lack of research on her part (Todd Helton does INDEED have a tribute card in this set, and it is quite nice), and for the most part I agree with her.

The decline continues, yes. But like a prominent blogger pointed out on the twitterz, there are plenty of peaks and valleys in this hobby. We're in another valley, I suppose, but I don't think many will climb the peak to reach the sun's rays again anytime soon.

The cards are too expensive and no one has enough money to buy them without reselling singles. It's a vicious cycle. It has led to a complete change in my collecting process. 

Hot, sexy ebay singles. 

But back to that article that pissed everyone off. I wasn't pissed off. I was saddened, really. The glitz and whatever the hell, I dare not call it glamour, or collecting baseball cards is gone. There's no competition anymore. Nothing is new except the players on the cards, and ever their photos are getting repeated set-to-set, year-to-year.

I mean really, how many times have you seen Mike Trout sliding in to home?

But hey, Topps brought back the acetate cards. 

...about two years after Panini did. And then limited them to 10 copies each. Beacuse, you know, the 10 Mark Buerhle fans out there really need to spend $26 on a parallel of their favorite player. 

I'm not done with The Hobby.

I just want to kick it in the nuts. Preferably pretty hard, and watch it writhe on the ground until it gets the message. 

You used to be cool. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Less Talk, More Rock Shoulders: Three Boxes of 2013 Heritage Minors

Alternate title: Friday, Served Blackened

Black Friday rolled around after a tiring few days of Thanksgiving preparation and nearly drowning myself in delicious craft brews. After two Thanksgivings and a rather beautiful, yet tiring Christmas Tree search, I returned home to the great shithole of Syracuse, New York to browse some post-Black Friday deals.

Lo an behold, Dave & Adam's Card World (from the beautiful Buffalo, New York) had a hell of one:

Boxes of 2013 Topps Heritage Minors for $33/each and free shipping over $100. Sold, sold and sold. 

Here's the results:


The base cards are the exact same style and stock of your MLB-released Heritage. But they're better, because they don't have dicknoses like Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun on them.

Here's some fresh-faced lads you may be hearing about very soon. I'm a big fan of the vertically-challenged Marcus Stroman (#hdmh) Greg Z at The Plaschke is already an admirer of Corey Seager and Byron Buxton - last year's #2 overall pick but likely tenfold more valuable than Mark Appel has the heart of prospectors throughout the hobby.

DJ Davis is very, very fast. And Rock Shoulders is, well, ROCK FUCKING SHOULDERS.


In all, I came away with 8 black parallels /96. That's pretty awesome considering /99 parallels in Topps Mothership tend to fall at a case break ratio. Also cloaked in jet blackness: Miles Head (TB), Jonathan Schoop (BAL), Trevor May (MIN), Jonathan Singleton (HOU), Gorman Erickson (LAD) and Stefan Romero (SEA). 

Venezuelans fall 1:box. The odds are slightly better than than, but I made out with three of them. I believe they're relatively more rare than the black, so I was pretty excited to get a stellar prospect in Javier Baez. Also pulled Ryan O'Sullivan and Cesar Hernandez, both in the Philadelphia Phillies puke pile of an organization.


I love the Road to the Show insert set. Aside from the checklist highlighting the tops players in the system, the set features short-season players (for the most part) and the logos of their system on the way up, starting with High A (upper left), AA (lower left) and AAA (lower right.)

I chose two Blue Jays here - DJ Davis again and Aaron Sanchez. I also added Alen Hanson - because who doesn't love a toolsy second baseman? (Looks in mirror admiringly.) These are three players I see myself collecting in the coming years. 

Hell, I need someone after the departure of JP Arencibia (RIP) and the implosion of the Blue Jays after 2014.

Here's some Francisco (<3) Lindor in '13 Heritage form. I'm glad he was depicted as a Mudcat - but the didn't spend much time there in 2013. By mid-summer he was an Akron Aeros, which are now the Akron Rubber Ducks, which is wayyyy cooler than it sounds. 


 Obligatory autographs of middling prospects! Wee! The prospect auto checklist for this was weak, so I didn't expect much. Typical Topps trolling me with Yankees prospects, a KC Royals prospect auto because KC pitching prospect multiply when they get wet, and creepy-ass Chad Bettis, or should I say, creepy-ass Lenny van Dohlen.

Brett Bochy showing 8-grade pitcherface, Mike Freeman looking like my master's adviser and Anthony Garcia, who I have no comment for whatsoever.

So, I guess this is a "hit." Relics fall 1:box. This is the only "relic" I received. Colorado Springs Sky Sox are the AAA Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Excellent travel accommodations, I assume. 

Blech. A redemption for a basic relic? Just don't put the card in the set. At least Davidson is a prospect that has "made it." He played 31 games with Arizona in 2013, and based on the depth chart and departure of Fan Favorite (TM) Willie Bloomquist, should have a nice hold on the position going into 2014. That is, if he shows enough #grit. 

I mentioned there were three boxes, but we see only tro (or one?) relics above. This is why:


Keep your worthless codpiece relics of light-hitting middle infilders, Topps. Give me more of this.

I've been trying to land this card for under $15 since the release of the set. All it took was to get it for good was three $33 boxes! HAHA SUCK IT TOPPS.




The Rock Fucking Shoulders (TM) wasn't the last hit. This was pretty cool, too:

Yep. That's my first printing plate. And I like it. I like the player (light hitting middle infielders for the win!) In case you cannot tell, this is World Series Hero (bahahahaha) Kolten Wong. A much-less irritating Hawaiian than Shane Victorino, for what it's worth. This is definitely less creepy than most yellow printing plates that I see.

Here's the back, since old folks like the Night Owl like that sort of thing:

Just kidding, Greg. I like card backs, too.

While you likely won't find any boxes of this for the $33 price tag that I did, I highly recommend this one. Topps didn't muff it up with pictured of dead presidents and walking dead Yankees, so it's a pretty fun open. Hits, though underwhelming, fall at a solid rate and the player selection in the base set is very well balanced. Go get some. Treat yo'self. 

Blue & Blue

The writing on the walls has been there for years. But like every "Call Patty for a good time" there's a thousand glances and chuckles. You walk away. Rumors, MLBTR posts, scathing tweets on historically bad OBPs...but like Patty, you know there's probably a good person there, but a few events here and there soil a reputation beyond repair.

On Monday, my favourite team non-tendered one of my favourite players. For the purpose of this blog, and my own personal collecting goals, he was my favourite player. 

Yesterday, he signed with the Texas Rangers.

The idea of JP Arencibia was more than what JPA is. He was a college star. College stars rarely turn into extraordinary players, and JPA was often less than ordinary. 2013 was historically bad, and the Rangers took a $1M "what the hell" kind of gamble on him that can't possibly fail (but dear sweet lord baby jesus don't let him catch Yu Darvish.)

I don't really know where I'm going with this. But as proprietor of this insignificant blog, I felt I had to say something.

I wish JPA the best. If he managed to play up to 30% of the time, or maybe even become a starter (because let's be honest, he's "backing up" Geovany Soto) and hits a few home runs, I'll be happy for him. 

In fact, I'm glad for him. Sometimes players just need to get out of Toronto to get back to their potential. It doesn't make much sense, but it happens. At least we'll always have this: