30 November 2012

One of only one.

As you may have seen, I recently completed a rather awesome trade with the cardblogosphere's one and only Dutchman, Jeroen. It was a truly unique trade, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Even though English is his second language, it seemed like Jeroen enjoyed my contribution to the swap as well.

Plus, I unloaded about fifty filthy stinking snotball Yankees cluttering up my desk. And garbage cans, toilet bowl, pet pug's mouth and miscellaneous cracks and crevices around the house where I could hide them from my own view. 

Needless to say, I had been looking for a Yankee-loving trade partner for a while, and finding one on another continent was quite possibly the best-case scenario. It's about as far away from me as those Yankees cards can get. Unless there is a Yankee collector on the Moon. If you're reading this, Moon-jerk, I have a stack of Scott Brosiuses with the eyes gouged out to send you.

As you can see, I like to write bitterly on the Yengwes. But that's not the point of this post. No, the point of this post, is Blue Jays cards!

Cue the mass exodus of readers.

I am always looking for new J-PAs, and Jeroen supplied four of them, a great contribution. I like to purchase inserts and parallels from ebay and COMC, and rely on base cards to come in trade. Here's a 2011 Bowman...

And then a 2012 Bowman.

And a 2011 Finest. And it was a bitch to scan. These bow horribly, and I almost had to put this under a book to scan it. No worries, though. It's been top loaded and is hopefully "straightening out" in the Puma box.

Oh look, another member of of the Blue Jays laughably deep catching depth. I am assuming AJ Jimenez will be traded by the deadline this season if J-PA or Buck are not. Oh and then there's a Jose Bautista from Bowman Platinum. No big deal.

Adoni(y)s! Notice anything interesting about these? There will be a post on these two by themselves soon enough.

Although I am mentioning it almost last, the Allen & Ginter's were a major factor in the trade. I sent some to him - mostly minis and inserts, and I received some base cards. These were my favorites, the always-awesome George Brett (for mature audiences only). Also included is the Jays new shortstop, Jose Reyes.

This was one of my favourites of the trade.  A Vernon Wells Black Refractor. I love black refractors. Normally that would be a sufficient for the super-annoying What's in a Name inserts I sent to Holland, but then there was the real centerpiece. A John-Paul Arencibia printing plate from 2012 Topps Mini.

So very cool. Yet somehow, Topps manages to take the soul out of it. I don't really consider these "cards." They're a very cool keepsake, more of a memorabilia piece than a trading card. I could probably write a post on them, too. And maybe I will.

But if I don't, you can still find some smashing reading material over at The Dutch Card Guy's Blog.

27 November 2012

2012-2013 Upper Deck Hockey


In sports card collecting, photography is oft-overlooked. With Topps discontinuing Stadium Club and forcing out full-bleed sets like Upper Deck flagship, photography seems to have taken a back seat in baseball.

It is sad, and the Update Series usually provided some nice pictures, but it seems the folks at Upper Deck have taken this Topps Laziness and capitalized on it in hockey.

In hockey, there is no Topps anymore. And that's fine. It's refreshing. Instead, we have industry comeback kids Panini (formerly Donruss) and Upper Deck battling in beautiful harmony. Panini rules the bottom rung with Score and the top with Dominion and Luxury Suite. Upper Deck fills out the middle class with affordable-yet-pretty O-Pee-Chee, Flagship and upper-middle suburbanite Artifacts.

Now I, myself, am middle class. I was born into it and live it to this day. I drive a Jeep, I have a couple dogs, I like sports and hate neighbors. Which is why my favourite set of every hockey season (or lack of), which comes out about this time every year, is Upper Deck Series 1.

And this year, they absolutely NAILED photography. Ever card has something new. What's a normal scrum along the boards is the Brothers Schenn, deep camera eye-contact. The best goal celebrations you will ever see.

Upper Deck 12-13 has it all.

Obligatory milestone smile.

UD didn't mess around. Straight into it, card number 1 of the set is Saku Koivu - big Finnish grin and all, holding three pucks from a hat-trick night, I am assuming. He's scored a few goals - so I am sure they're not first careers.

Upper Deck knows we love awesome uniforms, and new-Blue Jackets defender Jack Johnson is seen here sporting one of the best alternate logos of all time. All sports. What awesomeness.

Bring it.

Nik Backstrom is here. It may look as though there is a significant amount of net to shoot at at this particular moment, but I assure you, there is not. Another third uniform shot, and this one is actually one of the less interesting goalie shots. The next one is not-so-flattering foe the crease cleaner:
Net, ice, puck in the net.

This Tomas Fleishmann is just bitchin'. Upper Deck really utilized the overhead/oblique/ice level/inches from face genre of hockey photography in this set. Speaking of in your face:


Cal Clutterbuck. That is all.

Actually that's not all. Seriously, that has to be one of the best hockey cards ever produced. I managed to pull two of these from two rack packs, which is fine. If I get one in every pack I rip, I'll be happy. And wallpaper my man cave with it.

26 November 2012

COMC Black Friday Dealz

I may be jumping the gun on this post a bit, but I don't care.

Recently at comc.com, the great gang there was running a special for Black Friday, the newest American holiday.

Aside from their seller incentives, which with myself not being a seller, I don't know the specific, buyers were being rewarded handsomely. COMC was offering free shipping on orders of 10 or more cards shipped on Friday, as well as a $.10 store credit gift for every one of those qualifying cards. I grabbed 18 in a few hours drinking coffee with my Dad that morning, and here's some of the highlights:

I suppose it wouldn't be a Black Friday without a BLACK refractor autograph, would it? I have struggled to find this piece of the Magical J-PA Rainbow Crusade for under $30 without shipping, and the seller graciously gave this one up for a meager $7.75 - the most I have ever spent on one card off COMC, and I'd do it again.
I picked up a Drew Hutchison autograph from the world-ending Bowman Chrome release. Probably the start of another rainbow.

I like anything with a Montreal Expos logo on it.

A Nue Jay that can match his siblings, a J-PA bat and plain gray swatch of jersey. Emilio, or "Boni" as John Buck referred to him as recently in an interview, is supposedly one of the best teammates anyone could ask for. Maybe he can work his magic on Cletus B. Centrefielder this season...

I love mini relic cards. My only other relic of Ricky prior to this beauty was from an Upper Deck Team USA set, decked out in stars and stripes and holofoil. This, however, is just as American.

Any relic featuring catcher's equipment is a must-have, and this John Buck from his backstopping days in Houston is no exception. There are four versions on this one, I believe, with the near-impossible-to-obtain five-piece, featuring shin guard is the top tier. This is also the inspiration to a new banner for this blog that I hope to roll out soon enough. #80want

I also decided to work towards my World Baseball Classic relic collection. While this Nick Weglarz of TEAM CANADA (shameless attempt at Canuck page hits) isn't my first, this was the first real movement on this goal since 2010 or so.

I also knocked of South Africa (in refractory-fashion)...

And Mexico. These were rushed into my Black Friday shipment, and with more sellers capitalizing on the the weekend deals, by Sunday night I had also checked off Cuba (Yulieski Gourriel) and South Korea (Po-Hsuan Keng) to go with the Venezuela (Magglio Ordonez) I already had.

21 November 2012

COMC Haul 1: New Sergio Santos PC

One of my goals for my most recent of COMC order was establishing a player collection of Sergio Santos. Sergio has a pretty unique (though, becoming less unique) history in professional baseball.

So, as the cards come out, I'll give some history:

Sergio hit .388 for his high school team in Hacienda Heights, CA in 2002. He was subsequently drafted in the first round of the 2002 draft (27th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks as a shortstop after also slugging well and stealing a few bases along the way in his senior year.

In the Skills section of his 1st Bowman Card (read: rookie),  he is compared to Alex Rodriguez. That's a bit of a stretch, as at the time of the printing of this card, Alex was one of the greatest players on the planet, before he pissed it away and destroyed his body and credibility with PEDs. There was one telling bit on the back of the card, though: "big league arm." Sergio never played a game for Arizona, and was traded along with Troy Glaus to the Toronto Blue Jays for Miguel Batista and Orlando Hudson.
Sergio never impressed as a batter in the minor leagues for the Blue Jays, nor was he a particularly strong defender, and in 2008 was selected by the Minnesota Twins off of waivers, granted free agency that winter, and signed with the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox had the great idea of turning Sergio into a relief pitcher in 2009 - sending him back to A-Ball, trading him to the San Francisco Giants, trading for him again 10 days later, and putting him through 4 leagues and 4 teams in 2009, grooming him as a reliever.


In the Spring Training of 2010, Sergio killed it. Enough so that he was added to the ChiSox roster to start the season, and by the end of 2010, he had his first career save.
In 2011 he was just plain dirty. 30 saves, 1.3 WHIP and a respectable 3.55 ERA. He also set the ChiSox record of 120k's in his first 100 innings, opening the year with 20 1/3 scoreless innings.

...and then the Silent Assassin swooped in and stole him from the White Sox for a torn bag of baseball and a half-eaten ham sandwhich (Nestor Molina.)
Sergio missed most of 2012 with some mostly unexplained elbow issues for the Blue Jays. From a fan's standpoint, it looked like he was trying way too hard out there. Settle down, tough guy, the Jays have you until 2017, but in 2012, we'll need you the most.

20 November 2012

Do you like these cards?

Pretty nice Henrik Lundqvist patch/stick
combination, amiright?

How about this:

Some very acceptable inkage from 
future star PK Subban, eh?

Maybe the Maple Leafs are more your style?
Maybe, if your style is pain and agony and emotional suffering?

Let's hope its not physical suffering from the hands of:

...Buffalo Sabre token face-puncher Andrew Peters?

Whatever your style, you may enjoy any one or all of these wonderful piece of cardboard from 10-11 Panini Luxury Suite, 11-12 Panini Rookie Anthology or 11-12 In the Game Enforcers.

Coincidentally, these sets just happen to be what MattP over at Cardboard Conundrum is opening up - and he's sharing the goods. For as low as $16 you can grab a spot - your favourite team and another random - from this supersweet group break.

So, do you like those card? Because they're all from unclaimed teams in the group break.

And damn, that PK Subban is sweet. Maybe I should have grabbed the Habs...

19 November 2012

COMC Sneak Preview

Shiny, inky, cleary, Pudgy,  kitties?, memorabiliay, parallely cardboard goodness coming your way over the next week. You've been warned.

18 November 2012

Awesome Hockey Group Break at Cardboard Conundrum

Hi everyone - this is a quick pimping of an excellent group break going down over at Cardboard Conundrum. Matt P will be busting some absolutely awesome boxes of hockey cards over there, and I myself would love to see this break fill up and see everyone grab some great cards, and maybe even get some hockey outsiders to join in on the fun.

And it's affordable! So go get some! Something like this, possibly:

17 November 2012

Some Delicacies from Nomo's Sushi Platter

How's that for a trade-post pun? I had to reach back for that one.

Anyways, Michael from Nomo's Sushi Platter approached me a while back about a quick little trade. No major hits thrown around - it kind of felt like one of those "Get to know each other" trades. And guess what? I am totally cool with that, as Michael, a.k.a.: Spiegel tossed some quite excellent cardboad from the left coast.

Here's the loot:

Here is the centerpiece of my side of the trade, a 2012 Topps Update Black Border of Ross Detwiler. While I don't adamantly ask for Detwilers in trade (yet), him winning me a fantasy baseball championship this year doesn't hurt. Plus I love the black border parallels. This is my first from '12. I have a J-PA from '11 and a Dusty Lambchops from '10 (I think).

Blue Jays refractors are always welcome. ALWAYS. Joey is currently the second hardest Jays player to get in trade or on ebay and COMC - the first is Canadian Wonderboy Brett Lawrie.

Chromed-up J-PA. Very nice. I haven't started this rainbow yet, aside from the Red Ice Refractor (#/25), which I had to jump on right away. It should be a nice one once it is complete, though.

A pair of foil-y Pudges from (I think) 1996 Upper Deck. I miss Upper Deck and their 700-card sets with 100 subsets. I prefer that to collecting 12 off-coloured parallels of every player. 
Ha. Excellent. This must have been an advertising piece from those god-awful slip sleeves that everyone used in the late 90's. It's still very cool to see The Kid holding his own rookie card with that shit-eating grin, though.

A Collector's Choice Griffey from 1994. I liked this subset - I owned the Ripken, Jr. for a while but it seems to have been misplaced. The thing that bothers me, though, is that the subset is Home Field Advantage...yet it features George Kenneth in the teal away uniform, not in the King Dome whites.

Thanks for the trade, Spiegel. You'll have your end soon enough. 

2012-2013 O-Pee-Chee Want/Trade List

First, available for trade:

Red = In Transaction

Rainbow:  162 (Jiri Tlusty), 184 (Pavel Datsyuk), 218 (Jamie Langenbrunner)

Stickers: S29 (Matt Duchene), S-61 (Martin Brodeur), S-78 (Evgeni Malkin), S-80 (Joe Thornton), S-95 (Nicklas Backstrom).

Retro Parallel: 7 (Brodeur), 22 (Stuart), 136 (Pouliot), 258 (Higgins), 315 (Penner), 354 (Stepan), 468 (K. Russell), 584 (Donovan), 591 (Jaden Schwartz)

Base: 1, 19, 25, 30, 30, 38, 38, 51, 53, 56, 58, 94, 102, 132, 135, 150, 153, 158, 161, 166, 169, 194, 216,  21, 217, 243, 243, 248, 286, 306, 314, 316, 325, 336, 338, 341, 362, 370, 372, 384, 385, 389, 399, 412, 417, 417, 420, 420, 427, 432, 443, 446, 448, 451, 451, 453, 458, 480, 489.

Second, cards needed  for base set:

Cards 1 through 100:
71, 72, 95.

Cards 101-200:
105, 123, 131, 140, 144, 200.

Cards: 201-300:
230, 239, 242, 269, 284.

Cards 301-400:
344, 366.

Cards 401-500:
407, 411, 478, 496.

Cards 501-600, Short-Printed:
502, 503, 504, 506-509, 511-516, 518, 519, 520, 522-539, 541-544, 547, 548, 549, 551-558, 561, 564-570, 572, 573, 574, 576-583, 585-595, 598, 599, 600.

15 November 2012

What's the word?

I've never been much for grading modern cards. In my opinion, it's just a way to jack up the price of an otherwise affordable card. It seems that a nice autograph of your favourite player can run you from $5-$50, yet if the card is "slabbed", that $5 turns into $25 and that $50 into $250.

It's markup. A card limited to 200, once graded, is limited to however many others were graded exactly the same. So if a card gets 9.0 corners, 9.5 centering, 9.0 surface and 9.0 edges - it's a 1/1 compared to the exact same card with 9.5 corners, 9.5 centering, 9.0 surface and 9.0 edges.

And honestly, I would be surprised if anyone who's a collector and not a grader can tell the difference between a 9 and a 10 BGS card.

Like this:

I won this on ebay (almost 11 days ago) and today it was jammed into my mailbox. I love the card. It's J-PA's TRUE rookie, as in, first card featuring him in a Jays uniform (notice: hologram sticker underneath the brim).

I grabbed it for around $6.35 or something, and I am happy with this. Why? It's my first slabbed card, and it's my version of the 2008 Bowmachrome J-PA autograph (nevermind for a second that 2008 was an absolute disaster for Bowman Chrome Prospects...what an eyesore). It's a good autograph, according to Beckett, grading as a 10. If I were to grade autographs, J-PA wouldn't be a 10, maybe more of a 4. For some bitchin' autos, look up Ken Griffey Junior, Jose Bautista or the best EVAR - Chien-Ming Wang.

And while I am happy with the card, the graded aspect can be summed up by:


Oh yeah, Beckett sucks.

14 November 2012

Awkward Rookie Cards Part I: Josh Johnson

2002 Bowman Chrome
#83 Josh Johnson

It's even worse un-chromed:

Good thing they picked up the Marlins jersey at a Salvation Army on the way to the park. Not much of a size selection there, so the youth-xl had to do, I guess.

13 November 2012

So....there's that.

There are new Blue Jays. And shit, dude, they're pretty good.

Toronto gave up quite a bit, but they are an incredibly improved team from last year.

Honestly, I don't remember the last time the Jays had a legitimate leadoff hitter. Now we have, you know, Jose Reyes. He's pretty alright.

And an Ace. Honestly, I believe Brandon Morrow will have a better year than Josh Johnson. He's that good. But a 1-2-3-4 of Johnson/Romero/Morrow/Buerhle is...I am at a loss for words. They're not the best team in the MLB, nor the best rotation, but damn. They're going to be good. I hope.

Now all we need is Sandy Alomar coaching the team.

Unfortunately, there are now three MLB-caliber catchers on the roster. JP Arencibia, John  Buck and Travis D'arnaud. JP is my favourite player on the planet. But it looks like he is going to be traded. And I will be sad. But I will maintain my JPA collection, I promise.

But in all seriousness...


The King of my John-Paul Arencibia Collection

Click to embiggen.

Behold the treasure my mailbox held today. This is JP's piece in the 2012 Topps Tier 1 On the Rise Autographs (Silver Ink) set. What...a...beauty. Everything on this card works. The new incredible Jays uniform (albeit photoshopped, but at least done well). The silver ink on the black background. A card design that begs to be inked. Tasteful foiling. Oh yeah, and it's limited to 10. 

Even the back is beautiful:
Once again, click to embiggen.

I'm not much for card backs, but this one is nice. Simple. Two-colour. Centered. Unlike most autographs, there is text that actually related to the card, and not a congratulation for throwing all f your hard-earned money into the dark basement hallway that is Topps Trading Cards. Just a simple bit about having a Topps witness for all signings. I like that.

All for $13.36 delivered.

11 November 2012

The Blacklist

Welcome to the Blacklist. My most wanted, nay - needed - cards.

1. 2004 Donruss Studio #111 Rickie Weeks
  • I need this card to complete my 2004 Studio Base Set
2. 1999 Topps Stars #1 Ken Griffey Jr. ONE STAR
  • In a group break @Another Orioles Blog, I had the Seattle Mariners. I was incredibly lucky to pull the base, 2-star, 3-star and 4-star Junior Griffeys...however, just didn't find the 1-star. It's like a base card but zoomed in slightly with silver foil.

3. 2011 Topps Chrome #182 J.P. Arencibia Red/Black/Gold Refractors and autos
  • Needed for the magical JP Arencibia rainbow

05 November 2012

In the Kitchen with JP-A...and MOAR

Those of you who follow this here blogarino may be familiar with my JP Arencibia-centric mail day posts. Seeing as I receive 3-6 packages per week from trades, ebay, COMC etc., I have to start combining them.

As a result, this post will not be just JP cards, but some other badasses I have picked up recently.

But of course, we start with the J-Poops:

Ya'know what I love? GYPSY QUEEN. Both of JP's cards in this set feature him in his catcher's gear, which is awesome. I am hoping to get a sick gray-trimmed chest protector like his this summer as I'll likely be changing teams in my summer league.

You know what else I love? PURPLE. Purple will show itself again in this post, I promise. Here's another piece to the Magical JPA Rainbow Crusade, acquired for $.74 off of ebay and limited to 499 copies. It's really a great looking card...much better than an orange or gold refractor. The black refractors look best on this card though. 

My first 2012 Topps (Flagship) John-Paul is this rather acrobatic and sparkly parallel. I am quite pleased as to how well this scanned. It reminds me of the level in Sonic 3 when Knuckles shows up at the end of the first half of the jungle level, jumps on a switch and the island basically burns to a crisp. Well done, Topps. 

This will be it for the Arencibias, but he's got one total BRO of a teammate:

Brett Lawrie. Is there any more professional athlete more fitting for a die-cut card? FCKINAGGRROO D00000D. This came out of an outrageously overpriced blaster of 2012 Bowman Chromez.

On a much more positive box blaster note, I decided to switch things up and check out WalMart, rather than Target, for a pack-ripping fix last weekend. The results were excellent. 2011 Update (and 2010 Bowman Platinum) blasters were marked down to $11.48, so out of fiscal expertise, I took the 16 combined 8-card packs of Update over the 7 packs of 4 Platinum card.

I was well-rewarded. The Larry Walker is a Short Print, and currently sits around $7-$12 on the 'bay. Pretty good for one card out of a blaster - but these came fo' free in each box:

I saw the Orioles logo on the back of this and instantly thought it was a Robby Alomar, and although the patch is great (except it had fallen off in the pack) I was a bit disappointed in the player. 

Although, pretty much everyone is disappointing after this beauty came out of the first pack:

Holy nuts gawd yessssss. This is your reward for reading through this post - a card so badass I don't think I need to explain anything about it, just know that it was WAY worth the price of admission in this case - braving the semi-lat-night WalMart crowds.