07 December 2014

i checked out my cards

Every black friday (I refuse to capitalize it and acknowledge this day as an American holiday) I take advantage of the sales and free shipping over at Check Out My Cards. This year I had been building since early summer or possibly late spring, and only managed to walk away with about 40-50 new cards. Nothing spectacular, but hopefully you'll find some nice commentary on this page today.

First off, as you can see, was Jose Fernandez. He's kind of a dreamboat. Here's some more of him:

This year's Bowman was a little cluttered, but the International parallels came out nice. The blue? Well, it came cheap.

This year's Prizm was just fine, once you get past the ghastly mirror base cards. Here's a camouflage parallel...which was kind of disappointing in-hand. It is paired with the 2014 effort of Topps' Spring Fever...redemption set? Which is exactly the same as 2013.

Good 'ol Topps.

On November 17th I went on a COMC spree for Russell Martin cards, becuase of course I did. He's been a long-time favourite of mine except for two years he spent with The Evil. These cards were had for surprisingly cheap. I've been collecting the Bowman Sterling WBC for a while, now, and this is my favourite so far. Also, DIRT.

He'll be catching baseballs from this guy a lot in 2015:

He's good. But on to some past Blue Jays for a while.

He was really good. Aside from Ken Griffey Jr., he's the only other favorite of mine who I've seen hit a home run in person. And it was a doozy. But here he is, fielding for some reason:

I had never seen a TSC Matrix card before, and in hand it's a strangely mis-struck, digital holofoil that scanned poorly. Of course I love it. DIRT.

Not enough dirt here to acknowledge, but a player who's uniform always seems dirty from great defense - whether or not your defensive statistics say so or not. I was aiming to pick up some Alomar Padres cards - and managed just this one. I collect Robby in all uniforms, though the orange ones from the Mid-Atlantic bother me deeply. Also, 1993 Leaf might be the best set ever.

Pt Borders was only a starting catcher for about four years of his 17-year careers, but two of those are 1992 and 1993. Those were very good years if you'll recall, and it's hard to ignore Pat's impact on those Blue Jays teams.

He's also a TEAM USA guy, from before they were awful.

Okay. No more Blue Jays. 

Oh, Pedro. Being awesome signing a 1996 Expos programme and being awesome...for the ladies. 

And Pudge. Being a huge badass in the Gold Medallion on the left, and a huge creep in the Rangers Studio on the right. My lawwwd, that mustache. It's even worse on the back.

We'll end with some Rock Raines, terrible mis-cut in his 1981 Donruss GEM. I didn't realize how poorly both were cut until I had them side-by-side. In real life, Rock is a 100% Hall-of-Famer and not in any way mis-cut.


Love, Salvador Perez.

04 December 2014

2014 Stadium Club Blue Jays Team Set

2014 Stadium Club was too expensive. Topps, in general, is too expensive. 

There. I got that out of the way.

Yet when it comes to base cards, we can always wait a few months and take advantage of disappointed case breakers and prey upon junk, worthless, common cards. The nerve Topps has putting base cards to fill up these packs and waste time getting to these ultra mojo hits. The nerve, indeed.

For a couple weeks I perused ebay, waiting for a reasonably priced (read: offensively cheap) Blue Jays team set.

$3.49 later, I was rewarded. Sort of.

You see, the cards look great. Every thing that made Stadium Club great: great photos, nice color, a good sheen and no borders.

Except Topps decided to put all their energy into the mojo, and in turn printed these cards on fortune cookie paper.

So it goes.

I'll start with Robert Allen Dickey, the knuckleballer. Dickey is a cool dude, but I'll be supremely disappointed if he starts Opening Day again in 2015. He's league average now. But well above replacement in terms of style with that baller Canada Day jersey and high socks. I'm pretty sure he got smoked that day, too.

Rule #45 of card blogging" always show the backs. Someone out there cares. Edwin is a good player for this chore - if nothing else you can appreciate those numbers that so few non-Blue Jays folks see day in day out. The backs look good, too, but you'd better be careful you don't stick your finger tips through the cheap card stock. 

Any post on this page is incomplete without my boy Marcus Stroman, who should be the Blue Jays ace. In a way he already is, but we don't need to place that label on him already. This is a pretty generic pose, though, and a weak effort from Topps. That said, I'll still be chasing his autograph in this set - pretty much the only Blue Jays insert to be found.

Gone, but never forgotten. I'll miss Brett, but Josh D. is an overwhelmingly better baseball player. This is a great shot - one I'd like to cal a pitcher shot - as its zoomed in close enough to give you the feeling of being on the mound while Brett makes a routine throw across the diamond which inevitably sails into the sets behind first base. 

Quite possibly the greatest Blue Jays card of all time. At least 2014. Jose Reyes. DIRT. I love dirt. I miss dirt. I miss Jose. I miss baseball.

But it's just...it's not the best baseball card of 2014. It may be number two, but number one is so far ahead.

So far ahead, so far away. There was never a competition. 

Its this.


Dad jeans and all. 

Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the background. 

Struggle face. 

The faintest glimpse of a smile.

The very heart and soul of every one of the Blue Jays faithful. In one baseball card. 

A Blue Jay for one last day. One last pitch. 

Thank you for everything, Roy. 

Love, Roy. 

05 October 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

03 October 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.

27 February 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.

05 February 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.