Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Annual trip to Turner Field

Last weekend my wife and I drove down to Atlanta, GA for our annual Atlanta Braves trip.  I'd love to get down there to catch more than one game per season, but for now I'll just have to savor every minute.  The thing about Atlanta that can be trick is the weather, or the heat & humidity more specifically.  If I'm going to be sitting outside in Atlanta for 4 or so hours I'd rather it be in the Spring or in the Fall.  Going to a game in early August I knew would be a gamble, but the promo for last Friday night at the field was Zombie Night!

Initially my wife and I planned to buy the special Zombie Night ticket package.  This include being turned into a zombie by special make-up artists, an on field zombie walk plus an exclusive t-shirt and some other swag.  We ended up opting to buy tickets via Stub Hub to save some money, however it was still a blast to see so many undead fans at the field.

We opted to sit in right center field.  Last year we sat there and loved the view, plus it was fun listening to all the rednecks and drunk fans in our section heckle the right fielder (last year it was Hunter Pence).  We got tickets on row 13, which oddly enough is the front row.  Sitting right there at the wall is a lot of fun, plus we are right beside the Braves' bullpen so we can see Eddie Perez, bullpen coach (and one of the U.S.'s newest citizens!).  We also have a good view of when Craig Kimbrel comes running out of the gates to take the mound when called upon.  The Braves took on the Oakland Athletics on Friday, August 15th.  Initially I was excited to see Yoenis Cespedes play, then he was traded to the Red Sox at the trading deadline.  I really wasn't all that familiar w/ many of the A's players, but it was still fun listening to the fans heckle Josh Reddick...calling him JJ (Reddick of Duke basketball fame) and busting Coco Crisp's chops at his fielding blunders.

The view from our seats

Of course on of the things about sitting in the outfield is the chance of catching a home run ball.  There were 4 homers in the game, but all of them were to center or left center field.  Bummer.  At least I was pretty close to a few pop flies that Jason Heyward caught.  The Braves roughed up the starting pitcher, Sonny Gray, winning the game 7-2.  Justin Upton, Evan Gattis, Freddie Freeman and Phil Gosselin all hit homers.  Gosselin's was the first of his career.

I wasn't aware of the starting pitcher until I checked my phone on the way down I-85.  When I saw it was Charlotte, NC native Alex Wood taking the mound, well that just made the day even better.  Wood pitched 6 strong innings, giving up 4 hits, 2 runs, while striking out 1 and walking 3.  Not the best numbers, but he won his 9th game of the year.  The only drawback to the big lead was not getting to see Kimbrel pitch in the 9th.  Oh well, I'll take a win over watching Kimbrel any day, especially with the way the Braves had been playing coming into the series with the A's.

Every game of the A's series had a different theme.  Saturday's theme celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Boston Braves World Series Championship.  Everything at the field had a throwback look, including the players uniforms and even the scoreboard on the jumbotron!  Peanuts and Cracker Jacks were a quarter, hot dogs were a buck.  I would have loved to stay another day for the game, especially since the Braves won again.  Sunday's theme was Father Daughter day.  I can't wait for my girls to get a little older when I can bring them with me to a ballgame.

The Braves ended up sweeping the 1st place A's that weekend.  My wife and I had a great time, but like all good things the weekend had to come to an end.  I hope to get back to Atlanta soon as the Braves only have a few years left to play at Turner Field before the team moves out to a new facility in neighboring Cobb County.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pack Break - 2013 Topps Magic

Here is another post that I typed back in February, but never posted!

Topps Magic, the Gypsy Queen set of football cards.  For the last several years I've been impressed with the look of these cards, but I've yet to chase building a set...and probably never will.  However I couldn't pass up buying one pack a few weeks back to see what 2013's set looked like.  Plus I hoped to pull a Cam Newton, Greg Olsen or a general Carolina Panthers card.

To me this is just more of the same...which for me at least isn't a bad thing.  I still don't know how Topps pulls off the look of the image, but I love it.  Design is simple and doesn't obstruct the player / action.  Seeing how I didn't really follow the NFL until the Carolina Panthers came into the league in 1995, I could care less for the older players included in the set.

The one per pack minis are still present.  I've never cared as much for these smaller parallels as I like the minis from releases like Allen & Ginter better.

My pack yielded two inserts, the first being Ground and Pound.  Seeded at 1:6 retail packs, this insert set just doesn't do much for me.  Maybe it's the pink?

Speaking of Gypsy Queen, these Rookie Enchantment inserts feature the same paper border that Topps first introduced in GQ a few years ago.  While my scan makes the foil look bronze, it is gold foil on purple.

All of these cards are available for trade for anything Carolina Panthers from this set.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Verse

Luke 12:6-7

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A surprise from my Mistress

It's no surprise that I've been out of the (cardboard) loops recently.  Life has just demanded more time so my hobbies have fell to the wayside.  I wasn't even able to afford a box of 2014 Allen & Ginter this year.  Yes I know, it's tragic.  When I've had spare time and the money I've picked up a few blasters and loose packs here and there.  Still not content w/ the amount of minis I've acquired, I searched out eBay.  I ran across a few listings by none other than fellow blogger, My Cardboard Mistress.  I placed a few what would be winning bids on some of his extra A&G minis.  But that's not what this post is about.  It's about Adam's generosity.  

When the cards finally came in the mail 3 additional cards fell out of the bubble mailer that I wasn't expecting.

The first card comes from Topps Pro Debut minor league baseball.  It's a "patch" card of the Charlotte Knights mascot, Homer the Dragon.  I've blogged a few times about the local White Sox AAA affiliate team before.  The team moved into uptown Charlotte this season into the beautiful BB&T Ballpark.  I've only been once and the game was rained out.  This was a very nice gesture and completely unexpected.

The next card falls into my NC State collection.  Tom Gugliotta was one of the first NC State basketball players that I followed for the entirety of their collegiate career.  He was probably one of the first basketball players I started collecting that wasn't a Charlotte Hornet too.  I love getting his cards, period.  Just a base card would have made me happy, but an autograph?!  What's going on here?

The third bonus card in the mailer happened to be this nice looking auto patch card of Carolina Panthers WR Joe Adams.  Granted Joe never did anything in the league or even made the Panthers final roster, I still love this card.  You've got a big patch, an auto and it's serially numbered.

You know if I had been more active at the time within the community receiving extra cards like this wouldn't have surprised me at all.  One of the best things about being apart of this card blogging community is the great people I've "met".  However my posting has been spotty at best.  All I can say is Thank You Adam for your kindness and make sure everyone else knows that you more than just My Cardboard Mistress!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Catching up w/ scanning some "new" cards

The problem with card collecting is it can easily snowball on you if you don't stay up to date.  Seeing that I've been away from actively blogging and cards in general, I've got a huge catalog of cards to scan and put into my own databases.  These cards aren't necessarily new, but I've yet to share them prior to today.  I've got cards for my Tim Hudson and Brandon Beachy PCs, Atlanta Braves, a few Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Bobcats plus a few NC State basketball autos to round everything out.





Tuesday, July 22, 2014

El Oso Blanco is back in the line-up!

This week marked the return of Evan "El Oso Blanco" Gattis to the starting line-up in Atlanta.  While the Braves put up a good record in Gattis' absence, it sure is good to have his bat back in the line-up again.  Chalk it up to coincidence, but just the other day I received this card in the mail from Topps.

Beautiful, thick piece of cardboard with a nice on card autograph to boot!  I'm very happy to add this card to my Braves collection, but as I was scanning it I noticed something that Topps seems to be doing all too often.  Check out his Opening Day card below.

2014 Topps Opening Day Evan Gattis Blue #0519/2014 photo EG_zps1dbad6c0.jpg

Yes, it's the same image.  I've noticed Topps has been re-using the same photo over and over again for a lot of players across their many sets.  This just seems mighty lazy to me.  Granted both cards are beautiful and I'm glad to own them both, it would just be nice to have a different photograph on each card...especially the higher end Tier One.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pack Break: Transformers Collectible Figurines & 3D Puzzle Piece Collector Cards

I decided to share my latest Random Toy Reviews post here as well since it kinda fits in...after all these include trading of the main reasons for my purchase!

It should come as no surprise that Hasbro has revved up the licensing machine and has been issuing the Transformers license to just about anyone willing to slap the robots on their product.  To cash in on the collectible PVC or vinyl and or blind packaged market, Goldie Marketing has released a series of small, super deformed collectible figurines based on the Generation 1, Prime and Movie segments of Transformers.  I found these in a gravity feeder over in the trading card aisle at my local Target.  I was already enticed by the concept itself, then I noticed it also included a weakness of mine...a collectible trading card.

This is a pack from series 1, but as you can tell there will be a total of 30 figurines between series 1 & 2.  When I picked this up I assumed the character assortment would be from G1 since Optimus Prime and Megatron were so predominantly displayed.  These foil packs retail for $2.99 each.  I should also mention these come packaged on a blister card with one figurine (that you can see) for $3.99 at Toys R Us and also in multi-packages for each segment.

So what's inside the pack and what do these figurines look like?  Well here you go.  In addition to the figurine, you also get a collector's base, the aforementioned trading card / puzzle piece as well as a checklist insert.  I was beaming when I saw Optimus Prime staring back at me from within the pack!


The figurines are small, one inch or so at best.  However they appear to be well sculpted and well painted. The paint applications are well placed and I wouldn't have expected so many different colors (I count 5) on a toy this small / cheap. Well played Goldie.

The included collector's stand is nothing more than a small rectangle piece of plastic with two pegs that insert into the bottom of the figurines' feet.  I should note that this Optimus Prime figure stands just fine without any additional support.  The bottom of the stand has the Thrilling 30 Transformers anniversary logo sticker.

The collector card is not your standard trading card size, but more narrow like a credit card.  The front features some nice artwork along with the tech spec rankings for that character.  Underneath the faction symbol you can see the character's number in the set.  Optimus Prime is #01/30.

The back side of the card is the 3D puzzle piece done up with the lenticular technology that is commonly seen on trading cards.  The back of the checklist insert shows off the assembled puzzle image.  While I like the idea of the puzzle, the front of the card captures more of my attention than the 3D backs.

Front, inside center and back of the checklist.

I was surprised to see that not only did this line of collectibles include G1 characters, but also a selection of characters from the Prime and Movie universes.  While I can't say the movie characters excite me at all, I like the inclusion of the Prime characters.

In my opinion, Goldie Marketing did a good job w/ the character selection.  G1 has some more of the iconic characters (of course Bumblebee had to be included) as well as Prime.  However I'm scared to buy another pack in fear of getting stuck with one of the movie characters!