Wednesday, October 12, 2016

MLB Post Season

There is a lot of smiling going on in major league baseball's 2016 post season, but perhaps no one is smiling more than Brian Snitker. The Braves made it official yesterday that Snit's interim manager title is no more, the team opting to make him the new manager of their ball club.

As a Braves fan this makes me happy, really happy. The team was a mess earlier this season when the Braves let go of then manager, Fredi Gonzalez. Snit has been with the organization for a long time, close to 40 years I believe. He stepped in and did some remarkable things with this young team in the 2nd half of the season. Had it not been for that awful start the team got, the end of the season (and the post season) landscape may had looked a little different.

In addition to Snit being made the permanent manager, they also hired Ron Washington as their new 3rd base coach, moving Bo Porter into the front office. Ironically enough, Ron was also interviewing for the manager position. The team let go of long time pitching coach Roger McDowell in favor of hiring Chuck Hernandez. I don't know much about this guy, but supposedly he'll be good w/ the young talent the Braves have or plan to bring up from the minors.

If you combine these off season moves with the success the team had on the infield in the 2nd half of the season, perhaps this rebuilding theme the Braves have going on won't take as long as we all thought. Barring major injury, the future seems to be pretty bright for this ball club and this is one fan that is already anxiously awaiting Opening Day in 2017.

I'll be honest, watching the playoffs isn't as much fun when you're team isn't in it, but I love baseball so it's hard not to watch the games regardless. While I'm not a Giants fan, I was super excited to see Madison Bumgarner pull off the Wild Card win against the Mets. I haven't been able to watch many of the games against the Cubs, but I watched Game 4 last night and inbetween my heavy eye lids closing a time or two I was able to see the game through to the end. It's gotta be heartbreaking for the pitcher (Matt Moore) to pitch such a great game, only for the bullpen to absolutely blow it like they did last night. It was tough to see the Giants give up 4 runs in the 9th as they did, but kudos to the Cubs. Maybe this time really is as good as some people believe. Maybe this is really their year?

I guess I'll have to turn my attention to the Cubs now as I really don't care who wins against the Dodgers and Nats (though if I had to pick I'd choose the Dodgers). The Cubs have several former Braves players so I guess I'll jump on the bandwagon and give them my support. Jason Heyward, David Ross and even Tommy LaStella (when he can get on the field) will be fun to watch none the less.

Since I'm a NL fan I really haven't paid much attention to the AL. I was surprised to see Clevelend sweep the Red Sox however. Not sure who matches up well w/ the teams left in the NL, but at least I have a few more weeks of baseball to look forward too this season.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Redemption from Topps...Finally!

Over on the sidebar I have a section where I keep track of redemption cards. While I'm not a huge fan of them, I know they serve their purpose and find time to time I'll pick up a redemption card for myself, like the recent Jacoby Brissett I redeemed. However pulling a redemption card myself doesn't happen very often.

Let's rewind the clock to 2015. I picked up a few boxes of Allen & Ginter as I was working on the set and not surprisingly a lot of the hits I pulled were just lack luster relic cards...until I pulled a card for a 10th Anniversary Buyback auto of Buster Posey! I set the card on the corner of my office desk and almost forgot about it until earlier this year. On January 6th, I finally went online to redeem the card and the wait officially began.

2 weeks ago, Wednesday 09/21/16 to be exact I got a bubble mailer from Topps and this beauty was inside.

While I knew the card was a auto Buyback, I didn't know it was going to a mini or that the card would only be numbered to 10! If you can't make out the number in the scan, it's 08/10. Now as cool as the card is, I'm not a Giants fan. I'd much rather try to swap this for a few Braves autos of Smoltz, Glavine, Tim Hudson, Chipper, Andruw Jones or just about any other notable Braves player. I don't know what the card is "worth", but if I were to sell it I'd throw it up on eBay with a Buy It Now price of at least $100 based on what I've seen some of Buster's auto sell for.

Trade or sale at this point, I'm not sure. I could use the money, but I figured I'd share the card here first and see if anyone was remotely interested. If not I'll toss it in that big stack of items I've been too lazy to list on eBay.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

LCS Pick Ups

It's been a long time since I've walked into a card shop and forever since I've attended a card show, but last week I found myself with a little extra time on my hands after picking up my daughters from school. I've been thinking of ways to create some risers on my shelves to better display some Transformers and other figures as a part of my great toy purge/re-organization and I thought plain white card boxes would work. Problem is, the only card shop in my area that I'm aware of I wasn't sure if they were still in business.

Earlier in the year, I read on Facebook that the owner of Grand Slam in Rock Hill, SC had passed away in April. I had no idea if someone was going to take over the shop or if it would just close. Well I figured I'd take a drive by and see for myself and I was surprised not only to see the shop open, but it was kind of busy the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday none the less.

After talking to the guy behind the counter for awhile, I learned that the owner's wife has been running the store and actively trying to sell. The landlord has been working with them on the rent, letting them pay month to month, but I fear a multi-year lease is looming in 2017 and I doubt she'll sign a long lease. It's really a shame as it's a good shop, even though I never visited all that often. I hate seeing brick & mortar stores like this fall to the wayside so I'm really hoping she can find a buyer soon that will keep the store open.

After I picked out my boxes, I turned my attention to all of the monster boxes set up on tables in the middle of the store. These have been a fixture in this store for some time. I spotted a box of Pokemon TCG cards that were 10/$1 so I let my girls be occupied with those while searched through some of the other boxes. At 10 cent a card how could I not look?

The boxes usually are just a hodgepodge of cards, with no rhyme or reason to how they are placed in the box. Thankfully though I found groups of cards from the same set so I was able to find some cards of players that I collect, but don't actively search out. The one lone card was the Topps Cracker Jack Mike Matheny. Even though the Panini card aren't fully licensed, I like the look (and feel) of these Donruss Diamond Kings. I stumbled across the Jose Fernandez Bowman card by chance as I really wasn't looking for him, but in light of his tragic death I figured why not pick up a few of his cards here and there.

The 1981 Topps Gary Carter was a nice surprise. Actually there appeared to be a complete set of 1981 Topps in the box so if anyone has a want list for that set let me know and I'll see about going back and getting what I can.

Speaking of Fernandez, I picked up this 2015 Stadium Club card of his. The photo on this card epitomizes his love for the game. Just look at that smile. I was also able to find a small run of 2015 TSC and 2016 Gypsy Queen cards to knock off of my want lists. Total for all the cards I bought, $6. Throw in another $4 for the Pokemon cards my girls picked out and another $10 for the card boxes I bought. Small purchase, but it made me feel good that I was supporting good people that were struggling to keep the business open. As soon as I have some more disposable time I think I'll go back and browse through those monster boxes so more and take a peek in the glass cases to see what else they have.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Panini Instant

You know the old saying "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"? Well I guess that is the case here with Panini's newest venture, Panini Instant.

Hot on the heels of Topps' successful Topps Now program, Panini is also offer up special cards that commemorate certain events or feats in sports during the 2016 NFL season. I happened to see a blurb about this a few weeks ago in one of their newsletters I receive in my inbox. Actually what caught my eye wasn't the article able the program itself, but the image of Carolina Panthers QB, Cam Newton.

Panini is even pricing their cards the same as Topps. Each card retails for $9.99 with free shipping. However Panini took it a step further and is producing serially numbered colored parallels. Orange are numbered to 50, blue are numbered to 25, purple are numbered to 10, green are numbered to 5 and there is also a black 1/1 for each card. Prices range from $24.99 to $149.99.

While Topps is releasing the print run for each card after the 24 hour window to purchase the card has closed, Panini is actually printing this print run on the back of the card. You can see above that the first card in the set had a print run of only 140 cards.

The cards themselves seem to be printed on normal card stock. They of course have a UV coating on the front and back. I love the simple, boarderless design and the full bleed photos. However it may just be me, but the image looks a little fuzzy...even in hand. Cam already has two cards in the set and his #1 target, wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has a card. These photos seem to be a little fuzzy too.

Overall I'm excited about the program and it's nice to see that Panini has a little a variety over Topps, however if Topps had the NFL license and was making Topps Now cards, I think I'd give Topps a slight edge.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Affordable Group Break Results

Sorry to those that were still waiting for the final results to be revealed from this month's group break. The weekend and the beginning of this week haven't been the kindest to me and I just haven't had much time to get the video from Facebook posted as well as pictures of the hits.

If you didn't catch the live stream on Facebook, I've embedded the video at the bottom of the post for your viewing pleasure. As you know we opened two hobby boxes of 2016 Topps Strata and the mystery box was 2015 Topps Bunt. I also threw in a retail rack pack of 2016 Topps Chrome.

The Strata boxes were...well...they were fun to open. However the results weren't what I was hoping for. How did we end up getting a duplicate card out of a two card pack that is one per box? Seriously, what were the odds of that happening?! At least I know Andy who claimed the Cubs is happy to be receiving this bat relic card of Kyle Schwarber.

I was not that familiar with this new physical version of Topps Bunt. I've been playing around w/ the app, but like digital comics don't appeal to me that much the same can be said for digital trading cards. I really wish there was a way to get a physical card of some of the digital cards. At least this version of Bunt sort of gives you that. We didn't get any hard to pull inserts, but at least we got a variety of the inserts. I particularly like the Team Program inserts.

The 3 packs of Topps Chrome had a two refractors, but I'm not sure what happened to that photo. It's not on my phone anymore and the cards have been shipped already.

Even though my life is a little hectic right now, it was fun hosting another break. The results weren't what I was hoping for, but I appreciate those of you that joined in. Not sure when I'll host another as my work load hasn't slowed down lately...but I'm always game.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Affordable Group Break 2nd & 3rd Team Randomization Video

As promised earlier, here is the video for the randomization of the addition teams for each slot. If anyone wants to trade teams PLEASE let me know before we get started this evening around 9 PM EST. Boxes arrived about an hour ago plus I picked up another little special surprise this afternoon for the break. Get your popcorn ready as it's almost game time!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Pack Break: 2016 Panini Donruss

Just in time for tonight's NFL game to commemorate the opening of the 2016 NFL season, we have a rare (at least for me) pack break featuring 2016 Panini Donruss. I'm trying to stay more focused on baseball and the sets that I'm building, but after the run to the Super Bowl my hometown Carolina Panthers made it's hard not to want to pick up some packs. I usually stick to buying team sets and select singles of cards of my favorite Panthers (Greg Olsen, Thomas Davis, Jonathan Stewart), but I always loved the Donruss brand and ever since Panini brought it back I've been intrigued. However the lack of baseball logos still bothers me, but thankfully I don't have to worry about that issue w/ their football release. So here we go, one measly retail pack just waiting to be busted...

At least for retail packs, you get 8 cards for I believe it was $1.99 a pack (at least at Target). The set is comprised of 400 cards - 300 base, 50 Rookies and 50 Rated Rookies. In typical fashion there are lots of parallels, Stat and Season line parallels, Leather Kings, Canton Kings, Passing the Torch autos and much much more. However Panini doesn't like to list individual odds for their inserts so I have no idea which set is harder to pull. Enough about that, let's get to the cards.

Immediately this set took me back to 1990...the year I started collecting baseball cards. I guess it's the horizontal lines at the top of the card and the cursive font for the names that reminds me of that year's baseball release. Instead of being all one color however, the outer card's color matches that of the team they play for, I gotta say that I really like this design and if I were to build a football set this may be on purely for nostalgic reasons...but I'm trying not to go there!

The Warrick Dunn card through me for a loop since he is retired, but after looking at a few team set lots online it appears they mixed in a few retired players too. I don't mind that, but when I hear Warrick's name I think more of him in a Tampa Bay Buccs uniform than I do a Falcons uniform.


I was so glad to get at least one Panthers player in my first pack, especially Thomas Davis. This guy is a beast on the field and his story makes him that much more fun to watch. If you don't know about Thomas, he has come back from not 1 or 2 severe knee injuries, but 3. I'm surprised this guy can walk let alone play football at the caliber he still does. Our defense and offense may have let us down in Superbowl 50 against the Broncos, but I expect them to bounce back this year with a vengeance...and that all starts tonight against the Broncos!


I don't know what the difference is between the 50 Rookies and the 50 Rated Rookies are at this point. I'm guessing the Rated Rookies aren't considered actual rookie cards? Have no idea, but here is one of the RR for your viewing pleasure.

I am psyched for the return of the NFL, though I'm not giving up on baseball. There are a lot of intriguing pennant chases going on (can the Cubs really win it all?!) and even my Braves are playing a little better. Even though I'm juggling several baseball sets and getting ready to host my first Affordable Group Break in over a year, I'm looking forward to spending a little time this evening with football. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get some work done so I can take a nap as it's going to be a long day/night! Go Panthers!!