Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Night Owl mail from...2015?!

I'm willing to bet most of us card collectors like to think we're organized...but when it comes to our desks we have stacks of cards sitting everywhere. Well apparently underneath said stacks of cards I had a few pieces of mail that essentially got buried. Good news is I previously opened this mail, bad news is I never got to give a proper shout out to the person who sent me the mail.

So I owe the great Night Owl Cards a huge apology. The letter he sent me was post marked April 02, 2015. No joke. I'm kinda embarrased even bringing this up. I know we all have lives outside or hobby, but dang...I gotta get my clutter picked up! I guess this is what happens when I try to run multiple blogs and put out constant content for them.

I can't remember if this was a trade or if Greg was just sending a few Braves my way, but finally...after 2+ years the cards finally made their way out of their legal envelope prison and onto my scanner.

I don't think there is any significance of the cards, just more Braves...and I'm fine with that. While I always have the intention of buying Series 2 of flagship Topps each year, I'm usually focused on working to complete my Gypsy Queen or A&G sets and end up ignoring Series 2 and subsequently the Update set as well. That said I don't believe I have this Maddux insert. Same goes for this insert of a young Freddie Freeman. 

I love non-baseball sets so this Steve Avery is the winner in the stack. The shiny chrome Postseason Heroes Smoltz is a close second (who doesn't like shiny cards?), but the Avery here stands out as being unique. Part of the 1992 Baseball Cards Magazine set (#BBC16), this one will go great along side my small Avery collection.

Sorry Night Owl it took me this long to thank you, but "thank you" none the less. Next time, I'll try to do better.

Go Dodgers! Need Alex Wood to represent us non-athletic types back home in Charlotte, NC!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Box Break: 2017 Topps WWE Women's Division

Last year Topps introduced us to the first all women's wrestling card set in a very long time with 2016's Diva's Revolution. The cards seemed to have limited distribution and may or may not have been exclusive to Walmart stores. I bought and opened one blaster box, but the supply seemed to dry up really quick.

Well Topps is back at it this year with 2017's Women's Division. Thankfully the WWE dropped the whole Divas label...something they should have done some time ago. Like last year's set, the cards focus on individuals under each brand: NXT, Raw, Smackdown and Classic WWE characters.

In addition to the cards highlighting the different wrestlers, there are cards that highlight certain events such as when they won a certain title or made their return to the ring. The hanger box I purchased had a few exclusive Finishing Moves inserts. The blaster boxes come with 1 guaranteed hit of some type. Shirt or mat relic, a kiss card or possibly an autograph. Last year's set was only offered in blaster boxes.

While I probably should and would enjoy watching the NXT brand, I just haven't paid them much attention. However with many of the bigger names making the jump to Raw and Smackdown, perhaps I should pay NXT more attention.

It's funny that the back of Emma's card actually acknowledges the botched attempt to rebrand the character as Emmalina...since that pretty much blew up in their face for some reason. I still remember Emma when she used to do that goofy dance with Santino Marella.

Becky Lynch was the first ever Smackdown Women's Champion...but since she lost the belt she seems to have faded into mid-card status. It's a shame because I like her ability both on the mic and in the ring. Plus I may or may not have a thing for fiery red heads!

Back in the early days of the WWE the women were more or less eye candy on the arm of fill in the blank wrestler. However Sherri Marte, or Scary Sherri as I remember her, was one of the more formidable managers during her time in the sport.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the set is also made of up "memorable moments", such as when Asuka debuted in NXT and defeated Dana Brooke. 

John Cena's fiance returned to the ring at Summer Slam in 2016 to the surprise of many. She had been missing from the ring for several months, recovering from next surgery.

Exclusive to retail hanger boxes is the Finishing Moves insert set. I thought this was a great picture of Sasha Banks delivering her patented Diving Double Knee Drop to Charlotte Flair.

There are also several different levels of serially numbered parallels to be found in packs in addition to the different relics and autos. I'm not sure how well the Divas Revolution set did last year or how well this set will be received. It's basically more of the same with a new name. I'm undecided if I'm going to try to go for the set or let this be a one time purchase.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

2017 Atlanta Braves - The Year in Review (and what's next)

To say the 2017 season for the Atlanta Braves was a disappointment would be an understatement. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe most fans were expecting to win the World Series or anything, but I think most of us thought the season would go a little better than it did.

You can sum up many of the Braves problems this year with one word...pitching. I still don't believe the team has a solid ace on it's staff. It was supposed to Julio Teheran, but he struggled all year...especially at home in SunTrust Park.

Mike Foltynewicz showed some growth and promise at times during the season, but ultimately still was plagued with location trouble. I still think he will play an important role in the upcoming seasons and I'm personally not quite ready to write him off.

The other issue with pitching came in the form of the bullpen. Just like it's hard to name a #1 pitcher, the team didn't have a dominant closer. It was supposed to be Jim Johnson, but he blew so many saves and cost the Braves so many wins this year it's not even funny. I'm glad he doesn't get many cards because he's a guy I don't want to look at for awhile. I'm so upset with him...he's on Charlie Liebrandt level right now!

The Bartolo Colon experiement blew up in the Braves face...badly. Prior to the season I was excited about the signing, but it didn't take long for his performance on the mound to suck away that enthusiasm. R.A. Dickey had a pretty good season for the Braves. I really hope they re-sign him and he doesn't head off into retirement yet. He's been pretty vocal that he would like to remain w/ the team for another year. I wouldn't be against him taking a coaching role when he's done either. Class act guy and someone I need more cardboard of in a Braves uniform.

The offense this year had it's peaks and valleys. Not unusual, but it wasn't as consistent as it needed to be. It didn't help of course when the team lost Freddie Freeman early in the season. He was putting up Mike Trout like numbers (actually better than Trout) and would have easily made another All-Star team had it not been for his injury. In July, Freddie joined the 1,000 career hit club

Ender Inciarte was a bright spot in the outfield pretty much all year. I was able to take in two games this year at SunTrust Park and one of those games I sat in the first row in center field, just behind Inciarte. He dazzled fans with both his offensive at the plate, his speed on the base paths and with his glove in the outfield. In the last series of the year Ender also got his 200th career hit.

I wish I could say that the outfielders in the corners were that way, but Matt Kemp struggled to stay healthy and Nick Markakis just weren't able to provide as much offense as fans would have liked to see. Markakis did register his 2,000th career hit however, not an easy feat.

The infield however had plenty of bright spots. Dansy Swanson struggled for part of the season, was sent down to AAA Gwinnett, and came back swinging for the fences. Juan Carmargo, Ozzie Albies and Rio Ruiz also provided some flash in the infield and showed that the Braves future is still bright.

When A.J. Pierzinkski retired I wasn't sure what would happen w/ the catcher department. Tyler Flowers stepped up big and put up some All-Star like numbers. In fact, I think he was snubbed not being named to the NL team this year. Kurt Suzuki also came up huge for the team in his first season w/ the Braves. I was thrilled to hear he re-signed already. I'm still pissed at Topps for screwing up my Topps Now order of his card. I don't have many of his cards in a Braves uniform, but like with a few other players I will need to try and change that during the off season.

Besides the play on the field, much of the talk during the season was whether or not interim manager Brian Snitker would return in 2018 as the skipper of the team. There were many games that I scratched my head over some of his decisions, especially with Jim Johnson. There were other times the team made him look like a genius. It's hard to say what will happen with him. Even more so as of this morning, 10/02/17, General Manager John Coppolella has resigned effective immediately. Apparently there is now an ongoing investigation with John violating some sort of breach of  the international player market. Hmm...

The Braves finished the 2017 season 3rd in the NL East with an overall record of 72-90. Their last game was yesterday against the Miami Marlins and thankfully they broke their 6 game losing streak with a 8-5 win.

Where the team goes in 2018...well your guess is as good as mine. We have a lot of young talent that should get their opportunity next year, but who will be our GM? Will Snitker be allowed to be the skipper for another year? Seveal scouts and coaches have already been let go so the rebuilding continues on.

While I enjoyed most of the games I watched and really enjoyed the new SunTrust Park, I'm kinda glad the season is over...at least for me. I'm not sure how much Playoffs I'll be watching. I'm not sure how many baseball card related posts you'll see between now and the end of the year. I'm not done collecting by any means, but I think it's time I focus at least a little more on the pigskin. Expect to see more Carolina Panthers related posts during football season. Beyond that, who knows that will happen w/ this blog.

Thank you to the Braves for an...interesting 2017 baseball season. Now go and get your front office in order as we have a lot of work to do before spring training next season.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Jonathan Stewart becomes the Carolina Panthers all-time leading rusher

On October 1st, 2017 the Carolina Panthers walked into Foxboro, MA and beat the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, 33-30.

While this is obviously a big win for the Panthers, there were also some other records broken and set during the game. For Jonathan Stewart, he didn't know until he got to the locker room after the game that he had surpassed friend and former teammate, DeAngelo Williams to become the all-time leading rusher for the Panthers.

Jonathan's numbers weren't flashy for the game, but they usually aren't. He rushed 14 times for 68 yards. He just quitely gets the job done. The one blemish on the day was his fumble in the red zone during the 3rd quarter as the team was driving for another score.

I've collected Stewart since his rookie year, not just because he's a Panther but because of who he is off the field. I haven't bought a lot of singles of him or other players I collect over the last few years, however I was compelled to collect his 2017 Donruss rainbow just a few weeks ago. Now that I have (I think) all of his cards from this set, now is a good time to share them.

* Edit - Turns out there are non-serially numbered green and red Press Proof parallels too. Green are exclusive to retail hanger boxes. Not sure about the red parallels. Oh well, the search to complete the rainbow continues!

I really like this year's base design for 2017 Donruss. Panini did a good job keeping the design pretty basic and unlike some of their other sets, the design doesn't detract from the image. I also like when the team colors are incorporated into the design such as this. 

The card backs aren't that flashy. I'm not sure what that white box is supposed to be for, but it would have been nice to have a little bit more stats than just the previous years.

The orange parallels are serially numbered to the players jersey. In this case, 03/28. The orange has a rainbow like sheen to it and the Donruss "d" is done in a deep purple foil. 

Most of the parallels are part of the Press Proof set. The blue parallel isn't serially numbered and seem to be easier to find in packs. In fact, the 40 card Value Packs at retail carry 4 blue Press Proofs per pack.

The black Press Proof parallels are serially numbered to just 10. Mine is 02/10. The whole card is printed on foil board and is prone to fingerprints. The Donruss "d" is done in a black foil.

The gold Press Proof parallels are serially numbered to 50. Mine is 04/50. The whole card is printed on foil board and is also prone to fingerprints. The Donruss "d" is done in a gold foil.

The silver Press Proof parallels are serially numnered to 100. Mine is 075/100. Like the other Press Proof parallels, the card is printed on foil board and a fingerprint magnet. The Donruss "d" is done in a silver foil.

I would be remiss to say that another record was made during the game. Quarterback Cam Newton (finally) came alive in the 4th game of the season and threw for 3 TDs and rushed for another. That rushing TD gave him 50 for his career, setting a new NFL record for rushing TDs by a Quarterback.

Cam Newton surpassed Steve Young for first on the list. Cam completed this accomplishment in just 79 games, while it took Steve Young 169 games. Cam also surpassed Young with his 32nd game with a rushing and a passing TD.

The Carolina Panthers are now 3-1 and go to Detroit to play the 3-1 Lions on October 8th.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Awesome A&G Trade w/ Nachos Grande

Hello, my name is Colbey and I have a confession...I have a lot of hobbies.

Most of these hobbies don't always cross over into my other hobbies, but this is one time where toys I collected yielded baseball cards.

Many know of the great guy behind the Nachos Grande blog and his love of all things Allen & Ginter. Another passion of his is LEGO. He's been trying to complete the various blind packaged Minifigure Collections and recently I was able to help supply him with several figures from his want list. In turn he graciously went through my A&G want lists and sent me a nice selection of cards.

I didn't know what he was sending over. I really didn't care. I was just glad to get the Minifigures into the hands of someone who will appreciate them. I've been downsizing (yet again) my toy collection and most of the figures I sent off I had no intentions of keeping. In exchange I was able to put a huge dent into both my 2016 and 2017 A&G want lists.

Thank you so much for the trade! I wasn't able to afford a hobby box of Ginter this year so I really appreciate all of the 2017 cards. This puts me ever so closer to finishing off at least the base set for these two years.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday Verse

Mark 8:36

New International Version

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Free Cards - Round 4

Now that I'm getting to sorting through these monster boxes that have been stacked in the corner of my office for some time, I'm coming across cards that I no longer wish to hold onto. I've tried selling low value cards in my eBay store and frankly it just isn't worth my time to list these, so I've decided to just give them away!

I'll cover the postage for 1-3 cards. For sets I would ask if you would help cover the shipping, I'd appreciate that.

I really just want to put these into the hands of others that will enjoy them, otherwise they may end up keeping me warm this winter! To claim a card or a lot, just leave a comment letting me know what you want. Then simply send me an email (flywheels at yahoo.com) with your name, address and what you wanted and I'll reply w/ my info. 

To keep this fair, I'm going to limit this to two (2) cards or lots per person per week. I have a good bit I plan on letting go so if you don't see anything that interests you this round, stay tuned as there will be more to come. I've even got some hand collated sets that will be up for grabs.


Today's free cards will just be one item...

Lot #1
hand collated 2011 Topps Heritage set

Unfortunately the cards aren't in number order and honestly I didn't want to spend the time to put them in order, so I really can't tell you how many cards there are, or what cards are missing from the set. However as you can see the cards nearly fill the entire long box.