Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas from Topps

When it comes to sending out Christmas cards to friends and family, I'm horrible. I never remember to do so and when I do it's usually out of guilt because I'm already receiving cards from my family and such. 

Since the end of the baseball season I guess you could say I've been on haitus. I've been working behind the scenes sparingly on a few things and still opening my share of packs (I love the Holiday set Topps did for Walmart), however until I can reclaim my collection and get some organization it's hard for me to do much. Needless to say I've been a little out of the loop so I hadn't heard of Topps sending (I assuming their Topps Now customers) a Christmas card with a little cardboard gift inside. Coincidentially enough, the night I was scanning these cards I saw that my buddy over at Collating Cards was doing the same type of post!

Since I had already got this ball rolling, I found it no use to scrap the post and decided to move forward. In what I believe was an unprecidented move, Topps sent their customers a little Christmas card thanking them for their business in 2016 along with a little gift.

I guess you could say this is the final Topps Now card in the set? Wonder if they'll list the print run on their website like they did all the other cards? I betcha it has the highest print run! I ended up with two of these cards and as it is I've been looking for Kris Bryant cards to send to a guy that is putting a little package together for a young kid.

This is a very classy move by Topps that this collector very much appreciates. I enjoyed coming back to the Topps Now website just about every day during the baseball season...especially after a Braves player had a good day at the plate or made a spectacular play in the field. I look forward to what Topps has planned for this Now brand in 2017. It'd be nice if they borrowed the move from Panani Instant and actually print the print run on the back of the card (not serially numbered, but 1 of 246).

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Topps Comes Through (a redemption story)

Earlier this year in February, I pulled a redemption card for an autograph of the young WWE Superstar, Neville. While wrestling autograph cards don't usually get me all that excited, I have to admit I was looking forward to getting this card in the mail. I promptly logged onto Topps' website and redeemed the card. The wait began. I waited...and waited...and waited. Nothing.

About two months ago I decided to check on the status via the website and I saw that there was an option to forego the wait and request a replacement. I've read enough card blogs to know that if I went that route I wouldn't get the Neville auto I had been waiting on. The replacement card may be something better...or it may be something worse, like an auto of Curtis Axel!

However yesterday a fat padded envelope came from Topps and I figured it was finally my replacement card. I ripped open the mailer and I found not one replacement card, but two?!

I don't know if this is normal or not, but apparently the extra card comes as a added bonus for making me wait so long. What I don't get is what was the hold up in getting the autographed cards from Neville. I know WWE Superstars live a very grueling road life much of the year, but Neville was on the shelf injured for a good part of the 2016. Couldn't he have signed his cards for Topps during his time away from the ring? Whatever the reason, it's nice to see that Topps was at least trying to make me happy. Speaking of that, did they? What was the replacement?

I got this nice auto of Dean Malenko from 2013 Topps and I was pretty darn happy. You see I was more of a WCW fan growing up, NWA before that. I never watched much WWE until the "Monday Night Wars" heated up. I loved the cruiser weight division that WCW featured and Dean was fun to watch in the ring. A very technical wrestler that could spar with the best. 

Now the image Topps used for this card isn't the best in my opinion. In fact he looks a little creepy with the way he's looking at his opponent. None the less, not a bad replacement at all.

My bonus card is this nice WrestleMania 30 mat relic from 2014 Topps. I enjoy these type of gimmicky cards in wrestling releases almost as much as I enjoy jersey and bat cards from baseball products. I do like the fact that they tell you what event this piece is taken from as opposed to the normal line from Topps. I also enjoy watching Cesaro perform. Just check out him in the process of body slamming none other than the Big Show!

Everyone knows that Redemption cards can be risky, but for once I'm happy to say that things worked out well and I appreciate Topps for trying to go the extra mile to keep one of their customers happy.

Monday, November 28, 2016

2001 Topps Stadium Club Play at the Plate Dirt Relic set Completed!

It's been a long time coming that this Jeff Bagwell card is finally in my hands. Years ago when I was looking for something new, something different to collect I stumbled across the dirt relic cards from 2001 Stadium Club. I thought it was a pretty cool idea and surprisingly, one that has been reused least to my knowledge.

The cards themselves were only seeded 1:10 packs, however they were exclusive to Home Team Advantage stores. This in itself limited the audience of collectors that would even have a chance of  pulling on of these cards. Seeking out the cards several years later I found that some of the cards weren't that that hard to find. Most of the "common" cards could be had on eBay, while others I had to look a little harder for, a little longer for. Turns out that several of the cards in the 10 card set were packed in as exchange cards and I'm guessing many of the cards went unexchanged.

Jeff Bagwell, #PP06 was one of those exchange cards. Makes sense now of why it took me so long to find this one last card I needed to complete the set. Also turns out that Chipper Jones' card was mislabeled as #PP06, but his card too was an exchange card.

I find these cards to be a good conversation piece with non-baseball card collectors. I've had several friends and family members who've seen these cards in my collection ask me about the cards, why putting dirt inside a baseball card makes it so collectible and so on. I know these cards (and their brethren, Kings of the Hill) don't "book" for much...but I stopped collecting cards for their value and looking through Beckett a long time ago.

Now that this set is complete, I can shift my focus to picking up the Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez Kings of the Hill dirt relics to finish off that set. I also can't wait to actually find the rest of these dirt relic cards so I can put Bagwell amongest his peers.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2016 Topps Now: Ender Inciarte #489 (273 print run)

The Braves will have trouble this off season trying to figure out who will be roaming the outfield in 2017. Thanks to a killer trade with the Diamondbacks that brought Dansy Swanson over, one of other players that some may tend to overlook is center fielder, Ender Inciarte.

On September 21st, Ender scaled the outfield wall to rob a certain home run from the Mets' Yoenis Cespedes. Too bad Topps didn't capture the moment of him actually making the awesome catch, but none the less the moment represents yet another Braves card in the Topps Now set that I was more than happy to pick up.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

2016 Panini Instant: Jacoby Brissett #51 (1 of 85)

The 2016 NFL season rolls on and Panini Instant is there to capture the moments with their newest made to order series of cards. During Tom Brady's 4 week vacation at the beginning of the season, the back up QBs got a chance to show the league what they were capable of. Jacoby Brissett, the Patriots 3rd round pick in this year's draft got the call after Jimmy Grappalo went down with an injury. The product of NC State, the QB led the team to a 27-0 win over the Texans.

His Instant card captures his first NFL touchdown on September 22, 2016 where he scrambled for 27 yards and dove into the end zone for the score. The base version of the card ended up with only 85 total copies sold, kind of surprising since the card carries the rookie card (RC) designation. Maybe people aren't prospecting with this kid?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Cardboard from South Korea

Ever since I launched my Rey Ordonez Super Collector blog earlier this year, I've been rejuvenated in my quest to acquire one of every card of his in existence. I had to completely revamp my have/want list as well as reorganize the binder I had the cards in. It's been a lot of work, but it's been fun.


The other part of the fun has been searching out the cards I don't have. While I have a good many of his cards, there are some serially numbered cards that just don't seem to turn up very often. A lot of these are Pacific inserts, but the Fleer Flair Legacy Collection cards have eluded me for a very long time. Recently I came across this Row 2 Legacy card on eBay with a Buy It Now offer. I made a somewhat low ball offer and the seller accepted! When I got the invoice I was at first appalled by the high shipping quote of $4.95, then I noticed the card was shipping from South Korea?

I know baseball is big in Cuba and Japan, but I didn't think much about the sport being played elsewhere in the world. Thankfully the card came safe and sound and the seller packaged it well. It's a beautiful card, much more so than the scan. I still lack the Row 1 and Row 3 Legacy cards before the 1998 Flair set will be complete. Be on the look out for this set to be shared on my Rey Ordonez blog in the near future.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Redemption, Freddie Freeman Style

On the heels of receiving my 2015 A&G Buster Posey redemption auto, I grabbed this redemption card of Freddie Freeman from 2015 Topps High TEK. I've only seen these High TEK cards online, never in person so I'm really looking forward to receiving this card. Since it's from 2015, I'm hoping it doesn't take 9 months for it to show up in my mailbox.


Well that was quick. Before I could even get this draft of a post ready to go, the mail man brings me the card in today's mail! Now let's get this card out of his top loader prison so I can show off it's beauty...or the best that my scanner will allow!

Like with many "shiny" cards, this scan does not do the card justice. It's much more beautiful in hand. I love these clear acetate style cards...just beautiful. I was surprised to see that the card was serially numbered too, #02/99 to boot! 

This easily is one of my favorite Freeman cards now, autograph or not.

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!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Affordable Group Break Update!

I interrupt my watching of the Braves take on the Nats with an important update!

Please check out the original sign up post for an important update about the break. Also, if you haven't paid yet for your slot(s) please do so as soon as you can so we can hopefully get this underway Friday or this weekend! Thank you!

I know resume my sitting on the couch watching the game.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Affordable Group Break Sign Ups are LIVE!

** 09/06/16 UPDATE ** Each slot will now contain 3 total teams! Two of them will be randomized once the break fills up. Only two slots remain so help me spread the word. If we don't get anyone else to join in, I'll have to eat the cost myself and take the other teams that aren't randomized. Hopefully we can get this done before the boxes arrive this Friday! If you claimed a team(s), please go ahead and remit your payment ASAP. Thank you! **

Yesterday I threw out there an idea and I got enough of a positive response that I'm going to run with this. If you didn't see my previous post then here is the deal.

I'll be breaking 2 hobby boxes of 2016 Topps Strata plus one hobby box of another 2016 Topps product, to be revealed when my shipment arrives. Boxes are currently scheduled to be in hand on Friday, 09/09/16. Boxes will be ripped LIVE via my blog's Facebook page. I'll also do a recap type post here once everything has been opened.

I always try to make my breaks affordable, hence the name. We are going to have 10 total slots, with each slot consisting of three teams...for just $17 a slot. You pick the first team and once we have 10 participants we'll randomly assign the unclaimed teams. I'll do a video and post it of the teams being randomly assigned by mid-week next week. Shipping will be extra. Costs will be $5 for the first slot and $2 for each additional slot. These will be mailed in boxes via USPS.

I always make sure no one goes home empty handed so if you participate, you WILL get cards for each team regardless of what is pulled from the boxes. I also may pick up a few random packs to include as well just to make things more fun.

I've already ordered the boxes so if you can go ahead and pay now I'd appreciate it. You can send the funds via PayPal to Please note that I don't use this email address for much more than payments. If you need to e-mail me, please use my default e-mail. I look to get started next Friday around 9 PM EST, however that time is flexible.

Since the response was so good, I'm going to assign those who previously commented with the team they requested. This means we only have a few slots left! If you are interested, please leave a comment w/ the team you want.

01 - Cardboard Collections / Braves / Rockies / Astros (PAID)
02 - The Junior Junkie / Mariners / Mets / White Sox (PAID)
03 - Andy Stetson / Cubs / Marlins / Diamonbacks (PAID)
04 - Josh D. / Royals / Twins / Yankees (PAID)
05 - madding / Cardinals / Indians / Rangers (PAID)
06 - Robert / Blue Jays / Rays / Brewers (PAID)
07 - Play at the Plate / Angels / Pirates / A's (PAID)
08 - Play at the Plate / Dodgers / Tigers / Padres (PAID)
09 - Cardboard Collections / Red Sox / Phillies / Nationals (PAID)
10 - Cardboard Collections / Orioles / Reds / Giants (PAID)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Affordable Group Break Idea

**09/03/16 UPDATE **

This Affordable Group Break will be happening!! I've listened and added a mystery box of a 2016 Topps product to add more diversity. This box will add $2 to each two team slot, however if you were interested before at the $15 price tag just talk to me. Otherwise the price will be $17 plus $5 shipping for each two team slot. You pick the first team and will choose your second team from the teams that are unclaimed. Boxes will arrive on Friday, 09/09/16 and we'll go live on my blog's Facebook page Friday night. Time TBD. If you have already chimed in I'll pul you down for that team. A new signup post will occur later today so if you want to jump in leave a comment here or wait for the official sign up post. If you've ever participated in one of my previous breaks, you should know that I do my best to make sure no one leaves empty handed. Thank you and I look forward to getting this started next week!

It's been awhile since I've hosted a group break and I'm kind itching to open something new, specifically something I'd normally not purchase. I got an email this evening from Dave and Adam and they are having a labor day sale so it got me thinking of hosting a break.

I was looking at 2 boxes of 2016 Topps Strata. That would give us 4 guaranteed hits, 2 autographs and 2 relics. The relics remind me of Topps Unique from a few years ago. I think it could be fun.

If we do a two team slot system where one team is chosen and the other is randomized, slots would only be $10 each plus $5 shipping. Discounts available for purchases of 2 or more slots.

Boxes could be ripped live on my Facebook page for this blog, along with the randomization of the 2nd teams. Results would be summed up in a post or two on the blog for those who are anti-Facebook.

As the host and resident Braves fan, my team would be off the table, though all the others would be up for grabs. So, if I can find at least 8 others that would be willing to participate I think we can pull this off.

Not ready to start sign-ups now as I'm try to gauge interest. If this sounds like something you be up for let me know ASAP as the sale ends the day after Labor Day.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Dodger...on this blog?

The summer months should be about having fun, watching baseball and having time to enjoy my hobbies...but that isn't the case for least that last part. Work has kept me so busy these last few months that it's been hard to escape from reality for a bit to enjoy any of my hobbies, let alone baseball cards. While I have been working in the background on a few sets and such, I haven't picked up many singles lately. One card I scored for a pretty good price (in my opinion) was this blue parallel of the Dodgers' Alex Wood from 2016 Topps Tribute.

This Charlotte kid misses the other Charlotte kid. I cringed when I heard the trade announcement that was shipping Alex out to the west coast. However now that Olivera has been traded and the Braves essentially have Matt Kemp in left field it lessens the pain...a little.

I have a few autos of Alex as a rookie and even though he has a simple autograph, he's one of those players that I will still buy cards of even though he's not an Atlanta Brave any longer. I liked the clean design of Tribute this year and finding the blue parallel of a Dodgers player just seemed to make sense for to pick up.

It's hard to keep up with a team on the other side of the country, but I know Alex has struggled some since being traded. I don't recall watching him pitch since he left, but I do hope he continues to show what he is capable of in the near future...even if it is with the Dodgers!

Friday, August 19, 2016

One last trip to Turner Field

The wife and I are making the trip one last time down to Turner Field to catch the Braves play. For the past few years I've tried to make it down to catch a game at least one a season. I'd like to go more often, but a) it's a 4 hour drive, b) I don't like the heat/humidity and c) it's hard to fit a weekend away into my wife and I's schedule at times. However we decided before the season even started we would make one last trip before the team moves out to Cobb County.

This will be a bittersweet trip. When I was younger my late father and grandfather would take me to Fulton County Stadium to watch a few games during the summer months. The thought alone of those two men that I've lost still makes me a little teary eyed. Growing up I played baseball and I loved it...however when it became time for me to make that transition from coach pitch/machine pitch to little league, I got scared. My dad was my coach, on and off the field. He knew I loved the game and he knew I could do anything I set my mind to. However he also wasn't one of those pushy parents. As I stood on the field across the athletic park and watch the kids hurl the ball towards the plate...usually all over the place...I told my dad I didn't want to play anymore. My dad's reaction? "OK son, if that is what you want." To this day I kind of wished my dad was just a little pushy because like a lot of us at times I play that what if game. What if I had gotten over my fear of kids pitching and I kept playing. What if I played ball in high school? Could I have played professionally?

Even though my dad didn't push me into playing, we still got to enjoy baseball together from time to time by driving down to Atlanta. I have fond memories of sitting in the old stadium with my dad and grandfather, watching the Braves struggle against whomever they were playing that day. I also remember coming home and hanging a big David Justice poster on my bed room door my dad bought me at a game. After I got into collecting cards around 1990/1991, going to the games was that much more fun as I "knew" more about the players after reading the backs of baseball cards. I was also able to ask my grandfather to tell me more about the players he watched growing up. 

Back them living in Charlotte, NC we got to watch many of the Braves games on the old TBS cable channel...the Super Station. I can remember the worst to first season. I can remember when Chipper was called up. I can remember the heart breaking loss to the Twins in the World Series...Kirby Puckett jumping up and down in the outfield celebrating. And of course I can remember when the Braves finally won it all in 1995. This was the same time however that my grandfather's health would start to go south and 6 months later my father's health too. I lost both of these great men so close together and of course it goes without saying that I miss them both so, so much.

Today I have a new baseball buddy to go to games with, my wife. She may not watch many of the games with me on television, but she really enjoys getting out to the field and watching a game. It's been at least two seasons since the last time we made it down to Atlanta for a game and it's surreal that this will be our last time at Turner Field, but regardless of the team's record I'm excited about this weekend trip and the new memories we'll make. Soon, I hope to be able to start doing for my girls what my dad did for me and take them to a few games. After all, isn't baseball supposed to be about family?

It's funny how these last few weeks have worked out too regarding this trip. With the Braves' record let's just say it isn't hard to obtain tickets to a game, even a weekend game. We ended up getting front row tickets in the left field, I believe the section closest to the foul pole for $22 each. Because I travel so much for work I ended up having a night to redeem for a free hotel room. Then the Braves go and trade for Matt Kemp. I am so glad I'll get to sit behind Kemp and watch him play over the likes of D'Arnaud (no offense Chase!). Then of course this week the big news was that Dansby Swanson was getting called up to the majors. While it would have been cool to what Theran hurl the ball, I'll get to see Tyrell Jenkins take the mound on Saturday against the Washington Nationals. I just hope that my favorite player to hate (Bryce Harper) plays so I can boo him in person! Yes, I feel this is going to be a great weekend. All that is left to do is go buy a new Braves hat before I leave tomorrow morning and possibly pick up a pack of two of cards for the ride down. Go Braves!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Call Up - Dansby Swanson

August 17th, 2016. According to, This is the day that the highly touted Braves prospect, Dansby Swanson is scheduled to be called up to the Show. I am working out of town this week, but you can be sure I will be in front of a television tomorrow night to watch this kid everyone is talking about.

pic courtesy of

Earlier today the Braves made a roster move when they shipped Erick Aybar off to the Detroit Tigers, effectively making room for Dansby. He has done a great job in AA Mississippi, hitting .261 with a .745 OPS in 84 games. He started this season at Class A with the Carolina Mudcats.

On the baseball card front, I've only been able to pick up a few cards of him (in a Braves uni), mostly Bowman. I look forward to seeing Topps and even Panini create more cards of him as this season continues to unfold. After all, the baseball season in the card world never truly ends. 

I'm headed to Atlanta this weekend to see the Braves take on the Nationals and I was already psyched, then they pick up Kemp and I was on cloud 9. I have front row seats in left field for Saturday. Now hearing this news has me looking forward to the weekend that much more!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Box Break: 2016 Topps Stadium Club (Part 2)

I've been so busy lately that I almost forgot I still had about half a box of 2016 Topps Stadium Club to open! I was pleased with the first half of the box so let's see what's lurking in the second half.

Pack 9
#027 Anthony Gose
#044 Mark Melancon
#078 James Shields
#272 Michael Conforto
#292 Shin-Soo Choo
#122 Greg Maddux
#131 Gerrit Cole
#BT-07 Robinson Camo - Beam Team

Pack 10
#099 Justin Turner
#208 Edgar Martinez
#210 Luis Severino RC
#156 Randal Grichuk
#240 Brock Holt
#180 George Brett
 #216 Noah Syndergaard
#I-16 Carlos Correa - ISOMetrics

Pack 11
#265 Hector Olivera RC
#036 Nomar Mazara RC
#062 Luke Jackson RC
#071 Luis Gonzalez
#097 Eric Hosmer
#271 Martin Prado
#033 Mitch Moreland
#T-4C Matt Harvey - Triumvirate Luminous

Pack 12
#121 Masahiro Tanaka
#103 Mark McGwire
#167 Micah Johnson
#008 Stephen Vogt
#101 Archie Bradley
#189 Chris Sale
#144 Kole Calhoun
#114 David Ortiz - Gold parallel

Pack 13
#228 Jeremy Hellickson
#126 Roberto Clemente
#116 J.T. Realmuto
#269 Hector Santiago
#264 A.J. Pollock
#150 Jorge De la Rosa
#285 Trevor May
#265 Hector Olivera RC - Black parallel

Pack 14
#161 Alex Rodriguez
#052 Yangervis Solarte
#184 Byron Buxton
#059 Ken Giles
#102 Ichiro
#093 C.J. Wilson
#232 Sean Doolittle
#151 Stephen Piscotty RC - Gold parallel

Pack 15
#111 Matt Carpenter
#118 Brian Dozier
#15 Paul Goldschmidt
#188 Colin Rea RC
#267 John Smoltz
#251 Jon Gray
#290 Manny Machado
#220 Jung Go Kang - Gold parallel

Pack 16
#182 Ryan Braun
#163 Billy Hamilton
#212 Jonthan Lucroy
#025 Chris Archer
#247 Cameron Rupp
#010 Jose Altuve
#162 T.J. House - Black parallel
#SCA-BHP Byoung-Ho Park - Autograph

Overall I was pleased with the box's contents. The inserts in the 2nd half were a little boring with just black and gold parallels, but the other auto ended up being another rookie. I look forward to getting these cards collated and in pages next. Then I'll see if I can move both autos for something more interesting to me.