Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Box Break: 2022 Panini WWE Revolution


Panini's second WWE trading card release in 2022 happened to be the Revolution brand. I have to admit that I wasn't too thrilled with the news. I was still looking for WWE Prizm at retail and having mixed results so one one hand it was nice to have something else to chase. Hobby boxes weren't cheap (as expected), but the price didn't hold for very long before boxes could be had for as cheap as $65.00. The boxes don't guarantee an autograph so I'm guessing the speculators or flippers bypassed this product all to together.

I was familiar with the Revolution brand thanks to their NBA & NFL licenses. The design even showed up in 2021 Chronicles (baseball) as an insert set. I've never been wild on the design or the parallels, but I've seen some cool/wild inserts and designs. After paying my bills associated with hosting my breaks, I had enough to grab a box during a Labor Day sale so I thought I'd take a chance. My oldest daughter enjoys opening wrestling card boxes/packs with me so I thought if nothing else it'd be fun for the two of us.

Here you have two examples of the base card design. It features a silver sheen holographic background with colored waves and angles layered on top. Black, Red, Gold are the main foil colors used on the front. The wrestler's name and the Revolution logo are in gold foil.

The back of the card features the same photo from the back, but outlined with white and a think black border. There is a bio box that lists where the wrestler is from and little about their in-ring career or persona.

* The design actually works, much better for WWE than for traditional sports
* Most of the photos used are great action shots. The photo of Indi Hartwell has to be my favorite photo of her on any of her cards thus far released.
* A small and manageable set at just 150 cards
* A good mixture of main roster talent, NXT 2.0 and Hall of Famers

* The photo is duplicated on the back
* At just 5 cards per pack & 8 packs per Hobby box, it won't be easy (or cheap) to build the set unless you have help in the trade department
* No guaranteed hits

The Astro parallel seemed to be the most common as we pulled 3 from our box. The Astro cards feature small stars in the holographic silver background. In a very welcome move, Panini actually listed the parallel name underneath the card number on the rear of the card. I hope they continue to do this for all of their releases moving forward.

Groove parallels have small "disco" balls if you will scattered across the background of the card. This card of Doudrop was the only Groove parallel pulled. Not my favorite parallel if I'm being honest.

Fractal parallels have a "cracked ice" look across the back o the card. This technology or design has been used by several card companies over the years and isn't something I care for. I know some collectors love these type of parallels, but for me they are just "meh".

Angular parallels are probably my favorite thus far, I just like how the angled pattern in the background of the card meshes with the main design. The teal foil is also a nice touch. These cards are numbered out of /199. Jacy here is 144/199.

Lava parallels are one of the toughest to pull as these are numbered to just 10 copies. These have a angled sheen in the background that kinda looks like lava...hence the name of the parallel. I was shocked to pull this 10/10 Bret Hart card.

Looking at the checklist on TCDB.com, there are also Cosmic, Cubic, Galactic and Sunburst parallels of the 150 card base set. Good luck if you are chasing these for your favorite wrestler.


There are a few insert sets, but again with the small pack out of Hobby boxes you'll probably only pull a few. We ended up with 4 inserts I believe, including this Shock Wave card of Sasha Banks. Like with the base cards, inserts also have several different parallels to chase. While I don't mind parallels of the base set, making additional parallels of inserts is a bit much for my taste.

Speaking of insert parallels, we ended up with a Sunburst parallel of the Becky Lynch Supernova insert. The base design of the Supernova card is pretty cool in its own right, but the Sunburst version looks equally cool. I would have like to have seen a Sunburst parallel for one of the base cards. This Sunburst parallel is numbered 95/99.

I'm rather fond of these trippy looking Vortex inserts. I can only imagine some of the various parallels that exist make this design look even more wild.

The one insert set that wasn't represented in my box was the die-cut Liftoff! The few I've seen from this set look great.

Overall I enjoyed ripping this box. I wish there were more cards/packs per each box as it didn't take by maybe 10 minutes to rip the whole box. I was pleased with the cards in hand however. They scanned surprisingly well, but they still look much better in hand. Even though each box didn't yield many cards, I'd be prepared to buy another as I'd love to build this set. I don't believe I pulled any doubles, but I have plenty of other wrestling cards listed on my TDCB profile so if you are a user there and want to work up a trade, hit me up...my user ID is flywheels.

Monday, September 19, 2022

2022 Topps Now - #688 Vaughn Grissom


When the Braves' second baseman, Ozzie Albies, went down with an injury a lot of Braves fans weren't sure what would happen next. Backup veteran, Orlando Arcia would eventually take Ozzie's place in the line up, however when he too went down with injury the Braves looked to their minor league system for an answer.

On August 10th, Vaughn Grissom made his MLB debut at Fenway Park. He was promoted from AA, the second player this season on the team to receive the call up. For some young players the bright lights of the big stage can be too much, but not for Grissom. The 21 year old collected his first career hit and a home run in his debut. He also stole a bag during the game, making him the youngest player in MLB history to hit a home run and still a base in their debut game. The Braves would go on to win the game against the Red Sox 8-4.

With Topps giving this card the Call-Up designation means his true rookie cards won't be seen until 2023 Topps Series 1. I hate having to wait that long to get more cards of Vaughn, but the way he's been playing at least he has a good chance at receiving another Topps Now card before the 2022 season wraps up!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

TCBD Trade Completed w/ Too Many Verlanders

While I may not be as active on the blog and the trades via the blog have all but shriveled up, that doesn't mean that I'm not still making trades online. All of my trading now consists with the aid of the awesome resource site of Trading Card Database. Not only can I track my collection there, but also easily facilitate trades. One recently completed trade was with Dennis from Too Many Verlanders.

I've been pretty busy lately and fell behind on my TCDB activity, including pouring over the details of the trade Dennis proposed to me, but I'm pretty sure he tossed in these various Braves cards just because he's a swell guy. I love the 3 MLB Showdown cards, oddball stuff like this is what makes collecting fun. The Ryan Klesko jersey was a nice surprise, as was the Bowman Chrome Xfractor auto...even if I have no idea who the player is!

6 more cards for the Vladimir Guerrero PC. All but 2 of these are super shiny and one of the others is a super cool Topps HD card!

The next PC Dennis filled update is that of Brian Jordan. Being a two sport star, I mainly focus on his baseball playing days so it was nice to receive 9 new cards. This season Brian has taken on more opportunities with Bally Sports' coverage of Atlanta Braves cards, stepping in the booth from time to time to call the game w/ Chip Carey. I've heard some people think he talks about himself too much on the telecasts, but I enjoy what he brings to the table.

Kevin Seitzer is a relatively new PC of mine and I've been overwhelmed by the response after I got my want list updated on TCDB. Seitzer is the current hitting coach of the Atlanta Braves and is a part of the offensive numbers the Braves have been putting up.

For Atlanta Braves' fans Sid Bream's historic slide into home plate during the 1991 NLCS will forever be etched into our hearts and minds, but my PC of Sid isn't because of that play or that he played for the Braves, but that is a fellow believer of the Christian faith. Sid routinely inscribed various Bible verses with his autographs, which I do own a few. Sid has been one of those guys I already had a good many cards of, but recently decided to pump up the PC by adding every card of his that I didn't already own to my TCDB want lists. Yet another player I've received a lot of in recent months via TCDB trades.

When I was first getting into collecting I heard a lot about Darryl Strawberry. As time would pass his name would stay in the news, but usually for the wrong reasons. Darryl will be the first to admit he's made some bad decisions, but it seems that life is behind him now. I may be a little late in starting a collection, but it's been a fun ride thus far since I added more of his cards to my TCDB want lists.

Ray Durham played ball at a local rival high school of mine in my hometown of Charlotte, NC. Like some of the players I collect, I just casually collected him, putting aside cards of his as I'd pull them from packs or find them at shows. I'm grateful for these 5 new cards, especially the Finest. First things first however, that protective peeling on the Finest card has got to go!!

I've got a pretty good size PC of the ageless wonder, Julio Franco, yet Dennis was able to find 4 cards off my want lists for me. Again, that Finest covering will be peeled!

While I'm moving away from building modern sets, there are enough other sets I'm working on and all of these cards above will help fill holes. The Sportflics Double Take is a much welcome addition...I'm such a sucker for lenticular cards.

Speaking of Finest cards, I decided to try and build the 1997 set (for whatever reason) even though I knew it wouldn't be the easiest task. While I've been able to cobble together some cards, I welcome the opportunity to obtain more!

While baseball is my main jam, I am excited to see my Carolina Panthers take the field this Sunday against the Browns. That said I was happy to add 4 new Panthers to the collection, along with a new Mike Glennon to my NC State alumni collection.

I can't say thank you to Dennis enough for proposing a trade to me. It was one of the largest trades I've pulled off in awhile, but I'm glad we each had things the other could use. If you've not taken the time to familiarize yourself w/ the Trading Card Database platform, you really ought to as it's a great site that helps bring collectors together.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Can We Talk About What Happened Last Weekend in NY?

As much as it pains me to say, the NY Mets were the better team last week/end when the Braves and Mets played 5 games over 4 days.

I felt pretty good about the Braves' chances going into the long series against the our divisional rival (?), even after losing the first game of the series Thursday night. The following night felt even better as the Braves' offense came to life in the first inning giving starting pitcher Ian Anderson more than enough run support to shake off any jitters he may have had. Credit to the Mets though as they didn't give up and made a nice push towards the end of the game to turn a blow out into a two run game.

I knew the Mets meant business and they proceeded to show that with a sweep on Saturday. Ugh. That divisional lead they had just kept growing and growing, adding another game between the two teams with another win on Sunday.

Despite what NY Mets fans may think, the season isn't over. As horrible as the Braves played, their season isn't over and winning the Division again isn't out of the question, but last week/end sure didn't help either.

I'll give credit where credit is due. This Mets have a good team. This isn't the 2021 team so anyone waiting for an "evitable Mets collapse" may be waiting for awhile. The Mets are built different than the Braves. They are able to play "small ball". put the ball into play more than a lot of the other teams in the league. Despite the Braves' normal stellar defense, when you put the ball into play anything can happen. We say that last week in New York. Call it luck, call it whatever you want, the Mets put the ball into play, the Braves made some errors and the Mets got on base and some scored. That's how the cookie crumbles. I do have to mention however that some Mets fans I saw posting online after the weekend were...well finally glad they were winning after Chipper Jones owned them?! I saw one fan say they were happy with a 4 1/2 game lead. "Happy"? Others made fun of pitcher Max Fried's hard fall to the ground on a hustle play. Did I expect anything else from their fan base? Nope.

The Braves however are a different team and score in a different way. Sometimes I feel like its a "feast or famine" approach. When their bats are alive, the ball is jumping out of the stadium. We saw that this past Friday night. However if the ball lands on the warning track instead of the stands, it's rough to watch sometimes. They just have a hard time manufacturing runs. Ronald Acuna hasn't been himself. Ozzie Albies is gone. We've got a different beau at first base. This isn't your 2021 Braves...but I'm not counting them out!

There are still a lot of things to like about this team and I will remain optimistic that they can still catch and surpass the Mets. It won't be easy...the Braves I'm told have the second hardest schedule over the remaining 50 odd games. It starts tonight in Boston against a struggling Red Sox team...which they can't overlook. Both the Phillies and Padres are on their heels for one of those Wild Card spots. I *think* I'm ready for the ride. I was nice having last night "off" however and I hope the team got their needed rest because if they want to have a chance of repeating as World Series champs, it's go time!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Getting Priced Out of the Hobby?

While the trading card hobby saw new heights during the worldwide pandemic, my collecting enthusiasm started to wane (at least for baseball). Everyone and their brother it seemed jumped into the hobby and the demand seemed to far outweigh supply. It also didn't help that the speculation game also seemed to be at an all time high. Some of the people gobbling up all the cards at their retail outlets weren't necessarily collectors or set builders, but looking to either flip them and make a quick buck, or put them away thinking the product will put their kids through college one day.

During the these times I felt my desire to collect (specifically baseball cards) just wasn't the same. It didn't help that the product I wanted to buy were always sold out at local retail or that the overall costs of hobby boxes were going up in price. It also seemed as if our purchasing power was decreasing. Packs had fewer cards, boxes had fewer packs. More manufactured "relics" started to become the norm with some of the nicer cards getting harder to pull. Let's not even go down the road of Topps being the sole licensed card manufacturer either. The hobby just felt different and I couldn't wait for things to get "back to normal".

Fast forward to 2022, the year after my Atlanta Braves won the World Series. I was excited about baseball cards again and even looked forward to the possibly of some cardboard love being shown to my Braves from Topps. After all the Dodger blue I saw the year after they won it all, why would I expect anything less? Topps Series 1 was fast approaching and I was excited. I kept checking local retail and nothing. The shelves were still as bare as they were for most of 2020 and 2021. I told myself I'd be patient, but instead of waiting I bought a hobby box for my break group just so I could rip some new Topps. I liked what I saw for the most part. Good design, decent photography and a checklist that you'd come to expect to series 1...even though Topps omitted my guy Dansby Swanson from that series 1 checklist.

As I have become more active on the Trading Card Database site and with their community, I've found that I'm purchasing less and less of certain product, especially flagship Topps. I've found that many people will fill my want lists for new stuff in exchange for older stuff that I have a lot of. While making trades and pulling/packing/shipping can be tedious at times, it's made be appreciate and enjoying the card hobby that much more. There is just something more satisfying about getting that envelope in the mail w/ the cards you need to put a dent in your set or better yet complete that set versus ripping packs and getting double after double.

Now here we are half way through 2022 and everyone is paying stupid prices for gasoline, a dozen eggs, etc. Inflation is nothing new, but with everything going up, except wages, times are getting a little tighter. Surely I'm not the only card collector starting to feel the pinch. For me, cards are just one of many hobbies I have so at least I have other things to fall back on, but those hobbies are getting expensive too. Since the pandemic started, I've found myself stepping back from set building modern cards and moving to buying singles. I've also stepped up my wrestling card game (after all, I am the self-professed #1 WWE R-Truth super collector on Twitter!). I still love the thrill of ripping packs, but man it's getting harder and harder. First Panini increased their blasters to $25-$35 depending on the product. This meant flippers started to back off and you could actually find product on the shelves, but that higher price tag made it a harder swallow...at least for me. I thought Topps would keep their blasters at $20...and they did for series 1 flagship. I knew products like Gypsy Queen went up, but I didn't realize series 2 flagship blasters hit $25 until the other day I picked up one to check out what all the commotion was over the manu-relic batting helmet cards was all about. Then just today while at Walmart picking up a few items for work, I noticed the 2 pack blister carded series 2 flagship packs were ringing up for $19.97. What?! Seriously Topps/Walmart? $20 for two packs?! All the sudden that $25 dollar asking price for a blaster didn't seem so bad.

So now I ask the myself the question, where do I stand? Am I done ripping packs? Am I done set collecting via the traditional method of buying packs/boxes to get the majority of the set before moving to trading? I know for some the inflated prices don't bother them as much. Inflation is real, I get that. I know that prices aren't necessarily going to come down. I've seen comic books go from $.75 each to $4. Everyone has a call to make and while I've not made that final call yet, I do seem to be inching closer and closer to moving away from modern (minus some Dansby Swanson singles) and sticking to the cards/years I was first introduced to...which just happens to be during the now inexpensive junk wax era. 

Just last weekend I took most of my Saturday to completely re-arrange my massive IKEA Kallax unit I use for my bindered card collection. Everything was just tossed up there when I moved into the house last summer and it drive my OCD crazy...but not crazy enough to do anything about it until recently. Now I have plenty of space for my junk wax collections. Most of it is still sitting in sealed boxes, but I left room for the eventual binders, organized by year of course. I still have a lot of custom binder spines that will need to be made, but I'm happy. Just the idea of sitting down with those boxes of 1991 Donruss Triple Play and ripping the packs and organizing the cards brings a smile to my face. This is something I haven't been able to say about modern cards in awhile. Nostalgia is real. The cards of my youth are cheap. That's a combination that I can cling too!

Ultimately I still love this hobby, but man has the landscape changed a lot since I got my start in 1990. I miss those days of old. I miss Fleer, Donruss, Score and especially Pacific. Perhaps this is why in my breaker group I tend to feature boxes of these older products versus the hot, new stuff? I'm a collector, there is no denying that. I'll probably always collect cards in some fashion, I'm just not sure I can continue to collect the way I have over the last 10-15 years. Outside of the annual Allen & Ginter set which I so dearly love, as long as I can continue to trade with other collectors to fill in holes on my want lists and open the occasional pack of cards here and there (which may be junk wax the way things are looking!) I'll be just fine.

The Not Quite Sponsor Section

If you're not familiar with the Trading Card Database site, well shame on you. It's an invaluable resource for trading card collectors (all sports plus non-sports too) where you can find checklists and card images as well as track your own collection. One of the best parts however is the ability to get matched up with other collectors and trade. Create your account and add all those doubles you have sitting around, then add your want lists and get to trading. They are called trading cards for a reason! After every break I host, I'm always looking at the set checklist to see if any of the cards we pulled need scans. I want to give back to the awesome community there as much as I can. I betcha most of the R-Truth card images were submitted by yours truly! Like a lot of places on the web/social media, my handle at TCDB is flywheels. If you ever want to trade or just have questions on how the site works, don't ever hesitate to propose a trade or reach out.

Lastly, I have a break group. It started right here on the blog many, may years ago, but now that activity has migrated over to Facebook, specially a group I created that is simply called "Affordable Group Breaks". This is a public group that anyone can join. Currently we have about 120 members, some more active than others, but just about every Friday evening we go live on our accompanying YouTube channel and break some older, yet fun trading card boxes. Baseball heavy, though we'll break the random football box or once in a blue moon a hockey box. I aim to keep it fun, lighthearted and most importantly, affordable! I encourage you to drop by the FB group sometime to check out what we have going on over there and if you see something that intrigues you, jump in and grab a team. I usually post sign ups every Sunday evening. Consistency in the dates/times of postings & breaks is important to me as I know we all live crazy, hectic lives.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Affordable Group Break: 1997 Donruss Preferred (Hobby)

This break will feature a hobby tin of 1997 Donruss Preferred. 24 packs/tins / 5 cards per pack. Prices listed beside each team. All cards ship. Stacking applies so the price does not include shipping. If you have questions on how this works please let me know. We'll break this box Live on my YouTube channel on Friday, 06/24/22 at 10 PM eastern.

To claim your team(s) please comment with your request and submit your payment at that time. If you haven't participated in one of my breaks, please email me (flywheels@yahoo.com) your name & mailing address. Please send your payment as Friends & Familyhttp://paypal.me/flywheels86

Additional information specific for this break:
* I do not plan on reducing prices as I'm building this set so I'll glad buy any unsold teams
* The player on the pack/tin will be given to that respective team (we have 16 of the 25 possible teams)
* Each team purchased will get you an entry for the large Gold Mark McGwire tin which is numbered 254/299. All paid entrants will be loaded into the Random.org and randomized to assign a winner.
* One tin was opened inside the box (see pic below) and the contents of that pack will be given to those teams

Anaheim Angels - Colbey PAID
Atlanta Braves - Colbey PAID
Baltimore Orioles $12 - Joseph Inzirillo PAID
Boston Red Sox $8 - Shane Salmonson PAID
Chicago Cubs $9 - Andrew Rein PAID
Chicago White Sox $12 - Chad Pacey PAID
Cincinnati Reds $8 - Chris Reed PAID
Cleveland Indians $10 - Adam McKenzie PAID
Colorado Rockies $8 - John Donovan PAID
Detroit Tigers $8 - Ben Morris PAID
Florida Marlins $10 - Adam McKenzie PAID
Houston Astros $10 - Denny Wagner PAID
Kansas City Royals $7 - Jonny Watt PAID
Los Angeles Dodgers $12 - Rick Mantz PAID
Milwaukee Brewers - Colbey PAID
Minnesota Twins $9 - John Klimavicz PAID
Montreal Expos - Colbey PAID
New York Mets $8 - Joseph Inzirillo PAID
New York Yankees $15 - Victor Negron PAID
Oakland Athletics $9 - Joseph Inzirillo PAID
Philadelphia Phillies $7 - Jonny Watt PAID
Pittsburgh Pirates $7 - Zachary Chakan PAID
San Diego Padres $12 - Joseph Inzirillo PAID
San Francisco Giants $8 - Roy Altherr PAID
Seattle Mariners $12 - Adam McKenzie PAID
St. Louis Cardinals $8 - Kerry Biggs PAID
Texas Rangers $10 - Ben Morris PAID
Toronto Blue Jays $8 - Joseph Inzirillo PAID