Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Verse

Matthew 16:25

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

I know these words may not make sense for everyone, but it speaks volumes to me.  What Jesus meant was that to have everlasting life you must give up your own life and follow Him.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Box Break (Birthday Edition) - 2013 Topps Series 2 Hanger Box

Last week I turned 36.  Gettin' old am I.  I got the usual gifts from my family (gift cards), but my aunt of all people went the extra mile and searched out something else.  I recently scrapped and started a new Facebook page for the blog and while setting it up I like the "Like" button a few times.  One of those was for Topps.  So as a late gift I received a two 2013 Topps Hanger Boxes as a gift.  One for Series 1 and one for Series 2.  While my grandmother just rolled her eyes, I made sure to give my aunt a big thank you.

The timing of this gift was uncanny as I had bought myself a hanger box just the day before.  I was hoping to find some on my trip to Turner Field recently, but the one Target we hit while in Atlanta was fairly barren.

To sum it up the box was pretty good for this Braves fan.  The Beachy and Smoltz in particular were nice finds since I collect these guys regarding the team that they play for.

I knew my aunt picked up this box at Walmart since it included 5 exclusive blue bordered parallels.

So there are 3 different versions of these Chasing History cards, am I right?  I think the gold holographic foil come in the hanger boxes, while the silver holographic foil are found in the rack packs and the regular versions in single retail packs.  

Glad to see the Cut to the Chase inserts were carried over to Series 2.  Making Their Mark is new to Series 2 and showcases a particular accomplishment for that player.  I need to see more of these before I decide if they go on the Trade List or the Want List.  Chase It Down features some great action photography and a design I'd expect to see on a Stadium Club card.  Like.

I was fortunate enough to get a Desert Camo parallel #d to 99.  At least it's a Yankee which means it should be easy to flip or trade.  The 1972 Minis are also a carry over from Series 1 and while cool, I'm not chasing these.  Oh yeah, almost forgot about this year's Million Dollar Chase contest...

I'll be working to put together both my Trade List of doubles and unwanted inserts as well as a new Series 2 Want List.  Those links can be found in the upper left corner of the blog.

** UPDATE **

As I was collating the cards I ran across #228 Adrian Gonzalez.  Sure enough, this is one of those photo variations.  Now, is there a Dodgers fan out there that wants this?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Verse

Isaiah 40: 6-8

“All people are like grass,
    and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
    Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.”

Have a great day everyone!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Taking in Turner Field (Braves vs. Giants)

Last weekend my wife took me to Atlanta to catch a Braves game as a combination Father's Day / Birthday gift...and what a great time it was.  We headed out from the upstate of South Carolina Saturday morning and drove down to the Doraville area just outside the city limits.  Now that I've been down there several times I'm starting to figure out the MARTA system and such.  We arrived with nearly 3 hours before the 4:05 pm first pitch, so we took our time getting to the stadium.  We passed through Underground Atlanta, but you know that place just doesn't do anything for me.  So we hopped on the bus bound for Turner Field.

Living in a NFL and NBA city, it felt really nice standing outside a baseball stadium and just taking in the sight.  I wouldn't want to live in Atlanta, but I sure do love going there from time to time.

In years past I've always been in a hurry to find my seat so I haven't had the chance to walk around the stadium like I would like to.  This time we got there with enough time to walk around, but I left the camera in the car back at the MARTA station and my cell phone's battery was on it's last leg!  So unfortunately I didn't get to take near as many pictures as I would have wanted.

Outside the stadium there are several great photo opportunities, but with the crowds the Braves draw it can be difficult snapping a pic without a ton of strangers in the frame.  Scattered out in front were little number monuments and plaques of great Braves players.

Greg Maddux
Tom Glavine
Bobby Cox
John Smoltz's number was out there, but I couldn't get a pic with all the people hanging all over his number.  I'm sure Chipper Jones will have his number out there very soon.

What stadium is complete without bronze statues out front?  Warren Spahn's statue was busy with out picture takers, so I asked Hank if he'd mind posing for a picture.  That fat guy in the orange Charlotte O's t-shirt is the same fat guy sitting here at the keyboard.  The Braves were playing the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.  Wrong color t-shirt to wear that day!  I would've worn my Braves shirt, but the print on the back of the shirt is heavy and with an afternoon game in the middle of June in Atlanta I thought it may be a wee hot.

We had great seats in the outfield.  First row actually.  It's been a very long time since I've sat in the outfield. A first for me actually at Turner Field.  Last time I sat in seats similar to these, it was at the old Fulton County Stadium with my late dad and grandfather.  I couldn't have been more than 13 or 14 years old.  The seats my wife bought included access to the 755 Club upstairs.  That's the snazzy part of the park where you can walk around in the air condition and eat non-traditional ballpark food like fajitas, pasta and sushi.  There were lots of things I wanted to take pictures of, but again my phone was nearly dead by this point.

This was part of a larger two part image on the concourse wall upstairs commemorating the 1995 World Series Braves.  Love that photo of the players celebrating in a large pile!

When we walked out from the air conditioned concourse we were back around to the outfield.  I looked down over the railing and there was the Braves bullpen.  Our seats were actually one section to the right of the bullpen.

If you look down on the warning track you can see all the fathers and their kids walking around the field.  Cool Father's Day nod by the Braves.

View point from our seats.  That's B.J. Upton there in center field.  And no I didn't was the weekend.

Jason Heyward was right there in front of us.  He could hear the fans' cheers and he would turn around and acknowledge them from time to time.  When the Giants took the field Hunter Pence was in right field.  He too could hear the fan's cheers heckles, especially this guy behind us that hated Pence from his days with the Phillies.

B.J. Upton hit two home runs during the game, one of which was just a few sections over to our right.  The ball actually just cleared the top of the wall and landed in the area behind the wall and seats.  We saw the security guy go pick up the ball, but he wouldn't toss it to any of the fans.  Bummer.

Just above our section was the FOX Sports post game booth.  As we were leaving hosts Jerome Jurenovich and former Braves player, Brian Jordan were getting ready for their show.

I gotta hand it to my wife, she hit a home run with this gift (pun intended).  I missed not taking my daughters with us, but it was a blast and I'm already counting the days until I get to attend my next game.  Perhaps one day I'll get to visit another MLB ballpark.

Monday, June 17, 2013

2nd attempt at integrating with Facebook

Earlier this year I successfully integrated my toy blog with Facebook and created a page.  I was told by some friends they like to keep up w/ what I do on the blog, yet don't have or want a Blogger / Google account.  So they can now simply 'like' the Facebook page and see all of my updates and blog posts.

I also tried the same thing using a different Facebook account for this very blog, but with it being under a different log in I found it very tiring to log in and out of the two Facebook accounts to post updates and such.  So I deleted the old page/account and started over this morning.  You can find the new page HERE.

I used to have photo albums full of trade bait, photo albums of different themes from my collection among other things.  It'll take me some time to re-create that content so for now there isn't much there.  I do plan on doing some Facebook exclusive stuff there (contests maybe?) so if you have a Facebook account and want to 'like' the page, go ahead.

This is just one more step I'm trying to take to get more people involved in the blog and hopefully unload some baseball, basketball and football cards!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Headed to Turner Field

My wife surprised me today with front row seats in the right field (right behind Jason Heyward!) for Saturday's Braves game against the Giants.  So excited.  Its been 2 years since I've been to Turner Field.  Better wrap this up since we're leaving early tomorrow morning.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Just a few autos

Have I mentioned on this blog how much I love that Panini has access to some of Pacific's old sets, names and designs?  Pacific had some fantastic inserts and die-cut patterns and the Cramer's Choice Awards were always some of my favorites...but the pack odds weren't always in your average card collector's favor.  That said I was thrilled to see Panini bring back that design in the new Crown Royale release.  I've been slowly building a massive Jeff Taylor auto collection (I'll share his entire rookie year soon) and this is my most recent:

Topps Magic have been some of my favorite football cards, but thanks to my shrinking card budget and Topps decision to move 2012's Magic set to online only I had to result to just picking up cards of my Carolina Panthers.  I was thrilled to add a auto RC of 2012 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Luke Kuechly, to my Panthers collection.

Blaster Break - 2013 Topps Archives

Taking a break from Gypsy Queen I decided to splurge and pick up a blaster of the new Archives.  After buying last year's offering and reading posts and comments of this year's product I knew what I was getting going in.  While the ultra thin card stock is a let down, the design choices this year make up for the thin cardboard.  While I don't care for the inserts as much, I am planning on building the 1983 All-Star set.  The rest I'll just pick up the Braves and a few select players.

I do hate that the SPs are again part of the base set, but I pretend they don't exist and just focus on #1-200. There are only 2 SPs I want (Otis Nixon & Tim Salmon).  If I get some in trades or in packs that is cool, but I'm not putting all the SPs on my want list.

Retail blasters yield 8 packs (7 packs and 1 extra pack...who you kidding Topps?) with 8 cards per pack.  Let's see what I got, shall we?

Not my favorite retro Topps design, but it'll do.

             If Topps had integrated the team colors into the "hockey stick" design I'd like these even better.

As a kid growing up in the 80's how can I not like this design (even if I didn't cards yet)

Ah, the 1990 design.  While not my favorite, it did usher in the first year I collected baseball cards so I will always find a soft place for this year/design.

Ended up w/ 2 SPs.  Weird seeing a "new" Expos card.

The Dual Fan Favorites are pretty cool, but I don't see myself building the set.

Didn't the old Bazooka cards have these 4-1 stickers?  Not really interested in them, but at least I got a good sticker.  This one's a keeper.

I really like these 1983 All-Stars.  This oughta be a fun set to build.

Can't say I'm surprised to see these Tall Boy cards carried over from the last year's football set.  Neat cards, but boy are they a pain to store in 9 pocket pages!

What's this?  A hit in a retail blaster?  1:42 odds...not bad.  Shouldn't this card have been seeded in Heritage packs though?  Hope to trade this Konerko for base cards/inserts from my Want List.

All in all I'm very pleased with this year's Archives set.  I give it a slight nod over last year's set (which I'm still working on) and I can't wait to pick up some more when the budget allows.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June 2013 Affordable Group Break - 2013 Score NFL

I apologize for not taking the time to display the results like I normally do, but this weekend was my wife's birthday and the weekend just got away from me.  I also was in a hurry to get everything packed up to mail off Monday morning that I didn't have the time to scan the hits.  However if you take a few moments and watch the video the first pack contained the best hit of the 4...and it was for the 49ers.

If you don't want to watch a 30 min video (I understand) then I'll let you know the other "winners" of the break.

- the 49ers got a sick Frank Gore patch #16/25 and a silver Franchise parallel of Frank Gore #04/99
- the Cowboys got a Miles Austin red parallel #06/30
- the Texans scored a RC auto of DeAndre Hopkins!
- the Broncos picked up a silver parallel of John Elway #06/32 in one of the last packs
- the Rams got the other RC auto, of Alec Ogletree and a Tavon Austin Hot Rookies insert

The 4th hit of the box was a Cecil Shorts III Inscriptions auto (Jaguars) and there were a few other numbered parallels that went to teams unclaimed aka me.  Those will be going on eBay as soon as I have the chance to help recoup some of my costs.

All in all I had a great time and I really want to do another football break again.  Maybe come August or September...maybe go back and pick something a little older/cheaper.  I'll probably ask for some feedback on that idea in a few month...or you can let me know your thoughts on that now.

Thanks again for everyone who participated.  See you next break!

Sunday Verse

I interrupt the the group break to bring good news this morning.

Hebrews 9:28

Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

God must have a big shovel and bucket to take away all the sin in my life!  Even though I'm not perfect and I constantly screw up, fail, sin and come short of what is expected of me; it's always refreshing to read God's word and be reminded that I'm forgiven and that one day I'll go "home".

I'll have the results of the group break posted soon (if you haven't already watched the video on my YouTube channel that is).  Have a great Sunday everyone.