Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Looking back at 2014

First off, Merry Christmas to everyone! I know my annual "year in review" post is a little early, but I find myself sitting at work on this quite and rainy Christmas Eve with nothing but time on my hands.

2014 has been a big year for me and my family. For this blog...well not so much. I hadn't planned for my activity to plummet as it did a few months into the year, but sometimes those things just kind of happen. Looking back over my posts from the year it was pretty easy to recap here we go.

The first card package I received in 2014 came from no other than The Collector's Crack and was a Topps Finest card of Tim Hudson my collection was missing.

January brought the end of my Carolina Panther's playoff run, losing to the hated San Francisco 49ers. I was a great ride so of course expectations were pretty high for the 2014 season. Well if you follow the NFL at all then you should know by now the Panthers season hadn't gone as expected. However by some sort of divine intervention the Panthers are playing the Falcons in Atlanta this Sunday for the NFC South title. The Panthers are 6-8-1 going into this game. Crazy to think a team with a losing record can win the division, but then again I've seen crazier things happen. At least I have something else to look forward to after Christmas this year.

The start of the new year also means new Topps baseball cards. Turns out this was one of two boxes I bought for the entire year! Where did my excitement go? Well I have to say as much as I liked the base design of 2014 Topps, the inserts didn't excite me. Now before you go and say that you don't collect the flagship brand for inserts, I guess the "work" of collating cards and such that goes with set building was starting to take it's toll. Collecting should be fun and not feel like work. However I started to realize I was biting off far more than I could chew. I was trying to build too many sets. Too many insert sets. Ultimately trying to do too much.

One of my goals in 2015 is to get myself organized, get rid of some cards and clean up my trade lists. I sorely miss trading with others, but I'm not in the right place to try and resume that activity. I may buy a few random packs of 2015 Topps, but I'm getting out of set building. I'll try my hand at A&G later in the year, but I'm drawing the line there. Some of the sets I was working on I'll try to finish (someday), but others on my want list will be disappearing soon.

2014 saw only one Affordable Group Break. Sad I know. I took a lot of pride in offering past group breaks on a near consistent monthly basis. However I found these breaks, while a lot of fun, took me away from my own organizational time and cards I needed to catalog and scan started to pile up.

I really enjoyed the return of Donruss and I wanted to jump into the second series Panini offered later in the year, but I never quite got around to it. I am eager to see what Panini's plans are for the Donruss brand in the coming new year.

Perhaps one of my favorite posts all year on the blog was when I interviewed a friend of mine who was asked to supply some sketches for 2014 Topps Museum Collection (and several UFC products). I don't feel as if I have many talents, so of course I'm jealous of people who can write, sing, build things or in this case, draw. James Michael-Smith is an incredibly talented guy and it was a lot of fun talking with him and seeing some of his final work, not to mention watch him sketch these images.

May 20, 2014 is the day the Charlotte Hornets returned to the Queen city of Charlotte, NC! Thus far in the NBA season it's been a bumpy ride for the Hornets, but it's so refreshing seeing the teal and the purple on the court again. For those of you outside the NC/SC area you may not understand what the big deal of a name change is, but for those of us in the area it's been a pretty big thing. Now let's just see if the team can repeat what the former team, the Bobcats, did last season and make the Playoffs!

Being out of the everyday cardboard loop, the return of the Stadium Club Firebrand inserts cards were a welcomed sight. While I still have yet to finish the set (chalk it up to laziness), this was one of my favorite insert sets of the year.

I believe it was around August I got a small bubble mailer from My Cardboard Mistress. (honey, if you're reading this that is the name of a blog! I swear I'm not cheating on ya babe!) Inside was a nice patch type card of the Charlotte Knights (the local AAA baseball club) mascot, Homer the Dragon, a autographed patch card of a Carolina Panthers Wide Receiver bust (Joe Adams) and the above auto of "Googs". Adam remembered that I'm a fan of NC State and sent along a beautiful card of one of my favorite alums.

In late August my wife and I took a trip down interstate 85 to Atlanta to catch a game at Turner Field against the Oakland A's. My wife scored us some great seats in right center field, first row. We were basically just to Jason Heyward's right. It was fun all around. It was Zombie night at the park so there were a lot of cool looking people walking around. Several home runs were hit, a few near where we sat, the guy next to me heckling the A's Josh Reddick was actually funny...and oh yeah, the Braves won the game. 

Little did I know that was the last game I'd attend and see Jason Heyward (and Justin Upton) in a Braves uniform.

Even though my Braves had another horrible second half crash and missed making the Playoffs again, I enjoyed most of the season (minus September). I picked up a few nice cards throughout the year. One of the best things of the season was watching the hometown kid, Alex Wood find his own on the mound.

Looking back it seems as if not a lot went on in 2014, but that couldn't be more wrong. Not related to this blog necessarily, a lot of changes happened with my family. Perhaps the biggest was my wife returning to work! She went back to the elementary class room to teach 3rd grade this time around. Her teaching license for North Carolina had expired so it proved challenging getting her back in the classroom, but she eventually made it...a whole 3 days before the new school year started! This also meant we had to find a place for our two daughters. It was tough on us emotionally as the girls had stayed home w/ my wife since their birth. However we got them enrolled in an awesome church program nearby and the girls quickly adapted and accepted the change. It's so awesome to see them learning classroom skills, but also about Jesus. They have friends now and of course this means welcome to the world of children birthday parties galore!

I was also introduced to the world of camping earlier this year as my wife twisted my arm and purchased a pop up camper with part of our tax return. I do have to say it is nice being able to easily take a trip to the beach or wherever whenever we want. I believe we camped down at Myrtle Beach, SC 3 times this year for less than it would have cost us if we had stayed in a hotel room for a few nights! It was also a blessing that the girls really enjoy being outside and getting dirty while camping. Who would have thought that?!

On the blogging front, my first blog, Random Toy Reviews, really took off. I started getting some real exposure in the toy collecting community which brought on a lot of interesting conversation. I didn't have any real big toy purchases to speak of, but I did eclipse the mark of 100+ toy reviews. I also started a side project I call the Transformers Bio Card Database. Over the years many Transformers toys would come packaged with trading cards, especially the Japanese releases. Being a card collector these cards really appealed to me. However I couldn't find a real resource out there for these cards I created one...or should I saw I'm creating one. Lastly I recently created my 4th blog. This one is called Rugged Music. Over the last handful of months I've been actively re-visiting a lot of the music I listened to while in high school and stuff I discovered via my old church youth group. It's all Christian oriented and mostly rock, hair/heavy metal stuff. I know I don't have a lot of extra time, but it has been fun working on it thus far.

As for 2015 and this blog goes, I hope to get myself better organized. I hope to continue to share cards of my interest with others and even return some of the generosity I was shown throughout this year. I don't see myself getting back to where I was a few years ago for several reasons, but I'm not ready to let go of this creative outlet I call Cardboard Collections.

I appreciate all my fellow bloggers who have kept me on your blogroll. I appreciate all the comments and cards people have sent my way. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The baseball card community has some of the best people hands down I've ever "met on the internet". Here's to an awesome 2015!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Surprise Bubble Mailer

The stomach bug has been running rampant throughout my household the last 2 weeks so to say life has been crazy is a huge understatement. We've isolated the sick down stairs, so I've been essentially hiding upstairs. I've tried to make the most of my time being "stuck" upstairs by giving my hobby room a complete overhaul. I'm trying to give myself a better system for my cards and get myself organized so I can once again return to the world of (semi-active) blogging and trading.

Being out of the loop for the better part of 2014, I've been surprised to see that my humble blog remains on many of my fellow bloggers' blog rolls. I haven't had much to insert into the conversation since I my card purchases and trades have been virtually non-existant. So you can imagine my surprise when I received a rather large bubble mailer in my mail box the other day.

Dennis from Too Many Verlanders sent over a nice little selection of Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Braves. I of course wasn't expecting anything and I don't believe I've even communicated with Dennis lately, yet through his generosity he sends me his cast away cards.

One of my main goals is to get my collection lists updated along with my trade lists. My want lists will probably shrink as I'm going to narrow my focus to the annual A&G set. I'll try to finish out a few other sets, but no more trying to collect everything. Once I get this done there are several people, Dennis included, I feel the need to repay.

Here is just a sampling of some of the fun cards Dennis sent my way...

Even though the Panthers relic cards are of players that are pretty much busts (minus Julius Peppers), I still love getting relic cards. I appreciate the kind gesture. Now to get back to work on getting myself more organized!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

2014 Topps Finest Atlanta Braves

It's been awhile since I've bought any new Braves cards, let alone a whole team set, so you'll have to excuse my excitement over this 2014 Topps Finest set. Being out of the loop a bit I didn't even know that Finest was having a 2014 release. Now that I have these cards in hand I'm loving the wild 90's design. Makes me want to seek out a few of the Refractors now.

#41 Jason Heyward

He hasn't even been gone for a whole month and I already miss him. I'm anxious to see what Markakis can do in right field, but boy does he have some big shoes to fill.

#45 Freedie Freeman

Freedie had another solid year at 1st base and I expect nothing less from him than in 2015.

#52 Christian Bethancourt

Evan Gattis who? Yup, looks like Gattis may be on his way out (to left field?) to make room for Bethancourt to be the everyday catcher. I liked what I saw from him defensively and I hope his offensive game starts to heat up this upcoming season.

#73 Craig Kimbrel

Release the Kraken! Craig continues to amaze me. I think by now people know he is a force to be reckoned with.

#96 Justin Upton

By the time the 2015 season rolls around I'm not sure this guy will even be on the team. I know his strikeouts were up there last season, his bat will be missed if he is traded away. I know you've got to give up something good to get something good. Let's just hope GM John Hart can work out a good deal because I know the other clubs will come knocking this winter.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pack Break: 1984 Topps Voltron Tattoos

I debated which of my blogs to put today's topic on as it fits in with both my trading card blog and my toy blog. Well as you can see the card blog won out since this is a Topps product.


I'm not even sure where I got this sealed back of tattoos from, but I gotta admit I love finding old stuff like this. This pack of tattoos is rather large, measuring 8 inches tall and 5 inches wide. Inside are two perforated sheets of tattoos. Being that they are 30 years old I have no idea if the tattoos would actually work. Do I have any volunteers?

I was very much aware of Voltron growing up, but it never captivated me as much as Transformers did. None the less this is a very cool find for me and one that I wanted to share.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"O" My! The Braves have a new Right Fielder

Well the vacancy in right field made by trading away Jason Heyward a few weeks ago has been filled. Welcome to Atlanta Nick Markakis. The guys on MLB Network said the back of his baseball cards don't lie. From what I can tell this seems like a good replacement. 2 time Gold Glove winner so I know he can play defense. Has some pop in his bat as well from looking at his batting average, RBIs and HRs.

Any Orioles collectors out there still reading my blog? What are your thoughts? Think he'll fit in here in Atlanta? I know I'm ready to see him in a photoshopped Braves uniform on cardboard. I betcha Topps is already hard at work.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#TBT Throwback Thursday - Charlotte Hornets Edition #3

The inaugural edition of 1990-91 Skybox basketball cards were unlike anything I've ever seen. I was in Jr. High School when these cards were released and I thought they were the coolest thing ever. Now nearly 25 years later I still think the cards look pretty good. Well, at the front of the cards.

Using the computer graphics for the background, the gold borders and the "glowing" effect used around the basketball made these cards stand out from the likes of NBA Hoops and Fleer. Skybox remained one of my favorite annual basketball sets until Upper Deck came out a few years later and seemingly stole some of the basketball card market share.

Dell Curry has always been one of my favorite players from the original Charlotte Hornets. Take a look at who's guarding Dell. Nice. I've always thought these cards look a little like something you'd find in some type of art deco style museum. I can understand why some fans and collectors shied away from the first few years of Skybox, but there is no doubting that they had a very unique look and created a little niche for themselves in the world of basketball cards.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

So Long J-Hey Kid

Yesterday marked the end of the hometown kid's run in Atlanta. Jason Heyward was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Shelby Miller. While I understand the trade, it doesn't help remove some of the sting from the announcement. Heyward to me was one of those guys that epitomized what a major league player should be. Hustle. Hard work. Loyalty. I know Jason may not have lived up to some of the hype he had, especially after his rookie season, but he's a solid baseball player and I can't wait to see how he does in St. Louis under Mike Matheny and crew.

I still don't know who will fill his shoes out in right field, but I sure am glad I got to see him play one last time earlier this year. The Braves are a wreck and I sure don't envy new general manager John Hart and the position he is in. This move has proven (so far) to be pretty unpopular among us fans. Then again there is a reason we are fans and not general managers. This was a tough move to make, no doubt about it. Only time will tell if it was a good move.

The question I had to ask myself was what to do about collecting Heyward. I'm not a Cardinals fan. In fact I despise that ball club. However I think I've come to the conclusion that if I can collect Dave Justice cards wearing the Yankees pinstripes then I can collect Jason Heyward wearing the two little redbirds. Seriously though, for several reasons Heyward will remain a large part of my card collection. I respect his athletic ability, his work ethic, his love of the game, being a former Brave, but for most importantly he still falls under one of my collecting goals and that is we share the same faith in Jesus Christ.

So I end this post with a few random scans I had handy of the J-Hey kid. You'll be missed out in right field son. I wish you all the best...of course except when you come home and play the Braves!

2010 Topps Chrome Jason Heyward RC auto photo 11-10-201293533PM.jpg     2010 Topps Chrome Jason Heyward Refractor RC #174 photo 10-8-2012101328PM.jpg
2011 Topps Chrome Jason Heyward Orange Refractor photo 5-26-201274518PM.jpg     2011 Bowman Jason Heyward Finest Futures photo 5-21-201184945PM-1.jpg

2013 Panini Pinnacle Jason Heyward Clear Vision (Single) photo JH_zps3bf2ad12.jpg     2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Jason Heyward Mini Relic photo Heyward_zps1425978f.jpg

2013 Topps Jason Heyward Spring Fever photo 3-17-201395819PM_zps9ea2ea61.jpg     2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Jason Heyward Framed Mini Relic photo 6-7-201291339PM.jpg

2011 Topps Chrome Jason Heyward Orange Refractor photo 5-26-201274518PM.jpg     2011 Bowman Jason Heyward Finest Futures photo 5-21-201184945PM-1.jpg

2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Jason Heyward Bronze Framed Paper #879/999 photo 2-22-201295949PM.jpg    2011 Topps Finest Jason Heyward Finest Moments photo 10-21-201191104PM.jpg

2011 Topps Finest Jason Heyward Foundation Purple Refractor photo 10-21-201191100PM.jpg     2011 Topps Marquee Jason Heyward Gametime Mementos #057/199 photo 9-16-2011113850PM-1.jpg

 2011 Topps Lineage Jason Heyward 1975 Mini photo 8-15-201194655PM-1.jpg