Monday, December 30, 2019

Cardboard Acquisitions: Baseball & Football edition

Hey everyone! I meant to post some new content to both the blog and my YouTube channel before Christmas, but there was just so much to do in order to get the house ready for family visiting and all that comes with it and I just didn't have the time.

However below is a link to my latest "pick ups" video I posted to my channel. I do hope to get back to some regular activity in the coming week or so. Hopefully I can get some ideas for a 2020 collecting resolution video out of my head and typed up before they disappear! Until then, enjoy the video.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Christmas Cards (and not, I don't mean 2019 Topps Holiday)

Maybe a week ago I was tagged in a Tweet by @forgotaboutblay that some Christmas cards were on their way. A few days later a little bubble mailer showed up and inside was a thick brick of cards consisting of my 3 teams - Braves, Panthers & Hornets.

When the stack includes Chipper Jones cards you know you're in for a treat. I think I have this 1994 Bowman's Best, but it's such a great card I don't mind having a duplicate. I don't believe I've seen these 2005 Leaf Gamers cards before. It's printed in reflective silver foil and looks much better in hand. The same cam be said about the 1999 Fleer Ultra Diamond Mine. It's a very shiny card and from an insert set I'm not that familiar with.

Let's not forget about this 1997 Donruss Silver Press Proof parallel of former Braves slugger Ryan Klesko! Probably one of the more bittersweet cards in the stack was this 2011 Topps Chrome Refractor of Brian McCann. He announced his retirement this season after the Braves were eliminated in the NLCS by the Cardinals. This is a great photo of Brian and the Chrome Refractors are just so beautiful.

These two 2012 Panini Prime Signatures cards are think. The design is very minimal, but it works. Both are serially numbered with Jon Beason being 135/499 and Steve Smith being 120/499.

Another thick card in the stack was this 2014 Score Kelvin Benjamin Team Helmets. The helmet is made of rubber (?) and it's also a RC. Kelvin started off his career in Carolina pretty hot, but soon injuries started to plague his on the field performance. There were also issues with his attitude and diet and it wasn't long before Benjamin was on his way out the door to Buffalo and all of the Charlotte media was mocking him for his lack of a diet. It was actually entertaining radio at the time.

I haven't bought any of Panini's Unparalleled product before, but I do like this Perfect Pairs insert from the 2017 set. It shines great in hand and features two of the best defensive players ever to suit up for Carolina - Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly.

I grew up watching many Hornets games in person at the old Charlotte Coliseum back in the day. I don't have a lot of Hornets cards from the mid to late 90's so these cards from 96-97 Fleer Ultra are great. I especially love the Anthony Mason card. He was so much fun to watch bang around in the paint. Vlade Divac came over from the Lakers in the now infamous Kobe Bryant draft/trade. Kobe was never going to play for Charlotte so I hate it when that topic comes up whether in the national or local media. The Tony Delk card is from an insert set called Rookie Encore. I remember him being an instant fit for the team and helped provide more scoring fairly quickly.

There were also a few 99-00 Fleer Ultra cards as well. Here we have Ricky Davis, Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell. I honestly don't remember much about Ricky or Elden, but Eddie was the one of the few star players the Hornets seemed to have during this period...well maybe outside of Baron Davis.

There were also many other cards in the brick that Dennis sent that I didn't share. I really appreciate being thought of and I appreciate the cards as well. All of them will find a nice home in my various collections. Thanks again Dennis, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Breathing New Life into my YouTube Channel

In an effort to do a better job sharing new cards, etc. here on the blog, I thought about using my seldom used YouTube channel and try to breathe some new life into it at the same time.

I watch a fair amount of gaming, comic and toy videos on YouTube, however lately I've noticed more and more collectors using this platform for trading cards. Bean's Ball Card Blog is one channel in particular I've been watching lately, along with several people that I also follow on Twitter. I know my channel won't compete with some of those channels, but it oughta be fun for me none the less.

For my first video it's a short introduction (as everyone may not know who I am) and then I share my latest Rey Ordonez cards I've acquired for my super collection of his.

If all goes well I hope to make more videos and other content in the new year that is upon us. Don't expect slick, high quality videos however as when it comes to YouTube I'm strictly an amateur.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Sunday Verse

Colossians 3:13

New International Version

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Pack Break: 2019 Topps Opening Day Target Exclusive Red Parallels

Ah, it just seems like the other day was the beginning of the 2019 MLB season. Shortly after the season kicked off, collectors such as myself, were out scavenging their local Target stores looking for the blasters that had the exclusive 7 card pack of red parallels.

While cleaning up the stacks of cards, packs and boxes piled up beside my sofa (that's my favorite place to rip cards) I found said pack so I'll finally show off the contents. Nothing too excited (for me) so all of these will be added to my trade lists over at The Trading Card Database.

I really love the foil colored parallels from all of Topps 2019 products. The red parallels look especially nice for Braves players, but sadly I never chased many of them when they seemed to be more plentiful and trading hands. I've got them all on my TCDB want list so hopefully someone will come along and be willing to trade me.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Pack Break: 2019 Marvel Promo Pack

A few weeks ago while working in Greenville, SC, I stopped by Borderlands to grab the new X-Men #1 issue that just had released. Upon checking out they tossed this clear plastic pack of what I could only describe as promotional trading cards for the new X-Men titles that are launching out of House of X and Powers of X. I had no idea these existed, but I anxiously ripped into the pack when I returned to my hotel room.

I'm still a little behind in my comic reading, but I am curious about a few of these new titles...mainly New Mutants and X-Force...and maybe Excalibur. The front of the cards show the main artwork for issue #1 of each title, while the backs have the characters listed for each team. There is also strange symbols which turn out to be a type of hidden language. The last card in the pack was a decipher card. I haven't taken the time to translate all of the cards, but I like this idea. 

This is a cool little promotional piece by Marvel. Of course being a trading card and comic fan I love it when these two hobbies collide. I wouldn't mind of Marvel did more of this, especially with some of the upcoming big story arcs like Annihilation or Marvel revisiting 2099.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Pack Break: 2018 Panini Contenders

Today has been a rough day for me as I had to put down my cat of nearly 8 years. I work from home most days and he was my work buddy if you will. He'd follow me around the house and loved to "voice his opinion" when I'd get on a conference call. My boss would even ask at times if my cat would be joining the group on calls.

I wasn't planning on blogging today, but I'm trying to keep myself busy so my mind doesn't wander too much. Part of keeping busy is cleaning up all the cards, packs, boxes that have accumulated around my couch in my game room. This is wear I sit most of the time to watch TV and just be lazy in general so this is where I also rip most of my packs. While cleaning up various stacks I ran across this pack of 2018 Contenders football I picked up late in the NFL season last year. I classify it as one of those "why the heck not" type purchases. The 2018 rookie class has turned out pretty good so perhaps I pulled a good RC and just forgot? Well nearly a year later here I am sharing the contents and my thoughts.

I've never really paid much attention to the Contenders brand in any sport before. Upon looking at the first card out of the pack I do see some resemblance to past years, but I can also see why some collectors are drawn to this set. 

The card essentially has a white boarder which is a nice touch. It's got a decent size action shot of the player and the logo right on the front. The "ticket" part w/ the section, row and seat along with a little black and white photo of the player underneath.

Card back has the same photo along with a little info on the player. There is a write up about the player near the bottom, along with their college listed.

I do like how the colors used match the team, but the same image is used three times if you count the small black & white photo. This seems to be a cop out move by Panini and I would think a product like this should be better.

Ugh...why did I have to pull a Cowboys card? I don't really have anything against Ezekiel Elliott or anything. Look at the former QB of the Giants. Who would've thunk he would be benched for a rookie. Not a fan, but I was surprised to eventually see him find the pine.

Well, at least one card so far will be staying in the collection...that would be Case Keenum. He'll go in my Faith Brothers subcollection. What can I say about Terrell Suggs...the dude was a beast on the field. I can recall several plays in my head where he wrecked my Carolina Panthers.

When I saw the Chargers lightning bolt on the card I was hoping it was Phillip Rivers, but nope it ended up being Joey Bosa. Don't get to see him play seeing how I live on the east coast, but I know he's a good player. Mike Evans on the other hand I get to see quite often with him playing in the NFL South. I always felt like the guy should be a bigger star than he is.

Pulled one insert, square in the middle of the pack. DaeSean Hamilton Rookie of the Year Contenders. Don't know much about the guy other than he didn't win ROY!

In retrospect this could have been a fun football set to build. I don't often want to build football sets, but I still wish I had bought a few more packs if nothing else. Would've been nice to pull some Panthers players and of course a Lamar Jackson RC.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Pack Break: 2019 Panini Prizm

Does anyone else have a bad habit of sitting down and ripping your latest pack, then putting the cards back in said pack and sitting it off to the side, ultimately forgetting about it for a few months? Well that's what happened to this rack pack of 2019 Panini Prizm baseball! I wasn't sure if I was going to even both showing off the contents since I didn't get anything good, but I like watching people rip packs or at least seeing what they pull so here we go!

Pack 1
#077 Joey Wendle - Rays
#010 Rowdy Tellez RC - Blue Jays
#068 Max Scherzer - Nationals
#095 Taylor Ward RC Prizm Red parallel - Angels

Pack 2
#100 Blake Treinen - A's
#026 Miles Mikolas - Cardinals
#267 Dawel Lugo RC - Tigers
#179 Ryan O'Hearn RC - Royals

Pack 3
#083 Andrelton Simmons - Angels
#040 Jose Altuve - Astros
#S10 Billy Hamilton Scorchers - Royals
#140 James Paxton Prizm Blue parallel - Yankees

Bonus Pack
#043 Franmil Reyes - Padres
#001 Adam Jones - Orioles
#143 Harrison Bader - Cardinals

All of these cards (but for one or two) will be added to my trade stack over at TCDB if you're interested in trading.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Pack Break: 2019 Topps Now Future

It's rare that I ever order anything offered in Topps' online store, but I did take a blind stab when they first offered their Topps Now Future packs back during the summer of the 2019 season. This pack was opened, then got lost in a stack as I was a little disappointed I didn't pull a Braves player. Fast forward to the night before the World Series where the Houston Astros face off against the Washington Gnats Nationals and all the sudden one of the cards pulled doesn't seem so bad.

All 3 of the cards I pulled were the "if the ____ wins the World Series" type cards. I know there are payer award winner cards too as I bought a Freddie Freeman on eBay earlier this summer. Originally I didn't think much about these 3 cards...however tonight one stands out more than the others.

Already scratched his bad boy and redeemed the code earlier this evening. I was already pulling for the Astros because this Braves fan can't watch the rival Nationals win the World Series. Plus the Astros have some pretty cool (and short) players that are fun to watch!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Braves' Post Season Dreams Crushed

The Braves' post season dreams ended in dramatic fashion today. A few days ago many Braves fans, including myself, were feeling great about our chances in the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals. Well all of that fell apart tonight in a way I don't believe many people ever saw coming.

Game 5, winner takes all. The Braves rolled out Mike Foltynewciz, winner of game 2. I was nervous with Folty pitching on short rest...especially after the way Kuechel pitched in game 4. I was finishing up work and rushing home to catch the first pitch. While I sat at the stop light on the off exit ramp I saw a notification on my phone that the score was now 0-1. Then 0-2 before I got home. Ouch. As much as I love Folty, I knew this wasn't good. By the time I walked in my front door, only minutes after the game, the score was 0-4. I sat down hoping they could put out the fire, but it was just too much for Folty. Manager Brian Snitker pulled Folty after 2/3rd inning and brought in 17 game winner Max Fried. Max walked the pitcher with the bases loaded. By the time the Braves finally made 3 outs the score was 0-10. This set a MLB Playoffs record...unfortunately the Braves were on the other side of that.

Now fans are asking what happened? The expectations were high. Yeah there were some naysayers in the media that were picking the Cardinals, but most had picked the Braves to reach the NLCS. So what did happen? Or shall I ask what didn't happen? The Braves were 5 for 39 with runners in scoring position. That's what happened.

Braves should have won this series. They should have won game 4. They had so many chances to score and couldn't. The Cardinals consistently was able to get a runner on base and then advance them. They played A-B-C baseball. The Braves couldn't. It's as simple as that.

The Braves were heavily scrutinized in the national media all throughout this series. From questioning Brian Snitker's managerial decisions, to Acuna's lack of hustle, plenty of people had their opinions about why this team fell apart in the post season. While I am pissed over what has transpired today, I have to give the Cardinals credit. They played hard. They never gave up. A lot like the Braves all season, they kept fighting until the very end.

The Braves locked up the NL East early and after winning they took care of the SF Giants in the following two games. Then more injuries claimed even more players on the already banged up roster. Snitker was put in a tough position. He needed to rest players like Acuna and Freeman, all while trying to figure out who would be on the Post Season roster. He played around with the line up, moving people around on the field trying to figure out what to do. As a result, the Braves basically limped into the Playoffs. This immediately had me concerned.

The Cardinals on the other hand had to play their best baseball to stave off the Cubs and the Brewers, only to win the division on the last day of the regular season. They were hungry. They were already running on adrenaline. The Braves were running on Icy Hot.

I don't care what Freddie says, his elbow was hurting him and effected his swing. I love Freddie. I love how he plays the game. I love how he puts this team on his shoulders night in and night out. In the post game interview tonight he squarely put the blame on him for not showing up. He was adamant that his elbow wasn't bothering him. Freddie isn't the type of guy to make excuses and I respect him for that. His lack of offense surely didn't help, but he wasn't the only one to "disappear".

As I type this post I'm watching the post game show on Fox Sports South and Brian McCann just announced his retirement. Dang. We all knew it was coming. He signed a one year deal. This was his 15th MLB season. McCann may not have provided a lot of offense during this series, however he was invaluable behind the plate.

With McCann's departure it opens the question of who else will be parting ways during the off season? There were several players on one year deals this year. Names like Josh Donaldson, Nick Markakis and Dallas Kuechel. I expect the team to look different next year. I don't know if Liberty Media, owners of the Braves will open their wallet to re-sign some of these guys. Both Donaldson and Kuechel have gone on record saying they want to come back, but this remains to be seen.

As much as this stings and will take some time to get over, I think this team is going to be hanging around for awhile. There is still an awful lot of young talent in the pipeline that we'll be seeing. The young players on the team will only get better. They'll learn from this experience...everyone will. The Braves will be back in 2020. After all, literally no one in the media picked the Braves to even win the division.

This sucks. To go out like this, a 13-1 clubbing is not the ideal way to exit the season. It's going to take a lot of time for me to get over this...but I'm a Braves fan through and through. I'm proud of what this team was able to accomplish this year. With every team there will be peaks and valleys and today the Braves just happened to fall off the peak and into a deep valley.

All season long different players stepped up and provided some memorable moments for the team. This was the first season in quite a while where I didn't want to miss a regular season game. The team was just too exciting not to watch. All the young talent, both on the mound and in the dugout. The gnarly veterans that were brought in to help with the young kids. The late season roster moves to bring in bullpen help and speed on the base paths. It was a great season. Thanks to the Topps Now program, at least I have a lot of great cards to remember these moments. Names like Adam Duvall, Matt Joyce, Billy Hamilton...players that don't often receive baseball cards. Fun times...well until tonight that is.

So, where to now? At least for me I get to turn more of my attention to my Carolina Panthers in the NFL. The new NBA season is just around the corner too. While my Charlotte Hornets aren't expected to do much, I'm excited about some of the changes made and will follow them through out their season. On the hobby front, I've got lots and lots of junk wax boxes that are waiting to be ripped. I'll be building most if not all of these sets so stay tuned for some box break posts and other stuff.

In closing, thank you Braves for a great year of baseball. I know it didn't work out the way that any of us wanted, but we have to deal with the cards we were dealt (no pun intended) and now we turn our focus to the off season and making preparations on coming back even stronger a few months from now when spring training gets underway.


Monday, September 30, 2019

Brothers and Cardboard

This past weekend one of my younger brothers. Chase, drove up from the SC coast and crashed with me and my family. We don't get to see much of each other, however it's alway good to spend sometime together. My older brother, Toby, invited him up to the Charlotte, NC region where Toby and I live to attend an event we were setting up at in Monroe, NC.

A few years ago my brother got in with a group from Union County (NC) Public Library as they hosted their first ever kids friendly "comic convention" called Super-Con. Two years ago they moved the event from the actual library to an odd, but super nice location in the NC Agricultural Center. While my involvement last year was really helping out my older brother at his table where he peddled various items, I decided to request my own table.

Toby and had been talking it up for quite a while when we'd get to see Chase at Myrtle Beach when we'd gather at our mom's house. I really didn't think Chase would be interested in the event as he doesn't read or collect comics, but he called me one day last week asking if he could crash on my couch if he decided to come. Of course I told him to come on...then my wife proceeded to make me clean the house in anticipation of his arrival.

Chase is a several years younger than me, however there was a time we both we set up at card shows. We would set up and sell our duplicates and inserts we pulled in order to have a little more spending money to buy more cards with. This was in the early to mid-90's. Neither one of us ever had anything really good to sell, but I do remember him pulling a Jose Cruz RC from Upper Deck SPx. At the time he was a hot prospect and several collectors were chasing his cards.

All weekend Chase and I's conversations would always seem to come back to either baseball cards or wrestling. I knew Chase watched people break current boxes of trading cards on YouTube and I knew that he really didn't have the desire to jump back into the hobby. However on our way home from the event he told me he still had all of his cards from his childhood stored away at his dad's house in FL. One set he said he would love to finish was the 1996 Donruss Preferred set. I remember him buying that giant metal tin hobby "box" and working the set, but that was ages ago. I figured he let them all go like so many people do when they fall away from the hobby.

Upon learning of this info, I told him about the Trading Card Database website that I had recently started using. I encouraged him to set up an account and once he retrieved his cards to load up his profile with cards he could trade and enter his want list for the 1996 Preferred set. I really enjoyed the hobby talk as I rarely have people locally to talk with about this sort of thing.

Later Saturday evening my whole family sat down for family movie night and Chase joined in. My two young daughters also really enjoyed having their uncle around. Before we got started with the movie I handed him two sealed packs of 1991 Fleer Ultra baseball. He told me those were the first packs he had ripped in 15+ years. Wow. I can't even imagine going that long with crackin' some wax!

Sunday we all went to church, grabbed a bite to eat afterwards and then headed home to watch the Carolina Panthers/Houston Texans football game. Before you knew it the game was over and he had to hit the road. I don't know if he'll ever read this blog post, but I had a great time re-connecting of sorts over the weekend. I know he's my brother and all, but we really didn't grow up together so we've never had the strongest of relationships. However thanks to baseball cards, we had memories to share and a common interest to talk about all weekend. This was easily one of the better weekends I've had in quite some time.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Box Break: 1991 Fleer Football

About a month ago I followed up on a Facebook Marketplace ad I saw for several different boxes of junk wax for sale. It took a few weeks for the seller and I to get our schedules on the same page, but when I finally met the guy to purchase a few boxes of baseball cards I wanted, he brought more than he originally had advertised in his Facebook post. Two boxes that I bought were 1991 and 1992 Fleer football. I only grabbed them because they were dirt, dirt cheap and I thought it would be fun opening. I really didn't pay much attention to the NFL until 1995 when my home town of Charlotte, NC was awarded the Carolina Panthers and they began their inaugural season. After a quick Twitter pole to decide which box I'd open first, I tackled the 1991 box two weeks ago in partial celebration of the 2019 NFL season that was kicking off. I was really excited about busting this old wax until I got a few packs in. Ugh. This was not pretty. So much not pretty that I almost abandoned this post all together. I imagine if you've ever opened up any of this product then you may know what I'm talking about. 

I had no intention of trying to build this set as I just don't have that much interest in pre-1995 football releases...that and I'm more of a baseball guy anyhow. However I was looking forward to pulling a few cards of retired players such as Reggie White and of course the Provision insert cards. Just looking at the Dan Marino that was prominently featured on the top of the box got me all excited. When I opened my first pack...well... wasn't a Marino Provision, but instead his base card. I can forgive the ugly design. In fact the ugly design with the gradient green background is part of this sets overall charm...but look how horrible off centered the card is. A first I though it was just a bad cut card. Afterall, this was the early 90's and I've seen a lot of miscut / horribly cut trading cards from this era. I just chalked it up to a bad pack. Nothing more, nothing less. Next pack.

Sigh. More of the same. Seriously Fleer? Was my luck that bad that I'd get two packs back to back that were cut this badly? Surely not. Let's move on to pack 3.

Boom! My first Provisions card...but crap, it's off centered too. Not as bad as the base cards, but still a bummer. Sweet looking card though. My only real experience with Howie Long is in the Fox NFL pre-game show. I never saw him play, but of course I know of the reputation that proceeds him on the field.

While the next few packs didn't yield anything exciting, a few packs in and I landed this Joe Montana All-Pro. Again, off centered. Like the Howie Long Provision, it wasn't as bad as the base card.

This Troy Aikman was bad...and I don't mean bad in a good way! This is down right pathetic Fleer. Seriously? Is every card, pack, box this bad? If so, why would they release them? After a handful of packs into the box I just all desire to continue opening packs. The thought of opening 36 packs of this product was torture. It didn't help that while I was opening these packs my Carolina Panthers were struggling against the Los Angeles Rams too. Alas, I continued to make my way through the box.

What's so special about Dolphins' kicker, Reggie Roby. Well nothing, unless your name is Jon and you run the blog A Penny Sleeve for your Thoughts. I remember Jon mentioning in a semi-recent post of his little player collection of Roby so I made sure to snap a pic of this card to see if he needed it...which he did. Well at least some good came out of this box.

The next Provisions card was of Mike Singletary. Great player (or so I hear), but horrible coach. Still off centered, but still a nice looking card. Perhaps I'm starting to feel a little bit better about this box...

Wait a minute. When did Deadpool play football?!

I do remember watching Randall Cunningham play a few games towards the end of his career. In fact early in Cam Newton's career Randall's name was brought up a few times in Carolina. I didn't care for this Provision card as much as the other two previously pulled.

Bo knows horribly miscut cards. Like most of the inserts, the horizontal centering isn't that bad, but the vertical centering is off again. Still kind of fun pulling a Bo Jackson card.

The last card of note pulled from the box was another All-Pro insert, this time of the Redskins' Cornerback, Darrell Green. Before the Carolinas were awarded the Panthers, a lot of people in the area were fans of the Redskins...including my late father. I'm sure I watched a few games with my dad, but because I didn't know much about the game of football I don't recall much about Darrell.

Overall opening this box was more of a chore than it was fun. This was the second box I opened from the big lot of boxes I bought and while I don't regret buying it, I'm left with a lot of cards that I have zero desire to keep. I've already added all of the inserts to my Trading Card Database trade lists, but I don't think I'll bother listing all of the common base. I may go back and list some of the bigger names just to see if anyone is interested. I'm walking away with a few cards for various collections of my own as well as now know to steer clear of 1991 Fleer football moving forward. I've still yet to open the 1992 Fleer football box and I just pray that I have a better experience with that box than I did with this one.