Road To Opening Day

Baseball season is fast approaching.  So fast, in fact, that the first game was actually played last night/this morning in Japan.  The excitement that many feel with spring training is sure to quickly devolve into despair with the first 2-game losing streak of your favorite team.  But, until then, anything can happen!  This is the year!

What it has also meant these past three seasons is a Topps Now spring training set is released.  Even though I’m not watching the games for now, I still pulled the trigger on the set this year.  There’s only one of five autograph subjects that I don’t collect (David Bote), and there are still enough players on the team that it seemed worthwhile.  I can always sell the Bote auto if that’s the one I get.

But that’s this year’s set which is a ways away from shipping out.  Last year, I showed the first version of the set and my Jason Heyward auto.  We don’t want to skip over year two.

Decent nickname

But first, I’m also going to show the cards from the first Players Weekend set.  I don’t buy singular cards through the various Topps programs, but these multi-card sets seem to be just barely worth it for me.

Meh

This was a fun event, and I’m glad it came back in 2018.

Nope. Terrible

I see that little logo on the pants.  That exclusive is still worth something!

Initials are not a nickname

I especially liked the uniforms they used. Can’t go wrong with baby blue.

Best nickname of the bunch by far

This is the only one that clearly shows off the patch that became replicated in blaster manurelics.  My biggest complaint about this set is that the photo selection isn’t too exciting.

Gold = bonus

One reason I bought into this was the possibility for bonus cards.  If the team won 6 games in a row, you get another card.  Well, that happened in 2017…

This is also listed as a Rizzo card on Beckett for whatever reason

…twice.  I already forget Rene Rivera was on the team.  I sort of remember the grand slam.

Totally templated jerseys

If you’re curious, this is what the backs look like.  They have a little holo logo effect that isn’t coming across in the scans that act as a watermark.  It’s nice that Rivera got a face shot on the back of his bonus card.

Here’s hoping for a comeback year for Darvish

On to the main attraction.  I’m not going to bother splitting these up.  The set gives people their first glimpse at what the Topps Now design will be for that year, even though plenty are released before these get shipped to people.  I do appreciate that the pictures are at least partially from spring training games and workouts.

Not a bad lineup

I think that Rizzo is my favorite in the bunch.  The angle says “larger than life” but lugging equipment with his expression says “don’t trip over the photographer.”

There was also a bonus card for this set as well. The Cubs managed to get 1st place in the NL central by the All-Star break and so we got that bonus card.  There could have been other bonuses for a no-hitter and a cycle and I think something else, but obviously this was the only one to hit (and it was close thanks to those Brewers).

So, I buy the autographed version of this set. Like I said before, I got Heyward in the first year.  On offer this time were Rizzo, Bryant, Contreras and Baez, and who’d I get?

Not breaking the seal

Yup, Ian Happ.  I honestly don’t remember his name being on the list of autograph subjects initially.  I looked at the page after this arrived and his name was there. Maybe I just assumed I would beat the odds and get someone I collected.  Not that I won’t collect Happ, but that would only happen if the Cubs win another World Series with him on the roster.

For now, this is up for trade or sale if anyone happens to be interested.  Will lightning (in the form of 20% odds) strike twice with the 2019 set?  I guess I’ll find out in a few months when it arrives.

195 left to show before taking Sportlots delivery.

My Sportlots Goal – A Countdown Appears

I’ve been selling on Sportlots for quite a while now, and although I don’t push out a lot of cards each month and am nowhere near the top sellers, credit has slowly accumulated in my account to the tune of over $600 (again, over a few years).

I never bothered to cash out, which is an option and with no penalty like COMC has, and figured it was time to make use of some of that “free” money.  So, I just used a decent chunk of that credit to bolster my Ryan Dempster collection (and all the others).  Maybe I should do a post on how I shop on there? Let me know if you’d be interested in my tactics, but the main this is I take one player (my first go-round it was Carlos Marmol), find cards I need, check the sellers postage rates and then load up one seller at a time and move on to the next card I need for the player, find the next seller, etc.

After going through this process to grab all the Dempster cards I needed that I was willing to buy at this time, I added 222 cards for my various player collections (16 Dempsters) to be sent to the Sportlots box.

I would love to make it a habit of showing off more cards than I take in with a couple exceptions (like larger trades and the National).  For that to work out in this case, at my self-imposed 9 scans per post as a maximum, I’d need up to 25 posts to slightly stay ahead, barely.

With that in mind, here’s what I’m going to do.  Before I take shipment on those cards, I’m going to try posting at least 222 cards on here. Multi-card scans will count as multiple cards as long as they’re part of my player collections.  And starting with this post, I’ll add a little countdown saying how many are left to meet my goal and trigger delivery.

You’re doing what?

Today, I’m going to show most of the Ryan Dempster cards I got in my previous Sportlots credit purchases from last year. I have no idea how these 1st edition cards were distributed, but I do know they are boring.

Only missing the 2010 regular Bowman Chrome

My focus on these spending sprees is exclusively with parallels and inserts.  People are practically throwing away the Bowman Gold papers, so there are quite a few coming to me soon.

Don’t have the gold or the Target red

I had this at one point, but my set from the online contest thing was damaged and they didn’t have any more to send back to replace it so it turned into a bunch of those die cuts that I traded away.  Good to have it back.

Classic wood grain

My thought is that I’d rather get base cards in trades. Especially since the lowest price Sportlots allows is 18 cents. That’s a bit high for most modern sets. Could you imagine paying 18 cents for a regular 1987 Topps card?  That’s your only choice.  But that same price for this mini?  Yep, that’s most likely what I would have paid.

I promise this is Dempster

Minis are a big focus as well.  There’s so, so many to chase and thankfully there are a decent number of cheap ones. I don’t go to many card shows or shops but when I do, I don’t see minis very often.

Still need the Black regular Topps 2012 with the Cubs

In terms of 2012 Update, I have them all now, although this could use an upgrade. You can see the frayed corner in the bottom right. That’s low priority though, and quality of cards can be hit and miss since there are rarely pictures and nearly everything I buy is less than $1 and usually less than 50 cents.

Would love to find the Boston Strong variation

More minis, but just a different size.  These are easy to pick off as well.

Last year card

See?  Easy.  I have a small stack of minis coming in this next batch, too.

Still need a bunch of parallels

So, in summary, Sportlots can be golden if you take the time to make it work for you.  That can be tough since it’s not intuitive like it should be.  I know I’ll be doing another wave at some point, because I didn’t come close to using all my credit.  But, first things first…

213 left to show before taking Sportlots delivery.

Catching A Random Package From Night Owl

It’s time for another “trade” post, everybody!  I’ve been doing well in sticking with the one-every-three posts schedule.  It’s really helped me get caught up.  In fact, this package came in just last month!  That’s some huge progress in my mind.  Our favorite feathered friend, Night Owl sent me a care package that arrived shortly before my surgery.

In that respect, I would say it’s not really too much of a trade, per se, but it’s going to become one as soon as I send out the stack of stuff I pulled for him.  In the assortment of cards, he also included a note saying something to the effect of how he’s grateful anytime he can get rid of Miguel Montero cards.  Well, I’m certainly grateful to receive any that I don’t already have (which is a pretty sizable amount).  Let’s quickly dive in to some Miggys and others as I actually have to work late this week to meet a deadline for a very tedious project.

Chiseled

Cover the name and then try to guess who this player is.  I really liked the idea behind the Triple Play reboot, but the execution was a little off and the production numbers were waaaayyy off.

Appreciate the double picture front

Logos or not, I like seeing catcher gear photos a lot more than a catcher batting. Of course, 2010 UD didn’t actively avoid logos as they were supposed to, but yeah.

Zinger

With this, I’m now at 112 different Miguel Montero cards.  Out of 526 total needed through 2018, that puts me at 21.29%, with 16 more on the way from my recent Sportlots binge.  I know most of you won’t care about the numbers, but calculating those totals is quite a bit of fun for me, so bear with me!

You keep your back turned

Here’s another catcher gear photo.  Mound visits could be used more often in cards in my opinion. I think this is a post-victory visit though based on context.  I’m at 70 of 451 cards for 15.52% now.

Dang I love the Stadium Club photos

Switching to yet another catcher.  Night Owl has been a good source for David Ross cards in the past and he continued that trend here.

More catcher gear

Despite a longer career, Ross has far fewer cards, so any progress is great. I’m at 25 cards of 174 now. That’s a 14.37% completion with very little chance for added denominator.

Too bad he’s not on the team anymore

Okay, I’m done with the catchers and moving on their battery partners.  I know it might come across as insincere when I say this, but I promise it’s true. I really like getting base cards in trade packages.  I heavily rely on that kindness.

Love that backdrop

And when it’s a relief pitcher that isn’t the first thought of most people, it’s even better.  I’m at 42 Rondon cards of 128 now.  32.81%… Crazy!

Forget blocking logos, how about blocking faces?

On to the last two.  I haven’t bought Chrome in any meaningful way since 2010, so again I’m relying on the purchases and acquisitions of others to help me fill in the gaps.

Really tough to tell with the gray background but this is the normal version and not the black parallel that looks almost identical

Even if I did buy every product, there are so many inserts and variations of inserts and parallels of everything under the sun that I’m always going to need help.  After all, I’m at 278 Lester cards of a whopping 1389. That’s still a solid 20.01% but there’s a long way to go!

Regardless, I’m very thankful to Greg for the kind care package. I swear I’ll have something out to you soon.  The cards are pulled, but I didn’t get them bundled safely and in the mail before recovery started. Now I’m cleared for full movement and lifting, etc so I can reach and stretch to get to my shipping supplies again!

Alright, Fine! Here Are Some Green Cards

I wasn’t going to do this today.  I have a ROYGBIV rainbow series that I started and haven’t continued for a very stupid reason that my stupid mind can’t let go of.  I’ll have green cards when I get to the letter G.

Besides, since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, just about every blog in the country will be featuring green cards.  I’m not known for being timely, or planning ahead, and I don’t like to follow trends.  But, as I sat down to write the other post I was planning on doing today, I saw a variety of green cards staring back at me.

Well, stupid, annoying “holidays” only come once a year. So, let’s join the…ugh…party.  Look, I’m not a social guy and don’t drink.  This day drives me nuts.  So…cards!

#/366

Older parallels are a little harder to come by, especially if there’s no prestige associated with them.  Sometimes you get lucky.  Not too many people would think someone would be looking for a parallel of a Marlins pitcher from 2001.

Need more contests like this

I wasn’t collecting in 2007, so I don’t know how the Predictor thing worked. I do know there were three levels of rewards that seem to be the full set.  I don’t know the rarities of them, but I think green is mid tier based on what I’ve seen.

Should have saved this green and red for Christmas

I know these are gaudy, but I still love them. I wish a couple of the newer Topps flagship sets would do this here and there still if they have to make 30 different parallels.

Soon to be teammates

I could have found a 2010 Upper Deck card, but then I remembered 1993 Select that used the same varying greens for their main design.

Not exactly the color of grass

It’s a little surprising there are not more grass-based insert sets.

These were the days, kinda

I wonder if I’ll ever actually go after the early Finest refractors.  I know that one guy hoarded Maddux specifically, so that may make getting my hands on one a bit tougher if they weren’t put back into the market.

I think this was the first 2017 GQ I acquired

I’ve been looking for the right theme to show this green mini.  It would have gone into the aforementioned ROYGBIV post, but I have plenty of other green things to use for that.

Bunch o Bowman refractors for Edwards to chase

Green has been a good color for chrome stuff.

#/75

Here’s a smiling guy who’s ready to go out and enjoy celebrating something that probably has nothing to do with his actual lineage.  Only 2 months until Cinco de Mayo.

The Current Status Of My Cubs Fandom

It’s no secret that I was a incredibly disappointed when the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman in 2016.  At the time, I wrote a long blog post about the scenario and I think it can be boiled down to this segment here:

“I think everyone feels more strongly about some crimes over others.  Personally, I have extremely low tolerance for these three where I believe others would not share my level of contempt:  Domestic Abuse, Animal Abuse, and Drunk Driving.  I can see no possible rationale for any of those scenarios and I don’t know how I could ever consider someone who performed these acts to be a person of good moral character.”

I explained that I couldn’t get behind the team that claimed they wanted to put together a team with integrity and then decided that this shitty excuse for a human being was fitting of that description.

I decided to sprinkle this post with cards of one of the nicest people the game has ever seen

So, I refused to watch the Cubs from that point forward until game 7 of the World Series.  That was the only game I actually decided to watch, and I cheered when that asshole was denied the last out of the clinching game by giving up the 3-run homer that tied the game.  Thankfully, he would not get the highlight that would play for decades as the curse-breaking final out.  That honor went to Mike Montgomery to a much lesser extent, as well as Bryant and Rizzo, the true faces of the franchise at the time.

Fast forward a little bit and the allegations against Addison Russell began to come out.  I immediately suspended my player collection of him pending completion of MLB’s investigation.  Well, that stayed open for a long, long time and eventually more disgusting details came out about him and Russell gets suspended for not enough games.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say a bad thing about Gwynn

During that suspension, and in the middle of the increased news and blood-boiling details, the Cubs decide to not only retain Addison but give him a raise.  I know they say they have their reasons and that they want to try to help rehabilitate him and have high standards, and blah, blah, blah.  I think it’s all lip service.

Part of what pisses me off so much about this situation is that he’s not even a very good player.  He’s a player with a very little bit of power and not so great speed that gets on base at a rate of .310 and a batting average less than .250.  He committed the 4th most errors last year as well, so the defensive side is far from advertised, and the team doesn’t need him.  We have people that can play the infield, or we could trade for another piece if that’s the concern.  He’s not worth the money or the hassle, but here we are.

In fact, he went out of his way to help a lot of people

So, there’s that.  Then the off-season also saw Joe Ricketts, co-owner of the Cubs, exposed for his racism.  Aside from a brief statement saying these types of views have no place in society, this was brushed aside by the Cubs as a non-factor, but it is a factor.  I get that the the other owners don’t want to act against Joe because they are also Ricketts.  It’s family and they’re supporting their family.  Or, maybe they actually share those views in secret. Who’s to say, really.

What I do know is that just claiming that Joe has no involvement in day-to-day operations isn’t enough for me.  There are ways to sever ties with him, and it should be much easier for the team to do so considering he’s not involved in operations.  Buy him out. Sure he get’s money, but he’s gone.  I’m thinking about Donald Sterling and the Clippers.  Obviously MLB could step in, since the NBA commissioner banned Sterling for life after similar comments came to light.  As far as I’m aware, not even so much as a fine has been levied against Joe Ricketts.

You’d also hope that they’d learn from the Marge Schott situation.  Sadly, she was allowed to have a very active role with the Reds for years after news started to break, but she was eventually made to retire and sell off her stake in the team (about 5-6 years later).

In short, this team is not one I can relate to or root for.  I once again will not be watching or attending any games, but I’m not sure how long that self-imposed ban will last.  It will at least be until Addison Russell is part of the Cubs organization.  I don’t care that he’s banned until early May, I’m not watching in April because I don’t agree with him being part of the team in the first place.  If/when they do part ways with him, I’m not sure if I would start watching and following them again.

At this stage, I’m a man without a team.  Maybe I switch allegiances altogether. It’s honestly not off the table.  I used to be a Mets fan as a kid. When I came back to baseball, I went with the local Cubs and it was a fun ride.  My wife has the connection to San Francisco, but…whoops!  Shitty owner over there, too.  I don’t know… there are horrible human beings everywhere and it’s sucking all the enjoyment out of what should be a distraction from all these things, because I can’t help but think about the people that are adversely affected by the actions of these terrible people.

He is very much still missed

So, long story short is that I’m once again deciding to turn a negative into a positive.  Once again, I’ll be donating to charity based on what happens with Russell this season.  Whether he knows it or not, he’ll be playing for Connections for Abused Women and Children – http://www.cawc.org/donate/ as I’m going to donate $10 for every game that he plays for the Cubs in 2019.  If I can afford it, I’ll up it to $25 for each playoff game.  But, here’s the kicker.  If the Cubs cut ties with him by the July trade deadline, I’ll automatically add a $1,000 bonus.

Honestly, I don’t know what else to say.  The player collections are staying (unless something comes out about any of the remaining guys), and I’m still interested in baseball cards, but I don’t have interest in watching games for now and I have no clue when that might change, if ever.

Close to Caught Up With A Key Exception

Somehow, some way, I have virtually caught up on all my trade activities.  There are a couple packages that arrived shortly before my surgery yet to be featured (4 of them in total), but otherwise, I’ve at least written one post on the rest.  So, even though I have several multi-post trades to finish up, I’ve at least started the path.

However, there is one trade partner that is impossible to keep up with.  Kerry, also known as Madding, also known as Cards on Cards just keeps sending me more stuff out of nowhere and I’m so, so far behind in showing off every card (as is my goal).  He is also the sender of one of those 4 new packages I got a couple weeks back.  I might get to that one by the end of the year if I’m lucky!

To put it in perspective, these cards are all from a package I got in November of 2017, and what you see below is not even all of that grouping.  I guess at some point I’ll have to break my 9 cards per post rule to fully catch up.  Alright, enough intro. I can’t spend my time yapping if I’m going to make progress.

Heritage is a great way for some players to get a second card

He always hits several player collections at once, including a couple of the tougher ones like Rondon.

I repeat, second cards.

Or the really tough guys like Montgomery.  There are less than 150 cards for Mike, and not too many people will take the time to check (or if they do, few will have ones I need).

Hoping for a consistent offensive year from Almora

I opened two boxes of 2017 A&G and yet I still needed a few Cubs.  That’s because most of the cards in both boxes were duplicates.

The locket set

I think Lester was a short print this year, but I’m too lazy to actually look at my lists to confirm.

I love the 1992 set more than 1991 and I know I’m in the minority

Madding is also usually pretty good at filling gaps for products I simply never buy. I didn’t have interest in trying to buy any packs of this.  I have too many cards I need to off-load as it is.

I sense even more improvement from Jason in 2019

Same goes for Chrome.  I pretty much never buy Chrome.  There are so many dang parallels that I know a box won’t get me anyway, so I’m happy to leave that open for traders.

Smoky water HDR

His trades also usually come with a surprise or two.  I have no idea how he might have come across this Inception card, but I’m super happy to have it.

Sorry, Jake, but I hope the Phillies tank

I actually bought one box of Museum during that year’s National.  There are so few base cards in each box, it’s amazing that they aren’t valued more.  Different markets and all that, I know, but still.  If they were numbered to their actual production run, I bet you’d be surprised.

Looks can be deceiving

Lastly, for today, we have a fake rookie card.  If you were to flip this bad boy over, you’d see it was one of those Berger’s Best inserts.  Just about every year needs to have its reprint insert set, and for some reason they don’t avoid the last 5+ years.  That’s okay, I have the real Bryant RC already. I did not have this insert.  Now I have both!

Well, thank you again, Kerry for all of the trades and surprise packages, etc.  I still owe you a stack from the most recent thing you sent me and I’m almost able to actually do that.  Hopefully that goes out before you send another one!

A Big Hurt Health Update

Okay, I’m at least partially back.  I had my gall bladder removed on 2/27, and I’m finally ready to have my laptop on my lap again.  Having the weight on my legs isn’t the trouble, neither is carrying it up and down the stairs. The main problem is that weird movements cause pain and so do stretches and twists and turns. So, my concern was picking it up off of my lap to put it aside would tweak things in a way I didn’t want.

I’m getting ahead of myself a bit, though.

I don’t know why I didn’t think about using Big Hurt cards before

I don’t know how many of you have had the procedure, but the first day was especially rough.  If you think of my stomach as a clock, I had four incisions made at 12, 6 (right under the belly button), 8, and 10.  Surgical glue is still holding three of those together.  What they told me after I woke up is that they found a walnut sized gall stone in there (the ultrasound only found a bunch of smaller stones), and so they had to cut more than expected and tear a muscle (12 o’clock) to get it out.

When I woke up, I put myself at 7-8 on the 1-10 pain scale and they didn’t want me to go until I was at a 6.  That took a long time.  It also took a long time to eat the graham cracker they gave me so I could take my pain pill.  What they don’t tell you in advance is that the anesthesia and other stuff they give you during the surgery dries you out completely.  I couldn’t produce my own saliva for hours (even after I got back home).  So, eating a dry cracker was a long process as I needed sips of water before, during and after each bite.

Surgery wound back

My wife is incredible.  She did virtually everything for me those first few days.  Moving around was of course a struggle.  Taking the dog out wasn’t nearly as possible as the doctor made it seem in the pre-op consult.  But, since I work from home and didn’t have to lift anything over 20 pounds (can’t do that for another 2.5 weeks), I still went to work the next day.  Didn’t do much, but I went to work.  The biggest concern I had was when my pain mutated a bit to feel like burning/tearing when I moved in certain ways.  I called the office and they said that it’s actually pretty normal and it’s because the anesthesia had worked it’s way out of my system.

I’ll save you a lot of the details, but even sitting back down on the couch took effort for a few days and burned quite a bit.  Ice packs were my friends. The pain pills didn’t seem to do as much as I thought they were supposed to.  But no matter what else I did, the most painful thing to do was cough.  Luckily, it happened only a couple times, but expanding that stomach so quickly is not a good thing.

There needs to me more nickname inserts

The good news is that the pain has been going down every day. I started walking the dog on my own the Monday after surgery since my wife was back to work and that became the most painful thing to do (next to coughing).  My boy doesn’t like to listen once he gets out there and pulls at every smell, so wrangling in that 50 pound fluff ball is still a challenge.  I can’t have him on my lap yet, because he likes to slam his body on top of your stomach to lay down.  I can’t play tug with him either, so I know he’s getting a little annoyed.  My wife is trying to pick up the slack as much as possible, though.

Only 6 more letters and 2.5 weeks to go

With all that said, I’m progressing well but still have a ways to go. After a week and a half, I can spend most of my days without pain. I have my 2-week post-op visit coming up in a couple days.  Whether or not the surgery actually solved my overall problems is tough to say.  I’m told I can try eating whatever I want now, but I’m still waiting until there’s no pain before I try to expand my diet.  I wasn’t having the typical gall bladder symptoms, and so in my mind that means there’s a chance it was caused by something else.  I can’t risk having an attack that tightens up my stomach in its current condition.  Besides, I’ve waited this long to eat normally again so I can wait a little longer.  And, on the card front,  I can’t really work on much card stuff because of the lifting limitations.  I also hear there’s a card show next week that I can’t go to, because I imagine standing and bending over boxes for hours would not end well. I’m feeling the itch, though. I might have to use some of my Sportlots credit.

Let’s Talk About Physical Health

So, every once in a while I’ve taken to twitter to complain about my physical health situation, so I figured I’d give anyone who might care an update on here.

To take a bit of a step back in time, I’ve been having stomach issues for some time now.  Since about October 2017, give or take, I started getting pretty bad “ulcers.”  I remember the first one was later at night after my wife had already gone to bed. I was at my computer in my room working on typing something or other and this pain in my stomach just kept getting worse.

My stomach felt extremely tight, like it was considering jumping out of my body but lacked the courage, but got more confident.  My chest was hurting, my body started shaking a little bit and I was sweating from the contracted muscles that wouldn’t let up.  I went into our bedroom and woke up my wife to let her know that something was happening and I was getting scared.  I, in between shortened breaths, described my symptoms that she looked up and we figured it was an ulcer and that it would pass on its own eventually.  I couldn’t sit or lay down, because that made it worse, so we waited it out together for about 30 minutes when everything released and I felt like nothing had happened.  I was tired, but the pain was gone about as fast as it started.

Figured why not use pictures of people that had injury problems

It would happen here and there, but very infrequently up until I went to India for my work trip in June of last year.  There, I suffered my worst attack yet. It lasted about 90 minutes and caused me to throw up for the first time (after which I felt fine).  I had to call a doctor to my hotel room and they gave me meds, but that started my current restricted diet and journey to find out what is wrong with me.  Because, when I got back home, I had attacks much more frequently.

Not sure if I’ll come back to full strength yet

So, while I went to the doctors, I heavily restricted my diet to only include things that I knew wouldn’t hurt me.  It mostly worked.  But even so, I’ve been dealing with random nausea and discomfort and pains even from foods that had been fine dozens of times before. Basically, every meal and snack is a bit of a crap shoot.  Tums have been my best friend for the past 8-9 months.  I lost about 20-25 pounds, but it was not the most ideal way to do it.

It took a few visits and tests, but what we’ve figured out is that I am not having ulcers. I have a bunch of small gall stones and likely what I eat is causing those attacks.  What took a while is that I don’t exhibit typical gall bladder symptoms and we’re not 100% sure this will fix things, but it’s the best shot right now.

Ankiel counts as another injury player

So, I go into surgery this Wednesday for an outpatient procedure that shouldn’t be too bad.  I’m really excited to be able to expand my diet again after however many months.  I’m not sure yet if this will mean more or less ability to blog and whatnot.  I know that I will be at work (from home – as always) the next day since it will only feel like I’ve done a million sit-ups and maybe a little tired. From that perspective, I won’t have extra time. I’ll have to play it by ear as to how much time I want to, or can, spend with my laptop on top of me writing off-hours.  I do know that I won’t be able to lift anything over 20 pounds for about 4 weeks, so I won’t be able to sift through my larger 5000 count boxes for a while.

It’s been an interesting journey, certainly occasionally frustrating (like when a cream of chicken soup caused an attack while I was shopping in Target and I just kind of had to suffer on the cart for a while), but I’m pretty happy that this chapter is hopefully closing.  That way I can move on to complaining about other things on twitter, perhaps even card-related things.

A Dog Of A Big League Trade x2

I mentioned before how trades tend to come in waves and this grouping of two is no exception.  Following my sticker trades and my GPK trades came a couple of Topps Big League trades through Twitter.  I’m going after the master set of this thing (as well as the Bunt physical releases from the previous two years) and I’m getting closer after these two packages.

The first was from Ben of Cardboard Icons fame. (Twitter found here).

On top of the scanner instead of inside

This was my first transaction with him. I sent over some Roger Clemens cards (he’s after those and Kershaws) and in return I got a nice stack of set needs.

I foolishly forgot to actually scan a sampling of them before putting them away in my binder, so here’s the picture from my phone.  As you can see, he also gave me a couple of the A&G Man’s Best Friend inserts I’ve been wanting since 2012.  I’m now down to needing just two from that insert set #5 (Beagle) and #11 (Chihuahua).  Thanks a lot!

Arenado has an unconventional batting stance

My second trade was courtesy of RobbyT who occasionally writes at Detroit Tigers Cards and Stuff  but can also be found here on Twitter.  He sent me more than just these. I happened to select some good photos and/or good players.  I’m ready for this next year’s set.

Glad these nickname cards aren’t the main design

He also sent quite a few of the inserts.  And the good news is that I procrastinated long enough in posting this that I can make a comment about Mr. Miami living in San Diego.  But I’m not clever enough to say more than that.  From what I’ve found so far, the caricatures are going to be the toughest to complete.  It’s great to have a bigger name out of the way.

Thank you to both of you for the great trades.  I hope we get to do it again sometime!

How Many Maddux Relics

I’m not the first to be inspired by The Chronicles of Fuji, and I won’t be the last.  However, I will probably be the only to be inspired by this specific post where he said he had collected an impressive 70 Greg Maddux relics so far.

As a fellow Maddux collector, it got me wondering just how many I have in my possession.  The answer is quite a few, but it could always be more.  I’ll save the final counts for the end, but for now, let’s take a look at few of those swatches that I’ve managed to take home over the years.

I bought a box and this dual memorabilia card fell out

I won’t make you wait to learn how many Tom Glavine relics I have. The answer is probably just this one.  I’m 99% sure of that, but if there is a second one, it should eventually make it into a trade bait post.

Not exactly a diamond cut, more of a cross or ninja star

I remember Flair as being an ultra premium card with a very thick stock. I’m sure that level of prestige had been eroded by the time this set was produced.  It’s certainly not the most flattering picture and not one you’d expect on a high-end card like Flair used to be.

I don’t know where those lines are going

Shirtified.  Look, these companies need to use as many puns as they can think of to avoid copyright issues.  Too bad they didn’t throw the TM on that gem.

More of a Diamond Cut

As you can imagine, most of my relic cards are going to be from his Braves days, since that correlates better with the rise in the relics.

I don’t know what’s going on in this image

But that doesn’t mean it’s completely void of Cubs.  That tiny bit of pinstripe proves its from…some piece of material with a blue pinstripe.  Look, I honestly don’t care if the jersey is game-worn or authentic, or from the player or whatever. I know I’m in the minority on that. It’s a card with my player collection on it and it’s a lot easier for me to believe that they’re all fake in some way and pay accordingly.

This is /150

I also have a couple Padres relics.  That’s some diversity, right there.  SPx was a weird set. I bought a box of these and half of my relics were the exact same Hanley Ramirez card.  Very strange.

This one is /99

There are 14 different relic cards for this set that I need. I have these two. The patch is pretty awesome, though.  I didn’t count how many patches I have. Maybe later.

Not a bad looking relic, but not hard to find

I believe this is my newest relic (in terms of production date).  These are not rare by any means. I think there was a relic in every blaster. That allowed me to find a few at the 2017 NSCC for a buck or two.

Well, this is another patch

I don’t recall what prompted me to buy this off of ebay, but I certainly don’t regret it.  I probably had a tax refund or a bonus or sold a bunch of stuff and wanted to use those funds for a heavy hitter.  I’m pretty sure this was my second or maybe third Maddux auto.

So, now it’s time for the final count.  I have this one auto relic.  I also have three of those blaster manurelic things (which I count, but others probably wouldn’t) and a healthy 51 “traditional” relics (bats, jerseys, patches, etc). That gives a total count of 55. A little short of Mr. Fuji, but I certainly don’t mind.  I’m looking forward to seeing what I can find at this year’s National and hopefully closing the gap a bit more.