It’s Fine

I know that my previous post was a celebratory one, but I haven’t been doing great mentally the past couple days.  I’ve touched on this before and at some point I’ll do a deeper dive on things as well, but there are times when I simply don’t want to continue with the blog.  It’s always temporary and directly related to my mood of the day rather than any actual burnout.

Right now, the only reason I’m typing this at all is in an attempt to not feel like I’m a completely worthless waste of space, because the doing nothing this weekend becomes a spiral. That’s also how I know I don’t really want to quit the blog.  My mood and mental state is perpetuated by doing nothing, and so if I don’t have the blog, I have less to do.  Again, something I’ll go into more in the future. Right now I just want to force myself to do something and try to reiterate internally that things are actually fine.

Never Peel

I’m certainly not the Finest I’ve ever been. And no, peeling won’t change that. Never peel.

Got an aura around him

Superficial changes really don’t do anything to help.  I’ve learned that after losing weight as a result of my gall bladder issues.

Bronze at best

I’m the skinniest I’ve been in several years, but it’s not enough to prevent this from happening. Always had body image issues. The toll it takes on me as I get older is worse.

Don’t care it’s covering his face. Not peeling

So, yeah. I’m really not feeling it lately. When that happens, I like to overanalyze every aspect of my life and cut myself out of the world.

I’m not a warrior right now

It’s something I always break out of, but the question is how long it will take this time.  Tough to say. This could be my last post for a while, depending on how motivated I am and whatnot.

This wasn’t peeled. It’s embossed and they come like this

Plus we have our vacation coming up.  If nothing else does it, that certainly should. Getting into a different environment and unplugging a bit will be great.

Back to coating

Anyway, I’m sorry about the mini rant, and apologize in advance for the larger rant that I have to get out there sometime in the future.  Although, maybe it’s more interesting than commenting on how Finest has evolved over the years like this was originally slated to be.

No coating put on these from here on out.

Sometimes life throws curveballs at you and it takes most of the day to work up enough mental stamina to get a couple hundred words written on a post that already has pictures uploaded to it from last week. If you stare at the computer long enough, you think it will write itself from your brain, but it never actually happens.

Refractor version. Shiny doesn’t always make me happy.

So, today was rough. Yesterday was rough. Tomorrow will probably be no better.  Still, no matter what I will eventually be fine.  Probably not great. But fine.

Anniversary Cards

This week saw my 8th wedding anniversary come and go. My wife and I celebrated the actual day with little fanfare. We went out to eat at this 24-hour Mexican restaurant that we went to a lot when we first started dating, which was a complete departure from our usual tactic of finding a highly-rated fancy dining experience to try.

We’re saving that dinner money so we can take a trip in a week or so now over Memorial Day weekend to California and then later in the year going to Europe.  Plus, it was nice to reminisce and revisit a place we went to 10-15 years ago but feel too fat to eat at now.  Best huevos rancheros I’ve ever had at that place.

The most color on an SP Authentic card in years

We’ve never been too big on giving each other gifts for the anniversary. We’re also getting to the point where we don’t really want gifts for other things either as neither of us wants to accumulate a whole lot more stuff.

Ultimate cards were pretty nice

There was a time when we would basically just give each other money in a sense.  With that cash, I would order cards on COMC for myself.  I don’t want to bother her with trying to pick out specific things for me.

I appreciate the arrow so I know who the pitcher is

Well, it turns out that I’ve shown off every card I’ve bought for an anniversary binge by now except for the first four cards on today’s post.  That’s pretty crazy and speaks to how we’ve gotten away from giving gifts.

Oddly blurry photo on a high end card

We do still give each other cards, but those are the traditional greeting cards. This year mine to her was a gold glitter parallel.  That’s something I would typically avoid because I hate glitter, but the content fit us a bit too well to pass up.

Extra, Extra! Check out that calf muscle!

So, even though it’s our 8th wedding anniversary, our relationship started way back in 2003. If I were to try to tell the whole story, it would fill a large newspaper and have all kinds of weird details and ancillary characters like this box score.

No big surprise he’s an leader in some Braves stats

I figured I’d keep this an all-Maddux post for whatever reason and I don’t have a lot of marriage year cards (2011) for him. We’d have to be 90 years old to reach 60 years of marriage.  Something tells me I won’t be blogging anymore at that time.

Even this is more clear than the Triple Threads

Maybe my collection would be as revered as original tobacco cards are today.  The answer to that is probably “no” as well.

Same picture as the blurry Triple Threads used. This is 2 years earlier.

Neither of us are too big on diamonds but both of our rings incorporate them in some way.  I think we’ll keep those for a while.

Can’t Spell “Really Big Card Trade” Without GCRL – Part 4

You all know the deal by now.  I try to figure out a way to introduce the same blogger and trade package after doing so a few times before. I post some links and then get into showing the cards.

So, allow me to welcome back cards from Jim, who was originally known for his blog GCRL (hence the title) and creator of several side blogs. He is now writing for cards as i see them.  As you know already, I completed a nice big trade with him late last year and you can catch the first part of the trade here, if you’d like. Second part here. Third part here.

I’ll only have to go through this routine for Jim’s trade one more time after this and there will be a rough theme to that one, I think. Today is more random stuff that I couldn’t group together in a satisfying way.  Adding them to my collection is still satisfying at least.

Odds of seeing a UD Cubs Lester card are low

The last good Upper Deck baseball set.  I don’t miss them nearly as much as other people might. I’m also one of those weirdos that doesn’t mind unlicensed cards all that much.

Yes it did snow in May in Chicago this year

I’m a stupid sucker for simple parallels sometimes. I haven’t bought any of these holiday mega boxes with the snowflake cards, but I have been stockpiling them through sportlots and also occasional trades like this. The sparkly metallic ones are my bigger needs these days.

Lost in thought

Previewing the circles of the 2019 Topps design, I see.  I like the circle foil effect.

I hope that’s a catch

I hear Big League is starting to pop up.  Another master set to try to collect! I don’t know what kind of parallels are wedged into it yet this year, but I’m a long ways away from getting all the golds and blues from 2018.  I do quite enjoy this card celebrating the rare diving catch from Schwarber.

Chasing the Power Zone

I’ve been fortunate in my Stadium Club trades.  These red foil cards aren’t super tough, but they aren’t super easy either. I wish it scanned better, because it is a great color for foil.

Firethrower

Following red with more red. Fire parallels are tougher to distinguish, but I think I have a good handle on them now.  This is the “Flame” version, which may be one of the more common parallels, but that doesn’t mean they’re everywhere like the snowflake things.

Zapped

More Fire. Or Electricity? I was also lucky enough to be the recipient of this purple Fowler numbered out of 99!

There are so many Cardinals collectors out there, and I’m not even one of them, so to get this and all those Cubs goodies, was so nice to see and experience.  This Fowler may be the lowest numbered card of the bunch, but it’s not the last.  We’ll be revisiting Jim’s cards again shortly to finish off this great, generous, gigantic trade! Thanks again!

There’s No Team In Sets

One of my favorite early day inserts where those player specific sets that Fleer/Leaf put out.  I looked forward to seeing which player would be chosen for that special 10-card tribute. So many worthy names and so many ended up getting passed over because only one per series could get that honor.

These days, Topps has brought that theme back, but extended things to 30 cards, made them retail exclusives and last year paralleled the hell out of them.  Of course Kris Bryant had to be one of the ones chosen for that.  I’ll have plenty of chances to rant about those.  Today is about those older days, back in the early 1990s.  Opening a pack of already awesome Ultra cards and seeing that full green marble border was such a cool feeling.  Years later as I started this blog and my Gwynn collection, I quickly obtained the full non-autographed set through trades. I showed half of them off at that time, and I’m finally ready to finish it off here.

#5 of 10

The back of the card is all about his hitting in 1984, and so of course the picture on the front is running.  But hey, that looks like Wrigley!  But hey, 1984 and Padres are not a good mix for Cubs.

#7

The back talks about Tony’s 20/15 vision and lightning quick bat speed.  His visual acuity is certainly something that could be an interesting “advanced” stat for scouts. His bunting prowess here isn’t showing that bat speed, though.

#8

I’ve seen a couple of the card backs refer to Gwynn as “Big T.” That’s a nickname that didn’t exactly take off.  Nice effort anyway.  This talks about how he was batting .237 as late as June of 1988, but still managed to bounce back and win the batting crown.

#9

This card was all about his slumping year of hitting .309, spurred mostly by an injury to his hand.  Still managed a gold glove as well.

#10

At the first National I went to, there was someone selling all 10 of the Autographed versions for about $600.  That was more than I was willing to pay at the time (and maybe still right now).  One day I’ll start considering picking them up.

Canada White Sox

Tony wasn’t the only player I collect to get a non-team, team set.  Leaf put out several Frank Thomas sets over the years, but this was the first, I think. These backs are not very descriptive.

Probably safe

They’re just lame blurbs using that verb as the loose backbone.  Frank Thomas is intense for the following reasons…

Love that blurry hair and pink striped outfit

It all sounds like a grade school book report.  Or a Community Gum card summary.

He’s concentrating

It’s one step above giving the dictionary definition for each word, if I’m being honest, but there are different pictures and a nice city picture on the back.

So, now I have all 10 of each of these, but still need the autos for Gwynn and the Jumbos for Frank.  Maybe I’ll see some of those at this year’s National and I can do a follow-up.  But only if I have enough Concentration and take the blog Seriously.

What Bowman Is Good For

Well, I think it’s safe to say that I missed the boat on Bowman-mania this year.  And last year. And the year before. And….

No, I didn’t buy a single pack, and I’m certainly not going to spend extra money on packs that are priced above normal MSRP.  I’ve never been the prospecting type and it’s really hard for me to understand that mentality.  In all honesty, I can only think of one player where it’s worked out in the long run – Mike Trout.  “Long run” is subjective in that case, of course, and there’s still plenty of time for the sky to fall. He’s the closest I’ve seen to a sure thing in a long time.

Anyway, while thousands of people are trying to chase and flip and buy up the next big thing so they can brag about how much money they made and how their prospecting skills are amazing, I will bide my time and fill my collection with all the cheap runoffs.

Chrome isn’t always king

He may not have been Miguel or Adrian, but John Lackey was still a major league pitcher with a long career.  That wasn’t enough to stop his card from being worth next to nothing years later.

Shiny Wood

High-end Bowman. There’s no way this can go wrong.  Well, I guess having this be a “rookie” card instead of a prospect means it’s doomed to failure.  Rookies are old, hot garbage.

Pay extra for the beard

Here you go.  The very first Bowman card of a hot prospect turned eventual Cy Young winner with no-hitters on his resume.  If Vlad Jr. is worth X, then Jake must be worth multiple Xs by now.  Less than 50 cents?  Oh….

Maybe there’s a beard there

Maybe having a second Bowman chrome card in the same year reduced that value.  One is from the normal Bowman thing and one is from Draft Picks and Prospects. It doesn’t matter which is which. They both are cheap.

Too many Bowmans

A couple years later and here’s the dreaded Rookie Card again.  Pathetic waste of everyone’s time. The only thing worse is a non-rookie major leaguer. Who wants established players when you can have maybe players?

No idea what this was worth back then, but now it’s about a quarter.

I mean, why even make cards that aren’t going to turn a profit for me personally?

Refractors don’t mean much at all either if the player isn’t the top .1%

The recent years have of course become even more saturated with all the various parallels and whatnot. Of course, they’re not really printing to demand of the main cards. They are printing to the demand of those chasing the massive hits, meaning there is a lot of overproduction of the more basic stuff.

Changing teams doesn’t help either

Now, some people would say that it’s obvious that these aren’t worth anything, because they aren’t graded.  If you’re going to prospect, you need to have protected prospects. I have yet to delve into the world of slabbed cards. I would be more inclined if I dealt with vintage, but there are only a few modern cards that I would look to buy slabbed just for authenticity sake.  A Rizzo Bowman RC is not one of those. His time has passed.

Not even El Mago is immune

MVP Runner-Up Javier Baez must be worth a little something?  Well, $3 shipped on ebay counts, I guess. Or $1 on Sportlots.  Or you can wait a few years and it will drop in price even farther when it turns out he’s not a perennial MVP candidate like Mike Trout.

You may have noticed I didn’t show any Kris Bryant cards in this post and that’s true.  Some people are slower to drop down than others, but give it time. It almost always works that way.

My takeaway? Take the money now before they hit the majors, or shortly after the call-up. Otherwise, I’ll be taking them away years later as part of my goal to collect all of the 2028 Cubs World Series championship team.

Next Stop: A Trade From Last July

Alright, I got a nice chunk of trade bait up and depending on how well that’s received, I’m hoping to inject some different names in my recurring trade package posts.  Very shortly, I plan to be more proactive in searching people’s want lists and coming to you as well.  I do it on occasion with my regular trade partners and I wouldn’t mind finding more of those.

One of my regulars is Kerry, also known as Madding, also known as Cards on Cards.  He certainly checks my lists often enough and likes to fill my mailbox with big stacks of stuff.  So much so that at my current pace of 9 scans per post, I’m just now getting through a trade sent in 2017.  After today, the next stuff from him will be something I got in July last year.  Only a year or so behind!  Maybe I need to temporarily expand my self-imposed scan limit because that July trade would be about 5 posts on its own.  We will see in the future. For now, let’s visit the past. 2017 to be exact.

Love me some Hoops

Kerry will regularly send me cards of players I’ve enjoyed watching in the past.  I’ve really been out of the basketball loop. I can’t remember the last time I watched a game and the random highlight clips I see on twitter really don’t inspire my viewership.  Still, I have to say the basketball cards that Panini puts out are usually dang good, and it makes me wonder why they don’t try to use some of these designs in the baseball side.  Obviously Optic is about the same, but the others really aren’t too shabby.

Maybe I just enjoy the action shots in basketball cards more

Here’s a few more parallels.  Baseball didn’t get these golds, but got every other color combination under the sun.  Maybe the cards will eventually convince me to come back to watching so I can be more intent on collecting the cards.  Maybe.

Still upset there isn’t a card with my birthday on it

I think this was sent to me as a subtle dig. Sure it’s a Maddux card, but it celebrates a win against the Cubs. Very sneaky.

Makes me want to play some Atari 2600

I loved the Big cards as a kid. I didn’t like the mini sets, but the slightly oversize were fun.  Looking back, I must have been partially blind.

Double Gwynn

One of the last legitimate lenticular cards ever made. Give me that true motion with multiple images again, please.

I ain’t peeling nothing!

Possibly one of the last cards made only out of metal, but I am probably forgetting something very obvious.  I’m okay with not bringing these back, however.

I wish my beard could look that good

The package, as we’ve seen in past episodes, was not all older stuff.  I also had a smattering of the newness. Or what was the newness at the time.

At times, my beard looks better than this

A couple Archives that show us what we aren’t exactly missing or looking for.

Also a ROY version out there somewhere

It’s tough to tell, but this would be the holo version.  Bryant was not far removed from an MVP season when this was sent to me, and I certainly appreciate the kindness that you people show sometimes.

And we’ll see more of that kindness in the next installment of the Cards on Cards trade catch-up bonanza.  Thanks again, Kerry!

Trade Bait – 2018 Donruss Optic

I’m back with another round of trade bait. Here’s the last one of this batch. This is the first week’s worth since announcing my Charity Trade policy. In short, I’m not giving away cards, but I am donating money to charity for every card that I receive in trade. If you want to indirectly help the charity of my choosing, take a look below and hopefully we can work something out.

What can you send my way?  Take a look at this page right HERE.  I’m willing to trade in your favor if it means getting stuff out of my house faster.  Also, if you’re not sure if you have anything from my player specific lists, you probably do, but I’m also accepting any cards of just about all current Cubs players as an alternative (please no Russells), but odds are you’ll have plenty to work with!

More Trade Bait to be found HERE

Post updated 05/20/2019

Holo

Holo Parallel
Mitch Garver (RR)
Chris Archer
Jonathan Gray
Jose Ramirez (AS)
Shohei Ohtani (RR – Running Variation)
Jose Altuve
Ryan Braun
Cameron Gallagher (RR)
Adam Jones

Aqua Holo Parallel – #/299
Ryan McMahon (RR – Purple Jersey Variation)

inserts & autos

Out Of This World
Giancarlo Stanton

Long Ball Leaders
Nolan Arenado

Rated Rookie
Francisco Mejia

Rated Prospect
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Looking Back
Reggie Jackson/Aaron Judge
Craig Biggio/Jose Altuve (Blue Prizm #/149)

Year in Review
Giancarlo Stanton (Red Prizm #/99)

On-Card Auto
Chris Flexen (has ding in bottom left corner)
Walker Buehler (PENDING)

Other stuff

Blue Holo Parallel – #/149
Austin Hays (RR)

Significant Signatures Blue Holo Parallel
Brooks Robinson (#09/20 – Sticker auto)

Base Set (Just listing card numbers – please inquire about specific players or teams – I’m happy to check and list that out if you need it)
3, 6, 9, 11, 15, 18, 21, 26 (x2), 30, 32, 36, 39, 42, 44, 47, 51 (x2), 55, 58 (x3), 63, 64, 69, 70, 71, 82, 85, 86, 87, 88, 96, 97, 100, 101, 102, 111, 112, 113, 117, 124, 127, 128, 129, 139, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 153, 154, 155, 158, 159, 168

Base Set Variations
33, 36, 37, 42, 114, 165

Make sure you check out the link above for the other trade bait and I’ll post more soon!

Trade Bait – 2018 Diamond Kings

I’m back with another round of trade bait. This is the first week’s worth since announcing my Charity Trade policy. In short, I’m not giving away cards, but I am donating money to charity for every card that I receive in trade. If you want to indirectly help the charity of my choosing, take a look below and hopefully we can work something out.

What can you send my way?  Take a look at this page right HERE.  I’m willing to trade in your favor if it means getting stuff out of my house faster.  Also, if you’re not sure if you have anything from my player specific lists, you probably do, but I’m also accepting any cards of just about all current Cubs players as an alternative (please no Russells), but odds are you’ll have plenty to work with!

More Trade Bait to be found HERE

Post updated 05/07/2019

parallels & inserts

Red Frame Parallel
Anthony Santander
Mike Trout (Sepia Variation)
Luis Severino
Joe Jackson
Roberto Clemente

DK Portraits
Ted Williams
Ty Cobb
Ken Griffey Jr.
David Ortiz

inserts2

Trophy Club
Mike Trout
Justin Verlander
Aaron Judge

Aurora
Buster Posey
Albert Pujols

The 500
Rafael Palmeiro
Eddie Mathews

Gallery of Stars
Joey Gallo
Miguel Cabrera

inserts3

Past and Present
Ruth/Judge
Mantle/Trout
Biggio/Altuve (PENDING)
Boudreau/Lindor
Doerr/Pedroia

Hits

Brown Frame Parallel #/49
Chuck Klein

Artist Proofs
Harry Walker (Gold #/99)
Ozzie Albies (Blue #/25)

DK Signatures
Raimel Tapia

DK Materials Dual
Alex Verdugo
Carl Furillo

Base Set (Just listing card numbers – please inquire about specific players or teams – I’m happy to check and list that out if you need it)
1, 2, 3, 4 (x2), 5, 6 (x3), 7 (x2), 8 (x2), 10 (x2), 11 (x2), 12, 13, 14 (x2), 15, 16 (x2), 17, 18, 19 (x2), 20 (x2), 21, 22 (x2), 23, 24 (x2), 26, 28, 29, 30 (x2), 31 (x2), 32, 33 (x3), 34 (x2), 35, 36, 37 (x2), 38 (x2), 40, 41, 42, 43, 45, 46 (x2), 48 (x2), 49 (x2), 50 (x2), 52 (x2), 53 (x2), 54, 56, 57, 58 (x2), 59, 60, 61 (x2), 62 (x2), 64, 65 (x2), 66 (x2), 68 (x2), 69 (PENDING), 70, 71 (x2), 72, 73 (x2), 74 (x2), 75, 76, 77 (x2), 78, 79 (x2), 80 (x2), 81 (x2), 83, 84, 85 (x2), 86, 87 (x2), 88 (x2), 89, 90 (x3), 91 (x2), 92 (x2), 93 (x2), 94 (x2), 95 (x2), 96, 97, 98, 99, 100 (x2), 101, 115, 127

Base Set Variations
4 (Gehrig facing right), 13 (Lloyd Waner facing right), 73 (Ohtani Pitching Kanji), 116 (Amed Rosario B&W)

Make sure you check out the link above for the other trade bait and I’ll post more soon!

Trade Bait – 2017 Panini Chronicles

I’m back with another round of trade bait. This is the first week’s worth since announcing my Charity Trade policy. In short, I’m not giving away cards, but I am donating money to charity for every card that I receive in trade. If you want to indirectly help the charity of my choosing, take a look below and hopefully we can work something out.

What can you send my way?  Take a look at this page right HERE.  I’m willing to trade in your favor if it means getting stuff out of my house faster.  Also, if you’re not sure if you have anything from my player specific lists, you probably do, but I’m also accepting any cards of just about all current Cubs players as an alternative (please no Russells), but odds are you’ll have plenty to work with!

More Trade Bait to be found HERE

Post updated 05/04/2019

Parallels

RC Parallel (#/499)
Antonio Senzatela (bent edge)

Gold Parallel
Madison Bumgarner (#/999)
Tyler Glasnow (RC #/399)
Bartolo Colon (#/999)

Green Parallel
Hunter Pence (#/199) – Dinged corner

Inserts

Rated Rookies
Chad Pinder
Gavin Cecchini
Marco Hernandez

Prizm
Ian Happ
Dansby Swanson
Aaron Judge
Francisco Lindor (Orange #/399)

Gold Standard
Xander Bogaerts (#05/15)

Hits

Chronicles Rookie Auto
Dinelson Lamet

Signature Series
Rhys Hoskins

Relic Auto
Starling Marte (Purple #/99)

Spectra Triple Threat Materials
Yoan Moncada (#/149)

Base Set (Just listing card numbers – please inquire about specific players or teams – I’m happy to check and list that out if you need it)
4, 5, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31, 32, 35, 39, 40, 46, 47, 51, 55, 58, 59, 62, 63, 67, 68, 70, 73, 75, 77, 78, 82, 83, 88, 93, 96, 97, 100

Make sure you check out the link above for the other trade bait and I’ll post more soon!

Trade Bait – 2018 Finest

I’m back with another round of trade bait. This is the first week’s worth since announcing my Charity Trade policy. In short, I’m not giving away cards, but I am donating money to charity for every card that I receive in trade. If you want to indirectly help the charity of my choosing, take a look below and hopefully we can work something out.

What can you send my way?  Take a look at this page right HERE.  I’m willing to trade in your favor if it means getting stuff out of my house faster.  Also, if you’re not sure if you have anything from my player specific lists, you probably do, but I’m also accepting any cards of just about all current Cubs players as an alternative (please no Russells), but odds are you’ll have plenty to work with!

More Trade Bait to be found HERE

Post updated 05/19/2019

parallels and insert

Refractor Parallel
Chris Archer
Dustin Fowler
Bryce Harper
Andrew McCutchen

Purple Parallel – #/250
David Robertson

Finest Firsts
Shohei Ohtani

inserts and hits

Sitting Red
Josh Donaldson
Mike Trout

Corner Stones
Noah Syndergaard
Matt Olson
Salvador Perez
Josh Donaldson – SOLD

On-Card Auto
Ryan McMahon
Greg Allen (Green Refractor #28/99)

Base Set (Just listing card numbers – please inquire about specific players or teams – I’m happy to check and list that out if you need it)
2, 6, 9, 10, 13, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, 39, 42, 43, 49, 51, 53, 56, 58, 60, 61, 64, 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 76, 79, 81, 82, 84, 87, 88, 92, 100

Make sure you check out the link above for the other trade bait and I’ll post more soon!