Saturday, February 17, 2018

A card for a sucker

Yesterday apparently was the day for everyone who ordered a full-price Topps Now card last season to receive a bonus 2018 Topps Now card as thanks for being such a loyal card-collecting sucker ... er, customer.

I'm sure there are those who have ordered Topps Now cards off Topps' website who don't feel like suckers, some of whom are probably now offended. I don't mean to infer. It's your collection, buy what you want, right? That's a healthy way of dealing with things.

Me? I feel like a sucker, just a little. I bought one Topps Now card from the Topps site, meaning I spent $9.99 for a modern card. At the time, it felt appropriate (it was a card of third-string catcher Kyle Farmer beating the Giants in dramatic fashion when the Dodgers were on top of the world). But even then I was thinking, "this is probably stupid." Probably should've waited a little bit for it to show up on ebay for $6.99.

But since I bought that one card, I got this freebie in the mail of Mike Trout. I guess this is what the design will look like for Topps Now this year. It's not getting me to buy any Topps Now cards this year. If I had to guess, my grand total of Topps Now purchases this coming year will be somewhere between 0 and 2, and I probably won't be paying full price. That new furnace isn't paying for itself. Nor my daughter's college payments. Or my dog's pee pills.

I'm happy that this card isn't of Aaron Judge. Other than that I don't have much thought on it.

That is the very unexciting back. It's actually a promo for its Opening Day team sets that I believe cost 50 bucks apiece for 15-16 cards. But I can get them for the low, low cost of $37.50 by using the promo code (I blacked it out in the event my brain falls out while I'm walking down the street and decide to spend that kind of cash on this).

When I look at the back it feels like more of a credit card than an actual trading card.

Anyway, I'll probably send this to the Angels fan that just sent me cards.

I suppose it is a nice gesture from Topps, a company that hopes you spend $9.99 for a card.

Friday, February 16, 2018

I will never have every single one

I know my collection may be somewhat intimidating to fellow collectors looking to trade with me. I've been doing this online thing for a decade and collecting in general for years before that, and I've made hundreds of trades.

But I really don't have every card.

I may be misremembering but I don't recall a single card package that contained at least a dozen cards that didn't include at least one card that I needed.

There are always holes in my collection. If I ever get my want list fully complete you will see there are lots and lots of holes. Craters. It's practically a Grand Canyon of wants and needs.

But just to prove it to you, let's take a selection of Dodgers sent to me by Tom from The Angels In Order. He was very skeptical about the cards he sent:

Well, no, Tom, I didn't.

Sure, I already owned much of what was sent. But the joy in packages like this is unearthing the gems that I still needed -- most of which I had no idea were absent from my collection.

For as long as there are parallels:

And mini parallels:

And yet another Classic set that I didn't know existed:

And cards from the mid-to-late '90s:

And cards from the first five years of the 21st century:

And oddballs:

There will always be cards that I didn't already have.

And, of course, if you're going to send me Royals and Mets, then, yeah, those are definitely cards I didn't have.

Tom threw in a few other non-card items.

Tickets from a Dodgers-Diamondbacks game that maybe he didn't go to?

A big, honkin' decal for my monster Chevy truck that I don't have. I assume these are a way of life where Tom is from and they certainly are here. I often wonder how many of these trucks where I live actually haul stuff on the regular. I'm guessing maybe 30 percent. But at least they're blocking my view of traffic!

I also found a cool Kershaw poster from a package on the Dodgers ace in a recent Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine. This would have been taped on my bedroom wall when I was a youngster. I'm not sure what I will do with it now. I have so many items ready to be framed that I'm going to have to spend a small fortune in picture frames.

So that was a pretty good haul from someone who thought I'd have everything that was sent.

Have confidence in your card packages!

I have a lot of wants! I'm never satisfied! I'm needy!

I will never have it all.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

What's that make him in penguin years?

Holy crap, my favorite player of all-time is 70 today.

As is my custom, I added a couple of Ron Cey cards to my cart in honor of his birthday.

Long may he reign.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The first Valentine's Day pack throwdown

As I suspected, I received 2018 Topps baseball card packs for Valentine's Day. I do so love this time of year.

I happened to receive three packs apiece from both my wife and my daughter. So this presents the perfect opportunity to pair the packs up against each other in a battle to the death ... er, a battle to see who loves me more ... er, a battle to see which packs I like the most.

Yeah, that last one, let's go with the last one.

I think I have the scoring down for this exercise:

+1 - for a card I need
+1 - for a Dodger I already have (but can go toward the set that I'm not building)
+2 - for a notable parallel/insert
+3 - for a card I've wanted since I've seen it shown on the blogs
+7 - for a short-print
+10 - for a Dodger I don't have (this is the only reason I'm opening these after all)
- 1 - for a dupe
- 1 - for any Astros World Series card
- 2 - for those ubiquitous Derek Jeter inserts

OK, them's the rules. Let's go.


I'll begin with my daughter's packs first:

Pack 1

Cards I need: 7 points

One dumb Jeter card: Minus 2 points

There were four dupes in the pack: Minus 4 points

Total: 1 point

Pack 2

Cards I need: 10 points (1 more to come)

Card I've wanted since I saw it on the blogs: Chris Archer, 3 points

Notable parallel/insert: The Halladay card (*sad face*): 2 points

Another Jeter card: Minus 2 points

Another card I've wanted since I first saw it: 3 points

There was just one dupe: Minus 1 point

Total: 15 points
Total after 2 packs: 16 points

Pack 3

Cards I needed: 2 points

Dodger I had already (Verdugo): 1 point

Card I wanted since seeing it on the blogs (Dansby Swanson): 3 points. (Note how the bat goes in front of the Future Stars logo -- very '88 Topps!)

Three packs, three Jeter inserts: Minus 2 points (I've got to tell people to stop buying my packs at Target).

Dupes: A whole mess of them. Minus 8 points

Total: Minus 7 points (Yuck)
Total for the 3 packs: 9 points

OK, not the greatest pack selection. Let's see how my wife does.

Pack 1

Cards I need: 9 points (two more to come)

Dodger I need: 10 points (Woooooooo!)

Notable parallel/insert: 2 points

This is my first gold parallel from 2018 Topps. I don't agree with those who say these are difficult to spot. I spotted it right away. Also, I have to say that THIS is how you do your gold parallels if you're not going to have borders. It took three years for Topps to figure this out.This is so much better than 2016/17.

Dupes: Minus 3

No Jeter card for the first time.

Total: 18 points

Pack 2

Cards I need: 8 points (2 more to come)

Dodger I need AND notable parallel/insert: 13 points (Woooooo!)

Card I've wanted since I first saw it: 3 points

Jeter insert returns to haunt us all: Minus 2 points

Dupes: Minus 3 points

Total: 19 points

Total after 2 packs: 37 points

This is quickly turning into no contest.

Pack 3

Cards I need: 8 points

Dodger I need (Buehler ... Buehler ... Buehler): 10 points (Woooo!)

Dupes: Minus 4 points

Total: 14 points
Total for the 3 packs: 51 points.

OK, so my wife clearly knows how to select 2018 Topps packs. That was a 51-9 whitewash.

And then she put the hammer down:

Chocolates! That's worth at least 10 points!

(Have you noticed that the inside of Dove chocolate wrappers have slightly girlish inspirational sayings?. I would like to state for the record that guys enjoy chocolate, too).

And then the gift card whammy that will inevitably go toward the first sign of 2018 Heritage.

My wife does not play fair when it comes to Valentine's Day. 💓💓💓💓💓💓💓💓💓💓💓💓💓💓

But thanks to both of my sweeties.

There was a time not so many Valentine's Days ago, that I would receive no cards.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Variation SPs reach the masses

(Programming note: I am running a two million views contest. Would you like to own a card you've always wanted? Follow the instructions on the previous post and enter. You have until Monday).

I shouldn't be buying any more 2018 Topps. Especially since I expect to be gifted with some tomorrow (it is my version of candy and flowers).

But I was in Walmart yesterday for the first time since 2018 Topps hit store shelves and I just had to check out the store's presentation. It was a disaster as usual. But there were hanger boxes and I must complete the trifecta of loose packs, blasters and hanger boxes! This was my chance to sample a hanger box.

I was relieved to pull relatively few dupes. Hanger boxes are notorious for poor collation.

I also pulled a variation short-print.

Yep, it's a key one, since it's my team.

I've now opened three 2018 Topps products and pulled a variation SP out of two of them (only the loose packs didn't yield anything).

Going back to 2017 Update, I've pulled five variation SPs out of maybe the last 15-to-20 retail purchases. It's obvious that variation short-prints are much more common than they once were.

I first heard of variation SPs, I believe, in 2009 Topps in which a player would share its card number with a legendary player, which was the variation SP. These weren't easy to pull. You basically had to buy a hobby box to find one. And that pattern continued over the next few years, even as the number of variation SPs increased.

But now, variation SPs have reached the masses. The commoners. The poor schleps who can't find a hobby shop, have no patience to order a hobby box online, and must do their shopping in a gigantic warehouse-like building, sharing space with the couple who obviously hasn't bathed in months, and a couple of women who think they can break out obscenities in the department store like everyone around them is deaf.

This must be similar to the patterns followed in the fashion world or fads in home decor or new recipes. Only the elite get to enjoy the most exclusive, newest items. Then when they get bored with them, the regular joes finally get a crack at it five years later.

I'm not bitter. Give me your scraps. Variation SPs were so exclusive in past years that I basically forgot they existed and didn't bother with them. No worries. I'll still take whatever is boring the case breakers.

Now that I'm pulling them every other pack, though, it's kind of weird. I stare at the card intently trying to determine what it is. Then I turn it over and try to read the tiny number code at the bottom of the card that is the tip off that it is a variation SP (Variation cards end in 43. Regular cards end in 87). That means I break out the magnifier app because there's no way 50-year-old eyes can read that type.

Then I get paranoid about missing another variation SP and I use the magnifier on every other card in the pack (I thought that the Maikel Franco card might be a variation because it looks similar to the Puig card, but it isn't).

Thank goodness there are sites like Beckett and others that keep track of variation SP card images and list them for you. I wish Topps would be kind enough to help collectors with stuff like this but apparently they're not capable (or worse, refuse).

But that's me, a card collecting commoner. I'll jump through hoops for your amusement.

Anyway, there wasn't much else about the hanger box of note. Still liking the photos.

Although this one ...

... just looks like a continuation of this one ...

Maybe we'll get a side view in this year's Heritage.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Two million views

No matter what you're talking about, from a very young age, one million is a lot.

"I'll bet you a million dollars!"

"Not in a million years!"

Two million is even more than that.

Unless you're a popular youtube video or a major league baseball player, two million is almost unfathomable.

Yet, this blog went over two million views last week.

Actually, it doesn't mean a lot, just that I've been doing this a long time. A quarter of the views were probably Russian robots in late 2016 and another quarter are probably me.

But anyway, it's an excuse to hold a contest giveaway.

And now you're instantly interested.

I figured that I wouldn't offer anything new on store shelves as the prize. There's already too much overemphasis on the newest on the usual social media sites anyway (pssst, they're trying to SELL you something).

Instead, the prize is going to be one card that has eluded your collection. What is a card that you've wanted for weeks, months, years? I'm not talking white whale here. I don't have the money or the time.

But for $40 or less, I will buy the winner one card that they have wanted for awhile, provided that it is easily available on COMC, ebay or sportlots. (I will be doing the determining on what "easily available" means -- I'm not getting into bidding wars).

This is what you do to enter:

Comment on this post.

In the comment, mention one reason why you click on this site. Just one.

In the comment, mention one card you'd be interested in winning. It doesn't have to be the card you eventually receive. If you're the winner, I will contact you and we'll figure if that's what you want or if you have something else in mind after having some time to think about it.

Make sure you have a working email address. If I do not have your email address already, I'm going to need you to contact me via email so we can get the transaction rolling.

The contest will be open for one week. It will close at 11 p.m. EST on Feb. 19th.

I will let the randomizer do its thing (the usual three times) and announce the winner. Then please allow several weeks for purchasing and shipping, because this milestone had to land during the busiest work period of the year.

As always, thanks for viewing and clicking.

And for those wondering where the heck the baseball card is:

Here is an image of George Foster after he signed the first $2 million-a-year contract in MLB history.

Let's hope things work out better on this blog than it did for ol' George after reaching that 2 million milestone.