Friday, April 29, 2011

it started with tickets...

My local card shop has a Facebook page. The owner announced on this page that he had free New Britain Rock Cats tickets for those who wanted them. I jumped at this, of course, as I've been dying to get to a game as of late. The game is this Sunday and they'll be playing the Harrisburg Senators. Should be a good time.

Well, it wouldn't be much of a post if I stopped there, would it?

I sent him a message asking if he had gotten in his Gypsy Queen yet. He said that it should be there any minute. I proceeded to ask him how much boxes were going for. His reply was "about $150ish". Ouch. That's about what they are now averaging online, scary, no? Well, yes it is but if the Christy Mathewson deal taught me anything, it is that bartering is good. Very good. So I checked out my stuff, rounded up some trade and headed on over to the shop. With the trade stuff, I managed to get the cost of the box and six packs down to a flat $100. That folks, I can work with. I had to get some of the set, my collecting itch doesn't go away when it gets itchy, so I had to think of something. Packs are selling for about $9 right now over there and boxes are $159. Here is what I ended up with:

Boy, the cardboard Gods must have been smiling upon me. My box contained the Youkilis and Ripken relics and the Freeman auto redemption. It also had the Pelfrey (leather parallel numbered 1/10 but its not really leather) and the Halladay sepia numbered 99/99 (this card is spoken for). Seems I was missing that second auto, so My UPC will be sent in for my second no name auto. The Freeman is on eBay right now due to them selling for a decent amount of money.

The packs had the Frank Robinson mini relic, the Markakis auto, and in the same pack was the Fukudome relic and Ruben Tejada mini cyan plate. This is only the second plate I've ever pulled and BOTH have been Mets (the first was a Jose Reyes from National Chicle).

I really like the set but due to cost I won't be finishing it up. I really don't think he will let me trade up for another box so it looks like this is it for boxes. He also informed me of a potential reason as to why this set is doing what it is.

He spoke with two different distributers and they both gave the same reason. Seems that when this set was solicited in December, orders and interest were low. So Topps printed less just to be cautious. Makes sense as to why they cut the set down by 100 cards last minute. So maybe I have been a bit harsh on Topps if this is the truth. Most dealers and collectors must have passed this off as 'just another retro set', and saw that might be hot last minute so now everyone is scrambling for product. Also if this is the case, this set will seemingly be always tough to find and expensive (card shop guy expected boxes to be around $200 next month), due to not much of it being out there. We will just have to see.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

ahh...good old topps...part two

I suppose that Topps has created quite the ruckus with Gypsy Queen. After reading and responding to the comments yesterday, I am definitely glad to know that people have opinions on this whole matter, even if they disagree with me. Ryan G made a very good point about Upper Deck doing this with their 1989 release. In that example, I see that as good business. Here is why. Back in 1989 there were four companies (Donruss, Fleer, Score and Topps) making cards. Then Upper Deck joins the fray and blows away the competition with their 1989 set, which is still probably one of the most important sets released in the past 30 years. Thing is though there was actual competition back then. The pie was bigger but broken up into five parts. Here in 2011, Topps doesn't have that issue. The pie is all theirs. THAT'S why I am a little upset by their actions. They don't need to add hype to their products because they still sell and will continue to regardless. No one is taking away Topps' pie yet and I really don't think they need to worry about it. You know what though? Ryan also made another good point, in that maybe Topps wants to fix the whole autograph ordeal. If that's the case, then it is for the better but the early adopters will have to have their wallets suffer a little.

This hasn't sullied my experience as a collector, nor does it make me want the set any less. I don't plan on collecting the full set, nor did I ever. I don't usually piece together any sets aside from the basic Topps series 1 and 2, unless it really captures my interest. I will buy some GQ when I can and would love to go out and find some right now. I just don't want to overpay for some right now. I'll just have to wait and see.

Another topic that was brought up in the comments was about Triple Threads. I associate Triple Threads and Tribute pretty closely. Both are way to expensive for what you get in return and both don't usually justify the cost of the box. Good example; my local shop busted a box of Tribute. They are selling at an average of almost $400 online. I didn't ask what he paid, nor would he tell me (nor would I expect him to). His best hit of the box was an Ernie Banks auto/dual bat relic. A really awesome card. What can he sell it for though? $200, At most? I have no idea what justifies this product as being how much it is. As a retailer, I would be upset and never open any of it to resell because I'd never get my return. Just sell the boxes out at $350 or whatever and let the customers deal with what they get. I hear Triple Threads is even worse in this department.

Overall, I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes or try and get people to be mad with me and go storm the Topps building or anything. I, as a collector and a consumer, just feel that we shouldn't have to overpay for our cards and I won't. I can't. Obviously the rest of you have your own ideals and views and if you want to go out and find some Gypsy Queen, I wish you the best in your purchases and would still love to see what you all get but I will be sitting the bench on this set for the time being.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ahh...good old topps...

You know, all this talk of Gypsy Queen is making me....I'm not even sure of the word I'm looking for. Let's begin with the basics here. Normally I'm all for retro themed sets. Sure, they look nice too but seems impossible to collect with it's endless amounts of parallels. They reduced the size of the set by 100 cards, now standing at 350. This is good. 450 was WAY too many. Apparently they also screwed up the relic/auto collation too. Nice. That isn't whats gotten me into this thinking though. While checking out Baseballcardpedia, I noticed they have a little 'hobby buzz' section on the bottom right side of the page. Essentially telling us the goings on of the industry. I was pretty miffed when I read this about Gypsy Queen:

Upon the release of Gypsy Queen, there is talk abound the hobby about limited availability. It appears that only small amounts of Gypsy Queen are being made available to collectors, hobby shops, online retailers, etc... Some long-time set builders are debating on buying retail rather than hobby due to the high initial cost of hobby boxes.

THIS IS COMPLETE CRAP! They are limiting the amount of product released...when they're going to sell it anyway? Creating an artificial demand of a product that has demand, and raising box prices to unrealistic levels. Why wouldn't it sell? They are the only company in the baseball card industry!! Seriously Topps, get with the damn program. I know I'm not going to be paying $140 per box, $7 per pack. Nuts to that. This whole bunch of nonsense is almost making me want to buy NONE of this set, save for the six (yes, SIX) Blue Jays for my collection. You know? It's almost a good thing that I'm broke-er than I was, so I won't be tempted to fall for Topps' hyjinxs. Also thankfully I have no interest in any products coming out before series 2 in June, then Lineage in August (unless they mess that up too). I'm not big into Ginter's and could care less about Bowman and Pro Debut. What crap. CrapcrapcrapCRAP. I'm only holding back due to this blog being PG but man, am I miffed...

Send in the failboat!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

oh boy...

...I knew it was going to come to this. When the sell sheets for 2011 Heritage first appeared, I glanced them over and took a look at all the cool stuff awaiting our grubby collecting hands. Hey relics are always fun and an autograph of Ernie Banks or Hank Aaron would be frikkin' sweet too. There was, however, one "relic" ( that I wanted to avoid, this:

The coin card. Man, how I didn't ever want to pull one of these in a box I bought. I'm glad I didn't. Well, until today. Although I didn't buy a box of Heritage, I did pick up a Wally-Mart $15 box. You know the one with the two hobby Heritage, two code cards (more on that in a second), and five packs of 2011 series 1. Oh the refractor too. I got Ruth, very nice (not sarcasm). The series 1 packs didn't yield anything of note but the Heritage had this. I got a little excited because I kinda felt that the pack was a tad thicker and I felt the sides (is that how those dirty pack searchers do it?) and noticed that there was an extremely thick card inside. How disappointed I was. I was certainly glad that I hadn't paid full price for a box and gotten this nonsense as a hit. Sure its 1:263, but who cares? When I say thick, I mean THICK. It is equal to six Heritage cards, which are thicker already and is equal to nine, yes NINE series 1 cards. Coin cards....Why? I have coins from the 1950s in my coin cup just waiting to be spent on morning coffee. Why do this to us? I mean sure, it's a novelty and isn't that what baseball cards are in general? But for this to take the place of a regular hit, man, I'd be the flippin' out type of mad. Maybe if they left these to just players from that era only and left these events cards alone (that already have a subset, mind you), then maybe it would be alright. Well, I certainly don't want it, so it will make it's way to the 'non-baseball player' section of my trade bait. That's a fun section, wait until you see some of those.

Oops...I posted this without realizing that I forgot to mention the NOTHING I got out of the code cards. 1988 Kirby Puckett is the highlight. I'm a fan of Kirby so it is hard to be mad but 1988 is not what I'm looking for. Me=done with Diamond Giveaway. I've gotten nothing but crapola so I'm throwing in the towel.

Friday, April 22, 2011

what are you reading? (if anything)

As of late I have been reading a lot of comics. I noticed some of you are into comics as well. It's cheap and they're fun! Kinda. Well, I've always enjoyed a good comic and have always read them from time to time. Lately though it has gotten a little more serious.

Allow me to explain.

Way back in 1992, my family and I were driving home from the beach. We had a house down there and frequented the area in the summer. One fine (probably a Sunday) afternoon on our way home, we passed a small comic shop. I begged my father to turn around so we could check it out. He did. Now, when I say small, I mean SMALL. Think a 20x20 foot area and you have the idea. Size was not the issue though, he crammed as much in there as he could. Tons of comics, sports cards and non-sports cards everywhere. To my 10 year old eyes, it was a dream. This was actually the first comic/card store I had ever been to, so it was quite the treat for me. My cousin had spoke of these "Marvel cards", and I wanted to see if I could get my hands on some. I picked up a few packs of Marvel Universe series 3. They look like this:

See? You remember them, no? I certainly do. I built that 200 card set over what seemed like forever. I still have that set right now. One of the few things I've managed to keep over the years. I was missing one card (that very X-Factor card) to finish and finally got it in a pack (and there was much rejoycing).

Anyway. I used to go to the shop all the time. It helped greatly that it wasn't far from my house. I was hooked. Comics. Cards. You name it, I wanted it. With an allowance that I got weekly, much, if not all of it, went to him and his little shop. This carried on until around 1994, when he decided to move downtown. Still not too far from my house, but not as close. Didn't stop me though. I was there just as often, if not more due to me picking up a new hobby; Magic: the Gathering in about 1995. Those unfamiliar with the game let me sum it up for you: Take one 52 card deck of playing cards, add some fantasy elements like Dungeons and Dragons, make the rules fun, simple and collecting addicting, and you've got a hit on your hands. I met most of my friends through that game. I played on and off until about 6 years ago. Way before then though, around 1999, I ended up getting a job at this very same comic store. I knew the owner and he knew me and he needed some help so I said I'm good to go.

I worked there for about a year then moved on to a 'real job', at a local Hess (it was awesome, don't let the silliness of a gas station get you wrong). As the years passed, I slowly scaled back my visits to the shop but still made it there at least once a week. It had become a hang out for me and my friends, hence the frequency. Then come 2006, he had sold the store to one of his customers, and the new guy changed the name, and made a refocus on comics. About a month ago, the owner announced a sale on all comics and I had tried to make a note to stop in to see what I could find. I went in on a Sunday and sadly, the owner informed me that it was his final day of business. After 21 years, a piece of my childhood had been shut for the final time. I did manage to pick up a few books though, namely some trade paper backs I had been meaning to get around to.

This led to something though. I wanted to finish certain runs of comics and stories that I had missed through the years. The death of that store is what got me back into comics, ironically enough. I wanted the complete runs for Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate Fantastic Four. I would like to read Ultimate X-Men someday too. I get a few monthly comics at the other comic shop in town (I think they opened in 2005...). I've never gotten monthly books. I always liked waiting for the TPB to come out so I can catch the whole story. Right now, I get these on a monthly basis:

Amazing Spider-man (which is bi-weekly now)
Batman: The Dark Knight (the only Batman book that has Bruce Wayne as Batman)
Ultimate Spider-Man

I'm also catching the 'Fear Itself' story line, which is this years 'event', by Marvel. Batman will always be my favorite and Spider-man isn't too far behind. I have plenty of Batman books though, collected throughout the years, so now it's time to give Marvel a try. The company I stuck with as an awestruck kid in that comic shop for the first time.

So if you've stayed with me up to this point, thanks and I apologize for the lengthy post here about anything except baseball cards. My question is: What do you read? For those into comics, what do you get on a monthly basis? What are some of your favorites? I'm curious to see what some of you say.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

caught up!

I am officially all caught up over here. As you well know, my place in the hobby has slowed considerably. For the past month or so, I have all but completely neglected my miscellaneous stacks of cards here (with the sole exception of stuff I sold on eBay) and it got, well...a bit out of hand. Cards everywhere, for different purposes, reasons and whatever else. I took yesterday as a 'catch up' day and sort through everything. I had stuff like doubles (which some turned out not to be doubles), cards for people who I contacted but got no response from (I tend to pull cards before I contact someone about their wantlists), and cards in boxes that I thought I wanted to do nothing with. Like I said, a bit of everything. I sorted, checked, condensed, put away...all very good things.

Now, with all that said, is there anyone else that needs 2011 Topps and 2011 Heritage? I would really like to clear out some of this excess before my next project, which I'll talk about in a minute. So please, if you have a want list for anything 2011, let me know and I'll see what I have. That includes all base cards and inserts from 2011 series 1, and a good stack of Heritage. I didn't chase any of the inserts from series 1, so they are all up for grabs (and I have many). In return I am really looking to finish up my Heritage set but if you don't have any that I need or to spare, I'll definitely think of something but I would really like to clear some space over here.

Next- the project. I have seen many of you post up trade bait and I am going to do the same...with a twist though, and some input from you guys. First, how it will be done is by division. I believe I will post up the division on either Sunday or Monday (which ever I get time to do), try and work deals out in the week and have the cards shipped on Saturday. Much easier for me to ship on Saturdays. Now, what I need from you. What do I include in these posts? At first I thought just relics and autographed cards but then while sorting yesterday, I noticed I had some good stuff that didn't have writing or a jersey on it. Stuff that's numbered, refractors, shiny (from a non-shiny set), short-prints, etc. YOU tell me. Tell me what you want to see in a trade bait post and I'll do my best to see what I have available. Then, once the deals I am talking to some of you about and any future ones about the 2011 stuff are done, I'll start posting the trade bait after hearing your feedback and putting the cards together.

So, if you are interested in either trading or getting some more 2011s to finish up a set, let me know and we'll make a deal!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

my collection of non-card autos

I don't have too much in the way of autographed items that aren't cards. Well, today's post is going to focus on those few such items. Shall we?

I'll start with the one item you may be familiar with:

The Griffey ball/UD rookie. Still probably my favorite.

Vernon Wells ball.

Vernon Wells mini helmet. Yes, those are Lego ninjas hiding underneath on the left and a Lego baseball player on the right.

Aaron Hill ball.

Jimmy Key ball.

Cal Ripken Jr. ball. This one is cool because it is on an All-Star ball from 1991, which was played in Toronto, which Cal played in.

I know, short but sweet. With only sic items so far it is a terribly small collection when compared to some of you guys. I haven't been big into the autographed ball/items/etc. thing but that may change someday. It's a start though.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

hey look!

A post about baseball cards!

Well I managed to make it through a small rough patch intact. While the slow work period isn't over, it is not as bad as I had thought it might be. Leaving me a little room to grab some packs. I headed over to the local card shop and wanted to try something a little different. I went with 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom. You know, they look like this:

While the base set isn't all that spectacular, the hobby box does promise three hits. I got two out of the seven packs I picked up (I picked up one 2011 Heritage too, netted me one short print I needed):

The Braun is an actual ticket plus a jersey piece. Obviously the Tulo is an auto jersey. The Tulo makes a great addition to my new found want to collect him. He will be the only active non Blue Jay that I collect. He has a very promising start to his career and I'm sure he will only get better in time. I don't feel compelled to buy too much more of this set with the base set being kinda boring (2009 wasn't Topps best year for card designs...yeesh) but I am happy with these two cards.

I do still need Heritage and still have a stack waiting for someone with a needs list. Lemme know!

Friday, April 8, 2011

it's about time...

Manny retires...

Leave the drama for daytime TV, keep it out of baseball. Good riddance I say.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Usually my posts are baseball card (or just 'cards' in general) related. Today though, I would like to take some time and discuss a little bit about the game we all! Well I have written about baseball before. Games I went to last season, be it minor league or major, or how the Jays were doing. This time however, I would like to talk standings. More specifically, the dreaded AL East. I don't usually pay too much attention to the other divisions, namely because 1; Toronto is in this division and 2; there is ALWAYS activity and excitement in the AL East.

Now, as it currently stands, at 2:49 PM on Thursday, the standings look like this:

Baltimore (4-1)
Toronto (4-1)
New York (3-2)
Boston (0-5)
Tampa Bay (0-5)

Which is quite surprising to say the least. With the worst two teams of the 2010 (in terms of this division), up out on top. With all the teams that fought for that coveted top spot, struggling to do much of anything. I watched the Yankees blow a 4-0 lead in the 8th the other night. I saw the end of the Boston game, in which they were behind the Indians, 3-1, bottom of the 9th, two men on and Otriz striking out for the final out of the game. My question is, what is going on?

Now, I know it is terribly early in the season for all this talk but maybe it says something about the teams. New York has had some issues with their pitching staff. Well, maybe issues with putting together a cohesive, working pitching unit. Boston spent tons of money getting Gonzalez and Crawford and are showing nothing as of yet. Tampa, which I was kind of expecting, is in shambles after the free agency and all the players leaving and signing with other teams. Baltimore and Toronto are very different though. Baltimore had a terrible start to last season but an excellent finish. After signing Vlad and Lee, I knew combined with all their great young talent, they would be a force to be reckoned with. Toronto on the other hand, completely befuddles me, in that they lost a lot of guys in the off season but seem to be holding up pretty well.

I feel all that will change though. I predicted before the season started, what the final standings in the AL East would be. Here is how I see it going down come September:

New York
Tampa Bay

Now, I have to explain that this is how I feel currently. Originally I had thought the same outcome but with Baltimore and Tampa switched. With Baltimore's recent explosive show of greatness, I switch it up and have them take third. The thing with Boston and New York is that usually when they get on a roll, they plow through everyone else. I see Boston on top due to the Yankees lack of a great pitching staff. Boston is pretty solid all around. Tampa Bay will continue to struggle all year and I seem to believe that Toronto will just fall apart soon. Ideally, if things end the way I would like to see them, they would look something like this:

New York
Tampa Bay

Sorry Sox fans but I am kind of enjoying this 0-5 start. If I had to pick a side between New York and Boston, it's NY all the way. In fact, I usually consider them my second favorite team. Them being the wife's favorite team helps this consideration. I know Toronto will NEVER see first place, especially at the end. Hey, I can hope right?

So I guess it's all up to the boys now. I'll have to check in at the end of the season to see how close I was to hitting the mark. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

new old stuff

This card came from a fellow named Ryan. He runs the blog, This Card is Cool- My Life in Baseball Cards. I had contacted him after browsing his wantlists and he had mentioned that he had a kinda beat up 1912 Zeenuts card that would go into my 'old stuff' collection. Beat is right but its awesome. It is still all there for being 99 years old. Creases, sure. Even some paper loss but who cares? Not me. It's a great addition to the 'old stuff' collection and has already made it's way to the link on the right. Thanks Ryan!