Saturday, December 31, 2011

Week 23 begins at the end of the year

Good Saturday afternoon to you all, hope that you are ready for a great New Years Eve celebration.

Please, if you do go out and celebrate tonight, do not drink and drive.  You cannot be replaced!!

With that being said, as many other bloggers have done, a year end review post is in order.

Where do I begin?  Let's see.....

I've made it through 22 weeks of blogging, trades, ripping packs, group breaks, know, fun!!

I've read hundreds, nay thousands of blog posts on hundreds of topics.  No matter what other people think, I've found just about every one of the blog posts I've read interesting.  Why you ask?  Card collectors/bloggers are the most diverse, humorous, and borderline addictive group of people that you will ever meet (yes, if you were wondering, I was also describing myself as well).

Products are panned and praised alike based on personal taste.  Trades are made with 1 card, or 100.  Posts based on personal triumph and tragedy also appear.  They're all great.  To the blogging community I say, please don't change a thing.  You keep me entertained, informed and out of trouble.

With that being said, I must turn to personal achievements.

  1. I've kept the blog going steady for 5 months now.  Outside of the odd day here or there where I was unable to write or get to a computer, I've posted every day that I could.  I've tried to impart some humor, along with the joy of trading with new found "blog buddies" as my wife calls them.  My writing skills have also improved.  Blog posts are sometimes still a little choppy and uneven, but one of my goals when starting was the improvement of my writing abilities, which I feel I have accomplished.
  2. I call this a personal achievement, but of course it hasn't been done without you guys/gals out there.  My collection has grown by leaps and bounds.  I've completed close to 40 trades. My Jays collection, which I now sheepishly say I thought would only be at 250 by years end, is going to pass the 1500 mark today when I do some more cataloging this afternoon.  I've completed 9 sets with your help, and rediscovered sets from the past that had long been forgotten about until now.    
  3. I'm developing a love for cards again.  Not just the numbers on the back, but the photography and design as well.  My mentality is gravitating away from the monetary aspect of what cards were for me years ago, to the joyous, wondrous pieces of material that they were meant to be.

Anyone still there!!

Card of the year for me:

I know that this isn't a current release, but it's the card of the year for me, because it was my first contest win in the blogosphere.

The fact that another blogger was willing to give away a card like this to me reaffirms the decision I made to become part of this community.

Had a blast in 2011 everyone....hope it's even better in 2012!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

    2009 OPC hobby box #2...packs 168-185

    As promised, here is the 2nd half of the hobby box that I received from my better half for Christmas this year. 

    Same post we go!

    Inserts #1

    NY-27.  Oliver Perez, NY NY
    FF23.  David Ortiz Face of the Franchise
    HM11. Carlos Gomez Highlights and Milestones
    MM11. Carl Crawford Midsummer Memories
    MM12. Vladimir Guerrero Midsummer Memories

    Inserts #2:

    RM-26.  Retro Hanley Ramirez
    AW15.  Torii Hunter The Award Show
    1228.  Retrospectives The Middle East Peace Accord
    1233.  Retrospectives Nashville Predators
    1223.  Retrospectives El Nino

    Black bordered parallels #1

    101. Radhames Liz
    109. Travis Hafner
    124. Heath Bell
    176. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    188. Vernon Wells
    223. Chris Iannetta
    232. Casey Blake
    360. Francisco Rodriguez
    364. Troy Tulowitzki

    Black Bordered parallels #2:

    392. Tim Wakefield
    403. Yovani Gallardo
    432. Austin Kearns
    451. Miguel Tejada
    61. Chone Figgins
    532. NL Avg. leaders
    553. BoSox moments card
    584. Shawn Kelley.

    I also pulled a black bordered mini of # 308 Jo-Jo Reyes of the Braves, and a blank backed black border of  card # 549, Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs.

    As far as the base set goes, I pulled another 20 cards towards the set.  This now gets me to 486/600 or 81% even.  With the odds of pulling cards I need for the set out of packs now becoming slimmer, I think it's time for me to end the pack buying and work on completing the set via trades/singles purchases.

    This was a fun experiment...185 packs of cards is a little over 5 hobby boxes, and to be 114 cards short is not too bad given the number of parallels and inserts that come from the packs. 

    Everything above is up for trade however, if there's anything you like, just drop me an email or comment below.

    thanks for reading, Robert

    Friday, December 30, 2011

    2009 OPC hobby box #2...packs # 150-167

    Good Friday afternoon to you all, hope that you are ready for the long weekend and New Years!!

    Finally got around to sorting the hobby box of 2009 OPC baseball that my wife bought me for Christmas.  This post contains the first half of the box, and I will post the second half for everyone tomorrow.

    I'll keep the same format as yesterday, make it easier on those who may read this on Sunday morning a little (or a lot) hungover.

    First, the inserts:

    WK8.  Walk off Winners Jed Lowrie
    AR8.   All rookie team Kosuke Fukudome
    FF24.  Face of the franchise Jay Bruce
    HM12. Highlights and Milestones Kelly Shoppach
    1248.   Retrospective card Joe Torre
    1243.   Retrospective card Carlos Beltran
    1238.   Retrospective card Hong Kong International Airport

    Next, the black parallels:

    72. Jhonny Peralta
    114. Gerald Laird
    136. Matt Lindstrom
    158. Steve Pearce
    162. Cha Seung Baek
    174. Omar Vizquel
    237. Reggie Willits
    239. Mike Lowell
    287. Gregg Zaun

    Black parallels part 2:

    315. Andre Ethier
    326. Andy Laroche
    365. Jacoby Ellsbury
    386. Paul Maholm
    389. John Danks
    426. Justin Verlander
    504. Astros Checklist
    561. Travis Snider
    568. Jason Motte

    And...finally....something to "brag" about

    Not the biggest household name in baseball, but still an autograph none the less.  There may be a Cubbies fan out there wanting to trade for it.

    As far as the base set goes, the first half of the box fared quite well for me.  I pulled 37 more base cards towards the set, which now stands at 466/600 or 77.67% complete. 

    All the cards listed in this post are for trade, so if you see something you need, post a comment or send me an email. 

    Thanks for reading, Robert

    Thursday, December 29, 2011

    2009 OPC blaster box 7...packs 135-149

    It's funny that I mentioned this morning a certain chain of stores (Wal Mart) sending me a get well card because I hadn't spent money on cards there in a couple of weeks, and lo and behold I end up there today to buy some other items and voila!  The only thing that catches my eye in the sports card section is a discounted blaster of 2009 OPC. 

    This time, instead of typing every pack out and boring you to absolute tears, I'll just give you the highlights of the blaster. 

    First, the inserts:

    AR2.  Joey Votto (all rookie team)
    1313. Johnny Bench (retrospectives)
    1318. Yogi Berra (retrospectives)
    WK2.  Ryan Zimmerman (Walk off winners)
    AW4. David Wright (The Award Show)
    NY24. Brian Schneider (NY, NY)
    FF7. Albert Pujols (Face of the Franchise)

    Black Bordered parallels, scan #1

    1. Melvin Mora
    104. Seth Smith
    122. Orlando Hudson
    141. Clayton Kershaw
    175. Cole Hamels
    213. Luis Vizcaino
    259. Joe Blanton
    267. Brandon Moss
    302. Frank Francisco

    Black Bordered parallels #2:

    399. Francisco Cordero
    477. Lastings Milledge
    488. Armando Galarraga
    532. NL Batting Leaders
    553. Youkilis/Ortiz
    561. Travis Snider
    14. Jason Giambi Mini

    The inserts and the black bordered parallels are all for trade (except for the Snider, which goes into my Jays collection).

    Now for the base set cards, I fared better with this box, pulling 24 more cards towards the set.  My completion rate now stands at 71.5% (429/600).  I'm hoping that the hobby box that the Mrs. gave me as a Christmas present can get me close to the 500 card mark, and then I can start working some trades and/or purchases in order to complete the set. 

    Thanks for reading, Robert

    Wal Mart just sent me a get well card.

    Good Thursday morning to you all, getting closer my friends to another long weekend.  It will be even longer for me, as I have tomorrow off, making it a 4 day weekend, hallelujah!

    Did Wal Mart really send me a get well card?  No.   Why would they, a billion dollar corporation probably wouldn't even send it's own employees a get well card.  

    I joke about this because you may have noticed on the right hand side of the blog under "returning to my roots", the balance is slowly starting to climb.  That is the case because I have not bought any packs of any kind over the past couple of weeks.

    Why, you may ask?  I haven't needed to.  The wife bought me a hobby box of 2009 OPC baseball which I still have to post on the blog here, likely sometime this weekend.  Plus a  bounty of great cards have found their way into my mailbox over the past week.

    A couple that found their way to me were from Greg over at Plaschke, thy Sweater is Argyle.  This was our fourth trade so far, and it coat-tailed on the back of contest winnings that I had to send Greg for my 2nd contest a few weeks back.

    Not a big trade in terms of number of cards, but quality wise, this trade hit the mark. 

    Two more Maple Leafs cards found their way into my hands.  A Nikolai Kulemin autograph (come on Niko, I need you to pick it up a bit so I can get back out in front in the blogger hockey pool!), and a great dual jersey relic card of former Leaf goal J.S. Giguere, who is now in Colorado.

    Thanks again Greg, looking forward to our next trade!

    Thanks for reading, Robert

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    It's great when other bloggers feed you stuff to write

    Good Wednesday evening to you all, hope that your holiday week is going well so far!

    One day late, as promised, here is Ryan at This Card is Cool's insanity portion.

    First, another great Blue Jay card, a 2003 Topps Pristine Refractor of Blue Jay Dustin McGowan, serial numbered no less.   There's one problem though....

    Is it numbered 96/99.....


    Is it numbered 66/96?

    I know the scans aren't the greatest, but you get the idea...

    inquiring minds want to know.

    You know you have to laugh when a fellow trader writes this on your serial numbered portion of the package:

    I'm doing my best to sink everyone to my level, one blogger at a time........  but I digress.

    Here is the insane contribution that Ryan sent me....

    Some black and hope diamond goodness from '11 Topps.  All low serial numbered cards which fit quite nicely into the set. 

    All in all, a great package of cards from Ryan.  Thank you again Ryan, as always from this end of the desk, the trade is much appreciated.

    Thanks for reading, Robert

    Monday, December 26, 2011

    An after the holiday letdown? Not here

    Good Monday evening to you all, hope that your week got off to a fine start.  I returned home today from spending Christmas with my wife's brother and his family to a couple of packages in the mailbox.

    Ahhhh...the gifts that keep on giving 

    One was a priority mail package from Ryan over at This Card is Cool.  Ryan recently advertised a "clearance sale" of sorts.  I naturally jumped in on the opportunity to acquire the Blue Jays group of cards he was moving at a reduced price.  I am kind of calling this a trade, because I did send Ryan's way some cards he was in need of from the '09 OPC set.

    With this post, I have taken a page from other bloggers and decided to show the best cards of the bunch that I received.  Most of the others show 9 cards (which makes sense, 9 players on the field, etc etc), but of course I have to be different, well just because I like to be different. 

    I've decided to show what I will call the Magnificent Seven (Charles Bronson was in this movie...a precursor to the Death Wish series?   but again, I digress.)

    Here we go, in order, starting with Number 7.

    7. 2011 Topps Brandon Morrow Diamond Parallel

    If it's shiny, chances are it's going to make the list. 

    6. 1994 SP Roberto Alomar  

    I have quite a few of the 94-95 SP cards from Upper Deck hockey, but this is the first baseball card I've come across for the SP set.  It is also numbered ER1, I'm assuming that means "Eastern Region 1".  Did they actually release these regionally for baseball?

    5. 1981 Donruss Bob Bailor 

    Bob Bailor was part of the original Blue Jays team in 1977, plucked from the Orioles organization in the expansion draft.  Bob was the 2nd pick, 1st overall selection for the Blue Jays, and went on to hit .310 in 1977 and yet did not receive a vote for Rookie of the Year (Eddie Murray won in '77). 

    4. 1980 Topps Jerry Garvin 

    Jerry was Toronto's 2nd pick, 4th overall in the 1976 expansion draft.  Jerry had been the property of the Minnesota Twins up until then.  Jerry was one of the early "stars" in the first few years of the Jays franchise.  He was known for a high leg kick, and an excellent pick-off move to first base.  Jerry spent his only 6 seasons in MLB with Toronto, and was out of baseball after the '82 season.

    3. 2011 Topps Heritage Black Jose Bautista 

    Finishing 3rd this past season in MVP voting by Verlander and Ellsbury, Bautista is the catalyst for the Jays offense (Duh).  Ninety seven HR's over the past 2 seasons gives the Jays the best long ball presence every day in the outfield since George Bell in the 80's. 

    The Heritage Black Border cards are pretty slick and getting this card was a great addition to my Jays collection.

    2.  1992 Score Select Shannon Stewart 

    I know I know, how can a card from the overproduction era be in the top 7?

    I took one look at the photo, and had it considered for number one for a while.  This is a great super imposed shot of Shannon Stewart going skyward for a fly ball, figuratively speaking of course. 

    Great card...

    1.  1992 Upper Deck Pat Borders 

    Yes, again a card from the over production era.  But for me, this card is classic.  Pat in the catchers crouch, getting ready to catch a pitch.  Now I don't know if the ball is actually super imposed on the card, or if it is an actual pitch, but the focus of his eyes on the ball is a fantastic shot.

    Sometimes, simple is good.

    Hope that you enjoyed the magnificent seven as much as I did.   Tomorrow, Ryan goes insane....

    Ryan, thank you for the cards, much appreciated!!

    Thank you for reading, Robert

    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    Week 22 begins on Christmas weekend with some loose ends

    Merry Christmas to you all!!  For those who do not celebrate Christmas, I hope that you are enjoying your respective holiday season. 

    For me, it has been a good holiday so far.   I posted the other day about my stocking stuffer, a 7 pack group of 2009 OPC baseball.  The Mrs. also gave me a hobby box of 2009 OPC as well, along with a 100 count box of card pages.  It was also a Maple Leaf themed Christmas as well for me, as I received 2 types of mugs adorned with Maple Leaf logos, as well as a long-sleeved T shirt with the Leafs logo as well. 

    Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they enter the Christmas break 6th in the Eastern Conference, which is a welcome sight from this chair.  Phil Kessel is right there among the league leaders in goals with 20, and a breakout season from his linemate Joffrey Lupul has Leafs fans thinking playoffs for the first time in 8 years.  I would love to see the Leafs make the playoffsa, for me it would validate the work that GM Brian Burke has done during his tenure in cleaning house.  Only Time will Tell...

    There has been some great news coming from the baseball world in December...kind of reminds me of hockey in July with all the great names moving to new homes.  For Blue Jays fans, the Yu Darvish sweepstakes was about the only news generated so far during this offseason.  I still cannot believe that the Rangers ponied up $51.7 million just to negotiate with the guy.  I understand however that they get the money back if they don't work out a contract, but the fact that this amount of money is even being thrown around is absurd. 

    The NBA starts there anyone out there going to watch?? 

    The NFL is headed to the playoffs in two weeks with a lot of teams with a good chance at the Lombardi trophy, one of those teams being my Steelers.  By the way, bless the players on the Packers and Bears for being away from their families this day and providing us entertainment in what should be a fantastic game this evening.

    In the blogging world, Jaybarkerfans Junk is holding a contest to determine the "Blogger of the year".  I nomintaed Chuck over at the Lifetime Topps Project Blog, because I like what he's doing on his blog, the detailed looks at each year with an expected leaning towards his favorite team, the Cincinnati Reds.

    I apologize for the long windedness and lack of card scans, but when I'm on the road, my resources aren't as wide as they are in my own little corner of the universe at home.

    As always, thank you for reading, and be safe over the holiday...Robert

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Cool cards # 9 & # 10

    Found a couple more cards that I thought were cool.  Guess you could call this the St. Louis Cardinals edition of cool cards.

    # 9.  Mark McGwire, 2001 Topps # 50

    Say what you will about Mark McGwire and steroid use, but between Mark and Sammy Sosa, the 2 of them rejuvenated baseball in the '98 season with an epic home run race.  Mark's 70 HR's that season was a record that I thought would stand the test of time.  Sadly, a truly juiced up man broke it three years later when the new "record" of 73 was hit in 2001.

    Why do I think the McGwire card is cool?  Love the bat flying out of his hands, likely after belting another home run out of the park. 

    #10.  Ozzie Smith, 1987 Topps # 749


    I found this card not too long ago in one of those 100 card packs for $4 or $5 at Target.  The reason I thought this card was cool was that it almost looks as if Ozzie is saluting.  For me, it was kind of appropriate since a lot of news was made recently about a large number of US troops coming home, just before the holidays.  God Bless you military people, you do a job that I am sure I could never do.
    Ozzie is also the subject of one of the best calls ever..."Go Crazy Folks, Go Crazy"  

    For me, these two cards are cool.

    Thanks for reading, Robert

    2009 OPC bonus packs..packs # 128-134

    Good Friday to you all, hope that you are ready for great and long holiday weekend.

    Since the wife and I were going away this weekend and didn't feel like lugging our presents all over the place, we decided to do our Christmas last night.

    In my stocking, I found a neat and tidy group of 7 2009 OPC baseball packs, cool for sure!

    The experiment continues:

    Pack 128:

    AR9:  All Rookie Team insert Jair Jurrjens
    75. Chase Utley
    281. Jeff Keppinger
    347. Jason Kendall
    506. Blue Jays team checklist
    8. Brian Schneider Black Bordered Parallel

    Pack 129:

    29. Jamie Moyer
    227. Jason Bay
    365. Jacoby Ellsbury
    408. J.J. Putz
    516. Marlins team checklist
    421. Peter Moylan Black Bordered Parallel

    Pack 130:

    78. Julio Lugo
    396. Marlon Byrd
    456. John Smoltz
    481. Jorge Posada
    589. Walter Silva
    49. Jeremy Guthrie Black Bordered Parallel

    Pack 131:

    222. Craig Counsell
    344. Mike Napoli
    374. Barry Zito
    544. Moments card (Mariners)
    1362. Upper Deck 20th anniversary retrospective Lance Berkman
    267. Brandon Moss Black Bordered Parallel

    Pack 132:

    MM11.  Mid Summer Memories 2007 MLB All star game Carl Crawford
    292. Brian Anderson
    319. Ryan Rowland-Smith
    419. Casey Kotchman
    531. AL Batting Avg leaders (Mauer/Pedroia/Bradley)
    51. Ross Ohlendorf Black Bordered Parallel (man I'm sick of seeing this guys face)

    Pack 133:

    FF7. Face of the Franchise Albert Pujols (not anymore!)
    3. Jonathan Sanchez
    126. Jason Marquis
    210. Alfonso Soriano
    536. NL RBI Leaders (Howard, Wright, Gonzalez)
    80. Lance Berkman Black Bordered Parallel

    Pack 134:

    15. Nate McLouth
    18. Justin Masterson
    116. Mike Jacobs
    439. Johnny Damon
    513. Giants Team Checklist
    517. Mets Team Checklist Black Bordered Parallel

    Some decent packs, nothing earth shattering but still a fun little rip none the less.  Pulled 4 more cards towards my set, so now I'm at 405/600 or 67.5% completion.

    If you need any of the inserts/black bordered cards for your collection(s), just let me know, I'm sure we can work out something.

    Thanks for reading, Robert

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    For me, the diamond anniversary wasn't all that bad

    Good Wednesday evening to you all, I hope that none of you are out there doing some manic last minute shopping for the perfect gift.  Shame on you if you are!!

    I wanted to wax a little bit this evening on the Topps Diamond Giveaway this year.  I did not get any of the diamond die cuts, which seem to be very popular.  For me, this was no great loss.  Out of sight, out of mind.

    Reading other blogs over the past few months has helped me start to develop an appreciation for older cards.  I would love to someday collect a vintage set, but alas the time it will take and the financial outlay will likely be too much for me to bear. 

    The diamond giveaway for me was an affordable way to take a chance on obtaining some older cards, basically from packs I was going to buy anyways this year.  For me, I feel that I was pretty lucky with some of the vintage cards I pulled.

    The '55 Topps Leo Kiely card pictured at the top was especially interesting for me to obtain, because I had never held one of the '55's in my hand.  I also never knew that they were slightly larger than cards that were released in later years. 

    The Camilo Pascual card was another card I enjoyed receiving.  I had heard of Camilo, but did not know much about him as a player.  A couple of 20 win seasons for the Twins in the early 60's, had some pretty decent statistical seasons as well for some Twins teams that didn't fare well (led the AL in shutouts in '61 with 8, but wound up with a 15-16 record).

    I also pulled a couple of '68 Topps cards, #21 John Briggs, and # 284 Ron Davis.  Ron's hat, as you can plainly see, is a victim of the airbrush.

    Three more vintage cards finish off the display for today.  The first is a '57 Topps Charlie Silvera card.  The card back reads "Charlie will get his chance to play a complete season in 1957 after being a part time operator with the Yanks for 8 years."  Sadly, Charlie only had 53 ABs with the Cubs in '57, which also turned out to be his last year in MLB.  Don Blasingame's card back says that he finished 2nd on the Senators in batting avg in 1964, he hit .263.  One of Don's teammates was a 33 year old utility player named Don Zimmer.  The Bill Wakefield card from '66 Topps features him a full year after he played in his only season in the bigs, which was 1964. 

    I also managed to grab a couple of cards from the early to mid 70's, along with a bunch of cards between the years 79-82 as well. 

    Nothing great for sure, but just having them is cool. 

    Plus who knows, maybe someone out there will recognize one of these as a card they need for a set they are putting together.  If that's you, just let me know, I'm sure we can work something out.

    Thanks for reading, Robert

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    The new electronic leash is doing its job

    Good Tuesday evening to you all, thank goodness the hardest part of the week is over. 

    As any of you regular readers may have read, or noticed over the past few weeks, I have added on the right hand side of the blog a running count of my "habit fund".  I did this to attempt to get myself to stay within the $30 a week budget that I had set for myself when I started the blog.

    Well, I must say, mission accomplished so far.  I've kept my spending under the $30 per week budget for the first two weeks, and this week all I've purchased so far is a discounted blaster of 2011 Topps Chrome. 

    I almost had the final 3 rack packs of Topps Heritage in my hands on Sunday while Christmas shopping, but my new found fear of humiliating myself publicly on the blog kept me from buying them. 

    Be that as it may, part of this post naturally is to show everyone what I pulled from the box that I did buy.  While I will say that it wasn't a "wow" box, there were enough decent cards in there for trade, along with a couple of cards that will get me a little closer towards the insanity set.

    First, the base cards:

    23 cards closer to the on to the refractors...

    The top row, Votto, Pettit and Barney are all Xfractors, and not numbered.

    The middle row, Minor, Rodriguez and Valencia are base refractors.

    On the bottom is a Vintage Chrome of Mark Teixeira. 

    All of these "parallel" cards are for trade if anyone needs them for their collection.

    Finally, the insanity set comes 2 cards closer:

    Two nice cards...a Jose Bautista purple refractor #'d 411/499, and a Topps Chrome Heritage Dustin Pedroia #'d 1284. 

    All in all, not a bad box, especially at 25% off.    See, the electronic leash is working by returning me to my bargain hunting el cheapo ways.

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    I get excited over such small things

    Good Monday evening to you all...6 days to go until the paper assassination begins.

    What did I get excited about you say?  Like I said, it is a real small thing, but for me it's cool because it's validation that the insanity set is actually going to happen.

    I started putting the cards into binder pages last night.  Woo hoo, party on!!

    I know, about as bland as a party hat can be huh?  Well of course it is, because that's what this topic is to most people.  But for me, putting the serial numbered cards into pages was kind of exciting, because I was able to see how the set was going to start shaping up.  

    Now, instead of seeing cards like this

    I can see pages start to come together, like this:

    As you can see, so far Page 1 is missing serial #'d cards 2,3 and 5 ( I do have #3, I just haven't scanned and posted to the insanity blog as of yet).  I've only put together the first 40 pages so far, but the set to me is more fun now that I've gotten off my ass and placed the cards into binder pages.  

    Now posts like this have a little more meaning, because things are coming together.  Cards that I win on eBay, such as these, have a little more meaning to them:

    A lot of dirt on uniforms, and some great action shots as well on these cards.  (Brian, before I even catalog the Henry Blanco card, do you need it at all?  let me know...)

    A lot of you can also attest to are part of my insanity....and for that I say thank you !!

    Thanks for reading, Robert

    Sunday, December 18, 2011

    Product lines that you won't see on shelves anytime soon.

    Good Sunday evening to you all, hope that your weekend was fantastic!

    Well, I thought about the Blog Bat Around question, namely the sets I enjoyed and the ones I could do without for 2012.  But then I thought, well you've only been blogging for about 4.5 months, and really didn't invest in all the sets that were produced by the Kings of Production (Topps that is).

    This actually got the ole creative juices flowing, which as you've likely seen from my posts lately, hasn't been all that good.

    What if I won the lottery, and decided to start my own company and produce a bunch of different card lines such as Topps does (I think I counted 22 products between Topps & Bowman this year, no?).   Naturally, I would need a good R&D department to get in touch with the consumer and find out exactly what they're looking for.

    Wait a minute, I'm a creative guy!  I have some ideas that might go over with the big boys and save me a bunch of $$ on a company start up.  Tell me what you think of these ideas for new card sets.

    (Disclaimer: these are my thoughts only, and are not meant to represent any true or actual idea that a card company such as Topps may actually have currently, or had at any time in the past.)

    1.  The Millionaire Set

    Set size: 341 (and counting)

    The premise behind this set was showing the collecting world in one set all the players in MLB that make a $1,000,000 or more in annual salary.

    Pros:  This set wouldn't be overly difficult to complete because it doesn't contain every MLB player, although it does come close.

    Cons:  There were a couple I could think of.  First, again the fans of small market or budget conscious teams such as Oakland and Houston would complain about the lack of representation, since their teams only contain 5 millionaires, while teams such as the Yankees, Red Sox and Angels would have 16, 16 and 17 cards in the set respectively.

    Second, since the numbering of the set was based on the actual players salary, Joe Blanton was pissed because it was finally made known to the world that he made $10.5 M last year while playing for the Phillies. (see here if you don't believe me)

    2.  The DNA set    

    Set size:  infinite

    Instead of pictures of actual baseball players on the card, the card would contain strands of nucleotides that would conform to the players actual DNA makeup.

    Pros:  Kids would actually learn something when reading a baseball card instead of just idle statistics, biology scores across the country could actually climb because of it?

    Cons:  Once again, small market teams could have a beef here, because teams like the Yankees and Red Sox  could actually afford to hire genetic engineers to clone past greats like Gehrig and Ruth and use them to create super teams (yes, even more super than they are now).

    3.  The PED set   

    Set size:  Who Knows?

    The set would be based on any player who tested positive, was believed to have been tested positive, may not have tested positive but their huge increase in stats led the world to believe they were on PED's, or anyone else who may be popping anything from headache pills to fried chicken and beer in the clubhouse (yes, those are performance enhancing drugs, because who can play their best when they have a headache or are hungry....come on now!!!)

    Pros, and a few minor leaguers would be featured in this set.

    Cons:  On initial thought, this was believed to be a potential hit because the set would actually feature nothing but huge stars.  However, the set idea failed because of the length of time for athletes to actually admit that they used PED's.  Nobody wants to wait decades for a new baseball release, now do they???

    Then again, maybe I shouldn't worry about creating ideas for new product lines and stick to doing what I do best...  b.s. about baseball cards that are already being produced.

    Thanks for reading, Robert

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Proud to be an American

    Good Saturday evening to you all, hope that your weekend is going well so far. 

    As you've heard me mention countless times before, I've been blessed with the amount of generosity the blogosphere has displayed in the 4+ months I've been blogging.  In addition, I've also discovered a vast quantity, and quality, of cards that I've missed over the past several years due to buying the occasional retail packs here and there.

    One of the insert sets that I've really taken a shine to is the United States of America insert set from 2008 Allen & Ginter.  I've been fortunate to receive 3 of them that contain Blue Jays players so far, and though I normally do not collect insert sets, this is a set that I will put together for sure.

    For me, these cards present an opportunity to learn a little bit more about the USA.  Of course, everyone knows the US flag, but I've only seen a handful of the individual state flags, and seeing these cards gave me an extra reason to pursue this insert set.

    I always relish the opportunity to learn something about our country because I was not born here.  I have, however, been a citizen of the US for a little over 5 years now, and would not trade that for the world. 

    Needless to say there are other sets that I will also try to collect over time, but with the plethora of sets I have going now, the likelihood that they will be started anytime soon is nil. 

    I will add this set to the want list over the next day or two, hopefully someone has some extras floating around that they would be willing to trade...

    Thanks for reading, Robert

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Cool cards # 7 & 8

    Happy Friday to you all, we've survived another work week!!  For your viewing pleasure, here are two more "cool cards" for you to look at.

    #7.  Mario Gosselin, 1990-91 Upper Deck, card # 91

    An absolutely fantastic shot of the LA Kings goaltender attempting to make a save. 

    It's not too often you get to see a shot like this from overhead.  The puck's location on the edge of his pad is indicative of the quality photos that Upper Deck produced for their first hockey set back in 1990-91.

    Today, over 20 years later, the photography is still top notch.

    8.  Shawn Green, 1998 Fleer Ultra #101

    Another great action shot here, as it appears that Green has dove into 3rd base trying to avoid the tag of Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr.  Either that, or this is the weirdest game of twister I've ever seen.

    Left foot, BLUE!!

    The only thing for me that hinders the card is the writing of Shawn's name.  Maybe just a little too big and slanted, which takes away from the quality of the photo here.  Nonetheless, a great card.

    Thanks for reading, get that Christmas shopping done this weekend!!  Robert

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Maybe you should pick the title, because I just can't decide.

    Good Wednesday evening to you all, the count down is on...10 shopping days until Christmas, are you done yet?  (King procrastinator here is not...)

    Why am I asking you to pick the title?  Well, because there were 3 things that I noticed or happened while delving into a package recently sent to me by the Night Owl

    Each of them could have been in itself a post title, but I couldn't decide on which one to use.  Therefore, I'll let you, the reader, decide.

    1.  The Night Owl teaches me a lesson about opening envelopes.

    Now this, would have been the most obvious one at first, because of the near calamity that I had when I opened the envelope that Greg sent.

    I don't know about my friends in the blogosphere, but I am still a 10 year old kid when it comes to opening envelopes, it kind of reminds me of this classic character.

    Well, take a look at the note below.

    Now normally I do not post the notes of fellow bloggers when they send me cards, in fact it's the first time I've ever done it. 

    Well, the note is kind of interesting for two reasons.  First, if you take a look at the bottom of the note, you will see that the paper is sliced.  That is not for dramatic effect, that is actually what I did when I opened the envelope with my trusty box cutter. 

    Now, take a look at what was inside the note.

    Both pictures have been expanded to the "large" setting for the proper effect.  This wonderful oversized card of Jesse Barfield was tucked inside the note!!!

    Thankfully, the card did not feel the wrath of the evil box cutter because it had settled down further into the envelope.

    Now, the second reason the note is interesting is title #2.

    2.  The Night Owl has psychic powers

    Now I thought that this title might have been a little over the top and dramatic, but I thought it kind of funny that he had written the note, and it turned out that only two of the cards that he sent me were ones that I already had.  Those of you who read my blog regularly know that Ted from Crinkly Wrappers had sent me a giant stack a while back, which are STILL not cataloged (this time of year is murder on my motivation).  Well, the stack that the Owl sent hit the mark again.  Here's a few of the Jays he sent:

    Roy Lee Jackson in the lower right looks absolutely miserable at the time of the photo shoot.  The John Olerud, bottom row middle is an O-Pee-Chee card, which is always welcome here.  The lower left card intrigued me, this Fred McGriff card was from an issue of Baseball Cards Magazine.  The Owl has recently written about the magazine, so this card was pretty cool to get from him.

    Finally, some more of the cards in the envelope were the inspiration for the third title.

    3.  The prize fighter, the bullet hole and the insanity of it all. 

    Yes, I know, wayyyyyy over the top.

    First he sent me a card of the legendary Mike Tyson.


    This guy is legendary, to somebody. 

    Were you thinking of this guy??

    OK, whatever....


    Take a look at the lower right corner.  Someone shot Geno's glove!!

    OK, well it seemed funny to me...

    Finally, here comes the insanity:

    Yes, the Night Owl is psychic, because the 6 serial numbered cards were all needed for the insanity set.  Plus, how did he know to send me a card of a player I was going to feature in a post this week??  (Collin Balester)

    Well, I hope that you had as much fun reading this post as I did writing it.  Of course, a big thank you to Greg for the cards, and the inspiration.  Much appreciated!!!!

    Thanks for reading, Robert