Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bats, follow throughs and stances

One of the surprise packages that I received within the last week was from Jeff at the 2x3 heroes blog.  It was a bubble mailer crammed with all kinds of cards.  Now I know that Jeff recently had some posts about thinning his collection, and the shipping costs associated with that.

With the bubble mailer I received, I'm not surprised that Jeff single handedly put the USPS back in the black.

I remember asking for the Jays in his great giveaway, but somehow I got the Mets as well.  Not unlike a lot of drunken hazy evenings during my college days, I'm not sure what I did to get all these extra cards.

No matter.   They're here, and a bunch of them drove me batty.  The last card you'll see in this post is what inspired this folly of writing. 

A lot of writing in the blogosphere over the past couple of years has commented on the different types of card photos, and the great action (or lack thereof) on them.  This post focuses on the offensive portion of the game, especially bats, bats, and bats.

Guys in simple poses with their bat:

Guys pretending to be at bat:

There's even guys that are hypnotized by their lumber...

the hypnosis never did work in Toronto
Then you have guys that are photographed during the follow through.  Jose Cruz for example...

Even  guys who didn't last long in Toronto showed up.  Charlie Moore had a pretty good swing by the looks of this Score card.

It's always easy to spot an old Exhibition Stadium photo
Even a card I probably have shown off a half dozen times on the blog showed up as well.  Broken bats never get old...

The next couple of cards actually made me think.   You never (at least I never) see a whole lot of cards that feature the batter in their stance.  Not swinging, following through or posing, but in the batters box getting ready to face the next pitch.

How about one of my favorite Jays of all time, Tony Fernandez.

I always remember that Tony's bat was never really high above his head when he awaited a pitch.  If I remember correctly, when Fernandez batted left handed his bat was even "flatter" (correct me if I'm wrong).

This next card shows what is one of my favorite batting stances of all time, Moises Alou.

Raise your hand if you remember that the Pirates drafted him

That stance always made me wonder how Moises was even comfortable at the plate.  The left leg bent inwards, the right leg looks stiff as a board and at what looks to be a 45 degree angle.  It seemed to work quite well, as Alou had 2134 career hits and 332 homers.  He even had a season in which he hit .355, but didn't lead the league in hitting (2000, Todd Helton led with .372).

Anyone out there have cards that feature hitters in their batting stances that they like?  This is a subject that kind of intrigues me, so I'd really like to hear of any other cards that feature a hitter in the batters box awaiting a pitch.

Jeff, thank you for the cards, they are greatly appreciated!  Let me know about the '64s.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

One here, two there

Been a quiet week for me posting.  Physically, I've not been feeling the best for the past couple of days, but I decided I had to sit down and write a little something today.

I figure I may as well keep on with the Blue Jays theme that I've had lately, especially since they won their first Grapefruit league game today, 4-3 over the Phillies (yea, I know it means nothing).

I've received a few envelopes lately, the first being a small trade I made with Thomas over the at Dodgers88 blog.  Sadly, Thomas might be about the 3000th person to start a Dodgers blog, so he has to be like the smaller child to the dinner table; be there first or end up with the crumbs and the carrots.

Thomas scored the ruby red Puig I displayed a few days ago, and in return I received a couple of Jays Wal Mart blue parallels.

The key card was the Joey Bats, but the Kevin Pillar was a nice surprise as well.

Speaking of Kevin Pillar, I also received this from Kenny at the Cervin' Up Cards blog, as part of a big package of Jays he sent my way.

Not bad, Pillar in 2013 has a Dunedin Blue Jays card (single A farm team), and the next season he's on a card from the flagship set.   Nice!

Kenny, I'm behind on my packages.  I do owe you and will get your cards in the mail soon.   I appreciate your patience with me!!

These final two cards take up two slots in the SNI project.  On the left is serial # 1028, courtesy of Jeff over at the 2x3 heroes blog.  Mr. Eckstein is the 44th Blue Jay out of the 50 needed, and was part of a huge envelope filled with great cards.  I still haven't taken the time to go through them all, but thank you Jeff!!

The card on the right was from blog reader Tony L.  The Rios is serial #1438 and is the 34th White Sox card out of the 50 required.  Tony, thank you very much for the Rios, and I'll be on the lookout for some cards to send your way as well!!

The SNI set now stands at 1089 cards, or 72.6 % complete.  It's been moving kind of slow lately, but hopefully before too long some new gold cards from the 2014 Topps set will start to trickle in. 

As always, thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, February 22, 2014

It's a start

Got a lot going on right now.  Work has been busy the past couple of weeks with all the weather affecting the east coast.

I've been trying to keep up with writing on the blog, but it just hasn't happened like I want it to happen.  Skipping days here and there for one reason or another gives me a bit of a guilty conscience.

Today was no different.  I spent a few hours at home waiting for the gas man to come, only to find out several hours later that he was stuck at an emergency.  Because of that, my wife got to go out and get her new car without me (boo....) while I stayed and worked on one of the massive pile of Blue Jays that sits on my desk.  I had no choice but to get cracking on sorting through them today, because I received two large brown envelopes in the mail, full of guess what???

I will get to both of those mounds of cardboard goodness over the next couple of days. 

As I went through approximately the first 200 Blue Jay cards on my desk, I noticed something interesting.

More parallels.   Not just the insanity that is the flagship over the past few years.  Older parallels.  We're talking 90's style here folks.

SP silver?

As if chasing the base set wasn't bad enough, silver parallels for collectors to grab.  If I remember correctly, these cards weren't cheap back in the day either.

How about some Topps gold, before they were serial numbered.

If I remember, one a pack and 3 in a jumbo?  Something like that?  If I ever get around to doing a "best of Blue Jays" countdown, that Alomar card and the cloud of dust could be in there.

Even Score got into the act with their Gold Rush parallels.

Edges chip real easy on these

Watching John Olerud hit a baseball in 1993 was one of the best summer's I can remember.  His .363 average that year may be a club record that is never broken.  There's only one player that has come within 20 points since then (Delgado, .344 in 2000). 

Seeing all these parallels make me miss the regular base cards, such as these:

I didn't realize until after scanning that I paired a couple of Dave's together.   Night and day as far as their contributions to the club are concerned. 

Lemanczyk lasted 3 years in Toronto, and was the club's win leader in their first season with 13.  Considering they only won 54 games in 1977, getting 13 is quite an accomplishment.

Stieb still owns the only no-hitter in Blue Jays history, and is in the top 10 in most team pitching categories.  The stare on his card resembles what he did on the mound.  Stieb was as intense as they come.

Getting about 200 cards sorted into "need em got em" piles is a start. 

Speaking of piles, I did manage to get 4 envelopes in the mail today...

PWE's headed to:


Bubble mailer headed to:


Still have lots more to go, on both fronts.   Stay tuned...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Short timers

In the department where I work, there is a fair bit of employee turnover.  We have some fun with the people that are leaving, either via promotion or moving on to another company.  We call them "short timers", much like a prisoner near the end of their sentence.

Leafing through the giant pair of piles of Jays cards that I have to sort through, I came across 4 cards of players who didn't spend a great deal of time in Toronto.  Short timers of a different sort.

Let's start with a sunset card, the 1986 Jeff Burroughs.

Jeff's final major league season was strictly as a DH.  He appeared in 86 games, hitting .257 with 6 homers.  Jeff finally got to appear in the post season during 1985, albeit for only AB, in a heartbreaking game 7 loss to the Royals.

I can't say that I honestly remember this (maybe I just don't want to remember), but Danny Darwin did spend a few months in a Jays uniform.

The Blue Jays signed Darwin in the 2nd week of April in 1995, and on July 18th of the same year, he was back on the market.  I'm guessing the 1-8 record, 7.62 ERA and 1.769 WHIP was the cause of that.   Hey, not everyone can pitch well in the Skydome...

How about a guy that spent parts of 2 seasons with the Jays, David Cone...

As opposed to Darwin, David Cone pitched quite well during his time in Toronto.   In '92, he was the "hired gun", being traded to the Jays at the end of August for Jeff Kent and a minor leaguer.  David had a 2.55 ERA in his 8 appearances in the regular season, then split a pair of decisions in the ALCS versus Oakland.   Cone also pitched twice in the '92 WS, recording a pair of no-decisions while struggling a bit with his control (8 walks in 10.1 innings).

Speaking of the '92 World Series run, here's another short timer that was a major player for that team, Dave Winfield.

Dave had a great '92 season in Toronto, finishing 5th in MVP balloting (hard to beat out Eckersley's 51 saves that year) with 26 HR and 108 RBI.  What Dave received that trumped everything else that year was redemption.   It was 11 years after his disappointing post season run in 1981, when George Steinbrenner labeled him "Mr. May".  His go ahead double in game 6 against Atlanta was the key hit that erased all the previous post season negativity, and gave him the World Series ring he so coveted.
The '92 season was his only one in Toronto.  Dave moved on to Minnesota for 2 seasons before finally finishing up with the Indians in 1995.

You just never know what you're going to get when you sign a player for a short period of time.  Sometimes you get great results, sometimes the results leave something to be desired.

I'd rather be the fan of a team that takes a chance on short timers, because it usually means that you're in the hunt come September.

And September is when we start seeing the best time of the year for baseball....right?

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Drawing a line in the sand

I spent a good portion of this past Sunday updating my Blue Jays want list (no, it's not posted yet).  I took a break from the updating to read Greg's post on the Night Owl blog entitled "Uninspired".

His thoughts on that post mirrored what I'd been thinking about for the previous few hours while updating the Jays list...

When the hell does this all end??

There were times when I knew that there was no way in hell that I was going to put on all the parallels that have come out over the past few years in the flagship release.  This year is even better.

Do I want to create a 2014 want list for the yellow, green, blue, red (2 kinds of red no less), camo, pink,  black and gold parallels?

Hell no.

When I posted last year's Blue Jays want list for the flagship, I stuck to three colors (blue, red and green) because I knew that only going after those 3 would be realistic.

I drew the proverbial line in the sand.  I probably will stick to 2 or 3 colors again this year, once I finally post the updated Jays want list (the goal is still to have it posted and current by the end of March).

I said to myself after thinking about it "do I really want 9 different colors of Esmil Rogers?"

OK, the answer was yes, but my point here is that I'm not going to chase after them all.  I'm also not going to sit there and type out a monster want list for all 9 different colors.

I wouldn't expect anyone else to do the same.   It's bloody insane.   I already have one project that defines my insanity.

If I pull a parallel card of one of your teams, I'll do the right thing.

I'll ask you if you need it.  I know that everyone out there isn't as crazy as I am.

Consider the line drawn...


thanks for reading the insanity, Robert

Monday, February 17, 2014

Torn between two nations

This has been quite surprising to me the past couple of weeks, but I've been asked this particular question a lot.

"Which country are you cheering for in the Olympics?"

Those of you that know me are aware that I was born and raised in Canada, but am now an American citizen and living in the Keystone state.

Those who know me really well are aware of my passion towards the blue and white of Toronto sports teams, especially the Maple Leafs.  I've always cheered for Canada when it came to Olympic sports, because some allegiances do die hard.

After the past few days, my allegiances are splitting, and for good reason.  The USA mens hockey team has looked much better than the Canadians, thanks in part to the guy who is currently my favorite Maple Leaf, Phil Kessel.

This is Kessel's 5th season in Toronto, and I've been a big fan of his since the trade in 2009 that was widely criticized by fans and the media.  Many said the Leafs overpaid, but from day 1 I believed that this guy was going to be a difference maker in the blue and white.

Over the past 3 seasons (including this season), Kessel has been a point a game player.  The last full time player for the Leafs that averaged a point a game was hailed a hero in the city (Mats Sundin), and there are still a lot of people in Toronto that don't give Kessel his due.

Yes, defensively he is not a stalwart, but given his speed and his wicked wrist shot, Kessel can quickly change a game offensively for the Leafs.  The Leafs haven't had a 40 goal scorer since 2001-02 (Sundin), and if Kessel scores 9 times in the final 22 games he'll break that streak.

Phil potted a natural hat trick the other day versus Slovenia, and has looked good with James van Riemsdyk and Joe Pavelski on his line.

If Canada and the US end up facing each other in the gold medal game, which is not a given right now, my allegiances may truly be torn. 

I've been thinking long and hard about adding another PC, and Kessel has been the subject of those thoughts.  I probably won't decide until after the season, but a strong finish to the Olympics may just swing that decision very quickly.

The next 6 days of Olympic hockey are really going to be fun to watch....

Thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Follow up to the lost cards post, plus a few more Jays in the house

Thank you all for the great response to last night's post.

I have sent follow up emails ( or comments if I don't have your email available ) with responses.

I also have to send a quick, and very delayed, shout out to a couple of people who sent me a package.

First up is Marc from Remember The Astrodome who sent me a package of Blue Jays goodness, including a couple of Panini Triple Play cards...

The Bautista Triple Play card is cool, although the beard I don't think does him justice.  I don't even recall getting any of the Jays stickers over the past couple of years either, so the Lawrie was a good find.

Blog reader (and fellow Jays fan) Richard from southern Ontario sent me a great envelope of Jays goodness.  Since I'm a little pressed for time, I'll show off just a few.

How about some '87 Donruss Opening Day

Love the burgundy (?) red borders, they really look sharp.  Doesn't hurt either that there are a few of the Jays all time best players in this group as well.

You are going to be seeing double here in a few seconds.  Your eyes aren't playing tricks, I promise..

Can't complain about these two!  2004 Cracker Jack full size and mini of Roy Halladay. 

Marc and Richard, thank you both for the great envelopes, much appreciated!

If you have received an email/follow up comment from me regarding last night's post, let me know.

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Series 1 hobby box review: Help find some lost cards a good home

As far as I'm concerned, the series 1 hobby box I bought can be summed up in 2 quick points:

1.  Collation was good
2.  I managed to pull cards for everyone else but myself

The collation was better than I expected.   There wasn't one dupe in the box, and I scored 308/330 cards towards completing the series 1 set.   Definitely no complaints there.

Sadly, from the 5 rack packs I bought, I only had 4 of the 22 cards I needed.  So here's a quick want list:


Now as far as the rest of the cards in the box are concerned, they are pretty much for everyone else in the blogosphere but myself.  (I think)

Case in point.  4 of the '89 minis

No Blue Jays here...

Next up is the pink and black attack...

Again, great cards, but nowhere on them do you see a Maple Leaf with a blue bird.

Ruby Red more your color preference?   How about some power players?

Great cards, but they belong somewhere else than New Castle, PA.

The explosion of youth in the game during the last few years means that the future is now.   These cards will tell you that..

These next 9 definitely don't belong here because they are upper class.   I for certain, am not.

More assorted inserts that wandered into my home.  The before they were great inserts are thick, I'm not sure why?

Even the gold parallels don't fit in here.   The "jersey" card kind of reminds me a little bit of a bulls eye. 

OK, I lied.   There's one card that gets to stay.

The backs are still educational for odd stats lovers like myself.   Esmil was the only pitcher in MLB last year with at least 20 starts and 20 relief appearances.  Kind of a throwback if you ask me.

OK, if any of you out there know of a good home for any of the cards above, aside from Mr. Rogers, kindly let me know.

There is nothing sadder than cards that are in the wrong person's hands. 

Thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, February 14, 2014

Week in review: I didn't know Topps was still doing this

I splurged this week.  Part of my trip down south was a trip to the Hard Rock Casino.  After a successful visit to the blackjack tables, I decided to treat myself and purchase a hobby box of 2014 series 1.  I'll share a couple of cards that I didn't expect to pull out of the box.

A couple of years back when I bought a hobby box of  Heritage, I pulled a buy back card of Chuck Hiller from '62 Topps.  I remember being happy about the card, except for the giant foil logo that Topps pasted on it.

About halfway through this years' hobby box, I pulled this card.

I have this card already for the '73 set I'm putting together (sporadically), but I have to check to see if this is an upgrade.  I'm thinking it probably is.  To be honest, I don't even mind the Topps 75th logo in the upper right corner.  For me, it really doesn't take much away from the card.

In the next pack, I was shocked to pull this card. 

Even with the 75th anniversary logo in the upper right corner, this is the nicest '57 that I own.   I've only purchased a handful over the past couple of years, but sometime down the road this is a set that I'd like to try and put together.  There is only a very small crease in the top center of the front, but other than that this card is in great shape.

Total spent on cards this week:  $65 + tax

Yea, it's probably more than I should have spent, but it was "found money", and I didn't have to wait for the box to be shipped.  Plus spending money at a  B&M card dealer is probably a good idea every once in a while. 

I may have pulled a pink, a black, and a few red parallels, but for me these were the best pulls of the box.

Now it's time to put the set together.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Falling further behind is a good thing

It's the middle of winter.   I know that when I get up in the morning, my work day will already have been decided for me.   A huge storm that is hitting the eastern seaboard is going to dump a foot or more of snow on eastern PA, which means I will be calling a ton of customers to tell them that we aren't going to be picking up packages.

Yet, my pile of Blue Jays that sits beside me here on my "desk" keeps growing.  Guys are digging out of tons of snow, and cards, to send me another pile of the latest and greatest in Blue Jays cardboard wonder.

One of those fine gents is Max at the Starting Nine blog.  While I was on vacation, Max sent me an email (that I didn't read until after I got home) stating that more Blue Jays were on my way.


How about we start with a near complete team set from this year's series 1.

I know that there is at least a couple of more Jays cards out there. Mark Derosa throwing a football is one, and Melky Cabrera is the other that I remember.  I haven't seen Reyes, Dickey or Lind anywhere yet, so I'm assuming they will be in series 2. 

It scares me to think that 10 players times the infinite # of parallels means a lot of chasing this year.  I think I'll stick to something more attainable, like building the base set...

How about some Chrome goodness for your viewing pleasure.   There's even a refractor of E-squared for your troubles.

I don't wear ball caps anymore, but if I ever did buy another one for the Jays, it would be the one Roberto Osuna is wearing on the right.  Simple.

I took a look at the Killebrew/Bautista card and wasn't sure if a comparison between the two really was in order.  Then I took a look at Killebrew's stats, especially in the early 60's.

I had no idea the man played in the outfield for three years between 1962-1964.  I always knew him as a third/first baseman.  His 142 HRs during those 3 years led the AL.  Both of them played both the infield and outfield back and forth during their careers.  While Jose hasn't had quite the extended level of power numbers that "Killer" had during his career, with a handful of big seasons potentially ahead of him, Bautista might start to resemble Harmon's career a little more.  Time will tell.

I really like the Hudson T206 and the Delgado Turkey Red cards as well.  A lot of people didn't like the Jays logo with the Maple Leaf predominantly in the background, but for me it worked.   The bird looked a little goofy, but still I had no problems with it. 

This final card in the package is my favorite.

Normally, anything unlicensed and devoid of team logos is something that I would avoid.  But this card really jumped out at me when I saw it.  I don't know what it is...maybe the "band of brothers" is what grabs me, or the quality of the pics of all 3 players.  If I ever get around to doing a Blue Jays countdown, I'm sure that this will fall somewhere in there.

Yes, I've only fallen 16 more cards behind in the great sorting process, but a reminder of summer during this brutal winter is definitely a good thing.

Max, as always thank you very much!  A great package!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Mini, regular and Giant

Pat strikes again.  While I was away, a couple of PWE's (I'm starting to think this stands for Pat's White Envelope) from the Hot Corner were part of the mailings I had to go through.

No complaints here, Pat hit two of my favorite collecting pastimes.   Jays and serial numbers.  You know, the usual. 

Let's work our way up size wise, as the post title indicated.

First, the minis.

To be honest, I don't even remember if I have any of these.   I'm too lazy to look at the gigantic Excel spreadsheet of Blue Jays that I have.   That comes another time.

Pat started me off with some Blue Jays for the 2014 Topps team set as well.

Regular size of course.

Well, at least 2 out of 3 are still with the team.  Rajai Davis signed a deal to take his 125 steals over the past 3 years to Detroit.  Maybe that will open up some room for Anthony Gose to make the club.

Finally, the serial numbers.  Two Giants.  The first 2014 Topps cards to hit the 1500 card behemoth.

Serial Number 1142
No slouch for the first 2014 gold card here, as Buster Posey appears for the third time in the set.  Buster's card is the 33rd Giant out of 50.

Serial Number 883
Right behind Buster was this Brandon Crawford 2014 Topps gold card.  The Giants are now at 34 out of 50, and the SNI set total is now 1087/1500. 

Won't be long before 1100 is here.  Thank you for the cards Pat, as always very much appreciated!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

North vs South, part 2

OK, so it's not all about the baseball cards.  I did not know that Abraham Lincoln was shot 5 days after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee.


Enough of the history lesson, back to the cards.  After thinking about it for about 5 seconds, I'm sure that I faired  better with the southern cards simply because I bought more.   3 rack packs instead of the 2 I bought above the Mason-Dixon line.

I pulled my first two Super Veteran cards, a couple of OK shortstops...

How about some more inserts?

That's already the 2nd Yu Darvish I've pulled for the "future is now" insert set.  The same goes for Jean Segura.  Instantly, that becomes a bit of overkill for me.

I only pulled one mini, but it was a pretty good one.   Michael Jack Schmidt.

Looks a little bit like Chuck Norris?  Just a little.....

I'm declaring that Buddy Boshers is currently the best name in the major leagues right now.   Don't argue, it's true.  

How come every time I pull a Jason Frasor card I hear Howard Cosell's "Down Goes Frazier" call from the 70's?  Jason and Elvis are headed to Texas.  Paul Goldschmidt is headed to Arizona if Daniel is in need.  Garrett Jones might be the only player that I can remember that lost 2 jobs in the same summer.  It'll be interesting to see if he's a regular again in 2014 for Pittsburgh now that Morneau and Byrd have flown the coop.  The Cabrera/Mauer/Trout is the first gold that I pulled with a serial number below 1500. Alas, I already have #274, so I think I'll send this one to Pat ( I received your PWE's Pat, thank you again!)

Feeling blue?  Not here, although you may experience a sense of deja-vu in a moment.

10 days away and my scanner skills have gone to hell

The Bogaerts and Middlebrooks cards are headed to the Swing and a Pop-Up blogmeister Bert.   You may recall the Trout and d'Arnaud cards from yesterday.  Yes, they are blue dupes.  Brandon Morrow becomes the first blue Blue Jay to fly into the house, and I will be chasing the colored rainbow again this year.  Sean Doolittle is actually Daniel Bryan, don't let anybody tell you different.  (Yes!  Yes!  Yes!)

Now, so far I haven't pulled any of the Yellow, Pink, Black or Camo or clear parallels.  But seeing all these parallels this year immediately put something into my head (for a change).

The Night Owl blog is one that I enjoy immensely. Greg is probably the one blogger that I've followed the closest since I started blogging a little over 2.5 years ago.  Greg has one feature that I enjoy called "define the design".  Greg does a great job of taking past and present Topps flagship sets, and finding a nickname that describes the set.  Sometimes on his own, sometimes with help from the blogosphere.  The sea turtle set is my personal favorite.

With the insane amount of parallels that Topps has included this year, I immediately thought of a candy I loved as a kid...

Now, while Life Savers doesn't really define the design, they do describe the mountainous amount of parallels in the set (at least for me).   While someone out there will come up with a great/clever way to describe the base set design, 2014 Topps will forever live on in my mind as "the Life Savers set". 

Butterscotch does remind me of the gold parallels....

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, February 10, 2014

North vs South, part 1

I'm back.

I spent the last 9 days languishing in the sun in south Florida, trying to get away from the misery that has been our winter here in western PA.  It appears that my wife and I picked a good week to get away, as there were a couple of storms that dumped some snow and ice on the region while we were gone.  We came home last night to an inch and a half of ice on the car, and wearing only hoodies with no gloves, the first 15 minutes back in reality weren't fun.

But enough of that misery.  You're here for the cards....

On the Friday before we left, my wife wanted to stop at Big Blue and pick up some travel size soap/shampoo for our trip. 

I almost made it through the month of January without cracking any retail.  I decided to become one of the last to the party, and picked up a couple of rack packs of Series 1, along with a blister pack of some hockey cards that I haven't purchased in quite a long time.

Let's start with old reliable, shall we?

The first card from the first pack yielded Julio Teheran, not a bad way to start off the season. 

As far as parallels go, I usually do a pretty good job of pulling decent cards for other peeps, and this years start is no exception.

The next couple of days you're going to see a lot of colored parallels and inserts.   Unless they are Blue Jays, they are up for grabs, so don't be shy about speaking up.

Speaking of inserts, as you may know, I have never really cared one way or the other about them.  Again, unless they are Blue Jays, they don't usually mean a great deal to me.

There are a couple of Mets here that are headed to Max (thank you for the envelope sir, post to come later this week!!)

The '89 minis, I like.   Again, I tend to fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but my thought process is that the minis remind me of the base set.  Since I like the base set, it stands to reason that I will enjoy the minis.   The fact that I've done fairly well so far with the players that I've pulled doesn't hurt either.

As each scan comes across, I'm reminded that I still owe people some goodies.   The Banks is headed to P-Town Tom, who sent me a great card a while back that I never acknowledged (sorry Tom, I'll try and get a nice package out to you shortly). 

Now, to coincide with the "North" theme, I purchased a blister pack (I believe that's what they are called) of 2013-14 Black Diamond Hockey.  I haven't purchased any of these in quite a long time, maybe over a decade if my memory serves me well.  The cards are exactly as I remember.  

Shiny.  Silver.  A bit of a gamble. 

I'm pretty sure the formula is still the same.  Single Diamond are the base, Double Diamond a little more rare, Triple Diamond even rarer and Quad Diamond difficult as hell to pull (at least for me).

It's always easy to tell at least the "level" of card that you've pulled.  The James Neal in the upper right is a double diamond.

I did pull one Maple Leaf, but was kind of disappointed in the player selection.

Don't get me wrong.  A Leaf is a Leaf.  But in a premium set such as this where 5 card packs go for $3, Frazer McLaren is probably the last Leaf that should be included in this set.  O-Pee-Chee?  For sure.  Upper Deck base set?  Sure why not.   Frazer should not have been in the BD set. 

It was also humorous to me that the triple diamond rookie that I pulled out of a pack was sent to the minors two days later...

Who knows, I may get adventurous during the winter and try and build the Black Diamond set.   It's been a long time since I chased one of these. 

All in all, a fun way to break my month long streak of not purchasing any retail.  Tomorrow I'll look at the southern portion of the retail purchases I made while on vacation.  

I fared better in the South than the Confederate army did.  Yes, I'm using these posts to learn a little Civil War history.  It's not my strong suit as far as American history goes...

thanks for reading, Robert