Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Damage Control.

       After hearing about the Matt Harvey injury yesterday, I ran through the The Kübler-Ross model a couple of times.  I have, though, settled in to accept the fact that I won't see him pitch again until 2015 and that 2014 will be yet another stepping stone year for the Mets.  Ugh.

No matter how you deal with the stages of grief, the depression often lingers the longest.  So to cheer myself up, while shopping for a few odds and ends in Target, I decided to break my vow not to buy any and plunked down for four rack packs of Allen and Ginter.
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Each one of my therapy sessions costs $200+ and these only cost $25, so since I don't see my shrink until Thursday, this seemed like a fine immediate investment in my sanity.  Let's take a look at what I got, all 56 cards:

First off, let's look at the legends cards:
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I would like to commend Topps in selecting a few different players this year.  Red Schoendienst, Bill Buckner, Will Clark...it's refreshing to pull some unfamiliar names (and photos) rather than the same 30 names over and over again.  Notice something?  Yeah, I got two Andre Dawson cards.  This will be the start of a pattern (I will also need a ninth old player for my page, email me if you have one for me).

Ginter means kooky historical inserts:
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The write-ups on the Civilizations of the Past cards are nifty, history geek Max like.  The One Little Corner inserts might need to be bought en masse, since astronomy geek Max needs to be satiated too.  I hope the photos on the Curious Cases cards are more interesting than the one there for MKULTRA - why not show someone in an acid freakout?  Finally, the player-based insert set is the Across the Years (and for the first time in a while it isn't horizontal) and they are okay, I suppose.  Hey, look! I got two Jacoby Ellsburys, who seems to be saying "come here and pull my finger..." Classy.

Allen and Ginter also means minis!
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The Johan is obviously staying. Vida Blue got a great write up from Night Owl recently, so it was nice to see him conjured somehow by my enjoyment of that post.   The black minis seem to work nicely this year; Topps seems to go back and forth on those.  There are a couple of insert minis here too: Peacemakers, with the Babe Ruth of peace Gandhi, and a well-referenced (if incorrectly quoted) Heavy Hangs the Head insert with King Richard the I.  I was very excited when I saw a card that said "Marley" on it, but imagine my disappointment when I saw it was Ziggy and not Bob.  Sort of like pulling a Tommy Aaron in 1966 rather than a Hank.  Finally are the three rookie logo-ed cards I pulled, including the wonderfully named Jurickson Profar.  His moniker sounds like Kurt Vonnegut and Charles Dickens collaborated.

What about the base cards?  Well, fine, we can run through those too.
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I like the borders on the Ginter this year, but is it me, or do the pictures seem like 5% too small?  Maybe they could have stretched that fancy stuff out just a touch.  When working in 2.5" x 3.5" every millimeter counts (to mix my metaphors and my measurements).

Here is more base:
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I have already made a page out of these baseball players, but if there is any card you would like to trade for, drop me a line before the remaining lot of these winds up on ebay.  Keep in mind that the Brett Lawrie and Andre Either already have destinations, though.  I only got two high numbers in four packs (which I think was the ratio anyway) and, of course, both of them are Freddie Freeman.  As a Mets fan, that is like a double punch to the stomach.  I also only got two non-baseball subjects, though I know they have cut back on those in recent years.  Needless to say, John Calipari and Scott Hamilton are, um, underwhelming.

Last batch, the horizontal base cards:
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I know some people complain about the horizontal Ginters, but if the photo is great, I think they work fine.  I would say, in fact, that all seven of these are good to excellent, with that Reddick being spectacular.  Speaking of Kurt Vonnegut, he gets a shout out on the advertisement for whatever silly contest they are running this year (always nice to see my favorite author get some props).  Oh yeah, and my retail purchase certainly beat the odds and netted me an autograph.  Granted it is Tommy Milone, but beggars and choosers and whatnot.  It was a nice feeling to get a hit out of packs from Target.  It actually made me briefly smile for the first time in two days. 

Monday, August 26, 2013


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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Another Trade With Robert of $30 A Week Habit.

       My collecting habits have been well chronicled on this blog, as have my buying habits.  Which is to say, my habits are consistently inconsistent.  I go to shows and dive into dime boxes.  I buy and sell on ebay.  I have a new love of the junk on listia.  I am the king of the impulse buy at K-Mart and Target. What happens to all these cards is they get neatly sorted into piles.  I think that is the zen part of this hobby for me.  I sit on my couch in front of a little card table in a yogi position with my legs folded under each other (no joke) and break all these cards that come into my collection into piles of what goes, what stays, what I need, what others need, etc. etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

       I read so many different card blogs and it is hard to say why some folks get piles and some don't.  Maybe it's because he has a hook or because he has so many interests, but Robert from $30 a Week Habit gets such a pile.  My excess Blue Jays, Maple Leafs, and Topps serial numbered cards all get thrown together and when the pile gets too big or I get tired of looking at them, I compare and contrast what he needs (or might need) and out the door they go.  It is an inelegant solution but it seems to make me seem altruistic.  Sometimes I even remember the actual cards we agreed to trade.  Lucky for me, Robert is always ready to reciprocate:
That Darryl Strawberry is from this years Archives and it is a beaut. The mini Ted Williams I asked for a long while ago and only remembered that I had when I saw it.  The Topps Gold Nieuwenhuis is a great picture of a player that has proven you can't steal first base enough that I don't think the Mets will call him back up no matter how well he fields.  The shiny Jose Bautista was on my wantlist - yay! someone reads my wantlists - because I want to make a player page of him (3 down 6 to go).  He also included a nice shiny numbered autographed Devils rookie card...because, hockey!

Finally, the Chrome Heritage David Wright (always appreciated) is a nice contrast to the 1964 Topps Joe Gibbon, the actual card we had agreed to trade.  He bought it for his set not realizing it had the added Heritage parallel stamp on it.  I wanted one of those because I have been integrating one into the Topps pages since they started inserting those things in 2008 with the 1959 set.  I sent him one, sans foil, from that '64 page he needed: the John Roseboro (a player whose most famous hit with a bat did not involve a ball).  And as always, Robert included a nice little note to remind me who sent the cards...as always the man is unflappably polite.  Thanks Robert!


Want to get a pile too?  Really the best way is to be a team collector since I have boxes and boxes of cards all sorted into teams.  If you have stuff from my wantlists, send me an email and let's get cracking. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The New Favorite: 2013 Topps Museum Collection Mets Pitcher Jersey Piece Goodness.

       I have severely cut down on my purchases of fancy modern game-used cards in recent years.  I've done this for a few reasons: cost, the veracity of the pieces, and simple overkill.  What was very new and neat in 1999 is not so much in 2013. There is only so many times you can see a swatch of bat or jersey and lose your shit before the emotion just isn't there anymore.  The manufactured scarcity of low serial numbers should be factored in to the equation.  But every once in a while I stumble upon a card and I must MUST make it mine...

Oddly enough, this is not that card.  The original one I saw was all patch pieces and numbered much lower.  When the bidding went into the triple digits for that one, I gracefully and sanely bowed out.  But when I searched eBay for similar cards, I stumbled across this one.  Granted, it is not all colorful patch pieces and the serial is higher, but damn, ain't she a beauty?  It nicely covers the past, present, and future of New York Mets pitching.  I mean, yeah, the perfect choices for that card would be Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Dwight Gooden, and Tom Seaver - but you can't have everything.  Sometimes, you have to roll with the Topps punches and they did a nice job of selection in spite of themselves.  Seaver is a must, Johan pitched the Mets' first no-hitter, Dickey won the Cy Young award last year, and Matt Harvey is the heir apparent to all the rich heritage Mets pitching history has to offer. And while it is all one-color jersey pieces, they did go out of their way to get different textures and colors of the four different pieces.  In the end, quite a nifty card. 

A couple of quibbles with the back...Topps numbering system continues to baffle.  PPFQR?  Why not just go with L.H.O.O.Q.? I also find it troubling that their disclaimer is now bigger than anything else printed on the back and is so vague and far-reaching it may as well say "The fuzzy pieces on the front of this card are figments of your imagination."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Highlights for Children.


Can't stop himself from talking.
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Rehabs vigilantly in silence.  Comes back too soon just to help team.


Tweets and gives interviews as though he has a negative amount self-awareness (to the point where even his own GM told him to STFU).
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Never heard the old cliche that it isn't the crime, it's the cover up.


Hits a home run in his first at bat back from the DL; deflects all attention to the dude they honored before the game.
Will be a near-unanimous first-ballot hall of famer (even if he's just Robin Yount in pinstripes).


Was a jackass way before he did steroids.
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Will only get into Cooperstown during his lifetime if he buys a ticket.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Trade with Brian of Play at the Plate.

       It is a sad coincidence that I am posting today about a trade that features the 1971 Topps Thurman Munson. Lord knows I hate the Yankees, and I certainly was never a fan of Munson and his act, but perhaps it would be wise to show a modicum of respect on the 34th anniversary of his death.   
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And whether you like Munson or not, one cannot deny the sheer beauty of this card (even in this rough of shape). It has always been one of my absolute favorites.  This particular copy sat in my Rookie All Star box for decades.  I recently found myself an upgrade and this card was relegated to the ebay/trade/listia limbo pile.  A sad end for such an epic card.  Ah, but not so fast.  Last month, I saw a comment on Fuji's blog on a post about plays at the plate and whom should extoll the virtues of this card but a man who runs a blog with the tremendous and apt name Play at the Plate. Not only did he praise it, but he mentioned he did not own it.  It all clicked in my head.  I would swap this badboy to a man who will truly appreciate it.  After all, how can someone whose blog is called Play at the Plate not own this card?  That'd be blasphemy, I tells ya!

So after a few emails, we agree I'd send the card and he would put together some stuff from my want list.  I must say, it was quite a nice pile:
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Right away, a couple of this year's Heritage and some Series 2 Mets.  Also, there are some shiny Mets Bowman Platinum prospects.  The one on the left is PURPLE and the other two are X-Fractors that did not scan well.  Trust me, they are very shiny indeed.  I now have 4 different versions of that Cesar Puello card and the only thing I have heard about this kid is that he was somehow mixed up with the PED-biogenesis nonsense. Wonderful.

The second part also has some shiny to spare:
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Any Matt Harvey card is always greatly appreciated.  Brad Emaus was a spring training sensation a couple of years ago (much like Collin Cowgill this year).  Seems the Mets have one of those every year and they never even seem to end the year with the team. *sigh*  I am glad I own a Shawn Marcum card wearing a Mets uni to remind me of his 1-10 record from this year. The Gary Carter in the center is a white border parallel and I must say, these Gypsy Queen cards work much better in white.  The prime shiny, though, is that Ike Davis on the left center.  The scan does not do it justice; it is a wicked looking card.  I plan on picking up the other 5 Mets from this parallel and may even break down and make a page of them.  On the bottom are two David Wrights and a Darryl Strawberry.  It is interesting that Wright just claimed second place on the Mets all time home run list this evening, and he will soon top that list, taking the title from Straw alluded to on this card. 

Third and final part:
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Minis!  Tom Seaver mini!  Another GQ card of Wright looking dashing in white.  The three Walmart parallels that are greatly appreciated since 1) the Mets cards look good in that light blue and 2) I don't shop at Walmart.  Last but certainly not least is one last shiny David Wright and a Top Prospect card of Zack Wheeler, specifically one I did not have.  That is a fabulous card.

The denouement of this trade post is the little note Brian left in his package to me.  Absolutely, these cards are of use.  Thank you very much.  I am glad that old Munson of mine found a good home.