Saturday, April 24, 2010

My First Check Out My Cards Purchase

Alright, judging by the response to my last post nobody here cares about football cards, so I'll go back to something that everyone loves: purchases from Check out My Cards! I was really impressed with the selection of the site as well as the prices, and was happy to nab some Griffeys, Felixs and other Mariners for a song. The shipping charges seem to be a little high, but in most cases it is still a better deal than buying this cards separately on eBay. Here's the goods:
2007 Finest Ken Griffey Jr. Refractor: I think I've run out of adjectives to describe how much I love refractors, especially of Junior, so I'll let you insert your own for this beauty.

2001 Topps Stars Stan Musial: Stan the Man is one of my favorite "old-time" players and 2001 Topps Stars is a guilty pleasure set of mine so this card was a match made in heaven. Not surprisingly, the back of the card gave Musial five stars for hitting ability.

2009 Bowman Draft Picks Michael Saunders Blue #/399: Although "the Condor" is currently toiling away in Triple-A I think he is still a big part of the Mariners future, and will probably get a call-up sooner rather than later with the way the M's offense is performing. The Bowman blue parallels look nice when paired with the Seattle unis.

2008 Bowman Chrome Felix Hernandez Refractor: A refractor for 50 cents? Only a crazy person could say no, and I am no crazy person (debateable). I couldn't be more excited to have this guy around for five more years.

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Doc Holliday SP: This might be the most plain but important card from the whole purchase. With this Doc Holliday short print I have finally completed the 2009 Allen & Ginter set that I started so long ago. It's a good feeling.

Box Break: 2009 Topps Platinum Football (Blaster)

I know, I know. A football box break on a baseball card blog--this is not what we're paying you for Bud. Of course, I'm not actually being paid by anyone, so I will continue on with little no regard for the wants and needs of my readers. I guess I'm just callous like that.

Besides, what were my other options? 2010 Topps or Topps Heritage? Sorry, if I wanted bland I would eat Wheaties for breakfast--I'm a Crunch Berries kind-a-guy. 2008 Upper Deck X at 50% off? Maybe if it were 100% off. Press Pass? Not in this lifetime.

So I did the only logical thing, going back to the well that had produced some beautiful autographed patch cards of NFL stars past and present. Was I greedy hoping for more? Probably, but dammit, I was too proud not to try one more time. Had the water finally run dry? Read on and find out brave blog followers, read on and find out...

Mark Sanchez Rookie Variation #590/1459: After the first two packs of this blaster I was left staring at a Jason Smith Rookie Variation (we all know the resale value of offensive tackles) and a Jarrett Dillard (who?) refractor numbered to 999. Clearly, I made a mistake, and the card gods were punishing me for it. But in the third pack, a glimpse of hope emerged, shining bright in a sea of platinum. A numbered card of one of football's hottest rookies and a pro player I know personally (more on that in a Brush with Greatness type post); maybe all was not lost after all.

Ramses Barden Rookie Autograph #190/850: Well, Ramses Barden won't win any awards for penmanship (I bet Sign Here and Here would have a field day with this one), but an autograph from a blaster is nothing to scoff at, even if "the Pharaoh" only caught one pass all season. Barden was a third round pick, so there's still hope he turns out. After this card I figured the blaster was spent, but it still had one more treasure for me to unearth. Behold!

Mike Wallace RC Blue Refractor #50/99: Though the card may be blue I certainly wasn't after pulling a low-numbered refractor of one of football's most underrated rookies. Come football season this card alone would likely pay for the entire blaster but it's so pretty I might have a tough time parting with it. Mike looks great in blue.

Closing Thoughts: Just like Arnold in Conan the Barbarian I turned to the card gods, bought this blaster, and screamed "if you won't help me now...then the hell with you". Good luck or fate had nothing to do with it; I willed this box to be a winner and against overwhelming odds it was.

Will I punished for my insurrection with a 2010 Allen and Ginter hobby box full of Fred Lewis relics? Without a doubt. But until then I'll bask in the calming blue glow of Mike Wallace and the knowledge that my twenty dollars was well spent.

Bud out.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pack Attack: The Strangest Pack I Ever Opened

As I alluded to in my last post I used to spend the majority of my earnings as a teenager on 12 pack/$9.99 re-pack boxes from Target, Shopko or K-Mart. It's not much of a stretch to say that the cards from these boxes compose around 20-25% of my total collection--an amazing number when you consider that I haven't bought one in years (the quality has really gone downhill). I pulled quite a few hits from these boxes, including the Randy Johnson previously showcased, but I'm not quite sure what to call the strange card I pulled from one very unusual pack of 2003 Bowman Heritage.

The pack was supposed to contain eight cards total and it did contain eight Bowman Heritage cards (2 Roberto Clementes, Willy Mays, Jason Giambi, Sean Rodriguez RC, Arnie Munoz Signature Parallel, Brandon Webb RC and Eric Chavez). From a Bowman Heritage standpoint, I was pretty happy with this pack...problem is, it also contained one 2002 UD 40-Man Jorge Sosa.

It's not the first time I ever pulled an extra card in a pack, but it certainly was the first time I pulled an Upper Deck card from a Topps product. I've actually still got the cards in the original wrapped in a drawer, and although there is no way to prove this actually happened, it did make me a little wary about purchasing repackaged products.

Any else ever run into a situation like this?

One of these things is not like the others...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Card of the Week: 2002 Topps Chrome Randy Johnson Black Refractor #1/50

Besides a few game-used and autographed cards this Randy Johnson was one of my first "big" hits I pulled from a pack of baseball cards and one of a handful of cards that I would never consider trading or selling.

I distinctly remember pulling this beauty from a pack of 2002 Topps Chrome that I got in a repack box from Target. Those boxes used to be loaded with great packs that were usually 1-2 years old and were of high quality sets like Topps Chrome and Fleer Authentix, rather than today's which all contain Topps Opening Day and 2007 Topps Updates and Highlights.

At the time I pulled this, it was the lowest numbered card I owned and was made even cooler by the fact that it was #1 out of 50. Some people roll their eyes at these eBay "one-of-ones" but I'll never complain about getting one out of a pack (and they do usually sell for more than an average numbered card). Being a Mariners' fan I was happy to pull a card of the Big Unit, even if he was pictured with the Diamondbacks.

Refractor plus Randy Johnson plus #1/50 equals one very cool card and one of my all-time favorites.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

2010 Seattle Mariners Home Opener

My parents got me tickets to the home opener on Monday and with my new Ken Griffey Jr. jersey in tow (a gift from my wonderful girlfriend) I made the trip over to Seattle to catch the M's first game in the Emerald City. It was my first time at a home opener and was a terrific experience despite the Mariners pedestrian play (just two hits all game). Randy Johnson threw out the first pitch (a strike) and was joined on the field by Seattle legends Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner and Dan Wilson. Here's a few shots from the game:
Ryan-Rowland Smith had a no-hitter through 5 innings

I thought A Cardboard Problem might enjoy this one

Griffey at the bat

So close to a true American Idol

Andrew Bailey vs. Ken Griffey Jr.

Junior trying to find me in the stands

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Overdue Trades From Around the Blogosphere

Here's a bunch of cards in a row!

This first card is not actually from a trade, but rather a group break sponsored by Thorzul. I picked up the Reds and Dodgers and was happy to walk away with this gem:

2008 UD Heroes Aaron Harang Auto Jersey #1/50: I've always appreciated the Harangatang toiling away in obscurity for the Reds, and he has been an important part of a couple of fantasy teams. A very nice card and a true eBay one-of-one!

The next card comes from Ed at Roll out the Barrel. It was my first trade with him, but certainly not the last:

2008 UD Heroes Ken Griffey Jr. Purple Parallel #12/25: Ooooooh pretty. I love all the different parallels in UD Heroes and I am setting out to complete a Griffey rainbow. This was one of the hardest cards to get from the set with only 25 copies, so I really appreciate that Ed was willing to part with this gorgeous Griffeey.

Next, we have some cards from Mr. Scott. We worked out a trade a while back and the cards he originally had planned to send me got lost in the mail. Being the generous fellow he is, Mr. Scott found some new (and improved!) cards as part of our swap:

2007 Fleer Ultra Ken Griffey Jr. Jersey: I'm always happy to add a Junior relic to my collection, no matter whether it's with the Mariners or Reds. It's a simple card, but nice, and the pinstripe always adds a little something extra.
2010 Topps Peak Performers Josh Johnson Auto: Believe it or not, I own more autographs now of Josh Johnson than any other player. That's fine though, as I am high on the Marlins young ace even after his slow start to the 2010 season.

And last but not least are some cards from one of the baseball blogosphere's elder statesmen and wordsmith extraordinaire, Night Owl. We've worked out quite a few trades and he always send some great cards my way. Here's the latest batch:

2009 O-Pee-Chee Midsummer Memories Ken Griffey Jr: This card probably takes the cake for worst photograph of Junior ever. Not only is he partially obscured by the HR Derby Trophy (yeah, he's the man) but there's also that guy dressed like a late-90's square creeping in the background. This one probably won't back the front page of my Griffey binder, but still a new addition and a welcome one at that.

2010 Topps Opening Day Attax Felix Hernandez: These cards aren't half bad looking as the foil reflects quite nicely in person. That being said, I have little desire to ever buy a pack of Topps Attax.

1991 Ken Griffey Jr. Playing Card: I believe it was GSNHOF that sent me a Griffey playing card that featured the Kid as a "4". I was outraged that Junior was assigned a number that was clearly not indicative of his talent level. I can sleep easier now that Griffey has regained his rightful place as an "ace" of the ballpark.

Thanks to everyone who sent me cards! I hope it will never take so long to post them again. Have a great week and I'll smell ya later.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Box Break: 2008 UD Heroes (Case Hit)

I opened this box about a month ago, but for reasons outside of my control (i.e. death of a computer), have been unable to share the results of my break until now. I got a good deal on this box during a Blowout Cards weekend special and was happy with what I pulled, especially considering that there are quite a few duds in the autograph checklist (I'm looking at you Tom Gorzelanny). It's a fun box to open with an insert in almost every pack and a bevy of serial numbered parallels. Here's the goods:

Al Kaline Sky Blue Parallel #32/49: You're guaranteed one "low" numbered parallel in each box and I was glad mine was of a Hall-of-Famer. Love the old-school crew cut.

Randy Johnson Yankee Stadium Legacy Jersey: You might have wondered why there was no exclamation point after the "case hit" part of the title of this post. Well, this card is why. Don't get me wrong, I love the Big Unit, but they're are quite a few other players from this set I would rather have (or at least a pinstripe). It's up for trade if any of you Bronx Bombers want it.

Andre Ethier Jersey #179/200: The design of the jersey cards is one of my few qualms with the set. I'm tired of companies being too lazy to design a separate concept for game-used cards, and instead just throwing the swatch onto one of the base cards. Panini/Donruss has a terrible habit of this. At least Ethier is a good player.

Cole Hamels Jersey #73/200: Another ho-hum jersey, this one would have benefited greatly from a nice red pinstripe. Phillies fans are hoping that Hamels bounces back from a poor 2009 season, though truthfully I could care less.

Chad Billingsley Jersey Auto #20/50: Well, here's the hit of the box, and quite a nice one it is if I do say so myself. The auto is on a sticker but you can barely tell as it blends into the card well. Billingsley has flashed enormous potential during his time with the Dodgers but has yet to put it all together. Once CB does, he has the chance to be one of the best in the NL. Same story as last time; not sure if I want to trade this card, but if I do, it will be to Night Owl.

Overall Thoughts: This is a great box to bust if the price is right with three guaranteed jerseys and a guaranteed autograph. With tons of inserts there is rarely a dull pack (other than those with YSL cards) and with UD now out of baseball, collectors will find this as a nice alternative to Topps' pedestrian 2010 releases. Loved opening the box and was satisfied with my pulls. Send me an email if you are interested in any of the cards. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bo Knows the Million Card Giveaway

Well I got a little impatient with a Million Card Giveaway redemption that I had been saving for a while and typed in the code to reveal this card today:

1988 Topps Bo Jackson

Well, at least it's someone I've heard of, and it definitely looks worthy of grading. Look at that centering!

In other news I purchased a new computer to replace the one that died. Unfortunately it didn't have the same photo editing program so I will have to adjust to that before I get any trade posts up. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Yes Margaret, I am a Duke Blue Devils' Fan.

I'm sure that admitting I am a fan of one of college basketball's most hated programs likely won't gain me any fans in the blogosphere, and that's okay. After all, it could be worse. I could be a Yankees' fan.

Now you may be asking yourself "how does someone in the middle of Washington become a fan of a small, private college in North Carolina?" Well, it's not because I attended school there (you've seen my writing and we all know it's not exactly "Duke" material---heck, I don't even know when to use commas properly) and I don't personally know anyone that graduated from Duke (although I was friends with Sheldon Williams on Facebook for what it's worth). No, it was a chance encounter with carbonated beverages that led me to become a devout follower of Coach K and the Dukies.

You see, in the last year that Duke won a National Title, Pepsi -Cola had a promotion wherein they randomly placed the names of every team in the NCAA tournament on a lid of their delicious soda pops. Most of them were schools like Slippery Rock St. or Holy Cross but a few lids yielded teams like Michigan St., Cincinnati and other legitimate contenders. If the team on the lid won the tournament, you could send it in for a jersey of that team--not a bad prize from a 99 cent bottle of pop.

At the time of this promotion I was 14-years-old and didn't have a team that I followed closely. I lived about equidistant from Washington State and the University of Washington, but neither one of them were particularly good teams. Gonzaga had just begun their ascent from mid-major afterthought to giant-killer, and I rooted for them, but had no personal connection to the school. I was a young man looking for his team, and as fate would have it, the Blue Devils would become that squad my heart so desired.

I worked part-time at the grocery store in town and would get one free pop for every shift I worked there. With the chance at a free jersey I always grabbed a Mountain Dew or Pepsi for the chance at a good team like Duke, but ended up with Mississippi Valley St. or Bowling Green instead. It appeared I was out of luck until one of my co-workers cracked open a Pepsi, drank it, and subsequently threw it away. Being the opportunistic lad I was I grabbed the bottle out of the trash (it's before recycling was invented) and yelped with delight as I unscrewed the lid to reveal one very exciting word: "Duke".

I clutched that lid tight and didn't let it out of my sight the entire tournament. The Blue Devils, led by Shane Battier and Jason Williams, went on to win the NCAA Title 82-72 and my fandom was sealed as soon as I received by brilliant blue Duke jersey in the mail. How could I not be a fan of the school that was generous enough to provide me with a free jersey?

Since that time I've continued to follow the Blue Devils closely, although it has provided nothing but heartache and disappointment until this latest March Madness run. Duke has been called a pretender all season, yet here they are in the final game of year, looking unstoppable after their drubbing of West Virginia. Tonight they face Butler in a classic David vs. Goliath match and for the first in quite a while I find myself rooting for Goliath, wearing that same jersey that led me to the Blue Devils' bandwagon so many years ago.

Go Duke.