Monday, April 24, 2017

A Change of Address

A quick post today. During the past few weeks, I have been finishing papers to submit for conference, studying for my qualifying exams, taking my qualifying exams, moving to a new apartment, and studying for the oral defense of my qualifying exams.

So...I've had quite a bit on my plate.

I managed to send out a few PWEs and packages a couple weeks ago and again last week. I did so with no expectation of anything in return. However, should anyone feel inclined to send something my way, shoot me an email (judsonmeeks AT gmail DOT com) and I will be happy to send you my new address. 

I hope to get a new post of substance up soon!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Gypsy Queen Box #2

Following up on my post from yesterday, I have a second box of Gypsy Queen to share. I did pretty well in Heritage earlier this year, but this box may have topped it. 

For the past three weeks, I have been toiling away at finishing a couple research papers. The big academic conference in my field, AEJMC, has an April 1 deadline for paper submissions, so I was trying to get my papers in. I finished around 3 p.m. and decided to stop by my LCS to grab a box to "reward" myself for, essentially, doing my job.

I was beat, so I took my box back to my apartment to open rather than opening it in the shop. I got home and sat down at my desk to dig in.

Right of the top, I pulled a purple GlassWorks boxtopper of Nomar Mazara! These are numbered to 125 and they are absolutely stunning. Good start! More after the jump!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Questioned Answered

Last month, I wondered aloud why Aroldis Chapman was featured as a Yankee on his 2017 Heritage base card, but as a Cub on his Chrome and mini parallels. 

Well, fear not: the blogosphere's most loved Sooz came to the rescue and gave a reason. 

According to her,
"It's the timing of when the cards are due to the printer. The chrome and parallels have to be there much sooner than the base cards. There is essentially a late form that goes out for the base to get free agent signings and offseason trades. So Topps tries to capture it when they can."
Sooz is definitely an authority on the subject, so this answer is good as gold for me.

Thank you, ma'am, for your insight!

2017 Gypsy Queen: Box 1

I said I wasn't going to do it. I swore to myself I wouldn't. I made a promise to myself that I had enough self-control not to do it.

But I did it.

I broke down and bought a box of 2017 Gypsy Queen.

After seeing the cards, I couldn't resist. They just look so great. I'm attached to GQ - it's the first set I built when I got back into collecting - so this set pulled on my heart strings.

Back to the story. I bought the first box - that's right, I bought more than one - last week, a couple days after release. Let's take a look and see how it was.

Right off the top - see what I did there? - was this GlassWorks boxtopper of Stephen Piscotty. By far and away, these are the best boxtoppers of any product I have opened since I got back into collecting. This scan just doesn't do it justice. 

My first box had plenty of parallels. Here are the missing backplate parallels I pulled:

These are...interesting. They are easy to find, as they stand out like a sore thumb. They're unique, I give them that. But I still don't know how I really feel about them.

I also pulled a couple purple parallels numbered to 250:

Not bad players! You've got a guy who rakes and then there's Giancarlo incredible was Mad Bum's two dingers on Opening day?!?!?! 

I also pulled a green back variation:

These aren't numbered, but I think they are numbered to 50 (or so I believe - I could be completely wrong). 

The final numbered parallel I pulled was this black and white parallel of Kevin Gausman numbered to 50:

Beyond parallels, I pulled two variations. First up, this Marcus Stroman no nameplate parallel:

Mr. Stroman will appear again in a later post in a much more impressive fashion.

I also pulled this capless variation of Francisco Lindor:

Not too shabby.

As promised, my box had two on-card autos:

I guess my autos could have been worse. One knock - the machine that loads these into packs seems to have put a crease in them. They don't look like they have been folded over, but it does look as if they went through rollers that had too much pressure. You can't see them in the scans, but trust me - they're there.

The set got rid of the minis this year. I know there are some people who have a problem with this, but I'm not one of them. Those things were nearly impossible to store in any way. However, there is a "mini" insert set called "Fortune Tellers." I put "mini" in quotes because they are closer to tall boys than minis. Anyway, I really dig this set. I was stoked to see that there are three Rangers in it. I happened to pull the Cole Hamels in this box:

So freakin' cool, man!

Anyway, everything you see here is for trade. well, everything except the Hamels. That's for me.

Keep your eyes open for a post about a potential second box of GQ.

Okay, there's definitely a second box. Post coming soon.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It's In The Details...I Think...I Hope...

Just a warning: quite a few of my upcoming posts are centered on 2017 Topps Heritage. It will be one of the few (maybe the only) sets I put together this year, and I am chasing the parallels for Rangers players. So it will be featured...frequently.

One of the first parallels I was able to snag for a decent price was this Sam Dyson bright yellow back parallel:

One of my biggest criticisms of '17 Heritage is the parallel selection. The bright yellow is pretty hard to spot, as there is a slight variation in the base print cards. It is easy to confuse the lighter printed base cards with the short printed bright yellow backs, which are reportedly limited to a print run of 25. 

Just so you can see what the base back looks like, here's one for comparison:

So...yeah. Not a lot of difference there.

I just hope I didn't get duped with a lighter-printed base card.

(For the record, here's the front of the card)

Hope everyone is well!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Trade Time!!!

This week has kicked my butt. I was doing the math yesterday and I realized that I had only gotten roughly 11 hours of sleep since Tuesday. It's the time of year where most of the mass communication academic conferences have their conference paper deadlines, and I have been trying to finish up a few papers for these conferences. All of this boiled to a head yesterday when I was at a bar with a group of classmates who were celebrating their recent employment. I flat out fell asleep. And not the "dozing" type of sleep - the kind of sleep that promotes a healthy snore.

Once my friends woke me, I headed home. I walked in the door with the intent of going straight to bed, but then I remembered that I had a few bubble mailers I haven't opened that I received earlier in the week. So let's take a look at one!

Recently, I noticed that Chris, a.k.a. The (Pedestrian) Collector was busting a few boxes of 2017 Heritage. I left a comment asking if we could work something out if he happened to pull any Rangers. Lo and behold, he pulled a Cole Hamels Clubhouse Collection relic:

I admit it: I'm a sucker for relics, especially when they aren't just plan white swatches. Even better, this year's relic cards are of the vertical orientation, rather than horizontal. I really dig it.

That wasn't the only card that Chris sent me, however. Also included was this:

I'm generally not a fan of the buybacks that Topps seems to be regularly inserting now. It was a big deal last year - why is it necessary to do it two years in a row? That being said, I have always loved Mitch Williams. The guy is just downright funny. So this buyback is actually a welcome addition!

But wait - there's more!

Chris also sent this along:

This Yu Darvish Career High relic hails from 2015 Topps Series 1. I mentioned above that I like relics, but this particular design was and is one of my favorites. Don't ask me to explain why - I can't. But I have always really liked these.

Chris - thanks again for the trade! I really appreciate it, and I hope it is just the first of many!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Something I Just Noticed

In all the excitement around my hot hand with 2017 Heritage, I missed something. I make no bones about my distaste for most things Topps - I'm no fan of the exclusive licensing with MLB because I think it makes Topps lazy. I've pointed out easily correctable problems in the past to support this. However, in my excitement, I gave Topps too much slack. I found something that makes no sense.

Below is the base card (a short print) of Aroldis Chapman:

In the card, Chapman is featured in a Yankees uniform, very clearly from 2016. No problem there. But let's take a look at the Chapman Chrome card:

What? Why the heck is he in a Cubs uniform? I spent some time thinking and came to the conclusion that the Chrome cards most likely require more time to manufacture. This could have meant that the card design had to be submitted before Chapman re-signed with the Yanks (December 6th, if I'm not mistaken). That still seems like more than enough time to get him in the proper uniform, but I'm willing to give Topps the benefit of the doubt.

Until I saw this:

This is the mini parallel for Chapman, printing on normal stock, just smaller. Again, Chapman is sporting a Cubs uni, rather than the pinstripes of New York. So what in the actual hell gives?

My guess: Topps is trying to milk the Cubs' World Series championship for all it's worth. They want to feature him Cubbies blue to sell more cards. I mean, there is no other explanation, is there?

I guess my last question is this: why didn't Topps just feature him in a Cubs uniform on the base card also and wait until High Number came out to put him in pinstripes? That's their normal procedure, so what gives?