Thursday, May 29, 2014

Some Luke Jackson Color

With no desire to purchase any new product until Bowman Chrome streets, my monthly cardboard budget has been going towards acquiring the missing pieces of my Jackson & Choice project. I've been focusing on the autos, as the color parallels should be easier to get.

Such is the case these last couple of weeks. I have added two colored refractors to the Jackson collection:

This is the black refractor, numbered 73 of 99. The signature is nice - hard-pressed with no serious flaws. There is one minor flaw, the drop-down at the beginning of the "L" (yes, that's an "L"). I'm wondering how that will affect the auto grade.

Here's the orange refractor auto. It's numbered 18 of 25.  The only concerns I have with this auto is in the finishing leg of the "L". For whatever reason, it appears that the pen kind of gave out. It is light and not a solid blue line. We'll see how it grades.

So that's it.  A brief post, but one I wanted to put out there before I forgot about it!

Mail Day Nets A Surprise From Raz!!!

A couple of days ago, I found a nice surprise waiting for me in my mailbox: a bubble mailer from Raz! He obviously knows me well....

First up, a mini refractor of Rangers catching prospect Jorge Alfaro. He's said to be the best catching prospect the Rangers have had since Pudge...those are mighty big shoes to fill. I hope he does.

The second card was this guy:

The Bowman Top 100 insert of Joey Gallo. Now, I don't agree that he is the seventy-fifth best prospect in the minors, but I may be biased.

I've been so caught up in working on the Jackson/Choice project that I have completely neglected getting these cards. So, Raz, I thank you! This was a big help to me!

I've also snagged a few more Bowman cards over the past two weeks. When the product hit, I decided that at the very least, I was going to get the base autos of the Rangers that were featured. For those who aren't aware, the Rangers had five autos: Chris Bostick (Chrome), Yohander Mendez (Chrome), Luke Jackson (Chrome), Michael Choice (Chrome) and Isiah Kiner-Falefa (retail paper).

I have officially obtained all of the base autos:

The Mendez and Kiner-Falefa I have, but didn't scan (they are at home - I forgot to scan them). There are a couple other autos, as well. A couple weeks ago I posted about the Lewis Brinson Under Armour card from 2012 that was in this year's product (I still bought a copy):

There is also a Bowman Black card for Chris Bostick, but I haven't been able to snag a copy yet. I am having a problem spending that kind of money on a card of a player who I really know nothing about.

o there you have it! An update on my newest additions from Raz and eBay!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

We Need To Talk

No, no...this isn't the "It's not you, it's me" talk. It's the "Let's talk baseball" talk. But before that, I have a question for you.

I'm most likely going to be visiting Boston in mid- to late-July. I don't know where to stay or what to visit (other than Fenway and Harvard, of course). So, do any of you that are familiar with the city have any suggestions? Hotels seem pricey, so I've looked into this whole AirBnB phenomenon. I'm not certain how to feel about it. (To be honest, I more concerned about offending the host, as I will be visiting with my cousin who is about to begin Naval Officer School in nearby Newport, Rhode Island, so we will most likely be drunk in the evenings) Any advice would be much appreciated!

Now onto the meat of the post. On my drive home yesterday, I was "fortunate" enough to listen to the local ESPN station (which just so happens to be Dallas), which featured Tim Cowlishaw. He and his temporary co-host were debating the designated hitter. As with everything Tim Cowlishaw, the debate was boring. So I thought I would open it up here in this blog for comment.

Personally, I hate the DH. You take a one-dimensional player (i.e. David Ortiz) and overpay him because he might be a productive hitter. He can't play defense to save his life, and if you make it to the World Series, he becomes a serious liability (i.e. Vlad Guerrero for the Rangers in 2010).

Now, the exact same argument can be made for those in favor of the DH. Pitchers today can't hit to save their lives. All they seem to do is bunt. Don't believe me? Going into yesterday's game, the Mets pitching staff was 1-for-72. That's a staggering .014. That isn't a typo.

However, most pitchers are multi-positional players until they reach their later years of college ball or the minor leagues. The pitchers that are exceptional hitters are moved to a fielding position - my guy Joey Gallo was a pitcher in high school with a heater that touched 98 mph - and those that are not exceptional hitters are discouraged from hitting, instead being taught the fundamentals of bunting and jogging.

Pitchers haven't always been like this. Some pitchers were exceptional professional hitters (think Babe Ruth). So to me, the answer is simple: the DH needs to go. Pitchers need to take regular batting practice like every other player. If he doesn't hit .300, that's okay. But don't take the bat out of his hands and make him bunt, or worse, replace him with an old man who can still hit for power occasionally. It just isn't right.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Odds & Ends

Posting over the last few weeks has say the least. Truth is, between work, sleep my narrowing focus on my collection, I haven't had much to blog about. There are a few things I want to mention, so let's know this out in list format.
I have added a link to the right side navbar of the blog for my break. You can click on kit to see the status of the break. My 2014 Bowman Chrome signup is coming along, but not quite as fast as I would have hoped. So, to speed that process up, I am going to offer $20 off one team slot to someone who refers someone else to sign up. All you have to do is post about it and ask your reader to mention they found out about the break from your blog when they sign up. Be sure they sign up on this page; it is the only page that will count. When the remaining eight spots are filled, I will take all of the names that have been mentioned as referrers, randomize the list and give the discount to the person who comes out in spot #1. If three people sign up and mention your name, you will have three entries.
Also on that right navbar, you will notice that I have put up a new picture. It is the 2014 Bowman Orange Wave Auto of Michael Choice. If you click on that picture, it will take you to my newest project page, my 2014 Bowman Jackson & Choice project. I am working to pick up the entire parallel rainbow for these two players - autos, refractors and paper parallels - and I am going to need your help. It is quite a massive undertaking. Brian from PATP was kind enough to offer a trade for the green refractor auto he got in a group break. I hope you all can help as well, as there are tons of cards that I need for this.
Speaking of 2014 Bowman, you may remember my post about this card:

It's the paper parallel black auto of Astros prospect Mark Appel. I had it on eBay a little while, then took it down thinking I wanted to keep it...but now I want to offer it up to you. I am more than happy to trade this to someone who can help me with my quest mentioned above. I only ask that in return, an auto (or autos) of equal value be included in the trade. Hopefully someone out there can help me out!!!
Lastly, I still want to gather enough cards to send in to Beckett for grading to qualify for a discount. No one expressed any interest last time it was mentioned, but I am going to give it a go again. So, if you are interested in having some cards graded, leave a message below. I will get back to you with more information regarding costs, times, etc.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bobble Ron Gets Some Company

Sunday, the Rangers were offering a free Prince Fielder bobblehead to the first 15,000 fans through the gates. Since I had nothing to do, I was game. 

The first thing I noticed, however, was how odd Fielder looks in the picture on the side of the box:

The helmet looks about three sizes too small.

Of course, the helmet on the bobblehead looks massive....

Yup...still looks pretty massive from the side...

Finally, Bobble Ron has some company on my desk at work.

Lastly though, let's get the view from a $13 ticket at Rangers Ballpark:

Go ahead and click on the picture to make it bigger. There really is no bad view in this ballpark.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

My Best Bowman Hit So Far

Today, I was supposed to just lay on the couch and be a bum. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. In my line of work, you sometimes have meetings that pop up and can't wait. Such is the case for me.

After the meeting, however, I decided to stop at Walmart and buy a blaster of 2014 Bowman, just to see if I could pull anything.

I pulled the best hit I've had so far this year (and possibly since I jumped back into collecting):

A Mark Appel black paper parallel auto! (The dots are from my scanner, the card is pristine)

This baby is numbered 20 of 25!

It's already on eBay. Sorry to be brief, I have actual work to do, but I just had to share.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Friday, May 16, 2014

A New Blog Post!!! (From My Other Blog)

I finally got around to posting for my other blog, The Infield Grass, this morning. It's a post about the Rangers, but it doesn't involve baseball cards. If you would like, you can go here to give it a read! Apologies if it seems took me a while to write it (a lot of thinking to be done before finger was set to keyboard) and when I finished, I didn't feel like proofreading. That will happen later today.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Have I Mentioned That I Love Bowman Autos?

Of course, I have. I professed my love for Bowman like a tween girl professes her love for Bieber (God save us all). So I'm sure this post comes as no surprise to any of you.

Over the last couple weeks, I've picked up a few autos of Ranger prospects in the 2014 offering. My goal is to have a least a base auto of every Ranger in the set (Luke Jackson, Chris Bostick, Yohander Mendez, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Michael Choice. The Kiner-Falefa is a sticker auto found in retail packs.

Along the way, I decided that I wanted to try to put together the autograph rainbow for Jackson and Choice.  I understand this could be expensive, so I have set a spending limit for each card and I'm not going to freak out if I don't get copies of them all. I've showed off a few of these that I've already snagged previously. Now it's time to share a few more.

Here's the base refractor auto for Michael Choice. This one is numbered 328 of 500.

And here's the gold refractor for Choice, numbered 22 of 50.

I was able to snag this blue Luke Jackson refractor auto and I'm positive I'm getting it graded. It is as close to pristine as I've ever seen. It's numbered 112 of 150.

Lastly, I picked up this Jackson black wave refractor auto, numbered 39 of 50. It's pretty awesome, I'm excited about grabbing all of the wave refractor autos. Unlike the rookie autos, though, the prospect Orange Wave autos are numbered to 5, whereas the rookies are numbered to 25. Damn you Topps.

Don't forget that I'm hosting a Jumbo case break of Bowman Chrome when it streets in September. There are 11 spots still available, so visit the announcement page and leave a comment as to what team you want! Payment isn't needed until all slots are filled!

Somebody Explain This To Me

So, as I'm sure you know, I've been trying to pick up a copy of every Ranger base auto from the 2014 Bowman product. When I go through the checklist on Cardboard Connection, it tells me that there is a AFLAC/Perfect Game/Under Armour autograph for Lewis Brinson. Cool. I decide to snag one.

Pretty cool, right? Flip it over.

Still don't see the problem?

This is supposed to be from the 2014 Bowman set. Not 2011.

So I go back to eBay to search again, thinking I've been hoodwinked. However, after searching "2014 Bowman Brinson Auto" again, every result that comes back has the same card. So I click on a couple listings that have an image of the reverse side, and all of those say 2011.

So I thought, this is just an error. But then I read the text of the card. No mention of Brinson being drafted by the Rangers or entering their minor league system. Instead, it mentions his commitment to the University of Florida.

In other words, this card was produced in 2011 for Brinson at the 2011 Under Armour All American Game. It just made its way into the 2014 Bowman product, almost three years later. This card should have been in the 2011 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects.

I'm so confused.

NOTE: After some further digging, I found that Matt McPhearson's Under Armour auto card, which can be seen here, is the 2012 design, while Brinson's is definitely the 2011 design (as per the Cardboard Connection AFLAC card guide).

Is it possible that these players just didn't get their cards signed to be included in the sets they were supposed to go in?

Monday, May 12, 2014

On Second Thought....

So, only a few people mentioned that they would be in for a 2014 Bowman case break. I can take a hint - you aren't interested.

And I can understand why: if you are like me, you've probably already completed your set (or come very close) and you don't want to spend the cash and possibly come away hitless. Understandable.

So let's try something different.

I'm announcing my 2014 Bowman CHROME Jumbo Case Break!!! The product is slated to street September 24, so we should have more than enough time to get the spots filled.

Here's the sell sheet for Chrome. The biggest change from years passed? Each jumbo box carries FIVE HITS - that's right, 5 autographed chrome cards per jumbo box! A case will net us 40 total autos! You are almost guaranteed a hit!!!!

As usual, there will be 15 spots for chosen teams. The remaining 15 teams will be randomly assigned. Each slot will cost $80, and that includes shipping!!! You can't beat that sh*t with a stick!!!!! Comment below to claim your team. Once all 15 spots are filled, I will collect the cash so that I can pre-order a case and lock in the price!

Available Teams:
1. DBacks
2. Braves - Chris Mays
3. O's
4. Red Sox
6. White Sox - The Big Kahuna
7. Reds
8. Indians
9. Rockies
10. Tigers
11. Astros - Judson
12. Royals
13. Angels
14. Dodgers - Dodger Penguin
15. Marlins
16. Brewers
17. Twins
18. Mets - Keith G.
19. Yankees - John R.
20. A's
21. Phillies
22. Pirates
23. Padres
24. Giants
25. Mariners
26. Cardinals
27. Rays
28. Rangers - Judson
29. Blue Jays
30. Nats

Friday, May 9, 2014

I Feel Like I'm Always Gauging Your Interest

I feel that I have at least one post a week asking for your input/interest on something, whether it be a break, a new collection, etc. The whole reason I started this blog is because there are very few people in my town that collect baseball cards (I don't know any of them) and I wanted to be part of a community of collectors. So, I ask a lot of questions.

Well, I'm here to gauge interest again. A while back, I mentioned that I wanted to start getting certain cards in my collection graded, for a few reasons. First, it's nice to know the quality of the card I have. Second, having cards slabbed gives a certain uniformity that eases my OCD. Third, it's nice to have all of the information listed at the top so I can just thumb through when looking for something. There are a few other reasons, but these are the primary ones.

The problem with having cards graded? The cost. When sending in four or five autographed cards, they can run as high as $17 each and take four weeks to get back.

The way to avoid this is to send cards in to Beckett in bulk. The more cards you send, the bigger the discount. I've got a few cards on hand now that I would like to send, but I don't want to pay full price.

So, does anyone have any cards they would like graded? I would be more than happy to send them in with mine and then send them back to you once I get them back.

Comment below if you're interested!

Also, don't forget that I'm gauging interest for a 2014 Bowman case break!!!! Go here to find out more about it and claim a team!

Want To Win Free Stuff?

Then go visit Brian at Play At The Plate. He just hit 2,000 posts and he's celebrating like it's 1999! Stop by and enter. Or don't. I could use less competition for that box! ;-)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Some Maildays Are Simply Better Than Others

As the title of this post might suggest, today was a very good mailday. A trade, a purchase and a TTM all came today, and they are all AWESOME.

First up, I received a batch of cards from William of foul bunt fame:

The note said that these bad boys should wrap up a trade between us, and for the life of me I can't remember what the trade was for! Whatever it was, I'm pretty sure I still owe you something, amigo! I'll be on the look out!

Next, I received a package from eBay:

A 2014 Bowman Michael Choice Orange Wave Auto numbered 23/25! This dude is sweet! This was the costliest auto I've purchased so far, but at the same cost of a couple blasters, at least I was ensuring that I got a card I actually wanted!

And last, but certainly not least, I got this back:

A signed, ROMLB from none other than Mr. Ranger himself, Tom Grieve! For those who aren't Rangers fans or haven't seen a local Rangers broadcast, Grieve is currently the color commentator for the Rangers. But he's so much more than that. Grieve was drafted by the then-Washington Senators. After his first season in DC (followed by a season in the minors), the team relocated to Arlington and became the Texas Rangers. He played in Texas until 1977, when he was involved in a four-team trade that would land him in New York as a member of the Mets. The following year, Grieve played for the Cardinals. May 1, 1979 would be his last day as a professional ballplayer. After he retired, he returned to Texas and joined the Rangers front office, eventually becoming the Rangers General Manager in 1984. He is responsible for bringing Nolan Ryan to the organization. since his stint as GM, Grieve has been the Rangers TV color commentator. Outside of the ballpark, Grieve's son, Ben, was also a major leaguer. The two became the first father-son duo to be drafted in the first round. In July of 2010, Grieve was elected to the Rangers Hall of Fame. Due tot he amount of time and various roles with the organization, Grieve has come to be known as "Mr. Ranger."

I couldn't be more excited to add this ball to my collection. Grieve has always had a special place in my baseball heart, so I was thrilled when I saw this in my mailbox. I took the lead of many others and asked some questions in hope that Tom would have the time to answer them, and he did. (My questions are a bit of the "softball" variety, in that they weren't entirely thought provoking.

"When you were drafted by the Senators, did you have any idea that you would spend as much time with the organization as you have?"
I anticipated that I would play as long as I could, but I never thought I would stay involved after my playing days.
What is your best memory from your playing career?
My first game (in Yankee Stadium) with my parents at the park.
Best memory from your post-playing career?
Signing Nolan!
Favorite MLB city to visit during the season?
Lastly, I know you're and avid golfer. What's your handicap?
12. But my goal is single digits.

How awesome would that be as a kid to make your professional debut in Yankee Stadium, the house that Ruth built, and to have your family on hand to see it? If only we were all so lucky!

Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed reading about Tom Grieve!

Anybody In For A Case Break?

As I may have mentioned yesterday, I'm a bit of a Bowman-aholic. I love it. I can't get enough of it. It is the product that brought me back to collecting and it's still the product I have the most fun ripping.

So, with that being said, I laid in bed last night dreaming of busting a case of it. I'll never be able to afford a case for myself...but I might be able to do a break if other people joined. This ties into one of my goals for the year (host more and better breaks), so I thought I would give it a shot.

Would anyone be interested in doing a case break with me? Format would follow my other breaks: 15 spots, buy one team get another random team, price includes shipping, etc. etc. If you would like to join, would you rather do a hobby case (12 autos) at $75/slot or a jumbo case (24 autos) at $100/slot? Personally, I would rather pay the extra cash to have a better shot at an auto, but I'll do whatever everyone else wants.

I would like to know if this is going to happen by tomorrow night, so if you think you would like to join, comment below. If you want to participate, you can also leave a comment with the team you would like to claim - no money will be needed yet (if we get people on board, I will collect money over the weekend).

Thanks for reading, and I hope there are at least 14 other people as excited about doing this as I am!!!

Available Teams:
1. DBacks
2. Braves - Chris Mays
3. O's
4. Red Sox
5.Cubs - Judson (maybe)
6. White Sox - defgav
7. Reds
8. Indians
9. Rockies
10. Tigers
11. Astros
12. Royals
13. Angels
14. Dodgers
15. Marlins
16. Brewers
17. Twins
18. Mets
19. Yankees
20. A's
21. Phillies
22. Pirates
23. Padres
24. Giants
25. Mariners
26. Cardinals
27. Rays
28. Rangers - Judson
29. Blue Jays
30. Nats

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

More 2014 Bowman Goodies

I received some more colorful mail today courtesy of eBay. Let's get to it:

The blue wave refractor for Mr. Luke Jackson. You know what's better than a refractor of one of the Rangers best pitching prospect? Paying an entire penny for it. That's right, I won this baby for one cent.

Here's the Michael Choice blue refractor auto, numbered 186 of 250. Does anyone else think the signature reads "Milk"? That's what I read when I see it. Anyway, I'm glad to have these two to add to the ever-growing prospect auto collection.

As Usual, I Want Your Input

As some of you know, I've been doing a little cardboard soul-searching lately. The initial excitement wore off and I've been hopelessly floating in the card collecting doldrums.

I received many comments, emails and phone calls. Brian posted about my quandary in an attempt to convince me to keep my cards (thank you, sir). Mark was kind enough to email me, then offer advice to spice up my cardboard love life, and then email me again just to make sure I was okay.

I am okay, friends. But I definitely have discovered that interest in building certain parts of my collection have...waned.  For instance, my Nelson Cruz PC, once the primary focus of my attention, has become almost a non-factor. However, I have figured out where my interest does lie: Bowman.

I understand that many of you don't care for Bowman. However, the first product I purchased when jumping back into the collecting world was 2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects. I loved that set. Unfortunately, I was not sure which direction I wanted to go with my collection, so I didn't build that set. I'm hoping to do so in the future.

When Bowman dropped this year, I was extremely excited. I bought a jumbo box and a hobby box. I'm sorting now, but I should have a needs list up soon.

Anyway, back to the moral of this story. As I mentioned above, Mark made some suggestions to help me out of my rut. One of those was to put together a vintage set. If you read Mark's blog or if you've ever talked to him, you know that by "vintage," he means early 1900's. 

I'm down with this idea. However, I have no idea which set to collect. So here's what I'm looking for: a set that isn't overly expensive (believe it or not, I don't have an infinite supply of cash), semi-easily available, and a set that has some type of historical value (my BA in History demands it). So, do any of you have any input?

Also, a post from Greg Z. earlier today sparked my interest in something else. One of the cards in his card show loot was a '51 Thurman Tucker. If you have been with me since the beginning, you might recall a post I had about this card:

Tucker is my cousin. He and my grandfather were very close; I still remember stories my grandfather would tell me as a kid about "Monk" (as he was known by family members - I have no idea why). 

Anyway, the card got me to thinking about that set. It is undoubtedly one of the most iconic sets of baseball cards ever made, probably for the Mantle card that was part of it. I love the set. I love it's irregular size compared to today's cards. The thing I love about it most, however, is the image type: I love that they are all essentially works of art, not photographs. 

So I decided that I am going to build a second vintage set. Something from the '50s...clearly I can't afford to build the '51 set - I don't think I could ever afford a Mantle - and the inability to complete a set would drive me nuts. So, my next thought was the 1950 Bowman set. Does anyone have experience with this set? If so, tell me about your journey so far to build it. Easy? Difficult? Costly? I want to know!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Did You Miss Me?

I've been gone a while. No, not literally, just from my blog. While I haven't written anything, I have been commenting and reading.

But now I'm back. I actually have something to talk about. Well, three things, really. I recently purchased three Bowman refractors on eBay. Let's take a look.

First up, the 2013 Bowman Chrome refractor of Rangers catching prospect Jorge Alfaro. By far and away the best catching prospect we have, Alfaro will hopefully bring some stability and continuity to our catching position someday soon. We need it. This guy is numbered 21/500.

Next up, this Chris Bostick auto refractor, numbered 201 of 500. Bostick came over with Michael Choice in the Craig Gentry trade. I don't know much about him.

Lastly, this Luke Jackson refractor auto. Jackson was the 2013 Minor League Pitche rof the Year for the Rangers. He's been pretty solid this year, as well. He's 3-1 with an ERA of 3.00, recording 31 strikeouts with 10 walks.

So there you have it, my newest purchases. I have more on the way, they just haven't arrived yet. I hope everyone is well!