Sunday, October 15, 2017

I'm A Loser

I'm a loser.

While this statement could probably be applied in multiple aspects of my life, I'm specifically talking about Gint-A-Cuffs. I have once again failed to win the glorious box-breaking battle (say that ten times). This year may be my best finish - third - that is probably due to about half the field failing to submit a score. Regardless, I didn't win, so I am still a loser.

Either way, I am working on finishing the 2017 Allen & Ginter set, as well as some Ranger team needs. If you have any of the following cards, please let me know so we can work out a trade.

Here's what I need for my overall Rangers team set:

And here's what I need for my actual set:

2017 Allen & Ginter
1, 8, 13, 18, 19, 62, 64, 72, 77, 102, 111, 116, 126, 136, 190, 200, 232, 301, 303, 317, 322, 324, 326, 328, 331, 344, 349

Constellations Mini Insert 
4, 7, 8, 9, 10

Required Reading Mini Insert
2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13

World's Dudes Mini Insert
1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 26, 29, 30, 35, 37, 43, 45

Sport & Fishing Lures Insert

World's Fair Insert

I hope to hear from you soon!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

An Update

It has been a month and a day since I last posted anything on this blog. That is not due to not having anything to post; on the contrary, Julie from A Cracked Bat sent me a literal box full of goodies that I need to post about, but I just haven't had time to scan. Time has been my real nemesis.

Why has time been my nemesis, you ask? Well, I planned on graduating this December, so I had been busting my tail to finish my dissertation proposal so I could defend it, collect data, write my dissertation, and then defend that. However, my dissertation chair failed to tell me that we have an "unwritten rule" that mandates a 90-day period between proposal defense and dissertation defense. Because of that rule, there is no way that I can accomplish everything in time to graduate. So I'm here until May.

I thought I may have time this week to get to scanning, but we experienced a tragedy on campus Monday night. I met with students until about 7:15 that evening. About 10 minutes after leaving campus, I received an alert via text message to let me know a campus police officer had been shot and the campus was going into lockdown. Sadly, the officer did not survive. The shooter was caught a couple hours later. I have really had a hard time wrapping my head around this...these tragedies are senseless and I just can't understand the hate on has in his heart that allows him to pull the trigger. I will say, though, that it was incredible seeing the campus come together in the immediate aftermath of this. One of the campus traditions is for a campus spirit group called the Saddle Tramps to wrap our campus statue of Will Rogers in red streamers on football game days. Monday night, they wrapped the statue in black and blue streamers in honor of the officer. Here is a photo:

This was posted on social media my the Saddle Tramps. I visited the statue the next day and snapped a photo myself, but it isn't nearly as beautiful:

Later in the week, I realized how therapeutic personal writing is for me. I say "personal writing" because academic writing isn't the same. I estimate that in my time in this PhD program, I've probably written 600-700 pages of original material, and that has only added stress to my life. However, writing on this blog is very cathartic. It helps me clear my head. I need to get back in the habit of writing for myself. We'll see where that goes. 

Thanks for taking a moment to read. If you feel compelled, I encourage you to comment. However, if your comment is of a political nature - discussing gun control, for instance - I ask that you refrain. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I don't want this to become a post about politics. Thanks in advance.

I hope you all are well!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

2017 Heritage High Number? Sure, Why Not?

In case you missed it, 2017 Topps Heritage Has been really, really good to me. So when my LCS owner sent me a text yesterday to let me know he got his '17 High Number in a day early, you know I was all over it.

I opened the box and, as is my custom, began by opening the first pack on the right. I don't know why I do it that way - I'm a creature of habit.

Anyway, the very first pack offered up my guaranteed hit:

A Clayton Kershaw Clubhouse Collection relic. I've never heard of this guy...I hope he's decent. You know how lefty pitchers are.

After that, I noticed this guy:

This is the image variation of Brandon Phillips' card. Not as nice as the action variations I pulled earlier this year, but I won't complain.

I also saw this in my box:

Evidently, Nolan has his own insert set centered on his career accomplishments. That's pretty cool.

I also pulled a blue parallel:

I know nothing about this guy other than he plays for Boston.

While opening the last pack in the middle "column" of packs in my box, I found something weird. As a superstitious person, this made me a bit uncomfortable.

These were the first two cards in the pack. Exactly the same, front...

...and back. In case you are wondering why this made me uncomfortable, check out the card number. I've never had a problem with collation in a Heritage product, so it was odd for me to find this in a pack. Even more strange (or coincidental) is the card numbering. I don't like it and I wonder how it happened.

Anyway, I was plugging along until I was opening the next-to-last pack. I opened it and saw a thick card. Once again, I assumed it was going to be a '68 Mint card.

Once again, I was wrong.

Another Clubhouse Collection relic auto card, this time of Addison Russell! It's no Mike Trout, but the relic is far superior. How sweet is that?!?!?!

Anyway, now I am debating buying another box. I know it's foolish, especially considering that don't need that many more cards to complete the set. But landing a big fish will do that to you.

Side note - I have a few posts in my queue waiting for scans. If you sent me something, please don't think I forgot you - I just haven't had enough time to scan everything yet!!!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Today Was A Good Day (I Didn't Even Have To Use My AK)

Today was the first day of classes. It is even more special for me, as I begin my last semester. If I keep on track, I'll finish my dissertation in October and I'll be done. October can't get here soon enough.

I also got a text from my LCS owner to let me know that my PSA order was in. I decided to drop in to pick it up. I had five cards in the order:

Five Kris Bryant rookies! Three PSA 10s and two PSA 9s (one of which is from Chrome). I decided a while back that I should get this graded and slabbed, for both protection and re-sale value. Bryant seems to have staying power (so far), and while I doubt he will be on Trout's level, it would be nice if his rookies grow in value in a similar way that Trout's rookie did. 

While I was in the shop, I decided to grab a couple of boxes of the 2017 Topps Clearly Authentic. I watched a few case breaks of these and I really dig the cards. I opened the first box and thought to myself, "Oh great, a freakin' redemption." I'm still waiting on other redemptions, the last thing I need is another in in the queue.

But then I read the name on the card:

So...yeah. I'll take that. This is officially my first dip into the Aaron Judge auto-mania pool. I immediately listed the card on eBay. The card seems to bring decent money, and I would like to take advantage of that before his value bottoms out. That being said, there is definitely a part of me that wants to redeem this one.

My second box was okay:

Well, maybe it was better than okay. Alex Bregman is a nice pull, also! This is the second Bregman I have pulled (I also pulled one from 2016 Bowman's Best). That was a bad day at the shop!

If I am being honest, these aren't the first boxes of Clearly Authentic that I have bought. I also picked up a couple last week. The pulls weren't quite as nice.

Carson Fulmer was the first...

...And Javier Baez was the second. Baez isn't bad, and I think Fulmer can be a solid starter, but neither of these are on the Judge/Bregman level (in my opinion). 

So there it is, a handful of PSA Bryants and a handful of Clearly Authentic. 

It was a good day.

(And I didn't even have to use my AK)

Friday, August 25, 2017

New Blog Feature: #FinishingFriday

When going through all of my trade bait, I also went through a bunch of cards that I need to get into binders. I noticed that I have quite a few sets that I need to finish up, and that gave me an idea for Finishing Friday.

I know it sounds cheesy, but it was hard for my simple mind to think of a synonym for "complete" that started with the same letter as a day of the week. This is what you get. Deal with it.

Here's the concept. Every Friday, I will post the remaining cards I need to complete a set I am working on. If you have any of those cards, leave a reply in the comments with the card(s) number(s). Then, visit my Trade Bait page and see if I have any cards you need. Leave those in the comments as well. I will send you a message to let you know I saw your comment and then I will drop the cards you requested in the mail! Simple as that! Trades made easy!

Since I just posted my final post for Gint-A-Cuffs IX, I will continue with that theme:

This week's Finishing Friday set is 2017 Allen & Ginter! Here's what I need:

2017 Allen & Ginter
1, 8, 13, 18, 19, 62, 64, 72, 77, 102, 111, 116, 126, 136, 190, 200, 232, 301, 303, 317, 321, 322, 324, 326, 328, 331, 338, 344, 349

Constellations Mini Insert 
4, 7, 9, 10

Required Reading Mini Insert
2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13

World's Dudes Mini Insert

1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 26, 29, 30, 35, 37, 43, 45

Sport & Fishing Lures Insert

World's Fair Insert


Like the idea of Finishing Friday? Run with it on your blog too! Let's help each other out!

Thanks for reading!

Gint-A-Cuffs IX: The Final Stretch (Packs 17-24)

Running Total: 97.5

Pack 17
144 Frank Thomas
153 Sean Doolittle
207 Edwin Diaz
101 Jay Bruce
149 Mike Piazza
340 Hanley Ramirez SP (+1)
WaD Insert Ty Cobb (+2)
WD Insert Deep Sea Dude MINI INSERT (+2)
Pack Total: 6
Running Total: 103.5

Pack 18
259 Roger Maris (-1)
184 Jose Altuve FP (+2)
146 Justin Verlander
170 Jackie Bradley Jr.
47 Omar Vizquel
56 Rick Porcello
WF Insert Biosphere (+2)
132 Corey Seager A&G BACK MINI (+2)
Pack Total: 5
Running Total: 108.5

Pack 19
274 Laurie Hernandez
213 Blake Snell
180 Corey Kluber
28 Andrew McCutchen
27 Yulieski Gurriel
335 Lorenzo Cain SP (+1)
WaD Insert Cal Ripken Jr. (+2)
RR Insert Walden (+2)
Pack Total: 5
Running Total: 113.5

Pack 20
4 Babe Ruth (-1)
24 Ken Griffey Jr.
41 Chris Sale
53 Brandon Belt
224 US National Park Service
253 Brandon Phillips
SF Insert Walleye (+2)
275 Joe Panik Mini
Pack Total: 1
Running Total: 114.5

Pack 21
74 Cal Ripken Jr.
270 Jason Heyward
172 Aaron Judge (-1)
99 Teoscar Hernandez
110 Ted Williams
347 Warren Spahn SP (+1)
WaD Insert George Brett (+2)
135 Josh Donaldson Mini
Pack Total: 2
Running Total: 116.5

Pack 22
11 Brandon Finnegan
68 JD Martinez
151 Jacoby Ellsbury (-1)
219 Johnny Cueto
23 John Smoltz
81 Carlos Carrasco
WF Insert Westinghouse Tower(+2)
95 Dee Gordon A&G BACK MINI (+2)
Pack Total: 3
Running Total: 119.5

Pack 23
44 Anthony Rizzo FP (+2)
106 Sean Manea
178 Clayton Kershaw
105 Brett Gardner (Yankee) (-1)
100 Ty Cobb
316 Adam Wainwright
WaD Insert Greg Maddux (+2)
302 Jon Lester BLACK BORDER MINI SP (+6)
Pack Total: 9
Running Total: 128.5

Pack 24
240 Masahiro Tanaka (Yankee) (-1)
167 Andres Galarraga
124 Kyle Schwarber
282 Christian Yelich
FSR Dansby Swanson HIT (+5)
SF Insert Dorado (+2)
210 Didi Gregorius BLACK BORDER MINI (Yankee) (+3)
Pack Total: 9
Running Total: 137.5


BL-AB Alex Bregman FP (+6)
Pack Total: 6
Running Total: 143.5

Final Total:143.5

Well, there ya go. 143.5 points. I believe that is the most I have ever scored on a box. I owe it to the Favorite Players list, which got me points via a hit multiplier and through standard extra points. Let's see if 143.5 will be the high water mark this year (I doubt it).

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Trade Bait Organization

After the flood, I decided to re-visit how I have my cards stored and organized. The first step of this process was to go through all of my trade bait and make sure that I have it listed correctly.

That was one hell of a first step. I can't imagine the time necessary for those of you that have shelves upon shelves and boxes upon boxes of cards. Good on you.

When it was all said and done, you could tell what sets I collect. I ended up with five 3200-count boxes. Allen and Ginter, Gypsy Queen, and Heritage (and other Heritage products like High Number and Minors) each had their own box. A four box contains all of my other trade bait. The final box holds sets that I still need to get into binders. Here's what they look like:

I put labels on each box so I don't have to go digging inside to determine what's in it. One part laziness, one part genius. I know. Anyway, nothing really exciting about that.

The other part to this cardboard reorganization is an updated Trade Bait page. If you take a peek over there, you'll notice a few things. First, there is a link at the top of the page that says "Hits for Trade." That page is exactly what it says it is. DISCLAIMER - I still need to update that page. I know that there are cards listed that I no longer have and there are cards that are not listed that I need to add. I am going to try to get to that this weekend or next week. So if you see something you want, email me and I will check on it.

Second, I have put in all that I have for trade (in terms of base cards) in the primary trade bait page. If you need any of those cards, let me know and we can work something out. To make life even easier for you, I have linked each set to the Cardboard Connection checklist page for it. That way, you can look up card numbers for players, teams, etc. Take advantage of it!

I'll keep updating my trade bait page as I open packs. I'm not certain if I will open anymore 2017 products because it's simply too expensive right now. But if I do, you can count on an update.

I hope this will encourage some of y'all out there to trade with me. I'm looking forward to finishing off some of these sets (especially 2017 Allen & Ginter!). 

Thanks for reading!

Gint-A-Cuffs IX (Packs 9-16)

Running Total (Packs 1-8): 47

Pack 9
134 Steven Matz
203 Carlos Gonzalez
162 Sonny Gray
89 Ken Rosenthal
254 Hunter Pence
323 Drew Smyly SP (+1)
WaD Insert Mike Piazza (+2)
153 Sean Doolittle BROOKLYN BACK (+7)
Pack Total: 10
Running Total: 57

Pack 10
32 Peter Rosenberg
287 Elvis Andrus (+1)
6 DJ LeMahieu
195 Matt Kemp
243 Alex Reyes
147 Salvador Perez
SF Insert Giant Trevally (+2)
169 Anthony Senzatela MINI
Pack Total: 3
Running Total: 60

Pack 11
60 Nolan Ryan (FT) (+1)
191 Jay Glazer
50 Bryce Harper
182 Kyle Hendricks
35 Johnny Damon
327 Steven Wright SP (+1)
WaD Insert Roger Maris (+1)
211 Ben Smith BLACK BORDER MINI (+4)
Pack Total: 7
Running Total: 67

Pack 12
82 Bobby Abreu
264 Robinson Cano
38 Craig Kimbrel
212 Don Mattingly (-1)
FSR Giancarlo Stanton HIT (+8.5)
WF Insert Statue of Liberty (+2)
Con. Ursa Major MINI INSERT (+2)
Pack Total: 11.5
Running Total: 78.5

Pack 13
283 Chris Davis
205 Alex Bregman (+2)
57 Jharel Cotton
148 Jesse Winker
268 Matt Olson
309 Fernando Rodney SP (+1)
WaD Insert Giancarlo Stanton FP (+4)
296 Zack Grienke Mini
Pack Total: 7
Running Total: 85.5

Pack 14
176 Marcus Stroman
52 Trees in India
130 Renato Nunez
55 Andre Dawson
169 Anthony Senzatela
221 Yadier Molina
RD Insert Battle of Princeton (+2)
104 Dexter Fowler Mini
Pack Total: 2
Running Total: 87.5

Pack 15
138 Adam Duvall
218 Tim Anderson
40 Dansby Swanson
115 Carlos Rodon
269 Krazy George
346 Hisashi Iwakuma SP (+1)
WaD Insert Justin Verlander (+2)
Candy Maldonado INDIANS BUYBACK (+1)
330 Mark Melancon MINI SP (+3)
Pack Total: 7
Running Total: 94.5

Pack 16
20 Brooke Hogan
29 Maikel Franco
9 Ryan Schimpf
15 Gary Sanchez (Yankee) (-1)
173 Odubel Herrera
278 Trevor Story
WF Insert Habitat 67 (+2)
285 Hunter Renfroe A&G BACK MINI (+2)
Pack Total: 3
Running Total: 97.5

Current Running Total: 97.5

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

AB3K Topps NOW!

It has been almost two weeks since I posted about my last Topps NOW purchase: cards for Adrian Beltre's 450th home run and his feat of being the 21st player in MLB history to reach 5,000 total bases.

Chris, a.k.a. The Collector, asked in the comments of that post if I had the Topps NOW card for Beltre's 3,000th hit. I had ordered it, but did not have it at the time.

But I do now.

As much as I usually love the images chosen by Topps for the NOW cards, this one just seems boring to me. I don't think that's necessarily Topps' fault - there is only so much you can show to represent a hit. However, the images on the reverse side of the card are far better:

Once play stopped for the crowd to recognize Beltre, his kids ran from the stands all the way to the outfield wall to uncover this logo the Rangers had prepared for the hit. The bottom images show Beltre's teammates coming out to hug and congratulate him on the accomplishment. I love both of these images, and I think it would have been awesome to have the second (bottom) image on the front of the card and the first (top) image on the back. But that's just me.

I believe this is the fourth Topps NOW card that I have purchased this year. I hoped they would put the following image on a card - it is just begging to be put on cardboard - but it didn't happen. Hopefully it will someday!

I hope everyone is well!

Gint-A-Cuffs 9 Scoring

Packs 1 - 8: 47
Packs 9 - 16: 50.5
Packs 17 - 24: 46

Running Score: 97.5

Final Score: 143.5

Gint-A-Cuffs IX (Packs 1-8)

I feel like I have been gone for an eternity! I haven't had anything to really write about, but I do now. Let's see how close to last place I will finish in this year's edition of Gint-A-Cuffs!

Pack 1
263 Kevin Kelley
71 Julio Teheren (+2)
168 Robbie Ray
33 Byron Buxton
237 Andrew Benintendi
314 Dan Vogelbach SP (+1)
WaD Insert Anthony Rizzo FP (+4)
261 Mike Moustakas MINI
Pack Total: 7
Running Total: 7

Pack 2
255 Trea Turner
211 Ben Smith
223 Lucas Giolito
292 Evan Longoria
215 Yasmany Tomas
2 Albert Pujols
WF Insert X-Ray Machine (+2)
35 Johnny Damon A&G BACK MINI* (+2)
(*Forgot to scan the back, but I will happily do so for anyone wanting to see)
Pack Total: 4
Running Total: 11

Pack 3
222 Jake Thompson
277 Miguel Sano
208 Felix Hernandez
80 Mookie Betts
76 David Dahl
325 Danny Salazar SP (+1)
WaD Insert Julio Urias (+2)
112 Jayson Worth MINI
Rey Quinonoes MARINERS BUYBACK (+1)
Pack Total: 4
Running Total: 15

Pack 4
131 Dan Jennings
66 Kenta Maeda
265 Kevin Kiermaier
39 Yu Darvish FT (+1)
AUTO Allie LaForce HIT (+7)
SF Insert Redfish (+2)
45 Harriet Tubman BLACK MINI (+5)
Pack Total: 15
Running Total: 30

Pack 5
246 William Shatner (+1)
67 Allie LaForce
220 Chipper Jones
210 Didi Gregorius (-1)
285 Hunter Renfroe
318 Harmon Killebrew SP (+1)
WaD Insert Hank Aaron (+2)
Mike Stanley RANGERS BUYBACK (+2)
WD German Snow Patrol Dude MINI INSERT (+2)
Pack Total: 7
Running Total: 37

Pack 6
159 Yoenis Cespedes
128 Tyler Glasnow
37 Devon Travis
94 Justin Upton
132 Corey Seager
248 Wilson Ramos
SF Insert Bass (+2)
212 Don Mattingly A&G BACK MINI (Yankee) (+1)
Pack Total: 4
Running Total: 41

Pack 7
226 Ryne Sandberg
31 Carlos Santana
95 Dee Gordon
281 Yoan Moncada
3 Tyler Naquin
310 Brandon Crawford SP (+1)
WaD Insert Javier Baez (+2)
266 Greg Byrd Mini (Yankee) (-1)
Pack Total: 2
Running Total: 43

Pack 8
75 Max Scherzer
49 Davaid Wright
174 Danny Duffy
133 Addison Russell
145 AJ Reed
36 Edwin Encarnacion
RB Insert Battle of Bunker Hill (+2)
MI Pamela Colman Smith MINI INSERT (+2)
Pack Total: 4
Running Total: 47

Packs 1 - 8 Point Total: 47

Not a bad start, but can the point parade continue all the way to the top of the leaderboard? Find out tomorrow!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Topps NOW...Again

I am finding myself watching for Topps NOW cards featuring Ranger players. Rather than purchase them through Topps, I find that I can usually get them through eBay for about $5 with free shipping.

Such is the case with my two most recent pickups, both centered on Adrian Beltre.

First up:

The One-Knee Wonder. Beltre has made this follow through famous, so it is only appropriate that his card celebrating 5,000 total bases show it.

I also grabbed this one:

Beltre recently hit home run number 450. I believe he currently sits at 455, so hopefully he will reach number 500 next season. If he isn't already, having 500 homers (to go along with 3,000+ hits) should make him a first ballot hall of famer.

What are your thoughts on Topps NOW? Purchased any for yourself?

Friday, August 11, 2017

I'm Starting To Fall In Love With Oddballs

When I first started collected, oddballs were just that to me: odd. I didn't know what to make of them. At some point, I decided that I didn't care for them.

However, as time has passed, I've found myself being drawn to oddballs more frequently.

For instance, I just picked this up:

I tried multiple times to get a scan of the other image on this coin (Bell's face), but evidently I'm not talented enough to do that.

This coin is form the 1984 7-11 Super Star Sports Coins set. I don't believe any other Rangers were featured in this set, unfortunately. That doesn't matter though, because I dig this one.

I think oddballs are really becoming some of my favorite pieces.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Case of the Missing Smile

A few weeks ago, I posted that I happened to have some retail luck in pulling this:

In the comments, P-Town Tom asked something that was on my mind, also: do all of Randle's Fan Favorites autographs have the smiley face?

A couple weeks went by and I was able to pick up this blue parallel:

This card also had the smiley face!

I decided to create a saved eBay search to let me know when a new Randle card was posted so I could see if there were any without the smiley face.

I waited and found nothing. Nothing, that is, until last week:

Smiley-face-less Randle is now mine!