Tuesday, February 26, 2019

We Have A Winner!!!

In my last post, I mentioned that I would be giving away a pretty sweet Kyle Lewis dual patch relic along with 150 Panini Points. I meant to do the drawing Friday, but I was "lucky" enough to come down with a virus and spent Friday, along with the weekend, recuperating.

I finally felt well enough to jump online and put together a post recognizing the winner tonight.

We had three entrants, so I randomized the list three times.

And the winner is.....

Ketchupman36 a.k.a. The Cardboard Flame!

I'll reach out to you and get the cards in the mail!

Thanks to everyone who played along!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A Very Long Overdue Thank You Post

During the course of the past couple years, I've been setting aside any Corey Seager cardboard I pull. I carefully sleeve each one and then place them in a top loader. After a small stack builds, I send them off to Greg of Plaschke, They Sweater is Argyle

In return, Greg goes way overboard. Whereas I send mostly commons his way, he returns the favor with cards like this:

A massive patch auto ( and on-card, at that) featuring former Rangers first-round pick, Luis Ortiz Jr. from 2014 Leaf Trinity. This card is an absolute beauty.  

I was sad to see Ortiz traded. He was part of the group of prospects sent to the Brewers to acquire Jonathan Lucroy. I was certain he would be a solid number-three starter for us. Instead, he made his major league debut with the Orioles last season. He was rouged up pretty badly in that start and accompanying appearance. 

However, I owe a long-overdue "Thank You" to Greg for sending this my way. You always go above and beyond to send me some incredible cardboard. I am very grateful to consider you a friend, good sir!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Wait, What Happened To 2018? (OR, Blaster Madness 4: 2019 Elite Extra Edition)

Back in December, my scanner went bonkers. At least, I thought it did. Last week, I was working on my dissertation when my laptop started going crazy. It turns out that my laptop was the problem, as it was creating issues by misreading external hardware code...or something like that. The repair guy tried telling me, but I openly admit I don't speak tech.

What I do know is that I had to get a new laptop. Late last week, I did just that. I hooked the laptop up to the scanner and everything seems to work!

I scanned in some cards and then opened Blogger...and realized it has been more than two months since I last posted. Wow. Granted, I was having issues scanning, but if I'm being honest with myself and you, I must admit that I didn't have the motivation to blog, anyway. Last year was a tough one for me. I won't re-hash everything that made it that way, but I am glad it is over. One of my personal goals for 2019 is to work harder on being more optimistic and to not let minor setbacks turn into major roadblocks for me. Part of being more optimistic and happy means spending more time doing the things I enjoy. So, today I write.

The fourth blaster of my Blaster Madness series features two blasters of 2019 Panini Elite Edition. This is the first Panini baseball product of the year (I believe) and features many of last year's drafted players, most of the various USA National Team players, and many unsigned foreign (specifically Latin American) players. Each box contains five tota cards, two of which, on average, are hits (autographed, memorabilia, or autographed memorabilia cards). 

I snagged two looking for a specific player, but more on that later. For now, let's see how I fared.

Each box also contains one exclusive pink parallel. One of my pink parallels was of Rangers' prospect Juan Pablo Martinez. Sadly, this was my only Rangers card. Martinez was signed early in 2018 - with money the Rangers tried to give to Shohei Otani before he signed with the Los Angeles Devils - and was MLB.com's second-ranked international prospect going into the 2018 season. He split the 2018 season between the Rangers' Dominican Summer League team and the Spokane Indians.

This is the only numbered parallel in either of my boxes, and it happens to be the die-cut version numbered to 99. Appearing on the card is Cristian Santana, international free agent, not to be confused with the man of the same name in the Dodgers organization. I couldn't find much info on this Santana.

The only autograph appearing in either blaster is of another international free agent, Luis de la Cruz. It's autographed and it's legible, so it is automatically better than 95% of current autos, though it still isn't impressive. Again, I couldn't find much info on this player.

My first relic appears as a quad relic of Shane Baz. Baz was a first round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017, going 12th overall. He was traded to Tampa Bay last year as a PTBNL in the trade that sent Chris Archer to the Steel City.

The second relic I found featured two swatches from Kyle Lewis. Lewis was the 11th overall selection in the 2016 draft, going to the Mariners. Can we talk about these swatches though? How often do you see a card numbered to 49 have such amazing swatches? Beautiful!

The last hit left that sinking feeling...

Womp womp womp. 

So there it is! I've decided that I am going to give away the points AND the Lewis relic. All you need to do is post about your favorite memorabilia card in your collection and then post a link in the comments below. I'll create a recap of the posts and then select a random winner from the comments! Don't have a blog? No problem! Tweet about your favorite memorabilia card and post a link to the tweet in the comments! The contest runs until February 22 at Noon central time. Ready, set, go!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Blaster Madness 3: 2018 Bowman

Naturally, something goes wrong when I try to get back in the habit of posting. This time, my computer has decided not to recognize my scanner anymore. It's okay, though, as I still have scans to work through.

The third installment of Blaster Madness focuses on 2018 Bowman. Bowman products essentially brought me back to the hobby, but the growing price (along with a growing number of parallels) has forced me to keep my distance the past couple of years. 

This year, I bought a single blaster of Bowman. In it, I found three cards that I wanted to share. Let's take a look.

First up is Kyle Cody's First Bowman card. The Rangers snagged Cody in the sixth round of the 2016 draft out of Kentucky. For Cody, this represented a drop in his draft stock, as he was selected 73rd overall (third round) by the Twins in the 2015 draft. Cody missed the majority of the 2018 season after having Tommy John surgery.

This is one of the few Chrome cards in my blaster. Ronald "The Condor" Guzman. Guzman is tall with an incredible wingspan, which earned him the nickname. Guzman spent most of the season at the MLB level as the club's primary first baseman. He seems to be a solid player that could have a decent career. The highlight of his season came against the Yankees in the Bronx, as Guzman crushed three homers in a single game, which also happened to be the first professional game his parents were on hand for. 

The last card I pulled would be the "hit" of the blaster. This gold shimmer refractor of DJ Peters is numbered 11 of 50. I don't know much about the card, other than I really like the gold shimmer. I'll hang on to this to see if Peters does anything with his career.

That's it for the third installment of Blaster Madness! I hope everyone is enjoying the end of the year!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Blaster Madness 2: 2018 Bowman Platinum

For the second installment of Blaster Madness, we take a look at 2018 Bowman Platinum. In terms of number of Ranger cards pulled in a single blaster, this has to be one of my better boxes. Let's take a look.

First pack Gallo mojo! When I first saw the cards, I thought I really liked them. Now that I've had some time to see them, I'm not sure I really care for the design. What are your thoughts?

Bubba Thompson was a 2017 first-round pick for the Rangers. I don't know much about him, but the talking heads that do know their stuff seem to think he will be a very important part of the Rangers' future.

Speaking of Thompson, he is featured in the Prismatic Prodigies insert set. I actually do like these.

Willie Calhoun was the key player the Rangers acquired from the Dodgers in the Yu Darvish trade. He hasn't really produced for us yet, but hopefully more time in Triple A will cure that. This is a cracked ice parallel.

I also pulled this purple parallel of Dee Gordon numbered to 250. I like the color more than I like the plain black, but that isn't really saying a lot. 

Overall, I do like this set. I'm excited to pick up the remaining Rangers!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

I (Sort Of) Won Gint-A-Cuffs X! A Post-Mortem

Okay, so I didn't actually win Gint-A-Cuffs X, per se. That honor belongs to Spankee, who clocked in with 127.5 points. Topps was kind enough to send a couple of boxes of Ginter as prizes, so I was fortunate enough to win the second box trough random selection.

The Commissioner was kind enough to send that box to me earlier this week, and I decided to go ahead and score it to see how it would do when lined up against my contest box. I didn't do a pack-by-pack breakdown, but I did list out all of the scoring cards and scan a few of them. Let's take a look! (Also, check out my concluding thoughts on Gint-A-Cuffs X and 2018 Ginter, in general, after the scoring, and see my set needs here!)

+14 Favorite Team/Players
+1 Adrian Beltre
+1 Rougned Odor
+4 Joey Gallo (FP)
+2 Bryce Harper
+2 Kris Bryant
+2 Barry Larkin
+2 Jim Thome

-11 Damn Yankees
-1 Gary Sanchez
-1 Babe Ruth
-1 Rickey Henderson
-1 Miguel Andujar
-1 Aaron Judge
-1 Hideki Matsui
-1 Roger Maris
-1 Aaron Hicks
-1 Aroldis Chapman
-1 Clint Frazier
-1 Reggie Jackson

-1 Misc.
-1 Tyronn Lue

+3 Short-Print Mini
+3 Carlos Santana (#312)

+7 Black Border Mini
+3 Derek Jeter
+4 Jon Lester

+14 A&G Back Mini
+1 Babe Ruth
+2 Sean Manea
+2 Jacob deGrom
+2 Roger Clemens
+7 Joey Gallo (My FP)

+3 Short-Print A&G Back
+3 Anthony Rendon

+7 Red Brooklyn Back
+7 Justin Bour

+8 Baseball Equipment of the Ages
+2 Eye Black
+2 Modern Baseball Sunglasses
+2 Modern Catcher’s Mask
+2 Vintage Bat

+12 Fantasy Goldmine
+2 Bob Gibson
+2 Roger Clemens
+2 Tom Seaver
+2 Ernie Banks
+2 Greg Maddux
+2 Sandy Koufax

+8 Magnificent Moons
+2 Miranda
+2 Phobos
+2 Mimas
+2 Europa

+8 World’s Greatest Beaches
+2 Cozumel
+2 Bay of Angels
+2 Bondi Beach
+2 Trunk Bay

+12 World Talent
+2 Tzu-Wei Lin
+2 Yadier Molina
+2 Yoenis Cespedes
+4 Kris Bryant (FP)
+1 Aaron Judge (Yankee)
+1 Masahiro Tanaka (Yankee)

+3 Postage Required
+3 Two Penny Blue

+2 Indigenous Heroes
+2 Chief Cornstalk

+3 Flags of Lost Nations
+3 New Granada

+6 Baseball Superstitions
+3 Not Changing Seats
+3 Drawing in the Batter’s Box Dirt

+6 N43 Boxloader
+6 Caros Correa

+28 HITS!!!
+5 Billy Hamilton Full-Size Relic (Jersey)
+5 Michael Conforto Full-Size Relic (Bat)
+8 J.D. Martinez RIP CARD!!!
+10 Manny Machado Extended Mini (from Rip Card)

132 Points, Total!

That's right, had this been my competition box, I would have really won Gint-A-Cuffs! That rip card really put it over the top. I've never had a rip card before, and I swore that if I ever did pull one, I would rip it. Lesson learned! If I ever pull another one, I'll sell it! Now let's look at some scans!

Corre N43 Boxloader - 1 of 500

J.D. Martinez Rip Card

Machado Extended Mini - Front

Machado Extended Mini - Rear

Michael Conforto Full Size Bat Relic

Billy Hamilton Full Size Jersey Relic

Joey Gallo A&G Back Mini

Justin Bour Brooklyn Back Mini
Not too shabby! Everything except the Gallo is up for trade. I only ask that if you make a trade offer, please make it fair - don't offer to send me a ton of 80's and 90's junk wax! (I had a random person reach out a couple weeks ago and ask if I would trade an auto from a higher-end product for a bunch of junk wax....)

Now for some thoughts on my boxes of Ginter for GACX. Most of my commentary revolves around collation. My first box was short a hit. I ordered a second box, and it was also short a hit. I ended up buying a third box, and it had all hits in it. So did the prize box.

Beyond the hits, I also had issues with the inserts. The first box I purchased had zero "Magnificent Moons" inserts. Instead, it had eight "Baseball Equipment" inserts. Furthermore, both the first and second boxes had the same exact "World's Best Beaches" insert cards. 

Boxes one and two were clearly the problem boxes. Beyond the issues mentioned above, both boxes were nearly identical in the base cards included. Hell, the second box had the two copies of Christian Villanueva's short-printed mini (card #315). How the hell does that happen? That makes Ginter a very expensive set to build. 

Lastly, it's a bit of a bummer that Topps is now treating rip cards as hits. In the past, these were included in addition to the three promised hits. I won't complain on this one too much, especially since I had a rip card in my **free** box. It was just something that crossed my mind. 

Lastly, I want to specifically thank Mark for serving once again as our faithful Commissioner. Without his work, I'm not certain GACX would have happened! Also, a huge thanks to Topps for sponsoring the contest and providing prizes! As a winner (finally!), the prize was certainly appreciated!

Thanks for the read!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Blaster Madness 1: 2018 Topps Chrome

As promised, today begins my new series "Blaster Madness." Since I've moved back home, I haven't had the opportunity to purchase many hobby boxes. My supply of cardboard comes primarily in the form of blasters from Walmart. TO say my options are limited is an understatement, so apologies if my posts become a bit...redundant. 

My first offering for this series takes a look at a blaster of 2018 Topps Chrome. Let's take a look and see what I found.

First card of note for me was Adrian Beltre. Beltre signed with the Rangers prior to the 2011 campaign and has been the most popular player on the team since. Beltre may retire this offseason - I would venture to say that he most likely will retire. However, that decision hasn't been made. I would never be opposed to having Beltre back again for another season. If I'm being honest, I wouldn't be opposed to having Beltre slide into our open manager position. I can dream right?

Next up is a base card for my Joey Gallo PC. I really like this card. I haven't set out to determine when the photo was taken, but it was clearly after something good happened. If I had to put money on it, I would guess that this was taken after a walk-off hit.

On to the non-Ranger cards of note. This is my first Chrome Ohtani rookie. It will be interesting to see how long he continues to pitch and DH. I know he will strictly DH next year while recovering from Tommy John surgery...it will be interesting to see if he stays in that role after next season. If so, the Angels paid a ton for a DH.

I also pulled this Devers base rookie card. I'll be completely honest: I don't know much about him, so I don't have much to say about the card.

Keeping with the rookie theme, I also snagged this Rhys Hoskins rookie refractor. When I saw the "RC" designation on this card, I was a bit surprised. It feels like Hoskins has been around for a while, but I am guessing that he made his debut too late in the season last year to be included in Update, so his rookie cards are falling into this year's product.

The final card of note in my blaster was this sepia refractor of Mike Trout. I don't seem to pull many refractors of Trout, so this was a nice surprise. It will stay in my collection for now.

So there it is, Blaster Madness #1. Not the best blaster I've ever had, but certainly not the worst. Thanks for reading!