Wednesday, August 31, 2016

COMC Miscellany Vol. 2

Jorge Soler has Crystal Balls.. 
As noted in yesterday's literal last minute post, I pretty badly botched my schedule, so the next couple days in my quest for at least two weeks straight with a post will be filler posts, relatively speaking.  The cards will still be excellent, but the words aren't coming from clever angles or deep thoughts and none of it is attached to trades.  I do have another big trade post in the works, but I'm having a hard time focusing on the scan editing, and the weird slowdown my new computer is experiencing is not helping.  So, for today, just another five spot of COMC additions, and maybe some more art tomorrow.  We'll see.

That all tediously said, let's get on with today's post.  Look at that amazeballs card at the top of the page.  That is a 2015 Topps Stadium Club Crystal Ball case hit, and it is as majestic in person as I ever could have hoped.  This beauty probably qualifies as a low-key white whale, because I desperately wanted to get one from the moment I saw them.  I didn't know who I'd end up with if I ever landed one, but this sweet eBay 1/1 (lol) of Soler makes for a great co-topper to his player collection.
I am oddly obsessed with posting card backs of major hits..
I have a Soler auto, but it might be the most basic, easily attainable one he has, so I knew another big addition or three (or five, or...) would eventually be in order.  And I do mean big, in this case.  This is easily the thickest card in my entire collection, and I have a couple Sweet Spot Helmet Autos and several Shadowboxes and a weird, needlessly thick Benchwarmer swatch to compare it to.  They can't touch this.  Protecting it might be a constant pain, but the cost didn't hurt my wallet too badly.  It only set me back somewhere between $5 and $6 during the COMC Spring Cleaning megasale.  I never thought I'd find one under $10, to be honest.
1995 was a very good year..
Next up is an interesting card I never really even knew about until the moment I saw it and instantly had to have it.  Donruss Elite Series inserts are super iconic and historically significant for being the first #'ed cards ever made.  Because apparently none of the cardmakers of the day bothered to turn off the printers on any base set created from 1987-1993 until late-1997, a print run of 10000 was a huuuuge deal in those heady, wildly overproduced, junkwaxy days...
It looks funny now, but /10000 used to mean something..
Nobody ever talks about anything but the first two or three sets though, so I don't think I'd ever seen a 1995 before I stumbled onto the ol' Crime Dog here.  That's a shame, because this card looks absolutely fantastic.  It's shiny and die-cut and blingy, but also has a sort of classy feel to it.  Love it.
2004 EX Essential Credentials Now...
Here's a cool looking low-numbered addition from late era EX for my nearly complete Alfonso Soriano page.  Insert obligatory "scans don't do this card justice" comment here.
...#'ed 5/36!
I found an awesome patch card for like $2 and a printing plate under $7 as highlights for his page as well, and all his teams and many years are represented, so I feel like Fonsie is one of the strongest Single Page Sensations I've put together so far.  As such, if I ever get my hands on an auto (always a goal for any collection), it can probably live its life in a top loader or magnetic case with my more elite, too good (and/or too thick) for a binder hits.
Not the best penmanship, but FAR from the worst..
The luster has really come off the Carlos Rodon hype train, but I'm still a believer.  Of course, I also wasn't as crazy high on him as most to begin with.  Actually, it's because he reminded me a lot of the very good, but never quite a true ace, Mark Beuhrle that I decided to put a page together for him.  I never saw ace, but I think Carlos, like Beurhle, is gonna be a really solid, consistently good workhorse, and maybe team leader, over the next 10-15 years.
2015 Topps High Tek Gold Diffractor Auto #'ed 48/50
We'll end this post with another blingy auto, a nice topper to my Single Page Sensations Carlos Delgado collection.  I'd already bought the regular version (yo Sports Cards from the Dollar Store, I'll send you the regular and my Paul Pierce auto if you still got that Billy Williams!), but I decided to grab the low numbered gold parallel when a copy eventually dropped to around the same price as the first one.  Dude belongs in the Hall of Fame, by the way.  Absolute travesty he fell off the ballet on his try.

Looks like we're finishing just in time again.  As ever, thanks for stopping by!
Until our next...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Art of Wrestling: Deep Connections

Homocidal, suicidal, genocidal, etc..
Just a short post today.  I've botched my schedule something fierce and will just barely be getting this in under the gun, if at all.  This year's Topps WWE Heritage set came out fairly recently and I bought pack not long after.  The cards mimic the 1986 Topps baseball set.  Unfortunately, I feel they look pretty terrible.  So I decided to pretty 'em up a bit.  Above you see ECW (and to a much lesser extent, WCW and WWE) legend Sabu, drawn on the back of his long time tag team partner and rival Rob Van Dam's base card.
One of the better looking cards in the pack, actually..
I prefer to have connections when I draw on the back of cards, be it just team for sports cards, or friends/partners/rivals for individual disciplines like this.  As such, my first attempt, shown below, features perhaps the ultimate personal rivalry in the history of the business in freshly minted WWE Universal Champion Kevin Steen/Owens and El Generico/Sami Zayn.
I like Sami Zayn!
Rather than read my words inexact, babbly, gushy about it, I highly suggest a trip down the memory hole of Youtube or Dailymotion or whatever to get a handle on their legendary Batman/Joker-esque "I think we're destined to do this forever" rivalry.  I think I will do the same in the near future.  Maybe I'll be able to form more coherent words about their rivalry then myself.
KO side..
Quick edit: I thought I forgot to scan the front of the Kevin Owens card, but it was just in a different folder than I thought it was.  I still don't like the design, especially with the red lettering.  Bleh.

That's all for tonight.  Thanks for stopping by!
Until our next...

Monday, August 29, 2016

More from the Cubs/Cards Connection

I sent more Cards cards to Cards on Cards cuz he pulled some Cubs cards I liked that my night owl tendencies allowed me to get to before the other Cubs collectors were awake to notice them.  We are an unintentionally competitive bunch.  There's just so many of us, and none of us are even bandwagoners.  We've been through the lean years, yo.  And so it goes...

Mercifully, today will be a MUCH shorter post than yesterday.  It's just a PWE, and I'm only showing the blingier half of it.  Long posts that take forever to put together are one of the prime culprits that have knocked me out of the blogging game for months on end in the past, but not this time.  Not yet anyway.

So, without further ado, here's the gems of the PWE Kerry sent my way.
KB Chrome Perspectives..
Up first, quite possibly this year's NL MVP, Kris Bryant!  I never really got the hate for these nifty Perspectives inserts the first place, but the chrome versions really bring them to life.  Outstanding.
Pink Refractors..
They're more magenta really, but they look nice too.  This year's set was really made for chrome, and much like 2008's set, I feel the chrome version will eventually partially vindicate this year's largely disliked design (I was never bothered by it in the first place).

You just never know from season-to-season, but if everyone else keeps playing at a high level, how unstoppable could this lineup be with Schwarber in it next year?  I guess will depend on who is leading the charge at the top of the lineup, since Dex is finally gonna get PAID this year, but yeah.  The Cubs window for success hasn't been this wide open since the 1930s.  Hopefully they can make it all the way through it this time.

If you complained about Addison Russell starting the All-Star game, you've been feasting on crow the whole second half of the season.  Kid has found his next gear.  He might yet steal the Gold Glove from Crawford at short (not that egregious, Addi's easily the next best in the NL, metrically speaking), and will almost certainly win the Silver Slugger for the position.  A good September could put him at 25+ homers and 100 RBIs on the year.  He may not be Barry Larkin yet (Lindor looks the most like Larkin to me, while Correa looks like the love child of Ripken & ARod), but he's already calling to mind Jimmy Rollins, and he might be a significantly better defender than either, and they were both great defenders (both 13+ career dWAR).  Crawford's got the metrics this year, but I haven't seen anyone play the position so silky smooth since Ozzie Smith.  Addi is just that fun to watch.

Whew, rant mode off.  That's all for today.  I'll try to do better tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by!

Until our next...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

I got Destroyed in a Pack War

I've traded with Shawn over at Pack War once before and it was a good time.  Sometime later, I inquired about a couple new cards that he'd pulled and made available for trade.  It completely slipped my mind for awhile, but eventually I made it back to it (it probably had something to do with noticing my Seattle-based cardstuffs starting to get really out of hand, lol) and offered to dramatically widen the scope of the deal if he wanted.  Eventually it came to pass.  This is the scan heavy result.  You may wanna pack a lunch, or at least an energy bar.
I've developed a habit of leading with the big bopper of any given post, but dude... Duuuude.  It will hard to ever top this one.  How about an OG T206?!  That is insane!  I could geek out about this forever, about how epic it is finding something like this in what is an almost entirely blind trade package, about how this package came in the same week as Melike and Cano, but there's a lot more to get to.  Still though... *several minutes of loud, obnoxious squeeing noises*
Sweetness + a cameo by the most overrated running back of all-time..
Alright... *muffled squeeing continues* Get it together me!  We've got a lot more cards to show.  Shawn hit me all over the wantlist, including places that don't get enough attention, like the Walter Paytons above, and the Matt Fortes below.
Lots of fancypants base and an insert..
Acetate '90s promo front...
...and back.
The reason my football don't get enough love anymore is that the sport itself just doesn't really do it for me anymore.  After discovering the Red Zone channel, I stopped being able to sit through the horrendous slog of a single game (I can still watch a full baseball game despite the existence of MLB Tonight though).  Then the Bears started sucking the past couple years, shockingly because of the defense.  There's been a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball, and the offense has been truly dynamic at times, perhaps for the only time in franchise history.  But yeah, I like the new GM's moves this off-season, but my team still probably doesn't figure to seriously contend for awhile yet.  Strike two.  Strike three is that... it's just uncomfortable to watch, now that I know CTE is a thing and a decent amount of these guys are gonna have extremely serious health problems somewhere down the line because of their chosen profession.
More handegg..
The urge to keep up with things and continue collecting my favorites remains though.  There just won't be near as many new faces I'll be invested in enough to want to collect as time marches on.
Pennant die-cuts are always awesome though..
The above Forsett and Winston/Mariota dual insert are two of the three cards that originally stoked the fires of this trade.  The third you will see amongst the hits towards the end of the post.
A lil bit of everything..
Some basketball and MMA.  I'd like to get into both a little more, or back into, in basketball's case, but I haven't had a TV in awhile, can't afford the kind of financial commitment required for league-issued streaming services, and I've never been a big user of the shadier streaming sites out there, so I don't get to see near as much of anything as I'd like.  Oh well...
At last, back to the baseball!
Moving on, we've arrived at the meat of the post: Baseball.  The thinking man's sport.  Maddux was the thinking man's pitcher, who, for most of his career, thrived on command and control rather than overwhelmingly dominant stuff.  Jackie Robinson makes you think about history, about where we've come from, where we are now, and where we want to go.  Starlin just makes me think about what could have been.  He's still a competent, capable everyday player, but he looked like a legend in the making when he first arrived on the scene.

Rizzo, as the on-field leader of the most dynamic team in baseball, doesn't so much make me think as he does dream, of a day when I can stop saying "Wait 'til next year" and instead say "This is our year."  He makes me dream of World Series trophies and the way he carries himself reminds me of some of the greats to ever play this wonderful, heartbreaking game.
Some nice additions to my (eventual) mini binders.  I'm almost certain I have the Kimballs, but I dunno where.  I might have traded them, so they are still useful to me.  Floating heads never go out of style, not even the faux vintage ones.
Young Nomah bling..
Young Vladdy bling..
On the non-Cub, full player collection front, we have a Topps Tek DramaTEK Performers insert and shiny base card each for should-be Hall of Famer Nomar Garciaparra and 1000% lock Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero.
Base versions of the above minis..
There is just something so serene about these two cards when they're sitting next to each other like this.
More past Cubs greats..
The Legendary Cuts are just spectacular looking.  And a Kerry Wood RC!  Always nice to check another key rookie off my list. :)
Spring Fever Cubbies..
Closing out the Cubs portion of the post with a couple shiny Spring Fever cards from 2013.  Down the stretch we come with the rest of the hits from the package!
1972 Topps Gale Sayers..
Visit Chicago..
I actually already have this card, but I gotta say, there's a certain sense of wonder and/or giddy joy in having duplicates of vintage Hall of Famers.
2015 Topps Chrome Rookie Relics Purple Refractor #'ed 66/75
This right here is the third card that prompted the original trade talks, and it looks much nicer in person.  Don't they all though?
2001 Upper Deck Legends of New York Bat Card..
I could do without the audible shudder-inducing fuzzy BS on the Legends of NY base cards, but the bat cards are, as the kids used to say, hella tight.
2013 Topps UFC Finest Fighter Autographs..
I liked the Girl-Rilla right from the start, but even more as time went on, because that first fight remained the only halfway decent challenge Rousey got all the way up until Holly Holm finally out-gameplanned and outworked her and knocked her the eff out.
A little art by the good Corky hisself!
We've reached the end of this trade post, but we're going out in style, with a Teen Titans Go-esque Raven sketch card drawn by Shawn!
Fancy back too!
Thanks again to Shawn for this outstanding trade package!  I got blindsided by all my technology breaking on my all at once, and I've been struggling to dig my way out of an even worse financial state than usual while I pay off the new computer, but I will definitely start sending cards your way once September rolls 'round.

Thanks for stopping by!
Until our next...

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sketch Card Saturdays Vol. 1: A HUGE Twitter Win

Exactly what it says on the tin.  If I post nothing else any given week, I'm going to at least try to post up a sketch card every weekend.  It shouldn't be too difficult (though I do have a way of making simple things needlessly complex) to queue up quite a few posts in advance.  I already have enough sketch cards right now that I could post every Saturday without fail and get almost an entire five year mission out of it.  What can I say?  I LOVE sketch cards, yo.
Doctor Light II Die-Cut Sketch Card by Melike Acar..
With that all said, we'll start it off the very best sketch card in my entire collection, and one of the newest.  This die-cut (the outline resembles the Hall of Justice) beauty is by perhaps the single most talented artist in the entire history of the comic book business, Turkish artist Melike Acar (who I am fortunate to be able to call a good internet friend and also quite a beauty in her own right).

I won this card (I'd never be able to afford it myself) in a Twitter retweet and follow giveaway by Cryptozoic Licensed Product Developer and Master of Internet Ceremonies George Nadeau.  He does giveaways like this for various upcoming, and recently released, products all the time.  So give him a follow and check out all the cool new card sets in the Cryptozoic pipeline, and maybe win something cool yourself.  Best of luck to you, and thank you again to George for pulling my name out of the hat.
The back. Signature of the best artist in the world..
A sketch card by Melike has long been one of THE White Whales for my collection, and I definitely shed a few tears when I found out I won this.  I still get goosebumps when I look at it.  Amusingly (well, not so much at the time), Twitter had locked down my account, for reasons I still don't understand, a day or so before I ended up winning the card.  Melike messaged me on Facebook about it, prompting me to frantically figure out how to get back into my main Twitter account.  Otherwise I wouldn't have known so soon and may have even ended up missing out on the prize.

That's all for this post.  Most future Sketch Card Saturdays probably won't be as wordy as this one.  The debut subject just happened to be extra special and had an interesting little story attached to it as well.  Heck, I mentioned a few posts ago that I'm so bad with signatures that I don't even know who drew an annoyingly large number of the cards I own.  Again, I digress...

Thanks for stopping by!
Until our next...

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Well-Executed Bunt Keeps the Streak Alive

Billy Hamilton Platinum Parallel #'ed 82/99..
I wasn't gonna post anything today, but I picked up a rack pack of Topps Bunt and thought I'd share the good stuff & keepers and maybe a few quick thoughts.

Up top is a Platinum parallel of Billy Hamilton.  It wasn't nearly as difficult to pick out as the internet would have me believe.  He is for trade.  Get at me, Redlegs fans and/or Billy Backers.
Trevor Story RC..
I pulled a couple nice RCs in Story and Maeda.  I'll hang onto them for the RC binder for now, since they represent the first card I've pulled of either guy so far this year.
Kenta Maeda RC
The first thing you'll notice about these cards is they are more fragile than a men's rights activist, and flimsier than most of their excuses.  They rival Panini Complete basketball in that regard, though Bunt is much glossier.
I love the look of the base cards, for the most part.  The logos mostly pop, but depending on the player photo and general drabness of certain team's logos, it can be a little hit-or-miss.
 There's nothing wrong with the Cubs logo though.  It works phenomenally on two I pulled.
Hosmer Program..
The Program inserts might be the insert of the year, but all the inserts seem to be pretty nice.  Topps brought their A-game, if not their A-cardstock to this set.  The Programs are the only set I'm definitely chasing though.
Big Unit Unique Unis insert..
I dig the Unique Unis set as well, because I loves me some unique unis, but I'm gonna let this one pass & just try to track down the players I like in it.
Free Bunt virtual pack redeemer..
I haven't scratched this yet, and nobody DM'ed me on Twitter, so if you're on the App and want a freebie pack, email me, and it shall be yours.
Base backs..
Closing it out with the backs.  The only one of note is the Program insert.  Everything else is meh, but it doesn't really bother me, to be honest.  I understand why some folks are disappointed, but backs have never been a big selling point to me.  To each their own, I guess.
Insert backs..
In closing, I have absolutely been known to give Topps a lot of crap when I feel it's warranted, but I gotta give 'em props on this release.  There was clearly a decent amount of thought and effort put into this, and overall, I really like it.  Nice job, whoever it was that lead the charge in putting this set together.

That's it for this post.  Got it in just under the gun again.  We're up to eight days in a row.  Every day is a new personal best.  Thanks for stopping by!
Until our next...