Monday, April 23, 2018

Blog Bat Around- All-Autograph Team

Time for another fun new installment of the Blog Bat Around.  This time it's the all-autograph team, as originated by ol' Zippy Zappy.  I wanted to do a full 25 man roster, but the lack of pitchers in my collection & available scans of a couple of the bench bats I do have means I'll have to cut it a little short.  With that said, here we go.

C- Kyle Schwarber
2015 Contenders..
This is a most unfortunate choice, but I don't have any other viable options here.  I think Robinson Chirinos might literally be the only catcher autograph I own, and while he is a good defender with underrated pop, he is still a career backup.  So, Schwarbs it is...

1B- Jose Abreu
2017 Donruss Blue /149..
I have at least a solid half-dozen (Rizzo, Delgado, Grace, Abreu, Thames, & Derrek Lee) good options at first, but Abreu gets the nod because he's the one that I could find a scan of.  This whole post might look very different if I was a more diligent scanner who hadn't lost multiple computers before I could take the important stuff off them.  Anyway, you'll be seeing the other guy who was scanned as my DH choice on down the post.

2B- Robinson Cano
I picked up an autographed Ryne Sandberg photo for $10 (it was from some signing at a riverboat casino in the early aughts iirc, and the place had a whole stack of them) at our short-lived and awesomely-named (Heroes Never Die) card shop back during the six months it existed, but I don't appear to have a scan of it on-hand anymore, and honestly, Cano has surpassed him at this point, so Robbie gets the nod.

SS- Corey Seager
2016 Diamond Kings Sketches & Swatches auto/patch /10..
Another position I'm sorely lacking in, but fortunately I have this one epic, discount blaster-pulled monster of a young superstar to fall back on (at least until Gavin blows me away with an offer).  I think my only other option at short is Nick Gordon, who is still in the minors in the Twins organization.

3B- Aramis Ramirez
2013 Prizm..
This card is almost certainly fugliest Aramis Ramirez auto I own in a walk, but it was the one that was scanned.  He's easily my strongest option at 3B regardless, being a borderline Hall of Famer & all.  Yangervis Solarte, Josh Harrison, and Javy Baez would be my other options here, but I don't have Solarte or Baez scans handy, and they're all better suited as Utility infielder options anyway, which is where you will find Harrison if you keep reading.

LF- Yoenis Cespedes
2014 National Treasures /25..
I have no shortage of corner outfield depth, particularly in left field.  Billy Williams, Alfonso Soriano, and Yoenis Cespedes (and Albert Belle, who, to continue the theme, was scanned but said scan is no longer available) are all mashers, but I'm going with Cespedes, because he's the best defender of the bunch.

CF- Andruw Jones
2001 Fleer Platinum '97 Circa Rack Pack Buyback Autograph /200.. 
Andruw Jones was another easy choice, due to lack of depth (an Austin Jackson that isn't in my possession yet or playing George Springer or Jason Heyward out of position in center were my only other options here).  You can't go wrong with one of the greatest defensive centerfielders of all-time, and this new arrival is a fantastic centerpiece for his Single Page Sensation collection.

RF- George Springer
2015 High Tek Tidal Diffractor /99..
We're going with Springer in right field, which has been his primary position in the majors, which he defends brilliantly.  I would probably have gone with Frank Robinson here if I still had the scans, but I'm quite content with this pick.  I got this for under $7 juuuust before he started to blew up last year.

DH- Carlos Delgado
High Tek Gold Diffractor /50..
As mentioned above, my only other scanned powerhouse first baseman has to be my DH, and that man is Carlos Delgado.

UT- Ben Zobrist
Tract... Card?!
The card itself is far weirder than the choice to put him on my team.  Having a super utility player is a fantastic luxury, and Zobrist is the best in the business.  As for the card, COMC called something to the effect of a "Personal Issue Tract God", and that's exactly what it is.  There's a huge wall of religious nonsense on the back, along with a JSA authentication sticker (it also came with a separate COA).  Weird but cool, I guess.  And more importantly, cheap.  I was never much of a fan of organized religion, and I don't know how anyone could be these days with the way conservatives have completely perverted Christianity into a religion of hatred and discrimination.  But I digress...

UT- Josh Harrison
2015 Topps Supreme..
Josh Harrison is a solid, versatile all-around player. I'd still put Javy here and save either Josh or Yangervis (maybe both) for the end of my bench, but again, no scans... *le sigh*

SP 1- Fergie Jenkins
2013 Topps Supreme /50..
I doubt Fergie Jenkins being the ace of my staff will come as a surprise to anyone.  I have somehow managed to accumulate double digit autographs of him, and that completely blows my mind.

SP 2- Chris Sale
2014 Topps Supreme eBay 1/1..
It's always nice when you can field two legitimate aces.  Sales autos have finally gone up & out of my range in the past couple years, but I think I scored this collection centerpiece for a cool $7.

SP 3- Taijuan Walker
2013 Leaf Memories..
Unfortunately, while I can field a full staff and the swingman, I now have to cut it off here and jump straight to the end of the bullpen, because both Jerry Koosman and my swingman Matt Shoemaker are lacking a scan and RA Dickey is not even in my possession yet, and I just don't really have anyone else to fill out my relief corps.

RP 1- Wade Davis
2017 Topps Fire /250..
Davis was only with the Cubs for one season, but he left a great enough impression on me to gleefully grab this foily Fire auto when it dropped to under $5.

RP 2- Bruce Sutter
Topps Archives
The back end of my bullpen is on lock with Sutter, Davis, & if I had the scan handy, Lee Smith (shame, since it's a somewhat interesting card and I actually it pulled myself).  I'm not even naming a closer amongst those three.  I'm fully confident with any of them, and Sutter & Smith being from a bygone era, can both regularly go multiple innings if need be.  Maybe I don't even need any middle relief!

And that be that.  I think it's a pretty darn good squad, outside of my utterly atrocious catching situation (and literally not being able to field any middle relievers *cough*).  Anyway, thanks, as always, for stopping by!

Until our next...

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Prize Winnins!

I won a cool thing on Twitter early last week.  It was a blaster (minus one Yadi insert) of 2018 Topps Series 1 that was apparently an unclaimed prize in one of Kerry's annual pick 'em contests on his venerable blog.  To win, you just had to guess the player on the bonus manufactured relic, and I did the thing!
Players Weekend Manupatch!
This is the closest thing to a Kris Bryant hit I own.  I still don't even have any #'ed cards of him yet.  I find it funny that they felt the need to note on the front that it's not a player worn item when it's clearly not even made of fabric.  I can't tell for sure if it's metal or plastic, but commemorative pin or medallion feels like a more accurate description for it.  It sorta reminds me of the couple Pokemon pins that were in various boxes when I went on a lil Pokemon card kick last summer.

Anyway, here's a look at some of the other stuff the blaster had to offer.
Spot the difference..
They look virtually identical, but the card on the right is (allegedly) a gold parallel #'ed 46/50.  The grayer background bits of the boxes or bricks or whatever the hell they're supposed to be are ever-so-slightly darker, though they more resemble bronze than gold to me.  It's so absurdly subtle that it's ultimately pretty pointless and lame. Like I said, I genuinely couldn't even tell the difference until @JunkWaxTwins pointed it out to me on the twerting machine.
It's true, I swear..
So yeah, it doesn't look like much, but it is what it is.  Certainly a lower numbered card than you'd normally pull out of a blaster of almost anything, so I guess it could be worse.  I offered it up to Julie on Twitter but never heard back, so call ya shot if you want it.
More Opening Day inserts..
There were a whole mess of Opening Day inserts.  Seven total, I believe (Khris Davis & Eric Thames not appearing today, but Thames already has a home in mind if I don't choose to keep it).  And I literally just noticed as I'm putting this post together that the above Machado is a blue parallel.  It's less subtle than the gold, but I completely missed it.  The blue insert parallels are not numbered and, according to the internet, fall 1:12 packs.  There were three, from three different sets, in the blaster.
All Rise..
Judge and Bellinger both showed up in the blaster as well, both with an insert and a base card...
No cool nickname that I know of..
...but Bellinger got the shaft on the insert front.  These things are atrociously stupid & hideous looking.
The base..
The relative symmetry in their base cards is pleasing to the eye, though they'd be a few pages apart in a bindered up set, being cards #1 & 42.  Still though, worthwhile for blogging purposes.
Enough with the Jeter retrospectives, Sooz!
Back to the inserts.  Here's another blue parallel from the obscenely pointless Jeter Highlights insert set.  It looks a little nicer than the base at least.  There were four of these, counting the parallel.
Finally, a nice looking insert set!
The above Miguel Cabrera was the third blue parallel.  This is far & away the nicest looking insert that came from the blaster.  It's also where I'm told the one Yadi insert Kerry kept is from.  So counting that I believe there were also four of these as well (Chris Sale is the one not pictured here).  I'm not sure if I'll be keeping the KB or not.  I pulled one from my tiny handful of loose packs earlier in the year, but it seems like it might've been a blue parallel, which I didn't know existed until I had to look them up when this arrived.
Actually kinda like the look of this one..
And here are the rest.  Not much to say about any of this.  It's all available though.
The obligatory '83 throwbacks..
I'm still mad these have glossy backs.  I wanted to draw on the backs of them!

It's a nice enough design.  Definitely a lot better than the Opening Day for multi-photo inserts.  Not a fan of the player at all though.
Salute your shorts..
This year's Salute inserts aren't great, but at least they look like something approaching an actual insert set instead of a rejected, below average base design this time.  They do, to my eye, bear a passing resemblance to the Award Winners above, however (and these look worse).
Add caption
The final insert we have to talk about is this Home Run Challenge thing.  There's a good chance Sano will hit a few this year.  The trick is guessing when it'll happen.
Foil parallel..
The only base parallel was this foil Lach... Zach Davies.  I like the design a lot more than anyone else that I know of, but yeah, that the damn waterslide partially covering the players' first names knocks it all the way down from a borderline all-timer to just average.
This year's most hyped rookie..
There were tons of RCs in this, and Rhys lead the way.  Other notable names to show up were Amed Rosario, Victor Robles, Max Fried, Austin Hays, Richard Urena, & Alex Verdugo.
Here are my favorite photos from the base cards in the blaster.  Intensity and contemplation.
This card is ridiculous..
And we'll end it on this, my lone base keeper.  There were five base Cubs, but no one I'm very attached to.  So yeah, pretty much everything but the Bryants & Seattle Slayers are available.  Thanks for stopping by!

Until our next...

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Sketch Cards

A Moana from last year I finally got around to coloring..
It's funny (in a tiresome way) how people suddenly disappear whenever I state a desire to make money with my art, even when it's just to try to make a few bucks because I'm always completely broke by the end of every month (often well  before).  Nevertheless, I persist.  Making a little art here & there is all I have the energy for.  Perhaps spurred on by exceptionally the dire straights my checkbook is in at the end of this month, I've had a little more energy for it than usual.  Of course no one is going to pony up the $10 I'm asking for one of these (honestly, given the time it takes and the quality I can pretty consistently touch these days, they're worth 2-3 times that [and that'd just put me at earning minimum wage in a state with a slightly below average minimum wage]) in time for it to make a difference this month.  But anyway, they're done, and I'm not entirely displeased by them.  So take a gander, if you would.  They're available for sale of trade.
There's probably at least one a Raven in most bunches of sketch cards I reel off, but this is easily the second best attempt at drawing her I've ever done.
Snake Eyes..
I don't really have much to say about Snake Eyes.  The shading just turned out really nice.  Arguably the best of the entire bunch.
Gray She-Hulk..
I don't pay much attention to comics anymore, so I didn't realize She-Hulk had been going through some shit until recently.  I think I might like the gray version better, tbh.
I versy nearly completely ruined Cyborg with the paint pen, but ultimately he might be better for it.  I'm also quite fond of how the bits of cartoon Cyborg look on an otherwise basically comic booky version of him.
The first card I drew up of this bunch, but I think only the eighth I finished.  I have a growing love for the Kingdom Come-style black background on the S on her chest.
Captain Marvel..
And now one of the later ones I started but the first one I finished.  Not much to say again.  I like it, but it's not my favorite.
Poison Ivy..
Getting into the home stretch with the last one I actually like.  I thought about, & briefly attempted to make this a Harley & Ivy puzzle, but alas.
Unless I'm doing athletes, I usually traffick in girlie cards, but the dudes were respectably represented this time.  I don't like how Nightcrawler himself turned out (though I don't mind it as much, looking at it as I type this right now), but the BAMFing background is alright, I guess.
Yeah, I dunno WTF is supposed to be going on in the background there either.  I had an idea for it, but I'm pretty sure I botched it completely.  Oh well, the rest is passable enough, I guess. 🙄

And that be that.  Like I said at the top, hit me up if you're interested in anything.  Thanks for stopping by!

Until our next...

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Blog Bat Around- What I Collect

I am a walking disaster.  I don't particularly want to be, but I don't seem to have much say in the matter.  I rarely wake up with more than maybe 50% of an average person's energy levels (usually more like 30%), and usually little-to-no ability to focus that extremely limited energy on things that actually need to be done.  When combined with all the other numerous mental health issues I deal with on any given day, things often fire off in strange and unusual ways.  The most mundane things can turn into a ridiculous adventure with me.

What does my damage have to do with my collection, you may be wondering?  The answer is everything.  The way I collect is directly tied into how wildly unstable my mental health and energy levels and total inability stay on target or handle structure in any meaningful way.  My least structured collections are the ones I enjoy and indulge in the most, even though I would likely would have finished many of the more structured ones by now if I were able to concentrate the bulk of my energy on them.  But anyway, with all that tediously said, these are the things I collect.

Yes, sketch cards are pretty much my favorite thing in the world.  I want to own them all!  Somehow, even with my horrible budget restrictions and the wide net my collection casts, I've still managed to to accumulate somewhere around 300 keepers over the years, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.  It's just pure fun, even with the growing amount of structure I continue to impose on this collection.  They also look absolutely phenomenal in a binder.  That doesn't hurt.
Nico Minoru (Runaways) by Stefanie Battalene..
My primary collections are Raven & Starfire from DC Comics and She-Hulk & Rogue from Marvel, but there are many other specific things I'm interested in (several other comic characters, video game, cartoon, & anime PSCs, sports, Star Wars, a page from specific sets, etc...), and like I said, I am open to just about anything if I like it enough.
Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) sketch card drawn by yours truly..
I also make art myself and am open to commissions or trades (art trades or for cards in general), but as noted above, energy, focus, and (in this case) confidence are often problems, so it may take a long time for me to get anything done.  I have dozens and dozens of finished sketch cards of available if you want something from me but don't wanna wait on a commission though.
Lara Croft 9x12" pinup..
I'm known to pick up larger pieces of original art on occasion when I can find them cheap enough during lulls in the never-ending hunt for more sketch cards.  There are some absurdly good deals on truly fantastic art by criminally underappreciated talents out there on the interwebs, due to the gross inequality and general lack of appreciation of art and/or artists that afflict our world.  The above Lara Croft pinup was one of a half-dozen wonderful works of art I picked up from a single seller that combined to average out to around $7.50 apiece.
And one more sketch card, just because..
The black & white autos are beautiful..
I considered this to be primarily a non-sport collection until fairly recently.  The Olympic stuff & Goodwin Champions hits have really started to pile up in recent months though, so I figured I'd just lump it together here, for simplicity's sake.
Never watched Idol, but I had a Jtv/Twitter friend who knew her, so..
I don't really go in with a plan with this collection, even less so than with the sketches, where I do have some specific character wants.  Here it's mostly just a matter of finding someone I like, or at least recognize, and if I the price is right, I'll pick it up.  Heck, if it's cheap enough (or if they're pretty enough), I don't necessarily even need to recognize them.
Blue is the best color parallel. Don't @ me..
The start of one of my newest player pages..
Exactly what it says on the tin. Nine cards.  One page.  For anyone I like enough to want to collect, but not enough to want to bother with a full PC.  They might also just be too expensive, lacking enough cardboard, or some combination (or all) of the above.
Quite possibly the single greatest photo variation of all-time..
Collecting like this allows me to collect more of the players I like and allows me to bling those collections out a bit more than would be possible with full collections.  I feel it's the best possible quality over quantity solution, though I admit, the sheer volume of stuff I collect does noticeably dilute things (more in speed than).  I also do this with sets I like a lot too, because I don't have the focus (or space) to be a set collector.
My page of random non-baseball A&G autos is coming along nicely..
I think I have *at least* 55-60 baseball Single Page Sensations, not even counting my Cubbies (which is probably another 20 or more), and the number seems to go up by a few more every season, over 30 basketball (there are no additional full collections or teams to worry about though), and 25-ish football, with at least a dozen more Bears on top of that, and a handful of current and former Blackhawks from their dynasty of the past decade.
Gold refractor /50..
There are also a few soccer players, several wrestlers, MMA ladies, Star Wars & comic characters (mostly the same ones I have dedicated sketch card collections of).
One of the MMA ladies I collect, even though I barely watch it..
An amazing custom from a couple Christmases ago by mah boi Gavin..
Now onto the full collections, of which there are few enough I can probably just list off.  These are the most tedious collections, even with soft capping them off at 100 ala mah boi Gavin.  I should have probably completed at least half of them by now.  I just can't maintain my focus on them very well because they are big and unwieldy.  I'm terribad about trying to make them as blingy as Single Page Sensations when that isn't really their purpose as well.
Anyway, here are the full PCs.  I prefer to fill the sports ones via trades because that's the easiest way for me to do it without getting all hung up on things to the point where I mostly just ignore them.
A photo from the archive..
Cubs: Javier Baez (maybe), Ernie Banks, Kris Bryant, Starlin Castro, Andre Dawson, Kosuke Fukudome, Fergie Jenkins, Aramis Ramirez, Anthony Rizzo, Ryne Sandberg, Kyle Schwarber (maybe), Sammy Sosa, & Billy Williams.  I guess Yu Darvish belongs on this list instead of the non-Cubs list now too.
The rare mid-tier insert from recent years that has retained its value..
Other Baseball: Jose Abreu, Robinson Cano, Nomar Garciaparra, Vladimir Guerrero, Frank Robinson, Ichiro Suzuki, & Frank Thomas.
 My only Matt Forte autograph..
Bears: Matt Forte, Devin Hester, Alshon Jeffery, Thomas Jones, Kyle Orton, Walter Payton, Gale Sayers.
Star Rubies used to be a hyuuuge deal..
Other Football: Jamaal Charles, Warrick Dunn, Randy Moss, & LaDainian Tomlinson.
My latest of my queen..
Pro Graps: AJ Lee, Booker T, Eve Torres, Sarita/"Dark Angel" Sarah Stock.

A higher end base card of the Jade Giantess #'ed /225..
Comic/Star Wars: Rogue, She-Hulk, & Ahsoka Tano.
So many Ahsokas..
He was great, but wasn't around long enough to get attached..
There are some things I don't have any specific use for, or really actively seek, but I like to hang onto when they find their way to me anyway.  I have binders for some of the nicer miscellaneous Cubs, other baseball, Bears, other football, basketball, hockey, and "girlie" cards, as they've been dubbed (because most card bloggers apparently fund their operations by being of old-timey private detectives and/or radio hosts and/or barkeeps from the first half of the 20th century).  Soccer and non-sport, certain non-hit items featuring dudes are also under varying degrees of consideration.
If they have cardboardy backs, I needs 'em..
I'm also chasing a Buyback Frankenset (+ "inserts" & hits!) that I can turn into a massive repurposed sketch card set.  I don't think I even have more than 20 cards to put towards it right now, so if anyone can help me out with that, I would appreciate it very much.
Pokemon cards have gotten crazy looking since I was a kid..
The last thing I'm after at the present time is one of every Pokemon from the TCG (and maybe a few more key character cards while I'm at it, since I already have a couple in secret rares of Misty & Team Rocket).  This is another one I'm struggling with wanting to be as blinged out as possible, since just about every card has at least a reverse foil parallel these days, so even the common as heck weaklings get the chance to be shiny these days.  I'm a little further along on this goal, but it's already pretty close to the same size as the buyback frankenset, and will only grow hugerer as new generations add more new mons for me to chase.
The aforementioned epic Misty..
Sorry Charly. Also, you have a huge hole in the side of your dress..
There are a couple sizable collections I've built up that I'm no longer interested in pursuing.  Really they are probably mostly being dropped more out of lack of resources than lack of interest. So with that said, I'm no long chasing anything just because it's NXT-related.  I never got far with this anyway, but it did produce the odd gem here & there.
Not sure if this has turned up yet or not..
A far more fruitful, but ultimately doomed pursuit, was my RC collection.  Another great looking binder of randomness, I'm extremely reluctant to drop this one.  There are a few I'll hang onto (Payton, Rice, Trout, maybe a Posey since I accumulated three or four different ones somehow, and maybe some team & player collection RCs), but the vast majority will be available, for sale preferably.  But if you come at me with an offer I can't refuse, I might be willing to trade something from the roughly 350 RCs & prospects (there are some inserts, parallels, & a scrub couple relics in the boxes too) I've dug up so far.

So yeah, that's the whirlwind of madness that is my collection right now.  Thanks for having a look around.  If you wanna do some wheeling & dealing, feel free to drop me a line.

Until our next...