Cards From The Great White North!

No, not these hosers!

The deal was with Trevor of Supporting The Minnow, who’s something of an O-Pee-Chee supercollector. I had some lower grade ’71-’72 hockey, and some late ’70s baseball he was interested in, and he had some stuff I could use, so we bit the bullet on the shipping (not as insane as I was expecting, but still not cheap), and got a deal done.

Here are some of the fun things I got…

‘sup, Frank?

First, Trevor put a hurting (heh) into my ’90 Score Rookie & Traded wants.

Then, he chipped away at the remainder of my ’92 Stadium Club wants. Down to 5 cards needed out of 900, which, when I get those last 5, would make it the biggest set I’ve built, unless you count Topps flagship and Traded/Update as one set.

…and here’s why I went through all that trouble. Great photography, especially for the time. My favorite of the ’90s Stadium Club sets.

Then, some Islanders showed up! Man, I miss Frans Nielsen. A lot of the Isles he sent over have already flown the coop, even though they were pretty recent cards. I’m trying to figure out if it was ownership, management, the arena, money, some mix of it all, or something else entirely. Anyway, this is a cool retro parallel from one of the recent OPC sets.

Here’s an Isle that’s still around, though! This is actually a Tim Hortons card! It’s also very shiny, though the scanner made it look cooler than it already did.

Speaking of food issues, here’s some Canadian Post from ’91! He sent along most of this set (and a nice scattering of food issue stuff, including some other Canadian Posts and some ’87 Coke Tigers), so it’s in my wants now. For being cards with no logos, they look pretty great, though the NL design with the red is definitely better than the AL design with the blue borders.

Always fun to get bilingual Expos cards!

Another fun oddball and a great picture. Somehow, I’ve ended up with none of the Boardwalk & Baseball box set before this deal (I got Lance Parrish along with Rickey). I should work on that some more.

Hey, Ichiro! With the 5 Biography cards I got from Trevor, I’m officially a third of the way through this insert set I’ll never finish from 2010 Upper Deck. 200 days of cleverly sorta avoiding team logos in the pictures!

Ali!

Trevor finished off the AW Sports boxing set for me! I’d gotten a bunch from Stubby a while back, and it’s a fun set. Nice mix of guys who were current in ’91, who I used to watch on MSG boxing cards, and the old-timers.

Here’s Jake, swell picture…

 

Here’s Abe Attell, who was my first Topps Ringside card, and who was also accused of being the messenger in the Black Sox Scandal, though he was acquitted.

Boom Boom, just to show that they had the more recent fighters in the set. Nice mullet, Ray!

…and then you come across one of those pictures that makes you question why you have an interest in something. Amazing photograph, but, to put it mildly, being hit like that by Rocky Marciano could not have been good for Jersey Joe Walcott. I mean, I grew up watching fights, so it’s one of those things that I didn’t really have a choice about being familiar with, and, being a human (inherently flawed as we are), I have marvelled at the athleticism and the drama of boxing on and off for most of my life, but when it comes down to it, it’s still two people beating the holy hell out of one another, sometimes just one person beating the holy hell out of the other, and it does lasting damage, particularly to the brains of the competitors, which, as someone who’s had a number of brain injuries himself, is kind of a sensitive subject. Boxing, like a bunch of sports I’ve got cards of, is a bloodsport, and it wrecks people. It’s a part of our shared history, of course, and a fascinating one (which makes me grateful for the cards, certainly), but I spend some time these days wondering if we’re really doing ourselves many favors by following and financially supporting bloodsports. Yeah, I know, a bit of a tangent in the middle of a fun trade post, but that’s what y’all pay me for. I believe in looking at the things I enjoy, and have enjoyed, with a critical eye, and with a goal of eliminating cognitive dissonance when and where I can. I think it’s important to do. Helps us understand stuff, or try to understand it, anyway.

To switch subjects, though, since I went on about this a bit, let’s move onto “the main event” of this post…

Hey, it’s an Eddie Murray rookie! But, wait! Didn’t I finish the ’78 Topps set a few years ago, back when I was on my old site? Yeah, I did. So, why would I trade for another one of…oh, wait…

Yup, it’s an O-Pee-Chee Murray rookie! Super cool.

 

Yup, it stands to reason that an O-Pee-Chee collector would have some decent doubles laying around, and I got a few fun ’78s along with the Murray, including this very “classic OPC miscut” Hawk here!

Yay, more bilingual Expos cards!

Pete’s hangin’ to the right here, too, but he got a hero number in OPC, so it’s all good!

Last card coming up…

Look, you guys!

It’s an O-Pee-Cey!

Thanks again for the deal, Trevor! Lotsa fun stuff in it!

This Year’s Fantasy Team

So, for the 19th season in a row (I’ve been in ever since Yahoo! bought a site called Sportasy.com, which I’d never even heard of until I did some reading on Wikipedia the other day, and made it Yahoo! Fantasy Sports), and the 16th in a row in this particular league that I created, I’m playing fantasy baseball.

The pictures above are of my 2017 roster. We run a dynasty league, which means we can keep as few or as many players from the previous year’s 25 man roster as we like. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to keep one player who I’d have really liked to keep, for reasons so much bigger than fantasy baseball or even the actual games, because Jose Fernandez is gone now. That sad event aside, I ended up keeping 22 out of my remaining 24 players this off-season (I won the league last year for the first time since ’09, so my guys were pretty OK), which gave me 3 picks in the draft.

My picks were Clint Frazier, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Yulieski Gurriel. The first two are still prospects. Very good ones, but they’re not making the big leagues right away (Frazier’s closer than Vlad Jr., but he’s still a little ways off). This gave me two extra active roster spots, since we have 2 NA spots in our league for minor leaguers, players on suspensions and such, so it was both forward-thinking and very, very sneaky!

Gurriel, I remember as far back as the first World Baseball Classic in 2006, when he played some very good baseball for the Cuban national team. There was also a guy named Yoandy, or Yoandi Garlobo (I’ve seen it spelled both ways) on that team who was an extraordinary hitter, but as far as I know, he’s still in Cuba, he appears to have retired 4 years ago, and as he turns 40 this year, he’s likely not ever playing in Major League Baseball even if he leaves now. Back to Yuli, he had a long road to America and the majors, but he’s here now, and while practically, he’s already at least 32 years old and third baseman #3 on my team (I’m still trying to lock down a great 3B, though I’ve got hope for Jose Ramirez and Ryon Healy), he’s insurance if one of those guys doesn’t work out, and a guy I like rooting for.

Now, I mentioned the 2 extra roster spots I gained by putting the prospects in the minors. I used them to pick up the best starting pitchers I felt I could get my hands on after the draft. They were Ivan Nova and Robert Gsellman. Gsellman’s more of a risk than Nova, because there’s a lot of competition for the Mets’ 5th rotation spot (knowing the Mets, they’ll make room for him in some snakebitten kinda way), but Nova’s a guy I had good results with in ’16 (but no room on my keeper roster, as he was guy #26, with Trevor Story ending the season on the DL), and someone who’s done good things in camp so far.

I had no luck getting closers in this draft, so I’m either going to punt Saves for this year, or bottom feed as closers falter throughout the season. Hopefully the rest of my team’s good enough to let Kenley Jansen balance an entire category on his shoulders.

Our draft was fun as usual. We had 2 more teams this year than last (some turnover last year, as life happens), including one of our long-timers returning, and Kerry from Cards on Cards (who I’ve traded bubble gum cards a bunch with over the years) joining us. Good turnout, lots of time to catch up (as the draft app auto-drafted our keepers), and there were no real hitches on the tech end.

So, if you’re wondering if there’s a tie-in between this league and my collecting hobbies, there’s a thing I’m considering doing more actively, related to all this fantasy ball stuff. As I’m getting to keep my teams intact from year to year, I’m considering both collecting most of the players on my team more seriously, and doing what I can to fill my fantasy team with players I’d want to collect. I think it’ll be an interesting experiment. I mean, I’ve always tried to keep guys like Mark Buehrle and Adam Dunn on my teams, often well beyond the point where it made for sound game strategy, but I want to see how much synergy I can get going between my fantasy game and my card collection.

Right now, the sticking points would be Albert Pujols (great player, has helped my fantasy teams in 5 different seasons, but not a guy I like to root for; too chummy with Tony LaRussa, who’s kind of awful), Carlos Martinez (terrific pitcher who’s been the workhorse of my staff since I traded for him 2 years ago, but he’s on the Cardinals and I really don’t like the Cardinals, sorry, Kerry, more cards for you at least!), and the amount of fairly hot rookies I’ve got on my roster (those get pricey, and are hard to get people to let go of in trades), but otherwise, I like most of my team, and I think it’ll be fun to trade for more of their cards. So, I may see what I can do about making that a pretty integral part of my game and my collection.

Who’s Up For A Card Trade Post?

Hell, who’s up for a metaphor?

We’re up for a metaphor!

(Sorry. Needed to scratch that itch. I love Sparks.)

Back to the card trade post, though. Shane from Off The Wall and I have had a trade in gestation forever, and this week, we finally got ‘er done! Well over 1000 cards involved between our two sides, stuff all over the place in terms of years and types of cards and so forth, and something like a one-day turnaround on shipping because we live in the same general area now. It was a good time! Here are some highlights!

We start with a ’53! I still don’t have a lot of these! Great name! So great, the painter (possibly my old cartooning teacher Gerry Dvorak, rest his soul), snuck it into the painting!

w0000000, Gilliam! Love adding to my Bums collection! Also: I have even fewer ’55s (at 11, they’re the cards I have the least of out of any flagship Topps set), so it’s good to see any.

’57s are always nice to look at! Did you know that Gene Stephens, on June 18th, 1953, became the first player in the post-1900 era to have 3 hits in a single inning (a feat only matched by Johnny Damon in 2003), or that he played for the Chunichi Dragons in 1966? I sure as hell didn’t! Thanks, Wikipedia!

A nice lookin’ Clem Labine card, from the “I’m not L.A., not still in Brooklyn” year!

All in all, Shane sent over a solid pile of older cards in this ‘un…

I mean, look at this respectable stack of ’59s!

That’s a team set or so!

Of course, just to frustrate all of you who want to see the array of ’59-’70 mostly commons (all of which I needed), I’ll now skip to 1968…

 

…because I needed this, too! With Tony Gonzalez in the mix, I’m now 2/3 of the way through this set! (Still need the Mantle, but that’s not a tough card to get.)

And now, we’ll jump even further forward, to 1984, and a Darryl Strawberry rookie I didn’t have until now!

Also from ’84, this is a great Jim Rice card. Candid.

Bip! Only need 2 more of his flagship/Traded cards now.

Solid Jimmy Key card, too. Love this guy.

Funny story about this one: when I first started buying cards again after the strike, it was 2001, and the two players that kinda drew me into picking up handfuls of cards here and there were Ichiro and Alfonso Soriano. I wanted cards of both of these guys. (For whatever reason, Pujols wasn’t even on my radar that year.) Then, I saw that Soriano’s actual rookie card was in ’99 Traded, a set with a ton of rookies, and I was like “Man, I’m never gonna get that!”. Never say never! It ended up taking me 16 years, but I got it. It took me something like 14 or 15 years to get the Topps Ichiro from ’01, too, but I got it.

“Hey, girl.”

This was the last flagship/Traded Topps Eric Davis I needed. I really like seeing him on 2000s card designs, considering how much he went through in order to get there. Had he stayed healthy, I’m pretty firmly convinced that he’d have been talked about in the same breath as Willie Mays, but he still ended up having a fine career.

There were a bunch of ’01 Tradeds in the package (I still need a lot of Topps Traded and Update from the first half of the 2000s, so keep ’em coming, people), so let’s take a look at a few more…

Nomo!

Esix Snead! Another terrific sports name, really underrated. Always liked the ring of it. Esix Snead.

Cheer up, Juan Uribe! You’ve got your whole life ahead of you.

2015 Topps Baseball

My last 2 cards to get were Mookie Betts (thanks, Thorzul) and this one. I really though the Mookie was gonna give me more trouble than David Lough. Set building is weird sometimes.

Onto some stuff from other companies!

My word, is this a terrific looking card. And man, Kenny Lofton was a helluva ballplayer. Now that Raines is in, Lofton’s HOF case should really be re-examined. They’re comparable (a lot closer than you’d think, considering the near-200 stolen base jumpstart Raines has on him), and Kenny had great numbers. He also made the postseason 11 out of 13 years between ’95 and ’07 (only missed in 2000 and 2005). Never won a Series, which hurts him, but yeah, Kenny Lofton was a great ballplayer.

I still don’t know how a human being does this. El Duque was awesome.

Rickey in his last year! As I was going through these cards, I found Rickey in the ’80s in the Drake’s stuff, Rickey in the ’90s, and Rickey in the ’00s (this is from ’04), and on every card, he looks like he could outrun you. Like, even now, I think most people would have a really hard time outrunning Rickey Henderson in a straight sprint.

Another one with a super cool wind-up. I’m glad to see Dontrelle’s caught on as a TV analyst. He seems like a good guy. Would it have killed Upper Deck to actually use a picture of D-Train from the game they named as a highlight, though? No way that’s Pro Player Stadium, and that’s where the game mentioned here was played.

OH HELL YEAH

(I’m never, ever going to finish the 2006 Upper Deck set.)

And Mo! I love getting new cards of guys I have a ton of cards of, from flagship sets. I am admittedly running out of real estate there (it’s mostly Upper Deck and ’00s Donruss), but it still makes me happy when it happens.

Donruss really made the best of both Mark Prior and this design (which was pretty hit and miss) on this card.

So, I quietly added Jeter to the list of players I’m actively collecting recently, which makes this another nice add (again, ’00s Donruss can be tough). If you’re wondering how I was once a Yankee fan who watched his entire career (he even gave me the cool guy nod from short at the old Stadium once when I threw the horns at him) and wasn’t collecting his cards, it’s because 1. there are too many of them (and I’ve no illusions about getting even an impressive fraction of them) 2. there was way too much competition for Jeter cards in the New York metro area and 3. because of that competition, even base cards were expensive there. When I did my most recent audit of my star cards, though, I noticed that I had (by my standards of star cards that aren’t part of a set I’m building) a pretty good pile of his cards for a guy I don’t collect (I keep pretty much all of them because he’s one of the tougher gets when you’re set building, and because he’s Jeter), so that motivated me a little, but if you wanna know what put me over the top here? It was The Players’ Tribune. People didn’t know what to expect when Derek announced he’d be publishing it upon retiring, and I think a lot of people were thinking it was gonna be all puff pieces, all the time, but it is a consistently fantastic read, with a journalistic bent that really gets the word out on some important issues (first-hand accounts of the effects of head injuries and mental illness among them). I’m proud of Derek and his team for putting the Tribune together, they’re doing great work, and it was a strong factor in my decision to go after his cards a little more seriously than I have in the past. There is also the small matter of him, um, not being quite as popular in the part of the country that I live in now, too.

Now, for some other sports!

I have wanted this card since it came out. I think I had one pretty crappy copy of it once (I may still have it, but I don’t think I do), and this one’s lived a little, too, but I’m glad to have it.

HOOPS! I’m 11 cards away from finishing the “first set” of panels (which means I’ll have one of every card, if you’re not familiar). Unfortunately, I think a couple of them have Bird on them, but I’ll get there. I got Bird/Magic/Dr. J out of the way, that’s the big ‘un.

If you’re curious and/or have a stash of doubles, these are my needs:

1 (3/181/258), 10 (47/177/196), 15 (22/63/256), 24 (57/90/254), 39 (65/83/121), 44 (79/135/216), 48 (30/143/232), 49 (31/146/198), 51 (62/149/262), 62 (42/169/218), 78 (4/33/230)

Finally…

IT’S A MEADOWLARK SANDWICH!

LOVE these Globetrotters cards. Glad I’m actually running into them more nowadays, too. Pro tip for finding them: look in areas of the country where Cumberland Farms stores were popular. This is true of all Fleer products (I got my first ’86-’87 Jordan at one, after all, and at times when you couldn’t find Fleer baseball at any of the card shops in the mid-’80s, you could usually walk into a Cumberland Farms and buy them by the box), because Cumbies moved a LOT of Fleer products (gum, cards, etc.), but it seems especially true of the Globetrotters stuff. Call it coincidence if you will, but I’ve never found one of these cards in person in a town that didn’t have a Cumberland Farms store in it. They came out way before card stores were really a thing, and my guess is, unless you got the Cocoa Puffs ones (a shorter version of the set was released in boxes of Cocoa Puffs), you got them at Cumberland Farms.

So, that’s a pretty good cross-section of what I got from Shane! Thanks again for the deal, Shane, and I hope you enjoy the stuff I sent you, too!

Wieners!

More specifically, Kahn’s Wieners, and their 1968 Tony Horton baseball card! The Kahn’s cards are a pretty tough regional issue, and Tony Horton, not really being on any Topps cards (he’s visible on the ’71 Indians team card, but that’s it as far as I know), is kind of a highlight. This card’s been in my Top 25 wants for a good while, and I think the last time one was up for auction was 2 1/2 years ago. I overpaid, and the bottom edge is not what you’d call the world’s best trimming job, but I’ve got it now, and just have to track down Tony’s card from the ’69 issue.

How To Enjoy Your Hobbies When The World Is On Fire, Part II

When we left off, I still had 5 comic books to read. I just finished reading ’em (and doing my Previews order for April), and here’s how I did…

Brilliant every month, and some of the best reading you’ll ever do in the super-hero genre. Ta-Nehisi Coates has done an amazing job on this book so far.

…but wait, there’s more! Coates is also doing this book with Roxane Gay, and right now, the story’s focused on the origins of the Midnight Angels from the main Black Panther book. It’s very good, but with this and a third Black Panther book coming in April now (The Crew, focusing on Black Panther’s team; Ta-Nehisi Coates is also at least co-writing this one, and Butch Guice is drawing it), I’m concerned that Marvel’s trying to make me broke in the short term, and in the longer term, that they’re going to get me invested in characters in books that they’ll cancel once the promotion of the Black Panther movie is done. (See also: Ant-Man.) If you’re not sweating all of that, and just looking to read a good story, this is a solid book.

Remember when I said there were three Jeff Lemire books in my pull? Thanos is the third. This started off slow, aside from the “hey, I haven’t seen this character in the supporting cast in a while” factor, but it feels like it’s building up some speed now. If you’re a cosmic Marvel junkie, you’re probably already reading this or at least waiting for the first trade. Mike Deodato’s on art here, and while I haven’t paid really close attention to his career, I enjoyed his Wonder Woman a bunch, and this is of the same quality, even if the feel isn’t exactly the same.

You’d think that, with me being a pre-Crisis DC nerd, I’d have been all over this book, but the “Give Gerard Way his own line and let him get weird with characters I love” factor made me a skeptic going in. When I read the title of the book, and the initial promo copy for it, it felt like a bad case of “trying too hard”, but that’s a pretty good argument for not reading ad copy, and that’s about it. I flipped through it after passing on it initially, and ended up grabbing it right away. The book itself has been a lot of fun. This wasn’t been the best issue of the book (kind of a “middle of the story” feel to it), but the characters have been fun, the art’s the right kinda weird, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it all goes.

Last, but not least, Future Quest has been awesome. I was also really skeptical about this latest attempt by DC to do something with their Hanna-Barbera characters (to the point where I completely passed on The Flintstones, which was a huge mistake on my part), and while it’s true that some of the line (Scooby-Doo Apocalypse and Wacky Raceland) is a mess, this is not in that category. It’s an ambitious attempt to link most of the early Hanna-Barbera super-heroes (Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, The Herculoids, Birdman, Frankenstein Jr., The Impossibles, Mightor, and I’m actually probably forgetting a few in there), and while it’s a lot to keep up with at times, this is one of those issues where it REALLY works and comes together. There are 3 more issues after this one, and then I guess we’ll see what they do with the line in year 2 from there, but give this a look in trades if you missed picking it up initially.

So, I did it. I did a bunch of stuff I enjoy doing, despite the world being in the process of going to seed as I did it.

How do I feel? I’m still pretty distracted, exhausted and nervous all the time, and was even as I was going through the cards and reading the comics. Life is super unstable on a global level right now, so that’s understandable. I still think it is pretty important to keep doing the things you love at these times, even if you don’t get as much joy from them as you normally would, just to stay in practice on being a human being instead of a husk. So, even if I’m only half-enjoying what I used to fully relish, I’m going to try to keep at it, as should any of you reading this. The people who are doing the bad things want us to forget how to enjoy ourselves, and they’re pretty good at making joy difficult to access. This is just one more thing that we should not let them win on. They’ve gotten their way far too often already.

How To Enjoy Your Hobbies When The World Is On Fire, Part I

To tell you the truth, I haven’t had an answer for that one lately, but let’s see what I can do. I’m going to scan and write as I experience these things, and see where it takes me.

Oh hey, look, it’s 2017 Topps! Finally made it out to a store that had it, so I bought a hanger box (most base cards for your buck), and we’ll take it for a spin.

Upon pulling the cello pack out of the much-harder-to-open-than-I-remember hanger box (Did they switch to glue this year?), this was the first thing I saw. We’ll see how it turns out at the end of the pack.

The first new card of 2017! You know, last year, I liked the design way more before I saw it in person. This year, it underwhelmed when I saw pictures, but I think I like it better in person. At least on first impression! I would still like them to un-blur the crowds, though. I’m guessing someone sued Topps for being visible in a baseball card or something. But no, even with the amount of space the silly design takes away from the picture, this is an improvement over ’16 flagship, I think.

Baseball Reference killed the card back star!

Anyway…Arcia didn’t have a Twitter or Instagram handle at press time, so that’s some wasted space. Really, I see a lot of wasted space on the back, but it is colorful enough. I’ll also take that it’s legible and has a large card number on it. My eyes are going on me, and reading card backs can be a real chore sometimes.

Let’s look at some more cards…

Unfortunately, most of it is stealth advertising, but there’s a lot going on here. Ellsbury looks like he’s doing the crane technique from “The Karate Kid”, and it also looks like he’s got lightning comin’ out of both ends of ’em. Worth asking, since I don’t recognize the park: which spring training park is this? I don’t think it’s an MLB park.

These red Jays unis are whack. Good picture of Stro, though!

Y’all. Gaylord Perry’s supposed to be on “Then & Now” cards. Not Stephen Strasburg.

Sorry. I know that was a little melodramatic. Moving on…

Parallels! Parallels! Get your parallels, or they go in the “send to COMC” box!

Hey, Night Owl, look! (Yeah, it’s one of those ad cards. I should see how many reprints I have of ’56 Jackie, though.)

Goddamn it.

You’re gonna see his cards all over the place this year, with people saying about the same thing as I just did every time, but…goddamn it. Such a senseless waste.

OK, back to having fun and not spending as much time in the real world…

Whew. Got this out of the way.

And this.

 

Picked this kid up in fantasy late in the year. Came with good reviews from the minors, but he exceeded expectations, as I remember it. His team’s gonna be a mess this year, but I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next.

…and we’re at the end of the pack. These are weird. I mean, I have a long, established love-hate relationship with 1987 Topps cards, which I’ve owned more of than any other cards except maybe 1988 Donruss. The homage to the design looks sharp, save for the gloss (that’s just weird). The picture of McGwire they used makes his head look 3 times bigger than his body, though, and that’s not a great look. I’m probably not collecting the whole run of these, where I might’ve fallen for it in years past, but I will probably peruse the checklist and see who’s in it.

So, I’m through the box! (I should probably mention that my exclusive Silver Slugger cards were Trout and Trumbo, but they weren’t really visually interesting enough to scan.) I’ll probably do with ’17 Topps what I’ve done with ’14 and ’16 (and ’12 Heritage), which is accept them in trades, maybe pick up a pack here and there when I’m bored. They’re better than I thought they’d be, but they’re still not ’11-’13 or ’15. I’ll checklist what I got and put it on my want list sometime this weekend (it’s also officially time to move ’16 to the back catalog now).

Not a ton of players I was hoping to get (no Sanchez, which is kind of in the Bryant “gotta pull it so I don’t have to pay a premium” category), but I got a Story, I got Stroman, I got that Strasburg insert, and as depressing as it is, I got the Fernandez card. I haven’t looked at the main checklist yet to see who’s in Series One, though. Yeah, I’ve been that far out of the loop. Still, it’s good even as “get away from the news” practice to spend time doing something I enjoy.

Onto the next thing I enjoy…comic books! Had a big stack waiting for me at my local shop, as I had bills to pay in January and hadn’t been able to pick up for a few weeks. So, I’ll read ’em, and let you know what I think now.

I’ve gone back and forth on Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight a bit (this is the first of I think 3 Lemire books I have in tonight’s pile), but this is one of the good issues. If you’re not reading it yet, without giving away too much (I think they’re about 2 trades in on this run), Jeff’s exploring Marc Spector’s mental illness pretty deeply in the storylines. He’s using a lot of flashbacks, because that’s what Jeff Lemire does. He’s also used multiple artists along the run to visually differentiate Spector’s different personalities, which was hit-and-miss. He’s back to just Greg Smallwood on pencils for the current run, though, so it’s not as page-to-page jarring as it was for me. I’ll stick with it a while longer. As Moon Knight’s one of my favorite characters, it’s pretty hard to get me to bail on a book of his.

 I’ve really enjoyed the first 3 issues of Josie And The Pussycats, but #4, I dunno, maybe overreached? Could be that Marguerite Bennett finally took the references to “Scott doesn’t get it”-level (I got about 2/3 of them), could be that the story had too much going on and plot points that I thought would have a slow burn to ’em got rushed, but it all kinda came apart for me a little. One issue isn’t usually enough to tank a series (though a few have tried over the years), but this one was kinda rough.

Lemire book #2, and the one that I think has been his best for a while (he writes a LOT of books at the moment, but it feels like he saves the good shit for Descender). This issue was sorta chase-sceney, but still good.

It’s gonna seem like I’m grouchy about every book I’m reading (“decent, but…”, and “not quite as good as the last few” and “hit-and-miss” and such), but the Black Cat storyline they’ve been on for a few issues in Patsy Walker, A.K.A. HELLCAT! (“That’s me!”) was dragging on a bit. Thankfully, they did a really nice job of wrapping it up. Felt good to see a book that had me sorta on the fence for a few issues turn it around.

I have 5 more books to read, but I need a snack and a break from reading. I’ll do part II a little later. It’s been good so far, though, just focusing on one thing as I’m doing it.

Cards For Sale! Update: 10% Off For All Of Black Friday Weekend!

screenshot-2016-11-12-14-27-23Remember when I said I was going to have stuff for sale? Well, I’ve got some cards up on COMC now! I am, and have been open to reasonable offers, if you think any of the prices are kinda out there, but there’s lots of stuff up at a bunch of different price ranges, and I’ll likely add more after the winter holidays, including possibly some comics (Have any of you sold comics there? If so, how did you do?)

I’m also going to have some more stuff up on eBay eventually (definitely digital cards, but probably other things that’d make more sense for me to list there than elsewhere), and I’ll be selling things directly on here, too. Been juggling a lot, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, but I’m getting to where I can focus on things here a bit more, thankfully. Stay tuned for more!

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Hey, I went to a card show!

Yup, I’m still alive over here. Spent pretty much all of September on home renovations and sorting out cards to sell (more on that soon). Did find out about a card show within driving distance, though, so I stopped there today.

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Here’s what the room looked like, about an hour after opening. People were still moseying in, and it was a little quiet, but there were a good number of dealers there, and they all seemed to have someone or other going through stuff at their tables. A handful of the dealers at this show were coin dealers, but the rest seemed to deal primarily in cards of some sort. There’s a row of dealers to the right of the shot here, too. Really need to remember that things like panoramas and 360 degree photos exist nowadays.

I went in mostly to check out the show, see how much dealer space was available, and if it looked like there’d be enough foot traffic to justify setting up there. Didn’t have a huge budget today, and didn’t want to spend my entire day looking through boxes of cards, but I looked through some, though, blast it all, there were two nickel boxes (!) at one dealer’s table, and the guy who got to them first bought both boxes in their entirety!

I noticed that most of what was at the show in terms of vintage cards was higher end stuff, but I found one box in the corner of a dealer’s table with unpriced, lower end ’50s-’70s cards, and we came to an uneasy agreement on ’em after a little back and forth (I probably would’ve gone easier on him, but I have a buncha stuff to cover this month), while also debating the importance of Kyle Okposo to the New York Islanders. (I still say he was pressing this past season, and picked a bad time to do it…here’s hoping Buffalo’s more relaxed for him, and that he has some fun with Matt Moulson out there.)

Anyway, here’s some of what I got…

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First playing-era Brooklyn Dodger in a while, even if it’s a rough one! Also: ’60 Leaf! ’63 Fleer! Mudcat! Hondo! A near-high-number ’66!

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A ’67 checklist with floating head Frank! A buncha ’68s! (I cut 36 in total off my want list today. The Santo is rough, but the rest of the ’68 stars are pretty good, and these ended up being near-quarter-box prices, anyway.) A couple of ’69s! (NICE.)

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Some ’73 high numbers, bringing me over the 600 mark on the set! (Also: MOAR HONDO!)

I paid a *little* more than I’ve been spoiled into believing I should be paying for these kinds of cards today (I’ve been having some really nice flea market finds), but I’m happy overall with how I did. My ’68 and ’69 Topps sets are getting close to the 400 mark, where I never thought I’d be on a ’60s Topps set, and where they are probably going to stall FOREVER.

If you want to check the show out, the next 2 shows at the Chicopee, MA Boys & Girls Club are November 6th and December 4th, 2016, from 9 AM-2 PM.

Topps Bunt Physical Trading Cards

Yes, I’m doing a dedicated baseball card post over here! (For those wondering why this is a big deal at all, I have another site where I usually do this. I may eventually just move all that other stuff here.)

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After a false start yesterday, I found packs and blaster boxes of 2016 Topps Bunt! For those unfamiliar (I’ve written a bit about it on this site already), Bunt is Topps’ digital baseball card trading app. If it seems like a weird idea to you, trading JPEGs or PNGs or whatnot, you’re not alone, but that’s another conversation. Anyway, this week, for the first time, Topps has issued a crossover physical card product in the Topps Bunt line, and so far, I’m having a lot of fun with it. It’s priced affordably (a buck a pack, or 11 packs in a 10 dollar blaster box), the cards (while a bit fragile) look nice, there’s good names in the set, fun insert cards, and you can also get code cards in the packs (I was promised 3 on the box, and I got 4!) that unlock digital packs back on the app, with (I believe) exclusive insert cards (again, digital) in them. Here’s some of how I did.

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These were the best of my base cards. As you can see, a solid if unspectacular base card design (definitely better than Topps’ flagship base design this year, though, and better than the planned design for next year, as well). Cool mix of current players and veterans in the set. I got a bunch of my favorite players, and I ended up putting together 1/6 of the set in 11 packs with no doubles!

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These were my inserts. Loving the Lightforce set (which they’d done a variation of in the digital Bunt product already), and happy to get some decent players. The Alex Gordon is for trade, and I know I have a Gordon collector who reads my other site, so hopefully they’ll jump on it.

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This is also available for trade! These come at a rate of 1:105 packs, so getting one in my first 11 is pretty good, I reckon!

As I mentioned, there were scratch-off code cards in 4 of the packs (they mercifully keep the number of insert cards in each pack to 1, for optimal set building), and I’ve redeemed those already. Let’s have a look at what happened there…

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This is what it looks like when you successfully redeem a digital pack via your web browser. Over in the app, the packs show up in your “Bulletin” dropdown. I opened them, and here’s the best of the best…

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Hey, it’s a platinum Nolan Ryan! Now, to me, the platinum cards just look like the base cards, but they’re super-limited (there were just 21 of the Ryan last I looked). I’m not a Ryan collector in physical or digital (I’ll keep a great looking card of his here and there and I keep the ones I need to finish sets, but mostly I flip his stuff for cards of different players who I do collect), so this is being made available elsewhere, along with the cards below that I mention as being stuff I’m unloading.

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Billy Hamilton, on the other hand, I do like a bunch! Always did like base stealers (the rookie card of Rickey Henderson, whose cards I’ve just started formally collecting again, was in my first pack of Topps cards, after all). Keeping it!

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The confetti you see in this James Shields picture is what happens when the app is like “HOLY SHIT YOU GOT SOMETHING GOOD!”. It’s a fairly limited card, but I don’t collect Shields. Unloading it.

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Love Jose Fernandez! Keeping this.

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I think Stephen Piscotty’s a pretty solid ballplayer, and I’ve had him on and off my fantasy team a few times now, but I’m not collecting him (I generally don’t collect Cardinals players; I’ve had a grudge dating back to Davey Johnson’s Mets…). Unloading it.

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Hey, it’s a Lightforce! I don’t collect Gonzo, though, and I’ll probably have a real hard time finishing the digital set, as these are hella limited. Let me look at the checklist and figure out what I’m doing here.

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Dee Gordon screwed up this year (or got caught for it this year, anyway), but he has always been a fun player to watch, and this is a fun card. Keeping it, and hoping he keeps his shit together from here out.

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BO. Keeper.

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These cards score 3X in the Bunt contests (kinda like fantasy baseball, you create a lineup on the app and your players score according to what they do in the day’s games), but I haven’t been playing contests lately (not enough hours in the day, and the freeplay ones have gotten weak), and I’m not a Votto collector. Unloading it.

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Hey, it’s one of them new Cubbies that isn’t Kris Bryant! Let me put it in the hands of someone who’s a bigger fan than I am.

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Sometimes, the app gives you “HOLY SHIT” stars, too! Severino’s available.

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I’m not sure where Boston and their fans are on Henry Owens, who seems to have stalled out a little, but hey, it’s a limited card. I’ll see what the open market will fetch. Update: it moved before I even finished this post! I guess folks still like him!

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More confetti, and I haven’t seen enough of Ozuna to really be a fan just yet. Unloading it.

So, remember how I had that Lightforce I was gonna try and trade for another Lightforce (the Luis Gonzalez) up yonder? Well, I found out that Bernie Williams was in the Lightforce set, so I made a trade offer to a few people on the Bunt app, and minutes later…

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YAY BERNIE

And that’s how I did!

Well, I got a bunch of “base” Bunt digital inserts too (they look like the base physical cards, but are not like the Bunt base, which still resemble flagship; the synchronicity between app and cardboard still needs some work), but you’ve seen what those look like out here in meatspace already, so there’s not much to see there.

So, did I get my $10 worth?

Absolutely!

Best time I’ve had opening a new trading card product in some time. Lots to like, lots to do. Well worth your money, if you just like to crack open packs and have a good time with this stuff.

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