Silver pack attack.

That’s how they get ‘cha!

Apparently Topps is doing a giveaway for purchasers of their hobby boxes, which is fantastic.  I believe the “catch” is that you have to buy hobby boxes in order to get the four card per pack freebie…which i’m totally fine with.  Most of my boxes, actually all of them now since i don’t really do blaster boxes, are from Dave and Adams or my LCS down the street.  So, as a collector it’s a win-win chicken din-din!

Wanna see what i got?  Take a look-see.

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It’s a Freddie Freeman from the Atlanta Braves.  Wonder how he feels about the local football team crappin’ the bed last Sunday?

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I also got a Joey Votto card.  He’s a Canadian.  I work with a Canadian and she’s great, really nice.  I always imagine Joey Votto would be a nice guy as well, until i saw him swat that fans shirt last year…he did end up giving him a souvenir afterwards, so maybe he is nice.

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Next guy is Adrew Benintendi.  Name is much harder to spell than i had expected.  Seems like yet another young superstar for the Sox…great…they have a pretty stacked lineup and don’t think they will miss Papi much this year, except maybe the veteran leadership?

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One of my best friends is a Padres fan…he was a Chargers fan, but i think he’s since moved on.  For his sake, i’d love to see Will stay healthy and lead his team to the playoffs, maybe even the World Series.  Dreamers gotta dream i guess.

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I love Cuba and I love Cuban players.  This guy is from Cuba and a solid power hitter.  Seems a bit like a wild card though…how great of a player can he be for the Mets this year?

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Piggy!  Next to Verly, he’s my favorite Detroit player…that’s all i got.

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Hammerin Hank Aaron with the Atlanta Braves and high stirrups.

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Last card is Jackie Robinson…love this card and love the image.  Great card.

That’s all i got tonight…crazy tired from the Run the Jewels show the other night…i’m too old to go to midnight shows…but hey, it was well worth it!  I love RTJ!

A Big ole’ box of Memories

I pre-ordered a jumbo box of 1987 2017.  This is the big 30th anniversary for a set that is seemingly very popular with a lot of people.  Me though, i have a different memory of these vertically wood grained over produced cards.

I started collecting baseball cards in the fall of 1985.

I was 9 and had fallen in love with baseball and baseball cards.

I wanted to learn everything about baseball and own everything i could about baseball.

So, baseball cards met that need at the highest level for a young’n like me.  There weren’t many opportunities to buy cards at that time due to scarcity at my local Stop n’ Go or 7-11, but also my lack of funds…I was 9.  I did what i could back then.  When the 1986 cards rolled out, i was able to complete a set via trades and multiple pack purchases.  The way it was done in the old school days.  I had a little more money and ’86 turned out to be a fun year, a year that i became addicted to these damn cardboard things.

That all changed in the winter of 1987.

The very first packs of cards i bought that year were in the Stop n’ Go down the street from my home.  I was headed out to my very first camping trip for the local Boy Scouts troop…a trip that i wasn’t too excited about (maybe a story for later, but my BSA experience was very forgettable!).  My mom pulled in to the parking lot and gave me some money to get a special snack and a juice…i bought a coke and two packs of cards.  1987 Topps.  The cards had gum in them, so that’s kind ova snack, right?  Fearing that i had betrayed my mom, i kept the cards tucked in my pocket to be opened later that weekend…during a camping trip.  I made it successfully to the bus without anyone finding out about my card purchases and was able to procure a solo seat and open them on the ride to the camp site.  I had 34 brand new cards in my hands…and two horrible pieces of gum.  Little did i know that this was the start of an incredible amount of over-consumption of wood grained cardboard that i would later become overwhelmed with.

For me, this was my first understanding of over production of a product.  I was buying packs everywhere.  I was even able to buy a few boxes at our local Sams Wholesale Club…for about $18 each.  Now, t’ve never been a collector for the investment purposes but i also don’t like to buy junk…well that year i must have spent about $100 on 1987 Topps.  I was completely overwhelmed with them and grew to really dislike them…everything about them.  So when the set gets a re-up, i don’t jump for joy.  I’m old enough now and have some perspective to understand and appreciate the design, so maybe this year won’t be so bad.

I mean, they do actually look kind of nice and as others have mentioned, the wood grain is quite lighter than the original.  The cards stock as i remember it is quite better as well, significantly better actually…as i look at these cards, i can see why they are adored by so many…i have baggage that i need to let go of i guess.

They are nice, very nice.  Well done Topps.  You did a great job with these re-issues.  Tweaked some of the things that were of concern to me…thank you for listening 🙂  Some of you may have already seen the cards that i pulled as i thought it would be nice to pre-share over Twitter last night.  Just in case though, here is my very first 2017 Topps card of the year!

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Miami Marlins Giancarlo Stanton!  Pretty sweet first card eh?  Don’t think i know what my first card is for the past 30 years, but i would venture to say that none of them are as good as this one.

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This was my first card pulled for a favorite team, the Nationals or Yankees…Bryce Harper is cool, i mean…he’s probably going to have a good season.  Yeah, this card is fantastic for me not to mention that i got two in the box.  One for my flagship set and one for my Bryce Harper PC.  Collecting goals are being met.

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This was my first Yankee, Nathan Eovaldi.  It was immediately followed by Aaron Hicks, also a Yankee.  Guess that duo was a nice little mini Yankee hot pack…or not…?

Topps is also continuing with the buyback program, but stamping them differently this year with a  vertically embossed stamp along the right edge of the card that reads “REDISCOVER TOPPS’.  Nothing spectacular, but i have to admit these cards are in great shape.

One of the many inserts that you get are the foil cards which are great looking cards, assuming you can see them.  I passed up a couple of them and had to go through the stack again to make sure i pulled them all out and when i did…four of the five were team cards.  Feel a little gipped here, but i guess it would have only been successful if one of them was a player or team i collect.  The fifth was a Kurt Suzuki.

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Topps is also continuing to do the first pitch cards…and i think they are running out of celebrities or there just aren’t enough celebrities to go around.  Not trying to blast either of these two musical entertainers, but one of them is great and the other one is Mase.  I’ve tried to associate the connection of the First Pitcher to the team they are pitching for.  Mase, per wikipedia was born in Florida, but left with his mom for New York when he was three.  I guess maybe he’s always been a fan of a Florida team?  Ms. Jett is from Pennsylvania, so maybe she grew up watching Harry Caray and Steve Stone on WGN like me?  I kid…Joan Jett was one of my favorite rockers in the early 80’s, mostly due to my mom liking her music with The Runaways.  I like her biggest solo hit, a cover of ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll”

Speaking of hits, i have three of them…well, two and a half.  I don’t consider redemptions hits until i have them in my hand.  Here they are, in my current favorite order.  When the redemption is in my hands, that will be without a doubt my favorite one…assuming of course it’s a Yankee card.

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My timeline counter is starting on February 3rd, 2017.  Let’s see how long this takes to hit my blog post.  Ball is in your court Topps Corporation.17-tost-clayton-kershaw-3050

Clayton Kershaw Spring Training commemorative patch…it’s like a hard plastic’y metal’y thing’y numbered 38/50.  Not gonna complain at all.

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My favorite hit, currently, is this Addison Russell trip color patch…they snuck that white portion of the patch in there didn’t they?  Numbered 19 of 25 is pretty good too.  Kinda wish it was autographed, but i’m quite happy with this pull.  Russell is a great young player and nice to add to my collection.

d’oh!  I have a couple more cool cards to show off.  Nothing spectacular, but wanted to share.  First one is the Bryce Harper Then and Now…i always remember that moment when i almost pulled that card in a box.  The guy next to me picked the box that had it and i picked the other one…such is my luck…i always get the other one..Harper looks like he’s aged 10 years since the Bowman card, beards man…they make you look old.

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The other one is of the young Astros prospect, but aren’t they all?  Teoscar Hernandez…feels like his name should be spelled T’Oscar…but that’s not my lane.  I’m gonna stay out.  This is one of those reverse negative cards that are not printing plates, but every time i see one that’s the first thing that crosses my mind…kinda wished it was yellow.

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Well, that’s the haul from my one jumbo box that i purchase for each series.  Hope you enjoyed.  I will be posting the cards from the two silver packs that came with the box another day, so until then.  Enjoy some random music that i was listening to while writing this letter to you.

 

One of a kind

In my endless journey to collect every single unique Redskin card that man, woman and child has ever made, i have to understand my limitations.  Whether they are due to fiscal inability or levels of rarity that would make winning the lottery easier, i must pursue, pursue, pursue…or collect, collect, collect!  What that means is when i have the chance to pick up a card that is rare…10 copies or less…maybe, actually 5 or less…i gotta do it…assuming I can afford said card.  The real issue comes in to play when the old printing plates cross my eyes.

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Printing Plates are annoying.  I would venture to say that most of us would wholeheartedly agree to those four words.  They are FREAKIN’ ANNOYING!.  At first i thought they were a cool little insert in packs and something that was part of the card production process.  A truly unique, one of a kind insert.  But now, there are multiple printing plates for multiple card sets each year, and as a team collector it makes me feel the need to put them on my checklists…knowing good and damn well that i won’t ever get the majority of them…or possibly any of them.  They are One of One after all.  Last Saturday though, I had a chance to pick one up from Kim at the show and this was it.

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It’s from the 2013 Panini National Treasures set, card #100 of Robert Griffin III.  Now a former Washington Redskin(s).  The thing that’s baffling to me and printing plates is their price.  This card you see here was marked at $20 and i probably got it for around $10 (bought a bunch of cards so it’s hard to say exactly).  Now, i’m no economics expert, but neither is your President of the United States…but i would think that a second year card of an NFL QB that is the only one of its kind in the entire world would fetch upwards of $100.  Possibly even more, tens of hundreds maybe, but no, not today, not at this show.

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Now, i get that RGIII isn’t the same RGIII in 2017 as RGIII was in 2012…or 2013 RGIII.  But it’s still a 1/1 card!  I feel like a fool for complaining about this pick up, but it just seems really odd to me and my marginal understanding of basic economics.  Regardless, i now own it and am pretty pleased with the card.  it is quite lovely and has a nice weight to it.  It’s thicker than most of the other plates that i have, which is great because most of those are dinged or dented or bent(ed).  This one just has some printer roller streaking, maybe that’s RGIII fleeting career moving past him quickly and on to the next guy, not quite sure.

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Another thing that i think is a little crazy about these printing plates is that i normally end up with the Black versions, not the Cyan, not the Magenta and definitely not the Yellow.  I may have a couple Cyan and Magenta ones…but i don’t believe i have any Yellow plates.  Could it be that the Yellow Uno/Uno plates are even more rare?  Maybe the rarest of them all?

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Idiotic, i know…there’s one of each of the CMYK printing process plates randomly inserted in your packs, boxes and cases…but it just seems odd to me.  Cue Rod Sterling…

…That’s all i got for today

I saw The Founder tonight with Michael Keaton, he wasn’t physically there, he was on the screen, but it would have been pretty cool to see the movie with him.  I have a couple questions about Mr. Mom and Gung Ho i’d like him to answer anyways.  Getting back on track…It’s the story of Ray Kroc and how he brazenly took the McDonalds model nationwide worldwide and became a billionaire of the seemingly kind McDonald brothers.  (Nick Offerman is a man crush of mine.)  It was a good movie, not epic, but entertaining.  Watch it if you get a chance!

Here’s a one of a kind from Slug and Ant…AKA Atmosphere.

 

Faces in new places

Change is inevitable, it happens.  People move, make new friends, change jobs, etc.  It’s a big part of life and in my opinion, it’s a great part of life.  I love to experience new things.  Try new restaurants and take a trip to a place i know nothing about…or simply listen to new music.  I live new.  New is good to me, it excites me and awakens me.  The flip side to that is i tend to jump in head first for the new thing and get caught up in the moment.  I’m a bit impulsive at times and this can be a bad combination…compulsivity and attraction to the novel.  That said, if i really am honest with myself and look back on what i’ve gone through, i can’t say that i have any regrets (or at least very few…) for things that i’ve done.  It’s always the things i didn’t do that get me…which i think most people go through in their life.  The fear of taking a risk and just going for it cripples most of us.  I know it’s paralyzed me in the past…completely shut me down at times.  I’m a totally afraid of fear.  Last year though, i started to take a different approach and go head first in to new things…now, these were safe gambles.  I wasn’t jumping out of planes or wrestling tigers (GO CLEMSON!!  YAY!), i was leaving something that was know for something that was unknown and striking up a conversation with people i wouldn’t normally talk to.  Attempting to become fearless.  Well, my levels of fear are creeping back up.  Self doubt is creeping back in to my mind and slowing me down once again.  It’s been tough adjusting to the new…but i think it’s worth it and i could really use a little bit of a reboot and a chance to challenge  myself again.

Leaving and arriving are antonyms, but really you can’t have one without the other.  If you are leaving a place, then you must be arriving to another place.  Whether the circumstances were of your own volition or through the making of someone else, it’s a chance to start fresh and push yourself to do things you maybe haven’t had to do in a while.

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Less than a year ago, the Carolina Panthers offered the Franchise tag to arguably the best cornerback in the NFL, Josh Norman.  There was quite a bit of back and forth with him and the Panthers and to be honest, i wasn’t paying attention…didn’t need to.  He played for a team that i appreciate, but don’t think too much about, he wasn’t a Redskin.  Well, time went on and the contract wasn’t signed for whatever reasons.  Just before it needed to be signed, the Panthers pulled the offer and Norman became a free agent.  Less than a week after, he was a Redskin.

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This was quite a coup for my team.  They needed major secondary help…MAJOR secondary help (and still do), he wasn’t going to be the savior but he was a night and day improvement over what the Redskins had last season.  Being the shutdown corner that he is labeled, he doesn’t get too many passes thrown his way.  A little ironic that the best player on your defense rarely sees the ball or gets close to the ball…seems counterintuitive doesn’t it?  He’s basically a little leaguer in right field…put him where he won’t see any action!!!

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Norman had a good season.  Not an epic season, but nice.  Held some of the best receivers in the NFL to their worst games of the year.  His battle with Odell Beckham Jr. earlier this year led to OBJr. getting sacked by a kicking net on the Giants sidelines.  Classic material if you ask me.  Josh Norman is one of those guys that you love if he’s on your team and hate if he isn’t and i’m cool with that.  He seems like a cool guy, energetic and knowledgable about the NFL game.  I guess he’s a great example of making the best of a new situation.  A situation he didn’t have total control over, but it worked out…kinda helped he got crazy paid though.

Being a rookie has to be tough on the college kids.  Incredible levels of competition and a whole new routine and way of life.  There is always someone nipping at your heels pushing you to be better and reach higher levels of excellence.  Some succeed and some crumble.  This guy, Matt Jones did neither last year.  He was somewhere in between and ended up losing his job due to costly fumbles…but hey, competition, right!  That hair in the photo is pretty epic.

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Another difficult part of being a rookie is injuries…damn injuries.  This kid, Keith Marshall was hit with some elbow issues in preseason and ended up on the IR for the year.  Not a great start for a guy at a deep position.

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He showed some signs of potential in the few touches he had in preseason, so it made sense for the Redskins to IR him in hopes of keeping him on the roster and not cutting him.

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Not sure what next year will bring for him, i hope he gets healthy, gets reps and has a chance to make the team next year.  Georgia has had some pretty fantastic running backs in the past, and maybe he can be a hidden gem?

So yeah, i picked up a couple autographs of him over the weekend.  They are cheap and colorful with wicked wands of hair…can’t go wrong really.  One of the cards i picked up though really caught my eye.  It was a personalized card, and a card that Kim had set aside for me.  My first personalized authentic card ever.  But it was cool and timely for me.  Take a look.

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I already miss Athens, GA.

Now, this could simply be rhetoric and i’m making it in to something deeper, but my point is that we should always feel great about moving forward and challenging ourselves with new experiences and be allowed to miss the people/places/things we’ve left behind.

I’ve always thought i was someone that never wanted to look back, only move forward…KIM (keep it movin’).  But, i’m understanding the importance of being able to look back happily and remember the experiences, good and bad that i went through…and more importantly the people that helped get me where i am today.  Thank you for reading tonight.

The song for the night is fitting for the post i believe…