The Weekly Roundup…Aoki and WFT

Hope everyone had a great Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate at your home.  The Cardboard Hogs family had a great time…of course it was mellow over here.  Not too many family members in the house, but we did manage to have a good amount of family conversation via phone and facetime. 

What a year, what a year, man.

During the last few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about the hobby. 

The good and the bad. 

The collectors and the flippers.

The blah blah blah…

I love the hobby and am all in for whomever wants to join.  One of the things about the hobby that I enjoy is the multitude of ways you can collect or be a part of our community.  Now with the greater reach of social media and added interest in cards, the gap between old man collector and young kid collector has been filled with so many new characters…celebrities, I mean.  That term celebrity is a difficult one to tackle.  Who is a celebrity and how did they become celebrated?  More importantly…why are they celebrated?  The one well-known name, read celebrity, I’d like to talk about today is Steve Aoki.  That’s right, this guy 

Not sure how many of you have heard of this fella.  He’s pretty big in the dance or electronic music scene, I guess…  My only real knowledge of him is, as a close friend has described…

“…a knob twisting celebrity-J, like Paris Hilton.” 

The worst part about that quote is that I’ll feel compelled to tag Paris Hilton to this post, simply because I typed her name. 

A quick snippet of Aoki’s Wiki page notes that he’s a musical renaissance man of sorts, something of each of the following titles.

”…an American entertainer, DJ, record producer and music executive. In 2012, Pollstar designated Aoki as the highest grossing dance artist in North America from tours.”

You can add online card breaker to that list, as well as card designer…and apparently future card shop owner as well.  Man, everyone has a shop these days.

When Topps started pimping him out on their site along with his upcoming cards, I said to myself. 

“DON’T BUY THAT SHIT…DON’T DO IT!!!, DON’T BE A PART OF THIS COLLABORATION OR REMIX OR WHATEVER THE HELL IT IS.  IT’S JUST A CELBRITY GRAB FROM TOPPS!!!” – yes, I was internally shouting at myself…sortofa Shia LaBeouf Just Do It sorta thing. 

but then I saw the cards and thought, eh…they’re not horrible…kinda cool even.  The photos I saw on eBay looked quite nice to me.  A bit trendy with the light blue color and some laser show lights bouncing around and whatnot.  I dove into the checklist and decided I would only pick up my PC guys.  Here’s a couple for your viewing pleasure.  Trea Turner and Bryce Harper.  Former teammates and now division rivals brought back together by a knob twisting celebrity DJ, Steve Aoki.

***

Now that the cards are in hand, I must admit…a little underwhelmed.  I had imagined they would be a tad thicker, something of a nicer card stock.  They’re pretty basic.  About as basic as a card can be.  The backs are something to behold though, self-serving even.  Each player has a “REASON TO CELEBRATE” breakdown on the back, which is somewhat self-explanatory albeit brief.  Basically, Bryce likes to hit homers on opening day and Trea Turner runs fast.  The Aoki bio though, that’s where it’s at…apparently, he likes to “CAKE” people.  Topps does a good job of describing the act so I don’t have to google it and potentially come across something inappropriate on my computer.  For that, I say thank you, Topps!

I have a few more of these cards coming in; Rickey Henderson, Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter and Juan Soto.  They come in waves, their term, not mine.  I’ll share them once they come in. 

Topic change…

As I type this, The Washington Football Team can clinch the NFC East this afternoon.  If they beat the Carolina Panthers and go to 7-8 along with a New York Giants loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the WFT will have a division crown in their first year as The Washington Football Team…with no better than a .500 record…maybe worse.  To that, I say who cares!  Gimme that NFC EAST DIVISION CHAMP T-SHIRT and a home playoff game!

The great season by the young and exciting Chase Young has me passing on most cards from ebay, but here a few that came home to me this week. 

A PATRIOTIC ROCKET POP FROM PRIZM

A DISCOTEQUE BLINGY BLINGY FROM PRIZM…also apropos of today’s main character subject.

A MOODY BLACK AND WHITE VARIATION FROM PRIZM

A BIT OF CRACKED ICE FROM PRIZM

A PREMIER, YET NON-SPECIFIC EVENT OR GAME OR SOMETHING ELSE 1” SQUARE FABRIC FROM PRIZM

A PANINI INSTANT FRANCHISE CARD…I really wanted this one to be a recessed image   

Also picked up a Terry McLaurin relic, which appears to be a glove…possibly a shoe relic numbered to /99.  I was hoping to get the jersey number 17 for this one, but 12 is close and looks a tiny bit like a One-Seven.

The final card from the week is a JT Riddle Father’s Day card numbered to 50.  I had bid on a version of this card when Topps Update came out and lost when it reached $15…I thought, damn…that’s a ton of money for a JT Riddle card.  So I waited and waited, then this one showed up and got it for about five bucks shipped.  Still looking for the Mother’s Day version, superfractor and printing plates…just in case you come across them.

That’s all I got this week, hope everyone enjoys their Sunday!  I’ve been on a bit of Bob Segar tear lately…no explanation for that.  Enjoy and please feel free to turn the page on 2020 as soon as you like, doesn’t even have to be over…you know.

Sittin’ on Chrome

Retail is crazy man, insane really.  I remember not that long ago when we would all laugh and joke about spending (read wasting) a Jackson on a blaster from Topps or Panini at your local Target or Wal-Mart.  We would go as far as saying, I spent $20 bucks on cards from COMC or Sportlots or eBay and got a whole bunch of fill in the blanks that I needed for my PC!!!  Yeah, I was one of those guys…but something happened. 

What was it? 

Greed? 

FOMO? 

COVID-19? 

Social Media? 

No. It was Gary Fuckin’ Vee!!! 

Well, not really.  It was a bit of all of those things…(side note, I have nothing against Gary Vee or what he has brought to the hobby, any interest in the hobby in my mind is a good thing) every one of those, plus more than what I mentioned.  I’m sure of it. 

Crazy times ya’ll.

So with retail evolving into sneaker heads land and lines waiting for new releases or limited editions of whatever’s new, my thirst for retail has grown.  Grown more out of the FOMO category more than anything else, but also just enjoying a good cheap rip once in a while.  I like to open cards.  I would venture to say we all do, or at least the vast majority of us…I need to do a better job of not speaking for others…I never depended on anything from Target to build a collection around, just something that was inexpensive that I could open on a Tuesday night…fill some need for instant gratification…and go on with my life.  A few years ago I began hording boxes.  I’d buy a box or two but not open them, you know?  Just buy them.  

Saving them for a rainy day. 

Saving them for a day that didn’t go as I had planned.

Saving them for a long week of work.

Saving them for something to write about on a blog I abandoned.

Saving them for something cool to break. 

I could pick up blasters of cards that I’m not super interested in, but like to have just to get an idea of what they look like…I like design and I like sports, so sports cards fill both of those buckets for me…but also the rip factor. 

That has obviously come to a screeching halt during the past six plus months, but I have still managed to accumulate a few tasty samples from Target and Wal-Mart as well as from my LCS’s Hoody’s and The Sports Room. 

The first two locales for an acquisition are great because the’re based on MSRP…no ‘flippity flip flipper-life’ markups.  There’s no LCS overhead cost markup or anything else that would make the box more than they should be.  Trust me (you know this too), retail boxes should not be going for these nutso upticked prices.

…HAVE YOU SEEN WHAT PRIZM FOOTBALL IS GOING FOR ON EBAY, HOLY SMOKES!!!!…

The hobby shops are a bit of a different story, there’s a markup.  The great folks over at Hoody’s though, didn’t do too much for this box of Topps Chrome 2020 I picked up a couple months ago.  $35 for a $20 box.  Nothing too egregious I guess…? 

The packs are lovely aren’t they, Mr. Pete Alonso and some honeycomb corners for the exciting Sepia Refractor Pack. Let’s see if this was worth the $35!

Here are the results of the box and the ‘bonus sepia pack’

*****

PACK ONE

Joey Gallo and Bobby Bradley

AJ Puk ’85 Insert and Luis Urias

*****

PACK TWO

JD Martinez and Austin Nola

Robel Garcia Prism Refractor and Ian Desmond

*****

PACK THREE

Archie Bradley and George Springer

Jean Segura Refractor and Trevor Story

*****

PACK FOUR

Paul Goldschmidt and Lucas Giolito

Austin Riley ’85 Insert and Jose Altuve

*****

PACK FIVE

Freddie Freeman and Nicky Lopez

Dansby Swanson Refractor and Charlie Blackmon

*****

PACK SIX

Matt Olson and Rafael Devers

Mike Yastrzemski Future Stars and Michael Fulmer

*****

PACK SEVEN

Randy Arozarena and Kevin Newman

Babe Ruth Decade of Dominance Die-Cut and Sam Hilliard

*****

PACK EIGHT…THE SEPIA PACK!

Fernando Tatis Jr. Refractor

Aaron Civale Refractor

Orlando Arcia Refractor

Luis Arraez Refractor

*****

All this writing reminds me of one of my favorite all-time MC’s, MASTA ACE! Here’s Sittin’ on Chrome…the namesake for today’s post. Enjoy the jeep thumping mid-90’s bass heavy joint.

Cabin fever cards

About a month ago, my family took a weekend trip to Mt. Hood, with me, i went too.  We’re lucky enough to have good friends that own a small cabin in the woods and are more than happy and willing to share the tiny abode from time to time.  It’s near Rhododendron, which is close to Zig Zag, which is close to Welches, which is close to Government Camp, which is close to Mt. Hood…it’s on Mt. Hood actually.  The cabin is a small, one bed timber framed cabin with a kitchenette, it’s…umm… cozy…(read small)…but it is nicely nestled in the forest off a small unpaved road.  Normally the roads are covered in snow, but we were able to visit just after a heavy rain storm that washed away most of the snow, leaving some ice.

cabin road

I believe these cabins were once used to house park rangers that would work during the year.  It allowed them to retreat to a nice home after a long day at work rather than travel to and from their own homes each day.  For one person, these cabins are crazy comfortable, for two people, it’s perfect…for two people and a toddler…you need more space.  A LOT MORE SPACE!  But, hey it’s free…and i got some cards to open while i was there too!

That blurry flash is my child doing his best to run around in a small building while my wife makes snacks and i build a manly fire.  So, cards.

One of my goals with the renewed interest in blogging was to open packs or do something card oriented each time i travel.  We were kind of in that weird time of year where the 2016s didn’t interest me anymore and the new 2017’s weren’t out yet…other than the flagship Topps…which i already had a box of.  So i picked up one of those dreaded repack jobs that deliver very little in return.  Spoiler alert, my low expectations were met with a couple of mild surprises.  Let’s take a look.

As the box mentioned, 4 packs and a total of 50 cards and a BONUS!  Before we open everything, let’s do a little inventory.  The 4 packs were of 2015 Topps (2), 2016 Leaf Babe Ruth Collection (1), and 2016 Gypsy Queen (1).  The white box of surprises had a little mini Twins baseball guy which was quickly jacked by the toddler.  There were 53 cards in the white box, so i’m already ahead no matter what happens.  Here are some Topps highlights.

Justin Upton and Clayton Kershaw were the only names of significant note for me.  Hey, notice the vintage table pattern, apparently the table has been in the same location for over 50 years…i imagine it’s been moved a time or two to sweep though.

A couple insert cards.  High leg kicking Carlton and top 40 Free Agent Robbie Cano.  One of these guys is going in to my collection and the other one is going in to the Phillies box i got in my basement.  Let’s take a look at the Gypsy Queen cards!

A couple of real DBacks.

BB GQ McCovey

A power alley McCovey.

BB GQ mini Drury

And a mini Brandon Drury…a Diamondbacks hot pack i guess.  Now lets take a look at the Ruth cards.

Two odd photos of Babe Ruth, kids and bats.

Two odd photos of Babe Ruth swinging things that aren’t baseball bats.

BB LR Ruth 1

One photo of Babe Ruth doing baseball warm ups, his Career Achievements card…but what about that white box?  Mostly junk wax stuff, but kind of fun to look through.  There were three cards of note that made me want to take a photograph of them, and here they are…in order of how much i like them, from least to most.

BB box Jackson Winfield

Some Yankee stuff

BB box Posey

A Posey Bowman.

BB box Jeter

A Jeter Diamond King!  Yay!  This was by far the best card in the bunch, pretty nice card.  I think i may have a copy or two of this one, but it’s still a nice little piece to pull in a cabin in the woods.

the end…

Something that’s hopefully appropriate for this post…family member, Paul Riddle on the drum kit here.

 

Bowman and Snowman

So, it’s snowing again.  This time though, it’s a little different.  I have a feeling this one is gonna be a little more than what we’ve had recently.  I left work today at 5pm when it started snowing and got home around 6pm…and it hasn’t stopped snowing.  Really hate snow right now…but i’m going to make the most of it and act like a 9 year old boy tomorrow morning, assuming of course that my back will cooperate.

Luckily i have some scanned cards of this years Bowman Chrome.  They were a bit of an impulse purchase from Brian at the ‘ol LCS down the street.  But i truly enjoyed opening the mini boxes in the shop.  I don’t typically do it that way because i’m shy.  Normally i like to be in the safety of my humble abode.  I thought this time though, opening the box in front of the watchful eyes of a man that opens a ton of boxes would lead to some great hits…in order to save us all some time, i’m just show you my hits.

…but first…Sooz had a card chat Tuesday discussing where (and why) people buy their cards.  One of the questions “How much do you buy retail compared to hobby” was a great one for me because over the past couple of years my retail luck has been terrible…horrible actually.  I rarely get a hit, not much to write about at least…no John Smotlz, you know.  But my last retail stop at Target (before the holidays) i pulled this beauty!  Aaron Northcraft 1st Bowman Autograph!  On a Sticker!!!  Yes, there is a bit of sarcasm there, but also, there isn’t sarcasm.  Actually, this is one of the best “hits” i’ve ever received from a Target pack or box in a really long time.  So, i’m not complaining.  I’m just saying.  The card is pretty sharp, the high leg kick.  Intense look on the face and that sweet sweet beard.  Just wish it wasn’t a sticker auto, but hey, it’s retail and i’m quite happy with this potential momentum shift of hits.

16-br-aaron-northcraft-232250-auto

Lets get back on track now.  I’m a man of order over chaos. Uniformity over randomness. Rigidity over flexibility…actually, that’s my dad, not me.  I’m right in the middle of all those antonyms.  That said, i am posting the cards in the order in which they were pulled so you can share in the moment that Brian and i had a few weeks ago.

16-bc-blake-snell-96499-auto

First on card autograph is from Blake Snell.  The young Rays pitching prospect has seen a few big league hitters in his 19 career games started and appears to have a somewhat bright future in the majors.  Although not stellar, he has shown some early strikeout potential with 9.9 K/9 in his first year.  No idea what his future holds, but if I start to hear his name mentioned more frequently next year, i’ll check him out.

16-bc-connor-sadzeck-auto

Next card, another pitcher. Connor Sadzeck, pronounced \sad-ZECK\, not sad sack…which would describe the scribble autograph on his 1st Bowman card.  If I was a future prospect i think i would spend some time working on my sig…but to be honest i don’t know how you write all those odd letters together.  the D, Z and E alone are tricky.  Connor is tall as hell, 6′ 7″ and was drafted in 2010 and then again in 2011.  Doing some quick research on Lone Star Ball, he sounds like he may be someone to watch this season…so watch him, this season if you’re in to the Rangers.

16-bc-cornelius-randolph-auto

Cornelius Randolph is the next player.  He hits balls rather than tosses them.  This card is a bit outdated at this point.  He’s now a Washington National, which is cool because i like the Nationals.  He’s also the first hitter from the group i’ve pulled.  I don’t do much prospecting with baseball players, but when i do, i prefer hitters.  Feel like they have a better option with succeeding.  There’s no real basis with that theory, it’s just some illogical conclusion i’ve come up with through the years.  Pitchers get injured too easily.

16-bc-victor-alcantara-195499-auto

Back to the pitcher autographs.  Victor Alcantara.  A 23 year old prospect from the DR.  Really excited about this autograph.  I took a peek at his scouting report on Inside the Halos and he sounds like a true stud pitcher, possibly a bullpen guy, maybe a potential closer?

16-bc-willie-calhoun-auto

Last card, Willie Calhoun from the LA Dodgers.  A second baseman ranked #11 in the Dodgers organization going in to last season and was part of the futures game as well.  He looks to have some pop in his bat as he tagged 27 home runs last year, his OPS is a respectable .788 as well.  Not sure if he has a chance to make the Dodgers roster this season, but i’ll keep an eye on him in Spring Training.

Thanks for reading!

Tonight I watched President Barack Obama’s farewell speech and there were moments that made me realize how proud i was to be in our country.  It’s far from perfect and we have a lot of issues to deal with throughout the nation, but it’s a pretty great place to be if you ask me.  I’m gonna enjoy a snow storm with my family tomorrow and cherish the moments with my beautiful wife and mischevious boy…if you have people you love and care about, you should let them know and give them a hug.

 

 

Mile High Hogs

When i travel to a new destination I like to pick up a few packs or a blaster from the local Target or Wal-Mart.  It’s kind of a souvenir.  A souvenir that matters to me and hand a greater level of value than a cheesy shirt (although i love an odd shirt now and again…).  The cards serve as a little reminder of the town I was in, an artifact from a past vacation.  In the past, the trips have been via automobile and the cards were a little easier to handle since i could always see where they were and keep them safe and sound.  The last couple of trips though have been via airplane…the friendly skies!  When traveling, i’m always concerned about the safety and security of the cards and tend to open them up when i get home.  Not this time though, i wanted to join the mile high club!  Well, i wanted my cards to join the mile high club…of sorts.  So i did it on a plane earlier this week!

16-bp-packs

Since we card people don’t like damaged cards, getting these guys on the plane safely was a bit of an emotional journey for me.  Going through security and boarding a plane is difficult enough!  My first concern was the lovely TSA folks that can be a little handsy with people and peoples stuff.  The only thing worse than the disinterested cashier man-handling (woman-handling…? person-handling…?) the cards and dropping them 18″ to the bottom of a plastic bag is definitely getting them through TSA.  They pick up bags and boldly ask “THIS RED ONE YOURS SIR!”, why, yes.  The red bag that i was about to grab is mine…definitely my bag.  The surly looks that follow…them, not me…i’m nice.  Half the battle has been fought, but the war has not been won.  I still need to get these unprotected packs boarded and loaded on a flying tube with an ever increasing shortage of personal stowing space.  Done deal.  Packs located gently on my fold away tray until i am told to hide my fold away tray.  See the photo above (and now below) that was after we reached our cruising altitude…so no foul there although my phone was not in airplane mode.

16-bp-packs-2

Normally when i’m opening a pack of cards i like to have space to lay them out and sort them as i go through the cards.  Kinda particular about those sorts of things, you know.  It’s nice to have a little layout space and a clean surface to boot.  In hindsight this plan would have been better if i had a more sturdy box to put them in afterwards.  Enough with the long winded build up.  Here is what was pulled.

Tyler Glasnow – Pittsburgh Pirates | Alex Bergman – Houston Astros

Dee Gordon – Miami Marlins | Cole Hamels – Texas Rangers

Brian McCann – New York Yankees | Tyler White – Houston Astros

Kenta Maeda – Los Angeles Dodgers | Gleyber Torres – New York Yankees

Javier Guerra – San Diego Padres | Jorge Mateo – New York Yankees

Kolby Allard – Atlanta Braves | Lucius Fox – San Francisco Giants

Not a bad pack, no real jaw droppers.  I do like the three Yankee cards and the Alex Bergman is nice as well as the Maeda card.  They all have a nice little shine to them as well.  My wife, sitting in the miserable middle seat (love ya babe!) was particularly fascinated by the shiny-ness of these cards which the cabin lighting made a little extra sexy!  Here’s pack two!

JP Crawford – Philadelphia Phillies | Austin Meadows – Pittsburgh Pirates

Raul Mondesi Jr. – Kansas City Royals | Byron Buxton – Minnesota Twins

Eddie Rosario – Minnesota Twins | Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds

Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals | Billy McKinney – Chicago Cubs

Tyler O’Neill – Seattle Mariners | Conner Greene – Toronto Blue Jays

Brady Aiken – Cleveland Indians | Francis Martes – Houston Astros

Each of the cards made it home safe and sound, no dings, no dents, no errors.  Twenty Four shiny cards to sit and wait on now…will they become stars or not…!

So there you go.  That was the very first time i’ve ever busted a pack on a plane, in the air above the United States of America.  Hope you enjoyed the show!

***BIG PIMPIN***

Now it’s time to do some contest pimpin’ for Collector’s Crack and his annual NFL playoff contest!

Almost the Easiest Super Bowl Contest on the Web

Since i don’t have to deal with the emotions of having my team in it this year, i’m free to pick a SB matchup that will hopefully be closer to reality…and so should you!  So, hit that link and sign up!  But first, in honor of CB’s contest i thought i’d post a couple of videos in line with all the pimpin’.  First is one of my favorite UGK songs and the other is an interesting documentary on Pimp C that i haven’t quite gotten through yet.  It’s by Mass Appeal, so you can’t really go wrong though.

Autograph collection

One of the things i’ve noticed about the blogs I follow is the vast collection of through the mail autographs.  When i was a kid, i was totally addicted to this…especially growing up in San Antonio where we didn’t have a major league baseball team.  We did have the San Antonio Missions who were the AA affiliate for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the time, but they played games on the other side of town and it seemed like a really long trip to see guys i didn’t know.  So, one summer i got the great idea to take all of my doubles and cards i wasn’t too attached to and send them to players.  I did this for 2 or 3 summers starting in 1987 and was fairly successful.  I was only 11 at the time and didn’t have the foresight to track who i sent to or how long it took, but i was pleased with most of the players that responded.

AU Eric Davis AU Paul Molitor

I remember spending a ton of money on stamps, almost to the point that i wondered if it was really worth it all.  For me at that age, getting mail was always exciting, especially when it was in an envelop i had addressed to myself.  There would be weeks when i would come home to a card a day.  Pure excitement for me at the time.

Going through these cards really brings back a lot of good and awkward memories of my childhood.  I was an only child and never had a large group of friends, so i put everything i had in to my hobby.  I think that’s why it’s still with me to this day, it’s always been something that i could focus on and really enjoy…and get lost in.  There is something very child like about collecting cards as we all know, and it’s also a little therapeutic at times.  It’s been a ton of fun going through these cards and trying to remember how i came about them.  Some have been personalized and some rubber stamped.  Some players sent out pre-signed cards and kept the ones i sent…either way, i was always happy to receive something new from a major league ball player.

AU Mike Schmidt AU Bo Jackson

As i’ve gotten older, my pursuit for autographs has waned, other than pulling them in packs/boxes or buying them to fill player collections.  Plus i’ve felt awkward asking for an autograph of someone 15 years younger than me.  Much respect to those though that still work to get autos, believe me, i understand the thrill of the auto!

Some of the cards are also a little sad as the players have passed on for various reasons…way too soon for these guys.  Makes me feel really lucky that i was able to have something they were a part of before their untimely passing.

AU Kirby Puckett AU Derrick Thomas

Best of luck to all the through the mail auto collectors and hope you enjoyed some of my cards in this post.  I plan to post some additional cards in the future, but am continuing to post them on my cardboard hogs tumblr account…please feel free to visit and always feel free to leave a comment or two here.  I would love to hear your feedback and know that good collector folks are reading!

thanks!