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!