What I did with my Q2 eBay Bucks

Posted in Game-Used Items, Mail Day with tags , , , , , , on July 10, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

It’s always fun to get something for free. This quarter, my eBay Bucks amounted to a tad over $50, and honestly, it could have been much higher had I been smart about when I made some purchases during the second quarter of 2019.

So, what did I get with my reward?

A game-used baseball thrown by Perennial National League CY Young Award contender Max Scherzer that struck former mega prospect and All Star Yoenis Cespedes.

In the bottom of the first inning, Scherzer faced off against Cespedes and on the sixth pitch, he nailed Cespedes on the leg with a 84.5 mph changeup. The Nationals TV announcer had a great comment during the replay:

“With quads like that, you figure that’s a likely place to get hit.”

The encounter was the 28th time Cespedes has been struck by a pitch, and it was the 60th time Scherzer hit a batter during his MLB career. In this game, Scherzer earned his 133rd career victory with his 8-inning, 10-strikeout performance.

The game-used ball represents the 36th in my collection of Hit By Pitch balls I’ve collectively dubbed “The Wall of Pain.” More are on the way; all will eventually be shown here.

Mailday of game-used baseballs also includes a vehicle title? Oops …

Posted in HBP Collection, Mail Day with tags , , on July 8, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Monday was a glorious mailday. I received a handful of game-used baseball cards and a few packages of new Clayton Kershaw cards for my collection.

But one of these packages contained something completely unexpected …

I ripped opened a large bubble mailer that I knew contain two new balls for my game-used collection and removed the balls. And then I peered inside the bubble mailer and found something I KNEW had to have been sent my mistake — the title to the seller’s truck.

Had I been a person of no morals, I could have made this an absolute nightmare situation. But that’s not who I am. I immediately reached out to the seller — who is part of a Facebook group for game-used collectors — and confirmed it was indeed a mistake. He offered to send me money in exchange for the title; but if you know me that’s not necessary. It was an honest mistake; the paperwork will be in the mail in the morning.

The moral of the story for us all is to make sure that in the haste of packaging up collectibles, make sure you don’t accidentally include important documents as packing materials.

So, what was supposed to be in the package? Two new additions to the HBP Collection — Shelby Miller’s first-thrown HBP, and the first ball that struck former prospect Mike Olt.

In Memoriam: Tyler Skaggs (July 13, 1991 – July 1, 2019)

Posted in In Memoriam with tags , , , , on July 1, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

The err of my way: Not everything needs to be collected

Posted in Commentary, Dad Life with tags , , , on June 28, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

As I’ve grown older, I’ve done a lot of thinking — some good; some bad. But when it comes to this hobby, I’m always thinking about it: the cards, the purpose … the addiction.

It’s a tiresome exercise to be up one day and down the next on a hobby that is supposed to be nothing more than a hobby, yet has become your life.

I like to act like this is merely something I do for fun, like it’s an escape from reality. And in some ways it is. But at times I’ve got things completely backward, sometimes my life has actually become my escape from this hobby.

Too deep for a Friday? Maybe. Or perhaps it’s time for me to check myself; to again write words that I can reflect on to help remind me why I still do this. And of course as the saying goes, “There’s no time like the present.”

I have brought my son into this hobby, for better or worse. I’ll say for better — it’s helped further an amazing bond with a young man whom I see so much of myself in. But it’s that same notion that makes me reflect on it all the more — Do I want my son to be like me? Do I want his thoughts to be consumed by his hobby?

Clearly the answer to the latter is no. A resounding Fuck No!

But I’ve arrived at this conclusion today: A lot of my driving force in hobby spending lately has been to establish this unbreakable bond with my son — which I didn’t have fully with my father — so much so that I am finding myself generating reasons to buy cards so we can “experience” these things together. When really, we can experience much of the same with items we already have, or even outside this hobby.

I do not need to collect everything; and everything doesn’t to be collected.

This is a mantra I need to repeat to myself every day. Because while I have an absolute love for a product like Topps Stadium Club, and feel good about purchasing it, I often find myself manufacturing a similar sentiment to help justify purchases of other items.

My son can enjoy a pack or two of a product and walk away. He’s innocent. But I don’t need to go buy a box or multiple blasters of said product to maintain the father-son bond.

I don’t need those cards in my collection; I don’t need them for our relationship; I don’t need them to stay active in social media circles..

Simply put: I don’t need them to And believing that we do has been an error of my way.

I’m sorry, I didn’t read the description

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on June 25, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

About two hours ago I posted a card for sale on eBay. It’s a modern Prizm parallel of a big rookie. The asking price is lower than others, the card has flaws that are shown in pictures and are spoken of in the description .

To this point, I’ve already gotten three offers. Yet the card is still for sale.

Why?

BECAUSE PEOPLE DON’T READ DESCRIPTIONS!

This guy was the latest. He made an offer and instead of retracting his own offer, he wants me to do it.

No. If you’re going to be a dipshit, you can do it yourself. I told that I refused and told him to go figure it out himself– and to start reading descriptions before making offers.

As mentioned above, that was the latest. One buyer made an offer and retracted it within a few minutes before I could take action.

And another guy made an offer, which sat for 45 minutes before I accepted it. And when I did accept it, he immediately asked to cancel.

When asked why … he told me he entered the wrong about.

Damn liar.

EBay has become increasingly frustrating for many. And after taking a break from eBay selling due to issues about a month ago I returned today to new issues.

So. Damn. Frustrating.

Boooooo! Give it to the kid!

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , on June 18, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

He sits in his seat, left hand in his fielding glove, eyes transfixed on the field before him.

Like many other kids his age, his dream is to catch a ball. Game-used, player-thrown or -hit, whatever … it doesn’t matter. A ball is a ball, and it was the object of his desire.

This was me as a youth. Hell, it was you, and your friend. It was your dad, your brother, your cousin, your nephew.

It is my son.

My boy in recent months has taken a liking to the game, more so than I ever images he would at his age. I mean, like many baseball-loving dads, I hoped my son would be the kid who would be crushing Whiffle balls with a pacifier in his mouth, or throwing darts from right field to third base before the third grade. But that hasn’t always been the case. Even though he had been exposed to the game since birth, my son until recently hadn’t shown love for the sport.

But then it happened. He wanted to know about cards; about the game; about the rules.

And recently, when attending games, he started bringing his glove. And just a week and a half ago — on June 7, 2019 — while at the Dodgers-Giants game he asked if he (and his sister and cousin) could go to the front two of the bleachers during batting practice to see if he could snag a ball.

They didn’t get close to catching one, but watching their faces being among the crowd of folks with the same childhood dream — was priceless.

At one point a ball had gotten tossed into the stands and a scrum ensued and my nephew managed to get a finger tip on it, before a group of guys crashed into each other and a young girl walked away with it in her hands. No one was upset; hell, I was proud of my nephew for the effort. And found great comedy in watching a group of boys (and men) picking themselves up as the pre-teen girl held it up and flashed a giant smile.

Fast forward to Monday, June 17, a day after Father’s Day. My kids were with me for a few days and I sought out cheap entertainment. Of course my mind instantly went to baseball. I managed to find some bleacher seats for the Orioles at Athletics game and asked the kids if they wanted to go. Without hesitation, both my son and daughter agreed. And as we headed out the door, my son grabbed his glove.

By the time we got to the stadium, the first row on the left-field bleachers was full — which is to be expected in Oakland. They have some die-hard fans in left and right field bleachers, the type that bang on drums and cow bells, wave flags and have hand coordinated gestures.

But, we got there early enough to pick the seats we wanted. And sure enough, as we say down my son had his left hand in his glove, seemingly ready for anything that came his way.

For the first two innings, my son jumped out of his seat for anything that got hit toward left field. He wasn’t the only one. But his instincts were making me proud. Then in the third inning — after the A’s scored two runs — outfielder Ramon Laureano hit a flyball to left field for the third out.

Orioles left field Anthony Santander gloves it and began running toward the infield, and he threw it to Second baseball Hanser Alberto (who at this point was standing between second base and left field) and Alberto threw it into the left field bleachers. The ball clanked off a seat in section 136 and rolled down to section 135, row 29 — right behind my son. My son reached back and hand two fingers on it when an older kid — maybe late teens early 20s — comes flying over from 136 and aggressively grabs the ball, then turns around with his treasure.

Almost immediately, the crowd laid him.

“Booooooo! Give it to the kid!”

I asked my son if he was OK, and he said he was. He explained he had two fingers on it when it got snatched away by the other person in a blue shirt. I put my hand on his head and told him it was OK. I can’t say I was upset because I didn’t see how much control my son actually had of the ball. Also … I don’t know that older guy’s story. Hell, it’s not like the guy appeared to be in his 30s or anything.

Nonetheless, after a few moments, the guy in the blue shirt comes over and hands the ball to my son, apologizes and walks away halfway through my head nod to acknowledge his actions.

It was a great gesture, one I wish I could have thanked him more for at the time — but I froze. I was concerned about my son being embarrassed — also I wanted to make sure he actually held the ball and didn’t let it roll away.

To the guy in the blue shirt, thank you. I wish I could have shaken your hand before you disappeared. It’s not something you had to do, even if the others around you put pressure on you to give it up.

Having said that, what IS the protocol for older kids, young adults or older folks chasing a ball when clearly it’s in the grasp of a kid? Is this something I should have been upset about? Is this a scenario for which I should even be thanking the guy in the blue shirt?

As for the ball … I went aback and watched the replay of the final moments of the third inning. It appears this ball was initially used in a Khris Davis groundout to Hanser Alberto, who threw it to third base on a fielder’s choice — that’s where they tagged out a Matt Olson for the second out. Then on the next pitch Laureano pops out to left and eventually the ball ends up in the stands.

It was of apropos that Laureano was the guy who last hit it. He has been a golden thread weaved through my baseball story over the last year or so. My kids and I were there for his first career homer; I was there in April when he gunned down Xander Bogaerts at home, and again in May when he threw out another player from deep centerfield. And of course now this flyout which my son now owns.

2019 Topps Series 2 Blaster Break #1 (results)

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When it comes to Topps Series Two, I am usually not one to overly indulge. By the time this set comes out every year, the luster on the Topps base set has worn off and there are lots of products available from which we can choose, so it’s somewhat of a secondary option.

This year, the feeling is a bit different since there are key rookies in Series Two including rookie cards of Pete Alonso, Eloy Jimenez and Fernando Tatis Jr.; a short-printed Vladimir Guerrero Jr. release (technically not an official rookie card). Also, the set features new cards of two of my favorite players, Clayton Kershaw and Roger Clemens. So it seems natural for me to open at least one blaster to chase the aforementioned, as well as to casually complete the Series Two set to go along with the first series my son and I have nearly completed.

I checked a few Targets this week and managed to find blasters of Series Two at only one store, so I grabbed the first one I saw and headed to the register. Each box contained seven packs of 14 cards, and one manufactured relic card for a total of 99 cards. Here are the overall results.

The manupatch for this blaster bore one of the hottest names in the hobby, Vladimir Guerrero. However, it is of the Hall of Famer Vlad Sr., not the son, Vlad. Jr., whom hobbyists are currently swooning over.

The seven packs contained the following:

Key rookies: Pete Alonso, Eloy Jimenez and Yusei Kikuchi — which really could have been much better if Topps could have used an image from his debut during the Opening Series in Japan, but I’m sure they’re saving that for the Update Series. This photo on the Kikuchi is the same that was used on the Opening Day rookie card.

Short Print: Veteran, Dale Murphy — I dig these horizontal short prints.

Parallels: Rainbow Foil Raisel Iglesias, Gold Carlos Carrasco

Inserts: Aaron Judge Exclusive (#23); 84 All-Stars Alex Bregman and Rickey Henderson; 84 All-Stars Blue Roger Clemens; Franchise Favorites Tony Gwynn and Jose Altuve; Iconic Card Reprints: 73 Topps Carlton Fisk; 150 Great Moments Bartolo Colon.

Comments: This blaster was better than I expected as it held two of the key rookie cards in the set, a short print and a insert parallel of one of the guys I collect.

As for the base cards, I’ll be building a list of needs in the near future. I’ll be more than happy to trade most of the inserts here within for base cards that my son and I need to complete this set, or cards of Kershaw and Clemens.