Archive for the Commentary Category

My first Topps Now card of 2019… and it’s a Walk Off Winner from my birthday

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , on May 22, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When I was a kid, my parents always asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. I was never a party kind of person. All I needed was family and baseball, so in my teens I started asking my mother and father if we could go to an A’s game.

We didn’t go every year, but one of my favorite baseball birthday memories was when I was about to turn 19. My father took me and two friends to a May 1, 1999, contest between the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland A’s. As it turned out, Pedro Martinez was on the mound for the BoSox and he wound up dominating Oakland to the tune of 13 strikeouts over just 7 innings en route to his career 89th career victory. Needless to say I, being a Red Sox fan, was happy. And in the context of baseball history, that dominating start really summed up 1999 Pedro, damn near untouchable.

I’ve gone to many other games around my birthday, and as it turned out, this year, my 39th birthday, wound up probably being my second favorite, even eclipsing that one from a half a lifetime ago. (My top favorite is still this trip to Fenway in 2010.)

This year my son’s Little League participated in three different “Youth Sports League” days/night in the area. The league participated in San Francisco Giants and San Jose Giants events, as well as one of the several hosted by the Oakland A’s. This year, the League chose the night that happened to be Friday Fireworks Night, which just so happened to be my birthday.

We tailgated with the League President and other families. The kids played Wiffle Ball, I played catch with my kids, and I tweeted out a picture of my son wearing my personal Mark McGwire jersey, the one I wore during my high school days.

The tweet received a lot of attention, including an epic comment from the Oakland A’s organization itself. The response from the team was a gif of McGwire bashing elbows at home plate following a walk-off home run in Game 3 of the 1988 World Series — the gif really hit home because I remember staying up late to watch that game with my mom, who lovingly bashed elbows with be after the homer.

As for this day, my kids, their mother, and I sat in the left field bleachers, which is not a typical spot for me. I sat here on this day because I didn’t want the sun to be in anyone’s face. As it turned out, it was fate.

My daughter wore a Matt Chapman jersey I got as a stadium giveaway last year, just as she has done every time we’ve gone to a game since I acquired the garment. And every time he comes to the plate or makes a play in the field, I point him out so that she and my son can draw a connection to Chapman, who is the face of the franchise.

On this night we watched Chapman smash a single into left field past shortstop Francisco Lindor’s glove, and later make it to second base on a following play. This turned out to be significant for me because I managed to purchase the ball that Chapman struck for the single, and later photo-matched it thanks to a bobble by Jose Ramirez, which was captured by a photograph. In the photo you can see the mud that exists on the ball which was authenticated and sold by the ball club.

And then several innings and hours later, as fans who were there for fireworks grew restless, sat Chapman in the 12th inning slugged his first career walk-off homerun, which happened to land in the general area where we were sitting. If you look closely at the television broadcast you can see my family just a few rows away,

The walk-off homer wound of being chronicled by Topps the very next day on a Topps Now card, which of course I had to purchase. And that card of course just arrived this week to act as a keepsake for what has to be one of my top best baseball-related birthday memories I have had to date.

I hope 2019 Bowman Mega Boxes are gone before I see them

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , on May 16, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

2019 Bowman Mega Boxes have begun to hit shelves — a week earlier than the advertised release date — and people in the hobby are going nuts trying to find these lottery tickets.

Personally, I hope they are gone before I see them.

Why? Don’t I like cards? Don’t I want a shot at pulling some ridiculously priced prospect card?

The answer to all of that is yes. And that’s MY problem.

I’ve got an addictive personality, and a serious case of FOMO — Fear Of Missing Out — so I tend to over extend myself on retail products I don’t even collect simply because that’s what’s hot, and I have this feeling that I must buy some (or all) if I actually locate it in the wild.

We’ve been breeding this culture that once you see it, you’ve got to buy it all. I know I am not the only one. Go look at your Twitter feed and message board posts and look at the number of people dropping $300-$500 on baskets full of Bowman Mega Boxes; go look at the walls of Mega Box Wax being shown off.

This isn’t the only product that gets us doing this, but it is the latest. Because we know that somewhere within these $20 boxes of surprise could be lying a card that might be worth (resell value) thousands, but we participate en mass knowing that most cards will be worth just a few quarters in most cases.

Personally, I know what I’ll do when and if I see these things. I’m sure I’ll buy two or three. And I’ll feel that excitement and rush as a I check out. And moments later that feeling will be gone after I open them, a replaced with the idea that “what if” I bought another two or three? And then the sickness continues.

Good luck to any and all who open Bowman Mega Boxes. I have no ill feelings toward any of you. Just do yourself a favor and make sure those boxes are FACTORY SEALED … we all know that only two packs in each box are really why you’re buying them, and if history has shown us anything, cheap-ass scammers can and will find a way to remove them from boxes.

So I was thinking … A recommendation for Beckett Magazines

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on May 8, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

A few weeks ago I picked up a copy of the newest Beckett Baseball. Don’t ask why. I just like to have a new copy in my hand every few months. I really only buy it once or twice a year.

Anyway, I was just flipping through the magazine as I normally would and it dawned on me that Beckett is missing an opportunity.

Hear me out.

A few years ago Beckett stopped publishing in its monthly magazine any set released before 1980. The move was done to keep a more modern presence and to reduce the size, and maybe the cost, of the monthly magazine. I get it.

So here’s my idea. Why don’t we trim out all this nonsense like the 3-inch listing of 1990 Fleer and just list key cards going all the way back to t206? I mean seriously. Not to pick on Ozzie Smith or Robin Yount, but we don’t need to know that those cards are listed at 15 to 40 cents in the book.

What’d be more valuable is seeing key rookie cards and even other major HOFers from vintage sets from t206 to 1980; and then list other key rookies and some inserts from 1980 to current. Don’t you all think it’s a bit asinine that a person returning to the hobby can’t buy a copy of the monthly magazine and see what year or how much a rookie card of Mantle, Mays or Aaron is, but can go find damn near every 1990 card of George Brett or Greg Maddux?

And this is not a forum for you to blast the magazine. I know — hell, we all know it’s not as valuable to the hobby as it used to be — rather this post is a suggestion to improve the product, and maybe help find a way for it to be useful in today’s market.

I could never own a card shop

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , on April 14, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When I was a little kid, I had the luxury of living directly across the street from a card shop. I could peer out the window of my first-floor apartment and see the moment the shop owner flipped over the “We’re Open” sign. But who am I kidding? My friends and I –we all lived in the same building — often beat the owner there. We were often the first customers, and sometimes the last when we would return in the evening after a day of collecting bottles and cans for more cards.

I had dreams of owning a shop. In fact, I once created little business cards and slipped them under the door of my friend’s apartments. It was silly, but remember, I was 8 and fresh into this hobby. I held this dream through middle school as I had no obvious desire to do anything else.

As I grew older, this dream of course began to fade. And now as an adult — even with the ever-changing landscape of our hobby — I realize the dream was best left as it was — an imperfect heaven that appeased my immature brain.

I give a lot of credit to card shop owners who have had the ability to make a living to support themselves and/or their families in this niche hobby. It’s not like there is this endless pot of gold to which you can continue to return; there are no overtime opportunities to bridge the financial gap during tough times. Card shop owners cease to make money the moment they shut their doors at night, or on a random Tuesday or Thursday as some stores might do.

While the financials might not make sense in my head, the reason I couldn’t own a shop is because of my conscience.

Because when the mother and boy walk in seeking baseball cards, I’d almost rather give the kid some cards to get him started instead of trying a hard sale on some lower-end wax.

Because it would pain me to see a guy spend 90 minutes digging through the quarter boxes and not give him a heads up that someone else spent that same amount of time the day before pulling every card up with upside — the same purpose this newer customer were there.

And because I could not standby and watch a teenager spend his lunch money on packs from a box on the counter which you may already know is void of the single guarantee hit advertised on the box, knowledge you’ve acquired because one of your whale customers decided to open and buy pack by pack from that box until that hit was gone.

It seems to me that it takes a certain amount of selective memory, and a certain shrewdness to make ends meet. And I’m not piling on shop owners, because I understand how difficult these decisions could be at times. I’m merely saying that I know that with my personality it would make it difficult to be a shop owner … and that’s not even addressing how tough it might be to draw the line between collector and retailer.

Next-Level disrespect for the base card

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , on April 4, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Over the last few years there has been a trend among some persons in our hobby, a practice that has involved using base cards as packing materials to help protect the key card in a package.

Usually the practice involves a single key card in a top loader and then one or two — or more — base cards places on both sides of the top loader as them all of those cards places within a team bag.

When so first saw it, so had mixed feelings as it was clear that the base cards had been relegated to being nothing more than packaging materials. But alas they also were kind of extra fun items that could evoke emotion.

I let it go.

And then this happened this week.

The base cards were TAPED directly to the top loader with scotch tape. The base cards had zero chance to survive.

I know these are your cards and you’ll do as you will with them. But this is definitely some next-level disrespect for some base cards, let alone ones from such a classic set such as 1987 Donruss. it’s gut wrenching to some degree.

The Title Defense Starts Today (Opening Day)

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Chris Sale peered in at the catcher, gripping the baseball within his glove. He agreed to the pitch selection and began his windup.

The weight transfer. The release. The swing and miss by Manny Machado.

The Boston Red Sox were again the World Series Champions.

I remember the scene clear as day as I viewed it from the auxiliary press box at Dodger Stadium that night, five months ago today.

I had tears in my eyes. I had witnessed something that few have been able to lay claim — watching their favorite team clinch their sports title.

The memories will last a lifetime. That title will forever be linked to that team.

But today starts a new. A new journey for the Red Sox as the team begins its title defense. And for every other team, today also marks the beginning of their quest to unseat the champions to earn the right to start next year at the top of the hill.

Opening Day is upon us. So full of hope and joy. This day is indeed a holiday for some of us. As a kid as would favor illness so that so could stay home and watch the Triple Header on ESPN. As an adult I have selected vacation day(s) based on the seasons first pitch. And for more than a decade I have celebrated this day with packs of baseball cards.

This morning I began this years ritual with my kids as they each opened two packs of Topps Opening Day. And this afternoon I will carry on that tradition with my girlfriend, with whom I will be attending Opening Day festivities in Oakland — this will be our second straight Opener together.

I would have preferred to be in Seattle today to see the Red Sox kick off their title defense against the Mariners, but I have to say being able to see generational player Mike Trout kick off the next chapter of his career after signing the largest contract in the game’s history isn’t a bad consolation.

This will be my third straight year seeing Trout and the Angels open their season against Oakland. And I know that while I understand how lucky this opportunity is, it has not fully sunken in yet how special it has been to see Trout in his prime on Opening Day given that I do not live in the Angels geographic market.

Additionally, it’s also special to be able to see the budding Athletics, especially star third baseman Matt Chapman, whose defense is second to none, something I appreciate since his position is my favorite on the diamond, and slugger Khris Davis who has hit a home run on each of the last two Opening Day games on Oakland.

Writing these words now is getting me pumped up. I can’t wait for the pageantry to begin in less than two hours.

Baseball is back.

Play freakin’ Ball!

It took 27 years to see the sexual innuendo on this 1992 Upper Deck Card

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on March 27, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was poking around COMC on Wednesday and I spied a 1992 Upper Deck Cecil Fielder Card, a single I had seen many times over the last 27 years. But it was not u til today that I realized the unintentional sexual innuendo here.

Cecil Fielder seated, with a water bottle between his legs and a chicken on its knees before him, and of course the cropping doesn’t help.

Yeah, it’s a bit immature, but it is what it is. Is it not?