Archive for baseball cards

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.

I feel like they’re missing the point …

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , on June 9, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Funny story. Today my kids and I went to visit my girlfriend and for this trip my son brought along two binders and a stack of loose cards he needed to sort and put in pages.

The loose cards he decided to put into his Flawless briefcase that he got from MojoBreak earlier this week. When we arrived at my girlfriend’s house she had an immediate reaction to the briefcase.

“Wow, that’s a fancy briefcase. What’s in there, diamonds?” She said flippantly.

I laughed and explained that there were diamonds in there at some point. I told her about the Flawless brand and how diamonds were embedded in some of the cards and how those cards were then presented to collectors in plastic cases placed inside this briefcase. So, she was sort of right.

“They do this because collecting cards is no longer good enough,” I said.

Her response?

“I feel like they’re missing the point,” she said, noting that the hobby seems to have strayed from the idea of collecting cards.

You may not agree, but she’s not wrong.

We all know where the hobby is right now with so much focused on high-priced, high-risk products. Her thoughts were interesting for me to hear as she is not a collector, rather someone in a relationship with someone who is involved in the hobby.

It’s refreshing to hear these types of comments from her, and from others — including my kids — because it’s a reminder that I have also strayed far away from what drew me into this hobby in the first place. It’s the damn cards, not necessarily the ink on them, the material in them, or even the precious gems or metals that have seemingly been forced into our hobby as a way to justify high costs and make us believe these cards will carry some immense value even outside of the basic hobby.

People will collecting what’s appealing to them, so by all means you do you. But I love hearing the outsider’s perspective.

The kids will get to see Kershaw pitch

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on June 7, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Today is a special day. Los Angeles Dodgers star pitcher Clayton Kershaw is set to take the mound tonight at Oracle Park, home of the rival San Francisco Giants, and not only will I be there to see the future Hall of Famer take the mound, but so will my kids and my nephew.

The Points are Poop gang will finally get to watch the player whose cards they see all over my home, the player whose game-used items and cards are frequently arriving by mail, and the guy whose picture I took in 2015 and had the image printed on canvas and eventually hung in my hallway.

This will be my fourth time seeing my favorite player pitch. My sister and I saw him in 2015 as he locked down the NL West title in San Francisco in what was scheduled to be a pitchers duel against Madison Bumgarner. Kershaw was masterful that night, allowing just one hit and striking out 13 batters. It was at that game I took the aforementioned photo I had printed on canvas, and it is also the game at which the image used on this 2016 Stadium Club Gold Autograph card was snapped.

I saw Kershaw again last season when the Dodgers came through Oakland; and of course My sister and I saw him at Game 5 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium when my favorite team knocked around my favorite player in order to clinch the World Series Championship.

If this was just me going, I would have ponied up for seats along the first base line, but with three kids going with me, the budget just doesn’t allow for such premium seats. Instead we’ll be taking the game in from the bleachers.

Kershaw may not be the dominant pitcher he was five years ago, and I won’t pretend that he is the best in the game — pretty sure Max Scherzer has that title at the moment — but it’s pretty special for me to bring my kids and my sister’s son to a game that features my favorite active player.

By comparison, I only saw Roger Clemens — my childhood favorite — pitch twice, once on Opening Day 1999, which his first start with New York, and again in 2007 as a member of the Houston Astros. My ex wife was with me on both occasions.

I did have loose plans to see him in 1997 when the Blue Jays came through Oakland in May of that year, but I had a medical emergency right around my birthday that prevented that from happening — I wound up watching that game from a hospital bed. And in the early to mid 1990s I really didn’t have the means to see him as the Red Sox ace, which is unfortunate.

Rare, non-serial numbered parallels get lost in the shuffle

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Commentary with tags , , , , , on June 6, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

As a player collector, it’s fun (sometimes) to chase down parallels. In most Topps brands, we can expect there to be some sort of gold parallel and then of course a refractor and variations thereof. Sometimes those cards are serial numbered to match the year, or much lower, say to 5, 10, 25, etc.

But in Stadium Club, Topps has gotten back to an early parallel called “First Day Issue” … and they’re rare, but often forgotten about because they’re not serial numbered.

Topps began releasing the First Day parallels in the early 1990s, and those parallels initially had a holographic logo emblazoned on the front of what looked like a base card. And then in the late 1990s the company moved to a a gold foil logo. The idea — at least in my mind — was to signify a certain batch of cards that were made during the first run the product and then inserted as a parallel of the base card.

In the last half decade or so, Topps brought the parallel back and made them much tougher to pull. And much like the late 1990s Topps used a foil emblem on the front to signify this parallel. Pretty cool, right? One problem: The cards are supposedly limited to like seven copies and they’re not serial numbered.

This means sellers may not know what they actually have, so they may not bother listing them, so they’re missing an opportunity to make money.

But on the flip side, player collectors tend to get them cheaper than other rare parallels solely because they’re not serial numbered.

I hope that when Topps releases Stadium Club in the upcoming months that the First Day Issue returns, and that they are rare, and I hope they begin serial numbering them … even if it means I’ll be paying more for the latest Kershaw.