Archive for Mike Trout

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!

MLB’s soft season opener means another year of tradition

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , on March 20, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

The 2019 Major League Baseball season kicked off early this morning With the Oakland Athletics facing the Seattle Mariners in the first of a two-game Opening Series showdown in Japan.

It’s essentially MLB’s soft Opening Day. The League-wide official Opening Day comes March 28.

Tradition in my household includes opening packs of cards on Opening Day. Seeing as how the first games were played today, I had to keep up the tradition and as luck would have it, Target received its allotment of 2019 Topps Opening Day Mega Boxes, which is one of a few new ways Opening Day is being presented to collectors.

Thankfully I remembered that I had a coupon in my wallet for $1 off — there were coupons on select Series One blasters — so it made this purchase even better.

For $14.99 you get 16 basic Opening Day packs and one pack of seven exclusive red foil parallels.

The Reds are actually quite nice; sadly I didn’t get the Clayton Kershaw I needed for my collection.

The standard packs appear to have the same odds as single retail packs.

My box started off strong in Pack Two as it contained two timely names: Mike Trout and Alex Bergman, both of whom signed extensions yesterday, as well as this sweet Andrew Benintendi Card.

This pack was followed up by one that contained the rookie of card Seattle Mariners pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, who coincidentally will start Game Two against Oakland before the two teams head back to the United States to continue and complete the exhibition season before the official Opening Day.

This Mega Box contained two blue foil parallels, which are seeded 1:13 packs, so I managed to beat the odds there.

Also two Team Traditions and Celebrations (1:10 packs) and two Opening Day cards, seeded 1:7 packs — the Royals one is neat since it has a Salvador Perez cameo on the big board.

I also received the allotted four Mascot cards (1:4 packs) including the unnamed Baltimore Orioles mascot, and one of Mariner Moose, who looks like he is flipping people off.

And the standard 8 150 Years of Fun cards, seeded 1:2 packs. There was the Trout shown above as the following seven.

This was a fun, cheap way to celebrate the soft opening of the season. I’ll have to find something else to open next week before I head to Oakland to watch the A’s take on the Angels and the sports richest player Mike Trout on the real Opening Day.

The annual free Topps Now Mike Trout has arrived

Posted in Misc. with tags , , on February 22, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was at work earlier today when I started seeing other collectors receive a surprise in the mail today from Topps.

Needless to say my surprise arrived today as well as they are sent to customers of the service from the prior season. Here is the 2019 Topps Now Card from Topps advertising the new season of “Now” cards.

I’m pretty happy to see the holographic Topps logo on the freebie card. If memory serves me right, the logo wasn’t on last year’s. Of course I could be wrong.

Traffic, weather ruin Valentine’s plans; leads to Optic, Topps break

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

Well, yesterday I spoke of having Valentine’s Day dinner plans with my girlfriend after work. As it turns out bad weather caused unsafe road conditions and actually closed the roads over the mountain between our houses.

I spent three hours on the road trying to get there, but I had to be at work the next morning so the plans got nixed.

So I got off the freeway and found myself at Target, where I decided to cheer myself up with trading cards.

The Optic packs felt like I had to jump on them or I’d never see them again. The highlights were a Base Luka Doncic rookie and a Blue velocity retail exclusive Trae Young Rookie. Also, the Warriors cards are a nice addition to my collection.

The Topps pack was a no-brained as the Mike Trout green retail exclusive was on the front.

Doncic, Young and Warriors are not available, but the others may be had for Kershaw cards I need or current Golden State Warriors cards.

San Francisco TRISTAR 2019 show appears to be postponed

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , on January 15, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

For more than two decades, collectors in the San Francisco Bay Area have had the opportunity to head to the Cow Palace in San Francisco for the annual TRISTAR Productions show, a three-day show typically held in April which is chock full of card and memorabilia dealers, and a slew of athletes signing autographs.

But over the weekend I caught wind from Tim Shepler (@bigshep79), a fellow collector in California and current co-host of podcast “About The Cards” (watch/listen on iTunes and YouTube, it’s good times), that dealers at a Sacramento card show over the weekend were saying the TRISTAR show may not be happening this year.

And so I asked TRISTAR via Twitter DM.  The response confirmed that there will not be a TRISTAR show here in April.

“The San Francisco Bay Area, one of the country’s premier collectible markets, has been an annual stop on the TRISTAR show circuit for the past 22 years and is a market where we have produced tremendous collector shows,” The Direct Message stated. “In recent years, TRISTAR’s annual Bay Area show has occurred in the month of April. TRISTAR will not be producing a show in the Bay Area market in April 2019.”

The response continued, “While we do not have definitive dates set for our next Bay Area TRISTAR show, we continue to believe that this is a tremendous sports card / memorabilia market and look forward to returning to the San Francisco Bay Area.”

This is a bummer for me personally.  This show is the one regional show I really got geared up for, routinely taking the Friday off work so I can be at the show when the doors opened to the public on the first day.  And this year, I was hoping to take my 8-year-old son who just started collecting.

While TRISTAR did not provide a reason for the changed in plan, it also did not explicitly rule out a return to the area during a different time of the year.

In 2012 this show was the source of many great scores for me personally, including a pair of Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Rookie refractors for 50 cents each. Those are documented here in Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

Topps BUNT blaster stocked with Trout; creates fun break for kids

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on August 30, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

My kids know the drill.  When we need something, anything, for the house we’re making a Target run. And the first thing we do there is make a b-line for the baseball card aisle.

IMG_1490Tuesday was no different as my son and I went to gather some items for he and his sister’s school lunches. And when we got to the card aisle, my 5-year-old son pointed to a blaster of Topps BUNT and said,”Look, Daddy!”  He remembered the packaging from a few packs of the product that we bought last week at our local card shop.  In all honesty I wasn’t planning to buy the blaster, but I’m not going to say no if my son is showing an interest in my hobby.

So he picked the blaster as we carried one with our shopping.  When we got home, he and I started opening packs, and then my nephew of the same age came over so I let him wrestle his way into a few packs. No, seriously, look at that effort! (I got his parent’s permission to turn it into a meme.)

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It was fun watching the boys work their way into these wrappers. I’ve opened thousands of baseball cards packs in my near three decades in this hobby. I miss the old wax packs as they really weren’t a problem at all. I even remember the Sportflics brand that had wrappers similar to those used on Pop Tarts — the noise those wrappers made was weird. Upper Deck’s foil wrappers were always a treat because in their early days, the product was considered premium. The worst by far was Score — it was like someone took a plastic shopping bag and just heat-sealed a stack of 15 cards inside. I digress.

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The kids seemed to get a kick out of opening the packs. My son has a little experience with this but it still learning. But he figured it’d be best to put his knowledge to use and he tried to teach his cousin: Pinch at the top with your left hand, used your right thumb and index finger to pinch the flap and pull.

Now once the wrapper was started, the process got a little more tricky. The kids seem to think it’s cool to open the wrapper like 20 percent of the way and yank the cards out of the packs.  A few corners did not survive, but I looked to change that behavior real quick. And but the time we got through the 11 packs (remember, it’s 10 packs plus ONE bonus pack for $9.99) the boys had it down pretty good.

We went card by card; naming the player and the team. We also kept tabs of “special” (insert) cards and the code cards, which I explained were for the app on my phone. And when they hit a big name, I explained who they were/are and what that have accomplished.

My nephew managed to pull a Ken Griffey jr., a Roberto Clemente and Kyle Schwarber insert in his packs — as well as a Babe Ruth that somehow got stuck to another card and I didn;t see until I sorted the cards later. And my son reeled in a pair of keeper-size Mike Trouts, the base and a sweet “Unique Unis” insert as well.  He also nabbed a Corey Seager rookie, which was cool to see.

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I’ll be honest: I love this brand. I bought a blaster for myself about two weeks ago and knew that it was a perfect set to share the collecting experience with my kids. It’s cheap, has a loaded checklist of current and legendary players, and offers a super long shot at ink, which is appealing in that when/if you hit one it’ll be akin to finding a Elite Series insert in those early 1990s packs. I see many more packs and/or blasters of this and more in their futures.

 

’16 Stadium Club & ’15 Prism box breaks

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

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I won a gift certificate from Blowout Cards earlier this year and it’d been sitting in my account for months.  I decided to use it last week and just a few days ago the boxes arrived. I love Stadium Club and Prizm offered two autos per box at a discounted price so it seemed like a decent buy.  Here are the results.

I’ll say this upfront. Panini America’s Prism is always fun to open, although I think we’d all like it more if the cards had logos. I like the design,  the quality of the cards and I the parallels. These boxes have two autos and four numbered parallels per box.  I did OK given the price point.  My autos were James McCann and Addison Russell, which was a parallel. My parallels included a Barry Bonds /125, Stephen Strasburg /99 and Cole Hamels /42.

 photo 1FDB2955-9BBF-4EA4-835C-9DC814AC92ED_zpsey0opswu.jpgThe real reason I decided to order the cards was because I really like Stadium Club. I love the photos, which is what brings be back to the product every year that Topps decides to bring it back.  As you know, each box contains two autographs and a slew of parallels and inserts.  My haul wasn’t half bad.  The autos included one of a young Mets pitcher Steven Matz whose signature I didn’t already own, and my parallels were solid — black parallels of Corey Seager and Babe Ruth, gold Mike Trout.  And I pulled one of those tough (1:256 packs) Triumvirate Illuminators (Prince Fielder) and a photo variation of Greg Maddux.

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