Archive for Opening Day

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.

A Lesson In Caring For Cards

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on April 2, 2013 by Cardboard Icons


LIVE Opening Day Blog 2010

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on April 5, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

It’s here. It’s here. It’s finally here. I feel like a 5 year old on Christmas morning. Damnit, I love baseball.

Opening Day has been a personal holiday for me for the last 16 years. I have been following the game since 1987, but in 1994 I started a tradition that I have continued almost every year since: I’ve taken the day off work or school just to watch baseball. Call me silly. Call me immature. Call me what you want. But I do it because I love the game.

And after spending the last six months without the greatest sport on earth, is there really a better way to get back into the swing of things than to completely submerse yourself in it? And so I am here, on the greatest day of the year, chronicling damn near every minute of the day.

I started doing Opening Day blogs in 2007 and wrote them for three years for the now-defunct The Baseball Stars fantasy baseball blog, and will continue the tradition here. I pondered scrapping the idea, but The Jon, my co-writer from the site, talked me into it. Probably because we’ll be spending the day together, and he wanted in on the fun. He hasn’t written anything for publication in more than a year, but The Jon will be joining me on this occasion. If things go well, maybe he’ll contribute to this blog in the future.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the greatness of the 2010 Major League Baseball Opening Day blog as brought to you by Cardboard Icons. All times posted are Pacific.


10:20 p.m. And a sign of the times — I learned from MLB’s Twitter feed that the Angels has just closed out the Twins to complete the day. That’ll do it for the 2010 Opening Day blog. Thanks for reading.

9:58 p.m. Seattle just shut the door on Oakland, leaving only one game remaining on Opening Day. Putting it on MLB Network for the first time today. My friend’s house didn’t have this channel, and I was going through withdrawal.

9:17 p.m.: Horrible state of affairs developing in the blogosphere. I run a three-week contest to give away a 1958 Topps Hank Aaron / Mickey Mantle vintage card and get 32 entries. A Cardboard Problem is running a contest for a $5 blaster of 2006 ultra and they have 48 entries in two days. Pathetic, people. Pathetic.

9:08 p.m. So Travis Buck’s Walk Up music is  Triple H’s theme song. Booooooooooooooooo.

9:05 p.m.: So I’m watching Felix Hernandez pitch in the seventh inning … I owned this guy in my primary keeper league for about a week in the off season before dealing for Hanley Ramirez. Just realizing that it’s not as fun watching pitchers.

9:03 p.m. Is Eric Chavez growing out his hair to look like Andre Ethier?

9:02 p.m. Looks like Duke won the National Championship tonight. Should be noted that I have not watched a single minute of the NCAA tournament. I just don’t care about college basketball.

8:51 p.m. Just settling back in for the remainder of the two games on the slate. This day has flown by. Seriously. I feel like I need to rewind and view this again.

5:09: I think I’m going to call this thing off early. MLB late-afternoon schedule is not jiving with my real-life responsibilities. Thanks all for ready. I’ll post once more later tonight to wrap things up.

4:53: The Jon: Lull No. 2 with only one game to watch. The loser of the day? This what the cheerleaders wrote about Placido Polanco:

Polanco went 3-for-5 with a grand slam and six RBI in Monday’s Opening Day romp over the Nationals.

Recommendation: The grand slam (off Jason Bergmann in the seventh) was the second of Polanco’s career, but the six RBI marked a new career high for the second baseman. After posting double-digit homers last year for the first time since 2004 and topping 70 RBI for the first time, his mini power surge seems to have picked up right where it left off.


So where is the recommendation? Pick up Polanco because he had 6 RBI and that will herald a 10 homer, 70 RBI season for a second baseman? If he gets the obligatory interview from the ugly blond, The Jon will be on board. Herbs.

4:25: The Jon: The winner of opening day so far? Tony Womack. The Arizona guys love him. They’ve been showing him every two minutes and even sent the obligatory ugly blond female reporter over to talk about his glory day (key word being day). Womack hasn’t been that close to a female since Mark Grace took him to Applebees in 2004. Oh, the Giants are on?

4:23 p.m. Just want to say that I wish MLB would do a better job of spreading out the games next year. I hate having like eight games early, and then two in the afternoon and then two games at night. Spread them out evenly.

4:20 p.m.: We’ve been sending text messages to PoiDoig all day with fake box score information. I just now told him we’ve been screwing with him. His response: “You Scoundrels.”

4:09 p.m.: So it’s been brought to my attention that the Jason Heyward Red Refractor I just wrote about has been relisted by the same seller who is now asking for $15,000. People are crazy.

4:00: The Jon: So Mark Grace has moved up to the echelon of Hawk Harrelson in commentating skills. This Arizona game is brutal. Did the doze off and am sadly looking forward to the Giants game because as a the D’backs play-by-play guy said,

“If there is no pitching, there is no baseball.”

3:55 p.m. So, yeah. Jason Heyward Mania is live and well. His gem mint 2008 Bowman Chrome Red Refractor just sold for $5,000.

3:47 p.m. The Jon and Crazy Johnny were just discussing the ridiculousness of the Padres having the Hairston Brothers. “You put them together and you still have a s**** player,’ The Jon says. Crazy Johnny responds: “Yeah, that’s like a negative.”

3:46 p.m. Diamondbacks broadcast is doing an in-the-stands interview with the not-so-great Tony Womack. They wanted him to analyze Stephen Drew. During said discussion, Womack says his 11-year-old son will be better than he was. Womack was horrible.

3:44 p.m.: Jason Heyward was just welcomed into the 3,000 hit club, 500 Home Run Club and Hall of Fame in the eighth inning of his Major League Debut.

3:21 p.m. Small discussion about Eric Hinske has broken out. Dude looks like Karim Garcia.

3:18 p.m.: Braves still putting it on the Cubbies, now 12-5. Dumbass Braves announcers talking about Atlanta scoring 1,600 runs this year.

3:15 p.m.: Pizza guy showed up a little while ago, he had to call to confirm the address. Should be noted he had a porno mag in his back seat. Guess who didn’t get a tip.

2:38 p.m.: We need to break out the ‘We Want Pizza” chant.

2:35 p.m. Diggin the Ultimate Warrior theme music playing at Kauffman Stadium IN THE MIDDLE of Scott Podsednik’s atbat.

2:32 p.m.: Afternoon baseball is slowing dowj; watching the Royals/Tigers. Good pitching duel.

2:04 p.m.: Just doing a quick check of eBay for Jason Heyward rookies. A lot of 100 Bowman Chrome rookies (like the one shown here) just sold for $1,400.

2 p.m.: We ordered pizza a while ago … worth mentioning they said delivery would be 1 hour and 20 minutes. I know it’s Opening Day and all, but this is some Super Bowl Sunday wait times.

1:58 p.m.: Official Jason Heyward rookie card count: 2 Bowman Chrome, 3 Bowman Draft and 2 Bowman Draft Gold. Word.

1:50 p.m.: Braves just scored their seventh run against Carlos Zambrano, Guy No 3 (Crazy Johnny) is not happy. AND Brian McCann just hit a solo shot. This is awesome. Good night, Carlos.

1:44 p.m. First set of games are starting to end — Rangers Jarrod Saltalamacchi just hit a walk-off single. Ranger announcers just crapped their pants. Rangers just won the World Series.

1:41: The Jon: The Jon calls dibs on reporting Heyward’s homer. And yes The Jon has just had a bathroom moment with Heyward. Thanks three-run homer.

1:40 p.m.: Jason Heyward is now a trending topic on Twitter.

1:32: The Jon: Love seeing another Carlos Zambrano meltdown. Crazy Johnny is starting the guy who loaded the bases with cheap flares. Heyward is up and yes that is a homer and yes he is The Jon’s rookie keeper.

This is followed by Crazy Johnny telling Zambrano to:

“Keep your composure d!ckhead.”

1:25: The Jon: PoiDog being the degenerate he is is texting for fantasy updates, so The Jon and Newspaperman are sending him bogus updates. Josh Johnson for 8 earned in 1.2 innings sounds about right. Corn.

1:15: Jason Heyward just made the first catch of his Major League career. I’m worried I might jinx him. I’ve live-blogged only one other rookie debut in recent years. The player’s name: Alex Gordon. Ugh.

1:08 Getting ready to order some pizzas … I suggested we play the Back To The Hotel music in the background while The Jon places the order. He does not like that song.

12:56: Quick check of Fantasy Team A: four homers already — Two for Pujols, and one each for Wright and Lind. LOVE it.

12:49: The Jon: Almost had a bathroom moment with Braun. Looks like a homer, oh great RBI double. You suck Braun.

This Rockies/Brewers game is turning out to be the game. Two young pitchers finding their game, Ubaldo Jim enez doing what he was supposed to be doing three seasons ago. Yovani Gallardo giving it up, but pitching well with nasty stuff.

And Nelson Cruz ties it up against Marcum. Screw you Mike.

12:48 p.m.: “Man, f*** Shaun Marcum. He’s gonna lose now,” says Guy No. 3

12:47 p.m.: seeeeeeeeeeee. And just like that, Shaun Marcus has returned to his non-important status.

12:43 p.m. Flipping around EVERYONE is talking about Shaun Marcum’s no-hitter … He’ll blow it here.

12:30 p.m.: The Jon: Lull time after the alcohol and sugar high. The Jon is still miffed about these Topps cards. The Jon was one of the best designers on the planet and The Jon has to see cheesy bright, flowery design on Topps cards. Where’s the job, man.

And MikeOz in our league picked up Shaun Marcum and his no-hitter  through six innings.

The Jon likes Toronto’s arms. A lot of young guys that can battle. The Jon got to know these guys following Halladay.

Let’s just say there is a lot of grumblings about this kneejerk pickup of Marcum. You know, whether it is valid and is the true essence of our league rules. We are losers. Yes.

12:20 p.m. We’re just now noticing how dominant Roy Halladay has been today … actually, every day.

12:03: So Ryan Braun is putting the up the o-fer. It hurt with two guys on base with no outs. C’mon Braun, how come Newspaperman gets all the beater moments in the bathroom with Wright and Pujols hitting homers.

Braun, The Jon wants a beater moment too.

12:02 p.m.: Warren Spahn is now following me on Twitter. Made me laugh.

noon: Quick recap of the 2010 Topps Opening Day blastern box we busted: two blue parallels (Jake Peavy and Troy Tulowitzki),  two mascots (Bernie Brewer and Fredbird), two Topps Attax Foils (Arod and Josh Beckett) and a Yankees Celebration card. Bunch of base cards obviously — Yankes go to TheJon, Red Sox to Me, and Angels to the other guy.  forth guy may come by later — he’ll get the A’s.

11:53 a.m.: Flipping channels, back to the Nats /Phillies. Can’t believe it’s the sixth inning here already. Day is flying by.

11:40 a.m.: Holy crap. just realized Garrett Jones has two homers today. Long Live Tuffy Rhodes!

11:32: The Jon: OK, Halladay is ripping it up. Gallardo is in trouble. And Crazy Johnny has the quote of the day replacing Newspaperman’s “I would wipe the sweat off of David Wright’s baseballs.”

So here’s the quote, “Mickey Mantle, rest in peace. More alcohol for me.”

11:27 a.m.: Three of us are sitting talking baseball cards. LOVE IT. I am the only current collector of the bunch. We’re having fun opening a Blaster of 2010 Topps Opening Day. The Jon loves his Yankees. I’m all about my Red Sos and the other guy is an Angels fan. I just pulled two Angels in one pack — good day for Guy No. 3.

11:15: The Jon: So lost in all of the overload of baseball is The Jon has not seen The Jon’s favorite pitcher Roy Halladay pitch. It’s tough when you have five opening day starters going on today.

The game of the day so far? Brewers and Rockies. Two loaded teams that are fun to watch. And Peace to Crazy Johnny coming over with the Pacificos. There goes me quitting drinking. It was four days not well spent, knawmean?

11:08 a.m.: New guy just showed up carrying a 12-pack of Pacifico.

10:59: The Jon: The Jon does not flip out. Padilla is your opening day starter? Yeah Dodgers are not doing anything this season. Especially with Padilla giving up dongs to jones.

So Newspaperman is forcing me to open baseball cards.  He wants some guy from Topps guy to link to CardboardIcons. I got some type of Purple Lips insert. Man, I’ve been out of cards for about 15 years and they still have the same crappy computer neon graphic look? Man these cards suck. Oh, The Jon means wow, Alex Rodriguez insert. It looks great! (Thumbs up).

10:56 a.m. The Jon just flipped on the Pirates/Dodgers game — we just had a good laugh at Vicente Padilla being the Opening Day starter for Los Angeles. Should started Kershaw.

10:55 a.m. The Jon just broke out the hard stuff: Henry Weinhard’s Vanilla Cream Soda. The Best.

10:43: The Jon: PoiDog is still here talking about the only thing he knows about: Pro Wrestling which brought up Alex Wright:

Let’s just say PoiDog started his Iran Shiek impression where Newspaperman said:

When you leaving PoiDog.

And Michelle: Newspaperman makes his own thongs. He’ll be doing a raffle later on this week at this site.

10:39 a.m.: And now some odd wrestling talk — dude just brought up Buff Bagwell. Ugh.

10:35 a.m.: Sitting here recapping some of the off-season fantasy baseball trades I made, getting an earful about trading Dustin Pedroia.

10:25 The Jon: Newspaperman went to the bathroom again. He just got out with tears on his face and muttering “This is special.” We are having a TheBaseballStars reunion over here with PoiDog who just called and yelled at his kids because Josh Johnson gave up the homer to Wright.

Now y’all know Newspaperman doesn’t have Grady Sizemore right? If there is enough interest I’ll tell you the story behind it. With behind being the key word.

10:21 a.m.: Holy crap, this must be my day. David Wright hit a two-run shot for the Mets.

10:14 a.m.:  The Jon: Newspaperman gets his first hard on of the day. Pujols is at bat and hits a homer while I am typing this. Newspaperman has just gone into the bathroom. There is a lot of banging noises going on.

10:08 a.m.: Gotta give  a quick plug to the Topps Blog, which started today.

10 a.m. Just sitting down with The Jon to watch the first round of games. Getting off to a slow start, but we do have a 10-pack blaster of 2010 Topps Opening Day to open throughout the day. Looks like we’ll be watching the Cardinals v. Reds first.

12:40 a.m.: OK, turning in for the night. Will be back in a few hours. Will stop at Target to buy a few packs of 2010 Topps Opening Day so that The Jon and I can bust them on Opening Day. Games start at 10 a.m. Pacific, we’ll be back live probably about 9:45 a.m. with a little banter before the first pitches across the league.

11:45 p.m. (Sunday)

So I had to watch the Red Sox / Yankee Opening Night game on DVR because my wife and I were entertaining family early in the night. As I watched the game, I absolutely had to take a screen shot of this two-run sixth inning triple Kevin Youkilis hit into right field. Love the reaction from the fan in the blue, giving the one-finger salute to Nick Swisher. Chris Olds of Beckett probably loved this moment. Olds is a big Swisher honk.

As everyone knows by now, the Red Sox went on to win the game 9-7. I gotta say, I LOVE that Major League Baseball decided to open the season with a rivalry game. I feel like its August already. I already hate the Yankees that much.

Also, big ups to Mike Cameron for his “Walk Up” song.

Opening Day Archives: 2009 // 2008 // 2007

HTA-Exclusive 2010 Topps Logoman Opening Day promotion cards are NOT patches

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

A few weeks ago, Topps released information about a promotion in which collectors could go to their local Home Team Advantage store on Opening Day — April 5 — and receive a free special Logoman card with their purchase of a 2010 Topps product. Well, it turns out that the Logoman cards being given away are not manufactured patch cards like the ones inserted into packs. They are cards with a picture of the MLB Logo patch.

I went to my local card shop on Wednesday and this came up as I was leaving. The dealer told me that he believed it was just a card and not a patch. So I sent a message to Topps via Twitter last night and this morning received confirmation that the cards are just cards, nothing more. (Note: It appears Topps has always said this, I failed to the initial release carefully.)

Still a cool promotion I think, but worth noting that there will be no actual Logoman patches given away on Opening Day, at least not through Topps’ HTA program. To get your special Logoman patch like the Babe Ruth shown above you’re going to have to find it the hard way — by opening packs or on eBay.