Saturday, August 29, 2015

Number 20 Before Number 20

Hey everyone, Drew back here! It has been a nice feeling to get back into blogging again, much like I was earlier this year. It took a little while to get me back on my feet, but with a critical fall ahead academically, it'll be good to have the blog to turn to when I need to relax. I never thought this site would still be going by this time in my life, but why stop now? As far as I know, I won't stop collecting anytime soon, and it's an awful lot of fun to talk about it all to people who are actually interested in it.

Anyway, all of that aside, I did get one TTM in a few weeks ago that I hadn't showed off yet. It's not a major one, but two very cool autographs nonetheless.

Former Yankees catcher Mike Stanley signed two cards for me in under 2 months! As I've said before, after upgrading my iPhone early this summer, I lost the note that tracked when all of my requests were sent out, so I no longer have exact dates for any of my successes (nor do I know who I've even sent to). Stanley was a frequent mention early on in Jorge Posada's autobiography; Jorge often said how helpful he was as he was just a rookie. He was a solid contributor for the Yankees and several other teams, a consistent threat for a batting average hovering around .300 and over 20 home runs. He also caught Nolan Ryan's 7th and final no-hitter.

Both of these cards look really good with his black and bold signature across them. I'm glad I took the time to add one of the Yankees more underrated catchers in their history.

Thanks Mr. Stanley! See Ya!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Check Out My Phenom Fireballers!

Hey guys, Drew back here! The final week of my summer is just about to hit the midway point, and I'm doing everything I can to not only enjoy it but get a lot accomplished before heading back to school. I slacked early on in the summer due to a big change in my life personally, but now as this fall semester is getting underway I'm feeling more motivated to take care of some things. 

I've been selling cards on Check Out My Collectibles for a few years now, and although I don't quite sell as much as I used to, I still do pretty well. With the store credit I accumulate, I've been purchasing cards I'd prefer to own in my collection; whether they be direct PC or not. I added two cards this summer with my store credit, both being of particularly special young hurlers in the AL East.

Chris Archer has been building off a successful first few years in the big leagues consistently, but has truly broken out in 2015. Though at times inconsistent, there are few pitchers who can dominate a start better than the Rays 26 year old ace. This year, he is 11-9 with a 2.77 ERA and is 4th in all of baseball with 205 strikeouts! His record doesn't speak for the success he's had, and the advanced stats indicate that his ERA could even be high for what he has compiled throughout the year. With a little bit of help down the stretch he could lead Tampa Bay to the final Wild Card spot.

I bought this "Future Phenoms" autographed relic out of 2013 Topps Triple Threads for a little over $10, and I have a feeling I won't be regretting it.

Yankee fans waited a long time for this giant of a kid. After waiting for years, hearing about the "Killer B's" (Betances & Banuelos), and just about giving up all hope on the former top prospect, Dellin Betances is finally here to stay. And if you haven't seen him dominate the late innings for the Bronx Bombers yet, you're missing out. Relievers are supposed to be filled with adrenaline and pump the stadium up, and Betances does just that; throwing fastballs that have the potential of hitting 100 mph with a filthy slurve. He made up for what we had lost when Mariano Rivera retired, and then some. I don't expect him to maintain this dominance for as long as Rivera did, but I'm going to enjoy this run while I can.

For about $20, I picked up his 2012 Bowman Chrome rookie autograph refractor numbered 120 of 500! I had a TriStar sticker autograph of his already, but I needed something flashy of our flashy arm.

All in all, I'm more than happy with my recent additions. See Ya!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

2015 East Coast National: Stadium Club Break!

Hey everyone, Drew back here! Amidst a busy week at work, it looks like I've managed to complete my card show recap within less than a week's time, which quite possibly could be a record. I have so much to post, and with school coming up I wanted to be sure I could get most of that in before I'll be even busier. 

The final piece of this card show recap was a special surprise from my Dad! Following the show, Dad and I were on our way to a family birthday party when he told me to pull my cousin's gift out from under the seat. Instead, it was a box of 2015 Topps Stadium Club, and he couldn't have surprised me any better! After the family party, we went home and ripped open the first hobby box in over three years (yikes)!

Base Set:

I know, you've seen them all at least a hundred times on every blog all summer long. But who could possibly complain? In my opinion, this product has been the best of the year by a considerable amount; even better than Topps' refreshing flagship set. I have been wanting to check the product out firsthand for a few months but didn't get around to it until last weekend. If I had to choose my three favorites of what I pulled, I would go with the Ernie Banks, Lou Gehrig, and Dwight Gooden cards. The photography is so bright and bold, and I couldn't possibly enjoy it any more.

I also pulled the beautiful official rookie card of Kris Bryant, which will be one I plan on holding on to while he ascends into superstardom. Bryant hasn't quite broken out yet, but it's coming.

Gold Parallels:

I've always found parallels to be quite gimmicky and pointless, and despite Stadium Club having such a brilliant base set, it did not escape that issue. However, everything I don't like in most products are acceptable in Stadium Club; because at the end of the day, the photography is all that truly matters.

Black Parallels: Jon Olerud, Adrian Beltre

*Stay calm, Drew. Try not to lose it over meaningless parallels.* Well, maybe I'll send the Olerud out TTM eventually.

Foilboard Parallel: Bartolo Colon

I am a sucker for foil parallels, though. I feel like if they scrapped one or two of the not numbered parallels and maybe limited each card to 100 of these, it would be more fun to collect the specific parallels. The less, the better in my eyes. Unfortunately, this Colon card numbered to 25 has quite the ding on top. 


It seems hard to execute an insert set in a set where people enjoy the base cards as much as collectors do with Stadium Club. While the designs for the Triumvirate, True Colors, and Contact Sheet are well done, they really don't serve much of a purpose. I would rather have more of the regular set than these, but I can't complain. I did happen to pull the "Luminescent" version of the Josh Donaldson Triumvirate (notice the refractor shine in comparison to the Jose Abreu), and the refractor "True Colors" of Paul Goldschmidt. 

My favorite insert set, as overdone as this theme may be, was certainly the Legends subset. I pulled this Ted Williams card, and it is flawless. I love a well executed Die-Cut when I see one, and this is the epitome of such.

Autographs: Starling Marte, Matt Shoemaker (Gold /25)

I think we did pretty well with our two autographs, although it certainly could've been better. Marte is an electric young player with a lot of potential, but I do already have an Allen & Ginter framed auto of his. I have also gotten Matt Shoemaker TTM, so I would consider trading either for anything PC related with similar value. Shoemaker has struggled immensely after a breakout finish in 2014, but still has the tools to become a solid starting pitcher. Over anything, it can be said that these cards just look flat out amazing bearing signatures.

Dad and I didn't pull a Kris Bryant autograph, but we had a great time opening a tremendous product! Thank you so much Dad for capping off what was a wonderful day with a bang, and I can't wait until the next show!

See Ya!

Friday, August 21, 2015

2015 East Coast National: Breaking Thrones

Hey everyone, Drew back here! At the East Coast National last weekend, I wanted to mix things up and have a little fun with two of my all time favorite TV Shows; Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. I watched Breaking Bad during my tumultuous stage in upstate New York last fall, and I caught up with Game of Thrones just a few weeks ago. I'm absolutely obsessed with them both, as well as Dexter and The Walking Dead; so you can clearly see why I haven't wrote as much as I did 4 or 5 years ago.

I bought one pack of Breaking Bad Cryptozoic trading cards from their set that ranged from the beginning of the series until the end. The cards are extremely similar to The Walking Dead's annual set, but with just one set crossing all 5 seasons, almost every card showcases important moments.

*SPOILER ALERT: If you are not up to date with either show, for your own good click out of this page now*

Of course, I would happen to pull the card of the most annoying episode of the whole series: the fly episode. To this day, I still don't understand the importance of that one, but it was probably just filler so they could do more awesome stuff later on in the season. That, they most certainly did. I'm not a huge fan of these types of sets that highlight specific moments, but I like the design and the photo choices seem to be on point. I may have to pick up a full set down the road, we'll see.

For the record, as awesome as it was to watch Walter White transform from a chemistry teacher to a criminal, Jesse was my favorite character.

I never thought I would enjoy a show more than the Walking Dead. I did feel like Breaking Bad was a better show as a whole, but I love the characters in TWD to the point where I thought it would never be defeated. Well, it was. Game of Thrones has captivated me all summer, resulting in me not posting as often and really not doing much these past few months. If you haven't watched it yet, and don't think it's your type, you should watch it because it will be your type.

I prefer this style over the Breaking Bad set without a doubt, but this set is also quite a bit more expensive. I'm not sure what the highlight of this first pack was, either Daenerys Targaryen of the House Targaryen, the First of her Name, the Unburnt, the Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhyonar of the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons... or Hot Pie. Dany is incredible in about a million ways, but Hot Pie's simplicity and delightful direwolf bread wins in my book. 

In Pack 2, the Season 4 edition, it was an easier choice. I love watching Tyrion interact with Varys, and Stannis had a rough break to say the least at the end of Season 5 (but is he alive?!). But Arya Stark is one of my favorites, partially because I believe I'm falling for Maisie Williams, so her card was my favorite of the pack.

Each pack also came with a foil parallel, which look especially nice in person. I pulled two poor men in charge of protecting the Wall (not the Pink Floyd album, for non GOT watchers reading). I certainly wouldn't mind Alliser Thorne dying soon. I'm sure he was behind the (spoilers) killing of Jon Snow at the end of Season 5. Bastard.

After watching many theory videos, I do think Jon Snow is bound to return in some way in the show (and not just a simple funeral). He appears to be too important to the story for him to just die in such brutal fashion. But who knows what is inside George R.R. Martin's kooky mind. If I had to make a prediction, I will go with the common assumption that Melisandre will use the blood sacrifice made from Stannis' daughter to save Jon Snow's life, because that would actually give that brutal burning scene some significance beyond just pure and utter torture. I don't know if he'll return in full form in Season 6, but I do believe in the R+L=J theory and feel like he and Daenerys will ultimately fight the White Walkers in the final season.

Sorry if that was too much for you all to handle. If you've watched it, you'll understand. If not, don't worry, I've got more baseball for you next on the agenda!

See Ya!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

2015 East Coast National Recap: Freebie

Hey guys, Drew back here. I felt like it was only right to separate the 3 Hall of Famers from the free signer at the East Coast National. In the past, we have been able to get Gaylord Perry, Roy White, Lee Smith, among others, for free. This time, we met 1983 AL Rookie of the Year Ron Kittle.

I didn't plan on meeting Kittle, but at one point his line was short enough where I decided "why the heck not?" He was most famous for being a big part of the 1983 White Sox team that broke through a playoff drought that had lasted for over 20 years. In his rookie season, he batted .254 and smashed 35 home runs; driving in 100 runs along the way. It was one of the better rookie seasons for a power hitter in history. However, the next year, while he still managed 32 home runs; was much less successful. His statistics declined every year following his breakout, and he eventually moved to several other teams, including the Yankees for a brief pit stop in 1986 and 1987.

He was friendly to my Dad and I, allowing me to get a quick picture with him and telling us to enjoy the rest of the show. I could have had him sign my Mickey Mantle 16x20 because he was a Yankee at one point, but I've been saving the little space left on that for some huge names to round out the project. 

Instead, I was given this 1984 Donruss by my friends Rich and Hunter to have signed, and it came out really well! Those aviator glasses make the picture oh so much more satisfying too.

See Ya!