Flea Market Fail, Retail Mostly Win

The Big Hurt..

So yeah, if you heard on twitter, there was no flea market on Saturday, and apparently there won’t be one at all this month.  It’s okay though, I took my what basically amounted to my entire monthly card budget to Target and Walmart, and had the good fortune of it turning out fairly well.  We all know how hit-or-miss doing that can be, but it can turn out rather nicely at times too.  I picked up a 33%-off ($20 instead of $30) blaster of 2009 SP football (the only dud of the bunch) and a Heritage value box (should’ve doubled up on these) at Walmart, and the last two 3-pack value rack pack things of Gypsy Queen at Target.  So let’s see how it all turned out, shall we?

Just uh, pretend you didn’t read my tweets from Sunday afternoon.  They were spoiler city for this post.  We’ll start with the Heritage Value Box.

The value box bonus refractor. Classy design with rather subtle and subdued refractoring that perfectly highlights without being gaudy. End result: An excellent bonus card.

The only card of note from the Heritage hobby packs..

There weren’t even any SPs that I know of.  Nothing wrong with getting an insert of a legendary pitcher, but the design is snooze inducing, so without chromeyness or a hit (or some sort of super SP variation nonsense), Heritage tends to be… forgettable.  It’s cool though, the regular topps was on point.

Start it off with a much-needed mini, because I think I'm still in single digits on this set, unless this McCutchen gets me to 10.

A Frank Robinson card is ALWAYS a welcome addition to my collection. 60 Years of topps.

A diamond parallel of a star. No longer collecting this set (just Cubs and my other player collections), but Cruz is probably worth one of bigger players I am after, to the right trader.

topps60 > Peak Performance, I'm just sayin'. Fairly classy design. These are for trade..

Another cool insert for trade..

I also pulled two Diamond Giveaway cards from the packs, so I ended up with four instead of two.  That was nice.  Oddly, they were both the same as the two that came with it (’77 Reggie, ’50-something Jackie).  I ended up with an ’88 Tony Gwynn, an ’05 Reds team card, an early ’90s cards so forgettable I can’t even remember which of my three forgettable early ’90s cards was the one I got in this bunch, and a ’70 Don Young (Vintage Cubs!).

Other cards of note were base of Beltre and King Felix for myself, a Steve Carlton/CC Sabathia Diamond Duos, ToppsTown of Mauer, Markakis, Carlos Santana, and two David “I hit a game-winning home run with a broken freakin’ back!” Wright.  Oh, and this:

A jersey card of The Ace of the Angels staff! Weaver is 6-3 with an ERA in the low 2s and a WHIP below 1(!) so far this year. Bonus: It's a nice red swatch. None of that white or gray business here.

Great to pull a great player when you hit on a 1:96 pack card, that’s for sure.  He’ll be added to the For Trade page when I get around to it.

Now, for the dud blaster… Presenting 2009 SP Signature Edition Football:

Purple swatch is nice & all, but John David Booty is so very not worth the price of admission, even at 33%-off.

What can I say?  Even with a better hit, this wouldn’t have been very exciting.  There were Bears base, but this was just disappointing overall.  Why would anyone ever be willing to pay $30 for one of these, when the vast majority of them were most likely just as lame as this one, which stunk on ice at $20?  It was a mistake, plain & simple.  I would’ve been much better off going with a second Heritage value box, even if it turned out to not be any good itself.

Needless to say, only the Bears in the top row are keepers.  The other 57 cards in the blaster can’t be gotten rid of fast enough.

Putting the failure of the day behind us, let’s get to the main course and do us up some Gypsy Queen!

You saw one of my keepers up top.  Frank Thomas with the White Sox is an official player collection now.  I’ll take hits from anywhere he played, but base and inserts and such I’d prefer be of the White Sox variety.

Anyway, everyone always says “Since you’ve already seen the base on countless other blogs, we’ll just skip to the inserts and hits”. No, EVERYONE says this, so no one that doesn’t break down single packs shows the damn base at all (save for the occasional shortprint)!  So here are three more base cards (okay, Markakis is a shortprint).

Kyle Drabek RC, Andruw Jones in what has to be one of the least flattering pictures on a baseball card this year, and a Nick Markakis SP. The base isn't getting as much love as I expected, but it's got style and is anything but boring.

With that taken care of, now here are some inserts.  Was that so hard?

Pujols, Alexei, Rollie, McGee RC, and the Gypsy Queen back is Chris Carter.

I'm suckered in and collecting this set, so if you have any extras, the nine I have will be posted on the set wantlist page later, so you can see what I be needin'. Also, STARLIN!

It wasn’t all Hot Pockets and singing frogs with sombreros in Gypsy Queen land though.  The second of the two value rack pack things had about a half dozen damaged cards, the worst two being the best two cards I pulled from thing.

This is a Gypsy Queen-backed shortprint. Difficult to see, but the damage is visible on my oldass low-def monitor at least. The bottom of the left vertical edge is slightly raised on the front, as if someone tried sticking a finger nail in the edge or something.

Jackie Robinson Framed Paper #'ed 100/999. Then it got worse. The card came out of the pack with that little chunk below the words at the bottom ripped up and barely hanging onto the card. What the hell, pack searcher and/or lollygagging topps quality control person?! Like half of the inserts in this same rack having minor damage on *two* corners, and my short print and Aroldis Chapman base having far worse on one of theirs wasn't bad enough, let's screw up the two best cards too... Will be sending these back for replacements.

Fortunately, there was a saving grace with the Gypsy Queen.  Behold!

The Man!

There was a lot of good in this little binge, and plenty of bad, but it can’t be denied… Retail has it’s occasional moments.  A lot of my better hits seem to have come from retail, and this… well this card is right up there amongst the best of them, team allegiances or not.

That being said, ol’ Stan here is going to be available, seeing as how I am a Cubs fan and have no love for that whiny team from St. Louis, but I’m not in any rush to get rid of him.  You’ll maybe want to set about blowing me away if you’d like to add Mr. Musial to your collection. 😉

So there you go, my latest binge.  I think I would’ve preferred taking another $25 to the flea market, but aside from the SP and what should be replaceable damaged cards, I am exceedingly pleased with the Heritage value box and Gypsy Queen, and it only amounted to $10 more.  We’ll just call SP a $20 learning experience and try to be smarter in the future.

And this overly long post is finished!  Sorry it’d been a couple days without posting by the way.  My sleep got JACKED UP by a linebacker that goes by the name Ray Insomnia.

EDIT: Forgot the Gypsy Queen inserts, and the sign off!  Here you go:

How could I have forgotten these funderfulriffic cards?! These are the undamaged inserts. I am definitely collecting the Sticky Fingers set entirely because the design is so utterly perfect. Just now noticed the spider motif on the Wall Climbers too! I was going to collect it, but probably not now because I'm so utterly terrified of spiders. Admittedly, that is a terrible excuse, because bees are actually the thing I had a traumatic incident with in my youth (one somehow got in my shirt and stung me on the back several times DURING a little league game). My dad lost a toe to a Brown Recluse bite though, so my spider fear isn't misplaced though. Ah, screw it, I'm not collecting either one. Crap.

Now that’s a wrap.  I’ll post up the two insert sets I will be collecting later on tonight.  Thanks, as ever, for stopping by!

Also, I got my new computer, baby!

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I Like Ticket to Stardom

It’s true.  I’m serious.  I bought two fat packs at Walmart, and there is just something about it.  Getting a retail hit helped, but regardless, I can confidently say I would have enjoyed them anyway.  These cards have a certain charm about them I can’t deny.  Maybe I am just a sucker for ticket themed cards; I have always thought highly of it.  Maybe it’s because everyone else seems to hate them with a passion.  Maybe it’s because the base cards look out-freakin’-standing.  Maybe it’s these admittedly pointless, yet absurdly awesome, parallels with perforated looking top(p)s and bottoms that subtly and excellently further the ticket theme (the very definition of a Hidden Highlight).

I dunno if it’s any one thing.  It might well be all of the above.  No matter what it is, if nobody else will give topps any dap for this great set, I absolutely will.  The relic, and especially dual relic, tickets may be wonkily designed (though I happen to find how they look endearing, in a Wrestlecraptastic Pirate Paul Burchill kinda way), and tickets may come from meaningless games or don’t match the blurb on the back, but those are the only flaws we’re dealing with here.  When the base cards and auto/jerseys are so nice looking, the flaws aren’t fatal.

The worst I can call it is a Jeckyll & Hyde-type set, where the good is great and the bad really blows.  To me, the highs at the very least equal the lows (and most the lows I find quirky and endearing), so to call this set a mess or total failure is bullsh*t to me.  It may have it’s problems, but there are plenty of redeeming qualities too.  Seeing all sides of a situation and the positive side of things is kinda my specialty though, so if your mileage may varies, I understand.

Alright, enough jibba-jabba.  Let’s get to the packs, shall we?  Second pack first (because the hit was in the first pack).

2009 topps Ticket to Stardom fat pack (14 cards)

Pack 2

190 Andy Sonnanstine (Rays)

34 Rich Harden (Cubs)- Keeper!

141 Jeremy Sowers (Indians)

10 David DeJesus (Royals)

177 Alexei Ramirez (White Sox)

109 Gary Sheffield (Mets)

155 Jered Weaver parallel (Angels)- I don’t know what these things are called, but they are awesome.  The top and bottom of the card are cut to make it look more like a ticket.  Ya know, they say that it’s the little things that make something great, and this otherwise meaningless thing that would normally be a bother (if I were a set builder) goes a long way towards doing that for me.  It’s the best kind of genius: subtle.  Not everyone will appreciate it, but the ones that do will think it’s fantastic.

TTS-1 David Price (Rays) Ticket to Stardom- 1:4 fat packs

188 Adam Jones (Orioles)

139 Andy Pettitte (Yankees)

95 Ryan Doumit (Pirates)

151 Derek Lowe (Braves)

83 Vernon Wells (Blue Jays)- Reminds me of the autograph of him I pulled back in the day from one of the two packs 2005 topps Pack Wars I ever busted.  Also reminds me to let you know that I have five more packs on the way that I hope attempt a youtube break on.  Even if I can’t figure out how to do that, I’m sure there will be some nice new trade bait to offer up. 😉 /cheap plug

148 Akinori Iwamura (Rays)

Three evenly spaced Rays in that one.  Cool beans on a chilly night.  Might there be a certain Troll who could use them?  NEXT PACK!

Pack 1

126 Jason Varitek (Red Sox)- Someone jacked most of the contents of the huge trade package I sent to JD’s Daddy somewhere along the way to him, so this will probably go into a new one.

162 (hehe) Conor Jackson (Diamondbacks)

197 Ian Kinsler (Rangers)

165 Vladimir Guerrero (Angels)- Keeper!

62 Cameron Maybin parallel (Marlins)- I’ve pulled several Cabreras and Maybins (including a Goodwin mini of Maybin tonight) ever since I sent out the trade to Wicked Ortega.  Guess I might need to get another package ready.

I guess these cards count as die-cuts?  That’s how to find ’em on eBay anyway.

TS-9 Albert Pujols Ticket Stub #’ed 065/110- Hi Marie. 😉

Image yoinked from eBay...

Image yoinked from eBay...

That isn’t mine.  I’m plenty lazy on my own, but even still, my chances to scan stuff are… severely limited (which is why I have so many trades that haven’t been blogged about yet).  You can click on the pic to get to the auction it from wence it came.

For the record, mine has a different pic if Pujols in the corner.  The ticket in mine comes from April 6th, 2008.  Pujols went 0 for 2 with two walks and a stolen base on April 6th, 2008 in a 3-0 win over the Washington Nationals.  Nothing special for Albert, but at least it was a win for his team, and the stolen base is nice.  Also, the ticket in mine is better positioned, with Baseball Heaven being fully visible right below the top.  I will make sure I scan mine soon so y’all can see if you think the ticket position makes it look as cool as I think it does.

#’ed Ticket Stubs fall at pretty nice odds in fat packs (1:11 packs).  It looks like they may be the only hit available in retail packs.

111 Carlos Beltran (Mets)

155 Jered Weaver (Angels)

100 Adrian Beltre (Mariners)- Maybe a keeper, I’m waffling on whether or not I want to collect him.

107 Bobby Abreu (Angels)

115 Mark Buehrle (White Sox)- Do you need either of the Sox I pulled, Steve?  I’m still trying to put something together for you for all that cool stuff you sent awhile back.

44 Mat Latos RC (Padres)

Checklist 1 of 2

Like I said, I really like these cards.  To some, I may have overhyped them up top, but that’s how I roll.  Gotta give some love to the things I like as passionately as I can, since I’m so often misaligned with what the general public likes, or dislikes, in this case.  Eh, what do they know anyway? 😛

Oh, here’s the pack of Goodwin Champions I also picked up tonight.

125 Chris Johnson- Tennessee Titans star running back, in his collect uni.  Ayyy, there be a pirate on the back.  Yarrr, I guess it be East Carolina’s logo.

190 Alex Hinshaw SP (Giants)- Cool, this is an SP.  I finally just now got around to looking at a checklist, lol.

234 Cameron Maybin Mini (Marlins)- Ohh, so this is a Mini Exclusive.  That’s cool.  I’m doing quite well with Goodwin minis.  DiMaggio, Lebron, Steve Carlton, a near triple crown racehorse, and this.

That animal insert is cool too, although it’s a killer whale and not a panda.  Meh, they got the same color scheme.  Honest mistake. 😛

118 Bucky Dent- Pfft.

Okay, time to sketch some cards.  I’m falling behind already.  Later gators. 🙂

2008 TriStar Projections Box Break

I bought my first ever box online in the latter half of last month, from Blowout Cards.  The box was of 2008 TriStar Projections, because it promised lots of hits (4 or 8, depending on your definition) for low low price.  Good enough for me, and minor league cards are cool sometimes.  At the time, I got it for $32 & change shipped, though last I checked, the box had itself jumped up to higher than that, after bottoming out at a couple bucks less than I paid.  But that’s not why you’re here… you came for a box break!

So let’s break it down:

24 packs per box, 8 cards per pack, 192 cards per box

Base

I got around 3/4 of the base set with no dupes.  Forgot to scan the base cards though.  I pulled base of most of the (future) stars, including (off the top of my head) Matt Wieters, Matt LaPorta, Rick Porcello, Jason Heyward, Andrew McClutchen, Colby Rasmus, and Evan Longoria, who already is a star.

The design is pretty slick, but there are two notable problems with the set:

1.) Because the rest of the image the picture of the player is taken from is shoop’d out, leaving only the player, a few players have disembodied body parts encroaching on their action shots (see the Adrien Cardenas parallel below).  It’s very very weird looking and distracting, but there are very few like that, so it’s tolerable.

2.) The stats on the backs of the position player cards are misaligned.  Every.  Single.  Card.  The batting average is supposed to be at the end of the statline, but instead, it is the first thing listed, throwing off the entire line.  It is a pretty bad mistake, which is a shame, because this set is nicer looking than 75% of Topps & UD’s releases from the past year.

Reflectives Parallels (1 per pack)-

I think I got 22 of these, also without dupes.  The reason there are only 22 is because a couple of the #ed parallels were Reflectives, which, except for one memorable one, replaced the regulars.  (Future) Stars included David Price, Matt Wieters, Jed Lowrie, Andrew McClutchen, and Max Scherzer, who’ve all seen major league action, if nothing else.  Jason Heyward is a highly touted prospect as well, it seems.

Reflectives

Reflectives

The Reflectives are freakin’ gorgeous, by the way.

#ed Parallels (4 Guaranteed per box; Green #ed 50, Yellow #ed /25, Orange #ed 5, and Purple #ed 1/1)-

Ben Revere Green base #ed 40/50, Adrien Cardenas Yellow base #ed 13/25, Jesus Montero Reflectives Parallel #ed 12/50 (Reserved for Sooz of A Cardboard Problem), and Wilmer Font #ed 11/25.

2008 Tristar Projections Scans- Parallels Front

I see Rainbows... @.@

2008 Tristar Projections Scans- Parallels Back

Numbered ones... @o@

I actually pulled a 5th #ed parallel too, but we’ll cover that in a bit.

Autographs (4 Guaranteed per box; same parallel numbering as the non-autos)-

Matt LaPorta base, Casey Weathers base, Chris Withrow Green base #ed /50, Balbino Fuenmayor ORANGE base #ed 3/5(!)

2008 Tristar Projections Autos

Withrow has a really nice sig.

2008 Tristar Projections Scans- Autos Back

And the backs...

All four of these guys seem to have some promise, Matt LaPorta with tons of hype, Casey Weathers being a high draft pick (though Tommy John’d at the moment), Withrow I’d heard of before this pack, and Balbino is struggling but has huge expectations and is still only 20.  Plus he’s freakin’ #ed to /5~!

That’s not all though, oh no.  I did say there were five parallels.  And here is the 5th:

2008 Tristar Projections Jon Still Purple Ref Back

For realz 1/1? Believe it~!

Bonus~!!!!

Bonus~!!!!

Jon Still Purple Reflectives Parallel #ed 1/1.

I will not be saying mojo, because that would be wrong. But it is the first true 1/1 I’ve ever pulled, so it is still really exciting going on two weeks later.  However, being in the Red Sox organization, I did offer it to Shane over at Shoebox Legends if he wants it.

I was going to try and score this box, but I really can just give it a number or letter grade.  I really enjoyed opening this box.  The cards look really nice, there were a lot of hits for a low price, some of them may even end up being good, and I greatly enjoyed taking the time to open them, because, well… minor league cards are “Hope in a Pack”-incarnate.  It’s not just hoping you get something good of someone good, it’s getting something good of someone you *hope* turns out to be good, of someone who hopes *they themselves* turn out to be good.

I don’t know who, if anybody, from my box will become major stars (aside from Longoria, who already is), but it doesn’t matter that much anyway.  I got a whole lot more than what was promised for my $27+ shipping.  Two cards whose print runs equal six… combined, a possibly record long box break (somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 hours, due to having to type to chat with people the whole time), three blog posts, and probably many soon-to-be pending trades as a direct result of the pulls.

What more could I ask for?  Besides posting the pictures and getting them where I want being less of a pain in the @$^%Z4$&%¢@#%$.