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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2010 Allen & Ginter Mutant Blaster

With my last little bit of cash (at the time), I picked up a blaster of A&G.  I had a little bit more than I thought, and once it was confirmed everything else had already gone through, I made a beeline for card section at Target.  I haven’t been able to spend hardly any money this month on enjoyable stuff, and it had been a really miserable month up to that point, so I needed it.  Fortunately, it turned out nicely I think.  So let’s break it down, shall we?

2010 topps Allen & Ginter Blaster

8 packs; 6 cards per pack

Pack 1

338 Francisco Liriano SP

346 Ryan Theriot SP

325 Brett Gardner SP

331 Huston Street SP

Crack theCode!

NA37 Komodo Dragon National Animals Mini (Indonesia)

TDH17 Joe Mauer This Day in History (April 19th; The American Revolution Begins 1775)

The Komodo Dragon is pretty cool.

Pack 2

326 Aaron Rowand SP

306 Brandon Phillips SP

310 Placido Polanco SP

314 Ivan Rodriguez SP

190 Randy Wolf Black Parallel Mini

TDH14 Justin Verlander This Day in History (February 20th; John Glenn Becomes the First American to Orbit the Earth 1962)

Nothing much to see here...

Pack 3

325 Brett Gardner SP (dupe)

331 Huston Street SP (dupe)

346 Ryan Theriot SP (dupe)

326 Aaron Rowand SP (dupe)

306 Brandon Phillips SP Mini

AGHS2 Mark Buehrle Baseball Sketches (Perfect Game)

Mini SP & a perfect game. There's gonna be lot of no hitter/perfect game commeration sketches in the 2011 set.

Pack 4

322 Gary Matthews SP

319 Austin Jackson Tigers RC SP

350 Alcides Escobar SP

AGHS3 Derek Jeter Baseball Sketches (All-Time Yankees Hits Leader)

MM10 Brachiosaurus Monsters of the Mesozoic

TDH6 Brian Roberts This Day in History (October 9th; Washington Monument Opens to the Public 1888)

Jamie Moyer's pet Brachiosaurus from his youth. Jeter breaking the Yankees hits record. And a good rookie. Solid pack.

Pack 5

308 Adrian Beltre SP

315 Bobby Abreu SP

AGR-RZ Ryan Zimmerman Framed Relic- You can’t really tell in the scan, but there appears to be stitching running across the middle of the swatch.  Isn’t that interesting?

145 Jim Thome Ginter Back Mini Parallel

TDH44 BJ Upton This Day in History (August 21st; The Mona Lisa is Stolen 1911)

Zim relic. I like the red frame better in person than it looked in scans.

Pack 6

338 Francisco Liriano SP (dupe)

332 Ricky Nolasco SP

344 Derek Holland SP

322 Gary Matthews SP (dupe)

64 Josh Beckett Mini

TDH56 Jimmy Rollins This Day in History (November 27th; Baby Face Nelson Dies in a Shoot-Out with the FBI 1934)

Checklist Four of Four

The mini is a plain ol' base. Beat the odds & pulled two of them.

Pack 7

310 Placido Polanco SP (dupe)

313 Ryan Doumit SP

318 Carlos Gonzalez SP

316 Nate McClouth SP

Crack the Code!

LO11 Uranus Lords of Olympus

TDH72 Jay Bruce (April 3; Jesse James is Killed 1882)

lol Uranus...

Pack 8

305 Kelly Johnson SP

308 Adrian Beltre SP (dupe)

315 Bobby Abreu SP (dupe)

350 Alcides Escobar SP (dupe)

138 Javier Vasquez Mini

Crack the Code!

Vasquez was the other base mini. Aaaaand I got no This Day in History in the last pack...

As you can… *Ahem*… I said *Ahem!*  Thank you.  As you can see, all the base cards in the blaster were of the SP variety, and 10 of them show up twice.  Here be the backs.

Dig all those crazy numbers over 300.  Woo…

Everything but the Baseball Sketches, a Theriot, and possibly the Komodo Dragon and/or Brachiosaurus will be available for trade once I unberry myself from all the overdue trades I have to send out already.  All I’m definitely collecting from A&G this year are the Wordsmiths and the Baseball Sketches, though I’m considering half-hearted stabs at the National Animals, Monsters of the Mesozoic, and maybe even the This Day in History sets as well.

Oh and speaking of Ryan Theriot, should I feel as bad about the Dodgers trade as I do?  Because I’m not liking it at all. 😦

Anyway, if you see something you like, lemme know, because only the sketches and one of the Theriots are definitely going into The Lonestarr Personal Collection.  Hm, I like that font for the PC.  Makes it seem grander than it actually is, lol.  Anyway, that’s all for this one!  Seeya.

On the comeback trail…

Belated Night Owl Trade

I sent Night Owl some Dodgers a few weeks ago (or is it months at this point), and here’s what I got in return:

Cards from Night Owl #1 Minis

Starting it off with some Cubs and A&G wantlist minis...

I am unsure of what that Leon Durham is.  It’s not really a card, it’s on paper that’s about newsprint thick.  Whatever it is though, I do like it. 🙂

Straight outta 1960, It's 2009 Topps Heritage... and a couple Target old schools

Straight outta 1960, it's 2009 Topps Hertage... and a couple Target blaster throwbacks

Makes me want to get some more actual 1960 topps Cubbies to go with my lone card from that year, great defensive innovator (and pretty decent hitter to boot) Vic Power.  And is Reed Johnson ever the right guy for an old school version or what?  The hustle & effort, man.  Granted, he’s gritty & hard-working because he’s no better than mediocrely talented, but still, hustle is a motivator for others sometimes… He will make a fine manager someday perhaps.

Cards from Night Owl #3 OPC

2009 O-Pee-Chee, approximately 1/8th of the Cubs base set... 😛

Wasn’t a fan of OPC this year.  Not to say that some of the cards aren’t nicely designed (though plenty of photography stinkers there are).  Not enough cards for the price of admission, considering the ginormity of the set.  If they were eight or more cards per pack with the same insert & hit rate for the $45 or so hobby boxes were going for when it first came out, I *might* have picked up a box.

This brings me to gripe I should mention to Upper Deck sometime if I ever get a live mic with someone with some stroke there.  Upper Deck does not seem to even be able to grasp the concept of low end (flagship VERY aside).  Even the surprisingly decent Upper Deck X suffers from the low end-itis a bit.

Let’s continue with the pretty pictures of baseball cards then, shall we?

Cards from Night Owl #4

Another OPC, some '09 Goudey, '09 UDX, Attax, and '08 Timeline

Thusfar, my favorite Upper Deck brand of the year is UDX.  Is that crazy or what?  I didn’t hate ’08 (one of the few, the proud), and the ’09 version was a vast improvement.  It’s the only baseball product truly geared towards kids too, aside from topps’ surprisingly excellent flagship.

Goudey was sometimes not pretty this year, but the Cubbies I received looked fine for the most part.  The Uncanny Valley ookiness is mercifully kept to a minimum.

I still don’t like the Timeline base design, but there is something about the blue on it that give it a certain I don’t know what.

Attax are Attax.  Rolling out a new game every year or two and never sticking with one can’t be helping the baseball CCG cause, I’m just sayin’.

Cards from Night Owl #5

Tristar & Bowman & a different Zambrano & topps Chrome

It’s a shame Tristar’s stuff gets no love, because most of their stuff looks very good, better than Boredom Bowman most years.

I think that’s the first ’94 Fleer Ultra Cubbie I’ve got.  I was going to say the mid-’90s (’94-’98ish), were a good place to start for my Cubs collection needs, but really, I don’t have that many from just about any era.  Vintage aside, mid-’90s is certainly a very low point, but I don’t even have that many junk wax era Cubbies, particularly of the non-topps persuasion.  I guess this is because while I’ve been collecting cards since 1996, it’s only been the last couple of years that baseball cards became my top priority.

Fonsie, just… try to come back healthy next year, ‘kay?

2009 Upper Deck

2009 Upper Deck Cubs

There they are.  Amazing that through all the horrible offseason moves, injuries, and just bad years in general, the Cubs finished over .500 in 2009.

Cards from Night Owl #8

Cards from the dark ages...

Well, the late-’80s/early-’90s were colorful, if nothing else.

Cards from Night Owl #6

'09 Icons & more '09 Allen & Ginter needs

Icons are kinda meh and the foil parallels are mostly fugly, but the blue does the halfhearted baseball design some good.  And there’s Fukudome, the whole reason for the trade in the first place.  Someday, I’m going to update my A&G trade page.

Someday.

Some great great cards from the man with one of the 5 coolest names in the sports card blogosphere (along with Wicked Ortega, Mojo Hand, Collective Troll, and yours truly, Lonestarr, modesty aside ;P).  Give it up for Night Owl one more time!

Oh, Mr. Owl, do you still need the Broxton All-Star card from Updates & Highlights?  If so, I will send it along with the Kershaw & any other stuff I might have.

That’s all for this post.  Just a reminder, only about a dozen guesses have been made in the contest so far, so keep ’em coming.  Remember, even if you’re guess is wrong, you’ll still be in the drawing for a chance at the four football cards.

Play again?