Tuesday, August 21, 2018

2018 Topps Chrome "Monster" Blaster Box Break

Before I get to my box break I want to thank all of you for the belated birthday wishes, and I hope you enjoy your prizes. Reading your reactions to each gift will be more exciting than cracking open a dozen packs of cards. 'Tis better to give than receive, after all.


I was in Connecticut this past weekend, visiting my family for what amounted to a second birthday. On Sunday - after having lunch with my mom - I popped into Wal-Mart to check their card aisle, since I don't have a Wal-Mart near me here in Jersey. I've read that some bloggers have had better luck there anyhow. 

The sports card selection at the West Haven Wal-Mart wasn't great, but they did have fat packs of 2018 Topps series 2. I bought one of those, and with my last $40 I grabbed this:

This "monster" box of 2018 Topps Chrome was dented (hence the lousy scan) and it was the last one on the shelf. But that's one more than my Target has had, so I gave it a shot. 

I assume that these are called "monster" boxes because they are the physical size of two standard blasters. But the contents aren't that different: 10 packs plus two X-Fractor packs. The four-card packs allow me to scan the complete contents of each pack two at a time. 

Packs 1 and 2:

A pair of Dodgers, a pair of Phillies, and a pair of star third basemen. Are the purple refractors a Wal-Mart exclusive? 

Packs 3 and 4:

Gleyber Torres RC! I'm obviously not a Yankees fan, and Miguel Andujar has sort of stolen the hype from him, but I'm not complaining about this pull. Chris Taylor starts a trend of pulling the same card in base and refractor form. 

Packs 5 and 6:

A little bit of everything here - the first insert of the box, a Conforto prism refractor (I think?) and a Victor Robles RC. Also another Rendon, and another Yankee. 

Packs 7 and 8:

Manny Machado in back-to-back packs. I really like the '83 insert in Chrome refractor form. This Rafael Devers Freshman Flash insert is the only Red Sox card in the box. 

Packs 9 and 10:

Not a great finish here, the Buehler RC is nice and the Eugenio Suarez completes the base + refractor trend, joining Taylor and Rendon. Good thing I've got the X-Fractor packs to fall back on...

There are five cards per pack here. I've scanned them all together:

Wait...that's only nine cards. Where's the tenth card?

There's your 2018 American League Rookie of the Year right there. It seems like he's had a clutch home run in just about every Yankee win this month. I'll probably hold onto this until the season ends but it will eventually end up in the hands of a Yankees fan. Most of the other cards in this post are available for trades (except the Devers of course). If you're interested in anything, let me know.

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Refreshed, Reorganized, Refocused

My wife asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday last Sunday. Naturally I told her that I wanted to find a card shop nearby and grab some grub - not necessarily in that order. And so, she took the girls and I to lunch at a diner on the way to a card shop that she researched and chose because it had great reviews. 

It was only open from 1pm-4pm on Sundays and we got into town right around 2pm but couldn't find the place from the street. Apparently the shop sits on the second floor of a yoga studio. We parked in the back..no one else was in the lot. We tried to open the door. Locked.

No problem..we'll walk around the front. Tried to open the front door. Locked. Walked around the back to our car. She called the shop. Got their voicemail. It's open from 1-4 on Sundays - except in July and August. 

You may be asking why I didn't go on Saturday? Well, Saturday was Di's niece's birthday - and the whole family spent the day at my brother in law's. Except me. I was supposed to go. I expected to go. But then I had a bit of a manic episode that started off as a panic attack and ended up feeling more like a complete mental breakdown as the weight of unrelated issues stacked up on top of me- including major changes at work, a lack of a reliable internet connection, my mother's failing health, etc. etc. ...and the fact that my 38th birthday was falling on the anniversary of Charlottesville.

The thought of spending a day with my utltra-conservative in-laws on this particular weekend was the back breaker. I couldn't do it. Thankfully, I didn't have to. I stayed home on Saturday, packed up the Sports Card Tour prizes, and began reorganizing my card collection for the ten millionth time. 

My wife had every intention of making my birthday enjoyable. So I tried not to complain when the card shop was closed. There was another one in the area-mostly a comic book shop, but the Facebook/Yelp reviews said they do have cards. Old dusty wax boxes and blasters. All of them overpriced - I think. It's been so long since I've set foot inside a card shop I don't know what the prices should be. I found one card I wanted, priced at $45:

In some of the Sports Card Tour stops I hinted at starting the 1986 Topps football set. I have no emotional connection to it; 1986 was the first year I started collecting baseball cards but the first football card I ever saw was from the 1985 set (Bob Baumhower, which was wedged in the backseat of my dad's station wagon) '86 is just a highly condition sensitive set loaded with hall of famers such as Rice, Steve Young, Reggie White, and so on.

About two years ago I nearly bought a PSA 9 Jerry Rice RC from 4 Sharp Corners for about ten times the price I paid for this copy ($429 I think?). The reason I considered it is because a dozen years ago I bid on a PSA 9 Robin Yount RC thinking I could get it for $300. I was outbid; it sold for about $315. Today Yount 9s sell for three times that. 

1986 Topps football cards might be even harder to find centered than 1975 Topps baseball (though I have absolutely no evidence to back this up.) And Rice is, without a doubt, the greatest wide receiver ever - and possibly the greatest football player in the Super Bowl era. 

This comic book shop might have overpriced their boxes, but I felt very comfortable paying under $50 for the Rice RC. And so now I am fully committed to completing the '86 set. I doubt anyone reading this would happen to have some singles lying around, but if you do have any 1986 Topps football for trade please let me know. I'm not going to be a stickler for condition-anything with decent centering and no creases will be accepted. 

I did get my birthday sports card fix - but not from a card shop. As I've mentioned before on this blog, my LCS is Target..which of course limits my choices. I can't purchase supplies or single cards, but I can grab $50 worth of fat packs and blasters when the sets appeal to me. 2018 flagship is a huge improvement over last year's design. I'm nowhere close to finishing this set (I've got about 100 cards of each series) so if you have any dupes to trade  I'll be happy to take any and all, regardless of card number. 

Target had four of those blister pack things with four packs plus one green parallel showing. I hate to be that guy, but the front facing pack had Dillon Maples and the one all the way at the back had Jackie Robinson. What would you do? Karma must have agreed with my choice because the retail hoard also yielded the "base" version of the Salute insert and a Jackie Legends Variation SP (plus a Clayton Kershaw rainbow parallel and a Zack Cozart parallel #d/50.)

I didn't just go for flagship, however. After reading dozens of positive reviews and blog posts about Big League Baseball I had to give it a try. So far I'm on the fence about adding it to the list of sets I'm building. It's a nice enough set for sure, and the price point is a plus. But I've got so many unfinished set projects already. Can I really start two more sets this year? 

Then again..after spending the past week reorganizing my collection I've actually got more room for set builds than anything else. My base card binders are filled to capacity. I could use some new binders but the only ones I see for sale have much smaller D-rings than my older binders. I'm still holding out hope that I can find the large ones if I can ever get myself to a real LCS.  

All of my team collections are in separate boxes. I've got some room to add more Packers cards, but the Red Sox and Devils boxes are stuffed. There's plenty of room in my star player boxes and a little bit of room in my 'hits' boxes. So I've decided that storage space will dictate my priorities for the rest of the year.

Even though it was against my better judgment, I requested shipping on the 41 cards I had in my COMC inventory. That will chip away at most of my sets - but it won't complete a single one. And so I've updated my wantlist a third time to try and cross off some set needs. Once I fix my home internet connection I'll join TCDB in the hopes of making more trades. 

Thanks for reading this. Hope you're all having a great weekend!


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Thank You!

The Sports Card Tour Giveaway Draft is complete, and all the prizes have been packed up and prepared for shipment. Sometime this weekend I'll mail out the first batch and scrounge up something for Corky, P-Town Tom, and the others. 

In the meantime I want to thank you all for reading and participating in the six-month long marathon that was Sports Card Tour.

Also I want to thank a couple bloggers who sent care packages my way while I was sprinting toward the finish line of the tour.

In case you couldn't tell from the Yaz custom, these were from Gavin - who made his prize picks so fast I couldn't announce them and/or thank him for these! I'm a huge fan of Immaculate Collection, and the Matt Barnes auto is my first Red Sox card from the high-end set. I've never seen this E-X Nomar insert before, and the Rich Gedman is supposed to glow in the dark. Haven't had any luck with it yet. Also, Gav threw in a card of the other Ted Williams. Nice touch.

From the custom card king to the Andrew McCutchen card king. These Cutch cards arrived from Brian, author of the blog Collecting Cutch. The Topps Chrome sleeve reads "my hair in 2014 was better than the Carl Crawford signing." Absolutely agree. I think Donald Trump's hair was better than that signing (just his hair though!)

Thankfully the Red Sox have rebounded from that debacle. Andrew Benintendi has been playing left field better than Crawford ever did (in Boston anyway) and Mookie Betts is having another MVP-caliber year. 

As many of you know, I bought a ton of 2017 Topps Heritage (and high numbers) last year. This year I didn't buy any Heritage at all - not even a pack or a single card. The only 2018 Heritage cards I have are from trades like these. 

Some big hits here, including a Dustin Pedroia relic, a Bobby Doerr auto, and a black parallel of Mookie and Manny Machado #d/66. 

Brian, Gavin..thanks so much for the great cards! 

I'm going to take a short sabbatical from blogging to address some personal issues, re-organize my card collection, and hopefully replace my modem which is dying a slow and painful death. I'll comment on your blogs as much as I can but I probably wont return to full-time blogging until September. Hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer.. and your prizes!


Monday, August 6, 2018

Shane is up..Gavin is on deck...

..and then Tim B. will close out the giveaway. The remaining prizes are:

Prize #10 - Box of 1996-97 Fleer Basketball cards
Prize #11 - Lot of three SP Authentic Hockey sets + 90 cards
Prize #12 - Lot of ten unopened football packs
Prize #13 - Wrigley Field Plaque
Prize #18 - Washington Nationals T-shirt (size XL) + bonus

Did any of you participate in COMC's Summer sale? If so, did you find any great deals? I only picked up 15 cards - mostly set fillers and other cheap stuff. The most notable card I picked up is this Jose Ramirez RC from 2014 Topps Chrome:

Jose is tied with J.D. Martinez for the league lead in hone runs. I picked up both of their RCs in the span of about two weeks.

Also I've received a pair of care packages, which I will discuss in the next day or two. 


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Henson is up...Matson on deck

Night Owl claims a Dodgers lot, so the list of remaining prizes hasn't changed:

Prize #1 - Large flat rate box full of sports books and magazines (claimed by Tim)

Prize #3 - Medium flat rate box of baseball cards (claimed by Fuji)
Prize #6 - Box of hockey action figures/memorabilia (claimed by Billy)
Prize #10 - Box of 1996-97 Fleer Basketball cards
Prize #11 - Lot of three SP Authentic Hockey sets + 90 cards
Prize #12 - Lot of ten unopened football packs
Prize #13 - Wrigley Field Plaque
Prize #14 - Lot of New York sports memorabilia (claimed by SCC)
Prize #15 - Lot of Panini NHL sticker albums + bonus
Prize #16 - 2017 Topps Heritage advertising panel (lot of 3)
Prize #17 - 2007 Topps Heritage team emblem box topper (claimed by Matt)
Prize #18 - Washington Nationals T-shirt (size XL) + bonus

Prize #19 - Lot of about 60 oversized baseball cards
Prize #21 - Lot of 50-100 cards of your favorite (baseball) team
Prize #22 - 1955 Topps Ted Kazanski (PSA VG-EX 4) (claimed by Bo)
Prize #23 - Sports Card Tour Passport Pack (200+ cards)

Tim Henson is on the clock. Mike, you can make your pick here (after Tim makes his) if you'd like. No need to wait for my next post, which will likely be 10am tomorrow.


We have a trade...

Bo trades his second round pick (the 1955 Topps Ted Kazanski PSA) to Gavin for two ungraded 1955s. 

Matt (Diamond Jesters) selects this Topps Heritage team emblem

Matt (Sport Card Collectors)  grabs the New York memorabilia lot

..which means Night Owl is next. Still some great prizes on the board. 


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Matt and Matt..make your picks

Billy's second round pick is a second box of hockey:

Mostly memorabilia in this one. Matt (Diamond Jesters) is up next, followed by Matt (Sport Card Collectors) 

Matt K. the floor is yours! Lots of great prizes left to choose from.