Friday, January 31, 2020

Sox and set singles

I haven't felt like saying much lately. The news has been depressing and exhausting. I'm hardly even aware of the Super Bowl - though I'm sure I will hate-watch it, and I'm sure the 49ers will win because I absolutely don't want them to. 

There are plenty of posts percolating in my mind. I'm hoping to publish a couple of them before rebooting the All-Time Teams series. All of this will require energy and enthusiasm, which I am very low on at the moment.

I'm nearly finished cataloging my card collection. I had hoped to be done by the end of January, but I didn't quite make it. I thought that when every card was hand-checked (again) the final count would eclipse 98,000. It looks like I'll fall just short.

A couple trades came in this week, along with an unofficial trade. Julie of A Cracked Bat is back, and she offered up some fresh new cards for pocket pickin'. 

I asked for five singles. She sent nine, generous soul that she is:

This was a pleasant surprise! I'm impressed that Julie was able to ship a relic in a PWE without incident. I tried that once and it did not go well.

The rest of the PWE. Snider, Seager, Scherzer, Varitek and Lowell were my picks. Julie threw in the Devers and Pedro cards. Thanks again Julie! 

I'm not one to simply take cards without giving something in return, and I was able to scrape together a return PWE. However I feel terrible because my Tigers traders were depleted on a "gift" that was not even acknowledged. From now on, if I get any decent Tigers cards they're going to Julie or Dennis. Period, full stop.

Anyway... I added some more Red Sox to my collection this week, thanks to a pair of TCDB trades. The first is a PWE trade with CardsInTheBasement:

Six Sox from 2019 Topps Heritage, including some highlights from their 2018 title. Ah, the good old days. Honestly, none of these players evoke good feelings right now - except maybe JBJ. I love Mookie and all, but there's no point in blowing up the payroll and paying penalties just to hand him $400 million. Is he worth it? Compared to Mike Trout's contract, sure. But how many World Series has Trout won? Or Bryce Harper? Or Giancarlo Stanton?

Here are some more cards you're probably sick of seeing. 2020 Topps Series 1 is about to hit shelves and I haven't finished the 2019 set yet. I'm surprised at myself for even wanting to collect this set give how much I disliked it initially. I would say that the new flagship issue doesn't interest me - which it doesn't (it looks too much like a Bowman design) but I'll probably give in eventually.

My 95th completed trade on TCDB was with jmsisco. This was a bigger swap - I unloaded 74 flagship dupes in exchange for 51 cards I needed. Why did I offer to take 23 fewer cards?

So that I could snag the Eloy Jimenez RC! I'm now just a handful of singles away from completing the 2019 Topps set. I had hoped to complete it by the end of January, but I didn't quite make it.


Similar to the previous trade, this one also included a handful of Sox singles from 2019 sets.

My main goal was to send surplus Topps singles to someone who needed them. I wasn't too picky about what I could get in return, whether it's Bowman Platinum singles of guys I collect...

..or an assortment of singles from Update. I now have about 1/3 of this set, but I'm not sure I'll attempt to complete it. Side note: the Festa card was of particular interest to me since that was also the last name of my 8th grade crush.

I'll be in Connecticut visiting family this weekend. No card show this time; those are at the end of each month and I probably wouldn't go even if it were this weekend. The dime boxes were kind of picked clean last time I was there. Besides, as I'm re-cataloging my collection I've found that I have very little room for any new cards - except football.

 Go Chefs!!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the SuperbOwl!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Pro Set Pronunciation Guide

30 years ago this year, I was introduced to the NHL through the inaugural (and eror-filled) set of Pro Set hockey cards. I knew almost nothing about the sport, other than Wayne Gretzky was great and the Hartford Whalers were lousy. 

Without seeing or hearing a single minute of NHL action, this is how I pronounced some of the players' names when I was 10 years old:


(and sometimes Peter Tur-ginn)


Jerry Curry 

 (as in Kenny Chez-nee)

Luck Robe-italy


(as in Nico Hischier)


 (but not Bear-ass-o)





Jai-ricky Lum-me

Series II

(rhymes with musica)

Pear Juice
(actually that's correct)


 (not to be confused with Breeze-by)


 (I didn't know this was wrong until Alex Pietrangelo entered the NHL)


Mah-ree-o Mah-ree-os



(I thought there was an extra 'c' in there)

Jerr-o-mur Jag-er



tee hee Ass he hee*

*this was also how I reacted to certain baseball player's names. 

Thanks for reeding!


Saturday, January 25, 2020

TCDB and Me

It's been a rough week for me. Last Saturday I attempted to mail a PIF to Adam, got to the post office and realized I left my wallet at home. By the time I got back home it was snowing so I didn't go back out. His box - and other packages - will be mailed shortly.

That sort of set the tone for the whole week. The NFC title game was a disaster. I never thought the Packers could possibly play worse in a big game than they did against Atlanta three years ago. I was wrong. (Does Tevin Coleman film GB's practices or something?) 

I've been struggling with new responsibilities at work, and there's been a lot of staff turn over which has made it much harder for me to focus on specific tasks. My manager had to train a new girl and cover for another girl so I only worked with her once this week. Monday was such a rough day at work that I took a sick day Tuesday to recharge. 

On Tuesday, I finally received a trade that had taken 2 1/2 weeks to complete receive. On Jan. 3 I proposed a trade to a user in NY offering 72 of my cards (including 11 Brett Favre dupes) for 66 of his (including 6 Favre cards). He accepted the trade and I shipped the next day. 

The following Monday he went to pull the cards and found that he was missing 8 of the 72 I'd requested. He apologized, but didn't offer a replacement. When I asked for one he replied "what u want in replace of it and i will send them" so I asked for 7 cards, including one Favre insert to replace the ones that were omitted. He did not reply "yes" or "no".

He didn't reply at all. I had to ask him if he sent my end. He finally did, on Jan. 18 - and neglected to mention that he omitted two more cards from the trade, including the Favre insert I'd asked for as a replacement. 

I've been trying to offload my 2015-2019 Topps baseball duplicates for Red Sox and set fillers, with mixed results. Most collectors have finished these sets already, and I don't like making trades with less than six cards going each way. Lately I've run into the problem of proposing trades that would help me finish the 2019 Topps set, only to receive a reply three days later that the one card I really need is involved in another trade.

This has happened at least four times in January alone, and after reading a TCDB thread about "pet peeves" (which some jerk naturally turned into partisan political bickering) I'm skeptical of anyone who uses this excuse. 

Another trade arrived yesterday. I had offered 7 cards to an O-Pee-Chee collector in Canada including two of my Platinum Franken-set dupes and a Sidney Crosby parallel.

In exchange, I asked for 14 O-Pee-Chee cards from the 1970s and 1980s (the only hockey cards that interest me anymore) and one retro parallel. I've been skunked with creased cards in the past, so I asked the user ahead of time to describe the condition of the oldest issues. He said they are in great shape and didn't think I would have a problem.

Ron Francis freebie! No problem with that. It's a little miscut, but that's expected for a box bottom.

This Tom Kurvers card made me smile. Do you know what Toronto traded for him? A future first round pick that ended up becoming Scott Niedermayer. LolLeafs. 

Devils and Whalers needs. Check out the awful airbrush job on the Steve Richmond card. Yikes! 

These were all fine. The '86-87 Cirella at the top left is off-center, but that's minor. The older cards however...

Problem. Q's card isn't creased but the corners are rough. Potvin isn't technically creased, either. There's a long scratch through the front though. Shutt is creased at the top.

These aren't great, either. Even the Bergeron (which is a 2008 issue) has two corner dings.

I specifically asked about the condition of Keon and Resch. Keon has a thumbnail crease at the top left, in the same spot as Shutt but more severe. As for Chico...

You can't see them in the scan but there are two large creases on the back, extending from the first 'N' at the top down to the "Chico is a doll" sign. Perhaps the trader didn't see this, either. It was a shock to him that these cards were damaged. 

I may have been a little hard on him, and he did offer to send replacements (provided his seven cards arrive in good shape) so we'll see how it goes. In addition to disappointing trades I bought two cards on eBay for my 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee set. The auctions were ending at 5pm so I had to bid at work, only to find out that one of the two cards was already in my collection! 

I'm blaming the new diet I'm on, which cuts down on sodium and caffeine in order to lower my blood pressure. It's making me more exhausted and irritable, but hopefully I'll feel better in the long run.

I'm going to turn off trading on TCDB soon. The postal rates are increasing (again) and I need to reduce my stress. I'll be happy to swap cards with any of my regular readers - especially if you have an Eloy Jimenez Topps RC or something else that helps fill my sets :)

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Championship Sunday

The Packers are going to win tonight. I'm not just saying this because they're my team. I've done the research. I've cracked the code. Allow me to demonstrate...

I re-watched each of the Packers' last four trips to the NFC title game, going back to 2008:

After the 2007 season the Packers (#2 seed) hosted Eli Manning and the Giants (#5 seed). The winner would face the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl. It was cold.

That should have been an advantage for the Packers, but Big Blue was no warm-weather team. It was a back-and-forth game that came down to special teams. Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes missed two field goals in regulation, giving Green Bay another chance in OT.

The Packers won the toss. Brett Favre went to work, in what would be his last game for Green Bay.

He threw an interception. 

Now it was up to the Packers' D to keep young Eli Manning and the Giants out of the end zone. Plaxico Burress (whom I share a birthday with) had a monster night, but he was no hero.

 It was that Tynes guy again. Third Tynes the charm, blah blah blah... Giants win.

You know the rest. They went on to defeat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, something I'm not sure the ol' Gunslinger could have done. Could you imagine if Brady and Belichick had seven rings? ::shudder::

Back to the Pack...their first trip to the NFC Championship game with Aaron Rodgers under center was in 2011, after the 2010 season. Green Bay (#6 seed) traveled to Soldier Field to face the #2 seeded Bears. The winner would face the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

This was another cold game against a cold-weather opponent.

Rodgers scored the game's first touchdown on a bootleg. He did not throw a touchdown pass in this game. Neither did Bears starter Jay Cutler, who left the game in the third quarter.

Did Cutler quit on his team? Possibly. But his team didn't quit. Third-stringer Caleb Hanie led the Bears to two scores, but he threw a costly pick-six to B.J. Raji that proved to be the difference.

Chicago's D was no joke. But could you imagine Jay Cutler in a Super Bowl? No.

After the 2014 season, Green Bay had another NFC title trip to make, this time to Seattle. The Packers and Seahawks were both 12-4 but the defending champion Seahawks won the tiebreaker and the #1 seed. The winner would face the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

This game was not cold. It was 51F with a light, misting rain at kickoff. 

Seattle's defense was legendary. The Legion Of Boom wasted no time frustrating Rodgers. Richard Sherman beat Davante Adams (in his rookie year) and snatched an interception on the Packers' first possession. [They're sure to see plenty of each other tonight.]

Green Bay returned the favor, as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix picked off Seahawks' quarterback Russell Wilson

The Packers advanced the ball to about the half-yard line. Head coach Mike McCarthy settled for a field goal. The Seahawks turned the ball over again. Again Green Bay had the ball at the Seattle one-yard line. And again McCarthy settled for a field goal.

This is the face of a man who left eight potential points on the board. Hold that thought.

Wilson and the Seahawks' offense couldn't get anything going. The young QB threw three picks in the first half, and the Packers led 16-0.

Seattle scored on a fake punt, and Marshawn Lynch activated Beast Mode, but Wilson was still shaky [unlike last week when a more polished Russ exploded in the second half.] His fourth interception with five minutes to go in the game put the Seahawks' win probablility at less than 1%. 

Sherman and Seattle stormed back, scoring 15 points in 44 seconds. Green Bay managed a field goal to send it to overtime. Wilson threw the game-winning TD to Jermaine Kearse, who was the targeted receiver on all four of his interceptions.

Yeah, that's pretty much how I felt. Thanks for leaving those eight points on the board, Mike. Hope you share that wisdom with your new team.

The Seahawks returned to the Super Bowl. The one where Wilson threw an interception at the goal line instead of feeding Lynch for the winning score. Yeah, that one. Ugh.

Two years later Rodgers and the Packers returned to the NFC title game, as the #4 seed. They traveled to the Georgia Dome to face the Falcons (#2 seed.) The winner would face the Patriots in the Super Bowl. No weather.

This game was ass. I couldn't even bring myself to hate-watch it this weekend. I asked my wife to buy bratwurst for the game, and I was going to eat one for every Packers touchdown. The Pack didn't score in the first half. I ate three brats and they were the best part of the night.

Matt Ryan embarrassed the Packers for 392 years and four TDs. Atlanta would go on to the Super Bowl, where they would be responsible for the greatest choke job in history. Ha! Now you know how it feels! what I would have said if they didn't lose to the damn Patriots.

So..have you figured out why I'm certain the Pack will prevail tonight? Is it the weather in Santa Clara? The playoff seeding? The number four? Nah, it's because the winner will not play the Patriots in the Super Bowl. 

See you in Miami, Patrick.

Then again...last week I watched the Houston Texans come out swinging against Kansas City. When Houston went up 21-0 in the first quarter I went up to my computer.

DeShaun Watson is putting on a show, I thought to myself. They've got a clear path to the Super Bowl. Tennessee isn't going to stop them. Watson's rookie cards will soar. I'd better get one now.  Like, right now.

I snatched this up with a Buy It Now, paid for it, and went for a walk with my daughter. It was an unseasonably warm weekend and I didn't need to watch this game. I knew what was going to happen. The Chiefs would straighten out and score a couple TDs but Houston would hang on and win. 


This is why I don't gamble. If I'd placed a bet with a sports book I'd have lost my money. Instead I walk away with something of value - a nice DeShaun Watson card that still has some investment potential. I would have loved to pick up a Patrick Mahomes RC but his Prizms are way out of my budget.

Who are you cheering for on this Championship Sunday?

Thanks for reading, and GO PACK GO!!