Saturday, August 15, 2020

Wrappers Delight

I'm going to test a hypothesis here. Let's assume that the reason my Women In Music post garnered over 650 views wasn't because of Brie Larson, but because y'all just enjoy talking about music.

Here is an empty blaster of 2003-04 Upper Deck MVP Hockey. I've saved it for almost 17 years because Martin Brodeur is pictured on both sides. 2020-21 MVP Hockey is set to hit shelves later this month. I doubt there will be dealers hoarding blasters of 'em, but you never know.

This is the Devils' unofficial theme song. It has been played at Continental Arena and the Pru Center for as long as I've lived in Jersey. It's also my favorite devil-themed song. "Sympathy For The Devil" is okay. I'll pass on "The Devil Went Down To Georgia".

Can you think of any other songs with 'devil' in the title or chorus? Do you have a favorite?

Inside this opened blaster I've stashed sixty empty wrappers. Thirteen of them are from a box of 1993 SP Football I bought in the early aughts.

In 1993 I became a huge fan of Smashing Pumpkins. The first SP song I heard on MTV was "Cherub Rock", and "Today" was very popular as well. But my favorite track at the time was "Rocket"

This was the first song I recorded and rewinded rewound again and again so that I could decipher the lyrics. (I'm still not certain I have them right.) My best friends cheated and paid a dollar to send away for the lyric sheet. Ah, the pre-internet days.
Do you have a favorite Smashing Pumpkins song? Have you ever loved a single despite not knowing what the heck the singer is singing?

1992 Upper Deck was one of my all-time favorite football sets. I loved the cracked granite design. If the set had any decent rookies at all I probably would have bought a box or two. I bought a lot more Topps Chrome in 2004 than I did in 2003; kinda surprised I saved this plain green wrapper from a set I didn't particularly like. 

Speaking of green.. I know why I saved these two. I don't know why I paid $4 for a pack of Pacific though.
Whenever I'm annoyed by the repetitive playlist my manager listens to all day every day I try to find an earworm of a song that I actually enjoy, preferably one that I haven't heard a million times. Lately my go-to has been "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley.

Is there a song you're so sick of that you might go crazy if you hear it one more time?

I saved eight baseball card wrappers (aside from the 2018 Opening day wrappers I just added) 2008 Bowman and 2017 Topps Heritage are very familiar to me; I bought multiple boxes of both products. This 2004 Bowman Heritage pack was the only one I purchased, and I'm not sure where I found it. I wish I had bought a box at the time. The 1955 Bowman design is a classic.

Most of my favorite rap songs are classic tracks from the early years of hip-hop. I don't remember hearing Run D.M.C.'s "Rock Box" until I learned that Chris Rock sampled it for his satirical track "Champagne". 

Who's your favorite old school rapper or group? Do you have a favorite satirical song or a track from a comedy album? 

There aren't any basketball wrappers in this box, so this next segue is kind of a stretch...

In high school my best friend was friends with a guy named Mark who I did not get along with at all. I knew little about him except that he loved the band Korn and he was a Chicago Blackhawks fan.

Also he knew all of the lyrics to the Onyx song "Slam" and rapped this whole track on the way to my friend's house one day after school. This was always one of my favorite jams:

I'll save the rest of the wrappers for Volume 2. Thanks for reading and listening!


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Opening Day Roll Call

Last weekend I opened a box of 2018 Topps Opening Day and skipped right to a significant single. I'll show off the rest of the box in this post, and update my progress on other Opening Day sets.

This concludes my Brieday celebration. For now ;-p

Each of the 36 packs contains one insert, leaving me with 216 base cards to complete a 200 card set. Also there's a disclaimer on the front of each pack that Packs with a special insert may contain only 3-5 cards. What does Topps consider "special"? Most likely just relics, but I was slightly less certain that I'd be able to complete a set - until I saw the odds.

There were no "special" inserts in this box. Each pack yielded exactly seven cards including one insert as advertised. Here they are:

Nine (of 20) Before Opening Day inserts. Lots of stars, lots of Red Sox, and.. Mikie Mahtook.

I pulled eleven (of 25) Mascot cards. Here's the first nine (not pictured: Rays and Rangers)

How many mascots does Cincinnati have? 

I got six of the 20 cards from this insert set:

These are just called "Opening Day" on TCDB but they're numbered ODB-# on the back of the card. I'm assuming that stands for Opening Day Ballparks (or Ol' Dirty Bastard lol.)

There's that Rally Monkey again. I pulled ten of the 15 Team Traditions inserts (not pictured: Yankees Y.M.C.A.) That's 36 inserts. As advertised.

But wait! There's more!

The Dominic Smith Opening Day Stars card is insert #37. It's flimsy like a sticker but the odds on these are 1:27 so it's somehow the rarest insert I pulled. The Blue Foil parallels are my favorites by far. Mike Trout might be the best possible parallel pull other than the Ozzie Albies or Shohei Ohtani RCs. 

It was a nice surprise to have 42 non-base cards, but that meant I had to hope for near-perfect collation in order to complete the set. And that's exactly what happened!

I now have 43 duplicates to trade including Ichiro, Albert Pujols, and RCs of Ohtani and Alex Verdugo. Hopefully I can swap them for some Opening Day set fillers from other years. I need 63 cards from 2015 Topps Opening Day and 14 cards from 2019 Opening Day. I'm not collecting 2016 or 2017 OD. I had my fill of those designs with flagship.

Some bonus bDay content here, as I received a couple gifts from my wife's siblings. Her older brother gave me cash, while her sister('s husband) picked out a fat pack of Upper Deck hockey cards. Before I even opened it he asked me if I got anything good. 

I don't think anyone would call this a "good" pack. No inserts, no rookies, and no super stars like Crosby, MccDavid, or Ovechkin. However I did pull two Devils, one of the two Whalers cards in the set, and some great goalies including CT's Jonathan Quick. These were all new cards to my collection since I only had two series 1 singles before this pack.

D's younger brother bought me a book.

He's more of a comic book guy than I am, but I'm sure I'll enjoy this. I know my daughter will. 

I had originally planned to publish this in the morning, but the fourth-longest playoff game in NHL history postponed my post. The schedule here is packed with two more topics planned for the weekend so I decided to be like baseball and have a day-night doubleheader. This is what happens when I go away for a couple weeks, the ideas come rushing out. Thank you so much for celebrating with me and reading one or both posts!



My Name Is Joonas

For the second time in less than a week I found myself shouting at the TV in support of the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

The Stanley Cup Playoffs began yesterday with an instant classic between the Tampa Bay Lightning and my new favorite team from 'lumbus. Sometime after 7 P.M. I noticed that Game 1 between these age-old rivals had completed three overtimes without a winner.

I also noticed that the start of Game 1 between the Hurricanes and Bruins had been delayed. Oh no. I thought to myself. Is someone sick? Did the ice melt? (It is August after all. Strange things happen to NHL ice in the summertime.)

It took me a minute to realize that the Jackets and Bolts were to blame. They flat-out refused to get off the ice. This guy was the main culprit:

This is Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo. 24 hours ago most casual hockey fans (and most readers of this blog) would not have been able to identify him. Last night he made history in a 5-overtime thriller.

... and lost.

Tampa has an incredible offense. And the Jackets' defense kept them scoreless for over four hours. Seth Jones (son of Popeye) broke an NHL record by logging over 65 minutes of ice time. That's the equivalent of playing an entire contest plus a five-minute overtime without a single line change.

Jones and the 'lumbus boys did all they could to get my man Joonas a win - except score a friggin' goal. The Jackets were skating better than they had been at the end of that Game 4 against Toronto, but it was all in their own end. Tampa's netminder barely had to break a sweat - at least in the 4th OT.

As Korpisalo racked up save after save after save I got more and more nervous. A goaltending performance like that deserves a 'W' (or two) and I had a bad feeling he wouldn't get one. Columbus never comes through when I'm cheering for them. I was reminded of poor Ron Tugnutt, who made 70 saves in a 5OT playoff game 20 years ago. And lost

That wasn't even the only 70-save performance of Tugger's career. (He didn't win this one, either.) I really didn't want that same fate to befall my new favorite player. For a second it looked like Connecticut's Cam Atkinson would save the day - er, night - but he ended up in the net himself after a questionable no-call

Tampa scored shortly thereafter.

Joonas Korpisalo made 85 saves in over six hours, in the first game of the series. I hope the Jackets make life easier for him going forward. I doubt they will.

I actually have Korpi's Upper Deck rookie card. Doesn't seem like a big deal, except that this particular card was part of an Upper Deck Update series that was inserted into packs of the higher-end SP Authentic brand. I picked up this single on COMC for $1.75 four years ago and I'm very happy I did. It's the only non-Devils update RC in my collection. 

I had another topic planned for today, so I'll wrap this up with one more thought. In my last post I mentioned this headline in a Toronto newspaper that made me angry (and made me a Blue Jackets fan.) Cathal Kelly wanted the Leafs to "do the league a solid by eliminating boring Blue Jackets"  

Well I've got four words for that hack journalist...

I hope to see you back here in about twelve hours. 

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, August 8, 2020

100k bDay

Hi there! Happy Jeff Fisher Day! Here are some quick thoughts I've had since my last post, and then I'll get to discussing my 100,000th card.

I do not like the new Blogger. I have switched back to Blogger 'Classic' for as long as allowed.

Holy sh!t my last post has over 600 views?!?!? I know I was away for a couple weeks, but I've had longer blogger breaks before. None of my previous posts had ever earned so many views in such a short amount of time.

New rule here at The Collector: Brie Larson leads off every blog post. At least until I can establish the cause of the sudden spike in views.

Speaking of The Collector..

Oh, my God, they found me. I don't know how, but they found me.

Has anyone been watching the NHL playoffs? It's crazy business. The Rangers, Penguins, and Oilers are done (but don't worry, one of them will probably land the #1 overall pick.) Happy birthday, Sidney! :p

We were about three minutes away from seeing the Maple Leafs eliminated until the Blue Jackets finished the game like a bunch of drunk high school kids forced to skate through a scrimmage ran out of gas. It's my fault. I read this headline in the Canadian media and instantly became a BJs fan. If the Leafs win a Stanley Cup and no one's there to see it...

Anyway, you're not here for hockey talk. You're here to see my 100,000th card, am I right?

I have meticulously cataloged my collection at least three times since December, adding everything that the Trading Card Database counts as a "card" - including cans, coins, tin packs, and stickers. Along the way I've realized that an exact count is practically impossible without losing a few battles to my OCD. I've got a number I'm comfortable with and I'm going from there:

A few weeks ago I made a deal with GCA of The Collective Mind, sending a handful of cards and $20 his way in exchange for a big box of cards from his hoard. For a minute it looked like card #100,000 would be in there.. but we didn't quite make it. 

My original plan was to list some cards on eBay in mid-late July, pile up some more PayPal cash, and purchase a significant single to celebrate this milestone just in time for my birthday. But then I got lazy and didn't list anything on eBay. 

I had $37 left in PayPal from previous sales, so I bought a card that I needed to finish a 13 year-old hockey set. The seller had multiple copies listed for months and had one left. I bought it. I paid for it. 

I didn't get it. The seller suddenly claimed that he was out of stock and refunded my money. Probably so he could resell it somewhere else for double the price. Par for the course in this godawful year. 

The price of retail boxes and blasters are out of control. There's no National this summer, and I haven't been to Target since February. I've opened exactly two boxes this year - a blaster of 2020 Gypsy Queen the Easter Bunny/my wife gifted me, and a box of 1993 Leaf Series 2 baseball which cost me less than a blaster ($19 shipped.)

And so I emptied out the piggy bank for ten packs of penny sleeves and this box of 2018 Topps Opening Day, which will contain card #100,000:

I'm working on the 2015 and 2019 Opening Day sets, and 2018 is one of my favorite recent flagship issues. Since I've only got 33 of the 200 cards in the 2018 OD set I should be able to complete the set and have a manageable stack of duplicates left over. 

There are seven cards in each pack, so the milestone card should be in pack #8. Kinda fitting since today is 8/8.

And here it is:

Hopefully I'll pull a dupe so that I can complete the set while setting this J.P. Crawford RC aside for posterity. I'm going to leisurely open the rest of the box throughout the weekend so I'll have a box break recap on my actual birthday. But this was a nice pre-bDay treat (and it arrived two days earlier than expected.)

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!