Saturday, November 28, 2020

Left to my own devices

 My wife was at Target today while I was at work, and she found a hanging box of Update, and got it for me. I have whined a little about Update, but when you're starved for opening packs like most of us have been lately, I was happy for the chance at some new cards. 

One of the cards was of Reds lst Baseman Matt Davidson. What I first noticed about the card was just how the photo looked like a posed shot that almost looked like the background was photoshopped and reminded me of an 8 by 10 that would be sold at a team souvenier store. 

The second thing that I noticed is that he is wearing a smart watch in the photo. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is the first card ever showing someone wearing a smart watch. Has anyone else noticed a smart watch on another card?

This kind of got me thinking about other kinds of technology and devices on cards. I know there have been cellphones on cards ever since the '90's, and that Rob Murphy's '90 Upper Deck card even pictures him on a laptop, but the card that really stood out to me was Jason Johnson's 2006 Topps Heritage card. 
Jason is on my Favorite Player List because both of us are Type 1 Diabetics. I'll try to keep it short, but I do want to explain in short what treatment options a Type 1 has (and if you want to know more about the disease, the last link has some). In order to live with diabetes, both me, Jason, and all other Type 1's need to take injections of insulin in order to help get our blood glucose level in a normal range of 80-150 mg/dl. Some people choose to use shots, and ever since the early/mid '90's, there has been another way to get insulin. A person without diabetes has a pancreas that produces insulin and makes more when you eat food and the blood glucose level goes higher. A diabetic has to check their blood glucose level constantly, and eat food if it is low, and give the correct amout of insulin when it is low. There are different types of insulin, some types that work slower to keep the sugar from raising while resting or sleeping due to inactivity, and other types that are faster acting and help sugars not to get too high immediately after eating. People on shots usually take a slow acting insulin twice a day, and fast acting insulin before they eat. Depending on how many times you eat a day, that can be a ton of shots. In the early '90's, insulin pumps have become popular. It is basically a device that looks like a pager, and holds a few days worth of fast acting insulin. There is a small tube coming from it that is attatched to you via a small injection site that stays in you for up to 5 days. The device is programmable, and it injects insulin in you throughout the day (similar to a long acting insulin), and is also able to give you insulin when you eat and your glucose level is too high. During the last 10 years, a device has come out that can be attatched to you for 5 days like my insulin pump site, and the device measures the glucose level in the top of the fat cells, and is wirelessly transmitted to your insulin pump, and if your sugar goes above where you want it, it will give you enough insulin to get it at a good level again. It does wonders for Type 1's. 

*Update* Here is a picture of my pump. 

Back to the Johnson card, I never realized it, but I was looking through my cards of Jason a while ago, and looked to see if I could spot his pump, and sure enough, just above his glove on the '06 Heritage card, is a black rectangle, which I easily knew was his pump. You can get a real good view of it on his 2004 Topps card, which I think will end up going on my Top 12 list soon. 
The '06 Heritage card will always hold a special place in my heart, and I'm stoked that I found the '20 Update Davidson card, and hope it becomes a card on bloggers want lists, just like the '72 Topps Billy Martin middle finger card, the '93 Upper Deck Mike Perez card, and the 1997 Collector's Choice Omar Vizquel card. 

I also wanted to give a shout out to the bloggers out there who did posts showing what they were thankful for. This year, for me, I'm not going to lie. A ton of it sucked. People went crazy at the store during the start of the pandemic, and I'm still scared I'm going to catch it from a careless customer or co-worker and pass it on to my immune-compromised wife. We have seen a shortage of card product on shelves, and tons of small businesses (like card shops) have closed.
But with all of the crap, there still are things to be thankful for. I still have a job, and will probably come out better financially than the year before due to more overtime and our company giving us gift certificates to the store every month or so. My wife has had 2 surgeries recently, and although they are always challenging and sometimes require me to fulfill the role of parent and guy who cooks/cleans, I think we may have found one of the problems with the excess cerebral spinal fluid, and perhaps we can get it at a level that won't give her the constant nausea and headaches. While there hasn't been much card product on the shelves, I have opened hanging boxes of Donruss, Topps Series 1, 2, Update, Heritage, Stadium Club, Opening Day, and Big League. Not the volume of a normal year, but just about the same number of products as usual. My LCS has also stayed open. Also during this crazy year, my 4-year old son has got into opening packs. When going up to Gainesville for appointments/surgeries, we've found packs of 2020 Topps MLB Stickers, so I got the book, and probably about 20 packs, and he's enjoyed opening the packs and putting them into the book. I might have to make a wantlist for that pretty soon. My wife and I stumbled upon the Nat. Geo. Wild channel a few months back, and have watched some of their zoo documentary programs, and our family has been hooked. We love the one about the Columbus Zoo and the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa (one we've actually been to). It's cool learning about the different types of animals and how the zoos are trying to breed animals and how they are cared for. 
I really hope 2021 will be better for everyone, but even if not, we'll always have stuff to be thankful for. 
Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Finishing my Topps Rays team sets and some questions

It’s funny how things are working in the world right now. I got a nice bonus check from work and I was hoping to try to knock out some of my Rays team sets. I quickly started searching on COMC, and was able to find everything except for a 2000 Topps Traded Greg Vaughn, a 2008 Topps HR leaders Carlos Pena, and most of the 2020 Topps Update set. I didn’t know how long it would take for any 2020 Update cards to hit COMC, and judging by the prices I saw on the Randy Arozarena card (6 bucks plus), I decided to get the Update set as well as the 2 previously mentioned cards, on eBay. 
I found a team set for 8 bucks, which I thought was a good price for having the Randy A. card in it. The other 2 cards I got for like a buck each. I placed my shipment request for the COMC order maybe a day after the eBay orders, and while the COMC cards will be there around March 3, 2021, the eBay cards, as you can see, already made it to my doorstep. 
All of this (mainly the COMC order) leads me to a few questions. First, what do you think the reason for all of the COMC delays?  Are there way more orders than normal?  Are they understaffed?  Is it a combination of both?  Are the idiot millennial flippers going to COMC now to support their “jobs” of buying out every card and selling it for profit?  Is COMC just being cautious and doing a ton of sanitizing?  I just would like to know the reason behind the shipping issues. I’m ok with waiting. It will kind of make the order in March a nice surprise. 
It also gives me another predicament. If the cards don’t arrive until March of next year, I figure 2021 Topps will be out, making my Topps Rays run incomplete. While I hope I will be able to find some packs at retail stores, judging by how idiots have been scooping them up before they even come off of the delivery trucks, we may not even see the cards. I’m a little pessimistic about the whole COVID thing. I think whoever ends up running the country in January, they need to make some changes in how we handle it, perhaps coming up with a different way to get rid of it. Here is a short theory on how to do it. If you don’t care, just skip to the next paragraph. 
I think instead of a stimulus check, each person in the US needs to first register with the government. After registering, they will get 4 weeks worth of food, any medicine/sanitation supplies, and essentials in place of a stimulus check. Once all of the food/etc. are distributed, the country needs to go into a 3-4 week lockdown, with only emergency services, police, and maybe a handful of news stations open. Perhaps have other places like power companies on call in case of emergencies. I.E., the more places not open, the better. Hopefully, everyone will stay in and not co-mingle in places like apartment complexes or neighborhoods. I think this would give us a hell of a chance to get rid of the virus. After the last day of lockdown, everyone gets rapid  tested for COVID. Anyone coming back negative gets another stimulus check. Anyone testing positive will not get a check, and immediately put into quarantine at a local hospital, which will hopefully have room due to the virus hopefully being eliminated. A little harsh, but do we really want to put up with years more of this $hit, or just have 3-4 weeks of being at home, and then a normal life again. 
Back to the 2021 Topps situation, if we still have COVID in March, I’m sure the cards won’t see much time on the shelves. I could probably get the team set on eBay, but I just love the thrill of getting cards right after they are released. These low down $hitheads that hoard the cards are taking that away from us. 
I also wonder if this would lead Topps to overproduce the cards. Nobody would really be able to tell with the non-numbered inserts, so the only way people would really be able to tell is with perhaps the 1 per box numbered inserts. Topps would just have to make enough of them that people would still pull them 1 per box, but not too many that people would figure out that they were overproduced. The only potential for worry would be if these low-numbered cards would appear on eBay and 2 of the same number would be discovered. I'm actually ok with Topps overproducing.  I would still pull whatever I pull, not anything earth-shattering, but that's ok. I don't sell my cards. It would probably thwart these flippers because after everyone discovers that Topps overproduced 2021 Series 1, the cards would lose value. We would find the cards on the shelves, the flippers would find something else to do, MLB would probably slap Topps on the wrist and allow Upper Deck/Donruss to produce cards with logos to punish them, and everyone would win. Topps would probably shrink their production back to normal, and perhaps we would get our hobby back. 
I am almost done with the Detroit Tigers in my 1992 Topps Traded custom set, and although I would like to finish the set by the end of the year, I don't think it will be possible. Work is insane, but you don't want to hear me whine about that. I'm working on some trade packages to sent out. Hopefully I'll get them done withing the next 2 weeks. I don't know if the shipping will be as fast as the stuff I got from eBay, but I'm sure they will be shipped before my COMC order gets here.
What are your opinions on why the COMC shipping issues? Do you have any theories on if we will get our hands on 2021 Topps?
Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Friday, November 6, 2020

New additions


Just wanted to post some of the latest card pickups from various different sources. A little over a week ago, I got a surprise box of cards from Kerry of the Cards on Cards blog. 
Kerry sent me a ton of Tigers cards that were on my wantlist, and helped me complete a number of team sets. 
A number of the cards replaced cards that I've gotten autographed that were sold about 5 years ago, including the 1988 Topps Johnny Grubb, 1988 Topps Matt Nokes All-Star, 1989 Bowman Frank Tanana, 1989 Donruss Ted Power, 1989 Fleer Jim Walewander, 1989 Score Larry Herndon, 1989 Topps Steve Searcy, and 1989 Topps Jim Walewander. 
Others were cards that I have already obtained, but were part of my Favorite Player binder. Guys like Cecil Fielder, Phil Clark, Brandon Inge, and in the Rays portion Quinton McCracken, Aubrey Huff, and Elliot Johnson. 
There were a number of cards from sets that I didn't have many cards of, including '93 Upper Deck, '94 Donruss, '96 Stadium Club, '97 Bowman, and '97 Stadium Club. 
Even some cards from the years when I heavily collected ('00-'06, and '10-'11) helped fill in holes in my wantlist. 
For the years where I didn’t open very many packs at all (‘12-‘14), I was lucky enough to get a number of cards to help me out. 

The last time Kerry sent me cards, it had a ton of Rays, and this batch also had some Rays. The ‘06 Topps Huff was especially appreciate, as it helped me complete that set. 
I haven’t seen much of any 2020 product on store shelves, so I am glad that Kerry participated in a lot of group breaks and gets Rays cards from time to time. All of the recent sets were either ones I haven’t opened packs of or even seen packs in the wild (Bowman Sterling and Archives), or ones I was lucky enough to get a hanging box of before shelves went dry (Stadium Club and Series 2). I’ve never been a fan of manufactured relics, but that McKay card is sweet. 
The guys for my Favorite Player binders finish off Kerry’s box. I love the 1990 Upper Deck Cecil Fielder as it almost completes my run of 1990 Cecil Fielder cards. I have his 1990 Bowman, Donruss Best, Topps Traded, and now Upper Deck cards. Don’t know if Fleer Update or Score Traded have him in their sets, but if they do, they shouldn’t be too difficult to pick up. I’m going to try to place an order of COMC during the Black Friday sale and try to finish off my run of Topps Rays sets. I really don’t care that it will take months to ship. It’s to be expected with things the way they are, and it will just give me something to look forward to 6 months down the road. 

Next up are 2 pics of new cards of players I collect. A few of these are newer guys. Basilio Cabrera was a longtime Tigers minor league coach who I’ve met several times, and Kohl Stewart is a Type 1 diabetic like me. I forgot to pull the Gregg Olson no-hitter card from my highlights binder, so that is a new one. 
The Stadium Club cards came from 2 boxes of ‘94 Stadium Club which I recently purchased. The idea was for me to have my son open the packs and the cards would go in my collection, but my wife thought these could be the start to his collection, so we agreed that if he got any doubles, I could have them. Well, it turns out that every pack from Series 1 contained 2 doubles each, so I ended up with a halfway decent stack of cards. The Series 2 box wasn’t as bad. We have had the boxes for a little over a month and there are still about a dozen packs left. The suspense is killing me. So far, he’s pulled a Matt Nokes 1st Day Issue from Series 1, 2 Dugout Dirt Mike Piazzas (do you need one, Night Owl?), Golden Rainbows of Barry Bonds, Piazza, and Cal Ripken, Jr., and Bowman Previews of Ricky Bottalico and Cliff Floyd. I’m still hoping for a 1st Day Issue from Series 2, and a Super Team card from Series 1. I got lucky, and he pulled doubles of Orel Hershiser and Rafael Bournigal, a guy who once drove me home from the YMCA, took a picture with me, and signed some cards for me. 

Ryan Yarbrough is the newest addition to my Favorite Player binder. I somehow didn’t realize he was born in Lakeland, FL, which is where I’ve lived from 1990-2006, and 2009-2012. It means I need to add his 2018-2020 cards to finish my Rays Topps team sets, but I’ve found an extra 2019 card, and I may have another 2018 with my rookie cards. 

This last photo is just some cards that I picked up at my LCS yesterday. Every time I’ve went I wear a mask and wash my hand and I feel pretty safe since I’m usually the only one there. They had a box with some newer cards for 50 cents each. I would be more comfortable paying 10-25 cents each, but with how hard it’s been to find cards, I think 50 might be a steal. The owner of the shop told me that some of these idiot millennial flippers actually know the delivery drivers and call them before they get to the store, so they don’t even get stocked on the shelves and they are gone. There’s a special place in you-know-where for people like that. Leave some for the rest of us. 

Anyways, I just got some shiny cards of Rays, Tigers, and guys I collect. I found a Randy A. Chrome card, so I immediately scooped it up. If I would’ve had more one, I would’ve spent a few hours going through the 3 boxes they had looking for refractors. I’m sure I could’ve found one of Randy A. and probably other stats. There was also a ‘17 Addison Russell World Series highlight card that I will add to my highlight binder. They do these 20-card mystery packs that contain a relic or autograph, so I got one of them. They usually contain junk wax for the rest, but I did get that Diamond Skills Cecil Fielder card. The hit I got was a Kaz Sasaki relic, which is good. Sasaki was a good pitcher and I wonder what would’ve happened had he stayed in the states past 2002. I’m glad I pulled a relic of him. I love relic cards, so I’d be happy if you want to dump some on me. 

If you didn’t know, the 2020 Topps Update checklist is out. I went ahead and updated my 2020 Topps page, and the 2020 Topps and 2020 Topps Update missing player checklists are now complete. I’ve also started adding a few more cards to the 2021 Topps missing player checklist, including some new managers like AJ Hinch and Tony LaRussa, and a few playoff and season highlights cards. 
As far as customs, I still haven’t finished the NL in my 1992 Topps Traded set due to working on the ‘20 checklists, but I’m only 7 cards away, so if all goes well, the NL should be finished by the end of next week. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post.