Monday, August 28, 2023

2023 Topps complete set

Saturday after work, I met Karen and Kyler at Target and the 2023 Topps complete set was finally there. It was a nice bright spot to a week that saw our hot water heater stop working and my car have issues. 
I’m sure you’ve probably seen most of the cards in the set, so I won’t bore you. I got the set with the rookie variation pack and the Chrome rookie variation. I thought it was the relic version, but it wasn’t. 
Of course I got someone from the lucky Rat-Bird team (anyone know a derogatory term for the Orioles?). Rays are just 1 game out and reality is coming for Baltimore. 
The set itself looked crisp and sharp. It just looked so white that I almost thought there was white paper over it that I had to remove. Kudos, Fanatics. 
As for the content of the set, it had a ton of rookies. Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure. 
There are the NL, AL, and PC cards and rookies. NL on the left, AL in middle, and rookies/PCs on the right.

The big stack is AL/NL, smallest one is Tigers/Rays, PC guys, and the last one at the right is rookies. 1/8 of the set is rookies!  Of that, 3-5 of them are actually going to be anything. I’d rather see the set get deeper into rosters, but that’s been the case since 1994. 

They really skimped on the Rays this year. Bottom stack is the last place Tigers, top is the Rays team set. Why do they have less guys than Detroit?  No Zach Eflin, no Josh Lowe, no Luke Raley, no Tyler Glasnow. #RaysHate. I guess they'll be in Update, right?  The sell sheets for Update aren't even out yet. Hopefully that means some of the guys who got traded last month might actually make it in the set, cause I assume the release date has to be in November if they can't get a sell sheet out by now. 

*I wrote this next part last night before falling asleep on the couch*

Tomorrow I will probably call some car repair places and hopefully get in to have it looked at tomorrow or Tuesday, my other day off. It is a 2016 Kia Forte, and it is a manual transmission. About 2 years ago, if I turned the AC on, I would drive home from work (between 5-10 miles), and when I was 3/4 of the way there it would just shake if I was stopped at a red light in neutral, and when I tried to get it back to the speed limit (usually 50 at that point of the drive), I would have to floor it, and it wouldn’t want to go to a higher gear. I took it to the dealership, and that switched a cylinder or something, and it seemed to work. A year or 2 went by, and it is now out of warranty. I took it in 2 weeks ago, and they switched another part, and told me to call them if it gave me trouble. 2 days later, it did. The dealership has given me absolute hell with trying to reach someone, and after 6 phone calls and 5 messages left with 2 different people and no response, I’m through with them.  The latch on my trunk started popping open randomly, and long story short, Kia repaired it, it started popping open again,  rain got in it, and I need a whole new bottom of trunk. I need to order the part, but I need to get ahold of someone to order if. Showing up to the dealership to get the car looked at isn’t a problem, but I can’t get the trunk repaired if they don’t order the part. I don’t remember if I mentioned that Karens Kia van got stolen right out of our driveway in May due to thieves plugging a USB into the console and starting it with an app. Kia knew about the problem for at least 2 years and issued updates in other states and finally in July the issues the update in Florida. They suck people in with the 10 year warranties, but please, DON’T BUY A KIA!!!!!  They won’t return your calls, they just care about selling you a car and won’t back up the warranty because they won’t get back to you. I don’t know much about cars, and I have been letting oil changes go, but I think I learned my lesson. I actually got an oil change 2 days ago, so if that was part of the problem, at least that part is done. My car did the not wanting to upshift thing on the way home from Target on Saturday, and also threw the check engine light, so hopefully I can get in somewhere and they will fix the problem and it won’t cost an arm and a leg, and then we can focus on putting money towards the water heater. I did some pricing, and it looks like they are just a couple hundred (plus whatever it costs for a plumber to install it). I would love to get a tankless water heater and be able to take a 30-45 minute shower without having to worry about the water cooling down. The hotter the better!  
If I get the car looked at tomorrow, I’ll probably bring the laptop and try to finish out designing the cards for the project I’m doing. If I have to wait, I’ll work on some cards at home. I’ll try to input the complete set into TCDB and work on putting my Topps White Sox cards in it as well. 

Took the car into a repair shop I have been to in the past. They checked the engine light and looked at the car, and recommended new spark plugs and coils. Kia switched the coils a few years ago, and the mechanic I saw today said they should've replaced them. I called Kia and told them this and gave them alot of info, and they confirmed that I complained about car shaking at stoplights before the warranty was up, so if all goes well, they are liable for that and will replace them for free. The spark plugs aren't covered, but if it's 100 or so, I can live with that, and hopefully that will be the last time I have to deal with those Kia bastards. I'd almost take a Yankee$ World Series win over having to deal with Kia. Well, maybe not...
Unfortunately, they can't get me in until Friday, but I might be able to go there after work. Good news was that while waiting for my car to get diagnosed at the repair shop, I took my 2023 Topps set in along with my laptop, and was able to log in the set, and it is complete. I've barely been home today, but I'll finish logging in some Topps White Sox, and I'll have a whole day to do stuff tomorrow unless a spot opens up for me to bring car in, so perhaps I'll get through Cleveland as well. 

Before I go, here are the sunset cards from the set, since you probably didn't even know they had any because Topps is all about the rookies.

There were only 4 of them. Robinson Chirinos, Yadier Molina, Chad Pinder, and Albert Pujols. 
Well, actually 6 cards if you count these 2.....Too soon?

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Another blaster of 2022 Bowman Platinum

 Yesterday we went to Wal-Mart to refill the fridge, and I got my hands on a blaster of 2022 Bowman Platinum. I was hoping for the ‘23 Topps complete set, but was happy they had an option other than ‘23 Topps Series 2 or the Allen & Ginter, Gallery, and Archives discount boxes that have been collecting dust for a month or two. Plus, they were only 17 bucks, so when you add that to the fact that the other stuff didn't appeal to me and all of the shiny, it was really a no-brainer. 
I did like I have been doing alot lately and put the cards in my 'ready to put in binders' box before I took pictures, but I did pull out most of the rookies, I believe. I do know that there were no Rays, Tigers, or favorite players. I know for sure that the Suzuki insert, the Ramos, Sheets, and Gore cards are rookies, but I can never tell with the prospects. In Bowman, they have the 1st Bowman card so you know it's a rookie. In Bowman Platinum, they don't. I would love for that Henry Davis card to be a rookie, as well as that Green Ice of Trey Sweeney, but I just don't know. I believe Davis was drafted a year or so ago, so I don't think the Ice parallel of him is a rookie, but it's still a sweet card. No clue if the George Feliz Ice parallel is a rookie either, as well as the Jordan Lawlar insert. I'm just not a 'prospector' person or a guy who follows the minors that close. Card companies need to do that with all cards of guys that aren't in the Majors yet. I had the same problem with some 2023 Donruss I got a few weeks ago. 
The Green Ice (or whatever the heck it is called) parallel was a nice pull, even if it was a Yankee. I did get 2 other regular Ice parallels that are set aside for 2 trading partners, as well as a Bobby Witt, Jr. rookie that I didn’t take a picture of (I promise I really did get one). The Green Ice card was numbered to 299, and that was the 2nd numbered parallel I pulled from ‘22 Bowman Platinum this year, the first being a Mike Trout Pink (?) numbered to 199. 

I was off today and was able to sort out all of the AL cards from that lot that John gave me, and now they are all grouped by teams, probably 500-700 cards each. I’ll organize them by year for each team next and then get all the Topps cards logged into TCDB. There’s a small chance that all my Topps cards could be in the site by the end of the year and that I’ll have wantlists posted on here. I have another off day on Tuesday, so we’ll see how far I get with the overrated Orioles and Red Sox. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

Last winnings for Johnny’s yearlong contests

 The past year, John of Johnny’s Trading Spot has been doing a daily giveaway. Not just a giveaway where you have to do something difficult like guess something or where you even need to send cards back, but something anyone can do and comment on his post. I was lucky enough to win a number of times, and I know just about everyone who participated in them has won multiple times. The daily giveaway was a kind of innovative thing in my opinion, akin to something new a card company comes up with like the Topps HR Challenge or some of the fun ‘90’s card contests like ‘Crash the Game’, ‘Predictor’, ‘Bowman Guaranteed Value’, and ‘Topps  Super Teams’. I can’t imagine how many stamps he used. 
It’s just another thing that highlights how great of a guy John is. I’ve had the chance to meet up with him 3 times. The first time, at a show in Jacksonville, he taught me how to haggle and try for the best deal, and helped me haggle with a few dealers, netting me an autographed card of DeLand native Luke Weaver and an auto/jersey card of former Tiger prospect Christin Stewart. 
The next 2 times, I drove out to his place in Ocala, and he let me dig through his trade boxes and gave me a huge collector of ‘90’s cards which will definitely complete some sets once I finally get every card logged into TCDB. I can’t say enough about John’s generosity, and I hope I can be the same kind of guy when I trade, have interactions with other collectors, and just interact with anyone. 
Where are the last cards I won from the contest, you say?  Here you go. 

The first card is an early card from the Conlon Collection, I believe in 1988, which was a few years earlier than the sets everyone pictures in their minds. The Matt Boyd is a 2020 Ben Baller Chrome card. Daniel Norris is a Rainbow parallel from the 2021 Topps set, making it 3 or 4 I have from that set. 2 Matt Manning Optic cards from 2022 round out the card portion. The next 5 things in the sheet were Tigers pocket schedules. Ranging from 1989 to 2000. The 2000 one is actually from Comerica Park’s first year. We were lucky enough to see a game there in 2018, and it’s near the top of the list of ballparks I’ve been to. A cool final prize package. Thanks for doing these giveaways for a whole year and thanks for the fun final winnings package John. It has been fun and I hope it was a fun process for you. 

I’m was today and I was thinking about working on taking pics of my best card of the 2023 Rays, but with the 3 top tier starters going down for the year and the debacle of Wander Franco potentially being suspended for who knows how long, I just wasn’t in the mood. 2023 will go down as the biggest disappointment in Rays history. Yeah, they’ll probably make the playoffs, but at the beginning of the season, they looked like the team to beat in the AL and a real chance to win their first title. I see them getting a Wild Card, and losing before the ALCS. AL title winner will be whoever wins out of the Rangers and Astros. I really don’t see the Rays ever getting over the hump. Yeah, the pitching staff will be better next year, but with all of the emphasis on spin rate and max velocity, 1 or 2 guys will go down, and with an owner who won’t spend money on top tier free agents, we’re not going to get a power hitting RF or a decent bullpen, so we’re going to keep trotting Margot out in RF and sign stopgaps like Wacha, Archer,  and Kluber to fill out the rotation and pen, and it will get us to the playoffs but not a ring. I kind of want to follow the Tigers as my #1, but their GM seems like he’s just signing stopgaps as well. Illich’s son needs to spend like Daddy did. I almost hope the Rays move to wherever and Tampa gets an expansion team. If they can get an owner who will spend, Tampa might get their first championship. Rays/Tigers rant over, I spent the early part of the morning pulling the AL cards out of the binders that John gave me. I made good progress, just needing to finish 4 to 6 more and then all the AL cards will be ready to sort. I’ll probably juggle doing that and making the customs for my project for the next few month, as well as folding in whatever cards I acquire in that time period. 
Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

2023 Donruss

 Yesterday I had a pretty decent day. It was the last day off with Kyler on vacation before school, so now that he will need to be picked up at 2:30 after school, no more weekdays of having the hours from 8AM-5PM to myself when I am off work. 2:30 ain't bad either, though. This final one, I basically had the morning free because Kyler had testing for entrance into the gifted program at school at 2. I was able to go through my last 3 teams worth of NL binders and pull out doubles, so I have the entire NL of loose cards sorted and ready to go into binders. Came out to just a little over 2 moster boxes full. 
Karen was able to get off work early, so we drove Kyler to the testing, got an early dinner when he was done, and then went to Wally World to get Karen's oil changed in her car and get groceries. 

I had recieved a unexpected refund check in the mail from one of the companies that handles my insulin pump supplies the day before, and that was nice surprise. I did what any red blooded card collector would, and headed straight towards the card aisle when we walked in the store. I was half hoping the 2023 Topps complete sets would be out, but Wal-Mart surprised me and had blasters of 2023 Donruss among other things. I got one and opened it when I got home.

I was happy with the blaster. Only 1 Ray and no Tigers, but not many Yankee$ or Padre$ either. It seemed like if you got one player in the pack as a parallel, Rated Rookie/Prospect, or 1990 variation, that you would get their other base card in the pack as well.  Good thing I pulled some decent names in the box. 

The stack on the left is just normal old base cards, and the one on the left are parallels, rookies, and Rays. Not bad at all when the 'special card' pile is as big as the other one. Probably happens maybe twice a year for me. 
These are the Rays, rookies, and the start of some of the parallel rookies I got. Kyle Manzardo is no longer a Ray, as he was traded to Cleveland in the Aaron Civale deal. A decent 1B prospect gone, and another pitcher for the Rays to ruin getting him to buy into the 'spin rate=good' philosophy. We'll be seeing him starring in 'Tommy John surgery' in 2024, I guarantee it. I kind of wish Donruss would invent their own '1st Donruss card' logo that they could place on cards. There are guys like Soderstrom and others who I know aren't rookies or have even appeared on a Donruss card in seasons past (like Andy Peges), but then others like Eury Perez who appear on the base or 1990 Donruss design, and I don't know if it's a legit rookie card or not. Kind of like someone having a binder full of 2nd year Bowman cards and thinking they are rookie cards. 
I pulled a jersey card of Mariners prospect Gabriel Gonzalez. I thought one of the packs looked a little bigger. I think Griffey must've been a hot pack, because out of 2 packs, I pulled his 1990 base card, the Bomb Squad Rapture card, the Holo Purple Diamond King card, and the Independance Day base card. Like I said earlier, a nice break, and lots of cool parallels. 

With that being said, I had to take a picture of the side of the blaster to remember what the Rapture parallel cards were called and to figure out the exact name of the Purple parallels (Holo Purple). While I am far from having close to every parallel Donruss offers, I have been wanting for some time to list out every parallel (that I have) and naming them along with a picture to go with it in order to help myself and other collectors. Almost want to do the same thing with Bowman, Optic, Mosaic, and Pri(Z/S?)m, but for now, I'll just stick to old fashioned Donruss. I will use TCDB to help me figure some of these out, so if I mislabel any, it's their fault. I will also be using various different year to do this, since I have some parallels only in certain years. 

This Brandon Lowe card is called a 'RED & WHITE STRIPES' parallel. It is numbered to 2021 (the year of the set), but might have just been a 1 and done parallel, as I haven't seen it in the 2023 set listings. 
This Yandy Diaz is called an 'ON FIRE' parallel, and is numbered to 75 every year.
This Adam Frazier is called a 'HOLO RED' parallel, and is numbered to whatever year the set is. 
With the printing technology on this Taylor Walls card, I figured it would be some kind of parallel. It isn't. Go figure. 
This Ken Griffey, Jr. is called an 'INDEPENDENCE DAY' parallel. 
This Eury Perez card is called a 'HOLO CAROLINA BLUE' parallel. There are 'HOLO BLUE' parallels, but they are a darker blue color. 
This Robert Puason card is called a 'RAPTURE' parallel. 
This Craig Biggio card is called a 'HOLO PINK' parallel. They look like red to me, but the 'HOLO RED' parallels are serial #d to the sets year. 
This Ryan McMahon card is called a 'HOLO BLUE' parallel.  They are darker than the 'HOLO CAROLINA BLUE' parallels. 
I guess the Elite Series cards all have this technology on them, the difference is the color behind (or maybe on top) of it. This one is a 'BLUE' parallel. I have a Mike Trout from a different year, which must be just the most common Elite Series version, and it is more silver and #d to 999, I believe. 
The Ozzie Albies card is called a 'VECTOR' parallel card. In my opinion out of all of the unnumbered parallels I've seen, I think it is the nicest looking. 
The Keith Hernandez card is called a 'HOLO ORANGE' parallel. 
The Ronald Acuna, Jr. card is called a 'DIAMOND' parallel. 
The Justin Verlander card is called a 'CRYSTAL' parallel. Not sure if it is a one year only parallel, but I don't think I've seen it in other years. 

I hope this has helped you figure out just what the heck you've pulled from your last box of Donruss cards or what you've got from your last trip to the LCS or card show. This is far from an all-encompasing list, but I hope it has answered a few questions. 

My next 2 posts are almost ready to be written now. The next will be the final winnings from Johnny's Trading Spot's year-long contest. The next one might take a little longer. 
I have always wanted to start a Blog Bat-Around. I've tried a few times, but nobody really cared for the idea or whatever, and it never got anybody else to write a post besides me. I had an idea the other day that I'm going to put out there, and it might not get any love, but at least I can show off some Rays cards. 

Before Shane McClanahan got injured, I had an idea to post my best card of each Rays guy from the 2023 team's starting lineup. For most guys, it was a jersey card or parallel or autographed one. Other guys, it was a card that had sentimental value. Still others, it could've been a rookie card. Heck, a few of them weren't Rays cards. Basically, have a C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, 3 OF, a DH, 5 SP, 2-3 Relievers, and maybe the Manager and some utility guys from this year's team, and show my favorite or best card of them. With the Rays having 4 starters (Baz, Springs, Rasmussen, and now McClanahan) on the DL until 2024 sometime, I figured it would be best to make it be current roster including Disabled List. That might take a little work to write out the Rays position guys and making cuts, but eventually I can have the list done, and I have a general idea of my best card of everyone. Might even do it with the Tigers eventually, too. I figured it might be a fun exercise for guys who collect teams, and maybe for someone into vintage stuff, they could do it for their favorite team (say 2000 Yankee$, 2004 Yankee$, 2003 Yankee$, 1960 Yankee$, you get my drift...). Anyways, that post might take a few weeks to do, but be on a lookout for those 2 posts in the future. 

Thanks for taking the time to check out my latest post.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

2023 Topps Chrome Blaster

 Yesterday we went to a dinosaur themed kids event in Daytona after work. It was cool and Kyler enjoyed it. Before going home, we needed a few things so we stopped at Target. They didn’t have the 2023 Topps complete sets, but they had Heritage, Series 2, and Chrome. I chose a box of Chrome, and hoped it wouldn’t break the bank. 
It was 30 bucks or so, which is probably expensive enough to have me rethink getting another blaster. 

The blaster was pretty good for me as far as teams I collect. Pulled a card of Shane McClanahan (who I wish I could get an update on. If he’s out for the season, just tell us Rays fan so we can start printing the Wild Card Champion banner), and a Sepia Refractor of Drew Rasmussen (another Ray on the injured list. Stop focusing on spin rate!!!!!). The Tigers were nice as well, as I got a card of Javier Baez and a Riley Greene rookie. The refractors were nice. I found what I believe is a Negative Refractor of Anthony Rendon, Pink ones of Nick Castellanos and Manny Machado (ewww!  That will be trade bait!). The Prism-Fractor is former Ray prospect Joe Ryan (who was traded for a 2-month rental of ‘roider Nelson Cruz). I got 2 regular Refractors, those being Christian Yelich and Jose Miranda. The 2nd of my 2 promised Sepia-Fractor was Edwin Diaz. I did get a noteable rookie card (Michael Harris), but forgot to take a picture. 
Overall, I’m happy with it. I was wondering what the design would look like all Chromed out. I think it emphasizes the design elements on the white borders. 
Hopefully I’ll find the complete set on the shelves soon and get that into my box of cards to put into binders soon. If any of the refractors look interesting to you, let me know. 
Thanks for taking the time to read my latest post. 

Friday, August 4, 2023

Cards from Johnny and a big project

 So a few days ago Night Owl posted about being busy with things and I can relate. Between a doctor appointment, the weekly shopping, yard work, and unplanned things, it feels like I’ve had things to do every day this week. This week should be a bit slower, and with it being the last week with a few hours of the house to myself before Kyler goes back to school, I hope to take advantage of it. 

It’s been a good with with everything. My doctors appointment went fairly well and I think I am going to make some good ground with getting my diabetes under tighter control. Today I helped my friend John paint a stairwell at a building our church owns, and it was nice talking with him and it will be nice to see something that I helped paint every Sunday. 

I also got to scan some cards into TCDB thanks to John from Johnny’s Trading Spot. I won last Fridays daily giveaway I believe, and got some cards in the mail this week. 

I got 4 Paul DeJong’s from 2018 Topps High Tek. Not knowing much about that set, I learned that there are 4 patterns from TCDB, so I completed the base patterns for Paul, who is now a Blue Jay. While I wish him well, I hope Tampa gets past the Jays if they end up facing them in the playoffs. Speaking of Tampa, I got 2 Rays from this years Heritage set, Luis Patino and David Peralta. I think I’m just missing the SPs from the set as far as the Rays team set. The last 3 cards are Tigers from 2017 Topps High Tek, and there was also a 1983 Tigers team schedule thrown in. I have a few different schedules in my collection, and I try to get them any time I’m at a stadium. Since I organize my binders by year, I put the schedule in the front of that years cards. Thanks John for all of the cards. Your contests have been an innovative thing for blogs, something many people including myself have looked forward to, and just showcase your generosity and how good of a person you are. 

I managed to go through 1 or 2 more teams and pull the doubles out of my monster boxes, and just have the Padre$, Giants, and Nationals to go through, and that will finish out the NL. After that, I might take a break from sorting for a month or two (although I plan on getting the 2023 Topps complete set and at least pulling out pc guys, Tigers, Rays, rookies, highlights, and sunset cards).  There was a new Sunset card added to the list today as Cole Hamels called it a career, making his 2021 Topps card a Sunset card. 

The reason I am taking a little bit of a break from the much needed sorting is that I’ve been commissioned to make a ton of customs. While I can’t go n to much detail, it’s basically 40-50 40 card sets (2,000 or so cards) front and back. I’ve been working on this project for over a year, but after not getting an email from my contact about half a year, I just figured they went in another direction. So I got an email a month or so ago, and the project was back on, and that would’ve been great, but my laptop crashed like 6 months ago. I made the entire 40 card set, and saved it on that laptop, and had templates that allowed me to print 6 cards at 2.5 by 3.5 inches, the standard card size. I would’ve just had to edit maybe 10 cards and I could’ve been on the printing process right now. With my new laptop, I have to recreate all the templates (did it), make the set (finished the first 1 cards), and make a good template that will allow me to print a standard sized card (got one going right now, but it makes them a tad short). Seems like this laptop and the version of MS Paint that it had just doesn’t want to let me copy something from an email or website and keep it the same size. 
I should have a halfway easy time finishing the final 30 cards, but I’m a little nervous at the process after that.  I need to print basically 4,000 cards (2,000 fronts and 2,000 backs), cut them out, glue them together, and then probably cut off any excess paper. I don’t know how long the process will take, and I kind of have a deadline in the next month or so. I’m also a tad nervous on how many times I’m going to have to replace the ink cartridge. While not going into specifics on what I’m being paid, I’m not sure if it will cover the ink and glue. Let’s say I can print 50 cards front and back with 1 ink cartridge, that’s still 40 times I have to buy ink. I might have to do some math when I start printing and see what I come up with but I hope I’m wrong. 
This is a big project, and it’s something I really want to be a part of, it would be something I would love to put on my resume, and it
could open doors for other projects. I’ve done a few noteable things in life that I’m proud of. I played keyboard for Kim Grieves at a Battle of he Bands at Wet & Wild waterpark, and the music was broadcast all over the entire park (probably the most people who have ever heard me play). 

I’ve performed 3 of my original songs with a band while opening for a band called Thalon in 2008.

 I played on the same stage as one of my favorite bands, MuteMath in 2010. 

I wrote a short devotional passage for a Christmas devotional for our church 2 years ago, which also contained one written by Gigi Graham (one of Billy Graham’s kids). I guess she has been to our church at various times of her life, and who knows, if she wrote for it, she probably read it, and perhaps something I tried to make a message out of could’ve touched her life. Back to the noteable things, I dated a girl who was hot and talented enough to be a backup dancer in the ‘Step Up 2’ movie. There are many other things that I’m proud of, I need to remember to write them all down. Better than all of those, I married Karen, and had a son. Other than the last 2, doing this project is big enough to maybe top those. I’ll update everyone on how it goes, and eventually I’m going to do a big post and let the cat out of the bag. I will also soon be able to get back to sorting, and it will get back to normal. 
Life has the ebbs and flows of being busy and having free time, and you just have to go with it and not freak out during the busy times. I’ll still get cards and make a little time for them, then soon enough it will be slow again, and I’ll be organizing my butt off again. Then holidays will come, it will be crazy, and by the middle of January, it will be slow. The only constants will be family and baseball cards.