Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Vacation recap and a bunch of cards

 I feel like the last week was just jam packed with tons of stuff to do, and I was on vacation for 4 1/2 days, so it was definitely good. This week has a lot to do, and being the week before Easter, it’s one of my dreaded weeks at work. With that being said, it’s not all bad (don’t really have to worry about getting out in time to pick up Kyler from school since he’s on spring break, and the sale isn’t all that bad for the bakers other than the usual apple pies and dinner rolls. Plus, I got a crap ton of cards!!!

Thursday we went to the airport and actually had time to kill as the line for security was only 10 minutes or so, and we ended up getting lunch there before the flight. I think the coldest I was the whole trip was when we got out of the airport. We stayed with my Aunt Val (my dads sister) and Uncle Jeff in their guestroom. Their house is kind of in the woods so I think it was a tad warmer there. Friday it was snowing when we got up and didn’t stop until like 7 in the evening. It was the first time I really saw it snowing since 2003 one time, and probably 1988 or 1989 before that, so it was basically like seeing it for the first time as an adult and being able to form solid memories, and I probably looked like a dork with how much I gazed at it all. 

Might have to get the last one framed. 

Thursday we went to lunch with Karens friend Natalie and her family. I was hoping to meet up with Stu (aka Poison 75) at Legends in Grand Rapids, but the road from Aunt Val’s house was too slick for Karen to drive over the hills on, so Aunt Val drove us out and dropped us off at the brewery we were having dinner at. Stu, meanwhile, was at Legends, and he and his girlfriend kindly drove over to the brewery where we got a quick picture, and then took me to Legends, while Aunt Val took Karen and Kyler home. 
Legends was a lot bigger than what the pictures online showed. I stuck to the quarter boxes, a shelf with few small team sets, and was looking for boxes with Topps sets so I could finish a few.  Unfortunately for me, the boxes ended around 1976. I still pulled a decent stack of lesser stars from a few boxes. There was a 2017 Tigers Topps set, and a 1988 Tigers Police set which I purchased, as well as a 2006 Topps Update set for 20 bucks. At least I finished 1 set. 
I haven’t got any ‘23 Pro Debut cards, so I got one of ex-Ray Kyle Manzardo. My assistant manager at work is a big Yankee$ fan, and she saw Spencer Jones hit a mammoth HR in Lakeland during spring training. I’ve also heard some buzz about him, so 2 of his cards for a quarter each didn’t seem like a bad deal. There are the 2 Tigers team sets I got. 
There’s a sampling of the Topps needs. A few were from the 25 cent boxes, I believe all of the pre 1975 ones were from the 25 cent boxes. I don’t know if the Vida Blue was an SP or what, but when I logged it into TCDB, it was like 4 bucks. I need to put the average common price and notes about what cards are SPs in my Topps needs binder. I also want to put pictures of designs for some of the ones that are confusing to me. 

I also got a ton of more cards, compliments of Stu. I picked my collection clean of stuff on his wantlist, and he hooked me up with a binder full of Tigers. 
The ones on the left are keepers, the ones on the right are doubles, but that’s to be expected as some of the cards crept into the late ‘80’s, and due to the fact that I’ve accumulated a ton of Tigers since blogging. 
Stu had a bunch of hard to find sets, and that is definitely an area that is lacking in my collection. ‘81 Coke, ‘85 Donruss Highlights, ‘85 Wendy’s/Coke, ‘87 Fleer Mini, Topps mini leaders sets, ‘87 Donruss Opening Day, and more. There were old cards like the ‘65 Freehan, team cards like the ‘71 team card, many Traded/Update cards like the ‘76 Staub. The ‘84 Traded cards were cool because those guys helped the Tigers win the Series in 1984. The ‘85 Topps Sparky along with 1 or 2 others got me a Dave Bergman away from completing the ‘85 Topps Tigers team set. My favorite card of the huge lot was the 1978 Alan Trammell rookie. That one gave me the core 4 rookies from the ‘78 set for Detroit (Morris, Parrish, Tram, and Whitaker). I can’t wait until I can update my binders. 

Stu drove me back, and we went to my Aunt Mary’s house. She and her husband Sander do a lot of renovation on the house to restore it to its original condition, and they have the upstairs almost done. The first time I saw it almost 5 years ago, they hadn’t even touched the staircase yet. Their latest project was installing some new doors on the main level and some tiling in the bathroom. We ate dinner at a pizza place in downtown Grand Rapids, and it was neat because I felt like we entered through the front of a bar, walked through it and out the back into another restaurant that had a stage and a guy on piano, out the side of that one, and finally into the pizza place. Just different to have to walk through 2 or 3 places all under 1 roof in order to go to the place you wanted to eat. Kind of reminded me of some places in St. Augustine. 

The next day, we went to a children’s museum in Grand Rapids, and Kyler enjoyed that. We went to the planetarium show, and it was just odd. They played Christmas music the whole time, and some of the images moved more than in a motion simulator ride. Glad I didn’t have any alcohol before. For dinner we went to one of Val & Jeff’s daughters, Heather’s place. Her husband Jim grilled some burgers and we watched some college hoops before leaving. 

Sunday we relaxed most of the morning/afternoon. The wedding was ‘no kids allowed’. Never knew that was a thing, but Heather was able to watch Kyler, so it wasn’t a problem, even though we didn’t find that out until we were in Michigan. The wedding was nice. I had a really good cider at the reception. It was called Blake’s Triple Jam, and I only had 3, but it did the job and even got me out on the dance floor for a song or two.  The food was great. Some mini potatoes, some nice chicken, and string beans. I had a nice time talking with another one of Val & Jeff’s kids, Katie, and her husband Derek. The whole family might do a cruise in 2025, and we’re seriously thinking about doing it with them, and they really want us to come. A bunch of fun people I’m related to in Michigan, and they all adore Karen & Kyler, and vise versa. I’m a lucky guy. 

After flying back and unpacking, I went back to work on Tuesday. On one of the card groups I’m a part of on FB, a guy from Daytona had posted about wanting to trade a while back, and I mentioned I was close, and we kind of decided to do most of my doubles boxes for stuff I needed from his collection. He looked like he might have some stuff I needed for my Topps sets, and I was finally able to meet up with him and swap stuff yesterday afternoon. I got 2 boxes of stuff, and he still has more cards to go through with my wantlist. I went through maybe 2/3 of a box yesterday after work, and it was very easy putting them into TCDB because they were ordered by number. There were a few stacks of various Bowman years, and he said he didn’t really go through any of them, so I was curious and looked through the Bowman portion, and low and behold, this one jumped out at me. 

Wasn’t expecting that!  I got really excited. I think that will be the best card from the box, and the rest will probably just finish sets and have Tigers, Rays, and players I collect as good cards, but to pull a Verlander rookie from a random box that had just a few inches thick stack of various Bowman years was definitely a win!

I’ve gone through a little over half of the boxes as of Wednesday night, and I just have the Score cards left. Got a number of 2006 Topps cards knocked off of my Wantlist, and with a little luck tomorrow, I’ll finish putting the rest of the last box into TCDB and at least pull out the Rays, Tigers, and guys I collect. My head is just trying to catch up with all of the incoming cards as is sometimes the case, and I’m hopefully going to get back into the flow of things and have a chance to catch up on some trades and such that had been in the works since before the trip. Maybe by the first couple of days after Easter I can get the new stuff sorted into teams and at least in a group that will be ready to put into my boxes. I really need a day off in the middle of the week, but that won’t happen until after the holiday. 

All in all, it was a great trip, and totally worth it. It was nice meeting another collector in person and making some card swaps before Easter gets work all crazy. It’s good to be back an on the blog again. 

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

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Package from Night Owl

On Thursday,  I came home from work, and there was a nice package of cards from Greg of Night Owl Cards waiting for me. It was filled with Topps cards from his favorite Topps set (1975), one I am slowly inching to finishing (1985), one I am now 1 card from completing (1989), and had some Tigers in it as well. 
I’m getting close to having all of the 4 player rookies in the ‘75 Topps set, as I have the Carter and Rice rookies. The only big one I need is the Keith Hernandez rookie. I have just a handful of 1975 Topps cards, so anybody I can get in a trade, even a common, is appreciated. Greg sent me 6 Dodgers from the 1985 Topps set. After making a trade a few weeks ago where I obtained some 1984 and 1985 Topps cards, I’m pretty close to completing the Dodgers ‘85 Topps set. Greg mentioned in his note that he hoped he read my TCDB wantlist and that he didn’t send me any doubles, and I’m happy to report that I try to update my paper list, TCDB, and my Google Docs list whenever I get new Topps cards and that I didn’t get any dupes. The 1989 Topps cards got me just 1 card away from finishing the ‘89 Topps set (#196 Denny Walling). I’m hoping I can find it when I go to Legends Sports & Games on Friday while I’m in Grand Rapids. Not sure exactly what I’ll come back to Florida with, but I’m sure I’ll cross some needs off of my list. 
The Tigers were a nice addition to the package. I have the 2023 complete set, but all of the rookies will go in my rookie binder, and now I can put the dual card with both players. After all of the packs of ‘23 Chrome Update that I got, I figured I would’ve already had the Tyler Alexander, but it is actually new to me. I almost want to fast forward a few weeks because then there is a decent chance that all of my cards will be uploaded to TCDB, and at that point I can start putting cards into binders, including all of the ones from this package from Night Owl. Thanks, Greg, for the nice package and for looking at my wantlist and crossing off some needs. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

2023 Heritage blaster

 A couple nights ago we were at Wally World and I ended up with a discount blaster of 2023 Heritage. It turned out to be a good purchase as it netted me some cards of guys I collect, teams I collect, and of some guys I might see in June. Karen got out of the hospital on Saturday and has been slowly getting back to normal and starting to breathe better. It will be nice to see her get some labs done and have the numbers be good, but seeing her be able to do well going to the store and not get winded was nice. 

I just took pictures of non-dupes. I got a total of 4 Chicago Cubs cards. The Rays play the Cubs at the Trop a day before my birthday in June, and Karen was telling me she might get some tickets, so the Cubs will come in handy for autograph chances. Logan Gilbert is a Stetson University product who I collect but I have one for the pc, so this one goes in the Mariners binder eventually. 
Scherzer is another guy I collect. I have his Rangers Heritage card, so this Mets one will go next to it. I pulled a bat card of Javy Baez. I doubt the bat is game used, because Baez couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, and the bat piece looks like it has been used. The rookies were nice as I got a Francisco Alvarez, the Cubs 4 player SP card, and Brayan Bello, the newest Red Sox player to sign a long term deal. 

The flashback card is kind of cool. At first it looked like maybe an indoor pool at a YMCA, but when I read the card, apparently it is an airport. The playoff card is an SP and will go in my highlights binder. I’ve pulled the SB leaders card before, so one will go with each team. The last card is a Corbin Burnes/Steve Carlton insert. I really hope Burnes can pitch like Steve Carlton for the Rat-Birds. Like Carlton in 1987 and 1988. Except without getting the championship ring like Carlton did in 1987. Rays up!!

The next week or 2 are planned out for me. Work tomorrow, off Friday where I’ll probably bite the bullet and mow our lawn. Work Saturday, church Sunday, work 4 days, and fly to Michigan on Thursday. I hope to meet up with Stu (aka Poison75) at a card shop in Michigan, and I’ve been pulling some stuff for him and we’ll hopefully do an in person swap and I can pick up some Topps needs at the shop. We’ll spend a few days in Michigan and see family and go to a wedding and I’ll come back with some Tigers swag and Dutch chocolate sprinkles to eat on sandwich bread. I’ll have to take a picture when I get back. Bread, butter, and chocolate sprinkles. Lots of chocolate sprinkles. After we get back, it will be spring break the week before Easter, so it will be crazy at work, but I’ll get one day off at some point. What I do that day will depend on where Kyler will be. If he’s in his normal day care that he goes to in the summer, I might try to meet up with John from Johnny’s Trading Spot if he’s available, perhaps see if my friend Jim a few miles from me wants to go to a card shop or something, and I also have a guy I know in Daytona who wants to swap cards. The last option might be good as he has some Topps cards that could help me out with sets, and a box or 2 of junk wax stuff. I have a ton of doubles in boxes and we might just do a swap of my dupes for stuff I need from his boxes. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, right?  It is going to be a whirlwind the next 2 weeks, but at least Ill be having some fun and getting some cards and trading with some cool people. I’ll probably finish logging the Mariners into TCDB at some point before leaving for Michigan leaving me with 3 more teams and a few binders left before my entire collection will be logged. The latest count is a little over 94,000 cards, and at some point, Ken Griffey, Jr. jumped into the #1 spot, and I still have cards from 1999 to the present to log, so that will be more Griffey cards to add to his total. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Friday, March 8, 2024

End of a crazy week

 It has been a crazy week to say the least. Tuesday I was off from work and working on logging the Minnesota Twins into TCDB. I had planned to get my hair cut, then Wednesday we had band practice planned, and then have Karen's brother come over Friday night. All that changed while Kyler and I were getting our hair cut. I had mentioned that Karen has been fighting a cold for a few weeks in my last post and that the insurance hadn't approved her IVIG infusions for 2 months or so. Well, she always has a 'don't let them be able to tell that you aren't feeling well' attitude, so I was kind of surprised when she texted me that she was thinking about going to the emergency room while we were at the haircut place. Driving home, she calls me and decided to go, and let me know that her mom was going to take her. We met up with her in the waiting room once we were done, and stayed for about an hour. After making dinner, they admitted her and started getting some lab work. Right before bed, I don't believe we had gotten any news other than her white blood cells being high, but then I was kind of shocked when I got up for work Wednesday morning. Her lactic acid levels were very high, and they decided to put her in ICU. She had like 4 or 5 IVs hooked up to her, giving her antibiotics, insulin, and various other meds, as well as nebulizer treatments every few hours for the asthma and breathing problems. It was kind of scary knowing how bad off she was at that point, and she was kind of scared as well. It took a turn for the better Thursday, as they were able to get her some IVIG at the hospital, and her lactic acid levels started trending downward. Exhibit A for the insurance to approve it. That night, she got approved to leave the ICU and go to a normal room, and Kyler finally got to visit her, and they both were happy for that. I brought her a few things from home that she needed, and she looked and sounded better, although not completely back to normal. I guess the plan is for her to stay another day, and depending on lab results and how she is doing, she could go home tomorrow night. I just know her, and I know she is going to plan to rest at home, but won't. It's just been kind of crazy. Luck would have it that I started a 5 day stretch of working on Wednesday, so Karen's mom has been coming to the house around 4AM when I leave so she can watch Kyler and bring him to school. Work has been crazy as the a$$holes at corporate decided to put some cookies on sale buy one get one free, and also hit me with the other side of the hammer and put donuts on sale as well. I have never set up so many cookies in my life as I did today, and I didn't have a choice, I was mixing on Thursday, and the idiot who baked yesterday only had to set up 1/5 of what it called for today. Lucky bastard. I was just happy I somehow got it all done by 2 so I could get Kyler from school on time. I'm baking again tomorrow, but I don't care how much it asks for, I don't have to be out at a certain time, and I can take a lunch (which I skipped today to give myself extra time). The rest of the sale should be relatively easy, as Monday I will be off, Tuesday (when I have to be out at 2 again) I will be mixing, and Wednesday I'm hoping won't call for hardly any cookies and the sale won't be as brutal. I just always get nervous when I'm under pressure or a time crunch, and sometimes it doesn't turn out pretty. 
Well, needless to say, I didn't make band practice Wednesday. Karen's brother is coming over tomorrow, but he will be more visiting with Karen at the hospital and helping her mom out with Kyler. Y'all's prayers must've worked because Karen's Aunt and Uncle (who are buying Karen's late Grandmother's house which her mom is living at) let her know that they didn't mind if her mom lived in the house after they purchased it, and weren't too concerned with us getting the furniture out. Don't get me wrong, there is trash everywhere and it does need a good deep cleaning, but if it somehow keeps Karen's mom from moving in with us, I will go there on my off days to help clean it for them. I've lived with her before, and it just got old pretty quick, and that was before we had a kid and had to fight her when she is over about letting us discipline Kyler when he needs it and to not add her 2 cents when we are finished. He has such a tough time figuring out who to listen to when she is over, and she is constantly undermining us by letting him play on her phone, watch TV, and the aforementioned disciplining issue. If I can have our house be a place of solitude and somehow keep her at arms length (my mom as well), I can deal with everything else. Thanks for the prayers again, and just in case it was the prayers that did it, I need my bakery manager at work to be transferred to another store yesterday. 
After the day I had at work today and the stress and craziness of Karen being away at the hospital, I needed something to take my mind off of the bad stuff. Well, Rod of Padrographs came through with a nice package of Florida's 2 teams, the Rays and Marlins.

Rod has always been kind with other collectors. For a while, he has been taking any teams that aren't Padres, and sending them to guys who collect them. While I try to send cards of non-Rays/Tigers to guys who collect them, I don't send every single card I get. That could get really expensive really quick. I don't know how he does it, but the cards that Rod sent made my day 100 times better. Many sets that I don't really get packs of (Allen & Ginter, Holiday, and Bowman) made it in the groups of cards, as did ones I haven't even seen packs of since the rebranding (Big League). I'll talk about Big League later. Rod got me a number of cards of Taj Bradley, and my collection of him is starting to get nice. As is my Jonathan Aranda collection. The Xavier Isaac card is nice, as well, because I hear people on this Rays FB group rave about how good he is going to be in a few years. 
Another Bradley and Aranda, and a cool 2024 Topps '89 tribute of Randy Arozarena. I hope he goes 40 HR's and 40 Stolen Bases this year. The Marlins were filled with nice parallels, SP's, and cards of Nick Fortes, a DeLand native who I collect. I was kind of hoping to run into him around town this offseason, but didn't. The Chisholm Allen & Ginter is an SP, and the Khalil Watson is an Ice parallel. I kind of treat Khalil Watson cards extra special like he is going to be a star since his Bowman rookie was on the sell sheets of whatever year Bowman that was. He hasn't done anything yet, but there's still time. 

I also got a few Luis Arraez cards. I've been getting a few parallels of him lately. I don't collect him, but I really respect him because he is the guy who kept Aaron Judge from winning a Triple Crown. The Chisholm Big League card is a parallel, while the Meyer card is one of those unnesseccary SP's. 
I am really excited about the Fortes Rabbit (?) parallel. Don't think I'll ever complete a rainbow, but I'll take all that I can get. Thanks, Rod, for the great cards and for your generosity with non-Padres cards. I'll be looking through my Padres stuff and getting you a package in the coming weeks. 

I guess 2024 Topps Big League will be coming out in about 2 weeks. They started out one of the first sentences on one of the articles I read online by saying it was a product geared towards kids, but then also noted that the friggin SP's are back. What a kick in the 'nads. Opening Day is gone, so the only way to get mascot cards geared towards kids is to get them from Big League packs, but they aren't going to be available in the wild, since flipper brah's are going to be hoarding them for the SP's, and it really doesn't matter anyways, because you aren't going to complete the team sets you want to anyways with the 10 card SSSSSSSSSSP portion of the set. What I find odd about the release isn't the 2 week notice, it's more that NOTHING has been mentioned or said about 2024 Heritage. How do we even know it's a thing. This lack of communication with Fanatics is absolutely unexcusable. Topps at least let collectors know in 2021 that they were pulling back the '21 sticker set (even after making sell sheets, talk about eating humble pie). Fanatics says that '23 Opening Day isn't a thing because they are getting used to the whole making cards thing, but it will be back. No word about it, and it's been a year. Now we get 2 weeks notice with the first drop of the design/sell sheet and the release of a product. There are guys that have been looking forward to '24 Heritage for over a decade, and you can do better that that. A least let collectors know it will be a thing by putting up a sell sheet without a release date. I feel like I won't be getting too many packs of cards this year because I'm just going to get the 2024 complete set, so other than a pack or 2 of Series 2 and Update, it's a waste. Heritage may or may not come out, but it might not be till June, who knows. I've never really been a Stadium Club or Allen & Ginter guy, so unless Panini puts anything out, Target and Wal-Mart shelves will be stocked with stale packs of 2024 Topps Series 1 for the time being  (unless you are a flipper and can beat all of the other ones to packs of Big League). Maybe this will bring an end to the junk era we are in now and put Fanatics out of business and some other company can buy them out. I'd be up for it. 

I have been able to get the Twins into TCDB, and might be able to finish the Athletics tonight. If I really pushed it, I could almost get done with a few more teams, but my next off days, I'll probably pull some stuff for future meetups/trades, probably start figuring out and packing stuff for our vacation (13 days away!!!), and probably do some stuff around the house. Hopefully Karen will get better and ready to go by then and we'll have a nice little vacation I can post about.

Lastly, before I forget, one of the pineapples in our front yard looks like it may be starting to flower and grow a fruit. It's about time!!  I've been waiting a few years. Maybe I can get some of the other ones to follow suit. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Some surprise 2024s

 I’ve probably mentioned that my Mother-in-Law isn’t my favorite person. Her personality just drains me and it’s probably going to get worse as it looks like she might be moving into our guest room in May. I’m dreading it, but hopefully it will be for less than 6 months and put everyone in a better situation financially. Pray for me, people. 

She does have things that make her a good person, a better person tban myself, if I am honest. She always wants to give and do things for other people. I know where Karen gets it from. 

About 2 weeks ago, Karen started getting sick. She has been getting iv infusions of immunoglobulin every week for  the past 3-4 years, and it has helped keep her from getting the horrible colds she normally would get. Unfortunately, 4 weeks ago, the insurance decided they can’t cover it anymore, and with it being between 10-15 thousand bucks a dose, we sure as hell can’t afford it. We’re trying to call the insurance company and file appeals, but the past 4 weeks she hasn’t got the infusions and got a bad cold 2 weeks ago. Pneumonia on both lungs, infections in both ears, lots of trouble breathing, and tons of coughing. That means I’m kind of doing everything at home and trying to get her to sit and rest, which is like teaching a dog how to floss. Fortunately, Karens mom has tried to step up and help with things. Sometimes it can be a little much, but many times it’s a help. 

Before Karen got sick, we committed to having Kyler go to a friends birthday party. Karen usually will come have lunch with me at work on Saturdays and she was planning on getting the gift for the party, but ended up staying home this Saturday. Her mom ended up taking Kyler to Target to pick out a gift, and while they were there, they got me 2 hanging packs of 2024 Topps. I honestly hadn’t planned on getting any, so it was a nice surprise. 
I only took pictures of the good cards. 2 guys I collect who are Rangers, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. The Rays were coming in bunches in the 2 packs, and I pulled 3 former Rays who I wish they would’ve kept in Bethancourt, Glasnow, and Raley, 1 current Ray in Civale, and a team card which is a dupe. I also did well with Tigers and pulled Jake Rogers, a Spencer Torkelson that was a double, and a base version of Brendan White after pulling his Holiday version a few weeks ago. 
I’ve heard of some of the rookies, but looking from the stats on the back of most of them, I think they were some solid ones. I also pulled a Blue Holofoil of Michael Massey. With packs that I wasn’t expecting, I would’ve been happy with a few base cards that weren’t doubles, but getting 5 Rays, 3 Tigers, 2 guys I collect, a number of nice rookies, and a parallel numbered to 999, I must have the cardboard gods smiling on me. I guess I’ll keep the Mother-in-Law for a while. 

I might try to upload some cards tomorrow. I’m not really planning on getting too much done card-wise this week. Just too much to do around the house and pesky things like a haircut appointment on Tuesday, band practice on Wednesday, and Karens brother coming up on Friday, so I can tell you already my free time will be at a minimum this week. I did get the Angels done last week, and my Trout count wasn’t nearly as high as I thought it would be (around 100). I did find out that I had a 2012 Heritage card of him that is a nice valuable card, so that was fun. The Twins are up next, and I can smell the finish line as I only have 6 teams and a few random binders left to upload to TCDB. Perhaps by mid summer I’ll have it all in the system and I’ll be available to work on uploading others collections to the site. John gets first dibs. 

I guess I’ll consider myself lucky if I can keep up the pace of uploading cards in spite of all of the craziness going on in my life right now. And maybe I’m lucky to have a Mother-in-Law who in spite of being a little needy, is nice enough to get me some random u expected packs of cards. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post.