Thursday, April 18, 2024

Sticker shock at the LCS

 I have never had an instance where I went to a card shop, pulled a bunch of cards, and then put them back because the price was just so high. That is, until today. I think part of it has to do with me growing up in the '90's and seeing '80's and '90's commons being listed for 5 cents, with semi-stars being 10 to 15 cents. I just think for what and for how much I was getting, I should've gotten some kind of discount. 

I was off today, so I got to entering my last team into TCDB. Only got through 2005, but it was something. Pop's Sportscards, the local shop in DeLand, opened at noon, and I had to pick Kyler up from school at 2:30, so I had about 2 and a half hours to look for cards. I looked through the Rays and Tigers portion of the quarter boxes first, and found about 5 cards I wanted. I was really looking for some Topps commons to help out with sets. They did have the mis-numbered 2021 Topps Update David Hale card in the Phillies 25 cent box, so my 2021 Topps Update set is officially done. Behind the counter, they had some 'vintage' boxes, and I asked for the '81 to '85 portion, which was 2 boxes worth. I spent about 2 hours digging through them, organizing them by number so I could cross them off of my wantlist. None of those suckers were in order either. After getting what I needed, it was a good 300-400 cards. Not really any stars either. Just '80's commons mostly with the random Tom Seaver or Mike Schmidt thrown in. I was hoping for maybe 40 or 50 bucks for the whole lot. It was just 90% common guys anyways. So I go to ring everything up, and the store owner had stepped out, and his wife was running the register. 'This could either be really good or really bad', I thought. It turned out to be bad. She called the owner, and he said the 'vintage' cards were 50 cents each. I told her I couldn't do that and dug through the stack for cards I really wanted. She must've texted him because she told me he could do them for a quarter each. That still would've come to 100 bucks for early '80's commons, so I purchased the cards I wanted, only like 20 cards, paying 10 bucks (I still think I spent too much), and left. The whole situation kind of pissed me off. They were the kind of owners who talk really softly when you are there, like they don't want you to hear that they are talking about you, even when they were just talking about cards prices or whatever. The lady acted all pissed when I told her I wouldn't do .50 cents on the cards. Whatever. I'm not going to pay 25 cents per card of just commons. I'm taking 400 cards off of your hands, mostly '80's commons that no current people will probably buy, so why not cut me a little bit of a deal. I just don't understand why they charge that much for what I feel are 10 to 15 cent cards. Let's look at what I did end up getting.
I figured I would get the oldest cards I found in the box (a few '70's ones that snuck in there), and anything that I thought was worth a little, plus the Tigers, Rays, and the '21 Update Hale. I really don't think any of those were worth 50 cents. I was glad to get the '85 Bergman as it completed the '85 Topps Tigers set. I think the Carson Williams card might be my first of his, and the Lowe is an SP. Not really regretting the total purchase, but I don't know how much longer I will go to Pop's with prices that high. 

In my Topps Wantlist, I have wanted to just put the price of a common card from TCDB with each set, and since I might be judging the price a little too low, why not do some of that now?  In the '71 Topps set, it was 20 cents. All of the other sets I got were 18 cents. I wasn't off that bad. Maybe I just don't know who commons and stars are. I understand they have to make a profit, but 7 extra cents for each card for just commons? The shop by where I work will do deals for volume. I'm pretty sure I can get all of the '80's Topps commons I need at 17-20 cents each and just have to pay once for shipping at JustCommons or a similar site. I just want to know what you think. Am I out of touch?

In other news, a guy on a FB junk wax site is helping me finish the '86 Topps set and is sending me all of the commons I need. Just 8 more to finish that set, and they all should arrive soon. We got good news with Karen's biopsy. They said it was benign, and that they would just check it yearly. I was really expecting the worst news with my luck lately. It still doesn't take away all of the other medical crap going on (recent lab work has some numbers back where they were when she was in the ICU last month), but at least it's not a case of figuring out what to do in 5 years if she isn't there. I have about 10 more days of freedom before Karen's mom moves in. I'm hoping to have a date night as a last night of privacy without her tagging along to things. With Karen's health, it might not happen, but maybe with all of this happening, Karen will let me buy cards a little more. 

The pineapple in my front yard is getting bigger. A few days ago, it had some nice purple things growing from the fruit, but I think they went away because it's so hot and the fact that they are kind of brown. I hope we get some of the famous Florida afternoon showers soon. I've seen some ants on the plant, and I really want this thing to be as healthy as it can so it will grow pretty big. Plus, it would be a shame to have waited 3 years and not get a tasty fruit out of it. 
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Friday, April 12, 2024

BBA: 5 best pack-pulled hits

 Well, I want to start this post off by thanking everyone who left comments on the last one. Despite what I thought, we were able to actually throw a lot of crap out and make some room in the garage. I am able to get to my cards, and there is a space for my mother-in-law to hopefully fit any crap she brings along in. I would like to have better access to my monster boxes, but I don't want to move anything until everything is brought over. 

Diamond Jesters recently started a Blog Bat-Around about your 5 best pack-pulled hits. I figured since I am still able to get to my binders and boxes that I would dig through them and figure out mine. 
For a few of these, I had to resort to not so good photos. Back in 2013 or 2014, I sold most of my autographed cards, and some of my best pulls were autographs, so I don't have access to the cards. Probably my best hit was a 2005 Bowman's Best certified autograph of Alex Rodriguez. Besides it being an A-Rod autograph, it was serial numbered to 100. It was good enough to get my photo on the Wall of Fame of Lakeland Sports Cards and Collectibles when I pulled it. Unfortunately, I really didn't have a phone then, and the few times from 2009-2011 I was back when I did, I didn't think to take a picture of it. The shop closed down at some point, and the photo of me and the card are probably dust in a landfill by now. Note some of the sweet in-person or ttm autographs around it in the photo. A 2005 Bowman Heritage Andrew McCutcheon ttm auto and a 2005 Grandstand Lakeland Tigers Justin Verlander in-person autograph. Should've kept the binders and sold my plasma for money or something. 
Number 2 is a 2003 Finest bat relic of Cal Ripken, Jr. It isn't a low-numbered or rare card, but it just looks amazing with the design and refractor technology, and Cal is one of the all-time greats. I don't pull good cards that often, but I actually pulled another Cal bat from a Gypsy Queen pack a few years later. 

I pulled this Ichiro All-Star game jersey relic from a 2007 Topps Update pack. It has his workout jersey from the 2007 game where he won the MVP award. If I put any belief in the claim that game-used cards have real jerseys in them, than this is a neat card. 

Number 4 is probably a 2003 Topps World Series Heroes autograph of Brooks Robinson. Another pull at Lakeland Sports Cards and Collectibles, the owner was probably more excited that I pulled it than I was. I would usually go there and dig through quarter bins, a dollar pack tote, and usually get a pack or 2 of new products. When I got the card, he was like 'Awesome! After just getting common stuff for the longest time, I'm glad you finally pulled something!'. To be honest, I was probably more thrilled to pull a jersey card of a common Ray or Tiger than I was from pulling the Robinson auto.  We have more autographs I regret selling. A 2003 Upper Deck vintage in-person autograph of Sparky Anderson and Hideki Matsui, and an in-person auto of Peter Gammons on a 2004 Fans of the Game insert. I do still have the 2004 Topps Grudge Match ttm autographed Mariano Rivera/Luis Gonzalez card. 
The last card is probably a 2008 Upper Deck Piece of History Mike Myers/Austin Powers pants card. It came from one of the first packs of the set that I purchased. The pack felt thick, but I didn't think anything of it, as fat packs usually screwed me over in the past. I got another few packs at Target again, and pulled a George Clooney 3 Kings relic and a Felix Hernandez/Carlos Zambrano dual relic, again from fat packs. I probably should've stopped getting packs, as luck usually isn't that good, but I probably got another 8 packs of the product, trying to pick the fattest ones I could find. I wasn't as lucky as the first times, but I did manage one last relic, a Justin Verlander jersey. 

There were a few ones that probably could've made the cut. a 2011 Topps Matt Kemp autograph, a 2011 Bowman Platinum Jason Heyward auto/jersey, and a 2017 Topps Mark Cahna 1/1 printing plate that netted me a ton of low-numbered Tigers/Rays/PC guys in a trade. But, this is a top 5, not a top 10, so I'l stick with it. 

If they would've included repacks, I could've fit a bunch in 1 spot. Back in 2003, I got a repack from K-Mart. It was an old-school one, as it came in a blister pack and the repacks were actually new-ish and not 1990 Donruss for 7 of the 8 packs. I want to say that I pulled an Andres Torres autograph from a 2003 Donruss The Rookies pack, next one was was a 2002 Upper Deck pack that produced a Lance Berkman Jersey. Next pack was a 2002 Leaf Rookies & Stars pack that I pulled a Joe Borchard jersey. I got the Borchard card autographed, so it and the Torres are no longer with me. Next pack was a 2002 Fleer Tradition pack where I pulled an Alfonso Soriano bat card. Best 4-pack stretch of non-guaranteed hit products that I have ever had. 
I finally had my first off day with more than 4 hours by myself in a little over a month. I straightened the house a little, finished putting the Rangers into TCDB, mailed some stuff at the post office, and finally watched some Futurama and South Park. The Rangers I put in (as well as the Blue Jays through 1993) left me needing just 131 cards to get to 100,000 on the site. Granted, there are somehow doubles in a few sets and I have 3 different 1994 Topps sets according to the site. Regardless, after I input the Bankee$ to the site, I will have more than enough to legitimately have 100,000, including any doubles. It will probably be just in time to use the site to dig out cards to get signed for my birthday game. 

I am off Monday and Friday of next week, and hopefully by Friday I will have the Blue Jays done or close to being finished, and we'll see how far I can get with the Bankee$. The good news is that there are cards in binders only up to 1993 or so with them, and the rest are in monster boxes, so I can just flip to the backs really easy, and they should be a a breeze to input to the site like that. Then it's just some USA cards, highlight cards, my special card/insert/parallel/refractor binder, and then my relic binder. At some point, I will probably put in my celebrity/president cards just so I can get an accurate tally on Allen & Ginter sets, and try to input all of my non-baseball Allen & Ginter mini cards so I can trade all of those away. 

I'm really hoping to get all of my cards into TCDB so I can get some trades going for my Ultimate Topps Project. I think by the time I'm done uploading, I'll have a complete Topps run from 1986-1999 and 2019-2023, with additional complete sets of '85 Traded, 2000, 2004, and 2006 Updates & Highlights, with a number of sets being within 50 or so cards from finishing. It will be fun putting the sets into binders one all of cards are in TCDB. Should be a fun few weeks ahead in spite of the mother-in-law stuff. At least the cards will be glass half full.

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

The end is near (maybe)

 I tend to be the type of person who faces change and imagines the worst possible outcome. Some of the time, it will turn out to be true, but many times, it isn’t. Don’t know if I can help it or not, but I just try to see the worst possible outcome and try to plan against it and resist the change as much as I can.  
Well, the end is near, folks. Long story short, my mother in law is moving in with us either this month or early May. It’s technically her house and we are paying her the money for the mortgage and she is paying the bank, and we are trying to get our credit up enough to where she can sign it over to us. So essentially we can’t kick her out and I’m just imagining the worst. Mark my words people. It has been stated to at she is going to try to save money and try to get into an assisted living community. She says she isn’t going to be messy and store too much of her crap here. She says she will let us discipline Kyler without putting her 2 cents in afterwards. She says we are going to have date nights once a week and won’t tag along when we leave the house. I’m telling you right now it’s going to be longer than 6 months. She won’t save money. She won’t clean. She will have boxes of crap clogging up the garage and making my baseball cards impossible to get to. She will constantly speak over us when Kyler needs disciplining. The date nights will last 2 months. She will never leave us alone. 
I may be imagining the worst, but I know at least some of those things will happen and I want to stop this move more than ever for the sake of my sanity and my marriage. 
I can see my fun skipping away. Karen is a shell of herself right now. Can’t breathe and really do normal activities. She has a lump in her stomach that they are doing a biopsy on. They did an ultrasound a few weeks ago, and when we looked up some of the medical terms in the report, many of them said the outcome is 5 years at best. I’m tired as hell but ageeed to take on more responsibility at the house and both of us are just dying. Tired as hell and don’t know how to make our life work anymore. Work is stressing her out as being a manager she is getting crap from employees and corporate. They constantly bug her at home and she can’t be present while she is worrying about work. It’s not like either of us can quit as she is making really good money that is letting us pay rent, bills and stuff, and while my job is making 80,000 or so less than hers, it gives us very good insurance. I don’t think we could make it if she went back to a nursing job and I don’t know what the hell I could do for work other than maybe a cashier or warehouse, but that might give me a Buck or two more an hour, but not the insurance. I feel trapped. 
Right now Karens  brother is about to come over and help straighten up our garage so Karens mom can store some crap in it. I fear this will be the last time I can even get to my cards as I’m going to have to stack monster boxes on top of each other in order to make more space. I’m sure they will put crap in front of it and I just really want to get it my cards and be able to organize them to get some sanity back. 
We went to Wal-Mart last night and I got what could be the last blaster for a while as I will have no where to put them after today. 
Nothing too impressive, just a blaster of ‘22 Prizm for 10 bucks. The Ripken insert is nice. 
No Rays, Tigers, or guys I collect, but the parallels are nice. Joe Ryan hurts me. Rays gave him up for 2 unimpressive months of a steroid free Nelson Cruz. The Green Muncy is set aside for Night Owl and the Red White & Blue Acuna is for Johnny’s Trading Spot, but all the rest are up for grabs. 

While it may not be the last cards I get and I may be able to get to my boxes, I am still prepared for the worst. I really hope it ends up being a short stay and we can somehow up our credit and maybe even end this whole nightmare and buy a new house a few hours away. Maybe we will figure out all this medical mess with Karen. Maybe I can get some rest and we can get the house in running order. Maybe instead of sending me cards, send me liquor. I’ll take any ideas. This thought cycle is going to make me crazy and I don’t know how to fix it. 
Thanks for supporting me through this crap and for still reading my blog even though some times I put to much life crap on it and not enough cards. Maybe someday I’ll come out of this and maybe grow some and it will all work out. I just really don’t want the way my life is right now (besides all of the medical and caretaking frustration) to end. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

2 sets with 1 envelope

 Have you ever heard the story ‘7 with one blow’?  Basically, a guy kills 7 flies with 1 swing of his handkerchief. Well, Jim of GCRL/Cards as I see them was able to knock out 2 Topps sets for me with just a pwe. 

In one of my posts before going on vacation, I mentioned that I was 1 card from finishing the 1989 Topps set. Jim commented that he had it, and I got in touch with him, and finally got him my address when I got back home. He not only sent the Denny Walling to finish that one off, but 8 other cards to help me get closer to a few others. 

I’m probably less than 50% of the way from finishing the 1983 Topps set, but I’ll take anything I can get, especially from a Hall of Famer. The ‘85 set is probably over 50% completed now, and every card helps. My ‘86 Topps set is now just 38 cards from being complete thanks to Jim, as he nearly knocked off a 3rd set. The 1989 set is complete thanks to the Walling. What was the 2nd set that I finished?  The 2004 Topps set. I thought I had purchased a 2004 Topps set from a Goodwill site a while back, but it was basically missing the stars and the Cubs. I had gotten most of the ones I needed from another collector named Jim (ironic, huh?), and just needed the LaTroy Hawkins, which Jim from GCRL was kind enough to send over. Now, in just over a weeks time, I completed the 1989 Topps, 2004 Topps, and 2006 Topps Update sets. Pretty good. Jim also sent a card to help me get closer to the 2004 Topps Traded set as well. Thanks, Jim, for the nice gesture with the Walling and other cards which helped me finish not just 1, but 2 sets!!  I hope to go through my stuff and send you back some Vlad Sr.’s tomorrow. 

Tomorrow I get the first day off by myself without commitments in probably 3 weeks. I hope to get the aforementioned Vladimir Guerrero, Sr. cards pulled from my binders, as well as some ‘93 Triple Play cards I need to send out in another trade. I’ll be stopping at the post office to hopefully send those out, and you never know what else could make its way out. 

I’ve finally went through the boxes I got off of FB marketplace last Tuesday, and hope to put those in my boxes tomorrow. That will kind of get everything a little better organized, and will allow me to finish the last 3 teams that need to get into TCDB. Once those last teams are in, I still have a few binders to put in, but it will allow me to easily see how much of the Rays/Cubs current rosters I have for when I see them play in June and try to get autographs. TCDB will be a lifesaver for me in that area as I can just type in the name of a player I don’t recognize and instantly see if I have cards of them or not. I’ve also found it makes trading easier too, as I can just go through a set and see what numbers I have and even do it by player (as I was for Vlad). The only thing the site can’t do is cross cards off of my lists by itself, (although I think it can if you do a trade with another member. I’ll have to figure that out). Anyways, I’m looking forward to a day off with mostly a bunch of card sorting, some Futurama/South Park on TV, and maybe a little housework in between so I feel good about doing cards the majority of the day. 

As most of you know, The Diamond King is doing a neat contest where he has 140 serial #d cards and whoever is closest to the actual number of all of the serial numbers combined wins the cards. Check it out. It will be interesting to see what the number is. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post.