17 April 2016

A Brief Update on My Travels

I have been busy with work the last little while, and part of that work involved a bit of travel. As expected, my internet connection has been unreliable at best and I haven't bothered trying to post on the blog, let alone maintain the post-a-day pace I kept up from January through March. Yesterday I had an unexpected half-day off, and got on board with a couple of friends to see Philadelphia. We saw the Liberty Bell, ran up the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, saw the Zoo, and attended an actual baseball game. While waiting in line to see the Liberty Bell (I thought it would be bigger), I had the sudden flash of inspiration to see if the Phillies were playing. As it turned out, they were at home against the Nationals, with Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer set to face off at 7:05 PM. To my surprise, my companions were open to the idea of attending a game, so after seeing the Zoo and the Rocky statue we went to the park a little early and got some seats with a decent view of the field. 

The game wasn't that great, as the Nationals jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and continued piling on runs en route to an 8-1 victory over the home team. There were plenty of good moments, though. I got to see Bryce Harper, one of the game's current best players, hit a home run. I got to see Max Scherzer, a Cy Young-winner, pitch a good game. Scherzer even helped out on offense, knocking in a couple of runs with an RBI double. The Phillies' lone run came on a Cameron Rupp home run, so I got to see them 'ring' that big lit-up bell in the background of my photo. The Phillie Phanatic's antics were fun to watch. The Philadelphia fans lived up to their reputation, soundly booing Harper and Jayson Werth every time they made an appearance. One guy in our section got a little too inappropriate with his Harper remarks and the staff invited him to leave. The guy clearly crossed the line, and it was good to see the staff keeping it under control. Most of the fans in our section were friendly and sociable, so that one jerk seemed to be the exception.

This was the first MLB game I've been able to attend since I went to an Astros-Reds game with my dad and my grandpa when I was 7 or so. It was a great experience, and I'm glad the Phillies happened to have a home game that lined up with my time off.

05 April 2016

Breaking it Down 33: 2016 Topps UFC High Impact and 2015 Topps UFC Champions Hits

I am a little behind on posting stuff I've received from UFC box breaks over at Team Breaks. Right now the focus over there is mostly on 2016 Topps UFC Knockout, but a couple of weeks ago he was closing out the rest of his 2016 Topps UFC High Impact and 2015 Topps UFC Champions stuff.

I was lucky enough to get a Red parallel out of one of the High Impact boxes. These were a 1:11 box pull and they are limited to 8 copies. I got this TJ Dillashaw card numbered # 1 / 8. No complaints there.

I think this Dan Miller autograph came from a separate box of High Impact. The autographs are unnumbered. This isn't an incredible hit, but in a 1-hit box it's always good to be the person who gets the hit.

I also managed to get something from the Champions breaks. This die-cut Khabib Nurmagomedov autograph is numbered # 45 / 50. This is my second copy of this card, as I got # 46 / 50 in a break back in January. Not much commentary out of me today, as it is late and I want to get to bed. I've got a couple of busy days ahead of me and I need some rest.

04 April 2016

No Baseball on Opening Day: Neil Magny 2015 Topps UFC Chronicles Parallels

It's Opening Day Part 2 for baseball, but I don't really have any baseball cards scanned and loaded into Blogger, so I am rolling with what I've got. The Astros' game today got postponed anyway, so Opening Day was kind of a dud for my team.

One interesting thing from the world of baseball cards is Topps' new Now product. Supposedly each day they will post a couple of standard-sized baseball cards on their site, offer them for about 24 hours, and then cut off sales and announce the print run. Once the previous day's cards go away, another batch of cards comes up for sale. They come with free shipping, but the two they listed today had a $9.99 price tag. It'll be interesting to see what the print runs are on these (edit: 356 for the Kansas City Royals card and 266 for the Francisco Liriano card). I imagine there will be a collector or two out there with deep pockets who tries to get whatever is released each day, while others might collect their favorite players or teams, and others will probably ignore the program altogether. I think it's interesting, but I will probably wait to see if one of my favorite players pops up before giving it a try.

I picked up a couple of Neil Magny parallels from 2015 Topps UFC Chronicles for my PC. This first one is a Green parallel which is numbered # 156 / 288. Magny had one heck of a fight recently against Hector Lombard. He got absolutely rocked early in the first round and I thought the ref was going to stop the fight, but Magny was able to do just enough to show that he was defending himself and hold out for round two. In the second round Magny got Lombard on the ground and just punched the heck out of Lombard for what seemed like forever. Everyone seemed a little surprised when the ref didn't stop the fight, but when round three started Magny took Lombard back to the ground and started beating on him again and this time the ref decided enough was enough. It almost seemed like the ref felt bad for not stopping the fight in the first, so he was giving Lombard a chance at recovery like the chance he gave to Magny.

The other card I got from the set is this Gold parallel, numbered # 62 / 88. There's not much else to say about these cards. There are some parallels I haven't picked up yet, but maybe eventually they'll surface and I'll get a shot at them. I wonder how much of each UFC set's print run gets opened up, or how long it takes for a significant portion of the print run to be opened?

03 April 2016

2012 Press Pass FanFare Magnificent Materials Josh Wise

I am sharing another NASCAR card today featuring one of the drivers I follow, Josh Wise. He finished in 38th today at the STP 500 after dropping out early due to engine issues. Other drivers I follow, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick, finished in similar places (14th and 16th, respectively) but those results are disappointing for Earnhardt and a step up for Patrick. Earnhardt dropped two spots in the standings and Danica's spot in the points went up by three.

This firesuit relic card is from the 2012 Press Pass FanFare Magnificent Materials set. It is numbered # 077 / 299 and came as part of a group of Josh Wise cards I ordered together so I could take advantage of combined shipping.

My post titles and written content have been a bit lacking lately. The shortfall probably arises from a mix of blogging fatigue and this lingering illness I've been battling. It's like the cold / flu that keeps on giving. Much of the time I would normally spend blogging is spent sleeping or trying to sleep. I will probably be skipping out on the blog for a month starting in about a week, as I will be away from my collection and my internet connection. I thought about queuing up some posts to keep the blog running in my absence, but I don't think I'll get around to it.

02 April 2016

2012 SEGA Card-Gen Zack Greinke Foil Rare

Yesterday I showed off a wrestling card I purchased from a seller in Japan. Today I'll show the baseball card that came alongside it.

This Zack Greinke card comes from the 2012 SEGA Card-Gen set. It's a Foil Rare card, which as I understand it was basically the insert set in SEGA Card-Gen. There is a separate set of Foil Rares that was given away as tournament prizes, but they look a little different. These regular Foil Rares have a different picture than the player's base card, a foil background, a different bio on the back, a one-point attribute increase, a different card number (denoting their place in the Rare checklist) and players of the actual arcade game noted that Foil Rare players generally did better in the video game.

I don't have any particular affinity for Greinke, but I don't necessarily seek out his cards. Back when he played for small-market teams I would draft him on my fantasy baseball teams, but once he hit the big time (and his numbers got even better) I stopped paying the price for him. Speaking of fantasy baseball, I had Greinke's new teammate, A.J. Pollock, on all of my rosters this year and he just broke his elbow. I think it's going to be a long season for me.

01 April 2016

2016 BBM True Heart Japanese Women's Pro Wrestling Cassandra Miyagi Autograph

I try to keep my eye on the listings for Japanese wrestling cards, because it seems like there is always something interesting up for sale. There are a handful of regular sellers who cycle their listings over and over, but every so often a new player enters the fold with an item or two. Recently a seller in Japan posted a few listings featuring two of my favorite exports from that country, BBM True Heart wrestling cards and SEGA Card-Gen baseball cards. I've purchased a few things from him before, most notably one of the prize items in my collection, a complete set of 2013 SEGA Card-Gen baseball cards that I am still trying to finish blog posts for. This time I came away with just two items, one wrestling card and one baseball card. I'm showing the wrestling card first.

This one hails from the recently released 2016 BBM True Heart Japanese Women's Pro Wrestling card set. The wrestler is Cassandra Miyagi, who is affiliated with the SENDAI Girls Pro-Wrestling promotion. I haven't seen much of her work in the ring; I've got a match between her and Rabbit Miu bookmarked to watch but I haven't made the time for it yet (edit: it wasn't the greatest match I've ever seen, tbh). I bid on the card mostly because she went above and beyond on her autograph, covering most of the card with doodles. She definitely did more than just a couple of scribbled initials. Her hairstyle / makeup is pretty distinctive, which really sets her apart from the other SENDAI wrestlers, who as far as I can tell are pretty traditional as far as ring gear goes. Although I can't say that I really have contacts in Japan because I don't have any real relationships with these sellers, it is nice that a few eBay sellers and webstore owners have made it possible for me to get items like this for my collection.