30 June 2016

N20 Allen & Ginter Prize & Game Chickens 24: Wheaten Game Hen

This Wheaten Game Hen is another card from the eBay lot of N20 1891 Allen & Ginter Fifty Prize & Game Chickens cards I purchased a little while back. This bird has been somewhat difficult to research, as I believe Wheaten is just a color pattern that is present in several different breeds. So I am relatively certain that this Wheaten Game Hen is a Wheaten-colored Old English Game Hen. I've seen some pictures of Old English Game Fowl that look a bit thicker than this bird, but I've seen a few that look thinner, too, with the higher carriage this bird is displaying. I don't know for sure. I would guess that in 125 years a chicken breed or two might go through a few changes. This is the 24th different card I've accumulated in the 50-card set, so I'm 48% complete. The text at the top on the front of the card is a little worn, but not to the point that I rejected it as being incomplete. I am maybe a little pickier currently than I have to be, but as long as I can find cards in my desired condition level I will keep to it. Not much else to say about this one, really. I am rapidly running out of chicken cards to post about, and then it will be back to the grind of searching for more.

29 June 2016

A Relic Card Tied to an Actual Event

My go-to breaker for UFC stuff has (temporarily, maybe?) closed up shop, so I haven't been as focused on that collection lately. I was never one of his biggest customers, but I did enjoy sitting down for an evening each week to watch and participate in the breaks. I've still been picking up the occasional card or two on eBay, though, usually trying to find a few cards from one seller so I can save on shipping. That's what happened with today's two cards. There were a few more cards that I had bids in on, but one goal for this collection is to get cards for my PCs that are cheap, so I tend to get outbid a lot. It doesn't bother me as much as it used to, because there will always be something else I want. I've always got an eBay watch list that is 4 pages long, and I've got wish lists on several other sites, too, so I'm never spoiled for options when I feel like buying something.

This Jim Miller auto / relic comes from 2013 Topps UFC Knockout and is numbered # 326 / 399. Miller has lost more than he's won lately, and is going to be on the upcoming UFC 200 fight card mostly because he also fought in UFC 100 rather than because he's an up-and-coming fighter or big superstar. Good enough, I guess, and maybe a decent win on the big stage will help to prolong his career for a while longer.

I also picked up this 2012 Topps UFC Knockout Fight Mat Relic Card of Urijah Faber, numbered # 88 / 88. The edges and corners on this card were kind of roughed up, but it's probably going to be in my collection until I die anyway, so that doesn't matter too much. Maybe one of my kids will inherit my card collection, and maybe my wife will trash it or sell it for pennies on the dollar. It won't really matter to me at that point. The cool thing about this card is that it actually is tied to a specific event. Down at the bottom of the card is the sentence, "The relic contained on this card came specifically from UFC 132." I wrote this post before I wrote yesterday's post, so this is actually the second post in a row that has featured a relic from a specific event.

Looking at pictures from the event, it looks like my relic came from one of the two Harley-Davidson logos on the mat. It's pretty cool that I can match the mat piece in my card to some specific part of the mat at the event. Cruz vs. Faber was the headliner on that card, and Faber lost by decision, brining their record against each other to 1 - 1. Just a couple of weeks ago they fought again for the 3rd time, with Faber unfortunately coming out on the wrong end of a one-sided 5-round beatdown. He even hinted at retirement in the post-fight interviews. I guess that's what happens when you choose to PC the older fighters instead of the upcoming young superstars.

I've started to really enjoy watching UFC events, and I'll probably keep picking up MMA cards for as long as the fights hold my interest. It is too bad that TeamBreaks.com is taking a break, but I can understand getting burnt out or stopping because it's hard to fill breaks.

28 June 2016

Father's Day, Pt. 2: Meh Springs Eternal

I ranted in a post the day before Father's Day about my failed bid to get some packs of Panini's 2016 Father's Day promotional set. For anyone who doesn't want to go back and read it (I honestly wouldn't recommend that you do), I made some assumptions and my LCS owner made some rather vague posts about his Father's Day event, and in the end I wound up not getting any 2016 Panini Father's Day packs. So I began to plot and scheme a way to get some of them online. My first plan was to buy a product from Panini's e-store, as they had an offer running where you could get a number of packs for buying certain products. Unfortunately, going that way meant I would probably need to buy a box of basketball product I didn't really want in order to get six Father's Day packs.

Then someone on the Blowout forums posted that eBay had a coupon up for $15 off a purchase of a little more than I would have to spend to get that box of cards with the six packs of Father's Day cards. Well, heck, I decided to buy a lot of six Father's Day packs from eBay and then pick up some other stuff I'd been looking at to make up the difference. I guess you could call it a reverse box, of sorts. In spite of my plan I kind of had that sinking feeling that this mania I've had about the Father's Day packs was destined to end in more disappointment. That's how these things usually go for me, but once I am committed to an action it is hard to dissuade me, no matter how dumb my plan may seem. The lot I got was six packs strong, with 5 thin packs and 1 thick pack. I'll just go through them pack by pack, with the thick pack going last. My hopes are that I will pull 1) some NASCAR content and hopefully 2) some decent numbered rookies, parallels, relics, or autographs.

That Andrew Wiggins card is from the base set, and the Dez Bryant card is from the Panini Collection insert. I don't know much about Wiggins and I hate the Dallas Cowboys in general and I think Dez Bryant is kind of a jerk.

Again, Russell Westbrook is a base card and J.J. Watt is from the Panini Collection set. The Dunk! code card was in there, too. I tried the Dunk! app for a while, but digital trading cards just don't hold my interest for long. This is a slightly better pack, but these are still cards I wouldn't seek out on my own. Russell Westbrook is an electric player and J.J. Watt is a pretty big star in his own right, both on and off the field. 

Same format with this pack, with a base card and a Panini Collection card. This time I got two of my least favorite players in the league. There is no denying their talent, but I just don't like these guys. They play for teams that give my Broncos a hard time, and their personalities rub me the wrong way. 

My fourth pack breaks the mold with two inserts, an Elements card of Zach LaVine and a Panini Collection insert of Cristiano Ronaldo. B-O-R-I-N-G. So far this break is crushing my spirits. I am feeling like I should have made the smart move and just bought the singles I wanted from this set on the secondary market. 

Pack five again features two inserts, a Panini Collection card of LeBron James and an Elements card of Teddy Bridgewater. LeBron is a pretty good pull, so I guess at the moment this it is the card of the break for me. That in itself is a pretty big indicator that this is not going well for me. I've still got the thick pack to go, and I have yet to pull any NASCAR, baseball, or parallel/hit cards.

I didn't get any NASCAR cards from my packs, but at least Paul Goldschmidt's base card showed up to keep this from being an all basketball and football break. The thick card in the pack was probably a little better than a Father's Day manu-patch, as it's a game-used towel relic card of Tyrod Taylor, featuring a piece of cloth towel used in Buffalo's Week 1 home matchup against the Colts in 2015. The Bills won that game 27 - 14 behind a decent effort by Taylor. He went 14 / 19 with 195 yards through the air, 1 touchdown pass, and 41 yards rushing. He's still locked in as the starter for this season, so at least this card features an NFL starting QB, and I didn't have a towel relic in my collection yet.

Overall, though, this was a pretty disappointing break for me. I had that gut feeling that this was a bad move all around, but I had to chase it to the inevitable ending. I'll probably do this whole thing again next year. I suppose now I need to go out and track down the NASCAR cards I want from this set. I probably won't chase the NASCAR parallels or manu-patches, but I will chase down the base cards.

27 June 2016

N20 Allen & Ginter Prize & Game Chickens 23: Andalusian Cock

This Andalusian Cock card is my 23rd from the 50-card N20 1891 Allen & Ginter Fifty Prize & Game Chickens set. Like the others I've been posting recently, I got this from someone who posted a large number of cards from the set on eBay all at once. I came away with a couple handfuls of them, which was a huge boost to a project that had pretty much been on the back burner for 9 months. It wasn't for lack of looking, but these cards are 125 years old and it's not every day that someone posts one that is both a) in decent shape and b) in my price range.

Andalusian Rooster; Photo from FeatherSite

Andalusians are a blue-hued chicken that probably originated in Spain. They are hardy, forage well, and lay a lot of eggs, so apparently that makes them a pretty popular breed for backyard flocks. Every clutch of chickens will produce black and splash (multi-colored) birds, but whoever is in charge of chicken shows has deemed that only blue Andalusians can be shown. You still need the black and splash birds in your breeding stock, though, as the blue color tends to fade and you have to breed the black ones back into the pool to darken it up. That tells me that it doesn't matter whether you're running a fashion show for people or birds, there is always a committee there who are more than happy to tell you that you're doing it wrong.

I was watching a video a few months ago where a bonsai tree club invited an expert to come in and judge all of their trees, and the guy was just ripping these people apart. He was like, "Just the whole view of this tree does not flow. This branch is out of place, and I don't know what you're doing here. But if you turn the tree like this," and he moved the pot like 1/4-inch counter-clockwise, "it changes the whole view of the tree and hides those issues you've caused." And these people were just eating it up and apologizing for their crimes against bonsai and making excuses and it was awful. But we really are like that as humans. We all have passions and points of expertise that we use to put other people down, and we also have insecurities and fears that other people can use to put us down. I don't know what to do about it, but when it comes to card collecting it might start by letting other people collect the way they choose without bad-mouthing them or being critical of their opinions in the comments section. Just something I was thinking about this evening.

I am rapidly approaching the halfway mark in this set. I hope that I will continue to have success in finding the rest of the cards in the checklist.

26 June 2016

Danica Patrick 2011 Press Pass Showcase - Toyota / Save Mart 350

I picked up a handful of Danica Patrick parallels on eBay, so I've got a few more NASCAR cards in my collection to post on race days. There is a guy up in Canada right now who is listing what might be the most insane Danica Patrick collection in the world on eBay a few cards at a time. I can't compete for most of what he's listing, but it's been cool to watch his cards pop up in my feed. I didn't get these cards from him. They came from some other seller.

This card hails from 2011 Press Pass Showcase Racing. It's a Gold parallel and numbered # 085 / 125. These are described as being printed on double rainbow spectrum foil stock.

It's probably the coolest-looking card in this lot, but it's not the one with the smallest print run. In fact, it has the highest print run in this lot of four cards. I did finally locate some Panini Father's Day packs, so I have a chance at getting one of Danica's first Panini cards if that break goes right. I'm still waiting on them to ship, so it'll be a while before I find out. They are pretty numerous on eBay right now, too, so if the break doesn't pan out I'll still be acquiring a copy for myself soon.

This week's race is the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway in California. Danica's average starting position at this track is 21.00 over three races and her average finish is 23.67, which is slightly better than her career averages of 26.00 (Start) and 24.59 (Finish). So far in 2016 her average start has been a little worse than her career average and her average finish has been a little better than her career average. Thanks, DriverAverages.com! A few Top 20 or Top 10 finishes would really help those numbers out, so here's hoping for a good weekend for her!

Update: After starting in 11th place, Danica raced to 19th-place finish and led 3 laps, rising one spot in the season rankings from 25th to 24th overall. It's too bad that she wasn't able to turn that good starting position into a Top 10 finish, but at least she was able to stay inside the Top 20.

25 June 2016

N20 Allen & Ginter Prize & Game Chickens 22: Houdan Cock

I've still got a few more of these N20 1891 Allen & Ginter Fifty Prize & Game Chickens cards left to post from that eBay lot I purchased. This Houdan Cock card is my 22nd from the set, bringing me up to 44% completion. It's in pretty good shape (especially for being 125 years old!) with the mail problem being centering. Still, my requirements for condition aren't extremely stringent, mostly just calling for a complete image on the front and minimal to no paper loss on the back.

Houdan Rooster, image from FeatherSite.com
The Houdan is another breed with a crazy crest of feathers on its head. I figured they were an Asian breed, but they come from the Houdan region in France. That shows how much I know about anything. One cool feature they have that I haven't heard of before is a butterfly comb, as seen in the photo above. That thing is pretty wild. Almost as crazy as the walnut comb featured a couple of posts ago. These are cool birds, but I am more inclined to be a fan of the feather-footed breeds as opposed to feather-headed breeds.

24 June 2016

2013 SEGA Card-Gen Extravaganza 16: Arizona Diamondbacks

It's been over five months since I last posted a team set from the 2013 SEGA Card Gen set, finishing out the AL teams with the Toronto Blue Jays. These posts are time-consuming and labor-intensive to write, but I do enjoy seeing what each player has been up to since these came out in 2013. Today we start out in the NL with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The average number of cards per team in this set is 13, but the Diamondbacks got 16 cards on the checklist. They got at least one player for each fielding position, as well as a decent complement of players in the rotation and bullpen.

As usual, the team starts off with the catcher position. This card came out after the 2012 season, which was the last in a pretty good four-year run for Montero, with an All-Star appearance in 2011 and a couple of MVP votes in 2011 and 2012. His performance has tailed off a bit since then, although he was an All-Star again in 2014. He joined the Cubs for the 2015 season and is currently a little banged up.

At the time this set came out, Paul Goldschmidt was coming off a very good year and getting ready for a monster 2013 that saw him garner an All-Star appearance, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards, and finish 2nd to Andrew McCutchen in the MVP voting. He's been a monster in subsequent seasons as the Diamondbacks main star, and looks to be continuing his great play this year.

Aaron Hill seems to have a really good season every couple of years in between stretches of being replacement-level or slightly-better-than-replacement but injured for part of the season. He left Arizona for the 2016 season and is so far having an up year for the Brewers.

Eric Chavez played in 13 seasons for Oakland, and he was pretty good for about 9 of them. After that he couldn't stay on the field, then spent two years not being able to stay on the field for the Yankees, then moved to the Diamondbacks in 2013 for two seasons where he couldn't stay on the field. Then he retired at the end of July 2014.

Cliff Pennington joined the Diamondbacks by way of trade for 2013 after 5 years with the Athletics. He lasted a couple of years in Arizona before getting traded to the Blue Jays for a small part of the 2015 season. He then signed a 2-year contract with the Angels, where he has played in 27 games this year and is currently on the DL with hamstring issues.

Jason Kubel spent the first few years of his career in Minnesota, with 2009 really being his one standout year. Just going by the numbers, he was a pretty good offensive player during that time but his defense erased almost all of the good that came from his bat. He spent 2012 and 2013 in Arizona, then played 8 games for the Indians and closed out his career in 2014 with his original team, the Twins. They released him partway through that season.

Martin Prado was traded by the Braves to the Diamondbacks before the 2013 season as part of a package for Chris Johnson and Justin Upton. In 2014 he got traded to the Yankees for Peter O'Brien (who?), and in later 2014 he got traded to the Marlins in a deal that included David Phelps, Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones, and Domingo German. He has been pretty solid basically ever since 2008, and is putting together a decent year for a surprising (to me) Marlins team that is currently tied with the Cardinals and Mets for a Wild Card spot.

In 2013 Parra was coming off of a couple pretty good years for Arizona. Partway through 2014 he was traded to the Brewers. Partway through 2015 he was traded to Baltimore, and he signed on with Colorado for 2016, where he is currently on the DL with an ankle inury.

Cody Ross played for a million (actually 8) teams during his 12 years in MLB, hitting paydirt with an NLCS MVP award and a Championship ring in 2010 with the Giants. He was a streaky player, dealt with quite a few injuries, and was apparently a good chemistry/fan favorite kind of player. He signed as a free agent with the Diamondbacks for 2013 and spent a good portion of 2013 and 2014 injured. In 2015 he signed with the Athletics and played in 9 games before being released.

2011 was Ian Kennedy's big year, although his 2012 for the Diamondbacks wasn't awful. In 2013 things started going downhill, and he was traded to the Padres. He had a pretty good 2014 for them, but that's about it. After 2015 he was granted free agency and signed with the Royals for this season, where he has not been great through 14 starts.

Trevor Cahill started out pretty strong in Oakland with some pretty good seasons in 2009-2011. He got traded to Arizona and had a decent 2012, but in 2013 the wheels started to come off. He got moved to the bullpen and then was traded to Atlanta to start the 2015 season. That stint wasn't very successful, and he was released and signed by the Cubs for the remainder of the 2015 season. He's been pretty decent for them in a relief role, and got signed by them again for 2016.

2012 was pretty good to Wade Miley. He finished 2nd to Bryce Harper in the Rookie of the Year voting and earned an All-Star berth. He's been average or worse since then, moving to Boston for 2015 and Seattle for 2016.

David Hernandez was coming off arguably his best career year when this card was released. Things have been down for him since then. He signed with the Phillies for 2016 and had a chance to compete for the closer role, but hasn't been effective enough for that.

Oakland and Arizona seem to exchange a lot of players, and Ziegler is one of those guys. He played a couple of years for Oakland, putting up pretty good numbers in relief. He was traded to Arizona in 2011 for a couple of guys I've never heard of. He has continued to play well for the Diamondbacks and has taken the closer role and run with it after J.J. Putz and Heath Bell lost the job in 2013.

Josh Collmenter has been bounced around a bit, logging quite a bit of time as a starter and a reliever. His numbers have been pretty good throughout his six seasons with Arizona, although it looks like he's benefited from defense and luck.

J.J. Putz was a relief pitcher for all of the 12 years he played. He spent some time as Seattle's closer, had a bad year with the Mets, an okay year for the White Sox, and then signed up with the Diamondbacks. He held down the closer role for them in 2011 and 2012, but lost the job in 2013 to Heath Bell, who subsequently lost the job to Brad Ziegler.

That's about it for the Diamondbacks. Not really a lot of highlights here for the number of cards they were allocated. Sorry if the player descriptions were a bit boring. I usually try to find more anecdotes and whatnot, but I was really just trying to get through this one.