31 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 21 - Baseball Fighting and a Good Deal on a Danica Autograph

I skipped a day of posting yesterday. I'm sure I had a good reason for it. Like the title says, today's post features baseball fighting, and the least expensive Danica Patrick autograph in my collection. Also some UFC cards. The breaks for today are 3 packs of 2012 Topps Baseball Series 2, a box of 2016 Topps UFC High Impact, and a pack of 2017 Topps UFC Knockout.

First up is the 2012 Topps Baseball. I got the last hit of the box in this batch of packs, a Golden Moments Gold parallel relic card of Jonathan Papelbon, numbered # 54 / 99. I promised baseball fighting in this post, and here it is:

He famously went after Bryce Harper in 2015 after they exchanged words about Harper not running a ball out. More exciting to me from this batch of packs was the Coco Crisp Black parallel card, which is a nice addition to my rather dormant Crisp player collection.

The Crisp card is numbered # 25 / 61. Pretty good stuff. He didn't sign anywhere after the 2016 season and took a job as a high school baseball coach, so I think he's probably done with pro ball.

The High Impact box finally dropped something other than an Al Iaquinta autograph, which I was pretty happy to see. Even better was that the autograph is from a decent name in the UFC, Amanda Nunes, who is the current Women's Bantamweight champion. My Femme Fighters insert was Tecia Torres, which is a duplicate for me. Still, the Nunes autograph makes this box a winner.

The Knockout pack was pretty good as well. First up is this Tier One Autograph card of Joanna Jędrzejczyk, who only recently lost the Women's Strawweight title to Rose Namajunas after successfully defending it 5 times. This is the base version, numbered # 018 / 199.

The second hit in the pack was this Fight Mat Relic Card of Lyoto Machida. This is the base version, numbered # 69 / 99. I still think it's funny that Topps puts 'FIGHTER-WORN MEMORABILIA' on the front of these mat relic cards. The mat is an important part of the action, but it's not really worn by the fighters. You wouldn't sell a piece of basketball court as player-worn.

A while back I saw that Danica Patrick had a new book, Pretty Intense, coming out, and there were autographed copies available for pre-order through Barnes & Noble. I missed out on it because it was one of those things I just kept putting off for a while.

Then on release day I went back to the Barnes & Noble site and saw that signed copies were available again, so I ordered one. It was like $24 including shipping. I thought it was pretty cool, and they sold out again pretty fast, so I'm glad I checked when I did. It's too bad it wasn't an in-person signing like the one I went to in September for Charlotte Flair, but Boise isn't exactly a hot spot for celebrity appearances. I think Danica did a signing in New York City, which is a little bigger than Boise. Actually, New York City probably has more people than the whole state of Idaho, and maybe a couple of our surrounding states as well.

I flipped through the book a little bit. It looks like a decent look into Danica's personal workout, nutrition, and mental health regimen / philosophy. I may eventually pick up an unsigned copy to actually read through.

That does it for today, and I guess for this year.

29 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 20 - Chrome, a Familiar Signature, and Shiny Football Cards

I've seen quite a few memes mentioning that if you're still not back at work, you're at the point where you don't really know what day it is. I am kind of at that point. Due to our schedule at work, I was able to take three days of leave and end up with ten days off in a row. Pretty good stuff, but I don't know how I will be able to go back after all this time off.

Today's is the last day in the Cyber Week Breaks that features all UFC cards, in the form of 8 packs of 2017 Topps UFC Chrome and another box of 2016 Topps UFC High Impact. I added some football cards from a 2017 Donruss Optic Football group break to the end, so there's something for folks who aren't fight fans.

The last batch of Chrome packs dropped more serial-numbered goodness on me, along with my final autograph. The Karolina Kowalkiewicz is a Green Refractor, numbered # 72 / 99. The Luke Rockhold insert is the Refractor version of his Top of the Class card, numbered # 77 / 99. The Johny Hendricks Gold Refractor is numbered # 39 / 50. The Rashad Evans autograph is a base version, so it doesn't get a number.

Hey, it's another Al Iaquinta autograph! At this point, I'd be pretty happy with literally any other signature out of a High Impact box. The Carla Esparza Femme Fighters insert is a double for me, but that's okay. I like the Bruce Buffer cameo in the background.

I bought into a case break of 2017 Donruss Optic Football. The teams I wound up with are the Broncos, the Falcons, and the Cardinals. There were a bunch of base cards in the package, but I only took pictures of some of the Prizm parallels. There are a couple of base designs up there, as well as a Gridiron Kings card of Devonta Freeman and a 1981 Tribute card of Julio Jones.

I did all right as far as serial-numbered cards and hits go. The card on the left is a Black Prizm parallel of Carlos Henderson's Rated Rookie autograph, numbered # 01 / 25. The middle card is another Carlos Henderson card, this time his Rookie Patch Autograph card, numbered # 01 / 20. The last Broncos card is a Blue Prizm parallel of Von Miller's Gridiron Kings card, numbered # 072 / 149.

I got a couple more Blue Prizm parallels for the Cardinals and Falcons, a Chad Williams from the base set and a Matt Ryan from the 1981 Tribute set. I also got a Haason Reddick autograph and a Gold Prizm parallel of Carson Palmer, which is a pretty good card. I think I just now realized that it's a Carson Palmer card and not a Kurt Warner card.

The Williams card is numbered # 082 / 149, and the Matt Ryan is numbered # 140 / 149. You can see the card backs here, although I didn't take a picture of the back of a Gridiron Kings card. The Reddick autograph isn't numbered. The Carson Palmer Gold Prizm is numbered # 07 / 10. 

I got some pretty decent cards in this break. I don't follow the NFL this year as closely as I have in other years. There has been a lot of drama in the league and the Broncos fell behind pretty early in the year, so I didn't have a lot of incentive to keep up. I don't even know if I watched a single game this season. I guess there is still time, but I have other things to do.

28 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 19 - R2-D2, Chrome Rondas, and Bowman's Best

For today's breaks, I opened the last 8 packs of Topps Star Wars: Jedi Legacy and 8 packs of 2017 Topps UFC Chrome. I also decided to post the results of a group break I was part of for some 2017 Bowman's Best. That will be down at the bottom.

The Jedi Legacy packs contained the second and last hit of the box, and it was a pretty good one. These Jabba the Hutt's Sail Barge relics only fall about 1:14 boxes, so they are some of the hardest hits in the product, surpassed only by relic cards containing fur from Chewbacca's costume. In 2015 I was able to land the Leia version of the sail barge relic, which was one of my grail cards. I am pretty happy with this as the second hit of the box. 

The UFC Chrome packs were pretty good this time around. I got a couple of Ronda Rousey cards, a Fire insert and a Green Refractor parallel. The Green Refractor is # 45 / 99. I pulled two other numbered cards out of these packs. One is the Pulsar Refractor parallel version of Georges St-Pierre's Fire insert card. That one is numbered # 10 / 50. The other is the first autograph out of this box, a Green Refractor autograph of Robbie Lawler. It is numbered # 87 / 99. Those are both pretty good cards. I think the Lawler card is the first sticker autograph I have out of Chrome. It's cool that he signed it with his nickname, Ruthless.

I got into a case break of 2017 Bowman's Best. I don't know if it was the smartest thing to do, but I did it. I wound up with the Mets and the Royals. I actually bid on the Royals spot before I looked at the checklist, and that made me panic a bit. They don't have much in the set at all. Here are some of the base cards and Refractors I got.

I also got a couple of Mets inserts. The Dean's List inserts give grades to each prospect, according to Baseball America. The Best Cuts insert rehashes a design from 1997, and the back lists a few of the player's awards or highlights.

The topsy-turvy Mirror Image inserts show two players who have similarities to each other, and are also a little headache-inducing to look at.

You may have noticed that all the cards shown so far feature Mets. The Royals really don't have much on this checklist, but the one Royals card I did pull in the break was the best one I got. This is a Best of 2017 Autographs Red Refractor parallel of Jorge Bonifacio. It's numbered # 09 / 10 and features an on-card autograph. Pretty cool stuff.

27 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 18 - Lounging Around

I still haven't seen the new Star Wars movie, but at least I have Star Wars cards to open and look at. I feel like a bad fan, but I just have a hard time getting out of the house to see a movie. Maybe I'll try to go next Tuesday after work, when they have the $5.00 tickets. Other than that, today has been a pretty lazy day for me. I did some cleaning and some napping, and that's about it. Today's break is a pack of 2016 Topps Star Wars Masterwork and a pack of 2016 Topps UFC High Impact.

Here are the base and inserts from the Star Wars pack. I got some pretty decent base cards in here, with Luke Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, and a Blue parallel of C-3PO. The Momaw Nadon card is an Alien Identification Guide insert, and my copy is a Canvas parallel, numbered # 64 / 99.

My hit from the box is another autograph, this time a Rainbow Foil parallel of Keisha Castle-Hughes as Queen Apallana, numbered # 44 / 50. She didn't actually sign any base autographs for the set, so this is her most numerous card in the autograph set. I don't recognize her as an actress, but she's apparently been nominated for or won quite a few awards.

I got a decent Femme Fighters insert out of the High Impact box, but then I pulled yet another Al Iaquinta autograph. That's the 4th one from this break. It would be really nice to have a little more variety in my High Impact autograph pulls. I wonder if this will be the last one, or if I still have a couple more tucked away in the remaining 3 packs?

26 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 17 - Playing in the Snow

Today we went out to my dad's place to make use of the snow that fell over Christmas. He strapped some seats onto an old car hood, tied the hood to the four-wheeler, and pulled the kids around in the snow. They all had a great time, and didn't want to stop. Some of their cousins were there, and I got to see my sister who is home for the holidays from some Navy training. After sledding, drinking hot cocoa, and feeding the cows, we went out for pizza. It was a pretty good day all around.

Here are my boys, shortly after their first round of sledding and just as I was about to drop my phone in the snow.

Today's packs are the first 8 packs in the last box of 2017 Topps UFC Chrome, another pack of 2016 Topps UFC High Impact, and another pack of 2017 Topps UFC Knockout. Tomorrow kicks off two days in a row with Star Wars cards among the breaks, UFC won't be the only thing on tap for a little bit. In fact, out of the six remaining days of Cyber Week breaks, there is only one more all-UFC day.

We start off the Chrome box with two box hits, a Blue Wave Refractor of Frank Mir and an X-Fractor of Jessica Andrade. The Mir card is numbered # 02 / 75, while the Andrade card does not carry a serial number.

The High Impact box had an autograph of Andre Fili and a Femme Fighters insert of Valerie Letourneau. The Letourneau insert has a pretty deep dimple along the top edge, so I'm glad it was a double and not one of the cards I needed for the set.

The Knockout boxes keep on giving with another strong pack. This one held a Knockout Relic Green parallel of Cody Garbrandt, numbered # 31 / 50. The second hit in the pack was a Knockout Autograph Relic of Paige VanZant. It's just the base version, but even her base card from this insert set is really short-printed, with this one being numbered # 20 / 35. This wasn't a bad pair of pulls, with some relatively low-numbered cards of a couple younger stars in the UFC.

25 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 16 - Christmas Packs

There's not really much about today's packs that makes them fit the holiday, but today is Christmas and that makes these Christmas packs. I didn't get any cards for Christmas, but I was kind of expecting that because this Cyber Week order was pretty huge.

Two of my boys went to sleep pretty early on Christmas Eve, but the other one couldn't sleep because he was too excited about Santa's imminent arrival. Then he couldn't sleep because he was stressed out that if he didn't sleep, maybe Santa would skip our house. He finally nodded off, though, and Santa dropped off plenty of gifts. I was especially proud of my sons for their gift-giving this year. We took them to the LEGO Bricks & Minifigs store this week, and they all thoughtfully picked out gifts for each other. Then this morning they were all gracious in receiving those gifts, even though they weren't the big-ticket items under the tree. Sometimes it's hard to tell if the lessons we're teaching them are getting through, but days like today give me hope for them.

Today's breaks are 2 packs of 2015 Topps UFC Chronicles and 8 packs of 2017 Topps UFC Chrome. I decided to add another pack of 2017 Topps UFC Knockout to the break as well, because it's Christmas and a Christmas break deserves some hits. 

The Chronicles packs featured a handful of parallels and another buyback. None of them are extremely exciting to me. The Gold is # / 88, the Black & White is # / 188, and the Green is # / 288. I have toyed with the idea of building a complete set of the Black & White cards before, but the checklist is huge and it would take a lot of effort to do it.

Here is the non-horizontal parallel I pulled from the packs. It's a Green # / 288. Again, Jared Rosholt isn't really a guy I collect, so this card doesn't do a whole lot for me.

The Topps Chrome packs yielded a couple of box hits. Both the Blue Wave Refractors and X-Fractors are seeded one per box, but only the Blue Wave Refractors are numbered. The Jessica Aguilar card is # 49 / 75.

The Knockout pack was pretty good. The first hit was this Demian Maia Tier One relic card. This is the base version of his card, numbered # 07 / 99. He's a pretty popular fighter who has been around for a long time and won a lot of bouts.

The second hit in the pack would have been even bigger a couple of years ago, before he got over-matched by Mickey Gall, but this Red autograph parallel card of CM Punk is still a pretty good pull. These Red cards are pretty rare, and this one is numbered # 06 / 10.

24 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 15 - A Catchy Title Goes Here!

I am having a hard time coming up with a title for this post, so I am just moving on without one. Today's packs were 2 packs of 2016 Panini Certified Racing and a box of 2016 Topps UFC High Impact. There wasn't a lot going on with them, so I added a pack of 2017 Topps UFC Knockout to the break to help it along.

The Certified packs were so dull that I only scanned this Danica Patrick base card. That's how it goes sometimes. It's a nice enough card, and it's always fun to pull a card of someone you collect.

The High Impact box included a Rose Namajunas Femme Fighters insert. It would be a better pull, but I already got that card on Day 3. I believe the Thiago Alves autograph is a new one for me. I'm glad it's not another Al Iaquinta autograph. 

My hits from the Knockout pack were pretty good. First up is an Anderson Silva Tier One relic card. This is the Green parallel, and my copy is numbered # 04 / 50. I also got a Tier One autograph card featuring the signature of Arianny Celeste. This is the base version of her card, numbered # 18 / 50. Both of these folks are pretty popular, so it's nice to get some relatively low-numbered hit cards of them.

We are about ready for Christmas. The kids have been going nuts all day, asking what time it is and counting down the hours until bedtime. They will be pretty excited when tomorrow finally arrives. Our boys are all into LEGO kits, so that's what most of the gifts will be. Before we wrapped presents the other day, the opening to our attic looked like this:

Some of those sets are for me, so I guess I'll have a pretty good Christmas morning, too. I think the kids are about to actually get into bed, so I'd better go help wrangle them. I hope my readers also have a good holiday season.

23 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 14 - Baseball Hits, a Green Cyborg, and a Wrestling Mail Day

Today's breaks went pretty well, as I opened 3 packs from my 2012 Topps Series 2 jumbo box and 8 packs of 2017 Topps UFC Chrome. I also got a couple of autographed pictures in the mail from a wrestler, so I'll show those off at the end of the post.

I got two of the three hits from the jumbo box in this batch of packs. First up is this Golden Moments autograph of Jarrod Parker. He had a couple of good years for the Athletics in 2012 and 2013, but then injuries and surgeries kind of knocked him out of the loop. It looks like he pitched a bit in the minors in 2015, but that's about it. I don't know what he's up to now.

The second hit of this batch was a manufactured Team Rings relic card featuring Pirates great Roberto Clemente. Manufactured relics aren't really my thing, but this is a nice-enough card as far as looks go. It is thick and heavy enough that you could probably carry is as a self-defense bludgeon.

The UFC Chrome packs I opened were pretty good to me, dropping several serially-numbered cards on me. The first is this Green Mirko Cro Cop Refractor, numbered # 94 / 99. Colorful Refractors are still fun, even after many years of Topps using the same formula for Chrome parallels.

Next up is the Refractor version of Tyron Woodley's Tier One insert. This shiny card is numbered # 91 / 99. I think the inserts in this product are pretty nice for the most part, and the Refractors are even better.

Slotting in between the Refractor inserts and the Superfractors are the Pulsar Refractors, like this Arianny Celeste Top of the Class card. This is a nice, shiny card, and features one of the more popular subjects featured on UFC cardboard. This one is numbered # 04 / 50.

Closing things out with another Green parallel, here's a Green Refractor autograph of Cris 'Cyborg' Justino. She is an absolute juggernaut, and she'll be fighting Holly Holm pretty soon. I was pretty happy to pull this card, as Cyborg hasn't been in the UFC all that long and her cards are riding high on the wave of novelty. It is cool that the UFC is opening up more weight divisions for women, so that more fighters have the opportunity to fight at reasonable weights.

I got a couple of autographed photos in the mail today from Jazzy 'Alpha Female' Gabert, who is a wrestler/MMA fighter out of Germany. I've written before about collecting some of her Japanese trading cards from her tours with the Stardom wrestling promotion, but lamented that the product didn't feature her autographs. I reached out on Facebook and purchased a couple of her photos directly. She signed them, along with some motivational inscriptions. The one on the left says, "Believe in yourself and in your dreams," and the one on the right reads, "Today you are a FIGHTER, tomorrow you are a WINNER! #BeAlpha" Pretty cool stuff. She was pretty popular during the WWE's Mae West Classic tournament, and there seems to be a decent number of people clamoring for her to get a contract with NXT or WWE. I don't know if that will happen, but it would be cool if it did. I wouldn't mind getting a few Topps cards with her on them.

That's all for today. We finally got our tree set up and our gifts wrapped under it, so I guess we're ready for Christmas now. The kids are pretty excited, which is fun to see.