28 January 2018

Asuka Topps WWE Now

Tonight is a big night in the WWE, with the 30-Man Royal Rumble match along with the first ever 30-Woman Royal Rumble. There have been a few other blog posts discussing the event, and I'll join the crowd of people watching it. So far my military lodging internet connection has been skipping and stopping a lot during the pre-show, but we'll see how it goes.

Among the favorites to win the Women's Rumble is Asuka, the sensation out of Japan. I picked up this Topps WWE Now card of her victory way back in May 2017 at NXT TakeOver: Chicago. There were 74 of these cards printed, which is one of the higher print runs among WWE Now cards.

It will be interesting to see if any Now cards come out of the Royal Rumble. I bet there will be at least two, one for each event's winner. For the men's match, I am not sure who to pull for. Of course, the full list of entrants isn't available yet, so we don't even know who is going to be in it. I'd probably go for some of the old favorites like Cena or Lesnar, or some of the big dudes like Braun Strowman or Big E.

For the women's match, I think my order of preference is something like 1) Nia Jax, 2) Bayley, 3) Ember Moon, and 4) Naomi. We may not even see all of them in the match, but that's who I'll root for if they show up.

27 January 2018

Seeking Redemption 22: A Long-Awaited Panini Mailday

Way back in December of 2014, I pulled a redemption card for a Rookie Signatures autograph of Kawhi Leonard from a box of 2012-13 Panini Basketball. I waited, and waited, and waited. Sometimes I tried to contact someone at Panini about it, but never heard anything back. Some time ago, the card popped up on Panini's list of cards that had been produced, and I saw some of them on eBay, but I never got mine.

Finally, I saw that some people were having success in reaching out to a Twitter account, @PaniniCSM, so I gave that a shot. Nothing. I sent another Tweet. Nothing. Finally, I sent a third Tweet, asking why I saw other people getting responses but no movement on my request. That time they got back to me, and within an hour I'd let them know that I would love to have the Leonard autograph, but if it needed replacement I would like to have something from the Houston Rockets. Pretty soon after that, I got a shipping notification. The package arrived after I left for Utah, so I asked my wife to take a picture of what they sent me.

That there is my first autograph from Houston superstar James Harden. It's a Game Changers autograph from 2013-14 Panini National Treasures Basketball. That's a pretty fancy card, and I am happy with the replacement.

My wife also took a picture of the serial number on the back. This is the base version of the card, numbered # 59 / 60. It took a little bit of doing, but eventually I got in touch with someone from Panini and wound up with a card I am satisfied with.

25 January 2018

Road Cards

On my way from Idaho to Utah, I stopped at a Walmart to grab a few things I needed. While I was there, I had to stop by the card aisle to see what kind of stuff they had on the shelves. There wasn't a whole lot of stuff that was different from my 'home' Walmart stores, but I grabbed a couple of basketball hanger boxes.

First up was this 2016-17 Donruss Optic hanger box. With only 12 cards in a box, this would be better served as a fat pack or something, but I guess they can charge more for the hanger box, and have it take up more eyeball space on the shelf.

Sorry for the potato-cam pictures here. The lighting in my room might even be worse than the lighting above my desk at home. Kyle Lowry used to be a Rocket, so I guess he's the highlight of this batch.

I got a Rookie Kings card of Caris LeVert, a Prizm of Skal Labissiere, and a nice Pink Prizm parallel of Jonas Valanciunas, who is on my Fantasy Basketball team in the league run by Cards on Cards. The Pink Prizm is numbered # 16 / 25.

I also grabbed this hanger box of 2015-16 Panini Prestige out of the clearance box. This one's got even fewer cards in it, but I got sucked in by the promise of Acetate Rookies.

Here is a blurry photo of the base cards. I guess John Wall is the big name here. Those Wizards uniforms are pretty sweet.

As promised on the front of the box, I got two rookies and one acetate rookie card. Jahlil Okafor is the best of the two regular rookies, and the acetate card features Wille Cauley-Stein. Okafor isn't having a great season right now, but Cauley-Stein is pretty hot at the moment, although playing for the Kings is a bad spot for pretty much anyone. 

This was a pleasant surprise out of this box. A relic card of a legitimate all-time great of the game, Larry Bird. With most products these days pumping out rookie cards like nobody's business, it's nice to occasionally get a card featuring a good veteran or retired player, and it's hard to top Bird.

This wasn't too bad of a break, especially for basketball cards. If this were a normal basketball break for me, I wouldn't have pulled the Valanciunas parallel, and the Bird relic would be replaced with a Kenneth Faried swatch.

24 January 2018

2016 Topps Baseball Reddick Yellow Plate

I've discussed a few times in the last week that I was scheduled to attend a training course that was cancelled due to the government shutdown, which just so happened to be the final course I needed to get the certification I needed for a promotion and raise two years in the making.

Just after I decided to cancel my travel authorization and get back to work at my day job, I got an e-mail saying that the course was back on and I could attend if I got myself down to Utah by Wednesday morning. So I spent all of Tuesday trying to get authorization from HR to travel, re-booking my room, and making the five-hour drive.

Because of the late start, we are trying to pack 10 days of class into 8 days, but I don't think it will be too bad. I am happy for the opportunity to attend the course and get my promotion in spite of Congress' efforts to deny me.

It's always fun to get a 1 / 1 card of a favorite player, even if printing plates are like the bottom of the barrel when it comes to 1 / 1 cards. I feel like printing plates have a hierarchy to them as well, with the order of value generally going something like Black - Cyan - Magenta - Yellow from best to worst. There are some cases where the yellow plate isn't too bad, though, and this Josh Reddick plate from 2016 Topps Series 2 is one of them. If I remember correctly, the base card has a lot of green and yellow on it, and that makes for a pretty good bit of color on this plate. This card is also pretty similar in composition to Reddick's 2013 base card, which I built a super-rainbow for. I picked this one up on eBay for more that it's worth, but less than I was willing to pay.

Oh, and I saw this on Twitter today. It looks like the 2018 BBM True Heart wrestling set will have kiss cards in it. That's pretty cool. I also have seen a couple photos of wrestlers signing their checki polaroid-style photo cards for the set, so there might be a lot of good stuff in this year's product. I am getting excited for release day near the end of next month.

22 January 2018

Pack of the Day 182: A Blaster of 2017 Panini Absolute Racing

I'm not feeling particularly inspired by anything in my draft folder today, so I'm going to post this blaster of 2017 Panini Absolute Racing I picked up at some point last year.

There's not much to the blaster, with five cards total in the box. One of them should be an autograph or relic.

Here are the base and parallel cards from the pack. The Derrick Cope card on the right is a Spectrum Silver parallel, numbered # 114 / 299.

I got one insert card as well, a die-cut RPM card of Jimmie Johnson. This is the Spectrum Red parallel, numbered # 077 / 149. Something about his beard in this photo makes me think it's pasted on, like a disguise or something. He may want to do something about that blue Lowe's firesuit, though, if he's trying to go incognito.

The promised hit in the box is this Absolute Memorabilia Signatures card featuring a bit of red fabric and the signature of Michael Annett. The Beckett product page for Absolute Racing says that this base version should be numbered out of # / 100, but I don't see the serial number on it. There are base copies of other drivers on eBay without serial numbers as well, although the Beckett page lists print runs for all of them. Annett currently races in the Xfinity Series, where he finished 9th last year.

The government shutdown ended, but not soon enough for my class to kick off. I had to go in to work without pay today for about half the day while management decided what to do. I hope that I will be able to find another class to attend soon, because this course is all that stands between me and a 10% pay increase. I am pretty irritated with the whole thing. Hopefully we don't have any more shutdowns this year.

21 January 2018

Salvador Perez Members Only

The government is still closed, and I am still not on my way to the school I need for my big promotion at my day job. I am a little bit salty about that, but there isn't anything I can do except keep up on the news and try to keep busy with other things. Even though I am not being paid, I still have to drive in to work in the morning so that I can sign some paperwork and have my bosses tell me that the government is still closed. Just a one-card post today.

I picked up another Members Only parallel from 2014 Topps Stadium Club. This one has Salvador Perez on it. I don't have much else to say about this. Every time I think the supply of these things has dried up, I find another one. I imagine it has to end at some point, with less than 10 copies of each card in the set being printed.

I've slowed down quite a bit on my card organization project, but I try to at least get a few cards cataloged and put in the box every day. I'm approaching 4,000 cards in the organized part of my collection, and I think I'll have to expand to a second box here in another 300 cards or so.

20 January 2018

A Few Curling Autographs

About 11 months ago, I posted about the 2016 BBM Curling: Chess on Ice set. I mentioned that there were a variety of autographs available for the curlers in the set, with each individual getting four different variations. There are base black ink autographs in both vertical and horizontal formats, and then colored ink (blue for men, red for women) variations for each format. In the box I opened for that post, I got a base horizontal card and a base vertical card. I went on Yahoo! Auctions and picked up a couple of other variations to add some variety to my collection.

The horizontal cards are most common, with 49-50 black ink and 25-26 blue or red ink autographs per subject. There weren't a whole lot of these for sale at the time, but I managed to find a couple. I haven't checked to see what availability is like more recently. I wound up with two autographs from Yuna Kotani. Unfortunately, I can't find a lot of information about her online. Her name pops up on a handful of curling sites, but that's about it. This horizontal red ink autograph is numbered # 11 / 25.

Here is the vertical autograph I got for her. These are harder to find than the horizontal cards, as there are only 20 copies of each black ink cards and 10 copies of each red/blue ink card. This particular autograph is numbered # 02 / 10.

I also picked up a horizontal black ink autograph for a male curler, Yuta Matsumura. He's got a Wikipedia entry, but it's not very robust. This one is numbered # 27 / 50.

I haven't seen any news about another curling release from BBM, but if they release one I might check it out.

19 January 2018

Scratching the Throwback Autograph Itch

At the moment, I am supposed to be working on the pre-course work for a class I'm scheduled to attend next week. The problem is that a government shutdown that lasts through the weekend would cause my class to be cancelled, so I'm having a hard time getting into the homework until the Senate decides whether or not the government is going to shut down. The worst part of it for me is that this is the last class I need in order to get my next promotion, which brings with it a 10% increase in pay. Delaying the class means delaying my promotion, and that could cost me hundreds or thousands of dollars by delaying my promotion. I would like for a budget to get passed, but I don't mind working under a Continuing Resolution, at least until I get this class under my belt. At this point I think I need to look at some baseball cards to keep me from stressing out about work.

Yesterday I talked about some encased buyback autographs I'd picked up. In addition to those, I also grabbed a couple handfuls of throwback-style autographs from various years of Topps Archives. There wasn't a whole lot of rhyme or reason to it, but I tried to pick up names I recognized with an emphasis on getting as many autographs for as little money as I could.

First up is this Billy Wagner from 2016 Topps Archives. This is the Blue parallel, numbered # 043 / 199. Wagner was a great relief pitcher, and has pulled about 10% of the vote in two Hall of Fame votes to date. I guess I would be considered a 'Big Hall' guy, and I would vote him in. It probably doesn't hurt his case with me that he played a number of years for the Astros.

Kent Tekulve was one of the stars of yesterday's post, and he shows up again here with a 2015 Topps Archives card. If there were a Cardboard Hall of Fame, Kent would be in it, right alongside Oscar Gamble. His cards seem to always be cardboard fire, with his big glasses and that garish Pirates uniform. He didn't gain much favor with the real Hall of Fame voters, however, as he fell off the ballot after getting just over 1% of the vote in his first year of eligibility.

I think this Tim Wallach card was the most expensive of the bunch, but it was worth the price. It's nice to get an Expos card every now and then, and Wallach is pretty famous here on the card blogs thanks to a blogger whose quest is to obtain every copy of every Wallach card ever made. Unfortunately, I plan on keeping this one in my collection for the time being. This one comes from the 2017 Topps Archives set.

I am not too familiar with Kevin Seitzer, but it looks like he had a nice career of 12 seasons, with some pretty good numbers throughout. I like autographs with inscriptions like jersey numbers or scripture verses, so this was a definite pickup for me. This one comes from 2017 Topps Archives. 

Billy Bean had a relatively lackluster career on the field, but is known for being the 2nd MLB player to come out publicly as gay, which he did four years after he retired. The other player to do so, Glenn Burke, came out to his teammates and felt that prejudice prematurely ended his career. You can see on the back of this 2017 Topps Archives card that MLB appointed Bean as the Ambassador for Inclusion in 2014. 

Dontrelle Willis had a pretty hot start to his career, but then injuries and ineffectiveness took hold and eventually he retired. But he has a Rookie of the Year award and a World Series ring. This was the cheapest autograph in the bunch, thanks in large part to a bent corner. This one is from 2015 Topps Archives. 

Here is another Blue parallel featuring an Astro, this one being a 2017 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autograph of Jose Vizcaino. This one is numbered # 009 / 199. Vizcaino managed to put together an 18-year MLB career, mostly as a backup. He had a couple of heroic World Series moments, though, hitting the game-winning single in Game 1 of the 2000 World Series for the Yankees and hitting a game-tying single for the Astros in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series.

Sandy Alomar Sr. put together a decent 15-year career, and also had two sons play in Major League Baseball. Sandy Alomar Jr. played 20 years with a Rookie of the Year Award and 6 All-Star appearances, while Roberto Alomar played 17 years with a string of 12 All-Star berths, 2 World Series rings, and election into the Hall of Fame. This card comes from 2016 Topps Archives.

I picked up two Mike Scott autographs. He played 13 years, starting with the Mets and finishing with the Astros. This first autograph is from 2012 Topps Archives.

This one is from 2017 Topps Archives. Scott was the NL Cy Young winner in 1986, and he was 2nd in the voting in 1989 and 7th in 1987.

This was a pretty fun batch of autos to go through. I wasn't 100% familiar with all of these guys, so I enjoyed going to their Wikipedia and Baseball Reference profiles to read about their careers. Although Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs aren't usually the biggest money cards out there, they are fun on-card signatures on classic Topps designs, and I enjoy getting them.