25 May 2018

Target Does Right by the Little Guy - 2018 Bowman Mega Box

I stopped at the local Target last night to see if they had any Bowman Mega Boxes. I checked the card aisle and the toy section, and they didn't have them. I almost skipped going today while I was out on errands, but I decided to at least give it a shot. There wasn't anything in the card aisle, but as I approached the toy aisles I saw a small crowd gathered. Target had actually posted an employee near the Mega Box display, and he was rationing them out with a limit of four per customer. I saw one guy who looked like he might be looking to fight the Target worker, but he eventually took his four boxes and moved on. I asked for three boxes, and the employee handed them over. I also told him that I appreciated what they were doing, and he said that they try to do that if they feel a product is hot and likely to be cleared out and scalped by resellers. He said that if I have friends who are looking for Mega Boxes, they have some more in the back, and they can go and ask for them. If you're in Nampa, Idaho or thereabouts, they had Mega Boxes as of noon today.

Here is what the box looks like. The box is bigger than a blaster, with fewer packs, and it's a bit cheaper than a blaster. The real draw here is the 2 Mega Box exclusive Chrome packs.

Here are the odds and whatnot from the back of the box. You've got your usual assortment of inserts, parallels, and autographs.

These were the highlights of the regular Bowman packs from my first box. Nothing too crazy here.

Here are the highlights from the initial two packs of Mega Box Chrome. The Green parallel of Heliot Ramos is # 09 / 99. 

Here are some highlights from the regular Bowman packs in the second box I opened. I should probably be showing off more prospect cards, but I don't know any of those guys. Kyle Tucker is one of the hotter prospects the Astros have coming up. I just learned that the Astros released one of my PC guys, Jon Singleton, after he tested positive on another drug test and earned himself a 100-game suspension. He wasn't likely to make the big-league roster again anyway, but getting suspended again for drugs isn't the way to make yourself attractive to any other teams out there. I'm guessing that this might really be the end of the line for him when it comes to baseball.

There was some color in this Mega Box. The Jorge Mateo Gold parallel is # 16 / 50, while the Purple #Trending insert of Sixto Sanchez is # 150 / 250. Ronald Acuna and Royce Lewis are some pretty good base pulls.

The last box I opened gave up some Astros, Vlad Jr., one of the Braves' hot players, and some other stuff from the regular packs.

The inserts from the Mega Box packs weren't that interesting (to me), but I did get Kyle Tucker, Shed Long, and Adbert Alzolay from the base cards.

This wasn't an earth-shattering break, but I was glad to have a chance at opening a few Mega Boxes. I thought it was pretty cool of the local Target to ration them so that more people could have a chance, although not everyone at the store today felt the same.

23 May 2018

She-Hulk by Rodrigo Martins

Another day, another She-Hulk sketch card. The last She-Hulk card I showed off came from the Rittenhouse Marvel Dangerous Divas Series 2. This one comes from the first Dangerous Divas set, released in 2011.

The artist is Rodrigo Martins, who also goes by lengthened (Rodrigo Martins dos Santos) and shortened (Rod San) versions of his name. I haven't found an online store for him, but he does have active Instagram, Facebook, and DeviantArt profiles. I like his version of She-Hulk on this card. She looks sufficiently strong for a Hulk, and I enjoy the way he made her interact with the card border. I'd like to track down more of his artwork in the future.

21 May 2018

She-Hulk by Federico Blee

I've got a pretty big backlog of sketch cards and other artwork to post about. I don't know if I'll ever get around to posting it all, but I'm going to try. Things have been kind of busy for me lately. I guess things are always busy for everyone, but I feel like I'm juggling a fair amount of stuff at the moment. We're in our big summer push at work. My Army physical fitness test is coming up. I have Cub Scout stuff I have to take care of. I wasn't planning on going back to school, but I got an e-mail about a tuition assistance program for my job series that will basically cover an MBA for free, so I am in the process of applying for an MBA program. I'm looking forward to this weekend. My wife and I are driving up to Spokane for a Weird Al Yankovic concert. It'll be a lot of driving over two days, but every review I've read from his tour has been great.

Today's sketch card comes from the 2014 Rittenhouse Marvel Dangerous Divas Series 2 set. It features one of my favorite Marvel characters, She-Hulk. The artist is Federico Blee, who is best known for his work as a colorist in comics. He doesn't seem to have a huge online presence, but he does have some art on his Facebook page. He also has a DeviantArt profile. He did some work on the She-Hulk comic book series, so it's nice to have a sketch card of the character from him. I picked it up on eBay last year.

18 May 2018

Olajuwon Sole of the Game

One piece of memorabilia I've been wanting for a long time is a trading card featuring an embedded piece of shoe in it. There have been a number of products produced with chunks of game-worn shoe relics, but I haven't ever been able to find the right one at the right price.

I finally tracked one down late last month. I actually didn't win the auction for this one, but the seller sent me a Second-Chance Offer because the high bidder had won another card from him and couldn't afford to pay for both. It's a Sole of the Game insert featuring Hakeem Olajuwon from 2014-15 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball. This is the base version of his card, and it's numbered # 07 / 30. The card was shipped from Australia, and I thought it might be lost for good in the mail. The tracking number showed it leaving a processing center in California on April 29th, and there were no updated in the status until it arrived in Boise yesterday. About a week ago I submitted a search request on USPS.com to see if they could find it, but I never heard anything from them. I don't know how it spent nearly three weeks getting from there to here, but I am glad it made it safely. The card is extremely thick, probably because it has a piece of Olajuwon's sole in it.

The Rockets managed to tie their Conference Finals series with Golden State at 1-1 the other day, and I'm hoping they can advance to the NBA Finals. I think whichever team comes out of the West will have a pretty good shot at winning the title over the Celtics or the Cavaliers.

16 May 2018

Basketball 10-Pack

I made a trip to Target the other day to pick up some padded mailers for a couple of packages I've been meaning to send out. Since I was already there, I had to check out the card aisle to see what there was to see. The shelves were pretty well cleared out of any baseball that interested me, so I had a look at the other options available.

I finally settled on a 10-pack basketball repack box, largely because of the Excalibur pack that was visible in the window. I figured the upside of a basketball repack was that they couldn't spring any Triple Play on me, but I forgot about Panini Complete, the low-budget set that Panini makes to appeal to set collectors. I got four packs of the 2016-17 version in this repack.

It's still a better product than Triple Play, though. It's got a large base set, which means that you get cards of many NBA players that don't appear in the standard 100-card stars and rookies checklists that dominate the landscape. There are a couple of insert and parallel sets to chase, including a Silver and Gold parallel system that brings to mind the old Collector's Choice formula. The best base card I pulled was probably that Kevin Durant card in the upper left. I got a No Back parallel of Meyers Leonard, a couple of inserts, and four Silver parallels. I guess the Vince Carter is my favorite of the Silver cards I pulled.

The 2016-17 Donruss packs held the hit of the break, with that Holo Laser Orange parallel of Frank Kaminsky. The card is numbered  # 11 / 25 and the shiny rays of foil look pretty neat. I'm not a Jazz fan, but I can appreciate how good Karl Malone and the Jazz were for such a long time. I'm still salty at them for beating the Rockets in 1997 and 1998.

The 2015-16 Donruss pack had an Anthony Davis insert and a Rudy Gobert base card. I know I just got done talking about how much I dislike the Jazz, but I like Gobert.

The most notable cards in the 2012-13 Panini NBA Hoops pack were coaches, with Gregg Popovich and a Glossy parallel of Scott Skiles. Vince Carter makes another appearance in the break, this time in a Mavericks uniform.

I am not a fan of Prizm, as it tends to be a wall of dull silver, but I got a couple of nice cards in the 2015-16 Panini Prizm pack, an All-Star card of current Rocket Chris Paul and a Point Men insert of Allen Iverson.

The 2015-16 Panini Excalibur pack wasn't all that exciting, but it had some good veteran cards, a Lakers rookie, and a Camo Crusade insert of Michael Carter-Williams. I especially like the picture of LaMarcus Aldridge in the camo Spurs uniform.

All told, this was a decent repack box. I could have done much worse for the money, and even the filler Panini Complete packs turned out okay.

15 May 2018

Rainbow in the Dark 39: Neil Magny 2017 Topps Chrome

I haven't posted any UFC cards in over a month, so I thought I'd share a bit of a rainbow I worked on from 2017 Topps UFC Chrome. This is a product I liked a lot, and I opened several boxes of it. I also bought into a few group breaks for specific fighters and picked up quite a few cards on the secondary market.

One of the fighters I follow is Neil Magny. I like him because he fights frequently and is a pretty good all-rounder. He is also in the National Guard, which is something I identify with, as I will reach 18 years in the Army National Guard this month. I was able to gather most of Magny's cards from Chrome. I don't have scans of the base card or the base Refractor, but I have many, many copies of them both. This first one is the Diamond Refractor, which comes one per pack in a Hot Box, which falls one per case.

Next up is the X-fractor, which is a 1:24 pack pull, or one per box. Chrome is coming back for 2018, and I really should get some boxes on order. The release date is in mi-July for that.

The next tier of rarity is the Green Refractor, which is limited to 99 copies. The one I've scanned here is numbered  # 98 / 99. I think I've got a handful of these, but maybe only a couple.

Next up is the Blue Wave Refractor, which is limited to 75 copies apiece. This one is # 10 / 75. Around the time the 2018 set releases, the UFC will be coming to Boise for a Fight Night event. I am going to try to get tickets for that, as I've never been to a live UFC event. Two fighters whose cards I collect, Cat Zingano and Liz Carmouche, have already been announced for that card.

I love me some Gold parallels, and 2017 Chrome had them. This Magny Gold Refractor is numbered # 25 / 50.

The Orange Refractors are twice as rare as the Golds, with 25 copies printed of each card. My copy is  # 21 / 25. After the Orange Refractors come the Black Refractors, with a print run of only 10 copies apiece. I haven't found one for Magny yet, and for all I know they are all still sitting out there in packs somewhere. The Black Refractors can be easy to miss, because most of the cards have a dark background anyway. I pulled one in a box and almost missed it until I checked the back of the cards.

The Red Refractors are nearly indistinguishable from the Orange ones, except for the serial numbering on the back. My copy is # 3 / 5.

The Superfractor is the # 1 / 1 card that you really want from a Chrome product, but so far I have to settle for the Black Printing Plate. It would be nice to pick up the Superfractor and the other printing plates, but we'll see if they pop up for sale. With the low-numbered cards in a rainbow, you are at the mercy of the market. Someone has to pull the card and list it for sale, or you will never see it.

13 May 2018

Hulk Sketch by Daniel Logan

Although I generally limit my sketch art collecting to a couple of characters, I will sometimes pick up something different if the price is right. That was the case with this sketch card from Upper Deck's Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 set.

This sketch features Hulk, Marvel's angry green behemoth. Hulk is one of my favorite characters, and I even named my second son after Hulk's alter ego. The artist is Daniel Logan, who I don't know a lot about. He has a Facebook page and a DeviantArt profile, but neither one is updated vary frequently. I like all of the green and yellow on this card. The colors really make it pop.

12 May 2018

Card Gen Foil Matt Holliday

I've got another short post today. Most of the day was taken up by my nephew's birthday party at a local park. All four of my sisters were there, along with me, so we had five of the six siblings and their kids all together. We let the kids run around for a few hours, because it's not often that all the cousins get together.

I don't add a lot of SEGA Card-Gen cards to my collection these days, but every now and then I find one I don't have at a decent price. That was the case with this Matt Holliday card from the foil Rare subset of the 2012 SEGA Card-Gen set. In addition to having a different picture than his base card and a foil background, the Rare cards also gave a slight stat boost to the player in the associated arcade game. Card-Gen cards are some of my favorite bits of cardboard, and I am always happy to snag another one.

11 May 2018

Two Tires - Stewart and Patrick

I'm glad it's the weekend, even though it already feels like the weekend is too short. I don't have much to talk about today, so I guess I'll just get straight to the cardboard.

I probably got this card on eBay. This post was originally scheduled for April 30th, 2017, so it's been a while since I acquired it. It's a Pairings Materials card from 2016 Panini Torque, featuring tire swatches from Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick. This is the Red parallel, numbered # 26 / 49.

Both racers are retired from NASCAR now. I haven't really been following NASCAR much this year. I never really latched onto another driver now that all of my favorites are off the circuit, so we'll see where things go from here. I don't have any proof as far as numbers go, but I think my Danica Patrick collection might be my biggest player collection across all sports, especially when it comes to hits. R.A. Dickey and Jon Singleton might be close, and I probably have more of their autographs than I have signatures for Danica, but I bet it's pretty close. One of these decades I'll actually get my cards sorted and maybe I'll find out for sure.

10 May 2018

Pack of the Day 186: A Blaster of 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter

I picked this blaster up last year in July or August, while I was in San Diego on a work trip. I am hoping this will be a quick blog post, as I promised myself that I would go to be early, and it is currently much later than early.

Here is what the front of the box looks like. Pretty standard stuff for Allen & Ginter.

Here are the pack odds from the side of the box. Nothing too crazy there, either.

Here are some of the base cards that stood out to me at the time. This would have been right in the middle of Judge-mania, so that card was a pretty good pull. It would be funny if that Giant Panda card was a photo variation of a Pablo Sandoval card, but it's just a regular card.

I'm assuming that these four cards are short prints. The only one here that I would be likely to scan otherwise is the Harmon Killebrew card. Then there are four What a Day inserts, with the highlight of those being a Ken Griffey Jr. card.

I got some minis, including a regular Willie Stargell, an A & G back Elvis Andrus, a Black Border Alex Reyes, and a surprisingly rare (1:50 packs) Required Reading insert. I also got Steven Matz and a horse.

These World's Fair and Revolutionary Battles inserts aren't all that rare. Neither card really interests me, but I appreciate the wide range of topics covered by Allen & Ginter.

The Sport Fish & Fishing Lures insert is more my style, and I pulled two of those. It's kind of cool how Topps made the fish look like a mini insert embedded in a full-size card with the cattails and the lure. The final card I scanned is a relic card of Mookie Betts. Retail hits are pretty difficult pulls in this product so I feel like I beat the odds in getting this one.