Sunday, January 31, 2016

Farmington, NM

Mr. Stackhouse, he of the Tim Wallach fame, sent me a package out of the blue the other day. I believe I've donated around a dozen Wallach cards over the past couple of years. I never expected anything in return, as I felt a need to help his cause: he's trying to collect every Tim Wallach card ever made. It's a noble and just cause, which I'm happy to support.

 Hey, it's a French Penguin!
 The 1967 Byron Browne card is everything that vintage should be. It has paper loss, rounded and fuzzy corners, a crease, and a wax stain on the front!  Simply awesome!

Mid 90s Stadium Club:
 There's always some interesting photos used in SC sets.  Although, I think the Dan Plesac card takes the cake.
 You can make out my camera in the reflection of the card, but what's that in the upper right quadrant of the card? I'm fairly certain Plesac is being haunted by the ghost of his doppelganger. That's a thing, right?
 Gracie! On the left we have a shiny parallel of the base card, which is on the right.

Oddballs!  Excellent!  The Super Star sticker is the O-Pee-Chee variety.
 Sparkly catchers! Geo looks like he's down in a three-point stance that a defensive lineman would use.

Ryno!  It's an exclusive collector's offer!  I have one of these in my collection, but I love the design and will find a place in a different binder for this one. 
 Here's the back:
 We're just a little bit past the deadline on this one. Bummer.

It's Ernie's birthday today, may he rest in peace.
 Mendy!  I don't know about Topps issuing career high insert cards in their flagship product, which boast minor league statistics. That just seems a bit wrong to me. If they put this type of card in Pro Debut I would be happier.

Lastly, we have a 2008 T205 Kosuke Fukudome card!  This was my favorite card within the package and it is the 129th unique Fukudome card in my collection. 
 Thanks for a great surprise, Mr. Stackhouse!  I'll keep my eyes peeled for more Wallach cards in the future!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

I Also Wish They Still Came With Bubblegum

Jeff hit my mailbox the other with a nice PWE of cardboard goodness. In this case, eleven cards in a PWE seems just like a wax pack, minus the bubblegum. Jeff, you're not the only one who wishes they still came with bubblegum. It still amazes that we can send a dozen or more cards in a regular plain white envelope with one stamp. How is the the post office not throwing a fit about this?

Let's see what was in my wax pack!  First, we start off with a nice oddball of Amazin' Grace. This one was produced after his rookie year, there's no date or manufacturer on the back. I guess anyone can use the MLB logos in production of cards if Topps doesn't know who to sue!

 Kid K! Man, I love me some Topps Tek! This is my second KW card from the 1998 set, but the other was pattern #20 and this one is pattern #46. Since twenty was a nice round number I was hoping that was the END of the parallels.  But, no. Seriously?  46?  That's a whole bunch of parallels!

More luscious oddballs and all four are new to my collection.  The SI for Kids card uses a great smiling photo of The Hawk.  Nice additions for sure!

Switching gears, we have some Bowman Draft set help. Woo-Hoo!  Only 73 more chromey cards to go!

J-Hey! I'm trying not to get too giddy about the Cubs chances this year, because I remember the Cubs narrowly missing the World Series in 2003 AND what happened the next year. Every pundit picked them to win the division in 2004, but the injury bug struck and they finished third and missed the playoffs.  

 Lastly, we have a nice Panini Contenders card of Harrison Bader. This is my first card from this set, which is one that I would consider building if I wasn't already focused on Bowman Draft.
 Bader played in Peoria this past year with my hometown Chiefs, a Cardinals affiliate. He provided instant offense to the lineup when he arrived and almost led the team in homers although he had over 200 less at-bats than most of the other Chiefs.  I'll hold on to this one to see if a Cardinal blogger might like it, otherwise it's going to my LCS to be exchanged for some Cubs! I doubt this Bader card would bring back much in Jeff's neck of the woods, but it should fetch a nice return here in P-town!

Thanks for thinking of me, Jeff!  As soon as I accumulate some more Bravos I'll return the favor!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I Have Some of the Cards His Mother Didn't Throw Out

JayP has made a splash within the cardsphere. Every now and again a rookie blooger comes out of nowhere and makes a flurry of trades and, subsequently, is highlighted throughout the blogs of our little community. Once I learned JayP was a Diamondbacks fan I contacted him to see what I could do about emptying my Dbacks stash on him. You should check out his blog, Cards My Mother Didn't Throw Out, and see if you can help fill some of the voids in his collection.

He certainly filled some gaps in mine!  The Ernie Banks shiny Bowman reprint, above, was a great start to the trade package.
 Boom! As in Vogelboom! I already have this Vogelmonster card, but I'll always take another.  He touched on my other player collections, too.
 Upper Deck X die cut cards of Kid K and Fukudome. The Fukudome is the 128th unique card in that particular player collection. JayP certainly did his homework.
 This is my fourth different Face-2-Face card of Wood from this Donruss set, and the second one with Shawn Green.  The gold parallel above is numbered to 200 and has dual jersey swatches.  Nice!
 Above on the left is Kerry Wood's first Topps Finest card and on the right is a stellar XFractor!
 Topps Stars?  I thought I had this one, but I must have a different year because it wasn't listed in my database.  The gold foil on the Topps Stars logo is hard to read, but I do like the shadow behind Kerry.
 The Cracker Jack card is a mini, the sixth new Wood card in the package, and the 441st overall in my player collection of Kid K. Oddly enough, I had the mini relic from this set, but not the base.  Go figure.

Here's a couple of other favorites from the package:
 Wild Thing and Big Lee Smith were both great closers during their prime.  I really appreciate the '85 Topps Smith card, because it replaces a hole in my collection since the previous one now has an autograph on it.
Gold parallels of fan favorites!  Campana and Fontenot are always great additions! 

Lastly, a bit of an oddball:
 And take a look inside!
 I have this particular Ryno, but not in this form.  The "True Value" and "Big League Brands" flaps on the back of the Reggie card are glued to the Ryno.  I guess Sandberg will have to stay tucked away inside?  Very different, but very cool to see how the '86 True Value cards were originally packaged.

JayP, thanks for a very thoughtful trade package. I feel the one I sent your way pales in comparison and I'll look to even up the score the next time the opportunity presents itself.  Thanks again!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Beware of Ebay Bucks

Toward the end of last year I made a couple of extra purchases that I normally would not have made. I had finally accrued more than the $5.00 Ebay Bucks minimum and every purchase afterwards would net me more credit for future purchases. By the time the month was over I had earned a little over ten dollars to spend on Ebay in any fashion.

Naturally, that meant baseball cards!  I wanted to bolster my Karl Olson collection a little bit by filling in the gaps, and I found three sellers to purchase cards from.
You'll notice that this seller has shipped the cards, as evident by the darkened package, but the payment is being processed. How can that be?

Well, there's a story to be told.
 I committed to buy the items back on the January 12th, and the transaction was in limbo because of the Ebay Bucks.  My Paypal account showed that the three sellers had been paid, but the "My Ebay" page would not confirm that I had indeed paid. I visited the Ebay Community and posed a couple questions. Soon after I found I was NOT the only person who to have a transaction pending indefinitely. I took one of the responders' suggestions and on January 20th I decided to ask the sellers if their Paypal account showed my payment.  Two of the sellers said "yes" and they promptly shipped the cards even though the "My Ebay" page still had not updated the status of my payment. The other one said "no" and opened a claim on our transaction demanding payment.  Argh.

How would my payment register with two of the sellers and not the third? After much deliberation about actually needing the card and not wanting to tarnish my 100% feedback rating I relented and paid the seller for what I believe to be a second time. (It was seven dollars.)

There is probably some protection Ebay offers in these cases and I probably should have looked further into it, but I was frustrated.  I had Ebay Bucks and should have had an easy transaction with the three sellers. Instead, I wound up posting on community boards trying to resolve a problem with Ebay's imperfect system while being accused of not paying.  I had spent far too much time dealing with this situation and just wanted it resolved. So, I paid the third seller rather than fighting back.

In summary, I found four new cards for my collection for a little over $12.  I spent my $10+ Ebay Bucks and the other $2 came from my Papal account. Two bucks from my bank account for four cards I wanted isn't a bad deal, especially when they are from three sellers and four different auctions. But because the Ebay Bucks never registered as a payment on the "My Ebay" page I ended up paying about $9 dollars for the aforementioned cards. To be honest, l never would have bought those cards for $9.  Two dollars, yes; nine dollars, nope. The Ebay Bucks were the difference maker in committing to the purchases AND it backfired on me.
 I called Ebay yesterday and actually got a live person. I told them their system was broken and there were other unhappy customers out there who also ahd transactions in limbo. I also said I did not want to be compensated for my time, frustration, or the extra $7 I had to spend to finish a transaction. I complimented them on the concept of the Ebay Bucks, because it did get me to purchase a few more auctions that months than I would normally have done. But, I made sure they knew I felt their execution SUCKED and I will never attempt to benefit from the Ebay Bucks system again.

Since then, the hour glass on the "My Ebay" page has updated the date and now the transaction has been changed to read "Your 01/21/16 payment is being processed." I suppose that is an improvement over 01/12/16. Woo.

I wonder if the stinking hour glass will ever turn into a dollar.

Monday, January 18, 2016

CubsCon2016 #FireEmoji

Oh. My. Goodness.  I had never been to a Cubs Convention before and it just about blew my socks off.  It's a long post, folks, but it it's chocked full pictures!  Totally worth it!
Room Key with a Cubs theme!
My sister and I each took Friday off from work and we checked in to the convention hotel around 2:30 or so. All of the receptionists were dressed in Cubs attire. The lobby was filled with organ music from Gary Pressy, the organist from Wrigley Field. My initial impressions were top notch, and the rest of the weekend did not disappoint.

 We checked into the convention and were given a draw string bag with goodies.
 Inside was the program for the weekend, which we would soon discover to be our weekend's bible.

A description and schedule of presentations was listed inside AND so was the schedule of players who would be signing autographs!

We also found a map, which was helpful the first evening, but we quickly learned our way around the facility.
 Also inside the back pack were various coupons and fliers, much like a race bag for a 5K. More importantly we found our passes that had to be worn around our necks all weekend.

 Also found within the draw string bag was a calendar, which will be seen on the blog, and the latest edition of the Vine Line.  It's been quite some time since I had a subscription to the Cubs' magazine and I may have to look into it once again.

We made our way to Vendor Alley the first afternoon and got our pictures taken with Arrieta, Maddon, and Schwarber Fatheads. It was a nice little photobooth and it was free!
 We both signed up to win an all expenses paid trip to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, and in doing so we were given free passes!  Nice!
 I found a squishy baseball courtesy of 670 The Score, which my cats like to bat around.

The weekend was sponsored by Budweiser and Pespi to name a few. 
 The Cubs display was made up of over 600 Pepsi cases and the Bud Girls were omnipresent and always passing out beer coozies.
Jane and I hit the minor league affiliate station and marveled at the Joe Maddon display made out of sand. While we were there we signed up for a free trip to Myrtle Beach to watch the Pelicans and were given some Joe Maddon glasses.  Score!
 Naturally, I had to buy all the rest of the minor league team sets I didn't already own. No shipping or tax, which was a pretty decent savings in itself!

 Before leaving the minor league room I got my picture taken as a Squatch!  Nice!

We took in the opening ceremonies, which consisted of Tom Ricketts (the owner) speaking and an introduction of every Cub, past, present, and future who would partake in the weekend. 

Somewhere in there we scored some autographs, but it's a blur, so I'll save those for the end. We rested our feet by sitting down on the ball room floor to watch "Friday Night with Ryan Dempster".
 Image result for friday night with ryan dempster
 I laughed so hard a few times I got side cramps.  But, that may also have been because I had eaten anything in nearly twelve hours.  So...  we bundled up and went for a quick walk to the Billy Goat!
It was a total dive, but great burgers for a good price. I would totally visit the Billy Goat Tavern again.

The next two days were mostly centered around obtaining autographs, having brief interactions with the players, and scoring some amazing deals on Cubs merchandise.  We did take in Cubs Feud, and almost witnessed an upset where the wives/girlfriends nearly ousted the current Cubs.  In the end, the Alumni Cubs won the Feud.

We also played twenty rounds of BINGO, and lost every round.  I guess that's to be expected when the entire ballroom is playing. It would have been sweet to win though, because they gave away the flags that flew above Wrigley Field as the prizes!
A panorama shot in a rectangular ballroom before BINGO started.
 On to the merchandise!  My mom gave my sister and I each some "mad money" to spend, which was really nice of her. My "mad money" furnished me a convention t-shirt and post-season baseball from 2015.
 Speaking of baseballs, we found the Schwardber home run ball that he deposited ON TOP of the right field jumbotron at Wrigley.  No, it was not for sale.
 My sister surprised me with Brandon Hyde's locker name plate from Opening Day. Hyde is the Cubs first base coach, who I have recently grown fond of. I, too, will be a first base coach this spring my high school's team!
On the last day most everything in the team store and the "garage sale" were marked down.
I picked up a spring training game-used hat for ten bucks. Number 77 must have been a minor league player, because I can't find a name and number match on the internet.

My big find was a game-used road jersey of Brandon Hyde's!  Notice the nice patches on the sleeves, the white outline around letters and number, and the number change!  Hyde was #17 in early April, but then gave up his number to some kid named Kris Bryant. 
 Did I mention it was a steal at $25 and it fits me perfectly?  Score!

On to the autographs!  My sister and I weren't lucky enough to win a voucher for an elite autograph, but that didn't stop me from taking a nice candid shot of the new Cubs Ambassador. Welcome back, Ryne Sandberg!
 My sister and I worked all weekend to fill up a home plate I fashioned out of wood.  Below is a nice shot of former twenty game winner Jon Lieber handing the plate back to my sister.
 Here is the finished product:
 Not bad work for a time span of a little less than 48 hours!

On to the cardboard!  While my sister got thirty-three autographs on the home plate I was able to collect twenty autos on cards. I spent some of my time helping her fill up the plate!  Woo-Hoo!

 Minor leaguers Carl Edwards, Dallas Beeler, Erick Jokisch and Jemier Candelario are on the left. 
Cubs alumni John Baker, Jon Lieber, Scott Sanderson and Steve Trout are on the right.

Current Cubs hitting coach, Eric Hinske, and bench coach, Davey Martinez:

Current Cubs Trevor Cahill, Clayton Richard, Travis Wood and Neil Ramirez are on the left.
 Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins is joined by Randy Hundley, Bill Madlock, and Lee Smith.  Those are some great names in Cubs history!

My sister, inexplicably, scored a "fast pass" for an autograph at one of the vendors earlier in the weekend.  I could have used it to get to the front of the Jose Cardenal, John Lackey or Ben Zobrist line . . . but . . .
 Yeah, I've got a thing for David Ross, which only became stronger after he appeared on Dempster's show on Friday night. I gave him the custom card of him pitching that Mark, from Battlin' Bucs, made me and Ross seemed genuinely touched. No need for a TTM now!

My favorite of the weekend!  VOGELMONSTER!

Some of the fans mistook Vogelbach for Kyle Schwarber, and most agreed that Vogelbach looks like Schwarber.  Hmph.

WRONG!  The VOGELMONSTER was drafted by the Cubs first, thus Schwarber will forever be known to me as Vogelbach's doppelganger. NOT the other way around. Yes, I may be a little biased.
I was one of Vogelbach's last dozen autographs on the weekend after he had signed a minimum of four hundred during the the three days. He took my card, penned his name, and he was about to pick it off the table to hand the card back to me. But I was in the middle of complimenting him for winning two Player of the Week awards during the 2015 and stating how big a fan I was. He paused, and added "God Bless You" to the card.

HOW COOL IS THAT!?!?!  That was easily my best in person autograph experience of the weekend. Heck, it was my best ever! Every player was really nice and treated me with respect and appreciation, but my VOGELMONSTER experience will be the one I remember twenty years from now.     

Overall, it was a great weekend spent with my sister and the Chicago Cubs!  #GoCubsGo