Saturday, December 31, 2016

Grading 2016, Not Setting Goals for 2017

First and foremost, Happy New Year! Celebrate safely and see you in 2017.

Secondly, if you haven't entered my contest, then you should really get on that. All you have to do is blog about your favorite card of 2016 and post a link to the comments of my contest post. It's pretty easy and you might win a blaster of cards!

Now, on the meat of this post. I want to take this time to run through my goals from last year and throw a couple of ideas out there for things I might pursue during the next 365 days. Let's get right to it. 

Goal #1 from 2016: "I'd like to collect one set in the middle price-range."
If you take a look at Sets & Duplicates tab at the top of the blog you'll notice there's nothing for 2016. Officially, I guess I failed at this one.
However, I did finish the 2015 Bowman Draft set (which is a late '15 release), but I don't think that counts. Other sets I completed or added to my collection during the year were:
2013 Panini Hometown Heroes 
2001 Upper Deck Hall of Famers (1-90)
2000 Fleer Greats of the Game
1999 Upper Deck Century Legends
1998 Metal Universe
1997 Metal Universe
1993 Cardtoons
1993 Upper Deck Diamond Gallery Holograms
1986 7-11 Slurpee Coins, Mideastern Region
1985 7-11 Slurpee Coins, Great Lakes Region
1985 Topps Rub Downs
1984 Fun Foods Pins (1-133)
1984 Topps Rub Downs
Most of those sets came from an estate sale last spring. Some were already complete, but there were gaps to fill in five of them.
I didn't meet this goal, but I can't say that I completely failed either. Many of those sets are really cool and I'm pretty happy to have them in my collection!

Goal #2: "I'd like to create more room for my ever growing Cubs collection, which means I'll have to ship out some cards to my readers through trades or contests."
This was a huge success. I'm really happy with where my collection is at this point. I went through a huge re-organization during summer vacation and I was awarded for my efforts by winning My Cardboard Habit's Man Room Contest.
Did I ship out cards? The short answer is a resounding yes. I was invited to be a member of the SuperTraders and I used that to my advantage. I sent out at least two padded mailers of cards to each individual within the SuperTrader database and I sent out numerous boxes of cards and mailers to other bloggers. Many times I wasn't looking for anything in return, because I had the goal of clearing space. In all, I figure I moved out just under 10,000 cards this past year from my man room. My collection is now fully organized and most everything belongs. It's a great feeling and it took a lot of work, time, and postage to get to this point. Totally worth it.

That's it. Two goals from 2016 and I fared pretty well in my estimation.

This year. Nope. Not going to do it. No goals for this blogger.

I may build a set from packs. I may not.
I may reach 500 different cards in my Kerry Wood collection. I may not.
I may finish the monster Conlon Collection set or the Wrigley Celebrates 100 Years set. I may not.
I'd like to build a 2017 Vogelbach rainbow. I may not. I think that depends more on Topps than me. We shall see.

All of the aforementioned are on my radar, but for whatever reason I don't feel the need to make a list and cross things off. It's kind of refreshing.

Collect, but do it your way. And, enjoy what 2017 has to bring.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Last Pack War of 2016

This past year was one of ups and downs...  I'm not going to get into the high and low points, because they have been rehashed many times over by the news, social media and even our little corner of the blog world.

I'm here today to share with you one of the high points.  How's that sound?
Meet the Game Day Director of Smiles for the Williamsport Crosscutters.

Rhashan says you should smile. When Rhashan speaks about smiling, you listen, and you smile.  A lot.

Don't ask questions. Don't Pass Go. Just smile.

Here's another reason to smile:
Is there a more recognizable minor leaguer around the blogs? Nope.
Did I mention this was a package from Zippy Zappy?  Nope.  (I thought showing a custom of the best catching prospect suiting up for the Staten Island Yankees would pretty much give it away.)

Ohhhhhh... a purple serial numbered Lackey.  Look at that pitcher's face!
 Preston Morrison was drafted in the 8th round of the 2015 draft and to date he has a 1.92 ERA in 150 innings of minor league ball as a starter. He's a legit pitching prospect, but he's been flying under the radar because he doesn't throw 95+ mph. Not to be forgotten, the border on this card is black, which I believe means it's an Bowman Asia edition card. Very nice!

Are you ready?  It's time for the first Pack War on the newly named Eamus Catuli blog, but the last Pack War for the blog in 2016.

The Zippy Zappy pack is on the left and boasts seven cards. Also weighing in at seven cards is a 2016 pack of Topps Opening Day. Let's get to it!

Round 1:
Ian Kinsler is a favorite of mine. I feel he's an undervalued second baseman in fantasy baseball and he has helped me win a couple of championships in the past. This card also makes good use of the horizontal layout.
Corey Black was sent to Cubs from the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano. He currently has more saves (12) than hits given up (10) in 21 winter league innings. He's hitting the mid 90's consistently and his control is coming around. The Corey Black card is also new to my collection!

Zippy Zappy = 1
2016 Topps OD = 0

Round 2:

Mookie Betts is a dynamic player, but Jake Arrieta pitches like a boss with a lumberjack beard. That, for the record, is pretty hard to top.

Updated Score:
Zippy Zappy = 2
2016 Topps OD = 0

Round 3:
Nolan Arenado is a heavy hitter and it's my belief that he should have been given more recognition for the 2016 season he just had. Kris Bryant was a nearly unanimous choice for MVP and Arenado's stats are right there with Bryant's.
On the other hand, Soler is going to RAKE in Kansas City this summer and this card will sky rocket in value to the point where I can buy that Porsche to get me through my inevitable midlife crisis. Thank you in advance, Jorge. 

Updated Score:
Zippy Zappy = 3
2016 Topps OD = 0

Round 4:
Joe Maddon may like him, but I'm not a Davey Martinez fan. King Felix is king. The card collecting world needs more fun inserts.
Topps is on the board.

Updated Score:
Zippy Zappy = 3
2016 Topps OD = 1

Round 5:
Lary with only one R? Really?  Tom Murphy is a decent catching prospect, but he's no Luis Alfonso Saez Torrens. 

Updated Score:
Zippy Zappy = 4
2016 Topps OD = 1

Round 6:
A hustling Dunston who looks ready to add more dirt to his jersey... very nice.
The back of Hector Santiago's card quotes him as saying, "I've evolved into a pitcher who can throw five or six pitches for a strike, and I think that's a game-changer." Ugh. That reminds me of a pitcher I coached on the high school baseball team who claimed to throw six pitches, although he couldn't count on any of them to be a strike other than his four-seamer. Double Ugh.
Dunston in a landslide.

Updated Score:
Zippy Zappy = 5
2016 Topps OD = 1

Round 7:
I love me some Stadium Club. I do not love me some Cardinals. Moving on.

Updated Score:
Zippy Zappy = 6
2016 Topps OD = 1

It has come to my attention that I have been gifted two bonus cards in my ZZ Pack and I'm out of Opening Day. The wrapper states there are seven in the ZZ Pack, but in fact there are nine cards. The last pack in my reserves is a 2014 Bowman Chrome pack of 4 cards. It'll have to do.

 Round 8:
Xander Bogaerts is a very talented player for sure and this appears to be his rookie card.
Mike Montgomery came over in the VOGELMONSTER trade, thus I want him to perform well. (I don't want to ever have to think about the Cubs trading away my favorite player for what amounted to a bag of balls.) Montgomery is off to a nice start with the Cubs as he earned his first save in Game 7 of the World Series. For the record, he's pictured on the card playing for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Naturally, he tops Xander in this cardboard match-up. 

Updated Score:
Zippy Zappy = 7
'16 OD & '14 Bowman Chrome = 1

Round 9:
 Shawn Boskie was an okay pitcher for the Cubs and 1992 Topps is one of my favorite sets, but this is not my first copy of this card.
A uber-shiny mini card of Francisco Lindor? Yeah, that's pretty cool. One more point for the Opening Day & Chrome tandem.

Final Score: 
Zippy Zappy = 7
'16 OD & '14 Bowman Chrome = 2

There you go.  I think Rhashan would be happy, because I'm smiling from ear-to-ear after ZZ's pack took Topps to the woodshed.

Thanks for the great cards Zippy Zappy!  I'll keep my eyes peeled for more padawans... of the Yankees Padres and Star Wars variety.

As always, thanks for reading and a happy early new year to you all!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

From Dime Boxes to My Collection

I love the good old-fashioned PWE. It's nice receiving new cards and a PWE comes with the added bonus of knowing that there can be only so many cards within.
I've been after this card of Ben Zobrist forever!

You guys/gals ever get tired of sorting and collating? As much as I love a large card package, the future task of cataloging and filing those cards away can be daunting.
Don't get me wrong, I love a padded mailer as much as the next blogger. It's those flat rate boxes and the like which sometimes seem to be a little overwhelming for this borderline OCD collector.
Nick, everybody's favorite Dime Box guy, seems to get me.
You see, Nick has mastered the art of safely placing a dozen or more cards in one PWE.

Plus, they're from Nick and we all know that he comes across some of the coolest cardboard around the blogs.
 I mean, seriously. Doug Glanville cards of him in minor league uniforms?  Wow. My Glanville player collection is now bordering on epic.

I still think the "Pride and Perseverance" insert set was the best from 2015. I have a modest Jim Abbott collection and this is a terrific addition.
 It's good to know my want-lists are getting looked at. This is the second sumo-Berkman in the last week to grace my mailbox. Now I just have to learn to open my mail quicker and update the want-list just as fast.  My bad.
This is where the Cubs played before they mover to 1060 W. Addison St.
I didn't know this card existed. I think it will serve as the card to show right before my Wrigley Field Celebrates 100 Years set, which I'm still working on.
Nick's stamps are baseball themed. How cool is that?

Thanks for a great assortment of cards and thinking of me during the holidays, Nick! 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Chronicling Some of the Best Blog Names

I love reading the baseball card blogs, because our community is chock full of wonderful writers and home to some very creative minds. The creativity isn't only on display within each post, but even some of the blog names are quite ingenious.

One of the blog names my mind really digs is Wrigley Wax, because it's about a guy who collectors "wax" of players who have called Wrigley home. "Cubs Cards" just doesn't have the same ring to it; thank goodness Paul was more inventive than that!

When I was growing up, anyone who had their own sports card was a hero of mine, so 2 by 3 Heroes would be in my list of Top 10 Best Blog Names, as well. It's a blog title I can relate to!

I love all things having to do with pirates and I enjoy a good play on words, so somewhere in the upper echelon we would undoubtedly find Bob Walk the Plank.  A couple other that employ some nice word play are Torren' up Cards and Schmidt Happens.

I can't forget about Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle, because the title has both "thy" and "argyle" in it. Those words, my friends, are the makings of one sweet title.

A blog about cardboard that sounds like a 1960's band? Coot Veal and the Vealtone's  . . . just awesome. 

Alliteration?  Yeah, that's covered, too: Bubba's Bangin' Batch of Baseball Bits

And heck, The Card Papoy would be in the top 10, because I have no idea what a Papoy is, and Kevin's choice of words has piqued my curiosity.

Of all the blogs, I think The Chronicles of Fuji is the best blog name out there. "The Chronicles of" is a great hook. It sounds mystical and legendary at the same time. Add "Fuji" into the mix and now it sounds somewhat mysterious, and maybe, just maybe, there are ninjas in involved. (For the record, the only thing that trumps a pirate in my book are ninjas.)
 Fuji sent me a package the other day that snuck up on me like a ninja, that is to say I wasn't expecting it. And although there weren't any ninjas associated with this package, that I know of, it's greatness was rivaled only by Fuji's blog's name. Yep. It was that good.
 It started off with a pair of Mark Prior jersey cards. Mark Prior, you may remember, was once the goods. I'm sure these cards were a hot commodity back in the day, especially the Bowman Sterling because it's numbered /199, and now they are welcomed additions to my Cubs relic collection.

Big Z and Fukudome!
 I love it when the jersey swatch matches the uniform on the card, so I will just assume the Zambrano artifact is from Carlos' pants. Right?

Kid K!  I've been the recipient of quite a few Kerry Wood relics as of late and I couldn't be happier about that!
The one above is a duplicate, but that's cool by me because it'll go into a pile for Wrigley Roster Jenga or another Cub fan. Cards for fellow team collectors can be quite scarce at times!

A partial stripe! 
This Fleer Tradition card from 2004 is from the same set as the Mark Prior card above. Yet, the two cards will go in separate places in my collection. The Prior goes to the relic box and the Wood will make its way to the Kerry Wood binder. 

Speaking of which, my Kerry Wood collection now stands at 489 unique cards. 
I decided to count this one even though I have it in the binder already. Why?  Well, the one Jaybarkerfan's Junk sent to me already was a white jersey with a blue stripe. This one is obviously not, which makes it a jersey parallel. Right?  . . . My collection, my rules.  489.  Firm.

A big thanks to Fuji for all the fabric in this package!  It was a great surprise from a blog with a really cool name. 😁

Happy Holidays to you all!

Oh, and I know some of you were gifted cards this holiday season. Maybe you have a new favorite card of 2016? If so, be sure to enter my contest. The rules are easy and the prize is a blaster of 2017 Topps flagship. Fourteen bloggers are in already, click here if you want to join the fun!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

My Secret Santa

First and foremost, Merry Christmas!

My Secret Santa gift came a little while back, but I try to be a rule follower so I kept it all wrapped up until this morning.
That's a high quality wrapping job right there!

Let's start with the note first:

Hmmm... perhaps I should have signed the note with the gift I sent out. Silly me, I thought it was supposed to stay secret. Hello, my name is P-town Tom and I'm new to the Secret Santa game. No matter, I think the blogger who received my gift seems happy enough.

Boom!  Right off the bat we start with a heavy hitter!

This is my 76th different Brooks Kieschnick card and my seventh certified auto of his. Great start!

Here's the former fourth most wanted card on my wanted list: 2011 A&G #32, Dirk Hayhurst.
I loved all of Hayhurst's books and this card is a hoot.

Speaking of funny cards, here's the most wanted card from my list:
 This is Lance Berkman card from his minor league days: 2000 Just #108. Instant classic!

This was my second most wanted card and it's a beauty: '96 Stadium Club #53, Jim Bullinger.
 Ahhhhh... what a unique shot!  I wouldn't expect anything less from Stadium Club.

Here's a couple of former Cubs. Starlin did okay in New York last year and I really think Jorge will finally come into his own in Kansas City this summer.

This next card is super thick and is beautifully framed. 
I'm always in the market for a serial numbered card of a smiling Ernie Banks. Excellent!.

The last two cards go into my Kerry Wood collection, which now stands at 488.
This relic card has a piece of game-used baseball in it. I think this is my first ball relic that is tied to a player.
 In this case, apparently Kerry Wood and Sammy Sosa both have some vague connection to the ball. That's a little different.

The last card is another Kerry Wood relic, which puts my Wood relic total at twenty-three. This is only my third Wood wood relic . . . if that makes any sense. The rest are either ball or jersey relics.
My Secret Santa really brought the goods!  What a great package!

I'd like to send a big thank you out to Daniel, from It's Like Having My Own Card Shop, for piecing this perfect package together for me!  Also, thank you to Matt, from BWTP, for organizing this year's card exchange.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Nice Start to Winter Break

 For most teaches winter break marks the halfway point of the school year. But for me, it's much more.

It's an opportunity to hang out with friends, because everyone is back in town and has a little more free time than they normally would.

For instance, I set-up a 40th birthday surprise beer making for one my best friends this past Tuesday at Rhodell's Brewery in downtown P-town. Me and seven other guys each chipped in twenty bucks, and the birthday boy gets five cases of his very own brew to show for it. It was so much fun we signed up for another beer making in early February.

Wednesday night my wife and I took her parents out for a nice dinner at the new microbrewery in town, Isaac & Obed's. I found a dark brown, medium bodied beer, with roasted grains that I pretty much fell in love with. It's called Upside Brown Ale and is the perfect winter beer for yours truly.
That night we had a fire in the fireplace and watched Mr. Popper's Peguins, which was a silly, but fun movie for all to enjoy. I think I enjoyed it the most, but penguins are my favorite animal.

Tuesday night we went back to Isaac & Obed's, but this time with my other BFF and his wife.

Afterwards we went to 8-bit Beercade and played old school arcade games while drinking adult beverages. Jeff set the high score on Pac-Man, but that was just one of the 30+ arcade games they had in the bar. It's a pretty cool idea... it's a bar first, but all the games are free, which draws in a good number of people.

Early yesterday afternoon, after having lunch with my grandfather, I exchanged holiday gifts with another one of my very good friends, Jim. My Strat-o-matic game was hit hard when we got waterr in the basement a few months back and Jim really went above and beyond with his gift for me:
I'm all set with another game, but instead of playing with teams from the 1990 season now I get to play with hall of famers!  Score!

Last night I went over to my parents' place and I opened up some birthday gifts. 
 My sister got me a few really neat items, all baseball related, but I'm most excited to read this Brian Kenny book. I like his work on MLB Network and I think he has a pretty sharp statistical mind.

My parents got me a Cubs book commemorating their championship, a number of gift cards and this stellar popcorn tin.
 There's three flavors inside, but the jalapeno white cheddar is the best. Plus, I can get it refilled at he local popcorn store for the price of a large bag of popcorn. How cool is that?

Officially, I'm only three days into break, but I feel like I've already done enough to fill the remaining ten days.  Making beer, friends, surprise party, indulging in beer, more friends, video games, family, and tonight I think the misses and I are going out to see the new Star Wars movie.

Good stuff!  I hope you are having a great time this holiday season and wish you much health and happiness.  😀