Monday, November 26, 2018

A Review: The Sportlots Box

Since January of 2009 I've placed twenty-five orders through to help fill my collecting needs. Recently Sportlots has stepped up its game by offering the Sportlots Box option to help reduce shipping costs.

When placing orders in the past I was always super concerned about trying to maximize shipping costs from each dealer. I didn't want to pay three bucks in shipping for 12 cards when I could purchase up to 25 cards for the same shipping price. So, I would peruse the dealer's inventory until I could maximize the most cardboard for my buck.

The Sportlots Box option in many cases awards you more freedom than in the past. For instance, check out the postage rates from one of the dealers I like to purchase cards from:
Did you see that final column? Yep, by choosing to use the Sportlots Box option this dealer will ship your cards to Sportlots for FREE. Once there, the cards will sit in your box until you're ready to ship.

When shipping is free, the stress of trying to maximize a purchase centered around shipping costs is tossed out the window!

Not all dealers are using the Sportlots Box option, but those who are have been given one of three discount designations.  For example, six different dealers are offering discounted shipping to the Sportlots Box for this 2018 Topps Fire Ryne Sandberg card. Now it's just a matter of clicking on the dealer info to see what they charge for shipping to find the best deal.
Dealers with a blue check mark offer the best bargain (sometimes free), while red is the next best deal and that is followed by green.

Here's another screen shot of the postage rates from a dealer with a blue check mark.
Again, I can get behind these postage rates. They aren't free, but they aren't going to break the bank either.

So, I decided to test the process. I needed some cards for my Topps Big League master set build.
And I decided to finally chase down those Bull Durham cards from Topps Archives.
And I needed some random Cubs cards to fill some holes.
And, most importantly, I needed some cards to send out in trade packages for other bloggers.

I guess I went a bit overboard, because before I knew it I had cards from TWENTY-ONE different dealers in my shopping cart.
In every instance I found the cards I wanted were significantly cheaper, with shipping including, than what I could find on Ebay or

So, I placed my order after handing out candy on Halloween.
Two-and-half weeks later, on November 17th, the cards from the last dealer arrived in my Sportlots Box. Not the best turn around time in the world, but I think two to three weeks should probably be expected when purchasing from so many different dealers. For what it's worth, all but three orders where in my Sportslots Box within twelve days.
Before leaving for work on the 17th I paid $8.90 in shipping to have the cards shipped to my house from my Sportlots Box. Not bad.

Upon my return home later that evening I found I had another message waiting for me.
Timely and saving me money! Now that's customer service!

A few days later I had a good sized yellow mailer sitting in my mailbox.
Here's the contents all spread out for you to take in. That's a fun mail day right there!

Here's the timeline of the purchase:
* Placed the order after business hours on October 31st
* The final cards arrived in my Sportlots Box on November 17th
* Paid to have the cards shipped on November 17th
* Was given a shipping discount ($1.50) and the cards were sent out on November 17th
* Cards arrived on November 21st

Here are the shipping figures:
* I paid a total of $5.85 to have the twenty-one dealers ship to my Sportlots Box
* I then paid $8.90, but was reimbursed $1.50, to have the cards shipped to me from Sportlots
* The grand total I paid in shipping was $13.25 (54 cards from 21 total dealers)
* If I chose to have the cards shipped directly to me it would have cost $32.05.
* By using the Sportlots Box I saved $18.80 in shipping. Nice! 

Overall: As a set builder I have patience to spare. I don't pick up singles to complete my sets until the market has settled on a new release. So, waiting three weeks from the date of purchase to get my cards isn't a big deal whatsoever. Honestly, it's just about finishing my set or adding cards to a player collection at the right price. often times offers that "right price" and it is perfect for a set builder or anyone looking for those random cards time has forgotten. Obviously, the savings in shipping is the big bonus, but I also enjoyed no longer feeling like I have to maximize the shipping with each dealer. I really enjoyed my Sportlots Box purchase and will definitely be using this option for my next purchase.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the Sportslots Box. I'm not an expert by any means, but I do have some experience and will help if I can.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

A Generous Sister

Before heading out of town we sometimes ask my sister to look in on our cats. Nothing too crazy... food, water and maybe tend to the litter box.
This time of year, when the heated bathroom floor is on, they are pretty low maintenance. 

When Laura and I returned from Thanksgiving at her parents' place up north I found some some candy on the dining room table.
I pass out packaged of Smarties in class to my students when they answer a tough question or make a mathematical connection which allows us to push forward within the day's lesson. You know, because their smart! These candy packages are way larger than the typical Smarties though! Whoa!
Accompanying the candy was a Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine. 
Larry Fitzgerald seems like a pretty fun dude. Did you notice the thickness of this magazine though? It looks like the pages are spilling out to the right. 

That's because there was some extra SI for Kids cards included. Ready for a photo dump?

I think I uploaded all twenty-two pages. At nine cards a page there are just under 200 cards here. Sadly, no Cubs though!

If you haven't been over to Area 40 yet, then you better get over there soon to claim your teams. Rumor has it these cards will be carefully split apart and disbursed through Wes' last hurrah!

Thanks for the cards, Jane! You're going to make a lot of bloggers happy with your generosity!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

A Nachos Grande Group Break

I participated in Nachos Grande's most recent group break. I believe there were eight different boxes from the last twenty years or so, with a majority of those boxes spanning the years I was out of the hobby.
Chris does a wonderful job posting and recording the cards as he opens them. And I know packaging and shipping out can be a pain, but he does it like a boss. My cards arrived the day after the last post for the group break was published. How about that for timing!

Show-and-tell time! Let's start off with the super big Cubs mojo first!
 Rod Beck... someday I hope he's granted entrance into the baseball blogging hall of fame like Don Mossi, Kent Tekulve and Bip Roberts.  He's on my ballot!

The above card is from 1998 Fleer Tradition and the below cards are from 1998 Pacific Paramount.
Look, I pulled one of the parallels!

Here's a couple more cards from the '98 Fleer Tradition box.
I had the one on the left already, but I'll take the vintage insert for my Kerry Wood binder!

I thought I might hit on a few more Mark Grace cards than I did, but this was the sole Grace in the break.
Something about the 1995 Score Summit design appeals to my eye. It's a very sharp looking card.

Hey, a Schwarber rookie!  Nice hit!
This one is from 2016 Donruss, which was the most modern set represented in the break.

Pat Mahomes, the elder!
I actually completed the 2002 Topps total set a couple of years back. But, I didn't have any Cubs duplicates to add to my trade boxes after completing the set. I was super psyched when I learned Chris would be breaking a box from such an expansive set.

Here's a couple more that will settle into a binder:
 I was a Lance Johnson fan for the brief time he played with the north side ball club.

Play at the plate!
Is that a Ricky Gutierrez cameo? I think the name is too short on the back of the jersey... probably Chris Gomez. Funny how I can't remember my best friends' birthdays, but I can put a name to a 20+ year old picture when only the color scheme and two partial letters are given.

Sluggin' Sammy Sosa was the name that was included the most coming in a five cards. Sorry, only four are pictured!
The 2001 Topps Gold Label cards are absolutely beautiful!

Here's a set I somehow missed my first trip through the hobby: 1953 Topps Archives, released in 1991.
Unfortunately, I came up four cards short of the team set. Bummer!
I chose to separate Cavarretta and Sauer because they are the only names I recognize.

The last set in the break was 1997 Donruss Limited. The front side of each card is done up in chrome and the backside features another player who has loose connections to the player on the front.
 I was lucky enough to hit a Kieschnick card for my player collection. The only connection between Brooks and Marty Cordova is they are both left fielders.

I also hit a Sandberg! 903 different ones in the collection now!
 Sandberg is paired with Julio Franco, which is not a bad match if you ask me.

That's the end of the highlights for my chosen team. The Nachos Grande randomizer gifted me the Royals.
 At least I know of a couple Kansas City fans who may want to trade!
 George Brett and Bo Jackson were some of the bigger names from the Royals side of the break. Also, above, you can see some of the issues Chris had with collation within boxes. Three Mike Sweeney cards from one box?  Whoa. A man can only handle so much!

Here's another one of those 1997 Donruss Limited cards.
 The back shows Mike Sweeney, who was a decent enough catcher before switching to first base and designated hitter for the Royals.

The other side?
Pudge! That was a nice surprise!

Thanks for the great group break, Chris. It's always fun to take a stroll down memory lane and gain some news cards at the same time.