Saturday, September 27, 2014

Birthday cards, Part 2 of 2: Fall, glimmer, sparkle, and fade

Note: That title is completely insignificant, save that I was listening to that when I semi-drunkenly started writing this a couple days ago. We now take you to your not-at-all-regularly scheduled post.

I'm picking up where I left off with the birthday cards I cracked two weeks and change ago. The smallest of the packs was a four-card pack of some international nonsense from Upper Deck in like 2006, I think. I'm like early Faith No More in that I care a lot.
Way to be, whoever you are. There was also an Eric Gagne card numbered out of 75, but I can't imagine why I'd scan that.

Recent Topps were involved. Here are a pair of bat-barrel shots that Nick probably already has. I tossed 'em in his box just in case, though.
Nick Swisher is the only major league player I have competed against. And by "competed against" I mean "watched from the bench". I had a unique role in high school baseball in that there was so little interest in baseball at this school of 2000+ that I was basically designated roster filler so we had enough players. My leather was true, so I'd get into some games when they were already over. Watching Swisher play was transcendent. It was so cliche how much better than everyone else he was. I later ended up moving to Parkersburg, where he went to HS, and played a couple seasons of adult ball on the field he came up on.

...that Pena card is just cool because of, yeah, orange and Tatooine.

It's been a couple days since I typed that last sentence. I really need to wrap this post up so I can get to the next one, which I'm more excited about.
That Joe Mauer World Baseball Classic insert is from 2013, while the die-cut Koufax is from a year earlier. Don't worry, I didn't actually mar either of the Sandy Koufax cards; I figured someone might want them.
 ...this Dennis Eckersley insert celebrating one of his World Series saves also came from the pack of 2012 Topps.
As I mentioned in the first post, there was a lot of 2008 Upper Deck. This was my second-favorite card out of all of them. Of course, the one at the top of this post is my favorite. Regardless of what one thinks of Manny Ramirez, that's a great shot.

Well, that does it for that. Kinda ridiculous that it took me 17 days to wrap it up, but things get back-burnered sometimes. I'll be back much sooner with a post about some mail I got which I'm excited about.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Birthday cards, Part 1 of 2: A brief vacation from misery

It's been 10 days since my birthday, so this is a very belated post. Better late than never, right? Can't let my three readers down.

My day was going along like any of the other 364 days in any given year, which is to say poorly. I was already depressed, like I am every birthday, thanks to reflecting on what a waste the last year has been and what a failure I am, when I got an email that took me from depressed to pissed. Somebody was planning a meet-up at a Padres home game, so he sent an email to a handful of people to figure out when the best date would be. I was one of the ones it was sent to, which I found incredibly thoughtless since I live in West Virginia and there's no flipping way I could make it. Basically what I read was "Hey, all of these people you'd like to see are going to be at a place you'd like to be. Suck it, Joe." Now, I know it wasn't meant as a jerk move to rub it in that I'm stuck in Garbageland and will always be on the outskirts of everything, unable to do anything I want to do ever, but it still irritated me to no end that he didn't take two seconds to think about the fact that maybe inviting someone to something they have no way of attending is essentially taunting them. It'd be bad enough any other day, but on my day it felt like even more of a slap in the face. So now you know the mindset I was in before the cards showed up.

I wasn't expecting anything for my birthday, because I never expect anything for my birthday. I don't have a family, and over the last couple years I've inadvertently distanced myself from what friends I had and basically became a hermit. If that sounds awful, it's because it is. There is one person left in my life, and that's who showed up with some shoes and a repack box to take my mind off all that other stupid nonsense for a little while. Kicks and cards are great, but mostly it was just nice to be thought of.

My expectations for the box were low, because my experience with repack boxes has been that they have a few somewhat appealing packs visible, concealing a bunch of 2005 Topps five-packs or something similarly crummy and of no interest to me. This one was a pleasant surprise. Not only were there recent A&G and Gypsy Queen packs as the bait, there were also some buried in the middle. Even better is that one of them was a hanger pack containing four packs, but they counted it as one pack.

Out of the 11 or 14 packs, however you choose to look at it, I pulled eight Padres. That was the second pleasant surprise, since I rarely ever pull Padres from packs.
So what if I already had all of them except for the Tatooine Topps card of fellow perpetual disappointment Everth Cabrera; it's still nice to pull a card from your favorite team. I thought of doing a Cardboard Corner post about these cards over at Gaslamp Ball, but on second thought I don't see that happening. One, it has taken me 10 days to get around to this, and two, it just doesn't seem to be a good fit. The audience there isn't a card crowd, so when I do a card post, it's generally of one interesting card, and even then they usually get next to no interest. So there you go.

As you can see, there was some filler in the form of 2008 Upper Deck, but even that turned out well since it's a nice enough set and the two packs of it I got were a hanger and a jumbo, yielding 54 cards. I'll get back to those, though; I'm going to try to chronicle the box in the order I opened the packs. First up was two six-packs of 2013 Allen and Ginter's. As I'll do with the others, I'm just going to show a few highlights from each pack.
I hate the Dodgers and refuse to allow their logo to sully my blog but, man, Koufax was good. Somebody is bound to want this and I'll gladly pass it along; just let me know. That goes for any and all of these cards. A lot of them are cool and I had a grand ol' time ripping into them, but none of them fit into any of my collections. That Robin Yount A&G mini is a short print, which cropped up in 1 out of every 13 packs; the Martial Mastery cards were inserted 1 per 8 packs. Not a bad start.
The Curious Cases cards were also 1 per 8 packs, while the Josh Reddick mini is a 1 per 5 packs A&G back variation. Dime Box Nick probably already has it in his Reddicollection, but just in case, I tossed it in the box I keep putting off sending him. That would not be the last card of this box to meet that fate.

Having done well with my two packs of 2013 A&G, I moved on to the hanger pack of 2013 Gypsy Queen, which contained three packs of six cards each and a "bonus" pack of three framed cards. It irks me when companies label stuff like that "bonus" content. It's part of the full package and calculated into the price, and pretending it's just some treat is condescending. I hate pretty much everything, but being talked down to is very close to the top of the list. That said, the repackers counted it as one pack, so kudos to them for not ripping the hanger-pack-overwrap and counting each pack inside as one pack. Honestly, I'm amazed. The cynical side of me thinks their laziness trumped their greed. Anyway, here's a sampling of what it/they/whatever had in store.
Ken Griffey, Jr. is one of those players I've always liked and respected but don't collect. It's a great shot of that beautiful swing, plus he's wearing that sweet alternate jersey. Now, THAT'S a bonus. Adam Jones also falls into that category, albeit to a lesser extent as far as the liking and respecting goes. His 2013 A&G Across the Years card is down here with the Gypsy Queens for one reason, but it's a good reason: I screwed up. He's a San Diego native, which I'll also chalk up as a bonus.
Another Robin Yount! Not just another Robin Yount card, but another Robin Yount mini. Madness. That Homer Bailey No-Hitters insert is fairly snazzy; those were placed 1 per every 4 packs. One of these packs also contained the Andrew McCutchen Sliding Stars (1 per 6 packs) shown at the top of this post. You know that thing I said about Griffey and Jones? Yeah, McCutchen, too.
This is the best of the "bonus" framed cards. It's the best in my eyes because of the throwback uniform, not because I care one bit about Mariano Rivera. The whole Yankee farewell tour garbage moved the needle on my Riverameter from dead center at 'Apathy' a little to the right to 'Mild Annoyance'. And since that's where my Jetermeter already was before this season, you can only imagine how glad I'll be when everyone stops fawning over every single thing that guy who is being outperformed by Alexi Amarista does. You know the worship has gone too far when people are having to change their pants after a friggin' Gatorade ad. Meanwhile, Paul Konerko's last season has barely received a whisper. Wrong set of pinstripes, I guess.

Sheesh, I got a little sidetracked there. I'd say I'll be back tomorrow with Part 2 of this, but it might be longer. Yeah, knowing me, it probably will be. At least I scanned all the cards for it before my scanner decided not to work, instead telling me "DOOR OPEN" constantly, even after much shutting of the top, progressively more forcefully, accompanied by various combinations of words that somehow sound even more vulgar when you mash them up together.

Such is life.