Thursday, March 19, 2015

A New Mission? (Hell Naw!)

So these past few days I received a few packages that contained vital additions to my Torrenterion Collection.

The first notable addition was this 1/1 Meganta printing plate of LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSS from 2014 Leaf Metal Draft. Courtesy of Bob Walk The Plank.

According to the note that BWTP sent along they got a pretty nice deal on this printing plate.

I'm not sure exactly how much BWTP spent to obtain this card but the fact remains that we're still trying to out-do each other in terms of trade packages. It figures since I just picked up a few Pirates at the last card show and now the package I had begun constructing has suffered a huge setback now. I'll have to go back to the drawing board.

Now that I have this printing plate, I'm that much closer to a master rainbow.
As of this post I have the 1/1 Prismatic (the superfractor), the green, purple, blue and this plate. That just leaves me with the red, base/SP and the three other plates. Chances are I won't come anywhere near completion, and quite frankly I won't even begin to consider starting the regular rainbow UNTIL the red auto shows up and I have it in my grasp, but most of the groundwork has been set. Now it's just a matter of waiting for the time/opportunity to fill in the gaps.

As if the plate wasn't enough BWTP also sent this awesome blue Prizm auto of the Torrenator.

Unlike the Leaf Metal Draft rainbow, I'm nowhere near completion with these Prizm draft cards. I've yet to see the 1/1 Prismatic or Gold or retail Greens show up on eBay and my rule of thumb with rainbows is to not start until I have the big pieces down (or the prices are so low you can't refuse).

Those of you who follow BWTP knows that he's currently engaged in an ongoing war with Jaybarkerfan to outdo each other in trade returns. I have no idea how he manages to find the time/money to keep bothering with the likes of me but I'll certainly have to return the kindness (regardless of whether or not BWTP wants a return or not).

BWTP also sent a few other notable cards with these but they'll be integrated into other posts.

And finally here's a fantastic blue autograph of the Torrenatrix courtesy of Baseball Card Breakdown. A card that he appears to have practically stolen.

The Bowman Chrome autograph rainbow is also something I'm nowhere close to finishing. The superfractor auto was on eBay for a while (at a hilariously overpriced price at that) but since then it's been sold and lost in the wilderness. Meanwhile I've yet to see any red autographs pop up and the few purple and orange autographs I've seen seem to be going for far more than I'd like/was expecting.
Torrens' setback here in 2015 probably won't deter his prices too much since he's still young and full of potential. So I don't see myself making progress on this one anytime soon either.

All the same, I'm constantly surprised at how often the blogosphere has supported and helped my PC. After a little recuperation time, I'll have put more thought and energy than ever into my next batch of Zippy Zappings.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Friday, March 13, 2015

Getting P(-To)WNed (Part III)

So during these past three months, I've gotten two different packages from the Cubs fan behind Waiting 'til Next Year. I was originally going to do a pack war using the first package along with a retail pack of 2015 Topps Hertiage, but just before I was about to start putting together the post, another package from WtNY popped up on my doorstep.

And so, I figured that I'd pit the two custom packages against each other. Now both packages were really awesome (as you're all about to see) but this'll decide which one is better.

However, the second package had three less cards in it (12 versus 9) so I decided to make up the difference by inserting two of the best base cards and the insert I pulled in the Heritage pack I was originally going to use for this pack war.

In the following scans, the cards from the first package (pack 1) will be on the left, and the cards in the second package (plus Heritage reinforcements) will be on the right.

Without further ado, let's begin!

Round 1:

Right off the bat we have LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS facing off against LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS.
Both sides are evenly matched, so let's call this a draw.

Pack(age) 1: 1
Pack(age) 2: 1

Round 2:

Now we have a LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS facing off against a shinier LUIIIISSSSSSSSSS.
Clearly package 2 has the edge, but package 1 is deserving of some credit as well. So package 2 will get one point, and package 1 will receive 0.5 points.

Pack(age) 1: 1.5
Pack(age) 2: 2

Round 3:

You know that you had a crappy Heritage pack if one of the two best base cards in it was of Brian Dozier.
Package 1 wins this round by default.

Pack(age) 1: 2.5
Pack(age) 2: 2

Round 4:

The Torrenator vs the 2014 AL ROY.
Give another point to the package that's sent us a quartet of Torrenses.

Pack(age) 1: 3.5
Pack(age) 2: 2

Round 5:

Here we have a shiny Bowman Gosuke Katoh vs a Panini Prizm Gosuke Katoh.
This is a tough one to decide so I'm going with a draw. Give both parties a point.

Pack(age) 1: 4.5
Pack(age) 2: 3

Round 6:

This round is the battle of the future NYY shortstops. Wade's higher on the ladder and slowly becoming more a sure thing (although it might be a bit too early to tell), meanwhile Yancarlos seems to have his fair share of upside as well.
It's a wash. No point for either party.

Pack(age) 1: 4.5
Pack(age) 2: 3

Round 7:

Here we have the man who was hyped up as the Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui hybrid the world was waiting for, and the original Ichiro Suzuki.
I like Fukudome (he had some great years as a member of the Chunichi Dragons, my favorite NPB team), but I'm going to go with the Ichiro card here. I love the fact that the background for that card is a forest.

Pack(age) 1: 4.5
Pack(age) 2: 4

Round 8:

Here's the battle of the (only) two horizontals.
The first package wins hands down. I mean that Stafford oddball right there is my first Post card.

Pack(age) 1: 5.5
Pack(age) 2: 4

Round 9:

Here's a great battle. Two major PC guys who aren't with the Yankees anymore.
Under normal circumstances this would be a draw, but as WtNY noted in their handwritten note to me, the Hiroki Kuroda on the right seems to be a special version.

Yep, it's apparently a "1st Edition" parallel with that little barely visible foil stamp.
According to the aforementioned note (and the internet), there were only ten sets made (allegedly). Which makes this a potential /10 card, which makes it all the more special.

Obviously I'm giving the point to package 2.

Pack(age) 1: 5.5
Pack(age) 2: 5

Round 10:

We're evenly matched again as the Torrenator takes on the Torrenator.
I'm giving a point to both parties.

Pack(age) 1: 6.5
Pack(age) 2: 6

Round 11:

Now here's a genuine toughie.
A LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSS vs an autograph of the second best prospect in the Yankees' organization. And the Prizm (refractor) version at that.

If it were any other prospect (even in the Yankees org) I probably would've gone with Torrens but Judge is special. He's basically the Yankees' farm system equivalent of Kris Bryant in the Cubs' farm system (although that's probably a horrible analogy).

The first pack tried playing up to its judge, but found itself in a jam when the other pack sent out the Judge.

So what I'm going to do is give package 2 a full point and also award package 1 with half a point.

Pack(age) 1: 7
Pack(age) 2: 7

Alright, now we're at the final round with the score tied at 7-7. This last round will decide once and for all, which package from P-Town was the best.

Round 12:

The battle of the parallels.
Package 2 gets the point easily though. Mainly because I needed the silver ice parallel (they're pretty overpriced on eBay and COMC) and now I finally have one :).
But the first package will be rewarded with half a point for the blue wave refractor as well.

Pack(age) 1: 7.5
Pack(age) 2: 8

And with that we have a winner. Package 2 wins on the strength of a major PC need and The Judge. But Package 1 had it's strong points too such as a few more Torrenses and my first oddball from a time when licensing fees for MLB-related properties weren't insanely high.

What this pack war also shows is that the devoted Cubs fan put a bunch of time/energy/thought/money into crafting these two packages. If I had just pitted either of these packages against the retail pack of Heritage it would've been one of the most one-sided pack wars to ever be blogged.

Luckily for me (and them?) I'm going to a semi-local card show again. By the time this post goes up I may have secured some (hopefully) awesome Cubbies to send their way. Considering what I sent them last time, I'll need to really up the ante this time.

So thanks to the devoted Cubs fan for these wonderful packages :). I hope that the frozen tundra you call home starts getting warmer and that you'll be able to actually see grass again soon :).

And as always, thank you for stopping by and take care :).

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Legend Of Big Hirok: 1 The Return

So it took me a while to finally start this "series" but the first installment of the Legend Of Big Hirok is here.

Part of the reason this took so long was because I didn't know where to start. Should I start with his childhood, his high school and college days, his professional debut, his MLB debut, what? I decided to keep it simple for now and start with the present day (as of this post anyway).

As we all know Big Hirok decided to return to the Hiroshima Carp (the team where it all began for him) one last time before calling it a career. Turning down some pretty lucrative one year deals from the Yankees, Dodgers and Padres in the process.

Last week I saw this article in the Japanese newspaper (based in America/NY) the Daily Sun.

It basically states that Hiroki Kuroda has joined his former team for spring training over there and is immensely popular. Kuroda is (to date) the best pitcher born in Japan to come to the big leagues (suck it Nomo!) and he's pretty much the only player to go to the big leagues, actually succeed and come back to his old stomping grounds.

According to the article Kuroda's popularity is at the point where his merchandise seems to be flying off the shelves. Kuroda-related anything is selling for big bucks online and street vendors are finding it impossible to keep their Kuroda items in stock.

Now originally I was going to do a long expose on the events leading up to Hirok returning to his former team but I'm having a tough time gathering the right articles (which is to say that there's a lot of garbage being posted by the Japanese media that I'm having a tough time separating from stuff I can actually use). All I can really say is that Hirok must've decided that he only had enough fuel left in the tank for one more year and that he was going to use that for one last hurrah in his homeland. Also he's playing for basically one fourth of what the Padres/Dodgers/Yankees(?) offered him.

And just the other day Kuroda made his spring training debut with the Carp. He threw a scoreless 4.1 innings pitched with only 39 pitches. According to some folks over on that side of the ocean he's on a bit of a pitch limit this spring, but based on his first outing, it's still the Hirok we all know and love.

I'm not sure exactly how the rest of these Legend Of Big Hirok posts will go (or if I get to them at all), but his high school days and college days should make for some interesting posts.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Saturday, March 7, 2015

As One Mission Ends, Another Begins

Remember that time I blogged about how the Luis Torrens yellow refractor was sold on eBay right under my nose?

Well I was able to get in contact with the person who bought that refractor and managed to work out a deal for it.

A week later this finally arrived.


Yep. The last non-printing plate piece of the 2013 Bowman Chrome Luis Torrens rainbow finally arrived.

As you can see it's numbered 01/10.

In the eBay auction/BIN the seller set up, he wrote the following,

"This is a baseball card and everyone knows baseball is a sport with cards made for happiness."

And boy is he right about that. I'm incredibly happy to have this card and to say I have the Luis Torrens Bowman Chrome rainbow.

Of course I'm missing the plates but what can you do?

Now I could end this post here. But it seemed fitting that as one mission of mine came to an end, I decided to begin a new one.
For you see, for the first time in eons I've decided to go after a full card set.

That card set is the new 100 card, 20 sticker and 10 tattoo set from the 2015 Topps Star Wars Rebels set.

I picked up three rack packs the other day (and yes, a Clone Break for them/product review post is coming soon ;)) and I'm going to pick up a few more, but I thought I'd post a want list first.
I've posted it on my "What I Collect" page,

For those of you who've been struggling to figure out what I'm looking for, here's the first (and only) time I'll ever put up a detailed list of card numbers I "need" that you all might come across. I'll also accept unopened packs as well ;).

Any help with this set will be greatly appreciated since this set seems like the kind of set that'll be easily forgotten and be hard to track down later. As my good friend Ryan once said, cards centered on children's TV shows are hard to find.

So anyway, big thanks to all of the people who've helped me build my Luis Torrens rainbow. I am still in shock that I managed to pull this off.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Forsaken Again

This winter has been quite a roller coaster for my fandom. It's left me very blue like this blue paper parallel of the Torrenator numbered 348/399.

Some of you can probably tell why I'm blue.
Near the end of February a blurb popped up on the New York Post that said that Luis Torrens' 2015 season was in jeopardy due to shoulder issues.
This caught a lot of people by surprise and for a while not even the Yankees knew the severity of the situation.

Then it all became clearer on March 3rd.

Yep. Luis is going to miss the 2015 season to have surgery done on a torn labrum in his right shoulder. For those of you who want to know a little more about this injury, CBS New York wrote a pretty nice piece on it.

Per Luis' official Twitter the operation (done by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital For Special Surgery here in New York) was a success and now the healing time begins.

This isn't the first time that shoulder issues have cost Torrens development time. Last season he suffered a shoulder injury that caused him to miss two months worth of action.

In fact according to this article on, Torrens' 2015 season was already in jeopardy as far back as August 2014. The article states that near the end of the season the Yankees ran some tests on Torrens and a partial tear in the labrum was found. They decided to put him on a rehabilitation program during the offseason to help him heal but when Torrens came to camp and still had shoulder issues, the team decided to have him undergo surgery.

I have no doubts that Torrens will be ready to go by 2016 but I'd be cautious going forward. If more shoulder problems arise in the future it could signal something potentially wrong.
I sincerely hope not since Torrens' arm was an absolute cannon last year.

The one good thing is that Torrens is still young. He turns 19 this May and won't even be 20 yet when the 2016 season begins. However lost development time is still a bummer. And for the 2015 season the Yankees lost a big piece of their catching depth (although he wasn't MLB bound anyway and is still in the organization, which are also pluses I guess).

A Prizm Refractor Auto from Panini Prizm

As for what this means for my Torrens collection. Nothing will really change. The only positive effect this sad turn of events can have is that I don't have to worry about Luis' prices going up. This offseason they were slowly getting there (the Torrens Bowman Chrome autos that went for $3 in the past finally reached the $5 mark), but this will slow that down considerably.
I'll still go after the Torrens cards I don't have and need. He'll still be one of the top two PC guys. And I won't be changing the name of this blog to Flamin' Up Cards anytime soon (the Flamin' is from MIGUEL FLAMES, if you're wondering).
BTW, the two cards I've featured in this post are my latest additions from COMC that just came in this morning.

Still, with no Big Hirok in the majors or LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS in the minors, as far as PC guys go 2015 is a lost cause for me. Not even A-Rod hitting over .400 and hitting 75 home runs will cheer me up.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Articles About Luis Torrens And His Injury/Sources: