Friday, December 15, 2017


For the most part this corner of the collectosphere does not really care for grading cards. I mean chances are we'd take cards in if they were already graded, but grading them ourselves? Not so much.

Generally, I am the same way. My enjoyment in this hobby does not stem from grading a card and keeping it in the most pristine condition possible.

That said, there are times where I've thought about grading certain cards. Not exactly cards in my main collections, but other cards I still have around.

My 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout rookie card is a great example. This is one of the big puppies I'm thinking of getting graded. Namely because if I gamble and hope for a good enough grade (which I kind of doubt because the corners are kind of meh) it means $$$!!! Yes, I'm low key becoming an investor type because of my prospecting roots. You all should've seen this coming ;).

Same goes for all of these too (although I may want to give the Boeser some more thought since it's the newest and things can go wrong).

I've actually looked into how much it'd cost to grade something. Damn is it a lot more expensive than I thought it'd be. I mean I didn't think it'd be dirt cheap since those custom cases cost money, but woof. It makes me wonder exactly how much money people lost when they sold me their graded Torrens autos for single digits.

I suppose that (like a lot of things in this hobby), the more you submit for grading, the more of a discount you get (although the shipping fees to get them all back must be murder). I guess that's why there's a thing called group submission where you send cards you want graded to one person, then that person submits a large quantity of cards for grading on your (and others') behalf and then they return them to you after grading has completed. Sounds good, although I'd imagine that I'd only do that with people I'd really really trust. And TBH I only consider like seven collectors I know to be trustworthy on that level.

Anyway here's the real meat of this post. Have any of you ever submitted stuff for grading before? Would you ever? If you have, got any advice?

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Blast From The Past

Most of you are familiar with my origin story. If you aren't, I blogged about it in detail here.

Long story short, I officially started in 2011. However, it's not like prior to 2011 I never had any baseball cards. I did. I got a handful of NPB cards from my uncle who took me to Dragons games when I was younger. As for my MLB cards I'm not sure how I acquired them (probably as part of random gifts from birthday presents or something), but I did remember having some as a kid. The ones I remember the most are from the following four sets.

One was 2005 Topps Hot Button Baseball. Back in the mid-2000's card companies were still trying to market cards towards kids so there was this set of cards that allowed you to play a video game on some crappy piece of plastic. The first card I pulled from my only pack? Alex Rodriguez.

Another one was 2006 Upper Deck Baseball. Simply because this was the only baseball card commercial I ever saw as a kid. Also because a little Zippy Zappy pulled both a Hideki Matsui base card and Ichiro Suzuki base card from the same pack once. You bet I was excited as heck!

The third was 2005 Topps Series Two. I actually remember how I got this, one of my parents picked up a loose pack for me at CVS and I pulled three Yankees in the pack. The only player of note was Jorge Posada. This one must've been special to me because I think that's the moment where I decided to be an official Yankees fan. Good grief, imagine if I had pulled three Mets (shudders!).

And finally is the brand/product that was very likely the VERY FIRST pack of baseball cards I ever opened, 2004 Upper Deck Power Up. Another mid-2000's set geared towards kids that had a very distinct feature.

The players all had enlarged heads.

I'm still not sure what the reasoning behind this is (bobblehead motif?), but it's an interesting design choice nonetheless. It's the kind that just leaves an impression on you for being so weird. The Posada base above did not come from the few packs of this I remember opening. I'm not sure who I pulled (they've all disappeared) but I think one of them was a Red Sox era Pedro Martinez. Blarg.

In addition to the green base card above there were four parallels. Orange (rare), purple (ultra rare), red (super rare) and blue (mega rare), none of these parallels were numbered.

The backs looked like this. As a set geared towards kids they kept the stats simple (and VERY minimal) while focusing more on the fun facts and the disembodied head.

This is one of the Shining Through inserts. It's very glossy and it's a pink-ish purple-ish color. I remember calling it the medicine color because the hue reminded me of some gross tasting cold medicine I had to drink as a kid. Cherry flavor my ass. This insert was not the one I pulled, at the time I pulled a Scott Rolen and a very young Miguel Cabrera.

The back looked like this, this time with more stats, some actual personal info, and a little blurb on the player. All written in a font that wouldn't look out of place on the Rugrats. The portrait picture there is where the disembodied came head from.

This was my favorite insert though, these stickers. You had the Power Up! logo, a nameplate, a team logo (which was huge for young me for some reason), the disembodied head and the bobblehead. I pulled one of these back in the day of Ichiro Suzuki. Young me was thrilled! Also young me was stupid and immediately put the stickers on the little tupperware box he was using to store baseball cards at the time (all 30 of them lol). Older me wonders where it went.

The back of the sticker insert looked like this and now I can address the big elephant in the room that I've been avoiding. What's with those points?

Apparently all of these cards have an allotted amount of points. The base cards are worth 10 points each, the orange parallels are worth 100 points, the purple parallels are worth 250 points, the red parallels are worth 500 points, and the blue parallels are worth 1,000 points. The Shining Through inserts were worth 50 points. Chances are some of you have seem them on the cards themselves.

You may have also noticed the nine digit code on the right hand side of the cards (below the Upper Deck logo). You apparently went to a part of the Upper Deck website where you were able to input those codes and create a team. You can partially see what the page for Power Up! looked like on WayBack Machine here. The team with the most points in a given period of time were able to win prizes (I'm guessing it was either a free song on iTunes or a Ken Griffey Jr. autograph).

Basically all you really needed to do to win was to have nine of those blue parallels. Good luck with that though, Baseballcardpedia put their odds of being pulled at 1:240 packs, which in turn means that the blues were only inserted in one out of every 10 boxes (each box had 24 packs each). Damn. They're still rare as shit now because there are only like two or three of them up on eBay. Mostly going for way more than any sane person would offer.

In doing research for this post I discovered two interesting things about Power Up! That they made a Power Up! set for football, and that there was a "kit" released where you got a special binder to store the cards that came with one pack and two sticker cards. Don't get excited though, the binder doesn't look like your typical three ring-nine pocket binder, it looks like something specially made just for this in which you can only see one card in full and the rest are hidden in pockets. I am seriously debating whether to pick one up for myself TBH.

I never did the online challenge (I was just a bit too young to start wasting my time online back then), but if I had I imagine that I'd have a lot of fun and be really disappointed everytime my team lost because some rich kid (or a grown adult?) had their parents buy them entire boxes of this stuff.

Huh, funny how a lot of the products that meant something to me have been game oriented. Power Up!, Hot Button Baseball, Konami Powerful, Topps Attax, and of course...

Anyway, thanks for joining me on this post where I was actually able to dive back into my childhood for once. I thought that was just reserved for people who were actually collectors as kids but I guess not.

As always thanks for stopping by :).

Take care.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Another Large Adult Son

2017 was all about one large adult son in the Bronx, now there are going to be two of them.

Giancarlo Stanton reportedly joins the Yankees (pending physicals and MLB approvals yadda yadda), following a trade from the Marlins. Providing an embarrassment of riches in terms of power to a team that already had plenty of power to begin with.

In what's been a crazy week filled with all sorts of weird baseball related sweepstakes, the Yankees came out of nowhere to get Stanton for basically nothing but taking on salary.

Mike Axisa over at River Ave Blues, my good friends j_nyy on his blog and The Lost Collector wrote great pieces on the trade that articulate the good (and bad) about the deal better than I could.

But I do have my own takes though.

First off, initially I was very skeptical that this would ever happen. Okay scratch that, I was very disapproving of this happening. It's no secret that Stanton is signed to one of the biggest, longest and immovable contracts ever. On one hand, I think it's great that Stanton has earned lots of money and the right to pick where he chooses to work. On the other hand, what about the payroll?

Then it hit me. It's not my money so I don't care, I'm perfectly okay with spending Steinbrenner's money to get two large adult sons in the same lineup to entertain me for 3-4 hours next year.

And even if I did care about payroll, the Yankees moved Starlin Castro and his contract in this deal. Obviously that won't make Stanton's yearly impact on the luxury tax be that much less but it helps a lot more than than you'd think (certainly more than I figured). If nothing else, it's definitely cheaper than what future Dodger Bryce Harper would've cost on a yearly basis.

But now, all I can think about are Stanton and Aaron Judge hitting dingers in tiny Yankee Stadium. Just think of what they'll do to the Baltimore Orioles! It's exciting! Plus they have very reasonable supporting players who varying amounts of serviceable power like Gary freaking Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, Greg Bird, Aaron Hicks, Chase Headley and Brett Gardner.

Of course the question becomes what to do about Jacoby Ellsbury. I don't blame Brian Cashman and the Yankees for creating a surplus of outfielders. When an NL MVP stumbles onto your team for virtually nothing you take it. I suspect that the yearly token outfield injury will consume several of the outfielders the Yankees have, so I'm fine with wondering if Clint Frazier is going to get enough at bats (he probably will). But Ellsbury? The Yankees didn't even bother having him hit in the postseason. I don't think he's going to be released but he could be moved to another team once Cashman can find someone who's A). actually in need of an outfielder and B). willing to pay some portion of that contract. Either way, I'd be kind of surprised if Ellsbury was still with the team by the end of the 2018 season.

As for the players who are going to Miami, it's no surprise that the Yankees didn't give up anything big from their system. Cashman had all of the leverage and he knew it. Plus, the Marlins' new/current Director of Player Development is Gary Denbo, the man who was Vice President of Player Development for the Yankees until like three months ago. This meant that it was pretty obvious that the Marlins were probably going to take some lower level lottery ticket types who Denbo was really fond of before he left the Yankees org.

And apparently two of those guys were Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers.

Jorge Guzman will forever be known to me as the only Staten Island Yankees pitcher I was allowed to see in 2017 :P. Even though that's not entirely accurate (I saw Trevor Stephan pitch once!), pretty much every time I made my way to SI this past summer, Guzman was pitching. No complaints though, he led the New York-Penn League in strikeouts with his high-90's fastball that did touch triple digits at times. His secondary offerings need a lot of work so he's still very raw, but the talent is there for him to be the next great Marlins pitcher who they sell off when he gets too expensive.

Jose Devers is the cousin of Rafael Devers (currently a Boston Red Sock). A lanky infielder who's only played in rookie ball so far.

The only big leaguer "going" to Miami is Starlin Castro. I wrote going in quotes because Castro is not staying in Miami. He's probably going to be moved to a club in need of a second baseman like the New York Mets, the Milwaukee Brewers or the Toronto Blue Jays. The poor beleaguered soul. Twice jettisoned from juggernaut teams about to enter their winning phase to a lackluster team that can only be described as "better than Miami :P".

I didn't have any particularly strong feelings about Castro. I figured that at best he was a potential Gregorius type where if he clicked he could force NYY's hand into making him their longterm second baseman, and at worst he would be their stopgap until Gleyber Torres was ready. Apparently the Yankees fanbase was really divided on him. One half thought he was okay and serviceable, the other half hated his inconsistency and fielding errors. Personally, I thought he was just fine as the diet version of Robinson Cano.

All told the moves Cashman has made in recent times have been incredible. It seems like with every new trade he makes he keeps one upping himself by continuing to add layers of talent to both the major league team and the farmsystem. The man deserves much much more than the $25 million extension he just got. Where's his movie where a bald Brad Pitt plays him?!

So what's left to do?

Well other than trying to get rid of Ellsbury, I'd imagine that some of the focus will be on pitching. Much like the pre-Stanton lineup, the starting rotation as it is right now is already fine. Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery, potential starter Chad Green, along with top pitching prospects like Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield and Domingo Acevedo makes for a pretty loaded and very talented rotation capable of competing with the best of them. Of course you'd have to figure that CC Sabathia will be in the mix too after likely returning on a one year deal or something.

The bullpen is plenty scary even if Green's not a fulltime reliever anymore but if Cashman finds a clear upgrade at a price level he's comfortable at, he'll make it.

I guess second base is a question mark for now but I think Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade can handle it until either Torres shows that he ready to take the position in the second half, or it becomes clear that Torres' year to claim second will have to wait until next year and the Yankees get someone else to be their stopgap. Or maybe when Wade shows that he's really really good in his own right.

Oh wait, there's still the matter of catching depth... Outside of the injury prone Kyle Higashioka the farmsystem is noticeably barren when it comes to in-house catchers who are MLB ready. The closest is Donny Sands who figures to spend 2017 in either high-A or double-A. It doesn't help that it's becoming increasingly clear that Austin Romine is painfully mediocre, both with the bat and glove. This does not really give me confidence that the Yankees have suitable backstop options for when Gary Sanchez needs rest. Or really for any level above whichever one Sands happens to be on at the time.

Of course one key problem is that the free agent catching market is kind of shit. They'll all want to be starting catchers (duh), and most of them don't have the talent or results to be that much better than Romine anyway.

If Cashman wants to trade for a catcher, I do know of this one really really talented catcher in the San Diego Padres organization. He's blocked by Austin Hedges and could be a major force for a team that would actually care about his development. His name is...

Rocky Gale!

Thanks to Judson at My Cardboard Habit for the rainbow parallel!

Er, I mean Luis Torrens! I don't know about you but I think Torrens would be better suited in an org like the Yankees. Their connection makes it almost like Torrens was once a Yankee himself. Just my two cents...

Alright we're reaching the end of the post, I figure I might as well talk about Miami's side of this trade. The pressure is now on them to actually start building a farmsystem. They didn't with this deal (they couldn't have anyway). Even though they've been shit and have been able to draft high in the past few years, their picks since 2013 have amounted to Tommy John surgeries and disappointments. I think the last decent prospect they developed was Andrew Heaney and he's not even on the team anymore. If I had to guess their firesale continues and the deal where they move Marcel Ozuna is where they finally get back some prospects. Not any front liners but like some solid depth pieces. Maybe in a Christian Yelich too (although that's another situation where the contract will bite them). Then... I don't know. Maybe they trade Justin Bour for something? Martin Prado's likely on his way out. They might get a decent return on J.T. Realmuto but that'll literally leave the team with jack shit. Even the bad Astros had a young Jose Altuve. Look, at this point just fold the Marlins and move their sorry husk of a ball club to Montreal. The damage is done. The team is a sham. The taxpayers have suffered (scratch that, they'll continue to suffer regardless of how good/bad the team is).

So all in all, it will be very exciting to see Stanton and Judge hit dingers in Yankee Stadium next year. There will a lot of K's, but a lot of balls hit to the farthest parts of the stadium. Best of luck to Guzman, Castro and Devers in Miami wherever they end up too.

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

Friday, December 8, 2017

Super Duper Size

So when I blogged about the 5x7 Topps cards of Luis Torrens I acquired, I received a comment from Once A Cub who told me that Topps also sold 10x14 sized posters of the 2017 flagship cards.

Naturally I was crushed. For one thing, who the hell wants a 10x14 card? For another thing, those fuckers are expensive.

And being the idiot that I am I bought one.

The Black Friday sale allowed me to get the base card above for half off (which was later made up by shipping fees and state taxes).

The base version is limited to 99 copies and actually handwritten on the lower left hand corner.

The back is blank. And in a way I'm disappointed. I often ignore backs because Topps sure doesn't care about them, but in this case I would've liked to see them print the back too.

And naturally I put the 10x14 with it's brethren, in order you can see the 10x14, the 5x7, the standard size and the mini. Unfortunately I don't have the mini base yet so the blue parallel will have to be the placeholder for now.

I've talked shit about the card a lot this post but it was all worth it to see what these different sizes look all together.

There is another parallel of this 10x14, a gold 1/1. I did briefly think of getting it but it's price (even at 50% off) is insane. Like, seriously, I have a limit for how much I'm willing to spend on a card if it's not autographed, let alone if it's hard as shit to store. And that's before we get to the opportunity cost.

Still though, if I weren't so burnt out by parallels and these varying sizes I'd totally be all in on a revival of Topps Micro so that the mini has a card to hold. Oh no, I just gave Topps an idea didn't I? What have I done?!

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

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Random Thoughts On The Ohtani Sweepstakes

So the recent Shohei Ohtani buzz is finally happening and has finally brought some life and energy into what has been (and will continue to be) a very slow and dull offseason.

Obviously I'm kind of bummed that the Yankees weren't involved in the Ohtani race as much as I thought they'd be. It seemed so much like a "the stars were aligned" thing but oh well, it's Ohtani's life and I hope he finds what he's looking for elsewhere.

While on that note, let me just say that I am absolutely appalled at reactions like this. For those of you too lazy to click the link, it was a link to the Daily News cover calling Ohtani a chicken. That is garbage. The guy is going to be paid jack shit to uproot his life to play in a new country and in a new culture/environment for the next six years, let him pick where he wants to do it.

For real though, the amount of saltiness and bitterness from the two most obnoxious baseball fanbases when Ohtani said no to the Yankees and Red Sox was something. Enough to ensure that Ohtani the Yankee/Red Sock isn't happening for a long ass time. And I say that as a guy who is a Yankees fan (I guess) :P.

For whatever it's worth I think the Ohtani race will ultimately come down to the Mariners or Padres. Both make a lot of sense and give Ohtani the opportunity to A). both pitch and hit and B). be a part of an up-and-comer. Although the Padres may have an advantage if Ohtani really wants a legit shot at a World Series title in 2020. I stopped caring about the Padres after it was made clear that they stopped caring about Luis Torrens but they do have a great farmsystem. Many won't pan out but the ones that will will be ready and contributing by 2020.

So while that ends the direct Ohtani thought I had, I had a few ones loosely related to it.

The first is that the Minnesota Twins were really smart yesterday by trading bonus pool money to the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Mike Trouts of Anaheim.

The Twins gave away a million apiece in international bonus pool slot money. In return they got back David Banuelos, a catcher who was the Mariners' 10th best prospect on, and Jacob Pearson, an outfielder who was the Trouts' fifth best prospect on

Brian should be proud. Obviously the Twins could've gone after the non-Kevin Maitan prospects who became free agents after MLB cracked down hard on the Atlanta Barves, but instead they turned it into a fifth round draft pick and a third round draft pick. That said the Mariners and Trouts farmsystems are terrible so whether these guys go anywhere except the 25-30 range in the Twins top prospect rankings (at best) remains to be seen but adding depth is never a bad thing. Especially with the Twins' lack of catching depth in their org (they've got Rortvedt, Garver and not much else TBH).

The money acquired could've been for Ohtani, in the Trouts' case you could argue they were for Kevin Maitan. Either way the Twins capitalized and added some nice depth pieces.

I did joke a few times on Twitter that the Yankees should trade their bonus pool money for players, but then I realized two things.

One is that they're actually reportedly interested in a few international free agents like (OF) Julio Pablo Martinez and (INF) Yunior Severino (per Jonathan Mayo). And with Maitan out of the picture, why not? Personally I want them to sign Yunior so that the Yankees can potentially have Luis Severino, Anderson Severino and Yunior Severino all in the same organization.

The second and more important thing is that four of the teams still in the Ohtani race can't dish out anything bigger than a $300,000 bonus to Ohtani. Those four are the Giants, the Padres, Cubs and Dodgers. All of these clubs went above their bonus pool money sometime in the previous two years and as a punishment, 300k is all they can dish out.

This left only the Mariners, Trouts and Rangers as the teams that could get more bonus pool money, and since the rules indicate that you're only allowed to acquire like half of what you originally had I'm not sure how much you can really offer those three clubs anymore. Either way, I think the lack of moves on the Yankees' part indicates that they never really thought that hard about trading slots for players but instead using slots to sign players. Then again who knows, by the time this post goes up something new might happen and make me look like a fool.

My final indirect Ohtani thought is wondering what exactly determines how big or small a market is. I hear it all of the time and I've gotten vague explanations for what it is but I've never really gotten a definitive answer. Some teams just feel like they're big markets and others just seem like they're small even though they might not be either. So I went and looked at it from various angles.


So if we go by population then we see that some teams have bigger markets than many would think. I'm basing this on estimates on some site called World Population Review so take them with a grain of salt, but this gives us a rough idea of how many people live in the top 10 populated cities (that have a baseball team).

1). New York (aprox. 8.5 million)
2). Los Angeles (aprox. 3.9 million)
3). Chicago (aprox. 2.7 million)
4). Houston (aprox. 2.2 million)
5). Phoenix (aprox. 1.5 million)
6). Philadelphia (aprox. 1.5 million)
8). San Diego (aprox. 1.3 million)
13). San Francisco (aprox. 0.86 million)
18). Seattle (aprox. 0.683 million)
19). Denver (aprox. 0.68 million)

Of course a look at the cities below Denver quickly reveals that population isn't exactly what constitutes the size of a market for a given team. Two slots below Denver we have Detroit, Washington D.C. and Boston (in that order), but good luck convincing someone that the Boston Red Sox are a mid-market team.

I've seen the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners described as small markets in the past and the truth is that they're really not. Could they just be described as such because of something else? Something like...

On-Field Performance (or lack thereof)?

As in, how good or bad a team is.
It seems like if a team is good and actually spending money on free agents or contract extensions, they get the "they've got the money from a big enough market" treatment while if they let players go/trade them before they get too expensive, the narrative goes the "well they're a small market and don't have the money" route. Fans and media really need to start complaining that the billionaires in charge of the teams are too cheap more. I know they do already (or at least the fans do), but do it more. All of the owners are rich and have money to blow, so blow it and win!

I mentioned before that the Astros were once written off as a small market team. I saw this a lot during their peak rebuilding years (the really really bad years between like 2010 and 2014). Anyone who lives in Houston and watches the Rockets or Texans (or Stars :P) will tell you that Houston is anything BUT a small market. They're the fourth most populated city in the US after all.

The fact that Seattle and San Diego are constantly tied to the "small market" label suggests that some lazy people just use it to describe teams that either suck or were supposed to suck but lucked into the playoffs somehow (looking at you Royals!).

This is the only way I could ever justify calling the New York Mets a small market team. They're not BTW, I ran a Twitter poll scientific experiment to confirm it, although my study is still ongoing and the results are... surprising.

I guess there are other ways of looking at it like the media outlets who cover the teams, how wealthy the owners are (again, they're all billionaires who could take on multiple Giancarlo Stanton contracts) and revenue/income, but meh I got tired of doing any more digging and decided to just go with a combination of the local population, the media and whether or not the team sucks.

Posting his rookie twice because I can

So those were some random thoughts on and kind of on Shohei Ohtani. Where he picks I hope he can have a great start to the second chapter of his already unique career. Even if he's not a Yankee I'll still root for him to succeed as a person.

In the meantime, best of luck to my fellow collectors who are fans of teams still in the Ohtani race. Just know that your anxiousness and hopefulness is helping the rest of us in the baseball world stay entertained as the cold winter continues. Or at least when the Rangers aren't playing in my case :P.

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

Monday, December 4, 2017

Clone Breaks: 2017-18 Upper Deck Hockey Series 1 (Part 2)

So for extra security Rex and his men moved the last 12 packs to another location.

The goal is still simple. Look for Rangers, especially the Filip Chytil Young Guns card.

Pack 13.

Eyyy, Nick Holden starts us off with a nice Rangers bang!

Pack 14.

A Young Guns of Philadelphia PhFlyers rookie, Samuel Morin.
Morin appears to be back in the minors for now but he could be back up with more injuries to the Flyers' D.

Pack 15.

A bunch of really nice shots with a black and white Sean Couturier insert in the middle. Hockey people already know this but apparently Sean Couturier appears to wear false teeth when he isn't playing.

Pack 16.

An Auston Matthews insert and former Ranger Carl Hagelin makes an appearance. Hagelin's post Rangers career includes some ups and downs but mainly two Stanley Cup Championships.

Pack 17.

Probably one more of the more generic picture heavy packs of this whole entire break. Except of course for the last two. Speaking of which, a football on a hockey card?!

Pack 18.

Some key notes here include how Kyle Turris has hair and that Drake Caggiula can do stretches.
Also, this pack featured one of the more prominent Young Guns cards to chase in the set.

Boom. Even if I'm not a total hockey nut I at least know who to chase in this set. Brock Boeser here commands a lot of money on eBay, just a notch below Nico Hischier. Very nice card to get.

Pack 19.

That Matt Dumba panoramic shot is amazing. Topps should totally try that with baseball.
Also this pack lets me assemble two of the Staal brothers, Jordan and Eric. For the record, their brother Marc (who is on the Rangers and is having a renaissance yet still kinda tailing off) is one of my favorite hockey players ever.

Pack 20.

A Young Guns of Alex Formenton.
Zach Parise and Jonathan Toews are both names I recognize so that's a plus. Also that Evgeni Malkin picture is great.

Pack 21.

Not much here except a UD Portraits insert of Daniel Sedin and interesting high angle shots of Adam Larsson and Marcus Granlund.

Pack 22.

The Messiah! Man, wouldn't that be a fun card to get signed one day.

Pack 23.

A UD Canvas of Ryan Ellis and a nice shot of P.K. Subban. For the record, I appear to be a magnet for Predators cards. I don't know that I like that.

Pack 24.

We finish the box on a relatively strong note with an autograph(!) and a Young Guns card of Robert Hagg.

The autograph is of John Gibson.

According to the wrappers, these Signature Sensations autographs only have a one-in-288 shot of being pulled (so it's essentially a case hit). So I beat the odds twice with the jersey relic and this John Gibson autograph.

Call it beginners luck I guess, but overall this box was a very nice one IMHO. An autograph, a jersey relic and an in demand rookie.

So nice that Rex and the others had no real issues to tackle. Which was nice.

Oops spoke to soon. A hoard of droids them came after they found that Rex and co. would be left vulnerable without padawan Chytil there to help.

They were right. Rex's forces were annihilated within moments.

Will Rex survive? Hmm, there is something hovering towards him in the distance...

Find out what it is next time folks!


Sorry for the weird ending. Came up with something else at the last minute and decided to run with it.

And there was my very first ever hobby box of Upper Deck hockey. I beat the odds twice with the jersey relic and the autograph. Like I mentioned before, I think it was a pretty nice box. I may or may not go after the base set. If I do decide to go after the set, I'll have a want-list up eventually. If I don't go after it, I'll split it up and send the teams to whoever wants them/collects them.

So a quick recap of the notables (and Rangers).

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