Monday, October 30, 2017

Getting Closer

Before we get to my post, let me just say that that was an excellent baseball game yesterday this morning. TBH I'm kinda sad that the Dodgers lost, but it was a fun game to watch regardless. I personally hope for more five hour, extra inning, bad bullpen games in Game Six and Seven.

Anyway it took a while but I finally got my hands on Luis Torrens' rookie cards in 2017 Topps Update.


I've kept up with posts all throughout our corner of the blogopshere in hopes of seeing someone else pull his cards and blog about him, only to find that he managed to evade pretty much everybody's packs.

Anyway by now you all should be aware of what Topps Update is. It's a jumbled mess where you appear to be able to pull more shortprints than parallels. This does not suit me as I've managed to track down some of the parallels (including some big ones) but all the while others have yet to surface. Given how the print run appears to be huge for the product is a whole (or in the Toys R Us parallel's case, nonexistent), I might have to pounce on the first parallels I see in some cases. How wonderful.


The base card above came courtesy of a case break that P-Town Tom signed me up for. Big thanks to Tom.


I received 22 base cards that were pulled between two cases. I'll take every copy I can get. In the event that I see Torrens again one day these will be offered to him.

Now here are the rest of my recent pickups.


This vintage stock parallel is honestly one of my favorite parallels ever. If I were to ever get a card signed, these vintage stocks are the way to go. The less gloss on the surface the nicer the signature often turns out to be.


I used to love the vintage stocks' previous incarnation as a retail only parallel, now it's limited to 99 copies. Pity. Sometimes I wish these were the default card stock of modern day Topps flagship.


Next up is the Mother's Day Hot Pink parallel. This should explain to you the downfalls of a card design not having borders. This looks a mess to me with a pink triangle trying to stab Torrens' hand.


My copy is numbered 06/50. For the record, Torrens got his first MLB hit off of D-Backs pitcher Tom Wilhemsen.


The last of my pickups (so far) has been this Father's Day Powder Blue parallel. It's so undistinguishable from the base card that if it weren't for the UPDATE SERIES box on the lower right hand corner I'd just assume this was the base.


My copy is numbered 07/50. Getting three double digit parallels out of the way is a good start.

Now begins the hard part of waiting for others to emerge (or to fall to a reasonable price range).

In the meantime, these four cards bring me to a total of 99 different Luis Torrens cards (assuming parallels can be considered "different").

I am now one card away from reaching the 100 card plateau. The best part is that I have two incredibly important cards on my way as I type so that goal is within reach.

As for the Update rainbow, I'm at four out of 16 (I miscounted earlier) parallels. Wish me luck with the rest.

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

Friday, October 27, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

No Apologies Necessary

An interesting experience happened recently. A few days ago I received a PWE addressed to me from none other than the Staten Island Yankees.

It wouldn't be the first time I received mail from the team but the last times have centered around giveaways.


This time was a bit different. For one thing Jason Nazzaro, the SI Yankees' Chief Financial Officer, sent along his card with the PWE.


Ooh must be something important?


Inside was this typed letter apologizing for a failed TTM request. I sent a request to Chase Hodson prior to the end of the season and Nazzaro and his staff took the time to send this to me. Luckily for both of us I have gone to the ballpark to witness the beautiful view of downtown Manhattan (and the Hudson), and will continue to do so in the future. The note was sent along with my SASE, the card I sent and my original letter. The real proof that the team put in effort into this was that someone wrote my address on the PWE to me by hand.

I've had failed TTM returns before (unsigned cards sent back to me), but this was the first time I got a team official apologizing. They didn't need to do this but they did. It's pretty cool on SIY's part and I totally appreciate the gesture.

Got this signed in person, a fine addition indeed

What makes this even more awesome is the fact that I didn't even send the Hodson request to Staten Island. Back when I first sent it he had been assigned to Charleston, so I sent it via the Charleston Riverdogs. If I had to guess the people over at Charleston probably got my request by the time Hodson was sent back to Staten Island, so they decided to redirect it to SI. Then I assume the letter was in limbo for a while before it got to SI maybe a week or so ago.

So we've got two things going on here.

1). The Charleston Riverdogs redirected fanmail for a former player on their roster to the appropriate affiliate
2). The Staten Island Yankees apologized for not getting the fanmail in time to the player and sending it back to the sender

This is very sweet on both clubs' parts. They both could've easily tossed the letter aside at various points and yet they saw fit to go this extra distance.

This has certainly boosted my appreciation for the minor league affiliates. This is the kind of act fans remember when they consider being season ticket holders. Which may be a direction I take in the future (like three decades from now).

So yeah, big props to Jay Nazzaro and the other people involved both at Staten Island and Charleston. Your devotion to fan service will not go unnoticed (that's why I have this blog ;)).

As always thanks for stopping by and take care.

Monday, October 23, 2017

P(-To)WN'd/Reverse Zapped

So the other day I got a package from P-Town. That can only mean one thing. Goodies from one of my favorite trading partners, P-Town Tom of Eamus Catuli!.

PTT and I have several things in common. The most notable being that we both devote a lot of time towards our favorite prospects who aren't even with our favorite teams anymore (*sobs*). Other similarities include how we've changed the name of our blogs, we both root for teams with significance (read: money), and we unconsciously push eachother to raise the envelope with our newest trade packages.

Of course the two of us are also similar in an unfortunate way, the way we focus on collecting on such a narrow scale that finding the perfect cards to send eachother can be tricky. Thank goodness Dan Vogelbach was in everything this year or else I'd be in a real pickle right about now.

The point is that PTT is one of the nicest guys you can find on this corner of our collectosphere. Seriously, he signed me up for a group break where I was to be sent Torrens cards from Update. Thanks Tom!

That alone is enough to show that PTT is the type of awesome trading partner who will do everything he can to make sure it works. Even though the cards he sends speak for themselves quite honestly.


BOOM.

PTT sent me this shiny slabbed specimen. My fourth refractor auto of Torrens from 2013 BoChro (numbered 088/500). For the longest time I've tried to get 2011 BoChro autographs of the Vogelmonster for PTT (remember, BoChro is king) but to my surprise the market for Vogelbach is really scarce and kinda pricey. Normally I'd be out now looking for his refractor auto (the normal refractor numbered to 499 or something), but none are available. There was a total of one refractor auto that sold in recent times on eBay, and zero currently up on COMC. I knew that Vogelbach had a huge following as a player that prospectors invested in, but I had no idea that it was still alive to this day even as he spends his time in Tacoma Seattle. I'm guessing that all of the Cubs investors are still holding onto their stashes in the hopes that Vogelmonster demolishes Safeco like Aaron Judge did that one time.


A trio of Torrenses. If anyone has any Vogelbach refractors, send them to me to send to PTT so I can take all of the credit.


And a Passports insert of Gleyber Torres. A joke trade proposal turned out to happen for real. Should be very exciting to see what Torres can do in 2018.


Rounding out the awesome package were a few Jacob deGroms for my trading partner in Japan, and a familiar card. I've been reverse Zapped!


Yes it's one of those customs I made back when I was experimenting with smut on my blog. I'm guessing that either PTT wanted me to get Zapped for a change, or he was worried his wife would see this card. Either way, these have long since been replaced with newer and better customs to serve as my calling card.

I can't thank PTT enough for the awesome package. I'll have to get to work on my Zap for him.

And as always, thank you (the readers) for stopping by :).

Take care.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Failure & Success

Topps Update 2017 is out now and Luis Torrens cards have started hitting the market (although not at the rate I want it to TBH).

I went to Chameleon Cards & Comics again to pick up some Update packs hoping to pull a Torrens base for my collection.


I got jack instead. The Cody Bellinger rookie is a nice consolidation prize and will be sent to the first Dodgers fan who can send me the Torrens rookie card they don't need (I'm assuming it'll be Night Owl Cards since he is always pulling players on teams he doesn't like).


I did also get this nice card of Jordan Montgomery. Although it's also a frustrating card when you consider that it came *extremely* close to having a wonderful full-body shot of Monty in his followthrough, but for whatever reason his left foot got chopped in half. If I had to guess they cropped out his left toes to make room for the RC logo. Which is dumb when you consider all of the real estate the rest of the card had to offer for it.

Monty was exactly what NYY needed as the 4th/5th arm in the rotation. He won't be anything flashy but he'll be a long term fixture going forward.


I also got this great card of Domingo German. In a year where so many of the Yankees prospects I've followed for years made it to the big leagues, German's is probably the most surprising considering how he was dangerously close to flop territory a few times. German has had his ups and downs in relief this year. Big part of that is that he's a starter. I expect him to get some more starts as NYY officially gives up on experimenting with Luis Cessa and Chad Green as starters.


Some more nice cards from my failed break. Ian Happ has been hapless in the playoffs and I'm not sure what's causing it (lack of playing time? bad luck? ill-timed slump?). Reynaldo Lopez will be an interesting arm for White Sox going forward, he has Jose Quintana levels of potential.


This card was such a tease. I thought I finally pulled Torrens in the very last card of my eight-pack break. It even had a RC logo! Instead I got Dinelson Lamet :P.

Well that was extremely unsatisfying and a waste of $20 (note to self, no more hobby shop packs ever again).

The Torrens RC eludes me but luckily a friend of mine in Japan pulled one for me :)! The key now is getting the parallels, one of which involves my first trade with one of the biggest names in this corner of the blogopshere (hint).

But while that trade continues to get worked out, I can beef up the "depth" of my collection by really going to town on doubles.

I got more Torrens cards from the same seller who sold me the last cards I blogged about. Apparently they bought into LT a bit back in 2014. Then 2015-17 happened and now they're selling off their stash for personal reasons. Some of it is still on eBay for those who are interested (among other pretty great deals in general).


One of the key cards acquired this time was my second copy of this retail exclusive yellow refractor. For the longest time this parallel was the only thing keeping me from completing the non-auto rainbow. I eventually tracked one down but now I have one more.


These are rare since they're limited to 10 copies and now I have one fifth of the print run. It was also mine for less than what other sellers have been asking for it for the last year or so.

The following cards I'm about to show are all from the same lot. Which was a huge deal to me considering what was inside.


This card was not a dupe. To probably my eternal regret, I passed on the 2013 BoChro mini set upon it's release and I'm slowly backtracking to get the parallels I need. Like this orange mini here.


It's limited to 15 copies so no wonder I didn't see too many of them pop up.



Dupes, but low numbered dupes! The red wave and orange ice parallels are both limited to 25 copies (07/25 and 10/25) respectively.


My second gold refractor. This one is numbered 14/50.


My second blue refractor. Numbered 154/250.


My third refractor autograph from 2013 BoChro, this one is numbered 442/500.


And my eighth base autograph from 2013 BoChro.

Seriously, the last seven cards I just showed were fantastic and all came from the same lot. The best part is that they cost less than a rack pack.

See, this reinforces my theory that pack/box breaking is a sucker's game. The only real reason we do it is because either A). you're rich enough that you don't care, or B). there's that little gambler inside your head telling you you'll pull something you need or something great in your pack. Although I will admit that I end up listening to that voice way too much too :P. I spent roughly the same amount of $ on the packs as I did on the Torrens singles, and it's clear which gave me more quality.



AND quantity.

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

Friday, October 13, 2017

Placeholders

Recently the checklist for 2017 Topps Update Baseball came out (PDF). I checked it out and was ecstatic to see that US32 is none other than LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSS Torrens!

It's happened folks! After a three year hiatus, Torrens is back on cardboard! Woof!

According to Cardboard Connection there are parallels, I count about 15 of them. You bet that I'm going to go after them all. Part of me wonders if I should take this opportunity to go full on Tim Wallach Collector and declare that I'm going after every copy of the rookie card (base or otherwise) in existence. But based on what P-Town Tom has told me I'd probably lose my mind.

Anyway Update doesn't come out for another week or so so to kill time and ease the anticipation, I picked up some distractions.


Right off the bat we have my second ever On Fire Black autograph of Torrens from 2014 Leaf Valiant. I already had another copy thanks to Bob Walk The Plank from several years ago, but I recently found an offer that was WAY too good to pass up. How good? It was less than a rack pack.


Making this that much sweeter is that this puppy is numbered 4 of 5. Yup, I got a great deal on a numbered autograph limited to five copies!


I was already happy about that the black fire was part of a two card lot that also featured this orange On Fire diecut (numbered 25/50). This is like the fifth copy of this card I've owned. If I hadn't already given one copy to Torrens himself I might've been tempted to go after the complete 50 card print run.


In the meantime I guess I can consider completing this print run. The two you see there are the 3rd and 4th copies. Three more to go!


I also recently decided to make a quantity over quality purchase. I lucked out on getting five of these BoChro autographs for cheap (by Luis standards).


The rainbow for this will take the longest, but at long last I am starting to make progress on hoarding these.


Rounding out the rest of the purchases were cards for other people and two more non-Torrenses for me. Like this autograph of former top NYY prospect Nick Johnson. Looking back his numbers in triple-A were tremendous. If he had stayed healthy he could've been one of the best 1Bs ever.


And last but not least is a card I've been eyeing since it came out. I'm a sucker for the 1979 Topps design and if I ever have an opportunity to get a Harper autograph, you can bet that I'm going to seriously consider using this.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. If you pull any Torrens rookies, you know where to find me ;).

Take care.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ryosuke Nomura


So if Shigeru Sugishita is my favorite NPB HoFer, my favorite active* NPB player is Ryosuke Nomura here.

I put an asterisk there because he was recently DFA'd by the Chunichi Dragons.
A few days ago it was announced that Nomura and five others were being let go by the Dragons. They're now free agents and are free to go about their merry way.


Nomura was the Dragons' first rounder back in 2014 so I think a team will take a shot on him on a low-cost deal. Personally I'd love it if the Yankees signed him to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite but, well, I thought my hallucinations ended when I put down the bong for good.


Nomura's career to date has been marred by inconsistency, bad mechanics, and some of the best breaking pitches you'd ever seen when he's at his best. Armed with a fastball, slider, curveball, forkball and cutter, Nomura once projected to be an elite starter for the Dragons, maybe even an ace.

Fast forward to 2017 where Nomura's mechanics were reworked, then reworked again, all the while spending most of his time in the minors (nigun) with some shots at the big league ichigun club every once in a blue moon.


I still think Nomura has the pure stuff to be a good professional pitcher but his time is running out. Chances are he'll get maybe one or two more chances to prove himself before being cut off for good.


Best of luck to him going forward. And if nothing else, I'll still collect him on the low. At least he's dirt cheap lol.

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Going And Doing It

Mistakes. I've made a lot of them over the years. Some of them were minor and forgotten in a day or so. Others, well they linger in the back of my mind until I'm alone at night and then they attack me.

Most of them aren't blog related. But every now and then I do feel guilty for certain things I've done.

The biggest is when I messed up Night Owl Cards' plan to complete the 1975 Topps mini set on his own. A lifelong mission he's had since his childhood that I had to go and ruin by bringing it to an anticlimactic finish sandwiched between Jeremy Rathjen and Zach Lee.

I left a comment when he blogged about completing the set, saying that I was going to become a hermit out of shame. Obviously that was sarcastic but I did feel guilty. Still do. Had I known that NO wanted to end matters with his own hands I would have let him. But I didn't know and well, disaster struck.

Night Owl has since reassured me that what I did was good but the psychology major in me sees that as just a way for him to hide his feelings of emptiness and contempt as his goal came to an end (and maybe so I don't feel so bad).

Before we go on let me just say that this is not meant to shame or embarrass NO. I know it's dumb to think that helping someone finish off a set is a bad thing. It's just that if it's a set which has as much significance. As much influence. As much importance as the 1975 mini set does to Night Owl, well I'd want to finish it with my own hands too. I can't help feeling like I really fumbled the ball there.

Well I learned my lesson immediately, no more helping people with completing sets. It just screws things up. Better to just chuck random singles their way in hopes that some of them click. That's the way I've rolled since.

I hadn't really picked up any 1975 minis since then either. But I figured that it was time to change that. A set that left that much of an impression on NO must be significant.


And my very first 1975 Topps mini card of Sweet Lou is here to show me what is/was that significance.

A lot of the charm can be attributed to the design itself, the same one used by the regular sized version. It's very colorful and pops out. It's really no wonder why the design has held up over the years.

Truth be told I'm not big on facsimile signatures and part of me thinks this design would've been better without them, but it doesn't ruin it either. At a time when certified autographs weren't a thing these must've been a great way for young fans to see their favorite players' signatures. Especially those who lived miles away from their favorite teams or an MLB team in general.

Somehow this mini is in better shape than my standard size version

As a collector in the 2010's the idea of a "mini" doesn't exactly knock my socks off but I can see why these were cool back in the day when minis were still a novelty. I assume it'd be like when I first came across mini cards. Something about a smaller variation makes you just pause for a second and say "wow, these are different but cool." Seeing the tinier versions in your hand. They're so small, so frail, so vulnerable. They're at your mercy and must do as you say or lest they suffer your unholy wra...

Anyway, according to NO, this is apparently Piniella's first card as a Yankee (in Yankees gear). One of these days I might as well collect all of his Yankees-era base cards and add him to the unofficial PC player list. Until then all eyes are focused on Piniella there, staring at something off in the distance. He's so awestruck that his mouth is open. My guess is that it's either Mickey Mantle getting head or an Aaron Judge dinger breaking a TV.


And there you have it. The very first 1975 Topps mini card in my collection. Apologies to Night Owl again for ruining what was supposed to be his shining achievement. Hopefully that Buehler really can go into triple digits like Kershaw did.

And as always thank you (the readers) for stopping by. Take care :).