Sunday, December 31, 2017

Month End TTM Roundup: 12/4-12/31

Here's the last batch of TTM's here in 2017. Man, the year went by so quickly didn't it?

Received On: 12/04/2017

My first return this period came from A's prospect, Skye Bolt.
Skye Bolt was drafted by the Oakland A's in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. Seen as a guy who could potentially offer a promising return on the A's investment, Bolt has had a steady climb up the A's org so far. Offensively Bolt offers a lot of power, a fair bit of walks, and a lot of K's. Good enough for something like a .250 hitter with 25 HR power in the big leagues if he ever pans out. Defensively Bolt is very good, he has enough speed to cover a lot of ground and his arm is strong enough for him to stay in center for good. Bolt's been a two time all star in the minors so far thanks to his strong play and while he has been sidelined with injuries a few times during his career, I really expect the A's to make something of him. He just seems like he's got future A's player they trade away before he reaches arbitration written all over him.

Received On: 12/09/2017

Here is an awesome return from NHL veteran, Roberto Luongo.
Luongo was originally drafted second overall in the 1995 QMJHL Player Draft by the Val-d'Or Foreurs (Quebec, Canada). There he proved to be a promising prospect and was drafted fourth overall in the 1997 NHL Player Draft by the New York Islanders. Luongo played in the minors until his NHL debut came in the 1999-2000 season. His tenure with the Islanders was rocky and he was traded to the Florida Panthers in mid-2000. There he started getting more reps at the highest level and his career started to flourish. Earning All Star nods and various accolades in the process. Luongo was eventually traded to the Vancouver Canucks in before the 2006-07 season was named the Team's Captain not too long after that. Luongo was traded back to the Panthers in March 2014. Luongo recently suffered a lower-body injury that's put him on the shelf. Hopefully he can get healthy soon. Either way, the more I look up stuff about it, the more it looks like he's seen as future HoFer in the hockey world. Very cool.

Received On: 12/11/2017

Here's a return from Mets prospect Colby Woodmansee.
Woodmansee was drafted by the New York Mets in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Woodmansee is a shortstop who at the time of the draft was seen as a potential "good bat, glove that can be justified by the bat" guy but thus far he has not clicked. There is still lots of time for him to grow though. On a sidenote, he now has a business degree from Arizona State.

Also quick thank you to Mr. Woodmansee (or someone in his circle) for taking the time to write "Do Not Bend" on the PWE :).

Received On: 12/12/2017

Here is Marlins prospect Thomas Jones.
Thomas Jones was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the third round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Coming into the 2017 season Jones was seen as one of the Marlins' top prospects (MLB had him at number seven, SB Nation had him at number nine). A two sport player in high school, Jones is now focusing on baseball full time and the adjustment has been slow but somewhat steady. Jones has the speed and power to be a force in a lineup, as well as the arm and speed to be a big factor in the outfield. Jones' 2017 season was primarily spent between extended spring training and the New York-Penn League. Jones did not do too well in Batavia, but there is still time for him to come back and give the Marlins farmsystem a much needed boost.

Received On: 12/12/2017

Next up is former Kings All Star, Steve Duchesne.
Steve Duchesne was originally signed by the Los Angeles Kings as a non-drafted free agent. He was called up to the big leagues in 1987, he got picked for the NHL All Rookie Team that year too. Duchesne spent five seasons with the Kings, earning All Star nods in the process, before he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers before the 1991-92 season. After the 91-92 season, Duchesne was sent to the Quebec Nordiques (the current Colorado Avalanche) as part of the Eric Lindros trade. After that he spent his time on various teams as he kept getting traded around to the St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings (again), and finally the Detroit Red Wings. With Detroit he won the Stanley Cup in the 2001-02 season, his last season as a professional hockey player.

Received On: 12/18/2017

Hey, back to back hockey returns. This time from Blue Jackets center, Boone Jenner.
Boone Jenner was drafted by the Colombus Blue Jackets in the second round of the 2011 NHL Player Draft. He made his NHL debut in the 2013-14 season and has been a steady member of the BJ's since then. He was the alternating captain of the team as recently as last year, Jenner spent the first month and then some on the shelf with injuries before returning as a left wing to complement Brandon Dubinsky. Now with Dubinsky's health in limbo, Jenner's gotten some reps at center again and has a chance to show the Jackets that he's a core member of the team for years to come (he's eligible to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season). Good luck to him.

And those were my returns this past month. The 2017 TTM season ends cleanly on 12/31 with 155 returns.

Big thanks to Mr. Bolt, Luongo, Woodmansee, Jones, Duchesne and Jenner for the awesome autographs. I'd also like to thank to all of the people in general who've sent me back TTM autographs this year.

And of course, thank you the readers for sticking around all year yet again :).

Take care.

2017 TTM Count: 155 (FINAL)


Friday, December 29, 2017

First Pitch: Nanao

Shit, I forgot that I had to do more posts on these First Pitch cards lol.

This card came into my possession a good five years ago thanks to Ryan from This Card Is Cool. It focuses on the time Japanese model/actress Nanao threw the first pitch at the Tokyo Dome in 2010.

Nanao (born Nanao Arai) has been in the modeling business for basically the last decade. Going as far back as when she was a freshman in high school. She did modeling on and off during most of her college years, and then focused on her career around the team she graduated. Her agency started having her do a little bit of acting by appearing in a few commercials, and after she switched to another talent agency she started getting airtime on various TV shows which led to even bigger gigs in movies and radio. The 29 year old model/actress' career looks to still be going strong here in 2017. As she starts to enter her 30's, she's apparently reinvented her career a bit to be this sort of evil-witchy character (mainly from playing a cartoon villain on some Power Rangers-esque show). Or like some cold seductress? I don't know. Whatever she's doing seems to be working quite well for her.

The back features a close up of Nanao's face from the shot on the front, the date of the pitch, some personal information, and a blurb about the pitch.

2010 First Pitch
>March 31st >Nipoon Ham VS Orix
>Tokyo Dome

Nanao [Model]
Born 1988. 10. 28
From: Saitama Prefecture
Blood Type: O

At this point I should probably start specifying what blood type the people I blog about are (assuming that info is out there at all). You all seem to get a kick out of it.

As for the first pitch commemorated on the card, I can't find any footage of it. At best there are a few photographs of it online, but the card described it as being a ball. That said, I think the card speaks for itself lol. She was scantily clad since this was basically right around her Race Queen era (oh yeah she was a race track girl and was even voted as the best Race Track Queen in 2009) and selling her sex appeal. Was the pitch any good? I wouldn't know, and at the time I doubt anyone was really focusing on that. The best the card can say is that she had good form. Take that for what it's worth.

Interestingly enough she just threw the first pitch again earlier this year, this time with more clothes to allow people (read: men) to focus and actually film it. Looks like it was a decent first pitch.

Alright, two First Pitches down, a few more to go.

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

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Modern Statement

Yesterday I visited the MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art. Mainly because I've been trying to grow my appreciation for the fine arts. I've done so in the past by looking at really old pieces of art. Like Greek, Roman, Byzantine Empire era art that gravitated towards sculptures and 3D figures that I'm not sure aren't cursed because they're supposed to be buried underground as part of the tombs they were made for. But the MoMA offers a nice palette change in the form of something more modern.

When I think of modern artistry I tend to think of names like Jackson Pollock and a ton of abstract art that was made in America and France. Well the MoMA had plenty of stuff like that.

If works like One: Number 31, 1950 is up your alley I'm sure you'll like what MoMA has to offer.

At the risk of sounding like a traditionalist, abstract art is something I've yet to really get. Call me philistine but a lot of the time I really find myself struggling to get more than the raw emotion the colors convey. I'm just left in this awkward position where I'm not sure what to think about the artwork and I'm even more unsure of what that says about me.

That said, I'd prefer that whatever I look at not be spoon fed to me either. Thinking a little more about art and what the thoughts say about you and the world is good.

Giorgio de Chirico (Photo Source)

My favorite part of the museum may have been the works by Giorgio de Chirico. He's described his own works as being "metaphysical" and they have their place in art history as the precursors to surrealism.

MoMA describes de Chirico's works as being mysterious and I agree. I stopped and starred at these works for a good while because they were all in this wonderful zone between the familiar and yet different.

His most famous work is probably The Nostalgia of the Infinite. I'm a sucker for works like this. The lighting, the shapes, the shadows, the colors, everything. The tower in the painting is the Mole Antonelliana (located in Turin, Italy), but not knowing that didn't really matter to me when I first saw it. You could very easily swap out the tower with any number of towers located across the entire world and feel some sort of connection with it. I did and I still felt that it was a nice dream-like part of the day where the sun is just at the right angle where everything looks golden. It's also fun to speculate what the two figures may be. Could they be lovers? Brothers? Sisters? Elders? Friends? Who knows? Not even the sky is the limit in a dream.

Of course I didn't get everything. At least not right away. The Song of Love above is something that requires further views for me. I think a smarter approach might be to ask myself questions that a professor I had many years ago said I should ask myself when looking at art.

"How does it make you feel?"

Initial Gut Reaction: WTF?!
Second Reaction: A sense of breakage
Third Reaction: Oh shit, there's a train! YEAH!
Fourth Reaction: How is this a song? Let alone about love? Hmm...

"What do you like most about it?"

Well the train is great. I like how de Chirico incorporated a train into pretty much most of his works of art. The things I said I liked about the Nostalgia of the Infinite is very much true here too. The angles, the lighting, the shapes, the shadows. The fact that it's set in the outdoors and that you can see de Chirico's take on arches.

"Do you find anything disturbing?"

The glove that's nailed to the wall. It wasn't until I did some research for this post that I discovered that rubber gloves have been around since the late 19th century. The disembodied Greek statue head doesn't bother as me as much (since most Greek sculptures are broken today), but I wonder what exactly is the significance of the glove and the head. The ball too.

"Do you sense a prevailing mood or tone?"

All of de Chirico's works are melancholy, so yeah that works. There's this somber sadness to it. I've read that de Chirico's works sometimes reflected the anxiousness and fear that consumed Europe during World War I. I wouldn't be surprised if this one was one of them.
Note: According to the MoMA's official site, it appears as though the artwork is meant to symbolize a war torn Europe.

"How do the colors affect you?"

The shading on the colors seems to really reinforce the melancholy state de Chirico may have been(?) going for. But they're never so dark that the dream like state feels like a nightmare. It's just in that right zone where a dream could shift from being a good dream to a weird dream where your deepest fears and insecurities are there, but the best parts of you are there too. Despite that, the way that this appears to have the darkest shades of various colors out of all of the de Chirico works I saw at MoMA suggests to me that it was meant to be even more sadder than the rest. Like there's a stark contrast in my opinion between the almost golden public space before the tower and just this dark green ball at similar points in the painting.

Hmm, see, this is why I'm the kind of guy who needs to take it slow and look at each work of art carefully. I don't know how other museum goers are managing to figure everything out with just one glance and then moving onto the next thing plastered onto the wall :P.

As much as I'd love to also talk about de Chirico's other works (The Anxious Journey there is another one I really like), I think I'll end it here.

The point is that I had a pretty good time at the MoMA and I hope that I can continue to build on my appreciation of art.

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

Monday, December 25, 2017

What's The Sitch?

Growing up in the 2000's in America/Japan was, weird.

Originally I had a whole elaborate paragraph explaining what the 2000's felt like from my perspective (a kid in a suburb just outside NYC), but it way too heavy.

The shorter version is that I the 2000's could easily be divided into three parts.
The first part was basically like this, the second part was like this, and the last part was like this. I think that's a 100% accurate description. The first third of the decade was a very dark, fearful, angry and unpleasant place to be. The second part was a bit better and all about Britney Spears. The third/last part was when the world went bankrupt, the Kardashian empire took off, and the smart phone revolution led us into the 2010's.

Oof, how do I segue from that to what I really want to talk about? I guess I'll just talk about what consumed my time back then in what I thought was a pretty okay mid-2000's.

CARTOONS! Look, I was a lazy carefree kid growing up in a middle class suburb. Obviously my afternoons at home from school were spent doing homework and watching TV. A whole lot of TV. Probably too much TV.

My favorite cartoon for pretty much all of my childhood was Ed, Edd n Eddy but here in 2017 my "Favorite Cartoon of All Time" does not have a clear cut winner. But one of the prime contenders is Kim Possible.

Three reasons. One is that I've seen the entire Ed, Edd n Eddy series so many times that I can no longer be entertained by it. Another is that Kim Possible is, to me, an embodiment of the mid-2000's and in turn my "childhood". Third, because SpongeBob SquarePants tanked in quality and Rugrats was kind of a mixed bag when it was said and done.

Kim Possible ran from 2002 to 2007. It's peak was basically during the second period of the decade. The oddest time of the entire oddies (which is what apparently some people call the 2000's). I watched it whenever it was on and because it was a Disney Channel product I would see it a lot outside of TV. Like for whatever reason my local Stop and Shop would carry the Disney Adventures magazines and I remember seeing Kim and various other Disney cartoons on the covers sandwiched between those gossip rags covered with names I'd long since forgotten about like Ashlee Simpson and Ryan Cabrera.

The cliffnotes version of the show is that 14 year old Kim Possible (who is 18 by the time the show ends) is a high school cheerleader who saves the world as a secret agent/crime fighter with her sidekick Ron Stoppable and his pet naked mole rat, Rufus.

The "story" is not really the point of the show. The real meat of KP was about the characters who were well written and could be put into a variety of different scenarios and settings and keep the humor going. The main character Kim is a girl who can do anything in terms of fighting crime but stinks at overcoming whatever obstacle is affecting her personal life (boys, tests, cooking, driving, etc...). Meanwhile Ron is a slackoff (like me) who has his moments and mystical monkey power. He's also different from your usual annoying sidekick in that he can actually pitch in every now and then.

Rufus is the cute animal sidekick (because Disney) whose very existence is kind of a "take that" to Disney in that the writers just picked one of randomest animals they could think of to meet the quotas. Also kudos to the animation department for making a naked mole rat look cute.

The main villains were Doctor Drakken and Shego. You know you've gold on your hands when you can make an argument for the villains being the funniest and best part of the show. Drakken is the evil genius who can never get out of his way when attempting to take over the world, and Shego is Drakken's muscle/right hand woman who is far more competent than Drakken but just doesn't try to take over the world herself for some reason.

Their dynamic is great and their banter still makes me laugh.

There were other characters with varying degrees of importance, but these five were the big ones.

Now is the part where I elaborate on my earlier blurb about how Kim Possible embodies the mid-2000's for me, but it's tricky. Partly because in a weird way the show is dated and yet timeless. It's meant to be set in the weird part of the 2000's where the 90's were finally dead but the iRevolution in the post-Subprime Loan Crisis era hadn't come yet.

It's old enough to have an episode mocking boy bands while they were still relevant but JUST new enough to predict how every teenager in high school would have had a cell phone or be cut off from society. I feel it, but I'm not sure if anyone else can if they didn't grow up with it. Oof, it is not easy describing something you grew up with. How do the rest of you do it?!

Another way of looking at it could be that the things I associate with KP feel old. Obviously mid-2000's Disney comes to mind since this was sandwiched between in reruns of Recess and Lilo & Stitch The Series with a bunch of ads for the newest episode of Hannah Montana popping up every 15 minutes. The voice actors involved in the show include Christy Carlson Romano who was on Evens Stevens, Will Friedle who was on Boy Meets World, Tahj Mowry who was on a lot of late-90's/early 00's stuff, among the usual voice actors you see behind every cartoon (John DiMaggio, Nancy Cartwright, Tom Kane, etc...). I associate all of those shows as the Disney that just came before my time.

In a way I guess that's good in that it's not pigeon holed to the oddies like a lot of cartoons from the 80's and 90's painfully are to their time periods. It could've very easily taken the "hee hee, let's make a MySpace reference" route if they wanted to but were smart enough to avoid it. It's a show that could be easily modernized is what I'm trying to say. Just drop an iPhone or something in there and boom, it's a post 2010's show now :P.

Little Zippy Liked Putting Smiley Sticker On A Lot Of Things

Apparently I was such a fan of the show that I had the show's official soundtrack CD. Still do actually. I think I asked my parents for it at Tower Records back in the day.

I've relistened to the whole thing recently and to be honest, outside of the theme song, all of these songs are trash. Pretty much all of these were tailor made for radio Disney. So they're the dumb pop songs that wouldn't look out of place being background music on those made-for-TV Disney Channel movies.

Personally I was hoping for the instrumental songs used in the show but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be.

This is the part where I'd talk about my favorite episode, but it's tough picking them. There are a lot of episodes that stick out in my mind. The obligatory boy band episode, the obligatory episode where the characters go from TV show to TV show in their universe, the superhero episode with Team Go, etc... Hmm, I guess the episode where everybody gets sick is my pick.

Annnnnnnd I just completely lost all of you who never saw the show didn't I?

Alright, before this trainwreck of a post really goes off of the rails, I just want to say that I originally wanted to talk about KP for a second since I picked up this cool sheet with six perforated cards still together. Based on the advertisement on the side I'd assume that this was a promo in a magazine from before Kim Possible was set to premiere. So sometime between 2001 and 2003. I always love finding cards depicting some of my favorite entities as a kid. Especially when I didn't know that they existed in the first place. It's so weird to think that the stuff I grew up with is starting to become the type of old, dusty, used, sad and pathetic pieces of the past just sitting around at flea markets/goodwills across the country. That's only supposed to happen to stupid 80's stuff like TMNT and He-Man!

I know it's way too early for me to start feeling nostalgic about shit but I do still feel like I'm teleported back to 2005 whenever I see or even think of Kim Possible. My hunch is that Disney is going to reboot the franchise when they find that the 2000's kids are finally a profitable age group (good luck with that :P) and I'll feel really old/actually be really old when it happens.

Damn, nothing feels like 2003 more than (pre-Good Charlotte) Hilary Duff lol.

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

Friday, December 22, 2017

Original Smile

When I came back from Japan I brought back two box sets with me with the idea that I was going to blog about them. Well it's nearly the end of the year so what better time to talk about them :P.

Today we're going to look at one of them called Original Smile.

Actually the official title is "BBM Yomiuri Giants Official Mascot Girls Venus Card Set 2016 ~Original Smile~." Woof, what a mouthful.

Those of you who read Ryan from This Card Is Cool and NPB Card Guy from Japanese Baseball Cards may already know about the cheerleader sets that are released in Japan.

The NPB has had cheerleaders for years but it wasn't until the 2010's that BBM finally decided to capitalize on it by releasing a card set. Fast forward to 2017 and every team's cheerleader squad has their own card set with autographs and everything.

The makeup of each set is usually the same. You have the standard base set with the cheerleaders in their uniforms and in yukata's (or street wear depending on the set), a hit (an autograph or a polaroid picture), some facsimile autograph inserts, and in this set's case cards featuring group photographs of the past four squads.

This is one of the base cards with Mamiko Nobe in her cheerleading uniform. True to the product's name, she does have an original smile that's all her own.

The backs look like this. With personal information that includes (in order) Date of Birth, Prefecture of Origin, Nicknames, Blood Type, Height, Years Spent with the Squad, Interests/Talents, and what they're the best at out of all of the other cheerleaders in the Venus set at the bottom.

Mamiko-san here was born on July 8th, hails from Saitama, is nicknamed Mame (which is Japanese for bean :P), has a O-type bloodtype, is 4'9, has been with the cheersquad for three years (four as of 2017), likes cooking (baking cakes especially), jumping, cheerleading and turning. According to the factoid at the end she's been cheerleading for 10 years. She's a seasoned vet in the industry lol.

This is one of the base cards featuring Mamiko-san again in her yukata (traditional Japanese attire). According to the box these yukatas were courtesy of Kimono Yamato. I'm curious if the cheerleaders were allowed to keep these (probably not).

The backs feature a simple cell phone picture with a little blurb about how the cheerleaders like to spend their off days. A lot of the cheerleaders are close friends and tend to hang out with eachother apparently.

The 2016 set included group photo cards of the last four cheer squads. So the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 squads.

The backs were nice enough to let us know who was who.

Because I bought this box opened I don't have any of the hits or inserts to show. Though I think Ryan has that covered.

As far as the autographs go, I'm fairly certain that they're numbered (probably to 60 or something like that). Last I checked the more attractive looking the girl is, the more expensive their autograph is. Which is kinda mean.

That concludes the card portion of the box, but before we end this post I just want to focus on the box itself. Because to me these Japanese boxes are cool.

I kind of talked about it when I blogged about the Hiroki Kuroda set a few years ago but these boxes have cool elements that are absent from your typical American releases. Started with how these are serial numbered. This set is 1414th one out of 3000 total. The inside of the box has a nice picture with all of the cheerleaders featured, and the cards fit snuggly inside with a piece of paper (or plastic in other sets) wrapped around them.

The sides of the box feature the name of the product and pictures of the cheerleaders waving to you.

So technically, all of these cards are limited to 3000 copies. Which doesn't seem like a lot in the age of eBay, Yahoo Auction and the internet at large, but if this were as recently as 20 years ago, I'd imagine we'd be singing a much different tune.

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

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Spoiler Free Thoughts On The Last Jedi

The holiday season is here, which can only mean one thing, another friggin' Star Wars movie!

Going into Episode Eight I tried to have tempered expectations and as little information about the movie as possible. To the point where I think I only saw parts of the trailers. I didn't really care to know who or what was a hot topic discussion in Star Wars circles. I pretty much had no idea that fans were so split on those bird things called Porgs or that they cast another main character with Kelly Marie Tran until I looked back on what people were saying about Star Wars before the movie came out for this post.

I suppose that I had a general idea of where the movie was going to go already. Like who was going to die, who was going to live, and ultimately how events in Episode Nine were going to be set up.

Well all of my expectations were blasted out of the window into the vacuum of space and The Last Jedi was pretty much two and a half hours of being surprised at the movie going in other directions than I thought it would have.

All of that is meant in a good way. I'm glad that it was nothing like whatever preconceived idea I had for the film. It did not end up being a simple rehash of Empire Strikes Back, or be a filler movie like Attack Of The Clones. It took risks, some worked, others didn't. In the end I think they worked well enough to deliver a really really fun film that kept me in suspense and intrigue throughout most of the film. This also basically frees JJ Abrams and the LucasFilm team to do what they want for Episode Nine. Because at this point, you're not really sure where the story is really going to go outside of the inevitable destruction of the First Order.

I guess with every Star Wars film you're going to have complaints about it from people because with Star Wars the things you can do are endless. Also what the franchise means to people is also different from person to person. Which in turn that means that it's impossible to please everybody who plans on seeing the film hoping to see what they want to see.

Like my "dream" Star Wars film would have to include a smorgasbord of random Star Wars crap that I happen to like.

Starting with Captain Rex, Arc-Trooper Fives and the awesome Clone Troopers.

More clone troopers.

Satele Shan and her tutaminis (energy absorption) ability (video).

This super cool move from the Force Unleashed video games called Force Repulse which disintegrates your enemies (video).

A HUGE totally apeshit space battle between two large fleets that makes no sense but is so big and exciting that you start sweating anyway.

And this. Like, all of it (video).

But none of these will ever in the nine (maybe 12?) movies. Because they're not relevant to anything that's really going on in terms of developing Rey and Kylo Ren's characters and story arcs.

I've accepted a long ass time ago that my fanfics should just stay in my head and occasionally occur when I create random music videos in my head of battles set to Discovery-era Daft Punk music. 

Anyway, I'm just rambling.

Point is, I like the movie. If you're a fan of Star Wars, you should check it out. It's fun and pretty great.

Oh and I picked up one single pack of a hockey product called Artifacts before the movie. It had no Rangers inside, indicating that my beginner's luck with hockey has run out. Nice while it lasted :P.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Steiner Experience

During my time as an autograph hound collector, one of the things I never really did was go to a signing event where Steiner Sports was involved. Or at least not directly.

Steiner Sports, for those who don't know, is one of the biggest names in the sports memorabilia industry. They have thousands of items from some of the biggest names in sports available for sale, and often do autograph signing events with those very same athletes. They've got/earned a reputation as the company that can be relied upon to sell authentic items and signatures, but they're also really expensive.

For the most part Steiner hosts their signing events at their official store at a mall in New Jersey. That's fine but as a guy who can't get to that mall that easily, I tend to ignore their events.

But Steiner knows it's audience (a consumer base that focuses primarily on sports teams located in New York City), so they do occasionally have events in the city which works better for me.

Which brings me to last night. At a small sports bar that's a few blocks away from Madison Square Garden, there was a Steiner signing event going on. I went.

Woof. I'm glad I did.

The signer was J. T. Miller, a left wing for the New York Rangers. I toiled over what card to get signed (the Young Guns card I ordered never arrived) and I decided to go with his base card from the most recent Upper Deck flagship set. The ink's a bit hard to see on the scan but in person the bronze looks better. This was one of those tricky cards where blue was obviously not going to work so I had to use another color. Some suggested gold but my gold sharpie went MIA and my silver sharpie went dead, so bronze it was! Although in retrospect black would've worked too in the area he signed.

Jonathan Tanner (J. T.) Miller was drafted by the New York Rangers in the first round of the 2011 NHL Player Draft (15th overall). He made his NHL debut a year later but the spent most of the time after that being yo-yo'd up and down between the NHL and AHL (the minors). He did get some playoff experience during his time in the minors and during the 2012-13 season. Miller was up in the big leagues for good by the 2014-15 season and he's been a regular since. Miller's had his fair share of highlights this season and has largely been his usual productive self (he's really good). Which helps since he's due to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Whether or not the Rangers keep Miller around remains to be seen (especially with the rest of the impending free agents coming up), but he's making it difficult for Rangers management in a good way.

Back to the signing event, after I met Miller and got his signature, one of the people at his table (probably the rep from Steiner) put the little sticker there on the back. This is to help identify how the item is legitimate on Steiner's database.

This piece of paper was given out to tell us how we can access our certificate of authenticity. Basically you go the website, then type in the code on the hologram sticker.

Boom, there's your online Certificate of Authenticity with the date the item was authenticated and everything.

All in all it was a fairly fun experience. Can't say that I've ever attended a signing event at a bar before (the other patrons must've been really confused) but I can say that I have now. In addition to saying I've gone to a Steiner signing and most importantly of all, that I've gotten an in person autograph of a hockey player now. Although Steiner did live up to their reputation of being pricey, I'm pretty sure my hobby budget is all but spent for the rest of the month and probably January too.

So big thanks to Mr. Miller for the awesome autograph, and good luck tonight against the Anaheim Ducks.

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

2017 IP Auto Count: 64

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 :).