Friday, May 24, 2019

Random Wax: 2017 Score Football

I haven't opened any 2017 Score football since they first came out so it was a nice surprise finding a discounted pack.  It was a fun break though I do have to say I was thinking it was a bit lackluster until I saw this Patrick Mahomes rookie.  He makes the pack though there is also a few good inserts.  
Again my pull was not overly exciting.  Adrian Peterson is definitely the best non-rookie base card I pulled and I'm always happy to see him in a pack.
I do really like the throwback Drive Team insert with PC guy John Elway.  That was a nice surprise.  I really don't like the Steelers' bumble bee unis but I like that Roethlisberger card for some reason.
Defensive backs don't get a lot of love on inserts so the No Fly Zone cards are a nice way of showcasing the defensive backfield stars around the league.
I get New Orleans wore all white for their color rush game but I would think the all color unis would be much better options for the Color Rush cards.  This card has too much white in it for my taste.  Overall a fun pack and I hope and I can find more of these.

BREAKDOWN:
40 – Total Cards
6 – RC
2 – Red Parallel
2 – Signal Callers
2 – Drive Team
2 – Big Man on Campus
1 – Huddle Up
1 – No Fly Zone
1 – Fantasy Stars
1 – Standout Numbers
1 – Hype
1 – Color Rush
1 – NFL Draft
1 - Retired Greats
1 – Scorecard Parallel


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Trail Blazers Swept by Warriors - Offseason Starts Now


As a fan of the Portland TrailBlazers the Western Conference Finals were so hard to watch.  As much as Portland struggled I do know that Golden State is just a elite team.  They showed it over and over on both ends of the court.  But even with that knowledge how Portland lost, losing big leads in three of the four games, is a hard pill to swallow.  Watching Portland and their stars start strong but fade in the second half, or in the case of last night the 4th quarter, you have to ask why.

No matter how poorly the series went the Trail Blazers did have a great year behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.  Getting better will be tough this offseason.  Enes Kanter, Seth Curry, Rodney Hood, Al-Farouq Aminu and Jake Layman (restricted) are all free agents and Portland will only have about $5.7M to spend which means they’ll be largely a non-factor in free agency.  They need scoring at forward but I doubt the money they’ll have available will be able to net them much of an upgrade.

So barring a trade of consequence it seems they’ll just need to get better internally.  This is possible.  When contrasting Golden State’s and Portland’s offense during the series the difference was jarring.  Golden State’s offense is constantly in motion and pushing the ball while Portland ended up with the ball in one guy’s hands trying to create while others did little.  And when the ball did get into the hands of players not named Lillard or McCollum they were tentative and indecisive.  Those things can be taught.  Many Warriors role players look really good – partly due to playing next to great players – but also because of the offense in my opinion.  Defense is also something that can definitely improve. 

We’ll see where the offseason goes but this really was a good year.  Portland was the #3 seed in the tough Western Conference and made the Conference Finals for the first time since 2000.  I’ve watched more of the Trail Blazers this post season than ever before and it has been fun.   I can’t wait to see what next year brings.  Maybe some of the young talent like Zach Collins, Anfernee Simmons or even Gary Trent can make a difference next season.  You just never know.      

Monday, May 20, 2019

Random Wax: 2018-2019 Contenders Basketball

The playoffs have not been kind to my Portland Trail Blazers who are on the brink of elimination at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.  I have watched a ton of NBA playoffs this year and it really has been fun to watch outside of this last Portland series.  That has put me on a NBA kick with cards so I grabbed another pack of the 2018-2019 Contenders basketball which is a brand I like.  My other team, the Atlanta Hawks grabbed Trae Young in a 2018 draft day trade with Dallas for Luka Doncic and draft picks.  Young started out slowly and I was worried this was going to blow up on them but he averaged 24.7 points per game and 9.2 assists after the all-star break shooting 44% overall and 34% from the arc.  Wow.  Atlanta has a budding star in this guy and I'm hoping with the 8th and 10th players in this year's draft this year they can do more to improve the team.
Fricking fracking Warriors! <simulated angry face emoji>
This set offers plenty of stars in each pack.  Khris Middleton and the Bucks look so good in the East.  Dirk Nowitzki played his final season this year.  Truly an all-time great and really changed how we look at big men in the sport.  Horford is a PC guy for me.  
Where Kemba Walker lands this off-season is huge.  He is a stud at point guard.  I hope he stays in Charlotte but it is so hard to say nowadays.  
J.J. Redick and Tobias Harris (traded to Philly) will be heavily regarded free agents in what will be a star studded 2019 NBA free agency period the likes of which the sport has probably never seen before.  We'll see how many players actually change teams but the names alone are enough to make any team or fan swoon.  Nikola Jokic (below) really had a coming out party during the playoffs this season.  For a big he has all the tools you want.  This was a fun pack and I'm sure I'll go back to it as opportunities allow. 
  BREAKDOWN:
22 – Total Cards
1 – Winning Tickets
1 – Hall of Fame Contenders
1 – Lottery Ticket
1 – Game Ticket Green Parallel

Saturday, May 18, 2019

2019 Topps Big League Baseball w/Artist's Rendition

After seeing everyone else open packs of these 2019 Topps Big League Baseball I had to go out and grab a pack.  I really like these cards.  The design is so much better than the 2018 Topps Big League Baseball which I'm not fond of.  The flag and wood grain highlight give us a simple but cool front for the cards.  Honestly I could see this as a successful flagship look.
I did buck the odds and pulled an Artist Rendition #/50 of Ehire Adrianza.  While Adrianza is a journeyman I had never heard of it is still a fun card to pull.
 I think the photos are great and there are a few that aren't just the standard baseball shots.  I really like the Miguel Cabrera card.  He just looks like he is having fun and it shows him in the field.
The Stat Kings is one of the gold parallels in my pack.  Nice photo on the Kiko Goodrum card.
These inserts are all pretty nice.  The Wall Climbers is a great concept and the Nicknames cards are really fun.
This set has a 400 card base set which is twice the size of Opening Day which is also a good option for the low end of the baseball collecting spectrum.  So plenty more cards to pull here for those wanting more than just the stars.  I'm very happy with this this year's set and I'm very close to pulling the trigger on a hobby box.  

Another photo that stood out to me.  Between the alternate diamondback logos and non-jersey this is pretty cool.

BREAKDOWN:
30 – Total Cards
1 - RC
3 – Gold Parallels
2 – Stat King
1 – Blast Off!
1 - Highlights
1 – Nicknames
1 – Wall Climbers
1 – Artist Rendition #/50

Friday, May 17, 2019

Random Wax: 2019 Score Football

I enjoyed these 2019 Score football cards so another pack was in order.  I'm still liking what I see.  It'll be interesting to see how Kyler Murray does in Arizona.  After the whole Oakland A's reversal there is a lot of pressure on him and the Cardinals.  I hope he does well and this is a red parallel NFL Draft of his.
 I won't say my pull was packed with stars but it was solid.  There are 440 cards in the base set including 110 rookies so why those just looking for big names might be disappointed from time to time others will like the expansive checklist.
Thanks to MJ on Twitter for making me smarter on Epix cards and their Pinnacle history.  He shared some photos of Epix cards from years past and they were great looking cards.  Always fun to learn the history of cards.  While I liked the Captains insert from my first pack but this one isn't wowing me as much.  Jury is still out.
  Again - are those really Chargers' throwbacks anymore?  That's a great photo on Nick Chubb's All-Hands insert.  He's not a name that comes to mind with "All-Hands" but the photo tells the story. 
As always rookies are a big part of this set and love seeing players from Georgia and Michigan in their college unis on wax.  I begrudgingly added Duayne Haskins <shivers>. 
Another fun pack and I don't think this will be the last you'll see of this set on the blog.

BREAKDOWN:
40 – Total Cards
7 – RC
3 – Red Parallels
3 – NFL Draft
2 - Epix
2 - Captains
2 – Signal Caller
1 – Throwbacks
1 – All-Hands
1 – Celebration
1 – Fantasy Stars


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

2018-2019 Panini Threads Basketball

This 2018-2019 Panini Threads basketball pack is my first look at this set.  I have to say I'm very underwhelmed.  I just don't get this set.  Please help me out.  I paid $4.99 for 10 cards so price point is definitely a factor here.  I just don't see anything that justifies the money.  Contenders is a pricey set as well though not as much and maybe because I'm a fan of the Contenders design, and pulled a few autos, I give them a pass.  I do like the design here but again weighing that against the price I can't see it.  I've read the write-ups on the set but still haven't found anything that helps.  I know there is a premium edition of this set but this ain't it - this is retail.
The photos here are good and the design fine.  I do wish positions were on the fronts and the borders do take up too much space here for me.  The front just seems a little cramped.  
Those on either side of Aaron Holiday are Dazzle parallels.  I like the Rookies Association card which is part of the base set.  The Board of Directors inserts give more room to the photo and are nice cards.
The backs are good.  Plenty of color including the photo which is a duplicate of the front.  Bottom line is this will be my last pack of these.  I hope others can appreciate them more but there is just not enough here for me to give them another try.

BREAKDOWN:
10 –Total Cards
2 – Dazzle Parallel
2 – Board of Directors
1 – Rookies Association

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Random Wax: 2019 Donruss Baseball

I wasn't wowed by 2019 Donruss baseball my first time around but I'm all about second chances.  Did a second pack change my mind any?  No.  Will I pick up more of these?  I just don't know.  I do like the basic design but the lack of team logo is too distracting.  I can still see me picking up more of these but they won't be my first choice.  I was happy to pull a Jose Altuve red parallel that'll go into my PC. 
Good pull in this pack. I can't complain on that front at all.
I like the glasses on the Starling Marte Diamond King. Nice choice.
The lack of photos of players fielding really stands out.  Almost as much as the lack of team logos.  I'm trying to get past the no logo thing...it is SO hard.  
These are all variations with Realmuto being a name variation while the other two are photo variations.  
BREAKDOWN:
30 – Total Cards
6 – Retro 85
4 - Variations
3 – Diamond Kings
2 – Rated Rookie
1 – American Pride
1 – Holo Red Parallel