Friday, March 30, 2018

2018 Topps Opening Day - Just Showing Off - Part 2

Today I'm just showing off more of the 2018 Opening Day hobby box I busted.  First up is The Freeze!  I'm stoked to pull this card.  My Braves would "Unleash the Freeze" between innings.  Fans would get a head start on a race around the outfield dirt track before The Freeze started and for the most part would catch the fan and win.  Here is a great video where a fan thought he had won and ended up falling when he saw the freeze catching him.   
I'm not a Cardinals' fan but I do believe the Clydesdale horses are the greatest tradition/ambassador of a team.  
 Plenty of fun and great photos so I'm just throwing out a bunch for everyone to enjoy.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

2018 Topps Opening Day Hobby Box - Part 1

Happy opening day!  I'm a big fan of the Opening Day brand cards so I decided to grab a hobby box of the 2018 Topps Opening Day cards this year.  The box cost $29.95 but netted me 252 cards.  I enjoy the fun Opening Day delivers with the mascots, traditions, and other quirky offerings to include the logo itself.  The smaller base set (200 cards) is a big plus for me as well.  Plenty of stars and young players packed into those 200 cards.  I didn't pull any autographs or short print variations which would have been nice but they weren't my goal here.  I like the base 2018 Topps baseball and knowing I like Opening Day this was a no brainer.  Weren't many duplicates which is always a good thing.  As you can see I got the Ohtani card which I pulled with about three packs to go.    
Some of the players who changed unis over the off season were pictured with their new team but with the slow movement this winter there weren't a ton of these.  The mascot cards are always fun with some of the secondary mascots also getting cards this year.  The Topps All-Star Rookie trophies are still here and I'm glad they are.
  These first two are Blue Foil parallels (1 in every nine packs).  In addition to the blue foil, March, 29, 2018 is stamped just above the player's name on those cards.

Like the flagship brand these cards have the same great photos.  Plenty here to enjoy.  Also plenty of stars which you can't go wrong with.  

Other cards included Team Traditions & Celebrations, Before Opening Day (highlighting spring training), and Opening Day Stadium cards.  The traditions ran the gamut from fun to laugh out loud to making you go "huh".  I wish more of the Before Opening Day cards were more like this Mookie Betts card which showed him in a different light.  Most of the cards just have photos of players in spring training.  Opening Day Stadium cards have photos of stadiums on opening day which provides some cool photos.  I was extremely happy with this box and these cards.  Again it is a brand I enjoy and the brand is all about fun.  I'll have a 2nd post tomorrow about these cards which will mainly just show off cards.  

252 – Total Cards
31 – RC (2 – Blue Foil)
11 – Team Traditions & Celebrations
10 – Mascot
9 – Opening Day
7 – Topps All-Star Rookie (2 – Blue Foil)
6 – Opening Day Stadium
1 – Opening Day Stars

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

2018 Boston Red Sox Preview

The Red Sox are stacked, there is no denying that.  They won 93 games last year and there is no reason to think they can’t do it again.  All they did this offseason was add J.D Martinez to a lineup which already had Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Andrew Benintendi.  I like Martinez who can hit and also brings a ton of power to a lineup that really lacked any.  I look forward to seeing what 3B Rafael Devers can do in a full season at the plate.  This lineup has plenty of hitters from top to bottom and I’m thinking they can do better than what we saw last year.

Pitching, in theory, should be just fine.  Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and other starters including Eduardo Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz, Hector Felazques, and Steven Wright make up a formidable starting staff.  Stud Craig Kimbrel once again anchors the closer position while Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree and Brandown Workman help take up the rest of the workload.  Boston should have plenty of arms to lean on and should once again be one of the top staffs in the American League.

The Red Sox should be able to compete every night and should be able to win their division.  Still losing the division isn’t the worst thing in the world.  Losing in the first round of the playoffs can be though – just ask their manager.  New skipper Alex Cora is being asked to get this team over the hump and past the division series.  This team has plenty of young talent so there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to get to the LCS or World Series.  That is always tough no matter how talented you are I know.  It should be another fun season in Boston and I’m hoping for a little more from them.  Go BoSox!    

Monday, March 26, 2018

2018 Atlanta Braves Preview

Ronald Acuna

The Atlanta Braves enter the season with hope, maybe not for this season, but for future years.  The Braves won 72 games last year and will probably be around that number come the 2018 season’s end.  Freddie Freeman once again leads this team in star power while 2017 All-Star Ender Inciarte anchors centerfield.  Nick Markakis is steady if not flashy and the catcher position is manned well with veterans Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki.  Shortstop Dansby Swanson hasn’t corrected his issues at the plate and 3B isn’t a known quantity yet.  Outfield mega prospect Ronald Acuna is expected to be called up after a short stint in the minors and much is expected out of second year player Ozzie Albies who batted .286 in 217 at bats last year.  The Braves are at least a year away until the offense is expected to really click.  Hopefully the young players will gain experience this year and be ready next year to take it to the next level.  My thinking is the Braves are still a few players, whether they are players in their minor league system, or external from having a good offense.  I think 2020 is a better expectation for seeing that jump in production.

Pitching last year was bad with starter R.A Dickey leading the way with a 4.26 ERA among starters and the closer, Jim Johnson, had 22 saves ending up with a horrible 5.56 ERA.  Still the bullpen had some good pieces with Sam Freeman and Arodys Vizcaino having sub three ERA’s while the latter is slated to take over the closer position this year.  It is believed he could be a shutdown closer in future and did notch 14 saves to go along with 10 K’s per nine innings last season.  Jose Ramirez is also back after posting a solid 68 innings of work.  The starters will really need to step up for the pitching staff to make any type of positive jump.  If it doesn’t the team will again look like a contender for the National League East basement. 

The team is rebuilding and enough said.  We as fans don’t like it but I don’t think spending a ton of money would have fixed this team.  Right now we have to hope that the young talent can make some strides and look towards a season in the near future in which we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Go Bravos!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

2017 Topps WWE

While it has been years since I followed the sport I do enjoy picking up wrestling cards just to get a look at what they put out and they usually have plenty of retired greats so I also get to go down memory lane.  This pack of 2017 Topps WWE was pretty fun.  First off I got a Ric Flair which screams Woo.  Sorry.  Still he is a favorite so it was great grabbing this card.
The base cards utilize the 2017 Topps baseball design.  It works here.  I really like the Liv Morgan card.  Not sure what pops there for me.  It may be because she is cute and nothing else which wouldn't be the first time.  I really don't know anything about anyone except Ric Flair in this pack but I'm ok with that.  
I pulled a Breaking Ground card which is a behind the scenes card and a 1st NXT card, to go along with the two legends and the other three base cards.  Not bad looking cards.  I always enjoy sets that include legends and grabbing Ric Flair makes this pack a definite win.   

Friday, March 23, 2018

2017-2018 Prestige Basketball Cards

Grabbed two packs of the 2017-2018 Prestige basketball for a total of 60 cards.  I really liked last year's Prestige offering so I was curious to see if they could wow me again this year.  Again I'm very happy the simple design and nice photos.  I'm not quite as impressed as I was with last year's cards but I still like them.  Why did they drop the team logo though?  It is something I'm big on and doesn't have to be that big.  I preferred the backs from last year but these aren't all that bad.
My pull didn't seem as star laden as the two Contenders packs I picked up at the same time.  Still I won't complain and it may be more of a product of having more total cards here.  Still I did pick up good players and I think the Lonzo Ball cards are the first ones I've grabbed this year. 
Had to post that Justise Winslow card in my post.  The look on his face is great.  
I really like these Timberwolves jerseys and I'm also a big Jimmy Butler fan so I'm digging this Stars of the NBA card.  The Micro Etch Rookies Bright Green card seemed out of place with the rest of the cards.  I didn't post a rain parallel but literally the cards are designed to feature rain over cards.  It isn't a bad look but hard to capture in a scan.  
I'll definitely grab more of these.  They are my favorite of the low end basketball cards this year.  I'm usually one of the few scooping these up so there are plenty to pick up as the season winds down.  

60 – Total Cards
35 – Base (2 - Rain Parallels)
14 – RC (2 - Rain Parallels)
5 – Rookie Class (1 - Rain Parallel)
3 – Stars of the NBA (1 - Rain Parallel)
2 – Highlight Reel
1 – Micro Etch Rookies Bright Green  

Monday, March 19, 2018

2017-2018 Contenders Basketball

Been looking forward to the 2017-2018 Contenders basketball since I enjoyed the 2017-2018 Contenders Draft Picks cards.  Another nice set of cards I like.  While similar to the last set it has the "ticket info" in a vertical alignment on the side this time as opposed to at the bottom.  The photos aren't full bleed with the backgrounds highlighted in a team color putting the player front and center.  The numbers on the front relate to the player's weight (Section), height in inches (row) and jersey number (seat).  Also has a nice team logo.  I'm happy with these cards and the design.    
 The backs duplicate the photo from the front which is now completely shaded in team color.  No stats here.  Instead you'll see a write-up.  I like these backs though a few stats wouldn't have hurt.  
The Porzingis card is a Game Ticket card.  I've even seen these specific cards listed as parallels but since they have a different name it seems appropriate to be it's own card.  Besides the difference in card name the other difference is the lettering on the front is not in silver foil but in red foil.  Can't really make it out on the scan I know.  The Winning Tickets card isn't bad but the photos are really small and it looks like a stamp.  Probably my one negative here is the lack of retired greats in my pull.  They were prominent in the Draft Contenders blaster I opened (6) which as a big plus for me.
Player's photos have them in their new team's jersey which is good.  I was happy with my pull.  Plenty of stars and no duplicates.  The Draft Contenders autograph I pulled came from a blaster box.  I really wanted to grab one today but found both these and the new Prestige cards so I decided to grab both as opposed to just a blaster box which guarantees an auto or relic.  Blasters contain 40 cards.  I'll pick up more of these as again I like these cards.  
44 – Total Cards (2 Packs)
2 – Winning Tickets
2 – Playing the Numbers Game
2 – Game Ticket Parallel

Sunday, March 18, 2018

2015-2016 Donruss Basketball Retail Box

I've scanned cards from the 2015-2016 Donruss Basketball set before but I can't find a post on them.  hmmm.  This box was also a part of my Dave & Adam's purchase.  There were 24 packs in this box with each containing eight cards.  There are no guaranteed autos in these boxes though they are remotely possible.  The cards themselves are a favorite of mine.  Colorful with nice photos they really do it for me.  I'm also a huge fan of the Scoring, Rebounding, and Passing kings cards.  The Donruss brand also give me a chance to see retired greats which is something I really enjoy.  Lots of nice cards here with my pull netting me all the major stars.  Of the 192 cards I think I had less than five duplicates which is a huge plus.  Always seems like I get way more than my share of duplicates when I'm grabbing packs from my local Wal-Mart so it was fun not to have that frustration.  
The backs aren't special but I do like the added color.  Much better than the black and white backs you find on some Panini products.  This The Rookies card is a #/199 Holo.  
Love these inserts.  Not only do you get current stars but you also find past greats here.  
More inserts where you can find current elites and stars from the past.  Again this set is a favorite of mine so I'd be surprised if I don't grab more of these as opportunities present themselves.    
192 – Total Cards
7 – The Rookies (1 – Holo #/199)
6 – Rated Rookie
3 – Elite Series
3 – Extra Edition
2 – Franchise Futures
1 – Scoring Kings
1 – Rebounding Kings
1 – Passing Kings

Friday, March 16, 2018

2016 Playoff Football Blaster Box

This is my first look of the 2016 Panini Playoff football cards via a blaster I recently purchased from Dave & Adam's.  I was surprised and happy to pull an auto though I have to admit I had to look up Giants' TE Jerell Adams.  Hasn't really done much in two seasons but still an autograph is an autograph.  I like the fronts of these cards for the most part.  There is plenty of room for the nice photos and and the translucent borders make it all the more nicer.  There is a small team logo as well.  My issues are the name which is in foil and hard to read except at certain angles.  It scans really well which surprised me but reading them is a challenge.  No player position is also a negative for me but overall the design and photos overcome all that.
 The backs are great with plenty of color, a nice photo (replica of the front), and the standard write-up and stats.  
 There was a RC and insert in each pack including this pennant card which was pretty cool.  I'm not usually a die cut guy but I'm digging this one which is mad of felt.  
I like the Class Reunion and Star gazing insert cards but again the foil is a bit annoying.  Doesn't hurt that each card will go into the personal collections. 
Would have liked seeing more retired greats, maybe one per pack, but I still won't complain.  Love seeing these guys on modern cards.  Yes Manning was only one season away from the game but I liked the Colt's uni and I also pulled Steve Young and Phil Simms.  Wouldn't hesitate to grab more of these if the opportunity came up.  They are nice looking cards.    

BREAKDOWN: 8 Packs X 7 Cards
56 - Total Cards
7 – RC
3 – Retired Legends
2 –Boss Hogs
2 – Air Command
2 – Class Reunion
1 – Star Gazing
1 – Kickoff #/199 (Danny Woodhead)
1 – Pennants
1 – Rookie Signatures #/199 (Jerell Adams)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

1985 Atlanta Falcons Team Set

More team sets as I add the 1985 Topps Atlanta Falcons team set to my collection.  The team showcased here went 4-12 in '84.  Williams Andrews, my favorite Falcon of all-time, has a card here but did not play in '84 or '85 due to injury and would only play one more year (1986).  Gerald Riggs took over the rushing duties in a big way gaining over 1400 yards scoring 13 touchdowns and pulling in 42 receptions.  
 Atlanta great Steve Bartkowski shown here as is Stacey Bailey who led the team in receptions and receiving yards.  
We get a Kenny Johnson card but no Billy "White Shoes" Johnson card?  Fail.  Nothing against Kenny who led the '84 team in interceptions.  Greats Mike Kenn and Gerald Riggs show here.  Again action shots are rare in this set but I will say these cards showcase that great red Falcons uni.  The lack of the player's position is also a head scratcher.