Sunday, April 29, 2018

Random Wax: 2018 Topps Baseball

More of the 2018 Topps baseball via a fat pack.  Again these have a very sharp look to them letting the photos do the talking.  To me the Oakland A's uniforms are always great in photos and Khris Davis' card stood out to me.  The Legends in the Making inserts are my favorite and grabbing Carlos Correa makes it that much better.  That Michael Wacha photo really stood out as well.  Pictures with emotions and reactions will always be something I like and look forward to.  I'm sure I'll pick up more of these as the season goes on - a lot of baseball to go and more packs to bust.  

36 – Total Cards
6 – RC
2 – Legends in the Making
1 – Combo Card
1 – Team Card
1 – Future Stars/Topps All-Star Rookie
1 – Jackie Robinson Day
1 – MLB Player’s Awards
1 –League Leade rs
1 – Kris Bryant Highlights

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

2017-2018 Contenders Basketball Blaster Box

I already picked up a pack of these in March and couldn't resist picking up a blaster box of 2017-2018 Contenders Basketball.  I pulled an auto in the Contenders Draft Picks brand last fall.  No auto this time but I did grab a Rookie Ticket Dual Swatch Markelle Fultz/Donovan Mitchell card.  Great card.  It looks pretty cool and Mitchell is a about as hot as any rookie out there right now.  I probably won't hang on to the card long as it'll probably end up on eBay or as trade bait but it is super nice pull.  
  Grabbing a Blazer is always a win as is personal favorite Kawhi Leonard on this Winning Ticket insert.  The Die Cut Kobe isn't bad.  I like the colors and the card looks cool even if die cuts aren't a favorite of mine.
A pretty decent pull.  I thought there were plenty of stars and the inserts were pluses for me. 
 I do wish there were more retired greats, maybe as base cards, but I'll always take the ones I do get and be very happy.  And how can you not like Grant Hill?

Overall a really fun box.  I'll always grab more of these when I can.  You don't get a ton of cards but I do like the base cards and inserts.  With a guarantee of  an auto or relic the price tag on these blasters is a bit more palatable.  

40 – Total Cards (2 Red Parallels)
2 – Winning Tickets
2 – Hall of Fame Contenders (1 – Retired Great)
1 – Superstar Die-Cuts
1 – Front Row Seat
1 – Playing the Numbers Game
1 – Rookie Ticket Dual Swatch

Sunday, April 22, 2018

2016 Donruss Baseball Retail Lot of 24 Packs

I've had this lot of 24 retail packs of the 2016 Donruss baseball for some time now.  It has taken some time for this set to grow on me, mostly due to my initial feelings of not having the MLB license, but it has.  I picked up the packs as part of a Dave & Adam's purchase.  Being retail there is no guarantee of an auto but I was still game for the price of $14.95 for 208 cards.  While I didn't grab an auto I did get some numbered cards and just enjoyed busting a bunch of wax.  This Molina card is definitely one of my favorites.  I tend to think Topps does a better overall job on the photos for their cards but there are still some nice photos here though they are definitely lean onfielding pics.  

I love retired legends and Yaz is my all-time favorite Red Sox player so this was a fun pull.  Rickey is also an all-time favorite.  
I nabbed two numbered cards - a Test Proof Cyan #/49 and a career stat line #/463.  Really though that test proof card does nothing for me.  There were also a couple of pink border parallels.  They didn't look bad.  I was leery at first but seeing them in hand won me over.    
These Diamond Kings aren't the Kings of old but I've seen worse (see 2018 Donruss).  Would have liked a bit more color on these cards.  The Power Alley cards are pretty sweet and this was my first look at the USA Baseball cards which are nice.  
The retired greats are a bit draw for me.  The retro '82 design is fun.  Overall these are nice cards and finding a good deal was an easy way to grab a bunch of these cards.  I love opportunities like that even if my wallet isn't always on board.

208 – Total Cards (24 X 8)
24 – 1982 Set (6 – Retired Legends)
16 – Retired Legends
7 – Diamond Kings
5 – The Rookies
5 – Rated Rookies
4 – USA Baseball
3 – Studio
3 – The Prospects (1 – Test Proof Cyan #/49)
2 – Power Alley
2 – Masters of the Game
2 – Pink Border
1 – Career Stat Line (#/463)

Friday, April 20, 2018

2017-2018 NBA Stickers

I've been a fan of stickers since I was in Jr. High and collected them to fill up the booklets.  I would stop at the local Circle K on the way to school and spend my lunch money though I don't remember the NBA during that timeframe.  So maybe I'm making up for what I didn't have then.  Here's my look at the 2017-2018 Panini NBA stickers.
  I like the design.  Pretty simple.  Panini let the photos be the main focus and added only the essentials - team logo, name and position.  Good job.
My pull was ok.  Chris Paul and Kemba Walker were the highlights.  Two coaches in a pack is never something I hope for.  Nothing against Mike Malone and Kenny Atkinson but not the most exciting.  Still I won't complain.  These will always take me back to my childhood and the fun these brought me as I put them in the booklet or on my Trapper Keeper.  

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Random Wax: 2017-2018 Hoops Basketball

With the NBA playoffs in full swing I'm always up for more basketball cards.  This pack of 2017-2018 Hoops was pretty lonely from sitting on the peg for quite a while so I grabbed it.  It didn't disappoint.  The base cards were devoid of star power but the inserts and parallels more than made up for it.  The biggy is a the Great Significance autograph card of Luke Kennard.  Having a decent rookie year (7.6 PPG) he obviously doesn't match up with the huge rookie class from this season but this is still a good pull.  I'm now 2 for 2 with these packs as I also nabbed an auto from one of these packs in January.  What are the odds?  I also pulled an Orange Explosion Klay Thompson (#/75).  To top it off I pulled a LeBron Zero Gravity card.  So while the base cards were disappointing at best this pack really produced, was a great surprise and very fun.  

30 - Total Cards
4 - RC
1 - Zero Gravity
1 - Kobe Bryant Career Tribute

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Random Wax: 2017-2018 Prestige Basketball

The NBA Playoffs have me all hyped up on basketball so grabbing a 2017-2018 Prestige basketball pack was too easy.  The Donovan Mitchell card is pretty cool.  The rookie is having a great year and it's sweet they already have a card highlighting one of his early games.
  I like the Stars of the NBA cards and the Rain Parallel Stat Stars LeBron James is pretty nice.  A couple of stars I'll never turn down.  
Pretty good pull.  Between rookie of the year candidate Mitchell, Kyrie, LeBron and these three I had no reason to complain.  That combined with this being a brand I like it was a fun pack.  
Players are also showcased in their new team's uniforms (Lopez and Russell) which is always a plus.  

30 –Total Cards
6 – RC (1 – Rain Parallel)
3 – Rain Parallels
2 – Rookie Class

Monday, April 16, 2018

Championship Collection Repack Baseball - SPOILER - I pulled an auto!

Repack boxes always have an appeal.  Not only do you have the "what cards will I pull?" thrill, you also have the "what packs will I get to bust?" excitement added to the mix.  This box done by the MJ Holding company had 15 packs for a total of 121 cards.  The Triple Play cards were "free" and as we all know that is for a good reason.  I will say one of the Triple Play packs was really weird - but I'll get to that shortly.  Otherwise the box had a good mix of packs.  These boxes also promise a Leaf Shohei Ohtani card.  My Ohtani is to the left.  Nothing special but it is an Ohtani card.  In this post I'll show off some of the highlights of each pack.  On to the packs!
There were five 2012 Triple Play packs giving me 35 cards.  These are give aways for sure.  While they aren't the worst cards in the world they just aren't for me and from what I know they aren't for most people.  The strange thing here is that one pack had been opened, the seven cards replaced with junk cards from the nineties, and resealed with double sided tape.  Very strange especially since these cards probably have about the same value.  

Three 2015 Panini Prizm baseball packs netted me 12 cards. I was not familiar with this set.  The cards are bland to me and the cards came out feeling dusty or chalky though they don't bend like most of the prizm/chrome cards.  I did like the Alex Gordon Golden Leather Die Cut.  

I pulled 24 cards from the 2017 Topps Series 1 cards.  This is a set I like so I these were fun.  Not a ton of star power but still good stuff. 
Another new brand to me was the 2017 Honus Bonus Fantasy baseball cards.  There were 16 cards in the two packs.  I guess these were part of an effort to combine cards and fantasy baseball in which you used these cards in conjunction with the company's website.  Different I guess and I did like the Schwarber as a catcher card.  No MLB license so no team logos which is always a downer.  

Twelve cards in these two 2016 Topps baseball series 1 packs.  Grabbed a few cards that stood out to me including the Big Papi/Albert Pujols card and an Andrew McCutchen card.  I almost wish his card didn't have his name on the front and the photo took up the entirety of the card.  Still a nice shot and card.
I've heard of the 2012 Panini Golden Age Baseball cards but this pack of six cards is my first in hand taste of the brand.  The cards hit on not just baseball but other sports, history and pop culture from the past.  Nice looking cards here especially the Jerry West I pulled.  There is enough of a variety to keep it interesting though I can do without the minis. 
  Finally the auto found here in the 2015 Panini Stars and Stripes baseball which highlights USA baseball.  Aside from the Mark Mathias auto I really like the design of these cards. The red white and blue format here really does it for me.  Unfortunately these can be tough as you'll find many who never make it to the majors and as in my case, you may not know any of the players.  Still I enjoyed the cards and even grabbed a Diamond Kings.  Mathias by the way is a 23 year-old minor league infielder for the Cleveland Indians but it doesn't look like he'll see the majors anytime soon if at all.  Still these were really fun to find.  

Overall this was a fun break for the $19.95 I paid.  Some brands I was not familiar with and some intrigue with someone snatching cheap cards made this worth it for me.  What more could I ask for?  I won't rush out to buy more but if the budget allows, who knows...   

Saturday, April 14, 2018

2016-2017 Donruss Optic Basketball

NBA playoffs start this weekend so I want to look at some basketball today.  I've never been a fan of the Prizm or Optic cards but they seem to be all the rage so I had grabbed some 2016-2017 Donruss Optic basketball.  I just don't get the appeal.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm happy for those collectors who do but there is just something about these I don't care for.  I know I don't like how the cards are so hard and tend to bow and they may really be all it is. On to these cards, I was good with the regular offering of Donruss basketball cards and these are similar so no issues with the design.     
  I was pretty happy with my pull that included personal favorite Kawhi Leonard, a Greek Freak Court Kings and LeBron James.  I also pulled a Hall Kings card which, along with the Court Kings, are my favorites from these sets.  I understand these are favorites of many card guys but I probably won't put much more money into these brands.
16 - Total Cards
4 – RC
2 – Court Kings
2 – Hall Kings

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi - A Second Look (MAJOR SPOILERS)

I first reviewed The Last Jedi on opening night last December.  Now that it has come out on DVD and Blu-Ray I've had the opportunity to look at this a second time.  This time there will be MAJOR SPOILERS so if you still haven't seen the movie now is the time to stop reading.  First and foremost I still enjoyed watching this movie.  With time and and the ability to digest everything I can now give a better take on the movie.
Rey's character is who we thought she would be.  She is still new to knowing she has this power and just wants to help the galaxy by finding Luke, learning the ways of the force and bringing back the Jedi Order.  I also like the connection she and Kylo Ren have allowing them to see and speak to each other atrandom times.  Ren, the emo Sith of the galaxy, is a great character as well.  Still coming to grips with his power and what he has done he wants Ren to rule with him and there is a subtle romantic undertone to his reaching out to her.  In the first six Star Wars movies, things were much more black and white.  Now the two leading characters are still coming to grips with their abilities and how they fit in the galaxy.

Many complained Snoke was not allowed to be fleshed out as a character.  To me I didn't need his back story.  We never new the Emperor's before he became Darth Sidious.  Sure we knew he was a senator from Naboo but that was it.  Nothing more.  Within this context I thought he served his purpose in getting Kylo Ren to where he is now.  

The movie's handling of Luke Skywalker is tough.  You'd love to see him come back and make it all right again but that might be too cliche.  As he says in the movie The Jedi Order has been flawed.   We've seen how Yoda, for all his wisdom, didn't stop Obi-Wan from training Anakin, even after he told him not to because of how bad an idea it was.  That turned out badly.  Also the Jedi "worked next door" to the Emperor who turned out to be maybe the greatest Sith of all-time and didn't know it until it was too late.  In the Last Jedi Luke acknowledges how his moment of weakness tipped Kylo Ren to the dark side.  Not a great track record for the Jedi.  So while it was tough seeing Luke as someone running away from this sordid past it may have been greater that way. Iit was nice to see him redeem himself by allowing the rebellion enough time to escape in the end before passing to the Jedi version of heaven.
Finn's character still needed some fleshing out and originally I didn't care for how they sent him and Rose off on what seemed like a contrived scheme to get them screen time.  While their caper still seems a stretch I was more comfortable with it this go around.  I do wish they'd stop his "running" from trouble story line.  He needs to grow a pair.  Not sure where his relationship with Rose is going.  Not an odd pairing but it seems like he and Rey have something going as well.  I'm sure it'll get figured out next film.  Finn is also involved with the death of Phasma.  I'm ok with that as her character is pretty shallow.  She gave up the shield codes in Episode VII while vgiving up no fight.  There was probably never going to be enough screen time to do her character justice so seeing her go didn't hurt my feelings any.  In a different movie/setting though I think they could have done more with her.
  I didn't like how Poe Dameron's character went from cool starfighter pilot to know-it-all jack@ss.  First he loses the rebellion's bomber fleet when he disobeyed orders though he did take out a dreadnought.  He was then complicit in the Finn/Rose mission that ended up killing a big percentage of  what was left of the rebellion personnel.  He helped scheme the mission due to his lack of trust in the new boss, Vice Admiral Holdo's plan.  Though I am still at a loss why she just tell Poe when questioned, or the the entire crew, what the plan was.  It may have been they were worried word would somehow get out to Ren and Crux but that was never voiced or made clear if that was it.  I did like Holdo overall.  Poe even went as far as to try a mutiny which in the end delayed the leaving of the shuttles. So while this guy may be the greatest pilot the rebellion has he may also be the biggest jerk and downright malcontent.  They definitely didn't do his character any justice.  
This movie caught some flack for it's choices but I'd say it just didn't take the easy way out.  Hard choices were made in how characters were handled and how major plot points advanced.  There were plenty of scenes I still am not 100% on board with but there are few movies I am.  Just because this wasn't a cookie cutter Star Wars film, or that it wasn't even Episode VII, it was still a good movie and set up plenty for the final film in the trilogy.  To be honest I'd almost rather see this be more open ended.  It seems as though the upcoming war and different plot points have tons to flesh out.  With only one movie to do it, it's hard to believe we won't be left wanting.  But as a Star Wars fan I think it is safe to say we are very hard to satisfy no matter how these are handled.  That's it.  My long winded take on The Last Jedi.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

2018 Donruss Baseball Cards (Blaster Box)

I usually enjoy these so I didn't hesitate to grab a blaster box of the 2018 Donruss baseball cards.  The standard design is a nod to the 1984 Donruss set.  The design isn't bad.  Nice photos on these cards though you won't see many with players in the field as with rival Topps.  Still these are nice looking cards though maybe not flashy.
The backs are the dull black and white with some stats and a write-up.  Pretty boring and as someone who isn't 20 anymore I'd definitely prefer a bigger font.  These aren't complete disasters as there are some touches I like but it seems like just a small addition of some colors could make a big difference.  
The nickname variation cards are pretty cool and you'll also see the familiar Rated Rookie cards.  As a Braves guy I'm excited to pull an Ozzie Albies card.  A favorite for me in these sets are the retired greats which included Atlanta Hall of Famer Chipper Jones.  I also pulled his nickname variation which was cool.  I will say it seems we are seeing the same retired greats every year and I'd like to see some new names added each year to change things up.  By the way I pulled three different George Brett cards.  I'm not complaining of course. 
The '84 variations are pretty cool.  I would have been happy if that was their standard design.  I'm a big fan of the '84 set so this particular throwback design is right in my wheelhouse.  A couple different green parallels shown here.    
I'm a huge Diamond Kings fan from way back but lately they've lost their luster.  The George Perez art just made the cards special.  Maybe it isn't cost effective to do the art but these just don't have any excitement to them.  Also shown here is a Combo Card which was a cool moment from the all-star game and a black and white George Brett card.  No idea what variation it is.  It isn't numbered and the photo being black and white seems to be the only difference from his base card.   I'm stumped.
Again those cool '84 retro variations.  Very stoked to pull this Trout.  Overall this was a fun box.  Seemed to have plenty of star power and I like the designs.  You obviously have to be ok with non-MLB licensed cards which I finally got over a few years back.  Nice cards with some different inserts this year and a nice throwback design which all in all should appeal to many.  

60 – Total Cards
10 – Retro 1984 (3 – Green Parallel, 2 – Retired Greats)
6 – Base Retired Greats (1 – Green Parallel)
4 – Diamond Kings
4 – Multiplayer (2 – Retired Greats)
2 – Nickname Variations
2 – Rated Rookie
1 – Black & White