Tuesday, July 31, 2018

2018 Bowman Platinum

Time for some baseball as today teams will make last minute additions and subtractions at the trade deadline. These 2018 Bowman Platinum have been sitting at the local Wal-Mart for some time so I finally took the plunge.  There were 12 cards in this pack that cost $5.99.  That's a tough price point but with it being Bowman I still gave it a shot.  Bottom line is I'm disappointed.  The card design isn't bad but I'm not sure where the bang for your buck is.  For 12 cards I wanted to be wowed a bit more.  I was happy with my pull grabbing a Bryce Harper, some good veterans including "Thor", and some nice young rookies.  I also grabbed a #/250 purple parallel and a Rookie Revelations card but overall these just didn't move the needle for me.  I'll look at adding some singles from this set but I can't see me buying more of these.  Just two much for too little.
The Garcia card is a purple parallel #/250.  Nice card of the Cardinals' young fireballer Jordan Hicks.
The swoosh in the design is to the left of veterans and to the right of the prospects and rookies. While it shouldn't make much of a difference I really like the design of the veteran cards better.  I do like the Rookie Revelations card.  It has a black and white foil'ish vibe going on.  Also happy to add an Atlanta Brave from the pack. 
12 – Total Cards
1 – Purple Parallel #/250
1 – Rookie Revelations

Monday, July 30, 2018

2007 Atlanta Falcons Topps Team Set

This 2007 Topps set showcasing the 2005 Atlanta Falcons is not one of my favorites.  The black borders really don't do it for me.  The edges show wear, the names in foil are hard to read, and the border as a whole seems to take up way to much space on the card.  A team logo really could have served Topps better here as opposed to the the name centered at the top.  Faux signatures also don't do anything for me.
  As for the '06 team they had a disappointing 7-9 season.  Michael Vick had an outstanding year but somehow didn't make the Pro Bowl.  He rushed for 1000+ yards and two touchdowns while throwing 2400 yards against 20 TD's and 13 interceptions.  Warrick Dunn had just over 1100 yards and four rushing touchdowns.  Alge Crumpler again led the team in receptions and receiving yards.  While I know Crumpler was a good tight end I think his leading the team these three years was more a product of Michael Vick checking down and not able to get the ball down the field.
Four RC cards in this set.  No Pro Bowl cards this year. It would have been nice if they'd at least put the annotation on the base cards.  
No Matt Schaub this year. So what do they do?  They give us a Joey Harrington card.  Joey didn't play for Atlanta in '06 but would go on to start 10 games the next year.  It really makes you shake your head and wonder who had the job of picking players for each team.   

Sunday, July 29, 2018

2006 Topps Atlanta Falcons Team Set

This 2006 Topps team set of the 8-8 2005 Atlanta Falcons.  Michael Vick wasn't quite the force on the ground as he was in 2004 and Falcons were not a playoff team.  Warrick Dunn rushed for over 1400 yards but only had three touchdowns on the ground.  Alge Crumpler once again led the team in receptions and yards receiving.  Both were selected to the Pro Bowl.  Star linebacker Keith Brooking was once again a Pro Bowl selection as well.    
Another "All-Pro" card here.  Ugh.  Still I'll be happy just having Pro Bowl cards in the set.  I like this Dunn card.
Overall this is a solid design and I will probably look for a few more singles from this set.
Pro Bowler Roderick Coleman was left out of this set.  He led the team with 10.5 sacks.  The backs are a bit bland but I won't complain any.  I've seen much worse.  Of course Matt Schuab gets another card and threw for a whopping 495 yards.  

Friday, July 27, 2018

2005 Topps Atlanta Falcons Team Set

The 2004 Atlanta Falcons are stylized on this 2005 Topps team set.  In his fourth year, Michael Vick led this team to an 11-4 record and to the NFC Championship game before falling to the Philadelphia Eagles.  Vick made the Pro-Bowl throwing for 2300 yards and rushing for just over 900 yards accounting for 17 touchdowns.  Warrick Dunn, an all-time favorite of mine, led the team with 1106 yards receiving and nine touchdowns.     
  I really like the design of these cards. which marked the 50th anniversary of Topps football cards.  These particular cards say All-Pro but they actually mean Pro Bowl.  Huge mistake by Topps since there is a very big difference between the two.  Still I enjoy Pro Bowl cards and I like these which star with in-game photos.
This set also shows Roddy White who was selected in the 1st round of the 2005 NFL Draft.  Alge Crumpler led the team in receptions and receiving yards while Allen Rossum was a standout return man.
For a team that threw for under 3000 yards they really focused in on the quarterbacks and receivers.  The defense didn't get much love.  An Schaub?  He only threw for 330 yards on the year which makes him an odd inclusion.  The backs are nice even if they aren't spectacular. Maybe they could have added Patrick Kerney who also made the Pro Bowl.  Definitely a set in which I'll search out more singles due to the nice design.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

2000 Topps Buffalo Bills Team Set

2000 Topps Buffalo Bills set showcasing the 11-5 '99 Bills.  Not a favorite design of mine but it has warmed up on me some.  Doug Flutie led this team to the playoffs before losing to the eventual AFC Champion Tennessee Titans.  Flutie was just fun to root for.  Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas were in the twilights of their careers but will always be looked at as an all-time Bills greats.  Thomas did appear in five games so i'm surprised he didn't get a card.
These were leaders on the offense with Sam Gash making the Pro Bowl.  Eric Moulds would go on to be one of the all-time great Bills receivers (2nd in receiving yards, receptions and touchdowns to Andre Reed).  
Rob Johnson was pressed into starting one regular season game, which he won, and the playoff loss to the Titans.  Jonathan Linton led the team in rushing while Antoine Smith was close behind.    
The backs are pretty nice though the font throws me off.  Doesn't mean I don't like it but it seems like there is a better one out there.  Now I'm talking about fonts...

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

1988 Topps Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team Set

My love for the Creamsicle unis brings me another Tampa Bay Buccaneers team set.  This time it is the 1987 team in the form of 1988 Topps football cards.  Again a nice design.  This team went 4-11 while prize rookie Vinny Testaverde went 0-4 in six games.   Seems like Steve Deberg, who started 8 games deserved a card.  If for nothing else for being the "trainer" for his replacement once again.  
  While only a head shot I like this James Wilder card.  He is an all-time favorite for me so it is probably tough to find bad cards of his.  He led this team in rushing yards and receptions but only had one touchdown and it was in the air.  Who didn't like Dopnald Igwebuike's name?  And that nose...that nose!  Gerald Carter led the team in receiving yards.  
Not really a star laden team.
Wilder gets his action photo on the team card.

Monday, July 23, 2018

1988 Atlanta Falcons Topps Team Set

Catching up on some the team sets I've picked up over time.  This 1988 Topps Atlanta Falcons team set documents a 1987 team that won't be remembered for much other than their 3-12 record.  I do like the design here.  Incorporating the team helmet and denoting All-Pros is a big plus.    
Scott Campbell was the best of a rag tag group of QB's going 2-7 as a starter.  Gerald Riggs was solid with 875 yards on the ground averaging 4.3 yards per carry though he only scored two touchdowns.  Floyd Dixon led the team with 36 receptions, 600 yards receiving and five touchdowns.
Back when punters got cards.  He did average 44 yards per punt.
Tony Casillas was the #2 overall pick in the '86 draft but vastly underwhelmed before winning two Super Bowl Championships with the Cowboys.
Riggs was about all the Falcons had going for them so "Carries Heavy Load" wasn't a stretch.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Cardboard Collections June Affordable Break '02 Upper Deck Diamond Connection , '03 Upper Deck 40-Man and '03 Upper Deck Denny's Grand Slam

Another fun and affordable break done by Cardboard Connections occurred in June.  This month had two more sets I was not familiar with.  I grabbed the Red Sox and my randomized second team for this break was the Marlins.  Definitely check these breaks out as it is a lot of fun.  The price is right and he always comes up with some cool boxes to break which helps make seeing some cards you may not be familiar with.  
 Manny Ramirez Top 40 and Johnny Damon All-Star subset cards.  If not for his drug use Manny might be the greatest right handed hitter of our generation.  Man it hurt when Damon left the Sox for the Yanks. 
Some of the base cards and all-time favorite Red Sox.  Wakefield was so easy to like and who doesn't like Big Papi?  Oh wait, Don Zimmer...  I really like this design and can't wait to complete the team set and look for the Braves.  A few less spring training shots would have been nice but that is a minor complaint.  
Nomar was a favorite of mine at the time and I thought getting rid of him was a huge mistake.  Good thing they don't pay me to make those decisions.  
The base design on these weren't quite as nice as the other set but it was fine.  Grabbed a Pedro which will be added to my personal collection.  That Nicolas New Releases card is actually from the 40-Man set.  The Grand Slam card came from a pack of the 2003 Upper Deck Denny's Grand Slam Cards.    
A few highlights from my Miami Marlins pull.  Ivan Rodriquez cards are always a win.  

27 - Total Cards
'03 40-Man
 - 19 - Total
  -- 13 - Red Sox
    -- 9 - Base
    -- 2 - New Releases
    -- 1 - All-Star
    -- 1 - Top 40
  -- 6 - Marlins
    -- 5 - Base
    -- 1 - New Releases
'02 Diamond Connection
 - 5 Total
  -- 3 - Marlins
  -- 2 - Red Sox
Bonus Packs
 - 2 - 1987 Topps Red Sox
'03 Denny's Grand Slam
 - 1

Friday, July 20, 2018

2018 Gypsy Queen (Beating the Odds)

Picked up two packs of the 2018 Gypsy Queen baseball.  Again this is another solid offering from Topps and these packs delivered.  The Missing Team Nameplate Parallels are 1:16 packs and I pulled a Shin-Soo Choo which made it a good pull but the next pack outdid itself.  I then pulled a Roger Clemens Missing Team Nameplate Parallel base SP Roger Clemens.  These are 1:422 packs.  I didn't know what I had until I did some research.  Very excited about that card.  Other good cards include Giancarlo Stanton, Kris Bryant and Brad Hand. I definitely can't complain about these cards.        
12 - Total Cards (2 Packs)
2 - RC
1 - Missing Team Nameplate Parallel
1 - Missing Team Nameplate Parallel Base SP

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Fury (2014) Movie

I'm definitively catching up on movies and Fury has been one I've wanted to see for some time.  A hardened tank crew takes on a newby is the gist of this film.  This is one of those movies where the characters grow on you.  There are some cringe worthy moments where you aren't sure that will happen but in the end you do.  Definitely a violent movie but World War II was just that. The story is a good one and the actors go a great job conveying their parts.  Brad Pitt leads the way and does an excellent job as the Sgt in charge of the group.  Shia LeBeouf has a great performance and Michael Pena (12 Strong) and Jon Bernthal (Walking Dead) also did very well as the original tank crew. Logan Lerman was good as the newby on the tank. If war movies are your thing this one should be right up your alley. If you just like good acting I also think it is a good watch.  That's my quick and easy on this one.   

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Animated Series

As a Star Wars guy I'm ashamed it took me this long to watch and finish Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series.  I was hesitant at first maybe due to it being animated but once I started watching I was hooked.  The creators and writers did a great job fleshing out much of the Star Wars universe.  In doing so they gave us a glimpse behind some of the characters we know and love while also expanding the universe with new characters we can also enjoy. While primarily centered around Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi it also brought us the great character of Ahsoka Tano, Anakin's padawan.  There are way too many new characters to list but Asajj Ventress was the other new character who really stood out to me.  The pirates, Nightsisters, Death Watch (Mandalorian) and other Jedi Knights and Masters were great as well.  It really showed how deep the Star Wars universe is and how many stories are out there.  
    But maybe the stars of the show are really the Clone Troopers themselves.  As in some of the Legends books, these guys were each given personalities and are really humanized.  They really bring the show to life and are no longer faceless troopers.  Some will even make appearances in the Star Wars Rebels animated series. 
  There are always things about any show that may make you take pause.  The crazy action, powers, how things always work out in the end (well most times),  and how the Jedi couldn't seem to see their hand in front of their own face could be a bit frustrating at times.  Near the end of the series you also see where the Jedi began to see things that may lead to larger issues in the Republic.  These could never be resolved of course since Revenge of the Sith would no longer make since. 
While animated this is not a kid centric show.  They will enjoy it but adults may want to be there with the youngest crowd.  There are many on screen deaths here as well as all the "normal" violence that wars have.  There are also emotional parts as well and I think they did a great job balancing this for kids as well as adult fans.
The different story lines are all over the place in a good way.  While the war itself is always center stage you could be in any corner of the galaxy at any given point and time dealing with any number of different events or circumstances.  Stories included singular missions by the Jedi, diplomatic missions, large wars, those centering on politics (Padme played a big part in many of these), the Jedi themselves to include Padawans, the Clones, different planets, and even the droids got an arc.

     I can't do this series justice.  It is was great fun to watch and I really enjoyed the characters and story arcs.  It also showed how there are so many great stories within the Star Wars universe to be told.  I personally would love to see more on the many great Jedi Knights and Masters though there are plenty more from the other side of the good and evil spectrum who also deserve their stories be told.  And what about the clones?  I think they could also star on their own.  I'd also love to see another animated series that is set within the universe proper.  They did a great job here and it let's us enjoy characters we already like while giving us much more insight and depth into them.  Bottom line is I was late coming to this party but I really enjoyed it.  

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Incredibles 2 Review (No Spoilers)

After a long wait Incredibles 2 is out in theaters.  I thought they did a great job with the story.  From the trailers this movie looked like a Mr. Mom type film but it is much more well rounded than that.  All of the Incredibles family play big roles here and help make the film enjoyable to watch.  This film is good for the kids as well as adults and though it clocks in at almost two hours I never even noticed.  I'd even say this is better than the first one.  Bottom line is this is a great flick for anyone who enjoys animated movies or who has kiddos. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

2018 Football Classics

Been looking forward to the 2018 Football Classics cards and this blaster box was everything I could ask for.  True to it's name 29 of the 64 cards featured retired greats.  They spanned all eras to those who recently retired to those who starred in the 50's.  The design has a great throwback look perfect for what they are going for here.
  This box delivered with a Saturday Swatches Mike Evans and a Roquan Smith Blue Black parallel #/175.  These are fairly standard for the blasters and both are nice cards.
I love the L.T. card as the photo really pops.  Excellent picture of Moon in the Vikings' purple as well and you can't go wrong with Bills' legend Jim Kelly.
A trio of all-time great pass catchers this Lance Alworth card is one of favorites pulled.  That action photo and classic uni just scream all-time great.
How can you not enjoy Doug Flutie cards?
I like both of these inserts and it doesn't hurt that they'll both be PC additions.
I like the Instant Classics inserts with it's photo copy/newspaper clipping vibe.
Oh and there were current players as well - of course.  I'm not an Eli guy but I really like that photo of him in the all white uni.  
The backs are a simple three color design that I'm fine with.  Overall I really like these cards and the volume of retired legends really is great to see.  I'll definitely pick up more of these cards given the opportunity.

64 - Cards
29 - Retired Legends
3 - RC
1 - Saturday Swatches
1 - Blue/Black #/175
1 - Instant Classics
1 - Full Throttle
1 - Eras