Sunday, November 29, 2020

2020 Illusions Football

 2020 Illusions Football: Found this at a Wal-Mart in a small town returning from visiting the kids yesterday.  They actually had quite a bit of product but my budget with Christmas coming up is somewhat tight right now.  Still I picked up three of these and this is the first one I opened.  Joe Burrow is not a guy I've seen a lot in my pulls so this was fun to see.  I know his knee is jacked up but you have to be rooting for this guy.  He was doing so well before the injury and the Bengals' fans deserve a break.
The base set is only 100 cards so I think you'd have to expect a pretty good pull in most packs.  I was really happy with mine.  Picking up the two top rookies and plenty of stars helped this pack get a high score.
I really want to call that Wentz card a bronze parallel but it is an orange parallel.  Just doesn't have quite the orange tint those parallels did last year.  That Mystique is an acetate card.  
I'd prefer some stats on that card back but I love the large logo.  Doesn't give Panini a pass on the stats omission though.
Really glad I took the 5 minutes to check out this store.  These are some nice looking cards and I'm more than happy to add them to the collection.  I'll show off those other two packs over time and I can't complain about either of them either.  And no dupes from all the cards in the three packs. 

20 – Total Cards
9 - RC
2 – Bronze
1 - Mystique

Thursday, November 26, 2020

2020 Donruss Football Rookie Holiday Sweater Blaster

 2020 Donruss Football Holiday Blaster: Happy Thanksgiving!  I look forward to the holiday cards each year.  That said I was sorely disappointed when I opened this box.  Where are the candy canes?  Where are the Christmas Trees?  The tinsel?  The presents?  Not here.  The only holiday cheer here is the actual Rookie Holiday Sweater relic.  I'm done.  I did pull this CeeDee Lamb Red & Green parallel Optic Rated Rookie so that helps.  A little.  
I was happy with my pull.  Plenty of star power in this box.  Speaking of this box I was pleasantly surprised to find this one the shelf earlier this month.  Only grabbed one as my budget wouldn't allow for more.
Retired greats!  Definitely one of the reasons I like this set.  Love all three of these guys.  
Laviska Shenault Jr. is a WR for the Jaguars and already has 30 receptions for the season.
Donruss is happy to give rookies their due.  I really thought we'd see a better season from Ruggs but he's only a rookie so he has time to improve.
These Retro 1990 cards are favorites of mine.  I'll definitely hunt some of the singles.  I have even considered the set if it wasn't so expensive.
Was I disappointed I didn't get my expected candy canes and Christmas trees?  Heck yeah. Disappointed in this box.  Not really.  Great players combined with a good set is always good.  My rookie sweater pull was also solid.  We need more Jack Youngblood on new cardboard!  

88 – Total Cards

11 – Retired Greats

6 – RC

5 – Rated Rookie

1 – Retro 1990

1 – The Rookies

1 – Optic Rated Rookie Red & Green Parallel

1 – Rookie Sweater Relic

1 – Rated Rookie Canvas Parallel

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Batman: The Killing Joke Animated Movie

 Batman: The Killing Joke (2016): The Batman graphic novel The Killing Joke is a heralded story in the great history of Batman.  Written by Alan Moore (Watchmen) it didn't shy about taking Joker's brutality to another level.  I thought the comic was a good read though I don't think of it as an all-time favorite.  I'm not surprised it got the animated treatment and it didn't shy away from the material receiving an R rating.  I finally got around to watching it and liked the movie which centers around Batman, Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon and the Joker.  It was done well and kept my interest.  If you liked the graphic novel you'll like this though there are differences in where they take Batman and Batgirl's relationship.  If you are a fan of Batman you'll want to see this.  It's just not the standard animated comic movie and remember it isn't for kids.  My daughter is a huge Batman fan and enjoyed the film which she saw in theaters.  She wasn't sure about a few things they did with the storyline but overall liked it.  I won't get into specifics because it'd be too easy to give away spoilers but wanted to throw out my thoughts for anyone interested.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Random Wax: 2020 Contenders Draft Picks Football

2020 Contenders Draft Picks Football:  This one has been sitting around for a while but with Joe Burrow having an okay first year I'm hoping he'll have a strong finish in the second half of the season.  He's been one guy I've had a tough time pulling this year and even on this card he shares it with a teammate.  
Nice looking Kyler Murray card with both unis and there's hope CeeDee Lamb develops into a really good wide receiver.
I really like that McCaffrey photo and another Kyler Murray!  That throw and catch by Murray and Hopkins last week to beat the Bills was just amazing.  I wasn't as high on Murray as many but he's turned out to be pretty special.  This was a fun pack combined with a good pull.

18 – Total Cards
1 – Legacy
1 – Game Day Ticket
1 – Collegiate Collections
1 – 2020 Draft Class


Friday, November 20, 2020

Random Wax: 2019 Opening Day Blaster

 2019 Topps Opening Day:  So two of these blasters randomly showed up on my Wal-Mart shelves a few months ago.  Literally one showed up one week and the other the next just out of the blue.  I'm a big Opening Day so I wasn't about to turn either of them down.  This one gave me my first Acuna from the set which was a nice surprise.  Gotta love the fun he brings to the game.  And lots of great stats for the Braves.

This set offers plenty of opportunities for stars with it's smaller size. The 2019 design is one I like but I'll admit it had to grow on me some.  And the Opening Day logo makes all designs look better.  
Love this photo.
Plenty of fun inserts in this set always help make it a set I look forward to. 
I always enjoy Opening Day and this blaster was no different. Good players and good cards.  I'll show off that other blaster at a later time.  And I pulled a Trout!  Not my first of this particular card but it's always fun when you grab him.

77 – Total Cards

5 – RC

5 – 150 Years of Fun

4 – All-Star Rookie

3 – Mascot

2 – Opening Day

1 – Blue Foil OD Parallel

1 – Team Traditions and Celebrations

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

2020-2021 Contenders Draft Picks Basketball Blaster with an Autograph

 2020-2021 Contenders Draft Picks Basketball:  NBA draft is tonight so now is the perfect time to show these off.  Found these the beginning of the month.  It's been a long time since I've seen basketball cards on the shelf.  I didn't buy them all but I did pick up some packs as well as this blaster.  I'll show the packs off over time.  I'll start with the one rookie from last year who might be hotter than Zion himself.  I really like the Ja Morant is from a small school like Murray State.

This set lets us see current players and some NBA hopefuls in the college unis.  I really enjoy that about these sets. The base set is only 50 cards strong but each of these have a variation with a different photo.  Not sure why they just don't make the base set 100 cards with each player getting two cards but I guess the variations are somewhat tougher to get in theory.  I screwed up and didn't determine how many variations I received in this box.  ugh.  Variations are noted on the backs with a "V".  Makes it nice and easy.
I did pull a Red Cracked Ice Autograph #/23.  Nice variation on the autos.  Hard to tell if Ty-Shon Alexander will get drafted but obviously that would help this card quite a bit.  We'll find out tonight.  I also pulled an auto in one of the packs I'll be showing off at a later time.
I really like the inclusion of mascots this year and though they are a Blue rival the Michigan State Spartans have a great mascot in Sparty.  That Ben Simmons is a red parallel.  I like seeing retired greats but I'd prefer color photos.  Won't get too picky though.
Of course those players hoping to hear their name tonight are here but in smaller amounts in the insert sets.
The Contenders brand is a favorite of mine.  For some it gets repetitive.  This year's design is pretty good but not my favorite.  The backs are nice too giving us the school logo which I like seeing.  The "V" for variation cards would be right next to where the "23" is on this card back.  As a reminder the Sec/Row/Seat are the player's weight/height(feetinches)/jersey number respectively.  Fun box and good pull.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the draft plays out tonight.  And I don't remember ever seeing James Harden in his college uni. 

42 – Total Cards
5 – Winning Ticket
3 – Game Ticket Red Parallel
3 – Front Row Seat
2 – Mascots
2 – Retired Greats
1 - Red Cracked Ice Auto /23
1 – Red Winning Ticket Parallel


Sunday, November 15, 2020

2004 Topps Fan Favorites Football

2004 Topps All-Time Favorites: This pack was part of an eBay purchase earlier this year.  It was really fun though it includes some players you might not be expecting.  We get different retro designs which keeps it interesting and entertaining.  

This set has plenty of variety and great players.  This set only includes 85 cards but it still is a nice find.
Again a few of these guys are those we have heard of but might not expect in a set like this.
The backs give us more retro goodness.  Small packs but I really enjoyed it.  I'll probably start picking off singles of some of these guys or maybe lots.  We'll see.  And who didn't like the "Mark Brothers" in Miami.

6 - Total Cards 


Friday, November 13, 2020

2020 Topps Gallery

 2020 Topps Gallery:  This is my first in hand look at this year's offering.  I enjoy this brand but the art can be hit and miss.  Still it's fun when it's right.  I wish there were more retired greats in this set as it has a bit of an old school feel to it.  We'll lead off with Nolan Ryan for this pack.  

I like the design this year.  Here you see the wood parallel as well as a base design with the standard white borders.  I think I like the wood parallel better which I think I've said for past sets.  Those names are in foil but scan darker than they really appear.
These are kind of cool but it seems like the apprentice to a pitcher would be another pitcher.  But I get what they are doing pairing a veteran with a younger player.
The backs are pretty straight forward but I like the different take on stats.  Still prefer career stats by year but this isn't too bad.  I like the beard on that Moran card combined with the retro uni - that's a win.  

My green parallel #/99.  This was a fun pack.  I was able to grab a few more which I'll share over time.  Overall the art was good and my pull was decent.


12 – Total Cards

2 – Wood Parallel

1 – Hall of Fame

1 – Rainbow Foil

1 – Retired Great

1 – Green Parallel #/99

1 – Master & Apprentice

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

2020 NASCAR Champion Chase Elliott


Chase Elliott had a excellent year and great run to the 2020 NASCAR Championship.  Elliott had to win the final race before the Phoenix race on Sunday just to get into the Championship Four.  He then beat out Brad Kesolowski, Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin who finished second through fourth respectively in the final standings.  While the race itself wasn't the most exciting I was rooting for Chase and it was fun to watch him win his first championship at only 24 years of age.  He won five races this year only surpassed by Hamlin and Kevin Harvick.  He's had an amazing career in NASCAR's top series in which he has never finished below 10th in the standings.  He's definitely postured for a long successful career.  Congratulations Chase!
The other drivers I root for are Kyle Busch and Bubba Wallace.  Busch struggled all year but still managed to take 8th place in the standings.  He also kept alive his streak of one win in each of his 16 years.  Bubba had a career best 22nd place finish in the final standings but even more exciting was the news he'll move to the new Michael Jordan race team, 23XI, in 2021.  You never know what will happen for a new team but this is definitely an exciting opportunity for Bubba.  We'll saw NASCAR great Jimmie Johnson and fan favorite Clint Bowyer race for the final time.

This was really a fun year.  NASCAR was the first sport back after Covid put a pause to the sports world as a whole. During that pause we got to watch drivers take a shot at virtual racing which was even entertaining.  NASCAR had to get creative with their schedule to get all their races in but it worked and it was fun.  Hats off to them for making it work with basically no Covid interruption once on track racing started back up.  Can't wait for 2021.