Thursday, May 29, 2014

2014 Bowman

Bowman hit the shelves for the first time this year a little less than a month ago. I have to say that I always appreciate Bowman when it comes out but get totally sick of it before I even get ahold of the Cardinals team set that I seek year after year.

100 - Clayton Kershaw - I pretty much never get the first pick in any given fantasy draft even though I participate in four leagues a year, not coincidentally the maximum number Yahoo allows to any given account. I was starting to get nervous about Kershaw when he got injured in his first start, but he seems to be okay now aside from one disastrous start.

214 - Yasiel Puig - Back to back Dodgers is not how I wanted to start things out, but I never have a problem getting rid of their cards.

BP74 - John Gant Prospects - I have to say that I like this year's design as well as the Prospects design, if not for any other reason but the foil team logo. Really, no other foil is needed. Especially the player name. Foil makes names hard to read. Foil makes great logos, though.

BP86 - Victor Payano Prospects - The name Payano makes me think of the scam that got rock and pop artists significant exposure on the radio by way of cold hard cash back in the day. And probably now. I don't think anyone really listens to the radio anymore, though.

BP97 - Miller Diaz Prospects State and Hometown - It's a parallel of an insert... I think?

BCP110 - Joe Wendle Chrome Prospects - The Chrome versions aren't especially elegant this year. There's definitely no foil.

BCP52 - Hunter Renfroe Chrome Prospects - As with every year, I haven't heard of these prospects. It feels like there's a lot of prospects in these packs.

38 - Torii Hunter - I know him.

200 - Bryce Harper - I wish I didn't know him.

172 - J.R. Murphy - The backs look all Bowmany.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

2007 Topps Series 2 Retail (blaster box pack)

It was on a recent trip to Kmart - yes, that store of bad press and worse stock share values - that I picked up a discounted blaster of 2007 Topps Series 2. Why this blaster in particular? Two words: relic fishing. This blaster's odds were decently promising. I must say, I was both impressed and depressed by what I found.
2007 would be Dave Wells' last season in the big leagues. The lefthander would go on to play against the Padres as a Dodger in his last few games.
Al Cora is also out of the majors. Cora signed with 5 different teams in his last three years after leaving the Sox. Note the upper left corner of this card:

 before taking a look at the next one...




Oh dear. Though it is a relic, I wasn't exactly holding my breath for a dinged swatch card of Vernon Wells. Maybe I should sell this card off to the Angels or the Yankees...

For what it's worth, Vernon had a monster season in 2006 (he hit .303/.357/.542 and tallied 32 home runs). If I were busting this pack back in '07, I might have been able to flip this card, along with my Kmart stock. Assuming, of course, that these corners got mangled sometime around Christmas 2009.
This one ends with a whimper. Note that all four cards had dinged corners, and depicted guys who are out of baseball in 2014.
Card back? Why not?

Monday, May 26, 2014

2012 Bowman Chrome Retail

One pack of 2012 Bowman Chrome Retail for $1.50 at Target...I've been toying with the idea of giving up on buying the standard flagship sets each year and just buy Chrome packs instead when those are released typically in the late summer. This particular pack is just a retail version so it only has three cards inside.

We start with a nice Tim Hudson refractor which looks a bit blue after scanning it. He is still plugging along and is currently the active pitcher with the most wins at 209 currently as I write this. 

#17 Tim Hudson Refractor

Next up we have Desmond Jennings who was named the American League Player of the Week this past week...and interestingly the winner of the award gets a watch as a prize

#114 Desmond Jennings

The last of my three cards is of Mets prospect Marcos Camarena...his 1st Bowman Chrome card. He's currently pitching in single A ball and seems to be a ways away from making it to the majors. 

#BCP203 Marcos Camarena

Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 Topps Stickers

Topps Stickers are back once again. A pack can be had for a buck. I think the albums cost $2. I'm still trying to put together a Panini sticker from almost 25 years ago, so I won't be starting down this path any time soon.

53 - Adam Dunn - There's a whole lotta Dunn and not much room left for backdrop.

13 - Will Middlebrooks - Speaking of not much room left, the Red Sox recent signing of Stephen Drew most likely leaves Middlebrooks on the outs. He's not hitting much better than his shoe size these days, you see.

308 - Uhh, I don't know... a puzzle piece of a mob of angry beardos?

30 - Wil Myers

207 - Stephen Strasburg - Remember Strasburgmania? Now he's just merely a really good pitcher. Card collectors hate pitchers once they aren't rookies anymore. I don't understand it.

90 - TC Bear - I don't know what's more frightening, the diabolical/happy look on this mascots face or the extremely weird inset of his cartoon likeness.

264 - Baxter the Bobcat - AHHHH! What in fresh hell is this?! This looks like some creepy furry wearing a pimp suit.

102 - Matt Dominguez - And we end it with an Astro. Still the laughingstock of the league, but they have stepped up their uniform game with the move to the Junior Circuit.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

2013-14 Panini Basketball Retail


Hope everyone had a fun weekend.  Since I put up a hockey post during it's playoffs, might as well do the same for basketball.  Packs of this set starting popping up a couple of weeks ago.  Here's a pack of 2013-14 Panini Basketball!

8 cards come in the retail pack, while 10 cards come in the hobby pack.  The retail pack sells for $2.  Disappointed that I only get 8 cards in a pack; I must be used to the 12 cards Topps gives me.

I also couldn't figure out what that picture is in the center of the pack.  Took me days before I realized it was the Panini Knight dude.  Why does he appear on the pack?  Anyway, here's what I got:

#49 - Joakim Noah
#55 - John Henson
#22 - Chris Kaman
#33 - Klay Thompson

Not too bad.  The pictures are sharp and I kinda like the fade to black at the top.  I could do without the big-lettered Panini, and depending on the angle, the foil lettering could be hard to read.  The background at the bottom matches the team's primary color.

#173 - Peyton Siva (RC)
#10 - Chris Paul (Bird's Eye View)
#117 - Gerald Henderson
#157 - Kevin Durant

The Bird's Eye View is a 10 card set, but the pack does not list the odds of pulling an insert.  I got a kick out of the unintentional "Easter Egg" on the Peyton RC.

Do you want to see backs?  You all probably know what they look like already.  Alright, here are a couple of samples:

Reused photo / team logo, one line of stats, quick blurb of highlights (updated through the end of 2013), yadda, yadda, yadda.

This is a 200 card set, consisting of 160 players and 40 rookies.  No idea if the rookies are short printed, or if there are legends in the set like last year.  I think it's a better looking set than last year's offering, though.

Anyway, that's it for now.  Have a good week everyone, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

1993-94 Fleer Power Play Series 1


Hope everyone is doing well.  We were in the Fort Worth area last week for a wedding, and I was hoping to run into an oddball pack so that I can show it off on the site, but alas, it was not meant to be.  I was also hoping to attend a Rangers game with the family, but those plans did not materialize either (they were playing the Red Sox, and it would have been the game after the Yu Darvish no-hit attempt).

To avoid further disappointment, I decided to post my first hockey pack on APTBNL.  I mean, it's good times in hockey, right?  Playoffs are good times.  Blackhawks resting, awaiting the winner of Anaheim / Los Angeles is good times too.  So, here's a pack of 1993-94 Fleer Power Play!

1993 94 Fleer Power Play Series 1 Hockey Cards Unopened Hobby Box
Image borrowed from interwebs since I can't find the wrapper right now.
Years ago, when I was dating the future-Wifey, I would occasionally stop at her part time job to have dinner with her.  The lobby of the building where she worked had a gift shop; sometimes I would loiter there while waiting for her.  One day, the shop was getting rid of a whole bunch of packs - packs that retailed for 6 bucks were going for 2.  Not one to pass up a good deal, I bought a bunch of packs from sets I didn't even collect.  This was one of them.  I'm sure I'll come across others in my never-ending quest to organize my collection.

This was a 2 Series / 520-card set, and the cards measured 2 1/4" by 4 3/4".  Yep, it's one of those oversized sets.  Three cards came in a pack.  The checklist has some familiar names, but since I really didn't follow the game back then, I wouldn't know most of them.  Here's what I got:

#150 - Derek King:  Derek ended his NHL career in 1999-2000 with Toronto, but kept playing in the AHL until the end of the 2003-04 season.  He's currently an assistant coach with the AHL's Toronto Marlies.  I'd give stats and stuff, but I wouldn't know if that would make him a good player.  He played 14 years, so I guess that's impressive.

#177 - Josef Beranek:  Josef ended his NHL career in Pittsburgh after the 2000-01 season, but kept playing in the Czech league until the end of the 2009-10 season.  He helped the Czech Republic win the Gold Medal in the 1998 Winter Olympics.  

#141 - Stephane Richer - Stephane's NHL career started in 1984-85, playing 1 game for Montreal.  He last played for New Jersey in the 2001-02 season, but did make one comeback attempt in 2004-05 in the Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey.  In 2009, Richer competed as a pairs figure skater on the CBC Television reality show Battle of the Blades.

Here are the backs:

Sorry about the scanner eating the borders again.  They cut off the "1993-1994" underneath the Power Play logo on 2 of the cards.  They're not too bad design-wise - minimal borders, different photo on the back, and full stats (I think).

Anyway, that's all for now.  More later.  Enjoy the playoffs and thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Retail

One of the fine saving graces of 2014 Topps series 1 Target blasters was the inclusion of coupons for future releases.  While it is not my favorite set of the year, there was a coupon for a dollar off two packs of Gypsy Queen in those coupon books so while I was out this afternoon buying Mother's Day cards and Doritos, I passed by the card aisle where my love of a bargain overrode my dislike of swirly faux-victorian borders.
 Who could resist Miguel Cabrera's follow through mug?  I opened both packs, this is the first one.

Quite an interesting selection here.  Right away I noticed two things, the borders are less garish than in past years but the Gypsy Queen logo is more bright and conspicuous, so I will call this a design push.  As for the players, well, I always had a soft spot for Juan Gone.  Fister?  I don't even know 'er.  I got another Cabrera, this one of the Asdrubal variety.  I must say, these photoshopped paintings look much better when they use pictures of the players in throwback uniforms.  I got an N174 insert and it is of my favorite, The Franchise.  That nifty card makes this pack worthwhile.  The mini is of speedy outfielder Peter Bourjos, nicely fake painted into his new Cardinal uniform.  Last but certainly not least is the other saving grace of this pack, Pedro Martinez in full god praising mode. I wonder if there is a mini short print with him holding his midget...

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Disney Store Star Wars trading cards

Happy Star Wars Day!!!

My daughter, being the awesome daughter she is, was at a mall with a Disney store. They had some events going on for Star Wars Day, which she had to take part in for the paper Medal of Bravery as was as a mini lightsaber balloon thing. She also scored a free pack of cards given away.

Yes, the pack is that dark. What you can't see is the Death Star just behind the Disney store logo. No odds on the back of any parallels, relics or autographs. Just three cards in the pack, but let's rip!

Fairly straight forward design. No foil, which is a very good thing indeed. No name on the front (like we all don't know who it is), but I thought I would make mention of that.

Big write up on the back. And look - DIFFERENT PICTURE! Of the three cards in this pack, though, it is the only one that is different on the back. But they all give that rear photo the hologram look. From the write up and the categories, you can see it is geared towards children. Just a 9 card set. I wonder if all the packs were just the first three cards in the set, or could you make a complete set today if you got the right packs? No idea who printed these cards as there is no mention on the card or the pack. From the lack of foil, I am thinking a company NOT named Topps.

TK-xxx is next, though he is technically card #3. As I mentioned, same picture on the back, just holo'ed.

Walking carpet comes last. See that line on the back of Luke's card that reads "Allegiance: Rebel Alliance"? Chewie's reads "N/A".