Saturday, January 15, 2022

Top Pulls of 2021: #2

 Card: 2020 Topps WWE Chrome #A-SB Shayna Baszler AUTO Green Parallel (56/99)
From: Hobby Box
Why I Like It:
When did I open this?  I think I bought two boxes in late 2020, opened one in December, and the other in the first few days of January.  My very similar Bayley card from last year came from the first box, and this one was from the second.  Twins born on either side of the New Year, you know the deal.
It's a nice on-card signature, and you have to love that she takes the time to draw a spade as a nod to her nickname, the Queen of Spades.  Baszler is an absolute beast who could take anyone on the women's roster in a legitimate fight.  That being said, I have lapsed in my WWE viewing over the past several months.  While COVID has caused many people to lose their senses of taste and smell, WWE has had the creativity sucked out of its organization over the course of the pandemic.  I wish the promotion could do something interesting with Baszler, but I just don't see it happening.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Top Pulls of 2021: #3

If you're reading this after a few days away from the Internet, and you're like, "Wait, pull number 3?  Did I miss 4 and 5?" don't worry, there was nothing to miss.  This is indeed the beginning of my top pulls of 2021 posts.  I almost opened nothing during calendar 2021.  Truth be told, there was not enough for a Tops 5 of the year, so this time we're just going with a Top 3.  If you suffered a blow to the head and woke up from a coma some time around October, you missed the removal of cards from most retail outlets, the hoarding of unopened product, and the laughable prices slapped onto undeserving boxes of cards.  It was a shitshow in 2021, and during those 365 days I opened a grand total of two boxes.  Fortunately, I was able to cull together enough decent cards to continue this feature.  Let's get started.

Card: 2020 Topps WWE Chrome #SWA-FB Finn Balor Shocking Wins AUTO (083/199)
From: Hobby Box

Why I Like It:
After hemorrhaging talent for the past couple of years, Finn is one of the few bright spots on the WWE roster at the moment.  He spent a great deal of time in NXT, and once he left, it was only a matter of time before they killed the brand as we once knew it.  Only a couple of things are preventing this card from placing higher in the rankings:
1. That signature.  Woof.  There are lazier signatures out there that can at least be appreciated for the sake of minimalism.  This one is just the old up-down-up-down for a few seconds.  You can do better, Mr. Devitt.
2. While it looks really cool, there's no way to suspend your disbelief enough to buy his finisher, the Coup de Grace.  If a guy actually launched himself off the top rope and landed on your chest with both feet, your heart would explode into Smuckers strawberry jam.  While it takes immeasurable skill to shift one's weight at the end of the move to pull it off without injury, the performance itself pulls back the curtain a bit too much to fully believe it.  
Still, it's great to have my first auto of Finn Balor.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Bidding Under the Influence #11

Date: November 28, 2021
Time of Bid: 9:14:37 PM
Card: 1964 Topps #128 Mickey Lolich

Price: $4.26 (+ $0.79 shipping)

What Was I Thinking?:
Last pitcher with three complete games in a World Series.  Should this belong among the list of Baseball Records Considered Unbreakable?  It isn't in practical terms, but based on current trends that show no signs of being reversed, it might be rock solid.  The last single complete WS game was Johnny Cueto's in 2015.  I think this one is rock solid now.
Pretty god price for Mickey's RC.  Condition isn't perfect, but good enough for me.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Trade Me Anything XV: #6

 I believe this is the last trade on the pile that I've yet to post.  This one comes from Jon.

#86C-27 Jonathan India 1986 Topps 35th Anniversary Chrome
#86B-19 Jonathan India 1986 Topps 35th Anniversary

1944 World Champions Replica Ring SGA
This is easily the most interesting item in the trade.  It was at the bottom of the cardboard shipping box, and in the low light I initially misread the year as 1994.  I didn't even question that this would be something the Cardinals franchise would do, declare themselves World Series champions for a season that was never finished.  "That ballclub in St. Louis," it's been said, "they do stadium giveaways THE RIGHT WAY."

Montreal Expos from various want lists
Always appreciated.  Stop and consider how big a star Tim Raines would be if he played today.

1991 Topps and Fleer Rack Packs
Could there be original treasure lurking inside the Topps pack?

Three 1991 Topps Stadium Club Series 2 Packs
This is a set I have never finished, so these should be fun to open some rainy day.

 Excellent stuff, Jon!  I hope you enjoy the cards of your namesake.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Trade Me Anything XV: #5

 Whenever longtime trader David sends something for Trade Me Anything, you can bet it's worth taking a look.

#US17 Taylor Walls Rainbow Foil
#86B-27 Shohei Ohtani 1986 Topps 35th Anniversary

 Munich DVD
This is an awesome movie, but I already have a copy.  
So now I have to make the decision about which one to keep.  Sorry to say that I'm going to keep the original.  It was an old Blockbuster previously-viewed purchase, and those old BBV cases just have too much nostalgia factor to let go so easily.

Lot of 1990 Fleer Brewers
Not a full team set, so these are going into the prize box at school.  Kids love Don August and Chris Bosio.

Drink Coaster from Lineage, Wailea, Maui

Project 2020 Envelope
I have never bought any of these.
A look inside reveals... Rickey Henderson!
It's a B&W rendering by Joseph Ari Aloi aka JK5.  It's a good-looking card.

  Some random Brewers

And finally, the hallmark of David's prior trades, BOOKS!
First, there's The Cactus League by Emily Nemens.  I look forward to reading this during the coming spring or summer.

And then there's The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm by James Napoli.  This looks more like a bathroom reader than a front-to-back endeavor.  I shall enjoy it intermittently. 

Thanks for all the great stuff, David, especially the books!


Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas to All!


And a special shout-out to Beardy, the late-aughts card blogger who disappeared without a trace.  As a result of the whole Google/Blogger fiasco that caused me to lose access to Thorzul Will Rule and subsequently create Death Stare Cards, all of my images of Ed Lynch-as-Grinch have been scrubbed from existence, save for one appearing on a 2009 blog post of Beardy's.  There may be others out there, and of course there's the possibility the Wayback Machine might be able to find something, but as a low-effort fix, this can't be beat.
Thank you to everyone who read what I wrote this past month.  It's been a ride.

Friday, December 24, 2021

2021 Card-vent Calendar: December 24

December 24, 2021:
1996 Topps #189 John Smoltz
What runs through the mind of a pitcher crouching in the on-deck circle in the year 1995?
In Smoltzie's case, he's counting the hours until Tuesday night.  See, John was all-in on the upstart United Paramount Network, or UPN.  Tuesdays were "Johnnie Time."  A blanket, a glass of wine, and one of those tins that holds three types of popcorn was on the agenda one night a week.  Smoltz was notorious for needing to buy a newspaper when on the road so he could find out what channel was the local UPN affiliate.

Smoltz's infatuation with the challenger to the Big Three networks began with the ubiquitous "powdered wig" promo that was being run by eventual carrier stations in most large markets.  John would reportedly sidle up to fellow members of the Braves pitching staff and, in an approximation of a rich baritone, bellow, "Do you haaaaaaaave anything neeeeeeeeeeeew?" to much bewilderment.
When the network launched in January of that year, he was initially lured in by the Richard Grieco vehicle Marker.  The plan was to hunker down during the 8:00 (7 Central) time slot, then hit the sheets early so he could be fresh on Wednesday.  What Smoltz didn't account for was The Watcher.  Sir Mix-a-Lot in a surveillance bunker peeping in on the nefarious doings of Las Vegas residents and guests?  Yeah, that bedtime got pushed back an hour.

Here's some real "inside baseball" stuff.  Most historians attribute Smoltz's move to the bullpen in the late 1990s to nagging injuries and his eventual Tommy John surgery.  What most bios fail to consider is the cancellation of the two above shows, not to mention that of Richard Jeni's Platypus Man.  Smoltz was described as "despondent" following these programming changes, and often failed to make it to the ballpark on time for the pregame stretch and throw.  Cox just couldn't start him any longer, so to relief he went.

These were dark days.
But one thing raised his spirits and got him back in the starting rotation.  He made another UPN discovery a few years after the series debuted.  Some would call it a lifesaver.

That television show?

But that's another story for another time.