King of the backhanded compliment

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

Heading into September, or nearly so, the Reds are five games up on the Cardinals, thanks to the 7-5 win over the hopeless, hapless and classless Chicago Cubs yesterday. Why classless? Check out this comment from Cubs douchebag third baseman Aramis Ramirez, which is really just common of the disdain that the Reds (and their accomplishments) are held in by the Cubs and Cardinals:

"Dusty's a winner everywhere he goes. He went to the World Series in San Francisco. He went to the playoffs with us. I think he's going to the playoffs here in Cincinnati. They don't have that good of a ballclub, but he's getting the most out of everybody."

The italics are mine. The jackassery is all Ramirez's. Enjoy fifth place, Aramis. Say hi to the Pirates, because you're closer in the standings to them than you are to us. Wanker.

Childish? Yes. Do I feel better? Absolutely. Besides, what's the point of running a baseball card blog if you can't electronically deface cards in your collection with puerile insults?

Nocturnal trade tales

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , , , ,

A couple of days ago, I mentioned a trade with Night Owl that helped me complete my first set ever, 2010 Topps Series 1. By the way, that post was actually post #100 for this blog, and while we're on the subject of nice round numbers, RGB Cards also passed the 1,000 visits mark this week as well.

The good Owl included a bunch of other cards in the package, not just some Topps base cards for the past few years. Have a look:

Apparently, semi-fearsome facial hair is the order of the day for the Reds this season. I know I'm scared.

I kid because the Reds have not had a good time of it in California. They damn near got swept by the Giants, in humiliating fashion, no less. But one thing remains true - I will never get tired of seeing Scott Rolen in a Reds uniform. He just looks like he was born to play for the Reds. And honestly, he's been the secret weapon for the team this year. Long may it continue.

This is Todd Van Poppel. You may remember him. Twenty years ago, he used to be Stephen Strasburg.

Look, I'm not here to bash on Strasburg. I wish him all the best and hope that he is successful and has a happy life. But Strasburgmania (and yes, I'm guilty of it, too, if you look at my Twitter account during his first game) is premature and quite silly. I hope that his injuries aren't serious, and he does become a great, dominant pitcher. Baseball needs those - pitchers who you make a point to watch whenever they start because there's always a chance they could pitch a game for the ages. Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson - anything was possible with those guys whenever they took the mound. I hope Strasburg does turn out like them, because it makes the game fun. But to quote Bill Simmons paraphrasing Winston Wolf from Pulp Fiction, let's not go sucking each other's popsicles just yet.

From the same Score set, here's a card of Darrin Jackson. Two things:

a) from the look of things, this picture was taken on a Negro League commemorative day because I'm pretty sure those are Chicago American Giants caps the players are wearing

b) maybe I should do a "Cards of Baseball Announcers" series like Night Owl and his Great Night Cards.

Sometimes I hate my scanner. Here's a nice shiny silver mini of Bobby Crosby, and thanks to my scanner, it looks dull, lifeless and dark. You can't even read the name on the card.

By the way, that's two different metallic parallel cards of Bobby Crosby that I have (the other is a gold Topps parallel) and he doesn't even play for the A's anymore.

Dear U.S. Playing Card Company - I have a bone to pick with you. I think your set of baseball player playing cards is pretty cool - but the three of hearts? How hard would it have been to make this guy the jack of spades, or even the jack of clubs?

By the way, this guy should have been the joker.

Finally, there's this card, and it requires a bit of explanation. You see, it came sandwiched in amongst the following other cards - a 2010 Barry Zito, the Buster Posey rookie card I mentioned in the other post, and a Tim Lincecum ToppsTown card. I flipped through them and thought "well, Greg knows I collect Lincecum cards, so maybe he thinks I'm a Giants fan, and he's just trying to unload some of his unwanted random Giants cards on me." I'm not a Giants fan, of course, but Cepeda is a Hall-of-Famer so it's a nice card to have. I must have looked at this card at least five different times before actually flipping the damn thing over and realising what kind of card it actually was:

It's a Cards Your Mom Threw Out original back card! You know, the insert set that I'm foolishly trying to collect to completion. What a generous card to include in the trade package. Thanks Night Owl - you're still my favourite nocturnal trading partner. Even if you did steal that kid's Tootsie Pop.

The Ichiro rainbow is coming along nicely...

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

...thanks to the latest purchases with my Strasburg money.

When I'm looking for cards on eBay, I always try to give my business to people who ship to Australia, have reasonable shipping rates, and provide discounts. I've bought enough cards to know how much it really costs to ship a couple of singles from the USA to AUS. Don't insult my intelligence by saying in your listing that it costs you $10.76 to mail the cards to me. It costs about three bucks, tops, using USPS International First Class. Besides, I CAN LOOK AT THE STAMPS AND SEE HOW MUCH YOU PAID!

When I find someone who fits my criteria, and has a card that I want, I look at their store and see what else they might have. That's how I ended up with four cards in this purchase instead of just the one.

First, the card I wanted - a Ichiro 2009 Spectrum blue parallel for the rainbow. It was originally listed a 99 cents, but the auction ended without any bids. Sure enough, it was re-listed with a 49-cent start price, and that's what I got it for.

Another 49-cent Ichiro was this '09 Bowman gold parallel of him in his Japan uniform. Now I have to track down the base card. I'm pretty sure I didn't get it in the box of '09 Bowman that I busted. Crap, now I'm not sure - maybe I did. Anyway, I like this card, especially at 49 cents.

Speaking of 49-cents, here's Big Time Timmy Jim's Turkey Red rookie card. This is actually the first Lincecum rookie card that I've acquired, but no doubt will be the first of many. Until then, it's hanging out in a page in my PC with some of my 2008 cards.

Finally, the only card that I ended up paying more than 49 cents for. It's a good thing I put in a higher bid because somebody else actually tried to outbid me for this 2009 Upper Deck Biography card. The nerve of some people! But since this card has two of my favorite people, Ichiro and Barack Obama, I wasn't going to let that happen. $1.25 later, and it's at my house now.

Yeah, the shipping for these four cards ($3.50) cost more than the cards themselves. But when I look at it another way, I could have ended up spending 99 cents each on the cards a week earlier, but my patience saved me $1.25. And that's more Strasburg Money that I can spend on other cards.

Joy of a Completed Page (Night Owl edition)

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

In particular, I'd like to draw your attention to the top left corner, cards #1 and #2 in the set. They are, of course, Prince Fielder and Buster Posey, and they were the two cards I needed to complete the page. They came courtesy of Night Owl along with a bunch of other cards, which I will devote a full post to as soon as I can find the time.

However, Prince and Buster didn't just finish the page. In fact, along with eight other cards Owlie sent, they completed my 2010 Topps series 1 set. This makes the first set that I have ever completed entirely through collecting. A personal milestone that I am quite happy about.

As I said, there were a bunch of other cards in the bubble envelope. I have scanned them, and even have some ancedotes, snarky comments and a story that makes me look like a complete buffoon all ready to go. I only need the time to type it all out. Such is life.

Before I go, here's the backs of those cards:

Strasburg Money (part 1 in a series)

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

A few months back, I received a free hobby box of Bowman. This was back when it had just been released, and none of the Stephen Strasburg 1/1 cards had yet to be discovered. The only trouble with this prize was that it was sent to my parents' house, not mine. In the end, however, this turned out to be a good thing, as you'll see.

Of course, we know what happened next. The Superfractor was found fairly quickly and the red parallel followed soon after. But I held on to the hope that the 1/1 red autograph was waiting for me somewhere in that box sitting at my parents house. Like Willy Wonka's last Golden Ticket, the red auto card caused hordes to swarm any and all Bowman products.

Until mid-June, when the card was pulled. Oh well.

Somewhere between when I got the box and when that last card was found, I realised that I didn't really like the Bowman set. Maybe it was my thoroughly uninspiring 2009 Bowman box that caused it. But the truth is, I didn't want the box once I found it there was not chance at the Golden Ticket.

For some reason, the price of Bowman boxes remained pretty crazy, even after all the 1/1 cards had been found. It wasn't as inflated as before, but still pretty high. So I decided to sell my box. Since I got it for free, my profit margin was, well, infinite.

By mid-July, a month after the last Golden Ticket was found, I managed to find someone on eBay who took the box off of my hands for nearly 160 bucks. But what to do with the money?

I thought about getting a box of Ginter, or maybe some Obak, or both. But instead, I decided to use the money to buy some singles. Cards that I need for collections and sets, or just plain cards I want to own. This was a chance to put a dent in the Griffey Project, and get some cards for my other PCs as well.

Over the coming weeks, or months, however long it takes for my funds to run out, I'll be posting the cards I buy as they arrive in the mail. I'm calling the $160 my "Strasburg Money" because, let's face it, if it weren't for the hype surrounding Stephen the Great, I never would have gotten that much for that Bowman box. So thanks, Stephen - you've helped me grow my collection.

I'm writing all this because the first card showed up at my house today. It's a 2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Swatches card of Ken Griffey with a nice pinstripe. Pay no attention to the jersey on the front - the logo on the back means it's part of the Griffey project:

There's a few more cards somewhere between America and my mailbox, so look for more Strasburg Money posts soon.

Crackin' the Obak

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Well, I started opening my box of Tristar Obak yesterday. No, not the 2010 version, but the 2009 box. We're a bit behind here in Australia.

I like the release, I like all the "hits" (even if some of them are stretching the definition of hit), and I like the first that the set is fairly small (around 120 cards). I'm trying to decide if I should get a couple more boxes when I order my Ginter box. I guess it all depends on how many cards I still need when I finish this box off.

By the way, I'm waiting until the price of Ginter drops to the point where buying a box and having it shipped here is cheaper than it would have been to by a box when I was in the States in July. It's almost at that point, so I should be ordering it soon. We're getting our taxes done in a couple of weeks (everything is upside down here in Australia, even the tax year) and I hope to go on a buying spree with our big-ass refund. My wife keeps talking about buying stuff like grass for the backyard with the money. Where are her priorities?

I feel as though I should post at least one card. Digging through the archives, I found this Jay Bruce card, in honor of his 4-for-5 performance in the Reds' 11-7 win over the Diamondbacks yesterday. That's a three-game lead now, in case you're scoring at home.

Searching through the binders

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , , , ,

I spent the past two days up in Perth at a conference (yes, teachers can go on business trips, too) and still managed to find the time to squeeze in a trip to Al's Card Shop. I was glad, when I walked in the door, to see Dave behind the counter. Dave is the brother-in-law of the store's owner, and not only is he a friendly guy, but he also always gives me a better deal on the cards I buy.

Unfortunately, there wasn't much in terms of boxes available. The promised shipments have been delayed, and I could probably get a better deal buying and shipping them over myself. So I decided to go through the binders and see what I could find for my PCs. Turns out, there was quite a bit:

I found two base cards that I needed for the 2009 Topps base set; #377 (Trevor Crowe) and #353 (Derek Jeter). But that wasn't the only #353 I found in the binder...

As soon as I saw this short-print of Cal Ripken, it went into the stack. This is now my second 2009 Topps short print, and infinitely more exciting than the first, a "CC Sabathia as a Yankee" card. Couldn't you have waited for Updates & Highlights to have made that one, Topps?

I also got the Lincecum and King Felix base cards from the 2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History set. I had the Reds in the group break that Thorzul did a few months back, and was able to get a Ken Griffey relic card for my troubles. But these two cards represent my first APOH base cards for my PCs.

I like the look of this set. Once again, it reminds me of how Upper Deck could do some really good stuff if they wanted to, and I for one miss their involvement in baseball. But plenty of words have been written on the subject, so let's move on. At least, we could if the next card wasn't another 2009 Upper Deck product... this case, SP Authentic. This is a "Faces of the Game" card of King Felix showing what is suspiciously like a zoomed-in version of the same picture they used in the Piece of History set. This card is numbered 35 of 59. Why 59? Did they forget that it was Topps celebrating 59 years of collecting?

Speaking of which, I can't wait to see what crazy stuff Topps comes up with for their 60th anniversary. Maybe a Stephen Strasburg Cards Your Mom Threw Out contest. Oh, wait.

I got some Ichiro cards, too. Although, I think I'm pushing the limits of what I can remember, because I picked up a couple of cards I already have. Guess they'll go in the Mariners binder, now. I also got the Ichiro and Griffey '09 SP Authentic base cards. I knew I had Lincecum and Felix already, but I wasn't sure about the other two. Turns out I did have Junior, but not Ichiro, so I'm glad I got them.

The other card there is the red parallel of 09 Spectrum, to help me with my Ichiro rainbow. I also recently acquired two more cards for that, which takes me to four. The Ichiro rainbow is the furthest along of the four. This card is numbered 126/250.

The final Ichiro card I purchased was one of three cards from the Upper Deck 20th Anniversary set. I basically bought all the cards in the binder from this set that featured one of my four players. Turns out, there were three of them, an Ichiro and two Griffeys:

The Ichiro commemorates the magical 2001 season, when the Mariners won 116 games, hosted the All-Star game, and some rookie from Japan won the Rookie of the Year and the MVP award. When I think of the Mariners of my youth, it still amazes me that they're the franchise that holds the single-season wins record. But I guess I shouldn't be that surprised because the previous record holder was the Cleveland Indians!

The two Junior cards are 533, telling us that Griffey wasted no time showing his "powerful form" by hitting 22 homers in each of his first two seasons. How quaint! As we can see from the next card, he picked things up a few years later, hitting 45 home runs in his fourth season (1993). Save the PED talk - Junior is beyond reproach, and this was before the steroid era. Heck, Barry Bonds had just joined the Giants in '93, and his head was still normal-sized.

A couple more Griffey cards - first, the 2007 SP Authentic base (which I didn't have) and a card commemorating his All-Star appearance at Safeco in 2001. Only one problem - he didn't make the NL All-Star team in 2001. It's safe to say that Junior also didn't "take a run at the home run crown" as the text on the back predicted. Ah, the pitfalls of insert sets printed before the season begins. Nice one, Upper Deck.

Finally, a self-indulgent purchase. This is a sketch card that appeared in the 2000 Upper Deck MVP set. It's another Griffey, and it was drawn by a 14-year-old named Brendon Murphy. While the back of the card said young Brendon was a Yankees fan, he at least had the good taste to admire Junior "because of his excellence on the field." But the reason I bought this card is because Brendon is from Four Oaks, N.C., about an hour away from where I grew up. I never would have thought of Four Oaks as "nearby" (it's in the country whereas I grew up smack dab in the middle of suburbia), but when you're half a world away, any place close feels like home.

Score one for the little guy

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

One of the things I was most looking forward to on my trip back home was being able to go to a Target and buy baseball cards. Our Targets here in Australia don't sell baseball cards, obviously. Heck, they don't even sell cricket cards, Aussie Rules Football cards, rugby cards, or even Twilight cards. They are, to paraphrase Monty Python, "bereft of cards."

So not only was I looking forward to seeing displays overflowing with cards, but I was also excited about searching through these mythical "bargain bins" where old packs go to be bought, or at least just sit around for a while until they get put on a garbage skow and dumped in New York Harbor. Oh wait, that only happens to 1952 Topps cards...

I've been jealous when I read stories about people who grab a couple of packs from the bargain bin and find a relic or autograph that some douchebag pack searcher somehow missed when he was molesting all the cards the year before. Not only do these bloggers get pick up packs of cards on the cheap, but they're pulling patch cards for pennies on the dollar. It seems to happen all the time. Then again, people only post to their blog when it does happen to them, as "Went to Target. Got ten packs of 2007 Upper Deck Series 2 for 89 cents each. Didn't get anything other than base cards I already have." doesn't really make for an exciting blog post.

The first Target I went to in Raleigh didn't even have a bargain bin. I bought two pack of National Chicle (the second-most regretted purchase on my trip, and it confirmed for me I have absolutely no interest in Chicle) and felt cheated. Thankfully, when I went to another Target the next day, they did have a bargain bin. I had to wade through all the Toy Story 2 and 2009 Mayo packs, but I found some packs of 2007 Upper Deck Series 2. I grabbed a couple, opened them up, and wouldn't you know it...

A couple of nice things about this card:

  • It's nice to see that the low-life scum pack searchers don't find everything in retail packs
  • A purple swatch - you don't see that every day. And it looks pretty damn nice
  • I've always kinda liked Todd Helton
Regardless, this card is available for trade, so if you're interested, or you know someone who is, drop me a line and maybe we can work something out. By the way, the corners on the card are just fine - it's my scanner that's wrecked.

My first Allen & Ginter pack

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Okay, technically, it's my second, but it was much better than my first. I staked my claim to the pack over on A Pack to Be Named Later nearly a month ago, and I finally was able to scan in the cards. So the post is now up over there.

2010 Allen & Ginter Hobby Pack

Blogger Kindness

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

I don't know if it was the Collective Troll who coined the term "blogger kindness" in reference to this community, but he popularised it and it is certainly true. Here are two tales from my experiences that I wanted to share with you, and now that I have found the box with my scanner, and hooked it up to my computer, I can do just that.

A couple of months ago, I put out the call for help. You see, I had this idea to take the plain single-color binders I bought for my team collections and put logo stickers all over them to decorate their plainness. I put out a call on my blog for anyone who had some stickers they could spare (with the full knowledge that they would be peeled and stuck) to send them to me. Captain Canuck from the Waxaholic blog responded with a "I'll see what I can find" message - and when I got to my parents' house, I found that the good captain had sent a team bag filled to bursting with Reds, Mariners, Orioles, White Sox and Athletics stickers.

I love having both the old-school and the current White Sox logo in that package! There were also some Upper Deck hologram stickers in the bag, but I didn't scan those because I wasn't sure how well they'd show up. The Ken Griffey is actually a sticker - one of the Fleer Star player stickers from 1981. I've already started to put them on my binders, and they look much better! So thank you, Captain Canuck, for your generosity. I'll even forgive the rude things you said about Tim Lincecum in your last post! ;)

I knew those stickers were waiting for me, but I didn't know quite how many there would be. But I didn't expect the e-mail I would get the day after I got back in the States, from Larry (Mariner1) at Emerald City Diamond Gems. Here's the important part:

I have an extra copy of a 12 page commemorative section from the Seattle Times Sunday paper from a couple weeks ago. It is all Griffey. I know how big of a Griffey fan you are, and if you weren't here in Seattle, you probably wouldn't know about it. I would like to send you a copy as a Mariners fan to a Griffey fan.

What a nice gesture! I'm happy to report that I got the paper before I left, and it made it back safely to Australia. I need to figure out a permanent home for it, but right now it's tucked safely in my Griffey PC folder. Here is the scan of the front (or at least as much of the front as my scanner will allow)

Again, it's another super-nice, out-of-the-blue offer from a fellow blogger, and typical of the type of people in the baseball card blogosphere. Thanks to everyone who I have dealt with, am currently dealing with, or will do so in the future. The Troll keeps talking about how you all are so nice, and he's absolutely right. The spirit of camaraderie and togetherness, what we in Australia call "mateship," is what keeps me involved, I hope, for many years to come.

File under: Whoops!

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

Life is slowly but surely getting back to normal here. We moved the bookshelves into the office, which means I have a more permanent (and better) place for my cards than the top of the computer desk. Still no scanner, though, so I have to write about some of my recent online purchases.

Such as this one, for the Ken Griffey White Sox Project. Looks like a normal 2009 StarQuest card. Possibly common silver, although it's hard to tell from the scan. In fact, that's what it was listed as on the Check Out My Cards website, with a price of 99 cents. Then, I decided to look at the back of the card, and here's what I found:

According to the back, it's not a Silver Common at all, but a Blue Uncommon. I didn't hesistate, I just paid the 99 cents. No point in haggling over a few cents and having the guy realise what happened.

The way I figure it, one of three things is true:

1) COMC stuffed up, that's not the scan that goes with the card I bought, and I bought a Silver Common for 99 cents. I can live with that. No big deal.

2) The front of the card is silver (again, it's hard to tell by the scan, as both the silver and blues seem to look similar) and the back says it's blue. That, my friends is an error card. And worth more than 99 cents

3) It really is a Blue Uncommon, and I just got it for the price of a common card. Bargain.

Do I feel bad about taking advantage of the situation? Not at all. You can best believe that if I wasn't collecting Griffeys in general and '09 Griffeys in particular, I would have flipped that bad boy. If you're selling a card, it's your responsibility to make sure everything is correct in your listing. Whether it was mis-labelled, mis-priced, or both, that's none of my concern. For me, it's a bargain, plain and simple.

I should probably post something

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

Well, it's hard to post to a card blog when you don't have a scanner. That's what I found out on my trip to America.

I'm starting to get settled in to things here at RGB Manor, my new house. The Internet connection was switched on Monday, then fixed on Tuesday so it actually stays on. I still haven't unpacked my scanner, but I could have sworn I saw it in a box somewhere...

I'm also sorting through all the cards I bought on my trip and updating my want lists. And I've got about six posts that need finishing up, and many fellow bloggers that need recognising for their good works.

Thanks for being patient. Regular service should resume...well, I'm not going to make any predictions. My mouth shouldn't write checks my fingers (and schedule) can't cash.