Aug 21, 2010


So as some of you may know from reading this here blog, I have been planning a move to Buffalo this month to pursue a graduate degree in Geology/Climate Change/Hydrogeology at U. of Buffalo this fall.

I have reached a few snags in this process, the main one pertaining to signing a lease for an apartment, falling out with the roommates there (after paying 2 months rent) and having to find a new place.

Anyways, this past week I have been either working double shifts, spending time with those I will miss, and splitting time in Buffalo searching for an apartment with the new roommates (with, of course, a lease that starts before classes on August 30).

Well we managed to find a great place in Cheektowaga, NY; a pleasant little burb of Buffalo, and things have finally began to fall into place. I have also received my financial aid, so there is a little breathing room there right now.

The reason behind this post is that I have just not been posting lately. With all that has happened (literally) within just the month of August, card trading/buying/selling/drooling over had to be pushed aside.

I would like to let everyone know that this is only temporary. I've done the mathematics of my financial situation and have decided there may be some extra monie$ for cards whence I am settled and once again have internet in Cheektowaga. So have no fear, plaingrayswatch is not dead. Just sleepy.

**Also, I did manage to send the '00 Jeter Finest SP away for an '08 Fowler BC Blue Refractor with one of my readers, Steve.

Steve, my man, thanks for the quick-and-dirty trade. Love those Jeters and I'll savour the Fowler.

Aug 6, 2010

Friday Rock Out: The Academy Is...

Summer Hair = Forever Young

Soundtrack to the summer of 2010...

No thanks. You're ugly.

You know, I've made it a goal to chase all the McGowan cards ever printed.

But 2010 Topps red parallels?

No, thanks.

I cannot get over how ghastly these are. Just dreadful.

Jul 21, 2010

Trade Bait: Round 2

Hopefully the picture is good enough. If it works, click on for a bigger image.

Oh...and...contest? Sure!

If you can tell me as specifically as possible what the object in the background is, you will get your choice of any (1) card from this image. Not a great prize...but nice.

Here's what you're looking at, left to right, top to bottom.

2008 Upper Deck Game Jersey David Ortiz #97-DO
2009 UD Icons Jersey Bill Hall #IC-BH
2009 UD Icons Jersey Miguel Cabrera #IC-CA
2010 Allen & Ginter's Baseball Sketches Carl Crawford Silver Slugger #AGHS7
2008 Topps Chrome Dick Perez Ryan Howard #WMDPC3
2008 Topps Chrome Trading Card History Mike Piazza #ARC3
2008 Topps Chrome Trading Card Histroy Carston Charles Sabathia #ARC22
2010 Allen & Ginter's Mini Jim Zapp #243 (Love this card, just don't want to chase the minis this year and I know many other cllecting the Negro Leaguers.)
2009 Absolute Memorabilia Rookie Jersey Mike Thomas #21
2000 Fleer Showcase Frech Ink Pablo Ozuna Autograph #---
2009 Topps Series 2 Blue Backs Chippah Jones #---
2008 Topps Chrome Trading Card History 1916 Zeenuts Albert Pujols #TCHC8
2008 Topps Chrome Trading Card History 1985 Topps Justin Verlander #TCHC26
2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Swatches Jersey Brandon Webbbb #SS-BW
2001 Topps Finest Derek Jeter Short Print #/1999 #100 (Surprisingly rare Jetah cahd)
2009 Goodwin Champions Mini Albert Pujols #5
2009 Goodwin Champions Gypsy Queen Mini Clayton Kershaw #35 (Damn beautiful card)
2009 Allen & Ginter's Black Border Mini James Shields #287

Jul 20, 2010


When I started this blog in the late fall/early winter of last year, I never envisioned almost 40 followers and frequent, repeat posters and readers a mere 9 months later. I'd like to thank everyone for their continued reading, support, trades, arguments, scams, contests and everything else we've all been a part of this past three-quarters of a year.

Also when I first started, I was lost in terms of placing a name on the blog. I was listening to a lot of The Academy Is... at the time (and still do, rather often) and they have a song called "The Paper Chase". I thought to myself " are more or less made of paper...this will have to do..." The Paper Chase is also a movie about lawyers or something from the 80's. No thanks.

Needless to say, I was never a big fan of the title of the blog. Now, titles are not everything, but they are something in the cardblogosphereoid. I really enjoy reading the blogs in which wit and charm are commonplace and find myself attracted to the ones with the great titles right away. (I'm looking at you, Collective Troll, Play at the Plate, Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius, Pictures of Men, etc.

So as I sit here sipping my icy Ocean Orange Hawaiia Punch, I decided something. Let's get a good name on this thing.

And here it is..

Ladies and Gentleman, REintroducing:

Plain Gray Swatch.

The name originally came to me over the winter after purchasing a discounted blaster of 2007 Fleer Ultra (which I still do not have completed, HALP!) In the very last pack, I pulled my first ever relic of childhood hero, Ken Griffey, Jr. It was nothing more than a plain gray swatch to most, but after 20 years of chasing one of the best players of all time, I had tears in my eyes pulling this card. It was the crowning moment in my sport card collecting career. It was a moment I wish all collectors to have one day: the realization that this hobby isn't about that LIEKOMGZ ZUPER ROOKIE AUTO PATCH SIGNATURE JOCK hit. We're here for the love of the game. The chase.

So, after 9 or so months and 39 faithful followers, I would like to thank everyone once again for sticking with my inconsistent posting, trade-lag times and overall venting/praising/destruction/introspection/deterioration/reevaluation/inspiration/irrationalizations of this hobby we love so much.

Please stay tuned.

Jul 19, 2010

Back to Normal, Eventually.

Allen & Ginter has finally hit retail stores in CNY. Goody. I picked up 5 rack packs today, and loved my results.

I also came home to 6 packs of 2009 UD Icons (a set which I am trying to complete) that I bought off of ebay for $4...and managed to score a Miguel Cabrera jersey relic. Mucho suave.

More news in the card world...I have made some good trades recently and some proud purchases off of ebay in terms on singles. All is right in my collecting world right now...maybe.

Anyways, I kept this exceptionally brief due to time restraints...check back again soon for images of my latest ebay scores, Allen & Ginter review (RETAIL-JO!!!!11) and so on.

Without further adieu, here is an awesome beer bottle label, completely unrelated to anything I would normally write about:

Yes, it's from Utah.

Jul 16, 2010

Jul 14, 2010

Yunel Escobar...Blue Jay

I haven't seen any reports on the story, so I am not yet sure how much better MLBNetworks or ESPN (you're dead to me, ESPN) have photoshopped Yunel Escobar's Braves mugshot with the Toronto "T". This only took a few seconds, and as long as you don't zoom in...well,'s good enough for me.

Jul 12, 2010

Shifting [P] Collection Priorities A Bit

Card Purchased via eBay

Dear Mutton-chopped One,

In 2000 (yes, one decade ago), you were drafted by my beloved Blue Jays.

"He's the next great arm" they'd say.

"His stuff is unbelievable/unhittable/etc...."

Now, the only disbelief is in yet another set back in the continual struggle to keep one the best right arms the Jays have seen in decades healthy. See you in Spring Training 2011, maybe.

Sincerely, Despair

What this comes down to is a shift in priorities of my collecting life. Dustin is obivously not going to put out anything more thana few base cards and (maybe) a lucky autograph here and there (such as the ghastly Peak Performance insert from Topps.)

On the other hand, my man Vernon Wells is shortening the life span of AL pitchers while crushing almost everything he sees now. We're talking 2006+ numbers, and likely career highs in...everything. I don't like the idea of him in the HR derby, leave that to J-Bau.

Collecting Vernon has been fun over the years. He was always a highly touted prospect for the Jays, so from 98-00 his rookie/prospect cards were amazing, in the modern era peak of rookie card-dom. Didn't have to worry about 1/1 Magenta Pringting Plate Game Used Jock Strap Sticker Auto Rookie Superfractors then. Simple cards: skyline of Toronto or a sweet swing, an airbrushed white space, no sticker-autos, simple.

Needless to say, there are many, many more Vernon Wells cards than Dustin McGowan/Shaun Marcums, and they're often much, much better. I have also noticed throughout our blogging community, Vernon is not a highly sought after player. That's one thing I love about being a Toronto fan - not a whole lot of competition for trades.

So, send me your Vernons. I know you have some. He's been filler (base cards, parallels) in almost every trades I've put together here. Also, any doubles I accumulate will go to another Jays collector/blogger.
Card from Cameron at Cardboard Heaven

Also, I plan to still collect McGowan and Marcum. I still find myself outbid on McGowans here and there, so the chase is still fun. But the lack of game-used and autographs (moreso of Marcum) is pretty discouraging, and the stacks are pretty much just refractors and other parallels.

Card from Chris at On Card Autos

Jul 1, 2010

Rethinking Ginter

Back in , I was excited. I figured that even with the Topps MLB Monopoly/Exclusive License, they would at least give this one set to the collectors. Visions of dinosaurs, national flags and fierce animals (along with some unheard of, and yes, unnecessary add-ins), code breakers, classy relics and autos, rip cards...this was going to be the set of the year.

Of course, it's a 2010 Topps set, so there is scandal.

I could care less about the 2013 he'll be the guy everyone pulls in every pack (Chipper, Josh Johnson, Jorge).

World's Greatest Wordsmiths? Meh.

National Animals? Sure, but I'll grab a complete set off eBay for $10 by the end of October.

The base cards bother me. When I first saw the David Wright & company from the sell sheet back in...whatever month that was, I was excited. Some cards look great (Hawpe, A Gonz, Aaron Hill), but I wouldn't be suprised that 20% of the semi-stars cards are re-used photographs (Ricky Romero from 2009 Topps, Vernon Wells, Andy Pettitte from 2009 A&G, and ever Pujols from a previous Topps set). Seriously, how do you recycle an Albert Pujols image?

One bright side is that there is an amazing insert set known as Monsters of the Mesozoic. I want these, so if you do not, trade them/sell them/donate them to me. I have quite the affinity for dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts (dinosaurs are not even the coolest prehistoric creatures (see also: Castoroides ohioensis or the Meganuera genus).

So, my goal at completing this set, as was originally planned months ago, is pretty much cancelled. Also, my patience for Topps is quite thin at this point. This blog may become more modern hockey and junk baseball wax blog with some MLS/EPL cards mixed in.

At this point, Topps sets are just becoming parallels of one another. Same players, pictures. Different touches and borders.

Jun 22, 2010

Awkward: The Baseball Card

Meet Yen-Wen Kuo. Kuo is a 22-year old Taiwanese second basemen within the Cincinnati Reds organization. Bowman Prospect card #80 spits out a few good tidbits about Kuo on the back:

Signed with Reds at age 18...more than competent at second, short and third...accurate arm...fine hitter than can draw walks...

In three levels of A Ball last season, Kuo hit .256 with a .330 SLG and 1 HR with 30 RsBI in 64 games.

Needless to say, don't expect Kuo to be a contestant in any upcoming Home Run Derbies.

On to the card. Along with the underwhelming stats on the back, the front just is. Above anything else, it is quite obvious that the image is "airbrushed" (this term is out-dated, but "photoshopped" is a bit too Microsoft-specific.). Sometimes it is easy to tell:

1. Hat - awkwardly placed, flat-lying "C".
2. Hat - Today's freshly-given-to-prospects caps would still lie rigid on a player's head, with an out of the box feel. This hat is flat reasonably broken-in, and does seem to have some dirt-staining on both the brim and body.
3. Missing Number.
4. Non-dimensional feel to "CINCINNATI" across chest. This was the giveaway. Notice how the middle "I" fits, literally, seamlessly.

Bowman tends to mail in a lot of their lesser-known prospect cards. Take for instance, Chad Jenkins, whom they could not even find a jersey for. Of course, an airbrushing endeavor turning a yellow Kennesaw State jersey into a black Jays jersey would be, well, difficult. I assume.

Though I have to give it to Kuo. He has excellent all-capital English penmanship. Cannot wait until I have bunch of his autos.

Jun 15, 2010

Fleer Ultra Through the Years

Fleer Ultra was always my favorite set. Every year, without a doubt. Inserts were attainable and interested (unlike, you know, Topps.) When game-used and autographs became the craze, Fleer Ultra did them well. Composition of the cards, labels and photography of Ultra were their strong points, and their soft points - well, there just weren't many, if any at all. Ultra provided an affordable set for people of all ages - it was modern, yet timeless. Tacky, but put together so perfectly. Fleer Ultra, I miss you every day. Please come back. In tribute to this wonderful brand, I am going to use 's "Grab It" feature and show off one iconic Fleer Ultra card for every year, from 1991-2008.

1991, #296 - Ozzie Smith

1991 Ultra #296 - Ozzie Smith - Courtesy of

1992, #45 - Sandy Alomar, Jr.

1992 Ultra #45 - Sandy Alomar Jr. - Courtesy of

1993, #160 - Gary DiSarcina

1993 Ultra #160 - Gary DiSarcina - Courtesy of

1994, #322 - Garret Anderson

1994 Ultra #322 - Garret Anderson - Courtesy of

1995, #104 - Edgar Martinez

1995 Ultra #104 - Edgar Martinez - Courtesy of

1996, #126 - Ken Griffey, Jr.

1996 Ultra #126 - Ken Griffey Jr. - Courtesy of

1997, #140 - Ivan Rodriguez

1997 Ultra Gold Medallion #140 - Ivan Rodriguez - Courtesy of

1998, #70 - Scott Rolen

1998 Ultra #70 - Scott Rolen - Courtesy of

1999, #80 - Quinton McCracken

1999 Ultra #80 - Quinton McCracken - Courtesy of

2000, #56 - Jose Lima

2000 Ultra #56 - Jose Lima - Courtesy of

2001, #1 - Pedro Martinez

2001 Ultra #1 - Pedro Martinez - Courtesy of

2002, #188 - Jason Giambi

2002 Ultra #188 - Jason Giambi - Courtesy of

2003, #133 - Mike Mussina

2003 Ultra #133 - Mike Mussina - Courtesy of

2004, #4 - Eric Byrnes

2004 Ultra #4 - Eric Byrnes - Courtesy of

2005, #45 - Rocco Baldelli

2005 Ultra #45 - Rocco Baldelli - Courtesy of

2006, #88 - Carlos Delgado

2006 Ultra #88 - Carlos Delgado - Courtesy of

2007, #185 - Michael Young

2007 Ultra #185 - Michael Young - Courtesy of

Plain Beautiful Cards: Volume 13 - 2004 Ultra Season Crowns Carlos Delgado

2004 Ultra Season Crowns Game Used Gold #115 - Carlos Delgado Jsy/99 - Courtesy of

On Card Auto Hot Packs...

...seem a bit suspicious. Yesterday or maybe a few days prior, I was searching to see what loose packs of Bowman and Chicle were going for on eBay. Of course, there were more hot packs listed than anything else.

I have come to two possible conclusions for "On-card auto hot pack!!!!1" listings on eBay. These packs are either:

1. Opened & Re-sealed (or)
2. Hit distribution within boxes has become more and more predicatable.

Maybe, in a long shot, the cards are printed on a thicker stock, and the jackasses with analytic scales and micrometers are searching the packs this way. However, this would be made obsolete in 2010 Bowman retail (which are not transparent) packs, as a checklist card is seeded about once every five packs or so. Without a consistent average weight from pack-to-pack, I would think that weighing would be out of the question.

Jun 14, 2010

Gettin' Blasted: 2010 Bowman (Retail hit? Not Quite)

I had better luck with this particular blaster, in terms of prospects than any loose packs at this point. However, if you'll check the box to the top left detailing how many pack it takes until a Strasburg is pulled by me, you'll notice it is zero at this point. So if that's all you're here for, don't bother. Thirteen packs and counting...

On to the cards. If you follow this blog (and if you don't, why not?), you'll know of my affinity for 2010 Bowman. One reason is the photography:

Some great shots here with Mannywood (designed especially for the Night Owl), Kurt Suzuki (who's cards always look awesome) and Vic Martinez. Martinez's cards are usually well-done, also.

I enjoy parallels. Golds are fun, but the blues are useless to me. Aybar is featured here because that is what a card of a middle infielder should look. Romero is pictured because: 1) Awesomeness and 2) The card color and the matierial which make up his left arm are the same. Gold. Vazquez was actually a 1:3-4 blaster hit, seeded 1:29 packs and numbered out of /520. Definitely available for trade.

If you know how these packs play out, you know the chromes are next. And I finally got three big ones I'd been waiting for.
Big Chad from Kennesaw State, a new hotbed for MLB talent. I WILL have a rainbow of this card by the end of 2010, most likely by the end of summer.

Part one of the future of the Cubs infield - or someone elses. Last year he was often rumored in connection with Jays trades, but Halladay is gone, so our chance to land him is probably gone, plus the signing of Adeiny Hechevarria didn't help. This is the start of my hak-Ju Lee player collection! Weeee. (I collect Korean players.)
My name is Starlin Castro and I will be a perennial all-star short stop. Oh, and the other half of the previous card's opening statement.
I was really hoping Drew Pomeranz would slip to #11 for the Jays. No luck. 6'5" lefty with college seasoning...Team USA. Awesome fact from the back: "Fanned 16 Kentucky batters on two days rest in 2009 NCAA Tournament." Seriously, NCAA baseball is amazing.

And this guy:
Not drafted, committed to Rice. Hopefully they'll turn him into the next Jeff Niemann.

Oh yeah, seeded 1:8 packs is a...
PURPLEFRACTORRRRRR I love these so much. Much better than my Mike Lombardozzi from a couple weeks ago...

Now comes the hard part. I did not know this card existed until it fell out of the second to last pack. I'll start by saying I don't card for the Bowman Expectations cards. I like the Topps 100, and tolerate the 1992 Throwbacks, but I have a good amount of disdain towards the expectations. However, I pulled this one today, and I have to thank Bowman for it:
This mixed feeling are ripe, but I love this card. Kyle Drabek was to one player Jays fans and management were demanding in return for the Good Doctor. Although he is pictured in Phillies gear (is it airbrushed? Probably not), it's still Doc. My man. The best cut-fastball in the history of the game (bring it on, Pettitte/Rivera homers). I, in no way, expect Drabek to live up to greatest-of-a-generation-or-better status. I do, however, expect Drabek, Brett Wallace and D'Arnaud to become serviceable Jays down the road. This is also my first ever Kyle Drabek card (and maybe the only one in this set?!) and is the start of my second player collection from this box.

In summary, it was a good blaster. In combinations of Lee, Castro, Jenkins, Green, Romero, Pomeranz and Drabek/Halladay, it was great for me. The Bowman will keep flooding this blog until I find some A&G to chase.

Jun 11, 2010

Friday Rock Out: Hey Mercedes

Came out in 2003. Seems like so much longer ago...ENJOY.

Jun 9, 2010

One More Down...

2000 Metal Base Shredders
NNO Todd Helton
$2.50 Shipped

Still need Tony Gwynn, Vladimir Guerrero, Erubiel Durazo, Eric Munson...maybe more.

Here are the ones I have so far.
Mo Vaughn/Todd Helton
Troy Glaus/Matt Williams

Base Shredders were seeded 1:288 packs back in the day, so they were more than a case hit. Four Base Shredders would have taken 1152 packs. Not a whole lot of staying power in the price/card range. None of these has cost more than $4 off of eBay, though I can usually only get one every month or so.