Aug 21, 2010
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
Jul 21, 2010
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
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 "...cards 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
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 14, 2010
Jul 12, 2010
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.
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.
Jul 1, 2010
Of course, it's a 2010 Topps set, so there is scandal.
I could care less about the Strasburgs...by 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 27, 2010
Jun 22, 2010
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 range...contact 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 is...well..it 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
1991, #296 - Ozzie Smith
1992, #45 - Sandy Alomar, Jr.
1993, #160 - Gary DiSarcina
1994, #322 - Garret Anderson
1995, #104 - Edgar Martinez
1996, #126 - Ken Griffey, Jr.
1997, #140 - Ivan Rodriguez
1998, #70 - Scott Rolen
1999, #80 - Quinton McCracken
2000, #56 - Jose Lima
2001, #1 - Pedro Martinez
2002, #188 - Jason Giambi
2003, #133 - Mike Mussina
2004, #4 - Eric Byrnes
2005, #45 - Rocco Baldelli
2006, #88 - Carlos Delgado
2007, #185 - Michael Young
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
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
Jun 9, 2010
2000 Metal Base Shredders
NNO Todd Helton
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.
Jun 8, 2010
Last night, I watched the MLB Draft. And honestly, I really enjoyed it - aside from the raging hardon that John Hart just couldn't hide behind the MLB Network desk for every SAFE pick on the board. All told, it was an enjoying piece of television to fill my Blue Jays void from the night. (Luckily, Strasburg filled that void tonight, because 8-0 Rays is kind of making me sick right now.)
The Jays draft can be summed up in one word: Underwhelming. Virtually all mid-ceiling, John Hart-approved safe picks, and really no one incredibly impressive new Jays.
However, this is the state of the MLB Draft. It will never be as prospected as the NFL or NHL drafts. Much of this, of course, is due to the fact that in baseball, even after being drafted, a player still has to succeed in being promoted through 2-3 Low A teams, a High-A team, Double A, and finally Triple A before getting to the show. Needless to day, it takes a while to see the results of a draft. There is the Washington Nationals 2009 draft, though, that is an extreme exception with Storen and Strasburg already in the National League (and also, 5-0 Mike Leake in Cincinnati.)
Of course, all of the hype with this draft got me thinking of past Blue Jays drafts, and one #1 in particular, Dustin McGowan (2000).
Since signing on as a professional with the Jays in 2000 (it has now been a decade), Dustin McGowan is 20-22 with a 4.71 ERA in fragments of four injury-marred seasons from 2005-2008. I've stuck with my main man Dustin through the years, and last night read excellent news from the injury front..
According to Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun:
Right-handed pitcher Dustin McGowan (who is on the 60-day disabled list in his lengthy recovery from shoulder surgery performed in July of 2008) threw off the mound Monday for the first time since a triple-A spring training game March 19. McGowan threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session. Afterward he reported: “No problems.”
McGowan’s recovery has been an on-again, off-again misadventure for quite some time as last season he even missed time due to a knee injury that required surgery.
This spring, McGowan at one time was progressing so well that the Jays were talking about him breaking camp as one of the members of their rotation. Then came his outing in the spring training game against the Pirates affiliate where he experienced a “dead arm”. Now he is back and throwing but given his history and the problem with shoulder injuries there are no guarantees that he will make it back to the big-league level. The Jays have put no timetable on his latest recovery.
This isn't even news to most Jays fans at this point. I, myself will watch the news wire from here on, hoping for the day in which MLB's greatest chops will once again grace the league with mid-90's heat and knee-bending curves. Best of luck, Dustin.
Jun 7, 2010
As some of you may have read in my previous post, I pulled a Landon Donovan Materials card in my first pack. I was hooked on the set after that. When I purchased that pack, I had just had a lengthy conversation with Wal-Mart's trading cards vendor, who was kind enough to open up a brand new box for me. The packs are stacked in-box in side-by-side, two columns of 10 packs, I believe, maybe 12. So I took two from the left and two from the right, or the top four packs in the box.
Today, after depositing my paycheck, I decided that the MLS cards go great with my 2010 Bowman collection, and decided to buy four more. The vendor was there again, just leaving this time. For some reason, he had opened up and set another box of UD MLS cards right next to the one I bought one week ago tomorrow. I decided to grab the top four packs again in hopes of pulling another relic or hit of some sort.
Mind you, last week I received NO doubles from my four packs. At the end of today, these are the quantities of my cards:
7 Justin Mapp - 1
9 Patrick Nyarko - 2
16 Jorge Flores - 1
17 Maykel Galindo - 1
21 Jesus Padilla - 1
23 Zach Thornton - 1
24 Mehdi Ballouchey - 1
28 Omar Cummings -1
32 Scott Palguta 2
35 Eric Brunner 1
37 Jason Garey 1
43 Chad Marshall 1
48 Clyde Simms 1
52 Tony Perkins 1
53 Chris Potius 1
57 Josh Wicks 2
60 David Ferreira 1
65 Heath Pearce 2
66 Dario Sala 1
71 Mike Chabala 1
76 Brian Mullan 1
77 Dominic Oduro 2
82 Kevin Hartman 1
86 Jack Jewsbury 1
93 Edson Buddle 2
103 Darrius Barnes 1
105 Shalrie Joseph 1
106 Jeff Laurentowicz 1
107 Kenny Mansally 1
112 Taylor Twellman 1
114 Danleigh Borman 1
115 Andrew Boyens 1
116 Kevin Goldthwaite 2
125 Andrew Jacobson 1
126 Sebastien Le Toux 1
131 Kyle Beckerman 1
134 Fabian Espindola 1
140 Robbie Russell 2
148 Chris Leitch 2
151 Chris Wondolowski 1
152 Osvaldo Alonso 1
158 Freddie Ljunberg 1
160 Sanna Nyassi 2
164 Nana Attakora 2
172 Nick Garcia 1
178 Ike Opara 1
186 Toni Stahl 1
190 Andrew Wiedman 2
191 Christiane 1
The italicized cards are actually inserted subsets.
So far I have pulled 12 doubles out of 8 packs. Whould you agree that there is a collation issue here?
Jun 6, 2010
I was pretty excited to see these last Tuesday at the local (20 minute drive) Sprawl Mart. I had just deposited my first "summer" paycheck and written another for $130 in student loan repayments, so I felt like a dabble in cards was an excellent reward for myself. I decided that I would throw down $20, and for $19 I was able to purchase 4 packs of 2010 Upper Deck MLS, 3 Packs of 2010 Bowman Baseball, a three-pack of Extra Spearmint gum, Goya seasoning packets and a can of Hormel White Chicken Chili. Needless to say, even before checkout, I was In the Zone.
Once I got out to the Green Beret (Yes, I named my Jeep after the most bad-of-assery branch of the Marines) I couldn't compose myself, and started ripping packs. I ripped Bowman first, but everyone's seen those, so one to the MLS cards.
Yes, this was in the first pack:
With MLS cards still in their infancy, this is one of the best cards you can pull from this set. I was certainly very happy at this point. Immediately I thought of flipping it, but after letting it sink in as my first ever "hit" of any kind in football products, it now recides watching over me as I type. Probably the only cards that would top this one in the set would be some of the autographs or a multi-color piece of Landon's jersey. Apparently multi-colored swatches (not really patches) are short printed and say "Premium" in the white void in the top left.
About all I had hoped for in this pack was some Reds (Toronto FC). I did manage a few, but nothing especially awesome.
The design is ok. I do not believe, in any way, that it is a rip-off of 2010 Topps products. Similar, yes. But can we really call every set with "Player Name/Team" across the bottom a ripoff of 1957 Topps?
There's only a few ways to make a sports card.
The cards have the low-gloss feel of Upper Deck's efforts with the "First Edition" series. It was kind of disappointing, but it keeps a pack of 8 cards at $0.99, where pack prices should be.
The photography in this set, though I will admit my sample size was only 32 cards, is excellent. Check out this Kyle Beckerman:
Awwwwesome. I was pumped when Real Salt Lake won that game. I'm a big fan of anything-but-LA Galaxy.
Next we have a new representative of Team USA for this year's World Cup:
Yes, he is a Galaxy player, but he did some time with Toronto. OK in my book, and a Team USAer to boot.
I guess this would be the equivalent to Upper Deck hockey's Young Guns insert set, but sadly no John Tavares:
Ike was the #3 overall pick in this year's draft by the San Diego Earthquakes. A dreadful teams, let's see if he can help out this season. I pulled two of these, from the top 4 packs in the box, so I am assuming they are not difficult pulls.
Now, I know 90% of the readers of this blog are baseball followers, but I am hoping to spread the word of MLS cards to you. It's good stuff, so check it out for $.98/pack.