I didn’t plan on having my previous post be the last one before completing the move into the new house. I have a couple others half-finished that will be waiting a little bit longer. The plan was to get at least one up before things got too hectic.
I didn’t plan to be away from the blog for so long. The plan was to finish the move, get a few things organized and start right back up. But.
I didn’t plan on ever writing what I’m about to write, either.
The plan that my wife and I have been looking forward to since she moved back to Chicago was that we save for a house and finally move to a place of our own so we could get a dog. The apartment I was in for nearly 8 years only allowed cats, and even then only if they were de-clawed. No dogs allowed, and that has been our dream.
Shortly after our house closed, we bought a Labradoodle puppy from a breeder. The breeder would hold it for two weeks, then we send it to the trainer for two weeks, then we’ll take her once we’re fully moved in. The perfect plan.
I even was planning the perfect post to introduce her to all my blogging friends. I would title it “MBF-8 + MBF-10 =…” I would take the Labrador & Poodle Man’s Best Friend minis from last year Ginter set to show off our new 4 month old baby Cheddar Biscuit.
Cheddar Biscuit with my wife
Being a little defiant
Plans don’t always work out.
We finished our move on Friday and got Cheddar Biscuit on Saturday. By Wednesday she was feeling sluggish, which we thought was possibly due to the heat and dehydration. Thursday, we had to take her to the vet. We got medicine to treat what the doctor thought was a bacterial infection. On Friday, we woke up to more trouble and the vet suggested we take her to the hospital.
The hospital discovered that Cheddar had contracted Parvovirus somewhere along the way. We don’t know when, and we probably never will. All we knew was that she had to stay under 24 hour surveillance with IV tubes and liquids and medicines constantly flowing through her small, weak body.
She was a strong little pup for a couple days, but on Monday morning things took a severe turn for the worst and we lost our little girl.
Now, we didn’t have her in our house for even a full week, but she was definitely a part of the family. I can’t explain it in words here, but her mannerisms and attitude and really everything about her made us feel like she was meant to be our dog. She was perfect for our lives. I don’t know what it’s like to have a child, but we feel like we lost one.
It’s been a very trying time for us these past couple weeks. My wife and I are closer than we’ve ever been (we “celebrated” our two year anniversary shortly after), but we both feel empty and lost. Part of what makes it so hard is that Cheddar Biscuit is part of this house. We started our lives here at the same time as we started our lives with her. The house is great, but it feels tainted and parts of us don’t want to be here anymore already.
I don’t know.
Now comes the other hard part. I didn’t plan to ever have to do this either, but here it is. We tried to do all we could for her, but the constant monitoring and medicine ended up being more money than we can actually afford so early in our home ownership. The grand total after adding it up was about $3,000. That’s a large sum that we weren’t anticipating to need so soon.
I’ve started to look for freelance work on the side, since my job doesn’t make moonlighting very possible. Still, I’m worried about meeting our financial obligations in the short term. I really feel like a total jerk for even doing this, but I’ve set up a page on gofundme.com. Here is the link. If any of our readers would like to donate to the cause we would greatly appreciate it.
I don’t want anyone to feel any obligation by any means, and this will be the last time I bring it up.
Thank you everyone for being patient. I plan to be back to normal (at least in terms of blogging) relatively soon and respond to emails from the past month or longer. I really hope that’s a plan that I can accomplish.
Andy and I just took in a Cubs game together. The Cubs defeated the reigning champion Giants 4-3, but not after some come-to-be-expected drama from the Cubs bullpen.
We entered the 9th inning leading 2-0 thanks to solo homers by David DeJesus (which the announcer pronounced Da-Hey-Juice) and Starlin “Still No Walks” Castro. You may have heard that Carlos Marmol was relieved of his closer duties. For some reason it was big baseball news. Locally, sure, I understand. But nationally? Why would most people really care what’s happening in the bullpen of a probably last place team?
Anyway, Marmol was replaced by the newest Japanese bidding war import Fujikawa. He sucked. He’s probably worse than Marmol and a huge waste of money so far. He, along with a couple of very close plays that rightfully went SF’s way, allowed three runs.
Somehow, a pinch hitter with a .083 average hit a home run off of a legitimate closer with 6 saves and 0.00 ERA to tie the game (before it happened I told Andy that he was due. Don’t question me!) and Castro ripped a double off the wall to score the walk-off hit. It was a roller coaster ride.
Let’s just say that the Cubs bullpen is in shambles. None of them would be drinking coffee if Alec Baldwin had anything to say about it.
This is from the Cubs team set and looks better than his eventual 2012 card
As far as my collection goes, I’m giving my vote of confidence to Carlos Marmol. He’s still my closer, and will be for the long haul.
That's it! Build up your confidence
There’re a couple reasons why I’m continuing my collection, despite his obvious deterioration.
You're going to see this picture a couple more times in this post
Despite his unfulfilled promise, he still holds claim to a couple really amazing seasons as an unhittable closer. It was a spot that he earned and deserved.
Your regular, run of the mill mini
So, he may have peaked, or lost his control, or teams have simply figured him out, but his past successes are still enough in my mind to make this quest worthwhile.
One of many swatches in my home
The other big reason is that my collection is relatively big. I have 68 of a possible 144 cards that are on my want list. That’s 47.22% of all Marmol cards with a print run of 50 or higher. How can I turn off that faucet?
I still need a few more variations, but this is the big one out of the way
Besides, I can get things like this no numbered mini for cheap, because other people are abandoning their collections or don’t want to add him to anything they are chasing.
I ain't rubbing nothin'!
Something like this Venezuelan back was had for the bare minimum. I know a lot of these were going cheaply early on, but for a card with an estimated print run of only 64, that’s really not too bad. Especially on release week. The benefits of a fallen star.
This completes my 2008 Triple Threads rainbow!
Hey look! I got a hit off of Marmol, too! Hopefully, I’ll continue to rack them up. This is the last one in my folder to show off. You’ve seen all 68 on this blog throughout the years.
I guess that means I’ve done something that Carlos couldn’t do, and that’s close something out. Although I still need 76 more cards to finish what I started. I’m up for the challenge, even if Marmol turns out not to be.
We are slowly moving into our new house. We’re taking things slow. On most days, we’ll move 5-6 boxes worth of stuff, shove it in an unused room and then paint or clean various walls, floors, sinks, counters, shelves, etc.
The previous owners were only there for maybe 7 years, max, but holy hell did they do a number to the place. The walls are all dinged up, the kids were allowed to draw on EVERYTHING and apparently the parents never thought it worthwhile to clean it off. Luckily, the only stuff that needs to be fixed is the cosmetic stuff. The building itself is solid.
We just got the carpets cleaned tonight (also drawn on, because who needs paper?). This is a key step, because my card room was one of those carpeted rooms. Now that the cleaning has happened, and the walls have been painted, I can begin to assemble my storage and move my 5000 counts and binders to their new home! Probably 5-6 boxes at a time, still because those boxes get heavy and I’m contending with a lot of stairs overall.
Also, I don’t want to get any cardboard cuts. Have you ever cut yourself on a corrugated box? Not fun! I’ve been lucky enough to avoid it so far, but you never know.
That’s not the only cardboard that can cut you…
That looks like Wade Boggs on his wristband
Look out! This 2013 die cut came to me courtesy of Reader Zach. Forgive me if you have a blog and I’m completely blanking on it. I sent him an Adam Jones from my 3 blaster splurge and he paid me in kind with the one I wanted most! Thank you very much for the trade, Zach! I hope the AJ10 serves you well.
Didn't even enter a code
The previous die cut may have been the most recently produced, but this is my most recent acquisition. I’ll tell the full story later, but I got this from Topps as a customer service replacement. He came with a lot of friends, so be on the lookout, because they’re going to need homes. I promise they won’t cut you. on purpose.
I entered many, many codes
I went a little crazy with the codes from the promotion related to these. I ended up walking away with a pretty good haul overall, including the Marmol black diamond I showed off previously. I don’t remember who I traded to get this, but I’m pretty sure it was a bunch of non-diecut “vintage” and maybe some random scrub. If memory serves, it was something of a last days of the promotion effort since I knew that I didn’t have any desire to ship non-diecuts. That was fun.
Ebay purchase, unfortunately
I tried to trade for this one, but I couldn’t quite get it to work. Maybe if I had more time. My hope was to flip some lesser regulars for a lesser black diamond and work my way up. I can’t blame anyone not biting.
I don’t have to worry about any of these cutting me. They’re all safely packed away in toploaders, waiting for the move. I just hope they’re not conspiring against me with the cardboard boxes.
And that’s not me speaking in hyperbole to get a couple extra clicks, either. Will you agree? I guess we’ll find out in a few minutes.
Not too long ago, Dutch Card Guy and I worked out a trade for some of my Topps Minis. He was working on the set and I was able to knock his set needs list down to seven more cards. I’m not 100% sure he still needs those last several, but if so I sure hope someone can help him out.
I the words "Panini," "Family," "Poland," and "Ukraine"
These sticker packs were also throw-ins, but they’re not what the title refers to. I have a few of these now thanks to DCG, but I haven’t opened any of them yet. I’m not really sure why. I guess I’m waiting for a more appropriate situation. Something tied with the World Cup qualifying? I don’t know. I’ll figure it out.
Kerry was 7 years old when the 1984 set was released
I have a tough time distinguishing between the various Fleer Platinum sets. Did they go in chronological order with their classic designs like Heritage? I’m sure some quick and easy research will tell me one way or another, but I’d rather mindlessly type.
Sweet, sweet uni
You know, we opened a whole case of this stuff to sell off and we didn’t find a single Gwynn mini. That’s where the lovely blogging world comes in. Only 49 more variations to go*
I'm glad someone buys and opens Bowman!
Boy, and I thought fans at Wrigley Field were bad about paying attention to the game. Look at this crowd. Of course, based on that soft toss the picture was likely taken pre-game or between innings, but why let observations and facts detract from the trash talk?
Row 3. 3 times the attitude of row 1
Pffft. You call that a pitch? Who do you think you are, Greg Madd–? oh.
I can totally see this happening for real
A prelude to my card room situation. I just bought some extra shelving now that I have a little extra space for it. Plenty of room for more “trophies.”
I know the “O” probably stands for “Ovation,” or possibly as a representative letter for the circle die cut. For me, the “O” stands for pOgs. This is definitely a pog disguised as a so-called die cut card.
This is the last card that was agreed upon in our little exchange, which means this final scan is the infamous throw-in.
A tip of the cap to Dutch Card Guy
I tried to convince him it wasn’t necessary, and that it doesn’t fit my collection parameters. Still, despite my protests, this Greg Maddux Gold Bordered parallel numbered /10 found its way inside the bubble mailer and flew across the Atlantic to reach my doorstep.
Now, the scan doesn’t show it, but it is actually quite damaged. There’s a big crease along the top third of the card that’s much more noticeable on the back near the super-low serial numbering. I’m not sure if it was like that initially or it was a byproduct of the international import/export process.
But you know what? I really don’t care, because this baby isn’t leaving my collection anytime soon. Or probably anytime period. How could I let this “little” extra leave my grasp? And it’s not about the numbering, either. It’s about the generosity and community we’re part of.
I’m not about to let that leave my collection.
When 2013 Topps came out, I went a little overboard. For a set that I have no intention of completing, I bought way too much. A blaster or a few packs to test the waters is one thing. Buying 3 blasters that basically costs the same as a hobby box is another.
The good news is right after release, it’s not too hard to make your money back on such an “investment,” especially on sportlots where some regulars eat up those retail parallels for their team sets. I could have also done nicely with the Mike Trout Target reds right away.
The “bad” news is that I didn’t make my money back because I decided to trade as much as I could. It worked so well that I have to put a brief halt on trading. Not really bad at all.
To be honest, that’s kind of why I bought so much to begin with. My trading reserves were relatively low and you people have stuff that I want! People like Play at the Plate.
scanner error, not miscut
This is a sad reminder that the new Gypsy Queen is already out. It’s like they make more every year!!! How am I supposed to keep up?
"Avoid the Pennant Fever" - Jimmy Dugan
Boy, it looks like Roy Lichtenstein took a dump on a blood orange. I guess that’s what happens when you get Pennant Fever. But hey! Three pictures on the front of a card.
Now to chase the Ultimate version
Something tells me Upper Deck isn’t going to bring the Victory brand back to baseball with their new unlicensed cards. I just hope they do something more budget conscious and not just exorbitant Fleer Retro type sets.
What year is it?
One thing Upper Deck’s absence has done is helped us avoid an even greater over abundance of retreaded designs. As a result, I’m not completely sick of the 1989 look. The crazy foil certainly helps.
Just one more year and it will end well, halls wise
Okay, I love plastic cards, but holy hell what is going on with those eyes?
How many times has the word "Gulp" appeared on a card as a sentence?
One more. I saved the most unique, and thus best, for last. I’m showing the back because the front of this mystery finest card looks like this…
It's like Roy Lichtenstein took a dump on a blood orange in the dark
I’ve decided that I’m keeping it unpeeled. I’m sure I can find the regular and refractor versions down the road, but how often will I come across an unpeeled one? I can at least tell from the indentations against the black rubber or whatever that coating is, that I have a bordered version. So, my executive decision is to add a line to my spreadsheet for the “unpeeled” bordered variation.
And it never would have happened if I didn’t go overboard on 2013 Topps. Thanks a lot Brian!You know what they say. Halls well that ends well.
Okay, no one says that.
How about those Bulls, huh? Congratulations to them for beating the Miami Heat and ending their remarkable streak. It’s no 72-10 record, but Miami’s run was still quite amazing.
The fact that we were able to do it without Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah makes me optimistic for the playoffs. I hope they can both come back soon (but not before they’re ready, please). Next year, the championship could very well be celebrated in Grant Park again. This year, probably not. But we have depth. We saw that yesterday.
Speaking of beating the heat. I heard the
drug dealer van ice cream man around the neighborhood today. In 40 something degree weather. I wonder if we’ll have a truck at the new place.
Anyway, it’s strange having the Heat as a sort of new rival. My memories are swamped with hatred for the Knicks and this team…
Dude is a beast and I hate him more than any other contemporary player
I can only think of one time that I rooted for the Celtics, and that was because they finished dead last and then Kevin Garnett joined the team. I knew they had a chance to win the title, and I wanted to see the worst to first actually happen. Again, it gave me hope.
This Rondo Past & Present insert came courtesy of Mark of Mark’s Ephemera. He sent this and a Ray Allen my way “for free.” It turns out this is the only one I needed for my very slowly accumulated master set. I’ll repay him with some Kevin McHale cards once I’m able to access them (back in my hometown).
I probably won’t be able to make that happen until it gets warmer, but I’m sure I’ll do it before summer so I, too, can beat the heat.
One of the great things about trading is that you get to pad your binders will all kinds of wonderful new & old pieces of cardboard. One of the “bad” things about trading in the blog world is that they tend to come in waves, and an infrequent poster like myself falls desperately behind.
That’s why Chunter from Chipp ‘n’ Dale has had to wait two months after showing his side to receive his due on this blog. That’s no way to treat a guy with possibly the greatest header picture of anyone.
Not when he sent me this stuff.
You can measure your kids' heights with these cards
The first two cards are the easy highlights for a couple reasons. For one, rarely do you see these on the blogs or mentioned for trade. For dos, Chunter included the special extra tall toploaders. Shipping these suckers isn’t easy, which is why that first point likely exists.
Long enough to show two full pictures
I collected a ton of the basketball version of these elongated cards. I probably have a couple sets worth sitting in a box as a result of me trying to chase some of inserts. If I had interest in baseball cards in 1994, I would have done the same for these Extra Bases.
Not quite Team 2000
Pro: Art card.
Con: Double sided.
Pro: Good Pinnacle gold foil
Con: …double sided… Pros win!
Mr. Bowman's been scrapbookin'
Neat. Someone cut up a recliner and made cards out of it.
Try not to steal my identity with that fingerprint, okay?
Man, that All-Star foil stamp really throws this uneducated about 1998 Upper Deck collector off. It took some research to confirm this wasn’t some sort of insert or subset.
The dream of the '90s is alive on cardboard.
This wasn’t as hard to figure out. I don’t know how well they’re really defining the game, or the player. Looks like “Describe: the Game” to me.
The turn of the century brought about digital everything. Digital equals pixels. Pixels equals boxy. Boxy equals ugly which also equals this terrible Ultra set. Maybe the Y2K bug destroyed their pretty design making machines.
Roughed up on the mound
I think someone got mad at this last card. Pissed about only winning one World Series in all those playoff appearances? Upset he went back to the Cubs? It’s okay Greg. You have a home here now. They won’t hurt you again.
Thank you very much for the great trade! Hopefully we’ll do it again sometime. In the meantime, I encourage my readers to send some Braves his way. The man has detailed lists to make things nice and easy for you, too.
Not for a while at least. I have some packages due to Cards on Cards and Cardboard Junkie, and I’ll be sure to send some stuff off to them, but after that I’m going to go on a self-imposed hiatus.
It’s not anything to do with my impending move, either. Well, partly, I guess. Really it has more to do with the growing backlog.
You guys have been great to me lately, and I’m struggling to keep up.
The good news is once I’m through with this little exile, I have some big, great trade bait. Hope you like online exclusive die-cuts! There are plenty to go around. Oh, and a housewarming group break. Those are tales for another time.
For now, I’ll tell the tale of the Night Owl Trade. I actually have two such tales to tell, but first is this little ditty from either late December or Early January.
A fine start
Okay, it’s not going to be a story as much as it is going to be me talking about cards that were sent to me in exchange for other cards.
I know many people are in the “free the finest” camp. I guess I understand that mentality, but I’m in the “leave it the way it comes” camp. I did peel a couple of my finest basketball cards as a kid, and boy was there a debate about what that did to the value of the cards. My feeling now is more about original vs. modified, and I prefer original.
Avg leader on the road or GTFO!
Two things I hate. Prominent ads on baseball cards and way too specific statistics. Who cares about the average leader at home? Sure, baseball professionals might care about the splits for their scouting, but baseball scouts aren’t using cards as homework. Or at least I hope not. Maybe the Cubs do.
I’m alright with this stat mention, because it’s interesting and potentially useful trivia. It’s a record that has been broken and can be broken again, and some people may actually care that it did or when it will happen. No one will remember the avg leader at home for any year.
Shine it up
Michael Jordan has the tongue. Starlin Castro has the top teeth. The overbite? I haven’t purchased a single pack of 2012 chrome. When there’s only one of 7 players I collect in the product, that’s going to happen. That Panini Prizm, however, has 4 of 7, so I plan to pick some of that up.
"I'm happy" -- Droopy Wood
I probably have this card sitting in an abandoned set waiting to be disbursed to all the 2008 set builders. But since I haven’t broken it up or bothered to look, Greg took pity on me and saved me the trouble.
My older chrome collection is severely lacking
I tend to forget about Kerry’s days as an Indian. It’s easy to look past them when you have sparkly squares staring back at you. Hypnotizing. I usually typically pick favorites out of the batch anymore, but it’s hard not to choose this one. X-Fractors are simply too cool.
Don't strain anything
Lastly, we have the cardboard representation of my expression once I get through this trading backlog. Only about 15 more to go, including another from Night Owl. Hopefully I’ll do a better job with my storytelling next time.
We’re just about a week away from baseball’s opening day.
It’s a wonderful time of the year. Spring is starting to rear it’s pretty little head. New baseball cards start coming out faster than a Vin Diesel driven car. Hope and optimism is in every fan’s head.
The future is now.
But sometimes before you get to Opening Day, you need to have a Closing Day. Every new beginning some from some other beginning’s end says the song.
In my case, the new beginning is the purchase of a new house brought about by the end of a stressful foreclosure involving two separate defaulted mortgages. Double the banks; double the fun says no song.
After several long months, the deed is done, so to speak.
The current owners are currently still there for a few more days (we hope that’s all it’ll be at least), but again if you didn’t see my previous warning to stop sending me mail, I would ask again to please not send any packages my way if you intended to do so.
Courtesy of the Diamond King
One good close deserves another. Or a closer. You know what I’m going for. Marmol’s come a long way since his minor league days. It’s been a roller coaster ride watching him, not unlike this housing thing.
Need all the F/X versions now
I guess you could call us rookie homeowners. But don’t worry about our longevity. We have a Keurig, so there’ll be plenty of cups of coffee available.
The more I see this design, the less I like it
It’ll be nice to be able to “shut the door” without bothering any neighbors. Actually, more accurately, it’ll be nice to not be bothered by neighbors shutting their doors so loudly and listening to their children cry at ungodly early and late hours.
These were the good times. Strikeouts everywhere. Sort of like when we thought the first bank was actually going to reduce our offer price by $10K. That got reversed a couple days later, but at least neither came back forcing more than the offer.
bad ebay purchase
The home will need work, as most places do. Sort of like this glossy parallel /999. It was cheap and one of multiple cards from the same seller, but arrived with some bad denting on the top. Can’t fix that with new carpet or paint.
I wish I could photoshop that cap away
This card may be mini-sized (hard to tell, I know), but our place isn’t. A nice 3 BR, 3.5 bathroom with two living spaces and a tw0-car attached garage. Certainly beats our 2BR/1bath apartment with street parking in growing gangland.
I feel so far behind in Heritage collecting
There isn’t a lot of heritage to the place, either. We shouldn’t have to worry about replacing any of the major items for a while.
Traded for this back when the site was still active.
Now let’s talk about the good stuff. The shining light in the whole deal is that the two of us don’t need three bedrooms and two living spaces. Do you know what that means?
Managed to trade for this, too. Without having a black diamond to give back. Took a series of deals
It means we’re going to have a game room with all my old school consoles hooked up and ready to go. My 100+Genesis games will finally have a chance to be played. It also means that I’ll have a dedicated office/card room.
Shine on you crazy diamond parallel
Yes, hope springs eternal this time of year.
I like oddball sets. That’s not completely true. Let’s say I have a love-hate relationship with them. The quirkiness of a product like Moments & Milestones or Topps Tek intrigues me greatly and makes me want to open multiple boxes. The player collection mentality urging me to seek out and horde what is essentially 20-200 copies of the same card annoys the ball hairs off of me. Take that for what you will.
Each of these sets poses a different, less important dilemma. How do I write about 20-200 copies of virtually the same card?
I’ve found a work around for UD Documentary in tracking the team’s record across the course of my players’ cards.
For Moments & Milestones, I decided to give mini-box scores. With the help of baseball-reference, I give a play by play (or I guess just play) of that strikeout or home run. Takes some research, but it’s more fun than saying “Yup, another one of these. This one says 82. Next we have…”
Tek is a newer animal for me. I’ve only ever posted one card. I didn’t really consider I might need a hook at that time.
Well, the best I can think of is to rip-off Night Owl and do a “Name the Pattern.” thing. You all are welcome to help me out. I’ll throw out my random thoughts, but if the group outwits me (I strong possibility) I’ll change it.
Sound good? Let’s get started, shall we?
Pattern #5A – Logo Blinds.
The lines remind me of a window shade and the plastic, see-thru cards tell me I’m looking outside.
Pattern #21B – Sketchy Diamond
Most of these won’t really require an explanation, will they?
Pattern #1 – The Exclusive License
Logos! Logos everywhere! I’ve been trying to follow the Industry Summit a little bit, and the most interesting part wasn’t that Topps got extended to 2020, or that UD was giving an MLBPA license, but that Brian Gray said they consider cards periodicals and plan to push the envelope and take the fight to the Supreme Court. Expect to start seeing logos on their cards and to start seeing a lawsuit frenzy.
Pattern #54 – Grandma’s Couch
This one I like, but also think it may be best reserved for a future pattern. What say the masses?
Pattern #9A – 1920′s Business Card
I get an art deco vibe from this thing. The “W” looks a hell of a lot like my wedding cake topper, too.
Pattern #13A – Lumber River
Somebody flushed a lot of bats down the toilet.
Pattern #21B – Sketchy Diamond
The problem with this exercise is that multiple players will have the same patterns, and when talking about 1999 Tek, each player will have 2 versions for each pattern. We’re bound to run into repeats.
Pattern #5B – Logo Blinds
I also noticed that within the same box you get a lot of recurring patterns. I’m sure it has everything to do with collation for this behemoth of a set.
Pattern #8 – Sign Here…and Here
Pattern #8A – Team Treads
I could have also gone with Tire something something or NASCAR blah blah.
Pattern #1B – American TriForce
I want to play Zelda by just looking at this card. Strikeout Gannon, get a piece of the TriForce and the raft.
And that’s just about everything I have. Most of these came from my Topps group break and the box that almost all got traded to sruchris. I do have a few other Maddux Tek, but I’d rather keep them with their original groupings.
Besides it gives you something to look forward to for next time. Right? Otherwise, I may need to find another hook.