Sorry, fellow readers.
I'm going to have to break a promise here.
In my last write-up, I mentioned that my day-after-Christmas post would feature the first part of my holiday "loot".
However, today was a little more hectic than expected, so I didn't have the time or energy to scan any of my X-mas gifts.
But not to worry.
I'll have part one up tomorrow. You can bet on it.
Although I didn't ask for much, I made out like a bandit this Christmas.
It'll be worth the wait.
After I finally got home this evening, I found a nice surprise sitting on the living room table.
There sat a couple pre-Christmas trade packages that I'd completely forgotten about. They arrived on the couple days prior to the holiday, but I never got the chance to really sink my teeth into them.
It was certainly a welcome surprise. I always get a little down after Christmas comes and goes.
Those trade packages made me believe that the holidays didn't have to be over just yet.
The first of the "cheerful" pair of mailers came courtesy of Pat from "Hot Corner Cards", one of the newer blogs to join our community.
Some of the first words in the introductory email he sent convinced me that this would be a memorable swap.
"I noticed you need a 1986 Rollie Fingers. I should have it."
A few weeks ago, I lamented at the fact that this seemingly simple "sunset" issue had never found its way into my collection.
It was a thinly-veiled plea, in a way.
After only a couple days on my "Dime Box Dozen" list, Pat answered the call.
Thanks to him, I finally have a 1986 Topps Rollie Fingers in my collection.
You have no idea how much I've wanted to type those glorious words.
Pat was able to hit a few of my 2012 Topps Update needs as well.
Anything after receiving an '86 Rollie Fingers is merely icing on the cake.
When I initially decided to collect Matt Cain, I put "wanted ads" out on both the blogosphere and my trading forum.
I didn't get much from the forums. Maybe three or four new cards.
The blogosphere has been a whole other story.
Back in July, I had about five cards of Cain. I've pulled about four of his issues from packs over these last few months.
With the addition of this one, there are now 56 different Matt Cain cards in my Giants binder.
At least 40 of those have come from the great people of the blogosphere.
Things like that are what separate the forums from the blogs.
For weeks, this was the lone 1987 Update mini on my wantlist.
I'd acquired all the others I needed.
It was down to Gary Carter.
Thankfully, Pat was able to take care of that one as well with this magnificent card of "The Kid". A truly serene shot.
One that showcases Wrigley Field in the backdrop, to boot.
Between an '86 Fingers, gold sparkles, and "The Kid", I'd say that was a pretty spectacular trade.
Next to Pat's mailer sat another nice stack of cardboard.
And, much like the cards I just showcased, a former "Dime Box Dozen" need hovered atop it.
Earlier last week, Douglas of the terrific new blog "Sportscards From The Dollar Store" contacted me about this very Piazza issue.
He'd recently plucked it from a card show dime box.
Truthfully, I thought this one would sit on my "Dozen" list for a long time. People just don't seem to have a lot of late '90s issues lying around.
However, Douglas was there to take care of that. Even though I don't collect Mr. Piazza, I am extremely ecstatic to have this one in my collection.
It continues the "putting the band back together" theme I've been featuring around here lately. Maybe Piazza can fill on on drums if "The Big Unit" gets sick.
Or maybe we could have a two-drummer situation like The Grateful Dead.
Plus, seeing as how Douglas is from Canada, I'm extremely happy to have a north-of-the-border dime box find in my household.
It's a first for me.
Although I would've been infinitely happy with just the Piazza, Douglas didn't stop there.
This Lester SP was the last of my 2012 A&G needs, one that was knocked out by a fellow blogger earlier this month.
I thought that was as good as it would get.
With this mini from Douglas, I'll be able to showcase the regular/mini combo in my Red Sox binder, something which is always, always a plus.
It's one of the many perks of my organizational method.
See, this is why I love the blogosphere so much.
As I mentioned before, I basically begged for a copy of Rollie Fingers' 1986 Topps issue in one of my earlier posts.
Two weeks later, both the regular and the O-Pee-Chee cards now sit in my collection.
How awesome is that?
On top of everything, this group of cardboard added a little tidbit to my gluttony of useless baseball knowledge.
Before these cards arrived, I could've told you that "Gene" is actually Tenace's middle name.
His full name is Fury Gene Tenace.
Fury. Look it up.
However, I'd never known that Gene Tenace went on to coach for the Blue Jays after his playing career was over.
Thanks to this Canada-exclusive issue from Douglas, I can wow my friends with that piece of trivia.
And while we're on the topic of Canada...
Here's a hockey card.
No, I didn't request this one from Douglas. I haven't specifically asked for a hockey card in a trade for about seven years.
Still, I'm quite glad that he slipped it in with all the other baseball cardboard.
While baseball does take precedence, I'm simply a fan of any neat sports photography.
And, as you can probably tell, this card is the very definition of "neat photography".
I don't keep up much with hockey these days, so I couldn't tell you who Matt Duchene is.
However, thanks to the back of this card, I can tell you that this shot features his heroic introduction to last year's skills competition.
More specifically, it notes that...
"The player introductions alone were worth the price of admission, providing spectators and players alike with spine-tingling moments even before the NHL's best put their super-human skills on display."
I can see why.
In the email he sent me, Douglas also happened to note that he'd be "more than willing" to send me a few of his dime box finds from the "Expo".
I'd read through most of his posts on the subject and was jealous of quite a few of his steals.
Needless to say, I felt like a kid in a candy store after I read that email.
In the end, I limited myself to two dime cards that absolutely needed to be in my collection.
This was one of them.
Considering the "madness" that surrounds every single A&G release, I'm a little surprised that I'd never seen this card before Douglas posted about it.
I've always felt that these "Highlight Sketches" should get a little more love than they do.
Admittedly, they can be hit-and-miss at times.
But when they hit, they really hit.
I don't consider myself to be a Twins fan by any means. However, the sheer awesomeness of this one made me like the franchise a tiny bit more.
Ah, the power of cardboard.
My eyes lit up when I first saw this beauty on Douglas's blog.
Simply put, I enjoy "milestone" cards.
Not to mention masterpieces like this one.
When Douglas mentioned that he'd be willing to move a few of his Expo "goodies", my thoughts immediately shot to Mr. Brett.
Although about a month had passed since I'd first read about it, I'd always had this one in the back of my mind.
Within days, it was on my doorstep, all thanks to the generosity of a fellow blogger.
Maybe a little jealousy does pay off in the end.
When it comes to baseball cards, at least.