This has proven to be one of the craziest months of my life.
Thankfully, I just finished up with an absolute barrage of mid-terms, presentations, and other various means of busywork at school this past week.
That's "crazy" in a bad way.
These next couple weeks are going to be the "good side" of crazy, without a doubt.
After this next week of school, I'll be on spring break. And, a week from today, I'll be attending the gigantic, tri-annual local card show.
But, even more than that, I'll be on a flight to Vegas a week from tomorrow. My dad and I are going as a present for my 21st birthday.
And, as if that weren't enough, Opening Day is only a couple weeks away.
Needless to say, this coming week of school really needs to fly by fast.
Thankfully, a recent trade package I received helped in that regard.
One of the more common suspects in my history of blogosphere generosity is Michael Spiegel, author of one of my absolute favorite blogs around, "Nomo's Sushi Platter".
We send each other cardboard on a regular basis. I've lost track of how many times we've actually traded.
In the note he included with this latest package, Mr. Spiegel hoped that these cards would "help time fly a little faster" until Opening Day.
As you'll soon see, the array of cardboard certainly helped that cause.
Before we dig into this trade package, though, I should warn you.
The card I'm about to show you may be shocking. It may be horrific. It may be utterly repulsing.
Keep reading at your own risk.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
You want to hear the craziest part about this one, though?
I actually wanted this card.
I just didn't want to admit it to anyone.
Luckily, Mr. Spiegel slipped it into this trade package just before I was about to ashamedly throw it onto my "Dime Box Dozen" list.
I guess he had a feeling it'd fit into my collection after reading through my "Dressed for Success" post. That is the absolute worst choice of attire that I have or ever will see on a piece of cardboard.
Personally, I feel this is a so-bad-it's-good kind of card. Most of you probably see it as just bad.
While I'd known of its existence long before I became a blogger, I'd never tracked a copy down for myself. I didn't want to buy one online because I figured the seller would probably laugh at the sad soul who actually chose to spend money on the thing.
Now that I finally have Mr. Hershiser here in my collection, I can admit my longtime fascination with his 1991 Stadium Club card.
Laugh if you want.
Given his fandom of the franchise, Mr. Spiegel always seems to toss a few random Dodger cards into each trade package he sends my way.
Technically, I guess the aforementioned Hershiser will go into the Dodger binder. It'll look a bit out of place, but that's where it'll end up after all is said and done.
However, Michael included a few more sweater-less, normal Dodgers into the great array of cardboard he sent me as well.
I'm starting to come around on the Studio brand. I don't think I'm ready to say that I like the set yet, but I'm way past the demeaning hatred I showed for it during my pre-blogger days.
While there may be a great deal of forgettable Studio pieces, the nicer ones have always been head-turners for me. That one of "The Kid" is quite an aesthetically-pleasing shot.
Plus, the fact that he only spent a single year with the Dodgers is a definite plus.
These will both slot nicely into my A's binder.
Yoenis Cespedes has cemented himself as a definite "highlight" of my Oakland collection. Fellow birthday boy Josh Reddick is starting to acquire "superstar" binder status as well.
Although I have to believe that the folks in charge of Heritage could've done a better job with photoshopping that jersey.
Given the lack of a prominent A's blog around here, I can't imagine how much good Oakland cardboard is going to waste. I'm sure a lot of my fellow bloggers are sitting on some pretty neat A's pieces. I know I am.
If any non-blogger A's fans are reading this, you should really consider starting up a blog.
You'll probably have a flood of cards on your doorstep in no time.
See what I mean?
While neither Riles nor Berroa are A's "binder guys", both of these slot nicely into a couple of my many mini-collections.
Mr. Riles there is a new "autograph" addition. From the looks of it, he started getting pelted with autograph requests mere steps after exiting the clubhouse.
I still can't get over how staggeringly beautiful that Geronimo Berroa card is. Of course, with the old former-PCL Oakland Oaks uniforms, he takes his place among my "throwback" ranks of cardboard.
In the end, I guess I'm just a sucker for anything with a batting cage backdrop. Plus, I love that you can see what appears to be the BP schedule taped onto the netting.
I'm not sure about you, but I'd love to see a revival of the Score brand in today's hobby.
While neither of these are A's, both fill a couple more mini-collection needs.
The Martinez features one of the cleanest bat breaks I've ever seen on a baseball card. That is the definition of getting "sawed off" right there.
As has become painfully obvious to me lately, many recent Heritage checklists have featured cards of the "bat barrel" variety. It's a way of staying true to the time period, although I doubt any are present in this year's cranium-centric set.
This upcoming show will mark the first time I'll actively chase these many mini-collections. Who knows how many bat barrels and throwbacks dime boxes can hold?
I can't wait to find out.
Now this is an awesome baseball card.
I'm guessing that Mr. Koufax here was a double in Michael's collection. I can't honestly believe that a Dodger fan would pass up an opportunity to own this one.
Upon first viewing, though, I had absolutely no idea as to what exactly it was. A little further research found that these were distributed exclusively to hobby stores by Topps back in 2010.
As I've mentioned before, I'm pretty much SOL when it comes to these hobby-exclusive inserts. Sadly, I don't really have a local card shop to frequent on a regular basis.
Until I get rich and start a card shop of my own, though, I'll have to rely on the blogosphere to net me samples of these LCS-exclusive things.
This one is certainly a good start.
As you have seen throughout this post, Mr. Spiegel sent over a variety of terrific cardboard.
Yet, while the likes of Hershiser and Koufax are treasured additions to my collection, this was the one that stood out above all.
It's a card that singlehandedly represents the shift in focus that the blogosphere has provided me.
Because it's one of the defining cards of the 1970s, I'd long known about the famous '75 Topps Ralph Garr. However, since he wasn't a "binder guy", I didn't have much interest in tracking down a copy of it for myself.
While I love and cherish my many binders, I've learned that the cardboard universe should not revolve around them.
There are loads of terrific cards that don't necessarily fit into my binder system. And, given my "dime box" mentality, they deserve to be recognized in my collection.
As cool as Mr. Garr is, I probably would've thrown this one into my "extras" pile during my pre-blogger days.
Now, though, I'm horrified at the very thought of that. While Garr still isn't a "binder guy", such a great and arguably "iconic" baseball card needs to be honored around here.
Thanks to bloggers like Michael, I've seen the proverbial "cardboard light".
Between the likes of Hershiser, Koufax, and Garr, you managed to outdo yourself yet again.
So, yes, Mr. Spiegel, this trade package certainly helped time fly a little faster.
Given the amount of craziness that awaits, I certainly needed it.