Today is your last day to vote on the current pair of "Elite Eight" matchups from the "Gems of Junk Wax" tournament! Both are still fairly close races, to your tallies can certainly make a difference!
Back to the action.
As of this writing, I have a whopping 225 different blogs on my blogroll.
Now, like most of my blogging counterparts, I try and read as many different posts as I can on a daily basis. It's a pleasure to have so much good material to browse through on any given day.
Still, I'd be lying if I didn't say I had a special, more closely-knit circle of bloggers and trading partners that I converse with more often than others.
One of the "usual suspects" is Mr. Michael Spiegel, awesome trader and author of the stellar blog "Nomo's Sushi Platter". He's one of the first people I can remember developing a good rapport with here in the blogosphere.
Every so often, we decide to send a few things each other's way. We never go into much specifics. It usually goes something like, "Hey, I have some cards to send to you. Look for them soon."
And, as I've found throughout my blogging career, Mr. Spiegel seems to outdo himself with every passing package.
Thanks to him, I can finally say that I own one of this year's "Collisions at the Plate" inserts from Gypsy Queen with the McCann.
As most collectors would tell you, these things are about a hundred times better in person.
Underneath the awesome McCann insert, I was happy to find a healthy stack of GQ base cards for my various team binders.
While I'm largely indifferent towards Gypsy Queen as a whole, I still can't help but chase the pieces I need for my player and HOF collections.
In a way, I guess it's ironic that I chose to feature Ian Kennedy's GQ issue in this post. At the time, I felt it deserved a mention due to the black throwback-ish D'Backs uniform.
But, of course, Kennedy was at the forefront of the big Diamondbacks-Dodgers brawl that happened earlier last week. And, as you might know, Mr. Spiegel's blog is largely built around his Dodger fandom.
So, my apologies, Dodger fans. Sorry you had to see an Ian Kennedy card.
I'm a victim of circumstance.
Despite the brand's downturn in recent years, I still seem to be a sucker for A&G minis.
And I always will be.
It's not always "love at first sight" when it comes to cardboard.
Some sets take a few viewings before I start to enjoy them. Panini Triple Play and Topps Laser are a couple that come to mind.
However, I can now confidently say that Panini Prizm will not be one of those sets. Even after I've had the chance to digest the brand a bit, I still don't like 'em.
Nevertheless, I'll always take new additions to my Castro and Cain player collections.
Mr. Spiegel always seems to find a few awesome new Cubbies to send my way.
My Mark Grace collection doesn't take a lot of explaining. He's a hometown icon. He's one of the best first basemen in franchise history. And he's my mom's favorite player.
Why wouldn't I collect the guy?
"Big Z", on the other hand, has always puzzled me. Although he had a couple good years, he was more trouble than he was worth for most of his North Side career. He's still the biggest head case I've ever seen in the game of baseball.
And yet I still collect him. I'm a bit ashamed to say that I was actually excited to see his 2000 Bowman Chrome rookie fall out of this particular package.
I couldn't quite tell you why, though.
With this hobby, some things are better left unexplained.
On top of all the cardboard goodness I've shown thus far, Mr. Spiegel also managed to hit a few of my mini-collection needs.
While Pinnacle's 1997 design has to be one of the all-time worst, this rather alliterative "double dip" Delino Deshields managed to win the #95 slot in my newfangled frankenset.
Speaking of which...
These two made the cut as well.
In actuality, I chose to admit Ben Zobrist's base 2013 Topps "play at the plate" (#218) into my official frankenset. But the blue parallel is sure nice to have.
Adding on to the madness was Mike Fitzgerald's 1992 Fleer issue (#478), one that features a lovely Wrigley Field backdrop to boot.
"Plays at the plate" are already starting to represent a nice chunk of my dime box frankenset.
And for good reason.
I'm starting to think card companies had an unofficial contest going back in the day.
To see who could make Orel Hershiser look the dorkiest in their checklist that year.
There's no doubt in my mind that Topps won all the marbles with their horrifyingly awesome '91 Stadium Club issue of the "Bulldog". A card that, as it happens, was a part of Mr. Speigel's last generous batch of cardboard.
Still, Upper Deck proved to be no slouch on the matter. Best I can tell, Hershiser's 1992 UD issue is the runner-up in the dork-inspired contest.
Those shades sure did the trick.
So, to recap, this package included just about a little of everything. Newer cards, mini-collection hits, minis, and a dorky Orel Hershiser.
In my world, it's just another awesome package from Mr. Spiegel.
He's a dime box All-Star around here.