Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The ups and downs of 2013

December 31st always seems to put me in flashback mode.

Just like every New Year's Eve, I find myself looking back at how the year has treated me.

One such area I look at is the world of cardboard. I've already done so by ranking individual sets and nominating the top ten cards of the year.

On the last day of the year, though, I like looking at the past twelve months as a whole and seeing what the ups and downs were. All things considered, 2013 had its fair share of high and low points.

Because I'd like to save best for last, we'll be addressing the "downs" of the year first. I like to maintain a positive attitude towards this hobby, but 2013 had a few low points that even I couldn't ignore.

I was rather fond of this year's 1972 minis. I'm a little less optimistic towards the 1989 mini insert set that is slated to come out in 2014. I sure hope I'm not putting those on the "downs" part of this list come next year.

Still, Topps and the whole retro phenomenon seem to have a complicated relationship.

That's where we'll begin things this evening.

Down #1 -- Retro apathy

I'm a big fan of retro designs.

Sets like Heritage and Fan Favorites remain some of my all-time favorite brands.

In today's hobby, though, Topps is seriously overdoing the whole retro craze. It's just pure overkill on their part.

The Flagship minis are nice because they're a relatively small sample size. But with a throwback set like Heritage on the shelves, there's really no need for something like Archives.

I'm afraid that if this overkill continues, Topps will eventually make me apathetic towards every retro-related card out there.

That would be awful.

Down #2 -- Insert madness

Like much of the party population on New Year's Eve, Topps doesn't seem to know their limit.

If they find one thing the collecting world likes, they just keep churning out more and more of it until the bottom falls out.

That's definitely become the case with the sheer number of inserts these days. I don't have the exact number in front of me, but I'd imagine Flagship alone featured at least a dozen different insert sets.

With a base-centered release like that, it's quite unnecessary. Pulling three or four different inserts from an eight-card pack doesn't give me bang for my buck, Topps.

Like the retro thing, though, I enjoy inserts. Despite my base card mentality, I get a special kind of thrill from pulling a nice one from a pack.

When they're as forced as pointless as these "Making Their Mark" singles, though, that thrill is gone. Did anyone honestly care about these things?

Probably not.

It's just an excuse to get another Yu Darvish card onto the market.

Down #3 -- Greed

As you probably know, this one isn't anything new.

Greed has simply overrun this hobby in recent years, leaving most of us "small-time" collectors in the dust.

My card budget is probably a small fraction of what a lot of other people spend on this hobby. Hence, Topps tries to market many of their sets towards those high rollers.

Normally, I would just ignore it and move on. Even if I had the money, I wouldn't get much of a kick from those high-end thingies.

However, a lot of the greed is indeed hurting the little guys and gals in this hobby.

I'll say this until I'm blue in the face, but I think the market really needs a licensed 99-cent-a-pack set like Topps Total on the shelves. If Topps could throw out a mid-level brand like Archives and usher something like that in, I think it could have great long-term benefits.

That probably isn't going to happen anytime soon, though.

Perhaps even worse is the fact that Topps had what I felt was a million-dollar idea with Heritage High Numbers a few years ago. As sort of a compliment to Update, I loved busting packs of those during both 2008 and 2009. (I bought High Numbers hobby boxes both years, in fact.)

Yes, the High Numbers brand is still around. But you have to drop 100 bucks on the "limited edition" 100-card set (plus a hallowed autograph) to get some for yourself. I don't have that kind of money.

The worst part is that there are quite a few cards in this year's High Numbers checklist that I want. Chances are slim that I'll ever own them, though.

When the original version of High Numbers was on the shelves, Topps seemed to actually care about people like me. People who could get excited over the only card ever produced of Jose Contreras as a Rockie.

I'm not so sure anymore.

Up #1 -- Parallels, parallels, parallels

Well, now that my rants are over, it's time to finally look at the good the hobby produced in 2013.

As far as I'm concerned, there was a lot to like.

I've already said this on many occasions around here during the course of the year, but it bears mentioning again.

Topps absolutely knocked it out of the park with their parallels this year.

Between the emeralds, reds, blues, camos, pinks, and others, they were almost all beautiful. It's the best parallel effort Topps has put forth in a while, and maybe ever.

They fit well with my binder loving ways, as getting multiple variations of the same card often looks absolutely spectacular in a nine-pocket page.

While I'm still a little skeptical about the 2014 design, I can't wait to see what kind of parallels Topps has in store for us next year.

Up #2 -- Panini's breakout

Once again, this is something I've been raving about all year.

I probably first heard about Panini in either late 2011 or early 2012. They were just getting into the baseball card market at that point. Honestly, I didn't think they'd last very long.

They proceeded to blow me away with their 2012 Triple Play, Golden Age, and Cooperstown releases. Even then, though, I still wasn't convinced that they'd be able to maintain it over the long haul.

Well, all Panini did in 2013 was produce what I felt to be three of the five best sets of the year. Hometown Heroes, Cooperstown, and Golden Age were some of the best unlicensed efforts in the history of the hobby.

They even have a Donruss revival on tap for 2014. I'm already getting excited for that. If it's anything like what they did in 2013, I think we'll be in for a treat.

I'm finally convinced.

Panini is here to stay.

Up #3 -- The joy of blogging continues 

This doesn't really have anything to do with Topps or Panini, but it still ranks as my greatest "up" of the year.

When I first started blogging, I wasn't sure how long I'd be able to stick with it. I honestly almost gave it up after a couple days.

After a while, though, I realized just how much fun blogging was. A day turned into a week. A week turned into a month. A month turned into a year.

And, just recently, a year turned into two years.

I can't believe it myself, but this is indeed year two of "Dime Boxes".

The major card companies have kept me interested enough in new product to keep me posting about those on a regular basis. I'm constantly finding little nuances in my own collection that I love sharing around here.

But, most of all, my fellow bloggers have made me feel welcome in the blogosphere. It's been a great year for readership and comments around here.

People keep constantly sending me great new cards with almost no urging on my part, something for which I'm greatly appreciative.

Of course, all of you out there keep writing great material for me to read on a daily basis, topics which allow me to appreciate my collection in a whole new light.

So, for about the millionth time, thank you, fellow bloggers and readers.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

And, just because this is the last post of the year, I figured we might as well close out 2013 by honoring my all-time favorite player, Roberto Clemente.

As long as awesome cards like these are around, I'll keep collecting them.

It's been a fun 365 days, everyone.

Have a safe and happy new year.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Under the tree, Pt. 2: The vintage list

Like most kids, I used to meticulously compose a Christmas list in the weeks leading up to the holiday.

The big payoff came on December 25th when I'd see all the presents my parents and Santa had brought for me. I have very fond memories of those Christmas mornings.

Of course, though, the list making stopped as I got a bit older. The kid stuff pretty much went out the door.

Or so I thought.

Last year, my dad urged me to make a list of a few cards I'd want as possible gifts. I did, and my dad simply blew me away with what he got me last Christmas.

As a result, we did the same thing this year. Much like last year, my list this time around was composed of mostly vintage.

And, just adding to the greatness of these card gifts, my dad comes up with a terrific few ideas of his own. He went off the list for quite a few of my presents this year, adding a heightened sense of mystery to the party.

My dad even threw a few cards from what I consider to be the "modern era" into this wonderful gift. Al Oliver has been a longtime favorite of both my dad and I, and we had the privilege of meeting him at a card show a few years ago.

That made this terrific Championship Baseball oddball of his so much more special.

On the surface, pairing cards of Hank Greenberg and Mike Easler into one scan may seem a bit odd.

My dad bought both of these for a few reasons, though. For one thing, I think he knows how much I like the 3-D Sportflics cards from the '80s. I wish Topps would revive the whole multiple-image concept in today's hobby.

Even more importantly, my dad is the reason I'm such big fans of these guys in the first place. He's the one who first taught me about old-time heroes like Hank Greenberg, after all.

And, while Mike Easler was never a big name, my dad once met the former outfielder/first baseman when he was a kid. Easler stopped and chatted with pops and a few of his buddies, a story which my dad has told me quite a few times.

That's why he's always been a proud "binder guy" in my collection.

I only put a select few non-vintage cards on my list this year.

These two were on it. The Wilbur Wright is the 98th piece I've acquired from the 100-card 2007 SP Legendary Cuts "Legendary Americana" insert set. I'm hoping to put the finishing touches on that project next year.

Before Christmas, I was probably the only collector in the world actively searching for a Franklin Pierce card. In terms of pure history, he was one of the more inauspicious presidents ever.

So, then, what's the deal?

Well, just a month or two before Christmas, I discovered that I somehow owned at least one card of every president in U.S. history. Except one.

Franklin Pierce.

Now, my "President" collection is finally complete. Yes, I have many cards of the bigger names like Washington, Lincoln, and FDR. But I also have ones of the more obscure presidents (if such a thing is possible) like Millard Fillmore and William Henry Harrison, who only served for a single month.

Who knew a card of Franklin Pierce could be so special?

Now, though, we come to the real meat of this post.

The vintage.

Of course, my dad put together another awesome assortment of old-time cardboard this year. However, my aunt and uncle came through in a big way as well.

They know of my card-collecting ways through my dad. And they somehow managed to track down this spectacular framed piece, one that features a quartet of vintage cricket stars. These hail from the Willis's Cigarettes checklists of the 1920's.

While I don't understand the game one bit, I've always been fascinated by cricket. It is, after all, one of the forefathers of baseball.

These are the first cricket cards I own. 

They'll most definitely earn a prime spot in my card room/man cave.

As usual, though, my dad struck absolute gold with the vintage he found this time around.

While I can't remember the last time I personally bought anything off COMC, it's the site of choice for my dad's Christmas exploits. Seeing all the goodies he nabbed is making me think about giving it another test run.

Easily the largest card of all was the terrific 1970 Topps Super you see above featuring "The Toy Cannon" himself, Jimmy Wynn. This one wasn't on my list.

I remember my dad being impressed by the '70 Super Bob Gibson I found at the big card show last month, so that's probably where he got the idea.

I'm definitely planning on chasing down more of these beauties in the future.

I noticed quite a few common threads in my dad's awesome Christmas gift.

Unlike the aforementioned Topps Super, both of these were indeed on my list.

Mr. Wynn makes yet another appearance with that '66 Topps issue, one that completes the "Topps set" of his that I'd long been chasing. I now own every single Topps base card he had issued between his '64 rookie and his '77 "sunset" finale.

Speaking of which, the Dick Allen SSPC issue is also a "sunset" issue, one that I never knew existed until I stumbled upon it around the Internet a few weeks ago. Since he never had a true final issue that featured his stint with the 1977 A's, that one (and his '76 Topps card) will have to do.

I absolutely love the fairly scarce '76 SSPC checklist. And, for your useless trivia bit of the day, I recently learned that a pre-broadcasting Keith Olbermann edited the backs of them.

Thankfully, the Dick Allen appearances were far from over.

These are both MMMMMIIIIIIINNNNNNIIIIIIII!!!!! variations of a couple of great cards from '75 Topps.

Yes, both of these were on my list as well.

Lee and Allen were among my dad's favorite players when he was a kid, so it makes sense that he'd wind up getting these two great pieces for me.

We've moved on to the Kellogg's portion of this post.

The Allen was indeed on my list. If you haven't figured it out yet, he's in the top tier of my many player collections.

The Sanguillen, on the other hand, was a non-list find. I'm guessing my dad discovered it during a Allen-related search through COMC's selection of '73 Kellogg's.

My dad knows I'm a big Manny Sanguillen fan, and I couldn't be happier to have that beautiful oddball in my binders.

On top of that, I found a few pieces from Kellogg's 3-D years in this grand gift as well.

My dad went off-list for these two.

The Campaneris is from the very first Kellogg's checklist in 1970. With the '65 rookie of his that my dad found last Christmas, it's the second straight year a great "Campy" card has graced my holiday presents.

Kellogg's also put out a little-known legend set in 1972, which is the backstory behind the beautiful Sisler.

You have no idea how glad I am to be back on the oddball wagon these days.

After years of not being able to find any, I've now added two '53 Bowman Colors to my collection in the past couple of months.

I found one of former White Sox pitcher Joe Dobson in the same bargain bin as the aforementioned '70 Topps Super Bob Gibson at a recent card show.

This one of longtime Sox backstop Sherm Lollar is even better. This one wasn't on my list, either, but I'm sure glad my dad dug through the COMC archives for it.

The card world is made up of many different opinions and thoughts, but it's hard to deny that '53 Bowman Color is one of the most beautiful sets ever made.

This one was indeed on my list.

It's been one of my most wanted cards for a while now.

Robin Roberts is a Hall of Famer and has long been amongst my selection of player collections, but there's an even bigger reason for my longtime longing for this one.

After a 1-10 season in 1961, the former Phillie ace was thought to be washed up when the Yankees picked him up that offseason. I guess the Bronx Bombers thought so, too, because they released him in Spring Training.

Roberts would go on to have a few more good years with the Orioles in his twilight, but never did play in a single game with the Yankees. You know what that means!

A "zero-year" card!

It's one of the oldest pieces of the sort that I've ever seen. And it certainly features one of the bigger names in "zero-year" history.

Welcome to the club, Mr. Roberts.

At first glance, these seem to be a few perfectly normal 1970 Topps cards of a couple HOFers.

That alone would've made them spectacular gets by my dad.

Let's flip them over, though.

Canadian text?

"Printed in Canada"?

Why, they're O-PEE-CHEE!!!!!!!

Not only that, but we also have a brand new addition to my Hoyt collection!

It wouldn't be the last.

My dad isn't a huge fan of these Post cards, as he's told me on a few occasions. Still, I couldn't help but put this one on my list. I, unlike my dad, love these things.

You can imagine how ecstatic I was to find it amongst my Christmas treasures.

Not one, but two new Hoyts! In one Christmas!

That would've been more than enough for me.

But, much like last year, my dad hunted down one supreme vintage piece for my collection. One that he wrapped separately from the other vintage goodies.

Last Christmas, it was an awesome "Sleepy" Bill Burns T206 tobacco piece.

So, what did he have in store this time?


A real, authentic 1940 Play Ball Daffy Dean!

My dad is the one who first turned me on to the 1930's "Gashouse Gang" St. Louis Cardinals squads. Dizzy Dean is one of his favorite players. (And mine as well.)

Since cards of ol' "Diz" cost absurd amounts of money, my dad tracked down the next best thing. I can't imagine "Daffy" has many authentic cards out there.

This copy wears the battle scars of its 73-year lifespan, something that makes it all the more appealing to me.

All things considered, it was once again a wonderful Christmas.

I really can't thank my dad enough for such a great gift.

To say the least.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The dime box frankenset, Page 12: Numbers 100-108

After a bit of a hiatus, my "dime box frankenset" posts are back in action.

We're now into the triple digits, by the way. This fantastic assortment also continues a long string of completed pages.

Oh, and in case you missed it, I thought now would be a good time to remind you about the contest I'm holding around here. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by tomorrow at 11:59 PM and you're entered. I'll announce the winner on New Year's Day.

With that in mind, let's take a look at another terrific frankenset page.

Completion status: 9/9...completed page!

Numbers needed: None.

The card: 2013 Topps #100 Mike Moustakas

Why it made the cut...

Mr. Moustakas is the first "hero number" in this frankenset.

While cards ending in "00" designations aren't has legendary as they once were, Topps still produced a doozy with this terrific piece, one that occupied the #100 slot in this year's Flagship checklist.

It's hard to not love a good "play at the plate" shot.

The card: 1991 Upper Deck #101 Joe Oliver

Why it made the cut...

This page's second consecutive PATP features none other than multiple frankenset nominee Joe Oliver.

While he was never a big name in baseball, card companies sure seemed to like him. He received a number of terrific cards during his career, many of which reside in this very frankenset.

This one is a particular favorite of mine, as you can clearly see the menacing stare Oliver is giving to a poor baserunner.

I feel bad for whoever that Atlanta Brave is.

The card: 2003 Upper Deck First Pitch #102 AJ Hinch

Why it made the cut...

Unbelievably, this is our third consecutive "play at the plate" shot on this page.

One thing I find fascinating about this particular issue is the fact that both of the pictured backstops ended up with fruitful "outside the lines" jobs after their respective careers were over.

The baserunner on this play, Mike Matheny, is in the middle of what looks to be a long and successful reign as the manager of the Cardinals.

A.J. Hinch worked his way up to becoming the director of player development with the Diamondbacks before being named their manager in 2009. He lasted a little more than a year before being fired. Hinch is now in the Padres' front office as vice president of scouting.

Back in 2003, though, they were meeting in this fantastic "play at the plate" clash.

The card: 1992 Topps #103 Ricky Jordan

Why it made the cut...

Pickoffs aren't as widespread as they probably should be in this hobby.

Just look at the greatness they can hold.

The card: 1995 SP #104 Ray Lankford

Why it made the cut...

This is probably one of my favorite cards in this frankenset.

Whoever chose to use this card for the SP checklist is a genius. How often do you see a guy doing a handstand on cardboard?

I have yet to find another one.

The card: 1998 Ultra #105 Pat Hentgen

Why it made the cut...

Pitcher at the plate!

This shot probably comes from the very first year of interleague play in 1997, as Hentgen was with the Blue Jays (an American League club) at the time.

For the record, he carried a career batting average of .107.

The card: 1995 Collector's Choice #106 Phil Leftwich

Why it made the cut...

I still can't tell whether Leftwich is trying to scare or hypnotize the photographer in this shot.

Either way, it's good for a nice chuckle.

The card: 1991 Stadium Club #107 Rafael Ramirez

Why it made the cut...

I can honestly say that this is one of the better "double dip" cards I've ever seen.

It's a perfectly framed shot, one that is spectacularly topped off by the Wrigley Field ivy in the backdrop. I don't think a vertical shot would've done Mr. Ramirez justice, so I'm happy Stadium Club chose to go the horizontal route here.

It definitely adds to this card's beauty.

The card: 1993 Topps #108 Jose Lind

Why it made the cut...

Closing out this frankenset page is yet another play at second base.

This one, however, is most likely of the stolen base variety. Or, perhaps the attempted stolen base variety.

It's hard to tell for sure whether Jose Lind would've been able to get the tag down on Delino DeShields here. He's doing his best to block the base, but the throw does seem a bit high.

In what is becoming a regular feature of these frankenset posts, I did my best to date this particular shot. It's harder and not as certain with this one, as there's a chance it might not even be a stolen base attempt.

However, assuming DeShields was trying to swipe second, the only time he did so in an away game against the Pirates with Lind covering came on June 21st, 1992, in what would be a 5-4 Pittsburgh win.

He did so in the first inning against Pirate catcher Mike LaValliere, though he would be stranded at second.

I must say, I kind of like doing this kind of detective work.

You should try it yourself one day if you haven't already.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Under the tree, Pt. 1: Scratching the itch

Another Christmas has come and gone.

I was fortunate enough to spend time with family on both Christmas Eve and Christmas, which is really what the holiday is all about.

But, yes, I did receive quite a few great gifts along the way. A decent amount of the cold, hard cash I got will no doubt be going to cardboard at some point. As will both the Target and Wal-Mart gift cards I received.

Oh, and I just so happened to win 20 bucks off some lottery tickets, money which has already been used to place another Just Commons order.

While money and gift cards are indirect suppliers of cardboard, I also landed myself quite a few direct card presents as well.

The winter months are usually a dry spell for me in terms of busting packs. From about October to January, most of my minimal retail purchases are relegated to repacks and the like.

However, my mom came through big time by putting a blaster of 2013 A&G under the tree for me. I've gone on record by saying that I wasn't all that impressed with this year's Allen and Ginter, but I'm definitely not going to turn down a blaster of the stuff.

Especially when I'm lucky enough to pull guys like Sandy Koufax.

The thrill of uncovering that mini in every pack is still part of A&G's charm.

Even though the design might not be all that great, the minis are still a lot of fun. They have been ever since the set's revival in 2006.

Both of these puppies are going straight into my player collections.

While I prefer my minis to feature actual ballplayers, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy these two insert checklists quite a bit.

The Carter is a new addition to my "Presidents" collection, while the St. Augustine is another step in my feeble attempt to complete this year's "Inquiring Minds" series.

My goal is to have that done by the time 2014 A&G hits the shelves.

I'm also making a half-hearted attempt to finish the "Curious Cases" checklist as well.

Trouble is, that Roswell card is the first one I have from the set. While I'm not big into aliens and sci-fi and all that stuff, that's still a pretty neat piece.

On the other hand, I'm in no way chasing the "Civilizations of Ages Past" series. I just wanted to note how utterly scary that particular insert was.

It may well be the freakiest card I've ever pulled from a pack of cards.

Panini Hometown Heroes has come through in a big way this offseason.

It's given me something to bust during the normally dry winter months. Packs of them seem to magically fall into my cart during every trip through Target's card aisle. I honestly can't get enough of this set.

Apparently, my mom took notice. She does actually listen when I babble on about cardboard sometimes, something for which I wholeheartedly appreciate. (Today just so happens to be her birthday, by the way.)

Happily, she remembered the Hometown Heroes, as five packs of the stuff wound up in my stocking.

Among the goodies was this neat "Defining Moments" insert of none other than Mr. Bryce Harper.

As I've mentioned before, the base design is a big home run for me.

I'm especially fond of that Dawson "State" parallel, one that notes Montreal's home in the Canadian province of Ontario. (I guess both Panini and I need to work on our geography. Montreal is actually in Quebec, not Ontario.)

It's hard to not like a card that features the symbol of our friends north of the border.

I'm a big fan of these "Rivalry" inserts.

The concept is pure gold, in that it features guys who played for different teams in the same city during their careers.

Gary Sheffield suited up for both New York squads. He was a Yankee from 2004 to 2006, and a Met during his "sunset" season in 2009.

He's not particularly well-remembered with either squad, but playing for both teams in the Big Apple is an impressive feat in itself.

As usual, Dad came through in a big way this year.

He put together his usual assortment of COMC goodies for me this Christmas, one that was complete with a slew of utterly awesome vintage. But more on that in a later post.

For now, we'll focus on the wax he managed to track down. According to pops, all the packs he bought for me came from K-Mart, of all places.

In one of our conversations, I mentioned that I'd found a discounted rack pack of 2006 Fleer there for about three bucks.

Apparently, my dad took note and went to check it out for himself. The results are leading me to believe that K-Mart's card aisle may be a force to be reckoned with. (In fact, I went back there the day after Christmas and found a neat retail-exclusive 50-card Phillies set for five bucks. Definitely worth it.)

Among the K-Mart finds was a 100-card repack. I had a ton of fun ripping through it, but it didn't result in much card-wise. I did find a few Topps Attax singles inside, a game which has always remained in the shadow of MLB Showdown for me.

Speaking of which, my dad and I played a special three-game holiday MLB Showdown series the day after Christmas. My dad won it, two games to one.

Ah, the agony of defeat.

My dad also managed to pluck a discounted rack pack of 2009 Upper Deck off the K-Mart shelves.

I've always found it to be a perfectly acceptable set. As of right now, it's the last licensed checklist that UD ever produced.

My favorite of the bunch had to be this one of Big Papi, one that is a treasured new addition to my new "anthemic" mini-collection.

This Christmas proved to be quite blaster-riffic.

Pops scored a blaster of 2008 Upper Deck First Edition for about 75 percent off its original value. I've said in the past that I'd put UD's 2008 release up there with their all-time best.

First Edition was basically a carbon copy of Upper Deck's Flagship release, but one that nevertheless does feature quite a few cool photos.

I could've shown a number of neat shots from my blaster's worth of the set, but I'd have to say these were my two favorites.

I've found that I'm quite partial to shadows on cardboard, something that's in full force with the Buehrle.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was the fact that my dad found a discounted blaster of 2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee on the K-Mart shelves.

I've always been a big fan of the "one and done" OPC brand. Taking Flagship sets aside, it's the closest thing we've seen to a Topps Total-like set since...well, Topps Total.

The minimalist nature and rather large checklist makes every card a surprise. And, as if that weren't enough, a blaster of the stuff contains a whopping fifteen six-card packs in all.

Seeing as how there weren't a ton of cards produced of him in Milwaukee, I enjoyed this C.C. Sabathia insert quite a bit.

After all, his tenure with the Brewers has to be one of the more dominant "Short Term Stops" stints in baseball history.

As I mentioned, the meat of O-Pee-Chee is almost all in the base cards.

While the set does feature a substantial amount of uninspired studio shots, it's the deviations from the norm that make it so memorable to me.

As Albert Pujols is quick to note, however, studio photos don't have to be boring. That's one mean "bat barrel" specimen right there.

If the Uggla is any indication, OPC features quite a few nice in-action shots as well.

Here's another example of that very point.

If the fifteen packs inside weren't enough, the actual blaster packaging itself features a couple box bottoms you can cut out for yourself. While the pack rat in me wanted to keep the box intact, I ended up removing the two cards on the outside of this blaster.

That Pedroia is a beauty that just had to be displayed in one of my nine-pocket pages. It also wears the battle scars of sitting on a retail shelf for more than four years.

In what proved to be a happy ending, my dad swooped in and found it a nice home in my collection.

After all that, I guess I can't complain about not being able to bust any packs during the offseason.

Thanks to the efforts of both my mom and dad, I think Christmas more than took care of that this year.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A very merry Christmas

If Blogger does this right, I should have this post up on Christmas.

I hope all of you out there have a wonderful holiday.


...I hope it's warmer wherever you are than it probably will be here by the time this post publishes.

Merry Christmas, my fellow blogging buddies!

May your stockings be filled with glorious cardboard.