This is the time of year where I just kind of sit around twiddling my thumbs.
Baseball still feels far away, the hot stove is cooling off, and since my interest in other sports is minimal (at best), that doesn't leave much excitement. Last year's card releases are pretty much over, and the debut of the new card season is weeks in the waiting. So what's one to do other than twiddle their thumbs?
The good news here is that I still have a good amount of stuff rolling in from my fellow bloggers - card mail is even more of a blessing in these barren winter months. And sometimes said mail isn't even limited to cards. Take this Ryno comic, for instance, a rather unusual item that came from Bob of "The Best Bubble" blog a while ago.
The "FREE TRADING CARDS! FULL COLOR!" were (sadly) nowhere to be found, and although I've never been much of a comic guy, this'll take its place among the oddball joys of my collection.
Bob also threw in a couple other quirky gems - hard to beat an airborne Babe on an old-timey play at the plate.
I know Topps issued special cloth reprints in blasters a few years back, and I'm guessing someone dissected that Ryno from the card frame at some point...maybe? (If it's not that, then I have absolutely no idea what it could be.)
An overlooked benefit to getting cards in the mail is that it can often be educational.
Jeff of "Wax Pack Wonders" was nice enough to send me this Jim Abbott, and even noted that it's a gold Electric Diamond parallel - I don't know about you, but I had no idea those were a thing.
Nor did I ever dream that Puerto Rican League cards existed!
Can't say I've heard of any of these dudes, but there will always be something thrilling about owning cards from an entirely different country.
Sending me new Jim Abbott cards is one of many ways to put a smile on my face.
These Abbotts came courtesy of Tom of "The Angels in Order" blog and I'm smiling right now just looking at them.
A few more goodies from Tom - Livan Hernandez isn't particularly high on my collecting totem pole, but I couldn't resist a card with a massive hole in the middle for no apparent reason.
Tom even sent along a few other needs as a thank you for my 11-year giveaway, which was most welcome but most but definitely not necessary.
(Totally forgot I was trying to build that MLB Network insert set.)
A big box from Kenny of "Torren' Up Cards" came in the mail a couple months ago, and when I finished rubbing my hands together and opened it...this fell out.
From what I've seen, a few other bloggers were Zapped with one of these odd Pete Alonso plushies - it's one of those strange items that manages to simultaneously (and paradoxically) make me think COOL! and ...what am I gonna do with this??
Thankfully, a few more conventional pieces of cardboard came along for the ride in this Zapping, including a few treasured Utz oddballs!
Still never found any of the cards around here, though I buy their potato chips more often than I probably should.
(Bonus points for the weird Giants Carlos Beltran & Rockies Jason Giambi sightings.)
I'm on record on being way more of a cat person, but I'll campaign for bat dogs in baseball forever (especially Golden Retrievers!).
Finally in these thumb-twiddling times comes a couple PWEs from longtime friend-of-the-blog and all-around good guy Joe Shlabotnik of "The Shlabotnik Report" fame.
I'm long overdue in posting an envelope I received from him a while ago, one that included a few early-2022 set needs - and yes, I've been dividing those Opening Day inserts into three separate miniature cards for my binders, because that's why the perforations are there, right?
A couple more recent needs from Shlabotnik HQ, including a Tris Speaker I was thrilled to get since Heritage SPs seem to fade into oblivion from the moment they're released.
Mr. Shlabotnik sent me a second surprise PWE that arrived here in snow-bound Illinois just last week - a fun smattering of cardboard that knocked out a few Heritage High Number insert needs.
Given that I'm not much of a fan of the movie, I feel weird liking the "Field of Dreams" games as much as I do - I mean, I still get the warm fuzzies remembering Tim Anderson's walk-off homer in the first one a couple years ago.
A few more recent needs along with a new Javier Baez from the sadly defunct Topps Stickers brand (bring 'em back, Topps!).
The Topps Debut portion of this year's Archives is absolutely fantastic, and this one in particular is wonderful (is there such thing as a bad Roberto Clemente card?) and a treasured finale to this great PWE from the Land of Shlabotnik.
With cards coming out weekly and a 24-hour channel devoted to the game, it's true that baseball is more of a year-round sport than ever these days - but that doesn't stop me from wanting the snow to melt and the Super Bowl to be over and done with already.