Thursday, June 16, 2022

Totally Loving These Colors and Contours

If I'm going to make my bed with any sort of hockey card insert series right about now, it's those "Colors and Contours" that come out as a part of Upper Deck's MVP series. They mostly feature stars; they're numbered to /250, and they looks fantastic. They have been doing these for a few years now; what you're seeing here are the 3 that I've procured from the 2020-21 set, and one that I recently picked up from 2021-22. Honestly, those 2020-21 cards are as good as it gets.

There are 100 in that particular set, so I'm 3% of the way there! There are also green and purple versions. Of course, if you have some of these and absolutely hate them and want them out of your collection, please get in touch.

Monday, June 13, 2022

The 2021 Pablo Sandoval Rainbow

You may or may not know that Pablo Sandoval, my all-time favorite baseball player and the guy whom I have the largest PC of, played for the Atlanta Braves during the 2020 season. He did! I remember seeing him pop up in the playoffs that October as a pinch-runner and I was totally delighted, thinking him as being pretty much done with Major League Baseball once the Giants cut him free. 4 plate appearances, with 2 walks for an OPS of .500. He returned in 2021 for 78 at bats at a .178 average. He now plays in the Mexican League. If the Mexican League makes baseball cards - I have not checked yet - I will absolutely be buying the Pablo Sandoval card.

Topps Update put together a "rainbow" of numbered Pablo Sandoval cards in his Atlanta uniform in 2021. I'm not entirely sure why. Believe it or not, there are 27 different versions of this card to collect, including printing plates and whatnot. I don't understand that at all. Someday I shall have those as well. In any case, these are the six that I do have. 3 of these are stamped and numbered, three are not. 

Saturday, June 11, 2022

A Tentative Mika Zibanejad Collection

As I write this, the Tampa Bay Lightning are a game away from heading to the Stanley Cup finals by beating Mika Zibanejad's New York Rangers, who until two days ago were the most exciting and inspirational thing about this year's playoff season & who I am rooting for unequivocally. Normally I wouldn't care much about an "Original Six" team, but this is a team that's 28 years removed from their last Cup victory, which came something like 50-some-odd years after their previous one. Now they have an average age of 27, with guys who fly down the ice, crash corners and pop up out of nowhere.

Center Mika Zibanejad is my favorite of the bunch. He's a fast-skating, high-scoring Swede of Persian descent. I'll admit I was only marginally familiar with the guy until these playoffs. He's a first-liner for the Rangers and he's been a total revelation during these playoffs, so much so that.....I bought a bunch of his cards. He was drafted by the Ottawa Senators, played there a bunch to build his game, and came over to New York for the 2016-2017 season.

If he and his team get stomped in Game 6 later today - well, thanks for the memories, Mika. If not - well, the story of the Rangers, "the kid line", Adam Fox, Zibanejad, Igor etc etc will go on for at least another couple of days.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The Curse of Wanting It All

As mentioned in
yesterday's welcome-myself-back-to-blogging post, I'm currently dabbling in all sorts of hockey card manias to figure out what I actually like; what's relatively easy to procure; what'll always be too expensive to chase, and so on. I pretty much mastered the baseball card market the past few years, understanding (more or less) what the yearly releases were and where I wanted to spend my time.

The problem I found is that I wanted to spend my time with all of it - or at least most of it. I accumulated more San Francisco Giants cards than I knew what to do with; opened up player collections for at least 15-20 guys; started trying to complete a dozen or more vintage sets; started spending $$ on promising prospects like Joey Bart and Jo Adell who haven't done JACK in the big leagues with their god-given talents, and so forth. It was fun, no question, but then I had to clean a ton of it out to keep my sanity.

With hockey, I think I'm just going to actively go for one player collection: Patrick Marleau. More about that guy in a future post. I can see small PCs assembling for guys like Joe Thornton, Peter Forsberg, Brent Burns and maybe even Mika Zibanejad. As you can see from some of these scans here, I'm also just buying stuff to see what sticks; all of these are interesting cards that came from 2020-21 and 2021-22 Upper Deck Series One and Extended. Now I'm probably going to have to collect all those "Dazzlers", damn it. They're just too great.

I was listening to a new hockey card podcast called Hockey Cards Gongshow (it's a good one), and the fellas behind it were talking about 3 types of card accumulators: "Collectors", "Investors" and "Flippers". While I suppose there's always a part of me that would like to have a buy-and-hold investment in a card I got lucky enough to pull from a pack, that market-based way of thinking about the hobby does nothing for me, and never has - to say nothing of "flipping". The whole breaks, 1/1, what-is-the-market-for-this-card mentality rubs me the wrong way. The Hockey Card Gongshow guys are a little too Wall Street Week-esque at times for my tastes, but their love of the sport and of the players they're collecting overrides all - and hey, I wouldn't be lying if I told you I wish this Ilya Sorokin insert right here was stamped 1/1 on it, or that I'd have loved to get a Trevor Zegras Young Guns out of the packs I bought yesterday.

Anyway, such is the curse of wanting it all. I'll bumble along with hockey cards for a while, trying to complete the stuff on my want list and experimenting with the rest. 

Monday, June 6, 2022

Hey, Card Hemorrhage is Back and "Better Than Ever"

Hey everyone. Well that was a nice little break from "the hobby", now wasn't it? I haven't posted anything since Valentine's Day, and listen, it's not because I stopped collecting or anything. Nah, as I said in earlier posts, I had something of a "reckoning", given that my baseball card collection was starting to overtake my ability to appreciate it and care for it. It was time to reassess and figure out what it was that I truly wanted to collect. Where I ended up was something of a surprise, even to me.

So regarding baseball, my wants and needs were basically whittled down to a few vintage sets - 1965, 1971, 1972, 1975 and 1976 Topps; to two players (Pablo Sandoval and Tim Lincecum); and to various odds and ends that'll let me complete a few things I've started. All of it is on my want list here; if you can help, I've still got plenty to trade.

The only other sport I've really done much with over the years is hockey. I collected every Oakland Seals / California Golden Seals card from the 60s and 70s; I manually assembled and completed the O-Pee-Chee 1974-75 WHA set (maybe my proudest moment in collecting); and I'm nearly complete with the 2001-02 Topps Heritage Hockey set (a few expensive high numbers notwithstanding). 

For a while, I reckoned that was just enough when it came to hockey. Then came my layoff and reevaluation. Now I'm actually over-indexing on the hockey cards, buying stuff at will and relatively randomly, in an attempt to figure out what's out there and what I really like. You can see here that one I'm dabbling in is 2021-2022 O-Pee-Chee Retro, which unfortunately has 600 cards to chase, but damn it, I'm chasing them. I've got a few other sets that are really intriguing as well, and just like any other dork, I'm been ripping Upper Deck packs to try and find some of those "Young Guns", maybe a Kirill Kaprizov or a Trevor Zegras. I started buying some Mika Zibanejad cards because I've been digging that guy (New York Rangers) during the playoffs this year, despite his hockey hair. 

But mostly with the hockey, I'm just buying it all to try and get a sense of it. It's all new and exciting. I mean, I'm going to stay away from virtually all 1980s and 1990s hockey, but aside from that, it's all systems go. I'm glad to be back, and hopefully you're okay with this blog bouncing between baseball and hockey - our two finest sports, right?