Saturday, August 1, 2015

Gint-A-Cuffs VII: Episode 1 (The Cards Awaken)

And so the greatest saga in card collecting history commences... again... for the 7th time.

What makes this year so special? Well, if you've read anything in my blog, you already know. But more importantly, the theme selected by the Commish this year is exceptional. We're in for a real treat. I said I was toying with the idea of filming the break. I have decided against it for two reasons. 

First - I hate watching breaks. While I could probably make it fun and interesting, I'd rather just list things the way people are used to and they don't have to try and pick the right spot where I pull the Select Picks Relic (at 12:07, FYI).

Second - I don't have the equipment. Filming on my web cam on my computer inverts things like a mirror. Eff that. Filming on my smart phone seems... cheesy. I'd rather do it with some quality. I'll look into actually getting a legit camera to do the shoot with and setting an awesome stage up in my basement. It'll be great. For next time.

As for this year... LET THE RIPPING COMMENCE! I stayed up until 0001 to commence the ripping, despite the rules being posted early. Gotta love some self-control.

Oh, you noticed the comment about a Select Picks Relic? Well, I don't want to spoil anything, but here is a teaser...

Onward to Episode 1: The Cards Awaken! (Or is it Episode 7: Act 1? Whatever... I like Episodes better)

The Box Topper:

Oversized Cabinet Card of #339 - Clayton Kershaw (+8 points)

Well, we KNEW this was not going to be of my favorite player. No surprises there. But how does no one have Clayton Kershaw as their favorite player? He is THE most dominate pitcher in all of baseball. He can even hit home runs. This is cray-cray. I tell you what, getting a FP/YOUR FP as a box topper basically is going to win you Gint-A-Cuffs this year. Points are EXTREMELY hard to come by.

At least we're in the green.

Running Total: +8 points

Pack 1:

Megan Kalmoe #30 (MY FP +4)
Bernie Williams #177 (one of The Commish's Fav Four +1)
Carl Crawford #88
Ancient Armory Tomahawk (Full-sized insert +2)(?)
Mini First Ladies Ellen Wilson (+2 mini insert)
Masahiro Tanaka #350 (-1 Stormtrooperrr.... I mean Yankee.)
Mookie Betts #274
CC Sabathia #241 (-1 Battle Droid.... I mean Yankee!)

Pack Total: +7

WOW. Right. Off. The. Bat. 1st card. I see my sister smiling and waving at me holding the 'MURICAN flag! That has GOT to be a sign. And a good one at that! Also, poor Carl and Mookie, they have got to feel left out being the only two non-scoring cards in the entire pack. Though a little heavy on the Yankees for my taste. I don't exactly know HOW Bernie Williams is worth positive points when HE WAS A YANKEE FOR 16 SEASONS but hey, who am I to argue with points from the Commish? Also, Tanaka and Sabathia... seriously? That is a lot of Yankees. And to be fair, they are a lot like Stormtroopers and Battle Droids. Neither can hit anything and are kind of mindless automatons that are only popular because they're with the evil people. Nyyyah!

Also, I have tentatively scored the Ancient Armory insert card as +2 points. They are technically not listed on the scoring page, but the retail-only full-sized insert Keys to the City are. I suspect this is purely oversight and have raised the question. I will correct later if I am wrong!

Still, hell of a first pack.

Running Total: +15

Pack 2: 

Danny Santana #160 (+1 MY favorite team)
Mark Trumbo #25
Zach Lowe #163
Starting Points Nelson Cruz (+2 Starting Points)
Jenrry Mejia No-Number Mini (+6 NNO Mini!)
Mark Melancon #322
Michael Taylor #235
Kendall Graveman #97

Pack Total: +9

KABOOM! Right off the stack AGAIN we hit a point card. Instead of "I've got a bad feeling about this" how about we use our Gint-a-Jedi senses and say "I've got a good feeling about this!" We hit a solid mini to boot that nets us as many points as a relic hit! A VERY solid second pack. And best of all - NO YANKEES!

Running Total: +24

Pack 3: 

Brandon Moss #153
Robb Wolf #228
Andrew McCutchen #46
2013 John Axford #187 (+3 Full-Sized buyback)
Starting Points Jorge Soler (+2 Starting Points)
Mini Johnny Peralta #313 (+3 SP Mini)
Jason Heyward #330
Grant Balfour #292

Pack Total: +8

JEEZE. These packs. I tell you! Now, I'm all-but-guaranteed to get two full-sized buybacks, so this isn't entirely unexpected. But these packs are starting out STRONG. SP Mini on top of that? Yowzahs. We've had three EXTREMELY good non-hit packs. Onwards!

Running Total: +32

Pack 4:

Hanley Ramirez #209
Johnathan Schoop #259
Evan Longoria #38
Starting Points Jimmy Rollins (+2 Starting Points)
Mini Mark Melancon #322 (+3 SP Mini)
Justin Morneau #301
Travis d'Arnaud #178
Billy Hamilton #275

Pack Total: +5

Right. So not QUITE as strong, but still. Another SP mini to keep the pack average pretty high! If you figure you need to average 8.33333 pts per pack to break 200 (which is high enough with the reduced scoring this year that it is possible! Though the increased participation and thus more favorite players will help balance that out, I suppose...) we're currently averaging 9.25 (with the box topper points... otherwise we're at 7.25 without any hits!) If only good 'ole Justin Morneau was still with the Twins... we could have had it all. Alas.

Running Total: +37

Recap: So, a very strong performance in Episode 1. We haven't exhausted any of the hits so far! I can't reiterate just how important that is! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Pack Review - 2015 Ginter

Right. So. All of this talk about 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter but we have yet to actually give any examples of what the product looks like. Lets take a peek shall we? I've set aside this single pack from those remaining in my non-Gint-a-Cuffs boxes for this purpose as part of an on-going contest over at Bubba's Blog 

The "goods"

Yep. A fairly standard pack. Mr. Trout's face was the first to greet me, which is always nice to be greeted by a smile. Nothing gets me more than a baseball card with a guy who is frowning or something on it. YOU PLAY PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL FOR A LIVING! YOU SHOULD BE SMILING! Unless it is an action shot of exertion, it's hard to smile when you're exerting yourself. But otherwise, smile.

Next up is Darren Rovell, a sports writer. He graduated from Northwestern University in 2000, but he's from New York. So he's basically a Yankee. You know how Yankees are treated on this blog.

How about that Bartolo Colon? The guy hit like doubles in back to back games. What would have been a triple for most guys and an in-the-park HR for the likes of Billy Hamilton, he got to 2nd base. But he didn't have to slide. What a guy. And he's smiling!

David Price was next sporting his schnazzy Detroit Tigers uniform. Good for him. Exertion shot, so he's excuse from smiling. A note on the design, it is very similar from last year. I would have preferred a bit more to differentiate the two. Heaven forbid I should accidentally mix a stack of the two years together. They'll never get sorted out. Also, in past years David would be a SP. Unfortunately, we cut out SP's this year to... save money!? I don't know. Moving on.

Right! A little birdie told me Chris Tillman is up next. Get it? He plays for the Orioles? Birdie told me? Yeah. Getting cheesy here. 

Didi Gregorious plays for the Yankees. No comment except BOOOOOOOOOOO.

I don't even get to boast about my mini, because it's another damn Yankee. Friggin' Jacoby Ellsbury. A traitor from Boston. A turncoat! Throwing tea in the harbor then joining the enemy. What gives man?

Last but not least we have Nelson Cruz Starting Points. As a Brewer. I really do enjoy these 100-card insert sets each year. They provide a solid chase to put together the set and are usually loaded with good names and decent artwork. Like, Nelson Cruz.

That's all I've got for now. Sorry there were no hits. The box was pretty much dead so I wasn't expecting much. But, at least I've given you a glimpse at what Ginter looks like... for us normal people who don't hit five booklet cards in one pack. 

On a final note, I'd be starting out in the red if this were a Gint-a-Cuffs pack. Maybe things are looking up for this contestant since I didn't get stuck with this dud of a pack?

You never know...

Until next time, keep it in the family.


2015 Ginter and Gint-A-Cuffs

Right, so having let the dust settle I figured it would be worth a post prior to the Gint-A-Cuffs Shenanigans. I should be able to get this year's break filmed, but as I stated previously I'll post the video at the END (or the middle... something. Not sure quite yet) as though not to spoil the fun. Maybe I'll do it in segments. Some fancy editing? We'll see.

SO! 2015 Ginter. How does it look. I think it looks great. Very similar design to last year. It can be a little confusing with 2014 buybacks (are they even really buybacks? I mean, they probably didn't even have to buy them back... just grab some from the stock room). I really like the framed mini buybacks that fall 1 per box. Those little plastic frames are just so sharp and having a neat little mini that could be literally anything is just fun. It's like an extra hit!

The Ginter Wife over at A Time for Sorrow and a Time for Joy, has signed up for Gint-a-Cuffs once more this year, since we had a case that we've (mostly) ripped together. It wasn't too had to have the Ginter Toddler pick out two boxes before we started ripping and have them set aside for Gint-a-Cuffs purposes. Based on what the rest of the case had, I think he is trying to have me finish in dead last again. I only say that because I suspect one of the two boxes set aside for Gint-a-Cuffing are going to be short a hit. That's an automatic 10 points down. A significant handicap to say the least! But I'm going to remain optimistic. At least that it is in the Ginter Wife's box and not mine. Hah!

That being said, if anyone is interested in trading, I will have endless dupes of full-sized inserts and endless dupes of base cards available. In particular I'll be looking for minis and Base Card #30. If you want to trade relics and autos, I'll gladly take them off your hands in exchange for dupe hits from previous years or other autos/relics from baseball/football/basketball that I have.

That's all I have for now. Oh, I'll have a special warm-up box break of Panini Clear Vision football to share (I think?) in about a week or so. I say I think because I'm under the impression I won a contest over at The Knight's Lance from about a week ago. There could be another person who used the exact same first name and last initial as I did to sign their post. But I don't think so. I know it isn't Ginter (le gasp! GG, you don't exclusively collect Ginter? Nope, sorry my friends... a wise Easter Bunny does not put all his eggs in one basket for he may trip over a toddler's toys and crack them all!) but I do encourage people to broaden their collecting horizons.

Anyways, that's all for now. As always, keep it in the family.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ginter 2015: I can hardly contain my excitement

... oh wait, yes I can. Because I don't have a checklist and we're just shy of 10 days from release. What else is new though, right?

I would like to take a few moments to give my thoughts on this year's Ginter, prior to release. That is, based on the sell-sheet alone. Because that's all we have.

1) First and foremost, production is going to be up. Like, waaaay up. As in, I expect it to make mini insert sets from 2011 look super-short printed. I have almost no basis on which to justify these crazy claims, mind you, but I just have that feeling that Topps is going to swing for the fences here with all the rookie star power that is on the table this year. Bryant, Pederson, Buxton, Sano, Correra, some other guys... You get the picture. While I'm skeptical that Buxton or Sano are going to be in the set except perhaps as a SSP (like Strausburg in 2010?) there is going to be demand for rookie cards. There always is. And Ginter has some of the nicest rookie cards, in my opinion. So, it is a logical leap to think that production is going to be way up. Plus, last year, it would appear as though production was way down, which is why it was such an incredible product last year. Which is a shame. If it isn't broke, don't fix it.

2) It's going to be like an observatory with all the star power. The aforementioned names, Ichiro, Abreu, Puig... I mean, you'd think that there wouldn't be a single so-called scrub auto in the lot. But there probably will be. I suspect baseball autos are going to be more common than last year. Personally, I'm hoping that Brian Dozier gets an auto, or is even a subject in the set. Poor guy hasn't had an auto since Finest 2012. He's having one heck of a season and let's face it, if it weren't for Royals fans being mad their team couldn't win the World Series last year and having to flex their e-peen by hacking voting and stuffing the ballot, he'd be in the All Star Game.

As an aside, if you're a Royals fan, I feel sorry for you. Because either you're part of the ballot stuffing crowd, or you're getting lumped with them. If there's one thing that I've learned from baseball, it's the key to success rests in cheating. I need to use PEDs, gamble on baseball, use foreign substances, and blah blah blah and then I'm a Hall of Famer or people still love me. Or both. Whatever. The Twins are doing pretty well given the highest anyone would rank them pre-season was finishing 2nd to last, and even that was a long-shot.

3) I don't think I've actually stayed on topic during this entire blog post. That is awesome.

4) People have already claimed that the product is going to suck. (I'm looking at YOU, Blowout Forums...) I'll admit, the sell-sheet was very heavy on parallels for filler and really nothing new or unique that we've come to expect from Ginter. But, one thing I don't think we should discount is the fact that Ginter always has something up its sleeve. Unannounced inserts, crazy hits, whatever. Honestly, unless they plan for it to be the last year of the brand (at least for a bit...) and they want it to end on a crap note, it better be good.

I don't know how I feel exactly about all of these "Ginter Buybacks". I mean, the cards are between 7-10 years old, right? Not exactly revving my engine. Granted you have some pretty awesome subjects in those early products, Danica Patrick, Mia Hamm, and Dennis Rodman come to mind. Of course, we have the return of Hulk Hogan, who could forget that... Anyways, long story short, I don't think I like the stamped buybacks, I especially hated them in Topps Series 1/2 from last year so I don't know why I would like them in Ginter, aside from the fact they are Ginter.

5) I still haven't actually completed any of my mini sets that I've been working on. I'm quite literally a failure at collecting. Though I have boxes upon boxes of minis, which is rather astonishing to me...

Anyways. To conclude, I'd like to say that I have an inkling that I'm due for something... significant. I don't know what, if it's just a big-name SP auto, or an auto'd patch booklet or whatever. But there will be some odds-defying going on when I rip my first-ever case. And I'm not referring to my "guaranteed" RIP card. Though I have not technically pulled one of those myself yet. Maybe a nice wood mini of Kris Bryant. That would be alright, I think.

Anyways. As always, keep it in the family.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Gint-A-Cuffs V Recap

So, yeah... I meant to post this approximately 10 months ago. My bad. I also meant to post, oh, I don't know, ANYTHING between last Gint-A-Cuffs and now. I even thought that I did. I'm clearly losing my mind. Not that there is much left TO lose... but hey.

SO! Since the news is *technically* out of the bag... or the cat is, but the cat is a metaphor for news... Or something like that? I don't know. ANYWAYS. It has been revealed. I have known about a 2015 Ginter Subject since about December that Topps themselves haven't even announced. Though they sort of did.

Megan Kalmoe. 'Who the heck is Megan Kalmoe?' Well, unless you're a fan of US Women's Rowing (or any rowing, really, since most of the races happen on the same day in the same spot for both Men and Women's teams) you probably have never heard of her. But then again, I'd never heard of Amelia Boone or approximately 80% of the non-baseball subjects in Ginter every year. And therein lies a bit of the charm of the brand, don't you think?

Anyways, to answer your question, Megan is a member of the US Women's National team and has represented the US in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, and was part of the Quad Sculls that nabbed the first ever medal in the event for the United States. No boat had managed to medal in that event for the United States since 1976 when they removed the coxswain from the boats. She also has (in my opinion) a fairly impressive list of accolades and some serious hardware to display in her tiny little house somewhere in Princeton, NJ.

How do I know who Megan is, you ask? Easy! I've known her for the last 29 years, 4 months and 18 days. Or, if you don't like years and months and prefer your time in 24-hour increments, thats 10,730 days. This length of time corresponds to the length of time that Megan has been a big sister to yours truly!

I've been trying to nominate her for Ginter for several years now, and finally succeeded! I know she's had fun with it, going to Topps to sign her cards recently and submitting what I believe is a hat she wore during one of the Olympic races. So take that for some sweet memorabilia action on a card. A hat. With cool logo potential and REAL sweat! Ewww, on second though, I hope she washed it.

So! When I realized Megan was going to be in Ginter, I knew instantly that she had to be my favorite player. So much, in fact, that I've already declared her as my favorite player for Gint-A-Cuffs VI. So take that, you slackers and your reliance on a checklist to pick a favorite player and team. The Ginter Godfather lives up to his name and is already got a substantial lead over everyone.

Now, I also realize that since I know Megan's print run on her auto's and that a hat is her relic item, that I'm at a pretty substantial disadvantage for bonus points as the odds of me pulling one are pretty slim. But, they're about as equal as any one of you, and I have the power of DNA on my side. Mwuahahaha!

In other news, 2015 Ginter will represent the first time I ever will have purchased a factory-sealed case of cards for any product or spot. To me, it's akin to buying your first full box. Except times twelve, in this case. It's a step towards the 'I'm kind of serious about this hobby' direction. Which is hilarious, because I'm about as far from being serious about this hobby as you can be. I haven't bought much in the way of cards this year since I quit my job and became a graduate student. And before you think I'm being financially irresponsible buying a whole, it turns out that when you don't buy any baseball cards at all, you have quite a bit of money saved over the course of almost a year. It's nuts.

I'd also like to film my Gint-A-Cuffs break this year. I think it adds a little bit of fun to it. But if I do, I'll post like I normally do with 3-4 packs at a time over the course of 6-8 posts to make it exciting for scoring purposes. Or I might be too lazy and not film it at all. Who knows. A lot remains to be seen.

'Til next post, keep it in the family. Like, super-literally now. Because I'm that good.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Gint-A-Cuffs VI: FINISH HIM!

*insert Mortal Kombat music and sound effects*

Alright, 6 packs left. Lets DO THIS!

Pack 19:

Giancarlo Stanton
George Brett
Marashino "Cherry" Tanaka : -1
Matt Harvey
Michelle Kang
Ken Griffey Jr SP : +2
PPs Miguel Cabrera : +2
Mini SP Ian Kinsler : +3

Pack Total: +6
Running Total: +140

Analysis: Got my first SP mini! Yay!

Pack 20:

Ryne Sandberg
Felix Doubront
Shin-Shoo "Choo Choo!" Choo
Carlton Fisk
Ozzie Smith
Tim Raines
Natural Wonders Sailing Stones of Racetrack Playa : +2
A&G Flag Back Mini of Salvador Perez : +10

Pack Total: +12
Running Total: +152

Analysis: Flag back mini. 'Nuff said.

Pack 21:

Craig Kimbrel
Cal Ripken Jr.
Anthony Robles
James Shield
Andre Dawson
Sony Gray SP : +2
PPs Anthony Rizzo : +2
Mini SP of Paul Konerko : +3

Pack Total: +7
Running Total: +159

Analysis: Yeah, I'm getting tired... these posts need to be spread out over days, not crammed into a single night. Ouch!

Pack 22:

Felix Hernandez
Chuck Todd
David Wright : +2
Nick Castellanos
Jordan Burroughs
Darryl Strawberry
PPs Chris Sale : +4 (PP, FP)
Mini Matt Moore

Pack Total: +6
Running Total: +165

Analysis: Heeyyyy, check it out! Two FP's! That's like... more than the rest of the box! Or at least tied to it. Weak sauce...

Pack 23:

Willie Stargell
Eddie Matthews
Aramis Ramirez
Polar "I'ma Survivor!" Vortex SP : +2
PPs Starlin Castro : +2
*Bonus Hit!!!* Cyan Printing Plate of Giancarlo Stanton : +14
Mini A&G Back Jim Calhoun : +2

Pack Total: +20
Running Total: +185

Analysis: Hey! Can't complain about a bonus hit! I guess those jacked up boxes can sometimes go in your favor, or something? If I can some out squeeze 15 points out of this last pack... yeah, that's not happening.

Pack 24:

Vladimir Guerrero
Didi Gregorius
Brian McCann
Yu Darvish : +2
Jorge Posada : -1
Mike Mussina SP : +1 (SP, Yankee)
PPs David Ortiz : +2
Mini Larger Than Life - Davy Crockett : +3

Pack Total: +7
Funning Total: +192

So there you have it kiddos. Another failure of a year, minus some cool hits. Next year... there is a special surprise. Lets just say I already know who my favorite player is going to be. Mark my words!

Analysis: So, picking Felicia Day probably wasn't the BEST pick in the world, I could have done better with a different pick I suppose. Ugh. Like, Jim Rice as my favorite player would have given me 60 points vice 20. That would have been nice, right? I'll just dream on.

Obligatory Picture:

Also, I found proof of my terrible relic... and other missing cards. Enjoy?

Selfie (With previously unpictured box topper...):

I'm enthused. I promise.

FINAL SCORE: 197 (Adjusted for Selfie)

That's all for this year. Until next time, keep it in the family.


Gint-A-Cuffs VI: Round 4!

OK... some more fun times to be had! I think I'll condense this into 2 posts to meet the time limit. So... 6 packs of fun!

Pack 13:

Jedd Gyorko
Mike "Glub Glub" Trout
Adam Schefter
Carl Crawford
Worlds Capitals Buenos Aires, Argentina : +2
Full-Sized Relic of Austin "I'm also not a real champion" Weinerschke : +8 (I think)
Mini A&G Back Maria Gabriela Isler : +2

Pack Total: +12
Running Total: +89

Analysis: I believe I get full points for the Weinerschke relic. Since the rules specify BASE cards and MINIS are at a -1 disadvantage, and he is not a Yankee (though he really ought to be...) I believe I get full points. Correct me if I am wrong, Commish!

Pack 14:

Wade Boggs
Willin Rosario
Brett "I Hate Yankees" Gardner : -1
Craig Biggio : +2
Bob Gibson
Chuck Klosterman : +1
Worlds Capitals Taipei, Taiwan : +2
Mini of Judah Friederlanderlichihatethisguy

Pack Total: +4
Running Total: +93

Analysis: Ugh, that Judah guy showed up again. I hate that guy. Also, weak pack. Not going to break 200 at this rate anymore. Be lucky to break 150!

Pack 15:

Andrew McCutchen
Fergie Jenkins
Patrick Corbin
George Kell
Fairs and Festivals Dia De Los Muertos : +2
Framed Mini-Relic of Jim Rice : +20
Mini Where Nature Ends - Sandro Botticelli : +3

Pack Total: +25
Running Total: +118

Analysis: Boom! Nice little pickup there. Those framed mini relics are about two per case, so yeah. Would have been nice to have gotten a FP or something out of it, but we'll take Mr. Rice!

Pack 16:

Snoop "Snoop-A-Loop!" Lion : -1
Derek "I'm Glad You're Retiring... YANKEE" Jeter : -1
Paul Molitor : +2
Justin Upton
Bert Kriescher
Rickey Henderson
Natural Wonders Moeraki Boulders : +2
BB Mini Gio Gonzalez : +4 (BB, FT)

Pack Total: +6
Running Total: +124

Analysis: Wow, that was a volatile pack. More scoring cards than non-scoring cards. Naturally there are two negative cards in there. Yay.

Pack 17:

Wil Myers
Alex "Roid"riguez : -1
Rodger "Roid" Clemens
Justin Verlander
Chris Archer
Chris Carpenter
Fairs and Festivals Pingxi Lantern Festival : +2
BB Mini Lou Brock : +3

Pack Total: +4
Running Total: +128

Analysis: I hate Alex Roidriguez. That is all.

Pack 18:

John "THE MAN" Sullivan : +1
Johnathan Schoop
Jordan Zimmerman : +1 FT
Dwight "Doc" Gooden
Jay Bruce
Salvador Perez
Air Supremacy V-22 Osprey : +2
Mini Trevor Rosenthal

Pack Total : +4
Running Total: +132

Analysis: At least I got a plane!

So that brings us to the 2/3rds point and into the home stretch... a LOT of scoring cards this round, so I might break it up into 2 pics. I guess I have a little hope left... 6 packs? Sure, we got this...

Obligatory Picture(s):

Also... it would appear as though my crap-relic didn't make it in the picture. You'll have to believe me... because... why would I lie and say I pulled that pile of junk if I didn't? ANYONE would be better than him... anyone...

Keep it in the family.