2016 Team Sets

Now that we’re finally deep enough into card season that releases are coming out every few weeks, I can catch up on my team sets. I know it’s not glamorous, a little boring, whatever you want to call it, but team sets are still my primary collecting goal. Not hits, not rookies, not individual players, but team sets themselves make up the bulk of my collecting. I also cheat and buy them rather than bust packs for them. A) I’ve never, in the history of ever, pulled all the cards I need for a set. Not once. I’m always chasing loose ends. B) It’s significantly cheaper. Buying a $12 team set and getting the exact 10, 15, 20 cards I need is considerably more economical than buying a $20 blaster and getting 2, or an $80 box and getting all but 3 (and then paying $3 each for those missing ones).

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From Sam

I’m sure most folks in the card blogging community have read that Sam, aka The Daily Dimwit, is taking a break from collecting. While many have left kind regards and well wishes to him on his blog (as well you should), I actually know Sam in real life, and can do that in person. Our wives have known each other since grade school and I met Sam, through that connection, after moving to Texas years ago. I credit him with my eventual return to the hobby. We try and meet up when we can, catch up, and usually exchange cardboard. He was in town a little while ago and, although we weren’t able to meet up this time, he left me quite the card package on my door-step. We’ll have to work out schedules and properly plan a time to hang out soon. So until I can thank him in person, a blog post in gratitude will have to suffice.

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To Sell or Not to Sell

So, per usual, this weekend we made a shopping trip to Target and per usual I’m standing in the card isle trying to find something worth buying. My Target’s card isle is usually pathetic, but this weekend they had two lonely blasters of Diamond Kings. I love Diamond Kings, I think they’re a brilliant merger of art and baseball, but $20 is a lot (for us) and I already have most of the Sox team set. I buy it anyways, because I’m weak, but we have other errands to run and I set it aside to open later. When I finally do open it, I’m suddenly glad I bought it. This was waiting for me in the first pack…

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2016_DiamondKings_Dansby_Swanson_RelicAuto_3-10_back

Hey, a 3/10 isn’t bad. Duel relic, auto, but it’s for some random guy on the Diamondbacks that I’ve never heard of. Who the heck is Dansby Swanson? Meh. I put it in a top loader and go set the table for dinner.

Later that night curiosity gets the better of me. I text Sam and ask him if he knows who Swanson is. Sam is my go to baseball encyclopedia. He tells me he was the first pick in last years draft and that, “that kid is going to be a star”. Really? Hmm. Now this is getting interesting. I google him. Power position player at Vanderbuilt, star of the Collegiate National Team, drafted #1 by the Diamondbacks, signed for $6.5 million, traded to the Braves in the Shelby Miller deal. Damn. This is what I get for not paying attention to baseball news outside of my bubble.

Ok, so the kid is legit, but what is the card worth? What should I do with it. I search eBay…

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Holy crap.

Ok, so, umm, what about this Diamond Kings card in particular?

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That’s not terrible, but now I’m conflicted. $2k for a Bowman auto, which I attribute to “Bowman Mania”, and would expect to die down at some point, but only $70-ish, give or take, for a Diamond Kings auto? I guess people really undervalue those unlicensed cards, which is a shame.

So, clearly, while I would love it to be a $2,000 card, it’s not that. Although it’s 3/10, it’s not a Bowman and it’s not sparkly. At $75, give or take, it’s falling into that “Do I sell it, or hold on to it” category. For $2,000 I would have sold it in a heartbeat, I have car repairs and mortgage payments. $75 doesn’t get me anywhere in that category, and I’d just blow $75 on more cards.

The question becomes, does this card go UP in value if I hold on to it? Most cards don’t. I learned my lesson with my 1/5 Russel Wilson auto. No one wants it now, Russel Wilson is old news. Dansby Swanson however, is just starting his MLB journey. He’s playing Single-A in the Braves system and projects (according to Fangraphs) to be a 7+WAR player in the majors. He’s a shortstop with power, and we all know how rare those are. He’s easily the top prospect the Braves have, and they’ll most likely build a team around him in the coming years.

I’m at a loss as to what to do. $75 (estimate) doesn’t make me want to list this immediately and cash in. I wish the DK cards were going for more. I guess, if anything, it just removes the sense of urgency, and I can wait a little and see if an interesting offer comes around. Anyone have any advice on this one? What would you do?

How To: 2016 Topps Flagship

I should start this off by saying the easier way to do this is to take a scan of a card and simply cut out the “corner” design elements and paste them onto a photo. If you’re more inclined to do that, I’d recommend reading the first part of the tutorial and ignoring the later 2/3rds. However, if you’d like to know how to recreate the 2016 Topps design, vaguely accurately, read on.

Prerequisites: In order to complete this tutorial you’re going to need a few things…

  • Basic to moderate Photoshop knowledge.
  • Photoshop CS6 or CC (for the lens blur effects and stacking layer styles)
  • Several “grunge” and/or “water color” Photoshop brushes. Some free examples here, here and here.
  • Various metal textures and patterns, examples here.
  • A “metal hole” texture or pattern, good example here.
  • Team logo of your choice (good resolution)
  • A high-res photo of your favorite baseball player. Try Google, image search, “more options”, “larger than 4mb”.

Let’s do this!

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Tutorial Sneak Peak

It had been a while since I did a custom card tutorial, so I thought I’d break down 2016 Topps flagship and try and recreate it. I think this is a fairly accurate representation. I’m still writing up the tutorial, I’ll probably post it on Monday, but here’s what to look forward to…

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Five by Seven

I had purchased one of those oddball 5×7 cards in the past, a 1/10 Mookie Betts to be specific, but I guess I didn’t realize Topps was just going to run with the idea for pretty much every set and/or variation. They’re selling them online, usually in sets, and dealers are buying them and breaking the set into singles. Usually I avoid oddball stuff, but when a saved search comes up with something like “Mookie Betts, 10/10, 0 bids, $0.99, 10 minutes remaining” it’s kind of hard to ignore.

2016_THeritage_5x7_Gold_Mookie_Betts_10-10

There it is, 10/10 (lower left corner of the back – blue side), in all it’s “I’m never going to find a box for this” glory. Luckily the seller shipped it already in a 5×7 top-loader and inside a rigid photo mailer. Also luckily, he combined shipping…

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This one is from a “team set”, again an online exclusive. Numbered 21/49. I can actually appreciated that they didn’t go nuts printing this stuff. Let’s be honest, this isn’t a “baseball card” in the traditional sense, this is a “collectable”.

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I couldn’t help myself. I’m not even sure what set it’s from, I’m assuming it’s an “insert” from Heritage. It’s featuring Nolan Ryan, George Springer and Mike Foltynewicz. This one is #/99. All three of these were $0.99 with combined $3 shipping. Not a bad score. I figure with Nolan Ryan (and his museum where he signs things) being about a 10 minute drive, this might be a fun “card” to get signed. I wonder if I can get all three at some point. We’ll see.

Like I said, I usually don’t go crazy with things like this, but they seemed like solid pickups and the price was definitely right.

2016 Card Show – Round 2

To be honest, I had the remaining stack of cards from the card show (back in freakin’ February) sitting on my desk to be scanned until I moved them in an ill-fated attempt to “clean”. Never again. Organized chaos is my go-to from now on. Not that anyone was waiting with baited breath to see what pitiful collection of Red Sox and Astros cards I picked up two months ago, but I scanned them anyway. Organized, no. Completionist, yes.

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Two of the Big Ones

It’s not every day you get to cross two cards off your Most Wanted list. One of these is relatively new, but impossible to find. The other has been on my want-list from the very beginning.

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2016 Card Show – Round 1

Back on Valentine’s Day, my wife surprised me with a “let’s go to the card show!” day trip. We’re not big Valentine’s people, I don’t need a special day to tell my wife I love her, and the mark up on flowers is insane, so we usually keep it low key. Going with me to the card show is probably the best gift she could have given me. Not only that, she actually stood there, for hours, thumbing through dime boxes, looking for Sox cards with me. She was finding more random refractors than I was. It was really nice to have a second set of eyes (and hands) to cruise through the boxes. She’s awesome that way.

So, this is the first round of scans. I grouped them by player, just for my own scanning organizing. Round two is all the fun stuff (autos, rare finds, etc), but this is a good majority of “the rest”.

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The Random

There’s always those random cards you pick up at random times that don’t quite fit into a post on their own. Sure, I could mention how I picked up two Astros cards for no particular reason, but the truth is I just added them on to something else I was buying and I plan on giving them to Sam at some point. Does that entire train of thought deserve it’s own post? Probably not. Am I going to show them to you anyway? Of course I am. lol.

2014_BChrome_Moran_Thurman_Auto_Blue

I had been browsing random sellers looking for a few Bowman cards and I ran across these two. I think the blue is actually /199 or something similar, and refractor autos are always nice.

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Here’s another card I wasn’t actually looking for, but I thought was nifty enough to add to the basket. I think the wave refractors were tough pulls, and the colored ones doubly so.

2013_BChrome_ERod_Ref

There’s the card I was actually trying to buy. I’m on this kick to try and nail down the important/rookie/quintessential cards for current memebers of the Red Sox. Since Rodriguez factors into the starting rotation for the forseeable future, I figured a Bowman card (before his rookie card) from the minors made sense. I’ve got plenty of his cards from this year with RC logos on them, but I wanted that “first” card as well.

2015_Panini_Immaculate_Barnes_Patch_69-99

Speaking of random rookie cards. How about a Matt Barnes RC patch card from Immaculate? Not too shabby. I have no idea if Barnes will work out this year now that they’ve decided to make him a part of the bullpen, but hopefully the reduced innings and more time to perfect his control will be a good combination.

2015_Panini_Immaculate_Finnegan_Sleeve_98-99

Finnegan, who got traded to the Reds in the Cueto deal, was just along for the combined shipping ride with the Matt Barnes. I love it when sellers just jettison nice cards for nothing. I have no idea what a box of Immaculate costs at the moment, but somebody definitely lost a couple bucks on this one. All the better for me. Trade bait if anyone wants it.

2011_BChrome_Holt_GoldRef_50_Beckett_95

Now, that’s a pretty nice pickup if I do say so. I already had a Gold border 2011 Bowman Chrome, but this one is graded. So, now I own 2 of the 50 copies of this, and the only one that’s ever been graded (Population Report). Yay!

Noe_Ramirez_BPlat_Auto_Patch_166-199

Last card for today. A very nice Noe Ramirez patch/auto from Bowman Platinum. Ramirez spent most of last year in AAA but got called up in Septemeber when Tazawa was shut down for the season and spent a month or so as the bullpen setup guy. He looked pretty good in his 17 appearances, with the exception of one really bad day against the Astros at Fenway (hit a batter, 4 runs allowed, etc). If he wins a bullpen spot in spring training he’ll be a good bullpen piece, if not then another year in AAA should give him a bit more experience.

Apparently I was on a “bullpen pitcher” buying frenzy and didn’t realize it.

In other news, the Houston card show is this weekend. Going to try and hit that and splurge on completely random junk. I’ll be back next week with complete and utter random nonsense.