Monday, November 30, 2015

Allen & Ginter Insert Overview Series #85

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts, so I figured it's time again.  Apologies to My Cardboard Mistress who sent me an incredible trade package.  I WILL get to it eventually...

Set: 2015 Allen & Ginter What Once Would Be
            Total Cards: 10
            Stated Odds: 1:2 (along with other full-sized inserts)

Bubba’s Derived Odds: 1:14
           # of Hobby Boxes Needed to Obtain Set: 5.83

Favorite (Owned) Card:

This card is my favorite simply because the idea still has potential.  It's currently completely irrelevant simply because of cost, but there still could be possibilities for improvement on the idea.  Every time I see this card I think of the mailroom scene from Elf where Buddy is sorting mail via the vacuum tubes... don't ask me why... my mind is crazy.

In any case, I still think that there are still possibilities behind this idea.  Perhaps not in the realm of human transportation, but for transportation of goods or other things in which speed matters.

Notes and Comments:
I said in my previous insert set review that there was something that irked me in each of the 2015 full sized insert sets.  This set has the worst one... View the card above...

Now view the card below.

I hate this.  In a binder it looks completely ridiculous.  Yes... the same thing happens with card fronts in many sets, but for some reason, that doesn't bother me at all.  I don't really mind horizontal backs overly much either.  The fact that this set contains both vertical and horizontal backs is completely ridiculous.  End rant.

Otherwise, this set is merely somewhat interesting.  The black and white pictures is a pretty neat twist and the theme is good, I do think the card subjects could have been better.  Here's the list of card subjects:

Flying Car
Robot Housekeepers
Automated Kitchen
Food in Pill Form
Giant Airliners
Easy-Clean Furniture
Mail Via Parachute
Vacuum Tube Trains
Lunar Colonization
I suppose I just get a bit let down by most of these.  There are very few that I can point to and say, "Hey! That would be super neat to have in the future!"  Most of these have either been completely ruled out of the realm of possibility already, or are simply too silly to even consider anymore.  Maybe I'm fooling myself...

Arbitrary Rating (out of 100): 45
Click link above for complete up-to-date ratings

% of Set Completed: 100%

Missing Cards: NONE!!!

Extra Cards: All but WOULD-6.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I Was Sent Braves That Aren't Actually Braves...

I was introduced to Jeff and his blog 2 X 3 Heroes when he won one of my Allen & Ginter contests a few months ago.  Perusing his blog lead me to a page called Club PWE which I signed up for.  Apparently Jeff likes sending out random cards.  I like getting random cards.  It's a good fit.  

I got 8 Braves cards in my envelope.  5 made the cut for the team binder (the other 3 I either already had, or were so hideous that I wouldn't want to look upon them).  I found it funny that of the 5 cards, none of the players featured were on the Braves last year (3 of the 5 were on an active roster last year, and a 4th had a minor league contract).  Here's the 5.

I don't have very many cards of Mr. Jeff Francoeur in a Brave uniform even though he was with us for almost 5 years.  His best years (even to this day) were as a Brave and he did his best to defy the sophomore slump by belting a career high 29 HR's in 2006.  This card is a black version of 2008 UD Starquest insert set.  Don't ask me how many different parallels there are of this card.  There are many... that's all I know.

2010 Topps Jordan Schafer.  This guy always irked me while he was with Atlanta.  He got a ton of hype, but never even came close to realizing it.  Apparently he had a decent year last year???  Who would've know?  He's with the Twins now, but I'm not even sure if he's still on their 40-man.  Oh well, still makes the binder because I've got to have at least one card of him.  He was always super fast and a pretty good defender and this showcases that (so its a winner for now).  If I find a decent card of Schafer stealing second though, this one will probably get cut.

We interrupt this program to bring you a card of a player who is probably still most often associated with the Braves... even though he's a dirty Redbird.  What can I say?  I like pitching.  I still like the Shelby Miller trade and I think it's been the biggest win for the Braves in the past year or two, regardless of what happens to Miller now (there are some talks of him getting traded away too).

By no means is Vazquez a Brave.  However... I give you his career numbers: 
165-160 (.508), 4.22 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 8.0 K/9

Now his single year in Atlanta (2009, a year where ATL went 86-76 and placed 3rd in the NL East):
16-10 (.600), 2.87 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 9.8 K/9

The differences are startling.  All of those numbers are career bests for Vazquez.  He carried that team on his back in 09 and deservedly got 4th in the Cy Young balloting.  He absolutely gets a spot in the binder (if not more than one).

Another Bravo who is no longer with us... and another player who probably had his prime in ATL.  I was really hoping Tommy would go somewhere, as his effortless, yet jerky delivery was extremely fun to watch.  Unfortunately, Hanson passed away just over a week ago now with reports indicating catastrophic organ failure.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family and teammates.

Thanks Jeff for the Club PWE package!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Eccentric eBay Entertainment

We've all probably purchased something off eBay before, and I'm sure we've all had our fair share of horror stories and/or "deals of the century."  I frequent eBay quite a bit myself, but don't find myself actually buying much.  I'll put feelers out there on a lot of things, but I tend to be looking for mid-range cards (i.e. not commons, not high end) and eBay really stinks for that type of thing.  

You can typically get commons really cheap shipped in a PWE and high end cards are also very reasonable because usually the seller is willing to take shipping on him/herself.  These mid-range cards are really a struggle though.  If you're looking for a specific say $0.50 card, you can find it for $0.50, but then there's a $2.54 shipping charge attached to it... so typically simply not worth it.

Because of this, I've ended up buying lots of random cards instead.  First, they are much more reasonable, and second, I love doing it because it feels like I'm opening packs since I'm not actually sure what's going to be in the lot half the time.

Prime example below.  This was perhaps the single most extraordinary eBay auction I've ever won for so many different reasons.

First, the title:
Allen And Ginter Mini Inserts Lot of 36 Cards mixed lot

This is exactly the sort of listing that appeals to me.  I find myself searching the keywords "Ginter mini lot" more than anything else, and this is the type of thing I'm looking for.

I clicked into the auction and this is what I saw.

Mostly 2012 and 2013 minis.  Cool.  A couple blacks thrown in as well.  I honestly didn't bother looking at each individual card.  That would take far too long.  The item description wasn't very informative either:

I appreciate this.  "I'm throwing cards at you.  Pay me."  I said okay and placed a bid on the lot.

A week later the cards came in the mail.  The first thing I did was laugh.  I had noticed in the listing that the cards were individually sleeved in oversized sleeves of some sort.  When I got the package in my hands, I discovered what they actually were.  Each individual mini was put into the world's smallest version of a Ziploc bag.  

Now I won't lie, minis can be a bit tough to ship at times.  The most efficient way I've discovered is to throw a bunch horizontally into a team bag and tape it up good.  They tend to protect each other very well when you do this, and you can offer them even more protection with additional packaging (bubble-wrap, cardboard, ect).  They do make mini toploaders as well, but those get expensive real quick.  

This variant on the art of mini protection was quite new to me.  I couldn't even believe that Ziploc actually made bags this small.  What could one possibly want to store in these things?  Buttons?  Even my bags for board game pieces are bigger than these.  Any ideas?

The second thing I noticed was that the person who sold these minis clearly didn't know what he had (or else he was extremely lazy).  Here's a glimpse at a few of them still in their glorious mini-baggies.

Not only did I get some really big names (a Machado rookie and a Hunter black border), but I also got a no-number mini of Shelby Miller's rookie year!  For reference, one usually pulls 4-5 of these NNO-minis in a CASE.  They used to be numbered out of 50 and its pretty well accepted that they still run around 50 copies of each card.  I was thrilled.  That single card is probably worth close to double of what I paid for the entire auction!

Out of the 36 cards I even got two that I still needed for completing my mini sets!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bringing it Back Nice and Slow PWE Style

I received a surprise PWE from Kerry of Cards on Cards, oh probably like 3 weeks ago now?  It shouldn't have really been a surprise though as he mentioned he was doing so in a post.  Either I forgot about it or skimmed over it, because I certainly wasn't expecting it.

The envelope was true PWE style.  None of this modern "stuff as many cards into a third of a 9-pocket page because shipping is expensive."  No, this was your classic 3 cards in a penny sleeve.  When I opened the envelope, Cameron Maybin was on top in Heritage fashion.

I flipped the envelope over to see John Smoltz staring me down and looking to strike me out.  My dad was actually next to me when I opened this and he even commented on the card and thought it was pretty interesting.  The back of the card is a pretty ugly yellow though, so I didn't scan it to save your eyeballs.

In general, I think I like these motion capture shots.  I actually think it's pretty cool when done well.  I've seen some really awesome cards that use this technique for players sliding into second base.  Pitching works decently well as seen above.  Capturing a player swinging a bat can be a struggle though, as most hitters (at least the ones with good form) swing in one plane, so you wouldn't actually see much difference between the pictures.

I was a bit confused after seeing the first two cards.  Why would someone send me a PWE with two random base cards in it.  I didn't have these, so I'm not complaining (and they'll go straight into the Braves and Smoltzy binders), but it wasn't like these were on my want list or I was specifically looking for them.

There was one more card between the two though!  One of this year's retail only full-sized inserts!  Woo!!!  Number 4 is off my list now and we're down to three cards remaining to find!  I'll get them someday.

Thanks for the surprise PWE Kerry!  Much appreciated!