Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Vacations are great.  They let you escape from doldrums of work, weather, and people that you see far too often for your own good.  Roughly two weeks ago, I went on a vacation of my own to the "Happiest Place on Earth."  Since I get park admission for free and get extremely good discounts on food and lodging, I try to make my way down to Florida at least once a year (usually during the winter) and just relax.

This year, I went with my girlfriend, my best friend from high school, and his girlfriend.  Despite it being a bit more chilly than we expected down there, we had a blast staying at the Beach Club Resort.  The resort's main draw for us was having the ability to basically walk into the back entrance of Epcot as often as we'd like.

While not necessarily my favorite part of the trip, the one thing that really sticks out to me was playing mini-golf at a place called Fantasia Gardens.  I play a decent amount of real golf on a very casual level and this course enthralled me.  The course legitimately reminded me of an actual golf course complete with hazards including water, deep rough, and sand pits without the sand (so basically just giant pits).  Holes were also far longer than your 'typical' mini-golf course with the longest being around 110 feet.  You pretty much could not possibly get the ball near the hole on some of the longer holes and had no choice except to "lay up."  It was a blast to play and took well over an hour to play all 18 holes.

Image result for fantasia gardens mini golf

My loot from the trip included:

  • A Manchester City jersey from the England Soccer shop in Epcot
  • A few bags of Hi-Chew candy from the Japan shop in Epcot (think Starburst... but arguably better)
  • A Lion King mug featuring Timon & Pumba
  • Two hand-etched glasses from a shop in Germany (Epcot).  One was a small 8oz. juice glass featuring Olaf and the second was a large 14oz. glass featuring Tiger as well as my nickname "Bubba" etched into it.
  • A cast-member ornament from 2016
  • A Magic Band with a few of those attachments that go onto the band and make it look more "magical"
We had a blast and I got to experience a whole host of new restaurants, my favorite of which was the Yachtsman Steakhouse.  It was right next to where we were staying for the week; our waiter was upbeat, and the steaks were phenomenal.

So that's where I've been and it took me a while to catch up on all of your blogs, but I've finally done it and can get back to posting myself!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Covering all the Bases: SP's, Completed Sets, and Frankensets

Night Owl recently sent me a stack of cards neatly packed inside of a bubble mailer.  The vast majority of the cards were needs from 2016 Heritage which I am foolishly attempting to complete this year.  I honestly don't know how he ended up with most of these cards, as I haven't seen this set featured all that much on his blog.  I also don't think he's trying to collect it himself either.

Whatever the case may be, I received a healthy stack of regular base cards that I needed plus these five pictured short prints.  That's a big deal for these obnoxiously seeded cards.

Heritage has somewhat taken a back seat to most of my other collecting goals recently, and I'm mostly okay with that.  I'm probably at the point where buying any more of it would, more likely than not, yield no new cards to my goal.

I think part of the reason for me ignoring the set is because I've become a bit bored of it.  I started collecting it because I really enjoyed the design, but looking at more and more of the cards makes me realize how repetitive close-ups can get.  That Odorizzi especially leaves something to be desired... no arms, no background, no real sense of playing baseball.

This was probably my favorite of the Heritage cards I received.  I really don't mind the posed shots when the player is able to "act" well like Betances seems to be able to do.  He really looks as if he's trying to hold a runner on at first... and perhaps he really is, because this shot looks to almost assuredly be a photo-shopped or green-screened background.

On to more entertaining cards (at least for me)!  Night Owl sent me the last mini I needed to complete this year's Ferocious Felines insert set.  Greg is good at doing this.  The last time he sent me cards he was able to complete my Birds of Prey insert set.  Apparently he likes giving away his animal minis.

Lastly, Greg also included three black bordered Ginter minis along with a note: "Do any of these minis find their way into your frankenset?"  He's referring to my (somewhat) recent post in which I decided to start a frankenset of black-bordered minis.

Alright Night Owl, I'll humor you.  We'll go diving into why these may or may not make the cut. 

2016 card #191: Anthony Anderson

I'll say right off the bat that this card doesn't have a chance.  While I appreciate the inclusion of actors far more than I do all the comedians in the past two years, this particular actor I haven't watched (almost at all).  Black-ish, Barbershop, all "his" TV-shows... never seen any of them.  Apparently he was in Transformers which I did see a long time ago (crappy movie), but I don't remember him being in it.  The only movie I do recall seeing him in was one of my all time favorites, The Departed.  He played a beat-cop and didn't get much screen time, so that hardly warrants a spot in a frankenset.

The card slated to occupy slot #191 is 2010 Justin Morneau.

2011 card #56: Scott Kazmir

This one was simple too.  Kazmir simply gets outclassed by the competition in this slot.  We've got Whitey Ford, Jason Heyward, Apollo Creed, Carlos Correa all being card #56 over various years.  Currently in the binder (because I have it) is the 2014 Jason Heyward, but that can probably be upgraded too.

2014 card #318: Jason Kipnis

Winner!!!  This mini slots right in to the frankenset.  The only other #318 I owned was 2015 David Price which admittedly would have been a tough choice, but I also plan on using Price elsewhere in a different slot.

Thanks for the awesome package Night Owl!  You really did cover all the bases.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Drift of 'Danke' Dockets

Okay... maybe I tried a little too hard with that title, but that's hardly the point.  What is important is two of these great 'thank you' packages I recently received.  Both of the below packages came after my mass mailings of 2016 Ginter X (I still have more if anybody happens to still be looking for some).  Both of these fine gentlemen took a look at my wantlist and started crossing numbers off for me.  Best feeling ever.

The first of these wonderful packages came from ARPSmith's Sportscard Obsession, who still seems to have a good smattering of leftover cardboard from the last two years.  Those two minis brought me down to 14 remaining to complete the 2014 regular back mini set!

...and this one 'completed' my Little Lions set.  Not a very cute last card to cross off the list.  I must admit that I'm slightly disappointed in it.  Also, I say 'completed' because I still don't have card number 16 from this set in my hands.  There's a bit of a story that goes along with that, but its for a different post.

As a set collector, I tend to fall into a trap of thinking of cards as numbers, especially when there's still quite a bit of the set I still need. "Oh, you have that base card #65 I need!  Send it my way!"  It's not until I'm only a couple cards away from completion that I actually go look to see which subjects I'm missing.  It makes me appreciate cards like this Joc Pederson RC all the more.  This card was simply 2015 Topps Chrome card number 129 sitting on my wantlist.

Now, thanks to ARPSmith and the fine gentleman below, my list is down to four cards:

Topps Chrome
46, 112, 177, 183

Here, I'll look them up now.  We've got James McCann, Kris Bryant, Steven Moya, and Jacob deGrom.  Whelp... three out of four of those should be super easy pickups.  I get the feeling #112 is going to be on my wantlist for quite some time though.

Then again, if people keep sending me awesome cards like this Addison Russell, maybe I shouldn't be too worried.  Dang, did 2015 have a ton of 'great' RC's or what?

Oh, no big deal.  Just another awesome Addison Russell card.  During a time in which Cubs bloggers are rampant, Cubs cards are super hot, and the Cubs won the World Series, ARPSmith managed to get these to me.  Highly appreciated.  Thank you!

Package #2 came courtesy of Ryan from "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog.  He also hit me up with a package full of Chromey goodness including the above two 2015 needs.

Ryan hit a bunch of my Bowman needs including these two highlights.  He also knocked my 2013 Bowman needs down to one card in each subset (which I find very odd).  Lets take a look at those three missing cards:

127 (Jake Odorizzi)

BP34 (Jeremy Moore)

Chrome Prospects
BCP80 (Alex Meyer)

Okay! No big names here. Surely this shouldn't be too hard to finish!

Lastly, Ryan sent me a single card from 2006 Bowman.  That's Jonathan Waltenbury if you can't read it.  Clearly, he didn't make it.  Doesn't matter.  I still needed the card!  Thanks Ryan!