Box Cards (Collectible Of Sorts)

While poking around COMC on Black Friday weekend, I stumbled across some Mets-related box cards… You know, the cards that Topps, Fleer and Donruss used to put on the bottom and sides of wax boxes.

This Howard Johnson card is, of course, from a 1988 Topps box.
1988 Topps Box Cards Howard Johnson

I probably overpaid to get these, but when shopping on COMC I always try to factor in the convenience… I don’t mind paying a little extra for the fact that the cards are easy to find and easy to obtain once I’ve found them.

I also got this 1986 Dwight Gooden box card…
1986 Topps Box Cards Dwight Gooden
…and later I realized I already had this card, only I have it in panel form. At least this way I’ve got one to put in my mid-1980’s Mets binder as well as keeping the original one in box-bottom form.

1986 Topps box cards E-H

Hmmm… I feel like this post needs something more.  How about a 2002 Upper Deck Minor League card of Jose Reyes which shows him in a Binghamton Mets uniform, features the Binghamton Mets logo at the bottom left, says “Binghamton” in silver foil, lists the minor league level as “AA”, which is the classification of the Binghamton Mets and at the very bottom the card says “St. Lucie Mets”.

2002 UD Minor League Jose Reyes

I’ve got a semi-obscure reference in the subject line, and I’ll wrap it up with another semi-obscure reference:

“He was born in Liverpool, attended school in Liverpool, was even married in Liverpool, and his football team is, of course, Everton.”

My Customs Are So “Old School” That Even My Quality Control is “Old School”

There’s a weird part of my brain that kinda misses miscut cards… You really haven’t seen anything like that in the last 10 years, and it’s sort of a shame.

Sort of.
2013 TSR #175 - Jose Reyes miscut

Truth is, I just felt like making a miscut custom, and as long as I’m making one I figured I’d use it to feature one of the players I collect… Well, I would collect his Mets cards even if only because he was a Met, but I really enjoy watching him play even if it’s on another team in another league and in another country.  At least I don’t have to see him in a Marlins uniform anymore.

Koji Uehara is another guy who falls into the “Guy who used to be on one of my teams but I still like him after he’s gone”. I really wish the O’s had picked him up after he became a free agent, but I guess I’ll have to remain satisfied that they got Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter for Koji. I’m glad he’s doing well, and I’ll continue to root for him, as long as it doesn’t adversely affect the Mets or Orioles.

2013 TSR #708 - Koji Uehara

I don’t really know much about Adam Ottavino, but he earned a little bit of my appreciation when I found out his uniform number is zero. There’s something about a player who’s willing to wear zero that just appeals to me…

2013 TSR #699 - Adam Ottavino

…well, for the most part. I was disappointed when Brian Wilson started wearing double-zero, because I’m really sick of The Beard, not to mention the guy attached to it.

“Hey, Mets Fans… Are These Guys Boring You?”

“…Come and talk to us.  We’re from a different country.”

I wouldn’t put it past the Blue Jays to use a Zaphod Beeblebrox pickup line on the Mets faithful.  It occurred to me that, intentionally or not, they’re doing a lot to ensure that the interest of Mets fans ends up directed north of the border.  Think about it…

They’ve got the guy who rose to stardom, became a fan favorite and won a Cy Young with the Mets…
2012 Card #720 - R.A. Dickey Cy Young

They’ve got the guy who was an 4-time All-Star and also a favorite of many Mets fans…
2011 Sticker Jose Reyes

They’ve got the Mets’ 2012 starting catcher…

2011 Sticker Josh Thole

…and one of his backups…
2011 Topps Mike Nickeas

Their new AAA affiliate is the Buffalo Bisons, the Mets top farm team for the past 4 years…

2011 Topps Pro Debut Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Heck, even their manager is a former Met.

1987 Donruss John Gibbons

Their filthy Canadian schemes won’t work on me, though… Not as long as I’m also an Orioles fan.

Well, OK, maybe I’ll root for the Blue Jays, perhaps they can win the Wild Card while the O’s win the division.  But no matter who the Jays acquire, I’m never calling their home ballpark anything but the SkyDome.

2012 Topps Golden Moments Die Cuts, Just Before The Deadline

I unlocked three cards through the Topps “Golden Giveaway”, and even after trading 2 of them for players I collect, I debated for quite a while whether or not to even redeem these cards…  All of the selling points of these cards are just “meh” to me.

Shiny?  Meh.

Die-cut?  Meh.

A design rather than the photo’s original background?  Meh.

I let it go until pretty much the last minute, and finally decided that it would be better to buy them and see if they’re more exciting in person, rather than to skip them and risk buyer’s – or  non-buyer’s – remorse.

So here are the cards. They’re much thicker than I expected, about the thickness of four normal Topps cards.

Please forgive the wavy white lines in the scans… Because I haven’t committed 100% to keeping these cards, I didn’t remove the protective film from the front.

2012 Topps Golden Moments Die Cut Jose Reyes

2012 Topps Golden Moments Die Cut Ryan Zimmerman

2012 Topps Golden Moments Die Cuts Tom Seaver

I hope some of you will say something along the lines of “Whoa, awesome cards!”

…Because I’m still saying “meh.”

Jose Reyes On The Move

I may have donated my Jose Reyes t-shirt to Goodwill after he left the Mets, but I still like the guy. For his sake, I hope that the excitement he expressed about playing in Miami was just the happy talk of a guy who just signed a big ol’ contract.

In ten years time, we’ll probably be looking at Jose’s time in Miami much like we say “Oh, I forgot that Mike Piazza played for the Marlins”.

…or “I forgot that Iván Rodríguez played for the Marlins”…

or Andre Dawson… Darren Daulton… Paul LoDuca… Carlos Delgado… Charlie Hough… Walt Weiss…

Nerdy Custom Talk (Take Or Leave As You Will)

In an earlier post which featured my faux Bazooka cards, I said I’d point out when I used a color combination which hadn’t occurred in the wild… well, this is one. I thought I’d end up using several non-standard color combinations in my customs, but what sounded good in theory didn’t look good in practice. As a result, the purple and yellow you see here will be the lone new color combo added to the rotation.

I tried some different techniques when photoshopping the Reyes image, and I’m not unhappy with the way it turned out. The image I started with had Reyes in an orange Marlins alternate with black piping around the collar. I did a “Negative Image” on the piping to make it white and I colorized the jersey and then had to mess with the contrast and brightness to make it a deeper, less glowing blue. It still has a little bit of an unnatural look to it, so I’ll have to play with that in the future.

Mets Monday: Random oddball stuff and random thoughts

I’ve scanned a good number of Mets images and found that there are a bunch about which I don’t have much to say, so I figured I’d gather them together in a post.

I didn’t get this autograph in person, I got it from a dealer.  I figure there’s a good chance it’s authentic, because why would anyone fake a Tom Grieve autograph?

This is a Pacific Baseball Legends card;  I’m not sure which year, but does it really matter?  I like it when a “legends” set includes some lesser names;  I mean, unless you’re working on a player collection, how many Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax cards does one need?

I’m looking forward to this year’s sticker set, and I don’t know why.  Last year’s stickers are still sitting in a stack on my end table, because I can’t decide if I want to complete the set or just the teams/players I like, if I want to stick the stickers in the album or put the cards in albums, and so on.  Wishy-washy to the end.

I’ve always liked the 1991 Studio set, even though it’s not the type of set I usually like.  I’m a few cards away from completing it (and have spent more than a few dollars more than I really needed to on what amounts to a junk wax set)

I don’t have a scan of the regular Topps Jose Reyes card, but I got this Opening Day card because the photo is inexplicably different from that card, and the card is vertical instead of horizontal.  If anyone knows of a good resource on which Opening Day photos are different from the regular set’s photos, please let me know.

Despite the Mets awful Spring Training win-loss record, I’m champing at the bit waiting for the season to start.

Let’s go, Mets!

2012 Topps Series 1 doesn’t go past 330 cards unless I say it does

I completely understand the anguish many people have about the Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes super short prints in 2012 Topps Series 1.  I was also dismayed about it… at first.  But after I let the news digest a bit, I said to myself “Screw this.  I’m not going to get upset about it. “

Topps can number the sets however they want, but I will consider my 2012 Topps set complete without Pujols and Reyes, just like the 2006 Topps set is complete without Alex Gordon…  Just like what I consider to be a “complete” update set has fewer than 330 cards because I’m generally not interested in the All-Star cards or the Home Run Derby cards or the multiplayer cards, I’m really just interested in the rookies and updates.  Anything else gets sold or given away.

I collected postage stamps for a few years, and one of the first things you learn is that you can’t collect everything.  There are too many stamps issued by too many countries each year.  As a result, every stamp collector has a defined subset of what they collect.  You might collect stamps of former presidents, or national landmarks, or stamps related to space exploration, or Lithuanian commemorative issues, or stamps that are blue, but whatever you specialize in, you specialize in it because it’s what you enjoy and because you have to specialize.  I think that’s where the sportscards hobby is today.

Many of you collect only team sets from new releases, or collect particular inserts, and that’s really no different:  You collect what you want, you ignore the rest.  What I’m suggesting is just on a larger scale.  You decide what constitutes a set.  You decide when it’s complete.  You stake out your own little corner of the collecting universe, and you have fun with it.

It’s not a revelation to declare that this hobby is not centered around set building.  If it were, then Topps Total would be going into its 11th year.  It’s also not a revelation to declare that everything works on the lottery mentality, it runs on the mojo, the hit, and as long as that’s true, then we’re going to get shenanigans.  It doesn’t matter if the blogosphere moans and wails, as long as a buzz is generated by gimmicks, as long as sales are driven by gimmicks, there will be gimmicks.  How you approach this is up to you.

So yes, I will be buying (and hopefully enjoying) 2012 Topps, and I will be working towards completing what I consider to be the set … and, should I get a Pujols or Reyes, I’m selling that baby and using the money to buy something I’ll enjoy more.

Weigh-in #8

Among the items I dropped off at Goodwill yesterday were 3,547 unwanted cards (coming soon to a repack near you!) and a Jose Reyes t-shirt.  The Reyes shirt was my last Mets shirt suitable for public wearing.  If I bought a new Mets shirt, would that be propping up the crumbling Wilpon empire in some infinitesimal way?  After all, the proceeds from a t-shirt purchase would cover the Mets operating costs for 1/64th of a second… maybe 1/32nd.

As for the cards… getting rid of cards this way is not my preferred method, but it was all commons and parallels (not to mention NASCAR stuff) that I really didn’t have the time or desire to deal with in any other way.

Numbers for this week:

Cards coming into the house:  0

Cards leaving the house:  3,547

Cards entering the collection:  1 (opened a blaster-pack of 2011 Update)

Cards leaving the collection:  0

Cards moving from inbound to outbound without entering the collection: 7  (Obviously it wasn’t a good pack of Update)

To date:

Net change in the collection: -240

Net change to the # of cards in the house:  -4121

A few random thoughts on the winter meetings

The obvious reaction to the Angels big signings is that they want to compete with the two-time AL champion Texas Rangers… But I think the Angels front office smells blood… Dodger-blue blood.  There’s probably not going to be a better time if they want to become Los Angeles’ team.

What I wish for when Jose Reyes comes to CitiField for the first time in 2012:  Give the man an ovation when he comes to bat for the first time, show him the appreciation for all he’s done — and as soon as that first pitch is thrown, he is the enemy.  Feel free to boo the crap out of him for the next six years.

…Finally, I have to apologize.  Back when the Marlins unveiled their uniforms, I said they weren’t bad.  Now that I’ve seen Heath Bell and Jose Reyes modeling the uniforms up close and in HD, I will flip-flop on that.  They don’t look bad from a distance, but close up, well…  um… They sure are colorful!


My Mets wall calendar is making me nervous

I’ve got a Mets wall calendar at work, and it seems like a bad omen when a player has appeared on the calendar;  either the player’s gone or is about to be gone through injury, trade or otherwise.  Here’s what happened to each player pictured on the calendar:

January:  Daniel Murphy – No problems here, other than there being rumors this week about him being traded.

February:  Ike Davis – missed the season with an injury

March:  Luis Castillo – A pariah when March started, unemployed when March ended.

April:  John Maine – had become a free agent over the offseason, didn’t pitch in the majors in 2011.

May: Jose Reyes – I don’t need to tell you what the story is here.

June:  Johan Santana – missed the season with an injury

July:  Jeff Francouer – had been traded during the 2010 season

August:  Francisco Rodriguez – had been traded at the All-Star break

September:  Carlos Beltran – had been traded to the Giants at the end of July

October:  Jason Bay – Still around but coming off a disappointing season

November:  Mike Pelfrey – Ditto

Now David Wright is on my calendar and I can’t help but wonder… is this an omen of something bad to come?  Will he get traded at the Winter Meetings?  Will he be walking down a Manhattan sidewalk and have a grand piano dropped on his head?

With any luck, only thing that’s headed out the door is the black hat and socks which David’s wearing.