Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Card of the Day - 2008 SP : Matt Kemp By The Letter Autograph " K " ( 88 / 99 )

K is for Kemp.

I have finally been able to get my hands on the "K" that is needed for the phrase of this never ending project. This letter has one of the larger print runs of 99 but for some reason this is the first time I saw it up on eBay for sale. I tend to think that a lot of people that have it plan to keep it as they probably have spelled out KEMP or MATT KEMP and have no intention to break it up. Bad for me.

All my attention zeroed in on this card when the auction neared its close and thankfully the price did not get out of hand and I was able to pick it up way below my ceiling. Price was cheaper than taking the wife and I out for a fast food meal for lunch.

I am getting close. I can feel it. Can I really finish this project? Knock on wood and wish me luck.

Double 8 of Double 9

Monday, October 20, 2014

18 Cards Submitted To Beckett Grading Submissions (BGS) At South Bay Sportscards On October 4, 2014

Baseball season is quickly coming to an end this month and it seemed to me the perfect time to submit my last group of cards for grading. I basically went through all my cards that I found worthy of grading (i.e. Kershaw, valuable, limited or colored parallels) and this is the lot I cam up with. I say this is my last one for awhile as I have exhausted my present collection of cards that fit into my definition of gradable. The other reason there won't be another submission till next year as there is only one more set (Topps Five Star) coming out from now till next April that would in my opinion "deserve" to be graded. Of course this does not account for any singles I might pick up. All my Kershaw autographs will now be graded and other limited autographs as well.

With that said I submitted a whopping 18 cards this time. Beats my last submission by 5. I think that out of that bunch at least 8 have a really good chance at gem mint with another 2 that could go either way. Of the remaining 8 I know 3 for sure will grade out as "just" mint with the remaining 5 up for debate which I will get into.

My last submission yielded me my first pristine graded card ever. I don't think any of these will get that grade as I can almost say there is no chance at that looking back at the full 18. If I was to get 10 gem mints back with 8 mints and no other hiccups I would be happy with it all.

As always I go from the least likely to grade high to my "guarantee" that it will come out gem mint. Any well wishes is always appreciated. Obviously there are plenty of Dodgers so lets start off with number 18 :

2013 Topps Five Star 

No way no how does Puig here replicate pristine status as he is guaranteed not to even achieve gem mint status. My hope is that he still holds on for plain old mint and doesn't get dropped to near mint category. Everything is fine for the most part on the card but one of the back corners is frayed. At best that will sub grade to a 9 (would be nice if coupled with 3 9.5's but I doubt it) but a good chance it will come back a 8.5 but what I expect to be at least 3 9's in the other sub grades I think it will still come out an overall mint 9. I debated on selling this card but due to its limited nature (75) I decided to keep it a little bit longer and see how Puig's career pans out.

2014 Bowman Black Collection

Next up and sad to say is this great autograph of Urias. I love these silver on black autographs but anytime you have these thick cards they are highly vulnerable to chipping, fraying etc. and Urias here could not escape that. While no bending of corners is present there is some slight fraying but everything else looks to be up to par. Still think it grades out to a mint 9 but I'm a tad weary but not as much as the 5 Star Puig. Another issue that might arise is you might notice that his signature slightly streaks which BGS sometimes has an issue with. Crossing my fingers.

2012 Topps Museum

Kershaw makes his first appearance in the group and even though this one is possibly in the best condition the others might be grade higher. More on that later. As stated in this POST this was part of a small 2 card project. I picked up it's twin on a great discount on eBay which was already graded a mint 9 and found this one also on discount at COMC. While I would and always would love gem mint grades I look at this card and it seems that everything looks good but the corners are somewhat rounded which makes me think it will grade out to a mint 9 which considering it's twin already is a mint 9 I would be OK with that. Won't turn down a gem mint though. = )

2010 Allen and Ginter

Lower expectations with better results is better than high expectations and lower results. Kershaw and/or Allen Ginters will forever fall into this category for me for now one hence the low placing of this autograph of Kershaw. I've thought some A&G's would grade to gem mint and didn't, others where I think they would be less but ended up being more and also if you note that in the beginning of Kershaw's signature you see it tale off a little on the bottom. Does this count as "outside" the margins and to the edge which BGS hates? I hope not. Otherwise I think this is a great looking card which at minimum should grade out to a mint 9 but in another world I can see it as a gem mint. 

2009 Allen and Ginter

2009 here is a basically a 2010 just in a different color. Same "issue" with the signature as the other is present here but everything else looks to be peachy. So once again. I expect no less than a mint 9 but I could see gem mint 9.5 as well. Low expectations, low

2012 Bowman Sterling

I came across another copy of this card as I already have one in my collection but it never hurts to have two for trade bait. The last copy came back a gem mint 9.5 and while I think this one has an outside chance of earning the same grade one of the corners worries me so a mint 9 would not be a surprise here. 

2014 Allen and Ginter

Only 7 cards in and we are at the last Kershaw already. My tempered expectations might be rewarded when the grades come back but I don't want to get my hopes up. Though I just want mint 9's on all my Kershaw autographs these Allen and Ginter's look like they can earn gem mint grades but each one the autographs scare me. This one tails off to the right and only under a loop can you see it barely misses the edge but with past history I just don't know what BGS will think. Everything else looks to be in fine condition with no issues that I can see. Wait and hope is what I shall do on this and the other Kershaw's. Be nice BGS, be nice.

2013 Bowman Chrome

We now come to the 3 cards that I feel are "guaranteed" mint status but could easily earn gem mint status. I am stocking up on Seager cards and hopefully more gem mint Seager cards. On the front this card looks flawless as I would describe it as gem mint but it's that back that gives me a little concern. I can tell its off centered but it doesn't look to be more than 70/30 which would drive the sub grade down below a 9. Hoping it doesn't hold this card back from gem mint but mint should be assumed here.

2013 Topps Five Star

The 2nd of the three cards that are on the mint/gem mint fence. Unlike the Puig 5 Star card this one is void of corner issues and other than a slight centering issues on the lower banner I don't see an issue but with Five Star and thick cards in general you just never know. Fully expect nothing less than mint status but would not be surprised if it earned gem mint. A great bargain of a purchase would be even better with a gem mint grade.

2013 Topps Five Star

And now the last of the 3 "destined" for mint status. This one is above Gibson's as I see no banner centering issue here and even the corners are crispier than Gibson's. I will go out on a limb and be disappointed if it doesn't at least garner 2 sub grades of 9.5. Hopefully that will be en route to an overall grade of gem mint,

2014 Topps Chrome

10 down with 8 left and I believe all 8 should earn a gem mint grade. 
I wasn't planning to submit this one but considering it is a limited rookie autograph card in a gorgeous black border I decided to throw into the pile for submission. Don't know if Guerrero will ever amount to much in American baseball but if he does this will be a great card to have in gem mint. The only issue I see with this card is that it is not perfectly centered on the back. 

2003 Topps Tribute

I knew I wanted this in a BGS case once I received it. Signature is in great condition, picture shows a classic moment not just in Dodger history but in baseball history. It shows the last great year in Dodger baseball up till today. On top of all that there is a bat relic from Gibson as well. Overall great card. Everything checks out to be gem mint with the only issue that might arise is the surface which may or may not grade out to mint 9 but I think everything else will be just fine.

2012 Bowman Sterling

This is the second Bowman Sterling of Seager in the batch but this one is the limited refractor parallel version. Everything including corners and autograph looks great and the only thing that gives me pause is surface as there seems to be a small flaw. Hopefully it won't knock the overall grade down but I believe it will still earn a gem mint grade on this card.

2013 Bowman Chrome Mini

The only reason I submitted this card was for the fact that since the submission pile was getting so big what harm is it to add one more to it? It has the lowest book value of the lot ($10) but I love these blue bordered minis and since it showcased our favorite Korean son why not? Also even thought I think it's gem mint it might have an outside chance at pristine but considering it is tricky to assume that I will go with gem mint for now. 

2014 Bowman Chrome

Remember this picture as you will see it again later on. Normally I wouldn't submit a blue parallel if I already have a black version of it. With the black one coming back to me in gem mint status as seen HERE I wasn't planning to do the blue one but considering it looks to be in the same condition as the black one I thought why not have a blue twin. I see no problem arising for this card and hope to add another great Urias card to the collection.

2013 Topps Chrome

The best purchase money wise that is not an autograph is finally going to get graded. I purchased this card for a mere 99 cents. As shown HERE the seller obviously made a mistake in the eBay listing but I still received the card in great condition and couldn't believe I received this $50 card for that amount. I sent in my Kershaw variation from the same set for grading as seen HERE and it came back as a gem mint beauty and what better way to show that one off again than to have this Kemp coupled with in it gem mint glory as well. As with that one I see no issues with this one and hope to add yet another 9.5 of Kemp to my collection.

2014 Topps Chrome

Only reason this is not the top card is because it is not a Dodger and I reserve that spot for Dodgers only unless another card is far and away superior to it. I always hoped that when I won this card it would make it to me from Topps in great condition and once it did I knew I was going to submit it to BGS for what I hope and believe is a gem mint grade. The only thing I can possible seem wrong is that there is a small dimple on the surface. Not sure how BGS will see that. 

2014 Bowman Chrome

And now for the final card. If and WHEN this grades out to gem mint status it will become my crown jewel of the Urias collection. I had hoped that the Black Collection autograph would be that card but I can not see it getting a gem mint status and I can just hope it holds a mint grade. I hope to acquire the blue and black parallels of this same card but I will wait till the off season when prices are lower but having this one now will hold me over till then. I can not see a problem with this card and it will look great next to my other gem mint Urias's.

So that's it. 18 cards in total and the last submission for awhile. In a perfect world I would get at least 10 gem mints back with the others coming back as mint but like I said I will keep my expectations low and hopefully be pleasantly surprised at the end of this month.

As always, thank you for reading and have yourself a great day.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

State of Economics - Someone Has To Pay . . .

Time for another Penguin rant. Fair warning
= )


Alrighty then.

As I am sure most of you know California has raised their minimum wage to all workers. At face value you might think this is a good thing. More money for people which you would think makes it easier to live or use for items/services that prior to it they could not afford. For the most part that is far from the truth.

Nothing is free in this world and if something goes up in cost it will cost someone somewhere down the road and that is what is happening now that the new wage hike has taken effect. Businesses are now forced to pay everyone and that includes teenagers that "probably" don't "deserve" it. I am all for giving people that work hard and excel at their job to receive the money they deserve. But for a new worker that has worked less than a year and is just "doing their job" they deserve a $1 raise this year and another one next year? If you are fine with everyone getting more money then you have to accept and not bitch about businesses raising their prices. This is where its getting funny. I have heard people complain for weeks now stating there should be a law that prevents businesses from raising their prices due to minimum wage going up. They state why is this burger that was $3 last week but now $3.75 this week? That's not fair. Well it's not fair that I have to pay for everyone else medical insurance when they don't do anything to earn it on their own but that is another rant for another day.

Businesses are following the law and are giving their employees the new wage. Well, that is coming out of their pocket and their profits so they have to recoup it somewhere. The cost to them of doing business is not going down due to wages, supplies, upkeep, etc all going up so someone has to pay. Guess what? That's going to be you and I hence why you see all the prices going up around town. The businesses could just lay off a couple of people to compensate for the wage hike but most businesses don't want to do that. If they did do that though then the remaining employees will have to do more work so I guess the remaining employees will earn their raise then huh? A little sarcasm.

At the end of the day I am just as irritated at the rising costs just as much as you are but I understand and hope everyone else can see that for every action there is a reaction. This can be applied to all facets of life but I don't think people can or want to see that. People get free health care, great, it has to come out of someone's pocket. Comes out of mine and I am sure yours as well. If it makes you feel better rationalize the new wage hike as a cost increase that all businesses get. Meat, bread, eggs etc all go up and they pass it on to you. So just put the wage hike it in that group and maybe you won't be as irritated when you go into your favorite bar, restaurant, etc and see how prices have jumped. Or you can always do what I am doing, finding cheaper alternatives and giving them my money. Of course if more people do that than certain businesses may fold as their sales plummet due to less customers as they protest the rising costs and if that happens then there will be more unemployment because of a wage hike that was supposed to give more people more money but instead took all the money from some people but that is a rant for another day.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Card of the Day - 2014 Allen and Ginter : Bill Buckner Mini Framed Autograph

New set
New autograph
Why not?

Allen and Ginter is one of the sets that I collected last year but this year I will not be pursuing the base cards or their multiple parallels. But autographs are always an exception to the rule in my collection.

The design of this year's set is not overly appealing but it's not terrible. There are not that many autograph subjects within the this year's set that I would like to acquire and Bill was actually not on my need list but if the price was right I would consider it.

Prior to this year I didn't have any Buckner autographs in my collection and now I have a few. I love the picture on this card but when the set was released most auctions were going for over $10 and I had no intention of paying anywhere near that amount for a card that is not a set or pc need. I kept bidding on various auctions with a little less than $5 bid and every single one I was out bid on ( not surprisingly ) but I kept placing that same bid in case I ever won it for that amount and I would consider it a nice little win. Well one day I ended up winning an auction with that bid as for some reason there was no action on said auction.

Card came in and looks nice in person. Another Dodger autograph is welcomed into the collection.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Clayton Kershaw Jersey Project

The 2014 Dodger season is over so it is time to prep for the 2015. Yes, it's only October but it's never too early to get ready for the promise of a new season.

During the last week of the regular season the Dodgers were running the promotion of 20% off of everything at the stadium and that could be combined with my 20% discount for being a season ticket holder. I knew at some point I was going to purchase a Kershaw jersey and it would be the 2nd (Kemp) player jersey I would own. The name on the front is and always will be more important and that is why all my other jerseys have my name on it and the number seven (wedding day number) instead of having multiple player jerseys. Kershaw is going to be a Hall of Famer and probably and hopefully a lifetime Dodger. It was time to get his jersey.

The wife and I went to the stadium and I was planning to buy the new batting practice jersey and wanted her opinion. Thought a nice new blue jersey would be nice (and cheaper) so that was my plan.  She didn't like the look of the new blue jerseys. The white stripe on the color and sleeve didn't look good in her eyes. Thought I would go check the regular game versions to see what deal I could get on those. As you may or may not know all the jerseys now are made of the "cool base" material and they have a look that the wife does just not like. She said I should have one of the older (pre 2013) ones as they have a nicer look and feel better. Problem was is that they do not make those anymore. Ugh. I ended up passing on both jerseys and switched my hunt to an older jersey and with that I was back on eBay searching.

Not much to choose from as all the sellers had Kershaw jerseys on BIN's at over $190. Well I went to plan B which was to do what I do with my personalized jerseys. Buy a blank one and take it to a Pro Image store near my house that sews the names and numbers on. The good thing about them is that they use authentic numbers as well so it makes the jersey look authentic and not like some cheap knock off. Found this one from a reputable seller with a high bid of $20 with a little more than a day to go. Following day I was the winner at just a little over more than that. Love off season purchases. So much cheaper. Jersey in hand and now going to get it customized.

In the end this is a way better deal and the wife will like the look of this one better. Win win for me.

The Penguin Turns Two . . .

Time sure flies.

Today marks the second year that I have been doing this blog and from day one to today there have been ups and downs but I am still here.

From one year ago today I have gone from close to 200 signed balls to just a handful. From a handful of signed photos to more than 50. Literally just a few cards and now I have boxes filled with autographs, rookies and more. What does the next year hold for me?

. . . yeah, I've been watching How I Met Your Mother for the past 3 months so I thought this meme was appropriate. I don't believe it will be a terrible year and I look forward to it and seeing what the hobby and life in general has in store for me.

Thank you to everyone that has stopped in over the years and taken the time to look at some cards or listened to my rants or to just chit chat about whatever. I have done 11 contests over the past two years and other than me saying thank you personally for supporting my blog I do those to give back a little to a hobby and friends that have given me so much. With that said, look for contest number 12 in the next couple of weeks.

Two years down and hopefully many more to come.

May all of you have great heath and karma in your lives and may you continue to be blessed and lets continue to have fun with cards and whatever in the coming year(s).

Go Blue !!!
Go Kings Go !!!

- Penguin

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Contest Winnings From Team LA Store

The Front

I seem to keep racking up T-Shirts from RT contests on Twitter. This time patience was a virtue and I saved myself $30+ and received a free shirt.

I saw this shirt promoted on Twitter a few days before I went to go see the Stanley Cup a couple of weeks ago and thought it had a great design on the front and wanted to purchase it and wear it for the Cup picture. Went down to the LA Store at LA Live and searched for the shirt but they did not have my size and I could have bought one a size bigger but I didn't want to "waste" my money just to have the shirt. I instead bought a different shirt and moved on. 

A couple days later the LA Store Twitter account sent out a tweet promoting a RT contest and as per the norm I entered and the next day I was informed that I was one of the winners. Woo Hoo. Sent them my information and this time they had my size and within the week I had the shirt in hand. It's still a great looking shirt and it cost me nothing. 

Thank you again to the LA Store for having the contest and thank you for the shirt.
Go Kings Go !!!
Defend the Cup !!!

The Back

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

State of the Dodgers - Times, They Be A Changing

Yesterday the Dodgers "promoted" GM Ned Colletti and hired Andrew Friedman away from the Tampa Bay Rays to take over baseball operations. He also has the option to hire a GM which he may or may not do as he might do it himself. Ned's tenure as GM has been hanging on a thread for the past couple of seasons and when the opportunity of getting Andrew presented itself to the Dodgers it was time for Ned to be relived of his duties. He has been "fried" as a GM but "promoted" to special advisor to Stan Kasten.

Andrew has been approached many times by many teams over the years and not a single one could lure him away till now. This is a massive upgrade for the Dodgers on the GM front and I like most anxiously await to see what Andrew is going to do to this team. Be warned though he will make the hard decisions and I think more than a handful of popular players may be on their way out of Los Angeles sooner rather than later. With that thought, here is my list of players I think are already thought of as "expendable" :
  • Andre Ethier - Always seemed to be near the chopping block and with Andrew's hiring he just got a little closer
  • Carl Crawford - Overpriced vet blocking cheaper and younger minor leaguers. Just like Ethier just a little harder to move. Not impossible just harder.
  • Joc Pederson - Could be packaged to move bigger contracts but if retained a spot might be there in the outfield for the taking.
  • Hanley Ramirez - Be highly surprised if he gets anymore than a qualifying offer. Guaranteed draft pick is too important not to have and one year of Hanley is not the end of the world.
  • Dee Gordon / Alex Guerrero - One of them might be moved to plug other holes on the team while freeing the Dodgers of a contact. 
  • Brian Wilson - Even though his contract is guaranteed for next year it doesn't mean its a guarantee that its with the Dodgers. Could see the team cut bait and move on.
  • Brandon League - Wilson part two
  • Chris Perez - Wilson part three. See a trend yet ?
  • Dan Haren - Not in the same group as the three relievers but a "reliable" 4/5 guy might have some value on the trade market.
  • Don Mattingly - Put up of shut up year for the manager
Those are the players on the team that I think have the highest probability of being moved by Opening Day. Now for ones not on the team just yet.
  • Corey Seager - He has been lighting it up in Single A, Double A and AFL. At this rate we might/probably see him as a call up next September if not sooner if other things play out at SS (Hanley) 
  • Julio Urias - If he was 19 I would say there is a good chance he would be on the team at sometime in 2015. Unless he shuts down everybody again next year in the minors AND something major goes wrong on the big league team I pencil him in for 2016. 
  • Zach Lee - With Andrew here now I think he gets moved. The Dodgers have been disappointed in his progress and is no longer the prized draftee. Package deal to move a higher prized veteran is in his future I think.
I am sure there will be more players in flux on top of the ones I noted and some of those may still be a Dodger for many years to come. These are just my thoughts on how things have played out the last couple of years and now capped off with a new person at the helm which has a different view on how things are done.

Rest assured there will be changes and I guaranteed some will not be popular with the fans. My two favorite players are Kershaw and Kemp. Kershaw is not going anywhere this decade, Kemp on the other hand could be on the sell high market once again. I don't want to jinx it so that is why I didn't put him in the first group. What is more important? Popular players and a 1st round playoff exit or a well oiled machine minus your favorite player but a World Series victory? I'll take that victory please.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Tier One : C.J. Wilson Autograph Silver Variant ( 4 / 10 )

I was trolling one day on eBay ( lets be honest that's everyday ) and just seeing what cheap autographs could be had. Came across this one of current Angel pitcher C.J. Wilson in silver ink. I do love me some silver variant autographs.

There is no book value assigned to the card due to its scarcity. The base version, which is numbered to 99, is valued at $12. This silver one is limited to 10 copies so I would assume that if there had been a book value it would be somewhere in the $25 range at the very least. Well after all was said and done I won this on a traditional auction in the single digits. Not a lot of demand for this pitcher and that is fine by me. I know C.J. signs at the stadium and public events but if I can pick his autograph up for a minimal cost then I can just bypass the commotion of in person crowds. Great looking card.

Four of Ten

A side note
C.J.'s season ended with him laying a turd of a game but this is his wife so he has that going for him in the off season.
= )

Monday, October 13, 2014

Card of the Day - 2014 Bowman Chrome : Julio Urias Base Autograph Refractor Parallel ( 111 / 500 )

My favorite brand has finally been released and I was not able to get in a case break for my beloved Dodgers so I now have to go hunting for all the cards I want. The biggest name is Julio Urias and he has a total of three cards in the set that I want. All autographs. Black, blue and plain old refractor parallels.

I still want non autograph cards of the other players but my main focus is on these three first. Considering they will be the hardest to acquire at a reasonable amount and there is no book value as of yet to reference I had to go with my gut. The blacks and blues are in short supply and are commanding a high amount out the gate so I decided to go after a refractor version first that I thought might grade out to a gem mint grade as that is my goal. 3 cards, 3 gem mints. Crossing my fingers.

Lost out on a few copies as prices skyrocket but one night this particular card's auction was ending late at night and had less traffic on it than the others. Had my phone ready to bid at the last moment with the hope that I could pick it up on the low end of the price spectrum. Wish came true as I came out on top and won the first of 3 planned Urias Bowman Chrome cards. Card came in within a few days and looks to be gem mint all around and a possible chance at a pristine 10 as I do not see any flaws but I won't be greedy. Gem mint is fine with me.

111 / 500

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks : Chris Anderson Base Black Refractor Parallel ( 26 / 35 )

Always on the hunt for the black parallels of Dodger players. As stated in a previous post I was able to acquire two black cards of Dodger players for a grand total of $10. A nice bargain but the purchase of this card trumps both of them.

On the same day that I bought those two I continued to look for some more black chrome and found this Chris Anderson copy from the same set and numbered out of 35 like the others. Chris was the big pick from last year's draft as his prices reflect that. Book for this card sits at $25. Well the seller was only asking $6 on a BIN auction. Post haste I went ahead and purchased this lovely card. All three cards made it to the house on the same day but this one was best of the bunch.

Mr. Anderson

26 of only 35 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Five Star : Craig Biggio Base Autograph Rainbow Parallel ( 18 / 25 )

Since I reentered the hobby early in 2013, Biggio was one of the autographs I really wanted to acquire for my collection. Prior to 2013 I had tried and tried to get a signed ball by Craig but I always came up short on the eBay auctions as the prices were never reasonable to me. It constantly sold for over $50. Well now that I went to almost strictly cards I had another chance to finally add Mr. Biggio to my autograph collection and finally I have.

Craig hasn't had that many autograph card releases and on card versions are even less so that made the hunt a tad harder. Well my second favorite brand, Five Star, included him in last year's release but to this day I was never able to secure one at a low price. Craig is going to be in the Hall of Fame next year and he played his whole career in Houston. I love when a top notch player plays his whole career on one team and to get 3000 plus hits is the cherry on top of his award laden resume. I assume all that worked against me as people wanted this card as well and I continuously got outbid on numerous auctions.

Guess there was a slow day on the bay as this card's high bid was in the low teens as the final day of the auction came around. Book value is $60 and I have seen it close at over $40. I didn't need the limited parallel as the base would have been fine but if I could get this one on a deal that would be great. Last minute bid and I was the winner with my exact bid that I put in which was more than 50% off of book. Card looked great on the computer screen but looked even better in person. I am debating on getting it graded as the only thing I see wrong is it has ever so slightly rounded corners. Probably earn a 9 on those but the other sub grades should come out gem mint along with the flawless autograph. We shall see but either way I am glad to finally add this card to my collection. 

18 of 25

Friday, October 10, 2014

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman Chrome Mini : Hyun-Jin Ryu Base Blue Refractor Parallel ( 96 / 99 )

Nothing like a blue Dodger card.

With the Bowman Chrome Mini set out in more and more people's hands now there are more and more cards up for sale on the bay which means the prices are coming down finally. I already have the black Seager which is my crown jewel from this set due to the fact that I think it is safe to assume that the black Puig will never make it into my hands.

With that said I can and always will go for these blue beauties and Ryu here is the first to make it into my hands. At the time of the purchase there was no book value assigned due to its recent release but my forking over the cost of a subway sandwich seemed like a good deal. Might even get this one graded in the future as it looks pretty clean.

96 of 99

Thursday, October 9, 2014

State of the Dodgers - 26 and Counting . . .

Another disappointing end to a season with high expectations.

A season that spanned through 8 separate calendar months and two different continents and yet we ended this season like last, Kershaw on the mound for a losing effort in St. Louis. While he did serve up the pitch that effectively ended the Dodger's season but no means is it his fault. He brought everything to the table day in and day out and he will be rewarded for that by winning his 3rd Cy Young award and most likely the MVP. But that is not what he strove for. It was World Series or bust as he said many times just as I said at the beginning of Spring Training in February.

I was FOURteen when the Dodgers last appeared in the Fall Classic and I will be at least FOURty before they do so again. That is a long 26 years to be waiting when so many other teams that have "lesser" talent have made it. It is not on par with the Cubs but damn I can start to feel why there is so much bitterness when you talk to some of their fans. Unlike some other teams that are or were "built" for the World Series the Dodgers are still relatively young or just at or over 30. Angels, Tigers, etc. I'm looking at you. Their window is quickly closing but ours is only a little more open than theirs with our current roster. With the players we have we probably have a good 3-5 years before we look like the Angels. Adrian isn't getting any younger and probably has 2-3 years left in his prime. Hanley may or may not be gone this off season. The list goes on. Starting pitching was one of our strengths and just needs a reliable 4th and a place setter for 5th before Julio Urias comes up. The relief corps needs to get blown up. Too many holes to go over here. The outfield needs to be downsized as well. Kemp in RF, Puig in CF and then maybe Joc in LF? Ethier needs to go for his own good as he and Don do not see eye to eye. Andre deserves better and a change of scenery will do everyone good. Speaking of Don, next year or bust for him as if he doesn't guide this team to the World Series I think the team needs to hear another voice.

A lot of good things happened this year and I enjoyed every game I went to. The Dodgers might not have won every game I attended but I always enjoyed the atmosphere and more importantly the company I was with. Whether it was the just the wife or friends and family. Always a great time.

Prior to the post season the Dodgers sent out invoices for 2015 season tickets and my seats alone jumped 15%. I knew when the new ownership came in that sooner or later down the road they would jack up the price more than a few dollars and this is the year it seems they have chosen to do just that. I will remain a season ticket holder but there is a 50/50 chance I will be moving my seats to a less pricier section, I sell most (60 or so) on eBay/Stub Hub and most years I break even or come very close to it. With a 15% hike I don't think I can maintain that resale value but that might change. I will see in January when the Dodgers have their annual Select-A-Seat event at the stadium.

2014 is done. It's time to take a break and enjoy the holiday season with the family and know that there is more to life than the Dodgers or baseball. Once the New Year is rung in then its all aboard the Dodger Blue Train once again for another year of now even higher expectations. Its been 26 years and I am tired of waiting. Hopefully next year this post will be renamed " We Are The Champions Once Again ". I can hope can't I?

2 Box Break Of 2014 Topps Update Over At Yankees And Jays

A newcomer (relatively speaking) to the blog world is hosting her own box break.

Caitlin of Yankees and Jays is preparing to do a 2 box break of 2014 Topps Update baseball and is now taking names for it. The price is $20 for your pick of a team if you live in the U.S.A. or Canada or $25 if you live overseas. Shipping can get pricing, I know. With your pick you also will be assigned another random team.

If you have any questions feel free to contact her through her blog or on Twitter.

Good luck to all as may you get something good.

Contest Link

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Five Star : Bob Gibson Base Autograph ( 22 / 50 )

The last National League pitcher to win the MVP (before Kershaw does this year) has finally made it back into my collection.

I owned a signed ball by Mr. Gibson but as with most of the ball collection he was part of the purge but at some point down the road I knew I would reacquire his John Hancock. He wasn't on the radar for quite some time till I read article pertaining to MVP pitchers and that reminded me that I needed his autograph. I glanced around on eBay and then I remembered that he was in last year's Five Star issue and I do love me some of Five Star.

Book value is set at $60 and auctions have closed recently from $35-$60 with one being sold at $100 (???) so I expected to lose out on this card as my ceiling was low cost wise as Bob is not a priority. Last day of the auction arrived and the high bid was sitting in the high teens. Interesting. Last minute arrived and I put my bid in and won the card for only $24!!! With nothing out of pocket it really was a great win. I expected something to be wrong with the card when it arrived but when it did not only was there nothing wrong it but I think it has a good chance at mint if not gem mint grade from BGS. I just might submit it. Great buy at the right time. Welcome back Bob.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Card of the Day - 2009 Allen and Ginter : Clayton Kershaw Mini Frame Autograph AND eBay Bucks Quarterly Purchase

It is always nice to complete a project no matter how big or small but it's really nice when it involves the best pitcher in baseball and its an autograph project.

Allen and Ginter has released four autographs of Kershaw through the years (2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014) and so far I have gotten my hands on 3 of the 4 but I was still on the lookout for the last one which is the 2009 version. Not many of these seem to show up on the bay but one day this on did and it happened to be late September which meant the eBay quarter was coming to a close at the end of the month. That meant I would have some eBay bucks to play with in early October. Well it was once again time to talk to a seller to see if he/she would allow me to pay a little later than the 3 day window they expected so I could use my bucks and not pay anything out of pocket. Thankfully as with all previous sellers they were receptive to my request and they said no problem. Now I just had to win the card.

A decent amount of people had already bid on the card and the watch list was growing by the day but considering what I knew I  had to work with money wise I had a lot of leeway. Final day of the auction was here and the price was still reasonable ($40ish) so I knew I had a chance of winning it. Final minute and I put in my bid at a much higher price than normal but it paid off as I won the card. Waited a week to pay the seller and within a week of that I had my final piece of my Allen and Ginter autograph Kershaw set.

As with all my Kershaw autographs this one was already ear marked for grading. Everything looks good but A & G is the one brand I always have an issue with pre-grading. I can't see it getting anything less than a gem mint 9 but it could conceivably get a gem mint as I don't "see" any flaws. We shall see.

No matter what I picked up a great autograph of Kershaw and it cost me nothing. You just can't beat that.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Chrome : Jose Abreu Base Autograph Refractor Parallel ( 312 / 499 )

2 Topps redemptions arriving in one week is a cause for celebration, but 2 top line autographs from Topps is a slice of heaven. Julio Urias's Bowman Black autograph arrived on a Saturday and then this great looking Jose Abreu autograph came in on a Tuesday.

I was lucky enough to pull the redemption card for this card from a 4 box break that Alex of Chavez Ravining held a little more than a month ago. It was the only reason I joined the box break to get an autograph from this sure to be rookie of the year. Alex took the Dodgers in the break so I was left with my choice of the other 29 teams. The White Sox was the only logically choice for me as for the Angels I wasn't sure Mike Trout was going to be represented by an autograph ( he was ) but I knew Jose would be. Prices for Jose's autographs have ranged from $100 to $250 when it comes to base and refractor parallels. I was never going to pay for his autograph but if I could score it in a box break whether from Alex or anyone else then I would be happy with that. Well I was lucky and now I am happy that I have it in hand.

My intention all along was to have this graded and hopefully it would come from Topps in great condition and it would grade out to gem mint by BGS. I think there is a very good shot of that happening ( more so than the redemption Urias card ) as the centering is spot on, edges are flawless, corners are sharp ( maybe downgraded to a 9 but nothing less ) and the surface looks clean. The autograph is in perfect condition and I can say I would be disappointed if it doesn't get a 9.5 overall but we shall see in a couple of weeks when I send in my last big batch.


Stanley ( Cup ) and I Part Deux

Almost two years ago to the day ( as seen HERE ) I blogged my first non introductory post and it was about Lord Stanley and I  meeting up for the first time as the Kings finally won the Cup after years of mediocrity.

Now with the Kings winning the Cup once again it was time to take another picture with the it. Friday was also the first game of the NLDS for the Dodgers hence the Dodger cap but when I last saw the Cup I wore a Kings jersey and the Dodgers and Kings did not fare well that next season so I thought I would change it up and go with a non jersey and a Dodger cap to hopefully sway the sports Gods in our favor. Superstitious much? Ha Ha

The wife joined me as we headed up to L.A. Live for our scheduled 3:30 appointment. This was a free event unlike two years ago so there were more people this time. I picked the late time to minimize exposure to the heat and it was a hot one that day. We checked in and hopped in line which moved briskly and we were in front of the camera for our picture within 30 minutes. They did not allow you to take the picture with your own camera but instead had a professional photographer take it and direct you to a website to download it for free. One shot is all you got so you had better ready. Wife looks great but why the hell am I leaning into the Cup? Oh well, its all good.

Our second time with the Cup and hopefully not the last.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Card of the Day - 2014 Bowman : Julio Urias Bowman Black Collection Autograph ( 25 / 25 )

Oh happy day, happy day.
I have a nice handful of autograph redemption cards I am waiting for from Topps and slowly but surely I expect them to be fulfilled but I have two real big names that I really want in a hurry and this is the first of them and it is finally in hand.

I originally received this card as a redemption as seen HERE back in July and considering it is only October that is a pretty quick turn around for the whole process. I won the card on a great deal and considering what I have seen this go for the deal has gotten better since then. Once I saw it on Topps.com that it was on its way to me I crossed my fingers hoping it would come in flawless condition as I planned to get it graded. This would be my crown jewel of Julio autographs even though I have some nice ones already. Well card came in and I say it has an outside chance of earning that gem mint grade that I want. Edges, surface and centering look spot on to me, the problem is going to come with the corners. Being a black and thick card makes it susceptible to bending and/or fraying.

Well with it in hand I can say for sure that it will not earn a 10 or 9.5 sub grade so my hope is that it will come in at a 9. If it does and the others all come in at 9.5 I will have my gem mint card so my fingers continue to be crossed till I submit it shortly. At worst it will be a mint 9.0 but I so want a 9.5 return. Great card nonetheless though.

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