Making The Jump

The sports card blogosphere is made up of 85% baseball and the rest is everything else. I really enjoy reading everyone's blog regardless of the sport or non-sport; so much that annually when this time of year arrives and Topps releases their flagship product and all the baseball card bloggers are showing off their latest hauls from the racks - I get a hankering to pick up baseball.

I'll be honest, I know very little about the current state of professional baseball. I know the rules of the game and I could name the majority of the teams in the MLB but when it comes to current players; I know maybe a handful, tops.

But this hankering I get - it's not just about buying baseball cards, it's about wanting to know more about the game, about the teams, about the players and ultimately the who's who in the league and follow the game just as I do with hockey.

I went out and picked up a blaster of 2018 Topps Series 1 - I figure I could start somewhere, learn a few things, do a little research on the players pulled from the purchase. I really like the Topps set, the photography is great from what I've seen on the blogs. And when there are mascot cards, I'm instantly intrigued.

I know Mike Trout. I mean, who doesn't know who Mike Trout is right? Is it fair to compare his notoriety in the sport to that of Sidney Crosby in hockey?

Eric Hosmer on the other hand - I have not heard of. I did a little research and apparently he is one of the most consistent hitters in the game and signed as a free agent with the San Diego Padres just last month.

I've heard the name Clayton Kershaw go around a lot in the past so I'm going to go out on a limb and say he is an important player in the league. A snippet from his Wiki entry reads, "He has been described as the best pitcher in baseball." - good enough for me!

I have also heard the name Buster Posey make its rounds in baseball talk as well; I'm not sure on where he falls among the ladder of significant players in MLB but give the guy some brownie points for the name. Buster Posey sounds like you would meet him at high noon for a beer and a show down.

I did pull a couple of Blue Jays from my blaster, Smoak and Morales. If you're either bit of a sports fan, it's hard not to pay attention to the Blue Jays up here in Canada. They're Canada's team after all.

I thought the photography used on the team cards were pretty cool - they all offered a unique shot of baseball. Well, in my opinion they're unique shots - the avid baseball card collector may be sick and tired of seeing another photo used from during the signing of the National Anthem or of a guy running over home plate.

Another name I've heard before, Bryce Harper.

These 'Opening Day' insert cards were distributed in my blaster quite liberally. They're pretty crazy looking, I'm not sure what Topps were attempting to do here. I wasn't familiar with any of the players that I pulled so I'm going to go with Noah Syndergaard because of that hair - it looks almost like a lion's mane.

I received three of these Kris Bryant 'Highlights' cards in my blaster - I believe they are an exclusive. I don't know of him and I can bet he is one of the greatest in the game at the moment. This is a definite indication that I have a lot left to learn. God, this is embarrassing.

Eh a name I'm kind of familiar with - Chris Sale! A first-rate pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

I received three of these 1983 Topps parallel cards; the design reminds me of the 1984 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set due to the similarities in regards to having the players face inside a circle towards the bottom corner of the card. 1984 O-Pee-Chee is one of my all-time favorite hockey card designs so I can totally understand why baseball card collectors have been really into these parallels.

No idea who Justin Turner is but he has a nice beard.

You can't really distinguish by the scan but I believe this is a rainbow parallel. Good to know that the saturation of parallels don't only dwell amongst the hockey cards.

I did receive a serial numbered card out of the blaster /299. From what I've gathered, I think it's a black parallel but don't take my word for that.

Miguel Andujar is apparently a top prospect as well (again, don't take my word for that) - so that's a win! 

So how was my blaster? Value-wise, I have no idea but going into this purchase I wasn't looking for value - I thought it would be something new and fun to open and that maybe I'll gain further interest in pursuing the game of baseball.

That didn't really happen - although I have fond memories of myself and every other kid that I knew having Blue Jays fever during their back-to-back World Series Championships when I was 8 years old, after this break I feel appeased and furthermore reluctant to care anymore than I do for baseball. Nearly 24 hours later and I have no desire to take it on right now. I just wish it didn't take $30 to pacify these fleeting feelings!

That's it I suppose - you live, you learn.


Recently Plucked From The Binders Of Others

Here are a few of my favourite cards that I’ve picked up over the past few months.

Great looking Canvas cards of Matthews and Crosby from the latest Upper Deck flagship.

1950s Hockey Heroes Art card.

This guy has been so much fun to watch this season! He is quickly turning into one of my favorite players. He skates like the wind and is a natural with the puck on his stick. Dude is taking home the Calder this year.

Another rookie stud from the 2017-18 hockey season - Brock Boeser. A legit Calder candidate, he is essentially the beating heart of the Vancouver Canucks right now.

This is from the 2004 World Cup of Hockey in which Canada went undefeated and ultimately went on to capture the Gold.

A couple of Gretzky cards from the 1997 Starting Lineup figure and 1996-97 Upper Deck Collector's Choice set.

I also picked up a few new Crosby cards for my collection. 

Despite his name dropping down the rankings of potential Calder Memorial Trophy winners, there's no arguing that McAvoy is having one heck of a rookie season on the blueline with the Bruins.

I like these checklist cards that are found in the most recent Upper Deck Tim Horton's set. It would have been a cool concept to do the entire run of "100 Greatest Players"; an opportunity missed in my opinion.

The 'Big E' doing his best Rocky Balboa impersonation on the top of the 72 stone steps leading into the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in Philly

And how about a few game jersey cards to round out the post.

I had some intentions on collecting all the jersey cards from the most recent Upper Deck release but that ambition has since waned.


Grip It and Rip It

I still enjoy rolling the dice on buying the odd pack of cards. As a kid who collected during the 90s, packs could be found everywhere. Even the tiny mom-and-pop shop located in the community that I grew up in, population 200 - sold 1997-98 Score! They were crazy times, indeed fun times. Generally speaking, tearing into a pack of cards is nostalgic for me.

Opening a few packs from over the past couple of months.

Here's my first dance with 2015-16 Upper Deck Portfolio.

Three years later and I can't seem to dodge Jared McCann rookie cards from 2015-16 products.

On another note, I'm not totally digging these cards - Sure, the potential is certainly there with the use of photography but it sorta feels like the players are jammed tightly inside the borders.

Overall, I like Black Diamond; the base design isn't the most charming eye candy - but if you can get past that you've got yourself an affordable product that can yield some nice hits.

Jason Pominville Ruby parallel /50.

Did I forget to mention that these do not scan well, at all.

I'm pretty sure I outright stated in a previous post that I had no intentions on picking up another pack of Maple Leafs Centennial, yet here we go again.

A few base and a SP from the Centennial rounds out the packs.


Peter Forsberg ‘91 Upper Deck RC

I picked up this for $3 - a rookie card of one of the greatest players of all-time. Bonus, it came in a screwdown holder that looked as old as the card that it held inside.

I never owned this card as a kid or even as an adult, up until now - so I'm glad to finally add it to my collection . To be frank, not a lot of card tables at my flea market are totting around their 1991-92 Upper Deck so I actually feel kind of lucky to find this "junk wax" card in the wild.

Forsberg was just recently named 'favorite-player-growing-up' in the NHL Players Association’s annual player poll.


Passing The Torch

Just six years ago there were a record number, 6, professional hockey players hailing from Newfoundland & Labrador suiting up on the regular in the NHL. Fast forward to the present and there are currently none.

Picked up this 2011-12 Elite 'Passing The Torch' card.

Dan Cleary rose to local legend status in 1998 as a member of the Detroit Red Wings when he became the first Newfoundlander to ever have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.

Ryane Clowe was a valuable piece of the Sharks franchise during his time with San Jose. 3rd in points by a NL NHL player with fewest games played.
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