Monday, December 27, 2004

My latest itch is getting a pack of 2004 Bowman Sterling. I like playing around the idea of spending some 'free' holiday money on picking up a pack for about $50.

The caveat is that it is a product featuring young players, many probably not the high profile prospects ones you might prefer. The product doesn't have the pedigreee of a set featuring retired greats for example. I might pull non-desirable types like pitchers who might blow out their arms or catchers that might not get past the minors.

On the other hand, for all that maybe wrong for a $50 pack, my thinking is that instead of picking up a low-end, mid-level box, I'm getting the meat without the filler. I don't have to have my base cards. I just want to feel like I'm buying into a product that is considered high-end(initially). Each pack features two first-year player cards, a memorabilia card, an autographed memorabilia card(clear labels?) and another autograph card.

On the other hand, wouldn't the 'guaranteed pulls' be more common, if that is merely all the product consist of(in a particular box), instead of perhaps those pulls spread into several boxes, with actual base cards? I think there are better options as far as singles go, but who knows what I like? I've moaned about what I can't and can have. Do I make an impetuous decision or do I hold off for something that seems less of gamble to me?
This is my 'contemporary quicklist' of card types I'd like to have in my collection in 2005:

A.)An insert featuring a button from a game used jersey card.

B.)A game-used Barrel card.

C.)An Upper Deck Superpatch or Superpatches card.

D.)A certified autograph(company or PSA/DNA) of a baseball legendary icon(Mickey Mantle).

Saturday, December 25, 2004

I'm excited by the possibilities of having some money, I could spend on trading cards. For Christmas, I got $45 from cousins($20) and my sister($25)combined. I would have had more, if I didn't blow my wad for other things.

What is it that I do? It isn't like I could save the money for a rainy day. It seems like money I can play with. I suppose I want to pick up the items of respectable value, as opposed to a spurious set of related things.

Do I get a Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Johnny Bench or Whitey Ford autograph that I've supposedly been longing for, but each requiring fees to sign?

Save up a bit more for an 1999 Topps Traded Adam Dunn autograph?

Get close to a hobby box of 2004 Donruss Elite Extra Edition?

Get a 'key' rookie card of Barry Bonds(1986 Donruss Rookies, 1987 Donruss), Roger Clemens(1985 Donruss or Fleer) or Rickey Henderson(1980 Topps)?

Save up a bit more than the Dunn for a 1982 Topps Traded Cal Ripken Jr.?

Really save up for a Hank Aaron autograph?

I'm a casual collector. I just want a few nice, card items for my personal collection because that is what I began with as opposed to a guy that 'hustles' around to get things signed by particular players.

It seems like I have is one shot. I need to pick up something that is

Thursday, December 23, 2004

What am I doing?

For a David Ortiz uncertified autograph card $10

For a Johnny Damon uncertified autograph card $10

For a Eric Gagne 55 consecutive saves uncertified autograph photo $20

And the $27 book buyback money I had left after buying a $5 Blister
three-pack of 2005 Fleer Ultra
, I end up with the following:

I grossly overpaid for a 2004 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Mark Trumbo numbered 22/75 w/Ervin Santa(x2) and Kameron Loe rookies numbered to 1,000 $22.74 delivered.

An okay purchase was a 2004 Upper Deck Legendary Cuts Jackie Robinson jersey $17.00 delivered.

I think over paid for 2004 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Signatures Delmon Young $15.98 delivered.

I purchased a Don Drysdale signed Perez-Steele postcard for $14.08 delivered and I really don't know if it is real or not.

I had a set of things on my wantlist for this winter that are 'tabled.' I'm still jonesing for a Mickey Mantle PSA/DNA certified autograph item, but picking that up is not going to happen anytime soon.

The reality is that distractions seem to keep me down. I keep buying stuff for my 'personal collection,' that I might want, but probably don't need at this point. If I can get through my actual wishlist of things I'd like to get this winter, then I'd be much more saner.

It seems like I want to see something to pick up, every time I search for something on Ebay. If I can, I want everything I want my eyes on. The reality is that I have no funds to play with and I need to unload, before I reload.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

In between trying to something done and learn at school through osmosis, I collect autographs of my favorite subjects, particularly baseball players. In Major League baseball's off-season, which is from late October to about early February I don't go out and get autographs as much, though there are always opportunities to look out for.

During this time, a primary distraction I would suppose is reverting collecting trading cards and perhaps through the holidays, trying to secure cards I want before next season starts. During this winter, I've gotten on 'bents' as far as looking for cards.

I think through the last part of the postseason, my initial goal was to secure some young players' autographs that I may have missed out on. Collecting should be for leisure, but I want to 'protect myself' and perhaps have a nice autograph or two of particular young players like Delmon Young, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

I got onto the bandwagon of collecting the popular Upper Deck Sweet Spot inserts, featuring autographs on a piece of baseball material, when the product came out. This year, the cards fall to about one per box and they aren't really all that hard to find. I don't equate the cards being less valuable, but maybe more accessible to a collector like myself, as long as I don't overpay.

I think in some cases, I did overpay because I was looking for 'buy it nows' on Ebay as opposed to generally waiting around for an auction to end. There are only eight cards I've picked up for my personal collection, as I was looking for the more affordable players from the insert set.

Garret Anderson- overpaid/goes for about $6, purchased for about $15

Rickie Weeks- overpaid/goes for about $6, purchased for a $10 BIN

Mark Teixeira- okay/purchased for a $10 BIN with $1.50 s/h along with the Weeks

Miguel Cabrera- so so/about $18 delivered

Scott Rolen- okay/about $25 delivered

Adam Dunn- okay/about $14 shipped/actually got a different card than one pictured on the auction I'd bid on, which is okay since the item pictured in the original auction was signed in black ink and I like autographs signed in blue a little better.

Incoming or Yet to Pay For
Will Clark- so so/the 'fan favorite' whose autograph I've never gotten

Delmon Young- overpaid/about $16 delivered

Cannot Justify Getting At This Point
Eric Chavez- already have an actual MLB licensed(in-person, uncertified) signed baseball.

Hank Blalock- already have an actual MLB licensed(in-person, uncertified) signed baseball.

Dontrelle Willis- I'd rather try and get him for free through possible opportunities in 2005.

Joe Mauer- maybe the cheapest way to get Mauer on some kind of sweet spot baseball, without having him personalize, but while great things are expected, I'd get Delmon Young over him and have chosen to do so.

Josh Beckett- I'd rather try and get him for free through possible opportunities in 2005, though he might be a guy that might finally stay healthy and put up some sick regular season numbers as a pitcher.

Johan Santana- the luster might wear off in 2005. I'll wait five years before I get a certified Santana autograph for any more than $10-$15.

Mark Mulder- like Mauer, another player that personalizes sweet spot baseballs and another opportunity to get a faux one that was on a card, certified by a trading card company. He had a bad second half in 2004 and seems overrated. Can he weather the storm was that the beginning of the end?

I don't think the value of Sweet Spot autograph inserts generally account for on-field performance, but I'd rather look for a star hitter, than a pitcher's certified autograph. Maybe I should have picked this one up before he got traded to the St.Louis Cardinals.

Rocco Baldelli- along with the autographs he has signed for similar inserts in the Fleer Sweet Sigs version, this one features a 'full signature' as opposed to his current 'ballpark sig.' His full autographs are 'sweet,' but he is dinged up for the moment.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Players' Certified Autographs I don't need
1.)Ichiro- unless it is on a single signed sweet spot baseball from UDA.
2.)Vladimir Guerrero- unless it is pack pulled.
3.)Cal Ripken Jr. - unless it is pack pulled.
4.)Hank Blalock- unless it is somewhat unique.
5.)Mark Teixeira
6.)Roger Clemens- unless it is on a single signed sweet spot baseball from Tristar.
7.)Pedro Martinez- unless it is a pack pulled, certified autograph.
8.)Mike Piazza- unless it is on a single signed sweet spot baseball from Steiner.
9.)Greg Maddux- unless it is a pack pulled, certified autograph.
10.)Alex Rodriguez- unless it is a particular certified autographed insert or two.
11.)Adam Dunn- unless it is his 1999 Topps Traded autograph.
12.)Troy Glaus
Looking for an outlet to type out mere utterances about hobbies I choose to have. I came back to this, since it was convenient and I needed kind of an immediate rapid fire 'internal monologue,' back and forth. This blog should serve as a short-term collection of thoughts about the sport I follow: baseball and the crap I decide to collect featuring for the most part, its past, present and future players(as in prospects).

Since I last wrote something here, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, Vladimir Guerrero of my home county team won the American League MVP, while his former teammate, Troy Glaus makes the Arizona Diamondbacks his new team. Pedro is trashing the Red Sox as a new member of the New York Mets and among others, only one of the 'Big Three' in Oakland is left. A lot of things in Major League Baseball happened during the season, a lot more changes are happening during this off-season of 2004.

As a Major League Baseball fan, there is excitement as new faces grace new places. Unfortunately, you also lose ties to players you once followed. It isn't really sad, because it is part of the business that revolves around the game. On the other hand, you wonder what happens next and wonder how long you can follow your favorite players, before they might have to move on. You wonder with the game evolving and perhaps your favorites being weeded out, one way or the other, either by changing teams or retirement or even scandal- how much longer will you be able to follow the game?

Saturday, March 27, 2004

My bent is still towards looking for in-person opportunities to acquire autographs from baseball players in-person as well mailing out requests for autographs on my trading cards for example.

On the other hand, I'd like to try and collect cheap and unique trading card inserts, particularly featuring some kind of `oddball' design like a Mel Ott 2003 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts Historical Impressions insert($0.99 plus $1.25 s/h off Ebay).

It is a thick card(like a memorabilia card but not game used) with a rubberized plaque, bearing his facsimile signature. It is a unique card, but like many inserts- especially from high end priced products, seems like a filler otherwise.

Game used cards are cheaper than packs of cards they've been pulled from. If I can pick up a Hank Blalock 2004 Fleer Tradition jersey card($0.99 plus $1.50 s/h off Ebay) then in my mind, it complements my autograph collection without breaking the bank. While these seem to represent the lowest common denominator purchases, I also do not have much collecting dollars to spend otherwise.

Three 2003 Bowman Baseball Futures Game jersey cards arrived in the mail yesterday. I paid $2.00 plus $2.25 for shipping and handling for this lot on Ebay to get the Francisco Rodriguez of the Anaheim Angels. Also included was Edwin Almonte and Chad Tracy.

Isn't it ironic that I remember ripping KRod's 2003 Topps Total into pieces before a game, because I was pissed, when he told me he couldn't sign it.

I have yet to receive the Blalock jersey card I otherwise considered a `bargain for a new generation.' I didn't read the instructions that said the seller did not accept cash. I sent $2.49 in cash and never got the card. I suspect that the seller just kept my money, but that it was my `lesson' for not paying more attention. So instead of $2.49, I'm paying $5.00 for a card. I feel retarded now.

I'd placed an initial bid of $1.99 for a bat card of Mike Schmidt on Ebay. I didn't expect to win the auction, but with 13 minutes left, I was going to try and win it. In a rueful couple of moments, I bid it up and ended up the winning bidder, paying $4.91 plus $2.00 shipping and handling for the card. With exceptions, similar cards have gone for $2-$5. I think I overpaid a little bit and there is a sinking feeling with this infatuation with low end card types.

15 minutes after winning the bid for Schmidt, I picked up another game used card for $2.50 plus $1.75 shipping and handling. It was a jersey card of Nomar Garciaparra from the 2004 Fleer Ultra Diamond Producers insert set, serial numbered 0523/1000.

I believe that I can collect whatever I want to, but game used cards are probably not worth collecting, unless I get it for free or by default. Game used cards are the Neifi Perez of collecting- a low on-base percentage type of player. Game used cards of Hall of Famers are default souvenirs to `high end' collectors or freebies out of no purchase necessary programs from a company like Topps. They are trade bait, they are packed in lots and aren't worth much anymore.

On the other hand, the `pressed penny' of trading cards, even as I say they `are probably not worth collecting' represent a tangible novelty.

I like the occasional game used card. I feel like I've been more involved with collecting autographs, as opposed to trading cards. I like my rookie cards and many of their same year parallels, but so does everyone else.

Little things mean a lot to me, as my relics. Game used cards are cheap.

I do have to also be aware of their value among other types of cards, so that I'm not overpaying for any particular card. Two years ago, I probably would have paid $10-$15 for any number of common game used cards, depending on the player. Now, I'm a little more aware and basically I'm not in such a hurry to add game used cards to my collection as true `showcase' items.

There are players with harder to get certified autographs cards otherwise. Game used cards serves more as a complementary piece for players whose autographs I've already secured(uncertified/certified) and also for my `award winners' collection. My main priority for players I have no autographs of just yet(uncertified/certified), is looking to pick up their autographs first.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Maybe one of the most important things in colleting is merely knowing the the trends followed by an average modern or `contemporary' collector. There are more choices, more options with trading cards. A card with a piece of a player's equipment may still have novelty, but it isn't considered as a serious card collectible anymore. Parallels of rookie cards, 1/1 autographs of legends and icons, take on more importance.

My mentality is more to collect to hoard. I've been conditioned by looking back at stories of lost treasures thrown away by mothers.

Still, at times it doesn't matter to me anymore.

You find that you really have no foundation for your collection. It is all crap because you've collected for novelty and lose out because you are collecting for frivolity. There is no theme. For whatever reason, you aren't really able to outspend.

No matter what, you are the Pittsburgh Pirates or Montreal Expos of collecting anything. You make some transactions, sign several players of mediocre or middling talent. You are content with potentially serviceable talent, but you see the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox and realize you have no realistic shot at greatness.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The 2002 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Alexis Rios has been one of the hottest cards in the hobby due to the fact that it is numbered to 1,000 and it is his only rookie card.

Those cashing in on the hype are living large. I didn't particularly know or care for him when he was a $5 rookie(supposedly) and now the card has gone from $25-$40 to $125-$130 in some cases.

Rios' performance in the Puerto Rican fall league had Ebay speculators probably thinking `Albert Pujols' as a relatively unknown player who has the potential to explode during the upcoming year.

Rios is only 23 years old and a lot can happen. Rios has been compared to Dave Winfield. He maybe another Juan Gonzalez.
How about Juan LeBron?

The lesson to be learned from Rios is that there are still diamonds in the rough out there for a `baseball card' collector.

This particular card came out of hobby boxes of 2002 Donruss The Rookies.

While once generally overlooked at $20, box prices have been creeping up in the $35-$40 range.

One didn't have to plunk $100 for a box in order to have the opportunity to pull this card. Hope springs eternal, looking for the next `bargain basement' product with the potential to pull a hot card.