Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Night Owl Effect

If you're reading my blog and you don't know Night Owl, then you need to reevaluate your life.  He is the undisputed king of all card bloggers.  His posts are always insightful and unique.  Therefore, I'd like to define two card blogging theories inspired by Night Owl:

The Night Owl Effect: A phenomenon where a card blogger devotes far more time and effort toward writing a trade post simply because the cards were sent by Night Owl.

Example:  Fellow blogger Stealing Home recently posted a trade package from Night Owl.  It took him 2 posts (Part 1, Part 2).  That same blogger once created a trade post that captured three trades in one single post.

The Night Owl Syndrome: A phenomenon where you read a Night Owl post and instantly think you have a bunch of good ideas to blog about.  Ultimately, after repeatedly trying to develop crisp fresh content and wasting several midnight hours (because there has to be something to that night owl thing), you say "screw it" and enter the seven stages of grief.  Shock ("I really thought I had a good idea"), denial ("No, it's not over, I can do this"), bargianing, guilt ("I should have tried harder in school"), anger ("Damn YOU, NIGHT OWL!!!"), depression ("I'm never going to be like Night Owl. He's a stud, and I'm just a stinky piece of donkey poopoo"), and acceptance.

Dammit, I'm making this a good post.  It's going to be interesting.  It's going to have a theme.  It's going to be completely fantastic.   I'm also going to cheat and use Night Owl's words to get me started.

In case you can't read it, it says, "Hey Adam, You have an incredible ability to collect what I don't.  Here's hoping you need more than 2 cards in this package. -Greg (N.O.)"

Well, let's just put those two sentences to the test.

1. "You have an incredible ability to collect what I don't."

Night Owl collects Dodgers.  I collect Scott Sizemore, David Wright, Justin Upton, BJ Upton, Ryan Zimmerman, Justin Verlander, Michael Cuddyer, and Mark Reynolds.  Together, they have played for the Tigers, Athletics, Yankees, Mets, Diamondbacks, Braves, Padres, Rays, Twins, Rockies, Orioles, Indians, Brewers, and Cardinals.  That's 14 teams, and no Dodgers.

Night Owl collects 1975 Topps Minis.  I collect Topps Flagship #3 cards.

There are currently no baseball sets on which both he and I are working.

So I'd say, in general, his statement is correct.  Of course, if you know Night Owl, you know he is a Bills fan.  I'm a Virginia Tech fan.  Tyrod Taylor went to VT and plays for the Bills.  Crazy, I know.

2. "Here's hoping you need more than 2 cards in this package."

Well, let's find out.

2012 Topps Scott Sizemore
I didn't need it.  To be fair, it would be extremely difficult for someone to find a Scott Sizemore I didn't have.  I currently own 165 of 172 non-1/1 Scott Sizemore cards.  If you take out off-brand and minor league team-issued cards (Tristar/Choice/etc.).  I only need three cards: 2010 Topps Pro Debut Futures Game Patch #/5, 2013 Topps Factory Set Orange #/230, and 2013 Topps Mini #496 Black #/5.

2014 Bowman Justin Verlander
Needed it.  Cards from 2014 and 2015 are a pretty safe bet since I have slowed my collecting recently.  This is my 191st unique Verlander.

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Mark Reynold Ginter Code Parallel
Needed it.  These are easily some of the most unique parallels out there. This is my 56th Mark Reynolds card.

2012 Topps Chrome David Wright
Needed it.  I was actually surprised I didn't have this yet.  This is my 307th David Wright.  Really wish he could have won a ring this year.  

2013 Topps Archives David Wright
Didn't need it.  I would have bet money that I would have needed this one and not the 2012 Chrome. For those not keeping track, Night Owl is 3-for-5 so far in this trade.

2010 Topps Justin Upton Peak Performance
Didn't need it.

2014 Topps Heritage Justin Upton
Needed it.

2010 Topps BJ Upton Attax Code Card
Didn't need it.  Conservative estimate: I own 20 of this card.

2012 Topps Chrome BJ Upton
Needed it.  2012 Chrome strikes again.  I thought I had this.  Turns out I had the refractor but not the base card.  It is unbelievably satisfying to get the base card when you already have a parallel. This is BJ #245.

2013 Topps Update Michael Cuddyer ASG
Needed it.  This was my first 2013 Cuddyer.  Night Owl is 6-for-10 through just over half of the package.  I now have 89 Cuddyers.

2013 Topps Update Michael Cuddyer HRD
Needed it.  Make that 90.

2014 Bowman Michael Cuddyer
Needed it.  Make that 91.

2009 Upper Deck First Edition Ryan Zimmerman
Needed it.  I rarely get cards from 2007-2010 that I don't already have.  This is the second such card in this package alone.  This is my 243rd Zimmerman. He's closing in on my BJ mark.

2010 Topps Ryan Zimmerman Attax Code Card
Didn't need it.

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Ryan Zimmerman Hometown Heroes
Didn't need it.  That's 9-for-15 so far.

2013 Topps Ryan Zimmerman Wal-Mart Blue Border
Didn't need it.  Night Owl should have shopped at Target.

2014 Topps Archives Ryan Zimmerman
Needed it.  That makes 244 Zims.

2007 Fleer Ultra Conor Jackson
Needed it.  I now need 57 more cards to complete my set.

2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Co¿nc?dence RMS Carmania & SMS Cap Trafalgar
Needed it.  This was the top card for me in the package.  I'm now just 4 cards shy of finishing the Co¿nc?dence set.  That means Night Owl was 12-for-19 in this package.  That is a really good percentage for a package these days.  He definitely exceeded his hopeful goal of two.

If you don't know the story behind the RMS Carmania and SMS Cap Trafalgar, allow me to read the back for you:

"During World War I, the German cruise liner SMS Cap Trafalgar secretly was converted to a warship in order to patrol the seas disguised as the British cruise liner RMS Carmania.  One problem: the RMS Carmania had been converted, too, and sank the German vessel."

In other words, you can strive to be someone else, but the original will always blow you out of the water.  

Thanks for being the original, Night Owl, and thanks for the cards.

Friday, October 23, 2015

I'm not worthy...

I'm not worthy of a great trade package these days.  My blog is gathering dust, and my card-buying is near-frozen.  Life is thickening and expanding and pouring on.

But damn, it's so good to get a package of stuff in the mail.

No package disappoints, but packages from Dennis are always special.  There are packages that satisfy needs or wants or bips.  There are packages that have old things, new things, unknown things.  But Dennis' packages reek of thought.  They're personal.  They make you feel good inside.  They remind you that some people actually are good people.

I got a package out of the blue (pun intended) the other day and it blue blew me away.  The first thing out of the package was this:

It is easily the most iconic SI from a VT perspective.  It's amazing how much Vick played a role in the current college football landscape.

There was one other SI in the package, too:

This one features Vick's favorite target, Andre Davis.  The two lines at the top, though, seemed to pretty relevant, too.  The "Undoing of Kordell Stewart" played off of the Mr. Electric cover as, for a time, Stewart seemed to be the too-early revolution at the QB position.  Then there's the "Unveiling of Lamar Odom" which is currently relevant in an almost eerie way.

I'm hoping to frame these and hang them in my Hokie room.

He also sent some Hokie cards:

Jimmy Williams, featuring his J-Dubb signature

I don't have many Chancellor cards, so I'm thrilled to get one.  He is easily the best player on the Seahawks.

Tyrod has certainly shown his value this year.  I really hope he keeps it up.

Adibi is one of my all-time favorites.  I also these Prestige cards that have the VT in the foil.  So nice.

And here we have the guy who should still be our basketball coach.  I will never understand why he was fired.  Such a terrible decision.  We are really fortunate to finally have a good coach again in Buzz Williams after the James Johnson disaster.

As usual, Dennis packed the mailer with other great stuff.

A handful of very nice Justin Uptons, including a rare 10th Anniversary Issue Buyback.

I'm a fan of manupatches, as long as they make sense.  This one clearly does, and is a pretty cool addition to the collection.

The last card I'm showing is of a World Series-bound David Wright, complete with oversized toploader:

I;ve been disappointed to not pull a Wright boxloader from my past A&G cases, so I'm happy to get one in a trade.

I'm not worthy of a trade package of this caliber.  I'm not sure I can even muster half the goodness in return.  Thanks, Dennis!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Gint-A-Cuffs VII - Part 7 of 7

Pack 21:
251 Adam LaRoche 
213 Elvis Andrus 
14 LaTroy Hawkins 
330 Jason Heyward 
85 Kris Bryant 
242 James McCann 
MM-16 Leprechaun Menagerie of the Mind (+2 Insert)
317 Hunter Strickland Mini A&G Back (+5 Mini A&G Back SP)

Really not a bad pack from both a GAC and value standpoint, but I'm going to need gold at the end of this rainbow.

Pack Total: 7
Box Total: 132

Pack 22:
270 Mike Foltynewicz 
234 Michael Cuddyer 
157 Jose Reyes 
59 Hector Rondon 
321 Ben Zobrist 
36 Anthony Ranaudo 
SP-30 David Price  Starting Points (+2 Insert)
BUG-13 Calleta Silkmoth Caterpillar A World Beneath Our Feet (+2 Mini Insert)

At least I got a Cuddyer.

Pack Total: 4
Box Total: 136

Pack 23:
200 Jose Abreu 
27 Maikel Franco 
61 Domonic Brown 
318 David Price 
246 Andrew Cashner 
229 Ivan Drago (-1 Commissioner Says So)
SP-100 Jayson Werth  Starting Points (+2 Insert)
238 Dee Gordon Mini

It pains me to lose points for the Drago card.  It's fantastic.

Pack Total: 1
Box Total: 137

Pack 24:
57 David Cross 
119 Paul Scheer (-1 Commissioner Says So)
282 Adeiny Hechavarria 
139 Chris Sale (+2 FP List)
327 Jeff Mauro 
89 Jonathan Papelbon 
AA-2 Katana Ancient Armory (+2 Insert)
142 Yasiel Puig Mini A&G Back (+2 Mini A&G Back)

Why does Paul Scheer get a -1?

Pack Total: 5
Box Total: 142

Well, that does it.  My final score is 142.  I'm guessing it is near the bottom of the leaderboard.  I can say with confidence that this was the worst box of my entire case...for the second straight year.  Pitiful.  I need to get better at choosing a GAC box.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Gint-A-Cuffs VII - Part 6 of 7

Pack 17:
240 Trevor May 
122 Jesse Hahn 
309 Gabe Kapler 
49 Hisashi Iwakuma 
191 John Lackey 
NNO Delmon Young (2011) Buyback (+3 Full Size Buyback)
MBT-2 Cornelius Vanderbilt Magnates, Barons & Tycoons (+2 Mini Insert)
MM-5 Griffin Menagerie of the Mind (+2 Insert)

Of 24 full-size buybacks in my case, 2 were Delmon Young.

Pack Total: 7
Box Total: 107

Pack 18:
198 Albert Pujols 
174 Joe Mauer 
19 Charlie Blackmon 
291 James Shields 
SP-65 Maikel Franco  Starting Points (+2 Insert)
FMR-PA Pedro Alvarez  Framed Relic (+8 Framed Relic)

Well, there goes my chance at winning.

Pack Total: 10
Box Total: 117

Pack 19:
75 Brandon Phillips 
188 Shelby Miller 
96 Tim Hudson 
103 Salvador Perez 
304 Gary Brown 
92 Michelle Beadle 
AA-3 Quarterstaff Ancient Armory (+2 Insert)
216 Jake Lamb Mini


Pack Total: 2
Box Total: 119

Pack 20:
294 Adam Wainwright 
146 Michael Morse 
70 Kyle Seager 
339 Clayton Kershaw 
230 Keith Law 
65 David Ortiz (+2 FP List)
SP-39 Clayton Kershaw  Starting Points (+2 Insert)
185 Gus Malzahn Mini A&G Back (+2 Mini A&G Back)

Kershaw hot pack, would have thought someone would have him as their FP.

Pack Total: 6
Box Total: 125

Well, with 4 packs and no guaranteed hits remaining, I'm on pace for 148.  I would be shocked if I get there.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gint-A-Cuffs VII - Part 5 of 7

Pack 13:
2 Nick Markakis 
45 Chris Owings 
281 Cory Spangenberg 
322 Mark Melancon 
145 Santiago Casilla 
NNO Francisco Rodriguez (2007) Buyback (+3 Full-Size Buyback)
WAS-1 Flat Earth What Once Was Believed (+2 Insert)
329 Brett Gardner Mini (+3 Mini SP, -1 Yankee)

2007 Cards look good as buybacks since they have plenty of space for the stamp.

Pack Total: 7
Box Total: 83

Pack 14:
33 Michael Wacha 
106 Yunel Escobar (+1 Nationals)
257 Pablo Sandoval 
314 Ian Desmond (+1 Nationals)
171 Anthony Rendon (+1 Nationals)
193 Aramis Ramirez 
SP-60 CC Sabathia  Starting Points (+2 Insert)
136 Tyson Ross Mini A&G Back (+2 Mini A&G Back)

Wow, that's a great pack to get if you're a Nats fan. Hey, I am.  Woohoo!  No, I don't want your Nationals cards.

Pack Total: 7
Box Total: 90

Pack 15:
220 Yasmani Grandal 
9 Jeff Samardzija 
101 Stephen Strasburg (+1 Nationals)
50 Francisco Rodriguez 
276 Alex Rodriguez (-1 Yankees)
158 Kurt Suzuki 
WOULD-4 Automated Kitchen What Once Would Be (+2 Insert)
278 Cliff Lee Mini

I have an automated kitchen...it's called a wife! JustkiddingMywifeisawonderfulhumanbeingwhomIloveverymuchSorrysweetieIdidntmeanitIloveyou.

Pack Total: 2
Box Total: 92

Pack 16:
273 Cole Hamels 
127 Nick Castellanos 
313 Jhonny Peralta 
284 Jay Bruce 
FSRB-CBL Charlie Blackmon  Full-Size Relic (+6 Full Size Relic)
SP-21 Aroldis Chapman  Starting Points (+2 Insert)
291 James Shields Mini

Ouch.  I had never heard of this guy until I saw this card.  That's usually not good.

Pack Total: 8
Box Total: 100

So, after 2/3 of my box, I'm sitting at an even 100 with a 145 pace.  My last hit needs to be a doozy.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Gint-A-Cuffs VII - Part 4 of 7

Pack 9:
180 Scott Kazmir 
140 Jose Altuve 
183 Edwin Encarnacion 
51 Matt Garza 
84 Josh Harrison 
207 Derek Norris 
WAS-9 California Island What Once Was Believed (+2 Insert)
58 Jacob deGrom Mini A&G Back (+2 Mini A&G Back)

deGrom AKA Samardzija 2.0

Pack Total: 4
Box Total: 57

Pack 10:
64 Austin Jackson 
262 Alex Cobb 
190 Michael Bourn 
203 David Wright (+4 Favorite Player)
305 Chris Carter 
110 Victor Martinez 
SP-13 Hanley Ramirez  Starting Points (+2 Insert)
159 Devin Mesoraco Mini

Always good to beat the 1:3ish box odds and get your favorite player's base card.

Pack Total: 6
Box Total: 63

Pack 11:
20 Leonys Martin 
266 Drew Storen (+1 Nationals)
295 Joe Nathan 
338 Mike Napoli 
72 Joe Panik 
172 Matt Carpenter 
GS-10 Dolly the Sheep Great Scott! (+2 Insert)
BP-4 Burrowing Owl Birds of Prey (+2 Mini Insert)

Topps really blew it here.  Every Dolly the Sheep card should have an identical one right behind it.  At least they put owls in the set.

Pack Total: 5
Box Total: 68

Pack 12:
15 Justin Verlander 
239 Zach Britton 
147 Yoenis Cespedes 
328 Val Kilmer 
29 Nick Swisher 
289 Wil Myers 
SP-5 Freddie Freeman  Starting Points (+2 Insert)
108 Prince Fielder Mini Black Border (+3 Mini Black Border, +3 FP List)

A black mini Prince Fielder is both redundant and oxymoronic.

Pack Total: 8
Box Total: 76

So I've increased to a 142-point pace at the halfway mark.  I need some help.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Gint-A-Cuffs VII - Part 3 of 7

Pack 5:
167 Julie Foudy 
13 Koji Uehara 
48 Coco Crisp 
301 Justin Morneau 
247 George Springer 
192 Fernando Rodney 
SP-99 Stephen Strasburg  Starting Points (+2 Insert, +1 Nationals)
131 Josh Reddick Mini Black Border (+3 Mini Black Border)

That Coco Crisp card is just amazing.

Pack Total: 6
Box Total: 39

Pack 6:
115 Dustin Pedroia 
175 DJ LeMahieu 
306 Stephen Drew (-1 Yankee)
300 Bryce Brentz 
216 Jake Lamb 
288 Robinson Cano 
Would-7 Easy-clean furniture What Once Would Be (+2 Insert)
261 Yu Darvish Mini

I have two cats and a toddler...our furniture is too destroyed to clean. This pack isn't helping my case for victory.

Pack Total: 1
Box Total: 40

Pack 7:
237 Hyun-Jin Ryu 
217 Wade Miley 
297 Magna Carta (+1 Commissioner Says So)
44 Sal Vulcano 
335 Collin Cowgill 
135 Mark Teixeira (-1 Yankee)
SP-73 Brandon Belt  Starting Points (+2 Insert, +2 FP List)
FIRST-21 Caroline Harrison First Ladies (+2 Mini Insert)

Love Impractical Jokers.  I was so excited when I found out there were in this set.  My Sal card keeps falling on the ground, though.

Pack Total: 6
Box Total: 46

Pack 8:
83 Matt Harvey 
112 Buck 65 
311 Michael Brantley 
102 James "Clubber" Lang 
NNO Aaron Rowand (2009) Mini Buyback (+4 Mini Buyback)
297 Magna Carta Mini (+1 Commissioner Says So)
MM-13 Cyclops Menagerie of the Mind (+2 Insert)

I love the Rocky inclusions even more than the Impractical Jokers. Finally getting some decent pack scores.

Pack Total: 7
Box Total: 53

Well, for hitless packs, these weren't terrible, but now I'm only on a 139-point pace.  Not looking good.