Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mail Day: Expansion Edition

Way back in 1992, expansion was a fairly rare thing in professional sports not involving hoops.  During the 90s, it seemed to happen all of the time with the Rockies, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Devil Rays, Panthers, Jaguars, (new) Ravens, Texans (2002), Raptors, Grizzlies, Sharks, Senators, Lightning, Mighty Ducks, Panthers, Predators, Thrashers, Blue Jackets (2000) and Wild (2000) all joining their respective leagues.  There were also four NBA teams added right at the end of the 80s.

Since expansion was still a big deal with the Rockies and Marlins were added to the ranks of Major League Baseball teams, there were a lot of cards produced to commemorate the event.  Some of the tougher ones to acquire were the 1992 Topps factory sets that were only sold in Florida and Colorado respectively.  These sets are reportedly limited to 5,000 copies and contain what may be Derek Jeter’s rarest rookie card.  There are 5,000 sets embossed with a Rockies Inaugural logo on each and every card and 5,000 sets with a Marlins logo.  Due to the fact that these sets were tough to acquire initially and contain a very desirable rookie card, set prices have never really come down like most everything else produced around that time.

I got caught up in the expansion hype and started collecting anything and everything that I could get my hands on related to the two new baseball teams.  Once I get all of my stuff out of storage, which I feel like I’ve been saying forever, I really want to document this collection and hop onto SportsLots to try and grab the last few cards that I need.  I think that this may require a video post since it would require far too many scans and I’ve got stuff that won’t scan such as Coke bottles and Starting Lineups.


Until now, the cards from the expansion factory sets have eluded me.  It looks like a lot of people have been breaking the sets lately because a lot of singles have been showing up on eBay.  The majority of the singles can be acquired very cheaply and these team sets are no exception.  I picked up the Rockies with their logo and the Marlins with the Rockies logo as well.  Now I just need to pick up both teams with the Marlins logos on them.  One day, I’d like to acquire the factory sets themselves, but they aren’t as high on my priority list.  The cards themselves look a lot cooler than a couple of sealed boxes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Flippin' Cards

I was one of the lucky few selected to purchase a Strasburg eTopps card. I thought about it for about a minute before deciding to send that card right off to eBay. I just wish that I had checked my e-mail yesterday, but I did something better which was spend some time with my daughter (who for some strange reason had her mind set that she needed a whoopie cushion, so she now has a self-inflating whoopie cushion)

First off, 1,999 isn't all that limited when you think of all of the different Strasburgs out there numbered to 1, 5, 25, 50, 99 and even 999. eTopps is fringe enough as it is and I don't see this card retaining too much popularity once all the dust has settled. There will be a lot more numbered cards this year with and without autographs that people will be chasing.

Second, the few times that you can actually make some money back on eTopps cards you've got to take advantage. I've stopped buying the cards at IPO because many times you can get them for a quarter of the price a few months later. The only cards that I've sold for more were this Strasburg and a LeBron James rookie.

Third, I'm in the final stretch of paying off an upcoming Disney trip and funds for cards are scarce. If I combine this with some cash that my mom gave me for Father's Day then I should be all set when Ginter comes out.

Fourth, there's no such thing as a pitching prospect. This phrase existed long before Todd Van Poppel was drafted, but it should have been reenforced by Van Poppel, Prior, Wood, Taylor, etc. It's a ridiculously small number of pitchers whose rookie cards end up being worth something when all is said and done. I'd much rather pick up something that is worth something other than financial value to me.

Fifth, it's fun to just sit and watch the bids come in when it comes to something like this. I put the card up for a one day auction this morning and hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised by the end result.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Right Card for the Right Price

92FleerEver have a card that you needed to add to your collection, but never found one at a price you were comfortable with paying?  It’s extremely rewarding when your patience pays off and you can finally add that card to your collection at a price you’re comfortable paying.  For me, that card was the 1992 Fleer Update Mike Piazza RC.

I was lucky when it came to 1992 Bowman.  I was a fan of ‘91 Bowman and was looking forward to the release of 'the ‘92 set.  I grabbed a box the first weekend it was out and pulled a Piazza out of my box.  I was also able to find one dealer who was willing to sell a Piazza for the $3 that it was listed for in the first Beckett that had Bowman pricing.  Every other dealer informed me that they were holding the card until the next book came out.  Remember, Beckett is only the bible for dealers when they like what is says.

I wasn’t as lucky when it came to the Fleer Update Piazza.  By the time that set came out, Piazza was well on his way to winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award and his Bowman rookie was the hottest rookie card in the hobby.  Many dealers took a bath on 1991 Fleer Update sets and orders were lower for the 1992 sets.  This happened a lot with update and traded sets in the 90s.  One year would be overproduced and the next would be scarce.  I remember back when 1999 Fleer Tradition Updates were the hot set due to rookie cards of Rick Ankiel and Josh Beckett.  You can get those sets for a few dollars these days.

I don’t remember seeing a lot of the 1992 Fleer Update sets when they were released and the ones that I did see were overpriced from day 1.  Both the Piazza card and the set continued to climb as there was a perceived scarcity in regards to this set.  So, it was a set that never got added to my collection.

These days, many of the sets that were formerly considered scarce in the 90s are now thought of to be overproduced.  You can find plenty of unopened 1992 Fleer Update sets online.  The same goes for the once red hot 1992 Topps Update that contained Nomar Garciaparra’s rookie.  I’m still waiting for the day that they discover cases of the 1992 Stadium Club Dome set in somebody's basement.

The 1992 Fleer Update set has been on my eBay watch list for a while now.  Some good auctions ended while I wasn’t paying attention and others ended higher than I was willing to pay.  A week ago, I finally won an auction at a great price.  The winning bid for the 1992 Fleer Update Set: $25 with free shipping.  It looked like the seller had a case that they were trying to get rid of.  They originally had the sets listed with a Buy It Now price of $29 which was already good, but they had offers on so I figured why not take a shot.  I offered the $25 and it was accepted.  I got the set Monday and now this card is finally in my collection where it belongs.  The card is pretty ugly compared to the classy ‘92 Bowman, but as one of only two Piazza rookies out there, I had to pick one up.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hype is fun

It’s been a long time since an athlete has been hyped as much as Stephen Strasberg.  I’ve got to admit that it can be fun getting caught up in the hype.  We hype up just about everything these days whether it be new TV shows, movies, books, etc.  You can watch viral videos made to promote new books and see commercials for a new movies months before it comes out.

If I had the chance, I would have tried to pick up tickets to see Strasburg pitch for the first time.  It’s something that you can talk about years from now.  It wasn’t planned, but I saw Dice-K’s first ever start at Fenway and that was cool.  It might be part of the reason that I’ve continued to back and root for Dice-K when most Sox fans have given up on him.

Back in 2003, the NBA decided that Boston would host that year’s Summer League games.  UMass Boston would be the venue and a certain big name rookie would be there playing.  (Actually, multiple big name rookies may have been there, but at the time I didn’t really know who Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh were.)

I checked out the schedule and picked up tickets for a block of games that included both Boston and Cleveland (which I think was the last day of league play).  I don’t think that LeBron did much in the game that afternoon, but plenty of people showed up to see him.  I remember a lot of free throws, but I think that the only field goal that James has was on the shot pictured below.  The Cavs had a three-on-none fast break where the ball was thrown off of the backboard for LeBron. 

I think it was just a basic dunk which is the smart thing to do.  You don’t want to end up with a freak injury in a meaningless game before your rookie season.  That wasn’t popular with the crowd of course.

The two games were fun to watch.  All I remember from the game that the Celtics played in was that Marcus Banks had really shiny green sneakers.  I wasn’t there to see the Celtics that day though.  I was there to see what all of the hype surrounding LeBron James was about.  I didn’t get to see it that day, but James had some great games during the Summer League and everyone knows what he has done since then.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Post drought

You may have noticed a severe lack of posts here lately.  As the weather has gotten warmer, the third floor has been getting very warm as well.  It’s not even summer yet and it’s already regularly over 90 degrees up there.  Other than making it unbearable to sit up there for any lengths of time, it also seems to be causing problems with my wireless adapter.  I’ve always had a direct connection to the Internet, but that’s not possible here so I’m connected wirelessly.  I didn’t have these problems during the winter months though.  There’s nothing more frustrating than constantly losing connection to the ‘net.

I’ve been keeping up with all of the blogs out there during my breaks at work like I usually do.  I haven’t been spending too much on cards due to lack of interest and the price tag on things that I am interested in.  I did sell some stuff on eBay, but that was mostly to fund the two Fatheads that I picked up and the Hurley action figure that I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while now.  I’ve gotten a little more done in the room, but the temperatures up here have slowed down the progress.

Since I’ve been spending more time downstairs, I signed up for a trial subscription with GameFly.  I plan on renting all of the sports games that I stopped buying because I played them for two months and then never touched them again and bought almost the exact same game the following season.  So far, I beat Super Paper Mario in a week so I’m already ahead of the game.  I would have been pissed if I had paid $50 for that game and then cleared it in a week.  I’m not one for going back and trying to get every last hidden item.  That’s a cheap way of trying to extend a game without putting more real content into it.

The plan is to get an air conditioner up here that’s temperature controlled and hopefully that will take care of things.  What I really need is a portable computer whether it be a laptop or an iPad although I’m not really sure what it would be like typing up posts on the iPad.

Go Celtics!