Sunday, April 29, 2012

Commissioner Offy

I mentioned in a previous post that I had commissioned a couple of pieces to be picked up at the Boston ComicCon. I’m going to show them off here because I’m currently kind of bored with cards and excited about these. I had ordered a 6”x6” mini-painting of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends as well as a Spider-Ham sketch card from Katie Cook. There was some stuff left behind due to a hectic schedule on Katie’s part and some confusion on my part (I forgot what dimensions my mini-painting were supposed to be) and so I currently don’t have any of those commissions to show off. I do have something to show off though:


This mini-painting measures somewhere around 3”x4” and fits perfectly in a team bag which is what I’ve got it in for now. Eventually, I want to pick up a little frame for it.

If you ever find yourself heading to a show that Katie will be at, come up with a list of your favorite super heroes, pop culture characters, cats, etc. and take advantage of her $5 mini paintings. You can’t find a better deal at any convention. Katie’s pack pulled sketch cards sell anywhere between $100 and $400. Heck, many of these mini-paintings are immediately thrown up on eBay and sell for $20-$30 (seems kind of douchey to me). I got this card, my daughter got a cat, and for my wife I grabbed pre-painted Sam Eagle and Edward Scissorhands. Now I also get the added surprise of one day coming home to a surprise of a painting and sketch card from Katie.


I’m still absolutely giddy about this piece here. Last year’s Boston ComicCon was exposure to the work of Stephanie Buscema. It’s got this unique, retro look to it and I love it. We spent some time that year talking to Stephanie about the project that she was promoting at the time, Teenage Satan.

As this year’s ComicCon approached and I started to come up with my plan in regards to getting commissions, Stephanie was at the top of my list. I tossed some ideas around, but it wasn’t until I talked to my wife about using some of my CcomicCon funds and some of our tax refund to splurge on something nice that things really came together.

So, we ended up with this amazing 6th anniversary present to ourselves. Once we get time, we’ll get it framed and it will hang in our dining room. The walls in there are a similar color to the background behind Death so it should look great in there. Who knows, this could be the start of our own personal art collection.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Organization Begins

Nothing exciting here, but I was finally able to get my makeshift organization center together.


I had originally planned on placing the shelving unit into the nook sideways so that I could fit two of them into this space. I ran into two issues with that though. The first was that these units aren’t made to be used sideways. The horizontal shelves are sturdy, but the vertical partitions aren’t weight bearing at all. The second issue was that the cardboard bins that I ordered didn’t fit into the slots this way. So, here’s the shelving unit as it was designed to be used with 15 trays in it and another 5 trays on top. You can’t see in this picture, but the little nook is 2 inches two short of having the second unit stacked on top of this one.

100_7911  I actually don’t plan to have the trays sticking out of the slots like you would with a filing cabinet. I just did that with these pictures to shows a couple of the trays in action. Right now, I’ve just moved some of the stacks on my desk to the trays, but in the future I’ll probably use them more for sorting purposes. Each storage unit has 15 slots which means I could devote a whole tray to each MLB team if I wanted to. That would make trading a whole lot easier than it is for me right now.


Here’s a closer view of the few of the trays. There are a bunch of Celtics to be sorted and put away next to bunch of Piazza cards that need to be put away and the final drawer in the picture has Non-Sports/Wrestling cards that need to go away.

The second storage unit will probably have to go in front of the wall to the left of the one pictured here. I’ve been toying with the idea of stacking the two units in that spot, but then I’m in the position of once again coming up with a good idea for the little nook area. We’ll see how things go once I start using this area regularly.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

That’s My B-Oyo

I keep going to big comic book conventions and I’m not sure why. I really only buy new issues of comics and I’m not looking to pick up any vintage issues or dig through long boxes looking for bargains. There are only a handful of artists that I’ll stand in line for in order to obtain a sketch. I can’t stand a room full of people who don’t know how to act when out in public. I don’t mean to further stereotypes, but the best analogy I can think of for how people travel through a Comic Book Convention is a game of electric football. I never have this problem even when walking through the most crowded of sports card shows.

That being said, I took a different approach to this year’s Boston ComicCon. Since I knew that I probably wouldn’t end up spending a lot of money there, I decided to spend the money before the convention on commissions to pick up at the convention. That part of my play went very well. I also have a tendency to find some nice sports collectibles at the ComicCon which seems to be a completely unexpected result. Last year, I picked up the Rondo and Shaq McFarlane figures for $10 a piece. This year, my purchase was a little smaller.


I’ve had my eye on these Oyo mini-figures since I first heard about them. I’ve been collecting the blind packed LEGO minifigures and have a bunch of the LEGO NBA minifigures. LEGO did release a generic baseball player in one of their minifigure releases, but a licensed product is so much cooler.


These Oyo figures have more articulation to them than your typical LEGO minifigure. First off, these little guys have elbows. That’s huge for sports figures. As you can see in the picture, David Ortiz can actually hold his bat. The second thing that you might notice is that these figures also have knees. Look at that leg kick.

Each figure comes with a bat, glove, ball and home plate shaped base. With the multiple accessories that come with each figure and the high level of poseability, you can do a lot with these figures. Oyo has gone pretty deep into many rosters so you can set up the majority of many MLB teams. If a particular player hasn’t been made, you could by the generic figure that they have for each team as a stand-in.

Just about the only negative that these figures have going for them is the price point. The MLB license must have been pretty expensive. LEGO minifigures can be purchased for anywhere between $2.99 and $4.99. The suggested retail price for these figures is $12.99. The only reason that I purchased the ones that I did was because they had a price tag of $10 on them. It still seems a little steep at first, but the extra articulation and accessories make it worthwhile. I would definitely buy more of these at $9.99, but I can’t see myself paying $12.99.

Overall, I love these figures. Oyo did a great job on making the tiny little heads resemble the players they are representing. The accessories are great and the articulation is awesome. The price point is a little high, but I’m hoping that future releases might be a little lower in price. These are definitely worth checking out if you happen to see them somewhere. You can also order them on the Oyo website.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fenway Park Open House: Visitors’ Clubhouse


While the Red Sox Clubhouse was shut down early in the day to be used by players, there was absolutely no line for the visitors’ clubhouse. I really, really want one of those 100th Anniversary folding chairs.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fenway Park Open House


To celebrate Fenway Park’s 100th Birthday, the Red Sox held an open house. The big draw to this open house was that just about every part of the park was open to the public. This has never been done before. What I really got excited about was the opportunity to peek inside of the Green Monster. It was a really quick peek, but it was well worth the wait. Luckily, I showed up early and didn’t have to wait too long. Once I was wandering around the park, the line grew extremely long. This picture was taken from the roof level seats and you can see part of the line coming down the third baseline. At this point, the line was extending down past home and around towards the home dugout. You’ll be able to see that as I post more pictures.

The Red Sox Open House ended up drawing over 50,000 people. The middle of the day was a little jam packed because there aren’t a ton of things to keep fans entertained. This is why there were huge lines on the field, free autographs had a line 2 hours long, seeing the Red Sox clubhouse had a huge line until they had to shut it down when players needed to use it. I made the most of it though since I’ve already been on the field numerous times, I went there first before it got crowded and then stayed away from it for the rest of the day. I saw the visitor’s clubhouse, Royal Rooter’s Club/The Nation’s Archives (Which will be open to the public on future tours), Absolut Clubhouse, and a few other areas not usually open to the public. There were a few hiccups, but I had a great day. Hope you all enjoy the pictures to come.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Getting Organized

I would say that the biggest obstacle for me in enjoying my collection is my current lack of organization. When I was younger, I had a lot fewer cards and I also had a lot more free time to devote to the organization of my collection. These days, with a lot less time to spend organizing a lot of things just end up in piles on my desk. Then I have no room to organize so I end up not doing it. It’s really a vicious cycle.

So, I’ve got the wheels in motion to do something about that organization problem. I found these shoe cubbies at Target for $35 that looked like they would do the job. They’ve got 15 slots and are the perfect size for trading card sized items. The shelves alone will be great for storing things like packages of toploaders, but they won’t be all that great for cards themselves. To remedy that problem, I ordered 50 cardboard inventory bins. The bins themselves are great and don’t cost all that much, but the shipping will kill you unless you have a place nearby that happens to sell them. Getting them shipped to Staples was more expensive than getting them shipped from the place I did even with the shipping costs. The total cost for the two show cubbies and the inventory bins will be right around $100 and I’ll have some extra bins to use elsewhere. A little pricey, but not too bad for what’s going to be a great storage solution.

I carefully put together one of the shoe cubbies today. Luckily they aren’t heavy since I’m still on restrictions after my surgery. The only downside that I see is that the shelves aren’t quite as sturdy as I expected. This fact is complicated by the fact that the space I’m putting these in is a little weird sized and I need to turn them sideways to fit both of them. If worse comes to worse then I’ll put it flat again and use the second one elsewhere. I don’t think that weight on the shelves will become an issue though. Once I get this all together, I’ll post some pictures of it in use.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Greatest Of All Time


When Panini released their Basketball Hall of Fame set, it could have been the greatest basketball set of all time, but there were a few things preventing that from happening. The first was that they had no access to Michael Jordan due to his exclusive contract with Upper Deck. The second problem was that it costs a heck of a lot more to get the autographs of the big stars than it does everyone else. That resulted in poor collation with the same common autographs showing up again and again.

One good thing that did come out of this set was the very first autographed card of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt. I actually pulled two of these out of the boxes that I opened, but I sold one right away which helped to pay for another box. I think this is by far the best card that I pulled out of my boxes. Even though there are 599 copies of this card, it sells for around $50-$60 on eBay and will probably spike a little with the recent news of Summitt’s retirement.

It’s not often that you can an autograph of someone who is the greatest at what they do. I know coaches aren’t as glamorous as players, but Pat Summitt is to college basketball coaching what Michael Jordan is to NBA Basketball. They are both, inarguably, the best in what they did and that’s a huge thing. So, while the Panini Basketball Hall of Fame set did not have the greatest basketball player of all time, they did manage to succeed in a cardboard first for the best colligate coach.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Panini Makes Good

This post is overdue, but it’s kind of appropriate given the subject matter. I had the misfortune of dealing with Panini while their customer service and fulfillment departments were in a shambles. They claim that they are in the process of improving this, so until I have to deal with them again, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. Since I don’t buy anything from Panini, that probably won’t be any time soon.


After waiting over a year, dealing with extreme frustration and searching out someone through their personal Twitter, I got the following cards sent to me:

2010-11 Absolute Memorabilia Avery Bradley Rookie Premiere Materials 177/499. When I got this card, it was when there were rumors circulating that the Celtics might trade away Rajon Rondo. I joked that this card could possibly be a good one if that to occur. Rondo didn’t get traded, but a Ray Allen injury and eventual transition to a bench role paved the way for the emergence of Avery Bradley. The Celtics climb to the top of the Atlantic Division and anything they may do in this year’s playoff will be in large part to Bradley and what Rondo can now do in the open court with Bradley and Bass running with him.

2010-11 Gold Standard Kevin Garnett Gold Medalists Prime Patch 5/25. This is a pretty cool card and while I know that the patch in this card is most likely from a Timberwolves jersey, I’d love to think it was from one of KG’s USA jerseys. I don’t think Panini picked up a jersey from the 2000 games though. I’m still not even sure that the jersey swatches in the USA cards from the Basketball Hall of Fame set are from actual Olympic jerseys. One question that I’ve got about this card is concerning the jersey number. Garnett has worn #5 the entire time that he’s been in Boston, but his Olympic jersey number as pictured on the card is #10. So, would this card bring in a jersey number premium on eBay? It doesn’t really matter since I’m pretty sure this card will have a permanent home in my collection.

It was kind of disappointing to have an Avery Bradley autograph take the place of Cheryl Miller, a member of the Hall of Fame. The Garnett patch makes up for it a little bit, but a patch card, even if it is numbered to 25, doesn’t have the same prestige as a HOF auto. I find it hard to believe that Panini didn’t have a high numbered or unnumbered Rondo, Pierce, Allen or Garnett auto to send, but they made a good effort and worked within my request and in the end, I am happy.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day is a quasi-holiday that's only celebrated in the city of Boston. The reason? Today is Marathon Monday. The Red Sox play early, many streets are blocked off and most people end up working even if they are in Boston.

I'm home today, but it's for a completely different reason. Today is day 3 of my recovery from hernia surgery. It's nothing major, but will still be 2 weeks until I'm able to return to work and even then it will be a while before I'm lifting any MacPros.

One good thing is that there will be a span of a week or so where I'll be able to get around alright, but just won't be able to lift anything. That's when I plan on catching up on the three trades that have been sitting on my desk. I have to tally up the points for the Red Sox Frankenset entries and get the return packages ready to go.

It seems like exclusives are killing my interest in the hobby. I don't want to buy anything basketball and since I'm not going anywhere near the majority of the high end sets, most of the year there's nothing that interests me. Luckily there's a ton of great non-sports releases out there. I busted a box of Big Bang Theory and while I paid a little more for it than I would have liked, the fact that I ripped open the packs with my wife made it invaluable. We weren't lucky enough to pull one of the main cast autos, but it was still a fun break. It's crazy what the autos are going for from this set and it makes me think there's currently a lot more money to be made in non-sports releases of the top licenses out there than there is in sports cards. The sports card industry needs a complete overhaul.

Speaking on non-sports, this weekend is the Boston ComicCon. This is a real comic book convention and not a pop culture convention masquerading as a comic book show. The guests are all comic book professionals including legends such as Al Jaffe. (Sergio Araggones was scheduled to attend, but cancelled.) I'm especially excited about this Con since I'll be picking up some original art at the show. My wife and I got a painting of Neil Gaiman's Death commissioned by Stephanie Buscema. I've seen a picture of it and it is absolutely gorgeous. Neil Gaiman tweeted the picture to all of his followers and it made it's way all over the Internet. I'm also picking up a mini painting and a sketch card from Katie Cook. Those will be some very cool additions to the collection.

I did have one very cool thing happen. A couple of years ago, my wife won a contest where the grand prize was Alice in Chains tickets, a meet and greet and a gold record of their latest album. Time has passed and I really don't have anywhere to hang the award and don't really have a connection to this version of the band without Layne fronting them. So, I listed the album on eBay and it ended up selling for $500 which is a lot more than what I thought it would go far after looking at comparable gold records. I'll be sharing the loot with the wife since she's the one that originally won the contest, but it's still a lot more fun money than I thought I would have.

On the sports front, the Red Sox are having an open house at Fenway Park this Thursday to celebrate the 100th anniversary. Supposedly, they are allowing people to look inside the Green Monster which never happens and other rarely seen parts of the park will be accessible as well. So, I just might spend the whole day there and take a few hundred pictures. It's great seeing baseball back and I'm extremely excited about the rejuvenated Celtics who look like they can beat everyone in the East except the Bulls. If Rose can't heal up then it's anyone's series to win.

So, there's my update. Hopefully I heal up quickly so that I can get back to putting actual content on here.