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Saturday, January 19, 2019

About that trade bait...

Well, I USED to have a lot of trade bait... here's a fun story about going to a card show with three shoeboxes of trade bait in hand. Sometimes, you find someone who wants a huge chunk of it. Today, that's exactly what happened. I'll admit that this dealer probably came out a just a bit ahead of me in terms of overall value, however I now have a couple of cards I absolutely love and I'm not having to carry around three boxes of trade bait to ever trade night and card show I go to. Most of the cards I traded away were under $2 in value, a smattering of cards worth $10-20 and only one card that would fetch in the $75-100 range. So what did I get? Behold:
Biggio, Bagwell and Altuve triple relic auto /36! This was the much "lower" end card of the two I received and I absolutely freakin' love it. Three of my favorite Astros of all time, all on one card and great signatures.

The other card? Well, it's pretty freakin' awesome too:
6-relic Babe Ruth /25 from Topps Sterling 2010. Wow, this thing is amazing and it's now right center stage in my PC, on the shelf with my other HOF'er autographs/relics. I've always wanted to add a nice higher end Babe Ruth, but other than getting lightning in a bottle I didn't have a lot of hope of that ever happening by opening packs. I traded away dozens of cards I've pulled over the years, but in the end I have a card I reallllllly wanted.

So, I am down to one box of trade bait, and it's rather limited tbh, but here's to growing it back up again! Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Blogger Trade - Chris from Nachos Grande

So Chris from Nachos Grande and I have had a stack of cards building for months and months. Finally, we got in touch last week and got the trade completed! I got my cards today:
The crux of the deal was that beautiful blue border Alex Bregman from 2017 Archives. It's numbered /75 and the action shot is great. Awesome card. I picked up the Steinberg because I remember him being an agent for several Oilers back in the day, and his cross over into the movies with his appearance in Jerry Maguire. Plus, pretty cool looking relic. Chris also threw in some random Astros, including that Randy Johnson which I can honestly say I've never seen before! Thanks Chris!

PS - TSHenson - you commented on my blog yesterday, but I have no means of getting in touch with you, please leave me a comment with your e-mail address!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Facebook Trade

After one of the trade nights last weekend, I posted a few of the football hits that I got to that shops' Facebook page. I had managed to pull a decent Josh Allen autograph and I quickly got some trade offers. Since I don't collect much football, I usually try and move it pretty quickly! Here's what I managed to pick up in return for the Allen:
The Yuli is a nice parallel out of /50! And while I'm usually not a huge fan of the fake Topps patch things, I'll take whatever Verlander cards I can find depicting him in an Astros uni! Next, a jumbo Keke Coutee swatch /499. Keke had an uneven year as he couldn't ever quite get that hamstring healthy. Hopefully his sophomore season turns out better as a Texan. Always happy to pick up a Deshaun Watson jersey card, this one /99. Let me tell ya, I LOVE Spectra, I think it's Panini's best product in terms of design and execution. Finally, a couple of Justin Reid autographs. This dude had a monster first year, still can't believe we got him in the 3rd round of the draft. The autos are /49 (XR) and /149 (Illusions).

I have found FB a little less reliable as far as trading goes, rather hit or miss, and a lot of the folks I run into on there still think they can make a living off busting packs, but that is part of the hobby I guess.

I've had several people ask me the same question lately: Do you collect just "hits"? My answer: absolutely not. I'm currently working on a spreadsheet to capture all my numbered parallels and inserts. It's a work in progress. But by all means, if you want to trade base, I'm down for that as well. I have a big backlog of products (a lot of Ginter from the past couple years) as well as just random boxes/packs I've opened along the way. 2018 Chronicles is really about the only set I'm building right now, but I'm always game for getting a nice stack of Astros!

Hope you all are having a wonderful week!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Trade Night Pick Ups

Readers, just a heads up, somehow I'm not getting any e-mails when you guys comment. I'm trying to be good about going and looking to see if there are new comments, but by all means if you want to swing a deal - e-mail me directly - samuelpair@yahoo.com.

Alright, there was a local card shop called John's that had trade night Saturday night - here's what I ended up with at the end of the night.
There was actually ZERO trading going on, just like 6 guys with huge cases of high end football showing each other their $400-500 Baker Mayfield autos. Meh.

Once again, see anything you like, let me know!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Random Trade Bait

Here's some of the stuff I've picked up lately that could be yours!
I just kind of went through the trade bait box and made some selections.

Also, wanted to show off this great auto I picked up last weekend in trade at a card show in Arvada, CO.
A freakin' sweet Altuve auto #'ed 2/9. Now, I'll temper my excitement by saying that I don't really care too much for the "Archives Signature Series" brand. But to get this low numbered a card of my guy, I'm pretty stoked.

Have a great Saturday everyone!

Friday, January 11, 2019

A Couple of New Additions

Going through the process of moving and unpacking, you find stuff that you had forgotten about. Today, here's a couple of cards that are in that mix!
Ever since we won the WS, I'd been wanting to add a Hinch auto and well, here it is! I love the Silver Ink autos in Inception, they are crisp against the black backgrounds.

Since the move, I've been really trying to focus on doing more trading. If you've still got my blog in your list of blogs to read, I'd love a chance to trade. I've got a CRAP TON of trade bait. Just let me know what you're looking for! Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

2018 Panini Chronicles Needs List

I know it's been a while, but I'm still around! I've decided to do something a little insane, but fun. I'm going after the full base set of 2018 Panini Chronicles - the mishmash set of 19 separate products that Panini decided to throw into one product. While I disagree with the method, I love the product. I am looking to trade for any of the cards listed below. I have a couple of trades en route, so I'll get this marked up ASAP to clear out any I get. I will trade "hits" for bulk base, so if you've bought a few boxes and want to unload the base cards, let me know and we'll work something out.

So without further ado, here's my needs list by subset:

Chronicles Base:
1, 6, 7, 9, 14, 16, 20, 24, 38, 40, 42, 43, 50, 55

Classics:
2, 4, 9, 10, 12, 17, 22, 27, 29

Contenders Optic Season Ticket:
6

Cornerstones:
Need all except 47

Crusade:
14, 17, 20

Donruss Rated Rookies:
272, 278

Donruss Rated Rookies Season Stat Lines:
Need all EXCEPT 278

Illusions:
7, 19

Limited:
1, 2, 9, 14, 17, 19

Optic Rated Rookies:
181, 182

Phoenix:
1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 19, 20

Prestige:
3, 11, 12, 13, 16, 21, 22, 25, 26, 30

Prizm:
5, 10, 12, 16, 17

Revolution:
2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 25

Rookies & Stars:
1, 13, 16, 18, 19

Score:
9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, 24, 25

Select:
2, 4, 10, 12, 13

Spectra:
Need all EXCEPT: 2, 11, 16, 33, 38, 39, 44, 49, 52, 55, 58, 74, 84, 85, 87

Status:
6, 13, 25

Studio:
6, 19, 20

Updated 1/12/19 with trades received.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Group Break?

Anyone interested in a group break? 3-5 hobby boxes. Two teams per spot - one you pick, another randomly assigned? Guaranteed "hit" per person from my personal collection of trade bait if you get skunked. Let me know what you think. Would need at least moderate interest to proceed.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

My Osuna Thoughts

This post will absolutely fall into the category of "unsolicited opinion" and I absolutely agree. No one ever has ASKED for my take on this. However, there has been a twitter war amongst my friends (and probably enemies at this point) on #AstrosTwitter. To this point, I've remained Switzerland as best I can. I do not feel comfortable stating any strong opinion one way or another on the actual situation Roberto Osuna put himself (and more importantly, his girlfriend) in many months ago. Obviously, and this shouldn't have to be stated by ANYONE, but I do not support or condone domestic violence in any way. Please keep in mind, that this is all opinion and from the life of a person who has not been witness, subject or perpetrator of domestic violence. There are a few factors in play here that prevent me from jumping out there with a pure take on the issue:

1) Differences in laws - Canadian law is vastly different than American law in these matters. The way the arrests take place, charges files and cases being resolved just has a different process and procedure. There are laws in place to protect the victim to the greatest extent possible by police and prosecutors. This is a good thing, but it leads into my second point.
2) Lack of information - With the protections in place, this whole situation is vastly different than an American incident. There are no released photos, witness statements, officer's accounts of what happened, etc. We don't know the context or severity of what happened. Based on a couple of articles I've read, it could be as little as a verbal threat, or as severe as physical bodily harm. The severity, to me, matters but it's not the primary factor. The primary factor is that SOMETHING happened. So unless a prosecutor drops the charges and comes out to say "Nothing happened, this was a complete boondoggle, we are sorry to have besmirched the good name of a fine young man." then we have to conclude that enough happened to support a charge being not only filed, but pursued to this extent and not dropped already. There is a possibility that the record of what happened that night may never be known publicly.
3) Misinformation - There's a lot of rumor, innuendo and such being spread around - like Jeff Passan saying he's seen "horrific" photos of the victim - which I find hard to believe considering the systems in place there in Canada. Again, I want to know the truth and form an informed, rational opinion on the matter. I don't want to shoot from the hip and be all FIRE AND BRIMSTONE. If there ARE horrific photos, I don't want to see them to be frank, but I want that information coming from prosecutors - not a source like Passan.

If all the charges are 100% true and he's convicted or if the charges are dropped because of lack of victim cooperation, count me on the APPALLED and WILL NEVER ROOT FOR HIM side of things. I'm just not there, yet. I do want due process to be held before I add my voice to the cacophony.

So, if I don't have an opinion on the actual events that took place, why am I writing this blogpost? Well, there are several facets of this story that truly do bother me. Prepare yourself, some of this may be counter intuitive and seem to cause some cognitive dissonance - but that's the crux of this situation: it's cause a lot of mixed feelings and thoughts for a lot of us that are hard to reconcile:

1) Public Relations - This is a PR nightmare for the Astros. No way around that. You don't go out and make a trade at the deadline and frame it ANY other context than "Winning is our #1 priority". There is literally no other reason for this trade, and to try to spin it any other way is disingenuous, at best, to the fan base. We have trusted Luhnow and Crane through the rebuild, through the worst years of baseball I've ever witnessed to come out of the mire with a WS trophy and a clubhouse of guys that we all LOVE. Seriously, there are so many of them that we'd walk across fire for... so adding this type of guy, with this kind of baggage and try to play it off as a "second chance" redemption story in the press, well, it doesn't sit well with a lot of fans. This guy doesn't have the public perception of a "high character guy" whether he is or not.
2) Timing - I do believe that the timing of when the trade was made is very telling. Trades at the deadline are intended to give your team a boost towards the playoffs, especially the Astros with the back end of the bullpen being a bit shaky. The fact this happened at the deadline tells me it was done for purely baseball reasons, to win games, at all cost. I don't necessarily care that we got a  "discount" for damaged goods. The fact they made the deal, when they made it, tells me the motivation. If it was all about second chances and a fresh start for a 23 year old guy, it could and in my opinion, should have waited until the off season. Even if that meant paying a higher price. By the time the season is over, the case should be resolved and I would think the context of the incident would be public knowledge and there wouldn't be a need to "spin" the acquisition to make it more palatable to a fan base. Keep the guy in the Toronto minors for the rest of the year, let there be resolution and then define a path forward to give him a fresh start elsewhere, as it was obvious he would never wear a Blue Jays uniform in a game again.
3) Media Reaction - A few weeks ago, there was more than one article I read that proposed that a Giles-for-Osuna swap would be ideal for both parties. But as the trade deadline approached and more rumors picked up, it became divisive. More an more media members then came out of the woodwork to slam the trade and the Astros in the process. In a vitriolic way that I do not recall reading about when the Yankees traded for Chapman, the Cubs traded for Chapman, or when Jose Reyes continued to get contracts, or when Julio Lugo was dismissed from this team and given a huge payday with Boston. Times have changed, even since the Chapman situation and the media has taken a pretty hard stance (as they should) against domestic violence and other off the field issues. I do feel it has been a pretty heavy handed attack on the Astros from the national columnists - to a degree that I think it borders on unfair (this is where some of the dissonance kicks in). Some have gone so far as to express regret for not covering the Chapman situation as harshly as this one. I don't feel the media needs to be excusing or making any apologies, but it is a bit frustrating to keep reading basically the same anti-Astros rhetoric daily - reiterating the same points with no new information, just more hatred.
4) Being a Villain - For YEARS, the Yankees were known at least jokingly as the "Evil Empire" - they were and probably always will be cast in a villainous role for the way they operate, "buying championships" and winning at all costs. Never, ever, have any Astros fans felt the ownership or management to take that role. To be the ones who would sacrifice the "good" for purely the sake of winning. But here we stand, in a role we are completely unfamiliar with, and a fan base not ready to put on the bad guy mask. Yes, some of our players dealt with demons in their past, but we all acknowledge the role media and social media has played over the past 5-10 years in making things much more public and keeping them in the spotlight. When other guys had a DUI, drug use, or DV issues, it was dealt with and moved on from pretty quickly. This will not happen this time around. Osuna's baggage is a huge black cloud over the remainder of the season - and it absolutely puts the villain mask on the team, whether us fans want it or not. We want to be the good guys. We want to root for guys we think we'd want to have a family dinner with in the off season. Guys with bad attitudes typically haven't lasted long in Houston. And I'm not so naive to think that there aren't more skeleton's in the closet, guys who truly are bad people, abusers, cheaters, etc who have player or may still be playing with the Astros. But ignorance is bliss right? What we don't know, doesn't hurt us. But we do know now, we know enough about Osuna to know SOMETHING happened that night. And by acquiring him in the manner we did, ominously puts the Astros in bad company. We sacrificed our "good" name for wins. And I don't know if I agree with that type of move.
5) The Clubhouse - for the last 3-4 years, the Astros clubhouse has taken on a sort of legendary tone - of dance parties, WWE style belts being passed out for best pitcher and hitter each game, for antics and solid friendships amongst our guys. When Verlander came over last year, it seemed to solidify that clubhouse even more. 25 guys who all had the same "Let's win this" mentality and had each other's backs. Adding Osuna surely will change that, and I can't see how adding him HELPS any team chemistry. There will be guys who don't want to associate with him, as many have voiced strong opinions on past DV circumstances. We probably will never get to see behind the curtain, but I do believe that the way Osuna joins this clubhouse will be noticed and seen on the field and in the dugout/bullpen.
6) Suspensions in general - another comparison being thrown around is the differences in the lengths of suspensions. None of us are privy to the details known by MLB or the method they used to come up with 75 games. I firmly believe that if the Chapman situation happened today instead of several years ago, he'd probably be facing 75 games too. I think the timing and slow moving court processes in Canada may have had an effect too, knowing there wouldn't be any kind of immediate resolution to the case, better to keep him off the field through it all. But I don't think we can compare any two suspensions and draw any equivalence. There are years between the suspensions where culture and society has shifted their views on these issues, MLB may have shifted their opinion on how severe punishments should be, there are a lot of factors here. And again, MLB may have seen evidence we haven't and been able to draw their own conclusion that it was in fact "horrific" and deserving of 75 instead of 30. All scenarios are still in play here. But the fact there was no appeal to the suspension is another note to be reconciled. What does that mean? I don't know if I can answer that without making a lot of assumptions I'm not willing to make yet.
7) Other Options - There were other closer/bullpen guys out there available. Sure, maybe not with as much team control or such a pitching repertoire - but solid guys who can get outs. And who would be welcomed with open arms into this clubhouse and city without having to spend a second spinning anything. Keone Kela comes to mind. Plus, I really haven't had a problem with the job Hector Rondon has done thus far in the closer role. He's sporting a 2.35 ERA with 10 saves thus far. I liked adding Ryan Pressly. We've got Forrest Whitley who may be a September call-up. Heck, Brenden McCurry and Buddy Boshers are both having pretty good seasons at AAA. There were just so many other options available. Why go after damaged goods?
8) Community Impact - I'm not going to be the one talking about "these guys are role models, etc." That's not my soapbox. I firmly believe that kids will learn infinitely more inside the walls of their own home than they ever will by watching a sport or participating in one. However, I will say that this addition sends the wrong message to fans of the Astros who have experienced domestic violence - whether they like it or not, it sends the message that the organization condones the behavior at a certain level as long as the player is able to help win games. And there's the problem, any time you elevate "winning" to a higher priority than anything else, you will face backlash. I am not sure that Luhnow or Crane correctly estimated the level of goodwill they would lose by making this deal. In fact, I think they may have gotten cocky and over confident in this matter. It's not all about the analytics. And for fans, while championships and trophies are amazing experiences, to many of them there is more to it than the final W-L record. Especially those who invest their time and money significantly to attend games. You vote/support by where you spend your money, in many ways. Do I think there will be rows and rows of empty seats because of this deal? No. But there will be a subsection of fans who will no longer attend spontaneously, it'll no longer be an option or a go-to when there's nothing going on.

Alright, that's a lot of words, and I hope that I did a fair job of expressing my disgust towards what has been alleged to have happened, while balancing it with my desire to wait things out a bit for actual resolution of the case. As for Osuna in a card/memorabilia collecting sense - he will note be part of my collection. My team sets will be complete without his inclusion, I don't want his autograph. Again, unless he's proven 100% innocent and that the whole situation is a complete lie/fabrication (which I HIGHLY doubt). See, I'm conflicted still, and will be for a while. I will root for my team to win games. I will root for my team to win a World Series. I will root within the context of hoping all 25 guys do their job. I cannot change the fact this guy is on the roster. Booing him will not improve the way I feel about the whole thing, and cheering for him specifically will only make me feel dirty about the whole experience. I will celebrate team wins, as conflicted as it may feel. I believe you can support the Astros without being an Osuna fan. I am not going to hate the other 24 guys in the dugout for a decision that they didn't make.

Finally, these are my thoughts and feelings on the matter. There will be many a fan that says, "So what, I don't care, let's play baseball." And that's just as valid an opinion as "Well, I'm never spending another dime or minute on the Astros." And every opinion in between. There is grey area within the context of this whole situation. I support all my friends who are disgusted by this all. I support all my friends who just want to watch a game and escape from every last nasty non-baseball issue that already plagues their life the other 21 hours of the day. I don't find it hard to straddle that line.

Have a great day everyone.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Amazing What You Find

So I've been cleaning up my card desk, sorting and stowing away cards. As I started through a stack of cards that I received months and months ago from a personal box break from BigHits in Alabama, I came across a card I had forgotten about. Here's the front:
Richie Ashburn from 2013 Panini Golden Age. Black border, nice looking card. What's the big deal? Well, check out the back!
Well that'll open your eyes on a Sunday morning! 1 OF 1 mini! We really liked the Golden Age products around here because it had a good mix of sports and Hollywood, we never knew what "hits" we'd get between us. If there are any Phillies fans out there, let me know if you're up for a trade.

Speaking of trades, I'm desperate to move this massive pile of trade bait, but I'm not getting a lot of offers. I'm feeling tempted to ship it all off to COMC, but want to hear about your experiences with it. Is it worth it? Let me know you're thoughts/experiences/opinions. Thanks everyone.