Wednesday, March 14, 2018

RIP Cincinnati Gardens 1949-2018

Just a quick post tonight ...

I've mentioned in this space before about my love of the Cincinnati Gardens, the dilapidated old arena in the Bond Hill section of Cincinnati. When the building eventually outlived its usefulness, it was purchased by the Port Authority of Greater Cincinnati to be demolished. That sale pretty much signaled the death of the old arena. 

Earlier this winter, the contract was signed with a local demolition company to begin the process of razing the old building, over a year after the Cincinnati Rollergirls, the arena's last official tenant, left. The demolition process started with some of the outbuildings and annexes, the arena's signage was removed and donated to the American Sign Museum, and the bas relief sculptures on the front of the building were removed and preserved as well.

All that was left was time. And now, time is up as the wrecking ball has found the old arena. 

I would attempt to write a eulogy for the arena but my words wouldn't be able to do justice to the place. However, local writer and photographer Ronny Salerno, author of the fabulous Queen City Discovery blog, was granted access to the arena one last time for a photo shoot. Earlier today, he wrote and posted a perfect eulogy to the Gardens with some amazing pictures he shot along the way.

If you are so inclined, I encourage you to go check out the article, if nothing else, for the pictures of the arena he took while he was there.

Rest in peace Cincinnati Gardens. You will be missed.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Late Season Hockey Breaks


It's hard to believe that hockey season is almost over and baseball opening day is coming up fast. Unfortunately for me, that means that hockey cards will soon be in short supply again both at card shows and on retail shelves. I've been stockpiling a few hockey things recently. I've also got this leftover tin of 2017-18 Series 1 and a blaster box of O-Pee-Chee that I've been sitting on since Christmas. I might as well go ahead and bust into both. I won't be going pack by pack but I'll show some highlights from both the tin and the OPC blaster.

As I busted the Series 1 tin, I took photos of each pack. This pack held probably my best pull ever from retail hockey ... the Nico Hischier young guns card. I was on the lookout for it and kept seeing it for 25-30 dollars online. I told myself I wouldn't drop that much money on a single card and lo and behold, I didn't have to. Also, with this particular pack, I got my first Vegas Golden Knights card.

Mats Zuccarello is a red foil parallel version of the Shining Stars insert series, and I'll be honest, not something I was expecting. This was probably the second best pack of the tin as there were also cards for P.K. Subban, Henrik Zetterberg, Andrei Vasilevsky (who could be a finalist for the Vezina Trophy this year) a really cool Kari Lehtonen card, and a nice horizontal of Pavel Zacha. That reminds me, I really hope the Devils can make the playoffs this year.

I mentioned the Shining Stars red parallel the last pack and in this pack, I pulled a standard Shining Stars card, this time of Jakub Voracek. I also got another card I was hoping for, that being the Marc-Andre Fleury Golden Knights card. He's had a tremendous year and is a really big reason the Knights are doing as well as they are doing.

Each tin also comes with a box topper. I was lucky enough for mine to be of Vladimir Tarasenko from the Winter Classic held in St. Louis. I haven't officially added Tarasenko to my list of players I collect but I think I'll do that at some point.

Moving on to the O-Pee-Chee blaster now. I really like the O-Pee-Chee cards but the one issue I have with them is that they come out so early in season, that by this point in the year, they're outdated. However, I did manage to find a few neat cards out of the batch, such as these. Nash is now with the Bruins, Panarin is still in Columbus as of last check, and the hockey card gods must really want me to collect Tarasenko.

Two cards for my Ben Bishop and Cory Schnieder collections. Braden Holtby is another player I've considered adding to my official player collection list.

Speaking of players on my official player collection list, it was nice to see these two get cards in the O-Pee-Chee set. The Doan card I guess could be considered a "sunset card" as I don't think he got a card in the regular issue Upper Deck set this year. Jagr did get a card in the main set this year as a member of the Flames. That's one I need to add to my most wanted list.

I got six of these retro style cards in the blaster, which equates to one every other pack since there were 12 packs in the box.

I also got these two mini's out of the box, which I wasn't expecting. Laine is a black border parallel of some sort, perhaps foil?

These are definitely foil parallels. The deal with the Henrik Lundqvist card is that you can put together a complete 52-card deck of playing cards with those style inserts. Now, I didn't know that there were foil versions of these so that's super cool. That's a card that I'll definitely slide into a penny sleeve in the hockey box to protect.

So that's some highlights from some late season breaks of early in the season products. Of these, I think I liked the O-Pee-Chee blaster better than I did the Upper Deck tin, mainly because I like the design better and this year's Upper Deck design isn't the best, but nothing can really beat the Nico Hischier pull though.

Friday, March 9, 2018

You've Got Mail #81: Johnny's Trading Spot

Racing and NASCAR never really have been big in my household. I remember growing up and watching some races with my dad here and there on Sundays and know the notable drivers and legends but I couldn't tell you who won the most races in 1985 nor do I know who won Daytona in any given year. However, I will still turn on a race every now and then, just out of curiosity more than anything. 

If I can find some fun cards to add to my racing collection, I will and when Johnny at Johnny's Trading Spot mentioned he picked these up from a show but had no use for them, I left a comment and snagged them up. Right away, I noticed a pattern with a lot of these cards that Johnny sent over, the majority of them are promo cards. Sometimes it noticeable, sometimes it isn't, like with these cards. Just by looking at these, you wouldn't know they are promo cards but they are, at least the Upper Deck card is, the other one I'm not too sure about.

Just to prove that these are, in fact, promo cards, I scanned in the back of them. The only one in this batch that isn't a promo is the Larry McReynolds card from the MAXX 1993 set. MAXX 93, that sort of sounds like the name of a soft rock station.

There was always something I liked about Kyle Petty and I'm not sure why. Maybe it was the way his car was painted? I'm not sure but I never could put my finger on it. Anyway, these Kyle Petty cards (and the Bobby Labonte card on the top) are labeled "prototype" on the back, I guess the word "promo" was too good for Action Packed. I'm guessing these are preview cards for the set that year. I'm not sure what the Mark Martin Press Pass VIP card would be issued for either but I definitely dig how it looks.

I appreciate Johnny sending these my way, they are definitely some great and neat additions to my racing card collection.