Sunday, January 31, 2016

Fun Finds From the Flea Market #2

Since it was a nice weekend and the family and I had nothing planned today after celebrating our son's 3rd birthday yesterday, we decided to hit up the flea market. It'd been a while, last fall to be exact, since we'd been out there. There were a handful of outdoor vendors and the inside vendors were only about half full. However, I did manage to find a few good deals. Sorry if the scans are a bit off, my scanner was acting funny today.

First up, I stopped by one of my usual guys. Normally, he has a small booth but has since moved his whole brick and mortar store to the flea market and I was quite impressed and a bit overwhelmed at what all he had. I checked out some of the cases he had and was able to secure the Jari Kurri card for a few bucks. I'll definitely be back and get some more stuff from him next time. While I was there, he mentioned that a long time dealer at the flea market was closing down and today was his last day. More on that in a bit.

There were a lot of booths with Funko figures and assorted figures but I just happened to spot these old Starting Lineup figures at one of them. The Claude Lemieux figure was only a couple dollars but the Chris Sabo was well over ten dollars. However, I managed to talk the guy down to half price on it since he was just wanting to get rid of it. Yeah, these were my most expensive purchase of the day, but they're well worth it as I'd really like to start collecting these here and there.

Next stop was another of my usual vendors which has a healthy mix of wrestling collectibles and baseball cards. They had a giant tub of old just wax sitting on the floor and when I asked how much the packs were, the guy was like "how about five for a dollar". Sold! I picked out ten packs and paid up. He offered me a price on the whole tub but I have exactly zero room for a giant plastic tub filled with junk wax packs unfortunately. I'm saving these for future articles.

Final stop was the aforementioned store that was closing down. While everything had pretty much been picked through and the place looked like Cindy Lou Who's living room after the Grinch stole all of the Christmas decorations, I asked the guy if he had any cards left. He scrounged a few up but mentioned someone had come along a few weeks ago and cleaned him out. This was all that was left, the two singles and the box you see above. I asked how much for all and he gave me a more than reasonable price.

The box was only about half full but and was nothing but 1980 Topps football. Not really a major football collector but I did find a few gems below:

There were quite a few duplicates in there as well but I wasn't all that disappointed, especially when I found that Terry Bradshaw card in the mix. I've earmarked some of them for a few trade packs down the line, the rest I've yet to figure out what to do with.

I spent just over $20 today but judging by the crowd and the limited selection of vendors today, I probably won't be back until warm weather kicks around late March/early April.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thoughts on the New Upper Deck e-Pack Service

I got this in my email today and found it pretty interesting:

No, it wasn't one of those emails that says "You've got unclaimed gold in a boat offshore that is being held captive by tariff masters" or any of that mess. It was an unexpected email from COMC stating that they're working with Upper Deck on the brand new Upper Deck e-Pack service.

I went to COMC to read their blog post on it and after reading the details, I figured why not, I might as well sign up.

The home page looks like this, very similar to the COMC layout. To join the fun, all you need to do is  create a free account and BOOM! you're in the party and you've got one free three-card pack to rip in to! I'll get to that in a minute.

The site is very easy to navigate, much like COMC. Store is where you can purchase your packs, boxes, or cases and after your purchase, it shows up in the "Open My Packs" section. As you can see above, the prices are about what you would pay at the card shop or at a card show. Once you've ripped everything open, it goes to the my collection section where there is other fun to be had as certain cards allow you to transfer them to your COMC account or you can have a card physically delivered to you (which I think is pretty cool.)

Now, as for the free three card pack. I dove into this on my afternoon break at work, here's what I got:

Zdeno Chara ... not a bad pickup of the Boston captain. Pretty sure that I don't have a physical copy of this.

The other two were of players I admittedly don't know but Calvert is with Columbus, so he gets a point over Riley Sheahan, who I'm sure I would know if Detroit was on TV more often around here.

Overall, it was a fun experience to dive into this. I don't know if it's something I would do all the time, but it's a fun change from the usual.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Fun Stuff From the Reds Caravan

Every January, the Reds do a big caravan with three different buses hitting different sections of "Reds Country" as they call it. One of the regular stops is the auditorium on the Hamilton campus of Miami University, which is about 25 minutes from my house. I won't be able to make it this year since it's the same day as my son's birthday, but I have made it out in the past so I thought I would share a few cool things that I came back with the few times I went.

The first year I went was 2011, the year after the Reds surprised everyone and won the Central Division. I believe it was also the first year they added Miami University as a stop on the tour. A friend of mine, his dad, and I all met at his house since he lived close to the campus at the time and rode over.

It turns out that its just a giant Q&A session and then a line for autographs. I'm not going to complain as the autographs were free and everyone who was there signed, even the mascots. While I didn't bring anything to get signed as it was during my collecting hiatus, they had giant posters there for the taking. The flyer above is signed by Brandon Phillips, the late Ryan Freel, Devin Mesoraco, announcer Marty Brennaman, then assistant-VP Bob Miller, and mascot Gapper.

I missed the 2012 event but made it back in 2013, just three days before my son was born. It was the same set up as the previous time, but had a whole new line-up. The Q&A session was brief, probably due to the large number of people in attendance and the fact they had to get everyone through the autograph line. The two big names on the 2013 tour were Homer Bailey (who looked like he'd have rather been anywhere else in the world) and Corky Miller, the cult favorite of Reds fans.

Again, I grabbed a posted for everyone to sign. This time it was signed by Bailey, Miller, GM Walt Jocketty, CEO Phil Castellini, minor league outfield Ryan LaMarre, and Mr. Redlegs. I went with the same friend that I went to the 2011 caravan with and this time, he brought some baseballs to have signed. I had Corky Miller sign the one below and Homer Bailey sign another, which has currently gone missing.

Hopefully next January I can get out the caravan again and maybe this time get some cards and another poster signed.

Monday, January 25, 2016

2015 Topps Allen & Ginter X

This was the last of the Christmas goodies I had to open, which is convenient since we finally just took our Christmas tree down this past weekend. Allen & Ginter is a hit or miss product for me, while I like the base cards and the inclusion of some celebrities, most of the non-baseball content drives me insane. If this was a regular hobby box, I would have asked for something else instead. However, this is the online-only 10th Anniversary special edition with two bonus packs. Two guaranteed hits per box. I haven't busted a hobby box since the summer time so this should be fun.

First, the actual baseball base cards. I really like these because of the silver and black around the side and the uniforms compliment everything pretty well. We have our obligatory Reds on top, Billy Hamilton and Zack Mozart. I love how Cozart's card looks like a painting. Pulling a Kris Bryant rookie out of this, along with Anthony Rizzo and a Tanaka short print (at least in the normal A&G it is) was pretty cool.

The highlights of the non-baseball selection of base cards. Roenick and Kilmer I'm ok with, mainly since they are well known. Roenick was a great player and is currently a good analyst and I've enjoyed the heck to of some Val Kilmer movies in the past. I got three of the four Rocky cards in the base set, now I just need a Thunderlips to find to join them. Hey Sly, care to train me like you did Creed for this quest?

Mini cards! As you can see, there are two different mini-designs. First the A&G design on the left and the standard design on the right. Is one supposed to be better than the other? I know there are non-numbered minis out there too. Is there really a need for three different types of minis in one product?

None of the insert cards got the black border treatment but this Alex Rodriguez starting points is pretty cool. One neat thing that was included in this product was buybacks and the Max Scherzer is an example of that. You get two per box and the other one I got was some professional gamer who I've never heard of. 

Here are the hits! A Prince Fielder (I nearly almost typed Cecil Fielder) memorabilia card and an autographed Bernie Williams framed mini. I'll be hanging on to these and they'll go in my box of good stuff, which I should really profile on here someday.

Finally, the die-cuts. These are really nice and makes me wish they were included as an insert set, instead of two separate packs. Doesn't really matter but these were the best of the bonus packs. I'm going to miss Todd Frazier in a Reds uniform, hope he does well on the South Side!

This was a fun little break, much more fun that the regular A&G blaster. However, it's still the same stuff with A&G, either you like it or you don't. I think I would probably like this product more if the celebrities and non-baseball content (come on, really, who needs a card of a mythological cyclops in their baseball cards). 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Wacky Wrestling VHS Boxes #2!

Before jumping to this, a quick announcement ... I've launched an official Facebook page for the blog! I'll be doing some mini-posts and sharing random things on there along with new blog posts when they go up. So, if you are on Facebook, I'd appreciate the like and a follow. Here's the link:

Shameless plug over.

Now, if you remember back in November, I launched an ongoing series called "Wacky Wrestling VHS Tapes" which will look at and feature random wrestling VHS tapes in my collections. Every time one of the tentpole WWE events airs (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series), one of these posts will be up.

The January tradition known as the Royal Rumble is upon us. It's one of those events that just seems to spark nostalgia upon past and present wrestling fans who can't help but talk about their memories of the event as a youth. This year, the nostalgia is really coming hard as the 1992 Royal Rumble keeps getting brought up as it was the only previous time where the WWE (then WWF) World Title was on the line in the match.

Unfortunately, I don't own any Royal Rumble tapes in my collection. However, since the Rumble match is all about the random draw, here are four random tapes from my collection for your enjoyment.

Crunch Classic (1992)

Here's a tape that sort of has a tie-in to the Royal Rumble as it features Roddy Piper hosting the tape and conveniently the match from the 1992 Royal Rumble where he won the Intercontinental Title from the Mountie. As you can tell, this box has seen better days as the front of it is all beat up and the back sports some handwritten branding informing me where it came from ... in the case, apparently it came from someplace called Food Country

In the late 80's and up through the mid 90's, the WWF issued tapes like this that were nothing but compilations of random matches that were filmed at house shows around the country or filmed before the marathon TV taping sessions they used to do. Case in point, this tape. Just look at the line-up of random stuff ... Jim Neidhart vs. Skinner, Jim Duggan & Sgt. Slaughter vs. The Natural Disasters, and a bunch of other randomness.

Free For All (1997)

This is one of a handful of tapes that were released over the years by independent video companies but still carried the Coliseum Video name but were not included in the Coliseum Video lineage. This particular tape chronicles the first year of the Free For All, which was the live pre-show that the WWF used to do before the pay-per-view on the preview channel.

There's a lot of stuff crammed into this 60-minute tape from the Body Donnas vs. Godwinns match on the WrestleMania 12 pre-show to a minis tag team match from the 1997 Royal Rumble pre-show (hey look, another Rumble tie-in!). Probably the most famous match here is the Steve Austin vs. Yokozuna match that ended in about 90 seconds after Yokozuna fell off the ropes, as you can see on the front cover.

Rampage '92 (1992)

Continuing with the Royal Rumble/battle royal theme, this tape has a big 40-man battle royal on it that featured a bunch of stars thrown in with a bunch of no-name guys. For me, that was the main reason I picked this tape up on Ebay a few years ago. Not only that, but it was sealed!! Less than 10 bucks for an old Coliseum tape that's still factory sealed? Yes, please!

As I mentioned with Crunch Classic, these types of tapes were issued on occasion in between releases of pay-per-view tapes. Looking at the back of the box, it lists perhaps one of the strangest tag team matches I think I've ever heard of ... Ultimate Warrior and Undertaker against Papa Shango and Berzerker. That for me is just enough to fire up the VCR and pop this in.

Slamfest (1995)

I have to admit, this is the second copy of this tape I've gotten. In the late 90s, I was at the CD store in the local mall and was looking over their VHS and DVD section. Mixed in with a but of current tapes, was this. It was sitting all alone on a shelf near the bottom and looked forlorn and forgotten about. Luckily, I was able to convince my mom to buy it for me and I brought it home and watched it all the way through. Eventually, I watched this tape so much that I wore it out and I eventually had to throw it out as it wouldn't play anymore. 

I'd been searching for a copy of it ever since and was shocked to find it thrown in with a bunch of tapes that a friend of mine gave me that a friend of his didn't want. I've watched it since and it still holds up today. The tag match with Bret Hart and British Bulldog against Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart is great but the true gem of this tape is the Shawn Michaels and Diesel vs. Razor Ramon and 1-2-3 Kid tag team match which is one of the best tag team matches that you will ever see ... period. I encourage you to look it up on YouTube if you haven't seen it before. Trust me, you'll thank me later.

Hope you enjoyed this entry in the Wacky Wrestling VHS Tapes series. The next entry in this series will be coming up on WrestleMania Sunday and should be fun!