Friday, January 24, 2020

Busting Open a Hot Corner Box from Excel Marketing

I've been intrigued by these packs for a while, and today I picked one up. The package is certainly unspectacular - the artwork kind of looks like... something us bloggers would throw together. 

One of these boxes will run you $15. I believe they're exclusive to Target. The box promises two hits, a hobby pack, and three other packs (retail packs). I really like variety so these are really tempting. 


Front and back of the box if you're interested.



Here are the four packs that were inside. Left to right: 2019 Bowman, 2008 Donruss Elite (Hobby), 2019 Topps Series 1 Jumbo, and 1988 Donruss.

Not... awful. I went in super low expectations. 2008 Donruss is certainly a bummer for the hobby pack but I wasn't expecting to find Bowman Chrome. 



And here are the two hits. The cards are just free-floating in the box, tucked between packs. No penny sleeve, no top loader - but they were in good shape so no complaints.

The Adam Dunn bat piece is definitely cool and I love the framed Ginter Relics. Thumbs up. As for Nolan Fontana...  I had to look him up. He's a former prospect that had a cup of coffee in the majors. Fun fact: He has only two career hits and they're both home runs. That's pretty cool.



The Series One pack wasn't too spectacular and sadly didn't have any Buccos. It did contain a couple nice rookies. I'm super high on Kopech and I've been stockpiling his rookies.  



Is this enough to call in Kopech hot box?


The Bowman pack was much more generous with Pirates. The Seinfeld duo showed up! Funny enough, they were consecutively stacked in the pack as well. Maybe the pack-filling machine at Topps has a sense of humor. 

Overall, this was fun. I don't see myself getting another one of these again any time soon, but I don't regret it.

I'm curious... Have you ever opened an Excel marketing product? What did you think? If not, have you thought about it? 




Sunday, January 19, 2020

Christmas Came Late


I was really jealous when I saw a bunch of bloggers busting 2019 Topps Holiday Boxes back in December. I think it's safe to say that this product is universally well-liked - I couldn't find you a collector that has anything bad to say about it.

I don't normally shop at Wal-Mart, but I started to make some Wally World pit stops once these hit the shelves, and I was lucky enough to stumble across a box in December. My plan was to open it around Christmas day. I ended up doing a lot of travel around the holiday, and then forgot that I had the box stashed away. 

I finally got around to opening it today. Merry Christmas to me!


Several of the rookie headliners showed up and I'm pretty pumped about that. I think Austin Riley might just have the best career out of these four. Don't @ me. 


If there is one Pirates card in the set that I was hoping for, this is the one. It's nice to add the base card to my collection. I already have the sparkly snowflake parallel which I highlighted as my #9 favorite card in my top 10 cards of the year. That came my way via a PWE swap with Matt at Diamond Jesters.


I kept a keen eye out for SPs, which come aplenty in this set. Some are subtle, and some are incredibly obvious, like Carlos Correa holding a giant candy cane. It's easy to hit big league pitching when you know what pitch is coming - but no word on the ease of swinging a giant peppermint stick.


Each box promises an autograph or memorabilia card. I have yet to see an autograph on the blogosphere, relics only. For a plain white relic, I think this is pretty much best case scenario. Very happy to add this to my collection. 

Who out there is building this set? I remember reading a few blogs that were going for it, but can't recall. I'd be happy to send out set needs to fill holes where I can. 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Ripping 2 Jumbo Packs of 2019-20 Panini NBA Hoops


Each time I'm near a Target or Walmart, I still make a point to swing through to check for Prizm. There weeks ago I found two blasters of Prizm at Target but I've had no luck since. If I recall correctly, there were several blasters there that day and I'm starting to regret not grabbing more.

With my recent shortcomings at finding more Prizm, I decided to settle for some NBA Hoops.

Pack one highlights:


Each pack had several rookies, and I'm excited that the RJ base made an appearance. I imagine this picture was taken during some kind of photo shoot. Gesturing to your make-believe teammates to set a screen for you in a photoshoot is a weird thing to do... but I guess it comes natural to RJ. Also making an appearance is Coby White who could be one of the best rookies in this class.


Both of my backs contained a teal explosion parallell, so I'm going to assume these fall one per jumbo pack. Jarrell Brantley was the 50th overall pick out of the College of Charleston. By no means a household name, but at least it's a rookie to stash away.


Likely the best pull of the pack, Ja Morant base card. Not Zion, but a nice consolation prize.

On to pack two:


Barrett makes another appearance, this time on the Tribute base card. Jaxson Hayes shows up as well. I'm high on him as well. He has the athleticism to be the best big man in the draft.


This pack's teal explosion was... extremely underwhelming. 


However, I was lucky to pull a orange explosion of Jazz legend John Stockton. It's tough to see, but if you look closely near John's right bicep, you'll notice this card is serial numbered #/25. Orange can be a tough color for parallels, but somehow this looks pretty sweet. I think it's the 90's design paired with the 90's player. A worthy tribute to Stockton. Well done, Panini.

So for two jumbo packs, this turned out pretty well. 

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Merry Cutchmas


It's never too late for some Christmas cheer. Way back in early December, Brian at Collecting Cutch sent me a holiday gift package. Totally unannounced and unexpected. Brian's the most generous collector I've connected with, and apparently one of the most artistic. The artwork he did on above is on the top loader, not the card itself. I imagine defacing a cutch card is a cardinal sin for a Cutch super-collector.



Brian hooked me up with a wide variety of Pirates goodies. First off is the Nick Burdi Inception Autograph, Pink Parallel #/99. Also along for the ride is a Gerrit Cole Prizm RC. 

And the real gem here, my first Willie Stargell auto. It's part of the 1993 Nabisco All-Star set. I don't know much about the set but according to some light research, I see that Phi Niekro, Brooks Robinson, Don Drysdale, Catfish Hunter and Jim Palmer are also in the set, so it seems like a small set of some big time HOFers.


Brian also included some cards that I was lucky enough to win in his Save Second Base contest in October. There was a big stack of 2019 Topps Chrome Pink Parallels, as well this awesome Jose Berrios from 2018 Clearly Authentic. My infatuation with Berrios is well documented so this a sweet addition to my collection.

Thanks again Brian!


Speaking of packages, I also wanted to give a shoutout to Chris over at The Collector. I sent him Red Sox cards from his wantlist and he was nice enough to send me back a great stack of Pirates, Steelers, and Blue Jackets. I'm still very new to hockey collecting, so any CBJ cards are super appreciated. Thank you Chris!



Last week I joined a 4-Box Bowman's Best Break from Midwest Box Breaks. Theres' a hefty number of Pirates on the autograph checklist so I figured I'd spin the wheel. To acquire the Pirates in the break, the price was right. Cal Mitchell is the Pirates #6 overall prospect and #2 outfield. 20 years old, drafted in the second round in 2017. Quinn Priester is the newest Pirate, drafted 18 overall in 2019 and the #5 overall prospect in the system. I've been meaning to grab an auto of him for some time. Hopefully we'll see these guys in the show in the next 3-4 years.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Bucs Stop Here: Top 10 Cards of 2019

I’ve seen several of these types of posts on the blogosphere over the past few days and I have really enjoyed the recaps. It was tough for me to rank these, but I wanted to join the fun and highlight the Top 10 cards that I acquired in 2019.

It was hard to pick just 10 (let alone rank them), but I managed to make it work. Check out my top 10 below with some commentary included.

We'll start with some Honorable Mentions:









Number Ten:



2019 Topps Chrome Update Michael Chavis Pink Parallel
Acquired via: Secret Santa package from Jim (TCDB)

This card was the big find in one of the four 2019 Topps Chrome Update packs that were in included in my Secret Santa package from Jim. I absolute love when parallel colors blend well with team colors and logos, and pink goes great with the Sox. This card is a special to me because of Jim’s thoughtfulness when putting together a Secret Santa that he knew I’d love.

Number Nine:


2019 Topps Holiday Bryan Reynolds Metallic Snowflake Parallel
Acquired via: Trade with Matt at Diamond Jesters

My very first Bryan Reynolds rookie card came in a PWE thanks to Matt. I’m trying to get my hands on as much Bryan Reynolds as possible, so I quickly inquired about this card when I saw it pop up in Matt’s 2019 Topps Holiday Box break. He was generous enough to get in the mail to me quickly. 

Number Eight:



2015 Bowman Chrome Kevin Newman Auto Refractor BGS 9.5
Acquired via: eBay Buy it Now (Best Offer Accepted)

I picked this up on eBay way back in June when Newman started to get hot. It cost me a little more than the price of a blaster. It’s one of very few Newman autos that I have and I couldn’t be happier with it. He’s part of the young core for the Pirates that needs to perform in order for the team to contend.

Number Seven:


2019 Panini Contenders Oshae Brissett Auto
Acquired via: Trade with Doug at Sports Cards from the Dollar Store

A great add to my Syracuse basketball collection. Brissett was a very big part of Syracuse’s offense over the past two years before declaring for the draft this summer. I loved watched watching him in college and I’m hoping he’ll stick in the NBA.

Number Six:


2016 Topps Chrome Jose Berrios Auto Refractor #/499
Acquired via: eBay Buy it Now 

A few Berrios cards made their way into my collection this summer, and this is my favorite of them all. I started collecting his cards when he was having a ton of success for my fantasy baseball team this year. I really believe he could be a top-of-the-rotation, perennial all-star type of player. I look at him as a future ace, so I’ve been taking a buy-low approach with his cards and trying to build up a small collection.

Number Five:


2017 Bowman Chrome Shane Baz Auto #/499
Acquired via: eBay Auction

This was an interesting pick-up for me because I rarely/almost never outright buy former Pirates cards.

You may not have heard of Shane Baz yet (pronounced bozz), but you will. He’s the piece of the Chris Archer deal that is flying waayyy under the radar. The marquee players in the trade, Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow are major leaguers who have both made a splash with the Rays and therefore stole the spotlight. Meadows especially, making his first all-star game in July.

Don’t sleep on Baz. He was drafted 12th overall by the Pirates in 2017 and he’s only 20 years old. He’s the sixth ranked prospect in a Tampa Bay Rays system that also has the top prospect in baseball. I love Boz’s potential. This card hit the market over two years ago and has depreciated quite a bit, so I was happy to grab this for less than the price of a blaster.

Book this page for a nice “I told you so” in 2023. 

Number Four:


2018 Panini Prizm Minkah Fitzpatrick Pink Parallel Auto
Acquired via: eBay Buy it Now (best offer accepted)

The Steelers 2020 First Round draft pick! When the Steelers acquired Fitzpatrick I immediately wanted to add one of his autos to my Steelers PC. I picked up this Rookie parallel for under $10. Can’t wrong with Prizm.

Number Three:


2019 Topps Chrome Update Bryan Reynolds Blue #/150, Purple #/175, X-Fractor #/199, Refractor #/250.
Acquired via: eBay Auctions

I cheated here. #3 isn’t just one card, but a group of parallels.

I have yet to show these off, so here we go! These are the newest additions to my Bryan Reynolds PC. Reynolds had a breakout year for the Pirates, hitting .314 in just under 500 ABs as a rookie. He cooled off in the last two weeks of the season, but in mid-September he was in the .330’s and jockeying with Anthony Rendon for the NL batting Title. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite players.

Dare I say it – but I think I’m going to go for…. THE RAINBOW. (Well, kind of. It’s likely to be more of a poor man’s rainbow).

Topps Chrome Update didn’t go crazy with parallels. There are a lot, but it seems reasonably attainable: Super 1/1, Red /5, Orange /25, Gold /50, Green /99, Blue /150, Purple /175, X-Fractors /199, Refractors /250, Pink (Hanger Packs Only). 

Right off the bat, let’s punt on the Superfractor. It’s already been sold on eBay for $500 OBO, therefore it’s probably in the hands of super-collector. Either way, too rich for my blood. There are also four 1/1 printing plates which I’ll be skipping. So I’ve already got four of the nine parallels, plus the base to go. The red, orange, and gold could hurt the wallet a bit, but prices will drop over time. Wish me luck!

Number Two:


2019 Panini Flawless Collegiate Benny Snell Jr. Patch/Auto
Acquired via: eBay Buy it Now (best offer accepted)

This was by far the biggest add to my Steelers PC this year and possibility ever. This card was an absolute must-have for me after seeing the Citrus Bowl patch. Kentucky football fans will quickly tell you about the 2018 Citrus Bowl and how much it means to the fanbase. For a University that’s always been dubbed a “basketball school,” it was a HUGE deal to see Kentucky playing in a New Year’s six bowl. They also won – over Penn State nonetheless – for one of the biggest victories in program history.

When I saw that they put the Citrus Bowl Patch into cards, I knew I had to get one. This card checks all the boxes for me: Serial Numbered, rookie, on-card autograph. I also love how the patch is visible on Benny’s jersey in the picture on the card. I’m fully aware that this was undoubtedly an “event worn” jersey, but let me dream and pretend Benny was wearing this when he ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns.

Number One:


2016-17 Panini National Treasures Malachi Richardson Booklet
Acquired via: Trade with Doug at Sports Cards from the Dollar Store

I’ll just let this beauty speak for itself. My first ever booklet and my first ever logo card. It’s not a star player by any means, but this card is just so sweet. It’s also ranked up high due to Doug’s generosity. I never expected him to send this my way via trade, and he didn’t think twice about it.’

That wraps up the highlights for 2019. Thanks so much for stopping by, and looking forward to another great year in collecting!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Busting Open Two 2019-20 Panini Prizm Blasters

In the past two weeks I’ve made several dedicated trips to my local Target to see if they’d gotten any 2019-20 Panini Prizm in, and all of my attempts came up empty. After a few trips I decided to give it up. Yesterday I needed to stop by Target to pick up some household items and of course I took a stroll down the card aisle as well. To my delight, Prizm had landed. I grabbed two blasters and went on my way.


For those of you who aren’t basketball collectors: Why are you even here? Just kidding (seriously, thanks for reading). For those of you who aren’t familiar with basketball card products, Prizm is essentially the Bowman Chrome. It includes both rookies and veterans. The most prized rookie cards for the year come from Prizm, very similar to Bowman 1st. There may not be a ton of immediate value in Prizm but it’s definitely the top basketball product to buy and hang on to.

The contents of the two boxes couldn’t have been more different, but let’s get into it. I’m not going to go card-by-card, just some highlights and hits:

Box one:


This box had great consistency, as I was finding great rookies in almost every pack. These are the base cards,  Culver and Edwards are solid, and Matisse Thybulle is very quietly emerging as one of the stronger rookies in the class.


It seems like each blaster box contains one of the green parallels. Ideally you’d love for this to be a rookie, but no complaints from me. I really like Whiteside’s game. He’s more of a classic big man, and you don’t get too many of those in today’s NBA.


Here’s a look at what one of the “Silver” cards looks like. Simply put, these are refractors – and just like in baseball, these are sought after, especially when it comes to rookies. Deividas Sirvydas was drafted at age 19 out of Lithuania by the Pistons. He’s super, super raw and he’ll be overseas for the next several years. Hopefully some day he’ll make it back over the pond.


Each blaster promises a hit in the form of an autograph or a memorabilia card, and here’s mine. Crabbe was very solid for the Nets last year before signing with the Hawks and assuming a bench role. Either way, a boring white jersey swatch covers any team he’s playing for. 


It’s my lucky day! The Vlad Jr. of basketball. I have my doubts about Zion. Not because of his ability but moreso because of his inability to stay healthy lately. I do believe he’s a generational talent, but I’m nervous he could be headed down the Derrick Rose/Blake Griffin route with injuries. I certainly hope I’m wrong. I’m on the fence about whether to sell or stash. I can’t remember a time when a base card was worth as much this, so I’m certainly tempted to move it.

On to box number two:


This box was much less exciting. Clockwise from top left: Kevin Garnett green parallel, Keldon Johnson memorabilia card, Cam Johnson rookie base card, Jalen McDaniels rookie Silver.

Not a lot to write home about. I’m a big fan of Keldon Johnson, although I’m not sure what his NBA ceiling is looking like. At least it’s not a plain white swatch – plain black is a tiny step up. The Garnett green parallel is cool, especially in the old Timberwolves jersey which is way better than a Boston Jersey. McDaniels is a late-second rounder that’s spent most of his year in the G-League. I’ll be stashing this way and hoping he turns into Jimmy Butler in three years.

So there we have it. This break was a lot fun – highly recommended for any basketball fans.