Tuesday, November 25, 2014


As I understand it, our friends in Canada already celebrated their Thanksgiving holiday last month.  Nevertheless, Douglas from Buckstore Cards kept on giving when he recently floated me a surprise PWE chock full of Gabriel cards!

My favorite non-baseball Gabriel is without a doubt the young captain of the Colorado Avalanche, Gabriel Landeskog.  The Swedish left winger is already a pretty decorated dude, with a Calder Trophy and an Olympic sliver medal on his resume.

Unfortunately, he's off to a slow start this year.  Then again, the Avalanche are pretty terrible.  Patrick Roy has his work cut out for him.

Moving on, Douglas previously provided me with my first jersey cards for the Gabriel collection.  And now my first autograph!

Jackson won't win any awards for the aesthetics of his signature, but it's still a sweet card.  I like Bowman football for this year; nice looking cards!

Then we've got my first CFL card, which is pretty exciting actually...

I'm more of an Eskimos fan myself, but I'll support the Argos as long as they have a Gabriel on the roster.

And, the final piece from the PWE is a most interesting one.

Oh my.  I haven't followed wrestling since Hulk Hogan and the sexy GLOW girls back in the late '80s.  So, I'll have to just trust Jim Ross' assessment of Gabriel on the back of the card:  "I've always been impressed with Gabriel's natural instincts and his fearless in-ring style."  Sounds good to me.

Thanks a bunch for the Thanksgiving-time goodies, Douglas!  Hope you and your family had a nice one last month.

And, to all my fellow state-siders, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 14, 2014


My first interaction with 2014 Stadium Club comes courtesy of eBay, as I found a reasonably priced seven-card Mets team set a couple weeks ago.  I couldn't wait to get the cards since I had been stalking various online auctions for a while.

In the ruins of a saturated marketplace, the re-launched Stadium Club might have lost much of its original novelty and allure as a high-end card (though Topps did its best to bring back this untouchable aura by pricing this incarnation of TSC right out of the budget of most common collectors).  But, there is still something special about this brand.

The cards, as expected, are nicely presented.  Sturdy card stock and full-bleed, vibrant photographs on the front are familiar hallmarks of this product.  That being stated, there is nothing extraordinary or progressive about the card design.  In fact, the look of these cards is very reminiscent of the last edition of Stadium Club from 2008. That's quite a far cry from TSC's "extreme" era of the mid 1990's, when Topps used this platform to push the boundaries of the hobby.

Nonetheless, I'm very happy to add these cards to my Mets collection.

All the necessary players are on hand for the Mets checklist, including the Captain, David Wright, and even Hall of Famer Tom Seaver.  I think the two horizontal cards are the best of the lot, especially the Granderson at the head of the post.

Though, I'm pretty sweet on this rookie of Travis d'Arnaud, who is quickly becoming my favorite current Met to collect.

The card backs are pretty standard fare.  It would have been a nice surprise if Topps had revisited the roots of this brand and added a little image of the player's rookie card.

It was something of a relief that Topps didn't mindlessly recycle images for the majority of these cards.  With the exception of the Seaver and the Harvey (which, in protest, I did not show) the photos used on these cards are new.  As far as I can tell, anyhow.

Topps continues its insistence on including Wilmer Flores in its periphery sets., which is fine I guess, if not a bit puzzling.  He's a 'prospect' technically, but not to the degree that he ought to be a slam dunk to be on the team checklist for Archives, Stadium Club, GQ, etc.  Hey, whatever.

All in all, I'm pretty satisfied with the reborn Stadium Club.  My only wish for future releases of this brand would be for Topps to make it more accessible and more affordable for us little guys.

Then again, the latter was never exactly a characteristic of TSC in the first place.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Buffalo Football Gameday, 2014: Week 11

I'm still pretty crabby over the loss to the Chiefs last Sunday, thus I'm glad it was a short week of prep for the Buffalo Bills as they square off with the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football.  Kickoff from Sun Life Stadium is scheduled for 8:25 p.m. EST.

Both Buffalo and Miami suffered terrible setbacks this past weekend, dropping each team to 5-4 with very little wiggle room remaining if a playoff berth is the long-range goal.

The Bills walloped the Phins in Week 2; a 29-10 masterpiece for Buffalo in their home opener.

It's no longer Levy versus Shula or Kelly versus Marino, but there will always be a special place in my heart reserved for hating the Dolphins.  Especially in a primetime affair and especially with so much on the line.

Nothing more to say in regards to this one, except...

Squish the Fish!


Monday, November 10, 2014

YDF, 11.10.14 (aka A PWE for the ATMP)

2008 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH281

Big-time thanks to Bert of Swing And A Pop-Up for providing the fodder for today's Daily Fix (which has become not-so-daily, I suppose...sorry!).  A nice PWE containing the very Chris Aguila card you see today, which is just right for my All-Time Mets Project.

Aguila, originally a third-round draft choice by the Marlins, put on the orange and blue for a brief time in 2008, appearing just eight games for the Amazins that season.  He went 2-for-12 with two walks as a Met.  And then, like Keyser Soze, he was gone.

The fact that a guy with just 12 ABs got a card is both troubling and wonderful, depending on who you ask.  I'd side with the latter characterization, since I'm a collector and I think every player who puts on the uniform should get a card.  The more, the better!

Thanks for the great addition to the Project, Bert!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Buffalo Football Sunday, 2014: Week 10

Off their by week, the Buffalo Bills (5-3) begin a daunting November slate with a critical clash against the Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) in Orchard Park.  Kickoff from Ralph Wilson Stadium is 1 p.m.

The Bills stifled the Jets two weeks ago in New Jersey, pushing them two games over .500 and right into the thick of the AFC playoff picture.  Starting with today's game, three of Buffalo's four November contests are against teams vying for an AFC playoff spot.  Any slip ups, and the Bills would forfeit an important potential head-to-head tiebreak advantage.

The winner of today's game will sit at a cushy 6-3 in an ultra-competitive conference, while the loser would face complicated odds over the final seven weeks of the season.  A loss for Buffalo would mean a fourth conference loss.

The Bills likely will be without the services of two important offensive pieces in tailback Fred Jackson and rookie wideout Sammy Watkins, both of whom are nursing injuries.  Each is officially listed as questionable on the injury report.  If Jackson doesn't suit up, Boobie Dixon will once again get the bulk of Buffalo's carries, while speedster Marquise Goodwin and veteran Mike Williams will be asked to step up in the absence of Watkins.

The Bills are mostly healthy on the defensive side of the ball, which will be key in keeping dangerous running back Jamal Charles and explosive young TE Travis Kelce in check.  Andy Reid's offense is in capable hands with quarterback Alex Smith, who has 11 scoring strikes versus just four interceptions.

The Chiefs, winners of three straight, are slight favorites this afternoon, showing at -2 in some sports books.

As for today's card, I went with Jimbo from '96 Collector's Choice since the Hall of Famer's final regular season game was against the Chiefs on the final day of the 1996 season, a Bills victory to clinch a playoff berth.

Speaking of playoffs, the last time the Bills began a season 6-3 was the 1999 season, which also happened to be the last time Buffalo qualified for the postseason.

I'm having a tough time trying to get a feel for this game.  The odds are much longer if both Freddie and Sammy don't play.  But, even if they do, the Bills need to show more consistency on offense.  With Goodwin healthy again, I'm hoping to see Kyle Orton give him a shot or two down the field.

I'm always hopeful, but I'm wary of a hot Kansas City team that has an aggressive defense and, I hate to say, a decided advantage in the coaching department with Reid.  The Bills will have to play a clean, smart game to come away with a huge 'W'.

Go Bills!


Friday, November 7, 2014

Horizontal Heroes: A Teaser

So, I've been gabbing enough about this "Horizontal Heroes" frankenset, I figured it was high time to show everybody a little progress on the gosh-darn thing!

For those who are new or are likewise confused, the HH frankenset is my ongoing project to amass a 660-card checklist consisting of nothing but horizontally-oriented cards.  Any and all brands are in play and parallels are welcomed.

This is what page 2 of the project looks like at present time.  All cards are subject to change when/if a better option makes itself available.  In that way, this is a living, breathing set which may never be completely cemented.  But, that's a pretty fun prospect, I think.

I deliberated about what was the best way to arrange the cards in each nine-pocket page.  What do I mean by that?  Well, since this is the second page of the set, the first card of the page is No. 10.  Since all the cards are horizontal and you would turn the binder page as such to best view it, would card No. 10 go in the top left of the upright page (as per normal) or perhaps in the bottom left?  In the latter scenario, the 'bottom left' would become the 'top left' when you turn the page horizontal (as in the above scan).

I guess it's all a matter of taste, but I chose to have No. 10 -- in this example, the '10 Update Hideki Matsui -- go in the normal upper left-hand position as if we were looking at a regular upright nine-pocket page.  Sure, it kinda throws the numerical pattern out of whack when the page is rotated to horizontal view.  But, I believe it will create less cataloging nightmares when I turn to a certain page looking for a certain card number.  That's just me, though.

So, here are cards No. 10 through 12...

10 -- Hideki Matsui, Angels, 2010 Topps Update
11 -- Rick Ankiel, Nationals, 2012 Topps Update
12 -- A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox, 2013 Topps

Then cards No. 13 through 15...

13 -- Derek Jeter, Yankees, 1997 Topps
14 -- Nick Markakis, Orioles, 2012 Allen & Ginter
15 -- David Price, Rays, 2011 Opening Day

And then cards No. 16 to 18...

16 -- Steve Finley, Giants, 2006 Upper Deck
17 -- Lance Blankenship, Athletics, 1994 Topps
18 -- Jemile Weeks, Athletics, 2013 Opening Day

All in all, I think this is a pretty satisfying page.  Sure, it's mostly Topps and it also has back to back A's, but the '97 Jeter is a classic and I love that Matsui card because it's one of the coolest photos from 2010 Topps (Update or otherwise).  Overall, a good mix of star power and great photography.

Hope you enjoyed the first look at my little side project.  And, as always, any feedback is appreciated!

More page peeks to come in the (hopefully) not too distant future.


Monday, November 3, 2014

YDF, 11.3.14

2014 Topps Update #US-126

Finally, my first taste of 2014 Update!  I ran some errands Sunday morning [Ed. Note: Bills bye week, had to try and busy myself somehow!] and my travels took me to my local Target, which is historically slow to get new trading card products on their shelves.  Alas, they had the goods this time.

Anyhow, I grabbed one pack for Gabriel to add to his 2014 pack cache and, of course, one pack for daddy.

The pack I busted contained two Mets, including this badass Omar Quintanilla card!  I'm glad Q finally got his due, even though it's a year too late.  He shoulda been in last year's Update series since he played 95 games for the Amazins in 2013 as opposed to just 15 in this season passed.  But, yeah, better late than never.

Furthermore, Quintanilla represents the newest addition to the All-Time Mets Project, so I'm not complaining!