28 February 2010


In case my loyal readers care, yesterday I finished the 600-card base set of the 2010 Upper Deck Series 1 baseball cards that I have been putting together for about four weeks now. (If you remember, I did a preliminary post on 2010 UDS1 back on February 2nd....) Now I'm going to try to finish the major insert sets in the series: the Season Biography cards (200), Upper Deck Portraits (100), All-World die-cut cards (15), Pure Heat die-cut cards (15), Baseball Heroes cards (10 of DiMaggio, 10 of other players), and Celebrity Predictors cards (10), along with the retail-only Tape Measure Shots set (25). That makes for 385 insert cards, of which I have probably 200 or so right now.

After that, it's on to the 100-card game-used jersey card set, the 100-card patch card set, and the 100-card autograph set. Those will be the hard sets, as autographs come one per box, jersey cards come two per box, and patch cards (which are numbered to /25) come rarely. I have one patch card (Vladimir Guererro #05/25), five autographs, and 10 jersey cards already, but a long way to go. Nevertheless, it'll be fun trying to finish up the insert sets at least, and then picking up the jersey cards and autographs as opportunities present themselves.

I've also amassed a ton of duplicate cards, so many in fact that I'm considering putting together a second base card set and trying to sell it to another collector. I haven't yet counted, but I figure I'm probably at around 500 of 600 cards toward getting that second set done. It'll also let me keep hunting for the inserts while I finish that up.

On the job front, because I haven't blogged about that in a while, I remain vigilant in trying to make contacts and do some basic networking (limited in scale only by my ability to get around Phoenix since one of our cars is out of service for now). I'm still substitute teaching here and there for some pocket change, but those days are as always few and far between. I do have a phone conversation coming up tomorrow with someone whom I hope will be able to offer me some sage advice on where to go next, but I don't know if that person would appreciate me blogging about our conversation, so I'll keep that close to the vest until I hear otherwise.

Yesterday was also Customer Appreciation Day-slash-Spring Training Kickoff Day at Hot Corner Sports Cards, where owners and my friends Phil Rinella and his son little Phil hosted a packed house for their weekly noontime Saturday sports card auction. They had food catered in from a new restaurant called Sundowner BBQ (which was delicious, and if you're in the area, I recommend it), and cookies, fudge, sodas, and chips. The auctions are usually a lot of fun, with around 50 cards being auctioned off to the highest bidder each week, though yesterday saw 66 cards (a full case) being sold along with a few extra "mystery items" like a Stephen Drew autographed baseball, a Mark Reynolds auto'd baseball bat, a Drew Brees auto jersey, and a Bo Jackson signed football. There were even two 1933 Goudey original baseball cards in the auction, which sold for $100! Most of the time, though, aside from special occasions, a majority of the stuff in the auction sells for "below book" value - a few dollars at most. It's a good chance for a broke collector like me to pick up nice Diamondbacks cards relatively cheaply. Case in point: I picked up a 2009 Bowman Sterling Bobby Borchering prospect autographed card (yes, he's a DBacks prospect) for a mere $5 yesterday, my only purchase.

After the auctions, many of the regulars stick around to play Pack Wars. The rules are simple: the group decides on a product in the store (usually the cheapish $5-per-pack stuff) and everyone buys a pack and opens it. The closest person to a predetermined statistic found on the cards in that pack wins everyone's cards. For example, a popular starting point is whomever has the closest card to #77. If you have #77, you win every player's cards - including any autographs or jersey cards that were pulled. It can be fun if you win, and it can be really depressing when you lose. I've had my share of both outcomes. It's purely risk-reward. If you don't mind gambling $10-$20, you have the potential of winning a lot of good stuff!

And to close out this post of randomness, I have to relate a quick story of my fighting some plants and losing on Friday. I went out for a short hike (a couple miles) north of the valley, and didn't have my best day on the trails ever. First, upon arriving at a place known as Sycamore Creek, which is well-known for having beautiful waterfalls and a flowing stream this time of year thanks to the snowmelt off the mountains, I hiked down one side of the creek for a while snapping pictures before realizing I couldn't go any further to the waterfalls because of a blocked path. By the time I turned around, it was fast approaching noon, and I had to be back in town to pick people up from school by 2pm. I decided to go for it anyway, and crossed a really shallow part of the creek to the other side. Or what I THOUGHT was a shallow part. Yeah, I got my shoes completely soaked.

Since I was already in the hole, I wrung out my socks, squeezed out the liquid from my shoes, and found the trail. I'd never been down this particular trail before, but I did watch another guy and his dog travel that way about 20 minutes prior. So I just followed their tracks in the dirt and sand. Half an hour later, I made it to the falls, took some more photos and started back. I decided to follow the creek back, instead of hiking my way back up to the trail I came in on. Big mistake. There are these plants out there that I had not seen before with little spindly branches and razor-sharp, hooked thorns that I can only describe as "cat's claws." And when they hook you, they do not let go. You end up tearing your own skin away from them and cutting up your shirts. And I lost in epic proportions. Next time, I'm staying on the trail! Lesson learned.

That's it for this update/recap. I'll put up my photos later on from spring training and the waterfalls and such.

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