Saturday, August 29, 2020

Cardboard Keepers - Changes at Shoebox Legends Headquarters, & Soccer Greats

Time for the next installment of Cardboard Keepers, a thought experiment in which I theoretically whittle my entire collection down to just 2,000 cards; 1,000 baseball keepers, and 1,000 "other" keepers.

Times have been pretty crazy here recently, which is why I've been away for a few days.  Everyone in my family is healthy, no worries there, but I am losing my job of 17 years completely by surprise due to outsourcing, which is a tad bit stressful to say the least given that I'm the breadwinner for our household.  Going through this experience, combined with the pandemic, and the awful recent upgrades to this Blogger platform, has me thinking.

Coming up on thirteen years of running this blog and collecting in largely the same manner as an adult, I think it's time for a change in the way that I go about this hobby.  I'm a 37-year-old adult male, and this is the current scene in my home office/hobby room:

Yeah, this isn't going to fly any longer.  It's been a really fun ride, but it's time to downsize big time.  I need to take back control of my space, and at the same time should be able to pad my emergency savings with some much-needed cushioning for what lies ahead.

It's not just that first photo, look at this filing cabinet drawer of my office desk, nearly completely filled with "to be processed" buybacks for my Buyback Franken-set project (which I'm sticking with, by the way!).  I swear every nook and cranny of this room is filled with baseball cards!

I'll have posts covering this as I get back to regular blogging I'm sure, but for starters I'm still going to collect, and I'm still going to blog, so no worries there.  It's just the way that I collect that needs a refresh.  No longer am I going to ravenously seek out every single Red Sox card in existence that I don't already own.  No longer am I going to have tens and tens and tens of thousands of sports cards taking up the majority of the space in my home office.

Actually, what I plan to do is condense big time, by sending cards out to my friends in the hobby, and by selling on eBay.  I want to see how close I can get to making my "Cardboard Keepers" experiment a reality.  A couple of thousand super awesome/critical/nostalgic/iconic cards stored and organized neatly just seems much more appealing to my state of mind these days than the overwhelming mess I'm looking at presently.  Massive eBay selling has already begun, with the bulk of the proceeds padding my savings, but with a portion going to making my collection even greater.  I'll be sharing the fruits of those eBay sales in the coming weeks I'm sure.

Along those lines, I thought it would be pertinent to get back in the blogging saddle by selecting another three cards for the non-baseball Cardboard Keepers collection.  Tonight, we touch on soccer for the first time...

I've been an international soccer fan for about a decade now, and have been a casual collector of soccer cards for the better part of that time.  One of my favorite sets to be released in the time I've been at it was the 2018 Panini Prizm World Cup set.  My favorite thing about this release are the many colorful parallels, and I selected three cards in particular to survive my current sell-off in the world of soccer.

First, the man who many argue has been the best soccer player on the globe for the past decade and a half, Leo Messi!  This beauty is a Red Mosaic parallel, and good lord does it shine incredibly in hand.  I believe these were retail hanger pack exclusives, and they are definitely not the easiest parallels to come by at all.  I got this Messi as a Buy-It-Now bargain earlier this year, at a price point that I'm positive I will never see this card anywhere near again.  Easily my best Messi, therefore absolutely merits inclusion in my Cardboard Keepers collection.

If you watched any of the 2018 World Cup, then you know that the star of the tournament was French striker Kylian Mbappe.  Dude had an unbelievable tournament, leading France to the Cup as an 18-year-old.  He's been arguably the biggest name in soccer since, and the man most likely to pick up the torch from Messi & Ronaldo in terms of world's greatest.  He's still just 21 years old, and that's a hefty weight for someone that age to carry, but so far Kylian has been up to the task.

I actually accumulated quite a few parallels of this card back in 2018.  They've gone up so much in value that I have sold most of them off over the course of the pandemic here.  The one I decided absolutely to keep though was this Red & Blue Wave parallel.  It's my favorite just because the colors mesh so well with the French kit/flag.  A really aesthetically pleasing card of the hottest name in soccer for the past couple of years.  Another easy call here.

Bringing up the rear, we have this Green & Orange Wave Ronaldo.  He's obviously the other guy in the conversation with Messi with respect to best soccer player on the globe these last fifteen years.  Ronaldo's cards demand a pretty penny these days as well, and I've sold my base version of this card along with another parallel or two.  I kept this one though for the same reason as the Mbappe above, the colors here just work so well with Cristiano's uniform, and with Portugal's flag.

So, there you have it, three very deserving inclusions to my Cardboard Keepers collection from the soccer side of the house!

If you're waiting to hear back from me on a message or email, or even a package of cards you sent me, please be patient and understand that these past two or three weeks have been absolutely brutal.  I'm hoping that I'll have the time and mental energy to get back to regular posting here in the near future.

The non-baseball Cardboard Keepers collection is up to 27 cards in size now, and can be viewed here.  I've still got a long way to go, with 973 cards remaining to be selected.  I'll be back soon with the next card or group of cards for the project, but until then thanks as always for stopping by!

Monday, August 17, 2020

The Itch to Rip - Big League Blaster Part 2

Recently I picked up a pair of 2020 Topps Big League blasters on eBay for a real bargain price.  I've ripped through the first three packs of this first blaster so far, and this evening we'll tackle a few more.
Ten cards per pack in this product, with each pack typically breaking down to eight base cards, one insert, and one Orange parallel.  Let's get right to it and check out pack number four from this first blaster...
I'll confess to not being very familiar with Tommy Edman, but it looks like he had a pretty impressive rookie season in 2019, batting over .300 in more than 90 games played.
Great smile!

Maybe not the most exciting pack here, if I'm being brutally honest...
Gets a little better here though.  I love the 1990s feel of these Defensive Wizards inserts.  There's arguably not a better hitter in baseball during this weird 2020 "season" so far than Charlie Blackmon, so this one's a keeper for me for now.
Obligatory Orange parallel.

Is it me, or are the White Sox way more fun to watch right now than they have been in a really long time?
Needed all eight base cards for my set attempt, and the insert was a winner too, so a decent pack in the end.
Pack five...
This guy is a big part of the reason that both Chicago teams are so entertaining to watch right now, not just the Cubs.  This is my first official rookie card of Luis, a great pull from this blaster and definitely better than anything that spilled out of the first pack in this post.
Great image and framing job here.

As far as rookie cards go, pack five of this blaster here was loaded, with Luis Robert and Yordan Alvarez here!
Another Defensive Wizards.  Fine by me, I could see myself trying to complete this insert set actually.
What an awesome photograph on my Orange parallel.  This is such a fun set.

Probably the best pack in the blaster so far there, with two stud rookies, a keeper insert for me, and a great parallel.
Let's keep it rolling here with pack number six...
Great start, with one of the game's brightest young stars.

A really nice Orange in this pack, with the reigning AL Rookie of the Year looking great on a parallel that matches his team's colors quite well.
Don't plan on collecting this particular insert set, off to my trade/giveaway stack with this Max Muncy.

Let's do one more pack for now before we call it a night...
A nice Bo Bichette Highlights RC.  This might be my first card of Bo.
New Red Sox content!
I recently picked up a pretty nice Cody Bellinger that I'll be featuring in an upcoming Cheap Slabs post.

Another fun image here.
The collation has been fantastic so far I have to say, not a single double yet, seven packs into this thing.
Apparently I got a Yordan Alvarez hot box here, with three cards of the man in this evening's four packs alone!

This has been a really enjoyable blaster so far.  With the cards I've pulled in these first seven packs, plus the handful of loose Red Sox I've been sent by trading partners, I'm up to 57 of the 300 base cards already.

I'll finish off this first blaster in the next post with packs eight through ten, plus the five-card bonus pack of Blue parallels.  Until then, thanks as always for stopping by!

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