So my local Wally World finally has Heritage blasters and I grabbed one. I'm really glad I recorded this on video because you probably wouldn't believe what I pulled out of ONE blaster if I didn't record it. But seeing is believing.
Well it's looks like all my whining and complaining paid off. A wonderful Card Junkie reader that felt sorry for me offered to send me #42 Jeff Francoeur and when it arrives my 2009 Topps series 1 will be complete. Everyone can now rest easy. Or at least I can. But seriously, thanks to everyone who helped: Marie, Ben, Matt, Howard, Mike, Chris, Bryan, Steve and Steve. I couldn't have done it without you.
One card. One lousy card left to complete my 2009 Topps series 1. And it's Jeff "bleeping" Francoeur.
Can you believe it? The strangest cards end up being the last ones needed to put a bow on a set. Not A-Roid, not Pujols, not Pedroia. Francoeur.
I don't know where Francoeur is hiding, but I do know this: not one retail pack, not one jumbo, not one cereal box has gone unturned at my local big box outlets, nor has any blogger I know not already been pestered to death for card #42 by yours truly. I also know this: Someone, out there, somewhere, is protecting old Franky because they can't let go of a card that has that beautiful Atlanta "A" next to his name. Well, let me tell ya something, Braves card fanatic. Or secret Jeff Francoeur super collector. Are you this close to completing Topps series 1? No. Or perhaps you already have a couple Francoeurs, secretly, yes, in which case (in Keith Olbermann voice) you, dear sir or madam are just plain C-R-U-E-L!
So, now that that is out of the way, I'm asking ... no, I'm begging: please, PLEASE trade me this card, won't you? Each time I burrow through my box with puppy dog eyes, whimpering, hoping beyond hope that perhaps #42 is stuck to another card, mixed in with the doubles, in there SOMEWHERE, I am painfully reminded of reality, the reality that, it is in fact, NOT there. And I slam the box down. A solitary reminder. Sadder than "Marley and Me" (and you thought that was a happy movie). Sadder than watching Evander Holyfield get back in the ring again. Sadder than watching someone buy a five-dollar repack box. You don't want me to CRY every time I look at my Topps cards, DO you??
Please help. Like these generous souls and countless others that already have. Generous souls? Nay, downright heroes they are, true American heroes! They sent me all of the cards that I needed to get me down to this lone, standoffish, doesn't-like-to-play-with-others card. (feeling guilty, Francoeur? Good!)
Listen and listen well, I have my eye on you #42. You can't hide forever. Justice shall be served!
What is the best experience you have had acquiring cards or memorabilia?
This is a bit of a bittersweet question for me and I considered not doing a post because, as some of you know, about eight years ago, I "lost" my entire massive childhood collection of ten of thousands of cards I had been collecting from 1986-1996 including not only cards from those years but hundreds of vintage cards from the 60's, 70's and 80's that I acquired as well. But that is a story for another post, one that some hardcore Card Junkie fans know I have subtly eluded to a few times but a story I may never have the will to write fully. For those that don't know, I only recently started collecting again, last year in fact, after a 12-year cold-turkey hiatus.
But this is supposed to be a happy story so enough of all that! Now I have had several wonderful experiences acquiring cards as a kid. Card shows, card shops (they had those back then!), grocery stores, yard sales, etc. But I always found the most fascinating experiences were when you discovered cards completely by accident, sometimes simply being given them. For free. That takes me to what I think is my best ever baseball card experience.
Let's go back to 1990, when I was a young teenager, right smack dab in the middle of the height of my card collection. Now my mother, like everyone else's, abhorred my collection. I think she told me to stop after my second pack. I don't think any of my other relatives collected baseball cards except my one cousin, Chris. His mother, my aunt Joyce, attempted several times to trash his collection too. He was several years older than I was and I assumed his collection was long since lost. Then, one day, completely out of the blue, my aunt showed up with several boxes and bags of hand-me-down clothes like she always did after each spring cleaning it seemed. I always rolled my eyes because it was always crappy, out of style stuff no self-respecting teen would ever wear to school. But this time she also had a large box. By large I mean the kind of large box you might get from a grocery store if they were nice enough to give you free boxes to move with. She set it on the table with a thud.
It was his collection. Or what was left of it.
There to my utter amazement were literally handfuls upon handfuls of '79,'80,'81 and '83 Topps. I dropped everything and sat at the dining room table transfixed for literally hours poring over the cards. It was like I had ripped boxes of the stuff. After quick inspection it appeared there were maybe a few packs worth of '79's. There were also several hundred '81's and nearly complete sets of '80 and '83. Wow. I sat there and poured over each card, reading all the backs like it was some sort of ancient artifact. They were all nearly mint too, it was like going back in time. I could tell Chris was no novice as nearly all of the star cards and rookies were missing except a Frank Viola '83 rookie that slipped under the radar. BUT, nearly all the 1980 Topps stars and rookies were still there, except the Henderson, which, I already had, but that's a whole other story. Hey, I'm getting some great future post ideas here! I can't possibly describe how exciting it was to shuffle through mint Ozzie Smiths, Nolan Ryans, George Bretts and Pete Roses. What I wouldn't give to have all those cards back and use the wonders of the blogosphere to finish off those sets. Not to mention the Bay to sell off the doubles for extra card money.
*Sigh* Well, maybe someday, when I win the lottery, I can go back and finish what I started...
So I stopped by Target after work today and to my surprise I found some more Heritage. No blasters but there was an open retail box hiding behind all the other boxes, in fact, I probably missed it the last time I was there. The packs were clearly searched but I reached down anyway and grabbed three packs from near the bottom. Here's what I got.
Went to Target Tuesday after work and to my horror they were sold out of Heritage. So I picked this up instead. A mini-blaster of '08 Topps series 1 marked half off. 50 cards for 5 bucks. And because I have very few series 1 cards from last year there's a good chance I need all of these (which I did) so that's cool.
I stopped by Target again after work today 1) because it IS on the way, don't judge me and 2) because I had an irresistible urge to open some more Heritage. Ok you can judge me. I don't care I LOVE this year's set. So as I entered the card aisle I noticed the two Heritage retail boxes were still sitting there just as I had left them on Wednesday. Even the one I opened still had the shrink wrap half way on it. Huh. Guess nobody else in State College was in a hurry to buy any Heritage. Just as I was about to reach down and fish some more packs out of it something caught my eye. Heritage blasters! Hells yeah!! I immediately grabbed one and did a quick look to see if anything else was new. Nope. They still don't have any Topps blasters of any kind let alone grey throwbacks so I'm not going to worry about that for awhile. Who cares they have Heritage blasters! Not gonna make any promises as to when you can expect the videos but I will do my best to get them up sometime tonight.
So after reading this and this I giddily stopped by Target today and surely enough found two shiny new untouched still shrink wrapped retail boxes sitting innocently enough on the bottom shelf of the card aisle, not even priced. Sorta like they just came in and they just squeezed 'em in somewhere. So after pondering whether I should just grab some Topps or be daring and be the first to bust the box, temptation won out and I knelt down and ripped the box open as unsuspicously as I possibly could. Not trying to attract too much attention by digging around I resisted scooping all the way down to the bottom of the box (where the Mayo inserts no doubt were) and I simply grabbed the first three packs on the top left and proceeded to the checkstand with my rare prize, unsearched retail packs of Heritage. To my utter astonishment not only did packs scan correctly (2.99 each) but the cashier didn't even give me that "what the hell are these look" I usually get when I buy baseball cards at Tar-jay. By the time you read this I will be ripping into these suckers with glee, the video of which should appear here within the hour. Stay tuned...
So after hearing about this I gave it a try this morning and it was actually really cool. Basically what you do is go to ToppsTown.com, download D'Fusion, click on a player's name, hold his ToppsTown card up in front of your webcam and bam! Instant interactive 3D avatar of the player standing on the card. It really works! They have some games you can play. I used Ichiro and had him run back and forth catching little baseballs dropping from the top of screen (wasn't very good at it) and then I tried my luck at hitting with Miguel Cabrera. Once I got the timing down I was crushing homers but there wasn't much to it. I got bored after a few minutes. There is only a small list of players so far but I'm sure at some point they will have all the ToppsTown cards available for play and perhaps some more interesting games. Sadly, I couldn't record any of this on my webcam because apparently you can't run D'Fusion and record on your webcam at the same time. Anyways, I could see this being a HUGE hit with the kids. Topps may be onto something really big here. I give Topps big ups for trying something different.
Not sure how relevant and/or useful this vid actually is but this is the internet's first video break of '09 Heritage baseball. A few words of caution before you waste the next nine minutes of your life by clicking below. One, he has no idea how to talk about new cards or show them off on a webcam i.e. if you want watch a kid thumb through cards you can't see quickly while mumbling about one or two cards a pack THEN THIS IS THE VIDEO FOR YOU, CLICK NOW! Two, as an added bonus you get to hear his stage dad (sitting off camera and apparently making himself at least somewhat useful by gathering wrappers during the box break) correcting the pronunciation of deceased presidents that junior didn't learn about in school. Three, like most spoiled young Joe Collectors this kid only cares about the hits or "hit" as the case may be, so like, don't expect to see or learn about much else. I feel a bit rude saying these things about a father and son dynamic duo whom I don't even know sharing in the "joy" of collecting baseball cards but I'm giving this kid a plug for a guaranteed, I dunno, 80 plus views so consider my snarky remarks my fee. Let me know if I'm being to hard on the lad. I'm probably just jealous I don't have Heritage yet. Lastly, I know somebody whom may be a tad interested in said "hit" *cough* Mario @ Wax Heaven *cough* I will just say this. Uggla jersey w/pinstripe. Ok, you were warned. Now enjoy. That is, if you want to.
Now that the pesky first scan posts and videos are out of the way I have lost all lust to scoop Heritage. I will now wait casually by until a blaster appears at my local big box retailer. And then I shall grace ye olde intrawebs with a proper video review. Meanwhile I have splendid maildays from Night Owl Cards and A Cardboard Problem which, time willing, I will have vids of by later this evening. Until then.