Thursday, August 31, 2017

Association

Like most of you, there are certain songs that bring back memories of certain people and/or events. Perhaps it's an old girlfriend or something that happened during an evening out with your buddies; perhaps you associate a song with a movie or tv show. I will forever think of The Soprano's finale whenever I hear Journey's 'Don't Stop Believing'. Another of my top 3 favorite shows, Dexter, will always come to mind whenever I hear the song 'Rita is Gone' by the Marcus King Band.




There are also certain things that I associate with various card sets- one of the strangest being grocery stores. When I think of 1992 Stadium Club baseball, I think of a Circle K in a small rural town about 17 miles southwest of my town; an independent grocer about 17 miles northwest of me is where I bought a lot of 92 Ultra baseball. And then there is 1991 Pro Set Platinum football.




There was a small neighborhood market just a few hundred feet from where I grew up. It was a place where I spent many an hour during the early 80s, feeding quarters into the Donkey Kong machine; it was the place where my mother would send me- note in hand- to buy a pack of smokes for her (yes, you could actually get away with it at the time). Unfortunately, the place burned down around 1998 and the owner never rebuilt (Walmart came to town around that time...thanks, Wally World). But before the fire destroyed what was one of those few remaining childhood hangouts, I was able to find a football product that I had had troubles finding elsewhere. This was actually quite a few years before the store burned down, and the product was 1991 Pro Set Platinum football. While products like Upper Deck and Leaf introduced 'premium' into collectors' vocabulary, Topps and Pro Set introduced us to 'Super Premium' with Stadium Club and Platinum, respectively.

We all know the success that Stadium Club would enjoy over the next decade+ (and the renewed success it's enjoying among collectors today), but Platinum didn't live a very long life. After one year, Pro Set replaced it with a product called Power for the 1992 and 1993 season before folding in 1994 after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Despite its short-lived success, the memory of Pro Set (and other manufacturers and sets) live on, both in our binders and in our memory banks.


Getting back to song association... I only discovered the music of the Marcus King Band about three months ago. I was able to see them live about a month later and I've got to say, they were one of the best live acts I've had the pleasure of seeing. Really tight. If you enjoy your rock with some blues and jazz influence (in the vein of the Allman Brothers and the Black Crowes) then you will like these guys. And an fyi, I read an interview where Marcus (the 21 year-old singer/guitarist) stated that this song was inspired by the Dexter series.




Monday, August 28, 2017

Senses

My wife recently decided to become an independent consultant for Scentsy- a locally based business that specializes in wickless candles and scented fragrance wax for electric candle warmers and scented natural oils and diffusers. We've used the products for years and have been very happy with them, so she decided to "join the team." Thus, it's been all about Scentsy in our house for a few weeks now.

With a large amount of product being passed in front of my nose I can't help but have scents (and senses) on the mind. Err... on the nose? Whatever the case might be, it's got me thinking about our hobby, and how cards can affect our senses. Some might say they came to their senses and stopped buying new products, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about how our bodies receive sensory information. You know... those sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch by which we perceive our environment.





I recently picked up some Seahawk inserts from 2017 Donruss football and I've got to say that I came away very impressed with the product. 
I still wish that Panini would do something different with their card backs, but I guess it's no different than what other companies have done in the past: you find something that is your own and just go with it. Donruss did it in their early days, as did Fleer (just to name two). 





The first thing that jumped out at me about these particular cards was how much green was included on the card fronts. Lots and lots of green. But with it being a part of the team's color scheme, it's something I've come to accept. It could be worse- colors like purple, orange, or yellow are much more of an assault to my peepers.





At some point I need to make the decision on where these cards will go. Do they go into a team binder, with the Donruss team set- or will they go into penny sleeves and toploaders and into the boxes with my player collections? First world collector problem, I know. But as much as I like to thumb through binders to look at my collection, there's a part of me that likes to hold the cards (or the top loaders that they are housed in) as I look at them. Cards such as these Gridiron Kings were made to be touched. Like the earlier incarnations of Topps Gallery, these cards have a matte surface. Gallery, when done right, was a fantastic product- and these Gridiron Kings are right there with them.




My goodness, that's an awful lot of color for just one card.



Shiny, and gold. Almost too much for my tastes.




Okay, I must admit I was a little disappointed with these. I loved the idea of the homage to the '81 baseball set, but the gold foil has to go. Also, throw in the yellow border and color rush uniform on the Sherman card.... horrible.




The only baseball card among the auction lot I won. Looks better in hand- and if you get a chance to see the orange parallel in person...I was pleasantly surprised how much they pop.




Another card featuring a color rush uniform. These 'Hawks unis are certainly loud and I think the NFL could certainly do without this cash grab.

Let's see, I referenced touch, sight and the auditory senses... now if only some of these had come out of a wax pack with bubble gum.






Saturday, August 5, 2017

It's So Easley

See me hit you, you fall down... ~ Guns 'n Roses It's So Easy

This is the second (or third) year in a row that my wife hasn't gotten me any cards for my birthday. I guess that's what happens when you have needs, rather than just things you want. But that's okay, because I got a 1989 Score Young Super Stars card of The Kid in the mail today, am going to my favorite restaurant tonight (Olive Garden- Tours of Italy will be destroyed, with wine to wash it down) and the NFL Class of 2017 will induct a Seahawks great (and one of my favorite players as a kid) into the Hall of Fame tonight.






















Aging isn't easy. As I recently lamented, the mind isn't as sharp as it used to be, but there are certain memories that seem to be indelibly stamped into the brain. Some of the most fond memories I can recall took place in the year 1987, the year I graduated high school. It was also the end of one-hard hitting era (Kenny Easley's final season), and the beginning of another hard-hitting era (Guns n' Roses debut album released in July of that year).





A lot has happened in those last thirty years. Marriage, children, career. And while many things have changed during that time period, a couple things remain the same: my love for the Seahawks (especially heavy hitters, like Kenny!) and my love for hard rock music (and heavy hitters like GnR).




It's been a long time for Kenny Easley to wait for his induction, but it was well deserved and, hopefully, well worth the wait for him. Congratulations, Enforcer. The 12's will be watching tonight.



So damn easy.





Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Cards from the National



Ask most collectors if they would like to attend one of the Nationals (NSCC) and the overwhelming majority would probably respond, "of course." And who can blame them? When collectors claim, "if you can't find what you're looking for at the National, it probably doesn't exist", they're probably speaking more truth than hyperbole. And with most of us having wantlists with hard to find items, the prospect of finding those elusive treasures thrill us like nothing else. Plus, who doesn't enjoy fellowship with other card (or memorabilia) nerds?






I have never been to the National and, at least for the foreseeable future, don't plan on attending. My reasoning is two fold: it's impossible for me to take time away from work for any extended period during July and August, so unless the show gets moved to, say, April to mid-June, I won't be able to attend. The second reason is financially driven. Living out west means booking a flight and hotel- not to mention food and any other expenses. Plus, I couldn't justify going without taking plenty of cash for any purchases at the show itself. And, being on a limited card budget, that would mean going the other 51 weeks during the calendar year without buying any other cardboard. No thanks.







But not all is lost. We live in the age of the internet, which means we can find almost anything we want- all from the comfort of our living room, office or on our cell phone while at the stop light. Why, I was able to purchase the two 2017 NSCC Griffey cards pictured above from home. And for a heck of a lot less than any other expenses I would have had on a trip to Chicago.

One of the sellers included some extra cards with my bubble mailer. I hadn't seen any of the 2017 Diamond King set but really like the Originals- even if Boggs face looks a little off. And the Aurora..it really is a beautiful card in-hand, especially the back. 










So while I didn't go to the National this year, I was certainly able to bring the National home to me- through both photos on social media and with cardboard through the mail.

Now, if the NSCC would come to Seattle, Portland or Salt Lake City, well, that might be a different story.



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Pack Wars of a Different Kind


The worst thing about getting older has been the mind isn't as sharp as it used to be (not like it was that sharp to begin with). I've recently found myself grasping for a word (oatmeal) that I just couldn't find, made a few different purchases of newer cards that I had just bought like a week earlier, and congratulated myself on today's witty title- only to then realize I had conflated two movies (Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, for all you youngsters). At least there was a silver lining to those extra card purchases: they provided trade material for the cards featured on today's post.





Shawn, aka 'Corky', from the blog Pack War recently made contact to inform me he had the card that sat on the top of my most elusive list (although it wasn't necessarily the most wanted) and that it (along with others from the set) was available for trade. It was quite mind-tripping to know that I wasn't alone in possessing some of the 1991 Seattle Mariners Hearth Country set. Singles from oddball sets like these can be very difficult to find and I really appreciated Corky's gesture. The Bankhead card, long lost, made its way back home- reunited with all the other cards in the set. 




Scott Bankhead wasn't the only player that Corky sent to me. He also surprised me with this Topps Now card of two Hall of Famers: Griffey Jr and Tony Gwynn. I wasn't aware that this card had been created in celebration of the All-Star game returning to San Diego last year.





At the height of my collecting days (early-mid 90s), I bought a lot of packs, a lot of boxes, but very rarely took part in pack wars. This was one pack war where both contestants came out on top.

Thanks again, Shawn, for the great trade. And here's to future trades.





"Lights Out"- UFO, featuring the phenomenal Michael Schenker on guitar.