Stadium Fantasium

…Where Life's a Pitch

At the Game: Dodgers vs. Rangers

Woo man! I’m so behind here on my blogging, my bad…I’ve been so busy with adjusting to my new work location (same employer, though). I’ve also been putting in some hours at my old work location (but with a new employer). So I’ve been working two jobs lately leaving little time for blogging or the hobby.

But the good new is I was still able to attend the June 12 Dodgers vs. Texas Rangers game at Dodger Stadium and pick up a few packs of the 90’s edition of the Dodger’s 60th Anniversary Collector Cards. These cards feature the 1994 Topps design (a curious choice since 1994 was a strike year for MLB).

So this time I wasn’t able to arrive extra early to watch batting practice near the field (due to working a bit of overtime) but I still got a few shots of the pregame activities including a shot of the cases of giveaway cards and the lineup exchange at home plate.

Cases of 2018 Dodgers 60th Anniversary Collector Cards

Here’s a picture from up high behind the Rangers dugout. That’s former Dodger Adrian Beltre high-fiving a Rangers teammate…

Rangers dugout June 12 2018

…and the Dodgers take the field with some lucky kids who each get a baseball autographed right on the field.

Here’s some first-inning action in which Dodgers rookie pitcher Caleb Ferguson is pitching to Shin-Soo Choo. The Rangers’ starting pitcher this night was none other than Bartolo Colon.

Wow, it’s like having 3 1/2 outfielders…

Thanks to a 7-run fourth inning, the Dodgers went on to win the game 12-5.

Dodgers win

And here are the cards!

2018 Dodgers 60th Anniversary cards 21 thru 27
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Once again as in the previous three 60th Anniversary sets, the same six Dodgers are featured in the first six cards. The seventh card features ’90’s Dodger legend Mike Piazza. Here’s a look at the original 1994 Topps Mike Piazza card. Again Topps did a very nice job of replicating the front and back of the 1994 Topps flagship design. By adding an action photo to the back of the cards, a la the 1994 design, these card backs look much more dynamic and eye-catching than the previous sets of Anniversary cards.

1994topps01a

Just for kicks, here’s a side-by-side comparison of a couple of 2018 Topps Chris Taylor cards. In case you didn’t know, the card on the right is a Series 2 Topps Salute insert card. These cards make me wonder if other images from the Anniversary cards are used in other Topps products.

 

2018toppsct3cards01a

So we give a sincere Stadium Fantasium tip o’ the cap to the Dodgers, Topps and the sponsors for these stadium giveaway cards. Any ideas on who the Dodgers will feature on the 2000’s edition of these 60th Anniversary cards? I think I already know, so stay tuned…

At the Game: Dodgers vs Diamondbacks

Dodger Stadium scoreboard

First off, my apologies for posting late. I should have posted this ten days earlier but my work schedule has really ramped up lately. On the other hand –Woohoo! I’m so glad my work schedule worked out so that I could attend my third Dodger game this season and it’s only May (my work schedule and budget don’t allow me to attend lots of  Dodger games). And being a sucker for baseball cards, I’m also happy that I got to pick up the third installment of the Dodgers 60th Anniversary cards, this time featuring the 1985 Topps design. We also arrived early enough to catch the end of Dodger’s batting practice and all of the Arizona Diamondbacks batting practice. Standing in the field level stands by the left field foul pole, I came really close to catching a batting practice ball. The ball went right over my head as I jumped to catch it but it was just inches out of my reach. Someone behind me ended up getting that ball. D’oh!!

So here are the seven “80’s” Dodgers cards along with a couple of other cards for comparison:

As in the previous two Dodgers card giveaways (featured here and here), the same six current Dodgers are pictured but with a different Dodgers legend–Tommy Lasorda who brought two World Series Championships to Los Angeles in the 80’s. For comparison I also included images of Tommy’s original 1985 Topps card and his 2014 Allen & Ginter card which uses the same photo altered in that special A & G way.

Like the previous two stadium giveaway anniversary card sets, these cards are nicely done if not quite 100% faithful to the original Topps design. Note that most of the photos used for these cards appear to be in-game or in-action as opposed to the posed shots of the previous cards. Again the backs of the cards kind of resemble the backs of the corresponding vintage cards. Once again we’ve got to give props to the Dodgers, Topps and the sponsors for these cards.

So despite my increasingly hectic work schedule, it does look like I will be able to attend the Dodgers vs. Texas Rangers game on Tuesday, June 12. That night’s stadium giveaway is the 90’s set of Dodgers 60th anniversary cards. Anyone want to guess who will be the Dodger legend featured in the 90’s packs? Stay tuned…

At the Game: Dodgers vs. Marlins

Dodger Stadium Scoreboard promoting 60th Anniversary cards

Yes!! I’m so happy I got to go to my second Dodger game of the season and also obtain the 70’s set of Dodgers 60th Anniversary cards. I’m also happy that the Dodgers won the game 2-1 behind Walker Buehler’s strong performance in his first MLB start. That game was their seventh win in eight games and put the Dodgers over .500 for the first time this season. (Too bad that the Dodgers went and lost the next two games against the Marlins.)

Unfortunately we didn’t get to the stadium entrance as early as the last game so I wasn’t able to take any pictures near the field like last time. However, I did manage to get a couple of pictures of mass quantities of these packs of cards at one of the distribution points in the stadium.

Here are the seven “70’s” Dodgers cards:

Anybody notice that the six current Dodgers featured above are the same six current Dodgers featured in the “50’s & 60’s” set? Peculiar, to say the least. Was the player selection decided upon by Topps or the Dodgers or MLB or the player’s union or some combination of the above? Are we to expect the same six current Dodger players in the remaining four stadium giveaway sets? Maybe I should have gotten the hint when I saw that Justin Turner is featured in the image at the top of this post. Taking a look at the Dodgers promotional video of these cards, it does appear that only these players will appear on these cards, until at the 00:26 mark of the 31-second spot. There on the left, one can see a slightly blurry card of Clayton Kershaw on the 2001 Topps design. See the screenshot below:

Like the “50’s & 60’s” cards, these 70’s cards are nicely done. Even the backs of the cards kind of resemble the backs of the corresponding vintage cards. It would have been even better if these cards had been packed in a wrapper that was modeled after the original 1977 wrapper instead of clear cellophane. That’s probably asking too much, especially since most wrappers would end up in the trash. So although I’m grateful to the Dodgers, Topps and the sponsors for these cards, I do have to admit I’m a bit disappointed that other current Dodger players were not featured in these 70’s cards. However it is nice to see props paid to HOFer Don Sutton in this set.

So who will be the Dodger legend featured in the 80’s packs? Will it be another pitcher such as Fernando Valenzuela or Orel Hershiser or even perhaps a non-pitcher? Stay tuned…

My Fantasy Baseball Teams: Update 4/21/18

Okay, so after a rough two weeks of fantasy baseball (ending 4/15), all four of my teams are playing bad sub-.500 baseball. Obviously, I’ve got a lot of work to do if I want my teams to finish with a respectable win-loss record in the standings. Here’s a more detailed look at how my teams are doing:

So Cal All Stars H2H
socalallstarsstandingswk02

My Diamond Kings team (highlighted above) is down in last place in the All-Stars division after a 8-3 opening week loss to Noah Patterson and a 8-3 loss to Mark C’s Swag Team. Losing Josh Donaldson and Byron Buxton to the disabled list does not help. I did drop RP Blake Parker and added SP Chad Bettis and 2B Cesar Hernandez. Hopefully they will help me improve against my next two opponents, ThE tHrOwBaCks and SlappinDDs.

Trading Card Database Rotisserie Baseball

As seen above, my one rotisserie baseball team (BBCARDZ) is tied for eight place. A week earlier, I was hovering around second place for a few days but dropped down since then. My strengths in this league (so far) are Runs, Stolen Bases and Saves. My weaknesses are Batting Avg., ERA and WHIP. We’ll see if I can make some improvement in these categories over the course of the season.

 Yahoo H2H Money League

Ugh! 11th place again…this is not good. I lost to SF Giants 6-3-1 in the first week and lost to BluffingtonCrapShoot 6-4 in the second week. Since the season started I’ve dropped RP Brad Ziegler and SS Elvis Andrus (on the DL for 6-8 weeks). I also lost SP Rich Hill and 3B Jake Lamb temporarily to the DL. But I’ve added SPs Reynaldo Lopez, Andrew Triggs, Chad Bettis and utility man Asdrubal Cabrera. My opponents for Weeks 3 and 4 are BARTOLO! and Crush City.

MLB REAL ROSTERS (Los Angeles Dodgers, of course!)

I had not mentioned this fourth fantasy baseball league that I’m in before this post, but it has a pretty fascinating (for me) concept. As you can probably tell from the league name above, each fantasy team consists only of players from a selected MLB team. This is my third year in this league and I’ve done fairly well in this 20-team H2H league. Last year I took third place, and second place the year before that. Of course it helps when your MLB team consistently posts a very good won-loss record.

Through the MLB Dodgers first 14 games, they have a 5-9 record. Through the same period, my fantasy Dodgers team has a 10-16-6 record. I lost 8-6 to the Chicago White Sox in the first week and then lost 9-4 to the St. Louis Cardinals in the second week. I think it’s fair to say, as the MLB Dodgers go, so go my fantasy Dodgers (as long as I keep up with lineup and roster changes). My next two opponents in this league are San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels.

Coming Soon…

Look for my next post featuring the next installment of Los Angeles Dodgers 60th Anniversary cards sporting the 1977 Topps design. Stay tuned…

At the Game: Dodgers vs. A’s

On Tuesday 4/10/18, I got to go to my first Dodger game of the 2018 season. I’ve attended anywhere between two and eight Dodgers games almost every year since I was a young kid but for some reason, I rarely get to attend Dodger games in April. But I really wanted to attend this game (the first of a two-game interleague series against the Oakland A’s) since I knew the Dodgers were having a rather special stadium giveaway: 60th anniversary Dodgers baseball cards manufactured by Topps and featuring the 1965 Topps design. The cards celebrate the Dodgers 60th anniversary in Los Angeles.

The Dodgers will have five similar card giveaways during the season, each featuring a different decade and different Topps design (check out the video here). I’m hoping to go to each of these games to collect all of the cards but work priorities might derail that plan.

The entire evening at the game was among the best I’ve ever experienced. We got to the stadium gates five minutes before they opened and then stood next to the left field foul pole to see the tail end of the Dodgers batting practice and the entire A’s batting practice.

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And I have to admit it was pretty cool seeing some of the A’s players up close. Catcher Bruce Maxwell, outfielder Matt Joyce and former Dodger Trayce Thompson each trotted over to by where we standing to retrieve stray balls and give them to kids. Matt Joyce even autographed a baseball for one of the kids and posed for a picture with him.

The game itself was pretty special too as Chris Taylor and Corey Seager launched back-to-back home runs to open the home half of the first inning. And Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched extremely well, not allowing a hit until there were two out in the fifth inning. It was almost déjà vu for us because the last time we saw Ryu pitch was Memorial Day 2014 when Ryu pitched seven perfect innings vs. Johnny Cueto and the Cincinnati Reds. The Dodgers hung on to win that game 4-3, and in this game the Dodgers went on to win 4-0.

I was also happy that I was able to obtain a couple of extra packs of cards (not so happy when I got home to find that the cards in one pack had severely dinged bottom-right corners). Here are the seven cards that come in each “50’s & 60’s” pack:

2018toppsdodgers60thlad-123456a
2018toppsdodgers60thlad-07a

For stadium giveaway cards, these are great cards. The photos are very nice and may possibly be from the same photo sessions as 2018 Topps Heritage (except for the Sandy Koufax card which uses the same photo as that used in the super-short print 2017 Topps #597 variation.

So as we give the Dodgers and their sponsors a Stadium Fantasium tip o’ the cap and a big thank you, we remind ourselves that the next Dodgers 60th anniversary card giveaway is Monday April 23 vs. the Miami Marlins. There’s a pretty good chance I’ll be able to go to that game. And please share with us whether your team is doing a similar stadium card giveaway. Stay tuned…

Blog Bat Around: What I Collect

Inspired by “Blog Bat Around” blog posts by the brilliant minds at Night Owl Cards, The Collective Mind, The Shlabotnik Report, Cardboard History, $30 a Week Habit, Not Another Baseball Card Blog and others.

 

Being a low-budget set collector, I try to keep my collecting wants pretty simple but like most card collectors, the collection can still get pretty huge. Most of my sets are incomplete but I’m pretty sure most of them are at least 80% complete. As I slowly inventory these cards and others, I’ll post wantlists and trade lists on the “Wantlists” and “Trading Block” portion of the blog. Eventually, all of these cards will make it out of their 800-count boxes and into binders. The cards/items featured below are from my collection. Although most of the card images I use feature the Los Angeles Dodgers, I am not a team collector nor a player collector (ain’t got time for that, unfortunately).

 

BASEBALL

Topps Baseball

Various Topps Dodgers Cards

If I had to guess, Topps flagship baseball comprises maybe about 60% of my total collection. I have incomplete Topps flagship baseball sets from 1969 through the present (except for 1971 of which I have none). Besides flagship, the only other Topps baseball cards I have are some 2002 Topps Total (very low priority) and 2018 Topps Heritage (82% complete–very high priority).

 

Along with the usual base cards, I like to collect the error/variation cards, inserts, parallels, autos, relic, pre-production cards and even wrappers (which will also go into binders). I don’t really expect to obtain every single parallel/insert/relic/auto set (unless I get a huge raise in pay) but it would be cool if I could complete a few and maybe even complete a master set. There is one recent trend in insert cards that I am not excited about and that is buyback cards. I have a handful of them and those will go on on the Stadium Fantasium Trading Block in the near future.

 

Fleer/Donruss/Score/Pacific

1981 introduced new baseball cards by companies other than Topps. I was curious about this fresh new product and bought plenty of Fleer and Donruss baseball cards along with Topps. I have incomplete Fleer (or Fleer Tradition) sets from 1981 through 2006 (except 1994). As for Donruss, I still need to finish the 1981 through 1993 sets and the 2004 set. Score did not have as long a run as Fleer or Donruss but I did manage to collect near-complete Score sets from 1988 to 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1998. The only Pacific product I’ve ever collected was the 1980-83 Cramer Legends and Pacific Legends in 1988 and 1989. I even have some 2000 Skybox Dominion baseball cards (a 300-card set released by Fleer that I may yet complete).

As with Topps, I like to collect error/variation cards, inserts, parallels, autos, relic cards and wrappers from Fleer, Donruss, Score and Cramer/Pacific Legends. I also like the stickers and puzzle pieces included in the packs of these cards.

 

Food Issues and Oddball Sets

I’ve always been attracted to the not-so-easy-to-collect cards from cereal boxes, packages of cookies, other foods and even nearby restaurants. These “food issue” oddball sets were plentiful late last century but are almost nonexistent now. I suspect that for most companies it’s just not economically desirable to include baseball cards with their product. Still whenever I walk into a market, I make it a point to visit the cereal aisle to see if I’ll be pleasantly surprised to find a cereal product with a free baseball card packed inside. Generally I try to avoid the factory sets and store sets such as the ones from KMart, Toys ‘R Us and Kaybee. So here are the food issues and a couple of other oddball sets I’d like to complete some day (listed chronologically):

  1. 1970-82 Kellogg’s
  2. 1983 Donruss Action All Stars
  3. 1987 Ralston Purina
  4. 1987 Topps Nestlé Dream Team
  5. 1988 Nestlé
  6. 1989 Topps Cap’n Crunch
  7. 1990-92 Jumbo Sunflower Seeds
  8. 1990-92 Post
  9. 1991-97 Denny’s Holograms/Grand Slam
  10. 1991-93 Jimmy Dean
  11. 1992 Score Proctor & Gamble (I have several original cello-wrapped packs of this 18-card set)
  12. 1993 Hostess
  13. “National Trading Card Day” cards from various years

FOOTBALL

Topps and Other Football Sets

My football collection consists mainly of 1969-74 and 1976-79 Topps (all near-complete, I think). I also have a complete set of 1970 Kellogg’s football (purchased via mail-in offer in 1970) and a few 1971 Kellogg’s also. Rounding out the football card collection is 1989 and 1990 Pro Set. As I get around to inventorying my football sets, I’ll be putting the dupes in their own football section of the Stadium Fantasium Trading Block, along with a few other random football cards from other sets obtained from NPN (No Purchase Necessary) offers or from other collectors over the years.

 

NON-SPORT

The only two non-sport card sets I think I’d like to complete are the 1992 Lime Rock MAD Magazine (Series 1 & 2) and 1992 Pro Set Dinosaurs. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that MAD Magazine and the 1991-94 ABC-TV show Dinosaurs are two guilty pleasures of mine–gotta love them! Most of us enjoy MAD Magazine for its iconic satire of pop culture. Conceived by the late Jim Henson of Muppet’s fame, Dinosaurs was a rather under-rated sitcom/satire featuring the voice talent of Stuart Pankin (from HBO’s classic “Not Necessarily the News”), Jessica Walter, Sally Struthers, and Kevin Clash (Sesame Street’s Elmo). Other periodic Dinosaurs characters were voiced by Sherman Hemsley, Michael McKean, Christopher Meloni (from “Law and Order SVU), Tim Curry, Michael Dorn, Robert Picardo, Dan Castallaneta (aka the voice of Homer Simpson), Jason Alexander, Julie Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Buddy Hackett, Jeffrey Tambor and Tony Shalhoub. Good times!

 

So there you have it. The scope of my collection may be rather limited compared to other collectors but it’s more than enough for me. This is why I’m proud to say that I’m never bored. Along with following the Dodgers, managing my fantasy baseball teams and writing this blog (oh, and maintaining a relationship with the fiancée), I always have something to occupy my non-working quiet time. Will there ever be a light at the end of the tunnel? Stay tuned…

Group Case Break Loot: 2018 Topps Baseball Series 1

2018, Major League Materials back of #MLB-KB Kris Bryant

Have you ever participated in a group/case break? In case you didn’t know, it’s where a trusted host or case breaker purchases a case (or cases) of a card product and sells a team spot/slot to card collectors. Each spot gets you all of the base/inserts/hits of that particular team. Some case breakers let you pick your team (PYT) while others randomly assign a team. This year I went a little crazy and bought four spots in three different 2018 Topps Series 1 case breaks. Shortly after Series 1 was released, my local card shop, Hall of Fame Baseball Cards, ran a random team break of a case of Series 1 hobby boxes and a random team break of Series 1 jumbo boxes. I also bought a spot in a PYT case break of Series 1 hobby boxes held by Crackin’ Wax. Each case breaker also included cards from the Topps Silver Pack promotion. Here are the teams I ended up with:

HOFBC Hobby Box Break: Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays

HOFBC Jumbo Box Break: Baltimore Orioles

CW: Chicago Cubs (I would have picked the Dodgers but they were already chosen by someone else)

Of course when you participate in these case breaks, you end up with quite a few base card duplicates. Here are the notable cards.

Parallel Cards

Inserts

The Lone Hit

So out of these four case break spots, I got only one hit but its a pretty good one…

Whatever duplicate I got in my jumbo box will be listed in (hopefully soon) in the site’s Trading Block. My ultimate goal is to see how far I can get in building a 2018 Topps master set.

WordPress Notes

As a baseball card/computer geek, I love this pursuit of building a decent baseball card blog. To that end, I am experimenting with displaying card images in galleries such as those above. If you haven’t already, hover your mouse over any card image above. Then click it. To get back to this post, I suggest clicking the ‘Back’ arrow next to your browser’s address bar.

Because of the sheer number of images I wanted to post, it took a lot more time than I wanted to add a second post to the blog. But I do like the result of posting the card images in galleries. The WordPress plug-in used above is called FooGallery. I’m not 100% sure I will continue to use a gallery plug-in to display images in posts. It’s definitely different from the way most hobby bloggers post their images. But I’m wondering if it’s overkill and worth the trouble. However, I am definitely leaning towards using this gallery plug-in to display cards in the Trading Block. This would allow those checking out my trade lists to see a large image of a card they are interested in obtaining. I think this feature would especially be useful to show the condition of vintage cards I want to trade. fwiw, my duplicate vintage cards go back only to around 1966 and I don’t have a whole bunch of ’60’s vintage..

Dodger Notes

Spring training games have begun and I’m happy about that. But it is still disturbing to me that there are plenty of really good free agent players still not signed to a Major League roster. I won’t be surprised if this situation results in some kind of litigation. Anyways its nice to hear my Dodgers back in action on the radio (can’t see ’em on TV since the Dodger network isn’t available on my cable provider in SoCal).

Things to Do List

  • Inventory my sets
  • Create and maintain wantlists
  • Create and continually update trade lists for the Trading Block
  • Add new features to Stadium Fantasium such as some kind of card wish list
  • Increase participation in the card collecting community (tweeting, posting my Stadium Fantasium Facebook page, reading and commenting on other blogs, etc.)
  • Discover other hobby blogs and add them to the ‘Blogs To Root For’ list in the right sidebar.
  • Join some fantasy baseball leagues
  • Keep a list of ideas for new blog content

Stay tuned…

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About Me

bbcardz logo

Long time set collector with a particular passion for Topps flagship baseball cards along with some cards from other sets/sports (almost no Upper Deck, Panini, high-end or hockey to see here).

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