Cardpocalypse Like Sugar

Sweet! Tim from Cardpocalypse held some weekly Cardpocalypse contests during the month of May and I won a very nice relic card from his last “Anything Goes” contest. Tim also sent a dozen way cool Topps inserts that went a long way towards satisfying my craving for Topps flagship inserts. I’ll show the insert cards first and save the dessert (relic card) for last. First up is a couple of nice 2018 Topps inserts.

2018 Topps Salute #TS-22, 2018 Topps 1983 Topps #83-82
2018 Topps Salute #TS-22, 2018 Topps 1983 Topps #83-82
2020 Topps Decades' Best #DB-3, #DB-8, #DB-34, #DB-40
2020 Topps Decades' Best #DB-3, #DB-8, #DB-34, #DB-40

Here are four cards from one of the best insert card designs Topps has put out in recent years. The photos are fairly fresh (to me at least) but maybe a little bit overprocessed. This design is really eye-catching and works well in the overall borderless design.

But as much as I like this Decades’ Best insert set, something still looks off to me. It’s not readily apparent on the Fergie Jenkins card but if you look closely at the other three cards, you can see a dark gray drop shadow imposed just to the left of the player’s body. That is a little bit disconcerting to me but not a dealbreaker. Perhaps some may think it enhances the photo’s impact but I think it’s unnecessary and takes away slightly from the essence of the decade being evoked. But like I said, it’s not a dealbreaker.

More 2020 Topps insert goodness! I’m really surprised Tim included some Home Run Challenge cards in the envelope. These cards have the potential to win you some nice additional cards from Topps that are fairly rare. As you may know, it’s easy to enter this Topps online contest. After registering with Topps and entering the card’s code, you predict a date that the player pictured will hit a home run. If your player comes through for you, then you win a special serial-numbered version of the card. Last year I had only two of these HRC cards but I did win a special serial-numbered Gary Sanchez card, so that was nice.

Needless to say, this year will be different. There will be much fewer (if any) MLB games in which to predict a home run. I wouldn’t be surprised then if special 2020 HRC cards are awarded, then they will be more highly sought after than those of other years.

2020 Topps Home Run Challenge #HRC-3, #HRC-26, #HRC-30, 2020 Topps Choice #TC-11
2020 Topps Home Run Challenge #HRC-3, #HRC-26, #HRC-30, 2020 Topps Choice #TC-11
2020 Topps Decades' Next #DN-14, #DN-2, 2019 Topps Update All-Star Stitches Relics #ASSR-WM

The Topps Decade’s Next insert set may be a bit bland to some, considering that the design’s main colors are black, white and gold foil. But in my opinion it is still pretty distinctive and doesn’t seem to copy any previous Topps flagship design. The use of gold foil and it’s texture are big plusses for this set. As I mentioned in my review of 2020 Topps, Pleasure and Pain (A Review of 2020 Topps Series 1), I think Topps should try using this gold foil on the Topps Gold cards (which are serial-numbered to 2020).

And last but not least is the 2019 Topps Update All-Start Stitches Whit Merrifield card I won from Tim’s contest. Topps usually does a really good job with the design of these All-Star Stitches sets. The 2004 and 2016 designs immediately come to mind. The 2020 All-Stitches design is definitely right up there with them.

Topps got a nice head start on this design with MLB’s 2019 All-Star logo which incorporates a guitar (given that the 2019 All-Star game was held in Cleveland–home of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame). Topps added a guitar neck and a stylized silhouette of the Cleveland skyline for the nameplate. It all adds up to a very pleasing look for this traditional relic set.

Rather surprisingly, Topps has announced in May that there will be a 2020 Topps Update product. Much like the 2020 MLB season, it remains to be seen if it will actually happen.

A rousing Stadium Fantasium standing ovation goes out to Tim and his Cardpocalypse blog for sending these great cards over to the Stadium Fantasium collection–thanks Tim!

Contest plug: As of this writing, thirteen players are still needed to sign up for the Big Fun Game at Johnny’s Trading Spot. Check it out if you haven’t played before.

Question of the Day:

Seeing as the 2020 MLB All-Star game at Dodger Stadium has been cancelled, do you think Topps will still somehow manage to put an All-Star Stitches relic set in 2020 Topps Update?

Stay tuned…

Back to Life (At the Game: Dodgers vs. Cardinals)

Dodger Scoreboard Aug 6 2019

Finally! The Dodgers have played over 100 games so far this season and on Tuesday, August 6th, I finally went to my first Dodgers game of the season. Working two jobs certainly reduces the time I spend at the stadium (not to mention my blog-writing time). But hey, things could be worse. I consider myself extremely lucky just to live near an MLB stadium with a team that’s done very well the past six seasons.

So the gf and I got to the stadium gates just before they opened up for the fans. We got to see the Cardinals batting practice.

So after watching Cardinals batting practice, we made our way up to our seats on the Reserve level. On the way, we were able stop by outside the press box named after legendary Dodger announcer Vin Scully.

As luck would have it, my day off to see this game also coincided with Clayton Kershaw pitching against the Cardinals. Apparently, actor Rob Lowe and country music superstar Brad Paisley had the night off too, because both were also there to see the game. And of course Tommy Lasorda and Sandy Koufax were there, too.

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup

    Dexter Fowler (S) RF

    Jose Martinez (R) RF

    Paul Goldschmidt (R) 1B

    Marcell Ozuna (R) LF

    Paul DeJong (R) SS

    Matt Carpenter (L) 3B

    Tommy Edman (S) 2B

    Andrew Knizner (R) C

    Miles Mikolas (R) P

Los Angeles Dodgers Lineup

    Joc Pederson (L) RF

    Max Muncy (L) 2B

    Justin Turner (R) 3B

    Cody Bellinger (L) RF

    Corey Seager (L) SS

    Will Smith (R) C

    Matt Beaty (L) LF

    Kristopher Negron (R) CF

    Clayton Kershaw (L) P

The weather was warm but not unbearably hot. (In fact, it got slightly chilly as night fell.) This was our view from our seats in the fifth row of Section 8…

The Cardinals jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the 2nd inning but the Dodgers got a run in the bottom of the 2nd and one in the bottom of the 3rd.

Kershaw pitched a great seven innings, the Dodgers got an insurance run in the seventh and the bullpen pitched two scoreless innings with Kenley Jansen getting the save.

This was the Dodger’s fourth consecutive win and the Cardinal’s fourth consecutive loss. I’m so glad Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers got the win and I was there to see it. This game marked the 76th win for the Dodgers against 40 losses this season. 

Speaking of 76 wins, one of our local gas station chains (and long-time sponsor of the Dodgers) is running a pin giveaway promotion. Whenever I fill up with at least 8 gallons of gas, I get a voucher with a redemption code. I just enter the redemption code on the redemption website and a few weeks later, a cool Dodger pin arrives in my mailbox. These will end up going into the Stadium Fantasium Trading Block.

2019 Dodgers 76 pins

At this point, it looks like this will be the only Dodger game that I will attend this month. Next month looks better with potentially four games to attend. One of those games will be against Tampa Bay, one of the few teams I’ve never seen in person. I’m also looking forward to seeing the Dodgers vs the Colorado Rockies on Fan Appreciation Day, Sunday August 22. Stay tuned…

At the Game: Dodgers vs. Brewers


Oh my gosh, what a great time we had at this game (Thursday, August 2). First, we stopped for a pre-game meal at a landmark Los Angeles deli which is also a very popular long-time hangout for Dodgers fans. I’m talking about Philippe’s (open since 1908).

After dining on traditional French-dipped roast beef sandwiches, we headed over to the stadium and entered the gates in time to see the Dodgers taking batting practice. I was pleasantly surprised because normally, the Dodgers players are done with batting practice by the time the gates open for regular fans. I’m pretty sure we got to see the Dodgers batting practice because of the early 6:00 pm game time and the fact that the Brewers did not take BP after the Dodgers (is it possible the Brewers took BP before the Dodgers did?). Plenty of batting practice baseballs were hit into the left field pavilion but amazingly, none were hit into the seats near the left field foul pole where we were standing. C’est la vie

2018 Dodgers 60th Anniversary Cards 2000's
Dodgers batting practice

The celebrity first pitch was rather notable with reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian and comedian Kevin Hart pitching to Matt Kemp and Kenley Jansen.

Celebrity First Pitch
Post first pitch picture
Visitors (Brewers) dugout

The game itself was also awesome as Clayton Kershaw was the Dodger’s starting pitcher and pitched a good game giving up two runs over six innings.

First inning

The Dodgers went on to hit seven home runs and win big, 21-5, setting a Dodger Stadium record for most runs scored. One of the big thrills of the game was seeing Cody Bellinger hit a grand slam of the right field foul pole. Even though most of the game’s drama was gone after the fifth inning with the Dodgers leading 10-2, I did stay the entire game (as is my custom). Things were so bad for the Brewers that they brought in IF-OF Hernan Perez to pitch the seventh inning and catcher Eric Kratz to pitch the eighth inning. btw, new Dodger acquisitions Manny Machado and Brian Dozier each had a pretty good day with the bat.

And now for the reason you probably tuned in here…the cards!

2010 Topps Dodgers 60th Anniversary Cards: 2000's

This set is the fifth installment of six sets of Dodgers stadium giveaway cards that celebrate the Dodgers 60 years in Los Angeles. And as was hinted at in the Dodgers promotional videos for these cards, Clayton Kershaw is the featured Dodgers legend. These cards look really great although the design here does differ markedly from the original 2001 Topps design below.

2001 Topps #447 Eric Gagne

The original 2001 Topps design had a thin gold foil border around the photo, the player’s name etched in gold foil and a gold foil “Topps 50 Years” logo. No gold foil appears on the stadium giveaway cards. Also note the slight difference in how the Dodgers logo is displayed in the front bottom left corner. The 2018 border is also a bit more green than the 2001 border. Despite these differences, I think Topps did a very nice job here. Again we give a Stadium Fantasium shout-out to the Dodgers, Topps and the sponsors of these great card giveaways.

The sixth set of Dodgers 60th Anniversary cards (the 2010’s) will be distributed on September 4th (Dodgers vs. Mets). Who will be the featured Dodgers legend in the sixth set? Vin Scully perhaps? 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

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.


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:


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…