Friday, October 14, 2016

2016 East Coast National High-End Pickups!

Hey everyone! How's life? I know I can say nothing but positive things these days, as I've managed to get really involved on campus for the first time. College is actually enjoyable now that I've broken through some barriers and allowed myself the chance to branch out more. I've been working towards advertising some of our local school events, and have even gotten the privilege to meet broadcaster Ian Eagle and talk to him about working in sports. Also, I've been covering a lot of my school's football and soccer games for my Sports Reporting course. So yeah, no complaints at all here.

Because I've been interning so often on campus, I haven't had time to actually work and make money. I was on a roll with this hobby up until then, but I've got to get a jump start on my future career before I get back to spending a fortune. I have spent some of the money I saved from working literally every single day this summer at a few card shows, and I'll start catching you up by showing you what I got at the East Coast National in August! 

At this show, I had the pleasure of meeting Kenny from Torren' Up Cards (which I talked about a while back). Dad was unable to join me for this one, but he did come with me last weekend to the Fall Classic show that will more than likely be posted next year at this rate (that was a joke). But for now, here's some sweet certified goodness I've had the pleasure of calling my own.

We kick things off with some refractor autographs of Yankees farmhands Domingo Acevedo and Ian Clarkin. I've been working on adding refractor autos of my team's top prospects, and these two were both affordable. I previously owned a graded 9.5 version of the Acevedo, but I accidentally purchased the base instead of the refractor. 

Acevedo is ranked 8th among the Yankees prospects according to's Prospect Pipeline. He is making a name for himself by averaging 96-100 mph consistently, and has even hit 103 mph during his time in the minors. At 6'7, he appears to have the prototype and build of a guy named Dellin Betances. I don't know if he'll ever get to that level, but the potential is there for sure.

Ian Clarkin was drafted 33rd overall and was taken with the supplemental pick the Yankees received when the Nationals signed Rafael Soriano in 2013. He has battled several injuries early on in his big league career, but did pitch to a 3.31 in 18 starts last season for the Tampa Yankees. He currently ranks as the Yankees 17th best prospect in their loaded farm system.

I also took home this 2015 Bowman Chrome refractor auto of new Yankee Dillon Tate! Tate was the fourth overall selection by Texas in the 2015 Draft, and was dealt to New York in the Carlos Beltran trade this summer. He was originally compared to former Oakland A's hurler Dave Stewart, but hasn't quite lived up to the hype so far. However, since coming to New York his velocity has increased from the high 80's to low 90's in Texas to the mid 90's he was expected to throw. If the velocity can stick as he transitions out of his current bullpen role back to the rotation, he could have a future in pinstripes.

My basketball collection isn't all that large, but at this show I was able to add a couple big cards to my minuscule Knicks collection. I couldn't believe how cheap these two autographs above of legends Walt Frazier and Willis Reed were. Not only are they both gorgeous on card signatures from high end products, but they're also both extremely limited (Frazier numbered to 20 and Reed to 49). 

Walt 'Clyde' Frazier was a great player in his day, but I know him more for his colorful personality, crazy fashion statements, and, of course; "swishin' and dishin'". He previously held a majority of the team's franchise records until Patrick Ewing eventually surpassed all but Frazier's assists mark. Willis Reed was a former MVP and two-time NBA Finals MVP who was named to the 1996 '50 Greatest Players in NBA History' list. He once played through a torn muscle in his thigh and helped the Knicks win their first of two championships; defeating the Lakers in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals.

Between the two, there were an awful lot of accolades. For the price I paid, I'd do it all over again.

I wasn't done. I had been shopping for a Carmelo Anthony for some time, but couldn't decide which card I preferred to add. This National Treasures beaut numbered to 25 caught my eye that day, and I was able to work the seller down on the price. 'Melo is one of my favorite players to watch in the NBA, and I love the fact that he uses his celebrity platform to try and make a difference in the world. When comparing generations, I can see him going down as this generation's edition of Charles Barkley: both great players who could never quite win it all. The three-color relic that coincides with the autograph on this card is actually really nice and adds to the card's appeal.

Going forward, I would like to add more Knicks greats to my collection, as well as a few of the stars from my childhood. I don't really follow the NBA as much as I used to, but it's still fun (when the Knicks are competitive).

The same seller I bought the Carmelo autograph off of had this Gregory Polanco refractor autograph for a pretty fair price as well. With the money I had remaining at the end of the day, I made an offer and got this for an absolute steal compared to what it sells for on eBay. Polanco is a talented young player who really came into his own in 2016, hitting 22 home runs while driving 86 runs and scoring 79 of his own. Pittsburgh has even talked about trading Andrew McCutchen due to the emergence of Polanco and Starling Marte, plus top prospect Austin Meadows on the cusp of the majors.

The biggest card I bought that day was something a little out of the ordinary for me. I had been debating whether to invest in a top tier prospect the entire day, and eventually after talking to a major Alex Bregman collector I decided he was the one I would add. This 2016 Bowman Chrome refractor autograph is absolutely beautiful, and is currently being graded in a BGS group submission. I'm looking forward to getting it back and seeing if it can pull out a 9.5! I could've bought the card as a 9.5 for about $50 more, but I had confidence that this raw copy would be good enough to match the grade.

Bregman made his MLB Debut in 2016 after absolutely mashing the ball in the minor leagues. He batted .306 with 20 home runs and 61 RBI between AA and AAA before getting the call-up the day after my 20th birthday! He did not immediately translate to the big leagues in the way that Gary Sanchez did, but continued to progress until a hamstring injury ended his season midway through September.

I'm starting to really enjoy buying Bowman autographs of top prospects. It's really fun taking a gamble on player's futures and getting to root for them in the way I have for Bregman. It has been able to bring me even closer to the game than I knew was possible.

Until next time, See Ya!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Last Month at Fenway...

Tonight, the Yankees open the most important series of their season in Boston. New York is below the Red Sox in the AL East standings by 4 games, but is only down 2 in the Wildcard race. Masahiro Tanaka takes the ball for the Bombers against Eduardo Rodriguez in a battle that has the potential to reinvigorate their dead rivalry.

A little over a month ago, the Yankees traveled to Boston with much lower stakes. They had just traded their best hitter and two best relief pitchers, and were working on building towards the future. Their biggest headline at the time was that Alex Rodriguez had just announced that the upcoming Friday night game in Yankee Stadium against Tampa Bay would be his last. In retrospect, that news feels ancient after the youth movement extravaganza that has taken place since.

But leading up to that Fenway series, one Yankee fan was arguably more excited than the others (hint: me). My family had planned our annual summer vacation around this series and getting to go to Fenway Park for the first time! The trip consisted of two nights in Boston and the remaining 4 in Cape Cod before we eventually headed home. I had never been to Beantown in my life, so getting to explore parts of the city during those few days was really exciting. I might hate their teams with a fiery passion, but I have nothing against the city itself.

On Tuesday, August 9th, we began our Fenway Park experience by joining in one of the stadium tours. We had tried to sign up for the pre-game tour, but since that was already filled we instead opted for the hourly tour. While it was disappointing not to be able to go on the warning track, we were more than content with what we were given on this adventure. 

As we strolled past all of the empty red seats, I could've sworn I traded glances with Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski. He probably didn't like that I was decked out in my road Yankees uniform, but I frankly couldn't care less. 

I had made it a life's goal to go to Fenway sporting nothing but blue and navy. I'm not even technically an adult yet, and that mission has been accomplished.

Here's a pretty neat shot I took of the famous seat marked red after Ted William's 502 foot home run in 1946. The tape measure shot was the longest ever recorded in Fenway's history, so it's only fair that every fan can clearly see where it landed.

We also got to take in the view from the Green Monster. I can't say I ever really thought the view would be worth paying an exorbitant amount of money to sit atop the enormous left field wall, but I was surprised by how picturesque it was. The above picture is my attempt to share this with you.

On the lower level, fans are greeted by this plaque and jersey honoring Boston after the horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013. You would be hard pressed to ever catch me rooting for anything Boston-related, but it was hard not to sympathize with their community after the tragedy.

Before long, game-time was approaching and the teams started taking batting practice. In between the tour and the game, we had to leave and re-enter the stadium. We stayed for 2 nights at the Buckminster Hotel, which is less than a 5 minute walk from the stadium and is known for several historic events; mostly for being the building where the Black Sox scandal was originally organized in 1919.

The lines outside Fenway were crazy long, but we met a bunch of pleasant people during that time. A majority of them were wearing Red Sox apparel, but only a couple we talked to were actually fans of the team. It wasn't casual fans either. We even met Blue Jays fans wearing red and navy... I didn't get that.

A-Rod didn't play in our game, but I was glad we got to watch him take batting practice and some grounders at the hot corner. I've loved Rodriguez and hated him over the years, but in the end I felt bad for how he was pushed out. I think he's done a lot of good things in the clubhouse since his season long suspension, and a lot of the fanbase was beginning to see that. 

The view from our seats was really phenomenal, outside of the big obstruction in the way. It didn't end up getting in the way of things that much, but it would've been nicer without it.

Boy, a lot has changed since this picture was taken of Larry Rothschild, Gary Sanchez, and Luis Severino. Sanchez had just been called up at this point and did not yet begin mashing like he eventually would. Luis Severino had just come off some excellent relief outings, and was set to return to the rotation.

It wasn't a good one for Sevy. Rick Porcello dominated Yankee bats for eight innings, but Severino couldn't outlast the 5th inning. He was tagged for 5 runs on 7 hits, and it was tough to watch. So tough, in fact, that I had to get up and get ice cream to relief the pain. 

In the 9th inning, the Yankees were down 3 runs and were able to walk in a run against Craig Kimbrel with 2 outs. The score was 5-3 when Mark Teixeira struck out to end the game. The final was 5-3, Boston. I went to three Yankee games this season, and they lost all three. Next year.

Despite the loss and the tough performance from one of my favorite pitchers, it was so much fun getting to go to perhaps the most famous baseball stadium in the world. It was a change of pace from the modernistic Yankee Stadium. In Fenway, you can be uncomfortable with obstructions in your way and still find ways to have a great time. That's what baseball is all about.

With that said, go Yankees. Let's take this series and snatch up a Wild Card, once and for all.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Zippy Zapped Back Into the Blogosphere!

In my blogging return last week, I cited the fact that school was underway and having less on my plate as the main reasons I've been able to come back. But I still lacked that final burst of energy to push me back into the blogosphere, until I met the Zippy-Zapper himself

Kenny has been "Cervin' Up Cards" for quite some time now, but I hadn't really gotten to know him until we started talking Yankee baseball on Twitter. In my time away from Blogger, I've been a part of collecting communities on Twitter and Instagram, and have gotten to know some great people in the process. Before leaving to go to the East Coast National (which you will hear about in due time), we made plans to meet up at some point throughout the day. 

The storm had settled in Westchester's County Center as dealers began to start packing up, but we were able to meet and spend some time observing the tables and talking about all things baseball. I was fascinated by his wealth of knowledge towards the Yankees farm system and towards prospects in general. But what blew me away over anything else was the kindness and generosity in his heart. He unloaded his backpack filled with goodies for me, and I couldn't believe it. It was hard for me to accept it all at once, but he insisted upon it. I felt better knowing that I was prepared to get him back for his madness, and took a look at what was now mine.

The two Staten Island booklets feature team sets of the 2000 Low-A Champion Staten Island Yankees. I can't say I'm all that familiar with most of the players on the team, outside of Chien-Ming Wang. These cards have perforated edges so they can easily be separated, reminiscent to the days I was subscribed to Sports Illustrated Kids way back in the day. 

Kenny also gave me 3 SI Yankees 'PlayBall Magazine' souvenir programs from 2014, 2015, and 2016! I have seen the Staten Island team play plenty in the past, but never actually at their home stadium. I am more familiar with Dutchess Stadium, where the Hudson Valley Renegades play; and have seen them play there in the past. We discussed having a future summer night spent at each stadium graphing, and I hope we can work that out next year.

These two Choice 2014 team sets were really neat toss-ins too. The set to the left features some of the best players from the New York-Penn League in 2014, which included Amed Rosario (Mets), A.J. Reed (Astros), Bradley Zimmer (Indians), and the god himself, Luis Torrens (Yankees). After speaking to Kenny, I can now say I believe Torrens will be a combination of Ted Williams and Johnny Bench! Speaking of which, Torrens was also featured in the SI Yankees set. That set had some surprisingly intriguing names such as Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Holder, Ty Hensley, and Thairo Estrada to go along with the heir apparent to Babe Ruth (first time readers must be really confused).

He also threw in a bunch of cards of scrub Yankees (in comparison to the future first ballot Hall of Famer) Betances, Refsnyder, and numerous others. I'm starting to wonder how much longer Refsnyder will be a part of the team. It wouldn't shock me if he is an added piece in an offseason trade, because no matter what he does, it's never enough to earn a full time spot on the team.

You can never go wrong with Luis Severino, unless of course you're Joe Girardi naming him as an upcoming starter. I have slowed down collecting Sevy ever since his downward spiral, even though his card prices have tanked. I've invested far too much money already to keep buying his stuff in good conscience. However, I didn't have any of the 3 cards above, and really love the autograph in particular! 

I think it's sort of funny seeing Sano and Severino on the same card considering how mis-managed I believe they both have been thus far into their careers. Sano, to me, should not be in the field even though today's American League game tends not to employ full time DH's anymore. He can be an exception to that rule because he appears to have legit 40-50 home run pop in his bat. Meanwhile, Severino's poor performances in the starting rotation (while dominating in the late innings) have bounced him back and forth faster than you can say "Joba Chamberlain". Keep him in the bullpen for a prolonged period of time until he builds up enough confidence to be the starting pitcher we Yankee fans expected him to be. Rant over.

One of my favorite cards Kenny bestowed upon me is this 2014 Bowman Asia Exclusive Aaron Judge parallel. Judge hasn't quite followed up his explosive start to his career, and is striking out in over half of his at bats. We knew from the day he was drafted that plate discipline was going to be an issue, so this should be expected. He doesn't see fastballs often because he is known to crush them, so adjusting to major league caliber offspeed pitches will take time. Don't give up on this Baby Bomber though, because the future is still bright.

When it comes to Yankees prospects, Kenny knows more than most. I have seen these autographed cards before, but I don't know much about the players on them. Encinas is the only active player in 2016, pitching in High A for the Yankees. He has struggled mightily, but the former 6th rounder could get it together. Both Lewis and Stevenson were taken in the later rounds in the 2010 Draft, while Bautista appears to have been an International signing.

I never had much of Austin Romine, so this card is now my favorite of his. The Yankees have been able to churn out quality catchers for some time now, and he's just another example of a big league backstop. He handles his own, and probably will serve as a backup for years to come; whether he's with the Yankees still or not.

Dellin has really stepped into the closer role well ever since the deadline deals of Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. I can't say I'm all that surprised by this news, though. He has been so dominant for now three years, and his stuff would translate well in any bullpen role. I'm not an enormous fan of the Panini designs, but I'll take a spare autograph of his to pair with my Bowman Chrome auto any day.

Kenny, thank you so much for the much needed zippy-zappying. It was a pleasure meeting you, and here's to hoping my revenge package will come close to matching all of this.

If you haven't already, please go check out Kenny's blog, Torren' Up Cards. If you have any cards of baseball jesus (Luis Torrens, duh), be sure to hit him up!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Three at Third for the Hot Corner!

Hey everyone! This is my attempt at trying to get back into routine blogging. I've picked up a lot of higher end cards this summer, including a bunch of the Bowman Chrome refractor autographs you've seen lately. Though I have fallen for the shine of the refractor, I've acquired some other big cards as well. And no card represents the Hot Corner more than this one...

2013 Topps Triple Threads Wright/Longoria/Machado Triple Autograph Relic 11/36

If you scroll back up to the top of my blog, you should come across two poorly Photoshopped photos of David Wright and Evan Longoria on the right side of the blog banner. Early on in high school, I learned to play third base and I tried to follow in both of their footsteps. Both had been proven leaders and strong players offensively and defensively at that time. 

In 2016, Wright hardly played thanks to a nagging neck injury that eventually required surgery. It will be interesting to see if he can rebound, but if he doesn't I can see him retiring and being considered the Mets equivalent of Don Mattingly (both excellent players and leaders whose careers ended abruptly thanks to long term health issues). He is a lifetime .296 hitter with almost 1,800 hits and 250 home runs, and of course was named the 4th team captain in Mets history. 

However, while Wright has taken some steps back; Evan Longoria is close to completing his best season since 2013, when he finished 6th in AL MVP voting. Despite his Rays playing last place baseball and hitting in one of the weakest lineups in the American League, Longo is batting .285 with 31 home runs and 83 RBI. He is on a similar career path as Wright's, but is 30 years old with no signs of slowing down. There were talks during the Trade Deadline that he could potentially be traded to a contender such as the Dodgers, and for his sake I sort of hope it happens. He may be a division rival and a lifetime Yankee killer, but it's hard to root against a guy that plays for such a miserable team.

Longoria has continued to build on a successful career, but another reason he does not get much attention is because of the recent changing of the guard at the third base position. Perhaps the finest of them all is Baltimore's Manny Machado. I have been a huge fan of Machado's ever since his call up, but especially after I acquired him as a throw in piece in a blockbuster trade in my main fantasy baseball league. The league is a keeper league, so I have been able to retain him this season and plan to for the foreseeable future as long as he keeps playing excellent baseball.

Third base is such a deep position these days. You could make a valid case for Machado, Josh Donaldson, Nolan Arenado, or Kris Bryant as the best in the game. If I had to have one, I'd take Manny in a slight edge over Arenado, but at that point it's really splitting hairs. This is my first autograph of the Orioles star, who I believe could one day suit up in pinstripes if he isn't awarded a record breaking contract extension before 2018. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

I Am Gary...

Hey everyone, long time no talk, again. I'm going to quit making excuses for whenever I lack the motivation to blog. In all honesty, I've lost a lot of the drive I once had for writing posts and being especially involved in the blogging community. It's not you guys, it's me; I swear. Things have been busier than ever since I returned from Florence at the end of May, and the time I would usually spend writing posts is now allotted towards resting up for another day's work.

I've done a lot of things outside of work this summer though too. I went to 3 Yankees games, one of which was at Fenway Park against Boston. I saw Coldplay at Metlife Center and The Lumineers at a local festival. I added several new records to my growing vinyl collection, went to a card show, rode some rollercoasters at Six Flags, and spent a lot of quality time with friends and family. A good portion of this will be covered sooner or later.

On top of it all, I've watched a lot of baseball. The Yankees have been invigorated with energy ever since the Trade Deadline and the release of Alex Rodriguez, and it has almost become must-see TV. I normally keep tabs on most games while watching shows on Netflix religiously, but these past two months have gone the opposite direction. The difference maker, as most of you appear to know by now; has been Gary Sánchez. "The Kraken", as famously dubbed by Brian Cashman; has been a lethal weapon of mass destruction since being called up for the third (and final) time on August 2nd.

2010 Bowman Gary Sanchez Refractor Auto /500
Sánchez has been a Baby Bomber for seven years now, and was regarded as a Top 100 Prospect by Baseball America for five of those seven. He succeeded in the shadow of former top prospect Jesus Montero until the Michael Pineda trade officially made him the future of Yankee backstops.

I've been collecting all throughout that time, and I didn't own an autograph of Sánchez's... until August 6th, 4 days after the call up. A dealer had listed four or five of his Bowman refractor autographs to try and make a profit. He may have profited, but he has to be kicking himself after the tear "El Gary" has been on. This card currently sells between $250 and $300, but I had it for $40 shipped. Essentially, I played the long con for seven years and made one of the greatest eBay snipes of all time (yeah, I said it).

Sure, I hear all you nay-sayers who think this is all a hoax. Obviously, yes, the guy won't be hitting a Ted Williams-esque .400 for his entire career. But we as Yankee fans have every right and reason to be thrilled with the prospect of having an All Star caliber catcher for the first time since Jorge Posada was in his prime. Not only has his bat played a vocal part in this late bid for a Wild Card spot, but he already seems to be emerging as a leader in the clubhouse. He wants to win, and win now. And he is doing everything in his power to help the team do just that.

I love it.

For once, you're right about something John Sterling. Gary is scary.

PS: This card just recently was sent out (along with a few others) as part of a BGS Group Submission. I will be sure to share the results when they come back, unless of course they all grade terribly. I don't want you all to think I'm as blind as a bat.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Hard Work Pays Off

Hey everyone, Drew back here. I can't remember the last time I've been this involved with the hobby while also being as uninvolved in the blogosphere. I really just haven't had the motivation to blog, despite having picked up some of the best cards in my collection. I'm currently watching the youth movement take over New York tonight in Game 3 of the Subway Series, so I feel as though it's a good time I show off my own personal card farm system. 

I don't think there's ever really been a time I haven't liked Brian Cashman. Sure, I know I've questioned some of his high end signings in the past, but you really have to wonder how much the Steinbrenner's influenced those moves. Especially now, after a week where Cashman turned over a new leaf and brought the Yankees organization into the modern baseball world and temporarily gave up hopes of buying a championship. 

Fans of the team are accustomed to winning, so it is awfully risky to sell off your best assets in an effort to rebuild at the trade deadline. Cashman is not a hero because he chose to sell, since he's one of the last current GM's to do so. He's a hero because he finally held his own and did what has needed to be done since 2013. He showed his rebellious side, took some risks, and from all accounts it just might pay off. All I can say is: I have never been more excited for the future of this team.

The Yankees may boast a top notch farm system after last week's moves, but Aaron Judge still excites me over any of them. He could be an All Star, reminiscent of Dave Winfield in size and stature. He could be a bust. The risk is there, but it's worth taking. I cannot wait to see this guy don the pinstripes in a few weeks. I bought his Bowman Chrome refractor autograph (get used to reading that) for my birthday, and I may be preparing to send it in to BGS and see how it grades. But for now, it becomes one of the highlights of my card collection.

In order to make a youth movement work, you need to have someone who can grind out games at whatever position needs to be filled. Rob Refsnyder appears to be the obvious pick for that utility-man role. He doesn't do anything fantastically, but he more than holds his own. I've been impressed with what I've seen from him in the majors this year, and I hope the team continues to reward him with proper playing time.

Everyone enjoys a comeback story, let's be real. Two years ago, Tyler Austin was considered a Top 100 prospect, but injuries halted his road to the show before he got the chance to make his MLB debut. In 2016, he's batting .311 with 13 home runs and 45 RBI in AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre, and rumor has it that he and Judge could see a call up by the beginning of September at the very latest.

Speaking of comebacks, we'll be hoping to see much more out of Greg Bird in 2017 than we've gotten this year. One of the biggest blows to this season came in February when out of nowhere it was announced that he would be undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder and would be out for the season. After catching a glimpse of what he is capable of doing at the Major League level, it was tough news to swallow. Mark Teixeira appears to be dragging himself out of New York after what has so far been a horrendous final season of his 8 year deal, so the job could be Bird's to take as early as next spring.

While it's good to have powerful bats in your lineup and guys capable of filling voids throughout the diamond, no team is complete without a sparkplug at the top of the lineup. Enter Jorge Mateo, who could be just that in 2-3 years when the Yankees are ready to bring him up (because if he had a say apparently, he would be well past High-A by now). Last year, he led all professional players with 82 stolen bases, and has continued to display raw speed this season. Some say he may be the fastest player in the game. It's too early to think about positional logjams, but I'm interested to see how their middle infield plays out over the next few years. For now, the job has been earned by Didi Gregorius, our best current all around player.

We close things out for now with the man who will have the final say in a large part of the team's future wins and losses. Dellin Betances has been one of the most exciting relievers in the game over the past three seasons, and I feel like some Yankee fans take his talent for granted. He's been dominant, but fans keeping asking for another Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman caliber player to pair him with. Now, after two big trades; Betances has the closer job and I couldn't be happier for him. He was notably disappointed seeing his friends depart to Chicago and Cleveland, but now he has the opportunity to become the 9th inning man once and for all.

Brian Cashman and I have both been working hard this summer. He's been able to bring Yankee fans hope for the future, while I have been slowly working my way back from being totally broke post-Europe. Budgeting portions of my paychecks towards the hobby have given me something to look forward to despite consecutive days (or weeks) of work. And now, I'm almost ready for the future to take off and kick into gear.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fun, Easy Instagram Dealing!

Hey guys, Drew back here! This month has been strictly business, which may explain why I haven't been around. The amount of wheeling and dealing with my collection has reached new heights this summer, thanks to eBay and Instagram in particular. I also have been working almost every day since I returned from Europe, so in order to keep me sane I've been putting part of my paychecks towards a card budget that has allowed me to expand and grow my collection.

Before I get into some of the higher end additions, I wanted to show off a fun trade package I got from Instagram user @ttm.autographs32. Luke and I were able to work out something simple and fun that we both benefitted from.

Andrew McCutchen is in the midst of his worst career season, which is worrisome for Pirates fans for sure. Luckily for them, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco have picked up Cutch's slack. I'm not collecting McCutchen as much as I once did, but I'll welcome any of his cards into my collection when offered. He is one of the best players and guys in the game today regardless of his slow season, and time will tell if he will emerge as the catalyst he's been in years past.

The best part about collecting Derek Jeter is that there isn't a whole lot that could happen nowadays that would kill his value. I would never sell any of my Jeter cards, but it's nice knowing that his cards really could only increase in value with time. I surprisingly didn't have many of these cards yet, and this pushed me to a total of 236 unique cards in my Jeter PC.

Unlike McCutchen, Robinson Cano is on his way back into relevancy as he has led the Mariners offense in 2016. The former Yankees All Star is currently batting .305 with 22 home runs and 60 RBI! I'm planning on slowing down on collecting Severino, Panik, and McCutchen and placing much of my focus on my former favorite player.

It's hard to resist collecting some of the Yankees top prospects. We don't have the best farm system in the game, but there are more significant names than I can ever remember being in the system. Jorge Mateo was in the news recently for some conduct issues, but homered today in return from his suspension. Aaron Judge has been a monster up until his recent knee injury has sidelined him. Hopefully we'll see our #1 prospect in the majors by season's end.

Finally, the Yankees are giving Rob Refsnyder some fair playing time in result of the abysmal performances from Teixeira and A-Rod. This green bordered Gypsy Queen mini is numbered out of 99.

Finally, I was given these 2 Topps Big Stix sticker pages of Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano! I recently took the time to put every single Cano card I own in top loaders in his own exclusive PC box, and I put these stickers on top to add some decoration to it.

Thanks Luke for the trade. Be ready to see some pretty great stuff on this site, despite my inconsistencies with posting.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Harvey Day

Hey Mets fans, remember when "Harvey Day" was a thing? It's tragic, really. Sure, Matt Harvey is returning to form this year little by little, but the days where he electrified the Mets fanbase on every fifth day appear to be over. One of the flaws of the world today, in my opinion; is that topics become old news in light speed. Harvey has certainly fallen victim to this.

But don't worry "Dark Knight". I'm not a Mets fan, but I've seen enough of your starts to know that this is not the end. The Mets faithful may be more intrigued by Thor and his giant hammer or the legendary slugger that is Bartolo Colon, but Harvey is still my favorite of the All Star bunch.

2011 Bowman Platinum Matt Harvey Autograph

And with that, I decided to add one of his top prospect autographs to my collection. I've been working just about every day this summer, and will be continuing to do so for the next few months. I'm allowing myself a weekly budget to use to bolster my collection, because it will serve as excellent motivation to keep working hard and save up money towards a new car.

This has been a card I've wanted to add for a while now. I went some of the All Star Game events in 2013 when the Mets hosted, and the hype for Harvey (who started the game for the National League) was soaring almost as high as Strasburg-mania in 2010. After an atrocious April and May this season, Harvey pitched more like himself in June. Hopefully he can keep it going, and perhaps Harvey Day could return.