Angels @ Mariners – 06/16/22

Autos – Eugenio Suarez card; JP Crawford Gold Glove, Photo; Edgar Martinez card; Julio Rodriguez ball and Jersey

Souvenirs – Free Soda; Foul Ball; Game Ball Thrown into Stands

Final Score – Angels 4, Mariners 0

Pregame

What a day!

My buddy and I had access to batting practice on the field! When available, this is by far my favorite opportunity as a Mariners season ticket holder. When you’re in the guest area (behind the ropes, between the dugouts, behind home plate) you can see and hear more of the players and coaches up close, not to mention talk with some of them. They often graciously pose for photos and sign autos for field guests.

It was a great BP for autos! Eugenio Suarez signed a card, JP Crawford signed a mini Gold Glove and a print of a selfie from last weekend’s Photo Day (Shaka!), and Edgar Martinez signed a card. Thank you gentlemen!

The highlight was Julio Rodriguez!!! He was the player I wanted to meet the most. I was so busy following him that I didn’t even notice Ichiro was signing at the same time. That’s saying something! Anyhow, first I asked JRod for a sweet spot signature on a baseball, he smiled and said, “Yeah, sure.” (He’s already got the smiling and acknowledging fans parts of stardom down lol.). He signed it beautifully! Wow wow wee! Thanks man!

Sweet!!!

My buddy and I both brought jerseys, so after Julio signed his jersey, I asked him to also sign mine. My friend was smart enough to bring a note asking for an inscription. His jersey turned out gloriously! Silver paint pen on silver-outlined dark blue letters, inscribed with his name and “JRod Show” and a great auto that you could read it from across a room. Magical!

JRod focused while signing 🙂

Julio signed my jersey just as meticulously and included the same inscriptions. He chuckled when I told him I had a different name than my friend, and fortunately he got mine right. Unfortunately, I got too cute with the paint pen colors. I wanted to match the yellow outline on the royal blue numbers. In testing it looked awesome. When he actually signed it, the yellow mixed with the royal blue and came out a dark green. Oh no! His signing was absolutely fantastic, it’s just hard to read if you don’t already know there. Clearly, I should have stuck with the silver that has worked so well on blue in the past. I messed it up, was very disappointed, and hopefully learned to stick with more reliable colors in the future. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that JRod signed it wonderfully and personalized it! I mean you can read it if you look closely. The more I look at it, magically the brighter it seems to get lol. If I can somehow improve the contrast between the writing and the numbers, it will advance from “cool” to “super duper awesome”! I can certainly do a digital restoration, print and frame it, etc. That would be a safe option. I could also see what type of lighting would best bring out the auto. Those are both safe options. A third choice would be to outline or fill with silver paint pen, a bright yellow pencil or marker, etc. That would be very very risky. 🙂 Anyhow, more about all that at the end of this blog. 🙂

He signed for several more people and was still in the general area where I was. Another dude and I brought some stuff (I brought a picture from Photo Day) but Julio said something like, “Sorry guys, I gotta go.” I couldn’t tell if he was annoyed, didn’t want to disappoint anyone, or just plain done. Hope everything is cool, Julio is fantastic with all the fans of all ages. Anyhow, thank you JRod for signing my ball and jersey! Thank you Universe. Totally awesome!!!

We also got to stay for most of the Angels BP. Ohtani was pitching so we didn’t see him (bummer). Tyler Wade came by but I didn’t think I had anything for him (although in retrospect I guess I could have had him sign my random MLBers ball). I was focused on getting Mike Trout to sign this picture I’ve been carrying around for a few years. I still have it, unsigned lol. He came right to us and signed a jersey, some balls, and took a photo. He skipped my photo, some cards, and my buddy’s Funko. To be honest it felt weird. Inclusion and exclusion. Oh well. I must say I feel very fortunate that he signed a ball (beautifully) and a couple of cards for me in previous years!

We were escorted from the field shortly thereafter and complied. The Mariners side was awesome and the Angels side was a dud, but all in all, it was one of the best BP’s on the field ever!!! Thank you Mariners organization and thank you Universe!!!


The Game

Shohei Ohtani pitched great, giving up no runs, three hits and two walks over six innings, with six strikeouts. I was wondering if would be his own DH, and the answer was yes, going two for four.

Mariner defeater Mike Trout drove in all four runs with two two-run homers. I missed the first one while in the concession line. However, I definitely saw and heard the second one, it was a no doubter rocket to center field. He has like 30 homers in 85 games in Seattle. Crazy!

Mike Trout hits a lot of homers in Seattle lol

In the first or second inning, a foul ball by Max Stassi came to our section on the Mariners side. It bounced about eight rows in front of us and then came our way. I got a late jump but scrambled down a couple of rows. I think I got a hand on it but this other dude almost tackled me, reached over me, and got it. I must have looked pretty bummed out, or maybe he felt guilty about going over me, but he gave me the ball and I accepted his generosity. I like stuff like foul balls. 🙂 My buddy told me, “It’s your day!” I replied, “It’s your day” cause, I mean, it was his day too lol. I felt a little guilty but still wanted to keep the ball (I mean I was right there). So later I went over to offer a beverage, but he didn’t need it. We just chatted, he was a nice guy. He said if Ohtani had hit, he would have kept it. 🙂 Anyway, thanks man! I appreciate it. I don’t know if this all happened before or after I went to the concession line, where the lady gave me a free soda. Thank you folks, and thank you Universe!

Speaking of Shohei Ohtani, later in the game we were sitting on the Angels side. I don’t remember if Ohtani was doing warm up pitches, or if during the game action a Mariner got out on a pitch from the Japanese superstar. I think it was game action. Anyhow, third baseman Matt Duffy eventually had the ball. He threw it into our section. Sure enough, it came right to me, around 30 rows up from the field. In one of those slow motion moments, and I tracked it, simply reached up, and caught it! I thought nothing of catching it with my bare hands but some people seemed to think that was a big deal. People might have cheered. A lady in the next row came over and high fived me, my buddy reiterated, “It’s your day!” and I was going bananas. My buddy, Japanese by birth and a big Ohtani fan, was joking that it smelled like Ohtani, I thought it smelled like a foreign substance to help the pitcher lol, and a couple of other friends thought it just smelled like leather. Anyway, he was saying the baseball was “touched by Ohtani” and again I’m pretty sure it saw game action. Guess I could look at a time stamp on the photo and try to figure it out. Anyway, thank you Matt Duffy and thank you Universe! Wow!!! 🙂

The Angels won 4-0.

PS Two days later, Trout homered in each game of double header, for 32 in 87 games in Seattle. Wow 🙂


Jersey Art

Since I was disappointed that the yellow paint pen did not pop on the Julio jersey, and instead turned a dark green, I decided to do a digital enhancement of the auto and inscriptions. Basically, I traced the existing auto and inscriptions in a bright yellow gold color. Looking at the jersey so closely, I appreciate how nice the auto from Julio really is! For reasons unbeknownst to me, I also changed the gold color slightly on the outline of the numbers. I used a consistent line thickness for each segment (somewhere between 2 and 4 pixels each) so it doesn’t have the pressure variations that a real pen signature tends to have and some of the stuff looks a little weird. Nevertheless, I think the digital jersey art looks pretty cool! Definitely pops and is easier to read. I think I’ll keep the original signed jersey safe in the office closet, and use a print of the digital jersey in a shadowbox display with the signed ball and some cards and photos, a nameplate and our team name perhaps, etc. Should be pretty sweet!

Astros@M’s – 05/28/22

Autos – Gurriel and McCullers
Game – M’s 6, Astros 0

Pregame

Well it was an Early Gate Opening. I went for the home plate corner of the dugout, hoping for Julio Rodriguez. He did come by, more towards the middle of the dugout, and signed some jerseys and maybe a ball or two for kids. I was pretty much right in front of him but he didn’t sign my ball. I was disappointed, but at least two of the jerseys were for my buddies! Magnificent! Kyle Lewis came by but I was a little too far off. George Kirby signed a bunch by one of the openings in the netting near Section 119. I thought it was Logan Gilbert (forgot he was pitching tonight) so I didn’t rush over. That was a mistake. By the time I got to the front, he was done. So I struck out with the Mariners.

The Astros were interesting. I mainly stayed at the third base corner of the dugout. The best spot was to lean over the camera well into that corner. Diaz, Bregman, and Dusty Baker signed like 1-3 items. Mauricio Dubon signed a bunch but I missed him. My buddy got baseballs signed by Bregman and Baker! That’s cool. Fortunately, I got a mini card signed by Yuli Gurriel— with no smudging this time! Surprisingly, after most of the players had gone in, Lance McCullers Jr. was there towards the other end of the dugout. He very nicely signed a card for me. Thanks Yuli and Lance! Two of my favorite Astros actually.

Just before the game, I waited on the M’s side for J-Rod over by the end of the netting. He came by to a couple of spots and signed mostly for kids as far as I could tell. When I followed Julio from the first spot to the other, I said, “Excuse me,” and this dorky guy responded, “You’re not getting past me. This is for the kids.” So pompous. I reminded him, “No it’s for everyone!” as I easily made my way around him via the next row. At the next “Excuse me”, the adults simply let their fellow adult (aka me) walk around them. Thank you for being gracious. 🙂 It didn’t make much difference, Julio again signed for a few kids and then went to the dugout. I feel a little depressed that I struck out again, but at least I was in good spots and I tried!


The Game

The Mariners dominated this one from start to finish. Logan Gilbert was outstanding! I was busy chatting when Kyle Lewis hit a monster home run. I didn’t see the swing but I certainly heard it! JRod made some exciting contributions again, including another stolen base. That dude is big and fast. Meanwhile, the Astros made several fielding blunders that kept innings alive and helped the M’s pile it on. Nice win for the M’s! Final Score Mariners 6, Astros 0.

A’s vs. M’s – 05/24/22

Pregame

I decided to enter via The Pen today (so at 4:40, two hours before first pitch). Got a free refillable soda cup through the designated driver program. The M’s were already done so I watched the A’s do BP. Even the A’s finished BP before 5:10 (when all the gates opened and fans could access the seats). That was the bad news. The good news was that one of the grounds crew members in the bullpen tossed me a baseball! Thank you!

It was pretty empty and I wasn’t much interested in the A’s, so I went to the M’s side for the pregame. I tried to figure out where JRod would sign, and sat in Section 119 between the two most likely spots. When Taylor Trammel came by to one of the spots, I guessed that JRod would go over to the other. Nevertheless, I went over to get Taylor’s auto on the team ball and he signed it nicely. Thanks man!

Unfortunately, going over to Taylor’s spot meant I was late getting back to the other spot. That’s where JRod signed a bunch. It looked like mostly kids but some adults too. By the time I got there, he signed about three more and then took off. Ugh, so close yet so far away. Hopefully next time he can sign a ball for me! That would be awesome. 🙂


The Game

It was an entertaining game. I don’t think either team had more than a two run lead at any point. Tony Kemp was a difference maker with his speedy baserunning. There were several homers, including one by Julio Rodriguez.

Also, I sat with one of my college buddies for the whole game. He was in town from Washington DC. It was fun to catch up. I finally handed over our fantasy football league’s plaque after two or three years in my office (don’t ask). Also, after much deliberation, we decided that the Washington Wizards should be renamed the Washington Justice, play on The Supreme Court, bang gavels and stuff, have a strong bench, etc. Washington Generals was already taken. 🙂 Alternatively, I suppose they could just be the Washington Basketball Team.

Final Score – A’s 7, M’s 5.

2022 Panini Diamond Kings Baseball — Interesting :)

I recently picked up a hobby box of 2022 Panini Diamond Kings Baseball. It was $89.95 (+tax) for 12 packs, 8 cards per pack, and 2 hits per box.

I really like these cards! The canvas stock, vibrant colors, and artsy “paintings” are particularly appealing. It’s a nice departure from the regular photos on cards while being more artistic and less “Photoshoppy” than say, Topps Gypsy Queen or Masterpieces. Some cards would be particularly cool with autographs on them! Well, I guess most cards look better with autos, but anyway…

The box had roughly half base cards and half inserts, with some old timers, some stars, and lots of rookies. Is Junior an old timer now????

The two hits were not particularly inspiring. At least one was a star and I also avoided the dreaded Panini redemption. 🙂

On the other hand, there were lots of cool inserts! For example:

I probably could have gotten a similar bunch of base cards and cool inserts from four blasters for the same price… but I didn’t lol. Overall, I’d say 2022 Panini Diamond Kings Baseball is very nice. Even though the hobby box seems overpriced for the typical quality of the hits, I’d still give it 4 out 5 stars.


Pack Gallery

05/10/22 – Phillies@M’s

Pregame

I was a nervous wreck before the game! Bryce Harper signed the night before at the dugout, right when the gates opened. Perhaps lightning would strike twice! When to leave the house, how much for parking, what if I get there super early or super late, which spot at the dugout to run to, what color shirt should I wear…. On and on, anxiously overthinking it when I just needed to prepare, show up, ask, wait, and receive any gifts from The Universe. 🙂

(In case you’re wondering, left around 3:15, parked around 3:45, was super duper early, peed at Waji’s, SBux was closed, hung out in the Silver Cloud lobby reading the book Drive by Daniel Pink and watching a disturbing episode of Law and Order, went to the Team Store security entry around 5:00, peed again, lined up on the stairs, got in shortly after 5:10 and went straight to the Phils’ dugout. Harper has already gone in by the time the masses rushed in from the gates. Bummer, but I’m glad for all the crazies that got his auto yesterday!)

Basically there wasn’t that much going on autograph wise. Two guys signed a bunch at the dugout. Rhys Hoskins signed a card for me very nicely, and stuff for many other people of all ages. Didi Gregorious signed a card for me — with a ball point pen? Anyway, it’s nice. Thanks Rhys and Didi!

Just before the game, I stayed on the Phillies side waiting for Alec Bohm or one of the other dudes, but they did not come by. Oh well. By the way, Ty France and JRod signed on the M’s side. The choices we make when we just don’t know lol.


The Game

Well, after being drubbed 9-0 last night, I was looking for the M’s to bounce back against Aaron Nola (certainly a challenging task). The M’s scored 2 in the 1st and 1 in the second to go up 3-0. Also, Joe Girardi got kicked out after arguing about a close play at first. Robby Ray was pitching very well for the M’s btw. 🙂

So yeah…. In the top of the 5th, while I went to pee and get some food, somebody broke up Ray’s no-no with a homer, and somebody else scored on a wild pitch. Bottom of the 5th, M’s 3 – Phillies 2.

The M’s were wearing the dark blue “Seattle” unis. Haven’t seen those at home in a long time!

Robbie Ray pitched 5 2/3 innings striking out 10 while giving up two runs on 105 or so pitches. His last batter, Bryce Harper doubled. Andres Munoz came in to face the dangerous Nick Castellanos. He walked him and Harper also stole third. Uh oh. Then J.T. Realmuto grounded out and the M’s kept the lead!

Aaron Nola entered the bottom of the 6th at 78 pitches trailing 3-2. He walked Jarred Kelenic, and threw over several times, but the last throw was mishandled by Rhys Hoskins and Kelenic got to second after all. Luis Torrens singled and Kelenic advanced to third. That was it for Mr. Nola. Brad Hand came in for the Phils and walked Adam Frazier to load ‘em up. He hit Ty France to score Kelenic. JP Crawford flew out to center and scored Torrens. Eugenio Suarez ran out an infield single. Finally, Jesse Winker struck out, but the damage was already done. After six innings, M’s 5 – Phillies 2.

Erik Swanson came in for the top of the 7th, and surrendered a homer to nice guy Rhys Hoskins just over the left field fence. Then he struck out Johan Carmargo and Odubel Herrera. Something happened before all that cause Herrera was third out lol. M’s 5 – Phillies 3.

Top 8th Misiewicz cane in. Bryce Harper laced a two out double to center. In came Paul Sewald. Nick Castellanos flew out to retire the side.

I had to leave a little early, but the M’s held on for a nice win.

Final Score – Mariners 5, Phillies 4


Postscript: Re: Rhys Hoskins

The next day, the Phillies won 4-2.

04/23/22 – Royals@M’s

Pregame

There was a bit of an extra line for the Edgar Replica Statue, but it was nothing compared to the Griffey bobblehead one last week. A couple of the crazies had an extra spot for me. Thanks guys! I also got a complimentary clear Mariners tote bag, which actually came in handy later when another crazy gave me an old Ichiro bobblehead. Thanks man!

Despite an Early Gate Opening for the Season Ticket Holders, there was not much happening on the Mariners side. Chris Flexen signed a card for me at the middle of the dugout. It got smudged (probably by the usher) but it’s a nice auto and I think I can clean it up. Anyway, thanks for signing Chris!

After Mariners BP ends, auto seekers normally wander over to the visitors side. However, today we had to wait like a half hour until the general gates opened. Apparently, one of the crazies wouldn’t move when told to get off the dugout, while another hit Tom Murphy in the face with a pen. It was just weird. Eventually, a few minutes before the general gate opening, a wave of auto crazies migrated to towards the visitors side and could not be stopped. 🙂

Anyhow, when I got over to the KC side things got better! Early on, and again at the middle of the dugout, Bobby Witt Jr. signed a ball for me! It was probably the second or third ball he signed. Always nice to see a (future) star generously signing for so many people. Thanks Bobby, and thank you Universe! At the end of BP, #52 Daniel Lynch and #24 Amir Garrett signed my visiting MLB’ers ball at the gap in the netting. In addition, Garrett threw baseballs to kids in the stands and brought smiles to many faces. Thanks guys!


The Game

I started in Section 112. KC scored a run in the top of the first but the M’s scored two of their own on a JP Crawford homer to center. The M’s tacked on two more in the second and one in the third to open up a 5-1 lead.

After getting some food and drink, I settled in at Section 141. KC got 3 in the fifth to make it 5-4. Then the M’s made it 6-4 in the sixth.

However, in the top of the 7th, our guy Yohan Ramirez hit (and injured) Salvador Perez, gave up a game-tying homer to Carlos Santana, and a double to Hunter Dozier. Then, pinch hitter Edward Olivares hit a double off Anthony Misiewicz to score Dozier and give the Royals a 7-6 lead.

In the bottom of the 7th, Julio Rodríguez reached on an infield single and stole second. Jared Kelenic flew out, pinch hitter Jesse Winker walked, Adam Frazier struck out, and Ty France singled to score JRod and tie it up! JP Crawford then struck out. M’s 7, Royals 7.

I moved over to sit with some fellow crazies in Sec 119. Good vibes only, right Eugenio? You know it! 🙂

Good Vibes 🙂

Bottom of the 8th Suarez singled, Toro walked, Walton came in as a pinch runner. Tom Murphy Tom Murphy walked to load it up for JRod. He walked to score Walton! That ended up being the go-ahead run.

Jared Kelenic struck out but Jesse Winker doubled to score Toro and Murphy! Then Ty France hit a 3 run homer to The Pen!!! M’s 13, Royals 7

Top of the 9th, Matt Koch in for the M’s. Santana flied out. Hunter Dozier popped out to JP Crawford. Bobby Witt Jr. struck out. M’s win!!!

Final Score – Mariners 13, Royals 7

04/15-04/16, 2022 – HOU@M’s

Fri 04/15/22

Mariners home opener! Finally back to the ballpark after taking 2020 and 2021 off. One of my buddies asked how was this first game back. This was my response:

Weird… get there on time, security check was smooth, great to see everyone, bowed to my buddy’s parents, no autos yet, liked seats both downstairs and upstairs, M’s played great, not as cold as I thought, waited for concession lines to shorten but they didn’t, left after 6th inning to eat on the drive home, spilled stuff on my jersey, looks like it came out in the wash, mostly already packed for today, all in all glad I went. 🙂

The Game

The M’s played awesomely and dominate the game. Great stuff 🙂

Final Score – Mariners 11, Astros 1


Sat 04/16/22

Pregame

The auto situation was much better than yesterday! The line to get in, even for Season Ticket Holders like yours truly, was very long. It was a Ken Griffey Jr. Bobblehead Night after all. I haven’t opened the box yet but it looks pretty cool in the picture.

By the time I got in, the M’s were wrapping up BP. Af a gap in the netting, Matt Brash signed a ball for me (it’s going to be a team ball most likely). Down the right field line and past the netting, Logan Gilbert signed and took photos with anyone who wanted one. He was very patient and gracious. Thank you to Matt and Logan, two of our great young pitchers! Ichiro didn’t sign, but I missed Julio Rodríguez at the dugout corner. Sounds like he signed a bunch! Encouraging for a future visit to the ballpark. 🙂

I switched jerseys and headed over to the Houston side. Other than chatting with some cool fellow auto crazies, there was not a lot of signing going on. I pretty much settled into the corner by the camera well. This used to be prime real estate, and you can still reach under and around the netting with a ball or a card. However, it looks like the best spots are going to be the corner of the dugout (on the 3rd base side) and the first gap in the netting (one section over from the camera well). McCormick signed a hunch for people at the dugout corner, and Jeremy Peña signed a ball for the Spanish speaking brother next to me. I think Bregman signed one card at the dugout. Their bullpen catcher said he would give me a baseball, I just had to wait. So I waited and waited… and waited, but nothing. What’s up with that? I thought he was going to be a man of his word lol. Goodrum, Brantley, Altuve, Alvarez, etc. did not sign. Saw Jordan The Batboy, hadn’t seen him in years, he would often toss baseballs to fans at the dugout after an M’s win. (Or was it Jeremy? Think it was Jordan.)

I continued to camp out at the camera well while some of my buddies were at the gap in the netting one section over. They were in the right place. Yuri Gurriel came over! In my haste to get over there, I knocked part or all of somebody’s beer over. Sorry!!!!! Total party foul. I offered another but he was very chill about it. I got in there and may have knocked down one of my buddies’ buddies. Or he may have been kneeling down already. Sorry again!!! Just too excited. Anyway, Gurriel beautifully signed a nice Stadium Club card… and I smudged it. Doh!!! Maybe that’s what I get for not being more careful with my body. It’s still very nice though. I might try to “fix” it with a white eraser or magic eraser or something. Or do some digital artistry. We’ll see! (PS After a bunch of erasing and reiinking, the new artistic collaboration between me and Yuli looked a lot better. :))

The Game

After the auto action, it was time to watch the game. I sat in Row 3 for the first inning and then headed for the concourse. I wanted to make sure I got some food this time! After switching back to my M’s jersey and waiting probably an inning and a half in one of the crazy lines, I was the proud consumer of a Mariner Dog, small nachos, and a refillable soda. Yes!

I proceeded upstairs towards my ticketed seat location. Don’t let the guy with Hawaiian shirt fool you – it was freezing! When you sit upstairs at Safeco Field, you often get the wind. The wise among us bring blankets. I didn’t. At least I brought a warm beanie, some kind of fleece with large ear flaps. I think my face mask also helped. Guess I could have used a black beanie for more of a Darth Vader effect. 🙂

Justin Verlander did Justin Verlander types of things, and pitched a gem. 8 scoreless innings with 8 strikeouts on 87 pitches. Great for the ‘Stros and a bummer for the M’s.

Final Score – Astros 4, Mariners 0

The deGrominator!

I think this is just such a nice card. 2020 Donruss Baseball D-10 Jacob deGrom Dominators insert pink parallel. Not expensive or anything, just a sweet refractor for one of my favorite players. Same story but a different look every time. 🙂

My daughter asked me, “Why do they have these shiny cards? How do they make them?”

I said something to the effect of, “I dunno, I think they use different layers or something, but they look cool.” Lol.

She then looked at this deGrom card and said, “See you look at it this way and it’s just a regular card, but then you look at it this way and you see fireworks!” Yep. She gets it. 🙂

2021 Topps Allen & Ginter Blaster – Fun :)

I picked up a blaster of 2021 Allen and Ginter online from Target. I’m glad Target is selling more releases online and that collectors can actually buy one just for fun even after they’ve been out for a week. I was looking for some set help (both base and inserts). Each blaster has 8 packs, with each pack usually containing 6 cards (1 insert, 1 mini, 4 base) unless there is a special insert (like a memorabilia card). Let’s take a pack-by-pack look:


Pack 1:

Insert: Birds of a Feather – Blue & Gold Macaw (Go Bears! Lol)

Mini: Carrasco SP

Base: Wrangham, Simba!, Feller, Thomas


Pack 2:

Insert: Jeter Historical Hits

Mini: Freddie Freeman black border 🙂

Base: Biggio, Will Smith

Hit: Max Muncy relic! There aren’t any “guaranteed” hits in these blasters so this uni relic was a pleasant surprise. 🙂


Pack 3:

Insert: Great White Shark (working on this set, think I have about 5/15 so far)

Mini: McGwire (St. Louis)

Base: Walsh, Bauer’s, Woodruff SP, Larkin


Pack 4:

Insert: Jo Adell Murad

Mini: Zack Wheeler A&G back

Base: Molina, Canseco, Story, Abreu RC


Pack 5:

Insert: Beech Tree!

Mini: Schwarber

Base: LeMahieu, Trout, Castellanos, Flaherty


Pack 6:

Insert: Aaron Boone Historical Hits

Mini: Caldwell 93

Base: Gregorious, Rose Lavelle (ladies soccer player, feel like there are a lot fewer females in this year’s set for whatever reason), Lavin, Rendon


Pack 7:

Insert: Rallying Back: Brown Bear!

Mini: Brailyn Marquez MRD-8 (This “mini rookie design” variation looks like an A&G RC from earlier in the 21st Century.)

Base: Peterson RC, Tatis Jr., Corbin SP, Will Craig RC


Pack 8:

Insert: Juan Soto Murad

Mini: Good For You – Grapefruit (yuck!)

Base: Beuhrle, Martinez, MIke Lange (“Heeeeee shoots and scores!), Ernie Banks


This blaster was a fun break! Out of 47 cards (if I added correctly), I got 8 new base, 18 doubles, 4 SP doubles, a mini double, 7 new minis, 8 new inserts, and (surprise!) a uniform relic card. Didn’t get as much base set help as I wanted (8 new base, 18 dupes, plus 4 SP doubles) but the 8 minis and 8 inserts were cool. I especially like the Shark (“Deep Sea Shiver”) and Bird (“Birds of a Feather”) inserts. Those are really colorful even while staying with the muted Allen & Ginter palettes. The Muncy relic in the second pack was also a nice surprise. Like I’ve said elsewhere, this year’s set seems to have more baseball than in previous years, but it still has enough oddballs to be amusing. 🙂 Overall, I’d give this 2021 A&G blaster (and the release in general) 4 out 5 stars!

2021 Topps Allen and Ginter

Hello folks, well I’m going to try something new here, blogging as I open a couple of boxes.

2021 Topps Allen and Ginter, $124.95 at DJ’s Sportscards. 24 packs, 8 cards per pack. 3 hits and 24 minis. I got two boxes. Let’s go!

Box 1 – Well a little scare here, a couple actually. The plastic wrap on the first box had a little slit in it — but I trust my local and am not going to sweat it. Then I was having trouble even typing here into WordPress, but it’s working now so again I’m no going to sweat it.

Box loader — N43 Bregman. Cool. N43 sounds like something out of a football playcall but it’s more like a mini box topper, and we all know A&G has plenty of minis going on. (I think my English teachers used to say don’t end a sentence with a preposition, but anyway…)

Pack 1 – last card White Rhino insert; I like the look of these, almost a light purple mixed with gray background. Lavin, Trout, Cobb, Lawrence, Hoskins, Luzardo mini.

Pack 2 – last card a double of the Rhino insert???? C’mon man. Pardon the photography, they actually look identical in real life lol. Garcia RC, Andres, Acuna, Young RC, Guerrero (Sr.), Semien (now with the Blue Jays, that’s still weird to me), Carrasco mini

Pack 3 – last card is not a Rhino! Hammerhead Shark. Nice card. Marquez, Snider, Torres, Jeffers RC, Castillo, Cronenworth RC, Bubic black border mini.

BTW blogging this way, inserting photos as I go, etc. is very slow but it’s kind of cool. Dinner time. See you soon, my friends. 🙂


Back at it. Pack 4 – Last Card – Mookie Betts T51 Murad Reimagined. Not a big deal but still kind of cool. Story, Bauers, Cain, Ng, Kirilloff, Kruk, Mo Vaughn mini. (Not to be confused with former Cal great Greg Vaughn. :))

Pack 5 – Last card Casey Mize T51 Murad. Mini Alan Trammel black border.. Ortiz, Sanchez, Greg Vaughn RC (wow, nice set up Topps lol), McCovey, Randall Cunningham (cool!), Feller.

Hey guess what? Time to put the kids to bed. Might be the last pack for the night who knows.


Pack 6 – last card Junior T51 Murad – nice! Giolito, Rizzo, Carlton, Goldschmidt (Goldy!), Gimenez RC, Alvarez, Suarez mini A&G back.

Pack 7 – feels a little heavy lol – last card Alpine Larch (kind of a Northwest looking tree). Biggio (nice card, kind of “pops”), Simmons (SIMMMMMMBAAAAAA!!!), Jeter, Skubal RC, Singer RC, Buehrle, Bauer mini.

Pack 8 – Last card Holly insert; Jimenez, Grandal, Hays, Brett, Keirmaeir, Gonzalez, Snell mini.

Pack 9 – last card Spruce; Lester (weird in Nationals uni), Randy Johnson, Devers, Daz Cameron, Campanella, Gonzalez, mini Campusano RC (check out his stats!!!)

Pack 10 – last card Nelson Cruz Historical Hits (Nellie!!!!!); Caldwell 62 mini; Chapman, Mays, Moncada, Martinze, LeMahieu, Chapman

Pack 11 – gotta admit that blogging and ripping at the same time is a little tiring. Anyway, it’s kind of nice to put up the photos as we go along. Last card Babe Ruth Historical Hits (the one when he points to centerfield before hitting a homer :)); mini Greinke A&G back (love how he throws in the Eephus pitch every once in a while). Cole, Javier RC, Wong, Doby, Brubaker RC, Maeda.

Gotta admit I’m itching for a hit here. Pack 12 (no not “Pac”-12 silly, “Pack” 12!) – last card – Ben Zorbist Historical Hits (did he retire?); mini World’s Largest – Pacific Ocean; Varsho RC, Neidert RC, Price, Ichiro (Ichiro! Ichiro!), Moynihan, Corbin. How many times has Topps used that same freaking Ichiro picture? Anyway, he will always be the man.

Pack 13 – Silvertip Shark insert; wait there’s a framed card in here! behind the Kolten Wong mini… a framed mini — Evan White RC auto! I mean I must have at least three other Evan White autos and he’s out for the year but nobody can take that Gold Glove away from him. Beautiful card! Dalbec RC; Rojas, Judge, Uncle Larry (Andrew McCutchen’s alter ego).

Pack 14 – Whale Shark insert; Bagwell mini… wait an auto??? No, a relic from comedian Roy Wood Jr. I had to look him up before I realized I’ve seen him on The Daily Show and stuff like that. Interesting, looks like a piece of a Cubs jersey actually, or maybe part of his Cubs robe! (Note, I later DM’d him on Twitter, and he said that even though they talked about doing the robe, it was a custom jersey.) Bagwell, Anderson, Soffler, Rocky Bleier.

Pack 15 — another hit??? Let’s see. Northern Elephant Seal insert, Buster Posey mini, and a relic from…. some kind of a “Star”… oh Hunter Dozier of the Royals. For a white relic, it’s a nice card. I think one time I took a similar Nelson Cruz relic and photoshopped some game action into there. That would probably look pretty cool on this card. Anyhow, also Gray, Harper, Rendon, and Ohtani (all wearing red caps btw).

Ok hits are done…. why do I always think I’m going to hit a Mike Trout or Junior auto relic??? 🙂 Pack 16 – Mays T51 insert, “Mascots in Real Life” Bear (cool!) Bubic RC, Chisholm RC, Swanson, Rivera, Smith RC, Delgado. This is also the point when I realize I need to stock up on mini sleeves and toploaders. 🙂

Pack 17 – Altuve Murad, Clemente mini, Gibson, Alonso, Greinke, Garciaparra, Bianca Smith, Castellanos.

Pack 18 – Buxton Murad (Byron Buxton seems like a cool dude. I think he signed a card for me a few years ago and is super fast, among other things.) Chipper Jones mini. Sarah Spain, Flaherty, Abreu RC, Pudge Rodriguez, Stroman, Josh Gibson SP.

Pack 19 – Birds of a Feather Macaw insert (thought there was going to be an actual feather for a second lol), Kevin Negandhi mini (“the first Indian-American to anchor a television show for a naional sports network”), Jeff Carlson (one of the Hanson Brothers from Slapshot, the bio on the back is for another Jeff Carlson), Bohm RC, McKenzie RC, Albies (with a mean game face on), Trammell, Garcia RC. Fun pack. 🙂

Pack 20 – Birds of a Feather Macaw insert (another double insert in consecutive packs? C’mon now Topps lol). Caldwell 60/61 mini (the other was 62, thankfully). Meadows, Bart, Betts, Soler, Mountcastle RC, Junior.

Pack 21 – Cherry tree insert, Roger Clemens mini A&G, Eddie Murray, Leo Kelly (going to have to look him up now), Larkin, Will Smith, Buzz Bissinger, Campusano RC (we talked about his stats earlier).

Pack 22 – Stan Musial Historical Hits, Tyler Glasnow A&G back mini, holy crap Mike Lange, the Pittsburgh Penguins announcer!! Heeeeeeeeeeeee shoots and scores! One of my favorites, if not an idol. Will be searching eBay for his auto, even if i already have it on a hockey puck. 🙂 Tatis Jr., Heyward, Altuve, Kirk RC, Alou.

Pack 23 – David Ortiz Historical Hits, Spencer Howard RC mini, Vida Blue, Shane (not Justin) Bieber, Willi Castro, Jackie Robinson, Sandberg, Woodruff SP

Pack 24 – Ozzie Smith historical hits; Caldwell 32 mini, ARod (Mariners), Frank Thomas, Tavarez RC, Galarraga,Kaprielian RC, Lasorda.

Overall, I’d have to say a fun break. A&G is of course less visually flashy than other releases. The base cards I got were not as off-beat as I’ve seen in recent years. Also did not seem to be as many women. Mostly baseball players. What’s up with that? Lol. The Evan White RC framed mini-auto and Roy Wood Jr. comedian relic were cool hits, and the nature inserts are great (even if I doubled up on the White Rhino and Macaw lol). Overall, I’d give this box 3.75 out of 5.00 stars. 🙂



Up next: Box 2! Stay tuned 🙂



Ok Box 2…. packaging totally intact this time lol

Box Topper – Judge – nice!

Pack 1 – looks like a hit in the first pack, a framed something… first card Zebra Shark insert; Giolito mini; cool Starling Marte framed mini auto. Nicely written autograph. I remember one night the Pirates visiting the Mariners. This woman was so excited to get her ball signed by Marte. Actually arrived a little dinged or with an ink mark or something but I’m not going to sweat it. Not super exciting but I do like it.:) Also Hayes RC, Reggie Jackson, Schmidt RC, Heuer, Yan.

Pack 2.. I wonder if there are going to be three hits in a row, like the last box. Let’s see: Nope. The Giant Panda “Rallying Back”. Gotta love panda cards. 🙂 Looks like “Rallying Back” and “Deep Sea Shivers” are going to be the most interesting inserts for me, along with the “World’s Largest” minis. Wiidruff mini SP, Bryant, (Aaron) Nola, Wheeler, Yount, Mathews, Verlander.

Whoa looks like Pack 3 also has a framed something. Let’s see: Caribbean River Shark insert, Joe Morgan mini, and cool, Pudge Rodriguez relic! Just a really nice card. 🙂 Also Hosmer, Ryan, Marquez RC, Kim.

Pack 4 – George Brett Murad; Elephant Mascots (ok probably want to collect these too, especially if they have the Mariners’ Moose). Steelo Brim, Bench, Quintana, Basabe RC, Yaz, Gaylord Perry (with Cleveland).

Pack 5 – Feels very ordinary lol Let’s see: Murad Snell; Roy Wood Jr. black border mini! My new favorite comedian. 🙂 Probably going to start watching The Daily Show just to see more of that guy. Ted Williams, Arihara RC, Snell, Seager, Kershaw, Dick Allen. Not extraordinary but still a fun pack. 🙂

Pack 6 – Ernie Banks Murad; George Springer A&G back mini; Wagner, Carlson (one of the Hanson Brothers), Howard RC, Schwarber, Mattingly (have seen that picture before :), and Berra.

Pack 7 – “Birds of a Feather” Sun Conure. A new bird for me. Looks like Ginter is heavy on the animals this year. I like this insert set too. Moncada mini. Seaver, Moniak RC, Puckett, Calhoun, Negandhi (my homeboy), Moustakas.

Pack 8 – Pine tree; Xander Bogaerts; Mize RC, Sutton (minus fro), Glasnow, Pache RC, Ripken, Buehler.

Pack 9 – Yes it’s my friend the Sun Conure again, Caldwell 4 mini; Parades RC, Machado w/ sideburns, Pardo, Andre Dawson (smiling instead of scowling lol), Anderson RC, Pedro Martinez.

That’s all for now, people. Will pick it up next time with Pack 10!


Alright, Pack 10: Joe Carter Historical Hits (walk-off homer to win the World Series… that’s pretty cool lol :), Heuer RC A&G back mini; Lazardo, Dave Hanson (from Slapshot… did I get all three yet?), Ruth, Sanchez RC, Strasburg, Berrios.

More to come, Pack 11 is next!


Pack 11: Zimmerman Historical Hits; Jazz Chisholm RC A&G back mini; Walker, Crochet, Kim RC, Hendricks, Tim Anderson, Zito (who I believe dated Alyssa Milano at some point).

Pack 12 (right, not Pac-12): Kirby Puckett Historical HIts; another Cody Heuer RC mini (regular back); Tom Bunk (a cartoonist for Wacky Packages, among other things), Koch, McGwire (Cardinals), Brooks Robinson, Bellinger, Donaldson.

You guessed it… Pack 13 is next!


Pack 13 – Giant Panda insert; Cronenworth RC mini (heard he’s good at baseball); Freeman, Sano, Mauers, Clemens, Bregman, Spahn.

Pack 14 – Mako shark insert; Larkin mini; Mondesi, Musial, Billy Williams, Keuchel, Kyle Hendricks, Peterson RC (LGM)

Pack 15 – Arabian Oryx “Rallying Back”; Marc Anthony mini (cool!); oh a hit! Trevor Story relic – bat piece. Nice! I’m telling you the “basic” relic cards look nice this year. Robert, Patino RC, India RC, Scherzer. Nice hits in this box. Nothing super spectacular but cool nonetheless.

Pack 16 – Acuna Jr. Murad; Elvis Andrus mini; Taylor Trammel RC (M’s), Ramirez, Sanchez RC (did I get one already?), Clemente, Springer, Matsui.

Pack 17 – Posey Murad; Bob Feller SP mini (cool!). I need to clip my finger nails. Wood Jr. (my new favorite comedian!), Posey, Houck RC, Baez RC, Lewis, Strawberry (Da-Ryllllll, Da-Rylllll).

Yes, pack 18 will be next.


Welcome back, Pack 18:

Silver maple insert

Andre Dawson A&G back mini

Naylor, Piazza, Tucker, Brock, Merrified, Akers.

Pack 19 : Red Maple insert

Teoscar Hernandez mini

Happ, Hiura, Gehrig, Garcia, Stargell, Hornsby

Pack 20:

Miguel Carbrera Murad (he’s almost up to 500 HR’s!)

David Ortiz mini

Carew, Maris, BBuchette, Laureano, Marte, Baines SP.

Pack 21: Tulip Tree insert

McCovey mini

Ruiz RC, Waddle, Tiana, Huff RC, Killebrew, Cepeda

Coming up next: Yes, Pack 22!


Pack 22: Roger Maris Historical Hits (his 61st Home Run in 1961)

Caldwell 42 Mini

Turner, Keller, Miggy Cabrera, Candelario, Gurriel Jr., JBJ (Brewers)

Pack 23: Clemente Historical Hits

“Good for You” Green Beans mini (did I have green beans or asparagus at dinner tonight?)

Soroka, Maddux, Stanton, Morgan, Teoscar hernandez, Fried

We’ve made it – Pack 24!

Edgar Martinez Historical Hits: “The Double” (Yay!)

Brady Singer RC black border mini

Pearson RC, Biggs, Kaline, Justus Sheffield (Go M’s), Conforto (LGM), A.J. Puk

There you have it! Fun break! More later, thanks for joining me on this “live” break!