Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Not So Sure Anymore: Packs 13-16

In brief summary of the next four packs - 14 points total. Ouch. And seeing how my competitors are doing hasn't given me a lot of confidence in my outcome here. But! It's not over until it's over. So we'll see how the last nine packs go.

Pack 13:

Mike Trout
Trevor Cahill
Brandon Beachy
Dan Uggla
Adam Jones
Andrew McCutchen SP (#335) +2
Martial Mastery: Amazons +3
A&G Ad Back Mini: Mark Teixeira +1 (+2 Mini, -1 Yankees)

Pack Total: 6

Running Total: 120

Pack 14:

Bert Blyleven
Cecil Fielder
Carlos Santana
Joe Morgan
Johnny Bench
Matt Garza
Across the Years: Ken Griffey Jr. +2
A&G Ad Back Mini: Ben Revere +2

Pack Total: 4

Running Total: 124

Pack 15:

Ian Kennedy
Kris Medlen
Brooks Robinson
Jim Rice
Duke Snider
Fergie Jenkins
Across the Years: Mark Trumbo +2
(Mini) Lou Brock

Pack Total: 2

Running Total: 126

Pack 16:

Dan Haren
Lance Lynn
Matt Moore
Derek Holland
Edwin Encarnacion
Jordan Zimmermann
Across the Years: Ian Kinsler +2
(Mini) Matt Harrison

Pack Total: 2

Running Total: 128

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Feeling a Bit Nervous: Packs 9-12

I'm feeling a bit conflicted over this next set of packs. While I'm not at all disappointed with what I ended up with (I finally found a Twin - in Ad Back Mini form to boot. And it's a nice set of inserts I'm ending up with here), the cards just did not garner the kind of totals I was hoping for in these four packs. 23 points does not bode particularly well for my 200 point goal. But such is life. On with it!

Pack 9:

Grand Central Terminal
Bobby Bowden
Amelia Boone
Mike Richter
Josh Rutledge SP (#313) +2
Palaces & Strongholds: Alhambra +3
Inquiring Minds Mini: Baruch Spinoza +3

Pack Total: 8

Running Total: 99

Pack 10:

Michael Brantley
Ernie Banks
Alfonso Soriano
Frank Thomas
Joey Votto FP +2
Marco Scutaro  SP (#338) +2
One Little Corner: Saturn +3
A&G Ad Back Mini: Harmon Killebrew +3 (+2 mini, +1 FT)

Pack Total: 10

Running Total: 109

Pack 11:

Jose Reyes
Hyun-Jin Ryu
Hank Aaron
Matthias Blonski
Tommy Lee
Chris Mortensen -1
Across the Years: Babe Ruth +1 (+2 ATY, -1 Yankee)
Inquiring Minds Mini: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel +3

Pack Total: 3

Running Total: 112

Pack 12: (with only 7 cards)

Justin Upton
Mike Minor
Manny Machado
Ted Williams
Bert Blyleven
Across the Years: Nick Swisher +2
(Mini) Jayson Werth

Pack Total: 2

Running Total: 114

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gunning for 200 GAC points: Packs 5-8

Pack 5:

David Ortiz
Cal Ripken Jr.
Phil Niekro
Howie Kendrick
Jason Heyward FP +2
Bob Lemon SP (#311) +2
Palaces & Strongholds: Topkapi Palace +3
Inquiring Minds Mini: Immanuel Kant +3

Pack Total: 10

Running Total: 55

Pack 6:

Cecil Fielder
Carlos Santana
Joe Morgan
Johnny Bench
Matt Garza
Wei-Yin Chen SP (#305) +2
Civilizations of Ages Past: Romans +3
(Mini) Edwin Encarnacion

Pack Total: 5

Running Total: 60

Pack 7:

Jose Fernandez
Nick Saban -1
Adam Richman -1
Pope Francis I +1
Across the Years: Salvador Perez +2
Base Mini Framed Printing Plate: Johan Santana +23 - Based on a ruling from the Commissioner, Printing Plates will be counted as +27 points instead of +23. I will add the additional 4 points into my final total.

(Mini) Jose Bautista

Pack Total: 24

There is nothing disappointing about pulling one of my favorite Twins' printing plates out of a pack...aside from him playing for the Mets now.

Running Total: 84

Pack 8:

Ed O'Neill
McKayla Maroney
Robin van Persie
Kevin Harvick
Henry Rollins
Alex Rodriguez SP (#328) +1 (+2 SP, -1 Yankee)
Martial Mastery: Apache +3
Inquiring Minds Mini: Aristotle +3

Pack Total: 7

Running Total: 91

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Running Start at GAC: Box Loader and Packs 1-4

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
From Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll

Or, perhaps it's just time to talk of Ginter! The wax ripping and card sorting of our various A&G 2013 purchases has been a thrill in the Kalmoe household, and now I get to work on the scoring for my GAC box. I seem to have lucked into something particularly nice with this box - pre-opening pack count revealed an extra pack! Those extra 8 cards just might be what puts me over the top for my goal, or even the contest at large. I'm excited to find out! Let's get things started with...

The Box Loader - Miguel Cabrera +8

Running Total: 8

Continuing on with Pack 1:

Jered Weaver
Jacoby Ellsbury
Andre Dawson
Chris Sale
Aroldis Chapman
Robin Yount SP (#322) +2
Palaces and Strongholds: Peterhof Palace +3
Black Bordered Mini: Shelby Miller +3

Pack Total: 8

I loved finding the Peterhof Palace in this pack. St. Petersburg is the only location in Russia that I have any wish to visit, and Peterhof Palace is one of the things I would like to see. This is what I love about this product. :)

Running Total: 16

Pack 2:

Jon Lester
Anthony Rizzo
Bronson Arroyo
Tony Pérez
Early Wynn
Avisail Garcia SP (#314) +2
Civilizations of Ages Past: Sumerians +3
(Mini) Jason Motte

Pack Total: 5

Running Total: 21

Pack 3:

David Ortiz
Cal Ripken Jr.
Phil Niekro
Jason Heyward FP +2
Across the Years: Bob Gibson +2
Relic: Rafael Furcal +10
A&G Ad Back Mini: Chad Billingsley +2

Pack Total: 16

Running Total: 37

Pack 4:

Matt Holliday
Alex Cobb
Nelson Cruz
Jose Bautista
Ian Desmond
George Brett SP (#317) +2
Civilizations of Ages Past: Greeks +3
Black Bordered Mini: Carlos Beltran +3

Pack Total: 8

Running Total: 45

These packs have been generous with the inserts, and that relic helped set me off on the right foot. Dare I mention how nice it was to side-step any point losses this round? My goal for score is at least 200 points, and it seems I'm well on my way.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


As I mentioned in my previous post, August 2013 - usually July - marks the release of Ryan's favorite trading card product, Allen & Ginter baseball. Released by Topps, a leading producer of trading card products, particularly those involving sports, Ginter (as hobbyists will refer to it) is a throwback to the the tobacco era set of the same name.

In the late 1800s, card sets were developed to be sold inside of tobacco products in order to promote tobacco sales - the origin of today's trading card industry. Allen & Ginter tobacco was the first tobacco firm to develop cigarette cards for collecting and trading. In 2006, Topps decided to revive the brand as a baseball product, and it has become one of the company's best sellers. Ginter's claim to fame is its base set featuring hand painted images of current baseball players, as well as its inclusion of cards featuring popular athletes from other sports (including Danica Patrick, Shawn Johnson, and Pelé) and pop culture icons (Kate Upton, Erin Andrews, and Tommy Lee). For Ryan in particular, a large part of Ginter's draw is its set of hand painted miniature (tobacco sized) cards, which consists of the same cards that make up the full-sized Ginter base set. In addition to the base set, Ginter includes a variety of insert sets, relics (including the standard game-used memorabilia as well as DNA relics of humans and animals), and autographs. (For a full list of what is available this year, check out the checklist!)

In 2012, Ryan competed in a fun, annual contest called Gint-A-Cuffs (GAC), an event that pits fans of Allen & Ginter baseball against each other in a battle to see who can luck into the best box. Each competitor chooses a favored team as well as a favorite baseball player to use for the duration of the contest. The choices made by the competitor will impact their final score, as well as the scores of their fellow competitors.

This year, in pursuit of joy and in the spirit of love and marriage, I decided to join Ryan in GAC (with every intention of whooping his butt). With Ginter being officially released and shipped yesterday, Ryan and I have each acquired our appointed boxes and are eager to begin collating our bounty. Part of the fun of the contest is recording the contents of each of the 24 packs on one's personal blog and tabulating the final score for each pack, so expect those posts to be forthcoming. I'm excited!

About Me

My name is Faith, and I'd like to invite you to join me as I begin a journey in my own little corner of the Internet.
I married a wonderful, loving man named Ryan over three years ago, in January 2010. He is a daily inspiration to me and is very good at keeping me grounded and secure. Currently working as a manager for the Union Pacific Railroad, he also enjoyed a four and a half year stint in the United States Navy, serving as an Officer aboard a surface ship, which ended in December of 2011. These experiences have taken us from the small college town in Minnesota where we met all the way to Sasebo, Japan, and then on to sunny Southern California (San Diego, to be precise). Together, we face life's challenges, adventures, joys and sorrows with a reliance on our Creator's providence. Even on our darkest days, we find our hope in Him.
Today, we find ourselves living in Des Moines, Iowa, a gem of a city amid the farming wasteland that we'd imagined Iowa to be and a wonderful counterpoint to our previous experiences of living in a city. Here, Ryan spends his days working as our provider, and I do my absolute best to support him in this vocation and to keep things on an even keel at home. In all of this, we try each day to find our joy in the small things - a home cooked meal, walking our dog on a beautiful evening, the delightful aroma of fresh baked goods. Lately, with summer in full swing, and the release of Ryan's absolute favorite trading card product, finding our joy often involves the popular American pastime of baseball. In addition to considering baseball his favorite sport (with football a close second!), Ryan is an avid baseball collector and hobbyist, and I am doing my best to learn as much as I can so that we can enjoy the hobby together.
In this, my little corner of the world wide web, I hope to record my experiences of those affairs under the heavens that have each their appointed time. So, once again, I invite you to join me on this journey through the times for joy and times for sorrow. Through the times for mourning and for dancing. It's sure to be quite a ride.