27 February 2010

Check Out Clyde's Cards (p2)

After receiving my notification that COMC had received my cards, in My Dashboard for managing my account, under My Processing Status, I now see the following (including my previous two batches for reference):

ServiceBatchProgressEst. QtyDue DateEst. DateCompletedFees
Standard4279935 %504/21/20104/21/2010$0.50
Express344443100 %5012/28/200912/28/200912/24/2009$20.00
Standard261915100 %7712/1/200912/1/200911/30/2009$12.30

I've learned from previous batches that the Progress indicator isn't necessarily a reliable measure of how close my cards are to being posted to the site. It tends to stay at 5% for a very long time, only to jump straight to 70% (which I'm assuming is the scanning stage), then to about 80-something% (probably the Book Value lookup stage), then to 90% (probably just a last minute Q/A step) and then to 100% when my cards are available in my inventory. Since I didn't really track all of that the last time around, I'll be sure to do so this time.

One nice thing to notice is that they do tend to get my cards processed a few days earlier than the estimated full processing time.

Incidentally, the closest thing they have to a support forum (though they do answer emails, eventually) would be the CheckOutMyCards.com Questions, Suggestions & Testimonials thread on Blowout Cards Forums. There's a LOT of good information there, and a couple of the COMC staff do drop by to answer questions on occasion.

24 February 2010

Check Out Clyde's Cards

Taking advantage of a processing discount coupon from the last order I placed with CheckOutMyCards (COMC), I figured it was time to cash that puppy in (before it expired). To date, I've submitted two earlier batches of cards with somewhat mixed results. The problem was twofold, really: COMC's policy of only really supporting the submission of cards currently listed in Beckett's catalog, and my failure to already know of this previously unpublished policy.

What happened was, I found COMC one day (web search, I think) and bought a Hensley Meulens card I'd been looking for ($1.50 + their standard baseline $3 shipping...yes, I know it was just a card of Hensley Meulens, but it's not like you had the card to trade to me...what? No, I don't care about your lame GU card of Gary Sheffield. No, I don't already have it, I just have no interest in Gary Sheffield....no, I collect Hensley Meulens...what? I don't expect you to know who he is and, yes, I get that his cards are all commons...dude, just let it go)

...where was I?

Oh yeah, anyway scroll forward a few months later, and I'd just purchased a couple of nice lots of Japanese cards from a collector in the Philippines and Sportlots had just instituted their moratorium on adding any new sets to their system from pre-2003 (which would expand to nothing pre-2006), so I was now out of my primary venue for attempting to sell off a lot of these cards. COMC had been having a series of card submission discounts and shipping discounts, so I figured I'd take a stab at it. Send them my cards and see how it goes. So I sent in a wide range of stuff, from some Calbee and BBM cards, to some assorted minor league cards, even a couple of really oddball oversized cards (a 1978 Padres Family Fun Winfield and a 1986 Big Apple Card Co. Rickey Henderson).

Now COMC, when they receive your cards, they give you an estimated processing deadline based on the processing level you chose. Standard is just $0.15 per card, and you wait up to 8 weeks for the cards to show up on the site. Or you can pay more, like up to $0.50 per card, and have them up within a week. Cheapskate that I am (usually), I went for the 8 week processing. However, for some reason, the quantity of cards they listed as being processed was quite a bit fewer than what i sent in. Several days later, I got an email saying I'd be receiving a return shipment of XX number of cards. Oddly, XX being returned plus XX being processed did not add up to the actual number of cards I shipped to Redmond. Eventually, they made it good, and over a month later (after the 8 weeks had elapsed and my smaller number of cards was finally in the system), I got ALL of my cards back that didn't make it into the site. In the weeks of correspondance concerning this (I'd even sent in an itemized list of every card I sent, to include year, brand, set, player and card #, which they promptly ignored), we never worked out why the numbers were off, but in the end, nothing was missing.

However, to make an extremely long and boring story somewhat longer, after even more emails and some posts to the BlowOut Cards Forums, it was determined that CheckOutMyCards will only list cards that are currently in Beckett's catalog. So if you send in something that is NOT listed, there's a very good chance you'll be seeing it again, whenever they feel like sending it back (not a process on which they place a high priority). They did take a stab at it, though, with my first batch, and listed some of the Japanese cards, albeit with incorrect player and set names. A dozen or so "Something wrong with this listing?" notifications later, they improved some of the listings.

But my second submission was almost entirely returned due to not having all of this ironed out ahead of time, so I got lots of Calbee cards back (including a whole pile of Ryota Igarashi that would have been awesome to have on there right about now).

And I found that sometimes, due to extreme laziness on the part of Beckett when handling some parallel or insert sets, you have to provide COMC with a pile of evidence to support the correction information you are giving them, as they won't actually look it up. But, a pile of evidence later, and they did finally list my 1993 Lime Rock Dominican Winter Baseball Diamond Star insert cards separately from the base cards.

To get back to what this post started out as...I just submitted a third batch of cards to COMC. 50 cards at the $0.15 rate, + $3 batch fee, and I'll end up spending just $0.50 for this batch after the discount. This time around, after thoroughly clearing up any doubts over what would and would not be accepted for submission, I send in the following batch of cards:

1976 Hostess 84 Mike Schmidt
1976 Hostess 114 George Brett
1976 Hostess 137 Dennis Eckersley
1977 Hostess 138 Robin Yount
1983 Fleer Sticker 32 Reggie Jackson
1983 Fleer Sticker 202 Eddie Murray
1987 Topps Sticker 131-292 Barry Bonds/Neil Allen (hard back)
1989 Panini Sticker 172 Barry Bonds
1994 Topps Archive 1954 128 Henry Aaron
1992 BBM 36 Wally Yonamine
1993 Calbee 89 Kenjiro Nomura
1994 Panini Sticker 261 Barry Bonds
1995 Takara SW16 Kazuhisa Ishii
1997 BBM 462 Atsunori Ohtsuka
1998 Calbee 22 Ichiro Suzuki
1998 Calbee 97 Ichiro Suzuki
1999 Broccolli Seibu Lions 38 Kazuo Matsui
1999 Broccolli Seibu Lions 40 Kazuo Matsui
1999 Broccolli Seibu Lions 45 Kazuo Matsui
1999 Calbee 128 Ichiro Suzuki
1999 Calbee 167 Hideki Matsui
1999 Calbee 179 Tsuyoshi Shinjyo
1999 Calbee 265 Ichiro Suzuki
1999 Calbee 265 Ichiro Suzuki
1999 BBM 2 Kazuo Matsui
1999 BBM 2 Kazuo Matsui
1999 BBM 5 Hideki Matsui
1999 BBM 14 Kazuo Matsui
1999 BBM 326 Hideki Matsui
1999 BBM 399 Kazuo Matsui
2000 BBM 48 Kenji Johjima
2000 BBM 176 Koji Uehara
2000 BBM Yomiuri Giants G66 Hideki Matsui
2000 BBM Diamond Heroes 8 Kenji Johjima
2000 BBM Diamond Heroes 11 Tadahito Iguchi
2000 BBM Diamond Heroes 144 Hideki Okajima
2000 BBM Diamond Heroes 160 Hideki Matsui
2000 BBM Diamond Heroes 188 Ryoji Igarashi
2000 BBM Diamond Heroes 195 Akinori Iwamura
2000 BBM Diamond Heroes 241 Hawks Checklist (Sadaharu Oh)
2000 BBM 90's Franchise Players F13 Masa Yamamoto
2000 BBM 90's Franchise Players F16 Hideki Matsui
2000 BBM 90's Franchise Players F17 Kazuhiro Sasaki
2000 BBM Golden Battery GB1 Daisuke Matsuzaka
2000 Calbee 10 Daisuke Matsuzaka
2000 Calbee 15 Ichiro Suzuki
2001 BBM Preview P73 Kazuo Matsui
2001 BBM 93 Kazuhisa Ishii
2001 BBM 391 Tadahito Iguchi

I shipped them off on Monday, 22 Feb, and already today they received my cards:


We received your package with tracking number '9405503699300150213229'. This batch has an ESTIMATED quantity of 50 items and was given Batch #427993. The cards are being processed by our Standard service, and we plan to have them added to your 'DaClyde' account by April 21.

$0.50 of your funds have been reserved for processing this batch of cards.
Your account now has a store credit balance of $10.12.

You can check the latest processing status here.

You will receive a receipt including a list of all items you sent once the cards have been added to your account.."

Two issues...why doesn't Google support USPS tracking numbers anymore (Bing does!) and why is it that when I use Click N Ship on USPS.com, the tracking information is NEVER valid when you look it up in the system?  The last statement in the email is interesting, as I've not seen any kind of itemized list in the past submissions. 

Ok, beyond that, I'm going to blog about every step of this process until the cards are added to the system and the first card sells.  I had a lot more cards I wanted to add, but for some reason, Beckett doesn't even list full Calbee sets in their database.  If you pick any later Calbee set (and they only cover up to 2000), you'll get maybe a dozen results per set.  Mainly just the big names from two years ago...the Matsuis, Ichiro, Dice-K, Taguchi, Sasaki, Uehara (surprisingly) and Shinjyo.  For some reason, Beckett only lists Calbee sets up to 2000 and BBM sets up to 2002.  The sets they do list are often incomplete (this is also true of Takara sets), and they don't include any of the Konami, Future Bee, Epoch or Lotte sets, but they did list the Broccoli Seibu Lions sets (probably just because they were so heavy in Kazuo Matsui and Daisuke Matsuzaka cards).

Now, like I said, every one of the cards in the above list is included in Beckett's online price guide.  We'll see how they fare.  

Overall, I do like this site, and I really hope they find a way to include sets from outside the Beckett box.  Afterall, the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards (at least earlier editions, before they started cutting sets for space constraints) typically had a good 5-10% more sets than the contemporary Beckett Almanac.  Plus the fact that Beckett hasn't included any minor league team issues since 2006, and you're talking about a lot of potential card sales they're missing out on.  So far, I've made about $30 in sales, which pretty much covers the cost of submitting both of the previous batches.  So anything from here on out will start to count as actual income.

22 February 2010

2000 Future Bee Power League UL box break (pack 4)

Fumitoshi Takano - backup outfielded for the Buffaloes and later the Rakuten Golden Eagles.

Atsuhiro Motonishi - currently on Marty Brown's staff for Rakuten as the outfield baserunning coach, former Gold Glove winner in 1989 with the Hankyu Braves.

Kiyoshi Hatsushiba - shockingly has a fairly extensive bio over at the BR Bullpen.

Kazuya Shibata - played alongside Hideki Okajima for the Honolulu Sharks during the 1996-97 Hawaii Winter Baseball season.

Syuji [Shuji) Nishiyama - two time Gold Glove winning catcher for the Carp.

Rodney Pedraza - the Victoria Advocate, newspaper of Victoria, Texas, has a good handle on Rodney that you can read here: Catching Up With Rodney Pedraza

15 February 2010

2000 Future Bee Power League UL box break (pack 3)

Masao Kida had a less than stellar 2000.

Daisuke Miura. He wins some, he loses some. 135-133 over the last 17 seasons.

Koichi Oshima was, in fact, an infielder, so don't let the photo mislead you. His being labeled as simply "INF" makes me think of a Jose Oquendo-type player who just filled whatever spot was lacking in the lineup. Not a monster with the bat, nor on the bases, but consistent enough to snag a spot in the lineup for the better part of 11 years with the Buffaloes and BlueWave.

Koichiro Yoshinaga is considered one of, if not the best catcher of the 1990s in the Pacific League.

One must imagine that Shinichi Murata made a pretty good pitching target for him to have managed to stck around most of a season while only hitting .204. Yomirui must seriously have been hurting for a decent catcher.

Insert leader card is one Takuro Ishii who led the Central League in steals.

14 February 2010

As they say, "Those who can't do, teach."

     Well, I don't know if I'd go quite that far in describing Hensley Meulens, as he had a fairly successful career in the minors and in foreign leagues (except for Korea), but he certainly never made an impact on Major League pitching. At the moment, Bam Bam is getting a lot of coverage by baseball media, as San Francisco has handed him the task of making hitters out of the Giants' lineup of wind machines. Perhaps he can reach them with his vast language skills and explain to them that their purpose at the plate is to reach base, and not just create a gentle, cooling breeze for the pitcher.

     Anyway, back in 2003, Meulens put his playing days behind him (partially thanks to an injury during the 2002 Mexican League season) and took up the challenge of imparting some of his 16 years of professional experience on a new generation of young players, and was hired by the Bluefield Orioles of the Appalachian League, Baltimore's rookie ball affiliate. Looking at the roster for 2003, most of the players were signed as undrafted free agents, and the rest were universally late round draftees, the lowest being 4th rounder, Tim Gilhooly (for whom 2003 would be his last of two seasons).

     Typically, rookie ball isn't where your promising young phenoms start out, they typically begin their career at A+ or AA, depending on maturity level, so I guess Bluefield was as good a place as any to start out a rookie hitting coach. Looking at the lackluster roster, almost all of whom would be out of organized baseball within two years (none reaching the Majors), Meulens first year coaching had to have been one of endless frustration with the team batting an anemic .238 and finishing a single game out of last place. However, he probably learned a lot that season. In any case, he is seen here, early in the 2003 season, just happy to be here, on his first baseball card as a coach.

     The set was produced by Grandstand Cards, who started producing sets for minor league teams in 1997. I don't think they're around anymore, as I can't find any information on the company, but they were issuing sets up to at least 2006. At the time, they were the only company aside from Best, producing minor league team sets on a wide scale. In 1998, Multi-Ad would enter the market (as Best was leaving), and Choice Marketing would join them in 1999.

06 February 2010

2000 Future Bee Power League UL box break (pack 2)

Pack two is a touch more diverse with the team selection, and another Leader insert.

 Michihiro Ogasawara, one of the biggest stars in NPB to not chase the MLB dream,  led the Pacific League in 2000 with an impressive 182 hits.  In fact, he had an impressive year all around, batting .329, scoring 126 runs, hitting 32 home runs, driving in 102 and even stealing 24 bases which was three time his next highest single season total!

Quite the international assortment in this pack, an American, three Japanese and a Korean.