24 September 2016

Clyde's Stale Cards on Kronozio.com

    As I haven't sold much on eCrater this year, I've decided to move a bunch of that inventory over to a relatively new site from Canada, Kronozio.com.  You may have started seeing their ads popping up on sites like SportsCardForum.com or TradingCardDB.com. They are based in Montreal, and are all native French speakers, so if some of the English on the site seems a bit wonky, it is because of automatic translations.  They have begun entering into partnerships with various hobby sites around the world, so the site language should clear up fairly soon.

     Another reason I'm doing this is that for new listings, Kronozio's Kronocard software makes adding new cards to their site so much faster than manually inputting a card at a time to eCrater.  Kronozio's software also offers an eBay connector for cross-listing cards to eBay.

    When I first started listing cards on Kronozio, I actually sold a few right away, which surprised me, but then didn't sell much after that for awhile.  Mostly that is due to my lack of promotion of my listings, and the limited nature of the listings themselves.  Now with the eBay connector, I'm trying to take advantage of my monthly free eBay listings.  Posting cards for sale on eBay is just as easy as posting to my Kronozio store.  Once all the card details have been entered, it's just a drop down option as to whether I want to list it as an auction (with or without a Buy It Now) or a fixed price listing.   Click here to see how the listings look on eBay.

     Within a couple of hours of posting a certain MLB Showdown card of Ichiro, it had already sold.  Yesterday I listed all of the cards from some Bandai Owners League boxes I'd recently bought and overnight the Dae Ho Lee card sold on eBay.  I know, those two are likely special cases, and none of the other 30+ eBay listings have received a bid yet, but I'm happy to have so quickly unloaded two cards.

     They make a big deal about how quickly you can scan and post cards for sale using their software.  While they may overstate it a bit for people who don't have an automatic feed scanner, I can attest that they easily have the fastest system I have seen.  Not having to scan and handle all of the images separately from the listing process is a huge time saver.  They also have a service for identifying your cards for you, where you just scan them and post them to your account, and for a small service fee, they will handle all of the card identification for you.  I guess that would be most useful if you had thousands upon thousands of cards to post.  Doing batches of 50 or so at a time, I don't see the need, and considering how eclectic my listings tend to be, I'll just handle the card ID myself.

    The scanning is very accurate with regard to finding the edges of the cards, and adds some buffer to make the edges easier to see.  Anytime the scan is a bit crooked, it is very easy to adjust using little bull's-eyes to show Kronocard where the card's corners are.  Here is are some sample scans:

     The process is very simple.  You place the cards face down on the scanner, and Kronocard makes a single sweep and picks out the cards.  Flip the cards over and it makes another sweep and it catches the backs.  The software also does a great job of matching the fronts and backs based on where the cards sit on the scanner platen.  So basically always make sure when you flip the cards over that you leave them in the same place.  Depending on the coloring of the cards I'm scanning, I will use a different backdrop or leave the scanner lid open so there is more contrast for the software to work with.  Picking out white bordered cards against a white scanner lid background isn't easy for any image recognition software, and though Kronocard does a great job of it, why make the software work harder than necessary?

     There are options as to what kind of scanner you are using, how you want to orient the cards on the scanner, how large the scanner area is, how you want to organize the scans for each session, as well as a way organize your cards by box, row and section, if you so choose.  I really need to do that as my organizational skills are atrocious.  The software scans everything at 300dpi, which is not configurable.  If you are scanning lots of cards from a single set, you can even establish those details before you start scanning, and that information will be automatically tied to the cards you scan in that session, reducing identification time.  Once you have your scans, you move on to the individual card identification process (setting card numbers, player names, team names, etc.), which ends with listing the cards in your Kronozio store.

     Here is a video from their YouTube channel about the scanning and listing process:

    They have also recently added an option to let you use your own scans if you already have a library of images, and don't want to re-scan everything.  Kronocard Photo Import.  To be perfectly honest, even if you chose not to list cards on the site, Kronocard is a fantastic bulk scanning tool.  All of the images are stored locally in your C:\ProgramData\kronozio\Metacard\Images folder.  The file naming scheme automatically pairs up fronts/backs, so if you sort the folder by name, everything lines up nicely, though all the images have names like 0b9a3411-473c-4340-bbca-cdcd5eca972ar.jpg.

     When you get right down to it, I would say they fall somewhere between Sportlots.com and COMC.com.  Like Sportlots, you still have to handle all the shipping and inventory management, but you get the visual benefits of COMC's interface with all the card details and front and back scans for every card.  If I ever generate enough sales to actually provide some numbers, I'll do another post comparing the fee structures between the three sites.  Kronozio takes a flat 10% of your sales, simple as that.  Listing is free.  Any eBay listing fees are between you and eBay.  Kronozio imposes no extra fees on eBay sales.

     For now, I'd definitely say go check them about and give the site a try.  If you happened to try them last year, but didn't really get the hang of it, give them another look as they have made some substantial improvements to their Kronocard software since they launched.  They offer a lot more options than what I have covered here.  Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and on their Kronozio Blog.

17 September 2016

1988 Best Orlando Twins #28 Bernardo Brito

    Following a 1987 design that resembled 1986 Donruss, Best Cards patterned the fronts of their 1988 team sets after the 1986 Topps set.  I think I actually like Best's approach a little better, though the "Orlando '88" is perhaps a bit reduntant, due to the inclusion of the team logo.  Best Cards' back designs didn't change much for the entire 1987-1990 length of their existence, and were always a bit spartan.

     After seven seasons in the Indians organization, 1988 found Bernardo Brito still murdering the ball, but also still stuck at the AA level.  In early March, the Cleveland Plain Dealer had a good feature on Brito that helped explain his seeming lack of progress.  Bernardo was from the hills of San Cristobal, not the bigger cities of Santo Domingo or San Pedro de Macoris, and didn't grow up in quite the same baseball saturated environment as most young Dominican prospects.

     "He's still got a long way to go," [Luis] Isaac said. "He never had any coaching when he was a kid.  He never heard of a cutoff man or a bunt play until he got here.  Usually it takes Latin players about three or four years longer to reach their maximum."

     Isaac was the scout who heard about Brito and drove into the mountains of the Dominican Republic to find and, ultimately, sign him.  The article goes on to say that Brito  would most likely only succeed as a designated hitter, but then explained how most such players were usually experienced veterans, and that it would be difficult for a rookie to break into the majors in the DH role.  To me that was, perhaps, a perfect description of Major League baseball's perpetual resistance to the entire concept of the DH.  Basically until Edgar Martinez came along, it was somehow foreign to just put a good hitter with limited fielding ability in the DH role and take full advantage of that.  Most designated hitters were either aging veterans who no longer had the mobility to play in the field, or utility-type guys who were perhaps too good to leave in the minors, but little more than average bats in the Majors.

    Despite the praise and high hopes by March 25th the Indians decided he was a no longer a prospect and released Bernardo Brito.  Five days later, Brito was signed by the Minnesota Twins and sent to Orlando, their AA affiliate in the Southern League.  By June 15th, Brito was leading the Southern League in home runs for the Twins with 15.  By July 5th, Brito had been named to the Southern League All-Star team and was leading the league with 19 HR and 57 RBI.  Not bad for a non-prospect!

03 September 2016

Player Collection Bobble Heads

     I was excited when some of the players I collect started having bobble heads issued, and couldn't wait to add them to my collection.  I try to stay under $25 if at all possible, and have been fairly successful with that approach, but at least one will likely remain out of reach.  Dave Henderson was issued a bobble head by the Yakima Bears in 2009.  No clue why they did it, as Hendu never played for Yakima, and they were not an Oakland afilliate, but when they surface, they usually sell for over $250.  It is, however, one of the better likenesses I've seen on a bobble head.

     Prior to becoming a coach for the Giants, Roberto Kelly managed their Single-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League from 2005-2007.  He led the Greenjackets to 1st place finishes in 2006 and 2007, and won SAL Manager of the Year honors in 2006.  Kelly's very first bobble head was given away by the Augusta Greenjackets on July 30, 2016.

     Dave Winfield is now represented in bobble head form by 4 of the 6 teams for which he played over his 20+ years in the Majors.  The Padres have now issued three bobble heads for Big Dave.  The one shown here was given away at Petco Park on June 15th, 2003.  There is also a more rare version featuring Dave in a brown jersey.  It tends to be much pricier than the more common white jersey version.  Winfield got one more bobble head from the Padres, a mini, that was limited to 2000 and given away at the 2016 All-Star Fan Fest.  It looks to be 4-5" tall.  I'll probably pick one up after the prices settle down a bit.

      The Yankees bobble head was not a stadium give away (the Yankees still don't seem to care much for Winfield, even all these years later), but rather is an exclusive from Man of Action Figures, a Miami, Florida based action figure store.  They have a large presence online and on eBay.  I am grateful for them as they produced Winfield's only Yankees figure of the man since his retirement.  According to the eBay listing, it is limited to 288 pieces, but can be had for a very reasonable $14.99 + $13.99 shipping (which might seem steep, but it arrived quickly and fully intact).  The Yankees bobble actually reminds me more of Walt "No Neck" Williams than Dave Winfield.

     Toronto honored Winfield with a Blue Jay bobble head on April 7th, 2002.

     Two bobble heads have been issued by the Minnesota Twins for the home town favorite.  The one with the green base was issued on July 22, 2001, in honor of Winfield's Hall of Fame induction.  Given the serial numbers on the laminated card that came with the statue, I suspect upwards of 10,000 of these were given out at the stadium.  The second, with the red base, was given out to Twins season ticket holders for the 2002 season, and is supposedly limited to about 2500 pieces.  As he played for the Angels for a season and a half, I'm hoping to one day see an Angels bobble head issued for Winfield, but I'm not holding my breath for anything from Cleveland.

     Tuffy Rhodes received three bobble heads, all in fairly quick succession, during his time playing with the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes.  I previously posted about the double bobble with Nakamura.  Each of the individual bobble heads was supposed to come with a Buffaloes lanyard (typically for carrying your game tickets), but all I received was the figures.  I haven't been able to track the exact release information, but I suspect these were released (from left to right) in 2001, 2002 and 2003.  I have seen a small figure of Tuffy in his Orix uniform, but I think it is just a statue and not a bobble head.

     I have yet to post anything about my collections of players who share my last name (or derivations thereof), but thus far it seems only one of them has a bobble head to his name.  That would be Josh Pressley.  He was a decent hitting first baseman who bounced around a lot from 1998-2006 before finally hitting the independent circuit where he would spend the rest of his career.  His one statue comes from the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League, where he played for 5 seasons.