Saturday, April 2, 2016

The 2016 Las Vegas Vacation

I usually write my blog entries in a reference-based style, though I try to make the posts somewhat lighthearted and entertaining. As I notice my blog hits increase, thanks to the help of fellow card bloggers like Jason Presley, Night Owl and Fuji, I might be inclined to add the occasional posts that are semi-related to oddball cards, or maybe sports in general.

Consider this post one of those.

My wife and I love driving from our home in Southern Oregon to Las Vegas every year, usually around March or April. Lake Tahoe, Death Valley and Las Vegas are all beautiful this time of year, and hotel/car rental prices are actually quite reasonable when one sneaks around before the summer tourism rush begins.

For the second year in a row we decided to stay at the Main Street Station Hotel and Casino, which is located one block away from the "old strip" on Fremont Street. Our room was on the ninth floor, and features an excellent view of Fremont. Here's the view from the room, including some reading material I brought for the slow times (wow, don't those new '89 Score baseball cards look kinda... ummm... boring):

Of course, there's plenty to do in Vegas. One great place that's always good for treasure hunting is a huge-ass store called the Antique Mall of America. It's the size of a major department store and is filled with booths from hundreds of different vendors. I always promise myself not to buy random things that will clutter the house; a promise that was in full effect on this trip. I did wind up buying four small oddball sets from the antique mall that were needed for the collection: A 1995 Slapshot Images Memorial Cup hockey set (numbered 1,716 out of 5,000 sets), a 1992 MAXX/Gargoyles Winston Cup All-Pro set (numbered 582 out of ??? sets), and 1993 Stadium Club boxed sets of the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins. The fifth item in the photo below is a stack of 2003 Ricky Craven promo cards. All five items cost a total of $24.87.

While perusing a Vegas Target store later that day, I came across this Fairfield football box which contained 20 packs for 20 bucks. Teasing me right in the front window was a 2014 Topps Valor jumbo pack, which grabbed my interest right away as I'm an Odell Beckham collector. Five packs of 2014 Score were also in the box, giving me a decent chance at some Odell rookie mojo. 

Here are the packs that my twenty bucks purchased:

The biggest hit of the box surprisingly came from one of the two 2013 Upper Deck Notre Dame packs, which yielded an autograph of alumnus John Scully (the odds of pulling an auto from that series is 1 in 24 packs). The Charlie Whitehurst jersey card is the extra "hit" card as advertised on the front of the box, and came in a firm penny sleeve. Sadly, there were no Odell cards anywhere to be found.

Click here to find 2014 Football Boxes on eBay

Two events we purchased tickets for during our stay were the Penn & Teller magic show, and the New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs spring training game held at Cashman Field in Las Vegas on March 31 (the two teams also played a second game the next day). Penn & Teller were amazing as expected, and I'd call it a must-see if you're in the area. The Mets vs. Cubs game was my first trip to Cashman, and I'll admit it's the nicest Minor League park I've seen to date. 

I was anxious to try out my new SLR camera, a Nikon D3300 with the Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm lens. Based on the photos I took that evening, my opinion is that anyone can take professional-quality photographs with the right equipment. I took the photo of Curtis Granderson in the batter's box (found at the top of this post), as well as the four photos below of Jason Heyward, David Wright, Kris Bryant and Mets pitching prospect Paul Sewald. It's interesting to see that both teams wore their blue jerseys that evening:

I should mention that I picked up three Las Vegas 51s team sets from the Cashman gift shop. For $3 each, I was able to add the 2009, 2011 and 2012 sets to my collection. Lots of familiar names are found here to include J.P. Arencibia, Brett Lawrie, Travis d'Arnaud, Anthony Gose, Adeiny Hechavaria and Yan Gomes.

Click here to find Las Vegas Baseball Sets on eBay

Vegas can be fun, even without drinking or gambling (though I did turn $10 into $16 at the blackjack table). But I'm glad to be home, and my next post will return to the usual chronicling of oddball sets. Thanks for allowing me to share my vacation memories, and let's keep dredging up the oddball stuff!


  1. Excellent pictures and I'm glad the Cubs put on an offensive show for you! Those Ricky Craven promo cards look quite nice; I've always been partial to the old Tide race cars.

    1. Thanks for the compliment, Tony! Email your address and I'll put a couple of those Cravens in the mail for you. Regards -- Anthony