Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sunday Morning Soapbox: Group Breaks

Normally my Sunday Morning Soapbox posts involve me complaining or getting something off of my chest, but today I'll just be expressing my opinion on group breaks in our hobby.

If you're not familiar with the term"group break", it's essentially where a group of people split the cost of a box (or case) of trading cards.  There are a variety of ways that the group can divvy up the cards.  Sometimes there's a draft for individual cards.  Other times people pick teams.  I've even heard of group breaks that involve the drafting of specific players, divisions, leagues, and conferences.  There are also group breaks that utilize sites like random.org, which randomly assigns teams, players, divisions, etc.

Why do people join them?  Well... I won't speak for anyone other than myself.  But I used to participate in them, because it gave me the opportunity to get cards from high end products like UD Black and Topps Triple Threads without having to buy a full box.  Plus I enjoyed the thrill of "chance".  In the lower end breaks, I was able to slowly rebuild my team collections without having to go out and spend tons of money on hobby boxes.

These days, I tend to steer clear of them for the following reasons:

#1:  I'd rather spend my money on specific cards that I really want.

#2:  If I want to experience the thrill of "chance", I'll just open up a box on my own.

However... I love seeing and reading about what Kevin, Matt, and Brian pull from their personal group breaks.  And I've got to admit... every now and then I am tempted to join one of Nacho Grande's group breaks.

Recently, Angus from over at Dawg Day Cards emailed me and requested my address.  He had joined one of Grande's breaks, was randomly assigned the Oakland Athletics, and offered to donate them to my collection.

Well of course I accepted.  Here's a quick look at the stack of A's cards he sent my way:


And here's a closer look at some of my personal favorites from the stack:

2016 Diamond Kings Originals #14

I remember when Nacho Grande pulled this card from the break a few weeks ago.  The card stood out, because he mentioned that Panini used the word "kleptomania" on the back.  I figured it had to do with him stealing bases, but I was planning on grabbing this card at some point to see for for myself how it was used.  


Here's another insert card of my favorite Oakland Athletic of all-time.  I might need to build this set, because I've always enjoyed paintings from certain Expressionists.

2016 Donruss '82 #5

I sorta feel like Donruss missed the mark on this insert set.  I'm a huge fan of the 1982 Donruss design and I personally think Panini should have used the same font and logo size on these inserts.  Nonetheless... I like seeing this photo of Sonny interacting with the fans.

2016 Donruss USA Collegiate National Team #24 (#'d 52/99)

I have never heard of Mr. Shore, but in the spirit of America's birthday... I figured I'd show of this insert.  And since Panini has a license with Team USA, they actually got to use logos on this card.  Hooray!

In addition to these new additions to my Oakland A's collection, Angus also sent me this beautiful 1979 Seattle Seahawks Police set:


I've always enjoyed police sets and this one is no exception.  The card fronts include an oversized photo, the player's name, height, weight, position, college... as well as the team's helmet.


As with most police sets, there's a tip from the Seattle Seahawks as well as a Coke logo that pops off of the card.


The checklist includes thirteen players, the head coach, the mascot, and a cheerleader.  It even features a pre-rookie card of Seattle Seahawks' legend Dave Brown.

Thank you Angus for this very generous package of cards.  I'll have to dig up some Cleveland Browns and New York Mets cards for your PC.

Well... I hope all of you are enjoying your holiday weekend.  Now that I've shared my thoughts on group breaks, it's your turn:

What are your thoughts on group breaks?  Do you participate in group breaks?  What's the coolest card you received from a group break?

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

7 comments:

  1. I'm like you. I used to participate in group breaks from time to time but I've stopped for several reasons. Again like you, I'd prefer to spend my money on stuff I specifically want. These days I hit up the monthly show (now TWICE monthly!) and pick up cheap vintage that strikes my fancy. I go home having spent $10 on 15 to 20 cards that I really enjoy.

    And a lot of the motivation behind breaks is 'hit' driven and I just don't care much for things like that. That's not a knock on anyone who is, it's just not me. Maybe if I had had any luck at all when it came to breaks I'd have changed my outlook. I was always the guy that the 'breaker' would feel compelled to compensate with cards out of his own collection due to the uninteresting results that I drew. Maybe I should have always picked a different team than the Orioles?!?!


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  2. I got a Steph Curry autograph from my first group break, but the second one, which cost roughly 6 times more, I only got two cards total. (The Curry came with more than 100 friends)

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  3. I've never been in a group break. Unfortunately the Yankees carry a Pinstripe Premium on them keeping me at bay for a lot of breaks (not like I could join anyway since people just see the Yankees as easy money). I might join a break for something like Bowman Draft one of these days though.

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  4. Ironically, group breaks aren't worth participating in for me because of shipping costs. Plus, I agree with you, I usually prefer picking out cards myself. I say ironically, because like you said, we run a private box break club with Matt and Brian. BUt considering the boxes we pick, it's really just to have as much fun as possible and to share and have as much trade bait as possible for everybody (because we all know that in the end, everything we pull will be redistributed within the blogosphere !)

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  5. I may have done one group break before. I can't really remember, but I just barely did one for 2016 Stadium Club. i got the D-Backs for $3 shipped. I figured that was less than I could get one pack, so we'll see. But I agree with you I prefer buying specific cards.

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  6. Glad you enjoyed the cards!

    I don't often go in group breaks but wanted to see what I would get for the Mets in the Nacho Grande break, and the random team was a bonus. Sadly to me, the A's probably got the better cards in the break but it was nice to receive extra bonus Mets with them when they were mailed to me. Group breaks are something that I won't probably do often but every now and then it is fun to see what pops up.

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  7. I didn't realize what all the hub bub was about until a few months ago when I read up on these breaks. Honestly I like the idea. Not saying I have the money to do many but why not. Haven't done one yet but I'd do one where I get my team's cards. And who knows what you'll get. Maybe you get the auto or relic card. Again while I'm a late comer I'll have to try this and post the results. Great post. Thanks.

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