Inside the Pack: Review of Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, Colorado

I’m not quite sure how or when Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, CO first came to my attention. My best guess is that it was an article I read in a Beckett magazine many, many years ago, or perhaps a profile of the shop on one of the many card websites I frequented in the early 2000s.

Nevertheless, Mike’s has, for one reason or another, long been on my radar as a shop I wanted — no, needed — to go to one day. So when my wife and I were tossing around ideas for our first post-Covid vacation and she suggested Denver, I instantly replied yes, knowing that I’d be able to take a quick trip out to Mike’s and cross off one of my hobby shop bucket lists.

If you’re looking to pop in and make a quick purchase of supplies, packs, or hobby boxes, Mike’s is a great place to go. The left side of the shop has an impressive selection of wax, not just current stock but back stock dating back many years, too. During my time at the shop I watched several folks stop by the store for just a few minutes to grab a box or some packs and head on their merry way with their new purchase. A few stayed and opened their cards there, sharing their big hits with the staff. Packs also went back to cheap $1 packs from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s – great for kids or novice collectors who want the thrill of ripping open wax.

If you’re like me and looking to spend an entire day digging through boxes and looking at singles, Mike’s isn’t just a great place to go — it may be one of the best. Visitors are first greeted by vertical cases displaying single cards at affordable prices, with one case devoted to cards that cost just $5 a piece (or 12 for $50). More traditional display cases with singles for all sports line the right side of the store, with vintage, modern, and hot rookies scattered throughout the cases.

Across from the cases sit boxes sorted by sport and then by team. Each card is individually priced, and all of the prices are fair. There’s a nice range of premium base cards, rookies, inserts, and even a few relics and autographs throughout the boxes, and I didn’t see any cards priced more than $15 or so. These boxes are constantly being added to, so even going on two consecutive days might afford you the opportunity to find something new. Hoping to steer me in the right direction, Mike almost immediately asked what I collected, and I gave him just part of the laundry list of things I look for when I’m buying cards.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that there is nothing I enjoy more than digging through boxes of cards, with the less organization the better. So when I saw a bunch of boxes stacked in various places in the store, I had to ask if they were fair game. It turns out they were, so I got to digging. Mike, whose self-deprecating humor and friendly demeanor are worth the trip by itself, described his store to me as “a giant Jenga game” as I gleefully moved monster boxes from pile to pile while making a stack of cards I hoped to head home with.

In all I spent over 4 hours at Mike’s shop, and I could have easily spent 4 more, and maybe even another 8 after that. During the time I was lucky enough to be there, I got to see Mike interact with a wide range of customers, from regulars who were coming in for their weekly fix to people coming in to sell cards to a very handsome and talented guy rearranging every box in his shop as he dug through looking for cardboard gold. I watched Mike talk to several different kids who had come in to either buy, sell, or trade cards, and with each one he took time to explain things to them and make sure they were happy with their experience at his shop. Mike took time to talk to everyone, even though he was busy preparing for one of his regular Singles Nights, which sounds like an amazing idea to bring together love-seeking card collectors but is actually a way for folks to claim cheap single cards by watching his live YouTube channel.

In my very first post on this blog over 3 years ago, I examined the things that I thought made a good card shop. Those things were:

• They encourage congeniality among customers.

• They treat children well.

• They have a wide variety of items for sale.

• The employees make an effort to know you and learn your interests.

Mike’s meets all of those criteria and more. Even though I still wonder how his shop came to my attention, it’s no wonder to me that he’s been in business since 1992. I can’t wait to have another excuse to head back to the Denver area and spend more time at the shop.

Mike’s Stadium Sportscards is located at 4032 S Parker Rd, Aurora, CO, 80014.