Mail Day! Unexpectedly…

My wife has been working a lot lately.  Early mornings and late nights at times too…lots of time away from the family.  One of the few benefits of this is that i get some one on one time with my boy.  At times, he’s an amazing kid and at times…he’s a toddler.  I’ve been slowly showing him my card collection and McFarlane figures…or dolls as he calls them.

THEY’RE NOT DOLLS!!!  THEY ARE COLLECTIBLE ACTION FIGURES!!!

Anyways, another benefit of the spouses extra work time is that i get to drop off my kid to school in the morning.  Tuesdays and Thursdays he has a later class, it starts at 10am…which is kinda cool since i get to stroll in to work around 10:30.  I also, apparently get to be home to receive FedEx packages from Topps…which is what happened this morning.  Thankfully our overprotective dog alerted us to the scary FedEx guy or i would have completely missed out on this!

Topps Mail day

A nice little package from Topps…but what the hell is it?  I’ve been a little negligent in tracking my outstanding redmemptions…so which one is it?  Oh yeah!

17 TO Andy Pettite auto jersey

17 TO Andy Pettite auto jersey back

It’s Andy Pettitte!  From my box of 2017 Topps Series 1.  That was crazy fast…especially considering i’ve got other cards that have been out for over a year.  This one took just over 2 months.

As Topps has been doing with some of their redemptions, i also received another card from the fine folks at Topps.

16 TM Josh Donalsdson

16 TM Josh Donaldson back

My favorite part of this card is that it’s a Meaningful Material Prime Relic Card…very meaningful i would imagine, maybe a Sunday game?  Not complaining, just thought it was kind of funny.

I also received this thoughtful thank you card from Topps…that everyone else has received…not i’m part of the gang guys!

Topps thank you

My patronage will definitely continue.

Now, here’s some music that you may or may not like…you should all love Brother Ali though…

A Big ole’ box of Memories

I pre-ordered a jumbo box of 1987 2017.  This is the big 30th anniversary for a set that is seemingly very popular with a lot of people.  Me though, i have a different memory of these vertically wood grained over produced cards.

I started collecting baseball cards in the fall of 1985.

I was 9 and had fallen in love with baseball and baseball cards.

I wanted to learn everything about baseball and own everything i could about baseball.

So, baseball cards met that need at the highest level for a young’n like me.  There weren’t many opportunities to buy cards at that time due to scarcity at my local Stop n’ Go or 7-11, but also my lack of funds…I was 9.  I did what i could back then.  When the 1986 cards rolled out, i was able to complete a set via trades and multiple pack purchases.  The way it was done in the old school days.  I had a little more money and ’86 turned out to be a fun year, a year that i became addicted to these damn cardboard things.

That all changed in the winter of 1987.

The very first packs of cards i bought that year were in the Stop n’ Go down the street from my home.  I was headed out to my very first camping trip for the local Boy Scouts troop…a trip that i wasn’t too excited about (maybe a story for later, but my BSA experience was very forgettable!).  My mom pulled in to the parking lot and gave me some money to get a special snack and a juice…i bought a coke and two packs of cards.  1987 Topps.  The cards had gum in them, so that’s kind ova snack, right?  Fearing that i had betrayed my mom, i kept the cards tucked in my pocket to be opened later that weekend…during a camping trip.  I made it successfully to the bus without anyone finding out about my card purchases and was able to procure a solo seat and open them on the ride to the camp site.  I had 34 brand new cards in my hands…and two horrible pieces of gum.  Little did i know that this was the start of an incredible amount of over-consumption of wood grained cardboard that i would later become overwhelmed with.

For me, this was my first understanding of over production of a product.  I was buying packs everywhere.  I was even able to buy a few boxes at our local Sams Wholesale Club…for about $18 each.  Now, t’ve never been a collector for the investment purposes but i also don’t like to buy junk…well that year i must have spent about $100 on 1987 Topps.  I was completely overwhelmed with them and grew to really dislike them…everything about them.  So when the set gets a re-up, i don’t jump for joy.  I’m old enough now and have some perspective to understand and appreciate the design, so maybe this year won’t be so bad.

I mean, they do actually look kind of nice and as others have mentioned, the wood grain is quite lighter than the original.  The cards stock as i remember it is quite better as well, significantly better actually…as i look at these cards, i can see why they are adored by so many…i have baggage that i need to let go of i guess.

They are nice, very nice.  Well done Topps.  You did a great job with these re-issues.  Tweaked some of the things that were of concern to me…thank you for listening 🙂  Some of you may have already seen the cards that i pulled as i thought it would be nice to pre-share over Twitter last night.  Just in case though, here is my very first 2017 Topps card of the year!

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Miami Marlins Giancarlo Stanton!  Pretty sweet first card eh?  Don’t think i know what my first card is for the past 30 years, but i would venture to say that none of them are as good as this one.

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This was my first card pulled for a favorite team, the Nationals or Yankees…Bryce Harper is cool, i mean…he’s probably going to have a good season.  Yeah, this card is fantastic for me not to mention that i got two in the box.  One for my flagship set and one for my Bryce Harper PC.  Collecting goals are being met.

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This was my first Yankee, Nathan Eovaldi.  It was immediately followed by Aaron Hicks, also a Yankee.  Guess that duo was a nice little mini Yankee hot pack…or not…?

Topps is also continuing with the buyback program, but stamping them differently this year with a  vertically embossed stamp along the right edge of the card that reads “REDISCOVER TOPPS’.  Nothing spectacular, but i have to admit these cards are in great shape.

One of the many inserts that you get are the foil cards which are great looking cards, assuming you can see them.  I passed up a couple of them and had to go through the stack again to make sure i pulled them all out and when i did…four of the five were team cards.  Feel a little gipped here, but i guess it would have only been successful if one of them was a player or team i collect.  The fifth was a Kurt Suzuki.

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Topps is also continuing to do the first pitch cards…and i think they are running out of celebrities or there just aren’t enough celebrities to go around.  Not trying to blast either of these two musical entertainers, but one of them is great and the other one is Mase.  I’ve tried to associate the connection of the First Pitcher to the team they are pitching for.  Mase, per wikipedia was born in Florida, but left with his mom for New York when he was three.  I guess maybe he’s always been a fan of a Florida team?  Ms. Jett is from Pennsylvania, so maybe she grew up watching Harry Caray and Steve Stone on WGN like me?  I kid…Joan Jett was one of my favorite rockers in the early 80’s, mostly due to my mom liking her music with The Runaways.  I like her biggest solo hit, a cover of ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll”

Speaking of hits, i have three of them…well, two and a half.  I don’t consider redemptions hits until i have them in my hand.  Here they are, in my current favorite order.  When the redemption is in my hands, that will be without a doubt my favorite one…assuming of course it’s a Yankee card.

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My timeline counter is starting on February 3rd, 2017.  Let’s see how long this takes to hit my blog post.  Ball is in your court Topps Corporation.17-tost-clayton-kershaw-3050

Clayton Kershaw Spring Training commemorative patch…it’s like a hard plastic’y metal’y thing’y numbered 38/50.  Not gonna complain at all.

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My favorite hit, currently, is this Addison Russell trip color patch…they snuck that white portion of the patch in there didn’t they?  Numbered 19 of 25 is pretty good too.  Kinda wish it was autographed, but i’m quite happy with this pull.  Russell is a great young player and nice to add to my collection.

d’oh!  I have a couple more cool cards to show off.  Nothing spectacular, but wanted to share.  First one is the Bryce Harper Then and Now…i always remember that moment when i almost pulled that card in a box.  The guy next to me picked the box that had it and i picked the other one…such is my luck…i always get the other one..Harper looks like he’s aged 10 years since the Bowman card, beards man…they make you look old.

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The other one is of the young Astros prospect, but aren’t they all?  Teoscar Hernandez…feels like his name should be spelled T’Oscar…but that’s not my lane.  I’m gonna stay out.  This is one of those reverse negative cards that are not printing plates, but every time i see one that’s the first thing that crosses my mind…kinda wished it was yellow.

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Well, that’s the haul from my one jumbo box that i purchase for each series.  Hope you enjoyed.  I will be posting the cards from the two silver packs that came with the box another day, so until then.  Enjoy some random music that i was listening to while writing this letter to you.

 

Faces in new places

Change is inevitable, it happens.  People move, make new friends, change jobs, etc.  It’s a big part of life and in my opinion, it’s a great part of life.  I love to experience new things.  Try new restaurants and take a trip to a place i know nothing about…or simply listen to new music.  I live new.  New is good to me, it excites me and awakens me.  The flip side to that is i tend to jump in head first for the new thing and get caught up in the moment.  I’m a bit impulsive at times and this can be a bad combination…compulsivity and attraction to the novel.  That said, if i really am honest with myself and look back on what i’ve gone through, i can’t say that i have any regrets (or at least very few…) for things that i’ve done.  It’s always the things i didn’t do that get me…which i think most people go through in their life.  The fear of taking a risk and just going for it cripples most of us.  I know it’s paralyzed me in the past…completely shut me down at times.  I’m a totally afraid of fear.  Last year though, i started to take a different approach and go head first in to new things…now, these were safe gambles.  I wasn’t jumping out of planes or wrestling tigers (GO CLEMSON!!  YAY!), i was leaving something that was know for something that was unknown and striking up a conversation with people i wouldn’t normally talk to.  Attempting to become fearless.  Well, my levels of fear are creeping back up.  Self doubt is creeping back in to my mind and slowing me down once again.  It’s been tough adjusting to the new…but i think it’s worth it and i could really use a little bit of a reboot and a chance to challenge  myself again.

Leaving and arriving are antonyms, but really you can’t have one without the other.  If you are leaving a place, then you must be arriving to another place.  Whether the circumstances were of your own volition or through the making of someone else, it’s a chance to start fresh and push yourself to do things you maybe haven’t had to do in a while.

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Less than a year ago, the Carolina Panthers offered the Franchise tag to arguably the best cornerback in the NFL, Josh Norman.  There was quite a bit of back and forth with him and the Panthers and to be honest, i wasn’t paying attention…didn’t need to.  He played for a team that i appreciate, but don’t think too much about, he wasn’t a Redskin.  Well, time went on and the contract wasn’t signed for whatever reasons.  Just before it needed to be signed, the Panthers pulled the offer and Norman became a free agent.  Less than a week after, he was a Redskin.

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This was quite a coup for my team.  They needed major secondary help…MAJOR secondary help (and still do), he wasn’t going to be the savior but he was a night and day improvement over what the Redskins had last season.  Being the shutdown corner that he is labeled, he doesn’t get too many passes thrown his way.  A little ironic that the best player on your defense rarely sees the ball or gets close to the ball…seems counterintuitive doesn’t it?  He’s basically a little leaguer in right field…put him where he won’t see any action!!!

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Norman had a good season.  Not an epic season, but nice.  Held some of the best receivers in the NFL to their worst games of the year.  His battle with Odell Beckham Jr. earlier this year led to OBJr. getting sacked by a kicking net on the Giants sidelines.  Classic material if you ask me.  Josh Norman is one of those guys that you love if he’s on your team and hate if he isn’t and i’m cool with that.  He seems like a cool guy, energetic and knowledgable about the NFL game.  I guess he’s a great example of making the best of a new situation.  A situation he didn’t have total control over, but it worked out…kinda helped he got crazy paid though.

Being a rookie has to be tough on the college kids.  Incredible levels of competition and a whole new routine and way of life.  There is always someone nipping at your heels pushing you to be better and reach higher levels of excellence.  Some succeed and some crumble.  This guy, Matt Jones did neither last year.  He was somewhere in between and ended up losing his job due to costly fumbles…but hey, competition, right!  That hair in the photo is pretty epic.

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Another difficult part of being a rookie is injuries…damn injuries.  This kid, Keith Marshall was hit with some elbow issues in preseason and ended up on the IR for the year.  Not a great start for a guy at a deep position.

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He showed some signs of potential in the few touches he had in preseason, so it made sense for the Redskins to IR him in hopes of keeping him on the roster and not cutting him.

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Not sure what next year will bring for him, i hope he gets healthy, gets reps and has a chance to make the team next year.  Georgia has had some pretty fantastic running backs in the past, and maybe he can be a hidden gem?

So yeah, i picked up a couple autographs of him over the weekend.  They are cheap and colorful with wicked wands of hair…can’t go wrong really.  One of the cards i picked up though really caught my eye.  It was a personalized card, and a card that Kim had set aside for me.  My first personalized authentic card ever.  But it was cool and timely for me.  Take a look.

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I already miss Athens, GA.

Now, this could simply be rhetoric and i’m making it in to something deeper, but my point is that we should always feel great about moving forward and challenging ourselves with new experiences and be allowed to miss the people/places/things we’ve left behind.

I’ve always thought i was someone that never wanted to look back, only move forward…KIM (keep it movin’).  But, i’m understanding the importance of being able to look back happily and remember the experiences, good and bad that i went through…and more importantly the people that helped get me where i am today.  Thank you for reading tonight.

The song for the night is fitting for the post i believe…

 

Rebuilding for the future.

I’ve been avoiding just about anything and everything Redskins on this blog since my team lost to the Giants a few weeks ago.  It was a tough loss to a division rival, a game that would have propelled the Redskins in to the 2016 playoffs.  Not to mention to a team that had a topless boating trip planned for South Beach the following day…no respect.  After seeing how some of the teams that made the playoffs and ended up losing, i can’t help but imagine what could have happened.  You know, the Washington Redskins were the last team to beat the Green Bay Packers.  It’s true!  In hindsight, that game was most likely the penultimate moment for the Redskins season as they put up 42 points on a Sunday night game.  A game under the lights which they have been miserable with the past forever seasons…Clearly, though, it was one of the lowest points for the Green Bay Packers…they were crushed by the Titans a week before…so you could go with either game i guess, but the Pack haven’t lost since and i would be quite happy for them to win two more games.

The off season for the Redskins has begun early as it does most seasons.  But instead of everyone cracking jokes about the Redskins winning the offseason, the talk is how everything is falling apart.  They lost a brilliant young mind in Sean McVay.  He was the OC for an explosive offense at times and is now the head coach for the Rams of Los Angeles…taking Joe Barry along with him to be an assistant defensive coach.  Honestly, i don’t think any Redskins fan is upset about the Barry loss…but McVay is a tough one.  Happy he was able to get a HC job, the youngest ever, but he has a huge task ahead of him. Luckily he has Bum Phillips son to help coach the defense…a defense that will see this guy next year.

The other big news for the offseason is whether or not the Redskins will/want to sign Kirk Cousins to a long term deal.  Personally, i really hope they do.  It’s been 20 years since the franchise has had a QB that has put up the numbers KC has in consecutive seasons.  Granted, he’s not perfect, but he is a top QB and i would argue a franchise QB that you build around.

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That said, if what i’m reading…and it’s all speculation at this point…but if they give him the franchise tag and attempt to trade him, they could get a really nice haul of picks in return.  Not to mention the nearly $30million of cap space they have going in to next year.  They could be well placed to rebuild quickly with young talented players.  Maybe a certain receiver could maybe get healthy and maybe make an impact in his second season…maybe.

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Really hope this kid pans out…i’m getting a ton of his cards and the price is falling on them.  That could be due to his lack of playing though.  Buy low kids!

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It would be seen as a season of rebuilding, but could possibly turn out to be the starting point of something really great.  The defense needs a significant amount of help and could use a great defensive coordinator, whomever that turns out to be…so many names, some good some bad.  Plus, if you are able to move Cousins, you would end up saving a $20+ Million investment in one player.  Who knows, maybe you already have your future QB on the roster anyways…

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This card is really beautiful in person by the way…the scan does not do it justice…but neither does that signature!

if i have to live through years of rebuilding again, i’m gonna need to get my pacemaker hooked up to a clapper…clap on.  Love El-P

The School of Rickey

So, last night was a little disappointing…Not only did the Redskins blow a golden opportunity to take hold of the #6 seed in the NFC playoffs, my #1 seed fantasy football team lost by 1 point.  As you may have guessed, my roster is filled with Redskins players…it’s my real life team and i like to make them my non real life teammates.  Coming in to the game i was in a great position to make it to back to back FF Championship, all i needed was the Redskins to not crap the bed…and they crapped the bed.  All over the freaki’ place.  Now, i know one of the most annoying things is hearing some random dude complaining or bragging about his fantasy teams…it was just tough man.  Still love my Redskins and can only regret the roster decisions that i should have made in hindsight.  But as Steve Spurrier once said…”hindsight is 50/50.”

Moving on.  The MLB network had a great documentary on Rickey Henderson tonight, “School of Rickey”

Needless to say, i enjoyed the hell out of the show and all of the stories from Rickey’s past…and present.  He seems like the kinda guy that is impossible to figure out in real life, not to mention if you were a pitcher attempting to hold him on base during his playing days.

If you are a Henderson fan it’s a must watch.

If you are a baseball fan it’s must watch.

So, watch it!

But first, check out this sweet ass 2016 Topps Dynasty card i recently picked up!  It’s a lovely tricolor patch on card autograph of my baseball idol, and it’s numbered 03/10.

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Fantastic piece of cardboard i say.  Some of you fellow bloggers have picked up a couple of these cards recently and noted the bumpy texture of the cards which is pretty evident in person, more so than in the photographs…but these photos were taken with an iPhone in low light, so there’s that.  Initially, i wasn’t going to go after one of these cards until the madness died down a bit but i saw a great deal on eBay and had some PayPal money from some recent sales to cover the cost and went for it!

 

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When i posted a bid on the card i made the rookie mistake of not reading the description…i should have, and you should always do the same!  Apparently, the guy selling the card was flipping the card and didn’t have it in hand.  To me, that was the beginning of a scam…so, i contacted the seller and he was really cool about it and understood where i was coming from and did an awesome job of following through on the whereabouts of the card.  Luckily for me (and probably him too?) the card came in a couple days later.  He shipped it out quickly and it was in my precious little hands last night, right before the Redskins crapped the bed.  So, i guess last night was all that bad…eh?

One of my favorite MC’s of all time, Aesop Rock is in town tonight for a show at the Wonder Ballroom…well, he’s in town most nights as he lives in Portland these days.  Normally, i would insist on going to his show and having an amazing time…if you’re in to Hip-Hop and love the indie version of that form of music, he’s one of the greats and always has high energy shows along with Rob Sonic and Homeboy Sandman.  This time though, other family / work related things came up so i couldn’t make it out.  Kinda missing out too, wishing I could have made it out…next time.  Until then, here’s a cool video from his latest album “The Impossible Kid”

Rookie gambles

“…the kids better buy my rookie card now

cause after this year the price ain’t going down!”

These words were uttered by the lyrically inclined, Mos Def…or Yasin Bey.

The value of rookie cards have been a part of non-card collectors for many years and often referenced in pop culture.  Maybe not necessarily the value of a card, but the understanding that rookie cards generally carry a significantly greater value or general demand over non rookie cards.

I’ve never been a gambler, nor have i been a prospector.  I’m a collector, a team collector.  A team collector of an NFL franchise that has not been great for a few years and are faced with a high draft pick each year in the Spring NFL draft.  Typically a high NFL draft, assuming an offensive player or skilled defensive player will have valuable rookie cards.  When they are drafted by the Redskins, i have a collectors obligation to pick them up.  Typically, the sooner the better for me.  Problem is though, you never know how a guy is going to pan out in his athletic career.  Case in point, this guy.

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In 2012, i bought way too many boxes of football cars in hopes of pulling ONE…just ONE autographed RGIII card.  Never.  Not once did i have my wish granted…ironically though, i did manage to pull two Kirk Cousins cards that year.  At the time, i was slightly disappointed…that’s what it came to, i was disappointed to have a back up guy, not the main guys autograph, i mean c’mon man RGIII was the future!  As you may be able to tell from the card above, he is a distant memory for all Redskins fans now and something the Cleveland Browns are forced to deal with.  Now, don’t get me wrong i have some great memories, some not so great ones too, but the drama with this guy…not to mention the fragility with which he played.  Point is, you have to be patient and know when to strike on these young guys.  I think i’ve learned my lesson a bit and have managed to make a few good pick ups from the past couple of card shows with Kim.  Here are the few top Redskins rookies and cards with autographs.

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I’ve written about this guy a lot.  The main reason is that i’m feeling like he may be another Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas or Michael Westbrook or Rod Gardner or…you get the idea.  A highly touted rookie WR that isn’t able to meet the expectations.

Doctson has missed most of the season and who knows what the future will bring.  With the lull in his playing this year though, it’s time to swoop in and pick up some autos.

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I’ve been able to pick up a few for less than $5 each.  Not bad for a first round draft pick, skilled position player autograph and or jersey.

Another guy that i’ve been putting together a nice collection of is Nate Sudfeld.  A back up QB…worked well last time, why not try again!  I don’t believe Nate has suited up for any regular season games this season, which is great because that means Cousins has played great and has been healthy.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Kirk Cousins and hope the Redskins can sign him to a long term contract and hope that he is the long term answer.  But you need a backup and a good backup at that.  Worst case, he gets traded and stars somewhere else and i’m able to flip these guys for more Redskins.

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The digital camoflauge is always something cool to see on a card.  The autograph of Nate though…it needs some work.  I think these kids are asked to initial the stickers, not autograph them…oy!

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Next rookie that i haven’t really started my pursuit of but need to step it up a bit is Su’A Cravens.  He was a huge fan of Sean Taylor as a young’n and his play in some respects reflects the same intensity that Sean had.  Su’A is an intense young man that hits hard and plays with enough intensity to become playmaker in the future, so now is the time to strike if you ask me!

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Last kid for the night is Keith Marshall.  A rookie running back from the University of UGA…or Georgia.  Don’t know much about this kid since he was injured in the preseason and has been on IR all season…you can never have enough RB’s, especially the fast ones which i believe he is.

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I’m thinking of posting some Bowman cards i’ve picked up recently after i do some research on the nicer cards i pulled.

Hope you enjoyed the cards today.

Here for your viewing pleasure…Pharoahe Monche, Mos Def and Nate Dogg…OH NO!!

Sundays with J-Dox

 

Sundays around here can be a little chaotic.  Lots of chores to be done before the day is done, spending quality time with the family, and getting ready for the upcoming work/school week.  Not to mention finding a way to watch every second of every Redskins game.  The swings of my emotions would often swing directly with the results of the game and how each play played itself out.  I’ve grown up a little bit though.  I’ve been able to manage my expectations a little better and control my emotions and temperment…being a fan of a team that hasn’t been to the Super Bowl since 1991 will do that do you i guess.

The 23-31 loss to the Arizona Cardinals today though was quite frustrating.  Arizona has a solid defense and a few fantastic players on both sides of the ball…but i think the Redskins had many chances to win the game today…the defense just didn’t get the job done today.  Here’s hoping they can regroup for the Philadelphia Eagles next week in Philly and that DeSean Jackson has a big game.

Speaking of D-Jax, there seems to be a lot of build up about him returning to the Eagles next season.  Although i wouldn’t be overly happy about that, i don’t think i would lose much sleep over it either.  One of the reasons is this guy…Josh Doctson.

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Josh is a completely different type of receiver than Jackson.

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He’s also a very different kind of receiver than the Redskins have had in a long time.  Tall, fast guy that can make some plays on the edges and in the middle of the field…i just hope he can get healthy.  He’s been dealing with some odd achilles/foot injury all year and hasn’t been on the field too much this season…two games i believe.

Here are a few of the nicer cards i picked up from Brian the other day.  Brian is an Eagles fan.

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I’m always a sucker for jumbo patch cards like this…but i’m always a little curious about the crop of the player on these cards.  Jumbo patch or player photo…i’ll take the jumbo patch, especially with the burgundy and gold stitched together.

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The tri-colored patch is pretty cool, but the autograph is just aiight.

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So whether or not D-Jax leaves and Josh Doctson can fulfill his large shoes…or not is to be seen.  If J-Dox turns out to be a gem, i’ve got a nice start to his rookie card collection.

Thanks for reading…on to the Eagles!  HTTR!!