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…

 

Natitude

I love the Yankees.  People give me a hard time about it and when they don’t, they are utterly confused…why in the hell would a boy raised in Texas and who has never ever been to New York City be a Yankee fan.

Seriously?

Why?

The Yankees?

The Evil Empire!

Well, I don’t have a great reason why other than when I was a very easily influenced 9 year old boy my favorite player became a Yankee.  He was an Athletic, and he became a Yankee.  Being a 9 year old confused little child I decided I would follow my player to the team.  Now, nearly 30 years later I am still a Yankee fan and love the history of the storied franchise.  I’m gonna miss the hell out of Jeet as i do Mo, Posada, Pettitte, Mattingly…etc…Over the past couple of years though, i’ve developed quite an attraction for the Washington Nationals.  Here’s my reasoning.  As you can tell, i’m a Redskins fan and i do everything I can to listen to Sports Talk radio from DC, and as one would expect they talk DC sports.  So, by default the past 6-8 years my affinity towards the Nationals has been building and building.  So much so that i am working all angles to get the kid to become a Nats fan.  They’re a lovable team, right?  Scrappy, hard working.  Dealt with tough losses in big games (looking at you Drew Storen…).  Built a strong organization from the ground up, albeit from many poor seasons and in turn drafting well with their high picks (hard to miss on Harper and Strasburg though, eh?).

I’m kinda old school in that i love it when players stay with a team their entire career.  I know this isn’t always the players fault, but i greatly appreciate it as a fan.  I also appreciate an organization that can draft, develop and lock up their talent for years to come.  You build a strong foundation with the kids in the minor leagues and infill with veteran leaders and role players as necessary.  You don’t chuck millions after millions for guys past their prime.  You take a chance on a kid that your program has developed and lock him up.  Make it so he doesn’t even want to look at another club.  Make him feel like he is a cornerstone to a strong future.  Now this is in total contradiction to what the Yankees have historically done…although, you can very easily argue that their last mini dynasty was due in part to the development and infill mentality rather than poach and overpay mindset.  So, i guess what i’m beating around the bush about here is that I will always love the Yankees, but i’m kinda diggin’ the Nats right now.  I’m sort of a baseball polygamist.

Albeit one American League Team and one National League Team.

I bought baseball cards.

Remember that part where I talked about wanting a player to stay with one team for the duration of his career?  Hanley is one of those guys that, well, he’s come full circle.  Red Sox, Marlins, Dodger, Red Sox.  Initially i was cool with the first Red Sox run because it was so insignificant in his career.  In my eyes he was a Marlin.  A Florida Marlin, not a freakin’ Miami Marlin.  He was a wonderful player on my fantasy baseball team for a couple of seasons and won me a really nice chunk of change one season.  I was cool when he became a Dodger.  I kinda like the Dodgers.  Great history.  Iconic Jerseys and who doesn’t love Vin Scully?

Seriously.

Vin Scully!

But now that he’s a Red Sock again.  I can’t do it.  I can’t collect his cards and feel good about myself, the Yankee fan inside me can’t handle it.  So, I’m only collecting him as a Marlin…Florida Marlin.

10 TT Hanley Ramirez Mini

Now to the Nats portion of the program.  Werth and Strasburg with some Game Worn Memorabilia on display below.  Other than Mariano Rivera, I don’t typically collect pitchers.  Too risky and their careers can be schizophrenic (is that not PC?).  I’ve always steered clear of them, but Stras is pretty special I guess.  So far he hasn’t lived up to the hype, but the hype was out of control that nobody ever could live up to that hype.  He’s still be very solid and hasn’t been overly fragile, maybe sensitive, but not fragile.  Now this Werth cat is something else.  His hair is amazing.  His beard is amazing, but the DUI isn’t really cool.  Maybe hit up the Uber app next time for a $900 ride home. #justsayin

24 TU Stephen Strasburg Jersey

14 TU Jayson Werth Jersey

Speaking of wonderful pitchers.  Jordan Zimmerman.  He has become the most important Zimmerman on the team the past couple of years and luckily isn’t related to the crazy Zimmerman in south Florida.  No, he’s a pitcher and a pitcher that will be an important piece to a potentially all time dominant starting rotation.  I have his autograph on a sticker on a card that has no logos.  I can imagine how annoying it would be to write Z I M M E R M A N every time you sign an autograph, but this is a little too much corner cutting for me.  Although I do appreciate the left justified approach.  Never know how long that squiggly line will need to extend at the end of Z I M M E R M A N.

13 PP Jordan Zimmerman Auto

HEY!  I snuck in a Redskin card!  But only because it reminded me of Rocket Pops.

Rocket Pops

This is a very patriotic, summer-y, popsicle-y card that I had to have.  This is one of those parallel cards that makes the rainbow collector happy…i’m assuming?

It’s Art Monk and I love Art Monk.

14 PP Art Monk Rainbow

Pre-Christmas LCS visit

I had a great holiday break and was able to get a couple of weeks off from work.  That also meant that I had the kid with me most of those two weeks and had to plan fun adventures for him.  The first and most funnest adventure I could possibly think of was taking him to the LCS down the street.  Seriously, what kid wouldn’t want to visit a card shop with expensive pieces of cardboard, wooden bats and autographed baseballs…seriously…The adventure was a bit of a mis step on my part, but Rick was fantastic with him running around the store, plus we got there so early that nobody was in the shop.  That was a great way to keep my level of embarrassment down to a minimum.  The kid did manage to get in to some trouble, but overall was fantastic and most important, he did not break anything.  Well, nothing that I noticed.  Haven’t been back since.

Rick has always been generous with me and offers up a few free items each time I go in.  Nothing major, but free is always cool.  This time though, the free card went to the little kid and it was a very nice Derek Jeter card from 2008.  Our kid actually looked at the card in sort of confused/excited sort of way.  He tends to keep away from my cards since i’m very protective of them.  Not to mention he’s managed to wreak havoc on a couple of them already.

08 TA Derek Jeter

During the slightly chaotic visit i was able to pick up a couple Redskin rookie cards…which, are unfortunately no longer Redskins.  Lache is a practice squad Panther last i checked, which is cool.  I like the Panthers and hope he gets a chance to shine next season.  He is crazy fast and quick but couldn’t seem to make the team this year.  If the Redskins have one area of decent depth, it’s at running back.

14 BO Lache Seastrunk

 

14 PP Lache Seastrunk

I also picked up the Cody Hoffman rookie card from Prizm.  I thought this kid would make the practice squad this year but was off and on and I believe he was cut just after a few weeks in to the season for good.  Not sure if he will pick up somewhere else, but I could use this card for the team set!

14 PP Cody Hoffman

During the visit we also managed to finagle a few junk wax packs of 1991 Pacific and 1990 Donruss baseball.  Cards which Rick was more than happy to just let us have.  I’m sure he would not have minded us taking a few more for the road…maybe next time.

Christmas Eve Pickups

I had an extra hour today because I decided that work was so slow that I shouldn’t be there.  I left to run some errands and was able to get over to see the fine folks at Hoopla sports cards.  I had been in there many times, but never really had the time to look around.  They have a ton of stuff and are super friendly guys, so they helped me find a couple of things I was looking for…and of course some other things I didn’t know I needed.

As my building of the Tim Duncan collection begins, my main focus is on base cards and cards that I just like the look of.  Getting in to basketball cards is completely different…they don’t wear protective head wear so you get a great look at each players face.  Here are two pictures of Timmy’s emotionless face.  So stoic.

12 PP Tim Duncan

I also picked up my first jersey card of Duncan.  That is one BIG STAR.

04 UD Tim Duncan All Star Jersey

I love the overhead view in this card.  There was a guy in the shop opening some high end version of Hockey cards…man, Hockey cards are REALLY AWESOME.  As an amateur photographer, I love the contract of the white ice and the colorful jerseys.  I’ve noticed some of these nice contrasts in the basketball cards…but not this one per se.

13 HO Tim Duncan

Here are a couple of cards i didn’t know existed of Ryan Kerrigan and Jarvis Jenkins.  I also picked up Paul, Helu and Royster…but I like these guys more so I scanned them instead.

11 SP Ryan Kerrigan Jarvis Jenkins

The next one is a beauty.  A Stephen Davis Turkey Red jersey card.  This card is all kinds of wonderful and cost me $2.  Not bad at all for a jersey card.

06 TR Stephen Davis Game Worn Jersey

This is where it gets fun.  Heath Shuler.  He was a highly touted QB coming out of Tennessee and was to be the face of the franchise for years to come.  His QB guru head coach was going to groom him in to the next Troy Aikman, or at least some other great Hall of Fame QB.

95 SP Heath Shuler Reflextions

A lack of pocket presence and multiple injuries helped derail his career along with inability to really learn the offense that was tailored to fit his specific athletic abilities.

95 AP Heath Shuler Armed Forces

Luckily for the Redskins, they drafted another QB…you know, just in case The Man didn’t work out.  Why does this sound so familiar…?

Sick Pickups!

The title is true, but not in the douchey overused term that is used way too much in this hobby today.  My whole family was sick, including me.  The wife and baby had the H1N1, aka swine flu and luckily i avoided it.  There has been a minor breakout of this strand of flu in Portland and SW Washington…but i somehow missed out, I guess I’m just strong like that!

The sick pickup part comes in to play with an evening visit to Target to get a few physical mending supplies like juices, fruits and drugs.  I’ve been avoiding retail packs for a while now because of the unlikeliness of getting anything worthwhile.  I ended up buying a few packs just to see what the cards look like, knowing I wouldn’t be happy with any of them.  I guess I was delirious and more than happy to fill my slightly sick body with new shiny football cards.  Here are some fun scans of what i spent my hard earned loot on.

The first pack was Absolute Football from the fine folks over at Panini.  I pulled two QB’s that I have a lot of respect for, even though i can’t stand either of their teams.  The Cowboys dislike should be obvious…they are the hated rivals.

13 AF Tony Romo

The Seahawks one may not be as clear for you.  I find their fans to be a little over the top.  I’ve been to football games in Dallas, Houston, Seattle, New Orleans and DC.  The fans in Seattle are hands down the most belligerent and a little too handsy for my liking.  Plus they act as though they’ve won 3 Super Bowls.  They haven’t, but the Redskins have.  Now, that’s not to take anything away from Wilson.  I think he is great.  I actually love the kid.  He’s modest and works really hard and I believe he is going to become one of the leagues great QB’s.  He’s also an underdog which I always love.

13 AF Russell Wilson

I also managed to pull a serial numbered Phillip Thomas card.

13 PP Phillip Thomas 411:499

Next up is Topps Prime.  The base cards of this set are decent.  I feel that the photos are way too tight on the players and would love to see a full photo of the athletes…maybe that sounds weird if you read it out loud, but I think you know what i mean.  Is it me or is Milliner’s smile a little goofy?

13 TP Rob Gronkowski Dee Milliner

Jordan Reed!  I have the hobby version of this card, now the thinner retail version is in my sole possession.

13 TP Jordan Reed

Ok, so this next card really caught me off guard.  Is this seriously the best photo Topps could get of Matt Ryan?  I have to believe there are at least 15 other photos that could have been used, but they chose this shot.  He’s even staring in to the camera while giving his center the business!  I’m sure Mrs. Ryan is none too happy about the photo immortalized on card stock…at least it’s not a butt fumble card…Mr. Sanchez…

13 TP Matt Ryan

The final pack was PRIZM.  YES!  I loved Prizm last year and I think this years cards are equally as nice.  Love the quality of the card, the texture and photography of them as well.  Target has a small rack pack that came with 3 red parallel cards, and here are two of them.  Both are often injured RB’s.  These red cards have a nice sparkle to them, almost like a disco ball or some fancy pop star sequence…very shimmery when viewed in person.

13 PP Ryan Mathews Red Target Parallel

Spankee, if you like the Wilson…it’s yours.

13 PP David Wilson Red Target Parallel

Here are two more cards.  Michael Vick.  He would look good in the Burgundy and Gold next year as a backup to RGIII and could teach him how to survive in the NFL.  Maybe teach him how to slide too?  Or just run out of bound before being tackled?  #justsayin

13 PP Michael Vick

Kenjon Barner.  Showing this one because he’s a Duck and so am I…sort of.

13 PP Kenjon Barner

The last two cards came from the Prizm pack.  I’m guessing they are not part of any Prizm insert or chase set as they have none of the qualities of Prizm.  BUT, they do have a QR code on the back that takes you to an online video.  Unfortunately Kenny Stills doesn’t explain his hair in the interview which I think is a huge missed opportunity.  Terrance Williams broke my heart this afternoon, but that’s nothing new.

13 PP Kenny Stills Terrance Williams

Top 12 All Time Redskins: Stephen Davis

Trying to get back on track with my Top 12’s.  It’s been a few months since i posted a new player…i guess i just wanted to sit on Santana Moss a little longer than most.  Next up at #7 is Mr. Stephen Davis.  I can’t believe i’m doing this, but i’m gonna post a video of Davis as a Panther.  I apologize for the music…nickelback…i am so so sorry.

This might possibly be the oddest top 12 Redskin on the list.  When most people think of Davis, they probably imagine him running behind Jake Delhomme and not Brad Johnson.  His Redskins career was shorter than it really should have been and if i recall correctly, this was due mostly to a contract dispute.  The Redskins thinking he was another replaceable guy at running back at the end of his career and Davis knowing he had some yards left…well, the Redskins were wrong on this one (and many others, i know) as he made a Super Bowl appearance with the Panthers in his first season with them.

96 SC Stephen Davis

One of the things that i loved about Davis was his powerful running and bulldozing style, very similar to the Diesel, but also a great way to shorten your career.  Davis’ pounding running style was a major force for the 1999 Redskin team that won the NFC East and were a bobbled snap from playing the Rams in the NFC championship game…

96 SB Stephen Davis

Another point of interest for me and Stephen Davis is that he is from Spartanburg, South Carolina!  My pops and all his family are from Spartanburg and with me being born in Myrtle Beach, I’m always drawn to football talent from SC.  Although i’m more of a Tigers fan than an Gamecocks fan, i can respect Clowney.  Good thing Davis went to Auburn.  As a side note, Auburn’s architectural design/build program, the Rural Studio is a fantastic group of young architects doing great things in rural Alabama and Mississippi.  Wish i could have been a part of that program when i was an undergrad.

96 PP Stephen Davis

Not much to add about Davis, other than i just loved the way he played.  Loved the mashers…kind of reminds me of Alfred Morris.  And the beat goes on!

00 UD Stephen Davis

if you are still reading…this music is so so much better.

 

A Panini Redemption

I rode home today in the pouring rain and was extremely unprepared for the down pour. By the time I got home I was covered in dirty road rain. That kind of dirt that cars kick up and gets all over your clothes, socks, shoes and backpack. I did have a sweet mud mohawk on my butt and a thick layer of mud coated on my pastey white legs. I was freezing and I was tired…the only thing I really wanted to do was clean up and get ready for the Spurs game. As i typically do first thing, i went to check the mail…and saw a yellow bubble mailer! Suddenly i feel great and excited to see what it has to offer…It’s a Panini Redemption and This one only took 119 days! That less than 4 months!

YAY! Sarcasm!

12 LL Joe Adams Auto Jersey 28:49

This redemption is of Joe Adams from the Carolina Panthers, Colbey, numbered 28/49 with a decent sticker auto and a portion of his jersey used at the Rookie Premier with the NFLPA. I like that they mention where the jersey came from, maybe this isn’t a new thing, but it’s the first time I noticed it. The scan doesn’t really do the card justice as it is crazy shiny and reflective, cats love these sorts of things. Leaf Limited was one of those small but spendy box breaks that I jumped on this year. I was quite impressed with the high quality of cards and player selections. This is just another example of a great card.

Redemptions can be a pain as many bloggers have mentioned, but when they come in unexpectedly and make your cold grey day sunny they are wonderful.