Opening Day…a couple of days late

The last few years i’ve taken the…sort of MLB opening day of Monday off.  I already get Sundays off, so it’s not really necessary to take that day off.  It’s Monday’s that i like to not be at work.  Plus, who likes working on Monday’s.  They tend to suck don’t they?  Take ’em off i say.  The only problem though was that i am drowning in a mess of a deadline at work…so that time could have been better spent working than watching baseball…but life goes on.

Normally, i take this time off to be with my kid, but he’s in school until 3pm and i saw that as a time in the day to open up some packs of cards from my local Target.  Why Target and not my LCS…well, Brian was apparently out that day…he must have taken opening day off too.

I’m not typically a pack buyer or box buyer unless i plan on putting the set together, but i do like to pick up a pack or two of new releases.  A couple reasons, it helps me replenish my team card lots as well as adds star cards to my personal collection…which unfortunately ends up living in a white box in my basement.  Let’s take a look at what i picked up.

Just a couple of battery mates from the city by the bay.  MadBum and Posey.  Both of these cards are fantastic examples of how Panini should make cards with none…or at least very minimal photoshopping in order to get a proper non logo’d image.  Plus some cool action photos

Next up is a couple of Longo cards that just so happened to be back to back in the fat pack of Donruss.  Longoria was one of those guys that I had added to my PC a few years ago…but never really followed up on him.  I kinda feel bad for the guy.  He’s a great player on a mediocre team…they’re not bad, but playing in the AL East is tough…plus, not too much fan support in Tampa for their baseball team.

17 DO Andrew McCutchen

Cutch is a player that i’ve waffled on adding as a “guy i collect” but never seem to actually getting it done.  Instead, i think i’ll just add this card to my non official collection of him…again, in the white basement box.

17 DO Gary Sanchez

Ok, this guy.  Mr. Sanchez will most likely be a “guy i collect”.  I’m already building up a little stack of his cards so far…would like to get an autograph of his at some point this year.  I’ve never been overly fond of catchers though…cept for Posada of course!

17 DES Madison Bumgarner 96:249

Last card from the Donruss pack was this shimmery bit of sexiness.  A Madison Bumgarner ‘The Elite Series’ serial numbered card of 96/249.  It was the only hit of the day for me…very nice though.

Next up was a few packs of Gypsy Queen.  GQ is something that i get excited about each year, but never really seem to get that much in to the set.  I saw a few samples on the other blogs and was quite impressed with the cards this year though.  My trip to Target yielded single packs only.  I had high hopes of getting a blaster, but that wasn’t in the cards for me…so i had marginal expectations for the packs i picked up and was definitely not let down…or lifted up?  Pretty cool to get a couple Bronx Baby Bombers though.

Rizzo, because he’s a champion of the world with the Cubbies.  Also, JaCoby Jones…not the receiver from Super Bowl fame, but JaCoby Jones that appears to be doing something that should not be done on a baseball card, but maybe i’m just a perv…

17 GQ Trea Turner

Trea Turner.  I watched the Nets game Monday morning and couldn’t get over how smooth Trea seemed out at short.  He’s quite the talent at such a young age and he rocks the 7 like he owns it.  Can’t wait to see what kind of player he becomes.

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When i first saw this card, i thought it was some kind of error card.  NO WORDS!  I’m rich!!  Well actually it’s an introduction card from last season of a clean shaven Evan.  Maybe he’s working to get back in my PC box.

17 TOD Adrian Beltre

Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus are buddies and should totally make a buddy cop movie.

17 TOD Elvis Andrus

A former Nat in a Sox Jersey.  Not sure Adam Eaton was worth giving up on Giolito…but Rizzo is a better baseball GM than i am and so maybe i should just trust the process and see what Eaton can do this season.

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Now, Topps Opening Day is not something i buy much of if at all.  Just not really in to the cards.  I wish they would do something different with the cards rather than just copy the base design…but, it’s a cool and inexpensive little set each year that i like to get a few packs from.

17 TOD Trea Turner

Last card of note is Turner again.  A nice kitchen mitten action photo.  That’s how i look chasing my kid when he takes the spatula from the kitchen when i’m making fried eggs on sundays.

So that wraps it up for me tonight.  Deadline wraps up next week…not sure i’ma make it but there’s always another deadline…Oh yeah.  One odd story.  At the end of last year, i received an email which i initially though was just some spam email.  Turns out it was legit.  Someone from a book publisher had reached out to me as they came across an image from my blog a few years ago (2013 no less!).  They wanted a copy of an image i did not produce, but scanned and wrote about…as we all do.  The image they wanted was the one shown below.  Adam Dunn’s 2013 Topps Series 2 card #647.

Baseball Meat Market

I was slightly confused because…it’s not an original image of mine, just a scanned one.  I was concerned about sharing the image, but figured it wasn’t in my court…it was their book.  Nevertheless, the book is out and i read through a couple pages and it’s quite a fascinating take on some of the biggest, recent trades and how each team benefited or not from the deals.  Kind of excited to read a little more soon…plus an “image of mine” has been published…not really, but you know what i mean…

Today’s music video is brought to you by Evidence from Dilated Peoples.  It’s a great one!!!

One more Chance!

I have a stack of cards in front of me that have a story that needs to be unearthed, something that can connect the pieces of card stock together in a nice little cycle of like kinda way.  I just don’t know what that story is yet.  I got foil cards. I got celebrity cards, I got guys with turkey necks and a guy that took a barbecue sauce bath, and some cards that are called Fire but look like Chihuly glass…guess it was fired glass…semantics i guess.  Let’s start with the celebrity stock of First Pitches.

Two rappers, one is The Rapper…Chance that is.  The other is Warren G.  If you have been reading my words the past few years, you are fully aware of my affinity towards the rap music and culture.  I’m pretty critical with my rap music though, almost a snob…yes, you should call it a snobbish attitude.  I love lyrics and great storytelling.  Guys…and Gals…that can paint a picture with their words in a seemingly quick or witty manner.  The two guys above do that, although in all honesty, i can’t say i’m a fan of either.  The reason for me?  Their voice.  Guru from Gangstarr had a song “Mostly the Voice” that clearly explained that its mostly the voice that we love or hate about a rapper.  Now, he did go on to explain that the lyrics are critical as well, but in his opinion…it’s mostly the voice, and i agree with these two guys.  Both Chance and Warren G have very distinctive sounds to them and are incredible story tellers.  One of Warren G’s biggest hits was a terrific narrative of the wild life of an inner city Regulators, but the voice though…couldn’t handle it, plus it was the kind of laid back west coast music i wasn’t really in to back then.  Now, Chance is one of those new rappers and i’m an old guy, so part of my distaste for his sound is that i’m not sure i truly get his metaphors.  Seems like a great kid, positive kid trying to do some great things and share his stories…just not something i’m really in to yet.  Possibly haven’t given it a good enough listen, I just struggle with him.  Plus he’s in Kit Kat commercials and gettin’ down with so many different stars on my television set and internet machines.  Seems like a lot of success came quick for him, too quick.  I’m sure he’s been grinding at his craft for a while…but too much too soon for me to be a believer.

16-tufp-aubrey-plaza

Speaking of quick success, Aubrey Plaza.  Came on the scene out of nowhere with her popular character in the comedy series Park and Recreation (April Ludgate) who might have been the quintessential apathetic employee…that’s what the backside of this card said about her.  Think that’s pretty appropriate.  I had never heard of her until the Parks and Rec show that i watched for Nick Offermans’ character, Ron Swanson and the lovable Amy Poehler.  I feel like Aubrey is one of those actors/actresses that doesn’t really ACT! but rather ends up playing the same person in each role that is really her in real life like Vince Vaughn or Michael Cera.  She’s cute, awkwardly funny and somewhat edgy i guess.  I must admit that her glove seems excessively large for her scale of human being.  A smaller glove may have been in order for her big first pitch opportunity.  Wonder if she could borrow another one?

Here are those Fire cards i was talking about earlier, not really sure how i feel about these inserts.  Maybe if the card stock was thicker and possibly shinier, shiny is good sometimes, then i might be all in.  I’m definitely all in for Griffey and McCutchen.

Griffey and Cutch appear to be in a flaming cauldron and trying to swing their way out to a burning hell.  The Cutch card should be a Steelers card.  Meanwhile the two Dodgers i pulled are emerging straight out of a pit of propane and butane, or more poeticly, emerging from the latest experimental Chihuly sculpture.  Either way Maeda is feeling the effects of those flames coming in as hot as blue blazes!!! (my grandma would have been so proud of me for getting that one in, miss you Winn!)

We’re about to go from fire to foil, just like a night over the grill.  (Really wished i pulled a Jason Grilli foil card, would have made that transition solid gold).  I will settle for this quote though from the back of Pat Deans’ card “the cunning southpaw soaked up a barbecue sauce shower after beating Felix Hernandez for his first win”.  So foil, grilling, BBQ sauce, Pat Dean:

16-tu-pat-dean

You readers at home are just going to have to trust me in regards to the foil on these guys.  It’s there, you can’t see, but trust me, it’s there.

16-tu-kyle-schwarber16-tu-kelvin-herrera16-tu-bartolo-colon-hr

The next card was a pretty cool pull, a Cubs team card black and white reverse negative SP card…wait, It’s a Jake Arrieta card…wait, it’s a Jake Arrieta no-hitter card…wait, it’s a damn checklist.  Damn!!!  It’s also a very demonic appearing David Ross.

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Moving on to the next group of cards.  Serial numbered foil cards with perforated screen print and a running 2016 Topps banner…these cards have it all…everything on one card.  If it had a snowflake/snow flake (forgot to look that up today…) it would have been over the top though.  The thing that struck me about this trifecta of National League East pitchers was their turkey neck poses.  I wonder how many players get excited to see their cards in a pack and pull…

THIS!

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OR THIS!

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OR THIS…!!!

16-tu-bartolo-colon

Actually, i can’t really see Bartolo Colon ever caring about his image on a card, seems too carefree for such frivolities.  That glove…he should let Aubrey Plaza use that if she ever tosses out the first pitch for the Metropolitans.

I have a few more cards to post, the hits you know.  Gotta wait for those tomorrow though.  Kinda happy with the little success i had with those three cards…not a bad bunch.  Nothing ground breaking, but nice no less.

Hope you guys have a great evening.

Here’s a video from one of the greatest storytellers in rap and a no doubt classic.  From 1988!!!

Black Friday Heritage

So, I did some Black Friday shopping in my pajamas like a good American.

No, I wasn’t at Wal-Mart at 3am busting down the storefront and trampling mustached women in rascals.  Even better, I did it online over at the Check Out My Cards wonderful website.  I had been building up my cart for some time, nearly 6 months, and decided I needed to work on completing some sets.  Most of what I picked up was 2010 Heritage base cards, but I also picked up some New Age Performers from this past years set along with a couple Then and Now cards.

And here they are!

Miguel Cabrera involved in a deeply personal thought about SABRmetrics

13 TH Miguel Cabrera NAP

Yoenis Cespedes.  It took me about 5 tries to find this card, because apparently Yoenis is nearly impossible for me to spell.  Yoenis.

13 TH Yoenis Cespedes NAP

Billy Butler is both excited and nervous about the pitch he just hit…one can only wonder…

13 TH Billy Butler NAP

Check out the baby faced Aparicio and the babier face of Michael Nelson Trout.  I believe the Mathews/Dunn card would have been perfect if we could have gotten some chest hair on the Dunn photo…Taco meat for everyone!

13 TH Mike Trout Adam Dunn T&N

Time permitting, i’d love to scan some of my other pick ups from COMC…but i’m not sure time will permit in the next few holiday days.  One cool thing of note is that I have Boxing Day off.  This is the second year we’ve had this holiday since we were taken over in a not so hostile manner by a Canadian company.  I’ve heard positive things and negative things about the holiday, so i’m not sure if I should let my white guilt reign over me or if I should just buy some more baseball cards.  Any thoughts out there from our friendly neighbors to the north?

2013 Topps S2 – Packs 5 and 6

The last couple of posts have been about celebrations.  This post is going to be about great plays and faces…as in the faces of men celebrating something or working very hard at doing something.

The first pair of cards feature a very smooth and shaded Jackie Bradley Jr. gliding in to make a very nonchalant catch.  Jackie has a great name and also had a wonderful spring training rendering him the next superstar phenom…unfortunately, spring ended and so did his hot run.  He’s a great young player and is in that always awkward transition of being a major leaguer and a AAA player…he’s too young to say he’s a AAAA guy, plus I think he has a ton of talent.  One thing I can’t seem to understand is that the Red Sox always seem to have a great farm system and the Yankees continue to ignore theirs…or at least the Yanks don’t seem to be able to develop enough major league talent.  The other card is of Andy Dirks and he appears to have made the catch, good for him and better for the photographer for making this photograph.  This is one of the things I love about sports cards.  They can capture a singular moment in time and become eternal images on cardboard (card stock) forever.

13 T Jackie Bradley Jr Andy Dirks

The intensity of these next two faces is both fascinating and extremely disturbing.  Not sure what the expression being exhibited by Adam Dunn is about, but if I had a daughter I would keep her away from him…based on this one photo of him.  I know it’s judgmental, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut.  James Loney.  This is the face I make when i’ve become irregular and having a tough time with my situation.  Both intense faces, both disturbing faces.

13 T Adam Dunn James Loney

These next two cards are the epitome and possibly a little over the top of facial enthusiasm.  The Papelbon card is out of control, but so is Papelbon…this was probably a 38 pitch save in May, and this is how he’s reacting.  So Intense!  The Trouty card is kind of cool.  You have to love this kid.  He doesn’t get the fanfare that Bryce Harper does, for some odd reason?  Both are equally talented and are going to be a whole lotta fun to watch the next 12-15 years.  Wonder if Trout was in DC and Harper was in LA if Trout would get more love?  Harper would get attention regardless due to polarizing personality…just wondering.

13 T Jonathan Broxton Mike Trout

I’m not a Giants fan, I don’t hate them or even dislike them, I just don’t like them like them.  You know what I mean?  They are a solid team and should be successful for a very long time, or at least as long as this kid is healthy.  I have a feeling that this kid’s baby face isn’t going to age much, so I guess that would make him the Dick Clarke of baseball…no?

13 T Buster Posey Chasing History

I’m gonna end it with some mini action.  The Kid and a guy named BJ.  Why a guy would want to go by BJ is beyond me…but maybe that’s just my issue or maybe it’s because his name is Melvin Emanuel.  (ps. yes that is a hair…from my head linking the Kid and Melvin…i’m receding)

13 T Ken Griffey Jr BJ Upton Minis

2013 Topps – Packs 9 and 10

DONE!

I have finished opening 10 jumbo packs and am quite proud of myself.  The last two packs turned out to be pretty action packed as well as thick card packed.  There was a post over at Basketball Card Blog about the girth-iness of the Topps Cy Young card.  I was hoping I would pull one of my own and when i got to the 10th pack i noticed what looked like 10 cards glued together.  This reminded me of the time when i opened up an old shoebox of cards from the 90’s that had stuck together to form an un-bendable stack of good ole’ junk wax.  My heart broke as i ended up tossing most of these cards as they were damaged, that will teach you to put your 90’s glossy cards in some polypropylene sleeves for that long lasting protection.

On to the cardboard.

First card of note is The Big Hurt.  I absolutely LOVED this guy in the 90’s.  I remember going to my local flea market and buying 9 of his Score and Topps Rookie cards thinking i was investing in something really great.  Like most kids around this time, I was planning my investment strategies when these cards hit the $1,000 mark.  They sell for a few dollars now.  Frank Thomas was an unbelievable hitter.  Great command of the strike zone.  Herculean power and a fierce competitor.  One of my cousins from Phoenix City, Alabama tells me he went to school with Frank Thomas…i guess it’s believable since Thomas went to school in Columbus, Georgia just across the state line.  That anecdote had no other purpose than to be a topper, sorry.  These Chasing History cards are OK, not great, not terrible…just OK.  Topps has really gone out of their way to put retired players on cards the last 8+ years.  I think it’s a great theme to carry on, but maybe pump the brakes a little on this one.

13 T Frank Thomas Chasing History

Next up is Reggie Jackson and his super Abs.  This card is from his Athletics days.  Just look at those glasses and sweet ass afro busting out the bottom of his ear flapless helmet.  I couldn’t imagine players using ear flapless helmets these days…someone would be killed by an erratic fastball and claim some unwritten rule in doing so.  Still love these The Great cards, this one goes along with the Mo i pulled earlier.

13 T Reggie Jackson The Greats

This is my second Bryce Harper card from the box.  I got the base card #1 and this one.  These Chasing the Dream cards are kind of nice.  I would really like them if the name was easier to read on the left side…maybe that’s just due to my old, tired eyes.  Harper is going to be a great player and I really love the way he plays the game.  I want my son to go all out like he does.  Unfortunately, his temper gets in his way at times, Bryce Harper that is.  I think it’s going to get the best of him as he gets older and becomes a veteran and more comfortable pushing back.  Hope he doesn’t let it come to that though.  Topps absolutely loves this kid and it’s almost as if Mike Trout doesn’t matter that much…kind of crazy that the stat guys love Trout so much but his love is overshadowed fairly significantly by Harper, at least from what i’ve seen.

13 T Bryce Harper Chasing the Dream

Ok.  Here is my thick ass card.  It’s Alex Rodriguez.  Look at it.  That pompous smirk and his magnetic wrist band to increase blood flow to his wrists or from his wrists, i have no idea how those things work or if they work…snob.

13 T Alex Rodriguez AL Silver Slugger

If you knew me, you would know that I do not like A-Rod at all.  I think he is the worst of the selfish/narcissist modern athlete.  I really wish he didn’t play for the Yankees.  Anyone else but the Yankees.  I understand that a lot of athletes have personal issues and many are far worse than A-Rod, but something about him just kills me.  He is a false image of a great baseball player and overwhelmed with his own image that he diligently created.  I wonder if he just took less money and stayed in Seattle if i would feel this way?

Ironically, my last two packs contained these two minis.  Maybe it wasn’t irony but rather the cardboard gods (my apologies to the card atheists…) balancing things in a very confusing world.

One great humanitarian for the game that would drop everything to help people in need.  The other a self serving and self absorbed popcorn fed, orange spray tanning sucka!  Now, don’t get me wrong, A-Rod is/was a great talent.  Even with the PED rumors, i think he is one of the all time great players…it’s his attitude and entitlement that tugs at my short hairs.

13 T Clemente Rodriguez Minis

So that’s it.  10 packs and +/- 500 cards later.  Hope you enjoyed seeing what i pulled.