Big time baseball

I’m writing while watching the WBC Championship Game between Los Estados Unidos y Puerto Rico…and i must say…i’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Spring “classic” tournament this go round.  I know it’s not a super popular thing to like the WBC, but maybe that’s a thing of the past?  For the past week and a half, i’ve checked in to just about every game and have been captivated by the intensity of professional baseball players in early…now mid March.  Honestly, i’ve enjoyed the baseball tourney significantly more than the basketball tourney that’s going on these days.  Mostly due to the fact that i’m not a huge basketball fan, and i’m a big baseball fan, but more than that.  It’s the level of competition and intensity each nation has laid out for each game.  Plus you get to see some major talent that are teammates during the season compete against each other in these games…looking at you Manny and Adam…I don’t know, i think it’s a beautiful thing and I hope you do too…This is very entertaining baseball, maybe not baseball at it’s highest most intense level, but great to watch.  And Marcus Stroman…man, what a night for the Blue Jay kid.

I haven’t picked up any new cards in a while, but had a few Bowman cards sitting around from a box of 2015 i bought a few months ago.  In hopes of not wasting your time, here are the hits.

15-bc-daniel-carbonell-230250-auto

First up to bat is a Giants prospect Daniel Carbonell with an autograph that looks like he may have passed out before he wrapped up the ‘n’ in his name.  Maybe he had to grab a snack and refuel, i get it…you’re working, you get distracted and forget to eat…it happens.  Daniel learned how to write his ‘D’s just like i did when i was in grade school…and for that, i say ‘atta boy!

15-bc-juan-herrera-auto

Mr. Juan Herrera, a Cardinals prospect a the time has basically signed his card like i sign one of those electronic signature devices these days.  A big ‘K’ followed by scribble and then a big ‘R’ followed by more scribbles…in this case, we see a big ‘J’ and a ‘H’.

15-bc-raisel-iglesias-220499-auto

Raisel Iglesias.  This guy seems like he could be on target for the Reds closer job…assuming the all too important ‘good health’ caveat.  I must admit, this autograph made me smile quite a bit.  Just write the last name and your number please…first names aren’t important here.

15-bc-rndrys-briceno-auto

Endrys Briceno signs his card ‘Ends’ as in the ends of this WBC is about to happen after Stanton bounced that ball of the right centerfield wall.  Detroit Tigers.

15-bc-rowdy-tellez-auto

Rowdy Tellez.  So this is one guy i did a little research on prior to posting his card and was surprised to find out that he is only 22.  I kind of thought he had been around for a few years and was in his mid to late 20’s.  Also, i think his autograph looks like what i would imagine Ron Jeremy’s autograph would look like.

15-bc-stephen-gonsalves-auto

It figures that a left would sign his card justified to the left…and keep all the ink to the left…lefties man…Also, the name Gonsalves is very unique, maybe even odd.  He’s another one of those 22 year old people.

I got Adam Jones as my WBC tourney MVP.  That catch was everything.  Amazing play in a big play moment.  Plus he’s really a great guy…can’t help but imagine what kind of career he would have had if he wasn’t traded from Seattle for Erik freakin’ Bedard!

So, a year ago i was working late at work…really late.  I was on a ridiculous deadline and working until midnight 3-4 times a week for 4+ months.  Although it was a brutal time, i managed to listen to a lot of spring training baseball and a ton of new music.  In between breaks of music and working (and whiskey drinking) I jumped on to twitter and was deeply saddened when i saw that Phife Dawg had died.  I believe it was around 11pm when i found out and it just stopped me and my thought process…i couldn’t do anything the rest of the night.  A Tribe Called Quest was one of those groups that i fell in love with immediately as a teenager and continued to love through my twenties, thirties and now forties.  Losing Phife was devastating…but as it’s an unfortunate part of life, you try to focus on what they did while they were here and not focus on the fact that they are gone…so, tonights video is  one of my favorite Tribe songs…and maybe another one of Phife, just for fun.

thanks for reading tonight.

Silver pack attack.

That’s how they get ‘cha!

Apparently Topps is doing a giveaway for purchasers of their hobby boxes, which is fantastic.  I believe the “catch” is that you have to buy hobby boxes in order to get the four card per pack freebie…which i’m totally fine with.  Most of my boxes, actually all of them now since i don’t really do blaster boxes, are from Dave and Adams or my LCS down the street.  So, as a collector it’s a win-win chicken din-din!

Wanna see what i got?  Take a look-see.

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It’s a Freddie Freeman from the Atlanta Braves.  Wonder how he feels about the local football team crappin’ the bed last Sunday?

17-tosp-joey-votto

I also got a Joey Votto card.  He’s a Canadian.  I work with a Canadian and she’s great, really nice.  I always imagine Joey Votto would be a nice guy as well, until i saw him swat that fans shirt last year…he did end up giving him a souvenir afterwards, so maybe he is nice.

17-tosp-andrew-benintendi

Next guy is Adrew Benintendi.  Name is much harder to spell than i had expected.  Seems like yet another young superstar for the Sox…great…they have a pretty stacked lineup and don’t think they will miss Papi much this year, except maybe the veteran leadership?

17-tosp-wil-myers

One of my best friends is a Padres fan…he was a Chargers fan, but i think he’s since moved on.  For his sake, i’d love to see Will stay healthy and lead his team to the playoffs, maybe even the World Series.  Dreamers gotta dream i guess.

17-tosp-yoenis-cespedes

I love Cuba and I love Cuban players.  This guy is from Cuba and a solid power hitter.  Seems a bit like a wild card though…how great of a player can he be for the Mets this year?

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Piggy!  Next to Verly, he’s my favorite Detroit player…that’s all i got.

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Hammerin Hank Aaron with the Atlanta Braves and high stirrups.

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Last card is Jackie Robinson…love this card and love the image.  Great card.

That’s all i got tonight…crazy tired from the Run the Jewels show the other night…i’m too old to go to midnight shows…but hey, it was well worth it!  I love RTJ!

Mile High Hogs

When i travel to a new destination I like to pick up a few packs or a blaster from the local Target or Wal-Mart.  It’s kind of a souvenir.  A souvenir that matters to me and hand a greater level of value than a cheesy shirt (although i love an odd shirt now and again…).  The cards serve as a little reminder of the town I was in, an artifact from a past vacation.  In the past, the trips have been via automobile and the cards were a little easier to handle since i could always see where they were and keep them safe and sound.  The last couple of trips though have been via airplane…the friendly skies!  When traveling, i’m always concerned about the safety and security of the cards and tend to open them up when i get home.  Not this time though, i wanted to join the mile high club!  Well, i wanted my cards to join the mile high club…of sorts.  So i did it on a plane earlier this week!

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Since we card people don’t like damaged cards, getting these guys on the plane safely was a bit of an emotional journey for me.  Going through security and boarding a plane is difficult enough!  My first concern was the lovely TSA folks that can be a little handsy with people and peoples stuff.  The only thing worse than the disinterested cashier man-handling (woman-handling…? person-handling…?) the cards and dropping them 18″ to the bottom of a plastic bag is definitely getting them through TSA.  They pick up bags and boldly ask “THIS RED ONE YOURS SIR!”, why, yes.  The red bag that i was about to grab is mine…definitely my bag.  The surly looks that follow…them, not me…i’m nice.  Half the battle has been fought, but the war has not been won.  I still need to get these unprotected packs boarded and loaded on a flying tube with an ever increasing shortage of personal stowing space.  Done deal.  Packs located gently on my fold away tray until i am told to hide my fold away tray.  See the photo above (and now below) that was after we reached our cruising altitude…so no foul there although my phone was not in airplane mode.

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Normally when i’m opening a pack of cards i like to have space to lay them out and sort them as i go through the cards.  Kinda particular about those sorts of things, you know.  It’s nice to have a little layout space and a clean surface to boot.  In hindsight this plan would have been better if i had a more sturdy box to put them in afterwards.  Enough with the long winded build up.  Here is what was pulled.

Tyler Glasnow – Pittsburgh Pirates | Alex Bergman – Houston Astros

Dee Gordon – Miami Marlins | Cole Hamels – Texas Rangers

Brian McCann – New York Yankees | Tyler White – Houston Astros

Kenta Maeda – Los Angeles Dodgers | Gleyber Torres – New York Yankees

Javier Guerra – San Diego Padres | Jorge Mateo – New York Yankees

Kolby Allard – Atlanta Braves | Lucius Fox – San Francisco Giants

Not a bad pack, no real jaw droppers.  I do like the three Yankee cards and the Alex Bergman is nice as well as the Maeda card.  They all have a nice little shine to them as well.  My wife, sitting in the miserable middle seat (love ya babe!) was particularly fascinated by the shiny-ness of these cards which the cabin lighting made a little extra sexy!  Here’s pack two!

JP Crawford – Philadelphia Phillies | Austin Meadows – Pittsburgh Pirates

Raul Mondesi Jr. – Kansas City Royals | Byron Buxton – Minnesota Twins

Eddie Rosario – Minnesota Twins | Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds

Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals | Billy McKinney – Chicago Cubs

Tyler O’Neill – Seattle Mariners | Conner Greene – Toronto Blue Jays

Brady Aiken – Cleveland Indians | Francis Martes – Houston Astros

Each of the cards made it home safe and sound, no dings, no dents, no errors.  Twenty Four shiny cards to sit and wait on now…will they become stars or not…!

So there you go.  That was the very first time i’ve ever busted a pack on a plane, in the air above the United States of America.  Hope you enjoyed the show!

***BIG PIMPIN***

Now it’s time to do some contest pimpin’ for Collector’s Crack and his annual NFL playoff contest!

Almost the Easiest Super Bowl Contest on the Web

Since i don’t have to deal with the emotions of having my team in it this year, i’m free to pick a SB matchup that will hopefully be closer to reality…and so should you!  So, hit that link and sign up!  But first, in honor of CB’s contest i thought i’d post a couple of videos in line with all the pimpin’.  First is one of my favorite UGK songs and the other is an interesting documentary on Pimp C that i haven’t quite gotten through yet.  It’s by Mass Appeal, so you can’t really go wrong though.

2013 Topps S2 – Packs 1 and 2

It’s been a few weeks since i’ve done just a baseball post and I have a jumbo box of Topps Series 2 sitting here to my left.  Whattaya say we open it up slowly and see what we see kids!

There’s no need to go over the design of these cards since it’s been covered ad nauseam on your favorite bloggers website, so i’m just going to touch on the hits and fun cards that were pulled from the packs…two at a time.  Double your pleasure!

The first card is two cards, because i’m doubling your pleasure…remember?  I LOVE landscape base cards.  I think they are fantastic and would love to see more sets go this route…just for the fun of it, you know?  The only problem is that they don’t look as great when put in a binder which is where these two islanders are going.  HanRam, as some of you may know is one of my favorite players and along with Carl Crawford are the only two guys that I collect that haven’t played for the Yankees…yet.  Wait until they are 35, then they will be in pinstripes. Apparently that’s what the Bronx Bombers do these days.  Lose to the Orioles and sign old guys.  The Chapman card is also fantastic, plus he’s Cuban…and I love Cuba…PLUS he’s throws really really hard and fast.

13 T Hanley Ramirez Aroldis Chapman

The next two cards are one of the reasons why people hate Topps.  Although, I don’t think either one of these guys are SP cards they are still super gimmicky.  Of the two, I would rather be Justin Ruggiano becuase it’s either water or that crazy clear Ice Gatorade or something…I have no idea, the card doesn’t explain what is being expelled on his shoulder.  Anyone feel sorry for the sideline reporter on the Lombardozzi card?  Me neither…

13 T Justin Ruggiano Steve Lombardozzi

Alright, this is where is turn in to a singles hitter.  That said, here is Derek Jeter.  I love the Captain.  And there is nothing wrong with that, just like there is nothing wrong with starting a sentence with and.

13 T Derek Jeter

This is a cool card because it has Bryce Harper and the look of a child who got his hand caught in the cookie jar.  Brian is the older brother that gets in trouble for not keeping a better eye on his little brother.  Big Brother = Baltimore Orioles — Little Brother = Washington Nationals.

13 T Brian Roberts

Here is one of the 73 different inserts that Topps likes to entice people to collect.  I believe this is what they call an emerald card?  Please correct me if i’m wrong, and if you are correct, I will send you this card.  When scanned, it kind of looks like a forrest.  David didn’t do so well in the Home Run Derby this evening…on his home turf, but neither did Robbie Cano donchaknow.

13 T David Wright

Another insert, similar to the The Greats inserts.  Yes, I used The back to back.  As far as i’m concerned, this card would be better if it were Rickey Henderson.  Not to take anything away from the wizard, he was a phenomenal player, but when you have 73 inserts, it would be nice to get one of your favorite player, eh?

13 T Ozzie Smith The Elite

This rarely happens, but I pulled a box hit in one of my first two packs.  This heavy ass metal mettle coin card of Adrian Gonzalez.  I like this guy so much more now that his short stint with the Red Sox is over.  Great player, great cards…but still heavy.

13 T Adrian Gonzalez Proven Mettle Bronze 36:50

Autograph collection

One of the things i’ve noticed about the blogs I follow is the vast collection of through the mail autographs.  When i was a kid, i was totally addicted to this…especially growing up in San Antonio where we didn’t have a major league baseball team.  We did have the San Antonio Missions who were the AA affiliate for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the time, but they played games on the other side of town and it seemed like a really long trip to see guys i didn’t know.  So, one summer i got the great idea to take all of my doubles and cards i wasn’t too attached to and send them to players.  I did this for 2 or 3 summers starting in 1987 and was fairly successful.  I was only 11 at the time and didn’t have the foresight to track who i sent to or how long it took, but i was pleased with most of the players that responded.

AU Eric Davis AU Paul Molitor

I remember spending a ton of money on stamps, almost to the point that i wondered if it was really worth it all.  For me at that age, getting mail was always exciting, especially when it was in an envelop i had addressed to myself.  There would be weeks when i would come home to a card a day.  Pure excitement for me at the time.

Going through these cards really brings back a lot of good and awkward memories of my childhood.  I was an only child and never had a large group of friends, so i put everything i had in to my hobby.  I think that’s why it’s still with me to this day, it’s always been something that i could focus on and really enjoy…and get lost in.  There is something very child like about collecting cards as we all know, and it’s also a little therapeutic at times.  It’s been a ton of fun going through these cards and trying to remember how i came about them.  Some have been personalized and some rubber stamped.  Some players sent out pre-signed cards and kept the ones i sent…either way, i was always happy to receive something new from a major league ball player.

AU Mike Schmidt AU Bo Jackson

As i’ve gotten older, my pursuit for autographs has waned, other than pulling them in packs/boxes or buying them to fill player collections.  Plus i’ve felt awkward asking for an autograph of someone 15 years younger than me.  Much respect to those though that still work to get autos, believe me, i understand the thrill of the auto!

Some of the cards are also a little sad as the players have passed on for various reasons…way too soon for these guys.  Makes me feel really lucky that i was able to have something they were a part of before their untimely passing.

AU Kirby Puckett AU Derrick Thomas

Best of luck to all the through the mail auto collectors and hope you enjoyed some of my cards in this post.  I plan to post some additional cards in the future, but am continuing to post them on my cardboard hogs tumblr account…please feel free to visit and always feel free to leave a comment or two here.  I would love to hear your feedback and know that good collector folks are reading!

thanks!