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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

We’re all snowflakes…

I grew up in Texas and snow is not a normal thing for me.  When i was 9 we had a huge blizzard in San Antonio, 14″ to be exact.  It was absolutely nuts…as a kid though, fantastic!    It was a freakish event that i will never forget.  Rafik and I missed a couple days of school and had the greatest time ever.  We watched Chris Marrou tell us about the school closures and hoped it would never end!  Our days were filled with bags of sugar to fuel the moments in between epic snowball fights and a rudimentary snow man construction site.  It was the greatest of times for every kid in town.

When we were able (forced) to go back to school, our classrooms had so many leaks that we were huddled en masse in the schools gym.  A very large, crowded and noisy gym.  A gym on the edge of child anarchy.  It was one conch away from being a snowy version of Lord of the Flies.  The teachers were on edge trying to keep us all in line for the couple of days.  We were being taught in a prefabricated building not suited for long division or lessons on social studies.  But they did it and they were the real MVP’s that week.

But now…

I’m a tall adult that likes collecting things like cards and books and also likes rap music.  I also like familiarity and something i can depend on…surprises don’t work well for me.  For the last month or so, my part of Portland has had 3 different weekends of snow…g’darn freakin’ snow!!!  Now, don’t get me wrong, snow is cool when you go to it and are able to look at it and touch it.  But when it comes to you as an unwanted guest, it’s a bit of an annoyance.  We haven’t have had a ruler lengths of snow, but enough to shut the city down a couple of days and keep me from work.  It’s also made my snow driving (sliding) skills ratchet up a tick or two.

All the snow that i was surrounded by made me cave and pick up a box of cards with snow flakes on them.  Subliminal marketing.  Well done Topps, you got me.  Now, let’s see what you gave me Topps.

One of the first things i noticed about these cards is the streaking on the card fronts.  Half of the cards in the blaster box contained the streaking.  Maybe the other bloggers have already touched on this and as usual, i’m late to the party, but it seems that the quality of these cards may have been left to be what they are.  Not super upset about it, but a little disappointed with these…especially the Kershaw card.

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Another thing that was very noticeable is the large amount of white space, most notably on the landscape cards.  Guess that’s the Topps blizzard parallel…?  Seems like a little gradient or transparency could have been a savior for Nick’s card.

These cards were awesome in their original issue and Ricky Bones seems to be dressed appropriately for this card, while Mike Trout is attempting to catch a tiny little snowflake.  Is snow flake one or two words?  snowflake snow flake…

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Dickey Flakes should be a cereal, f’real.

Please let me digress a bit here.  Not sure if you have heard of Krampus, I hadn’t until about two weeks ago.  He’s an incredibly evil Germanic character created to scare the shit out of bad kids…to be honest, i saw a video of him and was a tad scared.  We used the Krampus tactic over the holidays to keep our little snowflake/snow flake in line.  For the most part it worked…but i feel guilty about it in hindsight.  I would point out the window, similar to what Carlos Correa is doing and say “I SEE KRAMPUS!!” and my child of 51 months would run off terrified, similar to what Jed Lowrie is doing.  The things parents do to get done what they want to get done the way they want it to get done.  Not my best parenting story…but sadly, it yielded the result i was looking for.

We now begin the bumpy snowflake portion of the blog post with a couple winners.  Dexter and Kris.  It’s a shame Ernie Banks didn’t get to see these guys win the title.  RIP #14.

If the card on the right was Steve rather than Nori Aoki, the hair on this pair would be most epic.  But it’s just Jacob and Nori.

My game used memorabilia card was Adam Jones which is pretty cool.  I really like Adam and often wonder what his career would have been like if the Mariners kept him..also wonder what the Mariners could have done with his dependability over the incredibly fragile and unreliable Erik Bedard…hindsight is 50/50 man..

So that’s my highlights from a Wal-Mart box of snowflake cards.  Rumor has it we may get some more snow in the next few days up here, climate change ain’t no joke…remember that we are all snowflakes/snow flakes and nobody is like us…even though those Adam Jones cards are pretty much the same thing.

Heritage autograph issue

One of my favorite sets each year is Topps Heritage…actually it is my favorite set.  I buy a few boxes…actually i buy quite a few boxes each spring and slowly and painfully build a set including all of those damn high numbers.  What can i do, i’m a collector that must complete things.

One of the things that i love about Heritage is that it’s not a set based on “MoJo” or “Sick” hits, it’s just about set building…painful set building…but occasionally you get a nice autograph.  Only one though, remember it’s not a gamblers box of cards.  When you get that one auto it always seems to be pretty cool you know?  Most of my autos through the years have been veterans that played during the season of the Heritage re-up which is super cool.  Veteran guys that most of the time i know nothing about so it gives me a chance to learn a thing or two about a guy from the 50’s or 60’s.  It’s great for the history of the game and for educating the younger or maybe less informed fan of baseball.

Here are a couple autos i received from my 2015 Heritage purchases a couple years ago (don’t think these have been posted yet…if so, i apologize!)

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When i first saw this autograph Red Sox card of a guy named Schilling, all i could think of was a stupid bloody sock and…nevermind…not a fan of Curt Schilling, so i’ll leave it at that.  Now Chuck didn’t have a stellar career or a long career, only lasting 5 seasons with the BoSox.  But hey, i’d take 5 years as a big leaguer over non years.  As you can tell this card is red ink and numbered to 66…because it represents the 1966 Topps set…but also notice the 1.  I always like to get the lower number cards thinking that the penmanship is better for these cards.  Mr. Schilling has some pretty nice ink…right over the cup region to boot.

Next up is a younger, modern era player…maybe even a future superstar.  I think it’s safe to say that the way he’s pitched the past couple of years he’s at the star level for a star filled Blue Jays organization.  Mr. Aaron Sanchez

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When i look at this photo, i feel incredibly old.  He looks like he could be my son, my incredibly talented son with some additional flair to his signature.  Wouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t the exact same way Amy Schumer signs her autographs…just look at it.  I do appreciate how Aaron tucked his signature on his left shoulder over the white uniform.  Nice backdrop for a pretty decent autograph.

Step into 2016 with me.  Bought some more boxes of Heritage and pulled two autographs.

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Jake Wood.  I love this card.  Almost as much as the next one.  The smile on Jakes face looks like a smile of content and pride…like a guy that is genuinely happy to be where he is at that point in his life.  Now, i could be completely wrong as i don’t know Jake personally, but he just looks like nothing is ever too difficult for him.  Jake along with ol’ Chuck from up the page didn’t have a stellar career although it lasted a couple years longer.  Jakes is still pretty active and is doing some great things in the world according to wikipedia.  He continues to play softball at the ripe old age of 79…i can only hope i can still bend over when i’m 79.  Jake also mentors Inmates at a Jail in Florida for the “A Will and a Way” ministry.  Good for him.

Next guy up, Mr. George Altman.

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George to this point of my post has had the best professional baseball career (i see you Aaron Sanchez…).  George played with the legends of Chicago Cubs baseball; Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo and did more than keep his own among that great group of ball players.  As i mentioned above, this is one of my favorite cards from the bunch.  George looks idk an intimidating guy, he is 6’4″.  He’s also one of those odd guys that bats left and throws right…sorry batted/threw.  He also became the first player in the history of baseball to hit two home runs of the legendary Sandy Koufax in one game…not sure how many guys ever did that, context is everything, but to be the first to do anything like that is a good thing.

Got a few more autograph posts lined up for the next few days.  Nothing overly spectacular, but i’m hoping to learn a little about some of these guys.  Hope you enjoyed reading!

This is what we were listening to at the office today.  Childish Gambino aka Don Glover.  Check it out!

 

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

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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?

Breaking Box

Some of you kids, if not most of you have heard of Collector Revolution.  It’s supposed to be a revolution for collector’s in that it’s not ebay…or feebay as some like to call it.  For those that don’t know, it’s a place where collector’s can sell their goods to other collectors online.  Not a new concept, but a pretty cool place to find some good cards at a good rate from people you can sorta trust.  I still prefer COMC as my #1 online shopping for singles, but collectors revolution is something i may be looking into in the coming year.

One thing they have that really intrigued me was their online box breaks.  The intriguing part for me was that they are fairly inexpensive for good product…the drawback is that the breaks are all random, at least the ones i’ve seen.  If you are into big hits, which i tend to not be, than this is something you may be interested in.  For me, I like a little more focused collection process.  I don’t have a ton of money to spend on the hobby so any dollar I have to spend on product is stuff for completing sets or chasing players i like from teams i like.  That said, i wanted to give the breaks a few chances.

I was a little weary about the breaks at first, so went with a lower end football break of 2013 Leaf Certified and Platinum Football as well as a break of 2013 Topps Triple Threads.  I picked up two spots on the football break and one for the baseball break for a total of $30.  As i expected, I got teams I wasn’t excited about – San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts.  I was hoping for a Luck auto…but the best card i received was this Dan Fouts serial numbered card.

13 LC Dan Fouts Immortals 68:999

The baseball break was a little better.  I got the Tigers and received these two very nice cards.  An Al Kaline serial numbered card…

13 TT Al Kaline 55:125

…and a Prince Fielder Largest Card memorabilia card.  Nothing too exciting, but nice cards no less.

13 TT Prince Fielder Largest Card 16:36

Me being a glutton for punishment, i went in on a 4-box break for 2013 Topps Chrome…and pulled the Jacksonville Jaguars…i know…

13 TC Denard Robinson 86 Refractor

Not wanting to go out on a bad note, i thought i would buy a spot for the Topps Five Star for $14.50.  I figured, i would never buy this product ever and may end up getting lucky.  I was essentially buying 7 mega millions lottery tickets…and I lost.  I pulled the Astros and ended up not getting anything in the box.  When you go hitless in the box break, you name is added to a special bonus box break…which has yet to happen…i’m hoping it happens soon though!

All in all, I like the idea of the box and case breaks but not the random teams.  I’d rather pay a little premium to get the Redskins or Yankees or Nationals.  I guess at the end of the day it’s no different than buying a pack or box of cards in that you have no idea what you will get.  You could end up with a short print auto relic or you could end up with a 7th round offensive linemen…it’s always a gamble.  One that I will probably avoid in the future as it doesn’t fit my collecting tendencies.

PS – If you are interested in any of the cards above, let me know as they are up for trade!

PPS – as a side note and something completely unrelated…my favorite album of the year Run the Jewels from El-P and Killer Mike was noted as Okayplayer.com top album of 2013.  There are a few other albums on their I need to dig deeper into before I can agree with the ranking (Earl, Tyler and Chip).

2013 Topps S2 – Packs 9 and 10

Rounding Home.

So, i was going to post the final two packs from my series two box last night but we had a nice family dinner night with my mother, mother in law and brother in law.  Where did we go you ask, well we went to Pok Pok.  If any of you ever venture up to Portland, it’s not to be missed.  The restaurant has received quite a bit of notoriety the past few years and a place that we love to visit whenever we get a chance.  If you do indeed make it to Pok Pok, you MUST get the wings.  They are unlike any other wings you have ever had, they are BETTER!  Just a little local Portland foodie plug for any foodies out there.  There is also a spot out in Brooklyn, which i’ve heard is not quite the same…guess you need that Southeast Portland flavor to make it great.

Back to cardboard.  I’ve only two packs left to share and there isn’t too much for gloriousness, as i’ve pulled the ‘hits’ already.  As has been the case with the previous posts, i like to show dueling or similar cards.  The two below feature great faces of intense physical exertion.  Joaquin and Jorge are both doing their ultimate lip pursing, almost to the point that their lips have disappeared…but they haven’t because that would be wierd.

13 T Joaquin Benoit Jorge De La Rosa

Next is the contorting Jered Weaver Cut to the Chase.  This photo gives you a great idea as to how much pressure pitching can put on your body…and of course there is more lip pursing.

13 T Jered Weaver Cut to the Chase

Enter Sandman Chasing History.  This is an open mouth lip pursing.  Something only legends can do.  Can you do it properly?

13 T Mariano Rivera Chasing History

Salvador Perez is super happy in this card.  I’m assuming it’s a walk off for the win…but no lip pursing.  Disappointing.

13 T Salvador Perez Black Border

Finally.  Tiny Tim Lincecum.  Look at those long flowing locks, splayed glove and a cream white ANTS jersey.  Does the MLB test for weed?  I know it’s not really a PED, but i can only imagine with this kid.  Inappropriate, i know…

13 T Tim Lincecum Chasing History