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?

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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.

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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!

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.

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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:

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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.

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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…!!!

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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!!!

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.

Favorite card of 2016

Ok, sometimes i like to participate in the activities that other are participating in.  I’m human…it’s human nature to want to be around other like minded folks.  People that share your same interest, goals…hobbies.

So with keeping up with the blogses, here is my favorite card from the weird ass year of 2016:  Big shoutout to P-Town Tom over at Eamus Catuli

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2016 Topps Stadium Club card #194 Willie Mays San Francisco Giants OF

This card is my favorite because it’s just a bad ass photo of a bad ass baseball player.  From the lower perspective looking up to the foreshortening of the bat in Willie’s hands and the ghost like mirage of the light standard in the background.  Stadium club has always been a favorite set of mine, but something i’ve never decided to collect for no real reason at all.  The glossy finish of the face and thicker card stock is also extremely attractive to me.  The  back of the card though, leaves a lot to be desired…so much so that i decided not to scan it, and i’ve been on a crazy back-scanning rampage of late.  I apologize for that to those that are not interested in card backs.

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Apparently, Willie enjoyed this bat pose so much he attempted to teach a young John F. Kennedy Jr. the proper technique while he was wrapping up his career with the New York Metropolitans.  Not sure the cameraman and young John John really got what Willie was trying to do.  Sometimes legends are just ahead of the curve i guess.

We got hit with another little snow attack today and it took quite some time to get home…luckily this song was available to my ears and served as a calming agent while i slipped and slid up and down the west hills of Portland to our home.

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

Rickey and Donny Baseball

The only real reason i became a Yankee fan was because my favorite player, Rickey Henderson was traded in the winter to the Bronx Bombers.  I was a 9 year old kid that was easily led astray and more than willing to change my allegiance as i saw fit.  At the time, the Yankees were ok.  They did have the history which I was really not that aware of at the time but something i was more than willing to embrace.  Gehrig, Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle…endless names of a great sports franchise.

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Through the years, my friends have given me a hard time about being a Yankee fan and question why i’m not an Astros or Rangers fan.  My response is always the same…Really?  Astros or Rangers?  I couldn’t get down with those rainbow sherbet jerseys that Mike Scott and Nolan Ryan rocked in the 80’s.  As for the Rangers, they played in the Dallas area and I associated that with the Dallas Cowboys…and there was no way i was signing up for that team, ever.  So, I stuck with the Yankees and embraced the team.  Granted, i have always had a little piece of my heart set aside for the Oakland Athletics since they were the first team i followed and the one that Rickey is most associated with.

13 CO 13 GQ Rickey Henderson

At our Portland show this past Saturday, i wanted to get some new Henderson cards…and do a little digging through the nickel and dollar boxes.  As you all know, there is a certain time and physical commitment involved in searching through these boxes, but it’s always worth it.  The thing i love the most about doing the digging is finding cards that i have never seen and were issued at a time when i wasn’t collecting.

03 PP Rickey Henderson

It also reminds me of the endless amounts of teams Rickey played for…I honestly forgot he played for San Diego.

94 FU 01 FF Rickey HendersonI do remember those fun Met years.  This is actually a pretty cool card to.  The technology and card design in the late 90’s and early 2000’s was special wasn’t it?

99 PI Rickey HendersonThe last Rickey card may or may not already be a part of my collection, but it only set me back one nickel…so i couldn’t pass it up.

84 OPC Rickey Henderson

Here are a couple Donny Baseball cards i was able to find.  I LOVED the Stadium Club cards, but was never able to get a Mattingly card.  It’s been a long time coming Mr. Mattingly.

05 DZ 91 SC Don MattinglyAs a side note, this is my 42nd post.  My wife and I got a little date day Saturday afternoon and went to see the new Jackie Robinson movie, 42.  Although there were a few parts that were campy and overly sappy for my liking (it is a family movie after all), I felt the movie was very well done and gave a great description of his role with integrating baseball.  It was a 2 hour movie, so there is only so much you can comment on and everything cannot be addressed, but I would highly recommend it if you have time.  Jackie Robinson Day is tomorrow, so get your 42’s out!

 

My GQ Post

Each year when Gypsy Queen comes out, I get a little excited about the cards…but it’s always tempered.  I think the cards look great and the photography is really nice, but i don’t love them.  Don’t hate them either.  Kind of indifferent I guess.  My annual buy in is maybe a few hobby and retail packs, possibly a blaster or two from target, but that’s about it.  I think my aversion to the cards is the lack of statistical information on the back…or it could be the overly ornate border?  As an architect, i’ve been trained to have a dislike for ornament and decoration so i guess that has carried in to my hobbies as well.  The celtic-like border is nice, just not my cup of tea.

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One thing that i really do like about GQ is the inclusion of age old veterans in the base set.  Topps does a nice job with these and making them blend in nicely with the other modern players.  Rarely do the players appear dated and they are never irrelevant to current collectors.  PLUS, i always think it’s great to include HOF’ers and past great players so the young kids can learn a little history about the game and have a card from someone their parents or grandparents enjoyed watching play.

13 GQ Dwight Gooden Tony Gwynn

I also do enjoy the inserts that GQ comes up with.  The two cards below are  a great example of this.  It’s nice to have the a highlight reel play represented on a card.  We all remember the Trout catch last season as it was shown incessantly on the MLB network as well as the mothership.

13 GQ Mike Trout Jayson Werth Glove Stories

Mini’s.  Can’t go wrong with minis and you can’t go wrong with these two guys.  One thing i enjoy about the mini cards is that i can put them at my desk at the office for a little while to enjoy the new pieces of cardboard.  How great was Eddie Mathews?  When people talk about the all time greats, i feel like he is always forgotten.  Imagine if he played in New York how much more popular he would be?  And just look at Lou Brock…chillin…total GQ pose…the other one.

13 GQ Eddie Matthews Lou Brock Minis

Not overly excited about these inserts, but both pitchers are/were pretty great and the photos capture their intensity well.

13 GQ Nolan Ryan NH Felix Hernandez DA

Here is a ‘hit’ from the rack pack i bought.  It’s Jacoby Ellsbury.  He’s pretty big here in Portland since he played at Oregon State and from Madras…but he’s a Red Sock, so i’m not too excited about him…he is pretty great though.  Love that they mention how great a player he is when he’s healthy.

13 GQ Jacoby Ellsbury Blue Border 45:499

And the best has been saved for the very last.  Mr. Cano donchaknow.  Pretty cool to get the base and a retail white border card in the same rack pack of a player you collect.  Wonder why Topps removed teh vertical portion of the elegant border on the left and right sides as well as the name panel on the bottom?

13 GQ Robinson Cano Base and White Border