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…

 

A buncha PC randos…

I’m a bit of a scatter brain at times.

I love things.  I hate dislike things.

I Get excited.  I Get intimidated.

I’m motivated.  I’m uninspired.

I’m focused.  I’m distracted.

Lots of pendulum swings with my moods.  In fact…just the time it took me to write the words above, i got up to mute the TV, select a song on my iTunes…didn’t see anything i wanted to listen to so i downloaded the new free copy of the OC album.  Poured some water, sat down, got up to pour some whiskey, got some coke to add to the whiskey…and now i’m back ready to write something about my collecting hauls.  The baseball and basketball PC that guys i collect…or do I…?

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I’ve been a Bryce Harper collector for a while.  He’s a fantastic player, intense and quite emotional.  He also has some great hair, see!  Theres something perversely magical about the combination of everything on this card.  The wavy brushed back hair, close cropped beard, unbuttoned shirt, open mouthed gaze to right field…and the animal print border.  This card has it all for the creepy collector…so i picked it up.  Plus it’s numbered to 199, not 200.

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Harper is a good player for me to collect, why you ask?  Well, he’s a National at the moment and will be for another year at least.  He heads in to arbitration after next season and has been fixated on a GIGANTIC contract…a YUUUGE ONE!  Not too many teams can front the cash for a player like Harper, except maybe his favorite team as a child…the Yankees.

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This would be awesome for me.  Many times a player i like moves on to a team i can’t really get down with collecting…i’m looking at you Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford.  So, it’s a win win.  Assuming everything goes according to plan…which rarely happens if ever these days.  So, keeping things in the proper perspective, i can see collecting this guy for a long time, no matter if he plays in DC or NYC.

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Just hope if he ends up in the pinstripes, he can take the ups and downs of playing on a tremendously large stage…it can roughen the edges of the smoothest player.

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Normally i love it when a guy stays on the same team his entire career, like Jeter and Ripken to name a few.  One guy that i could see staying with his team for the duration of his career is this kid, Trea Turner.  He’s a future superstar…with a ton of potential.  I can’t help but thing of Jeter when i see him, slightly different type of player but I think he has that magical ability to be where the play is and can bring a ton of victories the next few years.  I’m slowly working on his collection and this Gold Label is a nice base card pick up from the show.

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Ok, enough about the Nats and baseball.  How about some basketball…and a couple Spurs i picked up.  I’m a streaky Spurs collector.  I’ll go months between a Spurs purchase and then pick up a few cards to add to the collection.  At the moment though, they are just dropped in a box marked “Spurs to be organized”.  The odds are not favorable that that box gets organized in the current year, but at least they are together.  Go Spurs Go!

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The obvious guy for me to collect at the moment is Kawhi.  If this guy wasn’t born to be a Spur, i don’t know what a Spur is.  Tough, physical, durable, smart and doesn’t need to let you know everything about his personal life…i like that.  The quiet modesty vs. the humble brag.

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The problem with me and Spurs cards is that i tend to skip the basketball tables at the show…just walk right past those dudes.  One of the guys works for COMC and is super cool, but his table is filled with basketball cards…and i don’t have that kind of time to sift through a ton of basketball cards.  Not to mention i don’t know most of the guys.  If they don’t play on the Blazer or Spurs…i don’t know them.  Apparently Vince Carter is still dunking over dudes…who knew!

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Every time i get one of these Red White Blue Prizm cards, i’m just gonna go ahead and post this image as well…because…well…it’s the exact same thing.

Rocket Pops

 

I couldn’t get some Leonard cards and not get one of this guys.  The Saint, Timmy Duncan!

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This card in person is crazy sparkly.  It’s like a flat disco ball.  It shimmers quite a bit.  Plus you can really see the gray beard of a man young Duncan became.  He does have skills.

I also picked up this card on a whim…was about to start buying up a bunch of Clemson Tigers at the show and slammed on the brakes, but not before i slipped this Hopkins card on my stack.

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So, as i’ve been typing, i’ve been listening to the new OC album.  I believe it came out today, maybe yesterday…doesn’t really matter.  It’s a free download and it sounds pretty nice.  I’ve been a fan of OC since i first heard Times Up!  A great moment of lyrical supremacy and a very cool sample from Les DeMerle’s Jazz version of A Day in the Life which has been sampled many times in hiphop, but for my money, Times Up is the best use of the first portion of the cover…If you like the OC video below, maybe give the free download a chance…it’s not bad…and it’s free!!!  Or listen to the Beatles A Day in the Life…it’s pretty fantastic as well.

 

 

Rookie gambles

“…the kids better buy my rookie card now

cause after this year the price ain’t going down!”

These words were uttered by the lyrically inclined, Mos Def…or Yasin Bey.

The value of rookie cards have been a part of non-card collectors for many years and often referenced in pop culture.  Maybe not necessarily the value of a card, but the understanding that rookie cards generally carry a significantly greater value or general demand over non rookie cards.

I’ve never been a gambler, nor have i been a prospector.  I’m a collector, a team collector.  A team collector of an NFL franchise that has not been great for a few years and are faced with a high draft pick each year in the Spring NFL draft.  Typically a high NFL draft, assuming an offensive player or skilled defensive player will have valuable rookie cards.  When they are drafted by the Redskins, i have a collectors obligation to pick them up.  Typically, the sooner the better for me.  Problem is though, you never know how a guy is going to pan out in his athletic career.  Case in point, this guy.

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In 2012, i bought way too many boxes of football cars in hopes of pulling ONE…just ONE autographed RGIII card.  Never.  Not once did i have my wish granted…ironically though, i did manage to pull two Kirk Cousins cards that year.  At the time, i was slightly disappointed…that’s what it came to, i was disappointed to have a back up guy, not the main guys autograph, i mean c’mon man RGIII was the future!  As you may be able to tell from the card above, he is a distant memory for all Redskins fans now and something the Cleveland Browns are forced to deal with.  Now, don’t get me wrong i have some great memories, some not so great ones too, but the drama with this guy…not to mention the fragility with which he played.  Point is, you have to be patient and know when to strike on these young guys.  I think i’ve learned my lesson a bit and have managed to make a few good pick ups from the past couple of card shows with Kim.  Here are the few top Redskins rookies and cards with autographs.

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I’ve written about this guy a lot.  The main reason is that i’m feeling like he may be another Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas or Michael Westbrook or Rod Gardner or…you get the idea.  A highly touted rookie WR that isn’t able to meet the expectations.

Doctson has missed most of the season and who knows what the future will bring.  With the lull in his playing this year though, it’s time to swoop in and pick up some autos.

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I’ve been able to pick up a few for less than $5 each.  Not bad for a first round draft pick, skilled position player autograph and or jersey.

Another guy that i’ve been putting together a nice collection of is Nate Sudfeld.  A back up QB…worked well last time, why not try again!  I don’t believe Nate has suited up for any regular season games this season, which is great because that means Cousins has played great and has been healthy.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Kirk Cousins and hope the Redskins can sign him to a long term contract and hope that he is the long term answer.  But you need a backup and a good backup at that.  Worst case, he gets traded and stars somewhere else and i’m able to flip these guys for more Redskins.

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The digital camoflauge is always something cool to see on a card.  The autograph of Nate though…it needs some work.  I think these kids are asked to initial the stickers, not autograph them…oy!

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Next rookie that i haven’t really started my pursuit of but need to step it up a bit is Su’A Cravens.  He was a huge fan of Sean Taylor as a young’n and his play in some respects reflects the same intensity that Sean had.  Su’A is an intense young man that hits hard and plays with enough intensity to become playmaker in the future, so now is the time to strike if you ask me!

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Last kid for the night is Keith Marshall.  A rookie running back from the University of UGA…or Georgia.  Don’t know much about this kid since he was injured in the preseason and has been on IR all season…you can never have enough RB’s, especially the fast ones which i believe he is.

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I’m thinking of posting some Bowman cards i’ve picked up recently after i do some research on the nicer cards i pulled.

Hope you enjoyed the cards today.

Here for your viewing pleasure…Pharoahe Monche, Mos Def and Nate Dogg…OH NO!!

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

Skins from Kim

… careful…

Now that football season is finally over, we can all start to focus on the upcoming baseball season.  Spring is my favorite season and we are getting a small taste of some phenomenal weather up here in the great northwest.  That light jacket and slight drizzle in the morning kinda weather that makes me happy that i live here and not some place that is buried in snow or is simply 80degrees year round.  There is something to be said about seasons and the changing of the weather and surrounding foliage (what other blogger uses foliage in a post?)  I love it all to pieces.  It’s wonderful.  You know what else is wonderful, football cards…i know, i know…i was leading you down the path to baseball cards and then dropped a steel hammer and made a lane change.  I LOVE baseball cards, i really do and i LOVE baseball, i really do, but my love for the Redskins far exceeds any sport…so please bear with me and another post football post.  Baseball will be on its way soon enough.

Kim’s table.  He’s my favorite dealer at the Portland shows.  Great guy with tons of great pieces of cardboard like this lovely Orakpo auto card.  ‘Rak has been a bit of a disappointment to most Redskin fans…but I still love him, as long as he’s wearing the Burgundy and Gold of course.  I don’t think he will be on the team next year, but i’ve enjoyed watching him play and i’ve been a fan of his autograph.  It’s super simple but with a nice variation of pen strokes that are appealing to the eye.

13 TM Brian Orakpo Auto

His pending replacement at LB is this kid, who as luck would have it is also a Longhorn.  Keenan Robinson.  This auto is what mine would look like if i was signing cards that you wanted to purchase.  3 Letters.  Boom.  Robinson is a minimalist.  De Stijl.  What’s up with the fleur-de-lis anyways?  Is Leaf a French Canadian company?  Do non French, French people like the fleur-de-lis?

12 LV Keenan Robinson Auto

Hey, does your football franchise need a solid QB?  The Redskins have a couple.  Cousins and RGIII will be duking it out next preseason, well, i assume they will.  The loser may end up finding a new franchise to sling it for on Sundays.  My bet is that Cousins makes his way to Cleveland or Buffalo next season…no reason other than pure guessing.

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Refractor, shiny Prizm, wavy Griffin!  If this card were issued in 2012 it would have it’s own blog post but life comes at you fast when your knees explode.  I still believe in RGIII but am losing faith…i gotta have faith!

14 PP Robert Griffin III Refractor 99:99

This card is sexy.  Plus it’s a little intense.  Why is the ‘L’ so skinny?  That’s a mighty big gap between the ‘F’ and the ‘L’.

13 AM Jordan Reed Auto Jersey 88:299

Do you like Pizza?  Do you live in the DMV?  Well then, lemme tell you about Spinfire…actually I can’t really do that since i don’t live in the DMV.  I do love me some pizza though.  My wife has taken it upon herself to master the art of the homemade pizza from our oven and is killing it!  Seriously, there isn’t another pizza in town i would want over the ones the wifey makes for us.  I gotta give Topps some credit on this card.  The on-sticker auto is placed so precisely and over the integrated box in the card design that makes the sticker nearly disappear.  WOW!

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This is the part of the blog where most bloggers post their biggest, baddest cards.  Me?  I’m going with some run of the mill running backs.  Jawan (not Japan, Jawan autocorrect!) Jamison and Silas Redd Jr.  Now, I had high hopes for JJ and thought he would have a nice impact on the team once he was healthy, but that day did not come for him and he’s seem to have bounced around the league a bit and i think he was on the Steelers practice squad at the end of the year, but could be wrong.

13 NT Jawan Jamison Auto 14:99

Silas Redd can be a nice little free agent find for next season.  Maybe even replacing Roy Helu as the 3rd down guy or someone that can be blended in with Morris on Sundays.

14 BC Silas Redd Auto

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.

Shiny Baseball Cards

My football card blog is lagging in baseball card posts…not really, I just have a few Harpers and a Hanley I wanted to show you kids.

These bad boys have been sitting in my man cave aka, my closet!  Just sitting there, precariously perched on a box of top loaders stacked on a box of books, next to a pair of jeans that no longer fits my ever growing winter ass.

Bryce Harper everyone!

11 TH Bryce Harper Minors

I managed to pick up 3 Harper cards that do not have him with a Curly W Nats hat.

13 HH Bryce Harper Defining Moments Black Border

This one is very patriotic and shiny and Prizm-y.

13 PP Bryce Harper USA Baseball

Here is the Hanley Ramirez card I noted in the very first sentence of this post.  I love Hanley and hope that he can stay healthy next year.

13 TT Hanley Ramirez WBC 2

I have paid more attention to the Dodgers in the 1 1/2 years since they picked him up…this also gave me a great opportunity to listen to Vin Scully.  Man, I miss baseball already…