Monday, October 5, 2015

The Season is Over

And soon there will nothing but hopeless bleak despair. Until then, it's playoff time!

On Saturday afternoon, I snagged a $9.99 rack box of the new 2015 Topps Heritage High Series. Almost every card save for the inserts was a duplicate of something I got in the one and only blaster that I've purchased so far, but I did pull the Chrome Refractor insert card of a certain pitcher as shown above. Just a couple of hours later, the helpful little app on my phone was informing me that Max Scherzer had tossed one of the best games in baseball history... for the second time this season. It's a pretty incredible and strange ending to an extremely disappointing season for the Nationals. This card is up for grabs, but I'm not sure that I have any Nats traders that follow the blog anymore.

It was fairly predictable that Cardinals fans would fall in love with Jason Heyward by season's end. We can only hope that Heyward will go the way of some big name past acquisitions that were nearing the end of their contracts by re-upping with St. Louis. (Matt Holliday comes to mind.) It will take an absurd amount of money as these things often do. Hey, it's not my money! This card and the others that follow came to me by way of Sportscards From the Dollar Store, but they are hardly Dollar Tree quality!

Buckstorecards also sent some shiny Eagles carts, including this Prizm rookie example of their young TE. It's been an absolute chore (and a bore) to watch this team this season, but it's early yet and the division is so terrible that at 1-3 they're only a game out of first.

Shady McCoy was one of the players run out of town by Chip Kelly, but he was already well past his expiration date when the Eagles swapped him for oft-injured former Duck Kiko Alonso. Both guys are injured currently. Football is wonderful!

I'm actually typing this while sort-of-watching a Blazers preseason game that I DVR'd. I'm not ready for basketball yet. I'm not even really ready for some football. I do like this card of the erstwhile Uncle Cliffy, however. I complain a bit about Panini's lack of imagination with their exclusive NBA license, but I do really like some of their choices for past players to feature. Robinson was a really good player but not thought of as one of "The Greats", so he could have easily got lost in the shuffle. Good on Panini.

Playoff(ish) baseball tomorrow. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Good Luck Ducks, Week 5: Now What?

How will the Ducks respond to a historic loss?

At some point during last Saturday's debacle, I told my girlfriend that there was a good chance that this game marked the end of an era of Ducks football, as in the last time the school's football program would be relevant to the national sports discussion. I'm ashamed to say that I sounded like a sportswriter. My girlfriend, who could not care less about the Ducks except that she generally wants to be happy (or not mad), thought I was being overly dramatic. Of course, the final score would show Oregon losers by 42 points and countless numbers of articles the next day would echo my thought in the heat of the moment. All things must pass, nothing lasts forever, etc. The Ducks' goose is cooked.

Continuing with a theme from the previous week's post, I once again was incredibly wrong in my analysis. This time out, I predicted a low scoring game. It turned out that it was only Oregon that had trouble finding the end zone, something we haven't really been able to say since the fateful Blount Punch game of 2009. The defense had the consistency of Brie and the offense had the potency of Miller Lite. The quarterbacks were awful in different ways. Byron Marshall, who had barely been utilized this season aside from in the return game, went down with what seems to be a serious and possibly season ending leg injury.

Well, I've beaten up enough on the Ducks. Tonight they go on the road for the first time in conference play against Colorado, a team that has been awful since they joined the Pac-12. Despite the injury concerns, everything is lined up for a feel good, "back on track" type of game for a team that hasn't had a lot of those moments yet. The season may one-third over at this point, but Oregon can still make progress this week and tally a win. Clearly, nothing about last week changed my feelings that this was all leading up to a 6-6 season, but it doesn't have to be that way. The Utah loss could be an ugly footnote or the harbringer of doom. Let's hope it's not the latter.

In better times, Mariota's last home start in Eugene was a fun romp vs. the Colorado Buffaloes that I got to witness in person.

Game time is 7:00 PM with national coverage on ESPN. Go Ducks!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Airbrushed Fridays: 1990 Topps Traded #13T

Three days left in the season. Time to be geeked!

Who is he? Glenn Braggs was an outfielder who came up with the Milwaukee Brewers back in their American League days. Braggs was a second round pick in 1983 and showed flashes of power in his years with the Brew Crew, though he never broke out as a star player. Don't feel too sorry for the man, however. In addition to playing baseball professionally for a living for a number of years at the highest level, he also married a member of En Vogue. En Vogue!

How did he get here? The charmed life of Glenn Braggs took a turn in 1990 when he was part of a four player midseason deal involving the Cincinnati Reds. It was a turn for the better, as the Reds would go on to shock the juggernaut that was the Oakland A's with a World Series sweep that year. Braggs would go on to play for the Reds through 1992 before taking his talents to Japan for several more years.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: 1990 Topps #88

Airbrushed Score: 5

Comments: It's not bad, but it's not good either.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

They're Saying Bru-URNS, Bru-URNS

The Darryl Kile collection takes it up a notch.

I'm almost caught up on the ol' trade posts. I'm going to show off a few cards I received in a trade package less than two months ago, which is quite recent in Cards on Cards terms. Bru from Remember the Astrodome took my DK collection up from a meager 90 unique cards all the way to 106 (triple digits!)

I was not so much of a fan of these Astros uniforms. The rainbow look was a classic and their current look is pretty decent, but they suffered through a lot of ugly in between.

In addition to finding a home for what I presume were some extra Astros dupes (I have many, many Cardinals dupes), Bru also sent me a trio of new Cardinals Allen & Ginter cards. I give in. Jason Heyward is an amazing baseball player and I hope he signs a massive megadeal with the team that everyone seems to hate these days.

This was the heavy hitter of the package, a serial numbered (to 99) mini of blog favorite Matt Carpenter from this year's Gypsy Queen set. My Matt Carpenter collection is barely halfway to triple digits at this point, but he was a late bloomer and didn't have a million cards before he ever took his first big league at bat. Carpenter is sitting at 28 HR this year after having just 25 in his entire career heading into this season. With Holliday injured and Peralta slumping, Carpenter stepped it up in the power department and will be a key cog in the lineup when the playoffs start.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Waino is Back? Waino is Back!

The ace returns.

What would devastate most normal humans and what usually sidelines athletes of excellence for a calendar year has apparently only shelved Adam Wainwright for five months. Wainwright was activated from the DL and will be available out of the bullpen for tomorrow's doubleheader. With the injury bug hitting someone on the team seemingly every day, this is a bit of good news.

Tim from I Love the Smell of Cardboard in the Morning sent over the Wainwright Chipz parallel along with a bunch of other great Cardinal cards, like this Jaime Garcia 2013 Bowman Chrome refractor. No one expected anything out of Jaime this season, but he's been one of the most valuable members of the rotation.

I'm back to being nervous about Rosenthal, which is sort of my default setting with him. Hopefully the rainy day off today will help as he's responded better with rest this season than without. I wouldn't mind seeing him sit tomorrow, as well, but that's not likely to happen if the division is on the line.

This man's health could define the Cardinals ultimate success (or lack thereof) in the postseason. Since his latest thumb injury, the pitching has stayed (mostly) strong, but no one calls a game like he does. That's not to mention what he does to baserunners.

Tim also sent over a couple of silver serial-numbered players from the hood*.

(*Note: Waino is from a small town in Georgia and Marco is from Fort Collins, CO.)

Thanks again to Tim for the trade! There's more from him on the way.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Heritage High Blaster Break

No Cardinals were harmed in the breaking of this box.

It's been a long time since I've done a box break, let alone a blaster break, here at Cards on Cards. After tinkering the past couple of years with an online-exclusive factory set-only version of what's basically the Topps Heritage Traded Set, Topps brought this thing fully back in pack for for the first time since 2009. And unlike in 2009, they didn't group the set with the year end Topps Update flagship release, sticking everyone with lots of extra unwanted Aaron Miles cards. Each pack has the now-customary 9 cards. The set is small (225 cards including 25 SPs) and should be pretty easy to complete. (Famous last words.)

Pack 1:

695 - Alex Guerrero - You won't see a lot of big names in this set, aside from your flavor-of-the-month rookies. The rest of the set is focused on young players, overlooked players who didn't make the cut originally and a few cards of players who switched teams that didn't get the Photoshop treatment in the initial set.
619 - Melvin Upton Jr.
521 - Shane Greene
621 - Wil Myers

AW-3 - Corey Kluber - Here's a new-to-High Number insert series with a pretty decent faux-retro look.
537 - Anthony Gose
632 - Marlon Byrd
568 - Mikie Mahtook - Might he be one for the Great Sports Name HOF?
629 - Shane Victorino

Pack 2:
653 - Nate Karns
635 - Drew Pomeranz
649 - Nick Hundley
565 - Jordy Mercer

711 - Andrew Miller Chrome Black Refractor (18/66) - These are quite rare! Miller become one of the most valuable relievers in the league lately, but he falls into that category of guys who didn't make the cut last time around. This is up for grabs.
643 - Alex Torres - This is the goofy hat guy.
614 - Tyler Moore - Mary?
646 - A.J. Ramos
571 - Odrisamer Despaigne - I hope I spelled that correctly.

Pack 3:
564 - Delmon Young
595 - Trevor Cahill - This is the card Night Owl was most "excited" about.
508 - Angel Nesbitt
512 - Ruben Tejada

717 - Francisco Lindor - Cards 701-725 are short printed. Topps put rookies Kris Bryant (and Addison Russell for what it's worth) in the SP group because they are straight up jerks.
540 - Rafael Betancourt
502 - Brett Cecil
569 - Jeurys Familia
599 - Archie Bradley

Pack 4:
660 - Michael Lorenzen
506 - David Buchanan
527 - Eduardo Rodriguez - No idea who he is...z.zzzzz.zzzz.
510 - Justin Nicolino

RP-7 - Carlos Rodon Rookie Performers - Here's an insert concept they carried over from the 2008/2009 years. There are some really tough to get Rookie Performers inserts of key rookies like Kershaw and Votto from those years that make this stand up to those old Rookie Sensations Fleer inserts from their NBA sets. At least, that's what it reminds me of. I know they did those for baseball, too, but it didn't generate the same excitement.
600 - Sean Gilmartin
687 - Asdrubal Cabrera
627 - Tony Cingrani
700 - Casey Janssen - I don't know how Janssen went from sleeper pick for fantasy closer to forgotten reliever in an update set so quickly.

Pack 5:

630 - Steven Matz - It's kind of perfect that a guy named Matz plays for the Mets.
574 - Sean Rodriguez
516 - Vincent Velasquez
541 - John Ryan Murphy

CC-7 - King Royals - These look like base cards, but they're not. They use the same design as the cards in the first set that pay tribute to cards in the original 1968 Topps set, but I suspect that they are entirely their own creation.
505 - Jesse Chavez
511 - Nick Ahmed
602 - Justin Maxwell
654 - Christian Bethancourt - There are entirely too many Betancourts/Bethancourts in baseball.

Pack 6:
672 - Tuffy Gosewisch - He's no "Tuffy" Rhodes, that's for sure.
520 - A.J. Burnett
661 - Roberto Hernandez
609 - Leonys Martin

709 - Jesse Hahn - Another SP.
566 - Yunel Escobar
616 - Justin Bour - Bour kind of came out of nowhere to have a breakout year.
552 - Aaron Harang - Harang (Phillies) is like this set's equivalent of the 2009 Topps Heritage High Series John Smoltz (Cardinals) card, or maybe like Pedro Martinez (also Phillies). Well, except, a lot less HOF-worthy.
676 - Williams Perez - Two last names!

Pack 7:
536 - Jose Urena
524 - Alex Rios
658 - Nick Martinez
662 - Marcus Semien

723 - Yovani Gallardo Mini (015/100) - Another tough pull! I don't think I've ever pulled one of these minis before. Hanging on to this makes more sense for my collection than the silly shiny pseudo parallels, but I haven't decided what I'm doing with this yet.
651 - Kyle Blanks
663 - Robinson Chirinos - Back-to-back-to-back Rangers.
501 - Christian Walker
589 - Mason Williams

Pack 8:
613 - Tyler Olson
617 - Micah Johnson
612 - Hansel Robles - As I said, lots of cards with the RC logo.
664 - Tyler Flowers

NT-11 - Eddie Rosario Now and Then - I had to look this up three times before I could get Rosario's first name right. I've never heard of him. This is a funny reverse of the Then & Now inserts, but I don't even get what they're going for here. I can't decide if you the red design looks like something you could stab someone with or do drugs out of. (Okay, fine, it could be a sharp-edged soup ladle, I suppose.)
590 - Taylor Jungmann - There's a "young man" joke here, I suppose.
645 - Ubaldo Jimenez
519 - Cameron Maybin
579 - Garrett Jones

So that's it. I will add this set to my regular Topps Heritage want list soon. Did you happen to notice what's missing, though? There were no Cardinals in this box. There are, in fact, only 4 Cardinals cards in the entire set. There are no Cardinals non-relic/auto/numbered inserts. This will be a very easy team set to collect. (Famous last words.)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Good Luck Ducks, Week 4: Bring on the Pac

Ready or not, here comes conference play.

First, from the Cards on Cards Dept. of Corrections: I mistakenly mentioned last week that Georgia State was an FCS team. They are not. They actually play in the Sun Belt Conference, one of the lowest regarded conferences at college football's top level (FBS). This is why there was actually a Vegas spread on the game (something like 44 points) which Oregon unfortunately did not beat. Georgia State only had one conference win to their name in school history, but they're mostly brand new to this thing so we'll give them a pass. The Ducks are coming off a fairly uninspiring performance, where the defense let up for several tough to watch stretches. Backup QB Jeff Lockie acquitted himself well enough on the field, but it wasn't difficult to see why he he was challenged for (and ultimately lost) the starting job when Vernon Adams Jr. arrived on campus.

Both the Ducks and their conference opening opponent Utah are being fairly coy about which quarterback will start tonight. It would make sense for Oregon to give Adams another week of rest for his broken finger, but Utah gave the Ducks a scare last year when Marcus Mariota was on their side, and this year the Utes seem even tougher. Utah comes in with a 3-0 record and a #18 ranking (to Oregon's 2-1, #13) and a big chip on their collective shoulder after Joe Walker returned a loose ball dropped into the end zone by a celebrating receiver the full length of the field back for a touchdown on what should have given the Utes a two score lead early in last season's meeting. From there, the previously stifled Ducks picked apart the opponent until the score resembled many of their other lopsided victories that year.

No matter which players take which snaps, this figures to be a fairly low scoring game, with Utah's defense already getting accolades while Oregon's looks to atone for mistakes made against weaker competition.

After a lot of confusion, Joe Walker's scramble towards the other end zone turned the tide in last season's meeting between the Utes and the Ducks.

Game time is 5:30 PDT with national coverage on FOX. Go Ducks!