Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Series Two Trade Bait

When Big Papi was Medium-Sized Papi.

I guess I don't have a lot to say about Series Two, so I thought I'd just throw up some scans of some of the more interesting cards that I don't need. I have a Cardinals want list, a Topps Heritage want list, a Bowman Heritage want list and an Allen & Ginter want list along with some other miscellany whose links aren't mobile browser friendly (I need to work on this.)

I picked up a 3-pack blister that contained a bonus Target exclusive Babe Ruth insert as well as a Target blaster box. It'd be nice to get ahold of the Yadi and Pujols medallion cards one of these days, but I'm not holding my breath.

More of the same from Series One, although I feel like the blaster/single pack versions look a little different than last series. Weren't they reddish before?

I don't like it when more than half of the card is taken up by something other than the player and there's nothing really distinctive about it.

Okay. I see what they did there.

Two pictures of deGrom and his floppy hair.

I have no idea who he is, but gold parallels have been relatively scarce in recent years despite virtually no change in print run. Seems fishy. According to the back of his card, Herrera bounced around the Dodgers system for more than a decade.


I don't see the appeal in this guy. Not only that, I really dislike this insert set. Of course, I'll take all the Hamm I can get.

Mo was good. Really good.

I want to scream at whoever designed this. What were they thinking?

Finally, here's a foily parallel of Marco Scutaro, a remnant of the Giants 2012 World Series run who got a card in Series Two for no reason whatsoever. He had 11 ABs last year and has no more baseball in his future.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

First Half Champions

Banking wins is good, but this team needs to be the best in October.

The good times and vibes abound with the Cardinals right now as the team has jumped out to a 50-24 start and a sizable division lead over two very talented teams in the Cubs and the Pirates. It's been strange to watch, as the Cardinals have seen quite a few injuries already, both of the season ending variety (Wainwright and Adams) and the significant but not season threatening (Holliday and Walden.) They don't hit very well, but they seem to hit just enough. The pitching has been great. They don't really have a quality first baseman right now, but that may be changing as Xavier Scruggs has been very productive since his recent callup. I'm not complaining, but I am a little nervous considering that past Cardinal glories have come from the team playing their best at the end of the year rather than the beginning.

Here's a fresh batch of Cardinal cards from Scott Crawford that I received back in April. This is a mid-oughts parallel of Jimmy numbered to 643, which matched his slugging percentage the previous year. It's also Edmonds card number 482 in my collection.

Scott added a couple of goldies to my collection, including Cardinal legend (not really) Felipe Lopez.

This shiny-for-no-real-reason Heritage Chrome refractor is Holliday number 250!

There were lots of serial numbered goodies, like this Sweet Spot gold from Big Albert. Pujols is moving his way up some very impressive lists these days.

If' you're still a productive player in 2015, take a step forward. Ehhh... not so fast, Mr. Howard.

Scott also sent a number of minor league cards, which are always welcome in my collection. Wacha is pretty much the ace of the staff these days with Wainwright's long recovery from an Achilles tear still ahead of him.

Tim McCarver recently called Wong the best second baseman in the league [edit: National League] during one of the local team broadcasts. Wong's bat has certainly been impressive, but is that the truth or is McCarver succumbing to home team bias in his post-FOX national team years?

Finally, here's a classy Jon Jay framed jersey swatch from a couple of Gypsy Queens ago. This is further proof to me that all relics should be framed and miniature.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Airbrushed Fridays: 2013 Topps #364

The ol' underhand toss.

Who is he? Carlos Pena was a slugger and a one-time All-Star who spent most of his career with the Tigers and the Rays. He was never known for his defense or for hitting for high average, but his power kept him around the game for more than a decade.

How did he get here? Pena's greatest success came in Tampa Bay, but after a season where he hit just .196, he was off to Chicago for a single season before a Florida reunion. Pena once again failed to crack the .200 mark in 2012, so he was set free again as the Astros picked him up on the cheap for the 2013 season to distract people from their complete rebuilding plan.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: None

Airbrushed Score: 10

Comments: This is really bad. Just fiery awful. The sad thing is, if Carlos had played for the Astros in 2012 this card still would have existed, as Topps saw fit to Photoshop fake uniforms on as many Astros, Blue Jays and Marlins in 2013 just to supposedly honor their new outfits. Shameful.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spring May Be Over, But the Cleaning is Still Going On

White Sox, Padres and Reds (Oh my!) Plus some other teams that no one really collects, I guess?

I've been working on a couple of projects and going through my entire collection to pull cards for a couple of people who are very deserved over the past couple of weeks. I'm still noticing that I have a lot of cards organized into team piles with no one to send them to. This is sort of a "last call" for the Spring Cleaning sign-ups before I start actually harassing people via e-mail to take this junk off my hands.

Honestly, if you're feeling bad about not sending me anything in return, don't worry about it. And if you're still worrying about it, keep in mind that I probably won't be buying any Topps Series Two for weeks (or any Topps Archives ever?)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Offseason Teams

How much do you care about your other teams in the offseason? For me, it's not always a lot.

It's hard for me to get too fired about sports that aren't actually actively scheduling contests among their teams. I'm not sure if I've always felt this way or if it's been a somewhat recent thing, but aside from this week's draft and the ensuing flurry of signings and trades that will commence in the week that follows, I can't say I'll be giving the Blazers a ton of thought. It's not that I don't care, either. This is the team whose allegiance I was born into, and I will holler at the TV and at the court from the nosebleeds with the ragiest of them when the season begins in earnest. However, my NFL fandom can barely register with more than a blip during the actual season, so the 24/7 NFL news cycle is completely grating to me. I have by and large avoided ESPN since MLB Network came to exist for this very reason.

Mets Cardboard unloaded some sportsball cards on me from these other sports a few months back, but every card included was a player from yesteryear. This won't be as hard to write about as, say, Sam Bradford or Arron Afflalo. (Afflalo was barely a Blazer long enough for me to learn how to spell his name correctly, incidentally.) The Mets aficionado has been waiting (patiently?) for months and months for me to hold up my end of the bargain, so I am hoping the massive package of baseballers headed his way in the next few days can somehow make up for the lost time.

Sabonis is one of my all-time faves, and on this card he gets teamed up with a couple of other European players of the day, one (Danilovic) that I've never actually heard of. These somehow just didn't pop as much as the old 1980-81 Topps cards. We don't get a rare glimpse at Vlade in a Hornets uniform but we do get the teal borders.

In addition to Blazers, there were also many Eagles to be found, many from the Tecmo Era. Bubby Brister showed up in green sometime in the SNES portion of the Tecmo Era, which is how I found out about most NFL transactions back in those days.

Randall is hands down my favorite football player of all-time. One of these days when I get my Eagles cards organized I'll start cataloging my Cunningham cards and entering them in Zistle as I've done with my other player collections. I don't have many, so if any of you have some QB Eagles cardboard examples, feel free to drop them on me. I won't mind.

Early '90s football cards were like the stock market and crack combined, but mostly focused on the devastating letdown that comes with a good drug/money high. This is some fancy see through card made out of plastic. bank accounts and tears.

Here we move out of the Tecmo Era for a moment and into the NFL 2K era. The Duce is loose!

I don't remember Pro Set ever having a high(er?) end product, but here you go. Pro Set Power. It's been unleashed.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Airbrushed Fridays: 2015 Topps Opening Day #75

Sometimes you just gotta let it go.

Who is he? Jimmy Rollins is in his 16th major league season as a shortstop, a mainstay of the Phillies teams throughout the ought years and beyond. The Phillies are a team that was very successful for a time, but they locked up all of their stars in contracts that extended far past their peak years and didn't do much of anything to reload their farm system. I think everyone recognizes this, and yet? If I was a Phillies fan, I would probably have a hard time saying goodbye to guys like Howard, Utley, Hamels and Rollins.

How did he get here? Rollins is the one that got out. Long past their expiration date, the Phillies traded J-Roll for a couple of minor leaguers this past offseason. At 36, Rollins is having a rough go of it in SoCal, struggling to stay above the Mendoza line with a Kozmaesque OPS.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: None, but here's the source image:

Airbrushed Score: 7

Comments: There's a lot of blue in the background that might make you think Dodgers here, but it's probably just a Bud Light or Aquafina ad. That, and, well, he's "wearing" the road uniform.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

That Time I Got Derek Jeter's Autograph

Certified. That's right.

Something funny happened after I headed home from a card show last winter. I had plunked down a relatively small amount of cash on a box of 1997 Bowman cards with a rather hilarious $125 guarantee (guarantee void in Tennessee) and one of the more hideous designs lurking within. Several minutes, a camera phone pic, and a Tweet later, my phone was buzzing nonstop. Despite the gold colored wrappers and the promises of fortunes within, I was not expecting anyone's autograph, certainly not a surefire first ball Hall of Famer. If I was going to get anyone's ink, it would be Ray Ricken's (...whoever that is. He kind of sounds like Cal Ripken's unlicensed second brother that no one ever talked about.)

I finally got around to sorting the box last night. In the next few days, I'll most likely throw the Jeter card up to the eBay wolves for $99.99. I could try $125, just for giggles, but that could be a stretch. Who knows?

Well, we've all seen and probably fallen asleep on 1997 Bowman base cards, and the Cardinals crop in this set is relatively depressing. The farm system sucked during the Walt Jocketty era, let us not forget. Here's what else I got, insert/parallel wise:

Bowman International's Best (1:12 packs): 2 
Or Bowman's Best International? I don't even have any idea. The entire contents of my first pack, which included Hideo Nomo's card from this was posted here last night. (No one else will read that post because it was bumped off the top by some new and improved stuff.)

1998 Rookie of the Year Favorites (1:12): 2
Elieser "Eli" Marrero, backup catcher (and occasional utility outfielder) to the stars!

Bowman International (basically every pack that doesn't have a rare insert): 19
Not that you can read his name, but that's a rookie Vernon Wells right there in front of that blurry flag. Man, foil cards scan like garbage as everyone knows.

Awkward rookies! (many)

This is the thing that Bowman is and was best known for. This seemed like a particularly strong crop. Beckett refuses to recognize this Beltran card as his rookie card for some moronic reason that I can't figure out. (Most reasonable people can't figure out why someone like me would continually type "beckett.com" into his browser.)

This is the money card, with Berk leaning against the front of his old pickup truck with the Astrodome lurking in the background, like he was already ready to leave this game in the dust.

Great pitcher who fell under Canadian rule for a long time.

Ha! I don't know what to say.

This one is particularly legendary, as are several of Werth's early '90s nerdcore issues.

If you're lacking 1997 Bowman cards for some reason, let me know if you need something here. I may hang on to the Berkman and one of the two Halladays and Beltrans I pulled for a little while, but I don't have any real reason to keep the rest.