Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ugg, The Results of My Final Chrome Break

Well folks, its all over for Chrome breaks for this year. I knocked off a whopping four cards from my set needs list and ended up with a big ol' pile of duplicates for your trading pleasure. Just was not the right collated box, but that is the chance you take when you get too many hobby boxes. Sooo, I know I talked with a couple of you last week that had some Chrome base available for trade. Can you please check out my updated needs list and see if you can help me finish this set up? I have lots of base and lots of rainbowy refractors at your disposal!

Hey, at least I get two rookie autos in this pack, right? Lets see who I pulled .....

OH NO! A couple Yankee Rooks? YIKES! I don't like the look of that second bloke either, seems to be giving me the shifty eyes! I would be wiling to do a Yankee auto for other auto exhange if anybody really takes a shine to these cards! The shifty looking fellow is a refractor as well.
Here are the notables of the Refractor hits, if you want to call them that. The Carlos Quentin shot is pretty sweet, but the wrong color Sox for this collection. The Gold Border #'rd to 50 is a nice addition if you are into the Padres. Just let me know if these are of interest to you!
Other regular refractors pulled: Jered Weaver, Dan Uggla, Matt Kemp, Jay Bruce, Ken Griffey Jr, Dennis Neuman WBC, Bobby Parnell, David Freese.
WBC cards: Six, but I am too tired to type their names, and I have already offered to trade all of these away to a reader anyways.
There you have it! Hoping that I can take care of business and put this set to bed before Goodwin Champs comes out in a couple of weeks. Please contact me if anything mentioned here sounds good!

Have You Seen These Two Cards?

This week I received a "Pick 25" of 2009 Heritage cards in an effort to finish off this amazing set (minus the ridiculous SP's that is...) so I went and entered them into my spreadsheet and found...what's this? I am still to base cards shy of completion. Have any of you seen...

Please let me know if you might either of these to send my direction! Also please take a look at my updated need list on the right column of the blog...yeah there are a bunch of short prints left, but I have some chrome and refractors that I would love to send you in trade if you can help me out! Going to crack the box now...more later!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Your Input Needed!

A couple of kinks have been thrown into my plans for this fall. I had originally intended to purchase and finish up Topps Chrome, which I will and have really enjoyed the cards and the hits.

My next goal was to save up for 2009 Topps Updates and Highlights coming out later this fall. I planned on tackling that set as well as once again setting my sights on collecting the 50 Turkey Reds to make sure that I once again have the complete set.

But a slight kink in that plan occured with my sudden liking towards the upcoming UD Goodwin Champion set. Its priced really decent and the artwork on the cards looks really nice. The base set seems obtainable and there are also three hits per box, which is also a nice feature.

I really only need to be working on one of these. I have a trip planned at the end of the year and need to save some scratch for that.

So I ask the readers...which should I do and why?

a couple additional points. While I like the looks of the autos and hits in Updates and Highlights, really the only main insert draw for me is the Turkey Reds. Am I mistaken, or do sellers usually offer a way to purchase the entire set?

Even one OTHER option, is to try to collect the base set of Updates and Highlights via trades and some retail booster packs.

Thoughts on a course of action? Thanks for your feedback!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

O Tommy Boy!

Subscribing to the MLB Extra Innings package has its definite advantages. It helps a West-Coaster catch a few innings of practically every Red Sox game (last night, yet another example of mashing bats, but no pitching as Dice-K light had already given up 8 runs by the time I turned the game on. The bright side? The only gave up one run the rest of the way).

Its also nice to have other games at my disposal when great matchups pop up, and tonight is one of those great matchups as rivals Philadelphia and Atlanta square off in Philly. Petey Martinez V Tommy "the machine gun" Hanson. I don't like the expression "man-crush" as made popular on fantasy sports sites. But I love collecting phenom pitchers though because each and every time they take the mound you find yourself rooting for them. Tommy pretty much tops the heap right now, Yovani is #2, and TIMMY is right there leading an inspiring Giants it just me or is San Francisco suddenly a lot easier to cheer for without the grumpy roider on the team?

Anyways, Tommy Hanson sports an amazing 3-1 and 2.70 ERA on the road and will definitely have his hands full with a stacked lineup. But the dude is poised and ready for battle. If you have the means, I highly recommend you tune in to this matchup tonight.

In other developments, I received a package in the email from my latest eBay purchase. Another five cards come off my list for the SP Legendary cuts short prints. I know that I made a big mistake when it came to even breathing this product. But the hits were nice and I loved the look of the base cards and shortprints, so I spent way too much money on this product. Well I now have all the base and thanks to these next five cards, I have 60% of the short prints. Believe me, there is always the occasional thought of just selling the whole lot and cutting my losses, but I know if I can just chip away at this baby, it is going to make for a really nice permanent collection. If ANYBODY has some shortprints for trade, please let me know. Here are the latest additions... Rod Carew. Career .328 hitter and 18-time all-star

Mike Schmidt - 548 Career home runs, 10 gold gloves, 12-time all-star, 1980 World Series MVP, 3-time NL MVP, Inducted into the HOF in 1995, WOW, AND has a Nike World Campus Building in his name!

Brooks Robinson - HOF in 1983, 15-time all-star, 16-time gold glove award winner, 1070 World Series MVP. Money.

Sigh. Always with the Yankees...Donnie Baseball - Showed good glove, batted for a high average, but never got that ring. I think he is one heckuva batting coach though, and it shows currently with the Dodgers.

Goose Gossage! an extremely respectable career 3.01 ERA with 124 wins and 310 saves. Also apparently still sports 'stache, which is also very commendable and respectable as well!
These cards really are great, and I will continue to trudge forward and complete this set, and difficult a task as that has been!

Speaking of Much Desired Cards...

This week, a surprising card that I have been looking for forever turned up in a very unlikely fashion, and I am happy to say that after spotting this card on our local neighborhood trader Beardy's blog, President Barack Obama SP has found a new home out here in Oregon!
How did I find the card that I had been hoping to pull when I first started out with Topps Flagship several months ago? Beardy had posted a bunch of images from his random packs sent by my vote for most generous blogger on the planet, David at Tribecards, and within one of those random packs sat Obama. I quickly emailed Greg to verify that this was the SP from flagship, and sure enough it was! I think Greg was a bit amused how excited I was for wanting this card...that is until he posted about wanting a butterfly card the next day (kidding)! I am honored to have this as part of my permanent collection, and thank you Greg for making it happen!

This Post Brought To You By The Number 10

Occassionally in this hobby I bump into a card that is simply a must have for my collection. I have made no secret my love for pitching phenoms, Yovanni, Lincecum, Cueto and of course my latest and greatest "gotta watch him every game" player...Mr Tommy Hanson. Some of us yearn for an Obama SP, other want butterflies (check out Beardys) Goodwin desire. Today Topps announced the 10th and final redemption card of Topps Finest...
...and as you can see, it is autographed as well. If any of you out there happen to hold this redemption card and would be willing to part with it for a reasonable (gulp) trade, can you please let me know. I would LOVE to have this card in my permanent collection. Thank you for your consideration on this, please contact me if you would like to make a deal!

The August Barometer

Years of following the Red Sox (and Major League Baseball for that matter) has come to show me time and time again how valuable the month of August is when gauging whether or not your team has the legs to go the distance.

In the case of the Red Sox, in 2004, the team got hot and went a ridiculous 172-2 during the month of August (maybe a SLIGHT exaggeration), and road the momentum through the Angels, (eventually) the Yankees and then the Cards to break the curse.

In 2005, August was unkind to the Sox, and they crawled to the finish line with the wild card, only to be quickly swept away by the Pale Hose.

In 2006, the wheels fell off completely in August. Injuries to Varitek, Papi, Manny (I guess), Lester (with cancer, none-the-less) Trot, and many others, there were nights when I would not even recognize my own team. They lost ground quickly, and never recovered.

The 2007 team was one of the best assembled, with an amazing fielding percentage, and a healthy Manny Ramirez and Big Papi getting hot at the right time.

the 2008 team was right there, but the Tampa Bay Cinderella story could not be toppled.

SO, where do the Red Sox stand this season? I will offer both my perspective and then the REAL numbers...

My perspective: From the off-season to this point, I have not really cared for the Red Sox moves. They seem pretty out of character for Theo, givin his amazing run of acquiring exceptional talent at the right times. Smoltz was a risk, Penny was (officially now) a risk, and I don't believe I have seen Rocco Baldelli in quite awhile. I really think that the Sox thought they had Teixiera in hand and were left reeling when he shocked the world and went to the bombers. The same thing happened to Kevin Pritchard when the Blazers put all their eggs in one basket for Hedo Turkaglu, only to have him about face and go back on his word. The Blazers eventually recovered well enough to acquire Andre Miller, but I guarantee you in was plan D at best.

As for the trade deadline moves, one of my greatest concerns is acquiring too many guys at once. Chemistry is huge in baseball and I believe that during July and early August, there was simply no chemistry, and run production suffered. One move I absolutely love though is the acquisition of Victor Martinez. He is already versatile to catch, play 1st base, and DH, AND just added another plus by being able to handle Wakefields knuckler.

When you get down to it, I don't think Boston is in bad shape, and here is why...firstly Big Papi is starting to find his groove in a big way, including 2 bombs last night including a walk-off to sweep the White Sox. He is also drawing more walks and overall just playing smarter at the plate. We'll get to this in a moment, but the Sox are putting up MAD runs this month as well thanks to a healthy JD Drew, Jason Bay, Victor Martinez, and the baserunning prowess of my favorite, mr Jacoby Ellsbury.

Pitching? Eh, that I will concede. BUT, with a healthy Wakefield and hopefully rested Dice-K, the combination of Cy Young possibles Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, along with occasional innings from Clay and Dice-K clone, is nothing to sneeze at. This team is starting to click.

But what do the ACTUAL numbers say?

ESPN has a groovy little stats generator that I recommend you all go in and play with to see where your favorite team fares. There is split stats galore and you can dig as deep as you want into the numbers.

For this example I am going to focus specifically on the month of August....

Red Sox Hitting in August (rank for all of MLB)

Runs scored - 144 (3rd)
Hits - 235 (6th)
HR - 45 (1st)
Total Bases - 426 (2nd)
RBI - 133 (3rd)
BA - .272 (12th) ugg...they hit em hard though!
OBP - .355 (6th) patience at the plate
SLG - .494 (2nd) PA-POW!
OPS (for all of you diehards and fantasy ballers) - 848 (2nd)

Not too shabby, and if I could split the month in half, I would venture to guess that some those middle of the road stats are skyrocketing upward.

Now on to the pitching...I am a bit nervous on these...

Wins - 13 (8th)
Losses - 11 (13th best)
ERA - 5.05 (22nd) WHEEEEEE!
SO - 188 (3rd)
Avg - .272 (19th)
RA - 123 (23rd)

One other important stat (in my mind) that I was unable to pull up is fielding percentage. Ya gotta make the plays to get the outs. It feels like the Red Sox have been pretty clean, but then again their are a lot of runs scored this month, so hard to say.

Sooooo, basically here are my thoughts. There is clearly a significant contrast between hitting and pitching. The hitting has been bailing out lousy pitching all month. In order to win it all you have to have the arms to do it. I want to believe that the Red Sox have enough juice in the tank, but the realist in me says not this year. Of course there is still time to right the ship. Need a healthy Wakefield, A healthy Dice-K....a healthy everybody. Then you need the pen to do their job. Billy Wagner? Sounds like another possible Gagne experiment, but what the hell can it hurt at this point. Whatever the case may be, as always, I am with this team to the end.

Go get em, Sox!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sweet Spot Scans

So the temporary babysitter (Mom) is out to the store, the wife is in traffic coming home, and little JD is out cold for the moment, giving me the great opportunity to share with you my sweet spot packs scans! Yeah, thats right, I said two boxes. Could not help myself. One of my favorite movie quotes comes from the movie "Contact"

S.R Hadden said "First rule in government spending: why build one when you can have two at twice the price? So there you have it.

umm...whoops, kinda forgot to flip this image and too lazy to rescan. We got Scott Rolen, Andrew Jones, Aaron Rowand now sliding UPHILL and of course an upside down Justin Verlander!

Pena, Pedroia, umm, Pedroia and Martinez!

Lee, Big Unit, Jim Thome, Miggy, and Mr Joe Blanton

There was also a hit and two other cards that shall remain nameless at this time as they are headed south to Joe for no other reason that they by no means belong in my collection. Enjoy the sweetness Joe!

All of these other cards minus the Pedroia (one of them) and Victor Martinez are up for grabs if you would like. Just let me know!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hitting the Sweet Spot

Well yesterday I dropped into the ol cranky man's card shop to pay up ol Joe and Priceless Pursuit for our Red Sox/Yankees bet. Joe has $10 worth of cards headed his direction, and it shall remain a surprise until he receives them.

Much to my happiness, the cranky man was not there yesterday. The last trip to the store I was caught in an uncomfortable position of a mother coming up to the owner and having a conversation about him accusing her son of shoplifting. All the while I am standing there, debit card in hand ready to pay.

Apparently the kid looked suspicious and the owner told him to leave and never come back. The mom made a couple good points 1) if he truly was trying to shoplift, WHY would he come home and tell her about it? 2) The mom requested that he allow her son to shop if she comes along to supervise. He shut her down and told her that he does not want her son in his store anymore.

My thoughts on the matter. To the shop owner: times are already a bit rickety with card collecting. I understand your concerns about potential theft, but I felt that the mom offering to be there as well would be effective, and also a bit embarrassing to her son, and teach him a lesson if he indeed was trying to steal. Secondly, I think she has a point about him running home and telling her all about it. If I were trying to steal, I would be a bit embarrassed and try to hide it from mom. Bottom line: you cannot afford to lose business, or have bad word of mouth for your store. You are already losing out to warehouses on hobby need the customers. Secondly, you have cards ALL OVER THE PLACE in there...if you don't want potential thieves, keep the cards behind glass or on a shelf. Organize.

But I digress. It's just been bugging me a bit, but I stick up for the little guy.

Anyways, because I needed to award Joe his prize, I decided to take advantage of a once-in-a-never chance to purchase a guaranteed hit $20 pack of Sweet Spot. Consider it my consolation prize to Upper Deck since I have mostly already parted ways with their product.

The cards come (I think) 8 to a box and guarantees either an auto or relic per pack. The sealed packs are inserted into individual boxes, and then shrink-wrapped! I have expected a rattlesnake to be guarding the boxes to further avoid any hot pack hunting (gee, do you think this pack has a hit in it...duh!).

So I head back to the car and open up the various security devices and pull out the cards. The first thing I notice is that one of them is about 3/4 inch thick. I slowly go through the base cards. I cannot remember them all and none are on ebay, but they are basically your standard Upper Deck photo complete with a baseball stitching embossing feature on each card. Well, I got a couple Dustin Pedroia's in the one pack, so I guess that makes it worth it (whats up with the collation though)?

Anyways, the hit?

95% of you probably already know about this product, but what you are looking at is an actual piece of baseball hand signed by Takashi Saito. It's original, i'll give it that. Too bad Saito is not in Red Sox gear, but this is a 2008 card, so there you go. I am a bit on the fence with this one, technically he is qualifies as a pitching phenom, but injuring his shoulder and being used as a not-so-often set-up man for the Sox pretty much tarnishes this hit slightly for me. I would be happy to trade it away if somebody would like to give it a good home!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A stroll to the post office

Today I had a few packages that I needed to get out into the mail. I have learned a valuable lesson over the last couple of weeks regarding shipping. All of my packages were running over 2.00 apiece while everything I have received has been between 1 to 2 bucks each. What gave?(past tense for what gives?) WELL, turns out the UPS store does quite a sizable markup on their letter weighing, so all the while I thought I was being smart and not wasting extra stamps on "in-between" postage, I was actually spending a bit more (or at least the same) to walk up the street and send it from the UPS Store. Conclusion? UPS Store BAD!

So I decided to take advantage of a nice Portland afternoon and stroll the 8+ blocks uphill to the Downtown Portland USPS secretly hidden in the courthouse building. I don't normally head up that direction (who wants to walk uphill), but the weather around here is just about perfect today so I thought "what the heck". Here are a few of the notable landmarks I saw...

Some HUGE statue of a person holding a trident. This thing is massive and really the best way to put it into perspective is to look at the green building that it sits atop. Those are full-sized skyscraper windows. As I walked under this bohemoth, I could not help but picture the scene from "Ghostbusters" where the gargoyles bust of of cement and wreak havoc on the city. If the trident statue ever hits pavement, God help us all!

A couple blocks further down we have the Peeing Elk. Look closer, There is a stream of water coming out from underneath the elk. It is just another strange sight of the city. The good ol peeing elk.

I made it up to the post office and am happy to report that each of my three parcels came in under 2 bucks for the first time in weeks. I also took advantage of a real post office to snag these... Cool beans! I have grown tired of those "forever" bells, so if you want to strike up a trade, you get a Simpson stamp to boot. Oh and I also got $1.50 in 3-cent stamps to help deal with odd-postages, so be prepared for lots of stamps on your letter. If you have a specific Simpson you want to see, let me know (subject to availability...DOH!)

Of course Portland is known to be a little off-kilter in the fashion department. You truly don't know what you will see from day-to-day in the city, who will be talking to themselves, who will offer you drugs, so on and so coming back from the post office I saw a hmm....not entirely fetching woman wearing a skirt with Uggs. Now this is one heckuva look and I give her credit for even attempting to pull it off, BUT she definitely was not....

....Isla Fisher....nor for that matter.....

...Carrie Fisher.
Keep it weird, Portland!

And the Slowdown Continues

Well, another weekend come and gone. In one of the stranger series that I have ever witnessed, the Yankees took two out of three from the Red Sox and I lose my bet to Joe. If you had to go back in time and predict this contest, who would ever have thought that a day after a rookie shuts down the Yankee lineup, that the team would then go on to thrash on Josh Beckett? The whole thing seemed upside down and backwards to me. I understand how rookie pitchers often have the advantage because nobody has seen their stuff before, but Tazawa found his way out of jams all day Saturday.

I have watched enough baseball in my life to know that the month of August is really the most critical in determining whether a team has the juice to go the distance. I could have told you two weeks ago that I don't think the Sox have it this year. Thankfully the bats have warmed up, but I believe I heard that their ERA since the All-Star break is hovering right around 5.00. I was reasonably alarmed in the offseason with the risky aquisitions the Red Sox were making, none of which have worked out.

Still, they currently lead the Wild Card by one game, though I think that Tampa Bay is going to have an opinion on that by the time all is said and done. All you gotta do is make the playoffs and then anything can happen, but this season feels more and more like the 2005 when the Sox squeeked in and were blown away by the Pale Hose. There is still time to right the ship though...

In regards to card collecting, the slowdown is on...either that or I have become uber-efficient. I am awaiting a 4th and final box of Chrome this Friday. I really like the Rookie autos in this set and would not mind a couple more, plus I still have a crack at that Obama card and maybe a superfractor or a nice red refractor. I currently stand about 40 cards short of the set, but if I get the proper collation in the next box, that should be helped considerably.

Heritage 2009 project is winding down. I made a "pick 25" ebay purchase over the weekend that should take care of all of the remaining base cards minus the ridiculously elusive SP's. I can tell that is going to be a bit of a struggle, but if any of you have any dups in this set, please let me know and I can do my best to help you out with your needs...

Ginter is wrapped up. I have no desire to complete the National Pride, and still have a bunch of minis and sketch cards looking for homes. I originally thought that I wanted the sketch set, but then realized how many of them were Yankee moments and became disenchanted with the completely. I have a bunch of NP, mini's and sketch cards looking for homes!

So where does that leave me? Not a ton to do at this point. I think that I will be hitting the prospects and rookie box and alphabetizing those (ooooh) and seeing if anybody made a name for themselves this year. I have a box of phenoms looking to be properly filed in folders, as well as a "Box of Sox" needing the same treatment. Basically filing duty. Whoop whoop! I think I will also spend some more time in Zistle uploading card scans, the site needs more pretty pictures to go with the cards!

Oh well, it will give me a chance to save some pennies up for Topps Updates and Highlights in October. I am CONSIDERING Goodwin as a possibility, or maybe grabbing a pack or two of this Topps Tickets set, but I think I need a few sample packs before I jump in that pool.

Any other suggestions on where I should focus next? I thought about the 2007 Heritage, those looked pretty cool, but is there enough doubles out there with the blogger community to make that project a possibility? Let me know!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ebay Treasures/Mail Call/ and Complete Sets!

I am going to cover a lot of bases here with this post. Jacoby is going to visit with his Great-Grandfather today and I have few precious minutes to tend to my blogging addiction.

I want to start with some mail packages received over the last couple of days that turned out to be rather significant!

First off came a package Beardy who was more than willing to help me tackle my 2009 Heritage project with 20 base cards! In return the bearded one is going to be receiving a snazzy blue Nick Markakis refractor from this years 2009 Topps Chrome. I say will be receiving because it has not gone out yet as I am gathering up some other random O's to go with it. Out Monday. Thanks Greg!

The second package comes from new trading partner, The Collective Troll, who surprised me with an offer for this fine Lincecum relic as well as a Face of the Franchise O-Suck-E card...
Even better were the couple of Ginter cards towards completing my set...this because more signicant in a second...

The final package comes from Matt. Matt contacted me via email (Matt if you have a blog, let me know and I will update this post!) with a trade offer for a few Ginter cards...

The significance of this tri-fecta equals one important fact: ALLEN AND GINTER SET IS COMPLETE! Wow, that was an incredibly tedious task. I had no idea it would take so long to gather 350 cards together, but we did it and this make my second complete set since starting the hobby (minus the Turkey Red Hunt, which very soon is going to become incomplete once again!).

Also of importance in the package was one SP for 2009 Heritage. Every little piece counts. I have a couple up for grabs if we can do an exchange across the board!

Finally, I wanted to show off my latest eBay treasure.

I know that sticker autos are not the most desirable cards on earth, BUT I have to say that this card is exceptional looking. I had an Eddie Kunz that I pulled from Topps a couple months ago that I hung onto forever simply because I thought the blue background really made the card look classy. This one Topps that card in almost every regard. This is a very classy shot of Jon Lester, whom is one of my baseball heroes. The uniform against the blue background and the subtle name at the bottom really pops, and quite frankly, I think that the silver sticker actually ADDS to the cards character. I love it and I had to have it. Mine for $15.50, maybe a bit high, but if you want something, go get it! Have a great day and GO SOX!

Red Sox-Yankees, The Rubber Game!

Well, it all comes down to tonight, Red Sox and Yankees in the rubber-match of one of the most ridiculous lopsided series in recent memory. Joe at Priceless Pursuit and I have a bit of a wager going, and after a surprising showing yesterday by Dice-K doppleganger Junichi Tazawa (right down to the pitching motion), I am more than happy to take my chances with our ace taking the mound in our Beckett knows how to wear a hat right!