Saturday, September 19, 2009

Plans Gone Wild!

Some days start out with the best intentions, but then just end up going nowhere.

Here was the plan for the day. First, everybody sleep in. I told Jacoby to sleep until the sun came up. Well he took it literally because at 6:45 there we was babbling into the monitor announcing the start to everybody's day.

We all decided that we would have a nice breakfast and then head down to Oktoberfest. I have never been to one before and Stacy was excited to take Jacoby and me to our first.

Unfortunately as we started to get ready, the skies opened up and it started pouring outside. Then Jacoby decided he needed a nap. Normally he only sleeps for about 30-45 minutes in the morning, so we laid him down. The kid decided to sleep for an unheard of 3 1/2 hours.

One we finally got out the door I needed to go to the post office and mail a few packs of cards out. I got to the automatic labeling machine only to see somebody in front of me that had absolutely no idea what they were doing. Don't get me wrong. I have never used the machine either until today, but these ladies REALLY did not know what they were doing. Its like being in line with at the store with the person who cant seem to figure out the debit swipe machine.

So eventually I got my packages out to Chris, Charley, and some eBay dude.

I headed back out to the car and once we all buckled up, Stacy turned the key and...nothing. Car was completely dead. I got out of the car and started seeking out somebody that would give us a jump. This is incredibly difficult to do these days. Nobody in the world trusts anybody else and people almost look right through you rather than try to help out.

Luckily within a few minutes we had a helper with some cables. She pulled up her car along side and I hooked up the cables. Immediately I had a flashback to Troll's story about jumping his car and starting the other cars battery on fire.

I stood back a little bit.

Success! The engine fired up and we thanked our heroes, jumped back in the car and were on our way! Stacy was nervous about the battery dying again, so we decided to stop off at Les Schwab (tire and battery store) to have them check it out. Along the way we crossed over I-5 (the road that would take us to Oktoberfest) and it was stand-still traffic.

Did I forget to mention that both the Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers had games today and EVERYBODY was on the Interstate? Ugg.

We got the battery checked out. It was pretty comical. The guy came up to us and said that the battery checked out "bad". No beating around the bush on this one. It had been in her caught since she bought it. It was old, it was bad.

Around 15 minutes into getting the battery switched out, Stacy got a phone call from her friend at Oktoberfest. It was pouring down rain big time.

Too many signs. We were not meant to eat Ruebens, not meant to east sausages and sourkrout. No german chocolate cake for us.

So we spent our Oktoberfest at Olive Garden. I ordered the bottomless pasta and over course only got through the first dish because they serve you with plenty of salad and bread prior to receiving your main dish. I was wise though and ordered a second helping and a to-go box. Lunch for football tomorrow.

We then headed to Target and got some baby food and a few other things. Of course I needed to stop off at the cheap cards corner and see what I could find. Pickings are getting slim, as football packs have started to dominate the shelves. I decided to pick out 5 packs of retail Icons.

These are not bad cards, in fact for Upper Deck cut-and-pastes they actually seem to work because of the nice color schemes. I rarely scan the backs of the cards, but they look nice as well, and Upper Deck has chosen...well, Icons to fill out the set. Of course I am not looking for a set of these, but thought this would be a good chance to grab some Red Sox and a few Phenoms. I got some of each.

For lack of a better idea how to display all of my cards, I went with color coding...

The Red: I am happy to add a Pedroia, and a Dan Haren to my binders.

The Blue
Bunch o Yankees, etc...
The Teal:

Felix heading to the binder!
The Orange:

The Green:

The Wood:

and the King:

Nice little bunch of cards, complete with a few phenoms and ONE Sox. If anything interests you, give a shout!

Sweet Spot Pack Rip #3

Okay, to bring you up to speed on my "Law of Three" theory, I have now pulled one auto (kinda) and one really sweet patch card. According to the law, I should now pull my boring old jersey swatch and call it a day...

Rich Harden
Johan Santana
Dan Uggla.

Here again we come to the magic card#4. Once again there is a thick piece of cardboard waiting for me. This one has to be the dummy card, as I am due a jersey swatch. Maybe it will be of a classic player though. Yeah, thats it, a Babe Ruth Jersey swatch. Who am I kidding, I will get stuck with a Melky Cabrera or something. Anyways, lets slide to the next card...

WHOA! I hath defied the odds and pulled the second of two autographs out of the Sweet spots box! I was wrong about the Law of Three, but I was right about one auto being on an object. Here we have a D-Train numbered to an odd 174. The smudges you see on the ball are not from the scanner, they are actually dirt spots on the left and upper-right side.

I know that Dontrelle has pretty much fallen off of the scene but I would not give up on him yet. He suffers from anxiety, which sounds silly, but as a fellow sufferer of anxiety (started with blood clots in my lungs last summer...another story for another day) I understand how anxiety hits you at weird times and messes up your breathing, and makes you feel weak and tired. Sometimes it can be hard to control to, so I kinda feel for the guy. Either way, any hard-signed baseball is cool by me.

We finish up with Oswalt, Jon Papelbon (for my binder), the Great Gazoo, and another ridiculous Stadium Legacy. Okay, so I jumped on Beckett and looked into this set. Firstly, each card is priced ridiculously high, but not as ridiculous as the fact that there are over 6600 of these cards! Smooth one Upper Deck. Just the sheer uploading of these cards almost crashed my computer, but that is partially Becketts fault. I do respect Mattingly a good deal though and it is too bad that this game had to be a win over my Red Sox, but what are you gunna do?
As always, if you see a base card you dig, let me know. I am not going to put my hits completely off limits either, so contact me if you want to swing a deal. Enjoy the weekend folks!

Sweet Spot Pack 2 Results

Okay, so to the point I have already pulled the expected auto (kinda), so I am fully bracing myself for the rather plain jersey swatches...

Aaron Harang
Justin Morneau
Vlad the Impaler
Erik Bedard

He comes the hit. Now with Sweet Spot they have the multiple security devices so that you never really know what you are going to end up with. These are completely pack-search proof. So in each pack there is a 1/4 thick piece of either a card, or a dummy cardboard block (which work really nicely to pad cards for packing, by the way. Well this one turned out to be an actual 1/4 inch thick card, and was definitely more than I was expecting!

A Johan Santana #4/25 patch card! The obvious flaw in this card is that has Johan labeled as a Met when this patch piece is clearly from his Minnesota Jersey. this represents my first patch card and has stitching everywhere, bringing the three colors together seamfully (hehe). Due to scarcity, there is no source out there to give me a value on this card, so I am just going to list it at a MILLION dollar. Hit of a lifetime! Well, probably not, but hey, out of 25 isnt to shabby!

Then of course you have your typical Yankee scum (yes the Rodriguez card lists him as a Yankee on the back). Poor Griffey got thrown in with these dudes. This card comes with a caveat though...if you look closely you will notice that the Yankees lost this game, and most likely Wetteland did not even see any action in this game. What is UP with these cards?
Maybe I should start a collection of all of the Yankee loss cards?

Sweet Spot Pack Rip #1

Alright, so here is the first of three pack rips. Remember that I grabbed packs 2-4 of the box an am expecting one auto and two relics. Lets see how things go...

I want to start by saying that while the hit cards are the obvious attraction to this series, the base cards are pretty slick. Sweet Spot has glommed on to the biggest names of the game, with quality photos and even the backs have a nice design to them. So when looking for individual players, these are a nice addition to the collection.

Future HOF Tom Glavine
Adam Dunn

Borderline Phenom Dan Haren. I really don't pay that much attention to the NL West, although I have to say that the division has made huge strides this year in improvement, so maybe by next season they will no longer be considered the bottom-tier division of the league.

Balderdash, a stupid redemption card! This represents the auto hit that I was hoping for, although currently in a cheap, gray, text form. Eventually it is going to turn into this...

Eider Torres of YOUR Baltimore Orioles. Red Sox Fodder. Cool Signature though. Dig it.

Next we have BJ Upton and Michael Young.

And finally pitching phenom Felix Hernandez (will make a nice fit for my collection) and the always reliable and never appreciated Yankee Stadium Legacy blah blah the Juicer wins card. How many of these cards did they make? These are almost as ridiculous as the thousands of 20th anniversary retrospective cards that I will be pulling next week.
Stay tuned to see how packs 2 and 3 shake down!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sweet Spot "Law of Three"

So I have be waffling like Brett Favre all day on what to purchase this week. I have put myself on an allowance system, but today felt like spending a greater amount of money since I have my Goodwin Champions coming on Monday, and those will keep me occupied for a couple weeks minimum if I stick to my slow burn rule. Therefore I went into Cranky's shop today with the mindset of looking to spend a little cash.

I have a little bit of a soft spot for Sweet Spot since I have had the fortune of an Alexei Ramirez auto (2nd most coveted to Evan Longoria) as well as the Saito on-ball signature. Plus I think the base cards are pretty dandy too, and if you get a free tin, then thats cool also.

So I came up with a plan. Here is my reasoning. There are six packs in a box, and on average two autos per box and four relics. My guess is that one of the autos is on a card, and the other is on a ball, glove or other. The only thing kinda lacking in this set is the plain relics, so there are four of those.

So my system was to grab three consecutive boxes. cranky gave me half off of the third box, so not a bad deal. There was already one pack gone, so that leaves five left. I grabbed three consecutive boxes. Why three in a row? I have to assume that they are not going to stick an autograph directly next to another autograph, and if I start grabbing random packs then I could miss the autograph collation. Thus three boxes in a row.

My guess is that I will pull 2 relics and an auto out of this purchase. A little experiment to be sure, so stand by for the results!

eBay Shenanagins

Will somebody please explain this to me?

I mean, I understand these "Hot Pack" sellers because there certain ways to feel a pack, or you have mathmatically eliminated "non-hit" packs or the such...but how in blazes can you guarantee that there is a gold parallel refractor in a pack. I am baffled by this one...

Feedback please!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Welcome Back, Kapler

I found it. To my dismay I contacted Joe at Priceless Pursuit with the unfortunate news that a gift he had sent me had gone missing in my stacks. Well tonight it reappeared like magic! Below is a TTM of former Red Sox Gabe Kapler. Kapler was always a dependable staple to the team...if dependable means available about 1-2 months of the season! Everybody in Boston loved him though, and when Kapler was able to patrol right field he was pretty solid.
I know that TTM's can get a little bananas, but this one really outdoes itself with it's scribbles. Apparently Gabe had somewhere to be that day! I can make out the double-looped G though, and that is good enough for me! Thanks Joe, for my first "Non Wong" (all rights reserved) TTM.

Big Brother - Gas Bag Edition!

I will admit that one of my wife and I's guilty pleasure each summer is watching "Big Brother". This show is not exactly though provoking, and often times leads to many eye rolls, shaking heads and disbelief on how some of these people ever get on tv. The fact remains that there is not much to watch in the summer, and this show wins hands down against such dribble as "wipeout" which I believe appeals to the lowest common denominator in entertainment...watching people do stupid stunts, with stupid commentary, and just basically looking...stupid. Big Brother appeals to the SECOND lowest common denominator in entertainment :)

Anyways, we watched the finale the other night and it gave me the idea of creating a post of my ideal "gas bags, or can't stand them" persona's, including celebrities and sports athletes that I would love to throw together in a house together for three months and watch interact. Here are my top five "celebrities".... Carrot Top just plain freaks me out. Seeing a ripped Carrot Top REALLY freaks me out. Being trapped in a house with Carrot Top for three months would just plain terrify me.

Gilbert Gottfried. Has been scaring the heck out of me since growing up watching "Up All Night" on USA. "Problem Child" did not help to ease my anxiety.

Michael Savage. Listening to this radio personality for just five minutes will be enough to raise you blood pressure by double. I have never heard such hatred spewed on air. If Michael had his way, he would nuke em' all!

Alright, probably a controversial pick here, but I grew up a Letterman and Conan man, and I am sticking to it. Jay just always seemed a bit too scripted for me and his gift of ad-lib was definitely off target on "Sunday Night Football" this week.

I think Joan Rivers pretty much goes without saying.
Here are my six athletes to throw in there with them!

"That's my quarterback!" I think the media is making a BIT too much out of his press conference about the Bills, most likely taken out of context, but I guarantee that if TO does not get his next week, then the meltdown will begin.

Wow, tiny picture. Sorry. Again, a big controversial choice, but Jordan appeared to have drank a little too much of his own kool-aid during his HOF speech. He is still the best there ever was, but I don't think his ego would flex to anybody in this house.

Brett Favre. Don't even get me started. I am NOT amused by his television and radio ads mocking himself for flip-flopping. I am NOT impressed with him throwing the Jets under the bus this week, and I am NOT impressed with him calling out the Green Bay faithful by saying "if you are a true Green Bay fan, you will understand why I am doing this". I am NOT impressed that Brett thinks that he might have a broken rib. Hmm, you think if he starts throwing ducks at inopportune times, that he will blame it on his ribs? All garbage. Throw him in the Big Brother house and let Carrot Top get a few jabs in.

You can almost feel the lighter atmosphere in San Francisco these days. I would throw in Barry and that ridiculous trainer of his that is constantly in the slammer for not cooperating with authorities on the Bonds investigation.

Could have gone the Andy Pettitte route. Didn't. Instead decided to throw everybody else under the bus around him while proclaiming his innocence.
So there are my top 10! I know some of you won't agree on these choices, but remember this is just for fun. If you would like to add some personalities that you think would fit into the Gas Bag Big Brother house, feel free to comment!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I really have never had the intention of writing so much about the Red Sox pitching. There are a couple of fellas that are on my phenom report watch list that make it up here every few days, but it's getting harder and harder NOT to write about my team when everything just seems to be falling into place for another (GASP) World Series run. I have seen some really good signs in the last week or so, most notably the increased pitching efficiency. You will remember my split-stats from August where the hitting was up and the pitching was down. Well, now the hitting is up and the pitching is much, much, much improved and as a result, the Sox have given up a grand total of two, TWO runs in their last 4 games. The Byrd man is taking the mound tonight and that could all change quickly, but who honestly thought that Dice-K would come out slinging as well as he did last night?
I am not going to make this an official "Phenom Report" line, but lets just say the Dice-Man went 7 full, allowed 0 runs and only issue 3 BB's. And don't discredit the bullpen either, they have also held serve and protected the lead.

The bats? Looking good as well. Everybody seems in a groove and they are working hard to give the starting pitchers a lead to ease the anxiety a bit. Could it be another deep run for the Red Sox?

I am also playing a bit of catch-up with my postings. I think that I have been increasingly disappointed with my Topps Football Magic pack rips and just decided to jettison the daily scans. I will do a summary of the best cards at weeks end, but for now I would rather talk baseball.

I received a letter in the mail from Chris OK in New York. Chris is a reader of my blog who took a moment to check into my Topps Chrome needs. He was able to knock three cards off of my needs list. I AM DOWN TO JUST A FEW CARDS TO COMPLETE THE SET! If anybody happens to have any of the remaining few cards, can you please let me know and we can work a trade?

Here the cards sent...

Paul Konerko, Phil Coke (does this guy seriously only have one photo? It is the same in about eight brands). and then dearly departed Justi Masterson...but what a trade that is turning out to be! That Konerko card is a classic, you really need to click on it to zoom in and check out the ghost image of AJ in the background, totally stealing Paul's thunder. A sweet little card.

Chris, please let me know if you need any cards. I think the part that amazed me the most with your package is that you were able to send it with just one 44 cent stamp. Truly amazing!

On Sunday my wife decided to surprise me with a couple packs of cards from Target. Of course, not knowing what to grab, she got me a couple of packs of O-Suck-E, certainly not one of my favorites due to the cheesy images, fake "school photo" backdrops and general all around suckiness. BUT I am always to have a pack or two to open, so was very greatful, AND she grabbed a pack that hit pay dirt (for me anyways)

Big Papi Face of the Franchise! Of the many insert sets, this is the only "not sucky" insert set, and I love this card. Not surprisingly, Big Papi was followed up immediately with...

Well go figure, and it is a black-bordered short print to boot. Joe, this baby is all yours.
Here are a couple of other notables from the two packs:

Snell is borderline phenom, I am keeping a wary eye on his progress. Cahill will find a home in my "file and pray" prospects and rookies box.
Thank you to my beautiful wife Stacy for supporting my strange little hobby.
Thats about it for now. Again, please take a look at my chrome needs, and also remember that I am sitting on about 13 Topps 2009 Heritage Short Prints that are looking for the right homes if you need them for your set!

Phenom Report: Three Kings

As the season winds down, JD's Phenoms continue to heat up and put out impressive performances in stadiums across the country. Today I play a little catchup and give you the latest: King Felix took the mound on Sunday after a rainy weekend in Texas and was once again completely overpowering in a 5-0 win over the Texas Rangers. He has now improved his record to 15-5 with a 2.52 ERA and 193 K's. The Mariners have shown a lot of gusto this season and they are really starting to steady down and not be the streaky team of the past. This could be a good omen for next season.

Line: 7.0 IP, 4 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 1 BB, 5 K's.
Result: Win

Jon Lester took the bump in the second game against the Tampa Bay Rays and the end result was even better than the first game pitched by Clay Buchholz. Lester showed complete control by only allowing 2 hits over 8 innings and has now has not allowed a run in his last two starts. Lester continues to be the solid anchor of the rotation, who are slowely closing a grasp on that wild card spot. Lester has also thrown 211 K's this season.

Line: 8.0 IP, 2 hits, o runs, 0 earned runs, 3 BB's, 7 K's.
Result: winner winner chicken dinner

Timmy came back from a scratched start last week (back) and was throwing like a mad man, striking out 11 for the second consecutive game. Lincecum boosted his record to 14-5 and has a nice 244 k's on the season.

Line: 7.0 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 4 BB's, 11 K's.
Result: Win

Yo takes the mound today after a skipped start in the rotation.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Phenom Report - Feats of Clay!

Today the Red Sox play a double dip and the first one is in the bag. I am happy to report that it is a beautiful day in Boston and the boys are finally getting in some good baseball on a very pivotal weekend match up against the Tampa Bay Rays. This card came to me just recently from Adam at Thoughts and Sox. A perfect card to represent Clay Buchholz first of hopefully many no-hitters to come. I like the kid a lot and I am glad that he is finally getting his moment to shine, and boy has he ever taken advantage of it in his last several games. Clay pitched another magnificent game this morning under the sunny Boston skies and guiding the Red Sox to a much needed win over the Rays, virtually closing the post-season door on them as well as adding some serious heat to the Texans, who have been having a heckuva time trying to get some games in vs the sub-mariners. This was a no-decision due to an excellent game pitched by Matt Garza, but still a big win for the team.

Buchholz Line: 7.0 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K's.
Result - No Decision
Next Up: At Baltimore

My other phenom, Jon Lester is currently pitching game 2, more to follow.

Magic Pack #1 - Now We're Talkin'

Before I write this blog I want to give a disclaimer. As I sit in the living room and watch week #1 of the NFL season, pretty much every prediction that I have made in the last couple days has utterly and miserably failed. That's the NFL for you, parody every year. So when I write about the cards I receive, you can pretty much bank on the opposite of anything I say!

So today I rip my first pack of Magic. I was pretty disappointed with Philadelphia yesterday. It was not exactly what I had in mind when I pulled the pack from the hobby box. I was not that impressed with the cards. When I look for a packet of football cards, I do NOT need to pull a Vietnam war hobby card.

So I was reasonably surprised and happy on my first pack of Magic. This is more what I had in mind when searching for a "Turkey Red"ish pack of cards that will help to ring in the 2009 NFL season. Some of these in this pack are definitely outstanding. Here are the results of my first pack.

Demetrius Williams - Ducky! Not a Ducks fan, apparently neither is Baltimore.

Rashard Mendenhall - I cannot believe that I actually got into a fight with a buddy last fantasy season for taking insider information (from me) that I really liked mendenhall, only to swoop him up right before me when we learned he was going to get his first start on Monday Night Football. I did not talk to him for days. Turned out that Mendenhall got hurt on his first play and the whole fight was for nothing anyways. I have him on my team again this year. I never learn.
Jason Hill - From Pullman. Off the map. Another random no name in SF, although he did have 30 catches last year.
Andrew Walter - Spent the last seasons withering away in Oakland. I am starting to see a theme with these Magic cards....

Justin Fargas - Oh lord, another Raider in the pack. I don't expect much from him...which means that he is going to rush for 2000 yards this year.
Willis McGahee - A bit of a thorn in my side since I drafted Ray Rice. Rice got the 100 yard game, McGahee got the TD.

Bo Jackson! Bo used to tear the Seahawks UP. This is a nice little All-American insert card.
Devin Thomas mini - A second round pick by the Skins in 2008. Did not show up on the reception list today. Guess this is considered a prospect mini.
Hmm, well I have to say that I really like the look of these cards, but the actually players in this pack are severely lacking cred (except for Bo, of course). These are going to be fun to open, but we need to step it up a bit on the next pack, eh?