Friday, October 23, 2009

Flight Fight and Other Things Learned in the News

As you are quickly learning, part of my job is to read the daily major publications. Every now and again something jumps out at me worth sharing with you, and today I have a couple nuggets. Lets start with "Flight Fight".

And again, I don't take the time to get all the facts verbatim, and I will tell you the below image is from the Wall Street Journal, but I am too lazy to link it up, so type in if you would like to learn more, but here is pretty much how it went down.

A couple of knucklehead pilots got into a fight during a flight from San Diego to Minneapolis, something regarding "airline policies". During this fight they either did not hear, or completely ignored repeated calls from the tower regarding them severely overshooting their flight path. The chart above will indicate when the light bulbs finally kicked in and they looped the plane back around for it's eventual landing in Minn over an hour and 15 minutes late. Both pilots were suspended, and will be appearing in a reality show with the balloon boy family soon (okay, so that part is made up).

Sportwise, the New York Times had their annual "What's wrong with TBS Playoff Baseball Coverage" rant. I swear they just run this story from archives each year, but among the complaints are:

1) Get the best announcers - same old yada yada...lets clone Vin Scully and all feel better about things.

2). Choose local voices and bring in local announcers - well for one, the Red Sox/Angels series featured Don Orsillo, local Red Sox play-by-play, so....huh?? And secondly, doesn't bringing in local announcers contradict complaint number one (in most cases)?

3). Silence is a good thing - The Times is just slammin on Chip Carey for yammering too much.

4). Baseball announcers need rhythm- Call these guys
5). Technology is imperfect - The paper claims that Fox's strike zone technology is used way too often and is not accurate. They say the same for Fox, but the main argument here is that TBS needs to use it less and Fox needs to use it more. Which basically means, even though it is inaccurate, it sure is pretty.

Like I said, it is the same rant every year since TBS jumped into the fray. IMHO (Acronym alert!!), TBS has gotten light-years (Star Wars/Star Trek reference alert!! Red alert!!!) better since they jumped in a few years back. Of course HD helps that a whole lot, and lets face it, the quality of the games is what makes a broadcast better. Nothing worse than a 10-1 blowout where announcing crews have gone through every talking point on their list and then need to go to guys like David Wells to fill the gaps.

Oh, and just one more little dig on FOX...what is UP with your World Series theme song each year? Why do they go from the regular Fox Baseball theme to something that sounds like it should be used for the Masters or something like that? Tell me I am not alone in this...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I had very few "gotta haves" from Topps Updates and Highlights. I am a big fan of the old-timer short prints, and obviously this was one of the "gotta haves", so I jumped on it when it showed up on the Bay. It arrived this evening.

Without a doubt the Babe is headed to the giant top-loader shoe box next his series one counterpart.

I spent a good deal of time looking at the back of this card. I did a large scan, so if you click on it, you can see all of the stats. I highly encourage you to take a few minutes and just ABSORB what this man did. Some of his seasons are absolutely staggering. Staggering. A beautiful addition to the collection.

Megan Fox was in Transformers???

Hey, Mike back here. Okay, just another quick post for ya. Do you remember a few months back when I wrote about a horrible Red Sox loss and a horrible movie all in the same night? Yep, Transformers 2 baby!

The only reason that I bring this up is because I use yahoo mail to correspond with all of you and right now every time you are in yahoo there is a nice netflix ad with a nice lil photo of megan fox, desperately clinging to a sandstone post, out of breath, flustered, and low-ridin a pick tanktop. No I will not post the image here since this (might) be a family-friendly blog...I just thought it was funny that the marketers of Transformers realize how horrible the movie was, and go straight for the eye-candy to make you run out and rent or buy the also makes you want to send more email :)

Actually I probably WILL see Transformers 2 again, but not necessarily to see Megan Fox in a low slung tanktop, but because my buddy has a pimped out bose home theatre and the wife and kid will be out of town. SICK.

Well, off to yahoo!

A foggy review of the new 2010 Topps!

Ta-Da! One lousy image. The foggy part of the post is that I am completely aware that there are other images out there on scattered blogs, but truth me told I cannot for the life of me remember which blogs those were, so this appears to be the most widely distributed base card. Shazzam! Not too shabby looking. My only quasi complaints on the design are the crazy "Twin Peaks" font for the player names. I dig the Cards logo and the color match, but the name just does not seem quite right. I have seen some other images of David Wright and a couple others, where the color matches the team and theme of the card, so all-in-all I would have to say that this looks pretty promising.
One important question. Who else went totally blind trying to collate these last season? Nothing like throwing a tiny black number on a dark blue circle. Just curious what the backs look like but because the "1B" looks exactly the same, my guess is that the numbers on the back are going to be the same also, thus ridiculously difficult to read.
Being foggy, I don't really recall too many of the insert sets, but from the images I have seen, it looks like only the cream of the crop is being displayed (does anybody really think they are going to pull the Pujols Patch or the Fielder Patch that is the ENTIRE Milwaukie M. More likely you will pull a Eric Gagne patch of a plain, white preseason jersey swatch. Anything is possible though.
I know they are doing Turkey Reds again, which normally I would be excited about, except that I am collecting that set this year and they look virtually identical except for the dark wooden border and the creepy munsters looking font on the turkey red logo, which I don't really care for.
There is some other set called "cards that your mother threw out" which basically looks like another way to throw in SP old-fashioned cards. I don't know whether these are the actually cards or reprints, but I know that with my luck I will add yet another Mike Greenwell into my collection.
But as snarky as all this may sound, I actually look forward to the set for a couple of reasons. You get 36 cards in a box, 10 cards in a pack. There are a plethora of subsets to chase. Boxes pre-sell for under 50 bones, and every time I open up some of these suckers, Topps always surprises me with something that I did not expect. Just when you think you have seen your hits, a silk, black variation, short print, or a cool looking old-timer card shows up. Topps, you are the masters of surprise and king of the affordable box breaks, and for that, I thank please call Nick and I about Ginter!
Oh yeah, one more subset to cover. Looks like Toppstown is back and kicking. Something about using a webcam or scanner to bring your players to life. I have never tried this, but if it really works, i would like my toppstown players to clean up Jacoby's toys, vacuum the floor, do the laundry and make dinner each night, please.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Congratulations to the NL Champions

Congratulations to your National league Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies! It really is quite the feat to even put you team in the position to repeat as champions. A million things can go wrong in a season, and nearly 1/2 million things did with this team, but yet they pulled together and have the opportunity to go back-to-back. A very envious position to be in indeed.

To have to wait a week though for the series to even begin? Need we be reminded of LAST October in Philadelphia? Get it together, Selig.
Here are a couple new cards of your NLCS MVP Ryan Howard

And of course a little relic action by one of my phenom faves, Mr Cole Hamels.
Well done team, see you next week!

What I done learned in the news today!

Well, so much for the rally monkey, eh? I am for hire if anybody ever needs me to curse their team for them!

So as part of my glorious job, I read the newspapers from major publications. Here is the two little tidbits that I found interesting today.

1). So apparently Manny Ramirez was already in the showers when the Phillies made their 9th inning comeback last week. Manny Cleaning Manny? Of course Joe Torre is going to play it down, and actually described it as a "show of faith in Broxton" by NOT being in the dugout during the 9th inning.

2). Hurray for the Mets! The owners apparently got in the Bernie Madoff scheme, and actually MADE money from the deal! That, my friends, is what you call an outlier. Maybe Mr. Met will get a raise next year.

Well, as reported earlier, Mr Tommy Hanson is sprouting like a weed on Ebay this week, apparently having signed about a billion little shiny stickers in the Updates and Highlights sets. I found an unsuspecting low-pricer "buy it now" and jumped on it Leon Lett in a snowstorm and it will be headed to Oregon soon.

When perusing Ebay today for my next impulse purchase I stumbled across this.

Definitely an interesting patch card to say the least. I am a bit curious on the serial numbering on it though. So, by my powers of deduction, I have determined that the E comes from "RED SOX". if each letter represents a serial number, then RED SOX would have 6 letters, thus cannot be evenly divided into 50. You would literally have 8.33 jerseys used to make these patches. Even more unlikely is that there are 50 of each letter available...but I find it staggering that Topps would be able to obtain 50 Babe Ruth worn jerseys to make little baseball cards out of.

So then basically it is possible to have obtained 50 random Red Sox jerseys to make these patches, but then is it really right to slap Babe Ruths image on the card? There is already a bid of $9.99 on much would you pay for a random swatch?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Breaker, Breaker...In Pursuit

I am putting out an APB on this man, and more particularly, this card. This is about the best auto I have seen come out of Updates and Highlights thus far, and judging by the quantity I have seen, they are fairly wide-spread.

I really like the color-scheme that Topps uses, it actually finds a way to accentuate the sticker auto. Not an easy task. This particular card is priced to buy at 29.99. Why am I not jumping on it? Check out the sticker centering on this is clearly slanted. I have seen better ones, and will jump if the right price hits, but I thought that I would toss this one out to you all. If you happen to happen upon this card, please email me and let's see if we can work out a deal!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Red Sox Friendly Hobby Box

Ultimately, my impulse purchase over the weekend helped me learn to change my collecting ways, but I certainly don't regret the purchase of the hobby box. It was definitely Red Sox Friendly, right up until the last surprise (which is at the end of the post...thus being "last"). Here are a few highlights.

This first card was actually the bonus rookie refractor that came in a separate foil pouch. Part of me wanted to throw that pouch up on Ebay just to see how crazy people would get for a potential rip roarin rookie like Hanson, Beckham, or McCutchen. NAH! Lets just open this baby up!

Josh Reddick, giving his best Mr. T/Uncle Sam pose. Seriously though, if there is one rookie that is able to get away with looking so smug it is Reddick, who came up to the bigs crackin the bat with his razor sharp goggles. He played some time out in right field while the ever-ailing JD Drew ever-healed (seriously, when is the last time that the Red Sox had a healthy right-fielder)? I think Reddick is going to explode onto the scene next year and stick for good. This is a nice smooth and clean refractor, although the image does it no justice. I wish I knew how to scan refractors properly.

On to the Jacoby's! Toppstown returns in Updates and highlights with both Gold and Blue Toppstown cards. I have a bunch of these available if you have a particular player you are hunting for, give me a shout. Most are blue, but I have a couple golds.
Ellsbury can do no wrong. Another amazing season full of amazing steals and amazing diving catches and a plethora of doubles and triples. Maybe if I go to Topps and bring him to life, I can finally get an Ellsbury auto! :)

This card is fantastic. What a great memory and highlight of the season, when Jacoby stole home against the hated New York Yankees. It has been ages since I have ever seen a steal of home, and definitely never seen one live. The foundation shook at Fenway and Chowdaheads produced the "Jacoby Stole my Heart" shirt that my wife immediately purchased. Cool, cool card.
Oh yeah, one of my hopes of dropping for a hobby box was to pull another short print. I love the classic player cards that Topps is putting out. I have the Babe from the series one, the Jackie Robinson from Series 1, and Obama from Series one. Wade Boggs showed up the other night in my random pack rip and then my big reward for snagging a hobby box?

Tris Speaker! This is just a classy, classy card. I love the look of it and Mr Speaker will be headed straight for the top loader!
I have more to share from this box, including the main advertised box hit, but that is another post for another day!

Reelin' It In (Part 2)

I am having total de ja vu about this, but over the weekend...yesterday in particular I looked over the melee that has become our china cabinet, and saw boxes and cards, and envelopes and supplies and.....

Soooo, I started leafing through some of my binders to see exactly what all I have collected over the last several months. The truth is...had I not this to take inventory, I probably would not have even opened the binder at all. Deep down, when it comes right down to it, I have binders full of worthless base cards of players that I like.

Before you jump on me about the worthless part, is not that I don't LIKE the cards, in fact some of them are incredibly unique, but when it comes down to it, when I someday pass off my collection to my son (assuming he even wants them) these types of cards aren't going to mean much to him, and certainly won't appreciate much either.

Now I do like collecting base cards of some problem is that I am seeking TOO MANY players and when your collection needs are so wide open, that opens the floodgates to way too much manage.

I look at all the money that I no longer have in my bank account and a ballooning credit card and try to weigh it against what I have collected. While I certainly am proud of some of my collection, it is not nearly worth the finances that I have invested.

So, I cleaned off the china cabinet, minus my "pending trades" box and a smile pile of cards that need filing. Don't be surprised if you receive a surprise package (well, be a little surprised) with some base as well as some scattered treasures.

So, effective immediately, my priorities are:

1) Complete any sets I have started (2009 Turkey Reds, 2009 Goodwin Champions)
2) Collect autos and unique cards worthy of a toploader to go into my two-column shoebox, which is ultimately what I would like my son to hang on to in the future)
3) Collect base cards of SELECT players (as of now I am thinking Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, and Jon Lester
4) Collect relics/rookie cards/autos and uniques of my beloved pitching phenoms.

So when it comes down to it, this mostly means no more frivolous spending on products that I have no intention to complete sets of. Instead I will focus my efforts on trading and hone my ebay talents!

The other part of the whole collecting craze is the blogging. I think part of the reason I buy so much product is that it gives me something to write about. But the truth is that there are some very good blogs that I follow by people who really develop great stories about cards they already have in their collections. It CAN be done, and some of you are very good at it.

Don't panic too much though, I still plan the occasional blaster break or MAYBE I will organize a group break just to give me an excuse to bust open some cards, but for the most part unless the cards fit my refined needs, then they will all be up for grabs! Please keep me in mind if you do happen to stumble on something that would fit my collection though, because nothing beats finding a nice ol brown envelope in the mail!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Shootin Turkeys

As mentioned many many times before, the main reason that I am even dabbling in Updates and Highlights at all is the fact that I love Short Prints of classic players (already nabbed one of those) and I absolutely love Turkey Reds. I am happy to report that the chase is officially under way and out of 12 packs I got four TR's...and some pretty nice ones at that.

Rick Porcello. Definitely worth keeping an eye out for in the future. He had a great season with Detroit and almost...ALMOST took his team into the playoffs.

Jake Peavy...In Pale Hose gear! I will have to look back to see if he is one of the original 100 cards, but another snazzy pitcher to cross off my list.

Speaking of White Sox, Mr Gordan Beckam. I also pulled his actual rookie card. unfortunately it had a ding in the right corner. Normally I would consider asking for a replacement, but who are we kidding, just because it has that little symbol in the corner, does not make it a true rookie card.

And finally Mr David Price. Yet another borderline phenom.
Man, I love these cards. Please let me know if you find any that you are willing to send this way!