Saturday, December 26, 2009

Trade with Priceless Joe!

As the year winds down and I am enjoying going through some of the sets that I have collected throughout the year and as well as the friendships that I have made. Today I went out to collect the mail and found a nice brown envelope waiting for me from my friend Joe at Priceless Pursuit
Joe and I have exchanged plenty of cards up and down I-5 throughout the summer and fall, as he passion for the Yankees is as strong as my passion for the Red Sox. A match made in heaven. Joe also welcomed in little Joe Jr into the family earlier this month, one day before my little Jacoby turned one. Who knows, maybe some say Joe Jr and Jacoby will be trading baseball cards.

Joe also knows of my passion towards finishing sets. I admit that over the course of the last few months I have veered away from this, but intend to right the ship and finish up some boxes. One of the first sets I ever really fell for was the Turkey Reds in 2009 Flagship. I fought long and hard to get all 100 only to be mortified to learn that there were going to be 50 more in U&H. Joe recently cracked a box of U&H and checked out my needs list and sent me the following...
Without a doubt, the Martinez is my favorite of the bunch. I am starting to feel a little guilty about liking V-Mart so much because Jason Varitek is probably my all-time favorite Sox. But father time keeps on ticking and teams change. I hope he stays on with the organization in some capacity or another.

I also have developed quite the liking for the old-timers lately. I can't really explain why the sudden fascination with the greats of the game, but I just can't seem to get enough of the retro cards lately. Joe sent me a handful of Legends of the game...

Without a doubt the highlight of the package was Joe's hit from his hobby box, a Roy Campenella Legends of the Game Team Letter Patch. And yes, Joe was right, this patch is certainly more stunning in person.
It is serial numbered 5/50 and features the old school Brooklyn Dodgers lettering. Joe has had some mad luck with hits lately and I am thrilled that he was able to part with this one to scratch my old-timers itch. In return I shall be showering Joe with Yankees galore to start a treasure chest for Joe Jr.

I highly recommend the Priceless Pursuit as a daily perusal, and if you are into the whole "Drewbie" awards scene, I urge you to place a vote for Joe. He is a stand up guy, and has a highly-entertaining blog. Check it out and thanks again Joe!

Best and Worst of 2009: Topps Flagship Series 1

For the last week of 2009, I thought it would be fun to go back through some of the sets that I have collected and pick out some of my favorites of the set, and well as some bombs. I had a great time going back through Topps 2009 Flagship. This was the first set that I collected since starting my collection last spring, so there was quite a bit of nostalgia going through the 660 hand collated cards.

My first impressions were "damn, these numbers are STILL hard to see". The black numbering on dark blue triangles, and even the green triangles was a bear to read, and I still remember staying up into the late hours collating the set and going to bed with a throbbing head. Here's to a better numbering scheme in 2010. I was also surprised at the wide variety of blurry cards, sharp cards, tacky cards and stunning cards. Truly a hit/miss on photography.

The following are cards that I like the best out of Series 1. The picks have nothing to do with the player, but purely how much the card grabbed my attention when flipping through the set of 330. Mickey Mantle - While I learned quickly that Mantle being the #7 card was a common Topps gimmick, I still remember my heart skipping a beat when I pulled it. Love the washed out grey on light blue scheme. I later pulled this same card in Chrome and it really pops.

Frank Thomas - You will notice quite a few A's in my choices. I don't know how they choose photographers for each team, but whoever did the A's did a fine job. Nice, clear photo.

Ken Griffey Jr. Classy Shot of Jr Acknowledging the Chicago Faithful

David Price - I mentioned this one earlier in the year. This is one of my favorites of the year. Great shot, great colors, great clarity, and a rookie card to boot.

I really fell for the horizontal shots of the series, as they really can add more drama to the card.

A-Rod. What? Why choose a notorious Yankee scum? Well, again, this is not biased towards players, and I have to admit that if you needed an attention grabbing card to lead off your set, Topps chose a great shot.

Justin Verlander - Topps takes full advantage of Verlanders classic pitching motion with a crystal-clear shot that spans the length of the card.

Albert Pujols - I would say this shot one of, if the THE best of the series.

Edgar Renteria - I really dig the airborn action shot here.

David Ortiz - A classic pose post-home run shot of Big Papi

The Phillies - This is probably the best card each season. Just pure elation caught on a card.

These next four really grab my attention with the fantastic color schemes.

And I'll top of series one with my favorite action shot of the set. Reed Johnson making an impossible grab at the ivy.

Of course with every set of great shots, there are the cards that make you wince when you see them. Below are my "razzie"nominations for series 1...

Brad Ziegler and Jeremy Guthrie display disgustingly contorted body parts mid-pitch. I am aware that some pretty funky stuff is going on when guys through the ball, but I mean, good god,it looks like Zieglers are is on inside out and Guthrie's ribs look like they are going to burst along with all the veins in his neck and arms.

I was not impressed with Big Z swinging a bat, nor any of the several "Met-Life" blimp cam shots of pitchers in motion. The closest to a decent blimp shot was of Greg Maddux, but even that one did not look quite right. Harden takes the cake for the worst though.

Hunter Pence - Looks way too strained for taking a warm-up swing.

Jason Giambi - With Porn Stache and a highly uncomfortable looking cut.

Ryan Braun - Is this really the best Topps could do with one of the game's top stars?

Chase Utley - Same goes for Utley, who is also a coveted #200 card (elite players seem to get the 100's spots) this the best they could come up with for superstar Utley?

And finishing off with my least-flattering shots of the set...I'll let you add your own caption on these less-than-stellar photos.

Tomorrow we'll continue on with Series 2!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Have a Happy Holiday

Well, best intentions as always, but it turns out that returning from a week's vacation the week before Christmas does not allow a lot of free time for blogging! I will definitely return full-time next week with some "best-of's" to close out the year as well as introduce a couple new weekly features for 2010. I already have one figured out, so I still have a few days to invent the other!

In the meantime, everybody enjoy your holidays with all of your friends, families, and loved ones. Here is a list of a few things you can do to pass the time over the long holiday weekend...

1. Watch 24 hours of "A Christmas Story" in bits and pieces and no discernible order. Am I the only one that ends up seeing the same three scenes every year?

2. Turn the "Poinsettia" Bowl into a drinking game by taking a shot every time the announcer botches the name of the plant. Also works well with Viking or Colts games everytime you hear the name Favre or Manning.

3. Spend several hours finding the one light bulb that is causing the entire strand of lights to go out.

4. Head out to the stores today and watch people totally freak out and grab the most random items in a last ditch effort to show somebody that they care! This becomes even more amusing with the invention of the cell phone, as you can now make panicked calls to relatives who have even less of a clue than the caller.

5. Watch the Yule Log on HDTV. We have one here in Portland that is a live feed from a fireplace up at Mt Hood Lodge. Every now and again you see and hand come in the screen and poke the fire...classic.

6. Sit back and ponder how the Blazers won 3 of 4 on a road trip with half of an actual NBA team out due to injuries.

7. Go see a holiday flick. I am getting "Wild, Wild West" vibes out of "Sherlock Holmes" but might be worth checking out. There is always "Avatar", but take Dramamine first.

8. Set up blog drafts (okay, maybe this is a hint to myself).

9. Something about Lebron v Kobe. Doesn't ring a bell though.

10. Hobby Box Break! Hey, you owe it to yourself. Go indulge on a product you really like.

11. Convince the wife to take the kid "boxing day" shopping so you can have the house to yourself and play Call of Duty.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Horse Face and Crooked Hat

Well, back from vacation and time to get back at the blogging in a big way. No more school to get in the way of good old fashioned goofing off so I am looking forward to so good posts and pack rips to come.

One of my greatest pleasures on my trip was to go snorkeling in the morning, followed by collapsing in a lounge chair poolside with the latest edition of the Maui news in-hand. One of the great things about an island newspaper is that it is very little concerned with the ridiculous mainland issues that our culture is obsessed with. All of the shootings, maiming, infidelity, and pilots playing on laptops are all omitted from the Maui news. A great deal more attention is paid to reef damage, rooster problems, and Christmas tree shortages. It is very refreshing.

The sports section is fairly minimal as well, although there were a few box scores each day and a few headlines from the winter meetings. Now keep in mind I don't know all of trades that went down, but a couple blew over in the trade winds that I found pretty interesting...

John Lackey AKA "Horseface". Sure it it childish to give nicknames to players, especially condescending ones, but I am sure at one time or another we have yelled nicknames towards our televisions when our players strike out of commit an error...and they are most likely a lost more profane at that! So Horseface comes from Lackeys sheer grit (literally) that seems to grow with each passing inning. I have absolutely no problem with him becoming a Red Sox, in fact, he is one of the pitchers that I always feared Boston going up against, so mo betta for having him on our side.

Mike Cameron, AKA "Crooked Hat" is fairly obviously...the dude practically invented the slightly-skewed baseball cap bill. I have not seen a player image of him where he has his hat on straight...mind you it is not Dontrelle Willis out-of-control, but still obviously an intentional style. Now I am a bit excited about this acquisition because I feel that Cameron still has a lot of pop in his bat and some good speed to go with it. I am a bit concerned WHERE he is going to play. I have to assume that Bay is gone (again I have not had time to get caught up yet), which is really unfortunate because I was definitely fond of the guy...but that's free agency for you.
That's about all I heard over yonder other than the Roy Halladay sweepstakes. Barring any injuries, I think a lot of NL batters are better setting down the bat and hoping he walks them rather than taking cuts at his stuff. Halladay should excel in the NL (health pending).
Also, congratulations to the Seattle Mariners for snagging Cliff Lee in the deal. THAT is going to pay dividends for Seattle and may just be the greatest acquisition I have seen yet. Don't let the Moose hit ya with the ATV, Cliffy.