Friday, January 22, 2010

My Sidebar Is Disguntingly Empty...

Last night as I was creating a post, I glanced over to the side and realized that there was STILL a list of SP's needed to finish SP Legendary Cuts. While I got within about 35 or so, the well went dry and I had to jettison the project. I took the lot of 65 and Ebayed it, using the sales cash to go towards finishing off Heritage 2009. One large sacrifice to save another project.

Anyways, the list is now deleted and the space looks very empty, blue and lonely. I notice a lot of you post links of other blogs in this space, which makes it really easy for random surfers to discover new and interesting blogs. I would like to open up the opportunity to you to have your link posted on my site if you would like. All you have to do is leave a comment with your link and I will add it on there. If you would like to add my link on your site as well, I would not turn it down! The more readers the merrier!

Anyways, feel free to leave your blog name and link and I will get you added! Have a great day!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Probably One of the Top Yankee Prospects"

I received a nice little envelope from The Priceless Pursuit the other day. Joe, like myself, has been busy cleaning up piles, organizing, trading, and sending packages in a effort to make room for the pending 2010 product season. I was excited to rip open this nice package of unexpected treasure. Let's take a little look.

Tommy Hanson Turkey Red! Cross one more off of my TR needs list. I still have twenty or so to go, so if you can help me close the books on this set before the new TR's make life all confusing...please let me know. As for Hanson, I have become obsessed with finding "the" guy that is going to reach for the record books some days. While I know that Cy Young will never be beat, I would love to see somebody aim for Walter Johnson, or at the very least pitch 400 wins. I would like to see that in my lifetime. Tommy Hanson is definitely off on the right foot, along with TIMMY! We'll see how 2010 turns out.

Here are four very unique and different Red Sox. I really love the look of the 2003 Bowman Heritage and wish I was collecting back then. I am not as high on the propoganda cards as everybody else, but still nice to have a Little Pony in the set.

The next card caught my attention...

A nice, thick piece of Upper Deck dummy cardboard (most likely named that because we all drop stupid amounts of money on Upper Deck products for a lousy return). This made me curious. Joe never goes TOO far out of his way to protect cards, unless they are truly exceptional. Immediately I had visions of a nice relic auto, or....COULD IT BE A LINCECUM AUTO? My heart skips a beat as I pull back the cardboard and see...

This. And if you ever wanted to read a description of Ricky Ledee, you have six opportunities below, and no, the six cards are not from the nine above. The are separate.....

Thus, long story short, I got bipped. Not only bipped, but YANKEE bipped by 15 Ricky Ledee prospect cards. Yikes. Bipping has gotten totally out of hand lately, as people have found creative ways to dispose of their junk wax. I am not a poor sport though, and I figured I would do a little research on Ricky to see what he is up to these days...

Alright, so this may or may not really be Ricky Ledee running a hot dog stand...but I think that the resemblence is uncanny.
Joe, you son of a bip! Now the battle is personal.
For those of you who tuned it last weekend, Joe and I released a little teaser of an upcoming grudge match between Mr Yankee and Mr Red Sox. The big just rubs more salt in the wounds. Tune in this Wednesday for the the big news!

Jacoby's Treasure Chest

It's Friday again, and that means that it is time to dip into the ol' treasure chest of CEO and super-son JD to see what kind of random goodness the secret vault will put on display this week. I was honored that JD himself pointed out one card that he wanted to see in this weeks post. We'll start with his pick...

Chad Billingsley 2009 Sweet Spot auto....After miserably failing in many packs (seriously, look back through some November posts and it is well documented my complete failure to pull anything but a relic and a lousy Yankees auto) I just decided to head to the 'Bay and FIND myself a Sweet Spot auto. I always try to hunt down the auctions that go mostly unnoticed, and this Billingsley slipped under the radar and was purchased for a more than reasonable price. The Dodgers have a really interesting young staff, much like my favorite staff in baseball, the Cincinnati Reds, and you never know who is going to be the bust out phenom of the bunch. I'll wager on Billingsley...until I can get myself a Kershaw auto!

Throughout my many trips to the card shop that ended in Sweet Spot anguish...I DID happen to strike gold with the one loose pack of cosigners that I snagged on a whim. This card represented my first dual-auto (until most recently with the on-card hand-numbered from Heritage High Numbers. This card is fantastic in that has a theme (same team) has two superstar players, and a very nice feature, the sticker autos are cut into the card itself, a cut-auto of sorts. Sorry about the piece of tape across Roberts face, it seems this card is a smidge thicker than most auto cards and my regular top loaders don't fit, so it is still in the original.

We close the chest today with yet another phenom auto card of Ricky Romero. I am particularly fond of the for the fact that it is a pre-rookie card (it was produced in 2006, while there are STILL Ricky Romero 2009 Rookie cards in many products out there). Ricky had a major breakthrough last season and I expect big things from him now that he is not in Halladay's shadow. He is definitely high up on the phenom radar for me this season. This card was the result of a grueling three-trader-trade that included many summits, late-night negotiations, and one Sweet Spot D-train. This card is in immaculate shape and is well protected.
That's it for this week. Tune in next Friday for more random treasure!

Two of Life's Certainties

Here are two things that you can bet the farm on...

1) Conan O'Brian's Tonight Show stint WILL be coming to an official end tomorrow night (tune in...go team Conan).

2) EVERYBODY apparently goes shopping at Target on Thursdays.

I have been having an absolute blast scrolling through my daily blogs today with the sudden eruption of Topps 2010 Flagship crucifications (not a word) throughout the blogosphere.

It all started earlier today with the revelation that Topps was once again including unlisted SP's of legendary players. Topps: HOW DARE YOU ruin my whole set-building experience by including cards NOT listed on your official checklist, thus compromising my meticulously constructed excel spreadsheet and ruining my day by adding...really dare you.

"When they were Kids"? Oh dear lord! WHY show us superstar players when they were young, and innocent, and in little league, and an inspiration to children to pursue their dreams and mayb e someday turn out to be like their heroes. Kids are dumb and shouldn't be collecting baseball anyways. This hobby is for ADULTS.

"Cards that were thrown away by your mom"? Talk about a gimmick! Why on earth would they include cards from the last decade? Clearly there were no good players that have appeared in the last 10 years, I would rather have some early 90's junk wax instead....besides since this hobby is for ADULTS, clearly we already have all of these cards anyways...oh wait, I just started collecting last spring and I actually WOULD like those cards that I missed out on...damn you Topps for making that

Toppstown.....I got nothin. Those suck.

I guess when it comes down to it, the product just offers to much variety for my tastes. Way too many insert sets that appeal to too broad of an audience. The price? $50 bucks? Way too freakin cheap for all of this variety. If you are going to charge 1/2 the going price of a respectable hobby box, I expect 1/2 the variety and creativity as well! And 36 packs to a box? Whoa there Nellie, I expect no more than 20 packs and 4 cards per pack. And I swear to you, those packs better contain nothing but three worthless base cards and one super-worthless quad swatch of four random players, or I am taking my business elsewhere.

Surprises are for chumps. I want my four base, my one shortprint, my one mini card, and dammit, after I pull my expected hit, that had better be it for the rest of the box!

And don't even get me started on the "cards for grades" advertisements. Just give me another card instead. And besides, this hobby is for ADULTS anyways......

Alright folks, OBVIOUSLY this post was way over the top (get it) with cynicism over the already freaky amount of complaints about an (extremely) new product. I saw the same thing with Goodwin, and with T206 and with Ticket to Stardom...though that product deserved it, sorry Joe.

Here is the deal with Flagship:

It is:

  • A low-to-mid range product, a little easier on the wallet, and 36 packs to boot.
  • Appealing to a wide-variety of collector, including the younger generation who the industry is desperately trying to reach out to again.
  • Full of unexpected surprises, to the delight of some, and the ire of others.
  • An easy set to collate without breaking the bank
  • Fun to bust (GASP).

It is NOT:

  • High-End five packs per box with 4 hits per pack.
  • Designed for you to get rich on eBay sales

Now it is no mystery where I stand on the product...I like the stuff. Yeah, I bust Sweet Spot and (slightly) higher-end product as well, but it is nice to finally have a product come out that I can bust a mad amount of packs at a reasonable cost, get some surprises along the way, and collate a set without hunting down ridiculous amounts of SP's and super SP's (thanks a ton, Heritage).

Of course, everybody is entitled to their opionions, that is the fun of blogging! It's just that yours are wrong and mine are right! Kidding.

So everybody jump in your cars right now and go support your local Target, then let's all go get kicked out of an Applebees!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An Amazing Feat

I am starting to warm up to the MLB Network...while I feel that they have WAY too many analysis shows, it is also the middle of winter right now and they don't have any new stuff to analyze. Last season I totally got sucked into the nightly baseball feature (the name slips me at the moment) where they would shoot you around to different games around the league. While I subscribe to the MLB Extra Innings package, this little program is a great way to get up to the moment stats and highlights and checking in on the nights best games. Okay, I am done with the free plug.

So this weekend I was watching a little MLB and they were highlighting Mr. Cal Ripken Jr. The program highlighted Cal's amazing consecutive game streak and showed clips of game #2131 and beyond (as well as the end of the streak in Yankee Stadium, when the entire Yankee dugout and fans gave him a standing O...those classy sons-of-guns. Cal holds the all-time MLB record that now stands at 2632 consecutive games.

Today I thought it would be fun to reach out to the blogosphere and talk about baseball records that they find amazing...and perhaps unreachable. Records that will forever stand the test of time. Some thought that Roger Maris' 61 HR's would never be topped, and unfortunately thanks to the Jamba Juice, it was...but will it ever (legitimately) be surpassed.

Being a fan of pitchers, I stumbled upon this 2007 Masterpiece card the other night and started thinking about the amazing stats on the back of the card... Walter Johnson - 417 wins! And then there is this fella...

Cy Young (Looking very Jim Belushi) - An amazing 511 wins! In fact, here are the top five:

Cy Young: 511 wins

Walter Johson: 417 wins

Grover Alexander - 373 wins

Christy Matthewson - 373 wins

Warren Spahn - 363 wins

Looking at some current players on that top 100...Randy Johnson (now retired), Jamie Moyer, Pedro Martinez, Andy Pettitte, and John Smoltz. (Greg Maddux finished with 355 wins, and Roger Clemens with 354). These remaining current players are at or near the end of their long careers, and will most certainly NOT break the all-time record, nor reach 400 wins either.

How did they do it?

Let's start with some lines, focusing on merely wins, losses, total games (including no-decisions) and total innings...
Cy Young - 511 wins, 316 losses, 906 total games, 7354 innings pitched
Simple math here...just to reach this many innings for a career means that Cy Young would have had to pitch an average just over 8 full innings per game for 22 years! Also note that Cy Young came into the league at 23 years of age, and retired at a reasonable age of 44. This would also create an average wins per season at 23.22.
Walter Johnson - 417 wins, 279 losses, 802 total games, 5914 innings
By the same equations, Walter would have had to have pitched an average of almost 7.5 innings per game and he averaged 19.8 wins over 21 seasons and retiring at age 39
Lets now compare a couple recent retirees
Greg Maddux - 355 wins, 227 losses, 744 total games and 5008 IP.
Greg averaged about 6 2/3 innings per game and 15.4 wins per season for 23 seasons and retiring at age 42.
Randy Johnson - 303 wins, 166 losses, 618 total games and 4135 total IP
The Big Unit also went about 6 2/3 IP per game and averaged 13.2 wins per season for 23 years, retiring at age 45.
Nobody else on the active roster is even reasonably close to warrant a comparison at this point. I could look at Roger Clemen's numbers, but I choose not there.
There can be any spectrum of factors that can explain why the early pitchers seemed to produce more wins...maybe it was the lack of middle relievers, maybe less injuries, maybe a smaller rotation....or maybe their stuff was just wicked, but regardless I think it is pretty much a safe bet to say that 511 wins will never be broken, and even 400 during the modern age of baseball seems like a stretch. I would LOVE to see it happen, especially with one of my phenoms, but only time will tell...and by the looks of things it will take at least 22 seasons, so I have plenty of time to wait.
What other records do you just look at and marvel, shake your head and say that they can't be beat? Or on the other side of the coin...which of these great records do you believe Can and Will be beat...and who will that person be?

Monday, January 18, 2010

But, Um...

Monday nights are big night in this household. It is practically the only night on TV where you can watch three legitimately funny sitcoms nearly back-to-back (minus the incredibly lousy "Accidentally On Purpose" in which I absolutely refuse to participate...thus time to write a blog!

So tonight on "How I Met Your Mother", the episode focused on the "but um" which turned out to be a college drinking game that everybody takes a shot whenever Robin says "but um" in an interview. Ultimately everybody gets completely tanked and hilarity ensues.

The episode brought me back to my college days when my buddy Ryan and I had a "but um" evening thanks to this man...

It was September 8th, 1998. It was the summer of Sammy Sooser and Mike McGwire. For about the last week and half Ryan and I watched as ESPN relentlessly broadcast all St. Louis Cardinal games waiting for the moment that Big Mac smacked HR number 62. On this particular evening, McGwire just got enough of the ball to get in over the fence in left and chaos ensued.

Being the young college fools that we were, we decided to head to the local bar and celebrate this historic achievement with the one caveat that whenever the bar television showed the McGwire HR, that we would take shot, or a swig, or a cherry bomb, or whatever was in front of us at the time.

Needless to say, things got interesting in a hurry as the bar had two tuned to ESPN and the other tuned to ESPN2. I would suspect though that you could have been on the cartoon network or animal planet and STILL have seen the HR highlight.

As the evening wore on, more of our friends showed up and partook in the game. This was good because the more the merrier, but also very very bad for those least intoxicated that were always Johnny on the spot to point out when the highlight was running again.

Where the evening unraveled and ultimately became lost from the memory banks and into fuzzy lore was when some hot rod at ESPN decided to close out the 11PM SportsCenter with a 62 HR montage of Big Macs blasts. A look of horror shot across our faces as bomb after bomb went over the fence. The rest is history.....very foggy history.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Curse Is Broken!

Well, thanks in part to a spastic, furry, horned mammal, tomorrow's curse breaking post is now moving up to today! Congrats to Spastic Moose. I immediately realized the flaws to my system. I immediately assumed that Sweet Spot was going to be as crazy-over-the-top with their relics as Ballpark. I figured that the possibilities would be endless.


Turns out that there were only eight quad-relics included in Sweet Spot and my third clue immediately narrowed it down to one. I get a nice little slap on the wrist for not doing my research first. You relic hunters iz crazy man...CRAZY!

But, on the positive side, the quick solution allows my readers to become beneficiaries of my post originally scheduled for tomorrow....TODAY! Aren't you lucky?

So going back to the original story, JD and I hopped into the car on a dreary, wet Sunday afternoon, armed with the knowledge that order was restored to the galaxy as Dallas was eliminated from the playoffs. Luck was one our side, so I figured it was time to head to the ol' (new) cardshop and roll the dice on some Sweet Spot.

A short history will reveal that I have had TERRIBLE luck with this fact I believe I wrote a rather scathing post sometime in November or December after I bought 4 packs out of six...and ended up with four relics. It was either that or three relics and a Yankee rookie auto, which is just as good as getting kicked in the Jimmy.

But like sitting at a blackjack table, or throwing the extra 20 bones into video poker, I knew that my luck had to turn around at some point. So once again I gave myself a mathematical 50% chance of snagging a sweet spot by purchasing half of an unopened box. I chose the front pack, and the last two packs. Don't ask me which the hit came in because they got all rattled around in the shopping bag anyways. But the ORDER I opened them was this...

Pack #1 - Relic - Can't even remember who and don't really care, as it is going to spastic moose anyways!

Pack #2 - The quad relic of the incredibly short-lived contest this morning.

Pack #3 - I knew I had the hit immediately when I noticed that the cardboard of the normally "dummy" piece was white and not grey. I paused for an incredibly long time and savored the moment and mulled over the possibilities. I have heard great stories of the sweet spot hits coming from this store, including a Michael Jordan auto.

Slowly I slid away the first few base cards and hit this...

A YaMo 24/30 auto glove! I am not super-thrilled about the player pull, but this is my first on-glove auto, and is the lowest-numbered Sweet Spot I have pulled next to my Halladay patch to 25.

I don't even know what I intend to do with this one yet. I know that it is a great candidate for Jacoby's treasure chest, but I also feel like there are some great Cards fans out there who would like it as well, so I am open to offers.

The great news is that the curse is over. I can happily ignore this product from here on out and know that I finally pulled a sweet spot, but even better a "non-Yankee" Sweet Spot. Hurray!

The Quad-Swatch Contest!

UPDATE: Contest is OVER before it really began. SpastikMoose jumped on the Sweet Spot Checklist and nailed it immediately. Well, hu-rah for the powers of the Internet! Spastik, be sure to email me with your mailing info as well as the team you follow. My company is currently blocking yahoo mail for some reason, so I will need to check tonight and will send your prize out to you immediately! Nice work! Well, over the weekend, Jacoby and I dropped into the ol hobby shop (the new ol hobby shop) and purchased some supplies as well at the inevitable few boxes of the Sweet Spot. I have had TERRIBLE luck with this product and am absolutely obsessed with finally pulling a sweet spot out a box. Each time I have picked, there has been a new box, so in essence I have had a 50% chance of finally breaking the curse.

I'll let you off the hook...I broke the curse....but that is tomorrow's post.

Today, let's have a little fun. Out of the second box I opened, I pulled my first ever Sweet Spot quad swatch. Over the last year of posting you have learned of my increased dislike of the fabulous fabric, so today, my trash is your treasure....but you gotta earn it, and it ain't gunna be easy.

Here is the deal. In order to win the Swatch, you will need to guess all four players on the card. Use any means necessary to do so, there are no rules. About every half-hour or so, I will update this post with a new clue to help you along the way. The winner will not only receive the Quad swatch, but also the swatch I pulled from the first pack as well as any assortment of cards that I have that can help you with your collection needs? Worth playing for? (Enter a Jeff Probst joke here).

To win, post your response in the comments section.

On to the clues!

1. These four players are all current players
2. These four players are all on separate teams
3. Three of the players are American born, one is Dominican.

It's Coming...