Saturday, April 17, 2010

Topps Finest Pack #6

Hey hey! Happy Lincecum Log Saturday to you. On National TV here out west as well, so no blurry vision today. Coincidentally, the Freak made it into this packs base cards as well...enjoy. What? Only three base? Well that is because pack #6 donated two refractors...

David Ortiz, Big Papi. Does not hit in real life, does not hit in The Show. Man that game is realistic. And then the extra fractor and I imagine the box hit is a #/50 Tommy Hanson gold refractor, sans blowing bubble.

I will load up box #2 over the weekend and get those out for you guys to see ASAP.

Go Lincecum, and go Sox.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Topps Finest Pack #5

My head is just swimming with product ideas to purchase this weekend. Can you believe I am actually considering Ticket to Stardom and Ballpark? I KNOW! Need a breather. Lets jump to Topps Finest Pack #5

Poor, injured Jacoby. Hopefully he'll be back soon. Then of course there is the perennial Chone Figgins card that always seems to find a way into my packs.

Your fractor of the pack...

Jason Kubel! A contributing member of the upstart Minnesota Twins. Not so shabby.
Still one to go (in box one)!

Need some ideas for a birthday rip!

Hey folks. I would not typically toot my own birthday horn, but Monday I turn 33 and am taking the day off, which is terrific because (for all of you Red Sox fans) you know that this is also Patriot Day, which is the day that they run the Boston marathon AS WELL AS host an early start Red Sox games. So basically at 8:00 left coast I will be parked in front of the blurry vision that is MLB Extra innings. I might luck out though and get HD coverage for that one.

Anyways, the wife will be at work, and kid at daycare, so the day is ALL MINE to do as I choose. I have a few bucks burning a hole in my pocket and would like to have something fairly nice to rip that day. I figure on your birthday if you get a higher-end box of something, then it increases your chances of hitting pay dirt. I am looking for some ideas of what to bust.

I am pretty spent on Goodwin,T206, and Topps flagship. I have also been unimpressed with Heritage and don't want a pile of lousy gum laying around the house. Typically, my shop (and I want to go to my lucky one) has mostly only recent stuff, so I have seen 2009 Bowman Sterling, 2009 Topps Unique, amongst others. There is also this crazy hockey box with a dinosaur on the front. Or I could go with another master box of Finest, though I am not super-crazy about serial-number refractors.

Toss out some ideas people. Consider it a choose your own adventure since I will be posting the results!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Topps Finest Pack #4

Where's the hit? Here it is in pack #4. First our staple base finest... Another Yankee. Benny is making out like a bandit at this point (email me you address by the way), and here is regular ol Bobby to go with the souped up refractor from the last pack.

Now the hit. X marks the spot...

Dustin Richardson RC Auto patch #/75. Gotta admit that I don't know this least not yet. I don't really follow minor league happenings unless somebody is REALLY on my radar like Strasberg, Chapman, etc...but nevertheless these are pretty sweet. Hard to tell from the scan, but the border is a refractor, and having a cool looking Red Sox X is a nice little bonus as well. It takes a lot of skill to sign a patch letter, so kudos to Dustin.
More to come

Topps Finest Pack #3

Last night I took the chance and redeemed my card #1 redemption in hopes of the Heyward auto. Did not happen. I ended up with the base card, but that is still pretty cool. I pondered selling it (unredeemed) on eBay, but that felt a little too "hot pack" for me and I would feel terrible if I dropped a load on the redemption and found out it was a base. So I redeemed it myself. I am still sitting on redemption #7 and it will most likely be months before we know who that will be.

Moving on with pack #3 of Topps Finest...
and your fractor is?

Bobby Abreu...I believe numbered to 599. More to come later!

Topps Finest Pack #2

Continuing forth with the Topps Finest is pack #2...
Damn, that Johnny Damon sure does find a way to sneak into the collection frequently. He's all your's, Benny!

And I am starting to now understand the theme of each pack. A few chrome base and then a serial-numbered refractor. This pack contained a #/599 Justin Verlander.
Stay tuned for the big hit in the next pack!

Topps Finest Box break towards 400!

As I close in on elusive post #400, I wanted to share some of the finest cards on the planet!

Sometimes you are looking for something a little different. Last week as I finished my purchase and took one last look at the shelves and I spotted this... It was one of those mini boxes. Apparently there are two to a full box. I made a mental note to save up for one of these the next time I came in. On Saturday, since the wife had a cold and needed a nap, I decided to take Jacoby to both of my shops to burn some time. I went to Cranky's store and found this same product for 20 bucks less per box than my lucky store. This was an offer that I could not refuse. I should have just bought one, but what the hey, lets give er a whirl.

Pack #1 was my first taste of ripping a Topps Finest pack. I have no idea what in inside of these...what the hits are...are their ridiculous relics, worthless rookie autos, who knows? Here is the very first card I pull...

Now I have heard of these! I know that these Topps Finest redemptions are pretty slick and often come with autographs on them. I was pretty excited to get the first card, because I knew that I was a lock for a Heyward card. That thought actually became a reality this morning as Heyward was officially announced as redemption #1. A more exciting kicker is that one in ten of these will come with autographs. Apparently once you redeem, it will tell you immediately if you get an auto, so you don't have to dwell on it for eight months wondering. I will redeem this evening and report back! Very excited though.

Here are the base cards. Since these Topps Finest cards are somewhat shiny in nature, all of these scans are going to be a struggle on my $50 printer. I will say though that the scans are pretty decent and show off much of the characteristics of the cards...though they are a bit dark. There is one turnoff of the cards, and I noticed this as I placed them on a scanner...they tend to curl a bit. I noticed this with Topps Chrome, it must be the chrome technology or whatever. Its not a game breaker, but I definitely was in a hurry to put the cards I wanted preserved in top-loaders.
Speaking of, here is the first "hit" of the box. A serial numbered to 299 (I think) Jon Lester refractor! I will say this. The refractors of this set are GORGEOUS. Absolutely flawless and shiny. I would say that those with the blue background look best.

Really, really nice card.
Over the next few days I will go through the results of both box one and two. and unless indicated (Heyward redemption, Lester) anything is up for trade if you are looking for a particular player.

Sox Thoughts: Week 1

Well, one week in the books and plenty to talk about with YOUR 2010 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.

Yankees/Sox, the greatest rivalry in....yawn - I have to admit, I get tired of super long baseball games. I really actually get tired of playing the Yankees unless it is a really meaningful game, and even then the Yankees seems to win most of those anyways. I am over it...unless we get into a bean ball war or fight, then count me back in!

Jacoby injury - Dangit! Even worse than an injury is a 9th inning injury, it just rubs salt into the wounds. I actually thought about this earlier in the game, but it has appeared thus far that Jacoby is struggling a bit learning how to play center field. Several times I have seen balls out to Cameron at Center that suddenly Ellsbury comes running into the scene like a bat outta hell. Also he had not one, but two confrontations on Sunday, one with SS Bill Hall and the collision that has now knocked him out with Adrian Beltre in the 9th. It almost makes me wonder if Ellsbury was interfering with the infielders zones. Ellsbury is just used to stretching it out and making amazing catches, but maybe left field is a bit to constricting for him. Time will tell...after he is healed.

Pedroia off to a fast start - Looks like Pedroia's prediction of 30+ HR's might actually be feasible as he already has three. Little pony, big bat.

Papi off to slow start - Say what you will about "it's only 20 at bats, but it is so much more than just his stats...he has already blown up at the media, been kicked out of a game, and struck out nine (fact check) times. He is not right physically OR mentally at this juncture. It really is too bad too, but he is becoming a liability and a DH is a simple position to fix. Outside of Hermida or Lowell, I might throw another option out there...former Portland Beaver and Oakland Athletic Jack Cust. I know it sounds crazy, but Cust does two things...Hit home runs and hit for outs. Let the big dog eat.

That's all that jumps out for now...

One more "around the league" issue worth bringing up. How did you all like Barry Bonds kind (and carefully worded) comment for Mark McGwire? Awkward, eh? Best part was his interview was abruptly ended right after his words about "being proud of McGwire for what he has done". Exactly what does that mean? Did he mean confessing to using steroids, or simply using steroids? Even more awkward was the obligatory response to Barry from McGwire for his kind comments...again, carefully worded and ambiguous. AWKWARD.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cirque de Freak

Today marks Tim Lincecum's second start of the season, this time a home start from the friendly confines and weird angles of AT&T park. I have made a commitment to watch every Giants game that Lincecum pitches, in what is my unofficial "3rd straight Cy Young" watch.

Only two other pitchers in history have won three straight, Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson (Johnson has actually won four). I love breakable records and this pursuit is one I definitely will enjoy keeping and eye on. So from now on through October, I introduce...Lincecum's Log.

First though, I am one game behind. The pursuit began last Monday afternoon against Roy Oswalt and the Houston Astros. Lincecum just looked dirty and in control for most of the game. Actually the scariest moment was this...

Yep, a fork. It was around the 4th inning when it appeared that Lincecum had called out for a trainer. My heart skipped a beat as I envisioned the trainer picking a bloody stump of an arm off of the field after a high-velocity fastball. Turns out though (and I still really don't know why the trainer came out) that Lincecum was just having trouble keeping mud out of his spikes and was busily scraping the mud out of his cleats between pitchers. Why a fork I also have no idea, but at least he was not hurt.
Final line...7.0 IP, 4 hits, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, and 7K's.
So now today's matchup...Giants v Braves. Lincecum (1-0) v Kawakami (0-0)
More to come...
UPDATE: After a long-rain delay that ended up cancelling television coverage, the SF Giants and Atlanta Braves finished up their series, as Jason Heyward continued to impressive, but once again the Freak was on fire. After a rough first inning where he gave up a 2-run HR, Lincecum settled in nicely and kept the Braves in check as the Giants slowly rallied and eventually took the lead for good. Timmy kicked it up another notch, fanning 10 and allowing only 1 walk in 7.0 innings pitched. So far out of the gate Lincecum and some dude named Halladay are mowing down the NL.
Lincecum Line: Win (2-0) 5 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10K's and now sports a 1.27 ERA.
Next probable opponent: LA Dodgers, next weekend.