Friday, August 31, 2012

The definition of unorganized

You want to know why I'm behind on my trade packages?  Just take a look at this mess and you'll understand.  

That's my locker.  At work.  Just 12 lockers down, I have another one.

It looks even worse.

I need help.  Like professional, "can prescribe medication" help.  I'm never organized, but this is over the top.

I'm going to have the September contest and then I might be taking a few days off from the blog.  Maybe all of next week.  I need to organize this mess and get out all those trade packages I've been putting off.  You guys and gals that are waiting deserve a better trade partner than you've had from me lately.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow and see what I have planned for the September contest.  Hopefully I'll know by then!

What are you lookin' at?

It's only the 31st.  

The September contest doesn't start until tomorrow.

Go enjoy your Friday.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Putting the "S" in Angels

Quick, is it gold or black?  It's hard to tell isn't it?  

Well, these are gold bordered minis.  Michael Young, my favorite current Ranger is having a down year.

Joe Nathan, one of the newest Rangers, is having a great year.  27 saves, 25 of them in a row.  64 strikeouts vs. 8 walks and a 2.49 ERA.  Not too shabby.

These cards came from Laurens over at Card Buzz.

**This has been edited due to the author being an embarrassed jackass**

Thanks Laurens.

Fly me to the moon...

I think some people (the powers that be in the NFL come to mind) should lighten up when it comes to player celebrations.  Personally, I'd like for an NFL or MLB player to act like they've "been there, done that" before acting like a total fool, but honestly, there's nothing wrong with a little celebration.  They're big kids playing a little kids' game, so what's the harm?  

Nelson Cruz likes to throw down a little flying celebration now and then.  Of course, if you just hit 6 homers and drove in 13 RBIs in the ALCS, you deserve to celebrate.

As for me, I'm celebrating the bounty from the group break held by Weston of Fantastic Catch.

Ok, slow down a bit. Nobody celebrates Carlos Lee, even if he comes on a cool design like 2006 UD Ovation.  Some people (yes, you Night Owl) are lucky they don't NEED Carlos Lee cards, but some of us team collectors don't have a choice in the matter.

The group break also included a box of 2006 Artifacts.  There weren't many Rangers in the box, but a crooked Scott Feldman is better than nothing.  At least he's still with the team.

Weston didn't show all the hits on his break post so we could be surprised. Well, I was certainly surprised by this Mark Teixeira jersey card.  Mark is near the top of my least favorite Rangers list, but that doesn't mean the completist in me can afford to avoid his cards.

Weston also opened a box of 2012 Topps Series 2, but I suppose you might have guessed that after seeing the Cruz above.  One of my favorite cards in the whole set is this Elvis Andrus play at the plate.

The cards were nice, but I think the best part of the package was the note Weston included.  Weston, I truly appreciate the well wishes for my wife and the reference to Joshua 1:9.  That means a lot.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Numbers Game

The Rangers are 25 games over .500 with 33 games to play and I'm still not comfortable.  Can someone please tell the A's they aren't supposed to be playing so well.  They are only 5.5 games back of the Rangers and are tied for the Wild Card lead.   I guess the Rangers will just have to keep playing like they have the last two days.  On Monday, they beat David Price 6-5 and last night, well, last night was something else.  

Despite getting in some jams, Yu Darvish and the Rangers defense put up rare 1-0 win at the Ballpark.  It was only the 12th 1-0 game at the Ballpark since it opened in 1994. Darvish posted his 8th 10 strikeout game of the season.  His 13 victories are a Rangers rookie record and more importantly, his walk totals are coming down.  Pitching is great, but you can't win a 1-0 game all by yourself.  At least not in the A.L. with the designated hitter.

Ian Kinsler homered in the 4th inning and it was a good thing he did.  No other Ranger made it past 2nd base.  Mitch Moreland put up a couple of defensive gems and the rest was church.

Joe Nathan came on in the 9th and struck out the side in order to get his 25th straight save.  The Rangers finish up with Tampa Bay tonight and then it's on to Cleveland, Kansas City and three more with the Rays.  Hopefully the team keeps hitting on all cylinders and the A's can't catch up no matter how great they play.

On a side note, Roy Oswalt cleared waivers a while back and apparently the Rangers are shopping him.  If you're a starter and a leading contender doesn't want you, that can't be good.  I say good riddance.

It's off to bed for me.  Hopefully I'll wake up to another good result as Matt Harrison goes for win number 16.

Target vs. Walmart

I think we've all become accustomed to the Target and Walmart exclusive parallels.  Red, blue, black...whatever it is, Topps has worked out a way to create even more cards to chase by making retailer-specific cards.  More cards = more money.  I get it.

One thing I don't understand is why certain products only show up at certain stores.  I know of two for sure.  

Topps Olympic cards have only been showing up at Target stores in my area.  It's not that I want to buy any more Olympic cards, but I don't know why they never had them at Walmart.

Panini Triple Play cards also haven't shown up at any of the Walmarts in my area.  The packs I bought the other day came from a Target that I shop at infrequently.

I'm not trying to make a big deal out of Olympic or Triple Play cards, but I only go to Target about twice a year so I want equal opportunity for retail cards at Walmart.

I'm not endorsing Walmart because I'd like nothing more than to never give them another dollar, but that's not really an option around here.

Anyone have any idea why some products are only available in certain locations?

Best card in the history of ever?

Best card in the history of ever?  

Yes, I do believe so.

Thanks to Night Owl for letting me "borrow" this image.  By the way, here's an insane auction for you Night Owl.  Don't forget to post it after you buy it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Big Time

Fuji's ex-girlfriend is right.  Bigger is better!  Fuji almost always ends his posts with a question and his post on the 18th was no exception.  

He asked what some of our favorite oversized sets were.  I commented how much I liked the 1985 Topps Super cards he showed.  I knew in the back of my mind there was an oversized set that I liked more and it finallly hit me.  

1993 Donruss Masters of the Game.  

This is a 16 card set made up of Dick Perez art cards.  I only have a few, including this damaged Will Clark. I'm looking for a better copy to send off to Will for a TTM request.

The Nolan Ryan isn't as good as the Clark, but I would love to get a blue Sharpie auto right under Nolan's claw.  I would need to see the rest of the set to give an opinion of it as a whole, but I like what I've got even if they are a pain to store.

If anyone has a Clark stored away collecting dust, let me know.

Your second course

Night Owl gave you a mini appetizer the other day so I thought it was time for your second course.  Just yesterday, FedEx delivered a late birthday gift from my wife.  

It was the George Foreman Panini Grill.  I thought we'd have sandwiches for our entree.

How about 10 Paninis?  That should be enough to feed everyone.  I broke my rule and bought some Panini cards.  I saw these around the 'sphere and it's interesting enough, and cheap enough, that I thought I'd give it a shot.  10 packs for $10?  Can't beat that with a stick, especially after getting 15 Chrome cards for the same price.

I got two of these awesome eye black cards, both with the flames. Very cool.

I got 2 of the 8 Baseball 101 cards.  I have Diamond and Stealing.  I need the Scoring Runs card because it's a faux play at the plate.

There are 30 sticker cards and they come 1 per pack.  I got three player stickers, including two of the Brandon Phillips.

The other sticker was Clayton Kershaw.  My other seven stickers were the generic baseball stickers and I didn't scan one.  They are awesome in their own right and make me wish I was in school so I could stick them on my binder.

I had a mess of base cards, but I chose this Longoria to show just because it's an example of how generic the "art" is on these cards.  That looks like a beer league softball third baseman.

The Focus insert set has 30 cards and I pulled 5 of them.  These will be going out in trade packages to various people.

One of the cooler inserts is from the "When I was a kid" set.  I pulled a Josh Hamilton and a...card that I'll be trading away sight unseen.  The Hamilton has an excerpt from his book on the back.  There are only 10 of these and Josh is the only Ranger so I'm done with these.  

This is the Josh Hamilton puzzle card.  It's piece 5 of 9, but I don't know if I need all 9 pieces.  Yes...yes I do need all nine pieces.

The Hall of Fame cards fall 1:12 packs.  I pulled Willie McCovey, one of just 12 HOF'ers in the set.  I need the Nolan Ryan.  

The Real Feel authentic material cards fall 1:24 packs.  I guess the pack searchers weren't feeling up these packs.  I pulled the Baseball Jersey card.  There are also cards for a Base, Bat, Pants, Glove and Batting Glove.  These are basically manu-patches as they aren't really game used or even from a real player.   This is actually the most honest "relic" on the market today as Panini makes no claim that these are game used or from a certain player.

I also got two of the Tattoos, but I forgot to scan one of them.  I'll probably send those out in random packs unless someone is trying build the whole set.  Overall, the cards are pretty neat and even if they are designed for kids, I like them.  My 12 year old is the only kid I've ever seen at a retail store buying baseball cards so I don't know if there is much of a market for these with the younger set, even though I think kids would like them.  I think I'll be satisfied with collecting the Texas cards.

Monday, August 27, 2012

One of the problem with scheduling all your weekend posts is you miss important stuff.  Important like the news that Neil Armstrong died on Saturday at the age of 82.  

Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969, just over a year before I was born.  He was a true pioneer in every sense of the word.  As much as any man can be, he was a hero too.  He and all the astronauts both before and after him, are people that I hold in the highest regard.

Rest in peace Neil.

Feed the Machine

I've made no secret of the fact that 2012 Goodwin Champions is not really my cup of tea.  Or Dr. Pepper.  

I am on board with the Military Machines inserts.  So on board in fact, that I want all 25 of them.  I managed to pull one in the blaster I posted last week.  

It was the F105 Thunderchief card.  I've also managed to trade for two, one being the M4 Sherman and that's right, another F105.  I know, I know, if I was better organized, I could avoid such mistakes.  That's ok because I can probably trade it for another one.  If you have any Military Machines that you want to trade, just let me know.

I'll keep them alongside some other military cards that I've had a for awhile.

I have a special place for the Desert Storm cards Pro Set put out back in the day.  I was in the Navy during Desert Storm so I relate some real experience to the cards in this set.

Unlike some sets we've seen over the years, I don't think this one was a "bomb".  Of course, that's just my opinion.

The USS America was decommissioned in 1996 after over 31 years of service.  The carrier was 990 feet of American military might.

The USS Missouri was a bad to the bone battleship.  The Empire of Japan surrendered on her, ending World War II.  She was decommissioned in 1955, but was reactivated in 1984 and saw service in Desert Storm.  She now sits as a museum at Pearl Harbor.

One day, I hope to have the full Goodwin Military Machines set to go along with my Desert Storm set.  If you have any for trade, shoot me an email or leave a comment.

Cleaning House

Bloggers/collectors come and go.  It's a topic of conversation that's been on a couple of blogs this weekend.  Here, here and here at least.  It used to bother me a little, probably for selfish reasons.  I didn't like seeing my blogger friends and trading partners disappear because it was one less blog to read, one less person to send cards.  I don't feel that way anymore.

I understand now.  I'm approaching my third year of blogging and with over 1550 posts under my belt, I can understand how some people reach the end of the line.  Whether they get tired of blogging or the entire hobby, I get it.  The thing is, I'm still having fun, both with blogging and collecting.  The last two weeks with my wife have reinforced something I already knew, that cardboard is a distraction from the toil and worries of everyday life.  For that, I'm grateful.  I think in life you need something frivolous to keep the real world at bay.  Provided, of course, that it doesn't replace the things in life that are most important.  You know, things like family, financial responsibility and episodes of Major Crimes.

Having said that, I had to clean house.  I tried following one of the newer blogs and it wouldn't "take".  I guess I was at Blogger's arbitrarily imposed limit.  I cleared 18 blogs off my "blogs I follow" list.  It bothers me a little to do that because I'm always hopeful they'll pick it back up someday.  Someday, maybe they will, but the ones I dropped hadn't posted in more than a year and three of them hadn't posted in 2 years.

I wonder if I can mark "Clean House" off my honey do list now.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blast from the Past

Ebb and flow.

Come and go.  

That's the life of a blogger.  Sometimes we need to take a break.  After a few days or weeks, we come back and pick up where we left off.  Sometimes we walk away and that's it.  Nothing left except some words we wrote bouncing around the internet in perpetuity.

I was scrolling through my picture file looking for a play at the plate scan that I misplaced when I came across a folder containing these cards.     

2009 Sweet Spot Josh Hamilton jersey

2009 Topps Unique Josh Hamilton Gold #10/25

2009 Topps Unique Hank Blalock Prime Time Patch #61/99

That gold Hamilton is probably the lowest numbered Hamilton in my collection.  The Blalock patch is one of only a couple patches in my collection.  It's a great card.  

These came from a fellow blogger back in early 2010.  Yes, I posted them back then, but seeing them reminded me of him and how many people have disappeared from the blogosphere.  These came from Beardy, once one of the most interesting bloggers going.  I think he walked away from blogging and collecting at the same time, causing some issues with people that were in the middle of trading with him.  I never had anything but the best experience trading with Beardy.

People come and people go.  The blogosphere reminds me of my life in the Navy in that regard.  I made a number of good friends and it was always hard when they transferred or I did.  The same thing happens here.  I only hope when someone disappears it's because they did it on their terms, not because something happened to them.  You just never know.  

If you're one of those bloggers who has dropped off the map, leave a comment now and then so we know you're still around.  We're still a dysfunctional card collecting family after all.   

Feeling Nostalgic

The older I get, the more I miss the good old days.  Not that they were all sunshine and roses, but I feel like life moved at a slower pace.  The pressure and responsibilities weren't as great.  No family to take care of was a big part of that.  As for cards, there weren't umpteen million products to choose from and 187 different rookie cards of the guy you just had to collect.  

There was just sweet cardboard like this 1979 Topps Ozzie Smith.

The potential for unknown rookies was triple fun to watch.  Reaching legendary status ala Cal Ripken Jr was rare and led to Bob Bonner and Jeff Schneider being the answer to a trivia question.

A classic set, not fully appreciated until later, and a rookie card that didn't need an autograph or limited serial numbering to be worth a small fortune.

The first real "chase" card for me as I busted pack after pack of 1990 Leaf.  So many in fact, that I pulled two of these cards.  Like many things in life, it didn't hold it's book value, but the sentimental value is something that can't be measured.

Sure, they're all just pieces of cardboard.  Pictures of men playing a boy's game. Unlike most everything else in my life, they take me back to my childhood.  A simpler time, when worries were a thing of the future and the days of summer seemed to last forever.  I think that's why I collect cards.  They take me back.

And that's a good thing.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Back in Black

I like minis.  Maybe not as much as this guy, but I like 'em.  I even like mini parallels when I get them.  I really like the A&G black bordered minis.  At least I did when you could tell they had black borders.  

Let's take a brief trip down memory lane to see how much the black bordered minis have changed. 

Is there any doubt about this 2008 Josh Hamilton being a black bordered mini?  I don't think so.

The same can be said for this 2009 Jarrod Saltalamacchia mini.  The border has a little flair to it, but it's still easily identifiable as a black bordered mini.

The border design gets a little more action in 2010, but you KNOW it's a black bordered mini.  No doubt about it.  

2011 saw a fairly radical design change for A&G.  The black border could almost be called the "black and white" bordered mini.

That brings us to 2012.  While the team collector in me must have as many variations as I can find, the black bordered minis give the impression that Topps was either trying to save money on ink, or the machine that rolls out the cards was broken.  It's barely a black bordered mini.  As a matter of fact, it's a little confusing to see these mixed in with some of the gold bordered minis that come in the rack packs.

See what I mean?  The gold Griffey definitely doesn't have a black border, but it's not that different either.

Just to emphasize the point, here is the Nelson Cruz black bordered mini.  The point is that the black bordered minis have changed quite a bit over the years.  Change is good, but I'd like to see next year's black bordered minis go back to their roots.

The 2012 Derek Holland and Nelson Cruz minis above were part of a package I received this week from Night Owl.  If anyone knows minis, it's Night Owl.  He's a well-rounded collector though, so he sends other cool stuff that's full sized.

Cool stuff like this 1996 UD Collector's Choice Jeff Frye.  It didn't scan well, but this is the Silver Signature version.

Gold stuff like this 2012 Bowman Nelson Cruz gold parallel.

And the coolest stuff of all?  Well, a mini you ninny.  You can't tell from the scan, but this is the 1975 mini version of Jim Merritt.   I don't care that I don't know who Jim Merritt is, I care that it's a mmmmmmmmmmmmmmiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!

Thanks Greg, I appreciate it, as always.