Friday, April 30, 2010

The state of local sports

I'm curious about the state of local sports where you live.

Here in Dallas it looks something like this.

The Dallas Cowboys went 11-5 and won their division. Playoff payoff...nope.

The Dallas Stars went 37-31-14 and finished dead last in the NHL's Pacific Division. To add insult to injury, Stars fan favorite Mike Modano may be leaving/retiring. Playoff payoff....maybe next year.

The Dallas Mavericks just finished the regular season 55-27, their 10th straight year of 50+ wins. They got handled by the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs 4games to 2. Playoff payoff...not really.

That leaves us with the Texas Rangers. I won't say that my favorite time of the year is when the Rangers are the only game in town, but it does keep me focused on the game I love the most. Of course the Rangers are 10-12 and already have as many blown saves as converted saves (5). They are only 1.5 games out of the division lead.

People around here are really quick to lose interest in baseball if the Rangers aren't playing well and I expect to hear the Cowboys talk start up in earnest any day now. The local sport radio station will be talking Cowboys. The local papers will be talking Cowboys. There is nothing worse than seeing an off-season Cowboys story on the front page of the sports page while the Rangers get relegated to page 2. Such is life in what will always be a football town and football state.

I'm not complaining about being a 4 sport town (well, we're spread out so it's more like a 4 sport region). I just wish the Rangers got a little more love.

So, what's it like in your city?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Post That Would Not Be Named

Every once in a while a post comes along that doesn't fit into one category. This one could fall under the heading of "Someone Stop Her", similar to a couple of posts I made about my mother-in-law buying me junk from the retail aisle of Wally World. It could go under the "Packsearcher Fail" headline, a topic I've touched on in the past. It could also be a new topic such as, "Cards I Like, but Wouldn't Buy For Myself", or "Ridiculous Manu-Patches".

My mother-in-law, bless her soul, will occasionally pick up a few random packs of cards or even a blaster for me while she's shopping. I appreciate it, I really do. It's something even my wife won't do and it's always nice to be gifted cards you can't or won't buy for yourself. She doesn't know anything about cards so she just picks up whatever catches her eye at the time. It has been a while since she's done it, butwhen I made a trip over there yesterday, she handed me 5 packs of cards. I literally blew the dust off the packs and asked where she got them. Of course, she didn't remember, but she said they had been in her garage for a "few months".

Well, in my hand I held 5 semi-dusty packs of 2009 Topps Heritage American Heroes Edition. I love history, enough so that I have a B.A. in History (a semi-useless degree, especially considering the work I do now) so I actually like these cards. I have a limited budget for cards so I probably wouldn't buy them myself, but I still enjoyed opening and looking at them. My youngest son, who has very little interest in baseball cards wanted all the U.S. President Cards since he has been studying presidents at school this year.

I'll try not to bore you with too many scans, but make sure you check out the last two at least.

The U.S. Civil War was my primary focus in college and I have a decent collection of books covering the topic. There were a number of cards from the packs that covered the Civil War and this "The Treaty at Appomattox Court House" was one of them.

My son was excited to see this card of FDR. I can't believe I'm saying this, but if anyone has any dupes of the presidents, I'd be willing to make a sportscard trade for them so my son can try to get the complete collection. I'm not even sure of the checklist at this point.

I got a good laugh out of this Chrome Emily Dickinson #876/1776.

The last and best??? card I got was this one:

An Andrew Johnson Letter Patch #'d out of 50. Seriously, the manu-patches are OUT OF CONTROL. Now, if you could get me one of these that Johnson signed, maybe at some Rookie President's Photo Shoot, then that would be something. I'd like to see the Presidential Jersey this was modeled after. I got another good laugh from this card, but my son thought it was "so cool Dad!" So it looks like I may have another collector in the house, even if he's not into baseball cards. I don't know if packsearchers were hitting this product, but they missed this one.

Just so you know how MOJO SICK EBAY 1/1 AWESOME this card is, I'll show you the back.

I don't know if you can see it, but it's # 17/50. Johnson was the 17th President, taking office after the assassination of Abraham "I'm a Cubs Fan apparently" Lincoln. Don't be jealous. It's not flattering. Just kidding.

So, there you have another edition of "Someone Stop Her Before the Packsearcher Fails to Get the Ridiculous Manu-Patch Cards I Wouldn't Buy for Myself."

Or something like that.

The Greatness that is The Collective Troll

It's no secret there are a number of very popular bloggers. You see them mentioned in trade posts, they have large (by baseball card blog standards) followings and get big hit counts.

One of the most popular bloggers has to be Marck, the multi-blogger behind The Collective Troll, The Nitty Gritty, Leading Off for the Orioles ( a Brian Roberts lovefest) and the Tampa Bay Rays News. I know Marck would love to be updating each of these sites multiple times throughout the day, but sometimes work just gets in the way.

Marck always sends great card in his trade packages. If you've ever gotten anything from him, you know what I'm talking about. I was fortunate enough to get another Trollific package late last week. I promised myself I wouldn't post it until Frank Francisco did SOMETHING postive for the Rangers and he did that last night so here goes.

I'm not a big fan of graded cards (modern ones especially) and the number one thing I think about when I see Robin Ventura is Nolan Ryan making Ventura sorry he ever left the batter's box. That said, one way to get on my good side is to send something for my kid and the kid loves anything USA related. I haven't given him this card yet, but he's going to love it. He'll think it's super special since it's in it's own protective case.

This 2007 Turkey Red Ivan Rodriguez is no Turkey. I like the TRs, especially when they show a little action. I can live with Pudge in a Tigers uni, but I'm not looking forward to seeing the first cards of him with the Nationals....meh.

Here's the reason I delayed posting the trade while waiting for some sort of positive contribution by Frank Francisco. Last night, Frankie got his first save of the season by pitching the final inning in a win over the White Sox. Thanks for rejoining the party Frankie....keep it up. The design on this card is terrible, the sticker is atrocious, but Frankie's sig is decent and it's my first auto from him.

Now for the true greatness of the Troll. He has vintage and he's not afraid to use it.

This is a new addition to my Johnny Bench PC (that's player collection all you The 1971 Topps N.L. Home Run Leaders with Bench riding high with 45 homers. It's dinged and creased and damaged...but so is every catcher I ever saw and it gives this card some character. This card looks like it was just involved in a play at the plate and I love it.

If you don't believe in the power of the blog-nation, just put out that you're starting a new collection and see what happens. I posted that I was going to start collecting Washington Senators (the ones that moved to Texas) and bloggers have blown me away with their generosity. Marck has sent over a few Senators and this 1966 Topps Johnny Orsino is the latest. The fact that he's a catcher is a bonus.

Johnny didn't make the trip alone.

Woody Held, circa 1965, made the trip from Florida with Orson. What a great name! I seriously need to make a wantlist/checklist for the Senators. I like these '65 cards so much, I'm thinking about adding them to my collection goals along with the '73s.

Marck, thanks so much for the incredible cards. You know I'll be on the lookout for more goodies to send your way.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Rookie (Baseball) Card Surprise

Sarah from A Rookie (Baseball) Card Collector fame contacted me about my Heritage wantlist and said she had a couple of cards for me and wanted to send me a card that needed a temporary home. I said sure, it sounds good to me. She sent me three cards off my list including:

2010 Heritage Lance Berkman--I believe I've made it fairly clear that I think this set is boring. I'm still trying to put the base set together so checkout my wantlist on the side or go help out the Troll who put up his list as well.

She also included a card that is well traveled. So far it has been to the following places around the blog-nation.

Dublin, CA
Queens, NY
Wheeling, IL
Edgefield, NC
and now Dallas, TX

Trade Bait started this 2009 Goodwin Curtis Granderson on a barnstorming tour around the country. I do believe I'll be sending this one on it's first overseas trip. Where would that be you ask? Stay tuned to Trade Bait's blog to find out.

Sarah, thanks for the cards and including me on the "Grand" tour.

The Retail Affliction

SewingMachineGuy posted a picture of his local Wally World card aisle yesterday. The condition of the card aisle at his store mirrors the condition of the aisles at my local stores.

I have a choice of 6 different Wally Worlds to shop at depending on the direction I drive. Five of those are within a 10 mile radius of my house and I pass another one on the way to work every day. The card aisles at all 6 are very different. I wondered about that until I happened to stop by the card aisle one day and the vendor was there stocking the shelves. I asked her why the stores varied so much and she said it all depends on the vendor who supplies a particular store. Of the 5 stores closest to me, she only stocked one and said the other 4 had two different vendors. The store she stocks has a limited selection and so do two of the other stores. One store has a good selection and one store is the one where I find discounted blasters. The vendor told me she "knows" some of the local "collectors" because they will sometimes be waiting for her to arrive at a store and will start weighing the packs with a scale. I laughed and said those guys are called "packsearchers" and most legitimate collectors consider them the scum of the earth because they aren't collecting, they are poaching to sell the "hits" on ebay for a buck or two. As you might imagine, she didn't care about the packsearchers until I told her I don't buy packs if I can tell a packsearcher has been rummaging through the boxes. (That's not true, but don't tell her!) It always comes down to money and she seemed upset that they might be costing her some sales.

I like to shop at the store that carries discounted blasters. Sometime late last year I picked up a discounted 2007 Topps Turkey Red blaster and I bought 4 or 5 discounted blasters of 2008 Stadium Club. I'm always checking there for good stuff. Usually, it's picked over, but sometimes, like the Turkey Red, I find a box hidden behind other stuff.

One more thing the vendor told me is that I should talk to the vendors if I get a chance. It never hurts to let them know what cards your most interested in because they might be able to find something different when they stock up.

I know a lot of people refuse to buy retail. I get it. I don't blame them. I also understand why some people buy retail. It's more widely available and generally cheaper. My local card shop is so overpriced, I only buy supplies and the occasional older pack from him.

I am looking forward to buying a couple of Hobby boxes of 2010 Ginter and participating in this year's version of Gint-A-Cuffs. I'll be buying those on-line though...last year the shop was about$40 higher than the on-line shops on a box of A&G.

Monday, April 26, 2010

No One's Going to Trade With This Blog

You know that's not really true, but I did recently get a package from Jeremy over at No One's Going to Read this Blog. My son love's getting stuff from Jeremy because it usually has something football related that he wants. This package was no exception.

We'll start with the newly drafted Longhorns.

I was really surprised Jordan Shipley went before Colt McCoy in the draft and sorry they went to Cincy and Cleveland. The upside is maybe they'll get some playing time on those teams. My son really liked these two cards.

This will be his second Tony Romo jersey card. I think I'll save this one as a little reward after the State-wide testing is finished at school this week.

I haven't been back into collection long enough to be jaded by the Turkey Reds. I still like 'em and this 2010 Topps Turkey Red Cal is very nice.

Julio Borbon is smiling on this 2010 Heritage Chrome card because he's been hitting a little bit lately and that gives him a chance to do what he does!

Jeremy, thanks again! I hope you enjoyed the cards I sent you!

First Ever Play at the Plate Poll!!

I know, exciting right? The poll is up on the right if you're so inclined to answer.

The reason I put the poll up is because I redeemed my last two holdout codes Sunday afternoon. I noticed Sunday morning that Mr. Eisner flipped the vintage switch and almost every card that was popping up was late '60s or 1971. I wanted to redeem my last two codes, but I was miles away from home. When I did get home I checked the Transmorgrifier and it was still discharging vintage cards so I entered the first of the codes. This is what I got:

Oooh, a 1966 Topps Gaylord Perry's brother card.....I mean Jim Perry card.

Hey, I couldn't resist using the other code after that and this came up next:

A 1971 Phil Hennigan. Not too shabby and way better than a 2007 Adam Lind. Nothing personal Adam.

On a side note, I've completed 30 trades where I made the offer and probably another 5-10 where someone made me an offer. I'm all for making trades and you never know what you can get unless you make an offer. I did get a good laugh over the weekend when someone offered me a 2007 Ryan Howard for my 1952 Bruce Edwards.

Ok, enough rambling. Vote in the poll if you want to...and bring on Series 2.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Play at the Plate 14: 1992 Donruss Triple Play

Today's edition of Play at the Plate was one that I couldn't exactly pin down to a specific game. There were a few times in 1991 when this play could have taken place. Normally, I only want to highlight plays that I can research and identify, but in this case the picture is too good not to show.

We know a few things.

It's Astros at Dodgers.

It's Steve Finley vs. Gary Carter.

Steve Finley scores.

In each instance that I found where Finley attempted to score on a play at home against the Dodgers in 1991, he was successful. This play highlights a great example of what a catcher has to put up with and I wonder if Gary Carter, playing in his 18th season, might have been less inclined to turn away from the contact earlier in his career.

Follow Up to "How Relic Cards Should Be Made"

A few days ago I posted this about how manufacturers might get collectors excited about relic cards again. Chris from Stale Gum correctly noted that one of the cards I mentioned, the Scott Rolen E/X Wall of Fame card, didn't actually contain a piece of wall from the Vet in Philly. It was a piece from Milwaukee County Stadium. I later found another card from that same release, Jim Edmonds of the Angels, with the same blue piece of wall. I forgot to scan it, but it looks just like the piece from the Rolen card. While I appreciate knowing which stadium the wall piece is from, I don't like the way they used it for other players from other teams. A generic piece of wall, with no connection whatsoever to the player on the card just doesn't make sense to me. It would be like using a Matt Kemp bat to make bat "relics" of any player you want. Sure, it's game used, but not attached to anyone but Matt Kemp.

It reminds me of all the ridiculous relics that show a player with one team and the jersey piece is from a former team.

Here is another example of a card that shows where the relic originated.

This is a 2001 Leaf Limited Todd Helton Lumberjacks bat card, #354/500.

They show the actual bat the ultra small piece of bat came from and I think they could have gotten 1000 or more bat pieces this size out of that bat. At least with the photo, I know they had access to a Todd Helton bat to get this piece. Still, I'd like to know a little about the bat like when it was used.

The card manufacturers have to do something to give some value to the "hits" they put in the products. Knowing more about the hits we pull is one way to do that.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cards from the Old Man Part 15: Billy Williams

This is the fifteenth in a series of posts about cards I received from the old collector in our town who had library catalogs full of cards from the 1950's-1970's. You can see those original posts here and here if you missed them.

The old man practically threw this card at me. He hated the Cubs and my friend, who made more trips back to the old man's house, got a lot of old Cubs cards. I didn't know who this guy was, but I took the card anyway. Even to this day, I don't know much about him other than his numbers, so I don't appreciate him the way I should. When I received this card the best thing about it was it was my first card from my birth year. It would be the only 1970 card I had for a number of years.

1970 Topps Billy Williams

Billy Williams played 18 years in the majors, 16 with the Cubs and 2 with the A's. He had some amazing numbers. He scored 1,410 runs, had 2,711 hits, smacked 426 homers and drove in 1,475 RBIs while hitting.290. Throw in 90 steals and that's a real nice career.

Williams was the 1961 Rookie of the Year and a 6 time All-Star. He hit 20 or more homers 14 times with a career high of 42 in 1970. Williams was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1987 by the BBWAA.

What do Topps and Rhubarb Runner have in common?

I'll answer that question momentarily. Over the course of a few weeks, with a vacation and dueling illness to overcome, I worked out a very nice trade with David from Rhubarb Runner. All I sent over was a handful of Minnesota Twins and he sent me a package of sweet vintage Rangers.

First up, Rangers circa 1974.

I can't explain it, but I really like the Dave Nelson card. Maybe because it's so different from any of the other Rangers cards from this set. David sent a total of 19 different 1974 Topps Rangers. All I can say is WOW! I think he more than doubled my collection of ' 74 cards.

Let's continue on the vintage trail with this beauty:

1971 Topps Paul Casanova, Senators. That is a new addition to my small, but fun collection of Senators cards. Casanova is a great name...I wonder if he's mentioned in the Great Sports Name Hall of Fame?

Now, for the question, what do Topps and Rhubarb Runner have in common? Well, they both gave me these two cards.

1963 Topps Bob Schmidt. Let's run down the list. Vintage, check. Senator, check. Catcher in the "position", check. I have two copies of this great card now, one in hand, the other in my Topps MCG portfolio. I love it.

1961 Topps Pete Daley. Another great vintage Senators card and another one I traded for on the MCG site. I love having one in hand and will happily send away for my other one when I finish series 2 and don't have any more codes to redeem. This card looks much better than the scanner just didn't scan well for some reason.

David, thanks for a great lot of cards and I'll be looking for something to use to pry the rest of those Senators from you.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hurry back...but not until you're ready!

Texas Rangers 2nd Baseman Ian Kinsler has been out of action since suffering a high ankle sprain on March 12th. He's headed to Arizona and will participate in extended Spring Training through the weekend and if all goes well, he'll see action at AA Frisco (I hope, I could go see him there) or AAA Oklahoma City next week.

I've been around long enough to know that one player can't make all the difference, but the Rangers need Kinsler back on the field and at the plate. He can't do anything about Frank Francisco throwing BP to hitters, but he could be the spark they need to get back on track.

Welcome to the Show

The Texas Rangers sent this guy down to AAA Okalahoma City yesterday:

Chris Davis was hitting .188 with no homers and 1 RBI in 48 at bats this season.

The Rangers called up this guy to replace him:

Justin Smoak was hitting .326 with 2 homers and 5 RBIs through 14 games with the AAA club.

Smoak is scheduled to make his Major League Debut later today against Detroit.

Welcome to the Show Justin. Good luck!

I love mail call....

I just this morning received three packages! I love getting packages and multiple packages is even better.

Next week you should see stuff from:

No One's Going to Read this Blog

A Rookie (baseball) Card Collector


The Collective Troll.

Thanks in advance you three!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Heritage Howard comes through

Okay, I just made that up. He's really reader Howard, but he sent me a package full of 2010 Heritage cards from my wantlist. How many cards makes a full package you might ask? How about 120! That's right he sent 120 cards I needed. That's unreal and I'm going to show every single one of them......just kidding.

I do have a few to show off to make a point about the rather boring 2010 Heritage set.

That's just goofy. It's as if they told Julio Borbon this shot was going to be on a card and they caught him mid-giggle.

That shot isn't goofy, it's creepy. Really, really creepy.

I like the red glove. A lot. That is so cool I want one.

In one of the most boring releases in some time, this Cliff Lee amounts to a "Super Action" card.

Joe Mauer is one of my favorite...scratch that. He IS my favorite current non-Ranger and I like seeing him wearing the tools of ignorance.

As much as I dislike the Yankees, I really like this card of Jorge Posada. It's another card showing off the catcher's tools of the trade and I like those. Now, if they would just stop playing the stupid DirectTV commercial where Jorge's dad calls him in the dugout.

This Checklist is the best action card I've seen from Heritage this year. Of course, it's a World Series Play at the Plate so that helps.

Howard also included a few 1992 Donruss Triple Play cards.

This Lance Parrish play at the plate is one of those with too little information to determine the when, who and result.
We'll finish with this....

The Thrill.
Thanks Howard and even though Howard's not blogging about cards, he does have a blog page with his current want lists. Just go here to see it.

He was safe...yes he was.

6 in a row.

6 losses in row.


Last night, in the top of the 4th inning with Texas trailing Boston 5-4, Julio Borbon led off with a single. He stole second. Elvis Andrus sacrificed him to third and Michael Young hit a sacrifice fly to center. Only it wasn't a sacrifice fly because the home plate umpire B.L.E.W. the call.

Brian O'Nora said Borbon didn't touch the plate and called Borbon out even though Varitek dropped the ball. Well, he did touch the plate Brian. Bad Call! That would have tied the game at 5. As it was the Rangers went on to lose, yet again, in the bottom of the 12th inning. I'm beginning to think those of you who picked Wash as the first manager to get fired may be right. Sorry I don't have a better picture of the bad call, that was the best shot I could find.

Here's a couple more nice plays from last night.

Matt Wieters is going to win this battle with Chone Figgins.

You have to love that effort from rookie Ike Davis of the Mets. Oh, to be young again....and talented.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Welcome home, road jersey swatch

Reader Chris and I are going to trade one or two cards at a time it seems. He likes the Red Sox, a team I'm hating at the moment because they came back to beat my Rangers last night. I've traded with enough Red Sox collectors that I'm pretty low (read: I have none) on Red Sox hits. Well, I just happened to get a Billy Wagner relic from 2010 Heritage and happily mailed it off to Chris for this:

This nice Michael Young is from 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes and has an ultra rare grey swatch. Ok, the swatch isn't rare and I could probably build a Rangers road uni if I took all my grey swatches and sewed them together, but that's not the point. Thanks to Chris, I have another Young card I didn't have before.

Thanks Chris!!

Crime Doesn't Pay

Last night the Texas Rangers rolled into Boston for a series with the Red Sox. The Rangers were matching their 4 game losing streak up against Boston's 5 game losing streak and SOMEONE was going to come away with the good feeling of knowing the streak was behind them.

The Rangers went on a crime spree against Tim Wakefield and Victor Martinez.

Elvis Andrus stole had 3 steals.

Nelson Cruz also had 3 steals.

Even the "old man" of the group had 2 steals. Vlad only had 2 steals in 100 games in 2009.

If Julio Borbon had reached base more than once, he surely would have added more than 1 steal to the total.

That's 9 steals for the Rangers, a new team record.

And it was all for naught. Oh, I know there were a few fantasy team owners that were happy with all the steals, but in the real world, thanks to Darren Oliver giving up the tying runs in the 8th and yet another Frank Francisco meltdown, the Rangers lost 7-6.

The losing streak continues, providing further proof that crime doesn't pay.