Thursday, March 31, 2011

A "Braun"y Blaster

My mother-in-law came through again, this time with a belated St. Paddy's day blaster. She said she picked out the 2011 Heritage blaster because it was green. I said a silent thank you to whichever Topps exec picked out green for the blaster and proceeded to rip some packs. I beat the odds just a bit on this one. As I'm sure you know, these blasters have 8 packs. The SPs fall 1:3 packs and I got three. You'll notice a distinct East Coast, A.L. East bias with these three. Two Blue Jays and one Red Sox...Sock...whatever. The Baseball and News Flashbacks fall 1:12. I got one of each and I still can't make blogger take my horizontal images the way I scanned them.
I'm beginning to think the Harmon Killebrew Baseball FlashBacks is a DP because I've pulled three of them in the limited number of packs I've opened. I like the Jackie Robinson News FlashBacks card. It has the same "30 cent gas" cartoon as the back of the Mona Lisa card I showed a couple of days ago.
I noticed one odd card in the blaster. It's not one of those tinted cards. It's a "Rookie Star" card. Most of them are yellow.
This Brian Bogusevic one has a white star. Anyone know what that's all about? I'm guessing it's some type of variation or SP, but I don't know anything more than that.
Now for the "Braun"y portion of this blaster. I'm sure this box should have been sold somewhere in the Milwaukee region, but it made it's way to Texas and into my hands. I got one of the Chrome parallels which fall at a rate of 1:13 packs. It's Ryan Braun and it's numbered 1842/1962. It's not damaged like the pic appears, it's all light trickery. I'm still scannerless and using the Iphone sometimes plays tricks on the images. Last, but not least, I hit upon a 1:58 pack Clubhouse Collection Relic guessed it, Ryan Braun.
I love how the back says "The relic on this card is not from any specific game, event or season." I'm thinking it's from an old couch that was removed from the clubhouse of the Brewers AA affiliate in Huntsville. Of course, I can't prove that anymore that Topps can prove it's not.

Opening Day Dish

A couple of Opening Day notes.

I hope the Tigers beat the Yankees today. I hope the Yankees go 0-162. It could happen.

I’m not real happy about Faux Opening Day. Only 12 teams out of 30 are playing? That’s not Opening Day! Every single team should be playing on Opening Day. Today or tomorrow, I don’t care. They should all be hitting the diamond for MLB to call it opening day.

No, I’m not just saying that because my team, THE DEFENDING AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPION TEXAS RANGERS, isn’t playing.

I’m playing fantasy baseball. Again. Every year I tell myself, no, not this year. I don’t want to do it. Then I do it. Fantasy baseball coerces you into rooting for players and teams you don’t like. We may tell ourselves that isn’t true, but it is and you know it you fantasy playin’ fool.

The Rangers win the West by 2 games this year over the Angels. Don’t ask me about the other divisions. I haven’t thought that far ahead and just like the other day, I’m at the tail end of a 16 hour double shift.

Verlander just struck out Gardner…yay!

I got an email from Topps last night. My MCG cards were shipped yesterday so I’ve got that to look forward to. I’ll Iphone them up on the blog when I get them.

Happy Baseball to All!

PS: Jeter is batting .000!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fun on the Back

In earlier phases of my collecting life, I completely ignored the backs of cards. One of the things I learned to appreciate when I discovered my first card blog was the very thing I used to ignore. While looking at the back of my 2011 Heritage cards, I noticed a few that caught my eye.

First up is NF-3, Mona Lisa.

One thing jumps off the card at me: the price of gas in 1962 was 30 cents a gallon. 30 cents!! I know all about inflation and supply and demand, but I also know my gas has gone UP more 60 cents a gallon in the last couple of months. Weren’t we all supposed to be getting around in flying cars by now anyway?

I don't know what's up with Blogger. It keeps turning these images sideways even though they are saved in the horizontal position. Another cartoon that caught my eye was this nice play at the plate on the back of Juan Pierre’s card.

I had no idea Pierre stole home twice last year. I’m sure I saw the highlights on ESPN at some point last year, but the info didn’t stick in my brain.

I’m not familiar with vintage 1962 Topps cards at all and only have a few in my collection. Someone with more knowledge of that set will have to tell me if what I noticed next is a carry-over to the 2011 version.

That’s right. Aroldis Chapman and Brett Anderson have the same cartoon on the back of their cards. Obviously the write up is different, but the art is the same. I think these were the only two repeats I had, although I didn’t match up every single card. Did Topps re-cycle cartoons on the vintage ’62 set as well? For that matter, are the cartoons on the back of these cards the same ones used in 1962?

I’m probably showing my ignorance with that question, but I’m 7 hours into a 16 hour shift, so I’ll have to ask for a little leniency.

Opening Day? We've already played two!

I was looking back at some of the posts I put up last year about this time and ran across this post. That is one of my top five posts, at least in my book.

It seems like so long ago when my now 10 year old didn’t care about baseball. His first Little League season was rough as the team only managed one win. However, he came away from the fall season having found his position: catcher. Shocking right? Well, I’m a bit biased towards catchers and was happy to see him settling in behind the plate. He earned the game ball in his very first game as catcher and it wasn’t for his hitting.

Here we are, just two days before MLB Opening Day, and his team has already played two games. The surprising thing is they’ve already doubled their win total from last year and he’s having a great time. The team has outscored the other two teams 21-4. Overall, he’s 1-2 with 2 walks, 2 steals (the Little League variety of course) and 1 run scored. He also tagged out a runner trying to steal home! It was a SWEET play at the plate!

I’m looking forward to the rest of his season with high hopes. Oh yea, and I’m looking forward to that other local team. You know, the defending A.L. Champs…

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Late to the Rodeo

I never really understood what that meant as a kid, but my dad said it a lot. Now that I'm a grown up (in age only), I know it means you are a little behind the times.

That certainly applies to my 2011 Heritage post. I bought a blaster, a couple of racks packs and two or three loose packs. I'd like to get one of those Target blister packs I've seen around the 'sphere, but I don't get by Target too often.

I like the cards more than I thought I would. The design isn't my favorite, but the more I see it, the more it grows on me. I love the feel of the cards. At this point, anything that's not glossy and slick feeling is great. I think these will be great for anybody who likes to do the TTM thing.

Now that we've established that I like the cards, let's get to a few of the ones I pulled. We'll start with the two chrome cards.

Lucas May Chrome...numbered out of 1962 of course.

Will Venable Chrome...

I'm not overwhelmed by these two players, although I do like the Chrome cards. I won't be going for any Chrome cards except the Texas Rangers ones.

Obviously, with the limited number of packs I've opened, I haven't seen all the cards, but next to the hideous and unmentionable (and certainly not "postable") Brian Wilson card, this is the weirdest.

It may also qualify as the ugliest. I'm not sure if Aaron is trying to look like a zombie, but that's the first thing I thought of when I saw the card. I only got a couple of Rangers cards, but this was my favorite.

I'll be carrying this one to the games this year to see if I can get it signed by both players. Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus bring such a kid-like spirit of fun to the team. I really like watching them play. Hopefully, this year, they'll be on the field more often than the DL.

That's pretty much it. No hits, no weird color tinted backgrounds, nothing. I want to say I don't want to put the whole set together. The 75 SPs make it tough, but who knows. Maybe I can finish it by the time they do a Heritage set for 1970 (please make them stop before then!).

Friday, March 25, 2011

I don't know about you...

I know I'd get fired for saying this to my boss. My job is getting better all the time. I'm working on a big project at the moment. It's good for me because it makes me a more valuable employee. Or will when it's finished.
The only problem is it is hampering my blogging time. I know tough &*%$# right? I'm not complaining. Really, I'm not. It's a good problem to have.
Hopefully all will be back to normal on the blogging front soon. Until then, enjoy a little Dilbert.

He may be a Dimwit, but he's no dummy

The Daily Dimwit is holding a Gypsy Queen break and still has about a baker's dozen teams left.

Go get ya some.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Baseball is good

Baseball is in the air. I can almost smell it.

I'm watching my son's last baseball practice before his first Little League game of the season. He's wearing the tools of ignorance while the coach hits grounders to the team.

The boys are laughing and playing the sport of my youth. I'm transported back to a simpler time. No bills, no job, no worries.

Baseball is back.

Life is good.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Knockin' the Rust Off

Hi. My name is Play at the Plate and I've been an absentee blogger.

Is that even possible?

I'm back on the job after a few days off to enjoy my staycation with my kids. Not an overly exciting way to spend Spring Break, but it's not work so it has that going for it.

Card-wise, I received a couple of packages, I mailed a couple and I have a few more that need to go out this week. I bought one rack pack of 2011 Topps, which resulted in nothing spectacular. I did get one code card that unlocked this nice Senators card:

I think I might already have this 1966 Don Lock card, but it sure beats another 2007 card.

I also bought a few packs of 2011 Heritage. Nothing major to report to report there because other than one Chrome Will Venable, I didn't get much. The cards aren't bad, but the '62 design isn't one of my favorites.

As for the blog, I'm trying to get it out of neutral and start doing some regular posting again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quick Hit

This is a quick hit post because I don't want to go more than a week between posts. I'll be joining the family for Spring Break starting today and won't be back until Sunday night.

I don't have much to say lately, as you may have noticed. If you haven't noticed, don't sweat it.

I was at the LCS looking for some stuff for the winner of the End of the Year contest (you know who you are and you'll be happy to know that package is hitting the post office today!) and I picked up a couple more overpriced packs of 2004 Topps Chrome. I don't know why, but I like these and those Presidential Pitch cards that I like fall 1:9 or somesuch.

I didn't get one of those, but I got something unexpected.

These First Year autos fall 1:22 packs. Of course, I'm not overly thrilled that it's Lastings Milledge, but at least it's on card and will make some Mets fan happy. I got a Cubs refractor in the other pack, but it wasn't anyone to write home, or the blogosphere, about.

Enjoy your time these next few days (unless you're working all the time like Night Owl). I know I will. I'll be commenting here and there, but I'm hoping a few days away will rekindle the creative juices for the blog.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A little perspective

I was prepared to write a scathing post about my local card shop today. I was going to write about how I was getting some cards for a certain winner of my End of the Year contest (I know, it's practically mid-March and I should have done this sooner) and the owner of my LCS is off his rocker. I was going to write about how he wants 50 cents each (EACH!!!) for 1984 Donruss commons. I was going to write about how I found an auction on EBay for a 3200 count box of 1984 Donruss commons for $17.94 shipped. That would be $1,600 at his shop.

I was going to write all that, and more, but then I got to work and saw the news of the huge earthquake in Japan. The news footage of the tsunami sweeping across the landscape is jarring. The tsunami warnings for all the Pacific Islands and the west coast of the U.S. are unsettling. I still have a number of Navy buddies in Hawaii and California.

I'm praying for all those affected already and those who may be affected in the coming hours. It makes a gripe session about one guy being out of touch with reality seem inconsequential.

I'll save that for another day.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I need a little help

I need some scanner recommendations.

It's getting to the point that blogging is no fun without a scanner, so I'm going to bite the bullet and buy a new one.

If you have a scanner that you really love, or really hate, let me know. I'd like to get the opinions of some people who use their scanners primarily for cards.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It takes a Community

Or is it a village? I don't really know, but you can get on a nice Fleer box break over at Community Gum. There are still some quality teams available!

Check it out.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My biggest fear...

This season, my biggest fear is Adrian Beltre playing the "I just signed a big deal, now I'll disappear" game. In his two big contract years, 2004 and 2010, he had career years. In '04, he hit 48 homers and drove in 121 while hitting .334. He then signed a big contract with Seattle and failed to hit anywhere near those numbers. In '10, he hit 28 homeruns and drove in 102 while hitting .321. Those are the only two years in his career that he has over 100 RBIs or better than a .300 AVG. I'll cut him a bit of slack for 2009, a season that saw him only play in 111 games. He only hit 8 homeruns that year.

This was the latest info I got from the Rangers website.

"The original diagnosis was that Beltre would be sidelined for 10 to 14 games, meaning he would make his debut in a game sometime next week. That does not appear to be the case. Beltre is not limited to the swimming pool -- he is still able to swing the bat and take batting practice. He is throwing as well. He is just not able to take ground balls at third base or do any running. Beltre, who signed a six-year, $96 million contract with the Rangers in the offseason, originally injured the calf muscle working out on a treadmill at his home in Los Angeles just before coming to Spring Training. He began camp doing just about everything, but aggravated the injury in early workouts. An MRI showed a Grade 1 strain. That is considered the mildest of three possible grades. If this were the regular season, Beltre said he could play. Since this is Spring Training, he hasn't played and isn't likely to do so for awhile. "

I think it's good reason to be concerned about what the Rangers get from "post-contract year" Beltre. The Rangers are paying good money for the Gold Glove winner from 2008 and 2009 and need the 30+ HR, 110+RBI, .300+AVG to go along with the defense.

But hey, who's worried.

Me. That's who.

My Dream Job?

I don't know if this is EXACTLY my dream job, but I sure wouldn't mind giving it a shot.

Unfortunately, I don't think my boss would give the whole baseball season off. Not to mention my wife being really ticked about me living in New York.

I think there has to be a blogger or wanna be blogger out there in Cardland who would be great at this job.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Big thanks

I want to thank the friendly folks who commented on my TTM question post. We'll be sending out all out requests tomorrow morning.

I'll let you know how we do.

We have a winner

I'd say the March contest was a success. After taking out my comments and a couple of duplicates, there were over 270 comments on the 6 posts. I'm still working my way through the links those of you put up on the "Hookin' a blogger up" post, but I'll get to every one of them. I was glad to discover a few new blogs and also to see that they picked up a few followers as a result of that post.

Now for the reason you clicked on this post. I used to randomize all the entries.

Here is a short video of the randomization.

Congratulations to...

Jonathan@rgb cards. I know I didn't spell Jonathan correctly on the randomization, but I don't think he'll mind.

Did you ever open a box of cereal or cracker jacks as a kid and get double prizes? I was 7 or 8 and talked my mom into buying this sugary cereal because I wanted the prize and when I tore open the box, it had 2 prizes! It was so awesome!!

Well, due to the incredible response from all you great people, this contest has double prizes!

That means the 2nd person on the video also gets a prize. Double awesome super congratulations go to The Dimwit for getting a prize as well!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A little TTM help please

For starters, let me say this is NOT one of the March contest posts. I'm still amazed at the response to that, but I'll cover that in the contest winner post later.

My oldest son has a big stack of cards he wants to send away for some Spring Training TTM requests. If you were reading this blog last season, you might recall he was bitten by the autograph bug. He got Nelson Cruz (twice), Derek Holland, Seth Smith (at the game in Denver) and a few others. Now he wants to send some cards off in hopes of getting some returns.

I haven't done a TTM in a long time and wondered what is the best way to go about it.

I know it's best not to have the cards in toploaders, but should they be in penny sleeves? Is it acceptable to send 2 or 3 cards at the same time? Should he send a short hand-written note with each request? Cost wise, should we send one PWE inside a larger PWE? I'm sure there are questions I haven't even thought to ask.

Any help you can offer on this matter will be greatly appreciated. If you have ever posted any TTM tips, give me a link to that post and I'll gladly read it. He's very excited to see what may come from this and has many Rangers cards as well as some others to send out.

Thanks in advance for any help!

One last time

This is the last call for entries in the March contest. I'll close each of the posts to entries when I wake up this afternoon. What, you forgot I'm a "Night Owl" too?

I'll make it easy for you and post a link to each post. As of the writing of this post (5:30 CST), the number of comments range from 58 for the first post, down to 24 for the last post. You get one entry for each post you comment on. Darn, there I go ending another sentence with a preposition.

Entry 1 Post

Entry 2 Post

Entry 3 Post

Entry 4 Post

Entry 5 Post

Entry 6 Post

I'll do the randomization tonight and post it late or in the morning!

Many thanks for all the great comments.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Inquiring minds want to know...

This is the 6th and final entry post for the March contest. It has been a lot of fun reading all the great comments so far. I'll leave this open tonight and close out the contest sometime tomorrow and then do the randomization. Thanks again for all the great input.

Mr. X from (insert company name here: Topps, Panini, Upper Deck, New Co.) approaches you for some market research for his company. He wants to know what you want in a new product. No, he's not kidding, he really wants to know. Rank these things in order of importance to you in a new product. We're talking about a product that would appeal to the masses here, not some $300 per 5 card "box" product.

Relic hits
Auto hits
Number of hits per box
Quality of hits per box
Price point
Other-anything else you want to add in

There you go. In a nutshell, it's all about what you want most in a product, so speak now or forever hold your piece. Or is it peace?

By the way, if you missed out on the 5th entry post, you might be missing out on some good stuff. Go here to check it out.

Hookin' a blogger up

It's time for entry #5 in the March contest.

I can't begin to explain the difference the blogosphere has made to the enjoyment I get from this hobby. Connecting with people who have some level of passion for baseball cards has taken me back to the days when I opened my first pack of 1981 Fleer cards. The trades, the comments, the's all been a blast.

For this entry, I'm looking to give your blog a little love.

Post a comment with a link to one of your posts that got zero comments. That's all you have to do. As you look through the comments left by others for this post, maybe you can spread a little joy and comment on whatever it is they took the time to post. That's not required for the contest, but you never know what undiscovered gem you might find.

If you don't have a blog, you can still enter. Just leave a comment telling me which blog post from the comments you went and read. Easy as pie.

Thank you blogomanics.

If not Upper Deck, then who?

Opinions on Upper Deck were wide ranging, as I expected. If you haven't yet put in your two cents on that, you still can and get a third entry into the March contest. It's also not too late to get in on entry number one or entry number two for the contest.

Here is your chance for entry #4.

Let's assume two things for the sake of this post. First, let's say Upper Deck never returns to prominence as a major manufacturer of baseball cards. I think that is a very real possibility, regardless of whether they make wholesale changes in the company leadership. It really all depends on how long the memory of MLB is and whether another company can come in and present a better alternative.

Second, let's pretend that the Topps monopoly doesn't last forever. I don't believe it will last forever and someone has to be there to step up when MLB comes calling.

Who do you think that will/should be? Would you like to see some revamped form of Fleer or Donruss (assuming these companies were not controlled by other companies)? Would you rather see Panini make a move into the realm of a licensed baseball set? Maybe you'd rather see an upstart, innovative company come in like Upper Deck did in 1989.

I realize these questions assume a lot and we all know what happens when we assume things. I won't hold that against you, no matter what your opinion reflects in the comments.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Same old song, or a new direction?

The responses to the last post have been great and I look forward to taking a more in depth look at all of them tonight.

Now is your chance to get a third entry into the March contest. There will be a randomization of all the entries for those who were wondering.

Knowing full well some of the shenanigans Upper Deck has pulled in recent years, would you rather see them under new management or just see them go out of business? Do you think having new people leading the company would ever allow MLB to issue them a license again or has Upper Deck done to much damage for that name to be trusted again?

Do you even think it's possible for them to return to their glory days?

I'll be looking forward to your comments.

What do you think?

Here is a chance to get a second entry in the March contest. Just leave a comment and you've got a shot at winning the 72 count retail box of 2011 Topps this month.

Is the Topps monopoly a failed experiment or have they lived up to the responsibility of being the only licensed producer of baseball cards? Do you think the lack of licensed competition has improved or degraded the quality of their products? Do you even think it matters?

I humbly await your opinions. (Actually, I'm probably asleep, but I still look forward to reading what you have to say)

The March Contest

It's that time again. Contest time here at PATP.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post. There will be more chances to get extra entries over the next two days. Each time I put up new post during the next two days, leave a comment and you'll get another entry.

I know what you're thinking...."dude, you haven't been posting much lately." Well, I'll post a couple of times, so you'll get more than one chance to enter.

Here is the prize this for the March contest.

It's the Wal-mart version and it's unopened. Good luck.