Friday, December 21, 2012

A blog update

Fooled ya!  I think there have been just about enough "updates" around here.  I mentioned yesterday that I spent $40 on myself for Christmas.  The first $20 went to the Topps repack box from yesterday and the other $20 went to 2012 Topps Update blaster.  Or mini blaster.  Those boxes are almost tiny now. It's about time Topps went green.  Yea right. 

I'm not really going to do a pack by pack breakdown on this, but I picked out a few cards to discuss.  

I'm old school.  By that I mean Jonathan Braxton and players like him shouldn't be wearing pajama pants to play baseball.  I see women, 40 year old women, at the grocery store wearing pajama pants and that's bad enough.  I don't want to see ballplayers wearing baggy pants on the field. 

Now that's a uniform.  I can't even hate this Cardinal card because the powder blue is rockin' and Edward has his socks up high the way a real ballplayer should. 

Uh oh, two Cardinals in a row and that's ok 'cause Joe Kelly is geekin' in his old school Wild Thing glasses (even though I'm sure they are some kind of high tech polycarbonate shatterproof whatzit). 

I cried when I saw this card.  It's that ugly. 

I didn't cry when I saw this card, but I did when I saw yet another fake "gold" coin show up in my portfolio.  Yay me. 

I still can't believe I was at the game where Josh Hamilton hit four homeruns.  That's because I wasn't at the game.  Bummer. 

I like minis.  I just think this picture would look better on the 1975 design. 

I only scanned this card because I thought it was one of those SPs.  It's not.  It looks like Dee Gordon (is that Dee Gordon?) is trying to pull A.J. Harris' head off. 

The little "blaster" had one of those ultra rare manu-patches that come only 1 per box.  I can't find the "dripping with sarcasm font" so you'll have to bear with me. 

So there you go.  Nothing too exciting, but at least it was cards.  I did get two packs of the blue parallels, but I didn't show them because I'll be putting them in with some packages that I'm looking to get out during the first week of the new year. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

An honest to goodness, drama free, baseball card post

I decided the best way to break out of the blogging/collecting doldrums was to bust a few packs.  It doesn't fix all the real life stuff that's going on, but it was a really nice distraction for all of it.  I happened by the card aisle for the first time in quite a while and dropped $40 on a couple of Christmas gifts for myself. 

The first one was some "Best of 2012 Topps" repack box that had 11 packs.  It was 6 packs of Ginter, 3 packs of Bowman Platinum and 2 packs of Chrome.  No, I didn't really need anything from these packs, but it sure was nice to open some packs again.  There's an underlying theme here as well and we'll see if you can figure out what that is when we get to the end. 

I'm just going to give you a one card highlight from each pack.  I know you've seen these before, but writing is therapeutic so let's get to it.

Pack 1 started off with a nice Sandy Koufax card.  I'm on the fence with all these retired player cards.  I
never saw Koufax play, but I've always looked upon him in a reverential way.  Sort of like he's one of the baseball gods.  I don't want to see him diminished by appearing on so many new cards that he becomes another Mantle.

Pack 2 was pretty boring, only giving up one card I might keep.  That would be this Brian McCann mini, but I'll probably just send it to Canada instead. 

Pack 3 had a mini SP and this Colby Lewis SP.  The theme of this little break could have been "Look at all my former Rangers", but Colby is still with the team.  Sort of.  He'll be back eventually as he's scheduled for a June return from surgery. 

Pack 4 gave up the second copy of some raquetball player and this black bordered Brooks Robinson mini.  I think that mini will make some O's fan happy. 

Pack 5 didn't have much, but there was new Ranger Joakim Soria.  Like Lewis, he's coming off surgery so he won't be pitching for awhile. 

Pack 6 had current Ranger Mitch Moreland, but this Curly Neal was the best card in the pack.  I loved the Harlem Globetrotters when I was a kid and got to see them in person once.  It was great stuff for a kid and I spent hours trying to do some of those trick shots. 

Next up are the three packs of Bowman Platinum.  Platinum might just be the biggest waste of cardboard around.  Next to anything Panini does.  Ok, that's not fair.  I sort of liked Triple Play. 

Pack 1 had a Yankee, a Met a Padre and a Athletic.  You know you've got a bad pack when the best card is from a division rival of your favorite team. 

Pack 2 revealed former Ranger and what I can only hope is future failure as an Angel Josh Hamilton.  Not that I want him to fail, but I do want the Angels to fail.  And I mean in an EPIC FAIL kind of way. 

Pack 3...well, pack three rubbed salt in the would with former Ranger Mike Napoli.  I liked Napoli and his blue collar ways, but there's no way I would have given him 3 years for $39 million.  No Way. 

The last two packs in the box were from one of my perennial favorites, Topps Chrome.  These weren't the best two packs of Chrome I ever opened. 

Pack 1 was pretty weak.  Eric Hosmer wins because the other cards in the pack were an Athletic (Division rival), a hated Giant (see 2010 World Series) and a hated Cardinal (see 2011 World Series). 

Pack 2, the last pack in the box, reminded me how the highs and lows of being a baseball fan.  Michael Young, my former favorite Ranger and current favorite non-Ranger, was the best card in the pack.  

That was fun.  I should write about baseball cards more often.  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Twenty hours...and nothing

I worked twenty hours over the weekend.  Twenty hours in which I really didn't do much work.  I spent a number of those hours reading your blogs and sitting in front of a blank screen trying to write something...anything at all about baseball and baseball cards. 

I could have written about the Rangers losing Mike Napoli, Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, Michael Young and Josh Hamilton.  Surely I could come up with a post about Josh Hamilton for goodness sakes. 

Nothing.  I want to write about baseball, but I can't do it. 

We have another crisis in the PATP household.  I don't want to talk about it.  I don't want to think about it.  I know you don't want to read another excuse for why I'm not writing here on a daily basis. 

But I have to write something.  Soooo...if you want baseball, I'm sorry, you'll have to read someone else's blog for now.  If you don't want to read personal junk, I understand, so stop reading here.

I took my wife to the ER on the 7th.  She's having severe unexplained stomach pains every time she eats.  The ER trip was a waste of time and money.  Except of course the bloodwork showed she doesn't have cancer.  BIG RELIEF.  She has an appointment with a gastroenterologist on the 19th.  Until then, we're in a holding pattern.  Life is weird.  I was down, we were very down, we were very, very up and then this. 

I'm tired.  I'm just tired. 

And God willing, I'll be back to writing about baseball, baseball cards and other things that don't really matter compared to real life, but are still important for our sanity. 

Heaven knows I need the distraction. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

All of these things are just like the others

These are all examples from my life, but what do military life, teaching, blogging and baseball teams have in common? 

They are all transient ways of life.  It's one of my least favorite things ever. 

In the Navy, people transfer from duty station to duty station and you make friends and boom, one of you is transferred to the next place.  I taught 6th grade for four years and there wasn't one single year where a fellow teacher I really liked didn't move to another school.  As we have experienced so many times in the 3+ years I've been blogging, good bloggers, trading partners and I daresay even friends, have fallen by the wayside. (I'm hoping not to fall into that category by the way.)  Our favorite players do the same thing. 

Sometimes they move on to another team and eventually they retire altogether.  It sucks. 

I remember how excited I was when my favorite player ever signed with the Rangers.  The five years Will Clark was here were some of my favorites as a fan of the team.  You know, right after those two World Series runs.  I hated when he signed in Baltimore and then moved on to St. Louis and eventually retired.  I still miss watching him play and be all crazy intense. 

I think I'm about to go through the same thing again.

It appears that talks are getting serious with the Phillies regarding a trade for Michael Young.  Young is my favorite current Ranger and has been since injuries forced Rusty Greer to retire.  I know Young had an off year last year after a great 2011.  I know he's overpaid for what he can give a team at this point in his career.  I'll still be sad to see him go if he does get traded.  It's not my money so I'd rather see him get paid here to do what he can to help the Rangers in 2013. 

Moving on is not something I'm good at or something I look forward to....ever.  It's just not in my nature. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A little serial for breakfast

Things aren't always fun around here.  Let's make a list.

Doctor visits for me.  And my wife.
A moody pre-teen.
Bills.  Lots of bills. 
I have to buy Christmas presents for how many people???
A car that needs to be replaced. 
Had enough?  Thought so.

On the other hand, some things are still very fun. 

Watching whole seasons of shows on Netflix in a week. 
A pre-teen who is having a good day.
Losing weight. 
Collecting cards.
Blogging...most of the time.
Getting packages in the mail.

Sort of like the great package I got from Julie over at the fine blog Funner Here.  

It all started when she posted this 2012 Update Ryan Dempster gold parallel that I just had to claim.

She didn't stop with one serial numbered card.  She sent what I'm fairly certain is the only serial numbered team checklist in my collection.  Its a 2005 Donruss Career Stat Line Alfonso Soriano #19/162.  The 162 is for games played.  Hmm. 

I'll bet you're green with envy over this 2011 Bowman Mitch Moreland green parallel #320/450. 

Let's all go to the Museum and check out Ian Kinsler looking to his left and apparently throwing the ball the other direction.  It's #16/299. 

How about a pair of twins.  Not Twins, but nearly identical Michael Young 2009 Triple Threads.  This one is #310/1350. 

This one is #594/1350.  Only 1348 more to go. 

A bittersweet best for last card.  Bitter because it's Mark Teixeira.   Sweet because it's #6/25.  I have a Teixeira 1/1 from this set, but that's not saying too much because there are only like 250 1/1s for every player.  At least it seems that way. 

Julie, I'm looking for more cards for you because that one Frank Howard isn't enough for all these great cards.  I'll get something headed you're way soon.  Thanks!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Yu're not from around here son

I'm not quite the adventurer I used to be and sometimes I miss that guy.  He was pretty fun.  Back in the early 90's, I was in the Navy and one of the stops we made was Yokosuka, Japan.  Now I wasn't one of those stereotypical rowdy, let's get drunk, I've got a girl in every port kind of sailors.  In fact, I didn't really know many guys like that.  Sure, we cut loose now and then, but it wasn't like we were in the bottle all the time. 

Anyway, a group of 5 or 6 of us decided we would go to Tokyo Disney.  The ringleader of the group was from southern California and had a goal to hit every Disney park and I had never been to one so I was game.  It was about an hour and a half by train from where we were to the park so we headed out early.  It was actually a pretty fun day and we headed back to the boat pretty late.  The rest of the guys decided to hit a bar, but my buddy and I had duty the next day so we needed to get back and grab some sleep.  That's where we hit a snag.

Being the brains of the group, I was in charge of getting us to the park and getting us back.  I thought I had a perfect plan to do just that by "drawing" the names of the stations we used and then just backtracking at the end of the day.  I say "drawing" because I attempted to make the Japanese names of the stations.  Well, it was a disaster and could have ended badly for the two of us.  The train we were on was getting less and less crowded and finally pulled into a station where everyone got off.  We just sat there.  A very frail older lady carrying a bag of groceries noticed us and finally made it clear that this was the last stop for the train that night.  The problem was we had no idea where we were or how to get where we wanted to go.

The lady motioned for us to follow her and we thought she was taking us to some transit employee for help.  This lady looked every bit of 70 and as I said, was carrying a bag of groceries.  She proceeded down the steps of the station and down the street, two big dumb Americans in tow.  We offered to carry her bag, but she wouldn't have it.  She walked us about a mile to another station, took us up the steps and put us on the right train, making sure we knew how many stops we had to go.  We offered her money, but she just shook her head, smiled and disappeared into the night. 

It was one of the kindest, most selfless gestures I've ever experienced. 

Like a number of you, I was on the receiving end of another kind gesture from Japan recently.  Ryan from This Card is Cool sent out a bunch of packages, spreading hobby goodwill from the other side of the world. 

Ryan didn't skimp on the Japanese Yu Darvish cards.  This is a 2007 BBM card, 2nd version.  Whatever that means.  It's pretty cool to have some Japanese cards of Yu.  Not you...oh, Yu know what I mean. 

Here is the 2008 BBM version of Yu.  It must be an insert because it says Prince of Power Pitch. 

On to 2009 and the Game Masters edition.  It's big Yu vs. little Yu.  My money is little Yu.  He looks feisty. 

Ryan included a whole stack of these...umm..."hot girl who is contemplating the world" cards.  Interesting, but my wife may not approve. 

Let me go on record as saying the Rangers do not need cheerleaders at the Ballpark, but I'm not opposed to cheerleaders in general.  Like these Nippon-Ham Fighters Girls for instance. 

My first Japanese play at the plate!  I wish I could see the player coming in to the plate, but This Card is Cool.  So is Ryan.  Thanks Ryan, you rock. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Well well, look who's being a spaz again

I can't seem to get on an even keel, blogwise or in real life.  I'm trying, but it's a daily struggle.  If this blog was a football team, it would have one false start penalty after another.  Sort of like the Cowboys. 

I'm thankful for the fact that I'm still around to even be worried about all this stuff.  I'm thankful for all of you bloggers and readers.  I'm going to make a solid effort to get out all my overdue packages next week, including some contest winnings from September...I think.  I'm thankful for everyone's patience. 

I'm just thankful...and I hope you all have a great day of being thankful too. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I am sooo joining the Topps Five Star Club

Of course, my membership hinges on Topps giving me a waiver on both the $10,000 annual spending AND the "no-bad mouthing Topps" rule. 

I know I could give them a kick ass 500 word essay though.

A not so surprise ending

My son started collecting cards back in 2009 with the purchase of his very first pack of 2009 Topps.  He was 9 years old. 

This great Nelson Cruz card was in his first pack and it hooked him.  He got it autographed at a game in 2010.  He and I spent a fair amount of time buildling his collection from cards out of my collection.  Quite a few of the "hits" I traded for ended up in a box in his room.  He had a box for Cowboys cards, Texas Longhorn cards and Olympic cards.  He had his 2009 set in a binder.  He was having a good time with it and so was I. 

Turn the clock forward three years.  He's still a Rangers fan, but he doesn't have much interest in cards anymore.  I-gadgets, my laptop, Minecraft and XBox 360 have taken over.  He's in 7th grade now so I know girls are just around the corner. 

It was fun while it lasted.  I've taken some breaks from collecting over the years and always come back to it so it's possible he will too.  I'll store his stuff with mine and he's going to end up with all of it anyway someday. 

I just hope it means something to him when he gets it. 

Monday, November 12, 2012


I used to buy and sell cards on EBAY.  I bought and sold a lot of cards.  That was nearly ten years ago.  In the last couple of weeks I sold four items on EBAY because the money was more important than keeping them in my collection.

First up was the 2004 Fleer Platinum Albert Pujols auto I got in a group break held by Just a Bit Outside. 

The second card was this 2012 Topps Finest Yu Darvish refractor auto.  This one came from another Just a Bit Outside group break.  Man, I sure do miss Kyle's group breaks. 

The third card I sold was the best card I ever pulled myself.  This one was the hardest to sell. 

Last, but not least, was the ring I won in the Topps Diamond Giveaway.  I got a cool $300 for it and although I may regret selling it one day, I don't right now.  It was cool for awhile, but it just sat in the box on the shelf.  Maybe the buyer will be able to display it better. 

All these things were destined for my son's collection, but more on that later. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A debt of gratitude

I would be remiss if I let today go by without saying thank you to my fellow veterans. 

To all those who made the ultimate sacrifice...

...and all those who came home...

and all those still serving...

Thank you.  You're service and sacrifice will never be forgotten. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Taking a Shot

Angst and handwringing.  That's just about all the activity that's been going on over here at this blog.  Angst and handwringing. 

Not about important stuff mind you.  No, it's all about the blog.  Why can't I write?  Why can't I get my head back in the game?  Why...well, just WHY?  

The plain and simple truth is I don't know why.  I want to write.  I want to post twice a day and three times on Sunday.  I want to scan cards, post trades and mail out packages three times a week.  I really do.  I just can't seem to get back in the blogging groove.  I've had a grand total of 12 posts in the last 7+ weeks and without looking, I'd say 11 of them barely qualify as posts. 

Back in mid-September, I sort of had a mini-breakdown.  I thought my marriage was falling apart.  I imagined my wife was seeing someone else.  For a 5 day period, my life was turned upside down.  During that 5 days, I slept a grand total of 6 hours.  I was having nightmares.  The thing is, it was all in MY head.  My wife only knew I wasn't sleeping.  She didn't know why.  She didn't think our marriage was falling apart.  She was never seeing someone else and there was no reason for me to think she was.  I just fell apart. 

The week after that one was better, but I was trying to recover from whatever it was that happened to me.  I finally told my wife what had been plaguing me the previous week and she was stunned.  The good thing was it got us talking.  A lot of talking.  I realized that I had been neglecting our marriage.  She never accused me of that or said it outright, but it slowly dawned on me that I hadn't been doing any of the things that a husband should do for his wife.  I heard her, but I wasn't really listening to her.  I didn't do random little things to let her know how important she was to me.  I was absent from our marriage without realizing it.  If you know my story, you know my wife stuck by me when I hid about 20K in credit card debt from her.  She's committed to me and had resigned herself to a marriage in which she wasn't getting the attention she deserved. 

I think God let that bad week happen to snap me out of whatever years long funk I was in and I'm so thankful He did.  It took a couple of weeks to get back on track, but the last 5 weeks have been the best weeks since we first got married.  My wife, my marriage, my kids...they are my priorities now.  I have two great sons and for the first time, they are seeing how a man should treat his wife. 

I didn't start this post intending to go into all that private (not anymore) stuff, but it feels therapeutic to actually write it.  The good news is I think I'm ready to take another shot at kick starting the blog again.  I have a number of trade packages that are ready to be scanned, which is sort of how I got started in the first place.  I want to start off with a nice little package from Ray over at Shot Not Taken

You can never go wrong if you include a Senators card in a trade package for me. 

Carlton Fisk is one of the guys I collect, but this card may make me rethink that. 

This is the card I wanted.  If Goodwin Champions has one redeeming quality, it's the Military Machines cards.  It's not a priority, but I'd like to put this small set together.

I'll be taking a three day weekend so I won't have any more posts this week.  I'm hoping to be back to more regular posting AND commenting on Monday.  Thanks for all your support.  It means more than you know.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

When all you have to say is thanks

The great thing about blogging is the distraction it can provide from your every day life.  I don't mean being distracted from your family because that can be a problem, but just daily stress, work, you know the drill.  The thing is, sometimes you have so much "real" life going on, there aren't enough hours in the day to deal with it all and still have the luxury of distractions. 

That's been my life lately.  I'm still reading blogs and trying to do a post here and there, but I find I'm not able to post daily or twice daily like I was doing before.  It's not that I don't want to, but I'm having a hard time coming up with material or witty banter...ok, my previous banter was sometimes witty to me, if not the reader.  Thankfully I'm still getting packages to post about.  Although I've been a bad boy and not mailed out the pic that I promised him yet, I received a package from Dennis over at Too Many Verlanders

I was so blown away by the package, I only picked 4 cards to scan.  I'll get the ugly Giant out of the way first. 

Of course, this 2002 Topps Archives Reserve Will Clark is anything but ugly.  That thing is so shiny it puts any chrome card to shame. 

How about a sweet on card Rusty Greer auto.  Those 1996 Fleer cards aren't glossy so they take to a Sharpie like the hot takes to Kate Upton.  Or Erin Andrews. 

U.G.L.Y, your mama says you're UGLY!  That 2005 Donruss Prime Patches Michael Young is the best looking ugly card I've seen in quite a while.  The design is awful, but it has two bat pieces and two different colored jersey pieces.  I know all the relic pieces might be from a piece of lawn furniture in the smoking area of the old Donruss headquarters, but hey, it's still mine! 

Allow me to introduce you to the sweet swing and even sweeter sig of one Mr. Will Clark.  Dennis shocked me with the inclusion of this 1998 Donruss Signature Series auto.  If I ever get around to ranking my favorite cards, I'm sure this one will be in the top 10.  Dennis, thanks for the great cards and your patience!