Friday, August 29, 2014

60/40 Split

I was just messing around looking at stats for the blog when I came across a list of recent search keywords that brought people to my blog.

That's an interesting list to say the least.

At least 6 of the terms are baseball related.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Not a bad start

An Orange Trout and Tanaka is a good way to start.

Of course I busted packs in my car. I'm not going to drive ALL THE WAY HOME to do it. That's just crazy talk.

I promised myself I wouldn't do it

I did it.

I told myself the $30 would get me more Rangers than the blaster and value packs.

I did it anyway.

Report to follow.

Let's go Dutch

If all the media reports are to be believed, Derek Holland will make his final rehab start today at the Rangers Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock, Texas.  Of course, we all know how suspect the media can be, a certain written publication in Watertown, NY being the exception of course.

Derek Holland is my favorite current Ranger so I've missed seeing him play this year.  That said, I don't know if I really want him to try to come back in 2014.  The Rangers season is lost and has been since May so he isn't going to help the team at all.  Of course, he might just be looking to knock off some rust and checking out the ol' knee.

Even though Holland has been down for the count this year, I've still been adding his cards to my collection. I recently spotted a lot of 4 cards on Ebay I couldn't resist. Not for just over a buck each.

This 2013 Topps Chasing the Dream jersey relic is very common.  I like the red swatch, even if it is from his dog's bath towel.

There are approximately 742 different types of autograph cards in 2014 Topps Tribute.  I've got a number of these now, but I'll keep buying when they are selling for $1.20 each.  This is the Tribute Traditions version #62/99.

Here is the base 2014 Tribute auto, #70/99.  I love these on-card autos.

This is the Tribute to Pastime Green (really, not much green there) version #9/25.  I bought one of these way back when and it never arrived.  It had a tracking # and it ended up at a post office half way between here and that was the last time it "checked" in anywhere.

I hope Derek's rehab start goes well and if he does come back this season, I might just try to go see him pitch.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I had a good cry today

It was yesterday actually.

I found out my best friend from my childhood lost his father last Friday.  The funeral was Sunday and I didn't know so I missed it.  I actually read about it on Facebook and had to explain to my wife and kids why I was sitting at the table crying.

His name was Ronnie and he truly was like a father to me.  My dad was on the road all the time working and once I became best friends with his son, Ronnie treated my like his son.  It was this family who took me along on a summer trip from central Texas to Arlington in 1979 to see my first (and second) Rangers game as part of a doubleheader against the White Sox.  Ronnie used to tell us to "be good boys and stay out of trouble" all the time.  Well Ronnie, I hope I made you proud because I tried to do just that.

I feel bad that I missed the funeral, but even worse that I hadn't seen Ronnie in about 10 years.  It's not that I didn't have the chance, but I just didn't make the time.  He only lived about 3 hours from me in the same small town I grew up in and I just didn't make the time to go down and visit.  I regret that now, but I hope to not make the same mistake with other people I know.  Other people that are important to me.

Thanks for standing in for my father when he couldn't be there for me.  I'll miss you Ronnie.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The baseball record that will never be broken

The card I'm going to show you today came into my possession only recently although I've "owned" it for quite some time.  I'll let you ponder on that one for a bit.

This is a 2013 Topps Nolan Ryan Record Holder manu-ring a ling.  The front is interesting.

The back is eye-opening. You can probably read the write-up on the back, but I'll type it up for you anyway.  

"Ryan's record of 5,714 strikeouts demands perspective - perhaps by recognizing that a pitcher would require nearly 29 seasons with 200 to break it.  Not only  has no one ever played that long, the non-Nolan mark for 200-plus is 13 by Randy Johnson."

Did you get that?  A pitcher would need to average 200 strikeouts a year for 29 years to break Nolan's record.  Hell, a pitcher would need to average 300 strikeouts a year for 19 years to fall 14 short of the record.  

The current active leader for strikeouts is CC Sabathia and I'm not sure you could call him active.  CC has 2,437 strikeouts and won't ever hit 3000.  There are three intriguing active pitchers.  

Felix Hernandez is number 9 on the active list and number 90 on the all-time list with 1900 strikeouts.  Felix will post his 6th consecutive 200+ strikeout season in 2014.  If he ended 2014 with 2000 Ks, he'd have to average 200 Ks/year for the next 19 years to catch Nolan.  Ain't happenin'.  

Justin Verlander is number 12 on the active list and number 102 on the all-time list with 1789 strikeouts. Justin has 5 200K seasons so far.  I don't think Verlander will hit the 3000 mark, much lest make a run at Nolan.

Now for the most interesting of them all.  

Clayton Kershaw is number 26 on the active list and number  239 on the all-time list with 1380 strikeouts. He should easily get his 5th straight 200 strikeout season this year.  He'll also finish this season with about 1500 career Ks if he keeps on his current pace.  That would mean he'd need to average 200 Ks for the next 21 years to catch Nolan.  I like Kershaw.  He's a local boy and by all accounts a very good guy.  He still isn't going to break Nolan's record.  

What say you dear reader?  Do you ever see Nolan Ryan's career strikeout mark being broken?  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Happy Happy Happy Birthday Birthday Birthday To Me!

I thought I deserved a Triple Happy Birthday today.  Not because I'm turning 44, but because it's 8/18 and over the last few months, I went out of my way to add some #8/18 cards to my collection.

It all started with this 2011 Triple Threads bat/jersey relic of three FORMER Rangers.  I saw it listed on Ebay and it just happened to be #8/18.  "Hey, that's my birthday" I thought.  That led me to start searching for other Triple Threads #8/18 cards.  

I'll just say this.  There are lots of Triple Threads #8/18 cards on Ebay, but some of them are listed for absolutely ridiculous prices.  The second one I picked up was this 2013 Chipper Jones card and it was a bargain. 

I couldn't pass up this 2012 Triple Threads "COMMANDO" Adrian Beltre #8/18 for only $4.99.  It sure helps that it's a Rangers card.

My buddy Judson is going to have fun with this one because yes, I actually bought a Diamondbacks relic on purpose.  I found this one by accident though.  I won a Rangers bowman auto and was looking at the seller's other items to take advantage of the combined shipping offer.  I was happy to add another #8/18 card to my new collection.  

The latest addition to the #8/18 collection is this 2013 Triple Threads Elvis Andrus.  As a Rangers fan, I would like to add any Rangers card I don't have to my collection, but if they just happen to be serial #8/18, I'm not going to complain.

I hope you all have a great day on my birthday.  That would be a great gift.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cleaning House

I've worked the deep night shift (11PM-7AM) for over 8 years.  Working those hours takes a toll on your body and mind.  The one real positive is that it gave me the opportunity to blog fairly freely for the last 5 years and spend time sorting and searching my cards.

How so you might ask?  Well, I work in a job where we primarily keep in contact with employees who work overseas.  If they aren't calling me, then I have a fair amount of "free time".  As long as I was keeping up with my projects, no one minded if I brought some cards to work to sort through.  Over time, I took over three lockers in our back room and since I'm moving into a new role working days, I had to clear out the lockers and take the cards home.

Here is about 80% of the stuff I brought home with me yesterday.  The rest is stuff that is packed up to ship out from the 5000 count box project I was working on.  I'll show you a pic of those next week.

I know I was very lucky to be able to do so much with my collection and blog while "on the clock".  Most of you never get that chance and I didn't take it for granted.  I have to say I'm truly amazed at what everyone else is able to do on their own time.  I've discovered that finding time to write anything while I'm at home is almost impossible.  I've barely even looked at any cards other than a few things I've purchased or gotten in the mail the last couple of weeks.  My Rangers collection is suffering from a severe case of "I have a lot of cards to sort and update" too.

I miss the days of posting twice a day and I think I'd be happy if I could post once a day at this point, but as I settle in to the new job and see how my home schedule is going to work out, I hope to get back to some sort of regular posting and trading.  I never imagined I could miss blogging every day.

Thanks for following along and sticking with me.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Blaster War part deux!

Sorry it took so long to get the second part of the Golden Age vs. Ginter blaster war posted.  I had the pics loaded on Friday, but I just couldn't find time to write the highly technical scoring out.  You know how it is.

Just to remind you, Golden Age is leading 86-71.

Ginter Pack 5

Hiroki Kuroda - -12 for being a Yankee.  I think that's a fair deduction. Just wait and see how much Arod will cost Ginter if he shows his ugly head.
Enny Romero - +1 Never heard of him, don't know him, but he's not a Yankee so I'll at least make him a plus.
Shelby Miller - -2 for being a Cardinal, +1 for not being a Cardinal when they beat the Rangers in the 2011 World Series = -1
Jedd Gyorko Pastime's Pastimes - -1 for weird name, +14 for being a Foodie according to the back = +13
Orlando Hernandez - -6 for being Yankee mini since a mini Yankee is only half as bad as a regular Yankee
Trevor Rosenthal - the -2 Cardinal penalty and -6 for being a closer on my Fantasy team = -8

Pack total = -13
Running total = 58

Golden Age Pack 5

Mackinac Bridge - +20 I drove across the Mackinac Bridge on my way from the Lower Peninsula of Michigan to the Upper Peninsula.  After crossing the bridge in a storm, we rode a ferry to Mackinac Island for our honeymoon.
Ulysses S. Grant - +25 Commanding General of the Union Forces AND the 18th President of the United States.
Butch Cassidy Green Mono Back mini - +5 Great historical person for a set like this -15 for being a bad guy = -10
Alydar - -3, one point for each time he came in second to Affirmed in the Triple Crown races.
Ernie Banks - +2 for wanting to "play two", +10 for being pictured in a Kansas City Monarchs uniform = +12
Haystacks Calhoun - +3 for the name Haystacks, -5 for weighing 600 pounds, +8 for weighing 600 pounds AND wrestling = +6

Pack total = +50
Running total = 136

Uh-oh, this is turning into a route.

Ginter Pack 6

Travis D'Arnaud - +3 for being a catcher, -1 for playing close to the Yankees = +2
Rickey Henderson - +10 for being a great shot of Rickey, +3 for being Nolan Ryan's 5000th strikeout victim, and +4 for having to share the limelight on the day he broke Lou Brock's stolen base record (Nolan Ryan's 7th no-hitter was the same day) = +17
Paul Molitor - +3 for almost sharing my birthday AND being from very close to my hometown
Gerrit Cole Pastime's Pastimes - -2 for being boring...and making me sleepy
Yoenis Cespedes mini - -5 for being an A's card, +8 for being traded away from the A's = +3
Matt Williams - -10 because Night Owl really doesn't like him

Pack total - +13
Running total - 71

Golden Age pack 6

John Pemberton - + 10 his concoctions led to the creation of Coca-Cola, but I'm a Dr. Pepper fan
Eddie Waitkus - +6 for being the inspiration for The Natural
Assault blue Mono mini - +2 for being named Assault
Steve Yzerman - +0 because if it's not a Dallas Star, I just don't care
Martin Luther King Jr. - +20 because I like his non-violent approach
Addie Joss - +10 for having the second lowest ERA in history and the lowest WHIP ever, -25 for dying and being the reason the first All-Star game was played = -15  I know it's harsh, but the All-Star game in it's current form is a BIG FAT JOKE.

Pack total = +23
Running total = 159

Ginter Pack 7

Andre Dawson - +5 Any person nicknamed "The Hawk" has to be rewarded.
Cal Ripken Jr. - +25 One of my favorite players as a kid and, oh yea, the Ironman.
Barbed Wire - +15 Crazy, but I love it anyway.  I do think it's funny that the back talks about the Old West and they show prison razor wire on the front.
Bonnie and Clyde OBAANDW mini - -12 for being bad guys (and gals), +25 for being an AWESOME mini, and another - 3 for being really bad guys ( and gals) = +10
Punalu'u Beach Natural Wonder - +5 I need to take my wife there
Queen Victoria - +5 for being super hot for an 1800's chick

Pack total = +65 Nice comeback
Running total = 136

Golden Age Pack 7

Sundance Kid - -5 for being bad, +10 for being badass = +5
Joe Louis - +10 Best boxer ever?  Maybe
Davey Lopes Crofts Swiss Milk Cocoa mini - 1:24 packs so I'll take it and give him +10 for being hard to get
D. Wayne Lukas - -10 for using the inital D at the beginning of his name
Kenesaw Mountain Landis - +10 first commish of baseball, +3 for Mountain being his middle name, +2 for NOT being Bud Selig = +15
King Tut's Tomb - +5 because I don't want to cursed by the Tomb

Pack total = +35
Running total = 194

It's now or never for Ginter

Ginter pack 8

Grant Balfour - -1 BORING
Felix Hernandez - +20 Greatness on the mound.  If he'd had better run support throughout his career, he might have 5 or 6 Cy Youngs
Junkanoo Festivals and Fairs - -3 for having Junk in the name
Nomar Garciaparra - -4 ummm, overated?  +23 Married to Mia Hamm = +19
Dusty Baker Ginter back mini - +12...can you say hit by pitch?
Yasiel Puig - +3000 for being Puig, -2990 for letting Pujols tag up from first and make it to second on the flyout to center = +10

Pack total = +57
Final total = 193

Golden Age Pack 8

Curt Flood - -25 for being difficult leading to Free Agency
Gary Carter - +10 for being THE KID
Josh Gibson - +8 for his 800 homers, +10 for p.u.r.e. Awesomeness = +18
Steve Carlton - -9 for being difficult
Fearless Leader FDR - +25 for getting us out of the Depression and taking the War to the Germans and Japanese
Vivian Leigh brown Hindu mini - -10 because frankly Viv, I don't give a damn

BUT WAIT, pack 8 had the promised bonus card...

Check out my Willie!  Willie Nelson Legends of Music relic - +50 for being a cool swatch, -25 for giving me a contact high.  DO NOT SCRATCH AND SNIFF the Willie Nelson relics.  You've been warned!

Pack total = +34
Final Total = 228 points

So Golden Age wins 228-193 in what has to be the most fairly judged competition in the history of the Internet!

I really like Golden Age and if I can afford another blaster or two, I'm getting some more.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blaster War!

I'm enjoying my new job, but it is all-consuming right now.  Transitioning from one of the troops to a supervisor is great, but challenging.  I'm still working nights until my position gets filled and that means hanging around some during the day as well while I learn the ropes.

Tuesday I stayed for a couple of hours and stopped by Target on my way home.  I wanted to pick up another blaster or two of Ginter.   Target only had one Ginter blaster left so I decided to pick up a blaster of Panini's Golden Age.  I saw a couple other people post Golden Age packs and even though I really don't like Panini products, Golden Age looked pretty interesting.

I decided to test Golden Age by putting it up against the Ginter blaster.  I really like the design of this year's Ginter base cards so it shouldn't be much of a contest.

My scoring system will be completely fair and unbiased (translate that to mean completely biased and fair as I see fit).

Ginter Pack 1

Wade Boggs - +1 for eating chicken, +1 for being one of the most feared hitters of my youth = +2
Sandy Koufax - +31 for general awesomeness, +5 for horizontal greatness, + 5 just because = +41
Field of Yore Astroeome - +5 since I got to go there, +1 for being the 8th Wonder of the World, -3 for being ugly as sin = +3
Brett Lawrie - = +1 for coming back from the DL on Tuesday, -47 for probably being out 3-6 weeks after hurting his little oblique = -46
Victor Martinez SP mini - +10
Koji Uehara - -25 for being great for Boston, but being a total headcase when he pitched for Texas.  I think he missed his mommy

Pack Total = -15
Running Total = -15

I think I'll start Panini off with a -10 for overall "panini"ness

Golden Age Pack 1

Baseball Hall of Fame - +10 for general greatness
Jorge Velasquez Historic Signatures auto - +10 for being on card, -5 for not knowing who he is, +10 for winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 1981 = +15
George Gervin - +5 for Iciness
Artis Gilmore - +5 cause I'm down with that 'fro
Jim Thorpe brown Hindu mini - +5 for overall great athleticism
Orson Welles - -10 for scaring my grandma with that War of the Worlds stunt

Pack total = +20 (counting the initial 10 point deduction)
Running total = +20

That gives Panini a pretty good lead to start, but we all know Ginter = Greatness and Panini = logoless crap so we'll see how it ends.

Ginter Pack 2

Carlos Gonzalez = -1 for toiling in anonymity in Colorado
Al Kaline - +11 because as a child, an old man in our neighborhood gave my friend a Kaline model bat he'd had in his house for years.
Bob Gibson - +10 because he might kick my ass if I don't give him +10
Madison Bumgarner Pastime's Pastimes - -3 for a stupid insert name, -15 for being a stupid Giant = -18
Polar Bear WDP mini - +14 for being a badass Polar Bear
Alex Avila - +1 because this pack could use some help.  Like 1 point is going to help this pack.

Pack total = + 17
Running total = +2

That's not going to cut it unless I really start hating this product.

Golden Age Pack 2

Tony Dow - +4 for growing up around THE Beaver
Bob Hayes - +10 for being the Bullet, +10 for being a Cowboy BEFORE Jerry Jones bought the team = +20
Doc Holliday - + 5 for being a badass, -1 for having Tuberculosis = +4
Frank Robinson - -10 for reminding me about Panini and their lack of logos
Zack Wheat - +1 for being a Brooklyn Dodger, -1 for making me want a sandwich, +4 for his postseason jobs as a farmer, police officer and bowling alley operator =+4
Junior Johnson - + 2 for looking like a big old goober

Pack total = +24
Running total = +44

Ginter is getting smoked by 42 points so far, but we have a long way to go.

Ginter Pack 3

Prince Fieler  = +5 for being a Ranger, -45 for being out all season and sucking even before his injury = -40
Bryce Harper = +3 for horizontal, +3 for no eye black, -2 for the general feeling of douchiness I feel when I see him =+4
Table Moutain - +1 for being sorta cool looking, -4 for being in South Africa = -3
Victor Martinez - -3 for general blah feeling I get when looking at this card
Jordan Oliver mini - +4 for being little, -5 for showing your armpirts = -1 total
Jenny Dell - +74...hey, it's my blog, I can distribute points however I see fit

Pack total - +31  That Jenny Dell really saved Ginter's day!
Running total - +33

Golden Age Pack 3

Bob Lemon - +10 for being in the US Navy during WWII
Marta Kristen - +8 for her role as Judy Robinson in Lost in Space
Dom Dimaggio - +3 red Hindu back mini
Tatum O'Neal - +4 for being Tatum, -1 for marrying John McEnroe =+3
Dizzy Dean - + 1 because I said so
King Kelly - +4 for being a catcher,+1 for playing for the White Stockings =+5

Pack total =+30
Running total = +74

Is it possible for a blaster of something Panini churned out to beat a blaste of Ginter???? Oh, the humanity!

Ginter Pack 4

Jedd Gyorko - -1 for being named Jedd Gyorko
Pablo Sandoval - -5 for being a Giant, -3 for stupid insert name, +2 on account I like pandas = -6
Kennedy and Lincoln Coincidence - +55 coolest card I've seen this year.  The back says both were succeeded by a Johnson.  I don't know about Andrew Johnson, but I do know Lyndon Baines Johnson was a dick.
Aramis Ramirez mini - +5 for being a mini, -5 for a faux black border = 0
Austin Wierschke - -20 for being known as a fast texter, - 5 for Ginter making a card of you = -25
Vince Gilligan - + 5 for being named after a great TV show, +10 for writing what was apparently a great TV show that I've never seen = +15

Pack total = +38
Running total = +71

That was a comeback pack for Ginter.

Golden Age pack 4

Willis Carrier - +100 for inventing the Air Conditioner, -110 because you shouldn't have a card for that = -10
Star Stamps + 3 for general quirkiness
Farrah Fawcett - + 18 for general hotness, -3 because the lady at the yard sale when I was 10 wouldn't let me buy the one-piece bathing suit Farrah poster.  Yes, that poster. = +15
Lindsey Wagner - +6,000,000 for being Bionic, -5,999,999 for not being as hot as Farrah = +1
Phil Niekro - +2 for general greatness, -2 for the deer in the headlights look = 0
Eddie Gaedel - +3 cause he walked on 4 pitches

Pack 4 total = +12
Running total = +86

Halfway through the blasters, Golden Age has a slight edge at 86 to 71.  Ginter has plenty of time to make up the difference, especially with my liberal use of points for some cards.  I'll post the other half of the blasters soon.