Saturday, September 27, 2014

Birthday cards, Part 2 of 2: Fall, glimmer, sparkle, and fade

Note: That title is completely insignificant, save that I was listening to that when I semi-drunkenly started writing this a couple days ago. We now take you to your not-at-all-regularly scheduled post.

I'm picking up where I left off with the birthday cards I cracked two weeks and change ago. The smallest of the packs was a four-card pack of some international nonsense from Upper Deck in like 2006, I think. I'm like early Faith No More in that I care a lot.
Way to be, whoever you are. There was also an Eric Gagne card numbered out of 75, but I can't imagine why I'd scan that.

Recent Topps were involved. Here are a pair of bat-barrel shots that Nick probably already has. I tossed 'em in his box just in case, though.
Nick Swisher is the only major league player I have competed against. And by "competed against" I mean "watched from the bench". I had a unique role in high school baseball in that there was so little interest in baseball at this school of 2000+ that I was basically designated roster filler so we had enough players. My leather was true, so I'd get into some games when they were already over. Watching Swisher play was transcendent. It was so cliche how much better than everyone else he was. I later ended up moving to Parkersburg, where he went to HS, and played a couple seasons of adult ball on the field he came up on.

...that Pena card is just cool because of, yeah, orange and Tatooine.

It's been a couple days since I typed that last sentence. I really need to wrap this post up so I can get to the next one, which I'm more excited about.
That Joe Mauer World Baseball Classic insert is from 2013, while the die-cut Koufax is from a year earlier. Don't worry, I didn't actually mar either of the Sandy Koufax cards; I figured someone might want them.
 ...this Dennis Eckersley insert celebrating one of his World Series saves also came from the pack of 2012 Topps.
As I mentioned in the first post, there was a lot of 2008 Upper Deck. This was my second-favorite card out of all of them. Of course, the one at the top of this post is my favorite. Regardless of what one thinks of Manny Ramirez, that's a great shot.

Well, that does it for that. Kinda ridiculous that it took me 17 days to wrap it up, but things get back-burnered sometimes. I'll be back much sooner with a post about some mail I got which I'm excited about.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Birthday cards, Part 1 of 2: A brief vacation from misery

It's been 10 days since my birthday, so this is a very belated post. Better late than never, right? Can't let my three readers down.

My day was going along like any of the other 364 days in any given year, which is to say poorly. I was already depressed, like I am every birthday, thanks to reflecting on what a waste the last year has been and what a failure I am, when I got an email that took me from depressed to pissed. Somebody was planning a meet-up at a Padres home game, so he sent an email to a handful of people to figure out when the best date would be. I was one of the ones it was sent to, which I found incredibly thoughtless since I live in West Virginia and there's no flipping way I could make it. Basically what I read was "Hey, all of these people you'd like to see are going to be at a place you'd like to be. Suck it, Joe." Now, I know it wasn't meant as a jerk move to rub it in that I'm stuck in Garbageland and will always be on the outskirts of everything, unable to do anything I want to do ever, but it still irritated me to no end that he didn't take two seconds to think about the fact that maybe inviting someone to something they have no way of attending is essentially taunting them. It'd be bad enough any other day, but on my day it felt like even more of a slap in the face. So now you know the mindset I was in before the cards showed up.

I wasn't expecting anything for my birthday, because I never expect anything for my birthday. I don't have a family, and over the last couple years I've inadvertently distanced myself from what friends I had and basically became a hermit. If that sounds awful, it's because it is. There is one person left in my life, and that's who showed up with some shoes and a repack box to take my mind off all that other stupid nonsense for a little while. Kicks and cards are great, but mostly it was just nice to be thought of.

My expectations for the box were low, because my experience with repack boxes has been that they have a few somewhat appealing packs visible, concealing a bunch of 2005 Topps five-packs or something similarly crummy and of no interest to me. This one was a pleasant surprise. Not only were there recent A&G and Gypsy Queen packs as the bait, there were also some buried in the middle. Even better is that one of them was a hanger pack containing four packs, but they counted it as one pack.

Out of the 11 or 14 packs, however you choose to look at it, I pulled eight Padres. That was the second pleasant surprise, since I rarely ever pull Padres from packs.
So what if I already had all of them except for the Tatooine Topps card of fellow perpetual disappointment Everth Cabrera; it's still nice to pull a card from your favorite team. I thought of doing a Cardboard Corner post about these cards over at Gaslamp Ball, but on second thought I don't see that happening. One, it has taken me 10 days to get around to this, and two, it just doesn't seem to be a good fit. The audience there isn't a card crowd, so when I do a card post, it's generally of one interesting card, and even then they usually get next to no interest. So there you go.

As you can see, there was some filler in the form of 2008 Upper Deck, but even that turned out well since it's a nice enough set and the two packs of it I got were a hanger and a jumbo, yielding 54 cards. I'll get back to those, though; I'm going to try to chronicle the box in the order I opened the packs. First up was two six-packs of 2013 Allen and Ginter's. As I'll do with the others, I'm just going to show a few highlights from each pack.
I hate the Dodgers and refuse to allow their logo to sully my blog but, man, Koufax was good. Somebody is bound to want this and I'll gladly pass it along; just let me know. That goes for any and all of these cards. A lot of them are cool and I had a grand ol' time ripping into them, but none of them fit into any of my collections. That Robin Yount A&G mini is a short print, which cropped up in 1 out of every 13 packs; the Martial Mastery cards were inserted 1 per 8 packs. Not a bad start.
The Curious Cases cards were also 1 per 8 packs, while the Josh Reddick mini is a 1 per 5 packs A&G back variation. Dime Box Nick probably already has it in his Reddicollection, but just in case, I tossed it in the box I keep putting off sending him. That would not be the last card of this box to meet that fate.

Having done well with my two packs of 2013 A&G, I moved on to the hanger pack of 2013 Gypsy Queen, which contained three packs of six cards each and a "bonus" pack of three framed cards. It irks me when companies label stuff like that "bonus" content. It's part of the full package and calculated into the price, and pretending it's just some treat is condescending. I hate pretty much everything, but being talked down to is very close to the top of the list. That said, the repackers counted it as one pack, so kudos to them for not ripping the hanger-pack-overwrap and counting each pack inside as one pack. Honestly, I'm amazed. The cynical side of me thinks their laziness trumped their greed. Anyway, here's a sampling of what it/they/whatever had in store.
Ken Griffey, Jr. is one of those players I've always liked and respected but don't collect. It's a great shot of that beautiful swing, plus he's wearing that sweet alternate jersey. Now, THAT'S a bonus. Adam Jones also falls into that category, albeit to a lesser extent as far as the liking and respecting goes. His 2013 A&G Across the Years card is down here with the Gypsy Queens for one reason, but it's a good reason: I screwed up. He's a San Diego native, which I'll also chalk up as a bonus.
Another Robin Yount! Not just another Robin Yount card, but another Robin Yount mini. Madness. That Homer Bailey No-Hitters insert is fairly snazzy; those were placed 1 per every 4 packs. One of these packs also contained the Andrew McCutchen Sliding Stars (1 per 6 packs) shown at the top of this post. You know that thing I said about Griffey and Jones? Yeah, McCutchen, too.
This is the best of the "bonus" framed cards. It's the best in my eyes because of the throwback uniform, not because I care one bit about Mariano Rivera. The whole Yankee farewell tour garbage moved the needle on my Riverameter from dead center at 'Apathy' a little to the right to 'Mild Annoyance'. And since that's where my Jetermeter already was before this season, you can only imagine how glad I'll be when everyone stops fawning over every single thing that guy who is being outperformed by Alexi Amarista does. You know the worship has gone too far when people are having to change their pants after a friggin' Gatorade ad. Meanwhile, Paul Konerko's last season has barely received a whisper. Wrong set of pinstripes, I guess.

Sheesh, I got a little sidetracked there. I'd say I'll be back tomorrow with Part 2 of this, but it might be longer. Yeah, knowing me, it probably will be. At least I scanned all the cards for it before my scanner decided not to work, instead telling me "DOOR OPEN" constantly, even after much shutting of the top, progressively more forcefully, accompanied by various combinations of words that somehow sound even more vulgar when you mash them up together.

Such is life.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Two more from Ball Four

I forgot how to write. Like, completely. I'll probably get it back; this has happened before, although not to these extent. I just realized I wrote 'these' where 'this' belonged. I could have corrected it, but leaving it illustrates my point of where my head is iat.
Anyway, I collect cards of guys who were in Ball Four. I recently received two such cards. You just saw them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

57 Joey Cora cards from Just Commons

It's been almost a couple weeks since I've checked in here. Last time I showed off the two Allen & Ginter's cards from my most recent Just Commons purchase. I got 94 other cards in that order, exactly half of which were of Joey Cora. The reason I got 57 Joey Cora cards was that they only had 57 Joey Cora cards. Of those 57, there was actually one I didn't already have a copy of; it's the 1998 Topps Chrome card pictured above, to the right of his regular Topps card from that year. There are still a handful or two of Joey Cora cards I know of that I don't have even one copy of, and undoubtedly numerous other oddballs and Japanese cards to be concerned with too. Fortunately, I'll be knocking a few more off the list this week. I have a couple-hundred Coras on the way, and at least three of them are new to me.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to the Just Commons order. Here's the team-by-team breakdown of the 57 Coras:
-Padres: 4
-White Sox: 27
-Mariners: 24
-Indians: 2

I would do a card-by-card look at how many of each I got this time like the guy you should be sending all your Tim Wallach cards to does, and what that brings me up to on each, but I'll wait 'til the couple-hundred in transit show up to do a full inventory. I know at least 34 of them are his 1988 Topps card, which will double me up on those.

I'll be back when the next batch of Coras get here, so cross your fingers that the postal person comes through and I have a two-post day. Well, two posts on here. I'm already at two posts total since I did a birthday post about Woody Williams possibly having the best day at the plate by a Padres pitcher earlier this morning over at Gaslamp Ball. And in case you wondered, yes, that image I used is from his 2000 Keebler (after they bought out Mother's) card. Too bad I don't have a pitcher-at-the-plate card of him, huh?

Speaking of mini-collections that Dime Box Nick has, I'll end this with a pair of Short Term Stop cards whose photographs were taken less than a second apart.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Another A&G Post

I didn't pull any Padres in the one pack of 2014 Allen & Ginter's that I purchased, but I did pick one up in my latest Just Commons haul. While it's a great card of fellow West Virginian Jedd Gyorko, it's nowhere near as awesome as the other card I ordered from this set, sight unseen. I noticed that Judah Friedlander has am A&G card this year; I'm a huge fan of 30 Rock and have enjoyed his work since I first saw him on VH1's "I Love The..." series about a dozen years ago, so it was worth the 15 or 20 cents it cost just to check it out even though I don't really collect non-baseball cards. The front is great (shouldn't this be a Pacific card since it has Spanish and English?), but the back is where it really shines.
(click image to enlarge)
So good. This copy is going to have rounded corners in no time from being shown to everybody.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Getting around to Allen & Ginter's

Hey, everybody! Long time, no type. Well, here at least. I still type all the time (some would say too much!) for Gaslamp Ball, including a fair amount of card posts. But since the pack of cards I got and am writing about now contained no Padres, now seemed like a good time to dust off the old cardblog. I just made a Just Commons order the other day that included several non-Padres, so my next hiatus shouldn't be as long.

But I digress.

It seems like everyone else in the world has already dipped a foot in the Allen & Ginter's pool this year, so I'm late to the party. Fashionably late, but late nonetheless. I'm not much of a pack guy, especially when it comes to current products because I collect next to no active players, save for Padres, and there are typically fewer of them in sets than there are guys from other teams. In fact, not only was this pack devoid of Friars, so were the eight packs of 1991 Leaf I got from the hobby shop's discount bin the same day. Nine packs, 106 cards, no Padres: Story of my life.

But I digress.

Even though I knew the odds were against getting something I'd want to keep, I decided to spring for an 8-card hobby pack just for the experience and see how they look in-hand. From what I saw on other blogs, I liked this year's design more than recent issues, and I figured someone out there would need whatever cards I wound up with, so what the hey? Before I digress again, let's dig in.
Not a bad start. I wouldn't call myself a Reds fan, but I watch a lot of their games because I live in their viewing area, and passively root for them 156 games a year (the other six being when they play the Padres, of course). I don't collect Votto, but he seems like an interesting guy and I like that we share a birthday (along with Randy Johnson, Arnold Palmer, Roger Maris, and others).
Up next were a pair of All-Star infielders on horizontally oriented cards. While I don't care one way or another about either of these guys, I do love the horizontal cards. The design seems to fit them better, and the images they chose -- at least on these two -- were perfect for the format.
Pudge! Ever since the Rangers mothballed the Nolan Ryan-era uniforms, they've been flipping between blue and red as their primary color seemingly every other year. The one Rodriguez is wearing here is from the beginning of the flip-flop era, before tweaks were made here and there, including adding beveling to the lettering and eventually taking it back off.
I don't know or care much about planes but, yay, insert! The design is nice and all, and I'm sure I can find someone who needs it who'll give me a Joey Cora card for it. This was the first of three inserts (minis are inserts, right?) in this pack. The only insert I was hoping for was one of the Little Lions cards, because cats are the jam. In fact, my brood recently grew by two twin baby boys. They're actual identical twins, which the vet said is rarer amongst felines than it is with humans. Here's a picture of my little lions Tony and Tobias with their cat-sister Cora and their dog-brother Chester.
Since they're twin kitties, their favorite team is from the Twin Cities, and their favorite Twin is Kent Purrbek.

But I digress.
Here's the second insert I pulled. While I don't plan on holding on to it, it's a great-looking card. I enjoy the matte black background along with the lettering and little line-drawings. I'm not crazy about the name "Pastime's Pastimes", but it's not their responsibility to run these things by me, the guy who will buy one pack of their product regardless.
The penultimate card of my pack was the Jered Weaver mini. I cast it aside as soon as I saw it because I simultaneously spotted the card behind it. Yes! Craig Biggio is one of a handful of never-Padres who I collect, so this awesome addition to my player collection of him was a great way to finish an already-good pack. Of the eight packs of 1991 Leaf I opened the same day, the only card I had any use for was also a Biggio, so it was quite a Craigeriffic day of collecting.

All in all, I'm pleased with the pack I got. I wasn't expecting any Padres, so I wasn't disappointed. I did well on inserts, and all of the cards seem like ones someone would want. Adding a keeper card to the mix at the end was just a bonus. As for the cards themselves, I'm a fan. I won't be buying any more packs, but that's just because I wouldn't have anyway. I did order Jedd Gyorko's card from this set on my last Just Commons order; speaking of which, I should be back in a few days with a breakdown and a look at the non-Padres I got.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Joey Cora 1993 Topps Variations

My quest to collect as many copies of every Joey Cora card ever would be so much easier if his career took place ten years earlier than it did. As it played out, the second half of his career was chock-full of parallels and inserts. The parallel craze took off with Topps Gold in 1992 and they brought it back for a sophomore season. Along with Topps Gold, it was also the second season of Topps Micro, although it's not considered a parallel. The Micro cards were only sold in complete sets, as were the cards stamped with the Rockies and Marlins inaugural logos in gold foil. Topps would repeat this in 1998 with sets stamped with Diamondbacks and Devil Rays logos, but that's a post for another day.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bips & Brackets

It's still Bip Roberts's fiftieth birthday on the west coast, so I'm sneaking this post in right under the wire. I also did a post about Bip over at Gaslamp Ball earlier today. It's a card post; I picked out 10 cards of him with the Padres. Ten, of course, because of his uniform number.

Since Bip is pictured here with the Reds, that gives me a legitimate segue into talking about Nacho Grande's Blogger Bracket Challenge. Round 0 was  fun and I'm looking forward to seeing what my prompt card is for the first round of bracket play; the unveiling will be at 7:30am. I'm glad he had this contest because it has gotten me writing on this blog again, however briefly or inanely as it has been.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Better Off Dread

Whenever I see a card of Rickie Weeks or anyone else with long dreads I get kind of bummed out. Not because I'm a stone-faced, finger-wagging Steinbrenner type bemoaning these dang players these days with their flat bills and sideburns. Far from it, actually. It just makes me miss my dreads. I had them for about three years and have regretted it ever since I shaved them off a couple years ago. My hair is fairly long now but I'm not going to knot it up because I'm growing it out to donate to Locks of Love and they do not accept dreadlocks. Donations have to be a minimum of 10 inches and I'm almost there; the shortest part of my hair, the sides and back, is currently around 8 1/2" while the top is 15-ish. I'm looking forward to getting rid of all of this because I can't wear a hat without looking like I have a mullet, and otherwise I look like a hippie. It's for a good cause though, so I can't complain. Besides, time flies so before you know it it'll be 2016 or so and I'll look like a poor imitation of Rickie Weeks yet again.
(This post was written as my "Round 0" entry for Nachos Grande's Blogger Bracket Challenge. Head on over and check out the the other entries.)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Happy Birthday to Bob Scanlan

Former pitcher and current Padres radio analyst and more Bob Scanlan turns 47 today. I just dropped 845 words about him over at Gaslamp Ball, so check that out if you're into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kruk, Henke & Other Stuff

Along with the few Joey Cora cards and cards of guys from West Virginia that I got from Just Commons last week, I picked up a few Padres, including a neat autographed letter patch card I wrote up elsewhere, a handful of '93 Upper Decks for my set I'm building, and some cards for my player collections. The two John Kruk cards pictured above are ones I had in my younger days but haven't had copies of for years. Kruk also qualifies as a guy from West Virginia but he's the of them that I collect in earnest, as opposed to just being satisfied with having one random card of each of the other guys.
I especially like that throwback on the back of Krukky's '94 UD CC card.
These Kruks, like most I acquire these days, are also "new again". I did, however, get some Tom Henke cards that are completely new to me:
I didn't have too many Flair cards when they came out in '93- just the Kruk and the Tony Gwynn, if I recall correctly- but I thought they were the coolest thing in the world. I still think they're pretty great. I just started typing a bunch of adjectives about the cards from that set but I deleted all of them as I imagined someone reading them and saying "That's what she said".

That Pacific issue is my first card of Henke with the Cardinals. He pitched his final season for them in '95 and went out on top. Well, not like John Elway or whatever because the Cardinals didn't win squat that year, but he had a great personal season. His ERA was a blink and you'd miss it 1.82 in 54.1 innings over 52 appearances. Henke was named to his second All-Star game; I was going to get into the details of both of his appearances but I'll save that for its own post.

My Tom Henke collection is still fairly small since I only started collecting his cards last summer when I discovered that he made his MLB debut the day I was born.

Oh, and here are those '93 Upper Decks that I mentioned. Nothing too special; I just knocked a few cheap ones off my needs list.
Here we have some "Star Rookies" who didn't live up to the star part. Manny Alexander did end up letting a clubhouse attendant take the rap for some steroids he had in his car, so he's got that going for him.
Dan Plesac seems like a nice guy. A little overbearing sometimes, sure, but ultimately likable. I really enjoy that Community Heroes subset card of Dave Stewart. When I think of him I think of intimidation and intensity. This is neither of those.

Wow, I'm actually posting here fairly often lately. Good times. For me and hopefully also for each of the seven to twelve people who will read this.

Monday, July 29, 2013

R.I.P. Frank Castillo

I just saw on Deadspin that Frank Castillo died yesterday. The 44-year-old former starting pitcher drowned while on a boating trip with a friend. I knew his name sounded familiar but the picture they showed of him in a Red Sox uniform just didn't register. Then when I read that he had pitched for the Cubs, it clicked. I dug into the Cubs section of my junk box and there were these two cards.

My thoughts go out to his friends and family, especially his friend he was out on the boat with. I can't even begin to imagine how traumatic that has to be.