Friday, February 27, 2009

Cards from Dubbs: Part 1

Dubbs over at Cheese and Beer sent me a package a short time ago. He also made me that handy dandy banner you see at the top of my blog. Dubbs takes good care of me. The only thing I can figure is that maybe he feels like he owes me after taking CC Sabathia away from me last season (Dubbs is a Brewers fan). Whatever the case, Dubbs kicks ass, and so do the cards he sent me.

I've been trying to make it a practice to do a thorough review whenever I get some cards from another blogger. That's why it takes me so damn long to get the reviews and the thank yous up. I apologize to all who have sent me stuff that I haven't reviewed yet and I hope this in no way deters anyone from sending me free cards that I don't deserve.

Here is part 1 of the review of the loot from Dubbs who is a good man, and thorough.

1. Cliff Lee - 2003 Donruss Champions

Clifton Phifer Lee. Can you believe that's his real name? I always thought he looked like Don Flamenco.

People think that Cliff came out of nowhere last year to win the Cy Young. He did, in a sense. He had a terrible 2007. A lot of people forget that Cliff went 18-5 in 2005 and finished 4th in the Cy Young. What I hope is that 2007 was the anomaly, not 2008. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

2. Grady Sizemore - 2008 Bowman Chrome

I love Grady Sizemore, and I love Chrome. Be it Topps or Bowman, Chrome are probably my favorite cards. Right now my Sizemore collection stands at about 60 different cards (Dave and Mario are safe for the foreseeable future) but I had yet to lay my hands on this card.

It's a good thing I have it now. As much as I like Sizemore, I wasn't aware of the full extent of his skills. Grady, it seems, "combines precise mechanics with bat speed and lightning hands". I shit you not. Lightning hands. It says it right there on the back of my card.

3. Mark Lewis - 1992 Topps

Mark Lewis was going to be awesome. He was the second pick of the 1988 draft. A local boy from Hamilton Ohio. As far as I remember, Mark Lewis was the most exciting rookie that the Indians had since Joe Charboneau. He was going to save the franchise.

And for a while, it seemed like he really might. Back then, we cared about Avg, Hrs, and RBIs. Probably in that order. There was nothing you loved more than to look up your teams stats in the Sporting News or the local paper and see .300 or higher next to a bunch of your guys names. Mark Lewis was called to duty at the beginning of 1991. In April, he mostly rode the bench but made the most of his opportunities. May rolled around and Mark Lewis would no longer be denied. He played 27 games. He hit .355. That's all that mattered. He was a force of nature. I put all of my hopes and dreams in the capable hands of Mark Lewis.

Then came June.

4. Luis Medina - 1989 Donruss

I have very little memory of Funky Cold Medina the player. I have very strong memories of Luis Medina the Rated Rookie. I couldn't tell you a single thing about him, but I could have described this card to you in detail even though I haven't looked at one closely in years.

Luis Medina was going to be a star. He may not be a force like Mark Lewis, but a star never the less. I know this because he was a Rated Rookie, and the greatest card ever produced also had the same honor bestowed upon it. Only a player worthy of such a great honor would be allowed admittance into the that exclusive club presided over by Jose Canseco. That is how I knew Luis Medina would be a star. In his entire career, Luis Medina hit .207 in 51 games.

I will not be too hard on myself. Nor do I blame Donruss for misleading me. It seems that everyone thought that Medina deserved to be in that club. Before the Indians drafted him in the 9th round of the 1985 draft, Medina was drafted by the Mets (twice), Yankees, Reds, As, and Astros. Inexplicably, he would never sign. I guess he was holding out for Cleveland. Who could blame him? Who wouldn't want to play in beautiful, sunny Cleveland?

5. Victor Martinez - 2007 SP Rookie Edition

Go out and buy a box of this product. Why? Because the cards are cool looking, there are a couple of nice little speed and power subsets, you'll get a few autos, and a box will only run you about $25. You really can't beat it.

Anyway, I really like this set. I can only assume that the boxes go for so cheap because I'm the only one on the face of the earth that does like it, I'm just a sucker for cheap cards. And look at that card. That is a cool fucking card.

The back tells us that Victor "came out blazing" in 2007. You know who came out blazing in 2009? Michael Phelps HEYOOOOOOO!

6. Victor Martinez - 2007 SPX

I'm pretty sure this is what they mean by die cut. I think this is a fantastic card. I don't know what the significance of the "X" is in these cards and this set.

7. Travis Hafner- 2005 Bowman

Travis continues to insist that his shoulder feels great and he has no problem now. I sure hope so. I love Hafner. Good Times in Cleveland whenever he gets going.

The back tells us what Hafner's skills are. One of them is "makes great contact, hitting the ball where it's pitched". Just once I want to hear about the player that hits the ball where it isn't pitched. You know, just to fake out the defense.

Also, apparently Hafner is "aggressive on the bases". With 7 stolen bases in 7 seasons it's sure hard to argue that point. When I think of Hafner that's the first thing that pops into my head.

8. Travis Hafner - 2007 Upper Deck Elements

See, there he is, wreaking total havoc on the base paths. I have it on good authority that before the 2007 division series, Joe Torre told the Yankees that if they lost that series, it wasn't going to be because of Hafner's baserunning, by God. They were going to shut him down when he got on base. As it turns out, they did shut down Hafner. Not a single Stolen Base by him in the series. The Tribe somehow managed to defeat the Yankees anyway. But, it took an act of God (or possibly Jame Gumb). It sure as hell wasn't because Torre ignored Hafner on the Base paths

9. Colin Charland - 1992 Skybox

Who the hell is Colin Charland? I have no idea. Never heard of him before this card. It's a wonder he never did seem to pan out. Starting in 1986 he progressed steadily from A to A to A to A, until in 1989 he was promoted to AAA. He went 5-10 with a 5.49 ERA. No trace of him in 1990. He must have been selling used cars or something. Then back to A in 1991.

He seems like the perfect kind of player to stick on a baseball card and call him a pre-rookie.

10. Reggie Jefferson - 1992 Donruss

By 1992, the mystique of the rated rookie had worn off somewhat. I never had too much riding on the success of Reginold Jirod Jefferson. The most interesting thing on this card is on the back. It says :

How Acquired: Trade from Reds 6/14/91 for 1B Tim Costo.

OK, nothing strange about that. I even remember Tim Costo. Then under the Career Highlights, the first thing it says is "wound up with the Indians in June of '91 due to a clerical error by the Reds"

What? Say that again. A clerical error? Can you believe that this isn't expounded upon or explained further? Baseball reference has nothing. I have no idea what this means. Maybe it means they meant to trade someone else but they filed the wrong paperwork. They said "Ah fuck it. Keep him. We're not doing all that paperwork over"

Reggie had some good years in the majors. His biggest accomplishment in Cleveland was being part of the deal that brought us Omar Vizquel. For that, I will always love Reggie.

OK, that's enough for now. Be back with more from Dubbs, somewhere down the line.

Thanks again Dubbs.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Where Have You Gone Mark Fidrych?

I watched a great baseball game yesterday. MLB network interrupted their on going coverage of the 2004 Home Run Derby to broadcast something that I actually wanted to watch. They are running a feature showing what they call All Time Games. Sunday afternoon's game was the June 28, 1976 match up between the Tigers and the Yankees.

Why was this an all time game? Because it features a mesmerizing performance from Mark "The Bird" Fidrych at the all too brief height of his powers. For a year, Mark Fidrych was arguably the best pitcher in baseball. I only know this because of posts like this from Cardboard Gods. Until that post, I had heard of Fidrych, but I didn't really understand what he meant. Josh Wilker called him "the All Time Single Season Leader in Joy". To tell the truth, I didn't really understand AFTER I read that post. Today, watching that game, almost 32 years after it was played, I finally get it.

The game was a 5-1 win for the Tigers on a warm Detoit monday night in late June. 50,000 fans came out to the park, about 30,000 more than average. The game featured a lot of familiar faces. Willie Randolph was a rookie. Oscar Gamble's fro-tire was about at it's peak. Mickey Rivers and Chris Chambliss were in the pinstripes.

Even A-Rod was at third base, although it was Aurelio, not Alex, and he was playing for the Tigers. I'm not sure if this A-rod had taken PEDs, but I wouldn't bet against a few greenies. Rusty Staub hit a two run homer. I found out that Rusty is one of only two players to hit HRs before they turnd 20 and after they turned 40. The other is Ty Cobb. Or maybe Ted Williams. I can't remember. It was someone good though. Maybe I should just erase that little factoid from this post all-together. Nah, close enough.

Another cool thing was the full blown 70's on display in the stands. Huge afros and facial hair were everywhere. Fans lighting up cigarettes (mostly) in the stands and holding brick sized radios up to their ears. The Umps using those huge cushions with a notch cut out for their chin (why in the world did they stop using those?).

And Fidrych. I'd never actually seen him pitch before. He was like a mad scientist. Amazing control, he didn't walk a single batter, but he somehow seemed right on the brink. He was talking to himself, talking to the ball, stomping the dirt,and demonstrating to the ball exactly what it should be doing before pitches. He was a maniac. The closest thing I can think of to compare it to was Jose Lima a few years ago, but this seemed much different. This wasn't contrived at all. This wasn't just a show for the crowd. This kid really was crazy. And wonderful. It was infectious.

After the game it was like he could hardly contain himself. He was running around and jumping all over the place, congratulating and thanking his teammates, coaches, the umpires, anyone he ran into. The stands were going crazy. He hopped into the dugout like a kid racing for the concession stand with his ticket for free candy after the game. But the fans stayed. They cheered like they had just won the World Series. The ground crew came and started to cover the field and still the fans wouldn't leave. It seemed like forever, but it was just a few minutes. Finally, 21 year old Mark Fidrych emerges from the dugout with a huge smile on his face and unbridled joy like I've never seen on a baseball field.

The cops standing on the dugout seemed to forget where they were for a second and reached down to shake the kids hand. They were jolted back to reality as the fans started piling toward the dugout and remembered what they were actually standing there for. Mark is reaching over the dugout to touch as many people as he can. For a second, it seems like the dam might break and the fans spill onto the field. It doesn't happen. Finally, after stumbling around the sideline for a few seconds with a huge smile on his face, Fidrych disappears again.

At this point I'm ready to change the channel. If you watch this game, DON'T change the channel. A few minutes later Fidrych emerges again, in his socks, to do an indescribable interview with Bob Freakin' Uecker. Just unbelievable all around. I feel lucky to have found it.

I can't help but be disappointed that there isn't anyone like Mark Fidrych anymore. But, I guess there never really was before either.

*I actually wrote this yesterday and tried to see if I could set it up to be published at 8:45 this morning. Obvious it didn't work. Oh well. I did notice that Cardboard Gods has a new post on The Bird a few hours ago. I wonder if he watched the same game yesterday as me? Crazy world. Someone aught to sell tickets. I'm heading over to Cardboard Gods right now. I recommend you do the same.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Best Card In American Heritage (so far)

I went out last night to pick up dinner. It was a very successful trip. I decided to stop at the Giant Eagle for some beer. I came home with a twelve pack of Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale, a six pack of something called Leffe, and 6 retail packs of 2009 Heritage.* I couldn't have been happier.

*It's strange that they had heritage but still no sign of 2009 Topps or Upper Deck.

After dinner my wife helped me open that cards (she's not really interested but she never argues. I really think she enjoys it) when she starts laughing hysterically. She just hands me this card of Harry Houdini.

She couldn't believe that this was the picture that Topps decided to put on the card. Not Harry upside down in a straight jacket. Not Harry chained in a tank of water. No, they went with Harry mostly naked and chained up like The Gimp. It immediately became one of my favorite cards ever.

I want to thank Dave at Fielders Choice. I realize that this may not be the EXACT set he was talking about, but hey, close enough. Who knows, I may never have even seen this ridiculous card.

The only disappointing thing is that this was the only picture of the gimp I could find anywhere. And that includes at least 3-5 minutes of exhaustive research.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

End of an Era

The Andy Marte Era has officially come to a close in Cleveland. The Indians released Marte today to make room for a 30 year old minor league reliver on the 40 man roster. Everyone who follows the Tribe could see it coming. I'd wager that nobody wrote a strongly worded letter in his defense.

Marte was the third baseman of the future. He was a top Prospect of the Braves and tore up the minors. I'll bet once upon a time Dayf was sorry to see him go. After a brief stop in Boston, he was the centerpiece of the Coco Crisp deal. That trade went like this:

To Boston:

Coco Crisp - After playing very well in Cleveland, has been a huge disappointment in Boston.

David Riske - Dave bounced around a bit and has landed in Milwaukee. He's still a middle reliever.

Josh Bard - Josh Bard couldn't catch a knuckleball and was shipped off to San Diego where he played like an all-star for half a season and fell back to earth.

To Cleveland :

Marte - Could never put it together. Played horribly every chance he got. Ran out of chances.

Guillermo Mota - I think Guillermo Mota is doing time in South America for lighting someone on fire and killing them with a machete or something. Maybe that's Urbina. I can't remember. If he's not in the slam I have no idea where he is.

PTNL Randy Newman - 24 year old reliever who just made it to AAA at the end of last season. Not considered much of a prospect.

Kelly Shoppach - Became one of the best offensive catchers in the game last year. Played so well that the Indians talked about moving Ryan Garko (and the piano he carries on his back) to the outfield to make room for both Victor Martinez and Shoppach in the lineup. I heard some fans talk about trading Martinez.

I think the clear winner of this deal is the Indians and it's only because of Shoppach. Everyone else has been a disappointment or was never too valuable to begin with. The funny thing is I'll bet Shoppach was a throw in to give the Tribe another backup catcher to replace Bard.

I guess you never know how things will turn out

If I was another team, I'd snatch up Marte in a hurry. Not because I think he's any good. I don't. He sucks. But you never know. Maybe he just needs a fresh start. What makes me nervous as a Tribe fan is I feel the same about Marte as I thought about Brandon Phillips a few years ago.

Would anyone out there Like Brandon Phillips on their team?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fun With Blasters!

Lazy sunday afternoon.

My son stopped demanding my attention for a short time this afternoon which allowed me to spend some time organizing my collection. For me this exercise is never ending (and for some reason extremely enjoyable. I think I like the organizing as much as I like opening new stuff. Yes, I'm a weirdo.).

I decided to spend a little of my time opening a Stadium Club blaster that had been staring me down for about 6 weeks. The advantage of the frequent emergency runs to target is that I can pick up some baseball cards on each trip. I've just made a promise to myself that I won't get too far ahead of myself and open cards faster than I can organize them.

I got a few blasters of the Stadium Club and opened one a while back. Usually I'd rather get a hobby box of a product like this, but at the ridiculous price of $200-225, blasters it was.

Well, it finally paid off in my first pull of an auto in ANY blaster that I can think of. I've got to tell you, it's a pretty cool feeling when you pull an auto that you aren't "guaranteed".

Here it is. Blake DeWitt in all his glory. My first retail auto. He has a nice sig too. You can almost read what it says. Most sigs now-a-days are just squiggles. Granted, it isn't a Jackie Kennedy Onassis hair card, but it will do for me.

I couldn't be happier. OK, that isn't true. I'd be happier if it was Sizemore, but I'm sure not complaining. As I said a few posts ago "What a Happy Day!"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blog Bat-Around 4: The Craigslist Idiot

For the forth Blog Bat-Around we’ve been asked by our lovely hosts, Patricia and Lucy at Dinged Corners (two of my favorite Blog People), to predict what will be valuable in 10 years. The stupidity that follows is my lame attempt.

There are a few approaches that I can take in answering this and I’ll go through them one by one.

1. The Vintage Card approach.

I can boldly throw up some scan of vintage cards and confidently predict that they will be valuable in 10 years. Then feel really good about myself for my keen insight into the hobby, the history of baseball, and life in general.

It would go something like this: “That’s right everyone, I’m here to tell you that in 2019 a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle will be extremely valuable. You heard it here first. But that’s not all. Also, the shrewd collector should consider rookie cards of players such as Nolan Ryan, Rickey Henderson, Willy Mays, and Tony Bernazard. Mark my words and stock up on these cards because (you may not realize this) they were thought of as great players and their cards will be worth a lot of money someday. No need to thank me, I just love the hobby.”

This is very tempting.

2. The Rookie Auto of Players Who Have Already Panned Out approach.

“O.K. everyone! Listen Up! If you want to have valuable cards in 10 years you should consider hanging on to those 2001 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols autos. He’s a heck of a player and his cards should be worth something eventually. Another card to keep your eye on is that 2002 Bowman Gold refractor auto of Joe Mauer. That kid shows some real upside. You heard it here first. No need to thank me, I just love the hobby.”

This would take too much research as I have no idea what an actual rookie card is anymore.

3. The Cards That Are Valuable Only To Me For Some Strange Reason approach.

“ You can keep your fancy shmancy autographed cards and cards with fancy little doodads on them. Back in my day we only had base cards. AND THAT’S THE WAY WE LIKED IT! We were just excited to get the cards of our favorite players and traded the rest or put them in our spokes. You can keep your shiny doohickeys. I’ll take my autographed 1981 donruss Joe Charboneau rookie card, or my Team USA Cory Snyder card, or even my Phoenix Firebirds Ernie Camacho over all of those new fangled pieces of junk. My cards are VALUABLE TO ME! And they’ll still be valuable in 10 years dang nabbit! No need to thank me, I just love the hobby."

This is also sometimes called the Grumpy Old Fogy approach. I’d use this but I already played that card in Blog Bat-Around #2 with my Score Eric Davis card.

4. The Super-Rare Piece Of A Historical Figure approach.

You know, like that piece of hair that Mario pulled. These always seem to have demand and go for a lot of money on EBay, and I don’t think I’d be going out on a limb to think that they will continue to be sought after in 10 years. It would go something like this:

“What will be valuable in 10 years? I’ll tell you what will be valuable in 10 years. Pieces of people, that’s what. Get your money out of Berkshire Hathaway. President Pitt and Vice President Clooney have us headed toward another recession anyway. The smart money is in Biological Used Memorabilia. Invest in things like the Richard Nixon Vas Deferens card in the Upper Deck Pieces of game used Reproductive Organ set. Or the 2013 Nancy Reagan 1/1 Slice of Areola card from Topps First Lady Thanks For The Mammaries set in Heritage. Look for the refractor! No need to thank me, I just love the hobby."

Ridiculous! You say? Maybe, but do you think if Brian Gray from Razor thought he could pull this off he would hesitate for even a second? I don’t.

I’ll skip this approach due to the graphic nature of any in depth discussion of the possibilities of cards like this.

That leaves only one other approach that I can think of.

5. The Playing It Straight approach.

This involves simply picking a few young prospects and seeing if any turn out to be the next Sizemore, Pujols, or Longoria.

Even though it goes against my nature, I’ll try to take this approach and list a few youngsters on which to stake my reputation. The main upside is I don’t have much of a reputation to stake.

Instead of just listing a few players here, I’m going to try to keep it a little more interesting and incorporate (rip off) what has quickly become my favorite blog “running feature”, the Craigslist Idiots from Bad Wax. Whenever I see it on my blog roll I get as excited as I get when I’m watching SNL and there’s a new episode of the Vinny Vedecci skit where Bill Hader interviews celebrities in Italian. It’s a feakin’ laugh riot.

In the Craigslist Idiots feature, Chemgod from Bad Wax picks ridiculous auctions and then, using only his wits as a weapon, continually beats the poor, stupid seller about the brain with common sense and logic. It really is a fantastic new feature.

So, I will make my own fake Craigslist feature as if I was selling my collection in 2019. In this ridiculous exercise I will be playing both the role of Craigslist Idiot (CI) and Chemgod (Me). If I had more time I would probably see if the mighty Chemgod himself would be willing to participate in this stupidity. Unfortunately, it’s already Thursday evening and I don’t have the time. Let’s see how my auction turns out and if I have, in fact, acquired the rookies and other cards that will be valuable in 10 years.

This is only an exhibition. Please, no wagering.

Craigslist Idiots – 2/14/19This one has to be a setup. Nobody could be this stupid and still be alive.

My Entire Baseball Card Collection - $147,000 OBO
Listing is for my entire collection of baseball cards. There are over 20,000+ cards in mint condition. I used to collect cards and this collection has been stored underneath my trailer in vacuum sealed shoeboxes for 10 years. The cards are of a plethora of brands from the years 1965-2011 with most being vintage cards from the late 1980’s. I stopped collecting in 2011 when Beckett went bankrupt.

Everything must go right now in one collection. I don’t have time to split anything up. My ex wife and her new husband (some cheese loving drunk named Dubbs) promised my son Grady the new Parks Bonifay Aqua Jet-Pak with the Kung Fu Handlebars and now they expect me to pay for half of it. Well, my bad luck just became your good fortune because now you can get the best card collection ever made available on Craigslist at a fraction of its considerable market value.

I’ve been offered well over $1 million in the past for this collection. Before Beckett went bankrupt I had all of my cards listed there and the value in 2010 was $1,267,528.63. It stands to reason that it would be worth much more now.

I can’t remember the cards but I know it includes stars, rookies, autos, and reprints of some old cards. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. If I wasn’t in this position with my ex I wouldn’t even consider selling at this ridiculously low price. I don’t know what they are worth now, but I know it’s a lot.

Serious bidders only please.

My first take: This guy is a complete moron. His Craigslist handle is “ModestlyPricedReceptacles” and his avatar is a bowling pin so you know he has no clue. He says the range goes back to 1965 but you know that it’s mostly garbage from 1988 and 1989 Topps, Fleer, and Score etc. Then he talks about how he priced them 10 years ago on Beckett. This dummy still thinks that Beckett had a clue even though they went bankrupt. HEY EINSTEIN THERE’S A REASON BECKETT WENT UNDER! So he puts all of these cards into his database and comes up with a ridiculous price. Then he expects someone to pay for this “great deal” because he’s willing to part with it for less than Beckett said it was worth. This buckethead even admits he doesn't know what they're worth. I’m not sure it’s worth my time messing with this dunce but I just can’t resist.

Watch me lowball him with what his cards are really worth and have his eyes bug out and his head explode.

The emails:
Me: Is that collection still available?

CI: Yes. You better hurry because I’ve gotten some tempting offers and my wife is breathing down my neck. When would be a good time to swing by and take a look?

Me: Well, there wasn’t really any info on what kind of cards are available. I don’t want to drive 37 hours round trip unless it’s worth my while. Could you tell me some of what you have? (The moron thinks I’m going to come over when even HE doesn’t know what he has or what it’s worth.)

CI: I haven’t really looked at what I have in a long time. I suppose if you want to be a jerk about it I could give you a list of some of the cards. Trust me, they’re totally awesome.

Me: I’m not trying to be a jerk, I just was hoping you could tell me what some of your favorites are. (I AM trying to be a jerk. This guy obviously deserves it)

CI: My favorites!? That’s like asking me to pick between my favorite American Idol Season 12 contestants! I have cards of Canseco, Bonds, A-Rod, Brett, Thomas, Puholes, Charboneau, Bernazard, Camacho…all the greats.

Me: Well, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the cards are valuable. Sure, Ernie Camacho is an all-time great player, but his cards for some reason, aren’t valuable enough to justify that price. (I’m not kidding. Ernie is great. His cards are worthless though)

CI: Who the hell do you think you are? How would you know the value? Trust me. I know what I’m talking about. I have some rookies too. When do you want to come out and see them?

Me: What rookies do you have from about 8-10 years ago. I need players and brands to get a good idea what they’re worth. I know you were hoping for offers in the $100,000 range. The best I can do without hearing the rookies is $53. What do you say? (This guy's still trying to get me to come out. Where do these people come from? Oh yeah, Cleveland.)

CI: $53 ?!?!?!?!?!?! You are obviously an idiot. These cards are worth a fortune. If you had any idea what you’re talking about then you’d agree after this list of Bowman Chrome and Razor rookie cards. I’m not sure of the players (I haven’t watched baseball since the A-Rod scandal) but I’m sure any knowledgeable collector would know that these are worth a fortune.

Brett Wallace – Cardinals – 3B
Lonnie Chisenhall – Indians – SS/3B
Carlos Guttierrez – Astros – P
Carlos Santana – Indians – C
Brian Pellegrini – Astros – DH
Lars Anderson – Red Sox – 1B
Dexter Fowler – Rockies – CF

All of these are autographed rookie cards

Me: I have to admit that is a very impressive, Santana and Chisenhall alone have guided the Tribe to multiple World Series championships. Still, that price seems high considering the junk from the 80’s is worthless. I’ll offer you $83,000 considering those incredible rookie cards. A good way to figure out how much you collection is worth is to watch this video: (Can you believe this guy’s still trying to sell to me after that offer? I am surprised by the rookie list. Those are great cards. Obviously not worth what this guy thinks)

CI: You’re an ignorant A-Hole. The post clearly says for serious bidders only. If you were just going to waste my time why did you bother me in the first place? I hope you rot in hell jerk. Your mother was a hamster, and you father smelled of elderberries.

End of Emails

My Final Take: He really threw me for a loop with that incredible list of rookie autos. Most were probably from Razor. For those that can’t remember, Razor is the company that tried making baseball cards for a few years before giving up and then making a fortune in Porn Star trading cards. They had those redemptions where instead of sending out the card, the actual porn star would come out to your house for a conjugal visit. The first one was Jennifer Love Hewitt. His collection might be worth something but not nearly as much as he thinks. The guy is beyond hopeless.

So, there you have it. I’m staking my reputation on the rookie cards and autos of those 7 youngsters. (Did you see how I cleverly slipped in my prediction in the middle of all that idiocy? Pretty sneaky huh? And, you thought I wouldn't answer the actual Blog Bat-Around Question.) We’ll see where they are in 10 years. I know where I’ll be.

I’ll be at the Burro Alley. Margaritas and enchiladas on me. Hope to see you there.

I Can See!

I got Legs!

Pitchers and catchers report today!

What a happy day!


Oh, this is too much.

That's right. Winter is officially over for baseball fans. Pitchers and catchers report today (at least for the Tribe) and practices will be starting up in a few days.

For the Indians, that means heading to Goodyear Arizona to their brand new $73 million spring facility.

Looking Good Billy Ray!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thanks Dubbs!

The new banner is awesome!

Dubbs from Cheese and Beer was kind enough to put me out of my misery and do the work for me. It's really kind of crazy. Literally 2 days ago I was asking my wife for help in creating a banner for my blog. I showed her Dubb's banner as an example and said "See this? Do you have any idea how I could do something like this?"

She did not. The only thing she is familiar with is power point. We briefly gave that a shot but it wasn't working. So I messed around on photoshop for about an hour and got nowhere. I'm completely helpless on computers.

So I get home tonight and check my email and Dubbs has sent me a banner all made up. And it's better than the one I had in my head. It's like he has my house bugged or something.


Anyway, check out his blog if you haven't already. He's one of my daily visits. You won't regret it. You have to admit, he probably has the best blog title going right now.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ebay Shenanigans

You want to know something that's strange about the Blog People? So many of them are from Wisconsin and are Brewers fans. I wonder why that is.

So, I'm on ebay trying to stock up on Brewers cards so I have something to trade with people and use in packages other than 1986-1989 Topps. Seems like a good idea to me, even if I'm still months away from actually getting a package out to someone.

I come across this auction for 475 brewers cards including inserts and stuff. I'm hoping it has a bunch of goofy stuff. It seems promising. It would definitely take care of most of my Brewer needs.

$10 is a little high for the shipping, but not ridiculously so. If I can get the thing for $12-$15 it works out to around 3 cents a card. Very reasonable. So far there is one bid and it's at $0.99.

Like usual, I keep my eye on it and bide my time. With a few hours left, there is another bid and it now stands at $1.05. (I thought you had to increase the bid by more than $0.06 at a time but I guess I was wrong.)

I have $3.50 in the bid box and I'm hitting refresh, waiting for it to get down around 30 seconds left (Yes, I'm one of those people). All of a sudden another bid comes in and it's $23.09! Are you kidding me? What the hell just happened?

The only thing I can figure is that the seller didn't want to sell it for that little and used different accounts to increase the bid at the last second. He made the second max bid around $22.80 and the third max bid at the last second to make the price jump over the $23 dollar mark. I know that this doesn't even make much sense but it's the only way I can explain it.

Unless, the second bidder bid over $20 even though the auction was only at $0.99. and the third bidder somehow knew he had to bid well over $20 even though the auction was only at $1.05. Why would someone wait until the last second and bid $25 on an auction that only stands a little over $1? Especially when the lot is CLEARLY not worth over $30. It doesn't make any sense.

So, I'm calling shenanigans, unless someone else can explain this a different way. I wouldn't be surprised if the same auction appears again.

Does this stuff happen often? Because it's a first for me.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

2009 Topps vs. Upper Deck

My daily trip to Target finally yielded some results. The results were only a gravity box thingy of $2 Topps backs but at least I could finally get some cards. I had already opened a few blasters of Upper Deck a few days ago. Now I have a way to compare the two sets.

A lot of people have busted some of the new products and given their opinions. My objective here is to finally get an answer. I’ve selected a few players in order to compare their Topps and Upper Deck cards side by side. Let’s see how they match up.

If you’ve already reviewed one of more of these products, this gives you a chance to find out if you were right. It is easy to determine if you are correct. If your opinion matches mine, then congratulations, you are correct. If you came to a conclusion different then mine, better luck next year.

Let’s see how it all shakes out.

1. Matt Antonelli – T#159 UD#402

This is allegedly a rookie card for both sets. I’m not sure that means anything anymore so we’ll ignore it. I’m not going to talk much of the overall front design. Either you are like borders or you don’t. I think they both have a good design. Both photos of Matt are decent.

The anecdotes on the back couldn’t be farther apart. UD commemorates Matt’s first HR in a sept win against the Rockies. Topps commemorates Matt getting a hit in his first major league at bat against Greg Maddux and mixes in an appropriate quote. The Topps anecdote wins in a landslide.


2. Lastings Milledge – T#152 UD#393

They both get to write the name Lastings (is that plural?) Milledge so even with that awesome name we have to call it a draw. The photo on the front is a huge win for Upper Deck. Topps probably thought they had a really nice shot of Lastings making a diving attempt. They’re right too. It just can’t come close to that great, colorful picture in front of the wall. This may end up as my favorite card in the set.

It doesn’t even matter what the back says.

WINNER: Upper Deck

3. Vladimir Guerrero – T#130 UD#178

Slight edge to Topps on the front photo. Nothing wrong with the Upper Deck photo, he just looks goofier with that big grin on Topps. I’m thinking of one of the Blog People who will probably appreciate this card.

The UD anecdote is boring and about a 2007 stat. Hey UD, it’s 2009. This is a wash with the Topps anecdote which isn’t there because there isn’t room.

WINNER: Topps by a grin

4. Jason Giambi – T#26 UD#263

Topps wins the battle of the photos with that mustache. Seriously, I just keep hearing about how great the UD photography is, yet they make a card of Giambi without the mustache. C’mon UD, the mustache is the only reason TOO make a card of this guy.
UD wins the back with a boring anecdote about Giambi hitting the 30 HR mark for the 8th time. Topps, once again, has no anecdote. So I have to give it to UD by a little. However, it’s not even close to being enough to make up for the mustache. Not by a long shot.


5. Mark Reynolds – T#324 UD#7

Mini-battle of the horizontal cards. UD wins the front battle. I don’t know why. I just like that picture better on the UD card. Maybe it’s the background, which is pretty cool, although it probably is a spring training photo, being all yellow and whatnot.

*Who else is having trouble getting over the fact that this guy’s only been around for 2 years? Doesn’t it seem like we’ve been hearing about him for 7 years? I swear this guy killed my fantasy team in 2002.

The back anecdotes are equally boring. Let’s give the edge to Topps for having SLG and OPS in the stats. Hey UD, once again, it’s 2009. Let’s get with the program. You’re killing the Royals who (I heard) use your cards as their scouting reports.

Still, I like that fence.

WINNER: Upper Deck

6. Hideki Okajima – T#112 UD#54

UD wins the front with that stupid look on his face. The Topps picture is kind of boring.

Topps wins the back with a much more interesting anecdote. Okajima is #8 on the Red Sox list with the lowest ERA for a pitcher with 130 innings. The list includes Papelbon, Ruth, Cy Young, and dudes named Rube Foster and Dutch Leonard. Not a bad little tidbit. UD on the other had throws out a stupid little stat from 2007 that would have taken all of 8 seconds to look up in baseball reference.

This one’s close. I like Hideki’s stupid look, but UD gave absolutely no effort on the back. Hmmmmmm…….I like the number 112 better than 54.


(Hey make your own damn list if you don’t like it)

7. Topps Attax vs.

Actually, the Topps thing might be fun for kids. Actually, the UD thing might be too. How the hell should I know?

Ultimately, I put both of these out in the back yard. The dog crapped closer to the Topps card.

WINNER: Upper Deck

8. Topps League Leaders #221 vs. Upper Deck Team Leaders #440

On the one hand, the UD card features all Indians. On the other hand, I’m doing this for the benefit of ALL collectors, whether white, black, male, female, young, and old or Yankee fan. Hell, even Thorzul is entitled to an unbiased competition. So, I guess I like the action shots on the Topps card slightly better.

UD wins the back with nice little blurbs on all of the players.

There is one other problem with the Topps card. Either Topps screwed up, or the leagues re-aligned without telling anyone and Cliff Lee led the NATION LEAGUE in Era last year.

WINNER: Upper Deck

9. Topps Turkey Red Cole Hamels #TR41 vs. UD Starquest Dice-K #SQ7

I really love Turkey Red. I couldn’t be happier that it’s back this year. The Starquest isn’t bad either, but if it went away for a year I wouldn’t miss it like I did Turkey Red last year. Turkey Red is better. Hands down.


10. Topps Legends of the Game Lou Gehrig vs. Yankee Stadium Idiocy Joba Chamberlain

This isn’t even really fair. To put a cool looking Lou Gehrig card against one of the most annoying things ever forced upon the card collecting world. Then again, I didn’t make Upper Deck do it. I about shit when I opened up my first pack of UD and found another one of these stupid things. Is this ever going to end?

Let’s just concentrate on the Gehrig and pretend the other one isn’t there. My only regret is that I can only count this as one win for Topps (or can I?).


11. Topps Gold Ichiro #300 vs. USA Wes Hatton #18U-WH

I’ve got nothing against a gold parallel set. No problem. It’s a nice Ichiro card. If you got all of the gold parallels you’d have a great little set there. But, who doesn’t love the USA baseball set? I mean, Wes Hatton pitched 5 innings, had 8 K’s, and even went 2-5 at the plate. That doesn’t make him better than Ichiro, it just makes this a better, more interesting card.

WINNER: Upper Deck

ULTIMATE WINNER: TOPPS 6-5 or 6-3 if you subtract 2 from Upper Deck for the YSL bullshit. Either way, Topps wins.

So, who here got it right? Did you all know that the Topps set was better? Or, did some of you mistakenly believe that the Upper Deck Set was better?

Don’t be so hard on yourself if you were wrong. It doesn’t make you stupid. Really. At least not stupid in a Carl Everett sort of way. Just not quite as smart as the rest of us. And, there’s always next year.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cards from Jeff at I Am Joe Collector

Most of you reading this are familiar with the Blog I Am Joe Collector. Anyone who is interested in sports cards should check it out. Jeff (Joe Collector himself) busts more wax than any other 5 bloggers combined. If you are interested in finding out what you might expect from a box, check out his site because there is a decent chance that he’s already opened a box.

My introduction to Jeff came early on in his blog. As usual, I made a complete ass out of myself. After THE OSU got their collective asses kicked up and down the field by USC in September, I made a brief post lamenting the outcome but also pledging my devotion to the Buckeyes. Jeff made a comment about how maybe we should stop referring to ourselves as “The” Ohio State University now. In my misery, I basically told Jeff that he could fuck off. Yeah, I know. As H.I McDonough said: “ya’ll without sin can cast the first stone” or something to that effect.

Well, when I came to my senses, I was appropriately embarrassed and sent an email to Jeff apologizing. I erased the whole exchange from the comments (an act that I completely regret now because it was pretty funny). Anyhow, my boorish behavior did not prohibit me in any way from taking advantage of Jeff’s generous offer of free cards a month ago. That’s right. Jeff busted so much wax that he had to start giving stuff away for free. Jeff is in the process of opening his own card shop in the Pacific northwest so he probably won’t be giving may more cards away. So, I got in at the right time. .

What I didn’t expect was one of those huge 800-1000 count boxes packed full of cards that I didn’t deserve but accepted anyway. It was packed with a lot of Browns and an assortment of others as well. I thought I would spend some time posting some of the stuff I got. He’s also doing some group breaks. There are spots open so head on over to join up

This first post is spent in honor of my beloved Buckeyes

1. Vernon Gholston – 2008 Topps P ( I think that stands for progression)

Vernon was a bad bad man at OSU. He set the school record for sacks in a season with 14 (A record that previously belonged to Mike Vrabel) and was the only guy who was even remotely effective against LSU in the National championship. A big, athletic guy from Detroit, I think he only played 2 years of organized football before getting to Columbus. He’s a huge, bulging, beastly man.

From everything I can gather, he was a huge disappointment in NY this year. I guess he had trouble moving from DE to OL in the 3-4. Whatever the cause, I think it’s way to early to give up on this guy.

This is the only Topps P card in the whole box. I’m pretty sure that Jeff, even though he had thousands of cards to sort through, and many boxes of cards to get out to people, snuck this card into my box because he knows I’m an OSU alum. If that’s the case, it was very much appreciated. I am, and will continue to be, a big Gholston fan.

2. Mike Doss – 2003 Topps

Mike Doss opted to return for his senior year and forgo the millions that the NFL had to offer. He ended up with a National Championship, playing safety on a team led by the unstoppable force that is Craig Krenzel. I still can’t believe that out of all the great OSU teams of the last decade, this is the one that won it all. And, against a Miami team that is one of the greatest college football has ever seen. If they play ten times, OSU wins 1 or 2. Hey, I’ll take it.

And, so will Mike Doss, who won a championship, turned pro, was selected by the Colts (one of the best teams in the league and started off a very promising NFL career. He had over 100 tackles his rookie year. 2 years later he was backing up Bob Sanders. Then he tore his ACL. Now he’s a Bengal.

Yup, things move pretty fast in the NFL.

3. Chris Carter – 2000 Topps

Cris Carter remains one of the greatest players in OSU and NFL history. When he retired, he trailed only Jerry Rice in career receptions and TDs. Following a long, time honored tradition of former OSU players, Carter spent the early part of his career snorting enough cocaine to make Carlos Baerga think “this dude needs to get his shit together”.

But I’m not here to pick on Chris. I’m here to point out that he DID get his shit together. So much so that I’ll bet both of you reading this weren’t aware of his checkered past. Now he’s a wise old NFL sage. He will probably make the Hall Of Fame next year. He started at OSU and was the first in a pretty impressive progression of productive NFL wide receivers from Columbus.

4. Eddie George – 2003 Topps

Great story. So there I am. 2001 OSU graduation ceremony. Half in the bag. OK, a little more than half. Rumor has it that this is one of the first graduations that the dental school has been able to attend in a few years. We were apparently banned from the ceremony for a short time because some students from a prior class filled some blow-up dolls with nitrous oxide in order to keep themselves amused during the festivities. I’ve never been able to confirm, nor deny the validity of this rumor. I, for one, choose to believe it.

So there I am, half wasted, who knows when the last time I slept was, standing there in line and feeling pretty good about myself in my fancy graduation robe with the doctor stripes on the sleeves. Seemed like a big deal at the time, as I had been in school for my entire life.

I look over, and not more than 10 feet from me (I’m crappin’ you negative) stands Eddie George in his own robe. There are some people talking to him, a few taking pictures, but it’s not a mob scene. People, for the most part were very respectful. I think I read (or heard) later that he was getting his degree in landscape architecture. For those who don’t know, that is NOT a creampuff degree.

I remember what struck me the most was his size. He didn’t appear any bigger than anyone else. At least not remarkably so. I had the feeling that if I went over to him he wouldn’t be much bigger than me. The difference would be that where as he looked to be chiseled out of granite, I appear to be molded from jello. Still, I’m as big as Eddie Freakin’ George!

I’d like to tell you that I went and talked to him about football and life. I’d like to tell you that we became fast friends and still text each other. I’d like to tell you that, but I chickened out. I just stood back and oogled him like Mike Golic oogles cheeseburgers. Story of my life.

5. David Boston – 2003 Topps

It’s hard to imagine what this guy could have accomplished if he could have only stayed healthy. He was a beast of a receiver for the Cardinals in ’00 and ’01. He just couldn’t stay on the field. Oh, and there was also the whole steroid thing. But who pays attention to that stuff in the NFL? We only care about that if it’s baseball.

6. Joe Montgomery – 1999 Bowman Chrome

This is my favorite card out of the whole box. Joe was a member of the 1998 Buckeyes. This is a team that, I think, was probably the best Buckeyes team of the last decade. Unfortunately, Joe spent that year backing up Michael Wiley. Wiley was a good back, but I really thought Joe was spectacular, and if given the chance, would run roughshod over the Big 10.

I may have been biased. I remember seeing Montgomery in the dental school that year. I was just standing there, trying to avoid work of any kind, and Joe Montgomery walks by. Now, Eddie George was not physically imposing. Up close he just looked like the kind of guy that would never take a solid hit. Elusive.

Joe Montgomery? That dude was THICK! That’s the best word I can think of. Thick. After seeing him, I had no idea how he was ever tackled. Seriously, in his entire career, I have no idea how anyone ever tackled Joe Montgomery. He was the single most powerful looking human being I have ever seen in my life.

The NFL, however, was not as impressed. He only lasted 3 years and saw limited time. He’ll always be a god to me.

7. Pepper Johnson – 1992 Bowman

Pepper is one of the all time great linebackers at OSU. And, OSU doesn’t lack for great linebackers. He was a great pro as well. In 1991 he broke Lawrence Taylor’s Giants sack record my recording 4.5 sacks against the Bucs. I’m pretty sure it still counted even though it was against the Bucs.

8. Terry Glenn – 2000 Topps

Glenn was a walk on receiver at Ohio State and ended up a Biletnikoff award winner. Drafted in the first round by the Patriots in 1996, coach Bill Parcells, for some reason, decided that Terry had a vagina. Well, in his rookie season, Terry took his vagina and caught 90 passes for 1132 yards. Not too shabby. I thinks he’s been out of football for the last year, but don’t worry about Terry. It’s not like the guy’s going to get arrested for walking around naked in a cheap Texas motel with Mary Jane for company. No way. This guy’s a class act. He’s A Buckeye.

9. Joey Galloway - 2003 Topps

Joey has quietly put together a great career in the NFL. He only had 13 receptions last year, but I wouldn’t count him out just yet. Joey is from Bellaire Ohio.

What I know about Bellaire is from a high school wrestling tournament. I took third. This was a VERY successful tournament for me. I always think fondly of Bellaire because of that.

10. Shawn Springs – 2000 Topps

The pro bowler from Ohio State is still doin’ it. Shawn is probably the 1st in a long line of very productive professional defensive secondary players that will be carried on this year by Malcolm Jenkins. Shawn was the 3rd Overall pick in 1997.

OK, that’s enough for now. This is way too long. Next time I’ll get into some of the Browns players I received from a man who (not too long ago) I told to go fuck himself. Crazy World.

Thank you very much Jeff.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl Porn

Apparently, some fans in Tucson got more than they bargained for during the Super Bowl. Comcast cable somehow aired 10 seconds of porn right near the end of the game. Read about it here. Sounds like some enterprising individuals hacked in to the signal or something. I have no idea how this would work.

Comcast assures us that they are looking into it and are going to provide answers. My advice...take a look at Angelina Jolie, Johnny Lee Miller, and Mathew Lillard.

OK, what does it say about me that I find this hilarious? I know, I know. What about the children? The poor poor children. How will we ever explain it to them? They're ruined for life.

I don't know, I think the children will be fine.