Sunday, November 30, 2008

2008 Donruss Threads Break

I had recently put a self imposed moratorium on opening any new baseball cards until I got my current collection organized and cataloged. I still was buying stuff to open, I just wasn’t opening any of it. Well, I’m glad to say that I now have everything organized and am free to bust all the wax my little old heart (pending the approval of my wife and wallet) desires.

Two of the boxes that I had been waiting to open were 2008 Donruss Threads. I was in on the Group Break on SCU and was inspired to get a few boxes of my own. Those of you who saw that break or, God forbid, were involved probably think I’m out of my mind. Well, I can’t argue with that. That break was brutal. Messed up cards. Doubles. Shorted hits. There was absolutely nothing redeeming about those boxes at all.

But I did like the looks of the cards. Also, I figured that there must be bizarro boxes out there that are the opposite of what we got. Mainly I wanted to see if I could add to the amount of Johnny Pesky cards I got from that break, which was 4. I’m crappin’ you negative. I got 4 Johnny Pesky base cards in that 2 box SCU break. My motto (one of then anyway) is “You can never have enough 2008 Donruss Threads Johnny Pesky Base cards.” I’ve lived it for my entire life and it has served me well.

This is box 1. Let’s see how I did. There are 4 hits in each box (on average)

SUCCESS!!!! Johnny Freakin’ Pesky. Man, It’s like those guys over at Donruss are packing boxes just for me. That’s number 5 and counting.

Harmon Killebrew – I wanted to include a few scans of some base cards before I got to the auto’s and the inserts. I figured we could do a lot worse than the Fat Kid, am I right?

Nick Weglarz – I wanted to get someone from the Tribe in there. How a kid who hasn’t managed to rise above Single A ball in 4 years gets a card in this set is beyond me.

Kirk Gibson – College Greats. Did you know that Gibson went to Michigan State? I didn’t. Says here that he was an All-American in football too. How the hell didn’t I know this?

Mike Schmidt 11/50 – This is some sort of refractor or something. It’s definitely shinier than the regular base cards. And, it’s numbered to 50, so it’s got that going for it. Which is nice.

Juan Silverio – 188/250 – This is a green refractor, or something. They probably call it emerald to try to make it sound more special. I have no idea who this guy is.

Jess Todd – Diamond Kings 071/250 – This is a pretty sweet Diamond Kings 1/1. Don’t think it’s a 1/1? Check the rules smart ass.

Man, Jess sure is throwing the hell out of that thing, isn’t he?

Hit #1

Omar Poveda Auto 628/999 – The card I’ve been waiting my whole life for. And to think I was worried about how to pay for Grady’s college! Problem solved.

Hit #2

Jack Egbert Auto 001/999 – OK, this time it’s for real. An actual 1/1. Seriously, check the rules. I didn’t make ‘em. (too many times with the same joke?) I’m glad I got this auto. I just get a good feeling about this kid, like he might be the next Scott Elarton or something. Besides, how do you not like a dude named Egbert?

Hit #3

Ryan Patterson Auto 518.750 – Why is this one numbered to 750 instead of 999 you ask? Good question.

I don’t know

Lets take a break before we reveal the last hit to pay homage to Hammerin’ Hank.
Hank Aaron Baseball Americana 395/500 – Cool card. I’d still rather have one of his regular cards from when he was playing but I’ll take it. This is the first time I’ve ever pulled an Aaron card from a pack. I’ve got to say, it was a pretty sweet feeling.

OK back to the hits: Hit #4

Madison Bumgarner Diamond Kings Jersey 112/125 – I think this is probably supposed to be the best hit. I like the patch and it’s numbered pretty low. When I pulled it I tried to think of how I remembered this kid. Then it hit me. That’s the dude who’s dad tried to reach through the computer and slap Mario. That was pretty funny. I am happy to see that Mario hasn’t shamed Madison into changing his pitching motion.

The Coop Da Grass! HIT #5 Holy Schnikees!

Don Mattingly Jersey 042/150

How about that Kids? After 3 “hits” of players I’ve never heard of and 1 “hit “ of a player I only know because his dad is a little to touchy, I get and extra hit, AND IT”S DON FREAKIN’ MATTINGLY! Coolest Mattingly card I’ve ever pulled from a pack.

Box stats

Base cards: 99/100

Doubles: 10

Autos: 3

Jerseys: 2

Numbered: 9

College Greats: 2 (Gibson, Larkin)

Century Legends: 1 (Duke Snider)

Century Stars: 1 (Carlton)

Diamond Kings: 3 (Drew Stubbs, Todd, Bumgarner)

No other inserts or parallels pulled

Final Thoughts:

Not too bad I guess. I had fun opening them. And I got the whole base set. The only one missing out of this box was Cartlon Fisk and I already had that from the SCU break. I don’t know what the hell to do with my other box now. It really isn’t worth opening for the hits and I already have the base set.

I should show some initiation and sell it or something, but I’m way too lazy. I’ll end up busting it eventually. Hey, I can think of a lot worse ways to spend a few hours on a weekend.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Blogger Hates the Nennth Inning

Let me be perfectly clear, it's blogger that hates The Nennth Inning, not me. I like it quite a lot. That's the reason I've been trying to add it to my blog list for the last month. I'm usually at work when I try. It never works. And then I forget about it.

Well, I tried again just now and the same dang thing happened again. I'm too dumb to be able to figure it out myself so I'm enlisting you, my faithful readers (both of you) to help me out, if I am, in fact, helpoutable.

So here's what happens. I go to this page and hit "add to list", just like I've done with every other blog.
This screen pops up and I paste the Nennth Inning's URL into the space. I click "ADD"

Then, after some flickering I get this screen. Usually you can just see the new site listed. For some reason it doesn't work with The Nennth Inning.

Blogger adds the"rename remove" thingy over to the left and skewed. Always in the same place.

After that it doesn't matter what I click on. It just won't add it.
Has anyone else run in to this? Is there any way to fix it? It's a strange problem no?
I just don't want people to think that I'm the only one who can't seem to figure out what a great blog this is. Plus there's a lot of pictures of good looking girls there.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cards from Connor

These cards are part of a thank you package from Connor at Treasure Never Buried for his birthday gift. I sent him a smorgasbord (don’t you just love that word?) of packs of cards and he sent me these awesome cards in return. It looked like he had a great birthday. I know I really am enjoying my cards. Here’s what I got:

First is this hand signed, personalized note. Judging by all of the Indians stickers and all of the shininess, Connor really knows what I like!
4 Allen and Ginter Mini cards.
Travis Hafner 2007
Fausto Carmona 2008
Masahide Kobayashi 2008 Mini and Mini Black

I love the Allen and Ginter cards. I’ve been contemplating putting together a set of the. Getting these cards may make that decision a little easier for me. Maybe I’ll try a set of all Black Parallels. I think that would be pretty cool

Paul Sorrento 1993 Leaf
I like these Leaf cards. The backs feature the player over some sort of majestic landscape. Paul is superimposed over the majestic city of Cleveland and it’s Terminal Tower. Of course I didn’t scan the back. That would have involved forethought and planning.

Hafner 2008 A+G State of North Dakota
Apparently the Allen and Ginter set included all of the states and players from that state. It’s a pretty cool idea. I wonder who made the cut from Ohio? I think Hafner is a great choice to represent North Dakota. I know I’d be proud to have him. Then again, when it comes to North Dakota, the pickin’s are probably pretty slim.

Julian Tavarez 1994 Pinnacle
One thing I’ve noticed about Pinnacle and this set in particular is the photography is great. That’s usually a good thing. I’m not sure it is with Julian. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great action shot. It’s just that Julian has…how can I put this…an unfortunate countenance.

I’m not much for research. If I don’t know something, I usually just make it up. I try to let you know when I’m doing this. Unfortunately, this leads me to write things that are less than accurate. For example, it wasn’t too long ago that I referred to Brad Komminsk (on this very blog) as a “decent player”. Oh well, Reggie Jackson don’t hit a home run every time, right?

I bring this up because I’d like to find out if Tavarez ever faced off against Otis Nixon. I have no idea if this ever happened, but my contention is, if it did there was probably some sort of eclipse or earthquake that day. The amount of ugly involved in that matchup would be nothing short of biblical. Since I don’t know where to go to find out if this happened, I’m just going to assume that it did. So, basically:

Remember when Julian Tavarez faced Otis Nixon? The ground shook and they sky turned to black. Yes, God was angry that day, my friends.

Travis Hafner – 2008 Star Quest
2008 Upper Deck
2006 Upper Deck Future Stars

I love Hafner. What I don’t understand here, is how he ends up in a Future Stars set in 2006, his fifth year in the league. In 2005, before this card was printed, he ended up fifth in the MVP voting. Future Star? I guess. Hafner had another great season in 2006 and he’s been on the decline ever since. I think 2009 is his comeback year.

Grady Sizemore – 2007 Ultra
2007 Topps Updates and Highlights
2006 Upper Deck Future Stars

I think you all know how I feel about Sizemore. The Ultra is awesome. I never saw an Ultra set I didn’t like

Another Future Stars. These cards are great too look at. They are shiny and thick. I have no evidence that they have ever caused a seizure, then again I have no evidence to the contrary, so once again, I’m going to assume that they have. Don’t worry, as long as you don’t stare at them too long you’re in no immediate danger.

I also like the fact that Sizemore became a Future Star a year after getting 185 hits, 22HR, 22SB and appearing in 158 games. Look for Evan Longoria, Ryan Braun, and Albert Pujols in the 2009 Future Stars set. Actually, this set has an awesome checklist and I may add it to the sets that I’d like to put together. At the very least I think I’ll keep my eyes open for a box to break!

Daffy Duck – 1990 Upper Deck

I’m not sure if this is part of the regular set or if it is some separate Looney Tunes set. How Daffy became a Mariner, I’m not sure. There is nothing on Baseball Reference about that transaction. The card is great and I’d like to see more of what’s out there. I love all of the Looney Tunes characters. I’m glad to see JV bringing the love for these characters to a new generation.

Masa Kobayashi – 2008 Topps Chrome Auto

This is AWESOME! I love any auto, especially one of my Indians. And this happens to be in my favorite set from last year. Kobayashi had 2 seasons. The first half of the year he was great, even doing some closing. The 2nd half he wasn’t as good. I think he just started to wear down. Next year, Wedge will know how to handle him better and I think he’s going to be one of the better guys in our bullpen.

Thank you again Connor for the great Indians cards. I hope you had a great Birthday, are having a great Thanksgiving, and will have a great Christmas!

Now, go get that turkey!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tribecard Cards: Part 3

Here is the third and final installment of my review of the cards that David at Indians Baseball Cards sent me. Many thanks again.

22. Andy Marte – 2007 Topps

Cleveland somehow convinced itself that Marte was going to be the answer at 3rd base. Marte had other ideas. He has pretty much been bashing us over the head with ineptitude for the last 2 seasons. I’m fairly sure we’ve seen the last of Marte in a Cleveland uniform. It’s time for him to move on to another team for no compensation and turn into David Wright.

Thinking back on it, I have no earthly idea what made us think that he was supposed to be good to begin with. I mean, we traded Coco Crisp for him. No disrespect to Coco. He’s a fine player. But he isn’t exactly the kind of guy you give up the farm for, is he? So why did we think that we were getting the next Mike Schmidt? Oh well, at least we got Kelly Shoppach out of that deal.

23. Manny Ramirez – 2001 Topps HD

I can’t remember seeing one of these HD cards before. I don’t think I knew they existed. They’re exactly what you think they would be. The photo is so clear it looks like it’s in HD. It’s a really cool card. I don’t know if they stopped making them, and if they did, I’m not sure why.

24. Mike Hargrove – 1986 Topps

Ahh…1986 Topps. The first set I really got into. Looking at the cards, I’m not sure why that was the year. The cards are far from impressive. I think I was just at the right age in 1986 for some reason. A lot of my friends started at the same time, so that helped as well.

And there he is. The human rain delay. I don’t recall ever hearing that nickname until much later, after Hargrove was retired and managing the Tribe, nor do I remember watching him and thinking he took a particularly long time either. What I do remember is thinking that Hargrove was an alltime great, HOF type of player. In Cleveland, I think, we tended to heap giant piles of praise on mediocrity. This makes sense. In Cleveland, for the longest time, mediocre meant you were standing on top of the heap.

By all accounts Hargrove was a good player. He must have been doing something right to have such a long career. I just wonder what we would think of a first baseman who averaged about 7 HR and 57 RBIs (as of the printing of this card) in todays game.

25. C.C. Sabathia – 2002 Bowman Chrome

My god that’s a shiny card! If I ever decide to go mountain climbing in a blizzard, I’m taking this card with me. If I get lost, and fall over an edge, or get my arm pinned I can use it’s reflective surface to signal for help. If that fails, I may be able to use it’s sharp edge to saw through the trapped limb like that guy did a few years back. If I don’t have the stomach to saw off my limb, I can eat the card and use it’s nourishment to buy myself another few hours or a day. I suspect that if you had to pick a player to eat to stay alive in the wild, C.C. would be on the short list. Mostly I’d want the card for uses that I haven’t even thought of yet. There seems to be an unlimited amount of things you can use a Sabathia Chrome card for.

26. Pat Corrales – 1985 Topps

I guess it would be hard to come up with some kind of managerial accomplishment to put on the back of Corrales’ card. So Topps came up with this gem: “Pat had the distinction of managing both Phillies and Indians in 1983” I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a compliment. Somehow I think getting fired from one job and hired by the Indians is not something you highlight on the old resume. I can’t say too much, though, it’s 2 more teams than I’ve ever managed.

The back of the card is a checklist for that years Indians. I’ve always considered myself somewhat intelligent. I always got good grades and did well in school. At least I don’t think I’m a dummy (all evidence to the contrary). But, when I look at that roster, and think that I somehow convinced myself that it was a team that had a chance to win it all…well…doubt does creep in.

27. Grady Sizemore and Aaron Boone – 2006 Topps

This is the famous Cleveland Rocks card. OK, maybe not famous. I didn’t know it existed until I got it. Why did they pick Sizemore and Boone to represent Cleveland and it’s rockitude? I guess you’d have to ask Topps. My guess is because of Boone’s masterful .677 OPS in 2005. Has there ever been a player, more than Boone, who made his entire career with one post season HR? Oh yeah, Joe Carter.

And, by the way Boone, tuck in your shirt. You look like a schmuck.

28. Albert Belle – 1994 Sportflics

I’m not sure any cards make me happier than sportflics. I just love these things. When I think about Belle one of the first stories that pops into my head is the Halloween story. The story goes that some punks were egging his house on Halloween. Instead of calling the cops, or just yelling at the kids from the stoop and getting out the hose like any normal human being, Albert got in his car and chased them down. I’m pretty sure he even hit one of the kids, although I don’t think anyone was seriously injured. The crazy thing is that nobody was surprised in the least that this had happened. It got the same sort of reception as when Clay Aiken came out of the closet a few weeks ago (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Can anyone really say they weren’t expecting it?

Albert Belle almost rose to the level of Mike Tyson. Nothing shocked you. It was like: “Albert Belle chased down some kids with his car on Halloween? Huh…yeah, that makes sense. I can see that.” There’s a million stories about that guy, but I’ll save some of those for later. This one was always one of my favorites.

29. John O’Donoghue – 1966 Topps

I’ve never heard of this guy. He played for Cleveland for a few years starting in 1966. In 1965 he was named to the AL All Star team. In 1965 John O’Donoghue went 9-18 striking out 82 and walking 66 in 178 innings of work. I’m way too lazy to look it up but these may be the worst numbers ever for an all star. My theory involves Bowie Kuhn, a prostitute, and photographs.

30. Travis Hafner and Jason Michaels – 2007 Topps Classic Combo

When I think of classic combos on the Indians I think of Hafner and Michaels, don’t you? Seriously, who the heck thinks of these things? My guess is it’s someone like Brendan Frasier’s character in Blast From The Past. Oh well. There you have it. The Tribe’s “Classic Combo 2007”. Michaels and Hafner. There’s no explanation of the back to justify this. Probably because there’s no explanation.

Unfortunately for baseball fans everywhere, the Indians broke up the vaunted combo in june 2008 when they traded Michaels to “every team everywhere” in exchange for “not having him on our team”. Michael’s numbers in Pittsburgh suggest that the Tribe got the better of that deal.

Coming in 2009 Topps: Classic Combo Jason Michaels and Freddie Sanchez.

31. Kenny Lofton – 1993 Triple Play

The first thing I want to point out about this card is the nice action shot on the front. Nice job Leaf. Let’s see what it says on the back: “Many players have become quite adept at sliding head first into a base instead of the traditional feet-first slide, believing it gives them an extra second or two.”

While the data is (as far as I know) inconclusive, I was always taught, until recently, that sliding head first saves you no time at all. But that is neither here nor there. No, the issue I have with this is the “gives them an extra second or two.” Really? An extra second or two? C’mon Leaf. That’s just stupid. Sliding head first may save a small fraction of a second at best, and certainly not two. If that was the case ALL runners would ALWAYS slide head first and NONE would ever be thrown out. If you’re not even going to try to be reasonable with this stuff, you might as well leave the back blank. At the very least you could have airbrushed Paul Sorrento into the background and called it another Classic Combo.

32. Victor Martinez – 2008 Upper Deck Spectrum

What a fun card to look at. It looks like he’s playing in a Tron game. All you kids out there who haven’t heard of Tron…you don’t know what you're missing. Speaking of Tron, I could never decide if that movie was good or not. I think the fact that I continue to think about it is a strong argument that I think it’s good. I’m just going to throw this out there, even though I’m usually against this sort of thing…how about maybe a remake of Tron? As long as Ashton Kutcher isnt’ involved, I think it would have a good chance of being decent. I think most people out there haven’t seen it so a remake wouldn’t be blasphemous.

The Karate Kid, on the other hand…well, those people should be ashamed of themselves. What a freakin’ disaster. Wait, how the heck did I start talking about this? Let’s just move on.

33. Addie Joss 2003-7 Helmar

This is some sort of miniature card made by Helmar Brewing. The redemption of this card is good toward $5 worth of goods, which I assume means beer. Anyway, it’s a pretty nice looking thick card. I have no idea where David may have run across it. It features one of the alltime greats.

Addie Joss played from 1902-1910. His career ERA was 1.89. Not too shabby. He also won 160 games in 9 seasons. Then, at the age of 31, he was gone.

I think that’s about all I can say about David’s cards. This is already ridiculously long. I just start talking about things and I can’t seem to shut up about them, whether anyone is listening or not. Usually not.

I’ll just say, thank you again. And, to all of the people that have sent me cards lately and also many who have not, I’m working on packages for all of you. The plan is to get them all out before Christmas, so make sure you're watching your mailboxes closely in April.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What Makes a Collector?

“What makes a collector, Mr. Lebowski? Is it being willing to get the right cards, no matter what the cost?”

“Yeah, that and a big shoebox”

Gellman, over at SCU (If you have found this blog, I’m sure you know that blog) is asking for fellow card bloggers to contribute their stories about what they collect and why they collect it. I figured I’d write mine down and send it on over. Here it is.

I was always a baseball fan. I loved playing it, and I loved watching it. My dad was the coach of the high school varsity team. I remember as I kid I would go to practices and just hang out with the guys. They treated me like I was cool because of my dad, but I didn’t know that. I figured I WAS cool. That was so long ago I forget what it feels like. To be cool.

I was pretty much strictly a Tribe fan and we would go to a few games every year. Somehow I would be convinced that Cleveland would be good. I don’t feel so bad about that because they fooled Sports Illustrated too. In 1986 is when I really started collecting.

To be honest I really don’t remember what got me started. Was it my friends who got me into it or vice versa? I guess it doesn’t really matter all that much. In 1986 I became a card collector. I know this because a have a whole boatload of those Topps cards with the black top. They are staggering in their creativity.

1986 is also significant in that it is the year Canseco hit the scene. Then he was joined by Mark McGwire. You had the Bash brothers and those awesome A’s teams of the late 80’s. It was the first time I paid any attention to a team other than the Indians. I always rationalized it by saying that I liked them because Tony Bernazard was my favorite player on Cleveland and now he was an A, but that was bull. I liked them because of Canseco and McGwire. And I liked Canseco and McGwire because their cards were worth a lot.

That’s right. When I started out as a kid, I was one of Gellman’s Second world Collectors. I would bust wax just to get the ‘hits’ and the ‘hits’ were whatever Beckett told me they were. I had no interest in anything else. I don’t remember if I got excited to get Indians or not, to tell you the truth. I never completed a set. I don’t remember ever WANTING to complete a set. I had no interest in a card unless it was worth money. I look back on it and it makes me sad.

Well, I collected for a few years and then I stopped around 1990, judging by my collection. Great. 1986-1990. The best years for collecting. Can anyone tell me where I can get some 1989 Topps?

I guess I stopped because I got to high school. I was a lot busier and lost interest. I suspect it’s because it didn’t make you any more popular with the girls so what was the point? If only someone would have told that girls are also not impressed my card tricks, or with the fact that I can do a Rubik's Cube in under a minute, college may have been a much more interesting time. (Why aren’t girls impressed by card tricks?)

Well, I must have picked up the occasional pack from time to time because my collection had a smattering of cards, but I don’t have any recollection of where they came from. I went to college. I went to dental school. I got married. I moved a few times. Yada, yada, yada…

And then something interesting happened. My dad basically said: “Mike, come on over and get all of your old crap out of my basement. And take you brother’s crap too.” So I did. Along with all of my boxes of forgotten baseball cards. What happened next? Well, I did what any other 33 year old husband with a pregnant wife would do. I decided that they needed to immediately be sort, sorted again, re-organized and re-sorted. Then they needed to be documented and put into a list that could be easily referred to. There was nothing more important than to finally accomplish this task. Complete and total baseball card collection organization, at last.

So, I did what anyone in my shoes would do. I ran out and bought a Beckett. I was very surprised to find out that my entire collection took up about 2 pages in a phone book sized Beckett. And, where the hell did all of the arrows go? What is all of this stuff? Why does 2005 take up 45 pages? Who the hell is Colby Ramus and why the hell would someone pay $100 for his Topps Chrome Update Black Refractor? What the hell is Chrome? What the hell is a refractor? Why is my set of 1988 Donruss worth less than my parents paid for it 20 years ago?

So, I found the blogs trying to find out what a refractor is. Seriously. I put refractor into google and a while later I was on Ben Henry’s blog. I thought about sending him an email asking him what a refractor is (I’m still not 100% sure, I think it’s just a shiny card). I linked to SCU and got a real kick out of Gellman. I decided that I would make my own blog, basically to try to answer some questions. I figured that if I just write a question, about 100 people will answer it immediately. That’s how the interwebs work, right? It has since morphed into the monstrosity you see before you. It’s a blog that offers no new information, no real insight, no competent product review, no unusual or interesting cards because I don’t have any yet. I’m not really interested in that stuff anyway. There are a lot of other bloggers that can do that WAY better than I can. I’m really just interested in cracking myself up, along with the few friends and family that have stumbled across this ridiculous thing. The only thing I can offer is that hopefully, anyone who reads this blog will chuckle a few times, even if it’s at me instead of with me.

So, what do I collect now? I’m not entirely sure. I’m a set collector because I want to put together sets. I think it would be fun and I’ve never done it before, but I don’t know if the sets I put together need to include all of the autos. Is there a ruling on this? I’m a high end collector because I love all or the autos and jerseys and low numbered cards. I get a real thrill when I get my hands on something rare, but I still love the base cards and am not wiling to give those up. I’m a team collector because I love the Indians and I always want more of their cards, but I don’t want to completely ignore the other teams either. I’m a player collector because I love sizemore, and Hafner, and Camacho, and Snyder, but I don’t want to pass up other cool cards just because they aren’t on the short list of players that I want.

Basically, I’m waiting for it to become narrowed down naturally, without having to make a conscious decision to eliminate a part of collecting. I think right now, Blogging is really one thing that’s keeping me interested, even if my posts have been erratic as of late. It forces me to look closer at my cards, and think about them in a way I never did before.

Thinking about it, I probably did the whole thing in reverse. When I was a kid I should have been all about busting wax and putting together sets and loving the cards for the cards. It would make more sense to care about what they are worth now that I have means. It would make more sense if I chased the expensive high end cards to display. Maybe eventually I will. But, as of right now, give me my base cards and my Shin Soo Choo with his ear flaps.

I know this is long and rambling (I can’t seem to help it). I hope this comes close to answering Gellman’s question. Usually I’d read through it a few times and try to edit it a little, but I’m plowing through it with very little time. So forgive my meanders and tangents.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tribecards Cards: Part 2

Here it is, the much anticipated 2nd part to the critically acclaimed review of the free cards David and Indians Baseball Cards sent me.

8. Julio Franco – 1997 Topps

I just love this card. Look at that swing. Julio definitely did not get cheated on that one. In reality it’s probably a pop up. In my head, that sucker’s still flying.

9. Jim Thome – 1992 Topps

This card says Jim was signed by scout Tom Couston. I’ll bet Tom Couston got a big fat raise.

10. Steve Olin – 1993 Triple Play

It’s a damn shame what happened to Steve Olin and Tim Crews. For those who don’t know. They died during spring training when their fishing boat hit a dock in the dark. Bob Ojeda survived. I have the jersey from that year with a patch honoring Olin and Crews on the side. I love that jersey.

11. Phil Niekro – 1987 Donruss

Look at how old Phil Niekro is. He’s like Adam Sandler’s ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend in Big Daddy. One thing I like about this card is that you really get a good look at Phil’s knuckleball grip. Most of the time I hear that knuckleballers grip it with 3 fingers, instead of the 2 you see here. I Like that Niekro grips it with 2 fingers. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked. It’s because that’s how I grip MY knuckleball. And, my knuckleball is absolutely hellacious. I’m not kidding. Tim Wakefield should give me a call.

12. Carlos Baerga – 1994 Donruss

Baerga was a big part of the Great Indians Revival of the mid 90s. Acquired in the Joe Carter for Sandy Alomar Jr trade, Baerga went on to hit the absolute holy hell out of the ball for 6-7 years. He was traded right before he hit the wall (for Jeff Kent who the Indians, of course, didn’t keep. No, we like Jose Viscaino.) Why did he hit the wall? Some say it was the coke. Others say it was the coke. We’ll probably never know who was right.

13. Cory Snyder – 1991 Topps

My love for Cory Snyder is no secret. Look at that dude. Look at that beautiful blond hair. It’s a shame he ever had to wear a hat. There is one thing on this card that may make me re-evaluate my entire perception of Cory as a blonde, California, surfer boy who happened to have a cannon for an arm and, on the rare occasions that he did hit the ball, could hit it to Mars. If you take a look at his teeth (I’m not sure how well it will show up. His front teeth are a little uneven. His very front left 2 teeth are a little higher than the others. This can be seen sometimes in pipe smokers where they are constantly biting on the end of the pipe. Could it really be? Cory Snyder, pipe smoking surfer? I’m not sure what I think about that possibility.

14. Fred Kendall – 1978 Topps

Fred Kendall came from the Padres to the Tribe in 1977 along with Johnny Grubb and Hector Torrez in exchange for George Hendrick. It’s hard to say, in hindsight, who the cornerstone of that blockbuster was. It probably wasn’t Fred. After 8 years with the Padres and a career avg in the neighborhood of .237, the Tribe decided that Fred Kendall was their man to don the tools of ignorance. And why not? As his card says, Fred caught 146 games for the Padres the year prior, more than any other backstop. Heck, he even launched two whole home runs. Sounds like the Indians of the late 70s type of player.

15. Jim Perry – 1975 Topps

I don’t have much to say about Jim Perry. I just wanted to make sure I got a 1975 Topps card in there. What a set.

So, I’ll just share this incredible idea I had the other day. I’m not sure where it came from, but there it was. And, here it is:

I want to open up a pizza joint and call it Pizza Champs. OK? Stay with me here. Now, the commercial would be a bunch of people holding hands, Hands Across America style. And then there’s this dude dressed up like a slice of pizza, and maybe another like a pepperoni roll or a stromboli or something. These guys are front and center. OK? Got it? Alright. Now everyone is just swaying and singing: “All we are saaaayyying. Is git Pizza Chaaaaamps. All we are saaaaayyyying. Is git Pizza Chaaaaamps.” Over and over like that John Lennon song. Man, it has the potential to really get in your head. I’d even bet it’s already scrolling through some of your heads. AND, YOU HAVEN’T EVEN HEARD IT YET! You’re just imagining it. It’s that vivid.

Sometimes I’m so smart I scare myself. That would be a goldmine.

16. Danny Peoples – 1997 Bowman

Man, what the hell happened to this guy? I remember when they drafted him, he was almost some kind of can’t miss. I forgot all about him. Looks like he spent 6 seasons in the Tribe’s minor league system, made it as far as AAA, and that was that.

Think about how hard it is to make the majors. I’ll bet Danny Peoples is the best ballplayer in the history of his high school. There are people who are absolutely astounded that he didn’t make it. Danny Peoples probably played baseball better than I’ve ever done ANYTHING in my entire life. And, he couldn’t make it. And there are thousands just like Danny Peoples. That’s how hard it is to just make it to the majors for a cup of coffee. Think about that the next time to tell someone that a player “sucks”.

17. Kenny Lofton – 2008 Topps

Look how red it is. Great looking card. Why Kenny Lofton didn’t play ball this year I’ll never know. I just can’t believe there wasn’t a team that could use him. There will always be a special place in my heart for Lofton.

I hope I can eventually separate Lofton’s memory from Joel Skinner holding him up at 3rd base last year during the ALCS. Nobody will ever convince me that we wouldn’t have won if Skinner had just sent him. WHY DIDN’T YOU SEND HIM?!

18. Grady Sizemore – 2008 Upper Deck Starquest

Another really shiny and fun to look at card, regardless of the fact that he probably just fouled out to the third baseman. Let’s see what the back says.

“…the outfielder was just one of six players in the American League to accumulate 20 dingers and 20 stolen bases” You know who else accumulated 20 dingers? Jeffrey Dahmer. In his fridge. At least I think he probably did. I doubt he ever made it to 20 stolen bases though, so Grady’s still got that on him.

19. Shawon Dunston – 1998 Topps

I don’t have any idea what just happened to Shawon, but he sure looks happy about it. I’m not familiar with 98 Topps so I don’t know if they all have this gold border or if this is some kind of gold parallel. I guess it wouldn't be too hard to find out, but I’ll do that later. If this is a gold parallel, it will immediately go into a penny sleeve and a fireproof box as part of Grady’s college fund. I’m sure it’s worth $10-$15. I’ll have to check with Beckett. (For those who aren’t sure, I’m definitely kidding)

20. Ryan Morris- 2008 Bowman Chrome

I don’t know much about this Kid. He’s been with the Tribe since 2006 but has yet to make it past A ball. This last year and a half has been with the Lake County Captains, who coincidentally play about 5 minutes from where I grew up. Of course they didn’t exist when I was there, but hey…no big deal. So far he’s put up descent but not outstanding numbers. The scouting report on the back of the card states that he “shows excellent competitive nature on the mound.” I’m not sure exactly what that means. I think it might mean he’ll put it in your ear if you piss him off. At least I hope that’s what it means. I’ll be rooting for Ryan.

21. Cliff Lee – 2007 Topps

How awesome was Cliff Lee this year? What a great season. This card talks about how Cliff and Johan Santana are the only 2 pitchers with 32 starts and 14 wins each season since 2004. Mark Shapiro assures us that Cliff is so durable because he takes care of his body. Not long after this card was released, Cliff pulled a quad, started off terrible, was sent to the minors, relegated to the bullpen, and left off the postseason roster. I’m not sure if this card had anything to do with it.

I like this card because of the high leg kick. It’s just a great action shot. And, because his full name is, apparently, Clipson Phiter Lee. That’s a hell of a name.
I'll be back for another installment of this hilarious series soon (infant son willing). I'm hoping to also get up a post for Gellman's project, but I don't know if I can make the deadline. I think I have enough for one more before the weekend.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tribecards Cards: Part 1

A while back David over at Tribecards sent me a package. It was for the scratch off contest and a trivia question I answered correctly. What I didn’t expect was around 100 baseball cards of various Indians players. Well I’m finally getting around to putting a thank you up on the old blog here. In my defense I have been fairly busy with the new kid and all, and I didn’t want to just post a few thoughts in a few minutes and call it a day. The cards deserve better than that. I tried to narrow it down to about 8 – 10 of my favorites, but there are just too many and I couldn’t. So, basically, I’m going to post these up there in about 3 installments.

What follows is just some of my usual, long winded ramblings on things, often not having very much to do with the cards at all. What can I say. I’m very strange, as it turns out, and I’ve decided I’m getting too old and tired to fight it. If a lot of this doesn’t make any sense to you, don’t worry, it doesn’t make much sense to me either.

So here they are. My hard earned cards from Tribecards. They are spectacular. I apologize in advance for my inevitable failed attempt to do them justice.

1. Jim Thome – 2008 Topps Moments and Milestones 125/150

This card commemorates Thome entering the 500 HR club. I’m not sure what 22 on the front means. I guess maybe it means that he is 22nd on the HR list, or possibly this card shows him getting his 22nd homer. That would explain why he is in a Tribe uniform on the front. Anyway, it’s a sweet card. 125/150. I still get excited about any numbered card. And, since it’s the ONLY 125/150 it can safely (according to the Ebay rules, unless I’m misinterpreting them) be considered a 1/1. Kick ass.

2. David Kelton – 2004 Bowman Futures Game Gear

This is the card that I got for answering a trivia question during the contest. In an incredible display of brainpower seldom seen outside the oval office, I was able to name the Indians players with 3000 hits. I would, at this time, like to clarify that I did this WITHOUT looking it up on baseball reference. I think it’s important that you know these things. David Kelton, as far as I can tell is out of baseball after amassing an incredible OPS+ of -8. I’m not exactly sure, but I’m going to say that this means I have had a more successful big league career than David Kelton as my career OPS+ is 0. David did have 3 more hits than me though.

3. Masato Yoshii – 201 Pacific Authentic Game Worn Jersey

I’ll start by saying that I can’t remember seeing a Pacific card that I didn’t like. This is a really great looking card. Yoshii broke into the league with the Mets in 1998 at the age of 33. He pitched for 5 years, even winning 12 games in 1999. He pocketed over $6 mil. Not too shabby for a guy I’d never heard of.

4. Travis Hafner – 2007 Topps Finest

I love Finest. They’re so damn shiney. Probably more than any other player, I’m pulling for Hafner next year to regain some of his old magic. It hasn’t been too long since he would go on these incredible streaks for a week or two where every time he stepped to the plate you expected him to absolutely murder the ball. It’s an incredible feeling for a fan and Hafner gave it too me more than any other player. But not recently. I want that feeling again. Hafner deserves it and Cleveland deserves it. Damn it, I deserve it.

5. Omar Vizquel – 2004 Fleer Inscribed

I may have already written about it but that won’t stop me now. I love Vizquel. Clevelanders will fight to the death anyone who dares utter that omar isn’t the best defensive shortstop EVER. (We’re kind of like Cincinattians and Skyline chili that way. The only difference is Vizquel is good. Skyline is shit on a hot dog.) I know there are stats and metrics (which I am a big believer in) that suggest that Omar really wasn’t all that great. Those stats didn’t watch him play every day for a decade from seats in Jacobs Field of in front of our TVs.
It reminds me of a joke I heard on Weekend Update a long time ago. I think it was David Spade. I’ll paraphrase how it went because I don’t remember it exactly. It was the mid 90s and Jacob Dylan had improbably and temporarily surpassed, for the briefest of moments, the popularity of his genius father with the Wallflower’s hit song “One Headlight”. Not long after this it was discovered that Bob had been “banging” Cheryl Tiegs (to use to parlance of our time), star of a generation of male adolescent fantasy. So the joke went like this: “While Jacob may be a popular rock star, Daddy’s an artist.” Well, that’s how Cleveland feels about Omar. Ozzie Smith et al. may be great shortstops, but Omar’s an artist.

6. Chris Bando – 1985 Topps

I always thought that Bando was good. Why? He was on the Indians. I’m not sure if I knew about the tremendous unibrow or if it would have changed my opinion one way or the other.
The back of the card states that “Chris enjoys golf, aerobics, and reading the Bible”. At this point I’m 43.72% sure that they just make this shit up. Or, maybe the athletes say these things to screw with people and have a good laugh when the cards come out. Seriously, aerobics? Is there any chance that aerobics is in the top 3 things that Chris Bando enjoys? Maybe it happened like this:

Phone rings in the clubhouse. Ernie Camacho answers.

Ernie Camacho: Yeah?

Artimus McGuillicutty: Hello, this is Artimus McGuillicutty from Topps. Could I speak to Chris Bando please?

EC: Sure, this is Chris. How can I help you Mr. McGuillicutty?
AM: Oh, call me Art please. Mr. McGuillicutty is my father. HaHaHaHaHa.
EC: Sure thing Art. What can I do you for?
AM: Well Chris, I’m calling because…
EC: Mr Bando.
AM: Excuse me?
EC: Call me Mr. Bando.
AM: Oh yes, of course, sorry. The reason I’m calling…ah…Mr. Bando…um…we’re…
EC: Sir.
AM: Huh?
EC: Call me sir goddamn it!
AM: Oh…I’m terribly sorry Mr. Bando sir.
EC: That’s better. Now, what the hell do you want Art?
AM: Yes…well…as I was saying, Mr. Bando, sir…I work for Topps, and …
EC: Spit it out Art. I haven’t got all day. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a very busy man. I’m a big league ballplayer. I’m a big deal so stop wasting my time Art.
AM: OK Mr. Bando sir. I’d like to know a few things that you enjoy so we can…
EC: Say, Art, have you ever heard that poem?
AM: Huh?
EC: You know, that poem that Bobcat Goldthwait tells in that Police Academy movie?
AM: The Police Acad…
EC: Yeah sure, Police Academy. Funny friggin’ movie. That Guttenberg guy is going to be a star.
AM: I’m not sure I follow …
EC: Well Bobcat tells this poem. Goes like this:
Gene Gene made a machine
Joe Joe made it go
Art Art blew a fart and blew the whole damn thing apart
Is that you Art? Did you fart on Gene’s machine?
AM: Look Mr. Bando, maybe I should…
EC: Sir.
AM: Huh?
EC: Call me sir. Look Art, we’ve already been over this. I’m a big deal remember? I’m not sure why I’m wasting my time if you aren’t going to pay attention.
AM: Maybe there would be a better time to…uh…reach you…uh…
EC: What’s wrong with now?
AM: Now? Oh…uh…It’s just…
EC: Will you get to the damn point Art?
AM: We’d like to know a few things you enjoy for the back of your baseball card.
EC: Oh…OK. I like getting drunk, getting laid and putting one in Balboni’s ear when he steps to the plate. That man’s a major asshole.
AM: Mr. Bando sir, we can’t put that on a baseball card.
EC: Why not?
AM: Well because we just can’t. We sell those things to kids.’
EC: OK OK. You’re a real drag Art, you know that? OK, just say golf and Creadence Clearwater Revival.
AM: Did you say golf and reading the Bible?
EC: Yeah.
AM: OK, we just need one more thing.
EC: Jesus Art, you’re relentless. How about aerobics.
AM: Aerobics? Really?
EC: Hell yeah. I’m a regular aerobics fiend. I’ve got all the jazzercise tapes with Richard Simmons. It’s how I warm up.
AM: Sure thing. Thanks a lot Mr. Bando.
EC: You’re kind of a jerk, Art.
AM: Have a terrific day.
Chris Bando walks in from the shower.

CB: Who was that?
EC: Nobody.
CB: OK, just let me know if anyone calls. I’m expecting a call from Topps. I’ve got some things that they can put on my card this year that will make me look really cool.
EC: Sure thing boss.

Brett Butler laughs his ass off.


Whew…I was beginning to doubt that I was going to bring that one around. I was just as excited as you guys to find out where that one was going.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah. Baseball cards.

7. Jake Westbrook – 2006 Topps Turkey Red

I freakin’ love Turkey Red. I like Masterpieces too, but Turkey Red really…I don’t know…does it for me. Says here that Jake pitched 6 no hitters in high school. Not bad. On a similar note, John Perusek threw 2 no hitters his senior year – both against the same team. He was a hell of an athlete. I believe he played football at Mount Union from ’92-’96. If you haven’t heard of them, look ‘em up. They’ve been mildly successful.
Well, there it is. The overlong and ridiculously nonsensical first installment of The cards that Indians Baseball Cards Always sent me for doing nothing more than losing a scratch off contest. It seems like the less I do, the more good things come to me. It's about time, to tell you the truth. I've been faithfully following that creed my whole life and it looks like it's starting to pay off.
Thanks David
More to come.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Grady's Card From Dinged Corners

About 2 weeks ago Grady got his first card. If you are reading this you probably read a lot of baseball card blogs and will not be surprised at all by who the card came from. It was sent by Patricia and Lucy from Dinged Corners, two of the all time great Blog People. I knew it was coming. Not long after I wrote about Grady being born I got an email from Patricia to tell me that a card would be in the mail soon. After a short scare that it might be lost in the mail (as well as the disturbing possibility that I may have somehow forgotten where I live and given them the wrong address) it arrived. I immediately emailed Patricia that we had gotten the card and I promised a post about it the next day. That was only 2 weeks ago. Time, I am finding out, manifests itself strangely when there is an infant about.

Waiting for the card to arrive, I knew it would be something great. Anybody who is familiar with Dinged Corners knows this. That still didn’t stop me from being overwhelmed when it got here. Patricia and Lucy saw the card in a card shop (only the 2nd time they’ve ever been to one) and thought of Grady. Imagine that, they bought a card for someone they’ve never met because his dad writes a silly little blog about baseball cards featuring players with gold teeth and two ear flaps. I can only hope that I am half as thoughtful.

The card is a 2008 Upper Deck – A Piece of History –Stadium Scenes Grady Sizemore Jersey Card numbered 23/25. It is a truly awesome card. Some players are more important to a team than numbers reflect. While Sizemore’s numbers are very good, he is one of those players, and as an Indians fan, there is no player I’d rather have on my team. I feel very lucky that I get to watch him play every day during the season.

Also, and I’m sure this comes as no surprise, Grady Sizemore is my son Grady’s favorite player.

“Seriously Mike, there’s no way you could know who his favorite player is. The kid’s only 6 weeks old and doesn’t even know what baseball is.”

Yeah, well, I’ve talked to him a lot about baseball and the Indians and Sizemore already. Also, Grady has given me no indication that Sizemore ISN’T his favorite player. I’m his father and I think I know him best. Until someone comes at me with Nate Silver like numbers indicating something else, I think it’s a safe assumption. And don’t even joke about him being a Yankee’s fan. Seriously, that isn’t funny.

The card also came with a very nice note and a picture drawn by Lucy. If I had any idea how to use photoshop, I’m sure I could get a better scan of the letter. As it stands I’m kind of an idiot so I’ll just type what it says in case it is difficult to read due to my poor scanning capabilities.

“Dear Michal, we are excited about the baby. And we hope you guys like the card we are sending you. Enjoy! - Lucy from Dinged Corners

This is followed by a nice picture of me hitting a ball to Grady. Let’s just hope that he turns out to be a better fielder than his old man was.

Lucy and Patricia – Thank you very much for the letter and the card. It was very thoughtful and very much appreciated.