Thursday, March 31, 2011

Something Wicked This Way Comes (Epic Trade Post Part One)

For any bloggers who don’t know Wicked… you better get with the friggin program. This guy is simply put one of the best bloggers out there. He is an excellent trader, collector, and friend. I encourage everybody to check out his blog, My Past Time… I Love It! not only to see Wicked’s awesome memorabilia and card collection, but for its excellent writing (especially from its guest writers, wink wink).

Whoever has had the opportunity to receive a package from Wicked knows how generous he is. When I received the large package in the mail from Florida, I know I had something epic in my hands. Sure enough, when I ripped open the package I was stunned to say the least. Here I sent Wicked three measly cards, but he rewards me with four team bags LOADED with awesome Yanks. Now, I received this package about a month ago, and this trade post is long overdue. However, I’m going to honor this heroic trade by breaking it up into four, yes, four, parts. Tonight’s episode: team sets. Wicked sent over a hefty stack of Yanks for about four products spread throughout the years; these sets are now done or pretty close to it.

Simply put, 1996 Emotion X-L is a weird set. The cards are bordered and look nice, but the adjectives they place on the cards to describe the player seems more appropriate for a Calvin Klein ad.




Passion. Calvin Klein.

No trade from Wicked would be complete without any shiny cards. Here’s the face(s) of the franchise from 2003 Topps Chrome.

Can Mo replicate his success from the past few seasons? Or will age catch up with him?

Will Jeter succumb to another subpar season? Or will he rise to the top as a prominent player once again? And most importantly, will he get the girl?!

Um, yes. It’s Derek Jeter.

The shiny motif continues with some 2000 Upper Deck Ultimate Victory cards featuring superstar Derek Jeter…


Screw you, Nick Johnson. Screw you. Johnson signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians early in Spring Training, and I’m not sure if he made the club or not. Probably broke his arm getting a cup of water.

Last but not least, Wicked sent over about twenty cards from the 2002 Upper Deck Victory set. I’m a big fan of this set; creative design, awesome photography, and the fact that it’s from 2002. This means all the “Postseason Scrapbook” subset cards are gonna feature… yup, Yankees.

It’s nice seeing fan favorites like Tino reappear in your collection. It’s not nice, however, seeing fan favorites like Tino attempt to color commentate. Speaking of which, I am not looking forward to another year of John Sterling and Michael Kay. Ugh.

An example of that nice photography. Although I’m pretty sure Jorge hasn’t sniffed catcher’s gear in eight months.

Look how uninterested they are. I mean, c’mon guys, I know your team wins a lot but seriously? Show some emotion!

“Oh yippe, we won again.” “I’m hungry, what’s the postmeal like tonight?” “Crap, there’s my ex, I better wave so I don’t get the stink eye from her parents.”

That concludes part one of the Epic Trade Post from Wicked. Stay tuned to see some of the nicer stuff he sent over!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I See Red!

It’s not secret how much I love the red refractors from 2007 Topps Chrome. After pulling some nice names from the two boxes I busted, I decided on trying to complete the set. Easier said than done, considering their all numbered to 99, come as box toppers, and are friggin’ gorgeous. However, I struck a pretty good deal over at the Blowout forum, and for six bucks I got…

Not one.

Not two.

Not three.

Not four.

Not five.

Not six.

Not seven.

But eight red refractors all numbered to 99.

Okay, so not the biggest names in the set, but they’re all important in their own right.  Man I’m sounding like my mother.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring of Content?

Yes, I’m still alive everybody. Just like the Owl, I too have a very busy March and that has shown from the lack of life around here. Everything looks to be clear and I can finally start blogging again on a regular basis. And if things pop up… thank God for auto-post. I’ll admit I haven’t really been following the Yanks too much this spring training. Sure, I know the starting rotation battles going on between Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, I know about what prospects are making a splash, and I know that A-Rod is smacking the crap out of the ball.

Let’s start with A-Rod. Last year wasn’t a typical “A-Rod season”; his home run totals, batting average, OBP, and SLG % was way down compared to his previous few years. However, he did drive in 125 RBIs, the most in a year since his monster 2007 season. Any Yankee fans (or A-Rod fans if they exist) that are worried about his numbers declining once again should have no fear; quite frankly, he is DOMINATING with his bat right now.

Yesterday, A-Rod hit his sixth homerun of spring training, a two-run shot that cleared the black in centerfield against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Yanks went on to win the game 4-2. He also has at least one RBI in nine of his last ten games. The man is on fire and hopefully it carries over into the regular season, where the lineup will need every hit from his bat while notorious slow-starters like Mark Teixeira take a few months to warm up.

Girardi announced the official rotation yesterday as well. In a battle for the fifth spot in the rotation, Freddy Garcia narrowly beat out Bartolo Colon, and Colon will now start the year in the bullpen in place of the injured Pedro Feliciano. While both players had solid springs, Colon did outpitch Garcia and that leaves some people in question. I assume Cashman and Girardi are not too keen on the idea of Colon pitching 150+ innings, considering the last full season he completed was in 2005 (the same year he won the Cy Young… doesn’t it seem like ages ago?). And it’s not like Garcia was a scrub last year; he went 12-6 last year with a very good WHIP and ERA. With the signing of Kevin Millwood to a minor league deal, the Yankees have very good depth for the last spot in the rotation. These are all veterans looking for that final shot on a Major League club… this is only going to help the Yanks. As long as Colon doesn’t steal all the hamburgers.

Even if you’re not a Yankees fan, I’m sure you’ve heard of Jesus Montero, superstar-in-the-making. However, he hasn’t really impressed this spring training. He’s batting in the low .200s and his defense is very subpar. He most likely will start the season in triple-A. However, I can tell you about one prospect that has a good shot at making the club in 2011.

Manuel Banuelos. Remember that name. He is going to be a monster. A 19-year-old left-handed pitcher signed from the Mexican League, Banuelos has a hard, tailing fastball, a nasty 12-6 curve, and a devastating change up, easily his best pitch and very Johan-esque. Banuelos has excellent command, poise, and confidence, and look for him to be a force in the coming years, if not this year.

All in all, after worrying about the Yanks all winter, I can safely say I feel more confident in this club. The rotation looks solid, the bats look ready to roll, and some rookies are going to make a big impact for the team. Opening Day is in five days, and I’m effin’ pumped!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why Does He Have a White Sox Prospect Featured on For Card's Sake

First off, happy St. Patrick’s Day to any Irish bloggers out there. You can bet the local Irish pub was jammed with people. Very loud people.

Whenever I look through my old Bowman cards, I usually check the players I don’t know to make sure they are still relevant to the sport/hobby. It’s always fun to research and see what player to hold and what player to trade away. Sometimes you find a guy or two that isn’t out of the league and is still kicking it in the minors, or doing very well in the minors and has potential to be an everyday MLB player. This is one of those guys

Now, I’m almost positive everyone but Steve hasn’t heard of this guy, and that’s okay. It would be almost creepy if you did. Jose Martinez is a prospect in the White Sox organization with potential to be a great power hitter. However, injuries have slowed him down and he’s still working his way up the system; he hasn’t made it higher than low Single-A. But hey, he’s only 22.

You may ask why I even bothered buying this card, let alone banking on it to be valuable in the future. I don’t necessarily think Martinez is going to make it to the majors, and if he does, he’ll be a typical power hitter with very little talent in other aspects of the game. However, I already owned a regular Chrome and a refractor of this card, and when I saw the blue refractor pop up on the bay; I figured “what the hell” and went for it.

The card books for 50 bucks. Yes, that’s right, 50 bucks.

I won it for $1.06.

We need to change the book. (Oh yeah, and it’s not for trade yet Steve).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Tales from the Dugout" #4: Thurman Munson

Continuing with the “Tales from the Dugout” series, here’s an odd, albeit humorous, story about Yankee-great Thurman Munson and his obsession to beat his arch-rival, Carlton Fisk.

Marty Appel used to work as the public relations director for the New York Yankees. In that capacity, Appel was once taught a valuable lesson about baseball statistics by Thurman Munson, the hard-nosed, fiercely proud Yankees catcher who died in a tragic airplane crash in 1979.

“This started one day in the early 1970s,” says Appel, “when the players were sitting around the clubhouse after batting practice. Thurman was reading the day’s press notes, which as the team’s PR director it was my job to write up and distribute to the members of the media. Press notes are mostly statistics (updated daily), but I’d also include all sorts of tidbits, such as notes about Yankees players who were among the league leaders in various categories. Once a month or so The Sporting News would publish fielding stats, and their latest issue showed that Thurman was second in the league in assists among catchers, with 25. Carlton Fisk of the Boston Red Sox was leading the league with 27. Well, I had put this information in my press notes for that day, and Thurman saw it. The problem was that Thurman couldn’t stand Fisk, and he was so competitive he hated the idea that anybody would think Fisk was better than him.

“As I was walking through the clubhouse, Thurman waved me over to his locker.

“‘What’s the idea of showing me up like this?’ he said, pointing to the press notes.

“‘What are you talking about?’ I asked.

“‘This bullshit about me being behind Fisk in assists. Do you think for one minute he’s got a better arm than me? I can’t believe you’d use this! What a stupid statistic!’ Thurman was really mad about it, and he finished his little tirade by saying, ‘I’ll show you.’

“A short while later the game got under way, and I was sitting up in the press box in my usual location. When our pitcher struck out his first batter of the game, Thurman dropped the ball, but he picked it up and snapped a throw down to first. I didn’t look down at Thurman, but I immediately realized what the play meant: a putout for the first baseman and an assist for Thurman. In the next inning a second batter struck out, and again Thurman dropped the ball, picked it up, and threw to first to record the out. This time I did look down at home plate, and there was Thurman looking right back at me. He held up two fingers, as if to say, ‘That’s two assists.’ A third guy struck out, and Thurman did it all one more time, earning his third assist of the game to put him one ahead of Fisk. This time when I looked down and saw Thurman looking up, he had a big grin on his face.

“After the game I said to him, ‘I can’t believe you did that.’ He said, ‘Did what?’ He never would admit he dropped those third strikes on purpose, but he definitely made his point about catchers’ assists.”

Friday, March 11, 2011

One Tin at a Time

1998 Donruss Preferred! Major League official cards! Search for Precious Metals! Collect all 24 Tins! Who wouldn’t be all over this?

Apparently everyone. You can still find tins of this stuff for around four bucks.

This is a very interesting, and confusing, set. The tins you usually receive the cards in do not look like this. They look like this (if you’re interested in seeing what the cards look like, Drew busted two tins of this stuff over on his blog). So why does this tin look different, and why is it numbered?

And in all honesty, I do not have an answer. I tried researching this set but I have come up empty handed about this different tin variations. What I do know is that A-Rod is on this tin (which I believe is the silver variation) and that it’s numbered to 999. And that’s just damn well good enough for me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Weekly Wrap

Is it really Thursday? Here I am, the jackass that told you guys I would be back Tuesday. I guess time flies when you’re busy with every single thing on earth. Where to start?

Friday was quite eventful. The first day of golf arrived, and it didn’t go according to plan. It was a crappy day (cold and windy) and I wasn’t feeling my driver or irons too well. The past few days of golf have been better though, I finally got my swing down and have been making solid contact with the ball. A few more rounds and I should have the game down pat. But is that enough to make the team? Last year, there were 6 kids on the club. This year, due to a flux of freshmen, there are 20 kids trying out. And some of those kids are GOOD. I most likely will get cut, but at least it was a valuable learning experience and I’m glad I got the free week of golf. I’m definitely going to pick up the sport.

The final recball game ever also happened on Friday too. Our team lost in the semifinals of the playoffs, and it was a very sad moment. I’ve been playing recreational basketball since the first grade and it has kept me involved with the sport for many years. Our high school rec team has had the same roster for all four years of school. It’s tough knowing that we won’t be playing with each other next year, but that’s the way things go. I’m sure there is some sort of recreational league in the college I’m attending next year, but it just won’t be the same.

The Mr. Northern pageant (which was exactly fifteen minutes after the recball game) went very well. I practiced my talent down to a tee (see previous post for link) and everybody loved it. Although the event was rigged (the winner was the most uninteresting kid of the evening, I think it had to do with the fact that everything he did was school appropriate). Either way, I had a lot of fun participating, and that’s all that matters.

Saturday was the day of my big party. No need to explain, just picture your typical high school party. Times ten.

Monday called for the big day… my birthday! The big gift was a nice 32 GB iPod Touch. My ever-expanding music collection called for a roomier iPod, and my parents delivered with a sweet gift. I also got some miscelleanous stuff including some golf balls and tees, oddball books, and Boy Meets World Season 4 (took my mother forever to find this, God bless her). I didn’t ask for any baseball card related materials on the account I have hundreds of cards overloading my computer desk. Once that’s cleared up I’ll go back to making useless purchases. Overall, it was a very successful birthday.

Now that we are all caught up, let’s get back to why the people read this blog. Okay, skim the boring words for the cool scans. Same difference. We’re gonna kick things off with a small package that came fresh from today’s mail… a pair of Topps Chrome Blue Refractors.

2009 Topps Chrome Blue Refractor #191: Ryan Perry (Numbered to 199)
Perry hasn’t really made an impact yet in the majors, but another year of experience can’t hurt the baby-faced pitcher.

2010 Topps Chrome Blue Refractor #196: Kevin Russo (Numbered to 199)
Sorry if the scan doesn’t look as shiny; the card was stuck in a toploader due to 2010 Topps Chrome’s “tunnel-bend” refractors. Kevin Russo hasn’t really been jumping off the radar during spring training this season, and the chances of him being a “cup-of-coffee” player are pretty high. He’s not gonna get much playing time behind the best infield in the league (that’s right I said it, and I dare you to find another infield has lethal as the Yankees’) and he isn’t that phenomenal with the bat.

I picked up these cards from last minute auctions from the same seller one lonely night. I believe they were about a buck for each. The seller, being a d-bag of course, refused to give me combined shipping so I was stuck paying about 3 bucks for the cards to be shipped. The total cost of shipping the package? $1.56. Thanks dude. By the way, the Perry is up for trade for any colored Chrome refractor of a Yankee or player I like.

I have a lot more to post including eBay pickups from weeks ago and an epic trade package that will take not one, not two, but three parts to tell. Stay thirsty, my friends.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Busy Bee, Bee Back Tuesday

Hey guys, so the busiest week of the year has arrived, and that means the blog will have to take a seat in the back for a little bit until the schedule clears up. I have a ton of school-related activities coming up, including NHS meetings, the Mr. Northern pageant (Miss America pageant for boys), so I have to practice my routine for that (click on this link to see what I’m doing), and golf tryouts. My birthday is rolling around the corner on Monday, and to celebrate I’ll be out partying with friends on Saturday. I’ve been spending all my spare time finishing up my Boy Meets World DVDs and adding new music to my iTunes library. It has been a busy beginning to the greatest month of the year.

I’ll be back after Monday to get back to posting.