Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Ball Drops Tonight

It's officially New Year's Eve, and it would seem appropriate for me to start blathering on about one of those 2009 Top 10 lists. Unfortunately, a nagging head cold - or perhaps more aptly put - a throat cold has sapped me of a lot of my energy and time this week.

That doesn't mean I don't have something to get off my chest, so to speak. The St. Louis Cardinals need to get on with things and just sign Matt Holliday already. As much as I'm concerned about some of the chatter, like "8 year deal" and "more than 18 million a year", the simple fact is that it's not my money to spend and I honestly don't think the Cards can seriously compete for playoff position next season without Holliday's bat in the lineup unless there are significant changes in the grouping of players that are expected to return. And while I don't think it probably makes a lot of sense for a 37 year old outfielder with limited defensive skills to make 20 million dollars, I think the Cards brass and The Devil Himself need to sit down and negotiate something that works while keeping in mind that it's pretty much been the Cards bidding against themselves all along. I think most teams realize that Holliday is a known quantity and most do not want to commit a lot of money to anyone at this point, but St. Louis certain has a stash of dollars earmarked to someone and they haven't really dipped into the pool for anyone not named Brad Penny this offseason. Let's just get this over with. I'd be fine with 5 years and 90 million, but what do I know?

By the way, tonight's card is sponsored by Bud of First Day Issue fame. His package was one of 4 (!) that I received in my stuffed mailbox yesterday. The rest of his package is going to get kicked to the queue as I usually attempt to post about trades/packages in the order in which I receive them. Side note: I was prepared to offer up an image of a certain unfortunate occurrence involving Holliday in the 2009 NLDS in lieu of a baseball card to post, but fortunately Bud's package came through at the last minute.

Happy 2010, everyone. This is now the future somehow.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Condition: Poor, Trade: Great

I'm still working my way through the backlog of trades to post about. This one is from Sean of the excellent Condition: Poor and is the first time I've dealt with him so far. The bulk of this trade was an Allen & Ginter swap. I finally got my 2009 A&G put in a proper binder the other night, so the set is looking more and more official. It's nice that Topps puts the SP cards in the back of the numbering sequence instead of what they do for a lot of sets, because it makes it much easier to satisfactorily complete more pages.

I'm actually doing pretty well on the National Pride insert set now, despite poor collation efforts. There is a pretty good chance that if I went out and bought a box or a blaster of this stuff that I'd already have every single card, though, when I'm still missing a chunk.

As nice as it was to get a healthy stack of the 2009s, it might be even more satisfying to knock off a card from the 2008 set as that set is getting dangerously close to completion. I should probably just check eBay or somewhere else online for the remaining cards as most of them are SPs.

I also received a Brian McCann card from the 2009 Heritage set. Every little bit counts!

I can't believe the Rose Bowl is only a couple of days away! I can't wait. J-Stew has had another successful year and has proven that he can carry the load (and then some) in the past couple of weeks as the featured back for the Carolina Panthers with DeAngelo Williams ailing. I may be biased (just a little) but if I was in charge of an NFL franchise, Stewart would be in my top 5 as far as running backs to go and get.

Sean also threw in the always appreciated assortment of Cardinals cards. Here's Brian Jordan on the 1994 Upper Deck design, one that I've never really enjoyed. It's a nice photo, though.

Thanks again to Condition: Poor. And... don't forget to watch the Rose Bowl on Friday!

Heritage High Series Blaster and Contest Update

An update on the ongoing contest follows this post about baseball cards, although those of you participating can just check the standings via Yahoo.

I was unexpectedly given a $25 Fred Meyer gift card with my most recent paycheck at work, so in a shocking turn of events I invested the entire thing in baseball cards. The big pickup was a blaster of the 2009 Heritage High Series. I also bought a repack box, but that turned out to be nothing to write home (or write on the internet) which is pretty typical.

Pack 1:

503 - Aaron Poreda (One of the many guys the Padres got back in the Jake Peavy trade. Is it just me, or does it look like San Diego will come out ahead on that one?)
666 - Rich Hill
655 - Omir Santos
UH72 - John Mayberry Jr. (One of my Christmas gifts was a new desk lamp. Other than revealing clumps of dust that I didn't realize were there before, the big benefit so far has been my newly found ability to easily read all of the card numbers on the backs of the 2009 Topps base cards.)
UH247 - Lastings Milledge

FB-01 - Jonathan Sanchez Flashback (Can you really "flashback" to something that happened only 5 months ago?)
618 - Jarrod Washburn
634 - Mark Loretta

Pack 2:

555 - David Freese (First Cardinal of the box. Freese looks to be in line for the starting 3B job next season, although he needs to keep away from the wheel after partaking in adult beverages.)
525 - Braden Looper (For some reason, I see Looper returning to the Cardinals again someday in some capacity.)
640 - Melky Cabrera (One of the new Braves.)

UH195 - P.J. Walters (The Cards thought enough of Walters, who got a cup of coffee this past season, to keep him on the 40-man roster thereby protecting him from Rule 5 Draft vultures. Mike Parisi was not so lucky.)
UH251 - Ian Snell

TN-9 - Bobby Richardson / Cole Hamels Then and Now
569 - Alex Rios (Apparently there is a rare black & white version of this card, but that's not what I ended up with.)
504 - Takashi Saito

Pack 3:
550 - Daniel Bard
582 - Homer Bailey
UH143 - Matt Maloney
UH307 - Heath Bell (I'm not sure how one of the league's best setup guys, who became a closer this past season, doesn't get a card in series 1 or 2 despite not changing teams.)
628 - Landon Powell
581 - Gregg Zaun
542 - Clayton Richard (Another reason to be excited about the Peavy trade.)

700 - Huston Street (SP)

Pack 4:

CHR118 - Joe Crede Chrome Refractor 258 / 560 (Any Crede fans out there? Twins fans?)
619 - Justin Masterson
538 - Chris Jakubauskas
UH205 - Dallas Braden (Only one UH card?)

693 - Chris Coghlan (SP)
598 - Jeff Baker
574 - Gabe Kapler

Pack 5:
506 - Adam Kennedy
565 - Endy Chavez (Could have been a player I despised had Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS ended differently.)

589 - Jamey Carroll (A.J.'s new favorite player!)
UH289 - Nick Johnson
UH133 - Graham Taylor (Lots of Fish in this box.)

CHR114 - Eric Byrnes Chrome 1432 / 1960 (I deserve this for making fun of Byrnes in my last post about this set.)
548 - Cristian Guzman
521 - Nick Evans

Pack 6:
626 - Tim Redding
651 - Nick Green (I have no idea who this guy is, but apparently he started at SS for Boston this past year. Maybe I should watch more ESPN.)

501 - Shane Robinson (Another cup 'o coffee guy for the Cards this year. There were a lot of them, especially early in the season.)
UH303 - Luke French (I think I have like 5 of this card, and I haven't even bought much U&H this year.)
UH221 - Adrian Gonzalez Home Run Derby

RP-08 - Brett Anderson Rookie Performers
623 - Kevin Millar (Millar actually played this past season? I thought he was just an MLB Network guy.)
563 - Pedro Martinez (Pedro also has a B&W variation card.)

Pack 7:
614 - Josh Outman (Born with a pitcher's name.)
641 - Micah Hoffpauir
657 - Vin Mazzaro

671 - Ross Gload
UH117 - Alex Rios
UH309 - Scott Podsednik
557 - David Huff

545 - Neftali Feliz (This Texas prospect also has a variation card. Are there any others that I'm missing?)

Pack 8:

659 - Rafael Soriano (I would have loved it if the Cards had signed this guy, but for some stupid reason I don't think they were interested.)
616 - Juan Uribe
586 - J.J. Putz
UH214 - Jason Grilli
UH184 - Francisco Cordero All-Stars

714 - Nelson Cruz (SP) (Cruz came from out of nowhere to star at the Home Run Derby. I was rooting for him after Pujols got knocked out.)
674 - Ryan Church
670 - Ross Detwiler (Hey, it's this guy again.)


Contest time! I managed to correctly pick my 4th bowl game (out of 11) when Georgia beat Texas A&M to put me in 10th place overall out of 15. There are 16 people entered, but I am officially disqualifying "Onelostpunk86" for failing to make any picks at all. I suppose that's one way to win the "worst" prize, but... trust me... that prize is not appealing enough to be sneaky about it.

Kevin, who chose a name I wholeheartedly approve of (Home Movies reference "Fenton Sucks") is in the lead despite also only correctly predicting 4 games. He's going to have a tough road to the finish, however, as he has the fewest possible "potential points" of the entire group. Remember, first prize is based on Yahoo's crazy weighted scoring rules. Adam of Thoughts and Sox is currently in 2nd while Tim of the Great Sports Name HOF is in 3rd. Reader Jason, who was the runner-up in my March Radness contest, has correctly picked the most games with 8 of 11. He seems to be good at this sort of thing.

Erin is currently beating me, so all of the Erin supporters are looking good for the second prize. Sean of Condition: Poor (is there a better blog banner out there?) right now is the frontrunner for the worst place prize, although he has some stiff competition.

I'll do another update next week going into the final BCS games (and that absurdly late GMAC game) if anyone is interested.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Gift Show-Off Post

This is the only baseball card I got for Christmas, and in my opinion it's a really good one. This card came from my girlfriend and it's one I needed for the 2008 Heritage set. No, it doesn't bring me anywhere near completing the set (I haven't yet checked to see if it completes a page) but I still love it.

Thank you, Erin.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Airbrushed Fridays: 1990 Topps Traded #23T

It seems like Bobby Cox was born wearing a Braves uniform, but as we see here this actually wasn't the case. I'm continuing on in my quest to find the newest or last airbrushed card that Topps produced. I'm guessing there was probably some sort of transitional period from where they neither airbrushed nor photoshopped pictures, but I haven't quite narrowed that down yet. We've stepped into the 1990s here with one of the most lackluster traded sets of all-time.

Bobby Cox once was and still remains is the Atlanta Braves manager. He actually managed the Braves in the late '70s up through 1981 with little success before taking over the helm of the Toronto Blue Jays, turning the Jays from a cellar-dweller to a playoff team in 1985. He ended up returning to the Braves as the GM for nearly 5 seasons before hiring himself as manager midway through the 1990 season.

Why did Topps airbrush Bobby's photo? I'm actually at a total loss for words on this one. Is this a 5 year old Blue Jays picture that they airbrushed? Why not go the full distance and use a picture from 1981? I suppose the Braves cap logo had changed by 1990, but this is just strange. He was the reigning GM, though, so you'd think they could have at least used a cap-less photo of him doing something remotely baseball-related.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? Well, the 'A' logo is obviously bad and he's wearing a very nondescript solid dark blue that was probably a different shade of something in a past life. What's really wrong, though, is that the card is faking Bobby Cox into a uniform that he should be very real in.

Christmas Cards

Not the kind of cards that you were thinking, right? I received a couple of cards of the other kind in advance of this holiday which are currently decorating my living room. I will be embarking on a journey from Southeast Portland to even more Southeast Portland in a few short hours to eat a lot of food and likely dabble in viewing a bit of the NBA quintupleheader that's being broadcast on ABC and ESPN.

This card arrived from the always excellent David of Tribecards fame. His blog is one of the first team-centric card blogs I've ever read and he continues to be one of the most generous people around. (Hey, when is that second scratchcard tourney going to happen, anyway?)

Reader Timothy sent me this really awesome custom-made card featuring lots of Cardinals Hall of Fame decor. He knew exactly where to go with this one, although I'm pretty certain anyone could merely write Osborne Earl Smith's name on a piece of paper and it would be enough for me to pump my fist into the air.

Merry Christmas to everyone, and many thanks to David, Timothy and everyone who has been kind enough to send me cards or read my blog this past season. Now, do yourselves a favor and watch this!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Troll Trade #4

As you can see, I've completely given up on blog post titles at this point. The Collective Troll, also known as The Troll or simply, Troll (maybe Marck if you are nice enough to him) e-mailed me to let me know that he had sent out a package for me and I realized that I hadn't even gotten around to posting about the last great package I received from him. He knocked a bunch of cards off of my various wantlists and I thought I'd show a few of them here.

As blasé as I feel about Topps Town, it's nice to get one of the gold versions because I know those are a bit harder to come by. I think they're an improvement over last year's Topps Town cards, but I hate that they actually count as a card in a pack. I wonder if that game/site/whatever it is has been a success and if it's coming back next year. I guess I wouldn't mind them so much if they didn't look so underwhelming.

This one's a biggie - an Adam Wainwright SP that I need for both my team collection and the 2007 Heritage set that I've recently started collecting. I have a want list up on the sidebar for it now, but if you're thinking of sending stuff to me you'll probably want to hold off for a few days until I can sort through what I have coming from the Troll as I have a feeling that's what the next package is bringing.

There was also a handful of 2008 Heritage cards that I needed, including this much-needed Kevin Slowey short print. Slowey is also short-printed in the 2009 set. I wonder what he did to deserve that kind of treatment. Call it the Pat Neshek treatment, if you will. Speaking of Neshek and Slowey, are there any Twins collectors out there? I would love to trade with you.

There was a much bigger stack of 2009 Allen & Ginter. I'm starting to feel like a slacker with this set, because I stopped buying blasters after a certain point and have just been heavily relying on others to do my work for me. I would have picked up a blaster last time I was at the store if they had any, but I ended up getting a Heritage High Series blaster instead.

But wait... there's more! Brian Roberts seems to be popular with the bloggers these days, even the ones who aren't necessarily Orioles fans. That includes Mr. Troll, but he must have had extras of this card.

Finally, here's some Cardinals Topps coins. I loved these things as I've mentioned before, but I don't know what happened to my own collection. I used to keep them (along with my cards) in a fairly damp unfinished basement, so I think they may have rusted to the point of being unattractive at some point anyway. This now makes 4 Topps coins and 2 buttons that I've received from bloggers. Keep 'em coming. I love the oddball stuff!

Thanks again to the Troll. If you haven't already, please check out his epic mid-'90s box breaks. He's going pack by pack and apparently not sleeping until they're all posted. The Cardinals are not doing so well thus far, but I'm sure things will pick up for Lankford, Gilkey, Jordan & co. eventually.

Card Show Finds: Blazers Edition

The Portland Trail Blazers suffered their 7th major injury of the season last night as starting center Joel Przybilla ruptured his patella tendon and dislocated his patella in the first quarter of what turned out to be an inspired victory over the Dallas Mavericks last night. I'm sick about it - about as sick as I can get about something sports-related, anyway. Przybilla is done for the season with a knee injury that actually managed to be worse than the horror show that Greg Oden starred in just a couple of weeks ago. He joins Jeff Pendergraph, Patrick Mills, Nicolas Batum, Travis Outlaw, Rudy Fernandez and Oden on the casualty list of what has been a comically awful season for the Blazers who were expected to compete for deep playoff positioning this season. Were it not for Pendergraph making his expedited league debut last night and the signing of a medical hardship rule 16th roster member out of the D-League, the Blazers may have had difficulty even fielding a working team last night. They're now left with 6'9" 36-year old Juwan Howard to play center, a guy who was not even supposed to play this season and was just brought in to be a positive veteran influence and practice player to help with the younger players.

Okay, back to breathing now. Where was I going with this post? Oh, yes, the cards. I picked up a very healthy stack of (mostly ex-)Blazers in the 5 cent boxes, which was a nice score considering Blazers cards come at a serious premium around these parts. I rarely bother to buy Blazers cards because even the worst players will usually set you back by a quarter at a minimum and often much more. This is why I always highly encourage everyone to send me Blazers cards, even if you don't collect basketball cards. I'm so demanding.

Here is the one current player I managed to find. Fitting, right? Aside from All-Star Brandon Roy, Przybilla was the player that Portland could least afford to lose, and even that is debatable. He played in all 82 games last season and has anchored the Blazers interior defense since the moment he arrived. With Oden going down and missing a significant portion of his 3rd NBA season (after missing his entire 1st season), the Blazers defense has been horrendous whenever Joel sits on the bench. Oh, and Roy "tweaked" his shoulder last night and is scheduled for an MRI tomorrow. Nice.

Kelvin Cato was a player I was really excited about when he first came around. He blocked shots like crazy and I just knew it was only a matter of time before he developed a bit of an offensive game and became a dominant center. Good thing I'm not a GM. And, unfortunately, the Blazers also had high hopes for him and gave him a pretty hefty contract at the time.

Plasticman! Every great team needs players like Stacey Augmon and Greg Anthony. You wouldn't want them in your starting lineup, but you actually get excited when they come into the game. I remember when the Blazers had a talented, deep team. Now they have a lot of talent... which they get to show off nightly in their choice of suits and ties sitting behind the bench.

Pretty classic card here. I think this design really worked for basketball, but not so much for baseball. Stoudamire grew up in Portland and his whole family has ties here. He certainly had some highs and lows in a Blazers uniform.

Arvydas Sabonis still stands as my second favorite Blazer of all-time behind Clyde Drexler. Were it not for injuries (again with these centers!) and ravages of time, Sabas could have been amazing with the Blazers. He had his moments, though.

It's nice to see that Sheed still hasn't changed, even in his twilight years as a Celtic. I really enjoyed watching him play in Portland, as frustrating as it could be at times.

Finally, here's a sticker masquerading as a Collector's Choice card. By the looks of it, I think these were actually album stickers. I'd love to get a box of these and a sticker album. Otis Thorpe always gives me some discomfort as he is known to Blazers fans as the paltry return we received for Drexler. I never really saw him play much for the Blazers, as I didn't really watch TV at the time - I was living in college dorms.

Anyway, I hadn't done a Blazers post in quite some time and now you know why. I am still considering bringing back a regular Blazers feature at some point, but it's still being debated internally at Cards on Cards central.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Generous Saints

I have to say that I'm continually astounded by the generosity of other bloggers, readers and traders when it comes to both the packages I receive and the things I read about that others get. My only experience in through-the-mail bartering came back in my tape trading days, when I would trade cassette tape copies (eventually CDs) of live music with others via e-mail communication, and like anything else involving the internet or the public in general, everyone and everything was immediately met with a certain level of skepticism. Once such incredibly generous package came out of nowhere from Dan of Saints of the Cheap Seats, who I've traded with a number of times in the past. Unfortunately, I received this package almost a month ago, which just goes to show how behind I am.

Dan, I am still working on a package for you that probably won't measure up in any way to what you sent me, but will hopefully be fun for you nonetheless. I just mailed out another 4 baseball card packages today along with a Christmas thing, so that is probably the end for this year. I'm working on stuff for lots of people for the first couple of weeks of January, however, so stay tuned.

Here's a bat card of one of my favorite players ever, which is numbered 42 of 100. This card is absolutely perfect.

Here's a Chris Carpenter jersey card from 2008 Masterpieces, which will serve as a great companion to the 2007 Masterpieces Carpenter jersey card I bought at a card show a few months back.

This package has a gem hidden around every corner. Here's an Ozzie Smith card from this year's SP Legendary Cuts. I don't know this set at all, but I love this card.

Another Carp jersey card! And this one is numbered. Nice.

I also received a ton of the 1981 Topps cards missing on my want list, including all of the traded set cards. I don't think I had even held a 1981 Topps Traded set card prior to this. I think Bruce Sutter's card would be a candidate for Airbrushed Fridays simply because I don't really trust that bird.

This is easily the best looking card I've found of Will Clark in a Cardinals uniform, although you have to wonder about his bleak expression there. Maybe Will knew that he was going to walk away before the next season started.

An Izzy Chrome Refractor from 2008 Heritage joins the Chris Carpenter Chrome at the top of this post. I have a number of the Cardinals, both Chrome and Refractors, from this set, but I can't get enough of them.

There was a healthy stack of cards from the 2001 Fleer Platinum set which paid tribute to the 1981 design. DK is a favorite of mine.

This Fleer Tradition set paid tribute to a certain Goudey set, sort of. I confess to immediately being drawn to Kerry Robinson, whose role on the team was eventually taken over by So Taguchi. Not only did he share my first name, but for a time he also wore my favorite number. Eventually he started wearing 0, which I did not agree with.

Along with Ozzie Smith, Jim Edmonds and Darryl Kile, I collect Chris Carpenter cards that are not affiliated with the Cardinals in any way. To that end, if anyone has any idea what I should do with the numerous Scott Rolen Phillies cards I've accumulated, please let me know. Lord knows that Phillies fans have no use for him.

Finally, Dan sent a handful of cards I needed to fill sets, including the first two 2007 Turkey Red cards that I can add to my binder in a very long time. I'm now down to needing Mariano Rivera and almost 30 pesky SPs.

Thanks again to Dan. Please consider being generous to him in your next trade, or to everyone out there, really.