Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Value Chromeys

I have to admit that I'm still in a bit of a catch-up mode at the moment. I still have a big Cardinals package to write about and quite a few packages to send out. Hopefully all of this will be done before the week is out. I could blame the Blazers playoff series for distracting me from the task at all, but... well, okay, that's what I'll do. To keep this space relatively fresh, here are some bargain bin 2007 Topps Chrome packs I picked up awhile back from Target. These seemed to disappear very quickly from the stores as now all I ever see that's marked down in price are the really thin packs of 2007 Upper Deck. If they reduced the price of those cards again by, say, another 50% I might actually be interested in those.

Pack 1:

290 - Jamie Burke (RC) (Burke was the Mariners version (i.e. non-media) of the Chris Coste story, appearing on a rookie card in 2007 as a 35-year old backup catcher who finally made it big. Or was he? Despite there only being Burke's "rookie stats" on the back, he actually had major league service dating back to 2001. There's another case of the "Rookie Card" logo confusing everyone.)
249 - Lance Berkman - (Berkman is off to a slow start, but he always seems to heat up when summer hits. I'm hoping that this is the year that Houston isn't a difficult team to face in the second half.)

187 - Mike Mussina Refractor (Here's the promised 1-per-pack parallel. I've always managed to either get a regular refractor or the eye/brain-boggling "XFractor", though there are other rarer versions of cards to get that I probably won't see since I normally don't buy this kind of stuff. These scan a lot better than the regular chrome cards, but you don't get to see the rainbow effect.)
197 - Kerry Wood
- Checklist 2 of 2

Pack 2:
182 - Pat Burrell (Burrell is one of a number of big name free agents this year that have started out slowly.)
164 - Khalil Greene (Another card for the Khalil Greene Watch. Greene has been MIA lately.)

298 - Andrew Miller XFractor (Here's one of the aforementioned XFractors. Looking at these cards gives me a feeling that I'm not entirely sure how to put into words.)

120 - Joe Mauer (I inadvertantly drafted Joe Mauer on one of my fantasy teams this year, so I'm hoping he'll be in good shape when he comes off the DL soon.)

Pack 3:

330 - Daisuke Matsuzaka (RC) (Matsuzaka is starting to look like he might be the best of the pitchers to come out of Japan in recent years, but there's no way his value as a player could ever hope to match what Boston had to pay out to get him. I suppose none of that matters, though.)
322 - Kei Igawa (RC) (Igawa hasn't been so good. Incidentally, both of these cards have Japanese signature versions, but I didn't get those.)
156 - Chris Capuano Refractor

114 - Jorge Posada

As usual, these are all up for grabs (i.e. trades unless you're someone I set aside cards for on a routine basis) especially since I didn't get any Cardinals.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More Fun from Padrographs

I received a nice package from Padrographs last week. I've been going through my stuff to find some interesting Padres to send back over, but for now I'll take a look at some of the cards I got. With poker being so popular these days, I'm fairly surprised that I haven't run across more product like the Bob Gibson ace of hearts above.

Mark Mulder still has baseball cards in 2009? I did not expect him to be in any sets this year, despite his pre-2006 track record. I heard during a baseball broadcast recently that Mulder could be ready in a couple of weeks for any interested team. It sounds like his agent just really wants that commission.

I have very few cards that were made prior to 1979, so this 1977 Topps Keith Hernandez was nice to see. (Insert Seinfeld reference here.)

I wonder what will eventually happen to all of the unsold Upper Deck Documentary packs and boxes. I'm guessing they will be destined for repack rebirth. Here's a card from a game that the Cards lost, no thanks to Adam Wainwright as he, of course, did not pitch.

Here's a Bob Gibson card straight out of the '60s. Oddly enough, it looks like it was cut off of a cereal box or something, but I love it anyway.

More Gibby! Those sideburns are timeless.

I continue to be confused by the fact that Jay Witasick was once in the Cardinals organization. I think I have another card of his that I posted on this blog in which I expressed similar sentiment.

Can anyone tell me what this card is supposed to be? I couldn't find it in Beckett (I know, I know, that's not too surprising.) Despite the appearance of the scan, it's actually see-through and seems to be made of plastic. A search for "Mark McGwire 2000 Tek" did not give me anything that looked right. I like getting McGwire cards, though, because I know there's about 347,325 of them and I have very few.

Thanks again to Rod of Padrographs. He will get a package sent his way in the coming week.

Big Blazers game tonight - a chance to even the series heading back home to Portland. Check it out on TNT if you're into that sort of thing.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Khalil Greene Watch: Day 16

Cesar Izturis, 2008: 135 G, 414 AB, .263 BA, .628 OPS
Khalil Greene, 2009: 15 G, 50 AB, .220 BA, .710 OPS

Card courtesy of Dinged Corners - more on that later. Terrible Photoshop job, by the way. Big sports weekend kicking off in just hours - another Cubs/Cards series, two Blazers games in Houston and some sort of series between two teams that ESPN and FOX are in love with. Oh, and the NFL Draft. Bleh.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Surprise Package from White Sox Cards

Somehow I've been lucky enough to be the recipient of four bubble mailers full of Cardinals baseball cards in the past 5 non-Sundays. The most surprising thing about it all is that none of these cards were solicited by me. I really have to say that all my ramblings here have been more than worth it with all of the fun stuff that my fellow bloggers, er, associates have sent me (as well as some very kind readers.) After this week's mailings and the ones I have coming up, I plan on kicking another 1000-ish sports cards out the door. I am a huge fan of this free exchange of ideas and 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch symbols that we have going on here.

Today's package, which is to say, a package I received last Friday comes from Steve of White Sox Cards and Things Done To Cards. I did some things to a card the other night that I'm not completely proud of, but I have no regrets. I won't even say that I won't do it again. I briefly considered asking Steve for membership consideration until I later realized that I perhaps took the blog title a bit too literally.

The first card that "popped" was a 2008 Topps Heritage Chrome Refractor of Todd Wellemeyer. The Colonel has mixed in a stellar start with a couple of lousy ones, but has at least managed to keep the ball inside the ballpark for now. His performance was a huge surprise last season and he managed to be one of the team's more consistent pitchers over the course of the season. We've come to expect these things from Dave Duncan Projects, however. Incidentally, stuck to the back was a Nick Blackburn Heritage Chrome card that initially made me think that Welley's card was some sort of error card. I'm fairly certain that the Blackburn card wasn't intended for me, so please let me know if you want it back, Steve. Otherwise, I'll probably stash it in case of a future Twins/Cards trade ('87 style.)

Hmm, something is missing here, but I can't quite put my finger on it. This must have been a photo from back when Gibson pitched for the St. Louis Blanks. They were too punk for logos.

This card goes immediately into Erin's stash. One of my incomplete projects is integrating Erin's wantlists into my blog somehow. A preview: she collects Cardinal cards, Yadi Molina, Anthony Reyes, Tim Lincecum, Bazooka cards, Sportflics, cards sponsored by various food products, and guys who think gravity is for chumps. (Just to name a few...)

I'm totally using this card to get in the door next time I'm in line at the club.

I really like the Topps gold border parallel cards. I don't really sense a lot of enthusiasm for them from others, but I hope they don't go away anytime soon. I still don't understand what the huge empty black space on the 2005 Topps playoff highlight cards is all about, though.

Goooooooch! Erin recently discovered through the aid of an unverified trivia quiz that So Taguchi was the lightest member of the 2007 Cardinals baseball team. You might want to jot that down.

I saved the best for last. Red framed Masterpieces cards of Cardinal players are pretty much the best thing you can get out of modern sports cards. Other colors probably wouldn't evoke the same kind of reaction. I never want to hear the words "carpenter" and "injured" again in the same sentence for the rest of my life, though.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Actual Baseball Cards

I'm grounded now. I'm centered. All is right with the world. The Blazers evened up their playoff series and the Cardinals came from 4 runs down late to beat the Mets. It's time to talk about... yes... baseball cards. I received another surprise package from Eric of The Pettttiittttteeee Pursuit on Saturday. Among the stack of cards were my first Cardinals from 2009 Upper Deck First Edition. I really don't like this set, but it always makes me happy to get Cardinals cards from sets I detest because it means that I don't have to seek them out. I felt like the 2007 First Edition set was a much uglier version of the regular base set, and I feel the same way about this year's crop. I thought last year's First Edition stuff was a great approach, especially the "update" set. It's not the UV-coating I miss. I just really think the gold coloring combined with the budget feel of the set combines to make it lousy. I do find it fairly amusing that they apparently cut the hologram logo out of the budget at the last minute to save money, since you can clearly see the "(R)" registered trademark near the place where the hologram thing should be.

This isn't the best photo of Albert. I've often thought it would be funny and somewhat appropriate if they used their best shots for the main sets and then used stuff like this for the budget sets, but they don't.

I don't have a good reason for liking the 2003 Topps design, but I do like it.

Back to the regular Upper Deck set here with Ryan Ludwick. It's an interesting photo, but couldn't they have found something better?

Albert Pujols: hero to many, good at baseball.

Thanks again to Eric. I sent out 5 packages today and one of them is heading his way. My next round of packages will be headed out to my two contest winners and the proprietors of the blogs known as Dinged Corners, Padrographs and White Sox Cards.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Swear I'm Still 15 Years Old

I feel better.

Go Blazers!

Unfocused Rage (or Mutant Basketball Pack)

I really hate to do this, but I'm mad at baseball. Really mad. Not just kinda mad. The Cards blew two late-inning leads to the Cubs at Wrigley and had their chance at redemption and a series split washed out by lousy Chicago weather last night. I have a strange fascination with Sunday Night Baseball, even when I have access to almost (FOX games don't count - that's another reason to rage in and of itself) any game I want to thanks to the MLB Extra Innings package. So it doubly exciting when it's a Cards rivalry game on Sunday night. And tonight came word that the Cards traded a talented outfielder who barely was given a chance to Atlanta in exchange for a suspect reliever whose arm is probably not even completely attached to his body. Oh, and that talented outfielder happens to be Brian Barton, a right-handed batter in an organization swimming in LEFT-handed hitting outfielders. I have to say that as much as I like Rick Ankiel, he really needs to figure out how to hit again before he steals at-bats from right-handed hitters. The Cardinals played all of the Rule V draft games for all of last season with Barton only to give up on him a couple of weeks into the following season when he was completely under the team's control. This from an organization willing to give up Anthony Reyes for a stack of game programs.

I can't look at baseball right now, so here's a basketball pack instead. I'm angry about basketball, too, but I'll get to that later.

34 - Zydrunas Ilgauskas (Big Z - not Carlos Zambrano - is a pretty decent player as centers go. Injuries plagued him for much of his early career, but I was surprised to see that he has played in at least 73 games in the past 6 seasons leading up to this season. The Cavs should win the title this year, even though they're led by one of the biggest showboats around.)
56 - Kelenna Azubuike (This is one of a growing list of NBA players whose name Blazers TV analyst Mike Rice doesn't ever bother pronouncing.)

11 - Rajon Rondo (Not really a fan of the green and gold unis here. I thought the Celtics were all about "tradition". Boston won't win with or without Kevin Garnett this year.)
73 - Al Thornton (I always get him mixed up with Al Horford, though I'm pretty sure Horford was the Florida guy who beat the Ducks and went onto winning the NCAA title awhile back.)

65 - Yao Ming (This card is not long for this world.)
80 - Derek Fisher (No Laker images here.)

47 - Antonio McDyess (I always forget that this guy is still in the league. He is from Quitman, Mississippi. Quit, man! Hilarious.)
90 - Mike Miller

CHI-1 - Dennis Rodman Dynasty (Some sort of insert card, I guess.)
LAL-23 - Norm Nixon Dynasty (Two in a row?)

CHI-24 - Ron Harper Dynasty (Wait, what?)

BOS-27 - Wayne Embry Dynasty (This is really weird.)
LAL-14 - Magic Johnson Dynasty (Nice collation, Upper Deck. I'm guessing this isn't normal. I opened one of these packs before and nothing like this happened.)
112 - Sebastian Telfair (Telfair may not ever have another movie made about him, but he seems to be improving his game a bit.)
121 - Eddy Curry
180 - Andrea Bargnani
106 - Al Jefferson (Great player on a bad team. Also - injured.)

SQ-29 - Dwyane Wade Starquest Ultra Rare (Not just "rare" but "ultra rare". I wonder if I could get a buck for this.)

There weren't even any Blazers in this. What gives?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Playoff Basketball

I am so incredibly hyped up for the start of the NBA Playoffs right now. The Blazers/Rockets series tips off in just a couple of hours. Portland secured home court advantage during the very last game on the NBA season schedule by clobbering so-called division winner Denver on the home floor. Portland finished tied with Denver with 54 wins on the season, improving by 13 wins over last year's 41-41 mark. I don't think I have a season recap in me right now that wouldn't be full of !!!!!!s and OMG!s, so I'll stick to talking about the cards. First up are the last two cards of the 50 pack that I bought at an early season game. Portland did surpass 50 wins, so I had to dig up some extra goodies for this post.

This was the only duplicate in the box. As you can see, I didn't really have the foresight to save anything particularly amazing until the end of the season. I think this design was a pretty solid one for Upper Deck's second set.

From my own Blazers binder, here's a Terry Porter Fleer rookie card. Porter was going into his 3rd NBA season when this came out, but Fleer did not include him in their legendary first set. You can only fit so many players into a 132 card set, I suppose.

Another past Blazers playoff hero: Brian Grant. This isn't the Brian Grant that most Blazers fans would recognize, though. This shot was from before the lockout season where Grant apparently got bored and grew out some dreadlocks, which he became well known for. Grant went toe-to-toe and elbow-to-face with Karl Malone in a brutal playoff series in 1999 in a matchup that Malone should have won. Malone didn't win, and neither did his team, as Portland went onto the Western Conference finals before eventually losing to San Antonio.

Another Blazers playoff legend: the late, great Kevin Duckworth. This also happens to be one of the best basketball cards in all of history. Just look at it and try to tell me about one that's better.

That's right! World Champions! The Blazers are due! Exclamation points!!!!$$$!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Your Attention, Please

First off, I have some announcements to make. If you're all good and sit through these announcements without making a fuss, I may even post some images of baseball cards and the results of baseball card packs that I have purchased.

  • Cards on Cards is using Zistle now. For starters, I've begun with my Jim Edmonds collection (still a work in progress). I'm just trying the site out. It seems to have a lot of promise and it looks like the team behind it have great intentions of doing something really cool (and free) for those who want to stay organized with their cards and potentially end up with some trading partners. Check the link at the sidebar or, better yet, just go and sign up and give it a look.
  • One snide comment I made about Josh Beckett recently touched off some interesting conversation and sparked an inspired post over at Night Owl Cards. To make a long story rather short, I happen to agree with most of what he says. I just don't like to see pitches thrown at people's heads, as I'm sure no one else does, either.
  • I will make my "final" Blazers post here to wrap up the season and possibly talk about the playoffs in the next day or two, hopefully before the first playoff game tips off Saturday night (7:30 PM PDT on ESPN!) I say "final" because I fully intend this blog to be committed to baseball cards, yet I am not sure how I will handle the playoffs quite yet. It's a very exciting time to be a fan of both the Blazers and the Cardinals, that much is for certain. Perhaps I will just PhotoShop Rudy Fernandez's head on a bunch of old Score cards or something.
  • I've mentioned this before and had no takers, so I will mention it one final time. I have some codes from packs that I've purchased this year. Topps Town, Topps Attax (the code cards from the Topps base set) and some Upper Deck wrappers. If anyone out there has any use for this stuff, let me know and I'll e-mail the codes. I'm not sure what sort of value these codes might have for kids who can participate in the web stuff that Topps and UD have lined up.
So, here's what you really came for. I bought a couple of jumbo packs of 2009 Upper Deck at some point this year. I have no idea when or where this happened anymore, to be honest. Let's take a look.

Pack 1:
47 - Curt Schilling (Retired player. He sneaked a card into a 2009 set simply because he waited an entire year to retire, I guess.)
12 - Alex Romero

28 - Casey Kotchman
70 - Ryan Theriot (Did you know his last name spells out "The Riot"? Oh, you did? Is that so? Did you know the Cubs are lame? Think about that for awhile!)
123 - Jeff Francis
186 - Ervin Santana
130 - Gary Sheffield (I hadn't really realized just how many players have changed teams since the end of last year until I started going through these cards.)

193 - Chad Billingsley
465 - Manny Ramirez Season Highlights (A Red Sox card, with a smashed corner to boot.)

SQ-19 - Miguel Cabrera Starquest Common (The Starquest design isn't too bad, I suppose, but I'm not thrilled with the violetish coloring on the "common" cards. I don't know what colors the other versions are.)

479 - Albert Pujols Team Checklist (The Machine)
415 - Conor Gillaspie (RC)
293 - Pedro Feliz
208 - Blake DeWitt (Recently demoted.)
259 - Ivan Rodriguez (Pictured with the Yankees, now with the Astros)
387 - Alex Rios (His HR total went back to where he's normally at - 15 - but he nearly doubled the number of steals last season from past seasons.)
370 - Eric Hinske (Now a Pirate, but not the bad kind.)
380 - Vicente Padilla
5 - Orlando Hudson (A Dodger now)
68 - Ted Lilly
49 - Dustin Pedroia (I still help but feel that Pedroia will go on to be considered the worst player ever to win Rookie of the Year and MVP in consecutive seasons.)
142 - Jeremy Hermida

163 - Mike Aviles (Team Puerto Rico!)
128 - Edgar Renteria (Was a Tiger, now a Giant)
191 - Manny Ramirez
496 - Joe Mauer Team Checklist
412 - Aaron Cunningham (RC)

SQ-3 - Alfonso Soriano Starquest Common (Erin, hide your eyes.)

447 - Rockies Team Leaders (Speaking of guys changing teams, only one of these Rockies stuck around for 2009.)
498 - Jack Cust Team Checklist
242 - Jose Reyes
225 - Denard Span (One of my multi-team fantasy guys this year.)
206 - Chin-Lung Hu
397 - Wily Mo Pena
312 - Jake Peavy

363 - Carlos Pena (Pictured with his Silver Slugger award. I believe he only won in 2007, so perhaps he was presented with the award at the beginning of the 2008 season since he's shown in the newer Rays uniform.)

Pack 2:
1 - Randy Johnson (Randy is pictured with the D-Backs but is now with the Giants.)
64 - Kerry Wood (Cubs ---> Indians)
27 - Tim Hudson
92 - Juan Uribe
194 - Russell Martin

152 - Roy Oswalt (I feel like I've softened up a bit on the Astros in the past couple of years. But this stupid team likes to play dead every season, no matter how much or little talent they have and somehow always catch fire late in the season. It's embarrassing that they caught the Cards last year and I'm hoping that this year, where it seems like they've dropped off talentwise even further, that they won't be a problem for the Cards this season at any point.)
117 - Ubaldo Jimenez
493 - Carlos Quentin Team Checklist
404 - Phil Coke (RC) (When spoken outloud, his name is a verb followed by a noun. I guess my name isn't far from doing that as well.)

SQ-4 - Chipper Jones Starquest Common
485 - Tim Lincecum Team Checklist (According to the back, the poor Giants only have 12 cards in the entire 500 card Series 1 set, including this card and a Team Leaders card.)
424 - Michael Bowden (RC)
265 - Johnny Damon
250 - Johan Santana
267 - Hideki Matsui
365 - Jonny Gomes (Gomes only hit .182 last year. Ouch.)

348 - Adam Wainwright (Wainwright has been fairly shaky so far in 3 starts, but has a 2-0 record to show for it.)
399 - Cristian Guzman
57 - Kevin Youkilis
8 - Eric Byrnes (Ugh.)
71 - Mark DeRosa (Like Wood, a Cleveland player now.)
36 - Daniel Cabrera (Lousy pitcher who still makes 30 starts a year for some reason.)
180 - Jered Weaver
159 - Jose Valverde

103 - Jay Bruce (Oh come on, Reds, you're better than that. I thought this was only a Padres thing.)
166 - Gil Meche
458 - Angels Team Leaders

SQ-11 - Hanley Ramirez Starquest Common

453 - Diamondbacks Team Leaders
462 - Jon Lester Season Highlights (The no-hitter)
233 - Jason Kubel
216 - Corey Hart (Bleh.)
284 - Frank Thomas

382 - Jesse Litsch (The Jays are doing pretty well for themselves so far this season. With Roy Halladay as a teammate, this guy gets overlooked by a lot of people, but he seems to have good numbers on the back of his card.)
364 - Akinori Iwamura
398 - Ronnie Belliard (Quite a character.)