Friday, March 30, 2012

Airbrushed Fridays: 2012 Topps Opening Day #150

We're down to the Final Four in that college basketball tournament thing, with the semifinal games scheduled for tomorrow. Stats on the Back is sitting in the drivers seat right now, with the venerable Colonel Panic sitting in 2nd place with the most potential points overall. Tenets of Wilson has locked up last place, assuring bragging rights for years to come.

Jose Bautista is one of the game's premier power hitters. As if by magic, he suddenly flipped a switch at the end of the 2009 season and started hitting balls out of the field of play like he was transformed into a new slugging mechanical man. If you take a look at his numbers leading up to the past two seasons where he combined for 97 HRs, he struggled a lot more than he slugged. In 2004 alone, he played for four different MLB teams, scraping by for plate appearances wherever they could be found.

Why did Topps airbrush Jose's photo? By now, you've all probably seen the atrocious Marlins Photoshopped cards from this set, so I thought I'd go with a lesser known Blue Jays version. For some reason Topps has focused on trying to get a new uniform/logo look on their players for the Opening Day set. And I get why some people support this, but I think it just looks tacky. Of course, Bautista didn't change teams, but it was apparently really important to get an approximation of this year's return-to-quasi-retro Jays look. (Don't get me wrong, I fully support this logo change.)

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? I guess I explained this above. It was Photoshopped.

If you are interested in obtaining a card featured here, please send me an e-mail. If you have a card you would like to nominate for Airbrushed Fridays, please get in touch as well. I will require that I am able to see the card in person, either on loan or as a donation, so that I can examine the card and experience it in all its cruddiness.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Some Inserts

I don't have a lot to say about 2012 Topps, but I know some people like to collect the inserts. Whether you're a team collector, a player collector or a set completist, inserts usually offer something for everyone. Drop me a line if you need any of these.

I'm not wild about these. Why is there a bunch of white stuff at the bottom of the design? Is this symbolic of the "golden moment" memory fading away?

These, on the other hand, look much better to me than some of the duo inserts of past years.

These are great.

Was I smart for drafting Posey on one of my fantasy teams this year, or did I take a huge risk? I feel like I took a number of risks this year, and I even went for some old geezers that I usually stay far away from (Jeter, Ichiro...)

Do you think anyone called Gehrig "King of the Slams" in his day? What an awkward title.

 Roidy, Princey and Crazy Jerky?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rick Ankiel is Not Impressed

Opening Day, or a reasonable facsimile, is rapidly approaching us so I thought I'd check in on some former Cardinals to see what they're up to these days. All of these cards came to me courtesy of Six-4-Three DP in a trade that went down last month.

Rick Ankiel still figures into the Washington Nationals plans after going through a pretty dreadful season in the nation's capital last year. Washington re-signed him, I can only presume, for his defense. I was a huge fan of Ankiel the Pitcher, and he really did put together a brilliant season-and-a-quarter for the Cardinals in his reincarnation as an outfielder. Unfortunately, it's not 2008 anymore.

Brian Barton is an actual rocket scientist, and was also the first Cardinals Rule V draft pick of recent memory, or at least since I understood what a Rule V pick meant. Erik Komatsu, incidentally, looks like a candidate this year to stick with the big club. He would be the first Rule V'er to break camp with St. Louis since Barton. Meanwhile, according to his own very strange but elaborate website, Brian Barton is playing in the Mexican League this year.

Joel Piñeiro signed a minor league deal with the Phillies but didn't make the team. No one misses Dave Duncan and His Amazing Traveling Circus of Pitching Wonder more than Piñeiro. There are so many mediocre and terrible pitchers out there, however, that I would be surprised if he didn't catch on with someone sometime this season.

Anthony Reyes was once a big deal. He had a couple of fleeting moments of brilliance with the Cards and was off to a promising start in Cleveland after being cut loose. Now, when I type his name in to Google's news search engine, someone named "Anthony Rendon" comes up instead no matter what I do. That can't be a good sign.

Joe Mather was never more than a fringe player/occasional call-up for St. Louis, but it appears that he's about to break camp with the Cubs. I'd be happy for him, but it's the Cubs, so I guess I will just shrug my shoulders and hope he doesn't break out any Aaron Miles-esque quotes about being ready to "play baseball the right way."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Better Than a Blaster: Bazooka Blasts

I'm trying to make a conscious effort in 2012 to reallocate what I feel I would normally spend on a blaster on something I'm a little more interested in. Now that Heritage is apparently out, I'm sure I will spend some cash on that set, but there isn't much else being released this year that I'm truly excited about. I've only purchased a grand total of 5 base 2012 Topps packs this year and I did break down and buy some Opening Day cards.

As mentioned earlier on this blog, I bought some loose hobby packs of 2006 Bazooka online - 10 to be exact. I went back to the same seller and picked up 10 more. This time I will spare everyone the gory details and just post a few images here and there rather than the blow-by-blow account.

Here's Michael Morse from his previous life as a Mariners organizational spare part.

It seems really weird to get Barry Bonds cards in packs now. This was at the most ridiculous point in Barry's career, where he apparently was so fatigued from being hulked up all the time that he couldn't bear to stand on his own.

Fausto is now known as the much less interesting Roberto Hernandez, and may or may not pitch again for the Tribe. I wonder if Bazooka Joe was sad to learn of the fate of one of his 220 favorite players.

It's equally as weird to get Clemens cards in this day and age. I wonder if and when Clemens will be welcomed back into baseball in some capacity.

Chipper Jones is one of the few players still around that was drafted when I was in high school. It looks like this season will be his last, which means he'll get to do that whole farewell tour thing that Bobby Cox did awhile back.

It's actually kind of frustrating that Roy Oswalt decided to play chicken with the Cardinals (and others) only to eventually settle on sitting out the first couple of months of the season. I'll just cross my fingers and hope that Lance Lynn is good and the rest of the back of the Cardinals rotation is not terrible while we wait on the end of Chris Carpenter's indefinite hiatus.

Stickers! On a card!

This is a pretty good "hit" as far as 2006 "hits" go. I could have easily ended up with Mark Prior or something. This makes two hits in the 20 packs I've purchased from this seller. It's nice to know that someone out there isn't searching their packs, not that there's probably much of a market for 2006 Bazooka memorabilia.

It's time to update the want list again.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kirby Puckett Wants YOU to Play Fantasy Baseball

It's that time a year again! It's the time of year where all your based-ball related fantasies play out over tables of meticulously scrutinized data, all for mere bragging rights over your friends-turned-enemies. To make a long story short, some friends of mine are short a few participants in a fantasy baseball league that we do every year and time is running short. Please leave a comment here or send me an email if you might be interested in joining up with a NL-only, head-to-head league that ohbytheway just happens to be holding its draft tomorrow night. Before you go off all commenting half-cocked, here are some things to think about in bulletpointed fashion:
  • Like any good fantasy league, in order to be successful you must actually commit to playing out the full season. This is probably the most difficult thing about fantasy leagues in general.
  • You'd just be playing for bragging rights over people you've probably never met and never will meet. That being said, there's something to be said for "winning the internet" as the kids say these days.
  • If you are interested, it's possible that the slots will fill up anyway and we won't be able to invite you. That being said, all participants are welcome. I will try my best to get back to you by the end of today if there is a spot for you, so you have some time to prepare for tomorrow night's draft (7:15 PM PDT). I appreciate everyone that reads and comments on the blog (especially you, mighty spambot overlords) and it would be fun to be able to compete against you over the next six months.
Now that that bit of business is out of the way, here are some trading cards brought to you by reader Kary from WI. Kary sent over some crucial 1985 Fleer needs, including Kirby Puckett's rookie card, Mike Schmidt and Dale Murphy. There were more, too, but I'm just name dropping here.

The other half of the package was a bunch of Blazers basketball blasts from the past. It's been a rough season for the current Portland squad, but that doesn't stop these late '70s/early '80s gems from being a funky smash. Also, there really needs to be a retro uniform night featuring the classic lowercase home jerseys.

Here's a sweet sky hook from Ronnie Brewer's father, Ronnie Brewer.

Who doesn't miss the Sonics? Downtown Freddie Brown forever!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Airbrushed Fridays: 1976 Topps Traded #649T

Official baseball games are less than a week away, with the start of an oddly scheduled opening series in Japan between the Mariners and the A's, while everyone else is still in spring training. The Cardinals then open their title defense against the newly minted and hideously attired Miami Marlins a week later... while everyone else is still in spring training. And then, I suppose, there's Opening Day?

Dave Roberts was a left-handed starting pitcher who famously pitched for 11 teams in his 13 year career. Despite this card's suggestion, he did not play for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals. He passed away in 2009, a victim of lung cancer.

Why did Topps airbrush Dave's photo? It was hard to capture Roberts sitting around any one franchise for too long, as evidenced by how many times he changed uniforms over the course of his career. In this case, he was shipped by the Astros to Detroit as part of a 7-player swap, including such luminaries as Gene Pentz and Mark Lemongello (actual name.)

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? Dave is a wistful man without a team to identify with. And he has a poorly airbrushed cap.

If you are interested in obtaining a card featured here, please send me an e-mail. If you have a card you would like to nominate for Airbrushed Fridays, please get in touch as well. I will require that I am able to see the card in person, either on loan or as a donation, so that I can examine the card and experience it in all its cruddiness.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Melvin Nieves was rated the 39th best prospect in baseball according to Baseball America in 1993.

His card was also the last regular player card I needed to complete the 1993 Upper Deck set. If anyone has the Nolan Ryan 'SP6' card, please contact me. I will buy you a package of Heritage, or something. I'll also probably try to talk you into a trade.

Thanks to The Angels, In Order for Melvin's card.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ginter Winter

Even though summer is officially Allen & Ginter season, it feels like I acquired a lot more A&G cards this past winter than I did when you could easily find the stuff on the shelf. Reader Steve from IL was one of the many who sent packages my way containing Ginter cards that I needed for my various sets. He's a big reason why I am finally, yes, FINALLY done with a set that I started collecting through the blog. The 2010 set is more or less in the books, though I am still seeking inserts, minis and the like. Just check the link(s) on the sidebar if you have something you feel like getting rid of.

I'm not in much of a baseball mood tonight, so Buster Posey is the only baseball guy you're going to see. Instead, you get Carl Linnaeus, classification enthusiast.

The first modern battleship! Chock full of teak, apparently!

Spanish for "little cow", the vaquita is considered the world's most endangered marine mammal.

From cute, rare little porpoises to murder homes. Axe murder homes!

Thanks again to Steve for the trade.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

30 Teams in 30 Posts: #9

After a crazy week that saw two #15 seeds defeat their #2 seeded foes, a quick check of the March Radness contest scoreboard reveals that Cardboard Collections is in the lead, with Stats on the Back a close second. Stats on the Back is leading all participants in total possible points, which is often a better indicator of who is really in the lead. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Blackbirds and JABOs are sitting pretty in last place, though Potchy Potch and the Cardboard Bunch (that is the correct name, right?) has the fewest possible points at this time.

Meanwhile, we're back to the countdown, with actual baseball action just a couple of weeks away. Minnesota was my hometown Portland Beavers' parent club for several years when I was young, including while the Twins won the World Series in 1987 and 1991. For that reason, but not much else, I have some fondness for this franchise.

Favorite current Twins player: Francisco Liriano. I wouldn't call myself a fan, exactly, but Liriano was so dominant that one season (2006) early in his career that I can't help but pull for the guy.

Least favorite current Twins player: Jason Marquis. Yeah, I can't let it go. Marquis isn't my least favorite Cardinal of all-time, but I certainly can't think of any pleasant memories of watching him pitch for St. Louis. He wasn't bad with the bat, though, but that probably won't make much of a difference for him in the AL.

Favorite Twins player of all-time: Bernardo Brito. For someone who only had 76 plate appearances in his entire MLB career, you might think this is a strange choice. Brito, a classic AAAA player, was a personal favorite of mine during his time in Portland. He hit 120 HRs for the Beavers in 5 seasons to go with 295 in his minor league career.

Least favorite Twins player of all-time: Dan Gladden. Gladden was terrible at baseball (.707 career OPS as primarily a corner outfielder?) yet won two World Series rings, including one over my Cardinals. So frustrating. SI cover? Seriously?

The Minnesota Twins appear at #9 in my reverse-ranking of favorite teams as of the moment I picked them a long, long time ago on October 4th, 2010. All of these cards are very much up for trade, so please contact me if you're interested.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Airbrushed Fridays: 2012 Topps Opening Day #39

Well, it's only Day 2 of the Madness (or Radness, as I prefer) and I've already lost an Elite Eight team. I guess that's par for the course. I imagine a lot of people missed on Missouri. I was also successful in picking VCU and Colorado upsets, but there are a few glaring holes in my bracket already.

Michael Cuddyer is a right-handed hitting outfielder and corner infielder who was a first-time All-Star last year after 11 seasons in MLB. He hails from Norfolk, Virgina, home of the Norfolk St. Spartans who were the benefit of the huge Missouri upset.

Why did Topps airbrush this photo? After spending his entire career with the Minnesota Twins, Cuddyer signed a three year deal with the Colorado Rockies this past offseason.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? It's Photoshopped! That's what's wrong. Well, that and the 2012 season proper has not even begun, so there is no reason you would see an in-game photo of Cuddyer with Colorado yet.

If you are interested in obtaining a card featured here, please send me an e-mail. If you have a card you would like to nominate for Airbrushed Fridays, please get in touch as well. I will require that I am able to see the card in person, either on loan or as a donation, so that I can examine the card and experience it in all its cruddiness.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Putting a Bow On It

Sign-ups are still open for this year's March Radness contest. We're already at 26 participants, which means with just 3 more entries we will surpass last season.

This is the second time I'll mention JABOs in the same day. Kyle held the first group break I came across for 2012 Topps, and I was quick to snatch up the Cardinals. I also had the Rays, who I passed along to the Troll, and the Mets who are earmarked for one of my contest winners.

Here are some of the Cardinals I received:

2012 Topps was very kind to the Cardinals, and with good reason: they are the defending World Series champs. I will probably mention that a few more times this year. Adron Chambers was one of the more entertaining stories of the Cards' improbable run. He didn't factor into the playoffs, but he had some huge late game pinch hit appearances deep in their September drive to overtake the Braves. I will never forget his bases-clearing triple against the Mets.

I wasn't sure that the deciding NLDS game would be topped. Chris Carpenter won a pitching duel with Roy Halladay that was one of the most tense games I've ever watched. It's a bit disconcerting that Carp is already dealing with a neck problem after practically leading the planet in innings pitched last year, but hopefully he will be alright by April.

I do find it a bit confusing that all of the playoff cards have the World Series logo on them, regardless of whether or not they are from the World Series.

In 2006, the most memorable series to me was the NLCS, but that wasn't quite the case last year. It certainly felt like sweet revenge to see the Cards top their division rival (Brewers) in that series, though, but the series as a whole was a distant third to the nail-biting divisional series and the off-the-wall-bonkers World Series.

Best. Game. Ever. It won everything. I never thought for a moment that I could watch a Game 7 and feel like it didn't even matter as much because I had just seen everything you could ever want out of sports the previous game, but that's how amazing it was. I couldn't even find the words to make a proper blog post about it.

This card reminds me of the '80s "team leaders" Topps cards, probably because Berkman and Holliday are wearing the '80s style retros. I feel like there was a lot of high-fiving in the '80s. I'm glad we still do that.

Speaking of '80s, this insert set is one of the more pleasant surprises of the year, in a year that I don't really have much of an opinion one way or the other about the overall design. I would probably think about collecting these outside of my Cardinals collection, but I have so many other projects that haven't seen completion and I don't have a lot of reason to buy many Series 1 packs after this break as it is.

These... I'm not so impressed with.

Kyle tossed in a few Cardinal extras for me, including some 2003 Topps Shoe Box Collection cards. I don't know what they are, but I like their style!

Finally, here's an 'Ol Red bat card from 2004 Bazooka that was swapped out for a David Wright memorabilia card that I got in the break by virtue of having the Mets. Good stuff.