Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Big Spill 2: Heritage Boogaloo

Continuing on with Big Spill Week, I had a couple of large piles of 2013 Topps Heritage cards that were all discombobulated. I know that Card Anathema and My Cardboard Mistress were responsible for sending me the cards, and I selected nine of them to show you tonight. I am still in need of a ton of cards from this set, so drop me a line if you've got any to spare.

You really have to feel for Felix Hernandez, as long as you set aside your knowledge that he has more cash than some small countries at his disposal. The Mariners are many years removed from their last contending season, and he continues to take the mound every fifth day, having been - alongside Justin Verlander - the best pitcher in the game since the middle part of last decade.

There are a ton of Cardinals in this year's Heritage set, which also means that there's a ton of short prints. As with every other Cardinal in this post, I am still in need of a second card for the set proper. This Holliday short print is going in my Cardinals collection. Spankee also sent me the Yadier Molina action variation card, but that instantly went into Erin's stuff. That means I still need like 10 more Yadi cards from this set. Yikes.

Well, the Blue Jays run as AL East Favorites didn't last very long. R.A. Dickey has been ordinary. Jose Reyes is out for 3 months with an injury. And Josh Johnson has given up 16 runs in 19 2/3 innings. So... yikes.

This was the card I coveted most when I first saw the checklist for this set. Shelby Miller has been great so far in the rotation, while Trevor Rosenthal is still trying to find it in the bullpen... whatever "it" is.

Three seasons, two World Series rings, a Rookie of the Year award and an MVP award. Must be nice.

Let's see... which one of these guys do I want to punch? I'll give you a hint... it's not Yadi!

Wow, that's a really washed out picture. I don't understand this one. It's not like Wainwright switched teams so they had to do doctoring of his photo or anything.

Wei-Yin Chen is only 27, but he has 8 (!) seasons of Japanese professional baseball under his belt, plus his MLB rookie campaign of last year. He's looked good so far as an Oriole.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Big Spill

I try to be an organized person. Yesterday was not a good day for organization, as a couple of clumsy moments by yours truly conspired to topple over a bunch of stacks of cards that I had arranged neatly. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, but this particular calamity involved all of the unsorted stacks of cards that I've received in trades in recent weeks and have yet to blog about. One of the things about the trading process is that I'm a firm believer in giving each person that sends me cards their proper due on the blog, whether its their first trade or eighteenth trade with me. What happened yesterday, with stacks and stacks of cards falling all over themselves in a jumbled mess made me really grumpy for most of the day.

So with apologies to the rest of the bloggers and readers who have sent me cards lately, I am singling out two particulars: The Junior Junkie (who is responsible for the 3rd Bass card) and Thorzul Will Rule. Tonight's post is about what they sent me. I think. I still know who sent me cards and when they sent them, and I have a pretty good idea of who sent what. Thorzul, TJ and a couple of others (who I'll talk about tomorrow) had cards that were the most, well, jumbled. For this reason, I'm discarding my usual format and doing a couple of combined trade post. The rest of the week will be Big Spill Week, and then hopefully things will return to normalcy around here as I figure out a better system for storing my unsorted stuff.

A lot of card designs worked in patriotic elements in the early '00s because of tragic events in this country, and a lot of them end up looking rather cheesy. This one works well to my eyes, however.

Great photo here. I should mention that Thorzul's lot of cards was an unique sort of group break, where he was able to purchase a big lot of cards that represented some sort of '90s baseball card investor's shattered hopes and dreams. Brian Jordan was a fine player and an athletic curiosity, as he's one of the few to play at a high level in both the NFL and MLB. He just wasn't a superstar.

Seriously, there were a ton of Brian Jordan cards. He came to prominence in a stretch of really horrible Cardinals baseball - basically the Joe Torre pre-Yankees managerial era. La Russa would arrive and quickly turn the team into a contender, but Jordan eventually moved on and would make his only All-Star apperance in another uniform.

No, this card isn't made of a blinding radioactive ooze, but it sure looks that way.

I read a really sad (and scary) article today about Chris Duncan's battle with brain cancer. I had no idea of the extent of what he has been going through. He retired from the game at a young age due to some crazy injuries, and then developed a very serious brain tumor not long after his mother did. I think this one is from The Junior Junkie.

I have no idea who sent this to me. Help!

I get a lot of J.D. Drew cards. This is not one of the better looking designs that I've seen. Drew doesn't really evoke a lot of emotions for me anymore, but I know the one thing I'm feeling when I look at this card. It's not good.

On the other hand, I really like this Pacific Aurora design. I can't say the same about other Aurora cards I've mentioned recently.

The Thorzul package was full of Ray Lankford as well. Lankford was an even better player than Brian Jordan. Heck, he is one of the best outfielders that the franchise has ever seen, and that includes a lot of great players. He was just never Phenomenal with a capital P. Like Jordan, he also had just one All-Star appearance to his name, though he put up several outstanding seasons. Those outstanding seasons just happened to come in the shadows of the steroid monsters who were hitting 40-70 HRs a year in comparison to his "pedestrian" 30-something HRs.

Random '70s card alert! Speaking of lousy Cardinals teams, I hear the '70s were a lost decade for my favorite franchise.

So, my apologies, once again - I'll get this mess sorted out. And if you don't hear from me for awhile, it means the cards have collapsed on my body and have finally taken over my residence. Send help... or... beer. Yeah, that'll fix it!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Feeling Green

After dropping a home series with the Pirates, I can't help but feeling a little green about the way the Cardinals bullpen has performed. I suppose there's no better time than now to show off some of the Emerald parallels that I received from fellow Cardinals fan jamicfin of Unabashed Interest.

This will forever be one of my favorite cards, at least as far as the photo is concerned. Jon Jay has really struggled in April. He's been knocked out of the leadoff spot that he occupied after Rafael Furcal went down with an injury last year. Even though Jay is typically a .300 hitter and not the .200 hitter he's been in 2013, he's never had a high walk rate which is what you'd prefer out of the top of the order.

Matt Carpenter is the new leadoff guy. He walks a ton.

This guy throws hard and has a lot of promise. He needs to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate, though, because even pitchers who throw 100 mph are hittable if you know exactly where the ball is going to be.

I can't say enough about Adam Wainwright. Two years removed from Tommy John surgery, he's returned to elite status among starting pitchers.

We need more of this and fewer frustrating losses like this weekend's games.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 2013 Topps Opening Day #106

The first place Cardinals head into a weekend home series tonight with the second place Pirates, who they lead by a half game. How do you know it's still April baseball? Just take a look at the end of that last sentence. The NL Central remains a wide open race as it probably will continue to be for several months. St. Louis has found a new closer in Edward Mujica, at least for now, but the bullpen still remains a work in progress. Also, "work in progress" is usually a euphemism for "barrelful of suck".

Who is this week's victim, and why do we care? Trevor Bauer is a righty hurler who was the third overall draft pick less than two calendar years ago. He struggled in his few appearances with the Diamondbacks last season as a 21 year old, but his new team is tempted to continue to rush him to the majors.

Why is this a thing? Bauer was a big piece of a three team prospects-and-Shin-Soo-Choo-for-some-reason offseason deal that saw him join up with the Tribe. Cleveland has starting pitching woes currently, so it probably won't be long before the now-22 year old is back in the bigs. Bauer is Photoshopped into the new-for-2013 Cleveland uniform, which shows Topps is on the ball.

Airbrushed Fridays is a weekly feature as the name seems to imply. If you know of a card with an altered photograph that you'd like to see featured, please contact me. You probably won't win anything other than a hyperlink and two scoops of raisins are the reason Kellogg's Raisin Bran is so pleasin', but you never know!

Want Lists - Your Input?

I'm considering migrating my current want lists to a format that's more suitable to being easily updated on the fly - namely, those Google Docs spreadsheets that a bunch of you are so fond of. Does anyone find those cumbersome to navigate or have trouble viewing them on their browsers/devices? I don't want to hastily make this switch, since I've sadly put a lot of hours into maintaining the few meager want lists that I have right now.

While you ponder that question, I thought I'd sneak in some trade post material so you have something to look at. I received a few PWEs in recent weeks, the first of which was a out-of-nowhere 1966 Topps Tim McCarver "rub offs" thing from Thoughts and Sox. I don't fully understand it, but it's old and Cardinals-related. Pretty awesome, right? I used computer sorcerymagic to make McCarver read from left to right, as if I rubbed his likeness off and transferred him to my own skin. (I had to really dig deep to make this write-up family friendly.)

From SoCal came a Silver Slate parallel from Giants uberfan arpsmith. I have to admit to being really dumb, because even though we discussed this card in a blog comment somewhere, I had no idea what it was when it showed up in my mailbox. How is this a "silver" slate of any kind? This is blue, guys, BLUE. This is more blue than the Walmart parallels, that's for sure. I figured it out, though, and now I want more. I got hooked on the blue, Breaking Bad style.

Finally, from the Erin corner of the Cards on Cards collecting interest is this Troy Tulowitzki mini from last year's Gypsy Queen. Yes, last year's Gypsy Queen, as drab as it was, is looking better and better by the way when you compare it to the latest release.

The mini has a back. And that back is not the most common version! Huzzah! Thanks to Tenets of Wilson for the Jr. sized Tulo!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Don't Walk

Adam Wainwright finally walked a batter. After striking out 35 batters without a walk this season, he finally felt generous enough to give up a free pass to Bryce Harper tonight in the 6th inning for his first walk of the season. I'll celebrate the occasion, which resulted in an MLB record, by showing off his 2003 Topps Gold card that I picked up while doing a little COMC shopping last week. Wainwright is virtually unrecognizable here and it's not even the Braves uniform that I'm talking about. Still, I have very few cards of Wainwright as a Brave, so it was a nice get.

I picked up a few more cards for myself for around $1. This Chris Carpenter insert from the post-legit Upper Deck era would have me totally confused for the regular version of this card were it not for the serial numbering on the front. I don't see how this card is any more "gold" than his regular Portraits card.

I've had a hard time filling 2012 Topps Mini team set, probably because these cards just aren't all that plentiful. I just have to face the fact that I don't like cards that aren't Cardinals enough to justify spending big money on boxes.

Does this garden variety 1989 Topps Ozzie Smith card look bright to you? Does it have a little bit of a glow?

Because it's Tiffany! ... okay, fine, you knew that all along, didn't you? Who would bother to show off a card from this set if there wasn't something extra fancy about it?

I thought I'd tack on a couple of scans of recent Listia wins as well. I had never seen this design (well, not exactly this design) before, but it's some subset from the 2002 Fleer Tradition set. I like it.

Here's an example of something I would never pay cash for, but I pounced on it when all it cost me was some cybercurrency. Seriously, though, who really needs a high school portrait of Ozzie Smith... assuming this is even high school? I don't know what this is. It will get its share of eyerolls near the back of my Ozzie binder, but it's home to roost just the same.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ugly But Useful

As a follow-up to last night's post about a giant package I received from The Sandlot, I thought I'd come back around and show off the meat of the trade, which allowed Joe to dump a massive amount of cards from a set nobody seems to love. I got into collecting Bowman Heritage cards mostly because the 2007 set, it's last to date, was still everywhere in stores and was really affordable. Heritage cards are usually thick and "cardboardy", and stand in such stark contrast to everything else that is released now that I can't help but gravitate towards them even though they can be so gimmicky. I've slowly acquired cards from previous Bowman Heritage sets, and after picking up a bunch of packs of the 2006 stuff at a card show, I felt compelled to put together a want list. That's where The Sandlot came in, and now I really feel like I'm getting somewhere.

Casey Janssen is an under-the-radar closer for the Blue Jays that I thought I'd be all sorts of clever about and pick him for nearly all of my fantasy teams. The Jays added a ton of players and I thought that wins would come with those acquisitions. They haven't really gotten there yet, but Janssen is still their closer so it's not yet a total calamity.

Getting back to this particular set, though - I'm struck by how ugly it is. Is this the real reason that Bowman Heritage ran its course and no longer exists, or is it just because they ran out of designs? I'd love to see Topps bring back Bowman Heritage (and ditch Gypsy Queen at the very least) just so I could collecting something new and cardboardy again. Surely they could come up with a mild tweak on an old design, or perhaps use something that Bowman did once that's a little more obscure.

Speaking of ugly, I don't miss the old Devil Rays uniforms. Evan Longoria's prospect card is one of the key cards in this set, so it was great to be able to pick it up in a trade.

In addition to the foil parallels that will never scan well, there are mini parallels all over this thing. The Cards just finished up a four game series with the Phillies, and I have to admit to being a bit surprised that Chase Utley looks to be finally back to 100%. If he was a Cardinal, he'd be due for an oblique strain right about now, but he's not. And, allegedly, he's what's known as a "gamer".

Joe also tossed in a healthy portion of 2006 Turkey Red set, which is always a treat. Put side by side with the Bowman Heritage set from the same year, I'd choose this stuff every time, even if it's thinner and less cardboardy. I just feel like a lot of care was put into each individual card in the Turkey Red sets, even if they aren't all winners.

Retired players just look better on Turkey Red than their present day counterparts. I never really got to see Palmer pitch as he was in full underwear pitchman mode by the time I was hitting my formative years.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Night Cardinals

I've added a few sets to my want list this year, and Joe from The Sandlot decided to put a massive dent in one of those lists - 2006 Bowman Heritage. In a future post, I'll show off some of the more interesting and/or notable cards that I received, but this is not that post. This is the post about the extra Cardinals he was kind enough to throw in, as I watch a tightly contested Sunday Night Baseball matchup between the good guys and the Phillies. (And listen to John Kruk drone on and on about nothing...)

These little "throw in" touches are part of what makes trading so fun. I knew that I was going to get a ton of cards that I needed, but I had no idea what extra goodies awaited me, like some 1998 Topps Gallery cards. Some little optical tricks are employed here to make Lankford's bat look cartoonishly large.

It's Stan the Man, on a modern Turkey Red card. I also received a nice chunk of Turkey Red cards, but for tonight it's strictly Cardinals.

Albert. Does anyone miss Topps Co-Signers? I am pretty sure that I've never bought a Co-Signers pack, and I'm not even sure if I've ever seen one. I wish I could go back in time and buy packs at retail chains and hobby shops, not to score a bunch of incredible deals but just because so many things just aren't around anymore. I get really sick of seeing the same products on the shelf all the time and I knew others do as well.

Adam Wainwright is having quite a season so far. He has not issued a walk in his last 29 innings and is very close to breaking Pea Ridge Day's franchise record number of innings without a walk at 29 2/3. Pea Ridge Day also sounds more like an event than an actual human being.