Saturday, October 30, 2010

Good Luck Ducks, Week 9: How Far We Have Come

I was 14 years old when the Oregon Ducks made a bowl game for the first time in 26 years. In fact, it was the first time that either Oregon or Oregon State had done anything worth talking about on the football field in my lifetime. Bill Musgrave had taken over at quarterback for Chris Miller, whose promising NFL career was cut short by concussion-seeking missiles full of concussions, and all of a sudden Oregon was in a bowl game. It was 1989. Head coach Rich Brooks would eventually lead the underdog, defensive minded Ducks team all the way to the Rose Bowl and the cusp of national respectability on New Year's Day in 1995. The Ducks were stomped by Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions' perfect season.

The following season, a new head coach brought new bowl game experiences and the expectation of winning season to the program. Year after year, Oregon was picked to finish in the upper crust of the Pac-10 Conference, and usually did. But there were many setbacks along the way. Seasons were derailed by the inability to defend a pass. Larger programs had their way with the Ducks. Simply making it to a bowl game was hardly enough anymore, and it often showed in the players performances under Mike Bellotti's watch if Oregon found itself in a lower-tiered bowl. Ever since Chip Kelly arrived in 2007, however, things have been remarkably different. Only a horrific knee injury to Dennis Dixon kept the Ducks out of the national title picture in Kelly's first season as offensive coordinator. Kelly's offense was able to take a 5th string QB to the Holiday Bowl in 2008, capped off by a victory over Oklahoma State. And when Kelly fully took over the program last season, Oregon found itself back in the Rose Bowl for the first time in 15 years.

And now, they stand as the #1 team in the country, unless you don't have a pulse. Tonight they face USC, who are underdogs at home for the first time since 2001. Every game will be nerve-wracking from here on out, but Oregon faces a Trojans team that realizes they are playing the best team they will face all season. There is no bowl game for USC this year. However, every team Oregon will face from here on out will be saying the same thing. This is the premiere team in the conference and one of the best - if not the best - in the entire country. Every opponent should be bringing everything they've got to these games.

Game time is 5:00 PDT at the LA Coliseum. ABC is providing regional coverage, because apparently teams on probation these days are still allowed on TV.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blatant Contest Promotion Post

Greg Oden wants you to GET FREE CARDS. Go here now. (P.S. They're baseball cards.)

FREE CARDS! Brought to you by the Georgia Mindset.

Airbrushed Fridays: 1974 Topps #412

Sunday is my birthday (yes, Halloween), so the blog will be quiet for a couple of days following my Saturday Ducks post. I do have some packages in the works for, among others: Cardboard Collections, The Card Chop, Nr Mt, Too Many Grandersons and Thoughts and Sox. I also have the biggest box of cards I've ever sent to anyone all taped up and leaning against the front door for the genius mind behind Smed's Baseball Card Blog. In fact, today's post is brought to you by that very same blogger, who's most recent post has unlocked a memory I thought I never had about a long lost Bo Jackson card. Man, I miss the early '90s.

Chuck Taylor was, to be perfectly honest, not nearly as famous as the guy who influenced a shoe line that has endured for nearly 100 years and revolutionized the design of a basketball. This man pitched baseballs for a living, lasting portions of 8 major league seasons in relief (and a starting role with the Cardinals) with pretty respectable numbers.

Why did Topps airbrush Chuck's photo? Signed as a free agent at the start of the 1973 season, Taylor made only 8 appearances with Montreal in his first year. He made few friends at Topps for being the only paid athlete with sideburns in the 1970s to oppose any sort of drug culture, according to the cartoon on the back.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? Actually, this is probably the least terrible airbrushing job I've run into so far with cards from this era. That isn't saying a whole lot, however. His cap is pretty noticeably "drawn" and he could just as well be wearing a snuggie with a collar line made from permanent markers.

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, October 27, 2010

Tipoff Time - Part Two

Here's part two of the blaster I started late Monday night. 22 packs for 12.99 is a great deal for just about anything these days.

Pack 12:
9 - Richard Hamilton (He wears his mask to bed.)
38 - Jose Calderon
NBA-JH - J.J. Hickson Throwback Classics Jersey (Hey, check it out! #23 for the Cavs! Uh... J.J. Hickson? "NBA Rookie Photo Shoot memorabilia"? Ehhhhh.)
20 - Hedo Turkoglu (After spurning the Blazers in the '09 offseason, Hedo has extremely unspectacular. He toiled for a year in his beloved Toronto and didn't impress against the Blazers last night in his first game with Phoenix.)
95 - Dwyane Wade

Pack 13:
106 - Luke Walton
180 - Al Thorton (Not to be confused with Al Horford, Al Jefferson or Al Iverson.)
181 - Cuttino Mobley
144 - Jason Kidd

53 - Josh Smith (Ferocious dunker. The Raptors guy in the background looks absolutely mortified, even though Smith is probably just going to bank in a layup.)

5 - Rajon Rondo (I'm banking on this guy to build on his playoff success and have a big season because he's on my fantasy team.)
60 - Troy Murphy
45 - Andre Iguodala

Pack 14:
107 - Sasha Vujacic
183 - Corey Brewer
169 - Bobby Brown (Don't be cruel.)

236 - Derrick Rose / Michael Beasley / O.J. Mayo (This year's Fleer version of the Bird/Magic/Erving classic 1980-81 Topps card, I suppose, although these guys haven't all lived up to their potential yet for a variety of reasons.)
72 - Kirk Hinrich
75 - Gerald Wallace
82 - Andrew Bogut
64 - Sean Williams

Pack 15:

109 - Chris Paul (Chris Paul is like Ichiro is for me in baseball. I get his cards a lot it seems.)
105 - Lamar Odom
187 - Mike Miller (I almost drafted this guy, but am glad now that I didn't since he's going to be out for awhile.)

86R-175 - Anthony Randolph '86 Rookies
79 - Adam Morrison (Thank goodness the Blazers didn't "Draft the 'Stache".)
30 - Caron Butler
87 - Charlie Bell
92 - Quentin Richardson (The doubles are starting to pile up.)

Pack 16:
193 - Marko Jaric

168 - Steve Blake (The former Blazer hit the game deciding shot last night for... ugh... nevermind. I don't want to talk about it.)
194 - Javaris Crittenton (Gilbert Arenas's gun-totin' locker room buddy.)

99 of 132 - Kevin Martin '88
19 - Jameer Nelson
24 - Zydrunas Ilgauskas (Greg Oden can surely look at Big Z for some comfort as he gets ready to return to the court once again. This big man missed nearly four of his first five seasons, but suddenly became very reliable beginning in '02.)
23 - LeBron James
89 - Eddy Curry

Pack 18:
111 - Peja Stojakovic
162 - C.J. Watson
184 - Randy Foye (Minnesota traded Brandon Roy on draft day to get this guy. Ouch!)

86R-178 - Roy Hibbert '86 Rookies
57 - T.J. Ford
61 - Jeff Foster
31 - Brendan Haywood
80 - Jared Dudley

Pack 19:
115 - Tony Parker (It'll be interesting to see how good the Spurs are this year. Even the usually lousy Western Conference teams this year look tough.)
110 - Hilton Armstrong

149 - Erick Dampier
208 - Joe Alexander
6 - Leon Powe
26 - Anderson Varejao
4 - Glen Davis (I could see a Big Baby and Shaq sitcom or reality show in the works.)
90 - Stephon Marbury

Pack 20:
188 - Sebastian Telfair (One reason to be glad that you can't draft players straight out of high school anymore.)

166 - Brandon Roy (A healthy Brandon Roy is a good thing for the Blazers. Oceans are wet.)
190 - Rudy Gay

123 of 132 - Kevin Garnett All-Star '88 (This is supposed to be based on the '88-'89 design and even has the same backs as the rest, but it uses a '89-'90 design for the front of the card. This is pretty ill-conceived.)
74 - Larry Hughes
66 - Keyon Dooling
47 - Louis Williams
10 - Jason Maxiell

Pack 21:
197 - Chris Wilcox (Bring back the Sonics! Do something worthwhile for once, David Stern, instead of coercing the refs into calling strangely picky technical fouls. Also, stop running your league like the mafia only to turn around and whine about how many teams are losing money.)
177 - Chris Kaman
203 - O.J. Mayo

86R-167 - Kevin Love '86 Rookies (Love would have been a hero in this state had he chosen to stick around and play basketball at Oregon or even Oregon State, but instead he's met with indifference at best.)
100 - Dorell Wright
18 - Rashard Lewis
11 - Tayshaun Prince
58 - Mike Dunleavy

Pack 22:
172 - Francisco Garcia
117 - Manu Ginobili (Can he stay healthy for an entire season?)
174 - John Salmons

SS-11 - Leandro Barbosa Sharp Shooters (A pretty slick looking insert that reminds me of an early-'90s design.)
16 - Maurice Evans
51 - Al Horford
33 - DeShawn Stevenson
48 - Thaddeus Young

That's it, everyone. It's back to baseball around here for the most part. Hopefully I still have a few readers left.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Do Chris Carpenter, a Lion and a Subpar Infielder Have In Common?


Except, well...

They're all represented on cards sent to me recently by TheBrooklynMet from Clear Cut Cards. With his help, I turned my cool looking (but ultimately useless to me) hit from a box I bought last month into a slick Chris Carpenter serial-numbered jersey card.


Big opening night win for the Blazers tonight. They're on ESPN tomorrow night for the late game of the doubleheader. We'll get to finally see what Blake Griffin is all about.

Tipoff Time (One More Time)

It's that time of year again! No, not THAT time of year, but this time. Only this year, not like last year. I found this lovely thing sitting neglected on a lower shelf at some large super store chain out in the suburbs. I know this isn't baseball cards, but at 22 packs for only $12.99, this could have NASCAR drivers on it for all I care. Actually, no...

Here's the first half of the box, to which I strategically repositioned the sale price sticker so we wouldn't have to look at this clown's face. And... dare I say... Go Blazers! I'm heading out to the Rose Garden after work tonight to catch the opening game against the Suns, the very team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season. The schedule-makers like to do that sort of thing.

The first two packs were of the all-glossy parallel variety, with a twist in that the borders are bronze-ish. Surprisingly, they didn't even bother with a wrapper and just wrapper the glossy packs in clear plastic.

Pack 1:
87 - Charlie Bell
92 - Quentin Richardson (Does he still do the horns thing? Does Darius Miles?)

23 - LeBron James (What an unbelievable pile of waste. I'm just showing this off in case anyone out there actually likes him and wants his card. I have a few others.)
89 - Eddy Curry
128 - Ronnie Brewer
191 - Kyle Lowry
148 - Brandon Bass

208 - Joe Alexander (The rookie cards are clearly made before there was any game action for them to take place in. I suppose this is better than the draft day pics that they used to use back in the day.)

Pack 2:
70 - Ben Gordon
85 - Ramon Sessions (Does he really pronounce his name Ruh-MAWN? Who decided this?)
31 - Brendan Haywood
80 - Jared Dudley (No relation to the former Blazers center turned gubernatorial candidate.)
123 - Deron Williams
142 - Raja Bell

195 - Kevin Durant (Durant's a huge star these days. What's up with that crazy looking uniform that he's wearing?)

MJ-2 - Michael Jordan Retrospective

Pack 3:

163 - LaMarcus Aldridge (Back to the regular design here. Nice to get a Blazer right off the bat. I keep hearing good things about the L-Train lately. Hopefully they'll translate to good regular season results.)
119 - Kurt Thomas
114 - Morris Peterson

245 - J.R. Giddens / Walter Sharpe / Joey Dorsey (In a nod to the classic 1980-1981 Topps basketball cards, they printed some rookies in a three-player strip. I think these are short printed.)
94 - David Lee (The subject of just about every conceivable trade rumor, Lee finally switched teams and headed to the Bay Area this offseason.)
14 - Antonio McDyess
54 - Marvin Williams
36 - Andrea Bargnani

Pack 4:
154 - J.R. Smith (Likes to dunk.)
147 - Jason Terry
141 - Boris Diaw (Confusing player who can play every position.)

86R-185 - Darrell Arthur '86 Rookies (Fleer has really milked this design over the years.)
42 - Elton Brand
15 - Keith Bogans

12 - Rasheed Wallace (How could you not love this face?)
34 - Nick Young

Pack 5:
192 - Hakim Warrick
175 - Mikki Moore (Pronounced like Mikey but looks like it should sound like Mickey.)
186 - Rashad McCants
130 - Tracy McGrady

78 - Raymond Felton (Ladies and gentlemen... your new New York Knicks starting point guard.)
63 - Yi Jianlian
43 - Samuel Dalembert
84 - Michael Redd

Pack 6:
178 - Shaun Livingston
131 - Yao Ming

224 - George Hill

2 of 132 - Al Horford '88 (This is another insert based on the 1988-89 Fleer design. I like this design better than the '86 one, to be honest. I know, that's probably blasphemy.)
55 - Acie Law IV
93 - Nate Robinson
21 - Anthony Johnson
8 - Chauncey Billups

Pack 7:
189 - Mike Conley
200 - Desmond Mason
120 - Bruce Bowen
86R-188 - J.R. Giddens '86 Rookies
83 - Charlie Villanueva
25 - Delonte West (Lock up your mothers!)

29 - Gilbert Arenas (Not a very normal guy. He strongly resembles the actor Jesse L. Martin.)
27 - Daniel Gibson

Pack 8:
132 - Luis Scola (For legal reasons, I am not allowed to show Scola's hair on this blog. Be grateful.)
145 - Josh Howard

215 - Robin Lopez (Lopez represents the enemy in tonight's game. At least they don't have 'A'm'a'r'e' anymore.)

AS-24 - Tracy McGrady All-Star Sensations (McGrady took a pretty steep fall from prominence. He's been in the league a long time, but he's only 31.)
91 - Zach Randolph
98 - Alonzo Mourning

46 - Andre Miller (Second current Blazer of the box.)
41 - Jamario Moon

Pack 9:
173 - Brad Miller (Hugely unlikable.)

136 - Grant Hill
116 - Tim Duncan
125 - Kyle Korver
37 - Chris Bosh
50 - Zaza Pachulia
88 - Jamal Crawford
62 - Vince Carter

Pack 10:
198 - Damian Wilkins
152 - Allen Iverson (I read earlier that he's going to play in Turkey for a couple of years. He must really, really not like coming off the bench.)
223 - Kosta Koufos

86R-171 - Brook Lopez '86 Rookies (The other, better Lopez twin. They kind of creep me out.)
39 - Jermaine O'Neal
96 - Daequan Cook
40 - Anthony Parker
52 - Joe Johnson (I think that's something like 10 Hawks already.)

Pack 11:
129 - Shane Battier
146 - Jerry Stackhouse (THE Jerry Stackhouse.)
134 - Carl Landry
101 - Kobe Bryant
67 - Josh Boone
28 - Maurice Williams
65 - Devin Harris (Another message board trade favorite. Why did ESPN have to invent that stupid trade machine anyway?)

69 - Luol Deng

Part 2 will be up fairly soon... too soon, I'm sure, for most of you baseball fans.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Airbrushed Fridays: 1990 Topps #713

I know you're all sad that the Yankees haven't been eliminated yet. Will tonight be the night? I'm gonna say... nope.

Tim Drummond was a right-handed reliever who had a short professional career which included brief major league stints with the Pirates and Twins. There's no evidence to suggest that he ever jammed with Conway Twitty, unlike this other Tim Drummond.

Why did Topps airbrush Tim's photo? Drummond spent the better part of two seasons in the Mets system before coming to the Twins just before the trade deadline in a swap that saw Frank Viola and Rick Aguilera switch sides. Yes, they still airbrushed cards in 1990. I think I might have to come up with some sort of handsome reward for the first person who can provide evidence of an airbrushed card that was released after 1990, because I'm not sure that one exists.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? Drummond might well be wearing a Mets cap, even though he never reached the majors with New York. There's an uncertain 'M' Twins logo on the cap instead. By the way, does anyone miss this Twins logo? They went back to using the classic 'TC' logo ages ago. Also, Drummond kind of looks like a creep here. Let's just hope he was having a bad picture day.

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, October 21, 2010

Good Luck Ducks, Week 8: #1 With a Target

After a much needed Bye Week to lick their wounds and smooth out the feathers a bit (sorry!), the Ducks find themselves ranked #1 in every poll voted on ranked by something with a brain and a conscience for the first time in school history. As much as it was exciting to wake up late Sunday morning to confirm that the Ducks indeed were #1 in all the land, the feelings disappeared just hours later when relatively untested Oklahoma Sooners took all of the accolades of a #1 BCS ranking upon its first release of the season. With that comes all of the pressure, as the last two #1 ranked teams have lost in as many weeks. Even though Oregon won't have the little #1 next to their name in the scorebox tonight, they know that they too have a major undertaking to do every week for the next six weeks. Oregon cannot simply just win every week to stay in the national championship hunt. They have to win big every time.

Tonight's opponent is UCLA, known as much for their stunning domination of Texas as their embarrassing losses and anemic offense this year. There's no doubt that the Bruins will try amd force the running game - the only thing working for them this season - down the throats of the Ducks O-Line, but Oregon survived and ultimately stuffed Stanford's attack already this season. I am confident that they will beat UCLA by a sizable margin if everyone plays their game they way they should.

Thanks again are due to Too Many Grandersons for a numbered jersey swatch of D-Will, who so far has yet to catch on with another NFL team after being released by the Ravens at the beginning of the season. Someone give this man a call! I'm sure there's a concussed receiver out there somewhere who is in need of a replacement.

Game time is 6:00 PDT tonight at Autzen with national TV coverage on ESPN and ESPN 3D, whatever that is. Seriously... what is that?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Blaster From The Present-ish

I picked this blaster up over the weekend at K-Mart. (Yes, those still exist, apparently.) The design of the box is different from the ones I usually see at Target in that it's not prepriced (meaning that certain, unscrupulous sporting goods chains can mark up the usual retail price of these things without being super obvious) and some of the sample cards are arranged differently. No Cardinals were harmed in the opening of this blaster. In fact, there were no Cards on cards in this box at all.

Pack 1:
88 - Kosuke Fukudome (The thought that the Cubs might get rid of this guy is kind of hilarious considering the huge deal that was made over his arrival.)
103 - Niccolo Machiavelli
292 - Chris Pettit (This is officially the card I've pulled the most from this set.)

339 - Ben Sheets (It's easy for me to forget about Ben Sheets.)

35 - John Lackey Mini
TDH57 - Miguel Tejada This Day in History
- Checklist 1 of 4

Pack 2:
4 - Prince Fielder
107 - Adam Dunn
85 - Yunel Escobar (Rough year for this guy.)
41 - Daniel Hudson

MM24 - Carnotaurus Monsters of the Mesozoic Mini (Dinosaur card! I still need lots of these. Let me guess... this guy loves meat!)

TDH49 - Justin Morneau This Day in History

Pack 3:
250 - Magglio Ordonez
83 - David Wright
321 - Carlos Gomez

341 - Jon Garland (Two minis in the same pack?)

273 - David DeJesus Mini A&G Back (It looks like DeJesus is doing some crazy dance.)
TDH46 - Yovani Gallardo This Day in History

Pack 4:
202 - Aramis Ramirez
274 - Nick Markakis (Markakis was pretty disappointing in 2010. For some reason I thought he was injured, but it turns out he was just underwhelming.)
194 - Nyjer Morgan (There's playing the game "the right way" and then there's Nyjer Morgan.)
41 - Daniel Hudson (Again? Come on, this isn't 1994.)

NA32 - Bulldog National Animals Mini
TDH37 - Ichiro Suzuki This Day in History

Pack 5:
117 - Neil Walker (Useful Pirates player, which means he'll be traded soon enough.)
62 - Matt Kemp
340 - Brad Lidge

327 - Vernon Wells (Double SPs again?)

CLMJ6 - Paul Bunyan Creatures of Legend, Myth & Joy (Joy! There's a giant Paul Bunyan statue in North Portland that's pretty amazing/ridiculous.)
TDH23 - Dan Haren This Day in History (I was disappointed to see Haren dealt to the Junior Circuit, but at least there will be fewer reminders for me of the winning end of the Mulder deal.)

Pack 6:
289 - Hanley Ramirez
56 - Shin-Soo Choo

38 - Tiago Della Vega (This kid looks like one of my neighbors.)
251 - Chase Headley
- Crack the Code ad

LO9 - Artemis Lords of Olympus Mini
TDH12 - Andre Ethier This Day in History

Pack 7:
207 - Wandy Rodriguez
24 - Brandon Webb
224 - Ian Stewart
342 - Erik Bedard (Only one SP? But now I'm spoiled!)
111 - Josh Willingham Mini A&G Back
TDH2 - Stephen Drew This Day in History

Pack 8:
170 - Adrian Gonzalez

120 - Nick Swisher (I'm not a big Swisher fan, but here's to a little Yankees luck...)
282 - Tyson Ross (No idea who this is. He sounds like a reality show contestant.)
12 - Jesus Flores

SSS8 - Henry Hudson Sailors of the Seven Seas
TDH19 - Robinson Canooooooooo

Well, that wasn't all bad. At least I needed about half of the cards. I've updated my want list with the contents of this break and still am in the process of adding the cards that I received in the mail yesterday. Thanks, guys!