Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 Teams in 30 Posts: #27

Just four slots from the bottom of the barrel, I never thought I'd find myself talking about a team that I generally think about with indifference. I suppose it's not the same kind of indifference that comes to me when I think about the Orioles. I've just never found anything to like about the Mets, ever. I can't even think of any players that I was slightly excited about, except perhaps when I was a young naive fool and Gregg Jefferies was all the rage, back in the days of yore when the rivers ran rich with '88 Score. There isn't a lot of hatred here, but there's something really unlikable about the Mets that almost always trumps whatever opponent they might be facing.

The pickins are slim with this lot, as you can tell. This is a very Tom Seaver heavy post, and considering that both his and Nolan Ryan's tenures with the Mets were before my time, I don't really have anything against them. In fact, I really like these Then and Now hologram inserts, so you might have a bit of a time trying to pry this from my cold dead hands.

This card is far from perfection, just to warn you. I actually have another copy of this card, in noticeably worse condition.

Favorite current Mets player: Jason Bay. Bay hasn't amounted to anything in his brief Mets career, and I'm sure that he's the scourge of every good hearted Mets fan everywhere. But he's a former Portland Beaver (and a Canadian.) Like I said, it's hard to find anything likable about this team, past or present, so here you have Mr. Bay.

Least favorite current Mets player: Jose Reyes. He's just annoying. I'm not saying he wouldn't be an asset to most teams, but after years of having him shoved down the baseball-watching public's throats, I am still not impressed and am in fact pretty annoyed.

Favorite Mets player of all-time: Keith Hernandez. I don't have anything exceptionally great to say about Keith, either, but he's an ex-Card and has managed to stay off of my list of players I don't like that play for teams that I don't like.

Least favorite Mets player of all-time: Jose Reyes. Yeah, I was surprised, too. As much I don't hate Keith, but really find it hard to praise him at the same time. Likewise, it's hard to generate enough anger to pick someone here. Reyes, however, is just annoying enough.

The Ny Mets (my favorite squadron) come in at #27 in my reverse-ranking of favorite teams as of the moment I picked them on October 4th, 2010. All of these cards are very much up for trade, so please contact me if you're interested.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Heartbreaking Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers are a mess, hitting a new low (on the floor, at least) while blowing another 4th quarter lead to the subpar New Jersey Nets and dropping to .500. It's been another year full of injuries as well, as evidenced by the inability to get rebounds or score in the paint tonight. There are two injured centers and a third with a serious case of the influenza. The most crushing blows came in succession. First, it came to light that Brandon Roy's knee is suffering a problem no one seems to know how to fix, putting the career of the team's franchise player and perennial All-Star in doubt. Almost as soon as that news began to sink in (and it still hasn't), on a horribly dark and wet night in Portland, a press conference was held to announce that Greg Oden was going to undergo microfracture surgery to end his season and probably affect his next as well. The thing is, he was supposed to be close to finishing his rehab for his last knee injury.

What now? Heartbreaking Cards to the rescue! Out of the blue, a couple of Blazers jersey cards appeared in my mailbox, but I'm wondering if Matt bought low on these or figured they'd never be worth more than they were the second he dropped them in the mail. I kid, of course, and I'm really happy to receive jersey cards of these star-crossed Blazers players. Oden's future with the Blazers may be up in the air now, with his contract ending after this season, but I am still hopeful for the guy's future. I wonder what a guy like him would do without basketball. (No jokes, please!) It's not lost on me, by the way, that it reads "LONGEVITY" on the front of the card in small print in the lower right hand corner.

Of greater concern is Brandon Roy's future, both immediate and long term. Is there really no fix for a high caliber athlete with no meniscus in either knee? He returned to the court and has produced nice scoring numbers in the past two nights, but he looks like his feet are glued to the ground and I can't even remember the last time I saw him drive down the lane and score, which was one of the hallmarks of his game. If Roy can play, but can't be called upon to be the go-to guy anymore, then someone needs to step up and fast.

I've been a lifelong Blazers fan, literally, so I won't be quitting on this team soon. Hopefully things won't get worse before they get better. Hopefully they just get better and stay that way. In the meantime, I am working on a Blazers want list that will appear at the sidebar shortly. I know there aren't a ton of basketball collectors out there, but at least it's another option for those who are looking to trade. Thanks again to Matt F!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Good Luck Ducks, Week 13: Quack Friday

Apparently, all you have to do to beat the Oregon Ducks is follow "The Blueprint" that the California Golden Bears apparently authored and you will beat them. Nevermind that the Ducks are playing at home. Nevermind that Oregon hadn't won at Cal since 2001 and had never beaten Cal coach Jeff Tedford, Oregon's own former offensive coordinator on the road. Nevermind that the Ducks had their worst offensive game of the year, yet were still able to move the ball at will when it mattered the most. Nevermind that the defense did not give up any points after Cal's improbable opening drive.

Nevermind that the Ducks actually won the football game. Oregon defends its #1 ranking for another week, coming off of another bye, at home against the Arizona Cardinal Wildcats. (Note: If I see Arizona wear those red uniforms and Stanford the black ones one more time, I'm going to permanently call them the Cardinal.) Coach Mike Stoops has claimed that he won't order any fake injuries on defense in this game, unlike some past opposition, but conisdering he's the least reputable of the coaching Stoops family, I wouldn't put it past him. I'm satisfied with a win here and a win against Oregon State no matter what the margin, but I wouldn't mind being spared the anxiety this week.

Let's recap last year's game, which was probably the most exciting game I've seen since the Joey Harrington era.

Woooo! Rush the field!!!

Oh wait... what happened??

But wait... there's more!

Oh... that's classy.

Game time at 4:00 PST today in sunny Eugene. National TV coverage is provided by the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network.

Airbrushed Fridays: 1988 Topps #628

The response was overwhelmingly positive to the introduction of more modern gaffes on cardboard to this series, so I think I'm keeping it. I don't want to lean too far in any one direction, however, so I've settled on a fairly set schedule/rotation that's super secret and un... figure... outtable. Yep. Trust me on this one.

Dave Henderson was a steady, but fairly unremarkable outfielder for the perpetual underdog Seattle Mariners for the first half of the '80s until the Red Sox snatched him up late in the 1986 season where he became a playoff legend. After trying to give away ALCS Game 5 with a glove-assisted HR that would almost make Jose Canseco proud, Hendu - who had hit just .196 in 51 late season, mostly pinch-hit ABs with Boston in the regular season - smacked a go ahead HR in the 9th and eventually won the game for the Sox in the 11th with a sacrifice fly. I did not like the Red Sox, even then.

Why did Topps airbrush Dave's photo? Dave couldn't keep the magic going in 1987, hitting .234 as a part-time player before getting passed off to the Giants late in the season. He only had 29 plate appearances in his month-long stint for the Giants before he crossed the bay and Tony La Russa somehow turned him into an All-Star.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? Well, you could argue "nothing" here and I wouldn't necessarily disagree. I mean, look at this man. Don't you just want to give him a hug? Unfortunately, his interlocking 'SF' logo is too tally and skinny and he has weird blue "paint" on the bill of his helmet and his neck for some reason.

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, November 23, 2010

World Serious

I actually have three packages now sitting around to post about from Cardboard Collections, so let's just get right to it. This one is from a group break that went on sometime back in October which means I'm so far behind that I'm not even going to bother to link to it. The bottom line is, go check out Cardboard Collections. You'll learn something!

The majority of the cards were from 1998, either from something called Skybox Dugout Axcess (yes, with an 'x') and some from a set I really enjoy just from seeing the cards at shows and from trades - 1998 Fleer World Series Fever. I've probably posted this Lou Brock card or at least another SI cover card in the past, but I also really like the base design (see Ron Gant's card above.)

And then there's this Axcess. Much less appealing to the eye, but perhaps more appealing to the Cardinals binders. 7th Inning... Sketch?!

I'm hoping that if I ever fly on something called Axcess Airlines, the payment card I use to board is a little sturdier than this one. This is the illustrious Delino DeShields if you can't read his name from the image. The card itself isn't really any better. It's interesting that so many companies tried making faux credit card style cards at one point. They seem like the symbol of failure now.

Can you imagine what Pensive Yankee Reggie is thinking here? "Man, if only I had taken to the steroids back in my day. I could have hit SIX homers in that playoff game!"

Sorry, guys. I kid. I'll never hate Big Mac or Reggie. Thanks again to Colbey, who will hopefully receive a package from me soon before I end up getting three more of his. If you head over to his blog soon, you may even find some free* cards for yourself!

(*I can't tell you what the asterisk is for. You'll have to find out yourself.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stadium Crud

I've been sitting on this box for awhile, but on this cold late Monday night I decided to let it free and toss it in with the other piles of stuff I have available to trade or send to people. I decided to forego the traditional box break format and just show a few highlights because, to be quite honest, this is a pretty small set with terrible collation. The number of names of dupes I would have had to type up would have been maddening.

I actually don't mind the font scheme for the player names that really seems to bug a lot of people. It's very dated, of course, but I kind of like it because of that. It definitely screams early-to-mid '90s MTV to me.

That being said, despite Stadium Club's usual crop of interesting full bleed photography, this is probably the lousiest Stadium Club set from a quality standpoint. The cards just feel thin and ready to fall apart when compared to other years.

Here's a very contemplative Andy Van Slyke. Dude, it's okay. You're playing baseball.

David Wells has a really creepy tattoo. I certainly hope that's his kid and not someone else's.

There was probably a story behind this one.

There's a subset of Rookie Rockets, which would seem to be for players who primarily throw the ball and happen to be rookies.

Fantastic Finishers... okay. Well, I didn't know Maddux was ever a closer.

And then there's Rookie Rockers, who seem to be youthful players who are into the rock stylings of 311, or whoever was popular back in late 1994.

Every card I've seen of Carlos Delgado in his catching days has been hilarious to me so far.

Cardinals cards? There were few to be had. Three of them were the same Bob Tewksbury card which I probably have 10 of now, and one is a current ESPN announcer. Yikes.

Each pack contains a parallel Golden Rainbow card, where the gold foil is supposed to look like a rainbow... which is just gold. I don't get it.

Stadium Club Finest inserts are perhaps the best reason to at least consider dropping a few bucks on this product.

They are supposed to fall at 1:6 packs (the only odds printed anywhere on the wrapper or box) but I only got three in my box and they were actually in the first three packs that I opened.

Apparently, these inserts did not require the protective coating that Finest cards from this era usually had.

I'm not sure what the odds on Dugout Dirt cards are supposed to be. More on that in a second. There are 4 of these in total (4 for each series) and each one looks like a regular card on front with gold foil instead of red foil. On the back is a comic of some sort. I really, really dislike bad caricature art... which is pretty much all of it.

This isn't the actual front of the previous card, but it's something else entirely of its own. It's an "infocard". This particular infocard mentions the 4 possible Dugout Dirt cards. I got 8 in the box as a whole. That was pretty unnecessary. I would have liked to have seen more Finest cards and less ugly Jeff Kent and Randy Johnson.

Finally, here's the "hit" if you will. According to a price guide that some people like to use, you get one stamped 1st Day Issue card in each box. Mine happened to be Matt Walbeck. Hopefully a Twins fan will appreciate this.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Airbrushed Fridays: 2010 Topps Update Series #US-159

Voted in favor by an overwhelming majority, I am now adding modern day photo "mishaps" to the Airbrushed Friday mix. This could not have come at a better time, as I picked up my first clutches of 2010 Topps Update Series this week. Adobe Photoshop is a powerful tool that can be used to put human heads on horse bodies, male bus driver heads on bikini clad female bodies, and even your face in a compromising position with... well... any of the above. And then, of course, there's baseball cards.

Octavio Dotel is a career reliever who has "closer stuff" in theory, but in practice has saved just 105 games in more than 10 years in the majors, ranking him 115th on the all-time career list.

Why did Topps airbrush Octavio's photo? "No Tell" Dotel was traded just before the deadline to shore up the Dodgers bullpen. For the second straight season, like George Sherrill before him, the Dodgers acquired a closer to not close for the final 2 months of the season while giving up potentially useful players in the process. Oh, and Dotel was on my fantasy team because there weren't really any other closers left after last year's draft. Jerks. The Dodgers actually turned around and dumped him two weeks before the end of the season as Colorado was apparently trying to make a similar ill-fated run to the playoffs.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? Some Photoshopped cards are total disasters, and I plan on showing a few of those as time progresses, but this isn't one of the worst. This one isn't given away by the background, which is non-descript, but those numbers on the front of his jersey are ridiculously stretched. The number '2' on his back also seems pretty bizarre. I would love to search through the Topps photo archives to find the original photos for some of these cards when there's no side-by-side comparison you can make with a card that was already issued.

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, November 17, 2010

Update Jumbo

Tiny image, big pack. Along with the 5 regular Target packs of Topps Update, I also bought one of the 4.99 retail jumbos. They're a better deal for sheer number of cards, but you end up with a slightly lower ratio of inserts to base cards and there's no retail exclusives. Let's see what happens.

US-239 - Gabe Gross (That's what happens.)
US-293 - Pat Burrell
US-235 - Jose Tabata (One of the many Pirates rookies that year after year ends up having inexplicable success against the Cards.)
US-299 - Xavier Nady

US-169 - Ryan Ludwick (The awesome thing about this card is that I actually remember watching the game the photo is from. I just wish that Ludwick was still a Cardinal or that the Padres made the playoffs.)
US-266 - Billy Wagner
US-17 - Marlon Byrd All-Star
US-218 - Kevin Gregg
US-134 - Rick Ankiel

LL-62 - Walter Johnson / Stephen Strasburg Legendary Lineage (Has anyone done a Strasburg count on this set yet?)
- Kevin Youkilis Topps Attax Code

CMT149 - Darryl Strawberry The Cards Your Mom Threw Out (I thought this series was supposed to feature traded set cards.)
US-68 - John Danks
US-114 - Kenley Jansen (Is that a real guy?)
US-133 - Javier Vazquez
US-119 - Adam LaRoche

US-189 - Derrek Lee (You get used to seeing someone in a certain uniform and then this happens.)
US-19 - Russell Branyan

US-278 - Brad Penny
US-129 - Gregor Blanco
US-288 - Jonny Venters
US-246 - LaTroy Hawkins
US-3 - Sam Demel

US-78 - Jon Link (That's quite a face you have there, Jon.)
US-109 - Luke Hughes (More guys I don't know.)
US-213 - Alex Gonzalez
US-309 - Andruw Jones
VLC-42 - Jackie Robinson Vintage Legends (Kind of disappointing to get the same insert card in the same day, but I bet my girlfriend would like this as the other copy is claimed.)

TMC-28 - Mike Schmidt Million Card Giveaway Code (I'll redeem this shortly. I want to do a post about the cards I have available to trade. I forget when the "vault" will no longer be maintained, but I should probably figure out if I want anything else shipped aside from the autograph I shockingly won early this year.)

TR110 - Shin-Soo Choo Turkey Red (Choooooo!)
US-69 - Lance Cormier
US-275 - Hong-Chih Kuo All-Star (Lots of Dodgers in this pack.)

US-101 - Jake Westbrook (Westy just signed a 2+ year deal to remain with the Cards. This is his first Cardinals card to my knowledge.)
US-173 - Lorenzo Cain
US-139 - Jorge Cantu
US-85 - Starlin Castro

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Contest Winner Gets His Post

I held a little impromptu contest the other night to see if anyone was paying attention, and the winner in a manner of minutes was Smed's Baseball Card Blog. Yes, this is the same guy who has almost single-handedly kept the Airbrushed Fridays posts alive. Meanwhile, boxes keep showing up at my dwelling with his return address on them. No matter how many times I tell the mailman to keep those blasted kiddie bubble gum cards away from my yard, they keep finding their way indoors. I'll delve into another one of those here. By the way... Garrett Stephenson? Who knew he was so memorably crappy?

Here's a very moody, if not downright sullen Colby Rasmus on his short printed 2009 Topps Heritage High Series card. I actually managed to get ahold of the Chrome version of this card before the regular one, and now I need one more to actually put toward the set. I really hope Rasmus works out for this team. He has shown a ton of talent along with plenty of head-scratching moments. I still think he's on the right path.

While not exactly The Big Pull that I somehow managed yesterday, a couple of serial-numbered Pujols cards here aren't too shabby.

I have to say that I'm used to Topps Cardinals parallels that are more of the middle infielder variety than the big star.

This is another much needed addition to the Ozzie Smith collection. I've been slowing down on adding Ozzie cards of late, which is not helped by the fact that I still haven't managed to put a proper list together and post it on the internet somewhere.

I'm collecting the 2008 50th Anniversary All-Rookie team insert set, but not the Chrome versions. However, I do collect Matt Holliday, another player whose cards I need to actually log somewhere. I don't have many of his, though, so it shouldn't take nearly as much time.

In addition to Cardinals and player collection needs, there was a healthy stack of stuff from the sets I torture myself with. In the interest of brevity, I chose just two cards to represent that particular stack, and here's one of them. CC's got a really tiny head on him here.

Cole Hamels, in 2010 Topps Heritage Short Print All-Star form, looks like he's about 15. At least it isn't as annoying as that commercial he was in where his "dad" walks to the pitcher's mound.

And finally, what great trade package would be complete without the proverbial hit? There were several actually, but I've chosen to highlight an expected and a very unexpected one here. I was given a heads-up about this Joe Mather autograph. Give Topps a lot of credit with at least doing something right and putting out an on-card autograph with Stadium Club. They did a lot wrong with 2008 Stadium Club, however, as many collectors have realized.

And finally... wow! Here's a piece of history. Not everyone is into the stadium relic concept, most likely because they don't seem to feature a player or specific event, but I think this is a pretty cool snapshot of history nonetheless. That being said, someone could probably pry it off my hands given the right set of circumstances. (By the way, how do you return the favor to someone who seems to have all but completely rejected the notion of all things non-base card? Maybe I need to figure out how to print my own cards.)