Monday, December 30, 2013

Good Luck Ducks: Texas Never Whispers


Oregon says goodbye to its longtime defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti today, as the fiery coach has decided to hang it up after one last football game. That football game will be played against the Texas Longhorns at the Alamo Bowl, which is just more than an hour's drive from the UT campus. As a de facto road game for the Ducks, it will be a challenge to win this game even if you don't consider all of the other factors.

This is the fourth season that the Pac-12 has been affiliated with the Alamo Bowl, and the conference has gone 1-2 against Big 12 opponents in the previous meetings. Last year, Texas defeated a higher ranked Oregon State team in a very close and competitive game. Given how things have gone this season for Oregon, it's really hard to say who will win this one. Even considering the massive almost-home field advantage for the Longhorns, Oregon comes in favored by more than 3 touchdowns. I could see Texas winning in a close fought game just as easily as I could see Oregon winning by 30 or 40 points.

Mack Brown, the longtime head coach at UT, will be coaching his last game in the burnt orange today. Unlike Aliotti, Brown was basically forced out. With pockets as deep as this guy, Texas will certainly lure someone notable to takeover head coaching duties. I wouldn't worry about them too much. It does say something about your status as an elite football school when back-to-back Alamo Bowl appearances means that you've fallen on hard times. Meanwhile, Oregon will be slumming it in a non-BCS bowl for the first time since 2008.

Marcus Mariota should finally be healthy for the Ducks after a month off, while star running back Malcolm Brown should provide a formidable foe. Oregon has had difficulty stopping the run at times this season, but hopefully Aliotti has one last trick up his sleeve.

Oregon's last meeting with Texas resulted in a 35-30 win in the 2000 Holiday Bowl.

Game time is 3:45 PST (on a weekday?) in San Antonio with national coverage on ESPN. Go Ducks!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Steve Garvey

Former Cardinals celebrating birthdays today include: Steve Carlton, Matty Alou and Lonnie Smith.

I'll probably get docked a few contest points for this, but my primary memories of Steve Garvey were as Padres player, occasional TV guest star, and tabloid subject. His heyday came wearing Dodger blue, however. Over the course of a 19-year career, he amassed 10 All-Star appearances, an MVP award and a pile of Gold Gloves. He missed out recently on being selected by the "expansion era" Hall of Fame committee, whatever that means, when they opted to go with a trio of former managers.

Since this is a Drake's Big Hitters card, I thought I'd show off the back as well. It's a red rendition of the regular issue 1985 Topps design. For his career, Garvey had a .284/.326/.446 slash line against the Cardinals, with 20 HRs and 101 RBI in 677 ABs.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Contest Reminder

Tomorrow is the deadline to get your picks in for at least the first contest. Don't know what that's all about? Check it here and enter:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Quality Over Quantity

Four cards that are great fits in my collection.

When I can afford to, I like to send out large volumes of cards to people. Usually, I'm a little too time-crunched to do it as I always underestimate how much time it takes to pull a bunch of little objects together into one large stack. Sometimes the recipient just does not have a broad section of needs from which to choose. I appreciate trade packages both great and small, however, and sometimes the best trades could fit inside a tiny envelope.

Scott Crawford recently sent me one of the best "bang for your buck" packages in recent memory. In just four cards, he covered a couple of huge needs in my collection and hit me with two, well, bona fide hits. The long forgotten 2009 Topps Propaganda insert set is two cards closer to completion (I would love to see this kind of artwork again, by the way) with the ghost of Grady Sizemore and an Upton brother joining the collection.

I also received this super crazy "Cracked Ice" version of a Matt Holliday card from some sort of Panini Father's Day promo set. It was released this year, and the Studio tribute is a throwback to the 1991 Studio design. This is about the only way Panini can get away with unlicensed cards, as the whole point of the original Studio set was to feature players out of their uniforms and in a Sears-style portrait.

To top things off, this is a Matt Carpenter Silver Slate wrapper redemption card that's numbered 3 out of 10. Wow! It's a framed card that is reminiscent of the Gypsy Queen parallels, only it uses the base design. Matt Carpenter became one of my favorite players in the league last season, and I'm hopeful that his transition back to third base goes as well as his season at second did.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to sign up for the contest!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Contest Time! College Bowl Pick 'em Is Back

Win baseball cards for being right at something for once in your life.

Back by no demand whatsoever, for the fifth consecutive year I am giving away free cards to the best prognosticators of (mostly) meaningless college football games. Past winners include Adam from Thoughts on Sox (2009-10), Mark from Stats on the Back (2010-11), AJ from The Lost Collector (2011-12) and last year's winner, Royal Dan.

If you want to skip all the blah blah blah and just get to the free stuff, go to the bottom of the post for the sign-up link and make sure you submit picks for every game. There's even a separate contest for non-Yahoo people, but you don't care about that because you've already started staring out the window at the squirrels chasing each other.

If you've participated in the past, you know the drill. Go on ahead to Yahoo and sign up. I have sent out invitations through Yahoo's automated system. If you don't get an email invite, follow the manual procedure at the bottom of this post (and if all else fails, send me an email and I will try to help you out.) For the rest of you, here are the rules and prize details, which will be similar to past years:

  • First place will receive: a 2014 Topps Series 1 blaster OR suitable equivalent (subject to availability at Target)... as well as a small plastic pouch of cards from your favorite team/player(s)/etc.
  • Second place will receive: a Priority Mail padded envelope full of cards from your favorite team/player(s)/etc. (this usually ends up being around 8 bags/pouches or so)
  • Worst place will receive: whatever I feel like sending you. I've been spending a considerable amount of time cleaning up and sorting through stuff lately I have a bunch of junk on my desk that I don't know what to do with, so please be very afraid to finish last this time around. Of course, as past "winners" of this prize can tell you, you will still receive some cards targeted toward your favorite team/player(s).

Because there's no such thing as a free lunch, at least without a copious amount of rules and guilt, here they are (basically copied from last year):

  • Participants must sign up through the official Yahoo link. Unfortunately, this means that you must have a Yahoo account. I know this is a deal breaker for some, but I can't figure out another way to accept manual entries and try to math them up according to Yahoo's point system.
  • Promote this contest! No, that doesn't mean you need to "follow" my blog, nor does it mean that you'll gain any competitive advantage by posting about this contest. I just want to see a lot of people participate, and will be willing to award more prizes if there are more participants. 16 23 31 people joined the Yahoo group last year - let's increase that total! Put a subliminal message on your blog post. Send a mass email. Casually tell your co-workers in the break room while discussing Brett Favre's latest injury Tim Tebow's latest game winning prayer Mark Sanchez's buttfumble hahahaha Mark Sanchez's buttfumble is still really funny... okay fine... Eli Manning's incredible interception rate. The possibilities are endless!
  • Points are scored according to the Confidence System. This basically means that while you are predicting which team wins which bowl game, you will also be responsible for ranking how confident you are in each pick. For example, if you are insane enough to think that Washington will beat Nebraska Baylor Boise State BYU (actually not that far fetched) and are willing to bet your street cred on it, you will want to assign that matchup a higher confidence rating (30, perhaps) than you would with your misguided "TCU will totally stomp Michigan State because I ate at a Buffalo Wild Wings last night Ball State will rule them all!" pick.
  • Email me your contest information after you sign up. You can't assume that I will automatically recognize your clever Yahoo Pick Set name, nor will I necessarily disbelieve your "friend" who claims your prize after everything is said and done because he swears he's CowboysFan4Ever and is the "most right" about his "sweet picks".
  • You can change your picks at any time, so long as your pick is made before the official start time (usually the TV broadcast time) of each game.
  • You must make a pick for every game to be eligible for the "worst place" prize. Also, once again this year... please... no tanking it on purpose! The prizes aren't that great, folks. I'd much rather award the prize to someone who failed in spectacular fashion than someone who intentionally went with picks that are doomed to fail like Wisconsin over Stanford UCF over Baylor.

Click here to sign up! It's free! First timers are very welcome.

Group ID: 22319
Password: quackquackquack

DEADLINE: There's a hard deadline of Saturday, December 21st at 11:00 AM PST. That's the start time of the first bowl game.

But wait... there's more! Available to all entrants as well as non-entrants who don't want to use Yahoo, there's a bonus contest:

Leave a comment here predicting the final score of the BELK BOWL before the Belking officially begins (the game is on the 28th) and win a retail jumbo pack of 2014 Topps Series 1. Whoever is closest gets it. Belk on, Belkers!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 2012 Bowman #28

Is Photoshop the Botox for baseball cards?

Who is he? Mat Latos is a young right-handed starting pitcher. More importantly, he owns a cat named Cat Latos. The more famous of the two single-T big league Mats (the other being Gamel), Latos had a 21 game winning streak that spanned portions of the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

How did he get here? Latos came up with the Padres and excited people. He must have excited the Reds, because they gave up four players for him, including some young talent like Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal. And, uh, they also got Edinson Volquez.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card? No

Airbrushed Score: 3

Comments: Well, if it wasn't for the fact that Bowman's release date that year was only a couple of months after the beginning of spring training, I'd be a little suspicious. But when you look at the background of this card, perhaps it's not the player who is Photoshopped than it is the background. I mean, what kind of dreamscape is Latos pitching in front of? The Reds spring uni starts to look more and more legit when you see it that way, while his pitching motion seems more and more posed. Weird stuff. Bowman is more Photoshop than natural, I tell you.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Some shiny things.

Tomorrow is the last day of baseball's so-called winter meetings, and it looks like the Cardinals have already spent most of their Christmas shopping money. There's still time and, presumably, room in the payroll to pick up some shiny new things for next season, but the team lacks any serious holes to fill right now and already spent a good chunk of change on the man with the unfortunate name spelling (Jhonny Peralta). They also picked up some shiny speed in the name of Peter Bourjos. All we're really left with at this point are the various roster-filling moves that are usually pretty under the radar.

I'm sitting on some new shiny things of my own and thought I'd show off a few of them here. These cards were sent by The Junior Junkie, who is seriously threatening longtime blog pals Play at the Plate and Night Owl Cards for most pieces of mail sent to this blog in a calendar year. The scan of Jordan Swagerty's shiny card virtually robbed the Xfractor of its "X"s. Weird. Swagerty seems to be having trouble escaping the low minors currently, but if he ever makes the bigs I'm going to have a really hard time not calling him "Swag" or thinking of the ridiculous "Turn My Swag On" song.

Here's a guy who has actually made it. Since the trade of hometown hero David Freese, Wong's prospects are certainly looking up. The organization made it a priority to put him on the big league roster this season even though he mostly sat. Glaring baserunning errors notwithstanding, Wong appears to have the upper hand on a starting 2B job in 2014 with All-Star Matt Carpenter moving back to his natural 3B position.

There was a time, of course, that the Cardinals farm system wasn't all that prosperous. In fact, in the Jocketty era, it flat out stank. That's not John Gall's fault. I mean, an infinitesimal percent of baseball players actually get to wear a MLB uniform at any point in their life. It's just such a glaring shift in philosophy, where back in the "ought" years the minor league system was completely gutted at time where the team on the field was smacking fools around. I like that there are players coming up to be excited about now, and it's not like the Big League Cardinals have suffered at the expense of building up young talent.

Another thing I don't miss? Short printed rookie cards. Well, I didn't collect cards in 2004, so it's kind of hard for me to say that I missed that. As much as I like serial-numbered cards, I would hate it if every Trevor Rosenthal card this year came with a little stamp on the back to remind you that it's harder to find one of him than it is to find a Matt Holliday.

Up For Grabs Cardinalpalooza: Joe Torre

Previously on the Cardinalpalooza: Scott RolenWillie McGeeRed Schoendienst | Enos SlaughterBruce SutterAlbert PujolsRay LankfordMark McGwireJ.D. DrewColby RasmusYadier MolinaAllen CraigStan MusialRick AnkielDavid Freese | Keith Hernandez | Steve Carlton

Joe Torre joined Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa this week in a parade of managers-to-the-Hall, but Torre's career was nearly as memorable as a player as it was with him riding the pine in a Yankees uniform. Managing a team to 4 rings in 6 seasons will fasttrack you to the Hall of Fame easier than 2300+ hits and 9 All-Star appearances as a player will, though.

Torre spent the majority of his playing days with the Braves, but he spent a good chunk of time with the Cardinals as well. Torre arrived in St. Louis after some pretty memorable '60s teams, which nearly parallels the way his Cardinal managerial tenure played out. He came in after the Whiteyball era ended, and... well, let's just say that the first half of the '90s are best forgotten if you're a Cards fan. It's interesting that he took over the Yankees the same season that Tony La Russa became the Cardinals manager. Torre won a ring that first season while La Russa led the Cardinals to their first playoff appearance since 1987. For the Yankees, it would be their first World Series appearance since 1981.

The list:

1971 Topps (NL Batting Leaders w/ Rico Carty and Manny Sanguillen) #62 [no creases but the card is pretty beat up as you can see by the scan]
1982 Topps Kmart #20 [4 available]
1991 Topps #351 [2 available]
1992 Topps #549 [4 available]
1993 Ted Williams #93
1993 Topps (w/ Lou Pinella) #512

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Cards cards from a Braves man.

The entire country has basically been frozen over for awhile now, so that's given me a bit of time to contemplate what I'm doing with my time, my collection, and... of course, the blog. There's a contest coming up that will surprise absolutely no one that has read these virtual pages over the years, and I'm still working on trying to drop a bunch of cards on people so I can clean up my desk.

Meanwhile, here are some cards that were sent to me from The Card Chop, who undoubtedly are excited that the Braves longtime manager Bobby Cox will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. His induction was announced this week along with a couple of fellow managers with Cardinal ties.

I'll jump right in to something the kids are calling 2013 Pinnacle. I like how Pinn... er... Panini went a little crazy with the Photoshop to make Craig look like a Giant for some reason. Actually, no, I don't like that at all.

But here's something I do really like, a rare Dizzy Dean base card variation from the 2010 Topps set. In ten years, will most be able to tell the difference between the 2010 Topps set and the 2013 Topps set? I'm pretty sure I won't.

Despite the scan, this card is smaller than standard size. It's a "Cream of the Crop" mini from this year's Bowman product. Actually, scratch that, it's a rare blue wave parallel version of a mini insert because... oh, I give up. It looks great! It's got fireballin' Trevor Rosenthal. That's enough for me.

And speaking of enough for me, I finally have a camoflage card in my collection. And the world can't have enough camo, can it? I actually recently doubled my Camo Card Collection (CCC) and you'll (OMINOUS FORESHADOWING) be able to see what I mean some other day.

Thanks again to The Card Chop, whose horribly delinquent return package should be there Tuesday for a hamburger today. I promise!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 1978 Topps #210

Welcome to the Crooked Scan Society.

Who is he? Jose Cardenal was a rangy Cuban-born outfielder who played for nine different teams across parts of three decades. He also very clearly had some awesome hair, though he probably doesn't belong on the podium with Oscar Gamble.

How did he get here? After six years with the Cubs, Cardenal was traded to the Phillies for the proverbial bag of balls - a guy named Manny Seoane that appeared in all of 9 games in his career.

Repeat offender? Yes (1981 Topps #473)

Other versions of this card: None

Airbrushed Score: 7

Comments: Like I said, it's no Oscar Gamble, but with hair like that the hat is going to look silly no matter if it's drawn on or legit.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

In Defense of Listia

This is not an ad, but you're welcome to sign up with my referral link!

I'll just get this out of the way. I don't think Listia is the greatest thing ever, but I do spend a fair amount of time with it every week. And why would I do that? For the cards I've received, of course! I've read some critical things about it since I first became aware of the site about a year and a half ago. Much of it is warranted. But I still feel like it's worth my time. I'm coming up on about 500 completed seller auctions in the near future, nearly all of which have been single card sales for low amounts of credits. Slow and steady has won the race for me, though, as I've managed to take in piles of "hits" and other fun things for my collection. This Yadier Molina serial numbered jersey card is just the latest. I've also snagged a pretty healthy amount of base cards from sets that are somewhat difficult for me to come by, like 2006-2007 Allen & Ginter and 2001 Topps Heritage.

I've also picked up cards from other sports that I usually don't touch, because my interests are very narrow. I don't care about the NFL all that much, though I'm finally becoming comfortable with the Eagles again. But plenty of people have cards of former Duck Dion Jordan on offer as he was recently a high draft pick. I wouldn't dare try to buy these overpriced things in a local store, but I am comfortable with trading my earned credits for them.

For the most part, I pretty much break even on the majority of the auctions I list once you factor in the rising cost of envelopes and stamps. There's never going to be a 100% success rate with PWE's, which means I've had to eat credits a couple of times due to people never apparently getting what I've sent them. And a couple of dozen times I've had people fail to send me their mailing address properly, which certainly seems annoying. But I get to keep those credits and relist the item, so it's hardly a problem. I realize the site doesn't fit everyone's needs, but if you stick to the "slow & steady" plan, I think it has a lot to offer fellow card collectors. And I certainly wouldn't mind seeing more cards on the site.

I don't think I mentioned that this card is weird. You can scan the code with your smartphone and get (supposedly updated) video highlights of that player's work. Fun.

I don't know. It's something to do. You can sign up here and I'll get some extra credits. And you apparently get a lot more credits for signing up these days than I did when I did it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy

Can I buy some time from someone?

Tribecards had a busy summer. That's probably the understatement of the year. Over the course of the past baseball season, the very generous David busted at least a pack every day of the week (often more than that) and has been working through a very complicated distribution system to send them all to his loyal readers for free. To top things off, he also found time to host a group break, and I thought I'd do the honors of showing off a few of the cards I received in that break.

John Gall didn't make much of an impact on the big leagues, but I imagine he did win at least some shares of the World Series pot for his 12 total ABs that he logged during 2006. His name I remember...

But who the heck is Evan Rust? Hardly the "Top of the Class" that Upper Deck purports him to be, Rust apparently was an undrafted free agent that Tampa Bay sent to St. Louis in the Tino Martinez trade. Actually, he basically was the guy that the Cards got for Tino, a former World Series hero. Martinez would go on to have a productive season for the struggling Devil Rays before returning to New York for his last hurrah. As for Rust, he reached the AAA level in 2005, got hurt and disappeared from the face of the earth.

AHHHH! WHERE ARE TODD'S EYES? I might have the entire 1992 Leaf team set at this point, but there's still an unaccounted for period of time in my Cardinals want list where this set falls. I should work on that soon. I got a fat stack of Cardinals that also included the Donovan Osborne Gold Leaf Rookie that adorns the top of this post. Those suckers were tough to pull back in the day, at least when you were trying for a certain player. By the way, I did receive a healthy stack of cards of players that play for other teams in the break, but those are going to be filed away in my expendable collection and various trade stacks.

Here's the big winner of the lot, a Yadi purple refractor thing. Purple refractors look great for some reason. I don't think I would be terribly interested in an all-purple set, but these are just rare enough to look nice when I happen to run across them. I don't think I'd feel the same way about a pink card if I ever happened upon one, though.

Thanks for reading.

Up For Grabs Cardinalpalooza: Scott Rolen

Previously on the Cardinalpalooza: Willie McGeeRed Schoendienst | Enos SlaughterBruce SutterAlbert PujolsRay LankfordMark McGwireJ.D. DrewColby RasmusYadier MolinaAllen CraigStan MusialRick AnkielDavid Freese | Keith Hernandez | Steve Carlton

The MV3 era was great times. Scott Rolen was acquired by the Cardinals in the 2002 season to bolster their playoff chances, but his fateful meeting with Alex Cintron meant his full potential wouldn't be realized until the post-3 Nights in August season of 2004. That year, the Cardinals could do no wrong. It would be the finest offensive season of Rolen's career, though he was being overshadowed by his own teammates.

When healthy, Rolen was a terrific offensive player, but that always came secondary to his work with the glove. A second, more serious injury in 2005 would effectively doom his chances of ever driving in 100 runs again, but in his prime he was an extremely valuable commodity. The Cardinals improbable World Series win in 2006 when all of the cogs (save for Pujols) were seemingly broken down/old/Scott Spiezio meant that we'll never talk about Rolen the same way as people talk about Carlos Beltran. He did get the ring. So did Edmonds. So did So Taguchi.

Rolen apparently had an icy relationship with the icy Tony La Russa, so the rare "match trade" shipped him out of town for an even more doomed Troy Glaus. Glaus only had one productive season left in him, while Rolen resurfaced as a key member of the Reds, one of Walt Jocketty's first of many ex-Cardinal imports.

Fans of watching baseball likely appreciate Rolen's talents, especially in the field. I don't think he was the type of personality to cross the line between ballplayer and "star", but I can hardly think of any players that played his position better in the past decade-plus.

The list:

2002 Donruss Originals #88
2003 Donruss #346 [2 available]
2003 Fleer Tradition #393
2003 Playoff Portraits #122
2003 Upper Deck Honor Roll #77
2003 Upper Deck Standing "O" #73
2003 Upper Deck Victory #86 [4 available]
2003 Upper Deck Victory (Solid Hits) #124
2004 Bowman #11 [2 available]
2004 Donruss Diamond Kings #104
2004 Donruss Elite #145
2004 Fleer InScribed #66
2004 Fleer Platinum #128
2004 Fleer Tradition #139
2004 Leaf Second Edition #186
2004 Topps (Gold Glove) #709
2004 Topps (All-Star) #722
2004 Upper Deck Diamond Pro Sigs #48 [2 available]
2004 Upper Deck Play Ball #62
2004 Upper Deck R-Class #11
2004 Upper Deck Sweet Spot #83
2005 Donruss #342
2005 Donruss Diamond Kings #398 [2 available]
2005 Donruss Team Heroes #299
2005 Donruss Zenith #96
2005 Fleer America's National Pastime #30
2005 Fleer Classic Clippings #31
2005 Fleer Patchworks #61
2005 Fleer Tradition #171
2005 Leaf #184
2005 Skybox Autographics #51
2005 Topps (Gold Glove) #708
2005 Topps (All-Star) #722 [2 available]
2005 Topps Total #295
2005 Upper Deck All-Star Classics #43 [2 available]
2005 Upper Deck ESPN #81
2005 Upper Deck MVP #80 [2 available]
2005 Upper Deck Pros & Prospects #18 [3 available]
2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot #21
2006 Fleer #94 [2 available]
2006 Fleer Smooth Leather #SL-12
2006 Fleer Tradition #50 [4 available]
2006 Fleer Ultra #42 [5 available]
2006 Topps #555 [3 available]
2006 Topps Update (All-Star) #UH255
2006 Topps Opening Day #19 [3 available]
2006 Upper Deck First Pitch #185
2007 Bowman #148 [3 available]
2007 Fleer #44 [5 available]
2007 Fleer Ultra #148
2007 Fleer Ultra Retail #148 [6 available]
2007 Topps #85 [6 available]
2007 Topps (Gold Glove) #302 [3 available]
2007 Topps Opening Day #53 [3 available]
2007 Upper Deck Elements #37
2007 Upper Deck Future Stars #87
2007 Upper Deck Goudey Green Backs #91
2007 Upper Deck SP Authentic #49 [2 available]
2007 Upper Deck Spectrum #95
2008 Topps #170 [7 available]
2008 Topps Opening Day #72 [2 available]
2008 Upper Deck Spectrum #88 [2 available]

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why Are Envelopes So Expensive?

The latest roundup of cards I've received in increasingly more expensive little white wrappers.

I'm going to sound like the guy that complains about the size of candy bars these days, and airline peanuts and the decline of the service industry and all of that. I swear it used to only cost a buck or two to get yourself a whole box full of envelopes. Even with the advent of peel-'n'-stick envelopes (I don't want to suffer the same fate as Susan on Seinfeld), I never expected to be forking over so much money for the things. I guess that's what happens when it's been decades since I've written someone a proper letter. Snail mail, feh!

I've received a few PWEs in the past several weeks and thought I'd bundle them up in one package here. First up is a few cards I received, all very much needed, from Fantastic Catch. Superduperman99 is a fellow Cardinals fan, and Cardinals fans are always fun to trade with.

I haven't bought a single pack of 2013 Bowman Platinum, and I'm guessing not many others that I trade with have done the deed, based on the how few cards I've acquired from this set. This is a nice little gold parallel. I've never been a fan of Bowman Platinum and its difficult to decipher parallel scheme, but I'm always interested in taking on new Cardinals cards.

Next up is one of those "Take My Cards" dealies from Crackin' Wax. I snagged a single Allen & Ginter insert plus a few base cards from the latest Topps Chrome set. Crackin' Wax has a birthday giveaway going on this week, so you should probably get on over there.

I was very fortunate to get this Wacha rookie card as part of my "Take My Cards" haul before the hype train arrived. Actually, I think it was probably pulling into the station just about the time that this card was heading into its envelope. Nice!

This card actually has a fairly standard width, but Google/Blogger (Glogger?) does weird things to my images. This is an insert from this year's Panini Cooperstown set, something I know absolutely nothing about because I don't really pay attention to the non-licensed sets. That being said, this is great! Who doesn't love a circular-shaped Whitey card? Sports Cards from the Dollar Store sent this over, along with some great stuff from other sports. Not pictured are some Ducks NFL cards that will likely be saved for a future Good Luck Ducks post.

The other sport represented was the great game of basketball. The Blazers are off to a terrific start this season, with the best record in the West through nearly a quarter of a season. So there's hope, right? I finally made it down to my first game of the season last night to see Portland knock off Indiana, the team with the best overall record in the NBA. It was a thrilling game in what is hopefully part of a thrilling season. All I know is that it's been great so far, and that's all that matters right now.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 2013 Topps Opening Day #90

Airbrushed Fridays: The Evening Edition

Who is he? Son of former major leaguer (and Cardinal) Steve Swisher, Nick is a free swinging and free spirited outfielder. After coming up with Oakland, he saw a resurgence in his career when he joined the Yankees, making his first All-Star team in 2010 and winning a World Series ring.

How did he get here? After Swisher's four seasons in New York, Cleveland signed him to a big multiyear deal last offseason.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: 2013 Topps Opening Day #90B

Airbrushed Score: 8

Comments: The 'C' on his helmet really blends into the navy blue Yankees helmet. You can clearly see the Yankees blue piping around the sleeves and down his pants as well.

Good Luck Ducks: Quack Friday 2013

The least anticipated Civil War in years happens on a Black Friday.

Well, the Ducks really outdid themselves last week. Seemingly in the driver's seat for the conference title and a second consecutive Rose Bowl berth, Oregon went down to Arizona and was completely demolished by a mediocre team that had just lost to Washington State the previous week. Multiple players expressed disinterest in their Rose Bowl prospects before the game, and that disinterest showed on the field. And if a team clearly is going to give a damn, then I don't think as a fan I should let myself get upset about it either.

The Ducks play a reeling Beavers team today that suffered from its own beating, a historic one at the hands of the Washington Huskies. UW put up 69 points on Oregon State's own home field, a new low for a school that has had some significant lows. When OSU started the season with a loss to an FCS team, I predicted that this would finally be the end of long time head coach Mike Riley's tenure. Something happened to them after that loss, as they developed into the nation's top passing game, the Sean Mannion-to-Brandin Cooks connection that knew no rival. And then something else happened to them when I wasn't paying attention, because the Beavs have lost 4 straight, each defeat more sour than the previous.

Something is going to break today, and it could easily be either team. I have no idea how to predict this game, but I like to think that Oregon has the talent on their side. They also have the home field on their side. The effort hasn't been there, however, especially on the defensive side of the ball. With expectations lessened considerably, and nothing greater than a berth in the Alamo Bowl at stake, I probably won't enjoy this Civil War as much as ones in the past. I'll still be wearing something Ducks related, rooting them on.

Jeremiah Johnson's devastating touchdown was one of the many highlights of the 2008 Civil War, presented in full-rendered 240p splendor.

Game time is 4:00 PST in Eugene with national coverage on Fox Sports 1. Go Ducks!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mishmash Group Break

Some Cardinals cards from a Group Break spanning multiple decades.

Last month I bought in on a group break that didn't seem to have a central theme. Nachos Grande purchased some boxes with combined fun and value factors, including some products I haven't seen much of.

I don't have the largest Eric Davis Cardinals collection, so it's always fun to pull one of his cards. Of course, in this case it wasn't me that did the pulling, but it's mine now and that's what counts.

I almost always enjoy Fleer Tradition. It's a step up from basic Fleer (which all but disappeared) but is usually still very affordable. Dan Haren was recently signed by the Dodgers on a very low risk contract. Gall had a cup of coffee but didn't make it, and I've never heard of the other guy.

The 2005 Origins set is a total mystery to me. It was produced by Upper Deck but doesn't look or feel like anything they usually do. This must have been one of the smaller boxes, because Larry Walker's card was one of only two cards that were pulled for me here.

Unfortunately, one of the boxes was 1993 Upper Deck. It's one of my favorite sets, but I actually collected and completed the whole thing. I gave some thoughts to collecting the inserts, too (they're fantastic) but decided instead to focus on other things. This Hometown Heroes insert will fit nicely in Erin's collection, though. The Expos were my randomly assigned team, which means I also ended up with a few Vladimir Guerrero cards if you're into that sort of thing.

Here is one of the nicer inserts that were pulled, from the extra shiny 2000 Topps Gold Label.

This apparently isn't an insert, but it looks like one. I wonder if there are Fleer Maximum Impact memorabilia cards.

Finally, it's classic Pujols in a vintage style.