Saturday, October 28, 2017

Good Luck Ducks, Week 9: Carrington's Revenge?

The Ducks face a former teammate and another uphill battle. 

Prior to the start of this season, the Ducks top receiver Darren Carrington was kicked off of the team for the latest of several transgressions over the course of his stay at UO. You never want to be that guy that the new coach has to make an example of to get things started on the right foot, but Carrington was that guy. Carrington wanted to continue his college career, and was able to transfer to Utah and play right away. Unfortunately, that happens to be a school in the same conference, and a team that the Ducks are playing this season.

So here we are, with the Ducks season teetering on the brink of irrelevance, the former receiver in town to exact a little revenge, and their hands full with a Utes team that was previously ranked in the top 25 like Oregon. Even though he has participated in practice the past two weeks, the status of quarterback Justin Herbert remains somewhere between a mystery and a "hell no". Herbert's stand-in, Braxton Burmeister, has done some nice things on the field, but overall the offense has largely been inept over these past three miserable beatdowns.

The good news is that the Ducks will be back on their home turf this afternoon, with some tremendous fall weather to take advantage of. And they face a Utah team that is similarly looking for answers to a sputtering offense.

Link time:

Carrington's impossible TD catch from Herbert led the Ducks to pull off the stunning upset over then #12 Utah last season.

Game time is 2:45 PDT. Broadcast channel is the Pac-12 Network. Your scheduled broadcasters are JB Long, Yogi Roth and Jill Savage. Go Ducks!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

I Missed One

Somehow, my eyes failed me. 

In my review of my Topps Update Cardinals bounty last night, I completely missed a card that turned out to be a fairly significant one. This, of course, is a gold parallel of new Cardinals slugger Luke Voit. It's hard to tell what kind of role Voit will have on the team going forward, especially with the team expected to make some offensive upgrades at certain positions that were lacking. But he definitely filled the role of intimidating pinch hitter well, so if anything there may at least be a spot on the bench for him.

If you look really hard, you can see the serial number! In fact, that's how I spotted this card today in the first place. I didn't even notice the gold on the front. I used to love the gold parallels in the Topps flagship product, but they've become much less, well, gold in recent years.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Crackin' Update

The latest incarnation of Topps Update is a bit lacking. 

I've been on the Crackin' Wax mailing list for what feels like many years, but only recently was finally able to participate in one of their group breaks. Generally, what tends to happen is that whenever there is a group break that is even close to my price range, the Cardinals are already long gone, even if I click on the info seconds after getting the email. (Note to self: probably shouldn't rely on getting an email to do things.) This group break was a half case of 2017 Topps Update, which I knew would at least fulfill my quest for the second straight year in not purchasing a single flagship pack.

Before I go delving into the positives and the negatives as I like to do, I do want to say that the Crackin' Wax experience was great. The boxes were opened on Saturday and my cards arrived at my home just four days later. I can't even imagine the mind-numbing sorting and shipping processes that go into these sorts of endeavors as something I could ever deal with, so the timeliness is certainly appreciated.

Well, let's jump right in. This is the most problematic card in the team, if not the entire 2017 Update set. Topps forced some Rookie Debut cards into the set as they like to do these days, but Reyes not only debuted in 2016, but he failed to pitch an inning of professional ball anywhere this season because he tore his UCL. In Februrary! This card simply should not exist in 2017 Topps Update. If it was that important to get a second card of a guy whose rookie card was in an earlier 2017 set, even though no one will ever consider this a rookie card, put that stupid card in an earlier set! This makes no sense.

As I was preparing this post, incidentally, I found that Mitch Haniger has a Rookie Debut card in this set as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team that traded him away nearly a calendar year ago. Again, if you want to document some potential future star's debut game, fine... just do it at the appropriate time.

John Brebbia was a key member of the Cardinals pen this season, despite the fact that he was a 30th round pick (Yankees) and even the local team's broadcasters had no idea who he was or what to say about him. In contrast to the last card, this is exactly what I want out of an Update set (minus the horrible card design, of course).

Brett Cecil's first Cardinals card depicts him in the increasingly rare navy blue road cap now only worn against teams that wear red (Phillies, Nationals, Reds?) I wish they would go back to this on the road on a full time basis.

Just as I suspected when Martinez got to pitch in the All-Star game, his weird blue hair phase was captured on a Topps Update card.

As Fox Sports Midwest broadcaster Dan McLaughlin reminded us nearly every time he came to bat in the waning weeks of the season, were it not for Cody Bellinger, Paul DeJong would have received serious consideration for Rookie of the Year. Having multiple Bowman cards in the past takes a little bit of the excitement out of this card. DeJong also played SS all season, but is listed at 3B here, unfortunately.

I'm missing a ton of the Cardinals 1987 Topps tribute inserts, so it was nice to get Fowler on one of these.

Luke Voit is a large (rookie) man. He took over the Matt Adams role of large human occasionally manning first base and dangerously swinging blunt objects at baseballs.

Like the '87 cards, Topps Salute continued on into the Update set. This commemorates Randal's walk-off hit that opened the 2017 season, which seems like years ago.

This is basically a filler card. The easiest problem to identify with this set is that there's too many filler cards, and not enough "updates". I suspect Topps has a much tighter deadline than they had in the (recent) past. There used to be a strong push to get cards of halfway significant players involved in any pre-trade deadline transaction into this set, and by "used to be", I mean in this current decade and not when they used to put gum in packs. They either don't have the time any more, or simply don't care.

There are a ton of variations in this release, but many of them are actually fairly obtainable. I should know as I got two! This is another take on Luke Weaver's rookie card from Series 1, only it was released in the Update set. It's a weird photo.

Magneuris Sierra is still probably a couple of seasons away from possibly being a big league player, but he was initially called up from AA under fairly unusual circumstances. He popped up now and again as a guy with speed who doesn't really know what he's doing with it. He's an intriguing player for sure, but if he's a regular in the Cardinals lineup in 2018, they are probably not going to win a lot of games.

Here's the rookie with the cool name, running.

Finally, here is my other short printed variation. As much as I liked the look of short printed "legends" when Topps first introduced the concept in 2009, I really didn't need to own an Ozzie Smith card in the 2017 design. However, I am super glad I own this card because I don't enjoy having to track down variations of cards featuring my all-time favorite player.

There is also something weird about the coloring of this card.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Good Luck Ducks, Week 8: Back to the Drawing Board

Oregon looks to rebound after a lifeless effort. 

Coming into October, the general consensus about quarterback Braxton Burmeister was that he had a long way to go to become a legitimate passing threat in the Oregon offense. I certainly didn't expect to see his passing yardage in the single digits again Stanford before he was relieved, temporarily as it would turn out, by Taylor Alie. Royce Freeman was able to add another good day with the ball in his hands to his long resume, but Oregon absolutely cannot throw the ball down the field right now. Everyone knows this.

Next up on the docket is UCLA, a team that absolutely cannot stop the run. Everyone knows this. Considering that rushing the ball remains one of Oregon's few strengths right now, at least in theory, this could be the game that finally sees Oregon back in the winning column. Help is apparently on the way, as quarterback Justin Herbert has already returned to practice while he recovers from a broken collarbone on his non-throwing side. I am cautiously optimistic about both of these things, although this game could certainly go either way. They often do.

Some things with hyperlinks:

As a freshman Royce Freeman rushed for 2 TDs in a rout at Pasadena in these two teams last meeting.

Game time is 1:00 PDT. Broadcast channel is the Pac-12 Network. Your scheduled broadcasters are Roxy Bernstein, Anthony Herron and Lewis Johnson. Hooray, an afternoon start for once! Go Ducks!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Feetball from Canada

Cards from the sport people lose their minds over. 

Here's my annual-ish reminder that I'm actually a low key Philadelphia Eagles fan. If you're running out of ideas of things to send back in trades or are just wanting to mix things up a bit, I do keep a boxed, unsorted collection of Eagles cards that I started culling from my brief foray into collecting football cards in the early 90's. (They were REALLY cheap.) I'll probably never have a want list, but I did update my "Team Want Lists" page so there's an actual link behind the Eagles.

Sportscards From The Dollar Store is on to me and my alternate collecting interests, as he sent some Eagles, Ducks and even some hockey (Blues) cards my way recently. Let's check out a few.

Randall is my all-time favorite football player, which coincided with my amped up interest in video games in the early '90s and his on field exploits as a truly exciting player in a league whose default setting is usually pretty close to boring. I was even heavily invested in his late '90s comeback with the Vikings, probably because I was unemployed at the time and letting men on TV and radio shout at me about sports a lot in those days. I will eventually have my Cunningham collection online. There's not much to speak of it yet, although I am a proud owner of both his rookie card (1987 Topps!) and a larger framed reproduction of said card.

Jonathan Stewart is in his 10th NFL season, which makes me feel really old. He rushed for -4 yards last week against the Eagles. I'm pretty sure he didn't mean to run backwards, but his stats declare otherwise.

Like Stewart, LeGarrette Blount is another former Oregon Duck running back who has lasted much longer than your average pro player. Blount is actually on the Eagles this year, which I'm pretty excited about.

This might be my first Topps Finest NFL card (check the protective layer, guys). Mark McMillian was actually born out of the Tecmo era, as I believe he was on the roster in the 16-bit Tecmo Super Bowl III (under an assumed identity.)

Random Blues Card Alert! I have no idea who this is, but it's impressively dorky and cool at the same time.

Okay, back to football. Dave Tobey rounds out the post, a former Duck linebacker seen in CFL gear here.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Good Luck Ducks, Week 7: Stanford Time

The Ducks head to Stanford to take on their Bay Area rival. 

Oregon football is back in action tonight after suffering a rather demoralizing loss at the hands of the Washington State Cougars last Saturday night. It seems like an even more bitter pill to swallow considering last night's results, where the previously undefeated Cougars were even more dreadful than last Saturday's Ducks, losing 37-3 to Cal -- a team Oregon just beat handily with a bunch of backups and frosh running amok. Confused? So am I.

I have no idea what to make of college football sometimes, and it's difficult to imagine what will happen tonight. What we do know is that Stanford has the nation's top rushing leader by pretty much a million yards, which is so incredibly boring because it seems like Stanford always does this. Bryce Love has 1240 yards to his credit, averaging 10.5 yards per carry and basically lapping the rest of the field. On the other hand, Oregon's defense has improved dramatically (although there was nowhere to go but up), especially while defending the run. One could argue that they haven't really been tested in this area, especially not against a Stanford.

There is only one Stanford, fortunately, and Oregon plays them tonight. Late tonight. Talk about #Pac12AfterDark! Tonight's game is set to kick off after 8:00 PM local time, which is after the late local news starts on the east coast. Braxton Burmeister or, whoever, are set to take snaps for the Ducks and will face a team that also sits at 4-2 on the season, but Stanford has won 3 times in the conference versus Oregon's 1. The Ducks should be healthier this week with some key receivers (Charles Nelson and Dillon Mitchell) returning. Stanford really only became a rival to the Ducks in the current decade, but a win would definitely feel very satisfying.

For clicking and/or tapping:

The rivalry really seemed to start in 2009, with unranked Stanford knocking off a top 10 Ducks team at home. This was their 2010 response.

Game time is 8:00 PM PDT (seriously?!). Broadcast channel is FS1. Your scheduled broadcasters are hopefully some people that are still awake (Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman and Holly Sonders again.) Go Ducks!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Free Fantasy Basketball - One Slot Left!

Sign up now. Cards on Cards fantasy hoops is back for season 2! 

A last minute slot opened up for our free fantasy NBA league this season. Let me know if you're interested, either by commenting, emailing or replying via Twitter. It's fun, it's free, and there's even a prize!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Basketball Season is Back

It's fantasy hoops time as well. 

The NBA regular schedule begins super early this year, with the first counting games set to go in just a week's time. I realized it was (overdue) time to renew the Cards on Cards fantasy basketball league as well. I sent an email out to last season's participants through the fantasy website/app, and hope that everyone is up for participating again. If someone bows out between now and Sunday's draft, I will probably be scrambling to fill a last minute spot -- just be forewarned in case that happens.

In honor of the coming season (or out of boredom... more likely boredom), I picked up this repack box while running an errand tonight. Whenever you can't see any of the contents of a box of cards, you know you're taking a bit of a risk. I thought I'd at least post the two guaranteed cards in this space.

MarShon Brooks was in the league for just 3 seasons, so this isn't going to help me pay the bills this month. This will probably be heading off to Billy Kingsley at some point unless for some reason he doesn't want it.

This is some guy named Askia Jones, who went undrafted out of K State in 1994. I like to consider myself fairly knowledgeable about '90s basketball, but I had never heard of him before I went to Google. Jones traveled the world, playing professionally until 2010, but only logged 11 games in the NBA -- all with the Minnesota Timberwolves back in his first pro season.

For those who are curious, my 4 packs ended up being 2012-13 NBA Hoops, 1993-94 Fleer Series 1, and two packs of 2015-16 Panini Prestige. That wasn't so bad, although my guaranteed hobby pack ended up being the Hoops pack, which is just kind of rude.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Good Luck Ducks, Week 6: Yikes!

Oregon regroups after suffering significant injury losses, facing a familiar foe. 

It was almost comical how quickly and repeatedly Ducks players fell to injury last Saturday night. In the end, backup backs had run all over the Cal defense on the way to Oregon's 4th victory of the season, bringing the team closer to bowl eligibility. The toughest loss was Justin Herbert, aka the guy that Oregon could absolutely not afford to lose, and his broken clavicle. With two potential backup QBs having transferred out of the program before the season begun, the Ducks are left with a true freshman (Braxton Burmeister) and a fifth year senior (Taylor Alie) who has contributed most significantly on special teams in his Ducks career and had been set to play WR until those transfers.

With the injuries piling up (Royce Freeman was also knocked out last week's game), Oregon limps back to the field in Eugene to host the Washington State Cougars. WSU QB Luke Falk has his eyes on some conference records this season, including Marcus Mariota's TD mark (note: this was achieved in 3 seasons while Falk is in his 4th.) Indeed, Falk and the Cougs have had Oregon's number recently, and coming off of a win over USC, Washington State is highly favored to win this one as well. In fact, unlike typical seasons, it's probably the Cougars defense -- combined with Oregon's sudden question mark under center -- that has the Ducks most worried. Oregon's D has certainly improved, but will definitely have its hands full tonight.

The is the first of five straight tough games on the Ducks schedule, and if anything, it should be a valuable learning experience for what is largely a very young team. Even though the hopes of this season were largely riding on Herbert's shoulders, there are only so many opportunities to play college football games. Each one could be the one that the next Herbert or Freeman or... well... Onterrio Smith is realized.

Here are the links of the day:

Onterrio Smith destroyed the Cougars to the tune of 285 yards back in 2001.

Game time is 5:00 PM PDT. Broadcast channel is FOX. Your scheduled broadcasters are Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman and Holly Sounders. Go Ducks!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Handoff

Cards were exchanged. 

Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown recently worked out the rare in-person card exchange with me, as we met up like business people during the hustle and bustle of the workday. (Actually, it was more of a handoff, as I hadn't quite put together something worthwhile to give back.) The longer I've been doing this blog/collecting/internet thing, the more I've veered towards sending random piles of cards to people catered to their interests rather than fuss over the minutiae of working out exactly who is getting what. For that reason, it's always nice to get an assortment of stuff that I hadn't counted on receiving. Surprises are great, etc.

Stupid Topps, can't even spell Carlos right. OH I GET IT. Actually, this isn't nearly as bad as some of the stuff they've pulled with Triple Threads. As a huge fan of the Tsunami man, I definitely appreciate this low-numbered multi-jersey card.

I bought a blaster of this weird Panini UO set from 2015 and managed to get the whole base set and many (most?) of the inserts, but I don't think I pulled this one. Ifo is one of my all-time favorite Ducks, and as far as I'm concerned there aren't nearly enough of his cards in the world.

I feel like this year is the best I've done as a Heritage collector, probably due in part to my constant nagging and pleading on this blog to get people to send me their extras. Kipnis is a short print in the regular (non high number) version of this set. His team is really good. They will probably win the World Series, although I did place some virtual bets on the Cubs because of my bold prediction here the other day.

Luke Weaver looked great this year, even taking into account the bumps he ran into in his last two appearances of the season. I think you can put him down for a rotation spot in 2018.

John Tudor should probably end every post here, just like he capped off his career: perfect. This is his state-stamped parallel from the 2013 Panini Hometown Heroes set.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Another Season in the Books

Kolten Wong & Co. sign off on 2017. 

For the second straight year, there was a bit of a premature end to the Cardinals baseball season. The playoffs are coming up, and after the Wild Card games I will likely throw my support behind another team (hopefully the Yankees, to be perfectly honest.)

As far as the Cardinals go, aside from this presenting a decent opportunity to show off a Kolten Wong photo variation card that I won recently from Listia, I am not sure what to say. At this time last season, I fully expected Mike Matheny to either be fired or given the chance to play out the rest of his contract while the team pondered successors. The Cardinals instead gave him an extension. While I haven't really given up on the players at this point, the whole really seems to be less than the sum of its part. Things have gotten stagnant. You can look at teams like Milwaukee and feel more excited about their future, and that's troublesome.

Mostly, I'll miss the long baseball regular season and all of the possibilities it holds. I'll watch bits and pieces of the playoffs and at least hope for a compelling matchup in the World Series (i.e. not Cubs/Red Sox. No thanks!) Soon enough, I'll be wondering about the Cardinals next trade target/free agent signing and questioning if there was a real reason why Juan Nicasio was available late in the season.

Until next time...