Saturday, September 29, 2018

Good Luck Ducks, Week 5: California Crud

The Ducks try to regroup after the worst loss that anyone can ever remember. 

I don't like sports anymore. This is probably a temporary thing, but when things beyond your control suck the fun out of the things that are, well, never in your control, it's always tempting to just walk away. Even a week later, I don't remember a worse Ducks football loss, let alone something that was so gut wrenching in any other sport that I follow. After a particularly rough game, I am usually good if you give me a few minutes or few hours to reflect and calm down.

I wasn't good on Sunday. I wasn't good on Monday. In fact, I decided not to go on a full Ducks media blackout all week. I don't really know what the point of that was, but I can tell you that it made me ill-prepared to blog about anything today.

The Ducks somehow moved up one slot in the rankings after last week's debacle (okay...?) to #19 and face #24 California tonight in their first road test. From what little I've heard, it sounds like the Ducks are nursing some injuries (Tony Brooks-James, Austin Faoliu...), so this could be a bigger test than expected. The team will get an opportunity to show that the Stanford game was an extreme aberration. Let's hope they do that and get back on track.

Abbreviated links:

#19 (really?) vs. #24. #Pac12AfterDark - will anyone be watching?

Game time is 7:30 PM PDT on FS1. Justin Kutcher, DeMarco Murray (wasn't it only yesterday that he was playing for the Eagles?!) and Petros Papadakis will be on the call. Keep the mute button handy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Fantasy Hoops is Back

Cards on Cards Fantasy Basketball 2018-19! 

[UPDATE: We have one open slot if anyone is interested.]

I renewed the fantasy basketball league the other day in anticipation of the NBA season beginning soon. Renewing the league means that everyone from the previous season is automatically added back. If you were part of this last season and do not wish to participate, please let me know soon.

I will be giving out a prize once again to the winner. (I completely spaced on it last season, so Brandon has a prize blaster coming to him soon.)

I am planning on setting the draft for the evening of Sunday 10/14, likely early-ish west coast time so that east coast folks aren't up too late. Of course, you don't have to be present to draft.

Changes? Should we make some? A couple of items discussed via email and the league message board include adding 2 more teams, and making it a keeper league. If you have any thoughts, feel free to comment here, email me and/or join the discussion over on the league message board. I plan on finalizing all of the rules for the league in the next week or so.

Monday, September 24, 2018

A World of Sports

A multi-sports bounty from @batcavelv includes my first head coach autograph. 

I've been trying to engage a little more with Twitter when it comes to cards lately, even though I still haven't completely figured out how to use it most effectively. People I follow post cards for sale on occasion, and one that really caught my eye was a Dana Altman autograph from the 2011 Upper Deck World of Sports set. Altman was and still is the Ducks head basketball coach, someone who has consistently found ways to maximize the talents of his roster no matter who is on the team. Tracy (of Tracy's Box Breaks, and a good Twitter follow) had the card for sale for a reasonable price.

I'm not much of an autograph person (I find the whole thing slightly weird, which is a topic for another time), but I still get roped in from time to time. It's a sticker auto (boooo!), but how many college coach autographs do you really see, especially from someone who isn't (yet?) in the Hall of Fame or anything.

I've participated in a number of Tracy's breaks this year, but this time he sent over a bunch of cards from my various collections. I had never seen anything from this playing card style set from 1990 before. It's brand new to me.

I have an uncut box from the 1984 Topps Stickers set, where these box cards are found, but I am not great with scissors and haven't hacked it to bits yet. Along with Hendrick here, I also have Lonnie Smith... as soon as I decide to take the plunge.

This is one of those cards from one of those hobby shop promotions that I never get a chance to participate in. There are no real card shops in Portland. A visit to a hobby shop means a trip to the suburbs, and basically wasting my entire day. I'm up for it, occasionally, but it's rare.

I'm getting vibes from the past two Cardinals World Series winning teams (hooray, 2011!) with this year's club. But things are also very different from those past teams, as they tend to be. This will be an interesting rest of the week.

Waino will save us!

No problem, guys!

Finally, here's what is now the oldest Yadi card in my collection. He's in his 15th major league season now, and is still running things.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Good Luck Ducks, Week 4: Defeat The Tree

Conference play begins with the biggest of games. 

This is it. Tonight, the Ducks hit the Autzen Stadium turf for arguably their biggest game since Marcus Mariota's Heisman Trophy season. After a fairly listless outing against San Jose State, Oregon remains unscathed heading into conference play where their first real test is a game against the Stanford Cardinal.

Before I get into anything about tonight's game, let's just pause for a minute and remember that The Tree is terrible. The Tree is garbage. The Tree sucks. Someone actually documented all of the names of the people have have dawned The Tree garb, and I kind of feel bad for all of them.

The Ducks have done well against the run so far this season, and will be put to the test against Bryce Love tonight. Love returned for his senior season after winning the Doak Walker Award, but has started slowly so far. They didn't look especially good or even motivated defending the pass last week, but there's hope that a top ten opponent will bring the best out of the Oregon defense.

Since the conference expanded, Stanford has been a constant thorn in the side of the Ducks, so (recent-ish) history should be a factor here as well. Oregon should want to beat Stanford. They should want to beat them badly. The talent seems to be on Oregon's side, but the biggest questions always seem to remain unanswered until a team like this faces quality competition. I'm not quite sure what to expect, but I'm hoping for an entertaining game.

Some links:

#20 hosts #7, with ESPN's College GameDay in town for the 11th time in Eugene history. This should be fun!

Game time is 5:00 PM PDT on ABC. Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Maria Taylor are on the call. Go Ducks!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

A Big Box of Bo Cards

@BoRosny, not Bo Jackson. 

Right before the big blog anniversary group break, long time blogger Bo of Baseball Cards Come To Life! contacted me about trade involving a vintage project he had going. I cobbled together what I could, vintage-wise, and made sure Bo had a sizable package coming back in the group break. The sheer volume of what I got back was crazy, though!

Check these stacks of (mostly) '00s set building fodder! Great stuff. I don't see a lot of cards from these sets in trade packages anymore, now that there's more than a decade between these sets and the present day.

Let's look back into the past at some of these.

Ooh, a Bowman exclusive rookie card? What does that even mean? Tell me, Omar Infante!

Here's Jason Isringhausen, not long before he became the Cardinals closer for the mid-'00s years.

It's FOX broadcaster Eric Karros. Karros was coming up right when my interest in cards was dying out.

It's Tim Raines... Jr? Huh.

Besides the wonderfully black & white 2001 Bowman Heritage set, there were cards from other sets. Like this guy. Bear Bay is the name. Baseball on the sun is his game.

2002 Bowman Heritage brought us the weird signature box, but The Big Hurt isn't fazed about it.

1953 Topps is such a nice design.

Hey, it's the recently deposed Cardinals skipper in a Giants uniform!

Speaking of Cardinals, Bo included a healthy share of Cardinals for my team collecting needs (aka the biggest needs). It doesn't appear that I had a first year (2006) Allen Craig card in my collection, so this is certainly cool.

Speaking of cool, I am always pleased to add another Jim Edmonds card to my collection. And yet, I need so much more!

I always thought @ithrow88 was one of the best Twitter names.

One thing I have discovered in trying to figure out what was going on with cards in the long period of time where I didn't care about cards is that Tino Martinez had a lot of Cardinals cards. That surprises me, for some reason.

We end with a Finest card, which was in its 9th year at this point. Did they still have the protective coating for this set? I always want to peel that stuff off, but I don't for some reason.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Pure Something

Well, it's clear! 

Here's something I paid way too much virtual money for on Listia. As much as I complain about Panini baseball and their lack of logos and such, at least they are able to identify the team that you are supposed to imagine the player is playing for. Leaf and other unlicensed companies of their ilk can only say, "Hey, here's a guy we hope you recognize! Cool?"

This is one of those thick clear acetate cards that I am a sucker for, so I finally took the bait after it had been listed on the site for months. Flaherty has been an exciting player to watch in his first full season in the Cardinals rotation, though it's a little odd to see him here in a nondescript uniform swinging a bat. Hopefully this is the right Jack Flaherty.

Officially official. And authentic. Because they said so.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Good Luck Ducks, Week 3: The Other Spartans

Oregon has a final non-conference tune-up before the big prime time ABC game. 

As discussed last week, the Ducks non-conference schedule was less than stellar this year. On the other hand, it is probably ideal for this year's team, considering their coaching situation and need to show some significant improvement in order to get back to their status of perennial favorites that they enjoyed earlier in the decade. I'm heading down to Eugene in person to see Oregon play the San Jose State Spartans today, because tickets for these sorts of games are pretty affordable.

The (other) Spartans were shut out by fellow Pac-12 North school Washington State last week, which doesn't bode well for their chances here. The Ducks offense seems to be returning to juggernaut status under the guidance of suddenly top something NFL pick Justin Herbert, and there's been bright spots on D as well. I wouldn't expect a shutout again today (who actually expects a shutout in any football game?), but I do think Oregon will outpace the Cougars 31 from last week.

Things are nice now. The only real drama in Oregon football are the grumblings about backup quarterback Braxton Burmeister, who had limited action in the first two games despite the lopsided scores. Most fans are concerned that the team is a Herbert injury away from utter doom, because... well, last year? It's a concern. The hope is that the Ducks can put away San Jose State early, and (again) see what they may have in Burmeister. It definitely seems hard to throw a backup QB into the kind of situation where you don't really want to pass the ball, and actually be able to understand what they could do in a close game situation.

In other news, here are some links:

The Ducks smashed their last Mountain West opponent, last season, and were ranked in the Top 25 and then... things got dark. Let's hope for a better end result this season.

Game time is 2:00 PM PDT on the Pac-12 Network. Roxy Bernstein, Anthony Herron and Lewis Johnson probably have their own barstools at Rennie's by this point.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Two Unrelated Things

Basketball cards from @ElCaminoBilly meet baseball cards from @flywheels in a blowout. 

Sometimes, I will get stuff in the mail from different people that still carry a thematic similarity. Other times, there's really nothing in common. This is one of those other times. Billy from Cardboard History sent over some Blazers cards from this past season's Panini Revolution set, one of those many Panini sets that comes and goes without me even noticing it, because I focus a lot of my attention on baseball.

It's a flashy set, as you can see. Like everything Panini, everything either is or resembles a parallel of something else. Nurk looks like he's about to be sucked into a pixelated void here if he's not careful.

Rookie Zach Collins gets a slightly different design because of his rookie status. He looks somewhat nonplussed about it.

Billy has done some great work on the basketball side over at TCDB. Check it out if you have some time.


Meanwhile, on the other side of the sports spectrum, Colbey from Cardboard Collections hosted another Affordable Group Break. This time, 2003 Upper Deck 40 Man was featured, a novel idea that I wish someone would revisit one of these days. I always want baseball card sets to be as large as possible, because it's always informative (and fun!) to get a card of someone who is on the fringes of the league.

Izzy was never on the fringes, though. He was brought in to St. Louis to solidify the back of their bullpen, and did the job well on the whole. I don't think the Cards really had a steady closer after Lee Smith until Isringhausen came along. Also, I realize that I'm using the words "steady" and "Isringhausen" in the same sentence, so I want to apologize to my mid-'00s self.

Okay, fine. This isn't the greatest design. A lot of the photos are closely cropped.

Woody! Does anyone know what Woody Williams is up to these days?

If you're into the Facebook, check out Colbey's Affordable Group Breaks group on that platform. I'd link it, but I'm not really sure how that works -- but let me know if you want an invite or something. (All the breaks are posted on his blog, too.)

Monday, September 10, 2018

Al & Al

Just a couple of bangin' @BubbaStup hits. 

Good news! The cards from my 10th anniversary break are almost completely shipped. There's just a few stragglers left, and I promise they will be out the door before summer is officially over. (Fun fact: Summer is not yet officially over.) Matt from Bubba's Bangin' Batch of Baseball Bits was kind enough to donate an entire unopened box to the break, as we've discussed here, but I never showed off these two great cards that he sent along for my personal stash.

While the Pujols jersey was certainly a surprise, I wasn't prepared for Matt parting with a hand-numbered card from Allen & Ginter, as he is a collector of all things Ginter.

It's a rare "Brooklyn Back"! While I'm not wild that the numbering was done over some of the printing on the card instead of an available white space, I'm guessing that Topps has to dip into a pretty shallow labor pool to get people to do stuff like this. That has to be tedious. Of course, I've also never understood how any professional athlete can sign so many autographs in their lifetime. It seems awful.

I love this card, however, and I am still hoping that Alex Reyes will be able to come back someday and be an important piece of the Cardinals puzzle.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Good Luck Ducks, Week 2: In-State Business

Oregon gets another tune-up. 

The Ducks play Portland State this week in an interstate match against an FCS opponent from the Big Sky. PSU was a replacement for a previously scheduled game against Texas A&M, who likely faced a mandate from the SEC to not schedule games against anything more formidable than a clown college. (I sure do loathe the SEC.) Part of me feels like the Ducks play Portland State pretty frequently, yet I can't actually remember writing any of these previews about them.

Oregon was a mixed-bag last week, uniforms aside. (Numbers were, as advertised, huge.) They took awhile to get going, and then blasted through the competition in the second quarter. The second half wasn't nearly as eventful, but it still seemed a step up (anything would be) from last season's comatose second halves.

Hey, speaking of last season... HAHAHAHA Florida State... wow.

Okay, I'm done with that. Moving it along, the Vikings are a Big Sky conference team with a rich history for a smaller (in sports) scale school, but they went winless last year and seem to be pretty dreadful even amongst their own ranks. This should be a walk in the park. Of note, PSU actually has the highest enrollment (community college aside) of any school in the state, but they're largely a commuter school in a major urban environment, so there's not a lot of campus cheer, exactly. I also pass through it every day on my way to work.

At any rate, it's time to take care of some business this week. Hopefully some second and third teamers get a lot of experience.


  • ESPN gives Oregon pretty dismal chances at winning out (i.e. all of their games) and winning the conference, which seems pretty ridiculous considering they're one of the same outlets fueling the Herbert Heisman Hype Train. No one in the Pac-12 has convinced me that they're better than the Ducks, nor have I been convinced that the Ducks are better than anyone else... so basically, I give everything a 50/50 chance?
  • I totally missed this, and it seems like a huge deal. The Ducks have incorporated the pistol offense this year, with the hiring of running backs coach Jim Mastro. I have been silently critical of this formation, which seems like it can't decide between a shotgun and an under center formation, but what do I know? Mastro apparently invented the thing, so I guess we should give him some leeway. In any case, it seems like its immediate presence in the Ducks offense was underestimated.
  • Know Your Opponent: The Vikings (or the Viks as they unfortunately insist on being called) have 57 freshman on their roster. Yikes! (does not rhyme with Viks, I swear.)
  • The Unis!: Greeeeeeeeeeeen. I love this.
Apparently, Oregon hasn't played PSU since 2010. That doesn't seem right, but let's check it out anyway.

Game time is 11:00 AM PDT on the Pac-12 Network. No idea who is going to be calling this one, but guess is it will be the same team (Roxy Bernstein, Anthony Herron and Lewis Johnson) since they seemed like they were content to be posted up in Eugene for an extended period.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Another Variety Pack

Buckstorecards is still all about variety. 

Just a couple of weeks after receiving stuff from Sportscards From The Dollar Store (see last week's post), another package showed up in my mailbox. This one was, once again, full of goodies from several major sports. My favorite thing about receiving cards from Canada is that there's often O-Pee-Chee goodness inside of them. This time, there were a bunch of OPC cards from the '70s, which is great news for me and my collection.

How do we know these cards are O-Pee-Chee from looking at the scans?

Check the backs! The 1971 O-Pee-Chee set had some of the coolest card backs around. Look at those crazy floating heads just bursting out of the middle of the card! (Sorry, boring 1975 backs.)

I've been in the Honus Bonus Business lately (HBB?), and this card of the former Cardinals shortstop added to my collection. I'm starting to actually make some headway in this weird, weird set.

I always get hockey cards in these packages, which makes me feel like a bad hockey fan... because I am a bad hockey fan. Maybe this season will finally be the year that I watch some games before the playoffs start. (Didn't I say this last year?)

As always, some excellent Ducks cards were found here. I just scanned a couple of them while saving some whoppers for game days. This low numbered DeForest Buckner card from his rookie season looks great, even though the Ducks don't usually do red.

And here's Marcus Mariota on a numbered card from the brand new Score set. I'm hoping for a big bounceback season from Marcus, who recently worked with his alma mater to assist in hurricane relief efforts in Hawaii. Knowing what he's capable of, it will not surprise me to see him on the leaderboards this NFL season.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Lukewarm at Best

I didn't need this, and I don't know if I even paid the right price. 

I made a mistake on Friday. It wasn't on the level of the worst cardboard atrocities, but I saw a fat pack of Topps Fire on the Target shelf and put the bare minimum of thought into it. At first, I thought the pack was just somehow leftover from last year (they wouldn't put this set out again, would they?!), but no... no... somehow, there was already another new release out from Topps.

Did I like this set last year? No! It's pretty much everything I don't like about cards these days, aside from being fully licensed, of course. Had I given this purchase even 10 more seconds of brain juice, I am sure I would have put it back. Maybe I thought the cards would look... different... this time? At any rate, I bought the pack, took it home, realized I had most likely paid $9.99 for it (why?! blasters are only $20 and you get four times as many cards) and... opened the stupid thing anyway.

The backs are... how do they get away with this, exactly? This isn't the cheapest set out there. Is it actually true that the cheaper the price point is, the better the backs are?

Here's the rest of the base cards in the pack. Lots of, um, art in those backgrounds.

Now that I've gotten all my complaining out of the way, let's look at the trade bait. This Amed Rosario card is numbered to 99, which is the first sign I didn't get completely stiffed on this pack.

Here's Mookie Betts on a Hot Starts insert. People seem to like him, so I'm sure I'll find a home for this.

One of the promised twelve cards in the pack is an exclusive "blue chip" parallel, which is what Greg Bird must be. I didn't notice this was blue in any way until I scanned it.

Can't complain about a Trout card. This is all giving me a headache, though.

Maybe I am just grumpy that it's September now.