Saturday, October 30, 2021

Good Luck Ducks, Week 9: Time for Buffs

The #7 Oregon Ducks host Colorado in another afternoon affair. 
Coming off of back-to-back dismal performances, Oregon stepped up a level to match their opponent's skill level and took down a quality UCLA team last week. Sure, they tried to give it away in the last few minutes by throwing an interception into the end zone when they were doing a perfectly capable job at running the ball and running out the clock, but I would still call this progress. If the Ducks can continue to make incremental improvements week by week for the rest of the season, there's a chance that they could actually live up to their playoff contender potential when December comes around. Well... maybe.

Oregon has five weeks left to really make their mark on this season, and the Colorado Buffaloes are the next team up. I sort of promised myself that I wouldn't talk about the 2020 quasi-season in this space, but the Ducks were scheduled to play Colorado last December in sort of a conference championship undercard battle last year, which was mostly a pessimistic backup plan in case either of the teams in the Pac-12 title game couldn't fulfill their duties. Well, it turned out that Washington couldn't field a proper team due to the pandemic, so Oregon took their place and the Buffs were left hanging. What a stupid "season". Colorado didn't exactly come storming back this season, however, as they carry into the game a 2-5 record with their only wins coming against Northern Colorado and hapless Arizona.

Despite missing a ton of snaps, Kayvon Thibodeaux continues to impress and capture the national spotlight in terms of future NFL prospectors. He's been must-see TV whenever he's been on the field, especially in the second half of games so far. Meanwhile, Colorado brings the worst FBS offense in to Autzen, but the Ducks haven't really put away inferior opponents easily so far. The hope is that Oregon can finally put together a quality game that doesn't mean their best players are on the field for every single down. For better or for worse, the team does have a lot of experience in late game situations that could possibly translate to future bowl or playoff games.

Series History: The Ducks hold a 13-9 edge and have won 7 of the last 8 going all the way back to the farcical 2002 Fiesta Bowl. Colorado's move to the Pac-12 has not led to a lot of football success.

Opponent Talk: An in-season coaching firing is probably not great.

In their last meeting, Oregon stomped Colorado during Justin Herbert's last tour.

Game time is 12:30 PM PDT on FOX. Go Ducks!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

A Jumbo PWE Round-Up

Most rectangular things in rectangular paper envelopes from @sanjosefuji @dvdgao and @vossbrink on a World Series off-night. 
There was no baseball to watch tonight, but there's always plenty of cards to look at. Let's tear into a few more plain white envelopes that I received over the summer. First up is a photo mailer from Fuji. I owned a bunch of these jumbo-sized Donruss Action All-Stars cards (I believe that's what they're called?) back when I was a child, and let's just say that they weren't taken care of properly. At some point I guess I threw them all out.

Now that I'm a smart adult or whatever, I have a three-ringer binder with specially-sized plastic sheets to hold big Cardinals cards in. Isn't collecting fun?

I do like the postcard look of the 1983 set. The Donruss All-Stars set carried on for quite awhile, but eventually by 1988 they reduced the cards down to standard size and made things a bit less fun, aside from the one-per-pack stand-ups that were included.

The 1984 design is pretty basic, especially when compared to the flagship 1984 Donruss set.

Both of these cards show off Cards players in their baby blue road uniforms, which they have brought back (in a way) for Saturday games only in recent years.

Fuji also sneaked in a regular-sized Trail Blazers card. Clifford Robinson (RIP) appears on this Topps Gold parallel from the 1993-94 set. Nice!

Cardinals fan David sent along two envelopes stuffed with set needs, and also included this Matt Holliday card from a long lost high end Topps set from a decade ago. The card looks really nice (full bleed photos always work) and it makes me wonder when or why Topps Marquee was killed off.

The rest of the cards were all Heritage and Ginter set needs. I know you're probably not here for the boring old base cards, so I just scanned the inserts for your viewing pleasure. Christian Yelich probably wishes he could get in a time machine with Cody Bellinger and go back to 2019 when life was good. But then again, a lot of us have probably been thinking that these days.

In 2020, Heritage was one of the only things that was relatively easy for me to buy, so I feel like I did a decent job at collecting the set. The inserts, on the other hand, I didn't do so well with.

The photo seems to imply that Joe Frazier knocked out Muhammad Ali, but they actually went 15 rounds without anyone getting knocked out. Do they actually allow people to beat the hell out of each other for 15 rounds these days?

I only recently learned that Yoenis Cespedes has a younger half-brother in the Chicago White Sox system. Now I have passed that knowledge onto you.

I know it's very fashionable to complain about Joe Buck (I do find this amusing) during the playoffs, but Alex Rodriguez on the pre- and postgame shows is something else. And by something else, I mean not great.

Last up for tonight is a single card from Nick Vossbrink. He sent over another terrific custom card, this time of blog fave Ozzie Smith. It features his iconic backflip.

Stats are really all you need on the back of a baseball card... as long as it's full stats! Once again, I am envious of all of your custom designs.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Good Luck Ducks, Week 8: Beat LA

Mighty Oregon takes on the University of California, Los Angeles. 
I grew up hating LA sports teams. A great deal of this had to do with being indoctrinated as a Trail Blazers fan as I was just learning to talk. The '80s were a wild place for this. I heard tales of UCLA's "Lost Weekend" in Oregon, where Bill Walton's John Wooden-led superstar team would be featured on a Sports Illustrated cover. Then Walton-as-a-Blazer was on the same magazine's cover, going up against Kareem as the hometown team made their title run in 1977. By the time I was able to create my own sports memories, the Lakers were constant foes to the Blazers. Oregon State star A.C. Green turned pro and joined up with the enemy. Undersized stalwart Portland center Mychal Thompson eventually signed up with evil and joined Magic towards the end of the decade. My father's team: the Yankees. Who was I told to hate? The Dodgers. Even when the Portland Timbers joined MLS, where I was supposed to loathe the Seattle Sounders (booooooo!) the most, it was the LA Galaxy that pissed me off the most.

The Lakers of college football was always the UCLA Bruins. It's easy to despise USC (hello, Reggie Bush!), and at various times they've fit the "Beat LA" bill just about perfectly. There's something really gross, however, about those gold and blue helmets. Maybe I'm looking back to Akili Smith vs. Cade McNown. I'm still scarred by the first game I attended at Autzen as a former UO student, where Skip Hicks (?!) ran wild over the hometown Ducks. (It was as brutal as watching Ezekiel Elliott against Oregon in the championship game, except with much, much lower stakes.) Chip Kelly coaches the Bruins now, which is bound to provoke some sort of feelings.

Is it the definition of (college football) insanity to watch the same thing week after week but expect different results? The Ducks played nearly the exact same game against Cal last week as they did in their previous debacle versus Stanford. The scores were even identical as the final seconds began to tick off the clock late in the 4th quarter. Granted, Anthony Brown's numbers were markedly better than they were in the loss against the Cardinal, but the only thing that truly differed at the end of these two games is that Kayvon Thibodeaux (who I've managed to mention in every single Ducks post this season) was actually on the field for the end of the game. The defense held Cal out of the end zone in a goal line stand effectively eight times in a row to notch the victory, while in the previous game Thibodeaux had been sent off the field with a targeting penalty. It seemed like it could have been a nice morale booster for an otherwise beleaguered team, but Cal isn't a very good team! It's probably not very reasonable to expect a big win at UCLA today... and I'll leave it at that. That being said, I suppose I'll take another nailbiter if it gets the Ducks another W.

Series History: UCLA holds a 39-30 edge, although the Ducks have won 8 of the last 9.

Opponent Talk: The UCLA SB Nation site seems to be abandoned, as the last article was posted at the beginning of this summer. I know that not every one of these sites was ever representative of their fanbase's online footprint, but it's still quite a strange thing to see. Okay, fine, here's the Daily Bruin, where Chip Kelly (remember him?!) is talking "transative process." 

The Ducks gave UCLA a 60-13 beatdown back in 2010 when Chip Kelly was on the other side.

Game time is 12:30 PM PDT on ABC. Go Ducks!

Friday, October 22, 2021

From Gold to Goold

Set needs from @nightowlcards (and one Cardinal card!) 

As I gear up to watch some playoff baseball tonight, let's check out some set fillers from Night Owl. Most of the cards from this envelope received back in June were from an Allen & Ginter set of some sort. There were also a few other interesting things to be found as well, of course.

I chose longtime Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold to represent the stack of 2020 Ginter needs for reasons that should be pretty obvious. It was cool to see Goold, whose work I've been reading on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website for years, actually get his own baseball card. I'm sure there are plenty of MLB beat writers who do not have their own baseball cards at this point, but the back of his card tells the tale of Goold helping to save a videographer's life at a game at Busch Stadium in 2019. (I'm sure there are other heroic beat writers out there that don't have their own card, but...)

This one was on my "10 Most Wanted" list for a long time... possibly since 2013 or whenever I first created the list! I've never been too certain how rare this card is, but I know it's usually been a bit out of my price range when I did stumble across one. I don't know if that's due to the general lack of availability of mainstream cards of the soccer legend Pele or if this particular variation is actually somewhat rare.

I pulled the "no text" version of this card back when the set was new, but I finally have my hands on the version with regular text. I have some work to do on the "10 Most Wanted" list as it's not visible if you're on a mobile app, and Google stopped making the little sidebar widgets easy to edit. (I think there's only 9 current "wants" on this list for this very reason.)

Here's the requisite array of A&G minis. I believe Night Owl ends up with a lot of duplicate or unwanted minis due to others sending him stuff that he doesn't really need. I can't recall if he still has a "Frankenset" project or not. While a seemingly cool idea, I could never get into making my own Frankenset because it goes completely against the grain of how I collect. (I'm never going to tell other people how to collect, though!) One of these cards is an Allen & Ginter back variation. Can you guess which one? (A hint: it features good ol' Old Planter.)

Night Owl also found a couple of needs from the somehow still unfinished 2003 Topps want list, including the legendary Frank Robinson and former star starting pitcher Cliff Lee on his 1st Year Topps card. (If you're new to collecting, 1st Year cards did not used to be confined to the boring Bowman sets.)

Here's that promised Cardinals card! Dizzy has a banner showing the year 1953 on his card, but his photo is looking straight out of the 1930s. The flag, of course, represents the year of Dizzy's Hall of Fame induction.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Opening Night Hoops

New basketball cards for a newer season. 
The 2021-22 NBA season begins anew tonight! A couple of weekends ago, I actually found brand new unopened basketball cards in a retail store for maybe the second time in the past couple of years. Granted, these are 2020-21 cards, but it doesn't look like we are going to have any 2021-22 NBA cards for quite some time so we'll take what we can get.

I picked up a hanger box of Panini Select from Barnes & Noble of all places. This is the first time the set has been available at the retail level, and all of the base cards are blue instead of their normal (hobby) silver. They're not the best things I've seen, but beggars can't be choosers at this point. Let's check out what I got.

Here's a rookie and a former MVP from years ago. As you can see, the retail cards are a pretty serious blue, not just a sky blue.

A couple of LA team guys, although Williams had already moved on to the Hawks at this point.

On average, about half of the base cards were rookies.

The big base card is the rookie cover dude here.

An idiot and a Kiwi walk into a bar... there's probably a joke here, somewhere.

A couple of rookies here. Josh Green (boring name!) and Isaiah Joe (two first names!)

RJ Barrett is here on the apparently rare Courtside design along with superstar Luka.

Each hanger box promises some exclusive red, white and orange "shimmer" parallels. I was fortunate enough that two of these are team collection needs, including this rookie Elleby card.

This is the first Norman Powell card that's headed for my Blazers binders.

The third exclusive "shimmer" parallel was none other than Kristaps Prozingis.

Midseason Pacers acquisition Caris LeVert rounds out the group of shimmers.

Here's some bonus Luka!

The last two cards were color base parallels.

The blue Prizm parallel shows off the retail exclusive design a lot better than the non-Prizm cards.

Enjoy the games tonight... and the season!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

PWE Time!

Another recap of plain white envelope goods including Kellogg's goodies from @CardHemorrhage and more. 
I've just about wrapped up shipping everything from... *checks calendar*... Spring! Cleaning. I just need to figure out how to contact the person that claimed the Nationals and send out packages to three of you that picked the Cardinals. (Yeah, you're going to get a lot of stuff.) Here's some more small envelope stuff, including two of the first to respond and send me things in exchange for Spring Cleaning goodies.

First up is reader Derek, who found my collection on TCDB and was kind enough to dig up some stickers (!) from north of the border for my collection.

In the junk wax era, there are still plenty of stickers that I am still in need of. I don't think I'd seen this dual All-Star sticker before, which features Gary Carter and Jack Clark. I like the All-Star logo here from the 1987 game.

This design is a little more familiar, but I'm still missing a number of these from the 1989 Panini set.

Even more odd than oddball stickers are these Stuart cards from 1987.

Is Stuart a food issue card or the name of a chain store? Surely one of our Canadian readers can fill us in.

I actually began trying to put together the whole 1990 Panini sticker album years ago, and Derek found my want list for it and send me a nice pile of non-Cardinals that will eventually get stuck in the album itself, assuming I can find it.

Next up is a pair of serial-numbered cards from the Cards from the Quarry weekly Sunday trade bait posts going back to last spring. These recent Panini Donruss parallels are always ridiculous, but I'm not going to turn down the chance to pick one up for the team collection in a trade.

Purple Parallel Power! I'm not sure I've seen another Malik Collymore card other than various versions of this one. This is numbered to 149.

Lastly, Giants fan Jay from Card Hemorrhage passed a couple of Kellogg's "3-D" cards my way. Kellogg's cards are just about the best thing in baseball cards from the '70s if you ask me.

They're better than all the Topps flagship cards and they're better than those food issues that you cut off of the box. They're even better than the TCMA/SSPC stuff, even though those sets produced some interesting photo player-team combinations that Topps never touched. The only thing I like about as much as '70s Kellogg's cards is '70s O-Pee-Chee cards, but that's a topic for another day.