Friday, August 24, 2012

8-20-12: Bowie Baysox @ Richmond Flying Squirrels

Since the Baysox were in town playing the Flying Squirrels on Monday night, I decided to head over to The Diamond and see the game.  Oh yeah, and Dylan Bundy was also making his second AA start.  If you haven't heard, he's kind of a big deal in baseball news right now since he's one year removed from getting his high school diploma and having the success he has had this year in the minors.

So I loaded up my autograph with Orioles prospects and headed out.  When I first arrived, I got my ticket and went thru the gate.  As you can see from the scan of the ticket above, the Squirrels were giving away Nutzy and Zinger Salt and Pepper shakers.  Nutzy is the Squirrel Mascot and Zinger is the Acorn sidekick.  Here's a pic of the set:

They are fairly well done in ceramic.  I thought they were going to be some cheap plastic crap from China.  But since the Squirrels have been in town for the last 3 years, they have really paid a lot of attention to the fan experience which I like.  The Richmond Braves didn't seem to go too far out of the way to please the fans when they were here.

So onto the autographs:
Mike Belifiore was one of the first signers.  The Orioles got him for Josh Bell earlier this year.  I used the fine tipped (wrong) Staedler pen instead of the medium tipped (correct)  version.  GRRR....
Aaron Baker is on the DL right now and not expected to play for the rest of the season.  You can see I used the correct pen this time.
I got Jonathan Schoop to sign multiples. (with the wrong pen again, dammit!)
Ronnie Welty signed and was very pleasant.  He even remarked at how nice of a night it was for a ball game even though he was on the bench.
Here's the customs that I got signed.  From the upper left going clockwise: Andy Loomis, Mike Wright, Jacob Pettit, Ty Kelly, and Antoan Richardson.  Loomis, Wright and Pettit haver really nice signatures.  Ty Kelly needs some penmanship work.  Antoan Richardson is kind of a dick saying that he wouldn't sign in the white spot because he doesn't want it counterfeited or something. Dude, you're 28 and in double-A, get a clue, you're not a top prospect!  
Robbie Widlansky was a hero for the Baysox this night.  Lets set the scenario.  Dylan Bundy and Clay Schrader had held the Flyin Squirrels to only 2 runs on the night while Bowie was flailing away and hitting tons of at'em balls scoring none.  In the top of the 8th inning the skies opened up and caused an hour and 15 minute rain delay (yes I stayed cuz I'm hardcore like that, and I'm glad I did for 2 different reasons.)  Reason #1 is Robbie jacked a 3 run bomb in the top of th 9th inning letting Bundy off the hook for the loss and the possibility of going another game up on the Richmond for the wild card spot.  It wasn't meant to be because Kyler Newby (Bowie's closer) ruined that and Richmond scored 2 in the bottom of the 9th to win it.

So after sticking around for about 4 hours, I decided to try and get what I came for.  Yeah, I came to watch Dylan Bundy pitch and Bowie play but I also had other motives for the trip.  I was unsuccessful before the game in getting Dylan's autograph so I decided to stalk stake out the players entrance and see if he would sign while leaving.  I wasn't the only one there.  I had the company of about 12-15 other autograph seekers looking to get some late night 'graphing action.  We all patiently waited for about 20 to 30 minutes letting the other players walk by (who I'd already gotten earlier in the evening).  Most of the other seekers didn't even know who they were other than me because I have a photographic memory.

Then he comes out, talking in the phone.  This is usually when most guys "big league" you and walk right on by without even acknowledging you have a pulse.  He circled around inside the little fenced in area for a few minutes and then walked over to us while still chatting on the phone.  I was the 3rd person in line and here it is:
SAWEET!  His signature looks great on the new Bowman Platinum!  I was really thrilled to meet him but I really wish I could have chatted with him for a few minutes but he was on the phone and I didn't want to be rude.  I did say thanks, though!  He seemed like a good kid.  ( I can call him kid because he's almost 10 years younger than me).
I think he pitched pretty well during the game and he even hit 96 mph on the stadium gun IN THE 6TH INNING which I think is about 1 or 2mph slower that what it actually is.  While I think that he is better than some of the pitchers currently on the Orioles 25 man roster, I don't think he should be called up for the stretch run.  I think a month or 2 in Triple-A next spring will do him good and then he can be promoted.  A lot of people are calling for him to be activated now but I don't think that he's quite ready.  I say just let him go home rest, and then start working out, and gettting ready for next season while letting the experiences of the 2012 season sink in a little bit.  But that's just me, the guy who has to pay to get into the ballpark.

So it was a great night (other than the rain delay) and I plan on going to one more Squirrels game this year next Tuesday.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Trade with Dan of It's Like Having My Own Card Shop

Now that I am back from blogging hiatus and back into full trade mode, I recently set up a trade with Dan of  It's Like Having My Own Card Shop.  He saw the Chris Young GU card I pulled from my 2012 Allen & Ginter box and sent an email my way.  Lo and behold we came to a trade agreement.  Dan already chronicled what I sent him right HERE .  Here's a couple of the cards that I got in return.
There aren't many cards of Reggie Jackson wearing the Orange and Black for the Orioles.  This is the card I'm using for my "One Card of Every Oriole" binder since it is the most time period appropriate card of him.  So I will mark off another card from the journey to find at least 1 card of each player to ever don the thread of the O's.
I know I've mentioned this before but it's getting tougher and tougher to find cards of Cal Ripken that I don't have.  Heck, it's even getting tough to find cards from this insert set that I don't have!  I really like the Ultra Iron Man set that Fleer Upper Deck put out in 2007.  I'm pretty close to completing the set so check my list to see if you can give me a hand.
Here's the centerpiece of the trade.  I'm not the biggest MelMo fan out there but I do respect the way he played while he was in Charm City.  There weren't many players that performed as consistently for the team the way he did in the 00's.  There were so many washed up players and burned out prospects that came through the Orioles in that decade that it sometimes makes me wonder how we won at all.  It makes me thankful for the way the 2012 team has played thus far.  Back to the relic card, I really like that the swatch is orange and the whole outer border is raised up a la UD Masterpieces.  Plus it's numbered to 100 copies.

Thanks Dan for the nice cards, I hope we can trade again one day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2012 Bowman Platinum: My First Impression

I got my first taste of 2012 Bowman Platinum on the way home from work the other day.  I stopped by Target, which is becoming a more rare occurrence lately, and picked up 2 packs of the newest product on the shelves.  Target is no longer on my direct route home anymore so stopping by to browse the shiny foil packs isn't as convenient anymore.  Here's nearly half of the cards I got for my money:
I believe this is a ruby parallel of Justin Morneau.  Well, I know it's Justin Morneau but the parallels in Bowman Platinum are almost as difficult to discern as they were last year.  The ruby background works well with the Twins uniform color scheme.
I'm pretty thrilled to pull this Mike Trout card considering that I only bought 2 packs.  I'm thinking about adding Trout as a PC since I already pulled at Bowman Chrome Refractor, Bowman Draft Picks Chrome Refractor, Diamond sparkly, and Cognac Diamond sparkly rookie cards from last years packs.  He's been great for my joint fantasy team this year and he's only going to get better!
Now this is a sweet card.  I'm glad that die cut cards are working their way back into products over the last year or so.  I think it just makes the card so much more interesting when it has neat geometric designs for borders.

I like the product so far and I wish I had the funds to buy a blaster or 2 of it.  I think the design is nice, the inclusion of diecut cards and a decent chance (1:33) of pulling an autograph makes this a winner.  There is a drawback for me being an Orioles fan.  Topps seems to hate the Orioles this year, only putting a minimal number of O's cards in their sets.  Adam Jones in the only player in the Paltinum base set.  Though they did put Manny Machado, Dylan Bundy, and Jonathan Schoop in the prospects set it's still a bummer to not have a base card and related parallels of Nick Markakis or JJ Hardy to chase.  I think this is going to be one of the deciding factors in purchasing more Platinum.  I love ripping open packs and pulling a card of my favorite team.  I only have a 1% (from the base set at least) chance of pulling the only one.  I have a 15 percent chance of pulling a Yankee (8 cards) or a  Red Sox player (7 cards). I actually got 3 in my 2 packs in Cano, A-Roid, and Teixeira.  I guess I'll just have to start saving my pennies for Chrome to come out in a few weeks!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Trade with blog reader Brendan

As I am officially back on the blogging train, that also means I am back, open for business in regards to trading.  Brendan, a reader of mine who doesn't have a blog (that I know of), contacted me again and offered up some cards that I could not resist.  This is my second trade with Brendan:
This card was actually not in our original trade agreement.  He put this card in as a surprise and it was a good one.  I've had my eye on this particular card on COMC and Ebay for a while and never pulled the trigger on it.  I guess the cardboard gods had planned for Brendan to send it to me in a trade.
This card was one of the original cards that he sent me a scan of.  Poor Brian Roberts.  This guy can't catch break.  He's had a myriad of injuries the last couple of years including a bad back, concussion issues and now a torn hip ligament or something.  Hopefully he'll be back at full strength for Spring Training 2013 and he can contribute like he used to.  I'm sure as frustrated as the O's fans are with his body breaking down, he's probably more disappointed that anybody on the planet.
Brendan also sent me a pile of semi-vintage cards for the sets I am slowly working on.  A couple 74's, 76's and 80's Topps commons.  I had a hard time trying to figure out which card to scan because there were several Pirates, Yankees, Phillies and Blue Jays cards in the lot.  Pirates from the 70's are the devil (for O's fans, think '71 and '79 World series), Yankees are always the devil, and the Blue Jays and Phillies just bug me for some reason.  I guess the Brewers are the least hated of the quintet of teams even though they did knock the O's out of the playoffs the last day of the '82 season.  I'm not sure if Bob McClure had anything to do with that days loss or not.

Thanks Brendan for the great cards and conversation pieces that you sent over!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Box Break: 2012 Allen & Ginter

As late as 6 months ago, I would have never thought that this post would make it on this blog.  Like I said before, this is a gift hobby box to myself as I recently finished moving to a new house and painting just about every visible surface inside of it.  I'm new to the A&G universe since I have just come down with the fever in the past couple of months.
I think the base card design is pretty good this year. It's different from past years but not too different.  It sticks to what Ginter does best: looks classy.  I think that Topps put too many bells and whistles on last year's issue and that hurt most everybody's impressions of the set.
So enough about what I think about the cards lets see what I got:
Here's the box topper.  It's a plain jane Johnny Bench N43 card.  How the heck am I supposed to store this thing?
My first hit of the box was this Jordan Zimmerman autograph card.  Since he's been pretty good this year I'm pretty happy with pulling his 'graph!
I don't have a ton of things to say about my first relic card of the box other than it's for trade.

Here's the rarer minis that I pulled.  I've always admired George Washington as a Military Hero.  He got his butt whipped in many, many battles during the War for Independence, but he men kept fighting for him.  I think that's why he's in this set, not for winning battles but being well enough liked that his men respected and fought to the end for him.
Here's my big mojo hit of the break.  It's a pretty neat one too.  I remember when this happened a few years.  This relic is actually from a specific event unlike the normal disclaimer that is on the back of relic cards these days.

So I'm building the set.  You can check out my wantlist for what I need along with some of the other sets in working on right now.  Also,I bought a few lots on ebay so those are mixed in with the trade list below:

SPs: 301 Chambers, 302 Werth, 306 R Howard, 309 Karolyi, 314 Buffer, 317 Heyward 319 Wainwright, 320 Papelbon(2), 325 Robinson, 333 K. Johnson, 334 Beltre, 336 G. Gonzalez, 339 Cash, 344 Dominguez, 348 Headley
Regular Back Minis: 31 J. Robinson, 72 Soria, 102 Street, 116 Beachy, 121 Wright, 123 Lind,  209 Crisp, 231 Helton, 240 Lombardozzi, 246 T. Hunter, 259 W. Davis, 266 C. Ruiz, 304 Farnsworth, 329 Butler, 337 Holliday, 350 Kendrick 315 Betances, 349 Espinosa, 350 Kendrick(2)
A&G Back Minis: 48 Walden, 66 Y. Molina, 97 Scherzer, 115 Santana, 132 D. Hudson, 228 Fowler, 307 J. Peralta
Black Border Minis: 97 Scherzer, 145 Storen
Worlds' Tallest Buildings: WTB2, 7, 8
Baseball Highlights Sketches: 2 Seaver, 8 Jeter, 23 J. Robinson
Murder in Willow Cove: Marcie Guttman, Lennie Guttman, Sigmund Buttle, Andy Modell
Musical Masters: MM16 Gustav Mahler
N43 Box Loader: N43-9 Johnny Bench

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs (or A+G)

Recently, I've fallen in love with Allen and Ginter.  I used to be apathetic to the product's release each summer but I've really started to like the quirky things I didn't like before.  I didn't used to like the "unusual" cards mixed in with baseball players. I'm not sure what caused my turnaround but I do know I've officially switched from the "A&G Haters Club" to the "A&G Summer of Love Cult."  It might be that I'm just searching for something new and interesting to work on and Ginter just fills that hole and more.

I made a  pretty good Craigslist pickup of a near complete 2006 A&G set, 2007 complete A&G set and a near complete 2008 A&G set. Most of the time when you see something on Craigslist, it's gone to someone constantly jamming the F5 key all day waiting for something good to pop up.  This is the first thing I've ever gotten anything from Craigslist out of the countless tries for various items.
Pretty much the entire first 130 cards of the 2008 set were badly dinged (probably by me, or the seller unknowingly) so I'm looking for upgrades on those along with the cards I need to complete the '06 set.  The best part is that I have about 400 or so minis from the '06 and '08 set that I really don't need.  If you or anybody you know needs any of them please contact me.

When William came to my house the night before the National, he brought his box of A&G Doubles for me to peruse.  I got a nice start on the '09, '10 and '11 base sets.  I want to eventually buy a box of each of these years.  The '09 might be a bit pricey but the '10 and '11 I should be able to get a decent price on.

I also bought myself a hobby box of 2012 Allen and Ginter as a "Congratulations, you've painted every  possible surface on the inside of your new house" gift.  Plus, Dave and Adams was throwing in a free ticket to the National when you make a 75 dollar purchase.  Pretty sweet deal if you ask me!   I'll be breaking the results of that in my next post.

Lastly, if anybody is has tons of A&G base cards from these sets that you'd like to donate to me, I'll gladly take them off of your hands especially 09's. If you don't want to donate, maybe we can work out a deal.  Let me know.  I'll be working on some wantlists in the next few days to help everyone get a good idea of what cards I'm looking for

Monday, August 6, 2012

My 2012 NSCC Experience

I think I am finally officially back in blogging mode now since several things have have been resolved with the old and new house and we officially have internet at the new house!  This will make the process of scanning and writing much more convenient and easy.   Not a moment too soon either as my day at the 2012 National (Saturday) wrap-up will only take this one post.  I got a ton of cool Orioles cards that I won't bore everybody with since they are really only of interest to me and my team set binders.  I didn't make a ton of purchases but the ones I did make were pretty awesome.
I'm just going to get this out of the way.  I bought a 1957 Topps #328 Brooks Robinson rookie card!  This was the #1 priority wantlist item that I wanted and it was a long search for it.  I probably asked about 75 different dealers if they had one and I got the answer of "no"from 70 of them.  I think I wasted a lot of time looking for the right one but I'm very happy with the results.  There were several near mint copies that I saw that just weren't the right card for me.  When I was going to drop about half of my budget on 1 card, I was going to make sure it was the right one.  I got a great deal on it and spent about 15 minutes talking to the dealer that sold it to me.  It has a little bit of paper loss (near his ear), the corners are a little bit fuzzy and the centering is a bit off (the scan cut the bottom border off a bit) and there's a wax stain on the back.  This is what a vintage card is supposed to be (IMHO, of course!).  It's such a great card that I'll treasure always, especially since my wife gave me some money towards it as an early 1st wedding anniversary gift (she got a new puppy out of the deal, so everyone is happy)!

Moving right along to my next purchase is this triple GU card of the Orioles brightest stars in 2010.  It's number 9/18!  Adam is haveing a great season, Roberts can stay on the field long enough to contribute and Nick just came off the DL and is hitting like a crazed animal.  No matter the on field performance, this is a sweet card!  I've seen a few of these on ebay but was always outbid.  I got this card for an Andrew Jackson. The only way this card could have been better would be an Orange background instead of a green one.  This card will definitely be sitting on my desk so I can stare at it.
While on my search for the Brooks RC, I walked by a table that had tons and tons of Japanese baseball cards and memorabilia.  Since I have an interest in Japanese baseball because of my own heritage, I had to stop and check it all out.  There was a lot of cool things there including a bargain bin of unopened packs 5 for 10 bucks.  I rifled through the bin and found 3 of these showing Yu Darvish and Tsuyoshi Shinjo.  These are from the team set so there was an increased chance of pulling a Darvish card.  I didn't get one but it was neat to rip these packs.  I also got the one pack that was from the 2006 Tokyo Yakult Swallows team set since I actually saw them play in person that year.  I also grabbed a pack of 2009 Baseball Magazine First Edition because Darvish is on the front.

I bought myself a box of 2012 Topps Series 2 since during all the moving and painting, I almost totally ignored the set.  I'll be busting that box in the near future and posting up the results.

I also had a dumbass attack and bought 2 boxes of 100 ct. 1 pocket pages (for holding 8x10s in binders).  I didn't realize my mistake until I got home Saturday night.  If anybody needs them I'm willing to trade them to you since they do me no good.  I really needed some 9 pocket pages so I'll just have to wait til next time.

I perused a lot of bargain bins at the show and filled a bunch of holes in some of my O's team sets.  I even met up with Julie from It's Funner Here at one of the dime box tables.  We kept running into each other throughout the day exchanging pleasantries and showing our latest purchases to each other.

I also met up with fellow Orioles Blogger Ryan S. from The Great Orioles Autograph Project in a chance meeting while walking through the cardboard jungle.  We talked for couple minutes about the team and about our respective collecting goals.

And I can't forget my good buddy William from foul bunt.  He stayed at my house Friday night and we stayed up way too late looking through cards.  I appreciate him putting up with my scheduling conflicts and my random sense of humor.  It's always fun going to a card show with someone you know and being able to "geek out" with a person with similar interests.

Overall, I had a good time at the show.  I'm already looking forward to the next card show!