Monday, January 21, 2013

Technical Difficulties and other things

I'm writing this on my work laptop while on my lunch break.

My home laptop (which is a Mac) is about 5 years old so the operating system is now obsolete according to Apple.  I bought the install disk for a newer OS last week and attempted to upgrade it on Friday afternoon.  While updating the software, the install disk found some critical hard drive errors and basically scrambled everything up.  The computer is now a brick since it's stuck between 2 different operating systems.  The geniuses at the Apple store said that my computer is obsolete and can't fix it due to their company policy of cash grabbing and trying to get you to buy the newest, latest, and greatest.  My only hope is my father-in-law who runs his own computer repair business.  I'm probably better off taking it to him anyways!

So bottom line is, I won't be able to post any pictures or scan any cards for a little bit until I get my home laptop up and running again.  I'm not sure how long this will be.  Maybe a week, maybe a month, maybe more.  I think the time away from blogging might be good considering my malaise about it right now.  I'll be reading everybody's entries when I get spare moments at work so I'll be around.

I also want to thank everybody who read my posts over the weekend for their words of encouragement.  I do have a tendency to be really, really hard on myself sometimes.  I think that was the first time it had spilled over onto the blog though.  I will continue to write about my collecting journey as well as I am able.

I will try to dig up some pictures of what our house looked like when we moved in and what it looks like presently.  Luckily the wife has those on her computer!  William from foul bunt is the only blogger that has seen my house (unless some of you guys out there are creepers)  and he'll say that the difference is night and day (or jungle to not-so-much jungle)!

Speaking of William, I did attend Orioles Fanfest with him this past weekend and had a blast.  I want to do a recap of that as well as a tribute to Earl Weaver and Stan Musial whenever I get my computer back in working order. I finally get some cool stuff to blog about and now I can't because of the hard drive failing!  I will endeavor to persevere!  See you all soon!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dear Diary Part 2

      I've done a little thinking about my collection a lot lately.  I do need to downsize what I have.  I've decided to sell off all of my complete sets.  Topps 1981-present, Upper Deck 1989-2009, Bowman 1989-present, Allen & Ginter 2006-present along with a few other random sets I have.  They take up a lot of space (nearly 100 complete sets ) and I just don't look at them once they are complete.  I can't tell you the last time I pulled my 1988 Topps set off the shelf and cracked open the box and looked at the cards.  I can probably say that it hasn't been opened since it was completed!
    I've never understood why complete sets of baseball cards are "worth" less that what they are if you added up all the individual card "values".  For example: if you look on ebay for a Super Mario Brothers 3 game for NES you'll find a ton for sale.  Then you find that one copy that has the original box, manual, advertising inserts and maybe the original shrink wrap intact is going to sell for a premium price.  Why the premium price?  Because it's complete!  Why don't baseball card sets carry that premium? Somebody please explain this to me!
      I've already had a trade bait blow out which was overall a big success.  I cleared out some room in my tradebait boxes and more importantly  I acquired some really nice cards in return. But, I still have a nice sized pile to send to COMC.  That's ok by me because whatever I sell there, I can turn around and use the store credit to fund my habit to buy some cards I need.  I think I may do a massive last chance clearance before I seal the box and send it out just to see if there are anymore cards that people are interested in.

    I've also purged a bunch of cards from my overproduction era commons boxes.  I'm sitting on a mountain of 3200 count boxes of cards that just take up space.  I don't think I need 800 or so piles of 1988 Topps or 1991 Donruss sitting around in boxes.  I think the Children's Hospital or Goodwill might be a good place to take these cards unless somebody wants them on here.  They would only have to pay shipping or come pick them up.

So looking forward I won't be building sets anymore. I also think this will cut down on the amount of wax I open too.  This won't be a bad thing though.  I'll be able to buy more of the cards I need for my collections instead of cards to just "fill" sets.  I will still open packs and the occasional hobby box but nowhere near what I used to bust.  Hopefully this strategy will keep me from acquiring too much extra cardboard that I don't need.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dear Diary Part 1

     Sometimes I feel like my blog is the worst on the internet.  All I do is post up trades that I complete, a pack break every now and then with a group break sprinkled in for good measure.  I have a hard time coming up with "original" material like Night Owl, Nick from Dime Boxes, or Napkin Doon do on a nightly basis.  I've never been a talented writer when it comes to originality but when I get a prompt (or in this case a trade) I can usually put together a few paragraphs and say thanks at the end.
     I don't get a ton of comments (669 comments on 437 post, ~1.5 comments per post) but I understand why I don't.  Most everything I post  is "show and tell", so all of the readers just look and move on.
Baseball cards are enjoyable for me and I do it on my spare time (which is less and less these days).  I work a full 8 hours and then I come home to do some work in the yard (more on that a little bit later) or household chores and by the time I sit down to look at cards, my brain is in shut down mode.  Coming up with thought provoking commentary or witty banter about something I enjoy is sometimes tough when you're pooped from the day's activities.

    I'm not trying to sound like a whiner or get some pity from anybody.  I know everybody else has issues that they deal with on a daily basis too.  Bottom line is I hope that my writing style isn't boring to read. My blog is what it is and I just want to thank everybody that does read.  I'm not going anywhere for a while so you're going to have to cope with my blog for long time to come!

The boring stuff starts right here:

     Let me jump back in time to last May when the wife and I moved into a new (to us) house.  I've always been  the kind of person who enjoys a well landscaped yard and we both saw the potential that the house has (and is slowly reaching).  The only thing is that while the inside of the house was well taken care of, the yard had become an overgrown jungle since it was built back in 2007.  Trees were out of control and the flowerbeds were almost non-existent. When the weather cooled last September (right after my adult baseball season ended) we went to work.  I hate Sweet Gum trees, especially those damn spiky "gumballs" that they drop.  Out of the roughly 125 trees I've cut down, hauled away the brush to the dump, given away loads of firewood and chopped up the stumps with an ax, probably 100 of them have been Gum trees!  Luckily our county dump gives away free mulch so we've probably spread about 20 or so loads of that in our new flower beds that have been constructed out of nothing but our imaginations and the dirt under our feet.  All of this has taken a remarkable amount of time  and there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.  Everything I've mentioned has been in the front yard!
     I'm planning on cutting down more trees in the back yard and planting some grass so that there's a nice place for the Mrs and I to relax with our dogs.  Then there's the garden that we're planning on putting in the side yard.  That will also include cutting trees down and getting rid of the stumps!
     I actually enjoy spending the time doing yard projects.  I'm getting my exercise and fresh air and I'm told that's good for me.  Chopping my toes off with an ax or having a tree fall on me would be bad.  I'm looking forward to continually work on finishing up these projects but it just takes time.  One bite of the elephant at a time is what I keep telling myself.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Trade with Ryan of Ryan's Pitch

Here's a trade that came together rather quickly last week.  Ryan from the excellent blog Ryan's Pitch posted up a wantlist for some 2012 sets he's trying to finish up last week and I was happy to help out (and clear some room out of my commons boxes).  I was very happy to be able to get these cards in return:
A Javy Lopez patch card!  If I remember correctly, this one is numbered 70/100.  I vaguely remember Javy's time in Baltimore since it was a time when I wasn't collecting much or paying that close attention to the Orioles.  I do remember my roommate at the time who was a Braves fan being pretty upset that Javy switched teams.  I guess it was the personal connection he had since he had seen him play in person for the Braves Triple-A team at the Diamond here in Richmond.
There's a rumor that the Orioles are interested in bringing back Matt Lindstrom to the flock for the upcoming season.  I'd welcome that move since he pitched really well during the 2012 season before he was shipped off to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Joe Saunders.  To be quite honest Lindstrom would be preferable in my eyes over the re-upping of Saunders.  You can't teach a 98 MPH fastball that Lindstrom possesses but  we don't need to sign Saunders to a multi-year deal that blocks the path of Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman to the major league rotation.
Luis Ayala pitched really well of the O's this past year.  I really hope that he can keep it up this year.  For once, the Orioles bullpen has some stability and reliability.  This particular card is one of my favorites of 2012.  It's like Luis is pointing the bat at the photographer saying "don't even think about making fun of my pink batting gloves, my daughter gave them to me!"
The next big offensive prospect in the Orioles pipeline is Jonathan Schoop.  I've gotten his autograph in person a few times and he has been quite pleasant each time.  I believe he is going to start the year in Triple-A Norfolk playing everyday.  He played very well in the Arizona Fall League after having an average season at Double-A Bowie.  I'll be following him closely this year to see how he's progressing!

Thanks for the trade Ryan.  I hope we can get together on another trade soon!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Trade with Patrick of Hot Corner Cards

This was a quickie trade with Patrick of Hot Corner Cards.  I just recently became a follower of his blog and he was able to send me the last card to complete my 990 card 2012 Topps flagship set (including Updates).

Andrelton Simmons!  He's popped up on this blog quite often lately!  Remember the pull from this years Bowman Draft Picks from last week?  Read about it here: Christmas Cards: 2012 Bowman Draft Picks.

Thanks Patrick for the help on my set!

Trade with Jason of Joe Average Card Collector

I recently was able to swing a nice trade with Jason of Joe Average Card Collector.  He's somewhat new to the blogging world but he's been a collector for long time as far as I can tell.  At first I mixed him up with another blog called I Am Joe Collector.  Pardon me, I can be a little slow to figure things out the way things have been going around in my head lately.  Jason is on the ball and he already was able to post up his goodies from the trade and you can read about them right HERE.
Here's some of the nice collection pieces I was able to get:
When I started blogging I hardly knew anything about Mike Cuellar.  I used to think that Vintage cards were old and crusty and that they were prohibitively expensive.  I just avoided them like the plague because I thought they were poor quality and the photography was awful. Now after reading about vintage cards and knowing more about them, I feel the exact opposite way.  The perceived flaws now have become strengths in my eyes!  Take for example the Mike Cuellar card that will go into my One Card of every Oriole binder.  I love action on my cards but the posed shot and the simple color scheme made me chose this card to go into the binder as my favorite representation of Mike Cuellar.
Jason also sent me a nice stack of Cal Ripken cards I didn't have before.  While this foil board insert didn't scan for crap, it's still one of my favorites from the package.  BTW, this package takes me over 1200 different cards of Cal in my collection!
I had never heard of the commanders of the hill cards before.  I'm glad he sent it to me as it's a nice addition to my Mussina binder.
This card of Steady Eddie will go into my team set binders.  I think I need a couple more Orioles from the set to finish it off.  There's a ton of parallels but I think this is the base version.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.
I'll close out the post with a refractor of the loveable drunkard Sir Sidney.  Oh how we were all fooled into thinking you were going to turn into an ace pitcher.  Instead you turned into an out of control idiot with pumpkin seeds for brains!  I kid, I kid!

Thanks Jason for the awesome trade!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christmas Cards: 2012 Bowman Draft Picks Hobby Box

Here's the last and favorite of my Christmas gifts.  It's hard to believe Christmas was 2 weeks ago today!  This gift came courtesy of my mother and father in laws.  They did good, real good!

I'm a fan of Bowman and all of the prospects that come out of the product.  I like to keep my eye on the future of MLB players.  Sure there could be some tweaking of the entire lineup of Bowman products but I still like it enough to keep collecting it.  I'm not really sure why Topps made Bowman Draft picks a hobby only product this year.  It always seemed to sell pretty well at retail as far as I can tell.

Without further ado, lets see what I got from the box:
Here's one of the 2 insert sets available.  The other being Bowman's Best.  These seem like a Timeless Talents/Legendary Lineage ripoff from Topps flagship.  Some of the player pairings are somewhat strange.  Utley/Naquin, Bruce/Cecchini, and Fielder/Tulowitzki seemingly have not much in common.  I didn't bother to read the backs so I'm sure there's some connection.  I understand the Hamilton/Harper card since they were both #1 overall picks with skills off the charts.
Here's the 2 regular standard Orange and Blue bordered cards from the prospects set.  Never heard of either of these fellows but you never know what they could turn out to be in a few years.
I'm a fan of the Ice parallels from this year's Bowman products.  It's hard to tell from the scan but they even have a refractor-y shine to them too.  The blue refractor of the Rockies farmhand might be the worst photoshop job ever.
I got my promised autograph in the first pack I opened from the box.  Talk about breaking the suspense early on.  I've had this happen a few times over the last few boxes I've broken down if I remember correctly.  Lucas Sims seems like a decent enough autograph to get from the product.  I already own a USA autograph of his from a few years back, but it was a band-aid stickergraph.  I think this box should have ended up in a Braves' collector's hands and you'll see why a little later on.
The box produced it's 6 promised refractors.  I couldn't be happier about the Sean McAdams, it's one less I'll have to track down on COMC.  The Orioles cards produced pretty  well as I almost ended up with an entire team set of the base set and quite a few Chromes.

Bowman is all about the Rookie Cards and I was hoping for a few nice cards the bigger rookies and prospects from this years "class".  I think I did really well in that regard.  Check it out, I got:
The Chrome and regular Will Middlebrooks,
Regular and Chrome Trevor Bauer,
Regular and Chrome of Kevin Gausman (for obvious reasons)
Regular and Chrome of Mike Zunino
Regular and Chrome of Yu Darvish
Chrome and regular of Bryce Harper

This box was veritable Who's Who of 2012 Rookies and Prospects.

Now I said above that this box was a Braves box.  Check these out:
The Orange Refractor on the left is numbered out of 25 and the Blue on the right is #d to 500.  I pulled these out of back to back packs.  Plus the Harper Chrome and Darvish regular were nestled in with the Orange refractor.  Hot pack indeed!  I'm not sure what to do with them yet.

So that does it for Christmas 2012 for me.  Now back to your regular scheduled non-posting from "O" NO!!! Another Orioles Blog.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas Cards: Bowman Platinum Blaster

Here's the second of my 3 posts covering the cards my family and friends picked up for me as gifts this past Christmas.  I know I'm about 2 weeks behind in posting "What I Got For Christmas" but it was just too much going on over the holidays to even think about blogging.  

This gift comes from the family of a good buddy of mine named Scott.  We have been trading blasters for the last 2 years or so on each others birthdays and Christmas.  For Christmas this year I was the recipient of a blaster of Bowman Platinum.  Platinum was one of the nicer looking sets of the year so I was happy to get a full blaster to rip open.
It looks as though most of the boxes I open should be destined for Braves fans.  I got the Emerald parallel of Chipper and Gold of Uggla.  Throw in the Ruby Matt Moore and the Gold Votto I'm thinking I've got a pretty good blaster!
I also got 2 of the Top Prospects inserts.  I've somehow ended up with 2 of the Banuelos cards but the Walker is new to me.
The real gem of the box was this autograph card of Eric Arce.  It's a green refractor (not a huge fan of green as a refractor color overall) which is a bonus.  Will you just look at the penmanship this kid has?  You can read every single letter!  Kudos to him for taking the time to legibly sign his cards.  Judging from his Baseball Reference page he knows how to take a walk, he is a 25th round pick in 2011 so the odds are stacked against him to make it to the majors.  He's only 21 so there's still plenty of time for him to develop.  I'd love to see him succeed just to see if his autograph signing skills deteriorate over the years!

Everything you see in this post is for trade.  I also have a good pile of base cards from 2012 Bowman Platinum to trade if anybody needs some to complete their set.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Trade with GCRL

I'm finishing up a few loose ends here and this one is a smallish trade that I swung with GCRL.  I sent him a Dee Gordon international parallel from this year's Bowman and he sent me a couple of nice cards in return and as a "pay it forward" for some Dodgers cards I'll be getting in the future.
Jim included this TTM of Merv Rettenmund. I don't know that much about Mr, Rettenmund except that he was part of the well stocked Orioles farm system of the late 60's and early 70's.  Merv was a great hitter and was forced to stay down on the farm because the players that were roaming the outfield in Baltimore were great at the time.  Nice problem to have!  One of those players was this guy:
While he came from the Reds (the team that Rettenmund was eventually traded to in a separate deal) his career went thru a renaissance of sorts.  He won the MVP award and also led the O's to a couple WS berths and became one of the more beloved players in Baltimore's history.

Thanks for the trade Jim!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Trade with Kerry of Cards on Cards

I'm just about caught up on my trade post backlog so bear with me for just a couple more posts.  I believe it is important to post the trades that I complete to not only show appreciation to my trade partners but to also educate the 3 or 4 readers of my blog.

I believe this package showed up from Kerry over at Cards on Cards on Christmas Eve.  To be honest, I forgot what I sent him but I'm sure you can read up on his haul from the trade on his blog.

Ever since the late 90's I've been a pretty close follower of the Orioles farm system.  I've only begun to realize that the O's farm system was mostly barren during this time period right up until just the last few years.  Sure, there were a couple of guys who graduated to the big leagues, but there were many that just didn't make it.  Nevertheless, I still collect the autographs of these players like Corey Shafer above.  Judging from his Baseball Reference page, it seems as though Corey probably was dogged by injuries and ineffectiveness when he was healthy that lead to his inability to make it out of Hi-A ball.  Baseball is a tough sport to make all the way to the top even if you are the best player on your high school team or even the best player on your college team!
Aside from the craziness of the numbering of the 2009 Goodwin Champions set, the cards were really nice.  I'm not going to go into the nuances of the numbering of the base set or the mini set here but if you really want to get a headache, head over to BaseballCardPedia and look it up.  Either way, I'm happy to have this Jeremy Guthrie mini from the product since it's only available as an extended series mini.  If I ever decided to go for the entire team set of minis, I'd have a good start with this card.
Apparently I'm not the only one who pays close attention to my side bar.  Kerry included this Chipper chrome reprint because he noticed that I have a smallish PC of Larry Wayne going.  He's not a priority by any means, but I do enjoy getting cards of Chipper from dime boxes and throw-ins from trades.
Another surprise card in the package was this Brooks Robinson SP from 2010 Topps.  I do think the HOF veteran SP's add a little bit of umph to the products.  The SP's in general don't really bother me that much except when they have to photoshop jerseys onto the likes of King Albert, Carl Crawfish, and Jose Reyes.
I'll close out this trade post with a relic card of Tony Batista.  With perhaps the most unorthodox batting stance in the history of the world, he was the biggest star the Orioles had in the early 2000's.  He sure could hit the ball a long way when he could get all those moving parts of his windup working together but he soon played his way out of Baltimore after only 2 and a half seasons.

I'd like to thank Kerry for the trade and also thank the readers of this blog for putting up with my stupid jokes and uneven commentary.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas Cards: Super Ultimate Jumbo Pack thingy

Well, I didn't expect to ever have to post on this blog again.  My last post was on December 21st (the day that the Wayans Brothers Mayans predicted the world would end).  Since the Mayans were wrong and Christmas still came, I'm coming out of my holiday hangover and posting a couple of hobby related things I got as gifts.  The first thing I got was in my stocking.  My sister in law dropped in one of the Super Ultimate Jumbo packs that are readily available at Dollar Tree.  I usually resist buying repackaged cards since they usually contain a bunch of overproduced cards from the late 80's/early 90's era  and sometimes they can be a bit beat up since most of the clientele at the dollar stores could give a rip about my hobby.  It's the thought that counts and my sister in law Caitlin did a good job of thinking of me while purchasing gifts (she also bought me a CD that was on my list).

As I was rifling through the cards, I did notice a strange trend of the player selection.  There were 2 of just about every player: 2 David Seguis,  2 Kevin Browns, 2 Adrian Beltres, 2 Jeromy Burnitzs.  Here's the nicest Edgar out of the pack:
If there weren't 2 of the same player, there were 2 players from the same team: 2 Rockies, 2 Yankees, 2 Expos, and like the following 2 cards: 2 Astros:
If there weren't 2 of the same player or 2 of the same team, there were 2 of the same product:  2 Skybox Dominion, 2 1999 Pacific, 2 2001 Topps or 2 Leaf Certified:
I think the only card that was he odd man out was my "Super Star card" of Christy Mathewson.  As I was opening the pack the next day, one of those Prime 9 shows was on MLB Network showcasing the top 9 righthanded pitchers of the modern era.  Who was number 2?  Christy Mathewson.  
I'm now scared of the number 2.