Monday, October 20, 2014

Assorted card shop pick ups

Wasn't as geeked up digging around a particular card shop I can only really visit maybe a few times in the fall - but found some loose odds and ends to put away in my pocket.

I paid $5 for a 2014 Panini Prizm Evan Longoria #65 - serial #'d 10/42; maybe a $1-$3 card on eBay but I suppose adding s/h costs even things out.

When digging for random singles, maybe I have a 'handful' of guys whose cards to look for - Longoria might be one of those MLB players that pique my interest from time to time.

The rest of the cards were a dollar each - I like numbered parallels when I can find them.

1993 Fleer Ultra Top Glove Greg Maddux #1 - an old insert featuring him wearing batting helmet, so I might as well grab the card now for my pitchers hitting collection or else I might as well forget it.

2002 Upper Deck Plus Mike Hampton #UD 99 - serial #'d 0142/1125; Hampton is not a player whose cards I'd usually find as keepers, but it's neat to find cards of him as a hitter.

2012 Topps Heritage Minors Matt Den Dekker - black border parallel serial #'d 61 / 96; I'll grab serial #'d cards all day even if the players aren't quite notables.

2012 Topps Pro Debut Garin Cecchini #23 - gold parallel serial #'d 24/50; maybe I've been on a numbered cards kick and it's fun to look for them, even though they aren't worth as much as I'd assume.

2012 Topps Pro Debut Tyrell Jenkins #130 - gold parallel serial #'d 08/50.

2013 Topps Update Series Ryan Kalish #US 108 - Camo parallel serial #'d 60/99; a seemingly limited card featuring awesome outfield action is a keeper.

2014 Panini Prizm Alex Gordon #42 - serial #'d 39/99; for the 2014 World Series, I'm hopping on the Kansas City bandwagon unless the San Francisco Giants snuff the Royals' World Series championship run out rather decidedly.

2014 Topps Series I Trout jumbo pack recap

During a week long sojourn in Arizona, my buddy and I stopped at a Surprise Walmart - when I saw there were 2014 Topps Series I jumbo packs still hanging up at the trading card section, I dug around to see if there was one marked with an exclusive Mike Trout card inside.

I've never heard of a 2014 Topps Mike Trout card available in Topps I Walmart jumbo packs until I read the Angels in Order blog - I was vaguely aware of the particular Trout card, though I thought it was just another base card variation / short print.

I actually spotted one marked pack and started taking the packs off the hanger to grab the 'Trout' pack - I do wonder why the card was only available in Walmart packs and why Topps had to mark the pack the card was actually in?

Maybe it would have been better if the cards were randomly inserted into unmarked packs - so the allure of the hunt remains instead of a certain number of packs being poached while the rest remain unsold on the shelves.

Maybe Topps should have created a more unique bonus card - besides the image, the Trout photo variation card doesn't really feel like it's all that jazzy

I was also thinking that a special Trout card should be one per pack instead of this wild-goose chase - but that would make the cards more 'bargain box' fodder, than something to fish for.

Top section
#35 Trevor Cahill
#182 Carlos Ruiz
#57 Yadier Molina
#123 James Paxton
#301 Shane Victorino
#47 Chris Davis
#218 Matt Dominguez
#61 Nick Markakis
#224 Michael Saunders
#231 J.R. Murphy
- Gold parallel serial #'d 1976/2014
#1 Mike Trout
#248 Travis d'Arnaud
#282 Rex Brothers
#8 Coco Crisp
#173 Brandon League
#134 Josh Donaldson
#211 Dioner Navarro
#268 Don Kelly

Bottom section
#252 Kevin Pillar
#288 Julio Teheran
#292 Aaron Hill
#143 2013 National League Runs Batted in Leaders
- feat. Paul Goldschmidt, Freddie Freeman and Jay Bruce
#259 David Ortiz
#321 Mariano Rivera
- Green parallel
#UC-45 Ryne Sandberg - Upper Class insert
#FN-18 Wil Myers - The Future is Now insert
#RCT-3 Joe Morgan - Topps All Rookie Cup team insert
#1 Mike Trout - Gatorade bath SP
#289 Matt Thornton - Walmart blue parallel
#102 Matt Lindstrom - Walmart blue parallel
#238 Alberto Callaspo
#151 Bruce Chen
#236 Joel Peralta
#256 Abraham Almonte
#75 Brandon Barnes
#209 Carlos Quentin

Saturday, October 11, 2014

My cool story bro time with Mike Moustakas

I remember trying to get Moustakas' autograph as a Surprise Rafters player in the Arizona Fall League - I think it was after a day game in Mesa and I remember him storming across the field, maybe with his headphones on headed to the team bus.

I kept calling out to him but he just flat out ignored me - he might have had a bad game, wanted to get to the team bus ASAP and didn't want to sign anything.

One of his teammates caught up with him and kind of gestured towards my direction - but Moustakas was oblivious.

No, I wasn't about to freak out or anything, but I was perplexed - I must have gotten him to eventually sign, but I want to always remember my 'non-moment' with Moustakas, who turned around another miserable season by emerging as a postseason hero for the upstart Kansas City Royals this year.

I haven't had problems with getting things signed by Moustakas when he comes home to So. Cal with the Royals to play the Angels - he pretty good about signing, even though he can be a Sharpie killer [someone who presses hard and deliberate when he signs, so the tip of the pen dulls / wears out real quick] and his autograph can be messy.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Josh Hamilton

Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Hamilton are the three 'money guys' in the Angels' lineup but at least Trout and Pujols have put up some numbers - take it how you will but this post has finally come to fruition.

I don't think Hamilton has been a very good baseball player with the Angels and with him, you never know what is going on in his head - his first year, it was supposedly losing weight that deflated his numbers.

This past year he gained back the weight and was off to a good start, but then he got injured sliding into first base and was never the same - as is, the Angels were stupid enough to pay him $25 million a year and as a fan, I just have to go along with the roller coaster ride.

What bothers me the idea there are still fans out there who think he is great and think you are spitting on his face - when the guy is just a professional baseball player who hasn't lived up to the hype of a big contract.

While I'm down on this guy because he hasn't performed, no I'm not rooting him to fail - fans who are mesmorized by his journey as a man and his faith seem to think otherwise.

Albert Pujols pick ups

Where was my man Pujols, who I hoped would have a big postseason - he hit one lousy home run and one other RBI base single in the American League Division Series, but nothing else.

As is, he played in 159 games in 2014 and posted decent offensive numbers - even though his on-base/slugging wasn't up to par with what he has done before.

The small lot of Pujols cards features his 2014 Topps Chrome Topps Shelf insert - his base 2014 Topps Chrome, a 2014 Topps Chrome 1989 Topps reprint refractor and also a 2014 Topps Red Hot foil parallel.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Fell for another Fairfield 250 card cube

1.) Any sort of repacks really don't give me anything I need - but the 250-card cubes have become my repack of choice, because they give a plenty of cards to go through, even though I have to deal with never ending supply of junk wax cards [1986-1992] stuffed in every box.

2.) The plastic cube holding these cards was cracked - one of the highlights of getting one of these 250-card repacks is the the reusable card cube.

3.) The bonus unopened packs aren't worth bupkis - but still eager to rip and see what is inside.

2013 Topps Heritage
#121 Ned Yost
#8 2012 American League Batting Leaders - feat. Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout and Adrian Beltre
#186 Casper Wells
#335 Jonny Venters
#108 Jarrod Parker
#250 Prince Fielder

#427 Andre Ethier - short print
#267 Marco Estrada
#130 Philip Humber

2013 Topps Update Series
#US159 Donald Lutz
#US308 J.P. Howell
#US140 Justin Upton
#US184 Dioner Navarro
#US119 Felix Hernandez
#CH-113 Ozzie Smith - Chasing History insert
#US133 Jose Fernandez
#US100 Bryce Harper
#US145 Michael Cuddyer
#US219 Pedro Alvarez
#US299 Ian Kennedy
#US183 Jeff Bianchi

Going through the boxes, I make a mental checklist where certain cards could fit - to be honest, the number of cards dwindle from about 250 or so, to perhaps 10-15 I really eat up with the rest being cards I've pretty much seen before.

1.) Collecting topics - 1982 Donruss Dave Parker [broken bat shots] and 1997 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Darren Oliver [retro uniforms].

2.) Topps team runs - I'm trying to compile a run of Topps cards for all applicable MLB teams from 1978-present; I might have found one or two cards but I'm trying to be a little more pickier with the ones I want to include in this collection.

3.) Team boxes - I try to have a random collection of cards for all the 30 MLB teams, though it's mostly a 'fun' collection to add oddball cards and other random cards that catch my eye like this 1989 Fleer Glossy Lance Johnson.

I pulled these two Angels cards - the Wally Joyner is from the 1986 Sportsflics Rookies boxed set and the Tim Salmon is from the 1995 Upper Deck SP Championship Series set.

4.) Cards for retired players who maybe coaches - I found two 1999 Pacific Doug Henry cards stuck together and while there are some ink loss from the cards' glossy finish, I managed to get the two cards signed in-person.

5.) Dafuq are these guys [?] - as an 'unofficial' mini-collection, I gather a small collection of one-time MLB players anybody would be hard pressed to remember but actually appear on MLB cards; this 1993 Fleer Final Edition Ben Shelton is an appropriate addition since Shelton played in only 15 MLB games.

6.) Out of the carnage I pulled two autograph hits - both absolutely worthless but the 2003 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror Blue Pete La Forest is serial #'d 1 of 50 and a 2007 Upper Deck SP Rookie Edition Matt DeSalvo was a bonus hit I wasn't expecting but sort of hoping for since the assortment of repack cards were so random.

What the hell is this, lol.

Looks like I've been hacked or something since an image of a hockey goalie [I've never posted a matching hockey image on this blog] replaced my thumbnail from my post yesterday - it looks like it was only on the mobile version of this site and the correct image shows up when I click on the post.

I don't think I was imagining things - but after fretting about it on the way to work, then the thumbnail reverted back to the original image.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Halos woes

I'm not going to lie, I think the Angels might have played their last home game - after being down 2-0 in the American League Division Series to the upstart Kansas City Royals.

I think the Angels' pitching has been admirable - I can't stress enough how well the team has pitched and so be it, when Fernando Salas had to be tagged by the clutch home run hit Mike Moustakas in Game 1 and Kevin Jepsen gave up Eric Hosmer's clutch dinger in Game 2.

I may be no baseball player, but it seems pretty damn tough to pitch when the Angels offense has been non-existent - can't Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Howie Kendrick, et al string together something of significance? The Royals have a pretty good pitching staff, but I can't imagine them shutting down the Angels hitters, who do seem overmatched at the moment.

I was comparing the teams at the start of the series and I thought having Mike Trout trumps any comparisons that tilts things in the Royals' favor - but is he bound to be another Barry Bonds, despite playing in his first playoff series?

Trout is in a rut and for all the talk about being best player, WAR and all the superlatives piled upon him as a 23-year old - he isn't a baseball immortal yet.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Oakland A's fans and schadenfreude

Oakland A's fans are still up in arms over the Yoenis Cespedes trade costing their team the American League West title - perhaps making their aspirations at a playoff run a little dimmer.

Reading bits and pieces on this Web site, I chuckle at the self-assured nature of A's fans who claim the team's second half swoon had nothing to do with the team trading Cespedes - maybe getting an ace pitcher like Jon Lester back is better than a so-so slugger, but losing offense was what killed the A's in the second half.

To understate Cespedes' value, even as a flawed hitter is silly talk - Cespedes was a looming threat in that A's lineup.

He might have had a sub .300 on-base percentage this year and his slugging percentage may not seem all that great - but the guy was a proven slugger in the middle of the lineup that had the ability to 'go off' at any time.

As is, the A's still have a chance to get into the playoffs through the Wild Card playoff game and can match up with the the Angels with a much deeper starting staff - substandard offense aside, it might be a new season come the American League Division Series.

Random pick ups

2014 Topps Heritage short prints - I'm not really chasing down the short print set, but picked up ones I can get signed in-person sooner than later.

#202 Miguel Almonte
#204 Brandon Drury - off-centered / miscut
#207 Patrick Kivlehan
#211 Sean Manaea - off-centered / miscut
#216 Addison Russell - $3.50
#223 Kyle Zimmer

I'm not as anal about condition as I probably should be but when new cards I paid a 'premium' for [$2.50 each] arrive looking off-centered and/or miscut - it makes me think twice about buying from a Web site with an extensive listing of cards, yet no images.

In addition to the SPs, I also picked up some loose 2014 Topps Heritage Minors base cards - even though I prefer different cards to show a player, I usually end up having the same card and hope to get them inked up one way or the other.

2013 Bowman Chrome Prospects Francellis Montas #BCP 129 - I was looking to see if he had any cards and he actually has one from last year; ended up picking up an X-fractor for a couple of bucks because I like how those refractors look.

Friday, September 26, 2014

2014 Topps Heritage Minors four pack break

Pack one
#9 Gary Sanchez
#16 Kyle Crick
#30 Kris Bryant
#45 Nick Travieso
#Topps-RTTS RO Roberto Osuna - Road to the Show insert
#115 Gavin Cecchini
#110 Oscar Taveras
#166 Tim Cooney
#175 Aaron Judge

Pack two
#61 Tim Anderson
#72 Carson Kelly
#83 Clint Coulter
#94 Rio Ruiz

#214 Jorge Alfaro - SP
#184 Sam Moll
#195 Eduardo Rodriguez
#179 Tyler Naquin
#43 Christian Binford

Pack three
#53 Trevor Williams
#67 Jake Thompson
#1 Carlos Correa
#21 Clayton Blackburn
#33 Braden Shipley - Black bordered parallel serial #'d 023/105
#151 Chris Beck
#163 Michael Feliz
#177 Mac Williamson
#187 Tanner Rahier

Pack four
#32 Nick Kingham
#46 Tommy LaStella
#57 Lance McCullers
#74 Domingo Santana

#222 Ben Lively - SP
#196 Justin Nicolino
#42 Brian Goodwin
#158 Jamie Westbrook
#154 Mark Lamm