Friday, January 30, 2015

Parks and Recreation Autos are LITERALLY Amazing!

I developed a relationship with Netflix shortly after I graduated high school back in 2011. Since then, Netflix and I have established quite a close bond. Seriously, Netflix is the ultimate investment for college students. 

One of the many numerous shows that I've grown attached to over this time has been Parks and Recreation. I've professed my love for it many times before (like here, here, and here) and I'm back at it again today. 

I've been on the lookout for this card for quite some time now, but I was never able to secure it for a price I was comfortable with. Hours before I got this one, I nearly spent twice as much for a different copy that I thankfully lost. Luckily, Greg (once again) sent me a message on twitter with a link to this card with a stellar BIN price. I jumped at the opportunity, and secured one of the more difficult autos from the set. 

I figured I might as well take a look at some of the other cards the seller had up for grabs and walked away with another much needed auto for the set. 

Surprisingly, this was one of the hardest ones to track down for a good price. I ended up spending a little bit more than I was initially anticipating for this card, but I still got it for a good price. Not to mention, I saved on combined shipping. 

With these two additions, I am quickly approaching the completion of the autograph set. I recently acquired another card from the set, so I am left with only three cards needed to finish it off. Considering one of my 2015 goals was to finish this autograph set, I am pretty excited that I have completed as much as I have in only a month. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Crush Davis

As I have mentioned a time or two on here, my best friend Dikran is a big fan of Chris Davis. At one point, Dikran had a blog going, but it was short lived. Due to his inability to keep up with his blog, I figured I would show off some of his newest additions from time to time. 

I actually purchased this card as sort of a late Christmas gift for him. It was had for only a couple bucks cheaper than a blaster, and features a sick three-colored patch of the O's away jersey. The patch and low-numbering are sweet, but the lack of color on Davis' jersey is a bit disappointing. For a team as colorful as Baltimore, going with a black and white photoshopped jersey color is unsatisfying. Nevertheless, it is still a cool card overall and a welcome addition to my buddy's PC. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Let's Do Some Housekeeping

I was browsing the blogs last night when I came across a fantastic post by Zippy Zappy over at Torren' Up Cards. I have not had the pleasure of dealing with him yet, but perhaps that will change one of these days.

Anyway. In spite of some recent events, Zippy Zappy went over his trading Code of Conduct. It was definitely a good read, so I encourage you all to go and check it out. 

In the post, ZZ discussed building trust with trading partners. The post made me think about how I go about trades, contests, and other blog related dealings, but most importantly, it reminded me of all the people I owe cards to. 

In an effort to make things right with some of the fantastic people out there in cardboard land, I am posting this as a reminder to myself , and to those I have dealings with, to make things right.

If I owe you cards, or if we have a deal in place that hasn't been completed, please comment on this post. 

A combination of school and work has taken up a ton of my free time, and I am getting forgetful in my young age. 

Below is a list of people I know I owe cards to. If you aren't on this list, and we haven't spoken in the past few weeks, please contact me. 

  • Ruben Lipsyzc (USA Relics from Contest)
  • Matthew Wilson (K-Mart Set)
  • Bo Rosny (K-Mart Set)
  • Fantastic Catch (Bowman Minis + Cardinals)
  • Nomo's Sushi Platter (Dodgers) 
  • Nachos Grande (Set needs + more)
  • Night Owl (Dodgers Needs)

I'm pretty positive that those are the only people I owe cards to. I double checked my email and Twitter inbox and can't find anyone else. However, I am human and I may have missed someone. 

By the way, here is one of my more recent Kemp pickups. Shiny blue cards are fun. 

Dodger Penguin is Holding a Wallet Card Contest

The title says it all, really. 

Head on over to Dodger Penguin to get in on his latest season long contest. I believe there is something like seven autos up for grabs, including an auto from Clayton Kershaw. 

Go for the contest, stay for the awesome new site design. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Crème de la Crème

The crème de la crème. The best of the best. The cream of the crop. The pick of the litter. Whatever you wanna call it, I have it. 

"What is is it?" you might ask. Well, I'll show you. 

That's right. I got my hands on a 2005 Bowman Chrome Matt Kemp rookie auto. 

This card has been atop of my want list ever since my want list was a thing. With an influx of Christmas money, I finally ponied up the money and bought one shortly after the holiday. 

This is (at least for me) the card that any serious Matt Kemp collectors need to acquire. The crappy scan does not do this card justice at all. It looks truly phenomenal in person. 

I'm still not sure what to say about this card. I absolutely love it. It wasn't cheap, in fact it is the most expensive card I've purchased to date. I'm sending it off to get graded, and hopefully I'll have more to say when it gets back. I have my fingers crossed for at least a 9 overall. We'll see. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Let's Go Colts!

I am a big fan of the Indianapolis Colts, yet my collection rarely delves into football. I do have some Colts cards, but I simply don't have enough space or money to really get into another realm of collecting. I do appreciate the Colts cards that I have been able to pick up though. Check out some of my favorites below. 

Good luck, Colts! Beat the Patriots!!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Burt Reynolds Auto!

I have been amigos with Greg over at Plaschke, They Sweater is Argyle for quite some time now. I read his blog long before I got back into collecting, and ultimately his blog is the reason I decided to start my own. 

Greg has also been a big influence my television show viewing. His post on quite possibly the greatest TTM return ever got me to watch Parks and Rec. Which, in turn, led me to start collecting all of the Parks and Rec autos. A goal I am still attempting to complete. 

Greg also suggested I watch Archer. I took him up on this suggestion and instantly fell in love with the show. Of course, I had to go out and pick up some of the cards from the set, which you can see here. However, it wasn't until recently that I actually began my pursuit of the 15-card autograph set. 

Thanks to Greg's magic powers in finding crazy good deals on eBay, I am now the proud owner of my very first Archer autograph. 

I was able to secure this bad boy for the price of a blaster, simply due to the smudged autograph. While it would be nice to have a perfect autograph, I cant complain abut the imperfection or the price of the card. 

There isn't much out there in terms of Archer/Burt Reynolds videos, so I would suggest that you just watch the entire series on Netflix.

Thanks again for the heads up, Greg! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Chad Billingsley, You're My Hero

I mentioned my overflowing scans folder in one of my last posts, and I am feeling pretty thankful for that at the moment. I have only attended three of my six classes so far, but it looks like the work will be piling up. Of course, if you add in my time spent working at the tutorial center and my other job, my schedule looks like hell. 

The problem with my scans folder is that it is filled with Matt Kemp related posts. Shortly after he was traded to San Diego, I went on an eBay binge, and I am now left with a ton of posts on the dude. But, in an effort to spare my readers of so many consecutive Kemp posts, I am going to bounce around to some of the other subjects in my scan folder. 

One of those subjects is Chad Billingsley. I recently started an official PC for him, so I naturally fled to the bay to snap up any good deals. I found plenty, but this may be my favorite one. 

As the slab shows, this stunning card comes from 2003 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks. It features a great on-card autograph from C-Bills, and even warranted a 'Mint 9' grade from PSA. 

Injuries have plagued Bills for the past few years, and the value on his cards has declined tremendously. While that sucsk for some people, it is a great advantage for me. The beauty that you see above ran me less than six bucks shipped. A phenomenal price for an autographed rookie card, and a graded one at that. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Trade That Wasn't

I recently completed my second trade with my friend wasn't really a trade. I actually didn't send him anything at all. But, being the great guy that he is, he sent a few awesome cards my way.

The first being this fantastic Chad Billingsley card you see above. As most of you probably know, the card comes from 2012 Topps Heritage and features the awesome dual-image design. It is interesting to note how long Chad's last name is, and how close it came to being to long to fit on the card. An extra letter may have changed the entire look of the card. 

Austin also tossed in a new #'d card of one of my favorite players, Adrian Beltre. Austin knows his way around my Beltre PC, evident by our previous trade, and his good eye showed up in his most recent package. This looks to be a copper or brown parallel, limited to just 625 copies. Stealing a page from Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown, this an exclusive eBay one of one. How you ask? Well, during Beltre's time is the American League, he has been caught stealing 55 times. So, I now happen to have the "copper caught stealing in the AL eBay 1/1". Great, isn't it?

To top it all off, Austin included this weirdly awesome Beltre relic. I consider it to be a bit weird considering the card lists Beltre as a Mariner, is Mariner green, yet features Beltre in a Dodgers batting helmet. It isn't uncommon for cards like this (pictured as one team, listed as another), but I always find these cards fascinating when they fall into my hands.

One thing that does bug me about this card in the unnecessary black box that seems to be circling Beltre's face. Perhaps it was a plot to cover up the "LA" on the batting helmet, though I doubt it. It just looks to be a part of the design that wasn't well thought out. Also, anybody else see a football field surrounding the relic? 

Thanks again for the cards, Austin. One of these days, I'm going to have to return the favor and send you something back. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Are You Tired Of All These Matt Kemp Posts? No? Good!

It's currently late, late Friday night. I should probably be in bed, but with an overflowing scans folder, and craving for a bowl of Cap'n Crunch, I found my way to the computer. 

It will probably be my final late, late night writing for awhile, at least blog related. School is starting back up Monday, and I am planning on being busier than ever. With five classes, not to mention a sixth in which I will be an embedded tutor, two jobs, and a lack of free time, I expect the blog to dry up a little. 

That's not to say I won't be posting, but I will probably be cutting it back to about 3-4 posts a week. Which is totally fine by me, considering I won't be buying much cardboard for a while. College is freakin' expensive.

That said, let's take a look at one of my newest cards from that overflowing scans folder.

Can't go wrong with a new card of Matt Kemp. I mean, unless he's in a Padres jersey. Yuck. (Which I would totally still want by the way).

Anyway. There isn't anything really special about this card, other that the fact that it contains a piece of jersey that may or may not have been worn by Kemp. It is officially the 201st Kemp card in my PC, and the last time I mention how many cards are in that PC until I reach 300. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Wild Horse Sketch Appears! Or Not...

I spent quite a bit of money on cards in December. Looking back, I probably spent more than I should have, but I am happy with what I got. I'm definitely glad that I'm spending money on single cards on eBay, rather than blaster boxes from Target that provide me with little value. Though, sometimes I am able to add a card to my collection without having to spend anything. 

My buddy Dikran probably had the same expression on his face when he opened up a package and saw this pop out. He bought this card for around ten bucks back in October, but was disappointed to see he spent his hard earned cash on a print, not an actual sketch. 

As you can see from the scan of the back, this is actually a limited edition print, though it is signed by the artist. 

The card itself is pretty cool. I started getting into sketch cards after viewing all of the phenomenal ones here, so I quickly got Dikran to join in on the fun. His first "sketch card" purchase didn't go so well, but it seemed to work out for me. Dikran offered this card up to me if I took him out to Panda Express (double win!), and Puig came home to me. 

While a Wild Horse Sketch would have been cool, I'm happy to add this limited edition print into my Puig PC.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Clayton Kershaw Autograph Card...Well...Sorta

With so much focus on Matt Kemp lately, I decided to spare you all a few days and post about a few other cards I've bought recently. 

The first being this sweet Clayton Kershaw Photo Variation from 2013 Topps. 

There a stunning lack of "autograph" cards on the market, so I was glad to be able to secure this one for a good price. I believe it was shipped to me for just around three bucks. 

The picture looks to be taken at Spring Training, which is actually right around the corner. Pitchers and Catchers report in a short 42 days, and games start up soon after that. It's been a long winter, so I'm hoping these next 42 days go by quickly.  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

San Francisco Giants: An In-Depth Look Using Customs

I have been tinkering around with my use of custom cards. For a while, I was releasing them one by one. I then moved to a voting system using two customs. Once again, I have altered my custom posts, and I have decided to move in a new direction. I will now posts customs one team at a time. The posts will not only include the fantastic customs done by me (self-promotion for the win), but a look back at the 2014 season, and a look ahead into 2015. 

What went right in 2014?
Well the won the freaking World Series if you really wanna know.

What went wrong in 2014?
Can things really go wrong when you win the World Series?

What has the club done to improve this off-season?
They haven't done much. Pablo moved onto Boston. They resigned Jake Peavy. They resigned Sergio Romo. The biggest improvement this winter may be the development of their young guys like Andrew Susac, Joe Panik, and Hunter Strickland. 

What should we expect in 2015?
Honestly, who knows. On one hand, it's an odd year, so don't expect much. But then again, this is the club that has some how lucked themselves into three World Series Championships in the past five years. And by luck, I mean devil magic. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

State of the Blog: 2015 Goals

Last year I set nine goals for myself, all of differing variety and difficulty. This year I decided to make things a little simpler.

1. Get to 300 Matt Kemp cards

Pretty self-explanatory. I reached 200 in 2014, so that gives me about 365 days to get 100 more. My options are getting lighter, but we'll probably see the first non-Dodgers Kemp card in my PC this year. That will be a tough post.

2. Add One Clayton Kershaw Auto

Hell, these are all self-explanatory. I have been meaning to add a Kershaw auto for quite some time, but I never found one at the right price at the right time. Hopefully 2015 will be the year.

3. Reach 100 Followers

Again, pretty easy. Though this one does depend on other people more than myself. I should probably bring back contests this summer.

4. Finish the master auto set of either Parks and Rec or Archer

In a perfect world I'd do both, but this isn't a perfect world. Parks and Rec is probably the most realistic of the two sets to finish, but there are some expensive cards left to acquire. Let's hope 2015 is the year of the good eBay deal.

I'm sure other things will pop up periodically throughout the year, but these are the bigger things I'd like to focus on for now. 

Wait, one more.

5. Go to Los Angeles for the Dodgers World Series Parade

I'm sure this guy would be down to party it up this November

Monday, January 5, 2015

My Wallet Card

Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown recently started up a new game for the blogging community. It is called the Wallet Game, and it has a fairly simple premise: pick a card that makes you smile, and keep it in your wallet all year. 

I have decided to jump in on all the fun, and the Clayton Kershaw card you see above will be headed into the wallet for the next year. 

I knew I had a few copies of this card, so I dug one out of the binder and scanned it before sticking it inside of my wallet. It was a tight fit, but I was able to jam it in there. 

I'll probably make monthly posts about the card's condition, and I'll be sure to take photos with the card if I go anywhere exciting. 

Be sure to join in if you haven't yet, should be fun. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Quick Thanks

I've received quite a few generous packages from bloggers over the past month. I've had cards scanned for a while, but I just never got around to doing any trade posts. I figured I would take this time to catch up on a couple of trades I made before Christmas. 

But before we do that, I'd like to thank William of Foul Bunt for the terrific Christmas card he sent my way. It's been a while since we last chatted, but it's nice to know that William is still doing good. Hopefully, I'll be sending some Orioles your way soon. 

The first trade package, and second last of the year, came courtesy of Nick over at Dimeboxes. It was our third trade, so we are pretty familiar with each other's collecting habits. He sends me Dodgers, and I send him a random hand full of cards and let him decide which mini collection they fit into. Just joking, Nick. 

In all seriousness, Nick is a fantastic trade partner. If my word isn't enough, just check out the gem you see above should. I don't stumble upon a ton of Koufax cards, so anything I receive in trades is well appreciated, especially a masterpiece like that.

Nick also hit up one of my bigger PC's with these awesome new Shawn Green cards. The Generation E-X card on the left is your standard shiny/crazy piece of awesomeness produced way back at the turn of the century. The Cracker Jack card on your other left is actually a set I used to buy in my first card collecting binge back in '05. The odd Mars-like background is definitely an weird, but weird is good. 

Nick also sent a few new Beltre's my way. I am a big fan of Topps t-206, so that card is most welcome in my PC. But I'm not so sure about the other one. I'm joking of course, but check out the back of the card. 

I find it a bit funny that the card actually uses the word 'PHAT' when referring to Adrian's glove, and even more funny that Nick had the same reaction with a similar card in a blog post a few days ago. 

Card companies be crazy, dawg. 

My love of Beltre's phat glove must be well known, because Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown sent me a couple of new cards in our latest trade. It will actually go down as the last trade of 2014, and he made it count. 

I'm really not sure what to say about this card. It is fantastic all the way around, and I can assure you that it looks much better in person (as do most cards). 

Here are some things I like about this card (in no particular order):
- Shiny black border
- Old-school Topps logo
- Complete stats on the back

But, as much as I love this card, I got something even sweeter from Gavin.

A Clayton Kershaw 1/1 Glow-in-the-Dark Sketch Card. I couldn't get a picture of it glowing in the dark to save my life (though it glows just fine), so thank goodness for the GIF Gavin posted to his blog a while back. 

Here is the back of the card, which includes a signature from the artist himself. The artwork is phenomenal, and the fact that it glows in the dark just tops it all off. I'll probably be hitting up Gavin for some more awesome sketches in the near future. 

With that, 2014 is finally over. It was my first full year blogging, and I truly enjoyed it. After only completing five trades in 3 months in 2013, I completed 65 in 2014. Along the way I met some awesome people and made some cool new friends. I'd like to thank all of those with whom I traded this year, as well as all of the people that took time out of their day to check out this silly blog of mine. I'm looking forward to another great year. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Top 10 Matt Kemp Cards

There is something about this time of the year that breeds countdowns. Nick over at Dimeboxes just did one, and then there is Nick with another one, and, heck, it seems like Nick might be the only blogger doing them. If you're tired of checking out all of Nick's fantastic countdowns, you've come to the right place. I have finally taken the time to produce my Top 10 Matt Kemp Cards Countdown.

Let's go over some basic rules for this thing:

  • Autograph and relic cards are not eligible
  • #'d cards and parallels are eligible
  • The cards must be present in my Matt Kemp PC
Before we begin, I'd like to start out with an honorable mention that did not make the cut. 

Honorable Mention: 2013 Topps Heritage #81 All-Star Vets with Kershaw

This card was initially in the top 10, but I decided that Kershaw's presence is what propelled it into the ranks. It is still one of my all-time favorite cards, but it won't be eligible for the countdown.

Without further adieu, my Top 10 Matt Kemp cards.

10. 2012 Topps Update Series Golden Moments GM-U27

These Golden Moments cards were some of the first inserts I saw when I got back into the hobby a couple of years back. I loved them at the time, and I still enjoy them now, but I am not as high on them as I once was. That said, I love this card. The card commemorates what is probably the greatest moment of Kemp's career on April 28th, 2012. A date also memorable for being the debut of Bryce Harper. 

The Dodgers were down 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th, but managed to push across two runs to tie it. The game went into extras, and Kemp walked it off with a mammoth homer to deep center. The moment was great for Kemp, but it might go down as my favorite memory of the former center fielder. The fact that this card captures that pushed it into the Top 10. 

9. 2013 Allen and Ginter's #319

I love simplistic designs on cards. I loved 2013 A&G. I love the fantastic blue, white, and red combo from the Dodgers jersey. Everything just came together for this card, which is why it holds a spot on this list.

8. 2012 Topps Heritage #279 

Topps Heritage makes its first appearance on this list, though we will see it again. As you will see with the rest of the list, I like posed photos. I didn't realize the extent to which I admired them before this post, but it is pretty obvious now. 

I dig vintage designs, and 1963 Topps is one of the most iconic sets in history (at least in my opinion). Colorful designs, the smaller bubble for an additional posed shot, and a fantastic photo propelled this card to spot number eight on this list. I also like to think that Matty is posing with a bat that I have in my collection, though the chances of that are slim. Especially since this photo was probably taken in Spring Training. 

7. 2013 Panini Father's Day Studio '13 #14

I fought over where to put this in my countdown, but there is no question it is one of the most spectacular cards in my ever growing PC. I'm not one for black and white shots, but this is just cardboard gold. I can never get enough quirky shots in my collection, and this fits the bill perfectly. Considering this is a Panini product (no logos), I feel they executed this perfectly. I also have the cracked ice version of the card (here) which is /25, but I opted to show the base version. Those are some great looking tats Matty. 

6. 2011 Bowman #13

In addition to posed shots, I love me some dugout shots. And as you may have noticed, I also love cards that contain the bat that is possibly in my collection. To be honest, I'm not sure what pulls me into this card. Maybe it is the contrast between the bright colors of the jersey with the black border. I'm not sure, but whatever it is pushed it to number six in the countdown. 

5. 2013 Gypsy Queen Mini Photo Variation #311

We have finally made it to the only mini of the list. This card would be ranked higher (possibly number two) if it was a standard sized card, but I appreciate it for what it is. I like mini's, but I just can't get myself to enjoy these smaller minis from GQ and A&G. Yet, the card ranks number five in my all-time Kemp cards.

The reason? It's a Jackie Robinson Day card. I cannot express just how much I love JRD cards. There is just something about seeing those fantastic Brooklyn B's on the caps, and the number 42 on every jersey.  Add those features to a fantastic action shot of Matty Ice and we have one of the greatest pieces of cardboard I've ever seen. 

4. 2012 Topps Series 1 #330 Beast Mode Variation

Going over this list is a bit depressing for a couple of reasons. For one, Kemp is now a Padre and I'll miss him in Los Angeles; and two, Topps short prints the hell out of some of their best cards. 

Case in point, the ridiculously cool card you see above. Kemp is known for his Beast Mode moniker, or at least he was, so it is awesome to see this captured on a card. I think someone told me where I could get one of the Beast Mode shirts before, but I seem to have forgotten. There is a goal for 2015. 

3. 2013 Topps Heritage #450 SP Black Border

We are now getting into the big boys of this list. The next two cards are pretty interchangeable, especially because I opted to go with colored parallels of the two cards. 

The above cards comes from 2013 Topps Heritage (yay Heritage!), and is a fairly recent addition to my PC. I absolutely the base version of this card, but I am a sucker for black borders. Especially when coupled with the menacing scowl of one Matt Kemp, we get a great piece of cardboard. 

2. 2010 Topps 206 Blue Refractor TC13, #'d 188/199

I feel that this card and the heritage card above could have easily been switched, but I gave the edge to this one. It is probably because I hailed this to be the best Kemp card ever earlier this year, but here we are. It actually landed at number two on the list. 

I actually don't have the base issue of this card, which I found out during the making of this list. I do have the chrome, refractor, and gold refractor copies, but that ever elusive base is still out there. Because it isn't yet in my binder, I decided to show off the blue shiny version of the card. While the initial card is great, the shiny blue border really makes it pop. 

1. 2005 Topps UH284

To me, this will always be the ultimate Matt Kemp card (non-autograph speaking). There is something special about a rookie card that makes it stand above the rest of the that players cards. This is especially true for Kemp above. 

Technically, this is not his Topps RC, but it is the very first card of Kemp as a member of the Dodgers. It is one of the only cards in my PC that features him in any number but 27, and it is probably one of the only cards of him without tattoos. 

For the reasons above, and many more that I simply cannot name, this is the ultimate Kemp card in my PC. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Look Back at my 2014 Goals feat. Barry Bonds

On this date one year ago, I established nine goals to accomplish in 2014. Let's take a look at each one of those goals and grade how I did. I'll be posting my 2015 goals early next week.

1. Keep an Updated Blog List
Well, I guess I did alright. I have quite a few blogs on my Blog List, and I know I added a few in 2014. However, I know there are quite a few blogs I visit regularly that are not on here. If you aren't on the list and would like to be, just leave me a comment.

Grade: C+

2. Track Chavez Code Points Better
Hahahahaha. Nope. It only took me a few months to get rid of that due to the difficulty associated with its upkeep. It was a pretty cool idea though.

Grade: F-

3. Reach 200 Matt Kemp cards
Hey, I actually accomplished this! It was on the last day of the year, but I still did it. It was quite a fun ride getting to 200 and I look forward to grabbing more for my PC.

Grade: A+

4. Own 15 Matt Kemp Autographs
Yep. Though only 13 have been shown on the blog. I guess that warrants a bit of a markdown. Look for numbers 14 and 15 soon.

Grade: A-

5. Complete the 2013 Topps Chrome Rainbow for Matt Kemp
The first sentence accompanying this goal was, "This one depends on the availability of the cards, more than my desire to get it done," and boy did that ring true. I missed out on the camo refractor of Kemp early in 2014, and apparently I missed another one that only sold for two bucks in November. I still need five more refractors (Red, Camo, Pink, Atomic, Super), so the chances of this ever being completed are slim. It is a HUGE goal of mine though, so I will drag this goal onto 2015.

Grade: Incomplete

6. Complete 2014 Flagship Before 2015 Comes Out
Well, that was the plan. I finished Series One within a month of its release, came pretty close to finishing off Series Two, but then ditched my set building in an effort to save some time, space, and money. I feel I would have accomplished it had I not gave up on set building, but here we are.

Grade: C-

7. Put Together Every Dodgers Team Set from 2014
Looking back at these goals have led me to realize the difference in my collecting habits only one short year ago. I am focusing more on my small group of PC's nowadays (Kemp, Kershaw, Green, Beltre, Ryu, Bills, Harper, Puig), so this one was doomed when I changed my collecting habits in the summer.

Grade: F

8. Have 75 Followers on the Blog 
I started out the year at 22 followers, so considering I am at 88 followers now, I think I did pretty good.

Grade: A+

9. More Dodger Bobbleheads
I had five at at the time, and I now have twelve.

Grade: A+

Overall, I think I did alright. Some goals didn't work out due to a big change in my collecting habits, so I don't feel too bad. Others I just sucked at following through. It was fun to look back and see how I did, and I hope to have some of the same success in 2015.

Overall Grade: C+


I couldn't post this without an accompanying card, so here is a card I picked up in one of my latest trades. 

This card came courtesy of Caitlin over at Yankees and Jays. You can see what I sent her here

This may be the only time I ever intentionally trade for Giant, so soak it in. Barry Bonds is the greatest player of my generation (though many people may argue that), and I am happy to add a cool looking card of the Home Run King to my collection. The relic on this piece is particularly weird, and it feels a bit like foam to me. I'm not sure if it is specific to my copy of the card only, but it is still pretty jazzy. 

Thanks again, Caitlin!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

San Diego Padres: An In-Depth Look Using Customs

I have been tinkering around with my use of custom cards. For a while, I was releasing them one by one. I then moved to a voting system using two customs. Once again, I have altered my custom posts, and I have decided to move in a new direction. I will now posts customs one team at a time. The posts will not only include the fantastic customs done by me (self-promotion for the win), but a look back at the 2014 season, and a look ahead into 2015. 

What went right in 2014?
The front of the rotation, anchored by Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, and Ian Kennedy, was incredibly solid. 

What went wrong in 2014?
The offense of offensive. Simple as that. 

What has the club done to improve this off-season?
Well, they went and got AJ Preller, who has done, well...a lot. The Padres now have a ton of new offensive talent on the roster in the form of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, and Derek Norris. The did all of this while managing to keep the front of their rotation in tact, though they did lost some back end depth.

What should we expect in 2015?
While the Padres have improved this off-season, I don't envision them as a legitimate threat to the division just yet. The offensive talent is real. They may need to go out and find a lefty other than Alonso to balance out that line-up, but there is a ton of potential. The front of the rotation is solid, but it will be interesting to see if it can stay healthy, especially now that they have traded away a ton of there depth. If the Padres go and acquire an ace, say Cole Hamels, then I can see them being a formidable team in the division. At the moment, I feel the Padres have a good enough team to land in second behind the Dodgers, but they are not quite in the playoff race yet.

Player Profile: Tony Gywnn (Courtesy of Marcus at ...all the way to the backstop)
I don’t need to introduce Tony Gwynn.  When only six players received a higher percentage of votes to get inducted into the Hall of Fame, it shows that his abilities were not only known to those in San Diego.

Need some numbers?  How about five Gold Gloves, seven Silver Sluggers, and eight batting titles?  His career batting average is .338 (18th highest ever) and he has 3,134 career hits (19th all time).  He hit over .300 19 seasons in a row.  Almost as impressive as all of that is the number 1: the number of teams he played for.

He was a Padre through and through, from the brown to the blue.  He could’ve left for better teams, heftier paychecks, and a bigger spotlight.  He never did.  He was loyal to the city he loved, and they loved him right back.  After retiring, he became the baseball coach at San Diego State, a position he held until he died in June of this year, succumbing to cancer.

He will always be remembered in San Diego, his name so synonymous with his team that he is called “Mr. Padre”.

Let’s get back to some numbers really quick, just to put into perspective how great Gwynn was at hitting.  You know, in case you forgot, or you weren’t around for it all.

A Pure Hitter
For his career batting average to slip below .300, he would need to have returned to baseball and go 0 for 1,183.  That’s about two seasons worth of at bats.

He was at his best against the best
Gwynn faced Greg Maddux, another first ballot Hall of Famer more times (107) than any other pitcher in his career.  Gwynn batted .415 against him, going 39 for 94 with 8 doubles and 11 walks. He never struck out against him.

Tony Gwynn hated to strike out.
Gwynn struck out a total of 434 times in his career, which spanned 10,232 plate appearances.  That’s a 162 game average of 29 K’s.  He never struck out more than 40 in a season.  This year, 350 players in MLB struck out more than that.  Mike Trout has had less than a fourth the at bats that Tony Gwynn had, and has already passed his strikeout total.

Thanks for everything Tony.  Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.

Player Profile: Andrew Cashner (Courtesy of Marcus at ...all the way to the backstop)
Can baseball fans outside of San Diego really name more than a handful of players on the current Padres roster?  The answer is probably “no”.  If the answer happens to be in the affirmative, however, chances are that one of the guys you’re familiar with is Andrew Cashner.  This is for good reason.

Cashner is a beast.  The mullet-wearing fire baller came to San Diego in the Anthony Rizzo trade, and while a quick look at the numbers will show that the Cubs got the better end of the deal (ooh, it hurts to admit that), when Cashner is healthy and on his “A” game, he is as good as it gets.  He’s thrown two one-hitters during his brief time in a Padre uniform, and if the Friars have a hope of losing the distinction of being the only MLB team without a no-hitter, he’s their brightest hope.

More than his abilities (which, when healthy, are substantial), Padre fans love him for his gamesmanship.  He has been utilized by manager Bud Black as a pinch runner and a pinch hitter on multiple occasions, and in one instance, played left field for a third of an inning.  Seeing a starting pitcher with a history of injury problems scoring from second on a headfirst slide when he was put in as a pinch runner is probably the last thing you want to see if you’re an owner, but it’s pretty exhilarating as a fan.

While there’s not much more than a small hope that the Padres can compete with the big spenders in the NL West, watching Cash pitch every fifth day is worth tuning in for.  Seeing those flowing blonde locks and a camouflage undershirt on the mound means that you might get a chance to watch something special.