Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Contest recap and my ballgame plans

Yesterday I held a contest pertaining to our vacation, and Vroomed got the first correct response with PNC Park/Pittsburg Pirates. Vroomed, if you are reading this, please let me know what to send you and where to send it. 
We are planning on seeing the Pirates/Mets game on Sunday the 11th, and it will be a great experience seeing Ke’Bryan Hayes, Andrew McCutchen, Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, and others play in person. Perhaps we’ll get lucky and see Verlander or Scherzer pitch. I believe I’ve seen Verlander live in spring training before, but don’t believe I’ve seen Scherzer live. We will be sitting in right field, so maybe we’ll have a chance for a HR ball during the game or batting practice. I’d love to get some autographs, but I have a feeling the only chance might be the Pirate Parrot. I had 5 cards of him, but while going through my Pirates binders, I came across the blue parallel at the bottom of the photo and remembered I had the base copy in my highlights binder. The Taylor Buchholz card features the Parrot in the background. 
I also came across Manny Sanguillen’s bbq stand, and I don’t know if he still comes to it to sign autographs, but if he does, I’m pretty sure I have some of his cards, and I’ll be ready. 
As far as the Nats game, I have a couple of cards of Screetch, their mascot, and I’ll try to get them signed and we’ll see if I can meet Nick Fortes of the Marlins. I can’t remember if I mentioned it, but Fortes is from DeLand, FL (where I currently live), and went to high school here. Our paths could have crossed for all I know. Our seats are by the Marlins dugout, so we’ll see if I can make a ‘We drove all the way from DeLand, FL to see Nick Fortes play’ sign and maybe he will come over and say hi. It will be a fun trip regardless of what happens at the games, and hopefully we can make a bunch of memories. 
Posting should be sparse, if at all during vacation, but I’ll be back at it when I’m back, probably with a recap post and probably some new cards from wherever we can find some. 
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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Quick contest

 Yesterday, Karen and I were planning out our driving route for our vacation. Basically going from DeLand, FL to somewhere in VA, resting, driving from there to Niagara Falls, spending 3 days there, driving to Northern VA, spending 2-3 days seeing stuff in Washington, DC (including a Nats game), driving to Charlotte, NC, spending a day there to see family, and then driving back to DeLand. June 10-21 and I can’t wait. 
While planning out everything, I took note of where we were driving through, checked the schedule, and we timed it out so we will be visiting a new ballpark and seeing a second game. This will be my 12th ballpark visited by myself (Tropicana Field, Turner Field, Fenway Park, Shea Stadium, Miller Park, Comiskey Park (2), Kauffman Stadium, Minute Maid Park, Comerica Park, Wrigley Field, Nats Ballpark, and this next one). It will be the 6th one I’ve been to with Karen and Kyler (The Trop, Minute Maid, Comerica, Wrigley, and the 2 on this trip), and it will be the 3rd one I’ve been to this season, tying the 3  I’ve been to in 2008 (Miller, Comiskey #2, and Kauffman). 
I figured I would do a little contest to spice things up on the blog since I don’t have any new cards to show and probably won’t until we’re on the trip. The first one to correctly guess which ballpark or home team we will be seeing (besides the Nationals) on our trip will win a pwe of cards of their favorite team(s) and/or player(s). If nobody correctly guesses by tomorrow, I’ll post a clue tomorrow. Good luck. 
Thanks for reading my latest post. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

2023 Bowman and another team set

 Yesterday, the family and I went to Wal-Mart to get some things. Unlike last time, there was a little more there. Blasters of 2023 Bowman and more 2023 Topps team sets, this time, the Rays, Orioles, and Nationals. Kind of weird to have the O's and Nats there instead of the Marlins, or a team like the Tigers which trains nearby, but hey, we're going to see the Nats in less than a month, so I scooped up a blaster of Bowman and a Nats team set. I didn't expect much from Bowman, and don't think I did good from a flipper brah perspective, but feel like I got a ton more rookies than when I got some 2022 Bowman, and did well in the Rays department. 
First up are the vets and first part of the Nats team set. Nothing to spectacular. A bunch of 2nd year guys and a few people I have actually heard of. 
The rest of the Nats set and the vets, as well as the Rays, Tigers, and the 1 favorite player I pulled. Surprisingly (even though he is injured), the Nats set didn't have a Stephen Strasburg card in it. He is the face of the franchise now, and as long as he has been playing, he deserves a card. Yeah, he is hurt, but he will be back next year (if not, this one), and for him to miss out on a Series 2 card and be relegated to the company of Ryan Yarbrough, Connor Joe, Michael Chavis, etc non-household name guys who get in Update every year, it is just a shame. The guy who was THE card to pull in 2010 Topps. Fanatics guys must not be 'yearbook style' guys, but even so, you know Strasburg (and Glasnow for that matter!) will be back this year, so why not put them in the set?  I can't think of any other big name guys who had Tommy John in 2022 who might not be back till the end of this year, but I'm curious to see who is in the 2023 Topps set (or at least in team sets) so far (just checked and Casey Mize is in the Tigers 2023 team set). I swear, Fanatics needs to let me (or another normal baseall fan who is opposed to advanced stats, pitch clocks, flippers, SPs, and has actually put together a complete baseball card set) work in their player selection department. 
The Rays were nice ones for me. I have been hearing alot about Caminero lately, and knew that Isaac was a 2022 1st Round pick, and I was hoping to get cards of them sooner than later. Also got 1 Miggy card, and a Jacob deGrom. 
I really haven't heard of any of the rookies, other than some of the guys with Major League time. The Harris cards are my first of his, and I'm glad I pulled that Henderson card. Just hope the Orioles (Yankee$ and Blue Jays for that matter) can go on some nice losing streaks sooner than later. 
More of the same with the Chrome, and also a (Green?) Refractor. The last 3 are rookies from the team set. Only Menses will have a chance at being at the game as Cavalli is out for the year with surgery, and Lee is in AA right now. Good thing Cavalli got diagnosed with Tommy John in Spring Training after the 2023 cards were released, else he might not have got into a 2023 card with the way Fanatics seems to run things. 

I have been going through the Nats and Marlins roster so I can pull cards for autographs and have a nice master list going of which binders to look for which players in. Friday morning's project will be pulling a card or 2 out for everyone on my list and putting them in a box to take to the game. 18 more days until we leave if I'm counting correctly. Should be all downhill once Memorial Day is over with. I'll get to spend some time with my youngest 2 sisters the first week of June (they are twins, and the youngest who lives in Texas is coming to Florida), and one of Karen's stepsisters is coming down that week as well, so we will spend time with them, and with the packing and last minute things during the final week, it will fly by. The master Topps needlist only got as far as the Red Sox, but more important things need to be done for the trip, so I'll most likely pick that up with the White Sox when we get back. 

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Thursday, May 18, 2023

Cards from John and rant about spin rate

 Today I got a pwe from John of Johnny’s Trading Spot in the mail. I won one of his week-daily giveaways recently, and the envelope contained a smattering of shiny Rays. 

The ‘07 Bowman Sterling refractor of Delmon Young would’ve been a hot card back in 2007. While it might be found in a dollar box now, I am happy to have it and would’ve probably paid more for it. The Brendan McKay card is one of those Mojo Box refractors. I have like 4 or 5 of those from that set, all Rays and Tigers. McKay is currently on the DL and will probably be out until next year as far as pitching, which is a shame because the Rays could use him. I just don’t understand why they can’t use him as a DH and try to get some value out of him. Perhaps the injury is more complicated than I think it is. Here’s to hoping McKay can put it together in 2024. The Charlie Morton is a 2020 Optic parallel. Not quite sure without looking at TCDB, but it kind of looks like snakeskin and is numbered to 88. Another McKay and then a 2021 Chrome Sapphire Chris Archer. Next is one of the guys swiped from the Pirates in the Archer trade and another numbered parallel with a 2022 Topps Chrome Sonic purple parallel of Tyler Glasnow. Those are cool enough that if the prices are similar, I might have to buy a blaster or a box of it. I feel like I have a number of variations of Vidal Brujan’s 2022 Topps card, with the base, Opening Day, team set, Chrome, Holiday, and now Holiday snowflake parallel card. Of course, there are probably still the Ben Baller, Chrome Sapphire, Chrome Sonic, and all of the 200 parallels per set. Next is a guy I collect, Paul DeJong, on a 2019 Leaf Limited insert blue parallel numbered to 99. Lastly is a ‘22 Archives SP of Randy Arozarena that I will put in my highlights binder since I have another copy in my Rays box. A great envelope of cards. Thanks so much, John!

Right now, I just want to take a moment and whine about these stat nerds and all of the crap that they are doing to baseball to hurt it. The pitch clock is bad enough, but I’m really pissed about a little stat they like to call ‘spin rate’. It basically tells you how many revolutions per minute a breaking ball spins. The more it spins, the harder it is to hit. While I enjoy a good curveball as much as the next guy, there were guys I’ve watched dominate like Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Trevor Hoffman who never worried about spin rates because they located their fastball and used a dominating changeup. While the pitch clock does play a small part in some of these pitcher injuries with pitchers having to snap off a pitch when they aren’t ready if the clock is winding down, the real problem is the damn spin rate that is being pushed by every pitching coach. The Rays have been big spin rate guys ever since it became popular, and are probably the most bullish on the stat. With that being said, they have also had a rotation and a half worth of good starting pitchers who have lost seasons to injury. I believe it is due to their marriage to the spin rate. Tyler Glasnow, Jeffrey Springs, Drew Rasmussen, Shane Baz, Nick Anderson, Brendan McKay, Brent Honeywell. Those are just the ones I could name off the top of my head. Every time I see. Rays headline, I cringe because I wonder which pitcher is going down next. It’s going to be tough to get through 2023 even with the record start if they only have 2-3 starting pitchers and 2 crappy bullpen games where the opposition is going to bat around in at least one inning of the game. I hope for Rasmussen’s injury to be low grade. I hope Glasnow stays healthy for the rest of this season. I hope that Baz can be ahead of schedule with his rehab and slide in as a #4 starter at the seasons end. That would give us McClanahan, Glasnow, Rasmussen, Baz, and Eflin as a solid rotation come playoff time, no bullpen games!!!, and the option to put Chirinos, Taj Bradley, Josh Fleming, and Pete Fairbanks as bullpen options. They can help solidify the bullpen and the Rays might have a decent shot at winning their first championship. Just give the spin rate a rest, throw changeups and regular curveballs, and give the arms a chance to stay healthy!
Tomorrow I am off and I am planning on working on my Topps checklists, with the Red and White Sox being the next 2 teams.  I can probably get at least one of them done and possibly both. We’ll see. The end is starting to be in sight. 
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Wednesday, May 17, 2023

2023 Topps Rays team set

 Yesterday the family and I went to Wal-Mart, and while I wasn’t really expecting to get any cards there, I did end up with a small stack of them. 
The one we frequent sometimes has stuff when new product is out, but the last month has been bare other than blasters of ‘22 Archives, ‘22 Allen & Ginter, and ‘22 Optic. I’ve already sampled Archives and Optic, and A/G isn’t my style, so unless something new was there, I wasn’t planning on getting any. 
They didn’t have much else new, but did have Topps team sets of the Rays and Orioles. I was hoping for the Tigers as well, but I haven’t got the Tigers team set in probably 15-20 years, so it wasn’t a big loss. I got the Rays set and was wondering what the guys who would probably be on Series 2 or team set exclusives would be. 
Not many surprises here. I think maybe Adam and Poche might not be Series 2 guys. I was surprised not to see Zach Eflin and Tyler Glasnow in the set. Eflin was the big free agent sign (largest in Rays history I believe), and Glasnow did get a couple of innings last year, and is still expected to be a big part of the rotation this year. I assume they will be in Update, as will Taj Bradley, and perhaps Curtis Mead and a few other prospects should they get called up before the deadline to get in Update. I hope Ryan Thompson will get his first Topps card as well. I think Luke Raley, Pete Fairbanks, Yonny Chirinos, and Josh Fleming  will get cards in Update as well if they keep producing and stay relatively healthy.  Of course, if Manfraud has his way, everyone on the cheating Yankee$ and the overspending Padre$ gets 2 cards each. We’ll see towards the end of the year. 
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Sunday, May 14, 2023

Wantlists and vacation

 While I did have to work Wednesday through Saturday this past week  and it’s been crazy at work, I did manage to get some card things done. Karen and Kyler went down to her brothers in Melbourne for Friday night and most of Saturday, and I was able to input my Detroit Tiger cards from 2008 (or wherever it was that I stopped at last time) to 2019 into TCDB. For all intents and purposes, it is all of the Topps base cards I have that are Tigers. Really all that is left are various Donruss/Panini sets, Bowman’s, Topps inserts, and the various non-flagship Topps sets from 2020-2023. I won’t add base Topps cards from 2023 as I plan to purchase the complete set when it comes out. While I had planned working on my entire Rays collection next, I think I just want to check off all of their Topps base cards (which I am positive I have besides for a pesky 2013 Evan Longoria) and finish the AL team Topps cards. That should do it for me and I will have an adequate needlist for every Topps set. Then perhaps I’ll input every teams non-Topps cards and that will not only give me some tradeable cards, but it may also put me into a situation like Night Owl (and I’m almost 100% sure it will with a few junk wax sets) and I’ll be 10 or so cards or short of some non-Topps sets. Either way, after that there should be a number of trades in my future. Get ready to complete some team sets you Yankee$ and Padre$ fans on TCDB. I’m having a house-cleaning sale and everything (non Topps) must go!!! 
I went ahead and made a home page for all of my Topps wantlists. This page will have every Topps set listed by year and will have links to the wantlist for each set. I only have a few sets wantlists completely finished, but I put the whole list up there just so I could get holes in sets finished as soon as possible. I have also crossed off any sets that are completed. Here is the main page if you feel like taking a look and proposing trades. I have some cards put in one of my loose card boxes that are going to be going out in packages at some point, so if you have anything I need, I may already have a stack ready to send you. If not, I’m sure I could find something, especially now that I am getting a grasp of TCDB and how to find things. It has really given me a glimpse on what I have in my collection and what sets I am close to finishing and which ones I thought were close but really weren’t. 
I was able to get some of my dupes out of monster boxes last Tuesday, and now I have 4 monster boxes full of cards ready to be put into binders and I probably will need to start a 5th if I get another complete set. It probably won’t be until after we are back from vacation, because so really want to have a good time on vacation and try some different restaurants, and perhaps buy some 2023 Heritage or maybe even find a card shop nearby. We’ll probably spend 2-3 days in Niagara Falls (perhaps hit up Buffalo), and then 4-5? days in Washington DC, and take in a Nats/Marlins sleeper. I’ll be turning 40 on June 14, and we will be driving to DC on my birthday. Has anyone been to Niagara Falls/Buffalo or Washington DC? Any good places to eat or good bars in the area?  Any good things to visit at the Nationals ballpark?  27 more days, and I can’t wait. 

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Monday, May 8, 2023

More partial sets


was supposed to get the 1991 and 1993 Topps sets I ordered on Monday, but they came a day early and got here on Sunday.  As with the 2004 Topps set I ordered, I was cautiously optimistic that the sets would actually be complete. If you recall, the 2004 set was short a few Cubs and Jeters. It looks like the 1991 set owner picked out many of the stars, but I already had so many guys in that set, that I’m sure I’ll only be missing 5-10 cards from that set. That will be updated tomorrow if I get a chance to look through my binders. The 1993 set was all bindered up and in numerical order. It’s a pain for me as I’ll have to take them all out and organize them into teams, but I was able to just flip through the binder and go though the checklist on TCDB and input the missing guys. Good news with that one,it is complete, and it had the Jeter RC. If I was a brah I would call my grading service right away and start getting the briefcase ready to store the gem mint 10 slab.  
That leaves me with a few tough choices to make. First is I want to order a few more sets from the site. I’ve found what looks to be a 2001, 2003, and 2008 complete set listed on the site, and even if they aren’t totally complete, they would get me extremely close and at the prices, would be cheaper than purchasing complete sets. Problem is that we are going on vacation in a month and I would rather not be cutting it close money wise during the trip. In vacations past it has also been tight once we get back (as I’m sure it has been for many others). 
The other problem is storage. I have 2 monster boxes with loose cards filled to the brim. I have another one right now filled with Yankees, and another one filled with doubles. The monster boxes are making it easy to organize loose cards and I think I’m almost to the point where I need to get more, but those seem to almost be 7-8 bucks for the cheapest ones I’ve seen. While I am making these master Topps lists and entering everything into TCDB, Im probably going to have to store everything in monster boxes and then put them in binders. I don’t want to end up with dozens of boxes that I won’t use any more, as I want all of my cards in binders. Any ideas or leads on where to get cheap monster boxes?
Tomorrows plan will be to get the 1993 set out of binders and organized by team, perhaps get a monster box free because I would like to get the 1993 Topps set into the boxes and add the ‘93 Traded set to it. I’ll also look for those 1991 Topps cards and see how close I am to finally finishing the set. Maybe post some of these near complete Topps sets (‘87, ‘91, ‘93 Traded, ‘04), and see if I can get any bites. If any time is left after that, I’ll get back to entering my Tigers binders into TCDB (I’ll be starting on 2006 sets if I’m not mistaken). 
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Friday, May 5, 2023

2004 Topps set needs

 The first of my 3 (hopefully) complete sets that I ordered from Goodwill Finds came in yesterday, and I've been logging the cards into TCDB just in case it wasn't a complete set. It turns out that maybe the set was from a Cubs fan because I was only missing 9 cards, 8 of them Cubs, and 1 Jeter. I was actually missing the base Jeter and a few other Cubbies, but I already had those in my collection. Here's the ones I am missing:

232 Kyle Farnsworth Cubs
272 Dusty Baker Manager Cubs
337 Bill Mueller/Manny Ramirez/Derek Jeter AL Batting Average Leaders Red Sox/Yankee$
368 Sammy Sosa Cubs
373 Derrek Lee Cubs
455 Ramon Martinez Cubs
457 Ryan Dempster Cubs
614 LaTroy Hawkins Cubs
707 Derrek Lee Gold Glove Winner Cubs

Shouldn't be too hard to find any of them. Might be able to find them at a shop or show. Not too bad of a deal for me with only 9 missing cards. I'll keep this list up and eventually get the cards sorted into teams with other cards needing to be put into binders. The last parts of my orders (possible complete 1991 and 1993 Topps sets) will be arriving on Monday. Good news is that I have a good amount of both of those sets (including the key cards like the '91 Chipper Jones Draft Pick and the '93 Jeter Draft Pick), so if I don't end up with a complete set with my cards and those, then maybe it wasn't meant to be.  

I'm still logging Tigers in, and am starting on the 2003 sets today. We'll see how far I get. 

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