Friday, October 31, 2014

Hamlet, Part II

If you have read my post yesterday, you know that Commishbob sent me a really cool 2011 rip card of Yovani Gallardo, serial numbered to 99.  Everyone who weighed in said "rip that Gallardo open!"

I mean, even though Hamlet didn't die at his own hands -- after all, Shakespeare had to make it a complete tragedy and kill off nearly everyone in one large, poisonous, bloody scene -- he still was "not to be".

So, it's only appropriate that I ripped open the Gallardo.  Curiosity killed the cat, and it got the best of me here.

I wish I could say that Bob and I will be splitting the proceeds of a Babe Ruth DNA relic of some sort, but that was be...or in the card...or, come up with your own pun.

All we got inside of the rip card was freaking Tim Lincecum:

So, yeah, that was a bit of a let down. I was hoping that I'd at least get a limited edition mini of a Milwaukee Brewers player in the rip. 

But, that said, I guess this is good trade bait for you Giants collectors. Like you guys don't have enough to enjoy already with being the World Series champions!

Anyway, have a Happy Halloween. I'm off to Jacksonville.

Last year's way-too-close final score thanks to Todd Grantham's patented "Third-and-Grantham" style defense making sure that no third down is too long of a yardage to convert. Ask Louisville about that after the FSU game last night.

The sunset two years ago, with coloration provided by a combination of the south end of Hurricane Sandy's clouds and the general haze that inhabits Jacksonville.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hamlet Visits

I know. It's not original to borrow from Hamlet to ask questions about making choices. And yet, it's often the most concise way of posing the question:

"To be, or not to be?"

Hamlet had deeper issues -- I mean, he was contemplating whether he should take his own life -- but the economy of words there is poignant.

So, why is Hamlet on my mind?

Because Commishbob sent me a 2011 Allen & Ginter Rip Card of Yovani Gallardo that has not yet been ripped.

As this card sat on my desk in my office where I do most of my card-collecting activities, I was of two minds. Of course, I could rip open the card -- carefully -- and probably keep the rest of the card intact and still include it in my collection. Then, I could probably either sell the card that came inside, send it back to Bob as a thank you, or maybe I'd really get lucky and get a special card inside of a Brewer, as unlikely as that might be.

On at least three or four occasions, I thought about ripping it open.

I even looked at Duane's blog, Democratic Roadkill, to see how he had tried to be as careful as possible in ripping open the rip cards he had received.

And then, I put the card into the Yovani Gallardo collection -- unripped -- and walked away.

But the question remains:

"To rip, or not to rip?"


And before I progress any further, thank you very much, Bob, for this great dilemma!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I'm All-In

About a decade ago, Texas Hold 'Em Poker was about the hottest thing going in the "sports" world. With the advent of the "cigarette" cameras that allowed viewers at home and TV production crews access to the pocket cards of each player, the game became much more watchable for the average person at home.  Add in the fact that, at the time, people could play for real money online in what was a legal gray area, and suddenly everyone was playing poker.

I did it too. I had a regular weekly game that would see players win or lose a few hundred at a time...though I was always that "tight" player who really never won or lost that much. I played online and did pretty well also, playing mostly on low stakes (50-cent/$1 no-limit games) tables racking up against bad players who all thought they could run a bluff on any two cards against anyone. Note to those who play: it makes sense to pay attention closely to see if the player you're trying to bluff plays solidly or if they are in nearly every hand.

Frankly, I made most of my money in poker simply because I was watching for those types of things and picking off the wild men when I had a hand. They couldn't curb their wildness, and I almost always could show them a better hand.

Why am I talking about this?

Because I'm still trying to figure out why Topps issued Topps Chipz a good 6 to 8 years after the Poker craze peaked. 

Madding over at Cards on Cards bought some of those Topps Chipz. Unfortunately for the Cardinal fan, he was not successful in pulling any Cardinals from his packs. Fortunately for me, he pulled a couple of Brewers:

That's a Jean Segura base and a Carlos Gomez Glow in the Dark Chipz (?). I'm not sure that I'd want to try to play poker while differentiating between the two kinds here. Perhaps these "Chipz" could be useful for other poker variants in which being in the dark might not be bad?

This would be the first time I use cards as an excuse to post a picture of a pretty girl. I think.
Madding took this opportunity to send me a ton of other Brewers cards.  Here are a few of them.

First off, he added a card to my B.J. Surhoff collection.

I remember well when the Brewers selected Surhoff with the first overall pick in the 1985 draft out of the University of North Carolina.  On Opening Day just two years later, Surhoff was in the major leagues as the Brewers starting catcher. 

Not bad. 

Of course, the 1985 Draft was stacked. In that first round alone, you had Will Clark at No. 2, Bobby Witt No. 3, Barry Larkin No. 4, Barry Bonds No. 6, Pete Incaviglia at No. 8, Walt Weiss at No. 11, Brian McRae at No. 17, Gregg Jefferies at No. 20, and Rafael Palmeiro No. 22. Throw in Randy Johnson from the second round with the 36th pick overall, Tino Martinez in the third round (though he didn't sign), David Justice in the 4th round, and even Kevin Tapani in the 9th round, Brady Anderson in the 10th round, and even John Smoltz at the end of the 22nd round.

That might be the best draft class ever to date.

Madding also hit a few oddball and 2000s-era holes in my Robin Yount collection, which now stands at 619 different items.

But, there is a card about which I have a question:

I have a well-centered version of this card in my collection already. But, do I count this extremely miscut and off-center card as a separate entry in my Robin Yount collection? I am counting it separately for right now, but I would be interested to hear what everyone else thinks.

Madding threw in a Score card of Jose Valentin to top off that player collections.

The package also provided many random Brewers from years past that do not fall into my player collection. With so many PCs, it seems to be a rare card that does not hit one, but the Brewers have had random players play for them in the past.

For example, Madding sent me NLCS walk-off hero Travis Ishikawa from 2012. I'm guessing that this card would have been folded, spindled, and mutilated after that walk-off homer on October 16.

My scanner did not want to separate out all the guys on this scan into separate JPEGs, so I didn't either. I might go back and do that eventually when I organize my scan files, but I've got plenty of organization to work on with organizing cards -- not computer files!

And that is a whole lot of random Brewers right there. Everyone from award winners (Cy Young Zach Greinke; AL ROY Pat Listach), former closers (John Axford, Dan Kolb) to all-stars (Carlos Lee, Richie Sexson, and Scott Podsednik), and "prospects" who weren't (Chris George, Hernan Iribarren, Drew Anderson, maybe Caleb Gindl). Jake Odorizzi was part of the Greinke deal with the Royals and, along with Wil Myers and a couple of minor leaguers, netted the Royals Wade Davis, James Shields, and a trip to the World Series.

But then, underneath all that, were still more PC additions. Like all of these Ben Sheets, which helped push my total Sheets collection up to 58 cards:

Madding even added to my Gary Carter collection. I was surprised that I needed this Topps Gypsy Queen card before I realized that I was thrown off by the photo being used on about 8 other Topps cards.

Paul Molitor showed up in both his Blue Jays blues and those classic 1980s Brewers uniforms.

Rickie Weeks made the trip as well.

MLB TV Analyst Dan Plesac's Hottest Stars card from 1990 also arrived. I'm not a huge fan of the thick red border on this card, which makes it look like Plesac is floating. But, at least Score didn't use the same photo in all of its products.

Then, out of nowhere, my two favorite Mexican pitchers hit the mound of Brewer cards. First, three Teddy Higuera cards.

And two Yovani Gallardo cards. I wonder if, these days, we would call Higuera "Teodoro Higuera" (his given name) rather than "Ted". I think Ted came from anglicizing and shortening his name, but he always signed cards as "Teo Higuera".

The always underrated Cecil Cooper got a little love from Topps back in the early 2000s in the Archives set.

I'm always pleased when someone in the blogosphere gets tired of waiting for Prince Fielder to be a good player again and sends their Brewers Fielder cards to me. Here's four new additions to my Princely collection.

I only got one of my favorite steroid abuser's cards, but it was a doozy -- the "Propaganda" insert from the 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights set.

Greg Vaughn just struck out.

While Jeromy Burnitz is hoping to make contact in this "Topps Stars" card from 2000.

Jeff Cirillo played in two different stints in Milwaukee. The Upper Deck 2007 card below is the only one I have from his final days as a Brewer.

And, the less that is said about the terribly boring uniforms from the 1990s, the better.

Some players are defined by their prowess as fielders. That pretty much does not apply to nearly anyone who ever wore a Brewers uniform for any length of time (George Scott's five Gold Gloves in the 1970s notwithstanding). Sixto Lezcano back in the late 1970s was known as an excellent fielder and won a Gold Glove, Cecil Cooper won two, and Robin Yount won a wind-aided Gold Glove on the back of his outstanding year at the plate in 1982.  It took until Carlos Gomez last year for another Gold Glove to come to Milwaukee.

Geoff Jenkins was never accused of being like any of those guys in the field, however.  That's why all of his cards are of him batting.

In fact, these first three cards show three phases of his swing.

See, Corey Hart wore sunglasses during the day as well.

This package was huge and jammed full of cards that I needed. Madding really crushed it here. When I finally got done sorting through this package, I was happier than a mascot who slides into a beer mug for half the season.

Thanks again, Madding -- and everyone check out the Cards on Cards blog!