Thursday, April 30, 2015

#WalletCard Went to Boca

It's been a while since Robert Edwards The Wallet Card got to see the light of day.  To be fair, that's entirely on me.  I sometimes forget he is there.  Other times, I decide to keep Robert in my pocket rather than unleash his magnetism and power on an unsuspecting populace.  More to the point, though, I just haven't done anything terribly cool or fun or different than just going to work, coming home, or going to yet another networking event.

But, two weeks ago, I got a reprieve from the every day.  I went to Boca Raton for a week for a meeting.  It sort of reminded me of this:

Sort of.

Robert Edwards The Wallet Card made it clear that he needed to be freed from the dark confines of my wallet.  I swear I heard the card muttering about the insurance cards making fun of him and telling him he needed to get a check up.  So, I got Robert out in the airport:

Robert then started making comments about how the couple on the wall look like they stepped out of American Gothic, just dressed up for the 2010s...I can see that.  

Thankfully, the pitchfork was left at home.

Boca Raton -- and the resort at which I stayed -- is a very upscale, old-person-type place. The resort where I stayed is pretty fancy.  My room was just okay, though, and the view out my window, well, it left something to be desired:

From that view, it looks like I was staying at the zoo, or in a tropical rainforest.  And I suppose I was.

The first full day I was at the resort was the only day during which I did not have a lunch included in the price of my seminar.  My wife does not like sushi -- she has very few flaws, but that is one of them -- so I took the opportunity to get some sushi.  The hotel/resort has a famous chef sushi restaurant.

If you don't know who Morimoto is, perhaps you have heard of Iron Chef America?

I love that clip above for having fellow UGA grad Alton Brown in a parka for his commenting role on the show.

Anyway, the sushi at Morimoto's restaurant at the resort was very good and not so terribly priced as to cause me too much consternation when I got the bill.  Robert said he'd pick up the check, but then remembered that he had forgotten his wallet.

Later that afternoon, it was meeting time for me.  I spent the afternoon in a planning session for the subgroup within my organization where I spend most of my time and effort.  After a very productive three hours, a few of us decided to head out to a local brew pub called The Funky Buddha Lounge and Brewery.  I didn't get a photo of it myself, so I'm borrowing one from another website:

The food was decent, and the beers were excellent.  Right, Robert?

The beers there were very good.  If you find yourself in Boca Raton, you should check it out. I mean, if you are a beer drinker, check out their list of beers here...some crazy flavors and combinations there.

I didn't bore Robert -- and I won't bore you -- with photos from the rest of my time at the seminar.  The only time I should have taken him out of my wallet was on our catamaran ride.  

But then again, does this view require a baseball card to be enjoyed?

Thanks for reading.  May your favorite NFL team draft well tonight, but not as well as Green Bay does!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bo Knows Trading

I'm positive that Bo, the man behind "Baseball Cards Come to Life" -- which is an excellent read to find out where some of your favorite players from baseball history are now -- has probably had the "Bo Knows" line used on multiple occasions for him in his life.  I mean, for any kid who was alive and can remember 1989 and 1990, the coolest athlete on the planet not named Michael Jordan -- and perhaps even including Jordan -- was Bo Jackson.

As far as I know, Baseball Card Bo is no Bo Jackson.  This Bo knows his baseball cards -- and he knows how to help knock a bunch of needs off want lists for someone like me, who didn't collect in the 1990s.

So what cards does Bo know?

Bo Knows Topps Gallery

And, apparently, Topps decided that Piet Mondrian should meet Jeff Cirillo.  

Bo didn't send me Piet Mondrian though.  I'm also unsure of what artistic movement Dave Nilsson is supposed to represent, though.  I guess the Classics is just supposed to mean, "classic baseball cards" or "classic photography."  

The more I think about it, the more I like the Jeff Cirillo card.

Bo Knows Fleer Ultra

Vaughn is right on that pitch.  The Eldred, though -- nice photo, but very confusing.  Is it a horizontal card, due to the logo location? Or is it a vertical card based on the name location?

Bo would know.

Bo Knows Angry Catchers

While these two cards come from different sets, they must be put together:

It seems something was attached to the Brewers shinguards they gave their catchers caused tremendous pain to shoot suddenly through their bodies.  This must have been somehow controlled by the photographer, who could control when the pain would shoot through Surhoff and Harper so that the photographer could catch the exact look on their respective faces when the pain came.

Or not.

But Bo Knows Triple Play

This is not one of my favorite Triple Play designs, but it is decent looking.  It's tough to screw up black borders.  But, to be fair, the huge silver/gray name at the top comes damn close to screwing up this design for me.  It's just unnecessary -- I see the players name at the bottom already, so why do I need the large version at the top?  Who needs that, anyway?


Bo Knows Collector's Choice Special Edition

The first time I saw one of these Special Edition cards, I thought, "wow, Wal-Mart had its own parallels in 1995"?  

Jose Valentin's card, though, gives me another idea for a food issue -- get the David Sunflower Seeds promotional folks fired up!


One of the highlights of the bottom Bo Jackson commercial above is when Wayne Gretzky appears on the screen and just says, "No."

This one goes to the original card issued by anyone for pitcher Jeff D'Amico, who was born exactly four years later than me.  The card looks tailor-made for a Panini card these days and features a high-school version of D'Amico at the bat on the back of the Classic Games card. 

Still, "No."

Bo Knows Donruss.

The Donruss logo with the team name, logo, player number, and position may be one of the 
most difficult to read portions of any card I've run across.  I know there are worse, but this is just tough to look at.  

And, finally....

Bo Knows Sports Illustrated

I did not have any of these Fleer Sports Illustrated cards from 1998 before I received this package from Bo. Back when Sports Illustrated still had staff photographers -- you know, before January of 2015 -- they had some of the best photography in sports.  Their spin doctors at that time claimed that the magazine's "commitment to photography is as strong as ever" as the magazine decided to go entirely with freelancers and use the same photos Topps uses -- Getty Images, mainly.

It's a sad state of affairs, but paper magazines are going the way of newspapers.  Either the coverage has to be incredibly local (and yes, local newspapers covering local news still do okay) or it has to be incredibly specialized.  Sports Illustrated is neither.

But those photos in 1998 were great. Perhaps SI will think about monetizing their photo inventory in the future by having card sets created for all the sports -- and perhaps swimsuits too -- that have appeared in those pages.  That would be a set many of us would buy.

Bo, thank you again for the great cards.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

War Has Been Declared!

Many of us have been following along in awe as two heavyweight traders in the blogosphere -- Jaybarkerfan and Bob Walk the Plank -- have been slugging it out in a manner not seen since 1892, when Harry Sharpe and Frank Crosby went head to head for 77 rounds for the Missouri Lightweight Championship...or, in more modern parlance, something akin to the Thrilla in Manila:

Back in January, these two started trading blows.  Matt got some body blows in early, and even scored a few points with the judges in March.  The tide turned when JBF brought out the big autographed bat from a pitcher.  In the end, The Plank called time on the war and raised the white flag.

After the Great Scott -- likely clad in his Brian Boehringer jersey -- finally said "No Mas" like Roberto Duran against Sugar Ray Leonard, it seemed an obvious question for JBF to answer:

With a shout-out to former UGA football player Bill Goldberg, the question is: Who's Next?

JBF hinted at it on his final battle post:

My charges must rest for a while.  Where will we march next.  I will only take on a "VARSITY" squad.  Maybe the battle can be documented by CNN?  Perhaps it will be as easy as PEACHES and cream?  If Peabody can't tell where I'm going to march maybe SHERMAN can?

Now, let's be honest.  There are at least a few excellent bloggers here in Atlanta -- two that immediately spring to mind are Dayf the Cardboard Junkie and Matt from Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius, who are the minds behind the excellent podcast The Trading Card Preservation Society -- so I was not making any presumptions.

Then, there was JBF's comment on the Bob Walk the Plank blog:

But, I had to ask in some way.  I started with an innocuous comment...and it escalated.

After that, I had to acknowledge what was coming:

But, if it is war for which I must prepare, then, at least, I can find a way to make it fun (from  My cat Gus will come in handy:

He will be the leader in this charge!

Failing that, I'll talk my wife into getting us another dog too:

And, the dog then becomes the secret weapon:

If all else fails, look for the hamsters to descend on Hazel Green:

More to the point, I believe there is a card show or two this weekend.  It's time to saddle up and head for battle stations!

War is declared.

Even by some punk-ish Euro-types.

I hope JBF likes oddballs.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Catching Up with a Trade Post

Back on post #300, I put out an offer to everyone: comment with your collecting interests, then e-mail me your mailing address, and I would send out cards.  That post got a great response and led to me getting rid of a bunch of cards and getting a bunch of Brewers in return (even though I did not ask for a return package).  

One of the people from whom I heard was Jared from Catching Up with Collecting. Jared's interests in collecting are diverse -- everything from catchers Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, Jason Varitek, and Jason Kendall, to his favorite teams -- he has five -- to a ton of Boston Red Sox stars.  I can relate to the love for catchers -- having played the position myself for a long time growing up, as my knees some days can attest -- so sending a package to him for me was relatively simple.

Jared then sent me a great stack of Brewers cards. Thankfully, the Brewers are not among his favorite five teams, so he sent me an awesome mix of cards.

We start with a passel of Robin Yount cards, including the card carrying Paul Molitor's praise for Robin as a teammate from the Panini Cooperstown set.  The bottom card is from the 2002 Topps Gallery set Heritage inserts.  At some point and between Cynical Buddha and me, we need to count up both the number of times that the 1975 rookie card gets used and, also, that photo of Yount from the 1988 season (with the H/K patch on his left arm to honor former manager Harvey Kuenn) that has been used so many times that I think it's the only photo Topps has of Robin.

While initially I liked this photo, it was because I was looking past the fact that a good third of the card is dominated by the out-of-focus arm of a first-base coach.  Now that I've really noticed it, I can't unsee it.  Dang it.

Topps Gold, circa 2013.  Hellweg came over to the Brewers from the Angels in the Jean Segura/Zach Greinke trade.  Hellweg is a graduate of St. Dominic HS in O'Fallon, Missouri. He had been rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery since early last year, and the Brewers used up his fourth and final option this year to let him continue his rehabilitation in Colorado Springs.  Before the injury, he -- and not Jimmy Nelson -- was probably the Brewers' top pitching prospect.

I'm not sure what's going on under Rob Picciolo's (pronounced "PEACH-uh-lo") eyes here. It might be the scan, or I just never cared enough to look at Rob Picciolo's 1984 Donruss card before. The very antithesis of a "Moneyball" player, Picciolo walked 25 times in 1720 career plate appearances.  

This card is proof that, in the 1980s, the card companies made cards for literally everyone who appeared in a major league game.  To wit, in 1983, Picciolo played in 14 games and came to bat 29 times.  No, he did not spend any time in the minor leagues that year.  In fact, because of his 1 sac fly in 1983, his OBP was lower than his batting average -- a .222/.214/.333 slash line.  

Josh Prince currently has more cards in the 2013 Panini Prizm set (10, including all the parallels) than he does major league plate appearances (9, racked up in 2013).  Prince was on his way back down the Brewers' chain after that high point in 2013 -- appearing only in Double-A Huntsville in 2014.  He's now a Double-A player in the Detroit system with Erie.

Tyler Wagner pitched for the Runnin' Utes of Utah in college before the Brewers drafted him in the fourth round in 2012.  He has worked his way up in the system step by step.  In 2014, he pitched very well as an age-appropriate player in the Florida State League, and he has started off well with the Biloxi Shuckers this season.  

As an aside, the Brewers moved their Double-A team from Huntsville, Alabama, to Biloxi, Mississippi, in the off season.  The only problem: the Biloxi stadium will not be ready for the team to occupy it before May at the earliest.  As a result, the Shuckers opened their "home" season by playing five games in four days last week against Jacksonville in Jacksonville. They will also be playing "home" games in May 6 against the Mississippi Braves at the Braves' home stadium in Pearl, Mississippi and the team will reappear in Huntsville for some home games starting on May 16.

In case someone with the Shuckers is reading blogs, please remember I am both a Brewers fan and a construction lawyer with good connections in Mississippi.  No, I'm not advertising, I'm just saying.

These Hometown Heroes cards with the dark blue uniforms are not nearly as offensive-looking to me as the powder blue one that Robin Yount is wearing.  Note that the Sheets parallel is the elusive "ZIP Code" parallel, as Panini shows off its knowledge of major league zip codes.  The great thing is that I believe I need all of these for player collections.  

Martin Maldonado is now the Brewers starting catcher as Jonathan Lucroy heals up after suffering a broken toe.  Maldonado has never been much of an offensive force.  Even after spending parts of 2004 through 2012 in the minor leagues -- a total of 1965 plate appearances -- he totaled only 31 home runs and 71 doubles for a .333 SLG.  But, he has one hell of a cannon behind home plate:

The guy threw out Billy Hamilton on a pitch he had to short-hop out of the dirt.  It's his defense that keeps him in the league, but he's stretched if he has to play regularly.

I'm still thinking, though, that Panini needs to do the "Catchers of Major League Baseball" series.  No logos needed!

And, if Panini did a set like that, I guarantee that both me and a certain Jared from Catching Up With Collecting would go for the complete set.

Thanks, Jared, for the great cards!