Friday, July 3, 2015

Mail Call: Shiny!

       I am a sucker for free shipping.  Yes, I am the kind of buffoon who will buy extra stuff just to qualify for it.  Like when has one of their free shipping promotions there is usually a minimum number involved, but this really isn't a problem for me since I am pretty active buying and selling on their site.  Well, this spring has thrown all sorts of curve balls and I just haven't been as card-centric as I normally am.  So when I noticed they were having a free shipping for 30+ cards promotion a couple weeks ago, I was forlorn to see that I only had 6 cards waiting in my shipping queue.  Do you think this deterred me?  Did you read the first two sentences of the post? 

I delved into my watch list but only saw high priced stuff for the most part.  I did, however, notice two very reasonably priced inserts from last year's Bowman set.  These inserts were not only Mets cards, they were shiny.  Very shiny.  I got swept up in the moment and decided it would be easiest to make a page of each of these inserts to qualify for my free shipping.  Hey, a bargain is a bargain and shiny is shiny.

The first page is of the 1989 Bowman is Back inserts.
 photo comc1m_zps88ixrbdx.jpg
The scan does these no justice.  They are glittery and atomic refractor-esque.  They are like the Diamond Anniversary parallels from a 2011.  I picked out 9 of the most interesting photos I could from the first page of the "lowest price" tab and voila!

The other page is from the Bowman Chrome Fire Die-Cut set. 
 photo comc2m_zpsk2ojhy6q.jpg
I cannot express how much I like the concept behind this set.  I like die cuts.  I like shiny.  I am a bit of a pyromaniac, at least I was in my youth when I almost burned my house down once by making a camp fire in the basement (gimme a break, I was like 8).  I had not seen these in real life and it took me holding one to realize that they weren't just shiny and die cut, but the design itself was the base design, only melted.  I am usually not one for prospect cards, but damn, I love this set.  They are amazing.  Once again, I picked 9 off the first page and now I am sorry I didn't build the whole set.

Keeping with the theme, I nabbed some Mets from those two sets, which were the cards I had watched in the first place.  They were the Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto to be specific.  I also got the David Wright and Gary Carter BiB and Travis d'Arnaud of both sets. 
 photo comc3m_zpsktmob4ci.jpg
The bottom cards here are three of the six I had in my original queue. They are from an early 80's oddball Cramer set of vintage players in sepia tones.  I chose players I don't have a lot of since the six I had were of the Hank Aaron/Willie Mays very-well represented type.  Brief aside: I have an obsession with pie along the lines of Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks so it stuns me that I don't have a whole Pie Traynor page or player collection.  That is a situation I might have to rectify

Here are the other orphans from the original six. 
 photo comc4m_zpsac98cgkv.jpg
Nothing very surprising here.  A New Orleans Saint.  A Mike Piazza.  Another Michael Conforto card - and with the Mets quite literally scoring only 1 run a game for the last 2-3 weeks, I am bewildered as to why they haven't called him up, he's only hitting like .330.  So I got my free shipping and it only cost me like ten bucks.  My little buying binge left me with .42 cents credit left and while that is a very good number, I just couldn't leave that in there even though I had hit my magic number of 30.  So one last check of my watch list showed me that the most inexpensive card I had was that Topps 60 Keith Hernandez.  Price: 41 cents.  I love it when a plan comes together.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Nightmare Deferred.

       If there is something we can all agree upon, it's that Bobby Bonilla was an unmitigated disaster as a New York Met. Oh sure, his numbers weren't too bad, heck, they almost look decent in and of themselves.  Problem was, that was, quite literally, the worst team money could buy.  The real issue was Bobby Bo's attitude was, um, not good.  Yes, he was in over his head in New York.  And yes, they never should have put the burden of being the alpha dog on him when he was obviously a second fiddle.  And yes, that was certainly not the first, or last, time the Mets would make that mistake.  But when they finally traded him away in 1995 (for "5-tool" prospect Alex Ochoa - although none of those tools were baseball skills) it was a divorce of absolute relief.  A most wise mutual parting of a grand error in judgement on both parties.  The biggest problem of all is, this is not where our story ends.  In a move about as baffling as any in baseball history, the Mets inexplicably brought Bonilla back in 1999.  The Mets wanted Bonilla as a bat off the bench while Bonilla wanted to play every day.  This went as well as you could imagine and he sulked his way to a .160 average and an infamous card game.  The Mets were then ultra-desperate to unload Bonilla for a second time.  And because it's the Mets, they continued doing stupid things.  If you have been anywhere the last few July 1sts, you know exactly what I am talking about.  And yes, the whole thing is very embarrassing.  But here's the thing...
 photo bbo9_zpsehubzye1.jpg
This isn't the first deferred payment contract in baseball history, and heck, it isn't even the worst deferred contract in baseball history but somehow, it is the only ever mentioned deferred contract in baseball history.  Why?  Well, the fact that the Mets are an eternal punchline doesn't help; the media have just made Bobby Bo the personification of that.  When you are paying a hated 52-year old ex-player more than your two best players, it just makes for sexier headlines.  The thing that bothers me most is that this nonsense has leaked out of the grimier blogosphere and into the mainstream media.  I have had to hear about this shit all damn day.  So let's turn this around and mock some other contracts for a change.

When the Reds traded for Ken Griffey Jr. in 2000, they deferred a portion of his salary that is now being paid to him through 2024.
 photo griffey9_zps1sbzgwht.jpg
At least the Mets have been to the World Series since 1990. 

Okay, if that's the measure, what about Manny Ramirez?  The Red Sox are currently paying him close to $2 million until 2026. 
 photo manram9_zpswz0n8xfj.jpg
The Sox will be shelling out for those 2004 and 2007 seasons until Manny is 54. 

The Rockies played the those 2007 Red Sox in the World Series.  The first baseman for that team?  Todd Helton, who the Rox deferred a boatload of salary for in 2011 and will be paying him a cool million bucks a year until 2024.
 photo helton9_zpstpyn8ufr.jpg
I'd just like the interest payment from that kind of money, I'm not greedy.

There are players still playing getting deferred money.  Ichiro is grinding things out in Miami in his quest to get 3000 hits.  He is still a serviceable 4th outfielder, really. 
 photo ichiro9_zpsktiemjkt.jpg
Meanwhile, the Mariners are paying him, and will keep on paying him, deferred salary until 2032.  Mr. Suzuki will be 59 years old by then and much closer to collecting social security than giving his Hall of Fame speech.

How about dudes named Ryan?  Zimmerman will be rewarded deferred money big time a good 5 years after he retires.
 photo zim9_zpsticdigwt.jpg
Ryan Zimmerman, much like David Wright, is a beloved hot corner star who has seen more of the rehab clinic than the batters box of late. 

If that is too cuddly, how about the opposite end of the Ryan spectrum, Ryan Braun. 
 photo braun9_zpsomf7z148.jpg
Hell, Braun isn't even getting interest on his deferment, but he will get paid 7 figures until 2031. I wonder how many specimen jars you can buy with that kind of scratch.

Quick...guess which one of the 8 teams who Gary Sheffield played for deferred a bunch of cash in his contract and will pay him $1.9 million until 2019, which is ten years after he retired?
 photo sheffield9_zpszqech2bz.jpg
If you guessed the Detroit Tigers, come get your prize - a purposefully overthrown ball from third base.

Think desperate teams are the only ones that defer money as a quick fix?  Think again. 
 photo ttt9mh_zpshhglikjb.jpg
I don't have a Holliday page so this will have to do; he's there in the lower left corner.

The Cardinals will be giving Matt Holliday a nice fat check from 2020 until 2029.

But what is the grandfather and Grandaddy of all foolish deferred payments?  That begins and ends with Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter.
 photo sutter9_zpsavw4r95w.jpg
I am not sure how Sutter even got into Cooperstown, but perhaps he used some of Ted Turner's money to help him in his cause.  The Braves have paid Sutter $1.3 million a year since 1990 and will keep on paying him until 2020.  Sure, Sutter is a Hall of Famer, but he earned that status with the Cubs and the Cardinals.  The Braves have and will cough up $44 million over 36 years for 112 games pitched, 40 saves, and a 4.76 ERA.  Nice work if you can get it.  But somehow, the Mets are the ones that are held up as fools for the whole Bonilla thing. 

Not Shown: Steve Young, Kevin Garnett, Rick DiPietro, Bronson Arroyo, and most of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Let's Go Matz!

♫♪ Meet The Mets,
Steven Matz,
Step right up and get beat by Matz!
Bring your kiddies,
bring your wife;
Guaranteed to have the time of your life

Because Steve Matz is really sockin’ the ball;
Knocking in four runs with doubles to the wall!
East side,
West side,
everybody’s coming down
to meet the M-A-T-Z Matz of New York town! ♫♪♫♪

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Good Show, Robert.

       Last week, I came back from my mailbox with a mystery jiffy pack from Robert of $30 a Week Habit, one of my favorite blogs and most frequent trading partners.  I had sent him a small PWE in April, but nothing that could expect a girthy padded envelope.  Here is what awaited me inside:
 photo r30-1_zpsuzzhm0wm.jpg
Shiny Saints! Shiny Saints everywhere.  And just to break up the chromium and die cut madness, a Martin Brodeur of recent vintage that I did not have.  He went a perfect 8 for 8 in cards I did not have and he certainly satiated my need for shiny football cards for the time being.

Seems Robert went a little crazy at a card show and shared his madness with me.  Thanks Robert!
 photo r30-2_zps9qowlqul.jpg
If you clicked on his link above, you will notice that he is currently on hiatus and the vague and sudden nature of that last post has me a little concerned.  I hope all is well in Habitland, Robert, and if it isn't that things get better soon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Nacho Break.

       I did something last month I hadn't done in a long while, I took part in a group break.  The recent maestro of such activities, Nachos Grande, had one that was all product I didn't plan to buy by the box, so I saw a good opportunity to score some Mets cards and maybe luck out and nab an Amazin' hit.  $35 was my entry fee into this little lottery, so let's see how I made out. 

The first thing busted open was Opening Day
 photo break1_zpsjlxetnec.jpg
There seemed to be a copious amount of Mets because if I didn't get the whole team, I came damn close.  So far so good. I also scored a couple of the shiny blue parallels. 
 photo break2_zpsha7jotk2.jpg
The next box was Gypsy Queen.  I have never enjoyed busting packs of this stuff, but I kind of liked this years dark borders and not-so-overfancy design, so having the Mets cards was optimal.  Once again, the card gods shined a little light on me, and while they didn't see fit to grant me any of the major hits, I did get most of the team set and a couple inserts, including a mini Tom Seaver.
 photo break3_zpslpl30y6u.jpg
Okay guys, gimme the leg-up pitcher pose!

After years of pedantic sameness, Bowman has an eye catching design this year, with half bleed pictures and a nifty way to tell prospect cards from regular cards (simply reverse the design).  I didn't get much in the way of unknown rookie players (I got the same guy twice) but at least I got my first Steven Matz and Kevin Plawecki cards. 
 photo break4_zps6rkljvxi.jpg
Alas at this point, the card gods stopped smiling on me and scowled tremendously for the last three components of the break.  I got one card only from Topps Museum Collection, though it was Jacob deGrom, and just a single base card from the Diamond King box, but at least it was the right player - Gary Carter.  There was a bonus blaster involved as well and I did score a single Tom Seaver card from it.  Something is better than nothing, I suppose, but my dreams of a low number white whale hit were dashed with extreme prejudice.  Oh well, such is the nature of the beast. 

Nacho took a little pity on me and was nice enough to include some bonus Mets cards. 
 photo break5_zpsidciwyhh.jpg
I didn't have one of those Dwight Gooden rookie all star cards for his player collection, so that was a very nice bonus indeed.
 photo break6_zpsstwll6uv.jpg
And while I am sure I have multiple copies of all these cards, I never get tired of 1987 Topps cards.  I am in a very small minority in that feeling, I know. 

Nacho also packaged this cards impeccably and included a nice note.  I always appreciate such courtesies.
 photo break7_zpsy1nqx6sm.jpg
Oh, and there was one last little surprise, a pack of 2012 Triple Play.  I really enjoyed that initial Triple Play offering from Panini, so I tore into that pack with gusto.
 photo break8_zpsnhbwvf3g.jpg
Those cartoon caricatures are great and I scored a David Wright sticker.  Sweet.

I'd like to thank Nacho for doing this break and since you do so many, I am sure it won't be my last.  You should go check out his page and keep an eye out for one you'll like.  He obviously likes to make sure everyone gets an autographed card, so he included his own:
 photo break9_zpswzcylzkn.jpg
"This is not a Topps product" the back gloriously trumpets and you're right, it's a whole lot better.  I now own four or five personalized cards of bloggers as well as a few custom cards.  These never cease to tickle me, hell, I should make a page of them.