Friday, July 18, 2014

Mail Call to End All Mail Calls.

       I was down in PA for a little over two weeks dog sitting for my brother and when I returned to Starting Nine World Headquarters, look at the pile of correspondence that was waiting for me:
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The baseball coffee mug on the right is to show scale.  Literally, this is a mountain of mail waiting for me.  I know I like to order stuff from Listia, but it appears I went a little overboard lately.
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This pile alone came mostly in plain white envelopes from fellow Listians for the grand total of zero dollars. 

This pile is from ebay:
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Funny how most of these came in padded jiffy packs.  Nice how people actually take time and effort when there is actual money involved.  Well, mostly. 

My favorite of the bunch?  The 5 Mr. Turkey Baseball Greats cards complete with the notebook that was available. 
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That's an oddball's oddball. 

Plus, I won not one but two contests recently (not shown...yet), and of course there is some trade stuff in there too.
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These Ballpark Fun cards come from Night Owl, who put nine of these aside for me after he opened like six(!) blasters of last year's Opening Day.  I think this might be the first pure reader page ever built. 

He included a few other Mets and a lament that he didn't send more.  Trust me, that page alone is worth it, not to mention the Rusty Staub mini.  Thanks, Greg.
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I am going to sit here and watch the late West Coast Mets game and try to sort through all these cards.  Needless to say, I have only scratched the surface of what I had waiting for me.  The weekend will write itself.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

One Star.

       Well, it's the All-Star break again and Tuesday means the big game is ready to be played.  One of the many good things about this baseball season is getting rid of Bud Selig, who a lot of people hate for the wrong reasons.  The A-number-one reason to hate that dude was the 2002 All Star Game, when he just threw up his hands and let the game end in a tie.  Any one of 20 other ideas could have come to him (off the top of my head - let position players pitch, let a pitcher reenter the game, have the coaches toss an impromptu home run derby - winner take all) but instead he did nothing. What a jackass.  Instead, remember, This Time It Counts

That little rant aside, this year only one Mets player made the game and it is a different sort of pick, Daniel Murphy:
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Murphy is a scrappy player who makes the most of his limited talents.  He will never be a "star" per se, but he plays his butt off every day.  And he can definitely hit.  Now he gets to have the little All Star banner over his name on his Baseball Reference page forever.
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Sadly, Daniel Murphy is destined to join such glorious Mets solo All Stars as John Stearns, Lee Mazzilli, Pat Zachry and Joel Youngblood in the annals of history.  And how the hell did Armando Benitez ever make an All Star Team?  Yikes.

This year the game is being played in Target Field in Minnesota and last year it was played in Citifield.
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How much did that mean to me?  I didn't write a single word about it last year.  In fact, the last time I mentioned the All Star Game prominently was two years ago and it was a less than glowing recommendation.  I did make this page of cards from last years Topps Update because it had the ASG logo on it, which was very Mets-centric.

I didn't go to any of the Mets Fan Fest events last year and I regret that because I did go to the one from the Yankee Stadium game in 2008 and it was a lot of fun.  I even held the fastest thrown ball at the booth with the radar gun for like 20 minutes.  I got there early and 69 MPH was enough to give me 5 more minutes of fame than I deserve. 
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I also picked up these four Fan Fest exclusive Mets Manu-Patch cards.  Three of the four obviously make me very happy, though my hatred for Jose Reyes has diminished since he went to Toronto because now he is on a team whose job it is is to keep the Yankees out of the playoffs.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Crushing Dreams One Unsolicited Email At A Time.

       I don't understand the internet and yet I openly embrace the internet; it is a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.  This blog of mine has opened my eyes to many quirks in the world of the interwebs.  I have lots of wonderfully introspective and (IMHO) well-written posts that barely anyone has read.  I have a few hokey and sarcastic posts that have a large amount of hits.  And then there is the odd yet very revealing fact that the most read posts I have are the two that have the word "post" in the title.  And there is one post that gets a huge amount of hits on google - I even mentioned it in my last post - and I can't quite figure out why...that is my entry on miscut cards.  It gets a ton of traffic, even after almost two years, and on the google images tab, the term "miscut cards" gives you just about all of the scans from that post right on the first page. 

       Another quirk of this post is that it generates a lot of random emails from non-readers, all of them asking about the value of their miscut card (as though I am some sort of expert).  I am sure I could throw up a half dozen of these emails with a simple search through my email folders, but I will instead show you this quick exchange between me and a dude named Kyran from last week as it perfectly captures what I am trying to say to anyone who writes me one of these emails.

On Thu, June 29, 2014 at 4:47 PM, kyran r <> wrote:

I was checking out your cards and I have a 1976 Pete Rose miscut. Half him and half some other player. I have had it for 25 years and always wondered if it had value. Would you have an idea on its value?, its like new. Thanks

Okay, having worked at a baseball card shop and been to a thousand baseball card shows as both a vendor and a customer, I know what Kryan is looking for here.  He wants to hear that what he is holding is very rare and unusual.  He wants to hear that he is special and that he has hit the proverbial cardboard jackpot.  He wants me squeal with girlish glee and tell him wonderful amazing things about his card.  And, 99 times out of 100, hell 999 times out of 1,000, this does not happen.  Alas, this is not that one time.  While it sounds like he has a pretty neat card, it is not going to make him rich.  I had to let him down easy.  Sort of how Pete let Ray Fosse down easy.

On June 30, 2014 8:34 AM, "max meyer" <> wrote:

I always love when people ask what baseball cards are worth.  The first knee jerk answer is always "whatever someone will pay for them..."  The most important thing to remember is that baseball cards are not commodities as much as they are a medium of nostalgia.

Seriously, a 1976 Topps Pete Rose books for about $20-25 in near mint condition.  The modern trade of cards has rendered book value practically meaningless unless a card is professionally graded.  When a card has a quirk like a print error or a miscut, that becomes even trickier.  A professional grader will merely assess it as such and to a collector of such things, the card is pretty worthless.  To a casual Reds fan or a Pete Rose fan, the card might have amusement value but not much more.  A crazed lunatic who obsessively collects Reds or Pete Rose stuff might offer you a lot of money for it but the real trick would be finding that person.

In closing, you will not be putting the kids through college with a miscut card from the 1970's, but if you enjoy owning it, it is priceless.

Hope this helped.


This reply contains a lot of the rote responses I have for people when asking about the monetary value of baseball cards.   People somehow think they have intrinsic value rather than adscititious value.  However, use these words and people will stare at you like a dog that's been shown a card trick.  So I put it in terms people can understand, e.g., you won't be able to put the kids through college with a bunch of 1991 Donruss cards.  A little stark humor can go a long way. 

I must say, he took it well...

 kyran r  3:32 PM (1 hour ago) to me

Thanks for you're reply. So much for early retirement. Guess I'll just hold on to it for the memory. Traded a bunch off cards for it when I was young. Thought it was the coolest and I had never seen one before.  Thanks again, Kyran

Kyran put it better than I ever could when he said he "thought it was the coolest" - you can't put a price on cool.   That's the real point isn't it?  If you enjoy what you have, you cannot put a price on that happiness or satisfaction.  That goes for baseball cards or life.  Too bad he didn't send me a scan of the card, perhaps I could get more cheap hits from it. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Boney King of Nowhere.

In pitch dark I go walking in your landscape
Broken branches trip me as I speak
Just cause you feel it doesn't mean it's there
Just cause you feel it doesn't mean it's there
There's always a siren singing you to shipwreck
don't reach out, don't reach out
Steer away from these rocks we'd be a walking disaster
don't reach out, don't reach out
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Just cause you feel it doesn't mean it's there
there's someone on your shoulder
Just cuz you feel it doesn't mean it's there
there's someone on your shoulder
There there...
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Why so green
And lonely
Heaven sent you
To me
We are accidents waiting
Waiting to happen

  - "There there."  Radiohead

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Habits and Views.

       While I have been on my vacation dog sitting for my brother, I thought maybe a change of scenery would recharge my interest in blogging a little.  Instead I have been kind of unplugged from the world and just mostly chilling out with the dog.  If anything, it has recharged my love of cooking as they have an amazing kitchen that I have taken full advantage of.  But this is a baseball card blog, not a foodie blog, so let's see if there is some unfinished drafts I can share with you.  Before I left last week I received in the mail two packages from fellow bloggers and I scanned their contents, so we'll take a look at those. 

One is a most venerable partner, Robert from $30 a Week Habit.  I had sent him two small piles in the last month or so and to reciprocate, he actually emailed me on his way to a show saying he was going to pick some stuff up for me from my want lists.  As I have pointed out before, he is an amazingly polite individual.
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The two cards that are most appreciated, as they are from that aforementioned want list, are the Bautista and the Posey as they finish off player pages that had been sitting at eight for a while.  That Posey is just the regular Walmart blue card but it looks so vibrant in the scan, it almost looks like a refractor, especially when compared to the D'Arnaud, which is also Walmart Blue.  Also here are some recent inserts with Wright and Harvey that I didn't have, plus a couple of prospects from this year's Bowman - which is wonderful since I have purchased exactly zero Bowman this year.  Saving the best for last is the Tom Seaver UD Masterpiece red frame parallel, which is just a glorious looking card.  Upper Deck did a lot wrong at the end, those sets were not one of them.

He also included some miscut 1971 Topps cards I had asked him to set aside for me. 
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I asked for two of them, he included six.  That definitely meets my approval. These will find their way to a spot of honor amongst my miscut collection.  Thanks Robert!

On the other end of the trade spectrum was a first time trade with Chris from View From the Skybox.  From a quick little post I did a little while ago, Chris commented and emailed me that he loves blue parallel cards and would love to trade if I had any extras.  I found some blue Walmart cards from the last few years and a couple of the shiny blue Opening Day parallels and sent them to him.  Chris got me back with a nice bunch of Mets:
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I didn't have the shiny version of the Seaver or Wright Chasing History nor did I have the WBC Wright card, which seems unthinkable.  He also included a nifty liquorfractor I didn't have, I almost have a page of these for the Mets, I will have to update my want lists to finish this off.  Then he finished me off with some blue parallels.  This seems a little counter-intuitive, but hey, I'll take it, especially that Murphy from this year.  What a stupendous photo that is.

Chris included a nice little note with his stuff...and believe me, I know from how shipping costs have gotten out of hand.  As you can see, they arrived safely.
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Chris collects a wide variety of things and has a great Ginter Relic Exchange program on his blog, so this may be the first trade we've done but it definitely won't be the last.  Thanks Chris!

As for the rest of my weekend?  Why, I am gonna watch soccer of course, but probably not the kind you are thinking of...
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Look at how happy she is with that thing?  We should all be that happy.  Woof!