Monday, December 30, 2013

Mail Call: COMC Black Friday.

       Today is the infamous "Black Monday" in NFL coaching circles - the day when poor head coaches find out their (usually poor) fate.  Watching ESPN this morning is like watching a funeral procession, one after another crappy coach after crappy coach is thrown on the fire.  It is schadenfreude at its finest especially when your teams aren't involved.  What better day to check out all my Black Friday booty from COMC (how's that for a segue?) Every year they run a special for free shipping - plus most sellers have kickass sales - so it is the best day of the year to load up on cards.  I nabbed some stuff I have had my eye on for most of the year and broke down and bought a few things I had been aching to have but wanted at my price.

First we'll start with some die cut numbered 2004 eX rookies:
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To be honest, I only wanted a page of the base cards and had been striking out in trades or at shows finding any.  As I perused my wantlists, this was the first incomplete page that stood out for some reason.  This set just screams "millennium design" with all its metallic highlights and swoops and blocky modern fonts.  When I searched the site, I saw that these die cut rookies were more readily available (and cheaper) than the base cards.  So I switched gears and nabbed nine of these instead and made this nifty page out of them.  

I also loaded up on some of this year's Mets cards I had not yet added:
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In a minor upset, I got many more Zack Wheeler cards than anything else.  That orange refractor is just spectacular, as most Mets cards in orange refractor form are.  That overly ornate die cut Matt Harvey was a must-add as it is so over the top and silly looking, it belongs in 1996.  I also think you could use those cards as shurikens.  I also nabbed a low number shiny 2004 eX rookie of Mets failed prospect Aarom Baldiris.  He deserved to washout just for the silly spelling of his name.  I might own more of his useless cards than any other Mets prospect that never got to the majors (he was big in Japan, though).

I also got some single cards to complete some pages:
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I am trying to put together a page of all the Topps Finest and that Livan Hernandez finished off the 2004 page (check my want lists to see if you can help).  I also found that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds cards are pretty cheap - gee, I wonder why? - and grabbed a couple of those to complete a couple of vague pages.  That Gary Sheffield finishes his page in my retired book; I wanted to get a card for each team he played for and since he only played for eight different teams, I decided on a minor league card to round it out.  The bottom row shows piles of cards I needed to finish two pages I really really wanted to get done.  I suppose it is my love of shiny, but I have wanted to do a page of those 2005 UD Reflections Legends cards for a while.  The other cards were to complete a page of 2001 UD Decade inserts.  I would have done a page for each of the different inserts, but for some odd reason most of the inserts in that set are only 6 total cards and that just doesn't jibe with the Starting Nine theme.  The patchwork page practically works better as a dayglow memorial to 1970's excess and now has a place of honor in my faux vintage book. 

One more card on that last scan deserves to be seen in its rightful place:
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I am kind of a sucker for all of the Upper Deck Heroes sets and subsets, so when I saw a couple of years ago that Martin Brodeur had one, I had to have it.  Getting the first 8 was easy enough, but Upper Deck being Upper Deck, the ninth card, the fancy painting checklist card, was severely short printed.  The thing cost $20 or more on ebay if you could find one.  I love #30, don't get me wrong, but this nonsense seemed a bit extreme.  So there sat a hole in the very front page of my hockey binder for a long long time.  I just couldn't/wouldn't give in to short printed extortion.  But as often happens during these kinds of shopping sprees, you get on a roll.  I plugged that card into the search and came back with a few hits, one of them for $8.20 - a 50% sale that would only last Black Friday weekend.  So I sighed, swallowed my pride and bit; it is by far the most expensive card I bought.  I'm sorry but I'm not sorry. 

I filled in holes old and new in my Topps All Star Rookie needs:
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I grabbed those two 1964 and the 1963 cards on the super cheap and finally added the 2012 Brett Lawrie which had somehow eluded me.  My modern needs have now been whittled down to (mostly) parallels and inserts.  I have plenty of vintage ones yet to go, though.  Also in this scan are a couple more faux vintage pages finishing cards.  The Eck and Bench cards are from the Shoebox set back at the height of retro reprint mania.  The 2004 retired set page leaves only the 2005 Topps retired page left to be completed. 

A few more odds and ends and some non-baseball cards:
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That Bob Gibson finishes off one of the first pages of faux-vintage cards I had made but it had a Cal Ripken card in it, who at the time was technically a current player.  If you are going to have rules about your pages, you have to be a stickler and I just don't like to mix current and retro players (unless I feel like it, of course).  Those top two football cards are from an obscure Collector's Edge set that I had to have a page of just because of its 90's see-thru acetate goodness. The Gene Sykes completes one of my last 1960's football pages (hopefully that post will happen soon) and that Wayne Babych is an OPC hockey card that finishes off that vintage page.  I think those old school hockey cards work so much better in poorly cut Canadian style, don't you?  Finally, the last four cards all have something in common and 64 silver dollars* to the person who figures it out.

*may not be actual silver or dollars

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Football '13 Week 17: Disappointment.

       These arrived via Fed-Ex on Saturday and I opened them Sunday afternoon just about the time the Atlanta Falcons were blowing the end of the game against the Seahawks thus rendering them very bright shiny bookmarks and sending the Saints on the road for three games.  Sherman so had the right idea of how to deal with that city.

And yes, I realize that the Saints lost to both the the Rams and the Jets and that their wild card-bound plight is their own doing.  I am just frustrated.  Of course, the result of the Philly/Dallas game has made the Saints first playoff game about 100 miles from my house.  To the Stubhub!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Most Famous Reindeer of All.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose,
And if you ever saw it,
You would even say it glows. (like a light bulb!)
All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names;
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say,
Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?

Then how the reindeer loved him
As they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,
You'll go down in history.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Football '13 Week 16: A Passing Record.

       This afternoon Peyton Manning set the all time single season record for passing touchdowns with his 51st.  He did this in his 15th game of the season which means he could add to this total before the regular season ends.
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Peyton Manning: Center square, er, rectangle.

Sure, this is quite an impressive accomplishment to add to his resume (for a second time, even) but let's analyze the last few seasons in which the TD record had been broken...

1963: YA Tittle, 36 touchdowns.
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Y.A. Tittle: middle right

Team result: Lost NFL Championship game. 

1984: Dan Marino, 48 touchdowns.
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Team result: Lost Super Bowl.

2004: Peyton Manning, 49 touchdowns.
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Team result: lost AFC Championship game.

2007: Tom Brady, 50 touchdowns.
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Team result: lost Super Bowl.

I see a very inauspicious pattern here.  You have to go back to 1961 and George Blanda to the last time a quarterback set the touchdown record and won a title - and he did it in the AFL.  To get to the last time an NFL quarterback did it, you need to go back two years further to 1959 and John Unitas.  So cherish your new record Peyton because your playoff history and the last 50 years of NFL history shows that it might be all you get this year.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Football '13 Week 15: Bush League.

     In 2005, Reggie Bush won the Heisman Trophy which "is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football in the United States whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work."
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In 2010, they took away his Heisman Trophy because he did something so unforgivable, 75-90% of college athletes do it, he took money from a booster.

To put this in perspective, in 1994, I played DIII baseball for the mighty Emerson College Lions.  Our ragtag bunch of players went 2-16.  The highlight of our season was two victories over the Mass College of Pharmacy by forfeit because they didn't have enough players.  We got full use of the college's Exxon credit card which we used routinely to run up $400-$500 worth of beer, food, and sundries every game for the post game party in direct violation of NCAA rules.  I demand the NCAA investigate this, vacate those two wins from the Lions, and strike the 17 at bats and 10 (horrible) innings pitched of the author.  I trust since I am turning myself in for this they will go lenient on me and only suspend me for one of my two remaining eligible years. 
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This year, they gave the trophy to Jameis Winston, who has been investigated for rape.  Last year, they gave it to Johnny Manziel - who probably got more money in one day than Bush got in 3 years at USC.  Also receiving the Heisman trophy includes gamblers, drug addicts, and of course, this guy.  As of this writing, none of them have been asked to give back their awards.  That's some quality integrity right there.

Friday, December 6, 2013


or Sign of the Times?

        The Seattle Mariners(!) have signed Robinson Cano to a ten year $240 million dollar contract. 
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So lemme get this straight, Seattle, a 31-year old Cano is worth a quarter of a billion dollars over a decade but not too long ago a 26-year old Alex Rodriguez wasn't?
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and let's just forget about his love of PEDs for the moment...he was pretty good in 2000.

As a bitter Mets fan, I have two words for Seattle: Roberto Alomar...
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Alomar had arguably his best year at 31, another brilliant year at 33...and was absolutely done at 35.  A cautionary tale that is certainly a little food for thought.  In the grand scheme of things, I think the Yankees made the right choice backing off and letting Seattle take all the risks this one.


Speaking of "Grand" and the Yankees - coming soon! the Mets sign a good free agent that fills a desperate need at market price - and it isn't April Fools Day!