Sunday, August 9, 2020

To 1,000 and Beyond!

I did it!

I crossed the 1,000 Tino Martinez unique card number! I've been counting down to this number for quite some time. I even planned to maybe sit on 999 and then splurge for something really out there.

But it didn't go that way, because when does anything ever go the way you plan?

The way I actually hit 1,000 was better than what I would have planned myself. It was a way in which many of my cards have come to me: through a generous act of kindness from a card blogger.


I was at 998 when a PWE full of Tino Martinez cards came in from Bob at The Best Bubble. Upon flipping through, I thought I had them all and these would go in my Tino dupes.

But on closer inspection, there were in fact exactly two cards I needed. At that put me at a cool 1,000!

Card 999 was a blue showdown parallel from 2005 Donruss Heroes.
And card #1,000? This guy. A silver script from 2000 Upper Deck MVP.
Perfect! Maybe it's not a fancy low number or autograph, but coming from an unexpected PWE? I wouldn't have (silver) scripted it any other way, now that I think about it. That's what most of my Tino cards are, in fact. Cards from random, long since forgotten sets of the late '90's and early '00s.

Since then, I'm up to 1,004 Tino cards. Talk about being a player stalker, eh?

Blog friend and minor league card expert Alex sent me a really cool oddball I had laid eyes on, along with a note on the background of the card. I had never, ever seen it in all my years of eBay browsing. It was released as part of a 5-card set in 1999 that included Nolan Ryan, Dick Allen, Jeremy Burnitz, and Rankin Johnson. Alex and I both agreed we wished they used a different photo than the one that showed up on several Tino minor league cards. But hey, at least they zoomed in on. I appreciate Alex's gesture very much.
2020 has also seen even more Tino autographs flood the market. In fact, I have eight Tino's from 2020, and all of them include an autograph. I picked up these three after waiting for initial prices to drop, which...gasp...they did once the hot next thing came out.
Thank you to everyone has contributed to my 1K collection of Tino cards. It's been many of you since 2011, and I appreciate it!

Here's to the next 1K...maybe.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Ty Hensley chucks a no-no

Last night while browsing Twitter, I was greeted with a few tweets that made me really happy. Ty Hensley chucked a no-hitter for the Utica Unicorns of the USPBL!
First off, glad to see some of these independent leagues playing baseball this summer. I just found out the NJ Jackals in my area are open for business, which I wasn't expecting.

I was really happy to see Ty's personal achievement. From what I can tell via social media, he's put a lot of work into not only getting back on the mound, but honing his craft and improving. He frequently post videos that show major league velocity and spin rates, which isn't surprising for a former first rounder. He's still got it!

Ty has obviously always been very kind to me, so it continues to really make my day when I see good things happen to good people. But make no mistake, this was the result of hard work.

Congrats to Ty, and I look forward to watching how the rest of his season unfolds.

To celebrate, here are a few of my favorite Ty Hensley cards and collectibles.

Monday, August 3, 2020

An advanced mailday from Napkin Doon

Last week, a PWE showed up from the one and only Napkin Doon.

I still have hope one day Doon will fire up the blog, but he's definitely still and active collector. And that's good enough for me.

The highly of the PWE was this:
While that may look like a regular old Topps Series One card, it's so much more. Upon flipping the card over, it's an Advanced Stats parallel.
Unless you flip the card over, you'd never know. I actually pulled one of these in Series 2, and didn't realize it until I was logging card backs. Even then, it's just a serial number under the card number. I do wish there was a bit more to tell it apart, but I guess it makes for a nice surprise.

I don't mind the parallel itself. It's sort of fun to feature some of the advanced stats. I'm not opposed, not at all.

Nap threw in a few others, as well. I like the Albert Abreu Bowman pApEr parallel as well.
The five card PWE definitely packed a lot of punch. Thanks, Nap!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Running has its benefits

I don't like to run. In fact, I hate it.

I don't find it therapeutic or mind-clearing. I don't look forward to doing it. I can't run to put my stress away for a few minutes. If anything, it makes it worse, as my mind wanders to work or all the things I have to do.

Plus, I'm not good at it. My body wasn't built for it. I've always been a fast runner in sports. In baseball, I hit toward the top of the order and frequently stole bases. In basketball, I was a quick defender and a point guard. But distance running? Not something I was made for.

And despite running fairly frequently, I can't seem to improve my time. I can't seem to run much quicker than 9-minute miles, which is really bizarre. You'd think improvement would come. But I also don't really care if I improve. Playing golf, I like to see more score go down. But running? Meh. I just don't care enough to get worked about it.

I run because it's basically the cheapest way for me to stay somewhat in shape and be healthy. That's it.

It does make me feel better when I am running for cause. I don't want to train for a long-distance race or anything, but signing up for a 5K is about my limit, and gives me the extra motivation I need.

So when Tony Burbs of Wrigley Roster Jenga explained that he was the chairperson of a virtual 5K, I decided to run for a cause. And two other blogger runners came with me - Peter of Baseball Every Night and Coach Tom of Waiting Til Next Year.

Virtual 5Ks have become a cool thing during the Pandemic. While it's a lot more fun to go run a race with people all around, virtual races have been a great way to keep an event alive. It just looks a little different.

Basically, everyone runs a 5K on their own time, and inputs their time into a database between certain dates. We all run different courses, but it's for the good of the event. I am convinced Peter ran in a straight downhill course, by the way.

Tony's cause was for St. Coletta's of Illinois, a social service agency for those with intellectual disabilities. His wife works there, and I believe that this is a big fundraiser for them. Definitely a worthy cause.

For a small entry fee, I joined the race, and even received a bib and a t-shirt.

My time came in at 28:33. That's a 9'12" pace. Again, about as fast as I can go for whatever reason.

Coach Tom finished right around my time, and Peter nearly won the thing with his blazing fast time.

Because he's an awesome dude, Tony also put up a raffle prize for his blogging buddies, and somehow I won. I feel guilty about that, as each of the other two guys were more than deserving. The prize was a very vintage 1936 Goudey Wide Pen Premium featuring Ethan Allen. Very, very cool collectible! I had never seen these, but it immediately when into my "good box."
Oh, and my "good box" is a specially marked box I showed my wife how to locate. If I ever croak, I told her this is the one you want to save. Do what you want with the rest.

Also good info for anyone who wants to rob me.

The run was for a great cause, and it was nice to have something to run for that's bigger than me. It led me to participate in a second digital 5K, the Yankees Virtually United 5K, which I clocked my time for just yesterday...and went slower than my St. Coletta's time. Oof. I hope to do two more this 5Ks this year.

Thanks, Tony. I hope the run was a resounding success!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Double stacked

The other day, the King of Kindness, Wes, decided to send out a giant stack of PWEs. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of not one, but two of these!

The first came in about two weeks ago, and it was from a set I've long admired, 2002 Upper Deck Yankees Dynasty Game-Used:
What a cool card. The Tino and Paul O'Neill combo is one of my favorites. This issue features coach Willie Randolph alongside Chuck Knoblauch. It's a set I might think about chasing sometime, outside of the fact that guys like DiMaggio and Mantle are included. Oof. The card itself is really attractive, and the jersey pieces inside the interlocking NY is a nice touch.

I would have been happy there, but then ANOTHER PWE arrived earlier this week.
Look at that! A Topps Gallery RC autograph of Clint Frazier.

Frazier needs to play. He's an impact bat. I like Brett Gardner. He's been a good Yankee for over a decade. But it's hard to watch him up there while Frazier is wasting away at an alternate site (cue Gardner hitting two HRs tonight).

Wes, thanks for thinking of me!

Monday, July 27, 2020

TCDB brings the heat

Some of the most exciting times for me on Trading Card Database are when I am able to add some new cards in my "for trade" inventory. 

This is usually a ritual I have if I'm able to get my paws on some current product. Thats when the trade offers fly in. Mostly on current card releases and people trying to finish off sets.

The other day I was able to bust two blasters of 2020 Topps Series 2 via an Amazon Prime purchase. I know that may sound outrageous for some of you, but it's actually quote convenient and simple. I don't have to go to the Target cesspool just to find the shelves completely wiped. And for around the same cost, the boxes show up on my doorstep. I'd rather spend $23 in a blaster that showed up at my door than $21+ and going to Target.

I don't want to not open some new stuff because it's not available to me. I just had to change my purchasing habits. So far, it's worked for me for Bowman, Big League, and Series 2. Easy peasy.

Anyhow, for those of you having trouble making trades on TCDB, that's the best advice I can give. Add some new stuff if you've got it. And add some cards to your wantlist. When I only had Tino on my wantlist, I got few to no offers. When I added Gleyber and a few Yanks from current sets, I had a lot more luck.

Back to Series 2. It was nice to open a few packs, although I have to say the checklist is one of the worst I've ever seen. Just putrid. I know there is Luis Robert and the Cutch SP, but it's a very uninspiring checklist. I wasn't even that excited for my first Gerrit Cole since there was an easy-to-acquire SP in Series 1. Made it less exciting for Series, that's for sure.

Each blaster comes with Manu-coin relic thingies. I pulled a Fernando Tatis /199 and a Eloy Jimenez. Two solid pulls.
I put them both on the site to see if they attracted any offers. If not, no biggie. I'd sit on them and put them away for a box at a later date.

One offer came in for Eloy, and it was this:
Now we're cookin'.

I actually did wrestle with it. I do think Eloy is going to be a major star. But that's sort of the point of pulling cards like this. Not to sit on it and hope it goes from and $8 card to a $15 card on the open market. The point, for me, is to trade it for something I'd rather have.

And at this moment in time, I'd rather have a Jasson Dominguez card.

So I pulled the trigger and accepted. I like that most TCDB are done via PWE, but the Eloy was too thick. So off it went in a bubble mailer. The seller was kind of enough to also send the Jasson in a bubble mailer as well.

Honestly, I'll be thrilled one day if Dominguez is half the player Eloy Jiminez is. Maybe he'll be better. Maybe he won't. But this was a good trade for me. And just like a good baseball trade, each side gave up something of value.

I wasn't expecting to get a recent Dominguez on TCDB, but you never know unless you put yourself out there. I';m happy with how it ended.


Sunday, July 26, 2020

I know I'm jinxing it

I'm expecting a really big year from Giancarlo Stanton.

I know, I know. It's only been two games. Even though his two home runs have traveled nearly a combined 1,000 feet, I know I shouldn't get this excited about about how he looks early on.

It's why I picked up this card a week before the season started. Because it just seems like Stanton is primed to have a huge year.
He's been unfairly treated in NY. In 2018, coming off his 59 homer season, he hit 38 while carrying the offense for much of the summer while playing last less than 100%. Yet, somehow it wasn't enough.

Last year, he was limited to just 18 games, which is always the elephant in the room with Stanton. Not if he'll get hurt, but when.

And that sucks. By all accounts he's a likable guy and a great teammate. He doesn't want to get hurt and not be out there. The worst thing that he's ever done was sign a giant contract, then veto a trade to a place he didn't want to go. It didn't help that he joined the Yankees after Aaron Judge's 52-homer season, as some Yankee fans felt like it was with Stanton or Judge and they had to side with the homegrown star. Which is silly. There's enough love to go around for both.

It reminds me of this friend I have who refuses to watch A Christmas Story because he's all about Christmas Vacation. I keep telling him it's not one or the other. It's ok to like them both. But he can't seem to get past that it's a competition and he needs to pick a side, and it's making him miss out.

Back to the card. There aren't a ton of Stanton autographs in Yankees uniforms yet, so I opted for a lowly Marlins one. I liked that it was on-card. There were a lot of stickers that were a bit more affordable, although my best offer brought this card down significantly. Plus, I funded this mostly with eBay bucks.

So while I am enjoying the quick start by Stanton, I do keep expecting to read that he strained his calf rounding the bases or something. Because that's how it goes with Stanton.

But if he can stay healthy, his name will be up there in the MVP talk after this 60-game sprint.