Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Spankee Yankee trade

I dropped the ball on this trade, but luckily Spankee didn’t. He sent me a great batch of Yanks that had a little of everything. I am just now sending out cards for him. Talk about a slacker.

The trade started by checking if a Reggie Jackson he pulled was for trade. Here’s the card. I’ve always loved these, especially with the signature.
A Joba card #/d to 699 was also included. Hard to believe I’m watching Joba’s last few weeks in pinstripes. He’ll either be traded today or walk away as a free agent next year. 
Fleer Inscribed of Derek Jeter is just a classy card. 
I have no idea what set this Roberto Kelly card comes from, but there were two different ones in the package. 
A great old Topps All Star of Donnie Baseball. 
A Topps Attax refractory card, which is surprisingly sharp looking for a Topps Attax card.
Last but not least, a Floyd Little Syracuse card. I always appreciate gestures like this, as it shows Spankees knows I’m a Syracuse guy from the few times I've mentioned it. I wonder if Floyd signs TTM… 
Thanks again, Spankee! I SWEAR your cards are in the mail.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Tino Collector no more.

On Sunday, my buddy and I went to Hideki Matsui Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium. Although we missed out on the Bobbleheads (we got there at 12:30 for a 1:05 game…and they were long gone), we enjoyed probably the best win of the season. Jeter homered on his first pitch back, Alfonso Soriano homered and hit a walk-off single, and Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect 9th to clip the win.

I was feeling pretty good. Once I got home around 5:30pm, I sat on the couch and pulled up Twitter since I didn’t check during the game. I wanted to see if I missed anything trade-related or any developments on the ARod fiasco. I saw one Tweet from a Yankee writer and it said, “Out of all the Yankees and Marlins, who would have thought Tino would be the first to go?” Hmm, I thought. The Marlins suck, so I guess they fired him as hitting coach. You know, the old fall guy. I then clicked the link and couldn’t believe what I read.

Tino Martinez resigned as Marlins hitting coach over allegations of verbal and physical abuse toward players. I was shocked. While with the Yankees, he was always very mild-mannered. He was an intense player, but I don’t remember many blow-ups on the field at all. Maybe because anything Paul O’Neill did overshadowed him? Every book I’ve read from those late ‘90s Yankees teams speaks of Tino’s intensity and desire to win, and that he, himself, was always his harshest critic.

Now, we’ve all had coaches who’ve used some four letter words before. But constant, verbal abuse, as being claimed here, is no joke. And you cannot, CANNOT, touch a player. Tino denies grabbing the player’s neck, although it does sound like he grabbed his jersey. The truth is somewhere in the middle I’m sure. Honestly, I played sports year-round for my entire life, and while some coaches had more colorful language than others, I never, ever had one that I would consider abusive, verbally or physically.

I simply can’t defend this or brush it off. Since becoming a father, I’ve viewed coaching bullying in a much, much harsher light. I know that one day my son will be playing sports, and it scares the hell out of me what could happen when no other parents are around. It really does. I see the way Mike Rice threw basketballs at Rutgers players while belittling them. That’s humiliating, and these are college athletes. Those are someone’s kids. I couldn’t imagine how a father of one of those players must have felt seeing his son get a basketball thrown at him during practice. It pisses me off.

Tino was always my favorite player, but he crossed a major line. And now I sit with a massive Tino Martinez card and memorabilia collection, and I'm not sure what to do. I recently reinvested a lot of time into organizing my collection and acquiring new cards, and now I can’t imagine spending money on his cards, knowing that each time I picked up a new one, he had been accused of some pretty horrible things.

I’m pretty confused and haven’t fully processed it. For now, I don’t think I’ll be acquiring any new Tino’s; at least I won’t be spending money on them. I just don’t know what to do with my current collection. Sell it? Sit on it and let it gather dust? I know a lot of people still collect guys with warts on their careers, whether it’s PEDs or DUIs or tax fraud or whatever it may be. I just don’t think I can in this instance.

In the meantime, I think I’ll just focus on TTMs, my Michael Pineda collection, and picking up some vintage Yanks. For a collector who already feels pretty lost with his place in the hobby, this doesn’t help.

Since I probably won't being doing too many more posts on him, here's a batch of Tino's I had scanned but had yet to show. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Welcome back, Alfonso Soriano

I'd like to think I'm a pretty realistic Yankees fan. I know it'll take a minor miracle for the Yanks to make the playoffs this year. The season started with an aging roster to begin with, and the injuries haven't helped. The pitching staff has been ok, and is really the only reason the Yanks are currently above .500. They don't have a ton of talent, and this is likely the start of a few down years.

In an effort to land a bat with a little pop, the Yankees reacquired OFer Alfonso Soriano. I know this isn't the same Soriano that was traded for A-Rod in 2004, but it'll be nice to see him back in pinstripes. He did hit over 30 HRs last year, and has 17 so far this year, so he will certainly help the anemic offense.

It's ironic that he's rejoining the Yanks, and A-Rod may never suit up for them again...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cleve used Napkin Doon to send me cards

Napkin Doon has been spoiling me lately. The man keeps sending me packages of cards too good not to post. I’d like to think these cards were actually from Cleve himself, and Nap just acted as the middle man and mailed them on behalf of Cleve. Yeah, that’s the story I’ll go with.

Cleve set aside a few cards from a recent auction, knowing I’d drool over them. He was right.

First off, here is a 1962 Topps Hall Stowe. I hadn’t heard of Stowe before I saw the card, but thought this was pretty cool. Plus, it’s vintage. I also thought Stowe sort of reminded me of the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. I don’t know, I’m weird.
The highlight of the package for me was the Mark Montgomery Bowman auto. I can’t seem to get a TTM success from Montgomery, so I’m happy to finally get his autograph. 
Lastly, there was a fancy Derek Jeter Topps Museum. The product is too high end for me, but I always appreciate getting the Yanks through trades. 
Thanks, Nap, for sending me Cleve's card. Your Hank Blalock autograph is on the way.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Goodies from $30 A Week Habit

Robert from $30 A Week Habit is one of the good guys out there. Not that you all aren’t good guys, but few are as thoughtful as Robert. Back when Hurricane Sandy hit, Robert sent a kind email checking in on me and my family, as he knows from past trades that I lived in NYC, then in Hoboken, NJ – both areas that were greatly affected by the storm.

It’s things like that which really make an impact.

We haven’t made too many trades lately, but I do have a nice sized stack of Jays forming to send Robert. He surprised me with a package last week that included some truly awesome Yanks.

First off, a 2012 Topps Chrome Orange Refractor of Michael Pineda. I’m not sure, but I think I’m getting close to the rainbow here for these. I have to figure out what I have and what I need. I definitely didn’t have this one.
Bowmans! I love the Silver Ice cards. They are my current favorite. The purple parallel of Mark Montgomery is awesome too.
A Jeter Refractor never gets old. Honestly, I need to count my Jeter cards. I may now have more cards of him than I do of Tino. 
And a few 2013 Topps cards. Adam Warren has been a pleasant surprise this year. I like these WBC cards, despite not liking the WBC itself. 

Robert, thanks again!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tino Tuesday #68: 2004 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror Red Bat #199

This is another Tino card I reclaimed from my collection at home. I don't remember acquiring it, so I assume it was just a random eBay purchase at some point. I remember when the "mirror" cards came out in the mid-90s. They were a very, very high end set. Somehow I don't think the ones from 2004 have the same clout.

Overall, it's a nice card. The bat relic is just sort of cut into the card. It doesn't feel like a seamless part of the design. Tino was also on the Devil Rays at this point, which is unfortunate. For reference, here is the base card without the bat: