Friday, June 23, 2017

Diving into vacation

For the next week and a half, I’ll be on vacation. We’re headed on our yearly trip to Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.

I anticipate still finding time to read blogs on my phone, but otherwise, hope to be pretty out of touch…especially with real work. As for this here blog, I’ll be on autopilot for a few days with a couple of scheduled posts (including this one), although not nearly as many as I had hoped to write.

I’m also excited to visit All Sports Cards in Laconia, NH. It’s about a 10-15 minute drive from where we stay, and I always enjoy sneaking out for a little bit toward the end of the week when I need a break from my family. I first visited the shop in 2013, and again last year. I tried to go in 2015, but I showed up before the it was open and didn't have time to stick around and wait. Oops. Feel free to check out my visit to the shop in 2013 HERE. I guess I didn't write about last year's visit.

See you in July!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Two special rookies, one card

Man, the year of the rookie!
These two guys are really creating quite a commotion in the baseball world. They are not only ROY of the candidates, but legitimate MVP candidates.

And guess what? It's a good thing. A great thing! It's not secret baseball is failing to attract young fans and viewers. That may be a surprise to many of us, but it's important to remember how few people read our blogs (no offense) and are part of our Twitter circles. We might think we're surrounded by baseball nuts, but it's not reflective of the actual population of sports fans.

A recent SBJ feature showed the average age of an MLB viewer to be 57. That's a number that's too high if baseball is going to continue to prosper. And young players like Bellinger and Judge have a great opportunity to capture the attention of fans of all ages.

Hopefully they both take part in the HR Derby and put on a show in the actual All-Star Game.

While many eyes, mine included, will be watching the NBA Draft tonight, you can't help but wonder what Judge will do each AB. I'll be flipping over whenever he is due up.

Stealing eyeballs from other sporting events is good thing. Let's hope these great stories continue all season long.

And I sure am glad to have this Topps NOW card featuring the two of them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Officially losing it

I have seriously lost it.

Last week, I picked up the only Topps NOW Aaron Judge I was missing from this season. I felt guilty about not having it. So I bought it on eBay.
And then you know what happened? I accidentally bought it again.
One day later.

Seriously, is my memory so shitty that I can’t remember a card purchase from the day before? I literally bought one on June 11 and another on June 12, and had zero recollection until I was looking at my “Purchases” tab on eBay and saw the two cards back-to-back. It’s not like I’m a huge buyer either. I buy maybe a card or two per week. I don’t have hundreds of transactions to follow.

I literally bought the same card on consecutive days because my memory is horrible.

Am I officially losing it? Maybe you shouldn’t answer that. But if you see two card packages arrive from me on back-to-back days, you’ll know why.

Just don’t tell me what I did.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A new Otto-graph

Similar to the Matt Sauer card I showed yesterday, I also snagged an autograph of Yankees 5th Rounder Glenn Otto, a RHP out of Rice University.

Otto has already signed with the Yankees for a straight up slot bonus. I'd fully expect him to head to Staten Island, although sometimes minor league assignments can be a little unexpected. Although he pitched at a major program, he only made two starts, and the Yankees are planning to groom him as a starter. For this reason, maybe he'll actually head to Pulaski or the GCL.

Either way, I'm happy to already add his autograph to my collection!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sweet and Sauer

Every year for the MLB Draft, one of my favorite traditions is trying to quickly scoop up a card of the Yankees top picks. It's fun to beat the clock before sellers add "Yankees" to the title and jack up the price.

In the second round, 54th overall, the Yankees took Matt Sauer, a HS right-handed pitcher from California.

Sauer was ranked 28th overall by, but the Yankees were able to snag him mid-way through the second. From what I've read, he intends to sign and turn pro. The Yanks took Clarke Schmidt in Round 1, a pitcher who just had TJ Surgery, and the thought is that they'll sign him underslot and use the savings to sign Sauer for an above-slot bonus to help sweeten the pot.
I quickly snagged this 2016 Leaf Perfect Game National Showcase jersey/autograph of Sauer. It's a neat card with a cool patch, although "patch" is a loose term since it's more of a t-shirt material with screen-printed letters. I'd assume that this is from the jersey he's wearing on the card's photo.

It's pretty easy to tell that this is part of the "E" and "R" in his last name, which is another reason I liked this particular card.

I'm looking forward to Matt signing and starting his career with the Yankees.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Derek Jeter Topps Now

On May 14, the Yankees officially held Derek Jeter Night at Yankee Stadium.

He was honored with his jersey being retired, as well as a plaque in Monument Park. I was half expecting the Yankees to give him an ACTUAL monument versus the standard plaque, as one could argue that his career certainly is deserving of one. Perhaps the Yankees will wait to do that once he is formally enshrined in Cooperstown in a few years.

It was a cool night, and great to see Jeter back at Yankee Stadium.  True to his word, he hasn’t been around much.

Topps captured the night with two Topps Now cards. I was tempted to only get the one with Jeter next to his retired number, but an eBay a seller has both listed for $10.99, or $1 more then it would cost to buy one card directly from the site. I figured I’d regret it if I didn’t, so I pulled the trigger on both.
I haven’t gotten any Archives yet, so these are my first Jeter cards of 2017.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

PWE-Town Tom does it again

It's always nice to get a PWE from P-Town Tom. I know he's been busy with the end of the school year and his baseball team's advancement through the playoffs, so I appreciate the time he took to send two cards my way.

I sent him a few Bunt Cubs, and he returned the favor with this 2017 Bunt Blue Parallel of Masahiro Tanaka.
It's been a weird season for Tanaka. He went nearly all of spring training without giving up a run, then has basically been the worst starter in the AL during the regular season, despite a couple of dominant starts. It's like he and Pineda switched places. As long as he's healthy, I fully expect him to go on a roll at some point.

Speaking of going on a roll, Aaron Hicks is having a phenomenal, All-Star caliber season. Last year's trade for John Ryan Murphy is now looking like a complete heist. Hicks was not great in 2016, but showed some life at the end of the season with regular playing time. This year, he has really come into his own as a player.
This cool RC is from Panini Prizm. I hope Hicks has some Yankee autographs on the market soon, as I'd love to snag one.

Tom, thanks for taking the time to send me a couple great cards!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Blog Bat Around: The Origins of My Player Collections

P-Town Tom posed up a question about the origins of one's player collections. Honestly, I’m not even sure why I collect some of the guys I do, but thought it’d be fun to give some of the back story.
Tino Martinez – Obviously my #1 PC with over 800 unique Tinos. I was 12 years old when the Yankees acquired Tino in December of 1995, and obviously a big Yankees fan. I loved Don Mattingly, and wasn’t so sure about Tino as his “replacement.” I saw how much Tino struggled in April of 1996, but I loved how he carried himself. I could just tell that he cared. I was immediately drawn to him, and not long after, my basketball coach (RIP, Andy) came up to me after church one day and gave me a 1992 Topps Tino, saying he knows I liked him and that he and his son (also RIP – gone way too soon as a high schooler) had some cards and found this and wanted me to have it. I wanted more Tinos after that.

As luck would have it, Tino would go on to have a monster year in 1997, further cementing himself as my favorite player. I was 13-years-old, homers were cool, and Tino hit 44 and won the HR Derby. I also got AOL that summer, and found baseball cards forums or newsgroups. I started buying Tino cards online, usually sending cash and a SASE. I would literally mail like $.45 in coins to people for Tino cards. Crazy, right? It’s quite a bit easier now, and I’m glad to say I’ve been a Tino collector for over 20 years (with some gaps in between).
Ty Hensley – I felt like the Yankees got a steal in the 2012 MLB Draft when projected top 20 pick Ty Hensley fell to them at #30. I was also really getting back into collecting at this point. After a few pleasant interactions with Ty on Twitter and a TTM success, I really started to follow and root for him. I also started scooping up all his cards, and have been fortunate to have interviewed his mom on my blog, as well as exchange a few notes with him over the years. I’m sure he thinks I’m a creepy fanboy, but I really appreciate how kind he’s been to me, and hope he finds success in the Rays organization after he was scooped up in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft.
Michael Pineda – I’m not really sure why I collect Big Mike. I was excited when the Yankees acquired him, even though I hated losing Jesus Montero. I had a couple of Pineda cards with the M’s, but immediately bought a few more on COMC and SportsLots. When I got up to 20 cards or so, I asked myself if I was a Pineda collector. I didn’t know. Then he missed two years with injury, and his cards were super cheap, including autos. I bought low, although his demand never remotely returned to 2011 levels. When he came back in 2014, he pitched a brilliant game versus the Cubs that I watched in the hospital the day my daughter was born. I’ve continued to pick up Pineda cards ever since, and how have over 150 different.
Phil Rizzuto – This is another collection I don’t pursue as hardcore as my Tino or Hensley collections, but I do appreciate getting Rizzuto cards. In fact, I do list all the ones I have on my blog. He holds a special place in my heart from my TTM experience with him, which you can read here.
Prospects – Gary Sanchez, Dellin Betances, Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, Aaron Judge, etc – While none of these may be “formal” player collections, I love Yankees prospect cards. I don’t prospect to benefit off of them (although I could have made a pretty penny on Sanchez last year and Judge this year), but because I enjoy following the minor leagues, and hope I’m able to get a head start on having a bunch of cards of the next great Yankee. In some instances, it works. I have a decent amount of Sanchez and Judge cards that I couldn’t afford today, including printing plates and autographs. I also have a lot of cards of guys like Mason Williams and Slade Heathcott and other guys who haven’t panned out. I don’t like those cards any less though. I enjoy collecting these guys from the ground floor up.

Thanks for posing the question, Tom. It’s always nice to revisit why we do certain things, as sometimes we’re so focused on accumulating that we forget why.