Monday, September 30, 2013

A few thoughts on this season

I'm certainly bummed the Yankees aren't playing in October this year, but at the same time, a bit relieved. Not that I'm not always rooting for deep October runs. However, as a Yankee fan, I've certainly been a bit spoiled over the past few decades. While the World Series titles aren't as frequent as they were in late '90s, it's still fun to watch your team in the playoffs with the hope of winning 11 (or 12 or 13) more games and being crowned champs. It was a nice change of pace with so many meaningful games in September, and although it didn't work out, it felt good to fight tooth and nail for a playoff spot.

And while the games the final week of the season shouldn't have been very meaningful, they were very special. It was amazing to see Mariano River and Andy Pettitte go out the way they did. While it would have been more special to see them celebrating with champagne, their endings were each pretty special in their own right.

This year wasn't mean to be for the Yanks. I knew going in that the team just wasn't as strong as the past few years. The front office did a horrible job of bringing in washed-up players and expecting the team to content. They seem to have gotten a little cocky because one year deals for role players have worked surprisingly well over the past few years. But it's silly to rely on that strategy.

Yet, somehow the Yanks contended right up until the last seven days or so. They had every opportunity to seize a Wild Card spot, but couldn't seem to get over the hump. A semi-normal season from CC Sabathia or Hiroki Kuroda not crashing into a wall the final six weeks, and things could be very different.

Injuries also played a big role (I know, I know, every team says that), and hopefully this off-season serves as a good time to get guys rested and back on the field in 2014. The farm system took a bit of a step back after a major step forward in 2012. Hopefully a few players who were expected to break out find their form in '14.

Good luck to your respective teams in the Playoffs this off-season!

Jaybarkerfan Claus

My man Wes aka Jaybarkerfan sent me a package a few weeks ago that was mind blowing. Seriously, it was. It was unexpected, and contained treasure after treasure.

The first was this sweet Mickey Mantle pin from what I assume was a card show or autograph appearance. I wasn’t even born yet when this pin was given out. Just an amazingly cool piece.

Then came a stack of relics and inserts. My favorite was this Pacific Cramer’s Choice Award Wade Boggs. This was one of those cards I’d always see in Beckett growing up. Something I would lust over and know it was out of my price range.
While I have a good chunk of Yankees relics, most are from players in the 2000s. Very few are from Yankee legends, yet here we have a Thurman Munson relic with a beautiful pinstripe. What a great card.
A few more relics, including a low #’d, large swatch of Hideki Matsui.
These cards finished up the package, including this very cool 2013 Bowman Reprint of Whitey Ford. Very sharp looking cards.
Wes, you are the man. Plain and simple.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A few additions to Joey's HOF binder

I haven't added many cards to my son's HOF binder recently. I've gotten some cards for him fellow bloggers, which is always most appreciated. The little punk is going to have a really nice collection that he can sell when he's 14 to buy the new Call of Duty Game on PS9.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Phil Rizzuto!

I've been a bad blogger lately. I have a few posts lined up, but just have been bogged down and unable to follow through on them. However, with today being Phil Rizzuto's birthday, I figured it would be easy enough to show off a few of my favorite Rizzutos in my collection. Also, side note, but The Lost Collector himself turned dirty 30 just this past Monday. Sigh.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A bit of Veal for me

I’m a bit behind on showing a few card packages I’ve got in the past month or so. One of them was from Dustin over at Coot Veal’s. I feel like Dustin always has some sweet vintage for trade. I came across a 1954 Bowman Ned Garver for his Tigers collection, and he swapped me for a 1956 Topps Hank Bauer. 
He also included some other great cards:
A Tino PANTS relic.
A very cool Slade Heathcott card with Johnny Damon on the back.
A Dellin Betances RC I didn’t have.
A sparkly Pineda for my PC.
An Archives Rizzuto.
A cool oddball Winfield.
A high def Topps HD Tino. This was a cool set, and for some reason only Napkin Doon has caught on.
And more vintage!

Thanks, Coot!

Monday, September 16, 2013

First trip to Dodger Stadium

Last week, I was in LA for work. Usually while I'm there, it's all business, but I was able to sneak out Wednesday night for a Dodgers-D'Backs game. It was my first trip to Dodgers Stadium.

Like a true LA-er, I left too late (I was driving from Santa Monica), and didn't step foot in the park until the top of the 3rd. I felt like that was part of the true Dodger game experience. The crowd, overall, was pretty sparse. I'm sure it's because the Dodgers are up 10+ games in the division, so there's no real sense of urgency until the playoffs. The weather was perfect, as usual, and I was excited to find my seats.

Little did I know my tickets were down in the "yellow" club seats with free food and soda. My buddy from work hooked up the seats, so I was very surprised. The whole section was very, very spacious. Lots of legroom. I was also surprised at how freely one could move around the seating sections of the stadium. I barely saw an usher and walked to my seats without even being checked. At Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, you can't even get in to the 300-section without being frisked.

Our seats were in the sixth row, right past the visitors dugout. I got to stare at Steve Sax's ass all game. I settled in and noticed that the D-Backs had already gone up 3-0. Sadly, that's as close as the Dodgers would get. Ryu didn't pitch horribly, but he wasn't fooling Arizona at all.

I ordered my first Dodger Dog, as well as some peanuts and a cold one. The Dodger Dog was fine. I found it to be a bit bland. I was honestly expecting better. I think it's something you have to first have when you're young so that you build up an image of it and convince yourself it's the greatest thing ever. Lots of foods are like that.

Aside from the Dodgers losing, we saw some good baseball. Nick Punto made some fantastic plays, and I saw two great catches in right by Puig, and one by Parra. And for the second time this year, I was in attendance for a Puig HR. The guy is a special player.
It was the seventh MLB park I've now been to (Old Yankee Stadium, New Yankee Stadium, Shea, Citi, Minute Maid Park, Camden Yards), and I felt very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see a Dodger game that close.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A surprise Griffey Jr RC from the Junior Junkie

A few weeks ago, The Junior Junkie held a contest for a 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr rookie card. I really wanted to win. I've never imagined actually owning such an iconic card. For those of you who did not enter, you had to write three sentences about Griffey that satisfied what TJJ was looking for. He wanted to be brought to tears. I decided to try and bribe him by including my three sentences on a Ken Griffey Jr sketch card:
Well, I didn't win. It was a valient attempt, and for that I received honorable mention, which I was still proud of.

Well, yesterday I received a PWE with this hand-drawn marking on the back:
I've seen this marking on many blogs, but I've never been on the receiving end. When I opened it, a Griffey RC fell out! So what if it isn't the 1989 UD? It's a 1989 Donruss RC, and to me, is still a very cool card. I have Griffey's Fleer RC, and I'm not going to wasting any time adding this to my son's binder.
TJJ, thanks for your generosity!