Friday, March 30, 2018

A gator pops up in the Jersey burbs

I always love it when an unexpected animal makes an unexpected appearance in an unexpected place.

Of course, I don't want anyone to get hurt, but every so often there is a coyote in Central Park or a whale in the East River. In fact, yesterday morning I was woken up by a VERY LOUD wild turkey in my yard. Now, those aren't terribly rare around here, but I live in a very populated area, so it was quite a surprise to hear it gobbling and awkwardly making its way across my yard.

As it turns out, a gator also made it's way to NJ. However, not the dangerous kind. Unless it's one throwing a baseball with his left hand.

Ron "Gator" Guidry signed two cards that I sent to spring training. Although I hope a few others trickle in, I'll certainly be going out on a high note if none others do.
Gator has a great signature, and I'm pleased to add these to my collection.

Thanks, Mr. Guidry!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

2018 Opening Day Lineup

Opening Day! Very exciting. The Yankees stink on Opening Day, so I fully expect a loss. In fact, they've lost 6-straight Opening Days. That's bad!

But I'm excited. Hopefully this is the year to get in the W column on day 1.

Here's the lineup the Yankees will trot out there today. Best of luck to all of your teams - except the Red Sox.

LF - Brett Gardner
RF - Aaron Judge
DH - Giancarlo Stanton
C - Gary Sanchez
CF - Aaron Hicks
SS - Didi Gregorius
3B - Brandon Drury

2B - Neil Walker
1B - Tyler Austin
SP - Luis Severino

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Here's what I'm thinking

Accidentally, I haven’t posted since Friday. I don’t love a few-day absence, but I haven’t gotten many new cards lately, am still working on my re-organization (or rather, just “organization) project, and have been a bit busy in both my personal and professional life. So the blog took a back seat.

And while I still haven’t gotten too many new cards, I do have a few thoughts as Opening Day is just two days away. I’m very excited, and it’s hard not to be when seeing things like this:
Still, I know everything won’t go perfectly. It never does, and the Yankees (and every other team) will need to adjust on the fly. Case in point:
Greg Bird. I really like the guy. I love his personality and I think he has the sweetest lefty swing in the game right now. Just look at his homer in the ALDS versus lefty Andrew Miller. It’s a thing of beauty.
Bird has been dubbed the Yankees 1B of the present and future, yet has missed three straight Opening Days, including this one. He should be out 6-8 weeks after foot surgery today. Hopefully the comeback is smooth and he rejoins the lineup in June and takes his place in the middle of the order, but it’s getting a bit hard to count on him. I really, really like him and want him to be part of this Yankees core over the next few years. But it also wouldn’t be unreasonable for the Yankees to start thinking about the post-Greg Bird solution at 1B, whether it’s drafting one in the first round or trading/signing for one in his prime.

Hey Bryce Harper, any interest in playing 1B?
Starting at 1B on Thursday will probably be Tyler Austin, especially against lefty J.A. Happ. Austin has always hit in the minors, and should get an extended look to be a part of the every day lineup. I’ve always liked him a lot, and would love to see him see some prolonged success in the Majors. Plus, I have a lot of cards of his!
Jacoby Ellsbury.

I’m not sure what to really say about him. He was signed to a very large contract and hasn’t lived up to it. As Brian Cashman always says, he’s the one to blame for the contract, not Ellsbury. He’s right. I would have taken the money. You would have too. Still, it’s hard to believe he’s got three years left on his Yankees deal.

What’s harder to believe is that he still keeps finding his way into current card releases. I know he’s a Yankee and all, but I can’t imagine he has a big card market. Red Sox fans likely soured on him after the Yankees deal. And Yankee fans likely wouldn’t want his Red Sox cards, nor his current cards. Personally, I wouldn’t mind is he was omitted from future releases in 2018 and beyond, but I don’t see that happening.
One guy I’m happy to see returning for his 10th year in Pinstripes is CC Sabathia. He has now got 10 years in NY, and then 8 in Cleveland and part of 1 in Milwaukee. That makes me feel better about his chances of wearing an NY hat into Cooperstown if that day comes. I think he’ll be a HOFer – a Cy Young, a World Series, 60+ WAR, 2800+ Ks, 3.70 ERA (mostly in the AL), 7 All-Star selections, 237 wins, 10 post-season wins. It’ll be close for sure, but the numbers are there. Maybe he'll win 13 this year and get to 250. That sounds a lot better than 237.

And if you haven’t taken a listen, I recommend his R2C2 podcast with Ryan Ruocco. It’s really good. The episode with A-Rod was terrific.
Lastly, I’m excited for year 2 of Jordan Montgomery. All winter, the Yankees were thought to be seeking another SP, whether it was Gerrit Cole or a free agent like Alex Cobb. They stood their ground, and in turn, Montgomery once again joins the rotation. Maybe he’s not the sexiest name, but he had a very good rookie year and think he can be a mid-rotation starter for a long time. And he throws with his left hand!

All-in-all, should be a fun season. Can’t wait!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Travelin' through time

Many of us are familiar with the red paperclip story, but if not, check it out HERE. Essentially, a dude turned a red paperclip into a house through a series of trades.

Matt of Diamond Jesters is doing the same type of thing after offering up the contents of a pack of 2018 Topps Series One. I did this a little bit back in 2011 with the Topps Diamond Giveaway site. I tried taking a card I won and trading it for a card from the year before and so on. I think I successfully turned a common from the 1980s into one from the 1960s, but I don't remember at this point.

Anyhow, Matt has turned the single pack into 20 cards so far, with the oldest being a 1954 Bowman Jim Wilson.

In his latest swap, Matt got a few old basketball cards back. While I don't really collect basketball these days, I did a lot growing up. And I never once had a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar card.
So when I saw one from 1981-82 Topps, I thought it would be cool to have and place within my son's HOF binder.

In return, I sent Matt nine cards - a few newer and then some from the 1970s, hoping he can turn those into older or more attractive trade bait in his quest for the oldest card he can find.

Matt, it's been fun to watch. Keep it up!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Who you callin' a Squirt?

Matt from Doc Holoday is one of the best blogging dudes out there.

First off, his customs are true works of art...even when they have Red Sox players on them.
Some of my best blogging buddies are Red Sox fans, so it just goes to show what a great group of collectors we've got around these parts. Matt is no exception, and this trade package meant a lot because I know he's been dealing with a lot since late summer when Hurricane Harvey affected him and millions others in Texas and the southeastern US.

Matt sent me a message that I had 2 lbs of Yankees headed by way, and right away I was greeted with a card I had always wanted:
Squirt! I love this card. And I love squirt. Full disclosure - on New Year's Eve this past year I was shopping for food to make that night, and wandered down the soda aisle and my eyes immediately went to Squirt. The colors are so catchy! I bought a 2 liter and drank the whole thing that day. It's delicious! And I'm really happy to have this card.

He wasn't joking about the 2 lbs of cards either. Holy moly was their great stuff, including this Dellin Betances holiday relic.
And some really, really shiny Yankees. I don't know much about Topps Finest these days other than knowing the Refractors still look awesome.
Roger Clemens was represented well in this box. I really like the Double Play insert with Greg Maddux on the flip side.
Derek Jeter cards are always welcome in my collection:
At the time, this was probably a stretch. Now, even more so! Ruben Rivera sharing a card with The Big Hurt? Not a great look.
Oddballs besides the Squirt Reggie were found too. Sweet Woolworth card of Mattingly!
I keep saying it, but Severino is criminally under-priced right now.
Some nice cards of Yankees legends from some newer products - Reggie, Gehrig, and The Mick finding his way into Donruss.
I had no idea that Steve Sax's brother, Dave Sax, played in the majors!
Two trippy ARods. The old Fleer Ultra inserts really hold up today. This was a Diamond Mine insert.
Big Mike /499! Good luck in Minnesota, my friend.
Look how young Jorge looks! I collected a ton of Collector's Choice growing up, but I don't think I have this card. The base card designs were always pretty tastefully done.
Trust me, there were many, many more great cards. Matt, I really appreciate you thinking of me. Keep up the amazing work with the customs!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Yankees New QB

Over the winter, the Yankees traded for a former minor leaguer named Russell Wilson.

If that name sounds familiar, it's because it's THE 2013 Super Bowl winning QB of the Seattle Seahawks.

As you surely heard, Wilson suited up in Yankees Pinstripes and attended camp for a few days with the Yanks several weeks ago. While many decided it was gimmicky, I decided it was great. I don't think he took reps away from any player by trying while he was trying to fake it as a baseball player.

Instead, I think the Yankees got to pick the brain of a successful star athlete who has reached the pinnacle of the sport in which he plays. They got to see how he prepares. How he focuses. How he carries himself. While he's only 29 years old, he is older than Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, Sonny Gray, Luis Severino, Didi Gregorius, Brandon Drury, and Jordan name a few. The Yankees are young. And having another veteran presence in camp - albeit a QB - is a cool thing that the players really seemed to enjoy.

Let's not forget that he was always a baseball player, but excelled at football. Still, baseball is in his blood, as he said. In a cool arrangement, Wilson got one AB and struck out. I was really hoping Topps would make a Topps NOW card of him as a Yankee, and they didn't disappoint. It'll definitely be one of the more unique cards in my collection.

I hope Wilson stays on as a Yankee for many springs to come. He's always welcome in Tampa!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Unofficial Blog Bat Around: Cards from A Cracked Bat

I think equally as popular as the current blog bat around are collectors showing off cards from Julie over at A Cracked Bat. She must’ve really held up the line at the post office. I guess I should get in on the fun and show the spoils of a great package she sent me as well.

First off, Julie’s filler cards to protect the actual intended cards were 2017 Donruss Optic cards. Those might be the most high-end fillers I’ve seen. 
The reason for the package, as Julie said in an email, was that she had some leftover Yankees from 2018 Heritage. I was really happy to get my first Giancarlo Stanton card depicting him as a Yankee.
While I enjoyed the three-box break from Nachos Grande, the collation wasn’t great. In three boxes, I didn’t get either of these guys. And I’m still looking for the Judge base.
The purple Chrome refractors look incredible!
In all, there were four other team bags filled with Yankees. I LOVED this ARod from the National Convention. Definitely wasn’t expecting anything like this.
A few other cards that caught my eye were from 1995 Score Summit edition. They are striking in person. Cards like this make me feel like we haven’t progressed that much with card technology from 1995-2018, at least when you think about the progression we would’ve seen in the previous 23 year period.
Although I guess that’s not completely fair since we now have cards that have freakin’ jerseys baked into them.
And autographs galore!
The “oddest” card was more of a promotional paper, but I hadn’t see it. Very cool!
Although unrelated to the above, there were some cool discs.
Lastly, a few others that caught my eye.
Julie, this was a fantastic trade package. Thank you! I’ll be sure to send some cards your way soon!