Sunday, April 20, 2014

Cubs Convention Calendar: April

"A marching band leads the Cubs onto the field on Opening Day 1916.  On this day, April 20, it was the first game the Cubs ever played at Wrigley Field, at the time known as Weeghman Park: they beat Cincinnati by a score of 7-6 in 11 innings."

Ninety-eight years ago the Cubs moved in, but in 1914 the first game at Weeghman Park was played between the Chicago Federals and the Kansas City Packers of the Federal League.  The Federals downed the Packers 9-1 on April 23rd, 1914.

The Cubs are making a big deal about Wrigley Field turning 100 years old, but part of me wonders if they'll bother celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Cubs calling Wrigley Field home in 2016.

Side note: I frequently look at the outcome of the first pitch of a game or the final score of said game and say, "It's going to be a good season!"  ... or...  "It's going to be a long year."  You know, like the result of one event, an extremely small sample size at that, has the power to portend the future.

The Cubs and Federals were both victorious in their first games at Weeghman Park, which would have had me saying, "We will see many championships on this field in the years to come." Huh.
Me thinks there is a flaw to my system and I have 100+ years of data to back it up.  Sigh.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

More Distractions

My interest in cardboard has been waning as of late.  Too many distractions:
  1. I was trying to cut down on unread load of back-logged baseball books in the Man Room.  
  2. Then the weather turned "nice" and the yard needed some attention.  
  3. Heck, then the Major League Baseball season started. And even though my Cubs are off to a less than stellar start I've found myself paying more attention than I should.
I did make an eBay purchase this past week, which was my first one in over two months.  That must be a new record for me for since I jumped back into the hobby in 2009.

Hello, Welington!
 The Cubs "C" is obviously missing from the helmet, but otherwise I'm really happy with my purchase.  I love the sepia coloring of the card.
 Welington is even numbered our of 149.  For under $5 shipped that's a nice score in my opinion.

Now, back to the distractions:
 OOTP15 was released yesterday and I'm downloading it as I type.  This is the best baseball simulation out there.  I've been playing since 2004 and absolutely recommend it to any baseball fan who has ever thought, "I could be a better GM than so-and-so!"

Funny thing is, my hours playing OOTP and "playing" with my baseball cards has always varied inversely.  The new release of my favorite game could mean an indefinite hiatus to my card collecting habits.  We'll just have to see how it plays out.

Well, I gotta go.  I need to install a baseball universe in which the Cubs have a chance to win more games than they lose.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cardinal Fans Are Cool: Part 2 (A Trade Post)

On contacted Madding, author of Cards on Cards, about the possibility of swapping some 2012 Panini Triple Play.  Mr. Madding is a Cardinals and I'm sure one of the "Cards" in his blog's title reflects his favorite baseball team, but my mind keeps going back-and-forth on which one represents cardboard and which one is about the Redbirds.  Huh.  I'm a Cub fan... I shouldn't spend my time on such trivial items!

Here's what started the trade:
Yep, I'm down to four cards to complete the master set of '12 Triple Play.  I've had a rough time tracking down the "Real Feel Pants" card.  You don't have one laying around, do you?

Madding, an ever-generous Cardinal fan, tossed in a few Cubs.  You know what's great?  All of them will find a spot in my binders!
 What kind of baseball card collecting Cub fan would I be if I didn't keep my Mr. Cub cards in a binder?

Topps Stickers!  I don't have any of these yet.
My unofficial collection of Starlin Castro is growing much faster than my official player collection of Kosuke Fukudome.  This is my 93rd unique Fukudome card and Starlin is not too far behind!

Here are my two favorites, a 2013 gold parallel and a 2014 red parallel of Junior Lake.
 I remember sitting behind the first baseman in Peoria while Junior played shortstop and always being alert and ready.  He threw as hard as Shawon Dunston from the position, but he made Shawon look accurate.  That takes some talent!
Currently, Junior is knocking over ball-hawks on Waveland Avenue with his mammoth home runs.  Good for you, Junior!

Madding, thanks for the set help and the extra Cubs!  They are great additions to my binder!  And dare I say it?  For the second time in as many days, Cardinal fans are ... gulp... pretty cool.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cardinal Fans Are Cool: Part 1

I don't have cable.  I don't have Dish.  I don't have a subscription to  To watch my Cubs I usually head off to the nearest bar, which just so happens to be a national chain by the name of Old Chicago.

There was one seat at the bar and it was next to a Cardinal fan who was wearing a Yadier Molina jersey.  No biggie.  I can make nice.  The television directly in front of me was showing the Blackhawks.  I should really be more excited about the Hawks, but I'm just not a hockey guy. The TV to the right was doing its normal trivia thing and the TV to the left was just starting to show a replay of the Cardinal game from earlier in the day. 

The Cubs were going to be on in a half-hour, which if I played my cards right would mean that I would be able to butter up the Cardinal fan and coerce him to switch the replay of the Cadinals 4-0 loss to the Reds to the live Cubs game.

Game on.

We talked about the new "Ballpark Village" across from Busch Stadium and how my uncle works for the Cardinals.  We talked a little about Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter, as a video showed Carpenter making throws from home to Molina covering second.

We both talked about how really don't necessarily despise the others' favorite team, as we are both fans of baseball.  Yep, I actually cheered for the Cardinals in the playoffs last fall.

I soon noticed he was settling up his tab and I realized that I wouldn't have to even ask if it would be okay if we changed the channel.  I just had to wait him out.

Before I knew it, we said our good-byes and then I was tapped on the shoulder.

"The guy in the Cardinal jersey asked me to deliver this," explained the host from the doorway.

What the heck?

I opened it up and was absolutely floored.  So much so that the bartender asked me if I was okay.

Wow.     I'm all about the saying "Pay it forward."  And I most certainly will, but for the time I was content to #KCCO. 

What a nice gesture.  To think...  maybe Cardinal and Cub fans can co-exist?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Favorite Pics from Spring Training

I've broken down my trip to spring training, the autographs and the cards already.  I actually thought I was done posting about my trip, but then Jim handed me a CD with a bunch of pictures from his camera.  So, why not?

Let's start with a food item.  Super Nachos!
 I was in Arizona long enough to see five baseball games and this tops my list of regrets: $10 Nachos.  I'd say if that's the worst, then that's a pretty good trip.  It wasn't even the cost that I regret, it was the fact that I finished the whole thing and then felt miserable for the next 6+ innings.  The Cubs losing that game didn't help matters.

Sweet shot of my sister and I from center field at Cubs Park. My sister is sporting her 2004 Spring Training shirt.  Nice!

Jim, my sister, and myself in front of the marquee at Cubs Park.  Stand in line for 10-15 minutes, don't pay a dime, and you're rewarded with a nice photo opportunity.  Cool!

 Ah... Theo!   I have such a man crush on Mr. Epstein I'm not even sure what to say.

We got up early on a Sunday morning to watch the minor league players practice. 
I can just read Dan Vogelbach's mind, "What are these yahoos doing out here on a Sunday morning taking pictures of me for?"   What a great candid shot!

Thanks for passing on the pictures to me, Jim!

And thanks to everyone else for stopping by to check out my picture heavy post!