Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Itch

This title has two meanings. Lets get the unfortunate one out of the way... I ran into some poison ivy/sumac/oak or something about ten days ago. Not fun. As long as my attention is diverted I don't really notice it, but soon as I have a minute's worth of downtime it starts to itch. Argh!  I started taking a steroid this past weekend and I think I'm getting better.

The second meaning? Well, I'm beginning to get the blogging itch again.  In the previous five years I've only had three months where I recorded single digit post counts. This year I've already had three. Maybe that's the new norm, but I'm hoping it's not.  We'll have to see.

In the meantime, prepare yourselves to be bombarded with Vogelbach related posts!  He's not apart of the Cubs' organization any longer, but my player collection of him has now surpassed 200 cards! I recently found out he has a couple more autos and parallels in the Heritage High Series and he has an auto in Topps Triple Threads. I about fell out of my chair when I saw Vogelbach was in Triple Threads. Crazy.

In other news, The Vogelmonster was chosen as the Mariners' Offensive Player of the Year for 2017 and he is currently being used as a pinch hitter on the big league roster.

I recently checked out Vogelbach's MLB.com player page. Take a look at the featured picture at the top of his page:
 It looks like he's protecting the plate, but wouldn't you much rather see him demolishing a baseball?  The jury is still out on whether I approve or not.  What do you all think about that? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

Lastly, anyone have $250 laying around? I don't know what I would do with it if owned this jersey, but it is pretty neat, and the money goes to a good cause.

I thought "Marineros" in the auction title was a typo, but then I looked closer at the jersey number.
 I guess I know what Mariners is in Spanish now!  Ha!

That's it for today. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Woo-Hoo! Contest Winnings from JTS!

John, from Johnny's Trading Spot, held a contest recently celebrating his 900th post and his 4-year bloggiversary. I haven't been writing much lately, but I have been reading and commenting when the mood strikes. So, I decided to enter.
Contests, winning and P-town Tom are three items which you won't often see intersecting within a Venn Diagram. Yet, my name somehow floated to the top of the randomizer. Strange, but true. 
1987 has been done... a lot... but these are SHARP looking!
 This whole year for collecting has been really weird for me. I would label myself as a team collector and set builder, but I really haven't done either in 2017. I have picked up any card which makes mention of the 2016 World Series. But honestly, that's about a dozen or so cards and most of them were in Series 1 or Heritage, which were the two of the first releases. I also have added over seventy new Dan Vogelbach cards, which has pretty much dominated my cardboard acquisitions the last three months.
Sepia! Look at the color sneaking in at the bottom!

So, you can imagine how pleased I was to receive some new and shiny cardboard to add to my Cubs player collections!

Refractory goodness!
For the record, these are the first non-Cubs Topps Chrome cards I've added to my collection. The updated Chrome score is Cubs - 5, Vogelbach - 20. Yep, twenty different Topps Chrome Vogelbach cards and I know I'm still missing at least four.
Probably my favorite Future Stars card, behind the '87 Bo Jackson.

Oh, the bemusing life of a super collector on a budget!

Thanks for the cards, John! I love me some shiny cardboard!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

He's Back!

It's been a busy start to the school year, but I've got a few pictures to show off. These should give you a quick summary as to what I've been up to, since I haven't had much time for cardboard as of late.

My junior high softball coaching duties ended yesterday and maybe now I can play a little more attention to the blog with the extra time.
 Above is a picture of me hitting fly balls to my sixth grade team during pregame warm-ups. I take pride in being able to hit a softball into the glove of a less than confident twelve year old. Not easy to do at one hundred and twenty feet away from me!

My wife, father-in-law and I planted a new tree in the front yard. 
 We lost our ash tree last fall to the notorious emerald ash borer.  Gingkos are slow growing, but they are supposedly very hearty. Hopefully this little guy does well!

Our school district had a "school improvement day" recently and I learned how to graph within an on-line graphing calculator.
 It took some work, but I finished a Cubs logo!  The shading of the red and blue was the most challenging. Hat-tip to my co-worker Mike for troubleshooting for me!

I was able to get a little paddle boarding in a couple of weekends ago. 
Laura and I, feeling a little brave, traveled across the lake at Snakeden Hollow on the same board. She sat on the back and I did the paddling. I tried to make it across standing up, but I quickly found I had to kneel. Either that, or wind up wet!

I've resumed my duties taping games for the football coaching staff.
 Last week, I was in a scissor lift about twenty feet in the air at the back of the north end zone. Yikes! Their end zone camera is currently broken, so they have four sophomores running the camera from atop the press box, which is my normal post.  I'm not a big fan of heights and I'm hoping they get the camera fixed soon.

Lastly, the Mariners called up Dan Vogelbach yesterday. I should be pumped about this, but he'll be lucky to accumulate ten at-bats the rest of the way. The Mariners seem committed to Danny Valencia and Yonder Alonso at first base with Nelson Cruz being used as the DH. I guess that leaves me waiting 'til next year. Go figure.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Book Review: Sadaharu Oh

Title: Sadaharu Oh

Author: Sadaharu Oh and David Falkner

Genre: Autobiographical

Ease of Reading: Small margins and what seems to be 11-point font initially made this 279 page book a little more intimidating to me than what it should have been. There's a four page glossary, eleven page appendix and two pages of stats at the end of the book. Plus, there's sixteen pages of pictures in the middle of the book. In total, that cuts it down to only about 246 pages about one of the greatest baseball players ever not to play in Major League Baseball. It took me only about five days to knock this book out, but I was reading large chunks at a time hoping to find some Zen-like tips to help me get through the new school year. LOL

Synapse: The book starts with Oh's early sandlot days and how he was recruited to play at the Waseda baseball school. His dad didn't want Oh to play baseball, but he finally relented and actually wound up supporting him and providing medical aid during a pivotal time in his young career. There was no draft in the Japan Central League, which I found to be very interesting, and Oh was signed by the Yomiuri Giants. He struggled mightily early in his career, especially considering the expectations the Giants placed on him from the onset. He found his way with his hitting instructor, Arakawa-san, and the two of them put in many long days and nights of baseball and martial arts before Sadaharu Oh finally was pressured into trying his famous one-legged "flamingo" hitting stance during a game. The new stance required immense balance, but it also helped rid Oh of a hitch in his swing which didn't allow him to reach his perceived potential. The rest of the book talks about his relationships with the press, his teammates, the fans, and his chasing Babe Ruth and then Hank Aaron.
Comments: I've always been intrigued by baseball leagues in foreign lands and the Nippon Professional Baseball League would be the biggest and most popular not directly tied with Major League Baseball. I was hoping to learn a lot more about Japanese baseball, but I was only able to glean some things here and there from the text about how things were back in the 1960s and 1970s. This book is an autobiography, not a history of Japanese baseball, so I guess I shouldn't be too disappointed. Nevertheless, it was a fun read and I learned much about the all-time home run king. For instance, here's an interesting paragraph from the book:
The press has told stories about how, when I had a bad year, I voluntarily went into the front office and asked for a pay cut! Well, not quite. I never asked to have my salary reduced. If I had a bad year, I took the attitude that I didn't deserve more for the following year, and I also took the position that I didn't want multiple-year contracts -- not for any selfless wish to deprive myself but because I believe that making things too comfortable takes away the challenge. And everything I do, including salary talks, has only one goal - to keep my mind focused on the challenge.
The "challenge" at first was becoming the best hitter he could be, but Arakawa-san set the goal from very early in Oh's career for him to top Babe Ruth's home run record. Eventually, Oh saw in himself what his mentor and hitting instructor did and the "challenge" soon changed to becoming the all-time home run king. Sadaharu Oh was a very driven man to say the least.
Grade: I genuinely enjoyed reading this book. It was a nice way to cap-off my summer and I'd like to thank my first cousin Mark for gifting me the book. I give this book an 'A-' overall, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys autobiographies or someone looking to learn more about Sadaharu Oh and his baseball career.

I'd be happy to pass my copy along if you're interested. Just let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Winnings from It's Like Having My Own Card Shop

Daniel, the proprietor of It's Like Having My Own Card Shop, recently asked a question to the blogging community about the last time we purchased a Beckett magazine. I volunteered my answer and he decided to give away some cards to a group of random bloggers to thank us for participating. I wasn't expecting anything in return, but free cards are cool. But then I saw this comment:
So, I sent off a quick e-mail suggesting Daniel send my cards to JediJeff.

Then I found a PWE in my mailbox with the following note inside:
Daniel is a swell guy. I'm not sure what he's referring to about the Russell, but it seems like a good enough reason for me to retaliate and send this one Goldy card to him that I've been sitting on for most the summer.

Let's take a gander at the cards that came with the nice note.
 Man, I remember when this Carlos Marmol rookie was all the rage in P-town.  Now I finally have a copy of my own!
 Speaking of being all the rage...  Brett Jackson, Tyler Colvin and Andrew Cashner were supposed to form the core of the team which would break the World Series drought on the north side of Chicago. Then Tom Ricketts hired Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod.   Fast forward about six years or so and . . .
 Yep, the hiring of that triumvirate gave Cubs fans something to celebrate!  Woo-Hoo!
 Daniel, thanks for the cards!  Totally unnecessary, but very much appreciated. I will hit you back as soon as my schedule allows for a quick run to the post office!