Saturday, April 15, 2017

Blogiversary with some Odds & Ends

It's the sixth anniversary of me starting this blog. It started when the Cubs were bad, really bad, as something to keep me busy as I "Waited 'til Next Year." Recently, the dream of next year was realized and the blog's name changed. Honestly, I never thought that would happen, but it's a change I have accepted with open arms.

Things are busy right now and my cardboard hobby is on the back burner, but I'm happy, healthy, and having fun with my teaching and coaching jobs.

We split a doubleheader last weekend against a pretty good baseball school, Plainfield Central, but it was a long day.
 It started with donuts in the morning for the boys and sleep on the way home. I spent 4.5 hours on a bus that day. Ugh.   For the record, four dozen donuts were devoured in less than a half hour by our varsity and freshmen baseball teams. The boys can eat!
We're currently have a record of 9-5, and our five losses are by a total of 8 combined runs. We have a few guys on the roster who have the talent to play at the next level and the group of guys work pretty hard and are fun to coach.

As the assistant coach, I sometimes wonder if I'm doing enough to earn my keep, and I guess I got an answer the other day.
My varsity coach gifted me a new fungo bat. I'm pretty hard on them as I often swing as hard as I can to challenge the outfielders with deep fly balls.

What caught my eye is Coach had my name added to the bat. Pretty cool!  I wonder how this bat will hold up compared to the cheap ones I've been purchasing at Dick's Sporting Goods.

I bought some new school shoes the other day, but the cats thought the purchase was all about them.
It took about two seconds for Hugo to find the empty shoe bag and claim it as his own. Cats. So predictable.

Why wife returned from a nine day trip, to visit family in South Korea, just a few days ago. (Don't ask me how many frozen pizzas I consumed while she was gone... I stopped counting after four.)
 How about the packaging?  Pretty neat, huh?
 The food itself was just okay... The outside layer kind of melted in your mouth, which would leave a small little chocolate-ish ball to chomp down on.
I shared these with some friends and nobody went back for seconds. It's the thought that counts!

Lastly, since this is mostly a baseball card blog I'll show off a couple of the cards I acquired from a recent Sportlots.com order.
 Kenny Lofton working on his speed with a special parachute device is pretty fun to have captured on a card.
As is Adam Jones getting ready for the post game pie-in-the-face ritual. He is relentless!

Good stuff.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for reading all these years!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A PWE from Stealing Home

Oscar, aka Stealing Home, from All Trade Bait, All The Time, sent me a surprise PWE a week or so ago. Life has gotten in the way and I'm just now finding a second to acknowledge Oscar's generosity and thoughtfulness. Sorry about the delay, Oscar.
I love it when a little note accompanies the cardboard. It's always a nice touch. And yes, I am so glad baseball is back!

Alright, let's take a look at what was in that PWE:
Ooooohhhh!  Nice start with a future star and the winner of the Hank Aaron Award. I may have finished my 2017 Cubs Series 1 base team set, but I'm still working on those inserts. Great start with the KB!

 I had such high hopes for Starlin Castro as a Cub. I guess it's a good thing Theo and company are better baseball talent evaluators than I am.
 Or are they?  That Jason Heyward contract is still looking like anything but a bargain at this point.

Reed Johnson and Travis Wood are two of my favorites. I liked Johnson's grind it out approach.
 Travis Wood was the crazy lefty every team needs in their bullpen. I miss him already.

I think this card is from the "Opening Day" Donruss sets from back in the day. Shawon Dunston!
 I have a mini collection of Shawon and this one goes into the binder. Nice.
Mike Capel and Drew Hall?  Man, the Cubs seem to really struggle with pitching prospects. Even the ones that did make a name for themselves seem to flame out early due to injury, like Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. Although Kyle Hendricks has done well for himself, but he was drafted by the Rangers. Does he count?

Oscar, thanks for the cards!  I'm working on a return PWE to send your way, but please be patient. My teaching and coaching job is a complete time suck right now.   Rest assured though, you are on my list. Thanks again!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

1st Game of 2017 & Topps Now Update

Last night was Opening Night at Dozer Park in Peoria. I don't remember the weather being as beautiful for the Chiefs' first game of the season . . . ever. It was sunny and about 68 degrees at game time. Simply wonderful.

I always like to sample the new stadium food early in the season so I splurged on an eight dollar jalapeno and bacon cheeseburger, which goes by the name of Firehouse.
 Overall, the entree filled me up and it was pretty tasty. Good purchase!

In other news, the Phillies ambushed the Nationals in the first inning yesterday to the tune of a dozen runs. Seeing as it was a record setting performance for the Philadelphia ball club Topps Now deemed it card worthy.

As mentioned early on this humble little blog I splurged on some Topps Now Ultimate Card Giveaway scratch off cards and I was lucky enough to have two winners: #23 and #80.

Yep, I was hoping for a Cub, but at least this card has purpose. Maybe there's a Phillie fan out there reading who would be interested?  I'd love to turn this card in some Cubs cards if possible!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

First Vogelbach Card of 2017

2017 Topps team sets are available in retail outlets. Instead of purchasing the entire Mariner team set I chose to pick up the Dan Vogelbach card from Ebay.
 Vogelbach wasn't included in Series 1 or the Mariners' Opening Day roster, but I think the above card is a sure fire sign that he'll be included in Series 2.

The backs are pretty much what you've seen before, but I am curious as to why Topps didn't include Vogelbach's Twitter handle. Perhaps Topps just threw the #TOPPSBASEBALL on the backside of all the team set cards?  Or many they couldn't find The Vogelmontser's Twitter account? It is pretty tricky: @DanielVogelbach  . . . No matter.

I'm super pumped to chase down all the parallels of this card when the time comes. Keep me in mind if you happen to pull any!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Joy of a Completed Set: Wrigley Field Celebrates 100 Years

There aren't too many sets I'm working on right now, but one I had been pushing hard to complete was the 2016 Topps insert set titled, "Wrigley Field Celebrates 100 Years."

Greg, from The Collective Mind, has sent me a couple of PWEs recently to help my cause.
The above cards arrived about a week ago and knocked off all but ONE card from my "needs" list. Greg, I think I've found a couple cards to help you out. I'll get them in the mail as soon as they arrive in P-town.  Stay patient, my friend!

 I found the Lou Gehrig card this past Sunday when I attended my first card show of the year in Morris, IL.  How fitting that the last card in the insert set is also the last card I needed.

I want to give a big shout out to everyone who helped me complete this set.
 I only purchased ten of the fifty cards and the rest were sent to me by The Collective Mind, Bob Walk the Plank, Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary, ARPSmith's Sportscard Obsession, Collating Cards, Cardboard Clubhouse, Baseball Card Breakdown, Baseball Every Night, cards as i see them, Wrigley Roster Jenga, All Trade Bait, All The Time, Cards My Mother Didn't Throw Out and The Junior Junkie. Thank you to all who contributed! I'm thankful to be a part of such generous community!

Lastly, I was able to find the last last two cards to finish my 2017 Series 1 Cubs team set. 
Pedro is PUMPED UP now that it's finished. Actually, these two were free. I found a one dollar card and these two singles and the guy tossed in the Strop and Hendricks. Very nice.

There was a dime box at the show, and the sixty cards I plucked from it will be sent out into the blogosphere when the time is right. I don't want to show any pictures to spoil the surprise. But man, dime boxes are so much fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Cubs/Cards Rivalry Exhibit

I went to Springfield with my sister and two of our friends last weekend to check out the new Cubs and Cardinals rivalry exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Museum. I suppose I could have posted last week when this was fresh in my mind, but today seems like as good as any to play catch up. After all, it is Opening Day and the Cardinals are hosting the Cubs tonight.
I'm so glad baseball is back!

 Overall, the exhibit was well really done. There were lots of informative little write-ups like this one about Three Finger Brown's golden watch fob.
 I still can't get over how mangled Moredcai Brown's hand was!  Crazy!

 Many of the items were on loan from the Baseball Hall of Fame, including Rogers Hornsby's Most Valuable Player medal:
 
 Old school jersey:
 Floodlight from Sportsman Park, which added lights back in 1940:
Here's a shirt protesting lights for Wrigley in 1988:
 The text at the bottom of the shirt reads, "Citizens United for Baseball in Sunshine."  C.U.B.S. People in the 80's were so creative!

There were some interactive pieces in the museum, including four computerized trivia centers in the museum to test your knowledge as either a Cub or Cardinal fan.
Another option was the monitor in the above picture. It was a touch screen where you could click on any county in the United States and it would let you know if there were more Cubs or Cardinals fans in that county. Peoria County favors the Cubs, but it's a close race!

 I love me some old baseball artifacts. Enos Slaughter's glove is pictured above.  Shoot.  I can't remember who the cleats belonged to. Bummer.
 Bob Gibson's Cy Young Award from 1969:

 Here's one of my favorites:
It's a ticket stub from the "Sandberg Game." Sandberg hit a homer off Bruce Sutter to send the game to extra innings and then he cracked another off Sutter to tie it again in the 10th!  The Cubs won it in the bottom of the 11th inning. It was a coming out party for Ryno, who was in the middle of an MVP season. Funny story: the game was a nationally televised contest and the announcers had already selected Willie McGee as the player of the game before Sandberg hit his first homer in the bottom of the 9th. For what it's worth, McGee did hit for the cycle that day.

If you listen to enough radio, like I do, then the broadcasters kind of become family.
I didn't know Ronald Reagan did Cubs games when he was young!  FYI, Reagan and I are both graduates of Eureka College.
 I believe the bat below is David Freese's from the 2013 World Series and the hat is from when Jake Arrieta won his 20th game in 2015.
 And yes, the exhibit was up-to-date with 2016 World Series material!

 Lastly, by the exit, there was this HUGE FatHead of the Cubs celebration scene on a ten foot tall wall. People were lining up next to it for a photo opportunity.


 I snagged this quick picture when there was a break in the action. You can see an electrical outlet in the bottom right, which can you a little perspective as to how big it really was.

It was a fun road trip for sure and a great way to get me hyped up for the 2017 season!

Go Cubs, go!