Friday, June 30, 2017

Swapping With Paul's TTM Blog

I was contacted by the proprietor of Paul's TTM Autograph Blog recently and we set up a quick trade. It would have been quick, but even during my summer vacation life tends to get in the way. Sorry about that, Paul! You can see his end of the trade here.

Let's take a look at what he sent my way!

 Anyone remember Topps Attax?  No?  I had completely forgotten about it until these cellophane wrapped cards kicked off the package. I'll probably bust open one of the Soriano packs at some point, but the other Cubs will stay in their packaging. Now, the shiny parallels of Ruth and Mantle... what to do with those? 
 Vintage-esque cards!  A Turkey Red D-Lee and a Goudey Rich Harden. I remember when the Cubs acquired Rich Harden in a trade... I was at math camp in some college dorm working on Calculus problems... man, I'm glad I'm not at math camp this year. LAME!

Ben Zobrist.  Local Boy does good.
This is my first duplicate of this card and I couldn't be happier!  I've been wanting to change out the cards underneath the glass of my entertainment system and this one will now be on display.  Great card!  Thanks, Paul!
 Actual vintage!  Get a load of Sutter's warm-up jacket. I'm sure the good people at Under Armour get sick to their stomachs just looking at that! 

Oh, and I love me some Kong!  I compared Kyle Schwarber's future the other day to Jose Bautista... but then the names Pete Incaviglia and Steve Balboni came into my head. Yikes!  Maybe Dave Kingman isn't a bad comp?
 Did you know that Chico Walker used to practice the Heisman pose alone in his hotel room on road trips? Nah, that's not true, but this 1992 Score card might say otherwise!
 Joe Girardi is another local boy. I actually thought about starting a player collection of Girardi, but then he had to go and manage the Evil Empire.

 Fergie Alert!
 Am I on the only one who doesn't get tired of retired players on newer cardboard?

 I have Cody Bellinger in one of my fantasy leagues. Do you think Kris Bryant's owner would trade me Bryant for Bellinger, straight up?

 Paul sent me a few Kosuke Fukudome cards and a handful of Ryne Sandberg cards, but I already had them all.  Yep, I even had the Jeff King card above where Ryno is making a cameo appearance.

But, Paul did send me SEVEN new Kerry Wood cards to add to my collection!  Nice!
 Yeah, I know. Mark Prior is not Kerry Wood.
Here's a nice little oddball-eque disc.  Sweet! 
 You know what? I'm now at 499 unique Kerry Wood cards. Paul, you almost put me to the 500 marker!

Thanks for the great trade, Paul!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Rizzo Wrap

I'm a little late to the party on this one, as Tony Burbs beat me to the punch a couple of days ago. If you're interested in how Rizzo Wrap came to be then Wrigley Roster Jenga has you covered.
Thanks to my awesome mom-in-law I now have a half-dozen boxes of Rizzo Wrap! She lives just outside of Chicago and was able to help this down-stater out by purchasing them from her local Jewel-Osco. Thanks, Sarah!
One is earmarked for a blogger on the east coast and another four will be gifted to friends and family here in P-town.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Vogelmonster and Revisiting a Sketch Card

Nick, from Dime Boxes --The Low-end Baseball Card Collector's Journey, reached out last week about sending me a card I potentially still needed.
 It arrived today and I'm pretty stoked!

I've knocked a couple of the Series 2 Vogelbach cards off my list, but I'm doing my best to be patient with Ebay while making sure the good deals don't get away.

Naturally, Nick being Nick, there was more than just one tremendously appreciated card in the PWE.

These are my first 2017 Cubs Archives cards:
 The Wade Davis knocks off my #1 most wanted card, which has since been replaced by the Anthony Rizzo Memorable Moments card from Topps Series 2. (See the right margin for the full list.)

 These may not be new to you, but these 2017 Heritage Leaders and Then And Now card are new to me!
 2017 Donruss and Opening Day cards of Javier Baez. Yep, these will go straight into a binder with the rest of my Javy cards. 😀

Schwarber has had a rough year, but I still think he'll figure it out.
 I think a good player comparison for Kyle Schwarber might be Jose Bautista. I'm not saying Schwarber won't figure it out until his age 29 season, but Kyle is certainly going through some growing pains.  Only time will tell I suppose.

The Dascenzo and Glanville collections get a little bit of a boost!

Heyward is having a better season in 2017, but he is not an All-Star and I'm fine with him falling out of the top three in the NL All-Star outfield battle. His current 0.3 offensive WAR still leaves a lot to be desired.
Gleyber Torres just had Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing arm and should be ready for spring training. The Yankees will like him, for sure, but I like that World Series Trophy. 

An O-Pee-Chee Ed Lynch to close things out. For what it's worth, nearly five years ago I was sent the sketch card on the right from dayf.  In my opinion he nailed it. Good times!

Nick, thanks for the VOGELMONSTER and the other Cubs!  I'll get a PWE out in the mail to you post-haste!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Fine Pull from Finest

I stopped by my LCS today to pick up a few items and decided to splurge a bit. I usually don't purchase packs over five bucks, but after the owner showed me the card below on Ebay, I figured, why not?

I knew the odds of pulling such a card are fairly ludicrous. Nevertheless, I opened up my wallet to purchase a 5-card pack of 2017 Topps Finest.
Pedro Martinez was always one of my favorite pitchers. Maybe this was a good sign?

Card 1: Yulieski Gurriel
I drafted Gurriel in my fantasy league hoping I could plug him in 1B or 3B, but he hadn't hit for nearly enough power when I cut bait. So, yeah, a rookie card of a 33-year-old who currently has an OPS of 0.747. The card also has a slight ding in one of the corners. Not off to a great start.
On a positive note, I really like the design of the cards. I think what attracts me the most is the large partial logo in the lower left corner that is shaded in the team's dominant color.

Card 2: Andrew Benintendi
 Yeah, this is a nice pull of a young rookie who looks to have a solid major league career. This specific card is actually a Finest First insert card. It's still a solid design, but I like the base cards better.

Card 3: DJ LeMahieu
 LeMahieu is a former Peoria Chief and also the 2016 NL batting title winner. Some of you may poo-poo this card if you were to pull it in a five card pack, because the Rockies don't seem to get a lot of love, but as a resident of P-town I'm pretty happy!

 Card 4: Craig Kimbrel
I didn't know card companies were allowed to make cards of Kimbrel where he doesn't have his arm hanging out while staring in for the sign. I am also am curious why Topps chose the navy blue instead of red for Boston. Odd.
By the way, if you've haven't seen the season being put together by Kimbrel... Oh. My. Word. His K/9 is 16.8, which is actually down from where it was a couple of weeks ago. Also, that ERA: it's a fourth of what he recorded in 2016.  Lights out!

Card 5: Anthony Rizzo!
 BOOM!  It's not the auto parallel my LCS owner showed me, but this card is awesome!  Oh, and it wasn't card #5 in the pack, but I had to save the best for last! 

Great pull for this Cub fan!

I really like this product and would love to try to hand collate a set, but it's a bit out of my self-imposed budget. Blowout Cards has boxes on sale for $150, but a box is only twelve packs, at five cards a pack. The base set is 100 cards, which means two boxes if collation is good. Yeah, I can't do that. The Break Throughs Anthony Rizzo sure was nice though!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wrigley Tour and LEGO Convention

This past Saturday my sister, Jane, and two of our friends, Jim and Theresa, and I left P-town at 6a.m. to head north to Chicago. We got hung up in some road construction, but otherwise made it safely to Wrigley Field for our scheduled tour of the ballpark at 10:00 a.m.

I had been on a tour with my wife and two other couples back in 2009, and I was hoping to see some of the newer parts of the park this time around. Unfortunately, the only new-to-me part was a trip through the visitors' locker room. The tour guide was super informative and I learned more about the history of Wrigley Field than I had previously. Plus, I got to see his World Series Championship ring up close and personal like!

I think my favorite part on this tour was sitting in the dugout, but I enjoyed taking pictures of some of the signage in the locker, too.
Jim on the left and Jane on the right.
 Here's a photo of the "Pace of Play Procedures," which resided on the wall in the locker room.
 I hope MLB can find a way to get the length of an average 9-inning game back under 2:50. Enforcing the above rules to the letter of the law and adding in a pitch clock would go far if you asked me.

Instant replay slows the game, but it's here to stay.  This sign is from 2015, which I guess means they haven't made any changes to the rules since then.
 The sign below is pretty neat if you ask me. It resonates with me because as a high school coach we have a number of different game times, and we always try to get batting practice in.
After the tour we checked out the new Park at Wrigley. It seems much bigger on TV and the snapshots I've seen on Twitter.
We hit up the team store and then tried to see the World Series trophy, but it was unavailable.
Empty!  Boooo!
Cubs personnel told us our best bet to see the trophy would be to attend a game or catch a tour on a game day. Bummer.

Next up we traveled to Schaumburg for lunch before hitting our next scheduled stop.

Lunch was awesome. I'm a big fan of biscuits and gravy and would highly recommend Gus' Diner if you have the opportunity.  Large portion sizes and attentive service. #winning

We were out in Schaumburg because my sister got us tickets to the LEGO Convention. I haven't played around with LEGOs since my early high school years, but they are still something that genuinely interests me.

This place was crazy. I have to imagine this is what "The National" would be like if I could ever attend.
 Above is a picture of the USS Missouri battleship. It's over twenty feet long, consists of nearly a half-million LEGOs and took about a year and a half to build. The detail is incredible.

There were bunches of vendors at the convention selling their wares, but many people had tables set up to simply show off their creations. Many things were centered around pirates, city-scapes and super heroes, but my favorite were those centered around Star Wars.

 There were some interactive parts at the convention as well. Above is the race track where your freshly built LEGO race car could compete against the cars of others.

 There were some really neat mosaics. My favorite was of a cat and it was 4' by 4' in size. Naturally, all done in LEGOs.
 There wasn't much baseball at the LEGO Convention, but I did find one baseball field! The amount of mini LEGO people at the ball game was really impressive, especially when one considers that most figurines at the convention center were in the $6 to $12 range. Man, and I thought card collecting was an expensive hobby!
Overall, it was a fun road trip with family and friends!

Thanks for stopping by and reading!