Friday, October 30, 2015

I Finished a Rainbow of Sorts

Gleyber Torres is the Cubs next BIG prospect. (You know, outside of The Vogelmonster.)  He's a soon to be nineteen year old shortstop, who hails from Venezuela.

When I picked up this first card Bowman Chrome or Heritage Minors had not yet hit the shelves and this was the only licensed card of Torres'.
 Torres played for the South Bend Cubs of the Midwest League before being promoted to High-A Myrtle Beach at the end of the season.
He was the eastern squad's starting shortstop for the Midwest League All-Star game held in Peoria and made a nice jump throw from the hole at short to get the runner at first base, which my friend was able to capture with a camera!

Torres was named Midwest League Prospect of the Year back in late August.
The autograph card was my last pickup.  I usually don't purchase non-certified autographs from Ebay, but the seller seemed to check out, the signature looks consistent with the Bowman Chrome autographs, and the price was right.  Plus, it completes my quasi-rainbow!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

This Baseball Card Will Give Me Nightmares

Bryan, from Golden Rainbow Cards, and I worked out a quick trade after we both showed off some Topps Update on our blogs. The Jon Lester throwback card on his blog is what caught my eye.  Nice!
Man, I love the blogosphere.  We are blessed with some truly gifted writers, and as I read I have the opportunity to window shop for cardboard. Sometimes I even speak up and land a card within a blog post.  How cool is that?
Bryan threw in a half-dozen of other Cubs, and I'll show them off because I haven't seen too many around outside of all the Kris Bryant cards. (Like the two shown above.)
I was really hoping Jonathan Herrera would be wearing a bubble gum bucket on his head, but instead we get a unique shot of him diving back into first base on an attempted pick off. I'm okay with that!  This is a great horizontal card which will look fantastic with an in person autograph. #CubsConvention

Anthony Rizzo is probably my second favorite active Cub at the moment. Seeing Anthony in his Reds-themed home run derby jersey is quite frightful!
 Bryan didn't make mention that he was sending two Rizzo card with Anthony wearing red and black!  Man, he even has the Reds' logo on his left sleeve.  Creepy.

Anthony is just about to enter his prime years of production.  Thinking about him in another team's uniform is not fun any Cub fan.  I'm hoping by writing a little bit about my distaste for Topps' photo selection that I'll be able to sleep okay tonight, but I fear these images may haunt my dreams.  Sigh.

Regardless, thanks for the trade Bryan!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Reviewing my MLB Predictions

Let's just start with this one prediction for the AL Central:
Yes, I picked the White Sox over the team which led the AL in victories and is making its second straight World Series appearance.  Also, I may have called them a flash in the pan.  Sorry, Royals fans.

I am NOT good at predictions.

Of the ten teams to earn postseason births I correctly identified only four: Dodgers, Cardinals, Pirates and Blue Jays.

I don't think my player award selections will fair much better.  Heck, I picked Andrew Cashner to win the Cy Young, which is only slightly better than Joe Kelly stating he would be the leading vote getter for the award in the AL. Yep, that's the same Joe Kelly who had an ERA just south of 5.00 for the Red Sox. Man, that's really putting yourself out there!

Also in my prediction post I chose who would lead the Cubs in many offensive and defensive categories, and I correctly selected my fair share.  I thought the Cubs would win 83 games this year, which would be an improvement of ten games from 2014. They finished with 97 wins and 101 if you count the post season. I correctly said they would finish in third place within the NL Central, but I wasn't thinking playoffs.

I don't mind being wrong and I do my best to "own it" when I am wrong. (I pass out Dum-dum suckers to students who point out a misstep in my math at the board.  Because even a veteran teacher can be a dumb-dumb.)   In fact, this is truly one of the times I am relishing the moment.  Dare I say it? I couldn't be happier being wrong with my predictions!

The Cubs were swept by the Mets, who definitely played better baseball when it matter most, but that doesn't take anything away from the season the Cubs had.

The roster was crammed full of quality character guys who knew how to have fun. Partner those personalities with some quality social-media-using-beat-writers and one terrific website, and I felt like I was a part of the ride. In short, I had the most fun listening to and watching baseball games that I've had in a very long time.
No, thank you.

Is it spring yet?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

An Update Jumbo Pack to Share

I really want to go to card show, but the closest one today would require me to spend three hours in a car and it usually only has about a dozen dealers. A week from today is the annual P-town card show and I know it's better to just wait another seven looooooong days.  Sigh.

To pass the time and feed the collecting monster within I bought a jumbo of Topps Update.  No Cubs were found and I'm not sure how that's possible with as many Kris Bryant cards that are in 2015 Update.  Bummer.

If you're interested in any of the cards just leave a comment. I'm not going to post pictures of them all, but I'll list the ones I don't show pictures of at the bottom. The Sox, both the White and Red, have already been claimed.

Let's start off with two of the three cards from the pack that I'll be keeping.
The Marlins don't get much love on the blogosphere, but Justin Bour player for the Peoria Chiefs! Woo-Hoo! Some P-town love!
 Zobrist went to high school thirty minutes away from P-town and he's chasing his first World Series ring. Go Royals!
 Trout and Pujols seems to be everywhere and here we have them stealing Nelson Cruz' card.  Rodon and Syndergaard may be the best rookie arms in the talented class of 2015.
 So, David Price gets a card as a Blue Jay, but Kyle Schwarber who made his MLB debut 45 days before the Price trade isn't in Update.  Boo!  Oh, and I still don't like the All-Star game hats.  Double Boo!
Maybe I'm just in a mood to complain, but how did Evan Gattis get dubbed as a Future Star? He played in 207 games for the Braves before being traded to the Astros.  Yet, he's now 28 and is considered a Future Star?  When I think of Future Star cards I think of the 1989 Topps Gary Sheffield or the 1987 Bo Jackson cards.  Those guys were future stars.  Evan Gattis is already thee full years into his MLB career.

Carlos Correa?  He's one heckuva talented ball player. That is all.

My gold parallel could have been a better player, but they do look sharp in person.
 The Rarity card of Mariano Rivera talks about earning a save on three pitches. 

I was happy to pull a Hammerin' Hank, but even happier to land the Josh Gibson card.  This is the last of the three cards which will stay in my collection.

 I like the Whatever Works insert set and I thought about chasing it, but ultimately I have decided against it.
 Whatever happened to Neftali Feliz?  I remember when he was a rookie sensation and the Rangers were in the playoffs.

Lastly, I landed one of the three hits from the Jumbo box. It's one of the Etched in History cards and it is a very thick card, because it contains one of those crazy manu-relics.
 I already have a taker for this one, but I thought I would show off my good luck.

Below is a list of the rest of the cards from the pack.  Again, just speak up!
US5 - Ryan Vogelsong, Giants
US43 - Randall Delgado, Dbacks
US55 - Hank Conger, Astros
US60 - Branden Pinder, Yankees
US85 - Justin Nicolino, Marlins
US108 - Adonis Garcia, Braves & Jefry Marte, Tigers
US150 - Eric Sogard, A's
US168 - George Kontos, Giants
US172 - Adrian Gonzalez, All-Star Dodgers
US202 - Manny Machado, Home Run Derby Orioles
US215 - Jonathan Papelbon, Nationals
US222 - Arquimedes Caminero, Pirates
US225 - Keone Kela, Rangers
US230 - Shawn Tolleson Rangers
US262 - Eric Young, Jr., Braves
US298 - Rey Navarro, Orioles & Dusty Coleman, Royals
US327 - Ryan Webb, Indians
US334 - Clint Barmes, Padres
US339 - Jose Alvarez, Angels
US348 - Jonathan Broxton, Cardinals
US369 - Cory Rasmus, Angels
US378 - Devon Travis, Blue Jays
US379 - Cameron Maybin, Braves
US382 - Dan Uggla, Nationals
US390 - Donovan Solano, Marlins

Thanks for stopping by and wish me luck at my local card show next Sunday!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

My Favorite Card Show Find

Tony,the proprietor of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards, has asked the members of the blogosphere to show off their favorite baseball card show find. I have frequented quite a few shows since I started this blog back in 2011, but my favorite is from a show in the early 1990s.

I was probably thirteen at the time and my dad would take my sister and I around to local card shows. I would spend what money I had on expanding my Ryne Sandberg player collection or on finding the last cards to complete my '90 Score set or my '91 Upper Deck set. Packs usually ran fifty cents to a dollar, dime boxes were the norm, and sometimes dealers would throw in extra cards during a purchase.  It was a good time to be young collector!

At most of the local shows there was a dealer who would have the dice game available to play. You are all probably familiar with the game: six dice, cards numbered from six to thirty-six, and each roll of the dice was a buck. Usually there was a pack of 1990 Topps around number eighteen or nineteen. Perhaps an '88 Topps Traded Mark Grace around numbers twelve or thirty. The tough rolls, six and thirty-six, might hold an '89 Upper Deck Griffey, an entire wax box of cards, or some cool vintage.

Cool vintage . . .  I only ever had enough money to buy wax packs and Sandberg singles when I was younger. The oldest cards I ever purchased were from 1983, because I was never patient enough to save my money to buy anything older than Ryne Sandberg's rookie cards.

Usually when I was down to my last dollar I would purchase a roll to end the card show on a bang. In this scenario it was quite a bang!  I don't remember if I rolled six 1's or six 6's, but I walked away with the oldest card in my collection: a 1966 Roberto Clemente.
Yes, it's slightly loved.  But isn't that the best kind of vintage?

Clemente was one heck of a ballplayer and an even better human being.  I've always been a fan and this card has been in my collection for nearly twenty-five years and that is where it will continue to stay.

I'm not sure if this qualifies as a "find" as it's more of a win, but it's my favorite card I've walked away with from a card show.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out Tony's contest!

Friday, October 23, 2015

I Blow Dried Leo The Lip

I picked up a copy of Leo Durocher's 1968 Topps card at my LCS this afternoon for a fairly nominal price. It's nearly fifty years old, has a couple of fuzzy cardboard corners, and it's of a manager who had a personality seemingly bigger than life itself.  So why not?

During the checkout process the owner asked me if I knew how to get rid of the wax stain on the front of the card. I did not AND I wasn't sure why the wax stain was on the front and not on the back. He informed me that Topps used to seal a pack of cards with the front of the card facing the wax, not the backs which was common place when I started collecting back in the 80s.

Huh, learn something new everyday!

But, I wasn't done learning, for my LCS owner apparently has a plethora of untapped cardboard knowledge which I am just now discovering after knowing him for nearly 25 years.

The picture on the right is our "before" picture.  The wax isn't very obvious, but Leo has a few "moles" on his face which are not moles: the one right below his nose, a large one on his left cheek, and he has a little bit of "skin cancer" under his right eye.

Here's a better shot of some of the wax on the card.  It shows up pretty good where the light should be glaring. Bleck.

 So, I took Leo in for surgery and found the guest bathroom's hair dryer.
Yes, that's OUR guest bathroom. Yes, the walls are bright pink. Do NOT judge!  I'm responsible for decorating the Man Room and my wife makes decisions on the rest of the house.  It's an agreement which we're both happy with . . . pink or no pink.

Just as my LCS owner instructed, I set the hair dryer on the low setting and warmed it up a bit.
 After a minute or so I set it down on the vanity at an angle so the warm air was still hitting the card and I grabbed some facial tissue.
 I was able to wipe off large sections of wax at a time. Once a section was clear I would rotate the card and really warm up another section and repeat.  The process took about three to four minutes in all.

I think the results are pretty good.
 Thankfully, the hair dryer only removed the wax and not the fuzzy corners.  I prefer my vintage to have soft corners.  
The finished product is on the right and I think Leo looks five to ten years younger now.  No?

I thought I would share because who knows how many other cards out there could use a little face lift.  Maybe you have a couple in your collection?

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bowman Twitter Blue Refractor: The Rainbow Just Got Bigger

I was browsing Ebay yesterday evening looking for any good deals on the remaining cards I need for my 2015 Bowman Chrome Dan Vogelbach rainbow.  I have yet to see the red version or the superfractor show up yet, which makes me sad, but at least my wallet is happy for the time being.
Yet, I did see something new:
swiped from Ebay

Nope, that's the not the "blue" numbered to 150.  This one is numbered to 10.  Ten?  Since when does Bowman number things to ten?
 I guess the answer to that question is since they started giving cards away on Twitter. The card community has officially dubbed these Twitter Blue refractors

Warning: Mini Math Rant
One Blue Twitter Vogelbach card has popped up on Ebay, but it is ridiculously priced at two and a half times Vogelmonster's printing plate price. . . .  Let's do some math.
There are 4 printing plates and the cheapest I've seen is selling for $20.
There are 10 Twitter Blue refractors, but the only one I've seen is selling for $50
In short, the Twitter Blue refractors are 2.5 times more common than the printing plates, yet they are selling for 2.5 time more than the printing plates. 
That, ladies and gentlemen, is called an direct relationship.
Math knowledge: If one item increases and a related item increases as a result, then it is defined as a direct relationship.
The laws of supply and demand are based upon an inverse relationship.
Math knowledge: If one item increases and a related item decreases as a result, then it is defined as an inverse relationship. 
For instance: the higher the run on a numbered parallel SHOULD yield a lower price.  

Obviously, some Ebay sellers don't know much about economics. (Or maybe they know too much about baseball card economics?) To the price gorging seller I say, "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!"  
Yes, I went there. 
End Mini Math Rant.
The Bowman Twitter account has been giving these new blue refractors out to its followers the past couple of weeks. I figure all ten Vogelmonsters will will be given away at some point and I plan on trying to win one of these packs of Twitter Blue Parallels. Each pack of cards comes with nine blue refractors and one autograph. If I manage to win one, then I can probably turn a couple of the ten cards into a Vogelmonster and set the rest free amongst the blogosphere! 

Feel free to join the fun and try to win a pack for yourself, but if you win a pack containing a Vogelmonster, then please remember me!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


I was sent this picture from a coworker of mine who is at the game tonight.
The marquee is missing a couple of lights, but the message is still clear.  FlyTheW!

Go Cubs, go!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Waiting 'til First Pitch

Since the inception of this blog I haven't really done a ton of waiting, at least not the type of waiting which is inferred by the name of my humble little blog. The Cubs were 106 games under .500 in the four seasons since I started the blog. Then 2015 came and things have changed all of a sudden.  I'm not used to playoff baseball and I find myself looking at the clock over and over again.

First pitch is coming soon, right?

Fine, I'll blow the leaves out of gutter.

How about now? 
Crap, let's mow the lawn then.

Surely game time is close now! 
Argh! Let's go for a run to burn off some nervous energy.

It's absolutely driving me crazy.  It's as if time has come to a standstill.

I was able to take on a small project this weekend between stealing glances at the clock.  The faucet to the utility sink in the basement has had a slow leak and my loving wife gave me an end of October deadline to get it fixed.

It should have been an easy job, but the packing on the cold water valve was shot and it wouldn't turn off.  The result was a wet cat, who was giving unsolicited help, and me having to turn the water off to the entire house.  I over-tightened the first replacement valve and I must have cracked the inside, because I could never get a dry seal.  A second trip to the big box store was required, but I learned my lesson and didn't screw the next valve on so far.  Oh, the joys of home ownership!
This valve will haunt me in my dreams.

Then I had another set back. I had trouble removing the hex nut on the under side of the faucet, which resulted in me removing the entire sink, with faucet attached, from the counter top. Luckily my dad had a dremel and he's pretty darn good with it.  He sliced right through that hex nut like a boss!  Thanks, Dad!

Once the valve was fixed and the old faucet had been removed it was a petty easy job.  But those two curveballs were more than frustrating. 

Hugo seems to like the new faucet. 
The best part is there's no more leak and now I resume staring at the clock.  Sigh.

I'm not making any predictions for tonight, because the Cubs lost and my pick to click didn't register a hit. I'm hoping the extra day of rest does Arrieta some good, but I'm worried. Maddon rode him pretty hard down the stretch and I'm wondering if he's got anything left in the tank. We'll have to wait and see, if we can ever get to game time.

Go Cubs, go!  #FlytheW

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cheeseburgers Don't Predict the Future

Homemade jalapeno cheeseburgers
Well, here's how things stood BEFORE the clinching game of the NLDS between the Cubs and Cardinals:
The Cubs were 0-1 in playoff games in which I did not write a blog post beforehand, nor eat a jalapeno cheeseburger.
The Cubs were 3-0 in games in which I quickly typed up some drivel and also attempted to satiate my appetite with one of my favorite pleasure foods.

I tested the baseball gods and won.  I wrote a blog post the day before AND I didn't have a chance to eat my jalapeno cheeseburger until after the game started.  In fact, I didn't start prepping my charcoal grill at home for a burger until the 7th inning.  I pulled the burgers off the grill right before the game ended and didn't take my first bite until after the Cubs had defeated the Cardinals.

After the win, I don't know that a burger has ever tasted so good!

I guess superstitions are made to be broken. Or perhaps I overestimated my importance to the cause?  Either way, I'm just happy the Cubs have reached the NLCS for the first time since 2003.

So, no burger for me tonight.  In fact I'm heading over to my parents' house to enjoy dogs and brats on the grill.

My last three predictions for player of the game have each hit homers in that day's game: Soler in game #2, Rizzo in game #3, and Baez in game #4.  That's quite a streak!  Yet, I'm feeling out of sorts since coming to the shocking realization that my consumption of jalapeno cheeseburgers doesn't affect the outcome of baseball games.   So, please forgive me for not going with my gut.

I wanted to go with Chris Coghlan, but I don't know that he'll start tonight.  So instead I'll go Anthony Rizzo, because I think he's starting to come out of his funk.
Anyone see his impersonation of the Jose Bautista bat flip the other day?

Not as good as the original, but pretty funny nonetheless.

Thanks for reading and go Cubs!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

An Addition to My New PC: That Was Quick!

So, a PWE (plain white envelope) lands in my mailbox early last week, but I'm busy so it sits on my desk.  It stays there and it collects dust.  At some point it is knocked on the floor by Hugo or Holiday, but that's okay, because it shook off most of the dust.
My money is on Hugo because he's always messin' with my stuff!
Then the Cubs win the NLDS and I find out that I have four days to catch up on my blogging until my team takes the field again. Commence the blogging of cardboard!

Yesterday I started by introducing my knew player collection (PC). Today I finally broke into the PWE from Brian.  Brian is the brainchild behind Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary.

 What a nice note from Brian!  I love it when other bloggers pull cards and think of me.  I do the same pretty frequently: Pale Hose = JediJeff, unique cards = Dimebox Nick, Padawans = Zippy Zappy, Peg Legs = BWTP and etc.

I miss Donruss.  I know, I know.  Panini is producing Donruss cards, but from what I have seen Throwback Threads and Leather & Lumber are pretty.  Plus licenses.  Sigh.
 Here's a couple of pre-rookie cards of some Cubs arms. Joe Kraemer didn't pan out, but Armando Rivero should have a crack at the bullpen in spring training next year. The man throws smoke!
 Here's a nice little collection of Cubs from my favorite team growing up, the Boys of Zimmer (1989).
 A shiny Ryno, an old school Mad Dog, a Duracell Hawk, and three baseball card magazine cards of Amazing Grace, Juice and Dwight Smith.  I don't think Dwight had a nickname. No?

And now for the sweet addition!  Another Dan Vogelbach card to add to my new player collection!
I think he just went oppo? And look at the sweet uniform! I think it's a great photo and I'm pretty excited to add this one to the collection.  I've been watching the team sets for some time on eBay, but I think I'll delete those from my watch list now that I have my most coveted card from the set.

Thanks for the PWE, Brian!  Next time I pull some Twins you'll find them in your mailbox!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

All My Vogelmonsters!

 All the Dan Vogelbach cards from the 15 cases arrived the other day. Inside I found more than enough base chrome to keep me happy and three other cards that are a little rarer.

I rolled the dice and did OK: two refractors numbered to 499 and one orange wave. I was hoping for a lower numbered parallel or two, but I struck out as far as that goes.  I've picked up five more parallels since then and I'm up to eight Vogelmonster cards from the rainbow. 
 I have yet to pull the trigger on the orange (#/25) and I haven't seen a red (#/5) or the superfractor pop up yet on eBay.  Above I have the blue wave, base chrome, refractor, blue, green, purple, gold, and orange wave.

I was in a pretty good mood last night after the Cubs clinched at least four more games to play by advancing to the NLCS.  So, I decided to catalog all of my Vogelmonsters!
  There are lots of Bowman cards, which isn't a surprise, with a smattering of Topps thrown in for good measure.
 I have a few cards of Vogelbach from minor league team sets and those are probably some of my favorites. I like the unique (used only once) pictures!  The Onyx above is a game used batting glove.  That's kinda cool.

 I've landed three in person autographs while Vogelbach was playing in the Midwest.  I think they are much better than the little ones confined to stickers.
 There are six autographs in all, which is he most I have of any one given player.
If you'd like to check out my "have list" feel free to click here.  I'm always up for a great trade involving the masher known as the Vogelmonster!

Thanks for stopping by and go Cubs!