Tuesday, October 30, 2018

I Asked a Blogger for a Favor

My wife attended a conference for work about a year ago in downtown Houston. She was actually in town when the Astros clinched the World Series against the Dodgers. Pretty cool. While she was there she found some tea at a local grocery store, which she immediately fell in love with. I guess she checked all over the internet and couldn't find any and she also visited stores here in P-town trying to hunt it down. She struck out on both fronts. Laura then turned to me and asked if I knew of any bloggers in the Houston area and if I could ask them to be the middleman.

I looked through my blogger Rolodex and found Marc lives down that way. You may better know him as Bru, the man behind Remember the Astrodome. I reached out to mark, told him of the store where my wife originally purchased the tea and sent him the picture below.
Marc was gracious enough to check out the store, but he also came up empty. Maybe the manufacturer went out of business?  Who knows.

A couple of weeks later I found a package from Houston in my mailbox. Nope, no tea.

It was baseball cards! Woo-Hoo!  Crazy, I ask for a favor and he sends me cards! I feel like I should be the one sending him something for his troubles. This community is so great.

There was some set help:
Yes, I'm working on junk wax era sets from my childhood. I know you're jealous.

A shiny Donruss Optic Rizzo was joined by a Topps Fire Rizzo:
 Is it just me or does Rizzo's name look like R1220 on the Fire card?

I was happy to find a pair of Albert Almora cards. He had a nice campaign in 2018.
 I'll always take a Matt Clement card for the collection... and how about that action shot of Shawon!
 Here are some of my favorites of Cubs on the current roster. The Home Run Challenge card was unscratched!
 I really enjoy modern sets of retired players and this Team Heroes set from Donruss is nicely done.
Oops and Upper Deck Billy Williams snuck in there with the Donruss. Sorry!

Lastly, we have another Sandberg to add to the player collection!
For those of you keeping score at home, this is the 900th different Ryne Sandberg in my collection. I was hoping to hit that mark sometime this year and this mini from A&G marks the milestone!

Thanks for the fabulous Cubs cards, Marc.  And thanks again for trying to help out my wife.
If anyone sees any Royal Afternoon Tea on a shelf nearby please drop me a line! LOL

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Living It Up & Sending Them Out

Matt, author of the Once a Cub blog, sent me a package containing cards purchased directly from Topps.

I've been following Topps' Living Set online, but I didn't pull the trigger. I thought long and hard about the Ryne Sandberg card, but ultimately I decided to pass. I decided I would purchase a Dan Vogelbach, if he was granted a card... he was not. Cue the sad music.
 I guess Matt has been purchasing away and he sent me some of his duplicates!
 The box has a very vintage-like feel to it, but the inside yields an acrylic case, which is very modern.
 The cards are quite stunning in hand. I appreciate the time spent and attention to detail of the artwork.

And, here we go...  the Sandberg I debated about!
 Of the three, I like Sandberg's "painting" the best. Very nice indeed!

Also in Matt's package were some Topps NOW cards.  Here are the Players' Weekend cards:
 I'm happy they used the nicknames on the front and the back.
 The home run derby was highly entertaining for this Cub fan.
 And, now I have the Baez and Schwarber cards to go with the memories!

Speaking of memories . . . this Topps NOW card depicts my favorite Cubs memory from the 2018 season.
David Bote, a minor leaguer for parts of 7 seasons, showed such emotion after hitting his walk-off grand slam! I didn't watch the game live on TV, but I did replay the highlight video more than I probably should have the next day.
Thanks for the great package, Matt!  The Sandberg is great, but the Bote takes the top spot!

Packages... I sent10 packages/envelopes out today. I owed a few people for trades, a couple were to even up the score, and few were of the "just because" variety. Matt, you have one in there, too!

If you live in one of the following zip codes, then be sure to check your mailboxes mid-week:
02072, 10707, 21788, 22030, 26505, 31602, 53208, 60706, 77023, 95119.

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Odds and Ends

October has been a busy month for sure.

Last weekend my wife and I traveled to Lousiville to support one of our good friends in his first Ironman competition. We skipped out on the biking portion to visit Mammoth Cave National Park, which is the largest cave on the planet. We saw two of the 412 miles of the cave, during a two hour tour, and then made it back to Louisville to cheer our friend on during his marathon. Congrats, Jeff! 

I would show some pictures, but my phone died last weekend. It wasn't all bad though as I went five days without a phone and actually really enjoyed it.

I joined a mixed couples bowling league, which meets every other weekend. We started in late September and the schedule will run through March. I used to average 160 back in high school and have accomplished that one of the three weeks so far. I don't bowl with a hook... straight ball for me... and I'm still trying to find the old muscle memory. Hopefully, it'll come back soon!

I've been watching the playoffs on and off. It's just so hard to watch a full game when they run 3+ hours every single time. I also like to get to work by 6:30 in the morning, which doesn't really allow me to finish a game I start watching. Especially if I want to be on my math game in front of the teenagers the next day.

I was cheering for the Brewers. They seemed like a fun bunch and I liked Craig Counsil's managing. I found his take on Brian Kenny's bullpenning idea, from Ahead of the Curve, very interesting to follow. I'll be pulling for Boston now. I can handle Yasiel Puig and his antics, which seem to be part of his fiber. Sorry Dodger fans, but it's hard for me to support any team with the way Manny Machado has been acting as of late. Wow.  I knew he was talented, but I didn't realize he was such a poor sport and so immature. Ugh.

I finally received my cards from a Sportslot.com Box Order from five weeks ago. I'll be mailing out a few packages in the next week when I scrounge together a chunk of time. I've also started to attack the short stack of bubble mailers sitting on my desk.
My mom's cousin took a trip to Washington D.C. and visited the Library of Congress and he picked up this program from their baseball exhibit. I love the artwork. I actually have a very similar piece as the lock screen on my desktop computer. I'm thinking about hanging the program on the wall, as the entire thing unfolds and the back becomes a 19" by 27" poster of the cover. Very nice.
The other seven panels of the program feature quotes, anecdotes and pictures from baseball's vast history. I chose the "Art and Science of Baseball" panel to show here on the blog, because it's probably my favorite part about the game today. The spray chart is of Eddie Murray, kept by Whitey Herzog. Good stuff!

Cousin Mark is a retired math teacher and fellow baseball fan. I really got a kick out of this part of his note:
Ahhh, a man who gets it. That last sentence is gold!  Thanks for thinking of me Mark!

I hope everyone finds a little time to enjoy the World Series this week, for the long off-season is just around the corner.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Christmas in October

I know, I know. Wrong month. I suppose this post would have worked better three months ago for "Christmas in July", but the 2018 version of Panini's National Treasures wasn't out yet. Two months from now and it's December, but . . . well, heck . . . I couldn't wait two more months to post such a display of Vogelbach goodness.

Behold!  A Material Signatures Treasures insert from this year's set of National Treasures with a serial number of 12 out of 25! It's a Christmas card as my buddy Gavin likes to call them.
I'm not a big fan of stick-o-graphs, but the penmanship (for Vogelbach) is pretty good here. Also, the patch. OH. MY. GOODNESS. That patch! My only wish is it was larger! I'm not 100% certain, but I think this is part of one of the silver letters from the teal jerseys the Mariners wear. 

 The previous auction of this card sold for a song on Ebay and I used the Best Offer option and mentioned that in the comments. I got this one for a very good price and I couldn't be happier.

Vogelbach hasn't had much cardboard this year to chase so I was ecstatic when I learned he was in National Treasures. Logos or no logos, if I had the coin to buy one high-end box I would certainly go this route.
Also, I love the write-up on the back. Panini gets it: "A big basher who obliterates baseballs for a living."
The only thing better would have been if they would have used VOGELMONSTER on the back instead of DAN VOGELBACH. Just sayin'.

I was having a pretty good day, but cardboard like this just takes it to an entirely different level.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Not What I Was Expecting

I arrived home late last night, after filming for my high school's football team, to find a package sitting atop my desk.
The view from atop the press box makes me nostalgic.
Upon seeing the package I thought, "Nice! My Sportlots box arrived just in time for a three day weekend!"
The box was a little bigger than expected, but I guess I did order quite a few cards. This morning I ripped into the box.
Some cards were for my own projects, but mostly I needed some cards to complete a few trade packages.
I thought I would try the new Sportlots Box option, but more on that next time I suppose.
Peonies? Ugh.

I guess my wife used my Paypal account to pay for her latest garden project.  Sigh.

The wait for cardboard continues.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Out And Back to San Diego

It was a whirlwind of a weekend. I took a personal day from work on Friday, left early for the airport, and landed in San Diego around 3:30pm California time. I tried out Uber for the first time, with success, and was settled into my wife's hotel room well before her conference let out. All the while, I was soaking in all the sights. This midwestern boy doesn't see the ocean or palm trees very often!

Alright, ready for a picture heavy post of a fun 40 hours in San Diego? Here we go!

For dinner, we went to Balboa Park for Food Truck Friday, which was so tasty. The park contains a couple of museums, a botanical garden and beautiful architecture.
 The picture above shows some of the architecture I mentioned. Also shown, on the left, is our Uber ride to the park . . . a Tesla.  So fancy!
 The longest line at any one of the ten food trucks belonged to the wood-fired pizza truck. Yes, it's a fire truck they converted to hold a legit pizza oven. These San Diegoans are serious about their food trucks!
 I don't have a memory for the names of buildings, but the second banner is a photo of a player I will always recognize. Ted Williams!  Yessir, Teddy Ballgame played two years in San Diego!
This is probably my best picture of the weekend.  Sometimes I'm in the right spot at just the right time.

Saturday was simply fantastic. I went for a 3-mile walk along the beach. I then followed that up with an hour of stand-up-paddleboarding around Mission Bay.
It's hard to take a picture of oneself while paddleboarding, so you a picture of a lady and her dog out on a paddleboard near De Anza Cove.

Below are the dragon boat races that I had to avoid while cruising the bay.
 The best thing about the bay was seeing such large fish and scaring up some resting manta rays!

Next up was lunch. I was starving.  So I called for another Uber and look what was playing in the headrest of the driver's seat:
Yeah, that's the Cub game! I got to watch all of the ninth-inning before we arrived at my destination. We won't mention the outcome of the game.
AleSmith Brewery is one of the best bars I've ever stepped foot in. There weren't any brewery tours, but there was everything else including a food truck to purchase a jalapeno cheeseburger. Mmmmm... They must have known I was coming! I took my burger upstairs to watch the airshow going on at the Marine Corps Miramar Airport.
 In the foreground that's my lunch on the window sill. In the distance is the smoke from a recent show performer. I guess this is the base/airport they filmed the movie Top Gun at back in the day. Pretty cool!
 Above is a picture of an Osprey. You'll have to excuse the poor photography as I was taking pictures with a burger in one hand and my smartphone in the other.
I swiped this one from the interwebs.
Here's a better photo of the Osprey, which was the closest aircraft to reach me at my location. It flew right over the bar!

Here's a couple of photos of the bar and brewery.

San Diego is so very dog-friendly. I love it!
The best parts of the brewery/bar?
 The Tony Gwynn Museum and the .394 Pale Ale made in Gwynn's honor! Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in the museum, but I did see many of Gwynn's little league and high school trophies and most of his Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger awards. His key to the city of San Diego was there, as well as his autographed baseball collection of the 3,000 Hit Club, many of which were inscribed to him. How cool!

I spent a good 45 minutes in the museum and enjoyed every second of it. I knew a lot about Tony Gwynn going in, but the one thing that stuck with me was he drafted into the NBA and MLB on the same day. Wow!

Next up was Clairemont Sportscards! The three owners were there and they were the best of hosts. They offered me a bottle of water and were happy to look for cards that might fit into my collections.
 I'm still working on my Hall of Fame binder and I was able to pick up some nice Cubs cards at noninflated Illinois prices. yeah!
 Zimmer isn't in The Hall, obviously, but I couldn't pass up this 1961 card of his.
 There weren't any dime boxes, but plenty of other boxes and of it was super organized. I found three more Negro League players and a Buck O'Neil for a different collection of mine.
 My best get of the day was this Warren Spahn. 
I'm very happy to finally add a vintage card of his to the binder!

Next up, PETCO Park!
View from our seats.
I only need six more ballparks now. Woo-Hoo!

What impressed me the most about the ballpark was how much pride the Padres organization has in its history.
 There were items all around the park celebrating the Padre greats and their history.
 Inside their Hall of Fame room they had an All-Time Leaders board. Why don't more teams do something like this?
 Dave Winfield and Trevor Hoffman!  I somehow missed the Tony Gwynn statue, but I did accidentally find my way to the top of the Western Metal Supply building. It was the first time I ever got turned around in an MLB ballpark. 

I'm also impressed with how closely tied the organization is to our military.
 The wall, below, listed all the Major League Baseball Players to serve in the military.
Very, very awesome.

We sat in the upper deck and were given vouchers for hot dogs and sodas as part of a family section. I missed out on going to Baked Bear as Josh D. suggested in the comments of my previous post. That, alone, is probably my only regret about the whole trip.

As we walked into the ballpark I did score an awesome Ken Caminiti bobblehead for my collection though!
His head bobbles and his whole body sways to and fro! For every MLB ballpark I've been to I have a bobblehead to commemorate the trip. This one fits the bill quite nicely.

The Padres lost 5-4 to the Diamondbacks. Wil Myers didn't play and neither did Paul Goldschmidt. Oh well. We left after the 7th inning stretch to head back to the hotel so we could rest up for a busy Sunday of travel.

It was a fun time in San Diego overall and one I wouldn't mind duplicating again someday. Hopefully for a longer duration next time!

Thanks for reading!