27 February, 2013

Chinese Taipei 2013 World Baseball Classic Hat

I received this via UPS today:

Chinese Taipei's hat for the 2013 World Baseball Classic!

Awesome.  I am wearing the cap as I type this.  All the hats for the different national teams look very good and stylish - except for maybe the USA one.  The front logo design for that one went a bit awry.

26 February, 2013

A trade with Plaschke (in-person)

Greg of Plaschke and I traded some cards while we waited in line at Mike Piazza's Long Shot book signing in Pasadena last week.  I posted about the event here.  Here is what I received from Mr. Zakwin:

Per usual with my trade posts, here is a selection of some of my favorite cards from the trade.  The Anze Kopitar parallel (top row, second from left) is numbered to 25.  The Dee Gordon blue parallel on the bottom right is #'d to 500.  My Hideo Nomo collection has been quite neglected of late, so it is nice to refresh the ol' binder with some new "Tornado" cardboard.  Charles Nagy is on the back of the Nomo card in the bottom row, second from left.  He was pretty good.

On the left is a 2010 Upper Deck Series 1 Baseball (hell, there was only one series before UD was shut out), Hong-Chih Kuo gold parallel, #'d 75/99.  Some of you may know that Hong-Chih Kuo is one of my favorite players.  I have an impressive collection of his cards that I plan to post at some indeterminate time.  This gold parallel was one that I insanely desired.  Now I have it!  Cue maniacal laughter.  My Nomo rookie card collection has also been disregarded recently.  But, the rookie card above was definitely one I needed.

2009 UD Signature Stars, James McDonald rookie autograph.  McDonald is not on the Dodgers, having been traded with Andrew Lambo to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Octavio Dotel in 2010.  The trade seems ultimately pointless in retrospect - because Dotel kind of sucked and Lambo tested positive for substance abuse - but at least McDonald got the opportunity start in Pittsburgh.  McDonald had himself a half-awesome, half-shite season last year, and I am rooting for him to have an all-awesome season this year.

Such an odd card.  I like it!  Card collectors and bloggers have all probably seen these 2003 UD Game Face Gear cards before.  This is the first one that has come into my possession.  I wouldn't call it a "good" design per se, but I enjoy it.

2008 Red Hot Rookie Redempion #11 of Clayton Kershaw.  It is a gorgeous card.  This was actually a contest prize from Greg, not part of the actual trade.  Nevertheless, it is awesome!  Kershaw's nickname is "Kid K," though I prefer to call him "Kid Kilowatt."  If you know who or what Kid Kilowatt is, then you are a pretty cool cat.  (Hell, I'll just tell you... to me, "Kid Kilowatt" alludes to two great things - baseball and a certain supergroup composed of Massachusetts hardcore and metal stalwarts.)

2007 Tristar Elegance Showtime game used patch #CK, Clayton Kershaw.  It's a three-color patch.  Might be hard to tell from the photograph.  Elegant, indeed.  Looks fabulous.

Thanks for a fantastic trade, Greg!  It has been a while, but we got it done.

23 February, 2013

Sign Up for Cardboard Conundrum's February Hockey Group Break!

Do you enjoy hockey?  Maybe even just a tiny bit?  Matt Pederson over at Cardboard Conundrum is hosting an affordable group break featuring some awesome hobby boxes.  You can check out the group break sign up and information page here.  Matt is a stand-up dude with a great blog, so let's party hard with him and break some hockey product!

22 February, 2013

Three Kings Autographs

The Los Angeles Kings are doing better recently!  I guess that's something.  I should really make it out to some games.  Here are some of my recently obtained Kings signature cards:

2007-08 Upper Deck ICE, Glacial Graphs of #11, Anze Kopitar.  This card is one of those clear acrylic deals, thus the white dummy card behind it to make the autograph easier to see.

 2012-13 Panini Certified, gold parallel Jordan Nolan auto, #'d 18/25.  Kid's a bruiser.  Nolan is one of several NHL players with Native American blood.  That makes me wonder how well represented Native Americans are in other popular professional sports like soccer, football, basketball, or baseball.

Anze again, from 2006-07 UD Ultimate Collection.  This card is my favorite of the three.  The signature is bright, sharp, and on card.  The team colors and design work well together.  The other two cards have clean designs, but are a bit rigid in comparison.

I enjoy hockey cards!  One could easily imagine that the smaller market for them - in comparison to baseball, for example - would make card manufacturers more prone to releasing products with inferior quality and lazy design.  That, luckily, does not seem to be the case.  Hockey cards (especially the hits) usually look amazing and do not lack for innovation.  Maybe companies can spend more time and energy on making higher quality, awesome-looking hockey products since they're not just churning out a bunch of shite like they do sometimes with baseball.

20 February, 2013

A Brief Meeting with Mike Piazza

Greg of Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle and I attended Mike Piazza's signing of his new autobiography, Long Shot, at the Vroman's Bookstore in downtown Pasadena today.

 #31 jerseys abound.

The whole experience, minus the line, felt rushed.  I managed to exchange a few pleasantries with Mike Piazza before I was swiftly ushered away to allow the next batch of fans to seek his autograph.  Still, I walked away with a feeling that the overall experience was very cool.  I met numerous current Dodgers players less than a month ago at Dodgers FanFest 2013, yet the brief book signing, photo op, and quick exchange of "thank you's" felt somehow more poignant to me.

 I like pictures of signs.  This sign is bossy.

Maybe it's not necessarily that I was starstruck, but perhaps it was the simple fact that it was Mike Piazza himself sitting there.  He wasn't some baseball player near my own age to whom I could more easily relate.  Hell, professional athletes are just mortals, right?  We're all pink on the inside or whatever.  It wasn't until after I left the queue that I finally realized, "Whoa, I grew up watching that dude play, rooting for him."  So, I guess that was the point when I understood just how grand and badass these players can seem to a kid - especially since I was apparently starstruck and in awe after all, if however briefly.

Here are some more photos from the event (unfortunately a few did not come out super sharp):

(More after the jump!)

18 February, 2013

Corey Seager

Corey Seager is a top-five prospect for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He's currently a shortstop, but will probably convert to man the hot corner instead.  Seager's older and similarly positioned brother, Kyle, is on the Seattle Mariners and had himself a nice 2012 season.  While shopping for autographs of top baseball prospects, I have found that Dodgers top prospect cards seem to be cheaper than those of players from other organizations.  I wonder if other collectors have experienced something similar?  I finally managed to get my paws (feet?  hands?) on a sweet Corey Seager autograph though:

 2012 Leaf Metal Draft, Corey Seager "prismatic" auto, #'d 52/99.  I tried to capture the "prismatic" effect in the photo.


I've recently tried to obtain some high-rated and/or hyped prospect signature cards of players from the Reds, Rays, Rangers, Cubs, Cardinals, and A's organizations with little success.  Some of these players are priced incredibly high.  One can only imagine how pricey their cards will get once they make their professional debuts.  However, by then Topps will probably flood the market with rookie autographs so the prices will go down.  Maybe.  I guess I am a fledgling prospector, indeed.  Though, I rarely buy and sell just to flip a card.

17 February, 2013

A trade with Too Many Verlanders

I very recently completed an excellent trade with Dennis Blay of Too Many Verlanders and Too Many Manninghams - two exemplary blogs, indeed.  Dennis has been a generous and affable trading partner, and I definitely look forward to trading with him again in the future!  You can check out what he got from me at his blog.  Here's what I received in return:

A selection of Lakers cards from the big pile that Dennis sent.  I especially enjoy the Stadium Club cards of Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel.

A smattering of cards from the Dodgers and Yankees I received.  My Derek Jeter and Ryne Sandberg collections are quite substantial.

2009-10 Upper Deck Be A Player, Dual Signatures autograph card of identical twin brothers, Henrik and Daniel Sedin.  The Sedin twins are two of my favorite hockey players.  Isn't it neat when brothers play on the same team?  It is even more awesome when both brothers are elite performers.  Looking at you, Upton bros.

2012 Topps Chrome, rookie refractor autograph of Zack Cozart, #'d 146/499.  Cozart was a mix of solid and streaky last season, his rookie year.  I hope he improves and continues to start in the lineup this coming season.  The Reds should probably drop him in the batting order though.

2005 Flair Significant Signings auto of Zack Greinke, #'d 231/250.  This is a simple, elegant card.  It is a definite upgrade over my other Greinke signature card, an ugly foil sticker autograph from the rather unattractive 2009 Topps Unique set.

Awesome!

Much thanks to Dennis for a ballsy, easy, and fair trade!  Party hard.

Please to check out my trade bait, if you'd be interested in trading with me!

14 February, 2013

2010 Upper Deck Baseball, Complete!

I finally completed the entire 600 card set of 2010 Upper Deck Baseball Series 1.  Interestingly enough, the very last card I needed to finish my set was the last card in the set itself.  Welcome to your new binder, card #600:

 Look at that roster.  No wonder they came up last in their division.  The Nationals have done much, much better for themselves since then.

I believe congratulations are in order?  (I kid.)  Y'all can check out my set wants here, if you ever want to work out a trade.

10 February, 2013

The Dark Knight is Ballsy

I like comic book trading card sets.  I've found that you can sometimes obtain some sweet sketch cards, as well as the complete base sets and inserts, from these releases at a reasonable, cheaper price online - rather than purchasing an entire hobby box.  Indeed, it would be near impossible to collect every single sketch card from a release such as Cryptozoic's DC Comics Batman: The Legend.  But, I do have one unique "1 of 1" sketch card from that set for myself:

"Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight."

There was another sketch card I really wanted that depicted Batman as a bit older, grim, and worse for wear with a bunch of face stubble.  That card might have been portraying Batman from Frank Miller's excellent, seminal The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel.  Good stuff!  Now I feel like watching all the recent Batman movies again...

09 February, 2013

Nicknames

I believe in general that nicknames - at least the positive ones that act as terms of endearment or denote familiarity - are to be earned or given, not bestowed upon oneself.  Basically, someone else should dub you with the name you are effectively known by.  That does not mean, of course, that your nickname necessarily needs to be created by someone else.  It's just cooler when you don't tell people what you want to be nicknamed, right?

What about the nicknames that people don't like and don't want?  Gegard Mousasi, one of the top light-heavyweight mixed martial arts fighters in the world, hates his nickname:

The Dreamcatcher.

"The Dreamcatcher" is not a very badass nickname for one of the baddest dudes on the planet (or at the very least, in the sport of MMA).  I believe "Dreamcatcher" was also a sci-fi movie where toothy alien worms exploded out of people's butts.  But, what do you know, after all that and Leaf still decides to put that nickname on a sports card.  Mousasi still autographed the card, but I doubt he was ecstatic about it.  He was likely getting paid to sign anyway.

I've had some pretty good nicknames before: Fish, Robot, and Dr. No.  I've had some less good ones too, like Four-Eyes or Nerd.  Kids are jerks.  Stating the obvious here, but many sports card and memorabilia bloggers are often known by their internet nicknames as well.  Some are better and more well-earned than others, some are just usernames, and some are a result of simply not knowing a blogger's real name.  What are some of your favorite or least favorite sports nicknames?  How about positive or negative personal nicknames?

07 February, 2013

Dimwit's February Group Break Haul

I partook in Sam's (The Daily Dimwit) February group break recently.  He busted a box each of 2005 Topps Updates and Highlights Chrome, 2011 Panini Limited Baseball, and 2013 Topps Series 1 Jumbo.  I naturally secured the Dodgers as my main team and received the Seattle Mariners as my randomized second team.  I was particularly excited for the 2005 U&H Chrome box because of the Matt Kemp rookie cards present in that set.  Ultimately, I did not get anything from the 2011 Panini Limited box, but I did receive a nice haul from the other two hobby boxes:

Ol' Thomas Oldham there on the left looks like Sergeant Brody (Damian Lewis) from Homeland.  Though Oldham is out of professional baseball as a player, he apparently runs a baseball school in Nebraska - Tom Oldham Baseball.  I imagine Oldham's daily life to be much less stressful than that of the fictional Sgt. Brody.  Also, Pokey Reese.

Dodgers!  The Russell Martin rookie card is nice.  I do enjoy pack-fresh older issue Chrome cards.  Jealous, Zakwin?  Jose Valentin's (far right) son Jesmuel was the Dodgers' first round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, 51st overall.  I posted a card of Jesmuel Valentin a few weeks ago.

Yay!  I got the Matt Kemp rookie card.  It's your standard Chrome base rookie of Kemp, but pack fresh!  I am also happy that I got the Mariners as my second team, because of what I got above.  Rumors abound that "King" Felix Hernandez signed some insane, mammoth blockbuster of a contract today.  This is my first rookie/prospect card of King Felix.

A pile of Seattle Mariners cards from the 2013 Topps Jumbo box.  The Mariners only have 9 cards in their team set for this release.  I tend to root for the underdog Mariners if they are not playing one of my favorite teams.  But hey Seattle, at least the Seahawks are really good!

Mini-King.

A pile of Dodgers cards.  Some of you might be aware of my general ambivalence toward Topps and its products.  Heck, I've even moved beyond ambivalence into unbridled animosity and pure hatred for that company at times, depending on what new way they decide to screw me over.  I do not trust Topps after several debacles with their shoddy customer service and community support, as well as having to experience their absolutely atrocious 2011 UFC Finest set - the very pinnacle of their failures in quality control.  That being said, I do like the photography and design of 2013 Topps Baseball.

Emerald thing of Dee Gordon.  So, are you Team Hanley or Team Dee for Dodger shortstop?  I am Team Put-Hanley-at-Third.

Lastly, an insert card of Jackie Robinson.  Happy belated burfday, Jackie!

Thanks for the group break, Sam!

03 February, 2013

Super Bowl!

I am rooting for the Ravens, but think the Niners will win.  Time for beer and pizza!

01 February, 2013

A trade with Spiegel (in-person)

I completed an in-person trade with cool cat Spiegel of Nomo's Sushi Platter at Dodgers FanFest 2013 last Saturday.  This was my first in-person trade outside of a local card shop since I started collecting cards again in 2009.  I traded autographs of Chin-Lung Hu and John Ely to Spiegel.  Here are some of my favorites from Spiegel's trade package:

Chin-Lung Hu is currently playing for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.  I did not know that team or league existed until I looked up what Hu was doing nowadays.  Hell, I thought he was still on the Mets.  The Matt Kemp card is one of those holographic deals.  I think I still like the old "Rookie Card" logo more than the new one.

1995 Score Gold Rush #238, Orel Hershiser.  It is always nice to get new cards of Bulldog.  Hershiser has some interesting photos on his cards.  Look at that expression he's making on the back of this one!  Great.

1978 Tommy John #375 and 1979 Charlie Hough #508.  Nice condition vintage cards.  What do you think, should Tommy John have been elected to the Hall of fame?  The Dodgers have had quite a few knuckleballers in their history, the most recent being Charlie Haeger.  There was also Hough, of course, as well as Hoyt Wilhelm, Tom Candiotti, Dennis Springer, and Nap Rucker.

Three TTM autographs!  1991 Fleer Ultra Rick Honeycutt #249, 1974 Claude Osteen #42, and a 1991 Fleer Mickey Hatcher #206.

Thanks for the trade, Spiegel!