Sunday, April 28, 2013

About Time (and autographs).


Blogging about baseball and hockey cards without a scanner lends to some difficulties.

I will admit, however, I do not hate it nearly as much as I intended.

The use of digital (handheld) photography for posting cards does have one perk, in which the repetitive narrative of "the scan doesn't do this card justice" is completely thrown out the window.

Bowman Platinum is one of those sets, along with many refractors from Topps and Bowman Chrome and Finest, in which scanning the cards doesn't quite give the true light-bending properties of the card.

Take this Brett Lawrie relic-auto. While the sticker may not be incredibly obvious in a scan - neither would the eversweet rainbow stock of the card. This is a blue parallel, numbered to /199, and I landed it for the price of what a base version usually runs. There are also green (eww) and gold parallels, but since Brett is rocking the Jays deep blue batting practice Jays jersey (which matches the swatch! rejoice!) the blue version looks the best other than the base refractor, which seems kind of rare lately.

But what is it that I love the most about this card? Check out that autograph. For Brett Lawrie, that thing is immaculate. Let's take a look at his more recent inkings:

Ugh. This may taint my quest for the reverse-box of 2013 Tribute.


What the hell is that
AHH! Look away!

The thing is, Brett Lawrie collectors, or possibly autograph collectors in general, have taken notice. Brett's Red Bull-induced autographing process since 2011 (I am assuming the '12 Bowman Platinum in the first picture is from a set of 2011 stickers) has led to lower values of his cards, rather than the cleaner, crisper autographs you find on the early-2012 and 2011 releases. Perhaps this coincides with his call-up in late summer of 2011 and the flurry of off-field action he may be seeing, including appearances, endorsements and so on. He is the Canadian Jesus, after all.

Oh, and in case you're wondering what those other clean autographs look like, behold 2012 Gypsy Queen:
Holy YES.

and his 2011 Bowman 1stie:

This would make no one blue.
Or maybe it's the ever-growing number of tatts messing up is penmanship. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Challenge Accepted, Again

Yes, things have been slow on this blog.

Yes, there is still a void on my desk where a printer-scanner once took up entirely too much real estate.

And yes, I will continue to try and post things here and there until there is a new scanner, preferably wireless, taking up precious real estate somewhere in the house.

While the last two Topps releases were duds, I've been picking up some singles here and there, some from ebay (though that has become infuriating), others from a very awesome card show and some from a  few trades which have been completed recently.

Yet with many of recent ebay seller jackholing (which, of course, I blame more on ebay than on sellers trying not to go under), I still managed to make a couple big adds this weekend with what you may call "good to very good" seller conduct.

The first of which, was this:


Jonathan Griffin is a 1B prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. Currently, he's playing with the Mobile Bay Bears (AA). The Missoula Osprey were his home in 2011 where he killed the Midwest League to a .295/18/59 line in only 71 games.

In 2012, he was even better with the Visalia Oaks - hitting 26 HR with 98 RBI (archaic stats, yes, but advanced ones are hard to find on low-minors players) in (mostly) full season of 128 games.

Before looking up his stats, I knew nothing about him - but it looks like this guy can mash low-minors pitching. Hopefully for him and the Grindin' Diamondbacks, he can carry it into the Bigs.

This also showed up today:


Mini Salvador Perez. Nothing about Perez is mini (ladies ;).) Dude is a monster behind home plate, and moves surprisingly quick for an Easter Island model. But why am I showing this card? Because it was a free throw-in. Which I love. Free things. I love them.

It was thrown in to possibly distract me from this awesome:


Oh, Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce that is a fine-looking card.

When I bid on this, I didn't expect to get it. Salvador Perez cards are pretty hot, even with his "slow" start to 2013 (the three weeks of sky is falling!). Like I mentioned above, Perez is a big dude. I cannot imagine him trying to use his bear paws to grip a tiny Sharpie to sign this card, let alone a sticker auto. So of course, he took up the whole thing, writing across the gaudy-yet-glorious gold foil facade.

This card has inspired me.

A box of 2013 Topps Tribute will set you back $275 at Dave & Adam's.

In one box of Topps Tribute, you will get six packs of five card, for 30 total cards.

What has this disaster inspired me to do?

Reverse-assemble a box of 2013 Topps Tribute for less than $275.

How I will do it: purchase six hits from this set.

Purchase 25 base cards from this set, 20 regular and 5 parallels.

Ideally, I'd like to go after players I enjoy. I mean, why spend so much time and effort looking for shitty autos?

This Perez will be my first towards this odyssey. It took me $12 to acquire.

$263 to go. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Career in Baseball Cards: Kirt Manwaring - 1988

Rookie cards are a funny thing. Some are awful. Some are awesome.

They're kind of like business cards or resumes.

"This is who I am."
"This is what I have done."

It's up to whoever is holding the card at that time to read into the picture, the text on the back, the presentation of the borders, the weight and feel of the cardboard.

A rookie card carries some responsibility. Some weight. It's the one card of a baseball player that every fan, or at least collector, should know.

As rookie cards are almost always posed (the good ones, at least), I always wonder how that conversation goes between ballplayer and photographer.

"Next up...Kirt...Mannering."

"Manwaring, sir."

"Listen, meat. I have 88 more minor leaguers to photograph in Giants colors today. Hit .280 in the show and people will know your name."

I assume that at this point, Kirt would crouch down, tear off a smile, chuckle, and go catch a bullpen session.

_

Kirt actually made his major league debut in 1987, but with the parlance of the times, his rookie cards did not appear until the following season.

Immediately, the card-collecting community was blessed. His 1988 Donruss is a gem of a rookie card. Somehow, the black and red and blue border doesn't clash with the catcher's gear and Giants uniform. And of course, the RatedRookie logo. Oh, how I miss it.

His 1988 Topps Traded isn't so bad either. Catchers in on-field caps is rare enough, and a mesh interlocking SF, the pride of the 1980s and the classic Giants home whites - not to mention the 65-lb Rawlings catcher's mitt - harmoniously take a collector in the height of the junk-wax era to the roaring 50's of classic posed catcher shots.

Shades of Yogi Berra?

Well, it's a reach. But I've been stretching and I think I can make it happen.

Notice the COMC logo on all of these cards. I have not yet purchased a new printer/scanner, thus, I am subject to scavenging COMC.com, so much more than a baseball card clearinghouse.

Also: how often do you see a full crowd in the background of such a posed shot? It's the subtleties, man. It's the subtleties that keep us card bloggers in business.

Of course, rookie cards often have action shots.  While I don't recommend this for any aspiring card producers, it still happens.

And in 1988, I am sure it was a welcomed sight with the amount of posed shots accumulating into 660-card sets.

If you want action, 1988 Score is for you.

This 1988 Score (Traded?) is right for any prospecting collector, as along the left border, you have a warning.

There are ups and downs in this game. One moment you're hitting .394 to start a season, and a second later while stealing second base, your ankle asssploooodes and you're out three months. Sorry. The Jose Reyes wounds are still open and festering.

Anyways, actions shots! Rookie Prospect!

Kirt may not have lead up to expectations out of the gate for San Francisco. Of course, I was two years old, so my apologies for not remembering the season as if it was today's beat at work.

He hit .250/1/15 in 1988, reminiscent to what i might be able to hit in the majors if given a full season to train and given the height of my athletic ability.

One home run. On the way to a career which totaled a thunderous 21 dingers over the course of 13 years.

Kirt Manwaring, the Pride of Elmira, New York.

To be continued...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Donezo



...my HP printer/scanner just made the Donezo List.

After about nine months without printing anything, it awoke from its slumber today and printed a test page. It look awful. Like a newborn printer's finger painting or the inevitable aftermath of eating at Applebee's splattered across a parking lot.

I thought: "Hey, my printer finally prints again! Rejoice!"

So I decided to scan some cards that came in the mail recently.

Crash. Lock-up.

"Okay, maybe that was a fluke."

I turned it off, unplugged the USB cable. Replugged the USB cable. Turned it back on.

Flashing "E" indicating error. Welp. Guess it's not printing again.

Let's try some more scan.

Crash. Lock-up.

Roll over, die.

Sunrise, sunset.

The HP printer/scanner is dead.

What this means:

Obviously, the lack of a proper scanner can really stick in a card blogger's craw.

In truth, I've wanted to pull the plug on this pile of puke for a while. An excuse to scrap it and start anew. But I didn't plan this untimely death. There are daunting piles of cards to be scanned. I was going to catch up tonight with no Blue Jays game going on.

So, the scans will have to wait. Likely for a while. I just don't want to put any money down toward a scanner right now. Like, at all.

I have a card show coming up, Sunday.

I have to pay my dues for the 2013 baseball league that I am in. Not to mention buying new gear - my team this year is orange, and my blue catcher's gear won't match.

I've been wanting to buy a box of cards for a while.

And really,  I would hate to patronize Hewlett-Packard ever again, but since they offer the most affordable printer/scanner combos out there.

Ugh.

I'm still going to blog, dammit. I'll just have to get a bit more creative. I'd like to avoid high-resolution photos of new cards, but we'll see.



Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Starting 10: Want Edition

When I started the Starting 10 series (it might have even been starting nine in its inauguration) I knew that if it were to be a repeated-style post here, I wanted every one to be different. So hopefully it remains that way, with the first one being a recent additions-style, and today being cards I don't have yet, or as we say in the 'sphere, "wants."

Since there are quite a few Nue Jays this year, this wasn't too difficult to put together. SO without further Apu, here's your Toronto Blue Jays starting lineup and some accompanying "want" cards.

Enjoy.

1. Jose Reyes, SS, 2010 Topps Chrome Purple Refractor


A dirty, refractory of the best player on the Blue Jays roster, Jose Reyes. Going for a full 9-slot binder page rainbow of this card. About 2/9 the way through, so far.

2. Rajai Davis, RF, 2009 Upper Deck


Get used to 2009 Upper Deck for this post. Something else just occurred to me on this post - all of the Jays are pictured in another team's uniform, except for JPA - who has spent his whole career with the Jays Azules.

I like Rajai. He's a deceptively great player, killer speed on the bases, sneaky pop, and generally mediocre outfield defense. Ideal fourth outfielder, I think. Provides bench depth with speed and hitting ability, and you could do much worse in regards to pinch-runners.

3. Melky Cabrera, LF, 2011 Topps Sparkly Somethingorother


Kind of hard to find a Melky Cabrera card that I want. Just not that into him as a player, but I like his 2013 Gypsy Queen, although so many other players should have had cards than him and about sixty retired guys.

4. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, 2009 Topps Heritage


Apparently, it is incredibly difficult to make a good-looking card of Edwin Encarnacion. Seriously. This is the best-looking one. Uggghh.

5. JP Arencibia, DH, 2012 Topps SSSSP (the extra SS is for super-shitty)


Arencibia, however, has a ton of sweet cards. This is my most-wanted right now. It's becoming incredibly hard to find and rarely runs under $15...but it had everything I love: dirt, gear, rookie cup and JP himself.

6. Mark DeRosa, 3B,

Damn, 2009 Upper Deck is magnificent. This is one of the best - and of a player who's signing was very underrated this offseason. Man. What a great card.

7.  Maicer Izturis, 2B, 2009 Upper Deck


Another gorgeous 2009 Upper Deck. Maicer decked out in vintage Angels gear, well-lit with the afternoon California sun, and the perfect full-bleed design of 2009 UD. Wow.

8. Henry Blanco, C, 2011 Topps Cognac Sparkx


When I started writing this, I knew I'd have to find a Blanco, and as he is known so much for his catching defence opposed to his hitting, i figured I would get a tremendous play-at-the-plate or blocking shot, and damn, this one just impressed the hell out of me. 

Then Topps had to throw that huge Diamond Anniversary logo on some fat Reds player's face (did Dusty Baker play a game in 2010??)

Oh an I purchased this $.50 card immediately upon seeing it. So I own it. 

9. Emilio Bonifacio, CF, 2012 Topps


Dirt! Also, Emilio is about 99.87% airborne. Cool card, even though the logos do not match. Emilio has been absolutely horrific so far as a Blue Jay, but I still have faith in him.

10. R.A. Dickey, SP, 1997 Bowman Chrome International


...And today's starter, R.A. Dickey. Hopefully with Blanco behind the plate things will go a bit better this time. Also, with some very awesom Dickey cards coming my way lately, I'll be pleased to show off some very soon. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Live Free or Die Cuts


I've started writing this post without a title or an idea of where I am going with the words. Even that sentence, and the one which I type now, are a surprise. Well, not at this point, because I tend to think faster than I type.

I've taken a step back a rethought some of my collecting methods. One change is less, if any, retail. Sets which I won't pay hobby prices for (Mothership, Gypsy Queen) will be an exception. Anything Bowman, too. I just plan on taking a different route from now on. More singles. Probably more purchases of trait bait for others, rather than relying on my own pulls.

This is a trade post. I'm trying to disguise this post, the way you may have notices over at Night Owl  Cards. Mainly, because this is a trade in which cards came from the nocturnal Lechuza himself.

We trade often. Never more that 5-15 cards at a time. I'm starting to like this plain white envelope trade much more than others. No post office. No bubble mailers. No shitty Roger Clemens and Alex Rios filler. Just cards.

Like this one. I had this in my complete set of Chasing the Dream inserts. But not one for my flip through this column of top loaders much more often pile. I appreciate it, as with all Brett Lawrie cards.

Brett, unfortunately, will not be playing for Toronto tonight.


 And neither will Travis Snider. You see, Travis is a Pirate now, and apparently, his swing versus lefties may have progressed to even worse proportions. This, is sad. I liked The Great Pasty White Hope. I wish him the best.

Also, Heritage refractors are awesome. Especially green ones. This green one surprised me, as the Night Owl loves shiny things.


Sigh. Another broken Blue Jay. I don't even know where Kyle is in his rehab. I know I won't be seeing him in 2013, though, but I bet he'll still have more cards than JP Arencibia. This card is much more Night Owl. Cloaked in darnkess, and...

...miiiiinnnnnnniiiiiiiiiiii!

 Unlike this, the anti-Night Owl:


...owls hate manupatches. Even with Dodgers. With Reds logos? For All Star games no one alive could possibly remember? I'm starting to see why...

But there was one, err, two huge surprises in this package. Nestled side by side, like holoboard little Owlets...

 Wait, why am I posting two non-major leaguers in their base paralles from a set mostly everyone hated?

Because someone actually read my wants lists. 

And I appreciate that greatly.