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July 30, 2011

Something for Everyone

As many of you know I was at the game when Jeter got his 3,000th hit. One of my friends out in the bleachers took a great photograph from right behind me of Jeter rounding the bases. The funny thing about the picture that he took was that you can see my hands in the picture.

How do I know they are my hands you might ask yourself, well... I had just went for a manicure and my nails were bright orange so it was quite obvious. I wanted to put my ticket and commemorative program in a frame with that picture and maybe some others. I thought that would be a nice way to save everything and display some cool stuff.

I found a site called Easy Canvas Prints which takes photographs and puts them on canvas. While I was a little leery about what the picture would lose in quality and clarity in transition, I decided to try out a small 8x10 print. It did end up cropping a little of the left and right of the picture but I centered it the way I wanted it on the site, as well as customizing the thickness of the borders and color.

I was super excited when the package came in the mail partially because it was a very fast turn around and partially because I wanted to see how the picture translated to canvas. I opened up the box and was instantly impressed.

The photo quality was amazing on the canvas and it came out awesome. I picked black borders rather than having the picture wrap the frame and while I am glad I didn't wrap the picture I think I should have chosen a white border. But that's not their fault, I picked it.

I would highly recommend this site if you are thinking of doing something similar to what I did or even if you have a great picture of your children or your family. This would definitely make a great gift for anyone, and you can fully customize the entire thing. Also, if you like their Facebook page I am pretty sure you get a discount on the site.

July 28, 2011

Hideki Irabu found dead today

When I turned 17, my brother decided it would be cool to get me tickets to the New York Yankees as a gift. It was fantastic even though it was scheduled for the day before my birthday.

That game actually worked out to be Hideki Irabu's debut with the New York Yankees in 1997. It was a fantastic game. He struck out nine and gave up two runs against the Detroit Tigers to earn a 10-3 win.

But it never really got much better than that for Irabu (here's ESPN's story on his death today). He finished his MLB career 34-35 and will unfortunately be remembered more for George Steinbrenner calling him a Fat Toad more than anything else.

I wonder about Irabu's baseball cards now. There were 172 listings as I wrote this blog, and 27 of them were put up just today.

Was he as big as Dice-K when he first came up? I honestly don't remember. When Irabu signed with the Yankees, it was one of the lulls of collecting I had gone through.

Irabu had a slew of Japanese cards starting in 1991. His Major League Baseball card wasn't until 1997.

His Rookie Cards are worth mere pennies these days. He didn't pan out the way the New York Yankees are baseball pundits expected.


July 27, 2011

Chasing a minor leaguer

Ever since Kevin Kouzmanoff was sent down to the minors, I find it a little difficult to want to chase his cards. I have bought some here and there because they are cheaper - not that they were expensive before.

I know card companies need checklists ahead of time and we always wonder why someone is left off, but here is a case where a player, who many thought would stay with the club despite struggling, is in a set.  Kouzmanoff was included in 2011 Allen and Ginter.

A short-print, no less.

I got the base card, a mini or two floating around.

But what am I supposed to do about this? The wood card.

I don't even remember what I paid for one of the 1/1 wood cards last year - for some reason he had two - but I remember it being expensive. And, oh yeah, the card isn't even wood.

Kouz is still my boy. I love that he's doing well in the minors and hopefully a team that is in need of a third baseman will trade for him soon. But how much money do I want to shell out for a minor leaguer who is not a prospect?

July 23, 2011

Hobby Box Break and Review: 2011 Panini Zenith Hockey

This is definitely something new for me and pretty new for the blog. I have never opened a hobby box of hockey cards before so this was kind of neat to do. While I don't know many hockey players outside the big name players and the Rangers I did enjoy the good old Zenith design.

Each 2011 Panini Zenith hobby box comes with 10 packs, 5 cards per pack plus a bonus jumbo 5x7 collectible card. The set isn't overly large to complete: 1-115 commons, 116-140 legends, 141-185 rookies. Cards 186-225 are autographs, so I don't think we can really count those as part of the set. Box retails for around $75 give or take.

The base cards are just that, basic. While the design of the card is nice, I would prefer the full action shot to just the player on a plain background. Some sets I don't mind the plain background but I think these would look way cooler with the action shot. There were 43 base cards total in the box.

There are a bunch of subsets within Zenith, the first one I pulled was a Gifted Grinders, Derek Dorsett card. I dig it because the card shows him battling and "grinding".

The second subset card was a Crease is the Word card of Onorej Pavelec. This is a great subset of cards dedicated to the goalies of the league (at least that's what it appears to be). I wish this were a Henrik card instead. The card, despite being "shiny" is not serial numbered.

Next up we have a Moziacs card of the Nashville Predators - Ryan Suter, Pekka Rinne, and Shea Webber. Great concept for a subset however this card is extremely difficult to read and see the pictures. You have to kind of move it around until you get the right angle to read it.

The final subset card pulled was a Rookie Roll Call card of Mats Zuccarello which was already stolen by my brother. This is probably my favorite card out of the subsets, but this card is also very difficult to read. The picture stands out okay, but the writing should have been much darker.

Two Zenith parallels, both of them from the Oilers. The red parallel is not serial numbered, but the blue/teal one is serial numbered to 25. I absolutely LOVE the parallels, really makes me miss the old baseball Donruss Zenith cards.

There were 3 hits in the box, 2 memorabilia and 1 autograph.

Mozaics Los Angeles Kings Game Used Jersey card of Brayden Schenn. Again, not a fan of the design. This card is not serial numbered, and contains just one patch for the player I named, the other spaces just ave little logos.

Winter Wariors Game Used Jersey card of Antoine Vermette. Not going to lie to you guys, but this card is pretty boring both on the front and the back especially. Not serial numbered.

The autograph is a Yours Truly, Drayson Bowman card.
Pro: autograph is on card.
Con: it may be the most boring autograph card to look at on Earth. The back of the card looks like they stopped caring or ran out of time before the cards had to be printed.

For me personally, if I were buying this product to try and pull an autograph of my favorite player and it looked like this it would be bittersweet. While I would appreciate the auto (especially on card), I would be so upset that this is considered the "best" kind of hit, and it is the most poorly designed/executed.

Dare to Tear, bonus box topper: Felix Potvin

I had a good time opening the box, but I think $75 is a bit pricey for the content of the box. The autograph card design is really bothering me. I don't know why it's bothering me so much, but I really don't like it.

What do you guys think of this set? I'd like to hear from the people who collect hockey cards on a consistent basis because you guys are the ones who can voice a better opinion of this sport. My opinions are solely based on what is in front of me, with limited knowledge of hockey cards. The last time I bought hockey cards may have been around 92-93 when I used to pick up Rangers team sets as a kid.

Anyone see these at Target or Sports Authority yet? I never pay attention to anything other than baseball when I am in that aisle to notice if they carry blasters of this.

July 20, 2011

Thinking about the National

The National is less than two weeks away. If I wanted to forget, I couldn't. Everyone is talking about it on Twitter. People mention it on Facebook and occasionally I will get instant messages (people still do that) giving me a countdown.

I'm getting pretty excited for the NSCC, even though I don't foresee myself going on the crazy spending spree that I did last year.

I love being about to go to a place where there are just other collectors. I don't have to deal with the blank stares when I tell people I collect baseball cards. Then their way of trying to relate is telling me about their collection of cards from the 1980s and early 1990s.

Yes, we all have those.

I'm not sure where I will be during the National. There is no home base this year. But I am sure Marie and I will be walking around. You'll know us by being one of the four women at the show.

If you see us, say hi.

I'm going to try and post plenty of items from the national. I have a cool new app on my phone that will let me blog right from it. So, maybe I will be able to post some cool pictures or video, depending on how well the app works and the battery life on my phone.

As we get closer, I am sure we will talk more about the National.

So, let's have an early roll call. Who's going? What are you looking forward to seeing?

July 16, 2011

Hobby Box Break and Review: 2010-2011 Totally Certified Basketball

This was an interesting product to open for sure. A hobby box of 2010-2011 Panini Totally Certified Basketball has 6 packs, 5 cards per pack. Each pack guarantees a hit, you are supposed to get at least 2 auto's numbered to 599 or less.

While the backgrounds of the cards are very plain, the cool thing about them is that they are textured. Each "common" card is serial numbered to 1849, kind of like the old Topps Moments & Milestones cards. Common cards are /1849, Totally Red parallels are /499, and Totally Blue parallels are /299. For some reason these cards remind me of Donruss Zenith cards, which I loved back in the day but I am not sure that I love these as much.

Here is a close up of the base cards, there were 16 total in the hobby box.

Perhaps you will find these pretty cool, or perhaps you will be turned off by the plain Jane type of design. However the texture can be a very redeeming quality here.

Here are the base cards:

Totally Red parallels /499:

Totally Blue parallels /299:

Here are the hits from the box:

Fabric of the Game /299
Fabric of the Game /299
Totally Red GU cards are /249

Game used on card auto /599
Totally Red auto /25

These boxes are in the $90-$100 price range and appear to deliver some bang for the buck. 6 memorabilia/autographs is a great selling point for hit chasers and thrill seekers, but for set builders this is one to steer clear of unless you buy lots on the secondary market. Considering people were spending $150 on a Jumbo box of Topps baseball, and only getting 1 hit and one manufactured POS- this box is a steal.

Another upside to this box was that there were no redemptions! Downside- the auto /25 is on a sticker and the one /599 is on card.... That's just bizarre.

What do you guys think of this set? Would you like a baseball set with a similar design perhaps minus the serial numbered base cards or even with? This design could spice of the Donruss Elite Extra Edition baseball set.

July 15, 2011

A break from Allen and Ginter

As everyone goes into Allen and Ginter overload, I thought it would be nice to take a break from the madness and look at some cards that I will never be able to afford.

That's usually how my days work. I search eBay for cheap cards to add to my collection. Then, I looked at the grossly expensive cards that I know I will never own.

First up:
1968 O-Pee-Chee Nolan Ryan RC - Graded 9.5

This is the only 9.5 on Beckett's population report. The next best grade for this card is an 8.0, and just 25 of them have been graded in Beckett's population report. I don't have a subscription with PSA and can't look up there pop report.

Our second selection is a more recent development, but it takes on old-school values. :)
2011 SP Legendary Cuts 1927 Murderer's Row auto booklet

These are both great cards. Of course, I would take the Murderer's Row card over the Ryan, being that I am a Yankees fan. If I pulled that card, I do wonder if I would sell it. Considering I need a car, I am sure that card would go up for sale quickly.

July 14, 2011

My favorite Jeter cards

So he did it. Derek Jeter got to 3,000 hits - in such a grand fashion.

No need to flush out the post.

Here are my two favorite Jeter cards in my collection:

One is pants relic card and the other is an autograph. As you could imagine, there is a story behind why these are my favorite cards.

Look at the date on the cards ... look closely. The Fleer Tradition cards commemorated a Day in History for the this player. On these two cards, Fleer just happened to pick July 11.

Again. July 11.

That's my birthday. Two pretty cool cards with my favorite player and my birthday.

July 13, 2011

Robbie Cano - Homerun Derby Champion

Every year this is my favorite event of the All-Star break. While the game itself is supposed to be "amazing" with all the best players competing, it loses its luster when you have one league that has all their pitchers on the wrong days rest to start and when players start declining the invite for various reasons.

I believe this year the total was 84 All-Stars.... That is just absurd. I also don't think the players take the game as seriously considering they can skip it so easily. Hence the Homerun Derby being the "funnest".

As a kid there was nothing like watching Griffey Jr. stand at the plate with his hat backwards and bat waiggling then launching a majestic shot with such ease. This year, Robinson Cano had that same type of swagger at the plate, backward hat aside. He showcased his almost effortless looking swing for the world and probably drove the price of all my cards up. One of his shots was projected at 495 feet. He is a second basemen who can hit 495 feet, I don't care what speed the pitch is, that is hella far.

I still don't think anyone can smash a ball as far as Josh Hamilton. Watching that display in 2008 at the old Yankee Stadium was just insane. When you are in the bleachers and you watch balls hit off the wall behind you and they could have kept going.... that is some power.

I am thrilled that Robbie won the Derby and got to take home the trophy, the fact that he beat a couple of Red Sox to do it was fun also. Ortiz and Cano seem like they are BFF's so the days of the hatred between teams is long gone.

I actually was going to pick up a Cano All-Star game t-shirt at Modells, but they only had that bum Derek Jeter. Sigh, so I went to and they had no Cano jersey or t-shirt either, which is amazing considering they had him on the sidebar with a link to his jersey, and signed balls. So much for truth in advertising. I'll wait two weeks and check Amazon for a clearance one.

Which event do you guys like better, the Derby or the game?

July 12, 2011

A fan's journey to 3,000 hits

My quest for seeing Derek Jeter get his 3,000th hit started roughly as soon as my season tickets arrived at my house. Keep in mind I have a half season plan with tickets to every other home game. There were plenty of people guesstimating the date that the milestone would be reached and the earliest choice was also the majority- somewhere around June 7-9 when the Yankees would be facing the Red Sox at home.

As luck would have it I had June 7th and June 9th and every other game thereafter on that home stand. I looked around in March and April at tickets for the missing Boston game and then decided I would just wait and see if I can score one from a friend in the bleachers. As the season went on and Jeter gathered up some hits I found myself looking more and more at the dates, the rate he was going, etc. Sometime in May I purchased a ticket for June 10th partially in case Jeter was close, and partially for the Jorge Posada statue they were giving away that night.

The purchase of the June 10th ticket had me and my friend who I share my season tickets with in a frenzy. We then thought it would probably be a good idea to have tickets to every game that we were missing on that home stand, you know, just in case. Long story short, we went from having about 8 games to having 16 games. Great.

By the time June 10th rolled around, Jeter was not even close it was boiling hot out, and I got to the stadium so early that I debated just leaving after getting my crappy quality statue. Instead of leaving I decided to trade in some rain out tickets for free tickets to a later game, got into a fight with someone that barely spoke English, got tickets for Yankees v. Brewers, then hopped back on my broom to get a steak sandwich and relax.

June 12th or 13th (?) we are sitting at the game, Jeter runs down the first base line and gets hurt. First thought, "oh my God I hope he's ok and it's nothing serious." Second thought, "FML we have all these tickets."

I wondered more than once if I was more stressed about being there to witness this historical milestone, or if Jeter was more stressed about trying to get there. I think I might win considering he was definitely going to be there, and well eventually it would happen.

Fast forward to June 28th when Jeter is eligible to come off the DL and when I have tickets to 2 games at home, and also purchased tickets for July 1st at Citi Field (just in case). Jeter not ready, I go to 3 games anyway.

The view from Section 420B on June 28th, Yankees v. Brewers.

I like Citi Field so I wasn't that disappointed that Jeter wasn't playing. However, I was disappointed that the line at the Shake Shack was just longer than I could even bare to consider waiting on. Yankees won that game and we had a pretty nice view of the game.

The view from July 1st at Citi Field, Section 526, Yankees v. Mets.

July 7th... Getting closer and closer. (If you skipped down to here this is the best part.) I have tickets secured for July 7,9 and I am super pumped up. I went through so many debates and dilemmas about why I needed to be there, why Mastercard would eventually hate me, and what is wrong with me? July 7th he finished a mere 2 hits away.... I go home and bought tickets immediately for Friday (just in case). I end up getting a ticket secured from a friend in the bleachers and flip the tickets I bought.... (Headache)

July 8th.... around 4pm it starts thundering and lightning outside. 5pm it looks like it's 10pm outside, it's dark and stormy.... I was supposed to be on a 5:12pm train to meet my friend to get my ticket. I decided to wait until they announce a start time before I waste 2 rides on my train pass. Around 5:45pm they cancel the game.

JULY 9TH, 2011...

A day game. I do not ever go to day games, but this game I was up at 9:30am bright eyed and bushy tailed for Derek Jeter. I get my morning coffee and hit the train. In the Bronx by 11:30am and I am pumped up. I had a really good feeling about the game and about it happening today. I also really didn't want to buy a ticket for Sunday.

After roll call you could feel the tension in the stadium, the anticipation of everyone there could definitely be felt. The only other time I can recall the crowd being that anxious in the new stadium was with 2 outs in the 9th inning during Game 6 of the 2009 World Series.

Derek Jeter comes up for his first at bat and the entire stadium was on their feet cheering him on to hit #2,999. The stadium was chanting, De-rek Je-ter, De-rek Je-ter.... After battling David Price, Jeter won and hit a single. The stadium erupts with cheers and people jumping up and down including myself. I felt like my eyes even teared up. (I know, what a girl.)

Between Jeter's first AB and his second AB, I felt like you could literally cut the tension with a knife. The place was on pins and needles waiting for his next AB.

3rd inning, Jeter is due up. He walks up to the plate and not one person was in their seat. The entire place was clapping and chanting his name again. This AB turned into a battle between Jeter and Price with Jeter running the count full and fouling off a couple. The crowd was in every pitch of this at bat. I was recording the beginning of this AB just in case he got the hit then I decided that I would rather just enjoy the moment if it happened, so I stopped recording. Boy am I glad I did. The ball takes off of Jeter's bat and it was like it happened in slow motion for me. I watched the ball with my arms high in the air screaming, and watched it leave the yard.

I don't think there are words that can describe witnessing something of this magnitude. I was in total shock at the fact that I just saw the guy I grew up watching get his 3,000th hit. I also was in disbelief that he hit a homerun. Only Derek Jeter would be able to deliver such a hit to end his journey to one of the most elite clubs in baseball. He became the 28th player to join the 3,000 hit club, the second to hit a homerun as his 3,000th hit (Boggs was the first), and later that day the second player to go 5-for-5 on the day that he reached 3,000 hits (Biggio was the first).

This was one of the best games I have ever been to, one of the best baseball experiences I was ever a part of, and is definitely something I am grateful to have been able to attend. I don't think I came down from the high of this game until last night. It's such a rare feat for a player to accomplish and for a guy that I have grown up watching on my favorite team to do it was amazing. Being the first Yankee to do it, and to do it at home was just priceless. While Craig Biggio and Wade Boggs both accomplished this not that long ago, it is still something that for you to witness of a player on your home team is a once in a life time experience.

I didn't take any pictures of the hit as it happened because I wanted to cheer and enjoy it when it did. Plenty of my friends took great pictures that they sent me.

Many people thought I was crazy for trying so hard to fill in the opposite games in my plan and others thought nothing of it. I felt like either people were feeling how I was or just figured that if they had tickets to that game then great, and if they didn't it wasn't a big deal. I don't regret driving myself crazy making sure I was there. I had the ticket for that game all along because it was in my ticket plan, so it was meant to be.

I can't say I will be doing the same when A-Rod gets closer because I just don't care that much. But for Derek Jeter, absolutely.

Want to crack the Ginter code?

Seems as though this year, there 2011 Allen and Ginter code cards are parallels. Thus making it more difficult for people to track down all the cards needed to crack the code.

This is far better than last year's debacle when collectors had to send an email to get a coded message. For the few that actually did this, it was pure accident. That shouldn't be the way to solve the code.

This auction is trying to get all of your hard-earned money to crack the code.

It's parallel of one of the cards in the penultimate set with a coded message on the back.

But as the seller says, don't message him for a scan of the back. Only the winner will see it.

How much do you really think someone is going to pay for that card? Is it really worth that much money?

Anyway, Ginter is out. Check out more on the product from the last post.

July 11, 2011

2011 Allen and Ginter hits the Bay ... whaddya think?

It's been a several weeks since we've had a fun baseball product to break. I enjoyed Gypsy Queen, but I feel like there is too long of a wait until the next product to hit.

Allen and Ginter is hit or miss at retail stores this weekend, but some people have already gotten their hands on cards.

There are some very pretty baseball products

Mickey Mantle Rip card
Robinson Cano rip card

To slightly more obscure cards

Fabulous Face Flocculence? ... Least there is a baseball related one with Brian Wilson.
Flora of the world - Black-eyed Susan

To the non-baseball card we have all come to cherish
Timothy Shieff auto
Jack LaLanne film relic
Hope Solo autograph

Happy Birthday Sooz!

Today is Suzy's birthday, so everyone should mail her their Derek Jeter cards.

Just kidding.

Not really.

Derek Jeter thought he would give Suzy an early birthday present by hitting a homerun for his 3,000th career hit.

Oh, and someone else has a "package" for your birthday.

Happy Birthday best friend/partner in crime.

July 10, 2011

Sunday Question

As most of you already know Derek Jeter became the 28th man in the 3,000 hit club on Saturday July, 9, 2011. I think Elias stated that out of every man who has played in the big leagues, statistically only 0.163 % (or something like that) ever reached that milestone.

As hard as it is to get to 3,000 hits, it is certainly a reachable goal if you are consistent day in and day out and stay healthy.

This week's question is in regard to the 3,000 hit club. I'm curious as to who everyone thinks will realistically get into this elite club. You can view the list of active hits leaders in MLB here to see if you think one of these guys will get there. My personal guess is that A-Rod will be the next guy to get into the club, however I don't think it will have the same appeal to fans as Jeter doing it.

I was at the game to see Jeter do it and plan to post my journey with Jeter soon.

P.S. If anyone wants a commemorative Jeter shirt, hat, pin, sticker, tissue, earplug, etc. Modells and Sports Authority have a ton of stuff, however I didn't see anything in Target.

July 8, 2011

Mike Trout gets the call

The Trout household had an exciting early morning on Friday when their son called to tell them he headed to the Majors. For his family and Trout's fans, this was a day many have waited for, but thought wouldn't come just yet.

Trout is still 19 - he turns 20 in a month.

Analysts tried to predict when the Angels would start the clock on him. September was the earliest most saw him coming up to the Majors. But injuries seemingly forced the Angels to bring him up now, before the All-Star Break. (Editor's note: I'll have more of this story for my newspaper tonight)

Before his debut tonight, I thought it would be fun to look at some of Mike Trout's baseball cards out there.

These are all prospect and minor league cards. I bet his Rookie Card shows up in Topps Update ... or they wait until next year to include him as a Rookie Card to soak up in the hype.

2010 Topps Pro Debut

 2010 Bowman Platinum autograph

 2009 Bowman Chrome autograph

 2009 Bowman Sterling autograph