Grande Contest: Trevor Hoffman

As many of you know Grand Moff Nachos is having a blogging contest. Me, not having the skills of a scribe, unwisely entered. My first entry tried to even the odds by (badly) using a limerick to offset the lack of linguistic skills.

When the next challenge was presented and the gauntlet stuck the face, I was again behind the eight ball. My first thought was, WWNOD (What would night owl do?). He would undoubtedly pull out some really interesting cards relating to this shot, or Trevor and tell us a story worthy of Vin Scully and Farmer Johns hot dogs. That my friends, is not in the realm of possibility here.  Even if I liked Vin Scully.

I though about spoofing this card, and presenting other Padre cards in the set and telling the story about how Mr. Hoffman captured the shot. This never happened.

I thought about writing about how Trevor Hoffman and Randy Johnson should shoot a McDonalds commercial reminiscent of Jordan/Bird "Nothing but net". Perhaps, "Roof top, telephoto, beach shot....nothing but moon light"

In the end, I thought I would simply provide a "pick your caption" poll.

Best Caption
pollcode.com free polls 

Contest post for Nachos Grande's blog


Grande Contest - Danny Young

Danny a young deputy of the law
whose intelligence won't leave you in awe.
Has earn the trust of many
but having worked for Lennie
Said, "Great now the Police will look at Moi"

Contest post for Nachos Grande's blog


EBay Addition: Juan Pierre

The last card I picked up on the three card EBay purchase was Juan Pierre. Yes, Juan Pierre, the subject of my latest TTM success. The very day after I had purchased this lot, I received Mr. Pierre's TTM success in the mail.

Now, I am not sure what to do with this card. I know that there are people out there that may want this card, but how to part with it. I could trade it, but two things stop me. One, it is an EBay signature. I am fine with not knowing how authentic it is, but others may not be. Two, I would want to trade it for another Signed 2008 Allen and Ginter card, and how many people have those laying around waiting for trade bait.

I am favoring a contest, but the creative contest juices are not flowing. I was holding off on this post until such a time that I would have a fantastic contest all planned out, but it was taking too long.

So stay tuned for the up coming contest.


EBay Addition: Chone Figgins

The second card in the Ebay lot, was Chone Figgins. I remember Figgins from his time with the Angels. Another great addition to the collection.


EBay Addition: J.R. Towles

I just picked up three more Signed 2008 Allen and Ginter cards for our collection off of EBay. The first card I will show is J.R. Towles. The seller had two of these cards, one in red ink and one in black. I really liked how the red ink looked and the sharpness of the autograph so I chose this one.


TTM Return First of 2012

After a long wait, the first TTM Return of 2012 arrives. This one is from Juan Pierre. He added a biblical chapter, Psalms 37. I would paraphrase the chapter, but I will allow those who are interested to check it out on their own. Like most of the Psalms, it is a nice read.

This return originally was sent to the White Sox, and came back "return to sender". So the speed of return is misleading.

Thanks Juan!


First signs of Ginter - Pack 3

I am just going to wrap up here. This is the last pack I picked up in my first Ginter purchase of 2012. My first pack already produced my first Diamondback for the set. Future purchases has continued to be as kind in that respect.

Aroldis Chapman - Base - 70
Matt Joyce - Base - 83

Al Unser, Sr. - Base - 237
Jayson Werth - Short Print - 302

Jose Valverde - Base - 151

Austin Jackson - Black Bordered Mini - 238

Like others, I am not a fan of the new black bordered mini designs. They do scan nice, but they need to have a more defined or solid edge. After it was all said and done, I really like this years set and I will attempt to complete it. I also want to get all of the Diamondback relics and autos, and maybe the Angels as well.


First Signs of Ginter Pack 2

Moving on the the first retail pack. Also, I will acknowledge that this is very "late to the party", and not filled with "uber hits". That however will not stop me from sharing. I would have said, "slow me down" but I can't have been much slower.

Joe Benson - Base - 144
Derek Jeter - Base - 274

Zach Britton - Base - 63
Willis Tower - World's Tallest Buildings - WTB4
Derek Jeter - What's in a name - WIN52

Igor Stravinsky - Musical Masters Mini - MM14

I am not a huge fan of the "What's in a name" inserts, they feel like they just lack something. The "world's Tallest Buildings" are not bad, but I think my favorite inserts this year will be the "Historical Turning Points".  I really like the Mini's this year, "Musical Masters", "Man's Best Friend, "People of the Bible", and "Giants of the Deep". Too bad I haven't found a good way to store the minis with out using binders.


First Signs of Ginter Pack 1

This post has been waiting to be written for a while. The scans were scanned, edited, and uploaded, but the writing of it was a long time coming.

I had seen people busting packs and boxes of Ginter this year but my local Target was slow getting the product. I checked each morning before heading in to work and finally I was rewarded. I actually got there before the pack searchers (ran into him the following day). I grabbed one rack pack, and two regular retail packs.

I grabbed the rack pack because I noticed a Diamondback cap on one of the front cards. I will show this pack first
Daniel Hudson - Base - 132

Hunter Pence - Base - 26

Erick Aybar - Base - 127

Brett Pill - Base - 192

Jon Lester - What's in a name - WIN70

Josh Johnson - Base Mini - 43

I love the design this year. I saw that others had mentioned that they look better in person than in the scans. They are correct, the scan can make the borders look a little overwhelming. In my opinion, this years Ginter design is one of the bests, ranking up there with 2006-2008. I was very happy with the score coming from the top of the rack pack. Love the Hudson, getting a Diamondback as my first card of 2012 Ginter was a perfect way to start.

J.J. Hardy - Base - 194

Ryan Vogelsong - Base - 152

Jackie Robinson - Base - 31

Kyle Farnsworth - Short Print - 304
40 Wall Street - World's Tallest Buildings - WTB8
Kurt Suzuki - Base Mini - 69

All in all, a nice start to my 2012 Ginter experience. The Jackie Robinson, was by far my favorite. That and the Hudson card made my extremely satisfied with my first pack opening.


Ebay Pickups - Hudson, and Olympic goodness

I haven't had much time to do much of anything in the way of this blog recently. No cards going out for TTM, no trades, not even a blog post about not posting. What I have found time for was to browse EBay looking for a good deal. Here are a couple pickups that I got for a song (and if you ever heard me sing, the reward is to STOP singing)

2012 Topps U.S. Olympic Team & Olympic Hopefuls
Mary Whipple - OR-MW

2011 Topps Marquee - Acclaimed Impressions
Daniel Hudson - Dual Relic Auto 224/400 - AID-46

2011 Topps Gypsy Queen
Daniel Hudson - GQA-DH


Angels at home

I didn't plan on writing this post. It is a follow up on my last offering, taking my sons to the ballpark. I had mentioned how the sensory experience was overwhelming and put out the question, "How do you turn down the sensory volume of the ballpark to manageable levels?"

The following weekend after the Father's day Angel's game, we "attended" another baseball game. It was the Angels vs the Dodgers. This time we attended at home. The theory was to get the kids used to the different elements of the ballpark at home in comfort. Hopefully making the experience a little more familiar and eliminating the unexpected.

First we set the scene. We had a row of fans behind us (stuffed animals lined up, on top of the couch). We also had a row of fans in front of us (more animals lined up on the floor). The boys got ready, dressed in full Angels gear. The hats and t-shirts that were purchased the weekend before were now worn and both boys had their baseball mitts.

We played out the scenes. First arriving at the parking lot, or as reality would believe: started in a back bed room. Gave tickets to a park employee, then climbed a couple flights of imaginary stairs to finally arrive at our seats. The stadium seating was so tight, we had to turn side ways and shuffle down the couch to our seats, apologizing to the poor bear that had to get up to let us pass. Side note, I think he actually got bumped and fell to the field level. He was cool about it though, actually he didn't say a thing.

When the game broadcast started I had to get up and stand in line getting hotdogs. Reality looked more like me heading to kitchen to make two hotdogs and wrap them in foil. Both boys where really into it for the first inning, but then it started to turn south. The oldest continued to stay in the atmosphere, even adding his own play acting in there. A couple fans in the front row apparently were Dodger fans and cheered loudly when the Dodgers scored. The younger one however started to find this exercise as a reminder that he was NOT at the game. He lasted longer at the park, than he did at home. He constantly asked to go, "There!" pointing at the television. I am hoping to get a couple more of these "games" in before attempting another Big "A" outing.

I must say that the food and the parking was much cheaper this way though. Although, they did plow through so many snacks they almost had "tummy-aches".


Taking an Autistic Child to a ballgame.

I am not sure if I mentioned it before, but both of my children have "high functioning" autism. What does this mean? My kids are different. Every parent learns about their children. Who they are. What they like. What their weaknesses are. One of the many "road blocks' that our children face when going out and experiencing different things is sensory. There are other issues as well, but sensory plays a major role. Sounds are experienced louder, lights are brighter, the world is an assault on the senses. Our kiddos have a difficult time filtering out and managing all of the world's inputs. A small example was my oldest son used to run back in the house because a leaf sliding across the side walk frightened him.

On fathers day we took our boys to the big "A" to see the Angels and the Diamondbacks. My oldest has been to a couple of games and is now alright in the atmosphere. He started with an Angels game a couple years ago, lasting 2 innings. His last game was a Dodgers game with my parents and he lasted the whole game and had the time of his life.

This was my youngest son's first real game. He was really excited. He talks about the Diamondbacks and Angels, how he wants to hit like they do. He watches on television, and tries to keep track of balls and strikes. He is more interested than his brother actually.

We got to the game and it started to look like it was going to be difficult. I may simply be an over protective parent but I am already analyzing the atmosphere looking for warning signs. First it was hot. Not bad, and normally it would be considered the perfect baseball weather. For our situation, the heat has the possibility to breed crankiness. Next, we have crowds. Again, it is to be expected but the more people their are, the more possibilities to overwhelm our kids. The typical summer ballpark experience. It was a perfect setting for a baseball game, but for our youngest it was already as much as he can handle.

We found our seats, already the second inning, and got the kids comfortable. The noise level was starting to get to our boys. The oldest tolerated it, he was watching the Diamondbacks and the Angels! He was trying to focus on who was who, he was filtering out the crowd perfectly. Such a big victory from where he started. The youngest was getting agitated, but nothing Cheez-it's can't fix.

This story has gotten much longer than I expected, so I will try to wrap it up here. The key inning came in 4th. Pujols did what the Angels would like him to do and took Ian Kennedy deep. As my youngest would later discribe, "people were TOO crazy." The crowd cheered as to be expected, and fireworks exploded "without warning", and my son was done. I looked over to see my wife holding his ears and bear hugging him.

He wanted to leave instantly. If it wasn't for my oldest, we would have. Instead I took him by the hand and we walked. Whenever we go out, my job is the "walker". I have seen every inch of our local movie theater. I have got great looks at the Staple Center halls, Chase Field, and Angel Stadium. This only worked for another inning and we had to leave. We stopped at the Team store and my sons got decked out in Angel T-Shirts and Hats. My oldest got a "rally monkey" and my youngest got a souvenir bat.

Post game wrap up

An exhausted family heads home. My oldest son had a blast, my youngest son passed out and looked like he had a miserable time.

That night I found out I was wrong. My youngest had a great time. He is begging to go back. The positives out weighed the negatives.

It leaves me with a mission. How to keep providing him with the experience he wants, but to help mitigate the sensory issues that overwhelm him?

After doing some quick research online I was surprised to find that the Mets seem to be leading the way here.

First they are considering a 'Quiet section' for families with autistic kids. I am not sure the details, but the conversation is started.

Secondly, the Mets also have a social story in PDF form to help kids to prepare for the ballgame. Teaches them in photos, and in a child friendly story, each step they will encounter before they even get there. The PDF can be found here. Originally published on the Mets website.

I am looking into other teams, but I haven't found this type of dedication as with what the Mets have provided. Thank you New York Mets, wish I lived closer to take advantage of it.


EBay Addition: Brendan Harris

The second card I received from EBay along with Brian Bass, was Brendan Harris. This is a pretty nice looking signature, I am especially fond of the "23" inscription". Glad to add Mr. Harris to our collection.

EBay Addition: Brian Bass

I received two more 2008 Ginter Autographs from EBay today. The first of them is Brian Bass. A couple days ago I got a response back from Jim Thome that I sent c/o the Phillies. Like the other two attempts I had sent a couple years ago I got back a letter and a post card. I will try to send another attempt but not to the stadium.


EBay Addition: Jeff Francis

I have avoided EBay purchases as a way of building the collection for a long time. I think that having crossed the line once with Granderson and a second time with Smith, that I have lost the battle on it. I believe that I have one or two more of these EBay additions coming.

Glad to add Jeff's to our collection.


Hobby & Collecting: Workspace and Man-Caves

Last week I got caught up looking at different examples of individuals collections and how they displayed them. Ultimately it ended up as research into how to set up a room dedicated to my hobby. Currently I have no room, I have a computer setup in the corner of our bedroom. My collection has no room to sit, they are in the closet or the garage. So this was much more of a daydream then planning.

It got me thinking though, how do others do it. Nachos Grande beat me to the punch though, with his piece, "How do you organize". I thought I would show five of the better collections, hobby rooms, and man-caves I found.

1. Little Cooperstown

This example, is not obtainable for me anyway. Well, not with out a tremendous change of life dedication.  I first saw this collection through this video.

There is a website for Little Cooperstown, http://www.littlecooperstown.com/. This video was one of the first examples I saw, and it led me on the journey to research how collections are organized and displayed. I will never get to this level of awesome, but it does get the blood moving does it not? 

2. PuffBear359's Card Room

This room was amazing in it's workability. It has a good mix of organization, display, and work space. Again, I do not have the scope to rival this collection but it does give a lot of room to grow. This really showed me that my collection was not a waste, it just needs a better home. I have seen those card frames in the store before, but this gave me a perspective on how they can be used. In the store they didn't appeal to me, but here they work. 

3. tenman321: My Mancave

This was where "Man-cave" started to creep into the picture. Where PuffBear359 focused toward work-space, tenman321 leans toward display. This room leans more toward relaxing and unwinding. If I didn't have space before, I obviously don't have the space for this. You can understand why this fascinates me. 

4.  Stan Tanona's Ginter Collectin (2006 A&G)

This one I have to add. Not for it's room, but this collection originally inspired my attempt to collect all of 2008 Allen and Ginter. I thought if I aimed high enough, I would have a great collection even if I missed.

5. DIY Fantasy Football Man-cave

The last one is pretty much all man-cave. It has a lot of great ideas that can be modified to fit more or less what I like and do. But, it is a DIY assisted man-cave, so it is a dream.

So, having said all of this, what do you guys have or want to build in the future. Or do you have other examples to share?


Return to the card shop

I had to run a couple errands today, and realized I end up near a card shop. I went a little out of my way, but I arrived just after opening. My goal was to pick up a couple packs of penny sleeves, and some 2008 Allen and Ginter packs or singles. I am running a bit low in some cards due to not getting them back, so I thought I would 'fill up' so to speak.

After getting there, I discovered that they didn't have any '08 Ginter, packs or singles. I did however grab a couple packs of 2012 Topps Heritage, and a Pack of 2012 U.S. Olympic Team & Olympic Hopefuls. Thanks a lot by the way, bloggers, for getting me hooked on those. You know who you are, not pointing any fingers though.

I decided to pay via PayPal, since I had a couple bucks on the account, but it ended up being a hassle. While wait for the charge to approve, I noticed a card needing rescuing from the display case counter. It was a Paul Goldschmidt auto, surrounded by over-priced Dodger and Bryce Harper auto cards. This card was forced to sit with a 5 spot price tag, next to these other cards that either by hype or region looked down on it from their inflated value status. I quickly got the attention of another employee and paid the five dollar cash bail for our new friend, and gave him a good home.


After surfing around the web, I have discovered that I should have looked closer. The card I picked up was not an auto, and the 5 dollar price tag was just as elevated as the other cards. Never go to the grocery store hungery and don't buy at a card shop in too much haste.

2011 Bowman Chrome
Paul Goldschmidt - BCP99

*disclaimer* My dislike for the Dodgers is a personal opinion that I hold for myself only. I know many Dodger fans, and some that I even like.

After getting back to my car and opening my packs, I found this beauty.

2012 Topps U.S. Olympic Team & Olympic Hopefuls
Abby Wambach - OR-AW


Sending cards 2012 - Round Four

Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira is not a player I follow, but it is hard to not know who he is. Now with the New York Yankees, he has put time it with the: Rangers, Braves, and Angels. He and his wife started The Mark Teixeira Charitable Fund, through which he has done a lot of good things to help the community. Yearly Scholarships,  helped build "a permanent home for the DREAM Charter School." (facebook page), and helped the Harlem RBI organization with funding.

Tim Lincecum

I believe I have sent to Timmy before, but it doesn't hurt to try again. Lincecum hasn't been the same frightening pitcher in the last couple years, and despite being a Diamondback fan with my eggs in another basket, I hope he can make his adjustments to get back to form. Tim has always struck me as a "David" in a "David and Goliath" situation. He looks so young and casual, almost an opposite to the one-time teammate Randy Johnson. When he started slumping, I was surprised to find myself really pulling for the guy. Get well soon, "freak".

Ian Kinsler

Mr. Kinsler has played with the Rangers for his entire career (6 years). I did enjoy hearing about his strong Jewish faith, and how difficult a decision he may have in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The Haaretz has an article where he was quoted in regard to possibly playing for Israel, "I would be happy to play for Team Israel," but he followed it up with, "The truth is that if a proposal comes from team USA to play for them, I will have a very difficult decision to make." This stood out for two reasons. One, I love seeing someone who is living a life of faith with honesty no matter what religion it is or if I personally believe that way myself. Secondly, I love seeing patriotism in others. This hit both. Good luck to you sir.

Brian McCann

Brian McCann is another single team player, putting in seven years with the Braves. Brian and his wife are actively supporting The Rally Foundation and the Rally Kids. His personally story is on his website. The Rally Kids are children who are facing and fighting childhood cancer. They give faces and stories behind the numbers. McCann directs his charitable work to these kids and the organization, as well as visits the children in the hospital when he can.

Rick Ankiel

Wow, Rick has been someone that I "pop" in on every so often to see how he is doing. By that I mean I keep tabs on him in box scores, stories and game recaps. Not so much home visits or phone calls. It is fascinating to me that he went from pitching at the highest level, to reinventing himself to become a position player back at the "show". To me, it is not only the position change, but to be good at both positions that you can make a valuable contribution to a team at a major league level. He is like a one sport "Bo Jackson". By itself that last sentence sounds really stupid (and I am cutting myself a break by adding the "by itself" qualifier)