May 28, 2010

Ladies and Gentleman...Your 2010 National League All Stars: The Philadelphia Phillies!

MLB voting for All Stars is a joke. Last year's teams were a sham, and this year is the worst yet. Just taking a look at the standings right now, I am embarrassed by the showings of the fans this year.

Take a look at the NL Team, as it stands:

C - Yadier Molina: Good. I suppose with McCann and Jean Martin off to relatively slow seasons, Yadier is probably the best choice. Defensively, he is an excellent catcher. He picked me off while I was in high school, while playing in the Cardinal's farm system.

1B - Albert Pujols: The man is a legend, but Joey Votto has been a little bit better this season. Whoever is hotter heading into the game is deserving of the honor. However, Joey does not even place in the top 5 among AL 1B as of right now.

2B - Chase Utley: Utley is having a good season so far, but Dan Uggla (as much as I despise him) is better right now. Equal in runs scored and steals (1!), Uggla is better in HR and RBI. Chase leads in BA by about .01, not enough to get him the call over Uggla.

3B - Placido Polanco: Leading by a good 80,000 votes, Placido is the worst of them all. He is doing good, with a solid 5HR, 21 RsBI and a .306 BA, but Casey McGehee, Mark Reynolds, Jorge Cantu, David Wright, Scott Rolen and Ryan Zimmerman have all had better seasons up to this point.

SS - Jimmy Rollins: Rollins came into 2010 on fire, and then got hurt. He has 41 ABs over 14 games played.

OF - Ryan Braun, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino: I agree with Braun and Werth. Werth is awesome, and should make the team for his beard alone. Braun is great, though .322 with 8HR and 32RsBI, he is the number 1 ranked OFer in fantasy sports (Yahoo) at this time. But Victorino? No way. The Flyin Hawaiian is off to a mediocre start at best. I could list all the OFers who are a better option, but I won't. Let's pick one at (not so) random: Andre Ethier. Guy's a freakin' god this season.

The American League isn't much better. Teixeira, barely managing to hit .210 this season will probably play 1B. No, this is not anti-Yankee, as I agree fully with Cano for 2B, as much as I hate the lackadaisical way he plays. Jeter seemingly shouldn't be SS starter, but there isn't much of a better option (maybe I'm missing someone? Oh yes, Jason Bartlett.)

What upsets my stomach is the Rangers (Sorry, Play at the Plate, BigD and others...).

Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, and most of all Taylor Teagarden have NO business going to Anaheim this July. Elvis Andrus, maybe. Nelson Cruz and Vlad: Definitely.

What it comes down to is ballot-box stuffing. Obviously Texas fans and Philadelphia fans have figured our how to manipulate the abomination that is MLB All-Star voting. It's an awful, awful system, and if MLB had any sense it would re-configure everything involving the system. 25 votes per person? Kill it. Home field advantage for World Series? Kill it. This is an exhibition game. Will the 2010 World Series participants want Mark Teixeira, Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino and Hideki Matsui playing for the advanatge? I know I sure wouldn't.

May 24, 2010

New Additions and a Bold Claim

First, the claim.
Give this maybe 2-3 months. I've been seeing a trend in conversation, facebook comments, news interviews and so on. First off, it was kind of funny. Then it was being taken slightly more seriously...

But here it is. By the end of the summer,

ascots will be IN.


Anyways. The extreme lack of new options (in the North) in baseball and hockey cards (the newest release up here is '10 Heritage Baseball.) has me doing pretty much nothing but sniffing around for some more trades and snapping up singles off of eBay. I did purchase a blaster of '09 T206 today, but it was a waste.

As many/none of you may know, I am working on putting together one of the hardest memorabilia sets of all time (seeded 1:288 pack back in the day); 2000 Metal Base Shredders. If you're unfamiliar with the cards, they're fully holo-foiled out game used base pieces of players who "shred the bases". And no, it does not mean fast players. Apparently it was a set more for hitters, and, well, Eric Munson.

For $2.24 Shipped, I picked up this beauty:
Big Mo Vaughn. Rumble, rumble, rumble. How sweet would a patch card be made from that jersey?

Next up, everyone's favorite 20-something who has not pitched in the Bigs for almost 2 full years, Dustin McGowan. The only reason McGowan is my #1 collecting interest is, well, Shaun Marcum's cards suck. Poor photos (except '06 UD), only 2 autos with a few variations, and pretty much allllll base cards. Just not worth the effort. Maybe if he wins 15 games this year that will all change.

First up, 2004 Bowman Autograph:
Not bad. But green? Maybe the Oakland cards looked good in '04.

Next, 2006 Topps Chrome Red Refractor s/n #30/90. Nice, rare, refractory goodness.
So that's red, blue and black complete for this rainbow. Still need base, refractor and xfractor. Doable.

And now, what you've all been waiting for.
My new favorite card.
All the glory of the CN Tower.
Bright eyed and bushy-tailed young Blue Jay form Georgia.
Oh, and inked:
What a glorious card.

**There is currently 0:35.8 second remaining in the Eastern Conference Finals. Mike Richards, the one player I would rather have on my team than ANY other NHL player, just set up a tap-in for Jeff Carter. This team is nasty, nasty, nasty. Chicago is gonna have a bit of a challenge on their hands.

May 20, 2010

Six pack of Awful

Ladies and Gentleman (Boys and Girls...)

I have recently opened the worst packs a Jays fan can possibly rip.

With a few minutes to burn before a movie Tuesday night (Shutter Island, if you're interested), We (myself and m'lady) decided to kill some minutes in the KMart in the neighboring strip mall. It was my first time at this particular "Target of the South", and in terms of prices it was amazing. Blasters marked down to $4.96 in some cases (but I avoided the UD Documentary set) and loose packs from 2008 gravity feeders (weird, right?) for a buck. Can't go wrong, right?


Things went very, very wrong.

I had four packs in my hand, and asked Sam if I should grab another. So she shuffled through the feeder, grabbing me another. I then grabbed a second "one last pack."

I "marked" the pack she picked out by tearing the top seam a bit. Just to see if he luck is really better than mine. It wasn't.

After about 10 minutes in line (with only two people in front of us) we ambled out to the parking lot to explore the goodies in the packs.

You may be getting to the anxious point of noticing that there are, in fact, NO PICTURES in this post. There is a reason for that.

And the reason is such:

6 Pack, 5 Cards Per Pack, for 30 cards.

Pack 1 (Samantha's Choice):
Curt Schilling
Hideki Matsui
Carl Yastrzemski
YSL Gil MacDougald
Dan Uggla Charcoal

Wow, that was painful. Maybe Samantha shouldn't be picking my packs.

Pack 2:
Don Mattingly. Hmm.
Jeter/Griffey/Ripken/Ichiro. Four players on one card is entirely too many.
Paul Konerko
YSL Whitey Ford. I manage to beat the odds and get one of these in about every pack.
Albert Pujols Charcoal. Okay, that one is nice.

Noticing a trend yet?

Pack 3:
Scott Rolen. So Jays DO exist in UD products? No shit.
Carlos Lee
Kelly Johnson
Nick Markakis
Goddammit. Jacoby Ellsbury Charcoal.

This was the best pack of the all. Seriously.

Pack 4:
Matt Kemp
Ryan Zimmerman
Eddie Murray/Prince Fielder
John Lackey
Griffey/Clemente/Guerrero/DiMaggio Charcoal (They just HAD to add a Yengwe to this one)

Pack 5:
Mike Schmidt
Joba Chamberlain
Justin Verlander
Daric Barton
Howie Kendrick Charcoal

OK, Only one Yankee, but unmemorable at best.

Pack 6:
Ryan Theriot
Bo Knows Jackson
Ugh. Manny Ramirez...
YSL The Boggs Head...
Dave Winfield (NYY) Charcoal.

In case you've missed the glaring disdain I have for the collation of these's the rub:

9 New York Yankees
4 Red Sox
2 Angels
1 each of Phillies, A's, Tigers, White Sox, Marlins...etc...

I am debating whether to email Upper Deck or just put all in cards back in an envelope with the receipt and place it in a flaming bag of dog shit on their stoop. These packs were a disgrace to our game and hobby.

May 19, 2010

Custom Contest

Over at Hey, That's Mine!

Neat lil' blog. Checker out.

May 17, 2010

Please Help: 2004 Donruss Studio

Sometimes a set comes a long that just gets you. People collect sets - birth year sets, first year favorite player sets, favorite team World Series Champion sets. When I decide which cards I like I can rarely use my favorite team as a representation. Mainly because the Jays, aside from the 80's and about 1990-1993, are extremely underproduced in sets, not only as base cards, but in inserts, relics, autographs. Maybe it's the Canada thing. It doesn't matter.

Especially with this set.

2004 Donruss Studio is my favorite set off all time visually. Yes, all time. Sorry, Topps 206, 1995 Topps, 1986 Topps and yes, 2010 Bowman (I usually hate Bowman, but love this year's design). It's simple. The shots are all poses, as was the status quo with Studio back in the day.

The design? A simple holo-logo in the upper left. A team logo (I need team logos) in the bottom right, along a film strip line, with the player's name in white. Simple. Unpretentious. But what makes the cards are the backgrounds. The players are placed on a stunning backdrop of their team's city's dusk. In years before Studio showed vague, off-angled shots of the stadium, and in latter years blurred and faded the city skylines into one colour with borders. Both of these designs I enjoy, but nothing comes close to 2004.

I mean, seriously...even the Yankees look great in this set:

2004 Studio Proofs Gold #135 - Hideki Matsui/50 - Courtesy of

The above is Hideki Matsui's Gold Proof Parallel. #/50.

Now I am sure there was some PhotoShopping going on in some of the skyline shots in this set.
Some, like this Chutley; the sky is actually pretty well lit, while the city lights just seem to be turned on for the night:

2004 Studio #251 - Chase Utley - Courtesy of

Even with LA Looks cover boy Chase (ultimate douche name grand prize winner), these cards still look great.

One disappointment I have with the set, in terms of background; is Boston's:

2004 Studio #226 - Abe Alvarez XRC (Rookie Card) - Courtesy of

...and Abe Alverez is my segue into my other complaint: Checklist.

The autographs are bad, bad, bad. With the exception of these bad boys:

2004 Studio Private Signings Gold #154 - Ryan Howard/100 - Courtesy of

2004 Studio Private Signings Silver #97 - Carlos Beltran/50 - Courtesy of

As (none/many/who cares) you may know, I am not a Ryan Howard fan. At all. And with the price of that card ($60 on COMC), it may deter me from completing the set eventually. However, I love me some Carlos Beltran in the Royals uni, so that one is a must have. Other than the previous two, not many of the signers have made it in the bigs. However, my main man Dustin McGowan is featured as a rookie auto. I scored that card off eBay for $1.75 last night. You'll see it soon. Other "names" in the auto set include Abe Alverez, Chris Shelton, Michael Hessman, Ryan Wagner, Joey Gathright (check this out), Jay Payton, Carlos Hines, Mike Gosling, Casey Daigle///and it just gets more obscure from there. Oh, and as his friend know him: "EL MAYO"

2004 Studio Private Signings Gold #168 - Merkin Valdez/100 - Courtesy of

My affinity for this set mainly lies within the base and the "Private Signings" autographs. The inserts, as Donruss is famous for, are forgettable. Behold:

2004 Studio Big League Challenge Die Cut #9 - Albert Pujols Bat Up/500 - Courtesy of

2004 Studio Game Day Souvenirs Number #14 - Pedro Martinez Jsy/300 - Courtesy of


2004 Studio Stars Gold #38 - Mike Mussina/100 - Courtesy of

More horizontal? Really?

2004 Studio Heritage #5 - Roberto Clemente/999 - Courtesy of

Oh. Spoke too soon...(there are random legends in this set, including a Gary Carter Private Signings.)

2004 Studio Masterstrokes Material Bat #24 - Sammy Sosa/200 - Courtesy of

Ehh. More horizontal. Corked bats...blech.

But it gets worse. Possibly the worst designed jersey card set ever:

2004 Studio Players Collection Jersey #12 - C.C. Sabathia/150 - Courtesy of

There's more, but some of the inserts are not even worth pining over. Some are "die-cut" (their edges are...rounded. That's it.) But none are necessary. They're also exceptionally rare, which is more of a good thing.

But, with all sets, there's usually something to dislike; and although the inserts are dreadful and the autographs are mediocre at best, we still have some stunning base cards:

2004 Studio #269 - Milton Bradley - Courtesy of

2004 Studio Proofs Gold #197 - Guillermo Quiroz/50 - Courtesy of

2004 Studio Proofs Silver #68 - Clint Barmes/100 - Courtesy of

2004 Studio #178 - Albert Pujols - Courtesy of

Pretty good one to end on, eh?

Anyways. I want all of these, but I simply cannot find any reasonably priced boxes. If you have any, let me know. I'm interested.

May 14, 2010

Friday Rock Out: The Strokes

This isn't the best video for a Friday Rock Out, because nothing really happened last night except a decent thunderstorm. But enjoy it anyways, it's rock solid.

May 13, 2010

Royal Court of Beltran


I have just been handed an urgent and disturbing news bulletin.

CF Carlos Beltran has been cleared to begin jogging and participating in light baseball activities.

Urgent, no. Disturbing, only to Mets fans. The $118 Million man can finally resume baseball...ish activites. With a brace on his knee.

This is a poor segue into the post I intended, but when a Ron Burgundy quote is handed to you, you smile and compliment the moustache.

When Carlos Beltran was on the Royals, I was very much into collecting cards. I was young and enjoyed shiny/hologrammy/embossed cards, and 98-03 was a great time for flashy, tasteless, dare I say - Japanesish cards.

At the time, I was pulling Beltran cards like they were Yankees. Now, they're just Yankees. Blech.

So I started collecting Carlos. He then went on to Houston and New York; and somewhere in between aliens captured Carlos, and destroyed the cartiledge and tendons and whatnot and crippled him out of baseball shape.

Here are some Carlos cards I enjoy:

2000 Topps Chrome
New Millenium Stars #NMS6

One pack of buckshot Topps Chrome netted me this insert and my first ever refractor.
It is still one of my favorite packs of all time. (The refractor was Ryan Rupe, Hoorah!)

2003 Upper Deck Ovation
Standing "O" #S-35

This card is shaped like a baseball. It has taken everything in my power
to not come out with an "O Face" joke. And for once, self control triumphs.

2003 Victory #39
I loved this set. I never had to worry about UD quality control touching
my sharp edges...and messin 'em up.

2001 Bowman's Best #36

This card scanned to a nuclear yellow. For those of you unfamiliar with Bowman's Best '01,
the cards all have a refractor finish and slight texture. The blue behind Carlos is, for lack
of a better word, ribbed (for, yes, my pleasure) and the circular lines are indented. Also kind of
rough behind the nameplate. Very over the top, and necessary.

2000 Topps Tek
#17, Variation 1

Topps: "I got an idea. Let's make a card...out of plastic. Print close to 30 background parallels
of each card...use terrible photos, make it transparent...with holofoil on both sides...and
hell let's give 'em that awful digital serial numbering."

Whoever said that, I thank them. Long live Topps Tek.

"O. O. You know what I'm talking about. O."

May 12, 2010

Bowman 2010 Strasburg Watch: May

Average Cost of Cards Sold on EBay May 11/12, 2010

Bowman Base Card: $6.05
Bowman Chrome Base Card: $22.33
Bowman Chrome Refractor: $59.99
Bowman Autograph Blue: $465.00
Bowman Chrome Refractor Auto: $No Data
Bowman Blue Parallel: $27.50

Stay Tuned for second report on or around June 10-14.
This didn't take a whole lot of effort, so I might just start going every week or every other week.
Also, I am fully expecting the amount of listings to blow within the next few weeks.

May 11, 2010

A New Project at APC

It's the Stephen Strasburg Rookie Card watch!

Today is May 11, 2010; and 2010 Bowman is LIVE.

As you may know, some hot shot young buck in the Warshington Nationals organization is included in this set.

As is often the case with Bowman rookie cards, and almost all cards these days; their values peak at release. I completely expect this to happen with Strasburg (except for when he throws a no-hitter versus the Pirates, eventually; and inevitably gets signed by the Yankees or Red Sox.)

So here is my plan.

His cards will be all over eBay, so every 11th day of every month, I will write up a short post on the going prices of his singles on eBay. I will use the following 5 cards:

Bowman Flagship Base
Bowman Chrome Base
Bowman Chrome Refractor
Bowman Flagship Autograph
Bowman Chrome Refractor Autograph

I will post again later with results for the cards which I am currently watching.

MLB's G20 Stunt: Safety or Fiscal Opportunity?

It's official, MLB relocates Blue Jays June 25-27 series against the Phillies to Philadelphia due to G20 summit. More on soon. 22 minutes ago

-Jordan Bastian Twitter Feed

The suspense it over. Major League Baseball has officially moved the 6/25-27 series in Toronto with the Philadelphia Phillies to Philadelphia, in response to heightened security for the looming G20 summit.

So far this year, Toronto is struggling with attendance. With Canada being hit harder, and recovering slower from the recession, the Blue Jays now rank 29th in average attendance.

The Blue Jays now have three more home games subtracted from their schedule. The three games in which Toronto was looking for their highest attendance of the year, with many fans buying tickets ahead of time for all three games in anticipation of the return of the son of Toronto, Roy Halladay.

The fans were not going to go to boo.
They weren't going to pick fights with scrawny, foul-mouthed Philly fans making the trek to Toronto.

Roy's fans were coming out for one more chance to see the Good Doctor dominate once again at Rogers Centre, even if it was against their own team.

There are, however, two winners in this decision. Major League Baseball and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Major League Baseball gets what it wants: three guaranteed weekend sellouts just as the season begins to heat up. Merchandise sales will rocket in Philadelphia, as the fans, dying to run on the their field in Halladay jerseys and tees, will spend.

Philadelphia, well it's a no brainer. They get to pad their ridiculous lineup even more with a DH.

What does Toronto get? The last at-bat. "A home game" according to MLB.

Questions arise. Is this truly a safety stunt? I doubt it. To me, this is a money grab for Major League Baseball. They are the real winners.

All this does is further hurt baseball in an amazing city.