Friday, May 30, 2014

Introducing the A&G Relic Exchange - FREE CONTEST!

In my ongoing attempt to "find" myself as a collector, I've found that I still like relic cards. No set does a better job year in and year out with relics than Topps Allen & Ginter. My love for relics inspired me to create the:
Allen & Ginter Relic Exchange Program

Click that link and check it out before reading on...

Have you read it yet?

Okay, I'm sure you read it, so let's get down to the reason you're here...


This contest will be a simple lottery-style drawing. 

Grand Prize: A 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Blaster Box
2nd Prize: Your choice of any A&G relic from the exchange database
3rd Prize: Same as 2nd prize, but 2nd gets to choose first

You can earn entries to the contest in several ways:

  • 1 Entry: Comment on this post letting me know which A&G relic currently in the database is your favorite.
  • 1 Entry: Pimp this contest in a blog post by Monday, June 2nd 2014. Leave a link to the post in the comment section.
  • Infinite Entries: Every A&G relic you send me for the program by June 14th will earn you an extra entry.
The winners will be randomized the weekend of June 14th or shortly thereafter. The grand prize will be delivered when 2014 A&G is released. That's supposed to be July, but knowing Topps, it could be August. Good luck!

Entries Update 6/16 Morning:
Play at the Plate - 1
The Lost Collector - 1
Tony L - 2
Roger - 4
Al Kawamoto - 1
Alex Markle - 1
Captain Canuck - 1
Stealing Home - 1
Caitlin - 2
Night Owl - 1
The Junior Junkie - 1
Mark Hoyle - 1
Sarah - 1
Jeffrey Guinn - 1
Greg Zakwin - 2
Sports Card Collectors - 2
mrblu1976 - 1
supertom - 1
petethan - 1
Marcus - 1
Nick - 1
Hackenbush - 1
JJ Hernandez - 1
Corky - 2
JediJeff - 1
jacobmrley - 2
Wilson - 1
Kyle Wong - 1
John Hazen - 1
Dan Jensen - 1
musicfan87 - 1
Red Cardboard - 1
My Cardboard Habit - 7

Thursday, May 29, 2014


I've always heard Omaha was a nice place. Though I live in the state underneath it, I've only been to Nebraska once in my life intentionally and one other time on the way to South Dakota. Mostly I hate Nebraska. Northern Kansas is gorgeous and green, but the second you cross into Nebraska everything looks dead. Except Omaha, or so I'm told. You don't have to take my word for it though...

That's Justin Maxwell and Mike Moustakas enjoying their AAA demotion by spending some quality time at the go-cart track. Moose infamously told reporters in the Spring of 2013 that he refuses to watch film of his at-bats, so what better way to kill time? I've heard there's also a zoo or something.

There is one really cool thing about Omaha. There used to be two, but they tore the second one down.

No, I wasn't talking about the Omaha Zoo.
Thankfully Omaha has held onto the College World Series which is set to begin in just a couple of weeks.

Someday I'll get my lazy ass up to Omaha to see it in person so I can finally call myself a baseball fan. In the meantime, I'll be celebrating it by playing Autographed Cards' College World Series Contest! You should too. It's basically a pick'em contest for some sweet prizes. Head on over and check it out... unless you're too busy riding gocarts, in which case I completely understand.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Mail Day When I Needed it the Most

Mail days are awesome. They're something I take for granted and don't post enough. Today I'll be burying my best friend, but more importantly I'll be celebrating his life. After going 48 hours without being able to sleep, I happily greeted the mailmen yesterday afternoon. That guy always seems to cheer me up, he brings the nicest things!

Such as this Ebay steal:

I'm not a Brewers collector, so it's up for trade. I don't need a lot in return, it was a late-night impulse buy because the price was too good to pass up. There's a patch in the upper left square and the beginnings of one in the upper right. The upper left patch is pretty distinctive, so points to whoever can guess where it came from on the jersey. I haven't figured it out yet.

Why can't all mem cards have real card backs like this? I don't need the "CONGRATULATIONS!" text anymore, just sweeten the package by making it feel like a real card. Thanks Topps for getting this one right.

Remember when I posted earlier this week about the beat up Justin Upton parallel in that Fairfield 250-Card Repack Cube from Target? Someone on Twitter told me I should contact Fairfield about it. I sent a friendly email saying I love their repacks but was disappointed to see the best card ruined. Well, yesterday the bad below showed up from Excel Distribution. I think they more than made up for it.

Or at least I thought they more than made up for it... until I flipped it over and saw this.

Yeah Pete, that was my face too. I don't know what kind of statement this makes. Either Pete Rose autographs are worth nothing now or the Fairfield Company is the most generous corporation ever. There's a little truth to #1, but I'm leaning towards #2. On a day where kindness was apt to catch me off guard, Fairfield knocked me on my ass. 

Speaking of being knocked down from kindness, Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown sent me a ton of 2014 Gypsy Queen Minis I need for my set. Guys, I know you didn't like GQ and I know you bought some anyways, so just unload those cards you detest on me! I'll make it worth your while... *winky face* 

On Tuesday evening I entered a Royals Bowman group break because I the bidding was (comparatively) low. I didn't expect to win with my usually low-ball bid... but I did! I didn't watch the break (I got a little distracted by some bad news) but I happily opened the package yesterday afternoon. Bataboom batabing! 

That's right, a BLUE BORDER BEAUTY ROYALS AUTOGRAPH of one of my favorite prospects! This thing shines like no other in person. Well... there is one other card it shines like...

WHAT THE WHAT THE WHAT THE YES! The grrrrrrrrreatest (non-HOF) card in my PC now is this Yordano Ventura autographed blue refractor RC /150. Holy smokes. It's jaw dropping. My hands were shaking. Talk about having a mail day!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pledging Allegiance to a New Team

Editor's Note (the editor is also the writer, is also the designer and is all the same person): Wow. Yesterday was extremely overwhelming. I tried to sneak a post in early in the morning, not expecting or asking for attention, but the blogosphere blew my mind. The support you guys offered... the comments and understanding, it was too much. It means the world to me to know that there are so many people out there who have never met me, yet cared enough to read about my friend and comfort me. When I started this blog I was just hoping to meet a few trade partners. I had no idea I'd meet so many great people that I could call friend. Thank you guys, it means so much!

If you follow me on Twitter, you know how frustrated I am as a Royals fan. Enough is enough. While KC has fluttered around .500 it hasn't been enough to keep me happy. Watching a mismanaged dismal offense (27th in OPS, last in HR's with a team total of 20) doesn't excite me enough to care on nights when James Shields or Yordano Ventura aren't pitching. A 4 AM insomnia internet search introduced me to my new love, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

Japan is still all for using sex to sell things... no complaints.

Why the Rakuten Eagles? Well they're the only team with an English language radio broadcast that can be found online. I synced that up with a stream from Justin.TV and had more fun watching baseball than I have in quite a while. Here's a breakdown of their roster and some players you should already know or should get to know.

The Eagles added John Bowker in the offseason as a backup OF/1B. Bowker made it to the majors with San Francisco in 2008 and spent time with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia before traveling overseas in 2012 to play for the Yomiuri Giants.

Andruw Jones, the former 10x Gold Glove winning, home run smacking silver slugger is a shell of his former self. You probably already knew that though. 

Jones signed with Rakuten last season after bouncing around the majors for a few years. He's not nearly as mobile as he used to be and is almost exclusively a DH unless there's an interleague game, in which he plays a terrible first base. Nonetheless, Jones does what he was signed to do, and that's smack the ball around. He's on pace for a 40+ HR season and has an OBP of .380. Don't think that Andruw Jones is a bitter old fart just trying to make one more paycheck, because he's not. Jones is having the time of his life in Japan. The fans seem to worship the guy and he eats it up. From the moment he steps onto the field to the moment he leaves, he's smiling the entire time just like he always has. 

I wish more sluggers would wrap their careers up in Japan. The balls are a bit smaller and the fences make right field at New Yankee Stadium look like center field at Old Yankee Stadium. Baseball games are a party in Japan, and nothing gets the party started liked a home run. 

Kaz spent 9 years in the NPB before signing with the Mets in 2004. He had stops in Colorado and Houston before returning to the NPB in 2011. At 38 years old, Kaz is still delivering at a decent rate. Between the MLB and NPB he's raked in nearly 2,500 hits and nearly 450 stolen bases.

The "face" of the Golden Eagles is Motohiro Shima. I've never heard an interview from him, but judging by his body language, he's an incredibly cool guy. So far this year he's batting .324/.435/.380. At 29 he's likely never going to get a shot at the majors, but as beloved as he is in Sendai, I doubt he wants to leave.

He points and smiles a lot

The 36 year old Brian Falkenborg has entered his 6th season in Japan and 1st as the closer for Rakuten. Brian played for Baltimore, Los Angeles (not Anaheim), St Louis, San Diego and LA again during his MLB career out of the pen. 

The most important name to remember is Takahiro Norimoto, the 2013 Puro Yakyu Rookie of the Year. At just 22 he dazzled scouts with 7.1 SO/9, 15 wins and a 3.34 ERA. The NPB is considered to be equal to AAA in talent and those numbers would be impressive for any 22 year old MLB prospect no matter the level. He was a bit overshadowed last year by a teammate named Masahiro Tanaka who went 24-0 in 2013. Keep an eye on Nori, he's following a nearly identical path so far.

The grandfather of the Golden Eagles is 44 year old Takashi Saito. Tasked with the job of replacing Eric Gagne, Saito recorded 22 saves and a 2.07 ERA as a 36 year old "rookie" with the Dodgers in 2006. He was a workhorse for LA, Boston, Atlanta, Milwaukee and Arizona before returning to Japan in 2013. Not many pitchers that at one time could scratch 100 MPH make it through 22 professional seasons. 

If you're ever up at 4 AM CST, check Twitter to see if I am too. If so I'll send you a few links so we can cheer on the Rakuten Golden Eagles together! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Salute to My Best Friend - RIP Brother

Yesterday and today have been incredibly tough for me mentally. I've been in contact with a lot of friends I haven't spoken to in years, and shame on me for letting it get to that. I'd give anything to speak to my best friend Joel just one more time, to let him know that I love him.

I met Joel my freshman year at college. At the time, his love for baseball dwarfed mine. He was the only guy I knew who could have "nerdy" baseball talks with me. You know what I'm talking about, the ones where you're almost embarrassed by how much information you know about certain things. With Joel there was no need for embarrassment when talking about baseball or anything else. My sophomore year I moved into the fraternity house and my apartment was right next door to his. Every day I'd kick in his door and drag his ass outside to play one on one wiffle ball in the yard. I'm pretty sure that Joel need Tommy John surgery as much as he bitched about his elbow, but he still let me whoop his ass one our makeshift diamond every day.

Our fraternity was "dry", meaning we couldn't host parties or drink in the house, but that didn't stop people from heading out on the weekends. Joel enjoyed a beer or two and had nothing against drinking, but every weekend he stayed sober so he could play the designated driver. Why? Just because that's who he was. On Sunday morning while we slept off our hangovers, Joel would get up and walk himself to church all by himself.

One of the best memories I had with Joel was driving back to his hometown in NE Kansas for a weekend softball tournament. His dad's team needed a couple more players to enter the tournament, so we agreed to come up and fill in. When we got there we realized we were stuck with a bunch of drunks in their late 40's. My 6'6" overweight self ended up switching between SS and CF. That tells you all you need to know. We ended up in the loser's bracket, meaning we were stuck with a game at around 2 AM. It was hovering around 32 degrees and Joel and I were the only sober guys on the field. Somehow we won and were rewarded with a 6 AM game. The other team only had 6 or 7 players show up, so we run ruled them pretty quickly. We then got a game at noon where we were severely trounced by a team of bulky Indians from the nearby reservation. Through all of this ridiculousness, Joel and I had a blast. We were sicker than a pair of dogs on Monday, but I'd give anything to man the most-pathetic-middle-infield-ever-assembled one more time with him.

For the last few years Joel has been working for his local school district as a counselor for troubled youth. While driving home on a 2 laned highway Tuesday from one of the last days of school, a 77 year old man in a Ford Explorer veered across the highway and hit Joel's Nissan head on, rolling it several times. Joel had his seatbelt on, the driver who hit him did not. Joel and the other man were pronounced dead at the scene.

I've had plenty of physical ailments that I'd trade for in a heartbeat if I could drop the grief. Being a young single man, I don't have a lot of folks to talk to about my feelings, so spitting them out here helps a lot. His funeral is Saturday and I'm afraid I'm still stuck in the denial stage. Really it feels like every stage of grief keeps hitting me in a cycle. There's not much more I can say right now to feel better. If there's internet in heaven and Joel gets to read this, I hope he knows how much he meant to me and so many others.

I had hoped to talk about the new A&G Relic Exchange Program I set up, but I just don't have it in me right now. Thanks for sticking with me and reading this.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

250 Card Repack Cube Second Half

As promised, here's the second half of my repack box. I photographed everything yesterday afternoon. I was having a very pleasant day until I received a phone call and learned that one of my two best friends was killed in a car accident. I'm fortunate in that I've never lost someone this close to me before. Hopefully I'll have the strength soon to share a post in his memory. He's responsible for a big part of my love for baseball. Today I'm in a haze, so please enjoy the pictures. Everything is up for trade.

The worst Photoshop effect ever?

Don't Tuck with Fichael Mucker

Gold Label cards are awesome

This repack box was awesome

This is the first Ames oddball I've ever seen.

Helluva RC for a repack

Best repack I've ever opened

2 vintage cards in decent condition? Repack hot box!

The booty from the 2013 A&G pack included. Bruce is an A&G back. 

God bless you guys and thanks for reading.