Thursday, September 29, 2011

The end of the 2011 MLB season - Longo comes up big

This quote from Joe Posnanski describes it all - he seems to capture what I've thought about the game, particularly with the four teams chasing for the Wild Card on the final night of the season.

"I've written this before: I never argue with people who say baseball is boring, because baseball is boring. And then, suddenly, it isn't. And that's what makes it great."

Baseball Night in America

Featured card: 2011 Topps Chrome Jordan Walden Orange refractor #183

I was able to pick up this Orange refractor of the Angels closer from Brian at Play at the Plate - in exchange for a Mason Tobin X-Fractor from this pack break.

Walden was thrown into the fire in 2011 and his season went from being impressive as a rookie closer making the All-Star team - to a guy who has some things to work on after two rough outings to end the year.

Unlike the last two great Angels closers [Troy Percival and Francisco Rodriguez] - I don't know if Walden has had a 'mentor' to allow him to develop, like Percival did when Lee Smith was a closer for the Angels back in 1995 and like 'K-Rod' who watched Percival close out games, before taking over closing duties for the Angels in the mid 2000s.

Walden is still a young guy and perhaps the Angels can go out and sign at end of the game reliever that sort of helps Walden out - if not really as a 'mentor' type, someone who can close out games as Walden figures things out.

As much talent as Walden has, I don't want to see the Angels burn him out because they don't have any other closing options - instead of hitting his prime in his mid 20s, you might find a guy like Walden bottoming out like the seemingly sad case of Jonathan Broxton, circa 2010-2011.

Featured autograph - Mike Napoli

I don't think Mike Napoli was ever going to be the solution at catcher for the team he once played for - but obviously it is his power bat that plays on, not his ability to catch and throw.

After going ape-sheet on the Angels in the last two regular season games in 2011
- he has finished off his season in style and looks to carry his hot hitting into the American League Division Series.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The 2011 Angels - a season recap perhaps...

I'd been hoping the Angels would still have some life in them but after losing 6-5 to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday - their opportunity to sneak into the playoffs through the Wild Card seems to have been obliterated.

Even if they sweep the Texas Rangers in their last three games - the Angels would still have to hope Tampa Bay and Boston lose the rest of their games to make things interesting.

I can't look past the fact the Angels are not making the playoffs but manager Mike Scioscia has done a credible job in leading his 2011 Angels - rebuilding with young kids who emerged as team stars and seemingly overachieving, winning nearly 90 games despite not having what seemed to be a 'championship caliber' team.

The team to beat in the American League West is obviously the Texas Rangers - they are the ones who ended up with former Halos fan favorite Mike Napoli, while the Angels got a broken down VW.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Featured autograph - Pablo Sandoval

I was able to get a 2010 Topps Allen and Ginter Bobby Abreu card autographed for an acquaintance and from his list of extras - I picked out a 2010 Topps Allen and Ginter autographed card of Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval, which I received after I'd mailed out the Abreu card.

A 100 card repack jumbo pack recap - or how I got suckered in again by the Fairfield Company

Generic Fairfield black jumbo pack of 100 cards [$4.99 each at Target] - these repacks guarantee three 'vintage' cards from [either] the 50's, 60's and 70s.

I didn't think it was unreasonable to hope for one or two cards at least 40 years old - but all I got was four s[crap] cards from the late 1970s, cards I really would throw away otherwise, but are my supposed 'prizes' from repacks like these.

Top section
1988 Donruss Will Clark #21 - Diamond King subset
1987 Topps Bob Grich #677
1987 Topps Ted Power #437
1987 Topps Keith Hernandez #350 - I've stumbled upon this card a few times.
1987 Topps Sid Bream #35
1987 Topps Mario Soto #517
1987 Topps Reds Leaders #281 - features Pete Rose
1987 Topps Bip Roberts #637
1987 Topps Randy Myers #213
1987 Topps Mike LaValliere #162
1987 Topps Pete O' Brien #17
1986 Topps Bob Grich #155
1994 Leaf Pat Listach #420
1990 Donruss Damon Berryhill #167
1990 Donruss Jeff Russell #284
1995 Score Jeff Frye #269
1990 Donruss Jose Gonzalez #314
1988 Topps Cal Ripken Sr. #444
2000 Fleer Tradition Jason Kendall #OD 14 of 32 - Opening Day insert
1989 Fleer Steve Jeltz #573
2002 Fleer Showcase Luis Gonzalez #20 - Baseball's Best jersey card insert
1989 Donruss Rick Honeycutt #328
1989 Donruss Scott Sanderson #629
1989 Donruss Marvin Freeman #631
1989 Donruss Mike Henneman #327
1989 Donruss Nelson Liriano #627
1988 Topps Bob James #232
1988 Topps Steve Ontiveros #272
1990 K-Mart Superstars Mark McGwire #32
1991 Topps Herm Winningham #204
1991 Topps Mike Perez #205
1991 Donruss Mike Morgan #182
1990 Classic Draft Picks Donovan Osborne #13
1991 Donruss Bill Sampen #351
1991 Donruss Brian Barnes #415
1991 Donruss Terry Steinbach #329
1988 Topps Jose DeLeon #634
1988 Topps Kal Daniels #622
1990 Score Dave Schmidt #30
1991 Topps Stadium Club Dome Shawn Curran #30
2009 Upper Deck First Edition Jeff Kent #153
2009 Upper Deck First Edition Conor Jackson #304
1990 K-Mart Superstars Bret Saberhagen #26
1990 K-Mart Superstars Jeff Ballard #27
1990 K-Mart Superstars Mark Davis #14
1990 K-Mart Superstars Tony Gwynn #5
1984 Fleer Chris Bando #534

1985 Topps Tony Gwynn #717 - All Star subset
1977 Topps Freddie Patek #422

1977 Topps Tony Solaita #482
1979 Topps Checklist #241
1989 Cap'n Crunch Roger Clemens #18 of 22

Bottom section
1989 Topps Glossy '1988 Rookies' Brady Anderson #2 of 22
1989 Topps Mark Gubicza #430
1989 Topps Gary Sheffield #343
1989 Topps Bob Welch #605
1989 Topps Kevin McReynolds #7 - Record Breakers subset
1989 Topps Jim Adduci #338
1989 Topps Scott Bankhead #79
1989 Topps Dave Palmer #67
1989 Topps Jose Canseco #500
1989 Topps Dave Johnson #684
1989 Topps Dwight Gooden #661 - Turn Back the Clock subset
1988 Topps Ed Romero #37
1987 Topps Ron Roenicke #329
1987 Topps Bob Grich #677
1987 Topps Hal McRae #573
1988 Topps Terry Francona #686
1987 Topps Joe Sambito #451
1988 Donruss Marvell Wynne #237
1988 Donruss Storm Davis #595
1989 Topps Joe Price #217
1987 Donruss Jim Adduci #495
1989 Fleer Greg Harris #570
1989 Upper Deck #448
1983 Donruss Gary Woods #631
1988 Donruss Jose Guzman #136
1987 Topps Tiffany Ted Power #437
1987 Topps Tiffany Terry Kennedy #540
1994 Leaf Jose Valentin #50
1991 Leaf Dave Henderson #232
1991 Leaf Carmelo Martinez #160
1991 Leaf Jerald Clark #265

1977 Topps Elias Sosa #558
1981 Fleer Burt Hooton #113

1979 Topps Enos Cabell #515
1993 Donruss Bret Boone #188
1991 Donruss Studio Juan Samuel #188
1996 Donruss Studio Carlos Delgado #57
1994 Donruss Jeff Reboulet #85
1988 Topps Donell Nixon #146
1988 Topps Bert Blyleven #295
1992 Leaf Jim Eisenreich #295
1989 Score Benito Santiago #4
1982 Topps Wayne Krenchicki #107
1981 Topps Lenn Sakata #287
1980 Topps Bob Apodaca #633
1988 Score Herm Winningham #142
1990 Fleer Dave Magadan #210
1991 Line Drive Bobby Rose #169
1992 Topps Stadium Club Ron Gant #730
1991 Toys R' Us Rookies Frank Thomas #27 of 33

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Featured autograph - Torii Hunter

Torii Hunter has had a fine season despite a midseason slump dragging his overall numbers a little bit - it is tough to say whether or not the Angels will catch the Texas Rangers, though I hope Hunter finishes the 2011 season strong with the bat and the glove.

After their 'dud' game against the Baltimore Orioles Friday night - the Halos need a swift collective kick in the butt.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2011 Topps Chrome Value Pack recap #2

2011 Topps Chrome Value Pack #2

Pack one
#71 Colby Rasmus
#VC 25 Josh Hamilton - Vintage 1996 Topps Chrome insert
#205 Chris Sale
#195 Craig Kimbrel

Pack two
#80 Joe Mauer
#89 Gaby Sanchez
#99 Kendrys Morales - refractor; with the emergence of some Angels rookie at first base, Morales has been a 'non-factor' for the Angels since the middle of the 2010 season.
#179 Marcos Mateo

Pack three
#97 Ubaldo Jimenez

#37 Mike Leake - x-fractor
#172 Brandon Belt
#164 Jered Weaver

Orange refractor pack
#49 Jonathan Papelbon
#36 Billy Butler
#199 Pedro Beato

2011 Topps Chrome Value Pack recap #1

2011 Topps Chrome value pack [$8.99 each x2 at Target] - comes with three packs of 2011 Topps Chrome and a three card pack of Orange refractors.

Pack one
#25 Adrian Gonzalez

#C152 Jay Bruce - Heritage Chrome insert / parallel, serial #'d 0946/1962
#139 Clayton Richard - Purple refractor serial #'d 266/499
#137 Chris Young

Pack two
#36 Rafael Soriano

#138 Jose Reyes - refractor
#121 Chris Carpenter
#114 Carlos Beltran
Checklist 1 of 2

Pack three
#44 David Price
#56 Gio Gonzalez

#194 Mason Tobin - x-fractor
#159 Paul Konerko

Orange refractor pack
#37 Mike Leake
#190 Ivan DeJesus Jr.
#220 Aaron Crow

Monday, September 12, 2011

Featured autographs - Darin Erstad

I was sort of scheming around on Labor Day, thinking all the gates at Angel Stadium might open at the same time for a 6:05 p.m. Angel game - if I can go in through the back, I could probably beat the rush for the autographs wristbands passed out for Darin Erstad, who was throwing out the first pitch.

A couple of buddies were already in line at the Home Plate Gate, so I decided to walk to the back and explore - I saw Ichiro dropped off down the tunnel where visitors go through and I think I got a faint wave from the bottom as I called out to him.

I didn't see any security or anyone by the gate at the back of the stadium
- as I was standing around, I actually saw Erstad carrying his son as he walked to the Angels' offices.

I'm flipping through my autograph book, digging out my Erstad cards [I figure he'd do two and even if he did more, I'd get the ones that were my priorities at this point] - I approach him to ask him to sign and he put his boy down and nods towards me.

Erstad signed a 2005 Topps Turkey Red and a 1997 Upper Deck Rock Solid Foundation insert - signed; the Upper Deck insert maybe worth a dime today but it is my favorite Erstad card because it is shiny and I probably pulled it when Erstad was still considered a rising star.

I go back to buddies to see what is up and head to the back a second time - I'm still trying to use some chicanery here and there was just a group of about four or five people waiting at the back of the stadium.

It looks like they had stuff to get signed for Erstad too, but they found out the gates in the back were opening at 4:30 p.m. - Home Plate gate was the only one opening at 4 p.m., so it was off to the front, again.

After heading into the line where my buddies were, it was off to the races once the gates opened - I don't know what compelled me to nearly kill myself trying to get a wristband for another Erstad autograph.

I crumpled my ticket as I straggled towards the line just because I was going to collapse - I'D GOTTEN ERSTAD TWICE ALREADY, DID I REALLY HAVE TO DO WHAT I DID, JUST TO END UP WITH A THIRD ONE?

I got my wristband, but ended up stumbling around to sit in a couple of places out in the right field concourse to try and chill out - this was all unbelievable, if only because I got caught up in the rush and was paying for it.

For about 40 minutes during the early part of batting practice, I threw up a little and struggled to regain my composure - I was gassed and didn't feel any better until towards the start of the game.

During the game, I made my way to the line for Erstad - the card I was going to get signed was a 1995 Signature Rookies B-1 Bomber card; it pictures Erstad in his Nebraska uniform and I think it is a cool card, even though it was probably another way for an unknown trading card company to cash in on 1995's No. 1 overall pick.

As intense as Erstad was as a baseball player, he seems to give off an even-keeled vibe - I would think with his reputation, he'd sort of have more of a gruff personality.

I asked Erstad to use my Sharpie when I approached him and the Angels handler [for the first pitch signers] mumbled, "now he is going to want you put his number..."

What a good idea, so that is exactly what I had him do- he did it without a problem and I was fortunate to end up with three Erstads in one day.

Featured autograph - Erick Aybar

Angels shortstop Erick Aybar was 4-for-5 with run scored in the Angels 6-5 loss against the New York Yankees this past Sunday - it looks like his up-and-down offensive season is back on the upswing this final month of the regular MLB season and despite his offensive shortcomings, the Angels are going to need a spark from him either hitting at the top or at the bottom of the lineup.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Featured autograph - Jeremy Moore

When I got Jeremy Moore to sign a couple of his cards [same ones] on Monday, I didn't realized he had already logged a Major League at-bat with the Angels - the September call-up has seen little action so far, but did score the go-ahead run in the Angels 3-1 win against the Mariners last night.

The Halos lack of pop is particularly grating in the heat of a pennant race - but everyone would rather be watching a team still playing for something in September, rather just playing out the schedule.