Monday, December 31, 2012

Dime box finds for the end of 2012

I picked up about 65 cards for $6 at a card show trip - the random 2011 Playoff Contenders cards intrigued me the most, even though I'll still have to look up most of the players pictured on the cards, to see if they are legitimate MLB prospects or fillers used in a non-MLB licensed baseball product.

I tried to fill out my pile with a few cards of star players - I have my share of cards of guys who played five, 10, 15 and 20 years ago, but it's hard not to be nostaglic and impulsively flip through cards I may not have had an opportunity to pick up during my collecting adolescence.

1992 Bowman Frank Thomas #114 - the action shot of Thomas swinging away at a familiar looking [if somewhat obscured] Anaheim Stadium caught my eye.
1994 Fleer Ultra Ken Griffey Jr. 6 of 25 - Award Winners insert

1997 Bowman's Best Previews Ken Griffey Jr. #BBP 2
1998 Fleer Tradition Mike Piazza #391
1998 Sports Illustrated Ken Griffey Jr. #51
2000 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. #EP-4
- Epic Performances insert
2000 Upper Deck Ionix Lance Berkman #81

2002 Donruss Diamond Kings C.C. Sabathia #040 - stamped sample

2003 Fleer Tradition Nomar Garciaparra #22 of 25 - Milestones insert
2005 Bowman Draft AFLAC Cameron Maybin AFL 11 - I lost a similar card to a TTM request years ago that is still MIA.
2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Rick Monday #110
2009 Upper Deck Tommy Mendonca #USAB-TB
- USA insert
2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Tyler Goeddel #5 - Elite Series insert
2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Zeke DeVoss #11 - Elite Series insert
2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Logan Verrett / Phillip Evans #6 - Building Blocks Duo insert
2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Jeff Ames / Steven Ames #11 - Building Blocks Duo insert
2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Larry Greene / Mitch Walding / Roman Quinn #10 - Building Blocks Trio insert
2011 Playoff Contenders Travis Harrison #DT 1
2011 Playoff Contenders Lenny Linsky #DT 3
2011 Playoff Contenders Burch Smith #DT 4
2011 Playoff Contenders Ronald Guzman #DT 6
2011 Playoff Contenders Anthony Meo #DT 10
2011 Playoff Contenders Alex Hassan #DT 14
2011 Playoff Contenders Nick Fleece #DT 19
2011 Playoff Contenders Andrew Susac #DT 20
2011 Playoff Contenders Tony Zych #DT 21
2011 Playoff Contenders B.A. Vollmuth #DT 22
2011 Playoff Contenders Blake Snell #DT 26
2011 Playoff Contenders Kylin Turnbull #DT 28
2011 Playoff Contenders Evan Marshall #DT 30
- x2
2011 Playoff Contenders Jordan Cote #DT 31
2011 Playoff Contenders Aaron Westlake #DT 32
2011 Playoff Contenders Tommy La Stella #DT 42
2011 Playoff Contenders Cole Green #DT 45
2011 Playoff Contenders Matt Szczur #DT 46
2011 Playoff Contenders Cristhian Adames #DT 55
2011 Playoff Contenders Forrest Snow #DT 56
2011 Playoff Contenders Tyler Gibson #DT 57
2011 Playoff Contenders Josh Osich #DT 60
2011 Playoff Contenders Zach Good #DT 64
2011 Playoff Contenders Madison Boer #DT 71
2011 Playoff Contenders Kevin Comer #DT 73
2011 Playoff Contenders Jason Esposito #DT 74
2011 Playoff Contenders Dan Vogelbach #DT 75
2011 Playoff Contenders Cameron Gallagher #DT 77
- x2
2011 Playoff Contenders Jordan Swaggerty #DT 87
2011 Playoff Contenders Brian Dupra #DT 88
2011 Playoff Contenders Taylor Featherston #DT 97
2011 Playoff Contenders Matt Skole #DT 98
2011 Playoff Contenders Joseph Musgrove #DT 99
2011 Playoff Contenders Carson Smith #DT 100
- x2
2011 Playoff Contenders Kevin Matthews #4 - Future Stars insert
2011 Playoff Contenders Tyler Gibson #11 - Future Stars insert
2011 Playoff Contenders Logan Verrett #13 - Future Stars insert
2011 Playoff Contenders Jake Lowery #3 - Johnny Bench Award Winners insert
2011 Playoff Contenders Andrew Susac / Josh Osich #2 - Winning Combos insert
2011 Playoff Contenders Dan Vogelbach / Hudson Boyd #5 - Winning Combos insert
2011 Playoff Contenders Chad Comer / Jason Krizan #7 - Winning Combos insert
2011 Playoff Contenders Brian Flynn / Tyler Grimes #11 - Winning Combos insert
2011 Playoff Contenders 18 Chris Reed / Scott Sondgress #18 - Winning Combos insert
2011 Topps Allen and Ginter Josh Hamilton #HH 50 - Hometown Heroes insert

2012 Topps Yoshinori Tateyama #437

Cardboard curiosity - Mike Piazza

I found a 1998 Fleer Tradition [#391] card of the former All-Star catcher in a dime box along with other 'goodies' that I'll highlight at some point soon - maybe the interesting but ultimately trivial fact about this card is Piazza is shown as a Florida Marlin, which he ended up playing five games with before getting traded to the New York Mets back in 1998.

I came of age as a baseball during the 1990's and Piazza was one of big name superstar players back in that Era - there is no doubt that he is a first ballot Hall of Famer for what he has done as power hitting catcher and someone who became the face of the New York Mets post 9/11.

However, there has been PED innuendos tacked onto his career and it might derail his Hall of Fame chances in upcoming years - still, if there was any blemish to his MLB at any point, it might have been this wrinkle, where he was called out by a veteran Brett Butler for not being a true leader and caring more about his individual stats.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My 2012 baseball card collecting goals reviewed

My goals usually get derailed because it's a made up list of random things that sounds good at the beginning of the year - but ends up being a tedious to do list that doesn't hold up, becoming esoteric, redundant and maybe impractical.

This post is basically a review of the one I had at the beginning of this year - to see whether or not I was satisfied with what I did.

I realized I'd misnumbered my first list and skipped a goal - I added #5 about graded cards that was on the original draft I'd written up for myself.

1.) Doing something with my favorite players collection - basically count up and listing all the cards I have for particular players in a database and for this year picking up five to 15 'interesting' cards for my Top 10 favorites as well as 10 other players I'm interested in on a 'rotating' basis.

I don't think working on my favorite players lists have been a priority when it comes to actually picking up player specific singles or accounting for anything I may have already - updated 12/30/12

2.) Personal collection cards - I'd like to be able to count out a Top 30 list, tally up another 25-30 'alternative' PC cards and create a binder of PC cards for more sentimental purposes.

I got kind of started working on my PC at the beginning of the year but have to figure out a way to put my cards together in one physical place as opposed to a couple or more assorted boxes - updated 12/30/12

3.) Regional focus - establishing a Top 30 personal collection of cards, building an 'A-Z' singles collection [interesting cards of various players] and maintaining an Angels 'shoebox collection' under team boxes [featuring more rank-and-file cards / inserts].

I'm still kind of out of focus with these goals and it's killing me I may have no clue to organize my Angels cards - updated 12/30/12

4.) A-Z singles stored in top loaders - I want to store various singles in top loaders in a box, list in a database and file away by player in 'ABC' order and maybe by card type i.e. basic rookie cards, parallels and certified autograph cards.

I'm still kind of out of focus with these goals and it's killing me that my collection of A-Z singles is completely jumbled up - updated 12/30/12

5.) Organize my graded cards - it's harder to weed out any cards that are 'dated,' when the cards make up a chunk of my graded is what it is...make note of any PC type cards but don't want to physically separate any slabs.

I'm still kind of out of focus with this goal because all I have are low quality graded cards I don't want to go through - updated 12/30/12

6.) Collecting topics cards - add about 500 different ones with 250 either old-school [pre-1980] and/or vintage [pre-1973] cards.

I may have about 150-200 total cards for 2012 with some 'old school' or 'vintage' pick-ups, but nothing close to 500 cards overall and nowhere close to 250 'old school' or 'vintage' cards - updated 12/30/12

7.) Pick up 15-20 first-year autograph cards and 10-15 first-year Angel autograph cards.

Doesn't seem realistic to go after prospect cards that are already signed when I'm going for many of the players in-person - updated 12/30/12

8.) Pick up a 'PC' rookie card or two - something like a PSA graded 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson RC or a PSA graded 1983 Topps Tony Gwynn RC and so forth.

Not happening anytime soon just because I feel like I don't have to pick up any particular cards at the moment just to store away in a box - updated 12/30/12

9.) Bust about three to five 'full' boxes every three months - I want to bust boxes on a somewhat regular basis, but the cards I will need are probably base cards, more common parallels. I'll try to see if I can bust mostly current-year product with a mix of some 'oddball' stuff that maybe fun if now relatively worthless.

I made the card shop I go to happy [though not quite rich] by busting the following:

1.) 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition $120
2.) 2012 Bowman jumbo $140
3.) 2012 Topps Heritage Minors $70
4.) 2012 Bowman Draft $70
5.) 2012 Bowman Draft $70
6.) 2012 Bowman Draft $70

Still, I was no prolific box buster where I'm ripping up three or four boxes of a product or a case many times during a year, so I couldn't get into busting something on a somewhat regular basis - updated 12/30/2012

10.) Finish my Topps team runs [except for any expansion teams that may apply, a 1978-current year card for each of the 30 MLB teams] and my Topps sampler runs [a card from 1978-current year] - I'd like to get these out of the way sooner than never as sort of 'side projects' I work on when I stumble upon appropriate year Topps cards.

I'm working on my 'runs' at a snail's pace when I don't have access to cards that I need and don't want to dig for particular cards during a card shop or card show trip - updated 12/30/12

11.) Pick up 10-15 blasters and/or various retail offerings and maybe 20-25 assorted retail / hobby packs - I don't really pull anything of significance but the hunger to bust something never ceases.

I feel like I don't want to pay $20 for a retail blaster all too often [no real chance at nice hits and too little cards per box] and after the novelty of a new release wears off, I can live without a Target or Walmart trip ending without cards - updated 12/30/12

12.) Do 10-15 impulsive card related things - point being is to have some fun.

1.) Build up a pack surplus to bust at different times of the year - MY PLANNED PACK ATTACKS NEVER QUITE HAPPENED BECAUSE WHAT IS OUT THERE THAT IS UNIQUE - updated 12/30/12.
2.) Bust my COMC cherry - DONE though I have one more card left to be shipped and I never bothered to pick up anymore cards - updated 12/30/12.
3.) Add one or two graded Angels rookie cards - franchise legends, doesn't have to be a Hall of Famer, but more of the vintage pre 1973 variety - NOTHING IS HAPPENING WITH THIS AT THE MOMENT - updated 12/30/12.
4.) Add three vintage Angels Topps graded cards [1961-1980] - a sampler run of sorts - NOTHING IS HAPPENING WITH THIS AT THE MOMENT - updated 12/30/12.
5.) Bust an assorted number of random packs from the 1980s from BB Card Exchange - NOTHING IS HAPPENING WITH THIS AT THE MOMENT - updated 12/30/12.
6.) Pick up two or three minor league sets - I ACTUALLY PICKED UP SEVEN OR EIGHT SETS FOR A ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE TRIP - updated 12/30/12.
7.) Bust some 'oddball,' 'forgotten' wax such as 1986 Donruss box, 1986 Fleer, 1989 Upper Deck - MAYBE TIED TO #1 and #5, I DON'T FEEL THE SAME WAY UNLESS I KNEW THERE WERE BETTER CARDS TO UNEARTH OTHER THAN WHAT IS OUT THERE ALREADY - updated 12/30/12.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rebooting my core interests in cardboard

Thinking about the baseball cards I collect, my interest lingers but my lair is in ruins, my collection is in decay - life isn't linear, years go by, stuff happens or doesn't happen and and it's just a matter of when things get blown up, when I thought I had a system in place for five or six years.

Maybe cardboard is useless anyway but I feel like stuff I've coveted at various points are literally collecting dust, loose in places where I don't want to deal with them - have I gone too far in literally not doing anything with cards I once collected?

While the part of my collecting life as in-person / through the mail autograph collector has been pretty much spelled out - I'm kind of 'lost' at times as far as other aspects of collecting baseball cards for themselves.

I feel like I've got to reboot my collection in a radical way because I've sort of lost the way I organize my cards - the way I physically put them together isn't quite how I want things to be and it bothers me.

I keep in mind lists list of all the countless, various places [representing various interests] where I funnel cards into - but that is mostly sorting cards to be autographed and separating them in a nuts-and-bolts way as opposed to having a definite way to collect certain cards [that are not really meant to be scrap cards to be autographed or shoved away as part of my collecting topics collections].

I don't know where cards I've blogged about end up - I hoard and look for stuff that ends up being clutter.

What about the personal collection cards - is there a core set of cards I can showcase or is it all just jumbled up?

What about the various cards in my 'A-Z' singles collection that are now scattered all over - various certified autograph cards of prospects who are supposed to be great but end up being busts?

I cling to the idea I've got to play with all the cards I've hoarded instead of looking for the next cardboard fix - this is my cardboard collecting life and I make my own fun and try not to worry about anything else, everyone else is doing.

However, as much as I wouldn't care to admit it, I'm more hoarder than collector and its come to a head - I have gotten older and as much as I want to collect, maybe it's time I stop pretending to be a mad scientist.

Cardboard curiosity - Russell Wilson

I didn't know much about this guy - I might have pulled one or two 2010 Bowman Draft cards picturing the one-time minor leaguer and put them away in my 'two-sports star' collection, since he apparently played college football too.

It's not too hard to label him a baseball bust since he isn't playing professional baseball anymore - but apparently he has enjoyed a breakout season as a rookie NFL quarterback [not named Luck or RGIII] and his one-time baseball playing career is in the rearview mirror.

Drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, he ended up outplaying the team's key free agent signing at quarterback - he threw up a controversial Hail Mary 'non-touchdown, TD pass' that sealed the replacement officials' fate and then has managed to throw 25 touchdowns and lead his team to a playoff berth in 2012.

Josh Hamilton Baseball America 1999 Draft Preview issue

One of the last things I'd expect to find while digging around my house was an issue of Baseball America with Josh Hamilton on the cover from 1999 - I skimmed through the inside of the magazine and the main story is about the three prospective players [Hamilton, Josh Beckett or Eric Munson] the Tampa Bay [Devil] Rays were going to take with the No. 1 pick [Hamilton would be their choice].

The magazine was probably a part of a two or three issue 'trial subscription' I signed up for back in the day - as an autograph collector who likes to collect my share of prospect autographs, I wouldn't pick up a BA issue since it's printed on newsprint and I feel like it's a less durable item to be autographed.

The magazine is oversized, so it's a hassle to carry around in a bag - the magazine feels flimsy for autographing and it seems like it's going to get worn down faster compared to an 8x10 photo or a magazine.

With Hamilton being an Angel - I'll probably make an exception and see if I could get it signed some time in 2013.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Topps Opening Day blaster recap

Pack one
#123 Ryan Roberts
#120 Matt Garza
#FS-3 Adrian Gonzalez
- Fantasy Squad insert

#ODS-13 Justin Upton - Opening Day Stars insert; I like the 3D effect, though it's something Topps has revived from the dead and played with in other insert sets.
#172 Dustin Pedroia
#64 Dan Haren
#62 Ervin Santana

Pack two
#179 Zack Greinke
#161 Hunter Pence
#98 Ben Zobrist
#ES-7 Justin Verlander
- Elite Skills Player insert
#84 Dan Uggla
#80 Joe Mauer
#69 Tim Lincecum

Pack three
#104 Alexei Ogando
#146 Ian Desmond
#135 Josh Reddick
#SC-17 Adam Jones
- Superstar Celebrations insert
#70 Madison Bumgarner
#60 Adam Wainwright
#NNO Carlos Lee
- kind of weird, but after Googling info about the card, I find it's a common misprint.

Pack four
#176 Geovany Soto
#110 Scott Rolen
#164 Nyjer Morgan

#M-2 Baltimore Orioles - Mascot insert
#85 Mike Trout
#169 Ian Kinsler
#31 Evan Longoria
2012 Sticker Collection info card

Pack five
#139 Trevor Cahill
#43 Angel Pagan
#49 Melky Cabrera
#FS-4 Robinson Cano
- Fantasy Squad insert
#66 Adam Jones
#91 Jayson Werth
#212 Daniel Hudson

Pack six
#180 Ted Lilly
#182 Seth Smith
#42 Mark Reynolds
#SC-15 Miguel Cabrera
- Superstar Celebrations insert
#50 Ichiro
#47 Nick Swisher
#215 Colby Lewis

Pack seven
#140 Erick Aybar
#22 Aroldis Chapman
#177 Jhonny Peralta

#M-25 Junction Jack - mascot insert
#128 Lance Berkman
#201 Jose Reyes
#77 Jimmy Rollins

Pack eight
#208 James Loney
#187 David Wright
#29 Mike Napoli
#FS-2 Miguel Cabrera
- Fantasy Squad insert
#126 Danny Valencia
#87 Ryan Howard
#76 Gio Gonzalez

Pack nine
#56 Vance Worley
#8 Jordan Zimmermann
#160 Carlos Ruiz
#ES-6 Andrew McCutchen
- Elite Skills Player insert
#192 James Shields
#144 Andrew McCutchen
#16 Torii Hunter
2012 Sticker Collection info card

Pack 10
#112 Dee Gordon
#40 Domonic Brown
#138 Russell Martin
#SC-16 Nelson Cruz
- Superstar Celebrations insert
#44 Jay Bruce
#54 Asdrubal Cabrera
#145 C.C. Sabathia

Pack 11
#105 Curtis Granderson
#59 Alcides Escobar
#55 Miguel Cabrera
#179 Zack Greinke
- blue parallel serial #'d 1920/2012

#M-1 Bernie Brewer - mascot insert
#165 Yovani Gallardo
#39 Michael Cuddyer

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2012 Topps Series II 72-card Walmart recap

This was one of two Christmas gifts from my brother - the other was a 2012 Topps Opening Day blaster box.

#488 Nick Swisher
#398 Buster Posey
#415 Rafael Furcal
#519 Gio Gonzalez
#476 Ramon Hernandez
#557 Zack Cozart
#452 Robert Andino
#624 Gerardo Parra
#588 Mark Ellis
#413 Frank Francisco
#396 Yoenis Cespedes
#616 Tyler Pastornicky
#657 Dave Sappelt
#423 Colby Rasmus
#427 Rafael Dolis
Topps Pennant Florida Marlins info card
#561 Freddy Sanchez
#377 Brandon Inge
#454 Michael Cuddyer
#498 Joey Votto
#524 Martin Prado
#381 David DeJesus
#493 Ryan Madson
#428 Jordan Schafer
#438 Juan Uribe
#572 Hiroki Kuroda
#394 Bryan LaHair
#516 Charlie Morton
#591 Aubrey Huff
#347 Craig Gentry
#397 Hector Noesi
#656 Carlos Santana
#546 Matt Thornton
#625 Tommy Hunter
#515 Willie Bloomquist
#373 Carlos Gonzalez
#425 Carlos Zambrano
#349 Tim Lincecum
#417 Carlos Pena
#509 Travis Snider
#348 Alfonso Soriano
#405 Nathan Eovaldi
#353 John Mayberry
#660 Yu Darvish
#379 Sergio Romo
#391 Rod Barajas
#584 Daric Barton
#445 Ramon Santiago
#646 Francisco Cervelli
#459 Eric Surkamp
#602 Alejandro De Aza
- Golden Moments parallel
#ACA-14 Willie Mays - A Cut Above insert
#GM-19 Craig Kimbrel - Golden Moments insert
#CD-24 Troy Tulowitzki - Career Day insert
#TM-59 Cliff Lee - 1987 Topps Mini insert
#GGC-19 Derek Jeter - Golden Giveaway code card; unlocked a random coin and another free code, which unlocked another useless coin.
#511 Ervin Santana
#483 Alex Gordon
#339 Clayton Richard
#617 Jimmy Rollins
#633 Chris Narverson
#526 Casper Wells
#632 Joe Nathan
#593 Marco Scutaro
#520 Ryan Adams
#430 Felix Hernandez
#410 Jeff Locke

#460 Thomas Field

#390 Taylor Green
#338 Jose Constanza
#604 Juan Abreu
#396 Yoenis Cespedes
- blue parallel
#657 Dave Sappelt - blue parallel

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hiroyuki Nakajima - new Oakland A's shortstop

I think a couple of guys my friend knows makes cameos around the 0:36 mark - I'm sure they are going to appreciate watching this since they like to follow the progress of their fellow Japanese jumping from the Japanese pro baseball league to play Major League Baseball.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Featured autograph - Jason Vargas

I got new Angel acquisition Jason Vargas to sign two or three cards at the end of the 2012 season when the Seattle Mariners were in Anaheim - while I would have liked to see what Kendrys Morales might have done in his second full season after coming back from his horrific injury in 2010, I guess there was some flexibility to make a move for a No. 4 or No. 5 starter like Vargas.

Vargas isn't great, doesn't throw particularly hard, but hopefully he can throw around 200 innings and in the process - nail down enough quality starts for the Angels without getting banged around [served up 35 home runs this past year] too much.

For the Angels, Mark Trumbo probably starts the 2013 season as primary designated hitter - with Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and maybe Vernon Wells on the short list of Angels players who can also DH if needed.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Featured autographs - Josh Hamilton and David Murphy

The sneaky signing of Josh Hamilton by the Angels might represent the feast or famine acquisition that defines Jerry DiPoto's legacy as a general manager in Anaheim - more than signing Albert Pujols or C.J. Wilson last off-season.

I have some reservations about Hamilton's focus during different points in a Major League Baseball season, but it's hard to argue that when he's on his best behavior - he is a superstar talent who adds meat and complements Albert Pujols in the middle of the Angels' lineup.

Hopefully it just doesn't become one of those situations where Hamilton forgets to play baseball and becomes an enigma and/or an outright free agent bust - since the Angels are going to be paying the man $25 million through the next five seasons to be a superstar.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Featured autograph - Joe Rudi

I found this card in a quarter box and decided to grab in just in case the autograph is real - not worth much, but it's nice to find an old-school autograph card of a former Angels player.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Featured autograph - Joe Blanton

With the Angels apparent addition of Joe Blanton - the Angels look to have some arms to build around after losing Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and most likely, Zack Greinke.

Blanton is a decent pitcher you can plug into a starting rotation and expect OK [if decidedly underwhelming] results - a good season for the burly righty would be pitching close to 200 innings while recording double digit wins.

A bargain basement signing - the money Blanton is getting to pitch the next two seasons for the Angels doesn't even pay for what current free-agent Greinke is likely to be paid per season.

I don't remember where I got this 2004 Bowman Draft card signed in-person - it might have been during the 2005 season or 2006 spring training, when I remember getting my picture with him at A's camp.

Featured autograph - Sean Burnett

The Angels signing of reliever Sean Burnett adds another good lefty to complement Scott Downs in their bullpen - I assume Burnett is going to be a flexible piece, with the ability to come into any late inning situations and maybe even close out a game if needed.

I probably got this 2004 Bowman Draft card signed in-person four or five years ago - when Burnett was still with the Pittsburgh Pirates and I couldn't tell the difference between him and then teammate Tom Gorzelanny.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Featured autographs - Brandon McCarthy and Anibal Sanchez

I bought this card for $10 back at the 2006 National in Anaheim thinking it was going to valuable - since Anibal Sanchez threw a no-hitter that year with the Florida Marlins and McCarthy was a young, unproven pitcher with some potential as a then 22 year old with the Chicago White Sox.

Today, the card is maybe worth half of what I paid - though Sanchez has been relatively healthy [though not quite a star] and while McCarthy bounced around a little bit, he's enjoyed some success in Oakland the past two seasons.

Both are free agents this off-season with Sanchez wanting to paid like a No. 1 or No. 2 starter - McCarthy seems tabbed to be a good 'under the radar' guy to grab since he is looking to bounce back after a getting hit in the head with a line drive off Angels Erick Aybar's bat in 2012.

My 2013 USA World Baseball Classic squad

I put together a roster of players I think have a good chance of making Team USA's 2013 World Baseball Classic team - while it may not be a potential dream team [no Bryce Harper, no Mike Trout, no David Price, no Stephen Strasburg or Buster Posey for example], I'm going for realistic, competent roster that can still can compete with the other WBC teams.
Starting pitchers (4) - I'm going on the idea that Major League Baseball teams are going to try and protect any premium pitching talents, particularly starting pitchers

Kevin Millwood
Jason Vargas
Aaron Cook
Jamie Moyer - I assume he still wants to pitch, what else is he going to be doing at 50?
Relievers (9) - besides Perez, Wilhelmsen and Bundy, maybe guys off the scrap heap and/or guys who have bounced around in recent years.

Chris Perez
Tom Wilhelmsen
Scott Atchison
Jeremy Accardo
Aaron Heilman
Dylan Bundy - my 'luxury item' as far as the pitching staff, he is the top pitching prospect in professional baseball.
Andrew Miller
Joe Beimel
Neal Cotts
Lineup (8) - I tried to build a balanced lineup with guys that can run, make some contact and hit for power.
CF - Will Venable - not a star but can do a little bit of everything.
SS - Danny Espinosa - has pop for a middle infielder.
LF - David Murphy - an underrated talent from the Texas Rangers.
RF - Giancarlo Stanton - my 'luxury item' as far as position players go.
1B - Billy Butler - for the WBC, he'll be my starter at first base.
C - A.J. Pierzynski - adds some swagger and general douchiness.
3B - Chris Nelson - while not a star, he became a decent regular in 2012.
2B - Kyle Seager - an emerging everyday player for the Seattle Mariners.
Bench (7) - some old guys for veteran presence and leadership off the pine.

Utility - Pete Kozma
Utility - Adam Kennedy
3B - Josh Bell
OF - Scott Podsesnik
OF - Mark Kotsay
C - Michael McKenry
1B - Mitch Moreland

Friday, November 30, 2012

Featured autograph - Tommy Hanson

I was curious as to who the Angels would pick up after their starting rotation was depleted - it looks like the Halos got a solid starting pitcher from the Atlanta Braves in Tommy Hanson and all the team had to give up was reliever Jordan Walden.

I think there were rumblings and concerns about Hanson's delivery and health over the last two years, so the move isn't without its risks - however what's not to like about a big, strong kid who seems like a solid No. 3 behind Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, but has the potential to be quite a bit better at only 26.

Walden was an All-Star selection back in 2011 but has been a disappointment since - even with closer stuff, he pitched himself out of the Angels' short term plans and lacked a defined role in 2012.

With a different team like the Braves - maybe Walden gets a new opportunity to become a star reliever.

After trading for Hanson, the Angels should be looking to pick up another starting pitcher - do the Angels have any more prospects or young players like Taylor Lindsey and/or Peter Bourjos, Kole Calhoun or Luis Jimenez floating around?

I'd like the Angels to go after another Southern California guy in Florida Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco - who suddenly doesn't seem like a fit for the fire sale Marlins, looking to reload with cheap, young players.

A.J. Burnett of the Pittsburgh Pirates could be an option if the Pirates get back enough MLB players - to continue their make-believe game of trying to contend.

As far as free agents, Edwin Jackson seems like he is basically Ervin Santana and his contract demands might not be reasonable - my off the wall idea maybe taking a chance at lefthander Jonathan Sanchez.

Sanchez maybe too inconsistent and beyond repair - but has had his moments as a Major League starting pitcher to warrant a spring training invite.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Featured autograph - Zack Greinke

I probably got this card signed through the mail years ago and I wish the other guy was in professional baseball somewhere because I'd still like to complete it - the card is going into my all-time Angels autograph box to represent Greinke's time with the Angels in 2012.

Obviously Greinke is the most prized free agent this off-season and I'd love for the Angels to have the means to plug him back into a depleted starting rotation for 2013 - who really knows [I'm not betting on it, btw] if the Angels are going to re-sign Greinke to a long term deal for $120 million or more.

If it happens and Greinke is back with the Halos for the next five-seven years - then the team is going to have to tear up the long term deal ace Jered Weaver signed and make sure the face of the Halos' starting rotation is paid comparably.

Ryan Madson and other Angels bullpen options

I'm not too impressed with the Angels' signing of former Philadephia Phillies closer Ryan Madson - but it is a gamble probably pays off for the Angels if Madson is able to come back [whenever that may be next season] and be a guy who saves 30-40 games.

The Angels look to be one of the favorites to get Kyuji Fujikawa and hopefully the Angels can get a deal done - whether it's to defer to Madson in the ninth inning or actually close games out himself, Fujikawa adds another live arm into the Angels' bullpen for 2013.

If not Fujikawa, the Angels need to patch up the pen and find another reliever like Jose Veras - a hard thrower who may not be young and may not always be in control, but can still be useful.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chone Figgins

It's a bullet the Angels dodged when Chone Figgins signed a four-year, $36 million dollar contract with the Seattle Mariners four years ago - he was supposed to be part of a contender in Seattle but those dreams never materialized and Figgins turned into a bad nightmare for Mariners fans.

He was finally cut from the Mariners and while he pockets another $8 million to play for someone else [or stay at home] during the MLB 2013 season - maybe Figgins can salvage the latter part of his playing career, by being a bit player for a perennial contender [St. Louis Cardinals?], filling in at second or third base.

Dollar Tree repacks

I was looking for a cardboard fix, so when I realized I worked near a Dollar Tree discount store - I stopped by to pick up a couple of 'Ultimate Super Jumbo Pack - Vintage Series' repacks for a dollar each; I'd read random blog posts about these from random card blogs and thought I'd scrape down at the bottom of the barrel myself.
Pack one had 32 cards
1992 Topps Bazooka Quadracard #22 of 22 - featuring John Antonelli, Bob Friend, Dixie Walker and Ted Williams; I'd never seen these cards before [a 22-card boxed set, featuring four 1953 Topps Archives card images on each card] and they were remotely interesting.
1994 UD Collector's Choice Cliff Floyd #337
1994 UD Collector's Choice Ryne Sandberg #335
1984 Topps Johnny Ray #537
1990 Topps Rolando Roomes #364
1990 Topps Lee Guetterman #286
1989 Topps Willie Wilson #168
1990 Topps Bryan Clutterbuck #264
1991 Upper Deck Mark Knudson #393
1989 Fleer Jose Alvarez #585
1991 Score Nolan Ryan #701 - No-Hit Club subset
1993 Pinnacle Bob Walk #380
1990 Topps Kelly Downs #17
1989 Topps Keith Hernandez #480
1991 Upper Deck Pete O'Brien #459
1991 Upper Deck Kirk McCaskill #539
1984 Topps Jeff Lahti #593
1990 Score Paul Coleman #662
1998 Upper Deck Dmitri Young #665
1990 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. #388 - All-Star subset
1990 Topps Dave Cochrane #491
1989 Topps checklist #118
1988 Donruss Keith Moreland #201
1991 Leaf Jeff Treadway #246
1989 Topps Bobby Thigpen #762
1986 Topps Doyle Alexander #196
1989 Donruss Alvin Davis #345
1988 Topps Randy Myers #412
1992 Leaf Juan Guerrero #426
1989 Topps Blue Jays leaders #201
1991 Upper Deck Von Hayes #368
1981 Fleer Frank Tanana #276
Pack two had 34 cards
1986 Topps Mike Scioscia #468
1987 Donruss Jim Traber #477
1984 Topps Johnny Ray #387 - All-Star subset
1990 Donruss Mike Blowers #656
1993 Score Randy Milligan #112
1990 Donruss John Cerutti #645
1992 Leaf Glenallen Hill #70
1992 Pinnacle Mark Lewis #91
1993 Donruss Brian McRae #411
1993 Leaf George Bell #217
1992 Donruss Dave Gallagher #377
1989 Topps Bill Swift #712
1987 Donruss Tim Stoddard #497
1988 Fleer Kenny Williams #412
1991 Upper Deck Reggie Sanders #71
1990 Donruss Ron Oester #317
1991 Upper Deck Roger Clemens #655
1994 Topps Frank Thomas #601 - Measures of Greatness subset
1987 Topps Dwight Gooden #130
1986 Topps Dennis Rasmussen #301
1992 Topps Andy Mota #214
1990 Topps Marty Clary #304
1990 Topps Steve Bedrosian #310
1994 Pinnacle Phil Plantier #80
1987 Topps Wally Joyner #80
1996 Score Sean Bergman #120
1997 Fleer Ultra Pedro Astacio #442
1987 Topps Ron Karkovice #491
1994 Donruss Ron Karkovice #416
1987 Donruss Milt Thompson #330
1991 Topps Jeff Schaefer #681
1988 Donruss Storm Davis #595
1988 Donruss Tom Newell #604
1992 Topps Bazooka Quadracard #22 of 22 - featuring John Antonelli, Bob Friend, Dixie Walker and Ted Williams; a whole set is usually available for $2-$5 on eBay.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Autograph request through the mail received: Paul Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt - the Arizona Diamondbacks slugger signed two cards in black Sharpie; I don't do as much mailings TTM, so I have to find the exact details, but I probably sent this during the latter part of the 2012 MLB season and was received last week.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Torii Hunter - Detroit Tiger

It was a nice 5-year run as a Halo for Torii Hunter - while everyone sort of moves on, especially when the Angels have Major League Baseball's best player in Mike Trout, I'll be rooting for Hunter to outplay the Bobby Abreu [circa 2010-2012] comps often thrown at his direction by 'smart' Angels fans who didn't want the team to reach out and re-sign the 37-year old outfielder.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2012 Bowman Chrome blaster recaps

2012 Bowman Chrome blaster [$19.99 each at a random Target] - went on a Target / Walmart run for 2012 Bowman Chrome the week it came out, I blew $60 on two blasters and two value packs; my friend's lone blaster purchase had a Trevor Bauer autograph redemption while his boss must have bought 10-15 boxes and at least three hobby boxes.

Xfractor bonus pack
#124 J.P. Arencibia
#BCP 122 Felipe Rivero
#65 Jimmy Rollins

Pack one
#102 Ike Davis
#FG-JSE Jean Segura -
Futures Game insert
#BCP 165 Carlos Valenzuela

Pack two
#94 Brandon Phillips
#BCP 176 Aaron Brooks
#99 Jarrod Parker

Pack three
#BCP 111 Rob Rasmussen -
refractor parallel
#BCP 182 Gregory Polanco
#93 Hunter Pence

Pack four
#66 Alex Rodriguez
#BCP 191 Danny Winkler
#75 Jemile Weeks

Pack five
#48 B.J. Upton
#LIM-TB Trevor Bauer -
Legends in the Making insert
#BCP 199 Gabriel Lino

Pack six
#32 Jayson Werth
#BCP 205 Kenny Faulk
#47 Andrelton Simmons -
Bryce Harper cameo

Pack seven
#83 Justin Masterson -
refractor parallel
#BCP 2011 Domingo Tapia
#24 Kirk Nieuwenhuis

2012 Bowman Chrome blaster [$19.99 each at another random Target] 

Xfractor bonus pack
#174 Ryan Braun
#BCP 144 Blair Walters
#4 Jeremy Hellickson

Pack one
#BCP 147 Joel Caminero -
refractor parallel
#FAS-PJ Buster Posey / Tommy Joseph - Franchise All-Stars insert
#147 Michael Young

Pack two
#206 Justin Morneau
#BCP 139 Lane Adams
#155 Ichiro

Pack three
#21 Brad Peacock
#LIM-TB Trevor Bauer
- Legends in the Making insert
#BCP 152 Roberto De La Cruz

Pack four
#34 Chipper Jones
#BCP 168 Willy Garcia
#187 Jeremy Hefner

Pack five
#29 Jose Bautista
- refractor parallel
#BCP 179 Narciso Mesa
#199 Wily Peralta

Pack six
#62 Shin-Soo Choo
#BCP 190 Daniel Paolini
#217 Dustin Pedroia

Pack seven
#124 J.P. Arencibia
#BCP Donald Lutz
#BCP 200 Eduardo Rodriguez

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Featured autograph - Sergio Romo

I think it was four or five years ago, hanging out in the morning at Scottsdale waiting for the San Francisco Giants players to come in during spring training - where I got Sergio Romo's autograph.

He was a fairly anonymous Giants player back then and maybe I got him maybe once or twice - I remember a young couple getting a photo op with Romo and I thought, 'oh how cute, these guys are getting a pic with a token member of the Giants - it's too bad at times, only the scrubs like Romo who bother to sign.'

Even though Romo was a set-up man for much of the 2012 regular season, the Giants leaned on him to shut the door in the postseason and he ended up closing out the 2012 World Series as a two-time World Series champ - it's kind of safe to say that things have turned out pretty good as Romo has carved out a nice little MLB career for himself.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Vernon Wells oddball card

I ended up going to the Arizona Fall League for a week to get myself autographs of prospects and some other minor league players - I picked this oddball card of Vernon Wells as part of an league promotion to honor an AFL 20th Anniversary Top 20 team.

The card stock is very thin and not as 'durable' as a regular card would be - I don't really care for cards like these because I don't see them as trading cards [they are little larger than a normal card] and more like fliers to throw away.

The oversized cards I ended up with are Wells, Sean Casey, Todd Helton and Jermaine Dye - it looks as if I got the 'meh' part of the giveaway promotion but oh well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Featured autograph - Yoenis Cespedes

I feel like I've lost my way with this blogging thing, but here is an autograph I got in-person of Oakland A's star rookie Yoenis Cespedes - I thought he was good about signing autographs when there was opportunity for him to do so when the A's visited the Angels this past season, though he shortened his autograph from the beginning of the year.

Obviously Cespedes is starring in the American League Division Series right now - looking to help the A's even things up with the Detroit Tigers.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Quarter box finds

Any baseball card I can't get signed in-person or even through the mail are redundant for me - but I impulsively rescued these cards out of the quarter boxes at the card shop I frequent.

The 2012 Topps Finest cards were fairly new, shiny and features variety of all-star caliber talent - they make nice fillers for a baseball card collection I don't particularly pay much attention to at the moment.

2006 Topps Allen and Ginter Dan Johnson #66
2012 Topps Finest Alex Rodriguez #2
2012 Topps Finest Justin Verlander #10
2012 Topps Finest Ichiro #11
2012 Topps Finest David Price #21
2012 Topps Finest Troy Tulowitzki #25
2012 Topps Finest Evan Longoria #26
2012 Topps Finest Prince Fielder #30
2012 Topps Finest Ryan Zimmerman #32 x2
2012 Topps Finest Dustin Pedroia #49
2012 Topps Finest Chipper Jones #58
2012 Topps Finest Miguel Cabrera #70
2012 Topps Finest Joey Votto #80
2012 Topps Finest Starlin Castro #82
2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Ian Kinsler #145
2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Ian Kinsler #145 - making the throw is the SP variation.
2012 Topps Heritage Minor League Jesse Biddle #127
2012 Topps Heritage Minor League Pratt Maynard #167
2012 Topps Heritage Minor League Zeke DeVoss #182

Friday, September 07, 2012

Featured autograph - Kris Medlen

Featured autograph - Bobby Valentine

I got embattled Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine to sign two of my cards when the Boston Red Sox played the Angels at Angel Stadium a couple of weeks ago - he hasn't done himself any favors with his seemingly contrarian and abrasive demeanor but he's been turned into a scapegoat by the Boston Red Sox players, the media, the fans and maybe the people who hired him.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

2012 Topps Chrome value pack recap

2012 Topps Chrome Value Pack [$9.49 each a Target] - not that I don't spend money on a blaster box or value pack, but I try to stay away from any retail much of the time I go into a Target or Walmart.

The worst part of this break was pulling three scrubs out of the pack of orange refractors - only to pull regular Chrome cards of the three same scubs.

Top section

Exclusive parallel pack
#194 Wily Peralta
#11 Ian Kennedy
#54 Ike Davis

Pack one
#9 Brian McCann
#57 Nelson Cruz
#194 Wily Peralta
#11 Ian Kennedy

Bottom section

Pack two
#118 Ryan Zimmerman
#8 C.J. Wilson
#54 Ike Davis
#90 Evan Longoria

Pack three
#99 Jemile Weeks
#6 Jon Lester
#130 Miguel Cabrera
- refractor
#170 Jesus Montero - surface ding

Friday, August 31, 2012

Play at the Plate trade received

I received 2012 Topps Allen and Ginter's gold mini parallels of Erick Aybar and C.J. Wilson from Play at the Plate - in exchange for the two Texas Rangers ones I pulled out of a pack break.

Reading about the trade from his point of view, it sounds like he's made me out as a female - though I'm appreciative a trade was able to get done, just to avoid any possible confusion, I'd like to clarify that I'm actually a dude.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Featured autograph - Adrian Gonzalez

It's hard not to look away from what the Los Angeles Dodgers did in trading for the big contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, a hobbled Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett - as a Major League Baseball fan, all it tells me is sometimes there are just no rules as far what one particular team is willing to spend to bring certain players in.

It must be nice being a fan of an organization like the Dodgers right now - while my Angels are floundering in mediocrity, the Dodgers are primed to make a serious playoff run.