Saturday, August 31, 2013

Featured autographs - Andy Marte

It may not hurt to see what this guy can do for about a month when he's been scorching the ball at AAA - though I'd be really more interested seeing whether or not this other guy can get back to the Major Leagues with the Angels this September.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Featured autograph - Cory Rasmus

The younger brother of Colby was acquired from the Atlanta Braves for Scott Downs on July 29 and made his Angels debut last Sunday - pitching a scoreless inning, striking out one batter, allowing two hits and a walk.

I got Cory's autograph at the Arizona Fall League last year - my goal this fall is to be able to make it out to Arizona for a week to do some 'hard core' graphing once the regular MLB season is finally over [at least for the Angels].

Monday, August 26, 2013

Featured autograph - Mike Scioscia

Every year there seems to be an MLB organization that is outed as having a miserable, laughable, Mickey Mouse atmosphere behind the scenes - Scioscia's Angels fit that narrative this year and he might get the ax despite the money and years left on a long term contract he signed.

Winning smooths out a lot of the dysfunction but the Angels aren't competing for squat any time soon - with a bunch of gimpy, overpaid, underachieving fools save for Mike Trout and maybe one or two other guys.

It maybe petty and I'll always be an Angels fan, but there maybe is a little schadenfreude on my part to see the Angels struggle - as a guy who tries to go his share of Angels home games, every time I see Mark Trumbo or Jered Weaver turn their back on fans wanting their autographs, the ballpark experience cut short by overzealous ushers / ballpark security, I think what a fraud this organization has been and I just chuckle.

It all trickles down when there isn't enough winning done on the field - right now, it looks like the organization has no farm system, no clue and it is a dark time for Halos fans at the moment.

Featured autograph - Kole Calhoun

Calhoun has never been any sort of top prospect and his path to get to the Major Leagues has been a little bit more pedestrian - but he has been able to hit wherever he has played, so he still has a little upside if given an opportunity to play on a somewhat regular basis in the next year or so.

Obviously he isn't Mike Trout, but Calhoun already fits the mold of a fan favorite - so Angels fans are clamoring for him to get a prolonged opportunity to see what he can do.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Featured autograph - Chris Nelson

A first round pick [ninth overall] all the way back in 2004, Nelson had a breakout season with the Colorado Rockies in 2012 - considering his draft status, he may have been a disappointment, but a player who was poised to stick in the Major Leagues.

This season, Nelson has bounced around from the Colorado Rockies to the New York Yankees and finally the Angels - after the team designated him for assignment and was outrighted to AAA, I'd pretty much forgotten about him.

He played well in his AAA stint and I was surprised he made it back up with the Angels - in the last month he's been with the team, he's been pretty much unremarkable, even though he has come up with a few key hits lately.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Featured autographs - Andrew McCutchen

I got a 2011 Topps Chrome refractor and a 2013 Bowman Blue Sapphire reprint scribbled on by the Pittsburgh Pirates star outfielder - it looks like McCutchen maybe a frontrunner for the National League MVP, while his Pirates squad is in a dogfight in the NL Central, looking to finish at .500 or above for the first time since 1992.

Meanderings generated from quarter box digs

At a card shop, I maybe picking up scrap cards at some sort of premium, so the penny pincher I seem to be - I always cap my purchases up to a certain amount.

At times, I feel like I'm going to be back at the same place soon enough - poring over the same cards, making another redundant, small purchase [when perhaps I can spend $20 or so on cheapo cards and not come back to the card shop for at least a couple of months].

I wasn't looking for anything specific when I dug out 12 cards from the quarter boxes - I feel like the MLB season is creeping closer towards the end and I'm not sure if I should be looking for cards depth of random MLB players I might not be seeing until next year [though I'll have to do it at some point between now and next season].

2013 Topps Jordy Mercer #421
2013 Topps Alfredo Marte #422
2013 Topps Brian Roberts #515 - Bryce Harper cameo/bonus baby
2013 Topps Hector Santiago #620

2013 Topps Austin Jackson #642 - retro uniform
2013 Topps Miguel Cabrera #374 - Emerald parallel
2013 Topps Heritage Grant Balfour

Deviating from the norm I picked up some oddball [as in I don't collect non-baseball] cards just for giggles - maybe a smarter collector can make sense with these cards but for now, they are impulsively mine.

2013 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Tim Tebow #37
2013 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Roman Gabriel #67

2013 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Abraham Lincoln #108
2013 Topps Finest football J.J. Watt #27 - refractor parallel

2013 Topps Finest football Drew Brees #70 - refractor parallel

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Featured autographs - Jeremy Giambi

I have to act as the eyes and ears of my in-person baseball autograph collecting buddy, since he knows I can spot more random guys he could be getting autographs of, than he would just by himself - my friend brought cards of the erstwhile MLB player [and brother of Jason] to the Cleveland Indians / Angels game in Anaheim on Wednesday and at the start of the game, I saw Jeremy just chilling in the visiting players' family section.

I pointed Jeremy out and my buddy got several cards signed and handed me three others - I got the extra cards signed and kept a couple of them.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

2013 Panini Pinnacle three pack break

Maybe the lack of a MLB license make the cards sort of monotonous and a little boring - small sample size and all, but maybe the cards just don't pop except for the insert of Josh Hamilton I pulled, which is actually pretty nice.

Pack one
#86 Troy Tulowitzki
#44 Rickey Henderson
#6 Mike Napoli
#64 Carl Crawford

#T9 Jarrod Parker - Team 2020 insert
#117 Mariano Rivera
#136 Andrew McCutchen
#168 Rob Scahill

Pack two 
#73 Justin Upton
#30 Giancarlo Stanton
#53 Jarrod Parker
#11 David Price

#T3 Bryce Harper - Team 2020 insert
#144 Buster Posey
#118 Alex Rodriguez
#200 Tyler Cloyd

Pack three
#2 Jesus Montero
#60 Craig Kimbrel
#22 Clayton Kershaw
#43 Michael Morse - Museum parallel
#CV 13 Josh Hamilton - Clear Vision parallel / Double
#107 Pedro Alvarez

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Featured autograph - Adrian Beltre

Looks like he's playing his way into some serious Hall of Fame consideration - though he still an active player and will probably need to duplicate what he has done on a year-to-year basis for the next three or four seasons.

It's kind of interesting how his career evolved into his 30's - after being a good but kind of mediocre player after his big season with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004.

I was able to get my 2010 Topps Allen and Ginter signed by Beltre before a Texas Rangers vs. Angels game in Anaheim - he's been pretty good about signing over the years when given the opportunity to sign, though at times it is obvious he doesn't want to deal with the hassle of people trying to shove things in his face.

Collecting A-Fraud

I sort of miss the mid 2000's when this guy was the best player in the game and trying to flag him down to get something signed meant all the world - even if he'd be rather oblivious when walking through the crowd of fans like he was some kind of deity, there was a few opportunities where he would sign at the ballpark.

Of course, A-Rod is still a big deal these days but for all the wrong reasons - I don't think anyone is shedding a tear because he might be on the brink on being suspended through his age 40 season.

I will give A-Rod all the credit in the world if he can play a full MLB season in 2014 or after when he serves an apparent suspension, how ever long that will be - I still want to see what he can still do as a player and see this latest mess he's put himself through as just one hurdle he has to get through with the world against him.

Over the last decade, I've picked up assorted base and cheap insert cards over the years featuring A-Rod - I've also got a couple of signed baseballs [one he signed in-person and one bought from eBay], his 1994 Upper Deck SP rookie card and a couple of certified autograph cards I paid some good money for.

I'm not going to go out and burn what I've picked up, though I have long stopped caring about actively collecting anything of his - since in a superficial way, it's all relatively worthless now.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Featured autograph - Grant Green

I've seen Green at the Arizona Fall League in 2011 and 2012, but got a couple of new cards [2013 Topps Pro Debut and 2013 Panini USA Champions] signed in-person about a week or so - before the 25-year old rookie got traded to the Angels in exchange for Alberto Callaspo.

Hopefully Green, can figure things out sooner than never and maybe in a few years - be another Mark DeRosa, a useful guy who can play a couple of positions with a decent stick at the plate.

As for the Angels, I have to be a fan, but the product on the field is unwatchable - there is a 'what you see is what you get' quality to the Angels, which is to say the way the team has been built over the last three years, there hasn't been the ability to go out and get players that add depth to the pitching staff or among the position players.

I don't know how much further the Angels will have to fall before hitting rock bottom, but seemingly each loss is worse than the last - the 'go for broke' trades during the middle of the year and big free agent signings of the last four or five years have torpedoed the ability for the team to bounce back as a legitimate contender.

I was for the Albert Pujols signing a couple of years ago, even when he is hobbled up now - but the Angels should have built a rebuilt a team through three or four players instead of throwing out money to Josh Hamilton last off-season.

The other odds and ends from the card shop

I might not have found anything specific I was looking for - but I splurged on picking up 53 assorted cards as depth in addition to the seven I picked up for fun.

2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects Zoilo Almonte #BCP 148 - x3
2010 Bowman Draft Chrome USA Marc Brakeman #BDPP 94
2010 Bowman Draft Chrome USA Zach Green #BDPP 99 - x2
2010 Bowman Draft Chrome USA Nelson Rodriguez #BDPP 107 - x3
2010 Bowman Draft Chrome USA Nick Travieso #BDPP 110 - x2
2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Conner Crumbliss #BCP 147
2011 Bowman Draft Chrome USA Tyler Alamo #BDPP 92
2011 Bowman Draft Chrome USA Nick Ciuffo #BDPP 94
2011 Bowman Draft Chrome USA Dany Toussaint #BDPP 108
2011 Bowman Draft Chrome USA Riley Unroe #BDPP 109
2011 Playoff Contenders Blake Swihart #RT 30
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Jonathan Singleton #154 - x2
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Stetson Allie #201 - Baseball America All-Stars SP
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Austin Romine #230 - Baseball America All-Stars SP
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Mike Foltynewicz #231 - Baseball America All-Stars SP
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Miguel Sano #234 - Baseball America All-Stars SP
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Alex Wimmers #242 - Baseball America All-Stars SP
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Christian Yelich #243 - Baseball America All-Stars SP
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Peter Tago #250 - Baseball America All-Stars SP
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Arodys Vizcaino #46 - Blue Tint parallel serial #'d 492/620
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Mike Montgomery #30 - Blue Tint parallel serial #'d 123/620
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Simon Castro #77 - Blue Tint parallel serial #'d 445/620
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Carlos Martinez #64 - Blue Tint parallel serial #'d 504/620
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Brian Cavazos-Galvez #79 - Blue Tint parallel serial #'d 338/620
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Julio Rodriguez #10 - Red Tint parallel serial #'d 603/620
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Brett Jackson #21 - Red Tint parallel serial #'d 443/620
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Tyler Matzek #26 - Red Tint parallel serial #'d 293/620
2011 Topps Heritage Minors John Gast #117 - Red Tint parallel serial #'d 132/620
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Asher Wojciechowski #186 - Red Tint parallel serial #'d 261/620
2012 Bowman Chrome Kevin Chapman #BCP 214 - x3
2012 Bowman Draft Chrome Eddie Butler #BDPP 103 - x2
2012 Panini Extra Edition Andrew Heaney #3
2012 Panini Extra Edition Rio Ruiz #77
2012 Panini Extra Edition Tom Murphy #91
2012 Panini Extra Edition Alex Wood #30 - x2
2012 Panini Extra Edition Jake Barrett #40
2013 Bowman Jin-De Jhang #BP 23 - blue bordered parallel serial #'d 102/500
2013 Topps Derek Norris #334
2013 Topps Chris Nelson #427
2013 Topps Zach McAllister #513 - x2
2013 Topps Allen and Ginter Tommy Hanson #301 - SP

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Odds and ends from the card shop

The last things on my mind when rummaging through cards is going through ones featuring mostly a non-sport theme or picking up ones picturing deceased subjects - but I picked these cards out of a stack of 2013 Panini Golden Age for whatever reason.

2013 Panini Golden Age Woodrow Wilson #16

2013 Panini Golden Age George "Spanky" McFarland #36

2013 Panini Golden Age Branch Rickey #49

2013 Panini Golden Age Elizabeth Montgomery #70

2013 Panini Golden Age Eva Gabor #91
2013 Panini Golden Age Johnny Carson #123

2013 Panini Golden Age Lyman Bostock #144

2013 Bowman Platinum blaster recap

I was looking to see if I'd pull an autograph or something even though I still say I'm paying way too much [about $20 plus tax from a Target] - to pick up 32 random cards per box.

An idea for Topps is to perhaps label the backs of the cards to identify which parallel sets they are from - the base cards are shiny and maybe confused for parallels but besides that, I have to guess and look up cards I pulled if I suspect if they are more than just base cards.

Pack one
#BPP 99 Luis Sardinas
#41 Gio Gonzalez

#36 Stan Musial - Blue Sapphire insert
#53 Freddie Freeman

Pack two
#BPP 91 Michael Wacha

#4 Norichika Aoki - Ruby parallel
#84 Jackie Bradley Jr.
#BPP 25 Anthony Rendon

Pack three
#BPP 93 Richie Shaffer
#BPP 55 Adrian Beltre
#CES-JM Joe Mauer - Cutting Edge Stars insert
#BPP 42 Kyle Zimmer

Pack four
#66 Salvador Perez

#BPCP 13 Taijuan Walker - Chrome parallel
#97 Chris Sale
#BPP 23 Carlos Correa

Pack five
#BPP 43 Tyler Austin

#63 Jason Heyward - Gold parallel
#8 David Freese
#BPP 31 Albert Almora

Pack six
#BPP 5 Zack Wheeler
#BPP 72 Billy Butler
#TP-TW Taijuan Walker - Top Prospects insert
#BPP 9 Billy Hamilton

Pack seven
#BPP 62 Kyle Gibson
#2 Mike Trout - Blue Sapphire parallel
#15 Carl Crawford
#BPP 17 Danny Hultzen

Pack eight
#81 Derek Jeter

#BPCP 5 Zack Wheeler - Chrome parallel
#29 Mariano Rivera
#BPP 92 Gavin Cecchini

Monday, August 12, 2013

Autograph request through the mail received: Andy Dirks

Andy Dirks c/o Detroit Tigers - he was having a breakout year in 2012, so I sent an autograph request towards the end of that season.

In March 2013, the Detroit Tigers returned one of my two cards my unsigned with a form letter in their own envelope - my SASE and my other card were not returned.

I haven't counted on getting through the mail requests back for at least several years but I saw one of my SASEs after checking my mailbox on Aug. 10 - I wondered who responded to me and inside the envelope was a signed card from Dirks, which surprised me since I'd counted him off as an apparent failure.

Featured autograph - Mike Piazza

I told my friend I was going to drop a ball on Piazza at the Inland Empire 66'ers game Sunday night until I realized it wasn't that Mike Piazza - in all seriousness, it's not that confusing to figure out that 44-year old former MLB superstar catcher Mike Piazza would not be pitching [much less doing anything else] for a Single-A team in the California League, though seeing the name does throw people off for a moment.

The younger Mike Piazza is old to be a serious prospect in any MLB organization, but the Angels have held onto him for parts of five minor league seasons - so perhaps if he continues to show something [maybe as a swingman], he may get an opportunity to reach the Major Leagues at some point, even if it's only for a cup of coffee.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Featured autograph - Neal Cotts

When the Texas Rangers were in town, I was able to get his autograph on a card - he said he had to go or his group [Geovany Soto and maybe a bullpen catcher and a another guy] would leave him after the game, so he relented to only signed a couple of autographs.

I still have an autograph card of Cotts somewhere in my room and getting to sign something was no really big deal - still, his comeback from oblivion is worth mentioning if you are a Rangers fan or someone who is interested in MLB human interest stories.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Featured autograph - Jack Morris

His prime through the 1980's was way before my time as either a baseball fan or card collector - I just remember him through various junk wax appearances [particularly late in his playing career] and maybe reading about him through the early 1990's.

Right now, his status as far as a potential Hall of Fame inductee is in the air and maybe he is more of a marginal candidate than a guy you have put in with the greats - the numbers guys seem to marginalize his career as far as snubbing him for the HOF while the so-called old school guys have cited his Game 7 performance in the 1991 World Series and his overall workmanlike efforts through the 1980's as reasons as why he should have a plaque in Cooperstown.

As far as the autographed card, I've associated Morris with the Minnesota Twins but never have seen him in-person until the Toronto Blue Jays visited the Angels a couple of weeks ago - I was able to spot him through the crowd and was the first to end up getting his autograph.

Featured autograph - Steve Delabar

Delabar was the last guy I needed to complete my 2012 Topps Heritage multiplayer card and I got him to finally sign the card a couple of weeks ago in-person - I was hoping to get Delabar at some point during the 2012 season, but he ended up being traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Toronto Blue Jays.

It was a little awkward getting the card signed since Delabar was knocking out the other cards I had for him - but left me hanging as far as signing the card with the three other guys' autograph on it already.

I had to point the card out to him and maybe he thought he signed it already - he said it maybe the first time he's seen one of the cards [completed].

When it comes to PEDs and suspicions

I'm more inclined to listen to the kooks and the guys who speak out about it in an unadulterated way - Jack Clark may have been talking out his ass and promtly got canned for it, but because he's been out of professional baseball and maybe bitter about his circumstance, he's not afraid to piss people off.

Does that mean what he is saying is true [?] - I have to sift through the details he is relaying for each player he sort of puts out there on the firing line to see if it's BS.

Clark probably went off on Justin Verlander's numbers taking a dip after getting his big contract - since Verlander is on his fantasy team and is wondering what happened to the ace pitcher of a couple of years ago hitting just about 100 MPH late into games.

I don't see as much harm into what Clark said about Verlander - however, Clark's story about a trainer building up a good but hardly well known amateur into this beast of a prospect through chemical engineering is more than a little compelling, especially when Albert Pujols turned out to be the best player of his generation.

My only question is why bring it up now [?] - I see where Pujols isn't always painted as the most accomodating or gracious but he seems like a different beast than the A-Roids or Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens of the world.

Maybe long after it all matters, Pujols is found to be on PEDs he was using for a prolonged period of time for parts of his baseball career - however, I'm tempted to say Clark must have some ulterior motive to out Pujols in a way that smears what he has been able to accomplish on and off the field.

As for Clark's innuendo about Shawn Green's apparent bacne due to possible PED use - it maybe one of those things that you can look at as far as Green's numbers [looked like a good player coming up, had some fine power numbers in his prime and then his power numbers just dipped] are concerned, but then after the fact, it is what it is.

When it was apparent what was going on before my very eyes

I had to see if I could get some footage of some poor schlub getting gang tackled by Angel Stadium security - for jumping into the field during the last moments of an Angels game back on July 24.