Sunday, November 23, 2008


If you need to donate some cards to the collection (it's greatly appreciated) here's what I'm currently looking for:

Individual Players

Eddie Murray
Floyd Rayford - Check Here To See What I need!
Vincent Lecavalier
Peter Bondra


Baltimore Orioles
Tampa Bay Lightning



2010 Topps Series One

24, 80, 105, 126, 261, 271, 305,

2009 Topps

210, 213

2009 Topps Heritage

7 Tim Lincecum Bruce B
10 Hanley Ramirez
25 Paul Konerko
33 Randy Johnson
35 Andy Pettitte
36 Lyle Overbay
37 Jeff Francoeur
47 Ryan Theriot
50 Curtis Granderson
51 Aaron Laffey
53 Adam Jones
67 Omar Vizquel
74 Marlon Byrd
76 Jered Weaver
82 Scott Baker
85 Justin Verlander
86 Jose Lopez
90 Erick Aybar
93 Rickie Weeks
98 Shaun Marcum
99 Lastings Milledge
109 Delmon Young
115 Jonathan Papelbon Ti
116 Emil Brown
118 Chris Lambert RC
120 Fernando Perez RC
121 Angel Salome RC
128 Scott Elbert RC
129 James Parr RC
130 Greg Golson RC
136 Matt Tuiasosopo RC
141 Wade LeBlanc RC
143 Alcides Escobar RC
145 Jesse Chavez RC
154 Rich Aurilia
155 Jeff Kent
164 Cincinnati Reds
165 Tim Lincecum
173 Brandon Phillips
174 Cleveland Indians
176 Corey Patterson
182 Carlos Zambrano
183 Pittsburgh Pirates
194 Pat Burrell
199 David Purcey
202 Troy Percival
209 Randy Wolf
210 Ryan Zimmerman
211 Manny Parra
220 Tony La Russa
221 Jim Leyland
225 Joe Torre
226 Dave Trembley
230 Josh Beckett Jon Les
231 Mark Reynolds
240 Orlando Cabrera
243 Andy Marte
245 Carlos Guillen
246 Brandon Jones
249 Jon Lester
258 Jack Wilson
262 Mark Teahen
268 John Lackey
269 Jeremy Hermida
271 Lance Berkman
277 Bobby Crosby
282 Chris Volstad
284 Max Scherzer
285 Chase Headley
287 Moises Alou
289 Carlos Delgado
295 Casey Blake
296 Mike Pelfrey
299 Daric Barton
304 Jake Peavy
309 Ryan Sweeney
310 Mike Lowell
312 Aaron Rowand
314 Edgar Renteria
315 Mariano Rivera
316 Wilson Betemit
321 Denard Span
324 John Lannan
328 Jesus Flores
330 Franklin Gutierrez
335 Kelly Johnson
341 Vladimir Guerrero
346A Fred Lewis
352 Joey Votto Edwin Enc
353 Luke Hochevar
354 Chris Snyder
355 Rick Ankiel
360 Gavin Floyd
363 Coco Crisp
367 David DeJesus
369 B J Ryan
372 Brian Schneider
374 Tim Hudson
377 Alex Rodriguez
382 Chone Figgins
384 Brian Giles
386 Eric Bruntlett
394 James Loney
397 Chicago Cubs
400 Magglio Ordonez
401 Dan Uggla
402 Adam LaRoche
406 Dustin McGowan
412 Ted Lilly
423 Brian Buscher
427 Ben Francisco
428 Jermaine Dye
429 Dustin Pedroia Ichir
430 Kevin Slowey
432 Glen Perkins
433 Carlos Gomez
434 Jon Garland
435 Joe Crede
436 Billy Butler
437 Zach Duke
438 Chris Coste
440 Elijah Dukes
441 Fausto Carmona
442 Joe Mauer
443 Marcus Thames
444 Mike Fontenot
447 Adrian Beltre
448 Kevin Millar
449 Nick Swisher
450 Justin Morneau
451 Shane Victorino
452 Placido Polanco
453 Ryan Dempster
454 Frank Thomas
457 Alan Trammell Larry
460 Jeff Datz Luis River
461 Lloyd McClendon Andy
462 Jim Hickey Steve Hen
464 Roger McDowell Terry
465 Rob Thomson Tony Pen
466 Milt Thompson Rich D
467 Tony Beasley Joe Ker
468 Dave Duncan Hal McRa
470 Randy St Claire Marq
471 Brad Ausmus
472 Melvin Mora
473 Austin Kearns
474 Josh Willingham
475 Derek Lowe
477 A J Pierzynski
479 CC Sabathia
480 Jorge Posada
482 Lance Berkman
483 Dustin Pedroia
484 Chase Utley
485 Alex Rodriguez
487 Derek Jeter
488A Hanley Ramirez AS Fl
489 Josh Hamilton
490 Ryan Braun
491 Manny Ramirez
492 Kosuke Fukudome
493 Ichiro Suzuki
494 Matt Holliday
496 Geovany Soto
497 Roy Halladay
498 Ben Sheets
499 Cliff Lee
500 Billy Wagner

2008 Topps Series One and Two

Number Name

428 Jair Jurrjens
431 Delwyn Young
451 Brian Giles
452 Kevin Slowey
594 Mike Morse
623 Trey Hillman


2008-09 Upper Deck Hockey Series 1
45, 50, 105, 110, 127

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2008 Preseason Prognostication Revisited

Now that the World Series has faded into recent memory it should be time to start focusing on the 2009 season for the Tampa Bay Rays. We’ll get there some time this off season, but for right now lets do a quick review of this blog’s preseason picks. Luckily, due to my sheer laziness there are only three predictions that we have to review. So without further ado here we go!

Prediction number 1

When it comes down to it they just play in too tough of a division right now to expect the 90 wins necessary to be talked about in the play off hunt.

So I was wrong. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Luckily, I was wrong in a good way. The Rays surpassed everyone’s expectations by winning 97 games in the regular season. They smashed their way past the White Sox in the divisional series and out lasted the Red Sox in the league championship series before getting out played by the Phillies in the World Series.

I had listed a bunch of “what if’s” that could sneak the Rays into the wild card hunt, but oddly enough even though most of those “what if’s” didn’t come true they were still the best team in the American League. It just hammered home the truthfulness of the cliché that pitching and defense wins championships.

This prediction was wrong.

Prediction number 2

Carlos Pena - 37 home runs, .269 average 120 RBI’s

Instead of making bold team predictions I was planning on predicting the numbers of all nine position players and the pitching staff. I made it through 2 players. What can I say I’m lazy and often don’t live up to my ideals. So how did I do with Mr. Pena?

2008 Carlos Pena stats - 31 home runs, .247 average 102 RBI’s

Considering the putrid start he got off to I was amazed to be as close as I was. Through the end of June he had 11 homeruns and was hitting .229. His bat warmed up down the stretch as he hit 20 home runs the rest of the way while hitting above .250 in each of the last three months.

It appeared that he might have been pushing early in the season as he was striving to live up to his large off season deal. Just as his bat was starting to warm up he suffered a broken finger against Boston in June. While the time off might have prevented him from hitting 40 home runs it also kept him from striking out 200 times.

Plus if you add the 3 home runs and 10 RBI’s in the postseason I’m barely off on power numbers so I give myself a partial correct here.

Prediction number 3

Aki Imamura - 12 home runs, .2, 0 average 57 RBI’s

Aki!’s actual 2008 stats - 6 home runs, .274 average and 48 RBI’s

I thought that with a year under his belt Aki! would find his power groove. I was wrong. Even though he had 130 more at bats than 2007 his home run numbers decreased by one. That might speak more to his role at the top of the line up than his ability.

However, it was his defense at second base that provided the most value to the team. In 990 chances he only had 7 errors - most of those coming later in the season. Had he struggled at his new position there might have been the urge to move him back to his natural 3rd base position which might have delayed the development of Evan Longoria. That isn’t a concern now, nor is any other position in the infield. The four players in the infield (Iwamura, Pena, Longoria and Jason Bartlett) should hopefully play together for many seasons to come. Which would be something that can only make the Rays stronger.

So in the end I was wrong on two predictions and partially correct on the 3rd. Not the best success rate, but I have a feeling it was as good as anyone else’s.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Great Football Card Trade

I’ve been spending a lot of time (and a fair bit of money) on cards lately. That’s probably not the best way to be spending money while remodeling the condo. Oh, and I can’t forget the whole economic recession thing. Now, however, space is starting to become an issue. The closet that I’ve been using is full and our place doesn’t really have much storage. So it’s time to get rid of some cards.

After much contemplation (5 minutes) I’ve decided to cull all of the football cards from my collection. The easiest way I figured to do it was sort by team and find someone to trade with. Thanks to the internet tubes I’ve found several sports cards sites written by collectors and traders (see links for a couple that I‘ve already traded with). While most of them deal in baseball I have seen a couple of that collect football as well.

I’m trying to keep this as uncomplicated as possible. I’m offering all of my cards of a particular team for trade. That includes commons, parallels, inserts, everything. I won’t send any doubles unless they are decent rookie cards.

In return I’m looking for Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Lightning or Goalie cards in return. I’ll also post a wants list one of these days for the series I need to finish.
That’s pretty much it. If you’re interested send me an email or leave me a comment.

Here is the list:

Atlanta Falcons
Arizona Cardinals
Baltimore Ravens / Baltimore Colts
Buffalo Bills
Carolina Panthers
Chicago Bears
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Dallas Cowboys
Denver Broncos
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Houston Texans / Houston Oilers
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs
Miami Dolphins
Minnesota Vikings
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
New York Jets

Oakland Raiders
Philadelphia Eagles
Pittsburgh Steelers
Saint Louis Rams
San Diego Chargers
San Francisco 49’ers
Seattle Seahawks
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tennessee Titans
Washington Redskins

Friday, November 14, 2008

US Unemployment Numbers Increase By One

And on a humid, December Friday afternoon the Barry Melrose Era came to a crashing end. The first year Lightning head coach was let go the day after the team squandered a 2 goal league against the defending champion Detroit Red Wings. Assistant coach Rick Tocchet has been named the interim coach. With several “big name” coaches seeking employment his tenure may be short

OK Hockey made the decision because, “the results were unexcitable the players have to understand that we need to be better”. Those were the words spoken by Brian Lawton according to the St Pete Times. Whether its trades or organizational announcements Lawton has been making a lot of statements in the press lately.

Sixteen games isn’t a long time to judge a head coach. Even though Melrose’s team was only victorious 5 times in those 16 games the quick hook is another sign that a sense of panic may be setting in with the ownership. A lackluster start to the season and below average performance from their offensive stars, both new and old, has led to many empty seats in the Ice Palace. Empty seats is one thing that this ownership group cannot afford.

Melrose, a controversial replacement for fiery John Tortorella, never seemed to fit in the TBA area. His detractors were numerous and seemed to have endless reasons why he shouldn’t be behind the bench. Whether it was his preferred hair style (slick backed mullet), his lack of recent coaching experience or the opinions he uttered as an analyst during the Bolts Stanley Cup run in 2003-04 the cantankerous commenting crowd never ceased their cry for his immediate termination. His recent fawning over the Detroit organization ruffled their precious feathers even more. Now, however, they can raise a toast to his inglorious demise and search the roster for another victim to unleash their written (and often misspelled) vitriol.

Don’t weep for Melrose. The deal he signed was for three years so he will at least get a paycheck for the foreseeable future as Lawton said they would honor it. In these trying times that’s not a bad thing. Along with Tortorella OK Hockey is now paying two gentlemen to not coach their team. As early as it is in the season there is still a good chance that they can add to that total.

The well coifed gentleman will undoubtedly appear on a television screen soon. Perhaps he could occupy a seat to the right of Tortorella as a fellow TSN studio analyst. I’m sure the two of them could trade amusing stories of their short tenures as the top commander in the OK Hockey Army.

Meanwhile, back in the self anointed Hockey Bay, USA Tocchet will inherit a team in shambles. Of their five wins only one of them comes against a team that has won more than half of its games (Buffalo). The offense is lethargic at best, showing energy only on rare even-strength occasions and unable to put a full 60 minutes of hard-nosed, aggressive play together on one night. Perhaps if one were to add up all the moments of high caliber play so far through this season it would equal a full game, but they have yet to be the best team on the ice in a nightly basis.

The revolving door on defense has been well documented and there is no need to go over it again. The only redeeming quality on this team has been the goaltending and that can’t last forever. Mike Smith has seen more rubber than a Goodyear salesman. He is facing an average of 36 shots per game. At that pace he would only need to play in 48 games to break Kevin Weeks team record of shots against of 1742 set during the glory years of the early 2000’s.

Until there is some sort of stability on the roster the team will continue to struggle. This isn’t a bad team made of up of unskilled players. The boys in Lightning blue have a tremendous amount of talent, however they seem to have no focus, no tenacity and no joy. Look at the bench - do you see any smiles? It deems there hasn’t been any humor reported in Tampa since the night in Toronto when they let Steven Stamkos skate onto the ice all by his lonesome.

So what comes first - winning or the joie de vie on the ice that leads to more winning? Watch Alex Ovcehkin when he scores or when one of his linemates scores. It’s like watching someone score for the first time. When Vincent or Marty score it seems to be celebrated more with a sense of relief and the impending doom of one watching over their shoulder waiting for the other shoe to drop. Until this team relaxes and starts playing with confidence things won’t change.

Oddly enough Melrose leaves the Lightning with the second best winning percentage as a head coach. His .438 winning percentage ranked only behind Torts (.549) and well ahead of Terry Crisp (.421), Steve Ludzik (.345), Jacques Demers (.293) and Rick Paterson (.000). So from a certain point of view OK Hockey fired the second best coach in the history of the Lightning after only 16 games - that’s hardly fair.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Welcome To the Swap Meet

Never before have the cries of “Get Your Programs! Can’t Tell The Players Without a Program!” rung quite so true in the hallowed halls of the Ice Palace. Just twelve games into the season and the revolving door hasn’t stopped spinning yet.

On Friday it was Matt Carle’s turn to become an ex-member of the Lightning. Traded along with a draft pick to Philadelphia for Steve Eminger and Steve Downie Carle’s career with the Lightning was spectacular only it’s briefness. The centerpiece of the off-season Dan Boyle salary dump, Carle was supposed to be the heir apparent in terms of free wheeling, offense sparking blue liner, and at 24 a much younger option.

Through 12 games Carle had spent almost 22 minutes per game patrolling the ice, but had registered only one goal and one assist. Neither one of those marks on the score sheet came with the man advantage and that more than anything made him expendable to the new regime.
With Carle leaving there has been almost a 100% overhaul of the blueline. Only Andrej Meszaros remains from the squad that started the season in Prague. It has yet to be determined if that is a good thing or not. The defense was a question mark going into the season and remains so now a month into it.

Speaking of the new regime it’s hard to see where they’re going with this team. It’s still early to claim that there isn’t a plan. After all, a full season hasn’t passed, but it’s starting to look that way. Moving Shane O’Brien who had failed to impress under the former regime or Dan Koci an enforcer with a whopping 41 seconds of playing is one thing. Moving a 24 defenseman who was supposed to be a cornerstone of the new look Lightning is something totally different.

This was their guy, not a Feaster guy or a Tortorella guy or even an Art Williams guy. He “fit with our plan of trying to get to younger and better”, Brian Lawton uttered those words just after completing the deal for Carle. So dealing him away must mean they want to get older and worse. Trying to justify dealing him away Lawton said that Eminger and Carle are “very comparable in a lot of ways”. Apparently points isn’t one of those comparable ways. In 61 more games Eminger has 11 less goals and 20 less points.

The regime has been branded “cowboys” by the ex coach and rumors of an owner diagramming plays during an intermission haven’t been put to bed yet. Moves like this tend to show a lack of faith in the players, the staff, the scouts and even in ownership. If a key piece of the defense can be moved for an underachieving 3rd line defenseman and cap space than who is safe? Will the next two game losing streak cost Jussi Jokinen his spot on the team? Maybe a free fall into last place will result in Vincent getting moved to Montreal. That should free up plenty of space for new acquisitions. In the end, they have to play the cards that have been dealt. Constant change for the sake of change is no way to go through a season.

There could, however, be a much simpler explanation for the recent moves. The new regime could be planning a reunion. Maybe they were big fans of the 2003-04 Washington Capitals. Olaf Kolzig, Jeff Halpern, Matt Pettinger and Eminger all skated for that squad. If the next transaction notice is the Bolts signing Kip Miller or Ivan Ciernik we’ll all know what the plan is.