Sunday, November 29, 2009

Going Broke Ten Cents at a Time

With some cash in my pocket and a cool breeze in the air I visited the ol’ flea market. For $13.00 I walked away with 60-some cards and 3 “hits”. I figure that’s better odds then plunking down $10.00 for a blaster. Most of the cards were for my personal collection, but I also saw some cards that fellow bloggers might find intriguing. If you see anything you like just let me know!

Let’s start off with a couple of cards for my player collections.

2007 SP Carl Crawford. The nice thing about Mike is that he doesn’t always sort his 10 cent boxes very well. Chances are he would have this one in the $1.00 “Rays” Box normally.

1997 Donruss Studio Peter Bondra. Look at the hair. LOOK AT IT! Glorious! Bondra is my new project. He was one of the more underrated players in the 90’s, the dead puck era of hockey, and he was one of my favorites early in my hockey fandom. Since his hey day was before the proliferation of inserts, autos and game worn relics I figure I have a reasonable chance of collecting most of his cards.

Next up are a couple of Eddie Murray’s. Sadly, these cards are post mutton chops for Eddie, but I didn’t have them so I picked them up.

1986 Topps All Star - Is that a smile? Nice to see on the normally reserved hall of famer.

1987 Fleer “Limited Edition” Was anything limited in the late 80’s?

The quest draws closer to an end

2008 Allen & Ginter Coco Crisp. Another card off the list. Mike had a bunch of Ginters this week, sadly only one that I needed. I’m starting to think I might actually finish this thing off.

Random Orioles and cards for bloggers - This was the bulk of the cheap cards that I bought today. Always nice to add O’s cards to the pile.

I have an idea of where the others are going, but if you see something you like send me an email.

1994 Stadium Club Mike Mussina - He’s in an igloo with ice picks behind him. O.K.

1979 Topps Billy Smith - This reminds me of the poses we had on photo day during my rec league days.

2004 Upper Deck Play Ball Luis Matos - Hopefully the days of thinking that Luis Matos and his ilk are the “answer” to the O’s problems are over. The outfield seems set for the next few years with Markakis, Jones, Reimold and Pie running around the lush green grass of Camden Yards.

The “Hits”

2004 Topps Blue Chip Clint Nageotte Auto - This card was basically free. I don’t know why I picked it, perhaps it’s the horrible looking auto or the fact that the back states that he is a “master of a hard slider”.

1967 Topps John Miller - When I have a couple of extra bucks in my pocket I tend to buy the oldest Oriole card Mike has. Today’s winner - John Miller

2008 A& G Jay Gibbons Bat Relic - He may be a disgraced former supplement user who wrote a letter to every major league team asking for a tryout, but he’s still an Oriole and it’s still a cheap relic.

Those were just a random selection. I also picked up some 1983 Topps (including a Kent Hrbek for 10 cents) and a couple of 2007 Allen & Ginters.

The old guy looking for cards next to me had a laugh when I whipped out the circa-2000 Palm that I keep my list of cards needed to check the Ginters. He had an old spiral notebook that he kept his needed’s in. A difference in generations I guess. I assume some kid out there has the info on his iPhone, wonder if there’s an app for that?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Topps Hockey Cards....errr Collectable Playable Cardboard Piece Things

As I’ve spent the last few days flipping through my hockey collection in order to eliminate as much of it as possible, I’ve come to realize how much I miss Topps hockey cards. That’s not to say I think Upper Deck does a bad job, but it was nice to have some variation in designs and photos. Hockey Stadium Club is simply outstanding. Perhaps in the future, when the single license fad has passed, we might see it again.

For now there is only one product on the shelves that combines hockey players and Topps historic logo - Topps Puck Attax. Modeled after the popular Match Attax football (soccer to us colonists) and the Topps Baseball Attax that was released this year to little fanfare, it has small photos of the players and offense and defense ratings.

Oh and they’re round. Like a hockey puck.

I’m assuming they skirt UD’s NHL exclusivity contract by touting these as game pieces instead of trading cards, but hey they’re made out of cardboard and have photos of hockey players on ‘em so I took a shot.

Here are the results:

As usual no Vincent Lecavalier cards, but I did get a Mattias Ohlund. The veteran blue liner is nursing an ankle injury, but hopes to return soon. He was also recently named one of Tampa Bay’s “Hot 20 Under 40” So he’s….ummm….yeah got that going for him.

Sixteen “cards” in total including a couple of shiny chrome versions and one gold chome. As you can see it’s not going to set the world on fire with action photos, but they’re not too bad. I might send some out to be signed, it’s nice to send something slightly oddball out. The starter pack was only about 5 bucks.

Will I go for the whole set? I don’t know. With booster boxes at about $35.00 on Dave and Adams I might throw in a box just to see if I can pull some more Lighting players.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Lightning (semi) Weekly Round Up

The Weekly Roundup

Weekly Record: 3-3

Overall Record: 9-12, 2nd in the Southeast, 6 points behind the Caps

Wasteland +/-: -1

Key Injuries: Paul Ranger - Personal Reasons, Mattias Ohlund - ankle

Highlight: Goal of the Year

Disappointed By: I was already to write Andrej Meszaros’ name here and then he goes and starts playing well again. I guess that’s what I get for skipping a week. So instead I’ll go with the Lightning’s TV schedule. The last week has seen at least three games that weren’t televised (including Sunday’s OT win against the Thrashers).

If you’re not going to televise every game why not skip a few home games. Of course, I’m sure there were some fiscal concerns when it came to making the decision. Not showing the games from the Bolts longest west coast trip probably saved the organization a nice bit of money. In the long run it might be the smart thing to do, but it definitely irritates an already restless fan base.

According to my refrigerator magnet schedule there are 11 more games that aren’t being televised. Five of those games are road games (including the next to last game of the season). Some of those game may have been picked up by Channel 44 (You’ll find your friends on UPN FORTY-FOUR!)

With a struggling football team and no basketball team this is the time that the Bolts have to do everything in their power to win over new fans. To me that means showing as many games as possible. If this team is still in the playoff hunt come late April there will definitely be a much louder outcry from the bandwagon fans.

Surprised By: Steven Stamkos. The sophomore sensation keeps on ticking along. Most impressive was a blurb in today’s St Pete Times where Stamkos reveals that he pushed himself to make a difference from the first shift of the game on Sunday. It’s easy for players to get motivated by others (hello Mr. Lecavalier), the players that can motivate themselves tend to stand apart.

Playoff Confidence: 65%. Another road trip where the Bolts picked up a majority of the points available. It would have been nice to see a couple of outright wins against the struggling Ducks and Canes, but at this point they have to take what they can get.

Pet Peeve of the Week: Not saying hello on the phone. I make about 60-70 phone calls a day and you would be surprised to find out how few people say hello. I understand that you’re busy, but come on people it takes a second and makes the world a little bit of a better place.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Your 30 Second Ravens / Colts Preview

It seems to me that this game always means more to Baltimore fans than it does to Indy fans. Probably because the Colts own the Ravens over the past few years (6-0).

This year, well it doesn't look good for the Ravens. The once vaunted defense is still better than most, but it isn't among the elite anymore. They will need to get pressure on Peyton early and often. The most important part, let's call it the Wasteland's Miller Lite Key of the Game, is tackling. The Ravens cannot afford to miss any tackles. No YAC!

On offense they will need to take advantage of an injury-riddled Colts defense. That means Clayton can't drop any passes, Kelly Washington needs to show up and Derrick Mason needs to be Derrick Mason... i.e. catch the ball on third down.

They need to keep it close because they do not have the offense to play catch up.

So I'm hoping the Ravens can pull this one off, but I have my doubts. Final score Colts 27 Ravens 23.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The news of this blog's passing have been only slightly exagerated

Wow. I forgot how hard it was to work and blog at the same time. I was spoiled by my recent forced sabbatical. Regardless, I'm back now. What pulled me back in? Why a little, yellow padded envelope in the mailbox of course.

Compliments of Jeremy from No One's Going to Read This blog.

First up. A couple of Rays from the Goodwin Champions Set. These are actually the first Goodwin cards I've owned this year. For some reason I didn't chase this set. Now that I have disposable income again will I buy a box or two? Don't know (especially since UD Hockey is next on the table).

Shields struggled a bit in 2009 and wasn't helped by a lack of run support. However, if he is to be the leaded of the staff he needs to notch more than 11 wins next season.

Longoria motored along in his sophomore year. It looks like he's going to be the perennial all star the scouts pegged him to be since he was drafted.

Next up some O's.

The Markakis card is bad ass. Glad I own it now. Adam Jones looks like he just smoked a 2 iron down the middle of the fairway and Roberts just slapped a double in the gap.

These guys are three of the main components for the future success of the Baltimore franchise. Since it's November we can dream that the glory days are right around the corner.

Reports out of Baltimore are that the O's are looking to spend some money on free agents this season. That's...ummm...great? It figures they have money to burn in one of the weaker free agent years in recent memory. Might they be better off signing some players to one year deals and waiting for the madness that will be the Doc Halladay/ Cliff Lee extravaganza next off-season?

Who knows?

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Lightning Weekly Round-Up - Special Two Week Edition!

The Weekly Roundup

Weekly Record: 3-3

Overall Record: 6-9, 2nd in the Southeast, 7 points behind the Caps

Wasteland +/-: 0

Key Injuries: Paul Ranger - Personal Reasons, Victor Hedman - Concussion

Highlight: I’m going with Rick Tocchet on this one. He’s taking a lot of heat for the way he’s called out the captain of his hockey club in the past two weeks. Not only did he demote him to the fourth line he’s also made several comments about Vincent Lecavalier’s lack of work ethic.

Frankly, it’s refreshing that Tocchet isn’t holding anything back. At the beginning of the year he said that everyone on the team is accountable and he’s being true to his word. Several times, enough that it might replace “Together We Will” as the team slogan, he has made the remark that it’s the “Tampa Bay Lightning” not the “Vinny Lightning” or the “Marty Lightning”.

With the salary that players make today the most effective way to get through to them is by reducing their playing time. In Lecavalier’s case there is history that this tactic works. Some fans might not remember this, but at one time a young coach by the name of John Tortorella butted heads with a blossoming superstar named Vincent Lecavalier.

It was exactly six years ago that COACH benched Lecavalier for his shoddy defensive play. In a post game news conference Tortorella went off,

"Interesting. It wasn't the proper call?" Tortorella said. "Let's forget about the backhand turnover that I've seen all year long, let's forget about that. What about the [expletive] effort in the end zone after watching everybody battle trying to keep the puck out of our net? Let's not even talk about instincts, let's talk about simply playing hard. I'm tired of the whining, because we've been patient. So what he says, I really don't give a [expletive]. He has got to start learning again to play with intensity and under the team concept, plain and simple. If he doesn't, he sits. I don't give a [expletive] who he is or who he thinks he is."

God, I miss that man.

After, the benching COACH and Lecavalier worked things out and the Bolts went on to have a pretty good season, that’s right they won the cup that year. Vincent didn’t have his best scoring season, but he did finish at a +23, the only season he was in the + column.

Will Tocchet get the same results? It’s too soon to say, but the enigmatic center is a +3 since the demotion.

Disappointed By: West Palm Beach. I can’t stress how much that town needs a good sports bar. Or if there is one there, they need to advertise it better.

Surprised By: Antero Niittymaki. He was signed as a stop-gap in case Mike Smith wasn’t fully recovered from his post concussion syndrome. It’s hard to say if Smith is still bothered by the injury or if he’s just struggling, but the Finnish goalie has been more than bargained for.

He’s 4-3 and has all but usurped Smith as the number one goalie in Tampa. He just hasn’t been solid, he’s been spectacular. He’s stopped 94% of the shots he’s faced and has stopped 30 or more shots in five of his seven starts. He’s stopped breakaways, 2-on-1’s, shots from the point and shots down low. The off-season hip surgery hasn’t slowed him down either.
After six weeks he’s running second in the team MVP standings (young Steven Stamkos is first).

Playoff Confidence: 61%. A decent road trip (2 wins and five points) is a step up from the previous sojourns away from the Ice Palace.

Pet Peeve of the Week Talk shows on channels that are supposed to be “all news, all the time”. I’m talking about Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, Bill O’Reilly, and all the rest. Regardless of your political leanings, those show’s aren’t “news”. They are entertainment. Think of them as the TMZ’s of the political world.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Trade Bait - Single Card

So I'm offering this card for trade bait. Actually, I also wanted an excuse to see how scanned photos look as well. Yes after almost a year of posting I finially broke down and bought a scanner.

Heck, since I'll be working out of the house I even get to right it off. Scoreboard me!

So here you go...compliments of a 1/2 priced blaster from Target.

It's a Certified Auto of Blake Dewitt from Stadium Club. Pay no attention to the $5.00 sticker, that's on the penny sleeve.

If you have anything cool to offer for it let me know and we can work something out.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Where in West Palm can a man watch some Hockey!

Stuck in a hotel with no decent sports bars within a cheap cab ride and access to only ESPN. I had to find out about the Aki trade via the ticker, not cool.

The trade was totally not cool either. After a string of successes, Friedman and Co. are struggling to keep the Rays relevant. I'll express my full thoughts a little later, in the meantime check out the Troll's reaction. Hint - it's not good.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Please do not adjust your screen. Regular programming will resume shortly.

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I've spent the last week of freedom (read: unemployment) hiking around some of the local parks and enjoying the fresh air one last time.

Monday morning will find me on a plane across the state for a week of training. I'm taking my crappy laptop (the one that decides to shut down if I hit a key too hard) and try logging on and posting from the hotel.

New job = paycheck = disposable income = more cards!