Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

a Very Merry Padres Christmas
to all my blogging buddies

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Having a Merry Chihuahua Christmas!

Sometimes, you just have to love what goes on at work and the people you work with. Especially during the holiday season.

I work in the Iowa National Guard Public Affairs Office, with an Army colonel (our state public affairs officer), and an Air Force captain (our state historian). Those who work in the public affairs field tend to be a wee bit off the wall, even within the military, and the three of us fit well within that norm.

Friday, when I arrived at work, there was a little bag with gift paper sitting on my chair. I moved it aside and began catching up with work.

Captain, oh my captain innocently asked, "Gee, aren't you going to open your package."

By the tone of his voice, I felt I shouldn't delay any longer.

For starters, here's the card that was enclosed with the package (complete with a couple of gift cards).

And inside the bag, I found....
And now, for the rest of the story....
In October, I blogged, "Amid great fanfare and a tighter security system than that offered by the U.S. government, the El Paso ownership group announced the new team’s name – are you ready for this? – The El Paso Chihuahuas."
My co-workers roll their eyes whenever I discuss the platitudes of San Diego (the only screen savers I place on my computer are those of scenic San Diego). On this particular day, if I remember right, I was discussing my personal opinion of the new nickname of the Padres AAA affiliate. I mean, the Chihuahuas? Really?
According to our historian, after I left the office for a meeting, he turned to our colonel and said with a smile, "So, do you want to do it, or should I?"
"I'm already on the website," he grinned.
Hey, at least, I'm the first kid on the block to have the new El Paso T-shirt.
Merry Christmas, to all.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2009 Bowman error-filled set?

After inventorying the cards I picked up at a recent card show, I came across something interesting when it comes to the 2009 Bowmaan set.
For starters, check out this Matt Antonelli card (#191) that I picked up. I didn't find the error until I was home and poring over my new cards.
The first card is the correct Antonelli card, which I already had. The second one, however, has Antonelli's picture and faux autograph on the front, but if you look a little closer, you'll discover the nameplate, uniform number and position is incorrect - it's for John Lannan, a pitcher with the Washington Nationals.
Was it a case of getting the wrong pitcture on Lannan's card? I doubt it, since the card back has all the correct information and stats for Antonelli.
Which made me somewhat curious. Enough to track down other cards I have from that 2009 Bowman Baseball set.
I was able to find another error along those same lines.
Just like the Antonelli card, the Freddy Sandoval card (#216) has the correct Sandoval's picture.  However, the nameplate, uniform number and position belongs to Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki. Again, it's Sandoval's card, with the correct back and picture, but the wrong printed info on the front.
How many cards are there out there with these kind of errors? According to the "official" standard price guides, there are no reported errors for this set - at least not that they, nor the card company are aware of.
So now that I have everyone rushing out to check their cards from this set, I'm curious...Has anyone else found any other cards with these errors? I'm not interested as to whether these "errors" are worth more, I'm just kind of excited to have actually found these errors myself.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Goodies from December's Card Show Part Deux

I noted in my last post that Sunday was the Urbandale American Legion Monthly Card Show, and as usual, I was searching for a cornucopia of cards of my precious Padres. Once more, Urbandale didn't disappoint. The dealers were definitely in the holiday spirit, as I got a gi-normous group of great deals for the Christmas season.
Do you like your cards shiny?
How about a pair of 2013 Topps Update Emeralds, one for closer Huston Street and 2B elf Alexi Amarista (maybe not quite an elf, but he's only 5-8). And then there's a 1998 Revolution Wally Joyner, followed by a 1993 Panini Stickers Gary Sheffield, a 2009 Topps Chrome X-Fractors Edwin Moreno and a 2003 Bowman Chrome X-Fractors Brian Burgamy (no relation, of course, to San Diego newsman Ron Burgandy).
How about some cool-looking cards?
To me, each of these cards were cool, each in their own special way. For example, I've always liked Ultra Gold Medallion, and this 2004 Jake Peavy, with its die-cut, rounded corner, is no exception. Donruss' Studio line of cards have always had exceptional portrait photos, often with great backgrounds. The over sized "SD" logo looks sharp against the blue backgrounds of Rickey Henderson's and Ryan Klesko's 2001 cards. Having a huge baseball as a background also works, as seen in Sean Burrough's 2003 Upper Deck Standing "O" card. And finally, what better card company than Crown Royale for a card of Padre royalty, namely, Trevor Hoffman. The first card is his 2000 Crown Royale standard issue, while the second is the Crown Royale Red parallel.

Do you like autographs?

Whether they belong to a major league or minor league Padre, I like autographs. To me, autographs are a more personal representation of that player than your basic game-used card. These three autos belong to a 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Franchise Futures Signatures Kyle Gaedele (#316/1264), and 2007 Just Rookies Autographs of C Mitch Canham and OF Danny Payne. Gaedele, a sixth round pick in 2011, played in the High A California League for Lake Elsinore last season. Canham was drafted 57th overall in 2997 by the Padres, and after four years in the Friars' minor league system, he now toils in the Royals farm system. Payne, meanwhile, a supplemental first round Padres pick in 2007, made it all the way the AAA Tucson in 2011, before being released in March 2012. Payne is now Director of Operations for the Georgia Baseball Academy.
Let's close out with a pair of 2004 Leaf Certified Materials - one an autograph, one game-used, both serial numbered.

Freddy Guzman's auto card is serial numbered #319/500, while Brian Giles' Mirror Bat Blue card is numbered #36/50. I know I mentioned how I'm not that big a fan of game-used cards, but it was such a good deal, coupled with a low serial number, I couldn't help myself.

(SPOILER ALERT) Christmas is the season for giving, and indeed, 'tis better to give than receive. I found more great deals than I could shake a stick (or a candy cane at) during my three-hour stay, so don't be surprised if you find a Christmas card in your mailbox.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Goodies from December's Card Show Part 1

Sunday was one of those days where I felt like I was in a scene from the movie "The Blues Brothers."

"It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tanks of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.
"Hit it"

In reality, I don't smoke, and it was actually 11 a.m. But, at least, I was wearing my sunglasses.

I was stoked - it was time for the monthly Urbandale American Legion Card Show.

Whenever I go to this show, I'm always looking for sweet-looking San Diego Padres cards, as well as goodies for my brethren bloggers. Of course, being its now December, I'm also looking for special cards for Christmas gifts.

As usual, I was more than happy to find a plethora of Padres at the monthly show.

I'll begin with the gaggle of Garvey cards I found.

Leading off is a pair of 1984 Topps, the first for Topps Cereal and the other for Ralston Purina (according to my brother, who works for Purina, it's no longer Ralston Purina, but rather Nestles Purina). Next is the 1985 O-Pee-Chee, 1985 Leaf/Donruss, a 1987 Ralston Purina and a 1984 Milton Bradley Steve Garvey.

That last card was part of a 1984 Milton Bradley game called "Championship Baseball," complete with 30 Topps baseball cards. Each card back featured a complete combination of any two dice rolls. Those rolls would then put the ball into play, resulting in a hit or out.

In case you were curious, there are plenty more Padres where those came from.

I don't care what you say, but the Fingers 'stache, as always, is awesome. Here's his 1981 and 1978 Topps cards (Rollie never suspected his teammates would super-glue the ball to his hand - I guess that's what happens when you sleep on the team bus). Dave Winfield is styling and profiling on his 1978 Topps card and Kurt Bevacqua and John "the Count" Montefusco bring up the rear on their 1982 Topps Traded cards. I tend to forget the Count wore the San Diego mustard uni for a couple of years.

And finally, let's go old school with a 1972 Topps In Action Clay Kirby and a 1971 Topps Dave Campbell. Kirby was the Padres' 12th pick from St. Louis in the 1969 expansion draft and was the first Padre pitcher to come close to throwing a no hitter. Trailing 1-0, in 1970 against the Mets, he was pulled in the 8th inning for pinch-hitter Cito Gaston. The Mets won 3-0. Ever since, no Padres pitcher has ever thrown a no-hitter. For that matter, no Padre batter has ever hit for the cycle.

Stay tuned for part two of the December Urbandale Card Show extravaganza. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Talent unfulfilled - Drew Cumberland

“What is a man, if his chief good and market of his time be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more. Sure he that made us with such large discourse, looking before and after, gave us not that capability and god-like reason to fust in us unused.”
William Shakespeare, Hamlet

The world at large is based with talent and potential, especially in the world of athletics. You have some athletes with God-blessed power, such as Matt Bush or Ryan Leaf, who've wasted that potential through narcissistic self-indulgence.

And then again, there are the athletes such as former Padre Drew Cumberland, whose body has sadly betrayed the pursuit of that potential.

I recently picked up this Just Minors printing plate of Drew Cumberland off E-Bay. I wasn't too familiar with this four-year, career minor leaguer, but he was a Padre, so I did a little research.

The Padres thought highly enough of him to make Cumberland the 47th pick in the 2007 draft and he flashed that potential the Padres saw in him. In 2010, he was selected as the Padres' MiLB.com Organization Al-Star, a California League Mid-Season All-Star and Player of the Week, and was chosen for the Futures Game. Baseball America ranked the shortstop as the Padres' ninth best prospect entering the 2011 season.

However, one year later the Florida native voluntarily retired from baseball in March 2012 at the age of 23. He hit .350, with seven homers and 41 RBIs during his minor league career, with an .890 OPS.

Cumberland had a few concussions, his first coming as a freshman tailback at Pace (Florida) High School. I've had a few concussions in my day, so I know they're nothing to joke about, but that alone may not have been the cause. If you combine them with a rare neurological condition known as bilateral vestibulopathy, then the blurred vision. severe headaches and dizziness may have been more than he could cope with. Bilateral vestibulopathy is where portions of both inner ears, which control your balance, are injured.

He was offered a coaching position with the Midwest League's Fort Wayne Tincaps, but looking at their current staff on the Padres website, I don't see him listed, so I'm assuming he's moved on to other things.

At 24 years of age, what do you do when your body betrays your dreams?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

'Tis the season...for Santa

Merry Christmas to my blogging brethren, one and all.

Being the first full weekend of the month and a member of the Iowa National Guard, it's been drill weekend. December, however, isn't too bad, as things are generally pretty laid back. We usually have a few classes, and on Sunday our entire Joint Forces Headquarters has a nice Christmas dinner with our families. Once that's completed, we usually get the rest of the afternoon off.

One thing that makes the Christmas dinner especially fun, is the fact I get to play Santa Claus (Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus). This year, I had approximately 30-40 children sit on my lap and tell me what they wanted for Christmas as their parents snapped pictures.

Here's Santa wishing my wife a Merry Christmas. For whatever reason, she didn't want to sit on Santa's lap.

I truly enjoy getting to play Santa at the JFHQ dinner each year. I try to keep the magic of Christmas alive for today's children and it's great to see the excitement in the eyes of the kids and to let them know that Santa is personally interested in each and every one of them and their wish lists. It's one thing I really look forward to each year.
With Santa being the big man on campus this time of year, it also got me to thinking about Santa Christmas cards.

Here's a pair from my non-Padres collection. The first is from the 1991-92 Parkhurst hockey set. While I was never terribly excited by ProSet and their massive print runs, you couldn't help but  like their Christmas sports cards, which they produced (en masse) this time of year. This one was their 1990 ProSet football offering.
I wish the card companies would print these more often, as they made for interesting and fun collectibles over the Christmas season. Who knows, maybe I can even come up with my own game-used Santa memorabilia card once I need a new Santa outfit.
Until then, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Black Friday buy - 2013 Panini Prizm baseball box

Since I'm not a particularly passionate shopper (except when it comes to sports cards), my only Black Friday shopping involved purchasing a box of 2013 Panini Prizm baseball and a box of Panini Prizm hockey from RyansCardz, a local brick and mortar card shop.

I've already reported on the contents of the Black Friday Panini packs I received, and posted my hockey box pulls on my Hockey Card Geek blog page.

So, it's time to post my Panini Prizm baseball pulls. First, however, a small caveat.

I'm not usually a fan of non-licensed baseball products. There's nothing more unexciting than logos  and uniforms that have been completely airbrushed out, rendering them totally devoid of any  recognition or resemblance of your favorite team. I mean, even going so far as to remove the piping off a uniform? Are you kidding me?

However, Heaven help me, I do have a weak spot for the Panini Prizm line of sports cards. There's plenty of nice photos and thanks to the Prizm printing progress, the pictures always appear to just "pop" off the cards.
Let's start out with some of the inserts. First, there's the Fearless insert set, with Michale Bourn (F13), Adam Jones (F16) and Jose Bautista (F20). Those are followed by a Superstar Ryan Braun (SS4), Top Prospects Jameson Taillon (TP4) and Rookie Challengers Evan Gattis (RC3).
The Panini Prizms include Nomar Garciaparra (193), an Orange Prizm Starling Marte #56/60 (146), Bernie Williams (179) and Wilin Rosario (136).
Other nice cards include a Stephen Strasburg "Panini Spokesperson" card (304), and USA Baseball subset cards for Alex Gordon (USA7) and Troy Tulowitzki (USA3).

Autographs are packed two to a box, so I saved the best for last.
The first auto was Adam Eaton. The second auto didn't come up until midway through the second stack of packs. I love the fact it's a Manny Machado Autographs and Rookie Autographs, but am disappointed in that it's a redemption. I haven't heard good or bad about Panini's Customer Service when it comes to redemptions, so I'll have to wait and see how this turns out.

For the most part, I was pretty happy with the RCs I pulled, which include
Nick Noonan, Giants (206)                        Nathan Karns, Nationals (252)
Brandon Maurer, Mariners (207)               Jackie Bradley, Jr., Red Sox (253)
Ryan Pressly, Twins (208)                         Brandon Barnes, Astros (254)
Leury Garcia, Rangers (211)                      Tyler Skaggs, D-Backs (265)
T.J. McFarland, Orioles (212)                    Scott Rice, Mets (266)
Kyuji Fujikawa, Cubs (223)                       Mike Olt, Cubs (269)
Mike Zunino, Mariners (224)                     Shelby Miller, Cardinals (276)
Manny Machado, Orioles (233)                 Phillipps Aumont, Phillies (280)
Carter Capps, Mariners (234)                    Sean Doolittle, A's (281)
Jaye Champman, Cubs (237)                    Darin Ruf, Phillies (290)
Ryan Jackson, Cardinals (238)                 Oswaldo Arcia, Twins (291)
Tyler Boyd, Phillies (248)                        Robbie Grossman, Astros (292)
Adam Eaton, D-Backs (249)                    Jean Machi, Giants (296)
Hiram Burgos, Brewers (250)

Overall, not too bad of an experience. My only complaint? Only two Padres were included in this box - Huston Street and Casey Kelly's RC.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

P Luke Gregorson traded for A's Seth Smith

News Flash!

RHP Luke Gregerson, 29, has just been traded to the Oakland Athletics for OF Seth Smith, 31.

Is this our left-handed power bat?

If he is, I think the Pads could have done much better.
Smith spent his first five years with Colorado and the past two years with Oakland. During that time, he hit .265 overall (.275 against NL pitching), with 73 homers, 273 RBIs and a .798 OPS.

In 2004, he was Colorado's second round draft pick out of the University of Mississippi. He can DH (how often do the Padres play AL teams?) and play left and right fields, based on what he did last season for Oakland, where he hit .253 with eight homers and 40 RBIs in 117 games.

He earned $3.7 million last year and is arbitration-eligible in 2014. His biggest claim to fame? Besides being a freshman All-American in baseball, he was the back-up to Eli Manning on U Miss' football team.

Meanwhile Gregerson, the Padres major set-up man, posted a 2.71 ERA last year. A Padre reliever over his entire five-year career, he's 17-22, with 16 saves and a 2.88 ERA during that time. Gregerson will also become a free agent in a year.

In reality, I think this was just a shot across the bow - I don't think the Padres are done trading yet. After all they still have a plethora of pitchers that can be moved. Besides, one of the other needs the team has talked about, is lefty pitching.

Like I've said before, this is going to be an interesting off-season.

By the way now's a great time to go to http://www.fanofreds.blogspot.com and vote for comatoad in the finals of the Nacho Grande Blogging Contest. Just look for it on the right hand side, under "Final Round: Best Post?"

Sunday, December 1, 2013

In support of the supporter

There's an old joke about the first athletic cup being created in 1874, while the first helmet wasn't used until 1974. The punchline is it took 100 years for men to realize their brains were also worth protecting.

What is it about a trauma to the groin, that generates snickers, outright guffaws and/or instantaneous cringing.  If that's not true, why is it one of the most popular features on "America's Funniest Home Videos."

Need some facts? It's reported that ball trauma accounts for less than one percent of all traumas in the U.S. each year. It's also been documented how Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench broke seven cups during his 16-year career.

In this particular case, however, the New York Yankees' Derek Jeter, like Johnny Bench and many other athletes, can thank Charles Bennet and Joe Cartledge for the well-being of their "boys." Even a one-hopper can carry enough force to create more than a little trauma to that generally delicate area.

It was Charles Bennet of Sharp & Smith, a Chicago-based sporting goods company, who created the "bike jockey strap" in 1874 to provide comfort and support for bicyclists' "stones" as they rode Boston's cobblestone streets on their high-wheeled bicycles.

In 1920, Joe Cartledge of the Guelph Elastic Hosiery Company began to commercially sell protective cups under the name "Protex." The extra protection became attractive to early hockey players who didn't so much mind losing their teeth, but rwanted to hang on to their balls.

In November 2005, the Bike Athletic Company, of Knoxville, Tenn., as the former Sharp & Smith is now known, produced its 350 million supporter. The assembly line was halted and this historical piece of male attire was removed, framed and flown to Bike's headquarters.

I thought I was such a stud when I played junior high school football and got my first protective cup. The night before my first practice, I had everything laid out on the bed when my younger brother, six years my junior, picked up the cup, put it over his mouth and asked, "What's this for?"  It wasn't a trauma to the groin, but it was funny all the same.

Perhaps there is a certain amount of humor when it comes to a trauma of the groin.

I remember one instance when I was umpiring in Denver's Arapahoe Youth League. I was umping the basepaths and my buddy Mark was behind the plate. Being a former catcher, I thought I saw the backstop call for a pitch-out. For whatever reason, the pitcher didn't get the signal, wound up and sent a fastball whizzing straight down the pipe.

The catcher stepped out to his right for the pitchout and Mark continued to track the ball, like a good umpire. It wasn't until the last moment, however, that he realized there was a breakdown in communication somewhere. Perhaps it was the loud crack resulting from the ball hitting him square in "the boys."

As he lay on the ground clutching himself, I casually sauntered up with my hands in my pocket and asked if he was ok. I swear, his first comment was, "Quick, get me home to my wife before the swelling goes down." There is no way I would of had the presence of mind to come up with a comment like that.

The entire time I was writing this blog, I had the Heywood Banks tune, "Trauma to the Groin," song on my mind. As a public service, I'm enclosing a link to the song, courtesy of the Bob and Tom radio show.

Trauma to the groin, by Heywood Banks