Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My San Diego Padres ouroboros collection

Like most team collectors, I've come to the realization that the best I can ever hope to achieve with my Padres card collection, despite my best efforts, is to attempt to gather the largest group of ex-Padres I can find.

I think it's the nature of the beast.

I guess it's kind of like being a head coach - you're literally hired so you can be fired.

Over the past couple of weeks, San Diego has made some trades, generating a trio of former Padres to add to my burgeoning ex-Friar collection.

For starters (or in this case, closer), Huston Street, along with fellow right-hander Trevor Gott were traded July 19 to Anaheim for 2B Taylor Lindsey, RHP R.J. Alvarez, SS Jose Rondon and RHP Elliot Morris.

Less than a week later, the Padres traded away another player, this one an eight-year San Diego veteran. You can say I was ever so happy to see Chase Headley go to New York. After all, the 30-year-old Headley was only batting .229 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs so far this season. A classic San Diego under-achiever, I feel he should have been traded a couple of years ago when his perceived value was much higher.
You wonder why Headley's smiling? Becoming a member of the New York Yankees may have something to do with it. Chase's 2013 Topps Archive Day Glow and 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter SP.

While the Yankees also received $1 million in cool cash, San Diego got 3B Yangervis Solarte and RHP Rafael De Paula. In his five games as a Padre, Solarte has gone seven for 21 (.333), with a RBI in each of his first five games.

A case of addition through subtraction? Perhaps, but however you look at it, there's another three Padres that have now become ex-Padres. By the same token, I now have another six players who are new members of the Padres family.

I'll now have to start collecting cards of them in San Diego Padres uniforms, enter them into my massive Padres card database, and then write up a new tab with their name, for one of my 5,000-count boxes, where he'll join the rest of my Padres, as they make their way up the Friars' talent pipeline.

Or, you can always consider it another way. I now have another six players that will eventually be bound for the ex-San Diego Padres part of my collection.

It's a vicious circle.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dog days in Des Moines, EP drops 3 of 4 to Iowa

Last month, my wife and I were able to catch the complete four-game series when the Paso Chihuahuas came to town to play the Iowa Cubs. Besides being great seats - three rows above the El Paso dugout -- my wife was able to get the tickets free for all four games from a friend at work.

San Diego's top affiliate's annual trip to Des Moines is alway highlighted on our calendar, as it's our only time we can see the baby Friars in person. While we normally cheer for the hometown Cubbies for the rest of the Iowa games we attend, this is the one occassion a year where we're dressed to the T's in our Padres gear.

We also had a great bunch of Cub fans sitting around us, giving us a good-natured hard time as we rooted for the visiting team. That's what helps make the games so much fun is that friendly bantering.

Unfortunately, we got what we paid for this season. Despite getting to see Odrisamer Despaigne pitch before he was called up to San Diego, the Chihuahuas dropped three of four games against Iowa. I think the AA San Antonio Missions have all the Padres' talent this year, while the cupboards of the AAA team are pretty bare.

Game 1 (June 17) -- El Paso 8, Iowa Cubs 5. Padres win! Padres win! RF Jeff Francoeur goes 3-5, with a double and a RBI. 3B Jonathan Galvez posts three RBIs, 2B Brooks Conrad addrf a pair, and CF Alex Castellanos and PH Travis Buck each posted another. Matt Wisler, in picking up the win, retires 12 Cubbies in a row after giving up runs in the firt two innings. Sad to say, this game proved to be El Paso's best showing of the series.

Personal observations -- The game was supposed to start at 7:05 p.m., but as we walked up to the turnstyle at 6:30, the Padres team bus and equipment truck was just pulling up. For whatever reason, their plane was delayed coming out of Round Rock, Texas, their last away stand, so the game was delayed for a half hour. I have to admit I thought the Chihuahua's red jersey's looked pretty sharp, with the Chihuahua holding a bone behind his back. However, it would have been nice to see that vicious little Chihuahua logo on the cap rather than the tame, two-tier "EP." Casatellanos had a great game in center field, making a total of eight outs, many of them pretty impressive.

1B Cody Decker completes a double play after taking the throw from
2B Brooks Conrad.

Game 2 (June 18) -- El Paso 1, Iowa Cubs 3. Despaigne goes five innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out seven and walking two. The only Chihuahuas to get a hit were RF Alex Castellanos, 2B Brooks Conrad, C Adam Moore and Francouer, pinch-hitting in the ninth. The Chihuahuas threaten in the ninth, on two-out, Jake Lemmerman and Francoeur singles and a Castellanos walk. However, Galvez flies out to right with the bases loaded for the final out.

Personal Observations -- For the most part, tonight's black jerseys weren't too bad looking, other than having "Chihuahuas" (with a large first "C" and last "S") over the chest. They're still wearing the black EP hats. Despaigne looks like the real thing, with a wide variety of pitches. Too bad the Chihuahuas couldn't have given him a little more timely hitting and run support. I thought it'd only be a matter of time before he was called up to San Diego. Oh by the way, he threw a total of 98 pitches tonight, with 63 of them going for strikes.

Wore my Chihuahua T-shirt my boss gave me earlier this year and got a few compliments on that, as well. The funniest thing is when the Cubs fan in our section starts calling El Paso the "CHEE-hooah-hooahs." Gotta love it.

Game 3 (June 19) -- El Paso 2, Iowa Cubs 6. Tsuyoshi Wada six-hits the Padres, with C Adam Moore and P Nathan Lane getting the only Chihuahua RBIs. Not too much to say about this game. For Cub fans, getting to see Kris Bryant play (as well as rumors of Manny Ramirez making an appearance) was well worth it.

Personal Observations -- Tonight's game marked the first appearance of Cubs wunderkind Kris Bryant, who takes over as the I-Cubs third baseman. How'd he do? He hit a two-run homer in his fourth at-bat (he struck out and flew to RF in his first three). Trivia question -- Who was the pitcher Bryant got his first AAA homer off of? El Paso's Branch Kloess.

Wore my brown and orange Tony Gwynn jersey to the game and got a lot of compliments on it, as well as comments and sympathy for Gwynn's death and the fact there will never be another MLB player like him.

Iowa Cub 3B Kris Bryant
Game 4 (June 20) -- El Paso 3, Iowa Cubs 8. El Paso ran into a buzz-saw  in Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks. Kendricks retired the first 15 hitters on six ground balls, four flyballs and five strikeouts before surrendering a broken bat infield hit to Jonathan Galvez to leadoff the sixth. On the flip side, El Paso pitcher Donn Roach was his usual ineffective self, allowing six runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings. El Paso finally scored a run in the seventh and two more in the ninth, with the game well out of range. CF Castellanos continued hitting well, batting two for four with a pair of doubles and a RBI. SS Tyler Greene was also 2-4, with a pair of RBIs. 3B Jonathan Galvez and 1B Chris Nelson also added a hit.

Personal Observations -- How many road uniforms does El Paso have? Tonight they sported grey uniforms with "El Paso" across the chest. For my birthday, earlier this month, my wife got me a Padres Sunday Marine Corps camouflage jersey, with "McDuff" on the back of it. It's a close call as to which jersey I like better, the camo or the Gwynn brown and orange, but I think it's the Gwynn jersey, hands-down.
Keyvius Sampson comes on in relief of Donn Roach.
Sampson gives up two earned runs in two innings,
including a home run to 1B Logan Watkins.

The only great thing about this game, was the fireworks display, which the I-Cubs put on for every Friday home game.

What can you say about a series like this? The I-Cubs outscored El Paso 22-14 (only outhitting them 35-33), but powered five home runs to El Paso's solo dinger. While the Chihuahuas headed out of town with their tail between their legs, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think most of the Padres' minor league talent is located deep in Texas at San Antonio.

It may just be a long season for the AAA affiliate.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fuji cards

During my recent AWOL period from the internet and my many military trips, I found a huge pile of envelopes sitting on my desk in the basement. I'm only now finding the time to wade through all them all. The thing that truly amazes me, however, is the warmth and generosity of my blogging brethern.
And with that, I'll begin with the package I received from Fuji, the delightful author of Chronicles of Fuji.
2010 Bowman Draft USA Jerseys Chris Okey, 2002 Bowman's Best Gold Greg Sain Bat, 2013 Hometown Heroes SP Steve Garvey, 1974 Topps Randy Jones. Okey was a high school catcher selected in the 31st-round by the Padres in the 2013 draft. Okey instead opted to play for the Clemson Tigers. He has also made four appearances with Team USA baseball, his latest, with the Collegiate National Team. Sain, a 1B, 3B and C,  played six years in the Padres minor league system, rising to the AAA level, before trundling off to the New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers. He last played with the Florida State Tampa League Yankees in 2006.

And then there's the three different flavors of the 2013 Bowman Platinum Chase Headley - a Ruby, Saphire and Gold, sandwiched around a 1988 Topps UK Tony Gwynn card.
And of course, Fuji included a wonderful note, "Hey Duff, Thanks for those Padres cards. Here are a few of your PC. Take care. Fuji"
Thank you Fuji, for a wonderful addition to my collection.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Raiding the COMC site again

I recently had the opportunity to raid the COMC website once more, thanks to the COMC Challenge. I did have to add a little of my own money this time, however, to help cover shipping and handling.  I also have another bunch of cards I've purchased through the site, but I'm going to wait until there's another challenge to build up my COMC war chest again.
I'm not sure why working on cards makes me hungry at times. But then again, perhaps it has something to do with cards such as these food issues - a 1994 Church's Hometown Stars Phil Plantier, 1982 Drake's Terry Kennedy, 1992 Topps McDonald's Benito Santiago. Also pictured is a 2011 Topps Update Gold Aaron Harang S/N 865/2011, 2013 Bowman Chrome Prospects Blue Wave Refractors Jeremy Baltz, and a 2003 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Cory Stewart S/N 163/900.
I believe I've state earlier how I enjoy the Gaylord Perry era, as well as watching Randy Jones pitch for my beloved Friars. With that in mind, it's a no-brainer I'd pick up these 2004 Leaf Certified Cuts K-Force Gaylord Perry S/N 390/500, 1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game Cover Collection and 1976 Kellogg's Randy Jones, as well as a pair of Peavys - a 2007 Exquisite Collection Rookie Signatures S/N 93/99 and a 2008 Upper Deck Piece of History Franchise History S/N 62/699.
Next up is a 2011 Topps Heritage Minors Jedd Gyorko, a pair of 1996 Crash the Game Ken Caminitis - one Gold and the other an Exchange, a pair of Dave Winfields - a 2002 Topps 206 and 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Framed Paper S/N 691/999, and a 2013 Bowman Chrome Cream of the Crop Mini Jedd Gyorko. I can never have enough Caminiti or Winfield cards in my collection, so these definitely helped. And of course, being older Padres players, it was definitely a bonus to pick up those cards.
What's a COMC purchase without a few cards of varying colors? 2012 Bowman Prospects Purple Jonathan Galvez, 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects Purple Refractor S/N 416/999, 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Purple Refractor Zach Cates S/N 589/799, 2013 Bowman Draft Picks Orange Hunter Renfroe S/N 31.250, 2014 Topps Yellow Yonder Alonso, and a 2013 Bowman Chrome Green Refractor Casey Kelly.

I'm just waiting for COMC to open up its challenges again so I can build up my COMC bucks and get my hands on a few more Padres cards. After all, how can you beat free money?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

June Urbandale Card Show

As I'm still wading through June's huge influx of card packages, I'll take this opportunity to display a few highlights of my purchases from the June Urbandale American Legion Card Show. While this monthly show generally has a substantial amount of dealers, there were considerably less sellers present at this show than usual.
While it was disappointing  the dealer I usually stop at first, he with the huge stack of nickel boxes, wasn't at this month's show, I was able to find a few dime and quarter boxes to sate my fix for Padres cardboard. To say the least, it certainly proved to be a colorful visit.
Today's post is brought to you by the letter "T" and the colors purple, green, blue and red.
If purple is the color of royalty, then I certainly found regalness in the Padres court, as evidenced by these 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft Purple Refractor Blake Tekotte, 2013 Bowman Chrome Purple Refractor Casey Kelly and Jedd Gyorko, 2012 Bowman Prospects Purple Joe Ross, 2012 Topps Chrome Purple Refractor James Darnell and 2012 Topps Chrome Purple Refractor Yonder Alonso.
If green is your color, then you won't be disappointed with these 2013 Bowman Chrome Prospects Green Refractors Adys Portillo, Yasmani Grandal and Yonder Alonso, and 2013 Topps Emerald Andrew Cashner and Alexi Amarista
I think I'm pretty well cured of my previous funk which kept me away for a period of time, but these blue Bowman and Topps cards certainly lent themselves to my mood during this time. Here's a 2008 Bowman Blue Adrian Gonzalez S/N 288/500, 2011 Topps Update Wal Mart Blue Border Dustin Moseley and Chris Denorfia, 2013 Bowman Blue Yasmani Grandal S/N 277/500, and 2010 Bowman Blue Alex Gonzalez S/N 179/520
What better color to end, then red? Here's some 2013 Topps Update Target Red Border Chris Denorfia, 2013 Topps Target Red Border Edinson Volquez, 2014 Topps Red Foil Eric Stults, and a 2011 Topps Chrome Orange Refractor Orlando Hudson.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A belated return to Bleedin' Brown and Gold

Forgive me all, for I have been off the net and away from Bleedin' Brown and Gold for more than a month.

Between National Guard annual training and my most recent military school at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, Duff's been a rather busy boy.

And a rather sad one. I've been in rather a bit of a funk these past few weeks.

It's been very hard for me to fathom that Tony Gwynn, the epitome of all that is right and good with San Diego, San Diego baseball and baseball as a whole, has passed away at the age of 54.

Our heroes and idols aren't supposed to pass away at such a young age. They're supposed to inspire us and keep us believing in all that's good and right with sports and our world. Tony Gwynn was a person who transcended both.

When we lived in San Diego, it was the time of Randy Jones and Mike Ivie, Rollie Fingers and Ozzie Smith. Gwynn had just entered San Diego State University as a basketball player.

I regret the fact that I've never personally met the man. I had hoped my wife and I could catch a San Diego State baseball game the next time we visited San Diego and catch Coach Gwynn in action. I hoped we could hear his booming, infectious laugh and perhaps get an autograph.

The closest we came to Gwynn was during our 2007 visit, when we had our picture taken in front of his Petco statue during a Padres-Giants game we attended, as well as a picture of his three-story  jersey hung from the County Administration building in honor of his Hall of Fame induction that year.

I think what bothers me the most, is the fact Gwynn died at such a young age, just a few years younger than me. Back in 2008, I came back from National Guard annual training in South Korea and a buddy of mine who was my age and on the trip with us, passed away at his home a week later.

His death hit me pretty hard, since he was in decent shape, we had just spent a great two weeks in a foreign country together, and he was the same age as me.

I have packages in hand from Marcus, Fuji, Nick, Johnny R., the Junior Junkie, and P-Town Tom. I thank you and I'll post something about them in the upcoming weeks. It's nothing personal, I just have to get rid of this funk that surrounds me right now.