Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Long Weekend

Time to kick back and relax!

I'll be taking in my third game this week at Target Field. This place is amazing to watch a game. Tonight it's Slowey versus Colby Lewis. This will also mark my first game with Theodore. He'll never remember it, of course, but it's exciting all the same.

To celebrate I'm finally getting around to showing off another of the Goudey SPs I crossed off my list this month. I've also got a trade to post where another blogger helped me out with this set as well.

Monday, May 24, 2010

HBL Week 8: My Big Splash

Victor Martinez was my big fantasy baseball acquisition this past week, as seen here in his 2006 Topps Turkey Red card.

I felt I needed to make a move to put another above average bat in my lineup and Victor Martinez was in the unenviable position of playing for one of the last place teams in our league along with having a contract that is doubling (basically expiring) at the end of the year.

I won't say VMart came cheap, because he didn't. I laid out Jay Bruce and Tyler Flowers to land VMart and Ben Sheets. I was hoping to grab Sheets and let him sit on my bench for a while to see if he built arm strength and became useful even for a small stretch of the season. He did have a nice outing this weekend against the Giants.

My lineup now feels much better, but I could use another bat. Why? Because Lance Berkman is turds. There, I said it, pure turds. But I have been calling the Astros the worst team in baseball since very early April. They are horrid. Even Astros coverboy, Roy Oswalt, wants out. It's that bad. Berkman isn't hitting, Carlos Lee isn't hitting. No one is hitting.

So Lance is problem number one. Problem number two is icy cold Marlon Byrd. I still think based on park factors and his lineup slot that he'll be fine at the end of the year, but I would like a hot hand to swap in for him this week. Sadly, I didn't act fast enough and I'm adding JD Drew today. He won't officially suit up for us until next week and Byrd might be out of his 2x32 slump by then. Or he could be up to 3x56 and lose his job, who knows. All I know is I no longer have Jay Bruce to swap in. I'm really okay with this. I couldn't count on Bruce every week and he has a contract that wasn't totally desirable either (long term).

Martinez, Berkman and Byrd are joined by the other stalwarts: Dan "Red Hot" Uggla, Jeter, Tulowitzki, Longoria, Crawford and Magglio Ordonez. I love my lineup, just wish I had a 1b. I'm pondering playing Gaby Sanchez at 1b this week but can't seem to pull the trigger. Lance Berkman is a thorn in my side. He's hitting .292 over his last 14 games, but .190 something over his last 7. What to do?

Well, one thing I've worried very little about since April left town is the pitching staff. Jeff Niemann is living up to the hype I created for him this spring, Verlander and Peavy have gone back to being dominant, and Ian Kennedy looks like a young stud in AZ. Carlos Marmol has 44Ks out of the bullpen to go with a few saves, and we're starting to build some depth at SP with Sheets and newly acquired Derek Holland. We had to lay out a decent chunk of cash for Holland, but I'm hoping it's worth it. We've also added Kris Medlen. I like his arm, and so does Bobby Cox. It doesn't hurt that both Medlen and Holland are RP eligible if we decide to roll 7 SPs out there for a couple weeks to try to catch up in Ks and Wins.

That's all for this week, my goal is to get that box of 1998 Donruss Updates scanned this week so I can tell the tale of the Search for the Crusade Cards.

Monday, May 10, 2010

HBL Week 6

I figured I'd kill two birds with one post. Above is the third of four Goudeys I picked up in an ebay lot a couple weeks back. I've been slow to post and wanted to get it out there. I believe if they'd have made an entire set of these cards I'd have collected that as well. I like the cartoon details on the front, it just appeals to me.

Over to the HBL. My team has made great strides in the past two weeks. The pitching has really picked up with Peavy, Verlander, Beuhrle, Kenndedy, and Jeff Niemann. I can't say enough good things about Jeff Niemann this year. He's really starting to make his move toward the top tier of pitchers. He always had a really nice K rate in the minors and I've been comparing his career path with Ben Sheets (hopefully not the injuries). It took Sheets three full seasons before he finally brought the WHIP down and K-rate way up.

As good as the pitching has been the hitting has been equally terrible. Then came the injuries . . . to Benji Molina and Troy Tulowitzki. Molina, fine, I'll put AJ Pierzynski back in. Tulo? Well Tulo I was counting on busting out of his yearly slow start pretty soon, but he's hurt again. Am I surprised? Nope. Did I plan for this? Yup. Derek Jeter, you're a lucky man. You were going to grab some pine this week due to your all around crappy play, but you get a reprieve in the form of a Tulo quad injury.

I've been unhappy with Jeter all year due to his non-base-stealing. At this point I'd rather be playing Rickie Weeks at DH. More RBI, more runs, and more SBs, but then again, Rickie is due to be hurt in a week or so.

Lance Berkman is the other hitting I'm putting on notice. We will not abide another crappy week from you Lance. One more week Lance, that's it. We're sitting in the top half of the standings and I won't let you ruin things.

Lastly, Jay Bruce, I love you, but it's time to sit. I've got Marlon Byrd burning a hole in my pocket as well as most of the NL pitchers. So that's it, Jay Bruce sits till he hits (above .270).

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Calling All Code Breakers

Jason Wong, the man who solved the 2008 Ginter Code, is hosting a code contest of his own.

Here is a link to his blog with a note about the contest.

Anyone looking to take a shot at the Ginter Code from the Allen & Ginter set may want to give Jason's cipher a try.

Here is a direct linkto the cipher. I hope others will try to crack it, I know I'm going to give it a shot.

Thanks for putting time into designing it Jason.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jim Palmer National Chicle

Is Jim Palmer in drag? Between his sexy flowing locks, chest hair, lipstick, and rogue . . . I mean, what's going on here?

I totally dig the Chicle set for it's combination of artists working on the cards, but something just rubs me wrong on this Palmer card.

Anyhow, this card comes to me courtesy of one of Brian's kids, who I now owe at least a pack of cards for all the cards they've bestowed on me in 2010.

Are there any other cards in this set that are this disturbing?

I'll also take a moment to plug this thread over on the Cardboard Junkie blog. I've had a nice time discussing 2010 with everyone over there.

They weren't kidding when they say "painted" baseball cards.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Even More Trade Bait: Walter Johnson Patch

This came out of a 2009 Topps Series 2 blaster last summer. My guess is somewhere out there someone is collecting these. I'm not a Johnson collector, or a Senators collector, and I was basically just hoping to pull Palmer or Yount - no dice. I did enjoy the Series 2 cards from the blaster though.

If you're looking to add this to your collection, let me know what you'd like to offer up in exchange. Glad to help get this to a good home.

More Trade Bait: Roy Halladay Propaganda

This was easily among my favorite subsets from the 2009 products. I'm a sucker for the art (I nearly bought some of the full size stuff), and I dig the format. As luck would have it, I received the entire set as a gift last fall, and now I'm putting the Roy Halladay I pulled from a pack up for trade.

Halladay has been lights out thus far this year. Definitely wish he was pitching for my fantasy team. Sometimes I wonder if those injury problems will ever come back to haunt him, but he's been so good and so healthy for such a long time now it seems like the distant past.

If you are a Roy Collector, or just really dig the propaganda series, leave a message or shoot me an email.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Trade Bait: T206 Polar Bear Minis

Who would like to add some King Felix to their T206 mini collection? I'm hoping someone out there is interested. Here's a shot of the front as well.

If King Felix isn't your guy . . . well there might not be anything else here to tempt you. But if you're a completionist maybe I can interest you in a couple other Polar Bears.

Otherwise, I've also got some Conor Jackson for you. Here he is in all his T206 Polar Bear glory!

Now if you're wondering what you could possibly trade me, there are some ideas over there to the right. I'm working on the 2009 Topps U&H still, 2009 Goudey short prints and 4-in-1s. As I said this morning, I have a limited number of needs from 2009 Topps Series 1 (just 1 card) and Topps Series 2 (down to about 5, I need to update from a now pending trade).

I'm also interested in acquiring any 2010 Topps Series 1 base cards. I've got nothing thus far. I could also get into some 2009 Topps Legends of the Game subset. I don't have a ton of those, so let me know what you've got.

This will be the first in a series of trade bait posts where I'm hoping to get some cards into the hands of people who need them in exchange for helping me sunset my 2009 sets so I can look into 2010. Thanks for looking!

Jake Peavy is dealing right now, thank the gods . . .

HBL Week 5: Hey Lance Berkman, Hit Or Get Off The Pot!

Yes, that title will do nicely. It sums up my feelings leading into fantasy baseball Week 5.

Here's what has happened since we last checked in.

I promoted Jeff Niemann a week too late, Brett Anderson was promoted and promptly got injured, and I started stock piling draft picks for our upcoming minor league draft.

Week four was a banner period for the team. There are only two things I was upset about. Rickie Weeks and Dan Uggla have gone cold at the same time, and Lance Berkman still hasn't hit. Sure there are a variety of things I could complain about like my ERA being over 5 to start the period and my WHIP going over 1.50, but these things have started to work themselves out. Verlander had a nice game yesterday, and overall the pitching staff lead by Verlander, Peavy, Ian Kennedy, Jeff Niemann, Carlos Marmol, and Heath Bell can't possibly be this bad all year.

One thing I really love is that no matter how many guys Marmol puts on base, and no matter how many games the Cubs win by more than 4 runs (READ: All of them), he strikes out all three batters he faces like clockwork. Half the reason for acquiring Marmol and his saves was the K appeal.

But I digress, the pitching should be fine. If I can't have faith in Peavy and Verlander, I built my team completely wrong to start with and there's nothing I can do.

What I can be upset with is this turd of a month Lance Berkman has had. Are you healthy Lance? If not, go sit, I'll find someone else to fill in like I did with Huff for a couple weeks. I'm sick of playing you and seeing no power, no hits, just a bunch of sac flies and RBI ground outs. That's just turds. A word that is starting to become deeply synonymous with Lance Berkman. So that's it, Lance, hit.

Other moves I made were claiming Bengie Molina off waivers, putting in a bid on Wilson Ramos while he's filling in for Joe Mauer, and grabbing Marlon Byrd. I don't really think Byrd is all that great, but I'm playing defense here. Every other hitter I don't think is that great is currently on another roster continuing to put up solid numbers for the competition (I'm looking at you Callaspo, Alex Gonzalez, Kelly Johnson, Jose Guillen, Garret Jones, Polanco, Headley, and Ian Desmond). So this is pure defense. If I could tuck away Andruw Jones I would. But his batting average tells me no one is this 12 team league will touch him.

So that's the scoop, not much to report. We finished in 1st place for the period and are currently in 7th place overall. WHIP, Wins, and ERA are the only things holding us back right now, and hopefully that ship will right itself this week. If only I could find a way not to have to play Mark Beuhrle. I'm crossing my fingers and praying that the Toronto Wells don't light him up later this week. Until next week . . .

Where Are You Colin Balester - 2009 Topps Nearly Complete

This is where it all started last year. Just over a year ago I thought "maybe it would be fun to collect cards and write about it as I did it - as an outlet".

I had absolutely no idea anyone else was doing this, let alone 100s of people doing this. In the past year, I've talked with a lot of people who are out there collecting and trading. I've made a ton of trades and read a lot of your blogs. It's been fun, and to think, it all started with a hobby box of Series 1 Topps last April.

Here is where I stand, one year later. I missing just one card from Series 1. It's card number 192.


Okay, now that I've got that off my chest, does someone out there have this card? I want it. I want to cross Series 1 off my list. Speaking of lists, this is what I have left from Series 2:

417, 423, 430, 431, 448, 471, 484, 494, 500, 505, 510, 537

I'm 12 steps from Series 2 perfection as well. Again, any help would be appreciated. I swear I'll find something to trade you in return for helping me close the door on 2009 Topps Series 1 and Series 2.

I made it my goal to collect no new product until I finished up 2009 Topps.

I've also updated my needs list with 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights. That list is a bit longer.