10 July 2015

Contested Shots 7: Better Winning through Losing Pt. 2

"How can you fail so hard, RAZ?" - Aristotole, Ancient Talker of Trash

My previous post was about a prize I won for being the last person to appear on a randomized list. This post is about I prize I won for finishing in last place in the March Madness bracket tournament hosted by the Cards on Cards blog. I felt pretty good about my bracket heading into the NCAA tournament (doesn't everyone?), but pretty early on my picks started falling hard and entire sections of my bracket were marked out in red ink (I like to keep manual brackets and mark the game results down by hand as the scores come in). I didn't realize that I had lost until I saw the post announcing the end of the contest. Maybe next year I will be able to redeem myself. In the posts surrounding the contest there were veiled threats that the last-place prize might be a stinker, so I wasn't really sure what to expect when I saw the envelope.

The stacks of cards were book-ended by these Ray Lankford cards from the early 90's, and I half-expected the rest of the cards to be nothing but Portland Trail Blazers cards featuring Rick Adelman and Cliff Robinson. But Ray Lankford was actually hiding a whole stack of cards for my team and player collections, as well as the Aristotle mini that heads this post. Here is a partial review of the cards in the package:

There were a number of Felix Hernandez cards in the package, including a folding stand-up card from Topps Lineage, an Opening Day insert, a Chrome Heritage card from 2015 (it looks like Hernandez has been taking hat-wearing lessons from Fernando Rodney, and the Atlanta Braves are likely to want to fight about it), and a Bowman Chrome Refractor. That's a lot of cool cards, and it's not even all the Hernandez cards from the group.

Jose Bautista got a few nice cards in the package, too. That Heritage card is again a shiny Chrome number, the Attax game card is a shiny foil example, and the card featuring him in a Pirates uniform is actually from 2015 Topps that celebrates his first big-league home run in 2006. Ken Griffey, Jr. also made an appearance in the package, and on an insert card to boot!

The horizontal stuff had to be scanned together, so King Felix and Joey Bats make additional appearances in this post along with a cool insert of Bryce Harper losing his helmet in order to show off his hair and a nice Hakeem Olajuwon insert from '94-'95 Fleer Ultra. That card is 20 years old now, which makes me feel a little bit old, since the mid-90's were the heyday of my teenage basketball-collecting life.

The basketball cards in the package focused heavily on my favorite team, the Houston Rockets, while also featuring other players I collect, like Spud Webb there in one of the better basketball card photos out there. Luis Scola had some decent stats for the Rockets, but I can't say I liked him all that much. And for those who are into celebrity gossip, James Harden is supposedly dating Khloe Kardashian. Someone named Amber Rose is super-mad about this because people keep dating her and then bailing to hook up with various Kardashian sisters. I guess Kanye West and Amber Rose were an item before he went off and married Kim Kardashian and James Harden and Amber Rose dated at some point and now he's paired up with Khloe Kardashian. No word on how Farrah Flositt feels about this situation.

Rounding things out are a couple more basketball cards. Otis Thorpe snagged a ring with the Rockets during their first Championship season, and then was involved in the deal that brought Clyde Drexler (back) to Houston for the Rockets' second Championship run. After Hakeem Olajuwon, Gheorghe Muresan is my second-largest basketball player collection. And Spud Webb makes another appearance in this package, with a card from an Upper Deck promotional set distributed by McDonald's. There was plenty more stuff in the package, including more cards, some stickers, some oddball stuff, and even a couple of redemption cards good for coins in the Topps Bunt mobile app.

I have to say that this package was a pretty darn good consolation prize for the dubious honor of making the worst picks out of a few dozen players. I really thought I had done my homework on the bracket this season, and it just blew up on me in every way. This marks the end of my Better Winning through Losing series, although the other day I did wind up in last place on another contest randomization from the Jaybarkerfan's Junk blog. I'm starting to get a bit of a complex about appearing at the bottom of lists.


  1. Nice prize package.

    If you ever want to move that foil Topps Attax card of Joey Bats I'd love a shot at it.

  2. I've kind of given up on NCAA brackets. I have come to realize that I don't know enuf college hoops. Now my NHL bracket won me some second place love. Had the Rangers beaten the Lightning my vacation would have been paid for.

    1. I don't follow college basketball all that closely, so my brackets are usually based on a very light reading of 2 or 3 articles about the tournament teams, record against Top 25 teams, and a little bit of gut instinct. I have won a couple of pools and lost some pools. It's all pretty random in the end.