30 September 2015

Combined Shipping Leads to Buying Stuff 8: R.A. Dickey Bowman Gold

Well, yesterday's post imploring Daniel Norris to pitch well didn't work out. He only lasted 1.2 innings on his 75-pitch cap as the Rangers beat the Tigers in a 7-6 game. To make things even worse, the Angels won and the Astros lost, dropping Houston to a half-game deficit in the race for the second Wild Card spot.

R.A. Dickey takes the mound for the Blue Jays tonight in the second game of a double-header. It looks like they will clinch the AL East based on the result of the first game, but I still hope that Dickey pitches well and takes them to a win. Dickey's numbers aren't that great this year overall, but he really turned a corner once June rolled around and has pitched very well since. The knuckleball still betrays him here and there, but he has put together a lot of good starts.

Today's featured card comes from the same eBay lot I've been discussing for the last few days. It's Dickey's Gold parallel from 2015 Bowman. It's numbered # 32 / 50. Again, not a card I would pay the asking price plus $3 shipping for on its own, but combined shipping brings the unit price down enough for me to justify it.

29 September 2015

I Guess It's Time to Clear Out My Retirement Account...

Combined Shipping Leads to Buying Stuff 7: Daniel Norris Stadium Club Auto

Continuing with the combined shipping lot I've been posting about lately, here is a Daniel Norris autograph from this year's Stadium Club set. I briefly started a player collection of his cards when he was with the Blue Jays earlier this year, but his cards were too expensive and I found I couldn't maintain another player collection. Then he got moved to Detroit and I really lost interest. This card had a decent asking price. I wouldn't pay the seller's price plus $3 shipping just for this card, but splitting up that $3 between 9 different cards makes the per-card price tolerable.

I really need Norris to pitch well today, as he's getting the start against Cole Hamels and the Texas Rangers. I need the Rangers to lose another game so that my Astros can (hopefully) win and gain another game in the pennant race. So just for today I am a huge fan of the Tigers.

I guess now that he's with Detroit, that makes him Daniel Tiger.

28 September 2015

Combined Shipping Leads to Buying Stuff 6: Denver Broncos from the Glory Days

As part of the combined shipping lot I've been posting about recently I picked up a few cards for my football collection, which is even more neglected than my basketball collection, if such a thing is even possible. All of these are serially-numbered, but the numbers are pretty high, I think just about anyone who wants a copy should be able to get one. First up is a Shannon Sharpe Immortals card from 2013 Panini Certified. It's numbered # 487 / 999. Sharpe has always been my favorite Bronco, and I don't know if anyone will ever take that spot. I like Tim Tebow and I like Peyton Manning, but Tebow didn't stick around long enough and Manning did most of his work with the Colts. The one big knock I have against Sharpe is that he played for the Ravens. I hate the Ravens. I'll overlook that in his case, though, because I can.

I have an old Sharpe knockoff jersey that I get compliments on pretty much every time I wear it in public. He's popular even here in Idaho. This card is from 1998 Collector's Edge Masters. I am not sure how the parallels are set up in this set, but this card is numbered # 1076 / 3000.

Finally I have a nice shiny John Elway card from this year, a 2015 Panini Certified Immortals card numbered # 055 / 499. I like this one because of the old-school Broncos logo and uniform. Elway had a great career as a quarterback and a Super Bowl win would cement him as a great football executive, too. He's made some huge moves in bringing Peyton Manning to Denver and building a superb defense for the Broncos, but they haven't been able to cash that in and get a ring. With Tom Brady, Gronk, and the rest of the Patriots playing the way they have been this year I don't know if the Broncos can even get out of the AFC bracket, let alone beat whoever comes out of the NFC playoffs. I am afraid that the Broncos' window will close and Manning will miss out on getting a ring in Denver. It's really too bad they laid that huge egg against Seattle in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago.

26 September 2015

Combined Shipping Leads to Buying Stuff 5: Hakeem Olajuwon Prizm Relic

I am going to be away from my computer/cell phone for a couple of days, so I'm throwing out a couple of quick posts to fill time until I get back. Today's card comes from the lot of cards I started posting about yesterday. The seller had a variety of cards on sale from multiple sports, and I couldn't pass up this relic card featuring my favorite basketball player, Hakeem Olajuwon. It's from the On Hallowed Ground insert set in 2014-15 Panini Select Basketball. The relic swatch isn't all that exciting, but at least it's a colored bit of jersey and not a PWS (plain white swatch).

This is the Copper Prizm parallel of the card, and it is numbered # 36 / 49. I am surprised a little bit that I don't have more relics and autos of The Dream, because they are very plentiful and pretty cheap. Maybe that's the reason. It seems like there are about 40,000 of them on eBay all the time, so I pass them by in favor of bidding on other things that I feel like I might not see again. I did snag this one because of that combined shipping offer. At list price plus shipping I wouldn't have given it a second look, but at list price with combined shipping it was a reasonable deal for an addition to a somewhat neglected part of my collection.

25 September 2015

Combined Shipping Leads to Buying Stuff 4: R.A. Dickey 2013 Topps Tribute WBC Patches

I picked up a lot of 9 cards from a seller on eBay; largely because of the two cards in this post. I have had my eye on R.A. Dickey's 2013 Topps Tribute WBC cards pretty much since the product released, but had never quite felt like paying the asking price. I finally broke down and grabbed a couple of them for my collection. This first one is the more limited of the two, being the Red parallel of the Prime Patches Relic set. My copy is numbered # 07 / 10. It's got a nice little chunk of jersey number or something on there and is suitably shiny.

The card backs are about what you expect from a high-end patch card. The card companies figure you are going to be so transfixed by the glitz and flash on the front of the card that the back will be an afterthought, so they also make it an afterthought. At least the authenticity certification ties the relic piece to a specific time period instead of Topps' usual vague statement.

I find it interesting that the more common version of the card has a (subjectively) much better patch piece embedded in it. This one's got all kinds of colors and levels of patch stepping down to the jersey material. It's shiny and silver and my copy is numbered # 011 / 131. 

The back of the card is identical to the back of the rarer card. I am glad to finally grab a couple of Dickey's cards from this set. I didn't get a great deal on them, but it was an acceptable price especially with the shipping split up nine ways.

24 September 2015

John Soukup Adventure Time Interactive Fan Art Card

Here's a pretty cool sketch card I got from the artist, John Soukup, on eBay. I think every box of Cryptozoic's Adventure Time cards came with a blank Fan Art Card so that collectors could draw their own art or commission a custom piece for their collection. I have never watched Adventure Time, so I don't know much of anything about the characters or the plot. But I thought this was a neat sketch because it has a hidden surprise.

The horse's body has a flap that lifts up to reveal the Ice King hiding inside. I believe it was inspired by this scene from the show:

There are so many shows and movies and books and comics and songs out there that I have some interest in, but I don't ever find time to keep up with them. Adventure Time is one of the things that fall into that category. The struggle is real.

Here is the back of the card for the sake of completeness. I like it when artists take time to sign their stuff. It can be a pain in the butt to decipher cryptic symbols on the front of cards. I am getting to where I can tell a lot of artists apart just by their art styles, but there are plenty that I don't know yet or instances when the artist is trying something new that doesn't match their typical style.

23 September 2015

2013 SEGA Card-Gen Extravaganza 14: Texas Rangers

It's been a while since I posted in this ongoing series of posts that highlight the 2013 SEGA Card-Gen trading cards out of Japan. I was able to grab a full set from a seller on eBay in early 2014 and I've been scanning the cards in team-by-team to post about here on my blog. These cards were quite a hit when they were first introduced to the blogging world by Zippy Zappy and his trademark Zippy Zappings. Based on the page views for these posts lately I would guess that these cards are seen as old hat now, but that could just be due to the fact that my posts are team-centric and might only hold interest from fans of the featured team. But I've come this far and I'm nearly complete with the AL teams, so I can't quit until I get through the whole thing. Enough navel-gazing; let's get to the cards. As per the usual format, the team set for the Texas Rangers runs through the fielding positions from Catcher through Right Field, then Starting Pitchers, Relievers, and Closers. Many team sets don't have enough cards for that, so most teams are missing a position or two.

A.J. Pierzynski is one of the most disliked players in the game. Ozzie Guillen said, "If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less." Right now A.J. is with the Braves, his third team since leaving the Rangers. He spent part of 2014 with the Red Sox and part with the Cardinals. He won a World Series ring with the White Sox in 2005.

Ian Kinsler was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Prince Fielder. Fielder had a neck injury last year and missed a large portion of the season. Even tossing out that season I think Detroit probably got the better end of the deal from a performance standpoint. Kinsler has 11.8 WAR (5.9 avg.) over the two seasons while Fielder has 2.0 WAR so far in 2015 after his lost 2014.

Adrian Beltre has been very good for a long time. He gets a pretty good fielding picture on this card, with plenty of action and a nice shot of the fans in the seats. But my favorite thing about Beltre is that he hates for people to touch his head, which is a quirk that Elvis Andrus takes advantage of as often as possible.

Brian McCann can't even watch that video without scheduling a team meeting to discuss professionalism with the younger players. There's nothing uglier than two baseball players enjoying themselves while playing a game.

Speaking of Andrus, here he is! His card calls him an Infield Single Artist, which I think is a nice way of saying that his speed helps him to overcome a weak bat. The biggest thing that got me when I looked at his Baseball Reference page was that he's got 7 seasons under his belt already. I guess I always thought of him as a younger guy, and really he is still pretty young. That's what happens when you get called up at age 20 and stick on the big-league roster.

David Murphy left the Rangers after the 2013 season. He signed with Cleveland for 2014 and played with them for part of 2015 before being traded to the Angels in late July of this year. I think 2012 was pretty much the peak for him unless he's got a resurgence on the way.

Nelson Cruz has been an All-Star with three different teams in the last three years. In 2013 he was with the Rangers, in 2014 he played for the Orioles, and now he is with the Mariners. It looks like they've locked him up for a little while. 

Yu Darvish is injured this year, but he's been an All-Star all three years he's played in the MLB so far. He throws a butt-load of strikeouts. Hopefully he is able to come back and remain dominant. I like those red jerseys.

Matt Harrison had a great 2012 but has lost each of the last three seasons to a back injury. I would imagine it will be pretty difficult for him to come back from it. He was sent to the Phillies this year in the trade that brought Cole Hamels to Texas. I imagine his inclusion in the trade had more to do with making the money work than it did any potential he has left.

Colby Lewis is another pitcher who has lost significant time to injuries. He is back this year, though, and has pitched fairly well, with good-not-great numbers across the board. I guess it's been good enough to help the Rangers take the lead in the AL West.

Now with Boston, Alexi Ogando is an okay bullpen arm. There isn't much else for me to say about him. He was an All-Star in 2011 as a starting pitcher. In 2012 he moved to relief, in 2013 he was a starter again, and then he moved back to relief work for the next two years. I wonder if all the bouncing around has hurt his consistency?

Josh Lindblom pitched a handful of innings for Oakland in 2014. They released him and the Pirates picked him up and then released him. It looks like he has found a spot in 2015 as a starting pitcher in Korea for the KBO's Lotte Giants.

Joe Nathan found a lot of success as a closer/reliever from 2004-2014 with the Twins, Rangers, and Tigers. He has spent 2015 on the DL with an arm injury. He's got 377 saves and has been named an All-Star 6 times.

Well, that does it for the Texas Rangers. The team set features 12 cards, which is one less than the average of 13 cards per team in the 390-card set. All that's left for the AL is the Toronto Blue Jays, and then it's on to the NL teams. I've only been posting these things every couple of months lately, so it should take me several more years to get through it. By that time most of these guys will be retired.