Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pictures from Opening Day

Today, I spent about seven hours in the car driving to and from Kansas City to watch the Halos beat up on my Royals in cold, dreary, and overcast weather, and I loved every second of it.  The crowd was electric.  The festivities were exciting.  And I learned that "lucky underwear" do not carry over their luck from one season to the next.  Gotta replace them yearly, whether they need it or not.

I thought some of you poor souls who were stuck at work all day might enjoy living vicariously through my pictures of my Opening Day experience.

This is the view of The K from my seat.  I got to the stadium two hours before the first pitch and the parking lot was packed.  In fact, I got there so late, the closest parking spot was in Kansas.

But, as you can see, everyone was still out tailgating when I got to my seat.

I decided to walk around the stadium to kill some time and took this shot from the outfield through the water fountain.

The pregame festivities included a drum line and some Royals greats from the past.

Including George Brett and Bo Jackson who were standing on stars in the infield.

One of my favorite features of Kaufmann Stadium is the jumbotron in the outfield, which they used during the announcement of the day's starting lineup.

Jeff Francis

Billy Butler

Kila Ka'aihue

Luke Hochevar

Members of the Air Force unfurled a large flag in the outfield for the National Anthem.

Some pictures of Luke's pregame pitches.

The first pitch of the season.

Alex Gordon at the plate.

And, one last action shot from the game.

Here is the box for the game.

In between innings I was on my way to grab a gatorade and ran into Luke's mom, dad, and sister.  I spent the next few innings catching up with them, which was great.  I hadn't seen them in well over a year, so it was awesome to be able to spend some time with them during the game. 

While the outcome of the game wasn't what I was hoping for, I had a fantastic time.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to sneak down to KC for another game this season, but I'm definitely going to put in some time with their Triple-A team here in Omaha. 

A Platinum Opening Day

As everyone knows, today kicks off the 2011 MLB season.

I'll be headed south on I-29 today to watch the Royals take on the Angels this afternoon.  I'm pumped because Luke Hochevar will be the starting pitcher for the Royals.  It's my first MLB Opening Day game and it's Luke's first Opening Day start.

I thought I'd commemorate Luke's start by talking about one of the best cards in my collection, a 2010 Topps Series 2 Platinum parallel that is serial numbered 1/1.  This card has an interesting (to me) story behind it.

And the back of the card.

When I got back into the collecting game last summer, I began tracking down Hochevar cards on eBay and COMC.  I was only interested in his cards.  It wasn't until I had over 100 of them that I began to branch out into collecting other players and sets.  And when the above card popped up on eBay, I knew I had to have it.

I've mentioned before how much I love 1/1 cards.  Before this card, printing plates and blank-backed cards were the only 1/1s I'd been able to afford.  The few 1/1 parallel cards that I'd encountered were all out of my price range.  (Incidentally, there has been a 2007 Bowman Chrome Superfractor in my eBay watch list for months now but the seller is unwilling to budge from his $250 BIN.  Sucks for him and for me, because it would be a great addition to my collection.)

This Platinum card was all I could talk about for a week.  My wife knew how much I wanted the card, so when I reached the ceiling of how much I wanted to bid on it (somewhere above $50, I believe) she knew I was bummed.

We were visiting my parents the weekend the auction was ending.  I would later find out that my wife had told my mom how much I wanted this card.  As the auction was ending, my family was sitting around the kitchen table and I was watching the auction, bummed that I wouldn't win this card.  My mom and my wife both tried to get me to raise my bid on the card, but I told them I couldn't do it.

After the auction ended, I just stared at my computer screen dejected.  Then my mom told me to look at her computer.  It took me a few moments to understand why.  She had eBay pulled up in her browser and the screen congratulated her on being the highest bidder on a baseball card.  It still didn't sink in what had happened.  I looked up for clarification and they were both smiling from ear to ear.

Turns out my mom had put in a max bid of $200 (it went for about half of that) and said she was going to go higher if she would have needed to.  She wanted me to have this card.  She said it was an early birthday present.  I was blown away.

As hard as it was watching the seconds tick away as the auction was ending, it was even tougher waiting for the card to arrive in my mailbox.  

I am so lucky to have such a supportive wife and family.  They know how much enjoyment I get from collecting cards and they do everything they can to enjoy them with me.

I'd like to thank my mom (and her ornery accomplice) for her generosity for the umpteenth time.  I love this card and am proud to have it in my collection.

As Hamilton 'Ham' Porter would say, "PLAY BALL!!!!"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Colorado Collection: Kevin Kouzmanoff

Today's addition to the Colorado Collection (where I track down an autographed card of an athlete born and/or raised in Colorado) is Major League Baseball player Kevin Kouzmanoff.

While Kevin was born in Newport Beach, CA, he joins the Colorado Collection because he moved to Colorado before his high school years and attended Evergreen High School in Evergreen, CO.

After high school, Kevin attended the University of Arkansas Little Rock in 2002 and the University of Nevada Reno in 2003.  He was then selected in the 6th round of the 2003 draft by the Cleveland Indians.  He played with the Indians through the 2006 season when he was then traded to the San Diego Padres.  After three seasons with the Padres, Kevin was traded to the Oakland A's in 2010.

Had I limited the Colorado Collection strictly to players born in Colorado and not included players who graduated from a Colorado high school, I might have missed out on this on-card autographed card of a current Major Leaguer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Trade Bait: A Smorgasbord

I have been organizing/downsizing my cards this week and thought someone might be interested in these non-hits.  If you would like any/all of these cards, please email me and we'll work out the details of a trade.  I'm not looking for much in return, just something that will fit into my personal collection.

First up are a pile of 1990 Swell "Baseball Greats".  I've included some of these cards in previous trades and everyone seemed to like them, so I thought I'd see if anyone would like specific cards or even the entire pile.

Here is a sampling of what I have (the entire list below the scans).

And the backs look like this:

I've not done any research on this set, so I have no other information than to list out the players I have.  Also, if you are already collecting this set and just need to know the card numbers, I can get those for you.
  • Bob Gibson
  • Johnny Vander Meer
  • Jim Bouton
  • Dick Groat (2x)
  • Lou Brock (2x)
  • Bobby Thompson (2x)
  • Johnny Mize
  • Lou Boudreau
  • Ron Santo
  • Luke Appling (2x)
  • Dave Kingman
  • Frank Torre (2x)
  • Matty Alou
  • Bill White
  • Alvin Dark (2x)
  • Jimmy Piersall
  • Billy Williams
  • Ken Holtzman
  • Al Hrabosky
  • Tom Tresh
  • Bobby Richardson
  • Bobby Shantz (2x)
  • Jerry Coleman
  • Graig Nettles
  • Rick Ferrell
  • Bill Virdon
  • Manny Sanguillen
If no one contacts me about the Swell cards in the next couple of weeks, I'll probably try to get a buck or two for them on eBay. 

I also came across these Diamond Kings while searching for Mustache Cards and remembered that someone was working on those sets, but couldn't remember who.  If it's you, email me and we'll work on a trade.

Finally, I also came across these nine TCMA cards.

And a scan of the backs.

I'm sure there is someone out there who would appreciate these cards more than I do.  I'm not looking for much in return for any of the above cards.  If you have anything that would fit within my personal collection, lets work out a trade.

Colorado Collection: Vincent Jackson

The Colorado Collection is my attempt to get an autograph card of athletes born and/or raised in Colorado.

Today's addition to the Colorado Collection is Vincent Jackson.  Born in Colorado Springs, Vincent attended Wakefield High School where he earned All-State honorable mention honors in football his senior year.

After high school, Vincent attended the University of Northern Colorado, one of the few schools to recruit him, where, according to his Wikipedia page, he
"earned All American Honors as a punt returner, scoring the first time he ever touched a ball on a punt return against Adams State College (CO). He rewrote the record books on the way to becoming Northern Colorado's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards (game & season), KR yards, PR yards, receiving touchdowns. His senior season was highlighted by a 13-catch 249-yard, 3-touchdown effort against Florida Atlantic"
I was excited to add the following Vincent Jackson card because it has him in his UNC Bear's uniform and has a UNC logo on the front of the card.  My sister is an alumnus of the University of Northern Colorado and many of my high school friends attended this school.

Jackson was drafted in the second round of the 2005 draft by the San Diego Chargers.

Vincent's NFL career has had it's highs (selected to the 2009 ProBowl) and it's highs (suspended for three games in 2010 for violating the league's substance abuse policy).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Contest Loot from Hoopography Starts a New PC

Rencently, Charles @ Hoopography did a review of a box of 2011 Panini Contenders Basketball cards, after which he held a contest to give away most of the box's contents.

I've mentioned before that I don't care for today's NBA. I've also mentioned that I mostly collect 1980s and 1990s basketball cards.

But I'm not sure that I've ever mentioned this about myself:  I love a good bargain.  And how much better of a bargain can you get than free?

So I entered Charles' contest and wouldn't you know it, I won. 

The highlight of the prize package was easily the three manupatch/autograph cards I received.

I have no idea who any of these players are because, like I said, I don't follow the NBA.  But I do love these team logo manupatches.  So much so, that I'm going to start my third different Manupatch Personal Collection, which I'll refer to as my NBA Team Logo Manupatch Collection.  I believe there are 30 NBA teams, so I've already collected 10% of the cards I'll need.

So if you have any NBA Team Logo Manupatch cards that you'd be willing to trade away, let me know.  Also, I should note that if one of the above cards has a player or team you collect, I"m not married to these particular cards, so I'd definitely be willing to trade them away for something of equal value.

The rest of the box was a bit hit-and-miss, in my opinion.

I love the base cards.  I like the design, color schemes, and layout of the cards. 

I'm half tempted to collect the whole base set.

On the other hand, I was not particularly fond of any of the insert sets.

I've never been much of a fan of horizontal cards, and neither the "Starting Blocks" or the "One-Two Punch" sets changed my mind.  Also, the "Place in History" cards were uninspired and the "Rookie Contenders" cards were difficult to read.

I'd say the only successful insert cards were the die-cut Season Ticket cards, and that's just because they played off of and improved upon the design of the base card.  I also like die-cut cards.  Sometimes less is more.

Thanks again to Charles @ Hoopography for running a great contest.  If you haven't been over to his blog yet, I highly recommend you visit it often.  His posts are insightful and educational with a wide range of topics. I especially enjoy his posts about 1990s basketball inserts. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trade Report: No Relics Pulled? How bout "Many Relics Traded"

A2 Wolverine of No Relics Pulled and I recently bartered for cards.  I sent him THESE and, in return, my Team Logo Manupatch collection doubled and my Rockies and Royals binders grew.

First, the team logo manupatchs.

The Swingin A's and the ATL Braves.  That'd be a great band name.  DIBS!!!!!

My Team Logo Manupatch collection now has the Arizona DBacks, KC Royals, Oakland A's, and Atlanta Braves.  Not too shabby of a start.

A2 also sent along a handful of Rockies and Royals.

Thanks to A2 for the great trade!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

They Love Me! They Really, Really Love Me!

At the beginning of the month, Thorzul wrote about the Six Shirts that Achieved World Piece.  I made a half-kidding comment on Twitter (come FOLLOW ME, won't you?) that if my family truly loved me, they would buy me these shirts.

Turns out, someone loves me.  In fact, my Mom loves me Three Kick-Ass Shirts worth! 

She and my wife conspired together to make sure that I'll be the hippest, winningest, and most best dressed trading card blogger this season. 

Thanks Ma!  You're the best.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Trade Report: A Royal Autograph from Hiflew

Fellow Rockies collector Johnny (Hiflew) from Cards from the Quarry recently sent me some cards and he was as generous as always.

First up, the Royals.

There is a very good chance that I'll be in the above pictured stadium on Opening Day.  It would be a doubly awesome to be there opening day because Hochevar is going to be the Royals starting pitcher.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that my ticket hookup pulls through.

A second non-Hochevar Royals autograph was added to my collection in this trade.  This is a Mike Montgomery autograph that Johnny pulled from a recent box break. 

It looks like Mike will be starting the season in the minors (hopefully in Omaha) but should be an important piece of the Royals future.

And the Royals cards continue, including a Mike Jacobs refractor that was purchased during the March "Budget eBay Collector" series that Johnny does. 

And, in typical Johnny fashion, no trade is complete without his sending along a bagillion of his Rockies duplicates. 

Many thanks to Johnny and I will be sending your side of the trade very shortly.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Wife's Favorite Autograph

As the old saying goes, behind every trading card collector there is an understanding wife, or something like that.  And my wife is VERY understanding.  She is supportive of me and my endless list of interests and hobbies. 

As for my trading card addiction hobby, my wife enjoys helping me bust open packs of cards and looks interested every time I show her a newly acquired card, especially when the card in question has an autograph.  But she's not interested in these autograph cards in the same way most collectors are.

For instance, take this recently acquired 2008 Upper Deck Ballpark Collections Luke Hochevar autograph card.

When I see a card like this, I focus on the front of the card.  How is the design?  (Kind of busy, but nice.)  How is the autograph?  (On a sticker, but, again, nice.)  Etc.

My wife, on the other hand, gives the front of the card a fleeting glance and then immediately flips the card over and checks out the back.

What could possibly be on the back of the card that is more interesting to her than the autograph of my favorite baseball player on the front?  This.

My wife is fascinated with looking for the autograph of Richard P. McWilliam, the CEO of Upper Deck.  She finds it interesting that his signature can be found on (as far as I know) every Upper Deck autograph card.  Whenever I show her an autographed card that doesn't include the John Hancock of Mr. McWilliams, I see a glimmer of disappointment flash across her face.

What can I say, other than I'm so very happy that she has ANY interest in my hobby, even if it comes from the signature of a CEO of a card company. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How I Display my Art

This week, A Cardboard Life had a post about the different ways to store and display trading cards.  He had some images of a couple of ways people were displaying cards on walls.  He ended the blog entry with a question:  Are sports cards art?

To me, sports cards are absolutely art.  Like paintings, cards are collected, appraised, critiqued, etc.  Card collectors discuss design, layout, style, photography, coloring, condition, and technique just like an art collector.

Like most art collectors, I like to show off all of my collection to anyone who cares to look.  I do this by posting pictures on my blog and I display many of them on a wall in my basement.

I didn't like any of the methods of displaying cards that I could find online, so I started brainstorming ways I could make my own display case.

I spent a couple hours wandering around the hardware store and stumbled upon some 6'-long, u-shaped pieces of plastic that I'm guessing are used for window frames or sliding door jams.  A top loader fits perfectly into these "rails" that I cut and glued to a piece of 2'x4' plywood.  I added some molding on the edges and spray-painted them black. 

The boards display my main personal collections, including all of my Hochevar, Fowler, and manupatch cards. 

As my collection has grown, I've added more displays boards to my basement wall.  My fourth display board is currently in the painting stage of production in my basement as I type this.  My goal is to turn my entire man-cave into a card gallery and use my card collection as "wallpaper".

So, what say you?  Are trading cards art?  And does anyone else have a unique way of displaying their cards? 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Trade Report: A Manupatch from Crinkly Wrappers

A while back I saw a KC Royals logo manupatch in the trade bait at the Crinkly Wrappers blog that I had to have.  I offered up as many Blue Jays cards as I could round up in exchange for the card and soon enough, it was sitting on my scanner.

One of the best aspects of this card would be the fact that I attended a Royals game on July 4, 2009 with my sister Dana.  I know it's not a game-used logo from DeJesus' hat from that game, but I like knowing I was at the game that inspired this card.  I also believe that this card is much better looking with the Stars&Stripes logo than a white KC on a blue background would have been.

This Royals manupatch card is the second card in my MLB Manupatch Logo collection (I received two more in the mail yesterday which I'll be showing off in the near future).

The manupatch card arrived at my house with some friends, including some Royals.

And some Rockies.

The surprise of the package had to be the boat load of 1990-91 Skybox cards, which will help plug some holes in my 1990-91 Skybox Basketball collection (Only 8 cards needed to complete the set!) and my Mustache Set (I can always use more mustache cards!)

Thanks again to MoreMonkeys138 -- if that is your real name -- for the trade.  My many personal collections thank you as well.