Friday, November 21, 2014

Two Rack Packs of 2014 Topps Update Series

I've had a very rough November, as you can probably tell. I've barely got around to posting, and this is my third post for the entire month of November, which is pretty pathetic.

However, with the next few days of events, I have a feeling I will try to get the post count for this month up by a lot. For now, however, here are two rackers of Update Series.

Pack 1-
316- Ian Krol. And right off the bat, someone I've never heard of.
63- David Murphy, with a very pedestrian-looking photo. This is unsportsmanlike for Topps, as they've always given David Murphy the best, most awesome photos in the past.
37- Leury Garcia
33- Grady Sizemore, who will likely be sticking around in Philly for another year.
59- Brandon McCarthy, who was a great pickup for the Yanks.
58- What will likely be Raul Ibanez' last flagship Topps card. Sucks that it looks so pedestrian.
69- Dellin Betances, who people are saying will be the next Mariano Rivera.
319- Ricky Nolasco, the only good pitcher in Minnesota. (except for Glen Perkins, but he's a closer)
127- David Phelps. Due to a lack of options, this guy may end up being the fifth starter for the Yankees next year. Gulp.
251- Ike Davis, who was juuuuust released from the Pirates yesterday. Welp.
3- Tom Wilhelmsen
162- YOENIS CESPEDES, who hopefully will get back to his old self.
208- Joakim Soria. No comeback is more appreciated than this guy's.
133- Chris Young. Okay, except for maybe this guy's.
166- Andrew Romine, one of the new wave of backup-postion-player Romines.
303- Jarred Cosart
26- Mookie Betts. Nope, not even coming close to the other Mookie's awesomeness levels.
Power Players insert of Adam Jones. I really like this insert set.
Future is Now insert of Jon Singleton.
89 mini of Alexei Ramirez
ASG Access insert of Koji Uehara.
272- Mark Ellis
266- Drew Smyly.
221- Gregory Polanco rookie!
20- Gregory Polanco Rookie Debut. How about that?
100- Jose Abreu cl
216- Andrew McCutchen AS
299- Charlie Blackmon AS. Great job on the photo, Sooz, assuming you picked this one of course.
259- Craig Kimbrel AS.
247- Tony Watson AS.
234- Felix Hernandez AS. Great photo again.
253- Kevin Kiermaier Rookie
290- Cam Bedrosian. Son of a Phillie Cy Young winner.
148- Kyle Parker
2 doubles

Pack 2-
36- Vance "The Vanimal" Worley
40- Stephen Vogt'
42- JD Martinez, star of the Tigers offense this year.
67- Scott Van Slyke. Glad to see he's still hanging in there.
257- Eduardo Escobar
75- Nick Punto
131- Chris Denorfia. Personally, I'm happy he's out of San Diego.
280- Cole Gillespie
135- Jake Odorizzi
236- Jerome Williams. Looks like Topps couldn't get a shot of him as a Phillie.
240- Aaron Sanchez
172- Tucker Barnhart
(doubles)
Hanley Ramirez Power Players
Michael Wacha Future is Now
Fond Farewells of Omar Vizquel. Glad Topps could finally give us a photo of Vizquel in a Jays uniform.
Evan Longoria 89 Mini
94- Tuff Gosewisch RC
57- Jacob DeGrom RD
250- Yu Darvish CL
(2 doubles)
320- Koji Uehara AS
97- Salvador Perez AS
173- Joey Bats AS
241- Michael Choice RC
doubles to end the pack

Nice amount of variety and Yankees. Still, a lot of boring inserts.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nostalgic Box Break: 1997 Collector's Choice FOOTBALL! (Part One)


First of all, I must once again announce that I am indeed still alive.

Second of all, I should probably add that the box I am about to begin posting about was ripped a little over a month ago. I am just now getting around to posting it. I've had a very busy month or so, and college is not being kind to my blogging mindset.

But who cares, because I'm finally getting a chance to post this box. It's part two of our tribute to 90's Collector's Choice, quite possibly the 2nd-best long running series of the 90's. Now we have a football edition of the 1997 set, which means the photography will be wilder than most football products.

One thing I should mention is that each box comes with a super-sized version of one of the major star cards of the box, sort of like a box-topper without the mojo. Mine, as you can see, was Dan Marino. It's much cooler in person though.

Alright, let's get on with the packs.

Pack One: Kevin Williams, Yancey Thigpen and Darren Bennett are our photo highlights. As you can see, the design is simple enough, has enough space for team color, and the photography tries to be wacky.

This, for example, is what the backs of cards look like. Just as a sample, they also have equally-awesome photos on the back, like Chris Gardocki's photo here.

This is the only thing close to a base star card in the pack, of Jason Sehorn, of the Giants, in the midst of one of the few great seasons in his short career. You probably know him for marrying Angie Harmon though.

Here are three of our inserts. The first is a Starquest of Fred Barnett, literally in his last season playing, two years removed from playing for Philly. The one in the middle is a Collector's Choice (?) insert of Mario Bates, two years removed from his only good season, in 1995. The one on the right is a Rookie Collection insert of Dwayne Rudd. He would have a decent career as a linebacker for the Vikings and Browns. Also, and this is a preview of what is to come, this is one of the more pedestrian photos this insert set used.

Pack Two- Our horizontal highlights here are of Alex Van Dyke, Rodney Thomas, and Terrell Buckley. Here, you can see just how cool the photos are. I like Buckley's because I feel like the cameraman snapped the photo at the exact right time. It captures all of the things coming at Buckley before it all crashes to the ground.

This is a very nice shot of Tommy Vardell signing some stuff for some confused fan. Man, this guy has some crappy luck. Plays with the Browns til their last season, then just as everybody else jets over to Baltimore, he's yanked to be on another crappy Lions squad, and then a crappy Niners squad. Nothing but back luck here.

One more really good back-of-the-card shot, of aging QB Jim Everett, being carted away on a golf cart during training camp.

Okay...THIS is what I was talking about when I spoke of the bizarre photography in this insert set. I mean...they're just too excited. Like they're being catapulted into the air by the world's strongest trampoline, or somebody's throwing them off of a cliff. These are just really, really funny. It reminds me of Wallace being thrown into the air in The Wrong Trousers, and yelling "Oh, sorry!" I know nobody else gets that reference, and I don't care.

Also, does anybody else find it funny that one of the guys being thrown into the air's name is Springs, and the other one sounds like Plummet? Just me?

These two did fairly well, actually. Springs was a journeyman DB, playing for a good 12 years. He's actually on the shortlist for the next HOF ballot, though don't hold your breath. Meanwhile, Jake Plummer had a nice career as the QB for Arizona and Denver.

These are two really nice Starquest inserts. First up is Robert Brooks of the Packers, a huge part of their 1996 Super Bowl win. Also, there is Brian Mitchell, an awesome WR/KR type who played for the Redskins, and also my Philadelphia Eagles. I worked with him on two separate shoots for NFL Network. Great guy.

Pack 3- Paul Justin, Lance Johnstone and William Henderson are the best photos here. Funny thing about this set is that they include a lot of kickers, punters, and backup QBs. Not nearly as many as Topps Total, but quite a few.

Two names I've heard of.  Veteran Defensive End Neil Smith is on the left, in a training camp pic, which is pretty nice. Marshall Faulk is the obvious star card, still with the Colts.

Okay, now I'm officially in love with this insert set. These two photos just make me smile, especially Rae Carruth's. That's right--a card of a convicted felon is making me smile big. Neither of these two really did anything (except kill somebody, in Carruth's case).

One more shot of Carruth, of the photo they used for the card back. Man, that does not look like a murderer.

Our Starquest insert is of Frank Sanders, who had a nice career as a receiver for the Cardinals.

Pack 4- A few nice sideways shots. One of them is a double. 90's collation at its finest.

A couple of great shots. Larry Centers passes a ball around on the sideline. Chris Chandler poses next  to the name of the team he will quarterback until a certain dog-lover named Vick comes along. Herman Moore takes a break on the sideline. Looks like he's using a defibrillator.

Two very nice, and very 97-centric, star cards. Desmond Howard had just finished a season with the World Champion Green Bay Packers, and decided he wanted to suck for a while, so he went to the Raiders. Meanwhile, Boomer Esiason spent one last season back on the Bengals before calling it a day.

These inserts are Building Blocks, in which they throw a bunch of players that are making the team great on a card, and show how they got to be on that team. Here in Titans, Bucs and Rams varieties.

A second-year Starquest card of Bobby Engram, who would have a decent enough career, but would be best known as a Bear.

Pack Five- Pictured are Rick Mirer, signing autographs for some fans who clearly have the wrong first round pick, John Carney going for a Charlie Brown, Jimmy Stewart, Russell Maryland going up against a Jets QB that is probably Vinny Testaverde, and Jerris McPhail facing down an Eagle.

Here is Flipper Anderson, avoiding a tackle from an angry Patriot.

And here are two borderline Hall of Famers and perennial Super Bowl ring receivers. Mason's is, I believe, his rookie card, and Bruschi is just clobbering a Bronco, probably as payback for Flipper.

Our inserts incude a Broncos Building Blocks insert, a rookie card of Troy Davis, who never did anything, and veteran Pro Bowler Herman Moore.

Those are five packs for one night. I'll get to posting some more eventually, hopefully sooner than later.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Nostalgic Box Break: 1995 Collector's Choice (Part Four!)


I AM STILL ALIVE!

I just had a busy-ass week, and couldn't post on the blog at all. Besides, not a whole lot's been going on in the baseball card world, especially my end of it.

But who cares. We've got a month-old box break to finish. I'll tackle the last nine packs of this box tonight. Hopefully they'll be as fun as the first twenty-seven.

Pack 28- Three very nice pieces of photography. i like Roper's the best, showing a great angle on a swing.

The only thing resembling a star card in this pack. Edmonds, while nowhere near a Hall of Famer, is still a great player, and is still a valued part of my binders.

Pack 29- Nothing too special about this pack. I just threw out some great shots. Chris Sabo is pictures without his trademark goggles, which makes him look like Tom Hanks. As a bonus, we also have Eric Young stretching.

Pack 30- I shit you not, there was only one notable base card in this pack. Thank God it was Chipper Jones, or else it would have been a pretty wasteful pack. Good to see Future-Hall-of-Famer Chipper in his earlier days. Heck, it even labels him as a shortstop back here.

Thankfully there was an insert in this pack, although unfortunately it's of Alex Rodriguez. So, as per usual, we get to find out if A-Rod hit a home run on September 10th, 1995.

He didn't. Hell, he wasn't even in the lineup that game. So...tough luck.

Pack 31- Two really good photos. I appreciate how awesome they make Doug Drabek look here, as they make a generally-geeky-looking player into a badass. Those shades are great, too. Meanwhile, Mark Portugal looks to be reaching for a handshake.

(Sidenote- both pictured players have mullets. I believe we have found something not-awesome about the 90's.)

Pack 32- Two players for the binder. One of them is likely not a Hall of Famer, and that would be Jamie Moyer. Still, glad I got to see him play for my team. The other one is the current Twins manager, Paul Molitor. Great shot of him, too.

Pack 33- Our full-bleed insert is of 90's Superstar Albert Belle, looking really happy.

The best shots here include someone fixing Jose Vizcaino's eye-black, an intriguing double play shot, and Ron Gant looking really cool (like usual this decade).

This is a really cool shot of Bernie Williams. Just the contrast of his facial expression paired with the fence. Really good stuff by Upper Deck.

Thankfully, we end this pack with a card of a legendary Cardinal, Ozzie Smith. Great shot of him too, still a force on the base paths two years before retirement.

Pack 24- Some really nice cards, including Eric Karros sliding, Darrin Fletcher smoking(?), and Will Clark running and ruining his career.

Our You Crash the Game insert is of ANOTHER steroid abuser, Mark McGwire. So, did he hit a homer on August 3rd, 1995? Nope. They still won though.

Pack 35- A trio of great faces, including Rod Beck doing his best impression of Rupert from Survivor, Brady Anderson looking like the villain from a late 90's action movie, and Ellis Burks looking pensive in Colorado.

One more You Crash the Game? Right on. This one's of Ryan Klesko. How did he do on August 20th, 1995? Yeah, he didn't do anything. The Braves only won by one run, and he didn't supply it.

(this photo refused to rotate)

Pack 36- Two sort-of stars, including Shawn Green addressing the fans, and Gary Gaetti rounding some bases.

Last card of note- Ivan Rodriguez stopping a play at the plate. Cool card, great capper to a great box.

Overall, this was a very fun box to rip. Not too many doubles, great inserts, and great photography.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's on!!!

It only took a couple of days for the first big trade of the offseason to happen. Thankfully, it involved one of the biggest pieces of the Blue Jays. However, he's headed to the Brewers.

Since Prince Fielder left, the Brewers had been looking for a reliable first baseman. Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay were their only options last year, and they weren't working. Now that they have Adam Lind, it could work extremely well for them, and Lind could go back to having great seasons with the Brewers.

Besides, anything that gets him out of Toronto is a great move to me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Well Done Anyway


As much as I wanted the Royals to win, I'm still kind of happy the Giants won. Either way, both teams played some amazing baseball, and I'm alright that the Giants came out on top. They had some great performances, especially from Bumgarner, Morse and Posey. I think that this postseason will definitely get Bumgarner a few more Cy Young votes than he would have gotten.

I'm happy for Hunter Pence, too. He's one of my favorite ex-Phillies, because he was so much fun when he played for my team. I wish him the best whatever team he plays for. As luck would have it, he's gotten himself two World Series rings over the course of two and a half seasons with the Giants. Clearly he must be doing something right.

To be honest, I'm happy for the Giants, and I'm kind of sad the season's over. No more fresh customs. I will definitely do some for December, and do some sort of Year-by-Year-ish format. I will be posting every day, but in what capacity I have no idea. Besides, I made a crapload of customs for teams that didn't advance in time for me to post them. So I have a bunch of unposted Cardinals and Dodgers customs that I'll need to shell out, as well as ones of all the guys I missed.

So yeah. I'll try to keep posting while I'm here. But still, I'm happy the season ended on such a high note.

Game Seven: Full Prediction

Well...tonight, the last game of the 2014 season will take place. Both sides are ready for a victory, and either one could easily take this one.

However, as is custom, I will detail the viewpoints and perspectives of the game, and see who I think will win in the end.

Who the audience wants to win:
Kansas City Royals.

Kind of goes without saying. Nobody thought that the Royals would make it this far, especially seeing as the Tigers came out strong at the beginning of the season. So it's making everybody so happy that they're in the World Series, and they're playing beautifully.

Plus, this is a fun team that has allowed itself to be rooted for by basically everybody. There are great players like Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson, Omar Infante, Alex Gordon and Yordano Ventura populating the roster.

If the fans had their way, the Royals would take it.

Who has the better team:
San Francisco Giants.

Yeah, it's kind of a fact that the Giants have more meat on them. They have better hitting, more durable pitching, a roster that has been through this before. They have a number of players (Bumgarner, Posey, Sandoval, and a few others) that have already won two rings. They've been through all of this already.

The Giants came close to taking their division title a few times. The Royals, with the exception of a midsummer boost, didn't really. The Giants have more overall strength, have hit more home runs, and are the stronger team.

Who Should Win:
Kansas City Royals.

Going into this game, the odds are with the Royals. They're playing a Game 7 at home, and the odds say that they'll be the ones to take it. But not only that--this is a team that has been playing like winners for the past few matches. Game 6 was a blowout because they allowed it to be, because they decided to play really, really well.

If they could take Game 6, and force the Giants to play one more game, I guess they'll be the favorite going in.

Who Will Win:
Kansas City Royals.

Not sure if this will happen, but I sincerely hope it does.