Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The ABC's of Baseball: V is for Vines

2006 Fleer Greats of the Game #CHC-EB Ernie Banks Cubs Greats (Game-Used Pants)

I love how they put the piece of pants right in the middle of the vines. Don't get that backwards and put some vines in your pants. You might experience chafing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Old Planter Strikes Again!

Tonight I was just itching to post something, but I was feeling too lazy to make that eight-foot walk over to the scanner. That's where fate stepped in. My inbox contained an advertisement from a website offering "6 Dollar Shirts." Here is what they wanted me to buy.

Yes, that's Allen & Ginter's famed Old Planter. Apparently, this image and slogan is part of an internet meme that has somehow escaped me until today. The reason it has escaped me is because its impetus, a phrase popularized by Lil Wayne, had also escaped me. To tell the truth, the clean version isn't really all that funny either.

In order to further distance ourselves from the origin of the phrase, I think someone with more Photoshop skills than myself should change the wording to something card-related. The words "disregard" and "acquire" need to remain the same, but the other two words need to be changed. If someone could do this, I would love to see the results. At a reasonable price, I'd even buy the inevitable T-shirt. So long as it's not black. I almost never wear black, because I don't want it to look like I'm openly inviting saggy 45-year-olds with raspy voices and close-to-their-expiration-date tattoos onto the back of my Harley Fat Boy. And I don't like to look like a douche.

Send me a picture of the image you create, and I'll post it here. I recommend you use the cleaner image as your template, found here. You have until Friday. Hell, we might even vote for which one is the best.

(Editor's Note: Thorzul never has owned, and never will own, a motorcycle. Those fuckers rarely follow the rules of the road. Speaking of which, have you ever seen one of the many variations on the "Watch for Motorcycles, They Have Rights Too!" bumper sticker? Those exist because responsible car drivers, for some reason, can't always see the jackass biker passing him on the right shoulder. We have to watch out for motorcyclists, because motorcyclists are not watching out for cars. Thorzul invites your steady stream of vitriolic hate mail.)

The ABC's of Baseball: U is for Ump

1955 Bowman #277 Ed Runge

In case you were wondering, Ed Runge gave 47 guys the thumb over the course of his career. Reportedly, most of them were a little sore the next morning.

Monday, March 29, 2010

CC: A Slight Improvement

If this card looks familiar to you, don't worry, you're not seeing things. A while ago I picked up a more basic version of this card.
2009 Topps Sterling "One-Hitter 8/31/08" (3x Patch on Gray Jersey) #3CCR-81 (01/10)

As you can see, the #/10 edition offers a more intricate patch and a smoother finish. In terms you might be better able to relate to, the #/25 card is a fine imported beer, whereas today's card is Guinness. They're the same, but still miles apart.

This card also has an autographed version (numbered to 10 copies) that I saw on eBay just once. The price was unreasonably high, and it went unsold. Since then, the seller has not listed it again. Motherless swine.

The ABC's of Baseball: T is for Tag

1994 Upper Deck #310 Mike Piazza Top Performers

Sorry, Gonzalez, you're out. Enjoy the rest of this spring training game from the bench, with fans breathing down your deck. What a great baseball atmosphere.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Best Search Engine Referral Ever!

This inquiry on Google led someone to my site a few weeks ago.

It makes me proud, but at the same time I yearn for a time, some point in the future, where "Bipped" is firmly in place in America's collective consciousness, not just a typo for people intending to look for "biped." One day, the term will stand on its own two feet.

The ABC's of Baseball: R is for Rounding Third

1987 Topps #111 Alfredo Griffin

It's hard to say for sure which base Alfredo is rounding, but it's plainly apparent he's giving it his all. With his helmet long gone and his uniform a bright yellow, Alfredo remains immortalized for all time our Hester Prynne of 1987 Topps.

(Judging from the back of that card, Alfredo loved to suit up for every game possible. I have always been intrigued by stats that tell a story. In 1985 and 1986, Griffin played in 162 games but was not the league leader in games played. How can this be? A little research found that the 1986 leader was Tony Fernandez of the Blue Jays, who played in 163 games. The August 26 game at Cleveland went nine innings, but ended in a 6-6 tie due to rain. The game was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader the next day, adding an extra official game to both teams' schedules. In 1985, Griffin's 162 was only good enough for second place because Chicago's Greg Walker played in 163 games, probably due to similar circumstances. For those curious enough to ask the question, the Major League record for games played in a season is 165. Speedster Maury Wills holds this distinction for his efforts with the Dodgers in 1962. Now go and win a bar bet with this information tonight. You can thank me for the free beer later.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

The ABC's of Baseball: Q is for Questions

2005 Upper Deck ESPN #2 Troy Glaus

Interviewed by a nameless, faceless news-gathering organization? Well, at least we can be sure it wasn't ESPN.

And what is the player in the illustration trying to communicate? His third and fourth fingers on his right hand are fused together, and with his left hand he's demonstrating his shortcomings in the underpants department. All I know is that the reporter ain't having any of it, as we can see from his patronizing scribbles.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The ABC's of Baseball: O is for On Deck

1992 Donruss Triple Play #81 Robin Yount

You didn't seriously think I'd go through the whole alphabet without a Yount card, did you?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Group Break Odds and Ends

Just want to tie up a couple of loose ends on the group break.

1. All cards were sent out Monday afternoon except a few lots, which will be addressed below.

2. dfwbuck2, I need your address. Your payment did not include one.

3. Dan Lowe, I got your payment, and your Marlins will be on their way soon.

4. darkship, I need to know which team you want the base cards from.

5. Swag, I have not gotten your payment yet. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

The ABC's of Baseball: N is for Natural

1986 C.C.C. Reprint of 1951 Bowman #28 Eddie Waitkus

Here is another card I picked up specifically for this project. Eddie Waitkus was reportedly the player on which Roy Hobbs was modeled in the book, and later the movie, The Natural. A few years into his career, he was shot by a stalker and never quite lived up to his potential. You can read the short and sweet version of his interesting life here, but if you want a really in-depth site about Waitkus, look here. Too bad that contest for the 1988 Topps set ended last December. I wonder who won.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The ABC's of Baseball: M is for Mask

2007 Topps Allen & Ginter #311 David Ross

Very few cards in the Allen & Ginter sets depict catchers in their masks. This is a particularly nice one.

NCAA Thoughts

This weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to attend one of the sessions of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. On Friday night, I joined fellow blogger Big Dunc for a night of college hoops, taking in the contest between Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech, and then Ohio State against UC Santa Barbara. While not conducive to a traditional narrative, I do have some thoughts on the whole affair.

* The tickets to this event are massive (shown above). Do not entertain thoughts of putting one of these in your pocket. I suppose, the larger and more important the event, the larger the ticket. If I ever happen to attend the Super Bowl, I fully expect to have to strap the ticket to the roof of my car.

* I can't say I was very impressed with any of the traveling fans. I heard Xavier traveled well during the opening session, getting louder than the much larger Minnesota contingent. OSU had the best color coordination. There was an OSU family of fans in the row in front of us who may have clapped once. As a neutral observer, I got more excited about an alley-oop than they did, even though their clothes were orange to the hilt.

* Georgia Tech had the smartest band. I know this because they played one of the Wisconsin Badger fight songs during a lull in the game. This fully won the crowd over to the Yellow Jackets' side at an important juncture in the second half.

* Speaking of lulls, holy Christ, are there a ton of stoppages in play! You don't notice this as much on TV (as there are usually upwards of seventeen other first round games taking place at once), but rarely does a minute go by without a timeout of some sort. I firmly believe you don't have to be that well-conditioned to play college basketball. If you have the talent, and you can run for up to ninety seconds at a stretch, you shouldn't have a problem. Additionally, this makes comebacks extremely tough to achieve in this tournament. If the other team doesn't kill your momentum, the official timer will.

* The NCAA commandeers any building its games are being played in. The only signage has the blue NCAA logo on it, and if you don't like looking at that, too bad. You, the captive fan, gets brainwashed into thinking this is the only thing happening at the moment. Think they would show another game during halftime? Nope, you and eight hundred other guys need to crowd around one of the concourse TVs in order to watch Michigan St. get the game handed to them by the referees. But wait, you also get to see Christian Laettner's turnaround buzzer-beater once on the JumboTron during each game. That should have placated you.

* The court would have looked cool, except it was exactly the same as all of the others in use. Why bother even playing these in different arenas?

* I realized I have nothing against any particular basketball team, but I do hate some of the coaches. Tom Izzo is just an ass, and I hate looking at Thad Matta's stupid proboscis monkey face. I would imagine that Bo Ryan is also a pretty easy guy to hate.

* What's up with Ohio State and players who look like they're in they're drawing Social Security checks? First, there was Greg Oden. Now, there's Dallas Lauderdale. Seriously, I could notice his male pattern baldness from row U in the upper deck. At least guys like Lauderdale won't have a problem making curfew, since he goes to bed around 8:30 each night like others in his age group.

* The NCAA has an unhealthy stranglehold over souvenirs. If there was a reasonably priced UCSB Gauchos T-shirt available for purchase, I would have bought it. My only choices, however, were a motley crew of uninspired, cookie-cutter NCAA Tournament tees that looked about as attractive as a wearable word document. I would never buy anything like this, since I am not a fan of a tournament, I am a fan of a team or their interesting artwork.

* Wheat Thins blew its entire promotional budget wad for this three-week arena run. All foodstuffs came in trays covered in their ads, and I also got a free sample bag of the Sundried Tomato and Basil variety. Not bad, but not good enough to not always be free.

* This event fulfilled my yearly quota for "Grand White Person Gathering." The only black people I saw the entire night were either Bradley Center staff of some sort, or were playing the game of basketball while wearing matching clothing. I don't want to get too far into this, but I thought it was odd, considering Milwaukee is a minority-majority city. Also, this phenomenon is not as prevalent at Bucks games. The BC will not be that white again until Nickelsuck, I mean Nickelback, plays there in May.

* If your team gets to the Big Dance, it doesn't mean everybody gets to go dancing. The UCSB band looked cool, dressed as Gauchos in ponchos. When I snuck down to the lower bowl in the second half, not too far behind the band, it was apparent the UCSB's band director worked out a deal that would put some Marquette band members (ones who didn't get to follow the team to their first round game) in the Gauchos' costume. Lots of Marquette University lettering was visible underneath those ponchos. I'd estimate at least half of the band was made up of Milwaukee fill-ins.

* Speaking of fans that made the trip from Santa Barbara, I found it comical that I came across several people decked out in UCSB gear huddling beneath a ledge, trying to stay out of the rain on the way to my car after the games. I felt bad that they had to endure a cold-ass rainstorm after their team got so thoroughly manhandled, but weather forecasts are available to all citizens, yes? Sure, it was like 60 degrees as recently as Thursday afternoon, in Milwaukee, all that means is that there might be snow on the ground Saturday morning. There was.

* I'll end with a controversial suggestion that I'm only half-kidding about. Alley-oops should be worth eight points. Before you scoff, hear me out. The play, as crowd-energizing as it is, only gets you two points. Let's make it a total game changer. This would be limited to the NCAA tournament only, and you only get one once per game, and only if you are trailing, and not within the final minute of the game. Let's make the team in the lead sweat it out a little with the possibility that a seven-point lead could quickly turn into a deficit. If you can defend against it, great, but if you commit a foul when one is attempted, it's an automatic four shots plus the ball, and the other team still has the attempt in their pocket. What do you say?

Oh, and now that my teams are out, I'll be happy to see any team take the title except for Michigan St. or Ohio St. And maybe not Duke, either.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The ABC's of Baseball: L is for Lefty

1984 Topps/Ralston Purina #16 Steve Carlton

2001 Topps American Pie #89 Warren Spahn

2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces #17 Sandy Koufax

1990 Swell Baseball Greats #84 Lefty Gomez

2008 Heroes Group Break Box 2

Box 2 Part 1

Box 2 Part 2

Here are the best hits out of the two boxes.
I appreciate the care that Luke Scott and Aaron Harang take with their signatures. Both are very nice, and they should thank their third grade teachers.

Overall, I think it was a good group break, with the first box definitely being better than the second. The big winners appeared to the the Orioles, Yankees, A's, Rockies, Reds, Brewers, Braves, and those Red Sox that finished so strong. A couple of the parallels and base came out a little dinged at the bottom, but nothing too bad. Here is the randomization video for the two numbered cards that had players for two different teams on them.

I'd love to keep doing this in the future, and I'd be willing to take suggestions.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The ABC's of Baseball: K is for Strike Out

1993 Fleer Ultra #152 Mike Greenwell

I'm pretty sure this is a card of a guy striking out. Guessing he's arguing a pretty obvious called third strike.