Saturday, July 31, 2010

What's in the Bag? (A Guessing Game)

There's a gallon-size plastic bag that has sat in my baseball card area for going on two years now. I want to give them away. Am I too lazy to sort through them to put them into half-finished sets? I guess. Keep reading if you want them.

To win these cards here's what you have to do:
1. Guess a player that has a card (or cards) somewhere in this pile. I'm estimating about 200 or so cards. Again, too lazy to sit and count them.
2. Once you've picked a player, guess how many cards of that player can be found in the pile.

The winner is the person with the correct guess that is closest to the actual number of cards in the lot. Easy enough?
An example guess would look like this: Derek Jeter 3
You may guess one player, and one player only. You cannot guess Al Woods, who is featured on the top. And you may not guess that a player has zero cards, you cheating bastard.

A few clues that may or may not help you:
A. I think those 1981 Fleer are the oldest cards in the lot. Not sure if you can tell, but there are a few more.
B. Oddballs? Why, yes.
C. These cards are about as random as they come. An ex-friend of my wife gave them to me.

I'll keep the contest open until some time on Monday. Good luck to all!

Stubs & Bubs - Part 1

A few weeks ago some blogger put out a call for ticket stubs. I had other things going on, so I missed out on the fun, but then God intervened. Last week, as you may have heard, Milwaukee was struck with a massive rainstorm, getting dumped with up to eight inches of rain in two hours in places. While this news may not have made it to your neck of the woods, you still might have seen the SUV that got sucked into the sinkhole.
In any case, my home's basement got a little bit of water in it, nothing major, but just enough to get rid of some of the junk that had been in storage down there. While most of what got thrown away was indeed junk, there were a few things I was glad to save. Among them was an envelope that held just about every ticket stub from every event from 2000 to some point in 2006. Highlights from this envelope will comprise future entries of "Stubs & Bubs," but today's featured ticket comes from a time just a bit earlier.

Before we get too deep into this thing, let me introduce my muse for this feature, Reginald Cousins, better known to his associates as "Bubbles," or, simply, "Bubs." Now that he's clean, he'll assist me in assigning a score to each ticket stub based on its attributes in three categories: Visual Appearance, Historical Significance, and Event Uniqueness. The subscores for each category will never be revealed, but a total score on a five-point scale will be assigned.

I'm not sure I'll be able to scrounge up a ticket from further in the past than this, but let's not hang our heads just yet. In a different part of the basement, I was able to rescue this very important ticket stub from 1997. It's survived, by conservative count, nine different residences since the event. Behold... a ticket from the 1997 A-League Championship game between the Milwaukee Rampage and the Carolina Dyanmo.

This event is more important to me than you might realize. First of all, it was the first title game I had the chance to attend, and it became the first championship for a professional Milwaukee-based sports team since the Bucks in 1971. That's a long time coming. Sure, it was a second-division league, but we got to raise the cup. The Rampage (now defunct) defeated the Dynamo in a shootout following a 1-1 finish. The scene was electric as our goalkeeper, Carmine Isacco, parried away the final shot to win it for the Rampage. Fans were allowed to rush the field to congratulate the players, and fellow blogger Big Dunc kept his head enough to save some grass from the field of play. That's what you see in the corner near the ticket.

Oh, and you know the advertising signage that surrounds most pro soccer fields? Well, I may or may not have absconded with a massive, 12'x'3'-ish Umbro banner following the game. I mean, you loot after your team wins, right?

Below is the reverse side of the ticket, signed by a few of the champion Rampage players. The only one I recognize offhand is the one at far right, forward Dan Stebbins, an integral part of the club's late-season surge. He also went to the same high school as I did, probably about ten years earlier. Baller.
Perhaps Big Dunc can fill in a couple of those other names?

As long as we're talking soccer here, I also managed to save this US Soccer postcard/cachet thing I got sometime around World Cup '94. It's numbered 15894/30,000, which seems like a huge print run for something now, but this was made at a time when almost nothing was serially numbered. I'm thinking, like, Donruss Elite and not much else.
The player selection is 75% spot-on, with Jones, Lalas, and Meola being the stars of their respective positions, but Tom Dooley??? His citizenship status was sketchy, being born and living most of his life in Germany, but he had an American father. Ultimately, John Harkes or Eric Wynalda would have made a better choice for that last spot on this card.

Well, it's time to give the ticket a score. What do you say, Bubs?

Dang, four syringes and a junkie! Yeah, I guess it was a pretty important game, and the game-used grass is a nice touch.
See you all later for future installments of Stubs & Bubs.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Winner Is...

First of all, thanks again to everyone who made the 2010 Topps Experiment a huge success. I couldn't have done it without your generosity.
Another big thanks needs to go out to everyone who entered the doubles giveaway contest. Let me take a moment to reflect on your under-the-radar film recommendations before revealing the big winner.
Your suggestions were all great. All things being equal, I'd rather watch a mostly unnoticed movie than a summer blockbuster crap-o-rama, and I can't wait to get to some of your favorites.
A quick recap:
Scotland, PA: Never heard of it. As a Macbeth reimagining, it seems better than that Men of Respect garbage my British Authors teacher made us watch in 10th grade.
SLC Punk: Heard of it, never saw it.
The Straight Story: Own it, watched it a few weeks ago. Take two minutes to watch the "grabber" scene. The last lines right at the end are used at my house on a daily basis now.

FUBAR: Never heard of it, need to check it out.
11:14: Own it, haven't watched it yet. It's on what I like to call, "The Pile." Screening soon.
Russian Ark: Heard of it, really want to see it. I am always intrigued my cinematographic trickery, and this one-long-take movie seems right up my alley. Similar technique was used by Hitchcock in Rope, DePalma in Snake Eyes, and many other examples I can't think of right now.
Grave of the Fireflies: Own it, watched it years ago.
Help!: Have seen parts of it, not too interested, even though I love the Beatles.
Restless Natives: Never heard of it, somewhat intrigued.
Man on Wire: Watched it as a library rental last year. AMAZING! Love the use of Erik Saite's Gymnopedie No. 1.
The Godfather of Green Bay: Heard of it, sounds interesting in a Wisconsin-y way, like Chump Change.
Clown House: Never heard of it, but now need to have a Clown House/Shakes the Clown mini maraton around Halloween this year.
The Limits of Control: Ashamed I haven't heard of this, seeing as it's a Jarmusch film.

Oh, and the winner after a 3x ramdomization...

Congratulations, Jonathan, your cards will be in the mail this week.

The Cardboard Junkie Sent Me My Fix

When Upper Deck started placing its 20th Anniversary Retrospective cards into packs last year, most collectors saw it as another tedious set on the heels of the '08 Yankee Stadium garbage that subtracted base cards from packs we paid hard-earned money to open. Personally, I kind of liked the set, at least to some degree. Yes, it often took the place of one base card, but it put Upper Deck's place in the hobby into perspective. I may not have been expecting a card with Reggie Theus to appear in my pack of Goudey, but yeah, I kind of remember when the Orlando Magic joined the league as an expansion team.

While never feeling any pressure to build this set, there was one small part of it I wanted to own. I'm not certain how many cards the complete set had, but up there in the high numbers was a run of Robin Yount cards that somehow needed to make its way into one of my binders. Starting with card #1296 through #1300 was a five-card string of Yount cards, all the same picture on the front, with a slightly different blurb on the back. With so much material to choose from over a 20-year period, I wonder why they had to reuse the same image over and over. In any case, up until recently, I had acquired the following cards:

Then dayf sent me some nice stuff along with a stack of cards for the 2010 Topps Experiment.
Among them, #1298.

With no prior knowledge of my need for this card, I find it quite remarkable that he sent me the one that I needed.
A good man, that dayf. And if anyone tells you different, send them to me and I'll box their ears!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2010 Topps Experiment II: Conclusion!

The last two cards are finally here, all the way from Cam in Pennsylvania. Completing the set, we have...
#576 Paul Maholm

#524 Dusty Hughes

As a Brewer fan, I do see Maholm on a regular basis.
Dusty, however, is a new face to me. Any guy named "Dusty" immediately reminds me of Dusty Rhodes. Here he is in a vintage Mello Yello commercial.

Thanks to Cam, and thanks to everyone who sent me some cards. Now that the set is complete, it's time to give away the doubles. I have a large stack of base cards, a few black background parallels that I'm not collecting, and some Attax cards that perhaps a small child could cherish and damage. All you have to do to have a chance at these cards is leave a comment on this post. Your comment must include the title of a movie that you would recommend but most people might not have heard of. If you can't think of a film fitting these criteria, then just recommend any movie worth seeing.
For example, if I were entering the drawing, I would recommend Fitzcarraldo, the Herzog/Kinski joint venture in which a 300-ton steamship is pulled from one river into another river over a mountain. (Just watched it last night.)

Good luck, the drawing will be held tomorrow.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Will Continue to Buy Topps Products After All

You don't need the gory details.
I sent Topps all of the wrappers and UPCs from my case of Ginter that was missing the rip card, along with the receipt, and they came back at me with this in just about a week's time.

Check back here for the sweet, sweet innards, unless someone (a Dodgers fan, perhaps?) can make me a trade offer that I simply can't refuse.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

CC: But Don't Take Myyyyy Word For It...

Due to as-yet-unresolved storage issues, book(let) cards still have no place in the world of collecting. However, this one looks pretty damn nice.

2009 Topps Sterling Seasons Booklet Card 8x Patch AUTO #SSA-34 (04/10)

Waaaaaay better than the 1/1 booklet card that I got from the same set, wouldn't you say? It's an '80s pinstripe throwback uniform that the patches are from. If I remember correctly, the Brewers wore these during Friday home games throughout the 2008 season. By checking CC's game log from that season and comparing it to a 2008 calendar, I have determined that, if these pieces of jersey are in fact from an actual game-used jersey, they are from either the August 8 game against Washington (W, 5-0, Complete Game Shutout) or the September 5 game against San Diego (W, 3-2, an 11-inning game won by Brian Shouse).

Of course, this is all speculation. The Brewers played in three other Friday night home games following the Sabathia trade in which CC did not pitch, but was probably in uniform. In any case, it's a nice part of the memorable season.

See ya next time.

Butterfly in the skyyyyyy
I can go twice as hiiiiiiigh...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sausage Run Results

The race has been run, and the results are in.

In somewhat disappointing, yet encouraging fashion, I finished this year's Sausage Run 5k in...


Not bad, but I was hoping for a sub-25 time.
This makes the contest winner Mad Guru, who came within less than a minute of the actual time with a guess of 26:12.

All in all, I felt really good this time around. I had enough left for a good kick the last 400-500 meters, but it wasn't enough to better my 2008 time. I didn't do any worse, either. How is that possible, you ask? Oddly enough, I finished with the exact same time, 25:25. Very strange.
I was actually timing myself with a single-track mix on my iPod. However, the exact location of the starting line was questionable. When I started the song, I was probably a number of meters away from the actual spot. In any case, my iPod time was seven seconds slower than the computer time, which I didn't expect. Good for me, though.

In retrospect, I should have been a little more aggressive at the beginning, especially before the race began. Too many strollers. The inside-the-stadium section actually seemed to slow me down a little, too. Not sure why, maybe the transition from concrete to warning track dirt and back again.

The Official Stats
Overall Place: 381
Gender Place: 282
Division Place (Men's 30-39): 88/299
Official Time: 25:25.79
Mile Pace: 8:12

Keep a lookout for a similar contest at the end of August, where I'd like to get under 24 minutes. Thanks to everyone who entered! (And Mad Guru, get in touch with me for your prize.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Run Sausage, Run Deep (Contest!)

Tomorrow morning I will be taking part in the 12th Annual Famous Racing Sausages Run/Walk around and through Miller Park. This will be the third time I have taken part, and the first since 2008.

Last week I picked up my registration packet on the early pick-up day. It makes things easier not to have to deal with standing in line on race day, then humping back to your car with whatever you don't want to have with you during the run. Plus, there's a decent shot of getting a T-shirt that actually fits me, since all of the normal-human-sized shirts are usually gone by the time I get my stuff. Anything larger than an adult medium for me and I'm fucking drowning in it. The shirt looks great this year, yellow instead of the usual white, although the slogan is a little too cutesy for my taste. My wife and I also get a voucher for a future Brewer game and a hot dog and beverage after the race.

I'm pretty psyched about the run, since this is the best I've felt during a period leading up to one. To add some intrigue, I'm going to let you make a guess as to my finishing time in this 5k run. The person with the guess closest to my actual time (format - mm:ss, like 28:05) will receive a prize of a care package of cards of the team of their choice. If you want, look for clues in past blog posts as to the time I might record. I have written about running in the past.

Each person may make one guess up until 8:00 AM Central time Saturday morning. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This Is OUR Island.

Anybody else sad and frustrated with life, now more than two months removed from the end of Lost?

This card will get me through the next few months. After that... who knows?

"We're gonna have to take the boy."

Monday, July 19, 2010

2010 Topps Experiment II: Update #12 (Contest!)

Close... but no cigar. Today's mail contained a package from sruchris, but even the nice stack of 2010 Topps cards left me three short of the goal.

Since I was able to knock five cards off the list, I decided to try something new. I checked out the backs of the cards, finding that all five players had a nice blurb written about them. I will now take one word from each blurb to create a sentence. Let's see what happens.

442 Dan Runzler
"According to team records, he's the first player in franchise history ever to accomplish that."

517 Cliff Pennington
"...put Cliff in position to claim Oakland's shortstop job in '10."

522 Jordan Schafer
"Jordan was the 99th player to hit a home run in his first MLB at-bat..."

573 Johan Santana
"'He's been awesome. We've been spoiled.'"

582 Martin Prado
"...don't call him "just" a utilityman."

There you have it: He's Oakland's 99th spoiled utilityman.
Not a bad sentence. In fact, let's turn it into a riddle. I'm thinking of a player, past or present, that sort of fits the sentence above. To narrow it down, he's an Oakland infielder. If you guess who it is in the comments, you get two entries in the big giveaway that will happen once this set is complete. (Everyone else only gets one.) Not a great prize, but it's not a great contest. Happy guessing, and get those last three cards to me!

524 569 576

Thanks, Chris!

MDXS was the first to correctly guess Walt Weiss. Enjoy the two entries in the upcoming 2010 Topps giveaway!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

2010 Topps Experiment II: Update #11

We are nine cards closer to the goal of 2010 Topps Series II set completion thanks to Crinkly Wrappers.
We're going to take a look at them, aunt-and-uncle's-house-photo-collage-style. You know what I'm talking about, when you visit a relative's house over the holidays and between trips to the basement beer fridge you stop and take a gander at the multiple photo frames hanging on the walls. You look for yourself, just to prove that you were a loved one of the family. It may be your third grade class picture, but it counts all the same.

All I need now are eight more cards, and we can close the book on this thing. I just checked, and the Series II Project started on June 14, 2010. Today is July 17, 2010, which puts us 33 days into the experiment. Series I got finished in 35 days. My mail hasn't arrived yet, but perhaps those final eight cards are on their way. Just to be safe, here are the last cards needed:
442 517 522 524 569 573 576 582

If you can scrounge them up, send me those last few cards, and perhaps we'll finish on Monday for a tie with Series I if they don't come today.

Friday, July 16, 2010

2010 Topps Experiment II: Update #10

The other day I got a stack of cards from the Cardboard Junkie, 31 of which I needed for the Series II Experiment, and two of which that were graphically similar enough to create an unlikely scenario about.

Apparently, an interleague, interteam limbo competition broke out at some point in the season last year. Michael Bourn got things started.

Fortunately, Alexi Casilla was having none of that pussy-ass shit. Unnamed sources told me he got up in Bourn's face and chastised him for making to competition too easy from the outset. The best quote I could get was pulled from audio captured from one of those Mic'd Up helmets worn by one of the other participants:

"I mean, I could even... (unintelligible) Prince Fielder with a vegetarian turkey leg... (unintelligible) fat-ass under that thing."

In a shocking turn of events, the runaway winner of the limbo competition was a surprisingly limber Adam Dunn.

Thanks, dayf!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Completion! (Failed Prospect Edition)

Courtesy of SpastikMoos, the final card needed to complete my 1992 Upper Deck Baseball set...

#75 David McCarty Top Prospect '92

I kept this thing unopened since receiving it a few days ago, thinking it was a bunch of 2010 Topps. Turns out, SpastikMoos was just being ultra-careful about making sure this VALUABLE card arrived in pristine condition, sandwiched between enough layers of plastic to cause DuPont's stock to rise a quarter of a point.

I think this officially closes the door on baseball junk--wax-era sets I'll ever try to build. The nostalgia has worn off, and it's become clear that I'm merely storing highly organized garbage.

This doesn't mean, of course, that I'm giving up on those 1993 and 1994 Fleer Football sets. Them bitches worth tons!

Excuse while I try to pay for college with that "Death of Superman" issue.

The Smell Is Most Likely Horrific

I already have the card, so I'm not going to bid on the jerky...

...but I am curious to know how twenty years has treated that stuff.
At least the sunsabitches down at King B put something in there to retard mold growth. That is, the mold grew slowly, geologically speaking. Note it says retard, not prevent.

2010 Topps Experiment II: Update #9 (Scrabble Edition)

This batch of cards came from someone only identifying himself as BS. I assure you, the cards BS sent were not BS. Dude checked the new list I had and came up with twenty cards I needed.

During the sorting process, I noticed that several of the cards depicted players whose last name was not just a proper noun, but was also an actual word from the English language as well. Here they are, each with a short explanation or makeshift definition.

#657 Chris Young and #643 Michael Young
Opposite of old.

#489 Russell Martin
A type of bird (swallow).

#633 Daniel Bard
A poet.

#380 J.D. Drew
Past tense of draw.

#581 Chris Dickerson
A slovenly man who sticks his penis into any available hole.

(Sorry, Reds fans. Nothing against your team, but that's what Webster's told me.)

Thanks, BS!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2010 Allen & Ginter Case Report -- Part 2: Yay!

The other day I decided to bag on the crap half of my half case. Today, we behold the glory that is Allen & Ginter. Here are the highlights of my six boxes.

In addition to the Ian Kinsler bat cards, I also pulled nine star/semi-star relic cards.

Along with those came four superstar jersey cards. I know I'm playing a little fast and loose with the terms, but this is my best approximation. Ethier is really the one guy on the fence, but for the sake of square numbers, let's call him a superstar.

The only other relic I got was that of Marvin Miller, former executive director of the MLBPA. The label says "shirt," but that pattern just screams "tie." Other Miller shirt relics I've seen for sale are mostly just a plain black swatch, so this one is pretty special. If it really is from a shirt, I hope the guy liked the beach. It also looks a lot like something George Michael Bluth would wear.

One of my N43 box toppers was a Prince Fielder. Always nice to get a hometown player on something like that.

One of my National Animals was the United Kingdom's Bulldog. I heard dayf wanted one of these. Holler if you still need it, dude.

In my very last pack in the last box, something interesting came out. I had no idea they were doing this, but one of the stealth short printed mini series is Creatures of Legend, Myth, & Joy. Very, very cool card, indeed. I think this is a set I want to go for. Although I am having Pro Set flashbacks at this very moment.

Up next, autographs of men who throw, catch, and hit base-balls with a stick of wood falling within regulations regarding length and weight. Their names are Josh Willing-ham and Chris-topher Young.

I also got an autograph of Judson Laipply, the guy from the Evolution of Dance YouTube video. He wishes me love and peace. At the time of this posting, 147,359, 297 people have viewed his original video. To put this in perspective, that number is greater than the number of people who voted for Barack Obama and John McCain combined in the 2008 election. With the right campaign manager, and perhaps some fudging of birth records, Dramatic Chipmunk can win back the presidency in 2012.

This autograph was signed by the best horseshoe player in the world.

Check out this table of World Horseshoe Champions, starting in 1989. That's called dominance.

And I'll end with just a little thing called a printing plate. I believe the odds on these were 1:799. I would have liked a player from just about any other team, or a guy who's healthy right now, but I'll take it.

Trades for anything you see here will be considered, but no sucking dicks for cheeseburgers, please. (Be advised, I had nothing to do with the addition of the phrase to the BCP lexicon.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Group Break Results: 2005 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes


The 2005 Heroes Tins...

...should be here today!
The initial estimate from UPS said the 14th, but it has since been updated. They're out for delivery as we speak. With my luck, they'll arrive either at 4:55, or during the hour or so I will be at the gym.

What can brown do for you?

Monday, July 12, 2010

2010 Topps Experiment II: Update #8 (The Neverending Story Edition)

The latest offering for my 2010 Topps Experiment bears only one similarity to the 1984 film mentioned in the title. Within the past week, I have received packages of 2010 Topps Series 2 cards from BA Benny and All Your Base Cards Belong to Us. However, in relation to cards I still needed for the set, I felt like young Atreyu. How so? Well, I was up against The Nothing.

Sorry to say, fellas, but I didn't need a single card for the set. No matter, the cards will eventually find a good home once the post-completion giveaway takes place. Additionally, I've posted the card numbers needed for the set. (You can find these at the top of the sidebar.) We're close, but I'm not sure we can beat the Series I mark.

Thanks anyways, guys, I really appreciate the effort.

The above picture is the best I could find for The Nothing via Google image search. Any idiot knows that's Gmork. I mean... come on.