Thursday, December 22, 2011

2012 Goals.

Reading around the blogs I follow I have noticed a lot of my fellow bloggers are listing their collecting goals for 2012. So being stuck for something to write about I thought I would list mine.

1. Reach 300 different James Shields cards. This one should be fairly simple, I up around 200 and as he had a very good 2011 he should feature in more sets than last year.

2. Complete the Topps 1968 Game Insert set. Only 33 cards in the set and I need about a dozen more, only problem is I have the cheap ones, I need the more pricey ones.

3. Try to get an auto of every Rays prospect featured in the various 2012 sets.

4. Return home to the UK. Hold on that ones going to be done in 2011, my wife finally got her settlement visa and we are flying home to UK on 29th December.

5. To continue to enjoy the various blogs I follow, to continue to make trades with you guys.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My 2011 Favorites.

Reading around the blogs I notice it's 2011 retrospective time, so please allow me to show you my favorite pick ups of this year.

First off is my 2011 prospect to collect, Stephen Vogt of the Rays. I always pick a Ray from the first Bowman release of the year to collect, here we have a very nice Orange Refractor #/25. From the rainbow I'm missing a Print Plate and the ever expensive Superfractor. I know alot of you in blog world don't like prospecting, but it has become a bit of an infection for me in the last twelve months.

The second cool card from 2011 is the wonderful looking Sepia Refractor from Topps Chrome 2011. I love the old school look on this card, bravo Topps.
Finally a card from 2006. Huh? Well I got it in 2011 so there. A Sweet Spot Rookie Auto 31/100. I love Sweet Spot cards, they have to be for me the coolest looking cards I have. The 2006 rookie had been a card I had been hunting for ages, fortunately for me a James Shields collector was trimming down his collection and offered me this beauty for a very reasonable price. Also this year I got the Bat Barrel version and the Leather(Glove) version. 2011 was a great year for my collections, I just wish there was a bit more competition for Topps.

A Tale of Two Pitchers.

The Rangers just coughed up $50million plus dollars to have a chance to sign Yu Darvish. That's $50 million just for the chance to negotiate. The Rangers now have thirty days to sort out a contract with Darvish.

To say Darvish is hot property is a serious understatement. Only twenty five his Nippon Baseball League stats are nothing short of amazing. In five seasons he is 76-28 with an ERA of 1.72, standing six feet five and weighing in at 185-215lbs Darvish has already tossed 1024 innings.
On the other side of the coin is Matt Moore, the Rays mega prospect. Moore made his debut late in 2011,after a couple of less than stellar relief outings he made his first start against the Yankees, he proceeded to strike out eleven. He started game one of the ALDS and beat the Rangers 9-0. The Rays recently signed him to a very team friendly five year contract worth $14 million.

So baseball fans who do you like more, Moore or Darvish? 2012 is shaping up to be  a great season, I for one can't wait.

Friday, December 16, 2011

PC Cards I Hate #2.

Topps 2009 Young Hill Stars. Hands up those of you who believe that Shields was actually there when this picture was taken. No one? Lets look at the evidence shall we. First of all Shields seems to be looking at a completley different camera compared to Price and Kaz. Secondly, why is Shields wearing a game day uniform at spring training, the other two are wearing the official Rays spring training uniform.

What are they laughing at? Is Price saying to Kaz " Laugh now cricket boy, but in three months your arm will be jello and in 18 months you will be out of baseball". Poor old Kaz, doesn't have much to chuckle about these days.

PC Cards I Hate But Must Have #1.

Topps Chrome 2009, one of the dullest cards in my James Shields PC. Just look at the wonderful busy background.

I'm not asking for fireworks or a marching band in the background, but this card looks like it was from Shields back yard. I hate spring training photo's on cards. If they are prospects I can understand it, but not with veteran players. There must be better shots of Shields from 2008 to stick on a 2009 card. I hate this card and all it's variations. Of course I simply have to own them and will continue to buy them. Bloody collecting obsession. Grrrrrrr.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My First Bowman Draft of 2011.

When I first started collecting three years ago I never bothered with prospects, I didn't realy understand the concept of prospecting. In the last twelve months I begun to collect more and more Rays prospect cards, building up nice little pc's of a few of the young guys. One of my favorite things now is checking the minor league box scores to find out how my guys are doing.

My first card from this year's Bowman Draft is this rather nice Taylor Guerrieri Blue Refractor. Taylor was the Rays first pick in the 2011 draft. He came with a little bit of a black cloud hanging over him. He had some trouble in high school which had forced him to transfer schools. The forums were rife with rumours about what had happened and should the Rays have picked a guy with a dodgy history. Taylor finally admitted that he had been caught at a HS football game drinking in the bleachers. Hardly a big deal in my mind and if he had fronted up straight away all the bad press would have disappeared. Hopefully it is just a one off deal and not a longer term problem like Josh Hamilton had/has. For a first round pick his cards are very nicely priced, so look for more posts showing off his cards.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Something New, Something The Same.

Some new James Shields cards landed on the old homestead welcome mat over the last few days and I will be showing them off one at a time. The first one that was opened was the Topps 2011 Update Hope Diamond insert 44/60. Huzzah!!! Another crazy paving diamond anniversary special.

Do you wish Topps changed the pictures on the cards across the various sets? By my count this is the twenty second card I have with this picture on it. Topps Series One, Opening Day, Topps Chrome and now Topps Update all have the same bloody picture. I think by the end of the year I should have twenty five cards with this picture, cool huh? Anyway, bleating aside I can't decide whether I like this design or not. I think I prefer the colors on the Cognac version more, but as that one has eluded me thus far the jury is out. Oh and Topps enough with the crazy variations please.

Trade With Greg From Plaschke Thy Sweater Is Argyle.

Here are the results of my epic trade with Greg from the wonderful blog Plaschke Thy Sweater Is Argyle. Greg left a comment on my Topps Finest break, he was asking if the Dee Gordon Refractor auto was for trade. After a few emails back and forth we struck our deal, Greg got the Gordon auto, Gordon base and Andre Ethier base and a ton of A&G 2011. In return I got these beauties. First up is a Chris Perez 2007 Bowmans Best Auto, Perez is currently with the Indians where he posted a 4-7 record in 2011, but also recorded a nice 37 saves.

Next is a very cool 2008 Tristar Farmhands Auto of the Cardinals Lance Lynn, unlike a lot of collectors I have no problem with Tristar cards,in fact I actually like them quite a lot. Lance was 1-1 with one save for the Cardinals in 2011, he also won a game in the Wrold Series. Nice.

Next up is a very nice Allen & Ginter framed auto of Yunel Escobar, I love A&G autos,Topps does a really nice job with the framing and a nice addition to my collection. Yunel hit .290 with the Jays in 2011.

Now we come to the crowning glory of the trade, during our email converstaion I mentioned to greg about my collectiong the Topps 1968 Game Inserts. Greg then offered to go to his local LCS to track down some of the outstanding cards I needed, this was above and beyond the call of duty and very much appreciated. In the top picture we have two Hall of Fame players in the late great Harmon Killebrew who sadly passed away this year, and we have Mr Frank Robinson, who was not only a great hitter, but also the first African American to manage a MLB team. What I love about these cards is the fact they are the same age as me and my wife tells me the same condition, namely a bit wrinkly and a bit out of shape. So in conclusion a huge thank you to Greg for such an awesome trade. Would I trade with him again? OH YES!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mini Randomness Part 3.

Today's random mini cards bring us the greatest female golfer of all time and a rubbish bear. Annika Sorenstam is far and away the greatest female golfer of all time. Seventy two wins on the LPGA tour,seventeen wins on the European tour, two wins on the Japanese Ladies Tour and of course she is the winner of ten majors. She has won over $22 million in prize money $8 million more than her nearest challenger. Since retiring in 2008 Sorenstam has gone on to make big bucks outside of playing, a course designer, her own range of perfumes and a line of clothes, it seems she won't be short of cash for the foreseeable future.

Awwwwwwwww!!!! It's a big cuddly Panda, yet another of the animals in peril. Why is the Panda a rubbish bear I hear you ask? Well the joke goes like this, what would you rather fight, a Panda or a Grizzly Bear. Answer is of course the Panda because it's already taken a beating judging by his black eyes!!! Baaazinga!!!!! I'll get my coat.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mini Randomness Part 2.

Some more random mini cards for you. We kick off today with Dr Watson, Watson of course was Sherlock Holmes sidekick. The Ying to Holmes Yang, a great many actors have played Watson in the movies including a very good portrail by Jude Law in the recent Holmes movies. But the king of Watsons is the mighty Nigel Bruce who played Watson in the great 1940's Holmes movies alongside Basil Rathbone. As has been pointed out a lot of times the name of the set is wrong, penultimacy meaning second to last of course, but I won't point that out as hundreds have done so already.

Moving right along to Watsons partner in crime, the mighty Sherlock Holmes. Detective,pipe smoker,wearer of very odd hats and of course opium addict. Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I would like to thank Sir Arthur for writing some of the slowest moving and dull detective novels ever. The Holmes on this card is of course the spitting image of great actor Basil Rathbone, the greatest Holmes in movie history, Rathbone also played a masterful Guy of Gisbourne in the Errol Flynn classic Adventures of Robin Hood. Even though Holmes is a work of fiction tourists still flock to 221b Baker Street in London to have their photograph taken in front of his famous address.

Finally today we have another animal in peril, the Phillipine Eagle, this is the national bird of the Phillipines, as you may know I am currently a resident in the Philippines and have yet to see this mighty bird. These birds can weigh up to 18lb and grow to between 2.5 feet to 3.5 feet in length. If you are a native monkey beware, because this bad boy will have you for lunch. Sadly only 180-500 are left in the wild, this is due to the Filipino habit of hacking down every tree they can see. If you kill one of these wonderful birds you can expect to spend twelve years in a jail.

Mini Card Randomness Part 1.

I thought I would do a few posts on the random mini cards I have laying around. First of all we have a 2008 Allen and Ginter mini of a Mako Shark. A few facts for you about the Mako shark, they grow to a size of seven to nine feet, feed mainly on Mackeral and don't attack humans too often, but three fatalities have been recorded in the last twenty years. Not to be confused with the actor Mako who starred in M*A*S*H.

Another animal card, this time a 2011 Sea Otter mini. The poor little fella is part of the animals in peril set in this years A&G. These little chaps have seen their numbers drop from 300,000 to 100,000 in the last two hundred years, this is because they were hunted for their fur. Cute fact alert!!! To stop them drifting apart Sea Otters sleep holding paws. Awwwwwww!

Goodwin time, a 2009 black border Phil Helmuth Jr. This guy is not small furry or cute. What he is is a very fine player of Texas Hold Em. Helmuth holds the record for most bracelets won in WSOP play, his total stands at an amazing eleven. Critics will always tell you that all his wins have been in Hold Em events, therefore he is not an all around player. Helmuth is also prone to toddler style tantrums and outbursts at the table. He does this to put off his opponents which sometimes works very well to his advantage. He also does it because he is a whiney little girl.