Monday, August 31, 2009

Capewood's Collection - Spring Training 2006

One more post featuring the Capewood's Collection Series. The difference this time is that these are all photographs I took myself at Spring Training in 2006.We saw three games, one of them at the Phillies' field at Lighthouse Field in Clearwater.
Mike Lieberthal. I love cards which feature players swinging where you can see the ball. I got lucky with this shot.
We saw these kids outside the park and they let me take their picture.
How'd this guy get in here? Yes, that's me sitting outside Mike Schmidt Field, one of the training fields at the Phillies complex. The Phillies were playing the Astros so I wore my Phillies jersey and my Astros cap.
Another game we saw was the Red Sox vs the Devil Rays in Tampa. Here's Terry Francona hitting some grounders for infield practice.
And we saw the Astros play the Braves at the Astros field. This is Astros broadcaster Milo Hamilton.
Although we didn't get to see the Yankees play we drove over to Legend's Field. We were able to see into a practice field from above where a coach was working with young pitchers. My friend (also a former Philadelphian) said "Isn't that Larry Bowa?". I followed the coach around with my zoom lens until he finally looked my way. Sure enough it was Bowa. We didn't know he was coaching for the Yankees that year. It almost looks like he could tell I was photographing him and wasn't happy about it.
At the Red Sox-Devil Ray's game, we saw Don Zimmer sitting alongside the Ray's dugout. He was, I think, a special assistant to the manager. This is on extreme zoom so it's not in great focus.
Josh Beckett was the starting pitcher for the Sox that day. Hardly any of the Red Sox regulars were at the park.
Here is a view of the Astros' field.
Roy Oswalt was the starting pitcher.
Burt Hooton was the Astros pitching coach that year. Not a great photo but you can read his uniform name.
Jeff Bagwell was trying to come back from off-season shoulder surgery. Here he is striking out in his last at bat of the game. The last time I saw Baggy play. He wisely decided to pack it in before the season started.

I have maybe 5-10 more photographs which will look good on a Capewood's Collection card. If I get the time to make them this week I'll post them later.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Song of the Week - Waiting For The Sun by The Jayhawks

I have 7,794 songs on iTunes. This is one of them.

The Jawhawks are an alt country band with a small but devoted following. This song is from their 3rd album Hollywood Town Hall released in 1992. It was their first album on a large label and it did very well. This song was a hit for them. I have this album and their followup release from 1995, Tomorrow The Green Grass. I love both of these records. They have recorded several more CDs but I've never heard them. If you like this you should seriously check out either of the two CDs I mentioned.

I was waiting for the sun
Then I walked on home alone
What I didn't know
Was he was waiting for you to fall

So I never made amends
For the sake of no one else
And for the simple reason
That he was waiting for you to fall

It was not lost on me
It was not lost on me
Walking on down the road
Looking for a friendly handout
Somebody ease my soul

So I kept my spirits high
Entertaining passers-by
Wrapped in my confusion
While he was waiting for you to fall


It was not lost on me
It was not lost on me
Walking on down the road
Walking on down the road
Walking on down the road
Walking on down the road

Saturday, August 29, 2009

2003 Lenny Dykstra cards

I just picked up this nice card on eBay.It's a 2003 Donruss Signature Notable Nicknames card, serial numbered to 750. Dykstra's nickname was "Nails". The #4 in the bottom left is his uniform number. This is card #11 of a 20-card set. It's a nice looking card and I'm happy to get it. As I was cataloging it, I found that I also had this other 2003 card of Dykstra.
This is a 2003 Donruss Classics, the Legends subset, serial numbered to 1500. Also a nice card. There have been a lot of complaints in the blogs lately about the card companies getting lazy in their duplicate use of photographs. Apparently this isn't a new problem. If the photos on these cards aren't the same I'll eat my Phillies cap. Only the color cast and cropping are different. Granted, it's a great photo but Lenny played in the late 1980s to the early 1990s. There must be a lot of photos of him available. It's not like he's a player from the 19th century and they had to make do with the photos that survived.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Night at the Movies - The Time Traveler's Wife

We both liked this movie a lot. Although it sounds potentially like a science fiction movie, it really isn't. Sure, Harry, played by Eric Bana, does a lot of time traveling, involuntarily, but the movie is about the people involved and how they deal with the situation.As a science fiction fan and an engineer, I had to put down my wondering about how or why Harry's time traveling was happening. This is never revealed and in the end doesn't matter. Be warned that this is a tear jerker, especially the ending.

Here's what you learn from the trailer. Henry travels through time. With virtually no warning, he will disappear, leaving his clothes behind, and end up in some other time, within his own life time. He is often drawn to a particular field where he meets Clare, for the first time when she is a young girl. She grows up, in love with Henry until she finally meets him for real. He falls in love with her (it was his older self that had met her as a girl) and they marry. He has no control over his traveling, neither when nor where he goes.

This is the third movie we've seen this year with Eric Bana (Henry). He was the vengeful Romulian in Star Trek and the loud talking gross Australian husband of Adam Sandler's old girlfriend in Funny People. These are three very different roles and I'm impressed with Bana's acting. I don't remember him from anything else.

The wife (Clare) is played by Rachel McAdams. She is also new to me but I really loved her in this.

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2009 Topps Manager cards

I always liked that Topps includes manager cards in their set. Unfortunately, the cards are mostly boring this year. I'm going to use this opportunity to tell my Terry Francona story.A friend or mine and I went to Spring Training in 2006. One of the games we saw was the Red Sox at the Devil Rays. Before the game we had seen where the Red Sox team bus was parked and near the end of the game we went out there hoping to get an autograph or two. Hardly any of the big Sox players had made the trip and the guys coming out were guys we didn't know and they all ignored the 15 or so people gathered. One guy near us had books. He and the girl with him had about 10 books about the 2005 World Series winning Red Sox. He said he was hoping to get Terry Francona to sign them. Francona came out of the gate with a gym bag and a slice of pizza. Like the rest, he just swept by and onto the bus. The guy with the books said "What a jerk". But then Francona got off the bus. I told the guy I was going to tell Francona what he said. "No, no" he pleaded. Francona signed every one of his books and whatever else the rest had. I got a baseball signed.
Here's Terry and his dad, Tito on a 1985 Topps card.
When I saw this card, I thought, can this be the same John Russell who used to catch for the Phillies?
Sure enough, it is.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Capewood's Collection - Parallel Cards

The designers down at Capewood's Collection wanted to try some ideas for parallel cards. I said, why not. Here's what they came up with.The ever popular retro card.
Here's another popular parallel, the black and white image.
And of course, everyone loves a jersey card. The relic on this card is certified by a complete stranger to be an actual piece of cloth.
Linen finish cards are always a favorite.
This one is a bit different. We call it pewter embossed.
Here is an ultra rare Capewood's Collection Masterpiece parallel. Serial numbered to 10.
The Fun-House Mirror parallel. The designers were getting a bit out of hand.
Capewood's Collection Crystal. Only one was ever made. That's when I told the designers that enough is enough. As Donruss has shown on many occasions there is literally no end of the possible parallels.

Monday, August 24, 2009

2009 Topps Shortstop cards

Continuing with my position-by-position review of 2009 Topps cards. Today it's shortstops. I have 33 Topps cards portraying shortstops and not surprising, most of them (23) show the player in defense. 6 of the cards show the player batting and the other 4 running the bases. Derek Jeter, probably the most well-know shortstops is not included in this collection because I don't have his Topps card.Yunieskey Betancouet showing real effort here. I'm guessing he's digging for second.
Brandon Ryan ready to connect. I like cards of players batting which show the ball. And what about those stirrups?
Jose Reyes and, I'm guessing, Nick Evans executing some obscure defensive play. Does Jose always look this disheveled when he plays?
Yunel Escobar catches a pop up while Kelly Johnson averts his gaze. The contrast in pant leg lengths between these two players is striking. Are there no standards any more?
Hanley Ramirez starts a double play. The guy on the ground is Callix Crabbe of the Brewers. This is another card in which the play can probably be identified. Crabbe only had 48 at bats for the Brewers last year.
Edgar Renteria makes an acrobatic catch while maintaining contact with the ground.
Nothing special about the pose but I like the contast of Angel Berroa's orange sunglasses with the black background.

Game ending unassisted triple play

In the 9th inning, with the Phillies up by 9-6, Ryan Howard failed to backhand Angel Pagan’s grounder, resulting in a three-base error. Second baseman Eric Bruntlett bobbled Luis Castillo’s grounder, allowing Pagan to score, and was unable to make what would have been a tough play on Daniel Murphy’s grounder up the middle.

With the tying run on first, Jeff Francoeur stepped to the plate. As the runners were attempting a double steal, he scorched a 2-2 slider right at Bruntlett. Bruntlett caught the line drive, stepped on second base to double up Castillo, then turned toward Murphy, who tried to retreat but was unable to elude the tag.This 2009 Topps Heritage card is the only card I have of Bruntlett in a Phillies uniform. His only other 2009 card is in the Upper Deck set. There was only one regular card for him in 2009, Topps Update. Such is the fate of a utility player, who often doesn't get much playing time.

The last time the Phillies had an unassisted triple play was 1992, executed by Micky Morandini. He got a baseball highlights card out of it.
Unless I'm very much mistaken, that Pirate is Barry Bonds.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Song of the Week - M.T.A by The Kingston Trio

I have 7,683 songs on iTunes. This is one of them.

My parents bought my brothers and I a record player capable of playing LPs for Christmas in 1967. They also gave us three LPs, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles, Why Is There Air? by Bill Cosby and Greenback Dollar by The Kingston Trio.

Between 1950's do-wop music and the 1960s British Invasion, there was a brief boom in acoustic folk music. The Kingston Trio was at the forefront of this movement. They recorded their first album in 1958 and sold 3 million copies of their first single. This song, M.T.A. was another big hit, reaching #15 on the Billboard charts in 1963.

This video is almost exactly like the recorded version, including the spoken introduction.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Night at the Movies - G. I. Joe

The original G. I. Joe toy figure debuted on February 2, 1964. I was 12 years old at the time. Although I remember having lots of little green army men as a kid, I don't think I had a G.I. Joe. I'm not sure what age group this was aimed at but my next birthday wasn't until October and I may have been too old for it (or at least my parents may have thought that). But even still, G. I. Joe has been around for about as long as I can remember. According to Wikipedia, this is the 4th G. I. Joe movie. The other three, which were all animated, went right to video which is probably why I don't remember them.We'd seen the trailers a number of times and thought it would be fun. Even my daughter wanted to see it. Well, I'm sorry to say, it was terrible. It has all the suspense and acting you might find in your typical first-person shooter computer game. Of course you don't go to a movie like this expecting to be wowed by the suburb acting or the finely wrought plot details but really, you hope for more than cliches delivered as woodenly as possible. And the CGI wasn't really that good, either.

In two weeks this movie has made just shy of $100,000,000, but the second weekend gross was down by 60% from the first weekend. It will probably make enough money to consider a sequel. And believe me, the seeds (more like saplings) of a sequel were sown.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Capewood's Collection - Phillies

Once you have a template made it's easy to churn out more cards as long as you have photos. I've been collecting Phillies pictures all season so I have plenty of photos.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2009 Upper Deck X

I didn't really care much for 2008 Upper Deck X and I hadn't seen anything good about the 2009 version. But I gotta have some so I bought 3 packs. I'm not going to waste my money on a blaster. There seem to be some changes for 2009. The photos feature some background to the player photos. I think the cards are nicer because of that. These are the best two cards I pulled.
There are only 100 cards in the set so you would expect it to be loaded with stars. So why did I pull players like Rick Ankiel and Chris Young (D-Backs)?

There was one die cut card in each pack. At least I got A-Rod. The die cut cards are better produced than last year. No hanging chads. There are not any gold parallels this year.
I got an Xponetial card with each pack. Here's the level 1 card. It's similar to last year.
The other two were level 3s, including the only Astro or Phillie, Lance Berkman. Like last year, the higher the level the shinier it is. The level 3 card has a photo on the back (stupidly the same photo as the front), while the level 1 doesn't.
Last year, the Xponentials only went to level 3, this year they go to level 6. Considering the difference between 1 and 3, I'm guessing that the photo on level 6 will be microscopic.