Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Topps 2010 Baseball Value Pack

Last weekend we were at WalMart doing our monthly grocery run. I can never go in there without looking at the baseball cards. There wasn't anything new (just where are those Bowman Draft Picks blasters?) but there was this: A 2010 Baseball Value Box. With 40% MORE VALUE.In the box were 6, 12-card packs of Topps Series 2 and one pack of 2010 Allen & Ginter. Also promised was a Topps Million Card Giveaway card and a WalMart Exclusive Chrome Card as shown on the back.
You would absolutely get one of these three cards, Ripkin, Strasburg or Ruth. I figured this was my last chance to get a Strasburg card before he has possibly career ending Tommy John surgery. No such luck, I got the Babe. But I'm not sneering at the Babe.
I'm not quite sure where they were getting the 40% MORE VALUE from. I paid about 18 cents/per card. The Topps Series 2 cards I've bought were about $0.20/card. The Allen & Ginter have been closer to 40 cents. This doesn't work out to 40% MORE VALUE unless the Ruth card is worth big bucks, which I doubt. Of the 62 Topps cards, I only got about 15 I didn't already have. I needed 3 of the 6 A&G cards. I haven't had a single post about the Topps Million Card Giveaway. There have been plenty of other blogger posts and, besides, I wasn't very impressed by what I had gotten. Here's what came in the Value Box:
A very young John Smoltz, 1992 Topps, of which I have 2 of these. Oh, well.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Song of the Week - Brother Can You Spare A Dime by Dr. John and Odetta

Paul Krugman featured the Al Jolson version of this on his blog earlier in the week to illustrate the sad state of today's economy. Here's a more updated version. I have always though this was one of the saddest songs ever written.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

2010 Topps Tribute

Topps Tribute has been around off and on for about 10 years. It is a set I pay very little attention too. I've never seen packs of it for sale. Does it even come in packs? There are a lot of singles (base cards and all the endless autograph, relic and color variations) for sale in eBay. That's where I got these two cards.The cards are attractive, very thick, with a kind of a matte refractive finish. The design doesn't change much from year to year.
I'm happy to have a couple of Phillies (I got two Phillies from the 2009 set from a blog reader last year, thanks again Max!), but this is one set I don't chase.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Song of the Week - Know Your Rights by The Clash

This is from 1983. I saw them on tour around this time.

This is a public service announcement - with guitars!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Player Spotlight - Dave Martinez

A new feature at Capewood's Collections, random players who strike my fancy. The spotlight today is on Dave Martinez.Dave Martinez is the kind of baseball player who doesn't get the big headlines or the big contracts but where would baseball be without guys like him? Dave played in the major leagues for 16 years and for 9 different teams. You don't last that long because you're terrible. He has a lifetime batting average of .276 with 91 home runs and 183 stolen bases. He was a competent outfielder and 1st baseman. He averaged 120 games per year. He was a guy that you could run out there everyday and be sure you'd get a good job. He's been a bench coach for the Rays since 2007. Since the Rays are currently one of the best teams in baseball, you have to be happy for the guy.

What struck my fancy? In 2000, the year before he retired, he appeared in 114 games and hit .285. A typical year for him. What was not typical however, is that he played for 4 teams in 2000. That is a rare feat.

He started the season with the Devil Rays. In May, the Rays traded him to the Cubs. The Cubs turned around in July and traded him to the Rangers. The Rangers traded him to the Blue Jays in August. And to top it off, he signed with the Braves in December, so he was under contract to 5 different teams in 2000.

I have cards for him with 7 of his teams but the rest are buried away.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Trade with the Night Owl

This is the second annual trade of my Dodgers for the Night Owl's Astros. Although not officially part of my mid-summer clearance, it is part of the same reasoning: to turn cards I don't really care about into cards I actually want. Night Owl mentioned some of the cards I sent him here. This year he sent me some bonus Phillies (my other team) and I sent him some bonus Angels (purely by accident). Of the cards he sent me, I needed more than half of them. I'm quite satisfied.

First off some Astros. Here are three Roy Oswalts. Roy has gone to a better place (the Phillies). I'll probably be trying to get all of his last Astros cards. This helps.This next card also features another ex-long time Astro, Lance Berkman. Lance is with the Yankees now, nursing a sprained ankle. Maybe he and Roy will face each other in the World Series this year.
I'm not a real big fan of these Topps Attax cards but if they've got Astros or Phillies on them, got to have 'em.
This next is now the only Topps Gold card of the Astros I have. He also sent me the regular version of this card, which I also didn't have.
Now some Phillies.

For whatever reason, I almost never buy Topps Finest cards. This card is from the 2004 set. All I had from this set was one of the base auto cards, and a Finest Relic of Jim Thome, both of which I bought on eBay. So not only is this a Phillies card I didn't have but it's a reference card I didn't have. Right into the reference card binder it goes.
I found 8 Phillies cards from the 1990's in the package. I currently own 2,433 different 1990's vintage Phillies cards. What are the odds that of 8 random Phillies cards from the 1990s I would need any of them? Pretty good in fact. I needed 4 of the cards he sent. I think this is a good illustration of how many different types of cards were produced in the '90s.

This first card is a 1998 Bowman's Best Randy Wolf card. I had no Phillies cards from this set.
And this is a 1998 Bowman Chrome of Randy Wolf, only the second Phillie from the set I have.
This is from the 1999 Upper Deck Ovation set. I only had 5 cards from this set, including one Phillie, Scott Rolen. These cards were expensive for the day, a 5-card pack cost $4. The cards were textured to feel like a baseball, complete with embossed stitches. It doesn't scan well. The Ovation name and the player's name are in silver foil at the bottom.
And finally, another card that I had none of. This is a 1991 US Playing Card All-Stars. I have some random cards from other years in the eary '90s of these but hadn't any of the 1991 set.
All in all, a very satisfying package of baseball cards.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Song of the Week - Listen to the Man by The Monkees

In 1968, NBC broadcast a TV special by the Monkees called "33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee". If remember it it's because you probably didn't see it. It was only shown on the West Coast opposite the Academy Awards presentation on ABC. Wikipedia has the scoop here.

The entire show is available in 7 clips on YouTube. This is part 6 of 7 and prepresents the last time the Monkees will perform together until 1986.

Be warned that this is extremely strange. The madman playing the organ later in the clip is Brian Auger and the woman howling in the background is Julie Driscol. I featured a video of them here a while ago. It was different times in 1968 when this was made. It is hard to believe that something like this could even be contemplated today.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday Night at the Movies - Salt

This was an excellent movie.

Angelina Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent. One day, a guy with a bad Russian, accent walks into the office and says that he has important information. They put him in a room and Salt interviews him. He says that a Russian agent is going to assassinate the president, in New York City, tomorrow. She is not buying his story. As she gets up to leave (this isn't a spoiler since it's in the trailer), he says, "The agent's name is Evelyn Salt". All hell breaks loose.The rest of the trailer is Salt being chased around by various governmental agencies while she is doing mysterious things. The trailers are pretty exciting and the movie delivers. A movie like this, of course, relies on it's action scenes and they are quite well done. An interview I read with the director says that they tried to design the stunts as something an actual person could do. I think they were stretching the limits of what they meant by an "actual person", but there are no totally unbelievable stunts in the movie. She does jump off an overpass and land on the top of a speeding 18-wheeler but at least she winces a bit.

But what I really liked about the movie was the story and the twists and turns. There are at least 5 things that happen in this movie that I totally didn't expect. How often can you say that about a recent movie? I don't mean, "Well, I didn't expect that car to blow up like that". What I mean is that the characters do things I didn't expect. But the things they do are consistent with the story and the internal logic of the movie.

It also leaves you thinking about what happened. Without giving anything away, I can tell you that Salt's motivation is never clear. There are several times when you think you know what she's doing but that is mainly based on your preconceived notions of where the plot of a movie like this may be going. At the end, you really don't know who she is and why she did what she did. A key line in the movie is when says "Do you really think that people are who they say they are".

It's probably too late to catch this in the theaters but don't miss it on Blu-Ray or cable.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

2007 Topps Turkey Red

The other day I was in Target looking in their discount single pack box. Usually there is nothing there of interest but this day there were 16 packs of 2007 Topps Turkey Red for $1.59 a pack. So I bought them all. Although I'm not a set collector, I don't mind completing a set now and then. I had 142 of the 200 base cards for the set and I just picked up 128 cards. What are the odds I'd find every card I needed. It turns out the odds weren't good. Of the 58 cards I needed, I got 9. Only 9. I did pick up the Ryan Howard short print so there was some consolation. As I was looking over the cards I was struck by some of the odd backgrounds. One thing I'll say about this set is that most of the cards have a unique background. There are a few duplicates but not many that I have. Here are some of the oddest.It's hard to say why the lower sky in the background is a lurid purple. Or is it pink?
Here's Joe Mauer taking practice swings in a baseball field apparently laid out in a cow pasture.
Smokestacks are a common theme. Look at the huge stack right behind the bleachers puffing away.
This background features multiple smokestacks and a polluted looking sky. Manny should probably be wearing a mask.
Just a single stack but notice how yellow the sky is to the left of the stack. That doesn't look healthy. This is one of the few backgrounds I saw repeated. The Jeff Kent card has the same.
Nike Marakais taking a practice swing while the apocalypse is happening behind him.
Another smokestack with a lurid colored sky. Also looks like a 3-mile Island cooling tower back there.
Tejada waits for a pitch somewhere on the base paths while the town burns down behind the outfield fence.
Many of the cards have American flags in the background. This also has a nice hillside for the fans to view the game.
Not even the Mick is immune to the stacks. At least it's a beautiful blue sky. For how long though?
I can't even begin to guess. A fire at the dye factory?
Sunsets are a popular theme as well. But what is that in the background? A roller coaster? An elevated train? A bridge?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Midsummer Clearance - Update

The response to my Midsummer Clearance has been tremendous. See all the details here.

Teams are going fast but if you act now, the following teams are still available:


Don't delay. Get your team today!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Midsummer Clearance

Since there is so little new product these days, I've been making a real effort to get all the cards I have laying around put away. In the process of this I realized that I have just too many cards that I really don't care much about. Instead of throwing them away, I'd just as soon give them away.I have at least 30 cards for each team (with some exceptions mentioned below) that I'm willing to give away to the first person who asks for them*. And it you act soon, you can ask for two teams for the same low price as one.

And what is the low low price? I only ask two things: 1) if you find some cards in the package I send that you really like or really needed, I ask that you make a mention on your blog (if you have one, no blog needed to apply); and 2) if you're got any Phillies or Astros cards sitting around that you don't care about, please send them to me.
The cards I'm offering are mostly from the past 2-3 years and are mainly Topps and Upper Deck. There are some random other brands and some random older cards from recent repacks I purchased. There are no relics or autos and not many inserts.

I have every team available except for the Phillies and Astros (natch). The Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox and White Sox cards I have are already committed. So make a claim in the comments as to which team(s) you want and we'll exchange contact information.

* Offer void where prohibited by law. Canadian residents must answer this skill question "What is your favorite color?"

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thursday Night at the Movies - Toy Story 3

The first Toy Story movie came out in 1995. My oldest was 11 and my youngest was 8, prime age for this movie. The second installment was in 1999. None of my kids was interested in it and I think we rented it. Now the third movie is here and my kids aren't kids any more. And, neither is Andy, the beloved owner of the toys. Andy is going off to college and it's time to put away childish things.This movie is not a kid's movie. It is all about abandonment. The toys feel like Andy doesn't love them anymore. All except for Woody, of course, who is all about seeing the best side of everything. Woody appears to be heading off to college with Andy but the rest are going to the attic. But through a series of accidents, the toys end up at a day care center. Here they meet evil toys, who consign them to the toddlers who don't play with them as much as abuse them. This is entirely too dark for children, in my opinion. Woody, torn through loyalty to Andy and loyalty to his friends, tries to rescue them. Through another series of accidents, in a scene that isn't even hinted at in the trailers, they end up on the verge of being destroyed in a trash incinerator. I think this scene would give small children nightmares.

This is not to say that it isn't a good movie, because it is. It's just not for children. This movie is for the adults who took their small children to see the original movie and are now dealing with their children going off to college.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

1993 Studio cards

I always liked the Studio cards put out by Donruss. At least in the beginning. The last few years were nothing special. As for many sets, 1993 marked a big change in the appearance of Studio. 1993 was the year everybody went in big for full bleed cards and foil. Studio always featured a closeup shot of the player in a studio (get it?) setting. No action shots. The backs featured biographical information but not much in the way of statistics. 1993 saw the set go with full bleed with gold foil facsimile signatures and logo. The background of the card featured the players uniform logo. Here is a random selection of 1993 Studio cards that I happened to have scanned. They are arranged in alphabetical order by team. You should be able to recognize all of these guys.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

1992 Donruss Coke Ryan

I just came across these in my collection. This was a 26-card Nolan Ryan commemorative set put out in 1992. The cards were produced by Donruss. The fronts are based on the regular Donruss set with the addition of the gold border. The Astros were wearing the uniform on this card during a game recently. I had tuned in late so I don't know why.Each card in the set chronicled a different year in Ryan's long career. The cards were inserted into various Coke products. You could mail away for the entire set for $8.95 plus some UPCs from the Coke packages.
I also have a poster showing all of the cards. I'm pretty sure they were giving the poster away with the Coke products. My kids were pretty young then and my wife and I weren't big soda drinkers so I didn't go after the set.
You can get the individual cards on eBay for a buck apiece plus shipping.