Sunday, February 27, 2011

He Hit the F**kin' Bull

Another recent pickup, the 2011 Topps Nelson Cruz

We go to about three to six Oklahoma Redhawks games a year. On July 19, 2008 we were at the Bricktown Ballpark to see the Redhawks play the Memphis Redbirds. What a show we got to see. OKC beat Memphis 9 to 5 on the strength of 3 home runs and 5 RBIs from Nelson Cruz, including one that (if memory serves) cleared the billboards in left field and left the ballpark.

While trying to track down the actual date of that game, it became obvious that it came near the beginning of a 10 game tear for Nelson. Coming off the Pacific Coast League All-Star break, from July 18 to 27, Cruz went 20 for 49 with 11 home runs and 21 RBIs in 10 outings. During that period, he hit 0.408 with an amazing 1.082 slugging percentage. Not too long after that, Cruz got called up by the Rangers for good. The rest, as they say, is history.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

That's Not a Gun. That's Your Finger!

So, it was off to the card shop today, to start working on the 1974 Topps Baseball set in earnest. I had a set of 74's I had bought off of EBay, but I have soured on buying commonly available cards via that method. It is just plain cheaper to by at the card shop or at a show. Today, I ended up buying about 80 cards bringing me up to 217 cards from the 660 card set.

Dick Sharon was one of the cards I got.

I am not sure what Sharon is doing with this pose. But, it does remind me of something totally unrelated:

My mind is cluttered with all sorts of nonsense. I just need to figure out how to monetize it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Announcing His Presence With Authority

I pulled this card out of a pack of 2011 Topps today. It is 2010 AL Rookie of the Year, Neftali Feliz of the Texas Rangers.

I am posting this because, in 2009, I was in the stands for Feliz's AAA debut. It was April 10, 2009 and the Oklahoma Redhawks were hosting the Memphis Redbirds in the second game of the season opening series. Off the top of my head, I really don't remember much of the game, except that Feliz was throwing pitches that topped 100 MPH, which pretty much got the crowd buzzing. Looking at the box score for the game, I can see that Feliz was the starting pitcher for OKC. In four innings of work, Feliz struck out four, gave up 4 hits and 6 base on balls, but allowed no earned runs. I can't help but think that, it was something of a Nuke LaLoosh performance. Although, to his credit, he didn't hit Rowdy.

On a marginally related note, Rowdy is the Redhawk's mascot. Here is a picture I took of him signing autographs at a game on May 1, 2010 (click the image for a larger version.)

That game was also, believe it or not, Chewbacca Night. You read that right, Chewbacca Night at the Bricktown Ballpark. But, I will save that for another blog post in the next few days. Suffice it to say that I love minor league baseball.

Oddest Card Yet

This is the oddest card I have come across yet.

Granted, I have only gotten back into collecting in November, so I am relatively, umm, inexperienced. So, some of you old timers may scoff at my innocence. But, I have never seen anything quite like this before.

I picked this up off of EBay immediately after I found it. Normally, I avoid buying cards from EBay. My limited experience is that I can find cards significantly cheaper at my local card, at a card show, or at online sites like COMC or Sport Lots. I have basically gotten to the point where I am only use EBay of the rare or oddball stuff that isn't to be found at those other venues. This card is definitely both. It will bring my Paul Blair collection up to 45 cards (8 of which are autographed.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Million Card Trade

As I may have mentioned, my return to collecting is relatively recent. I started, tenatively, back in mid-November. I was mainly collecting Paul Blair cards at first, but occasionally picked up one of those repackages of recent cards and, rarer still, some packs of current releases of cards. As such, I only ever had two of the Million Card Giveaway redemptions. My first redemption was for a decidely underwhelming 2004 Mike Remlinger:

My second redemption was a little more interesting: a 1958 Don Pendleton:

Now, I will grant Pendleton probably isn't up there on the list of highly collectible cards (particularly given that this card has been selling on EBay for less than a buck), but I am thrilled to have redeemed it. Pendleton's Major League career wasn't noteworthy, but he did play a season in the Negro Leagues, and did have a decent AAA career. So, I find myself liking the idea of possessing a card that was printed 7 years before I was born and that it is an (albeit) small link to some interesting history. I have pretty much decided to keep it. A sentimental decision, to be sure, but my decision nonetheless.

But, I find it hard to actually pull the trigger on delivery for this card. Why? I am ashamed to admit because I am getting a perverse charge in seeing what kind of trades people offer me for this card and an even more perverse pleasure out of declining the trades. I get am getting several offers a day, two of which are usually from the same guy. I haven't kept track, but I would bet I have gotten at least a half dozen trade offers from metstrader75, with each subsequent offer including an increasing number of cards. Now, I will grant he is,at least, offering name players (Ryan, Boggs, Mattingly), however, they are all from the period of 1987 to 1989. Which, I am led to understand is part of the period known as the Junk Wax era. His latest offer was for 11 cards, all junk wax. Naturally, I rejected it. I am just looking forward to have that 53 year old card in my possession and a stack of 20 year old crap just doesn't promise the same excitement.

I probably ought to just go ahead and request delivery and put the poor sonuvabitch out of his misery. But, I am morbidly curious if he is actually going to up his offer. I'll still turn it down, of course. Now, if he is interested in that Remlinger.............

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Brief Respite

I haven't been adding any blog entries lately because it has been an eventful several weeks:

  • We had two separate arctic freezes come through in recent weeks and, despite taking precautions, we had a frozen water pipe in the house.

  • With water running constantly (to ostensibly keep pipes from freezing), the pump controller on the well crapped out, necessitating an emergency call to a well service.

  • The main water line out to the barn froze on the wrong side of the shut-off valve, which means once the line thawed, we discovered the pipe had burst when we found water spraying out of the pipe and creating a large puddle in the feedroom. Add a second emergency call to a plumber.

  • I got a horrid cold on top of a sinus infection, resulting in an eventual trip to the emergent care center. To add insult to injury, I felt so bad last Sunday that I ended up solely drinking green tea while watching the Super Bowl.

  • Jack, our 26 year old AQHA gelding, came up lame. Being the difficult old man that he is, he managed to pull not one, but two, sweat wraps off within 24 hours. Alas, after a second farm call from the vet, this one involving X-rays, the diagnosis was changed to a broken navicular bone in right front leg. That means we are looking at therapeutic shoeing and a month of stall rest.

  • I have to leave tomorrow for a week-long business trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. I hate business travel and my wife isn't too keen about being left behind to take care of our farm.

  • But, all was not totally bad. After selling some items on EBay, I spent some money at COMC and Sportlots and added about 15 new cards to my Paul Blair collection. And I got these two cards as well (forgive the bad Photoshop crop job):

    1978 Topps #201 Batting Leaders

    1978 Topps #36 -Eddie Murray Rookie Card

    These were the last two cards I needed to finish up my 1978 Topps Baseball set. Next up is 1974. When I get back home in a week, I'll probably blog about some of my favorite 1978 cards.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    It's Not Easy Being Green

    As I mentioned earlier, I am an amateur photographer (with emphasis on amateur) and it brings a new dimension to baseball cards for me. Sometimes I find myself looking at the pictures and wonder what the photographer was trying to do. Sometimes I find myself looking at the pictures and what what the photographer was thinking. Case in point:

    My first thought was that this was a printing problem. However, when I searched on this card on Ebay, it seems they all suffer from the same muted, green tint. So, I have to wonder if it was a problem with the photography. What follows is my best guess as to what happened. I may be right or I may be way off base. YMMV.

    My first thought (because I am always overthinking things) was that the white balance was wrong. White balance is the process of removing unrealistic color casts in the photograph. It is accomplished by making sure white photographs as white regardless of the ambient light conditions. For example, if your camera is set for daylight, any picture taken under flourescent light will have a yellow cast. If you camera is set for flourescent, pictures taken in sunlight will have a blue cast. In digital camera, white balance is a simple setting. Before digital, it meant matching the film to the lighting. So, I opened it up in Photoshop Camera Raw and played around with the temperature adjustment. No dice.

    To make a long story not nearly so long, I played around with a number of different settings, still without much luck. Sitting back and looking at it again, it struck me that his pants were pretty much blown out and there was a lack of detail on the stands in the background. So, I finally did what I should have done from the beginning: I made exposure adjustments. The result:

    Still not perfect, but looking better. In the end, my guess is that the photographer just screwed up and took an over-exposed shot.