Monday, June 27, 2011

An Apology and Meeting an All-Star

I first want to apologize to everyone for the lack of posting this month. There are some personal things going on right now (nothing to worry about) but everything on the blog front should be back to normal within the next week or so. I assure you I'll be posting more in the coming weeks and to make up for my lack of posts there will be a contest of some sort then too. Now to some good news.

Today I got the chance to meet Hunter Pence at a local autograph session. Reebok sponsored a signing at the Academy Sports and Outdoors in The Woodlands. The signing was free but was on a first come basis so I knew to line up early. My amazing girlfriend, amazing because she sat in the hot Texas heat for a couple of hours to keep me company, and I got to Academy 2.5-3 hours before the event was supposed to start and we were still #113 and #114. 

The line moved quickly and we were getting our autographs about 30 minutes after the event began. Pence was extremely nice and we discussed the upcoming Silver Boot series for a minute. He told me he'd "play like crazy to bring the Silver Boot to Houston this week." It's always nice to see players getting pumped for a rivalry as much as we do. 

I apologize for the quality of the photo(s) but I used my iPhone. I got an OMLB signed and Katie got my friends GU baseball signed.

Thanks again to Academy Sports and Outdoors, Reebok, The Houston Astros and Hunter Pence for making this an awesome day.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Trade with Steve

I'm always looking to help people with any of their set/team/player needs so when I noticed I had some cards needed by Steve at White Sox Cards I contacted him and we hammered out a trade. Since the White Sox swept the 'Stros in the 2005 World Series I had no problem sending any Sox I had to Steve. 

He sent over a bunch of good looking cards and helped me knock off some of my needs, here is just a sample of what he sent over.

This is my 10th card in the 2011 Topps Opening Day mascots so I've got a few more to go but this one's special for two reasons: 1)he's a hometown guy/rabbit and 2) one of the guys who performs as JJ is a family acquaintance and occasionally hooks us up with great seats. 

I asked in the previous post which uniform you guys liked most on JJ and for me personally it's this one. I like seeing him as a member of the team more than I do as a conductor. Feel free to leave your opinion or if you don't care feel free to mention that as well, ha.

I'll always love Roy Oswalt no matter what team he plays for. He was usually an underrated pitcher during his time in Houston and I'm glad to see him get a little more national recognition over in Philly. This card design is pretty simple but I like it and the refractor aspect of it makes it even better.

The only reason I added this card is to make fun of it. Not because future Hall of Famer Biggio is on it but because of the color and design. Yes I know it came out in the '90s when that was the style but that's still no excuse. It reminds me of the intro to Saved by the Bell or something distributed by McDonald's.

When I saw this card in the stack I was excited. I've always liked the design of Bowman Chrome from this time period and it's a pretty good picture of a young Bagwell. I don't mind that it's a reprint instead of an original as it's a card I don't have yet so I'm more than happy to own it.
Let me first say I love this card design. It's sleek and modern which I don't always like but it works on this set. Bud looks a little thicker in this photo but he probably was since it's his rookie card.

I know this post is a night later but Bud Norris had an excellent game last night against the Cardinals where he had a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings. The funny thing is that he wasn't pitching like his usual self. He typically strikes more guys out but last night he had the ball in play more and got the Cards to hit into a couple of double plays. I hope for the Astros sake we keep this guy around for the long haul because he does seem to be a future ace for this club. 

Want to know who broke up that no-hit bid last night? I'm sure you already know by now but it was this guy...

The Big Puma, Lance Berkman, broke up Norris' no-hitter with a home run to the bullpen boxes. Hunter Pence tried his hardest to rob him of a homer but came up 6 inches short of making the catch of the season. After the game Berkman had nothing but good things to say about Norris and that's just the kind of guy Berkman has always been. He's a stand-up guy no matter what some fans may think.

Do Astros fans hate Berkman? 
Some do I'm sure but most of us will always have a soft spot for the guy and wish him well. Even some of those who still love him consider him a traitor which I still don't understand. Berkman wanted to come back to Houston this off season and the Astros could have signed him. They decided not to as they wanted to keep Wallace in place as they're planning for the future (that's understandable so I'm not saying their decision was wrong). I know the majority of fans here still respect him and like him but don't see how some fans can dislike a guy who gave this city so much for so many years. I guess that's how sports go sometimes. 

Sorry to get off topic there for a second. Thank you Steve for the great trade and I hope you enjoy those White Sox cards. Hopefully we can work something out again sometime soon. 

Huge thank you to Crinkly Wrappers

A few weeks back I got a comment from Ted over at Crinkly Wrappers offering to send me over some baseball cards, gratis. I never ask for donations or free cards but I couldn't refuse an offer like this so I agreed. After sending him my address I got a nice package in the mail yesterday. 

I don't know the exact size of the box but it easily held 200+ cards. You might think that it consisted of numerous junk cards but in fact it was filled with some pretty awesome cards. Ted said he hoped some of the cards would inspire me to build a set I may not have seen before and after looking at all the cards there are a few sets I'm thinking of collecting. 

It's always hard for me to pick which cards to show and which to leave off. Please know that just because a card isn't pictured it doesn't mean I don't like it. I'm sure many of you understand that predicament. 

I'm going to catch some flack for this but I have a semi-man-crush on Joe Mauer. I think it's because he's not only a great baseball player but he's a hometown kid and he has that All-American charm all the time. I hate that he's been sidelined so long this season and I can't wait for him to get back out there.

Now this is my true baseball man-crush, Mr. Evan Longoria. Everything Longo does is cool in my book (except wearing a fedora) and my girlfriend can attest to that. He's the reason I rocked a mullet for a couple of weeks this year. He's the only reason I pay much attention to the A.L. East so hopefully he stays healthy and gets his bat rolling soon.

Who designed this card? There's nothing wrong with looking at Bagwell and Gonzo on the same card but I don't like the fact that the logos are meant for a vertical card when the picture is obviously horizontal. I love looking back on great players in their younger years because even superstars look goofy in their younger days.

I'm mainly showing this 2010 card of Junction Jack because I wanted to see which uniform you guys liked better. The 2011 Junction Jack will be in the next post so you can comment on there. I love JJ but I miss Orbit sometimes since he's the one I grew up with in the Astrodome. 

Blue bordered 2010 Topps Opening Day 1394/2010. I like these blue bordered cards a lot. I know some people hate all the color variations and I don't blame them but the blues are ones I can get behind.

Blue shine? Check. Sweet design? Check. Best Astro on the 2011 roster? Check. Card of a guy who will finish the season in a different uniform? Check back with me in a month and a half. I like this card because of it's design and it features Hunter Pence. I LOVE this card because that blue is beautiful. 

Many thanks again to Ted and I will try and repay him sometime in the future. You went above and beyond man and I can't thank you enough. These cards have found a loving home.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cereal Box of 2011 Topps Series 2

I stopped by Wal Mart last night and noticed Topps Series 2 was on the shelf already so I decided to buy one of those $9.99 "cereal boxes." Overall I'm content with the box but I got ZERO Astros which kind of sucks but that's the way it goes sometimes. Out of the entire box I got no duplicates so that's always nice. I've scanned the inserts as I assume that's all anyone cares about.

All inserts are for trade and I'm looking to get as many Series 2 Astros cards as I can via trade. So if you see something you like and you're still waiting on your Series 2 to get in let me know and I'll hold the cards so we can work something out for any Astros inserts/base you pull.

I usually start with the more boring of the inserts pulled and this is no exception. Not in love with Diamond Duos and I don't care much for these two players.

You'll see by the end of this post that this box was destined for a Cardinals fan. I pulled more base/inserts of Cardinals than any other team.

60 Years of Topps insert of Dale Murphy. Forgive me but I was too young to know much about Murphy but I'm sure there are some Braves fans out there who can enlighten me.

Most Career Assists by a Yankee First Basemen??? Not a bad day of work when your name is ahead of Lou Gehrig's.

#337 Gold 300/2011
I don't have much to say other than I hope there is an Angels fan out there who wants to trade me a Gold Astro for this guy.

#564 Diamond Anniversary
 I get every NL Central team except for the Astros??? I like this guys last name and the fact that he has given up some good numbers to the Astros, that's about it.

Good old Lou Brock on a Kimball mini card. I really like the design of these cards and may one day collect them but it's just not high on my priority list at the moment. Of course I do want that Biggio Kimball mini.

These new inserts are extremely shiny have a pretty cool design. I'm not a big fan of sparkly cards but I understand Topp wants to play this Diamond card as much as it can. Any card with Halladay on it is worth having.
Last but not least is Mr. Matt Holliday. I told you the Cardinals would overrun the box. I know some people may think the previous Halladay card was more impressive but I am a big fan of Holliday's and since this is one of those Wal Mart exclusive sapphire cards it surpasses the Halladay. 

As I mentioned at the beginning all these inserts are for trade and preferably for Series 2 Astros cards (both base and inserts). Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Brandon Backe TTM Success

I sent a TTM request to Brandon Backe 2 months ago as I'm trying to get as many TTM/IP autographs of the Astros 2005 World Series team. Backe was a big part of the success the Astros had in that late season push. He pitched great in a number of important games for the Astros and there is no way they'd have gotten as far as they did without his arm that season.

Backe is a hometown guy and lives fairly close to me so it's weird the TTM took so long. I'm sure he's busy working at the baseball academy and doing work for his foundation. Here's a picture of the autographed card, I really think he has a great looking signature. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lars Anderson TTM Success

A few weeks ago I sent out a TTM request to Lars Anderson of the Boston Red Sox organization. I've been trying to hit up a few of the younger guys who have cards in 2011 Topps and Heritage. Anderson is currently on the Pawtucket Red Sox and that's where I sent the request. I sent 2 cards (one for him to keep) and he got it back to me fairly quickly with a fairly decent signature.

Overall a pretty nice addition to my other TTM successes this year. Not as good as my Hunter Pence or Brian Cushing TTM but I like getting younger guys who have potential to be good big leaguers.

Take some time out to do some good

A lot of you most likely already know about this but for those that don't here you go. Brian over at 30-Year Old Cardboard is organizing a get well soon package for the great Gary Carter. Carter just recently started his fight against newly discovered brain tumors. Now I wouldn't say I'm a Gary Carter fan since I was only 5 years old when he retired but I've seen footage of his playing days and he looked impressive. 

The mission is simple, go to Brian's blog and get the details. It won't take much out of your day and could bring a smile to a stand up player. I've already got my card in the mail.

Thanks for reading and hopefully we can help Brian get a huge package out to Gary.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Some publicity for Diamond King's contest.

The Diamond King is running a CONTEST and the winner's get the chance at some pretty awesome cards. Whoever takes the Twins relic will automatically be on my bad side. I kid, I kid. You should go over and check out the contest if you haven't already. 

Good Luck!!!

The Astros sweep the Cubs and Lyles shows promise

I apologize for not posting the past few days, I've been helping my girlfriend house sit so I'm not on my regular schedule. As I mentioned in the title, the Astros swept the Cubs today inching them closer and closer to leaving the bottom of the NL Central. I'm happy to see the Astros clicking some but the big story in this series was Jordan Lyles major league debut. I meant to post yesterday concerning Lyles first major league start but I didn't get a chance so I'll do it now.

This is the only card of Lyles I have as of now but I plan on getting more as he progresses through his career.

For those of you who don't know, Jordan Lyles is the Astros top pitching prospect and was part of ESPN's 2011 Top 100 prospects. He doesn't have an overpowering fastball but his change up and curve are pretty ridiculous. Last night's performance was great for his debut but the starts that matter more to me are 2-5 where I can get an average of his stuff. If last night was any indication of his future then Lyles will be the silver lining during the upcoming rebuilding era of the Astros. Below is Lyles' line from last night:

7.0 IP/5 H/2 R/2 ER/0 BB/4 K/2.57 ERA

Those are some pretty good numbers for a pitcher's MLB debut. Sure he is only making a couple of more starts until Wandy Rodriguez gets back from the DL but it will be nice to see how good this young guy can be in the majors. 

Did I mention he is 20 years old??? That's just absurd to think about for me. I know a lot of guys have debuted in the majors at that age but it's hard to think about a guy 3 years younger than me living the dream like that. Makes me a bit jealous, ha. Also, he got his debut at Wrigley Field which is something most kids only dream about. Not only did he get his first MLB debut but he also got his first hit in the majors. It's always fun to see a pitcher get a hit but even more so when it's in his first game.

This got me thinking, which prospects from your favorite team are you most excited to see? Leave a comment and let me know.