Thursday, February 9, 2012

Astros CAREavan Stops By

If you're an Astros fan you know that February means two things; spring training starts in a few weeks and the Astros will be driving around Texas and Oklahoma interacting with fans in different cities. I love the annual Astros Winter CAREavan because it gives fans the chance to meet players and coaches.

Depending on who is signing that day the lines can be 75 deep or 200+ deep if someone like Bagwell or Biggio is signing. Luckily yesterday the line was only about 100 deep and I got the chance to go back through the line a second time. Two of my favorite young Astros (Brian Bogusevic and J.D. Martinez) were there and I was stoked to meet them.

 Jim Deshaies
Jim Deshaies is a former Astros pitcher and current broadcaster for the Astros on FOXSports. It's always fun meeting broadcasters and recognizing their voice while you're standing in line. Make you even more excited for the season to start.
 Brad Mills
This was my first time to meet Mills and he was a really nice guy. We didn't talk much but I told him good luck this season. He said "Thanks" and "Thanks for coming out tonight."

Jose Cruz
Cruz has been with the Astros for what seems like forever. I'm too young to know much of his playing days but I remember always seeing him outside the foul lines as the first base coach. I love how he signed the "Cheo" nickname on the 1977 Topps card I gave him. He even included his #25 which was retired by the Astros a nearly 20 years ago.

J.D. Martinez 
J.D. Martinez was the main reason I went to the CAREavan stop last night (also because it was only a 10 minute drive from my house). He's my favorite current Astro and I'm hoping for big things out of him this season. He was actually a lot nicer than people told me he'd be so that was good.

Brian Bogusevic (brim) and Jason Bourgeois (side)
Bogusevic is another guy I really like for the Astros and I think he's finally hitting his stride as an outfielder. He was drafted as a pitcher and the Astros took too long before deciding to switch him to offense. That's the reason he's had slower progress than you'd want but it looks like patience may be paying off.

Jason Bourgeois is a local boy from Houston who'll be competing for a starting position this year. I honestly think he's a better option in CF than Jordan Schafer but we'll see how it plays out. He's got super quick speed and range in CF. He's also a pretty active Tweeter and likes to interact with fans.

J.D. Martinez (right), Brian Bogusevic (bottom left) and Jason Bourgeois (top left)
The second time I went through the line I decided to get the guys to sign my 59/50 Authentic cap. I was hoping they'd still have some of their cards they brought to sign (so I could trade a few) but they were out so I settled on getting the cap signed.

I'll be in Katy tomorrow hoping to meet Jason Castro, Jed Lowrie and Brett Wallace. I'll take more pictures tomorrow and hopefully come back with some more fun loot.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Randomized Brew Crew

As previously mentioned the Brewers were my randomized team in the recent Nachos Grande group break. I don't hate the Brewers by any means but I'm not a fan. I did pull some pretty nice cards in the break though and for that, I'm happy.

 I was lucky enough to pull two Astros like this (lower print runs on those) and pulling this as my 3rd one is just icing on the cake. I remember hearing Grissom's name a lot when I was growing up but I never really watched him play. 

This was probably the coolest card I pulled in the group break. It's a die cut of Robin Yount for the 3000 Hit Club. It may be kind of gimmicky but I like the obnoxiousness of it, ha. The back of the card gives some highlights of Yount's career. Interesting trivia from the back of the card, in 1999 when Yount, Nolan Ryan and George Brett were inducted into the HoF it was the first time since 1936 that three guys got in their first time on the ballot.

 More of the Upper Deck Decades 1970's cards. Not much to say about these cards but it might be a fun set to put together. I wasn't around in the 1970's so I don't have much attachment to the players of that era but maybe some of you do. 

Another full page scan of the Fleer Tradition set. I've already got two teams down now (Astros and Brewers) so if/when I decide to put this set together I'll be good to go. This set came out in 2000 and I grew up watching baseball in the 90's so many of these guys remind me of my childhood. 2000 really doesn't feel like it was 12 years ago, man I'm getting old.

Overall I'd say I did pretty well in my first ever group break. The Astros cleaned up nicely and the Brewers had a few nice inserts themselves. The only bad thing about doing well in my first group break is now I can see myself getting addicted to them, ha. That's why my girlfriend is around, to keep me in check. She'd rather me waste my money on dates and gifts, absurd.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Group Break Pickups from Nachos

I've finally scanned my Astros pickups from Nachos Grande's last group break. The cards have been sitting on my desk for about a week just begging to be scanned and organized. Or maybe it was my girlfriend begging me to scan and organize them. Either way here are the pretty awesome results...

I really wish my scanner would show how nice this J.R. Richard card looks in person. It's chrome like but you can't really tell that from the scan. This card comes from the UD Decades 1970's set which came out in 2001. Great little card to add to my Astros PC.

A couple of future Hall of Famer's from the 2000 Fleer Gamers set. Luckily I didn't own any cards from the boxes Nachos busted so these are all new PC additions. I don't really like the texture of these cards but luckily they'll be going in binder pages so I won't have to touch them.

I love this Bagwell from 2000 Fleer Tradition even though it only books for $0.50. Maybe it's cause I love the old blue and gold uniforms of my childhood or because it shows Biggio and Bagwell on the same card, a 2-for-1 if you will. Whatever the reason I'm happy to have pulled this card.

Pulling these two serial numbered cards was awesome. Once again we get to see the blue and gold that I love AND the card is serial numbered. I'm not a big Caminiti fan but it's still a nice card. I like seeing Biggio's Sunshine Kids pin on his cap, he wore that thing everywhere. The card looks elegant in person and lucky for me I pulled 2!

This is just a page full of Astros cards I pulled from the 2000 Fleer Tradition set. I'm actually a big fan of this card design and its simplicity. Of course there are tons of retro sets out there right now that I like but the pops of color set this one apart for me. 

I pulled a few other Astros in the group break but didn't want to go too scan crazy. My randomized team from the group break was the Brewers and I'll be showing those cards off soon. Thanks again to Nachos Grande for making my first ever great group break  a great one. I can't wait to participate in another one this year.