Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Here's to everyone in the card blogosphere - wishing you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your turkey (or duck, or chicken, or Turducken if you're brave enough), your green been casserole, dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and rolls. Enjoy your cold adult beverages, the company of your family and friends, as well as both games the NFL is giving you this year (especially the first one...GO PACK GO!).

Amidst all these things, though, be sure to take the time to say "Thank You" to the One who provided all these things for you. Your home, your health, your family and friends, and all of the blessings in your life come from somewhere. Take a moment to say thanks.

So what am I thankful for? Well, besides all those things I just listed, I'm thankful for 270 pounds of muscle, bone, and fat - well, mostly fat - that has a nack for hitting homers.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Relic Contest? Yes!

How about this as a relic contest for all of you who are home for more days off during the holidays? Sounds like a great deal, and I'll bet it is. Check it out!

Joe Mauer, AL MVP

Congratulations to Minnesota Twins' catcher Joe Mauer, who won the American League MVP award for his efforts during the 2009 campaign. Mauer won in a nearly unanimous voting this year, the only other first place vote going to Miguel Cabrerra of the Tigers. That vote was from a voter out of the Seattle market. Not sure about that one...

Joe Mauer, in this writer's humble opinion, is the best catcher since Johnny Bench, and a player who will surely see his bronze likeness immortalized in Cooperstown following the end of his career.
Mauer is up for free agency after this next season, but I don't see him leaving his friends and family in Minnesota. He is an old school sort of guy, a player of the same caliber as George Brett (entire career played in Kansas City) and the one and only Rockin' Robin Yount (entire career played in Milwaukee). You just don't see guys like that anymore, and I just can't see Mauer leaving Minnesota.

I bring this up because I am connected to Joe Mauer in a loose way. My youth, I suppose, shall show itself in the following lines (that's right folks, this writer is a mere 27 years old).

In 1997, while a sophomore at Saint Agnes High School in St. Paul, MN (I commuted every morning from God's country of Wisconsin, folks) I had the pleasure of playing against young Mr. Mauer in a basketball tournament one weekend. His Raiders of Cretin-Derham Hall defeated my Aggies in a not-so-close contest, but history was set in motion. I went on to a wonderful college career of studying, later joining the Navy in defense of this great nation, finally ending up as a maintenace technician for the #1 steel producing company in the United States. Joe Mauer, however, followed a different path. He decided to use his athletic abilities and pursue a career in baseball. That decision has turned out okay.

A couple years ago, my best friend called me up and filled me in on some more information regarding Mr. Mauer. It turns out, our high school prep Alma Mater was in dire need of financial consideration, forced with the decision of possibly closing its doors. The school needed some $3 million to stay in operation. A wealthy alum (who financed this writer's entire senior year's worth of tuition through a student-athlete scholarship) donated nearly half of that sum out of his generosity. The remaining $1 million + was still up in the air. A quick phone call ended that problem.

It turns out, Joe Mauer's father attended my high school back in the day. A short phone call to his son, explaining the circumstances, was all the school needed. A few days later, the school recieved a personal check from Joe Mauer allowing it to stay in operation.

So again, congrats to Joe Mauer for winning the 2009 American League MVP Award. And thank you, again, for helping my alma mater provide a great education to young people in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

Go Aggies!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It really ties the room together...

In response to the Good Dentist's comment regarding our new home and the possible presence of a certain "rug", I write thus.

We were just about complete. New furniture, a beautiful oak armoire, lavish wooden tables, even matching oak bookshelves to display photos of family members as well as our many texts from college ("The Basic Works of Aristotle", anyone?).

The brutal truth was present, however. That nagging feeling that keeps you up at night while you lie in bed trying to fall asleep. Like the gay cousin at a family reunion who brings home his new "friend" from college. Something needed to be addressed.

The "elephant in the room" was something that wasn't in the room at all. It was something, however, that needed to be in the room. Hardwood floors need to be covered, something I'm sure the liberal left has convinced all Americans as being true. Well - Glenn Beck's personal feelings aside, WE (the royal 'we', the editorial 'we') felt something was truly missing from our living room. After much thought and debate, WE (my wife) realized exactly what was missing.

A rug. To tie the room together.

One of my wife's jobs affords us the opportunity to purchase high-end home furnishings at an extremely disgusting discount (40% off) which sits extremely well with this frugal writer. Having scoured the website of said employer for roughly an hour, a decision was made, and a rug purchased.

And it really does tie the room together.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Offseason Report #1

Hello again! It's been quite a long hiatus (this time, a few months) and much has been going on during the interim. Hopefully, this will mark the official return of regular posting as my work schedule (that's right, a new career folks) is now on a regular rotation and other things are - well, I'll just get to the updates.

First, and most importantly, we have news out of the Milwaukee Brewers camp. Last week Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy was dealt to the Minnesota Twins for centerfielder Carlos Gomez. As some of you know, Hardy had a terrible season at the plate for the Crew, and was sent down to AAA Nashville - quite a demotion for a guy who was an All-Star in 2007. Hardy spent a short time in Nashville, but the perfect amount in the eyes of Milwaukee brass. The club was able to push off free agency for Hardy until 2011 by doing this, making him a much more attractive trade. Hardy would spend the remainder of the season mostly on the bench, with the promotion of phenom SS Alcides Escobar to the big league club.

With CF Mike Cameron looking to land quite a large salary for next year, the Brewers needed to free up some cash to aid them in their search of MUCH NEEDED starting pitching (worst ERA in the NL for the 2009 campaign). Gomez was a perfect match. A young kid with lots of speed, and as Brewers GM Doug Melvin describes, an "underachieving bat". That can be said of a lot of guys who don't hit too well. With regular starts in 2010 (something he didn't see in Minnesota with the success found by Denard Span), Gomez should do quite well in CF for the Brewers in 2010. If nothing else, he'll add some much-needed speed.

Hardy was a fan favorite in Milwaukee, and will surely be missed. Baseball is a business, though, and a small market club like the Brewers can't afford to be sentimental when it comes to chasing a pennant.

Milwaukee is also in the running for starting pitcher John Lackey, who most analysts dub as the best free-agent starter for the offseason. We'll see how serious the club is about being a contender next year. Hopefully the will be putting their money where their mouth is.

My few readers and "online friends" may remember that in May I was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy. My wife and I moved back to her hometown of Charleston, SC, and the job search began. I was able to land a great job with Nucor Steel, the #1 steel producer in the world, and a company that hires a lot of former Navy Nuclear technicians. The job has proven to be a great fit. I received my first promotion last month, and have found myself truly blessed with a great company.

Last month, my wife and I closed on our first house - and have settled in nicely. Being a homeowner is such a welcome, fresh change to life. We are glad to be in our own place - and not paying month-to-month rent, fighting over parking spots, or banging on walls to get the neighbors to "keep it down".
After a lot of painting, furniture buying, and yard work, our home is really coming together. We are almost ready for Thanksgiving, when we'll be hosting the family party (about 30 people) and watching the Packers on TV in inches upon inches of beautiful HD.

As far as my card collecting goes, things are quite slow. With the new house, budgeting for cards hasn't been allocated quite yet. We're just about done with home upgrades and such, and I'm sure it'll just be a little bit of time before I'm back into the card "swing of things". I would like to pass along a HUGE "thank you" to the gals at Dinged Corners for sending me the Star Trek collector glass I won in a contest hosted on their site. I would also like to thank Mark from "Stats on the Back" for the box of Brewers cards he sent this summer. I will get around to a thank you packages when time permits.

Great to be back, and I look forward to getting back in touch with a lot of you in the cardosphere!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Back in Chucktown

Greetings once again! It's been a long hiatus - a few weeks, from my estimation, and just a little update from the South. My wife and I have arrived at our destination in Charleston, SC and are settling in nicely. Job interviews are going on, one quite promising, as I have been notified that they want me back for a second interview. I'll post any updates on that front as soon as I find out more.

We left Seattle on the 19th of May, and stayed in Wisconsin to visit my family for about a week. While there, I was able to get together all the cards I'd collected as a youngster, and now have a couple more containers full of cards ready to be sorted. I even found my treasured "binder" - you know the one. Full of all the "best" cards from packs and trades as a kid. Those will be posting sometime in the future, from time to time, as time allows. There sure is a lot to go through.

We arrived here in Charleston last Thursday, and tonight we finally have the opportunity to go to a Charleston Riverdogs game. They are a minor league affiliate of the Yankees (booooo) but have the southern charm and sort of "Bull Durham"-esque air about them. From the stadium, to the fans, to the players, it's definitely a club that has very little to do with their Bronx parents.

Tonight's game is against the Rome Braves, and it should be a blast. When I was stationed down here from 2003-2007 I attended quite a few games, and am looking forward to continuing that wonderful tradition.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Farewell, Sweet Prince - ALL TRIBE style

Nope, no reference to anyone dieing. No reference to Fatty McFatterson, who happens to play first base for my FIRST PLACE Milwaukee Brewers. I am bidding my farewell to the world of card blogging. For now, of course.

Today is my final day in the Navy. Tonight we are loading up the truck. Tomorrow my wife and I will depart on our 3,036 mile road trip to our new home in Charleston, SC. We will be spending a week in Wisconsin over Memorial Day weekend, spending the weekend cheering on the Brewers as they take on the Twins in interleague play.

I received a package last week from Jack over at All Tribe Baseball that included not only the wonderful CD of baseball-related tunes (including the original "Who's on First" from Abbot & Costello which confused the crap outta the wife) but also had a number of Brewers cards tossed in as well. A nice smattering of years and clubs. Thanks so much, Jack, for the great cards and the CD that will be getting some spin time in the truck this week.

On that note, in no particular order, here are the cards from the "Baseball Dad".

2003 Donruss Estrellas (#47 Ben Sheets, #48 Richie Sexson)

These cards are in spanish. SPANISH!! I've never seen baseball cards in Spanish. French, yes. Gotta love our friends north of the border who enjoy their OPC cards. But Spanish? Awesome. Donruss Estrellas. That's Not-English for "stars". Sheets is a "Lanzador", which is a very formal way of saying "not pitching for anyone this year". Funny, neither is Richie. Bummer, man.

2003 Fleer Ultra Gold Medallion (#139 Ben Sheets, #125 Jose Hernandez)

These cards are your standard cardboard. See that little cutout on the top and bottom? Genius. You wanted it, and Skybox delivered. Get those kids back on the wagon, we need more non-standard cards. Well, not really but they are pretty neat. Sheets still isn't pitching for anyone this year. You know, the Brewers never did announce whether or not they have had to pick up the tab on his surgery. It'd be interesting to find out.

1992 Topps Gold Teddy Higuera, 1999 Skybox Premium Jim Abbott

Teddy Higuera, arguably the greatest pitcher to don the Brewers uniform. Jim Abbott, arguably the greatest pitcher to have ONE HAND. One hand!!! As a child this always amazed me. The guy only had one hand and he managed to do everything better than me. He'd throw, pull the glove off his...handless arm, put the glove on his hand, field the ball, and throw the whole damn thing, glove and ball together, over to the first baseman. That's some Pitcher's Fielding Practice that's tough to teach, folks. That guy was a true hero to all para-athletes out there to be sure. And he played for the Crew, awesome.

2006 Fleer Ultra Rickie Weeks, 1991 Upper Deck Julio Machado

Rickie is leading the Brewers in HRs this year. That's right, the guy who hit just over the Mendoza line last year and has plagued the infield with errors for years, has perhaps finally found his swing and his glove, the same items that made him the ranchise prospect and future all these years. Then came Ryan Braun. But before that, Weeks was going to be the next Robin Yount for the Brew Crew. Well, to nobody's surprise, he's in a contract year and thriving. Isn't that odd when that happens? As I always say, you can't spell Rickie Weeks without 3 E's and 2 K's. Chew on that, kids.

Machado is a badass. Look at him.

Here's a neat scratchoff game from '94 that was included. I'd never seen this before. It features the Brewers "Notre Dame" logo that I never was a huge fan of, but that's alright too. Here's the back...

I think I'll leave this until the Brewers make it to the World Series. It may be a while, but man, it'll be worth it. I'll do this scratchoff and it'll predict the winner of game 1 - Milwaukee.

Well, that's it for a while folks. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we travel. We'll take some photos and I'll share those when we arrive in Charleston. Go Brewers!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shame on you, Mr. Manuel

Tonight Mets manager Jerry Manuel kept pitcher Mike Pelfrey in the game through six innings...after he had given up 3 balks.

Whatever the reason for Pelfrey's frustration, be it the obvious scouting by the Giants' staff, the unfortunate strike zone called by the home plate umpire, or the poor framing by Mets catcher Omir Santos, Pelfrey has been in a world of hurt tonight. Three balks in six innings.

THANKS for the visit to the mound, Jerry. Thanks for leaving poor Mike in their to commit three balks. The guy needs to hit the clubhouse, clear his head. You left him in there, to protect your struggling bullpen.

You are a horrible manager.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cards from GCRL...Round 2

Back in March I got a package from Jim over at GCRL, and the contents were overwhelming - hundreds and hundreds of Brewers cards, old, not-so-old, and friggin new. Lots of em. Too many for one post. I set aside another posts' worth of cards at that time for a second post - one that would come after I said thanks to a few others for gifts they sent.

We are in the middle of packing up our apartment as we prepare to move 3,000 miles away to sunny Charleston, SC a week from now. Underneath some books and papers was a small stack of cards...the very cards I set aside for the "Thanks GCRL 2 of 2" post. Here they are, folks! And once again, Jim, thanks for the cards.

I have two baseballs from major league baseball games. The first was the one that Paul Molitor threw to me and my father during warmups before a Brewers vs. Twins game in Minneapolis back in '87. I've told the story before as my entry for the Fifth Blog Bat can read it here. The second one was hit right to me during batting practice, at the same Metrodome in Minneapolis, once again before a Brewers vs. Twins game. Except this time, it came from a slightly more portly player on the Brewers team, Mr. Ron Belliard. I don't know if I still have that one.

I will never complain about an oddball card. There can be nothing wrong with them, because there is no "bar" set. They cannot disappoint. This one is no exception. And the Vuckovich card is from another generation. It's a bit harder to find a leg kick like this anymore...or a mustache like this. I still can't see a picture of him without thinking of nemesis of Rick Vaughn, Yankees slugger "Haywood". On a brief sidenote, it was revealed during the fifth inning of a Brewers/Astros game a few weeks ago that my wife had never seen "Major League". MLB Extra Innings was carrying the Astros broadcast of the game that night, and they had a guest in the booth...Mr. Bob Uecker. I went nuts. He was nothing short of genius, and I was laughing the whole time. I commented on how funny he was in "Major League". I was met by a blank stare on my wife's face. After the game, we watched the movie.

The Jenkins/Burnitz high five was a common site for a few years in Brew Town. This cards scores a couple runs because it's taken from a distance, which gives us two ballplayers frozen in time, with a sea of faceless fans behind them. I love it.

No matter what happened to Matt Childers, he could always brag to his children and grandchildren that he had two of the coolest baseball cards ever. I love these cards. Maybe it's the patriot in me, maybe I just like bright, shiny objects, but they work for me. Matt only made 11 major league appearances earlier in the decade. Last year he pitched for the Phillies AAA club, and this year he's pitching in Japan. Glad he's still in the game.

Add to the list of guys who become sluggers with the Brewers, leave, and then disappear. Maybe it's just him on this list, but for some reason I want to throw in Geoff Jenkins and Carlos Lee - although both of their situations are entirely different. Last season I went to about a dozen Mariners games here in Seattle. It didn't take the fans too long to start booing him last year.

One question, though. Future World Series Hero? What a crappy set. Did they mean that he would soon leave the Brewers for a larger market and hopefully more successful ballclub, or did they mean the Brewers would soon make it to the World Series? Either way, they lost. Dumb, dumb Upper Deck.

Finally, a minor league card. I know nothing about Leon Glenn, Jr, but I do know that he played for the one time A-affiliate Beloit Brewers. By the time I came into my "baseball adulthood", they were already the Beloit Snappers (easier to put a turtle suit on some guy than try to sell the whole "beer" thing to youngsters). The Milwaukee Brewers still own the rights to this logo, though, and as I've said before, I sure hope it'll find it's way onto the Brewers uniforms, at least as a sleeve patch. It shows Wisconsin pride. I like that.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

News...and Notes

First of all, the important stuff. I was notified by the Navy that my day of separation will be in two weeks - so, I have essentially 2 weeks to find a job in Charleston, SC (which is over 3,000 miles away) tie up all my loose ends with the Navy, work with my wife to sell whatever furniture we can on Craigslist, pack up the place, and done. The sofa I am sitting on right now will be gone tomorrow - so it's two weeks of sitting on dining room chairs in the living room. I love it.

We've decided to move to Charleston, SC instead of my hometown in Wisconsin for a couple of reasons, mostly relating to the job market and the economy. This will once again put me far away from the land of Cheese and Beer, but just for now. I still have MLB Extra Innings to fill me with my daily need for Brewers baseball.

Which brings me to last night's game...and Ryan Braun. The Crew is facing the MUCH hated Baby Bears from Chicago. I don't care what Cubbies fans say, this is a huge freakin rivalry and we hate them. This weekend is a 3-game series against Chicago, and the series opened with a bang last night. In the bottom half of the 8th last night, trailing the Cubs 2-1, Ryan Braun took a pitch to the bleachers in right center field, plating two runs and giving the Brewers the lead to cement a game 1 victory over the Cubs. 10 minutes later, "Hells Bells" rang true once again in Milwaukee, as closer Trevor Hoffman came in once again and earned his fifth save of the year.

The guys on Sportscenter this morning (actually, I think it was Neal Everett) made the same comment I made last night when he hit the homer. It was something to the effect of "last week he was on the bench with a sore back, and this week he's tearing it up". Actually, my story of last night's game is a bit better than that.

As I said, we're selling a lot of furniture and home furnishing stuff on Craigslist right now, and from about 1pm-8:30 last night I had people coming by to look at items and pick items up. This was during the Brewers/Cubs game last night, but I didn't let it stop me. A woman, her friend, and her child were standing in my living room inspecting the antique dresser they'd come to pick up (turns out, she was a Brewers fan and originally from West Allis, Wisconsin...small world) and I didn't let them stop me from watching the game. I answered questions while staring at the screen. As soon as Brauny hit the 2-run jack in the 8th inning, I channelled Howard Dean and started yelling something which the woman turned, smiled, and decided she'd take the dresser and it'd be a good time to leave. At least she bought the damn thing, and for helping load it/secure it in her truck, she through in an extra $10 on top of the price.

Thanks Brauny!

By the way, this is the 2009 Topps World Baseball Classic Ryan Braun card. This card is summer baseball. The sun, the smile, the sky, and the glisten in the eye that smacks of another summer filled with homers like the one we saw last night.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo!

Sunday, May 3rd: After being scratched from the lineup for two games, Ryan Braun stays in Milwaukee while the Brewers hit the road for a quick four game road trip in Pittsburgh and Cincy.

Monday, May 4th: MRI on Braun's back turns out negative, Braun boards a plane to join the Crew for their first game in Pittsburgh. At the 7:05pm game time, Braun is still flying en route to Pittsburgh, Bill Hall starts the game in Left Field.

Ryan Braun arrives in the dugout for the 2nd inning.

In the 8th inning with the bases load, Ryan Braun is brought into the game as a pinch hitter.

Braun swings at a 0-2 fastball, and hits a seeing-eye DOUBLE to right field to tie the game at 3-3.

Later, Rickie Weeks would homer to ensure the Brewers' 16th straight victory over the Pirates.

Tuesday, Cinco de Mayo: Tonight, Brauny is starting in left field. Happy Cinco de Mayo, ya'll!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Farewell to Foreign Shores...

Well, the day has come. It seems even the Department of the Navy is not recession proof.

I was just informed today by my chain of command that my rating conversion was denied by the Navy due to manning issues. In effect, I'm not being "retained" because too many people are staying in. Electrician's Mate Second Class at the plate, Honorable Discharge on deck, and Looking for a Job is in the hole.

This means in about 2 months, I will once again be a civilian for the first time in six years. And a long with that, comes the joy of searching for a job. With my transition just ahead, I will have to direct my baseball card budget to more important (gasp!) things - namely, savings account. Rainy day fund. Whatever you call the money saved up for when you lose your job.

I'll keep the posting up, because it's free. But it'll mostly be on Brewers baseball (also free) and odd kinds of themes I can come up with while parousing my stacks and rows and boxes of cards.
This also means the last 3 packages are being mailed out today - Matt F, Padrographs, and a little something for the ladies of Dinged Corners - and that'll be it for quite a while. The inbox will remain open, though, if anyone has to get rid of some cards of the Brewers persuasion.

At least Ryan Braun is healthy, right? Wait a second...

My foray into the world of...guest columnist?

I was recently invited by Matt F from Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius to be a contributor for his new project, A Pack To Be Named Later. The gist is to bust a pack of wax and share the cards - pretty simple. The goal is to cover everything and anything put on cardboard.

Here's my debut contribution...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Padrographs Delivers the Goods...More Brewers!

About a month and a half ago I received an email out of the blue from Rod over at Padrographs, asking for my mailing address as he'd recently put together some Brewers to send my way. I emailed him back from my work account (which ends in which started up a nice exchange. Turns out, the heart and soul of Padrographs is himself a Navy veteran as well. Thanks for your service to our country,Rod, and thanks for the Brewers!

2008 Topps Heritage Chrome #C228 Manny Parra (#1340/1959)
My favorite Brewers pitcher, Manny is off to a rough start this year. He's off to an 0-4 start, and his ERA is at 5.33 Not exactly the start he was looking for, but he is still a young guy. His problem (besides hanging up way too many curveballs) is the total lack of run support the Brewers are offering him. In his 5 starts this year, the Crew have only managed to plate 10 runs for him. That's 2 runs/game, and few pitchers in the league would have a winning record with that kind of offense behind them. His most recent 2 starts have given the Brewers a good sign, as he's allowed only 2 earned runs over 11 innings. The second factor is his 0-4 record? The Milwaukee bullpen. Some games they are on, and some they're off. Keep your chin up, Manny. It'll come around.

1992 Donruss Studio (#198 Greg Vaughn, #196 Franklin Stubbs)
These are great cards, and two Brewers featuring my all-time favorite Brewers uniforms - those from the early 90's, right before we switched to the crappy navy blue/green/gold Notre Dame logo and colors. Nothing against Notre Dame, but it's a rough switch for folks used to the whole blue and yellow thing for years. Some day I pray we'll go back to these jerseys. Not even the ones the Crew wear nowadays for Retro Fridays, but this one. It's the best.

By the way, take a gook at Vaughn's hair. Lovin it, Arsenio style.

Mat Gamel (2008 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects #BDPP83, 2008 Donruss Threads #98)

Now that Matt LaPorta is playing for the Cleveland Indians, Mat Gamel is the face of the Brewers future. He's a hard-hitting third baseman, and if he came up to the big league club he'd either be converted to an outfield position, or moved to 1B following a Prince Fielder trade (I'd prefer the later). I'm looking forward to seeing this kid play. Lolve the Threads card, according to which "...Gamel absolutely abused Southern League pitching." Ouch.

1994 Extra Bases #98 Ricky Bones
These came out right after I stopped collecting baseball cards in my youth - during the strike-ruined season of 1994. Ricky Bones was a great pitcher that year, making his only All-Star team. He came to Milwaukee with a couple other guys in the trade that sent long-time Brewers farm system product Gary Sheffield to the Padres. He was known most famously for his great hair.

Why any card company would produce a non-standard sized card just baffles me. It's like a new kid coming to your school - he looks kind of like you, but just a bit odd. You don't know if he's good at kickball or not, so you don't pick him. These cards were doomed from the start. Nice hair, though.

Prince Fielder ('09 UD #215, '09 Topps Attax Code Card, '08 UD Timeline #19)

Three words: On Base Percentage. So far this season, Fielder's OBP is at .405! He is among league leaders in walks with 21 free passes, and is on pace to become the first player in Milwaukee Brewers franchise history to draw 100 walks in a single season. I'm not complaining about his lack of power, because he's getting on base. The guy just never seems to get a hit when there are men on base. Solo homers are his thing so far this year, but I guess that's alright too. I'm just glad to see him walking a while lot more instead of striking out like a bastard.

If anyone wants to see if the code on this Topps Attax card is still good, and wants to use it, feel free.

Paul Molitor (1985 Topps #522, 1991 Donruss Studio #73)

Love me some Molitor. It must have been a huge kick in the pants for Twins fans when the Brewers drafted him. He grew up in St. Paul, MN, just like current Twins hometown favorite Joe Mauer, and they both actually hail from the same prep school, Cretin Derham Hall. It'd be as if the Brewers had drafted Joe Mauer instead of the Twins. Man, that'd have pissed them off! Glad he played for us, although he would have really helped out the Twinkies during their championships in '87 and '91. Turns out they were just fine without him.

1997 Donrus Signature Kevin Wickander, 1994 UD Prospect #173 Kelly Wunsch
This is a no-kidding autograph card of Kevin Wickander. I haven't heard his name in quite a while, not since he was sentenced to 4 years in prison for a combination of petty theft, and other things related to Meth possession, burglary, and other crimes. Yes, Meth. Turns out that was Kevin's favorite "beverage of choice". You've heard Rick James on the Chappelle show, right? Talking about the white stuff? Well here's Wickander's take on Meth: "I ain't gonna bullsh*t you, man, it's an awesome drug." Well alright, Kevin. That stuff is scary, and it ruined a great career of one of the games most lights-out situational guys. Take a lesson from Kevin's book, kids. Just say no to drugs.

The Wunsch card is here only because it's a sky, there's nothing better than a minor ball player with nothing but a sky full of blue behind him. Beautiful photograph. It also includes the old "Beloit Brewers" logo. Beloit was the former single-A affiliate for the Brewers. They still own the logo, although the team is now a Twins farm club. I say they bring back the Wisconsin/Ball-and-glove logo as a sleeve patch for the Brewers. That'd be great.

1996 Topps #279 Steve Sparks RC
Three different elements make this an outstanding baseball card. First of all, it's another sky shot. You can't lose with a sky shot. Secondly, it's a wide-angle shot. Those always win, whether or not there are fans present. Finally, it features old Milwaukee County Stadium. I'm a fan. In fact, here's another card that Rod sent me featuring the old place, .

Finally, a card featuring "The Kid".

2002 UD Piece of History #51 Robin Yount

The baseball cards weren't even the best part of this package from Portland, Oregon. The little extras really made it a great package to come home to that day. Greeting me inside was a postcard featuring the not-so-well-known "Wild Mountain Boys" of the now defunct Fonotone Records. Perhaps there's some connection here that I'm missing...or else it's just a postcard he had handy. In any event, I listened to some of their stuff online, and it's not half bad. I recommended it to my father.

Along with a stick of the new generation of baseball card bubble gum, I found this little dandy that immediately became my favorite pen. That's right, a baseball bat pen. Word.

Thanks again Rod for the great cards, and the thoughtful gifts. Whenever work quiets down, I should finally be able to get this huge stack of Friars cards in the mail.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


The worst part about living away from Wisconsin (apart from Brewers baseball) is the lack of Leinenkugel's Beer. It's a small, craft beer brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin (or as my wife says, "Chippa Waffles") and they continue to put out some of the best beer around. It wasn't until recently, maybe 2 years ago, that they began to sell beer outside of the Wisconsin/Minnesota area. In fact, we had it at our wedding down in Charleston, SC last fall.

Well, here in the Seattle area they have finally began to carry one variety of a time of the Leinie's. And the newest member of the family, Leinenkugel's Classic Amber, was immediately shipped to the left coast. For us, of course. Ah, bask in the beauty.

Off my chest...

There have been a few recent stories in professional sports that have stirred up some feelings inside me (or maybe it's this early Saturday morning coffee). I have to get a few things off my chest.

1. NO INSTANT REPLAY IN BASEBALL. I repeat, NO instant replay in baseball. In case you missed it (and if you're like last night's 3rd base umpire Brian Gorman, you DID miss it) the Brewers lost to the struggling D-backs 5-2 last night. The game was tied 2-2 in the 8th inning when a foul-ball-called-fair turned into a 2-run double giving the Arizona the lead, a lead they'd hold onto for the win. A couple of things - first of all, that call didn't cause the Brewers to lose. Their inability to score through the first 6 innings caused the Brewers to lose. Also their inability to score any runs after the 7th inning caused them to lose. Catch my drift? That call just gave the D-backs two extra runs. And it only takes 1 run to win a game, that run they'd get in an entirely different inning.

Aside from last night's game, though, I think Jason Kendall puts it best. When asked about instant replay in baseball, he said "That's the beauty of baseball. And the pain." YES! Billy Idol gets it, come on people! Baseball is still a pure sport because we haven't taken the human element of JUDGEMENT out of it. It's the mistakes that make this game human, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Even for home run calls. No instant replay in baseball.

2. KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF SPORTS. You have probably heard about the Texas congressman who is trying to get a bill passed through congress that would in effect ELIMINATE the BCS from college football, instead forcing a government-backed playoff system. The BCS is of course against this because this would all but destroy the "bowl game" that has been a part of NCAA seasons for generations. Not to mention, the amount of sales, merchandise, and advertising revenue that would no longer pad the pockets of so many of those NCAA football brass and bowl organizers.

I don't like the BCS. I would prefer a playoff system. Of course, I wouldn't lose any money on the switch, so it's easy for me to say. A playoff system (like EVERY OTHER SPORT IN THE COUNTRY USES) determines a clear, definitive, and deserving champion each and every time. No "Co-National Champions" in the playoff system. Who wants that on their car's license plate frame? If you made the playoff field large enough (say, 32 teams) the revenue would still be there, and the Champion wouldn't have to play too many more games. Solution? Only have 2 season opening non-conference games to allow for the longer "post-season".

Back to the point, though. BCS or playoff, the United States Government should have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. Socialism anyone? I'm sure you've heard the critics of our president calling him a "socialist" or a "marxist", but doesn't this college football issue smack of just that? The government has no business telling college football what to do, how to do, or when to do their business. Nor does it matter what the hell Obama says about "BCS or playoff". Why should that matter?

Along with this matter, I don't want the Mitchell Report, I don't want Senate subcommitties interviewing current or former baseball players on whether or not they used steroids. I don't agree with steroids, but neither do I think the government should tell us who should or should not be in the hall of fame. And they aren't "saying" that, but they are. Named, and you're doomed. Please tell me what baseball has to do with Congressional Subcommities.

3. GROW UP, A-ROD! I am sure you don't want to hear yet another person's take on the whole A-Roid thing, but bear with me. The first time he got caught, he said it wasn't true. Then he came on national TV with a major network interview, and said he did. But just for a couple years. That's it.

Then more information surfaces, supporting that perhaps he wasn't being entirely truthful. Get outta here, really? It would be kind of odd, for a baseball player to just up and start using performance enhancing drugs, and then just up and drop them all together. Or maybe it's just me. For anyone to believe that he stopped taking them when he was traded to the Yankees is ridiculous. Not only was the city bigger, but his payroll was the biggest. EVER. Also, he was moving to the largest city in the country, with the most fans, and largest media market. No pressure, there. I'm sure he didn't feel that pressure, either. Give me a freakin break. I don't even want to talk about the rest of the new information.

My solution? Well, after he comes on national TV AGAIN to appologize to the fans, and his teammates for lieing AGAIN, Bud Selig should ban him from baseball. End of story. That way, we won't have to worry about the A-Rod Hall of Fame debate which is sure to ensue the moment he announces his retirement sometime down the road. It also sets a precident for all other current and future ballplayers. Use drugs, you're out. Pete Rose, in his entire playing or managerial career, NEVER CHEATED AT THE GAME. And yet he may never step foot in Cooperstown, New York. I don't want it to be an asterisk record book, I don't want it to be something "we just don't discuss at the dinner table", I want it cut and dry. Get this sh*t over with.

Allelujiah, where's the Tylenol.

Friday, May 1, 2009

2006 Tristar Prospect Plus #81 Ryan Braun

Oh no, not again!

Nope, not again. One quick look at the back of this card will reveal a hidden gem. A diamond in a pile of coal.

I hope the person that did this didn't lose their job. Well, at least two people saw this before it hit the shelves - the designer and the editor, and I'm sure more were in the line of people who see a baseball card before it gets the "good-to-go" stamp of approval.

The problem with this beauty, is I really don't know whose card this is, Ryan Z. Braun or Ryan J. Braun? Z's picture is on the front, as well as his team's logo on the back. But my Brew Crew Braun is pictured on the back, not to mention his stats are the ones listed as well.

So which is it, Z or J?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fill my eyes...there's no disguise...

Why is it that whenever I purchase some retail packs (remind me again, why'd I put myself through this once more?) I always meet the same doom.


And I'm not talking one pair of doubles, I'm talking multiple pairs. It's almost as if the card companies think that I build one set for myself, and another to sell everytime I buy cards. The bastardos.

2009 Upper Deck First Edition

I bought two packs (total of 20 cards) for a grand total of $1.98 + tax at the local Target. Here are the spoils:


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It was an accident!

That's what Pirates' pitcher Jeff Karstens said after last night's game. In the 3rd inning, Karstens drilled Braun in the back with a fastball - two innings after Braun hit a solo homer off the right-hander. Later in the game, Braun would draw a walk (this time, not from a fastball in the back), and took nearly 15 seconds to make his way to 1st base. That's my boy. Of course, both sides were warned and no retribution was made during the game.

The fun part about all of this doesn't occur until tonight during Brewers batting practice before game 2 of the Pittsburgh series in Milwaukee. I guess Braun still hadn't seen a replay of the hit-by-pitch until this afternoon, and as mad as he sounded last night after the game, didn't compare to this afternoon. Though he knew last night's beaning was intentional, today he sounded convinced that it wasn't Karstens, but Pittsburgh manager John Russell's idea to hit the left fielder on his first at bat following the first-inning homer. The fact that Karstens wouldn't even look at Brauny after it happened, kind of backs up this idea. Interesting...

Unfortunately, Braun also made a mistake of his own tonight - sending a sort of "message" to the MLB Commissioner's office. From Brewers beat reporter Tom Haudricort...

"Issuing a not-so-wise warning to the commissioner’s office, Braun added, “We play them about 17 more times (actually 13). Tell Mr. Selig, we’ll see what happens. It’s going to be interesting.”

, Brauny. Now you have the Pirates and the league office pissed at you.

Generosity of Dinged Corners

Our favorite desert baseball flowers from Dinged Corners were kind enough to think of me when they came across some Brewers cards in a recent '09 Topps Heritage purchase they made. Well, the first one I kind of asked for - but along with that, they included three other cards of beautiful wonderment. Thanks to Patricia and Lucy for these!

2009 Topps Heritage #121 Angel Salome RC
I have said before that I like the 1960 choice for Topps Heritage this year, but the orange of this card really bothers me. And not "bothers me" as in a good "bothers me", but a sort of nagging annoyance, kind of like the thumping bass of some kid's little honda down the street. You can't hear the music, but you can hear this faint, annoying bass thump. It's kind of like that. But this card is beautiful, what with the pint-sized Catcher showing his a still photo. Anyhow, he's third in line to take over the catching job in Milwaukee whenever Jason Kendall decides to hang 'em up. I have a feeling this guy will be ahead of Wisconsin native Vinny Rottino, though, should he stay healthy.

2009 Topps Heritage #NAP10 Ryan Braun
Not only a great Brewers card, but also a card I can take off my Ryan Braun wantlist now. Good stuff, here. Last night he had another homer in our 10-5 victory over the Pirates. He's also the newest member of the Pawtucket Patriots fantasy baseball club. I had to trade catcher Joe Mauer to get him, but with Mauer still on the DL and my other catcher Jason Veritek at least holding his own in points, I thought it a smart move.

2008 Bowman Chrome First #BCP38 Mike Brantley

So, you've heard about that "player to be named later", haven't you? Well, here he is folks. Mr. Michael Brantley. In last year's trade between the Brewers and the Tribe that sent CC Sabathia to Milwaukee, the main player sent to Cleveland was Brewers top prospect Matt LaPorta. Also were a couple other prospects, and then in October Mike Brantley was named as the final piece of the trade. He's a hell of a ball player, and I'm sure he'll be seeing some time w/ the Tribe soon. Right now's he's up in AAA Columbus, and not on the 40-man roster for the big league club. Give it time, kiddo.

1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier #131 Robin Yount

In the Yount binder already, but what a great card. In 1991 (photo most likely from 1990) Yount had already been in the majors for 16 seasons, but look at that quick first step...he had that until he played his final game. God blessed him with great health, and he worked hard to stay in shape (enter enhibit A, his forearms). And everyone enjoys a great Canadian card every once in a while. Haha, Yount is a voltigeur.

Thanks again for the fine cards, gals.