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!!