Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgavin


Happy Thanksgavin from my card collection, featuring an autograph from the legendary Edie McClurg. Picked that up for a few bucks over the summer.

Hey, re: Mr. Stearnes, I finally got a couple extra "Neglected HOFers" custom sets (15 cards) printed up if anyone wants to trade me for one.

Paula in the kitchen working on the big meal. Be sure to check out my MusiCards blog. I'm gonna try to do a holiday surprise for the regulars over there.

Ruby celebrated her 6-month birthday recently. She looked more like a black lab as a tiny pup, but you can see her husky coloring coming out as she gets older. No one has ever punched me in the balls more than this dog. How I hate her. But she's a cutie.

Ruby got spayed the other day and we thought it might slow her down a little, but no, she was back to her queen-bitch self the next day. So much damn wolf blood in her that nothing seems to faze her. Pretty sure she's got some honey badger in her, too.

Fun with a Darryl Strawberry mailday yesterday.

I got one of these fiberoptic toys earlier in the year and I love it! I remember being fascinated by them when I was a kid. Highly recommended. (See also my previous post with the Lux pic.)

It's the first Thanksgiving in my lifetime with no turkey. My wife and I are doing hickory smoked ham and I'm totally cool with that. Pumpkin pie with whip cream for dessert, so that's really all I give a shit about, lol. (Strawberry/Rhubarb is another tasty option.) But yeah, hopefully next year we're back to a normal big family meal. Hope you all are having a good day, too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

2020 recap of Gavins and Guys From Granite

I like to do yearly recaps of the active non-star players I collect. Honestly, these such posts are mostly for me, because otherwise sometimes I forget to check in on these guys! But I get a blog post out of it, and hopefully a few readers find this stuff mildly interesting too.

However, with the cancelation of the 2020 minor league season, there's not a whole lot to report this year. So I'm combining the guys who share my first name and the guys who went to my high school in one post.

Gavin Lux - In really the only good news to mention in this entire post, 2020 marked the first time ever that a guy named Gavin won a World Series. It's a proud moment for us Gavins everywhere! lol. (Honorable mention to Scott Gavin Erickson with the '91 Twins.)

But otherwise it was a disappointing season for a kid who was projected to be a frontrunner for NL Rookie of the Year. Lux didn't impress in training camp and didn't make the opening day roster. He made it up to the bigs for 19 games (down from his 23-game call-up in 2019) and hit just .175 for the Dodgers. His lone postseason appearance was a strikeout in the NLDS.

But yeah, 2020 was a weird season and you gotta take these stats with a grain of salt. Collectors haven't given up on him yet, as his cards still ain't cheap. I haven't added any new Lux cards to my collection this year other than maybe a base card or two from a trade package, as any card that caught my eye seemed to creep out of the price range I was comfortable with.

But here's hoping he bounces back for a strong 2021 season. (Or if he continues to struggle, well, the silver lining for me is his card prices could finally chill out.)

Gavin LaValley - Big Gav was sadly among the 48 minor leaguers that the Reds released at the conclusion of training camp this past June. After a so-so second go-round in Double-A the previous year, LaValley looked like a longshot to make the majors, but were it not for covid crapping on everything, he possibly would have gotten a shot in AAA. He turns 26 next month and I'm not holding my breath for another club to sign him for 2021, but best of luck to him. If he's hung up his cleats for the final time, I wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life!

Gavin Cecchini - The Diamondbacks gave Cecchini a look in spring training, but he didn't stick with them and was released in May. He had earlier been on track to play pro ball in Australia, but the wild brushfires scared him back to the States just in time for the pandemic, lol. What an awful time in civilization we live in! He'll be 27 next month and may very well be done in organized ball. But like with LaValley, I'm wishing him the best of luck.

Here are some more minor league Gavins that spent 2020 in limbo but hopefully take the field for official MiLB games next year:

Gavin Collins
Gavin Collyer
Gavin Garay
Grant Gavin
John Gavin
Gavin Hollowell
Gavin Jones
Gavin Sheets
Gavin Stupienski
Gavin Wallace

Good luck, Gavins!

As for Guys From Granite, no 2020 stats from anybody to report.

Travis Taijeron had been back with the Mets in camp this spring, but was among the 39 players New York released in May. He'll be 32 next season, so that might be it for him on the diamond. I'd be surprised if he's still playing next year, but I wish him the best!

There are 3 other active players who went to Granite Hills High School hoping to return to the field in '21: Trenton Brooks, Andrew Brown, and Jordan Verdon. No Granite grads have been drafted since Verdon in 2018, but hopefully we get some new blood in pro ball soon.

Thanks for reading and have a great holiday weekend.

Monday, November 23, 2020

High Shelf Esteem

I've been in my new house for over a month now. Making progress getting it how I like it, with little tweeks/improvements here and there, though my job and a hyper puppy cut down on the time/energy I've got available to really go to town. But the card room took a big step forward over the weekend.

Scored a free spice rack / curio shelf from a local "buy nothing" Facebook group that was exactly what I had in mind for a little display shelf on the lone bare wall in my tiny card room.

After mounting it up, the first order of business was putting together a Dick Allen corner. I've got a nice assortment of various goodies from him that I thought it would present nicely together. Others seem to agree, as I tweeted out this pic and it "went viral" by my standards with 100+ likes!

Here's a full view of how it stands at the moment. The other top corner features Kirby Puckett. Then the lower two shelves are just crammed with other favorite cards n' such thrown in there willy nilly as a "first draft"-- Much of these came from unpacking my evacuation keepers stash.

I'm thinking I'll probably overhaul it every few months, with new themes/cards. For instance, maybe a month or so with all my Ghostbusters autos on display, another month with Sandlot stuff, and another with my best MST3K stuff, and so on. Even though the area is free from direct sunlight, I don't want to put anything out on display indefinitely for fear it'll eventually start to fade. Plus I want to keep it in a state of where it'll make me smile everytime I look at it, without letting it get stale, and hopefully it'll help me appreciate my collection to its fullest, with various parts of my collection getting a chance to shine. So yeah, expect to see periodic cardroom display updates on the blog going forward!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Waiting For COMC / Pedro pickups

I finally pulled the trigger on a COMC order I'd been building for over a year. I was hoping to wait until they got their long shipping delays under control, but no such luck. At this point, I figured I should at least get in the queue before the Black Friday sales add to the bottleneck.

The shipment includes 189 cards. (Apparently they don't do the $5 credit for every 100 cards anymore, but I had originally planned to go to 200.) My estimated ship date is 2/18/2021. Now we wait!

I believe this is my 30th order from COMC. That's the above 20 plus 10 more "Other Shopping Cart Purchases" between 3/19/13 and 1/9/15 that are counted differently for some reason.

Ah, remember the good old days of $3 flat shipping and it just took about a couple weeks to show up to your door? Now it's $4.99 and 3+ months. I think I'm gonna try giving the Sportlots "box" thing a try and use COMC less until they get their shit together.

Here are a couple recent Sportlots pickups. These were both 1-card purchases, and even with the separate shipping, they ran me about a buck each and took about a week to show up. Best price on COMC right now is $7.25 for the '09 Update and $19.99 for the Heritage. Don't forget about that $4.99 shipping and a 3+ month wait. Ok, I'm done bitching about COMC now; sorry for the negativity.

But back to the cards, I've got a decent Pedro PC with 100+ different cards, but it bugged me I didn't have any cards from his 2009 sunset stint with the Phillies. I remember I was pretty excited when he came back mid-season. He was solid for Philadelphia and I had hoped he'd make a similar return in 2010, but nope.

Another Pedro Martinez card I scored recently was this one for my 2004 Topps Chrome black refractor set. Love these rainbow in the dark beauties! It's the 250th card I've added out of 487 on my checklist, good for 51.3% complete. 2004 was a good year for Pedro, adding a World Series ring to go along with his 3 Cy Young awards.

Thanks for swinging by.

p.s. While we're at it, here's a couple bonus 2004 black refractors for the birthday boys today.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Kerry Cards

Unfortunately covid kinda put the kibosh on in-person card swaps downtown with fellow Portlander Kerry of the blog Cards on Cards, but there's still the handy USPS to help us out (in exchange for a reasonable fee). 

Several terrific highlights in this latest crosstown package, but I gotta give the shiny Juan Soto relic top billing. I've got a respectable little Soto PC, but I think this is the first swatch linked to him in my collection.

The shine continues on this trio of players who were pretty hot a year or two ago but seemed to cool off this year. Still welcomed in my collection!

Some "free card friday" picks here. The last batch of cards I got from Kerry included several of those Tatis inserts, but I still needed this pair (There are 30 total of these things, geez).

Three additions to my Damian Lillard collection, plus a slick Chrome Hammer and a dilemma of which PC the Phillies card goes to.

I called dibs on these Victory cards from another Free Card offering a while back.

The '90 Donruss lot was a pleasant surprise. Now there's a sentence that very few people have ever said! LOL, but no, I mean it.. would love to put this set to bed before the 30th anniversary year ends. Time's running out for that, but as for base cards, I'm now down to just the Chris Bosio DK (#20) and #276 Paul Kilgus. I think I only had a couple of the MVP inserts before Kerry hooked me up with most of them. I've got 7 more of those left on my wantlist, plus one more Yaz puzzle piece (19+20+21), and all dozen of the Grand Slammers. It's funny, I have the Smoltz MVP error picturing Tom Glavine that I pulled myself way back when, but don't think I ever had the corrected version before this.

Another "junk" set that I've been trying to complete for the past couple years after receiving a starter lot. Still a handful of '88 Fleer left on my wants, but the end's in sight. Nice bunch here including a Caminiti rookie.

I finished '79 Topps recently, but these upgrades are appreciated to help sharpen up my set a bit.

My Xander Bogaerts PC got a surprise boost with an oversized box topper and Chrome parallel, both from 2020 Stadium Club. What a shot of him getting loose on the field before game two of the 2019 MLB London Series against the Yankees at West Ham London Stadium.

I happened to have a spare frame handy, so I've framed the big one up for now.

Big thanks, Kerry! Eclectic mix of good stuff. I'll get a return over to you soon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

We like ROY

Sort of a random little post revisiting 3 cards and taking a look at 3 new additions. 

Despite my half-hearted attempt to rebrand myself as The Pre-Covid Collector, I find myself with nice cards of each of the recently announced 2020 Rookie of the Year winners. The pair of Kyle Lewis refractors were a surprise in a Zippy Zapping from a couple years ago. While I'm always happy to receive random shiny prospect cards, gotta admit at the time I didn't see him ending up as the unanimous AL ROY.. very nice surprise, indeed.
The Devin Williams auto was included in a lot of nine cheap Bowman autos I bought in 2014 during a combined shipping eBay spree with a few other items from one seller. The other 8 prospects in that auto lot have pretty much all faded away, but nice to see Devin break out with a dominant shortened season. I sure don't own many 1st Bowman autos of ROYs, so that's pretty cool, even if his card prices aren't too wild as a 26-year old relief pitcher. While it would have been nice for me to see Padre Jake Cronenworth take home the award in the NL, well, I don't own any of his cards, so screw him, lol.

The Diamond King reached out to me shortly after I moved offering up this second-year Mike Schmidt card. Heck yeah! He seemed to indicate the condition left something to be desired, but no, it fits in perfectly with the rest of my 1974 Topps setbuild. There are a lot of '74s currently populating my Desperate Dozen sidebar wantlist as I make a push to close out this set sooner rather than later, and this is a big one to check off. Just 35 cards left to go. (Be sure to appreciate the bullpen cart in the background!)

Michael Jack Schmidt had trouble making contact during his rookie campaign, so no ROY votes for him-- Gary Matthews of the Giants took it that year-- but he figured it out the next year and went on to become an all-time great.

Big thanks, DK! Glad you're feeling better now. I haven't had much luck finding cards on your wantlist, but hope to return the favor soon.

Here's a very shiny Jose Abreu card. He was an unanimous selection as AL ROY in 2014 and has been consistently solid since.
My favorite part about this sweet card...

Christmas Card!

Featured here on another super shiny card from 2019, Eric Hosmer placed 3rd in AL ROY voting in 2011 behind Jeremy Hellickson and Mark Trumbo.

This gold wave refractor and the Abreu orange wave refractor were scored in an easy PWE purchase from @MashingDingers on Twitter. Took a while to find my mailbox, forwarded from my old address, but eventually showed up safe and sound. Thanks, Eric!

That's all for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Sentimental Sundays: my old t-shirt collection

One thing that kinda got dug up during the recent move was my t-shirt collection. Ok, I don't really have a t-shirt collection, per se, but I have a dozen or so old shirts that I don't wear anymore yet keep around for sentimental reasons, so I suppose that could be considered a t-shirt collection. I figured I'd take a few photos and get a Sentimental Sundays post out of them before sealing them back up in storage.

Back in July, posted an old photo of me wearing this shirt at Disneyland in that post about my old best friend Doug moving up to Portland. Quick update on Doug, he's settling in great. Happy to see him already hitting it off with a new ladyfriend. She seems cool, though I haven't met her yet.. damn covid putting a strain on get-togethers. (Doug's ex-wife unfriended me on Facebook soon after they split. WTF? I bit my tongue so many times to keep things cordial with that awful woman, not letting her estrange me from my friend like she did with his family,  and she proves herself to be a c*nt to the end. So glad I don't have to deal with her bullshit ever again.)

Here's another Ghostbusters shirt. This one is actually an old pajama top. Both these Ghostbusters shirts  glow in the dark , and I've now got them on display in my fledgling Glow-in-the-Dark Museum/Bathroom I've got going in the new house. I'll do a separate post on that one of these days where you'll get a look at them glowing.

In high school, Doug and I had a band called The Chifaros. And when I say we were a band, I mean we would just bullshit about all the cool/kooky things we wanted to do when we got our band off the ground, while in reality we only jammed music together once in a blue moon, with results that no one would ever want to listen to. But it was fun to dream. At some point I made this shirt with a photo that was slated to be an album cover, probably wearing it to school once or twice.

I've mentioned that I was into The Draw Squad with Capt. Mark Kistler (a PBS drawing show) in elementary school a couple times on the blog in the past, including the first Sentimental Sundays post and the story of my first TTM request. I'd still wear this shirt today if only it fit me!

Haha, despite all the baggage surrounding Michael Jackson's legacy, this shirt still makes me laugh. This one actually wasn't mine as a kid, but rather it belonged to Doug. I used to give him a hard time about it (this was circa Nevermind when Michael Jackson wasn't cool anymore-- Doug never wore it much since elementary school, but I think he occasionally wore it as PJs through middle school), and one day I talked him into giving the shirt to me to preserve it rather than let him get rid of it. I think I even wore it ironically once or twice before outgrowing it.

Another Michael Jackson shirt! This one was mine, but not from childhood-- it was a thriftstore find during high school. I actually wore it occasionally before it started getting too frayed around the collar. And it was only semi-ironic, more like an obscure Star Wars reference (well, from the mind of George Lucas). I saw Captain EO at Disneyland back in the day, so it was a nostalgic thing for me.

Oh man, this was my coolest shirt as a kid! I remember feeling like a badass when I'd wear it, lol. Not sure if T&C Surf Designs is remembered much today other than maybe for the old NES video game, but back in the day, at least in my So Cal neighborhood, they were among the most respected designer clothes on the schoolyard. See also Stussy, Quicksilver, Rusty, Billabong, and No Fear.

Here's the back. Beautiful, right?! I used this as a rag for a while after retiring it from my rotation, so it's got some stains now.

Mickey Mouse. Wore this one a lot in elementary school.

Name ironed onto the back! Gotta love it.

Hey, here's one that could legitimately have a place in a real t-shirt collection. This is an authentic Late Night with Conan O'Brien shirt that I got from an acquaintance who performed on the show. 

He was the drummer in Dig.

Closer look at the embroidery. I'd say I'm a fan of Conan, though it's been years since I've watched him with any regularity. But yeah, cool to have swag originating from his classic show.

This post is getting long, so we'll cut out with these few more old shirts of mine, each rich with memories.

Do you have any old clothes you don't wear anymore but can't bear to part with?

Thanks for reading.