New Year, Figuring Some Stuff Out

O HAY THAR

I hope that your holidays and non-holidays went well, or if they didn’t, I hope you’re on the mend from them.

There’s nothing specific that I’m going to be writing about here today, but rather, I wanted to check in and see what subjects y’all would like to see me write about here, moving forward.

This site was born out of the wreckage of a trading card site, and I’ll certainly continue to be writing about cards as things come up (though admittedly, new product from both the physical and digital card worlds left me seriously uninspired in 2017, and I bought and acquired very little of it).

I also like writing about all 14,378,112 of my other hobbies, as well, but I’m finding that, as I have other websites (one of which being one that I’m starting to be more active on, but it’s also one I’ve consciously avoided directly connecting to this site, because I wanted some boundaries in my life), some of those subjects feel more organic elsewhere. My music listening, for instance, feels more like it belongs on my personal site than this site, just because I think to write about music there more freely and easily, so that’ll probably live over there moving forward, and those of you who want to read about it will have to read personal life stuff and occasional politics stuff and other weird, quasi-vulgar things about potato salad, too, things that I consciously do not put on this site about hobbies (though my very basic cooking adventures are becoming a bit of a hobby, admittedly).

The following other subjects, aside from the aforementioned ones (music and trading cards of either the physical or digital variety), have been covered since I launched this site, and I’m definitely curious as to which ones people would really like to see stay here:

Flea Market Trips
Toys
Tabletop Games
Comic Books
Fantasy Baseball
Video Games
Travel

These don’t include the following, which I name in my “About” section…

Books
T-Shirts
Musical Instruments
Movies
The Internet

…or do they include a bunch of others that I’ve never discussed here, but which I’m too tired to list all of right this second. (Recovering from a pretty nasty flu at the moment, after all. It’s taken me a few days to feel healthy enough to string together sentences at even this primitive level, but I’m getting there now.)

I take at least a passing interest in a lot of different things. Mostly, in talking about all of this here and now, I’m trying to feel you all out on which of these things you’d most like to hear more from me about. Input’s welcome and appreciated as long as it’s kind.

Aside from “a more active one”, hopefully, what sort of site would you like this to be?

Roy Halladay 1977-2017

Roy Halladay was one of the best pitchers I’ve ever seen.

For perspective, here’s an incomplete list of other Hall of Fame, future Hall of Fame, and just plain great pitchers that I have specific recollections of having seen pitch live during their Major League careers, either in person or on television:

Tom Seaver
Steve Carlton
Phil Niekro
Don Sutton
Nolan Ryan
Dennis Eckersley
Rich Gossage
Bert Blyleven
Tom Glavine
Greg Maddux
Randy Johnson
Pedro Martinez
John Smoltz
Roger Clemens
Mariano Rivera
Curt Schilling
Clayton Kershaw
Trevor Hoffman
Justin Verlander
Andy Pettitte
Jack Morris
Mike Mussina
CC Sabathia
Tommy John
Ron Guidry
David Cone
Max Scherzer
Kevin Brown
Orel Hershiser
Bartolo Colon
Dwight Gooden
David Wells
Zack Greinke
Jon Lester
Johan Santana
David Price
Adam Wainwright
Cliff Lee
Chris Carpenter
Felix Hernandez
Dan Quisenberry
Fernando Valenzuela
Tim Hudson
Jimmy Key
Tim Lincecum
Kenny Rogers
Roy Oswalt
Madison Bumgarner
Corey Kluber
Mike Scott
Jamie Moyer
Chris Sale
Cole Hamels
Mark Buehrle
Kenley Jansen
Stephen Strasburg
Kerry Wood
Hideo Nomo
Orlando Hernandez
Mark Prior
Dontrelle Willis
Teddy Higuera
Jose Fernandez

Roy Halladay was better than most of those guys.

Ryan, Maddux, Johnson, Pedro, Clemens, Rivera…he was as good as any of them, and consistently better than just about any active pitcher I’ve seen. His work ethic and preparation were unmatched (and the stuff of legend, to the point where I think he scared some of his contemporaries), and it was such a pleasure to watch him work, even if he was in the process of dismantling the team you typically rooted for.

While I never got to see him pitch in person, he’s the only pitcher I’ve ever seen throw a no-hitter in its entirety (only on television, but still). I’ve caught no-hitters in the middle, I’ve caught them at the end, I heard the first 4 innings of David Wells’ perfect game on the radio and thought “Man, he’s dealing today”, then got out of the car and found out about it later, but I saw every single pitch of Halladay’s postseason no-hitter, and save for a bullshit call that led to Jay Bruce’s walk (YEAH, I SAID IT, I DON’T CARE IF PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO BE CLASSY RIGHT NOW, JOHN HIRSCHBECK BLEW THAT CALL), it was glorious.

It is also worth mentioning that, for a guy who came of age in New York in the mid-1980s, Roy Halladay was so good that I was more than OK with people calling him “Doc”. In fact, when I woke up to messages about Roy’s passing a few hours ago, all I saw initially was “Doc”, and I feared the worst in those first few seconds for Dwight Gooden, before I realized that the person talking about “Doc” was Canadian, and then the wheels started turning in that direction. For the record, losing Doc Halladay this week is every bit as sad for me as things would’ve been had we lost Doc Gooden this week.

Since this is a site about collecting things, and I do collect baseball cards of Roy Halladay, I should probably talk some about that, too. I actually don’t have a huge number of his cards. Now, it should be said that I’m a set-builder more than a player collector, and I do have a good number of his cards in sets I’ve completed or am trying to complete (I’m pretty sure that I have all of his base Topps cards, including his rookie card, and I have the card at the top of this post, which was probably my favorite of his), but even with that in mind, and though I obviously liked him a bunch, Roy Halladay’s section in Box 1 of my star card boxes isn’t overflowing with cards the way Vladimir Guerrero’s and Wade Boggs’ sections are (a few dozen for Roy, compared to a couple hundred Vlads and about 100 Boggs cards). Looking through the rest of that box, the number of Roy’s cards I have would be about even with Felix Hernandez, which makes a little sense, as they were contemporaries as starting pitchers who I both liked. (I probably end up with more cards of position players than pitchers, even if I really love a lot of pitchers. Not sure why that is.) One of them’s still playing, though, so that’s not an entirely even comparison. It could just be that people are not usually willing to let go of their Roy Halladay cards, and I’d accept that as reasonable.

I also don’t have Roy’s autograph (and while this is about the most trivial part of this tragedy, to the point where I feel a little embarrassed even mentioning it, that just got a good deal harder to get), and I don’t have any game-used relic cards of his, either. I had one years ago, and I promptly gave it to a friend who is not a big card collector, but is one of the biggest Roy Halladay fans I know, and, in fact, is the person I mentioned above, who messaged me to tell me he’d passed. I know he already enjoyed it, but I hope he and his family continue to, even if it’s undoubtedly gonna be bittersweet moving forward.

Other people, much closer to the subject matter than I, are more qualified to speak about what kind of a guy he was, how he helped people, that sort of thing. I know some of the details, but not a lot. If you have stories about Roy, particularly stories about him doing good things that you’d like to share here, please, by all means, do so.

This is still…I dunno, I woke up in the middle of the night to this news, and, though I realize that it’s not uncommon to feel this way, it just doesn’t seem real somehow. It’s real, it pretty much always is, but it doesn’t feel that way. Roy Halladay was younger than me, seemed invincible within his chosen profession, and while he had a high risk hobby that’s claimed the lives of a few ballplayers in my lifetime, it’s still too early and too hard to process right now.

Rest in peace, Roy. I didn’t know you personally, but you still brought some joy into my life, and you’ll be missed.

I’ll wrap this up with a few more of my favorites of his.

Three Months

Boy, I’ve been slacking over here.

I will tell you, my readers, that the biggest obstacle to my regular posting is almost always an aversion to scanning things.

Here’s how it goes:

1. I get something new, or come across something old that I haven’t shown off anywhere in a while, if ever.

2. I get excited about it.

3. It goes in a pile.

4. The pile gets bigger.

5. I curse the pile.

6. I eventually scan the pile, but then it takes me forever to write about it or I forget to.

So, in the interest of breaking that trend, let me throw a few things in your general direction from the past 3 months.

Pedro here comes from Bo, which, if you’re familiar, you know that he sent me a lot more than Pedro. Bo is a very frequent contributor to The Pile Of Things I Really Like But Really Don’t Feel Like Scanning Right Now.

I also got a bunch of ’03 Finest from Bo, including this Adam Dunn. They don’t hit it out of the park every year, but there are some gorgeous Finest sets out there.

I should really just bite the bullet and grab and ’89 Score Rookie & Traded set already. I love the cards I have from it so far (especially my PSA 10 Griffey, maybe my favorite of his cards, even including That Card), the photography was really solid for the time, and the card design (border colors, etc.) always seems to pop more than it does on the base ’89 set.

I’m going to limit the view of my Bo trade acquisitions to about 1/1000th of the deal for now (Thanks, though, Bo!), and move onto some other cool pickups, just to spread the love around.

I am up to 7 Eri Yoshida cards, thanks (I believe exclusively) to Ryan, who was super-patient while I took forever to get to his want list.

Ryan also sent me a metric ton of menko, including all of these Tiger Mask cards! If you can’t quite nail down the form factor, they’re slightly larger (and much thicker) than tobacco cards/Allen & Ginter minis. I’ve got doubles of a good number of these, too (lesser condition, but c’mon), so if you’re interested, let me know. Thanks, Ryan!

Another long-in-gestation trade was one I made with Adam from Infield Fly Rule. He threw me a bunch of set fills, largely from his Rockies stash, but the showstopper in the deal was this one…

I love me some Gold Label cards, and I rarely get any ’98s. Thanks, Adam!

Honorable mention at this point goes to Greg at The Collective Mind, who was part of the other trade that had been proposed years ago, and we finally got to when I was cleaning out my inbox this past month. Greg sent me a nice handful of Topps football set fills that, unfortunately, got filed before I could scan highlights of, but they are just as loved and appreciated as the stuff I did scan, I assure you! (Perhaps even more in some regards, because I didn’t have to scan them!) Thanks, Greg!

I also picked up these recently…

I had not noticed, until I scanned them, how oddly cut they were. Still fun cards that I’ve never had any of before. If y’all are interested, and condition doesn’t bother you much (obviously Fleer had some cutting issues, but some also have corners I wouldn’t describe as 100%, and the cards are bowed just a bit from storage, as well…think of them as “not getting submitted to PSA, but MY WORD, MAN, MICHAEL JORDAN FORESHADOWED SPACE JAM BY LIKE 5 YEARS!!!!” cards), I have 8 more complete 6 card sets of these. Let me know if you’re game for a deal.

Even with as much progress as I’ve made on trades of late, it isn’t all I’ve been doing. After a very long stretch of living out of boxes, we’ve just about got the living room done at the not-so-new house now (almost here 2 years already…time flies…). So, I’ve spent a decent chunk of this week reacquainting myself with some old friends…

My (Ninja) golf game still needs some work.

Beat the game yesterday with Chun-Li and Wolverine, without too many continues.

I am so woefully out of practice on this one, but it’s so ridiculously awesome that who the hell cares?

This one, I’m still pretty damned good at. I even started a new Career Mode game just so I’d see how well I played on default stats, and yeah, I still got it.

On the other hand, this one, try as I may, I can’t beat battlefield #6. Halp.

I told y’all I’d be writing about more than cards here, and I meant it. I’ve read a bunch of comics lately, and I’ll eventually go into more detail there, but for now, you can check out my recommended reading in the sidebar of this site.

Oh, and I went on vacation, too.

That’s also probably a story for a longer post, though. In the meantime, enjoy the teaser pics, and I will hopefully see you all back here in less than 3 months!

Man, that took some work.

So, this is the award card you get when you’ve completed 8 different Series 1 Yankee team sets in 2017 Bunt. It’s nothing terribly fancy, but it is Bernie, so, of course, I had to.

There was a certain degree of quiet urgency to getting these sets done this weekend, because Series 2 is formally coming out on Monday, and if Topps does what they did with NHL Skate this year, that’ll be it for melding cards to climb through the Series 1 ladder for this year (and for a free player, it is virtually impossible to complete these runs without melding cards at this point, a thing they neglected to tell first-year users of Skate, or I’d have a much better Islanders collection there since I’m blowing off most of the other cards). Now, at present, when you go to the page in the app where you meld a Series 1 card, they’re saying that melding will continue until March 28th of next year (which means the production number for these awards will be about 4 times as big eventually), but Topps has been known to change their mind on the drop of a dime, because they’re sorta making it up as they go along with all this digital stuff, so I wasn’t going to leave it to chance, and it seems like a lot of the other regular and semi-regular users are of the same mind. For now, I don’t care, I got Bernie, and I actually did it without busting up my Gary Sanchez rainbow, to boot (which made it a lot harder).

Where this is a drag is that they’ve managed to make this whole thing feel like a really bad version of level grinding in an MMORPG. Which, when you’ve done this, oh…

…three times in the space of a week now…

…it gets a little old.

(Technically, I’ve done it 5 times, as I got the Pettitte and Posada award cards before I got to the Bernie, but I wasn’t actually after those, so we won’t be featuring them here.)

I guess I have to figure out how many more times I’ll drive myself nuts over it. If we do have another 8 months, it won’t be that hard to get more. There are a bunch of good award cards (Reggie’s next on the Yankee ladder, then Jeter, and I’ll have to decide if I’m gonna use my leftovers to try and get those; after that, there’s a bunch of other award cards you can earn for building the top 5 hardest team sets of each team…there’s Mookie Wilson, Ben Oglivie, Cecil Cooper, Dick Allen, and yes, Night Owl, there’s a Ron Cey award card, only the 3rd time he’s shown up in Bunt to date…), but it’s crazy-making to do it, and it’s also a bad habit for someone with serious obsessive tendencies to get themselves into.

I did get the 3 cards out of 150 that I wanted the most, though, so there is that…

An Impromptu Package From Stubby: Gypsy Queen Greens And MOAR!

…starts with these.

Oh, and this…

 

See, apparently, Stubby is building this set (the green border retail parallel of 2017 Gypsy Queen), and in doing so, he’s ended up with a bunch of doubles, which I now have. The ones pictured above are the ones I’m keeping. (Especially that Koufax.) The rest? Hell, I’m never building this…I haven’t even grabbed any base Gypsy Queen yet (even though it is a nice set this year). So, with Stubby’s blessing, I’m offering ’em up for trade.

Here’s the list of what I have right now:

10 Miguel Cabrera

11 Jordan Zimmermann

16 Trea Turner

17 Dexter Fowler

23 Blake Snell

25 Michael Fulmer

32 Johnny Cueto

41 A.J. Ramos

51 Kevin Kiermaier

52 Jose Bautista

55 Corey Dickerson

57 Jean Segura

58 Jung Ho Kang

68 Alcides Escobar

85 Raimel Tapia

86 Chris Archer

90 Justin Turner

98 Adam Wainwright

99 Brandon Crawford

117 Jonathan Villar

122 Dee Gordon

124 Buster Posey

126 Justin Verlander

149 Matt Holliday

152 Wilson Ramos

159 Matt Kemp

160 Josh Donaldson

163 Renato Nunez

165 J.A. Happ

178 Dallas Keuchel

183 George Springer

190 Miguel Sano

191 Marcel Ozuna

192 Christian Yelich

202 Welington Castillo

207 Jeremy Hellickson

212 Masahiro Tanaka

213 Elvis Andrus

217 Josh Harrison

237 Jon Lester

238 Tyler Naquin

241 Josh Bell

249 Luke Weaver

253 C.J. Cron

254 Danny Salazar

255 Matt Wisler

265 Eugenio Suarez

268 Joe Panik

271 Colby Rasmus

278 Alex Colome

285 Kirby Yates

287 Tony Watson

291 Didi Gregorius

296 Jose Abreu

If you’re interested, give me a buzz. They probably won’t be around forever! If you’ve got some green border doubles you can send me to send to Stubby, those are welcome, too! Here’s his want list:

2017 Gypsy Queen Green Border Retail Parallels:

13-15, 21, 26, 33, 34, 37, 39, 43, 46, 64-66, 69, 74 (Correa), 88, 91 (Swanson), 94, 97 (Cecchini), 105, 119, 121 (deGrom), 125, 127 (Cespedes), 129, 138, 164, , 174, 181 203, 211, 218, 223, 225, 229, 230, 234, 239 (A. Cabrera), 247, 260, 261, 267, 275, 279, 280, 293, 302 (Sandberg), 303 (Jeter), 306 (Griffey Jr.), 311 (Ozzie Smith), 312 (McGuire), 316 (Pudge Rodriguez), 318 (Brett)

Stubby put some other fun stuff in the box, too, so let’s have a look at a few of the highlights…

This card was in a carefully obscured card holder, with no idea as to its identity. A mystery! I loves a mystery.

!

Like hell it has no value! I needed it for my ’72-’73 set that I’ll never finish. (I do like their fries, though.)

Going back to the GQ stuff, here’s a pair of Ichiro inserts. These are keepers, because that Ichiro feller’s on ’em.

Stubby threw a handful of old wax in the box, too. (Yeah, I opened it all.) I came up basically empty on the ’90 Topps Hockey I opened (no Islanders or names I recognized), there are apparently Hall of Famers visible on 3 of the ’81 Fleer Teams In Action Football cards, but I haven’t tried to dissect who they are yet, and while there was a Dwight Evans and a Paul Molitor card in the ’91 OPC Premier pack I opened, I’d have to check to see if I have either and the cards are on a different floor of the house than I am right now. However, in my ’13 Topps Series 2 pack, there was a fun little number.

Needed it for my set! I don’t end up adding to this set enough.

This was the best of the bunch of packs he through in, though…

Someone was just talking about that Fleer collectors’ hat on Twitter the other day. I would really love to see proof that it exists. Anyway, I opened a bunch of ’86 Fleer, whatever I could get my hands on at Cumberland Farms (because it was damn tough to get elsewhere), and I eventually bought a complete set in a lot of other cards, but I never did get one of these from any of the packs I opened, until now…

Coulda used you in ’86, guys!

Thanks for the stuff, Stubby!