Monday, February 13, 2017

Is it time to invest in a Steven Stamkos Rookie Card?

Simple question - Should I buy a Steven Stamkos rookie card right now?

For the most part, values of hockey cards tend to stay fairly flat. While there might be a ton of fluctuation upon their release, they tend to find a level after a few months. Barring any career ending injuries or absolute overproduction of cards (Jaromir Jagr) a superstar player’s rookie card will slowly increase in value over time.

For the numerical break down read the rest of the post over at RawCharge.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

My 100th and possibly final Zistle Trade

So I missed my goal of completing 100 Zistle trades before the end of the year. It wasn't entirely my fault, there was about a month or so that the site wasn't accessible because they were “in the process of updating their SSL certificate”. Which is probably related to their recent purchase by Beckett. Well, recent as in 2016 is a recent year as compared to 2004.

Things aren't the same on the site anymore. Updates to sets aren't being posted, sets themselves aren't being posted at all (2017 Topps Baseball has been out for a week and it's not on the site) and users are dropping out because of all of the uncertainty.

There was an email blast/Facebook post by Zistle in November asking for feedback and comments while they were “reviewing the website and all of it's (sic) wonderful features”. At one point they replied to a comment saying that things once the holidays were over there would be an update.

Well, unless they're waiting for Valentine's Day, the holidays are over and still no update. So, even I, loyal since 2009 will start looking for other places to organize my collection. In the meantime I'll look for some older cards to help finish off sets and pick up random Orioles and Lightning cards while clearing out doubles.

I did finally get around to hitting the century mark last week in a small trade with user kjohnsonhp, a collector down in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

In exchange for some extra 2015 Topps I picked up the following new cards:

1990 Swell Baseball Greats Davey Johnson and Milt Pappas.

This is what happens when an update needs to be made to a set and no one is approving them. Both of these cards are listed as “Baltimore Orioles” cards. As you can see they are not. Johnson is repping his two seasons in Atlanta and Pappas his two seasons in Cincinnati. It is partially my fault for not clicking on the images, but hey, sometimes you get lazy.

1993 Hostess Cal Ripken, Jr.

This cards is...well it has a border on it. And his name. And a team logo. That's about it. Probably one of the least interesting card designs ever released. How about we flip it over and see if the back is any better.

Actually it is. Some color, a nice head shot and some basic stats.

1997 Pinnacle Main Cal Ripken Jr.

Another Iron Man card from the late 90s that I didn't have. There is a fairly large sized hole in my collection from 1994-1999 due to college (couldn't afford cards AND alcohol...I mean books...yeah books) so a lot of these cards are new to me.

At the point this card was released Ripken was 2381 games into his record 2,632 game streak and the Orioles were in the playoffs for the first time since his second year with the team. Ah 1997, the Armando Benitiz/Tony Fernandez game.

Who gives up a homerun to Tony Freakin' Fernandez to lose a playoff series? Oh look, it's Davey Johnson in the dugout. We've come full circle!

I'm in the process of checking out other organizing sites for my collection so that I'm prepared for the inevitable day when Beckett starts charging for Zistle. Anyone out there have any suggestions?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Steven Stamkos and the rookie card

There is a certain generation of sports fans that are rapidly approaching (or are firmly in the grip of) middle age. One of the shared characteristics of this demographic is that they were raised with the belief that sports cards could be an investment instead of something you flip against the wall, put in your bike spokes or wrap in rubber bands and stuff in a shoe box (oh the horror)...

Read the rest here....

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The State of the Blog 2017

So.  Quick question.  What’s been more active over the winter, this blog or the Baltimore Orioles front office?

The answer.

It’s a tie.

Now that we have the snarky opening out of the way, happy 2017 to all of those readers that I still have left.  Sorry to have left you all. I know you’ve missed the random, grammatically-challenged postings about hockey, trading cards and baseball.  No, really there was at least one baseball post last year (well, kind of about baseball)!

The good news is that there should be more baseball stuff this year.  I’m still writing about hockey over at Raw Charge, and  I don’t see that stopping for at least the next 89 days since I managed to talk myself into a marathon writing project (job security, baby!).  You’ll see an occasional link here when I managed to convince them that hockey cards and memorabilia are interesting to our readers.

As for the overall state of this blog, I am going to try and post at least weekly, more so once I finish binge watching Gilmore Girls (don’t judge me!) and it’s going to be a mix of things sports and randomness.  There may be some politics thrown in there as well.  I’m torn between the feeling that Mr. Trump is the worse person ever elected to be president of this country and the sense that he will be so ineffective once he pisses off everyone in Washington that it’s not worth even worrying about.  Of course, he could also be the one that brings actual nuclear war into being, but if that happens I really don’t have to care about upsetting readers now do I?

Speaking of readers, 2016 was the busiest year for this blog, despite the fact that I posted almost nothing during the last three months.  At the beginning of the year I always like to take a look and see what is garnering traffic.  Lately not much, but that’s on me.  I do love the fact that the leading search for my site is still: “Sidney Crosby shirtless”.  So thank you for that.

He’s also the recipient of the most popular postwhere I wrote about his return from one of his concussions. (Wow, great job by me with Tebow, Baltimore hero Dave Johnson and BizNasty2.0 references).  While it’s the most popular one, my favorite remains the one I wrote about Matt Cooke and Vinny Lecavalier.  Unfortunately, five years later I have to conclude that Vinny was never the same player after the surgery so yeah, I guess Cooke did destroy his career.

Looking back at some of those posts I wonder if I’ve gotten any better as a write.  I’m not sure I have.  I have become better about editing, not perfect but better.  I’ve found that when I write a lot or I write about stuff that I feel I “have” to write about it loses a little umph.  There are dozens of post that I wish I could re-write and erase the original from the digital world.  Even now with the Raw Charge stuff, every time I hit “submit for approval” I’m waiting for my editor to delete everything and curse me out.  (luckily it hasn’t happened yet).

I also notice that I use the phrase “unfortunately” a lot to start sentences.  Maybe it’s because I’ve had to write about a lot of bad teams over the years.  There are other crutches that I notice when I re-read old posts, but, hey I’m lazy and proud of it.

I am thankful for a lot of things that this blog has brought about.  First of all, the fact that it led to writing for Raw Charge, an actual real-life, site that people outside of my immediate family read.  So many thanks to John Fontana for offering me a chance and to Achairya for keeping me aboard after the regime change.

That promotion led me to an actual real life press pass for a professional sports team.  Granted the team is 2 hours away and I don’t get over there enough to truly take advantage of it, but it’s nice to know that this untrained, hack of a blogger was actually accepted into a press box.

Although my work schedule doesn’t allow me to cover it anymore, getting ringside press passes for local boxing events was awesome.  Being an accredited writer was never something I’d thought I’d be even when I was writing for the Saint Leo Monarch (#MonarchForever) back in college.

Many thanks to J.B. over at the Sports Card Blogroll for keeping me on the rolls even though I barely posted lately and when I did, most of the posts were not even about Sports Cards.  JB does a yeoman’s job of compiling the best writers about the hobby, please visit the site to find more bloggers that do a better job then a do talking about pieces of cardboard.

Also, for all of the people/readers I’ve met through this blog, thank you for the good times (and free hockey cards).  Y’all have been so kind over the years and I’m in debt to all of you.

Wow, this got to sounding like a farewell somehow.  This blog is not going anywhere.  Hopefully 2017 is as much fun in the sports world as 2016 was (could use a few less deaths, though). See you folks out there on the internets.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Lightning and 2016-17 Upper Deck Hockey Series One

Mid-November is a great time for hockey. The season has settled in and we start to find out what teams are good (Rangers) and what teams are bad (Canucks). Statistics start regressing to the norm (Auston Matthews is not scoring 328 goals) and we start knowing which rookies are going to stay (Jakob Chychrun) and which are going back to their junior team (Mathew Barzal).
It also means that Upper Deck is releasing the first series of its flagship base set. Other hockey card sets have already been released, most notable Upper Deck MVP and Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee (a moment to remind everyone that Upper Deck has the exclusive license to produce NHL-branded cards. Other companies can make cards, but can't feature the team names or logos).

read the rest here.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

From the Back of the Closet - a 1993-94 Tampa Bay Lightning Game Program

From time to time I’ll dig into the back of the closet and find some piece of Lightning memorabilia to feature. Today I’ll look at a program from the 1993-94 Tampa Bay Lightning season (the first season to be played in the Thunderdome). Apologies that some of the photos are cut off, the program was a bit awkward to manipulate in the scanner.

Read the rest here......

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Did You Hear? The Cubs Are in The World Series

So what do you do when the Chicago Cubs are on the verge of clinching their first World Series appearance since World War II and you happen to live a short walk away from Wrigley Field? Why you grab a camera, hope you can figure out the lighting and forget that your alarm is set to go off at 5.30AM the next day.

Last Saturday night the Cubs completed their series comeback and eliminated the Los Angeles Dodgers to advance to the World Series. I, along with apparently 299,999 other people, wandered up to the intersection of Clark and Addison to celebrate the Cubbies first National League Championship since 1945. Here is a bit of what I saw:

The Championship Belt

The games wasn't quite over yet. Sure the Cubs were up 5-0, but nothing is really over until the final out is recorded. Most fans that I ran into seemed nervously confident that the team would hold onto the lead. This guy, outside of the Houndstooth because no one was getting into a bar at this point, was a favorite with the crowd walking by. I didn't have the heart to tell him that he was holding it upside down.

The Waiting

Blockades were up at Clark and Sheffield about two blocks south of the ballpark. I'm not sure what the rickshaw guys were waiting for, no one was leaving that place for a couple of more hours.

The Crowd

Despite the blockade on Clark, Sheffield was open all the way up to Addison. As you can see, groups of people were hanging outside the Wrigleyville bars just trying to get a glimpse of the action on TV.

The Crowd Part II

This is the closest I got to Wrigley. The first picture is looking north at the actual field (you cans see the stadium lights) The second is from the same spot looking south down Sheffield. People were packed in and the only way to move was to jostle them out of the way. Luckily everyone was in a pretty good mood and didn't care. I used my normal strategy of finding a guy bigger than me and following him through the wake. It worked pretty well.

The Win

There was a roar from inside the stadium when the final out was recorded. The crowd outside started celebrating about 1.3 seconds after that roar. Cups of beer were thrown in the air, people hugging, several different rounds of “Go Cubs Go” were being sung by the crowd. Happiness was in the air.

And no, I have idea if that pizza ever made it where it was supposed to go.

Poor Fella

There is a fine line between capturing a moment and intruding on it. I tried to get a better photo but I didn't want to be a dick shoving a camera in his face when his favorite team just did something he probably thought would never happen. I don't think he was drunk, just overwhelmed with emotion. He was mixing in a little laughter, a lot of hugs with his friend, and just a few tears.

He was one of three grown men that I personally saw with tears in their eyes.  I guess when you go 108 years without a World Series things can get emotional.

“Hey man is this for the Chicago Trib?”

Apparently, when you walk around with a decent camera and a backpack people assume you work for a newspaper. I didn't lie, but was a little vague with my answer.

One of the most popular questions I've been asked at this week is,  "So what's up with all the "W" flags?"


Lot's and lots and lots of selfies. Although this might be the only one that didn't have a "W" flag in it.

Idiot on the Lamppost

Not as big of an idiot as these guys, but still a bit of an idiot.

This Suit is Everything

Cubs suit and tie - check
Harry Carey glasses - check
Hulk Hogan "let me hear you" gesture - check.

This is by far my favorite photo of the night.

Wait till...this Year?

He wanted me to take his picture, but Photoshop out the “2015” part. He was not sober.

Who Ya Gonna Call

Inflatable Stay Puft monster with a “W” painted on him. Sure why not.

I did bail out before things got too crazy (again 5:30AM alarm). If winning the NLCS drew a spontaneous crowd of 300,000 people I can only imagine whats going to happen if the impossible does happen.