Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Champ Returns To Durham

The Rays signed minor league free agent Allan Dykstra to a minor league contract today.  The former Wake Forest star was drafted in the first round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres after the first baseman was named 2nd Team All-ACC, 8th best prospect in the Cape Cod League, and was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award.  Dykstra spent three years in the Padres organization and four years with Mets.  Last year he made the Pacific Coast League All-Star team and reintroduced himself to the good baseball fans in the Tar Heel State......

Quite a performance out of the former Deac.  I saw news of the signing this morning which reminded me of a card I picked up this summer and never posted.  I thought this was a cool looking card for a few bucks.......

Dykstra should be a good addition to the Durham Bulls next year.  The Bulls always seem to get an older player or two for the roster and this seems like a good replacement for Vince Belnome and Wilson Betimet.  I am just hoping that maybe Allan Dykstra will wear the championship belt from his Home Run Derby Championship in at least one at bat during the season.

Vlad Currency

I have always really liked the currency cards that Topps has put out.  It seems like they have increased in popularity since the card company has included them into their Gypsy Queen product and limited the pieces to small print runs of 5 or 10 or 25.  Very limited.  While I like the look and appearance of the new currency cards, I am not sure I like the idea of paying 25 dollars or more for a coin card.  There are lots of cool autographs you can buy for that much money.

However, the original Topps currency cards, which came from the 2003 Topps Gallery set, are extremely affordable and not really all that limited in cost.  They look fabulous and have many of the same attributes of their modern relatives in the Topps Gypsy Queen sets. 

The front of the card features a nice picture of Vlad in his Expos uni and a Centavo from his native Dominican Republic.  I am guessing that this coin is worth like a 5 cent Tootsie Roll (chocolate flavored wax) from Walgreens, but looks really cool.  I have never collected coins or anything, but always think they are cool to look at.  Other places have cool money.  The only improvement I could have suggested for this card is to have the Vlad picture feature him swinging at some really ridiculous pitch that is five feet off the plate or on top of his shoelaces. 

I do not do the backs of cards very often, but the coin cards definitely have cool backs......

Honestly, it's not that much different from the rest of the "hit" cards that card companies produce, but there is something about the fact that you can see both sides of the coin that I find really cool.  Various card companies have done this with jersey and bat relics in the past and I really think it gives the card a cool look.  I mean, besides slapping a giant "Congratulations" across the top of the card, what can you put on the back of a card like this to spruce it up?  The little Topps slogan at the bottom of the card is not making me want to run out and buy more cards this morning, but that coin face looks sweet. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Flippin Happy About An Ozzie Autograph

I have been working on trying to add a few new players into my collection.  There are the usual suspects, but I have been feeling like finding some new players lately.  Through all the search for something new I stumbled across an autograph of an old favorite last week on Twitter.  Every collector, whether they collect sets, a team, or a player, has cards they will trade or buy in a second if the opportunity presents itself.  As a Cardinals fan I enjoy any card with Stan Musial, Pujols, Wainwright, or any other good player whether they are a current or former player.  

One of my favorite Cardinals players is Ozzie Smith.  I always forget about The Wizard.  I spent a huge chunk of my childhood watching him patrol the left side of the Cardinals infield.  One of the best games I went to as a kid was the 1985 National League East clincher against the Cubs.  The Cardinals and the Mets came down to the wire that season, but the Redbirds prevailed with great pitching and defense.  

After all of the years of collecting nothing beats a good Ozzie Smith card.  When I saw the autograph in a post on Twitter I knew I had to try to get the card.  A few DMs and a week or so later and this gorgeous card is in my hands........

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NC State Basketball Game 4- Jacksonville

Jacksonville is really really bad and that's all I can really say about this game.  How does a team only score 12 points in 20 minutes of basketball with a shot clock?  Shoot 13% from the field for the half.  Center BeeJay Anya had four blocks in one Jacksonville possession, and a school record 10 in the game, which contributed greatly to the poor shooting by the Dolphins.  I understand that every team plays a few cupcakes at the beginning of the year, but this seemed like the easiest cupcake of them all so far for the Wolfpack.  I might even have to throw the exhibition against Queens into the discussion.

Positives- The first half defense looked terrific.  Blocked shots, rebounds.  It was all there.  The second half felt like a slight let down, but the team still cruised to an easy win.  For the first time this year the team was also not carried exclusively by the guards.  Turner, Lacey, and Barber were all pretty cold from the field and the team still won by a handy amount.

Negatives- Guards were all pretty cold with the exception of Caleb Martin.

Player of the Game- BeeJay Anya just missed a triple double with his 7 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 blocks.  Kind of a unique stat line there, so I am going to give it to the sophomore center.  

Friday Five: Top 5 Board Games (Indoor Recess Version)

One of my favorite baseball writers is Keith Law.  I like reading his work and he's a pretty fun follow on Twitter, Instagram, and blogs.  One of the things that I find interesting about him is the fact that he posts a lot of other things outside of baseball.  There is food, music, novels, and board games.  He offers up some cool takes on those subjects at times, other times not so much.   Tonight I am going to focus on the board games list that Keith puts out as part of his blog work.

If you don't want to click on the list above I am just going to tell you that it is missing a lot of good ones off of his list.   I know that Keith is into board games, but he missing the really important ones.  This is top 25 games as played by two players:

After reading this list my only thought was: "Where is Cootie?"  As a fourth grade teacher with fifteen years worth of experience with indoor recess I have a pretty good idea about cool board games and uncool board games.  I'd like to offer a little bit better insight into the world of board games than Mr. Law is offering his readers.   Presenting the Friday Five Top Board Games (Indoor Recess Version)

Disqualified:  Monopoly, Clue, and Life.  Recess is only 30 minutes.  We don't have an hour.  

Honorable Mention:
Chutes and Ladders



Onto the real list: 

5.  Boggle 

4.  Scrabble 

3.  Uno 

2.  Battleship 

1.  Connect Four 

The Finest Autographed Bison Die Cut

The first year that I blogged I did a bunch of posts on Matt Kemp cards.  The Bison was coming off his incredible 2011 season, he should have one the National League MVP, and his cards were red hot.  I have always enjoyed watching Kemp play and had a good start on a nice collection before his cards get too high up there in price.  I added a few here and there, but definitely slowed down on his cards. 

Kemp's cards came back down after he spent the past year or two on hanging out on the DL.  I missed my chance to add some Kemp cards cheap.  I am sure plenty of other collectors forgot about him too. Kemp had a bounce back year last year posting 25 home runs and a split line basically at his career totals.  Is it too late to get back into Matt Kemp cards?  No.  Here is my latest.....

This is a really cool card and I am not sure that the scan really does it justice.  This die cut comes from the 2012 Topps Finest set and features the usual Kemp autograph.  It is a sticker autograph, but it's not too noticeable.  The card is also limited to just 15 copies.