Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bench Trade

The first online trading site I joined was The Bench back in 2003.  Since then I have completed over 650 trades, but have not had much luck trading there the last few months.  A lot of new members are just looking for the hottest rookies like Judge and Bellinger, of which I have none because I open very few packs.  Last week I was able to trade some of my Cardinals duplicates for some Cardinals I needed.
The lone insert in the lot was this 2007 Fleer mini.  I would call it a half size though, because it is larger than the current A&G or Gypsy Queen mini cards.  Yadi is always a welcome addition to the collection regardless of size. 

I am still plugging away at the 2017 GQ team set.  I have the Reyes RC and Cepeda SP still to track down.  Though not as nice as Stadium Club, GQ is very well done this year. 

It was nice to Roger Maris in a Cardinals uniform in the 2017 Archives set.  He only played two seasons with the Cardinals in 1967 and 1968, but went to the World Series both of those years.  I prefer the 1983 design over the 1992 design. 

The Musial finished my 2016 Diamond Kings set.  2017 DK set features some lesser know players like Brecheen and Walker.  Bottomley is not as well know since he played in the 1920s, but he is a member of the Hall of Fame. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Two Firsts in One Surprise Package

I had an unexpected package arrive on Tuesday from Trading Bases member Kelly G.  She sent a nice 5 pack of Cardinals, two of which were a first of their kind in my collection.

I love the baby blue Cardinals throwback uniforms from the 1980s.  The Diaz was new to me, the Big Mac was not.

Shiny die cut cards are a double win.  I have never completed a triumvirate Cardinals set, but may have to on this one.  Wacha and Rosenthal are the other two cards.

This is my first Carlos Martinez relic card.  Nothing flashy about it, but it is a super thick card.  Topps is sure to flood the market in the next few years so that I can put together an entire jersey.

This is my first Grichuk autograph.  I was actually watching a couple of his 2017 Tier One autos before this card arrived.  This one is a sticker instead of being on card like the Tier One, but the price was better on this one.   

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cardinals for Cardinals

One of my favorite trading partners sent me a nice surprise last week.  Trading Bases member Mark Z and I have a nice back and forth exchange of sending each other our duplicate Cardinals.  I am pretty sure his latest package was not all doubles. 

These 2012 Bowman Draft Chrome cards may have been doubles, but they were 2 of the last 3 on my need list. 

The other base cards were these 2 2017 Diamond Kings.  DK and Optic are by far the nicest Panini products out this year. 

I love the Bowman Silver Ice parallels.  Wacha has remained healthy so far this year and is having a nice season.  The Cardinals have skipped his turn in the rotation a couple of times that may have helped his endurance. 

It is always great to get Wainwright inserts.  I mistakenly thought the top card was a rare 2015 Stadium Club orange parallel, but it is a 2016 Black & White insert.  Great card either way.

I hope Reyes can return from TJ surgery next year as well as Lynn has this year.  He may end up taking Lynn's rotation spot if the Cardinals do not resign him this winter.  If I had to guess today, I am thinking Lynn will get more money elsewhere and be pitching for someone else next season.

  Purple and Chrome look nice together.  Heritage cards make them look even better.

The package definitely had a Wacha theme to it.  I still like game used cards even though they are a dime a dozen now. 

Topps seems to number the black border cards to the 60s.  This 2015 Update is numbered to 64.  The 2017 Topps Zack Duke I showed in a previous post was numbered to 66.  I guess next year they will be numbered to 67. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Payback is not Always Bad

Payback is not always viewed as a good thing, but in the card collecting community it is welcome in most cases.  I usually come across one or two posts each day about a collector receiving payback.  Often it is more cards that what was sent out.  My latest package from Trading Bases member Ron B was such a package.  I sent him some IP autos from my Florida trip, while he sent a huge stack of Cardinals.

I have never been a big fan of Allen & Ginter.  Minis are not my cup of tea, and I cannot stand opening a pack of baseball cards and getting a card with an animal or some other creature.  Ron sent the entire 2017 Cardinals set minus the Seung Hwan Oh sp.    

I will gladly take Cardinal minis if they come my way.  The Molina is a black border parallel, while the Grichuk is an A&G back. 

I have very few 2017 Topps parallel cards.  These 2 are my first gold cards.

I do have a handful of the foil parallel like the Grichuk card, but the Duke is my first black.  It is numbered to 66.

I always loved Donruss Rated Rookie cards.  Optic did a good job with this year's version.  The Sierra is a holo parallel, the Reyes the base version.

Optic also did well with 2016 inserts.  The colored parallels like the pink Holliday really stand out. 

I often wonder how a card company decides what to numbered certain parallels to.  The 2005 UD Classics Van Slyke is a silver parallel numbered to 399, Adams is a 2016 Press Proof numbered to 99, and Ankiel is a 2001 Legacy Ultimate insert numbered to 250.  I cannot say I miss the early 2000 Fleer sets with all the numbered short print cards and parallels. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

First Cardinals Game in 2 Years

If you read some of my previous posts, you know my family and I attend a lot of minor league games.  This year we have been to 5 different parks in 5 different states.  Minor league baseball is one of the best values for your entertainment dollar regardless of sport.  It is hard to beat front row seats for less than $15, good promo items, and the laid back atmosphere.  The chance for in person autographs is also a big plus.

You may be wondering if we attend any St. Louis Cardinals games.  Of all the ballparks I have been to, St. Louis is the closest drive to me other than Indianapolis (2.5 hours vs 2 hours).  You would think we would go to a handful of games each year, but that has not been the case.  The last game we went to was in the spring of 2015.  My son and I left a dance competition early to catch an afternoon game.  Since we hit all the Cardinals minor league teams already this year, he wanted to go to Cardinals game to say he hit them all.

I found two seats in the top row above the Cardinals bullpen for last Friday's game on Stubhub for $30 each.  My wife and daughter chose to attend a swimming party, so it was just us boys.  We choose Friday's game for 2 reasons.  The giveaway was a 1967 World Series replica trophy for adults, while it was Academy Sports autograph night.  The first 100 children 15 and under get autographs from 2 current players.  After that, 2 former players sign for all fans for 45 minutes.  I knew a couple of weeks ago that Scott Cooper and Kyle McClellan were the alumni, but it was not until Thursday evening that I found out Alex Reyes and Carson Kelly were signing for the kids.  We arrived about an hour before the gates opened.  My son ended up with ticket #24.

I have mentioned before that Reyes is my son's favorite player because they share the same first name.  This was the 6th or 7th time we have gotten his auto at a ball park.  This ticket was from his MLB debut.

Earlier in July we got Kelly to sign a 2016 Futures Game ball at a Triple A game in Nashville.  This time we used a ROMLB.  I love the way he included his uniform in the loop.  I hope Kelly is in the majors for good this time.  He may only play once a week, but he should benefit from watching Molina play in person.

We had some time to kill before the alumni signed, so we watched the end of the Diamondbacks batting practice.  Not even 5 minutes after getting to our seats, one of the Diamondback coaches tossed my son a ball.

Had to tell from the pic, but there is a nice grass stain on the left.  There is also a large blue mark on the sweet spot.  This ball will go in the mini bat rack that I hope to have built before Christmas.

After BP, it was back to the alumni line where we waited maybe 10 minutes.

This is the first time we have gotten Scott Cooper.  He has appeared at Winter Warm Up before, but we were never able to get him.  He only played in St. Louis one year, but was born in the area.

This is the third time we have gotten McClellan.  He joked the picture on the 2010 Upper Deck card was way too much of  a close up.  McClellan was a good reliever his first three seasons, but become a starter in 2011 after Adam Wainwright had Tommy John surgery.  He did well the first half of the season, but his arm did not hold up.  He was left off the World Series roster, but did get a ring.  He pitched 2 more seasons as a reliever before retiring.  He is active in local charities and also appears on some Cardinals pregame shows.

The replica trophy is ok , but I am more of a bobblehead guy.  The Cardinals won the game 1-0.  About the only action in the first 6 innings happened when Luke Voit hit Dbacks pitcher Robbie Ray with a line drive.  The ball ended up being caught by the third baseman for an out.  I have never heard a stadium so quite as when Ray was on the ground.  He did get up on his own.  He is on the DL with a concussion now.  We left in the top of the 8th inninng after the Dbacks had runners on second and third with no outs.  We should have stayed to watch Trevor Rosenthal get a 6 out save, but I knew it was going to be close to 1 in the morning before we got home.  At least I was able to listen to the finish.  My son was asleep about 5 minutes after we got into my truck.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

TCDB Trade with a 2017 Flavor

While I was on vacation in Florida, I received a nice trade package from a Trading Card Database member that contained nothing but 2017 Cardinals.  As I was entering these cards in my spreadsheets, I realized how few 2017 cards I have.  I should have plenty of cards to chase this fall while waiting for other new releases. 
Weaver is getting his first start tonight, replacing Adam Wainwright.  He has done well in Triple A this year, so I hope that his success carries over tonight. This Bowman insert is very sharp.

These are my first 2017 Archives.  Long way to go on this set.

I am making slow progress on the 2017 Bunt set.  This makes 6 in the set now, with about that many left to complete the set.

Bunt has a bevy of colored parallels this year.  I believe blue is the most common.  The Programs inserts are nice for a low end product.  I always like cards with the logo in the background. 

I am so far behind on inserts this year that I lack common ones from Series 1 and 2.  On the bright side I should have plenty of cards on my wantlist so trades should be easy to do.   

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Cards from Sportlots

Before I left for vacation, I received a small order from Sportlots.  I know a lot of people prefer Just Commons, but I like Sportlots because they are cheaper if you buy from one seller.  Can't beat commons or inserts for 18 cents each plus shipping.  I placed an order for some Pirates cards that I used for autographing, and was able to add some Cardinals set wants to reach the 15 card shipping rate.

These two chrome cards finished my 2017 Bowman set.  Bader had a nice debut last night, scoring the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth.  I would not be surprised to see Flaherty make his debut last this year.

Weaver was scheduled to start last night for Triple A Memphis, but was pulled for 2 possible reasons.  There has been talk that Lance Lynn might get traded, but he did make his start last night.  The more likely reason is he will start on Thursday night for St. Louis because Adam Wainwright was placed on the DL. 

Denton did not fair too well in his first taste of full season ball in Peoria this year.  He needed an emergency appendectomy right before the season started.  He also did not hit well, and was sent back down to short season State College.  Drafted in the 2015 second round straight out of high school, he is still very young and has been switched from third base to the outfield.  My guess is he will spend most of next season in Peoria.  This was the last card I need for my 2015 Bowman Draft set.

These two current Cardinals both had some rough months this year.  The only difference is Grichuk has turned his season around while Oh has lost his closer's job and has been mentioned in trade talks. The Oh finished my 2016 Bowman Platinum set.  The Grichuk knocked my 2017 Heritage set down to needed just the Alex Reyes SP.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Memphis Redbirds @ Nashville Sounds IP Recap

My return trip from Florida went a lot smoother than the drive down.  Other than a 30 minute delay in Atlanta for an accident, everything was smooth sailing.  As luck would have it, the Memphis Redbirds were playing in Nashville on Sunday evening.    I had planned on trying to get to Memphis this season so I could say I saw all 4 of the Cardinals full season minor league teams play at home, but my free weekends are limited for the rest of the minor league season.

This was actually the second time we have been to Nashville to see Memphis play.  Our first trip was back in 2014, the last year the Sounds play at Herschel Greer Stadium.  The following year they moved into First Tennessee Park.  First Tennessee is one of the nicest stadiums I have been to.   The inside was very clean and well maintained.  One of the old features from Herschel Greer was used again.
The scoreboard is in the shape of a guitar.  Nice touch for the home team to pay tribute to Music City.

Our seats were 2 rows off the field along the first base line.  We were lucky enough to be in the shade for most of the game.  I believe game time temp was about 92 degrees. 
 Memphis outfielder Nick Martini threw my son this ball after the third inning.  His luck at getting game balls continues.

Of course we tried to get some autographs from the Redbirds.  This stadium was not ideal for graphing the visiting team as the players come out from the third base dugout and walk to the first base dugout.  My son and I stayed in our seats hoping to get players as they came out to stretch.  We only got one, but it was a good one.

Harrsion Bader was a third round draft choice in 2015.  He is currently hitting .297 with 19 home runs.  He is the Cardinals 6th ranked prospect.  As I am typing this I see that Bader was called up to the Cardinals today to replace Dexter Fowler who went on the DL.  Best of luck Harrison!

My wife and daughter camped out along the dugout railing hoping to get Carson Kelly.  He was not catching that night so I was not guessing he would come out very early.  About 10 minutes before game time he came out and signed for about 5 people, my daughter included.

I bought this 2016 Futures Game ball at the Rawlings factory store while we were in Florida knowing we had a chance to see Kelly.  It is nice to get something other than an official ball signed once in a while.  As for the game, the Redbirds won 2-1 in 10 innings. Second baseman Breyvic Valera hit his second home run of the season in the top of the tenth to put the Redbirds ahead.   This had been an outstanding year for Memphis.  The team is 31 games over .500 and 19 games ahead of second place Nashville.  I hope this success will translate to the majors when some of these guys get promoted. 


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Palm Beach Cardinals IP Recap

While on vacation in Florida the first week of July, I was able to cross a baseball related goal off my bucket list.  I have been to 3 different Cardinals minor league ball parks in Peoria, Springfield, and Memphis.  Springfield is the longest drive at about 5.5 hours.  The only remaining full season minor league team I have not seen is the Palm Beach Cardinals.  They are located in Jupiter, Florida about 16 hours from my house, but only a 2 hour drive from Orlando where my daughter's dance competition was located.  We made the drive on July 5 to watch them play the Bradenton Marauders, the Pirates single A team. 

Tickets were $9 for adults, $7 for 12 and under.  I will say this is the first minor league game that I have been to that was general admission seating.  It was nice to be able to move around the stadium during the game.  Announced attendance was a little over1,100, but I bet there were fewer than 300 people there.  I have read that Florida State League games are not very well attended.  Seeing is believing. 

The small crowd made it easy for my kids to grab some balls, including my son's first foul ball.  The other two were thrown to them after the final out of an inning.  My son had to outrun another boy for the foul ball.  This same boy must have gotten 10-12 balls that night.  If he could not track the ball down himself, he would find the person who did and ask them for it.  If it was an older person, he would usually get it.  By the end of the night, he was being booed if he got a ball from someone else. 

I was able to grab two team sets from the team store at great prices. The top 2015 set was only $5, while the 2016 set was $8.  My son was able to complete his Cardinals minor league mini bat collection also.  My plan for later this fall is to build a display rack to show off the bats along with a ball from each league.

Of course when we go to minor league games, we take the opportunity to get some autographs.  Single A players are very accommodating before game time. Several even took a few minutes to ask my son and daughter about their ball seasons.   

Bilardello is the first manager we have ever gotten.  He commented how old he looks now compared to his 1987 Topps card.

Niemann has served as pitching coach for 3 different Cardinal teams. 

We saw Young play his last game in Peoria on Father's Day.  He hit a homerun in the bottom of the 6th to tie the game at 2.  Palm Beach would win the game in the bottom of the 14th inning.  We did stay for the entire game. 

Seferina was a Florida State League All Star.  He has since been promoted to double A
Springfield.  Diekroeger is going the opposite direction.  He had some time in Springfield, but was demoted.

Spitz plays a decent outfield, but does not hit much.  He also saw some time in Double A this year.  He makes card #20 from the 2016 Chiefs set that we have autographed. 

While my son and I were graphing the home team, my wife and daughter graphed the Marauders side pregame.  I had a few cards from my Trading Bases friend Ron B that he wanted for his Pirates collection.  My wife said all of them were extremely nice.  Good to see considering some of them are top prospects.  I do not know much about these guys, so I will just show the cards.

You can see I should have given them a better sharpie.  This one was retired after the game.  Overall it was a great time.  The small crowd made the game fun.  By the time extra innings rolled around, there might have been 50 people left in the stands.  You could hear about any conversation in the stadium.  We were sitting behind the first base dugout and could hear the relievers along the third base line complaining about the strike zone.