Wednesday, July 27, 2016

First Trade Package in a While

It seems like it has been at least a month or so since I have completed a trade.  I did make a few small EBAY purchases, but that is not as exciting as opening a package from a fellow blogger or message board member.  It is even better when you do not know what you may be receiving in return. 

Last week I sent a few 2007 Upper Deck base cards to Trading Bases member Jerry.  He returned the favor with a 2 pack of Cardinals that came earlier this week.

I already have this Craig jersey card, but I am sure there is another Cardinals collector who can give it a good home (Brady do you need this one?)

To me Garcia is one of the most frustrating Cardinals pitchers to watch.  He can be lights out at times, or implode and not make it through the 4th or 5th inning.  After taking a loss yesterday, he is 7 and 7 now.  It will be interesting to see if the Cardinals pick up his option for next year.  The team holds a $12 million option, but with a lot of young pitchers being close to ready, the Cards may go the cheaper route.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

2 EBAY packages

My EBAY purchases have been few and far between.  Part of the reason is because I have been to a few more shows this year, the other part is because I am a bargain hunter unless it is a Ray Lankford card I need.  I was able to find a couple of good days last week that arrived in my mail box the last couple of days.

Tommy Pham had an auto in 2015 Topps Update that still sells for close to $10, so I was glad to pick this one up for $4.85 delivered.  Although it is a sticker auto, Topps did a great job of using the pinkish/red background to hide the sticker on this 2016 Topps card.  Pham has experienced his fair share of ups and downs with a history of injuries, but he does show flashes of good play with consistent playing time.  He has been hitting leadoff for the last week since Matt Carpenter is on the DL.

 2016 Topps Archives Eduardo Perez
2016 Topps Archives Fernando Tatis

A day before I won the Pham, I won these 2 autos for a total of  $5.52 delivered.   I had only been looking for a copy of the Perez, but the same seller had the Tatis also.  I won it for $1.06 with free combined shipping.  Tatis was signing autos at the card show I attended this past Saturday.  I was surprised to see how small he was for someone who was considered a power hitter during the prime of his career.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

(So Called) Card Show Recap

I have been very fortunate this year to have attended a number of card shows.  I believe I have made it to 2 in the St. Louis area and 1 in Indianapolis.  I don't mind the 2 or 2.5 hour drive if I know there is former/current Cardinals players signing autographs.  I have been lucky on 2 occasions to be in a city for one of my daughter's many activities on a weekend where a show was also taking place.  Nothing better than killing 2 birds with 1 stone. 

This past Saturday was another show in St. Louis.  My main reason for attending was 2 members of the Cardinals 2011 World Series team were signing autos.  Good thing they were, because the show was a dud.  Most of the time this promoter advertises 100 tables at his shows.  He also held a show on the Sunday before, so maybe some of the dealers did not show up on Saturday.  I counted 7 different dealers there: 1 had unopend wax  boxes and supplies, 1 had Topps Heritage from various years, 1 had nothing but vintage from the 50s and 60s, another had a mix of vintage and current cards, another had over priced card displays, and 2 different dealers had various things like stadium give aways and other promotional items. 

The only table I spent more than a couple of minutes at was the Topps Heritage dealer.  He had Cardinals team sets, sps from various years, commons from Heritage Minors and Heritage, and some autos.  I picked out 4 Hertiage Minors cards to be used for some in person autos priced at 50 cents each.  I was hoping to get a better deal, so I also found a couple of Cardinals autos.

2015 Topps Heritage Real One auto Art Mahaffey

2015 Topps Heritage Real One auto Tracy Stallard

I have seen these on EBAY going for $15-20, so his price of $15 each was not too bad.  I offered $30 for the 2 autos and the 4 commons, he countered with $31.  I thought about walking away, but could not over $1.  I would guess I was one of his biggest customers of the day.  While standing in line for autos for about 20 minutes, I noticed very few people stopping at his table.

The autographing signings went much better.  I think I was in line for maybe a total of 20 minutes for both autographs.

Skip Schumaker #55

Octavio Dotel #28

So far I have 15 signatures on the bat.  Hoping to get the other 10 players on the 2011 World Series roster.  Unsure if I will try for LaRussa and the other coaches.  Pujols, Freese, and Berkman are going to be expensive enough.  

Best part of the entire show was nothing cost me a dime.  My inlaws bought me a prepaid Visa gift card last Christmas that I used during a 30% of sale to buy a bunch of gift certificates.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Day Late, 2 Prospects Short

Last Thursday was my son's 8th birthday.  To celebrate, we planned a quick trip to Indianapolis on Friday that included lunch at Dave & Busters and an Indians game.  I noticed a few weeks ago that Friday would be another team autograph night plus a fireworks show and a stadium replica give away.  I had a few Pirate cards left from my previous trip to see the Indians that I wanted to get signed for a fellow collector. 

Tyler Glasnow and Josh Bell were my 2 main targets, but the Pirates had other plans.  Glasnow was promoted a day before to make his MLB debut against the Cardinals, but has since been sent back down.  I checked the Indians website on Friday morning to see if there were any other roster moves.  As of 9:00 there was not, but by noon the Pirates called up Josh Bell.  He is also rumored to be going back down to Indy after hitting a grand slam in his second game.

Even though the 2 best prospects were not going to be at the game, we still had a good time.  We did arrive early enough to receive the Victory Field 20th Anniversary stadium replica.  It even has working lights.  We are keeping one, but have 3 others if anyone is interested in one.  The Indians won the game 4 to 1 in a little less than 3 hours.  The fireworks show was pretty good, lasting about 15 minutes.   We also got a few autos during the 45 minute pregame team session. 

The 1987 Topps set looks great autographed in blue sharpie.  Wynegar is the Indian's hitting coach.  By far the most talkative and friendly signer that night.

Hanson would be the exact opposite of Wynegar.  Most of the team started to sign at 5:45.  Hanson showed up about 20 minutes late.  He was more concerned about eating his popsicle and texting than he was about interacting with the fans.  Another fan showed me where the popsicle had dripped on his 8x10 that he had signed.  I understand players have better things to do than sign autos, but if they are going to act like Hanson, do not even bother showing up.

Austin Meadows was on the 7 day DL, but still came out for the autograph session.  His line was by far the longest.  He was promoted to Indianapolis in the middle of June, but went on the DL shortly afterwards.  My son and I were toward the front of his line and got these 2 cards signed.  He was very nice and wished my son a happy birthday.  My wife and daughter were toward the end of the line and got 2 balls signed. After signing for over 30 minutes, Meadows was still talkative with them and thanked them for coming.  Class act for a 21 year old kid.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Star Struck in Peoria

I have mentioned many times before how I love minor league baseball.  The atmosphere, cost, and overall entertainment at a minor league park is a great value.  Depending on what level you see, the quality may not be the best but the players are giving their all in the hopes of making the big leagues one day.

This past weekend my son and I made our second trip this year to Peoria to watch the Chiefs play.  My wife and daughter were at a dance competition in Ohio, so I took my 11 and 15 year old nephews with us.  They are both Cardinals fans who attend a handful of games each year in St. Louis.  The only minor league game they have attended was a Memphis Redbirds game in 2014.  We attended the Friday night and Saturday night games.

I will apologize in advance for the lack of pictures in this post.  In my hurry to pack I forgot to throw in the digital camera, and my phone is not even worth trying to use.  We arrived Friday night at 6 right when the gates opened.  It was advertised as Yadi Molina t-shirt night for fans 13 and over, but the shirts were not shipped on time.  We received 3 vouchers instead.  The ticket taker did not even ask my 11 year old nephew his age, just handed him the voucher.  I hope the shirts will be available when we go back the end of July.   Each boy brought along a Chiefs logo sheet to get autographs on.  Our seats were 3 rows off the field next to the Chiefs dugout.  When we got to our seats, All Star pitcher Jake Woodford was signing for a couple of fans.  Both nephews were able to get him. That was the only auto for the day, but we did come up with a few other things.  In between innnings we caught a tshirt and a foam baseball.  During the 3rd inning, Chiefs cather Jose Godoy broke his bat.  My 11 year old nephew thought it would be cool to get it.  I told him that sometimes they give them out after the game, but it is not a guarantee.  At the end of the 8th inning, he made a sign that read " Jose, can I please have your broken bat?".  Since we were within 10 feet of the Chiefs dugout, he stood by the steps with his sign.  I was shocked to see Godoy walk right over and hand him the bat.  The look on his face was priceless.  Even if we did not go to another game, his weekend was made.  The Chiefs won the game 5-4, and had a great fireworks display after the game.  I would say Friday was a success.

Saturday's game was a 5:00 start.  Before the season started, I bought 2 batting practice experiences.  The Chiefs do not open BP to the public, but for $60 we got 4 field level seats and the chance to get in at 2:00 to watch the team stretch, take infield, and BP.  My nephew brought along his bat in the hopes Godoy would sign it. Here is a quick rundown of what the 3 kids got to do:
1) Chiefs reliever Tyler Bray pulled my 11 year old nephew into the bullpen and caught for him.  Also gave him a few tips on pitching.
2) Between the 3 boys, they retrieved 23 ballls.
3)  Jose Godoy autographed the bat he gave away the night before.  Great guy who gave a beautiful signature where every letter was legible.  (Once again sorry for no pics)
4)  Both nephews got close to 10 signatures on their logo sheets. 

During BP we sat by the steps to the Chiefs dugout.  It was great to watch the boys interact with the players while they were waiting to hit or coming back into the dugout.  I cannot think of one guy that did not say hi, give them a high five, or an auto.  I know it is low A ball, but it is great to see players still being friendly.

My son and I did get some autos for ourselves throughout the 2 days.
Jake Woodford signed during the Signature Saturday pregame autograph session.

Ryan Helsley also signed during the auto session.

Edmundo Sosa signed twice for us.  Once was during BP, the other pregame on Saturday.

I also had a photo of the 7 Chiefs who made the Midwest League All Star Team.

Brennan Leitao was the toughest player to get.  He did not dress for either game, but was in the stands charting pitches both nights.  I did not bother asking on Friday night because I thought I would get him during BP.  He was out there at the start to stretch, but did not stay to shag in the outfield like some of the other pitchers.  After the bottom of the 8th inning, my son and I waited until he finished his paper work and asked if he had time to sign.  He was polite and said after the game.  I have no problem with this, so I returned to our seats and watched the final inning and a half.  The Chiefs were trailing 2-0 going into the bottom of the 9th.  They managed to get the tying runs on base, but Sosa flew out to end the game.  In the excitement of the game, I forgot to work our way closer to the section Leitao was sitting.  We were halfway across the stadium from him when the game ended, so we missed him.  We made our way outside the stadium to the player's entrance in the hopes we could catch him.  We waited maybe 5 minutes when Leito came out and said he owed me an auto.  Once again another example of how courteous the Chiefs players were all weekend.