Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween, Kids

Happy All-Hallows' Eve, kiddies. Keep scrolling to receive your treats

Knock on the door at La Casa de Cartulina Roja for Candy goodies. No Candy Maldonado nor Candy Nelson, but a nice helping of Candy Sierra, Reds pitcher from the 1988 season.

No Pee Wee or Rich, but a heaping helping of Pokey Reese's Pieces.

No Cal Ripken or Sandy Alomar, but boxes and boxes of Ken Griffey Junior Mints.

We are never short on stale bubble gum at Red Cardboard. Bazooka, Big League, Goudey, National Chicle, and Swell will line your bags for weeks to come.

While not candy, sweet treats abound. Hostess Twinkies and Drake's Coffee Cake will be a nice baked alternative.

No Will or Jack, but we have a big ol' Brady Clark Bar.

While Aaron or Greenberg would have made great Reds, we're happy with prospect Oh Henry! Rodriguez (apologies to Sue Ellen Mischke).

Go Reds.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

On Sweatered Sherpas, Warbling Warblers, and Jim Nantz

This here be an entry into the Nachos Grande Blogger Bracket challenge, in which a group of us nerds writes posts at the behest of a Nacho card of less-than-random choosing. Enjoy. Also, a hearty congrats to Brandon Phillips on his 4th Gold Glove. Go Reds.
As in my first entry, please allow yourself to enjoy a musical selection to set the proper mood.

The cresting azaleas. The angelic, avian warbling passing over Amen Corner. The dogwoods and the doglegs. A new season is upon us, and our man, Juan Uribe, sits atop the leaderboard. Looking to trade a purple jersey for a green jacket, Uribe stares down his putt as if a fox stalking his pray. We bear witness to the American dream on the links today. A young man from the Dominican Republic aims to join homegrown legends Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead in the annals of champions. This is truly a tradition unlike any other. The Blasters Tournament, on CBS. Sponsored by your Wal-Mart baseball card aisle.

Hello, friends. I'm Jim Nantz, your sweatered sherpa through the hills and valleys of Augusta, Georgia. Juan Uribe, one tap-in away from claiming the title for his home nation, went against his caddy's club selection in what can be described as an ill-conceived move. Eschewing his putter, Uribe pulls out a 32-ounce Louisville Slugger, replete with doughnut. I don't believe this qualifies as a regulation club, Pat.

"No, Jim, it does not. With the doughnut, our stats experts tell me the total club weight is nearly 50 ounces, well over tour specifications. The curved face of the bat is going to lead to an erratic trajectory and virtually no control of spin and placement. In my 297 years broadcasting sports, this is truly the oddest thing these eyes have seen."

I agree, Pat. This is highly unconventional. And...wait. It appears Uribe is pointing just over the heads of the audience in the bleachers on 18. He's calling his shot, Pat! Unbelievable. With Ruthian authority, Uribe seems intent on foregoing the putt and cranking this ball into the parking lot. The crowd has reached a fervorous ruckus I haven't seen since I was on the set of Happy Gilmore. Truly, a site to behold.

Uribe approaches his lie. There's no recompense to be had any more. A quick adjustment of his undercarriage and hearty loogie spat into the lake are the tell-tale signs that we're about to see some magic. Uribe pulls into his backswing, the majestic swoop of champion. He pauses for merely an instant. All muscles in his body are in perfect orchestra. There is a greater power at work here at The Blasters. Uribe has become one with his surroundings. Here it comes...the crack of the bat...the roar of the crowd...the whistle of the cowhide blistering past your ears. Contact has been made! The ball sails back...back...BACK!...and...

(to be continued)

Round 2/Group 7 Results

A vintage sweep today, kiddies. The '59 Frank Robinson wins the group in tattered fashion. Followed closely are the '74 Concepcion, the '55 Tebbets (a personal favorite), and the '62 Right Stuff. We're 28 strong in the impending finals bracket. Group 8 will be up tomorrow, as I'll be posting an entry into the Nachos Grande bracket challenge soon. Go Reds.

Monday, October 28, 2013

2013 Topps Update

Among a larger order from JustCommons (which will be a future post) were the latest from the Topps flagship. Let's check out the Reds goodness.

Shin-Soo Choo finally sneaked into the set as a Red. His Series 1 card was an Indian and he was absent from Series 2. I fear we won't pony up the money to bring him back. Derrick Robinson found himself in 102 games for the Reds in his first year and Donald Lutz found himself in 34 games in his first, both earning a nice RC. Xavier Paul gets his first ever issue as a Red in any brand, which is sweet. 

My boys earned 3 All Star bids, all shown here. Hey look, Topps. You send a photographer to a game and you get fresh, new photos! Crazy! I'm not willing to check, but I'm guessing I have very few cards featuring three different teams' jerseys on the playing field like the Phillips card. Pretty excellent.

These? I like these. A lot. The 1971 mini is Update's answer to the 1972 minis from Series 1 and 2. The '71 design looks better miniaturized for reasons I lack the artistic ability to explain. Topps put out 6 Reds in the '72 theme and these 3 in the '71 theme, which lends itself perfectly to a 9-card page (though Votto and Bench were repeated).

Also picked up a single Gold parallel. So this is my second Xavier Paul. Only 8 more parallels and 4 printing plates for the complete XP collection!

Ok, I didn't pick up this card, but it needs mentioned. If you're unaware, Teddy Kremer is a batboy for the Reds. You should definitely check out ESPN's 30 for 30 short on the man. It's a mandatory watch for any sports fan. This is a super-short print Topps put out, one of three card numbered U268 (with the Votto regular All Star and the Votto variation). Last time I checked, 14 had been sold on ebay, 13 of them for over $100 and 1 that sneaked by for $82. So unless I hit the lottery, it's very unlikely that I pony up the bucks for this one.

Well there ya go. The mission now is to dig up the myriad of parallels in the box fields of a card show. Go Reds.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Go Vote in Round 2/Group 7, Kiddies

Another tough group today. Five decades, three brands, and a Hall of Fame cameo. Solid.

Vote for your favorite four. Voting closes Wednesday at noon eastern. Go Reds.

Card #1 - 1985 Topps Eric Davis

Card #2 - 1962 Topps The Right Stuff ft. Purkey/Turner/Jay

Card #3 - 1974 Topps Dave Concepcion

Card #4 - 1959 Topps Frank Robinson

Card #5 - 1994 Upper Deck Diamond Collection Barry Larkin

Card #6 - 1952 Bowman Dick Sisler

Card #7 - 1991 Topps Mariano Duncan

Card #8 - 1955 Bowman Birdie Tebbets

Round 2/Group 6 Results

Diving Griffey wins the group. Followed closely behind are two vintage classics: the '74 Rose and the '57 Big Klu, nicely tattered. There was a tie for the fourth spot, so I'm abusing my power and putting the patriotic Dunn into Round 3 because I like it so much. Group 7 will be up within the half hour. Go Reds.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Nachos Grande Contest Entry -OR- A Much More Clever Title

Chris over at Nachos Grande is running a contest in which a bunch of us numbskulls are to blather our typical nonsense in an atypical direction: a card of his choosing. The following is my stab at the prelim round.

Disclaimer: I'm a lunatic.

Go Reds.

(To set the mood of today's adventure, allow this music to play in the background)

We join today's drama in a seedy tavern in a forgotten Texas town. A lone trumpeter plays the blues in the corner. Everyone in the bar is staring down at their sweaty drinks, craving a moment's solace that only two fingers of brandy can give. Our wandering hero, Detective Lee, sips a highball, the only pleasure left in his world since Sandra disappeared. 

Lee has been a private detective since the late nineties. He and his partner, a money-hungry, dishonest bastard that goes by Rodriguez, have been cracking 20 cases a year for over a decade. But then came Sandra. She had a smile that would make a dove sing and the devil cry. And legs that went all the way to heaven. And, as dames tend to do, she drove a wedge between Lee and Rodriguez. To her, it was innocent fun. To our man, it would all end in tears.

Lee fell in love. He needed her like the deserts need the rain; like the birds need the sky; like this god-forsaken town needs a savior. They were set to get married on a warm, spring day in Philadelphia. The night before the wedding, Sandra and Rodriguez were nowhere to be found. They vanished into the ether as if steam from the vents that line the lonely streets of his hometown. Lee was a shattered man.

His experience and grit would need be paramount this day, if he wished to reclaim his love. His clue-chasing had led him to this Texas outpost. Halfway between No-where and No-how. This is where he found them. Shacked up, and happier than he had ever seen either of them before. Shall he confront them? Murder them? Murder himself? No. None of these would do. Lee has seen how terrible men can be. When you work the criminal underbelly of cases even the cops won't touch, you know how precious happiness truly is. He made no hint of himself to either of them. He calmly strode away to the closest tavern he could find, hoping to silently commiserate with the other wretches the world has chewed up and spit out. And dammit, hopefully to recoup some joy in the form of a highball resting on his lips.

He finishes off the drink and orders another. A double. The barkeep, who felt Lee's pain radiating like the July sun the instant he melted through the doorway, had been serving him on the house. Lee, never one to embrace pity, feels as low as the scum he spies on for a living. Nothing, no matter how grand or trivial, could now upset him further. As long as he had his free highballs, he could recover, travel home, and start over. With a new case. And a new dame. 

But alas, poor Lee, Happy Hour is over. Love is no longer in the cards. The drinks are no longer free. The doubles have been cut in half. With one draw of his breath, the barman extinguishes the last flame of joy in our Detective's night; a line emblazoned on the card above...

"Charge the 'ball. Doubles are singles instead."

The End.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One and Done: 1996-1997

I'm beginning a new running theme, unimaginatively dubbed 'One and Done'. Here, I focus on cards of Reds players who, whether it be their only year in the bigs or their only year with the club, found themselves on the Cincinnati roster for only one season, yet long enough to sneak onto a card donning the Cincinnati red. That was a very convoluted sentence that I am choosing not to edit.

Today, we're gonna check out the 1996 and 1997 seasons. These two seasons featured 17 players (9 and 8, respectively) in their only Red year. Of these 17, my collection houses 9 of them emblazoned in red.

Lee Smith: 18 Year Career, 8 Teams, 7x All Star, Former All-Time Saves Leader.
With the Reds: 1996, 44.1 Innings in Relief in 43 Games, 4.06 ERA, 35 K's, 2 Saves, 3-4 Record.

Terry Pendleton: 15 Year Career, 5 Teams, All Star, 1991 NL MVP, 3x Gold Glove.
With the Reds: 1997, 125 PA in 50 Games, .248, 1 HR, 17 RBI.

Pete Rose Jr.: 1 Year Career, 1 Team, Totally Not a Publicity Stunt.
With the Reds: 1997, 16 PA in 11 Games, .143, 2 Hits, 2 Walks, 2 Runs.

Vince Coleman: 13 Year Career, 6 Teams, 1985 Rookie of the Year, 2x All Star, Stolen Base Artisan.
With the Reds: 1996, 94 PA in 33 Games, .155 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 12 SB

Chad Mottola: 5 Year Career, 4 Teams.
With the Reds: 1996, 85 PA in 35 Games, .215, 3 HR, 6 RBI.

Marcus Moore: 3 Year Career, 2 Teams.
With the Reds: 1996, 26.1 Inning in Relief in 23 Games, 5.81 ERA, 2 Saves, 3-3 Record.

Curt Lyons: 1 Year Career, 1 Team
With the Reds: 1996, 16 Innings Pitched in 3 Starts, 4.50 ERA 14 K's, 2-0 Record.

Roger Salkeld: 3 Year Career, 2 Teams
With the Reds: 1996, 116 IP in 19 Starts and 10 Relief Apperances, 5.21 ERA, 82 K's, 8-5 Record.

Tim Belk: 1 Year Career, 1 Team.
With the Reds: 16 PA in 7 Games, .200, 3 Hits, 1 Walk, 2 Runs.

One and Dones Missing from The Collection:

Keith Mitchell
Derek Lilliquist
Ozzie Timmons
Jeff Tabaka
Felix Rodriguez
Richie Lewis
Joey Eischen
Jim Crowell

Go Reds.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How 'bout You Go Vote in Round 2/Group 6?

Rollin' on, rollin' on. Looking to parse these down to four. I'm gonna be pretty upset seeing any of these eliminated. This is going to be a hard-fought group, methinks.

Vote for your favorite 4.

Voting ends Saturday at noon eastern. Go Reds.

Card #1 - 2004 Upper Deck Adam Dunn

Card #2 - 1955 Topps Ted Kluszewski

Card #3 - 1974 Topps Pete Rose

Card #4 - 2002 Ultra Ken Griffey Jr.

Card #5 - 1911 T205 Dick Egan

Card #6 - 1973 Topps Darrel Chaney

Card #7 - 2010 Upper Deck Ballparks GABP

Card #8 - 1957 Topps Ted Kluszewski