Friday, October 20, 2017

October Chantilly Show

On Saturday the 15th I went down to the tri-annual show in Chantilly, VA at the Dulles Expo Center.  Wasn't after any autographs, just wanted to shop the full day.  Did pretty well, especially on my vintage set needs.


About doubled my 1963 Fleer set count.  Added a couple decent names too - Robinson, Mazeroski, Santo.  Brooks was a blaster and a half.  The other guys are mostly from Uncle Dick's and are marked (on the sleeves).


More from Uncle Dick's and a few others.  The Vida Blue was the first card I picked up and was a steal at $4.  Been looking for a decent upgrade of the last card to kill that set.  (Had another in Blue's PC binder.)  I bet I have that Palmer Kellogg's, but we'll see.  (Update: Yep, sure did.  Who needs one?)  Great deal on high number '70 Bench.  And they're all high numbers too, as well as the '72s.  Started on some '64s from the bargain bins.  Once '60 is done (nine cards to go), I'll go full tilt on '64.


Quick and dirty closeup of Frank and Johnny.  I can never avoid shine taking pics in my house.


Some other vintage names on modern cards, and other PC guys.  Manny is on a KDKA radio issue.  Never seen that one before.  Love the obscure oddballs in player collections.  Also found a new Priest Holmes for that collection, which hasn't had many additions lately.  The Hernandez jersey was a whole two bucks from a table with nothing but two dollar GU cards.  Some newer Bo's and some Archive signatures of Campy and Manny Mota.  Plus a silk Livan for his PC.


Can't pass up a shiny Tiant sig.  Even if I really don't care about shiny.  It's a nice item to add.


More $2 jerseys, including RGIII, who should be going for that now.  A couple decent current names and a lot of regular Redskins cards.  Finished my Donruss base set with Riggo.  Dez corrupts this group but is an insert need.


And finally, my ubiquitous insert purchase from my guy Barry & family who had the full Nat setup going and had tons of 25¢ inserts.  Love that I got some more Hometown Heroes and '87s from this year. Both are sets that never seem to end.  Also killed some of last year's Heritage highs and Ichiro hits sets.

Got one dupe besides some Redskins base.  If you need Joe, let me know!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Washington Sports

DC teams just don't seem to be able to get past a certain point of success, no matter what regime is in charge, or how many times they upgrade management, coaches, players, or facilities.



The Nationals, despite Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Steven Strasburg, and David Murphy, have yet to make it to a World Series, or even to contend beyond the first round or so.  Now, of course, Harper is expected to defect to the money machine that is New York as soon as his contract expires.  Multiple managers have come and gone, and the Nats are still basically in the same pattern.  Compete well during the season, and then go out early in the playoffs.

You could see the hand of fate pushing them right out of contention five years ago against the Cardinals.  With like one out to go, the ball seemed to have a mind of its own as the Cards made a miraculous comeback.

Same thing this year.  Best record in the NL all year.  They come in as heavy favorites to make a run.  In the first couple games, Scherzer and Strasburg dominate the Cubs into the 7th inning, but Washington bats go right to sleep.  They finally wake up in the middle games, but then in Game 5, Scherzer comes in to the 4th inning and can't get the third out until he sees two singles and then a double in consecutive batters.  OK, so a couple runs are in.  Not "normal" for Scherzer, but plausible.

Then it just gets weird.  They intentionally walk a guy to put an out at every base.  The next guy swings at three pitches.  Should be over, right?  Oh no,  the ball goes past the catcher, who gets hit in the face with the backswing.  He then throws it past the first baseman and into the outfield.  Another run scores.  The next batter hits the catcher's glove on a swing, and is awarded first base.  Max then hits the next guy, which forces in another run.  Finally, after the Cubs have completely batted around, Bryant, who made the first out, makes the third.

The same guy that pitches not one, but TWO no-hitters in a season, and wins Cy Youngs, has a passed ball, catcher interference, a throwing error, and a hit batter all happen consecutively.  This crap doesn't happen to other teams!  Not even the past versions of the Cubs!

And just for insurance, a snap throw to first generates a challenge, which is repeatedly discussed as uncertain at best, but is decisively reversed by New York, killing an 8th inning Washington rally.  Try again next year....


The Capitals have followed a similar pattern for several years now.  Almost completely dominant in the regular season, they have won multiple President's Trophies for the most victories.  They won their division regularly for many seasons, until the league reorganized in 2013-14.  This put them together with playoff rivals Pittsburgh and New York.  New York is generally the largest market, but in the NHL's case, Pittsburgh is the marquee team of the whole league.  And Washington is lucky enough to be their bitterest rivals.  The normal routine is that Washington makes the playoffs easy every season, and Pittsburgh plays with stunning mediocrity until the last month, and then squeaks in.  Then suddenly the Penguins are unbeatable superstars, while Washington goes home early.

I could go for a whole column on just the bias on Crosby, NBC, and league marketing (and I have), so I won't rehash it again.  Always a no-win situation for the Caps.  All the star power, goal scoring and secondary trophies can't help them.


The Redskins compete within their own division with the New York Giants, who are in the largest national market, the Dallas Cowboys, who get hyped by the media no matter how they're doing, and the Philadelphia Eagles, who have a decent market and are up and down competitively each year.

They get the least respect from the national media, and the league in general.  The other three teams get all the accolades while the Redskins are largely ignored or discounted as pretenders.  I can't say that they haven't shown up on the nationally featured games recently.  Before the last couple games against the Raiders and Chiefs, they generally had a horrible record when they were the only game going on.  Except for beating a depleted Packers team a year or so ago, it was routine that they would fail early and often and get blown out and humiliated in every night game they played.  All the highlights, promotions, and favorable discussion by the commentators would focus on the opponent.  If the Redskins did something good, it was spun into what the other team has to overcome.  If they faltered, it was replayed over and over.
This bias continues now, too.  You'll notice that all the cute animations featuring individual players during the KC vs. DC game on Monday night were about the Chiefs.  There were no fancy graphics about Kirk Cousins, Trent Williams, or Jordan Reed.  Even John Gruden only mentioned his own brother, who is the 'Skins' Head Coach, once or twice during the entire broadcast.  The promo ads for the Monday night tilt against the Eagles was all about how the Eagles were fighting to stay on top of the NFC East.  And the commercial ended.  No equal time to say that the 'Skins were trying to knock them out of first place or anything.  Just Eagles and end of story.

There are a lot of people that don't respect the Redskins just because of the team name.  I'm not going to spend a lot of energy on refuting their opinion, mostly because there aren't many of them who are Native Americans in the first place.  The ownership and team officials made an effort to evaluate the "offensiveness" of the name with the actual people who are reportedly offended and found it wasn't that big a deal to them.

Their "natural" rivals are the Dallas Cowboys.  Everyone who follows football knows that Jerry Jones owns pretty much the most (over)hyped team in the league.  They got a couple good rookies recently, one of which is a lengthy suspension waiting to happen, but of course, he's getting to play months beyond what normally happens, and has even challenged the leauge in court.  What other team could get away with that?  And don't get me started on their players somehow exempted from rules about being on the field without a helmet and yelling at officials.  I'd say Jerrah pays extra for a lot of stuff that goes on.

He paid some extra a few years ago when the New York owners crippled the abilities of both Dallas and Washington to build their teams a few years ago with charges of improper contracts or something.  DC and Dallas paid hefty fines, which screwed up our ability to pay players for a couple years.  The New York Giants are a league favorite when it comes to getting feature games.  The largest market always gets the perks in any sport, and the G-Men reap the benefits.  They were forecast to be the division winners this year.  Sadly, they haven't won a game, and I'm sure the hype machine is freaking out.

But even outside of all that, their luck just stinks.  When finally able to take advantage of a high draft pick, they select Robert Griffin III who actually produced for a year and won them the 2012 division title.  But the continuous soap opera between Griffin, the coaches, the media, and the team degraded their next couple seasons.  Gruden came in and eventually replaced Griffin and won the division again, but they haven't advanced past the first round of playoffs for years.

Other players were hyped as major talents, but ended badly.  Albert Haynesworth, Adam Archuleta, Donovan McNabb, and many others were signed for millions and produced little.  And then there's Sean Taylor.  An almost certain perennial All-Pro safety who was quickly becoming a superstar on the field, was tragically killed during his fourth season in the pros.

Kirk Cousins, their current promising quarterback, has signed one-year franchise contracts for the last two seasons.  He's being cautious about how the team is run, and how a lot of new players will affect the performance on the field, so he hasn't committed to a long term deal.  The team officials seem to be maintaining a very conservative opinion on Cousins' potential even though he's set Redskins records in major stat categories and had better seasons than dozens of past DC QB's.

They fired the first General Manager who seemed to have a far superior knack for finding quality players than the regimes from the last several years.   Almost all the players he signed are still contributing on the team.  But clashes with the team president (who was in charge during the more lean years recently) led to his dismissal.  It's hard to say who's really picking the players now.



The Wizards made it to the playoffs the last couple years, but then were eliminated in the second round both times.  They have a solid team that had several key injuries and a suspension or two along the way.  They don't have the mega-star power besides John Wall, who still doesn't quite hold the spotlight like Wade, Westbrook, Curry, or James.  There was a campaign to attract native son Kevin Durant, but to do that, the Wiz would have to compete with the big money and big(ger) media market teams.  It didn't work, as he signed with the defending champion Warriors.
They seem to have the best chance of avoiding the "Washington curse".  They are steadily trending up and attracting positive attention around the league.  I can see them actually competing and being respected by the media in the near future.

But of course, I don't really follow basketball....

So I'll continue to watch as the other three repeat the same patterns.  I've thought about switching to another team now and then, but just can't be that kind of fan.  Leagues are all supposedly geared to parity, so maybe in another decade or two, it'll swing back in our favor and we'll win something.

I should look on the bright side.  At least Washington is not Cleveland.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Happy Birthday To Bryce Harper!

Da Hawpa passes the quarter century mark today. 



Unfortunately, the Nationals weren't able to celebrate it on the road to the World Series this year.  They went out in the first playoff round again, like Washington teams do.  More on that later...

Harper will be a free agent in 2019, so the looming question is, will he stay in DC?  Hopefully, that's a clown question, bro....


Friday, October 13, 2017

Two Down On The Most Wanted List

Made a couple more trades with my usual group and got a couple off the top wanted list.


First up, the 1990 Scoremasters Bo Jackson.  Neat little set I picked up cheap somwhere, but was missing Cal Ripken and then of course, I needed a second Bo, because who wants to break up a perfectly complete set?

This one will go with another Bo into the binder...


This year's ASG MVP.  My list still says #10 since I need two of this Bo, just like the Scoremaster.

Another one I'm glad to have captured is this Heritage set killer.


Completes the inserts and all....the...shortprints?  As I type that, I'm not sure that's for real.  But let me check....Ah, OK, I have four whole shortprints.  That's more realistic.  Have to put those on the ol' wantlists.  Another Heritage set down to the shortprints.  Is there any other state a Heritage set can end up in?

Happy Trading!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

This Was The XFL ... On Cardboard

Part of my Michigan haul back in July was a box of Topps XFL.  Around the same time, ESPN was just releasing it's 30 For 30 documentary on the league.  Invented by WWE leader Vince McMahon, and TV producer Dick Ebersole, the league shook things up in 2001.


Of course, it was marketed like hell, which included trading cards.  Topps 100 card base set plus 10 team logo stickers and eight "mega-foil" quarterback cards made up the issue.

Packs contained eight cards each...


Bet ya can't name all the teams!


Tommy Maddox and Rod "He Hate Me" Smart were the two most well known players.  Remember when MLB let players put whatever they wanted on the back of their jerseys?  That was an XFL innovation.


And they got crazy with the cheerleaders, too.


Here's a link to all the cheerleader cards, and the group shots on the back.

The league only lasted a year.  Check out the 30 For 30 on ESPN when you can.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Night Owl Overpays

This past July, when I was visiting Collectibles Unlimited in Clio, Michigan, I managed to find a few hits from the 90's off the want lists of a couple select bloggers.  One of which was Night Owl, whose two needs for one of the Topps Big sets were among the stacks there.

Not only is Greg the reigning king of card blogging, he's also a well-known generous trader.  I got my return package the other day and was just wowed by what was inside.

Starts out with a little parallel star power...


Then hits my 2016 Heritage inserts hard...



Then caps it with a couple of inserts from one of the tougher sets to find - Hometown Heroes...and Nolan Ryan to boot!


All this for just two 90's cards.  Dude, you rock!

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Scott Crawford Stayed On It!

Scott Crawford and I started corresponding about trading back in 2014.  It was December, and as happens often, we got caught up in the holidays and everything and eventually lost track.  I switched my wants website this past year, so when Scott found our messages in the dark reaches of his Inbox in late August, we started over.

Last week, it came to fruition.  Got a return package from him that was quite diverse.


Started out with a 2007 Red.....Back.


Then some star power from the mid 90's to chip away at a couple sets.


Some cross-sport action from '94 Upper Deck.  This is my second one since I started my MJ baseball collection before trying to complete this set.


Nice parallel '98 Donruss Press Proof.  The scan brings out the logos in the background.  These are "numbered" out of 1500, which is to say that it says "1 of 1500" on the back.


A couple Livans for his PC.  Gotta be a hell of a fastball to make it across the plate from Mars.


Jump over to football with four hits to my second set of 2008 Score.  I really like this set, but will be glad when I get all the inserts (in the correct non-glossy versions) and can finally erase it off my lists.

And finally,


Some short print Archive Fridge action from 2013.  I highlighted the notations so you can see the differences from the original (besides the card number)

Thanks Scott!  Looking forward to the second round, like in a month or two this time!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Proper Education

Not sure if I've shown this before or not.  I travel around the county to most all the different schools in my job as tech support.

My favorite student art project by far is mounted on the wall of one particular middle school just past the guidance office.


It appears to be a collage of squares painted by different students and put together like a mosaic.


It's one of my player collection guys, and local favorite Charlie Keller, though the school is in a different part of the county than Charlie's home town.  1951 Bowman.  His 1950 uses the same photo/drawing without the name bar, of course.


I asked the tech person there if she'd like to see the real thing.  The one below is not mine.  (I would never imprison mine like this) but it's a good specimen.


I think they did a pretty good likeness.



Monday, October 02, 2017

Flea Market Find

I've had a table at a local flea market for several months.  It was a great way to get rid of hoarded stuff that just took up space in the closets or the garage.  I sold off many items of my own, and also got other things from friends and my mother.  Wasn't really in it for the cash, but more to put useful things into the hands of people who could use them.  Unfortunately, that pipeline has run dry.  I've closed down the table this past weekend.  I stopped by last Saturday to notify the owner and mark down the remaining merchandise. 

I never sold cards there, but I did end up buying some!  While "un-shopping" several items from my table back to their proper sellers, I came across several long white boxes in that oh-so-familiar shape.  They were marked with 1991, 88 (x2), '86, '85, '83 and 1978.  Since I've already done the later sets (and still have a full two-row box of '88 myself), I passed on those.  But I did grab the '83 and '78s figuring they're far enough outside the junk wax era to be valuable trade bait.


They're in really nice shape.  Looks like the leftovers from some box breaks and set builds.  Both boxes generally cover numbers 530ish through the end of their respective sets.  The '78s have a handful of earlier numbers.  They include managers, checklists, and a few non-star rookie quads.


The 83's have stars (Yaz, Seaver, Ozzie, Raines, Brett, Morgan, etc.) Super Veterans, team cards, league leaders, managers, and more!

Can't beat the price, either.  TWO BUCKS A BOX!



Send me your needs.  And if you want some of the other years, I can pick those up too.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Rock Stars, Champions and Sweet Treats From Our Little Corner Of The Palace

I'm moving up in the blogging world.  The latest recognition comes from long-time blog reader and generous trader mr. haverkamp (aka Jim).

He liked the blog and my "amazing variety of wantlists" - so much so, he dug me out some good stuff!


Some early 90's Upper Deck inserts:


Three of the Topps T205 triple folders:


A bunch of 2013 Allen & Ginter including inserts:




Some great Hostess and Mother's Cookies for my player collections:



A hit to 2002 Upper Deck Golf:


And finally, an odd ball promo from 1991 Pro Set Music.  Didn't see that one coming!


Gonna have to work a bit to get suitable return fire for all this goodness!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Elimination Can Still Be A Good Time

My buddy John hooked me up with a game ticket to Saturday night's Orioles vs. Rays game at Camden Yards.  The game itself was not what we wanted to see, (though they almost rallied after we left), but it was nice just being at the ballpark.

I drove myself since he was riding with other friends.  It was easy parking in lot G down by M&T football stadium.  Got to see the new Ray Lewis statue, along with Johnny U's on the walk up to Oriole Park. 



We found our seats in the upper deck and settled in.  Showed up rather early, so the crowd hadn't filled in yet.  It was interesting how the lights kicked in and darkness fell right about the time of the first pitch.




We were in the corner near the foul pole and the Orioles retired numbers.


The starting lineups...hopefully clearer in the larger view.


Around the fourth inning, we went for food and walked around to the monument park in the other corner.  I had not seen them in person yet.

Brooks Robinson
Earl Weaver

Frank Robinson

Eddie Murray

Cal Ripken, Jr.

Jim Palmer

John had to leave (his friend got called back to his Navy ship). So I hung around until the top of the 9th inning.  Score was 9 to 1 Rays at that point.  Since the O's hadn't been winning a lot lately, I didn't have much faith in a comeback.  I finally decided if the next batter gets on, I'm getting a jump on the traffic.  The batter got a hit, and I headed out.



I continued snapping pictures on my way down the ramp behind the grandstands.  You can see the game between the floors.


Game view is kinda washed out


Came through the monument park again and went around to the warehouse and out Eutaw Street.



Went home and learned the Orioles scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth!  This solidifies my rule about not leaving early.  I got home and they were replaying the game on CSN so I recorded it from about the 7th inning on to see the scoring in the 9th.  My luck struck again and the recording stopped after the eighth inning.  So I'm just seeing the highlights this morning on their website.

That loss officially eliminated the O's from the post season.  Ah well, maybe next year....