Sometimes, it's the little things

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

There's a pack of cards sitting on my television that I'm trying really hard not to open. The fact is, they don't belong to me. But I don't know who's cards they are yet.

You see, here in Australia, Aussie Rules football is the main fall and winter sport (unless you live in Queensland or New South Wales). And, much like baseball cards were the must-have for kids in America, good young Aussies love their footy cards. Something else they love is predicting the results of each match.

We call it footy tipping over here, and this year I've gotten my class involved in a tipping competition. A couple of weeks ago, I hit upon the genius idea of giving a pack of footy cards to the kid who gets the most picks right each week. Not a bad idea, really. That pack on my TV is going to go to this week's winner.

What I didn't realise is that they would jump into things with such gusto. Even the kids who I didn't think had any real desire for footy, much less cards with footy players on them, want to win the packs. Why? Because, every morning for the past two weeks, the kids in my class get out their card collections and start trading. To see the look on their faces, and the different strategies they employ, is really quite a hoot. Some try to get all the players from their favorite team. Others want all the best players. And one kid is obsessed with the insert sets and is willing to trade plenty of commons to get an insert card. Does all of this sound familiar?

It's even gotten to the point where I held back a couple of packs for myself so I could participate now and then. I also supervise things to make sure that trades are fair and both sides walk away happy, thinking that they got a good deal. I want these kids to enjoy it, and so far, it's been working. I'm even thinking about bringing in a couple of my baseball binders to school to show the kids, even though they won't have any idea who the players are.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that in some small way, I like to think I'm contributing to the hobby in my little corner of the world. Next year, most of the kids in my class will go off to high school, and they'll probably forget all about their cards. They may even throw them away or give them to a younger sibling or cousin. But there will probably be one or two who either keeps on collecting, or does what many of us did - remember years later how much fun cards can be, and get back into it. They might even help the next generation get started.

Tales from the 2010 Topps box (Part 3)

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Things got back to normal for me, as far as pulling new cards and not duplicates. I only got two doubles and they both involved Ichiro. One was his base card, and the other was the AL batting leaders card. As far as I'm concerned, the more Ichiro, the better.

Actually, that's not quite true. There was another duplicate. Midway through pack three, I pulled this:

Then, with the very next card, I got this:

Not that I'm complaining, but two Million Card Giveaway redemption cards back-to-back? That gives me four cards already in this box, and I'm not even halfway through. Has anyone else had something like this happen to them? Two redemption cards in a row, or even in the same pack?

Tales from the 2010 Topps box (Part 2)

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I skipped a day because there were no tales to tell from the second batch of packs. I've clearly used up all my "no dupes" karma since there were some packs that had more doubles than new cards, and I've only gotten a third of the way through the 2010 set. Today started out with more of the same, but then I turned things around, even pulling Albert Pujols, #100.

I did get three Yo Momma cards in my four packs. All of them are non-original backs, though. See if you can figure out the common theme:

Note to Topps: if you don't want to piss me off, don't load my packs with Yankees cards. Especially worthless replicas of Yankees cards. That is all.

Tales from the 2010 Topps box (Part 1)

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Well, the corpse of my 2009 Topps box wasn't even cold before I cracked open the 2010 box. Heartless bastard, I know. I opened four packs, and am going to keep opening them four at a time until they're all gone.

The first pack was uneventful, but the second one contained a nice surprise - a Million Card Giveaway redemption card. And having *just* read this post from Play at the Plate about how the Transmogrifier was unstuck, I decided to head on over to the Topps site immediately. Sure enough, on the "recently unlocked cards" graphic there were 8 cards from the 60s and 70s, as well as one from the 90s and one from 2005. Pretty good odds, I figured. So I entered the code and...


But I pressed on, undeterred. And in my next pack, wouldn't you know it, another MCG redemption card was staring at me. "Surely, this couldn't happen two times in a row," I said. Having looked at the updated recent cards chart, my Carter card was the only none 60s or 70s card. So I rolled the dice, typed in the nine-digit code with all the question marks and ampersands, and it spat out...

That's more like it. Former Bird Curt Blefary, albeit as a Yankee. A horizontal card in all its early 70s day-glo and lower-case fontted glory. Finally, a card worth having. But I wasn't done, oh no. Because in the next pack...well, it wasn't another redemption card. But midway through the pack, I saw this:

A Johnny Bench '73 Topps Yo Mamma card replica! Cautiously, I turn the card over to look at the back. Do I dare dream?


2009 Topps Box Break (Jim Morrison Edition)

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

This is the end...

It was a good box break, especially for my first one. Lots of progress on the set. Unfortunately, I've been having a poke around and finding out just how hard it is to find 2009 Series 1 boxes available. Why is that?

Throughout the week, I'll be posting scans of some of my favorite cards from the box, including the Ryan Howard relic. It's also good because now I have a lot more cards of current players to illustrate my posts when I'm discussing baseball news.

Don't think I'll be doing videos for the 2010 box break - next videos will probably be Heritage (whenever it gets here).

2009 Topps Box Break (Relic Edition)

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

Well, it had to happen sometime. No, I'm not talking about pulling a duplicate. That's still going strong - 31 packs and 238 cards without one base card dupe. At 72 percent complete, I'm well defying the odds with every pull. At the same time, even if my last five packs in the box are full of dupes, I'll have completed much more of the base set with this box than I could have ever hoped for going into it.

No, I'm talking about the "hit." In this video, you'll see that I found the guaranteed autograph or relic in each box. Who is it? What is it? Which pack is it in? Click on the video to find out more...

There's five more packs to go in this box, and then I'm going to tear into the 2010 Series 1 box. After I break the last five packs, I'll post my want list for the remaining cards. Even if I managed to keep my streak up and don't pull any more duplicates, I'm still going to end up about 50 cards short of completing the set (I'm 92 cards short at the present time). Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm sure we'll be able to work something out. Unopened 1988 Topps cello packs, anyone? ;)

Joy of a Completed Page

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

In my collection, it's recorded as Page 09T2-29. One White Sox player, one A's player, three rookie cards, a manager, a nice action shot, two horizontal cards, and two perennial all-stars. Capped off in the middle with a player who was such a key figure for the Reds for many years, and the subject of one of the two baseball bobblehead dolls I have. A somewhat interesting page, but when it comes down to it, nothing terribly special.

Except that this is the first completed page that I have constructed since I got back into the hobby. It's cards 583-591 in the '09 Topps Series 2 set, and, to me, it's exciting. Even when I was a kid, I never tried to build sets. I didn't have the patience, and it was just easier to buy (or rather, get as a Christmas gift) the factory set at the end of the year. 2009 Series 2 is actually my first serious attempt at set building, and this page is my first accomplishment. Just thought I'd take a moment to share.

2009 Topps Box Break (Streak Edition)

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Well, it's official - I blew past the 20-pack mark in this box break. 26 packs without a single base card duplicate, unless you count the gold parallels (which I don't). How long can this possibly go on? The whole box? It's good for my set building, but it's making it hard for me to accumulate cards for trading purposes.

Here's the video:

And here's the second part, packs 23-26. I'm now more than 60% complete with the set:

Don't mess with Dallas

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Dallas Braden is a badass. Dude always does things his own way, and things are starting to come together for him with a 3-0 record to start the season. The latest win came yesterday, at the Yankees' expense, but that wasn't the best part, oh no. The best part was when Braden called out the purple-lipped cheater, Alex Rodriguez, for taking a shortcut on the way back to first base after a foul ball. It was a shortcut that took him right over the pitcher's mound. And that's a no-no, in Braden's eyes.

I wonder if there's any post-screaming spike in the price of Braden's cards. It seems like any time a player is in the news for any reason, people like to hike up their Buy it Now prices.

P.S. I don't have any '09 Updates and Highlights in my collection (yet) so I had to borrow this image from the always entertaining Cards on Cards site. Check it out - especially on Airbrushed Fridays. Thanks Madding!

My first Griffey relic

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

Over at Thorzul Will Rule, there was a group box break for some 2009 Upper Deck "A Piece of History" cards. This is the second group break of Thorzul's that I've participated in. It won't be the last.

On the first one, I was lucky enough to pull a Joe Blanton patch card. That card is currently on its way to Australia and a scan will be posted when it gets here. But the second card, I can't wait, so I'm just going to re-post the scan that Thorzul has on his blog:

That would be a Junior relic card commemorating his 600th home run. What an awesome card, it's already become one of my favorites. Sometimes I really love this hobby. Thanks for organising another great group break, Thorzul!

2009 Topps Box Break (Error Card Edition)

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

It's an error card that you're doubtless all familiar with already. The infamous Sharon/Shairon Martis card. On the back, he's the young Dutch pitcher we all know. But on the front, he's my mother-in-law.

Just watch the video and it'll make sense.

Still no dupes. Not that I'm complaining. I'm now more than a third of the way through the set.

I went and redeemed the code. Chris Coghlan. Whoopee. I was so underwhelmed, I went and dropped him from my fantasy team and picked up Ike Davis instead.

2009 Topps Box Break (Addiction Edition)

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

I just can't stay away.

I fully intended to hold off on opening any more packs until the weekend, but I couldn't help myself. So that's four more packs open. Still no hit (they say there's one in there) but some pretty good insert cards.

Something else that's interesting. I've opened 14 packs so far, an I haven't gotten a single duplicate. That is, unless you count the Jorge De La Rosa, which I don't, because I first pulled a gold parallel and later the base card (which went into the correct spot in the binder). How long can I keep that streak up?

Athletics Team Preview

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Oakland Athletics
Last season: 75-87 (4th in AL West)
This season's prediction: 3rd in AL West

Key acquisitions: Ben Sheets (free agent); Kevin Kouzmanoff (trade, San Diego); Adam Rosales (trade, Cincinnati)
Departures: Scott Hairston (trade, San Diego); Bobby Crosby (free agent); Aaron Miles (trade, Cincinnati); Dana Eveland (trade, Toronto)

Even though it's two weeks into the season, for the sake of completeness, I present my 2010 Athletics team preview. The A's, unlike all of the other teams I previewed, actually seem to be doing something along the lines of my prediction (which from this point forward will be referred to as "guesses"). In fact, they're overacheiving, currently first in the AL West. I know, it's still early, and a lot can happen between now and October, but I'm confident that the Athletics will finish in at least 3rd.

Key player (based on the cards I have in my collection): Bobby Crosby

Just kidding, of course. Even I wouldn't pick a key player that isn't playing for the team. I just wanted to show off my gold parallel card of Crosby.

The real key player based on cards in my collection is Justin Duchscherer. Much has been made about the Ben Sheets signing, and how he provides a veteran presence in the rotation, but the A's already had a leader. What I want to know is, how will The Duke handle coming back from an absolute nightmare of a season last year? And how is his mental health? I hope, for his sake, he's got things under control. Because that's what's really important, not baseball.

The Bottom Line:
The Athletics good start should give them some confidence later on down the track. Of course, it needs to be said that their record was fattened by playing four games against the Orioles last week. But the four starters (Sheets, Braden, the Duke and Brett Anderson) are all off to a good start. I'd say a .500 (or better) season is in the cards.

2009 Topps Box Break (Car Trouble Edition)

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

What a week! The last week of vacation was certainly memorable. On Monday, I went into school to get some preparation done for next term. Guess what? No computer server. Makes it hard to do work. On the way home, the timing belt on my car broke. Makes it hard to drive. The good news is that I had just gotten it replaced, so it clearly wasn't installed properly, and the mechanics had to fix it. Didn't cost me any money because it wasn't my mistake. The bad news is, I had to sit by the side of the road for two hours waiting for a tow truck.

After a week, the car is fixed. School starts tomorrow. Go in to get some prep work done, guess what? The power's out. No computers, no copiers, no nothing. Makes it even harder to do work (at least I could photocopy some stuff when the server was down). Not a great start to the term.

Now the good news - my box of 2010 Topps Series 1 arrived from New Jersey today. That was two weeks - great timing, if you ask me. I think I earned some wax busting. Even though I said I wouldn't until the end of the week, somehow I feel like I can ration a little bit less. Here's a video of me opening the next four packs of 2009 Series 2. I promise it's better than the first two:

By the way, I put my cards in their sleeves as soon as I finished the video. When I got to Willy Tavares, I looked up his card number (341) and saw that he had a home right next to...Joe Mauer! The best hitter in Major League Baseball side-by-side with the worst.

Horizontal Card Mania

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

There has been a bit of talk on the blogosphere lately about horizontal cards. When I went shopping this past weekend, I picked up a couple of packs of 2007 Upper Deck because they were three bucks (Australian) each, so why not? Classic impluse purchase.

I don't know that much about the 2007 UD, so I have to ask - were horizontal cards common in that set? Because I got four in my two packs:

Love the Thome and Payton action shots.I wonder where that ball that Thome hit ended up, and Payton no doubt ended up safe. I can't figure out the circumstances of the Molina card - I think it is probably before one of the Padre games where they honor the military and wear their camoflauge unis? That would explain Colina's game pants and batting practice top, especially because he clearly looks like he's warming up...but all those servicemen - not what you expect in the background of a baseball card. I guess that's what makes the hobby so interesting - you never know what you're going to open next.

Video time! 2009 Box Break

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

The videos from the highly anticipation 2009 Topps Series 2 box break. I have to say, I'm pretty happy with the players I got so far. A couple of gold parallels, a bevy of star players, and an Oriole from the very first pack...

This is split into two videos. As dayf put it, "when YouTube says they have a ten-minute limit, they mean it!"

Part 1:

Part 2:

Thanks for watching!

My trip to the card shop

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

So I found the big (only?) card shop in Perth. I went in fully intending to get some supplies and the lay of the land. As I figured, there wasn't much in the way of baseball cards, but there were some. There were also some good possibilities for later A Pack to be Named Later posts (hello cricket cards!)

Anyway, I also bought a couple of 2007 Upper Deck packs because I  couldn't go to a card shop and not get some cards, right? Afterwards, my wife (who is awesome, and please don't let me forget that) saw my purchases and said "is that all you're getting?" So then I went and got this:

Yes, it's 2009 Topps, but that passes for a new release here in Australia! :) And at the price I paid, after exchange rates and all that hoo-hah, it's comparable to the two hobby boxes I bought on eBay and had shipped over here. So buying cards from this store is definitely doable. I wasn't planning on starting another set to collect, but why not? This will keep me busy until the 2010 cards come from the other side of the Pacific.

I'm going to do my first video post tomorrow, when I crack open this box. Be there, or watch it later on your RSS reader. Have you subscribed to this blog yet? If not, well why the bloody hell haven't you?

Advice needed

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Okay, so as most of you know, I've just gotten back into the habit hobby after a pretty long layoff. And I'll admit, I wasn't the best person as far as taking care of my cards was concerned. Basically, if it didn't come in a top loader or penny sleeve when I bought it, then I sure didn't put it in one. And there may have been some rubber bands used, but I will neither confirm nor deny that.*

At any rate, I'm serious about things this time around. Not because I think I'm going to make a mint on baseball cards, but because I want to be a valuable member of the community, and that means doing right by people when I trade with them. And that means taking proper care of my cards.

On Saturday, after what will no doubt be a painful and gruelling trip to the dentist, I am going to reward myself with a trip to Perth to the one halfway decent card shop in W.A.** And I am planning on buying some supplies to keep my cards nice and the corners sharp, but what do I need to buy?

I know I'll need top loaders, and should I bother with penny sleeves as well? I think I want to get some pages to store my 2010 Topps in (I've decided to make that my first big set I'm collecting). What should I look for in a good page full of plastic pockets? I know that I should get PVC-free pages to preserve the ink. I also remember reading something about diamond corners vs. square corners. What's that all about?

Basically, I'm relying on you, dear reader, to set me in the right direction. What sort of supplies does the avid collector buy to preserve their baseball card collection? Thanks for your help!

* The only thing that I will say is that, in my defense, they were all junk wax cards from the late-80s so I don't feel too bad.

** According to the folks on the interwebs. They also say it's a bit pricey. I get the feeling, though, that they're the only card store in the whole state that sells baseball cards. I hope this means they sell boxes, or at the very least, packs.

Nope, I still hate the O's bullpen

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

You all knew that was coming, didn't you? And you didn't tell me. Thanks. Thanks for nothing.

In a completely unrelated note, the website re-model is pretty much complete. There's still a few little things I'm still ironing out, but it's pretty much good to go. Next up, I'm going to post some want lists. Look for them on the right-hand side.

Have I mentioned how much I like Luke Scott?

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Two-run pinch-hit homer in the 8th to tie it up and take Matusz off the hook for a game that he shouldn't have been charged the loss for, anyway.

In case you haven't figured it out, I'm watching this game on a 12-hour delay. But at least it's available on TV here in Upside-Down Land. It's in the 10th inning right now, I may yet make another anguished post, depending on the circumstances.

Warning: Grumbling ahead

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

I hate the Orioles bullpen. I wonder if Brian Matusz does, too?

56 Years of History

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Yes, it's been a long time since Jamie Moyer looked like that. Young, fresh-faced, his entire career ahead of him. Heck, I don't even think he had become Digger Phelps's son-in-law when that picture was taken sometime during his rookie year.

Remember when being Digger Phelps's son-in-law was Moyer's biggest claim to fame? I sure do!

An interesting fact I learned while looking through some Phillies games notes from this past weekend. I love looking at game notes. They're about the only thing that MLB hasn't put behind that damn firewall (good-bye, media guides) but they can contain some good information, and ideas for blog posts. For example...

The oldest person who Jamie Moyer faced in a major league game is now 67 years old.

He wasn't 67 when he batting against Moyer, of course - we're not talking about Minnie Minoso. But he is Cuban, like Minoso. No, this player was a sprightly 44.

He is a Hall of Famer. I wonder if Jamie Moyer will be able to say the same thing? I doubt it. Jamie Moyer's biggest legacy is his longevity.

This player started his career in 1964. Which means, when he and Moyer faced off in 1986, their combined careers would span for 56 years (and counting). Of course, no one knew that at the time. I mean, how could they? Who would have thought that goofy-looking rookie would pitch until he was 47 (and counting)?

You probably know the answer to the question. But in case you don't, here he is, in all his 1986 glory:

I love this card because it's Doggie and Eric Davis. For Reds fans, Eric Davis will always be a beloved figure in team history. Someday, I'll do a post just about him, and try to do him justice by it.

But back to this card - when you think of Perez, you think of him driving in runs. And my guess is that he just drove in ED with a home run, which were getting few and far between in the mid '80s for Doggie. I was actually present at the game when the Reds retired No. 24. It was in May 2000 and I just happened to be in town visiting my parents. When we decided to go to the Reds game, none of us knew it was Tony Perez Night. What a great "accidental" memory.

I don't know the circumstances of this pitcher, but I know it wasn't against Jamie Moyer - Doggie is 0-for-3 lifetime against him.

The biggest matchup OF ALL TIME!!!!

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

In today's home opener at Safeco Field, this fellow pictured above will start for the Athletics. His opponent for the Mariners is their Australian starter-turned reliever-turned starter again.

Yes, it's Justin Duchscherer vs. Ryan Rowland-Smith, in what is quite possibly the biggest pitching matchup in Major League history, at least in terms of last names. One is eleven letters long. The other is twelve letters, with a hyphen. That's 23 letters plus a punctuation mark!

This matchup is so huge, even the shiny new scoreboard at Target Field can't fit it all (which, quite frankly, is nothing more than poor planning).

My question to you all is - can you think of anything possibly bigger? Maybe something involving Giants great William VanLandingham?

Orioles Team Preview

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Baltimore Orioles
Last season: 64-98 (5th in AL East)
This season's prediction: 3rd 4th in AL East

Key acquisitions: Kevin Millwood (trade, Texas); Miguel Tejada (free agent); Garrett Atkins (free agent); Julio Lugo (trade, St. Louis)
Departures: Melvin Mora (free agent); Danys Baez (free agent); Chris Ray (trade, Texas)

Oh, the O's. Ever since watching them on HTS while growing up in North Carolina, I've had a special feeling for the Birds. Who can forget those goofy three-color caps with the Oriole Bird on them? Or, for that matter, the fact that the mascot is named "The Oriole Bird"? I do love the Orioles, and it was a great time to be living in D.C. in the mid-90s, that's for sure. Which makes this slide past mediocrity and into downright putridness all the more painful. Whatever happened to The Oriole Way?

Key player (based on the cards I have in my collection): Luke Scott, OF

As the only Oriole in my 2010 collection (so far), Scott was an easy choice as key player. However, he's not a bad choice. Although he's listed as a DH on the card, Scott splits that duty with Nolan Reimold, spending the rest of his time in left field. I like this card, because I like to see Luke Scott celebrating. I hope he does a lot of it in 2010. But if I had to pick a real key player, it would be Brian Matusz. It's his first full season in the bigs - how will he adjust to big-league hitter that have adjusted to him?

The Bottom Line: The Orioles are still a couple of years away from breaking up the Yankees/Red Sox duopoly in the AL East, as reflected in my revised prediction for this year. Still, there are signs of hope in Birdland that the team's first post-season appearance since 1997 is not too far away. This year is about taking out the Tampa Bay Rays as the "best of the rest" in the East - something that the opening series shows is easier said than done. Let's just say I have my doubts that Mike Gonzalez is a big league closer.

The question Mariners fans are asking...

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

When's this guy coming off the disabled list?

I mean, I know it's just the first week of the season, and it's not time to panic, and if this had happened in the middle of June, nobody would probably even notice, but come on...1-4? Please excuse my now embarassing season preview.

At least on the bright side, the Athletics are 4-1.

Reds Team Preview

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Cincinnati Reds
Last season: 78-84 (4th in NL Central)
This season's prediction: 3rd in NL Central

Key acquisitions: Orlando Cabrera (free agent); Miguel Cairo (free agent); Aroldis Chapman (free agent); Bryan Price (pitching coach)

Departures: Kip Wells (free agent); Willy Tavares (trade, Oakland); Adam Rosales (trade, Oakland)

There's lots of high hopes in the Queen City this season. I mean, there's high hopes every season, but fans are hoping that this is finally the year that the Reds break their pattern of starting out strong, taking the division lead sometime in late May or early June, and then forgetting how to play baseball. Last year, the Reds managed to make it until the Fourth of July before starting their annual collapse. Can they do better this time around?

Key player (based on the cards I have in my collection): Brandon Phillips, 2B

I was on a website (and now I wish I could remember which one it was) that asked the question "is this the year that Brandon Phillips hits 40-40?" While personally I would love for this to happen, especially since he's the token Red on my fantasy team, I don't think it'll be the case. Still, I can't help but feel that as Phillips goes, so go the Reds. They both have a lot of pressure from outside forces on them to do well. How they live up to pre-season expectations will say a lot about any future success. I think both Phillips and the team will both do just fine.

The Bottom Line:
The Reds seem to be everyone's fashionable "surprise" pick this season. Usually, that ends up in dramatic failure and tears (hope you're playing attention, 2011 Baltimore Orioles). Management was fairly quiet in the off-season, showing faith in an established core group of players. From what I've seen in the first week, this year's edition of the Reds might just have the mental toughness necessary to be competitive. The key this year is to build on the past (not to sound like Herman Edwards). I'll settle for a winning record. The wild card can wait for 2011.

This is why I can't stand Homer Bailey

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Tonight's game is just the latest in the long list of games like it. He keeps going deep into every count (91 pitches after four innings!) It seems like he's always letting the lead-off batter on. Mental mistakes, balls in the dirt, everything that makes a fan (and a manager) pull their hair out.

But it's not just that. The guy believes his own hype. He hasn't shown any signs of improvement. And he doesn't listen to his coaching staff. He just keeps on doing what he's doing, even though it's clearly not working. And for those of you who thought he might have turned the corner at the end of last season, tonight's game should have disabused you of that notion.

The guy shouldn't be waiting until the 5th inning to turn it on. Just look at the difference between the first five innings in tonight's game and what happened when Micah Owings came in to the game. It's time the Reds cut their losses with this guy. If anyone needed a change of scenery trade, it's him.

Yeah, I got this card off of eBay. I don't have it in my collection and I'm not in any rush to get it.

Anybody want a '05 Gabe Kapler?

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

...then go onto the Topps Million Card site and trade me for it...

UPDATE: It's gone, baby! Flipped it for an '03 Brad Ausmus.

New Year's Resolutions

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

For me, Opening Day is basically a New Year's Day. Along with all the prosaic stuff about every team being in first place on Opening Day, there's the feeling of hopefulness. A long 162-game season is in front of us, and who knows what storylines it could bring?

Along those lines, I have some resolutions for the blog. Yes, it's new (not even a month old) and I know Rome wasn't built in a day, but I want it to be a place where people check in on a regular basis. Of course, that means giving them something to check in for. More on that in a bit. But for now, here are my New Year's Resolutions for RGB Cards:

1. A new look

What I've got so far is a basic default blog. Honestly, I didn't want to put a lot of work into it at the beginning - I wanted to get up and blogging while I had the enthusiasm. This blog first game to my mind last October, but it wasn't until last month that I actually decided to bite the bullet.

With 22 posts, it's already the longest-lived blog I've ever done. I think that's because I focused on writing instead of designing. But I've always had ideas in my mind of how I wanted it to look. I think it's time to bring some of those ideas to pass.

And yes, one of those ideas is to refer to the blog as just RGB Cards. My focus will be the same, but it's a lot easier to say and type. Besides, I'm not sure why I went with the law firm name. I'm not a lawyer, I'm a teacher. Frank Robinson Middle School would have been better. (Okay, not really).

2. Better writing

Like I said, I have to give people a reason to visit this site. And really, people come to blogs to see what has been written. I'd like to think I'm a decent writer, but looking back, some of my writing isn't showing it. I'd like to come across as conversational. I'm also going to share my (hopefully witty) observations, more than a "just-the-facts" approach. Because that's not me.

And it will start with re-writing some recent posts to better match my original plans for them.

3. The Suggestion Box

Ultimately, it's the readers that have the say in what they want to read. So when I revamp the blog's layout, I'm going to add a suggestion box - really, just a post where people can comment what they think. What is it that will get you excited to read the blog? Any tips or tricks? Post them in the suggestion box. Or, if you can't wait for the suggestion box, post them here.

Along those lines...

Please comment!!!

I know you're reading this blog. I can see the stats. But I love hearing from you. And if you all don't comment, I'll be forced to use what I use when I want to get my students to do something...

...shameless bribery :)

Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope you enjoy the new-look RGB Cards (coming soon)


Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

If only I lived in Seattle. This is the greatest bobblehead ever made. I wonder how much they'll be going for on eBay after the game?

White Sox Team Preview

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Chicago White Sox
Last season: 79-83 (3rd in AL Central)
This season: 2nd in AL Central

Key acquisitions: Juan Pierre (trade, L.A. Dodgers); Omar Vizquel (free agent); Mark Teahen (trade, Kansas City); J.J. Putz (free agent); Andruw Jones (free agent)
Departures: Jermaine Dye (free agent); Josh Fields (trade, Kansas City); Chris Getz (trade, Kansas City); Dewayne Wise (free agent, Philadelphia)

Last year's White Sox were (to me, anyway) surprisingly a below-.500 team. This year, Kenny Williams revamped half of last year's lineup. Gone are the ancient Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye. In their place are the slightly less-ancient Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones. Dewayne Wise, replacement-level at best, didn't want to go to AAA and caught on with Philly, opening up a spot for Alex Rios.

In the infield, the Sox decided it was time to cut bait on Chris Getz and Josh Fields, packaging them to Kansas City for Moneyball hero Mark Teahen. But wait, Teahen plays third base! Isn't there a certain AL ROY who has that spot for the South Siders? Well, we're getting to that...

Key player (based on the cards I have in my collection): Gordon Beckham

Last year's AL Rookie of the Year faces a new challenge beyond the average sophomore slump - a switch to a new position. Beckham, a natural shortstop, broke into the big last season as a third baseman. But with the acquisition of Teahen, Beckham is facing his third position in as many years, with a shift to second base. Can the former Georgia Bulldog get used to turning double plays from the other side of the diamond? How will he be able to balance the fact that American League pitchers have cottoned on to him with the demands of the Keystone Sack? Can the Bulldogs' all-time home run leader improve on his 15 homers and 63 RBI?  (That last question depends on where in the lineup Ozzie Guillen puts him)

As you can see, there's a lot of questions surrounding James Gordon Beckham III. And the answers will have a lot to do with how well his team performs.

The Bottom Line:
The White Sox' big moves came last year, when they acquired Jake Peavy and, to a lesser extent, Alex Rios. This off-season was about plugging holes, with Teahan and Beckham an upgrade over last seasons Opening Day second and third basemen, Getz and Fields. The Sox need their new look outfield to come up big time - how much do Pierre and Jones have left in the tank?

The stats from my Series 1 packs

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

12 packs @ 8 cards a pack = 96 cards

  • 59 base cards (plus 4 duplicates, including two Josh Bard dupes!)
    • 7 rookie cards
    • 1 gold parallel (Bobby Crosby)
    • 1 checklist
    • 2 leader cards
    • 6 franchise history cards
    • 1 team/manager card
  • 2 Turkey Red cards
  • 4 Peak Performance cards
  • 1 Tales of the Game card
  • 2 When They Were Young cards
  • 2 History of the Game cards
  • 3 Legendary Lineage cards
  • 6 Cards Your Mother Threw Out
    • 2 cards with original backs (Bob Gibson, Rickey Henderson)
  • 1 Million Card Giveaway redemption (which turned into 2005 Gabe Kapler)
  • 12 Tickets to Toppstown
Some of the highlights:

Turkey Red TR48 Willie McCovey

Turkey Red TR47 Curtis Granderson

Warren Spahn and Tommy Hanson Legendary Lineage (I love Spahny - second-best lefty of all time)

1959 Bob Gibson replica with actual back

1980 Rickey Henderson replica with actual back

Mariners Team Preview

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Seattle Mariners
Last season:  85-77 (3rd in AL West)
This season's prediction: 1st in AL West

Key acquisitions: Cliff Lee (trade, Philadelphia); Chone Figgins (free agent);  Milton Bradley (trade, Cubs); Brandon League (trade, Toronto); Casey Kotchman (trade, Boston)
Departures: Adrian Beltre (free agent, Boston); Russell Branyan (free agent, Cleveland); Kenji Johjima (free agent, Japan); Brandon Morrow (trade, Toronto); Carlos Silva (trade, Cubs); Bill Hall (trade, Boston)

The Mariners were amongst the more active teams in the off-season, as Jack Zduriencik picked up '09 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee from the Phils, as well as signing Chone Figgins from the Angels. That was a case of addition by addition and subtraction, since not only did the Mariners upgrade their roster, but weakened their main division rival's as well.

Of course, the Lee trade give the M's a potent 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation to go with King Felix. If Erik Bedard was healthy, that'd be a really strong top three. But it's Erik Bedard we're talking about here. He's not going to be healthy.

Key player (based on the cards I have in my collection): Ichiro

I've always been a big Ichiro fan. He filled the M's star player void in my mind after Junior left for the Reds. I never really warmed up to Alex Rodriguez, even before he became "Pay-Rod" and then morphed into the Blue-Lipped Cheater. As an aside, I was never surprised about the steroid revelations, ever since he tried to get away with swatting the ball out of Kevin Millar's glove in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS. Anybody who would deliberately cheat like that, with so many people watching, on baseball's biggest stage...yeah, he'd take steroids, too.

Getting back to Ichiro, the guy is going for ten straight 200-hit seasons. He has to slow down sometime, right? Well, he's "only" 36, and since he lead the majors in hits last season, I don't think it's going to be this year. He racked up his 2000th major league hit in less than nine seasons, and has 3308 career pro hits. If he had been playing in the US the whole time, Pete Rose might not be the Hit King for much longer.

The bottom line:
Jack Z has remade the Mariners to leapfrog the Rangers and go straight at division leaders Anaheim. With Lee and Figgins, the team has upgraded in two positions, and the Kotchman acquisition is designed to counteract losing Branyan. I think the Mariners are going to be fired up with the perception that management is ready to go, and will respond well to the moves. Expect them to come out strong, despite their dismal spring performance.

Excitement on the way - plus, my final pack of 2010 Topps

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , , , ,

I'm quickly discovering that this can be a frustrating hobby when you're living in Australia. It seems like everyone's out having fun (even the Canadians) while you feel like you're stuck out on a island, separated by the tyranny of geography and the US Postal Service's high shipping rates.

With only two packs of 2010 Topps left to open, I was already feeling withdrawl symptoms. So last night, instead of sleeping, I trolled eBay looking for the best price/shipping cost combinations I could find on hobby boxes. After some communication (and the okay from my wife, the Gatekeeper of the Finances), I've order a box of 2010 Heritage and 2010 Series 1. That should keep me busy until I get back to the States for a visit in July.

Since I went through the first pack I opened, it seems fitting that I should post the last one, too. I'll do a recap of all 12 packs later on today, along with the first of my five season previews (one for each team):

On top: 282 - Washington National team history (What history?)
231 - Luke Scott (Finally, in my last pack, an Oriole! And one I can use for my season preview, too)
131 - Dustin Richardson RC
260 - Yankees franchise history (two franchise cards in one pack, but that's okay, because the next card is...)

CMT-6 FRANK ROBINSON!!!! (It's not the original back, but right now, I don't care. It says Cincinnati Redlegs on the front and that's awesome)

When They Were Young Johnny Damon
Ticket to Toppstown Manny Ramirez
105 - Madison Bumgarner RC (a good way to end)

Not a bad pack at all, I must say. The two crappy team cards, the Toppstown insert (I still can't believe that counts as one of the eight cards in every pack) and the super-creepy WTWY insert (I don't like that set at all) are more than balanced out by two rookie cards, an awesome Oriole, and Frank Freakin' Robinson.

And by the way, I finally pulled a Million Card Giveway in pack #11.

Vacation, all I ever wanted...

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Here in Australia, schools go year-round. Ten weeks to a term, then two weeks off. Ten and two, ten and two, ten and...then it's the end of the school year and we get six weeks during the summer (it adds up to 52 weeks - I checked).

I just said good-bye to the little darlings for two weeks. I'm now looking forward to lying on the couch and watching baseball, teaching my puppy how to lay down, roll over and shake, and blogging. I might even find some time to open some packs. I here there's a certain person interested in '86 Topps...