Saturday, March 25, 2017

Cubs Swag From Once a Cub

Throw-back Cubs jersey from giveaway at Wrigley.
 Thankfully I'm on spring break right now so I can afford to sit around at home and wait to sign for a certain USPS priority box which arrived two days ago. Actually, it caught me off guard as I was doing household chores, but I'm thankful I was at home so I didn't have to go to the post office to sign for it.
 

I've mentioned on the blog how I'm building a binder full of cards commemorating the Cubs World Series Championship and this package was to contain 100+ Cubs Topps Now cards which Matt, from Once a Cub, had been purchasing for me.
From what I understand, Matt had purchased copies of all the Cubs Topps Now cards in small quantities, which lowers the price per card somewhat. Obviously, he would set aside a copy of each card for himself, sell a couple others to recoup the money sunk in, and graciously enough, he set copies aside for me as well.

As we all know, these Topps Now cards are not cheap, especially when you're purchasing 100+. So, I did some shopping on the internet and set out around P-town on two separate occasions. My goal was to buy Cubs World Series swag to send to Matt as a thank you for all of his efforts and to compensate somewhat for the finances he committed to such a project. Matt lives on the east coast, so I was happy to go shopping and try to find some unique items he wouldn't be able to find in his area.
Really LARGE Cubs cards!
So, I was a little shocked yesterday to sign for a box much larger than I was anticipating. I've done enough send of cards to realize that the cards I was expecting could have fit in the smallest of flat rate boxes.
5"x7" numbered Cubs team sets

Instead, the box is big enough for my two younger cats to enjoy. They have been sitting/playing in the box almost non-stop since I opened it.

Yeah, cats are crazy.  
Myrtle Beach Pelicans team set
Matt threw in a little bit of everything: a throw back jersey, a program, a Ron Santo statue, the Rizzo tarp catch bobblehead, and those really cool over-sized cards.

How about this one?  An autographed card of A's prospect Matt Olson!  That's pretty cool, you know, because we share a surname.

 Besides the Topps Now cards, which was all I was expecting, here is my favorite:
It's a scorecard with David Ross on the front! It's already in the binder right after my mini David Ross Cubs cards collection. What a great photo!

The whole package has got me thinking I can take over Rhashan's job as Director of Smiles.
Yep, Matt sent this card, too. Which seems like a great way to close the post because of how smiley I am.

Thanks for the package, Matt! At sometime during the fall, once all the Cubs World Series cards from all the various sets are released, I'll do a post of my World Series binder.  That's a post I'm really excited about writing!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Zippy Zapped, '17 Edition

I'm six days into spring break and I'm just now finding enough time to knock out a blog post. Zippy Zappy sent me a Cubs-centric padded mailer last week and I've got the cards from this mailer separated into four different parts. Ready?

Part I: LUUUUUUIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS!
A ZZ Custom!

Spring training will come to a close for most teams in about ten days and I'm still waiting to see what happens with Luis Torrens. Hopefully, it's better news than what The VOGELMONSTER received today. One thing is for sure: it's an exciting time of year for baseball fans!

Part II: American Based Baseball Cards
 I remember when Micah Hoffpauir came up and sent Cubs fans into a craze. He was the hottest thing at my LCS, which tells you all you need to know about the Cubs in 2009. Paul Hoilman manned first base for the Peoria Chiefs in 2012, and then just like that he retired from baseball. I suppose Hoilman's proclivity to strike out and the emergence of Anthony Rizzo at his position may have forced his hand. Regardless, I love me some chromey refractory goodness!
 Ryan Harvey, another former Peoria Chief, was a former #1 draft pick of the Cubs who did not pan out. I think he may be the last Chief to record 100 RBIs in a season.

 Koyie Hill was a fan favorite of mine and Soriano won me over as well, although not until his last season in Chicago.
 The Hawk! 
I can't say that I remember the game described on the back of the card. My best memories of Dawson are the bleacher bums bowing down to him when he returned to right field after clobbering a homer. Good times!

Part III: Japan Based Baseball Cards
This is where the package gets really cool. I don't have access to cards from Japan, but ZZ found a few cards for a humble guy from P-town on his latest trip. 
 I'm still collecting Kosuke Fukudome, but things have really slowed as of late. Baseball Magazine has upped their game with the foily Genesis brand. The 2016 edition is on the left and the 2015 edition is on the right. Under Fukudome's name on 2015 card is the following quote, "Play for victory as a united body. The players always show the team spirit."  That's pretty cool.

 I've watched enough Japanese baseball highlights on YouTube to know that the giving of flowers happens from time-to-time to celebrate accomplishments. I really like the flowery design commemorating Fukudome's 2000 combined hits between MLB and Japanese Central League.  I'm up to 160 different Fukudome cards Nice!

 Kyuji Fujikawa didn't have much success stateside, but I still went all-in with a player collection of him when the Cubs sign him. Turns out Fujikawa and Fukudome were teammates last year for the Hanshin Tigers.
 Lastly, Zippy Zappy sent me some Asia Edition Bowman cards. I like the potential of both Morrison and Kellogg, but they need some more seasoning down on the farm.
Donnie DeWees was sent to Kansas City for Alec Mills this winter. I was never a big fan of DeWees, but that's only because he was constantly out shined by the guy drafted ahead of him, Ian Happ.

Part IV: The Repack!

I love a good Zippy Zappy Repack, but unfortunately I don't have any spare packs laying around the house. I'll have to make a trip to my LCS to pick up something good to pit against this Yu Gi-Oh! Monster League Battle Pack.  So, stay tuned for a Pack Wars post coming soon!

Thanks for thinking of me on your vacation, Zippy Zappy!  I'm in the process of tracking down some cards to fit your new collecting tastes. Be patient, my friend.

Thanks for stopping by and reading! 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

P-Town Tom Dances (Video)

So, yeah.  You remember that post about me stressing over dancing in front of the student body for the Prom Fashion Show? 

I promised you video if I could find it.  Well, I didn't find it, but my wife and I were on a double date last night and seconds after I had told the other couple about my dancing exploits they had the video up on their phone. I never thought to check YouTube. Go figure.

If you fast forward to the 55 second mark in the video you'll find me walking out on stage in a gray tux. This first dance is less than a minute long.

My second dance number comes at the end of the show and is at the 13:30 mark in the video below. I'm on the right, same gray tuxedo, but occasionally I'm not in the picture.  Just as well.
Thankfully I was paired with a social studies teacher who knew what she was doing! FYI, tickets were $2 at the door and all the proceeds ($1,300+) went to the Peoria Children's Hospital.

Okay, let's put all that dancing behind us and show some cardboard. I mean, that's why you come to this blog anyways, right? (Or do you just visit today to see me "dance" poorly?)

Steve, from Collating Cards, contacted me about a few Cubs cards which he thought I might have interest in. He wanted junk wax Mariners in return.

Who am I to argue? So I sent him the stack of cards pictured above.

What did I receive in return? 
 First up is another card for my Wrigley Field Celebrates 100 Years insert set build. I need just five more and then I can put this one to bed. Unfortunately, it's really six, because I still need a copy of this Sandberg card for the Ryno player collection binder.

 This card goes into my Cubs World Series Auto/Relic project. It's a pretty sweet looking piece of cardboard for sure.

 Lastly, it's a black parallel of Willson Contreras from 2016 Topps Update, numbered 56/65. I wasn't a fan of the smokey corners from 2016, but the pentagon honeycomb pattern is something the math teacher in me can definitely get behind. Very nice!

Steve, I dropped off the small brick at the post office this afternoon using one of those automated teller machines. A nice pile of Mariners should reach your door Wednesday. Thanks again for the trade!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, March 10, 2017

I Survived, So I Bought A Pack Of Donruss to Celebrate

Today was the Prom Fashion Show at the my high school, which I alluded to in my previous post. You know, the one where I had to dance in front of the student body in a tuxedo...

Did I fall off the stage?  No.  (Although, I did hear the Vegas odds makers had it as a 7:5 proposition.)

Did I sufficiently embarrass myself? Yes, but there's not need to dwell on that. (There's video out there, but I haven't seen any on social medial channels which I follow. If I ever find any I'll post it on the blog, because sometimes we all need a good laugh.)

Did I have fun?  Yes, I guess I did.

Did the kids get a kick out of me participating? Yes. Yes, they did.  And honestly, it's all about the kids anyways.

Would I do it again? Nope. I don't think so.

To celebrate surviving the morning of inevitable embarrassment I dropped three dollars on a pack of Donruss at my LCS.
 

Kris Bryant is Topps' poster boy for Series 1 and Panini is battling back with Kyle Schwarber.

I opened up the pack and the backside of a Cal Ripken card was staring at me. Not a bad way to start a pack if you ask me.  All the card backs are done in black and white, but I've been told there are colored back parallels. Go figure. Every card company is on the parallel train these days.
I like the design and it reminds me a little of 1990 Donruss. I'm not a fan of all the white, but I think it's an improvement over the red from 1990.
Next up are two of the NL's best pitchers. Notice how Panini has selected photos where the jersey logos wouldn't be as obvious when removed. Nice job. BTW, any pack with a Cub these days is a winner for me!
I was just talking about Yoenis Cespedes' younger brother playing in the World Baseball Classic with the card shop owner right before I opened this pack.  I do like the throw back Donruss design, although I'm not a big Todd Frazier guy. Some guy in Plainfield will wind up with the Frazier before too long.

Speaking of sending cards out in the mail...
I hear there's a pretty fanatical Pirates card collector in Morgantown. I think he'll like this Josh Bell "The Rookies" card.

Kirby Puckett and the aforementioned Cal Ripken card to end the pack. 
Finding these two players in a pack in 1990 would have been great. Twenty-seven years later and it's still pretty awesome.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I'd Rather Walk The Plank

"The stress is real."

This is a saying that my students say and repeat quite frequently. Honestly, I don't think they understand what stress is, but in their minds putting off an assignment for a week and busting your hump the five minutes before class to complete it is major stress. #EyeRoll.

For what it's worth, I don't have too much stress in my life and what I do have passes pretty quickly. Unfortunately, a while back I said "yes" to participating in the Prom Fashion Show this coming Friday. It's a thirty minute production, which replaces the daily homeroom, where a group of students promote prom and put on a fashion show in front of the student body. I was experiencing a superior moment of bravery when I committed to the event, which I have now decided was really stupidity.

I'm not a big fan of dressing up, but I did pick up my tuxedo this evening and I guess it looks okay on "not in motion me." The problem is, shortly after I accepted the invitation to participate, I learned I had to dance in the show. Yeah. Uh-huh. We're talking about the guy who didn't even dance at his own wedding. Nothing looks good on "dancing me."  I seriously think that when I'm dancing I am that wreck on the highway that you can't take your eyes off, no matter how bad it is.

Yes, I've been stressing out over dancing in front of the student body for a little more than five weeks now. I think I would rather walk the plank. I'm sure most of you have real adult-like stresses that many would cower at, and this is not one of them, but this is mine. And I own. 

Okay, now that I've put you through my little whining/fretting session let's show off some fine, not in motion, cardboard. Speaking of walking the plank . . .

Matthew, the brains behind Bob Walk The Plank, sent me a surprise bubble mailer the other day and it was fantastic.
Ross caught Arrieta's 2nd No-Hitter and is pictured hugging Jake on this card.

I think this Arrieta card will actually end up in my mini David Ross player collection. Grandpa Rossy is way up the Fan Favorites List in this household!
 This package not only helped cross off a couple more from my Wrigley Field Celebrates 100 Years Set, but my Conlon Collection checklist was attacked as well. Woo-Hoo!  A Babe Ruth!
I just checked and I'm at 84.2% completion. Keep in mind there are 1,430 cards in the Colon Collection, which means I still have some searching to do!

I've seen some beautiful National Treasures cards on Matthew's blog and he was kind enough to send me the above Addison Russell jersey card numbered to 99. National Treasures is a really well done set, even without the MLB license.
Thanks for the great cards, Matthew!  They helped to take my mind off my impending embarassament this Friday . . . at least for a little while.

Thanks for stopping by everybody and may your lives be stress free!

Monday, March 6, 2017

No Heritage for Me, Still working on 2016

Happy Monday!  Is that a thing?  I say it to my students every morning and I'm trying to make it a thing, but their eye rolls and groans are telling me it's not catching on.

Before we get to the cardboard portion of the post be sure to check out my most recent contest!

And now, the cardboard:

This is the first time I've needed a Kris Bryant card to complete a set and it's not a fun position to be in, especially when one happens to live in Illinois.

Greg, from The Collective Mind, picked this one up for me and it is greatly appreciated!  I'm finally nearing the completion of my "Wrigley Field Celebrates 100 Years" set from 2016. Woo-Hoo!

Thanks for stopping by today and have a great week!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Vogelbach Addition, Predictions, & Contest

Unique card #123 came in the other day for my Dan Vogelbach player collection. Any card under five bucks, which is new to my collection, is a pretty good find for this Vogelbach collector.  Outside of printing plates and other high end parallels I'm starting to run out of things to chase!
Oddly enough, in the 2014 Topps Pro Debut set the gold parallels are numbered to 50 and the silver have a lower print run of 25.
 Oh, don't tell defgav, but this one is numbered 12/25.  Shhhhh!

It's a big spring for Vogelbach to show his worth to the Mariners. I did a little research and found some 2017 projections on the Internet for the VOGELMONSTER.
I actually like RotoChamp's prediction. Vogelbach isn't going to hit for a ton of power (yet) as he is more than happy to drive a ball to the gap. In my mind, fourteen homers in 332 at-bats might be a little high, but him hitting thirty extra-base knocks in that many at-bats isn't out of the question.

When watching young players make the jump to MLB I look at BB% and K% as two of the biggest indicators to future success. Vogelbach also has a pretty advanced eye and approach at the plate during his time in the minor leagues. His walk/strike out totals in 2015 were 63/62 (19%/19% in 330 PAs at AA) and in 2016 they were 97/101 (17%/18% in 563 PAs at AAA). Obviously, MLB pitching is much more challenging, but I don't see him struggling to control the strike zone the way CBS Sports predicts: 9% walks and 29% strikeouts.

Overall, I think he'll perform better than the "Average" at the bottom of predictions. My prediction for 334 at-bats (the sheet's average) would be about 18 doubles, 10 homers, 50 walks, 80 strikeouts and a slash line of .262/.359/.422. I did some crunching of the numbers a bit and based his 2017 numbers off his minor league numbers, but I also tried to figure in for the jump in competition level. From what I've predicted his BB% would be about 13% and his K% would be around 21%. I think that's fair.   

So, yeah, I've put a bit of thought into this. But, what else is a guy to do on a Saturday afternoon in the Midwest this time of year? 

All things considered, I think my predictions would yield a pretty solid rookie year for Vogelbach. Yet, much of that is sill dependent upon the Mariners' patience with him, his platoon situation with Danny Valencia and whether injury becomes part of the equation.

All things being told, I guess I'm happy the Cubs traded Vogelbach to Seattle. I certainly wouldn't be typing up a blog post like this if he was still stuck behind Anthony Rizzo in Chicago.

It'll be fun to come back to this post in October and see how things shaped up. What do you think about my 0.781 OPS prediction for the Vogelmonster?  Too high?  Where would you guess him at?

The contest! 
1. The blogger/reader with the closest guess to Dan Vogelbach's 2017 OPS, at the MLB level, will win a prize package* of cards.
2. No two guesses may be same, so the first one to guess the number gets it.
3. If two guesses are equidistant to the actual number at the end of the contest, then the higher guess wins. (I want to reward the guesser of the higher number for having more faith in the Vogelmonster!)
4. All guesses must be in before MLB's Opening Day.
*The prize may consist of cards from your want lists, cards of your favorite team/player, or perhaps a blaster of recently released cards.  (For the record, if I'm the closest then I'm spending the prize money I've earmarked for this contest on a new autographed card of Vogelbach. My contest, my rules!)

Leave your OPS predictions in the comments and thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

My HOF Binder Project

I think I've mentioned my Hall of Fame Binder Project in passing during a couple of blog posts in the past, but I feel it deserves it's own moment in the spotlight.

My goal is to have one card of every player elected to The Baseball Hall of Fame and display them within the pages of a binder. I've been setting cards aside for the project for years now, but I didn't become organized until just recently.  Underneath the Eamus Catuli header of this blog you'll see a "HOF" tab and that's where you can check my progress.

Ideally, every card should be from the players' playing days, but that's a pretty unrealistic goal considering some of the players had careers in the 1800's.  Plus, there's another huge factor: money.  I'm not made of it.
Thankfully, Topps has put out a ton of reprints the last few years and that has helped. Having a shiny reprint of a 1952 Mickey Mantle is nice, but I'll take the creases, stains, holes and rounded corners of vintage cardboard any day of the week.

Last Friday I stopped by my LCS and picked up a trio of vintage Hall of Famers for a buck each.

 Red Schoendienst was elected as a player, and this 1971 card shows him about seven years after his playing days as a manager. Again, I'm not too picky. 
 The Nellie Fox card is from the 1962 set and it possesses two solid creases and twice as many fuzzy corners. For a buck?  I love it!

I checked Ebay and you can't buy a Ted Williams card from a vintage Topps set for under $100.
So finding this 1959 Fleer card in the back of the vintage singles bin for a dollar, no matter the condition, really made my day.
 I suppose I could do a lot of damage to my want list if I wanted to pick out all the singles from the Conlon Collection or one of Panini's Cooperstown sets. That would be nice, but I'm looking for a little variety in my collection and I also enjoy the challenge.

If you have any beat up HOF vintage, which you have since upgraded, don't be shy about contacting me. Even if the player is not listed on my want list the odds are still great that your beat up vintage would be an upgrade for me over a shiny reprint.  I'd love to work out a trade!

I can't wait to hit a card show now that I'm organized. I could have a bunch of fun sifting through some of those low grade vintage bins!

Thanks for reading!