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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Got Bowman?

I will admit, I have gone off the deep end with Bowman so far.  I say so far because I can't really stop myself when I see them in the store.  Although at this point, I am pulling nothing but doubles.  It reminds me of back in 2004 when I bought up more football than I could handle searching for all the Manning and Roethlisberger rookie cards.  I think I am still paying for some of those.  So why doesn't this surprise me?

So far I have busted a retail box (just opened by the card rep), 2 blasters, and 15 rack packs.  You would think that the odds of pulling at least one Strasburg card out of all of that would be pretty good.  Well one is exactly what I got.  It was a base card.  Nothing special. 

I have also pulled 1 orange parallel /250, 2 blue parallels /520, 2 autographs, 10 purple Chrome refractors /999, 2 Chrome refractors /777, a pile of gold parallels, and a host of Top 100, Expectation, and Throwback cards.  I am not going to post everything that was in here simply because you can go on 100 other locations to see what these look like and find checklists.  I will say that as of now, I am collecting the base set and the base rookies.  I have my needs posted on my set needs page at the top if anyone has some to trade.  I also have quite a few doubles that I am more than happy to unload in trade.

Let me know if you have anything I need.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stay Classy Philadelphia

Every self-respecting human on the planet Earth knows that there are no real fans of Philadelphia teams outside of Philadelphia.  Now you can claim to the contrary all you want but the rest of us know better.  Quite frankly, I am not going to listen to arguments about it because those are the same people that are Pittsburgh haters and will say anything to get under my skin.

It is also widely known that teams from Western PA are not too keen on the cross-state Yin to their Yang.  With that said, I am not going to sit here and give Phily the benefit of the doubt.  I know what their fan base is capable of.  I have seen it in action in person way too many times to count, each time a little worse than the next, but no less surprising.  Whether it is the constant booing of their All-Pro quarterback, or the Phillie fan deliberately puking on the 11 year old earlier this year.  Don't get me wrong, there are fan bases all over the continent that have that "fringe" contingent of drunkards and miscreants that wreak havoc after games, before games, during games, etc (See New York, Chicago, LA, Atlanta, Boston).  But in all those cities, I can't say I have ever seen another irreverant fan gets tazed by security guards.

With game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight in Phily, I thought it was interesting, to say the least, when I read earlier about the latest in their attempt at welcoming an opposing team to town.  Apparently, Fox 29 is reporting that there is a social blast floating around Facebook and Twitter urging Flyers fans to participate in a flash mob this afternoon in Center City to "attack the Blackhawks’ bus as it leaves for the Wachovia Center."

What?  I can't believe this is even real but, alas, it is...look it up.

Starting at the Four Seasons, where the Hawks players are registered, they will "bike" their way through town, following the Chicago bus on route to South Phily and the stadium.  Though I am not sure whether it is bicycles or motorcycles, does it even matter?  In today's day and age of terrorism and fear of un-permitted assembly, does anyone really think this would be a good idea?  Something tells me there will be a caravan of police giving the Hawks an escort. 

This only added to my disdain for the Flyer fanbase even more, not that it really could, when I read a, slightly biased report from my good buddy Danny Mac in the Chicago Tribune.  I don't normally like the things that Dan McNeil says on his show, or agree with much of what he writes.  Nor, as most of you already know, am I a Chicago fan.  But I know exactly what he is talking about because, as I said, I have experienced it all too often. 

I am not going to post the article...only link it with the instructions to GO READ THIS!!  Apparently rather than sit in the press box, Dan McNeil took a seat amongst the residents of the City of Brotherly Love.  In a quote to summarize the article...
"This city relishes its tougher-than-a-$2-steak image. They take pride in being as warm as a freshly neutered Doberman."
Stay classy Philadelphia.  We wouldn't want the rest of the world to think you are civilized.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

And now for something completely different...

Now that the Penguins season is over, I am hard pressed to find anything interesting to talk about on their home front.  I am not big on the "let's run Malkin out of town" bandwagon, nor am I going to bring anymore speculation and conjecture to the "will they or won't they" keep Sergei Gonchar argument.  No, I am interested in something entertaining.  Something news worthy.  Something that involves...toilets.

Everyone in the "know" of Pittsburgh Penguins ticket buying is familiar with the Student Rush lines that form around Mellon Arena on game day.  Basically, any current high school or college student with a valid student ID has an opportunity to buy game-day tickets.  These tickets go on sale about an hour before puck drop but the lines start forming anywhere from 3-5 hours prior.  It will happen the same way when the Pens move into the CONSOL Energy Center next season. 

But in the process of building a new arena, one area that gets overlooked sometimes is the bathrooms.  I have been to many stadiums around the country and have noticed the lack of concern or effort put into designing an efficient system of processing thousands of people through in short amounts of time.  Bring in the Student Rush members!

In order to test the plumbing in the new facilities, the Pens Student Rush text alert members will have the opportunity to enter to win a chance to simultaneously flush all the toilets in the CONSOL center (reminding me of the "flushing during Super Bowl halftime" wives tale).  125 random members will be invited to bring a friend along and join in on the mass flushing. 

The Details:
CONSOL Energy Center Student "Flush"
June 10th at 4PM EST.
400 flushers including 250 random Student Rush members
MC'd by former Penguin and current radio announcer Phil Bourque.
Pizza party on the floor after the even sponsored by Pizza Hut and Snapple.

If I'm lying, I'm dying.  I can't make this stuff up.  Hopefully someone out there will be taking some pictures of the event.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Random Steeler Monday - Happy Memorial Day

If there is any hope of pulling out a decent year, most of it rests in the hands of this guy.  Rashard Mendenhall is coming into his third season as a Steeler but his first as the full-time starter.  He has big shoes to fill with the departure of Willie Parker and the tradition the Steelers have had in the running game.

After losing out on his rookie season due to a devastating hit by Ray Lewis in his first game as a Steeler, Rashard was on a mission to prove he wasn't as soft as people were labeling him.  Last year, Mendy was able to pull of 1,100 yards and 7 touchdowns and half those yards were after contact.  Mendenhall averaged 4.6 yards per carry last year and 3 yards per carry after contact.  That was better than Ray Rice.  Kirby Wilson, the Steelers running backs coach said of Mendy,  

"He's got tremendous lower-body strength. There's a lot of times when people don't recognize his ability to run through arm tackles and first contact. Very seldom does the first tackler or first hitter ever get him down.  Those are the hidden runs that add up over the course of the year."
On the plus side for Mendenhall, he is not only fast, he is quick.  I know it seems there is no difference but there is.  You can be fast in the flat running along the sideline to the endzone, but quickness is something that gets you to those holes and springs you for those big runs.  He can run inside, outside, off-tackle, and runs some of the best misdirections I have ever seen (well maybe not the caliber of Emmitt or Barry but he is getting there). 

All of these things combined are going to have to carry a lot of the burden in this offense this year, especially in the first four games.  I think (hope) he is up for the task.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Box Break - - 2008 Topps Baseball Series 2

So in effort to stop buying stuff I don't need, I decided to pick up a box on clearance at Meijer for $24 bucks.  It was labeled as a "Hobby" box with a nice shiny sticker on the front.  I usually assume that anything in a retail store that says hobby is probably lying but for $24 how can you go wrong?  The other giveaway was the fact that I have seen the hobby version and it has an "H" stamped on it and features Big Albert in a stadium, up to bat.  This box was all green with a cropped image of Pujols batting.

The box I am speaking of, by the way, is a 2008 Topps Baseball Series II box.  There are 36 packs with 12 cards per pack (for those of you unable to do math, that' the 2...432 cards).  That comes out to roughly 5 1/2 cents per card.  Not bad for a hobby box.  Hell, that's not bad for any box these days.  Most cards fall at half as many per pack for three to four times as much (if not more).  So as I said, how could I resist. 

With 432 cards in the box, there was a good chance at pulling the entire set which features cards from 331-660 (330 cards).  Even if there were 1 insert per pack, that would still leave room for the whole set plus a few extra.  Should we take some bets as to whether or not my box fell that way?  I ended up with 81 doubles, no triples.  That leaves me with 351 chances at finishing a base set.

Speaking of the base set, the cards look exactly like the Series I cards.  They have the white border surrounding a full color action shot of the player.  The team name is framed in a colorful balloon pattern at the top with the Topps logo directly beneath.  They also feature a facsimile signature of the player in the photo.  This is the closest thing you get to an "on-card" autograph in a Topps product, it seems.

Let's see what I pulled...

36 packs/box
12 cards/pack
432 total cards/81 doubles/0 triples
318 base cards (missing 12)
31 inserts: (7) 50th Anniversary All-Star Rookie Team, (2) Mickey Mantle cards, (7) Year In Review, (6) Topps Stars, (6) Presidential Campaigns, (2) Topps Gold
1 Certified Auto
1 Weird Card that I have no idea what it is or why it was in the box

I am going to take the lazy man's way out of this and just post the hits.  You have all seen the base cards before and they have been reviewed out there up one side and down the other.  I figured it would just be easier to scan the inserts in case there is anyone out there that might need something.

 There is also an Adam Dunn that isn't in the picture.

I do not like these, Sam I am.

These cards are kind of nice but I think Topps overdid them a bit.  They should have made the sets smaller, serial numbered them and made them actually look like real Topps cards.  But what do I know?  I'm a hockey collector getting caught up in things I don't understand.

Here are the Topps Stars cards.  These, I like.  They remind me of Topps Finest sets or the old Black Gold sets only shinier.  I also got 2 Topps Gold cards here; Alex Gonzalez and Nick Markakis.

There is also an Ibanez that isn't in the picture.

Here is the one "hit" that was in the box.  A Ryan Roberts autograph.  I will admit, I have no idea who this is.  All I know is he plays for the BJ's and has a pretty wicked tattoo on his neck.  That had to hurt.

I do want to ask everyone out there if they have ever seen this card?

I am assuming it is one of the Short Prints that I have seen Topps including in their sets (like the "pie in the face" cards) but I have no idea.  It is a Kosuke Fukudome card.  It isn't numbered but instead has a small symbol that looks like the World Championship logo where the number should be.  Instead of the Cubs as the team it says Japan.   I have found ones on Ebay that say "Preview" card but they all have the World Championship logo stamped on the front.  This one doesn't.  Take a look.

Any input would be appreciated.

I am 12 cards short here.  I need  331, 335, 355, 369, 385,  416, 421, 508, 524, 532, 581, 618.  If anyone has them, I would be interested in trading.  I have 81 doubles and most if not all of the inserts are for trade.