Oct 30, 2010

Group Breaks Are All the Rage: Some Proposals

I know there's a lot of group breaks going on right now.

I want to run one as well sometime in the next month. All slots will probably have two teams (one chosen and one random or "by card break", depending on the case). I'm thinking 15 slots per break if possible. Prices are as of today: 10/30/10

Proposal A: Mini-Break: One box 2008 Upper Deck Heroes, one box 2009 Topps T-206, one random box to be determined. $12 per slot (break by team)

Proposal B: 2010 Allen and Ginter Case Break. $55 per slot (for 15 slots) with discounts for more than one.

Proposal C: 2009 Topps T-206 Case Break. $32 per slot (for 15 slots) with discounts for more than one.

Proposal D: 2008 Upper Deck Masterpiece Case Break. Some type of case split. $52 per slot for 10 slots.

Sounds expensive I know. But what fun it could be! Please leave any interest in the comments. I won't order until there's enough people with interest.

Oct 22, 2010

NLCS Update: What Will it Take for a Comeback? or a Very Lat Game 4 Preview and Review Followed by Relief in Game 5

NOTE: Because Blogger lost my first two posts, I've combined these into one to at least have a record of it.

The hopes of the hereuntofore mentioned Phillies Nation (not affiliated with Red Sox Nation or the United Nations) rests upon the arm and girth of "Kentucky" Joe Blanton for today's matchup in game 4 of the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants. He must heft the team upon his whirling dervish of a fastball and barely sweat-soaked brim and give all sides of the team the inspiration they need.

The first inning will be telling. More so, than in other games of the series. Blanton has allowed 20 runs in 28 starts in the first inning this year. Charlie Manuel should also be aware to get the bullpen ready by the 6th inning because this is when Blanton continually tires. He's allowed 18 runs in 25 starts in which he's reached the 6th inning.

The offense was in a stupor yesterday, baffled and befuddled by the explosive outside fastball and kneebuckling curve of Matt Cain. The feebleness of their performance should be a motivator for this match. Extra work and being aggressive will not be enough. They are facing an unknown entity in rookie Madison Bumgarner, who is not used to being unsuccessful during his short big league career. He is a control pitcher and tends to be around the lower half of the plate. They must sit on his fastball and avoid the change-up. They have to get him out of the game before the 6th to take advantage of the pre-Romo and Wilson bullpen arms.

Essentially, it's an essential win to prevent the dreaded 3-1...where comebacks are few (last was 2007 in the ALCS) and the backs maintain good posture from being against the wall.

GAME 4 Post-Mortem

I was lucky enough to attend this game. I sat over third base...when I say over, I mean it, in the 2nd to last row of the stadium. There was an incredible view of the sunset over the bay and all the boats waiting for a home run ball that would never come.

It was an intense game. It;s hard being at a game where if you start screaming, you might get somthing negative happen to you. In reality, where I was sitting was a very calm section compared to the rest of the crowd. The crowd, in general, was boisterous and supported the home team well. Here's a distillation of moments in no particular order.

Most deflating moment: Huff scoring the winning run on the sacrifice fly. I was so upset I left my Phillies hoodie at my seat.

Most teeth gnashing moment: 8th inning, Werth on 2nd no outs, and Jimmy Rollins pops up. It was worse in person.

Most curse spewing moment: Chad Durbin, inside fastball to Cody Ross followed by the pitches to Pablo Sandoval.

Loudest ovation moment: When the big screen showed Dusty Baker

Worst mid-inning entertainment I've ever seen: The "Fist Pump" cam, featuring the cast of Jersey Shore. I never want to hear that song again.

Song I Can't Get out of my Head, but Want to: Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" Steve Perry was there to reclaim it from the Dodgers....apparently.

Most "Who?, Sit Up in the Seat" Moment: When the announcer said in the 9th inning, now pitching for the Phillies, Roy Oswalt.

Most Disgraceful Moment: When Lou Seal did a routine in which he suplexed a fake Philly Phanatic. This means war. No one disses the Phanatic, especially not some wannabe with no personality like Lou Seal. On top of that, the animal most identified with San Francisco at pier 39 is the sea lion; that is not a seal. Poser! I say. Poser!

Post-Game 5 Thoughts: It was fortuitous the Phillies pulled this out. For once, they capitalized on Giants errors and had some moments to build on (if the building moments concept exists). Rollins stealing 2nd and 3rd in the 7th was really cool as was Werth hitting a home run. This has been a theme all series, but if any of the lineup wakes up from the .208 slumber, the game will be on for games 6 and 7. Am I confident about their chances? Not so much, but I am hopeful, and ready to look out for a winner-take-all game 7. One baseball, one game, one funny bounce, that's all it takes. I love playoff baseball.

Oct 17, 2010

Phillies vs. Giants: A Historical Perspective

The Phillies and Giants are two of the oldest franchises in the game. Neither of them have their franchise roots where they now reside with the Phillies migrating over from Worcester before the 1883 season and the Giants making the long trek west from New York before the 1958 season. Let's see how these franchises connect as they square off in their first ever playoff series.

Hall of Famers that Played for Both Franchises: Dave Bancroft, Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor, Hack Wilson, Steve Carlton, Tim Keefe,

Common Retired Numbers:
36 (Robin Roberts, Gaylord Perry), 42 (Jackie Robinson)

Surly Superstars: Phillies: Steve Carltonhad a polcy not to speak to reporters. Barry Bonds had a recliner in the locker room to avoid speaking to teammates.

Ex-Phillies who Will be Booed: Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand

Seasonal Heartbreak Comparison: Phillies: 1964, blew 6.5 game lead with 12 to play; Giants: 1993, 8 game losing streak in mid-September to lose the lead to the Braves, fought back to finish one back with 103 wins.

Postseason Heartbreak Comparison: Phillies: 1993 World Series, blew 14-9 lead in 8th in game 4 and 6-5 lead in 9th in clinching game 6; Giants: 2002 World Series, blew 6-1 lead in 8th in game 6, went on to lose game 7 behind subpar performance by Livan Hernandez

Best Player Comparison: Phillies: Mike Schmidt, gold glove 3rd baseman, 548 HR, 147 OPS+; Giants: Willie Mays, gold glove CF, 660 HR, 155 OPS+

Last .400 Hitter
: Phillies: Ed Delahanty in 1899; Giants: Bill Terry in 1930

Last 50 HR Hitter: Phillies: Ryan Howard in 2006; Giants: Barry Bonds in 2001

Last 1.000 OPS Player
: Phillies: Ryan Howard in 2006; Giants: Barry Bonds in 2004

Number of times threatened to be moved to St. Petersburg, FL
:Phillies: none; Giants: at least two

Best Stadiums
: Philies: Citizen's Bank Park, Connie Mack Stadium; Giants: AT&T Park, Polo Grounds

Worst Stadiums: Phillies: Veterans Stadium, Baker Bowl; Giants: Candlestick Park, Seals Stadium

Best Attire for a Summer Game
: Phillies: Shorts, T-Shirt, Baseball Cap, Sunglasses; Giants: Pants, Sweatshirt, Winter Coat, Winter Hat, Baseball Cap

Best Food I've Eaten at Their Stadiums: Phillies: Funnel Cake; Giants: Tri-tip Carvery Sandwich

Best Franchise Manager: Phillies: Charlie Manuel?; Giants: John McGraw

Worst Owner
: Phillies: William Cox (gambling debts forced him to sell the team in two years) Giants: Horace Stoneham (moved team to SF)

Strange Moments in the Stadium: Phillies: Kiteman,need I say more?; Giants: Stu Miller getting blown off the mound for a balk at the all-star game

The No-Hitter Connection:: Both the first and last no-hitters by the Phillies at the Vet were thrown against the Giants: Terry Mulholland in 1990 and Kevin Millwood in 2003

There, of course, will be a new connection forged as the series moves forward. It is time for the playoffs to ratchet up their intensity with the two best teams in the NL of 2010.

Oct 3, 2010


Hackenbush at CAN'T HAVE TOO MANY CARDS is having a contest as described here. Make sure to enter and you could win some classic '80s (pre-85) cards. And if you're really lucky, you can be in an SNL classic episode with Steve Martin hosting.

Oct 2, 2010

Rooting for a 3 way Tie

There is one reason to root for a 3 way tie in the NL playoffs; there will be no off-days without baseball in the first week of October. October is the month of the baseball playoff showcase, so let's extend it as far as the limits can be taken.

Here what must occur for this scenario to happen.

1. Padres beat the Giants.
2. Braves beat the Phillies.

Yes, I do give permission to the Braves to win one game this year "in the best interests of baseball"....fans. It's a very simple culmination of events. This will lead to the following sequence of events.

Monday: NL West Playoff: Giants vs. Padres in San Diego. The winner takes the NL West and the #2 seed in the playoffs. The loser of this match-up then goes to play on

Tuesday: NL West loser vs. Braves in Atlanta. The winner enters the play-offs as the Wild Card winner. If it's a NL West representative, they face the Phillies in the first round. If it's the Braves, they face the NL West winner.

How often does such a complicated turn of events occur? There are rarely two sudden death playoff games in a season. As a baseball fan, it would be a riveting two days. TV networks, put these games on primetime in a national broadcast (if they happen). Anyone else with me?

Oct 1, 2010

Swapping Cards: A Trade with the Rhubarb Runner

Rhubarb Runner (aka Dave) from the blog e rayhahn, rayhahn contacted me about doing a team for team deal. This fit right into the phase 2 of the Phillies project plus other Phillies I have been trying to acquire. Here are some highlights.

2008 Topps Opening Day Puzzle Ryan Howard (2 cards): I love puzzles, as evidenced by all the completed puzzles that are hanging around my apartment. These were the two pieces that focused on Ryan Howard....I wonder what the rest looks like...and how easy would it be to display it?
1998 Score Gregg Jefferies: 1998 was the last year of Score. I always liked Score because it had the most informative card backs (at least post-1993). With career stats (including OBP and SLG), splits, fielding stats, and a blurb, this card back is packed with reading material.
1998 Score Scott Rolen: Scott was the unanimous NL Rookie of the Year in 1997 and was a fan favorite...for a little while.
2010 Topps Heritage Jayson Werth, 1982 Topps Foil Sticker Manny Trillo,1993 Cracker Jack mini Grover Cleveland Alexander: Check out the size differential in these cards. The Cracker Jack mini is even smaller than an Allen and Ginter mini. Alexander is best known for the moment when he struck out Tony Lazzeri in the 1926 World Series for the Cardinals and is really, the first superstar pitcher the Phillies get away in their prime (they had already given away Nap Lajoie on the hitter's side).

I also love stickers for some odd reason. Foil was popular in the '80s, who knew?

Also, after watching all the games this season, it's strange to see Werth without that all-encompassing beard. Sports Illustrated described it perfectly in the article on Werth in the August 23 issue, like a wild animal type critter covering his face.

1971 Topps Barry Lersch: This is one of the difficult to find 1971 Topps high number series. I only need two more for the Phillies team set.
1971 Topps Byron Browne: Amazing, an action shot on a pre-1972 card. Though this is probably posed. Browne was a backup outfielder for a few years in the NL.

1971 Topps Jim Bunning: This is the HOF pitcher at the tail end of his career dreaming of opening the modern marvel, Veterans Stadium.
Thanks for the trade, Dave!