Archive for September, 2008

A Lapse in Judgment

Posted in Collecting with tags on September 30, 2008 by aybayz

I knew I probably shouldn’t have, but after slim pickings the past week or so, I resorted to getting a blaster of 2008 UD Baseball Heroes from Walmart. I will really stop myself next time from ever picking up retail stuff. I opened it up and was bored by what I found, which was expected. I don’t know what compelled me to get it in the first place – perhaps something to fill the void of the offseason. Anyways, here’s the breakdown:

Yankee Stadium Legacy Cards

Don Mattingly #5124
Joe Torre #5687
Andy Pettitte #6290
Mariano Rivera #6315

You know what, I’m not going to run down the rest because it is just regular base cards in different colors. No serial numbered cards, no memorabilia, no autographs; but then again, what do you expect out of retail. What a waste of money – someone slap me the next time I have an urge to buy retail cards. I think Gellman might be right; there is more satisfaction in buying high end products than this stuff, even if you don’t get what you’re looking for.  I really need to follow my own rules when purchasing cards. Don’t let rash decisions get in the way of logic kids.


The Offseason

Posted in Collecting, General baseball news on September 30, 2008 by aybayz

Hmm, it is a strange feeling to have when the regular season is over and your team isn’t in the playoffs. I’m not particularly interested in the playoffs this year other than checking the box scores to see how much the Cubs beat the Dodgers by. A lot has changed from a few years ago when perennial powerhouse teams made the playoffs year in, year out like the Cardinals, Braves, Giants, Yankees, A’s, etc. It’s very strange to see teams like the Rays and Brewers in it this year. Although it’s great to see teams like the Rays build a team that can make the playoffs on their limited payroll, it doesn’t make for good playoff television nationwide anyway. If the Rays and Brewers make the World Series, I think it will be the least watched games since 2002 when both teams were from California. Anyway, I digress. It’s going to be a boring few months until April rolls around again. I guess we have the Winter Meetings to look forward to, but other than that, a dreary outlook indeed.

On another note, I just rediscovered how financially draining, expensive, and addicting this hobby can be. I am about to cut off major spending in the coming days after “accidental” purchases on eBay this weekend. Accidental meaning that the price was too good to pass up, so I put in a max bad, thinking that it would probably be outbid, but I guess because of the weekend, there weren’t many watchers so I actually won those auctions with pretty low bids, but still significantly high. I think if you can purchase the card you want from a high end product and the card is actually cheaper or at the same price of one pack of that product, then you shoudl probably go ahead and buy that card. It makes financial sense, if you are after that card, but it is still draining. Limits are important to set, otherwise you will end up blowing all your money and have nothing left in life other than cards (that’s a bad thing right?) I have other things to talk about or watch other people break boxes on YouTube to get my fill I guess. Sad times.

NL Cy Young Update & Review

Posted in General baseball news with tags , , , , on September 29, 2008 by aybayz

So I decided to write a post about this because yesterday capped the end of the 2008 regular season and perhaps a review would help you guys decide who you want to choose for the NL Cy Young Contest. While it is pretty clear that in most baseball circles, it has become a two man race between Lincecum and Webb, I still think it is a wide open race between Webb, Lincecum, Santana, and Sabathia. There are compelling arguments for all of the above for why they should win this coveted award. Lets just go through their pros and cons.

Brandon Webb:
He was the 2006 NL Cy Young winner and this year, he is again showing us why he is still one of the best pitchers in the league. Primarily a sinker ball pitcher, he has the highest ground balls to fly balls ratio in the majors, which contributes somewhat to his low strikeout total. You can argue that strikeouts doesn’t necessarily have to be a good indicator of how good a pitcher is because there are different styles to getting outs and Webb’s style is inducing the hitter to ground out. He’s had a pretty consistent year, except for that minor blowup through a three start stretch against the Dodgers where he was just jacked. His ERA went from the mid-high twos to low-mid threes. He pitches for a mediocre team, but in a terrible division. You could argue that the reason the Diamondbacks missed the playoffs is because of his terrible three start stretch last month. His bullpen has been pretty solid for him for the most part as they’ve only blown only one of his leads, leading to a no decision. He’s also 3-0 against the Giants this year, which is pretty much an automatic win because of their anemic offense. Too bad Lincecum doesn’t get to pitch against an offense that bad. He ends his season 22-7 with a 3.24 ERA.

Tim Lincecum:
Known as “The Franchise,” he has showed this season why he could be the cornerstone of the Giants’ organization for years to come. He finished an amazing season yesterday afternoon against the Dodgers with a 3-1 win, while striking out 13 in 7 innings. He struck out 9 batters in the first three innings, which is the first time that has happened since 1986. He finishes the season with 265 strikeouts, leading the majors and the most since Randy Johnson struck out 290. He also heads the league in opponent batting average and second in ERA only to Santana’s with a 2.62. He also leads the NL with winning percentage with yesterday’s win. Many have argued that you should ignore the wins column this year for the NL Cy Young. His bullpen has blown five of his wins to Webb’s one. With those five wins, he could have potentially been 23-5 compared to Webb’s 23-7. He also pitched on a horrendous Giants team with terrible offense. He also bolstered his Cy Young resume with a complete game, 12 strikeout, 4-hit shutout in San Diego to get his first CG shutout of his career (which I saw in person!). I think he also leads in several other categories such as HRs given up and also quality starts.

Johan Santana:
He finished the season 17-7 and showed that he can be just as effective after switching leagues. His last start of the season was a gem with a 3-hit shutout and keeping the Mets in playoff contention. He leads the NL in ERA (2.53) edging Lincecum’s with a great last start. You could also argue that he should have more wins because the rag-tag Mets bullpen blew many of the team’s leads. He was also on a good Mets team (for the later half of the season) with a pretty good offense. He also leads the league with innings pitched with 234.1.

C.C. Sabathia:
This guy had a phenomenal transition into a new league and some can argue, the best second half of pitching in decades. He was completely dominant in all aspects of the game, with strikeouts and also leading the league with 7 complete games and 3 shutouts, all the while only starting 17 games. He finishes the year in the NL with an 11-2 record with a 1.65 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. He also dominanted in his last start and without him, I don’t think the Brewers would have made the playoffs. He also came within one “hit/error” of a no-hitter. The only knock on him is that he didn’t pitch the whole year in the National League. This is kind of a hard fact to overlook because the NL hitters might have been thrown off balance with a new pitcher to face. Even if you look at his combined record, it would be 17-10 since his 6-8 start in the AL was still mortal. But those combined stats would also give him 10 complete games with 5 shutouts, which is an extraordinary feat by any measure. If he stayed in the NL the whole year, who knows what he could’ve done. But will his extraordinary second half take away votes from the other nominees?

So there you have it, that’s my run down of potential candidates. I may have some stats wrong because everything is off the top of my head so you might need to double check, but I am a stat wiz because for some reason numbers tend to just stay in my head after reading them in the sports section. There will always be arguments for other pitchers because these are not the only four who had great season, but they were the top four in my opinion. On the radar, you might also have: Cole Hamels, Edinson Volquez, Dan Haren, Chad Billingsley, and Ryan Dempster. Remember to put your votes in on the page on the top right and include total points and also point breakdown of first, second, and third place votes! Good luck!

2007 SP Authentic By The Letter

Posted in Collecting, eBay with tags , , on September 28, 2008 by aybayz

So currently, I am pretty obsessed at tracking these cards on eBay. But then I started getting confused. Now this may be a dumb question, but I didn’t find any answers to it online. I thought the idea of these cards was to collect them all to spell out the last name of the player. But there’s some letters that don’t work so what’s up with that? And also the number is either out of /50, /40, /25, etc. so does that mean there are only that many of THAT particular letter that is signed or just letters in general signed? What a confusing subset to collect. Maybe someone can enlighten me on these things. I also thought it would be pretty cool if these were all game used jersey letters, but I googled it and found on an old post on Wax Heaven that these letters are not game used and made specifically for these cards.

Where is there an “R” in Tim Lincecum?? At least “K” works because Strikeout is Timmy’s middle name.

EDIT: I think I’ve figured out the numbering after looking through several completed eBay auctions. I think the serial numbers mean that there is only so many of that letter signed only. That makes the most sense to me, unless someone else has proof of something else.

2008 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection

Posted in Collecting, eBay, Tim Lincecum, trades with tags , , , , , , on September 27, 2008 by aybayz

I have posted this comment on many other entries on this product. I don’t deny that I like the look of this product. As everyone has noted, the wood finish on the outside is nice. But if you are collecting merely for teams or a certain player, then there really is no need to throw $160 for a hobby box or $30-50 on a single pack depending on where you buy it from. Following the rules from my previous eBay tips entry, I set out to bargain hunt. I was looking for two cards, the Lincecum dual swatch with Matt Cain and the eight player swatch with Randy Johnson, Matt Cain, and some other players. I calculated the average price of the dual swatch to be around $9.84 and a low price of $7.25. Yesterday, I purchased one for $7.31 (this includes shipping mind you. I’m guessing that these prices will drop even more as more and more people buy this product and find these patch cards. Afterall, you do get 3 patch or 2 patch and 1 auto per pack or something like that. Today, I got the eight player swatch card that I bid on the other day. I got it for $8.40 (shipping included!. I didn’t do any calculates as so few have been sold thus far. I saw two go for $15 (not including shipping) and one go for a little over $10 (not including shipping), so when I got it for $8.40 total, I thought it was a great deal. Two swatch cards for under $16. Like I said, a mini pack costs $30-50. You decide which one is a better deal. Again, this is only for people going after specific players or teams. But even if you are going after the rarer button patches or autographs, they are still selling for around $50. For that much, you would’ve gotten a pack or two that isn’t even guaranteed to get the card that you are looking for. Ebay has really changed the way we do business in this hobby. One thing really confuses me. Why is Randy Johnson still in a Yankees uniform in this card?? Very strange – maybe because they had a bunch of his Yankees jerseys. Anyways, this is why these cards are so great:

Oh additionally, I would like to give a big thank you to Will over at The Budget Sports Card Collector. He sent out a huge package filled with Giants cards from all different decades. This is by far, the largest collection of Giants cards I have ever received. Thanks! With these trades and purchases, I am now up to 29 cards in the collection! I will be sure to start a pile of Angels cards to send back as soon as I start getting new products. Also thanks to Ross over at Boxbusters for his trade. I am really itching to get in on another group break, ugh.

Upper Deck strikes back!

Posted in Collecting, Tim Lincecum with tags , , , , , , , on September 26, 2008 by aybayz

So yesterday, I wrote about Topps being nice about replacing my cards and giving me a one time courtesy about not providing the proof. Well, it’s not like they were really high end cards or anything – if I did, would I still get the one time courtesy replacement? Who knows. Today, I received a package from Upper Deck for that damaged Smoltz/Lincecum dual patch from 2008 SP Legendary Cuts. They had a turnaround day of 10 days instead of 9 from Topps, but I must say, I am much more satisfied with this replacement because of their customer service. For future replacements, Topps wants all this proof to make sure I don’t scam them out of a few bucks for damaged cards, while Upper Deck’s letter is a lot more friendly and apologetic. They are more concerned with customer satsifaction than Topps. Of course, they do put limitations on their replacement service as it only goes on for 8 months from the release of the product, which is pretty fair in my opinion. Anyways, I am a happy camper now that I have this card back in the Lincecum collection. Two thumbs up for you Upper Deck Customer Service! Here is the letter below:

Topps cares! (somewhat)

Posted in Collecting, Tim Lincecum, trades with tags , , , , on September 25, 2008 by aybayz

Remember a week or two ago, I sent in some damaged cards to get replaced? Topps actually sent a package back today with replacements for all the cards that were damaged! I was pretty surprised because they weren’t anything special. One was a roller mark over Melky Cabrera from my base set and the other two were Ginter back mini’s and an ancient icon card. I guess I didn’t read the fine print or anything, but apparently you need to include proof or purchase in 3 forms. Oops. They gave me a courtesy replacement. The turnaround time was the most surprising part: 9 business days. Not too bad for a company that supposedly has pretty bad customer service. Maybe I have low expectations. I have since sold my collection of A&G 2008 mini’s to Dan over at Cheap Seat Saints so I’m not sure what I’m going to do with these three random ones.

Speaking of Dan, I received his end of the trade today. I got three different Lincecum cards to add to the collection. I still think the Dick Perez portrats are kind of creepy. I am now up to 27 total cards! I think half of the trade mail has already come in now and most of not all of the Lincecum cards are done from trades so the collection should be stagnant for a while. If you have something I might like, send over an e-mail!