Archive for the Misc. Category

Well, that instantly made the work day better …

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , on September 7, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I got to work this morning and a friend of mine had a surprise for me. He handed me a Rawlings Official Baseball box with the top taped shut.

What was inside?

A Buster Posey signed 2012 World Series ball with two authentication holograms.

It’s not game-used; but it is signed by the Giants legend and future Hall of Famer.

This is not the first time this friend has given me signed items. A few years back he gave me an early 1980s ball signed by Rickey Henderson and teammates.

As a side note, I do some photo-matching work for this friend who heavily collects game-used NFL uniforms. I recently matched a 2016 Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman jersey to almost every road game, including the AFC Championship game that year against the New England Patriots.

Maybe I’ll write about it this week since the season kicks off tomorrow.

Collecting Kershaw: We have a trade! My nephew and I have struck a deal!

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on August 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

National Baseball Card Day has come and gone. Both of my kids and my nephew have ripped their packs and between them have amassed some four Clayton Kershaw cards for 2019 NBCD.

Me?

Nope. Not I. None for the guy who actually collects Kershaw. Well, that is until now.

My nephew — a Giants fan — had a pair of them. I asked if he would trade one and he agreed. (Side note, I checked with his parents first and they were OK with it — I already told them I was going to purposely overpay in trade for the Kershaw.)

So I dug through my boxes and grabbed a handful of Giants. And when it came down to it, I offered him 12 cards for his one.

In exchange for his Kershaw Card, I sent him cards of Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Juan Marichal, Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Bruce Bochy, and Will Clark, whose shirt my nephew wore to school today.

If you’re counting,that’s just 11 names. Who was the 12Th? I actually offered him a Clayton Kershaw Card in the trade — so he could have another one. And in true Giants fashion, he handed it back and said he didn’t need another one.

Absolute comedy.

I sent a message to his parents letting them know a deal had been consummated. His mom (my sister) replied: “All of that for ONE? … You really wanted it.”

I told her that I could buy these Kershaws all day for like a quarter each, but I wanted to see his smile. Also, trading cards with my nephew is absolutely priceless.

The unexpected: Tatis Jr. auto pulled from NBCD Week 2 packs

Posted in Collecting With Kids, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on August 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

If you follow me on Twitter then you’ve probably already seen a tweet about this. But seeing as how this blog is sort of doubles as my collecting diary, I shall document it here as well.

This weekend marked the second half of The National Baseball Card Day promotion from Topps, and as such card shops across the country were giving out packs (if there were any left over) and a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. promo card to customers who made purchases.

I had the kids last weekend, and because of my work schedule and the co-parenting schedule I have with my ex, my kids were with their mother this weekend.

I was able to take the kids to South Bay Sports Cards (Sunnyvale, Calif) on Aug. 10 for the first day of the promotion, which I wrote about last week. And this week I asked her to take the kids, which she agreed to do — hey we’re on good terms, and she knows my kids are into collecting.

The kids made their purchase and got some free Topps NBCD packs and the Vlad Card given away this week. The shop gave the kids two packs each, and unbeknownst to me, they also gave them packs to give to me as well.

I got the kiddos back from their mom on Sunday evening and after getting them, my son told me they had two unopened NBCD packs for me, which damn near brought a tear to my eye. I was totally surprised.

He showed me what he and his sister got in their packs — including a Clayton Kershaw I still don’t have — and then I opened mine, hoping to nail the aforementioned Kershaw card for my collection.

Well, no Kershaw for me, but something crazy happened — I hit an auto of one of the top rookies this year, Fernando Tatis Jr.!

Absolute insanity.

This is the second time in four years that my family has pulled an autograph from NBCD packs, and as you probably know, that’s not a simple task. In 2016 my daughter hit a Greg Bird while wearing her fancy dress, a moment that aided in my family being in an advertorial from Blowout Cards discussing the excitement about National Baseball Card Day.

While I was excited and surprised to have pulled an auto from the packs, I wish my son was the one who pulled the card seeing as how he has taken a liking to this hobby. But he was excited for me, for us, nonetheless. Rest assured that the Tatis Card, serial numbered 110/150 is off the market — the card goes into the Forever Collection, which consists of rare/good cards pulled by my kids or by me while creating hobby memories with them, and other things I’ve pulled and decided to never part with.

Kershaw’s zipper gets “fixed” for Topps Chrome

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Misc. with tags , , , , on August 14, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was tooling around COMC late lastnight looking for new cards to add to my collection when a 2019 Topps Chrome Clayton Kershaw base card popped up.

I knew I needed one for my collection so I clicked on the card. And immediately I could see something looked off.

It’s the zipper!

I have like 12 versions of the base Topps card and upon release I pointed out that Kershaw’s fly was down in the card image, just as it was on the original photo taken on Opening Dy 2018. It looks like Topps fixed the whole crotch region on Kershaw for the Chrome release.

He finally said yes to the Mays… and Mantle … and Hank

Posted in Dad Life, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was sitting at my desk sorting cards and labeling items yesterday when I came across a four 1969 Topps checklists featuring Mickey Mantle.

I grabbed these at a card shop a few years back and they’ve just been sitting around. They are well-love cards, most of the check boxes on the checklist marked. I pulled one out and asked my son: “Hey, you don’t have a Mickey Mantle in your Collection do you?”

Of course the boy responds that he does not.

“Well, would you like one?” I ask.

He smiles and says, “sure!”

I explained what the card is, and then asked about the 1963 Topps Willie Mays I had offered him in the last. This time he agreed to add it to his collection.

But before I handed them to him, I told him I had one more thing to find for him. I figured I had to round this collecting moment with the other major cardboard icon from that generation — Hank Aaron.

So I found the extra 1974 Topps Hank Aaron #1 I had and set it aside as well. We had discussed Hank earlier this week in context of Barry Bonds while we were at the Phillies-Giants game on Thursday night.

Funny thing happened though. As soon as I located the Aaron, I found a 1969 Topps Carl Yastrzemski behind it. That card also felt like it needed to be in my kid’s collection since we talked about him at the game while watching grandson Mike Yastrzemski round the bases after a homer.

These are the father-son collector moments I absolutely love. I’m sure these won’t be the last legends to head his way.

Boooooo! Give it to the kid!

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , on June 18, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

He sits in his seat, left hand in his fielding glove, eyes transfixed on the field before him.

Like many other kids his age, his dream is to catch a ball. Game-used, player-thrown or -hit, whatever … it doesn’t matter. A ball is a ball, and it was the object of his desire.

This was me as a youth. Hell, it was you, and your friend. It was your dad, your brother, your cousin, your nephew.

It is my son.

My boy in recent months has taken a liking to the game, more so than I ever images he would at his age. I mean, like many baseball-loving dads, I hoped my son would be the kid who would be crushing Whiffle balls with a pacifier in his mouth, or throwing darts from right field to third base before the third grade. But that hasn’t always been the case. Even though he had been exposed to the game since birth, my son until recently hadn’t shown love for the sport.

But then it happened. He wanted to know about cards; about the game; about the rules.

And recently, when attending games, he started bringing his glove. And just a week and a half ago — on June 7, 2019 — while at the Dodgers-Giants game he asked if he (and his sister and cousin) could go to the front two of the bleachers during batting practice to see if he could snag a ball.

They didn’t get close to catching one, but watching their faces being among the crowd of folks with the same childhood dream — was priceless.

At one point a ball had gotten tossed into the stands and a scrum ensued and my nephew managed to get a finger tip on it, before a group of guys crashed into each other and a young girl walked away with it in her hands. No one was upset; hell, I was proud of my nephew for the effort. And found great comedy in watching a group of boys (and men) picking themselves up as the pre-teen girl held it up and flashed a giant smile.

Fast forward to Monday, June 17, a day after Father’s Day. My kids were with me for a few days and I sought out cheap entertainment. Of course my mind instantly went to baseball. I managed to find some bleacher seats for the Orioles at Athletics game and asked the kids if they wanted to go. Without hesitation, both my son and daughter agreed. And as we headed out the door, my son grabbed his glove.

By the time we got to the stadium, the first row on the left-field bleachers was full — which is to be expected in Oakland. They have some die-hard fans in left and right field bleachers, the type that bang on drums and cow bells, wave flags and have hand coordinated gestures.

But, we got there early enough to pick the seats we wanted. And sure enough, as we say down my son had his left hand in his glove, seemingly ready for anything that came his way.

For the first two innings, my son jumped out of his seat for anything that got hit toward left field. He wasn’t the only one. But his instincts were making me proud. Then in the third inning — after the A’s scored two runs — outfielder Ramon Laureano hit a flyball to left field for the third out.

Orioles left field Anthony Santander gloves it and began running toward the infield, and he threw it to Second baseball Hanser Alberto (who at this point was standing between second base and left field) and Alberto threw it into the left field bleachers. The ball clanked off a seat in section 136 and rolled down to section 135, row 29 — right behind my son. My son reached back and hand two fingers on it when an older kid — maybe late teens early 20s — comes flying over from 136 and aggressively grabs the ball, then turns around with his treasure.

Almost immediately, the crowd laid him.

“Booooooo! Give it to the kid!”

I asked my son if he was OK, and he said he was. He explained he had two fingers on it when it got snatched away by the other person in a blue shirt. I put my hand on his head and told him it was OK. I can’t say I was upset because I didn’t see how much control my son actually had of the ball. Also … I don’t know that older guy’s story. Hell, it’s not like the guy appeared to be in his 30s or anything.

Nonetheless, after a few moments, the guy in the blue shirt comes over and hands the ball to my son, apologizes and walks away halfway through my head nod to acknowledge his actions.

It was a great gesture, one I wish I could have thanked him more for at the time — but I froze. I was concerned about my son being embarrassed — also I wanted to make sure he actually held the ball and didn’t let it roll away.

To the guy in the blue shirt, thank you. I wish I could have shaken your hand before you disappeared. It’s not something you had to do, even if the others around you put pressure on you to give it up.

Having said that, what IS the protocol for older kids, young adults or older folks chasing a ball when clearly it’s in the grasp of a kid? Is this something I should have been upset about? Is this a scenario for which I should even be thanking the guy in the blue shirt?

As for the ball … I went aback and watched the replay of the final moments of the third inning. It appears this ball was initially used in a Khris Davis groundout to Hanser Alberto, who threw it to third base on a fielder’s choice — that’s where they tagged out a Matt Olson for the second out. Then on the next pitch Laureano pops out to left and eventually the ball ends up in the stands.

It was of apropos that Laureano was the guy who last hit it. He has been a golden thread weaved through my baseball story over the last year or so. My kids and I were there for his first career homer; I was there in April when he gunned down Xander Bogaerts at home, and again in May when he threw out another player from deep centerfield. And of course now this flyout which my son now owns.

The kids will get to see Kershaw pitch

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on June 7, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Today is a special day. Los Angeles Dodgers star pitcher Clayton Kershaw is set to take the mound tonight at Oracle Park, home of the rival San Francisco Giants, and not only will I be there to see the future Hall of Famer take the mound, but so will my kids and my nephew.

The Points are Poop gang will finally get to watch the player whose cards they see all over my home, the player whose game-used items and cards are frequently arriving by mail, and the guy whose picture I took in 2015 and had the image printed on canvas and eventually hung in my hallway.

This will be my fourth time seeing my favorite player pitch. My sister and I saw him in 2015 as he locked down the NL West title in San Francisco in what was scheduled to be a pitchers duel against Madison Bumgarner. Kershaw was masterful that night, allowing just one hit and striking out 13 batters. It was at that game I took the aforementioned photo I had printed on canvas, and it is also the game at which the image used on this 2016 Stadium Club Gold Autograph card was snapped.

I saw Kershaw again last season when the Dodgers came through Oakland; and of course My sister and I saw him at Game 5 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium when my favorite team knocked around my favorite player in order to clinch the World Series Championship.

If this was just me going, I would have ponied up for seats along the first base line, but with three kids going with me, the budget just doesn’t allow for such premium seats. Instead we’ll be taking the game in from the bleachers.

Kershaw may not be the dominant pitcher he was five years ago, and I won’t pretend that he is the best in the game — pretty sure Max Scherzer has that title at the moment — but it’s pretty special for me to bring my kids and my sister’s son to a game that features my favorite active player.

By comparison, I only saw Roger Clemens — my childhood favorite — pitch twice, once on Opening Day 1999, which his first start with New York, and again in 2007 as a member of the Houston Astros. My ex wife was with me on both occasions.

I did have loose plans to see him in 1997 when the Blue Jays came through Oakland in May of that year, but I had a medical emergency right around my birthday that prevented that from happening — I wound up watching that game from a hospital bed. And in the early to mid 1990s I really didn’t have the means to see him as the Red Sox ace, which is unfortunate.