The Legend

The Legend

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Walking on Eggshells

I've been taken out of my normal routine this week as my daughter has decided that she doesn't need to sleep anymore. It is quite the production to get her to sleep and once it happens you do everything you can to keep her asleep. This means complete silence of everything within earshot of her bedroom. Thankfully this doesn't effect much of the house, but it does indirectly mess with card blogging. My office is very close to her room, so I try not to use the card scanner while she is sleeping.

Right now I'm sitting on the latest Card Papoy/BWTP card break and a cool trade package from the Lost Collector. Those will be completed during the day hours this weekend unless my daughter reverts to her good sleeping ways.

Until scan day comes I did manage to get one taken care of when I got home from work today.
2006 Topps Triple Threads Triple Auto/Relic Zach Duke/Santana/McCarthy /18

I've been on a mission lately trying to find some rarer releases that I never got around to buying. This card is interesting in a lot of ways because it covers all types of players. Duke wasn't much of a prospect after getting drafted in the 20th round by the Pirates, but he hit the ground running. Dominating every stop in the minors he got the call in 2005 to make his debut. He would go on to have a great rookie campaign and the future was looking bright. Long story short the league caught up with him and he was unable to adjust. After his Pirate tenure was over he balanced around some as a AAAA player for a few organizations until catching on with the Brewers last year. Turns out his stuff plays well out of the bullpen and turned himself into a reliever that can get both righty and lefties out. That good season allowed him to sign a lucrative free agent deal with the White Sox.

I bet the Astros would like a take back with Johan Santana. He was left unprotected and the Twins got him in the Rule 5 draft. Ouch! After a little bit of a rocky start as a reliever the Twins sent him to the minors to develop a changeup. That was a good decision. He would go on to be one of the more dominant pitchers in the mid 2000's winning a couple of Cy Young's. 

McCarthy was a guy who dominated the minor leagues, but could never stay healthy in the major leagues. It took a while for him to get some traction in his career but finally turned himself into a productive major league with the A's. I still have the memory of him getting hit by a line drive playing for Arizona. That was one of the more scary ones I've ever seen. He even suffered a seizure as a result. 

Thanks for reading.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Yellow Plates

This is the first year where I haven't bought any Opening Day in a long time. I've accepted the fact that it will always mirror the Series 1 release, so I don't think that was the reason. The blue parallels were a little disappointing in that they didn't number them and the overall look doesn't stray far from the base card. Whatever the case I really haven't been interested in too much in 2015 releases besides Series 1 and Donruss (hears collective groan from the blogosphere). It was weird being at Target and not buying a blaster the other day. FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY!

With that being said I still try to cherry pick any Pirates that catch my eye for the right price. As I've said before I don't generally chase printing plates unless they are of more obscure players, but exceptions can be made, especially for Gregory Polanco.

2015 Topps Opening Day Gregory Polanco Yellow Printing Plate

I seem to be a magnet for his cards which is not a bad thing. It is no big secret I'm a huge fan and was happy that he has gotten off to a decent start. The Pirates as a whole have been terrible offensively with the exception of Polanco and Neil Walker. Good pitching and some timely 2 out hitting has kept them above the .500 mark. I'm not big on making huge changes because of April numbers, but it wouldn't surprise me if Polanco slides up to the leadoff spot this year. I'm not convinced that Josh Harrison can keep a high enough obp to warrant leading off.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The DH Debate

Every once in a while I'll post something like this just to change things up a little. Usually these kind of things stem from conversations I have with my friends and my brother. We like to debate this type of stuff.

In years past I would have made this argument regarding the NL style of play.

As a baseball purist I like the idea of the pitcher batting and all the strategy that goes along with it. The NL game has more of a chess match mentality because the manager has to be more aware of game situations by thinking several innings ahead. It forces difficult decisions that can effect the outcome of the game. Do you let "ace" pitcher bat in the top of the seventh down 2 to 1 with two outs and a couple of runners on? Nerdy baseball me likes this kind of stuff. 

While I still love this part of the game I've begun to change my thought on it. While this is not really about Adam Wainwright tearing his Achilles tendon (I had this post started a couple weeks back) it seems like a perfect time to give my two cents.

Scoring in baseball is hard these days. Pitching staffs are full of guys throwing in the upper 90's, and left handed specialist to neutralize left handed power. Defensively teams are shifting more and more every year. I get to see this first hand as the Pirates shift more than just about any team in baseball. Now with pace of play being an issue batters have to stay in the batters box. While hard to quantify most believe this gives the pitcher even more of an advantage as the batter doesn't have time to really think about pitch sequencing, past experience and game situations. The deck is stacked against the hitter.

Having inter league play all year screws up stuff big time for the NL too. The rosters in the National League are constructed differently. More times than not the NL team has to roster players based on position flexibility. As most NL fans know this is usually not the best hitter. Sometimes you can get lucky and have a guy that has minor league options to send down in order to bring up a more seasoned hitter, but most of the time this is not the case. Their is a reason the AL dominates the NL every year in inter league play. It is just easier for an Al team to adapt to NL game than the other way around.

Also, just watching the pitcher bat is painful. Off the top of my head I can only think of a few that are actual threats with the bat. Guys like Bumgarner, Leake and Kershaw can hold their own, but other than that it is painful to watch. Even getting down a bunt has become a chore.

With all that being said I think it is time to go to universal rules. I would much rather see guys like Jose Abreu and David Ortiz bat than this...

I will always enjoy the NL game more, but if baseball keeps making new rules that benefit the pitchers something needs to be done to counteract it.

Anybody have any good ideas? I would like to be swayed back towards the NL style....

Monday, April 27, 2015

Trade: Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

Tony is one of my longest tenured trading partners. Not long after I got going with my blog we started exchanging and haven't looked back. It is always fun to see a package in the mail from Tony just because of the wide variety he sends. This time around the package was much larger than normal. Tony gave me a Ralph Kiner hint, but I would have never guessed this......

A very nice 8 X 10 of Pirate Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner! Tony told me that he got this from the guy that runs his local card show, and that he likes the fact that he promotes his show so much on his blog. He passed this Kiner along to Tony with the hope of him finding a good Pirates home. I'm very happy it was sent my way. While the Kiner was cool enough by itself, the card show promoter passed one more gem to Tony.

One of my favorite cards of Manny Sanguillen that is autographed! This is exactly how I picture Manny in my mind with that big smile. Another great surprise. It is my hope that Manny will get a certified auto one of these days. Seems like a good candidate for a Fan Favorite auto.

Last, but not least is this ultra shiny McCutchen Bowman is Back inserts from Bowman Chrome. Hopefully Cutch will get going with the bat. Thankfully the team is winning despite his lack of production.

Thanks for the wonderful surprise Tony. I hope you are preparing yourself for the JBF onslaught. If you need pointers, don't look at me. He is the unstoppable force.

I have a huge stack of Brewers that I will be sending out this week!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

JBF # 7 (The War is Over)

I'm officially raising the white flag. I feel like I fought the good fight, but once JBF delivered the Jeff Suppan bat and the crazy stuff I'm about to show I was a goner. I gave a preview the other day which looked like this....

Buckle your seat belts.  Here comes the shot that ended the war.

The rarest and most valuable piece was a 1/1 Jaybarkerfan card. It was even personalized with #WarWithWalk. I shall remember our war fondly as we have a moment of silence for all the postal carriers whose backs did not make it.

A look at all the cards. The white box on the left was full too. You might be thinking that is a lot of commons, but I would say half the cards were inserts, parallels and hits.
 One of the holders was full of Bob Walk cards. I got Walk'd.
Maybe one of the coolest pieces. This is a canceled check signed by Pirate Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner.
 An old Pittsburgh Post Gazette notebook with Maz on the front.
 Some toys and a talking baseball card.
 A pack of Nintendo cards still sealed.
Wes always likes to keep me on my toes with random items. The auto is of Shannon Miller. Above is a commemorative stamp card.
 Some more randomness. My favorite is the toy on the left. It is a design yourself Pirate figure.
 Some unopened football.
 Bottoms up!

Wes hit me again with a game used jersey.  This time it was former Pirate reliever Brian Boehringer. Holy crap!

Some sexy cards.

Then I saw this........

A PSA authenticated Jack Ham auto jersey. I was speechless when this one came out. I try not to be shocked when it comes to the stuff Wes sends, but he always seems to top his previous one. This had some WOW factor.

While that would have been plenty to end our war, Wes sent a ton of cards.  There was probably at least a 1000 cards so I couldn't show everything. What I tried to do is show all the numbered and hit cards. I also put in a some vintage.  Enjoy.

First is WVU

I applaud the effort here as some of these guys are a little more obscure. Guys like Dustin Nippert and Anthony Becht are lesser know WVU guys who had professional careers. 

 Check out this beauty!

 Scott Seabol is a very rare WVU find.

Now for the Penguins.....

Kovalev was one of my favorite during his original stint with the club. 

Next is the Steelers.....

 Prime Signatures is a great set. The cards are absolutely beautiful.
 The throwback on the Antonio Brown card is pretty sweet.

 Vintage Steelers!

 Hines Ward was my favorite Steeler. I actually have a nice collection of items from him that I'll show off one of these days.

Main event time


 Parallel Walks!

A couple of heavy hitters here with the Polanco purple /199 rookie and the Cole Diamond King Press Proof.

 I love this Kiner.
 Cutch and Marte rookies!
 This is really cool and from a brand new set!
 Vintage Buccos with several big names.
 Everyone loves Teke. He makes some of the best cards out there.

 Do you like 1/1's?
 Oliver Perez
 Pirate prospect Taylor Gushue

 Pirates first round pick last year, Cole Tucker

 More printing plate action.

 A wow patch, from a great set!

 Hard to find Lofton cards in the Pirate uniform. Love this!

 Quad featuring former Bucco Kendall.

 Mad Dog!
 People who read my blog know I love Polanco.


Holy crap Wes! You went for the throat. I declare you winner. Let's hope Hazel Green and Morgantown can live in peace. During this time of peace I may hide weapons just in case....but for now congratulations are your dominant performance. 

Thanks for reading.