The Legend

The Legend

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Walk and Papoy Collaboration #7 (Our Best Pull)

Kevin and I are finally back to breaking some boxes. This time around it was my turn to pick. Part of the reason for the gap between breaks was that I was waiting for Stadium Club to come down a little in price, but it stayed pat the better part of the month.

I decided to go with 2013 Hometown Heroes and Diamond Kings. HH is a good set to provide autos on the cheap as 3 are guaranteed and DK gave us a chance for some high end cards at a very reasonable price (plus I love the set).

I'm not going to showoff the base of Hometown Heroes or DK since I've done that a few times on the blog. I have plenty of doubles of the HH commons as well as a few DK. Just let me know if you need anything. 

I've always been a magnet for Pendleton cards over the years. He was never one to have a ton of autos, but the few he did have always found a way in my collection.

 A couple of Brewers. You need these Tony?
Ron Darling has an interesting signature........

Two things to take note from these autos. First we pulled an extra auto! The box guarantees 3, but we pulled the 4th. This is the second time this has happened to me opening Hometown Heroes which is pretty cool. The second item of note is that that all the players were NL which means they stayed with me on the breaks. Both Kevin and I always feel a little guilty when this happens, but we always end up sending a ton of cards to each other anyway. We're all winners! 

Now for some DK! 

 This is a cool parallel /99.

I know he is struggling right now, but this is one of my better pulls in a while. I knew something good was coming out of the pack because of the thickness, but we lucked out that it was the auto/patch variation. If you recall from our last break I pulled a Steven Strasburg dual patch /10. 

 Here is the back with the serial number on the top right, 5/5. Not too shabby.

This was one of the those breaks where I felt a little guilty since both box boxes were NL dominated. The important thing is that we actually pulled some nice cards. Much rather one of us hit big than pulling nothing at all. We are finding out over time these tend to equal out over the long run.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Trade: The Dutch Card Guy

Glad to be back with some trade posts! This time around Jeroen (aka The Dutch Card Guy) hooked me up with a bunch of Pirates from his recent breaks. The trade pipeline to Europe is strong with the likes of Jeroen and Kevin from The Card Papoy. Go trade with them.

 This Cutch commemorates his first homerun back in 2009.  He is now approaching the 150 mark.

Anybody that reads my blog knows I love this card. I already have one of the plates and the silver frame so this was a welcomed addition. This parallel is /64. Just wish that Marte was on the card instead of Harrison. I love Harrison, but Marte is the regular left fielder.
Liriano has done a nice job regaining the form that made him a force as a young pitcher with the Twins. His biggest issue with the Pirates is that he is never one to go deep into games, but he more than makes up for it by being one of the harder pitchers to hit in all of baseball.
Marte is the prototype player the Pirates look for. The Pirates have made it a habit to scout these type of players for the draft and internationally. Players like Gregory Polanco and Austin Meadows seem to fit this mold.

 Kendall and Brian Giles were about the only guys to root for in the late 90's and early 2000's.
I feel like Jeff Locke is pretty lucky to still be in the Pirates rotation. You would have to think if the Pirates hadn't lost most of their minor league depth that at some point this year he would have been replaced. I think the Pirates like the stuff, but the command still has yet to come around.
 Stadium Club Pirates are always welcome!
Some fun old Pirates to finish things out. Oliver Perez has went the route of Zach Duke and revitalized his career as a left handed reliever. It feels like the Pirates traded away Nate Mclouth 50 years ago. That is the trade that opened the door for McCutchen and also netted Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton.

Thanks for all the great cards Jeroen. I'll be sure to hit you back soon.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Comparing Costs (Black Bears vs Pirates)

I'm heading to the Black Bears game tonight. It is good timing as Ke'Bryan Hayes was just called up for the final stretch of the season. Hayes was the Pirates compensation pick at the end of the first round for losing Russell Martin to free agency. He is also the son of former major leaguer Charlie Hayes.

Since I'm not going to be home tonight to be able to make a card related post I figured it would be fun to try and see the cost difference between a Pirates and Black Bear game. My estimates will be based on attending a weekday game of the Pirates. I only attend weekend games if the tickets were gifts or I'm part of a group. The demand/cost is much higher for those.

Cost of Black Bear ticket  $12
Pirate weekday ticket  $30-40 (obviously this fluctuates, but this about the going rate for a lower level seat that isn't considered premium (dugout, close to homeplate, close to field, etc).

Black Bears Free
Pirates $15 

Black Bears - stadium is about 5 minutes from my house so cost is minimal.
Pirates - probably about 150-160 miles round trip, so probably around a half tanks worth. $20
 * Generally when I go to a game one person drives the other pays for parking.

Black Bears - I'm able to eat at home
Pirates - During the week it is usually stadium fare as their is not enough time to hit a restaurant. Fortunately, Pirate food concessions are fairly cheap. ~$10-15 .

Black Bears ~$7 a piece.
Pirates ~ $8-10

Obviously beer cost would be an easy one to avoid, but I like having a beer at a game. Merica! Both parks offer a nice selection so it is a purchase that will happen more times than not.

Black Bears ~ probably nothing.....I'm just happy with the beer
Pirates - Probably around $10 to cover some tipping and some other drink.

Black Bears ~$20
Pirates ~ $95-105

The Pirates price can shift quite a bit. In April and May I can find lower level tickets in the $15-20 range so it can be a relatively cheap day of entertainment. The price tends to go higher when I have more friends with me (more rounds of beer), or we have time to have a sit down meal.

It is nice to have both options at my disposal. I'll always favor the big league club, but the Black Bears have definitely given me a nice option at home.

It would be interesting to see the discrepancy for a big market team.  Zippy, the balls in your court!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Little Things

I just got done watching the Pirates/Marlins game. People just do not show up to watch baseball in Florida. Both Miami and Tampa are used as destination road trips for the opposing teams fans. During the game the Pirate fans were much more audible and while outnumbered it wasn't a huge difference. Either way it was nice to take 3 of 4 from the fish.

 2014 Triple Threads Neil Walker Patch /9

I already had this card, but managed to pick up another copy for a good deal last week. Might make good trade bait to one of my Pirate collecting buddies. Walker hasn't had much in the way of new cardboard so his cards seem to go for a little more money these days. 

What made this transaction unique was the seller threw in a pretty nice freebie....

2014 Gypsy Queen Neil Walker Mini /50

Kind of a cool surprise. Maybe it is just me, but it seems like this is something that was pretty common in the early and mid 2000's, I remember on numerous occasions getting a free jersey card or some extra commons. Today a lot of my ordering is done with some of the more established eBay card dealers, so it would difficult to take the time to throw in extras. I guess I need to remember to take time to look outside my normal sellers. 

Like I said in the title, it is the little things that can brighten a day. Yay for free cards! 

Thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

It's Alive

After two weeks I finally have a fully operational home computer. Hopefully this will be the last of the computer struggles. I really need to take a day off work and just scan cards and prepare trade packages to get caught up.

One of the downfalls to replacing a hard drive is trying to download all the old programs I had saved. Everything from anti virus software to Itunes needed to be reinstalled. That has been a decent chunk of my evening. Thankfully cloud services salvaged most of the important items like pictures.

2015 Diamond Kings Starling Marte Mini Patch /25

I can't get enough Diamond Kings. Part of it has to do with my love of the early to mid 2000's version because it gave a crappy Pirates team a lot of love. The other half is I just like how it looks. I've cherry picked some Buccos and even busted a few boxes. One of which I just opened the other night and had a major pull! Will be showing that off in the next few days.

This Marte cost right around $10 which is not bad for the Bucco's outfielder. Marte continues to play a vital role for the Bucs and has found a home in the 2 spot of the lineup. He seems to be getting a little better with each year so their is reason to believe we haven't seen the best of him yet. If he ever learns to get rid of his annual month long drought he will be an All Star.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Atlantic City

So it is official, my computers hard drive is completely fried. I knew it was bad, but hoping someone with a little more know how could retrieve some of the contents. First I went to some of my friends whom I consider more computer savvy, but that came up empty. Next, I went to a local business that specializes in computer repair and they came up empty too. The next step would be to send it off to a company that specializes in data recovery, but the cost doesn't exactly add up. I may let the WVU IT department have their go.

The good news is that I should be up and running tomorrow with the hard drive! I can finally do the mass mailing I've been planning the last two weeks.  In hindsight I wish I would have gone to the post office, but I'm so close to having it fixed now I might as well wait another day or so to utilize my which is cheaper than the brick and mortar post office.

Card time...

Hit a lull with my eBay purchasing lately.  The new releases continue to release more of the same. I would love to have a Jung Ho Kang auto, but the prices are through the roof.  He will probably always be expensive, but at some point the market will cool because he has been in every set that has released in the last 3 months.

So 2015 continues to be the year I fill in some holes.

2003 Donruss Classics Atlantic City National Promo Freddy Sanchez /5

This is a card that fell into my lap. I'm not one to add cards of Pirates in other teams uniforms unless it is a trade, or the price is right.  This falls into the price category.  Never fun to pay more shipping than the actual card, but since it is low numbered I felt the price was worth it ($3). 

The seller of this card was very slow in sending it out.  So much so that I thought about opening a case, but thankfully the seller contacted me and smoothed things over. He even threw in an extra card.

Nothing too exciting, but a free Cutch is nothing to turn your nose at.

The Pirates continue to roll on, but gaining ground on the Cardinals is impossible. Go Bucs!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 24, 2015

September Baseball is Annoying

I always try not to take this time of year for granted. Watching 20+ years of shitty baseball makes you appreciate things a little more. So with the Pirates in thick of the pennant race I try to watch as much baseball as humanly possible. When I'm not watching Pirates, I tend to channel all my energy into wishing a ten game losing streak on the Cardinals. For the most part pennant race baseball is awesome.

One thing for the life of me that I will never understand is expanded rosters in September. Baseball has a lot of silly traditions that people gush over, but you will be hard pressed to find someone that really enjoys September call ups. I get the fact that you might get to see the debut of a top prospect, but have you tried watching a game between two teams that are out of the race.  It is unbearable. Between multiple pitching changes and double switches you are likely to see a marathon 9 inning game.

Pretty much every year an article comes out asking why the hell baseball continues with roster expansion. For the most part managers hate it, especially those in contention. Clint Hurdle likened it to a Spring Training game. Even when the Pirates were terrible, September call ups usually meant AAAA type of players rather than top tier prospects.  It was not fun watching multiple pitching changes in one inning just so management could get a look at fringe prospects.

The obvious fix would be to lower the overall number of players allowed to be on the active roster. You could still call up all the players, but the manager would have to come up with "active list" before each game. This seems to be the consensus favorite fix.

The funny thing is when you 'Google' "why do rosters expand in September in MLB" it gives more reasons on why this shouldn't happen than explaining the actual rule. Supposedly it was put in place to reward minor leagues who had good seasons, but rarely is the case. The Pirates will call up guys who have lots of experience rather than guys who had good years in AAA.  You will see the likes of Brett Morel and Travis Snider before seeing prospects like Tyler Glasnow and Alen Hanson.

Overall it is a minor annoyance in an otherwise awesome time of year. It just seems like something that would be an easy fix. Maybe now with pace of play being so important this can finally be looked at

In the meantime lets all enjoy crowded dugouts that look like this.....

Saturday, August 22, 2015


2008 Donruss Elite Mark Melancon Auto /250

I kind of figured by now that Melancon would have more in the way of high end cardboard, but other than a few parallels it is slim pickings. Now a two time All Star, Melancon has continued the nice stretch of the Pirates turning around broken arms. 

The Pirates acquired Melancon when they dealt Joel Hanrahan to Boston.  The deal has actually worked out for both teams, but probably not in the way the Red Sox imagined. Hanrahan would only work a handful of games for the Sox, but in the trade the Sox also received Brock Holt who has turned into a high end utility player. Melancon hit the ground running with the Pirates as the 8th inning guy and has been closing since Jason Grill was dealt away last summer. 

Melancon is unique in the sense he doesn't fall in the normal late inning stereotype of being a hard thrower. Instead, he relies on a cutter to induce weak contact. This style can cause a little more nervousness to the casual fan since he is not a strike out pitcher, but if you want to beat him you have to string together several hits in a row. He rarely gives up homeruns. 

I have accumulated a few of these college cards over the years. You have to be careful with some because some of the autos can either be too light or faded. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Star Wars Night

Here are some pics of the Pirates game last night.  It just so happened that it was Star Wars night as well! Lots of fun costumes could be found all over the stadium.  I took the pictures from the stands, but stole a few pictures from the local news for some of the better costumes. I tried about a dozen times to take pictures of some good costumes, but it was just too crowded in the concourse.

 Couple nice shots from my seats.

This picture cracks me up.  My brother and a friend of mine have this ongoing battle to find obscure jerseys. I felt this was a rare find.  It you notice right in the center their is a guy wearing a Nick Leyva jersey. Leyva is the first base coach for the Pirates! I feel this has to be one of my greatest finds.

 Little Darth Vader was a couple rows in front of me.
 Creepy mini Darth Maul.
 Lots of Storm Troopers.
 Kind of a cool shot of the skyline with a dressed up Parrot. My brother and law got this shot.
Pirate announcers.

Overall it was a great day. The Pirates won 4-1 behind some solid pitching and I even won a few bucks at the casino. Pirates start a big 4 game series with the Giants this weekend in which two games will be nationally televised.  Pennant chase baseball!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Back on Pace

I'm still dealing with hard drive issues on my computer. I know the hard drive needs to replaced it is just a matter of getting some stuff off of the old one. Fun times!

In the meantime I've decided to take the afternoon off and hit another Pirates game. This time my brother in law will be joining me. He is moving to Washington DC in a couple of weeks and he is trying to hit some Pirate and Black Bears games before he starts his new job. He knows I'm always game so we snatched some tickets this morning.  Yay spontaneity! Hitting 3 games in the past couple weeks will get me closer to my desired 10 a year.

How about a card.

2009 Upper Deck USA Jameson Taillon Green Auto /2

Another Taillon edition! I'm not going crazy with Taillon like I did Polanco, but the prices have bottomed out so much that it has been easy to add.  Two years back this card would have been $75 plus, but I secured for around $25.  Still pricey, but not bad considering the scarcity. It quickly becomes one of my best Taillon cards in my collection. 

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Personally Vested

The other day I was watching a game in which Gregory Polanco got a huge hit and I found myself more pumped up than normal. It is one thing to actually be at the game and celebrating with the entire stadium, but I was sitting alone on my couch.  Their might have even been a fist pump and an audible "yes."

I'm a pretty reserved fan by nature. A loss doesn't ruin my day nor does a win give me some weird confidence boost. My reaction left me wondering why the hell I was getting so excited for a regular season win. I watch a ton of baseball so I've already witnessed a lot of late game heroics, so what made this moment stand apart. 

My best guess is that my card collecting and overall fandom have become intertwined. I don't collect cards as an investment, but I think mass purchasing of a certain players lends itself to some kind of bond. My brain knows that I've spent a lot of time and money accumulating cards of certain players so maybe their is a certain sense of accomplishment and justification knowing that player is doing well. 

For those who follow my blog on a semi regular basis know that I went all in purchasing Polanco autos when prices bottomed out after his debut. As a team collector this is always the difficult choice. Do you bite the bullet early and risk the player being a bust, or do wait to purchase and price yourself out when the player turns into a star.  For every Andrew McCutchen their is a Brian Bixler, Brad Eldred and Chad Hermanson.

With Polanco I decided to go all in. I'm not a prospector, but I found the skill set interesting. His minor league obp and success versus left handed pitching made you think he was less likely to bust than most.

So I guess that is why when Polanco does well, I get pumped. The verdict is still out on what type of player he will be. I'm just happy that he seems to be finding his way at the major league level. If he continues to develop to something even more I would be downright ecstatic. I might even double fist pump....

All the cards shown have been featured at some point on Bob Walk the Plank. Several were included via blog trade from the likes of Brad's Blog, The Card Papoy and Jaybarkerfan.

Thanks for reading!