The Legend

The Legend

Thursday, March 31, 2016

So Close to Baseball (Prediction Time)

I've done pretty well predicting the awards  in years past, but I'm god awful at the playoffs. This year is even harder because the AL is so wide open. You can make a case for every team if they have enough break right during the course of the season. The NL is top heavy as several teams have tore down their rosters. Teams like the Phillies, Braves and Brewers have decided to punt this season.

Here are my predictions that will look really stupid by the end of the year.

AL East: Blue Jays
AL Central: Royals
AL West: Astros
Wildcard 1: Red Sox
Wildcard 2: Rangers
Best Record: Blue Jays

ALCS Matchup Astros vs Red Sox

NL East: Nats
NL Central: Cubs
NL West:  Dodgers
Wildcard 1: Pirates
Wildcard 2: Mets
Best Record: Nats

NLCS Matchup  Pirates-Cubs

WS Matchup Red Sox-Cubs (I will be puking the whole month of October if this happens)

WS winner Red Sox  (The Cubs will lose in glorious fashion)  GOAT

I really have nothing against the Cubs or the Red Sox, but that narrative would be exhausting.

AL MVP - Mike Trout
NL MVP - Bryce Harper

Those really should be the picks every year. Trout is probably going to get hurt for the fact that the Angels don't seem like playoff contenders.

AL CY - Corey Kluber
NL CY- Clayton Kershaw

AL Roy - Bryon Buxton
NL Roy Steven Matz

Al HR - Miguel Sano
NL Hr - Giancarlo Stanton

I have absolutely zero confidence in my AL picks.  The Red Sox and Astros probably have the most complete teams but are far from power houses.  I actually like the Yankees a decent amount this year because they are going to be unbeatable if they have lead after 6 innings. Could you imagine facing Betances, Miller and Chapman....Yikes. Any major injury to a Blue Jays or Red Sox star could easily propel them into the playoffs.

My bold prediction with my friends was that the Dodgers would make some blockbuster deal to get another pitcher.  You have to figure that someone like Sonny Gray or Chris Archer might be available if the wheels fall off the As or Rays.

The only other NL teams that look like contenders that I didn't have in the playoffs are the Giants and Cardinals.  Both teams should be good, but I had to leave someone off.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Group Breaking

I follow a seller on eBay (rkcollectibles) that often hosts group breaks on newer products. He sells by team and runs many of them via traditional auction.  He has a big following so you are not usually going to find outrageous deals, but sometimes you can run into a deal if he is trying to round out a break last minute.

For me I've gotten away from doing group breaks for the most part. Most of the time I can add the cards I want from a set cheaper than what a slot cost in a break. I justified in previous years when I could chase expensive rookies like Gerrit Cole and Gregory Polanco, but the last couple of years have been light on impact Pirates in major releases.

Well, since I'm writing about group breaks you probably know where this is heading. Late last week I happened to be on eBay at about the same time as a slot for all the Pirates came up for a half case break of 2016 Donruss. I put in a bid and won.  The cards were shipped very securely and if you got a nicer card they were shipped in toploaders.

If you can get past the licensing issue Donruss is one of the better group break choices you can make. It is stocked full of short prints, parallels and the auto list has improved a good bit over the 2014 and 15 releases. While I didn't get anything of note in the break for the Buccos the 8 boxes yielded some nice cards. Several Trout parallels and 11 autos in 8 boxes were pulled. Off the top of my head I remember a Jake Arrieta, Pedro Martinez and a Yasmany Tomas /5.  It was a very nice mix of rookies, established stars and retired guys.

Here is the Pirates team set and a few inserts I pulled.

 This was the best card. The Diamond Kings are short prints.

Like I said nothing too exciting, but I'll take the gamble if the price is right.  Plus I can send a few teams sets to some friends that like the Pirates as well.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Selective with Select

Panini Select is one of those sets that I pretty much ignored. It was basically Prizm without the nice checklist. As most of you know I don't let the non license issue stop me, but this set didn't have much going for it. Even when the boxes were discounted to a fraction of the original price I still passed.

The only signer in the set that peaked my interest was Justin Wilson.  No matter how bad the set if an obscure Pirate is in it, I want it.

2013 Panini Select Justin Wilson Gold Prizm Auto /25

The base autos leave something to be desired so it was nice to locate the gold variation. At least it has a little pop to it. It is always exciting to find obscure parallel autos of middle relievers!

Wilson was a serviceable middle reliever for the Pirates for a couple of years. Last offseason the Pirates sent him to the Yankees for Francisco Cervelli.  The deal worked out fantastic for both teams, but it was extra sweet for the Pirates. That offseason the Pirates had already lost Russell Martin to free agency and were in dire need for a catcher. Thankfully Cervelli put together his best season as a pro and was a key component  in the playoff push. You have to like any trade of a reliever for a position player. 

Thanks for reading. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Burger Chef

A couple weeks back Angus of Dawg Day Cards sent me an email to be on the lookout for a purchase that he was having directly shipped to me. Little did I know it would be something so unique....

How about a full sheet of Pirate discs still on the original Triple Play Funmeal backing! The 4 discs on the instruction side are the heavy hitters for the Buccos during the time featuring Stargell, Parker, Candy Man and Al Oliver.

Being that I was born in 1982 Burger Chef was already in the process of being sold so I never got to experience one. My parents told me that their were several of them close to the area I grew up. From what I read the holding company that owned Hardees bought them out and either closed them or rebranded them as Hardees.

The kid in me wants to poke all of these out, but I think the collector in me will keep them in their natural state at least for the time being.  I need to ask my Dad if he remembers the promotion. Why were discs so prevalent during this time?

This is what makes blogging great. I was well aware of oddball releases before blogging, but I never fully grasped just how many existed. I think Tony L single handedly traded me about 5000 differents over the course of my 2 + years of blogging. Now Angus surprises me with this gem. Ain't blogging grand!

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

No time for cards when you have the first grandchild on a holiday. I have had my picture taken more then Kim Kardashian today. It is always fun, but a long day that is likely to end with an adult beverage.

Happy Easter everyone.

 Evil Easter Bunny! This makes me laugh everytime.

Here is by far the most "Eastery" of all Pirate cards in my collection.

May all your Easter eggs be filled with 1/1's.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Second Tier

Hope everyone is having a nice Easter weekend. Pretty nice day in Morgantown as the sun was shining and the temperature was in the mid 60's. Actually heard some lawnmowers today.  I'm guessing people didn't look at the extended forecast as it looks like it might snow next week. Yuck

A new silver frame!

Mark Melancon 2016 Topps Series 1 Silver Frame /16

I'm always excited to add a new silver frame. I would love to add some of the bigger names like Cutch and Cole, but the prices are outrageous. Fortunately the second tier guys can still be had for good prices. Such was the case with Melancon. This one cost right around $15.

Melancon is one of the games more dominant relievers but he gets the job done in a much different way. Instead of blowing fastballs past guys he relies on a cutter that he learned from Mariano Rivera. Pretty good teacher. This plays in perfect with the Pirates shifting their infielders as the cutter induces weak contact. If you are going to beat Melancon you will have to string together several hits in a row. In his three years as a Pirate he has only given up 7 homeruns.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Trade: Play at the Plate

It has been quite sometime since I swapped with legendary blogger Brain of Play at the Plate. Right about the time I was hitting my stride as a blogger, Brian had a major shift with his job that ate up most of his free time. Thankfully things have calmed down a bit for him and he is getting back to way more important cards!

Last week Brian hit me up with a pwe that packed a huge punch.

 This is a cool card of the Cobra.  Topps Gold Label was pretty fancy pants back in 2002 so this is the type of card I would have bought much later in life. Thankfully no purchase necessary as Brian was kind of enough to hook me up.

Warren Morris was actually drafted by the Texas Rangers, but was traded alongside famous bust Todd Van Poppel for Esteban Loaiza.  Morris had a nice rookie year, but fell off the significantly is his sophomore campaign and would ultimately be released. Second base was kind of a black hole for the Pirates in the late 90's to the mid 2000's. Freddy Sanchez finally gave some above average play there.
I'm a big fan of all the late 90's early 2000's Fleer/Skybox sets.
 By the way, I'm now a Warren Morris supercollector.
I think Roberto Hernandez played about 47 years in the big leagues. Of course the Pirates had him when he was 75 years old.

Love the Marte card!

Panini should really try and come out with a budget friendly set that can rival Opening Day. I completely understand making a set for the young collectors, but why not try and put something together for the set collectors.  Something along the lines of 40 man or Collectors Choice would be awesome.

Thanks so much for the cards Brian. It was good timing as a return shot is already in the mail. Hope you like them!

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Making the Most of My Time

I was off work today so I started working on envelopes to send out.....

This is a nice mix of Super Traders, new trade partners and 3 international packages.  I have about 10 more that are close to being complete but I'm waiting on a few more cards to come in.

2010-11 Panini Timeless Treasures Quad Patch Devin Ebanks /10

I don't show much of my WVU basketball collection, but this card has nice visual appeal.  Plus I've been looking for it for quite sometime. This is a card that was on eBay for quite some time with the seller starting the auction at $24.99.  After several listings the seller finally lowered the price to a much more respectable amount of $11.  I was the only bidder.  

Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Trade: GCRL

Jim of GCRL fame and I are getting back in the swing of things with our blind trading after a short hiatus. Receiving a bubble mailer from Jim is exciting as he is one of the lucky souls that has card shows at his disposal. From old to new and everything in between I have gotten it from Jim at some point. This time was no different.

I didn't know much about Nelson King the player as his career only last a couple of seasons, but he is well known for his announcing with Bob Prince for Pirates radio. Obviously his years of announcing are well before my time, but I got to know his story as he helped announce the last Pirates game at Three Rivers Stadium. 

Man, I love reading about these older players.  I lose track of time so easily.  Janowicz was a two sport star. After his pro baseball career fizzled out after 2 seasons he went back to football it was starting halfback for the Redskins in 1955.  A serious car accident ended his playing career, but he would stay in sports announcing Ohio State football games.

Rennie Stennett gave the Pirates a several nice seasons at second base after Maz retired.

Locke always seems like the guy who is going to be the odd man out every year in the rotation but by some divine intervention he ends up being there the majority of the season.  Supposedly he has changed his mechanics some and velocity is up so that is somewhat promising. This year he will have Tyler Glasnow waiting in the wings.

Classics cards for some reason don't scan well. I know I've said it a bunch but the checklist was one of the best in recent memory.  Many pre war players such as Lloyd Waner are common. This is a nice parallel!
You can never have too many Clemente's.  This is literally cardboard gold!
Bronson Arroyo got way more out of his career then probably anyone could have predicted. While his health has been failing him the last couple of years, he was one of the best innings eaters for around a ten years stretch.
I always like the blue parallels. They come through on the scans nicely.

Some 2015 Update and new 2016. Nice to see Ramirez get a sunset Pirates card.
Ladies man Mike Lavalliere. Just look at him.  He is the quintessential man.
When you actively collect Pirates you get excited when guys like Chris Resop get a card!

When the Pirates finally broke their 20 year losing streak Doug Drabek came and threw out the first pitch against the Reds for the Wild Card game.
Action shot of Wakefield throwing the knuckler and Al Martin signing!

Not too many prospect cards like this anymore. I know Heritage makes prospect cards but they usually only double up guys that are more fringe prospects.

A nice Bowman rookie of the Cole Train and one sharing the spotlight with Cutch.
I've recently received a nice influx of mid to late 90's Buccos. It was cool seeing these as most of my cards from this time period are in my parents attic.
You should always end with a bang!

Looks like it is my turn to hit you back Jim. I'm sure I can think of something. Thanks again for all the great cards.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Johnny Sends Me Everything.

My wife is pretty accustomed to my blogging ways. She knows that the majority of items I receive in the mail are from trades and not me spending away our savings. At most I may get a comment such as "you get a lot of mail" but for the most part she just shrugs and moves on. I think my war with JBF weathered her because no amount of mail can really phase her.  

Such was the case when I got this monster from John Miller of Johnny's Trading Spot. All my wife said is "one of your blogging friends sent you a gigantic box."  I guess now I can just buy tons of cards and my wife will just assume it is trade.  "Your friend Dave and Adams just sent you 10 boxes."

Kidding aside this box was a monster. John did warn that only two of the priority boxes contained Pirates and the others were for me to get distribute how I see fit.  I put those aside for sorting down the road. 

John warned me that some might be doubles, but guaranteed they would be more fun then a repack. Boy was he right. 

If you collected the Pirates in the mid to late 90's your collection is full of Jason Kendall, Brian Giles and a bunch of failed prospects. As most of you know I love cards from this time period so seeing this trippy Fleer Kendall made me very happy.

Warren Morris peaked before he even got into professional baseball. He hit a walk off homerun to win the college world series while at LSU.  He had a pretty good rookie season in 1999, but that was about it.

Awesome diecut!
Topps Gallery is so classy looking!
More 90's goodness. Jon Lieber is in the Matrix!
Charlie Hayes only spent part of one season with the Buccos so it is always cool when I get one of his cards.
Jose Guillen was a prized prospect, but never quite panned out to be the star everyone thought. Some people blame this on the Pirates calling him up way too early and then optioning him back and forth to AAA on a regular basis.
One of my favorite Kendall cards.

Walk x10!

John even threw in some vintage.  You have to like the fake beard on the Murtaugh.

I'm a sucker for Pacific cards. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact my local Kmart would always put them on clearance. I didn't have much money to spend in junior high so I would ultimately choose the cheap Pacific packs. Funny thing is many of the inserts and parallels are super desirable now.
Triple Play Mascot cards > Opening Day mascot cars.
Just Jay Bell milking a cow in the outfield of old Three Rivers.
More fancy gallery.
It is cool to get Bautista cards featuring him as a Pirate then I get sad thinking about how good he is. I want to claim the bat flip.
I like the action shot of Leyland hitting infield. I've been trying to find some of the parallels from the old Skybox Premium sets. That is proving to be extremely difficult.

I'm not sure what type of effect Skybox was going with the Jose Guillen and Scott Sauerbeck cards. They look on fire.  You can just chalk it up that it is a 90's card. Everything was fair game.

Upper Deck 40 man was a cool/cheap set to open. Extra bonus for a Matt Stairs Pirate card. He was a fan favorite. One of my favorite interviews was him describing his approach at the plate.  He said basically he tries to hit the ball out of the stadium every time at the plate.  He knew his role!

Stadium Club is awesome, but I love the trippy Al Martin rookie.

Sean Burnett looks 12 years old.
I remember everyone thinking that the 4 guys above were going to lead the Pirates back to respectability. Not quite.....All four were good players, but it helps to have a good supporting cast too.

While that was a ton of cards it was just the tip of the iceberg. I can't thank you enough John for sending all these great cards my way.  I'll do my best to find something for you very soon.

Thanks for reading.