Sunday, December 26, 2021

Trade Me Anything XV: #5

 Whenever longtime trader David sends something for Trade Me Anything, you can bet it's worth taking a look.

#US17 Taylor Walls Rainbow Foil
#86B-27 Shohei Ohtani 1986 Topps 35th Anniversary

 Munich DVD
This is an awesome movie, but I already have a copy.  
So now I have to make the decision about which one to keep.  Sorry to say that I'm going to keep the original.  It was an old Blockbuster previously-viewed purchase, and those old BBV cases just have too much nostalgia factor to let go so easily.

Lot of 1990 Fleer Brewers
Not a full team set, so these are going into the prize box at school.  Kids love Don August and Chris Bosio.

Drink Coaster from Lineage, Wailea, Maui

Project 2020 Envelope
I have never bought any of these.
A look inside reveals... Rickey Henderson!
It's a B&W rendering by Joseph Ari Aloi aka JK5.  It's a good-looking card.

  Some random Brewers

And finally, the hallmark of David's prior trades, BOOKS!
First, there's The Cactus League by Emily Nemens.  I look forward to reading this during the coming spring or summer.

And then there's The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm by James Napoli.  This looks more like a bathroom reader than a front-to-back endeavor.  I shall enjoy it intermittently. 

Thanks for all the great stuff, David, especially the books!


Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas to All!


And a special shout-out to Beardy, the late-aughts card blogger who disappeared without a trace.  As a result of the whole Google/Blogger fiasco that caused me to lose access to Thorzul Will Rule and subsequently create Death Stare Cards, all of my images of Ed Lynch-as-Grinch have been scrubbed from existence, save for one appearing on a 2009 blog post of Beardy's.  There may be others out there, and of course there's the possibility the Wayback Machine might be able to find something, but as a low-effort fix, this can't be beat.
Thank you to everyone who read what I wrote this past month.  It's been a ride.

Friday, December 24, 2021

2021 Card-vent Calendar: December 24

December 24, 2021:
1996 Topps #189 John Smoltz
What runs through the mind of a pitcher crouching in the on-deck circle in the year 1995?
In Smoltzie's case, he's counting the hours until Tuesday night.  See, John was all-in on the upstart United Paramount Network, or UPN.  Tuesdays were "Johnnie Time."  A blanket, a glass of wine, and one of those tins that holds three types of popcorn was on the agenda one night a week.  Smoltz was notorious for needing to buy a newspaper when on the road so he could find out what channel was the local UPN affiliate.

Smoltz's infatuation with the challenger to the Big Three networks began with the ubiquitous "powdered wig" promo that was being run by eventual carrier stations in most large markets.  John would reportedly sidle up to fellow members of the Braves pitching staff and, in an approximation of a rich baritone, bellow, "Do you haaaaaaaave anything neeeeeeeeeeeew?" to much bewilderment.
When the network launched in January of that year, he was initially lured in by the Richard Grieco vehicle Marker.  The plan was to hunker down during the 8:00 (7 Central) time slot, then hit the sheets early so he could be fresh on Wednesday.  What Smoltz didn't account for was The Watcher.  Sir Mix-a-Lot in a surveillance bunker peeping in on the nefarious doings of Las Vegas residents and guests?  Yeah, that bedtime got pushed back an hour.

Here's some real "inside baseball" stuff.  Most historians attribute Smoltz's move to the bullpen in the late 1990s to nagging injuries and his eventual Tommy John surgery.  What most bios fail to consider is the cancellation of the two above shows, not to mention that of Richard Jeni's Platypus Man.  Smoltz was described as "despondent" following these programming changes, and often failed to make it to the ballpark on time for the pregame stretch and throw.  Cox just couldn't start him any longer, so to relief he went.

These were dark days.
But one thing raised his spirits and got him back in the starting rotation.  He made another UPN discovery a few years after the series debuted.  Some would call it a lifesaver.

That television show?

But that's another story for another time.

2021 Card-vent Calendar: December 23

December 23, 2021:
1995 Island Vibes Bob Marley: The Legend #8 Bob in Concert
Plucked straight off a freshman's dorm wall and repackaged into collectable card form, it's Bob Marley.
You guys ever been to Jamaica?  Twenty-four years ago exactly, my dad took us on what we pretty much knew would be our last family vacation.  It was the first time we had been away from home on Christmas, and it was awesome.  I had just finished my first semester of college, and I had my last exam during the very latest exam period on the schedule, and there was nothing any of us could say to the professor to bump the time slot up at all.  My dad picked me up in Madison and we drove back home to get ready for an early-morning flight.  The story of the trip is best expressed in easy-to-read list form.
Here are my top five memories of my 1997 Christmas trip to Jamaica.

5. Because the cheapo hotel we had arranged our stay at had recently had a water main break, our accommodations were switched to a much nicer hotel.  As part of this improvised package, we were comped only one meal per day, so we would load up at the buffet between breakfast and lunch, then improvise for dinner.  One night we called out for pizza delivery.  It was kind of an unorthodox move, but the hotel allowed it.  The pizza itself was, to be generous, not great.
4. It was a family hotel, and the beach was definitely not clothing optional.  That didn't stop one unashamed German tourist lady from going topless one morning.  And yeah, I took a nice long look.

3. Dunn's River Falls
A gently sloping waterfall where you start at the bottom and trek up to the top.  If you ever visit Jamaica, this is a must-do.

2. One day we went souvenir hunting.  I'm not sure how things are now, but back then most of the workers at the gift shops were Pakistani.  We had a few things picked out at one store (including a Jamaica soccer team Reggae Boyz t-shirt following their recent World Cup qualification), and one of the proprietors gave me the hard sell on a music cassette.  The artist: the reggae/dancehall DJ kown as Bounty Killer.  The album: "Down in the Ghetto."  And that's how I became Wisconsin's foremost expert on the ongoing Bounty Killer/Beenie Man beef.

1. Our flight home experienced significant delays, so we spent a great deal of time in the Jamaica airport.  This was fine for us, no hurry to return to Milwaukee.  One other passenger, however, had a different perspective.  Upon hearing the announcement that we had to endure yet another delay, this guy took his boarding pass, which was made of some sort of material that was not quite paper and not quite plastic, and tried in vain to ball it up, then threw it to the ground with great force.  When we finally got the call to board the plane, he handed the disheveled pass to the gate worker, who told him, "That's not necessary sir."  It's so great to experience someone melting down in public, so long as there's no threat to anyone else.  His tantrum is used by my brother and me to this day as a rage measuring stick, as in, "I am almost as angry as that guy with the boarding pass in Jamaica."

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

2021 Card-vent Calendar: December 22

December 22, 2021:
2004 Upper Deck #367 Joe Randa
Yeah, we get it.
Big glove.  Har-har.

You know what, Milwaukee native* Joe Randa?
That big shirt is the real embarrassment here.

That's all I got for today.  I'm gassed.  Last day of school before break.  I got the kids hopped up on bottomless soda and then sent them home.  It's how true masters practice their craft.

*Milwaukee, my ass.  Dude went to high school in Kettle Moraine, where this kids practically emerge from the womb wearing Rec-Specs and sporting rat tails. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

2021 Card-vent Calendar: December 21

December 21, 2021:
2012 Panini NBA Hoops #101 Brandon Jennings
It was five months and one day ago.  BUCKS IN SIX.

Without this man, there would have been no rallying cry, and no championship.  BUCKS IN SIX was foretold, and BUCKS IN SIX came to pass.  TWICE.  In the Eastern Conference Finals and in the NBA Finals.  
There was a parade in Milwaukee.  An honest-to-goodness championship parade.
Until this year, we could occasionally (sheepishly) crow about besting Detroit and Cleveland in a number of civic, economic, and educational measures.  But World Champions???

Never.  Dreaming so big was not allowed.


Monday, December 20, 2021

2021 Card-vent Calendar: December 20

December 20, 2021:
1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice #54 Yount/Brett/Winfield Gold Signature Parallel
A few months from now, someone should introduce the Panini-focused collector/investor bros to these Collector's Choice Gold Signature parallels.  A one-per-box pull (silvers were much more common at one per pack) in a 530-card set, these are way underpriced in today's market.  At least, according to the current logic.  A trio of stars like these three should be going for much more than $10 or so.  Just give me the time to stock up on gold sigs from the big stars, and then watch the profits roll in.

There's some legit uncanny valley stuff going on here.  It's obvious that Robin and George are not really in the same place, but everything in addition to that feels equally forced.  If anything, just rest assured that Yount can hold his seafood.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

2021 Card-vent Calendar: December 19

December 19, 2021:
1975-76 Topps #253 Al MacAdam
I don't know, just not buying that this guy played in the NHL.  That expression surely isn't doing him any favors.
The impression I'm getting is one of a sitcom baby brother, like that little shit who was the youngest on Malcolm In the Middle.  I'm also getting a hint of the guy who played Brodie the videographer on Homicide: Life on the Street, Max Perlich.  He exudes a palpable nervousness.  I want to see him do well in a game, but I'd always be worried he'd get hurt.  Al's Wikipedia bio says that he was "a tough and capable fighter."  Looks like he's produce more knock knees than knockouts.
Nice jersey, though.

Trade Me Anything XV: #4

 It's Sunday, and I'm currently staring at a three days on, TEN days off scenario, so things are looking up.  (Actually, I have to sign up for some BS professional development sessions for Thursday.  Plus, word is that the district will now consider you absent if your camera is turned off during these virtual courses.  So, it looks increasingly like whoever the facilitator is will get a good look at my face, which itself will be looking at reruns of The Office or something like that.)

This trade came from Mike, proprietor of the blog A Life Shaped by Baseball.  It has a very different vibe from most card blogs, very contemplative, almost melancholy.  I would recommend giving it a look.

#86C-12 Javier Baez 1986 Topps 35th Anniversary Refractor
#BG-10 Aaron Judge Black Gold
Lots of cards from my want list.  Among them...
1987 Fleer
2003 Topps Torii Hunter All-Star
1998 Bowman
1994 Topps
1985 Donruss
Maybe Rollie's most iconic card?
1980 Topps Dave Concepcion, 1982 Fleer Johnny Bench, 1996 Fleer E-motion XL Ivan Rodriguez
2008 Upper Deck

And as a nice bonus, one wrestling card, 1998 Topps WCW Jimmy Hart
I have to say this was a great and generous trade.  Thanks, Mike!
P.S. I am jealous of your precise, distinct printing style.  It's really a thing to behold.



Saturday, December 18, 2021

2021 Card-vent Calendar: December 18

December 18, 2021:
2001 Fleer Greats of the Game #8 Bobby Cremins AUTO
Dang, just when you think that Garry Unger will surely take the hair crown for this year's Card-vent Calendar, up pops one of the ten greatest heads of hair in the history of the universe, former Georgia Tech basketball coach Bobby Cremins.

When I was a little kid just discovering what college basketball was all about, there were two things I remember jumping out at me.  The first was the logo/court/mascot/overall design scheme of North Carolina.  I was fascinated by the incongruity of this pissed-off-looking ram in a too-small hat, paired with the name Tar Heels.  Baby blue everything, and one of their guys going number one in what was the first NBA Draft I ever had any notion of.  None of it made sense, but all of it looked pretty neat.  Forever and always, North Carolina represents, to me, the line of demarcation between college and the pros.  It's just a weird thing that has stuck with me.

The second thing was, of course, the presence of Bobby Cremins.  I must have caught a random game on TV.  The first thing the eye notices is this mustardy-yellow court and jerseys to match.  Drab, depressing, kind of like Purdue but without the sunken bench area.  But shining like a beacon amidst the dank atmosphere was this man, kind of maniacal, with a floppy head of shock-white Muppet hair, well-tailored sports coat, and a tie that said he had a standing engagement at the yacht club later that evening.  Just an all-time great look, one that I'm hoping to achieve once my hair color completes the transition to complete white-out conditions.  At age 43, there are no areas of loss, thanks to my mom's dad, who rocked a crisp flattop until the day he died.  This is just a cool, cool card.

Friday, December 17, 2021

2021 Card-vent Calendar: December 17

December 17, 2021:
1989 Topps All-Star Set #7 Kent Hrbek
Well if that ain't the tubbiest, smuggest piece of shit I've ever seen...
Fun Fact: Since the 1991 season, the Atlanta Braves have won the World Series twice, and the Minnesota Twins have lost over 4,000 consecutive playoff games.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

2021 Card-vent Calendar: December 16

December 16, 2021:
1974-75 O-Pee-Chee #197 St. Louis Blues Team Leaders
Poor Pierre.  When your hairstyle can objectively be described as "Kinda Tom Snyder, But Brown," you never really had a chance on a card like this.  Garry Unger is absolutely killing it here.  I want to run my fingers through his hair in the most platonic way possible.

The best part of this card is the choice to use exactly two different Unger photos to fill his three spots.  At the top left we see the basic shot, the one Garry's mom would have picked when ordering his second grade school photos from Olan Mills.  An 8x10, two 5x7's for the grandparents, and a completely unnecessary number of wallet-sized.
Below that is the same exact photo, but with either a higher key light, or a larger aperture.  It's overexposed, and it creates a sheen that makes you believe that Garry's coif would undoubtedly make a fine afghan on a cold Calgary night.

In the upper right photo, we get a slightly different expression on Unger's face.  The photographer said, "Give me scary," and Garry did the best he could.  It's the most washed out of the three shots, but it convinces the viewer that Garry's locks, with enough Wall St. push, could be traded openly on the ETF market.  Gold, silver, and Unger: My portfolio is healthily diverse.
Pierre Plante, you are the lone bear in the inverse retelling of Goldilocks.  Fare thee well.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

2021 Card-vent Calendar: December 15

December 15, 2021:
2012 Topps Pro Debut #116 Jake Hager AUTO
It's Wednesday, you know what that means.

Wow.  I just got done watching Hangman Adam Page and Bryan Danielson wrestle for a damn hour.  Jeez, AEW continues to bring it week after week.  Speaking of AEW, they have an Upper Deck card set scheduled to release in January.  Lucky for me, I already got a Jake Hager AUTO.

Wrong Jake Hager?  Ah, that's fine with me.  There are guys in the Inner Circle I am a bigger fan of.  As for the baseball Jake Hager, it looks like he finally saw some MLB action in 2021.  He recorded three hits in 30 plate appearances in a season split between the Mets and Diamondbacks.  Believe it or not, he was a part of my Milwaukee Brewers organization for a little less than a month this past spring, but was then claimed off waivers by Seattle, and a month after that by Arizona.  

The question remains: Does this Jake Hager prefer wearing solid-color polos and sensible slacks?

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

2021 Card-vent Calendar: December 14

December 14, 2021:
1991 Topps Desert Storm #76 Wearing the Gas Mask
You might find it hard to believe nowadays, but back in the 1990s, Americans pretty much uniformly got behind their blah blah blah wars with multilateral blah blah blah rainbow coalition blah blah blah divisiveness schmackety wackety.

Let's shove all that socio-political claptrap in front of a moving train and talk about what this card truly evokes: Hip-hop group 3rd Bass's 1989 hit, "The Gas Face."

If life gives you an opportunity to share "The Gas Face" and/or its music video with others, you take it.  I don't really have much I can say about this song that would do it justice, but I do have a few stray thoughts to share:
*At the height of the Gulf War, I actually got to try on a real live gas mask.  One of the college students from the Catholic mission trip my family went on in 1990 stopped by our house later that year.  He had recently enrolled in the National Guard and came by in full fatigues.  Being 12 years old, it was quite the experience, very disorienting to say the least.
*You probably know this already, but Pete Nice was a fellow sports collector who once owned a shop in Cooperstown and ran afoul of the law regarding some items of memorabilia of questionable legitimacy.

*In 2003, The Onion published a short article titled "MC Serch Updates List of Gas Face Recipients."
Just brilliant!

Monday, December 13, 2021

2021 Card-vent Calendar: December 13

December 13, 2021:
1998 Pinnacle #77 Ray Durham
What an awesome shot of a collision at the plate.  Catcher's mask in the dirt, both helmets airborne, the moment of impact.  It's everything you could want from a baseball card, and nobody in their right mind would charge you more than a nickel for it.  The only question is, how do we get back to this aesthetic of  baseball?  In the three true outcomes era, a play like this grows increasingly rare.  And that's too bad.

 If anyone with superior baseball knowledge can identify the catcher on this card, let us all know in the comments.