Monday, February 29, 2016

The Start To An Awesome Mail Week!

I took a break from blogging last week because of school work, and it really payed off. Algebra 1 has been a struggle for me in my last year of middle school, but after all that hard work, I finally got a good grade on my math test! It may be the best feeling besides listening to the sound of a wood bat making contact with a baseball. That sound is heaven. Now onto the main part of the post, the card:

Sandy Koufax 2013 Topps tier one rose ink autograph /25! Koufax has been on my want list for awhile now, and I was finally able to acquire an autograph of the legendary pitcher. Although I'm not a Dodgers fan, it's hard not to like someone that posted a 1.86 ERA with 97 wins in the last 4 years of his career. I will gladly welcome Koufax to my Hall Of Fame collection! This will probably be the only Koufax autograph I'll have in my collection, unless I decide to sell it and buy a Jeter autograph, which I don't think I'll be doing. I'm not sure if this'll be going to BGS next week, mainly because the edges are a bit rough, and I'm thinking this card is a 9/10 at the highest.
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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Black Sabbath - The End

What better way to spend your weekend than to go see Black Sabbath at Madison Square Garden? The week seemed to go extremely slow, but it was well worth the wait. Black Sabbath was absolutely amazing. I went to see Billy Joel at the Garden in November which I thought was fantastic, but this blew me away.

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Seeing Ozzy, Tony, and Geezer was incredible. I hope to go see them again in August!
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Friday, February 19, 2016

Another Week Another Friday


Who doesn't love Fridays? The first week of baseball has ended, and we're now only 44 days away from opening day. For Yankees fans, it's 45 days. The week is finally over, after a week full of quizzes and tests; well I think it seems that way every week. Either way, it's Friday. I started the book, Baseball's Flawed Genius, which is an interesting autobiography about Billy Martin; I never realized how interesting Billy Martins life was, so I decided to watch the Yankeography documentary on Billy Martin. Even though I just started the book, I highly recommend it; World Series championships, firings, brawls, the book has everything about Billy Martin you'll ever need to know.

Enough talking about what I'm doing, time to start talking about the start of baseball season!

The Yankees have a lot of work to do in 2016 if they want to compete for another division title, but they're certainly capable of doing it. But, they'll need help from both the old and young. After a strong 2015 season, Luis Severino will be looking to repeat what he did in 2015. Unless Tanaka can make a strong comeback, or Sabathia can turn back the clock 5 years, than it looks like Severino will be the Yankees ace. The Yankees starting rotation could be great, or it could be awful. Lets hope it's great.

The Yankees top prospect struggled in AAA last year, but he has a ton of potential; proving that at spring training last year. Judge is now a year older, and will get the chance to experience better pitching. It has been made loud and clear that Aaron Judge will be the replacement for Beltran in 2017, or if Beltran gets hurt it could be sooner.

Mason Williams made his debut last year once Ellsbury went down, but he wasn't very successful. Ellsbury will be the Yankees center fielder for many years to come, but Williams could have a shot somewhere else in left field if Gardner leaves in 2 years. Than again, Williams could also just be trade bait.

Jacoby Ellsbury had an awful 2015 season, after having a hot start. If a player gets payed that kind of money, than they should perform to their expectations. Hopefully both Ellsbury and Gardner will be able to have a comeback season.

Kris Bryant, Kris Bryant, Kris Bryant... He's the most talked about player in baseball! He was National League rookie of the year last year, and he certainly deserved it. The Cubs will be the best team in baseball this year, and with all the talent they have I wouldn't be surprised if they won the World Series.

The Phillies on the other hand... Well... At least they have Maikel Franco.

The AL East will be very interesting this year; it looks as if all teams will have a shot at the division. The only questionable team is the Rays, but even they have a shot. Manny Machado will probably slug 40 home runs, and have a shot at American League MVP. If both the Orioles and Rays fall quickly, the division race will probably be between the Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays.

2016 marks the year that David Ortiz leaves baseball. As much as I hate Ortiz, it's hard not to respect the effort he puts into each game.

Giancarlo Stanton probably would have lead the majors in home runs if he hadn't been bit by the injury bug. Led by Don Mattingly, the Marlins will most likely be struggling to stay out of last place. Who knows though, baseball is a strange sport.

The Dodgers? The Giants? The Diamondbacks? It should be an interesting NL West race.

The Diamondbacks made an awful trade. AWFUL! They sent over Ender Inciarte, Aaron Blair, and first overall pick Dansby Swanson. Sure, Shelby Miller was good last year, but is he worth the first overall draft pick? I really don't think so. Aaron Blair isn't too bad either, and will probably fit into the Diamondbacks rotation at some point in the future.

It's an even year!

The Astros had a magical 2015, but can they do it again this year? Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa will be the biggest factors; can Correa build off of last year? Evan Gattis will certainly have to contribute, along with many other Astros. It'll be a battle between the Astros and Rangers.

An interesting story in 2016 will be the Mets. Last year, they surprised everyone and won the division (lets not forget the division they were in though). They lost a few key players during the offseason, but did manage to resign Cespedes, and they will have Steven Matz a full year. We all know what the Mets pitching can do, it's a matter of what the offense will be able to do. David Wright is going to have to step up if he wants to lead his team to a division title.

The Red Sox are also apart of the terrible AL East. The first place team will probably not have above 90 wins, which gives the Yankees a solid shot at the division. It would be fun to see the Yankees and Red Sox fighting for the division.

The Cubs. What a story they were in 2015. The rookie of the year, Kris Bryant; Cy Young award winner, Jake Arrieta. Not to mention all the young talent, including Addison Russell, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, and Kyle Schwarber. This year they'll also have Jason Heyward, along with starting pitcher John Lackey. Let's be honest... Which team is actually going to beat the Cubs?

As for the Angels and Mike Trout, it's a different story. Trout had another stellar year last year, and will probably do the same again. That's not the question though; the question is whether or not the Angels will be able to keep up with the Astros and Rangers.

And of course I'll end with the reigning National League MVP, Bryce Harper. Not because he was last years MVP, but because in a couple years he'll be putting on the pinstripes everyday, and he'll become the highest payed player in major league history. If the Yankees don't sign any major free agents for the next couple years, this may just happen. Harper has always said he has always wanted to be a Yankee, so why not? Could you imagine the short porch in right field for Harper? In his prime? Wow.

As you all know, I made this my new blog picture up at the top. I got both Corona and Monster Truck on my bed, and took another picture. Which do you prefer? This one?

Or this new one that I took? Please let me know your opinions!
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Another Judge...?!

A few days back, I made a post about a Jorge Soler immaculate patch autograph /5, and I mentioned that I sold it to acquire another card. I was in the exact same situation with the other Judge that I won; I had a limited amount of money in my paypal account, and bought the maximum number of spots I could in the razz (which was much less than 50% of the 10 spots). Somehow I managed to win myself another Judge right before the season started:

I was stoked when I won another Judge. I only wanted one to begin with, but I'll take two any day! Here's the other Judge for those who didn't read my post the other day:

I'll probably be holding onto both until he gets called up, and if he does well I'll probably keep these for my Yankees collection! Now I just need to add Bird, Severino, and Mateo and I'll have the Yankees future core four... Hopefully. 
Same Judge chrome, different sub grades! Soler immaculate for an Aaron Judge bowman chrome autograph? I'll take that it.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Notice Anything Different? I Need Your Thoughts!

Over the past week I've been putting a lot of time into making my blog look better. I even had a photo shoot with Corona (my dog), but Monster Truck (my cat) was somewhere outside. I'll probably be taking another picture with both of them together on my bed sometime soon, because it's hard to only have Corona in my new blog picture. So I want your thoughts...

How does it look? How's the new layout, back round color, and picture at the top? Is it easy to read? Anything else to add?

Please let me know your thoughts!
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Thank you!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

You Be The Judge

What better way to start off the school week than with 3 packages in your mailbox? I was expecting all 3 packages, but I wasn't sure when they'd come. I didn't have to sell much to acquire these cards which makes this mail day that much better.

First up is this Jose Abreu 2015 national treasures autograph /99! I'm not a fan of Panini, but I do think they did a great job with 2015 immaculate and national treasures. Like I mentioned in yesterdays post, Abreu's stuff has really gone down since his rookie campaign in 2014. Nonetheless it is an awesome card!

The second card of my mail day, is this Demi Orimoloye Bowman draft under armor autograph /225! I have absolutely no idea who this is, but i've heard many good things about the 19 year old outfielder. 

Now onto the final card of the post...

Aaron Judge 2013 Bowman chrome autograph BGS 9.5/10! I bought 3 out of the 10 spots in the razz (basically a raffle) and somehow managed to win this. The only other Judge autograph I had was from sterling, so I'm very happy to add this to my collection! Judge struggled in AAA, but he still has all of this year to prove himself worthy of the majors since the Yankees still have Beltran signed through 2016. This will definitely be a card I'll be holding onto!

 My apologies for the corny title...
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Monday, February 15, 2016

No Love For Numbered

There are so many different colored parallels that it's hard to keep track of them all. Most just get thrown into a box or put aside to be forgotten about. That's what happens to most of my numbered cards, so I decided to dig them out and scan them! I had to do a little hunting, but at least it gave me something to do...

First up is this Willie Mays parallel /75 from 2014 high tek! Topps made a bunch of different parallels for this set, and I have absolutely no clue what any of them are called. All I know is that this one is numbered /75.


Also from 2014 high tek, is this Roberto Alomar also numbered /75. The Mays and Alomar both have different patterns, but they're both numbered to 75 which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I wish Topps would stick to a certain number of parallels (/150, /99, /50, /25, /5, and /1) so it wouldn't confuse all of us collectors. Too many names, too many variations, too many numbered variations of variations... Heck, you might as well call it parallel inception! Hm, now that I think about it, that would be a good title name.

The final parallel from 2014 high tek is of 2014 rookie of the year Jose Abreu! Back in 2014 this probably would have sold fairly well, but all the hype surrounding Abreu has really slowed down since his rookie year. If he were in New York, his autographs would probably be a fortune, but he plays in Chicago. Well, the wrong side of Chicago anyways.

I pulled this one last year over Christmas break (I also pulled the other 3 cards above), and it was probably the best card of the box. It's nothing amazing, but it's always fun to pull a low numbered Yankees card. His time was short in pinstripes, but I definitely enjoyed watching him.

This last card isn't from high tek, it's from the beautiful 2015 Topps tribute! The base cards looked great, but Topps really messed up on the autographs. Most were smudged and most of the names that came out of the product weren't very good either. This card looks absolutely amazing. If only Topps could make all their parallels like the ones from tribute...
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Making Improvements

I had a 5 hour car ride on Friday, so I decided to take that time to fix up the pages on my Blog. I updated most of it, with the exception of my Yankees collection which I should be able to get done today or tomorrow. I also wrote up a bunch of future posts, so for the next week or so there won't be day without a post.

Valentines Day will probably just consist of me ordering pizza and watching The Walking Dead, so nothing too exciting coming up. I am going to a Foreigner concert tomorrow which should be fun. I did make a trade a few months ago though, which brought over these two cards:

First up is this Elston Howard 2004 Upper Deck legendary cuts relic. I completely forgot who I traded with, but I think it was someone on the blowout cards forum. I also forgot what I had to trade away, but I think it may have been a Chipper Jones patch. If I don't remember it must not have been too important to me!

The next card of the deal was this Mariano Rivera from Upper Deck (insert product name here)! I'm pretty sure this is my first Rivera relic, so I was happy to add this to my collection! I'm not really sure why I didn't have a Rivera relic prior to this... Oh well, at least I have one now.
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Saturday, February 13, 2016

2014 Finest Vintage Half Set

2014 Topps Finest was a set I was very fond of, and I have a ton of it! I just now decided to scan all of it, so I decided it's finally time to write about it. I wasn't really a fan of Topps finest prior to 2014, but for some reason I really liked 2014 Topps finest. The finest greats autographs were really awesome, and the inserts were also really nice looking. The autograph checklist wasn't the best, but that didn't really make a difference for me. In this post i'll be showing off all the finest vintage inserts that I have:

Willie Mays...

Bob Gibson...

Greg Maddux...

Mike Schmidt...

Hank Aaron...

And Tony Gwynn. There are a couple more that I didn't scan, and I want to try and complete the set which shouldn't be too difficult. These cards look amazing, and I'm hoping Topps repeats something similar in 2016!
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Friday, February 12, 2016

The Impact Of The Castro Trade

The Yankees haven't signed any free agents this year, but that doesn't mean they didn't acquire any star players. Sure Aroldis Chapman will make a huge impact in 2016, but the Yankees had Stephen Drew at second base throughout the season. His sub .200 average average wasn't a pretty sight, and he had some defensive issues towards the end of the year. The Yankees acquired Dustin Ackley, who filled in very nicely for Drew, batting .288 over 23 games. Rob Refnyder also did a fantastic job at 2nd, batting .302 in 12 games. The Ackley/Refsnyder platoon seemed most logical in 2016, but Brian Cashman went out and acquired 3 time all star Starlin Castro from the Cubs.

Castro lost his job at shortstop after Addison Russell proved to be a better fit at the position. After poor effort, Castro was benched for a few games and started to get more time at 2nd base. After that move, Castro flourished.

2016 will be Castro's 7th full season, and he will have just turned 26 by the time opening day comes around. I'm sure most Yankees fans would rather have Castro at 2nd instead of Drew. Just writing about Stephen Drew brings back bad memories...

Castro had his defensive struggles at shortstop, but he seemed to feel more comfortable at 2nd. The Yankees had to pay a price for Castro though.

Adam Warren was sent to the Cubs, along with Brendan Ryan. Ryan can easily be replaced, but Warren was someone who could fill in for an injured starter and was even effective out of the bullpen. In my opinion, he was the Yankees most consistent starter of 2016; mostly because he wasn't injured and could be used in many situations.

Brendan Ryan wasn't a major loss, and he's someone that can easily be replaced. He could play most infield positions, and was a superb defender. 

I'm definitely excited to see Castro in pinstripes this year, and hopefully he can help lead the Yankees to the postseason!
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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Not So Fast Soler

Earlier this week, I picked up a Jorge Soler immaculate patch autograph /5 from immaculate. I managed to win it for $15, and within a few days it was in my possession! I'm not a huge fan of Panini, although I do think they put out a few good baseball products during the year. The company without a license came out with (one of my favorite products of 2015) diamond kings, and they also came out with immaculate and national treasures; both of which I think look great. Even though the helmet is left without a logo, I think this card looks really great...

The auto has a slight defect, but other than that the card looks great. Not to mention the patch, and the card is numbered only to 5! Soler was mainly used as a utility player, and he helped lead the Cubs to the NLCS. Like most Cubs, he's very young and still has time to prove himself! He also batted .474 with 3 home runs in the postseason last year... Not too bad for someone who hasn't even celebrated his 24th birthday yet!

And I sold the card about an hour ago... I used the money that I made from selling the Soler to buy one of my favorite cards in my collection! And to think I won this card for $15, and used the money that I made from selling this card to win one of my favorite cards in my collection... That post will have to wait until the card comes in though.
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Friday, February 5, 2016

Sparkling Rookies

2015 showcased one of the strongest rookie classes in quite some time, featuring players like Miguel Sano, Fransisco Lindor, Delino DeSheilds, Kris Bryant, Carlos Correa, and many more. As always, Topps came out with the update series at the end of the season; and it looks awesome! I got two boxes myself, in hopes of pulling a Bryant or Correa. Sadly I didn't either one, but I did manage to pull a few other nice rookies.

Fransisco Lindor made a huge impact on the Indians, and even though the Indians didn't make the postseason, he proved to have a very bright future.

Delino DeShields also made a huge impact on the Rangers; going from a below .500 team to clinching the AL West. He brings incredible speed on the bases, while bringing a consistent bat to the plate.

Carlos Rodon wasn't pitching for a contending team last year, and he's only 23 years old. The southpaw pitched to a 3.75 ERA in 2015, and he still has a lot of time to prove himself.

Joey Gallo played less than 40 games last year for the Rangers, but he showed some serious power. At 22 years old, he still has a few years to develop. 

He's not a rookie, but is seemed like everyday he was robbing a home run or making some sort of spectacular play. He batted in the lower half of the Blue Jays lineup, but he was still a productive player at the plate.

The one insert that I ended up getting in the two boxes, was this awesome Jackie Robinson rookie sensation insert. This card really pops, especially with the sparkles. Topps did a great job with 2015 update!
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