Friday, May 31, 2013

Card of the Day - 2011 Topps Heritage : Clayton Kershaw JSA Authenticated Autograph

I know, I know. I said to myself and stated that I would only collect cards from 2013 forward as this is the year I jumped back in but I couldn't resist this card on eBay and if it went for a low price I would be "forced" to acquire it.

I do not have many Kershaw autographs as I have never been able to get him to sign for me at the stadium. I keep reading stories about him signing for people for 10-15 minutes but I am never there. He has never signed for me in Arizona as well and I have been there on 7 different days over two years. Still no luck. I have his BGS 9.5 Bowman Chrome rookie card and I did finally get him on a team ball in Washington last year as I gave him the wrong ball ( wanted a single signed but I was astonished I finally got an opportunity and I messed up there ) and that will get it's own post somewhere down the line. So I am always on the look out for Clayton's signature but they are starting to go up more and more in price so I have to pick and choose what I acquire.

So this past weekend an auction I was watching was ending and it happened to be a Kershaw autograph. Only thing is that it is on a 2011 Topps Heritage card which I did not want to collect but it also was JSA authenticated which in mind made it ok for me to try buy as technically I'm not collecting a specific non 2013 year but more an authenticated Kershaw autograph that will fit nicely in my new collection of cards.

The card was only sitting at only $10 with a little more than a hour to go. Really? A Kershaw autograph that has been authenticated by a third party at that low price? Had to put my hat into the ring and try to get it. With a few spare seconds left I put my bid in and won the auction for a little less than an Andrew Jackson. Couldn't believe my luck. I now have a total of 3 Kershaw autographs and this one looks great next to the other 2. You just never know what you can find on eBay if keep your eyes open.

Nice crisp blue signature of probable Hall of Famer if he stays the course.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day : Torii Hunter ( ROMLB Sweet Spot )

With the Dodgers facing the Angels from Orange County this week I thought I would touch base with one of the more favorable Angels from the past few years.

Torii no longer plays for the Angels but when he was on the team he was a joy to watch. He always played to the fullest and seemed to never take anything for granted. A rumor that was floated around is that he was on the way to visit the Dodgers in his free agent year and was headed off at the pass by Arte Moreno ( Angels owner ) and offered him a contract that negated any need or reason to meet the Dodgers. Yet another coup for the red team. He has now moved onto the Tigers of Detroit and with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the fold for years to come Torii has a decent chance to reach 2500 hits. He has already surpassed 2000 and he is a young 37 so I think and hope it will happen for him.

When he was with the Angels he did a few public appearances around the area but every time I wanted to go to the event either it was on a day I already had something planned or from what I heard on the way down to the staging area it was overly packed and there would probably be no chance of acquiring an autograph. So I never got the chance to meet this very popular player and I had to go onto eBay to try to acquire his signature.

While not overly expensive I didn't feel that his signature should cost me more than $40 which almost every seller had their price at. There were very few auctions and if they did exist their reserve was too high for my taste. Keep my eye out for months and finally someone had a buy it now for a PSA authenticated version for just a couple dollars south of $30. It was from a seller in Canada and maybe he didn't know they sold for more or just wanted to get rid of it. Either way, I picked it up and have now added this to my collection. Prefer to have met him but sometimes you can't always have what you want.

Attended Game Recap : May 29th vs Angels - ANGELS 4 - Dodgers 3

Third time was not the charm for the Dodgers last night.

This was my third game in a row for the inter league season series between the two teams but this time the Angels prevailed and possibly more damaging is that it appears Matt Kemp will be out for an extended amount of time with another hamstring injury. But this might also be a blessing in disguise as I think he needs to take some time away from the game to reset and come back 100% healthy. Anyone that has watched a game recently can tell he is just not right and his timing at the plate is off. Get better soon Matt but don't rush back to re injure yourself a la last year.

The next question is how will they replace him. The obvious and smart choice would be to bring up Yasiel Puig and to a lesser extent Joc Pederson. Joc is only 21 so you would think he would still be a year or so away but it has been reported that he is more mature than Puig but Puig is the one with a big league contract and is technically next in line for a call up. That being said this is the Dodgers and they are known to shoot themselves in the foot and they could go with someone with punch less power from the minors like Tony Gwynn Jr. or Elian Herrera. I hope they prove me wrong and bring up one of the two young guns. This team needs a shot in the arm like the Angels got from Mike Trout last year.

With all that being said there was still a game yesterday. Entering the stadium it seemed to be no more than 1/2 full and a lot less blue in the stands. The vibe wasn't there like it was on Monday til the Dodgers tied up the score and then it seemed like everyone woke up and realized there was a game being played. Capuano walked the tightrope til he got burned by a Mark Trumbo 2 run shot to increase the Angels lead to 3-1. In came our bullpen and I said to myself that if we allow another run it will bite us in the ass in the end and sure enough both happened. We allowed just one more run and in the end we lost by that one run as Adrian Gonzalez and Scott Van Slyke each hit a solo shot in the 9th but the Dodgers came up short in the end 4-3.

Unlike the first two games of the season freeway series the wife and I were accompanied by family and friends as her cousin and boyfriend joined us for the festivities. Games are usually just more fun when you can go back and forth with people and more so when one of them is rooting against you as that was the case as the cousin's boyfriend has the bad tasteitis of supporting the Orange County Angels. In the end he got the last laugh but it is always in good fun. So for hopefully only one night the Dodgers lost to the Angels and will right the ship tonight in the final game of this brief 2 game series. As always Go Blue !!!

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Hyun-Jin Ryu Top 100 Prospects Die Cut Variant ( 28 / 99 )

. . .  so my second Ryu card of the week is the more impressive one.

Bowman has another insert set this year and like the mini refractors they have a numbered variant of them. These die-cuts are numbered out of only 99 and are obviously harder to acquire. The prices have come down a tad but Yasiel Puig is still up there in price and I have not been able to get my hands on it. Ryu on the other hand has come home to me.

Like the blue mini from yesterday I do not have the regular version of this subset and will acquire at some later date but the die-cut variety has come down in price as more product has hit the market. Being numbered out of only 99 only adds to the wanting of acquiring a copy for my collection.

As I've been selling off some of my extra bobble heads online ( wife is more than ecstatic about that as she thinks they are silly, the Kemps though are going nowhere babe ) I had some extra cash to try to acquire this card. Found it and the seller had it at buy it now with a best offers being accepted. I noticed that already 5 other people put in an offer so I threw mine in as well. Within a couple of hours he countered my offer as well as one other person's and declined the other 4. Safe to assume that those 4 low balled the seller and me and the other person were reasonable. I debated for a few hours and hoped that the other potential buyer didn't accept the offer and once someone bid on a few more items I was selling I accepted the seller's offer and now I'm happy owner of a under 100 numbered card of Ryu. Now onto acquiring the regular version.

Another Ryu for the collection and this is numbered 28 of 99

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Hyun-Jin Ryu Blue Wave Mini Refractor Variant ( 16 / 500 )

I am trying to collect all the mini refractors (5) of the Dodgers in this year's Bowman set and then try to acquire the blue version which are numbered of the same cards. Surprisingly enough I still don't have the regular mini of our new pitching sensation Ryu but I was able to acquire the blue one first while I am still on the hunt for the other.

Couldn't find the regular version for a decent amount but those prices have come down so I am sure I will acquire it sooner rather than later. One day while I was on that search I came across the blue version shown here and the seller had it for just $4 and that was with postage included. I scooped it up happily and now have this included in my collection while I'm still on the look out for the regular version. But this was only the first of 2 Ryu's I picked up that week. Second one tomorrow....

Nothing like a blue sparkly Dodger card. Numbered 16 of 500

Attended Game Recap : May 28th vs Angels - DODGERS 3 Angels NADA

Game two of a brief two game set at Dodger Stadium and the Dodgers completed the sweep of the Orange County Angels of Anaheim.
Ryu was the starting pitcher for the Dodgers and Blanton for the Angels. This game I felt we should win and had every right compared to the previous night. The 1st inning flew by and I just had a feeling that this was going to be a fast game unless either or both teams went to their bullpens. Thankfully Ryu took care of that with his first shut out and complete game of his young MLB career. The game only took a brisk 2 hours and 11 minutes and I was back home in the South Bay by 9:48.
It was nice to also see that fans were not booing Matt Kemp tonight unlike the previous few games. He had a strong double and a long fly out to deep center field. Maybe, just maybe, he is starting to come around. We can only hope.
Dodger offense is still sputtering along and it's scary when our pitchers ( Ryu tonight, Kershaw other times ) seem to have the best swings of the night. 1 through 3 of our pitching should take us deep into the playoffs as long as our hitting can somehow come to life in a consistent basis. Cruz did hit the big shot today with a 2 run home run. Thought I am happy for him and his contribution tonight to the team I still think in the long run he is not the answer for this team on a daily basis. I hope he proves me wrong and we relive 2012 again with Cruuuuuuz.
It is now onto Anaheim tonight for the 1st game at that stadium and I am ready to invade enemy territory with my fellow blue cladded Dodger friends. Weaver is back for the Angels after an extended stint on the DL. For us we have Capuano and lets hope he gets off to a good start and can maintain this mini winning streak and possibly momentum turning few days. Lets GO BLUE !!!

* * * UPDATE * * * New Date For Upcoming Appearance of Paul LoDuca

Paul was supposed to do an appearance at Harry's Dugout this weekend but a TV engagement popped up so the appearance is being postponed to July 20th. Prices are still the same just a different date. See you there. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Attended Game Recap : May 27th vs Angels - DODGERS 8 Angels 7


That word can describe so many aspects on last night's game.
But before that let us remember that yesterday was Memorial Day and that the fight and struggle that our men and women have done on our behalf across the world allowed me and thousands to watch Dodger baseball in relative peace. Let us not forget that there is a lot more to life than baseball and that we should be thankful that we can watch this great sport in this great country.

The Dodgers had the big flag out last night and I always love seeing it on the field.

Flags at half mast.
Bringing out the big guns.
On to the Matt Kemp situation. Before I give my rant let me remind anyone that is booing him a little history and what he did last night as well.

Yeah, that's Matt again with dying fan Joshua Jones at Dodger stadium. He had them flown down to see the Dodgers on their own home field and yet the majority of fans at the stadium boo and condemn him nowadays. Two things stick out for me. One, he is still recovering from shoulder surgery and doesn't have his swing or strength back. He was just allowed last week to resume weight lifting. Two, like he has said before there is more to life than baseball and Kemp as shown here and many times before has given back to fans and the community 100x over. So people need to accept that the old on field Matt will be back sometime in the future and we just need to be patient and support him. And two remember that he always brings a smile to the stadium and is friendly with everyone and we shouldn't take that for granted. That can all stop someday as I noticed he didn't sign prior to the game like he normally does along the 3rd base side. You can be frustrated just like I am but I will NEVER boo this good man and neither should you. Alright, I'm done ranting.
Onto the game. The Dodgers had no right being in this game let alone winning it. They were down 6-1 to the hottest team in baseball. They were already charged 3 errors and by my count should have been at least 5 maybe 6. Their second ace Greinke ( who also is recovering from surgery ) was struggling. All this and at the end of the game Kemp ends up striking out 4x. Yet this team chipped away at the lead and actually tied it at 6 and eventually led 7-6. Of course with this team and its bullpen you just knew it couldn't last and it didn't. The Angels pulled even at 7. Then in the 8th with them down by 1 Mike Trout launched a shot into RF and with the runner breaking at contact he was past 2nd when he realized that Ethier had caught the ball. Ethier threw it back to 1st and the umpire called the runner out. I have not seen the replays but I have been told that it was an incorrect call and Albert Pujols should have come up with a runner on base but instead the inning was over and the threat neutralized  The Dodgers closed out the game in the 9th and snapped the Angels 8 game winning streak.
If there is ever a game that will be a turning point for the Dodgers this year it has to be this game. They were down and basically out and could have just mailed it in the rest of the game but they didn't. They fought and clawed their way back and won the game. They have the talent but do they have the resolve for the rest of the year? If not then this game just ends up being a very exciting game that the Dodgers happen to win when they shouldn't have.
One game down. Two more to go to watch in person between these two teams
Go Blue

Monday, May 27, 2013

Movie Review : Fast and Furious 6

Another foray into the franchise with this entry being number 6.

Movie starts off with Brian ( Paul Walker ) and Mia ( Jordana Brewster ) welcoming their first kid into the world. As they settle into the family life the film shows how the rest of Dominic's ( Vin Diesel ) crew have adjusted to the new high life from the score they heisted in the last film. Roman ( Tyrese Gibson ) is enjoying the women with Tej ( Ludacris ) just enjoying the what the world has given him. Gisele and Han are enjoying themselves in Hong Kong and Dominic is finally just slowing down and relaxing.

A highly skilled heist occurs in Moscow and Hobbs ( The Rock ne Dwayne Johnson ) is brought in to investigate and determines that this is beyond what he can handle and decides to recruit Dominic and his crew and bring them back together to help out. Dominic uses footage of a supposedly deceased Letty ( Michelle Rodriguez ) lifted from the Moscow job to convince them to help solve the case.

Hobbs and Dominic's crew head to Paris to track down Shaw ( Luke Evans ) and his group that pulled off the Moscow job and as they are working on another. Hobbs and Dominic are surveying a meeting between the Shaw and one of his once captured crew member and once they witness Shaw escaping the scene the chase is on. Dominic and his group have an all out chase in the city of lights with it ending when Shaw escapes and Dominic is confronted for the first time by Letty since she was presumed dead. It's doesn't go over well.

Dominic and Shaw's group both retreat to lick their wounds with Shaw understanding that he is now dealing with professionals and not the day to day cops that he has grown accustomed to. There is a respect for them. Brian heads back to the U.S. to acquire some Intel from an old friend from a couple of movies ago while Dominic is left behind in Paris to have a little meet and greet with Letty in a neutral area.

Hobbs and Dominic figure out what Shaw is after and they arrive to a military base in Spain prior to Shaw's arrival but realize that he had no plans to going there but he made sure they were there so he could go after his real goal which is being transported by truck to another destination. What ensues is another great chase on the roads which climaxes with a " jumping the shark " moment. Both groups end up back at the Spanish military base and Shaw figures out a way to escape out of custody.

The final chase is on the runway with Hobbs and Dominic on a jumbo cargo plane confronting Shaw and his muscle men. If you have scene any previews which I am sure you have you know that Dominic's crew and their cars take down the plane in a fiery crash. An impressive scene to say the least.

In the end Hobbs, Dominic and crew prevail but not before there are some losses. They all say til next time with brings us to the post movie scene which sets up the next movie which was basically foretold by previews and interviews.

Verdict : The only thing that was an issue with me is knowing that there would be no true "ending" as I knew that this was a set up for the next film. With that being said I enjoyed this movie to the fullest. Fast, cool cars. Beautiful women. Great looking locales. Everything I can enjoy. The story is pretty basic for the genre but the great back and forth between all characters is priceless. The humor is mixed in perfectly and action is brisk and non-stop. Two big THUMBS UP and would have beaten Star Trek as my favorite of the year if not for the "set-up" aspect of this one. A fine addition to the franchise.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day : Jaime Jarrin ( ROMLB Sweet Spot )

....And we are to the last entry in my great Hall of Fame Sports eBay haul from last year and today it features someone who is actively still with the Dodger family. Jaime Jarrin.

Jaime is an institution to the Mexican Dodgers fans and also to Dodger fans in general. While I do not speak Spanish I can and do respect and understand the love that this man receives and earns from everyone. He has been announcing Dodger games in Spanish since the Dodgers moved here from Brooklyn in 1958. In 1998 he became only the second Spanish announcer to be inducted the Baseball Hall of Fame. He joined Vin Scully in having the Dodgers become the only team in baseball to have two Hall of Fame announcers.

Though the majority of his announcing is Dodger related he has been around and broadcasted for major events such as the Pope visit to Los Angeles, JFK's assassination and visits by various Presidents of the U.S.

He was always on my list to acquire for my collection as he is part of the Dodger family but always lower on the totem pole as he wasn't a priority for me. I have seen him at the stadium a few times and most occurrences he is being talked to by Spanish speaking people which give them an edge or he is doing his job and I still find it rude to talk to someone who is clearly working. That is bad juju people. He has done a few public appearances at Frank and Sons promoted by Hall of Fame Sports but either it was too high for my taste ( $50 + ) or their were other Dodgers I wanted more. The price though always has been a main deterrent in acquiring his autograph in person.

So when I was trying to figure out which balls to bid on I started to concentrate on 10 ( only won 6 ) and Jaime happened to be one. I knew this one though out of the batch was going to be most expensive and probably a slight bidding war on it but again I was hedging my bets on 2 things. One, again outside of Los Angeles I didn't think people were going to pay the shipping for a non player and two since I already had the "discount" of no shipping I could bid a bit higher than I normally would. As expected this one had the most bids on it but the price were going up minimally. Towards the end of the auction it sat at $12 and some change. A great deal already but I expected it would still go up. I thought I would bid over $25 just to make sure I would win but for some reason I still didn't really want to spend that much on it so I put my bid in under $20 and I still actually won. The winning bid came in a little over $17. So with that addition to the other 5 balls it was little over $60 for 6 balls. A great buy. I now own one half of the Hall of Fame broadcasting duel of the Dodgers and couldn't be happier.

Do I own Vin Scully....? That's another post for another day.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Card(s) of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Matt Magill Blue Bordered Variant Autographed Rookie Card ( 16 / 500 )

For some reason I didn't see Matt's name on my list of Dodgers to acquire in this year's Bowman set but once I figured it out I made sure I had to acquire his prospect card and more so his blue bordered autographed version of said card.

Went onto my favorite place, eBay, and there wasn't much to choose from and was just going to settle for the time being on his standard autographed card but the following day I went on to find it and a seller had this blue bordered version up for grabs and considering I want a complete set of the blue variants I had to acquire this one. Matt just came up to bigs and pitched a great first game which he should have won but didn't so I assumed there would be some demand on this card but surprisingly not. The seller had it at a buy it now price of just $10 which is a steal by itself for an autographed and numbered card. But the seller was also accepting best offers too. So I gambled that no one would buy it prior and put an offer in for a measly $7 ( hat tip to wife and I's number ) and in less than a hour he accepted it.

So for less than a foot long combo at Subway I received this great card of an up and coming Dodger pitcher. Also, the buyer for some great reason threw in this blue bordered refractor of Freddie Freeman which is also numbered out of 500. Matt is for sure not available for trade but Freddie can be had.

Mat Magill Blue Bordered Variant Autographed Card : 16 / 500
Not Available For Trade

Freddie Freeman Blue Bordered Refractor
Available For Trade

Friday, May 24, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day : Ron Perranoski ( ROMLB Sweet Spot )

We have arrived to my second to last acquisition from Hall of Fame Sports and today it's Ron Perranoski's turn.

Growing up I was not always familiar with a lot of older non star Dodger players and Ron falls into this category. I knew him as the coach of the 1981 and 1988 World Series Champion Dodgers. Going from stories I have head and statistics he was an above average reliever. He ended up playing for 5 teams in his baseball career which ended in 1973 with the California Angels. After that he returned to the Dodgers and worked up through the minor league ranks to become coach on the major league club. He left in 1994 and joined up with the hated Giants up north and has been employed by them since then.

So when I was looking at purchasing some more autographs to make my haul that much more of a deal I saw that they had Ron's autograph up for sale and though I don't remember the starting price I know it was less than 7 dollars. No one had bid on it prior to the end of the auction and so near the end I put my bid in and I ended up being the only one to bid on it. Again, I think that is because 1) he for sure does not fall into the star category and 2) no one was going to pay the price for the item and then $10 for shipping. So I was able to add this to my haul for a handful of dollars. Proud to own another Dodger autograph even though I never saw him play and only knew him as a coach.

Movie Review : The Hangover Part 3

So we have hit the inevitable second sequel to the movie that started it all back in 2009. While the Wolfpack is still together, this movie feels more like a vehicle for Mr. Chow ( Ken Jeong ) than anyone else. In the first movie he is more of a background character to the others but this one he is front and center.

The film starts off with Chow escaping a prison in Bangkok. The Wolfpack are finishing up attending the funeral of Alan's ( Zach Galifianakis ) father which in part was caused by Alan having an animal induced accident in Los Angeles  The group and family finally step in and convince Alan to enter a rehab facility in Arizona and are willing to drive them there. So Phil ( Bradley Cooper ), Stu ( Ed Helms ) and Doug ( Justin Bartha ) hop in a van and head out to Arizona with Alan in tow only to be attacked by Marshall ( John Goodman ) and his goons. It is explained that due to the actions of the Wolfpack from the first movie set in motion a chain of events that caused Chow to steal millions in gold from Marshall and Marshall wants them to kidnap Chow and bring him back to him. Doug once again is taken out of the movie for the most part as he is taken hostage while the rest of the group head down to Mexico where Chow has been in hiding. After a failed drugging of Chow the group is convinced by Chow to steal back some gold that he has hidden in a house that was seized by the government when he was captured. Things go awry which has the Wolfpack heading back to Vegas once again to find and capture Chow. Obviously from the events of the first movie the group have bad memories and are second guessing themselves in going after Chow.

Once in Vegas it is cat and mouse as they get close to getting him then he gets away and this goes back and forth for awhile til he is finally taken out and finally delivered to Marshall. There is a final confrontation between all parties involved and in the end they go their separate ways while Alan promises to be a better person as all of this has been bad for him and he feels he needs to change.

Verdict : The first Hangover was a great buddy flick that had me laughing the whole time. The second movie felt forced and should never have been made but this one made the second one look good. Through the whole film it looked and felt that all the actors except Chow and to a lesser extent Alan mailed this in, especially Phil. He looked bored out of his mind. I thought with the setting being back in Vegas they might get back some of that magic that was lost in the second film. I was wrong. Chow is a funny character but he is better as a supporting character not as one of the leads. Alan has just overstayed his welcome. Phil as stated doesn't even seem like he wants to be there and Stu is adequate at best. The funniest part of movie is the post credits scene but it is such a long hour and 40 minutes to get to. A highly disappointing film which earns a THUMBS DOWN to watching even at home. Do yourself a favor and watch the first film in the trilogy and never watch this one.

Also, the movie is called Hangover. There isn't even one in this film. WTF?

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Matt Kemp Printing Plate 1 of 1

So yesterday I posted about a haul that I got a great deal on eBay but the main card that I was after was on an auction not a buy it now but still from the same seller. I wanted to minimize shipping and thought that if I won this the seller would accept my lower than normal offer for the other nine cards. I was right as I won this great looking "card" and he accepted my offers.

I won my first ever printing plate earlier in the month which was the autographed version of Paco Rodriguez's rookie card which is a great pick up but I wanted one of my favorite player, Matt Kemp, and for me it had to be this year which minimized my options. Well Bowman released a printing plate version and I was lucky enough to win it and combine with the other cards. A great buy in my eyes.

Now I have to decide it I want to have him sign it at the stadium. Haven't made up my mind yet. This is for my personal collection but if someone offers something that I want more I could be persuaded to part with it. Til then, I have a 1 of 1 of Matt Kemp. Woo Hoo.

1 of 1 !!! Yellow Variety

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Upcoming Appearance / Signing : Paul LoDuca @ Harry's Dugout

Just a reminder that in a little over a week former Dodger Paul LoDuca will be making an appearance at Harry's Dugout in Whittier. I've been here for a few autograph signings and it's always a smooth operation and the fellow people in line are great. Come support this new store in town. See you there.
Autographs are limited to only 300 so get there early.
  • $15 - Baseball Cards
  • $22 - Baseballs and Flats up to 11x14
  • $27 - Larger Flats, Mini Helmets, Mini Bats, Caps, Figurines and Equipment
  • $35 - Bats, Jersey, Helmets and Artwork
  • $12 - Inscriptions 

Card(s) of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Blue Bordered / Silver Ice / Home State Variants

Of I went shopping once again on eBay to finish off my variant sets of the Dodgers from this year's Bowman set. I am not really interested in the orange bordered cards as one, it's the hated Giants colors, two, it's punk ass orange and three, refer to the first two comments. I prefer the blue ones as the Dodgers just look better on them and I still do love the silver ice ones as well.

If I can help it I don't like buying one by one and rather by the bulk if at all possible. Well I found a seller that had a lot of the cards I was looking for and one special one. That gets a post tomorrow. The seller had these nine up for buy it now or best offer and considering I was already buying a "high-priced" piece I thought I could bargain with the seller and I sent offers for a dollar for each card. He accepted for each one. Woo Hoo. Granted I might have been able to pick this up at some card show for 50 or 75 cents a pop but I didn't have to leave my house to get these. So for a grand total of just nine dollars I got these nine to fill out my set.

Blue Bordered Variants of Matt Kemp, Paco Rodriguez, Clayton Kershaw, Andre Ethier, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez
Silver Ice Variant of Clayton Kershaw
Home State Variants of Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Museum Collection : Hanley Ramirez Game Used Memorablia

The newest set for 2013 was just released this month and it is Topps Museum.

This is another set that did not exist back when I was in the hobby full time. An interesting looking set and limited by nature. There are a few Dodgers to collect within the main set but the real draw of the pack busting are the autographs and game used cards. I was never really into the game used stuff back in the day but I thought I might dabble a little more this time around.

Saw this Hanley Ramirez card on eBay and it wasn't getting much action on it. This is Hanley's first full season on the team and thought I could use this in my Dodger set. At the end of the day I picked this up for a mere $9. I believe that is not too shabby. It is numbered 40 out of only 50.

A great addition to my personal collection. Though I do prefer autographs so I can be persuaded to trading it.

Signed Ball of the Day : Roger Craig ( ROMLB Sweet Spot w/1955 World Series Champion Inscription )

Half way through my Hall of Fame purchase and we arrive to old timer Roger Craig. One of those players that played for Brooklyn and Los Angeles.

He only played for 11 years but he got his bang for his buck as he won 3 World Series on 2 different teams. While on the Dodgers he was an adequate player. He contributed to the teams and was a good cog in the wheel. Once he departed the Dodgers he went on to play 2 disastrous years with the expansion New York Mets. Losing over 20 games a year with them. Luckily for him he latched on to the Cardinals a year later and won the World Series again in 1964. He retired 2 years later.

Though I do love acquiring Brooklyn Dodger autographs Roger's were always a little too much for my taste. Normally I would see them for at least $30 on eBay and I just never thought it was worth it. I got lucky and was able to include it in the bigger package that I won from Hall of Fame sports at a very reasonable price of $10. Another great deal for me and another great looking ball in my collection.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Card(s) of the Day - 2013 Topps Heritage : Blue Border Matt Kemp Variant / 2013 Bowman Mini Refractor Zach Lee

A new day a new envelope of baseball cards.

Today I received 2 cards that came to me for a total of just 4 measly dollars. Can't beat that.

The first one is a 2013 Bowman mini refractor of Zach Lee from the Top 5 prospects insert set. My Dodger set is almost complete as all I need now is Joc Pederson to finish it off. Zach may or may not see the big leagues this year but when he does I think he would be a great complement to Greinke and Kershaw.

The second card is the blue border variant of Matt Kemp from this years Heritage set. I already have the regular SP card of Matt but now it looks almost complete next this blue one. I now only need the black bordered version. Almost there.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Movie Review : Star Trek Into Darkness

The second entry into the reboot of the Star Trek franchise was released this past weekend and hit the ground running, literally.

Kirk ( Chris Pine ) is running away from a structure with a scroll on some planet he was to observe but not be seen and we saw in the first film he has a problem with following set rules. At the same time Spock ( Zachary Quinto ) is trying to stop a catastrophe from happening on the planet. Both of these actions get them into major trouble with Star Fleet.

An attack from an unknown assailant on a London facility prompts Star Fleet to give orders to Kirk and his crew to hunt this man down and bring him to justice via torpedoes aka death from above. They find out that this attacker goes by the name of Harrison ( Benedict Cumberbatch ) and has fled to a distant planet named Kronos which is in Klingon territory. Harrison assumes wrong that they would track them there and is confronted by the Enterprise crew while they are engaged by a Klingon scout ship. Harrison actual saves the crew single handily from the Kingons and is taken prisoner because he chooses to as Kirk finds out the hard way as he can't beat him in hand to hand combat.

As the crew awaits to fix the Enterprise as it was damaged while travelling to Kronos Kirk and Spock interrogate Harrison and learn his back story and his objective which is a complete contradiction of what Star Fleet informed Kirk of who he was. Kirk confronts Admiral Marcus ( Peter Weller ) on the situation and is not fully satisfied with the answers he receives.

Kirk and the crew soon reluctantly help Harrison achieve a goal but at the same time have a plan to subdue him once they have a window of opportunity. Kirk accomplishes that but only for a second and then the battle ensues between them. During the battle Kirk must risk his life trying to save the Enterprise from crashing and then we see Spock take on Harrison himself in a great battle of wits and surprisingly brute. Spock proves himself to be more than just a brilliant mind and Kirk proves that he can think about the welfare of others and not just himself.

Verdict : I do not want too spoil to much so the review had to be vague at points. The supporting cast is excellent and play their parts to perfection and the tandem of Kirk and Spock pop on the screen. Harrison is a brilliant villain and hopefully if (when) they make a third film they can somehow bring him back. The film is almost 2 and half hours long and it felt like it lasted no more than a hour or so. It hit the ground running and did not let up. There was no set up that needed to be said about the crew so they could just tell a great story. This is by far the best Star Trek in my opinion and I have seen every single one. I know it might be sacrilegious to say this but I enjoyed this movie more than Iron Man 3 this summer. The reason being is the villain. While the Mandarin faltered in my view, Harrison did not. In the end, THUMBS UP to the most enjoyable movie this year for me.

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Paco Rodriguez Autographed Printing Plate Rookie Card 1 of 1

Back in 2001 when I quit the hobby there was no such thing as a printing plate insert in packs. Now that I am back in I wanted to acquire one but since I am only going to collect sets from 2013 forward that left me with few choices. Well I found one on eBay and the hunt was on.

I just met Paco this last week and already got his autographed blue refractor rookie card from this same set a couple days ago, this one was the one I really wanted as the blue one was a back up if I didn't acquire this one. I ended up with both. This is my very first 1 or 1 in my career of card collecting. While he is not a "big" star and probably maybe never will be one this still is an autographed, rookie "card" of a young Dodger.

Cost to me was technically $28 but since I had made a profit on some comics in the prior weeks out of pocket cost to me was zilch. Free in my mind and a great looking plate to boot.

Autograph nice and centered.
Since the plate is not centered does that mean all the cards are not as well?
Curious minds need to know.

1 of 1.
Music to my ears.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day : Nathan Eovaldi ( ROMLB Sweet Spot )

Alright, after the pause in this series due to the great haul from last week's game I am back it.

Third post in my Hall of Fame purchase is about another young former Dodger pitcher. Nathan Eovaldi.

Nathan came up to the Dodgers in 2011 and pitched quite well for the team in both starting and relief roles. He didn't have the hardest stuff nor the best but he got by with what he did have and had an above average stint with the Dodgers. In 2012 he was traded to the Marlins in the Hanley Ramirez trade. Though I didn't like losing yet another young pitcher this looked better in the long run as we received a former multiple All Star and batting champ to fill a much needed hole on the left side of the infield. As the days go by the trade looks more and more like a steal for us as Nathan has not done so well on the right coast and Hanley has contributed from day one and continues to this day. Thank you Nathan for your time with the Dodgers but the biggest contribution you gave us was you leaving and getting Hanley in return. Good luck in South Beach.

Nathan wasn't around long enough for me to track him down to acquire his autograph. It seemed every time I was at the stadium he was not to be found so I never got it. Once he left I just wrote it off as one that I won't be getting. Low and behold Hall of Fame sports had one for bid and I was lucky enough to have it included with my bigger purchase. Though hardly on the team he did dawn the blue hence why I now have a signed ball by Nathan on my shelf. We hardly knew you.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Card(s) of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Kemp, Beckett, Ethier Gold / Kemp Silver Ice and Seager Mini Refractor

Also in the mail today was this package that I felt was a better buy from eBay. I got this whole lot for a total of just $8.

I needed the Seager refractor to help complete the set and that was high dollar card at $2.50. The rest I pick up for the remaining $5.50. I really like the Ice cards. Love how they sparkle so I have decided I want to get the whole parallel set of the Dodgers and Kemp is the first one to make it to my doorstop. The gold ones were just a buck a piece so I thought that was reasonable as I didn't have to leave my home to get them. Overall a good buy in my eyes.

Attended Game Recap : May 16th vs White Sox - WHITE SOX 5 Angels 4

So it was off to the evil stadium down the 5 freeway for a game yesterday. Wife is an Angel fan and there is nothing I can do about that. = ). It's all good as I love spending time with her and baseball is still baseball.

You think our Dodgers have issues? The Angels are in a tailspin and their season is going down the toilet. We might be in last place but we are "only" 6 games out of first with our injured players coming back shortly. The Angels on the other hand are now 12.5 games out of first and can't seem to find a good grove.

The tension in the air and the just bad and uneasy vibe was easily felt at the stadium last night. We went due to it being Mark Trumbo bobble head night as I can sell these prior to the actual game to cover the cost of the game. Albert Pujols hit yet another home run in his great career and its always enjoyable to see that unless its against the Dodgers. But just like with us their bullpen disappointed the fans and let down the team. The Angels had a 4-2 lead going into the 8th inning and their bullpen walked in the last run of the inning to make the score 5-4 White Sox which they held on to.

They have the talent but like us they need to find that "something" to get them going and get on a decent run before they let their season get away from them.

A couple pictures of the Trumbo's bobble head.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Attended Game Recap : May 15th vs Nationals - DODGERS 3 Nationals 1

Couldn't make it out to the previous night for bobble head night but had tickets for tonight which wasn't planned originally but a couple of things happening at the stadium made the decision easier to attend. One was that Josh Suchon was doing a book signing in the RF store for his new book " Miracle Men " which chronicles the 1988 World Series winning team and two Zack Grienke was back on the mound just a mere 4 and half weeks since having surgery for his broken collar bone.

Left home around 5:30 and it still took me 70 minutes to get to the stadium from the South Bay area. People need to learn how to drive. I headed over to the RF store and was not expecting many people there as it seems a lot of folks don't care too much for book signings of non-players. I was right. There was no one in line. I purchased my book and headed over to the table where Josh was stationed. As he signed the book we chatted a little about the material and had a laugh. Nice guy. Thank you for the autograph and I will have a review on the book sometime in the future.

On my way back to my Loge seats on the 3rd base side I finally got a chance to take a picture with the blue LA that is located on that side. There has always been a long line of people taking pictures so I have just passed on by in the past but today no one was there. Now I have to get to the bobbles and the big balls on the Reserve level.
Got in the stadium and downstairs we (wife) went to the field level to get some Camacho food and as we were eating Dodger Elvis made an appearance. Couldn't resist so asked if I could take a picture with him. Interesting character he is.
Finally up to our seats to see what we actually came to see, a baseball game. Zack started the game and went a strong 5 1/3 innings in his first start in over a month. Surprisingly enough the bullpen finished the game without allowing another run. Every dog has its day I guess. Matt Kemp continues to get his average up sans the power. He has passed the .280 mark and now is tied for second on the team for hits. He will be where we need him to be by the end of the season.
Well the Dodgers held on and beat the Nationals 3-1 and claimed their second series win in a row before heading on the road to the east leading Atlanta Braves. With all their problems and injuries they are still only 5.5 games out of first. Hopefully when they are back in a week they will have shaved a game or two off of that. Go Blue and have faith.


Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Heritage : Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier SP

The cards keep on coming.

Today I received in the mail a decent buy from eBay. These two cards are SP's from this year's Heritage set and feature the current Dodgers center fielder and right fielder. Nothing overly special but both are needed for my Dodger set. Both were had for a measly $3 delivered. Can't beat that for a couple of SP's.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Heritage : Clayton Kershaw Blue Border Variant

The first solo Clayton Kershaw for my renewed hobby happens to be a SP.

It is the blue bordered variation in this years Topp's Heritage. Love me SP cards and what I like about these blue border ones are that they are dressed up in the color of the Dodgers.

Great looking card of dare I say it a future Hall of Famer??? Whether that happens or not I picked up this card for a mere $2 and that to me is a bargain of this great pitcher.

Bobblehead of the Day : Matt Kemp ( Home Run Follow Through )

Last night at Dodger Stadium it was Matt Kemp Bobblehead Night. I wasn't able to go to the game but had my buddy go in my place and had him pick up this year's version of Matt Kemp. This is the third version we now have of Matt and for me even though it is a great looking bobble it is my least favorite but with saying that I still love this one.

Each year the details keep getting better and better. The classic pose of the follow through of what looks to be a home run swing is spot on. Too bad we have only been witness to one of those this year. Still believe that the surgery is hindering his power. He started 0-11 but now has his average near .280. It's getting there.

I love how they get all the details into the bobble including his pine tar mark on his left shoulder. The only thing I would have done is by making it darker like it is in real life. Either way though you have to love that don't forget even the smallest detail.

The face is remarkably life like to the man himself. Had a few girls at work already swooning and telling me how dreaming he looks even in miniature form. Ha Ha.

All in all this is a great looking bobble and will look great next to my other 2 Kemp bobbles. Now sometime this year I will get it signed so I will have all three matching with his autograph. Great job Dodgers.

Signed Ball of the Day : Matt Kemp ( Gold Glove Award Baseball )

And this was the main thing I wanted signed this past weekend.

I had great luck up to this moment. Got Dee Gordon to sign my team signed ball and got former Dodger Juan Pierre during the Marlin practice but I bought the baseline seats for Matt and Andre autographs. I bounced over to Andre's section and got my 2010 All-Star baseball signed and then quickly got back to Matt's section.

I got the 2013 All Star baseball signed but I believe in karma and I wasn't going to go get that ball and get back into the crowd to get a second thing signed by me. Everyone should have their fair chance. But that is where family comes in.

I put away the first ball and had my father in law already positioned to get my team signed ball signed as I still needed that but that will have to wait for another day. I have almost reached my limit on Matt Kemp autographs as I have multiple signed balls, bobble heads, bats etc. but I realized that I never got him on a Gold Glove ball and since he is a past winner I had to have one in my collection. I headed back to where my father in law was at and told him to give me the team signed ball and handed him the Gold Glove one and told him to tell Matt if he could sign under the logo and like my All-Star Matt gladly honored my request.

I now had a Gold Glove signed baseball to go along with my other 10+ Matt Kemp autographs.

Not a bad haul for one day at the park. Good karma....

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Yasiel Puig Mini Refractor

Final card of the day is one of the better buys this past week in my opinion

Bowman has made a insert set of mini refractors for the top 5 prospects in each team's organization so obviously I need all 5. Refreshing on eBay for the Puig card and a seller had it on a buy it now for $5 and I scooped it up. Not an overly great deal but I have seen most go for at least $8 so any savings is a good thing.

While not technically a rookie card it is a card released during his rookie season and it looks great. Crisp, centered and free of smudges.

First Puig card for my collection.

Card of the Day - 2013 Heritage : Matt Kemp SP Action Variant . . . Plus Some Random Bonus Cards

So the second package comes of the day comes in and in it is the Matt Kemp High Numbered SP from this years Topps Heritage Set. But considering Heritage's numerous variations I am on the hunt for each one and this is the "Action" variant.

I picked this up for just $2 on eBay. The buyer didn't send the card out for a few days after the end of the auction and sent me an email to tell me he was sorry so he threw in some bonus cards. They are from PRIZM and for me the are nothing special as there are no Dodgers and the cards are not licensed by MLB but just the players association. I'm not a fan of cards with no team logos on them. Just my thing. If anyone is interested in them I am willing to trade. All of them are stars.

Matt Kemp SP Action Variation

Josh Hamilton, James Loney, Frank Thomas, Adrian Beltre and Curtis Granderson
All from PRIZM. All available for trade.

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman Chrome : Paco Rodriguez Blue Refractor Autographed Rookie ( 153 / 250 )

So I am back into the hobby and this is the first card from this year's Bowman set that has made it to my doorstep.

Met Paco last weekend and got his autograph on a ball but prior to that I bought this nice card on eBay for a tad over $13. Considering another card I bought of his I now think I spent maybe a few dollars than I should have but I have never owned a blue refractor as long as I have collected cards.

So I am happy to add this great looking autograph rookie card of one of our only reliable pitchers in the bullpen. Card 153 out of only 250 makes it even better.

Signed Ball of the Day : Matt Kemp ( 2013 All-Star Baseball )

Yup, you read the title right.

As stated in the previous posts I was down in the baseline seats for the Saturday's game and I was not going to pass up on getting some Kemp autographs as Honabach and Sons is now charging $80 for a signature. I believe I will never pay for another Kemp autograph.

As stated I had a friend that really wanted his photo and autograph so she had priority on the situation but I still had two separate balls I wanted signed and this was the first.

I happened to be at the perfect place on the baseline seats as he came to me first. I handed him the ball and asked him if he could sign underneath the All-Star logo and told him that I have faith that he will still be voted in somehow for this year's Mid-Summer's Classic. He gave me a sly smirk and chuckle but signed nonetheless. If for some reason he doesn't make it, it will make for a funny side note in my collection. Thank you as always for taking your time to sign for us Matt.

Now.... I still had one more to go to make my day complete...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Card(s) of the Day - 2013 Bowman Box Break : Target Retail

So since I am back in the hobby I decided I wanted to get a box to bust into and what better way than this year's new Bowman product. I know that the retail version has less stuff in it but I can get these boxes at a major discount. $20 is the MSRP but my wife gets a 20% discount which brings it down to $16 and this one happened to be mislabeled so I got this for a little over $10. Not a bad way to start off again. There are 8 packs in these boxes and I forgot that the "proper" way to blog about these box breaks is to give a somewhat detailed summary on each back. Oops. Next time as I have a box coming in the mail. So for this entry I will just show off the hits collectively.

Kemp and Gonzalez Base Cards. I consider them hits as Dodgers are what I am after.

Ryu Rookie Base Card.

Collin Wiles Autograph Card
Going on eBay : Confirmed sales of $5

Manny Machado Blue Bordered Parallel numbered 381/500
Going on eBay : Confirmed sales of $6-8

Tyler Thornburg Mini Refractor Insert
Which it could go on eBay. Cost prohibitive

Alex Gordon Silver Ice
Going on eBay : Confirmed sales of $2

Mike Trout Gold Border Parallel
Going on eBay : Confirmed sales of $2

Miguel Cabrera Gold Border Parallel
Might go on eBay : Confirmed sales of $1.50 ( might be too small to hassle with )

Travis D'Arnaud Top 100 Insert
Going on eBay : Confirmed sales of $2

Nothing rare or great but I did get a couple Dodgers including Ryu's rookie card and the others I can sell for give or take $15 on eBay after shipping which means the box is basically free as I will just redeposit the funds back into bank account. Not a bad way to start.