Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Card of the Day - 2011-12 Panini : Jordan Nolan Rookie Treasures Game Used Memorabilia Autograph ( 331 / 499 )

Another autograph card from the Stanley Cup Champion Kings arrived at my door today and this one is of Jordan Nolan and I was able to get real thick card for a real small price.

I have been missing out on Jordan's cards left and right and that was with me bidding at a reasonable but still restrained amount. Just had to get lucky I guess when the right auction came along and this one happened to be it. I put my bid in at my customary amount and shockingly only one other person put a bid in and that brought the final amount to high price of only $1.04. With shipping it was a little over $3. Now that is a steal and a bargain any day. Glad to finally get the elusive Jordan into my collection. Nice clean and crisp autograph.

Blue, check, King, check, jersey, check, numbered, check 331 / 499

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Card of the Day - 2012 Bowman Platinum : Andre Ethier Game Used Memorabilia Autograph

Just like fellow outfielder Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier for the most part has struggled for the year and just seems to be destined to be traded with the addition of Puig to the team. Though since they have gone on their recent tear he has contributed a lot to the cause. The multitude of injuries to everyone else will probably keep Andre on the team until at least next year.

As Kemp's cards have been easier to obtain at a lower price Andre's seem to even be going lower and faster than Kemp. Time is right for the picking for some Andre autograph cards and I am sure this is the first of many I will get. Saw this refracting beauty and thought it could be had for a decent amount of cash and that was the case. Auction ended and I was the high bidder at nice low amount of $6.50. I'll take that any day of the week. Card came in and looks great and sparkly. Though I like him as a Dodger I think his time has come to move on for the better of both parties. I think he needs a change of scenery and the Dodgers obviously have younger, better and cheaper player to put in his place. No matter what happens, good luck to you Dre.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Movie Review : The Wolverine

The next entry into the X universe for Marvel has arrived. Hugh Jackman is back as Wolverine and he has some new dancing partners to entertain him this time.
Film starts with a flashback where we see Wolverine ne Logan as a prisoner in Japan right before the U.S. drops the atomic bomb in 1945. He saves one of his captors named Yashida from the blast of the bomb. We flash forward to present day and see that Logan has left the X-Men and is living in the forest with the animals and having dreams/nightmares of his true love Jean Grey. The dreams  consistently haunt him every night. Some local hunters harm one of his animal friends and when he confronts them he is introduced to a young lady named Yukio who was hired to track down Logan and bring him back to Japan to say good bye to Yashida who is dying.
They head back to Japan and Logan is confronted by Yashida as wanting to become mortal and live a normal human life and Yashida can do that for him and take his healing power from Logan and transfer it to Yashida himself so he may live. Logan turns down his offer and soon Yashida dies. Prior to leaving Logan meets Yashida's granddaughter Mariko and you can tell there is something between them. As everyone attends Yashida's funeral there is an attempted kidnapping of Mariko by one of Yashida's enemies but Logan intervenes and him and Mariko are soon on the run. Yukio who has become like a sister to Mariko worries for her safety as she knows where they end up. All the while Logan is also suffering some type of reaction as his healing factor is not working properly which in time he figures out it was tampered with by Yashida's doctor, Viper.
Logan and Mariko become closer while on the run which makes the dreams with Jean Grey all the more interesting. Soon kidnappers show up again and finally do their job and get Mariko but not before Logan figures out where she is being taken too. Yukio comes to take Logan to where he needs to go and to help out as she says she will be his "bodyguard". To get to the building that Mariko is imprisoned in he must battle numerous ninjas, more healing factor issues and a very big individual going by the name of Silver Samurai. While Logan is dealing with the Silver Samurai, Yukio helps out by taking on Viper. After the battle we see while Logan must attend to issues back in the U.S. there are now roots planted in Japan with Mariko and that he will be back soon enough. Yukio decides to join Logan in his journey. A major change happens to him during the battle that obviously will play out in future movies and is seen when the after credits scene appears.
VERDICT : The source material is from the critically acclaimed work from the 1980's from writer Frank Miller when Logan first visits Japan. With that being said this is a very good Wolverine film but not a very good Marvel "action" flick that we have been grown to love over the past few years in Avengers, Iron Man, Thor et al. The action is sporadic at best with the two biggest being the climax and very entertaining train scene. It is more drama and character building than most Marvel films have been and me being a big Wolverine fan I am fine with that. Hugh does a great job as always though some of the lines are very cheesy. The supporting actors do a good job with Yukio and Mariko being the best of the group. Even with Jean Grey "dead" she plays a major part in this film and probably more so in the next X-Men film. If you are a Wolverine/X-Men or Marvel fan in general you will probably love this film like I did. If you are an action film lover don't expect as much and you won't leave disappointed as some people I have talk to have due to less than wanted and/or excpected action. With that said a THUMBS UP to this movie. Not the best Marvel has put out but much better than the first Wolverine train wreck of a film.

Card of the Day - 2006 SPx : Takashi Saito Autograph ( 610 / 999 )

Man, do we need a stable closer and hopefully Kenley Jansen can be that man for an extended amount of time. Brandon League should never sniff the ninth again unless it is for mop duty even though he has been doing better of late. But not just a few years ago we had this man, Mr. Saito, take over for Eric Gagne and others to become a very dependable closer. I always thought he was underrated when he was on our team. He always seemed to enjoy his time in Los Angeles.

So obviously I needed to add an autograph card to my collection of him but there are not many cards to chose from and those that are out there seem to always go higher than I wanted to pay. Found this nice RC and hoped I could finally win a card depicting his Hancock and with my lucky bid of $7 at the end of the auction I won this beauty. Proud to finally own a Saito card. Arrived in great condition and sits nicely within the box.

610 / 999 of Mr. Saito

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Attended Game Recap : July 27th vs Reds - DODGERS 4 Reds 1 . . . Also Ball(s) of the Day : Ricky Nolasco ( ROMLB Sweet Spot ) and Yasiel Puig ( ROMLB Side Panel )

It has been a long 6 weeks since I was last at Blue Heaven on Earth better known as Dodger Stadium. Wanted to attend a weekend game and wanted to go autograph hunting so I picked this game to go to and was able to arrange seats in the Prime Ticket Club section down the 3rd base sideline. Better opportunity to acquire some autographs. Prior to entering the stadium I ran into Dave who is the author of his own blog seen HERE , hopefully he picked up some autographs.

Headed into the stadium and there wasn't much action on the autograph front. I did hear that Brandon League signed prior to me getting in but that is no big loss and I already had him. Kemp came out to test his ankle and a few fans and I hoped he might swing over and sign but in the end he did not. I still need this years bobblehead signed. Next time.

Kemp putting on a brace and testing out the ankle. Come back soon.

Thought I was going to miss out on any autographs until I noticed that Ricky Nolasco was signing near the foul pole. Raced over there and hoped I didn't miss out but thankfully he was running the line and I got in there and he was kind enough to ask where I wanted the signature and obviously I said sweet spot which he accommodated. Welcome once again to your boyhood team. Keep up the good work so far and thank you for signing for me.

Ricky on a sweet spot. Sweet.

Batting practice was over and I headed back to my seat and thought maybe Andre Ethier would sign but he never came out but Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez did come out and did their stretches near me. I heard a Spanish speaking gentleman communicating to Yasiel and he said to the group that he would come over and sign for us. Ooohhh. Hanley finished up and started to head for the dugout and I thought I missed on him but he decided to sign for a group and thankfully my wife came over to hold my spot for Yasiel but I was too late for Hanley. He left right when I got there. Headed back to the wife and right about then Yasiel ran into the dugout. Well that sucked and thought oh well at least I have him on a gold ball but I want to add him on regular white ball. Went back to my seat and right prior to the national anthem him came back and no one was standing around he started to sign for a kid in front of him. Grabbed a ball and pen and jumped over and hoped to get a signature but I noticed he started running the line with a sharpie. I pulled back and waited and he finally picked up another blue pen and I stuck my hand out again and I was lucky enough to get a signature. Unfortunately he side paneled me. Ugh. I am a stickler for sweet spot balls unless they are team signed ball. I have decided to throw it up on eBay and will sell it and picked up some more balls for inventory. Nonetheless thank you for signing Yasiel.

Yasiel signing in sharpie for someone.

Yasiel about to side panel me.

My side panel signed baseball.

Game started and after the top of the 2nd Skip who was playing left field today finished his tosses and I yelled out to him and got him to toss me the ball. It was a good omen as he soon became the player of the game with a double and more importantly a two run bomb to center. Thank you again Skip for the ball.

Tossed Skip ball.

Ryu pitched a great game and over 7 evenings just gave up two hits and one earned run as he collected another win. With the Diamondbacks losing the Dodgers gained another game on them and now lead by 1.5. This team is so fun to watch now and I can't wait to get a healthy Kemp back into the lineup. Let's go boys.

Also pop sensation Psy was in attendance.

Psy, guy on right with white shirt.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Card of the Day - 2004 Upper Deck : Steve Yeager Autograph

Another day another autographed card by an old timer that I have acquired.

Unlike Burt yesterday I remember who and saw Steve Yeager play. Even if I didn't, I see him constantly in AZ for spring training and at Dodger Stadium as he is a coach. I remember him being part of a catching tandem with Mike Scioscia back in the 1980's and he was good in his role. He also was part of the 1981 World Series Champions. Ah, the good old days.

Didn't have any signed cards by the backstop so went to my favorite place, eBay, to get one. Wasn't going to spend a lot and surprisingly there wasn't a single buy it now when I went shopping. Means I was stuck in auction mode. Found this black and white gem and at the end of the day I won the card for just $5 and some pennies. Not a bad purchase.

Blue auto really pops against the black and white picture.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Card of the Day - 2005 Upper Deck : Burt Hooton Past Time Pennants Autograph

Scouring eBay and went back in time for an old time Dodger. Burt Hooton played 10 years with the Dodgers and won the 1981 World Series with them. I lived through that whole time and I can not remember even seeing him on tv. He must have flown under the radar for me when I didn't even know what that term meant yet. Never have met the man as I have missed out on the few public appearances he has had locally so I still needed some type of autograph in my collection of him.

Didn't expect much pickings for Burt but I did find a few that caught my eye. Saw this card with a nice clean autograph. It is not numbered so I didn't think people would be after this one but someone actually did bid on it with a minute left in the auction. Still wouldn't mind winning it but not at a high price. Put my bid in at the end and won it for a cool $2.25. Not too shabby. My first Hooton. Even if I don't remember you, thank you for your contributions to the team.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Card of the Day - 2011-12 Crown Royale : Dustin Penner Game Used Material Autograph ( 47 / 100 ) . . . AKA eBay Bucks Purchase Number 3

And to finish out this quarter's eBay bucks purchases is a hockey card that I wanted but did not want to spend what the seller wanted so it sat on my watch list until the day I could get it at my price.

Still trying to complete my Stanley Cup Kings autograph set and things are getting difficult in trying to find cards of the players left for me to acquire. Dustin Penner has had multiple cards but not a single one has him in a King's jersey except this one. It had been on eBay for awhile as I expect that 1) the demand for Penner cards is smaller than other King players and it was off season now and 2) the seller wanted $15 for the card. I never was going to spend that even though this is the only card that I have been able to find of Dustin that was acceptable. So I waited and waited for a good two months until I pulled the trigger on getting this card. I had a little over $7 left of eBay bucks so with that and a little under $8 out of pocket I bought the card. I'm happy that it lasted that long with no one else buying it but again at the $15 I think that scared people away.

So with this card that completes the three items I got for a grand total of a little under $8 out of pocket. A rookiegraph sweet spot signed ball of budding superstar Manny Machado, another great Kemp autographed card and a much needed piece to my King's set that is getting harder and harder to complete. Can't wait until October when my next eBay bucks certificate is available.

47 / 100

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Card of the Day - 2009 Topps Triple Threads : Matt " Bison " Kemp Relic Autograph ( 13 / 75 ) . . . AKA eBay Bucks Purchase Number 2

On to the next "free" purchase on eBay with my earned bucks from the past quarter. Again, if you are a buyer on eBay there is no reason to not be in this program as it is free to join but you must opt in to earn credits to be used for future purchases.

As my two favorite players are Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw I have been on the look out to acquire autographed cards of the two superstars with their nicknames on the card as well. I lucked into the Kershaw " Kid K " one awhile go seen here and have kept an eye out for the Bison one of Kemp. Couple weeks left until the quarter was up ( June 30th ) and a seller had put this card and another one up on a buy it now option but I didn't want to use money out of pocket/paypal to purchase it as I wanted to acquire it for "free" with the bucks so I gambled that this would still be available when I was able to purchase it. The other card was fine but it was the green background one and I am not fond of green so I really only had eyes for this one. Day came that I could buy the card and it was still up for grabs so I purchased and received this great looking card at no cost to me. If only all transactions could be like that. So yet another Kemp autograph has joined my collection and I couldn't be happier.

Bison number 13 of 75

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ball of the Day - Manny Machado ( ROMLB Sweet Spot ) . . . AKA eBay Bucks Purchase Number 1

It's that time of the year which actually comes to eBay buyers 4x a year. It's like Christmas every 3 months for me when it comes to eBay. As I have stated before I am in an eBay program called " eBay Bucks " in which you earn money on each purchase every 3 months to use in future purchases. So come Jan., Apr., July and Oct. there are eBay bucks for me to use to acquire some "free" stuff and this is the first of three that I was able to acquire. A Manny Machado Rookie Graph was my main goal to acquire and it was the first to make it to my doorstep.

I don't get many signed balls by non Dodgers anymore but Machado has been tearing up the league this year and this is after his impressive start in the big leagues from last year when he was only up for a couple of months. His is only 21 years old and looks to have a very long career ahead of him. This year alone he is on course to break the all time record for doubles by any player in a year and he is doing this while keeping up his batting average over .300. He will never be confused as a power hitter but he does have some pop in his bat. His defense is improving on a daily basis and he is making highlight plays every week. Those that read these blog entries know that I love having all the budding stars signed balls accompanied by the Rookie Graph indication on them. It can only be obtained in the first year of the player's career. Not going to pay for Machado's signed rookie card as that is too pricey but having the equivalent of it on a ball is a good second choice for me.

So with a good size amount of bucks I didn't really have to worry about price so I just bypassed the auctions and gave a seller an offer that I thought was reasonable based on past Machado sold auctions. A day later he accepted and one short week later this gem showed up and has now been added to my ever growing collection. With more eBay bucks left over I went to go purchase two other items I have been keeping my eye. More on that tomorrow...

Odd looking signature of a budding superstar in Baltimore.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Card of the Day - 2011-12 Panini Contenders : Slava Voynov Calder Contenders Autograph ( 402 / 800 )

Back to the autographs and back to a Los Angeles King card.

Once of these days I need to really invest in one copy of a Hockey Beckett as I am starting to amass a fair number of King cards which I hope will reach at least 30 plus. That said I am bidding on auctions by gut and not by knowledge but so far I think I have been doing a decent job on getting my money's worth on auctions. Saw this copy of Slava's autograph card and had my mental bid wall in place so I didn't over spend. The seller changed the auction to a buy it now or best offer so I sent in an offer of $7 as that seems to be my lucky number and he accepted. Card came in and looks great. One thing I have noticed on hockey players autographs, a lot of them look nothing like their names. You tell me where you see a "S' in the first part or a "V" in the second part. Maybe I am blind. Either way I'm happy to have it and the beat goes on til the next one I can get my hands on.

Have to trust Panini that that autograph says Slava. 402 / 800

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ball of the Day - Player Appearance Recap : Paul Lo Duca ( ROMLB Sweet Spot ) @ Harry's Dugout

Yesterday Harry's Dugout held another one of their in store player appearances. Paul Lo Duca stopped by and signed for fans.

I already had a signed ball in my collection of Paul but it was purchased pre authenticated but once I heard about this signing I promptly sold it for a tad over $20 which covered the cost for this signing. I keep doing this with any pre authenticated ones as I prefer IP ones instead. I arrived at the store around 12:40 and there were about 15 people in line already. We were all crammed in the store due to the heat outside. Paul was already sitting but we all had to wait until his scheduled time to sign which was at 1. Went over and bought my ticket and talked to the store owner Edward. Talking about future signings with Jack Morris stopping by in two weeks which I also will be attending. With 1 approaching I headed back into line and Paul started signing. He talked to each fan that engaged him which is always nice to see. Got up to the table and handed over a ball and asked for the sweet spot and after he was done I asked if he wouldn't mind a picture which he did not. Got my ball and picture and moved out of the way for others.

As always with all this store's signings it went smoothly without a hitch. I always look forward to their signings here and with Jack in town in two weeks I will be back for more autographs. Thank you again to Edward and Harry's Dugout for hosting the event and to Paul for showing up to sign for the fans.

Paul signing a ball.

Paul and I.

Finished product. Nice and legible.

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps : Adrian Gonzalez Commemorative Patch

A break from acquiring autograph cards and came across this entry in this year's Topps set. Adrian only played a handful of games for the Dodgers last year but enough to warrant a 50th anniversary patch card. I wouldn't normally go out of my way to acquire a patch card unless it was of a hall of famer or of Kemp and/or Kershaw but I couldn't pass this one up at the low price.

Didn't expect to even bid on this card let alone win it but that I did. I put in my low bid just to see what would happen and I won the card for a mere $2 delivered to my doorstop. I didn't even look up the value of it until after I received the card. Beckett says $12 for this dandy little card. Not a bad return investment for what I put into it. Maybe I'll be around for the 100th anniversary cards.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Card of the Day - 2007 USA Baseball : Tim Federowicz Autograph ( 24 / 100 )

Now this is a rare card in my collection as for most categories I require the card to have this one does not fit. No blue ink, no Dodger uniform, no mainstream card brand. That is a lot of to look past but on this one I did.

Tim as far as I know does not have an autograph card in Dodger colors. I have seen Red Sox but no way in hell am I getting that. So I just content on just waiting til some company released one. But I stumbled across this card and I wanted it. Baseball is king but being a proud American is top dog. Tim is sporting our countries colors and that is enough for me. USA cards can join my collection next to my Dodger cards any day of the week and with Tim being a Dodger now I wanted to acquire this card. The signature is also in red ink which I don't do as well but considering there is a lot of red already on the card it blends nicely.

Book value is set at $12 but I think in the real world that is tad high for Tim. Even so I still set my eyes on the auction but was not going to over bid. In the end I won the auction for half of book. Happy to add this to my collection and until there is a Dodger card this great looking USA card will hold a place for that future incoming card.

Red, White and Blue 24 / 100

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Card of the Day - 2006-07 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection : Anze Kopitar Autograph

Went way back in time for this autograph. With Anze being a long tenured member of the Kings he has many years of cards to draw from so it made the hunt for me a little easier than most.

When I went on the search for a Kopi autographed card there seemed to a lot of them done in black ink which to me is unacceptable. Has to be blue or purple. Found this one with a nice low starting price and was hoping to add it to my collection and thankfully in the end I was able to do just that. Auction ended at just $7 and a handful of change. Not too bad if I say so myself. Though I enjoy that it is easier to acquire Kings cards as they have been eliminated from the playoffs I wish I was still watching them on the tv. Next year I guess.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ball of the Day - Player Appearance Recap : Jim Abbott ( ROMLB Sweet Spot )

Well after my last entry about one of the worst in person experiences that I have had I thought I would touch upon one of the best while continuing my run of retired players. Jim Abbott is the player and after meeting him I even have more respect for him than I did before meeting him.

In 2011 it was announced that Jim would be writing a book which I planned to purchase at some point. A few months later it was announced he would be doing a book signing in Huntington Beach in April of 2012. Perfect I thought as I could purchase the book and then also have him sign it. But there was a bonus. He would also sign one outside piece which would be included in the price. In this age that is a rarity for book signings. Now I could get a book and finally add Jim to my autographed ball collection.

Jim was born with just one hand and was drafted by the Angels and debuted in 1989. I was always in awe watching him on tv and see how he could pitch and pitch with accuracy with one hand when some players couldn't do that with two. While he went on to compile what most people would say is a mediocre career at best I always supported him and wished him well. He even threw a no-hitter and got a few base hits. Still not sure which is more impressive. I won't go into much detail about Jim as you should read his book which is a good read

Arrived at B and N for the signing and it was packed. I was in Angel territory and it showed. There wasn't really a line but more like a gathering. There were a lot of people that had the same condition as Jim or people that knew people with it. He showed off how he pitched and switched glove hands in one fluid motion. More impressive in person. He went over his childhood and his achievements in baseball and even though I was there for some signatures I was enthralled by his presentation. Time for the actual book signing and he stated no need to feel rushed as he will sign for everyone no matter how long it takes. Classy. Patiently waited and probably was about 100th in line and it went slow as he talked with everyone and signed sometimes more than just the book and one outside item. I didn't mind at all. Finally got up and told him thank you and asked him for a picture as I saw him taking pictures with others and he politely without saying handicap he was basically only doing pictures with people with similar conditions. He was nice and upfront with that and that is all you can ask. Said no problem and thank you for the signed book and ball. Left the store and was happy with my purchases and the chance that I got to sit and listen to a good man talk about how he overcame what God gave him and became a role model for people. Again, the book is a good read if you ever get the chance and the ball came out great. Thank you again Jim.

Jim signing.

One of my favorite IP acquired baseballs.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Card of the Day - 2012-13 Panini Limited : Drew Doughty Autograph ( 91 / 99 )

Since I have started my quest to acquire the Kings autographs I have noticed a lot of these cards are ending up coming out of Canada.

Doughty was up next to hit my doorstop. Due to him having national popularity and not just a local following his cards are a bit pricier but the good thing is there is more of a pool to buy from. Kept missing out on auctions and that is with me not really caring if it has fabric/game used material on the card. I am just seeking the autograph. This time though the auto came with some jersey. I waited in the shadow on this card and watched the bidding go back in forth between two bidders til the end when I decided to jump into the fray. I don't do it often but I waited to exactly one second left in the auction until I put my bid in. Most times unless I severely overbid I do not win that way but this time I did. Won this beauty of a card for a mere $18. Seems like a good deal to me considering most auctions seem to end in that or a higher price range. Another one checked off the list. Go Kings Go !

Monday, July 15, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Joc Pederson Top 100 Die Cut Variant ( 94 / 99 )

Now that I got my Puig and Ryu die cut variants of this insert set in this year's Bowman set I can concentrate on getting the other ones to complete the Dodger set.

There are two left to get and I haven't seen many Seager cards up for purchase but Joc has been around here and there but I hadn't been able to get my hands on it due to the high closing cost on the auctions. Found this auction ending at an odd time on an odd day with little action going on. Book value has this card at $12 so if I can acquire any card at no more than 50% then that is a win in my book. On this card I got close to that. Ended up winning the card at $6.50. So a little more than 50% but I was able to get one card closer to finishing the set. Now that I have the die cut I can now work on the regular non die cut. For some reason I never purchased that one as of yet. Need to fix that.

Another nice limited refractor. 94 / 99

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Archives : Davey Lopes Autograph

Current coach and former All Star Dodger player Davey Lopes has an autographed card in this years Archives set and surprisingly it was going for over $15 right out the box. Way too much in my eyes for good old Davey even though I did not have an on card autograph of him yet. Waited for the prices to drop to a decent amount before pulling the trigger and finally found this copy on eBay. Buyer had a low starting price and in the end won the card for a little over $7. That to me is a tad more reasonable for Davey. Nice crisp blue autograph on a photo of back in his playing days is now part of my collection. Welcome back home.

Dig the Stache.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Card of the Day - 2010-11 Upper Deck Artifacts : Alec Martinez Autograph

The Kings season might be over but collecting their cards still continue. The beat goes on for my quest to acquire signed cards of all the champion Kings and I was able to pick up another one off of eBay for a nice crisp $5 bill. The seller had this card up for awhile as I had it on my watch list and one day he put a sale on all his auctions so this one came down in price to my sweet spot dollar wise. Didn't wait another minute and purchased the card and within the week it arrived. Another notch for my King collection. Card looks a tad bland for me but there are not many Alec cards out there to chose from so I can't complain. Either way it looks good at home in my collection.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Card of the Day - 2007 Upper Deck Black : Andy LaRoche Pride of a Nation Autograph ( 64 / 99 )

Sometimes you know you are overpaying for a card and regret it and then there are time you are overpaying and are 100% OK with it. Thankfully this is the latter rather than the former.

Andy LaRoche did not amount to much as a Dodger and only just recently got called back up to the majors by the Blue Jays. That said he is a former Dodger who wore the blue. I haven't  and don't specifically look for Andy cards but this one came up on one of my searches and caught my eye. Always love autographs and won't turn them down but what drew me was the USA flag. I am a proud American and this card shows of our nation's colors encased in thick black cardboard. Dodger plus USA equals a win in my book.

The seller had this card at $8 in auction style on eBay. For an Andy card that is overpriced but I still wanted it because of the other factors. Didn't expect nor was there any action on the auction. I waited til the last minute and put my bid in and unsurprisingly won the card. I just purposely bought an $8 LaRoche card and I'm OK with that. Looks great in the collection and happy that I acquired the card.

USA, USA, USA. 64 of only 99

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Card of the Day - 2012-13 Fleer Retro : Trevor Lewis

I'm finally starting to pick up some steam on acquiring signed cards of the 2011-12 Stanley Cup Champion Kings. Sadly with their season over the demand is coming down so this is prime time to pick up some cards. Though I have won a few cards this is only the second one that has made it to my doorstep since starting the quest to get the whole roster on autographed cards.

Scouring eBay as usual and found this Trevor card with a nice starting bid of just 99 cents so that meant I was for sure going to keep an eye on it. Not surprisingly there was zero action on the auction and as it neared its end I put my bid in and won it for the original asking price. With shipping it arrived at my home for less than $4. So this is number two in a long journey in getting the team's cards but someday it will be complete. Until then this is a nice addition at a very reasonable price.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day - Player Appearance Recap : Tim Salmon ( ROMLB Sweet Spot )

You can't have a good experience with every signature you acquire and this is one of my few bad ones. I went over this on my past blog but a slight revisit due to me going through my autographed balls in my collection requires me to touch on this experience once more.

Tim Salmon on the field always seemed to play the game hard and seemed like a genuine nice guy. I followed his career even though he was on the Angels but I respected the fact that he stayed on the team through thick and thin and was rewarded with a World Series win in 2002. With my wife being a fan of the Angels I even made it a point to attend his last game in 2006. He put up good numbers for his career but nothing that really stands out. He was a main cog on the team and he did his job well.

Wasn't really into autographs back when he played and just got back into collecting about the time he was retiring so I never picked up his autograph. In 2011 he was scheduled to do an signing at OC Sportscards in Anaheim and thought I would finally add him to my collection. My wife was even with me and though she rarely does these signings I told her it was an Angel so she came along. Still a tad reluctantly though. = )

Arrived at the store and there was absolutely no one in line. I arrived about an hour into the scheduled signing and people had already come and gone. Tim was sitting at the table signing for the promoter and I walked up after paying for the autograph and said good afternoon. He didn't say anything back and didn't even look up to acknowledge our presence. He signed the ball and gave it back and only then was there any eye contact. For some reason I asked would you mind a picture and the promoter jumped in and said he is too busy. What too busy in his cushy retired life getting paid to sign for fans that supported his ass through his career? Anyways, I took the ball and left and put it on the shelf in my collection. I will remember him two different ways now. One as a very good baseball player who I enjoyed watching and two as the dick retired player that needs to learn some common courtesy.

Signing numbers and ignoring people.

Signing ball and not acknowledging paying fans.

Signed ball by good player with bad manners.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Museum : Clayton Kershaw Blue Bordered Variant ( 20 / 99 )

Kid K's card here puts me over 50% through with this year's Museum set. Already acquired Koufax, Duke, Adrian and now Clayton. Only have Kemp, Ryu and the immortal Jackie left to get.

I have always appreciated Clayton but more and more each day he is becoming my 1A favorite player on the Dodgers. Kemp is still top dog but that is more nowadays because of how he treats fans and how the game has not changed him since he debuted. Clayton here on the other hand year in and year out is going out there and producing possibly a historic career. Take out the wins and he is on pace to break a few records when all is said and done. So I just love adding more Kershaw cards to the collection.

The prices have finally come down a tad on the blue bordered cards and I was able to acquire this gem for just a few cents over $3. Can't beat that for great looking, numbered card of our ace. 4 down 3 to go. The hunt continues.

20 out of 99

Monday, July 8, 2013

Card(s) of the Day - 2013 Topps Archives : Hyun-Jin Ryu, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier

Ah, the Archives set. I have seen past year's versions and they look so much better than this year's and I think mainly it's because this year they picked designs from year's that were bad in their day and don't look any better now. But, there are still Dodgers to collect so the beat goes on.

Picked up the numbered gold parallel of Ryu a little while back but still wanted to pick up the normal version as well. Saw this auction up on eBay and while it had my Ryu it also included Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Knock out 3 birds with one auction stone. At the time of the auction there were still no published book prices just completed transactions so I was not going to overbid. In the end I won all three of these cards for just a tad over $3. Whatever the guide says later won't matter to me as that is only a buck a card with one rookie card which will be at least $2 on its own. Nice additions to my collection for each player. Now that I got these I need to acquire the other Dodgers. The hunt continues.

Traded three dollars for these three cards. Kemp in happier times.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Hyun-Jin Ryu Top 100 Insert

Awhile back I acquired the die cut version of Ryu's Top 100 Insert card but I technically was still on the lookout for the normal non variant but it wasn't getting my full attention at the time. It was time to fix that.

Didn't expect too much hassle on getting this card as it books for only $6 and with Yasiel Puig now taking all the rookie headlines in Los Angeles I figured it would lessen the demand for Ryu's card. Ryu has quietly put up very good numbers so far this year and if it continues he should head to the All-Star game. We shall see. Found an auction that started at just 99 cents and with a day left put my bid in for a buck fifty and won it at that exact price. Nothing wrong with picking up a card for a dollar and some pocket change. Welcome once more to my collection Ryu.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Joc Pederson Blue Wave Mini Refractor Insert Variant ( 63 / 250 )

Finally.... the hunt is over for the last blue wave mini variant that I needed to complete the Dodger set from this year's Bowman series. Not Puig, not Ryu and not even Seager has given problems on acquiring their cards like Joc has. I've had the whole set for a good month now but can never get Joc's card as every single auction has been going over book which is only $6. Just not going to overpay for a card that isn't even a rookie card. Adding to my frustration daily.

Found a buy it now auction for $6 and said hell with it. Actually paid book for it just to be done with it. There are only 250 copies of the card which means there technically is a finite number of auctions I could bid on but at the same time didn't think it would be that hard to acquire but I was tired of searching for that last card to finish the set so I just pulled the trigger on this one. Great looking card and glad to finally be done with hunting it down.

Blue Joc. 63 out of 250

Friday, July 5, 2013

Movie Review : Despicable Me 2

The inevitable sequel to the 2010 smash hit arrived in theaters yesterday with the attempt to raise the bar from the first film. On most fronts it did.
We start off with seeing Gru ( Steve Carrell ) settling in as the father figure to the three little girls that he adopted and he has given up his evil ways and is trying to move on with a honest business adventure. Thankfully and obviously with all the advertisements Gru's minions are still around and seem to be like the Gremlins from back in the day as they have multiplied. Maybe Gru threw a bucket of water on them between movies. Gru is soon abducted and recruited by the AVL ( Anti-Villain League ) to track down someone that has stolen a science lab from the Artic circle which were working on a formula that augments the subject into an amped up being ala a purple skinned Hulk. Problem is that the formula is unstable and if it falls into the wrong hands it can and will have serious consequences.
As Gru and his assigned partner Lucy Wilde ( Kristen Wig ) are trying to track down whoever stole the formula, Gru must deal with the girls growing up and causing more headaches with the most dangerous of them being that boys have entered into the picture which Gru just can't handle. The duo finally tracks down the mastermind who was behind the taking of the formula but that is after villain has taken most of Gru's minions and administered the formula to them and have turned them into more of mindless beings but now in purple form with massive unchecked anger issues and aggression. It is quite hilarious when a couple of the unaffected yellow minions meet up with the purple counterparts and interact. I couldn't stop laughing.
Movie hits its climax when Gru and Lucy are cornered by all the purple minions and the mastermind who also used the formula on himself to take on a more physical role in defeating Gru and Lucy. With the help of an old friend and Gru's girls and of course some minions they are able to overcome the affected minions and the big bad guy and all is happy in the end with everyone with the door open for the obvious third movie in the franchise in the near future.
Verdict : This is the way a cartoon movie should be during the summer. I was disappointed with Monster's University last week and with that and this movie both having my expectations high the minions lived up to them while the monsters did not. Don't get me wrong there are some issues with this movie with the middle part being the slowest but I never felt that the movie was dragging on too long for it's own good. With the theme being family and growth this film brought it all together nicely as we see Gru learning to love and the girls experiencing new things that have there own up and downs. The minions as in the first movie steal the show with all their antics and I couldn't stop laughing out loud at this yellow little "pills" running around causing havoc with a type of innocence about them. They were great. I saw the movie in 3D and thought it added a nice extra layer to the storytelling especially during the credits which don't forget to stick around for. A great time had by all and a BIG THUMBS UP to watch this flick. Family friendly and leaves you in a good mood after leaving the theater. 

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Museum : Adrian Gonzalez Blue Bordered Variant ( 36 / 99 )

Another card that shows off the Dodger's first half MVP so far. I have decided to basically bypass the regular cards of this years Topps Museum unless I find a team set for a nice price. Just going to concentrate on the blue bordered variants. I already acquired Koufax and the Duke but have yet to get a player from the current roster until now. Adrian has been the only constant everyday player for the team ( Kershaw is the other constant but plays every 5th day ) and is starting to become a favorite of mine as I get to see him play on a day to day basis instead of him being on the east coast or 18 times a year when he was with the Padres.

The blue bordered cards have been up and down in price and other than the Ryu rookie card I have a set price in mind that I would be willing pay. With that in mind I have missed out on a lot of auctions due to that but I finally landed on this one. Picked it up for a measly $3. So that is 3 blue bordered cards down and 4 to go to complete the set.

36 / 99 of a Blue Adrian

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Trade with Fellow Blogger : Nomo's Sushi Platter

When I got back into the hobby my goal was to collect as many Dodger cards and more specifically autographed cards of Dodgers, past and present. I knew that eBay would take care of most of my wants and local shops or shows would fill in some holes but I would always have unwanted cards from box breaking or duplicates of others. I can't sell them all so one main thing I wanted to do is to be able to trade with fellow bloggers and start a trading relationship with them so we could help each other out. This past week I finalized my first ever trade and it went down perfectly.

The blogger who made this happen was one nomo's sushi platter who happened to see one of my blog entries with multiple Cory Seager's that I did not need. I ended up sending him one of them and couple other cards of some Dodgers and a couple days ago I received the package he sent me. Couldn't be happier with the result of the trade.

The first couple for me I just consider a bonus as I don't really seek out Panini baseball cards but they do show off two great young players in the Dodger system that hopefully show up in the bigs soon.

No. #1 Pitching Prospect Zach Lee and Possible 3rd Baseman Corey Seager

Next up in the package were 3 cards from this years Topps set. Nomo asked me what years I collected and probably noticed I didn't have any of the Topps cards as I have been concentrating on Bowman and other "higher grade" card sets. While the 3 players depicted are not the higher caliber players on the team they are Dodgers and I would need them sooner or later to complete the set and thanks to Nomo I will be on the hunt for the other Dodger cards now that I have these 3.

Train wreck Joe Blanton, Oft Injured Lilly and Fast but no much else Dee.

Next was an old timer and this one happened to be autographed. I love me some autograph cards and thankfully I did not have Dave Anderson in my collection so this fits right in.

Past Dodger Shortstop Mr. Anderson

Last but not least as he is my favorite player and I consider this the best card of the bunch, Matt Kemp. I love these mini's and this is now my second Kemp mini. Though not numbered like my first one this is still a great card of the man himself in Beastmode. A great last card in the package of a lot of needed cards. Thank you again to Nomo and hopefully this is the first of many trades with him and fellow bloggers in the internet world.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Archives : Hyun-Jin Ryu Base Gold Variant

This card I don't know if it was a good buy or not.

At the time of purchase the card was going for $15-17 and I won it for that price as well. Not two days later I saw the card for $5 on most auctions with some as low as $3. What the hell? By far my worst buy so far.

But the last couple of days I have seen some sell again at that higher price so I guess I will see when it comes out in the price guide on how well or bad I did on this transaction. It is a numbered card so that always is a nice addition to perceived "rarity". Either way I really wanted it as it is a variant of a rookie card of one of our Dodgers that looks like he will be performing at a high level for years for our team.

Gold Ryu 82 / 199

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day - Player Appearance Recap : Mike Marshall ( ROMLB Sweet Spot )

Finally left Frank and Sons after spending almost four hours in a hot and humid building. Off to my final autograph signing of the day which fortunately was on the way home. The signing was being held at Harry's Dugout in the city of Whitter. Again, a great new store that people should try at least once. They have held numerous signings in the past and today would be Mike Marshall's turn. The former outfielder of the Dodgers.

I arrived there around 1 and saw that no one was outside and thought that people didn't show up. Opened the door to the store and saw at least 20 people all crammed in the store. It was hot outside and the air conditioning was on the inside. Smart people. Went over to the store owner Edward and bought my ticket as we chit chatted over typical baseball stuff. Always great to talk to.

Mike arrived right on time and thanked everyone for attending the signing was very pleasant and personable to everyone and made eye contact. That is always a big thing for me. Got up to the table said thank you for coming which he appreciated. He signed on the sweet spot and I, like everyone else before me, asked for a picture together which he happily did. Said thank you and made my way back out to the heat outside.

Mike Marshall and I

So at the end of the day I had acquired 3 paid autographs and it was a great day had by me. Great time talking to all the fellow Dodger fans and look forward to the next signing at Harry's Dugout next month for Paul Lo Duca.

Nice smooth signature.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Card of the Day - 2012-13 Panini : Dustin Brown Fabric of the Game Autograph ( 15 / 50 )

Man, I don't know what I was thinking. While concentrating on my Dodger habit and acquiring all cards Dodger I totally forgot about my other main team. The Los Angeles Kings. The 2011-2012 Stanley Cup Champions. Hell, my first entry into this blog was about me and meeting Stanley.

Well I had to fix that problem but unlike the Dodger part of my collection I won't be collecting all King cards that are available. I will be only on the look out for any player that played on the team during their championship run. If they wore the King sweater then I want their autograph on card. Doesn't matter what year it comes from or if they are no longer on the team but it does have to show them in King colors. That will be the problem. I know not all of them have on card autographs so I will have to be patient on finishing the "set" but no time like now to start. Went on eBay to see what is out there and my first hit happened to be the captain, Dustin Brown.

I didn't have access to a price guide during my initial search for King cards so I just had to go with my gut and see what was out there and what people were asking for. Came across this card with a nice crisp blue autograph and some sweater fabric to boot. Most of Dustin's autographed fabric cards it seemed went for at least $14-15 so that was my benchmark. Auction was ending and it sat at just $7 so I thought I had a chance and put my bid in and won the card at nice even number of $11. I still don't know what book is for this card but for me that amount is fair enough and that is all that matters. So I have now added my first Los Angeles King's autograph card and have multiple more to go but we all have to start somewhere. Go Kings Go !!!

The Captain. 15 / 50