Sunday, June 30, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day - Player Appearance Recap : Scott Van Slyke ( ROMLB Sweet Spot )

I planned to see Scott for an autograph this past Saturday but the timeline did not go as planned. I wanted to get Adrian Gonzalez's autograph in Huntington Park which was to start at 10 then head over to get Scott's that started at 10:30 but I passed the store in HP at 6:30 in the morning and saw that the line was at least 150 deep. For a signing that was only going to last about 90 minutes I didn't want to "waste" my time hoping that I would still get it and even if I did I would have missed out on Scott so I went to plan B. Congrats to all that got Adrian's but unlike some people that camped out I can't do that. I have Dodger dedication but that is too much even for me.

Plan B was to arrive at Frank in Sons in the City of Industry and get Scott's autograph first instead of second and to add an another autograph that I wasn't planning on getting. That is for the next entry. Arrived at Frank and Sons around 8:30 and got my ticket. He was scheduled to arrive at 10:30 and I hoped in line around 10:20 and I was only the 10th in line. Didn't expect many people
and there wasn't. By the time I was done there were only about 15 people behind me.

Got up to the table and wished Scott the typical well wishes and handed him the ball for the signature when he flipped it and was about to side panel me. WTH? Had to ask him sweet spot please and he said of course. That was a tad odd. Said thank you and headed over to my second autograph of the day which was over on the other side of the building where a lot more Dodgers were signing that day.

Scott's eventual sweet spot signature.

Movie Review : Monsters University

The prequel to the hit Monsters Inc. finally hit theaters this past week which brings back Sully ( John Goodman ) and Wazowski ( Billy Crystal ) together as we see them back in the day when they first meet each other.
Film starts with Wazowski on a field trip to a factory and shows how is ostracized by fellow monsters but how one worker sets him on the path to wanting to be a scarer. He arrives at Monster's University once of age and enrolls in the scare program. While he is mentally adapt of being a scarer but as a walking eyeball he does not visually scare. He meets carefree Sully who is going through life on his name as his bloodline is rich in history of excelling in scaring. Soon due to incident they both find themselves kicked out of the school program.
While trying to figure out what individually their next game plan will be Wazowski enters the "Scare Games" which is basically like the Greek Games from the movie Revenge of the Nerds which this movie reminds me a lot of. Sully joins the team with resistance from Wazowski but has to reluctantly accept him if he hopes to win. Wazowski convinces the school's headmaster if they win they will be let back into the program but if they don't win they have to leave the school all together.  
The next 40 minutes or so we see the team compete against physically better teams and how they are able to gel and compete as a team and use their individual strengths to propel the team to the inevitable clash with the university's alpha team for all the marbles and the chance to get back into the scare program.
In the end Sully and Wazowski are faced with a moral dilemma and how a situation was handled and what that will do for their future at the university. How that is handled is how they are to be perceived by their peers. In the end as this is a prequel we know they will be together in future and we see their first job together and what the future holds for them.
Verdict : I loved the first movie but this one left me wanting. For me it just didn't have the soul as the first film had. There were plenty of laughs but they were fewer and further apart than the first time we saw them. This was a fine movie but the back and forth between all the characters didn't have that "bite" as we have seen previously. I will give it a THUMBS UP to a viewing but unless the kids drag you I would say you could wait for the Blu Ray release. 

Card of the Day - 2012 Topps Five Star : Clayton Kershaw Silver Ink Autograph ( 84 / 99 )

Like a lot of collectors I am always on the look out for Kershaw autographs and it's hard to pass one up if it is available whether it is a deal or not. I won't buy autographs that are in black as the color fades and will only buy in them in blue, unless, the rare silver cards come up. Silver is not as common as blue so when they become available I keep an eye on it. Considering I don't own a silver one since my return to the hobby it's become an itch that needed to be scratched and finally it has been with this addition.

Looking to add number 3 to my autograph collection of Kershaw and saw this gem on eBay and knew if I could get it at a reasonable price I would. Average action as there were 5 bids on it prior to the final day which had the card at $20. Book has the card at $30 which I think is low but what do I know? Wanted the card but decided I was for sure not going to pay over book for it. Auction was rapidly coming to a close and I put the bid in and won it at $28. So basically I paid book for a card but my mentality is that its silver and its Kershaw. A fine combination.

Card came in the mail and this is the thickest card I have ever owned. This is a big boy. Glad to finally add my first silver on card autograph and to top it off it is of Kershaw which I now own 3 autographs of. Sometimes paying book isn't that bad.

Silver, Kershaw, 84 out of 99. What else can I ask for?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Museum : Dee Gordon Primary Pieces Game Used Material ( 39 / 75 )

Not the biggest fan of Dee but with him being a nice guy and more importantly a Dodger I will always look for good deals. I think this one qualifies as one.

Topps Museum this year has a lot of fabric cards and I am still trying to get my hands on a Kershaw copy but til then I will pick up other ones here and there. Dee's card came up for auction and had the standard starting bid of 99 cents. Not much action as expected and as the auction was winding down I put my bid in and won it for just $5. I have added it to my collection but it is available for trade. Never have been the biggest fans of fabric cards unless they are very unique ( logo adorned, etc ) or accompanied by an autograph but I know other people live for these. I'll gladly trade this for an autograph or variant card. Til then, welcome to the collection Dee.

3 colored card with it being on 39 out of 75. Not too shabby

Friday, June 28, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Heritage : Adrian Gonzalez Base SP

So this card probably doesn't need its own entry but since it is a short print not just a base card and showcases probably our 1st half MVP Adrian it gives me another reason to add to my blog entry tally.

Still looking to finish off the Heritage set and since they are not overly hard to be had I just keep an eye out for any deal I can get to acquire the necessary cards. With Adrian being a high numbered SP I knew the price would be more than a dollar as book has him at $8. I really need to go to a card show one of these days to see if I can put a major dent into my want list but til then back to eBay I went. Found this one for just $2 on auction and picked it up for that cost. One step closer to finishing a multi variety set.

Adrian, Why so serious ?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Joc Pederson Mini Refractor Insert

That elusive last card of a set you are trying to complete can be so frustrating that it becomes annoying yet still exciting as you are on that quest to finish the set. I finally finished one and now need the variant of another. Funny how it is of the same person, Joc Pederson.

This is not the first year for Joc's cards so I thought this would be easier than it has been. Book is sitting at just $2 yet every auction I bidded on ended up at over $3 and sometimes as high as $5. Ugh. So as always I kept bidding and on one auction after another til finally I won one at $1.99 delivered. Finally got Joc to complete the mini refractor set. Now I just have one last blue wave variant of the same set to acquire and not surprising it is also of Joc. Book on that one is $6 and I haven't been able to land one at under that so this search might take awhile. But til then I will enjoy the fact that I did complete at least one of my sets for this year. Now let's see if Joc ever will see Dodger Stadium in a blue uniform or will he be traded for some hole we need filled.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New Hideo Nomo Bobblehead

The Dodgers have released a picture of the upcoming Hideo Nomo Bobblehead that is being released on August 10th when they host the Tampa Bay Rays on a Saturday day game. Looks great as it captures him in his classic "tornado" pose. I look forward to picking this one up. Also it has been reported that Hideo himself will be in the house. Haven't seem him around these parts in years and he will get a well deserved standing ovation. Go Blue.

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Museum : Duke Snider Blue Bordered Variant ( 42 / 99 )

Still trying to complete my blue bordered variant set from this year's Museum edition and have been able to only get Koufax so far. That is up until this past week when I scored this little gem.

Duke Snider was our best center fielder in the organization til Matt Kemp came along and will always be loved in Brooklyn. A class act all around. It is unfortunate that I never got to meet the man before he passed away.

These blue cards are numbered out of only 99 so there are only so many chances I get to buy it one. Even with Duke's star power he is probably the least desired of the Dodger bunch within the set. Wasn't going to stop me from acquiring my copy and probably made it easier to get as the demand was lower. Had my eye on a few auctions and this one seller had his auction starting at just 1 penny. With less than 10 minutes left no one had bidded on the item so I put my bid in and won the card. At just one cent. Ha Ha. Never won an auction at that price. Granted the shipping was a $1.50 but even with that I received a low numbered card for under $3. You just can't beat that.

42 of only 99.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day : Shawn Green ( ROMLB Sweet Spot )

Next in line for my run through the "old-timers" in my collection is one of my favorite players from the 2000's. One, Shawn Green

Shawn came to us from Toronto for Raul Mondesi in 1999 and debuted with the team in 2000. He played for the team for 5 years before being traded after the 2004 season. Looking back while his statistics where never great per se, in my eyes he always seemed to get that key hit or have a great offensive output on any given night that I was watching him. Now I didn't follow the Dodgers day to day like I do now but maybe I just wore blue colored glasses or didn't realize that he no more than above average player in the long run like so many people say. He did have two seasons back to back with 40 home runs but his claim to fame came in 2002 when he hit four home runs in one game. And to add to my reflection that he was a great player was that is a game I watched on tv and was in amazement of what he did that day. He also added a double to his home run total. At the end of his career he ended up with over 300 home runs and 2000 hits. A fine run by him.

Couple years ago it came time to acquire a Shawn Green ball but even to this day there are not many authenticated versions to chose from at a reasonable price. He has been at spring training in AZ but I always miss him so at the present moment this was the only way I could acquire an autograph. Someone finally had a PSA authenticated ball for sale on eBay with a starting price of $9.99 so I knew I would be in on this auction. As it neared it's end the price was sitting at $12 and some change so I put my bid in and won the ball for a tad over $16. Not too shabby if I so say myself. I have proudly added this to my collection and hope to replace it one day with an in person version. Until then thank you for the, in my mind, great Dodger career Shawn.

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Museum : Maury Wills Autograph ( 172 / 399 )

Go, Go , Go . . .

That chant for Maury Wills back in the day when he was a base stealing threat every time he came up to the plate. I have met Maury a few times and back in the day even helped him sell him a Ford when he came into my old workplace. That was in the 90's before I even collected cards, balls, etc so I didn't even get an autograph at that time. He was nice then and he has been cordial every time I have seen him since.

This year's Museum set has a few autographs that I would love to have and was lucky enough to add this one for such a low price. When the set first came out most of these were going for over $10 and while not terrible I wasn't in any hurry to get my copy at that price. I sat on the sidelines and waiting for the right price to come around and when it did I made my move. In the end I was able to acquire this card for just $6. I love when you can get autographs at such a bargain price.

Nice, crisp blue auto of a Dodger Legend. 172 / 399

Monday, June 24, 2013

Movie Review : World War Z

Zombies are all the rage nowadays and Brad Pitt has decided to dip his toe into the water to get his share of love from the zombie crowd.
The movie does not pretend to be more than what it is. Starts right off with Gerry Lane ( Brad Pitt ) and his family in Philadelphia going about their day when the infection hits and they are forced to run for their lives. Gerry was part of the U.S. government before he retired to spend more time with his family but still has connections with high ranking officials. The zombies are not your typical slow and methodical ones that you see on Walking Dead or certain video games but more like the ones from 28 Days Later but on speed. They are drawn by noise and come swarming after you in large groups. People are easily overrun by them and in turn are bitten and they themselves become zombies.
Gerry is able to get his family rescued and brought to a battleship in the Atlantic Ocean where he is told he needs to help find a solution or his family will be kicked off the boat. He is left with no choice and is soon on his way to Korea where the supposed epicenter of this epidemic started. There are clues but the answer is still hidden from him and he must now travel to Israel where they have found a way to stay unaffected by what is effecting everyone else in the world. Once Gerry shows up that little piece of heaven turns to hell but he does pick up on major clue and is starting to figure out how to counteract the zombies. He escapes with the information and needs to head to a W.H.O. ( World Health Organization ) office in Europe to put his theory to test.
Once there after a traumatic plane ride he meets up with the head of that branch but is informed that though they have the situation contained they also have people that have been infected and to put Gerry's theory to test they must somehow overcome that obstacle. Climax has Gerry going head first into the W.H.O. zombie den and putting his life on the line for his family.
Verdict : With all the bad buzz and re shoots I went into this flick with lower expectations than I normally have for a Pitt movie and came out pleasantly surprised. This film is by no means a great film but it is enjoyable for what it is. Brad plays his part well and obviously this movie is to showcase him as everyone else is grouped into the supporting category. The movie moves briskly and doesn't really have any slow spots but no really hair raising ones as well. For Brad and / or zombie lovers you will like this movie and I fall into that category so a THUMBS UP from me. If the sight of him or zombies offend you it will be a waste of money and time. 

Attended Game Recap : June 20th vs Padres - PADRES 6 Dodgers 3 also Signed Ball of the Day : Hyun-Jin Ryu ( ROMLB Side Panel )

Had time off to use at work as if I didn't I would lose it. Why not take in a Dodger game in San Diego.

Headed down the day prior so we would be well rested by game time. Headed down to the stadium and entered 2 hours prior to watch batting practice. Watched the end of Padre BP but the Dodgers never showed up as they cancelled it do to the double header the day before and flying all night cross country. That is a bummer as that is the main reason I wanted to go down there on a weekday so I can acquire a ball from the field as I aim to get one from every stadium I attend and San Diego I have never been able to get one yet. Guess it will have to be another time. Headed over to our seats on the field level to see if I could at least acquire some autographs. Every single person that signed ( Ted Lilly, Brandon League, Skip and Hanley ) I already had. Seemed like it was going to be a non autograph day for me. Yasiel came out to do his normal routine and I jumped in line in the hope of acquiring another signature from him when I noticed that Hyun-Jin Ryu was signing over by the dugout. I had a young lady hold my spot in the Puig line and ran over to Ryu and he was taking items that were tossed to him. I debated on a team ball or hopefully if I sent him a clean one he would sweet spot it for me. I threw the clean one but he side paneled me. Ugh. That ball is available for trade if anyone would like it.

Nice crisp Ryu autograph BUT side paneled.

Headed back over to Puig and got back in line but he decided not to sign for anyone. So on the autograph front it was basically a bust.

Game started and with the first pitch that Puig saw I got to see my first in person home run by the young phenom. He launched it into center field. That basically was the only highlight for the Dodgers. They did score a couple more runs but that was after the Padres took advantage of our bullpen as most teams have this year. Another disappointing game to attend other than being out of town with my better half and enjoy the atmosphere.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Movie Review :This Is The End

A movie that has no real plot of just a bunch of pot smoking buddies in the end of days. That is how you can describe this film in one sentence and you probably would think that the movie would probably suck. And you would be wrong.

All the actors are playing themselves in this flick so we see Jay Barucel arrive in Los Angeles to meet up with life long friend Seth Rogen and immediately head back to the his house to play video games, smoke pot and watch some porn. Let the good times roll. Seth convinces Jay to head over to his friend James Franco's house for a party which Jay doesn't really want to go to as Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson are there and he doesn't care too much for them either. Once at the party the so called typical Hollywood scenes ensure including Michael Cera in a very funny threesome with blow and pot being used freely. Jay and Seth head out to the liquor store to get some smokes when a massive 9.7 earthquake hits the area with some people being beamed up in a blue light. The duo head back to Franco's house with everyone still partying like nothing had happened. 

Soon enough the whole party ends up leaving the house leaving the 5 alone with Danny McBride showing up as an expected and uninvited guest. For the next 40 minutes or so they all go through different levels of hope and despair as they try to figure out what is happening and what to do about it. There is a scene that involves Danny and James discussing what they would do with a bodily function to each other and the house. It is very wrong but I haven't laughed that loud for a long time. They played it to the fullest and delivered. I am sure MTV awards will focus on it when award season comes around.

The group figures out with Jay's knowledge that all this is the apocalypse and that the people that were "saved" via the blue light were part of the rapture but even though they weren't part of the first wave of saved people they could still earn their way to heaven. One by one they try to "be nice" their way in with varying results.

Verdict : The movie is basically a frat boy party with very crude language and vulgar scenery every place you turn. And even with all that I found it hilarious. All the guys lets lose and the raunchiness ensues. I personally don't enjoy Danny in films but when he is not the main focus but a supporting character he becomes entertaining. James, Craig and Jonah are great opposites to Jay's straight man with Seth stuck in the middle. This movie really doesn't have a "real plot" other than that it's the end ( of course ) and how they react to it. Didn't want to use my brain for a couple of hours and this was a great escape. If you like raunchy and politically incorrect humor like I do this is a big THUMBS UP to watch. If you don't fall into those categories or are easily offended I would say pass.

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Hyun-Jin Ryu Blue Bordered Variant ( 362 / 500 )

Still trying to get my blue bordered variant set completed and was able to knock off another one off the list.

This is the first copy of the blue bordered variant of Ryu's rookie card to make it to my door but something just tells me to get a few extras if need be for trade or otherwise. Found this particular card on the bay for a measly $5 delivered. Book has it at $10 so for 50% I was able to add this to my collection. Not a day later another buyer had it up for grabs at a low cost of just $3. Do I need two copies of this card on purpose? Probably not but for that second one's low price I wasn't going to pass it up. So with the second one in the mail I have now put this first one in my master set of this year's Bowman set. A fine addition by a very good "rookie" pitcher.

Ryu in Blue Form. 362 out of 500.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Heritage : Matt Kemp Short Print Mini Numbered ( 27 / 100 )

Another score on my Matt Kemp hit list and this card comes in miniature form.

Matt is on the DL presently and even when he was on the field he was not performing to his and our expectations. Great time to go acquire some of his cards at a lower price due to demand being lessened this year.

I'm still trying to finish up my Dodger set from this year's Heritage set and I have now moved onto the variants and random inserts and trying to get those harder to find ones. This for sure is one of them. The mini's are all numbered out of only 100 which makes them hard to acquire but not impossible. What makes this one the best of the bunch is that it is numbered 27, his uniform number. This is my first numbered card of a Dodger player of his actual uniform number. A true 1 of 1. I'm debating on getting this one signed as I think it would just ad to the uniqueness.

The seller had it at a buy it now of $15 which is $5 less of book. A decent bargain but not as much as I would like. I sent what I thought was a low ball offer of $9. He actually accepted it. So for that amount I got a uniformed numbered card out of 100 of my favorite baseball player. A good day indeed.

Short Printed and numbered 27 of 100. Uniform numbered card. Woo Hoo

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Card of the Day - 2012 Upper Deck SP Signature Edition : Chad Billingsley Autograph

When it comes to the autograph part of my collection no year is left out and even though this is not from 2013, my re-entry year into the hobby, I am not going to pass up any good deal to get an autograph from a Dodger even if I already have his autograph on something.

I already have Chad's John Hancock on multiple items and I still believe he is one of the most underrated and under appreciated pitchers on our team. When he was on last year he was dominant and hopefully after his surgery he can come back next year and be a good middle of the rotation option.

Perusing eBay which is the norm and came across this card and the seller had it at a buy it now of just $5 but also had a best offer option. Never hurts to see if I can get a lower price and considering Chad is on the shelf for a year there is minimal demand for his cards. Sent an offer of $3 which he countered and in the end we agreed on just $3.50 delivered for the card. In my eyes that is a decent buy. I didn't look up the book value of the card but when ever I can get an authentic card for under $5 I don't blink. Get well soon Chad.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day : Maury " Morning " Wills ( RONL Sweet Spot )

Back on the 8th of June the Dodgers held an Old-Timers game at the stadium and with it I have decided to show off from my collection of players that have retired ( recent or old ) for the time being then get back to current players. First up is Dodger great, Maury Wills.

Years ago when I got back into collecting autographed balls I was all over the place in what I wanted to acquire and what price I should or shouldn't pay for said autographs. Maury happened to be one of the first I purchased. Maury spent the bulk of his career as a Dodger with a pit stop in Pittsburgh and Montreal until coming back and retiring as a Dodger in 1972. He was the Dee Gordon speed of his day with more plate discipline and actual offense contributions. At the end of his career he ended up with multiple achievements which included being a 3x World Series champion, 7x All Star, having over 2000 hits and a MVP to boot. A fine career anyway you cut it. It's more impressive considering he didn't even debut in the big leagues until he was 27. When he retired he tried his hand in managing but it didn't end up well but thankfully in 2009 he came back home to the Dodgers and has been with them since as a coach in one form or another.

When I went looking on eBay for autographed balls the one thing I knew to look for was the PSA authenticated versions but price was all over the place. One thing that had me zero in on this one was that unlike most versions I saw this one included his middle name which I think is unique and wanted to get it. Being at least 5 years I ago I don't remember the exact cost I paid but I do know it was less than $35 as that was my limit back then. So I know I paid at least $25 but no more than $35. Now granted Maury signs for free every other month or so it seems ( though I still haven't gone to one my self ) but at the time of this transaction I hadn't gone to many public signings yet so in my eyes this was good bang for my buck. One of these days I will go get a "free" autograph of Maury but until then this is a very nice piece in my Dodger collection.

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps : Sandy Koufax Manufactured "Silk" Rookie Reprint

There is never anything wrong with acquiring Koufax cards and this one is no different other than the way it was made and looks.

This card is part of the rookie commemorative card insert set in this year's Topps set. Though it was a Dodger and Koufax the card was not a top priority on acquiring but if the right price came around I would not stop from buying it. The card is not made like typical cards as it is a reprint picture of his 1955 rookie card on some silk like fabric on a thick plastic bordered card. Tad odd looking but unique and cool in it's own right.

Again book has this card's value at a high of $25 and I was never going to spend that much for it so it came down to finding that low ball auction I could jump on. I bid on a few auctions and never got close to winning as each one went for double digits. Finally found this auction ending on a Friday night which I think helps as people usually are not looking at that time and I ended up winning it for a mere $8. A nice pick up at a low amount of a Dodger great.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Card(s) of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Hyun-Jin Ryu Gold Bordered Variant / State and Home Variant

Potential rookie of the year Ryu has multiple variants within this year's Bowman set and I aim to get them all or at least the non very rare ones.

I was still missing out on the gold and the state and home variants and for the most part I have only seen them selling by themselves and hadn't seen a price I was willing to pay. Book has the gold at $6 with state and home coming in at $8. I found this auction that had both cards with a starting bid of just .99 cents and hoped that I could kill two birds with one stone and avoid shipping on two different auctions as this seller offered free shipping. Put my bid in a day prior to the end of the auction and luckily won it at just pennies over $8. So basically it came out to me paying for the state and home at book with the gold being thrown in for free. A nice little hit for the day and one step forward to completing my Ryu set.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Jesmuel Valentin All America Under Armour Autograph 81 / 225

Timing is everything in sports as it is in card collecting. I was going through the checklist for this year's Bowman set and I had forgotten to look for the Jesmuel Valentin autographed card. The two main reasons I missed him was because one, the list I was using didn't have him under the Dodgers section and two, it is an unnumbered card so it didn't fall into any sequence. Oops. I found my error and went out to fix that and acquire yet another autograph.

Book value has this card at $25 but if you look on eBay they range from anywhere between $4 to $13  at the time of my search, but none reaching anywhere close to book. Look back a little further in sold history and I see that a month prior there were more at the higher end price. Most of the low amount auctions I missed out on so I had to figure what I was willing to pay and in the end after missing out on two different auctions and on my third try I ended up winning my copy at just $7 delivered to my door. While not as low as $4 it is far from book and what other people have paid. A nice addition and my only Dodger signed card that does not depict the player in Dodger blue.

81 / 225

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Movie Review : Man of Steel

DC tries once again to resurrect the Superman franchise and finally hits one out of the ballpark with this reboot.

Movie jumps right into the action with the finally days of Krypton. We see head scientist Jor-El ( Russell Crowe ) in disagreement with the government on what course they should take pertaining to their dying planet. Jor-El's opinion is brushed aside by them and then by the military leader General Zod ( Michael Shannon ). During the planet's final moments Jor-El and his wife get their son Kal-El ne Superman ( Henry Cavill ) prepped to escape and hopefully live a full life. General Zod is sentenced to space jail for his actions towards the leaders of Krypton and with Kal-El escape the planet's demise.

Kal-El crashes to Earth and is found by Jonathan Kent ( Kevin Costner ) and his wife Martha ( Diane Lane ). They take in as their own and name him Clark. We see Clark's childhood as anything but normal. He knows he is different and yet tries to blend in with the help of his parents. Difficult is the life of a super powered child. Clark grows up to be an outsider floating from job to job until something happens that requires him to use his powers which in turn makes him move on.

While the government is investigating something that is frozen in the Aortic, Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane ( Amy Adams ) shows up on scene to see what exactly the government has on their hands. Clark is also on hand and we see the connection between what is buried in the ice and his past. Clark again is pressed to help and this time it happens to be Lois. After the incident Lois takes makes it her personal mission to find out who this Clark is and what and where he comes from. Answers lead to Clark's Kansas home Smallville. At least this rendition of Superman does not insult Lois's intelligence and she knows Clark and Superman are one and the same and a pair of glasses masks everything.

Soon General Zod makes his presence known and we find out that with Krypton's collapse he escaped his life sentence in prison. He has come to Earth to acquire Kal-El to revive Krypton's race. General Zod's plan is finally revealed to be that he wants to convert Earth to able to sustain Krypton type life which would take out our race. Superman obviously confronts him and his army on each front with the help of American military who have learned to trust him. Superman, Lois and friends figure out the only way the can save their planet is to exile Zod and his cronies and that they must send them back where they came from. Metropolis takes a beating in the wake of the many air and land battles. In the end Superman is faced with the decision of having to kill Zod to preserve human life or even though someone is evil all life is to be respected. Zod's plan is stopped but at what cost to everyone involved.

Verdict: Finally a good Superman movie. I am more of a Marvel with DC characters not named Batman taking a back seat to my tastes in geeky movies. Kevin and Russell are supporting characters and give their best performances in years. Maybe a career switch like this can do both of them good. Amy well decent just didn't fit my mental picture of who Lois should be and for me just didn't click. Still like her as an actress but just not in this movie. Henry does well in his role as not much is asked of him. The star of the flick though is the main villain Michael playing Zod. Anyone that knows him from the HBO series Boardwalk Empire knows he would fit this role perfectly. In the long run we know DC is going the same route as Marvel and wants to set up all their heroes in individual movies before getting them together in one and in this case it would be the Justice League. Their version of the Avengers. I went in with lower expectations due to past failures of the character and the general less interest in DC and came out looking forward to what DC is trying to do here. The movie moves at a brisk pace and the special effects are top notch. Can't ask for more from a superhero flick. Not my favorite movie of the summer but for sure one that gets a THUMBS UP to see on the big screen.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day - Player Appearance Recap : Jamey Carroll ( ROMLB Sweet Spot )

Jamey is a prime example of being the perfect bench guy who steps up when needed but knows his role is not as a star but a main cog in the a wheel.

He signed with the Dodgers in the 2009 off season to a two year deal. At the time it Ned was criticized for giving an aging bench player a two year deal. Now since Jamey has moved on we can look back at it and realize we got a steal. He was supposed to only be a veteran presence on the bench with the occasional start to give someone a rest but in the end he became almost an everyday starter due to another of Rafael Furcal's injuries or something wrong in the outfield. He constantly performed above and beyond we as fans expected him to do. When the contract came to an end I like others wouldn't have minded if he received another contract from the Dodgers to remain an important part of the team. Personally I would have done a one year contract. Don't want to push your luck too much with another two year one. When his career comes to an end he will never have the numbers or championships to warrant hall of fame consideration but he was an important part of the team and performed when needed.

In 2010 Jamey was to do a public appearance at a Staples store in Los Angeles and I wanted to get him on a bat. For some reason I didn't think he warranted a single signed ball. Arrived around 9 in the morning for a 12 scheduled appearance and there was already a line of at least 50. Didn't expect that many for him at that time. Problem was once 12 came around all the people in front of me had more people in their cars. A common annoyance with public signings. So once the signing started I was closer to 90th in line. This was scheduled for just one hour and the line was going slow and didn't know why. Right about 11:50 I got to the front of the line and found out that Jamey engaged every fan and talked to them and took pictures if asked. He even gave pointers on what pen or sharpie to use so people would leave educated for future signings. You don't see that everyday. Got my bat signed ( will be in another post in the future ) and said thank you and left with a little more respect for the man.

Jamey explaining the difference in writing tools.

Well this past few months I have reassessed my collection as stated and have kept my eyes out for certain signed balls that I might have passed on but not wouldn't mind having in my collection. Jamey falls into that category. With him gone from the team me getting an IP would be hard so I just checked eBay for any new inventory and this PSA authenticated ball came up for sale with a starting bid of $15. Signature, authentication process and an official ball for that price is great. Auction lasted 7 days and as it was coming to an end no one had put a bid in so with a minute or so left I put in my bid and won. Granted I could have gotten this for free back in the day at the public appearance but considering I didn't have to pay much more than the cost of a ball I basically got the autograph and authentication process for free and never had to leave my house. Good call all round.

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Zach Lee Mini Refractor Insert Blue Variant

Getting closer to completing my set with only Joc Pederson and Zach Lee left. Zach I thought would be the easiest as the other 4 in the set have taken over all the headlines with Zach while still a good talent isn't in the same class with the others in terms of collectability for this insert set. Went to find my copy and buy it and I was right.

There were plenty of auctions to chose from so I just looked for one that had a low staring bid with minimal shipping. This is one card I wasn't going to overpay for and didn't according to book. Auction started at .99 cents with shipping less than $2 and I ended being the one and only bidder. So for a couple of dollars and some change I was one step closer to finishing the blue set. Joc is the only one left now.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Card(s) of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Corey Seager Mini Refractor Insert Blue Variant Plus More

Still been trying to complete my blue variant set for this year's Bowman mini refractor insert set of the Dodgers and yet surprisingly enough Cory has been very elusive for me to acquire. Part of the reason I'm sure is because I just refuse to pay a premium due to it being the blue variant. I've been capping myself at roughly $3-4 as book value is at $6 and I think my range is reasonable. Well everyone on eBay doesn't think they same way so I keep losing out to people willing to pay $5 and sometimes over book. Elusive indeed.

Along came this auction which during normal circumstances I wouldn't pay too much attention to but it had the blue card I needed. Seller set up this auction with 2 blue variants which I thought I could use one in reserve for a possible future trade for something else. But wait there's more... = )
The seller also included 14 of the regular mini refractors of which I already had my one that I needed. To say the least, overkill for my tastes. Well he had the starting bid at just a penny so I said what the hell and put my bid in just over $8. So basically $4 a piece for the blues with the regulars just extra. Didn't think nothing of it til the last day I received an email stating I was the winning bidder. So, I can't buy just one Seager but I can win 16? Go figure. Well I got my blue and then some. So one step closer to completing the mini collection. Anybody need a blue Seager or a mini? I have plenty/

Blue Seager his twin brother and 14 cousins.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Upcoming Appearance / Signing : Jack Morris @ Harry's Dugout

Harry's Dugout is holding another one of their in house signings this upcoming August 3rd. This time Jack Morris will be there to sign for fans. What I love most about this store and their owners is that they bring in the people you rarely see doing a public signing. There has been Riddick Bowe, Mike Marshall, Tim Wallach and to a lesser extent Pedro Guerrero and now we get Jack Morris. Prices are still to be determined but will be competitive as always. I will be there to get this current border line and probable Hall of Famer. Come by and support the store and mingle with fellow fans.

Card of the Day - 2012 Topps Triple Threads : Clayton Kershaw Game Used Material Autograph ( 8 / 18 )

I am sorely lacking in the autograph side of my collection with Clayton Kershaw. I am trying to fix that at a slow but constant pace but the problem is that the more he does on the field the more the prices go up on his cards. I have my eyes on a numerous auctions but almost every single one I lose because I set an amount I am willing to spend and always get outbid. I won one a couple of weeks ago and now this one. I think someone was asleep at the wheel as I think this one was a steal.

This one is numbered out of 18 which makes little difference to me as I'm just after the autograph of the man. It being more limited is just a perk. The real reason I wanted this one is that the material is spelled out to say " KID K ". One of his numerous nicknames and I just had to have it but wasn't going to over pay. Book value has it at $50 for now. Well with seconds left I put in my final bid and won this at just $25. Couldn't believe it. That is a steal but Ill take it and be happy. So this is now my second Kershaw autograph and can't wait to add more to the collection.

Once and Future Cy Young Winner. 8 out of only 18.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Yasiel Puig Top 100 Insert Die Cut

THE card right now that you can get of super phenom Puig. Yes, you can get the redemption card for a future card that is signed by him but this card is the one that actually has him depicted in Dodger blue at this moment. This card just keeps getting better day by day as yesterday he won Player of Week in his first week in the majors. Until the autograph cards come out these is the card to acquire.

Yesterday I showed the non die cut version that I picked up for $5 but this is the card that I really wanted and I had been trying to get it for a month but was never going to spend over $60. That was a mistake on my part. The day of his call up this card started to shoot up and I actually lost two auctions. This one had a buy it now for $150 with best offer available. I put my offer in by noticed that 27 other people did the same. That is a lot of action on an auction. I had some spare inventory that I put up to sell which came up to $140. I said screw it and just purchased the card for the asking price of $150. Only $10 out of my pocket. Days later this card is now way over $225 and climbing. While that was pricey for a card I didn't really spend much for it as I had auctions to offset.

The card is numbered out of only 99. That meant very few chances for me to try to win this card before it really skyrocketed. I made the plunge and though I didn't want to pay that much but I think in the long run I think it is a decent investment. It looks great in person and I am going to get this one graded. Hopefully it will grade out a 9.5 We shall see how it turns out on both fronts.

Signed Ball of the Day : Gary Sheffield ( ROMLB Sweet Spot )

So as I am selling part of my collection on players that do not hold my interest anymore ( only ones that were pre-signed, keeping all IP ) I use the money earned to buy the Dodgers, past and present, that I have missed out through the years.

I once had a signed ball of Gary Sheffield years ago but I went through the phase of not wanted any players that might or are connected to steroids. I've thought about that and though I am still on the fence of condemning or just accepting it as cheating in some form of another has been going on for decades. Well I sold that first ball about 18 months ago but now I decided to get some of them back. Already got Manny and now I was after Sheffield. Steroids or not Gary performed on the field and hit over 500 home runs. He was part of the horrendous trade that sent franchise catcher Mike Piazza to Florida which meant no matter what Gary did there would always be resentment towards him from Dodger fans. He had a very good career with the Dodgers and moved on after a little more than three years with the team. Don't dislike the man just have no opinion on him.

Well as usual off to eBay to acquire the ball as I don't foresee me ever getting him to sign in person. Most of the auctions are buy it now's only and I wasn't going to pay for the up charge of whatever the seller thought he had to put on it. Finally found a traditional auction with a starting bid of $10. Was going to be out of town for the day so I put in my bid a day prior which made me the high bidder at the time but I assumed I would be outbid. To my surprise I was not as I won this PSA authenticated copy for just $28. Not a bad purchase considering the normal sell prices I see on Gary. He is back in the collection and this time he is here to stay.

The Sheff

Monday, June 10, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Yasiel Puig Top 100 Insert

I've been going through my cards as I have gotten them through the mail so I have a lot of cards in the que but with the hysteria of Yasiel Puig I have bumped up the two cards I have gotten in the last week. In two previous posts I showed off the blue wave mini refractor that I got for $20 which now sells for over $150. A nice investment. The non blue one I got for $5 and regularly sells for over $30. No intention to sell or trade but nice to know the value.

Well this card I needed to complete the Dodger collection of the set. Right before his call up I looked for the card and saw a seller had some other cards I wanted ( will be in another post ) but I saw this one in one of his auctions. He had it a buy it now of $5. You know I picked that up right then and there. A great addition to the collection as the card now goes for $40 plus just a week after I got it.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day - Player Appearance Recap : Dwight Gooden ( ROMLB Sweet Spot )

Today was a sleepy Sunday morning and Dwight was scheduled to do an autograph appearance at Orange County Sportscards in Anaheim. He has been in town to participate in the Old Timers game that was held at Dodger Stadium yesterday. He was the starting pitcher just like in old days and pitched a scoreless inning.

Dwight had a tremendous start to his career as a New York Met and helped win the World Series in 1986. He went on to win a couple more world series but he never recovered from the substance abuse that took over his life. He could have been a Hall of Famer with the beginning of his career but ended up with less than 200 wins. Don't get me wrong, he accomplished a lot as he was a multiple All Star, threw a no hitter, Silver Slugger award amongst other awards. On the field he had a career that many would want but it cost him a lot with his personal demons.

Dwight signing for a fan.

Dwight arrived early to the store and was inside signing for the promoter til noon when his scheduled time for the general public. When I arrived there were maybe 30 people in front of me. The line moved somewhat slowly as most people talked to Dwight and had their picture taken with him. Once I got up to the table I handed over a ball and he signed right on the sweet spot as requested. I asked if he would mind a picture and he said come on around. He was cordial and nice and engaging with everyone. Thanked him for the signature and told him to have a great day and he did the same. A nice guy and glad I got to meet him today.

Dwight and I.

Sweet Spot Autograph

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Museum : Matt Kemp Primary Pieces Game Used Memorabalia ( 13 / 75 )

Another day and another Kemp search on the bay. Watching a few auctions from this year's sets and thought maybe I can score a game used card at a low cost. The only good thing about when I player is not performing on the field is that their cards become cheaper to acquire. Matt is not immune to this. Auction was nearing its end and it was still sitting at $5 so I for sure was going to put a bid in. Put my bid in for a tad over $10 and that is what I won it for. $10 is a minor steal on a game used card for a superstar. I now have my first game used material card of Kemp since I reentered the hobby. To top it off it is dual color. Love the blue.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Card(s) of the Day - 2013 Topps : Johnny Podres Chasing History Autograph Plus Two Bonus Cards

So another slow spot at work so I went onto eBay. Wanted to look for some old school Dodger autographs and I am always looking for Brooklyn players. I scored on both fronts on this purchase. A seller had this Johnny autographed card up and had an option for best offer. Submitted an offer of $6 and the seller accepted it. Old timer Dodger while wearing the classic Brooklyn uniform and autographed on card. Can't beat that.

1955 Game 7 Winner Johnny Podres

But I guess I did just a tad. Looked at what else he had for sale and he had these two Kemp and Duke Snider mini Gypsy Queen cards from this year's set at a buck a piece. I do not know much about these except that they depict two great Dodger center fielders. Couldn't pass it up so I pick up both of them. $8 total for the three.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Upcoming Appearance / Signing : Mike Marshall ( OF ) @ Harry's Dugout

In a few short weeks Harry's Dugout in Whittier will be having another one of their in store signings. This one will feature Mike Marshall, former outfielder for the Dodgers. I can not remember another time he has done a public appearance and I am for sure attending this one. The signing time has a nice 3 hour window of 1-4 in the afternoon which should give everyone plenty of time to acquire an autograph. Prices are up top and below and very reasonable. See you there.
  • Baseball Cards - $15
  • Baseballs and Flats up to 11x14 - $25
  • Larger Flats, Mini Helmets, Mini Bats, Caps, Figurines and Equipment - $30
  • Bats, Jerseys, Helmets and Artwork - $40
  • Inscriptions - $10

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

Took a day off from really roaming eBay so I thought I visit one of new favorite seller's store on eBay to fill out some holes in my 2013 Bowman set. Still looking to finish off all the variant sets and he usually has new ones put up week in and week out.

Nothing spectacular but was able to cross off some needs on the sets while getting them in my mind a good deal. A total of 8 cards for a total of 8 dollars. I think when you get any card for a dollar or less that is a decent deal and more so when it is part of variant and/or insert sets. So in the end a nice small haul to help finish off some sets which I think I'm about half way through.

Jeremy Moore Prospect Chrome
Adrian Gonzalez State and Home Variant
Adrian Gonzalez Gold Bordered Variant
Hanley Ramirez Gold Bordered Variant
Paco Rodriguez Gold Bordered Variant
Clayton Kershaw Gold Bordered Variant
Hanley Ramirez Silver Ice Variant
Josh Beckett Blue Bordered Variant 290 / 500

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Movie Review : Now You See Me

A movie about magicians that appear to steal from the rich to give to the poor playing during the summer movie season. Not your typical popcorn flick for this time of the year but a nice break from the norm of robots, aliens and cartoons.
The film starts us off by introducing us to the four magicians that later on become known as " The Four Horsemen". We have Danny ( Jesse Eisenberg ) who is pulling off streets tricks to bed pretty women, Henley ( Isla Fisher ) who has a show where she escapes from chains and has a past with Danny, Jack ( Dave Franco ) who uses his talents to pick pocket people and Merritt ( Woody Harrelson ) who has the "power" of mentalism which makes it appear that he can read people's minds and thoughts. They are brought together by a mysterious card left for each one of them. Once together we are brought forward one year to Las Vegas where they are performing on stage with the financial backing of Arthur ( Michael Caine ). Their closing trick is having picked a person within the crowd to be transported to Paris, France and when there oversee over 3 million pounds taken from a bank and then rained upon the crowd in amazement.
FBI agent Dylan ( Mark Ruffalo ) is brought in to investigate the apparent robbery that took place and end up taking the four magicians in for questioning. After talking to each one individually in some great back and forth he realizes he has nothing to hold them on. The Horsemen announce that the Vegas trick was only the beginning and to catch their next trick in New Orleans. Keeping an eye from afar is one Thaddeus ( Morgan Freeman ) who is an ex-magician who has a tv show that debunks the concept of magic and shows how every trick is done. He then sells copies of them on DVD's and makes millions off that. It does not make him a popular person within the magic community.
As the Horsemen make it to New Orleans they have Dylan and his associates keeping a close tabs on the situation and are ready to pounce in if they see anything suspicious. For their next trick they have the audience's bank accounts amounts mysteriously rise which in turn gets agent Dylan's attention and the foot chase is on as he pursues them through the streets of New Orleans. All of these during Mardi Gras which makes it harder to maneuver through the people. The Horsemen manage to escape with Dylan and company licking their wounds. Dylan and FBI pinpoint the Horsemen to a building in New York and surround and enter it to take them down but they manage to escape once again. This time a car chase ensues with a climax that invokes a scene from a previous Fast and Furious film. Not sure if it was on purpose but a nice nod nonetheless.
Thaddeus warns Dylan that he needs to see what is front of him and to stop and think of what is happening and what isn't. Dylan starts to question those around him and doesn't know who to trust. The Horsemen have one last show to perform and welcomes the people of the city to join them in person to witness their final trick. With Dylan and the FBI descending on the location as well the squeeze is on. The Horsemen tell the crowd thank you for their support and that they must go now and as they do they the go poof not into a cloud of smoke but a cloud of money that once again descends on the waiting crowd. Turns out that it's funny money and the real money is somewhere else.
In the end the curtain is moved to the side and we see why the players were brought together and what role everyone played and what the end game was all along. The movie ends with a nice little bow on itself with secrets locked away and the key thrown away.
Verdict : Something different than the usual summer fanfare and it was a breath of fresh air. The Horsemen work well together and singularly and the chemistry is evident. They all play their roles to their own personal strengths. Mark plays the FBI with his sometimes head cut off and running around like a chicken to perfection and Michael does what his role asks for. The only thing I could complain about would be nit picking to a few timing issues on the chases but in the grand scheme of things that is minor. I really enjoyed this flick as it was something different from the beat em up kill em movies so far this year. While you could just wait and watch this on the small screen there is no bad reason not too watch it on the big one. THUMBS UP from me to a viewing in either setting. 

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Museum : Sandy Koufax Blue Bordered Variant ( 48 / 99 )

I love my blue variant cards for the Dodgers. The cards just look better when they are adorned with blue.

As with this year's Bowman set, Topps Museum has a blue variant but at lower print run than Bowman's 500. Topps comes in at just 99 so I know this hunt will be a tad harder and possibly a tad more pricey. Let the bargain hunting begin.

With the few current Dodgers within the set its funny how the first one I get is a retired great. Sandy Koufax. I haven't owned a Koufax card in years and I believe I only owned one copy back when I collected in the 90's. Possibly two but no more than that. Nothing needs to be said about his career as most of us know it by heart as we hear about is constantly when Clayton Kershaw pitches and is rightfully compared to this great lefty.

Koufax has a few signed cards within this year's set but I assume I will never get one as I don't want to pay the price and I already have a nice graded mint baseball signed by the legend. So since he is in this year's set I went on hunt for the blue variant and while pricing is not out yet on the set I picked this up for less than $3. Either way I think that is a great buy for a limited variant let alone a Dodger great. So I now have the first blue for this year's set and now onto the rest.

Dodger Great Sandy Koufax in Blue Glory. 48 out of 99.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Upcoming Apperance / Signing : Scott Van Slyke

Scott will be doing a paid signing on June 29th at Frank and Sons in Walnut. This signing is part of the Dodger Day that is being held that day. Numerous other Dodgers such as Kemp, Punto, Jerry Hariston, etc will also be there. With Kemp being there get there early as it will probably be a mad house like usual when he does a signing. Scott's time has just been announced and he will be there from 10:30 to 12. I'll be there.
  • $20 - Autograph
  • $10 - Inscription 

Signed Ball of the Day : Rafael Furcal ( ROMLB Sweet Spot w/ 2000 ROY Inscription )

Another what could have been for the Dodgers. Unlike Torii though, Rafael actually did sign with the team but left years later in what could be best described as glass half full and half empty in his time with the Dodgers.

Rafael joined the Dodgers back in 2005 after spending his first 6 years with the Atlanta Braves while earning Rookie of Year in 2006. This was consider a major coup for the Dodgers and it looked like we finally found out solution to the hole in our lineup known as the shortstop position. For the six years he was on the team it seemed like every other year he had a good/great one and then the next it would be poor or more likely an injury plagued one. Finally in 2011 with the writing on the wall that he would not be resign with the Dodgers he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. That year they won the World Series so it was nice to see this hard working albeit oft-injured player win the ring. Too bad it couldn't have been with the team in blue. Like with the Dodgers he ended up resigning with the Cardinals and in this year's spring training it was announced he would go under season ending Tommy John surgery. Another blow for Rafael. If he comes back and plays just a year or so he should reach 2000 hits for his career which makes it even more depressing in thinking of what could have been if he stayed healthy. 3000 would have been an obtainable goal.

Back when he played with the Dodgers I really wasn't trying to acquire autographs at the stadium so I never bumped into Rafael there. I only saw him do a couple of paid events and it always seemed a bit pricey for me so I always passed. Public appearances were more rare. So off to eBay I went.

This actually is my second signed ball by Furcal. The first I bought back in 2010 and a year later I noticed that the signature was turning a shade of purple. What the hell?? So once he was traded to St. Louis I sold it as the demand was higher and just figured I would acquire another copy somewhere down the road. Earlier this year I finally found an auction that had the starting bid at $.99 which is always a good thing. The ball was authenticated by MLB which obviously I trust and it also included a 2000 ROY Inscription. Most sellers, and there weren't many Furcal signed balls out there, had them sky high in price. I found this auction after his injury was announced so I figured it might be go for lower than normal. I was right. With some time left in the auction I put a bid in for a little of $20 which I thought was reasonable. Winning bid came in at $10.50. Now that is a bargain. So I got re-add Rafael's autograph to my collection and this one is nice and blue with no hint of purple.

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps : Dee Gordon Autograph

Dee has never been my favorite player but I have met him before and he has always been nice to me and fellow autograph hounds. He has great speed but til he can figure a way to get on base on a consistent basis it will be always be neutralized.

Just cruising on eBay one day and just looking for Dodger autographs from this year's set and I saw this one from the base Topps set going for a meager $5 on a buy it now option. It's an autograph. It's a Dodger. It's mine now. Saw that this copy is normally selling for close to $6 so while not the best of bargains it is a new autograph I get to put into my set for the price of a foot long.

Not numbered but his days on the Dodger's roster might be.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Yasiel Puig Blue Wave Mini Refractor Variant ( 245 / 250 )

Another blue sparkly card strikes again and this is one of the main ones I wanted to acquire this year.

Bowman this year included super phenom Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers in a couple of insert sets. I am still trying to acquire the Die Cut Top 100 version which is now $100 according to Beckett. I already acquired the base mini refractor for just $5 earlier in the month but I was still looking for the blue wave variant and it was always north of $30 and some going as high as $50. Wasn't going to pay that price but I kept looking.

I missed out on multiple auctions as I refused to pay a high amount and am always bargain shopping. One day I kept refreshing the browser and a seller had just put one up for just $20 on a buy it now. Jumped on it and locked it in. Beckett just came out with pricing and has this card set at a high of $50 so even though I have no intention of selling it is nice knowing I got a good buy here. I'm still trying to complete my blue wave Dodger variant set ( there are five ) but I now have the two major ones in Ryu and Puig.

Depending on how well he does I might even get this one graded as it looks great with no smears or fingerprints and is almost perfectly centered.

Cuban Phenom in Blue Form and Numbered 245 / 250

Monday, June 3, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Museum : Adrian Gonzalez Autograph w/Dual Game Used Patches ( 39 / 50 )

It's early in the game but so far this is my prized pick up from this year's Topps Museum.

A goal for me this year was to get an autograph of our new first baseman Adrian Gonzalez on card with him depicted in Dodger blue. This happens to one of the first to make it to the market. While there are Tri game used patch cards out there I could care less about the game used aspect of it as I just want the autograph. The Tri version are normally going for at least $35 and some topping $50. Will not spend that much. So I was looking at the Dual patch cards and I missed out on a few auctions but I finally landed one at a nice lucky price of just over $13.

Card came in a nice non scratch screw down so I have no intention of taking it out. My first Adrian in Dodger blue and it looks great and got it at a great price in my mind.

Nice and crisp also numbered 39 out of only 50.

Movie Review : After Earth

It's summertime ( if you get that "reference" you might be as old as me ) so it must be time for another Will Smith tent pole flick. This time he teams up once again with his son and this time in a sci-fi flick.

Cypher ( Will Smith ) is a General of the Ranger Corps and has the ability to "ghost" which is to rid yourself of all traces of fear which make enemies unable to "smell" you and find you. The human population left Earth 1000 years prior due to us destroying it and landed on another planet inhabited by a race called Ursas. They are blind and hunt by smell hence where ghosting is essential to survival. Cypher's son Kitai ( Jaden Smith ) tries to follow in his footsteps in the Rangers but can't make that final leap to advance. The disappointment is evident in Cypher's face. Cypher has decided to finally retire after one last mission and his wife and him decide to have him bring Kitai along to bond with him. They are charged with transporting a Ursas til they hit an asteroid belt which causes the ship to take on too much damage which causes it to crash onto a forbiden planet. Earth.

Cypher and Kitai are the only survivors with Cypher having broken both his legs which makes him immobile and Kitai who is not trained for this type of situation. The ship has broken into two pieces with one piece over 60 miles way from where they are located at. The rescue beacon within their part of the ship was broken during the crash so Kitai must go to the other part of the ship. The Earth's air is toxin and you must take oxygen supplements to survive so he has time limit on when he needs to get back to his dad.

Kitai for the next 45 minutes or so goes out and his immaturity and headstrong attitude gets him into a few situations that cause some anxiety between him and his father who is monitoring his progress from the ship. One such incident actually gets him captured by large bird but helps the bird out later when they are all attacked along with chicks by some tiger looking animals. That comes into play later as that one good deed does not go unpunished when Kitai encounters something he can't defeat. Kitai finally does make it to the other part of the ship and finds the rescue beacon but before he can signal the Rangers he notices that the Ursas has escaped its jail and is roaming and eventually tracking and hunting Kitai. He must learn from his past shortcomings and from his Dad's wisdom to somehow defeat the Ursas. In the end he is able to win the battle and save his father.

Verdict : I love Will Smith but this movie was not for him even though he was also producing as well as starring in it. Will did not smile on screen the whole time and that and his charisma is the main draw for him. While Jaden is adequate is his role I think it could have been done better by someone with a little more talent. I understand this a vehicle for him to star in which is produced by his family and friends so I know that wasn't going to happen. The tension is constant between father and son and the bonding isn't there til the very end. I think more of a gradual warming up would have been better suited for the film. There is minimal supporting cast in the film except for Cypher's wife for scene or two and Kitai's sister in flashback sequences. The film while not terrible is less than what I expect from Will. Jaden as stated is OK but nothing special. The special effects are bothersome as you can tell alot of them are fake and not done well. If you are a Will Smith fan then might just enjoy it even though I am one and didn't for the most part. I would give it a THUMBS DOWN to a movie theater viewing but a possible look at in the comfort of your own home.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Museum : Don Sutton Autograph ( 208 / 399 )

Just started looking at this year's Topps Museum set and I'm working on a few subsets and variants but the main draw for most sets will always be the autographs. This year's set has a few and this is the first one that I have been able to acquire.

Don Sutton had a hall of fame career with most of his major accomplishments being with the Dodgers. Didn't expect to seem him in this year's set due to him not being the most popular of old Dodgers but there he was and I wanted to get a copy of the card. Off to eBay which is the norm and while there many auctions I had a set price that I was willing to pay and I eventually won this card for just a tad under $7. Not too shabby. Even though it doesn't matter to me the card is also numbered 208 out of 399. Nice clean autograph of a Dodger great.

208 of 399