Saturday, August 31, 2013

Card of the Day - 1999 SP : Adrian Beltre Autograph

Back to the nineties I went to get this gem. What could have been. Since Adrian left the Dodgers for assumed greener pastures in Seattle the Dodgers have had a constant revolving door at third base trying to replace him. To this day they haven't found anyone that comes close to what Adrian brings to the table. Sad too as he will probably make the hall of fame as he will hit over 400 home runs maybe even approach 450 and will flirt with 3000 hits. Would have been nice to see him go in as a Dodger. Might still happen per se as he spent the majority of his career in L.A. so the hall might put the Dodger logo on the cap part of the plaque.

I recently picked up a signed Adrian ball but since I was back in card collecting I wanted to get one his autographs on a card as well. But since he hasn't been with the Dodgers since 2004 I knew it would be an older card that I would end up with. There is an adequate amount of Adrian cards in Dodger blue so it wasn't too hard to lock on to one to buy. This card came up for auction which has a nice crisp blue signature which is slightly different than the way he signs nowadays. Ended up winning the auction after I put in my high bid in a day earlier than normal and won it for the lucky price of just $7.77.

Wish he never left our team but with Scott Boras as your agent odds are that you will leave for a lot more money or resign at a non hometown discount. But at least he has come home to my collection.

Friday, August 30, 2013

State of the Dodgers : Four Outfielders, Not A Problem . . . For Now

To add a variety to the blog I am going to start a category that will post maybe once a week or twice a month or whenever something comes to mind that I want to write about. State of ( subject ) will be that new category and since this is mainly a Dodger blog, the first entry will be about the log jam in the outfield.

With Matt Kemp starting his rehab assignment last night it is imminent that he will be back with the team within a week or so barring any setbacks. For September and the playoffs having four outfielders won't be a problem as two ( Kemp , Crawford ) have and are still been dealing with injuries and can use days off here and there. Also match ups can play into any given day's lineup on who sits and who doesn't. The problem will arise next spring when all are healthy and with no DH there is just no way you can have 4 starting outfielders without causing a riff within the team.

Kemp is not going anywhere as he is still the "face" of the franchise even though his star has dimmed the last couple of years. It would be a P.R. nightmare if they got rid of him and considering the contracts around baseball being signed his is for the most part still team friendly.

Puig is the young stud who is only 22 and with his production at the low contract price he isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Yasiel needs to play everyday and will have that chance until he does not perform.

With Crawford it would be great if they could move him but they can't and won't. He has had a rebound year and I love watching him play but with his contract having over 82M left on it and him being 32 it will be virtually impossible to move him unless the Dodgers take on another bad contract. With all that I don't believe we will see him moved.

That leaves us with Andre. I have enjoyed the resurgence of Andre this year and he has stepped up in spite of always seeming to be on the trade block. That obviously has died down with all the injuries. With that said he is still the easiest of the four to trade away and this off season will probably be the best time to do so with his value at its highest.

Not looking at every team as there might be better options I think the Dodgers need to revisit the trade that almost happened at the trade deadline. The Angels and Dodgers almost made a trade involving Howie Kendrick and with the Angels miserable season they need to reload to move forward. It has been reported that they need to rid themselves of Howie and his contract. Our second baseman Mark Ellis has an expiring contract but he can not play everyday. Howie can fill that hole and I would have no problem with Mark being a bench/spot starter on the team though he might have other ideas about that. Howie makes 9.5M and is 30 on opening day. Andre has 72M left spread over 4 years and will be 32 on opening day. The Dodgers would be getting younger. The Angels don't "need" Andre but they could if a hole opened up or they might trade him themselves. The problem with the Angels is their pitching. The have two young players under club control in Trumbo and Bourjos and could potentially trade them off for some good starting pitching. They could also flip Andre to another team that didn't line up with the Dodgers directly. Trumbo is a great hitting 1B/OF/DH machine with Bourjos being a very good defensive outfielder. If one or both go then Andre slots right into their OF with Trout going back to CF where I think his better suited for.

This is just one option for the Dodgers to explore and I know that the money doesn't line up perfectly but that could be worked around by taking on some of the contract or they could possibly throw in a SP to help the deal along which also helps the Angels. Either way the Dodgers will have to address the crowded outfield this off season and will have to come to a solution prior to spring training. Some may say if one of the remaining 3 go down with an injury we would be in trouble but we have another young stud in the minors by the name of Joc Pederson who can come up and help. I rather see him on the team than the Dodgers trading him for a hole on the roster. He is ready for the majors but at the present moment no place to play him.

All this is my opinion and you may or may not agree but I'm sticking to it but I do love debates.

Card of the Day - 2008-09 Upper Deck Masterpieces : Luc Robitaille Autograph

Back to hockey for one day and I received a card that I actually regret a little for acquiring. Nothing is wrong with the card per se but in person it looks odd to me. I guess I should have paid closer attention to the auction and its description as it clearly states that the card is in an insert entitled brushstrokes. As in painting brushstrokes. The card's picture is in that type of texture and not in the traditional smooth surface. With that going on the autograph to me looks a tad muted. I am happy to finally add the greatest left winger in hockey history to my collection but I am still on the look out for another copy of his signature to acquire. Lesson learned on reading until the end. Thankfully I won this auction at the cost of only $10 which either way you cut it is a good deal for Luc's autograph.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Card of the Day - 2011 Topps Marquee : Matt Kemp Titanic Threads Autograph ( 7 / 10 )

So I finally acquired a card that had no book value to look up as the print run is so small that Beckett doesn't have enough transaction history to publish. I normally wouldn't go for a card like that but I just had to have this card for so many reasons.

I can never get enough Matt Kemp autograph cards and this one has him depicted in throwback Brooklyn Dodgers colors. I didn't own anything of that sort yet. The card is also number 7 out of only 10. 7 happens to be my lucky number and the number I base all my bids on for the most part. I know a lot of people say that is their lucky number but for me it is my marriage number so I have every right to say its lucky and mean it. This card also has a big swatch of jersey which I have never owned of that size. It wasn't a deal breaker but it does look great in a screw down. And to top it off it has a nice crisp blue signature of Kemp. Add that all together and I had to have this card in my collection.

Now, the problem is that I didn't know what my ceiling per se should have been on this transaction as the only transaction history on eBay was a couple of months ago with the ending price at $95. No matter what even though I really wanted this card I wasn't going to pay anywhere near that amount. The one thing I had going for me is once again like past auctions with Kemp's down season his cards can be had at a bargain right now. The seller had this auction with a starting bid of .99 so obviously there was going to be a bidding war. I was actually out of town in San Diego to watch the Dodgers at Petco when this auction was scheduled to end so I had to rely on my phone for bidding. If this was Dodger Stadium I probably could have kissed this card good bye as there is no reception there as most people know. Luckily Petco is different and I had a strong signal. The auction went back and forth for the last minute with me getting outbid numerous times but in the end with a total of 26 different bids I won the card. All I can say is I paid less than half of that previous transaction of $95 and with no book value I can only say that is a major coup as I think when Kemp comes back around to his normal self this card will probably be closer to $75-100. No intention in selling or trading but as always I love to know I got value from my transaction.

Big, Bold Bison 7 of 10

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Attended Game Recap : August 27th vs Cubs - CUBS 3 Dodgers 2

Back at the stadium for the second night of a back to back and I was highly disappointed. I bought tickets a few weeks ago just so I can make a little cash on the side with the sale of the Rick Monday bobbleheads that were given out but then I found out that Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to pitch. I was pumped to see the best pitcher in baseball on the mound and then the game happened. 5 2/3 innings is all I got of Kid K. He didn't have his good stuff and yet still left with only giving up 1 ER ( 2 overall ) and yet once again when he pitches the offense just doesn't seem support him. All this led to the Dodgers losing the game to a team they should be sweeping aside. Games like these are what loses the home field advantage for the post season. Time to wake up boys.
The best part of the night was Rick Monday taking the field and getting a standing ovation for what he did back in 1976. Something so "simple" is still remembered today as one of the best moments of Dodger stadium and I am part of that thinking. He deserved all the accolades he received yesterday and that helped take the bad taste of the game that followed.
This will probably be my last game at Dodger stadium until late September so next time I am there I hope we are lining up the staff for the first round of the playoffs and have our heads on straight. No matter what, Go Blue !!!

Card of the Day - 2003 Playoff : Paul Lo Duca Game Used Memorabilia Autograph

Went into my time machine to acquire this card from a decade ago. I've been trying to pick up some semi-old timer Dodgers and found Paul Lo Duca on this game used jersey card with his autograph adorned on it.

Always did like Paul when he was with the Dodgers. Kind of reminds me of A.J. Ellis as they were/are both catchers that were blocked in the organization and when finally given a chance they shined in the spotlight. Paul has done signings around town and did one at the end of July which I attended ( as seen HERE ) but I still wanted an on card autograph of the former Dodger backstop.

Not much selection online with him in Dodger blue so I just had to be diligent and then this card came up with a nice starting bid of just .99. Didn't think it would go that high but I still had my normal limits on what I was willing to pay and luckily I won the card for a few cents over $5. A nice pickup of nicely designed card with a crisp signature even though it is a sticker auto. Welcome to the collection Paul.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day : Rick Monday ( ROMLB Sweet Spot )

Current broadcaster and former Dodger star Rick Monday. Tonight he will have his first bobblehead released by the Dodgers and he is not even in Dodger blue but that is ok due to the incident that the bobble is depicting.

Rick played for the Dodgers from 1977 to 1984. I remember watching him on tv when I was a kid and was in awe when hit that home run in Montreal in the summer of '81. I was 6 at the time and didn't know all the ends and out of baseball but I knew that it was the ninth inning and they just had to win. Rick hit a mammoth home run in that inning which provided the difference in the Dodger's win. They went on to win the World Series that year against the Yankees. He was a very important role player on the team or least this little boy thought he was. The other claim to fame in his career was the flag saving incident in 1976. The Cubs were visiting that day and Rick played for them in the outfield and two protesters ( idiots, if you hate America, leave ) ran on to the field and tried to light our flag on fire until Rick ran in literally to save the day and flag. Great play Rick and I will show off the bobble a little later in the week.

I have never been fortunate to run into Rick at the stadium so when he did a signing last year at Frank and Sons in Walnut I couldn't pass up on getting his signature on a ball. It was one of the many Dodgerfests that they hold during the year so it was crowded but for Rick not so much. When I arrived the line for him was not longer than 15-20 people. Got up to his station and gave him a ball and he signed it on the sweet spot. Though not overally personable he did say hello and thank you for coming which in the end is always the minimal I like to hear. I was in and out in under ten minutes. The ink on the ball seems to be bleeding a little so somewhere down the road I might need to acquire another copy but until then I am happy to have this in my collection.

Attended Game Recap : August 26th vs Cubs - DODGERS 6 Cubs 2

Just Baseball...
No autograph hounding.
No earlier arrival to attend batting practice.
No picture taking.
Attended yesterday's game for the sake of just watching a game of our first place Dodgers.
99% of the time I have other reasons for going to the ballpark but not last night. The wife and I had a family member join us as she was a Chicago native and the Cubs were in town. I even went to the game without my backpack which made me feel a bit naked. This would be the one game of the year that I would go to and just sit and enjoy baseball.
Zack Greinke pitched a great game but just ran out of gas at the end so he did not get his complete game shut out which visibly you could tell annoyed him. He did pitch a great 8 2/3 and even contributed at the plate with a RBI single. I foresee a silver slugger this year for him. They even had a pitching change when Zack was due to come to bat. Puig had a bounce back game as he fell short of a triple of the cycle. He hit a monstrous home run in the 8th that went an estimated 439 feet. Hanley Ramirez also joined the home run club with a shot that hit the clock on the ribbon banner of the loge level.
All in all it was a great Dodger win and it was nice to be back at the "Magic Castle" to enjoy some good baseball. Also with that said I will be back at the stadium later today to watch Kershaw put up some great numbers and to see Rick Monday on his bobblehead night to get his book signed.
Go Blue !!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Movie Review : Blue Jasmine

Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin play Jasmine and Hal a married couple that are living the high life due to Hal's highly successful financial work. They live in New York City with Jasmine playing the trophy wife and enjoying all the frills and benefits that go along with it. She either is delusional or ignores what is going on with her and Hal. She senses things are not right at times and confronts him on it but they end up burying it and they go about their business.

As that story unfolds we also she the repercussions of what happens between them it in another setting in the not so distant future with Jasmine moving to San Francisco and moving in with her sister Ginger to get back on her feet after what happened between her and Hal. We find out that Hal took Ginger's and her now ex-husband, Auggie ( Andrew Dice Clay ) lottery winnings awhile back to invest for them but ends up losing it all. Auggie has physically moved on but not emotionally. Ginger has moved on as she is now engaged to a man named Chili who Jasmine constantly puts down and states that she is just settling. Jasmine continues to try to live the high life she is accustomed to as she attempts to date high up the food chain while working at a dentist office doing filing work.

Jasmine's decisions in the past and present constantly effect everyone around her and its usually in a negative way at that. She has a son that left home once the situation between her and Hal boiled over. Her sister while trying to be supportive ends up causing problems between her and Chili to the point that he is crying his eyes out to her. While her fault or not Jasmine seems to have the reverse of a Midas touch with people.

She is like a storm as she comes into your life and after she is gone you must regroup and move on and with that movie ends in typical Woody Allen fashion as you must make your own conclusions on what happens to her physically and mentally

Verdict : Low expectations for me going into this film as I am not the biggest Woody fan and came out thinking that it was a decent if not great movie. Cate and Alex play their parts perfectly and are the stars of the film. The supporting cast does well with the material they had with Ginger being the one stand out of the bunch. With the Madoff and financial controversy still fresh in our minds I can see how someone like Jasmine would live in this world. So involved in it but so far detached as well. Whether she knew what she was or was not doing to people is debatable but I know people like this myself and I am not on Wall Street where the bigger money makers are. The film is like slow water torture for Jasmine as though she is not knocked out with one swift blow its just a poke here and poke there while she slowly starts to unravel and Cate expresses all the emotions perfectly. In the end, you can probably pass on watching this on the big screen but a viewing at home is recommended. A slight THUMBS UP for me this latest Woody flick.

Card(s) of the Day - 2013 Topps Museum : Sandy Koufax / Matt Kemp / Andre Ethier / Steve Garvey Game Used Memorabilia ( 38 / 75 ) AND then some

It was time for me to acquire a card with some Koufax memorabilia. Knowing that his autographs go for hundreds of dollars I knew I was not going to land an on card auto version but I sure as hell could land a memorabilia one. As stated before I don't normally go for those type of cards but Koufax is not your normal former player.

I looked at this year's Topps Museum set as he is on multiple copies with multiple and different players. I did not want the ones with him showcased with Giants players even though Kershaw was also on the card so I set my sights on this one which also had my favorite current player Kemp along with Ethier and old timer Steve Garvey. But the main draw this time for me was Koufax. Book value of this card is $50 and has fetched over $40 since the set's release but I didn't want to pay that price so I waited for the right auction to come along and finally this one did. A little back and forth bidding ensued but in the end I won the card for 50% of book. Never a bad deal when it's that much of a discount. So I now own a Koufax memorabilia card with the bonus of some other current and former Dodgers.

38 of 75

But that is not the end of the story. There was a bonus in the package when it came. As stated in previous blog entries I had no intention of acquiring the base cards from the set as I was focused on the blue variants instead. I would get the set it if someone low balled it but I was not about to go look for it. Well this seller took that situation off the table as he sent me the whole base set including Ryu which has a book value of $6 by itself and to top it off he sent me the copper variant of Kershaw. Now that is a great seller. If all sellers were like that they probably would be out of business but I for sure will buy from him again just on good faith and appreciation from this transaction. Definitely got bang for my buck on this deal.

Complete base set and copper variant of Kershaw 355 / 424

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Movie Review : Mortal Instruments - City of Bones

Another adaptation of a current popular young adult book series has made its way on to the big screen in the form of City of Bones.

Having just finished the book I have a vivid image in my mind on what I expected to see on the screen. The film starts off with Clary the daughter of Jocelyn meeting up with her best friend Simon to attend a poetry reading. After that they end up going to a local club and she witnesses a murder by a group lead by the man named Jace. They are called shadow walkers. No one can see what had transpired but Clary. Rushing home she finds her home turn inside out with her mother missing. Jace tracks down Clary and invites her back to his home which is called the Institute where we are introduced by name the rest of the group which include brother and sister Isabelle and Alec. They all answer to a man named Hodge who runs the building. She is given the story of a cup that has been lost and the man, Valentine, who is searching for it and what it means to them. They figure that Jocelyn has hidden it but Clary has no clue where.

Hodge and Jace deduce that there is a block in Clary's mind as she can not remember why she is capable of seeing the unseeable and sketching a symbol over and over which they inform her is a "rune". They take her to a more powerful person named Magnus Bane who informs them that he is the one that put a block on her by the request of her mother.

Simon is captured by a pack of vampires and they must rescue him in their domain and after a tense battle in which it looks like they are about to lose they are rescued by an unlikely group. Once free of the vampires Clary figures out where her mother hid the cup that now seems everyone wants to get their hands on.

Once in possession of the cup a final battle ensues with all parties involved in which we see every one's true loyalties and where they lie. Clary evolves from who she was and though she is lives through the ordeal she is not at peace with what she has seen or learned.

Verdict : This was a hard movie to review and I feel that what I wrote was short and not overly "detailed" and that is because I was highly disappointed with this film. If you read the book, pass on the movie but if you haven't read the book then the movie is fine on its own two feet yet it still has many plot holes. The movie changes so many things from the book and adds scenes that did nothing to enhance the film. The cast is "OK" but only a few characters in my mind matched what was described in the book. I know it is hard to cram in 450+ pages of book into a 2+ hour movie but with Hunger Games being able to do it I expected more out of this one. I will continue to read the rest of the series as the books have me interested but I will not be watching any sequels if they happen to be made. Sad to say, a THUMBS DOWN from me to a viewing.

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Museum : Hanley Ramirez Game Used Memorabilia Autograph ( 6 / 50 )

Time to add an on card autograph of our current shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Due to him only being with the team less than a year there wasn't much selection from this year's sets to chose from. I was only going acquire one if the autograph is on a card that shows the him in Dodger blue. This card is a slight exception to that rule.

Topps Museum had the most options for Hanley autographs but still not a lot of them were for sale on eBay. The slight exception to my collection is that if you notice one of the swatches of jersey on the card is black. Uh... Dodgers don't wear black on any uniform so you know where this jersey comes from, his days back when he was a Marlin. There are other copies that had orange and other offensive Marlin colors but this one had just black which was acceptable as his picture still shows him in blue. So this was the card I wanted to acquire and in the end I was the high bidder on this $30 book value card for just $15 delivered to my doorstop. The black is a slight annoyance but I can look past that and welcome my first Hanley autograph card into my collection.

Marlin Jersey colors with Dodger Blue picture. 6 / 50

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Bowman : Joc Pederson Top 100 Insert

Now this is the complete opposite of the BGS card I bought of Joc and showcased in a previous entry. While that one was high in price this one was acquired for pennies.

I am almost done with the Top 100 insert set from this year's Bowman issue and have acquired all the higher priced cards so I am just cleaning up the left overs and I still needed Joc's non die cut version. Seller had this with a starting bid of one penny with no shipping charge. I knew it wouldn't take much to acquire the card but when I won it for just .85 cents delivered that just makes the transaction all that much sweeter. Card does not hold all that much book value but for less than a dollar it is still a bargain. Almost done with the set.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps Tribute : Clayton Kershaw Autograph ( 49 / 50 )

It's been awhile but I finally won another auction for an autograph card of Clayton Kershaw. It's an on card variety not a sticker one to boot so that makes it all the better of a purchase.

Always trying to track down more Kid K autographs and a seller had this one and a few others up for sale but I zeroed in on this one. Book has it for $40 which I think is low and if he continues his ascent this year it will go up. A lot of action on this card as in the end there were 29 bids on it but the bid that counted the most was mine that wound up being the winning bid of a tad over $30. At current book value it isn't the greatest value buy but I am sure it will look better down the line. With that said I just wanted another great looking card of our ace Clayton. Look at that grimace on his face. Just wants to mow down the batter with a fastball or his nasty curve. Couldn't be happier with this purchase.

49/50. So pretty.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Topps : Steve Garvey Million Dollar Chase Insert Autograph ( 9 / 268 )

Mr. Clean finally has a home in my collection. I haven't acquired any autograph cards of Steve since my reentry to the hobby but I finally got my hands on one and according to the eBay auction it's only obtainable through some online contest.

Trying to find a card of Steve that I could get and came across this one which caught my eye due to the die cut of the card. Reading further into the description in the auction the seller states it's only available through an online game that requires you to have a streak of some sort. When I get a moment I will have to look into this. I haven't heard about it prior to this auction. The amount of numbered cards of Steve is even odd as it's a total of 268. I can't think of any relevance to Steve that number holds.

The seller had the auction starting at $9.99 and most of the cards that I have seen close of Steve have been going higher than that so I knew I would be in a small bidding war most likely. There was a lot of nickel and diming on the auction until it sat at $15+ with a little more than a minute left. In went my bid and I won the card for a couple cents over $18. At the time I didn't know if that was a good monetary buy but since then I have seen a few different auctions of the same card close over $30. Got my first Garvey autograph card and it looks like it was a great bargain to boot.

Mr. Clean and number 9 of 268.

Upcoming Appearance / Signing : Robb Nen @ Harry's Dugout

After back to back weeks of football signings Harry's Dugout will be holding another baseball signing and this time it is of former World Champion Robb Nen. Harry's always hold in house signings of former players that you normally don't see signing and Robb falls into that category. Might be your only chance to add Robb to your collection so don't miss out as there will only be 120 autographs sold.
  • Cards : $15
  • Flats up to 11x14 : $20
  • Baseballs, Larger Flats, Caps, Miniatures, Figurines and Equipment : $25
  • Bats, Jerseys and Artwork : $35
  • Inscriptions : $10

Upcoming Appearance / Signing : Wendell Tyler @ Harry's Dugout

Another football and former Ram signing is being held at Harry's Dugout on September 7th. Leroy Irvin will be doing a signing the previous week seen HERE so you can get your Ram fix in back to back weeks. Wendell is a former Super Bowl Champion and was a star at UCLA. So a local boy done good. Prices as always are reasonable but autographs are limited to a scant 100 so be there early.
  • Cards : $15
  • Footballs and Flats up to 11x14 : $20
  • Larger Flats, Mini Helmets, Caps, Figurines and Equipment : $25
  • Jerseys, Helmets and Artwork : $35
  • Inscriptions : $8 

Upcoming Appearance / Signing : LeRoy Irvin @ Harry's Dugout

To switch it up a little from baseball and with football season about to begin Harry's is having an in house signing of former Ram Leroy Irvin on the 31st of this month. Great prices for this former Pro-Bowler are to be had so don't miss out and be there early as autographs are limited to just 120.
  • Cards : $8
  • Flats up to 11x14 : $15
  • Larger Flats, Mini Helmets, Caps and Figurines : $20
  • Footballs, Jerseys, Helmets and Artwork : $30
  • Inscriptions : $8

Upcoming Appearance / Signing : Tim Leary @ Harry's Dugout

Harry's Dugout is having another signing this weekend and this time it is former Dodger Tim Leary. Please note that it is not on the traditional Saturday but will be held on Sunday. Come get an autograph from a former World Champion and then watch the Dodgers beat up on the Red Sox. Make it a great baseball day and support a local shop at the same time.
  • Baseball Cards : $15
  • Baseballs and Flats up to 11x14 : $20
  • Larger Flats, Mini Helmets, Mini Bats, Caps, Figurines and Equipment : $25
  • Jerseys, Helmets and Artwork : $35
  • Inscriptions : $8
  • Autographs will be limited to 120 only so come early/

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Upcoming Appearance / Signing : Darryl Strawberry @ Long Beach Expo

Darryl will be the third current/former Dodger to be signing on Sept. 28 at the Long Beach Expo. He joins Tommy Lasorda and A.J. Ellis at the autograph table. This is a paid signing and he is scheduled to appear between 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
  • Autograph : $39
  • Inscription : $15

Upcoming Appearance / Signing : A.J. Ellis @ Long Beach Expo

For those that can't make his appearance next week ( like me ) A.J. will be doing another appearance at the Long Beach Expo on Sept. 28 from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. This also is a paid signing.
  • Autograph : $29
  • Inscription : $10

Upcoming Appearance / Signing : Tommy Lasorda @ Long Beach Expo

Tommy will be doing an appearance next month on Sept. 28 at the Long Beach Expo. This is a paid signing. He is scheduled to appear between 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Autograph price : $89
  • Inscription : $ 39

Card(s) of the Day - 2013 Allen and Ginter : Matt Kemp Black Mini ( Common Back ) and Hyun-Jin Ryu Mini ( A & G Back )

So far my only bad purchase dollar-wise in my eyes from this year's Allen and Ginter set.

At the time I thought it was a good value as it included the variant black bordered Matt Kemp and the A & G variant back of Hyun-Jin Ryu. With the Puig's selling much higher I expected these two to be lower just not as low as I see them go now on eBay. I could pick up a Ryu for a couple of dollars today if I wanted with the black Kemp coming in at give or take $4. When I bought these a couple of weeks ago I paid a tad over $10 which now looks like a slight overpay but that is what this hobby is, fun and frustrating at the same time.

Even with that I am happy that I was able to acquire these two great looking cards at a fairly low amount.

Common back mixed with an A & G back

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Allen and Ginter : Matt Kemp Framed Relic

With an insert that has stated odds of basically one per box and half that would normally make this Kemp card a pricier to acquire card in any other year. This year not so much.

I believe someday his cards will go back up once he is 100% which he has not been since May of last year. Until then I will continue to pick up all these new issues at a great low price.

Never been the biggest relic fan but if is accompanied by an auto and/or of Kemp I will want to acquire it nonetheless. Saw this card up for sale on eBay with the seller with a 99 starting bid and with no one bidding on it with a hour left in the auction I believed I had a great chance to pick it up at a low cost. And with $5 I did just that and had this card in my collection within the week.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Attended Game Recap : August 17th vs Astros : ANGELS 6 Astros 5

To finish off my day of baseball I headed to Angel stadium to attend that night's game with the home team playing the last place Astros. It was flashback weekend and they had the Beatles tribute band Rain perform after the game so the wife and I decided to invite the father in law to the game as they both love Beatle's music.

Arrived to the stadium with hope of acquiring a few more autographs. Troy Percival was doing a parking lot signing for Car Max but I passed on that as I had bigger fish I wanted to acquire. We headed into the stadium along the 3rd base side when batting practice started. Mike Trout was shagging fly balls in the outfield and he came over to the bullpen entrance and signed for 3 kids in front of me and then went back to the outfield. Damn. Caught some more fly balls and he headed back and signed for another kid and he passed me up AGAIN. Damn once again. So twice in the span of 15 minutes he denied me an autograph. I am still searching for that elusive Mike Trout IP. I'm hoping for better luck next month in Oakland.

A steak continued as I picked up another BP ball that flew into the stands. Took a few bounces within the seats and directly into my mitt. Another bucket ball.

Onto the ballgame and it actually was pretty entertaining. Back and forth until Josh Hamilton won it in the 10th with a walk off home run. The Angels with all their talent should be near first not floundering in fourth place but that is their problem. Go Dodgers !!!
Game ended and we headed down to the field level to take in the after game concert. While the songs were good the sound system needs to be upgraded as there was a lot of feedback.
Day ended with me acquiring 3 autographs and a very close big fish in Trout but maybe next time on him. All around great day with wife and baseball and some music mixed in the end.
Father in law, wife and I on club level.
Beautiful wife and I.

Rain performing after the game.

Signed Ball of the Ball - Player Appearance Recap : Steve Yeager @ Sports Authority

Left Harry's Dugout in Whittier and headed back to Frank and Sons to pick up my authentication submission. After that headed to downtown LA to pickup up a parking pass for the Angel that night. Noticed the time and saw that it was a few minutes before 1 and since I live in the South Bay area and knew that Steve was doing a signing minutes away from my house I thought I would pass on by to see if there was much of a line.

By the time I got to the store in Hawthorne it was about 1:35 and for most signings that is just too late to acquire an autograph but since it is a of a retired coach I assumed the line might be manageable. Drove by and saw that the line was about 15 deep with 20 minutes left in the scheduled appearance time. I go do this easy.

Hopped in line and was in the store within 5 minutes and in front of Steve 5 minutes more. I was wearing my American jersey since I was going to an Angel game later that night and Steve gave me crap for it saying I should be wearing Dodger gear but I feel a little weird wearing it there if the Dodgers aren't playing and I am for sure not wearing any type of Angel gear. Asked him to sign in it on the sweet spot which he cordially did and asked for a picture which he ok'd as well. Thank you again Steve for appearing.

Well that was my 3 acquired autographs in a few hours span on Saturday and this with me driving all over the place as well with all the traffic. Now it was time to head to Angel stadium where I hoped to get more autographs. Did I?

Yet another blurry picture from Saturday. Terrible picture of me as well.

Sweet spotted Steve.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day - Player Appearance Recap : Dennis Martinez @ Harry's Dugout

. . . and after the jaunt on the 5 fwy from OC Dugout I finally made it to Harry's Dugout in Whittier. Lesson learned for traveling. Better to take 91 to 605 than the 5 to 605 even though distance wise it is closer. Time wise obviously it was not.

Arrived to Harry's and surprisingly there was only 3 people in front of me. I thought there would be a bigger turn out for Dennis as he doesn't do autograph appearances out here and he is one of only a handful to pitch a perfect game. Saw Eddie the store owner and bought my ticket and made sure I received an inscription as I wanted him to inscribe the perfect game on the ball. Dennis was very personable and talkative with the people in the store. We were all Dodger fans and he was having fun with us stating "sorry" referring to the perfect game which he pitched happen to be against the Dodgers. Love when players or ex-players interact with fans.

Got up to the table and handed him the ball and he signed and inscribed as requested. Asked if he would take a picture with me and said no problem. At least this one game out better than Jose's. In the end I added another autograph of the perfect game club to my collection. Signature looks great and legible. Thanks again to Harry's Dugout for having the event and thank you to Dennis for coming out.

Now it was on to the next spot . . .

Dennis signing for another fan.

Dennis and I.

Signature with perfect game inscription.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Signed Ball of the Day - Player Appearance Recap : Jose Altuve @ OC Dugout

Today was a busy day on the autograph front. I was all around town and picked up three autographs and as I type this I am preparing to go to Angel stadium to potentially acquire some others. So I will dedicate an entry to each autograph in the order of acquiring them. First up was Jose Altuve.

I started off the day by going to Frank and Sons to drop off a ball to get it authenticated and then I headed down the 57 freeway to OC Dugout to see Jose. He was the quietest of the players I met today. Not rude just very soft spoken. I really do miss my wife  when I go to these as she usually takes the pictures and everyone else just seems to make me blurry. Maybe its me and I am just a ghost. Anyways, got up the table and said my greetings and he signed on the sweet spot. Interesting signature as nowhere on it do I see a "Jose" or an "Altuve" but nonetheless its great to acquire an autograph of the only MLB player that is shorter than me. Got a picture with Jose and shook his hand and said thank for your time.

One autograph down and now to head back towards Whittier . . .

Jose signing the ball.

Blurry me with blurry Jose.

Jose Altuve? Yup

Friday, August 16, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Allen and Ginter : Matt Kemp Base

Well I couldn't go Dodger hunting within the new set without going after my favorite player Matt Kemp right off the bat.

Matt is in the set obviously but his card is a short print so is seeded a little more scarcely within boxes than the non SP's. With this being not one of Matt's best years his cards are still a lot cheaper than normal to pick up and even with the newness of the set this card still came to me at the cost of a large coke at McDonald's. That would be a $1 for those that don't eat there. Seller had this as a buy it now and I saw no reason why not pick it up at that time. Card arrived in perfect condition and unharmed unlike Matt has been this year. My first card acquired for the Dodger set and now on the hunt for the others which I might just buy all together for one low price on eBay.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Allen and Ginter : Yasiel Puig Mini ( A & G Back )

Yesterday was A & G Puig and today is A & G Puig just with this one being a variant version.

As stated the brand comes out with many variations of their cards which makes the hunt for all of them fun if not frustrating. I was hoping to lock down the affordable Puig cards before too long and actually lucked out on getting two different Puig cards on back to back auctions on the same day. Both auctions ended within 20 minutes of each other with yesterday's common back making its way to me first.

The second one to make it is this other beauty and the only difference between the two is the backs are different from each other. The A & G back is stated as being a tad tougher to acquire than the common but the prices for the most part have been roughly 25%-35% more on eBay. Well with yesterday's win at a little above $16 I was more than pleased to win this card for a tick under $18. Basically an average of $17 a card for both of them which I think is what book will be at the very least when that information is released. That's two Puigs down with the other variants to hunt down.

Same photo . . .

. . . different back. A & G Variant Back

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Card of the Day - 2013 Allen and Ginter : Yasiel Puig Mini ( Common Back )

The Allen and Ginter brand did not exist when I exited the hobby way back when but now that I am back I was intrigued by the brand name as I looked back at past issues over the years. With this year's set being released during the past couple of weeks I looked into acquiring the Dodger set and hopefully some of variants and/or SP's that come along with the set. So for a few days it will be Allen Ginter all day everyday.

The first card to arrive happened to be the second card I won but it is of the same person, one Yasiel Puig. Puig is driving the hobby right now and when any new card of his is released the demand goes through the roof for the set before settling when a new product is out. I contributed a bit to the hysteria when it came to this issue. The "normal" sized cards are common so I wanted to focus on the mini's first as they are harder and pricier to obtain. They all come with various backs as well as a "common" back so there will be more than one to chase after of each player.

This one happens to be the common back of the mini Puig. The prices were going over $20 out the gate with some touching over $30. Too rich in my opinion for this card but I did have a sweet spot to what I would pay. There were numerous auctions to chose from and I lost on many due to me having some restraint on spending. I finally won one as this card came in a tick over $16 which I think will be under book when that price comes out. A good buy but the better buy is tomorrow's entry.

The front pic is the same on each card . . .

. . . even though the back can and will differ. This is the common numbered version.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Attended Game Recap : August 12th vs Mets - DODGERS 4 Mets 2 . . . Also Signed Ball(s) of the Day : Yasiel Puig and Jaime Jarrin . . . Also I Made Sportscenter

Back to the stadium for my second game in three days. This time to catch the visiting Mets and it was treat time as I purchased tickets on the baseline for the wife and I once again to acquire some autographs and get that elusive foul ball. Didn't get the ball but I did make Sportscenter. But more on that later.

Don't usually go to games early on a weekdays as I have to work but I have vacation time I need to use up in the next couple of months so I decided to take a half day and head to the stadium. Saw the usual people at the stadium and said my greetings and then it was on to batting practice and autograph hounding.

Capuano and Kershaw playing long toss during BP.

Not much interaction between players and fans in the beginning. Though when Zack Grienke and Steve Yeager were talking about catching Zack happened to get a ground ball and I was able to have him toss it to me. Another one for the bucket at home. Thank you again Zack.

Another bucket ball acquired for catching amongst family and friends at the park.

Dodgers finished off batting practice and I did not acquire an autograph so I was kind of disappointed but being in the baseline section I knew there was still more opportunities to be had later.

Went over to the autograph section over on row 27 and for the 3rd time in as many times as I went there I left empty handed. I just need to quit going there. Headed back to my seats and I saw Hanley being interviewed for a tv segment and hoped to finally acquire his autograph IP. Didn't happen yet again.

Hanley ignoring the 3 fans ( me being one ) and walking away. Ugh.

After awhile I noticed that announcer Jaime Jarrin was also being interviewed and even though I have his autograph already that one was acquired on eBay and I am trying to replace all pre authenticated ones with an IP version. Jaime was nice enough to sign for all the fans that asked for his autograph. Always a class act.

Nice autograph and he also included a HOF inscription. Thank you again Jaime.

Well that was it for autographs prior to the pre-game warm ups and I was hoping for Mark Ellis and like always Yasiel Puig. As the game neared the only one left on the field was Yasiel but unlike Matt Kemp who signs in one place all the time Yasiel went further down the baseline closer to home to sign for fans. I had to jaunt over to the area which got increasingly more crowded with people. I already have a great looking black sweet spot autograph by Yasiel seen HERE but I still want a white ball as well to compliment the black one. Knowing that Yasiel usually doesn't sign on the sweet spot unless it is a paid signing I was prepared for a side paneled autograph if I could get my hand in there to him. He did not disappoint. Another great looking side paneled ball. Even though it is not what I wanted I will continue to try. Until then I will sell them on eBay to acquire more blank balls for inventory. But still, thank you as always Yasiel for taking the time to sign for me and other fans.

Another side panel job. It's all good and if interested its on eBay HERE

The game started and even though the Dodgers fell behind in what I believe was them playing down to their opponents level they came back and won 4-2 to continue on a tear that has not been seen by the Dodgers since 1899. Let that sink in. 114 years ago. You can't even say last century you actually have to say a couple of centuries ago. May this all lead us to the promised land of a World Series berth and win. Preferably in 4 or 5 games so we may celebrate it on our field. Stupid All Star game rules.

While the game was great and the atmosphere was electric the fireworks for me and my section came in the bottom of the 7th with Punto up to bat. He fouled the first pitch right into my section and I misjudged it right off the bat. I got out of my seat and got in front of the railing and when I realized my mistake I tried to compensate for it by reaching back over to catch the ball but to no avail. I missed yet another opportunity on catching my first foul ball and this time I had no excuse. I have gotten numerous BP balls over the years that I have lost count on how many. Even got a 3rd out ball tossed to me but still can't get that foul ball.

What made this worse/more memorable was that my lovely wife was in her seat with about 7 gloves above her head trying to catch the ball and I am just hoping that it doesn't hit her. Man I would feel like shit and would never live that down. So even though I didn't catch it, thank God it didn't hit her. Also the pictures below will show left fielder Eric Young came crashing into the stands and actually bumped into me. So since he initiated first contact I made sure to escort him out. Ha Ha. So even though I misjudged it from my seats he REALLY misjudged it by going into the stands.

In the end a great game and acquired a couple of autographs and I made Sportscenter and more importantly the wife is safe and sound. Always a great time at the stadium and can't wait until the next game. Go Dodgers !!!

Ball approaching the area.

Almost there. I am #7 if you don't know. Look at Eric. Ha Ha.

Realizing that I truly misplayed the ball and losing out on a foul ball.
Also, look I'm crappy out a Met player.

Aftermath with Eric lying on the ground. Maybe I should help him.

About to attack Eric and security is about to surround me.

Looks like he is having problems so I give him a little push to help him on his way.
Security obviously appreciates my help and wants to join in.