Friday, November 11, 2016

To The Men and Women Who Serve in the United States Armed Forces 11-11-16

This was written six years ago, but the sentiments remain the same.

November 11, 1919: President Wilson proclaims the first Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." The original concept for the celebration was for the suspension of business for a two minute period beginning at 11 A.M., with the day also marked by parades and public meetings.

On June 1, 1954, President Eisenhower signs legislation changing the name of the legal holiday from Armistice Day to Veteran's Day. (from The History of Veterans Day)

To the Men and Women who serve in the US Armed Forces:

I will not pretend I know the infinite different reasons why you made the decision to join the US Military.

I can only imagine what your basic training was like (I'm not even sure the movies do any justice).

I will not pretend to know the feeling of being away from family, friends and all of the comforts of home, having been assigned to a foreign land, serving the interests of our country.

I will not say that I necessarily agree with ALL of the reasons why our country has gone to war.

I will not pretend to know what it is like out in the battlefields, not knowing if I was going to live to see another day.

But I will say this.

Thank you.

Thank you all for your service to our country.

Thank you for the sacrifices you made so that we can continue to live with the freedoms that we enjoy.

Your courage is nothing if not inspiring. Your stories become tales of legend that deserve to be told again and again.

For these, and countless other reasons, I give you my respect.

And I give you thanks.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I Guess I Can No Longer Say This...

After seven years, an exclusive with another card company, and no Topps cards other than an eTopps card from 2009 or random cameos on other player's cards (like the 2012 Topps Padres Carlos Quentin card...retail team set only)...

Yes, ladies, and gentlemen, Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles now has an official, regular, eponymous, Topps card. Okay, it's part of the Update Series.

But isn't it about time??! Orioles fans can finally get a complete team set of their team.

On an unrelated note, I do have a few packs of 2016 Topps Update Series. I haven't opened them yet, but as soon as I do, pack break results will be forthcoming.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, November 3, 2016

And Just Like That...

The 2016 MLB season has now come to a close. And for the first time in my lifetime, I am happy with the end results.

Yes, I know that I've seen a World Series championship in Chicago before...and nothing against the White Sox, but I did not feel the enthusiasm. But last night, I went through the wringer regarding my emotions.
  • I was nervous at the start of the game
  • I was happy when Fowler hit the home run
  • I was cautiously optimistic when it was 5-1
  • I was in a state of worry when it was 5-3
  • I was relieved when it was 6-3
  • I totally lost it when it was 6-6
Yes. I actually went into my bedroom, layed in my bed face down, and just did not want to move. I thought at that point, it was over, and that all the Indians needed was a home run and it was "Celebration Cleveland." I did not even see the bottom of the ninth because I was numb.

My daughter came into my room and asked if I was all right. Of course I wasn't all right. I was a wreck.

She actually started screaming when the Cubs scored in the 10th. I had no idea that there was a rain delay and when I came out to the living room, I had thought that the Indians had a really long bottom of the ninth. The Cubs had the bases loaded when Montero got a hit to drive in an 8th run.

After the inning ended, I was breathing really heavily. Not necessarily hyperventilating, but close enough.

After Carl Edwards, Jr. got the first two outs, and then walked the next guy, and then Rajai Davis struck again, driving in the 7th run, I had almost collapsed.

Then when Mike Montgomery induced that final groundout (which, by the way, Bryant had slipped as he was making the throw) that I thought was going to go over Rizzo's head but he caught it.

Pure jubilation.

I dropped the remote control on the table and it slid into the fish tank. (Don't I need a new remote).

For the first time in 108 years, the Cubs are World Series Champions. My family was screaming. The Facebook Feed went nuts. The Twitter Feed went nuts. It was finally over. The jokes, the curses, the "Lovable Losers" nickname...all gone. The team had finally done it.

My wife wants a WS shirt for her birthday (which is tomorrow). I'm getting outfits for everyone.

And as soon as Topps comes out with the retail set celebrating the Cubs...guess who's getting one.

Congratulations to the Cleveland Indians organization. Your team was just as hungry. Your fans were just as enthusiastic. Your team was built to win, and had all the momentum on your side.

But more importantly...

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs. Thank you for taking this Cubs fan, and generations of Cubs fans, on the ride of a lifetime.

I'm thinking of my grandmother right now. The lady that brought me to my first baseball game back in 1988 and introduced me to the game the year before. She would have loved this and I'm sure she's watching wherever she is.

World Series Champions. Has a nice ring to it. It'll definitely make watching those "Top 20" shows on the MLB network more bearable to watch during the offseason.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

As Today is November 2, 2016

November 2 is traditionally All Souls Day. It is the day where we celebrate the lives of family and friends who have passed away. Many will go to cemeteries and pray, some may even picnic on the grounds. It is not really a day of mourning, but a day of reflection. Remembering those who we strongly miss.

Personally, I would like to honor my grandparents, Felix Anama, Leonor Filoteo Anama, Gloria Y. Nichols, Ruben S. Menguito, Sgt. Clinton H. Nichols. As well as countless great aunts and uncles too numerous to list.

Today I want to remember the seven souls who died on January 8, 1993, at the Brown's Chicken in Palatine, Illinois: Michael C. Castro, Rico Solis, Thomas Mennes, Marcus Nellsen, Guadalupe Maldonado, Richard Ehlenfeldt, and Lynn Ehlenfeldt.

I would like to remember the people I've met over the years who left us too soon: Lynn Swoboda, Shannon McNamara, Linda Beyer, Gail Leff, Lois Winesburgh, Mary Jo Scanlan, Nancy Huber, Joseph Nasca, Antoinette Nasca, Dan Doles, Chris Stufflestreet, Thomas Scanlon, Darrin Steffey, Katie (Olin) Wood, Erin (Ryals) Semerad, Leonard "LJ" Marek, Rob Swanson.

On behalf of my wife, I would like to honor her grandparents, uncles, and especially, her mother (since I have not asked for my wife's permission to do so, I am not adding their names here).

Finally, I would like to take a moment to remember the families, the loved ones who were left behind.

Now that the personal side of the blog has been taken care of, I would also like to take time to remember 87 more people. Between 11/02/2015 and 11/01/2016, 87 people who can lay claim to playing major league baseball, 1 of whom had the honor of being a manager of a major league franchise (even for one game), passed away. Many lived long productive lives, even after their careers ended. Others, tragically, either passed away before their potential could be fully reached or before they could enjoy the fruits of their retirement.

Today, I take time out of my humble little baseball card blog to remember:

Eddie Milner
Fred Besana
Tommy Hanson
George Genovese
Carmen Castillo
Jim Stump
Kerry Dineen
Ken Johnson
Willie Royster
Bobby Gene Smith
Ramon de los Santos
Bob Dustal
Bob Martyn
Gus Gil
Jim McAnany
Hal Brown
Evelio Hernandez
George Burpo
Jim O'Toole
Dave Henderson
Ed Mayer
Frank Malzone
Jay Ritchie
Lance Rautzhan
Alton Brown
Monte Irvin
Luis Arroyo
Frank Sullivan
Walt Williams
Clyde Mashore
Ron Stillwell
Virgil Jester
Tony Phillips
Brock Pemberton
Jim Davenport
Kevin Collins
Bob Spicer
Steve Kraly
Bill Whitby
Joe Garagiola
Fred Richards
Tom Butters
Orlando Alvarez
Mike Sandlock
Ron Theobald
Milt Pappas
Harry Perkowski
Joe Durham
Gordie Sundin
Charlie Beamon
John Young
Dick McAuliffe
Sammy Ellis
Ron Henry
Ken Ramos
Jim Ray Hart
Lou Grasmick
Lee Pfund
Ruben Quevedo
Chico Fernandez
Phil Hennigan
Joe Schaffernoth
Jim Hickman
Turk Lown
Hal Hudson
Mike Strahler
Gordon Massa
Steve Nagy
Doug Griffin
Jose Arcia
Alan Brice
Robert Ramsay
Mike Brumley
Choo Choo Coleman
Steve Arlin
Charlie Sands
Bryan Clutterbuck
Juan Bell
Neil Berry
Paul Dade
Joe DeMaestri
Steve Korcheck
Don Minnick
Carl Miles
Dick Adams
Jose Fernandez
Gair Allie


JayBee Anama

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Time To Vote for Card #1 for the 2017 Topps Set

For the second year in a row, Topps is allowing fans and collectors to select the first card in their eponymous set. Unlike last year, where there were 34 players in the initial poll, including a representative from each major league team, and then a final five balloting to select the subject for #1, this time, a pool of 16 players have been chosen and there will be only one voting period.

The players for this year's ballot:

  • Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers
  • Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
  • Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
  • Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
  • Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
  • Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
  • Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
  • Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
  • Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
  • David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
  • Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
  • Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees
  • Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (and last year's #1)

Now having fewer players in the pool is fine, and I can see now who would be the favorites (cough...Trout...cough), and Ortiz is a good sentimental pick (maybe save him for a double zero number). My vote is for Bryant if only know.

Want to vote? Click here.

October is usually a busy month for this humble, little blog. End of Year All-Star Team selections will be forthcoming (after I post who were on the teams in 2015), and the comparisons between the 1996 and 2016 MLB debut classes.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, September 25, 2016

RIP Jose Fernandez 1992-2016

This was just pointed out by TradingCardDB on twitter. Please check the blurb on the back.

It has been reported that Marlins superstar pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident this morning. THIS MORNING! While the bit of information has only appeared on a trade rumors website, nothing has come up yet on or the Marlins website.

Regardless of whatever facts may come out about what happened this morning, MLB as a whole has lost another young star in his prime.

My condolences go out to the Fernandez family, the Marlins organization, Major League Baseball, and the fans. Not just Marlins fans, but all baseball fans.

UPDATE: WSVN, the ABC affiliate in Miami, is reporting that Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami beach.

The Marlins have officially released this statement:

The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernandez. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time. Today's game against the Atlanta Braves has been cancelled.

So this humble, little blog, will also send prayers and condolences to the families and friends of the other two victims in this tragic accident.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Two Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy-Four

My son is now a high school freshman. My daughter is a junior. She was just over a year old when it happened. My son wasn't even born.

In school, they learn about the events of September 11, 2001. It's a history lesson for them. They learn about what happened based on what is written on a page, what they see on a video, what they read online. It is sad yes. The chain of events, the heightened awareness, security at the airport, the news, all of it, is normal to them.

But prior to what happened fifteen years ago, it wasn't.

We weren't always at war. We didn't need to take our shoes off at the airports. We didn't have to worry about our safety to that extreme.

I wrote the words below in 2011. For that article, and when I re-ran the story since, I used the total number of people I had heard to have died due to the events of that day, not including those who heinously perpetrated the attacks. That number was 2,974. Depending on where you read it, it could have been 2,977. Tallies since then have brought the number up to 2,980. But regardless of the number, that's too many lives lost.

So while I know that it's been almost a month since my last post on this humble, little blog, I thought I'd come back and honor the memories of the people for whom this country still mourns, and think how the events on that fateful day changed the course of American history, fifteen years since. By the time this posts goes live, it is nightfall...fifteen years ago that the final plane crashed in a field somewhere in Pennsylvania.

Two thousand nine hundred seventy-four.


That's the number of people who lost their lives when everything was finally taken into account. Countless lives were affected by this national tragedy. Even if you didn't know anybody on those planes, at the World Trade Center, or the Pentagon, you grieved along with those who did. You stood there in shock, in a daze, just glued to the television or radio.

Our lives have not been the same since. My daughter, now eleven, asks what we (her parents) were doing that morning. "We were just going about our lives," was my reply. "We watched the morning news, getting ready for work, and couldn't believe what we were seeing on the screen." She was just over a year old. She couldn't have understood what was going on then. But she will learn that what she sees as "normal" now, really wasn't before that Tuesday morning.

Two thousand nine hundred seventy-four. It is the number of reasons why we never forget what happened fifteen years ago today.

On this day, the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, my family and I send our prayers to those who lost loved ones that Tuesday morning. We pray, and will continue to pray for:

the children who lost their parents that day.

the children who would never meet their fathers because of the events of that day.

the firefighters and policemen and women who risk their lives doing their jobs, running into the face of dangers as many are running in the opposite direction.

those servicemen and women fighting for our freedoms away from home, whether or not we agree with the conflicts they battle.

for our leaders, regardless of their affiliation, that they make the right choices to keep the citizens of our country, and others, safe.

And finally, we pray for peace. Peace amongst ourselves as family, as a community, as a nation.


JayBee Anama