Monday, September 30, 2013

What Do You Mean the Season's Not Yet Over??!

The Cubs and White Sox both just stunk up the joint in 2013, so I'm glad the season's over (so Chicagoans can focus their attention on the Bears, Bulls, and the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks...don't forget the Fire) . Whoever wins in the just about anybody's guess...

Wait...what do you mean the season's not over?

You mean the Rays and Rangers have to play a game 163 just so they can get into the playoffs as the "fifth seed???"

You mean to tell me that all my plans for October have to be delayed by one day??!

I guess I can wait.

So much to do in October.

Remember, it was at this time last year that this humble, little blog was able to run one Random Topps Card of the Day for nine straight months (give or take)? I even was able to add a Team Set of the Week and the Topps Pro Debut Card of the Week. Where am I going with this?

Let's just say that the Randomizer will be up and running again, with a whole new look. You'll have to wait and see what I mean tomorrow.

Also, the usual end of the year articles will be posted before the end of October, including:

  • The Topps All-Star Rookie Team Contest, beginning with a look at the players MLB thought of as Top Rookies. Take notes here because these are the guys who you will have to pick for the annual contest. The grand prize? If someone guesses all the players who get onto the team correctly, they could win a complete 2005 Topps Rookie Cup set.
  • Our yearly look at the Major League Debutantes of 2013, and comparing this class to the class from 1993. It's fun to look back to see how the rookies of a generation ago stacked up against this year's rookie crop? Who had the longest career? Who's MLB career ended as soon after that one special game? Stay tuned.
  • Because of the one-game playoff, bdj610's End-of-the-Year All-Star Teams for 2013 will be announced in a four-part post (as it has been since 2008) after the season stats have been tabulated. On Tuesday, the bullpens of both teams (4 closers and one middle reliever per League) will be announced. Wednesday will feature the starting rotations (six starters per side). Thursday will be the day that will ensure that all 30 teams has an All-Star. And finally on Friday, both 36-man rosters for the American and National Leagues will be announced. 
Also, because of the computer meltdown earlier this month, I had to recreate the spreadsheets that contain my templates for the Sports Card Blogroll. The goal now is to get all of the sites onto Excel so that I can maintain the site again properly.

It's 4-2 Rays going into the top of the seventh now at the Ballpark in Arlington. Then, it's on to the postseason.

Or as I'd like to think of it as...WHEN WILL TOPPS UPDATE SERIES GET HERE??!


JayBee Anama

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Well, the Good News is...

I was able to get the Internet AND my scanner back onto the computer in the basement (the home base for this humble, little blog when not using the laptop/cell phone combo), so I am happy to report that I can get scanned images back onto the blog. 

Now, if there was any way to get my Office docs back up and running...

Anyway, it's been quiet on the Topps card front for me. This year's edition of Allen & Ginter's is waiting to be placed in the binder, and all I'm waiting for now is Update Series, which won't be coming in until after the season is over.

Speaking of which, it's just about that time to review rookie statistics to help those who plan on participating in the annual contest determine who will be named to the 2013 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. Based by all the hype this year, I think it's safe to say that two slots can be filled RIGHT NOW (I'm not going to say which, but if you've been following the game all year, you know who I am talking about).

I have to get the spreadsheet up and running and will put up the names tonight or by tomorrow evening. There are some pretty big names in the running for the 10-11 team spots (depending on what Topps feels like doing this year with the pitchers again), so it should make for a very interesting debate.

In the mean time, I have decided to take stock of the boxes of random cards I have in my collection and get to the process of sorting, renaming, and possibly putting them all in a spreadsheet so I can help out collectors/bloggers with their want lists. Sure I could have done this when I wasn't working (which by the way it has been now 1 year since DPI closed its facility in Chicago, thus putting me out of work in the first place), but I was busy with more important matters (like finding a new job...). Now that I have said job, free time is a bit more of a premium. But I'm sure if I ask the right people, I can get some "me" time to work on this. It may take some time...we'll see.

That's all to report. I have decided that the Randomizer will be reset and will be up and running again in October. I will probably do a bit of a re-format to the Random Cards of the Day, most likely eliminating the normally long-winded commentary (I'm no judge on players or how well they did other than stats nor am I witty enough to say something about them personally). I'll probably stick with short commentary with the Pro Debut cards, but not so much with the regulars. I'll have to find a way to include insert cards and maybe some cards from other sets...but I'm getting ahead of myself now.

I guess with the scanner back up and running, my mind is running in a million different directions. Care to join me on this new journey?


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Two Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy Four...

(Other than changing the number of years and my daughter's age, this post was originally written two year...)

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 thirteen, 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 eleven years ago today.

On this day, the eleventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks, my family andI send our prayers to those who lost loved ones that Tuesday morning.

We pray for those children who lost their parents that day.

We pray for those children who would never meet their fathers because of the events of that day.

We pray for 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.

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

We pray 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 forpeace. Peace amongst ourselves as family, as a community, as a nation.


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Sell Sheets are Now Live!!!

If Topps continues it's recent consistency when it comes to its products, the second set that I will be looking forward to getting, just after 2014 Topps Series 1, will be Gypsy Queen.

Now I know you're probably asking, why don't you collect Heritage. I never really got into Heritage, not because I don't appreciate the company's past designs, but I don't know, it just didn't get my attention back in 2001 when the Golden Anniversary Set was all the rage. My mind was more focused on getting the 50 card Through the Years set, so even though Heritage was a hot seller, it was never really on my "must have" radar.

With that said, I like the Gypsy Queen product. Especially the style used for the photos. It's not textured (or painted akin to Turkey Red) but it has a unique quality all its own. And after three years, it has established its own identity. So I was happy to find out that the GQ brand will return in 2014. And just today, I found the sell sheets:

It is another 350 cards set, with 300 base and 50 short-printed cards. There are also SP variation cards (that I don't really collect, but don't mind ever pulling). The font used for the Gypsy Queen header is bolder and more modern looking than its counterpart from four years ago. The design is bold and I love the details on the corners.

While many collectors flock to the relic and auto cards (many of which are on card), I like the basic inserts. The themes are simple, and the cards themselves complement the base set with their own unique designs. There will be five different insert sets in the 2014 edition, including:

  • Dealing Aces (20 cards), the set featuring the best starting pitchers in the game,
  • Collisions at the Plate (10 cards), featuring catchers defending the plate against some of the game's best in an effort to keep them from touching home,
  • Glove Stories (10 cards), showing off 10 players who can play defense with grace and agility,
  • Debut All-Stars (15 cards), featuring All-Star players at their first All-Star Game appearance, and
  • N174 Gypsy Queen (15 cards), featuring legendary players in the old N174 design.
Both the Debut All-Stars and N174 GQ cards are new to the basic insert series. There will be the usual run of parallel cards galore, in many shades of the rainbow. 

So get ready retro-collectors. With the product coming in at the beginning of the season, you only have six months to prepare for the arrival of one of the better mid-level sets in the Hobby today.


JayBee Anama

Response to Comments...then Good News, Bad News

A quick note before I have to get ready for work.

REJ, the guy who writes both the 20th Century Topps Baseball and 21st Century Topps Baseball, suggested that Allie, the lady in South Carolina who is looking for the perfect gift for her sports card collecting husband, find (if she can) the book that has pictures of all the Topps cards from their first 35 or 40 years called Topps Baseball Cards: The Complete Picture Collection, a 40 Year History, 1951-1990 by Frank Slocum, Red Foley, and Sy Berger. Which would be a great idea.

Not too many copies of this out there, but if you can find one, it would make a heck of a birthday present. It's a shame that Topps didn't make one for their 50th anniversary in 2001 or even a 60th in 2011. Yes, it would have made the book extremely heavy...maybe if they did it by decade (I know they made books that showed every card in the 50's and 60's and probably the 70's too).

Personally, I like this book as well:

Classic Baseball Cards: The Golden Years 1886-1956 by Frank Slocum. I have both books, and needless to say, yes they're huge, but great references for cards from the past.

Now, on to the second segment on today's post. Good news. I have my 2013 Allen & Ginter's set. I even have the five regular-sized insert sets whose subjects range from planets, to castles.forts, to ancient civilizations and even warriors. One problem was that the 10 card Martial Mastery set only had nine cards in the package. Normally, I'd be on the horn to the seller to ask if he had a spare card (I was "missing" the Spartans card). However, I did buy a couple of packs of this year's set before taking the plunge for the master set, and sure enough, one of the inserts was the Spartans card. So positive feedback was left, I am done with new cards (until 2013 Topps Update Series), and all is right in my world.

Well, almost.

The bad news is that my computer crashed. It isn't the first time this has happened. And in the past, I've had no problems getting everything back. But this time, everything in my C: drive was erased. All my back up drives are fine (my E: storage drive is now D:, my F: drive which has all of my baseball simulation stuff is now in the E: drive, and my G: drive is now the F: drive.). Sadly, there was no B: drive created, which means all of my devices, and many of my really important spreadsheets (like my checklists, my bank, and other things) are gone. Now, I do have some of these spreadsheets in my flash drive, but obviously, for things like my bank spreadsheet, it's far from up-to-date.

This also means that devices like my scanner, my printers, would have to be re-installed. No problem. But I also have to find a way to get the internet back up and running. That's going to take a while. So until then, unless I hook up my scanner to the laptop (or the second computer upstairs), I will be stealing images from my favorite card website, the Baseball Card Cyber Museum when talking about cards. This also puts a bit of a monkey wrench into the Random Cards of the Day.

Have to go. Talk to you soon.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, September 5, 2013

An Email to Find the Perfect Present for the Collector Who Almost Has Everything

I received an email recently from Allie in South Carolina, with a very interesting question:

Hi! I did indeed stumble upon your blog in the process of looking for a 40th birthday present for my husband, an avid collector of baseball and football cards :) I must confess immediately to knowing almost nothing about card collecting. But my boys and I are putting together a huge box of 40 of his favorite things for his birthday, and I have been somewhat stymied by the 'baseball card' category. Right now he is working on completing a set of football cards from a particular year, but I don't have any way (without asking him) of figuring out which ones he still needs. question for you is whether there is something I could get him that is somewhat of an outside-the-box gift for a man who has everything, including a LOT of baseball cards? The other day he ordered a jeweler's loop so that he could examine the edges and coloration of certain cards and I was so bitter that I hadn't thought of that! Is there a particular supply that not many people know about which is secretly indispensable? Is there a book that is an invaluable resource for collectors? I just don't know where to look!

Any advice would be so helpful! Thank you sooo much, and take care!

Because she didn't specify what kinds of cards he has, I made the following suggestions:

  • Toploaders and boxes to store cards
  • if he has mini cards (like for A&G, GQ, and Topps 206), a box of 15-pocket pages
  • books (because those who collect ANYTHING is also a book collector) like the annual Beckett Almanacs, or even books like Mint Condition, Cardboard Gods, or The Card (the T206 Honus Wagner story).
As a collector of sports cards, if you were going to ask for something other than cards, what would you want to get for your birthday present? Are the above items that I came up with good ideas? Am I missing something? Please let me know in the comments section. I will also post this query on Twitter. Any good suggestions will be quickly forwarded to Allie. 



JayBee Anama