Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2008-09 Topps Basketball Pack

This is another pack that came in my discounted K-Mart holiday box. I'm making sure I get my money's worth out of this box (even if I only paid like $4), so you will see most of the packs on here at some point.

Here is a 2008-09 Topps Basketball Pack

Al Thornton,
Isiah Thomas,
Jason Maxiell,
Jamario Moon,
Ray Allen,
Andrew Bogut,
Brendan Haywood,
Wally Szczerbiak,
Nazr Mohammed,
Kyle Korver,
Ronnie Brewer,
George Gervin Gold #0037/2008
>>> A couple HOFers and a future HOFer makes this pack a winner to me.  I love the photography on some of these.  The Ray Allen card is just because of the angle of the action shot showing the shot clock and his follow-through. The Isiah card would be incredible if only the ball were a little more to the right so you could see Larry Bird's face.  The horizontal cards look great.  The Iceman gold is freaking awesome.

I like to think that this picture ended with a sweet finger-roll.  Here's a fun fact about George Gervin:
In the 1978 season, Gervin and David Thompson were neck and neck for the PPG scoring title.  Going in to the final game of the season, Thompson was averaging 26.57 PPG and Gervin was averaging 26.78 PPG.  Thompson absolutely exploded in the last game, scoring 73 points.  That bumped his average up to 27.15 PPG.  Later that day, Gervin scored 63 points (including 33 in the second quarter), leapfrogging Thompson to take the lead and the title with an average of 27.22 PPG.  If Gervin had scored 6 fewer points, or if Thompson had scored 6 more (though 57 by Gervin was much more likely than 79 by Thompson), Thompson would have taken the crown. 
Anyone know the answer to the trivia question on the back of the Gervin? (without cheating and looking up the answer...)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

2008-09 Upper Deck MVP Basketball Pack

This is another pack that came in my discounted K-Mart holiday box. I'm making sure I get my money's worth out of this box (even if I only paid like $4), so you will see most of the packs on here at some point.

Here is a pack of 2008-09 Upper Deck MVP Basketball:

Gerald Wallace,
Al Harrington,
Tayshaun Prince,
Travis Outlaw,
Stephon Marbury,
DJ Augustin RC,
Kevin Garnett Team MVP,
Allen Iverson Ultimate Victory

>>> Starbury shows up in all my basketball packs it seems. He's my Russell Martin of basketball cards. Really, this pack didn't have much that was spectacular, but at least the RC was pretty good and the Team MVP was good.  I don't mind pulling Iverson inserts, but they aren't exactly what they used to be.

Friday, April 22, 2011

2009 Upper Deck Baseball Series 1 Pack

This is another pack that came in my discounted K-Mart holiday box. I'm making sure I get my money's worth out of this box (even if I only paid like $4), so you will see most of the packs on here at some point.

Here is a pack of 2009 Upper Deck Series 1 Baseball

John Smoltz,
Jim Thome,
Brandon Lyon,
Todd Helton,
Torii Hunter,
Andrew Miller,
Mark Saccomanno RC,
Bobby Abreu,
Joe Nathan,
Daniel Murphy,
Yovani Gallardo,
Eric Hinske,
Vicente Padilla,
Wily Mo Pena,
Team Leaders Red Sox (Pedroia, Matsuzaka, Beckett),
Team Leaders Cardinals (Ludwick, Pujols, Wellemeyer),
Starquest Blue Uncommon Matt Holliday,
Historic Firsts Predictors "The National League Wins the All-Star Game".
>>> Nothing too out of the ordinary here.  I love that Upper Deck lumped the NL wining the ASG with such things as discovering Bigfoot and curing AIDS.  Well, at least on the NL winning thing, they were only off by a year.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cards are funner here

I recently contacted Julie from Things are Funner Here about a David Wright wrapper redemption card she had, and before I knew it we had a full trade struck up.  I sent her some Halladays, among other things, and she sent me a load of PC cards.

I needed all of the Uptons, and now I have copies of the two base team cards for my Reynolds collection as well.  The gold still goes in the Upton collection. No offense to Mark, but I've known Justin since he was a little kid.

Some great base and parallels that I needed, including the Wright '52 sparkly that started the trade.  These are just a handful of the cards she sent.

Since I was sending her a Halladay relic, I was naturally looking for a relic in return.  Being a player collector, it's fairly common that the other trader doesn't have a relic of one of my players, so I usually just request a comparable relic in return.  She had a Vladimir Guerrero relic available as trade bait, so I requested it, and here it is.

I've actually got a small stack of Vlad relics now, whcih I just listed on ebay.  I went on an ebay listing binge the other day, so check out my stuff.  I probably should have offered a lot of it for trade first, but I need to raise some funds.  Theres some good lots on there and a decent range of stuff.  If something catches your eye, and it doesn't sell, I'd probably be willing to trade.

Thanks again, Julie, for the funnest trade!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Topps Value Box

My two Diamond Giveaway cards produced these:


That's nice.  I turned that card into the 1969 need for my Topps #3 collection.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

This Hokie Remembers. (The most important thing I'll ever write)

If there is one thing I've written that you read, let it be this.

Monday, April 16, 2007, my life changed forever. It was my senior year at Virginia Tech, and classes were winding down as graduation was only a month away. I had worked it such that I only had classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the other days filled up with senior design project work and sand volleyball. I was sleeping in Monday morning since I didn't have anywhere to be until the afternoon. My cell phone rang, so I grabbed it off of the dresser, only to find that my aunt was calling me. She had a habit of accidentally calling me when trying to call other people. One of the downsides to being an "Adam" is I am first in a lot of phones. I decided not to answer, figuring she would hear my voicemail message and realize the mistake. After a minute or so, my phone chimed a voicemail alert. I dialed the voicemail line and heard my aunt's frantic voice crying. "Adam, it's Aunt CeeCee, where are you, are you ok...the news is saying there was a shooting up there in an engineering building and I'm trying to see if you are ok. Please call me." There's nothing that could have prepared me for that message. I turned on the TV to see my school on every channel; it was like getting punched in the gut. As I gathered myself, I dialed my aunt's number to let her know I was ok. After calming her down, I had to start calling everyone to let them know. It's not the easiest thing to call everyone you know just to tell them you are alive. Most people hadn't heard the news yet, too busy with Monday morning work. I called my Mom's school and they pulled her from her class to come talk on the phone. I let her know that I was ok and that I loved her. While on the phone with her, my dad called, so I switched over to let him know I was ok. The next dozen or so hours were a blur of phone calls and breaking news interruptions. There was an incredible range of emotions that I went through that day.

It was impossible to pull myself away from the TV. Every channel had reports of different numbers. What started out as injuries, turned into deaths. 2 confirmed...5 confirmed...the number slowly crept up...9...15...22...32. All told, 32 people were killed and 25 were injured. Then came the waiting game. You called friends until you were sick to your stomach from hoping to hear their voice on the other end. You sat, and waited for identities to be released. Fortunately for me, none of my friends were killed. As the names and faces slowly came out, though, I started to recognize those I had passed frequently while walking to class and professors that I hadn't had, but had seen around campus.

Monday night, I laid in bed but never got to sleep. By morning, classes had been canceled for the remainder of the week, with several question marks about how we even return to class. How do we go back to normal? My roommate and I hopped on one the the buses and rode to campus, as several events had already been planned for the day. As we neared campus, it didn't look familiar. There was a sea of news vans with satellites all over and police and security everywhere. Press members from the BBC, Korea (upon release that the shooter was of Korean descent), and as far as Australia were on hand. We got off the bus and headed for the drillfield, the campus centerpiece. From the drillfield you could see Norris Hall, a building I was in or walking past every day. It was the same, but different.  It was untouchable, unapproachable. It was just up the hill, but it could only be in the distance for now. Memorials were popping up everywhere. Eventually, everyone gathered in Cassell Coliseum for the convocation. The turnout was so huge, that Lane Stadium was opened up so we could watch on the scoreboard screen. That was the first time I set foot on the football field. A place that was known for fun times and great games, was now a grassy sanctuary where we sat with friends and talked about where we would go from here. How do we graduate? How do we leave? How to we stay? There were several speakers that day, including President George Bush. The most powerful speaker though, was Nikki Giovanni. Her closing was what we needed to know that we would move forward and that we would prevail. If you haven't seen it, here it is:

That night, thousands of Hokies from all over and from all walks of life joined together for a candlelight vigil on the drillfield.

The next day, I started packing. Since there was no school the rest of the week, and I needed to go home and spend time with family. I drove about three hours without any music. I just needed to have time to think, clear my head, and enjoy the hills of Virginia. I got a very special phone call when I was about halfway home. My best friend's older brother is an Air Force pilot who was in Saudi Arabia at the time. Instead of using his call to talk to family, he called me. Being a UVA alum, he and I usually only talked when football would come around, and we could trash talk. This time was different. He said he was over there with some VT guys, and he just wanted to know what it was like back on campus. After a few minutes, he had to go, and I decided to turn on the radio for the first time. I was within range of the radio station back home, so I tuned to that and found them having a call-in request block in honor of the victims. Requests came in for songs like Offspring's Gone Away and Ozzy Osbourne's See You on the Other Side. One guy called in and told a story about how he and one of the people who was killed used to hang out and listen to Chevelle, and that her favorite song was Point #1. I'm not sure how I managed to drive the rest of the way home as much as I was crying.  During something like that, you reach a point where you can't hold it in. 

When school resumed, I approached everything with a new vigor. My design team finished our senior project, and all of the senior class geared up for graduation. My graduation was not like every other one I had been to. No one was happy to be done, and we weren't happy to be leaving. There were more tears than applause, more hugs than high-fives. We lived and bled as Hokies for four years, but had just been given a new lease on life. President Steger spoke of our strength and how we moved forward despite the setbacks. It was a tremendously emotional event. In the engineering breakout ceremony, we honored those who had died with posthumous degrees. The families of the victims were incredibly strong to step on stage to accept the framed diplomas on the behalf of their loved ones. The most emotional moment came when one survivor made his way to the stage. The most famous picture to come from the tragedy is of a kid being carried by troopers with blood on his legs. The kid was shot in the leg and saved his own life by tying a computer cable as a tourniquet. He walked across the stage to accept his diploma with the aid of some braces and crutches. It was an amazing sign of strength, and he was given a standing ovation and applause as he accepted his degree.

After graduation and a summer that flew by, I headed back to VT to start my Master's degree. I went to the first football game of the season, against East Carolina. It was a moment everyone had been waiting for. It was the first time in a few months that people would talk about Virginia Tech and not have it be about April 16. It was the big moment that we took a step forward. It was the moment the we prevailed. I remember it like it was yesterday. Enter Sandman rang out through the speakers. I and 65,000 of my friends began jumping up and down with tears streaming down our faces. As the team emerged from the tunnel, we were set free, and life returned to some form of normal.  They released 32 balloons into the sky at the game.  We were able to let our fallen Hokies go without trying to forget them.

In a weird way, April 16 was the worst day of my life and the best day of my life. Since that day, I love stronger, laugh harder, cry more often, and hope higher. That day was my Kennedy assassination, my moon landing, my "where were you?" day. These days, I don't get asked if "I was there" quite as much. Now, when I google "Virginia Tech", google doesn't suggest "Virginia Tech Tragedy" or "Virginia Tech Massacre". We've all moved on in a good way, but not a day goes by that I don't think about what happened. To tell you the truth, I hope a day never does come where I don't think about it, even if just for a moment.

Just this past week -- a week I spent in San Francisco -- it came up several times.  My cousin and I talked about it along with a wine bar bartender one of the days.  Flipping through the channels one night, I came across a show on gun laws.  VT and gun laws have become good friends, or better yet, arch enemies.  On the show, a survivor talked about the work he does in closing gun law loopholes.  It was a guy that I had played club volleyball with on several occasions.  He was shot 4 times that day.  He had to relearn how to walk.  I didn't realize he was one of the injured until just this week. 

Former VT basketball player Coleman Collins wrote a post for ESPN's True Hoop blog that can be found here.  It is definitely worth reading if you have stuck with my writing far enough down the page to get here. Coleman's writing is very emotional and is far more eloquent than mine. 

I have said more here than I ever thought I would, and I am sure I have left out many things.  If anything, I wrote this because I needed to for myself.  It's a rare event that something meaningful and worthy of an audience comes from my frantic hunting-and-pecking, so I hope you can take something from this. If you do take anything from this, let it be a reminder to call your family and friends and let them know you love them.

I love my family.  I love my friends.  I love Virginia Tech.  There is nothing that will ever take those away from me.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Some Crinkly cards in the mail

I recently got some cards from Ted over at Crinkly Wrappers.  I sent him a couple 2011 Heritage SPs he needed and a sweet Clemens card.  Come to think of it, I haven't posted the pack that the card came out of, so why not do that first.

Here's a pack of 1999 Topps Finest Series 1.  Anyone who has read this blog in the past year has seen 1999 Finest pop up a few times.  The LCS had it for cheap, so I pick one or two up most times I go by. 

Neifi Perez,
Jeff King - I'm not quite sure how to describe the awesomeness of the moustache. His lip has a unibrow.
Shawn Green
Shane Reynolds
Scott Rolen Gems - Scott Rolen as a Phillie, haven't seen that in a while.

Roger Clemens Team Finest Blue #1179/1500 (1:82 packs) - Could be the best insert I've pulled from 1999 Finest.  All 'roid issues aside, it's a great looking cards since it's a blue card of a Blue Jay.  The serial numbers on 1999 Finest look great.  They make it look like a card you want to have.

Yeah, so I sent Ted the Clemens.  At least I think I did.  I intended to.  Now that I think about it, I can't remember if I stuck it in the package.  Anyway, he sent me a couple cards for my Topps #3 collection, which I greatly appreciated.

He also sent along some various set needs:

I love packages that hit several want lists.  Thanks Ted!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My MCG cards have arrived!

I got an email a couple days ago that my MCG cards were on the way, and today, they arrived.  It really brightened an otherwise crappy day.  You see, I am headed to San Francisco tomorrow morning for a training class and conference that starts Saturday.  Since I am a gov't employee, I am sitting around stressing over the lack of Congressional action concerning the budget.  If there is no budget, I go on furlough starting tomorrow night at midnight.  That means I don't go to the class or conference and I can either try to fly back asap, or stay in San Fran on my own dime until next Friday.  Since my wife is joining me for the trip, and we have paid for her plane ticket, among other things, we are already in the hole for this trip a little.  We plan on staying there for the week.  Sounds good, right, I don't have to work and I'm in San Fran.  Wrong. You see, in a furlough, I don't get paid.  When the gov't shutdown ends, Congress has to vote whether I get paid for that time or not.  So, in the event of a shutdown, I'm in San Fran looking for a place to stay on my own dime while on mandatory unpaid furlough. Super.  I didn't exactly have unpaid vacation time in one of the most expensive places in the US written into my budget for this year. 

On a high note, though, my wife and I are going to the Giants/Dodgers game on Tuesday, and Lincecum is the projected starter.  Ok, that's my rant; back to the cards.  I got 32 cards shipped, and I left 2 unclaimed.

The random cards I had shipped, really for no particular reason other than they are somewhat old, are:

1970 Jack Baldschun
1973 Jim McGlothlin
1974 John Boccabella
1976 Steve Braun
1979 Ted Cox
1979 Doug Bair
1979 Moose Haas
1979 Jim Barr
1982 Dwayne Murphy

And the oldest of all:

1968 Grady Hatton MGR
- This one will probably be headed to the Dimwit if he needs it.

I also knocked a ton of the cards off of my Topps #3 want list:

2009 Andy Marte
2008 Jeff Suppan
2006 Garrett Atkins
2004 Mark Kotsay
2002 Brad Penny
2001 Roger Cedeno
1997 Terrell Wade
1992 Jeff Reardon RB
1989 Gary Carter RB

1988 Mark McGwire RB
1985 Dwight Gooden RB
1984 Dan Quisenberry HL
1983 Greg Minton RB
1982 Tim Raines HL
1980 Manny Mota HL
1979 RBI Leaders (Rice/Foster)
1977 RBI Leaders (May/Foster)
1970 Darrel Chaney

The Topps #3 cards became my trade target after I gave up on some of my other goals.  I was able to trade a semi-old card for a ton of '79s, and I turned those into most of the cards above.  I was pretty happy overall to turn a mid-to-late '60s into 18 cards I wanted.  I also snagged some of the Michael Cuddyer cards I didn't have:


All in all, for less than the price of a blaster, I knocked off several cards I wanted.  If you want any of the first nine cards shown above, let me know.

Let's hope the gov't avoids a shutdown so I can avoid going completely broke.  I'm not sure how much blogging I'll be doing in the next week, but I'll at least try to post a picture or two from the Giants/Dodgers game. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What color hair will Rodman's HOF bust have?

While going through some basketball cards last night, I came across this Rodman:

He averaged 4.5 reb more than the #2 guy.  That is absolutely ridiculous.  He led the league in RPG 7 straight years (this one was #6).  In 1991-92, he averaged 18.7.  That's crazy. 

So, which hair makes the HOF?  I say leopard-print. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

10 random basketball comments and a pack of 2007-08 Bowman Draft Picks and Stars Basketball

With baseball in full swing, what better pack than...basketball?  Ok, this 2007-08 Bowman Draft Picks and Stars Basketball pack is from my incredibly discounted holiday box.  I'm not a major basketball fan, but I love to open packs.  First, though, here are ten things regarding my relationship with basketball:

1. Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time.  It's not close.
2. Larry Bird is the man, and my dad looks like him.  Seriously, we occasionally have strangers come up to him and tell him that out of nowhere.  One lady at a car dealership announced it over the loudspeaker.  The best part about: He absolutely hates it. 
3. Dennis Rodman is in the HOF and he deserves it completely.
4. LeBron is the best player in the league. 
5. Kobe is a great player, but is not in the top 5 all-time.
6. I prefer college Carmelo to pro Carmelo. 
7. I grew up hearing legends about how great Alonzo Mourning was in high school (I grew up in the same city).  He averaged 25 points, 15 rebounds and 12 blocked shots a game as a senior.  That's just plain nasty.
8. Tim Duncan is the only player in the league that can beat you with things you learned the first time you touched a basketball.
9. The foul calls that LeBron, Kobe, The Lakers, Anderson Verajao, Duke, and Manu Ginobili get are far less horrendous than the lack of traveling and carrying (palming) calls.
10. College basketball has the best postseason of any sport. My proof: 2011 UConn.  I said all year that the Big East was massively overrated this year.  And they were, just like last year.  They were also the best conference.  You might ask, "How can you be the best and be overrated?"  I would say, "see Kobe Bryant, UConn Women's basketball, Babe Ruth, and Wilt Chamberlain." Yeah, I said it.  Anyway, back to 2011 UConn.  They sneak into the conference tournament in a difficult spot (1st team w/out a bye) and run the table.  They jump up to a 3-seed in the NCAA tournament and run the table.  That is awesome.  The team that kicked it up a notch for the postseason came out on top.  It was great to see a team win that had more desire than talent.  This year was one of the most talent-limited college basketball seasons in a long time, and an average team with one great player won the tournament.  That is beautiful, man.

Since I'm being especially opinionated in this post, I'll comment on each player.

Monta Ellis - maybe the least known superstar-ish player in the league?
Andre Iguodala - is it "Iggadalla" or "Igwadalla"? or perhaps the occasional "eegewdalla". 
Jason Kidd - Nothing bad to say about the triple double machine.
Carmelo Anthony - See #6 above.
Josh Smith Chrome - This guy should be a lot better than he is.  At least the Chrome looks nice.