Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shoebox Treasures:Lost Cards Found Again

Baseball cards are cardboard time Machines. If you are into the hobby like me and many of the people who follow this blog then you know that over the course of time due to The large amounts of cards you possess that you may lose or misplace cards. You may lose cards in boxes and never see them for year but when  you relocate hem it feels that you have purchased he world. This happened to me the other day when I relocated some Jersey Cards and Autographs I hadn’t seen in a long time.

The 1st card I located comes from that great 2007 Upperdeck SPX set and features a Rookie Signature of Beltran Perez of the Washington Nationals. Perez’s stint in DC was very short starting 3 games and collecting a 2-1 record along with 3.86 ERA towards the end of the season. He hasn’t pitched in the Majors since. In 2005 while with Arizona he was traded to he Dodgers organization for Shawn Green.

 Card number two I located was this 2006 edition of Sweet Spot’s “Super Sweet swatches” or jersey Card Featuring Jason Schmidt. The 3 Time All-Star posted back to back 15+ win seasons in 2003&2004 but that magic was never duplicated when he played for the rival Dodgers.

The 3rd Card I located was another 2007 SPX but this time a jersey card of one of the most erratic, inconsistent pitchers I have ever seen play for My Marlins-Scott Olsen. Olsen became part of history when he collected 12 wins in the 2006 season going 12-10 and joining Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez to become the 1st Major League Rotation in baseball history have 4 rookies with 10+ wins. That was followed up by some not so great stints in Washington and Chicago

Card number 4 features a young Todd Helton on a 2000 edition of Topps Fusion with a signature to go along win it. 2000 Was a memorable year for the face of the Rockies as he took a 400. Batting average into the season’s final month but finished at 372. He is the closest anyone has gotten to hitting 400. Since Ted Williams.

Card five Is yet another 2007 Upper Deck SPX Jersey card of future Hall of Fame slugger Jim Thome. 2007 was a big year for Thome as he became the 23rd player to hit 500 homeruns and join that exclusive club. His was a bit more special though as he did it on a walk off Homerun a first in Major league history.

The Last Card features one of the most talked about players from the 2007 season which is Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Card I found on him is special and limited. This was a redemption card meaning you can’t find It in a pack. You get a certificate with info in the pack you fill out a form and send it to Upper Deck. They send it back to you and there are only so many manufactured. The one I happened to have is an SPX Rookie Signature of Daisuke that happens to be very rare and not many have so It’s probably the best card I found although he never lived up the hype in Boston.

All in all great cards that I’m happy I reconnected with

Monday, April 29, 2013

Allen Iverson Rookie Card

Not to long ago I was at my local card store chopping it up with the employees I’ve known since I was a little kid at the store while simultaneously digging through dime boxes. Card after card I was left unintrigued until I stumbled upon this.

While it is a regular base card it happens to be a card of one of the dudes responsible for getting into sports and that man is Allen Iverson. The card pictured above is an Upperdeck Collectors choice rookie card of A.I. He is holding up his #3 Sixers jersey and that was the 1st moment in a career chalk full of moments good, bad and everything else in between.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Day at the Ballpark: Cubs vs Marlins 4/25

My Tickets

Big Time Cubs Fan (Paul) on the left. Me in Teal on the right with Throwback Marlin jersey on

Juan Pierre!!

Willie Mays Bobblehead at the Bobblehead museum

Hank Aaron Bobblehead at the Museum

Ken Griffey Jr. Bobblehead

Cody Ross

Representing my Marlins,even if 100 loses this seas is inevitable

Was in left field watching batting practice and had to show yall this guy he got creative with his old Jose Reyes jersey

My seats and as you can see there were plenty to go around but all and all a good night but Marlins lost 4-3

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Playoff Time 2013: James Harden

In life no matter what the profession may be we all strive to advance in the company or have a much more broad expanded role that pays better. Well in case of James harden that's what has happened this season. He was with a great company in the Oklahoma City Thunder but he decided to go with the up and comer Houston Rockets for more money and an expanded role. He made the right career decision for himself and has had a nice season in leading the Rockets to the Playoffs.

This season James Harden had to make an adjustment from 6th man to Franchise Player which is not eazy but he had himself many Memorable performances. In his first two games as a rocket he scored 37 and 45 in two wins vs the Pistons and Hawks he put no doubt in anybody's mind that he can be the go to guy on a good team. The Rockets became one of the most exciting teams in the league to watch on a nightly basis with Harden being the Marquee player Houston has someone to build around for a long time to come.

James Harden leads the boys from H-Town against his former teammates and employer the Oklahoma City Thunder. He proved earlier this season that he has no problems scoring on OKC when he dropped 46 points in a win. The Thunder are heavily favored and for good reason they have more talent around their franchise players the Houston does at this present moment. James Harden is a competitor though so don't expect him and Houston to go down quietly.

Houston is an exciting team to watch but can their high scoring playing style translate to a 1st round Upset of the Oklahoma City Thunder?

The NBA Playoffs begin on April 21st for the Rockets as they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Playoff Time 2013: Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook

The powerhouse over the past several seasons in the Western Conference has been the Oklahoma City Thunder. Last season they went all the way to the NBA Finals but met a Heat team on another level, it wasn't their time just yet. A big deal has been made out of the whole Russell Westbrook/Kevin Durant. Many people don't like Russell taking so many shots and would like to see KD get more aggressive on both ends of the floor. I can fully understand why people would say that but when Durant has a season where he shoots 40% from behind the 3-point line shoots 50% from the field It's kind of hard to argue that point.

Westbrook and Durant are polar opposites on and off the court. Westbrook plays with an aggression and is one hundred miles per hour all the time. Durant is much more smooth and calm and has a tendency to just go with the flow. The opposite personalities led the Thunder to the#1 seed in the Western Conference. If the Thunder want to win a ring then These 2 need to be the best players for the Thunder throughout the Playoffs, consistency is key.

The 1st round in OKC's Playoff run matches them up with an old friend-James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Last season Harden was a part of that OKC team that went all the way to the finals in a 6th man role. Prior to the season Harden was trade to Houston where he would make more money and be the guy. He is the face of the Rockets and now as the playoffs begin he and his friends from Houston will take on Westbrook, Durant and the Thunder. This series has that interesting story lines and I'm sure it will be fun with so many exciting players to watch. The leaders of the Thunder will need to take care of business early and not give the Rockets any Life.

They have proven they are elite but can OKC finally take the next step and become Champions?

The NBA playoffs begin April 21st for the Thunder as they take on James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

Playoff Time 2013: Dwight Howard

When Dwight Howard came to LA he immediately posted a picture on twitter of himself holding a basketball with a bunch of jerseys of former great Laker Centers such as Shaq and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the back round. If pictures are worth a thousand words then those are worth a few million. He put himself in the same class as some of the greatest centers to ever play the game of basketball. This postseason the Stage is all his with Kobe Bryant injured he can either rise up and become great or just post pictures about it.

As most of the Sports world knows the Lakers had a very up and down season.  Mike Brown got fired early, D'antoni was hired, Dwight and Kobe had chemistry Issues and the Lakers got off to a tough start. Through all of that the Lakers are still in the playoffs.

The Lakers enter the 1st round as underdogs vs a Familiar foe in the San Antonio Spurs Without Kobe Bryant which means it will allow Dwight to Give more touches in the offense . We need to see that guy who was dominant in Orlando and led the Magic to the finals. I want to see him stop being nice and dominate average 20 Points and 15 Rebounds. That's easier said than done though the San Antonio Spurs are one hell of a team and will exploit even the greatest players weakness.

Dwight has a great opportunity in front of him to truly become the great player the Lakers traded Andrew Bynum to get.  Now is not the time to make Friends nor is it the time to smile it's time to become a Champion. Can Dwight Howard help the Lakers upset the Spurs and lead them deep into the Playoffs?

The Playoffs begin for the Lakes today April 21st as they take on the San Antonio Spurs.

Playoff Time 2013: Tim Duncan

Greatness of certain players in the NBA sometimes get taken for granted because they get Classified as boring due to them not having a high flamboyant playing style like most stars in the league, Tim Duncan is one of those players. He has arguably been the best player in the last 15 years and a model of consistency for the San Antonio Spurs. He has 4 Championship rings to put that into perspective, the big 3 of the Miami Heat have that same number combined. He may be boring to the Casual fan but Tim Duncan is a Living legend.

This season for the Spurs star was pretty much the same he produced averages of 17 Points and 10 rebounds while helping the Spurs get 2nd best record in the Western Conference. While people are quick to point out his age they need to also acknowledge that fact that at 36 years of age he is still averaging a an efficient double-double.

As the San Antonio Spurs enter the Playoffs once again they will face the LA Lakers but this year it comes with a bit of a twist in the plot, there will be no Kobe Bryant due to an injury he sustained just before the season ended. The Spurs and Lakers have had many classic playoff battles before but with no Kobe it won't feel right they can't stop the game though we got basketball to play. The Lakers are expected to get dominated by some but some also believe  this will be an evenly matched series. I just know that as far as coaching goes that Greg Poppivich will not allow an undermanned Lakers squad to beat him.

At 36 Years of age Tim Duncan is getting closer to turning the page on his basketball career,  Can himself and the Spurs get him ring #5?

The Playoffs begin for the Lakes today April 21st as they take on the San Antonio Spurs.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Playoff Time 2013: Roy Hibbert

The NBA is a guard driven league these days but that doesn't mean in any way, shape or form that big men don't play a vital role in a team's playoff success. Although Roy Hibbert is a solid player it is inexcusable for him to not be the dominant force the Pacer pay him to be down low. Roy has all the talent in the world but needs to start asserting his dominance down low on a more consistent basis, what better time to start then the NBA Playoffs.

The Indiana Pacers had a great season and come into the playoffs as the #3 seed so you can't argue with success but Roy has to be more consistent. Averaging 11 points and 9 Rebounds is decent but not what Indiana needs from him down low if they are going beat the Miami Heat and win a championship. Roy needs to be averaging 20-10 or 18-9 the playoffs are all about rising to the occasion and taking your game to the next level I and every other basketball fan need to see that from him.

As the Pacers enter the playoffs they will start the 1st round Matched up against the Atlanta Hawks. The Pacers are expected to win and the Hawks Frontcourt of Al Horford and Josh Smith will be a nice test for Hibbert. We All know the Pacers are better when Roy Hibbert is playing a high level of basketball. It makes Paul George Better  which means that the Pacers become an even tougher match up.

Roy Hibbert has all the tools but will he finally begin to put all the pieces together to help lead the Indiana Pacers deep into the playoffs? That's on Roy's shoulders.

The NBA Playoffs begin April 21st for the Pacers when they take on Josh Smith and the Atlanta Hawks.

Playoff Time 2013: Josh Smith

The Atlanta Hawks franchise seems to be close to turning the page in regards to Josh Smith But there is still business to take care of in the Playoffs. The whole season people asked the question "What will the Hawks do with Josh Smith". Smith thinks he is a max contract player in terms of money the Hawks think otherwise. They decided to not Trade him at the deadline and keep him for the remainder of the year. Hawks deserves some credit though he didn't cry about not getting traded, shut his mouth and played out the rest of the season hard which is rare among NBA players these days.

Smith had a solid season averaging 17 points and 8 rebounds a game leading the Hawks to the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference. He has been this year what he has his whole career and that a guy who can do a lot of things well. If the Hawks are to avoid yet another 1st round exit Smith will have to play Smart efficient basketball which is something he has struggled to do consistently his whole career.

The Hawks 1st round opponent is the Indiana Pacers who many think can get to the Eastern Conference Finals and are the Miami Heat's biggest threat to reaching the NBA Finals. Smith will have to play superb defense and make sure that he spends most of his time on offense down low on the block for the Hawks to even have any remote shot of winning this series.

As the end of the Josh Smith era seems to be ending in Atlanta can he give the highlight factory one more thing to cheer about with an upset over the Indiana Pacers?

The Playoffs being April 20th as Josh Smith and the Atlanta Hawks take on Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers.

Playoff Time 2013: Luol Deng

The Chicago Bulls are without Derrick Rose and possibly Joakim Noah. With that being said someone needs to step up and that Someone is small forward and team Leader Luol Deng. For Many years Deng has offered the Chicago Bulls Stability but his role with the Bulls will most certainly be increased this postseason. He is going to have to step up and elevate  his game another notch for the Bulls to make some noise in the playoffs.

Luol Deng can best be defined as a work horse, A Star Role player in the league if you will. This season he has lead the league in Minutes played and has done everything coach Tom Thibedau has asked of him. for many years Deng could be counted to bring a calmness and a sense of stability to the line up but now it's time to step up as a leader.  he  needs to be the solid two way player that Chicago fans know him to be.

As the Bulls enter the playoffs banged up they will be matched up against the Brooklyn Nets. The two teams seem to be very evenly matched up as the 4 and 5 seeds in the Eastern Conference. If the Bulls are going to get past the 1st round they will have to outhustle and muscle Broooklyn on the Boards and on the perimeter. The Harder they make life on the Nets back court the better chance they have at winning.

How much noise can Luol Deng and the Bulls make in the playoffs?

The NBA Playoffs begin April 20th as Luol Deng and the Chicago Bulls take on the Brooklyn Nets

Playoff Time 2013: Deron Williams & Joe Johnson

Remember all of that Media hoopla about the Brooklyn Nets? Remember all of the trash talk coming out of the new signings  Joe Johnson& Deron Williams  mouth about taking over the city? Well although they had a solid season they didn't quite take over New York but unlike the New Jersey days they are in the NBA Playoffs. This is where Joe Johnson and Deron Williams need to find that extra level in their games and become great player.

All that talk about being the best back court in the NBA needs to be proven and  Brooklyn's All-Stars need to rise to the occasion, Its playoff time. This season was a roller coaster for Jay-Z's team. Avery Johnson got fired early in the season and the team seemed to have chemistry struggling to play 500. ball. After P.J Carlisimo  took over the Nets began to play more loose and free while developing a swagger. You began to hear the "BROOKLYN" chants reverberating throughout the Barclay's Center more often. Deron and Joe began to look like themselves again particularly in the middle of the season on the 1st night of a home and home vs Milwaukee and their dynamic back court of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. The game was on the line and the Nets handed the ball to Joe Johnson and he was "Iso Joe" and with a few seconds rose up and fired a buzzer beater three point shot to sebnd the crowd into a frenzy. It was the 1st of several times Joe Johnson came thru in the clutch as the Nets go to guy.

Williams and Johnson both came from teams where they were the guy but couldn't elevate the franchises to that Championship level in Atlanta and Utah. As they enter the Playoffs they face the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls in the 1st round. Although the Bulls lack the star power of Rose that in no way diminishes how physical they are at every position on the floor. The guards that will likely be guarding Brooklyn's back court are Nate Robinson and Kirk Hinrich who are known for getting after opponents making life tough. The responsibility will be on Deron Williams shoulders to facilitate and get Joe Johnson good looks while he's moving off the ball.

These are 2 proven All-Stars but there is a fine line between All-Star and Great Players, do Johnson and Williams elevate to that level this Postseason.?

The Playoffs Begin April 20th as the Brooklyn Nets take on the Chicago Bulls.

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