A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The 7th Kouz

The first week of school is in the books, and it was awesome.  I'm not sure how often I'll be blogging now, but I guess it's been a slow year for me posting-wise, so it's not like only writing a few posts a month will be dropping my activity down too much anyways.

In celebration of having a good first day of school, I bought this card on eBay for a few bucks.  It came yesterday, and I dig it.

Kind of a rushed post, so only a quick iPhone photo, no scan today.  It's just a plain white jersey swatch, numbered 24/200.  There are a ton of parallels from the 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes set,  but this is one of the lower-ish numbers, for what it's worth.

I now have seven parallels of that card, since it joins this other sextet.  From top to bottom, left to right, there's the base card, blue /199, red/249, silver/399, red auto swatch/50, and green/499.  I think I'll stop at a page of these, so whatever the cheapest two parallels I can find (under $5), I'll snatch up… sometime.  

Speaking of Kouzmanoff, I was wearing my Kouz replica jersey w/my new San Antonio Missions hat in the HEB in town a few days ago, when the guy behind me started talking about how he played against former Padre prospect and not-so-great major league player Sean Burroughs in Little League.  Kind of a cool conversation to have with a random stranger, who wouldn't have even mentioned it if I hadn't been rocking my Padres gear.

EDIT: I noticed when I hit "publish", that this is my 801st post on this blog!  I guess that's kind of a milestone, right?  Anyways, just thought it was worth mentioning.  I tried to find a way to tie in the number 801 to Kevin Kouzmanoff, but couldn't find a way.  For those curious, he had exactly 650 hits and 500 strikeouts in his 685 game MLB career.

Monday, August 24, 2015

First Day Of School Cards

Here in central Texas, it's the first day of school.  A big deal for this first grade teacher.

This is the most excited I've ever been for a school year to start.  We have some great leadership on this campus, my class seems like they should be solid, and I've never been a better teacher.  Things should be great.

So, with teaching on the brain, here's how some of these baseball card expressions make me think…

When you pull up into the parking lot on the first day of school.

When you got so much stuff to do that you wish you had a personal secretary.

When other teachers who have been lesson planning since July ask if I'm "all ready to go."

When your co-workers are talking about their awesome European trip over the summer, and then ask what you did over the summer.

When you're high-fiving all the students at the doorway as they enter class.

When a parent describes their child as a "genius" while introducing them to you, while they are playing Angry Birds on their parents' phone and not making eye contact.

When those really excited parents ask for a first-day-of-school picture.

When the administration underestimates the time that certain programs will take in addition to your current workload.

When it's story time and the book you're about to read is going to blow their minds.

When they're really excited to learn, but they still need lots of help.

When you gotta get down on their level to build the personal relationship.

When you wanna be the really fun teacher, but you still gotta let the class know who the boss is.

When you're secretly really nice, but you gotta act tough that first week so everybody stays in line.

When you're calling on students but still learning their names.

When it turns out that the kid you thought was leading the line to the bathroom is really making a break for it.

When a kid gets up to reading level and nails the comprehension questions.

When you nailed the lesson, then look up at the clock and realize that you still have 25 minutes left before lunch.

When your feet hurt, so you sit down at your desk, but you still gotta make sure the class is following directions.

When you realize that no matter how hard you're trying, some days, it's just not your day.

When you gotta scrap the video you were planning on watching as part of your lesson, and you're trying to figure out what to do next.

When you're trying to avoid stepping on the little ones during lunch time.

When the principal walks into the classroom at the worst possible time, and there's nothing really to say or do.

When a kid tries to get up to go to the bathroom right in the middle of the lesson without any explanation, sees you looking at them, and sits back down.

When you explained a concept like a master teacher, but then while you're walking around, six students come up to you and ask you the exact same question that you already covered.

When you see a student acting crazy in another class, and you're glad they're not assigned to yours.

When you're the last class to walk outside to parent pickup on the first day of school and everybody's waiting.

When you see the outfits that some of these moms are leaving the house to pick up their children in.

When you're going back to class by yourself after everyone has been taken home.

Not all of those are funny, but most of those are things that I think to myself throughout the year (though not all of them). Maybe you'll need to be a teacher to get it, I don't know.

Anyways, here's to a great year!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

New Cards, Part 3

Alright, so I'm in a major time crunch - TOMORROW IS THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!

It's been a busy week of trying to get classroom-setup stuff done, on top of all the regular "beginning of the year" things that school districts have to do.  I still probably have one "New Cards" post, highlighting my most recent Just Commons pickups, but by the time I get around to it, calling them "New Cards" will probably be a bit of a stretch.

Still, I press on!  After the first two and a half years on this blog, I was posting on a pretty solid, regular basis, blogging 199 times in 2012 (first post was in April), 315 times in 2013, and 223 times in 2014.  While the drop off in production doesn't really bother me too much, I was really hoping to get back into the high 100s or low 200s this year, but my current posting for the year is 62, so at this rate, I'll be lucky to hit triple digits.

I blog for the love, not the numbers, but I like looking at the numbers.

Anyways, onto the new cards!

Alright, maybe a lot of buildup for just showing off a pair of cards, but I really like looking at these side by side.  I can't believe that I did a "Best Padre Cards of the 90's" before I even had a copy of Bip's "sombrero card"!  That seems crazy to me right now, and I might need to go back and revisit that countdown.  But I knew I had to track this card down once I saw what Bip's card in this year's Stadium Club set looked like.

I saw some people bring Bip's attention to the TSC card this year, and he seemed rather put off by it.  Something about preferring the original (though I can't find the specific tweet at the moment).  Bip seems like a super cool guy, and the little that I've heard of him broadcasting with the A's, he seems pretty entertaining.

Anyways, more to come on the rest of the Just Commons haul, plus, I'd like to do a "first day of school" post up for tomorrow.  That'll most likely be it for a few days, because I imagine the first week of school eating up a big chunk of whatever free time I might find myself having.

Friday, August 21, 2015

New Cards, Part 2

Like I mentioned yesterday, I made a Just Commons purchase recently.  Instead of making one big post, I divided it up into a few.  Been busy getting ready for the upcoming school year, but last night I had a successful "Meet The Teacher Night", so that's good.  Anyways, here are three cards that I got that don't really fall into any category.

They're not Padres, they don't round out team sets, they're not guys that I collect.  But I still wanted 'em.

This is my first Cody Decker card.  If you have a Twitter account, I'd highly recommend following Cody (@Decker6), he's pretty funny and very personable.  He's basically a folk hero in El Paso, they really love him there, though hopefully he gets a shot in San Diego before the end of the season.  His contract runs out in the offseason, and he's been doing well, though not spectacular in AAA the past few seasons.

When it comes to my "Cards With My Kid's Names On Them" collection, my Foster collection is pretty much dominating my Harper and Maxwell collection.  Here's my third Maxwell card, and though  it's probably the least interesting of the trio, I still like it.  '96 Fleer was a good set, and this is a good shot for what I believe is Maxwell's rookie card.  Jason played in 110 games over three seasons, one with the Cubs in '98 and two with the Twins in '00 and '01.  

I mentioned on my birthday (the anniversary of Tony Gwynn's 2,000th and 3,000th hit) that Dan Smith was the Expos pitcher who gave up Tony's 3,000th hit.  I have an autographed card of Bruce Ruffin, who gave up the 2,000th hit (a game I was at), but had nothing for Smith.  Well, problem solved.  From what I can tell, this is Smith's only card as an Expo.

Well, just like I said, no Padres, no team sets, still good cards.  More to come some other time.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Cards, Part 1

I made a Just Commons purchase recently, and I've been so busy with getting ready for school stuff (tonight is "Meet The Teacher" night on my campus) that the purchase details have been sitting in draft format for a few days.  Instead of cramming it into one post, I'll spread it out so I can make some posts in my sparse downtime.

The first step of most of my JC purchases is to complete any team sets that I'm working on.  Usually, it's just a few cards, but this time I had a whole bunch to pick up.

After buying a blaster of Allen & Ginter, I was completely shut out of Padres, so I had to buy the whole team set.  This Matt Kemp card was my favorite of the bunch, and it's probably my favorite Matt Kemp -as-a-Padre card that I've come across so far.

This Jedd Gyorko card was the last one from Topps Series 1 that I needed.  Glad to have that taken care of.  I actually forgot that it was in Series 1, but on the back, it says Series 1 and Series 2.  I think I kinda like that.

I still needed about half of the Padres from Topps Series 2.  The Yan Solarte card is my favorite Padre card in the whole set, I think it's great.  I have a rainbow of most of the parallels of Solarte's Topps Update card last year, but I probably won't do that again.  With all the additions that the Padres made this year, I think Solarte is still my favorite Padre.

I only had two Padre cards from the Stadium Club set, so I was glad to finish off the set here.  This Tony Gwynn card is super stellar.  I'll show off another one of these in a future post.

After looking through my Team Set binder recently, I decided that I wanted to upgrade my 2011 Topps set to be all diamond parallels.  I had about ten of those, and I was able to pick up a few more of them from here.  I really dig this one, the scan makes it look like Dustin Moseley is jumping over a running Diamondback in a snowstorm.  I added the remaining diamond parallels to my want list.  13 more to go until the set's complete.  It looks like the Anthony Rizzo card might be a toughie.

Anyways, yep, I was able to complete team sets of 2015 Topps Series 1 & 2, Allen & Ginter, and Stadium Club, and nabbed a few of the '11 shiny cards.  Not a bad deal.  Oh, in case you didn't know, justcommons.com changed their shipping policy.  Instead of being free for all purchases over $10, now it's $15.  Still a pretty decent deal.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

What Would You Choose?

Alright, I have a question that I'm interested in seeing some responses to.

I bought a phone case about a week ago.  I hadn't been able to find anything that was super cheap online, and I found a website that let you make a custom design for your phone case that was basically the same as buying one with a set design ($29).

It just so happened that the day I decided to make the purchase, I had been defending the honor of one of my favorite baseball card sets of all time on Twitter: 1991 Fleer.  A few people were badmouthing it, and I had to let them know how beautiful it really is.

With this fresh in my mind, I decided that I wanted my phone case to have a baseball card on it.  I tried to think of what would be a good card to go with, and after sifting through my cards, I couldn't get past this card:

One of my all time favorite players from one of my all time favorite sets was just too good to pass up.  Sure, I wouldn't rank it in my Top 10 Gwynn's, and I almost would've preferred having an Archi Cianfrocco card instead, but this is the one that felt the most right.

I placed my order and crossed my fingers (after paying, I discovered that the website I went to - Casetify.com - had a bunch of negative feedback), and finally it arrived:

While I got to choose the picture for it, I couldn't edit the centering of it, so I already knew that part of Tony's name would be cut off, as well as the team/position lettering at the bottom.  Despite that, I still liked how it looked.  Physically, I'm not sure that it's worth what I paid, but I think that the prices for all phone cases are a rip off anyways, so maybe it's just me.

So, here's the question:

If you were to get a baseball card printed on your phone case, what would it be?

After a week to think about it, I still love my choice.  Sure, there are a number of other Gwynn's that are "better cards", but I think this one works really well.  Maybe it's also because my phone is already a bright yellow color, so a bright yellow phone case kinda works.

I'm interested to see what you guys come up with.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Matt Kemp: Padre Legend

Matt Kemp is a San Diego Padres legend.

Since their inaugural season in 1969, the Padres have never had a player hit for the cycle (hitting a home run, triple, double, and single in the same game).  There are 361 players who came up a hit shy of the cycle, and of those, 258 times, the hit that they were missing wast that elusive triple.

Silly anomalies like hitting for the cycle are really not important in the grand scheme of things.  Hitting for a couple of home runs and a few extra base hits are statistically better and probably help your team win more.

But never having done it was tough for Padres fans.  Seriously, the Rangers have already done it twice this year.

The Padres will still be considered cursed until they can throw that elusive no hitter (they are the only MLB team who hasn't done it), but at least they've left the Marlins in the dust (the last remaining team without a cycle).

I was probably definitely exaggerating Kemps status in Padres history, but Steve Garvey had his number retired as a Padre for a fairly regular career, the caveat being that he hit the biggest home run in Padres post-season history.

A former Dodger who came to San Diego, was past his prime, and will mostly be known for one night in a Padre uniform?

Sounds familiar to me (although here's hoping that last night wasn't Kemp's pinnacle as a Padre).