Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Santana is a Met!

Well, the war of attrition has finally ended. Pending a physical and their ability to work out a contract extension, the Mets will send Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Delois Guerra to the Twins for Johan Friggin' Santana!!! Yes, they gave up alot but they kept Reyes, Pelfrey and F-Mart in the fold. While its obvious that having Santana doesn't guarantee a pennant, it vaults the Mets ahead of the Phillies and Braves for dominance in the division.

From a collecting point of view, I don't think Gomez really showed what he's capable of last season. I feel as he blossoms as the Twins everyday CF, his cards will steadily rise in value. I don't think Humber will be much more than a middle of the rotation guy, however Guerra has a chance to be very good.

Whew, now I can take my Santana cards and move them ALL to my Mets binder!

Let's Go Mets!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

All-Star Weak-End

Well, I watched the NHL skills competition last night and while I can't say its the worst thing I have ever witnessed, it is very close. The events were extremely lame and honestly didn't look to be all that much fun. They tried to add more pizzaz and fan interest by allowing the players to use creativity when they handeled the puck and took shots on goal. If anyone saw the film Hostel, then you know that asking eastern europeans to be creative never, ever ends well. Besides, there is only so much hocus pocus one can do with a puck and a stick. Bless his russian heart but while Alexander Ovechkin tried his best to play along and have fun, he should have taken this weekend's festivities off and visited a dentist immediately. I have never seen "teeth" like his in a human being. I will get down on my knees and pray that Alex uses some of that $124 million on quality dental care. Oh and the "red carpet" interview segment was a royal howl as well. Look, talent aside, hockey players aren't the flashiest group of guys in the world. They are mostly shy and unassuming and frankly alot of them could use some conversational english lessons.

So, the NHL layed a decent sized egg with this whole gala weekend nonsense. I would have loved to see the Young Stars game cut and replaced with the NHL Legends contest. There is something disturbingly wonderful about watching the maniacal Tiger Williams ride his stick after going 5-hole on Cesare Maniago.

Maybe if NBC televised the darn thing and the league gave a teeny bit more thought to making the events remotely exciting, the NHL, its players and its fans would be a heckuva lot better off.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Forever a Ranger

Last night, the New York Rangers retired Brian Leetch's #2 in a ceremony before the Rangers/Thrashers game. Overall it was a wonderful night celebrating the greatest American-born defensemen in league history. They even announced that next season Adam Graves #9 will hang in the rafters of MSG along side Gilbert, Giacomin, Messier, Richter and Leetch. I think the Rangers should probably pull the reins in on retiring numbers for awhile, unless they really feel an overwhelming need to have "Kelly Kisio Night". (By the way, Kisio's #11 has already been retired with Messier's name above it, so the ceremony could get a bit uncomfortable). One thing MSG and the Rangers always manage to pull off for these events is bringing back "Ranger Legends From the Past". Its nice to see the older guys once again putting on the sweater but honestly some of these cats aren't in the best shape anymore. Heck Brad Park looks like my Uncle Mel for crying out loud!!! One constant at these ceremonies is old #7 himself, Rod Gilbert. He is a cross between a goodwill ambassador and that tipsy uncle who never wants to go home on Thanksgiving. In fact, Rod is at the Garden so often, I'm beginning to think he lives in some dark recessed corner on the 33rd Street side.

Anyway, the ceremony got me thinking about collecting so I pulled out the hockey binders and searched the pages for any Ranger cards I could find. I hit a bunch of Messier's and Gretzky's, found some Richter's and Leetch's and stumbled upon Tony Granato, Jan Erixon and good old #11 Kelly Kisio!!. Seeing these carda again gave me a weird sense of connection to the team I love so much. They weren't anything special, mostly commons and inserts from cheapo blasters and packs I picked up along the way, yet there was something new and kind of beautiful about them, something I never noticed before.

Oftentimes we collectors get caught up in the hoopla of a hot rookie or the amount of $$$ a particular card will bring back in sale. Hell, I'm just as guilty as anybody on these counts. But sometimes the stars align perfectly and you're able to see the beauty in cards that had been long forgotten.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Odds and Ends...

So, I just finished opening the last of my 6 boxes of SPX Hockey. By far the hottest card I pulled was a GU/Auto Patrick Kane RC #'d to 499. I hit some Sids as well as Gretzky, Messier and Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe. I will pick up some singles here and there but for the most part I'm done with SPX boxes. At some point I'll be putting stuff up on "that auction site that's so popular with the kids these days" but more on that at another time. I will be in Full Metal NHL Mode for the rest of the week. Brian Leetch gets his number retired tomorrow nite by the Rangers at MSG and then NHL All-Star Weekend begins. If its medically possible to fall into a hockey-induced coma, my chances appear to be excellent over the next 4 days.

I will watch the Superbowl (do I owe anyone money for using the actual name of the event?) and root hard for the Giants. However, my mind is beginning to focus on baseball again. I picked up Baseball America yesterday and I can feel the itch begin creep its way up my body now. I am anticipating Topps and UD 2008 Baseball releases and honestly I can't wait. For us baseball fans, the month of February is the longest of the year. so I hope the new 2008 stuff helps the time go by a bit quicker. Of course, I would really be jacked if the Mets could land Johan Santana before we elect a new President but there hasn't been much movement on that front.

Speaking of the Santana situation, I was thinking about the Twins GM (Bill Smith) and while I respect the fact that he's trying to get the best deal he can in return, his hemming and hawing has painted him into a corner. He already lost ANY possibility of getting Phil Hughes from the Yanksees because of his terminal indecision. At some point, he has to quit being tenative and pull the trigger. As it stands now, he is coming off as scared and that is no way to run a team. Even though I rue the day he was ever born, ex-Met GM Jim Duquette stuck to his convictions (as misguided as they were) when he decided to trade Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano. It was a risky deal that ultimately cost the Mets dearly as well as costing Duquette his job. Kazmir was an unknown quantity (by Major League standards) and Zambrano was a promising young arm. As it turns out, Kazmir is now a human strikeout machine and Zambrano walked off the mound at Shea crying for his mother because his elbow was shredded. The point is that Duquette went ahead with the deal because he thought it was in his club's best interest. At some point Smith has to take a deep breath and make a move, no matter what the possible outcomes may be.

Be that as it may....a pox upon thee James Duquette!!!

Wow, I actually feel better!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Back from Rio

Well, not exactly Rio, but I did return from my Target adventure last nite and I must say I was pretty happy. I won't bore you with specific packs and such, as I didn't land anything earth-shattering. I did pick up some sweeet hockey cards for the pc as well as 2 Phil Hughes cards from 2007 Topps 52 Rookies packs. I also cheated a tad and picked up one of those pre-packaged Topps 2007 NBA Rookie sets just to say I own 1st year cards of Durant, Oden and that huge Chinese guy from the Milwaukee Bucks.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

I usually won't waste my time (and yours) with golf because after Tiger Woods, who really cares? But I just have to marvel at how stupid some folks in the media are. How could Dave Seanor, the editor of GolfWeek magazine, green-light a cover that featured a hangman's noose?? After the media brushfire caused by the idiotic comments which got Golf Channel reporter Kelly Tilghman suspended for 2 weeks, how could anyone with a functioning cerebellum judge such an offensive image as being "provocative"?? Forget that aspect of it, why, oh why wouldn't you just let the issue die down and go away? I'm not a fan of pandering (especially to someone like Al Sharpton) but the publisher of GolfWeek was totally correct in firing Seanor if for nothing more than not having the common sense of a head of cabbage.

Consistency...a bad thing??

Well, at least my Rangers are consistent. They consistently commit stupid penalties which are consistently followed up by power play goals. Maybe its too early to panic (then again, Ranger fans have been known to panic in September), but I viewed this weekend's home and home series against the Bruins as must-wins. To be fair, they did get totally screwed on a Jagr interference penalty late in OT, but overall they played as if they really didn't need their jocks.

This just in: Zdeno Chara is a monster!!!! He's a manimal...he's an android of love (ok, I went too far with that one)

I will definitely be opening some SPX hockey, Fleer Flair Showcase hockey and Bowman Sterling Baseball today so check back later for the thrilling conclusion.

Since tomorrow is Martin Luther King's birthday and since I'm a supporter of civil rights (especially when civil rights nets me a day off from work), I will be exercising those rights by trolling the aisles of Target in search of some tasty baseball and hockey packs and blasters. I'm in the mood for Topps 52 Rookies and Bowman Heritage, but with Target, you just never know how well or poorly you'll do. But doggonit, I'm coming home with something!!! I owe Dr. King that much!!!

Bonus, my local Target is near a mall and you know what that means...FOOD COURT!!!!!

Finally, I was sad to see Sid get hurt the other night and I hope he makes a quick return to the ice. I read some disturbing posts on a few of the hockey card boards I visit and I have to say that I wish some folks would just get a life. I read so many classless posts filled with utter glee over Crosby's injury, it made me ashamed to be a fan and a collector.

Hey, for those of you in the US, have a safe holiday tomorrow and oh yeah...GO GIANTS!!!!!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bowman- Home of the Rookie Card!

So I just finished busting my 2 baseball boxes (2005 Bowman DP&P, 2006 Bowman) I will just hit you with the highlights:

Chien-Ming Wang
Alex Gordon First Card refractor
Ryan Garko RC
Ryan Spilborghs First Card
Ross Ohlendorf FC
Joe Mauer
Alex Gordon FC
Jed Lowrie FC
Jay Bruce FC
Andrew McCutcheon Gold FC
Mr. Wang again. (Wang, its a parking lot!!)
Melky Cabrera FC
Jordan Schafer FC chrome
Jordan Schafer FC
Robinson Cano chrome
Micah Owings FC chrome
Troy Tulowitzki FC chrome
Troy Tulowitzki FC
Russ Martin FC
Hanley Ramirez
Craig Hansen RC
Justin Morneau
Justin Verlander
Ryan Garko FC
Chase Headly FC
Ryan Garko FC chrome
Delmon Young chrome
Fausto Carmona
Jordan Schafer FC Gold
Andrew McCutcheon FC

I really have high hopes for Jay Bruce if he cracks the Cincy lineup this season. Considering Cincy traded Josh Hamilton to make room for him, I'd say they have high hopes for him as well. In fact, there are 4 or 5 guys who could make the club out of spring training or join the team sometime this season (Joey Votto, Bobby Cueto, Homer Baily, Drew Stubbs, Devin Mesoraco) so things are looking up for the Reds (as long as they don't do anything stupid and trade all of their young talent for Joe Blanton or Eric Bedard. ) Speaking of stupid, how stupid does Twins GM Bill Smith (a fake name if I've ever heard one) think Omar Minaya is?? Granted Omar won't win any Mensa awards, but does Smith really think Minaya will tear apart the whole farm system for Johan Santana?? Smith or Jones or whatever alias he's living under this week should join us here in the real world and forget about getting Jose Reyes or Fernando Martinez in any deal. The Mets have already offered alot for a guy who may or may not be injured and will be a FA after the 2008 season. I mean Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey, Delois Guerra, and Phil Humber aren't exactly chicken feed. What the heck else does Smith want, Aaron Heilman's well built aunt from Cleveland?? As a Met fan, as a baseball fan, as a guy who just wants this Santana nonsense OVER WITH, I implore you, please make a move Mr. Smith (if that in fact is your real name!!)

On the NHL side of the fence, I should have my 6 boxes of SPX in my hot little hands tonite (as long as UPS cooperates.) I also picked up a few boxes of 2006 Fleer Flair Showcase hockey as well. I'll post those hits over the long weekend!!! Although the design is a tad busy, I really like the SPX product line, especially in hockey. Good player selection, good inserts and you get 18 packs to a box. I don't know about you but when I have a 36 pack box staring back at me, I usually need a Snickers (clever product placement!!) and an I.V. by pack 22.

Here's to hoping I land a few Sid's for the old PC.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I just received an email from ITG announcing their forthcoming product, Between the Pipes. As an avid hockey collector, I have to say that the lack of an NHL license is really beginning to cripple ITG and their product lines. Although I've liked their products in the past, O' Canada bored me to tears. After much anticipation, I was sorely disappointed with this years edition of Heroes and Prospects. I felt the card design was poor and the player selection (besides Tavares, Kane and Toews) was terrible. Moreover, after seeing the sell-sheet to Between the Pipes, I can honestly say that I wasn't very impressed with this offering either.

There are simply too many better options competing for my my hockey-card buying dollar than what ITG is currently offering. Their top secret, ultra high end product named Superlative promises to go where no card has gone before (both in price and design), but just how much farther can ITG go without an NHL license? One more thing, with most of the hot young players now having NHL licensed cards, who is gonna be the face of the ITG franchise? I mean, who are they gonna hang their hopes on to sell their products when John Tavares finally turns pro?

2004 Bowman DP&P

I just tore into my box of 2004 Bowman DP&P Baseball and here are the highlights....

Robinson Cano
Jeff Mathis (Wonderful, Wonderful...)
Jeff Francis chrome
Huston Street
Gaby Hernandez
Dioner Navarro X-Fractor
Jeremy Reed Gold
Kevin Youkilis (The Romanian/Jewish God of Walks)
Jeff Mathis Gold (Chances Are....)
BJ Upton
Delmon Young chrome

This is probably a good time to admit that I ALWAYS confuse BJ Upton and Delmon Young.

Willy Tavares Futures GU
Jeff Francis Gold
Billy Buckner
Matt Cain chrome
Van Pope (In Nomina Patri...)
Felix Hernandez chrome
Josh Fields
Joe Blanton Gold
Curtis Thigpen chrome
Kurt Suzuki chrome
Jeff Francis
Greg Golson x-fractor (Mr. Golson was nice enough to sign the card!)
Curtis Thigpen Gold
Nathan Phillips chrome
Dioner Navarro Gold
Matt Cain
Justin Morneau
Josh Fields chrome
Felix Pie chrome
Willy Tavares Gold
Felix Pie Gold
J.A. Happ
Humberto Quintero Gold
Yusmeiro Petit
Jonathan Tierce Gold
Colin Balester (not to be confused with Brian Bannister)
Kurt Suzuki
Alex Rios chrome
Chad Tracy chrome
Adam Lind Gold

Not too bad...no Phil Hughes but some decent hits. I'll try to get to the other boxes sometime tonite. I will also be getting one of those all-in-one printer/scanner/fax/copier/cuisinart/iron lung devices in order to post pictures to the blog.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Surprise, Surprise

I just received a few older Bowman Baseball boxes as a late birthday gift from my sister. I guess 30+ years of psychological torture at her hand has finally paid off. I now have:

(1) 2004 Bowman DP&P
(1) 2005 Bowman DP&P
(1) 2006 Bowman
(1) 2006 Bowman DP&P

I'll open some later and post the highlights. I was just watching Selig and Fehr do their full-o-crap two step in front of Congress. I think I need a bath.

Shameless Plug Department...If you're going to be a regular reader of this blog you'd better get used to Shameless Plugs. From time to time I will plug stuff that I dig and hope like-minded emotionally damaged individuals feel the same way. Today's shameless plug is for:

The Boomer and Carton radio show.

These guys (QB Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton) do a morning sports/humor/chicks/guy stuff show on WFAN every morning here in the Big Apple. They are hilarious and I think they deserve a listen. Check out some of their antics at here.

Mixed Emotions

I guess this is one of those bad news/good news situations you hear about on the tv. The Rangers, my Rangers, got slapped around by the Pens last night 4-1. Malkin notched a hat trick and the Blueshirts played like they were coached by someone named Isiah. The good news part of the story is that Sid got 2 nice assists and now leads the entire Solar System in helpers. I collect Sid so naturally I'm happy when he adds to his already-lofty numbers. I also managed to grab a few packs of 2007 UD Black Diamond Hockey cards this weekend and I busted them during the Ranger game. The only decent card for the PC was a quad diamond Messier. Honestly, I never understood the allure of Black Diamond, I don't care for it much as a product (Ok, I did pull a Malkin rc and a ruby Ovechkin out of last year's edition but I was much younger and impressionable back then) and I still don't get the whole single, double, triple and quad diamond nonsense. I got 6 boxes of SPX coming from my pal Chris at (yes kids, this is a plug) : Cardsinfinity. Chris is a great guy, has competitive prices and does some of the best box breaks on Youtube. I've always been a fan of SPX and I hope my luck with it continues. I also took a rather expensive shot on a box of 07 Bowman Sterling Baseball since the checklist didn't suck too bad.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Man Crush

If you wasted time and viewed my profile, you know I collect David Wright and Sidney Crosby cards. Recently, a friend accused me of having a "man crush" on them simply because they are the main focus of my personal card collection. While I admire their talents, I hesistate to refer to them as my "favorite players" or "idols" since I feel its pathetic and creepy for a middle aged man to have a 20-something dude as his "idol". Sure I'd like to meet them (not at the same time, that would be creepy and awkward) plus The Make-A-Wish Foundation rarely grants the wishes of people in their 40's. So I have come to the stark realization that I must admire them from afar (at least that's what the restraining order stipulates) and I've done this through collecting their cards. I don't do it for the money or resale value. In fact, alot of Sid's first year cards cost more than I care to spend (Shelling out $899 for an 05 SP Authentic Future Watch card takes a harmless hobby and turns it into a dangerous obsession in a hurry!). So mostly I have a few "rookie cards" and various base and inserts (autos, game used pieces, etc). I don't view my collecting habits as any type of "man crush". I collect these 2 players because I like them...no matter what Freud or the Attorney General say!!!

One more thing...Forget Jessica Simpson, I wouldn't want to be Teen Idol Tony Romo today for all the oil rigs in Texas. Man the media is gonna savage this guy. And although he has a loveable stooge-like quality to him, Wade Phillips simply cannot win a big playoff game. The Cowboys players can rip Parcells all day long but the reality is that their 13-3 season under Grandpa Wade is totally meaningless now.

Ok, really the final thing...Rookie Joakim Noah was benched an extra game by his teammates. I guess Noah got into it with an assistant coach during practice and was benched one game by the head coach. Well, his teammates didn't think this was enough punishment so they voted to bench him for a SECOND game. Can you imagine screwing up bad enough so that NBA players (those noted paragons of virtue) feel you need to be punished?? It reminds me of the time drummer Steven Adler was booted from Guns and Roses for doing too many drugs. One more "incident" and Noah's card values will really go KER-PLUNK. Not that they were burning up the hot lists to begin with but, c'mon kid grow the hell up!!!

Recent Box Breaks

So last week I celebrated my 21st birthday (for the 20th time) and my family (in full support of my card addiction. Silly enablers..hehehe.) surprised me with a few boxes of 2007 UD Trilogy Hockey cards. Overall I liked the product although I could easily see myself living a perfectly happy life without those Frozen In Time plexiglass (is that what they're made of?) inserts. They really don't work well as hockey cards and won't be going into the PC. These things weigh a ton so now I'm the proud owner of a Jaromir Jagr Frozen in Time paperweight (its nice that I could find a use for Jaromir on my desk. Tom Renney can't seem to find any use for him on the ice!). Ok, I digress. The rest of the cards look good and although the material samples used for the Honorary Swatches and Patches cards could be a bit larger, I thought Trilogy offered good value for the money (especially for me, considering I didn't pay for the boxes!)

By the way, I put this blog up a bit too late to do a "Best and Worst" of 2007 list so I will only offer this:

I hated, hated, hated the ghastly black-bordered design of Topps 2007 Baseball, Football and Basketball cards. I've seen the 2008 Baseball sell-sheet and I feel a bit better about this year's design.

In the Beginning

Welcome to the maiden voyage of The Ball and Puck Club. This blog will cover card collecting and sports. Although I focus mainly on baseball and hockey (hence the catchy title!!), there may be some football and basketball sprinkled in as well. So sit back, hold on for dear life and as the immortal Jackie Gleason used to say...AND AWAY WE GO!!!!