Posted in Autographs

August autographs (part 3): entertainment

Time to finish up my August autograph collection additions before it’s time to show you the September ones. We’ve already gone through my football and baseball ones, so that just leaves entertainment.

This is going to be a short post, since there’s only one.

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This signed photo of Lindsey Morgan as Raven Reyes from The 100 was a bargain purchase from one of my Facebook groups. While I don’t have plans to try to put together a large collection from The 100, I couldn’t pass up the chance for a signed photo of one of the best characters on the show.

September’s autograph roundup will be coming in a couple more weeks, and it should be shorter than this month’s since I haven’t been sending out quite as many letters.

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Posted in Autographs, Baseball, Baseball Cards

August autographs (part 2): baseball

I’m running a bit behind my original plans, but let’s continue to take a look at the autographs I added to my collection in August.

The first six were obtained by writing to the player, in care of their team if they are still active or via a home address obtained from SportsCollectors.Net if they are retired. The final two were purchases.

Austin-DeCarrAustin DeCarr is a New York Yankees prospect who’s had his career delayed by Tommy John surgery. He spent his 23-year-old season with the Class-A Charleston River Dogs, where he pitched 36 innings out of the bullpen. DeCarr struck out 39 while walking 25, which is probably not quite what the Yankees were hoping for from their 2014 third round draft pick.

Kevin-ElsterKevin Elster was one of my favorite New York Mets players in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was an amazing defensive shortstop who could hit the occasional home run, but he didn’t always have the best batting average (we cared about that back then.)

Gosuke-KatohGosuke Katoh is another New York Yankees prospect who is running out of time to make an impression. Katoh was named a post-season all-star by Baseball America in his debut season back in 2013, but he’s not been able to match that level of performance as he moved up the ladder. Katoh spent his age-23 season with the Double-A Trenton Thunder, where he posted a 229 / .327 / .335 slash line in 118 games. He was 11-17 in stolen base attempts and played games at every infield position as well as left field.

Jordan-FoleyJordan Foley is another Yankees prospect who spent the year with the Double-A Trenton Thunder. Foley pitched 66.1 innings in his age-25 season, making 35 relief appearances and two starts. He struck out 67 while walking 35.

Pat-NeshekPat Neshek is the foremost autograph collector among active Major League Baseball players, and one of the few who genuinely seems to enjoy signing autographs, even after 12 big league seasons. Neshek has pitched 22 innings in 27 games, striking out 14 while walking three out of the Philadelphia Phillies’ bullpen this year.

Carson-FulmerCarson Fulmer made eight starts for the Chicago White Sox this year before getting pulled from the rotation and demoted to the minor leagues for his 8.07 ERA. In Triple-A, he was only slightly better – he posted a 5.32 ERA in 25 appearances (14 in relief) for the Charlotte Knights. I still love the signed card for the awesome throwback uniform Fulmer is rockin.’

Seth-LugoSeth Lugo is a New York Mets pitcher who’s been hurt by his versatility this season. While he’d probably prefer to start, first-year manager Mickey Callaway has preferred to use Lugo out of the bullpen. In 51 appearances and 98 innings, Lugo is 3-4 with a 2.74 ERA. I was able to purchase this card for 99 cents plus shipping on eBay, even though it was one of the two guaranteed autographs out of a product that goes for $50 or more for a box.

PJ-ConlonP.J. Conlon earned some notoriety for his Irish-American ancestry when he made his Major League debut earlier this season, but he struggled in his three appearances with the Mets and spent most of the year in the minor leagues. Conlon was even briefly part of the Dodgers’ organization, thanks to a move that exposed him to waivers when the Mets needed to open a 40-man roster spot. They were able to reclaim him in June. This purchase cost me $2.75 plus shipping.

I’ll be back later with Part 3, including my entertainment autographs.

August Autographs Part 1: Football 

Posted in Odds & ends

So that happened: Monday, September 17, 2018

The world is still falling apart at an ever-faster pace. But trying to be positive, at least the weather cooperated to let me work in my garden on one of my mornings off.

That meant I got to catch up on some podcasts, and I want to share a couple of recent Escape Pod episodes with you. On September 6 & 13, they presented Andrea Phillips’ 2017 story “The Revolution, Brought to You by Nike” and it’s got just the right mix of optimism and cynicism to match my current mood. 

Photo of the Day

Here’s a friendly spider that’s taken up residence on our porch & is helping to keep other insects from bothering us.

I hope you’re all having a good week. Let me know if you’ve found any interesting podcasts that you want me to check out.

Posted in Autographs

August autographs (part 1): NY Football Giants

I started working on my New York football Giants autograph collection this summer, and it shows as the majority of signed cards I got back last month are from former NFL players.

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Don Herrmann is a New Jersey native who had nine seasons in the NFL from 1969-1977, playing for the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints.

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Larry Heater played in the NFL for three seasons between 1980 and 1983, all with the New York Giants.

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Randy Dean spent three seasons in the NFL as a backup quarterback for the New York Giants between 1977 and 1979. Dean was also a member of the United States handball team in the 1976 Summer Olympics.

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Jerry Hillebrand was spent nine seasons in the NFL for the New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1962-1970. In 1962, he was selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the Giants. The Denver Broncos also picked him in the second round of the AFL draft.

 

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Lou Slaby spent three seasons in the NFL between 1963 and 1966, playing for the New York Giants and the Detroit Lions. Slaby was named to the 1964 UPI All Rookie team in 1964.

Of course, I also got some baseball autographs too, which I’ll show off tomorrow.

Posted in Baseball, Odds & ends

Monday roundup: summer, Magic & baseball broadcasts

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Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. Someone should tell Mother Nature, because it’s still 81 degrees as I write this — a half hour before midnight — and we’re looking at highs in the 90s for much of the week.

Looking back, I feel like this was the summer that wasn’t. If I wasn’t working, it was either too hot or too rainy to do a lot of the things that I would’ve liked to do. And then there were the days that it was a challenge to make myself do anything. Here’s hoping that your summer was better than mine, and that fall will be better to us all.

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My local grocery store has a vending machine near the entrance with various sports cards, Pokemon cards and Yu-gi-oh cards in it. Today it had some envelopes of 10 assorted Magic: The Gathering cards for $1. I bought a couple.

I played Magic a bit in the mid-1990s. It’s a fun collectible card game that puts you in the role of a wizard dueling another wizard. You each build a deck of cards, with lands that you can tap for mana to summon creatures and cast spells, creatures that can battle your opponent or her forces, and spells that you can cast that have a variety of effects.

1536024617096-dd5e8ba9-cfe7-440b-9b68-2170d76f7063_ Obviously, I wasn’t going to find anything especially rare or valuable in a repack package from a vending machine. But there were some “new” old cards that have some cool art, and they inspired some nostalgia. I’d like to start playing Magic again, though I’ve gotta admit that I’m a bit intimidated by the thousands of cards that have come out since I last played. And it’s not helping that I don’t know anyone who still plays.

But hey, participating locations will be holding open house events to promote the new Guilds of Ravnica during the weekend of Sept. 21-23. Amazing Heroes in Union is listed to run an open house on Saturday, Sept. 22… if I’m not working, maybe I’ll be able to go and check it out.

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Over the weekend, I read an article by Richard Dyer calling for a revolution in baseball broadcasting. While his modest proposal isn’t entirely practical, he’s not wrong. Baseball’s traditional broadcast formula, which pairs an ex-player analyst with play-by-play man and a sideline reporter, has worked for a number of years and still works for part of MLB’s audience. But it doesn’t work for everyone.

For each baseball broadcast, create a menu of commentary choices for fans. Have just one visual presentation, but allow fans to pick the style of broadcast they want to hear.

Watch your game, but pick from these broadcast menu choices:
1. Traditional play-by-play guy/color guy broadcast.

2. Sabermetric broadcast (which has already been done several times by Brian Kenny on the MLB Network). Brian Kenny, SABR President Vince Gennaro, or ESPN’s Keith Law, to name a few.

3. Comedian and humorist broadcast. Bill Murray, Jerry Seinfeld, Hank Azaria (“Brockmire”), Paul Rudd, or Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (Robert Smigel). Let’s have some real laughs for once.

Dyer suggests five other menu choices which is at least five more than would be feasible. But really, why couldn’t you offer some different options for different fans? You might just manage to build baseball’s audience.

 

Posted in Baseball Cards

National Baseball Card Day

I hope you’re having a great weekend.

Next Saturday, August 11th, will be the third annual Topps National Baseball Card Day, when you can get free packs of baseball cards if you jump through a few hoops… like finding a participating hobby shop and making a qualifying purchase. It might help boost sales for certain retailers, but it’s not doing a thing to bring new collectors into the hobby or promote baseball.

The cool part of the promotion is starting earlier — each Major League Baseball team will distribute packs of baseball cards as a stadium giveaway for one of their home games in August. The Mets are doing this today. And this is the part of the promotion that I like because it’s getting baseball cards into the hands of folks that like baseball, but who aren’t necessarily card collectors. And maybe a few of them will decide that baseball cards are something fun and they’ll ask for (or buy) a few packs the next time they’re in Target or WalMart.

I’m not at the Mets’ game today, but I did go last year and got my pack of four cards (from a nine-card stadium giveaway set.) I also got the tenth card from the hobby shop promotion. The player selection made me feel a bit nostalgic when I got them – David Wright is one of the greatest players in team history, but we’ll probably never see him on the field again. It’s even more so now.

Do you collect baseball cards?

Posted in Doctor Who

SDCC Doctor Who Panel

I finally got to watch the Doctor Who panel from San Diego Comic Con last month. I’ve got to admit, it was a little bit weird to watch three actors try to find things they could talk about when we don’t really know the characters they’re playing and they’re not allowed to spill too many of the beans…. but it’s still quite fun. I’m sure Jodie Whittaker will be an amazing Doctor.

Are you looking forward to the return of Doctor Who?