Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spring Training Return: Matt Antonelli

  • Matt Antonelli 2/2- The Peabody, MA native and frequent blogger signed his rookie cards from the 09 Topps and Heritage sets from Syracuse, where he's currently playing for the AAA affiliate of the Nationals. Sent 2/16 (105 days)
Matt has a great blog at http://www.matthewantonelli.com/ that he keeps up with regularly. It's a neat look inside the travel and schedule arrangements that minor leaguers have to endure. Good luck to Matt on his climb back to the majors!

Monday, May 30, 2011

White Sox @ Red Sox, 5/30

After about a month of nothing but rain, it was nice to have a clear weekend for graphing. I got all of these outside of Fenway today:

  • Brent Lillibridge- 07 Justifiable (thanks for the card Alex)
  • Gavin Floyd- 09 Topps
  • Matt Thornton- 10 Topps, 10 Topps All-Star (forgot to prep so it bubbled), 09 Upper Deck
  • A.J. Pierzynski- o9 Topps
  • Ramon Castro- 09 Topps
  • Gordon Beckham- 09 Topps 206

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pack Pull Auto: David DeJesus

I haven't bought too many packs of Gypsy Queen, but I definitely get my money's worth when I do buy them. I've probably bought 8-10 hobby packs and pulled 2 jersey cards already, and today I pulled my first auto. The signature isn't that great, but the on-card auto looks very nice with the Gypsy Queen design.

TTM Return: Xavier Nady

  • Xavier Nady 1/1- The well-traveled first baseman of the Diamondbacks signed his 09 Topps card from Arizona in three weeks. Sent 5/6 (21 days)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trade List

At the request of a few other bloggers, I've made a list of cards I'd be willing to trade. The list will be accessible from the right hand side of my blog under my 09 Topps checklist. The list is pretty short right now and I'm not sure if that will change anytime soon, but I'm willing to trade for 09 Topps cards that I don't already have.

My Trade List

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cubs @ Red Sox, 5/21

I went for autographs outside and inside the stadium on Saturday, then outside the stadium for a few hours on Sunday. I didn't get anything inside the stadium Saturday, but here's how I did outside:

  • Sean Marshall- 09 Topps U&H
  • Wellington Castillo- custom Cubs card
  • Jeff Baker- 09 Topps
  • Doug Davis- 09 Topps
  • Blake Dewitt- 09 Topps, 09 Topps Heritage
The extra Dewitt card was the only one I got signed on Sunday since I could only be there for a couple of hours. Hopefully it won't be another 93 years until I get a chance to get more Cubs autographs.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tigers @ Red Sox, 5/18: Verlander, Cabrera & More!

Rain isn't always a bad thing! When I got to the park, the tarp was on the field, but the pitchers went out to warm up in the outfield. Porcello signed down the entire line, then Penny saw a friend and got him to start signing while he was talking to his friend. Benoit was signing by the dugout for a while with a big smile on his face the whole time, talking to fans in the stands. It was tough to keep the cards dry, so there were a few smudges on the Porcello and Benoit cards. Jackson signed along the 3rd base line for everybody, then the rain picked up so I decided to go down the tunnel to dry out a little bit.

When I got to the bottom of the tunnel, I noticed a big crowd near the visitors' entrance and saw Verlander talking to Dan Kelly and a few other people. A Tigers fan with his young son asked if they could borrow my sharpie to try to get his kid's hat signed, so I obliged and the kid's dad took my card for me and waited for Verlander to finish talking, then got him to start signing. And signing. I think he signed for at least 20-30 people. The rain subsided about a half hour before game time, and most of the team took the field for stretching.

Cabrera came out and motioned to someone in the crowd that he'd come over in a minute to sign. He stayed true to his word and started to sign for a few minutes, then as I was handing him my card, the PA announcer asked for everyone to rise for a moment of silence for Harmon Killebrew. Cabrera rushed it and basically just signed his initials, then handed it back to me and rushed back to the field to stand alongside his teammates. V-Mart came over after the anthem and signed for everyone down there, capping off a rainy but productive night at Fenway.

Monday, May 16, 2011

TTM Return: Fausto Carmona

After a long, rainy weekend at Acadia National Park, I returned to one envelope waiting in the mail for me...

  • Fausto Carmona 2/2- The Indians starting pitcher signed cards from the 08 Allen & Ginter and 09 Topps sets. This is my 185th card from the Topps set. I'm hoping to get to 220 cards (one-third of the base set) by the end of the year. Sent 5/5 (11 days)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pack Break: 2011 Gypsy Queen (Part 2)

I picked up 2 more packs of Gypsy Queen at my local shop today. The price went up from $6.50 to $7.00/pack since the last time I was in there, but with both the quantity and quality of cards in these packs, I don't mind paying a little bit extra. For my initial review of the 2011 Gypsy Queen, click here. Here's how I did this time around:

Pack 1:
  • Joe Mauer
  • Scott Rolen
  • Carl Yastrzemski
  • Chris Volstad
  • Colby Lewis
  • Torii Hunter mini
  • Barry Zito
  • J.A. Happ SP
  • Paul Maholm
  • Jose Tabata- "Future Stars"
  • Jon Lester- Paper Frame #412/999
Pack 2:
  • Clayton Kershaw
  • David Price
  • George Sisler
  • Bobby Abreu
  • Delmon Young
  • Phil Hughes
  • Roger Maris- Sepia mini #37/99
  • Jason Bay
  • Carlos Zambrano
  • Kosuke Fukudome- Game-used jersey card

Hockey TTM: Ville Leino

  • Ville Leino 1/1- The Flyers left wing must have some free time on his hands thanks to the sweep by the Bruins! Leino signed a 2010-11 Score Playoff Heroes insert with a very tiny signature in blue sharpie. Sent 1/20 (113 days)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Twins @ Red Sox, 5/8

Today wasn't quite as good as yesterday, as the crowds outside the stadium were much larger for the Twins coming in. I stuck to the Red Sox side and ended up with a few Twins anyways.

  • Matt Capps- 10 Topps
  • Brian Duensing- 09 Topps RC (available for trade)
  • Ron Gardenhire- 06 Topps
  • Daniel Bard- 09 Topps U&H RC (available for trade)
  • Jose Mijares- Twins custom card
I got everything outside the stadium with the exception of Mijares. Over the two days I was there for the Twins, I got more than half the team, so it was a good series. After the game today, fans were invited to walk the warning track around the park, which was something that I hadn't done before. I wish they'd bring this element back into the Fenway Park tour, as I heard they used to several years ago.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Twins @ Red Sox, 5/7: Liriano-no & Co.

Today I went for Twins autographs outside the stadium and had my best day in a while. The weather was nice and surprisingly warm in the morning, and it felt good to have my daily dose of graphing finished by 10:30 AM. I'm going back tomorrow for the game and hopefully I'll have a chance at Morneau at some point. Here's how I did today:

  • Jason Kubel- 10 National Chicle
  • Alex Burnett- 10 Topps RC
  • Scott Baker- 09 Topps
  • Denard Span- 11 Gypsy Queen
  • Drew Butera- 10 Topps RC
  • Joe Nathan- 11 Heritage
  • Michael Cuddyer- 08 Allen & Ginter
  • Luke Hughes- 10 Topps RC
  • Francisco Liriano- 09 Topps

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Angels @ Red Sox, 5/4

Last night was perhaps the most unique baseball game I've been to, and I didn't even stay for the entire game. The rain delay started at the top of the 5th inning. Ervin Santana had already thrown 4 hitless innings, so I didn't want to leave early in case he had the chance to continue pitching something momentous.

During the 2 1/2 hour rain delay, I got to see the final period of the Bruins game on the nice new HD board out in center field. I had a $12 bleacher ticket, but spent the entire game 3 rows from the field on the 3rd base line because of the constant rain. Once the delay finally let up, the atmosphere was transformed into a late-night minor league game.

Less than 5,000 fans left in the park. Every taunt and jeer could be heard in the stands and on the field. Everyone was offered a complimentary Dunkin Donuts' coffee or hot chocolate. The clock struck midnight. Was I really still at Fenway Park?

It was a pretty surreal experience.

I had to leave in the top of the 7th to catch the last train home, and by the time I got home the game was in the bottom of the 9th. I stayed up to watch all the way to the 13th inning, barely able to keep my eyes open. They showed shots of the crowd and I saw the girl that had been sitting next to me the entire time, at 2:30 AM, still watching the game as intently as she was seven hours prior.

Since it was raining when I got to the stadium, everyone took BP inside, so autographs were tough. I did see Torii Hunter sign a few near the dugout after the rain delay was over, but I couldn't get down there in time. I managed to get two rookie cards done, however.

  • Mark Trumbo- 2011 Topps, got this one near the visiting team's door underneath the grandstand on the third base side.
  • Peter Bourjos- 2010 Topps, got him to sign one near the dugout as the rain started to pick up again, so the signature bubbled quite a bit.

Monday, May 2, 2011

2 TTM Returns: Tony LaRussa & Fredi Gonzalez

Today I received 2 managerial returns that I sent out on the same day:

  • Tony LaRussa 1/1- The longtime Cardinals skipper signed a 2009 Topps U&H that was previously signed by Jim Leyland, completing the card. Sent 4/20 (12 days)
  • Fredi Gonzalez 1/1- The new manager of the Braves signed his 09 Topps card. I got Fredi's autograph back when he was the Braves' AAA manager about a decade ago, so it's nice to see him taking over the major league role for Bobby Cox this year. Sent 4/20 (12 days)
Just for comparison's sake, let's see how the three managers on these cards stack up:

Jim Leyland: 2011: 12-16, 2010: 81-81, Career: 1505-1534 (.495)
Tony LaRussa: 2011: 16-12, 2010: 86-76, Career: 2654-2305 (.535)
Fredi Gonzalez: 2011: 14-15, 2010: 34-36, Career: 290-294 (.497)

I was surprised to find out that as talented as Leyland is as a manager, his lifetime win percentage is less than .500 and slightly less than that of Fredi Gonzalez.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hockey TTM: Bobby Hull

  • Bobby Hull 3/1- The Hall of Fame left winger of the Blackhawks signed a 2010-11 O-Pee-Chee from Chicago. He also signed two protective index cards, inscribing one with "HOF 1983", and the other with "The Golden Jet". Great return during the second season. Sent 1/10 (110 days)

Mariners @ Red Sox, 4/30

No luck inside the stadium before the game, but I manged to get 2 cards done outside:

  • Justin Smoak- custom Mariners card (My 100th autograph of the year!)
  • Chone Figgins- 2009 Topps
After getting Figgins once through the mail and one other time in person on different cards, it was nice to finally get this set card completed. Up next will be the Angels on Wednesday and Twins next Sunday for Mother's Day.