Tuesday, November 30, 2021

i helped to reverse the curse

back in 2004, i saw a game in fenway park for the first time. a few months later, the red sox won their first world series since 1918. coincidence? i am not so sure, although the bosox have won three more titles since then, and i haven't been back to fenway since '04.

i had visited boston several times before, but always in the offseason. so, when it was announced that the dodgers would visit fenway for the first time since the 1916 world series, i was all in to get my butt to beantown.  fenway was the 12th stadium i saw a major league baseball game in, and i have this 2002 fleer red sox checklist card
in my "stadiums i've seen a game in" mini-collection.

here are my ticket stubs from each game of the three game series:
jason varitek, kevin millar, and david ortiz are featured, with ortiz fittingly on the game #34 ticket.

i purposefully bought the tickets so as to get a variety of vantage points throughout the weekend. friday night we were on the third base side, saturday i was on the first base side (i was solo for that game as my siblings opted out), and sunday we were out in the center field bleachers.

the first game was a pitchers' duel between odalis perez and derek lowe for six and a half innings before david ortiz hit a home run leading off the bottom of the 7th to start the scoring. the dodgers tied the game in dramatic fashion in the top of the 9th thanks to an error by manny ramirez who muffed a pop up that should have ended the game. no worries for the red sox faithful, however, as in a preview of postseason heroics, ortiz ended the game with a walk-off base hit in the bottom of the ninth. also previewing the postseason, dave roberts stole second in the game (although he was still a dodger at the time).

the second game featured jeff weaver against tim wakefield, with neither pitcher doing all that well. the dodgers beat the red sox 14-5, and even though it wasn't a save situation, eric gagne came in to pitch which i appreciated. i had hoped to see him on the mound at some point during the weekend, and he didn't disappoint as he struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth. at some point during the game i moved down to a seat along the railing on the right field line. it was an interesting view looking down the first base line from my seat, similar to the corner seats in dodger stadium, but it felt much closer to the action.

sunday's game was the espn sunday night game. pedro martinez was pitching which was exciting, and the dodgers countered with hideo nomo. nomo gave up four runs before exiting in the fourth inning, and although pedro gave up a run in the first, the dodgers couldn't do anything else against him and lost 4-1.

i kept score on friday and saturday, but not sunday, and i took pictures all three days. here are a few:
that one is from friday night. i've cropped the image, but it's me with vin scully and sandy koufax! sure, they are down on the field (talking to the mccourts) and i am in the stands, but still.  

the red sox retired numbers, including jackie robinson's, are also in the photo on the upper facade in right field, but you can't make them out in the photo. i took a better photo of the numbers on saturday when i was sitting on the right field side:
those numbers are for bobby doerr, joe cronin, carl yastrzemski, ted williams, carlton fisk, and jackie robinson.

here's some more friday night fenway posing:

this is the first pitch of the series, from derek lowe to future red sox hero dave roberts:
and this is the first pitch of the bottom of the first, from odalis perez to johnny damon:
keep in mind that the capability of digital cameras back in 2004 was not anywhere near today's level. i think this camera was purchased in 2000, so it was even worse. here's one more photo from friday night:
that's shawn green striking out on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded in the top of the 3rd. i was hoping to catch a big play...

saturday photos include first pitch from tim wakefield to cesar izturis:
and eric gagne jogging in from the bullpen for the bottom of the ninth:

i'll finish with a couple from sunday night. here's pedro heading to the pen pre-game:
and here's his first pitch of the game to dave roberts:
i wore different levels of dodger gear the whole weekend and the red sox fans were nothing but hospitable and friendly. it was a great weekend trip with my siblings, and a few months later, the red sox were world champions for the first time since 1918. coincidence?

Monday, November 29, 2021

a slight return of manager cards!

well well well. i have been lamenting the loss of manager cards in topps heritage over the last few years as it has denied me cards of dusty baker and dave roberts to collect. thankfully, topps included roberts in a flagship insert set - "mlb awards" or some such thing - a few years ago, and both roberts and baker were part of the short printed "skippers" mini insert set in 2016 allen & ginter's (i still need to get a copy of baker's card, by the way).

then along came 2021 topps archives. when i saw that roberts and baker were on the autograph checklist, i figured it would be as fan favorite players, since both were definitely that during their playing careers. but no - they are managers!
i am pretty happy to have a new card of dusty as a non-dodger; especially one that features him in a new uniform. the aforementioned skippers card is the only one i know of from his time with the nationals, so i really do need to track one down.

as for roberts, it's great to have a certified autograph of him as the dodgers' manager. i already had a ttm auto from him on that aforementioned awards card which kept alive my string of autographed cards of dodger managers back to walter alston, but certified is preferred.

topps even went with the 1982 design even though there were no manager cards issued in that set. just great all around stuff that i was all too happy to track down on ebay. for the record, twins' manager rocco baldelli is also featured in the managerial subset which is nice to see, but the other highlight is kim ng's card - even if topps put "marlins" above her name rather than "general manager".

there were no steve garvey cards in archives this year which was a bit of a surprise given his appearance in a number of other topps releases. topps did recycle some of his old cards for their 2021 archives signature series retired players edition, and i dutifully picked up a few of them:
the first two were purchased from comc and i didn't notice that the seller had salvaged the one-touch holders. i put them in one-touches after they arrived though, although i have some uncaged autos from other releases (like 2004 topps originals) that i've left loose. i should work on my consistency. the last card there is the tiffany version of garvey's final topps card. this is the third or fourth year that garvey has been included in this set, and i really don't need to add another signed buyback of his 1987 card, that's for sure. i might be the only person around who would like to see a jim tracy card included in this set, however. more manager cards, please!

Sunday, November 28, 2021

use the force, joe

more like a mauer power on display on this 2005 fleer ultra joe mauer card
at least the baseball doesn't shoot tiny lasers.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

did i really want more 1993 leaf cards?

the answer to the question posed in the title of the post is no. however, it was a byproduct of joining a recent breakers club hosted by nachos grande. the real attraction for me were the 2021 boxes being opened, so i went along for the ride as far as the boxes of 90's and 00's product. it turned out that there were a couple of cards i was able to add to my collection from the other boxes, so that was a bonus.

this 1993 leaf carlos hernandez card
was not a need in any way, shape, or form, although i suppose it technically is a card with dodger stadium in the background. i chose not to add it to that mini-collection, but i did look at baseball reference to figure out that the card shows the aftermath of a play at the plate from a game on july 8, 1992. that's expo pitcher brian barnes walking away in the background after being nailed at the plate by marquis grissom to preserve a 0-0 tie in the 7th inning. the umpire making the call is bill hohn.

i didn't need this 1993 leaf mike piazza gold leaf rookies insert for the team collection, either 
but i did add it to the dodger stadium collection, thanks to the sweet back:
same goes for this 1994 topps stadium club jose offerman card
except it features dodger stadium on the front.

1996 leaf preferred was another box included in the break - here's mike piazza's card
as was 1997 leaf. i was able to complete my team set from that release, thanks to this hideo nomo card
and i also picked up a needed insert - raul mondesi's warning track card
i also received a couple of these "inserts"
that were an add for a reproduction lithograph of jackie robinson's 1948 leaf card.  cool.

there were some boxes of pacific product included, such as 2000 aurora, which netted a complete dodger base set (which i already had), plus a parallel
the pinstripe card is the parallel, by the way.

another pacific product was 2000 vanguard, represented by this kevin brown card
and 2001 private stock with gary sheffield's card shown below
i did receive one of the ps-206 action inserts - shawn green
i remember these tobacco sized minis being somewhat of a rage back in 2001 with this release.

finally, there was a box break of 2002 topps ten which was an interesting product
i scanned a gary sheffield card as an example for the set, but it was a nick alvarez card that i received that completed my dodger team set for this release.

there was a 2020 bowman platinum gavin lux card thrown in
but i don't think that set was part of the box break.  still cool though!

so now we get to the 2021 cards that were the reason i joined the break. first up was topps series 2, and i think i wound up with a complete dodger team base set. that included the championship fireworks card

that seems disorganized. where is the basic team photo with the trophy? i can't believe that photo never made it on to a card.

the only insert i netted from this box was a decent one - max muncy's 1986 35th anniversary card, or its blue parallel
to be exact.

2021 topps gypsy queen was a good box for me. here we have justin turner's base card, next to the missing nameplate variation
but the big hits were a chrome keibert ruiz box topper
and a mitch white scribble autograph.
gypsy queen has been a good source for some dodger autographs in the past few years for me, although i've only ever pulled a twins auto (jose berrios) from a pack of gq. 

the last box to be represented is 2021 stadium club, and this justin turner
and this brusdar graterol card
got me one card away from completing the team set.

the big finale now - i was lucky enough to have this 2021 topps stadium club cody bellinger triumvirates red parallel card get pulled
that is a case hit apparently, so not a bad card to end on. thanks nachos!

Friday, November 26, 2021

online shopping in the spotlight

happy black friday everyone! find any deals at your lcs or comc? i avoided card shopping today, but i did purchase some cards from a topps online only set a couple of months ago. this was a set from their topps x collaborations called "spotlight 70 featuring andy friedman". at the time that the checklist was released, all i knew was that these would be watercolor interpretations of existing cards of former players, including steve garvey. the only card image i saw was a 1988 topps david cone rendition, but i had hopes of seeing garvey's 1978 or 1974 topps card reimagined as part of the set.

once the cards were printed and delivered, i found that garvey's card looked like this:
that is a take on his 1985 glossy all-star card
from rack packs.  here's the back of the 2021 card:
and here's the original back:
i can see how the source for the new card is listed as "1984", but it's really a 1985 card.  i'm not disappointed, simply because i like having new steve garvey cards to add to my collection.  of course, there are parallels, and i added a couple of those, too.

this is a glossy parallel
numbered to 50

and this is a spotlight 70 logo parallel
numbered to 70

there are red backs (numbered to 10) and rainbow foil (numbered to 5) versions, as well as color test prints (think printing plates) each of which are 1/1. there are also sticker auto versions, and i thought i saw an artist proof version numbered to 25 as well, but i don't see that on topps' website.

there were 4,332 sets printed if i understand their print run data correctly - these were sold in 10 card packs so i don't know if that is the number of packs or the number of complete 70 card sets printed. anyway, it's something different, that's for sure!