Friday, June 14, 2019

Stick to Sports!

I've been in a creative mood lately. After working on organizing my sports card collection every day for six months I couldn't wait to get started on something new. It's been a while since I've written anything, and so I hid a little dream journal entry inside a recent post .. just to get those creative juices flowing. I'm also working on another short story. It's just a scene, really. Not even sure how I want to end it yet. But it seems like a good time to take my mind off of sports.

From Dustin Pedroia's bleak prognosis to the attack on David Ortiz and the shitty Stanley Cup playoffs, sports just doesn't spark much joy these days. Even the NBA Finals, while exciting and competitive, were a bit of a downer. I was happy that the Raptors won, but it was no fun watching Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson go down with serious injuries. Plus the last ten seconds took about twenty minutes, delaying Toronto's long-awaited celebration far too long.

But this is a sports blog. Specifically, a sports card blog. And so I'll try to keep the content on-brand. I have been making some trades on TCDB now that I know exactly what I have and where to find it.*

*or so i thought...

This super sized Curtis Joseph insert from 1993-94 PowerPlay was the only set filler I received in a PWE trade with TCDB user BigOinPA. My wife has two boxes of PowerPlay in our closet and this is the only Netminder she needed. She's about a dozen inserts away from the master set. I'm considering a purchase of 8-pocket pages for these since the wax boxes are disintegrating.

The rest of the PWE was for me. I added nine cards to my team PC binders. Don't be fooled by that Darrin Madeley in the bottom right corner, it's a New Haven Senators single. 

I now have 50% of all New Haven Senators cards ever produced! 

Here's the rest of the PWE from BigO. There aren't too many early 90's hockey singles I don't have, but I found a couple. I have far fewer '80s hockey cards. And you know how much I love the 2015-16 O-Pee-Chee retro parallels.

The second trade I made this week comes from LO212257. He's in Louisiana but his cards arrived here in Jersey two days before the ones from BigOinPA..who is in PA. 

This was an NFL-heavy swap; all but three of the 75 cards that changed hands were football - including a few from my early collecting years. The Mrs. doesn't collect anymore, but I grab cards for her when I can - like the Cujo insert and this Jim Everett Rams checklist. I don't like the Vikes but Captain Munnerlyn is a cool-ass name. And the Megatron blizzard card was a must-have.

My Packers PC got a big boost in this trade. 15 of the 37 cards I sent to LO212257 were Packers dupes..and I added 24 new cards of the green and gold. 

I've added every (needed) Packers base card from the 1990s to my wantlist on TCDB. Not that I don't love Packers teams of the 2000s and 2010s - but the bulk of my collection comes from the Favre/Holmgren era, and I figured it was easier to fill in those holes first.

Here's the rest of the trade. I'm counting Javon Walker as a Packers card because he's pictured as such. The Warren Moon team leader card goes into my 1986 Topps football set. Unfortunately it only brings me to par, since I traded a Dan Fouts leader card that I was certain was a dupe - but I couldn't find it, so I had to send the one in my set. Six months of organizing and cataloging..and I eat a set single in my very first trade back.

Oh, and I threw in a pair of Sox just because. Believe it or not, they're my first flagship singles from 2019. I bought one pack of Opening Day. That's it. I'm not spending another dime until the White Plains "East Coast National" card show in August. eBay was offering 13% bucks on any $25+ purchase and I didn't bite. For the next two months, it's all COMC challenges and TCDB trades (or blogger trades if anyone wants to swap?)

I've got a monster trade incoming from Canada, and I'll be working on my short story and Stadium Series while I wait. Hopefully summer will bring better sports news than spring did.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

New Pickups

I spent a lot of money on sports cards in the spring (mostly on 1956 Topps singles and card supplies) and didn't want to spend another dime until August..but then one of my favorite bands released a new CD. Yes, I still buy CDs :p

Newbury Comics was one of my favorite places to shop back in the day. They had huge stores with tons of CDs, rock t-shirts, posters, pop culture memorabilia..and a good selection of sports cards. I haven't been there in probably 15 years, since they didn't have any stores in CT and I haven't seen any in Jersey.

When I pre-ordered the new Silversun Pickups album Widow's Weeds I chose Newbury because they had a special autographed booklet edition:

Clockwise from top left: Joe Lester (keys), Nikki Monninger (bass), Brian Aubert (vocals/guitar), Christopher Guanlao (drums)

The autographs are very abbreviated - and smudged - but it's probably because they signed thousands of these. Newbury packed this booklet on top of the CD.. which contained another booklet:

I've only listened to a few songs so far (yesterday was a crappy day and I wanted to rest a while before Game 5) so I don't have a full album review ready. This is their featured track:

I'm feeling "Freakazoid" too, which was also released in advance of the full album:

I've been a Silversun fan for about ten years, since I picked up Guitar Hero World Tour. When their song "Lazy Eye" came on, my lazy eyes briefly read Silversun Pickups as Smashing Pumpkins and thought I'd stumbled on a new single from Billy Corgan & co.

That song makes me feel young...while this song makes me feel old:

Swoon and Carnavas are killer albums that I still listen to often. I could have seen SSPU live, when an old high school friend reached out on Facebook and offered to go with me. But he was in CT and the logistics weren't in our favor. He died a year later :(

If anyone is interested I'll write a post about the rest of Widow's Weeds in a week or two (I'm not good at album reviews, but I'll be sure to share my opinion on each track.) 

Meanwhile, my thoughts are with "Big Papi" David Ortiz, who is recovering from a point-blank gunshot wound. One of my jackass co-workers actually cheered the attack on Ortiz. 

I planned to post a pic of Papi's speech after the Boston marathon bombing, but when I searched my computer I found this photo of him hanging out with Stephen Curry.

Stay strong, Papi. 


Sunday, June 9, 2019

Connecticut Cards 002 - Singing the Blues

The St. Louis Blues can win their first-ever Stanley Cup tonight, with a win over the Boston Bruins. I'm not happy about that.

Yes, the Blues are the underdog and a lot of neutral fans are sick of seeing Boston teams win. But I'm a New England guy - and anyway this might be the Town's last title for a while. 

If you weren't watching the series you'd have to assume that it's the Bruins who are trying to win by brute force, resulting in two players being suspended in the final. But no, it's Craig Berube's Blues bullying the Bruins. I've been watching Stanley Cup finals since about 1992. I've never seen the NHL suspend two players on the same team in the same SCF. 

Anyway..former Blues and Panthers center Eric Boguniecki is from my hometown. "Bogie" scored 34 NHL goals over seven seasons, 22 of them for St. Louis in 2002-03.  He also played for the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers near the end of his pro career. 

Boguniecki has 67 total cards. I only have five of them, so I added a few to my wantlist.

I had another dream about a natural disaster. This doesn't happen all that often, every few months or so, but it's the most common subject of my most vivid dreams. Often, like in this one, it's a tornado.

I'm walking on a well-worn dirt path along an old wooden fence outside a street fair. Two or three patrons are up ahead of us, and I'm in a group of four or five. I'm trying to chat with Taryn, but her biggest, craziest superfan keeps interrupting us. She barely acknowledges him, which boosts my ego a bit. But then..he emerges as a balloon and drifts over the fence to our right like the Trump Baby. He squeals a couple times, like he's still trying to talk, but we keep on walking as he floats away.

In the next scene, I'm sitting in a booth at a food court. Taryn is in the booth ahead of me, and I get her to turn around by asking about her engagement ring. She turns to face me, crosses her arms over the seat that separates us, and proudly displays her ring. "How long were you waiting for that?" I ask. "Three weeks!" She replies, exasperated.  

*In my dream self's mind, three weeks is the length of time she was expecting a proposal.

Undeterred (or completely platonic?) I mention to Taryn that "We should hang out some time. Maybe get a drink* or something. We're always meeting like this."

* I don't drink IRL, but I always feel like I've missed out on a social life as a result.

Here's where the tornado comes in. I'm inside this building that feels like a labyrinth. Long corridors and small rooms, all made of plywood. These are the most non-descript rooms you can think of, as if my brain gave up on adding details. Yet every room was filled to capacity. I'm in one such room when the tornado bursts inside. Somehow, it doesn't blow a hole in the roof, but it sucks out a few older people behind me. I look up and survey the situation with only one thought on my mind - Taryn!
*this is where I should point out that Taryn is from Kansas - something that didn't occur to me in the dream

Fighting through the plywood maze, I try to outrun a twister and catch up to her. But she's too far ahead. The twister comes closer. I'm stuck. We're all stuck. It's going to get us. I hit the ground. I look over my right shoulder and see an older man sucked away. It feels like I know him, like he's a distant relative named Joe. I'm next, I say to myself. I look ahead, into the face of God - which is actually a marble statue of a dog. I'm ready.

The eyes of the dog statue seem to blink red. The tornado retreats. We're saved. I rise to my feet, with only one thought on my mind - Taryn!

I burst out of the square room and into the hallway. At the far end I see Taryn enter a room and close the door. I run through the hallway and enter her room. "You made it!" I exclaim.

One of the people in the room looks an awful lot like my former co-worker Suzanne. She interjects and I acknowledge the others in the room so as not to sound too obvious. "Is everyone okay?" I ask.

Taryn smiles. I want to hug her. I wake up instead.

What does this have to do with the Stanley Cup Final? Nothing, really. But..she was wearing a blue shirt.


Friday, June 7, 2019

Connecticut Cards 001 - Cup Connection

I've briefly mentioned on this blog (and on TCDB) that I am a Peter Worrell super collector. Of the 215 Worrell cards producted (according to the database) I've got 137 of them. Not counting 1/1s, promo stuff, or cards that likely don't exist I'm only missing a handful.

I never really explained why I super collect his cards, and so I thought I'd kick off my new Connecticut Cards series with Worrell - who played parts of two seasons with the AHL's Beast of New Haven.

Worrell was first and foremost an enforcer, but he could score a few goals in the AHL. He did not appear in the '98-99 Beast team set (which you'll see on this blog eventually) because he was called up to the Florida Panthers. When I pulled this Pacific rookie card - which is a dime a dozen common - I jumped for joy like it was a 1/1 auto. Pete was on an NHL hockey card! This was very exciting to me.

I got to see about a dozen Beast games in their two years of existence, and Worrell suited up for most of them. He was a fan favorite for sure, and a nice guy off the ice - as far as we knew. (In the NHL, he got into a little bit of trouble here and there.*)

*I can't find the link, but there was one post-game interview in which he disagreed with a penalty by saying "I hit my girlfriend harder than that." You hit your girlfriend? :No!:

Worrell settled into a regular role as the Panthers' tough guy from 1998-2003, earning over 1,300 penalty minutes and 150 trading cards. He even scored a goal in the playoffs - against Martin Brodeur and the Devils!

By the time he was traded to Colorado I had decided that if I was ever going to try and acquire every card of a player, Peter would be the guy. And so my PC officially began..right before the lockout. In the "new" NHL, the rules changes virtually eliminated the need for an enforcer of his ilk.

Yesterday I was scrolling through my collection on TCDB to see which Zdeno Chara cards I have in my collection - completely forgetting that Chara had been matched up against Peter Worrell in In The Game's Enforcers set:

For a moment I was amazed that Worrell squared off against a guy who's still an active NHL player. This was shortly after I saw Chara play for the Lowell Lock Monsters against New Haven:

Then, as I pulled out my four variations of this card ("one of one" my ass) I found this:


Pete also fought former Flames enforcer - and current head coach of the Stanley Cup-leading St. Louis Blues - Craig Berube. 

Berube and Worrell showed some mutual respect in this fight. Looks like Berube learned his lesson after calling Pete a "monkey" four years earlier. 

I'll show off more cards from my Peter Worrell PC - and other Beast of New Haven alums - in future editions of Connecticut Cards. Thanks for reading!


Thursday, June 6, 2019

Card Cataloging Complete!

My six month-long cataloging and reorganizing project is complete!* For the first time in my card collecting life I know exactly every card I have and where to find it! This project took way too much time, and took me away from the blogs (and other life things) for too long. But I cleared a lot of space in my card room. 

Actually I've got about 40 cards to put away but it's close enough :)

My base card binders and star player boxes are a thing of the past. I now have all of my base/insert/parallel cards sleeved and in chronological order. There are separate boxes for player/team PCs and relics/autos/thick base cards. 

My Red Sox/Packers/Devils/Whalers base cards are still in binders, but all of my complete/near complete sets are in individual boxes or binders. I actually have room on my shelf for two more binders, because I stashed so many in my closet. 

I have tons of supplies I no longer need. Over 2,200 used top loaders and about 1,000 9-pocket pages, plus hundreds of penny sleeves and a few storage boxes. The storage boxes will probably be recycled but I'm hoping to sell the top loaders if the shipping cost is reasonable.

Also I added 1,000 cards to trade on TCDB. Mostly dupes from the overproduction era. I'm certainly willing to trade more from my (non-PC) collection, I just didn't want to take the extra time to decide until everything was cataloged. If you see anything you like, let me know. Or just add me to your friends list :)

I'm so happy that this is done because now I can clear my schedule for summer reading, addressing my health, household projects, and more blogging time! There are lots of post ideas percolating in my mind - including a Stadium Series, Connecticut Cards, and other subjects. But first I'm going to catch up on all of your blogs...

I bought this New Haven Ravens team set 20 years ago and never opened it. Apparently the team store stiffed me card #22..


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Second Look

I've got a lot of catching up to do here on the blogs, and I wanted to wait until my entire card collection was cataloged on TCDB (done) and neatly organized (not done yet) ..but then Doug sent me a surprise mailer of Devils cards and UConn alums he picked up at the Expo..
and then I got my very last PSA order..
and a smaller batch of vintage from eBay..
and then Bart Starr died and Bill Buckner died..
and Dustin Pedroia all but announced his retirement..
and the Stanley Cup Finals started..
and I really can't put off posting another day because sooo much is happening. 

I'll sprinkle some stats about my card collection into future posts, but as expected I have more Devils cards than any other sports team. Thanks in part to Doug I'm at 3,443 different Devils - good for 4th place on TCDB.

The same three collectors ahead of me on the list are also in the top four when it comes to collecting Martin Brodeur. I'm in second place on that list, with 483 unique singles.

I definitely want to reach 500 this year, and eventually I'd like to have one card for every one of his 691 regular-season career wins.

Former Devils such as Marcus Johansson, John Moore, and assistant coach Jay Pandolfo are a secondary reason why I'm cheering for the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup - even though the Blues have never even won a game in the final. It's not easy to go against the underdog, not when a tween girl with a rare disease is inspiring the squad, or the anthem singer is battling MS, or the bookies taking bets could lose millions if the Blues win. Boston has won enough titles, we should let St. Louis have this one..right?

Naah. Sorry, can't do it. There's no one to root for on this Blues team. They don't have any hateable players like the Bruins do with Brad Marchand, but they don't have anyone like Joe Thornton that neutral fans can get behind. There's no Brett Hull or Al MacInnis or Chris Pronger on this Blues squad. Vladimir Tarasenko is really good, but he's not an all-time great. And their OGWAC is...Jay Bouwmeester?!? Meh.

So yeah, I hope the Bruins win, I hope the name McAVOY is engraved on the Stanley Cup and I hope that Titletown gets another parade. It's been a looong drought after all.

Even with the Game 1 win, it was a sad weekend in Boston sports. 

It's impossible to mention Bill Buckner's name without bringing up Game 6, which is almost as unfair as the way he was treated by Red Sox fans. At least the Nation came to appreciate him while he was still alive and well - but we all know he deserved better.

Bill Buckner was 36 in the fall of 1986. Dustin Pedroia will be 36 this fall - and he may have played his last game. Pedey's left knee was shattered by Manny Machado's bush-league slide two years ago, and hasn't healed since. He's been my favorite player for over a decade and last year's World Series title was significantly less enjoyable with him sitting on the sidelines.

I'm holding out hope that Pedey can play again, but if he does it probably won't be much more than a David Wright-style send-off. The Sox had a rule that only Hall of Famers could have their number retired - but Johnny Pesky and David Ortiz have received the honor. I think #15 should hang from the Fenway facade one day - whether he makes it to Cooperstown or not.

If Pedroia has played his last game, most baseball fans would agree that his career falls short of the HOF standard. After 2016 or so I figured Pedey was about three good years and one or two mediocre ones away from serious Cooperstown consideration. But it doesn't look like he'll get there, and there are better second basemen ahead of him:

Lou Whitaker.276/.363/.426244108414375.1ROY, 4x SS, 3x GG
Dustin Pedroia.299/.365/.43914072513851.7ROY, MVP, 1x SS, 4x GG

Lou Whitaker should have been a Hall of Famer years ago. Instead he fell off the ballot after receiving 2.9% of the vote in 2001. That year, two players were elected - including one whose career was cut short at age 35:

Kirby Puckett.318/.360/.477207108513451.1LCS MVP, 6x SS, 6x GG
Dustin Pedroia.299/.365/.43914072513851.7ROY, MVP, 1x SS, 4x GG

Pedroia's numbers are..kinda close to Kirby's. And Puck was a first-ballot HOFer. That doesn't mean he should be enshrined - but I sure hope he gets a better look than Sweet Lou did.

This is not the first time one of my favorite athletes has had a potential Hall of fame career abruptly ended by injuries.

Sterling Sharpe played just seven NFL seasons before a neck injury forced him to retire after the 1994 season. If he could have played two more years he'd have earned a Super Bowl ring and a bust in Canton.

I didn't think Sterling played enough to be considered a "Hall of Fame Contender" as Panini did, but if Calvin Johnson and Rob Gronkowski are certain HOFers then perhaps it's not inconceivable.

Were any of your favorite athletes forced to retire due to injury (or illness)? 


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Stanley Cup Contest Winners

Programming note: My card cataloging and reorganization project is almost complete. Regular blogging activities (and trading!) will resume on or about June 1.

The St. Louis Blues punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final last night, eliminating the San Jose Sharks in six games. Since no one claimed the Blues or the Boston Bruins in my playoff contest I can announce the winners now.

The teams that were claimed are listed below:

Tampa Bay Lightning - Gregory (Nine Pockets)
Toronto Maple Leafs - Commishbob (The Five Tool Collector)
New York Islanders - Corky (Pack War)
Pittsburgh Penguins - Brian (Collecting Cutch)
Washington Capitals - Greg (The Collective Mind)
Calgary Flames - Gavin (Baseball Card Breakdown)
Nashville Predators - Jon (A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts) playing for Billy
San Jose Sharks - Fuji (The Chronicles of Fuji)
Vegas Golden Knights - Billy (Cardboard History)

Those of you who participated get one chance at the main prize (a bubble mailer full of hockey cards) for every playoff win your claimed team accumulated. Here's the full list of wins by team:

Golden Knights
Golden Knights
Golden Knights
Maple Leafs
Maple Leafs
Maple Leafs



I entered this list into and randomized it four times (to represent the four rounds of playoffs) The team at the top is the winner:

I should not be surprised that the winner is Fuji since San Jose won the most games of any claimed team by far. Fuji, I wish the Sharks could have won the Stanley Cup - but at least they won you some free cards!

Now we'll do the random drawing for a PWE of hockey cards. Everyone (else) gets an equal chance:

Gregory wins the PWE, wehich makes me feel better about this since the team he claimed didn't win one single playoff game. Gregory, email your address to sutherlandct@gmail (dot com) and I'll ship the prizes out this weekend.

Thanks for playing and enjoy the Stanley Cup Finals. Let's Go Bruins! :-)