Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Closing Out The Baseball Artelopes

With baseball season coming to an end for my two MLB teams. Despite the claim some would make that the Rockies were done months ago. I thought it is time to close out the baseball artelopes for 2014, and start with a clean slate of the new stuff for other sports going out. So without beating around the bush too much here they are.

This was my second attempt this year with the Knights. Early in the year I had gotten a great response from the team. Included in the response was a letter letting me know that the team had just moved into a new ballpark. They hadn't fully unpacked yet, and so their business cards were unavailable at that time. Waiting until late in the season I sent out the envelope above, and got nothing.

Sitting around bored while doing our garage sale. I came up with the idea of a bat hitting a baseball. While I don't think it turned out terrible, it didn't turn out as I had hoped either.

Sadly though the Lemurs have been around for two seasons, and for the second consecutive season I got nothing in return. I don't believe it is just me as their schedules seem to be on most collectors wantlist. As with this season, and last I will give it one more shot next year. Maybe giving it an earlier in the year attempt might help change my luck.

Out of the three failed returns this one hurts the most. The second envelope to come out of the garage sale bored batch. I enjoyed how this came out, and wanted to show it off with atleast some pocket schedules. Instead it is getting showed off with two more failed attempts.

On the things that make you wonder front. All three of these were sent out on exactly the same day, and all gave the exact same results. I can't help but wonder if somehow they didn't get close to their destinations, or if I waited too long in the season before writing all three teams.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Back From Steeltown

Four down, and one to go after tonight.

The artwork for this envelope speaks for itself. My idea was to go with the simple team logo, and see how I did.

Much like the previous three returns. Inside was a few schedules, but not the business card that I was hoping for the most. What this means is I am moving on from attempting to complete the NFL in my business card collection.

Being Monday is my day off I drew artelopes for three college bowl games, One NBA franchise, and one request for football schedules from University of Utah. We will see if my luck starts to turn with these new requests.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Chase- Four Go Down

In what looked to be a boring race ended up being another thriller. While the first 250 laps were a borefest that was dominated by Kevin Harvick. On lap 252 Harvick suffered a flat tire only a few laps after a caution, and brought out another caution. Starting towards the back he never recovered, and finished one lap down when it was over. What all this did is clear the path for the eventual winner.

More than anything the thrill was with the eight drivers who were fighting for four spots, and the chance to remain in the chase. Changing who was in, and who was out multiple times throughout the race. When the smoke had cleared the four drivers left holding the bag, and now racing the seven remaining races for pride were A.J. Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, and Eric Almirola. Dinger missed the cut by a mere two points, and Busch missed the cut by six. Adding to the frustration for Busch was until the last twenty or so laps he was in by two points, but lost a bunch of spots in those last few laps.

Our driver Kyle Busch was looking good going into the race as he was up by 28 over the 13th place competitor. Starting in second all Kyle had to do was run a clean race, and move into the Contender Round. In the end he did just that bu finishing tenth. Looking like he might finish around seventh or maybe even eighth. A few cars came up on the driver who was then told to just let them pass, and not risk anything bad happening. Listening to the advice Kyle finished the round in sixth place.

With all the drivers points reset, and no one having any sort of an advantage now. Next week will be a tough one for our favorite driver though. Historically Kyle hasn't run very well in Kansas, and usually just tries to survive the race. From there things will get more exciting for everyone with a race in Martinsville. Then comes the wildcard in Talladega. With the strong possibility of getting caught up in a wreck always lingering. No matter what you do in the first two races it could all be undone by the actions of another driver around you losing control of his car, and taking you out with him at Talladega.

If he can make it out of this round into the next things will be tons more favorable for Kyle as the three tracks after Talladega are better track for him. No getting ahead of ourselves though until four more drivers are eliminated.

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Lion Of An Artelope

Once again feeling like I want to write, but not do too much. I figured why not show off my latest request from the Detroit Lions.

I think I did a decent job with this request. The only thing I could say is while you can tell that it is a cat, but I'm not sure about the lion thing.

As with my other two returns from NFL teams this was all that was inside the return envelope. What this means is unless the two remaining returns come with a business card inside. I will pass on sending out more requests to NFL teams. From there I will move onto NBA, and the remaining NHL teams still missing business cards.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Downs Goes For The Tough Stuff

There are times when the sets I am working are fall under the category of why? Those sets that are nearly impossible to complete because no one liked them. The cards have become hard to find, and something I have been told would be better get from ebay.

While that would be a good idea, and a way to finally cross these off the wantlist. I can't help, but want to finish these things the old fashioned way. Doing a trade, and having them find their way into my collection as the return portion of that trade. Helping to make this dream happen Jack Downs from the online trading group TradingBases hit me with some of those seldom seen cards.

2008 Documentary might not be the most popular of sets, but I like it. Yes, I've heard all the complaints about how they used the same pictures over, and over again. I've heard about how the pictures didn't even come from the game that the card represents. I've heard about how sometimes the player pictured on the card didn't even play in that game.

Despite all these complaints I enjoy this set. The thought that I can look at these cards, and see the final score of the games my team played in during the 2008 season. The bad side is I am both a Rockies, and Mariners fan. So you would think that I'd try to forget past seasons like 2008. Maybe I'm just begging for punishment, and this feeds that desire.

Not only did Jack send ten cards for the 2008 Documentary Rockies, and Mariners. He sent another six cards for one of my player collections.

It's crazy to think that when I started this blog Tex was one of only two players I collected cards for. Oh, how things have changed since starting this blog almost two years ago. Now there have been new players thrown into the mix of guys I collect. A list that has gone through a few changes of additions, and subtractions. Even with all these changes Mark Teixeira ranks as the second largest player collection I have. Number one is the guy I have collected for years Nolan Ryan, and probably will collect as long as I collect baseball cards.

Thank you, so much for the nice additions to not just my player collection, but to my history of 2008 sets Jack. Nothing is sweeter than being able to add a few cards to another long forgotten set.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bears, and Giants artelopes

I'm going to be totally honest here. I have some posts that odds are will be tons more interesting to read waiting in the wings. The problem is today I'm just not feeling like putting the effort into either of those posts. What I do hope is that tomorrow will be a different story as I have some sweet stuff to show. Until then you get to see two results from my latest batch of artelopes.

Not exactly my best work, and I'll admit it. The idea was to go with paper that was ripped by bear claws. Sadly my art skills aren't up to making it look like it did in my mind. I realize that my skills still need some work, and this is an example. The best part is I made the attempt, and that is part of doing this.

The good news is the Bears sent me five of these schedules that I can now look to trade. The bad news is the return didn't include a business card like I had hoped for.

Another of the artelopes from this same batch. I think this one came out much better than the Bears request.Thinking up ideas for a request to the Giants I thought why not just do the team logo. Then I just added the ew, and the ork around the logo.

Sad to say I didn't fair to well with the Giants. Not only didn't I get the business card that I had wanted. The team only sent one schedule in the return. Not a bad looking schedule, but I'd enjoyed getting another one or two with it.

Currently there are another three artelopes as part of this set of requests. Odds are the remaining three will start appearing in the next few days. From there I will decide if my results were good enough to write more NFL teams, or move on towards another project.

Monday, September 22, 2014

2014 Bearcats Football

Every year around this time of year I collect the Cincinnati Bearcats for football schedules. It has been a ritual that has changed over the years due to circumstances. Originally I wrote the team hoping they would send me all the cover, and sponsor variations. Luckily the university would hook me up with all those covers. Back in those days life was good.

Then the day when life got even better. Another collector who lives close enough to the college that he would go in person. This opened up the opportunity to not just guarantee every cover, but to trade for them, and save a stamp. It was a relationship made in heaven for my collecting. Then suddenly he stopped, and my collection has never recovered.

Banking on him picking up the schedules. For a couple years I didn't write the team for either football or basketball schedules. What this did is create a hole in my collection that I still hope to fill one day. Realizing the dream was over I once again went back to contacting the school myself.

All this leads back to today. As you can tell by the absence of an artelope in this post. Said collector has once again appeared. What this did is result in a trade of local schedules I had for Bearcats schedules. Hopefully this trade relationship goes back to its roots as I'd love to keep adding all the Bearcats schedules once again. If not I will be better prepared this time to keep the collection going. Until then though I will bask in the glory that is these schedules.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Chase- Race 2

Back again for your weekly dose of the NASCAR chase. In what started out to be another of the uninteresting races that we've had this season. Things took a quick turn as the last hundred laps were full of caution after caution. In a classic example proving the old expression cautions breed cautions to be true. There were wreck after wreck in the restarts followed by a blown tire for one of the chase favorites Jeff Gordon. In the end another Penske driver Joey Logano finished first, and will advance to the next stage.

(once again this card comes from an internet search)

For the sixteen race drivers things got quite wild. None of that proved more true for our favorite driver Kyle Busch. Part of a wreck while running in the top ten. Kyle fell back, and looked to be heading for disaster in the standings. As all the cautions started to fall the team was able to patch the car up best they could. At one point they had fallen back to 23rd, and one lap down. With the cautions coming in bunches they made the repairs, and finally got back on the lead lap. Scratching, and clawing all the way back into an eighth place finish. 

The great thing about the top ten finish is Kyle was looking to finish seventh or eighth before the crash. So finishing in that same spot after everything the team went through was a win in itself. Adding to the great finish is that Kyle moved up two spots to 5th in the standing, and 28 points up on 13th place Denny Hamlin. This leaves things looking good for a move into the next stage of 12 drivers. Everything can change though depending on who wins the race, and any problems that face any of the 16 chase drivers. It has gotten quite insane in the mistakes department for all the teams. So there is no telling what obstacles the teams will be facing next week in Dover.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My Dream Dies

Unknown to me, and my dream of the Rockies being in Eugene. The fate of the three Northwest teams were decided. While I was writing about the affiliate changes already made by Colorado. The Cubs, and Rockies both had made their moves.

Sadly these moves were not what I had hoped for. The Cubs are once again returning to Eugene as their Northwest League affiliate. With their last relationship only lasting the two years of 1999, and 2000.

What all this does do is end the time Colorado has been affiliated with the Dust Devils. A relationship that dated all the way back to when Colorado was first announced as a new MLB franchise. Back then the team was playing in Bend, and became the Bend Rockies. From there the Rockies followed the team when they made the move to Portland, and then a few years later Pasco, Washington.

The crazy thing about the time in Pasco is there will always be one MLB player I remember most. That player is Michael McHenry. Despite there being a few other players that have come through. McHenry I remember mostly because I never saw his MLB career happening. He was a good guy that I just felt would get lucky to make it to Double A. So when he made it to the majors I thought it was pretty cool.

Now a new are begins with the team changing over to Boise. The most interesting part of the three affiliate changes are how long the past relationships were. Eugene had been with the Padres since 2001 after the Cubs had left. Boise was the Cubs affiliate since 2001 after their move from Eugene. As I have already mentioned before, the Rockies affiliation with Tri-City dated back to its Bend roots in 1992. What all this does is now create three fanbases that will need to learn about their new affiliates.

For the cat house this will be an interesting off-season. There are now three brand new affiliates to learn about, and personally I'm not happy. The Albuquerque change will be the easiest to deal with as I can see that relationship lasting for years. Nothing against Boise, or New Britain, but I think those will be short term. Unless there is something I am missing on those two teams.
     Boise is a great town, that I almost lived in once. A town that I would have been proud to call home, but circumstances got in the way. Still it just isn't a place I see the Rockies staying in for more than a few years.

Who knows, maybe all these changes will give me a new attitude on minor league teams. Instead of cheering for all the Rockies affiliates. I will just stick with the teams who I like for some unknown reason. Then keep track of how the future Rockies are doing on their team.

More than anything I'd love to hear how all of you out there deal with the minor league system of your favorite MLB team.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Affiliate Dance. Rockies Changing Dance Partners

While one of the changes was a forced change. One that was already made I can see, and the last is still yet to be announced. Interestingly while I sat here, and read about the three changes. I couldn't help, but think about how these changes will or won't affect my collecting habits. The final change could affect much more. Like possibly my habits when it comes to watching baseball games.

First off we have the changes when it comes to the Triple A.

From the
To the

I keep hearing that the team made this choice for a couple reasons. Simply put the Rockies haven't been happy with their Colorado Springs affiliation for years. From what I can tell the run just kept on going because it's what the fans wanted. Everyone was fond of the fact that the teams were just over an hour way from each other. This helped in the Sky Sox attendance being their fans hoped some of the players would one day make the big team. I just talked to my friend who has the sister that lives in Colorado Springs today. He mentioned how not only was she upset about the change, but the entire area is upset.

The bad news for Colorado Springs is we are in a new era of affiliations than we were when the two teams first joined forces. When they first got together teams liked having their affiliates close. It made life so much easier when you called a player up to get them faster. Now there are so many more factors that teams take into consideration, and these were what doomed the Sky Sox.

In my collecting habits I am on the fence about how to deal with this move. I have been collecting all the schedules from the different Rockies affiliates since starting into schedule collecting. Unless something strange happens this next season I will end this practice. I have enjoyed collecting every Sky Sox schedule I could get my hands on, and odds are will continue. Getting Isotopes schedules just isn't something I feel interested in right now. The other dilemma will come if my friend gets some new Sky Sox things when he visits next time.

Second, and the first move announced was the Double A.

From the 
To the

This move came due to the Los Angeles Dodgers wanting to make the move to Tulsa. Honestly, while I am a Rockies fan. If I was a minor league team, and had to chose it would be to go with the Dodgers. So doing what they felt was best the Drillers moved on, and are now affiliated with Dodgers. Colorado was thus forced to mov on, and signed on with the New Britain Rock Cats. From my reading, the word is that Colorado was affiliated with New Haven from 1994-1998. Much like that affiliation I don't expect this one to last very long. Call me crazy, but that is just the way I feel about this move.

Getting back into how this will affect the collecting habits. I have enjoyed building a great collection for the Drillers. Changing to the Dodgers won't change this one single bit. The team has been awesome when I write them for schedules, and that has added to my fandom. Tulsa is one of those teams I have become a fan of, and no longer being affiliated with the Rockies won't change that. As for collecting New Britain schedules, or anything else from the team. Much like the Isotopes, I have zero interest in adding anything from the team. New Britain is a worse feeling than Albaquerque with me though being I don't expect the relationship with the Rock Cats to last long.

The one I'm looking most forawrd to is the still unannounced Single A short-season Northwest League move. Still not having signed with any team, but with a possibility of a move.

From here
To here
or here

So far I have heard no rumors or anything on what will be happening in the Northwest League. What I do know is all three of these teams are currently in play. A change from Tri-City will be bitter sweet to me for a few reasons.

When the Rockies first came into baseball their Northwest team was the Bend Rockies. The girlfriend I had at the time, and myself would drive up and stay in Bend all the time to watch games. It was awesome to have my favorite MLB team with an affiliate so close. Bend then made the move to Portland, and became the Portland Rockies for a few seasons. After those years the team moved again, and formed what is now the Tri-City DustDevils So the Devils have been affiliated with the Rockies since day one. For myself it has been a tough relationship as I usually only get to see the team once or twice when they play in Eugene or Salem.

This all leads up to why this is so exciting for me as a fan. Even with Boise in the mix I keep telling myself that Eugene is where they need to be. If this happens my baseball watching will take a huge change never imagined. You will be talking about my favorite team's affiliate being within reach for constant watching.  While we go to Emeralds games a decent amount every season. I always root for the Dust Devils when they play each other. Those days will be long gone as I would be thrilled to cheer on a team I already cheer for every game other than Tri-City. If we can make it for all weekend games you bet I will be there. Salem, and the Volcanoes who we watch maybe two games for a year will be dead to me. That is unless Eugene is up playing them then we might make the run up. So if you can't tell I want to see this move.

Another team in the mix still is Boise. Much like Eugene, and Tri-City, Boise has been with the Cubs forever. Seeing the two end that relationship is just as stunning as the other three. The move to Boise is something I don't even want to consider as it leaves things basically where they are now. The Rockies affiliate too far away from where we are.

Then there is still the possibility of the team staying with Tri-City. While I've enjoyed it, and talked about the bitter sweetness due to the history. Hearing Eugene is a possibility has me ready to see the move made. So come on Eugene, and Colorado. Make this thing happen for my sanity atleast.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bagging A Big One

On Saturday I managed to bag some cards I thought were going to take forever to get. Not only was I able to get these cards, but in a bigger batch than I ever thought imaginable.

Starting my way around the card show, one of the first tables I stopped at had a fantastic deal going. He was trying to clear out boxes of unwanted cards, and had some sweet deals for those cards. We are talking a 1500 count box of cards for ten dollars sweet. Having four boxes of these cards all with the brands, and years listed on each box. If I was still trying to build the 2013 Topps set I would have bought the Topps box without hesitation. Looking back I should have maybe opened the box, and bought it anyways, but I didn't. Not seeing any sets I was building in any of the boxes I passed on them all. Included in his sweet deals were full sets of cards in binders for cheap prices as well. I passed on those as well. Maybe it was the shock of seeing a box labeled 'silver signatures, make an offer'.

That one box appealed to me, and blew me away when I opened the box. What I saw was not only silver signatures, but the 1995 Upper Deck Collectors Choice Special Edition. A set that I have been trying to build for awhile, and have made very slow progress on. Without thinking about whether or not I need everything in the box I grabbed it before anyone else could.

As I held the box wondering what it might contain, and how many cards I could use for my set. The thought of what I should offer for the box kept running through my mind. I didn't want to insult him with a lowball offer, but odds are all the best cards were going to be missing I thought. That would leave me trying to build a set that needed all the most expensive cards. Boy was I wrong!

Can it get any more serious than the rookie cards of Derek Jeter, and A-Roid?

Keeping the idea that nothing good would be found inside, and who knows how many cards could be in there. What I did know was the box was close to half full, and was what I thought a 220 box. Since being away from cards so long I've forgotten the different cardboard box sizes. Thinking there had to be some help for my set I asked if he would take a couple dollars? My hope was that by keeping it vague he would counter, and give me a price this was going to cost idea. Instead he went with what is a couple dollars?

Three?? Sounds good he answered back with. So for the mere price of three dollars my 1995 Upper Deck Collectors Choice Special Edition silver signatures set took a major blow.

When the smoke had cleared there were 79 cards I need for my set. Now that was better than I ever imagined when I picked up this box of cards. Another 27 cards are doubles, and available if anyone else out there is as sick as I am and is attempting to build this set.

Interestingly this was a sign of how my day was going to go.

Five of these were found in dime boxes. While I know that these weren't part of the special edition set, and were part of the regular collectors choice. I couldn't help, but pick them up as I just think they will look cool with the SE silver signatures.

Finishing up all this silver glory were some cards for much later posts. I found a decent amount of cards for future 'It Still Hurts To Watch' posts. So until we go to the coast, or I use them when we go on vacation next these will go into a box. Then there were the stadium cards from Monday's post.

Overall I have to say I was more than thrilled with the results of this card show. While the dealers weren't very happy due to the heat keeping their sales down. I heard a few commenting about how they thought it being so sunny had people out swimming, or other activities that weren't card related. All this meant the deals were there for the taking.

Even a dealer himself made a great deal. The guy selling all the cards was bought out within five minutes of me walking away. One of the shows regular dealers bought him out all out at once. He loaded up everything in a shopping cart, and took it to his car for looking through later. If he hadn't done that I might have bought a box myself when I finally regained my composure, and been thinking more clearly.

Monday, September 15, 2014

It's The Stadium

Seeing the wantlist for mascot baseball cards from each of the Opening Day sets. A person could look at this blog, and think his favorite cards are those of the mascot. While I enjoy the mascot, and collect any cards I can of this fun figure. The truth is the mascot isn't my favorite thing on cards, or at a baseball game. That special honor is reserved for the stadium that the game is played in.

If I had to break down my baseball card collection, and was able to keep only one theme or binder. The binder that I would choose is the one dedicated to my baseball stadium cards. Something about the architecture of the entire stadium draws me in. Every detail from the statues of past ballplayers, banners on the outside walls of the current stars, to the art sometimes placed inside, and outside the stadium. I am just a fan of the entire stadium.

Why am I going off about this love affair with the stadium you ask? Saturday was a great day for additions into my stadium collection. In Beaverton they were having the monthly card show at this location. With the wife going back to work on Friday after being off due to the car wreck. Saturday was my first chance to do this show since that wreck.

 Yes, I've done the Mall 205 show across town, but not this show. Even if most of the dealers are the exact same guys at both shows. It is nice to hit the guys who are only at the one show. Sometimes you can get different stuff from the same dealers at both shows. They might bring a new box, or got in some new stuff since the other show.

Heading up I still had to make my ritual stop at the Goodwill in Wilsonville. Even if the hobby room is a cramped disorganized mess right now. Maybe, there could be something that was awesome enough I'd push a bobblehead or something else out the door. What I found is this little treasure that doesn't take up much space, and has already found a spot on the shelf.

Honestly my love affair with stadiums goes beyond just baseball, and this soccer stadium shows that. I almost missed seeing the thing it is so small. With all the other nick-nacks it kind of blended in with the entire lot of stuff on the shelf.

Once at the show I got right to work on looking through the dime, and quarter boxes. Those boxes are when I found these.

Wish they had more than just the four in the box, but it's a decent start to a new addition on the wantlists. These also fit under that category of stuff I've been slowly learning about since getting back into the hobby. A category that seems to grow every few months, or every time I hit up a card show.

I gave a ton of thought on whether or not I wanted to pick this card up for the collection. In the end two factors went into this card coming home with me. It's a great card of Yankee stadium, and it helped make the dime cards add up to a dollar. How could I not add it with two reasons like that?

Another of the subsets I didn't know existed is where I found this one Frank Thomas card, and had to bring it home. Costing only a quarter I thought it looked cool enough to buy. Now that I've looked at the card, and studied the checklist. I've added it to the wantlist, but am realistic to know it's a set that will never get finished. With only 8000 of each card, and containing guys like Jeter, and Ripken. When you throw together their collectors, and set collectors. This set is probably on a few lists uncompleted.

All this was just the tip of the iceberg on how great I did at this show. Hopefully tomorrow I'll show the huge find that I got at the same show. Taking the drive up was time very well spent.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Chase: Race 1

If you didn't watch the first race of the new chase then you missed something great. After two weeks of races that were nothing more than snoozefests. Today we got a race that will hopefully be a sign of the racing we can expect for the remainder of the 2014 season. With Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Larson fighting it out with less than 20 laps left in the race. Brad Keselowski came from out of nowhere, and split the middle to take the lead. Not long afterwards a final caution came out, and added to the drama. Leaving little doubt Brad got off to a great start over the second place Larson. From there the biggest two questions were if another caution would make for another restart, and who would win the battle for second. Some incredible racing followed between the new young gun Kyle Larson, and the veteran Jeff Gordon. In the end no caution came, and Gordon held off Kyle for the second place finish.

(sweet rubber card from an internet search)
Two things came from this race win by Brad. Number one is it keeps Brad firmly in possession of the number one ranking of this portion of the chase. Second, and most important to the number two car. This guarantees he will be moving in to the second round of the grid. 

As a Kyle Busch fan I have to admit something I should be embarrassed by. If Kyle doesn't win the chase, Brad is the next guy I'm rooting for. With the history of wrecks, and fights between Brad, and Kyle most fans of the two despise the other. For some reason though I like the guy, and the heart he shows for the sport. 

When he won the chase in 2012 it was a wild, and drunken party that no other champion has ever had. Doing all the interviews he was obligated to, you could tell he was three sheets to the wind. It'd be interesting to see if he goes down that road again, or just celebrates like past champions. Being Miller Lite sponsors him I'd go with the three sheets to the wind.

(Feeling tired I lied earlier, and got an image from ebay)

Kyle finally showed some hope for a decent chase with his result today. Starting from the pole, Kyle spent most the race around 12th. During the two late cautions the team took the chance, and came in both times. The first was to change his right side tires in hopes of a better finish. The second trip in the team went with all four tires, and the move paid off. On the last restart Kyle moved up into his final position of 7th place.

Currently the finish put Kyle in a tie with Jimmie Johnson for the 7th, and 8th place in points. Due to having more wins I would say Johnson is 7th, and Kyle is 8th. More important is that this puts Kyle 12 points ahead of Ryan Newman who is in 13th, and first to leave if the cutoff was today.  

The Chase Is On!

Here at the cat house we are at what we refer to as the happiest time of the year. While we miss minor league baseball, we do still have the MLB. College football is in full swing, and NASCAR is starting the chase.

This season things will be so much different, and interesting. With ratings for NASCAR taking a dive the last couple years. Throw in a controversy at the last race before the chase in 2013.. NASCAR decided it was time to make a major change to how they decide their champion. What they have come up with is a very interesting formula. A new system that guaranteed race winners from the regular season in the chase. Four spots were added so instead of the twelve we've known for a few years it is now sixteen.

 Starting things off we have the first three races at Chicagoland, New Hampshire, and Dover. After these three races the field will whittle off the four worst chasers in points, and become twelve. Making things even more interesting is that if you are a chaser, and win any of the first three races you are guaranteed to reaching that final twelve. Talk about throwing a huge wrench into things. This is all part of NASCAR wanting to make winning more valuable. What happens to the four taken out has been a sort of question mark. I read that at seasons end they will be in the 13th to 16th place. The wife says she heard they go back to their original spot in points, and join everyone else. Technically this would mean a guy not even in the chase could end his year top ten in points, and a chaser could end up farther back than 16th. Until the first four cars are eliminated I guess we won't know.

In the next round all twelve will have their points reset at even. From that point there will be three new races, and the top eight teams in points will advance to round three. Winning a race will be meaningless except for the higher points you get over the other eleven cars challenging you. Starting with this portion of the chase I believe one bad race, and you are done. In the past you could take one or two bad races, and had enough time to recover. This new system doesn't give that buffer for a bad day. Interestingly Talladega is one of the three races during this stretch. Talladega is known as the home of 'the big one', and can take out half the field with one wreck. How would you like your season ended because someone not in the chase screwed up?

Round three comes with three new races, and only eight drivers. Nothing too exciting to mention here as points are once again reset, and the best four advance. Another set where one bad day ruins the season, and leaves you wondering what could have been. From here we move down to the final four.

The final round is a one race winner takes all. The one car out of the four that finishes the best will win the title. I love this part the most as except for a couple years this race has been meaningless. The eventual champion has been up so many points that they were declared champion going into the race. So forcing everyone to go hard as any of the four go into the race with a chance to be the chanp.

Another change is to the cars themselves.

My guess is this was for the fans to know who is in, and who is out. Until I see these cars on the track, and racing I will leave my opinion on this out. What I can say is the picture above doesn't look that terrible.

With our excitement around here I plan on posting every Sunday night about the chase. My plan will be to talk about two or three drivers. The first will be the race winner, followed by the points leader, and then our favorite driver Kyle Busch. Much like the pictures used in this post all the cards will be taken from an internet search. The Kyle cards will be from my very small collection that doesn't contain anything other than commons. Regardless of how far he goes I will still post Kyle's last ten race results. There will be one exception when we are on vacation. Those days my mind will be farther away from sports as it can get.

So let's go chasing!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Alumni Hall Schedules

There is one thing I have learned in almost two years of blogging. That being some of my schedule posts are usually my least viewed posts. Some of them such as this very post actually are pretty vanilla. Being in a sort of rut right now for things to post I thought what the hell I'll show what I got today.

Hopefully the rut will end soon, but for right now I've been putting together a couple huge business card trades that is taking up all my attention. Once those are done maybe I can refocus on putting together some decent stuff as I was starting to turn that corner before this distraction. Until then enjoy some college football schedules.

Bob from the schedule trading group I am in was looking to trade Alumni Hall schedules. Not having a clue on what Alumni Hall is, but enjoying the odd college schedules I had to reply. After doing a quick search I have since learned that Alumni Hall is a college sports apparel and other gifts place. Currently their selection of teams stands at seventeen from a few different conferences.

What Bob sent is a selection of four teams, with all four looking fairly close in appearance. The differences are the team colors are on the schedule, and the teams name.

The back's like any cards style schedule has the actual schedule. Nothing fancy, just the information you are looking for on the team's games for 2014.

Currently these are the only known four schedules, but I'd be willing to bet that the other thirteen are either out there or will be at some point. Until then I will just enjoy the four Bob traded me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Battered Bastards of Baseball

Normally I don't do reviews on documentaries, but after watching this one on Friday I felt the need. One of the many reasons for deciding to do this was because of who recommended watching it. The wife's sister, and her husband were the two who recommended this documentary. When I heard from them about this documentary I was stunned. While they enjoy documentaries, they are nowhere near sports fans. For these two to say we needed to watch this show. We had no choice, but to see it at the first chance possible.

Making it one of the first things we did when arriving at the beach house. I had forgotten about it, but the wife quickly remembered. So we made the time, and got to watching.

This great documentary chronicles the history of the independent Portland Mavericks. Being we live in the Northwest, and are baseball fans. I have to admit that until watching this documentary we only knew the team had once existed. I should be embarrassed to call myself a fan, and know so little about this local team. After watching this I am now proud to say we know tons more about the Mavericks.

To sum up this documentary I will keep it simple. If you have Netflix, and haven't seen this documentary then make time to do it by this weekend. I personally am not a huge fan of documentaries, but I am highly recommending this one. There was not one second in the entire 79 minutes I was bored, and that is rare for me.

If you have seen it I would love to hear what you thought about it.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Tradition Comes To An End

Every trip we make to the coast there has been one thing I have always done. That one thing is go to the huge antique mall just a few blocks from the house. It has been a simple trip that not only give me something to do for atleast an hour. The trip has helped me acquire some great finds for not just myself, but a few cards that I have sent to other bloggers.

After making the stop in on our week at the coast in July. I was skeptical that the place would even be open for this weekend getaway. The upper level had a major vendor wrapping up everything, and moving it all out. Most the other vendor spots were either empty, or their merchandise was discounted to clear it out.

As we rolled into town on Friday I was pleasantly surprised to see that the mall was still open, and knew I had to make a trip in on Saturday.

Making my way up in the afternoon I was sad to see that while it was still open it was basically a shell upstairs. The entire upper level had a fair amount of display cases, bookcases, and any other thing they used as displays that were for sale. Some were already sold, and just waiting for their new owners to take them home. A section about the size of a master bedroom was filled with items that were all listed at fifty percent off.

In what most might consider a glimmer of hope. The downstairs was a full, and functioning business with tons of antiques for the purchasing. A sight that a normal me would be happy to see as I'd say 95 percent of my purchases have been from downstairs. The bad news was that now this downstairs is a cramped dungeon of antiques.

From what I can tell the antique mall has downsized to just the downstairs area, but has added more things into the mix. The what used to be spacious area has now become a cramped dungeon that is hard to move around in. With the large amount of people that were all in there at the same time I was. It was a very tough adventure to walk through the place, yet alone stop and see something to buy. Any stop you made would bog things down as people can no longer get around each other due to the tightness of each aisle.

While a part of me is glad to see this place is still open as I've seen a few things that might fit into the hobby room walls one day. The other side won't be letting me make this the ritual it had become. Stops in may, or may not happen at all. Everything will be decided on how the room comes together at this point. If I don't think the stuff there needs to go in a frame, and on the walls. The days of going here will be very few, and far between. Odds are at this point I'd say new adventures await me.

Now I will  have to drive up north, and hit some of the shops up there every trip. Creating a new ritual, and new treasures to search, or I will have to start looking for new antique stores I have never ventured into. They say change can be good so hopefully this change will be just that.

In honor of this last trip, I leave you with the last thing purchased at the antique mall. Three mini baseball helmets that I found at the trip in July. All three are real sweet, and honestly something I wish I had for every team. While space in the hobby room is becoming a premium, I know a full set would find a home in the room.

Friday, September 5, 2014

It Still Hurts To Watch 8

In what has become a tradition of our trips to the coast. We are leaving tonight for a quick weekend at the beach house. What this means is you get edition number eight of 'It Still Hurts To Watch'.

For those that haven't been around long enough to know what this is all about. Not long after starting this blog we made a trip to the coast. While there, and watching the ocean waves crash into the rocks an idea hit me. The waves coming in was like a play at home plate. You start with the build up of the runner coming home, and the ball making that exact same trip.

Personally this is a great card of that build up if you ask me. While I've featured a couple cards with the catcher fearing the upcoming results. I do't believe I've done a runner with this look.

What a;; this leads to is that moment of impact. The collision that both players know is coming, but still fear the results.

This card shows how you can have a great play at the plate, and not have both guys coming out worse for the wear.It is just a great looking card that still captures that fantastic play at the plate we all love to see.

As with any collision you have the final remains that just lets you know two objects collided.

While not the best card I've shown for this. You can still get the feeling that we just had a play at home, and both men are waiting for a call. From the look on Alomar's face I believe he thinks the runner is out, and the runner isn't sure of what just went down.

On a side note. I have been toying with the idea of either putting all these in sleeves, and putting them in a box or bindering them. I know something needs to be done as I think I've reused a card or two, and sometimes finding them has been tough. I have a decent amount, but have them placed all over the place so sometimes finding them is an adventure. If I binder them I think they would look great in pages with all three across so I get the full effect. This would also prevent me from reusing a card as I could look, and see its been used. Need to think of something while I'm doing the organization. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Junkie Delivers

It has been a very long time since I last got anything in the mail from a fellow card collector. While I'd like to blame it on people not trading with me. The truth is I am the one the blame falls on. Looking at my records of cards being sent out. I hadn't mailed out anything on my end since some time in June. That is an over two month gap of not sending out a single package of baseball cards.

With a gap like that, how can you expect any cards to show up in the mailbox? Then you have the fact that my blogging has taken a turn to being very slow lately. Throw in the final kiss of death being most of those posts are about the artelopes, and other schedule trades.

If you aren't showing cards or thanking people for sending you stuff then how do you get people to send things? So once again it all comes back to me.

Hopefully the tide is about to turn though. Just this morning I sent out two PWE's to people in the online trading group I am in. The importance of that is it should lead to me getting my act together, and mailing more stuff out. Some of those need to be going to some of you out there like the great blogger T.J. from The Junior Junkie. As most the blogging world already knows T.J. writes some incredible stuff about his Ken Griffey Jr. collection. Lately he has expanded his work, and started talking about some of his other lesser known cards. Should be a great journey that I'm looking forward to following along with.

Why all this mentioning of T.J. you ask? Not too long ago T.J. sent out a big group of packages to people, and luckily for me this cat was one of the recipients.

Even with most leagues either completed or in post season mode. Getting three Zephyrs schedules is a sweet addition to the 2014 schedules collection. Doing a little research on the team, New Orleans finished 70-74 and failed to reach the playoffs. I guess there is always next year.

T.J. thank you for the schedules, and hopefully the motivation to send out a big batch of stuff myself.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Baseball Sports Page Answers

For those of you interested in what the answers are for the three rules for the post earlier today here they are. I am writing them exactly how they are written on the card.

Only one run counts. The ball is dead as soon as it lodges in the mask. The batter is awarded first base, and all runners advance one base. If this occurred with first base occupied, and less than two outs. The batter would be automatically out.

This is definitely unsportsmanlike conduct, and the second baseman should be ejected

This is a balk. The pitcher cannot stand on, or astride the rubber without having the ball.