Friday, July 31, 2009

Cal McLish interview

I actually didn't interview him, I just finished a Daily Oklahoman piece on Cal McLish who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Reds, Pirates, Cubs, Indians and White Sox.

His full name was Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish.

I don't own any of his cards, but here is a link to a cool website devoted to older cards virtual Card Collection

We all recognized the Calvin Coolidge and Julius Caesar part of the name, the Tuskahoma is a town in Oklahoma from the Choctaw words homa= "red" and Tuska = "warrior".

He was a pitching coach in his later years and as recent as 2005 had worked with Gil Meche.

There's a lot of great quotes in the article, my favorite being
"Stats should be used like a drunk uses a lamp-post, for support, not illumination.”

You can find the full article here at

The reason for the article is that he's being inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. I wish articles like this appeared more frequently than just when someone is getting an award or recognition. Older people have so much to tell and we have so much to learn from them.

More blaster madness

On a search for binders and sleeves I stopped by Walmart hoping that I could get in without buying any cards. I saw a bunch of blasters of Allen and Ginter and I had to check it out. I wanted to find out how it compared to the Target blaster I picked up about a week ago and of course to see if I could chip away at my base set of cards.

I think Matt Kemp looks a little like that rapper Redman. At least I think that's his name. He was a member of the Wu Tang Klan.

Here's the breakdown:

1 sketch card:
25 evan longoria


Everytime I pull a non-baseball card I feel like El Guapo when he gets a sweater.

Sorry, lame film reference.

Two of the of the minis were A&G backs
31 base cards
(I'm not going to bore people by listing each one)

kind of weird that the NP set was so sequential.

This is a funny "off the cuff" type of candid shot. I wonder if he's happy this is his official A&G card?

After seeing the hits that other people were pulling I was sort of hoping to find
something interesting in my blaster.

I didn't really find any hits plus they shorted me a mini and a base card, which really sucks when you only have 4 real base cards per retail pack.

I thought that the blasters were the best for finding a wide variety of minis, but I was disapointed to be shorted a mini and I only pulled one black border mini with no hand numbered minis in the blaster.

This went a long way to finishing my base set as I only pulled 8 base set doubles.

I really wish I could use some sort of restraint when I see box of Allen and Ginter. If so, I might actually be able justify just buying a hobby box.

I think this puts me at still needing 200 base cards to complete the set. Hahah!! Just writing that makes it seem like such a hard thing to finish.

McConiughey is a bowling champion with the special olympics. He has "rolled" an 800 series which apparently is harder to do than a single 300 game. Look at how big his bowling hand is!!

It's alright though, I have a whole year to get it finished and a whole year to bore people with my step by step progress in finishing it.

Trader Crack's contest

After seeing so many people that I follow post links to the trader crack contest, I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring. Here is the link if you want to check it out.

Tradercrack razor sports icon pack

He has a lot of photo galleries and other stuff on his blog and website. You should check it out.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Random packs of kindness

I love random packs of kindness. Actually random anything niceness would be good these days. So many times I run into random acts of snobbishness, rudeness and idiocy. It seems that way especially in the summer time when the temperature is about 100 degrees and I think it accentuates people's temper.

So it was really nice when I received a package this morning from Dave over at tribe cards.

I signed up for some Mets cards and he obliged with a plethora of cards from recent memory to the past 15 years or so.

It's nice for me to receive packages like this especially since I'm a new collector and this really helps me to see what all is out there in the world of card collecting.

I really like these three cards. The first has a unusual off-center framing which is an interesting choice, the middle one has a cool action shot, and I've never seen a card like the third one before, I think it would be right at home for a "Fame" card set, not for a baseball player.

All in all, it was nice to receive a package from Dave and I urge everybody to check out his blog sometime.

Thanks again.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Random inserts

About a month and a half ago I had the bright idea of possibly offering baseball cards to potential customers as a bonus to the basic photo package. My theory is that nobody else was really doing them, and maybe I could do it better.

After a few searches on goggle, most of the searches came up with card blogs.
I didn't realize their were so many bloggers out there who were actively blogging about card collecting.

The first few blogs were Night Owl, SCU and Wax Heaven.

All three of those blogs give me insight into the world of collecting and the wide range of what the hobby has to offer.

SCU gives me insight into the world of collecting that I have no experience in; the high end card sets with auto's and relics. It's nice to see what those guys pull, but I'm more of a basic Topps guy. I guess I'm a first worlder, and I'm happy with that.

Night Owl reminds me of the era of cards that I collected as a kid. He has a wealth of info on the older cards as well as the new ones.

Wax Heaven is nice for the new product updates and of course the contests that I have no chance of winning.

I quickly turned that mild interest in card design to checking on the blogs almost every night.

Obviously just reading about the cards wasn't enough, I had to go out and buy the product to make my own judgement on what the cards look and felt like.

I was so curious about what each pack of cards had to offer that I bought a bunch of different packs hoping to find something worthwhile.

I basically pulled a bunch of crap with a few highlights thrown in.

I'm not even sure what set this came from. I'm pretty sure I've read a blog where someone was making fun of it, I just can't remember where.

I really liked the '06 Highlights and Updates mainly because of the cartoons on the back.

and of course the random inserts.

I bought a ton of these cards hoping to get more inserts like these Mickey Mantle Home Run cards.

From the looks of the 5 or 6 cards I have that the Kansas City A's were the recipient of a lot of Mantle's home runs in that era. I kind of like the backs more than the front.

Even so, I would rather have the MM Home Run inserts instead of this crap:

If anybody out there wants these, let me know. I have 4 or 5 of these Bonds cards needing a home.

I wish I would have known about these Rookie Debut inserts earlier though. These are much nice looking cards.

I think they went a little overboard with the vignetting filter, but anyway it's nice to me.

I have no idea about the checklist on these old packs so I never no what they are or when they'll show up.

I like this Chad Johnson card. I was damaged on the lower right corner though. The front was a little separated from the
back of the card. I have a feeling that since it's an '08 card Topps isn't going to replace it though.

This Juan Encarnacion card includes a game worn relic from some MLB game, just not sure which game or who wore it.

I really like that it has a wrinkle in the fabric. It must be really "game worn" then. It's a really thick card, too big to fit in a toploader.

A cool pickup was this Frank Gifford card. It's from the 2006 football Heritage line. I guess the bottom of the card is "miscut" in an attempt to seem more vintage?

A got a few "big heads" from '07 Goudey. I was trying so hard to get some these.

I like the Ichiro, but it looks like I might have to go the Ebay route to get some Met big heads.

This is not an insert, but still one of the best cards I've seen in a while is this one though.

I think Mike Sweeney has become my favorite MLB player after looking at this card. This would be the best take on a "game face" expression on a card that I've seen. Hilarious. I like that someone could be so un-self conscious to do this for their card. I also don't mind the horrible "shadow" on the wall behind him.

All in all it was fun learning experience to buy random packs. Being a new collector I'm really addicted to the Walmart and Target repacks. They provide a nice diversion while I try to finish up the 2009 A&G.

Softball photos

I thought for this post I might try to share some photos I took earlier this summer.

The life of a roving freelance photographer takes unique twists and turns in the types of gigs that comes your way.

I was fortunate enough to be able to cover the 2009 College Softball World Series in OKC.

I haven't covered a lot of postseason college games, and I had only been to this stadium a few times for high school championship games so at first it was hard for me to find my way around the media trailer and of course stay out of the way of the TV guys.

I was rooting for the University of Washington mainly because I developed a slight crush on their pitcher Danielle Lawrie.

I'm hoping that doesn't come across too creepy or stalkerish, but actually they were a fun team to watch and since OU didn't make it that far I needed some team to follow.

This shot of Kelly Mantalvo always reminds me of Luis Castillo. Except that she actually caught the ball. And she plays a different position. And she didn't let the glaring sun keep her from making the out.

A few days later Ali Gardner would record a walk off grand slam to end the game between the University of Alabama and the University of Florida to send them to the championship series with my adopted team the University of Washington Huskies.

I really like this shot, but it didn't make the cut simply because it's a little out of focus.
These are the types of cool PJ action shots that I always see in magazines and newspapers that I try to emulate. So far I haven't been able to quite get it right.

Charlotte Morgan breaking her bat during a game between Alabama and Arizona.

Congratulations Huskies!! This shot of Lawrie being interviewed after the championship game is a little too tight, but oh well. It was a little chaotic on the field after the game.

I can't believe the amount of old photographers trying to hit on Holly Rowe all week. Talk about creepy!

A week later I would cover the other end of the softball world with a tournament in little Chickasha, Oklahoma.

I'm too lazy to round up the photos I took of the Under 6 group, but here are a few of the Under 8 group I believe.

Kind of a busy background, but I love the amount of concentration the kids put into playing ball.

The tournament gig turned out to be a bit of a hell gig, but I watched a lot of softball and watched a lot of cute kids running around having fun.

Here's a pretty pedestrian vertical shot of a batter.

Cropped horizontally and a lot tighter brings the focus more to what I think makes the photo standout. I think it's not quite there, but still a nice

I'm always surprised that these softball pitchers get completely off of the ground before their release.

Again, not the greatest shot, but it shows her completely off of the ground and I like the shadow that she casts on the ground.

As always any questions, comments or critiques on my writing or photography or photoshoping is always welcome.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Magic football

Another new product from Topps I was looking forward to was the Magic Football set.
After buying a retail blaster and a few retail packs, I'm still wondering exactly what this set is. I think it's supposed to be current NFL players in their college uniforms, but they don't really identify which NFL team they're currently on. This is confusing for me as I don't really follow the NFL that much and I'm assuming for the NFL fan that doesn't follow the college game that they wouldn't have much interest in seeing random players in their college uniform.

In the case of a favorite team or player it would be fine, because they would be familiar with the roster, but again I think the inclusion of their NFL team affiliation on the back would be helpful.

Since I mostly follow the college game it seems like it might be a cool set to collect, but I was sad to see only 5 OU players included in the set. I know there's more OU players currently playing in the NFL so I'm kind of confused as to who gets included and who isnt' included. The base set is paralleled with minis, black minis and autograph cards.

Peterson's also included in an All-American insert so that's something I guess. Maybe I'll just try to collect the team set and forget about the whole set.

Here's an example of the ALL-American set featuring Shon Greene from Iowa. I was a little late getting on the Shon Greene train. I was a Javon Ringer fan, but his production seemed to drop off a bit down the stretch. Halfway through the season the talking heads were all over Greene and what a good back he was. Once the talking heads get started they're like a school of fish following one story line till the end of the season.

Alumni insert.

This is perfect for college FB fans, it's two recent college players from the same school. Easy for an old man like myself to remember who they were. Still would be nice if they mentioned on the back which team drafted them.

I really hate to see crap inserts like this.

I only pulled a couple of doubles and this was one of them. I have a feeling a lot of these are going to find their way into card packs. Some of them are football related, and unfortunately some aren't.

A black bordered mini. Zzzzzziiiiiing!!! That's the sound of me flipping this card south of the Red River into land of the asterisks . Maybe somebody else will enjoy that one.

The minis are cool. They're more squared shaped, rather than rectangular shaped.

Here is a side by side comparison of a base card and mini.

They have a variety of older retired players as well as rookies and random dudes.

The funny thing about these cards is that they do look better as scans. Most of the time you'll read "this scan doesn't do this card justice." actually these are the exception, I think they look better as scans. They're still nice looking in a weird way. Some have solid color backgrounds, others have scenery behind the player. The pastoral backgrounds in some of the cards are nice. In the OU cards I know that they definitely resemble parts of our campus. The Malcolm Kelly card looks to have been taken from the practice field south of the stadium. The AD cards looks to be from the rugby field on south campus where the team occasionally scrimmages and practices.

Sometimes the background looks a little out of place to me.

This background doesn't scream Coral Gables to me. The few times I was in Miami, I didn't see any Oak trees, mostly palm trees. Actually I spent most of my two trips to Miami with my hands over my eyes trying not to watch our team get beat in National Championship games. But I don't have to worry now, because those losses as well as a few other have been included in the Magic Thrill Insert set. YAYY!!

The Magic Thrill Inserts should be renamed the "Oklahoma Bowl Fail Insert set". Out of the 20 cards in this set, three of them are of OU's bowl loses. Sad, very sad.

Of course, the Magic in Magic Football refers to the trivia questions on the back of the card.

Here's a better one: Mark Bradley was converted from defensive back to wide receiver. He scored his first time touching the ball three different ways. What were they?

An example would be: "His first career reception." (That's an easy, but incorrect guess.) He scored on his 5th reception.

Anybody with enough free time could probably google it. Anybody who feels like answering the question first in the comments section will get a package of cards from their favorite football team. If they prefer baseball that's cool too. I'll round up some baseball stuff for them.

On a positive note, I only pulled a few doubles and that was only because of the two loose packs I purchased separately. It doesn't matter much to me at this point, because I'm not collecting the whole set, as soon as I get my few Sooner cards, I'm done. They do look a lot better to me than the 08 Mayo set though. Overall despite my negativity, I actually like the set as a whole. I just don't think there's enough in the set for me to want to collect it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Priceless Pursuit

Joe from Priceless Pursuit sent over a few football cards to me today which was really nice of him.

I have a tendency to spend a lot of my free time checking out the various card collecting blogs and I noticed he was giving away free cards. Cool!! Free cards? Sign me up.

He promised to send me some Packers cards as well as "some guy in an OU uniform". Okay well "some guy" happened to be Cedric Jones who played for OU during one of the dark times in our program. During the mid to late '90's we had the unholy coaching trinity of Gibbs, Schnellenberger and Blake. Actually out of the three Gibbs was the best coach, but happened to receive the blunt of fans anger.

I remember Cedric because he was a one of the players to shine during that time.

According the '07 media guide Cedric ranks pretty well as a defensive end. He ranks first with most sacks in a game(5) and most sacks in a career with 31.5. He ranks pretty highly in most of the defensive categories.

A couple of Favre running and dropping back to pass. Favre was one of the few players I looked up to and who I made the effort to check out the NFL instead of just watching college football.

I remember one of the first games I saw him play was a Monday night game and he threw the ball like 80 yards from sideline to sideline. A perfect strike to the receiver. Okay, maybe it was like 15 yards and the receiver bobbled it a little and their was an instant replay to see if he caught it or not, but anyway the damage was done, I was a Favre fan.

It's so sad that now he's turned into such a douche. I mean every year he does this crap now. I don't mind a guy wanting to keep playing and if teams are willing to pay money for an aging quarterback to help them out, then why not? I still like to watch him play. I'm just not sure that he should treat his future "team mates" with such disrespect by not showing up for training camp. I feel like maybe he should just let people know his intentions on returning to the NFL. Probably didn't handle the two or three years of being so wishy washy on his retirement plans with the Packers the best way.

In happier times, I.E. his superbowl winning heyday, one of his favorite receivers was Sterling Sharpe.

In 1992 Sharpe led the NFL in receptions, receiving touchdowns and receiving yards.

The great Reggie White.

I believe he passed away Christmas day 5 years ago? I'm not sure on the year, but I remember being home with my family for Christmas when I heard that he had a heart attack.

This has to be the best card he sent me. He personalized it for me.

So funny! Good way to lighten the mood with all the depressing topics.
This is what it looks like without the note.

If anybody hasn't been by to check out Priceless Pursuit, please do, it's a great blog.
I need to get on the ball and send him some Yankees cards.