Saturday, March 31, 2018

Raise The Jolly Roger With a Cup of Coffee

Holy smokes!!!!

What a first day of Pirates baseball in 2018.  While I'm still very bitter about the Bucs trading away Cutch, how about the performances by Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco.
Together they went 5 for 10 with 4 Runs scored, 4 RBI, HR, triple, double, and a stolen base.

Of course the big hit was the Polanco 3 run bomb in the 13th, but how about the new guy, Corey Dickerson, nailing Nick Castellanos at home?

Man that was an awesome game.

I'm not sold the Pirates are going to compete for the division, but they showed a lot of guts and teamwork today.  Hopefully the pitching can improve as they won't win too many games surrendering 10 runs a contest in the future.

To celebrate the Pirates victory, here is my lone Cutch relic with a Gregory Polanco Jolly Roger sleeve patch.

Of course I have MANY MANY MORE sleeve patches of Cutch and even a few more of Polanco (by himself).

Friday, March 30, 2018

Now It's Opening Day!

The Pirates v Tigers matchup yesterday was postponed due to rain in Detroit.  Thus, the Pirates Opening Day begins today.

They begin their season already a half a game out of first place behind the

It's going to be a long season at this rate.

To celebrate the Pirates Opening Day here's a look back at the photo variant from this year's Opening Day release.

Cutch has been appearing as a short print photo variant the past few years.  This Year's Opening Day variant is special though because it celebrates his First career Grand Slam.

My #1 card need is the photo variant from 2014 Opening Day.  If you can point me in the direction of someone that has one and it leads to the card coming into my possession I will offer $40 PayPal for your troubles.  That's how bad I want this card.  Just help me find one and point me in the direction to buy it or trade for it.

It looks like this

Help me find this damn card!!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Heritage Comparison pt 5: The Runner Ups

As I have been doing these Heritage Comparisons I have to give Topps a lot of credit.  They have conciously matched up Cutch's Heritage numbering to Clemente's original card numbers very often.  They have done similar things with Koufax and Kershaw too.  Dodgers fans: Get On This!!!! It's a fun exercise!!!

Today I am only going to look at one card from the 2013 Heritage release.

2013 Topps Heritage is based on the 1964 design.

Looking at the National League Leaders card #7 we see Cutch finished second in the batting title race in 2012 and Clemente finished second in the 1963 batting title.

Before we get started let's take note that 14 players finished the 2012 season with a .300 or higher average.  Some surprising names on that list include Marco Scutaro, Jon Jay, and Allen Craig.  In 1963 only 11 players finished above .300 for the season.

It was ruled during the final month of the season that Melky Cabrera who was suspended for part of the season as a result of failed PED testing would not be eligible for the batting title per his request.  You can read the article here.

Normally what I do for the Topps Heritage Comparisons is look at many facets of the players previous seasons and compare them.  What I thought would be fun instead is to see how close both players came to actually winning the title and what months they made the most ground up in achieving that.

So we know that Buster Posey and Tommy Davis, two west coast players would win the 2012 and 1963 titles respectively.

How did they do on Opening Day compared to the Pittsburgh Pirates stars? 

Posey: 2 for 4 batting .500 after day 1
McCutchen: 0 for 3 batting .000 after day 1

Davis: 1 for 4 batting .250 after Day 1
Clemente: 0 for 3 batting .000 after Day 1

I know I've talked about how Topps matches Clemente and Cutch cards up regularly.  I was shocked to see they both had the same at bats to begin the season.

Let's move on to May 1st, shall we?
At this point teams have been able to get 20+ games in.

Posey batting .353 on last day of April
McCutchen batting .302 on last day of April

Davis batting .286 to close out April
Clemente batting .250 to close out April

Both Clemente and Cutch started out slow to begin their campaigns.

The weather is getting less cold and more of the spring temperatures.  Will that have an impact of the Pirates superstars as they chase down the eventual batting title winners?

Posey is now batting only .294 for the year after a rough May

McCutchen kept getting hot and finished the month with a .331 average to finish the first two months of the season

Davis stepped up and was now batting .317 for the season at the close of May

Clemente who missed the last few games of May after being replaced by Stargell in the 6th inning of a game vs Phillies on May 28th was batting .307 prior to injury.

June is here and Cutch is ready to take the NL by storm!!!

Posey is still hovering around .300 (.296 to be exact)
McCutchen is now batting .346 and leading the league in hits.  He would go on to win Player of the Month for his June performance

Davis was raking at the plate raising his season average to .335
Clemente in search of the title has raised his average to .324 and appeared to have recovered from his injuries.

Another hot month of baseball.  Another hot month of Cutch as he takes the 1st Place Pittsburgh Pirates into the All-Star break.

Posey is back above .300 now hitting .317 and getting lots of reps at first base to keep his legs fresh while still keeping the bat in the lineup.

McCutchen won his second consecutive player of the month award and raised his average to .371!!!!

Davis being extremely consistent kept his average at .321 to close out July with just two months left in the season

Clemente overtook the batting title with a .331 mark to close out July.

In the dog days of August both Pirates superstars take a slight step back as the West Coast hitters gain momentum.

Posey with only a month left in the season has closed the gap and is batting .329 to finish out August as his Giants look to make another postseason run

McCutchen after two months of being the best player in the game is returning to just being a Superstar instead of Superman.  His average dropped to .344 and the Pirates who were once 15 games over .500 at end of July now remain only 9 games over .500 and are fighting for a Wild Card with, yup Buster Posey and the San Francisco Giants.

Davis remains consistent as maintains his .322 average heading into the final month of the season.
Clemente with a slight dip in August production has now dropped to .320 for the year with only a month left.

As the final month of the season approaches teams are fighting for playoff opportunities and the 2012 Pirates are desperately trying to get to a winning record for the first time since 1992.  Rather than resting Cutch more and just giving him extra days and time off to clinch his batting title, Cutch will play everyday as the season winds down and the Pirates clinch their 20th straight losing season.  Thanks a lot Jerry Meals and your blown call in 2011.

We already know that Posey wins the batting title, but with only 7 games of baseball left he was hitting .331 on September 26th.

McCutchen was batting .334 on September 26th.
It would be the last day Cutch would have control of the title with only 6 games left to play for the Bucs.

Davis and Clemente would face off each other in LA as the final week of baseball approached they were at .323 (Davis) and .319 (Clemente) respectively.  Davis in anticipation of the postseason would only get another dozen at bats to finish out the year and win the title.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

On The Eve of Opening Day Comes a Contest

Normally I'm not one for ruining my baseball cards, but the idea of these Home Run Challenge cards is so alluring to me I can't pass them up.

These are selling for $3-$6each so if I can grab a copy for under $5 I am going to grab them and gamble what day Cutch might hit a HR.  Cutch has averaged 24 HR/season over his career.

I have no idea what the prizes will be from Topps, but so far I have picked up 5 of these.  I'm going to a card show next week and hopefully can grab a few more. 

One will be kept in tact so these 4 will definitely be scratched. 

The first four people to select a date that Cutch hits a HR will automatically have their dates entered into Topps site.  (Please use sound judgement and select a date the Giants play a game)  If you aren't one of the first four you can still take a guess and as I acquire more (because I'm sure I will) I will enter those codes.

If I win a prize from Topps, you win a prize from me.

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Favorite cereal?

We all love those Kellogg's 3D cards and all them oddball cards from the 90s, 80s, 70s, and before.

Today there aren't as many cardboard incentives in cereal now.
Gone are the days of influencing us to buy boxes of Post and Kellogg's cereal for a baseball card.

What are some of your favorite cereals that you actually look forward to buying not because of any novelty toys or gimmicks inserted?
I know I look forward to the Monster cereals every Halloween (Count Chocula, Boo Berry, FrankenBerry).  The sugary goodness is too much to resist.

Andrew McCutchen was known for his love of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and this 2013 Topps Chrome proves it.

Oh, you can't see it?

That's because it's the camo version of Topps Chrome numbered to only 15 copies.

Turn it over and you'll see that I'm not crazy.

On a related note, here's a funny article about Ralph Kiner and Wheaties.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sneak Beak at latest 1/1!!!

Who doesn't love a good pun?
I know I do.

So here's a Sneak Beak at a new 1/1 for collection.   
That canary is nice, right?

It's a 2011 All-star Game Workout Jersey relic Canary parallel.
This card is amazing!

Happy Punday
Happy Monday

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Added another autograph...

I added another unique autograph of Cutch to the collection when this dual patch autograph from 2011 Topps Marquee showed up at the door.

It's a shame it's a sticker auto because the patches on this card and the design is fantastic.

Turn it over and it sounds like that McCutchen kid might one day turn into something decent.

Shame they traded him for a middle reliever and a prospect whos still in AA.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Light Up The Bat Signal!

When the Pirates were trading for AJ Burnett just before spring training 2012, my optimism for the team was at an absolute high.  The team managed to be very competitive through the first half of the 2011 season.  Their use of shifts and elite bullpen was good enough that the Pirates offense could still hang in for games.  Add to the fact that they had a pipeline of front of rotation guys on the way in the form of Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon,  and Luis Heredia made it seem like the Pirates were going to finally start winning regularly again.

AJ Burnett instantly became my favorite pitcher of the staff.

Prizm released an insert called Band of Brothers and it featured both Andrew McCutchen and AJ Burnett.   For the past few years I have been trying to track down all the parallels.

One of the biggest non 1/1 needs from my entire collection can officially be crossed off.

I managed to snag this for $40.

AJ Burnett became known as Batman around Pittsburgh and during his final home game with the Pirates he was given a painting.

In his return to the Burgh after a stint on DL in 2015, the city lit up the bat signal behind him.
His final home game had Batman flags and posters and t-shirts all throughout the stadium.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Let's Play a Game!

I never watched a single Saw movie...
Until this week.
When being snowed in, what better way to pass the time then watching a crazy horror flick?

I wasn't that interested in it though.

I would much rather learn how to play this game.

I picked up the 2009 Pirates team set to go with my 2016 team set of the Buccos.

Above are some of my favorite players from that team.  While Matt Capps wasn't necessarily a favorite, I was pissed that we released him only for the Nationals to pick him up and trade him to the Twins for 6 years control of Wilson Ramos.

If you've read my blog at any point you probably already are aware of my Charlie Morton super collection and my fandom for both Garrett Jones and Ryan Doumit.

Last week I lost the 2010 team set, which I was really bummed about because for as bad as they were, that was a team I enjoyed watching develop.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cutch is highly radioactive Dubnium

I have always thought that the atomic refractors from Topps Chrome products look the best.  Superfractors are awesome too, but the Atomic Refractor has a look to it like "shit is about to get real".

The low numbered atomic refractors from Cutch's early MVP caliber seasons have evaded me for a long time.

Well, one finally popped up for sale for his 2014 Chrome and I had to have it.

It's numbered to only 10 copies and like I said, these don't show up very often.  Another Cutch collector has already reached out to me trying to get it.  I'm torn if I want to trade it though.

The card number is 105 and if you look at the Periodic Table of Contents for this atomic level of cardboard you will see that 105 is the highly unstable radioactive synthetic element, Dubnium.

Cutch was radioactive in 2014 when he followed up his MVP season with another top 3 finish for the NL MVP

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Weather Update or It's Not Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Another snowy day on the east coast today.

Here's Jackie Denardo (Jessica Collins) of Channel 5 News to give us a weather update.

Thanks Jackie

And what do the elements have in store,

A lot of confusion it seems.  Early indicators of this storm ranged from a dusting to 18 inches depending on how the temperature was and the way the current took the storm.

Jackie Denardo is a fictional character played by Jessica Collins on the TV show, Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia.   I work not too far from Philly and am happy to say, I'm not working today as the area is being pummeled with the 4th Noreaster in 3 weeks.

My latest pickup is a 2013 Hometown Heroes Zipcode parallel.  It goes with the Home State parallel I have.

Oddly enough I need the base (no foil stamping in top right).

So to answer today's question, it's not always sunny in Philadelphia or Pennsylvania in general.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Full Schedule

A few days ago, the Mighty Fuji posed a question about favorite TV shows.  Initially I thought, I don't really have a lot of TV shows I watch, but in reality there's quite a few.

In addition to all the DC comics shows (Flash, Arrow, Gotham) Criminal Minds, and 9-1-1, I have found myself staying up until 11pm every Monday to watch Good Girls.

It started out wanting to see my favorite actress to look at, Christina Hendricks, but it turns out the show is actually interesting.

It goes without saying that I will continue to watch the show until it's cancelled...or until Christina Hendricks leaves the show.

While going through some of my Cutch collectibles that aren't cardboard I found this schedule from the Pirates AAA team, Indianapolis Indians, from 2009.
It's a pretty cool pocket schedule that shows the Indians complete schedule and their promotion events.

Monday, March 19, 2018

I made an error

Last month I showed off a rainbow from 2017 Bowman Best.  I forgot to show my recently purchased blue refractor though because I had placed it in a different stack.
Problem solved.  Now the rainbow is complete.
The others can be seen below.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

What are the odds?

2017 saw Topps release two different products exclusive to retail stores.

Topps Fire could only be found in Target stores and featured graffiti style designs and sticker autographs and color parallels.

In my opinion, Wal Mart got the better exclusive as they received a product released in the past called Topps Gallery.  It was an all art set featuring color parallels, sticker autographs, and actual art cards.  In addition Gallery provided a 1951 Bowman Heritage style set with their own color parallels to chase.

I purchased both the base Orange and recently the 1951 Orange and while inputting them to my spreadsheet I noticed both my Orange parallels are numbered 15/25.

What are the odds?

Below is the base Orange with art by Mayumi Seto

And here is the 1951 Heritage card with artwork by Dan Bergren.
I own the original art by Dan used to produce this card.  To see my post about that art, click here.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Going Green: Bad News Rescue Me!

Today's post is a bit different than usual.  All month long (for the most part I have been leading with an Irish actress or Irish ancestered actress and tying it into a baseball.  Today, I'm mixing it up and starting with the card, then will tie into our Irish ancestry actress (Tatum O'Neal)

First, I need your help.
This green parallel from 2017 Fire I don't have.  If anyone wants to purchase me a copy (it's numbered to 99) and send it my way you will be rewarded with something in return.

As part of my website I am building WANTED posters for cards I have seen but currently don't have.  I've been experimenting with a few different apps, but most of them either say Dead or Alive or some extreme Reward $ amount.
Anyone got any tips?

Help Rescue Me from this need both in getting this actual card and giving me an app to use to make easy Wanted Posters.

If not it will be Bad News (bears) if I have to buy it myself.

C'mon, who wants to be a Lil Darling and send this card my way?

With a last name of O'Neal I suspected she was of Irish ancestry, but a quick run through hers (and her father's) Wikipedia confirmed it.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Going Green : A Cutch 22

I am still hoping to get my new website up off the ground, but with work, long commutes, and an exceptional amount of cardboard coming in over the past weeks  it has been hard to devote much time to it. 

But if I don't put any time into it I will never have the digital cardboard museum I set out to showcase and keep as a catalog of my collection.

It's a catch 22.

No it's a Cutch 22

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Going Green: Defining Definitive

Definitive is such a beautiful high end set.  Cutch has two different photo variations to chase.  One is a black jersey numbered AMC

Looking at the authentication sticker we learn that this black jersey is from a home game in which the Pirates hosted the Houston Astros in a 3-1 loss. 
Cutch went 0 for 4 with two punchouts on the day.

The other variation of Cutch for 2017 Definitive is a white jersey numbered AM.
This white jersey swatch is from an August 22nd 2015 home game against the San Francisco Giants which ended in a walk off homerun by Starling Marte.
The winning pitcher of the game is current Giants closer Mark Melancon. The losing pitcher is current Pirates setup man George Kontos.
 Cutch went 0 for 2 with a walk and caught stealing.

It's kind of odd that both jerseys are from August 22nd, but looking at Cutch's performances on those dates in 2015 and 2016 it is clear why those were given to Topps to cut up.

I am slowly trying to collect both versions in all the different color parallels available.  The thing I like about these two examples is that the large jersey swatches match the uniform that Cutch is wearing on the card.

The green parallels are both numbered to only 15 copies.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Going Green: Flawless Miss Ireland

Aoife Walsh is a former Miss Ireland and is currently and actress and model. 

To become a Miss Ireland she must be flawless.

Much like one of my latest pickups, 2017 Flawless Emerald on card autograph numbered 1/3.

It's another snowy day on the East Coast today.  I'm thinking about just staying indoors.