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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Birthday Present From Max - My 2,000th Post

Before I started this blog in November 2008, I had very few people I could trade cards with.  I had Pete and P. A. at the card shop, and my older brother John on occasion.  Other than that, it was really difficult for me to offload any cards or trade for ones I wanted to add.  I was limited to Ebay and Sportlots, as far as buying is concerned, and also the shop, of course.  Then, at P. A.'s and Pete's urging, the blog was started.  Now, almost 7 years later, I have reached a milestone, my 2,000th post.  I knew it was coming for some time now, and I wrestled with what I wanted the subject to cover.  Did I want to do a contest?  Did I want to do a retrospective?  Did I want to change things up and do something completely different?  It didn't take me long to decide that I wanted the theme of my 2,000th post to be what my blog usually covers: me talking about cards, preferably Orioles, and hopefully ones I obtained from a friend that I made while using the blog as a trading tool.  I have made countless friends over the years on this blog, some have come and gone, others have been here since the beginning.  I believe I have more "online" friends now, than I do physical ones, but I think that is just the state of how the world is today.  I can say, though, that some of the closest friends I have were ones I made through this blog.  Not to name them all, but ones who come to mind immediately are people like Drew, Andrew, Michael and of course, Max.  Each of those four are guys I have had the privilege of meeting in person, and actually trading with in person as well. There are others, and of course ones that I feel like I have a close kinship with as well, but I can't take the time to name everyone, I would be here all day.  Hopefully no one is offended that they were not mentioned.

Anyway, Max and I are such good friends now, we can get on Skype and sort boxes of "junk wax" and not say a whole lot, but know that each of us is just happy to be around the other.  He has hooked me up with some amazing stuff in the short time that we have known each other.  He also was an amazing host this summer when we were at The National.  That being said, when his birthday package arrived yesterday, I was floored with how awesome the main card (and note) were.

The main portion of the gift was the above 2014 Leaf Q Pure autograph of Brooks Robinson.  The card is amazing.  I had seen them on Ebay, but didn't pull the trigger on getting one.  I'm really glad Max picked this up, because it really will stand out in my Brooks PC.  The scan doesn't even come close to doing it justice.
Not to take anything away from the rest of the package, which consisted of a bunch of Orioles and also Hall of Famers, but the Brooks card is just awesome.  Max did add something else that has become a recurring theme of the packages that he has sent.  He sent me an IP auto that he was able to pick up this season in the above 2012 Topps Finest Tsuyoshi Wada.  Wada is a former Oriole who went on to play for the Cubs, and be pretty successful.  He never actually threw a pitch for the O's, but he was someone I watched with great interest, hoping he would be healthy and make it.  Instead, another international signing that the O's got at the same time, with less fanfare, did far better - Wei-Yin Chen.  Chen is now set to become a free agent and leave the O's.  Maybe one day, Wada can come back, but it is doubtful.  He (and Chen also) does represent a change in the Orioles' philosophy in signing international talent, which has changed for the better.

So, thank you so much, Max, for this amazing birthday package.  I appreciate your friendship, and know that we will keep this going for a long time.  Additionally, I want to thank each and every person who has read this blog, anyone who has traded with me on here, Instagram, Facebook, Kik, Snapchat, etc etc etc.  It really means a lot to me to be able to have a platform where I can share my thoughts and feelings on the O's and also on this hobby that I love.  Thank you for 2,000 reasons to post, and here's to at least 2,000 more.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pickups From Our Trip

Chris and I were able to pick up a bunch of good stuff while we were in Baltimore this past weekend.  I got two game used balls; one thrown to Matt Wieters in the first game of the series, and a foul ball that Manny Machado hit in the last game.  I really wanted one from that last game, since it was Davis's last game as an Oriole.  They were $35 each, and I can type in the authentication number online and it will tell me who was pitching and who was batting, and the result of the play.  This is always really cool.  These will be put up with the other game used balls that I have.
I got this cool jar of field dirt from Camden Yards, which is something I have wanted for some time now.  I paid $20 for it, which I thought was fine, but a couple drunken "experts" at the Authentics store made their point known about how stupid it would be to spend $20 on a jar of dirt.  I guess they just don't "get it."
A family of Orioles fans in front of us during the second game gave Chris this foul ball hit by a Yankee during the second game.  It was hit down the line in the 5th inning, I think, which makes me think it was Brian McCann who hit it.  Not bad.  He mashed the crap out of the label, whoever hit it.
We did a little "graphing" before the first game, and both of us got Steve Pearce on OMLBs.  Not bad, since I didn't have Pearce yet.
I got my Orioles knit bomber hat before the second game, and Chris got one from a group of Yankee fans who didn't want theirs.  Before the last game, I got this Steve Pearce bobblehead.  Chris really wanted one, so I tried to get one for him from the entrance, but the guy was less than courteous.  It didn't make sense that it was all fans 15 and over, when a few weeks ago it was advertised as ALL fans.  Oh well, there were plenty of Yankee fans who didn't want theirs, so Chris ended up getting one from a nice lady in Yankee gear.  See, not all Yankee fans are bad (cough cough Drew cough cough).

We had such a good time.  I just added up everything that I spent, and it was quite a bit, but it was well worth it to be able to spend time with my son.  He is at a good age to hop in the car and take somewhere.  Soon, he may not be interested in stuff like this, so I have to enjoy it while I can.

What A Way To End Our Trip

Chris told me several times this weekend that he was happy that I picked him up early from school and surprised him with a trip to Baltimore.  We enjoyed the Saturday doubleheader so much, we decided to stay for the series and season finale against the Yankees.  I'm really glad we did.  A huge selling point for me was the fact that Sunday's game could very well have been Chris Davis's last game as an Oriole, and I wanted to be in attendance.  My good friend, Michael, met up with Chris and I during the game, and before the 5th inning, we headed down to the Orioles Authentics store to be first in line for the game used baseballs from that very game.  Since I really wanted to pick up a ball from that game, I didn't move from my place in line, even though Davis came to bat while we were in there.  We watched on the TV in the shop while Davis hit his 46th home run of the season.  I was a little disappointed that I "missed" it, but I was in the stadium.

After the shop, we made our way to the flag court to watch the rest of the game, and the way it worked out was that an Oriole had to reach base, and not be taken out in a double play, for Davis to come up one more time in the game in the bottom of the 8th inning.  David Lough flew out, but then Gerardo Parra walked to bring up Manny Machado.  If Manny could avoid a double play, we would get to see Davis one more time.  Manny flew out, so with two outs, Parra on first, and the O's up 7-4, Davis came to bat one more time.

We stood at the fence on the flag court as Davis crushed a pitch over our heads for his second homer of the game.  I couldn't believe it.  Chris and I hugged, high fived, and Michael high fived as well, What I didn't realize, until a few text messages arrived, was that we could be seen pretty clearly on the MASN broadcast.  I brought up the video later on at dinner with Chris and Michael, and sure enough, the three of us can be seen celebrating Davis's homer.  The above screenshot is proof!
I was so glad that I decided to spend the money and take Chris on this trip.  I hate that my wife wasn't able to get off of work to come as well, but he and I had a really great bonding experience.  I let him make a lot of the decisions on the trip, and even made sure that he got his pool/hot tub time in.  He really seemed to enjoy himself, and hopefully will remember this trip for a long time.
It was a little bittersweet, as a fan, though, because I know that a lot of the players that I have come to know and love will not be with the team next season.  We did our part in cheering for them, as well as giving some healthy booing to A-Roid.  I may or may not have uttered a few cuss words as Ubaldo walked a bunch of people on Saturday as well.
We got to see the Orioles sweep the Yankees in a three-game series, and also got to see our first doubleheader.  This was also the first entire series I have stayed for, since the one I went to (also against the Yankees) in 2005 saw the last game get rained out.

Now, we put the 2015 season behind us and look forward to 2016.  I hope I am able to go to some games next year, and also hope that some of the Orioles that are pending free agents decide to re-sign with the team.  I hope Davis does, but if not, I can say that I was at his last game as an Oriole and it sure was a memorable one!

Staying for the last game did cause a little difficulty, though, since Chris had school Monday.  He covered up in his blankets in the car as I made the mad dash home.  We stopped twice (for gas and bathroom) and got in this morning at 2:15 AM.  He was able to get up for school ok, and will not miss a day.  That is important, but I was willing to sacrifice an absence in the name of making a memory, if that needed to be the case.  Thankfully, we got home ok, and he got up for school without an issue.  I hope he and I can do another trip like this in the near future.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Good Way To Spend a Rainy Saturday

I surprised my son with a trip to see the Orioles play the Yankees this weekend.  I picked him up from school on Friday right after he had lunch; with all of the rain in the area, he was actually going to have an early release, but I got him anyway.

He was surprised to see that I didn't have my work truck with me when I got him.  I told him that I had the day off and he and I were going to go for a ride.  I also told him that we would be gone for the weekend, and that we had a suitcase packed in the trunk.  About an hour into the trip, he guessed that we were going to Baltimore.  He didn't guess that we were going to a game until we got to the hotel, though.
The plan was to catch the 7:05 game this evening, but the Friday game was postponed to noon Saturday, making the day a double header.  I decided to walk to the box office and pick up some seats for the noon game.
Chris and I got into the first game really easy.  There was hardly anyone there at all, even tough the Yankees were in town.  We were able to walk right down to the wall and do a little bit of "graphing."  We were both able to get baseballs signed by Steve Pearce.
The Orioles won the first game with a score of 9-2.  The O's offense looked great, and Wei-Yin Chen looked really good in his final start for the Orioles.  Nolan Reimold reached base 4 times, and scored three runs, which was nice to see.
Chris and I had a good time at the game.  The rain held off for the first game, but it was pretty cold.
Between games, Chris and I hit the hot tub at the hotel to warm up, then headed back to the field.  It was a giveaway game (I got a free knit bomber hat), and there were quite a few more people there.  Chris was given a free hat from a Yankee fan who didn't want theirs.  We got to see Nolan Reimold lead off the game with a home run; this was Nolan's first leadoff homer in his career.  We also got to see Manny Machado hit homers in each game.
A light mist occurred for most of the game, and the score remained 3-3 for a good portion of it.  Ubaldo Jimenez was pretty tough to watch, since he threw a ton of balls out of the zone, but he held the Yankees in check for most of the game.  TJ McFarland pitched two scoreless innings, and Zach Britton got the save after Paul Janish scored in the bottom of the 8th on a wild pitch.
Chris and I enjoyed our first double header with an Orioles sweep over the Yankees.  I'm so glad I planned this trip with him.  He and I have jad a good time so far, and we are seriously considering going to the final game of the season tomorrow.  He has school on Monday, but since the game is at 3:05PM, and it is a bobblehead giveaway, we may still go.  I think he will be ok, but we will see how the weather is in the morning.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Instagram Trade With Trevor - 2011 Orioles-Rays Lineup Card

I completed a trade a while back with my buddy, Trevor where I sent him a few Reds autos and some Reds singles for this lineup card from the Rays-Orioles game from September 3, 2011.  The Orioles lost the game 6-3 due to poor starting pitching from Alfredo Simon.  Nick Markakis hit a 2-run homer that accounted for most of the scoring.

I think it is really cool that Trevor picked up the lineup card.  Even though it is from a game that the O's lost, it still is nice.  I almost forgot the Vlad Guerrero played for the Orioles.  Also, it is kind of weird to see JJ Hardy batting leadoff.  The bench and bullpen were also pretty barren.  I thought about it for a minute then realized that Chris Davis is missing from this lineup card.  He was traded to the Orioles at the trading deadline.  A simple search  brought up the Orioles transactions and I found that Davis was put on the DL with a right shoulder strain on August 16 of that year.  He would come off three days after this game (September 6).  The Orioles ended 2011 strong and caused the Red Sox to miss the playoffs.  The O's would go to the playoffs in two of the next four seasons.

Thanks for the deal, Trevor.  I love the lineup card!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Another Gift From Michael - 2014 Topps Mini Reimold Black Parallel

My friend, Michael, hooked me up again when he picked this Nolan Reimold 2014 Topps Mini black parallel up for me.  It had been offered to my by the same guy a couple times, but he always was catching me at a bad time.  I had been saving up for the National the first time, and the second time, I was trying to recover from the National.

It doesn't matter now, since Michael picked it up.  The card is really nice and is numbered 4/5.  I like these really low numbered cards, especially if I am able to get my hands on them.  I haven't pursued this rainbow too vigorously, since I have been concentrating on Davis, but any Reimold I can get is a good thing.

Thanks so much for not letting this card slip away from me, Michael!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Gift From Brian - 2015 Gypsy Queen Kevin Gausman Auto

A good thing that happened at this past weekend's card show was that I got to talk to my friend, Brian and his dad again.  I had met them at the previous show in July, and chatted with them for quite a while.  Brian and his dad are huge Orioles fans, and I made sure that I thought of them when I was at the National.

Brian surprised me at this show with the above Kevin Gausman auto from 2015 Gypsy Queen.  The card looks really nice, and Gausman's auto is on card.

Thanks so much for the awesome card, Brian!  I really appreciate it and I am glad you and your dad came by my tables again.