Monday, April 30, 2012

A Pirate's Swap For Me!

I recently completed a trade with Brian from over at "Pirates Treasure Room".   This is a GREAT blog, folks!   It's very easy on the eyes and he will typically have some beautiful scans of some very vibrant Pirate hobby pieces.   He seems to specialize in relics, autographs and patches from players in Pittsburgh and is always very focused on some incredible collecting goals.   I admire that.   I need some collecting focus, quite frankly. 

SO, it's fitting that Brian provided the spark for this trade with a relic from one of my favorite Braves, Craig Kimbrel.   Kimbrel had me captivated, along with the rest of the baseball world, as he set the new season mark for saves by a rookie last season.   Thanks to my geographical location, I can usually find the Braves game on TV and it seemed that every chance I had to tune in last season (amongst the nightly circus that is a house with two kids), Craig was notching another game on his belt.

Plus, he hangs his throwing arm in front of his body as he receives the signs from McCann in a really interesting way....and that earns him another +5 in cool points.

Anyways, I dropped Brian a note to say I was interested in the Kimbrel and figured he may be interested in a McLouth Letterman that I had picked up last year in a card draft at some point.   I think it may have been part of my winnings from a Cardboard Don (formerly known as Wicked Ortega) draft?   I love how some of these cards can be traced from origins to good homes where they belong.

Brian said the trade sounded great and slipped in a little, "Hey, are you a Braves fan?" towards the end.

He was up to something.

And that something was a wonderfully generous helping of bonus Braves cards!   OH, and THEN he went and knocked a few off of my '12 Heritage Inserts NEEDS list along with my '12 Topps Inserts NEEDS list.   He also knew I'm a Yankees fan and threw in a sweet Opening Day Mickey.

That sneaky Pirate!

Here are the cards:

My FIRST Kimbrel relic!

You can't go wrong...

Without a doubt: 2 Hall of Famers!

YES!  Mark 'em off!


Cool Shot

Incredible....if you squint, you can be amazed, too. 

Some of my first Opening Day pick-ups.   Nice!

Threads and Lumber from Braves of yore.

Just had to slip some pinstripes in here, didn't I?

Brian - THANK YOU for the very generous trade.   I hope the McLouth patch provided a letter that you still needed for one of your on-going quests.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Size Matters with Another 'Spring TTM 2012' Return!!!

Ah, yes.   The large bubble mailer.   This bad boy was waiting for me at home a couple weeks back:

"Through The Mail" autograph requests are one of those parts of life where size really does matter.   Okay, I betcha TTMs aren't exactly the first topic up for debate when the discussion arises, but we're talkin' baseball today, folks!

You see, the size of a TTM matters for several reasons.   There's the cost.   It simply costs more to send more to our favorite athletes.   Yes, thank you Captain Obvious.   But there's also the awkwardness of the large-sized, bulky packages.   Envelopes with cards and letters can be stacked and piled and slipped in lockers rather easily.   It doesn't guarantee anything, but at least the logistics are in your favor.   Our heroes are busy, and toting around large packages from their fans (or asking someone from their entourage to do so) just isn't probably on their list of favorite things to do.   Ever.   And over-sized, over-achieving autograph requests, whether in person or through the mail, can sometime completely backfire and leave a well-intentioned fan empty-handed with a bitter memory of a particular athlete.

I get that.   And I respect that.   And I even fear that when I send a baseball.   But I still try, sometimes!

And get lucky.   Very lucky.

Earlier this spring, I started a new spring training tradition of TTM quests that I colorfully called: "Spring TTM 2012".   I know........amazingly pithy, yes?!?!   A bunch of cards, in small TTM envelopes, went out to a bunch of players.   A few baseballs went out to a few, select players.    Mostly because the balls simply cost more and so I have to be selective about who I would like to send them to.   After all - they might not come back.   However, they weren't necessarily sent to the most popular players (which is usually a lost cause anyways) but my personal favorites or the ones that would mean the most to me.  

One of them was a ROMLB (previously discussed here) and a couple of cards to my current, favorite player from my favorite team - David Robertson of the New York Yankees.   That's right, a middle reliever.   The Bombers' 8th inning guy.   Mo's set-up man and, right now, heir apparent.   Not the most exciting idea for most collectors, probably - but I was stoked to give David a try.

Yeah.   I just called him David.

I returned to the hobby last year and, admittedly, returned to baseball as well.   I have always tuned in for the post season every year but I had really been a poor excuse for a baseball fan since I left the hobby and the sport for [girls, my HS sports, college, wife, job, family, etc.] back around '94/'95.   It was time for a change early last year though, when I found out I was going to have a son.   A boy's Dad has to know what's going on in baseball, now, come one!   As Homer Simpson would say, "the boy" is now here and so is my addiction to the game.   I tuned in whenever I could to catch a game last season and, as luck and the law$ of marketing would have it, a lot of those games were glorious Yankees games.   And in a lot of those Yankees games that ended with a W for New York, I was mesmerized by the 8th inning pitching machine that is David Robertson.

He often got himself into trouble with a hit there or a walk here......but he always pitched himself out of it, earning the nickname of "Houdini" by many fans.   He earned a spot on the All-Star roster last year where he retired the side in the 2nd inning with, appropriately, one hit and one strikeout.

Ironically, Michael Pineda struck out TWO NL batters in the 3rd inning......but I digress.   Sorry, the "Jay Buhner Part Deux" horror show is still too fresh on my mind!

Back to Mr. Robertson....

I also have a vivid memory of catching an inter-league game between the Rockies and the Yanks and watching Robertson strike out Tulowitzki with runners in scoring position to end the inning.   It was epic!   The guy has a 7-foot stride when he steps towards home plate in his delivery.   This enables him to serve up some strong pitches while minimizing the reaction time for the batters he's facing.

Great stuff.   Good baseball!   Size matters.

Plus.....he sports the 'high socks' look which is just flat out cool.   Even cooler is that Robertson (a University of Alabama alum) set up his charity, "High Socks for Hope" in order to raise money for disaster relief in the tornado-ravaged town of Tuscaloosa, AL.   They were hit pretty hard last year and David wanted to help out.   He also guest-celebrity-bartended at a watering hole in New York City at some point and donated all tips from that night to charity.   A great pitcher for my team and, by all accounts, a great guy.

So, he easily earned a spot on my "Player Collections" roster and has become one of my favorite players.   If you have any Robertson's, especially the parallels that I just can't seem to find.....let me know and I'll be more than happy to work up a swap!

Which brings me to the purpose of the whole post............David responded to my autograph request and was kind enough to sign and return the mementos I had sent!   I couldn't have been more excited to chalk up another success from Spring TTM 2012 with my favorite current Yankee, David Robertson:

I like to think he may have shuffled through my fan mail and some others while sipping a cold brewskie and nursing his bizarre foot injury during spring training.   He seems to have recovered nicely since his apartment-moving mishap though, as he currently sports a 0.00 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 8 K's in 11 innings pitched.   And I'll certainly be cheering him on during every inning to come.

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my request, Mr. Robertson and good luck as the 2012 season unfolds!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What's a Rah-Mulb & How Is It Made?

I'm guessing that many of you out there have seen this before but I felt like it was worth sharing!

Here's a quick 5-minute video that shows the making of a Rawlings Official Major League Baseball or, as we like to call it in the blogosphere......a ROMLB.   You know, a "Rah-mulb".

Never waste an opportunity for a good acronym, I always say.

I love these balls.   When there's one in the shopping cart or on my desk at the house, it usually means one thing:  an autograph opportunity has presented itself or I'm in the process of cooking something up.

Wait.   That's two things.

These ROMLBs certainly aren't cheap but they are, by far, my favorite memento to have signed by a ball player.   SO, when a TTM request or "fence waiting" session at an actual game doesn't yield some ink - it can be expensive AND frustrating.   You can normally find these balls, in a nice clear-plastic-cube display case for about $14 at your local Target.   Not bad, but again, not cheap when you add in the postage, time and then any signing fees that might be required by a particular player you're hoping to have sign.

So, yes - I've complained about the price tag.

But after watching this video, I think I'll temper my rants just a little bit.   Hand-stitching?!   Pretty special.   Glad I stumbled upon this behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a FAVORITE part of my baseball memorabilia collection!

By the way - I recently had another very exciting return from my Spring TTM 2012 adventure and, as it just so happens, involved one of these beautiful, pristine baseballs from Rawlings........and my favorite current Yankee!   I'll be sharing this real soon.   Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2012 Gypsy Queen Have's & Want's Lists are up!

Hey guys - just a quick note to let you know I have updated my page for 2012 Gypsy Queen.   If you're looking to pick up some base or even some inserts, check out the lists to the right or drop me an email at and I'd be more than happy to swap with you as I work off my own lists!

Hope your wax busting has been full of hits and as always - thanks for reading!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Who Doesn't Love Surprises?

Surprise card packages?

Love them.

Who wouldn't?

Asking for nothing in return, these two great fellow collector kept me in mind as they came across random Yanks and some sets NEEDS that I had listed on my blog.

And I couldn't be more grateful - to Darren and Jeff at Potch Wheeler & the Cardboard Heroes and Cardboard Catastrophes, respectively.

Darren sent over a couple of base cards from '11 Lineage and 1991 Fleer that I had needed towards my set completion quests:

Cy and Andujar - brought together for the 1st time by Ryan's Pitch.
And who could go wrong with a blue Yankee parallel from 2012?   Particularly this one of Mr. Chavez.   Anybody have a translation for those tats on Eric's arm?

Finally, here are a couple of recreations of a card that was and a card that wasn't.   These 60 YOT's from last year's offering are a great way to pick up copies of legendary cardboard for next to nothing.   I am actually very fortunate and have this actual Rizzuto card in my Yankees collection.   This reprint is a great addition and will be a nice comparison opportunity in a future post.   The Mantle never existed, but it sure is a sharp card now!   When it comes to card designs, '54 through '56 are often at the top of the list.   I hadn't noticed before but the write-ups on the backs are kind of interesting.   In these cases, a couple of tidbits describing the Topps and Bowman relationship from the 50's is provided and make for some interesting suppositions.   Enough chatter - here's Mick and Scooter:


"Watch as I slide FOR you whilst making the out."

1956 - When Topps Ate Bowman for Dinner

 Jeff sent over a lot of help for my 2011 Heritage set quest.   I think he had been chasing this one himself, so I really appreciate him sorting out a few to send my way!   Here's what we had along with a couple of my favorites:

The surreal blue sky behind David Price makes the blue in his Rays uniform pop really nicely.   Plus......he's a stud hurler.   The Manager's Dream card was a great capture of the cards from '62.   Pujols and Braun were awesome last year.   Albert has been anything BUT a dream for me as a fantasy manager this year.

I know......we're 7 21 days in.   I'm just jaded.

Great cards.   Great collector friends.   Great surprises.   Thank you, Darren and Jeff!

Thanks for reading, you guys.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gypsy Queen 2012 - First Look!

I've filibustered enough about my anticipation of this year's Gypsy Queen about some looks at the real thing?

Let's DO this.   Here we go!

First, let's take a look at the base card design, front and back, with some Yankees legends!

Joe D and the Mick - you can't go wrong.  Love this shot of Mantle!

The front design of this year's edition works nicely in my opinion!   It's soft and under-stated, working quite well to compliment the mini works-of-art displayed for each player on ever card.   I prefer the bottom location of the "Gypsy Queen" name over last year's header, although I feel like the player's name and team might have been better above the logo.   That's okay, though.   The lines and slightly floral borders are simple enough for me and do a great job of framing the card.   Great job, Topps!

Sticking with what works.

The backs look very similar to last year's and I couldn't be more satisfied.   Sure, there's no stats - but this is the RIGHT way to pull off a simple card back.   I hope you're paying attention, Lineage!   Let's move on to the inserts:

I'm thrilled to pull the Babe while Albert would be thrilled to have a Moonshot in '12!

Let's get my least favorite part of this year's release out of the way first, shall we?   I don't care for the design of these "Moonshots" cards at all.   These cards should have been a dark blue or gray and featured some kind of design that incorporated.....wait for it.....the moon.   The premise of having a "Moonshot" subset?   Awesome!   But the purple color, tilted flowing ribbon and asymmetrical corner GQ logo just doesn't fall in-step with the classic and artistic feel of the rest of the set.   Scrap this purple dye, Topps.  

Ah-ha!   We're getting better.   I thought that last year's "Wall Climbers" and "Sticky Fingers" subsets were really innovative ideas and well designed.   Sure - you picked up a lot of them as they were each only 10 cards - but the idea was fresh.   I see this year's "Glove Stories" and "Sliding Stars" picking right up where 2011 left off.   This Josh Hamilton is a great card!   Great picture with a matching write-up on the back that captures the moment from last season.   The brown color chosen for this set 'synchs' well with the subset's theme and is easy on the eyes.   The GQ logo takes up a bit too much room at the bottom but at least it is at the bottom.  

Emphasis on FUTURE, eh Mike?!   (sigh)

The "Future Stars" subset makes a return from last year.   The design is actually fairly similar, so it's not very exciting - but at least Topps didn't use Barney as a muse for the color choice.   The blue border from these inserts might have worked well for the "Moonshots" cards, don't you think?   The GQ logo is identical to the footer version featured on the "Glove Stories" - still too big, but acceptable.

Willie & Mickey

"Hallmark Heroes" takes the place of the "Great Ones" insert set, featuring some of our all-time favorite ballplayers.   This design works for me just fine.   It's pretty simple and is a bit more attractive than the all-brown border of the "Great Ones".   I think if I could change two things, it would be to emphasize the "Hallmark Heroes" header a bit more and, once again, find a way to minimize the the GQ medallion at the bottom of the card.   I would also expand the picture a bit on this one - too much border covers up what appear to be some great old pictures.

YES!   I love these "Sliding Stars" cards!   I haven't pulled any of players I personally love (I pulled two other Sliding Stars cards of two players from that chicken & beer outfit) but this design is perfect.   Great shots, fantastic sideways orientation (appropriate for sliding, naturally) and a well-balanced symmetrical border that completely emphasizes the vibrant color sketch/photo.   Well done, Topps!

Of course, Gypsy Queen also provides us all with plenty of mini's.   I know a lot of you out there went into hot pursuit of these miniature cards and crafted some great completions of team sets, franken-sets and even a couple of complete parallel mini sets!   That's pretty impressive!   I will undoubtedly pursue mini's and mini variations of my Yankees and Braves but will probably put most of the mini's I pull up for trade.   I'll sort out my '12 GQ goals soon and have a WANTS/NEEDS page soon, I'm sure!

There are variations to the mini's again this year and, to be honest, I'm not even sure that I understand them all quite yet.   But here's a look at what I was able to pull from my small sampling:

Right off the bat, you can see here that the Brian Wilson is some sort of 'green' mini parallel.   The Fab High-Fivin' Freddie Freeman represents the standard, base mini parallel.   Standard-base-mini-parallel.......sheesh!   Love pulling the Freddie, though!   He just hit his FIRST home run of the season, too.   Looks like that day of rest may have done him some good and I hope he keeps it up!   Okay, here's a look at the backs:

AH!   Wait a second!   That Freeman wasn't the standard mini parallel after all - it is a "Straight Cut" back variation.   Kind of cool, I guess.   The Gypsy lady replaces the team logo at the top.   Some more mini's:

If I'm gonna love a mini, it's much easier for me to love mini's of some great players and these miniature versions of Jackie and Willie are no exception.   Great shots and the standard-size version of the Jackie is just as beautiful.   Let's take a look at the backs to see if Topps can mix it up even more:

Well, of course they did!   Here we see that the Stargell is a "Red" back variation and the Robinson is another "Straight Cut" variation.   As a collector, I can definitely see how the pursuit of some or all of these miniature variations gets some folks VERY excited.  It IS kind of cool.   Good luck to you guys!   I look forward to helping you out once I figure out which ones I want to hang on to.......are we done with mini's?  Not yet!  

Zack Attack.   Lego Maniac?

Black mini parallels!   Sharp little cards and, if I understood some blog posts over the past few weeks, these are tougher to find than they were last year?   Somebody set me straight if I'm off the mark here!   Let's flip 'em over:

More black.   Onward!   How 'bout them headache-causing SPs?   Topps switched it up with this release by making the SPs photo variations of certain base cards from the standard set.   same design, same back, same number.....different picture.   And sometimes, not even that different!   Sneaky Topps.   I haven't found a photographic checklist of what the SPs look like.   I know there are some for sale on the Bay of E but I am not sure how much I trust those listings that don't include a side-by-side comparison.   Part of my suspicion is the "?" included on a majority of the SP listings.   I DID however manage to pull both versions of two cards in my sampling.   Ironically, I am not even sure which version is the SP!   I'm sure we'll all k now soon enough, though.   Here they are:


See what I mean?   Not all that different.   Was very happy to have these two great ballplayers as my example, though!   Reggie and the Freak.

How about some HITS?

Gypsy Queen afforded me the most hits during my trials and tribulations as a hobby-returnee last year.   It always seemed to deliver some ink or a relic or a numbered card while other releases never produced.   I know - it's just luck and more than likely, some kind of placebo effect.

But it works for me.

This year has started off no differently!   No hits yielded by the flagship or by Heritage but GQ has come through.   There's some irony, though, potentially some karma coming around to bite me in return for all of my 'chicken and beer' ragging.   Honestly, I chuckled out loud when I pulled this.   Sure I would have preferred one of my Yankees....or one of my Braves.......or.....ANYBODY else.  

But that's what trading is for!   Who wants some Big Papi?

Give David a napkin, will you, Rod?

Two jersey relics!   One framed-mini and one standard jersey relic.   Pretty standard design,   They work JUST fine for me!   Sure, these are of the base model "plain white swatch" variety but these represent two more relics than I've pulled from EVERYTHING else so far.   NO, 2011 Lineage - you don't count.   Like I mentioned, the Ortiz is definitely up for trade if anybody manages to pull a non-beer & chicken guy.


The Carew may be too, but I might hold on to it as well.   You can't beat a piece of memorabilia from a Hall of Famer!   Here are the backs - pretty standard.

We're almost done!   Here are some more highlights of other base cards that I was fortunate enough to pull:

Mark - there's a chia pet on your arm!

El Capitan and 'Mo

Mr. Saves and Mr. Needs To Start Hitting

Albert.   Home runs.   Now.

Yadier, you 'da man!

Whew!   I'm exhausted.   Very enjoyable, though.   Great ripping!   There were definitely some parts of this set that fall short of what I had expected but overall I am very excited to start chasing this set for my collection.   The basic design works very well and the thick stock feels great.   The pictures are pretty cool, too.   Any of these qualify as GREAT candidates for autographs, by the way.   I will be chasing all of the insert sets (even YOU, Barney Moonshots) but I am not sure if I will pursue the photo-variation SPs like I did last year's #300-#350 SPs.   The mini's make my head spin with all of the variations.   I think I will focus on my teams and favorite players.   I loved the autographs from last year's release and I can't wait to pull a few this year!   Here's hoping!

Some other quick odds and ends observations:

- There are no numbers for the insert sets.   They use the player initials.  Meh.
- There are no rigid all-white dummy cards in the packs.   Drats!   Those things were AWESOME for shipping trade packages!   Grrrr!
- Notice there were no green-framed parallels or gold-framed parallels for me.  Last year, I am certain there would have been several.   I am supposing that means the framed cards are more rare this year?
- No checklists.   Not complaining.   Just noting.   I'm sure THAT comment will come back to haunt me.
- No Yu

What do you guys think of 2012 Gypsy Queen?   Will you be collecting this set or certain parts of it?   Did Topps regress, improve or coast along with the status quo on this one?   Is it "mini's" or "minis"?

If you're still with me - thanks for reading!   

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's Finally Here!

Last year was my first year back in the hobby for more than 20 years.   It's been an interesting ride since last spring as I've dabbled here and there with the various releases available.   Some I liked, some I have decided to pass on.   One of my favorite cardboard blogosphere quotes definitely come to mind:

"Collect What You Like" - 30YOC

For me, last year's Gypsy Queen offering was my favorite!   I'm not sure why, but the artist-rendering effect and retro-design was very appealing to me.   The card stock is nice and thick.   The combination checklist of past stars, current veterans and rookies just seemed right.   The middle-of-the-road set count of 300 was manageable and the 50 SPs was a little easier to tackle than the 75 SPs of Heritage.   I had far more luck with 'hits' in blasters and retail packs of GQ than any other release and the 5 insert sets (Great Ones, Wall Climbers, Sticky Fingers, Home Run Heroes and Future Stars) rounded it out nicely as they too struck a good balance for me between the challenges of chasing and completing.   Speaking of which, I still have a few more remaining on the NEEDS list - let me know if you can help me out!

All of this is a little curious, too.   Yes, the GQ set appeals to my set-building nature in some ways.   But it is fairly short at only 300 base cards.   Why would I favor this set over the Dual Series + Update flagship release?    I also like to read the backs of cards and appreciate a full set of stats or some nifty little cartoons.   I'm not going to find either of those with Gypsy Queen!   There's limited cards per team to show current rosters in lieu of sharing some space with legends from the old days.   This could drive me a little nuts as I have become infinitely more familiar with and interested in the full rosters for pretty much every club - thank you, fantasy baseball.

I know.   It's completely illogical. 

But here we are, one year later with the 2012 release!

Well yes, naturally, there's a Yankee on the box.

It's the one I've been waiting for.   Its release date is officially tomorrow, but the cards have already flooded the Bay of E.   I haven't perused the listings though.   I want to form my own opinion of the cardboard when it's in-hand.   If the 2012 edition is anywhere close to the rookie release, I'll be happy!

I'm wondering if it's already hit the shelves of the local Target?   I bet it has.   The April 18th release date had dropped off my radar.   I had anticipated Heritage's release and scooped up some early wax the day before.   How did my favorite set sneak up on me?

Life and work and, heck - baseball itself has kept me busy lately.   Some rounds of golf.   Some good times this spring with friends and family.   My VERY fortunate trip to the Final Four.   Bubba's victory at the Masters.   My incredible kids and amazing wife.   The backyard fire pit and the 'ol smoker grill.   I've had and am currently in the middle of several trades with many of you......thank you for your patience, guys.....lots of things going on - great things*!   And what could be better along with all of that than a pleasant little surprise reminder that GQ is back again.  

I'm hoping to make a stop by the Big Box du jour and pick some up soon and I look forward to seeing what everybody else thinks of it, too!

Until then - good luck and if you're into Gypsy Queen like I am, may your HITS be amazing!   Let's bust some wax!

Thanks for reading!

*Disclaimer: List of "Great Things" is not necessarily in any order of priority :)

Giant Step Forward

I am VERY pleased to announce a NEW blog that has recently joined our collecting community.   I've had a couple of great trades with 'reader Adam' recently.   He's a great collector and a fan of all things 'SF Giants'.  

Following a similar path of being 'reader Ryan' for nearly a year and then forming my own blog, it makes me happy to know that Adam has started his own tale of collecting triumphs and enjoyment, "ARPSmith's Sportscard Obsession".

Check it out!

Good luck, Adam, congratulations and welcome aboard!

Friday, April 13, 2012

My First Play At The Plate

Brian from over at Play At The Plate noticed a couple of months back that I had stumbled upon some blue Ranger parallels from Topps' Walmart offering this year.   As you all probably know by now, parallels for my Yanks or Braves have slowly grown on me but as far as the rest of 'em - it makes me happy to send them home!

SO....I procrastinated way too much and had the Rangers set off to the side for a wee bit.   I managed to find a couple more Texans for Brian and eventually sent them on their way.    Sorry it took so long, Brian!   He was certainly generous with what he sent in return - he was able to help me out with my NEEDS lists for 2012 Topps base and the few insert sets that I'm chasing.......I was worried I might never get off the ground with some of these but our blogging community has, as usual, graciously turned that frown upside-down.

Here's a little look at what Brian sent over:

I've said it before and I will undoubtedly say it again - I love these '87 minis!   They're simple, yes, but the wood-grained '87 release marked my first year in collecting.   I'm tempted to make a comparison of the special feeling towards my first set to the first girl I kissed but I think that would require me to also attend a support group.   Anyways, I'm making some decent progress with these inserts now.   Thanks for the help, Brian - and those guys are no slouches!

Some more of the Goldens from this year - Standards and Moments.   I think there's a TV radio station called Singers and Standards, yes?

Some help with the Series 1 base set.   It would be remarkable to wrap up this one before Series 2 hits the shelves.   Considering I just completed Series 1 and 2 from 2011 last month, this progress is already a shining example of the benefits to having a blog - communication is key!   I would encourage any of the readers out there to make the leap.  

Oh, gee....did I leave that Mantle on top for all of you to enjoy?   The Mick - always epic!   Nice touch, Brian.   Here are two of my favorite cards from the stack:

This guy is a beast of a ball player.   I'm playing fantasy baseball for the first time this season and Yadier fills my catcher slot for both of my teams.   Turns out, he's been one of the most productive players out there, so far in 2012.   Yes, Pujols - your former fellow Card is trampling all over your HR total through week 1.   Not hard to do when your sitting on a goose egg, Albert!   Way to go, Yadier.


Thanks for the great trade, Brian!

Thanks for reading, guys.