I was talking to several friends who occasionally and casually game and they all asked me my thoughts on Destiny, the latest shooter/mashup from Bungie. They had seen the marketing blitz and were wondering if the game was worth playing. The best analogy I could come up with (and after some deeper reflection, the one that still fits) was that Destiny is a good bowl of vanilla ice cream. Not just any vanilla ice cream, a really good kind. Ben & Jerry’s good. However, it’s the only thing in the bowl. The realization here is that for all the marketing hype about the greatness of Destiny, it’s incomplete. It’s ice cream without any sunday accoutrements. It has no chocolate sauce, no whipped cream, no jimmy’s and no cherry on top. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with good ice cream, it’s just that without it being made into a full dessert experience, you’re left wondering how good it could have been if only they had opted for the waffle cone. (more…)
I was going to put “Giant” trade, but I figured the Dodgers fans wouldn’t appreciate that. Bad title puns aside, Greg and I have traded a couple times in the past but had both slowly been building piles of cards for each other for what seems like forever. I had such a stack of Dodgers I couldn’t fit it into a flat-rate box. It was time to pull the trigger and swap some cardboard.
I was working on a custom and I’m not 100% on the look and feel of it, so, I thought I’d ask you guys. Clearly, it’s based on Bowman Platinum’s insert “Top Prospects”. Apparently, even after having one of the top farm systems in all of baseball, Bowman/Topps felt compelled to not put a single player from the Red Sox organization on their checklist. I’m having a hard time understaning that. Even the OFFICIAL top prospects list, strait from the MLB, has several players in the organization in the top 100. Mookie Betts, Henry Owens, Blake Swihart, all missing from Bowman Platinum’s checklist.
I thought I’d remedy that. Some things to point out:
a) I don’t plan on die-cutting this
b) I was going for “inspired by” not “direct copy”
Today is the MLB trade deadline and holy crap, it’s been insane. It’s
1pm (central time), so there’s still a little time left, but there’s already been major moves, most of them centering around the Red Sox.
Red Sox sent Lester and Gomes to the A’s for Yoenis Cespedes and a Comp B pick
I was honestly hoping that the Sox would hold on to Lester and get a contract deal done by the end of the year. He was easily our #1 starter and the loss stings. On the flip side, the acquisition of Cespedes is insanely good. There was no way I thought the A’s would part with him. The Red Sox needed help in the outfield, desperately and went out of got it. The real question is, after the rental of Lester to the A’s, would he be willing to come back? Having Lester and Cespedes in 2015 would clearly be better than Cespedes alone, but they’re going to have to throw crazy money at Lester to do it. Does getting traded sour Lester on Boston in general? That remains to be seen, but in my mind he’s gone for good. Losing Gomes as well would have been bad without a replacement, but Cespedes more than makes up for any production loss. So, essentially, we upgraded left field but lost an ace, who was going to be a free agent anyway. Food for though, Cespedes has out homered the entire Red Sox outfield, combined, this year.
I’ll give it a B for now, an A+ if they can somehow resign Lester in the off-season
Red Sox send Lackey to Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly
I’ve never liked Lackey, there, I said it. Something about his mouth-breathing weirdness, I don’t know, he just never really impressed me. He wasn’t going to pitch well next year, he looked like he had given up. He was talking retirement rather than make the league minimum on this extension/club-option year. Getting anything more than a bag of balls for him was a win-win. It gives the Cardinals a mid-rotation guy that has post season experience while giving Boston another bat (Craig) to try and get something working as well as a potential back of the rotation replacement (Kelly). IF Kelly works out, he’ll be joining a whole platoon of young pitchers from Pawtucket. Best of all, since we’re clearly abdicating this year, you can let them all get some big league experience. Webster, Barnes, Wilson, Workman, De la Rosa, now Kelly. Let’s see what the kids can do!
Final review – A-. Lackey was done. Getting something for nothing works for me.
Red Sox send Jake Peavy to Giants for Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree
Yes, this happened prior to today, still counts. I liked Peavy, and I know he liked Boston (he even bought a Duck Boat), and he was great in the post season, when we needed him the most, but something never really fit. He never got any run support, he never really endeared himself to fans. If we had gotten Peavy 4-5 years ago, I would be more upset, but it seems like he might be past his prime, he’s getting ready to retire as well. Getting Escobar (a starting pitcher) who’s just on the edge and ready to be brought up and Hembree (relief pitcher) has a lot of upside coming out of the bullpen, was certainly better than just letting Peavy walk after the season.
Trade Grade – B – Not so much for the loss, but for the two players in return may/may not work out
Red Sox send Andrew Miller to Baltimore for Eduardo Rodriguez
Hmm, initially I didn’t like this one. I really really liked Miller. He’s a solid, proven, highly valuable, left-handed reliever. I’ve never heard for Rodriguez. The only thing that slightly changed my perspective is that Miller was going to be a free agent. It had been reported, multiple times, that Miller liked Boston and wanted to resign. So, the question is, is this another rental? Will Miller want to come back? What did we get in return? Apparently Baltimore’s #3 prospect, although the numbers don’t really bare that out. He’s 3-7 with a 4.79 ERA in Double-A. I don’t really understand how that’s a good deal. Miller was dominant. I hope, pray, that they “know” that Miller will resign in the off season, otherwise this one is a loss.
Trade Grade – D
Steven Drew to the Yankees for Kelly Johnson
Who in the hell is Kelly Johnson? Doesn’t matter. Steve Drew is gone! Huzzah! Getting anything more then a bucket of popcorn for Drew is a huge win.
Trade Grade – A++
The Red Sox are a better team today than they were yesterday. Yes, they gave up pitching, but they were potentially losing FOUR of the pitchers at the end of the year anyway. Getting anyone, let alone several solid pieces, in exchange is kind of a best case scenario. In my mind, major league baseball players (and major league “ready” players) are under-valued and low-minor league players and prospects are over-valued. If you can get major league usable players, now, to me that’s better than taking the gamble on prospects who might not work out. Also, not only do you have pieces you can plug in now, you have an excess of prospects you don’t technically need. Those all become trade bait for the off season. If Edwin Escobar never pitches for Boston, but gets traded for someone else who might, that’s not really a loss is it?
Way back, probably over a month at this point, Dennis from Too Many Verlanders/Manninghams sent me an incredibly considerate PWE and I have been a complete scumbag in never mentioning it. Life has a funny way of getting away from you like that. I owe him a considerable amount of Tigers cards, which have been accumulating on my desk at home for some time now. The note that was included in the envelope read something to the effect of: “I found this Nomar at a show and knew I had to send it to you”. That kind of forethought and kindness is what keeps this whole community the highlight of my collecting experience.
A Lester, a Nomar, a Mo Vaughn and a Freddy Sanchez rookie. That’s quite the combo. Did you know Freddy Sanchez was a 3 time All-Star with the Pirates after Boston traded him for Jeff Suppan? Well, you do now.
As for that Nomar card, a beautiful 2001 Donruss Diamond Kings. Love those things. Not only that…
Aww yeah. Being out of 2500 for a late early 2000’s card is practically like being /100 these days. It’s awesome. Its also a unique addition to my Nomar collection, which is always appreciated.
I have a good friend who loves to visit auctions, estate sales, and the like. I’ve told him in the past to keep any eye out for any cards. He’s picked me up the occasional pile of ’87 Topps, but a couple weeks ago he stumbled across someone else’s collection. There were several boxes, a complete set of 1992 Donruss, and a few binders. He sent the whole thing my way and I’ve just started to dig into it.
Saying “Early Summer” just seems easier than “stuff from the last three months that I’ve neglected to mention before now and that never really fit with anything else”. Yeah, “Early Summer” it is.
These are all from April, May and June, and mostly from ebay. Any of the non-Sox cards are always up for trade. There were quite a few that I picked up as combined shipping extras after bidding on stuff for myself.
On my desktop there is a folder. A folder called “Blog Cards”, into which I dump all my scans. There are currently 74 items in said folder, all waiting to be talked about. Some are common, some are random, some are just too awesome to stay unmentioned any longer. Those include the latest editions to my Brock Holt collection.
Let’s pause for a moment and appreciate the human highlight reel this kid is…
It’s been nearly a month since my last post and things haven’t gotten any better. In most ways, they’ve gotten worse. My job woes continue and there’s likely no resolution until at least July. Three different companies with three different people claiming to be my new boss are pulling me in three different directions and I’ve yet to get a formal offer letter from any of them. So, in all honesty, my motivation for working hard for any of them seems rather low. Why throw 80 hours at a project that I’ll get cut from. I’m more focused on just trying to not make any of them angry until I figure out where I’m going to land. My office, the actual one I’m sitting in, might get moved to another floor and or removed all together and I’ll work from home. It all depends on how much money the company wants to shave off it’s budget. We have huge equipment in here (44″ Epson roll printer, 40″ flatbed scanners, 48″ vinyl cutter, etc. etc). Its not like any of this stuff will fit in a cubical. Keeping an office for this stuff actually makes logistical sense, so, of course, that sense will be ignored by everyone in upper management. I’ll be lucky if I’m working out of the loading dock this time next month.
There’s also a lot going on on a personal level. My parents are still living with us, despite insistence that “June” is a hard deadline for them leaving. That’s creating a lot of stress. It’s not that I want to kick them out, but I just don’t see any movement or motivation from them. They need to be working towards some sort of goal and, most importantly, working a day job. I’ve yet to see evidence of either.
Freelance work has slowed down after a busy spring. I’ve got two projects on my plate and I’m waiting on checks from both of them. My big “going to make my summer” gig fell through for budget reasons on the client’s end and it looks like it won’t be happening all together. That was going to literally fund my hobbies well into Christmas.
Baseball card wise, which is why most of you are here, I’m completely unimpressed with most of the current offerings. I bought a Bowman team set and now I’m just sitting on my hands waiting for Ginter. I loath Archives, I’m not buying the super over-priced Tier 1, and I’ve finished most everything else. I bought a Bowman blaster last weekend because I couldn’t find anything else to even consider. My Targets/WMs aren’t stocking Panini products at all and I’m not sinking any money into that black hole called Heritage. So, basically, I’m waiting for something interesting, and I’m not wasting any more until then. Smart for the wallet, bad for the tradebait.
I did receive a couple PWEs, which I appreciate more than anything. You fellow collectors are awesome awesome and thank you for thinking of me. They’ll be posted on their own, it’s only fair.
Video games are also depressing. E3 is next week and we’ll get to hear about all the great games we won’t be playing until next year, meanwhile the only thing worth even looking at this summer is WatchDogs which is still only getting mediocre reviews. Hell, I’m still playing Black Flag which was a birthday gift 7 months ago. If that’s not depressing, I don’t know what is.
My wallet is empty, my car is making a funny noise, my parents are driving me nuts, my job is downsizing, and life is stressful. The only thing trending upwards these days is my blood pressure.
In case you’re still reading at this point, my primary focus is on finishing my new portfolio site and polishing my resume and linkedin profile, just in case. I’m going to be throwing lots of time towards my portfolio site, so posts here might still be few and far between. Rest assured, I haven’t given up, far from it. I haven’t abandoned this site in 13 years and I’m not about to start now. We all go through seasons in life, and right now, it’s a Winter, despite what the temperature outside may be.
If you’re wondering why posting has been all over the place, it’s just due to a busy schedule. I’ve got so much on my plate at the moment that I think I need a second small salad plate just for the extras. Maybe a desert plate as well. And a couple dinner rolls. And a coffee. Cream and sugar.
Crap. Now I’m hungry.
The point is there’s just a ton of stuff going on.
A quick survey though: If I said “hey, I’ve got some random cards from the 80’s/90’s, anyone want them?”, how many of you would raise your hands? Cause…umm… that sort of happened…