Friday, July 30, 2010

This Week In Sports Cards

You know what they say about opinions......

.........they're like, well, you know :-)  Everybody's got one.  In spite of the rapid changes in media consumption these days, I still think it's a good thing whenever the card collecting hobby gets some ink in print.  My stance with this blog on these things is that you neither care for nor seek my opinion, and frankly I'd rather you form your own based on articles like this.  Is the shrinking amount of product across all sports......with one sport now being in the hands of only one or two companies.....a good or bad thing?  Here's one guy's take......

KEN KARRSON: And then there was one -- again

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sports Cards' Most Wanted - Pilot Episode

For the first time in years, I watched America's Most Wanted this past weekend. That probably speaks as much about my (lack of a) social life as anything else, but it reminded me of how intense John Walsh is on that show. In covering this story, I'm imagining he'd say something like......

"THANKS TO TIPS FROM BASEBALL CARD COLLECTORS JUST LIKE YOU, WE HELPED BRING THIS SLEAZEBAG TO JUSTICE!! AMERICA'S MOST WANTED HELPED DELIVER THIS SCUMBAG TO HIS SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL!" Because if's there's one thing I know about John Walsh, he always shouts his entire intro at the top of the show. If there are two things I know about John Walsh, he always shouts his entire intro and he loves calling criminals derogatory names :-)

Lubec man sentenced to 3 years in prison for baseball card scam - Bangor Daily News

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Better than the movie......

After reading this story, I can't help but think that this would have provided a far better plot than the dreck that ultimately became "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull".  You've got nuns and eccentric old people.  Throw in an archaeologist, a few supporting characters, and a legion of Nazis also on a quest to acquire the rare baseball card, and you've got yourself a blockbuster! :-)  If anyone reading this blog knows Jerry Bruckheimer, tell him the treatment for the next "National Treasure" movie can be found right here.  And I'll settle for a six figure sum for the idea.  It's kind of refreshing to see that the proceeds from such a rarity will go to a charitable organization and not just end up being a toy for a multimillionaire. 

Secret stash hides a rare find: Suffolk man helps ID valuable baseball cards

Before And After.......Matt Garza

Monumental events in baseball tend to smile on fortunate (or in most cases, opportunistic) eBay sellers who happen to have cards of the player involved listed.  Immediate price spikes have occurred this season following Jason Heyward introducing himself to the big leagues w/ an Opening Day moon shot, the seemingly endless stream of no-hitters, and the now infamous perfect game that wasn't featuring Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers.  The high end cards (autos, rookies, game used, graded) tend to bring the most immediate dividends. 

The latest temporary beneficiary of the "monumental events" phenomenon on eBay are those who hold Matt Garza cards.  Ten days ago, when Garza was merely a pretty good pitcher on a very good Rays staff, a 2005 Bowman Chrome Refractor Auto Rookie w/ a PSA Grade 10 could be had for $38.87 plus shipping.  Last night, about an hour after he became the first Rays pitcher to pitch a no-hitter, it wasn't quite as cheap.  About a 157% increase to be exact. 

eBay proves time and again that despite of the drastic changes in many of our lifestyles as a result of a prolonged economic downturn, impulse buyers are still out there when history occurs.  They're also willing to pay a premium to satisfy those impulses.  With that in mind, collectors like us shouldn't hesitate to strike while the iron's hot!! 

Monday, July 26, 2010

What took you so long, Cooperstown?

As long as there is a Baseball Hall of Fame, there will be a debate among fans regarding who belongs and who should forever be on the outside looking in.  Cases can be made for, and against, Bert Blyleven, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Alan Trammell, and Roberto Alomar among several others.  For entirely different reasons, cases can be made for and against Roger Clemens, Pete Rose, A-Rod, and Barry Bonds.  Aside from all those, one guy was denied entry into the Hall far too long, and the recognition he received over the weekend rectified what I consider to be the longest snub in the history of Cooperstown. 

John Fogerty wrote the OTHER National Anthem for baseball fans, "Centerfield", as an 8 year old kid.  He recorded the song and released it in 1985.  His ode to the game of baseball and gift to the fans got him into the Hall......25 YEARS LATER!!!  If he had been a player, his enshrinement ship would have sailed 10 years ago with his only hope being the long shot of the Veterans' Committee.  He was also a "first ballot" Rock and Roll Hall of Famer in 1993.  Kudos to the baseball writers for eventually doing the right thing in finally recognizing one of the all-time greats who never swung a bat at the big league level, along with his guitar, Slugger..........about 10 years too late.
Fogerty is a MUST SEE if he comes near you on tour.  The guy is ageless, and he's playing the best shows of his life the past few years.  He has one of the best bandmates in the biz, and his song catalog stacks up with any rock & roll musician in history!!  I saw him w/ John Mellencamp in 2005 in Raleigh, North Carolina and again w/ Willie Nelson in Birmingham.  Phenomenal shows!!!  But don't take my word for it...........

Sign your name across my card

In an era of exclusive card company autograph deals and multimillion dollar athletes who have long since lost touch with the fans who brought 'em to this dance, it's good to know at least one is still grounded in the real world.  I actually had an encounter with one of the future Hall of Famers mentioned in this article, who was one of my favorites growing up.  I didn't even ask for an autograph, but I can tell you the experience was NOT pleasant, and probably would have been even less so if I had asked.  On the flip side, it's nice to see a guy so well connected to his fans make it to Cooperstown........

Moyer never mails it in but always mails it out

STRASBURG MANIA TRANSCENDS BASEBALL!!

Suddenly card collectors and investors don't seem like the crazy ones anymore :-)  Strasburg now has a website dedicated solely to his cards, and while the story below is probably just a PR stunt to get some "one red light, one McDonald's" town their 15 minutes of fame, the level of absurdity just hit a new apex if they're serious......

Virginia Town Wishes To Adopt Name Of Nationals' Potential Savior


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another new level of Strasburg Mania

I've been away from the sports card collecting hobby for about 15 years before returning about a year ago, so if I'm incorrect about this, you won't offend me in the least if you correct me on it.  After a Google search of most of the mainstays of the hobby, however ("mickey mantle baseball cards", "ken griffey, jr. baseball cards", "albert pujols baseball cards", etc.), I believe we have found a first.......the first website dedicated to the cards of a single player who is STILL not even 2 months into his big league career!! 

StrasburgRookieCards.com

I think I'm officially at the point where the whole thing is getting past ridiculous.  Am I alone? 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

As Johnny Carson used to say......

"You cannot make this stuff up". We briefly interrupt our normal musings on sports cards, pop culture, and other random topics to bring you semi-live coverage from Comic-Con. Please, kids, DO NOT pull any stunts like this @ the National in 2 weeks :-)

Comic-Con Interrupted By Pen Stabbing

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Want LeBron James's first Miami Heat Card?

Get ready to do some traveling! And stock up on Panini NFL or NBA product before you leave :-) Not to mention airfare, hotel accomodations, ground transportation, food, etc.

Anyone want to take a shot on the over/under on the ridiculous price someone will try to get on eBay for this one? :-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Invest at your own risk......

At least one online financial publication warns us not to get sucked into Strasburg Mania......at least not for that 1/1 auto superfractor currently @ auction w/ an $11,000 price tag.

Why Stephen Strasburg's $40,000 Rookie Card Is a Bad Investment

I'm not familiar with this particular site, but I have to wonder if they were telling us to put the farm on Lehman Brothers or AIG circa Sept. 2008? :-)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Radio, Radio

For both new and regular readers of this blog, you know that I have two hobbies......hence the title of the blog. The one I spend the bulk of my time blogging about here I'm rediscovering after a long absence from it. The other is one I have been blessed to be paid to do for 17 years and am actively seeking to be paid to do it again as soon as possible (***RADIO PROGRAM DIRECTORS, CONSULTANTS, GENERAL MANAGERS, OPERATIONS MANAGERS, ETC.......ARE YOU LISTENING?***)

The Web has been a radio geek's dream! No longer do we have to have friends in big cities send us cassette airchecks in the mail or travel there to hear our favorite stations. We've got 'em all in one place. Here are a few I've been listening to & recommend for your listening pleasure......

  • Golden Hits Radio - Anyone who knows me well knows this one would be at the top of the heap :-) An Oldies station created by radio lifers for folks who grew up w/ great radio. ***FULL DISCLOSURE.....I'm also going to be on this station within the next few weeks. Not gettin' paid....just doin' it for the love of the game. Also listen for some of the best talent in the business.***
  • Rewind 100.3 - Chicago - Whether we Gen X'ers want to admit it or not, the songs we grew up with are now Oldies, and this station is the best of the bunch for "our" Oldies
  • WCBS-FM - New York - I love stations that are still a reflection of the market they serve.....this station is one of the best examples of that. Nice, deep music library too.
  • Boom 97.3 - Toronto - The Canadian version of CBS-FM.
  • WSIX-FM - Nashville - Country station, but it has always been one of the top stations in the country in ANY format in my humble opinion. Gerry House is an institution in that town, and he is a storyteller unmatched in the industry. I dare you to listen and not be totally sucked in to his morning show.
  • Radio Free Texas - I prefer my Country from west of the Mississippi; one of the best of the "Texas music"/"Americana" stations
  • Flashback Radio - Strictly 80's.....and unlike many internet only stations, it's not just a jukebox. Much like (another shameless plug in 3, 2, 1) Golden Hits Radio, there are a group of passionate radio pros involved with this one.
  • Great Big Radio - Yet another "next generation" Oldies station with a guaranteed "Oh, Wow!" song or moment about every 5 minutes. This one specializes in those 60's through 90's songs that woulda, coulda, shoulda been huge hits.
Hope you enjoy each and every one of these stations as much as I do, but especially (oh no, not again) Golden Hits Radio!!

***RADIO PEOPLE*** If you'd like to bring a pro with a stellar 17-year track record of ratings and revenue growth who is a team player who can bring PERSONALITY and INTERACTION on the air, can lend a hand in the production room, and can whip Selector and/or MusicMaster into submission, visit me on Facebook or take a look at my LinkedIn profile, which includes audio samples!! Then contact me to make me a part of your winning team!

Babe Waxpak 7/18/2010

Some card collectors are probably familiar w/ Babe Waxpak's weekly column syndicated in the Scripps-Howard newspapers. If not, it has some pretty useful info for those who might want to get values on cards, card sets, autographed memorabilia, and other collectibles that Beckett and some of the other major publications don't cover. I know very little about the true identity of Babe Waxpak other than the relatively safe assumption that won't be the name you'd find on his birth certificate :-)

If you're headed to The National in Baltimore, check out this week's column......

Babe Waxpak: Catch Oriole, Colt greats at National Collectors gala

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crime (involving baseball cards) doesn't pay.....

We are bombarded with bad news thanks to the 21st century we live in and 24 hour news cycles to which we're exposed. Oil spills, bad economy, Mel Gibson, etc. Today brings a feel good story for card collectors, although I'm sure it might make some of us feel better had this collection belonged to us :-) For those wondering why a relatively worthless '87 Topps "Record Breaker" Ruben Sierra card that seems to be pretty mangled is doing amongst all the vintage cards in the photo.......I got nothin'.

Boston Globe: Stolen baseball cards recovered

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No Break for Future All-Stars

The saga of the Stephen Strasburg 2010 Bowman Auto 1/1 Superfractor continues, and by extension, so does Strasburg Mania.

AP: Rare Strasburg baseball card up for online auction


After 2 losses in a row in the past few weeks, I'm wondering if the seller wishes he'd hung around on eBay to see if at least one of those bids in the $1 million range was legitimate :-)

The Boss

I can't begin to imagine how Yankee fans are feeling as I write this. First Bob Sheppard, and now George Steinbrenner......on the day of the All-Star Game no less. As a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan, I certainly know what it's like to lose someone you grew up with w/ the passing of Skip Caray. Still not even close to being the same listening to a radio call of the game or a TV broadcast.

I've never been a Yankee fan (thanks in no small part to the 1996 and 1999 World Series), but my heart goes out to each and every one that is today. No matter how you felt about The Boss or his way of doing business, you couldn't help but respect him wanting to win and doing whatever it took financially to do so. Very few figures in sports, or any business, are irreplaceable, but we lost one today. Steinbrenner was one of the first owners to become as big or bigger than the team he owned, and THE first to gain that status via hands-on ownership. Those who have followed (Mark Cuban, Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder, etc.) are all just lame impostors, and two of those three have produced nowhere near the results on the field.

Here's an excellent tribute from Bill Nack from ESPN.com........Rest In Peace, Boss.


Monday, July 12, 2010

More Mainstream Love for Allen & Ginter

Perhaps the "Strasburg Effect" is as responsible for this as anything else, but baseball cards seem to be getting an awful lot of mainstream media attention these days. First, there was this piece on A&G from ESPN.com. Now this.........

The Bristol Press: Allen & Ginter offers variety in baseball set

As the only card company Major League Baseball brought to the dance these days, Topps has to be loving the current Renaissance........and hoping it lasts.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Voices of Baseball......Slowly Being Silenced

This time I write as a baseball fan first and card collector second. Over the past several years, baseball has lost several of the legends who drew people to the game with their eloquence as broadcasters and play-by-play men. Growing up in the South, I was probably predestined to become an Atlanta Braves fan, but Skip Caray certainly had a hand in making the whole experience palatable throughout the 80's when they were often the worst Major League Baseball had to offer. His death in 2008 was like losing a family member.......specifically the drunken uncle who kept everyone in stitches at the family reunion :-) There has also been the passing of Ernie Harwell and Harry Kalas, who were superstars in their respective cities.

Today brings the passing of a baseball voice of a different sort. Bob Sheppard was the PA announcer @ Yankee Stadium for 57 years. He was as much a part of Yankee history as Mantle, DiMaggio, Gehrig, Jeter, or Mattingly. He even parlayed his gig into a show biz career, with a total of 15 TV and film credits, and always playing one of two parts......"Himself" or "Yankee Stadium Announcer".

I'm not a Yankee fan, but I'm fascinated by the figures that have come and gone throughout Yankee history. In every TV piece I've ever seen on Bob Sheppard, he struck me as being the guy whose picture you'd see above the word "erudite" in the dictionary. A very well-read and first class gentleman, and the true definition of minimalism in a job where many of his colleagues prefer over the top. He knew he wasn't the show, so all he did was give you what a PA announcer is supposed to......the names of the folks who were part of the show.

Rest in peace, Bob. When I enter the pearly gates, I hope you announce my arrival.

ESPN.com: Yankees announcer Sheppard dies

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The (Un)usual Suspects

One of my favorite card sets over the past few years has been Allen & Ginter. Topps has done a nice job going retro, and the 2010 set is no exception. What I've always liked most about the A&G set is that it's part sports, part (rather expensive) history lesson, and part pop culture. I enjoy the thrill of the non-sports pulls from a box as much as the baseball related "hits".

Here are some of the highlights from this year's cast of non-sports characters......

ESPN.com: Jordin Sparks, Stuart Scott in card set

"The Decision" = All Smiles For Upper Deck

In a year of nothing but relatively bad news for Upper Deck, Thursday provided a silver lining......

Upper Deck Blog: LeBron James to Stay with the Team

Who knows what shape Upper Deck will take in the future, or if this alone will be enough to pull them back from the edge of the cliff? I'm thinking they might get out of the card business, but be able to fight on in the high end autograph business. Regardless, the sound you heard @ Upper Deck headquarters following "The Decision" could be that of a corner being turned.

Friday, July 9, 2010

This Week In Sports Cards

Welcome to a new feature at Airwaves, Baseball Cards, and Me.....This Week In Sports Cards, where we scour the Web so you don't have to for the latest in sports card and collectibles news!