Friday, July 20, 2018

My Favorite Superhero

One of the topics I've never really gone on on here is the topic of superheroes. I'm running out of content nowadays so, here we go.

The past ten years or so have been flooded with all sorts of superhero movies being pumped out by Marvel and DC. Although the trend is dying down a bit, superheroes are still pretty popular.

I'm sure we all have our favorites. I know many like the really popular names like Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Captain America, etc...


My personal favorite has always been the one and only Static.

Virgil Hawkins is a young high school student in Dakota City who gains his powers of electricity due to radioactive gas. For the record I'm a sucker for heroes with electricity themes (after all, my username is Zippy Zappy).


I originally became aware of Static thanks to the early/mid 2000's cartoon by Warner Brothers called Static Shock. I loved that show growing up and still enjoy it today. In fact the 90's/00's era DC superhero cartoons were all great. Batman The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans, all gold.


One of my favorite aspects of Static was how the stories dealt with issues that were pretty real. Racism, poverty, homophobia, gun violence, gang violence and many more rather serious themes were in it. The TV show was a lot less darker than the comics, but it got key messages out in it's own way too. Although to be honest, I haven't read every Static comic ever printed.

At the end of the day I like what Static represents, inclusion. Static is a key African American superhero, but his character was created by Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek Dingle based on the idea of inclusion for pretty much everybody. I'm not African American but I've been able to put myself in his shoes more than any of the other heroes (even the supposedly Asian ones), which made the stories all the more enjoyable to me. I suspect that I'm not alone.

If you're curious who's behind Static, I'd round out the rest of my top five superheroes like this...

2). Green Arrow (Justice League)
3). Captain America (Avengers)
4). Batman (Batman)
5). Raven (Teen Titans)

This list largely skews towards DC because I grew up with the D.C. Animated Universe. I have no clue what the current (if any) reiterations of those characters are like in any modern day live action shows. This is all mostly based on the cartoons of my youth and in Captain America's case, the few movies I've bothered to see this decade.


Green Arrow was my favorite superhero on Justice League Unlimited (although that show did a lot of great things for lesser known DC heroes).

The Captain America movies were the only non-Deadpool Marvel movies I've ever cared enough to see. They were really good and boosted Captain America up to favorable status in my book.

Batman The Animated Series is the greatest superhero cartoon ever created. Bar none. He gets on the top five just for that.

I guess Deadpool would knock Raven out of the top five if he were a superhero but, honestly, he's Deadpool. He's in his own category.


As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Monday, July 16, 2018

Bat Blog Around: Top 5

So Dan over at It's Like Having My Own Card Shop introduced a new bat blog around idea, you are to (at least try to) shorten your collection to five entities. As a pseudo-minimalist collector, this idea intrigued me. So which five would I keep?

1). Luis Torrens

2). TTM autos

3). IP autos

4). New York Rangers

5). Chunichi Dragons


If you're wondering why "Yankees" or "Yankees Prospects" aren't on here, it's because they're pretty much in the TTM autos/IP autos category. My motto for most baseball cards nowadays is that if I can't get them signed then they're not worth having.


The Rangers are a very nebulous and broad category, but I'm a cheap motherfucker with niche wants and few trade partners who actually care about hockey, so as long as it stays that way and my collection doesn't get out of hand, it works out. I don't need every Rangers card ever made, all I could ever hope for is a sampling of what the entire spectrum of Rangers cards throughout the years has to offer.


As for the Dragons, I only get to add them every few years when I make my infrequent trips to Japan or occasionally through trades. And I'm okay with that. Like the Rangers, I don't need every Dragons card ever. I don't want every Dragons card ever. But a small sampling of what the entire spectrum of Dragons cardboard is all I could ever hope for.

These five would basically leave out set collections like T206 Highlanders, Sega Card Gen and 1979 Topps. Like I said I'm cheap, and T206 commons are more expensive than they should be now so I'm not finishing my Highlanders team set anytime soon. Sega Card Gen has been dead for five years now so it's not like I have much more to add there anyway. As for 1979 Topps, my interest in it comes and goes but recently it's barely come at all. That tells me all that I need to know about my "drive" to collect that set.

I suppose this top five would also leave out various player collections like Thairo Estrada, Hiroki Kuroda and A-Rod. Which I don't really mind since I can't remember the last time I bought a baseball card of any of them. I still love them all as players, but I'm fine with just appreciating them for free.

Also, while looking at other people's top fives, I noticed that a lot of people have a "cool cards to have" category. As in, cards that don't exactly fit into any of their collections, but they're too unique or special or something to let go of. I guess I have a few things that fall into this category, but over time I've come to realize that everything I acquire that falls out of the realm of my core collection(s) is just stuff to be used as trade bait to get me the stuff I really want. For the record my Derek Jeter auto and my A-Rod autos are always available for trade to anybody willing to trade me a really low numbered Luis Torrens autograph.

And that was my top five. Keep in mind though that it's limited to my sports-related interests. If I were to expand that to non-sports, I'd have to really think long and hard about which category gets the boot.



Hmmm...

Sidenote, quick shout out to Dan again for nine years of blogging. Maybe this topic would've been better served being a Prime Nine list instead?

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bears (Mild NSFW)

The West Virginia Black Bears are in town you know what that means.


It's time for an old fashioned Zippy Zappy vs Bob Walk The Plank (RIP) Cup. A fierce rivalry between future trade candidates to clear Rule 5 Draft roster spots on the Yankees side and future trade candidates when they reach their second year of arbitration on the Pirates side. Dating all the way back to... um, 2015 I think?

Yesterday was a Saturday which meant that the Yankees were the Pizza Rats. I still think that Killer B's would've worked much better (WU! TANG!).

As always let's start with the autographs.


Until the team sets come out I am firmly in semi-hibernation mode right now. So all I really got baseball wise was this personalization on a certified autograph of Matt Sauer. I wanted him to sign the jersey piece but he signed the little corner instead. Oh well, thanks anyway Matt!


What really made the whole trip worth it was probably this autograph I got of Melanie Iglesias. She's a Brooklyn native who went to high school in Staten Island. She's a model/actress who might be best known for being on Maxim. She's made a few TV appearances here and there and according to her Twitter feed she's started to take up singing.


She graciously took a selfie with me (I blocked out my face to protect the innocent, which in this case is your eyes). She was super nice and friendly.


She also threw the first pitch (or one of them anyway).

She stayed around for an inning or two meeting fans and also stopping by the Yankees bullpen (she hugged Drew Finley). Then she saw the rest of the game from one of the private suites.

And that was my lone autograph. Thanks Ms. Iglesias! Extra thanks for the personalization and message.


As for the game it was cool too. The starter for the Yankees was Harold Cortijo. A guy I do not have any cards of. He was the Yankees' 14th round pick last year and he pitched super well. He went 5.1 innings pitched allowing three hits and zero runs. Amazing. The best part is that he was so quick and effective that the game was in the fifth inning before an hour had passed since the game started. The game finished in a very tidy 2 hours and 17 minutes. Somewhere Rob Manfred got a boner.
Speaking of which the nicest part of Cortijo's performance is that he pitched a total of 69 pitches. Nice. Very nice.


Also nice was that the other Yankees relievers did their thing and the Staten Island Pizza Rats shut out the West Virginia Black Bears 1-0. Pirates first rounder Travis Swaggerty went hitless, he is clearly a bust and the Pirates are doomed to another two decades of mediocrity. Take that Matt!


The only other notable thing was that the special giveaway promo for the day were these special pizza cutters. They were only given to guests aged 18 and up because duh. I love getting stuff that's practical.


And that was my latest trip to Staten Island. Hopefully the team sets come out soon so that I can blog about cards again.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Friday, July 13, 2018

Sweet Sixteen

So I finally got my first Luis Torrens card from 2018 Topps Series 2 in my hand the other day.


BAM!

Yup, starting off the newest branch of the collection in style with a 1/1.


This is a black printing plate, and one of the two 1/1's that surfaced immediately after Series 2 hit the shelves. The other one is overpriced and I'll be damned if I'm paying that much.

The seller for this plate tried selling it as a BIN for triple what I ended up paying for it via auction. Smart move since LT's card market is limited to me and people only looking to get stuff for me.

As the title suggests, this is the 16th 1/1 Torrens card to enter my collection. As of now I am pretty proud to say that I own a plate from every product Torrens has been included in. Although that excludes Panini Prizm Draft because no plates were ever released for that product and the minor league issued cards (same reason).
Edit: I just realized that I don't have any 1/1's from the 2017 Topps Mini set either. Mainly because I'm not sure they were ever distributed :P.


Even though I've been in a collecting rut, there was a part of me that had enough sense to pick up some of these rarer cards just in case. Plus the fact that this didn't cost that much helped a lot too. I think I made the right call there.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The King Came Through

So on our blogosphere we have three kings. The Lost Collector is the king of the TTM, Night Owl Cards is the king of the written word, and Nick The Dime Box King is the king of dime boxes.

Nick's keen eye for the best and brightest baseball cards ever created is well known. He's also known for living in secondary-baseball-card-market heaven as he seems to find a card show or a garage sale or flea market or whatever seemingly every other day and finds something good every time. Best of all, he often shares his findings to the rest of us.


See what I mean?

That is my third Nostalgic Enterprises card and the one I was after the most because it's JACK CHESBRO.

It's been a while since I blogged about him, but Jack Chesbro is indeed still a PC guy. My favorite Yankees Highlanders legend (outside of Luis Torrens). But man did this card break that silence in a big way. Nick even sent along a note saying it'd better suited in my collection. I'm sure it was hard for Nick to part with this oddball of an underrated Hall of Famer, but hopefully I can make it up to him with my next Zapping (not the Zapping I had just recently sent him).


I have three Nostalgic Enterprise cards now and all came to me from Nick. The king of the dime boxes is probably going to end up sending me the entire set one by one.


There were other notable cards too. Like this fun little oddball of the time Kid Elberfeld of the New York Highlanders was allegedly "dragged off the field ... by a squad of policemen".


Apparently the story goes that Elberfeld chased the umpire Francis O'Loughlin all over the fiend over a call he didn't agree with. Apparently he tried to kick O'Loughlin's ass and step on his feet before police intervened. Imagine if a player did that today man.


There were a bunch of other things for my various collections like a Luis Torrens rookie (people are actually sending me Torrens cards now?!), a stack of Matt Stairs cards and some A-Rods, but my favorite was the Trade Up A-Rod card intended to be used for a game. I'm all for physical card games involving baseball.


I'm also all for minor baseball cards, and here's a very fine quartet of cards from the short lived Battle Creek Yankees. The most notable name here is Eric Duncan, a one time top prospect who just couldn't live up to expectations. But I did meet him as a coach way back when.


It looks like Nick's been able to find some prospect stuff in his dime box kingdom too. Here's Albert Abreu, a prospect I haven't talked at all about because I have so few cards of his and he doesn't sign TTM. I'm not even convinced he'll be with the Yankees any longer so I'm putting off writing about him until I have to.

And those were but a small but surely a great representation of the awesome package sent my way from Dimeboxdonia. Thanks again Nick, you're the best.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bullseye


Yesterday I attended another Staten Island Yankees game. It was between them and the Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets affiliate).


I actually also went to a game on Saturday but that game didn't get me much in terms of autographs so I ended up not blogging about that one. The only notable thing was that Miguel Flames signed my ticket stub.

But yesterday was different. Yesterday was a matchup between two rehabbing starting pitchers. On The Cyclones side was an actual big leaguer in Jason Vargas. On the Yankees side was a rehabbing triple-A starter in Erik Swanson.


Who will also lead off the autograph portion of this post.
Swanson was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the eighth round of the 2014 MLB Player Draft. He was traded to the New York Yankees in the Carlos Beltran trade however, and has since blossomed into a really intriguing prospect.
Swanson is armed with a low 90's fastball that can reach 96 mph at times, as well as a changeup and curveball. Swanson isn't ranked too highly on top prospect lists but that's mainly due to the crazy amount of talent and depth the Yankees currently have. How he projects to do long term or at the big league level remains to be seen, but his rehab stint in the lower minors are surely coming to an end.


Next up I finally got Robert Pimpsner. Pimpsner is basically the Staten Island Yankees' official team photographer. He's one of the people behind the top Yankees prospect resource Pinstriped Prospects, and he's really passionate about the Staten Island Yankees. Apparently this card was a surprise that Robert didn't know about until the last minute lol. Also I'm one of the few who actually got him to sign for me. Thanks Rob.


Last but certainly not least is Josh Breaux, the Yankees' second round pick in 2018. Breaux is a polished catcher out of JUCO who projects to be a really solid backstop at the big league level. He's got some ways to go and he'll probably always have to keep having to play better than the catching prospect behind him (Anthony Seigler), but Breaux is talented enough to keep up.

And those were my autographs.


As for the game it was pretty good. Even though Vargas isn't exactly the flashiest name in the world (for comparison's sake the Cyclones had a start from a rehabbing Noah Syndergaard just the day before on Sunday), but he was the first big league pitcher I'd seen since 2015 (which is when I last went to Yankee Stadium). He was pretty good and kept the Yankees to one hit in six innings. As for Swanson he was also solid. A little shaky sometimes but overall he kept the Yankees in the game by keeping it a one run game in 3.2 IP. The bullpen did a heck of a job keeping the Cyclones scoreless for the rest of the game.

A rehabbing Mike Ford and Miguel Flames both hit solo home runs after Vargas exited the game to give the Yankees a 2-to-1 lead, which would later go on to be the final score.


All in all, the game yesterday was a ton of fun. I finally got to see another top pitching prospect I don't see too often (Swanson is likely headed back up to Scranton after Jonathan Loaisiga's injury and Masahiro Tanaka coming off the DL), and I got to see a big leaguer. Good game.


Also I now have autographs of the first three players the Yankees drafted this year.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

2018 IP Auto Count: 16

Monday, July 9, 2018

Killed With Kindness

So I mentioned how I recently underwent a trade with a collector in Japan again right? Well I wasn't exactly being 100% accurate, this time I conducted a trade with two Japanese collectors at once. They are Kuroneko-Straycat (@imagecat) and RIN (@RIN_KBcats) Both of these kitten themed usernames combined their powers to get me good. Real good.


To show you how good they sucker-punched me, we'll go straight to the insane stuff. Like the 2/5 red Derek Jeter parallel from 2013 Topps Tribute. It's a low numbered parallel of Derek fucking Jeter. Gud gawd.


I was super pumped to get these two parallels. A blue refractor of Clarke Schmidt (numbered to 200 copies) and a red cracked ice parallel of Dellin Betances (NUMBERED 01/25!). The package honestly could've ended right here and now and I would've been thrilled but it didn't.


MORE PARALLELS. Everything but the Severino is numbered, but even the Sevy is cool because it uses the Yokohama Tire motif.


By this point I had fallen and I refused to get up.


In my last trade with a Japanese collector I got my very first ball relic. Well now I can say that I also have a dirt relic. Of former big leaguer Norichika Aoki at that. Woof! This card comes from a product called "Touch The Game" and this card lives up to that billing. Also it's numbered to 100 copies.


So the Aoki will transition us into the NPB stuff, because that's where things get crazier. Like that beautiful cut autograph of Hiroshi Gondo. Gondo spent his entire playing career with the Dragons back in the 60's and is still in baseball today as part of a coaching/managing capacity.


He's also this guy.


This Gondo cut autograph is numbered 3/5 and is from a special custom brand brought to us by a prominent card shop in Japan called BROG, one of those card shops that operate on the super high end level and is geared towards collectors who bust cases upon cases of products without any second thought. Hence why they can afford to make stuff like this. If you're on Yahoo Auction long enough you can find other buyback-ish autos like these from them, from big names like Ichiro Suzuki to Keisuke Hondo.





I got four (count 'em, FOUR) BBM brand Chunichi Dragons autographs in this trade. The only one I knew was coming was the Kazuki Yoshimi, but these are so fucking cool. I'll expand further on these cards and players in another post. But just know that in true Japanese baseball card fashion, these are all numbered.

Of course those weren't the only Dragons cards in there. I got Dragons cards of...


...the BBM variety


...the Calbee variety


... AND the Baseball Heroes variety (the precursor to Sega Card Gen)

I especially love these Baseball Heroes. Cards intended to be used for gaming purposes will never not be interesting to me. Plus I'm not a brand loyalist so I always welcome competition in a market that BBM has thoroughly dominated. All of these cards will be further discussed in future posts.

Because I'm a defacto Yankees fan I ended up getting a ton of Masahiro Tanakas this time too.



Of the BBM variety.


The Calbee variety.


And the Baseball Heroes variety.

Variety is the spice of life. Cherish it.

Lastly we'll end on some super-cool non-sport stuff.





Like these special exclusives to Japan. My collecting buds even made sure to explain what these were lol (that was nice of them). I'm a huge fan of Sanrio characters (My Melody forever!) so I love that Pom Pom Purin card. The Pokemon card brings me the fuck back.


Here's something super cool, miniature toys of three notable Avengers sold at Japanese vending machines (gacha-pon machines). The Japanese are masters at creating and making toys and figurines for the Japanese market, these are no exception. They're so cute and cool at the same time.


Speaking of cute and cool, all of my Japanese collecting friends know that I have an obsession of sorts with the Dark Magician Girl. So they sent me this cool cell-phone strap. The fact that's DMG already makes it the best thing ever, but you know what makes it extra cool?


IT GLOWS IN THE DARK!

Hell yeah boiiiiiii.


And that was the whole package.

Hats off to the cat duo who got me good. I felt so bad and guilty about my first package to them (that sucked major ass in comparison to all of this) that I sent a follow up. I pray that I sent enough. I really do.

黒猫さんとRINさん今回のトレード大変ありがとうございました!

This post didn't give these cards the level of depth and insight they clearly deserve, so expect that to come at another time.

Thanks for stopping by and take care :).