Saturday, May 24, 2014

3 Walk-Off Wins in 3 Days? Are You Kidding ME????

True story.

Saw it with my own eyes...

Even I was starting to doubt my Team a little, but this is exactly what this team and it's fans needed... Much appreciation to the Rays for making sure I get my money's worth with the ticket price...

I don't have tix for tomorrow yet, but my broom is ready in the event anybody has an extra...

That is all.

Batter up!

Go Rays!

troll out.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mom & Me & DJ KITTY!!!

Not much time, but I wanted to get at least one photo from my hot date on Saturday night posted... It was a GREAT time with GREAT company and a GREAT outcome...

I was a lucky man to have such a fine game watching companion and we were pretty lucky to see the Rays LONE win on this homestand...

My Rays are on the other coast tonight and for a while... Tonight's matchup is King Felix vs. Cesar Ramos - GOOD LUCK!!! Stranger things have happened...

Hope the Mom's had FANTASTIC weekends and were appropriately spoiled...
Hope the fellas treated their wives and mothers like royalty this weekend...
Go Rays! Batter up!
troll out.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Mom is the Ray's New Clean-Up Hitter!!!

I just got home from Tropicana Field where the Tampa Bay Rays stomped the Indians from Cleveland to a score of 7-1.

The Rays haven't had much luck at home lately. It's been more than 2 weeks (I think) since their last home victory. The only major thing that changed between tonight every other home game this year was the presence of my Mom. They needed a victory badly and I knew she would be the key to getting them back on track and she delivered!

I had mentioned that Mom and I had taken a little break in-between ball games - we hadn't been out to the ball park together since 1986 when her and I teamed up to cheer the New York Mets all the way to the World Series.

Tonight wasn't the World Series - just a regular, early in the season, non-division game featuring a battle between number 5 starters who probably won't have spots in their rotations come September, but my date for the night made it one of the best games ever!!!

Mom and I had a BLAST!! She hasn't been watching much baseball, but it all came back to her quickly and she had a smile on her face from the moment we walked in the door and we got our DJ Kitty plush hats!

We took plenty of pics, but they were all on Mom's camera - I will get them from her shortly and post them up - for now I did snap a pic of the DJ Kitty hat to share. I wore my DJ Kitty hat all game long as many fans did. My Mom is not a hat person, but she was wearing a Rays cap and didn't wanna cover it up. She had to work today, as well as tomorrow, which is why we couldn't celebrate Mother's Day at the ball park on Sunday... Anyway, when she got home from work today there was a brandy new Rays cap waiting on the kitchen counter for her!

This was a last minute plan - I had invited her late last night and today while she was working my Dad bought her a Rays cap as a surprise. AWESOME!!! I had probably could have given her on the 16 different Rays hats that I have accumulated over the years, but I thought it was great that My Dad did that for her...

Everything about tonight worked out perfectly. We decided to do this late last night and today I was able to find FANTASTIC seats behind home plate at a decent price and she was able to work her regular schedule at work and still get out in time for the game. I was able to mow my lawn and get my "chores" done around the house prior to picking her up.

We got there quickly without hitting any traffic and we were able park in my regular spot for only 5 bucks!!! It is generally $10 on the weekend - sometimes 15. The spot is about a half mile walk from the Trop. Perfect to stretch you out a little before sitting for 3 hours and its in the ideal spot to circumvent traffic and get right on the highway post game. Mom starts work at 5 AM, so I was a little worried about having her out too late, but the game was fairly quick and the parking slot worked - we avoided the traffic and I had her home safe by eleven o'clock.

On the ride home we talked about the game - Mom knows the game well - AND we agreed that we need to do this frequently... I wish we'd done this sooner, but I am so glad we did it tonight!
I truly am a lucky man. This spring my Dad and I were able to go out to a spring training game together and tonight I got to take my Mom out to see my favorite team. AWESOME!
Speaking of awesome - that is what the Rays were tonight!!!

With Erik Bedard on the hill I wasn't too confident - I even warned my Mom that the game could get out of hand quickly and we might see a lot of calls to the bullpen. Well, Bedard made me eat my words. He walked himself into trouble a bit, but worked out of it. He pitched 6 full innings of shut out ball, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 4 Indians. Juan Carlos Oviedo was his relief and he threw 2 shutout innings holding Cleveland hitless. The Rays were pitching like the '95 Braves - over the first 8 innings at least... Even though it wasn't a save situation - the bullpen had been overworked and Grant Balfour needed to get some work in...

He got plenty of work... And made things pretty interesting. If all went smooth he could have preserved the 0ne-hit shutout and it would have been the first staff 1-hitter since early in 2012. He didn't preserve anything and after a couple batters the mood at the Trop changed drastically. After a couple singles, he walked the bases loaded with NO OUTS!

Perhaps Balfour needs that pressure to be effective... He allowed a sac fly to blow the shutout, but get the first out and then he coaxed a ground ball double play to end it and bring the Rays to a 7-1 victory!!!

The offense, which has been somewhere between weak and non-existent this year, was on fire! Seven of the starting nine had base hits, they were 4 for 6 with runners in scoring position and Zobrist, Longo and Wil Myers all had gappers for extra bases.

Our seats were just to the right of home plate, so we were directly behind the Rays on-deck circle. I wore a dark blue Rays jersey tonight - repping my favorite player. When Mom saw a man get out of the dugout to warm up wearing a jersey identical to mine which said "Jennings 8" on the back - she quickly identified that I was a fan of his and she cheered when he stepped to the plate. He delivered a base hit, stole second and scored courtesy of David DeJesus and put the Rays on the board in the third inning. They added a pair of runs in the 4th, 5th and 7th innings while holding the Indians scoreless.

It was a great night for the home team and an AMAZING evening for my Mom and me! I hope she's not tired heading to work by 5AM - I think she had a pretty GREAT night as well.
I hope she will join me for a ball game again, but I am SO glad she did tonight! It was a perfect evening for my Mom and me and I can't stop smiling about it, which is why I am blabbering on and sharing my story with all of you...

As end note - this is all about my MOM, but since I don't have pics of her and I yet, I decided to start the post off with a photo of Dad and I at a spring training game in March - it's all in the family, right?
If you are a rep of the Rays and you want to arrange for my Mom (the good luck charm) to attend ALL of your home games, you can contact me here;).
Thanks for reading my story.
Viva DJ KITTY!!!
Batter up! Go Rays!
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
troll out.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Doing Something I Haven't Done in 30 Years!

Hey kids!
I don't how it happens, but somehow 2 months have lapsed since my last appearance around here... Not gonna waste yer time with excuses, but I will say I have had a TON of things to say, but haven't been able to make the time to say it.
As y'all know - I am a DIE-HARD TAMPA BAY RAYS FAN... I LOVE my team and will support them through thick and thin. So far this year I have been a lucky fan and I have gone to nearly EVERY home game this year. Working third shift has its advantages in that regard - I often have the chance to check out games on the way to work, but that is another story...
Anyhoo -  my team has issues. There are injuries and mucho bad luck, but beyond that they have played like crap. The starting pitching sucks, the offense is non-existent and on the occasion they are still in a game after the sixth inning - chances are the bull pen will blow it. It is still early in the season and I have tons of faith in my team, but I aint gonna lie - I'm getting nervous. I have gotten quite used to the Rays battling for a playoff spot every year and I am not ready for that run to end...
Switching gears - I am still collecting, I have trades and sweet new cards to post - I am slowly chipping away at 2014 Heritage and will post my have and have not list sometime soon. I have also been working on my "Rays Man Cave". At 22 years old with a family of his own - I have decided it is safe to convert my Son Zadeh's bedroom into my collecting den... I have been saving stadium give aways and collecting baseballs, bats and photos for years now, but everything has always been tucked away in storage, but now it going to be displayed full on!!! I have a little more painting to do, some light construction and some more picture frames to buy, but the cave is getting close to its Grand Opening. I will post photos, perhaps even video when it is done!
So, back to the subject of this post...
I WILL be doing something tonight that I haven't done since 1986.
I have a hot date and I am going to Tropicana Field and sitting in the Home Plate Club, but that isn't the exciting part...
I am going out to a ball game with MY MOM!!!!
We haven't gone out to a game alone together since 1986 when her and spent many weekends at the wonder known as Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. She took me to many games during the 80's, but we went to many during 1986. We were Mets fans (and I feel comfortable admitting that, now) and I think everyone knows how that year ended for them...
I am looking forward to a night out with my Mom and I hope she can lend herself as a good luck charm to a team that can really, really use it.
Her and I will be sitting in section 106, behind the net, behind home plate and I am SO EXCITED!!! Now would be a great time for them to remember how to win again. Sorry Cleveland...
Batter up!
Go Rays!
troll out.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Box Number One - 2014 Topps Heritage - The Results

This box was waiting for me when I got home from work yesterday. I tore into it like no body's business! It has a twin - which I badly wanted to rip, but I promised myself I would post the first box before I ripped the second...

So here goes, my commitment to myself and some of the notable things that came in this fancy box o'cards.

I should note that I had vowed to finish my 1965 Topps set BEFORE I started the '65 version of Heritage. This might be an anti climatic way to announce this - I had a little fan fare planned - but we will take the no frills approach. The 1965 set - cards 1 - 598 are all safe in my binder. I found the final 3 cards I needed online just a few weeks ago. A trio of Hall of Famers. I had been held up on these 3 cards for nearly a year, but I kept on having the feeling like I had one of them already.

Turns out I was correct. I had found a Phil Niekro rookie YEARS ago - long before I even put the cards in the binder. As I was cleaning up the extra bedroom at Christmas time to prepare for some amazing visitors - I found the Niekro/Clay Carroll card I had long forgotten about.

I guess I can start this post off by offering this little slab as trade bait. Card #461.

Anyway, back to cards I actually needed... card#526 featuring Catfish Hunter brought me close and card#250 Willie Mays finished off the journey.

So, what could have been a very long story is over for now and so is my quest for '65 Topps. (Arguably) the GREATEST player to ever play this game, Willie Mays drove home the winning run and provided the final card for my set. With it done, I can start on it's great-great-grandchild - 2014 Topps Heritage, so here we go.

After opening the shrink wrap I was greeted by this wrapper. I had no idea there would be a 50th Anniversary stamped real '65 in here. Nice touch, Topps. I wasn't thrilled with Charlie Smith, but the idea of pulling a Mays or a Mantle (1 in 598 odds?) was pretty darn cool.

After I ripped open the very first pack and saw the back of the first card I wondered if I had a "hot pack" filled with vintage cards. I saw this League Leader card and the blue back was dead-on. Once again, well done Topps.

It took a few minutes before I got much more excited. The first 6 packs yielded no inserts or SPs, but did provide me with cards of four of my favorite players - a really sharp looking Desmond Jennings which came in my second pack and stands as my favorite card in the set so far.

He was followed by one of my favorite non-Rays. Former O's second baseman Brian Roberts.

As a fan of his I am glad he has a job and a chance to be a starter AND to have a big role in Derek Jeter's farewell tour, but man it burns me to see B.R. in pinstripes (or NY road greys)...

Speaking of teams I hate and players I like - my third pack contained card #135 commemorating game 4 of the World Series. Ken Boyer's grand slam was on the original and my man Jonny Gomes' 3 run homer gets the modern one.

My 4th pack had my favorite pitcher in it, Alex Cobb on a fairly blah looking head shot.

It also had my first Rookie Cup card featuring an ultra close of up of Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko.

Pack number five contained my first look at the World's Largest Vegetarian (I think Robert Parrish is the tallest, but Prince is far larger) in a Rangers uni. I hated to see Ian Kinsler leave TX, but preseason prediction - I think Prince knocks out 40 plus this year.

Another cool card for me was this Rays dual rookie featuring Enny Romero and Tim Beckham.

Both will be at Durham this year, but I think both of them will be playing in St. Pete this fall...

Pack number six had my first SP and my first chrome card as well. The SP was Prince's former teammate, Mr. MVP Miguel Cabrera on the prestigious card #500, formerly occupied by HOF slugger Eddie Mathews. The chrome featured Mr. Met David Wright.

As I finished the box off, I pulled the appropriate number of SP (1:3) high numbers (8) and I pulled 2 chromes (1:14) and 1 refractor (1:27) of Jon Lester.

The box promised a Real One Autograph OR a relic card - I got neither. That was a HUGE bummer. If I pull 2 in my next box I will be happy, but otherwise I feel kinda scammed...

I did get one "hit", a logo variation SP card of Mets inactive phenom pitcher Matt Harvey, these are 1 in 135. Unless someone wants this, it will likely end up on eBay. I will wait a week or so in case somebody needs it, but please get in touch soon with an offer if you do want it. Same goes with everything - I am not chasing any of the insert sets or saving chromes. I am determined to finish this set sooner than later. There are 75 high number SPs and I have 8 thus far, so I will need to do some serious trading.

Back to my ripping... It was Mike Trout who got the honor of Willie Mays card #250.

The standard insert series' all returned this year as well. I got a few of each - New Age Performers, Then and Now and Flashbacks.

I didn't rip any Heritage last year so i don't know for sure if this is new or not, but this year's set included a MLB Draft First Rounders set (1:12) and I pulled 2 of them.

Aside from the short prints the last few packs were highlighted by a pair of former Rays and a trio of current ones.

I ripped pretty quickly, stopping only to put a few cards in penny sleeves. After waiting for what seemed like forever, about 10 minutes after meeting Charlie Smith i had a stack of wrappers and an empty box.
The good news is that now that I have posted this box - I am free to tear into the next one!!!

Thanks for reading! Go Rays!
troll out.
PS. The Rays won again last night, Wil Myers led-off and had 3 doubles. They are down the street in Sarasota today against the Orioles.
PSS. Every insert is available, so hit me up if ya need anything. I will have a wantlist up soon...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Guess What Came in the Mail Today???

It has been pouring rain all day... My guard dog - who is scared of EVERYTHING, especially the sound of thunder, rain, wind, everything... has been flipping out all day. She has been so tense she didn't alert me when the Mail Man dropped by. A few minutes ago I took out the trash and peeked into the mailbox. Three wet letters, all bills. I picked 'em up and started walking back upstairs when I realized that on the back of one of the bills someone has written "package" with an arrow. All jokes ignored - I followed the error and searched for the "package"... Found the package soaking wet, behind the recycle bin. I picked it up like I was rescuing a baby and ran upstairs - very concerned about water damage to whatever I had received...
Let's make this long story shorter...
The box was well packed, the contents were bagged, nothing was damaged.
Inside the box I found not one, BUT 2 BOXES OF 2014 TOPPS HERITAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, I am pretty psyched... Tune in tomorrow for some details...
Go Rays!
troll out.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I Have the Best Tan of Any Third Shift Machinist in the World!!!

It was a great weekend of spring baseball in Port Charlotte, Florida. Hung out with my lovely Wife, saw back to back Rays wins over AL East rivals, got a ton of sun and feel really good about MY team being ready for games when it counts in two weeks...
On Saturday it was a split squad game with the Blue Jays. They didn't Joey Bats or Edwin E, so the Rays weren't facing a formidable offense by any means. The Rays had Zobrist, Myers, Jennings, DeJesus and Joyce elsewhere as well.
That said, Erik Bedard didn't do too bad... He still has strikeout stuff, he can still hit 90-91 on the gun, he still can throw a knee buckling curveball on occasion and he can get a ground ball when he needs it. Not great and I don't still don't feel confident about him being our 5th starter (I would prefer Jake Odorizzzi) but it could be worse.
This game was more about the guys rounding out the roster than the regulars and those guys made the most of their chances... With a ton of SEC baseball fans in the crowd, former LSU Tiger star and Rays minor leaguer Mikey Mahtook's first at bat came with the bases loaded and the crowd was screaming "Mikey Mikey, Let's Go Tiger"!. He drilled a pitch over the left field wall. GRAND SLAM. I had good seats, but his smile was so big when he was rounding the bases you could have seen it from the parking lot. The kid was psyched and the fans went nuts.
Mahtook had been sent back to minor league camp a while back, but with a split squad game he dressed as JIC-guy. Actually more than that cuz he got the start, but he really made the most of things. I've watched him play A-ball in Port Charlotte and really like his game - he's still pretty far from being a big leaguer, but he showed that he could tear up bad pitching and make a guy pay for a mistake. Well done Tiger.
Today was more about David Price. My favorite part was his pick-off of Jackie Bradley Jr. There's always something special about beating the Red Sox, too, whether the games count or not. Seeing Price pitch into the 7th, give up a few hits and fan 7 was pretty nice. Watching James Loney at the plate was a show in itself. He's batting over 400 this spring and had 5 rib eyes today. NICE.
Thats all for now. Much more to come... The Price card at the top came from an awesome surprise package from Jeff of 2x3 Heroes. My scanner is non functional right now - when I solve that problem, I will give him a proper post cuz he made my week with all the 2x3 gems he sent my way. Oh - the Longo throwback patch came from him as well. Freaking awesome! Thanks Jeff!!
Go Rays!
troll out.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Heading to Port Charlotte with the Wife... It's our first game together since the Playoffs last year... Woot woot. Go Rays!
troll out.

On a card note - there was some sort of delay in the shipping of 2014 Heritage - my boxes were shipped to me yesterday and I should have them on Tuesday. Can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hot Plans for Thursday Afternoon!

I must say I have a number of posts that are ALMOST ready to share...
Right now all I have is an awesome announcement about my plans for Tomorrow... Last minute, but worked out perfect...

Just scored a pair of second row tickets at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida tomorrow. The spring home of the Baltimore Orioles...

The O's will be hosting the Tampa Bay Rays and my Father and I will be attending! I am amped for ANY game, but SO excited  to go to an outdoor, afternoon game with my Dad!!!!

I have no idea what the line-up will be and it really doesn't matter, but it would be neat if David Price spent an inning on the hill...
Go Rays!
troll out
post script / una cosa mas... Dad has agreed to wear a Rays cap - our Father and son outfit is ready to go!

and another thing... on the trading front - I am READY to go! My 1963 Topps, 1964 Giants and 2008 Upper Deck Documentary want lists are updated. I will get to the others soon. My 2014 Heritage boxes should be arriving any day now, so there should be some spare cardboard to trade in there. Also, if anyone is still working on 2013 Allen and Ginter - I have a TON of dupes to trade mail me yer needs list and I will hook you up!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

GGGGGrrrreetings Trollites!!!!!

My goodness! The positive feedback I received for posting a paragraph after 5 month or so of silence was AMAZING!!!!!!!!

I really love my friends and fellow collectors all over the net, y'all rock!!!
Anyhoo, there is so much I wanna get into... I really wanna sit here and type and type, but I am not going to because I am going to be responsible... I need to be at work in less than 4 hours and I haven't slept yet. Of course I would rather blog than sleep, BUT I really should get some sleep (as boring as that is).

I will tease 3 things.

First, this Saturday afternoon the Tampa Bay Rays will be in Bradenton (my home town) playing the Pirates! My favorite National League team hosting my favorite team - all within 2 miles of my house!!!! How flipping perfect is that? Don't forget both teams completely over-achieved last year and made the playoffs, too. AND the AL East will be playing the NL Central in inter-league this year, so this will be a regular season match up preview. I bought a new lens for my camera (a Sigma 75-300 F4-5.6) - actually I ordered one online. It won't be here by then, but it will be joining me for a few spring games this year. Anyway, this Saturday I will be watching, not photographing, but I am SUPER psyched!!!!! I am stoked because I have a hot date (my lovely wife) AND I am thinking this could be a World Series preview... Had I said that one year ago y'all would assume that I had been smoking crack, but right now it's not that far fetched...

Oh, I got carried away with that, but I promised 3 things. The next two will be quicker.
First (actually second) this year's Topps Heritage comes out early next month. In more exciting news (for me) I have pre-ordered 2, yes TWO! Hobby boxes of 2014 Topps Heritage!!!! WOOT!!!!
This is super uncharted territory for me - ordering hobby boxes, pre-ordering, getting more than one... The last hobby box of Heritage I bought was 2009. Incidentally, I am still working on that set. The 2014 set is not going to be incomplete 5 years later. Even though I haven't finished a Heritage set since 2008 - I can GUARANTEE that I will be finishing 2014 off as a priority.

You see, sometime around 2008 I figured how Heritage worked and I did the math and determined that in 2014 Topps would use the design of the GREATEST SET EVER, the 1965 BANNER set. The '65 design is my favorite set of all time. Those who have read this blog before know that the '65 set is one I have been chasing since long before I discovered card blogging (which was in 2007). I LOVE that set and I have tried to work on it with every extra collecting dollar I've had since I was a kid going to card shows. In 2007 I had about 50 cards (out of 598) and I have grown that number somewhat rapidly over the past 7 years.
In fact, years ago, on this very blog I made a pledge. I swore that I would finish the 1965 set before I ripped my first pack of 2014 Heritage.

That brings up my third thing... Am I keeping my promise? Well, I have at least a week before my hobby BOXES will be shipped so I am going to decline to answer that question that I just asked myself. I will say that 5 months ago when I last posted I need 21 cards to finish the set. Now, I haven't updated my want list YET, but I will show y'all photographic proof that although I may not be done with the set yet, I am AT LEAST ELEVEN CARDS CLOSER TO COMPLETION!!!!!!! Oh, and 2 of the cards feature Hall of Famers and one features the star (or at least 1 of the co-stars) of Mr. Belvedere.

And with that I will say adios Trollites! Hit me up as you wish... Thanks for reading!
Go Rays!
Go Vintage!
troll out.
PS. Punchline is my roller derby identity and the Hitmen are my team. 789 is my number and also the reason why 6 is afraid of 7. A back injury is preventing me from skating at this moment.
Emma is my dog. She says "Rello Bloggers".
Joey Ramone is cool.
The ALDS banner and mini bat were both on mega clearance at the Rays Fan Shop at the Trop. Each one was a mere $2.50 each. In retrospect I really wish I bought more than 1 of each.        

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hello!!!!! Is there anybody out there????
It is your long lost pal the Troll...
Where have I been? My goodness, that is a LONG story. It is one that I would like to tell, though...
Am I back? I can't make any promises, but I LOVE the game of baseball, I LOVE my team, the Rays, I LOVE the hobby of card collecting and I truly LOVE this community - the card collecting Blog-O-Sphere...
I sure want to be back. I intend to be back. I know I have said this before only to disappear for months and months and years and more months. I REALLY don't wanna let that happen again. I am alive and kicking and intend to be kicking it at Tropicana Field all summer long... I intend to trade my dupes and build my sets and I intend to rip the heck of 2014 Topps Heritage - I have been WAITING for this design!
I will say that I spent this past Saturday at Tampa Bay Rays Fan Fest at Tropicana Field... I met many fellow Rays fans and I am PSYCHED for everything baseball.
My local card shop has closed, so my card purchases have entailed road trips and eBaying... Eh, card collecting is card collecting no matter where you get em, right?
I am babbling, but that is because there are SO MANY things I wanna talk/write about... I don't have any local/in-person pals who collect, so I have had a lot bottled up for a long time and I am ready to spill over talking about my cards, my goals, my autographs and my growing bat collection... Oh yeah my fingers are tingling at the thought of a monster rambling, run on post...
I don't know where to begin, but I hope to figure it out soon. I might start by updating my haves/needs pages and go from there...
Deep breath. Aaahh... I know it ain't much,  but it just felt right clicking on "new post". Gonna feel even better hitting "publish". I hope y'all will see me soon... Oh, I should warn you that I am proclaiming myself a Desmond Jennings Super Collector and I am doing my best to be his number one stalker/fan... Oh, by the way, that IS the turf at the Trop in the background of the header photo - centerfield!
GO RAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Come on Opening Day 2014!!!!!
troll out.