Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It Was the Best of Times, the Worst of Times... Gene Freese and I Have So Much In Common...

I have been dying to break the ice and get back to blogging… As always I feel like I could write a book about where I have been, where I am going and where I want to be… Lucky for you the reader, I will spare the longwinded song and dance and sum things up with a Collective Troll Card of the Day… This comes from my new favorite set, 1963 Topps Baseball, card #133 of Cincinnati Reds third baseman Gene Freese

Just looking at the color scheme of this card is going to make most of you crave McDonalds, but I am looking deeper. Gene Freese sums up the day late and a dollar short story of my life… In 1961 Freese had the best season of his career; he hit .277 with 26 homers and 87 RBI.

He was 27, in the prime of his career and he joined the Reds, his 5th major league team. Along with Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson he helped lead the Reds to their first National League pennant in 21 years. Freese and the Reds were overmatched by the Yankees and fell to New York in the ’61 series.

There is no doubt he spent the off season working hard to put his team back into the position to battle the Yankees again for the World Championship.

Of course this didn’t happen. Gene Freese has my luck. He broke his ankle in spring training and missed nearly the entire season. The Reds would not see the postseason again in that decade and Freese would never have a full time job again. He never hit double digit homers again and never saw the postseason again. He did jump around to 3 more teams before playing his final big league season with Houston in 1966. He managed just 3 hits for the Astros before ending his hard luck twelve year big league career.

He never made an All Star squad or won a Gold Glove, but many who saw him play in the late 50s and early 60s say he deserved to be… For today he is someone with a broken limb just like me. Go Rays! Troll out.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Can't Even Rip a Pack of Cards...

So I am sitting around with time on my hands and I have been dying to blog... Why haven't I? Well... Last Saturday I was at work and was nursing a cut on my hand. I had it all wrapped up in gauze under an Ace bandage under a rubber glove. Anyway, while running a drill press the bandage came loose and got caught by the drill (which was spinning at 3000 RPM) and sucked my hand in. It broke 2 fingers and my hand - 5 fractures. Sucks. My right (write) hand is in a cast from my fingertips to my elbow. I can't write, type, rip a pack of cards or put cards in binder sleeves. I am pretty miserable... Hunt and peck with my left hand aint fun... I just wanted to give y'all an update. I find out on Monday if I need surgery... Gonna try and post, I have been flipping through my binders a lot... I love this hobby! First place baby! Go Rays! troll out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

2011 Topps is (virtually) DONE!!!

So yesterday I was still riding that post derby high that I love sooo much... After school I hit the post office and got a great package from my homie and Braves fan Derek of the Tomahawk Chopping Card Blog... When my want list went down to 8 cards he wrote me that he had 7 of the 8 for me including Mickey Mantle and Buster Posey! Within 2 days of his e-mail, the cards were in my mailbox!

AWESOME!!! I am still waiting on a few more packages to arrive, but my wantlist is now empty and I couldn't be more grateful to all the awesome bloggers and readers who have helped me out on this journey!

If you are wondering about the lack of posts and pics of late, part of the reason is that my scanner took a crap... My lovely wife and I purchased a home computer, printer, scanner and a bunch of electronic goodies the month we got married... We celebrated 5 years on March 11th... That is a pretty long life for any electronic device, so we had a good run, but it is all pretty much garbage now... We have our sights on getting a wireless printer and scanner both. I don't know when, but they are both on our shopping list, so it has to happen, ha!
So back to 2011 Topps... After checking the PO Box I visited the local card shop, Ryan's Sportscards, AKA my home away from home... I was looking for some Martin Prado cards to pay Tomahawk Chopping back, but they had nothing. What they did have was an envelope marked "for Troll". Sweet! Apparently one of their customers left it for me. No note, no name. So I don't know who to thank, but to the mystery local card collector, whomever you are - THANKS!!!

Included in the envelope was 2 cards from 2010 Topps Series 2, Yo Mama Cards!!! Yes, I am still slowly chasing this set down... I still need to put together a list for the base set, but I have checked and doublechecked my list for the Yo Mama cards and Turkey Reds... I am doing pretty well (i guess) on these and I am determined to finish them off BEFORE 2013... The list can be found RIGHT HERE! The mystery fan also chipped in a pair of Topps Diamond Giveaway code cards. I raced home to unlock them... I was imagining unlocked some Hammerin' Hanks or Sandy Koufax or at least a card or two from my 63 Topps need list. It was a nice daydream, but it didn't happen. I am the lucky virtual owner of this 1992 Topps Henry Cotto, card #311 (my anniversary date!) AND a 2004 Erubial Drrrrrrrrrrzo.

Not quite Hank Aaron, but it was fun...The envelope had 2 more cards in it, with images borrowed from eBay. My anonymous homie gave me a 1963 Topps card!!!!!!!!!!! It is my 43rd card from the set, card #535 of Indians pitcher Jim Perry.

I already had Gaylord Perry, so now I have completed the Perry brothers set for both 1963 and 1965! Awesome! The final card in the envelope was card #18 from 2011 Topps, the final card on my wantlist!!! Kevin Millwood the thorn in my side for 2011 series 1, but now he is safe in the binder and the first 6 pages are completed! As soon as the 3 packages I am waiting for, this set is done! I have traded (or will be sending) all of my insert dupes. The only insert set I am chasing is the super awesome Kimball minis. I am waiting on a pretty generous stack of these mini slabs o' cardboard and with that I will be done to needing just these six cards: 5,20,21,25,29 and 43. My homie and fellow Floridan Wicked Ortega is trying to chase this one down, too. You can find his needs list right here...

The Pee Wee Reese at the top of this post illustrates why this set rules... I am pretty impressed with my self control in not chasing down all the crazy insert sets this year. The Yo Mama cards were a lot of fun last year, but 3 series were toooo much for me. I do REALLY want to chase down all the 201o Vintage Legends cards, though. Those are neat! Anyway, thanks to all for the cardboard hook-ups! Thanks to my mystery card donor and thanks to all for reading and checking out my updated wantlists! Congrats to Ben Zobrist for rocking! Thanks again to the Nuclear Bombshells and Ocala Cannibals for playing one of the most exciting derby bouts that I have called in a long time... By the by, I did not receive any assistance from Will Ferrell, but my muttonchops have left the building (err, my face)... Don't know why I felt the need to share this... All of my wantlists are up to date... As always, I will provide a loving home for any and all unwanted 1963 and 1965 Topps baseball cards... I love this hobby! troll out.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Nuclear Bombshells Win in the Most Exciting Derby Bout EVER!!!!

Last night in Bradentucky the Nuclear Bombshells entertained the Ocala Cannibals... A few months back the Bombshells beat Ocala on the road in a very hard fought bout. The Cannibals had payback and redemption on their mind, but the Bombshells were set to defend their ranking in front of the home crowd... It was the first bout for newcomers Red Crush and Savanah's Resurrection and they were joined by all the Bombshells regulars... The line-up of Skitzo Skater, Shitz N Gigglez, Guiness the Menace, Cajun Sinsation, Maura Cowbell, Motion 2 Strike Her, Phylla Bust Her, Rebel Hell Yeah, Malice in Rollerland, Crash Test Barbie, Sin Da Roller and Poison Apple... The 14 skater cast came together perfectly under the coaching of Blaque Jac and the Mighty Thor. The Bombshells took the lead early and defended it through half-time, leading by as many as 28 at one point. Crash Test Barbie and Malice in Rollerland handled the majority of the jamming duties while Poison Apple and Shitz N Gigglez set the tone defensively with some explosive, amazing, out of nowhere and legit hard hits. Through the second half it was a see-saw of lead changes with Ocala leading by as many as ten points at one point. The Bombshells were relentless and set the pace and showed off their speed and endurance. When the 2-minute mark was hit the Bombshells had a 1 point lead and it seemed like there would be just 1 more jam to decide it all. Some fast thinking by the coaching staff, a "no-huddle" offense and a few well placed time-outs spread things out more than normal. Three jams elapsed in just over 1 minute of clock time and with 3 seconds left on the period clock the Cannibals had a 1 point lead. It seemed like it was all over but Bradentucky had one timeout left and were able to get one last jam off. Crash Test Barbie put the team's fate on her shoulders behind 4 of the best blockers on the team. Barbie battled to become lead jammer, scored 4 points and called off the jam and ended the game with a BOMBSHELLS VICTORY!!!!!!!!!! It was a down-to-wire complete nail biter and the Bombshells came together completely as a team and earned the W. Both squads played near perfect games, executed and did everything their coaches asked. The penalty boxes were empty nearly all night long and all 28 skaters had the bout of their careers. At the end the Bombshells were victorious, they improved their record to 3-1 and remained perfect at home. The Cannibals fought hard, but someone had to lose. The post game awards went to Sweden Sour of the Cannibals as best blocker for Ocala, while Yoshibettamove took the award as Ocala's top jammer. On the Bradentucky Side Shitz N Gigglez took the best blocker award. She missed the last few minutes of the game, on the sidelines with a knee injury. It was a scary time as Gigglez broke her ankle in a bout 2 years ago. Fortunately her surgically repaired robo-ankle was uneffected. Still she had to leave the rink on crutches... For the Bombshells, who went with a 2 jammer attack which meant zero rest for their hard working jammers. It was Malice in Rollerland who took the trophy as top-jammer for the night and the final trophy, for Coaches Choice MVP went to the super fast Crash Test Barbie who was on the floor to score the decisive final two points. It was an amazing bout, down to the wire and totally intense... Every single point mattered and each one was hard fought. The final score was 181-178. My voice is almost completely gone and I can only imagine how sore everyone is right no... All I can say is WOW and HOLY FREAKIN' DERBY!!!! I owe a big thank you to Glyph Huckster for traveling all the way from Gainesville, Florida to call this bout with me and of course a HUGE thank you to all of the refs, volunteers, coaches and of course the NUCLEAR BOMBSHELLS!!!! I love this game!!! All photos courtesy of the awesome and wonderful Blonde Fabulous of the Bombers. For more great bout shots, find the Bradentucky Bombers on Facebook... Go Bombers! Side of Bacon, err troll out.