Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I'll be the first to admit that once I pick up a new series it tends to occupy my attention until I've read everything I can get my hands on. It happened with the Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was in my teens, and most recently with Anne McCaffrey's Pern series. But usually I'm able to go at a normal pace and string a series out over a period of time (with LOTR for example I've slowly been reading through Chris Tolkien's History of Middle Earth series for well over a decade now). I've never felt a series almost literally take over my life to the point where I rush home from work so that I can pick up where I left off at 1 or 2 o'clock the previous morning (and then only because my wife dragged me to bed knowing I'd never get up otherwise). Man, I can't believe how pathetic I sound.
My patheticness will only sound worse when I share what it is I've become so obsessed with. My reading preferences tend towards the Fantasy end of the spectrum. I do stray out and occasionally read other genres (I loved Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth for example) in between my forays into magical worlds of mythic creatures and daring adventure. But there are a number of genres that I've stayed away from because they just don't appeal to me - mysteries and romance being the two heavies. So when my sister-in-law and mother-in-law started raving about this pseudo-romance/fantasy series they'd been reading (finished in my sister-in-law's case) I shrugged them off, thinking I'd never be interested. But my sister-in-law kept on me and I finally gave in and took the first book home with me. Literally a day and a half later I'd finished Twilight and was back on my sister-in-law's doorstep begging her for the second book.
Yes, you read that right. I said Twilight. As in the young adult book that was written with a primarily female audience in mind; as in vampire falls in love with teenage girl and much angst ensues; as in the movie that came out this past November. I am obsessed with that Twilight. And I can tell you exactly why that is - her characters. More than any other literary characters that I can think of, these characters, Bella and Edward, have burrowed their way into me. I empathize with them, I feel with them, I care about them. It's a bizzare feeling to be honest. And because I want to know how it all turns out for them (actually I'm pretty sure I know how it's going to turn out for them, its not Stephanie Meyer's writing prowess that has me obsessed), I cannot stop reading. In less than two weeks, I have literally read over 1800 pages. I've certainly read more (I like to read Tad Williams after all - the three books in the Memory, Sorrow, Thorn series clocks in at over 2400 pages), but never at this kind of pace.
So for those who were wondering where I've been for the last two weeks, I've been in Forks, Washington with Bella and Edward. I'll be back soon, I promise - I'm already a third of the way through the last book and at the rate I'm going, I'll be done before the weekend. I just hope that the withdrawl won't be too bad.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Here’s an anecdote I found about Rickey’s time with the Red Sox over on Buckey Planet:
"Oh, that?" Henderson replied. "I canceled that contract."
Says Port, "It was the first and only time I've ever had a player tell me he canceled his contract."
Red Sox president Larry Lucchino telephoned San Diego G.M. Kevin Towers, asking how Towers had appeased Henderson during their contract squabbles in the past. "I was on the golf course late in spring training one year when Rickey called to close a deal," Towers says. "I was putting, and my wife took the call. I said to her, 'Ask him what he wants.' She said, 'He wants a living allowance.' And I did it. That's how we closed the deal."Lucchino liked that idea. The Red Sox agreed to pick up the tab on the suite Henderson was renting at the Boston Ritz-Carlton, which ran $ 10,000 a month.”
Friday, January 9, 2009
Baldelli and Kotsay are bench players with starting lineup ability, something the Red Sox have lacked of late. Kotsay proved how valuable he was in the playoffs last year, with the ability to play both the outfield as well as fill in at first base allowing flexibility at the corners with Lowell (coming off of surgery) and Youkilis.
As for Smoltz, how can you not like signing a guy like this. While ordinarilly I would worry about a career NL pitcher coming over to the AL and seeing a jump in their ERA (like Brad Penny), I don't have this concern with Smoltz. The NL east is about as strong a division as their is in baseball and he routinely had to face guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Carlos Delgado, and the 30-HR infield the Marlins sported last year. I don't see the switch to the AL affecting Smoltz as much as it might others.
Now if they could just get someone to catch all of these pitchers (other than Josh Bard)...
I don't have a lot of the actual Topps Heritage cards, but I do have a few of the chrome versions and I have to say that I like the old BBCM inserts better. It may be the chroming process, but a lot of the images on the 2008's appear pixelated and blurry. I'll dig out the 1990 inserts soon and scan those for future posts.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Lou Gehrig - I really wish that the MLB network would show the video of Gehrig's last game. They keep teasing me with it in their promos.
2004 World Series Champion Red Sox - Upper Deck new enough not to mess with a good team celebration card by sticking Photoshoped politicians in it.
2008 Topps Opening Day Josh Beckett Flapper Card - I had little interest in collecting the Opening Day set when it came out, so I had to look this card up to figure out what it was. According to the sell sheets it's supposed to transform into other cards. Ummm.... yeah. Why not just stick it in a bicycle spoke and be done with it.
Fleer Stamps- These are either from 1982 or 1983. If I had to guess I would say they are from 1982, only because one of the stamps featured Mike Torrez (he of Bucky Dent infamy) and he was traded by the Red Sox in 1983.
2001 Topps - Jason sent me a large collection of Red Sox from this set. I'll have to look at my checklists to see if it's a complete team set.
2001 Topps Manny Ramirez Hobby Masters - I'm finding that I've been able to pick up Manny Red Sox cards dirt cheap. I wonder if this is a common phenomenon when a star player changes teams. Fans of the old team no longer want his cards, while fans of his new team don't want him in the old team's uniform. This is one thick card. I have game used cards that aren't this thick.
2000 UD Victory - I have a number of cards from various Victory sets by Upper Deck. This isn't one of my favorite designs, but hey, Red Sox cards are Red Sox cards. Trot Nixon was another player in the Greenwell/Naehring/Wakefield mold that I enjoyed watching. Good, hard-nosed, team oriented player. I was sad to see him go, even though I know it was time.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
First Basemen -
Card Backs -
Second Basemen -
Third Basemen -
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Goose Joak - For those of you who haven't stumbled across this blog yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. One of th centerpieces of Goose Joak (which is by the way my favorite blog name) is a series of great fantasy cards. A while back Dave asked for some suggestions for future fantasy cards. I suggested a 2004 Bill Buckner card. In my opinion, Buckner bore too much hatred and blame from Red Sox fans for far too long. Yes it was a boneheaded play, but there were others who were equally, if not more responsible for the Red Sox loss that year (Calvin Schiraldi, this means you). 2004 wiped that all away and I thought it a fitting mea culpa to show Buckner on a card from the year that all was forgiven.
Bluegrass Smoke Signals - I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Kentucky Harold and his vintage themed card blog. After all, he is the only official "follower" according to blogger. Besides his card blog, KH also writes a second blog that deals with the Euclidean Triangle. I tried reading a couple of his geometry posts and they made my head swim. I use basic geometry in my regular job (architect), but KH takes it to another level.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Baerga’s production quickly tailed off after 1995 and he spent the next several years bouncing around various teams and their minor leagues (including a stint in the Korean Baseball Organization) before landing with the Red Sox in 2002. He made appearances in 73 games for the Red Sox, mostly as a designated hitter/pinch hitter. While his numbers for the 2002 season are pretty inconsequential, his finest moment as a Red Sox may have come on May 24 in an extra-innings game against the Yankees. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 11th inning, Baerga hit a stinging line drive to center field. Bernie Williams caught the ball, but it was it deep enough to score the runner from third to win the game. And while it may be a relatively inconsequential hit in the grand scheme of his career, it’s the scenario that every kid in his backyard pretends and dreams about.
Baerga signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a free agent in 2003 went on to have his best year since 1995. He finally retired in 2005 and is currently an analyst for ESPN Deportes.
Friday, January 2, 2009
My favorite part of the book is actually Adelman’s dedication:
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Joining Ms Mae for the network's 24 hours coverage will be a team of six analysts who may be a bit familiar - Al Leiter, Harold Reynolds, Mitch Williams, Dan Plesac, Joe Magrane and Barry Larkin.
(Credit again for the images go to The Baseball Card Cyber Museum. I have all these in my 89 Topps set - which is now officially 20 years old - but why spend the time pulling and scanning them when the museum is out there. If you haven't checked it out yet, do so - it's free!)
MLB Network kicked off their inaugural hours with a rebroadcasting of Don Larsen's perfect game. I managed only to catch the last half hour due to family obligations, but I'm glad that I did. In addition to the game footage (which would have been enough for me as a history junkie), Bob Costas had both Yogi Berra and Larsen in studio to talk about their memories of the game. I'm a Red Sox fan and I was in awe.
I don't think I can do the game or the memories justice with my meager writing skills, so I won't. I did make a few observations while watching that old black and white footage though. First, I was amazed at how small the diamond looked. I don't know if it was the fact that it was in black and white and the contrast you get with color was missing, but it looked like grown men playing on a little league field. I was also amazed at how unflattering those old wool uniforms were. Every player, even the Hall of Famers like Yogi and Roy Campanella, looked unathletic and out of shape in those baggy, heavy uniforms. And lastly, having never seen any old footage of Yankee Stadium, I was amazed at how different the stadium looked compared to what I grew up knowing Yankee Stadium to look like. I knew it had been radically renovated in the 1970's, but it never really struck me how radical the changes were. It truly is a different stadium.
Its now been over an hour and a half since I first put the new MLB Network on and I can't stop watching it. I'm already hooked. And from what they've advertised for features and amenities coming in the future, I have a feeling my wife is going to get sick of channel 100 really quickly. I've already got my DVR set up to record the next 9 Tuedays (at 8PM Eastern) when the MLB Network is going to rebroadcast Ken Burns' legendary documentary series, Baseball. And all of this before the season and their unlimited coverage of games and highlights starts!