Friday, November 21, 2008

Blog Bat Around - WildWill's Version

My good buddy Gellman over at Sports Cards Uncensored proposed this unique "Bat Around" and while I wanted to partcipate right away, life suddenly got busy and I found myself with a job interview to prep for. So my entry is a bit late, but better late than never right?

What type of collector am I? Hard to define really. I collect many things, sports cards are merely one type of collectible that I hoard. I also collect comic books, various toys, original art, movies, music and books. I am passionate about a few things, the comic character "Grendel" by Matt Wagner, the UCLA Men's Basketball team, the novels of John Irving, the music of The Barenaked Ladies (among others) and all things Pirates of the Carribean (and Pirates in general). I have love/hate relationships with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Los Angeles Kings, and I have a general affinity for the San Diego Chargers and Padres. I've collected various mementos and pieces of all of the above, and have fairly nice collections to boot. For example, I have every John Irving book written, all of them since "Garp" are in Hardcover first editions. No autographed though, I just haven't gotten a chance to go to one of his signings. However, I do have a TON of autographed books because I will go out of my way to go to a public signing if I can.

So - to sum up the last very long paragraph - I collect a LOT of different things.

I have a storage unit full of crap that I need to sell on eBay. That's my major problem in life, I cannot pick one thing to focus on because my particular version of OCD is fairly mild. I flit back and forth between obsessions.

In terms of sports cards, my collections are focused on Angels, Bruins and Kings. My problem is that I love opening up packs, and I do consider that trading is a part of the hobby. I'm dismayed that I don't get the chance to trade in person anymore, but trading via the internet is pretty fun. The opening up packs part is the real issue, I'll never give up opening up packs, it's too darn fun.

And now it's too expensive.

Ah well, all things get expensive. Fortunately I've stopped buying comic books for the most part, and action figures are out for the most part (with the exception of the odd GI Joe here and there).

Yankee Stadium Legacy Set Complete - UD Press Release

Here's the Presser that I just got via Email:

Tommy Baxter of Little Rock , Arkansas , Completes

Upper Deck’s Yankee Stadium Legacy Collection!

Baseball card collector puts together entire set of more than 6,600 cards; wins the opportunity to meet Yankees Team Captain Derek Jeter!

North Las Vegas, NV (November 21, 2008) – Tommy Baxter, a 36-year-old precast concrete specialist from Little Rock, Arkansas, has just accomplished something no one else in the world has been able to do: put together Upper Deck’s gigantic 6,600-plus card Yankee Stadium Legacy (YSL) Collection! Baxter, an avid Cubs fan, seized the opportunity to become the first collector to piece together Upper Deck’s enormous insert set, which pays tribute to every single Yankees home game ever played at the historic venue since its doors opened on April 18, 1923.

“I’ve put together plenty of Upper Deck sets in the past, so I figured this was just one more to complete,” said Baxter, whose 11-year-old daughter, Madeleine, helped him sort and collate the thousands of cards. “I really didn’t take it seriously at first, but once I got through that first series of inserts, I knew I had to finish it.”

That first series of insert cards appeared in Upper Deck’s 2008 Series One Baseball set, which released on February 5. That’s when Baxter got started. The cards fell at a ratio, on average, of one in every four packs. Within two weeks he had collected 200 of the YSL cards; he only had 6,461 to go! Nine more Upper Deck baseball trading card products were released over the course of 2008 that have each contained various YSL cards from the overall set. Baxter’s feat, therefore, is a study in patience, persistence and stick-to-itiveness. It also proved to an expensive pursuit.

“I would estimate I spent a little more than $15,000 putting this set together,” said Baxter, who mentioned he finished the set the night before Halloween. “I remember it was a Thursday, since those were the days we’d collate the cards. Madeleine would go through and sort the cards every week. That night we knew we had this thing licked.”

It would have been sooner, but despite his best efforts with buying and trading the cards with collectors from as far away as Taiwan , there was one single card that eluded him: No. 4,272. “It had Ron Guidry on the front. I couldn’t find that card anywhere. Nobody had it,” said Baxter.

He was recording each of the YSL cards online at a special website Upper Deck debuted earlier this year entitled He was watching his numbers climb almost every day, but No. 4,272 was nowhere to be found. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. Inside of October’s final week, Baxter received the card from collectors in New Jersey and Florida . “I couldn’t find that card for seven months and then I got four of them within a week,” he said.

Once he had the complete set in hand, he quickly packaged up his work and shipped it off to Upper Deck headquarters in Carlsbad , California , for verification. Yesterday Upper Deck staffers Chris Carlin, Terry Melia and Carrie Peterson certified the contents of Baxter’s shipment.

“All the cards are in,” said Carlin, Upper Deck’s hobby marketing manager. “Tommy’s accomplishment is incredible. He’s the first person to complete the set, so we’re ecstatic and very happy for Tommy and Madeleine.”

Baxter’s prize for completing the entire set of insert cards is multi-tiered. He and his daughter will receive an all-expense-paid trip to New York City in the spring at which time they will take in a Yankees game at the new venue and meet Yankees Team Captain Derek Jeter. In addition, since 2008 marked the final MLB season in the old stadium, Baxter will receive 81 additional YSL cards chronicling the Yankees’ last campaign which brings the grand total of games played (and cards produced) to 6,742. And, of course, he will get all of his cards back to display proudly at home.

“You know, I was never really a big Yankees fan, but I did always admire Don Mattingly,” said Baxter. “I liked his work ethic and I guess I always had a penchant for guys who could hit over .300 every year.”

Upper Deck still has four prize openings left for any other collectors who are able to piece together the entire Yankee Stadium Legacy Collection. The word is there are a few people who are just single digits away.


Hmm...I don't think I have much to say via commentary - he's not much of a Yankee fan, why doesn't that surprise me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama Cards!!!!

Sports Collector's Daily is reporting on a new release from Topps, yes, the final Political Trading Card product of the season - President Barack Obama trading cards.

$1.99 for 6 cards, and I don't see any insert sets listed, and there's no information other than the press-release that I can find.

Pretty good for a guy who hasn't actually DONE much as President yet.

and yes, I'll buy a couple packs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

UCLA - Game On!

Tonight is the official opener for the UCLA Men's Basketball program. I should have written this up earlier today but I've been fairly busy the last couple of days. Busy for me anyway.

At the half it's 38 to 19 Bruins over Prairie View A&M. To say this game is over would be an understatement. However, it's a good opening contest to get the youngsters some quality game minutes.

I missed the entire first half due to a television scheduling snafu at Casa WildWill, but I should have some thoughts after the game.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Presidential Victor Card

Oh boy, Upper Deck has chosen to end it's Presidential Predictor program with a single card of our newly elected President Barack Obama, and they're GIVING it away. Yes, that's right, it's free, but you have to go to one of a handful of card stores in your area and buy something. I suppose that's OK, you have to support a brick and mortar store to get the card. In my area there's two stores that will have it, so I'll try one then the other, because I wouldn't mind having more than one copy of this bad-boy.

Read the back of the card though, there's a phrase in there that to me seems like a back-handed compliment, or at least an inappropriate one. See if you can guess which phrase I'm talking about.

Oh and here's the press release from UD.

Change Has Come! Upper Deck Releases
‘Presidential Victor’ Card of Barack Obama

Limited-edition trading card shows the nation’s new Commander-in-Chief being doused with Gatorade. Available in select hobby shops nationwide

North Las Vegas, NV (November 5, 2008) – Maybe it wasn’t quite as lopsided as Ronald Reagan’s 49-state thumping of Walter Mondale in 1984, but it was almost as convincing. On Tuesday, Democratic nominee Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States after defeating Republican John McCain in their hard-fought race to the White House. And once again, Upper Deck is recording history by producing a single “Presidential Victor” card of Obama, bringing the trading card company’s year-long crusade of chronicling the 2008 Presidential race to a dramatic close.

Unlike the previously released caricature cards of many of this year’s candidates, the final card from Upper Deck will not be included in any of the trading card company’s releases. Instead, it will be shared through select hobby shops across the country. Each of the participating stores will receive no more than 100 cards, keeping demand for the sought-after trading card high.

“The best way for us to bring our ‘Presidential Predictor’ series come to a logical end was to release a ‘Presidential Victor’ card showing the winner,” said Chris Carlin, Upper Deck’s hobby marketing manager. “We are happy to work with our most supportive hobby shops to provide them with these unique cards, which they can share with their customers. No matter which party you supported, this was a historic election, and this card represents a great way for Upper Deck to commemorate the 2008 Presidential race.”

The latest card (PV-1) is appropriately entitled “President Barack Obama.” Its cardfront illustration is based on the postgame Gatorade dousing of Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy after his team defeated the Chicago Bears, 29-17, in Super Bowl 41. Upper Deck changed the participants in the celebratory scene to represent Vice President-Elect Joe Biden, President-Elect Obama and future First Lady Michelle Obama. Timely with a sports theme, the cardback text reads:

With his resounding victory in this year’s U.S. presidential election, Barack Obama made history in more ways than one. Not only was he the first African-American to be nominated by either party as a candidate, but he is now the first of his race to be sworn in as Commander-in-Chief. Just like Tony Dungy’s accomplishment in 2007 when he became the first African-American head coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl, Obama did the same for White House politics in 2008. “Change We Can Believe In” was his campaign slogan throughout the year. Now it’s time to start believing.

The Barack Obama Presidential Victor card will be available in mid-November as a gift with purchase of any Upper Deck products at hundreds of hobby shops nationwide. Please visit for a list of shops that will be sporting these special cards.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Get Ready to VOTE!

I will digress from my normal pastiche posts about whatever flits into my mind that's sports related for a moment and beg, plead, and implore you to get yourselves to the polls tomorrow and VOTE! Democracy only works when citizens participate, and this is the lowest level of participation. If you don't vote, then you have no voice. Good men and women have died to give you the right to vote, don't let those sacrifices go to waste. I've already marked up my ballot and after I drop the wife off at work tomorrow morning, I'm voting, I want to get it done so that I can come home and watch returns all day. In years past I've been stuck at jobs watching the numbers roll in, not this year. I can camp in front of CNN and MSNBC all day long.

Which reminds me, I'm in LOVE with Rachel Maddow. Yes, I know she's a lesbian, which makes her that much more attractive to me. When I say LOVE I really mean that she's the latest person who I actually WANT to listen to speak. She's just so damn smart (she's got a Doctorate in Philosophy for Pete's sake), and eloquent. I love her MSNBC show, for all the reasons that I love Air America as well. Seriously though, you can learn a lot from watching her show which is on at 9 pm EST/6 PM PST.

Some Sports Content

The UCLA Men's Basketball Team has their first exhibition game tonight against...err...Cal Baptist, which is the #5 ranked team in NAIA Division I. It's not on TV or radio, but it's supposed to be streaming on CBS All Access. If you want to pony up the $60 for CSTV's season long web coverage you get the game for free, but since I'll be watching as many games as possible on television, it isn't worth it to me to buy the package as well, though if I lived anywhere else other than Southern California I'd buy the package.

Starting Point Guard and returning Senior Darren Collison was just voted onto his SECOND straight Pre-Season AP All-America team. The Bruins are just looking awesome as we head into the 08/09 season, with THREE returning Seniors in the lineup and FOUR incoming Freshmen who are the cream of the crop when it comes to recruiting. Seriously, I've been following Jrue Holliday, Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson, and Drew Gordon since before Kevin Love took his first shot at UCLA. We also managed to get J'Mision Morgan (just call him 'Bobo') to forgo his plans to attend LSU and come to UCLA instead! Five freshmen, two seniors (Collison and Josh Shipp) who have been to the Final Four in each of their college seasons and now want to cap their careers with a National Championship, and a healthy underclass featuring Alfred Aboya, Michael Roll, James Keefe and Nikola Dragovic give the Bruins ELEVEN scholarship players, each of which will get game time. Yes, I was excited about the Bruins last season, even knowing that K-Love was one-and-done, but this year I'm QUINTUPLY excited. FIVE FREAKING FRESHMEN!

Trading Update

OK I admit it, I SUCK when it comes to checking lists and prepping trades. I always have. I'm slow. I often forget to check lists as well. It's not that I don't WANT to trade, I definitely do, it's just that my time, such as it is, is limited. When you have a toddler that you're taking care of all day you have to go by her schedule, and pulling out cards to check want lists is a recipe for disaster around a two-year old, and it's not like you can just point her at the TV and tell her to watch Dora for two hours. So I know that I owe people the courtesy of checking their lists and putting together trades, I'm just a bit slow.

The good thing is that I only have one package to send out at the moment to the U.K. for a great trade that I was offered. The bad thing is that I also sold some non-sports and wrestling card on eBay over the weekend and I have to ship those out too, and I need to get boxes. Darn it. Nice thing is that I've got a decent amount in my Paypal account, that I'll probably have to put towards house bills. I'll be lucky if I get to buy a few singles this go-around.

I'm also about half-way done with an UD Baseball Heroes set, so as I get closer to that I'll post a want-list because I've decided that will be my second set I'm going to put together this year (the first was 2008 Upper Deck Base). I'm still not sure about 2008 Topps, since even though I'm almost complete with Series 2, I still need about half of Series 1, and I just bought my first four packs of the Highlights.

Topps Town

Hey I've got about five or so Baseball codes that I won't use because I've already completed my baseball set that I'd like to trade for basketball or football codes. We DO NOT have to trade the actual cards, I'll trade code for code.

Fantasy Football

I'm going 1 - 1 this weekend, winning in my league by about 10 points, and losing in Gellman's lead. I think I've lost 3 out of the last 4 in his league dammit. Fortunately I'm still in the playoff hunt in both leagues. Yeay! I'm doing horribly in my pick 'em pools though. Bah.


I'm still off of Hockey, and the Kings don't seem to be doing much to bring me back. They have been at .500 twice this season, and are now under 500 by something like three games. They need to start WINNING games, they're skating well, but not winning, just like the last three seasons.

Celebrity Sightings

This last week was a very strange one for me. Living in the capital of the entertainment industry I do often see celebrities in public, so many that I forget about them half the time. Last week was a feast for the eyes though. I saw Scott Ian of Anthrax leaving my local Target (with wife I guess), and he acknowledged me when I asked him about Battlestar Galactica, so that was cool. I saw Thom Christopher (soap opera actor and he played "Hawk" on the old Buck Rogers in the 25th Century TV show in my local post-office. I see b-movie actor Tracey Walter all the time in Beverly Hills now, I think he lives there.

The sighting of the week though HAS to be when I was at Toys R Us on Friday picking up a couple packs of Topps Basketball, I noticed that there was a tall good looking lady with seemed like a dozen kids checking out a HUGE basket of toys. I could hear the English accent lilt across the room, but I didn't think much of it, because she was with a HUGE blonde American guy. I got in line next to him, and noticed he had a Secret-Service type earpiece in and was talking to someone else outside. Hmm...then there was the HUGE SUV outside, not sure what type, but it was massive and brand new. Then I realized who it was I was standing next to, Mrs. Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice. I asked the bodyguard very slyly if it was indeed her, but he just shrugged as they all do. It was her, I recognized some of the tats on her back. You know what, not as attractive in person to be honest. Her kids were really cool though, my daughter was being rambunctious so I was really paying more attention to her than Posh. But it was something.