Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Something I Might Like

Before I started blogging, I spent about eight months cruising this baseball card superhighway, which some affectionately call the "blogosphere". I would spend a few hours a day sometimes reading blogs and taking comfort in the fact that I am not the only person that still enjoys collecting cards because it is fun, not because of a 1/1 refractor-memorabilia-SP (insert over-hyped rookie here) that they can turn over on Ebay. After a few months of just reading, I mustered up enough nerve to create a profile, and then became really brazen and started the Swing And A Pop-Up blog.

One of the first lessons I learned about writing a blog is that it's not as easy as it looks.Those of you who can post daily have my utmost respect, as I've tried and tried myself, but cannot keep up the pace. I might post three or four days in a row, then before you know it, it's been five days since my last post.

The second lesson that I learned is that I am nowhere near as good a writer as I thought I was. Occasionally I'll write a post that is focused, know, all the qualities of good writing. But most of the time I look at my posts and think, "My God! Did I just finish the fourth grade?"

Some of the bloggers collected low-end cards like I did, others proudly displayed high-end cards which I could never hope to obtain, but enjoyed reading about nonetheless. A common theme throughout all the blogs, regardless of collecting habits, was the generosity between bloggers. Many posts described trades they had made with each other, or cards they had received just because someone else thought they would like them.

Over the past year-and-a-half I've made quite a few trades with other bloggers and also gotten my share of cards that another blogger "thought I would like".

Like this one. A quad swatch memorabilia Red Sox card from 2009 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection. What's not to like about this card? This came from Matt from the blog "Bob Walk The Plank".

Also included was this very cool Dustin Pedroia bat relic from 2009 Topps Tribute.

The final card Matt sent me was the one he thought I would enjoy the most. A Rick Burleson auto from 2005 Upper Deck Past Pennants. He was 100% correct. Burleson was the Red Sox shortstop when I started collecting cards, and even though they never won a World Series, the 70's Red Sox teams remain some of my favorites. Any card that features the 1970's Red Sox uniforms is instantly a favorite of mine.

Thank you Matt!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Casey Kasem (1932 - 2014)

I first discovered Casey Kasem and the American Top 40 sometime in the early 80's. I don't remember if I was told about it, or I found it by accident, but I was mesmerized by the show. Forty of the most popular songs of the week played one after the other! I think it was Saturday mornings that it was broadcast in my area and I would stay glued to the radio, as this was often a chance to tape songs that I really liked.

I was eleven or twelve when I first started listening to America Top 40, and my only source of income was a paper route, but I used that money for baseball cards. It wasn't until I joined the Columbia House record and tape club (remember that?), that I was able to really increase my music collection. So I would tape songs by putting a cassette player next to my radio and record the songs I wanted.  Since this was not a direct connection, you had to keep quiet or else any noises you made would show up on the tape. This was far more difficult to accomplish than it sounds...I have two brothers and two sisters (all younger, and at that point all under ten years old), who took great pride in trying to "ruin" any songs I was trying to tape. A lot of tapes that I made over this time period have survived the decades (meaning I still have them), and are a collection of memories and recordings of cool songs throughout my early childhood. I also have a collection of songs that have pig snorts, underarm farts, and a variety of other inappropriate noises from my failed attempts to keep my siblings away from my recordings.

But Casey Kasem introduced me into the charting of songs. As I was able to accumulate more music, I would make my own Top 40 countdowns with the songs I had in my music collection. I would pester my brothers and sisters to list their favorite songs and I would tabulate them and count them down in my bedroom. I'm sure this helped in developing my fascination with music. It certainly helped with my music collection, because once I was able to get Billboard magazine (I used to buy it every week for years), I would do my best to get all of the songs that were in that week's Top 40. I would listen to the radio and look and see how they were doing on the charts, so I guess you could of called me a "stat geek" in that respect.

I only listened to his show for a few years, I think the station that was carrying it stopped and I couldn't find another station that carried it that was close enough to get a good signal (this was before internet radio, people!), but by this time I was busy having my own countdowns.

But some of my most significant childhood memories are sitting on my bed listening to Casey Kasem and American Top 40.

Thank you Mr. Kasem. Rest in Peace.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Tony Gwynn (1960 - 2014)

I was going to do a post tonight about Casey Kasem, who passed away on Sunday. That was before I found out that Tony Gwynn had passed away as well. To say I was shocked was an understatement. I was at work and noticed the headline and I just stared at it.  Even writing the headline for my post seemed surreal.

I can't remember if I knew he had cancer or not but I definitely didn't know that it had progressed that far. Being on the East Coast, the opportunities to watch Padres games were not that plentiful, so I only got to see him through baseball cards and All-Star games.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Gwynn. You are loved by many.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

One Year Anniversary Contest At Baseball Card Breakdown

Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown is having a one-year anniversary contest. If you like certified autos, you'll love this contest. Just tell him Swing And A Pop-Up sent ya.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Snookered On SP's

I wanted to go to a card show this past weekend, but some car repairs took care of that. I've had intermittent overheating problems over the past month, and I thought just low coolant was the problem, but with the warmer weather it was happening more frequently. It would be fine when I was driving, but the engine would run hot when idling.

I took it to one garage and they could not duplicate the problem. On Saturday, I noticed when pulling into the parking lot at my apartment, that the engine was warmer than it should be. I found a garage that was open on Saturday, so I took it down. Their diagnosis was I needed a new water pump. Water pumps are expensive, so this was not good news. The garage was not able to get a new water pump until Monday, so I could not get it fixed that day. I did not want to bring my car back on Monday, because the garage is on the other side of town and I still would have to get to work.

There is a garage within walking distance from my place of employment. So on Monday, I brought my car to Garage #3. I told them about that two other garages had already looked at it and the previous diagnosis was a bad water pump. The mechanic asked me if I just wanted him to change out the water pump. I told him no, I would like him to make his own diagnosis that if possible, does not involve changing the water pump.

I left the car there and went to work. They called me a little after 10 in the morning and told me they could not get my car to overheat. (Apparently I have a gift.) I told them to put the AC on as the car had started to overheat once with it on and cooled off once I shut it off. I also was doing some research online and found it could possibly be the cooling fan, as the symptoms of a bad cooling fan matched exactly to what was happening to my car. I didn't know how much a cooling fan was, but it sounded like it was less than a water pump. I was praying for the cooling fan.

I got a call later that afternoon and it was the cooling fan, which ended up costing me $357 as opposed to the over $700 that it would have cost for the water pump (not the mention the fact that the problem would not have been solved). I'm not a very trusting person when it comes to taking my car to a garage (I always feel like I'm being screwed, and this inevitably leads to me cursing myself that I should have learned how to work on cars).

So I dodged a financial bullet in that instance, however the story I'm going to tell you now was a between-the-eyes direct hit.

A few weeks ago, I bought one of those $19.99 repack boxes at Wal-Mart. Lately these boxes have provided me with some packs of Gypsy Queen, Archives and other stuff from the past couple of years. This box was full of packs from 2008 and 2009. One of the packs was 2009 Upper Deck SP.

I went to open it and noticed this.

Nice, a pre-opened pack! I love it when someone does all the work for me. Now if I could only get them to organize my cards as well.

So the pack had already been searched. So I knew that any inserts or memorabilia cards were definitely long gone. I was not expecting this though.


Five cards from 1988 Topps.

Snookered, bamboozled, hoodwinked, okey-doked, whatever you want to call it, it all had been played on me. I've had some nefarious attempts to sabotage my collecting enjoyment before, but I merely laughed at this one.

Has anyone else had something similar like this happen to them?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Contest Over At Red Cardboard

I was going to write probably one of the greatest posts in the history of Blogger, but before I started I noticed there was a contest at Red Cardboard. Go there, and tell him Swing and a Pop-Up sent you.

Lots of good good, I can't remember what the hell I was going to write about.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

One Card Challenged - 1961 Fleer Baseball Greats Lefty Grove

The majority of my posts in the "One Card Challenged" series will most likely feature a card from oddball sets or late 90's/early 2000 sets. This time we feature some vintage.

I don't know how I obtained this card, or why I only have one (a problem that I need to correct).

It was released in two series, Series 1 was eighty-eight cards and Series 2 was sixty-six. (Series 2 was actually released in 1962.) The cards were sold in packs that cost only five cents, and along with the base cards contained a team decal and a pennant card celebrating past World Series Champions.

Because of Topps exclusive contract with the current players, this set only contains retired players of the 19th and 20th century. So that meant there was no Mickey Mantle, Al Kaline or Hoyt Wilhelm.

Instead you get Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson...and Lefty Grove.

Needless to say this product did not sell very well, as collectors at the time wanted cards of current players and didn't care too much about cards representing players of days gone by.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Don Zimmer (1931 - 2014)

I heard during last night's Red Sox game that Don Zimmer had passed away. He was the manager of the Red Sox from 1976 to 1980, which was around the time I started collecting baseball cards and following baseball. Although the Sox never won anything during his time period as Sox skipper, these were some of my favorite Red Sox teams.

As I got older I realized just how much disharmony there was in the clubhouse while he was manager. Some of the failures of the '78 season could possibly be attributed to poor managerial decisions rather than lack of talent, but I still loved my Red Sox and I was sad to see him go.

Rest in peace.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Listia Loot X - 1989 Topps Box Bottom Panel

I was never all the interested in the cards on the bottom of the boxes when I collected in the late 80's. So this means that I probably had this series of 4 cards before, but rather than cutting them out, I threw them out.

So I had to pony up 612 credits to acquire a box bottom of 1989 Topps I probably had before.