Monday, November 30, 2015

On Cliques, Clicks, Comments and Cardboard

Aloha everyone, 

Once again Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown has inspired me to riff off of one of his thoughts and add my take to the mix. 

Right before the Thanksgiving weekend I was writing a series of posts about the great cards that Gavin had sent to me when I won a prize in his World Series contest, but now I'm going to combine showing off the fourth part of those prizes (Game Four if you've been following the prize post series) with my thoughts on his blogger cliques commentary. 

The approach I'll take is by grouping this batch of prizes into cardboard "cliques" made up from their respective sets. Leading off are a clique of Dodgers draft picks...

Holmes is looking good as a first round draft pick and prospective power arm.
 The first thing in Gavin's post that surprised me was his mention that there are over 200 card blogs out there. Wow! I thought my blogroll was pretty representative, but there are a ton of card blogs out there that I'm just not yet aware of.

He mentioned card bloggers branching off into cliques, and that's true, as we all tend to clique up in whatever social situation we're involved in. 

I certainly have a few favorite bloggers that I try to regularly read, and I base those on how consistently interesting they are. I don't need a blog to read like the Great American Novel, but as Steve Martin said in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (which is my personal Thanksgiving tradition), "Here's an idea, have a point."

As far as what other blogs I read, that's based on my admittedly shallow skimming of title and photo on my blogroll. Sorry, if your post that day is about hockey or football cards, I'm just not reading that one. Of course, available time is also a factor in how many I read in any given day. 

Am I member of other blogger's cliques? I have no idea - and are you really in a clique if you don't know that you're included? 

The next cardboard clique are tribute cards of past players. I absolutely DIG these cards, and I only bunched them into one scan to show how many G sent to me. Awesome!  

My favorites are the Cooperstown Campanella and Wheat, and Tribute Branca.

As far as commenting goes, it seems the other bloggers who chimed in on the comments at BCB were all around the map of opinions on whether they comment and why. 

I try to comment on other blogs because I really appreciate it when someone drops a comment here on ATBATT. It takes me less than a minute, and it's my way of letting the blogger know his words were read and they connected with me on some level. 

I must admit when nobody comments here for a few posts in a does start to feel a bit lonely. Where's my clique????

 Next up is a clique from Bowman...

How ironic that Johnson got a batting photo, because he's the worst batting Dodgers catcher I can remember. His eyes look like they're tracking a shallow pop fly. That's about right.

Gavin mentioned not reading some bloggers for his own reasons and I can relate, as I can pinpoint one blog that I stopped reading for personal reasons. In case you're curious, it was a racist comment in a blog post that rubbed me the wrong way. I called the author out on it, he never replied, and I never read his blog again. 

I suppose that's the risk we take when we go out on a limb and step outside of the usual baseball card topics. 

Long time readers of ATBATT know that I write about whatever strikes me, and I will on occasion, stray from writing about cards. For example, I've written about Net Neutrality and race relations here. Generally, it's something that I'm passionate about, so I hope it still offers interesting reading for you all out there. 

Recently I've begun introducing my hobbies of poker and craft beers into the blog, and while I may have ruffled the feathers of some cardboard-only purists out there, I sure hope I didn't chase any readers away because of those asides.
My fave in this clique is my new Nomo!
Who likes Bowman? I like Bowman with Dodgers on it...

Judd didn't accomplish much in his career beyond being named in the PED doping scandal report.

EK don't need no stinkin' bat flip!

Last ups go to a clique of (pretty much) current Dodgers and some 90's Collectors Choice Dodgers...

Next up will be Game 5, the final post from the World Series prizes - and the very cool customs that Gavin made for me. 

Attn Laker Dave, Matt and P-Town Tom: I've replied to your comments on my previous beer review post. 

Thanks for reading and don't hesitate to comment...there's plenty of room in my clique. 


Monday, November 23, 2015

Beer Review Break!

Aloha everybody, 

Let's take a break from the series of cards that I won from Baseball Card Breakdown and check out some of the beers that we tasted and reviewed over the weekend. 

 This was the beer that led off the night...

 Pumpkin flavored beers can go either way, with too many brands out there sprinkling in some "pumpkin flavoring" on top of their regular brew and thinking that's enough. 

Shipyard's pumpkin ale sets the standard for how to do it right. Rich pumpkin pie spices join with warm alcohol flavor to deliver a great holiday beer. 9% ABV Highly recommended. 

From Irvine, CA comes Bayhawk Ales' chocolate porter. 

Aside - One big move we made this month was to identify beers that actually benefit from being served at a tad warmer temp. It's easy to start the party - or in this case, the poker game, with all of the beers keeping frosty in the ice chest. However, lots of winter warmer beers actually release more complex flavors when served cool as opposed to ice cold. This porter is one of those.

This beer has very rich flavors with surprising sour notes up front. The chocolate hangs around as a delicate and smooth aftertaste. 7.9 ABV

Next up is one of the favorites of the night...

Bart is aged in oak barrels to instill extra deep flavoring, and Laker Dave aged this one at home for an extra seven months before we popped it open. 

This is another beer that will benefit from being served a little warmer and letting it sit a bit in your taster glass. This beer had the richest flavors of the night, and darn if it doesn't taste a bit like a finely aged bourbon, with a touch of honey. An absolutely remarkable beer, which is a perfect match with a cigar. 12% ABV Highly recommended. 

By this point of the night, the November chill was kicking in, and we started a fire...

Jumping across the lake, we tried a couple of  beers from Samuel Smith, a brewer over in jolly old England. This Tadcaster scores 100 on the Beer Advocate. I say - BAH! Several of us agreed this beer is strictly pedestrian. Next! 

 Now THIS is a good beer from England. Absolutely smoooooth on the chocolate, with winter warming alcohol notes on the end. If your old lady doesn't like beer, this just may be one she'll like.'s USDA organic! 5% ABV

From Alesmith we get a Halloween (?) beer, Evil Dead Red ale.  This must be the evil brother of an IPA because this red ale has big hop and citrus flavors. This one is very good. Serve cold, just like a summer beer. ABV? 6.66%, of course. Highly recommended.

Next up is Dark Seas, a Russian Imperial Stout, from Mission Brewery. This was a very interesting beer. Full bodied, with lots of flavors going on that get your taste buds firing on all cylinders with every taste. I wouldn't pair this one with any foods, as it really deserves to be enjoyed all by itself. 9.8% ABV

 Of course, it wasn't all beer tasting - we played poker that night as well...

 Thanks for reading, and don't forget to comment.

Friday, November 20, 2015

BCB Prize Package: The Golden Age Post

Aloha everybody, 

In kinda-following the path of the 2015 World Series, I had originally planned to take tonight off from posting "Game 3" of my prize winnings and calling it a travel day. 

However, good ol' Gavin prodded me on Twitter to drop a Game 3 post right quick - and since tomorrow night is poker night with the boys, I agreed with him and thought it best to kick out Post 3 tonight. 

Gavin mentioned in his tweet, "This golden age will never end." His words gave me an idea, so tonight we feature the Golden Age Dodgers, the Boys of Summer, the Brooklyn squad who won it all in 1955.  

I'll show the Dodgers here in the closest I can get to their actual 1955 WS batting order. The regular lead off batter for Brooklyn was Jim Gilliam, but he wasn't a prize this time, so we'll start off with the number two batter, Pee Wee Reese...

Topps overused this photo (so what else is new),  but this is the first time I have a card with it being used in this subset. The original photo was taken during Spring Training back when the Dodgers were based in Vero Beach, and it features a bonus, lurking Jackie Robinson. 

The next group of cards come from the 2001 Fleer Greats of the Game set.  Here's Reese once again...

Duke Snider batted third in the lineup...

He was followed by the clean up hitter, Roy Campanella...

Carl Furillo batted fifth...

 With no rest for a weary Yankees pitcher, the number six hitter was Gil fricken' Hodges...


The 7 and 8 hitters, the two Dons, Hoak and Zimmer weren't in this package, so we'll skip them and get to the pitcher's spot. 

In this set we have Joe Black, who was unfortunately traded to the Reds midseason, and thus, he missed out on the only championship the Brooklyn squad ever won...

 Finally, the man who is one of the final remaining, living threads back to Brooklyn. This man never played a single pitch of major league ball, but he is not only a connection to the Dodgers, he is our connection to the Golden Age of all of Baseball.

 He needs no introduction. In fact, he's so humble, he probably wouldn't want an introduction anyways.

Thanks for the inspiration to post tonight, Gavin! 

Next: A travel day - and then, Game 4 . 


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Post Two From BCB's World Series Prize Package


Here comes Part 2 of the cool cardboard that I got from Gavin when I hit Second Place in his World Series Contest. This is the "Recent Dodger Stars in LA Post".

Leading off is the longest-tenured player on the current squad to have worn the Dodgers uniform in LA, but who may not see one day as a Dodger in 2016. 

Andre Ethier began his career as an LA Dodger, earning the nickname "Captain Clutch" after a string of game-winning hits. He fizzled out a bit over the 2013-14 seasons, and returned to have a big comeback season in 2015...only to possibly dash all hopes of remaining in Dodger Blue when he inexplicably had a dugout meltdown during Game 3 of the NLCS against the Mets.

I liked Ethier, and championed his cause during 2015, but after that public screamfest against his manager - in the middle of a playoff game, no less - I'm ready to let Ethier and his tantrums move on. 

Speaking of tainted LA stars who mostly remain loved only by their devoted fanbases, and their dear old moms, I present Mr. Kemp...

I know what some of you are saying out there - surely LA must have a had a favorite star who was a nice Jewish boy. Well, we did. 

Shawn Green sent baseballs streaking out of Chavez Ravine like clockwork. Green holds the Dodgers' single-season record for home runs, and among other MLB records, he hit the most homers in a game (4) and scored the most runs in a game (6). 

Hey Night Owl, maybe we can call this set the "Kitchen Island Marble Top" Set.

Green had one of the smoothest swings I ever did see.

How about a hometown favorite who was a star in Boston and returned home to become a big star in LA...

Nomar played a big role in the greatest baseball game I ever attended, hitting two home runs against the Padres - including the game winner - in the famous four Dodgers back to back to back to back home run game. 

Next up is the man who holds the all-time LA Dodgers home run record (270). He also hit a home run in his first major league at bat...
Looks like Karros is on top of this one, though. Easy grounder, coming up!

Here we have a star from the past couple of seasons. Turner came out of nowhere to play solidly off the bench and he always packs lightning in his bat...

Textbook form
Jumping back in time, we bring a card from one of the players who shone for too-brief a time in Chavez Ravine, and went on to have the rest of a great career somewhere else...

The card says Franchise Futures, but we didn't know they meant the Rangers.

That's it for tonight. Next post: Game Three


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Maybe Second Place In The World Series Aint So Bad

Aloha everybody,

During the World Series Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown held a contest with First Prize being one of his world-famous custom cards, and of course, a fistful of cards with which to fill the collecting binders of the winner. 

I didn't win first place (Matt from Bob Walk The Plank won that), but Gavin held a second place runoff, and I was lucky enough to win that one. 

OK, I'll admit winning second place in Gavin's contest isn't exactly like coming in second in the Fall Classic, but when my prize package arrived, it was certainly World Series-sized! 

My prize package was so large, that I really didn't think stuffing everything into just one post would pay proper respect, so in keeping with the World Series theme, I've decided to break this prize homage up into five posts, thus mirroring the 5-game World Series. 

That said, long before the World Series arrives, Spring Training begins every baseball season with....pitchers and catchers. So let's use those cards and begin. 

If you're going to think of the World Series and a Dodgers pitcher,  you can't go wrong by handing the ball to this guy in Game One...
 An extra bonus on this Bulldog card is the 1984 Olympics patch on his uniform sleeve. I remember the Olympics happening in Los Angeles like it was yesterday. 

Next up is one of my all-time favorite Dodger pitchers. A man who never got to pitch in the Fall Classic, but whom I would equally be comfortable handing a Game One ball to as well....

"I'm Pedro's brother."

 Next up is another Dodger with a World Series ring, El Toro...

"I'm the first pitcher to win the ROY and Cy Young awards in the same year."

Next up is the Dodgers' (and MLB's) first try with a Korean pitcher, Chan Ho Park....

The Dodgers are once again experimenting with a Korean pitcher. After sitting out the 2015 season with a bum arm, I'm hoping to see this southpaw roar back next season...

RC badge!
 Next is one of my favorite all-time Dodger closers, looking very different without his trademark Game Over goggles...

 How about a few catcher's cards...and let's lead off with a very cool All-Star, game used, swatch card...

 Finishing out the Game One post is a former Dodgers catcher who six degrees us into a World Series connection with the second-place New York Mets...

Piazza in action on a Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium...

"Check out my golden locks."

Closing out pitchers and catchers and Spring Training is some ROY sweet cardboard... 

  THANKS for the great cards, Gavin. More are coming up. 

 Next post: Game Two