Tuesday, December 24, 2013
The jury duty blues
With Christmas just a day away, I can't help but look back at how 2013 treated me.
All in all, I'd say it was a darn fine year on a personal level. I kept up my 4.0 GPA in college while also finally landing myself a job.
And, as it happens, 2013 was the year I was introduced to jury duty.
If you've never had to do that, consider yourself lucky. Although I did manage to get through about half of Cardboard Gods in probably my third or fourth re-reading of that fantastic book, sitting around for eight hours isn't something I want to do again. (Thankfully, I didn't get picked to be on the jury.)
If there was a light at the end of the tunnel, though, it was the fact a budding package of cardboard was waiting for me when I got home that night.
The joyous assortment came from Mark, diehard Pirates fan and author of the terrific blog "Battlin' Bucs". Perhaps the greatest part of this mailer was the fact that I didn't even know it was coming. It was a complete and utter surprise.
Mark proved he can knock out mini-collection needs as good as any other, as evidenced by this fantastic "play at the plate" shot of Angel legend Garret Anderson.
I especially like the Budweiser ad in the backdrop.
Take a gander at these two Canadian mini-collection hits.
If there's one thing I'd like to see in baseball during the coming years, it's a team in Montreal. I still think the game could benefit from moving a team like the Rays or Marlins up there.
I've always been a big Expos fan, and I'm especially fond of the Olympic Stadium background on Cliff Floyd's tremendous "bat barrel" shot there.
As I've always said, mini-collection subjects can come from the fronts or backs of cardboard.
Sure, the fronts are preferred, given that I store cardboard face-first in my binders.
Don't underestimate the power of card backs, though. I've seen many tremendous shots on the flip sides of cardboard. Often times, they're even better than the front.
That's certainly true with that great "interview" photo on the back of George Bell's 1991 UD issue.
Mark sent along quite a few new Vlads for my collection, but these were my two favorites.
I believe that's only the second or third "autograph" issue I own of Guerrero. And, although it took until the second glance to notice it, I'm left wondering why Vlad is wearing #76 on his 2003 Bowman Heritage issue.
That's the kind of number a rookie would get in Spring Training.
It doesn't seem right for a perennial All-Star like Vlad.
Also among the player collection adds were these two.
The view of the Wrigley Field bleachers on the Williams is quite nifty.
Mark graciously decided to send along a nice stack of other recent Cubs as well.
I would call the Cubbies a "rival" to Mark's beloved Pirates, but it's going to be at least a few years until the hometowners can even think about competing with the Bucs. Until then, I'm going to have to get used to repeated drubbings by the upstart Pirates.
I try to not throw around the word "unique" too much, but I can't think of a better term to describe this interesting Aramis Ramirez issue.
I'm not sure about you, but I think he got around the tag.
Randall Simon wasn't a Cub for very long, but I sure remember his tenure on the North Side well.
The Pirates dealt him to Chicago late in the 2003 season. It wasn't long after Simon was at the center of one of the silliest controversies in sports history. Like it or not, he'll forever be known for that infamous moment.
Once again, I found myself playing the number game with Aramis Ramirez. A quick Baseball Reference search shows that he wore #16 throughout his career. According to them, he never donned a number ending in "5" for the Cubbies.
It's not a "player swap" error, either, as that's clearly Ramirez's name on the back of his jersey. What gives?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Yes, Jeff Parrett.
The fact that there was a big leaguer named Stubby Clapp is hilarious.
Here's another beauty from Stadium Club's early run.
I get the feeling that I haven't even scratched the surface with great Stadium Club shots like these.
This, though, was probably the greatest card Mark sent along.
The fact that it pictures one of his precious Pirates is fitting.
I've long been a fan of the "Grips" subset featured in 1992 Pinnacle. I'm sure at least one other blogger is as well.
Here, former Pirate pitcher Randy Tomlin is showing off his Vulcan change.
Wait a minute.
Did Pinnacle just make that up? There can't actually be a pitch called the Vulcan change. Can there?
According to the back of this card, there is. Pinnacle likens the grip to the famous Vulcan sign on Star Trek. I guess I can see that, but still...
A Vulcan change?
That must've been one hell of a pitch.
Mr. Tomlin and his sci-fi grip certainly managed to put a smile on my face. As did all the other terrific cards Mark sent along.
I sure needed it after a day at jury duty.