Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor day posting: Tigers playoff run, plus card show report

Happy Labor day to all:
Hopefully all of you are enjoying a day off, and more importantly, hopefully each of you has a job in these uncertain times.

Quick poll quick reminder:
Please take my poll to help decide if I should spin off my Wolverines content into a new blog!

Do you want me to spin off a UM blog?
YES, enough with all the Michigan crap!
YES, I love all the Michigan crap!
No, one blog is just fine
I'm from Ohio and reading this in jail or to my sister-wife free polls 

Detroit Tigers playoff chances:

Well, it looks like it's time for me to get with the program in terms of the Tigers' chances of making the playoffs.  I still know the decision to hand another year to Leyland before he proved anything was a mistake, but at least the team has come out and excised the second-half demons of the last five years and I'm very impressed by their play of late.  As of this post, Detroit owns a 6.5 game lead over Cleveland before a huge series against the Indians starting today.  The Tigers sit at 16 games over .500 and ESPN gives them a 91.1% chance of making the playoffs.  I would hope that even Jim Leyland, inept chain-smoker that he is, couldn't blow that kind of cushion.
Leyland criticisms aside, Detroit's had a very good second half, and that's the biggest reason that we currently sit in first place, much more than the typically strong first half we enjoyed this year.  Some local writers are chalking the difference up to the lead we built up in the opening months of the season, but anyone with a brain knows that post All Star break is when the rubber meets the road for the Tigers.  
We can attribute the strong record mostly to the play of Justin Verlander, who made the leap everyone hoped he would this year and joined that elite tier of starters.  Nobody can touch him this year, and while he's already sewn up the A.L. Cy Young, the fact that the MVP is even a possibility for him is telling.  The rest of the pitching has been very hit-or-miss, except for the lights out José "I like it when you call me big papa" Valverde.  Some statheads are complaining that he's allowing too many baserunners, but Todd Jones he ain't--the guy is automatic when it comes to nailing down saves, and I don't think he can improve very much on a 100% save rate.  Valverde and Verlander have truly been crucial in maintaining any degree of a lead this year.
Miguel Cabrera has been as important as usual, of course, but his somewhat lower power stats (the only real ding on him this year) have been offset by great performances from unlikely sources, namely SS Jhonny Peralta and C Alex Avila.  A few newcomers, the result of a couple offseason and midseason deals, have also been impressive, namely Victor Martinez, Wilson Betemit and Delmon Young.  Despite the loss of Brennan Boesch, Detroit looks like they have an offense that won't be so punchless in the playoffs.
So here we are with 22 games left in the regular season, including two series against the Indians, which will decide the playoff fate of both teams.  Will 2011 be the first year in forever that the Tigers win their division and waltz into the playoffs?  Right now all signs point to yes, but thing will be much clearer after this week's three-game tilt with Cleveland.  Until then, GO TIGERS!

Fine, fine, how about that card show report:
As I mentioned yesterday, if you made it all the way to the bottom, Dustin and I hit up Gibraltar Trade Center in Taylor for another of their (increasingly shrinking) monthly card shows.  I'll show off the results of the couple boxes I grabbed this week, but today I'm going to show you the singles I grabbed, some being PC and some being trade bait per usual.

I'll start off with the small handful of trade bait I grabbed in case some of you aren't interested in the stuff for my collection:

The one baseball trade bait card I grabbed was this 2008 Razor letter of Carlos Gutierrez of the Twins, since I know a couple of my readers like them.  Sorry if you were hoping for more, but I didn't really find any great baseball deals today.

Two of my three football pickups today were these 2006 Sweet Spot RC/auto helmets of Baltimore's Demetrius Williams (#d 894/899) and St. Louis' Marques Hagans.  For the price they looked like good trade bait, and I figured it was about time I got some Rams cards up in here.

My other pickup, also of Marques Hagans, was this 2006 Sweet Spot triple jersey/auto/RC (#d 50/99).  I'm hoping a St. Louis collector makes me an offer for these.

Starting with these four cards, I'm proud to announce that I'm finally getting off my ass and putting together my trade bait page.  I've only added what you see above, but I'm actually going to start scanning things in to those locations a bit at a time.  I'll keep you updated on my progress so you know what to look for.  In the meantime, please feel free to make offers on anything I listed today or anything I've posted on in the past.

Now, onto my PC pickups:
Since Dustin was flipping through more non-hit stuff than I was, he found this '96-'97 Mantle reprint (#12) that I needed.  I've been working on this set forever, so he grabbed it for me as part of our ongoing trade.  I'm actually down to needing just these:  20 28 32 34, so if you have any of those please let me know and I'll get them from you for something you like.

My other baseball addition will be part of my Tigers and Michigan baseball PCs:  this 2005 Topps Retired Signature auto of Bill Freehan.  I've been after this for a bit now and got a decent price of $10 on it.  The guy I bought it from wasn't terribly friendly or good at math, but then again he was wearing a Michigan State shirt.  I was trying to buy this one along with a Darrell Evans from the same set, plus an Alan Trammell 2002 Greats of the Game auto.  He had all three cards listed at $10, so I asked him if he'd do $25.  
The best he was willing to do was knock off $2 "Because lower would be less than half book."  Without accounting for the fact that I came home and looked all three up on COMC only to find that the Evans was worth less than he thought and that their total "book value" was $45, I just don't get a dealer who hasn't sold something by the last day of a show being so against selling something at a fair price.  I'd say that he gave Dustin an even harder time when he tried to work out a deal on some singles.  Then again, like I said, the guy was clearly a moron, so go figure.  In any event, I'm very excited to add a second Freehan auto to my PC.

The rest of these all came from one seller, (from whom I also grabbed the trade bait cards above) a guy I always visit because of his plethora of 5000 count boxes stuffed with 50-90% hits.

Here's a 2002 Michigan TK Legacy jersey of Aaron Shea.  For a couple bucks, I really like how the jersey stands out on the simple design.  I'm now up to two hits of Shea, both jerseys, of the player who sits atop my collection when sorted alphabetically by first name.

I figure I'll do both of these at once:  Adrian Arrington 2008 SAGE Bronze and Gold autos.  I bought the Red version from the same seller a few months back, so I'm pretty close to the rainbow on these, as far as I can tell.  I do find it funny that the non-numbered versions literally say they're not numbered, but I like these overall anyway.  I'm now up to 20 Arringtons, and everything is still an autograph, which is pretty cool.

I couldn't come home without something of this guy, hence this Jake Long 2008 Stadium Club Beam Team jersey.  It was the only Long I didn't have that I thought was the right price, but it goes well with my two other '08 TSC Longs, an auto and a jersey. Because I couldn't find a Henne I was willing to buy, Long again sits atop the collection with 31 total cards. 

Lastly I snagged a new sig of one of my favorite recent Michigan WRs, this Jason Avant 2006 SAGE Bronze auto.  Hand-numbered 156/656 (an odd even number...) I thought it would look pretty good with the rest of my Avants (18, all told).

I didn't quite stop there, though, as I thought to flip through the guy's hockey autographs just in case I could snag Michigan players from there as well.  I was rewarded with these two additions:
Up first is this Mike Knuble 1998 Be a Player auto.  Knuble was excellent at Michigan, then enjoyed some success quickly with the Wings thanks to their Cup runs, before moving on to a few other teams.  I love that I was able to add a Red Wings card that was also a Michigan player to my collection, and of course this is my first of Knuble.

I guess this sort of balances it out!  You won't see many Avalanche cards on this here blog, but Colorado drafted the guy and that's why you see this T.J. Hensick 2008-09 SP Authentic Sign of the Times auto here.  Hensick was just ridiculous during his Michigan career and got absolutely robbed of the Hobey Baker in his final season, likely due to an absolutely undeserved misconduct penalty at one point during the season.  He played on some great teams that never got over the hump but was still a joy to watch, and though his NHL career has yet to really progress, it's great to finally have something of him in the PC.

I got everything you see above for $64 (including the $10 Freehan) and I was reasonably happy with that.  In the next couple posts, as promised, I'll show off the results of my Michigan TK Legacy and 2010 Topps Update baseball jumbo boxes.  Until then, enjoy your day off, and GO TIGERS!

1 comment:

  1. If it makes you feel better, as a White Sox fan, I've already written your Tigers into the playoffs. We dug ourselves too big of a hole. As far as the blog question. It doesn't make a difference to me, if you make 2 blogs, I'll follow both anyways. But on the other hand, a blog dedicated to only the Wolverines certainly isn't a bad idea.