The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Unforseen Circumstance

This has been a "perfect storm" of a weekend for me - literally and figuratively.

There was a huge snowstorm on Friday, which was coupled by the holiday weekend and staffing issues going into the weekend at work. There was a combination of high-seniority staff off for the weekend on vacation, and a lot of other staff out sick with the flu bug. This led to three straight mornings of ordering - and two of those saw the same three people get ordered twice in a row.

As if that weren't enough, the general road conditions around here this weekend were crappy. The county road crews have pretty much given up on trying to clear anything but the Interstates and the
other state trunk highways, due to a lack of salt/sand and under-staffing issues.

Meanwhile, the cold has done a number on me, both mentally and physically. Three days of warmer weather and then you get dumped on by another snowstorm - with my dear father then calling me to tell me how hot it was out in Arizona, and how he suffered with a sunburn while watching a baseball game.

On a different note: I was close enough to completing the 2008 Topps Baseball Series One set that I decided to order the rest of the singles online from The cards arrived today - and I came to the sickening realization that I had missed two of the cards. I place the blame on how Beckett's Marketplace sorts entries: card number 1 is followed by card 10, then 100, then 101... and if you have a really high number card and/or a really low number card, it gets lost in the shuffle.

That's what happened to the two cards I didn't order - card 6 and card 291. I've gone back to Beckett and ordered the cards I'd missed from another dealer. I also ordered a couple of cards that I was short because of the "gold foil" variation.

Looking back through the set to find those gold foil variations isn't an easy task; you essentially have to look at each card and see if the "TOPPS" logo is silver or gold. Then, there's another version: I've found two cards that have no foil on the TOPPS logo on the top of the card. I'm not sure that these are as much "error cards" as they are "misprints". I suspect the latter, of course.

As to the cards themselves: I think I mentioned in a previous post about card 176, Troy Patton, a rookie pitcher for the Houston Astros. The photo on his card looks like it was taken outside his apartment door in Kissimmee or something. And I won't even go into the third variant of the Red Sox celebration (a different color print on the Giuliani photoshopped-card).

Other things:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You're (NOT) The Topps

After going through my collection of Series One Baseball cards over night, I've come to two conclusions:
  1. Topps is having quality-control issues with some of its early run printings of its checklists, and
  2. Their card design people have completely run out of ideas for new trading cards.
I came to the first conclusion after doing a cursory check of my duplicate checklist cards - the ones that they "throw in" with every odd pack (instead of those annoying "Work Hard Get Cards" Topps of the Class Program ads, which now feature David Wright shilling for them). The first thing I noticed was that a few of them, instead of having blue "bubbles" in the circus-styled title, they instead have reddish bubbles. And, apparently, the blue-bubble variant has a completely different checklist than the red ones. The red ones apparently were released earlier, because they contain a longer checklist - with a lot of card that aren't listed on the blue variants.

I know that the checklist Topps had provided on their website didn't match the final product (for one, Barry Bonds is not in this set), but did someone just not pay attention and release an incorrect checklist? If so, a lot of the earlier packs had the wrong checklists - making for some really interesting error cards.

As for the second observation: Whose idea was it to put Rudy Giuliani in the Red Sox team photo of the World Series celebration? And for the love of Pete Rose, who in the hell is Kazuo Uzuki? Somebody in product development is too much of a Photoshop geek, because the idea of "adding" famous figures to photos of cards and putting no-names on "special" cards is just getting ridiculous. And as much as it might have been a neat idea in the past with the American historical figure inserts, do we really need to have Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama cards?

Whatever happened to the idea of putting a player's picture on the front of the card, a bit of biographical data on the back with some stats, and just put it out there for public consumption? Did we lose that somewhere along the way, with all the variants and inserts and "short-prints" that are driving price? Call me the old fogey who's chasing kids off his lawn, but isn't discretion sometimes the better part of valor? Can't "simple" be the new buzz-word in card set creation?

And don't even get me started on the Topps set design. It's bad enough that the Mitchell report and the congressional hearings have made the game a media circus in the off-season; do we need to add to the feel officially by picking up a Roger Clemens card that looks like it should be balanced on the nose of a seal and be handed out by a clown with big shoes holding an umbrella?

But that's not my real question. My real question is this: Who in the heck is Andy Sonnanstine, and why do I have not only two of his cards, but two gold-foil versions of his cards?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Turn back the Clock

After finally getting a peek at the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament brackets, I did what every red-blooded American college graduate did and filled mine out.

I have to say this: I was surprised at my Final Four of USC, UNC, Stanford and UCLA... Call it the Pac-10 Invitational.

My finals, though, gave me pause. No, that won't be John Wooden nor Dean Smith on the sidelines, but that will be North Carolina taking on UCLA. This time the Tar Heels should prevail, 64-62.

By the way: I have Wisconsin winning in the first round but then getting beat by USC.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wii Zapper

I've joined the next phase of Wii geekdom: I got a Wii Zapper from the local Wallyworld for my Wii. I'm not looking for it to be the end-all and be-all of Wii gadgetry, but I'm just looking to make it a bit more fun while I'm waiting for my remote handle to return from Pelican.

I also got a pleasant surprise in the mail today: my original drawing from Paul Taylor's Wapsi Square webcomic; the drawing is from the February 1, 2007 comic. I've always had issues with bidding on his drawings on eBay - which I understand is one of his main means of making money as an artist - but I finally managed to win this one.

Other things that have absolutely nothing to do with anything:

Saturday, March 08, 2008

It's The Handle, Stupid

Oh, that's just great:

I received my Nerf Wii Sports Pak bat attachment back from PDP on Thursday. Today, I finally got a chance to try out the bat in Wii Sports.

WHAM! It went flying off after my first swing.

In looking closely at the handle (the part of the attachment into which you slip the Wii Remote), I discovered that there was a microscopic, but very "failure prone", crack on the tab that holds the attachments to the handle.

Looks like I'll be mailing that into the company this week - and I'll be without the whole thing for another week or two.

On to other issues:

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


He finally decided to just get on the John Deere and ride off into the sunset.

The Brett Favre Era is finally over in Green Bay.