Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Head East, Young Man

So, in the time that I was absent from blogging, some of that was due to a long-overdue vacation in late June - my first one since 2010.

Where did I go? Well, I'd never been further east than Ohio, so the girlfriend and I loaded up the car and hit the east coast. She's from Delaware and most of her family is still in the area.

Thus, we didn't have to pay for any lodging - *fist pump*

However, the major draw was Firefly Music Festival in Dover. We spent four days camped out in a tent doing nothing but listening to good music and hanging out. I can't think of a better way to spend a vacation. Foo Fighters, Third Eye Blind, Weezer, Beck, Cage the Elephant, Imagine Dragons, OutKast... and much, much more!

However, if that wasn't enough - we also made it a point to head slightly over the border to Philadelphia to take in a Phillies game too.




Guess who the opponent was. I'll give you a hint - they wear blue and have a baby bear (who doesn't wear pants) as a mascot.

On a day meant to honor Jim Bunning and his perfecto in '64, I saw Travis Wood take a no-hitter into the 6th inning and Anthony Rizzo homer as the Cubs cruised to a 3-0 victory. That quieted the Phillies fans heckling me real quickly.

But, Tony, this is a baseball card blog - what does any of this have to do with cards? Well, at Citizens Bank Ballpark, I found a souveneir item that I had been looking for all over Chicagoland before I left but could not find:




Ironically, I had to go all the way to Philly to find the 2014 Topps Cubs factory team set. While, I already had all of the players in said set in my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection in some form or another, I was able to upgrade two men with their first Cubs cards in my binder:





Jake Arrieta, who, like Wood on that day, has taken several no-hitters into the late innings this year during his breakout campaign...




...and the cringe-worthy Jose Veras, who had been released just 4 days earlier. That'll happen to a closer with an 8.10 ERA and no saves. Also, Once a Cub already covered the major blasphemy with this card here on his wonderful blog.  Can you spot it?

Despite all the negative connotations, Mr. Veras still needs to be properly represented in my collection. Since this'll be the only Cubs issue that he receives, it'll have to do.  Meanwhile, the rest of the cards from the set have filtered nicely into my Cubs player collections.




Plus, my girlfriend found this sweet Phillies duck for her rubber ducky collection (she named it "Ryne" - I approve). See,that's how she tolerates my habit - we're both collectors!

But, that wasn't all the card hunting I did over there. One of the small, costal towns we stayed in had a a thriving antique market community, with 3 shops in it's downtown area. Who doesn't love adventuring through such shops? You just never know what you're going to find.

While there weren't any forgotten boxes of tobacco cards lying around (drat), there was one small shoebox filled with junk wax era cards in the third location. I gave it a cursory look and was able to pull a pretty neat card for my CATRC:




Scott May was a failed propect out of the Rangers system that the Cubs pulled off the scrap-heap in 1991. He received one last shot of MLB glory with the Cubbies, but gave up 4 runs in 2 innings that August and punched his ticket out of town.

Like Arrieta and Veras, he was already represented in my collection with his '88 Donruss card on the left, which shows off his Rangers duds.  However, this Iowa Cubs card is the closest thing he got to an actual Cubs card. Thus, it provides a solid upgrade.

Plus, I've made it no secret that I love minor-league cards and these 90's Line Drive sets are among the best-of-the-best in my opinion. Simple design, big sets, deeply-varied player selection... I can't say enough.

And yet, there were still more adventures in baseball card-hunting to be had for me on this vacation! While my girlfriend was in the bathroom at a local shopping mall, I was lucky enough to find a baseball card shop.




I believe that was the universe's way of rewarding me for patiently tolerating a couple hours of outfit shopping.

Since most of the stuff in the shop obviously steered towards teams like the Phillies, Orioles and Nationals, I decided to take my chances with a randomly-selected $5 mystery box of 100 cards.

Hey, I've spent $5 bucks on worse things - like that gas station hamburger...

But, this bet turned out pretty good for me, as this card was sitting right on top:




Well, that was unexpected! I don't have many relics in my collection, as I don't generally seek them out. But pulling one of my favorite players in Kid K out of a random box in Delaware was pretty darn cool!

While, that Wood relic marked the end of the cardboard portion of my adventure, I was way too busy rockin' out at the aforementioned Firefly music festival to do anymore searching anyway.

What a trip!

I'll leave you with a couple of great tunes from bands on the rise I caught at Firefly. Give these a listen - you won't regret it!


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You might have heard their radio-smash "Come With Me Now," but these South Africans rock with authority all throughout their new self-titled album.

While alternative, garage-rock and even reggae influences rear their heads, it's this 70's style rocker that steals the show.

"Hey, I Don't Know" proves that they, in fact, do know how to groove like Grand Funk Railroad.


Bleachers is the new project featuring Fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff.  While his main focus is currently inactive, Jack is keeping his creative muscles flexed.

Their debut album "Strange Desire" is a fascinating blend of indie rock, pop and even electronic and the variety of sounds is evident in each track.

However, the cut "Rollercoaster" might be the best of all.  If Bruce Springsteen was a young songwriter in today's indie scene, this is what "The Boss" just might sound like.

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