Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Good-bye Qualcom/Jack Murphy Stadium

Former home of San Diego Padres and Chargers is being demolished as the new San Diego State Stadium and facilities being built around it. The stadium have seen two World Series appearances (both on losing side), three Super Bowls, two MLB All-Star games, and college football bowl games. I went to a Padres game there in 2002 before a relative's wedding the next day. It was decent stadium at the time as they were building Petco Park in downtown. I remember the game for few things. One is was hat night. Second it was Tony Gwynn night as well. There was pre-game celebration of Tony Gwynn being inducted in Padres Hall of Fame with an appearance of him. Third was Padres starting pitcher Clay Condrey threw 7 innings of shutout ball. Fourth was watching Hall of Fame pitcher Trevor Hoffman close it out.

Padres moved into Petco leaving Chargers as lone major sport tenant til they ruin their fanbase going to Los Angeles. San Diego State, who been using the stadium from its opening, bought it and re-develop the area with a new stadium as well facilities and housing sealed the 53-year old stadium's fate.

It's a good 53 year run with hundreds of highlights from Tony Gwynn, Dan Fouts, Stan Humphries, Marshall Faulk before getting drafted, Phillip Rivers, John Elway finally winning it, the tolls of the bell when Hoffman closes it out to the lowlights of Padres and Chargers down years and Ryan Leaf.


Monday, January 4, 2021

IP Autograph Stories: Chasing the Matz and Lessons on IP Auto Request From D'Arnaud

Last year I posted my IP autograph Hall of Shame and it turned out to be very popular among readers. Let's start the new year off with IP autograph stories. This one feature Steven Matz and Travis D'Arnaud. This took place on May 23, 2017 at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas. Both players were sent down to then Mets Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas 51s for rehab assignment. Both were still on the roster when the 51s arrived in Round Rock for series against Express. Since 51s played in Pacific Divsion of Pacific Coast League they come once every two years. Dell Diamond is one of easiest places to grab in-person autographs and heavily crowded with fans lining up at the rail very quickly when the gates opened. The players come out from locker rooms at right field and have walk down the stairs to get to the field. Since Las Vegas is one of teams that comes once every two year the regular 'graphers at the stadium get their stuff ready by the load. This is no different hoping to get players sign their cards, photos, programs, or whatever merchandise. Even I knew its going be a long shot I took one of each just in case.

Steven Matz started the game so he's not going to sign before it. Same with Travis D'Arnaud as he was starting catcher. (Note: most starting catchers do not sign before the game) Got the following players from 51s before the game: Phillip Evans, Gavin Cecchini, Dominic Smith, Desmond Jennings, Tyler Pill, Sean Gilmartin, Erik Goeddel. From the Express: Jason Martinson (J-Mart as I call him), Drew Stubbs, and Bret Nicholas. As for the game Express jumped on Matz with 5 runs in 4 innings with Cesar Puello homering off him twice and getting runs from Jurickson Profar, Nicholas, and J-Mart. Kevin McGowan got shelled for 6 runs in the 5th lasting 2/3 inning. Express stretched the 51s bullpen that backup catcher Jeff Glenn pitched the 9th. He's the only 51s player who pitched a full inning without giving up a run in the game. That's the first game of the series between the two teams. Easy night for Express winning 14-3 as all the starters got a hit with homeruns from Drew Robinson and Martinson as well runs from Ronald Guzman, Luis Marte, and Josh Wilson. Back to the graphing part.

Often when players get pulled they go to the locker room in between innings. At Dell Diamond it's autograph opportunity as some do sign when they walk up the stairs. Express starter Tyson Ross was pulled after 5 innings and signed one for me and few others before he got to the locker room. Some were already waiting for Matz, but he stayed in the dugout the entire game. After the game the rails were already lined up hoping for Matz or D'Arnaud to sign as well remaining 51s and Express players. Matz signed for three fans and I end up being one of lucky ones. Glad I didn't get mugged for it by surrounding fans. Then there was Travis D'Arnaud. At first he didn't sign ignoring a fan's request. Then the fan said "That's fucking bullshit!" within earshot that he turned around signing for him along with others including me. What I saw and heard was a stern lecture D'Arnaud gave to the fan. He told the fan he didn't like the way he acted and being rude for the tantrum and cussing around kids and gave reasons why players don't sign all the time. The fan was super apologetic about toward him and promise be nice. Everyone around the fan gave him hard time for it. I pretty much understand what Travis D'Arnaud saying on autograph requests. While they do sign, sometimes they have decline time to time from being tired or having bad night or miserable long day. The players are human after the game.

That's my IP autograph story and maybe I will tell more.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Repack But 20 Cards Lesser

Happy Holidays! Hope everyone had a good one so far. Went to Walgreens for few items including Fairfield baseball repack. I noticed a change on it. Originally Fairfield repacks were this:

 

You used to get 100 random cards. Now the repacks are this:

Now with 20 fewer cards than previously. At least it still came with a pack of cards. I got the following cards:

1986 Topps: Larry McWilliams
1986 Donruss: Bruce Benedict
1987 Fleer: Greg Gagne
1987 Donruss: Ozzie Virgil, Jim Deshaies
1987 Topps: Andy Van Slyke, Chuck Tanner, Aurelio Lopez
1988 Donruss: Willie Randolph, Milt Thompson, Ron Hassey
1988 Fleer Update: Gary Pettis, Sil Campusano, Roger Samuels
1988 Topps: Ed Hearn, Thad Bosley, Jose Uribe, Ed Whitson
1988 Score: Ruben Sierra
1989 Topps: Gerald Perry, Hal Lanier, Jim Sundberg, Orel Hershiser (All-Star), Don Robinson, Steve Rosenberg, Norm Charlton
1989 Donruss: Jeff Robinson (Diamond Kings), Ed Whitson, Vance Law, Oddibe McDowell
1989 Fleer: Gene Nelson, Jose DeLeon, Lenny Harris/Marty Brown
1990 Topps: Bryan Harvey, Brian Downing, John Moses
1990 Bowman: Will Clark
1990 Fleer: Steve Balboni
1990 Donruss: Jeff Innis, Lloyd Moseby, Pete Harnish
1990 Upper Deck: Cecil Fielder, Steve Lyons
1991 Donruss: Chuck McElroy, Will Clark
1991 Fleer: Glenallen Hill
1991 Topps: Herm Winningham, Tim Wallach, Alex Fernandez, Vicente Palacios
1991 Score: Scott Terry
1991 Upper Deck: Mike Heath, Bret Barberie
1992 Donruss: Alvaro Espinoza, Derek Bell
1992 Fleer: John Cerutti, Walt Terrell, Kim Batiste, Jarvis Brown
1992 Score: Tom Goodwin
1993 Ted Williams: Bobby Brown
1993 Studio: Dave Hollins
1993 Pinnacle: Sandy Alomar, Jr.
1993 Topps: Mike Stanton
1993 Donruss: Andy Benes
1994 Score: Ken Ryan
1994 Donruss: Andres Galaraga, Bob Hamelin
1995 Leaf: Hal Morris
2000 Upper Deck: Jacque Jones, Juan Pena, Carl Everett, Sammy Sosa
2004 Topps: Zach Duke
2006 Topps: Matt Clement
2012 Topps Heritage: David Robertson
2017 Panini Chronicles: Gary Sanchez
2018 Topps: Josh Tomlin, Cheslor Cuthbert, Brandon Drury

As for the pack it was 1989 Donruss. Could be something such as Ken Griffey, Jr. or Gary Sheffield rookie.

Get the following: Puzzle 34-36, Dave West, Jeff Russell, Pat Perry, Sherman Corbett, Pedro Guerrero, Jerry Reuss, Dave Meads, Bob Dernier, Herm Winningham, Jeff Montgomery, Dickie Thon, Walt Weiss, Glenn Wilson, Rex Hudler, Bob Brenly, Bruce Sutter

As usual most of it from junk wax era. Now Fairfield repacks downsize from 100 to 80 cards.


Monday, December 7, 2020

Minor League Baseball Reorganization Big Losers (as of this moment)

It's been a month and the long rumor minor league baseball reorganization have gone underway. Ever since MLB/MiLB agreement ended all current affiliations were voided. Most of MLB teams looking ways to cut costs decided to have their minor league affiliate clubs close to their stadium especially Triple-A level. During that time some teams have upgraded their status, changed affiliation, realigned, or "re-purposed" into current or new leagues. There were few teams that have hit the lottery like St. Paul Saints and Sugar Land Skeeters. Then there were few teams having deal with bad set circumstances involving affiliation loses and demotions. Here are four teams that have took the reorganization hard.

Trenton Thunder - they were first two minor league teams taking a huge hit in the reorganization. Originally they were Yankees Double-A affiliate since 2002. After the season ended Yankees cut their affiliation ties with the team and chose Somerset Patriots, formerly of Atlantic League, as their Double-A affiliate. The move left Thunder ownership steaming. Some consolation for Thunder as they recently became part of MLB draft league. A downgrade for them. Another team not so lucky.

Staten Island Yankees - another team left out in the cold by Yankees, but it was a year in the making. This team were doomed once contraction news first hit and most of New York-Penn League was on the list. MLB wanted NYPL to become summer-collegiate league that have met with resistance from team owners within the league. Yankees, like they did with Trenton Thunder, cut affiliation ties with the team leaving them shocked. This one didn't have happy ending. Staten Island team decide to close up shop AND sue the Yankees and MLB. Sad way to end.

Wichita Wind Surge - one of the teams hit big in reorganization based on unfortunate circumstances. Wichita had finish building a new stadium for Triple-A baseball and lured former New Orleans Baby Cakes (Marlins affiliate) to relocate. Then pandemic hits and end up cancelling the season before a single Triple-A game played at the new stadium. In the reorganization Minnesota Twins scooped them up as their farm team along the now former American Association team St. Paul Saints. Saints end up being big winners in this going from independent to Triple-A baseball. Meanwhile, Wind Surge demoted down to Double-A, most likely, playing in the league they familiar with the Texas League. (Note: Wichita Wranglers played in TL from 1987-2007 before relocating and becoming Northwest Arkansas Naturals). In summary, city of Wichita hiked taxes to get a new stadium to be built for Triple A team, got a club to relocated, but covid cancelled the season as well MLB/MiLB agreement ending voiding all affiliations. They got a new affiliate club, but end up being demoted a level down away from the original plan. It was horrible whirlwind of circumstances that turn a field of dreams into a nightmare.

Fresno Grizzlies - how bad the reorganization hurts this team? Fresno wanted to remain in Triple-A, but they became a team no MLB teams want Triple-A affiliate with. It goes back when Giants ditched them for Sacramento after 2014 season. They ended up being Astros affiliate from 2014-2018 mainly it was the only Triple-A team available after the rest been scooped up. Their final affiliate? Washington Nationals. Yikes! Imagine being a player having fly through 3 time zones when getting called up or sent down. With no MLB team showing any interest as Triple-A affilaite what does MLB want to do with them? Demote them to Low-A ball and being affiliated with Colorado Rockies. A big time demotion that city of Fresno is fighting against, but time is running out as MLB awaits their decision. It's a no-win situation for them.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Thank You Undertaker

Last night on the day he made his WWF debut 30 years ago Undertaker officially call it a career. This fan been with him in his entire WWF/WWE run. I got emotional watching celebration of his career. From the final walk to the ring with his trademark pyrotechnics and setup, the final speech, his trademark pose with a hologram of the late Paul Bearer (great tear-jerking excellent touch!) to the final walk up the ramp. I wish this was done in front of a crowd, but covid put every crowd holding plans on hold. I want to say thank you Undertaker. He is part of my growing up days from a kid to adulthood. You deserve a long rest and into the darkness. This fan will forever miss you in the ring.

I want you check out his interviews with Steve Austin on Broken Skull Sessions and docuseries Last Ride. It's a great rare in-depth look of his career and his tough final years in the ring. Also check out Meeting the Undertaker as wrestlers and personnel give details when did they first met him in the wrestling business. Another documentary to check out called The Mortician: The Story of Paul Bearer on his former late manager who been with him month after he debut and became vital part of Undertaker storyline throughout the years as well Brothers of Destruction as Undertaker and Kane spoke on infamous wrestling storyline. All of these shows are on WWE Network.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Way a Go Auto Collectors

Last month I mention about how greedy autograph collectors will cause athletes to stop signing through mail for free. Guess what? The collectors have broke Jim Kaat. After finding his stuff being bragged about on social media and sold online he decide to stop accepting all mail. The only time he will sign is through private signings or appearance. Congratulations greedy jackasses for ruining things as usual



Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Thank you Baby D

The end of MPX Wrestling show on a Saturday night of November 7, 2020 in Bedford, TX marked the coming end. It was coming end of in-ring career of Baby D with her final match scheduled on December 11 at Mission Pro Wrestling show in Buda, TX. After getting pinned in a match stipulation she must leave the fed she gave a heartfelt speech it was her last match in MPX thanking the fans for the support throughout the years. It marks the end of her six year journey up and down the roads of independent wrestling scene.

The first time I seen wrestle in-person was in June 2015 at Anarchy Championship Wrestling Queen of Queens event, at first, under the name Baby Dumplings. She would shorten it to Baby D and within those five years she became one of premier woman wrestler in Texas. Whether in MPX, Sabotage, Branded Outlaw Wrestling, or various feds she poured her heart and effort with a charismatic charm in the ring. She was fun and entertaining in the ring from singles to tag team as either with Phoebe as Fun N Sexy or Steven Kirby as Punch Drunk Love winning titles along the way. Outside the ring she have a pure heart of gold taking time with fans like me. She's willing lend a hand to fellow wrestlers. She will always be a champion to me. Thank you Baby D! You will be missed in the ring. Wish you well outside of it.
Here are few Baby D matches to check out. If you want watch more of MPX wrestling check them out on their streaming network site at https://network.mpxwrestling.com/