Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Birthday, One, Two, Three!

Although it's well past midnight on the east coast, we've got a little under an hour left in the wonderful day that is January 31st here in LA.

I'm a little late to posting up this Happy Birthday wish to the guy who spawned my nom de blog, Jackie Robinson, but that's because I've been out celebrating myself.


you see, Jackie and I share the same birthday.  :)   Aint it grand?

BTW - Jackie and I share our birthday with another baseball bad-ass...Nolan Ryan.



Happy Birthday, Jackie and Nolan, wherever you are!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Top 20 Movies In Cardboard - Final Chapter

Hey everybody,

Here's the final three films from the epic ATBATT series: Movies As Cardboard...

3. RESERVOIR DOGS
I figure everyone has already seen this Tarentino study of the ill-fated Serpico wannabe,Tim Roth,  as he infiltrates Steve Buscemi and Harvey Keitel's gang of LA thieves.  The problem is, although the gang looks great on paper, these guys ultimately fail in every way possible.

"Are you gonna bark all day, little doggie?  Or are you gonna bite?"

 

Presenting a schedule.  I've been collecting Dodgers schedules since the 90's.  Here we have the Dodgers' version of Reservoir Dogs.  One would think with an incredible four straight ROY (which eventually became five in a row!) we woulda had a better run and caught a pennant or two.  Apparently we didn't have enough juicers on the roster to compete in the juicy NL West. 


2. A FEW GOOD MEN
Fantastic courtroom movie!

"You don't have to wear a patch on your arm to have honor." 



Speaking of juicers, here we have 2 Home Run Icons whose records have been "broken" by questionable men using questionable methods.  As I searched my binder for the right card to pair up with the title "A Few Good Men", this one jumped right out at me.

Maris earned his record in a race between two guys ON THE SAME TEAM - at the center of Baseball's universe at the time...and most of New York wanted Mantle, rather than Maris, to break the Babe's record.   In Aaron's circumstance, as he chased the ghost of the Babe, he also had to contend with very real death threats and piles of racist mail.

McGwire and Bonds, on the other hand, dealt with an adoring public gleefully cheering them on every game, loving sports reporters, and in McGwire's case, being dealt a few too many groovers down the pipe as he got closer to Maris' record, and Sosa got closer to him.

1. THE MATRIX
Did this movie absolutely blow your mind like it did mine ?

"Dodge this."

"Oops, you mean I'm not supposed to take the red pill AND the blue one?"
 

Finally, a card that reminds us of one of the best scenes in The Matrix; the shootout on the rooftop when Neo amazingly contorts his body in order to dodge bullets. 

It's my pleasure to close out the countdown with Hideo Nomo, one of my all-time favorite Dodgers. He was nicknamed The Tornado for good reason.  Nomo had a wind up that twisted and bent his body in ways American batters had never before seen. 

The photo on the card above is not a pick off throw to third, and it's not shot from a weird angle.  This is the view batters had from home plate.  Nomo wound up like a corkscrew and said, "Hit this."  Not many could, and on one rainy night in the batter's heaven that is Colorado, nobody did.

THANKS for reading! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Topps 2013 Hits My Walmart, And I Hit A Hit!

Hey everybody,

So I heard Topps 2013 was hitting the stores, and I decided to stop by my local walmart and grab a quick pack.  I probably won't chase the set, but I was excited for some new product hitting the shelves - which also, by the way, usually means discounts for remaining 2012 stuff.

I bought a jumbo 2013 pack  (and a discounted 2012 pack) - got to ripping as soon as I got home, and was pleasantly surprised!  I don't know how the collating is gonna play out over the long haul, but I was pretty happy with what I pulled today.

I know lots of bloggers are gonna pack rip and write proper reviews of the product.  That's not my intent here, as you other guys do a much better job than me of breaking down the details o' the cardboard.  I have no idea of whether or not Topps used the same shade of blue in the actual cards as they showed in previews. As Clint once said, "A man's got to know his limitations."

However, since I'm dropping quotes, I'll drop one more; as Lux Interior once sang, "I don't know about art, but I know what I like." - and there was lots to like in the cards I pulled...





Here's the first of the inserts I pulled.  These Chasing History cards have a very nice bluish mirror (refractor?) finish. These are seeded 1:4




Walmart jumbo packs each have 3 blue border cards.  My cardboard luck was running hot today, so I managed to pull a Dodger!  Not a bad photo.




I almost never pull Dodger cards, but besides the blue card, I also pulled a base version of a Dodger. 



Since the Card Gods were with me today, I pulled a second Chasing History card, and it's a guy I collect!




Speaking of pulling cards from guys I collect, here's a nice one - a '72 miiiiiiiinnnnnnniiiiii Kershaw! Awesome! These are also seeded 1:4
 




You want inserts? We got inserts! Here comes another -Calling Cards - Seeded 1:8



I'm presuming this is one of the emerald foils.  These are very nice looking.  Shiny and sparkly beauty.  Seeded 1:6


We're not done yet...I also hit an auto :)





Here we have one of the Chasing The Dream Autos.  Apparently this insert set is made up of the young guns in the game today.  There are 20 players on the checklist (Dee Gordon is the Dodger's representative in the set), and Cardpedia has no info on the seeding for these.  It's a secret?
 


Finally, I pulled this baby.  An invitation to play in Topps' Million Dollar Chase game.  I'm unsure exactly how this works, but apparently I get to pick a (different?) player every day during the season.  As long as the players I pick keep getting hits, I keep building a hitting streak.  This eventually leads to prizes.  Sounds like fun.

None of these cards alone would take our cynical, jaded breaths away, but taken as a whole, I'm pretty darn stoked about my first pack of 2013 Topps.

THANKS for reading!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Top 20 Movies In Cardboard: Movies 6-4


 Hey everybody,

Welcome to the penultimate post in ATBATT 's Top 20 Film Countdown.  In checking my page stats I noticed a wide discrepancy in views for the first two installments in this series.  Less than half the amount of people who read the previous post about films #14- #7  read the first post about films #20 - #14.  I'm presuming most of those readers didn't read Part 1 because they just didn't know it existed.  In a blog marketing blunder, I didn't title that post Part 1.

So, in case you missed them, film numbers 20-15 are here and film numbers14- 7 are here.


Presenting my next favorite movies of all time, paired with cards inspired by those films...*


6. ROCKY
Everybody knows the story of Rocky Balboa.  He was the supposed lamb to the slaughter who went toe to toe against a fearsome opponent, and everyone expected him to lose.

"Yo Paulie! Your sister's with me!" 

Holding his fist high above his head like a victorious boxer, Gibby, like Rocky, reminds us, "You gotta believe."


5. THIEF
Another fantastic Michael Mann film featuring hard-ass James Caan as a master thief who wants a normal life, despite the fact there's nothing "normal" in his life.  Don't miss a cool cameo by Willie Nelson who plays a lifer from the big house.  I also love the soundtrack by Tangerine Dream.

"You got an 8 year-old black, chink kid that nobody wants?  We'll take him."


Presenting above the L.A. Dodgers' greatest base thief.  Sure, the Dodger who inspired my screen name was a daring thief extraordinaire who mastered the art of stealing home, but Wills re-wrote the book on how to play the game by resurrecting base-stealing as a bona fide offensive weaponIt's Dogers vs. Giants legend that the groundskeepers at Candlestick Park used to over-water the area around first base in an attempt to slow down the Dodger rabbit.  
 

Here's the Dodger master thief that I grew up watching.  We all used to think we were Davey Lopes when we stole base in our neighborhood games.


4. EIGHT MEN OUT
 Of all the great baseball movies out there, this one is my favorite.  It's a great script and I love the attention to detail that captures the era.  An example is the scene where the gamblers are following the progress of the game in a whiskey and cigar room, while staff get updates on the game via ticker tape and then move cardboard players along a wall-sized cardboard diamond.

" You just know that ball's gonna go a long way. Damn if you don't feel like you're gonna live forever."

Here's the easy choice for including a card connection to the biggest gambling scandal to ever hit baseball, which also resulted in ensuring at least one baseball great would never get anywhere close to the Hall of Fame.  Will Charlie Hustle ever get into the Hall?  I dunno, but I suspect with that new, hot model wife of his, he's feeling like he's gonna live forever in a totally different way than Buck Weaver meant.  

On one level, the Black Sox and Pete Rose scandals are about players who really should have known better, but gambled with their baseball careers and lost.  Which brings me to the inclusion of our Dodger above.  The Straw didn't gamble with money, but he gambled with drugs and the fast life.  Darryl took a once promising career and lost everything when coke parties took precedence over celebrations at home plate.  If only....


Next Post: The final top three films!

* Special THANKS go out to N.O. for inspiring the idea for this series. 








Friday, January 25, 2013

Top 20 Movies In Cardboard - Part 2


 Hey everybody,

 The movie/baseball card countdown continues...

 14. A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS
It's not easy choosing just one of Clint's cowboy classics.  I chose this one because director Sergio Leone seamlessly recreated a Japanese Samurai film as a Western, which Bruce Willis and Christopher Walken later re-recreated as a 1930's gangster piece. 

"My mistake, 4 coffins."

The Dodgers have had no shortage of high priced mercenaries such as this guy...


...i think we all know this dollar chaser.

That said, aside from what they were paid, both of our mercenaries here did well enough wearing Dodger Blue.  They were certainly not high priced busts like Andrew Jones.   I would show a card of Jones, but criteria #2 for this post demands the card shown must come from my collection.  Andrew Jones cards have no place in my collection. 


 13. ENTER THE DRAGON
 This film took Bruce Lee - and martial arts movies - out of the obscure 3 movies for $2 movie theaters (that's where I first discovered him) and brought them into mainstream American culture like gangbusters.  Although Bruce Lee had a short film career, and died tragically at the height of his popularity and talent decades ago, he endures as an iconic figure to this day. 

"My style?  You can call it the art of fighting without fighting."

Much like Bruce Lee, Clemente had a short, brilliant career that was cut short by a sudden, unexpected death. And like Lee, he is spoken of in almost god-like terms.


12. SCARFACE (Paul Muni and Al Pacino versions)
Who don't know Scarface?

"You want a war? Hokay - I take you to war!" 

You cant see it from this card, but good ol' uncle Robbie here sported a Tina Fey-sized cheek scar.


 11.ROBOCOP
I love sci-fi movies, and I really love director Paul Verhoven's science-fiction visions.  For the longest time, I couldn't watch "That 70's Show" because I knew the dad on the show as the bad guy in Robocop.  I just couldn't see him as anything other than a brutal, bad man.

"Dead or alive, you're coming with me." 

Of all the Dodger catchers I saw play, nobody - and I mean NOBODY - wore the Blue armor and protected the plate as well as rock solid Scioscia.


10. PATHS OF GLORY 

Stanly Kubrik's totally awesome WWI anti-war film starring Kirk Douglas kicking ass in glorious black and white.  If you've never seen this one, by all means, treat yourself and watch these great actors paired with a legendary director and a brilliant script. 

"We will take the Anthill."


It's an unspoken secret here in LA that in order for the Dodgers to occupy Chavez Ravine, well, the current occupants would have to be removed.  An entire community had Eminent Domain dropped on them and had to go live somewhere else because MLB was comin' to town!

I'm torn by this part of my city's history.  On one hand, I hate that the residents of Chavez Ravine got a raw deal, and on the other hand...I can't wait to get my hands on Opening Day 2013 tickets!


9. THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY

Laugh out loud comedy that doubles as a love story.

" Is that hair gel? Can I have some?" 




There was definitely something about Mari - lyn Monroe.  Back in the day, every Red-Blooded American over the age of 13 wanted to give Marilyn a right-rogering.  And how!  Joe D married the sexiest girl in America, and oh yeah, he had some kinda hitting streak as well. 


 8. HEAT 
Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro play cat and mouse as the leaders of adversarial detective and thief teams, featuring the expansive backdrop of LA as an equal player.  Director Michael Mann is at his best.

The film climaxes in an awesome shootout through the streets of downtown LA. that foresaw (inspired?)  the real-life shootout that many of us watched live on TV as bank robbers in body armor and using automatic weapons fought the ENTIRE LAPD.

"I'm not selling anything, baby.  This sh*t sells itself."

The Ryan Express.  'nuff said.


 7. CABIN BOY
An obscure, funny as hell, Chris Elliot  comedy that nobody saw.  It's Elliot's twisted take on Rudyard Kipling's classic, Captains Courageous, which was also made into a Spencer Tracy film. In Elliot's vision, Cabin Boy is a rich, spoiled idiot, bumbling obliviously through life. 

"These pipes are CLEEEAAANNN !!!"


Sure the Dodgers gave us the first African -American in the major leagues.  Then Al Campanis decided we should give that progressive thinking a wake-up call by declaring on national TV, there are so few African-American managers in MLB because, you know, they can't float."  SAY WHAT????!!!!

THANKS for reading, everybody!

Next Post: Movies 6- 1




Inspired By A Night Owl...Kinda

Hey everybody,

When you're blogger of the year, you don't just write cool stuff that your blogger brethren love to read.  Heck, if that were enough to win, I might just take that title myself next year - or the year after that - or the year after that one.

No, you've gotta do way more than write stuff we like to read.  You've gotta write cool stuff that helps us see our hobby through a new filter and through refreshed eyes.  And if you're good -  i mean, if you're really good, you inspire other bloggers to write yet even more cool stuff about our hobby.  That's what B.O.Y. Night Owl did with his offbeat, but definitely interesting new "thing".  Over at N.O's blog, he's matching up albums and song titles to cards.

So here's my take on it, my "thing", if you will.  I'm offering up my top 20 movies represented by cardboard.  Two rules to be included:

1. It must be a movie I can watch 100 times or more. 
2. The card must be in my collection (and a Dodger card whenever possible).  Check 'em out...

20. BOOGIE NIGHTS
A movie chock full of young actors just bursting on the scene, Marky Mark Whalberg, Don Cheadle, William Macy, John C. Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and veterans Julianne Moore and Burt Reynolds.  The story of a young man's rise and fall in the California porn industry, circa 1975-80, and the group of actors, actresses, camera people, hangers onners and the director who become his supportive "family".

"I never take my skates off." 


Karros and Piazza were rumored to love the night life during thier heyday, basking in the glory of being a rich, young baseball player in LABack in those days, whenever we heard a car driving by blasting loud marengue or salsa music, we used to joke, "There goes Raul Mondesi."


19. GHOST DOG: WAY OF THE SAMURAI
Director Jim Jarmusch's  smart, funny and violent study of an African-American hit man (Forrest Whitaker) who follows the ancient ways of the samurai in modern-day Brooklyn, New York.

"If a warrior's head were to be suddenly cut off, he should still be able to perform one more action with certainty." 


When Jackie broke the color barrier in baseball, even if unwittingly, he followed the way of a quiet and serious samurai, silently enduring hardship and defeating countless enemies with his physical prowess and the weapons of his chosen art.


18. RAISING ARIZONA
The first true comedy in my countdown.  A quirky and at times, hilarious baby-kidnapping film starring Holly Hunter and Nicholas Cage.  Also, in a brilliant bit of casting as a bounty hunter, 'Tex' Cobb.

"Well, it aint Ozzie and Harriet."

I couldn't for the life of me find anything connecting to the film, so here's a backdoor reference to the All-Star game that was played that year in Arizona.


17. GOODFELLAS

I think we all know this one.

" You're really a funny guy!"

Dodgerdom's first Goodfellas - the 1955 Brooklyn squad.  The first team to bring home the World Series Championship.

Our last Goodfellas - The 1988 Los Angeles squad.


16. ANIMAL HOUSE
Hands down, the absolute funniest college comedy, ever.

"See if you can guess what I am now."
 

The Dodgers have had a few "animals" over the years.  First we had a Toro.

Then we had a Bulldog.


Now we have a Bison.

15. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN

Wow. The storming of Omaha Beach scene alone was worth the price of the ticket.

"I was a schoolteacher."

If you were a Dodger pitcher needing a 9th inning save, watching Eric Gagne take the mound meant Game Over! 

Hope you enjoyed the first installment as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Thanks for reading!

Next Post: Part 2

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When A Trade Is Cards On Cards On More Cards

Hey, everybody.  Kerry from  Cards On Cards has been posting trade bait for the past couple of months.  I've been lucky enough to snag some of that cardboard awesomeness and generosity.  In my previous post, I included a Roy Campanella card from our latest trade.  Here are the remaining fruits from this great trade package...



Reggie is one of the great contradictions in my collection.  Although he was a dreaded Yankee during the great Dodger/Yankee wars of the 70's, and he accomplished one of his biggest WS accomplishments to cement him as Mr. October against my Dodgers, and although he cheated and stuck his hip out in order to knock a double play ball off-track and keep a Yankee rally alive, I still love collecting his cards.  Believe it or not, the card above is my first cloth sticker from that set.  Nice.

Reggie was one of baseball's biggest figures and I had the privilege of watching him play. I loved to hate him.  He was larger than life and he often backed it up.  However, one of my greatest memories of the Fall Classic was watching rookie Bob Welch come in and freakin' STRIKE OUT Reggie in a major world Series pressure situation.  This was also one of Tommy Lasorda's great moments of trusting his players.  Sometimes that bit us in the behind (Tom Neidenfuerer), but Tommy's hunches mostly played out in the positive for the Blue.

I really wish we had a baseball card of Welch's World Series heroics.  It was WS drama at its best.  Reggie vs. a rookie - game on the line - 9th inning and a slim lead to be protected - one of the WS biggest bats ever at the plate - you could cut the tension with a knife.

Welch threw absolute heat and dared Reggie to hit 'em.  Mr. October swung with ALL of his might.  I could feel the wind whooshing off of Reggie's bat and through my TV set!  The frustration on Reggie's face when Welch blows strike three past him is absolutely priceless.  Let's watch...

video

Back to the cards...

I can't resist cards featuring the K-Boys

I'm a big Eddie Murray fan.  I was glad when he was a Dodger.  I usually only want cards from guys in thier time with the Blue Crew, but I make an exception for Murray.  He's certainly more widely known as an Oriole.  

Kerry, being the cool trader he is, didn't stop with with the cards I requested.  He generously tossed in some extras: Dodgers and HOFers.  Check out some of my faves...

I didn't collect much heritage, and the packs I did buy yeilded very few Dodgers, so I'm very glad to get these.

 Unfortunately, I don't remember who posted earlier about this card capturing the magnificence of a day game at good 'ol Chavez Ravine.  The blue bullpen gates, the All-You -Can-Eat Gluttony Pavilion, the towering palm trees.  The card really is beautiful. 
Who don't like cards of the Bison?

This is a cool card that I didn't know existed till it was in my hands. 

Sooner or later I'm gonna have a binder page of Lou Gehrigs...and that's only going to be possible because you all helped me get there.  :)


Last up, Teddy Ballgame in classic form.  This is a great card from a great set!  Fantastic. 

THANKS for the awesome trade, Kerry.  Looking forward to the next one.