Fantasy Basketball: Owner(s) Needed

I run a couple of fun, free fantasy basketball leagues - each entering Year Three. We are recruiting an owner in each league. One is a very casual group - 14 teams, 14 keepers; the other is somewhat more hardcore - 16 teams, 16 keepers.

If you've played fantasy sports and are always frustrated by the owner turnover, dormant teams, etc. then never fear. I worked hard to recruit active owners and if anyone ever falls off the radar, well, they're replaced. I really work hard to keep things competitive.

Here's the league's link to the more laidback group

Here's the somewhat more intense group

I'll have a chat box open soon in the second league to allow owners to chat as needed.

If you join, you may end up inheriting a rebuilding effort if you're up for the challenge. Or, you may get a pretty solid team, depending on how it shakes down. If you're not up for a possible rebuild, then it's probably not for you. Just letting you know.

So, if fantasy basketball speaks to you and you'll be active on a near-daily basis, then let me know. Thanks.


Juust a Bit Outside Needs Drafters

A couple of weeks ago I took part in a very fun draft over at Tomahawk Chopping, where Mr. Chopping opened up a gallery of some 500 cards and allowed drafters to pick from them. For $15 we got to choose from a great selection of some 30 cards.

Well, Juust a Bit Outside (JABO) is holding a very similar type draft. Kyle, the proprietor of JABO, took part in Tomahawk Chopping's draft with me and eight others.

Now, he's looking for three more participants. If this is your thing, go sign up and tell him, please, that Potch sent you.



When I Was 7 + 3, It Was A Very Good Year

When I get around to posting about my 100 favorite cards of all time - and make no mistake, it's. going. to. happen. - inevitably several cards from the first Topps set I collected will make the list.

1978 Topps takes me back to my childhood like no other set. This was the first set I actively collected. My parents got me started by bringing me home a stack of wax packs at the time.

One of the cards that will always mean the most to me is this very card - the '78 Johnny Bench. I treated this with such kid gloves even then, that it's still in fairly good shape. Johnny Bench wasn't my favorite member of the Big Red Machine at that time, it was Mr. Rose (although no longer), but I still thought a lot of Bench - whom I once met down by the dugout at Riverfront Stadium.

Years ago, as a kid, many of my '78s were destroyed when our basement flooded. When I returned to collecting earlier this year, I discovered I no longer had many cards from the set. One of my key collecting goals is to build it back up and eventually complete it.

Jeff - my new trading friend and proprietor of Cardboard Catastrophes - gave me a big assist in a trade we just completed. He just posted about it here. Jeff sent me a nice-sized stack of '78s as he ended up with quite a few dupes from a lot he had once purchased. He also shipped over some 2011 Series 2 and much-coveted Kimball Champions.

Desperate to keep organized in our current living arrangement, I filed everything away right away, so that's it for the images, but I truly greatly appreciate the help.

My Kimballs for the Update Series are coming along pretty nicely, with more promised to be on the way, but my '78s - well - it likely will be a few years before I complete this set but complete it I shall.

My Take On The CBA

Taking the cue from Mr. Play At The Plate, here are my thoughts on the CBA:

I understand why it folded, what with the NBA Developmental League in place, still with its long history - starting in 1946 - it's a shame.

Oh, wait, he's talking about baseball.

OK, here are some of the highlights of the new CBA:

1. Houston Astros move from the National League Central to the American League West in 2013. I know a lot of baseball fans are up in arms over this but it doesn't much matter to me. On one hand, I hate to see Houston's tradition in the NL shot; on the other hand, at least it should create a great in-state rivalry (which no doubt will be a lopsided affair for several seasons at least, but still...). I don't think it's a big deal to move the NL out of Texas given the fact interleague play will be prevalent now.

On a highly personal level, I see the point of the desire some had to move Milwaukee back to the AL and I wouldn't have minded that given four of my favorite six teams are in the NL Central. But, really, moving Milwaukee to the AL West makes no geographic sense.

2. Two more Wild Card teams will be added to the playoff mix as early as next season. The Wild Card teams in each league would most likely face each other in a one-game playoff to advance to the Division Series. MLB now has until March 1 to determine whether the playoffs will be expanded for the coming season. I love this plan. It restores value to actually winning the division - including by putting wild card teams at an added disadvantage of having their rotations screwed up. 

3. Blood testing for HGH with a 50-game suspension for a first failed test, 100 games for a second and lifetime ban with the right to seek reinstatement for the third. Highly in favor.

4. A raise in the minimum salary from $414,000 this year to $480,000 in 2012, and ultimately to more than $500,000. Meh.

5. A luxury tax on teams that spend above an aggregate figure for players signed through the annual First-Year Player Draft and the near elimination of Draft-pick compensation for the signing of free agents. I have zero cents to add here as well. Honestly, for better or worse, I purposefully try to ignore this stuff for the most part and focus on the game.

6. Subject to MLB discussions with the umpires' union, the expansion of instant replay to include fair and foul calls on balls hit down the line in addition to others trapped by fielders. Replay has been used only to review home runs -- fair or foul, in or out of the park. I'm not too concerned about this slowing down the game but I realize many won't like it. I just think it's important to get some of those tough calls right and worth the time.

7. Restrictions for the first time on the use of smokeless tobacco on the field or in dugouts. Players are still allowed to chew, but while they're in an area where they can be picked up by a television camera, the protocol now is for them not to have pouches or tins of tobacco visible in their uniform back pockets. Part of me wants to say "leave 'em alone" - and, really, "leave 'em alone" - but yet I'm in favor of this given the hero worship factor for little kids. 

In fact, I'm also in favor of banning open spitting of said chew. Or get the players to at least turn their back to the playing field when they spit. Yes, I realize this is ridiculous and won't happen but I had several family members and friends this year tell me that they can't actually stomach watching baseball games any more due to the incessant spitting. It got me to paying more attention to that aspect of the game and it seriously is a constant. Can't imagine it's drawing in fans.


Contest Winners Revealed

Randomization is done. I apologize as I attempted to do a full screen capture but it would only let me scroll down so far on the screen so I could not get the time stamp.

You'll have to trust that I'm presenting these in order of randomization.

I truly hope I have not violated some cardinal rule of contest blogs. I thought about starting over but I just felt it was better to go with what came up the first three times rather than start over.

But, as random would have it, I'm in the middle of preparing thank you posts involving two of the four winners.

So here we go. And, as previously announced, the third time is the charm.

Here's the first random:

Here's #2:

And, finally, the winning randomization:

Thanks to everyone who entered this much-delayed first contest celebrating my 100th post a month ago.

Congrats to Robert! Congrats to Hackenbush! Congrats to A2 Wolverine! Congrats to Jeff Laws!

#1 - first choice goes to Robert 
#2 - second choice goes to Hackenbush
#3 - third choice goes to A2 Wolverine
#4 - fourth choice goes to Jeff Laws
#5 - Robert gets to choose another prize
#6 - Hackenbush
#7 - A2 Wolverine
#8 - Jeff Laws

Trading of picks or prizes is allowed. Both parties should notify me though. Taking into account the holidays, I hope to have this wrapped up with prizes going out a week from today.

Below are the prize choices. As you can see, I picked up a few mini and/or traded sets recently.

1. Signed 8x10 of the somewhat troubled Dwayne Jarrett. I won this at The National in August.

2. Leon Durham autographed card. Back in August I wrote about how several players, including Durham, signed a couple of cards for me at The National. Sorry I didn't get this certified or anything.
3. 1989 Fleer record-breakers from the below year (full set)

CLAIMED BY HACKENBUSH 4. The below card set from the 2011 National

CLAIMED BY A2WOLVERINE 5. Michael Pineda, Heritage (numbered to 300). This card was only available as a redemption giveaway at The National in Chicago in August. Bonus: It was touched by a Topps official representative - who handed it to yours truly. What? That's not a bonus? Well, it happened.

6. Complete set of 1987 (the wood grains) Topps minis (77 cards)

7. Fleer 1987 All-Stars (full set). Here's a sample...

8. Complete set Kmart Dream Team.

9. Fleer 1989 Update set (regular size).

CLAIMED BY JEFF 10. Choice of three relics from this modest grouping (if three are taken, the other three cannot be selected, sorry)

CLAIMED BY ROBERT 11. The lovely 2008 UD Masterpieces featured here two posts ago. This prize will include 65 cards of the 90-card base set. A nice starter set for anyone who missed these great cards.

12. Set of 1986 Fleer Minis

13. Set of 1987 Fleer Minis

14. Auto racing card set distributed at The National. For some reason, mine included 9 of the 10 card set but not card #1. Be advised

15. 1987 Fleer Baseball Award Winners Set

16. 1987 Fleer Baseball All Stars

17. 15 minis from my available GQ and Allen&Ginter 2011 lists

Gypsy Queen minis
23 - Johnny Cueto
114 - Chris Coghlan
117 - Dallas Braden
122 - Derrek Lee
124 - JJ Hardy
129 - Aaron Hill
135 - Ryan Dempster
137 - Ricky Romero
146 - Melky Cabrera (red back)
169 - Orlando Hudson
173 - Adam Dunn
183 - Rafael Furcal
189 - Mike Aviles (red back)
193 - Carlos Beltran
195 - Bronson Arroyo (red back)
220 - Tyler Colvin
222 - Heath Bell
224 - Drew Stubbs
227 - Cameron Maybin
241 - Brian Roberts
267 - Jake Arrieta (red back)
281 - Juan Pierre
299 - Andruw Jones
319 - Elvis Andrus
346 - Shane Victorino
347 - Konrad Schmidt

Allen & Ginter 2011 Minis
279 (black parallel)

18. Skip selecting a prize and instead claim two additional entries for my next contest, planned for my one-year anniversary in February.

19. 1988 Fleer Baseball Superstars set


Contest Time: This. Is. Happening.

Is it just me or are one-word-sentences-for-impact kind of douchey? Yet, I still insist on trotting them out every so often.

I guess that says a lot about who you are, fella.

So, I've been taking names and checking them ... oh, I'm lying, I haven't really checked them yet but I will - and, hey, I just made you think of Santa Claus, so some lies are good amiright?

So, thanks again to those of you who entered my first contest a couple of weeks ago. I'm finally getting back to it.

Yes, the long-awaited, but probably really not all that interesting 100th blog post contest here at Potch Wheeler and The Cardboard Heroes will finally get started ... soon.

I've been busy. Trying to buy a house, traveling for work, taking on extra work, what not - but enough excuses.

At the moment, there's at least one other contest wrapping up at the moment here in our nerdy corner of the blogosphere CLICK HERE!, so I don't want to steal her thunder but in the next day or so I'll tally the entries and hit the ol' randomizer.

But first, I'll offer one more - no two more - ways to enter. You folks who managed to get past the ridiculousness up top are in luck!

In the comments, and your answers can be short, please let me know:

1) Your age when you first start collecting? Who got you started and how?
2) Your favorite MLB team(s)?
3) Your favorite set or insert set? You are welcome to provide more than one answer.
4) List your favorite players (past or present). List up to 10.

You must answer at least three of the above questions to get an entry into the contest. Answer all four and you get two entries. By the way, I'd love to have everyone post their age as I'm interested in the demographics of this hobby. However, you aren't required to do so for entry.

Once I tally the final entries, including the entries that came in a few weeks back, I will do three randoms. The third will determine the winners. I will send eight prize packages to four people. If a repeat name comes up in the top four, then I will move down the list.

#1 - first choice 
#2 - second choice
#3 - third choice
#4 - fourth choice
#1 - will get to choose another (fifth choice)
#2 - will get to choose another (sixth choice)
#3 - will get to choose another (seventh choice)
#4 - will get to choose another (eighth choice)

In the randomizer post that will come in the next couple of days, I will list the full set of prizes. Here's a peek at a couple of them.

1) Leon Durham autographed card. Back in August I wrote about how several players, including Durham, signed a couple of cards for me at The National. Sorry I didn't get this certified or anything.
2) 1989 Fleer record-breakers from the below year (full set)

3) The below card set available exclusively at The National in August.

4) Michael Pineda, Heritage (numbered to 300). This card was only available as a redemption giveaway at The National in Chicago in August. Bonus: It was touched by a Topps official representative - who handed it to yours truly. What? That's not a bonus? Well, it happened.

5) Complete set of 1987 (the wood grains) Topps minis (77 cards)

6) Fleer 1987 All-Stars (full set). Here's a sample...

7) Complete set 25-year Kmart oddball collection.

8) Fleer 1989 Update set.

9) Choice of three relics from a small grouping. No HOFers or anything.

10) The lovely 2008 UD Masterpieces featured in my previous post. This prize will include 65 cards of the 90-card base set. A nice starter set for anyone who missed these great cards.

I expect to have up to 20 choices total so stay tuned for the other choices. I'll also likely add some cards from your favorite team(s), unless you tell me not to do that.

I'm committed to wrapping this up and getting packages out before Thanksgiving.


2008 Masterpieces Theatre

Editor's Note: This post has been updated with current needs. Thanks Sewing Machine Guy!

I was late to the game when it came to this sharp set. My 20-year card collecting sabbatical meant these cards were fresh and new to me.

I found the set after dropping into various dollar stores: General, Tree and so on. I kept buying them as I just really love 'em. But like I've oft discovered since returning to this hobby early this year, finding the short prints can be a nightmare.

And, so, I call out to the blog world to see if anyone has any of the short prints collecting dust. I suspect not - but why not try, right?

Here's what I need still: 93, 95-102, 104-110, 112-114, 117, 118

In short, plenty. 

Below are a few more images for the uninitiated. Speaking of which, I have dozens of dupes among cards 1-90 should anyone wish to start their own Masterpiece collection. Just ask.


I Have Only Just Begun To Blog!

My wife, daughter and I have been living much like gypsies since June when our Chicagoland house sold and we headed back home to Indiana.

Well, hopefully before Christmas we'll be in our house and, soon after that, my efforts to trade, blog more consistently, and so on will be much easier.

For now, we're still holed up with my Grandpa in a fairly confined space. We can't complain too much. We moved because our jobs became work-from-home flexible and we wanted our daughter closer to family.

As for baseball cards, there are a few things I'd like to do between now and mid-December.

1. Complete 1976 Topps.
2. Make significant headway on Heritage 2011.
3. Make significant headway on Kimball Champions. I need #96 and most everything from #101-150 (but check first as I have a couple of them heading my way, I believe).

Down on the List: Pick up some more 1978s and, speaking of being gypsies, Gypsy Queens and, what the heck, '11 Topps Chrome.

On my home page, I have wants and cards available listed for various sets. If you're having trouble scrolling about and finding what you need, please send me a note.

Too bad TV never showed this guy during the World Series.
Oh, and one more thing: I plan to get back to before the move, the contest I mentioned last month. Far too much work travel popped up since then but I've made detailed notes on who gets entered into ye olde randomizer. Also, I'll offer up another chance to enter before I get things started.

Search Me *shrugs*