Sunday, July 12, 2015

AROD 3k + Zack Hample

Alex Rodriguez.  Much vilified and, probably, rightly so.  But, we must remember that A-Rod is a gifted ballplayer...PED's or not.

So, a few weeks ago Alex hit his 3 thousandth hit...a home run.  Still an awesome feat even under the circumstances of his meteoric fall from grace over the past few seasons.  That ball flew out of the stands in Yankee Stadium and into the hands of...Zack Hample.

Don't know Zack?  Well, by now, most of you do.  But, Zack Hample is a professional baseball-snagger. Over I don't know how many years, Mr. Hample has collected over 8 thousand(!) baseballs.  These have come from player and manager toss ups, foul balls, batting practice hits, and...well, historic...home runs. Personally, I find what Zack does to be fascinating.  It takes dedication and skill to amass that many baseballs in professional ballparks.  It really is amazing.

To be truthful, I was unsure even to write this particular entry.  But, it does have to do with baseball and, it fits here.

Back to the story.  Zack hauled in A-Rod's historic homer and security and the like mobbed him.  But, that young man was now faced with a huge decision:  What to do with the ball?

I wish that I was as famous as that friggin' baseball.  It made the rounds all over New York, has been on talk shows, radio shows, and national television.  Of course, it was all in the presence of it's owner, Zack Hample.

Zack was bombarded with social media messages and emails and phone calls from the famous (the Yankees) and the not-so-famous (insert neckbearded Yankee Tweeter name here).  Many of these communiques were amazing.  Zack got messages that he should "do the right thing and give A-Rod the ball", "not be a douche" and was called a litany of names that would make a construction worker blush.  But, Mr. Hample took it all in stride while taking his time about what to do with the baseball.

Let me say write now, for the record:  Zack Hample is a saint.  Let me tell you why.

Zack decided to have the Yankees give $150,000 to his favorite charity (Pitch In For Baseball).  The only thing he would walk away with is a couple of signed bats.  The Yankees, and Alex Rodriguez, got of CHEAP!

If this were me?  Old J. from Can't Hit The Curve would have CASHED IN.  For real.  My house would be paid off and I would be working full time on my more work for this sucka!  Of course, I'm sure that makes me evil and a pariah in NY.  However, I dare any of you Yankee fans that say you wouldn't do the same thing.

But, no.  Zack Hample turned and gave what could have been a huge payday to a worthwhile charity.  He, himself, got peanuts.  So, that qualifies for sainthood in my non-religious opinion.  But, what do I know?

So, now Alex Rodriguez has his baseball back.  The Yankees are out 150 grand (like it even bothers them). A charity has funds to do great things.  Zack has a couple of bats.  I have usual.  So, all is right in the world.

The outpouring of hate towards Zack Hample during this whole situation bothered me.  I'm sure it did him, too.  What we all need to remember that baseball is a GAME.  A game, folks.  Zack is a person and did his best to make the most of a weird situation for him.

So, Zack, I say kudos.  You seem like a stand up dude and I respect that.

But, like I said, this guy would not have been so saintly.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

2015 Topps Stadium Club

From inception back in the early 90's, Stadium Club has been a product that has prided itself on the quality of their images.  The photography has always been a bit unique, covers the entire card, and is always outstanding.  This variation of Stadium Club is absolutely no different.  It's all about the photos, man.

Each hobby box comes has a two autograph guarantee, which are both on-card (which is awesome).  I'm usually not a snob when it comes to on-card signatures...but, as I get older I am being more selective about on-card vs. sticker.  But, that's just me.

The set itself is a respectable 300 cards with multiple variations of each.  Gold foil, black and white foil, black foil, foil board, Members Only, etc...  Basically, there are variants upon variants in this one.  You'll have to do some digging to see which foil variants are numbered to what.  This was not made clear at the outset.

Seriously though, I came back to Stadium Club for the photography.  Rarely do I like to go back through a box of cards just to look at the pictures.  But, for this one...I can see myself doing just that every couple years or so.  The photos are just rad and unique.

The autograph selection is predictably strong.  It is Topps, you know.  So, the usual subjects will all be represented:  Longoria, Ortiz, Kershaw...blah blah blah.  They are all there.

Stadium Club has inserts galore.  Die Cut, Crystal Ball (WTF?), Triumvirate, True Colors, and 1992 autograph buybacks.  There is a little something for everyone in this set.

Can't Hit The Curve bought a box just for you all.  Broke it open and was pleasantly surprised.  Here's the break down.

2 On Card autos (Marcus Stroman and Arismendy Alcantara black foil #'d to 50)
2 die cut cards (Ted Williams legends, A. Rendon Triumvirate)
11 foil variants (9 - gold foil, 2 -black foil)
Plus...VERY few duplicates, which is nice.

Overall, I have been very pleased with this set.  Great photos (of course), good selection of players, and a wide variety of hits in each box.  In my opinion, you could do much much worse when selecting a box of product to buy.  The price isn't bad, either.

All in all, a good buy.

2015 Panini DIamond Kings

It's really been too long since I have enlightened readers on Can't Hit The Curve.  For that, I apologize. Writing a blog on a regular basis can be hard when life and stuff takes center stage.  Not an excuse; just reality.

To break the info freeze, I will delve into the 2015 edition of Panini Diamond Kings.

First off, Diamond Kings is a super short set...only 150 cards in the base set with an additional 50 rookies.  So, right off the jump let's just say that for set collectors this one should be really easy.  But, every card in the base set has a variant, as well.

The variants:

  • Framed red, silver and framed blue are #'d to 99
  • Gold are #'d to 25
  • Framed green are #'d to 5
  • Black and Framed black are 1 of 1's.

The hits are there too, folks.  Autographs of many top tier rookies as well as memorabilia cards are all represented.  My personal favorite sub-set of hits would have to the the Hall of Fame Heroes.  Pedro, Randy, Murray, Fisk, and Ripken, Jr. (among others) are represented.  It's a nice looking card although the autos look like they are affixed with stickers (boo).

The look of the card has the flair of an "arty"-type set.  Each card pops with color and the images (drawings) of each player tend to be pretty solid.  So, the cards look good...not superb, but pretty decent.

In all, I would say for the price, this seems to be a fairly good buy.  Small set, lots of hits, and many variants should keep all types of collectors interested for a while.  Somehow, I don't see this particular brand of Panini carrying on for a long time.  It could be a one-hit-wonder kind of like the ill-fated T206 set from a few years ago.

I really like this card...and I'm not even a Hosmer fan.
I did buy two packs for research purposes.  Here's what I got:  not much.  Just a base Mike Trout card and an Also Known As Lou Gehrig card.  But, hey, it was only two packs, right?

Thanks again to for the image hookup.