Friday, August 14, 2015

Autograph Minnesota Twins Baseball Card TTM Update

I now have signed baseball cards from 545 current or former Minnesota Twins. Since my last update I have pickup amongst others Dave Stevens, Joe McCabe, Mo Sanford, Gary Dotter, George Tsamis, Larry Wolfe (over 3 years to get back to me), Bill Bethea, Aaron Thompson, Luis Perdomo, Kevin Maas, Shane Robinson, Mark Wiley, and Shairon Martis through the mail (TTM).

I also bought a few of the tough non-signers like Dennys Reyes, Kevin Mulvey, and Pat Mears from Dave at the Twin Cities Sports Collectables Show in Bloomington. You can check out their show schedule

I have also been reminded why I get signed cards from Twins minor leaguers as well. Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Alex Meyer, and Tyler Duffey have been promoted to the Twins this season. Sano and Rosario are still with the Twins and Buxton should be back soon too. All three look to have star level talent.

My in-person successes were Torii Hunter who appeared at T-Mobile store in downtown Minneapolis, and Eddie Rosario who appeared at a Cub Foods in Crystal. There were good crowds at both events - a sign that the Twins winning record earlier this year had attracted fans’ attention.

Hopefully my successes will continue this year as I move towards my goal of getting a signed baseball card from every living current and former Minnesota Twin. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Missing 1990's Country Music While Acknowledging Things Change

I wish they were making country music like they did in the 1990’s. As my favorite artist Alan Jackson celebrates his 25th year in country music, I find current state of country music to be less than appealing. I like some of the acts, but on the whole it is more or less songs about the same things – trucks, beer, hot women, etc.

The music industry as a whole has changed. Full length albums are out. Album sales are now small and unimportant. Instead the music industry is now about hit singles and touring. This ironically was how things use to be in country music. The 50, 60, and first half of the 70’s were all about hit singles and touring while album sales were small. Then Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kenny Rogers, and Alabama came along and large album sales totals became the thing to have.

What once was is not likely coming back. As time moves on things change, but it does not mean we cannot remember and relive great music from our past. I encourage anyone who likes good music to check out great country artists like Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Clint Black, and two personal favorites of mine Patty Loveless and Pam Tillis.

I learned long ago we do not all like the same thing, and that is a good thing. If we all liked or disliked the same thing life would become monotonous. And while Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean are disliked by many, they are also loved by many.

I started this blog as a graduate school project. I got that Master of Science degree expecting to get a one job field and ended up in another. Life does not always go as planned. Country Music use to be something super important to me. I loved listening to it. I bought lots of albums and went to lots of concerts. But like Taylor Swift – who is following the Olivia Newton John plan on how to morph from a country to a pop star – we all change. I still like to listen to country music, and but I don’t buy albums or go to many concerts much anymore. Part of it is the money it cost; part is the lack of good music from the current artists.

I missed out on the Garth Brooks show here earlier this year, and I will miss out on the Kenny Chesney – Jason Aldean show at Target Field. That is what happens when you cannot afford $200-$500 evening that includes concert tickets, parking, food and beverage. Back in the 90’s I saw Alan Jackson and Faith Hill $25 and got free parking at the Minnesota State Fair. Oh how things have changed.

Country music has changed from the 90’s too. Some think for the better, some think for the worse. I tell people it is okay to think either way. I have my opinion, but that does not have to be yours. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Twins 2015 Prediction and TTM Update

It has been slow going in my pursuit of autographed Minnesota Twins cards since Twinsfest. I did add Paul Powell, Jim Meritt, and Yohan Pino thru the mail (TTM) to give me signed cards from 521 current or former Twins. I also received returns from Jim Thome, Michael Restovich, Ricky Nolasco, Tommy Milone, and Ryan Doumit.

I hope to have more success with the season starting. I will be buying some of the new 2015 cards and sending them to current players. As they seem to do every year the Twins put someone on the team I never expected would make it and those guys never have any real baseball cards. This year it is Blaine Boyer and Shane Robinson who made the team, and I cannot find any cards of them, so I created some on my computer. Hopefully they are good signers.

Predicting how the Twins will do this season is purely guess work. Unforeseen problems like Ervin Santana 80 game suspension for using steroids can quickly mess up any prediction. Still I hope that Danny Santana, Kenny Vargas, and Oswaldo Arcia take the next step in their growth as players and become young stars. I hope Brian Dozier moves his game to All-Star level, and that Joe Mauer returns to All-Star level.

I am rooting for Phil Hughes to continue to pitch like he did last year, and for Tommy Milone to pitch like he did 2012. I also hope Kyle Gibson has a good year, and that Ricky Nolasco bounces back. I really hope to see young prospects like Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer, Trevor May, and Michael Tonkin make it up to the big club to stay.

I hope a lot, but I know better. The Twins will have another tough season where they lose at least 85 games. Hopefully though the young players grow and become better, and we get some excitement watching the games this year. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Twinfest 2015

I attended Twinsfest 2015 which marked my 11th year straight year of attending Twinsfest. With crowds down from previous years, I was able to hit 10 of the 16 autograph stations on Friday night which produced 48 signed baseball cards. I took it a bit easier on Sunday and secured 8 signed baseball cards (got 3 guys for a second time).

I almost always get a cold after Twinsfest and this year was no exception. Now that I am feeling better, below is a list my successes with some commentary.

Current Players (including manager):

Paul Molitor (manager), Danny Santana, Phil Hughes, Trevor Plouffe, Oswaldo Arcia, Ervin Santana, Glen Perkins, Tommy Milone, Kurt Suzuki, Eduardo Escobar, Jordan Schafer, Kyle Gibson, Mike Pelfrey, Brian Duensing, Tim Stauffer, Caleb Thielbar, Carey Fien, Aaron Hicks, and Kennys Vargas 

Nice to add Ervin Santana, Tim Staufer, Tommy Milone, and Jordan Schafer to my collection of signed Twins cards. I now have signed cards from 518 different current and former Twins players. Great to add more signed cards from Phil Hughes, Danny Santana, and Kennys Vargas. Glen Perkins commandeered an Eric Fryer card from a fan to add to his own collection, the fan received an extra autograph for free from Perkins in exchange (you get only 1 autograph from each player each time you pay to go through the line). The Torii Hunter autograph lines were the longest of the weekend which did not surprise me as he was and still is one of the popular Twins of all-time.


Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Kohl Stewart, Alex Meyer, Nick Gordon, Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario, Trevor May, A. J. Achter, Logan Darnell, Max Murphy, Treysen Vara, Tanner Vara, B. J. Hermsen, Tyler Duffey, Mark Hamburger, Nate Hanson, Taylor Rogers, Stephen Pryor, Blake Schmit, Jason Wheeler, J. R. Graham, Brandon Peterson, Eric Fryer, Mike Kvasnicka

The Twins have a lot of good prospects. Buxton, Sano, Stewart, Meyer, Gordon, Polanco, and Rosario all have star potential. Stewart signed his full name which he has not done on the certified autograph cards he signed for the card companies. Rosario’s autograph is a mess, and has certainly gone down hill from when he started in the minors. I needed Achter for my Twins collection as he spent a brief stint up with the big club.

I expected the Buxton and Sano lines to be real long and people did line up 2-3 hours ahead of time. However, once that group moved through the line, there was no more line. Few if any people joined the line when the signing started. I was able to show up at the Paul Molitor and Byron Buxton signing with 15 minutes left in their signing time, and did not have to wait in any line. I even got to stand around and chat with them because there was no one behind me. I had a similar experience in the Sano line. I understand the prices for the Buxton and Sano were higher this year, but both were signing with big names (Sano with Twins legend Tony Oliva, Buxton with Paul Molitor). I suspect once both men get up to the Twins and start showing what they can do, the super long lines will be back again.

Alumni & Coaches

Tony Oliva, Tom Quinlan, Gene Larkin, Dan Gladden, J. T. Bruett, Joe Vara, Neil Allen, Gene Glynn, Butch Davis

Pretty spares list of alumni players this year. Corey Koskie & Roy Smalley were supposed to be there on Friday, but they cancelled out. I wanted to get Koskie so I was disappointed to learn he had cancelled. Gladden showed me his 87 World Series Championship ring which looks good. I had a nice chat with new Twins pitching coach Neil Allen who seems like a nice guy.

I also got a chance to talk with Twins TV play-by-play man Dick Bremer in the hallway. He seemed like a nice guy. He even asked my name and where I was from.

Overall it was another good time, and I look forward to the upcoming Twins baseball season.