Thursday, October 23, 2014

An Update At World Series Time.

Doing the lovely hobby of cataloging this fine set for your aesthetic baseball pleasures and perhaps edification in the blog itself has taken a backseat to life. Losing the scanned images of my '67 Topps baseball set doesn't help things either.

I was using an ancient Dell laptop which wasn't compatible with the operational system upgrades which became necessary when XP ended. I went fishing on Ebay for an economical laptop replacement and found an HP (C700 I think) with Vista for $125. This was all last March before the support for XP officially ended. If you believe in serendipity an example of this would be the ancient Dell laptop's hard drive officially going belly up about a week after the new, used HP Compaq laptop arrived. I had long since wore out the keyboard on the Dell and was plugging in a portable USB keyboard. For some reason it was trying to find the software to automatically install for it to function even though I had been using it for years on the machine and then ZAP! Black screen.

No major loss losing the Dell, everything was moved over to the Compaq already and I went about getting used to Vista. The Ebay seller's refurbish job wasn't the best. Occasionally the screen would flicker wildly for no reason and require me to shut it off and turn back on. I was in a chat room/movie watching site called watch2gether when ZAP! The Compaq shut off. I turned it back on and found all the security certificates for all of the websites were lost. Nothing was accessible. I did what I could to get it up and running online and then I couldn't turn it on anymore. This time I did not back up my files. My faith in seller refurbished laptops on Ebay has remained permanently shattered. I now wonder if I didn't return the damaged goods, if it would have caught fire just for the kicks. Dreaded machines.

Already a long story, far too late to make it short. I ended up buying a HP2000 from a seller on EBay which looked to be an online pawn shop of sorts. So far so good, warranty, Windows 8.1 blah blah blah.

I've gotten interested in watching the MLB post season this year while I work at scanning the '67 and starting this where I left off. I can say the sport isn't the same as I remember when I watched it on a regular basis. It's not much different from 2004 when I did watch it religiously but it isn't the same as it was in the 80's when I was a kid. Pitchers then played with the speed of their pitches more. Now they all look like Roger Clemens clones. RA Dickey is the only knuckler that I know of and he is pushing 40 years old. 

About 40% of the league is bearded now too. I think of this as the player's way of thumbing their noses at us guys who have to be clean shaven to earn a living (I think this started with the goatees in the post strike era of the '90's too). Us normal guys need to look like we actually grew up when we became adults instead of trying to feel like a grown up by having beards that likely stink of seven levels of sweat by 11 pm every night. 

The beard could also be a great love tester. The players way of thinking might be " she into me or does she want me for the money?" "I got it, I'll look like a lumberjack and then I'll see what she does" and stylistic trend is set. 

The baseball has been ok. I find myself rooting for the teams with the coaches whose names I recognize the most. I was a huge Yankee fan before the '95 strike so I was rooting for Buck Showalter's Orioles and the San Francisco Giants (again) because Dave Righetti, Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens and Roberto Kelly on their coaching staff. 
 Righetti was a favorite of mine when I was a kid. He is Italian American, like me, He is a southpaw like me and his '87 Topps record breaker card was in the first pack of baseball cards I ever got. The pack of cards was a gift I got for singing in the chorus up on stage for an hour (long night for a 9 year old).

Roberto Kelly was a fan favorite for us Yankee fans. I was dumbfounded when he was traded away for Paul O'Neill but it paid off for the Reds and the Yankees in the end
His Score rookie wasn't worth much but it was valuable to me back then.  Hensley Meulens always seemed like he might be a huge star in the majors but one thing or another seemed to hold him back. His career in the majors started out like Alfonso Soriano's. Alot of home runs in a few at bats but unlike Soriano, he never really made it in the big leagues. 
I had high hopes for the Dodgers, managed by another childhood favorite, Don Mattingly but no such luck. He was the hero of the Yankees growing up. Unlike recent Yankees, the Captain (when I was a kid), got no fanfare in his final season. His career ended in his first ever post season in a long career. He did what he could but the Yankees fell to the Mariners in the first ALDS in 1995. 
 Try as  I might, I never had much luck getting his 1987 Topps baseball card. Had the worst luck pulling it from the packs. I had such rotten luck that I ended up buying it separately. This wasn't uncommon. Pulling a Mickey Mantle I hear from a pack of 1960's Topps cards was much harder than pulling a Hal Reniff.

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