Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More Duke greatness

Between work, the Olympics, the baseball trade deadline and the impending thunderstorms, the last thing I should be doing right now is writing a post.

But creature of habit that I am, I've got to make things difficult.

I'll make it quick because I just saw lightning.

Out of all of the players that I collect, there is only one who has crossed so many spectrums of the hobby for me. I have discovered great cards of him among cheapie '80s issues. I've found great vintage cards of him. I've found fantastic shiny autographed cards, and the man himself has even supplied me with his own autograph on a few cards.

Of course, I'm referring to the Duke of Flatbush, Mr. Snider.

You saw the 1956 card of him yesterday. Well, here is the card I received in the mail today. Isn't it swell?

There is nothing more impressive than relic cards containing bits of uniform from 50 years ago.

This arrived from Matt of Cardboard Conundrum ... and yes, I had to look up how to spell "conundrum."

It's my second relic card of The Duke. As Upper Deck says, it's "significant." On the back, it says I'm to be congratulated because it's a "game-used pants card."

Hoo-boy. You know how I feel about those.

But I can't let my hang-ups ruin another fantastic card from The Duke.

So I hope you like this card.

I've gotta run. I just heard thunder.

My scanner is plotting to destroy me

The end of work tonight (or last night for most of you) was a frustrating lesson in what happens when incompetence mixes with unnecessarily complicated technology:

Everyone within a 500-foot radius will pay.

So, with much relief and clinging to a few shreds of sanity, I came home eager to tend to my family of blogs.

Unfortunately, this is the only one that will receive attention. Because my scanner -- my evil, evil scanner -- is trying to finish me off. I mean it is really, really putting a lot of energy into my demise.

For example:

I have just completed scanning the following image ...

... for the 16th time.

Yup, 16 times.

Why would I ever scan the same thing 16 times?

I have no rational explanation. I just like things to be straight. It's a simple request by my way of thinking. Place an object on the scanner. Line it up in a reasonably straight fashion. And, presto, it should emerge on my backlit screen STRAIGHT!

But my scanner won't do this. Because it's plotting to destroy me.

My brain is whimpering quietly to itself because it knows the above image is not straight. But this is the world in which we now must live. A world of crooked images and readers secretly laughing behind our backs. Because my scanner is a conniving bastard.

So, let's ignore scanner cackling in the background and see that image again.

These are cards from the 2004 Topps 100 Years of the World Series insert set that I just declared that I was going to collect earlier this month.

And when I was at the card show last weekend, I just happened across a binder with three pages of the inserts.

They looked beautiful.

I bought nine of them. I don't know why I didn't buy them all. Probably because they didn't have any prices on them (grrrrrrrrrrrrr).

My favorite one is the card of the 1958 World Series program. It's one of the best that there is. Unfortunately it pays tribute to the Yankees, which is a major no-no.

My least favorite one is the 1997 program on the middle left. At some point in the 1970s, Major League Baseball -- or whoever is in charge of producing programs -- decided it would print the World Series programs before the World Series participants were decided. This led to the horribly generic programs that we know today. And it's why the older programs are vastly better.

OK, onto more crooked scans.

This one dealer at the show always has grab bags of vintage cards. Fifty cards for 10 bucks or 20 bucks or whatever. I've purchased several of his grab bags before.

There wasn't much that interested me this time, so I snagged a 1979 bag because it was cheap (8 bucks marked down to 4). I knew there wouldn't be much in there that I needed and I was right. Out of the 50 or so cards, I needed these four. Plus, I have a feeling that I already have the Porter and Foote cards. So I paid 4 bucks for 2 cards.

No wonder my scanner hates me.

More crookedry.

Every time I see a binder full of 1975 Topps, I must check it for upgrades. I am eternally trying to upgrade my already very fine-looking '75 set.

Only this time, I was caught totally off guard by the binder. I didn't even know the dealer had almost a whole set of '75s. So, trying to go by memory, I picked out these six cards as ones I needed to upgrade.

Unfortunately, my memory was calling up my want list from 2008. So only Spillner and Hunt are worthy upgrades. The rest are fancy dupes. But, man, 2008 me is awfully jealous.

I knew this was a dupe already. But I wanted a fancier copy. And -- hey! -- the image is straight! Scanner must have been on a lunch break for this card.

I am forever amazed when I see one of these '64 Topps cards with the back unmarked by cold hard cash. What kid in 1964 looked at instructions to reveal the answer and said, "Nah, it'll ruin the investment"?

The first 1960 Leaf card I've ever owned. I think it's the first one I've ever seen in person.

They are remarkably flimsy. And terribly unprofessional-looking. Yet, thanks to folks like Renatta Galasso, the design is somewhat timeless and one I identify with as the first on-card images I saw of '50s stars like Mantle and Clemente.

1972 high numbers in the bargain bin!

Doesn't get much more thrifty than that. I don't know what I paid for these great character cards -- the dealer was slashing prices on me constantly -- but it couldn't have been more than a buck apiece.

The '72 Traded cards make up one of the greatest subsets ever made.

Final card.

Ol' Coop looks like he just tried to scan a few items.

After showing off the Duke Snider '56 card in the last post, I'll bet some of you thought I could never go back to the less-than-stellar.

Don't you worry. I've never been very picky about my '56s. This card, which was also found in the bargain bin, fits my specifications perfectly. And it had better. After buying that Snider, all I could afford was what people were marking down.

I actually almost bought this card a couple of card shows ago, then put it back, then beat myself up the rest of the day for putting it back. But now I have it for probably less than half the price I would have paid for it the first time.

Sometimes you just have to wait it out.

Which is what I'm doing with my scanner.

Someday, buddy, you're going to expire. A scanner's life expectancy is like 26 months. And I'll be waiting. With a party hat and a noise maker. And a great big sledgehammer.

So just keep on churning out crooked cards. I won't crack that easily.

I'll just need a little talk with my brain first.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The most I've ever spent on a single card ... it happened Saturday

(Disclaimer: I swear I had this post written and scheduled to publish a full five hours before Fuji's latest question. This was MY IDEA, you hear?)

While I was on vacation last week, I went to a card show. It's the one in lakeside Clayton that I go to every summer. I grabbed this 1970 League Leaders card because I thought I needed it. But already had it. I acquired it from a blogger not long ago. Stupid brain.

But except for surprises like that, I know what I'm getting at this show for the most part. There are always a couple of dealers there that I know quite well. Sometimes new people pop up, but they're not always there. Last weekend, it was just the old reliables. And that's fine with me.

This show will have to serve as my National because I won't be in Baltimore this week. Something about work and family commitments and money. My boss, relatives and wallet are not very understanding about my hobby. But that's fine with me, too, because of the card I picked up at the Clayton show.

It's a card that I really had no idea whether I'd ever acquire. And even if I did acquire it, who knows what the condition would be?

So that is why I am very pleased with what I was able to land.

It cost quite a bit.

But it's totally worth it.



That is one fantastic collection of paper molecules.

This 1956 card of Duke Snider is the most I have ever spent for a single card.

However, I don't feel guilty about it at all because every cent of the cash was birthday money. Mine for spending however I wish. I wished for a spiffy '56 Snider and, lo, my wish came true!

You'll notice that it's in fabulous shape. Relatively sharp corners, relatively clean borders. A little off-center, but who cares?

I know that a lot of the blogosphere prides itself on getting deals on cards like this. Off-condition cards for a nice price. The bargain is the thing.

I like a good bargain, too. But sometimes you've got to live a little and say, "Hey dudes! Look what I got!!!"

I obtained this card from a dealer that I see all the time. But this is the only show where I buy stuff from him. I saw the card under the glass, asked him how much, and didn't bat an eye when I heard the price.

He lifted the glass, picked up the card -- took it out of its top-loader -- and simply handed it me.

I loved that.

I told him I wanted to look around a little bit, but that I'd be back.

I was back in 5 minutes.


For 80 bucks.

Getting all of the Dodgers in the 1956 set is not easy. I still need Campanella and Robinson and Koufax and Reese, etc.,etc. And there's no way I'm doing the same thing for those that I did for Snider.

And I don't even want to think about the fact that I'm also trying to complete the '56 set, which means I need TWO Campanellas and Sniders and Robinsons and Koufaxes and Reeses.

Yeah, let's not think about that.

Let's just think about the fantastic Snider card.

By the way, this serves as my '56 of the Month post. I think it serves for at least the next five '56 of the Month posts.

More on what I got at the show in the next post. Sorry, but it won't be nearly as exciting.

Ow, my eyes

OK, I've delayed what I was going to write about so Fuji can hijack my blog again. But this is an idea that I should have come up with myself, so I deserve to have my schedule shaken up a little.

Fuji, channeling dayf, asks "what is the ugliest set you've ever seen?"

Excellent. If there's one thing I know about, it is ugly. I am forever coming across wardrobe choices, pet preferences, automobile selections and, dare I say it, people that others think look perfectly fine. In fact, sometimes they say, "that is beautiful."

And I stand and stare in disbelief.

"No it ain't, child," I say to myself. "That ugly."

And so it is with baseball card sets (yep, strictly baseball here). Some folks have some strange ideas of what looks good on a rectangular piece of cardboard. And I was able to come up with 15 ugly-ass sets. (that's right, 15. You think I was going to give you only one? This is a full-service blog here).

A couple qualifiers first though.

People confuse "ugly" with "colorful." Colorful is never ugly. So no matter what Negative Nellie may tell you about 1972 Topps or 1975 Topps or even Circa from the late '90s, don't listen to them. Color is always good. Well ... there are exceptions, as we'll see.

Secondly, "ugly" is not the worst crime. The worst crime is "boring." At least with "ugly," it usually means someone is trying. They're trying poorly, but at least they're trying. Boring is just big, fat apathy. Apathy on cardboard is everywhere. I'd have to make it a Top 50 list if we were dealing with the most boring sets I ever saw. Two-thirds of them would be Bowman.

Finally, a final word about sets that just missed the cut. Um, 2004 Donruss, 2002 Topps, 1999 Upper Deck and a whole host of Pacific sets, don't think I don't know you're ugly. Check the mirror and be thankful.

OK, I think that's it before the countdown.

Oh, right ... "eye of the beholder" and all that nonsense.

On with the show:

15. 2005 Upper Deck ESPN

This is the only set in the list that actually makes me angry. Vintage ESPN. The ESPN space-ripple robot graphics, or whatever the heck they are, are annoying. The entire set leaves me cold, as if this was a phoned-in effort by ESPN in an attempt to attract more viewers.

I must note though that some of the inserts are very nice -- although they celebrate a lot of stupid things, like the Espys.

14. 1999 Pacific Omega

Pac-Om came out with some of the worst-looking horizontal sets ever. Green and orange should never exist together. (Not even The U can pull it off). Especially not these particular shades of the two colors. Plus, the card is like three cards in one with elements everywhere. And what the dickens is that silver ghost thing on the right?

13. 2004 Upper Deck Play Ball

I realize this is some sort of tribute to the original Play Ball cards, but, goodness, it's ugly and semi-haunting at the same time. I don't think the pictures of the players are supposed to look like their faces are 10 seconds from melting.

12. 1989 Fleer

The card is wearing pinstripes and Kruk is wearing pinstripes. So how come everyone still looks fat?

One rule of cardboarding: if you pick gray as design element, you're playing with ugly. At best, it's going to look boring. But the pinstripes take it over the edge into "your mom is so ugly your dad met her at the zoo" territory.

11. 1992 Score

This is my least favorite Score set. I do a happy dance anytime I find out someone is collecting this set, which unfortunately isn't very often. It's also one of the few colorful sets that I find ugly.

The colors just don't go together. The teal-turquoise color and the off-purple color that appear on most of the cards are awful. And then Score goes and combines them with burnt orange. (*sound you make when you touch something wet that should never be wet*).

10. 1991 Donruss

You probably knew this was coming. I consider '91 Donruss more immature than ugly. It's a childish set. But it's also a cheap, unpretty design. And mixing blue-bordered cards and green-bordered cards in the same set doesn't help things. Even Charlie Hayes is unhappy with it.

9. 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen

I made a comment on Fuji's post that no 2012 set could be the ugliest ever, that ugly needs to stand the test of time. And so it is with Gypsy Queen. It can't be the ugliest ever. But if there's ever a set that I know has what it takes to eventually get there, that will strive for the prize, it's 2012 GQ. Every time I look at it, it gets uglier. I've got to stop looking at it.

8. 1970 Topps

I almost put this in the "boring" category, meaning it would be ineligible for this list. However, I figured that one of the first sets (maybe the first? I don't know) to actively choose gray as a design element should be sufficiently punished. After all the white-bordered sets of the '60s, this was an interesting departure, but it does not hold up well.

7. 1991 Fleer

I continue to rack my brain over what Fleer was thinking when they decided neon yellow would be the best representative for their set that year. Not as a complementary color. Not as small logo in the corner. But as THE, great, big, HELLO I'M YELLOW representative of the set. Wow.

6. 1996 Pinnacle Aficionado

The first time I saw this set and threw it on the blog, I used the word "grotesque." And I think a couple people agreed. I still think it's the best word for this set. The raised, looming sketch is both monstrous and self-important. (A sickness with many '90s sets). Raul Mondesi can't wait to get away from himself.

5. 1990 Topps

Confession time: in less lucid moments, I consider completing the 1990 Topps set. But then about 426 people offer to send me cards from the set and I start to get wary.

The truth is there are some very nice looking cards in this set. No, really. I'm serious. Look at the George Brett, Tom Pagnozzi and Bruce Hurst cards. That is where color can work for you.

But for the majority of the cards in the set? A complete 25-car pile-up. Suuurrre, magenta, orange, gold and lime green are in perfect harmony. Anyone can see that! If any restaurant chose those colors to represent their franchise, they'd have customers vomiting up their orders in the aisles.

4. 1997 Pinnacle

I don't think anyone can explain Pinnacle's fascination with gold. But each set grew progressively worse, until they foisted this horror on the public. As you can see, the photo is completely incidental because the gold monster on the left is EATING it.

A thousand question marks pop up over my head whenever I see this set.

3. 1986 Donruss

Almost made this number one. But then after viewing it, I went into convulsions, and when I came to, I didn't remember what I was doing.

This set has come up repeatedly on the blog and I always say that it's the only set where when I first viewed it, I jumped back with a startled "oh!" as if I was trying to get away from it.

Also, all those tightly packed lines of equal pressure on the card means that's some storm brewing in the 1986 Donruss set.

2. 1968 Topps

The late '60s and early '70s was a terrible time for fashion. Everything and anything looked brutal. I know. I lived through the second half of it as a kid. I have incriminating pictures of what I wore. And what my friends wore. And the wallpaper! Good god, the wallpaper.

So I can see why this design would look normal in 1968. But actually, it's not normal at all. And neither is that couch you sat on back then. It should have been burned. And if the 1968 Topps set wasn't, you know, cardboard that we collect, I'd say the same thing about the set. Burn it!

1. 1995 Fleer

There is so much crazy involved with this set that I can't possibly address it all. The craziest thing might be that there were six different set designs representing the six divisions, all increasingly ugly until you got to the absolute hideous, the National League West cards, a version of which you see here.

It's unreadable. Offensive. Bizarre. Disturbing. And it makes you concerned for the health of everyone involved in making the set.

Oh, and it is the ugliest set I've ever seen with my two eyes in all my born days.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Back in action

I was out of town for a few days last week on vacation. When I got back, I was pretty busy, but that's never stopped me from posting before.

This time, it stopped me. I just didn't feel like tending to the blog, or the hobby really. There are trade packages collecting dust, cards people sent me collecting dust, binders collecting dust ... and some half-hearted posts to tie it all together.

But don't worry. I'm not going to start drawing ponies. I just wanted to see what it was like to ignore collecting for a few days. It felt good. A relief. My brain kept trying to turn post ideas over and and over in its head until it realized it didn't have to do that. "Phew," it said.

We've decided -- the brain and I -- that we're going to do it again. Soon. But I'll always be back. Even if it's just a trade post. (*Ahem*).

These are cards from Spiegel at Nomo's Sushi Platter. I can always count on him for a hard-target search of the want list. Let's see what he uncovered:

Well, now, that's pretty good searching. A numbered Don Drysdale card from a set that was never in my consciousness. Something from 2005 called Upper Deck Ultimate Signature. I bet it thought it was hot stuff seven years ago.

More cautionary tales from 2005. Brazoban was thought to be the next big thing after Eric Gagne. Arm problems put a stop to that. But that didn't prevent the Mets from acquiring him. The Mets have a fascination with Dodgers. Still, after all these years. Brazoban is now pitching in Japan.

My second Jake Daubert card. I mentioned 2 1/2 years ago about my desire to own more Daubert cards. Mark A. even was kind enough to leave me a Daubert list. But as with many things, I did nothing with it. Fortunately, Speigel is not as lazy as I. Presenting the 1913 National League MVP.

To answer this question, I use regular old Windex. And not very well, apparently.

(P.S.: Blogger needs to fix whatever issue it's having with links).

A card for the Olympics. Please say you're an "Olympic person." I get concerned for humanity when people say they don't watch the Olympics. Rise above the NBCism of the Olympics. There's still good in there.

This was one of several Allen & Ginter short-prints Spiegel sent me. However, this was the only one I needed, which backs my growing theory that not all A&G short-prints are created equal.

Spiegel always does such a great job searching out '77 Topps for me. I've upgraded several cards with the items he sent me. These three, however, fill holes. The Cuellar one has always been a favorite. When he was posing like that, us kids were doing the same staring through chain-link fences at people playing ball.

We've reached the autograph portion of the post. Spiegel is big into TTMs and that's where I benefit. This is my second Pena autographed card. It appears that a massive mudslide has hit Dodger Stadium.

How do you spruce up a 1987 Topps card that has been seen so often it makes collectors' eyes bleed? With a TTM signature, of course!

This is my first autograph of former Dodgers closer Ken Howell. He's had some hard health times fairly recently. But he's back and signing!

And, finally, a challenge.

This is a terrific card autographed by Steve Garvey. In person, I believe.

It's signed on a California Fire Prevention card from the late '80s. These are oversized, which means Garvey can't go in my Dodgers autographs binder OR I have to find different pages for the autograph binder.

Mr. Perfect always has to make things just so, doesn't he?

He's still cool. No matter how many jokes you make about him.

Spiegel also sent some night cards, which you'll see eventually.

It's good to be back in action.

In fact, it's really good to be back in action.

You'll see what I mean next post.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I don't know why I did what I did

I'm supposed to relay how I first decided to collect sports cards and when. So says Fuji. Or maybe it's Nick. It's getting very confusing, and truthfully, I'm not playing much by the rules, so never mind.

The "when" part of this question is easy. I first collected sports cards (re: baseball cards) in 1974 when I was eight years old. As I've written here many times, I say "collected," but actually I had no idea what "to collect" meant in '74.

The 1974 Topps baseball cards I received that year came from my mother who had just returned from a grocery store trip. She handed my brother and I some cards from the store, one of those cello packs with about 30 or so cards, if I recall correctly.

And, as I've also mentioned many times, we admired, cherished and marveled over those cards for those summer months. And then, when school came around, we chucked them in the garbage. Don't rock the boat, baby. We already had Matchbox cars to collect. We didn't need another hobby.

I don't have many memories of those first cards. I've since completed the entire set in honor of my first year, but I have to stare at the cards for a very long time for any of them to transport me back to that time. Cards just didn't have a lot of meaning to me then.

I do remember being overpowered by the John Odom card. But I can't even tell you if I had the card or my brother had the card, or a friend had the card, or I just saw it in the street somewhere.

The Eddie Leon card was terrific, too. (Also mentioned before). But that was only because my brother had the card long after 1974 and it was great because it was an "old card."

And the Tommy John card sat on the top of my stack of '74s in my desk drawer. Because it's the first card I ever pulled out of a pack (I DO remember that) and it started me on the path to being a Dodger fan. (I've mentioned all this before, too).

But how did I start collecting sports cards? What were the reasons?

Damned if I know. I was eight.

When 1975 came along, I actually started spending my allowance on the 1975 Topps set, going out to stores and buying cards with my own money. This was true collecting. And I got hooked. I think this was because the set is one of the greatest ever, because I was just getting to know the game of baseball, and because I had ownership of these pieces of cardboard as I purchased them with my own cash. I was a big boy.

But really, this all speculation. In actuality I don't know why I did what I did. It was almost 40 years ago. I'm lucky I remember as much about that time as I do.

So, have I answered Fuji's ... er, Nick's question? I think I did. Although I know some teachers who would think I didn't answer it at all.

Let me try again. In eight-year-old speak.

How did I first decide to collect sports cards?

For the same reason we begged my mom to buy green slime.

It was cool.

Except my mom only bought the cards for us.

This could've been a green slime blog.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Welcome, Hanley ... now hit!!!!

I'm taking a bit of a break from the blog, which of course automatically means something is going to happen that requires my attention.

The Dodgers, as you know, have acquired infielder Hanley Ramirez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate from the Marlins for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and a minor leaguer.

I like this trade. Eovaldi might be pretty good in the future, but the Dodgers don't really need more pitching, they need hitting, desperately.

I know Ramirez isn't having the greatest year. He's still a hell of a lot better than Juan Uribe and even Dee Gordon. And, unlike so many deadline deals that I see, this one doesn't look desperately desperate and stupid.

I would love to see Ramirez in a Dodger uniform on a baseball card. I present this photoshopped Ramirez Opening Day card as a challenge to someone to turn it into a Ramirez Dodger card.

Best version gets some cards from me. Either send me an email of your creation or show it on your blog. I can't promise I'll see it right away, but I'll get back to you.

So, welcome Hanley!!

Now, HIT!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

C.A.: 1977 Topps Ollie Brown

(Holy crap, it actually rained last night. People came out on their porches to watch it, like it was a comet or something. I'd say we could use some more, but August is coming, so that's not going to happen. So stay inside, flick on the AC, and view some cards: Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 155th in a series):

I received a whole mess of 1977 Topps from Josh over at Royals and Randoms. You'll see them as soon as my latest summer break is over.

But I wanted to feature this fun little card separate.

The 1977 Ollie Brown card is one of my favorites from the '77 set. It's been that way since I was a kid. It's one of those cards that I can't explain why I liked as a kid. But the close-up shots seemed to strike me back then.

If I look at it now, I can say that Brown's "What Are YOU lookin' at?" face is appealing, too. Plus, I like the way that his image is shifted to the left to get in his signature. And, now that I notice it, the photo appears to have been taken in Dodger Stadium, maybe? (I'm not good at figuring that out).

But you're not looking at any of that, because you're obsessing about the borders.

Yeah, me, too.

What caused that?

1977 is long before foil packs came along and you never saw that crimping imprints that you sometimes get on cards today. Cards came in wax packs that were glued shut.

So my guess is Ollie showed up crinkle-cut due to some sort of mishap with the card-cutting machine. Anybody have some printing insights?

At any rate, when we were kids, we would never let off-center cards or gum-stained cards ruin our enjoyment of card collecting. The cards would go in the stack with all the others without a thought.

But a card like Ollie's?

Even that would give the 11-year-old me pause.

I do think the card's fun.

But Ollie Brown's 1977 Topps card remains on my want list.

I'm just a four-corners guy.

It could be worse

All right, everyone is all apoplectic over Ichiro suddenly becoming a Yankee.

I'm just not that upset about it.

If you're a Mariner fan, then, yes, I'm sorry. I understand. For you, it's awful. Just horrible, disgraceful, unthinkable, galling, gagging, repulsive, puke-inducing, nasty, crushing, hurtful, agonizing, gross, dehumanizing, shameful, inexcusable and rotten.

But if you're not, then, really, things could be worse.

How much worse?

Well, off the top of my head, I came up with 10 or so players who I would have much more of a problem seeing in a Yankee uniform than Ichiro.

Suzuki is practically an icon and very good at what he does. But, let's face it, he's 38, and he's not the player he once was. If the Yankees want to try to capture 2001 in a bottle for a half a year, then, fine, knock yourself out, New York. I hope you fail.

But these guys? No, I do not want these guys to appear as Yankees. Or I might have to start watching cricket.

10. Albert Pujols: This wouldn't be as devastating to me now as it would be just a year ago. I don't hold Pujols in as high esteem as I did when he was with the Cardinals. I despise the Angels and the whole way in which he left the Cardinals is still fishy and unseemly to me. So, if he went to the Yankees now, yeah, I could kind of see how he'd fit in, and it'd only make me sick to my stomach for a week or so. But then I'd realize that Mark Teixeira was out of a job and I'd be thrilled.

9. Chris Carpenter: Carpenter has always rubbed me the wrong way because of his hyper competitive nature. But he's on the Cardinals, a team that I pay little attention to that gets very little air time where I am. So I can ignore him. If he was with the Yankees, I couldn't ignore him. Because everything Yankees has to be in everyone's face all the time. And I could not cope with Carpenter's grousing and grumping and yelling in my face. I'd have to move to Turkey.

8. R.A. Dickey: This is the difference between the Mets and the Yankees. R.A. Dickey on the Mets is a heart-warming, against-all-odds, isn't-he-swell, best-selling story. On the Yankees, I would be beaten over the head with this story in the most self-serving way possible. Dickey wouldn't be just a knuckle ball pitcher. He would be The Man Who Invented The Knuckle Ball to zillions of Yankee fans. I'd have to listen to Michael Kay explain to viewers how a knuckle ball moves as if no one had ever figured it out before. (*shiver*)

7. Mike Trout (or Andrew McCutchen or any young phenom): One thing about the Yankees that I'm thankful for is their acquisitions usually involve veteran players whose best years possibly could be behind them (exception -- ahem, Tigers -- Curtis Granderson). I can't imagine the torture if the Yankees were to acquire someone like Trout and I'd have to hear odes about his wonderfulness for 20 years. It'd be like Derek Jeter, except someone even more talented.

6. Justin Verlander: Verlander's probably the face of major league pitching today. I don't want that face wearing pinstripes. I nearly lost a lung when CC Sabathia came to the Yankees. I'm over that now, just because I could never stop laughing at his baggy pants. But Verlander? Verlander is too cool to get involved in that mess.

5. Stephen Strasburg: Are you sick of hearing about how many pitches Strasburg has thrown this year? Imagine hearing about it every waking hour, every time you let out the dog, every time you sat on the toilet, every time you walked into a building, every time you breathed in and out, and you'd have some sort of idea of what it would be like if Strasburg was on the Yankees.

4. Josh Hamilton: With Hamilton on the verge of free agency, I have this horrible feeling in the back of my head that this could actually come true. The most talented player in all of baseball a member of the Yankees. The sickening tours through the batting lineup in which someone with 42 home runs is batting seventh. I'd have to call in sick every day of baseball season. Please re-sign with Texas, Josh.

3. David Ortiz: I'm still from the old school where the Red Sox are good and the Yankees are evil. I'm still not over seeing Wade Boggs in a Yankee uniform and haven't forgiven him for that. And keep in mind, I'm not even a Red Sox fan. The face of the Red Sox should never be a Yankee. Even though Ortiz is getting along in his career, he's still The Red Sox to me and hearing about the Yankees acquiring him might possibly cause my brain to split in two.

2. Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp: Either one appearing in Yankee attire would be equally horrific. I can't separate the two in terms of levels of monstrosity that such an evil pact would produce. In fact, I can barely imagine the thought in my head. It's just too ... too ... never mind. It will never happen. It CAN'T happen. Make it go away!!!

1. Jim Thome: Everything that is good and right in the major leagues today on the Yankees? This would truly be a sign of the apocalypse. Stock up on your canned goods and ammunition if this should ever happen.

So, see?

It COULD be worse.

But, Ichiro, please, get out of there before 2013, while you're still likable. And I can still keep down solids.