Tuesday, November 30, 2010

That kind of attitude will get you somewhere, mister

I am not the most positive person in the world. Even when the Dodgers make seemingly intelligent decisions like they did today -- scrapping Scrappy McScrapperson, Ryan Theriot, after only a couple of months to land a much needed middle reliever -- I expect it to come with a catch. Instead of being relentlessly upbeat, I am relentlessly examining the fine print.

So even though I haven't been as happy to see a former Giant come over to the good side since Brett Butler changed his evil ways, I'm certain the bad news will come in the form of a pudgy strikeout machine that is now the Dodgers' starting second baseman. Sure, Uribe can come through in the clutch -- he's demonstrated that against the Dodgers -- but there is a whole lot of padding his un-base percentage in between.

But that's me being negative again. I'm trying to cure that character flaw. It's hard to do so when being negative actually produces positive results. In fact, very recently, I won a bunch of cards because I was at my negative best.

You probably remember a postseason contest put on by Ryan at The Great Orioles Autograph Project. He asked people to select which team they thought would win each round of the playoffs. The entrant with the most correct guesses would wins some cardboard goodies.

I tied for the most correct guesses. But since Brian of Play at the Plate refuses to lose any contest he enters lately, I lost on tie-breakers. Fortunately, Ryan considered us co-winners and set me cards anyway.

But here's the back story on how I won:

I am terrible at predicting the outcome of sporting events. I've always been like this. I don't have much interest in placing bets or gambling at all, but I will enter Super Bowl pools, etc. I never win.

So it's useless to pick that way. I decided instead, why not select the teams that I don't want to win? I know this means embracing the very irrational and very negative viewpoint that the teams that I dislike will somehow win just to spite one solitary fan living in upstate New York. But I had always wondered if that tactic would work. It seemed like an awful lot of teams that I didn't want to win were winning anyway, so why not try to ride that pony and see what happens?

For each playoff series, I selected the team that I didn't want to win. So for Yankees-Twins, I picked the Yankees. For Braves-Giants, I picked the Giants, etc., etc. At the end, I said the Yankees would play the Giants, and the Giants would win, and I would pretend the World Series never existed.

Well, the only thing that got in the way of my plan is the Rangers -- a team I like -- found their way into the World Series and mucked things up a little. But the Giants ended up winning and I ended up pretending the Series never existed, and what do you know, I WON ME SOME CARDS!

Good ones, too. Let me show a few:

A shiny Heritage Chrome of the Dodgers' first baseman for 2011. It's already been decided.

A mini 2009 OPC of likely the Dodgers' closer for 2011, if he gets his act together.

An '89 Donruss Traded -- a set that's been totally out-of-sight-out-of-mind for me -- of bad-ass himself, Steady Eddie.

One of those cards of a dude in a Dodger uniform but listed with another team. That kind of card is one of the most difficult parts of being a team collector.

A 2009 Topps 206 mini of Andre Ethier. This is the more common Piedmont version, which I didn't have, even though I've got two other Ethier backs already ... and I can't believe I'm talking about back variations again. I hate myself.

Two of those Dem Bums insert cards from Topps a few years ago. It's probably not even 1/50th as difficult completing this team set as the actual 1955 Topps Dodgers team set, but it feels like it sometimes.

Here come the autographs (It's the Great AUTOGRAPH project. You were expecting bits of jersey?).

This is a card of the Orioles' possible third baseman of the future, if he gets his act together. Bell was once the Dodgers' third baseman of the future until L.A. decided it needed George Sherrill. Gee, did that sound negative? I'll try to stop that.

An '87 wax box card of my favorite player wearing totally the wrong uniform. Notice there's no "10" in Cey's signature, as he only adds that with Dodger cards. I would understand if he refused to sign non-Dodger cards altogether, but I guess he's too great of a guy for that.

Ooooh, a signed 1975 card. I like that a lot, even if it appears that Bumbry is drooling the second "B" in his last name. This is my third signed 1975 card. If I had all the money and the time in the world, I'd try to collect a signed '75 set. But that would be right after I won a million dollars.

Ryan sent a bunch of other great prize items, too, including a much-wanted card that I'll save for another time. But I'll just show these to finish up:

Those aren't even close to all the Piazzas. I don't know what an Orioles fan is doing with all those Piazza cards, but I'm sure glad he's holding contests that I can win. I thank him kindly.

And that's the story about how negative thinking can win you some contests. If you want to try it next postseason, be my guest.

But it's not all good. After all those cards, I'm actually wondering what I did to deserve this and when payback is arriving. (I'm guessing it will come in the form of massive snowstorm or homeowner calamity).

Delino and I will be over there cowering in the corner, waiting for the other shoe to fall.


  1. That mini 2009 OPC looks cool with the bright colored boarder.

  2. One of my friends has been working on an autographed '75 Topps set for years.

    He always reminds me that Don Wilson passed away prior to the set being released so an actual autographed '75 Topps Wilson card doesn't exist.

  3. good win, even if you did have to suffer through it to win

  4. It always comes back to you and Delino, doesn't it!!!

  5. I've got to remember that technique when I'm picking next year. Ryan is pretty damn generous.

  6. That's a sweet prize pack for a guy who picked the Giants! I won't hold it against you though.

  7. Did you just coin the term "un-base percentage"? That's brilliant. I'm going to use it, with all credit given of course.