198? Uno!

With yesterday’s mail, my collection of unique Twins players cards with certified autographs is now up to 198. Who was card #198? Delmon “swing at the first pitch” Young, who only has a Twins autographed card in two different 2008 sets: Upper Deck’s UD Premier and Topps’ Triple Threads. Does the gang at WGOM miss posting “Uno!” in the game logs after each of his at bats? Not one bit.

A few updated stats regarding my AU Twins collection —
Most Different Cards: Glen Perkins (65), Lew Ford (45), Jason Kubel (25), Boof Bonser (21), Jacques Jones (21)
HOFers: Bert Blyleven (3), Rod Carew (1), Harmon Killebrew (3), Paul Molitor (2)
Non-players: Mark Wilson (scout – 1)
Certified AU Twins card players (that I know of) that I don’t have: Earl Battey, Reno Bertoia, Billy Beane, Brian Dozier, Stephen Gonsalves, Nick Gordon, John Goryl, B.J. Hermsen, Tom Kelly (manager), Ralph Lumenti, Hal Naragon, Bill Pleis, Kirby Puckett, Terry Ryan (general manager), Roy Smalley, Frank Sullivan, TC Bear (mascot), Jesse Ventura (fan), Dave Winfield

Several of the cards I need are Heritage Real Ones or All-Time Fan Favorites, and most all of these players are only in one set of cards — the main exception being Puckett ($$$). These pop up on eBay periodically, but not quite in my price range. Still, makes for a fun scavenger hunt!

auto-relic 98
clockwise, from top left: 2008 Upper Deck UD Premier Stitchings Signatures #PSTI-DY Delmon Young [03/25] (manu-patch/auto); 2007 Upper Deck UD Premier Premier Stitchings #PS-71 Johan Santana [04/50] (manu-patch); 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes Light Blue #101 Joe Mauer [100/200] (jersey); 2007 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Ultimate Star Materials #SM-JU2 Justin Morneau (jersey); 2008 Upper Deck SPx Winning Materials Limited SPX #WM-JM Joe Mauer [04/99] (jersey); 2004 Bowman Heritage Threads of Greatness Gold #TG-JM Joe Mauer [49/55] (bat); 2015 Topps Career High #CHR-JM Joe Mauer (jersey); 2005 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes Memorabilia Bronze #34 Harmon Killebrew [03/50] (jersey)

New Horizons

Back on January 19, 2006 — what seems like ages ago — the New Horizons probe was launched. Fellow listener SpaceC at StreamingSoundtracks.com happened to be a launch worker at the time, and she posted a beautiful photograph of New Horizons just as it was leaving Earth:
New Horizons
This has been the wallpaper background image on every home and work PC, laptop, and cellphone that I’ve had since that date. Way to go, NASA!

(New) Hipster

It’s been just six weeks since I had my hip replacement surgery. Not long ago I was diagnosed with femoroacetabular impingement (cam) in my left hip, a condition I has born with that combined with 50+ years of activity had reduced the cartilage to pretty much nothing. Instead of walking with a limp due to my faulty hip joint, I now (barely) walk with a limp due to the muscles around it, which my physical therapy continues to address.

I was sent home the morning after my surgery, and the recovery progress has been pretty amazing; after a rough first week, I was able to ditch my walker on day nine, and the cane was gone less than two weeks after that. Mo & K (and Belle) have been a huge help. The initial follow-up with the doctor went well, and everything hit home when I saw the post-surgery x-ray. The new hip looks something like this.

I put in a mile on the track at the Y a couple weeks ago, and was able to help Jay (who’s also been a big help) mow the lawn a bit. I’m currently working on climbing stairs without favoring my hip, and continuing to stretch the very tight quadriceps on my left leg.

recovery
one of my ever-present helpers maintains vigil nearby early on in my recovery

Not sure when the ligaments/tendons around the joint have tightened up enough that I don’t have to worry about the new hip dislocating when I bend over to tie my shoe, but slowly that range of motion is returning and I’ll be better than before. Thanks everyone for the thoughts and prayers!

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Stuff And Things

Thought I’d clear out a few photos, etc. in a post prior to my surgery tomorrow…

While doing a bit of last-minute mulching in the back, I came across this little guy, below. Plume moths are cool, but they’re small and hide in the grass, so photographing them is difficult. This one was okay with settling on my hand, and stayed there while I went to get my phone and find a little fading sunlight to take the picture. I haven’t added to my insect photo pages lately, so this will be a nice addition:

6091 - Grape Plume Moth (Geina periscelidactylus)
6091 – Grape Plume Moth (Geina periscelidactylus)

Memorial Day weekend took us up to Chicago area for a wedding, and at the last minute I realized that the Twins would also be playing in Chicago the same time. I was able to take in the Friday night game from the third row of right centerfield at The Cell on a clear, cool evening. While it was a good game, the only runs the Twins scored were in the first inning, when I was still a couple stops away on the “L” red line. The Twins ended up losing 3-2, but haven’t lost a game since.

The Cell
action from the bottom of the second inning

I’m still actively collecting Twins baseball cards, but things have slowed a bit. Lately I’ve managed to add a few new players to my certified autograph card collection, among those Jim Perry, shown below, along with another Bert Blyleven AU, my 62nd and 63rd different Glen Perkins AU, and some Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer jersey cards.

stuff things
clockwise, from top left: 2005 Topps Pristine Legends Personal Endorsements #PEA-BB Bert Blyleven (auto); 2005 Upper Deck Artifacts Autofacts #PE Jim Perry [298/599] (auto); 2007 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Ultimate Write of Passage #WP-PK Glen Perkins [13/60] (auto); 2015 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection #CCR-JMA Joe Mauer (jersey); 2006 Topps Turkey Red White #TRR-JM Joe Mauer [94/99] (jersey); 2008 Upper Deck SPx Winning Materials SPX die cut #WM-MO Justin Morneau [090/150] (jersey); 2008 Upper Deck A Piece of History Franchise History Gold #FH-30 Joe Mauer [67/99] (jersey); 2007 Topps Chrome Refractor White #348 Glen Perkins [003/200] (auto)

Ft. Myers Spring Training — Third Edition

This year, MLB caught us off guard: we had to make our condo reservations early, and when the spring training schedules came out, the season was starting later than usual. This would call for some strategic planning…

During our Ft. Myers stay, one thing I could plan on was dropping by the practice facilities, so I picked a nice morning, fought traffic off the island, and hung out at CenturyLink Sports Complex with many other Twins fans.

practice
team gathers on the big field for drills

It was great seeing the young ballplayers — Sano and Vargas definitely stand out, size-wise.

3rd basemen
third basemen practice fielding, including Miguel Sano

The new coaches were very involved and hands-on in the drills I watched, particularly Molitor, Mientkiewicz, and Guardado. Alumni were also visible all over, including Carew and Oliva.

everyday
Coach Guardado works on fielding with the bullpen

So, what ballgame did I eventually get to? The only Twins games played in Ft. Myers while we were there were either the home opener, or against the Red Sox at their home opener the next day. There was also a road game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park up in Port Charlotte just over an hour away, though.

The ballpark was quite nice, and the weather was sunny and beautiful. When I bought my ticket earlier in the year, I looked for my traditional spot just past the dugout on the third place side, and I found a nice seat in the fourth row with a great view of the action.

ballgame
in-game action

Only one extra base bit in this game, but overall play was pretty clean and still had its share of action. The Rays ended up winning 2-1.

I was able to get three autographs on my program: Max Kepler, catcher Dan Rohlfing, and extra catcher Mitch Garver.

autos
game program

Barring a rainout, you really can’t lose when attending a Florida spring training game.

Yes, Florida Again

Mo and I had been to Ft. Myers, FL on two earlier occasions, although it had been a while, and we decided it was high time to return. Doing things differently on this trip, Mo reserved time at a condo on Ft. Myers Beach, plus we had a bit of time on each end of our vacation to see other areas of Florida.

This time around it was more cost effective to fly into Tampa and rent a car there, so we chose to spend our first three nights at the beach in Clearwater, staying at Pier House 60. Unfortunately, we couldn’t choose our weather — the temps were cool and it rained off and on.

On one of the days we took a leisurely drive through the south end of the island and down to Ft. Desoto, taking in the military ruins and strolling the park.

ft desoto
the guns of Ft. Desoto

We walked out on the pier, and there we saw a fisherman reel in this puffer.

porcupine fish
porcupine fish

Our other notable outing in Clearwater was to visit the Florida Aquarium in Tampa…you know, to get out of the rain. Lots of interesting things to see there, and $2 off if you order your tickets online.

By the time we leave Clearwater for Ft. Myers Beach, we also leave the rainy weather behind, too. We stayed at the Cornerstone Beach Resort, and our condo was wonderful, with direct access to the beach and a beautiful view of the gulf from our lanai.

cornerstone
Cornerstone Beach Resort

We found several nice places to eat, and I took the opportunity to take in a Spring Training practice and game (more on this in a later post). Like Sanibel or Captiva islands, there were plenty of shells to be collected here as well.

shells
cockles & mussels, not alive alive-oh

We toasted the sunset each night, the final night being the only one with clouds, and those just at the horizon.

lanai
the view from our lanai

Did we have a good time? We’re booked for next year…

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 58 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.