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.

Jonesing The New Manager

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving Day! In the interim between the announcing of a new Twins manager and the arrival of my annual big COMC Black Friday raid, I thought I’d show the latest pickup in celebration of Mollie’s new job:

mollie
2005 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes Signature Memorabilia #53 Paul Molitor [14/15] (auto/jersey)

A HOF’er deserves a quality card in the collection. And the jonesing? That’d be Jacque Jonesing, along with a couple cards of partner in crime Cristian Guzman.

auto-relic 77
clockwise, from top left: 2005 Donruss Playoff Absolute Memorabilia Absolute Ink #AI-118 Jacque Jones [027/100] (auto); 2004 Donruss Leaf Limited Monikers Material #46 Jacque Jones [22/25] (auto/jersey); 2004 Donruss Leaf Certified Materials Mirror White Fabric #79 Jacque Jones [012/200] (jersey); 2004 Donruss Diamond Kings DK Materials #142 Jacque Jones [050/100] (jersey/bat); 2003 Topps Pristine Pristine Borders #PB-CG Cristian Guzman (bat); 2002 Donruss Playoff Piece of the Game Silver #POG-17 Cristian Guzman [099/100] (jersey); 2004 Donruss World Series #WS-104 Jacque Jones [066/250] (jersey); 2005 Donruss Prime Patches Portraits #P-47 Jacque Jones [24/55] (dual jersey)

Plethora Of Postseason Pickups

The blog updates are fewer and farther between, so time to remedy that with an update of recent Twins cards pickups lately, including these beauties:

current
clockwise, from top left: 1998 Donruss Significant Signatures Harmon Killebrew [1845/2000] (auto); 2014 Topps Mini printing plate cyan #107 Joe Mauer [1/1] (plate); 2005 Upper Deck Classics Post Season Performers #PP-JM Jack Morris (jersey); 2005 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes Emerald #54 Paul Molitor [27/99] (jersey); 2014 Bowman Platinum Prospects #AP-MS Miguel Sano (auto); 2005 Upper Deck Classics Post Season Performers #PP-JM Jack Morris (auto)

More after the break…
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NCIS Doubleheader: Duryea, PA [2014 Topps Update]

The new Topps 2014 Update set just came out, and of the dozen Twins cards in the set two are nice NCIS-worthy horizontal action shots. Let’s see if we can use the clues in the photos to nail down the exact plays they captured…

CSI1
2014 Topps Update #US-230 Kurt Suzuki

So, what do we have here? Well:

  • Looks like a day game
  • Runner looks safe
  • That’s obviously not Tom Nieto scoring; looks like Adrián Nieto of the White Sox

The usual gang at WGOM made the observation that all the players pictured are wearing long sleeves, indicating a good chance that the game was played early in the season; this also makes sense given Topps’ timeframe for the set release. Knowing that, there really is only one game he has a sniff of home plate against the Twins before the end of July.

On April 2nd in the second game of the season, in the 9th inning while Glen Perkins is in the process of blowing a save, Nieto comes in as a PR for pinch hitter Paul Konerko. He takes second on a single, and then scores on a single to left fielder Jason Kubel. Sox go on to win 7-6 on a 11th inning walkoff BB/WP. Easy peasy.

CSI2
2014 Topps Update #US-125 Jason Bartlett

What can we tell about this photo?

  • Another day game
  • Bartlett scores on the play

I’m afraid this one’s going to also be an easy one — Jason Bartlett played in three games during the 2014 season (why Topps has to include him in the set, I don’t know). Based on the catcher’s uniform, it’s got to be Yan Gomes of the Indians waiting on the ball. Well, Bartlett only played in one game against the Indians this season.

On April 6th, in the top of the 6th in his third AB in the game, he is HBP to load the bases. Chris Colabello, the next batter, hits a deep fly to the LF gap to clear the bases, Bartlett scoring all the way from first. The Twins would go on to win the game 10-7, and that at bat would be the last of Jason Bartlett’s career.