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Beginning of Summer Random Thoughts
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Posted by jaygross
Comments: 0

It's been a little too long since I have posted to the SCN Blog, so I thought it would be a good time to check back in with everyone. So far the summer has had it's ups and downs for sports, entertainment, and more... I apologize in advance for jumping around to so many areas with little rhyme or reason, it's been a while between postings.

What is the deal with the lame Sopranos finale ending? Everyone I know thought their cable went out for few seconds when the screen went black before the credits rolled, not the way I would have ended it. I was bummed to see Silvio so banged up at the end and that Paulie Walnuts was in such good shape, as "Sil" was my favorite character.

I am not a huge tennis fan, but the Federer-Nadal rivalry is fascinating. Federer may be the most dominant player of my lifetime, but his quest for a grand slam is looking doubtful. Nadal kicks up big topspin shots up around Federer's head on his backhand side, and Federer can't seem to overcome the strategy at the French Open. Federer is now 26 (Borg retired on top at 25) and can certainly win out on other surfaces, but his grand slam window may just be closing with the 21 year old Nadal's dominance on clay. 

Could the NBA Finals have been any more unfilling? Spurs won, big shocker. Lebron is plenty talented, but the Cavs were just out coached and didn't have the weapons to compete. Boy I (along with most NBA fans) wish Amare had stayed on the bench and the Suns were there instead.

After having a few weeks to let it set in, I am still recovering from the fact the Celtics got the #5 pick and will not get Odom or Durant. After a season that included by my team tanking and few tough injuries (including Tony Allen blowing out his knew on a wide open dunk just when he was playing well), I was so hoping for a new coach and some luck with the ping pong balls - guess not. So I want Mike Conley Jr. or Al Horford, and could live with Corey Brewer as a game changing defender. My guess is we take Brandan Wright, Yi Jianlian, or Joakim Noah (the 2007 version of Anderson Varejo).

My Red Sox have looked good so far, and this weekend's sweep of San Fran at Fenway was a really nice surpise. I am shock they beat Matt Cain after his 3 hit, 1 run performance yesterday - thank you Dice-K. When the first 2 hitters get on (Drew and Pedroia these days) ahead of Ortiz and Manny, this can be such a fun team to watch. The domination of the Papelbon/Okajima two headed monster is what sets this team apart from all other Sox teams in recent memory. You will not hear me complaining about the 8.5 game lead going into tonight.

While we're talking about baseball, is there anyone in recent memory having a better contract year than A-Rod? I know Adrian Beltre had 48 homers, sorry Mariners fan, but A-Rod has 23 homers and 73 RBIs with a month more until the All Star game. I have no doubt he'll be opt'ing out and signing an 8 year $200 million deal with the Angels or Yanks. I really can't stand him (not only because he is a Yankee), but he is an amazing talent.

Wow is the AFC going to be scary! The Pats, Colts, Chargers, and Ravens are all powerhouses and all have to play one another. I love what my Pats have done in the offseason with Moss, Stallworth, Welker, Washington, AND Adalius Thomas (#1 offseason move for any team). The Colts lost Stokely, Rhodes, June, and both CBs. The Chargers have Norv Turner as a coach. The Ravens lost Thomas, but upgraded with McGahee for Jamal Lewis.  Denver has upgraded big time (Travis Henry, Sam Adams) to be the 5th best and would be good enough to win the NFC.

I have been an on and off pro wrestling fan since I was a very little kid (yes, I know it is fake). I was at MSG on December 26, 1984 - the night Bob Backlund lost the title after a 6 year reign. I couldn't believe Monday's news that they staged Vince McMahon getting blown up in his limo and is presumed dead (I didn't watch it, but read about it). The days when St. Slaughter and the Iron Shiek pretended to beat the crap out of each other were good stuff, but this was a little over the top for me. It was pretty lame how http://www.wwe.com ran a story how McMahon's kids are so crushed on Father's Day as their father is gone - even though he is very much alive.

Bill Simmons (one of my inspirations) has started a new podcast on ESPN, the BS Report. This week he had David Stern on, and it was quite funny to hear Stern beat him up as Bill tried to push his buttons. If only all the sports had commissioners as bright as Stern... they'd all be better for it.

Now on to some movies I've seen in the past few weeks (God Bless Netflix):

Devil Wears Prada - I didn't have high expectations, but wow Meryl Streep was pretty vicious.

Beerfest - Stupid but funny in that American Pie, Road Trip, Happy Gilmore sort of mold without the star names.

Beer League - Stupid and barely funny, not one I would ever recommend. How good could it be with Artie Lange as the key figure.

Miami Vice - I realize Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx are big stars, but I feel I have become significantly less intelligent by spending 2 hours on this utter waste of time. Now they know how Michell Pfeiffer reacts every time she hears Grease 2. 

Spiderman 3 - Good action scenes, decent story. I wasn't thriled, but wasn't disappointed either.

300 - Lots of good action, I really enjoyed watching the Spartan army fight as a team.

The Marine - John Cena is certainly not quite the actor The Rock is, but he did kick butt in the fight scenes. I wouldn't run out to watch it, but not a terrible rental.

Borat - In my eyes, the winner of the year. Incredibly silly and plenty stupid, but wow did it have some classic moments.

Casino Royale - This is by far the most dull witted but athletic Bond. The chase scene in the construction area was as good as I can remember. I was not a fan of the plot, but I enjoyed the scenes in Venice since I was in many of the same locations this past October.



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Most Popular Sports for Collecting Autographs by Mail
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Posted by jaygross
Comments: 0

We asked and you all voted.


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Choosing the 1978 Topps Basketball set to get autographed
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Posted by jaygross
Comments: 0

I love old school basketball and wanted to begin working on getting a set fully autographed from that era. About 18 months ago, I began looking at the different sets from 1969-1981 Topps to decide which one made the most sense for me to tackle.

I had a few criteria that helped decide on the 1978 set:

  1. Total number of cards (1978 only had 132)
  2. Number of deceased players (only had Pete Maravich & John Williamson - Dennis Johnson since then)
  3. Number of multi-player cards (none)
  4. Number of times a player appears on more than one card (1978 has 1 card per player and a checklist)
  5. Number of players with addresses in Harvey's list (over 50%)
  6. The price of the cards was affordable and I wouldn't hurt losing an unsigned card

While the 1975 and 1977 sets are much nicer looking, I knew I could get a higher percentage of players and the cards were fairly priced in 1978.

Below is a scan of 3 former All Stars I got back in the past week or so:

So now I have about a little less than half way finished - all but 2 I have gotten through the mail. I have many stars (like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wes Unseld, Rick Barry, Dave Bing, Bob Lanier, Dan Issel, David Thompson, Dave Cowens) and some fun names (like Marvin "the Human Eraser" Webster, Darnell "Dr Dunk" Hillman). 

One of my favortie successes was from ex-Jazz cetner Rich Kelley, who also wrote a nice note thanking me for reminding him of some really fun times when he was on the run and gun Jazz teams with Maravich.

Since then I have also casually begun collecting the 1975 Topps set and the individual panels from the 1980 Topps set. If you have any signed cards to trade from any of these 3 sets, let me know...



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