Monday, October 10, 2016

Bullies and Hogs and Tricksters

One distressing thing about the otherwise wonderful eBay format is when bullies or hogs or profiteers come into play.

A bully or hog or profiteer can be someone who uses every financial resource they can to outbid you and win every desirable auction. You can say well they have a right to do this, but when other factors and actions come in to play, it does NOT play fair.

Early on there was a guy who wanted to win every single 60s or 70s auction. He would win the SAME item (different auctions) over and over and over. What gives? I finally asked him and he said he was collecting 9 sets of everything so he could eventually give them to his nephews etc SHOULD they become interested in SOM later on. Good lord.

Then of course, we had some kind of dentist or medical professional from SOCal I believe who would win every auction for the rare 60s 1-sided sets or individual teams. Again, how many is enough and for pete's sake let someone else win something every once in a while.

Now we have a pure profiteer who will win every desired auction at any cost. There was a thread started about him on the SOM 2 forum but it was quickly shut down.  This person is the pure definition of a bully and ebay hog.

I have confirmed information about him:

1) He will outbid you in the last 3 seconds on every desirable SOM auction there is.

2) He is a pure profiteer, not a player or collector. He will try to win auctions at the lowest possible cost, and then immediately list the item and try for a 200-500% profit (or more).

3) If for some reason, by bidding against others, his price goes up in winning an auction (and cut severely into his anticipated profits) he will then contact the seller and make up a lame excuse to not pay for the item.  He has said "I just lost my job and now can not pay for the item". Or "my wife had a sudden emergency trip to the hospital" and I can longer afford to pay for this, OR something similar. Often, the seller shrugs, relists the item at a beginning low price, and guess who ends up bidding and trying to win the auction at a much lower price - the same guy who a few days before made up a lame excuse on not paying for the auction when he had to outbid someone else - suddenly he can now afford to pay for this - in reality he is just trying to re-win the auction at a much lower price. I have heard of him doing this on at least 5 different auctions including one recently which was the reason for the thread on SOM 2 that was shut down.

He is unethical, steps around rules, an eBay hog and a pure profiteer. There is no question. What to do? There is nothing else much one can do. You really can not outbid him as either the price would be astronomically high if you win, or he will beat you, or he will beat you and then reneg on paying the seller.

He has no shame, no morals, and is a pure troublemaker. This person has used 2-3 different accounts and screen names (ask yourself why?).

I have a few ideas and how to cope in a marketplace with a person such as this, but shall keep them secret from this person. He is banned from my site but most likely observes as an anonymous viewer.
For me, he has absolutely ruined ebay as a place to help with my collecting needs, and is a true bully, hog and pure profiteer.

Beyond sickening.

The Dreaded 1984 set and rubber band issues

One of the things I debated when I divested of a large part of my collection going on 2 years ago was to sell or keep the 1984 baseball set I had.

In 1984, the game company switched rubber band vendors and little did anyone know that the new rubber bands would leak and stain the cards - extremely common. My set was complete with all extra players and had zero RB stains or other blemishes.

But I sold it.

Of course when I decided to do the proverbial re-acquiring of everything I sold, I knew 1984 would be a challenge - or getting a complete set without any stained cards would be the challenge.

The first set I bought from a very nice gamer was priced fairly but had 45 cards with stain issues.

Since then one gamer sent me 2 cards free of charge to knock my bad card inventory to 43. Then I won an auction "blindly" for 8 1984 times -  I knew by the time the seller audited the cards and got back to me someone else most likely would have bought it so I snagged it right away. I was hoping for maybe 12-15 improvement cards but it had only 9. Down to 34.

Just won an auction for a 26 team 1984 set, and it appears that some extra players and traded players are included - and the seller did mention a "few" cards had the rubber band stains. We will see what his definition of a few is but there is a good chance I can make some headway with this near complete set. However, many of the pitchers in this set came with little red dots on the pitchers cards.

I had budgeted a certain $ amount and also said most likely this will be a 2 year project so we will see how this updates when I receive the item.

Fingers crossed.

... update, purchases yet another full set for a reasonable price and FINALLY have a set free of rubber band stains and no red dots.

Just as good, I have been able to sell basically all the duplicate teams to cover my investments.

Very, very relieved.

Friday, April 22, 2016

2 Steps Forward, 3 Steps Back, 5 Steps Forward

Well it has been some time since I posted.

Have been through a lot, mostly good, some not so good.

I just got more and more interested in this year's release of Strat-O-Matic's 2015 season.

The major impetus (sorry) was Brandon Crawford winning a gold glove, the hitting of Madison Bumgarner (I did not buy 2014) and related Giants items. I really thought I missed out on Kershaw's great 2014 season, and now with Arietta and Greinke along with Kershaw - the monster pitching cards seemed too good to ignore. Add a great rookie class, including the Giants Matt Duffy, a revitalized Cubs team, and of course the Royals, Mets, Blue Jays, Pirates, Cardinals etc. I just HAD to get the 2015 season.

Almost immediately, I said heck I need 2014 too. (Giants WS champs). I had gutted my collection to bare bones 1963-1979 original (minus 1974 and 1978), the oldtimers, and a few Hall of Fame sets basically. More recently, I had re-obtained 1974, 1978, 1980-1989 and ten recreated sets (had sold ALL of 37 or whatever of those!) ... 1930, 1950, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1968, 1969, 1970.

Then I contemplated working out a plan to get 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Saw an auction on ebay and picked up 2012. Then sold a few items and used the money to get 1958 and 1959  (want to get all SF Giants teams eventually) and said the heck with it and ordered 2010, 2011 and 2013 from the game company. Whew.

Maybe I will contemplate getting 1990-2009 in the future, but not yet.

So with more seasons coming, I looked at my storage situation. I originally (1980s - mid 2000's) stored the teams in bank boxes - 5 seasons fit perfectly in neat 2x5 rows. Then I started sleeving the cards and they were now a tad longer and did not fit vertically, and could not fit five a row either. I switched to plastic shoe boxes, first from The Container store, then a few years later found bargain light blue shoe boxes with locking lids that were a little bigger and maybe a touch wider. Heaven.

Then I had withdrawals about 2 years ago - space issues, no time for projects, tried other game engines etc. I decided to de-sleeve all my cards (over 70,000) and this reduced their size and once again I went to the larger bank boxes, even sort of a nostalgia thing. But I find them awkward to pull done from my shelves and they often spill or crash to the floor and the lids fly off and the teams crash down, possibly bending a few cards.

Made the decision to go BACK to the locking lids shoe boxes - thank god I kept all of them (Had given away maybe 50-60 of the Container Store clear shoe boxes).

So 2 steps forward, 3 steps back and with the re-purchase of 1974, 1978, 1980-1989, 10 recreated seasons, 2 additional recreated seasons (1958 and 1959) and now 2010 - 2016 I am back full swing in the hobby.

Also craving the 1993 season and 2008-2009 particularly for Lincecum's CY seasons.

Time to roll!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Super Bowl 50, part whatever

Odd that my hometown, Santa Clara, is hosting a Super Bowl, and that the original Santa Clara High, where my brother and sister went, had a Panther as its mascot and of course, Santa Clara University, where my brother graduated has a Bronco as its mascot.

What 2 teams are playing in the Super Bowl in Santa Clara - Panthers and Broncos.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Santa Clara - host of SB 50 - and a little more history

from the Chicago Tribune

More than 40 years before Levi's Stadium was awarded Super Bowl 50, the city of Santa Clara, Calif., made a favorable impression on a young Steve Bartkowski.

"Those are the best days of my life," Bartkowski recalled of his formative years in a town that once labeled itself "The Youth Sports Capital of the World."

Bartkowski, 63, went on to become the first pick in the 1975 draft and earn two Pro Bowl selections during his 12 years as an NFL quarterback. He's just one of many athletes who received national and international fame through the city's youth programs.

The Santa Clara Swim Club, coached by the legendary George Haines and led by Mark Spitz, won 21 medals at the 1968 Olympics and 16 — including seven golds by Spitz — at the 1972 Games.

The Santa Clara University men's basketball team, led by former Bulls center Dennis Awtrey, was ranked as high as second in the nation before UCLA eliminated it in the Elite Eight in the 1968 and 1969 NCAA tournaments.

"It's kind of shocking," said Santa Clara native Jerry McClain, a star pitcher at the university during the basketball program's zenith and later the Broncos baseball coach from 1981-84.

"There always was at least one big international swim meet (at the Santa Clara Swim Center). There were one or two (youth) teams advancing to a national tournament." APphoto_Super Bowl 50 Levi Stadium Football

Ben Margot / AP

Workers lay down the first layer of paint on the 50-yard line in preparation for the Super Bowl 50.

Santa Clara's Colt League team that Bartkowski led and his father Roman, a former pitcher/first baseman in the Cubs organization, coached won the 1969 World Series. That was the same summer Santa Clara Briarwood — with 16-year future major-league infielder Carney Lansford — advanced to the Little League World Series title game before losing to Taiwan.

While Santa Clara was flexing its youth strength, the seeds for hosting an NFL championship game in the fourth-smallest city in Super Bowl history were planted innocently in a town of about 87,000, according to the 1970 U.S. Census Bureau.

Newly elected mayor Gary Gillmor and city manager Don Von Raesfeld were determined to keep Santa Clara comprised of specific sections — with residential property assigned a large but non-elastic section.

This meant buying undeveloped land in the north and east parts of the city for business and industrial purposes and building a robust tax base. McClain doesn't recall much about the vacant land other than a dairy where families bought their milk if it wasn't delivered.

The city already had three major highways and expressways that funneled into the undeveloped area, where high-tech companies such as Intel, Applied Materials, McAfee and National Semiconductor gradually started and became a large part of what is now Silicon Valley.

Gillmor, 79, cited three factors that helped Santa Clara maintain its preferred blueprint: a strong middle class, a huge industrial base for tax purposes and its own municipal power plant that reduces residents' electric bills to about half of what is charged in neighboring cities.

"Santa Clara is like the little engine that could.'' said Gillmor, a real estate maven in the Santa Clara Valley. "It just beats the big engines. We fought off home developers while keeping electricity rates low and maintaining our middle class."

The power of the city's finances was illustrated in its being able to partner with the state to get an interchange built that was instrumental in a deal with Marriott. A hotel that will host one of the Super Bowl entrants was constructed, with Marriott leasing the land from the city to build an amusement park and a parking lot.

A convention center and another large chain hotel were built in 1986, but the city's fondness for the 49ers surfaced during the height of the team's dominance.

The 49ers were given a sweetheart deal to move their training facility from Redwood City — 18 miles north of Santa Clara. Then-mayor Eddie Souza enticed then-49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. with a deal that gave the team 12 acres at $1,000 an acre with a 4 percent annual increase for 55 years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Gillmor declined to comment on the deal, but the city still kept a large chunk of undeveloped land in the area.

DeBartolo and 49ers President Carmen Policy still pushed for a new stadium near their old home at dilapidated Candlestick Park until DeBartolo's legal troubles in the late 1990s tempered their pursuit.

Although voters from five Santa Clara County cities in 1990 rejected a tax to finance a stadium for the Giants in Santa Clara, Kevin Moore wasn't discouraged. Moore, a longtime Santa Clara resident and member of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission in 2003, wrote a letter to a team official asking him to consider Santa Clara as a stadium option.

Moore and a groundswell of supporters sold the 49ers on the abundance of undeveloped land next to the 49ers' practice facility, as well as ample parking from the amusement park and local Amtrak and light-rail systems within walking distance of the proposed site. APphoto_Super Bowl Trip Guide

Eric Risberg / AP

In this Sept. 14, 2015 photo taken with a fisheye lens, a large flag is presented during the national anthem at Levi's Stadium before a game between the 49ers and the Vikings.

Momentum grew to the point that Santa Clara voters passed a measure in 2010 to build a football stadium adjacent to the 49ers' facility. Construction started in 2012 and was completed two years later.

Like most major events, Santa Clara is dealing with its share of controversy involving the stadium and Super Bowl.

There is the fear Santa Clara and other local cities — including San Francisco — could lose money from hosting festivities leading up to the game. Repeated turf issues overshadowed the newness of the stadium during its inaugural season in 2014.

The game's midafternoon start time should alleviate concerns about fans' discomfort due to a lack of shade on the east side, although Santa Clara winters are relatively mild.

Despite the national hype, Santa Clara will maintain a semblance of its youthful significance once the Super Bowl is played.

Washington Park, a WPA project built in 1935 and located on the south edge of town, will host the Palomino World Series for 17- and 18-year-olds. It's also where a 25-year-old Class A catcher named Joe Maddon ended his playing career with the co-op Santa Clara Padres in the California League in 1979.

But memories for locals still exist, such as the signs commemorating the four Colt League World Series teams that are posted above the park's entrance.

Adjacent to Washington Park is Townsend Field, where Bartkowski's skills while playing for Buchser High School attracted recruiters and led to him becoming an All-American at Cal. Townsend currently is used by the successful Santa Clara Lions youth football program.

"The facilities, the coaching, the time and effort gave me a jump-start in my athletic career," said Bartkowski, who moved from Iowa to Santa Clara at age 10 and now resides in the Atlanta area.

"I looked up to local heroes like Jim Plunkett (who grew up in San Jose and won the 1970 Heisman Trophy at Stanford) and Craig Morton (who grew up in nearby Campbell before attending Cal). But I'll never forget how lucky I was to play in Santa Clara."

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Draft day trickery

So I am doing an online retro baseball draft for the 1971 season and it reminded me of something

In 6th grade, we were choosing softball teams and there were 3 captains and if got to be near the end of the draft and one team was complete and another team had just one slot left but I still had 5-6 slots open. I believe we had to bid for players and I spent a huge amount for Paul Skinner, who I believed was most likely the best player in the draft, until Mr. Melrose added himself as the last available player.

I induced the other captain to trade one mediocre player to me for 2 very good players of mine. He thought he swindled me until it was realized I would automatically get Mr. Melrose for "free" with no bidding as both of the other rosters were now full.

I was told the faculty lounge got a big kick out of my trickery.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Dynasty Dilemma

I always found it hard when doing projects to pick one team out of a mini dynasty, so often I would create monster sets of leagues etc to accomodate ALL the teams from a dynasty
Let's look at some examples (of course as always my focus in on the 1960s and 1970s)

The 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964 Yankees
Wow 5 pennant winners in a row, 2 world champions. Of course the record breaking 1961 team is great but outside of HR power and infield defense not a lot of other strong points (as Bill James likes to point out). The 1960 team was great because it "filled" in the decade (as well as all the other teams) when the recreated set was released, but you have the different card patterns which are a turnoff to me. Pitching is mediocre as well. 1962 I like a lot but that was the lowest win % of the 5 teams. I really like the 1963 team, although Mantle had less than 200 AB. 1964 had good pitching but a lot of holes in the lineup.

The 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966 Dodgers
1965 was my first exposure with the oldtimer set, and a memorable game I played when I was 14 had Sandy striking out 17 1927 Yankees in a 2-0 shutout. Drysdale also had a very good year that year (not counting his 7 HR a well) but the offense was  miserable. 1966 adds future Hall of Famer Don Sutton to the rotation and the offense is improved, but Drysdale had an off year. I was elated to get the 1963 team when the past season set was issued, good enough offense with batting champ Tommy Davis and Koufax was super, but even better for many was the 1962 team, although Koufax missed a few months. Interesting note is in 1964, both Koufax and Drysdale had perhaps their best pitching cards, although the team was an also ran.

The 1964, 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971 Orioles.
Many think Baltimore would have begun their awesome run in 1964 when they finished 2 games out if Boog Powell had not got injured (39 HR in 424 AB). I like that team a lot, especially the bullpen and Brooks in his MVP year. Of course 1966 was a world championship team with a triple crown hitter, but they have no standout starting pitcher. 1969 is an exceptional team but Brooks had an of year hitting .234. 1970 was a powerhouse team but even Cuellar and McNally with 24 wins each had higher ERAs than normal. Of course, 1971 had 4 20 game winners and a solid lineup although no hitter had a great year. Oddly enough the 3 teams in a row 1969, 1970, 1971 all were included in the past season set but note ...

1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 A's
... the 3 WORLD CHAMPIONS the A's had in a row, 1972, 1973 and 1974 only one team was included in the past season set.   1972 has excellent pitching but Vida Blue sat out part of the year and only ended with 6 wins. They do hit a lot of home runs although there are glaring weaknesses at SS, CF, C (BA) and even 3B. 1973 has better hitting but Catfish gave up a whopping 39 HR in a 21 win season. Joe Rudi had a down year as well. 1974 had Catfish in a Cy Young Year, but Tenace only hit in the low .200s with lots of HR and BB and C and 2B were weak spots. 1975 is an oft forgot year because the Red Sox swept them (tough to start 2 LH in Fenway park to start a best of 5) and many players had good years but there is nowhere to put Claudell Washington unless you move Joe Rudi to 1B. Reggie did hit 36 HR and Rudi, Tenace, Washington and to a lesser degree a few others had good years. Losing Catfish hurt for the post season. That leaves 1971 which I like more than the other 4. Vida Blue was a great MVP and CY winner, Catfish was very good and Reggie and Sal Bando had very good years and many others had good years.

The 1964, 1967, 1968 Cardinals
The 1967 team had the highest win % of any NL team that decade. Cepeda was MVP and Brock Flood Javier and McCarver all had excellent years. Carlton was coming into his own and Hughes was VG except for giving up gopher balls. But Gibson missed a chunk of the season and only had 13 wins. 1968 was Gibson and Hoerner, with Briles Washburn and Carlton but literally very poor offense. How that team won the pennant by so many games is a mystery. I personally like 1964. Boyer and White were still there and Flood Brock and McCarver were good. Javier was OK and even Groat was serviceable.

The 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977 Reds
Of course 1975 and 1976 are all time great teams, but 1976 Bench had his weakest year and there were no top starters in the rotation. 1975 was a very well balanced team but outside of Morgan and perhaps Rose, no individual had a standout year. 1972 has a few holes but the pitching is strong. 1970 you have the well oiled Big Red Machine with perez and Bench having monster years and Tolan, May, Carbo and Rose also being very very good. Pitching is OK but there are weaknesses at SS and 2B as of course Morgan had not arrived yet. I could have included 1973 and even 1974, but 1977 is fun with a great offensive team led by Foster and Seaver added at midseason. For one game, this is a very tough team.

The 1965, 1969, 1970 Twins
In many ways, the pennant winner was the weakest of the 3 teams. 1969 was great but in an expansion year they had 2 expasnion teams in their division. 1970 was almost as good although Carew missed about 100-110 games. I have had projects where the 1965 team was off the chart good and off the chart bad. I also think Killebrew in 1965 due to a variety of reasons is not the real Killebrew.

The 1974, 1977 1978 Dodgers
Almost all about the same with a little more offense in 1977 and a little more pitching in 1978. 1974 is good in their own way.

The 1976, 1977, 1978 Yankees
1976 would seem to be th e worst of the 3 but they actually do OK for me in projects. 1977 is more offensive but I prefer 1978 with Guidry, adding Gossage and a better Hunter.

The 1976, 1977, 1978 Phillies
I like the 1976 team, dislike the 1978 team and the 1977 team is very powerful but I don't like them as much.

The 1976, 1977, 1978 Royals
In truth just the 1977 team is impressive.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

2 steps forward, 3 steps back and OCD

So about 18 months or so ago, I decided my Strat baseball collection was too big, took up too much room, and there was so much I could never ever play all of the sets.

I decided to dump a  large part of  it, all of the recreated sets (nearly 40), and all the regular issue seasons from 1990-2013. I even then went and also sold 1980-1989.

Good moves, although I have since reobtained about 10 of the classic recreated seasons (and 1955) and a few of the 80s sets (will get all 10 eventually).

I got interested in Replay baseball for reasons I have enumerated before, but suddenly had about 19 sets and they were just taking up the space that used to house the Strat sets I sold, and I never ever looked at them or played them.

I wanted to get an original APBA 1964 set as that was my first exposure to TT baseball and suddenly I have about 20 sets of APBA too as these sets were more readily available and comparatively much less expensive..

The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) had struck again.

Coming to my senses. Replay is a wonderful game engine,, but I have returned to Strat and just don't have time (or room) for more than one game engine.

I have decided (oh well) to move my Replay collection and most likely my APBA collection.

Hopefully, it will be 3 steps forward and not any steps backward this time.