Monday, September 1, 2014

Madden '04 Monday #5 - Brad Banks

Name: Brad Banks

Game Image: 

Example of Banks on Cardboard:
Brad Banks has 118 cards to his name, all from 2003.  Here is his PressPass JE autograph /200

Video: Here's a little Banks highlight film

Team and Position on Depth Chart in Madden '04: Banks is a 23 year old rookie free agent.  He is the 7th QB from the top with a 60 rating.  The top free agency QB is Neil O'Donnell with a 72.  Banks is sandwiched by Randy Fasani (60) and Jim Druckenmiller (59).

Some Notable Ratings: Banks 72 speed is crazy good (top 10 in the whole game as a QB), and his 60 Jump, 74 agility and 70 acceleration all aren‘t bad.

His 75 throw power and 78 throw accuracy aren't bad either.  Bt his 45 awareness kills those throwing stats and is the heart of his 60 rating despite otherwise decent stats.

Professional Career: 2003 was a great year for college QBs in Iowa.  Iowa State had my guy, Seneca Wallace, while Iowa had Banks.  Wallace was drafted by the Seahawks, but Banks somehow went undrafted, and was picked up by the Redskins in April.  Obviously card companies tried to capitalize on Banks' hype by giving him a ton of cards, but by July sources were calling Banks a long shot to make the team and in August Banks was officially released in favor of 7th round pick Gibran Hamdan.

Since his NFL time, Banks played in the CFL from 2004-2009 and in the AFL with the Iowa Barnstormers during the 2011 season.

Why do I remember him? I liked speedy QBs, and while Seneca was my starter, I needed a backup for when I inevitably got Seneca hurt during a rushing attempt.  Banks was the fastest QB in free agency and came very cheap, so I always chose him as my 2nd or 3rd string QB.  Over time I started picking two teams each season with Seneca starting for one and Banks starting for the other.  The fun part is I never even knew Banks was the QB at Iowa while Seneca was at Iowa State until I got back into cards.  It was all about that 70+ speed rating back then, nothing else.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Seller Recap: PORT SALE!

COMC Weekly Stats
Cards Sold in the last week: 180
Total money earned from those sales: 75.67
Profit made on those sales (sale cost-initial cost of purchase): -32.89
Cards bought in the last week: 100
Total price paid for those cards: 28.28
Total net credit for the week (Total money earned - Total price paid): 47.39
Net Credit since I began this blog segment: $72.07
Most Recent Sale: 2013 Chrome Tyler Eifert, bought for 8 cents, sold for 9 cents

If you've never heard of a Port Sale on COMC before, they're pretty easy to do, and a great way to get a lot of credit quick.  Basically you up and sell all of your stuff in one fell swoop.  Typically you have to list your port on the site to do so (and pay $10 each week its listed as you take offers), but this week I just sold direct to a guy on Blowout.  Technically I lost out in money as I undersold on a lot of cards - but it let me grab a lot of new stuff which should sell even better - so I‘m happy with the influx of credit, especially since it let me make yet another 50% off purchase from Ajax1723!

Best Sales of the Week
3rd most profit: So obviously everything sold in the port sale.  Everything ends up with weird prices when it all sells at once, but when all was said and done this Felipe Rivero #'d jersey made the most profit, selling at $1 after I bought it for 68 cents.  So a 32 cent profit!

2nd most profit: The best two sales in my port this week both came on Griffey cards from the same set, and both came since the Port Sale.  This Griffey is #100 from 1998 Finest - I bought it for 24 cents and sold it for 74 cents - a tidy little 50 cent profit!

Most profit made on a single card: The other Griffey is #101 from 1999 Finest.  I don't know what makes it different (aside from the year) but it was also bought for 24 cents and then sold for $1.22.  So 98 cents all told in profit.

How did last week's focus cards do?
Well I sold them all - so that's neat.

Focus cards for this week
I tend to try and buy hot players all the time.  Griffey, Trout, guys like that.  This week I bought a few Jorge Solers and expect them to sell fairly quickly.

I also grabbed some weird 1995 Ultra Marvel cards.  They're the Marvel Superheros, but on Spring Break.  The two I bought are Storm and Rogue.  No idea how they'll sell, but they were really cheap and I think they're kinda neat - so here's to hoping they make me a little profit!

COMC Overall Stats
Current Cards for Sale: 100 cards, 93 distinct
Total Asking Price: $88.80
Total SRP (their version of Book Value): $115.00 (68 cards still need to be priced)
August 2014 Sales: 596 cards for $185.76
2014 in general: 2,921 cards for $913.57

Friday, August 29, 2014

GSNHOF Nominee - Frostee Rucker (And a question)

First the question - should I include nicknames in future GSNHOF nominations?  My policy since day one has been only birth names, but that knocks out so many great options.  Stubby Clapp, Sloppy Thurston, Foxxy Grandpa Bannon - just a lot of really good nicknames out there.  I figured I'd ask you guys what you thought - would that tarnish the hall, or just make it more awesome?

But we're here today to talk about Frostee Rucker

Rucker was a third round pick of the Bengals in the 2006 draft.  He played in Cincy from 2006-2011 with 19 games started, seven sacks, and an interception.  Since then he spent a year in Cleveland (16 starts, four sacks) and last year in Arizona (one start, one sack).  He's still hanging around in Arizona, and this next season will mark his ninth in the league.

What's great about these great names is when there's a nice story behind it.  And Rucker has a great story behind his too, which he explained in a article during his time with the Browns.

Turns out his Dad was not only in the military, but that, while there, he was also a D.J.  They called him D.J. Frost because he was "cold on the spins," and so Dad figured that Frostee was going to get a chilly nickname no matter what he did given his Dad's success.  So rather than have others dub the kid "Ice Cold" or "Little Frost" or something similar, they beat the public to the punch and named their kid Frostee.  Since then Dad has also changed his name to Frostee (from Len) which would technically make the NFL player a Junior.  And additionally, Rucker says if he has a son someday, he may name that son Frostee as well - so we could have a Wonderful Terrific Monds the Third situation brewing in the Rucker lineage.

So good luck to Frostee Rucker on Ballot 8 of the GSNHOF.  And I don't know about you guys, but I'm kind of hungry for some Wendy's now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wild Card Wednesday - New pets, Chuck Knoblauch in rap lyrics, and Tim Wallach

So Fantasy Update Wednesday is being reclaimed as Wild Card Wednesday.  Honestly, I was probably as bored writing about my fantasy teams as you guys were reading it.  Which isn't to say I'll never write about fantasy in this space again - since the point of this thread is for me to basically write whatever I want - but just that when I do it'll be a snippet of a larger ramble rather than a ramble all its own.

Today's ramble is three thoughts deep.

First the inspiration for the name of this day.  We got a new kitten, which now gives our household three cats total (which is probably plenty).  Our other two cats are a four year old and a 12 year old, and we wanted to throw another cat into the mix.  But we weren't sure how it'd work since our two cats now are pretty dominant, and you never know how a third will stir things up.  

So we tabled the idea for a while, but we watch a lot of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," and Charlie Day inspired us with his whole "Wild Card" routine.

We decided that no matter what she brought...even if it was totally'd also be totally awesome.  We also then decided our cats could have roles.  

Our four year old female Mabel would be the brains.

Our 12 year old burly dude Toby would be the brawn.

And then the new kitten, who we originally named Charlie...then Nellie...then something else I forgot...and finally Darcy...would be "the wild card."

So far so good.  They all actually get along quite well, even with this little misfit constantly batting the tails of our two older guys.  But now we have a complete set, and that's something perfect to share for a card blog, right?

My birthday passed a few months back, and my little brother got me the CD "Midnight Marauders" by A Tribe Called Quest, a classic hip hop group out of Queens, NY.  I was listening to their song "The Chase Pt. II" in the car and heard a lyric that cracked me up, it goes:

"Sit back and learn, come now watch the birdie
Your styles are incomplete, same as Vinny Testerverde"

(Here's the song for those curious)

Now that's not even the best reference on the CD - one of my personal favorites is a Barney the Dinosaur reference Phife Dawg makes on another track - but it is an obscure football player reference which made me search a few things.

First I looked up Vinny Testerverde, circa 1993.  Hard to believe he was already a six-year vet by then (the guy retired in 2007 after 21 years in the league), but the guy definitely threw a lot of incomplete passes during his tenure in the NFL.  In his first two full seasons as a starter (88-89), Vinny threw 33 touchdowns against an incredible 57 interceptions (nearly 30 per year).  He also never broke a 58% completion percentage until 1995 with the Browns - so a lot of his passes did not reach their targets.  Well played reference Tribe.

That reference made me desire more weird rap references, so I went to rapgenius to search out some more.  I found that somebody actually made a list of athlete references in rap music, which is actually pretty thorough, and is worth a look if you guys are into that stuff like me.  But they are missing one guy who is actually in two songs - Chuck Knoblauch.

He's in the song Ampersand by Asher Roth, but I didn't know that before searching/have never even heard the song and the reference is kinda weird.  But I DO know the song "Don't Understand" by Masta Ace, which has the fantastic lines of:

Pump it in their IROC, your block to my block,
I make hits like Chuck Knoblauch,
But don't make no error or get it confused,
You'll find yourself gettin' abused, you're fittin' to lose."

(Again, here's the song for those curious)

If Chuck Knoblauch was good at two things, it was hits and errors, so that's always been a favorite line of mine.  Well done Masta Ace.

I'll finish this up with just a quick little reference to a blog I either knew about and forgot, or that I never knew about and just found.  It's the Tim Wallach blog, which can be found here.

The guy is trying to acquire literally every Wallach card of all time, which is pretty fantastic from my point of view as a player collector who just wants one of each distinct card.  He wants every card ever, as many as possible, and I admire that kind of insanity.  So if you guys have any Tim Wallach cards, send them his way - I would if I could!

And that finishes the first Wild Card Wednesday.

Hope you all enjoyed it!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Madden '04 Monday #4 - Clarence Love

Name: Clarence Love

Game Image: 

Example of Love on Cardboard:
Clarence Love has ZERO cards to his name.  He is however on a Chad Johnson card

And back in the day Condition: Poor made some awesome customs of him for me

Video: I couldn't find any videos of Clarence Love, but he is on LinkedIn - so that's cool!  I also found a short interview done with him here.

Team and Position on Depth Chart in Madden '04: Love is a 27 year old CB on the Oakland Raiders in Madden '04.  He is slotted in as their dime back (4th CB) behind Charles Woodson (94), Phillip Buchanon (82), Terrence Shaw (75).  The Raiders also carry CB #29 (70), who would presumably be Nnamdi Asomuqha, the Raiders first round pick that year, before he signed with the NFLPA.  I never realized it was him before...that's pretty awesome that he was in Madden '04!

Some rookies are named from the draft (Seneca Wallace is one for example) but others who didn't sign in time are always denoted by position and number (well a guessed number - Asomuqha actually wore 21 to start) instead.  But this is definitely Asomuqha, as 70 is a really good score for a rookie CB but would make sense for a 1st round rookie.

Some Notable Ratings: Love has a few good ratings, most notably an 81 acceleration, 56 catch, and a 76 jump, making him able to go up for high throws to knock them down.  He also has a decent 53 score for tackle, which isn't great but means he won't whiff most of the time.

Love's big deficits are in speed (an 84, which is a bit on the slow side), awareness (64), and agility (77).  This meant that double moves could beat him pretty easily, and if the WR had speed it was tough for Love to catch up.

Professional Career: Love was the 116th pick (4th round) of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.  They drafted him as a safety out of the University of Toledo, presumably to replace Mike Zordich down the line since he was a 35 year old SS in 1998.  Zordich did retire after the season (despite starting all 16 games; Love played 6 as a backup with 2 tackles), but instead of Love the Eagles turned to journeyman Tim Hauck to play SS.  The then 33 year old Hauck started 15 games for the Eagles in 1999, ending the year with 60 tackles and an interception.

Love was on the Jaguars for a heartbeat, but they cut him before the 1999 season started.  That was to the Ravens gain though, as they added Love and stashed him behind starters Rod Woodson (34) and Kim Herring (24).  Love saw no game action in 1999 and only played in one game in 2000, but he did win a Super Bowl ring for being part of that 2000 Ravens team.  He also won a World Bowl ring as part of the 1999 Frankfurt Galaxy after the Ravens designated him to that squad.  After the 2000 season the Ravens cut him, and Love was once again in free agency looking for a squad.

The Oakland Raiders snatched him up within weeks, and Love would spend the next four years (2001-2004) with the Raiders with various degrees of success.  He has no NFL stats for 2001 or 2004, but in 2002, after the departure of SS Marquez Pope, Love saw three starts at SS as one of several guys the Raiders looked to at the position.  In the regular season Love racked up 17 tackles, but in the playoffs he didn't show up on the stat sheet.  He did play though, including in the Super Bowl, and though the Buccaneers shredded the Raiders passing defense (which doesn't bode well for Love or fellow SS Anthony Dorsett), Love was on the field when the Raiders blocked a punt, and so he shows up in this picture (he's #38, on the left):

The following year Love played in a career high 13 games, but with only six tackles and one pass defended.  He then suffered a knee injury would put him on the IR in 2004 and led to an injury settlement and his release from the Raiders.  That would end Love's NFL career.

Why do I remember him? Did any of you guys watch the show Crank Yankers?  It first debuted in 2002, and was that Jimmy Kimmel/Adam Carolla show where they made prank phone calls and then had puppets act them out.

I was 16 at the time and in prime prank phone call phase, so I loved the show.  One of my favorite guys on the show was the Tracy Morgan voiced "Spoonie Luv"

who made all sorts of ridiculous phone calls, including this one where he orders some roses

Anyways, he often referred to himself as "Spoonie Luv from up above."  So when we got Madden '04 a year or so later and I found Clarence Love, he instantly became a favorite, and I referred to him as Clarence Love (from up above).

I generally used him as a dime back (like the Raiders did), as his lack of skills kind of help him back from starting or even playing nickel back, and he was too slow/had too low tackling to play out of position at safety.  But I did that a lot, and also threw him on my kick coverage and kick blocking teams where he had some success.  Over time if/when he leveled up (usually he would as dime backs can grab a few interceptions and those help you level up a lot) I'd move him up to nickel back, but that's about as far as he would ever get.  Still, I pick him basically every time I ever play.  Even if as the fifth CB who only plays on special teams - he was just always too awesome to me since I made that Crank Yankers connection.