Monday, August 18, 2014

Madden '04 Monday #3 - Tim Hasselbeck

Name: Tim Hasselbeck

Game Image:

Example of Gordon on Cardboard:
Tim Hasselbeck has 119 cards to his name.  This is his 2001 Pacific Crown Royale Autograph, #'d 500.

Here's a video of Matt Hasselbeck practicing in an empty stadium that is tagged Tim Hasselbeck.  Yes, Matt is Tim's older brother.  Ouch YouTube, ouch.

Team and Position on Depth Chart in Madden '04: Hasselbeck is the worst rated QB in free agency (and the entire game) in Madden '04.  He is rated a 37 (one of the game's worst ratings) and the next QB above him is Giovanni Carmazzi, who is a 38.

Some Notable Ratings: Hasselbeck has no good ratings.  His throw power is a 65 and throw accuracy is a 64.  He also has a speed of 40, an awareness of 44, and a catch (should you dare to run a HB option) of 9.  He is very difficult to run an offense with for sure.

Professional Career: Hasselbeck played a decent quarterback at Boston College, but wasn't drafted.  The Buffalo Bills signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2001, but he didn't do much for them and ended up matriculating to the 2002 Philadelphia Eagles.  He played in 2 games there, but not in any more meaningful way than holding kicks.  In 2003 he finally got his chance with the Washington Redskins, as Patrick Ramsey was hurt and they needed a starter.  Hasselbeck started 5 games and went 1-4 as a starter.  In his one win he had two touchdowns to zero interceptions against the New York Giants.  The next week he was 6 for 23 with 4 interceptions with a 0.0 quarterback rating - a much truer assessment of his talent level.

That'd be the end of Hasselbeck's impact in the NFL.  He was on the roster of Washington (2004), the Giants (2005-2006) and Arizona (2007) along with stops in Baltimore (2001) and the Panthers (2006) but his combined stats for all those stops were 3 carries for -4 yards (all kneeldowns at the end of games).  Hasselbeck's 5 touchdown, 7 interception career doesn't seem like much to write home about, but he turned it into a marriage to reality star Elizabeth Filarski (of Survivor/The View, and who pretty much sucks) and a spot on good for him (at least on the ESPN part)

Why do I remember him? His name was Tim and he was the worst QB in the game, so I often rostered him as my QB3.  Much to my chagrin, I've never actually made him good.  It's really hard...he can't run at all, and his accuracy and throw power are horrendous, so you really need to support him with an outstanding supporting cast.  And even then he might progress from like a 40 to a 43 in year one.  But it's worth the challenge.

Currently Hasselbeck is the QB for my St. Louis Rams franchise in my current Madden '04 incarnation.  He was doing okay (a few touchdowns, no interceptions) but then he got hurt for like 6 weeks.  C'mon Timmy...throw me a bone here!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Seller Sunday Recap - Finding the Non-Sale Sale

So you may have noticed there was no buyer recap this week.  That's because no new cards made their way into my possession (sad face).  It's okay, this will happen a lot until my teaching paychecks start coming in in a few weeks.  And even then they might happen a lot anyways since I collect such a small variety of cards.


COMC Weekly Stats
Cards Sold in the last week: 164
Total money earned from those sales: $31.59
Profit made on those sales (sale cost-initial cost of purchase): $5.30
Most Recent Sale: 1991 X-Force #60 Deadpool, bought for 23 cents, sold for 16 cents (really sold as part of a 45 card lot where I profited...but when you sell 45 cards at once COMC sets all cards at a certain price based on overall discount).
Cards bought in the last week: 121
Total price paid for those cards: 36.80
Total net credit for the week (Total money earned - Total price paid): -$5.21
Net Credit since I began this blog segment: $13.78

So this is the first week of this COMC Weekly thing where I go negative.  I'm not really all that concerned about it, especially because I know I grabbed some great stuff this week that might take a little longer to sell, but which will definitely move in time at a bigger profit!   Gotta spend money to make money and  all that jazz yadda yadda yadda...

I also bought a ton of cards for resale this week at nice prices.  My favorite actually occurred this morning, as seller Ooosh (a Blowout Forums legend) put her cards for sale without having a sale.  When I say that, I mean she drastically cut her prices on everything to the point that it acted like a sale.  The only way to really find these sales is to check COMC's inventory by lowest price and find a card lower than 9 cents (anything 8 cents and under typically gets bought within the hour).  I noticed a bunch of 5 cent cards and that led me to Ooosh and some quick profits, as well as some cool stuff like a few nice autos for under $1.

I've found like 3 or 4 of those sales before, and they're always nice.  I got some $4 cards for 15 cents, grabbed an Andre Johnson jersey card for a quarter - stuff like that.  So if you see some really cheap/sub 9 cent cards, never be afraid to go into the seller's port and see what they have priced a little higher.  You might just find some crazy deals!

Best Sales of the Week
3rd most profit: This month's third most profitable sale came on a Bob Gibson Sepia card /525 that I sold to a flipper.  I bought it originally for 23 cents, and he bought it for 38 from me.  So a grand total profit of 15 cents.

2nd most profit: The next card was also sold to a flipper, who I may have a good thing going with in the future.  He bought this card from me for 30 cents, and when I thanked him for buying it on Blowout, he messaged back saying he would always snatch up "cards like this."  By "cards like this," he meant cards with a ton of profit room - so like this one I grabbed at 13 cents and listed at 30, but the next lowest price on the site was like $1.50.  So I make a little profit (specifically 17 cents here), he has potential for much more.  Works for me!

Most profit made on a single card: My best sale went to a non-flipper, as they tend to.  I mentioned last week that I was high on Corey Kluber and that I bought up a few of his cards on the cheap.  Well this week I sold, surprisingly, his Topps Update 2013 base card, at 72 cents.  I bought it for just 17 cents, so that's a swell little 55 cent flip!

How did last week's focus cards do?
Last week I mentioned a Josh Reddick Autograph, a Marvin Harrison Parallel, and a Solomon Bates Patch/Auto, all of which I still own.  I also mentioned Kluber's blue parallel of the Update card and in passing mentioned the base) so if you count that I sold one of those cards!

I'm also still sitting on the Colin Moran and Eduardo Rodriguez autos from two weeks ago.  Moran is doing quite nicely in AA for the Astros, while Rodriguez has a 1.04 ERA in 3 starts for Boston's AA Portland Sea Dogs.  So I think their hype can build up and get those cards sold, which was the plan all along.

Focus cards for this week
I know the jerseys/relics from 2001 Topps XFL can be kind of hard to come by, so when I saw this Scott Milanovich football piece in a sale, I had to grab it.  I repriced it to $4, which is the cheapest of any XFL relic on the site:

I also had to grab this Ricky Stanzi manufactured auto.  I know he's a backup (for the Jags of all teams) who might not even make the roster, but he has somewhat of a college following and this is actually the parallel auto /299 (the base version is a black helmet).  So I grabbed it and mine is currently priced at $14 (next highest on site is $29.55).

Finally we get to my biggest purchase price-wise...a Doug Martin Sage Next Auto.  If he can bounce back this year, this card should sell VERY well, considering it's #'d out of 10.  I'm envisioning an Amazon sale with this one, and currently have it priced at $30:

COMC Overall Stats
Current Cards for Sale: 208 total, 171 distinct
Total Asking Price: $296.60
Total SRP (their version of Book Value): $617.25 (130 cards still need to be priced)
August 2014 Sales: 317 cards for $77.57
2014 in general: 2,642 cards for $805.38

Friday, August 15, 2014

GSNHOF Nominee - Pat Urckfitz, Duck Caller Extrordinaire

Do you guys remember Thoughts and Sox?  A while back he mentioned this name as a good one, and I noted it thusly for future use.  My next few names should all be nominations of old, so get used to that for the next couple of Fridays!

Anyways, Urckfitz here is a relief pitcher in the Astros system.  He's slowly been working his way up since they signed him as a 19 year old in 2009, and he's currently in his third season (well first real full-ish season) of AAA for the Stros.  His stats this season over 19 games include a 3.97 ERA, 18 strikeouts, and 12 walks.  I'm fairly curious if he'll see some major league action when rosters expand in a month, but I wouldn't be surprised if his major league debut didn't come until 2015.

There isn't a lot to say about Urckfitz's name besides dang, that's an unusual name!  A ck, a z, begins with a vowel, has all the ingredients for everyone's favorite four letter word...that's beautiful.  I looked for a little more information on the name, to check its nationality or see if Pat has ever talked about it, but couldn't find anything.  I did find two neat little articles that I'll pass on to you guys though:

1. An interview with the blog "What the Heck Bobby?"  A pretty informative little piece on Urckfitz and his career, and I like his mention of former Astro/current Marlin Kike Hernandez as an underrated player, since I agree!

2. An article on Pat Urckfitz's duck call making business.  Apparently in the offseason, Urckfitz makes duck calls.  That's a pretty sweet little niche activity for one's downtime!

Urckfitz joins Seth Schwindenhammer and Napoleon Einstein on Ballot 8 of the GSNHOF - best of luck dude!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday Fantasy Update - The Awful League, Second Half Pushes, and New Beginnings

Have any of you ever drafted an all-awful team?  It's actually pretty tough - like with a regular draft, you run out of talent fast, just in the reverse.  WRs like Greg Little and Darius Heyward-Bey fall off the board early, as do RBs like Andre Brown and Rashard Mendenhall.  Jake Locker is a first round pick.  It's a weird, bizarro world.

Anyways, on the Blowout Forums recently we verbally (well, in the comments) drafted such a league.  The requirement was that you needed to draft a QB, two RB, three WR, and a TE, and that they all had to have started eight games last year (three guys drafted didn't start eight games...but the commissioner okayed it).  We originally had larger rosters, but a lot of guys had trouble making their picks, so we cut the draft short.  But the teams are all fairly awful, and it was a fun little one off exercise that we voted on after we finished.

Only I wanted to really see who was worst.  So I made an ESPN league with all 10 of our teams that you're all welcome to follow this Fall if you wish.  It can be found here:

My team, which I think will easily compete for the championship of worst team, is as follows:
QB: Terrelle Pryor (Backup in Seattle who may not even make the team)
RBs: Bilal Powell (Jets backup) and Trent Richardson (Colts starter, but wow was he awful last year)
WRs: Santonio Holmes (Free agent), Denarius Moore (Currently 5th on the Raider WR depth chart), and Cecil Shorts III (In a relatively poor offense, and was 2nd in the NFL in dropped passes last year)
TE: Craig Stevens (purely a blocking tight end who caught 2 passes for 5 yards last year).

I think my team could really dominate!  Either way I'll let you guys know how things progress!

In other news, my attempt at my playoffs in my baseball league is doing...okay.  Last week I won, but when I pitched Sonny Gray I figured he'd be like this:

Instead he was all like:

When the dust settled in Tampa, Gray had 4.1 innings pitched with 10 hits allowed, one homer, four walks, and a hit batsmen.  In my league that's good for -15.2 points, and since I typically expect like 30 points out of Sonny, it was a 45 point swing...which isn't good when you're scramblin' for the last playoff spot.

Luckily my other pitchers pitched well, and my opponent got a -33.7 game from John Lackey (Lackey gave up three homers...homers cost you a lot in my league) and so I beat him by about 80 points.  The division leader won and remains one game ahead of me, the guy who was tied with him lost and is now tied with me, each of us being 8-10.  I need to keep winning, so let's hope my guys can finally pull it together and stay consistent!

Finishing this thing off, I'll mention that, very happily, my football league now has 12 teams!

I originally got stuck at 9, so I cut it to 10.  Then I was still stuck at 9, so I cut it to 8.  My wife saw this and said "Mooss...8 teams is way too few."  Which, it is.  So I did an all call on Blowout and got 3 guys I interact with a lot to join (and then one random guy).  So it should be a fun little league, and I'll probably do a "How did I draft?" recap when the time comes!

Oh yeah...I did have that other baseball league...the one where pretty much everyone quit.  How's that going?

Good riddance.  I will now never mention it again! *

* Unless I win the championship!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Madden '04 Monday #2 - Darrien Gordon

Name: Darrien Gordon

Game Image:

Example of Gordon on Cardboard:
Darrien Gordon has 144 cards to his name, including two autographs.  This is his 1995 Skybox Impact #156:

Here's a video recap of the 1993 Blockbuster Bowl between Penn State and Stanford.  Stanford won 24-3, largely because game MVP Darrien Gordon shut down Penn State WR O.J. McDuffie.

Team and Position on Depth Chart in Madden '04: Gordon is a Free Agent in Madden '04, and is the 13th best CB listed.  The best CB is Todd Lyght, ranked an 83, while Gordon is sandwiched between Robert Bean (63) and Paul Miranda (60).

Some Notable Ratings: Gordon is ranked a 63 at age 32, which makes him about the level of a dime back CB.  Some of his best skills include speed (90), agility (84), acceleration (86), kick return (90), and catch (61, which is good for a CB).  Some of his lacking areas include awareness (52) and tackle (40), which are both really poor.

Professional Career: After that impressive Bowl performance, Gordon leaped into the 1st round of the 1993 draft and was selected 22nd by the Chargers.  He was the 3rd DB picked after Patrick Bates (who?) and Tom Carter, and immediately became a Patrick Peterson like force for the Chargers.  Gordon had seven interceptions in his three years in San Diego, but his real skill was returning punts - he also had three touchdowns on punt returns in those years and averaged around 13 yards per return (he did not return kicks).  He helped the Chargers get to Super Bowl XXIX, his first of four Super Bowls in the NFL (2-2 record overall).

In 1997 Gordon moved to the Denver Broncos, and he was just what the team needed as they won Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII in Gordon's two years with the team.  He had a combined 8 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, and 3 punt return touchdowns in those two years.  Gordon also was crazy ridiculous in the 1998 playoffs.  In the AFC title game he intercepted Vinny Testeverde twice and had a huge punt return.  Then in the Super Bowl he intercepted Chris Chandler twice and set an all time record for interception yards in a Super Bowl.  Gordon was certainly one of the league's top game changers at this point.

In 1999 Gordon went over to the Oakland Raiders, and for whatever reason his star never shone as bright from there on out (I blame the Oakland effect).  He started just 2 games over two years in Oakland, though he did have three interceptions in his first season.  By year two he was less of a force though, and he was averaging less than nine yards per punt return, a career low.  Gordon then spent a year in Atlanta, most of a year in Green Bay, and then was signed very late season by the Raiders (we're talking like week 17) as they made their way to the Super Bowl against the Buccaneers.  Gordon sat out most of the playoffs, but in the Super Bowl he returned three punts for 9.7 yards per return.   After the game Gordon retired from the NFL, ending his nine year career.

Why do I remember him? Somewhere along the line Madden started putting dreadlocks in their game as a hair option.  I don't know if Madden '04 was the first, but it was around that time when dreadlocks became big in the NFL, and I thought they were cool.  So guys with dreads, like Gordon, always made it onto my early teams.  I'd even change the hairstyles of non-dreadlocked players, so in the end like 80% of my teams would be wearing dreadlocks.  Weird, wacky, wild stuff.

Gordon started out as a dreads guy, but I came to use him a ton on my teams because he was a pretty good returner (any guys with 90+ speed with good agility and acceleration typically are) and he also made a fantastic CB4.  Unless you have a superstar team of four fantastic corners, the 4th CB on a team tended to be some mid 60's guy with 80-84 speed.  And that's generally fine, but when the other team played a 4-5 WR set and their 95 speed WR went up against your 82 speed DB, that was like an instant TD for the computer.  Well not with Gordon as a CB4...he had the speed to keep up, and the great hands to get interceptions against lesser WR.  So even though in real life Gordon was retired, I had a lot of seasons where Gordon acted as my dime (or even nickel) back with 4-5 interceptions a season.  I've drifted away from using him lately as I fell in love with different returners, but he's still a guy I'll always add and trade to a computer team at the beginning of franchise mode, because he definitely always deserves to be rostered.