Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Well Done Anyway


As much as I wanted the Royals to win, I'm still kind of happy the Giants won. Either way, both teams played some amazing baseball, and I'm alright that the Giants came out on top. They had some great performances, especially from Bumgarner, Morse and Posey. I think that this postseason will definitely get Bumgarner a few more Cy Young votes than he would have gotten.

I'm happy for Hunter Pence, too. He's one of my favorite ex-Phillies, because he was so much fun when he played for my team. I wish him the best whatever team he plays for. As luck would have it, he's gotten himself two World Series rings over the course of two and a half seasons with the Giants. Clearly he must be doing something right.

To be honest, I'm happy for the Giants, and I'm kind of sad the season's over. No more fresh customs. I will definitely do some for December, and do some sort of Year-by-Year-ish format. I will be posting every day, but in what capacity I have no idea. Besides, I made a crapload of customs for teams that didn't advance in time for me to post them. So I have a bunch of unposted Cardinals and Dodgers customs that I'll need to shell out, as well as ones of all the guys I missed.

So yeah. I'll try to keep posting while I'm here. But still, I'm happy the season ended on such a high note.

Game Seven: Full Prediction

Well...tonight, the last game of the 2014 season will take place. Both sides are ready for a victory, and either one could easily take this one.

However, as is custom, I will detail the viewpoints and perspectives of the game, and see who I think will win in the end.

Who the audience wants to win:
Kansas City Royals.

Kind of goes without saying. Nobody thought that the Royals would make it this far, especially seeing as the Tigers came out strong at the beginning of the season. So it's making everybody so happy that they're in the World Series, and they're playing beautifully.

Plus, this is a fun team that has allowed itself to be rooted for by basically everybody. There are great players like Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson, Omar Infante, Alex Gordon and Yordano Ventura populating the roster.

If the fans had their way, the Royals would take it.

Who has the better team:
San Francisco Giants.

Yeah, it's kind of a fact that the Giants have more meat on them. They have better hitting, more durable pitching, a roster that has been through this before. They have a number of players (Bumgarner, Posey, Sandoval, and a few others) that have already won two rings. They've been through all of this already.

The Giants came close to taking their division title a few times. The Royals, with the exception of a midsummer boost, didn't really. The Giants have more overall strength, have hit more home runs, and are the stronger team.

Who Should Win:
Kansas City Royals.

Going into this game, the odds are with the Royals. They're playing a Game 7 at home, and the odds say that they'll be the ones to take it. But not only that--this is a team that has been playing like winners for the past few matches. Game 6 was a blowout because they allowed it to be, because they decided to play really, really well.

If they could take Game 6, and force the Giants to play one more game, I guess they'll be the favorite going in.

Who Will Win:
Kansas City Royals.

Not sure if this will happen, but I sincerely hope it does.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Giants Might Actually Win This: A Realization


We are five games in, and what started out as something unpredictable turned into the Giants taking the crucial lead. The Royals looked like they were in a fighting mood for a while, but they managed to give two at home to the Giants, one of which while Madison Bumgarner on the mound, which is never a good idea, no matter who you are.

So now, if the Giants win Game Six, it's all over. Predictability wins, Spontaneity Loses. No matter how hard the Royals fought, and no matter how strong they were, the Giants will end up with the glory.

And that's becoming hard for me to stomach.


This is starting to turn into a Quentin Tarantino movie, to me. And by that I mean it's bloody, glorious and fun to watch, but the important things like the story arc are completely abandoned.

I should clarify that, because 'story arc' is kind of an odd thing to think about with baseball. So here's what I mean. Prior to the playoffs, the stories that were popping up everywhere were the rise of the Nationals, the sheer dominance of the Dodgers, the miracle offense in Baltimore, and the comeback of the Royals. We've whittled those stories down to one, and it's the Royals. The Giants don't really have an arc--for the case of this, they're the antagonist, who starts out being kind of menacing, and then ends up being the bad at the end because nobody could stop them.

Now, what kind of story would this be if the team with the heroic arc, the Royals, lost to the team that had a demise coming to them from almost the beginning?

Tarantino will set up arcs and then watch as they don't really pay off. He'll set up a character that deserves redemption, and then kill her off before she even gets to see the character. And this is what this Series feels like. The Royals are gonna get killed off before they're able to redeem themselves.

Tomorrow night, the Giants and Royals are going to play Game Six, and the stakes are going to be high. And if the Giants finish them off, it'll be a great series nonetheless, but it'll feel like we, as the audience, got cheated a little bit. All of this 'Royals' business, all of that great baseball story...thwarted by a team we could kind of tell was going to win from the beginning of the year.

I'll be fine either way, but I think it'd make more sense if the Royals won. That's all.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Respect

Gone before he really got started. Great hitter, outstanding potential. A shame he left.

R.I.P. Oscar Taveras. I would have liked to see what you could do as a Cardinal. And I don't say that often.

Deadlocked

From a statistical standpoint, this is one of the weakest world series match ups in years, and several sportswriters have already cited this fact. Giants suck this, Royals are lightweight that.

However, judging by the last four games, we may have one of our most tightly matched and suspenseful World Series' in a while. We're four games in, and already we have a tied series with four really nicely played games. Tonight's was no exception, as Pablo Sandoval and the Giants all took turns absolutely mashing the ball.

I've already spoken about how I want the Royals to win, but either way, and either outcome, people will still call this one a really exciting series. If the Royals win, it'll be an underdog story for the ages. If the Giants win, it'll be another chapter in the Giants dynasty of the early 2010's.

I'm seeing comparisons to the 2001 series, or the 2004 series. That close, that monumental, and yes, that good. Hopefully it'll only continue to get better.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hanger Box of 2014 Topps Update

Yeah, you knew I'd eventually get my hands on some.

Me, the master of showing people in different-looking uniforms. Of course I'd get Update eventually. I mean, what else am I supposed to do in October? Break fifteen-year-old boxes of stuff?

So yeah. I got a hanger box at Target of the stuff. Did I pull anything good? Well...

112- Alfredo Simon, who had a really nice start to the year.
111- Emilio Bonifacio, who has worn five uniforms over the course of three seasons.
287- Mike Bolsinger
19- Bronson Arroyo, one of the better fringe players in the MLB.
38- Jason Giambi, who has been playing for 20 seasons. I'm guessing this past one was his last one, though you can never tell anymore.
4- Mark Reynolds, who is not great for a fantasy team.
16- Andrew Brown
79- Clint Barmes
185- Juan Francisco
6- Jose Molina, one of the best backup catchers in the game.
78- Reid Brignac
107- Josh Collmenter
93- Troy Patton
86- Cesar Ramos
164- Joe Kelly, who may end up being the lone Boston ace next year.
46- Jake Marsinick, who may end up being a starter in Houston next season, which isn't saying much.
49- Willie Bloomquist
7- David Price, adorned in a Tigers uniform.
325- JOSE ABREU MLB Debut
13- Andrew Heaney Rookie debut
267- Jonathan Diaz
237- Jorge Polanco
17- Yangervis Solarte. Headley was worth him.
330- Daniel Webb
52- Chase Anderson
154- Yu Darvish ASG
18- Aramis Ramirez ASG
258- Matt Carpenter ASG. Hey, remember when the All Star cards used to feature more than people just standing around????
30- Elian Herrera
224- Jared Burton
248- Brayan Pena
34- Gavin Floyd, who...still kinda sucks.
218- David Carpenter
194- Hector Santiago
70- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was apparently with the Marlins this year. Hm.
244- Daisuke Matsuzaka. Man, he's still relevant?
73- Francisco Cervelli
83- Brandon Hicks
85- Daniel Descalso, who is playing less...I guess?
296- Tyler Moore
116- Brett Anderson
240- Aaron Sanchez
172- Tucker Barnhardt
203- Cole Figueroa getting doused with Gatorade
117- Bryan Holaday
138- Asdrubal Cabrera
323- CHASE HEADLEY
314- Corey Dickerson GOLD #D TO 2014
Power Players insert of Adam Wainwright. I like these. They remind me of the early 2000's Topps inserts.
29- Tyler Skaggs RED SHINY
The future is now insert of Yordano Ventura...and...
89 mini insert of BILLY BUTLER. Man, this pack wants the Royals to win.
All Star Access of Daniel Murphy
170- Matt Davidson
175- Oscar Taveras ROOKIE
222- Brandon Moss ASG
212- Randy Choate
94- Tuff Gosewisch RC
57- JACOB DEGROM Rookie Debut
250- Yu Darvish CL
206- Chris Perez
290- Cam Bedrosian
148- Kyle Parker
50- JACOB DEGROM ROOKIE
10- GEORGE SPRINGER ROOKIE. Man, two really good ones
176- Michael Brantley ASG
292- Chase Utley ASG
315- Carlos Gomez ASG
297- Zach Greinke ASG
289- Adam Wainwright ASG
2 doubles

Well, those were pretty damn good, especially by Update standards.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nostalgic Box Break: 1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice (Part Three)

It's been a couple days, but I'm finally posting the next nine packs out of this damned box. I've just had a busy week, filled with a midterm and some other random crap, but I'm back now. And now I'll be posting some more packs from this box, because I may have another box of cards on the way. Just saying.

Anyway, on with the break.

 Pack 19- Three sideways shots start the pack, including Rafael Palmeiro, who was still a big deal back then. Also, Walt Weiss, who always had really good cards back then, gets another one.


Two good shots of Dean Palmer and Mike Kelly during BP. Not much going on in this pack.

Pack 20- Silver sig of Mike Bordick. Also, rookie cards for Tony Clark and Paul Wilson, worth a shit-ton more back in 1995.

Three photographical highlights. Ozzie Guillen wearing a cool throwback, Darren Lewis holding onto a base, and Glenallen Hill sporting one of those awesome 90's Cubs variation uniforms.

Our You Crash the Game card for this pack is David Justice, still with the Braves back then. So, did David Justice indeed hit a home run on July 25th, 1995? Nope? Braves still won though, because this was still the '95 Braves we're talking about.

Pack 21- Two really cool full-bleed cards to start off the pack, including a card to pay tribute to Nolan Ryan, and a card to commemorate the fact that Mike Piazza was just starting to be awesome.

One of the odd themes to this pack was green. Both of these cards were taken during, I imagine, some St. Patrick's Day themed Spring Training game. I have no idea. Still, it looks pretty cool.

Two really cool cards, of a solemn looking BJ Surhoff, and Brian Hunter colliding with a wall.

And while we're here, here are two really awesome 90's Yankees stars. One of them is a Yankees legend. The other is a Hall of Famer. Both are totally going in my collection.

Pack 22- Those 'What's the Call' cards that keep showing up are so 90's, and so cool. This one's of Frank Thomas. Also, Chris Goodwin, even though he never made it, has a cool Future Foundation card.

Cliff Floyd was apparently still a star back in 1995. Meanwhile, I have no idea who John Dettmer is, but he has a pretty cool card here.

Meanwhile, here's our Hall-of-Famer, good ol' Tom Glavine, seen here during warmups.

Pack 23- Two cool  shots to start off the pack. Jeff Frye has a double play attempt, while Ron Karkovice attempts to stop a runner at second (I imagine).

Two stars at the time. Lee Smith is a borderline Hall of Famer. He'd be in already if Trevor Hoffman hadn't already broken his record. Meanwhile, David Justice looks silly here.

Two sideways shots of stars. Mark Grace looks like he's bowling here. Wally Joyner is probably striking out.

The two stars of the pack, both of whom I'm throwing in my binder later. Mussina is still the ace in Baltimore, while Delgado is just becoming the big home run hitter. He was still a catcher back then.

Finally, here's one more preview for the update set. Yeah, Fernando Valenzuela was with the Phillies, and evidently he was with the Padres after the photo deadline.

Pack 24- The lone star card up front is Kenny Lofton, famed base-stealer, still rocking it with the Indians.

Three impressive back-of-the-card shots. Greenwell is falling, Boone is sliding, and Brogna is diving. All in all, eventful backs.

The best card in the pack is this one, of Mike Stanley carrying his catching gear with him. Not really meant for star-power,  but mainly awesomeness.

Pack 25- Phil Nevin's rookie card starts off the pack. Man, this rookie class is generally pretty pathetic.

The only two cards worthy of photographing. Phil Leftwich is trying to scare people.

Pack 26- Two awesome, yet odd cards. Joe Carter's card commemorates his slaying of Mitch Williams in the '93 World Series. Juan Gonzalez' just looks ridiculous.

More St. Patrick's day goodness.

Shawon Dunston was still a big deal in 1995 apparently. Alright, I guess so. Also, Bret Barberie has a nice shot with his mask up.

Three really cool sideways shots. And I mean REALLY cool. Derek Bell has a nice slide shot. Kirt Manwaring is attacking a runner with a ball. Pat Borders is working on a rundown. Again, the photography here just blows me away.

Pack 27- Two awesomely awesome cards that mean absolutely nothing. The first commemorates Barry Bonds winning the gold glove. I don't collect him anymore, because steroids. Also, Travis Miller's card is phenomenal- he looks like he's trapped in an ice cube, and he's got snow in his glove. That's some great stuff, especially for an insert.

1. "...and if Danny Tartabull were here, I'm sure he'd say 'That's correct, Jerry...'"
2. My, those 90's Reds hats are awesome.

Ughh...
On the left, Roger Clemens, most famous for appearing in Kingpin, celebrating...something. On the right, Jeff Kent, most famous for cursing out Obama in his final words on Survivor, dashing to the base.

Don't worry folks, we've got one more You Crash the Game insert before we end the post. This one's of Mike Piazza. Did he hit a home run on August 27th, 1995?

No, he didn't.

He hit TWO OF THEM.

So whoever got this card in 1995 would be sending this in immediately. That's kinda awesome. 2 homers, 2 doubles. And they won 9-1. So yeah.

Sometime soon, I'll post the last nine.