Friday, April 18, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Cuddyer Edition

First of all, I love this custom.

Second of all, who the hell called Michael Cuddyer ascending to a near-leadership position in Colorado?

Not this blogger.

I mean, his 2012 season was terribly lacking, and he never really made too much of an impact in Minnesota, save for a few okay seasons, and an All Star bid. The presence of people like Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau made it impossible for someone like Michael Cuddyer to be a star.

Which is why I was so happy when 2013 happened for him. A streak. An All Star starting nod. A Home Run Derby bid. A nice season. This was nice for someone like him.

And now, Helton's gone, and the team is in need of someone like him, who can be the elder statesman and anchor for a while. Michael Cuddyer's probably gonna be that guy, because he's proven he has the stuff. Justin Morneau's in the picture, but it's flipped from how it was back in, say, 2008. Now Morneau is slumping, and Cuddyer's made it big.

I just hope this season is as good as last for him.

Coming Tomorrow- The new It Rookie for a team that really needs some It Rookies.

Custom Card of the Day: Votto Edition

I wanna take this opportunity to address one of the odd things about collecting for as long as I have. This is also pretty thought-provoking, and confusing, so anybody who wants to look at shiny objects for a while can just look at dayf's blog or something.

When I started collecting, the big rookies were Ryan Braun, Tim Lincecum and Daisuke Matsuzaka. The next year, people like Joey Votto, Evan Longoria, Jay Bruce and Josh Hamilton were breakout stars.

Within a few years, people weren't calling these players prospects anymore. I kept it in the back of my mind that people like Braun and Votto used to be rookies. And then they were being taken seriously as actual stars. Maybe it was the way I thought as a young player, but I just kinda thought that rookies became stars in a much slower, and less obvious fashion. Nobody knew what Ryan Braun and Josh Hamilton would become in a span of three years.

This was also during the years when I still thought that people like Jim Thome, Frank Thomas and Greg Maddux would continue to be good because they were good in the 2000's and 1990's, not really realizing that baseball players lose their quick abilities over time.

It took me a while to really stop underestimating how quickly baseball players can gain stardom, and how quickly baseball stars can stop being amazing at everything.

Joey Votto, for instance, was the big young star for a couple years, until he won the MVP. Then people just started calling him a star, or a veteran even. And when people were calling a guy who'd played five or six seasons a veteran, it was a little weird. He wasn't a veteran, in my eyes. He was too young.

I think this concept sorta clicked when I saw the old baseball cards of people I called stars. Like, I was calling it into question when these new players progressed through youth in baseball so quickly, yet I'd overlook players like Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra, who did the same exact thing, only in the past. Evidently I viewed them differently because they started in my binders, and they didn't progress to their 'star' status while I was watching them (like Votto and Braun did).

It just never clicked to me, I guess. The past just fits differently in people's minds than the present.

Food for thought.

Coming Tonight (?): Helton's gone. Gonzo's young. Morneau's new. Rockies need a new veteran star figure.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Harper Edition

And I'm back...


I know, the last two months have been absolutely insane for me, as I've been busy as all hell, yet I've still been making tons of customs. With absolutely no time to post them.

I mean, if I wasn't still making customs, I'd venture a guess that I was phasing out, but I'm not. I'm still adamant about posting, even when I'm swamped with schoolwork.

It's just the content that's getting me down. Sometimes, posting seems like work. I dunno.

Again, if there are more gaps in posting, that's why- the workload of the last leg of my senior year of high school isn't holding back. I'm not inferring college will be any breezier, but you never know.

Meanwhile, I'm gonna try doing two customs per day. Keyword try. Don't know if I'll succeed.

Coming Tomorrow (?)- Two years ago he was a bad move. Last year he had a fantastic streak. Now, he's back on top, where he wants to be.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Return to the Local Card Shop

It had been four years, four months and twelve days since I had last been to the local card shop, the one ten or fifteen minutes away, filled with more ten cent bins than I could count. I wasn't optimistic. I figured that, in the four years since, he'd have closed up shop.

He hadn't.

So, today, with the intention of getting more long skinny boxes for cards, I browsed my way through his supply of ten cent bins, and needless to say, I was quite satisfied.

I got numerous amounts of cards for numerous areas of my collection. I'll start with the most prominent:

90's Stars:
I mean, this kinda goes without saying. Any ten cent bin you find will likely have some semblance of 90's stuff. I was in luck, as I'm a sucker for old Topps sets. This Alomar was one of a few old Topps ones. Besides, that photo is pretty nice.
Two Hall of Famers and two Future Hall of Famers round out the Topps.
A lot of mid-90's Donruss, when Donruss was consistent for likely the last time in its run, was also in there.
Some higher-end Donruss sets, including people like Molitor and Murray on their last legs of their careers. I found a lot of different Eddie Murray cards through these boxes.

Some nice early Upper Deck poses.
This one is a terrific sideways shot of Eddie Murray. Man, those first few years of Upper Deck were pretty cool.
While the front of this one's pretty nice, the back photo is ultra-cool. You know, even if Darryl looks like he's on something here.

1995 Upper Deck is a severely underrated set with nice photography, and a simple, subtle design. Always a favorite of mine.

Back in 1999, Upper Deck threw 10th anniversary inserts into its products, including this one, declaring Eck as the finest reliever of the last decade. Sounds about right.

Continuing my quest to find cards of Rickey Henderson in uniforms that are not Oakland or Yankee ones, I nabbed a nice Mets card from 1999 Victory. Nicely done.
Surprisingly, the guy had a lot of 1996 Score. I only say surprisingly because it isn't very well-received around the blogospohere. But it does have some very nice photography, especially Ozzie.
One last Eddie Murray for the road, looking pretty pissed there.
I was kinda hoping he'd have some 00's Diamond Kings from the actual set, but the guy instead had the insert versions, which...aren't...bad, they're just not the textured ones. Still they're always nice to pull.
2000's Upper Deck:
I never collected too much back in the day, because I was so fixated on Topps. Looking back, Upper Deck still had some nice sets toward the end of their run, especially the 2007 and 2008 ones. I threw in this 06 Greinke because that throwback is pretty cool.
A page full of stars from 2007 UD. Only Phillips, Cabrera and Lee are still around.
A fantastic shot of a pre-superstardom Prince Fielder taking some autograph time.
Some 2008 Upper Deck. Some great shots of Glavine and Holliday.
More evidence of 2008 UD's awesome photography: Hall of Fame Class of 2015 member Randy Johnson, in his last year with the Diamondbacks.
Two awesome sideways shots. I couldn't decide which one was better.
This was also a nice find, a reminder that before Adrian Gonzalez became an awesome first baseman, he was just a prospect toiling around for six years. Here he is right before the trade to San Diego, in Arlington.
Retro Sets:
You don't expect to see too much of Bowman Heritage when scrolling through dime bins, but you run into it eventually somehow. I found a whole crapload of the stuff.
These are all from the 2003 set, and it looks pretty nice.

Two rookies from 2006 Bowman Heritage. The guy on the left is probably worth a bit more.
Two big hitters from the 2007 set, the last time they put it out. I actually ripped some packs of this one back in the day.
A few inserts from 2007 Topps '52 Rookies. Very good photography in this one. Remember: Back in '07, a set of completely rookies was 100% okay.
Nothing wrong with regular heritage, too. Cards from the 2007, 2003 and 2006 sets.
Some sideways cards, from 2009 and 2005 Heritage.
One last Heritage card, of current versatile star R.A. Dickey, back in his "younger" years in Texas.
There was a nice amount of Turkey Red here too. The top is from the 2005/2006 sets, the bottom is from the 2010 insert set.

Retired stars were usually a nice find in Turkey Red. I can't decide which one's my favorite, though the Seaver and Carter certainly stand out.
That's really the end of the categorizations, though there were some tinier finds I took note of.
Brick Cards were abound. Like, cards that are thicker than effing cheese. A lot of those in Bowman Heritage, a lot of those in the Bazooka sets. I picked up a few sentimental players.
This card is a pretty nice final tribute for Barry Larkin, who retired after the previous season.
An awesome sketch card from Dick Perez, from 2007 A&G
A really cool die-cut card from 2005 Fleer Classic Clippings.
Four players who were pretty huge in 2007. Only the guy on the bottom right is still that relevant.
Two last minute surprises. Swisher's, from 2007 Finest, is #'d to 199. Delgado's, from 2006 Topps CO-Signers, is #'d to 150. Two fantastic cards, and both for ten cents each. THAT is why I love this place.
Will likely be back sometime soon, as he's still open, and will probably continue to be still open. All in all, a great day for cards.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Hamilton Edition

It took a nice five years to build up the legend of Josh Hamilton.

However, it only took one to destroy it a little.

I mean, maybe it was the change in location, maybe it was the stress of being in LA, maybe it was rooming with Albert Pujols. Somehow, Josh Hamilton had a down year in 2013. And it's looking like 2014 might be another one, unless he refinds his footing.

It's sad, because that five year legend was actually looking like it was gonna stick around. He had a good story, and he'd come back from so much to be a big star. The 2008 Home Run Derby was so much fun thanks to Hamilton.

Who wants it to end like THIS? Not hitting, not playing well, not happy? Legends should end gracefully, not abruptly.

This year needs to be big for Josh if he wants to stay relevant, because he's gonna lose all the fame if he keeps playing like he did last year. It's a little sad, too.

I just hope he does something this year.

UPDATE: Out 6-8 weeks. Boy, that was really great timing, wasn't it?

Coming Tomorrow- Mr. National League.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Cabrera Edition

Miguel Cabrera is currently the best player in baseball.

I'm saying this because in twenty years when he's in the Hall of Fame along with a bunch of other people playing currently, this may not be 100% clear. I'm making it clear- Cabrera is Mr. Baseball right now. Nobody comes close.

2014 is Cabrera's chance to REMAIN being Mr. Baseball, because if he has another good season, not only is that Hall of Fame joke from the last paragraph potentially NOT a joke, but the comparisons to long-retired players are gonna come up, and the Tiger dignitaries are gonna start down and bowing.

Winning two MVPs in a row is not easy. I mean, it's easy if you're friends with Jose Canseco, but that's besides the point. Winning two MVPs in a post-steroids world, in a competitive conference featuring people like Mike Trout and Robinson Cano is exceedingly tough. Miguel Cabrera has done this TWICE NOW.

There's a chance that he could have another astonishing season, and make it three. I accentuate the fact that there is a chance, not a certainty. Mike Trout's shelf is looking mighty slim as it is. Also, the AL East is filled with people who usually come close to getting an MVP, yet sadly barely even crack the top 10 vote-getters.

Here I say that Miguel Cabrera certainly CAN do it. I'm not saying he will, but he can.

Coming Tomorrow- That NL Central guy that always seems to do well, yet his team does awful in the playoffs. Not that one. Yeeahhh, that one.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Goldschmidt Edition

Mark Trumbo is becoming the talk of the Diamondbacks this week, because he's already hit three home runs in his first few games. Yet still, Paul Goldschmidt is undeniably the one to watch?

Why? Well, last season he came 2nd in the MVP voting to Andrew McCutchen. Some people still think Goldschmidt should have one. Bottom line- this guy's dangerous.

This also comes as a pretty convenient solution to Arizona's dilemma since its inception. Randy Johnson notwithstanding, the D-Backs never rallied around a single anchor, one guy that would just act as the star of the team, and owe himself to leadership status. Justin Upton came pretty close, but nobody else really got there. If Paul Goldschmidt keeps having seasons like 2013, he could definitely get to that place.

Mark Trumbo-mania will probably die down slightly. He could have a big season, but we're five games in. John Axford is leading the AL in saves. Some guy I've never heard of from Minnesota is leading the AL in RBIs. This is what the first week is for- for the lucky people to have nice weeks before everyone else catches up over the course of the rest of the season. Mark Trumbo, as of now, is lucky.

Paul Goldschmidt is likely gonna go bigger. Just watch.

Coming Tomorrow- Speaking of MVPs, he has two. Will 2014 make three?