Monday, January 30, 2012

Really, Topps?

You know, after five years I kinda thought the Poley Walnuts onslaught was over.

I often inquire as to why the hell Topps keeps doing this. Is it to make people open numerous packs to search for the gimmicks? Is it to drive away veteran collectors, and instead lead them to lives as Pony Enthusiasts (this is the third reference I made. I hope he gets it or I'll keep making them less subtle)? Or maybe there is no reason. Maybe they just have a board meeting, and one guy says "You know what...this tradition stuff is boring. Let's just take the collectors that have stood by our side for so many years, and just mess with them."

In any other company, that guy would be fired. At Topps, he is promoted. In the real world, he will be ridiculed.

This gimmick infuriates me the most because, as we're being led to believe, this card is actually being placed in the base set. There will be no normal Skip Schumaker card, only a card OF A FREAKING SQUIRREL. Of course, if you're a Cardinals hater (like me, thanks to an overly snooty Cardinal fan "friend"), then you might just throw the card out, even if it was a legit Schumaker. Can you imagine versions of this card being produced for factory sets, for gold variations, etc? What if Schumaker gets an All Star nod, and they make a team set? Do they put the frigging squirrel in the set, beside Jose Reyes and Ryan Howard?

Oh, it makes me MAD!

Because I have to end this blog post somehow, I'll say this: There's a possibility that this squirrel card is the only bit of poo Topps will fling at us. That after this, they'll give us a decent set and a gimmickless season.

A very slim possibility, though. About the size of an acorn, being nibbled on by that damn rally squirrel.

Update #1- Well, a lot of you have told me that this is a gimmick, and not a base card like we all thought. So for that reason I must apologize for the tone in the blogpost. I went a little over the top, because I thought Topps was done with these stupid gimmicks. 2011 was gimmick free, and I was kinda looking forward to a clean 2012. No wonder the Mayans wanted the world to end in December.

Update #2- I've also been told that there's a similar gimmick roaming around, featuring a credible player (Mike Leake) fighting with a mascot. There are apparently several of these. Of course, a mascot sharing space with a player isn't as bad as A SQURREL TAKING THEIR SPA-okay I give up.

Update #3- He hasn't gotten it yet. There goes subtlety.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Card Show: A Load of Swag

It's been a while since I ventured out to a local card show, being that last year I didn't go to too many. But I figured, since my weekend looked pretty clear, and there was one at a local mall, I kinda had to. So I went, and returned with 2 bags full of cards (baseball and football), mainly picked from 10 cent bins.


The Vintage:
1972 Topps Luis Aparicio, Jim Hunter
1973 Harmon Killebrew (for a dollar!)
1974 Rollie Fingers, Tony Perez
1980 Dennis Eckersley

The 2011 Update: Lance Berkman Booze-fractor, Rafael Furcal, Eduardo Nunez rookie, Russell Martin, Jason Giambi, Adrian Beltre, Charlie Furbush rookie, Michael Pineda RD, Adam Dunn, David DeJesus, Miguel Tejada, Matt Holliday AS, Kerry Wood, Edgar Renteria, Carlos Quentin AS, David Ortiz AS

The Rookies:
2001 Topps Rafael Soriano, Adrian Gonzalez.
2007 Masterpieces Billy Butler
2007 Topps Factory Set Billy Butler
2010 Topps Update Jonny Venters
2008 Timeline Alexei Ramirez

The 2007 SP Authentic (I swear, one dealer had a lot of these): Frank Thomas, Justin Verlander, Todd Helton, Greg Maddux, Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, Lance Berkman, Ivan Rodriguez, Tom Glavine, Mark Teixiera and Jim Thome
The 2001 Topps: Edgar Martinez, Alfonso Soriano, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Kerry Wood Golden.
The 1999 Topps: Mariano Rivera,
The 2000 Topps: Hideo Nomo
The 2005 Donruss Champions: Craig Biggio, Willie McCovey (Padres), Roberto Alomar (Indians), Rickey Henderson (Mariners), Tom Seaver (Reds).
The 2007 SP Legendary: Harmon Killebrew
The 2005 SP Legendary: Bob Lemon
The 2005 Diamond King: Roy Oswalt
The 90's Baseball Heroes: Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan
The 2007 A&G Sketch: Mark Teixiera
The Turkey Red: 2009 Curtis Granderson
The 2006 WalMart: Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn, Andruw Jones. Must be a theme.
The 2009 Propaganda: Andrew McCutchen
The Masterpiece: 2008 Dave Winfield
The Needed Chicle: Reggie Jackson
The Gypsy Queen: Ivan Rodriguez


The 2009 Topps: And there is a lot:
Terrell Owens, Derrick Brooks, Jerod Mayo ROY, James Harrison ROY, Greg Jennings, Reggie Bush, Matt Schaub, Darelle Revis, Frank Gore, Steve Smith, Matt Hasselbeck, Fred Taylor, Jamaal Charles, Carson Palmer, Joey Galloway, Osi Umenyiora, Ed Reed, Vince Young, Jordy Nelson, DeAngelo Williams, Dwayne Bowe, Anquan Boldin, Bernard Berrian, Ryan Grant, Tashard Choice, Justin Tuck, Vernon Davis, London Fletcher, Devin Hester, Steven Jackson, Donald Driver, Patrick Willis, Torry Holt, Larry Fitzgerald, Larry Johnson, Nnamdi Asomugha, LaMarr Woodley, Vincent Jackson, Edgerrin James, Jay Cutler, Ray Lewis, Trent Cole, LaDainian Tomlinson, Heath Miller, Jeremy Shockey and Jared Allen
I know.

The 90's to 2000's Topps:
1993- Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith,
1995- Emmitt Smith
1998- Jerome Bettis, Deion Sanders, Jerry Rice, Reggie White, John Elway
1999- Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith,
2001- Donovan McNabb, Randall Cunningham
2004- Emmitt Smith, Drew Brees, Tedi Bruschi, Jerome Bettis
2006- Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, Edgerrin James, Issac Bruce
2007- Jay Cutler
2010- Brian Dawkins

The Topps Archives: Ken Stabler, Ozzie Newsome, Jackie Slater, Fred Biletnikoff, Lester Hayes, Jack Youngblood, Bob Griese, James Lofton, Jim Kelly, Boomer Esiason, Charlie Joiner

The Rookies:
1999 Bowman Hines Ward
2001 Topps Santana Moss
2004 Chris Cooley, Jonathan Vilma
2005 Jason Campbell, Roddy White
2006 Mario Williams, DeAngelo Williams
2009 Ray Maualugalugagagaga

The 2008 RP: Marshawn Lynch, Jared Allen
The 2005 Topps Heritage: Jerome Bettis
The Masterpiece: 2008 Eddie Royal
The Chicle: Donovan McNabb, Braylon Edwards, Brian Dawkins,
The 2004 Fleer Showcase: Donovan McNabb
The Turkey Red: Steve Smith
The 2008 60's Topps Inserts: Eric Dickerson, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning
The 2010 Draft Inserts: Gale Sayers, Eric Dickerson

All in all, it was a good show. I'll probably be going to the Philly show in a few months, so stay tuned for that.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Juan More Outfielder for Philly

Back when Juan Pierre was on the Marlins, three teams ago, the man was incredibly speedy and would always get on base and bite the Phillies in the ass. Hell, the 2003 series was painful to watch, knowing that Pierre, one of the guys that base-stole Philly into submission, was walking off with the ring.

(Of course, the 2003 series was also painful because THE YANKEES BLEW IT, but that's another story for another rant.)

So after Pierre humiliates us numerous times as a Marlin from 2003-2005, he leaves the NL East. Thankfully that is. He settles on teams that are good, but can't be taken seriously, and after a while I actually begin to respect him as a player. This is mainly because I knew full well that he was the best base-stealer in baseball (check the wall at Cooperstown, it says so.) Last season the man recieved his 2000th hit. I really don't think he'll hit 3000, or even grace a wall in Cooperstown (one in the main hall), but you can agree that when he's not tormenting Philadelphia, he's fun to watch.

Today, Juan Pierre signed with the Phillies, on a minor league deal that could lead to a potential outfielder spot if one of the three get hurt (and if Raul Ibanez does the right thing and retires). This means that as awesome as a Mayberry/Victorino/Pence outfield is, now there's an extra hand to fill the board whenever one of the gets hurt. And that's great. One thing this Philly team needs is speed and hits, and Pierre can supply both of those. Mainly speed.

However, the one thing that fatigues me is that while I said Pierre was an extra hand, I didn't mention how many other extra hands there are in the Philly outfield. Because waiting in the wings with Juan are two older, slower hands that could be pissed of if they don't get their time. Their names are Laynce Nix and Scott Posednik.

I know what your thinking: Yes, Scott Posednik is not only still alive, but he's still playing.

Nix and Posednik can hit, and that's why they were signed in the first place. However, Posednik, approaching his tenth Major League season, is getting quite old, and is becoming a journeyman outfielder whose sole purpose is to at least get some playing time. Nix has a similar deal. Imagine Nix and Posednik are like the two old financers in the movie Trading Places. Their motive is for our heroes to fail. And if they win, then the people in the crowd will boo.

In summary, I personally think Juan Pierre would be a decent fit for the Philly outfield. True, he is 34. But he can still hit, can still field, and can still steal bases.

Scott Posednik and Laynce Nix can only do one of those three things.

Who would you rather sign?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bye Jorge

You had an excellent career, marred by age and obcelescence at the very end. Hopefully non-Bronx fans will respect you as much as I did. Especially in about six years. That would really help.

Still, nice job. You're among the greatest Yankee catchers, next to Dickey, Berra, Howard and Munson. You deserve a rest.

A letter to Topps

Dear Topps,

I have attempted many times to write to you in the past, through my blog. Though I never have really gotten your attention, and have never actually heard back from you (wasn't there a Beverly Cleary book like this?), I figured I'd at least pretend to get your attention. Because, once again, I'm not happy with a decision you've made.

Ever since the Alex Gordon debacle in 2006 Topps, we, the proud collectors of the internet, have begged on our geeky, blogging knees for you to give us a no-frills, no-gimmicks flagship set. Also, ever since the 2011 set did exactly what the 2010 set did in terms of inserts, we've been asking for original insert ideas. In other words, we wanted every subsequent Topps design to be different than the last.

At the National, you introduced the 2012 set as a Game Changer. My question, as the hour of the set's release grows nearer and nearer, is simply this: What game did you intend to change? Because as far as my perfect vision can see, I see only subtle differences between the 2012 flagship and the 2011 flagship, and even the flagship before that.

The inserts still echo the tired Peak Performance, Legendary Lineage and Reprints types of repitition. There are still inserts commemerating the player's achievements, putting two players together, and just looking cool, and not distinguishing themselves from last year's. And the gimmicks we have so desperately asked you to get rid of? You've managed to take what would be a simple update set addition for two great players, and turn it into a short printed bonanza that won't give great players like Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes a proper base card in their new uniform. It's infuriating.

And believe me, I am not the only one who is pissed at you. I am simply the messenger. Bloggers such as BDJ610, and Chris Harris have spoken against the new gimmicks and inserts. The latter has even threatened a second Topps boycott. And that's what a lot of traditional collectors might do- just give up collecting the flagship set if it's gonna contain the usual shenanigans.

In closing, I will say this: If you really want 2012 Topps to be a game changer, you should have listened to the collectors, and taken the criticism to make a better set altogether. This changes no game. It simply slides another space nearer to Jail. And I don't think you'll be holding a Get out of Jail Free card this time.

Hoping there's something awesome planned for later in the year/2013,

the Mint Condition kid.

P.S.- Notice how I didn't ask to bring back Topps Total. Maybe that's cause IT WAS IMPLIED!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Giving up the crown

(I was going to title this "Clown Price of Crime", but I didn't want any Detroit residents to come and kill me.)
So there we go. After a strange and eventful offseason, one of the big guns finally signs a contract, signalling the turning point in the herald of cannonballs. And while everyone thought this bomb would go in one direction, it ended up sailing into Detroit.
The Tigers do not need a first baseman. What they need is a hitter. After Victor Martinez left in a stretcher, they needed to fill a hole. Unfortunately, in filling one hole, they left several others open. For instance, the Tigers already have a first baseman. Miguel, Prince. Prince, Miguel. Perhaps you've heard of him. He's been an excellent player for Detroit ever since he was snatched from Florida.
However, the Tigers saw that there was a star free, and snatched him. Why? Why not?
Fielder is going to end up booting a fine star from his position. Either he will play first and Cabrera will play third, or he will play third. Either way, this does not bode well for the Tigers' current third baseman, who happens to be a long tenured Tiger.
His name is Inge. And he is probably quite pissed off right now.
Which is why I am so dismayed by this deal. The Tigers DO NOT NEED Prince Fielder. Yet the moment they saw no one else had him, they snatched him up in seconds. This infuriates me. Not that any team I give a damn about would want him. And instead of letting someone who actually needed a good first baseman get him, the Tigers swoop in. Now, what do they do if they trade Brandon Inge, and Cabrera gets hurt. Whose fault will that be?
Again, I could be wrong. Prince could be a hit, or he could be Mo Vaughn 2.0. You really never know.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Oh the InhuManny-ty

There was a brief moment last year where I thought the wrath of Manny Ramirez had finally subsided, that he finally had crawled back into his hole, and retired from baseball.

Then I remembered how many times they killed off Jason Voorhees. And subsequently, how many times he came back. And how this situation was no different.

Sure enough, last year there were musings about how Manny Ramirez wanted to come back, despite the fact that the original plan was him staying home and not playing baseball anymore. I at first compared this to the desire for Terrell Owens to get back into football, and the fact that nobody showed up to his workout. I thought Manny 2.0 would crash and burn, sort of like how the returns of Hideo Nomo, Satchell Paige, and Jim Palmer were rightfully short lived. Of course, this being Manny Ramirez we're talking about, that obviously wouldn't be the case.

Right now there are rumors that the Oakland A's, of all people, want Manny to be their DH. And I understand their modivation. In Oakland, it's basically 2002 all over again. Bailey, Gonzalez and DeJesus have flown the coop, leaving only a few stars (Suzuki's still there, right), and a few question marks left unsigned. Right now the A's are practically poo-poo. And if they had Manny Ramirez, then they'd be a little less sucky.

But my infuriation lies not with Oakland. I think the A's are a fun team to watch. My infuriation lies with the DH in question. Becuase if there is one major league player, current or former, whose demise I wish for nightly, it is Manny Ramirez. And the demise usually involves him being hit by a truck. Filled with matches and gasoline in that matter.

When Manny retired I said good riddance. Hell, I even made that the title of the damn blog post. I was so happy I didn't have to deal with Manny anymore. The AL East was finally clean of its horrors, much like the end of Ghostbusters. And then, a year or so later, he comes back, even after everyone knows he took steroids. After the press took a gigantic dump on his legacy, Manny still wants to play. I can't understand that.

If the A's eventually sign Manny, then I hope he crashes and burns quicker than Charlie Sheen's limo. If not, and if Manny sinks back into obscurity until 2017, when his name comes up for HOF election, I will cherish all six years where I don't have to hear his name.

And even if he comes back, it's basically another chapter in Manny Being Manny. Hopefully Manny himself will be the one to close the book this time.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My God...what have we done???

I first heard of the monumental, catastrophic trade on Facebook. My two Yankee fans who I am friends with were saying something about Michael Pineda.

Hang on...what? Michael Pineda, a Yankee? THAT'S AWESOME! The man came close to a Rookie of the Year season last year, and the Yankees need pitching.

So I check ESPN to see who they traded him for. And I wasn't happy.

You see the Mariners gave up their future for us. Unfortunately, we had to give up ours. Jesus Montero is now a Seattle Mariner.

The smile faded instantly.

(It should be mentioned that Hector Noesi was also involved in the trade, but nobody cares about him.)

You see, I was looking forward to Jesus Montero sporting pinstripes on a daily basis after the impending departure of Russell Martin. I saw him as our catcher, the same way I saw Austin Jackson as our centerfielder and Ian Kennedy as our fifth starter. But nothing ever goes the way it planned. So right now, we have Russell Martin, we have Austin Romine, and that's about it.

That's the downside. That's a pretty big downside.

There's also a really big upside. Because Seattle gave up their future too.

Michael Pineda, if it weren't for King Felix, would have been the best Mariner on the team last year. He had a tremendous, ROY worthy season, even to the point of voting him in 30Year's contest as the most worthy contender.

Fortunately, we needed pitching. After CC, we have two pitchers that are semi reliable, two pitchers that were reliable last year (one of which we resigned), and the Killer B's waiting in the wings. Now, we have insurance so that when Hughes and Burnett are not their best, there will be someone in the rotation after CC, and before Garcia, Betances and the rest.

Also, Pineda's a really good pitcher. We needed really good pitching. End of story.

In summary, Jesus Montero was meant to be the Yankee catcher. Now, he will reside as the Seattle catcher, and whenever he has a great game, instead of my dad reporting the news it will be my Mariner loving uncle. On the upside, we have Michael Pineda. And that's pretty good.

Of course, this trade may not work. It could be a steal for Seattle. I could be writing ten years from now, and saying "remember when I said trading Pineda for Jesus would be a good idea? Disavow that."

But you never know. It is baseball.

Absorbed Collection: The Results

I hinted earlier in the week that I had obtained a bin containing a bunch of cards trusted with my ownership. After several hours I leafed through everything in there. And believe me, there are some pretty awesome things in there.

Basketball pulls:
A heaping mess of Michael Jordan cards. And I mean a heaping mess.
Two different Alonso Mourning rookie cards- 1993 Upper Deck and 1992 Fleer. Both are awesome.
Michael Jordan 1989 Fleer. Not his rookie, but still a semi-vintage card of the Airman.
Two different Shaquille O'Neal rookies. This got me excited. I got a 1992 Classic and 1992 Fleer version. I also obtained a rookie of Shaq from my grandfather 5 years ago, so this makes 3.
A mess of 1994 Upper Deck. Most of the binder was made up of this set. Lots of David Robinsons and Muggsy Bogues'.

Football Pulls:
Too many Reggie White cards. Seriously. I believe I had approximately 0 Reggie cards before. Now I have an estimated zillion. This guy really, really liked Reggie White. I don't blame him. In the 80's and 90's he WAS Philadelphia football.
Subsequent bevies of the other Philadelphia stars, such as Randall Cunningham, and yes, the late Jerome Brown, who could have been a Hall of Famer. Great haul for an Eagles fan, like myself.
Rookies of Lito Sheppard, David Akers, Sheldon Brown, and yes, Brian Dawkins. Tons of Dawkins rookies. Even..
A Brian Dawkins game used card. I gasped.
Game used cards of Larry Johnson, Fred Taylor, and numbered cards of Frank Gore and a numbered rookie for Rashard Mendenhall.
A lot of 80's stuff.
THE Brian Dawkins rookie: 1996 Stadium Club. Oh yes.
1982 Ronnie Lott. Yes my friends, this is his rookie card. It's in a screwdown.
1987 Topps Charles Haley rookie.
1988 Topps Bo Jackson. Rookie. If he hadn't gotten that injury, this would be a hundred dollar card. Cause it's in a screwdown in good condition.
Cards of Joe Montana, Deion Sanders, Dan Marino, Barry Sanders and...Christian Okoye?

Baseball Pulls: (This is where it gets kinda awesome)
A lot of 1991 Topps. Which is great, cause now I can try chasing the set.
Rookies I already had, such as Tom Glavine, Barry Bonds, Barry Larkin.
Rookies of Jeff Bagwell and Luis Gonzalez.
The 1986 Donruss Fred McGriff rookie. Sweet.
1978 Tom Seaver. Had this one.
A set of Tastykake Phillies legends. Carlton, Schmidt, McGraw...and oddballs like Kruk, Abreu and Dykstra.
Way too many David Justice cards. You know, if he turned out the way everyone thought he would, I'd be a rich man. I already own a mint, cased Minor League card of the man, and now I have tons of his other cards. It's too bad he didn't pan out.
1980 Topps Reggie Jackson. Nice.
A few 2002 Topps Post cards, featuring a design similar to 2010 Topps.
And now, the three big ones.
1964 Topps Willie Mays. In a thick protected toploader. In decent condition. In my hands. Oh my gosh. You should have heard the wail when I found this one. It was monumental. But that ain't all.
1992 Topps Baseball's Best Dale Murphy...autographed!!! SERIOUSLY! AND HE'S IN A PHILLIES UNIFORM AND EVERYTHING! IT'S AWESOME! I actually found this while flipping through a few cards in this set, and at first I didn't notice it was auto'd. It's awesome. But it's not the most awesome autographed card in the lot.
1991 Don Mattingly Upper Deck...autographed. Oh yes. He may not be a hall of famer, but he defined the Yankees in the 1980's, and now I have his autograph. Booyah.

So that's basically it. I will definitely be enjoying these cards. I also might theoretically be filing the basketball cards.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Collection Absorbed

It all started innocently enough. A friend of my dad's was giving up his collection for free, and didn't know any collectors reliable enough to pass the cards to. Then, my dad mentioned my collection, and from there it was history. Last night my dad brought home a box with loads of 80's and 90's cards inside. Football, Baseball and even Basketball cards lay inside.

I spent all of last night leafing through the boxes, and there were a few surefire hits. I'll share the bigger pulls over the next few days. And as far as football is concerned, there was a lot of good stuff.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Hall of Fame Ballot, if I were on the committee

It's funny how Hall of Fame induction day always creeps in on you. You never know when it is, so when it's coming, you're never prepared. Which is why today, the day before a few lucky individuals get the call from Cooperstown, I'm telling the blogging world who I want to see enshrined in the Hall of Fame. I'm not a sportswriter, and I realize this doesn't count for nothing, but my point of view should be known. I'll run down my picks, and the odds of each actually getting in. I'll also show a few of the people I left out.

Barry Larkin. People have called this man one of the most underrated shortstops of all time. To which I agree. When Larkin played, the likes of Smith, Ripken, and later Jeter, Rodriguez and others overshadowed him numerous times. Yet, while many people got more acclaim, Larkin got the numbers. He was an all star 12 times, and still held his own during the years where a bigger star entered Cincinatti and gobbled up the star power. He got 62% of the vote last year, which proves people have been watching. What's working against him is the fact that he wasn't necessarily a household name. But that's about it in terms of downsides. If Barry Larkin doesn't make it this year, he will soon. Odds of making it this year: 3:2

Jeff Bagwell. The one piece of information that will come up about Bagwell is that he held his own during the steroid era. He was a hard hitting first baseman who certainly mashed the ball in the clutch, and was a huge star in Houston for his years. And while steroid accusations piled up around Houston, not one was pointed at Jeff. So that's another plus. However, there is the case of his injuries. Bagwell spent a large amount of time on the bench, and ended his career a bit early due to that. What could have been a 20 year career ended up being a 15 year. But aside from that, Bagwell has the credentials for Cooperstown. It's just a matter of when. Odds: 3:1.

Jack Morris. People will begin to make comparisons to Bert Blyleven with Jack. Bert was a decent pitcher for many years, had a big moment in the World Series, and after years of waiting is finally inducted. Morris fits a few of those. He was a decent pitcher for a long time. He was on two World Series teams (or three, I forget). In the 1991 World Series, he has his famous two games in which he rocked the Braves. And, he's been waiting a little while for induction. Will he get in this year? You really never know. The youngsters could take it again. But there is a chance. Odds: 5:1.

Edgar Martinez. My uncle will agree with me on this one, since Edgar is his favorite player- this guy is the Greated Designated Hitter of all time. There's an award for DH's, and IT'S FREAKING NAMED AFTER HIM! Also, a fact my father will back up, he killed the Yankees everytime he was in town. The naysayer will say that his career wasn't long enough, or that he was a DH, and they should be HOFers, or that he never won a World Series. You know who else never won a world series? Jim Thome. He's been making a name for himself as a DH, and he's a surefire Hall of Famer. So if the 4th or 5th best DH will be going in, why can't THE best get in? Odds: 6:1.

Fred McGriff. Defense will be poweing this guy to the conversation. He was a quick outfielder, who played on several teams, and ended up with a few rings along the way. He was also a usual base stealer, and a favorite of many, including a Braves blogger or two. Maybe his numbers weren't as great as other contenders, but I think he was fun to watch. Odds: 7:1.

Tim Raines. Because Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock are in. Odds: 8:1.

Lee Smith. I really don't know why I think this guy should be in the Hall of Fame. It's just that he's been all around the league, he's been waiting for a while, and he's on the list of the most saves. I think he's one of the best closers of all time. I don't think other people share that logic, but I thought he was pretty good. Odds: 9:1.

Don Mattingly. A lot of you will think I'm pushing it, but I'm not. In the 1980's, he was one of the best players in baseball. He was pretty damn close to bringing the Yankees back to relevancy. And then, somehow, once the 90's hit he started getting hurt. A lot. So his career was pretty short, and aside from those years in the 80's he didn't have much. I just think he's one of the greatest Yankees of all time. And he should be a Hall of Famer. Odds: 10:1.

Dale Murphy. Maybe I'm slightly biased because he played for my team toward the end of his career. But before that, he was one of the better players of the 70's and 80's. Hell, his rookie card is a pretty hot item to this day. Sportwriters might not do him the justice he desevres. Odds: 15:1.

I left out Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmiero, as well as Juan Gonzalez, for obvious reasons. They took steroids, and while they racked up some huge numbers, Hall of Famers they ain't.

I also left off Alan Trammell. Why? Cause he's a member of the Hall of Very Good. Larry Walker is in there too.

Bernie Williams, while I would have loved to have added him due to my status as a Yankee fan, is also off the list. People are giving him acclaim all around, like saying he was a power hitter and good outfielder. Yes, he was those things, but in the 90's. In all the World Series winning teams, he was not the most important piece. Then, once 2006 came around he was a tired, aging outfielder who had nothing left. He wasn't very big for very long. So he wasn't a HoFer.

Anybody else I did not mention has approximately no chance whatsoever. Sorry Jeromy, Javy and Ruben.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Usually the bears eat the fish

I apologize for my absense on the blog for the previous five calendar days. In any case, Happy 2012. Now back to work.

I have already written about the imminent rise of the Miami Marlins. However, said article was written before the acquisitions of the likes of Bell, Reyes, Buehrle, and now Zambrano. The team seems to be getting stronger by the day, and it's no wonder- under new manager/Darth Ozzie Guillen, the team is taking a different approach- now, they plan on winning games. So now, along with the stars they already have, such as Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton and Emilio Bonifacio, the Marlins are packing more stars into their team than a large galaxy. And, with the exception of Zambrano, all of these new players can still play the game well.

In the opposite corner, there is a sad tale going on in the North side of Chicago. Despite not being very good last year, the Cubs team is losing what little star power it had. Its star third baseman? Gone to Milwaukee. Its mostly-reliable starter? Signed with Miami. Its up and coming pitching prospect? Traded to San Diego. Granted, the Cubs still have their shortstop, Starlin Castro, as well as a declining outfielder, a slumping catcher, a would-be-closer turned starter, and, thanks to Cashner leaving the nest, a popular first base prospect. That, unfortunately, is about it. Aside from small deals with David DeJesus, Carlos Pena and someone else I'm forgetting, the team is coming down to its last few stars.

It's a funny story, really. Not necessarily funny in a "ha-ha" sort of way, but more in a bit of a sad sort of humor. It's almost like a Twilight Zoney version of a Robin Hood tale. One team is stealing from the rich- another is giving to the poor. Both are becoming what they have done business with.

And the madness doesn't look like it's over for either team. The Cubs now have two first basemen. Something must be done about one of them. Also, Alfonso Soriano is getting older, and it's definitely showing in the amount of home runs he's logged lately, as well as playing time. Soriano is, sadly, becoming the average outfielder. He starts out strong, he hits well, he leads his team to a playoff run, and then slowly slides downhill. So the Cubs might need to get rid of him. Meanwhile, if the Marlins can hook (ha!) any other free agents, preferrably pitchers, they will take them, no contest. The strong will continue to strengthen, the poor will continue to weaken. Unfortunately, that's how baseball works.

Stepping off topic for just a second, but still keeping the theme, as the Cubs, a once playoff contending team, are losing players, the Padres, a recurring last place team, are gaining them. Carlos Quentin, Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso and now Andrew Cashner have joined an already building ballclub. I know, it sounds absolutely crazy, but it could happen. That divison's determined by a frigging coin toss anyway. But still, a strong Padres team does not bode well for the Cubs.

I realize that most Marlins fans want me to keep going, but coincidentally most Cubs fans want me stop before I find the head of a grizzly in my bed, so I'll end on this: Eleven years ago the Cubs and the Marlins met in the playoffs. The Cubs were the favorite. The Cubs lost. Most Cubs fans I know will do the obvious (Blame Steve Bartman), but some will note that it was the beginning, not of one team's downfall, but another's rise. Now, if the Cubs meet the Marlins for the game, we all know who will be the favorite.

Unless the Marlins begin their downfall. Because you really never know at this point.

And that's where I end, before I end up with my foot strategically placed in my mouth.