Thursday, May 30, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Profar Edition

Hey, remember 1994?

I can't, because I was born a year later. But remember how positively...1994 it was. Not enough to be 1993, but enough to be 1994. I mean, sure, there was a strike that turned a lot of people off of baseball for years, but there was great stuff that year. Forrest Gump came out in theaters. Friends was first premiered on NBC. Foo Fighters released their first album. It was a good year, and it was also a pretty nice Topps design.

I don't really think Jurickson Profar remembers 1994, because, well, he's so young. He's so young that his rookie season, last year, doesn't even count as his rookie season. He's probably 1/3rd of a Ron Washington, 1/2 of a Lance Berkman, and 1/16th of a Jamie Moyer.

But will any of that stop him from having a nice rookie season? never know. These things can go haywire. Teams fall apart, people get injured. He could certainly have an amazing season, but he's got a little bit of competition in the rest of the league. Remember, Manny Machado still counts as a rookie (somehow), and Dylan Bundy hasn't been called up yet.

But yeah...1994.

Coming Tomorrow- The best closer in the NL. No, really. I swear to God. I'm not lying.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Long Fall from the Top

When fans of struggling teams ask each other 'hey, remember when they used to be good?', they probably have to remember back to a long time ago. For The Royals, you'd have to remember back to the mid-80's, with George Brett, Frank White, Bret Saberhagen and a nice world series ring. For the Mets, you'd have to remember the 1986 World Series, or even the 1969 World Series. For the Cubs, you might be screwed.

But most Phillies fans can still remember the 'good old days' very well. You know, unless they've died since 2011.

Today, exactly three years ago, Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter against the Marlins, the first of two this season. He'd go on to win the Cy Young award that season. Also, the Phillies would come short of the World Series, losing to the eventual winners, the Giants.

Three years have passed. What the hell happened?

It reminds me of the movie Anchorman. No, not how overrated it is. I mean in the fact that after Ron is shunned from society, he has this very quick deterioration, and soon everything in his life turns to absolute crap, in the span of probably a couple weeks. In real life, that doesn't happen. In real life, people deteriorate slowly, and sadly. But in movie years, it just takes a few weeks.

That's what this is like. It takes most MLB teams about 5 or 7 years to go from wonderful to awful. It doesn't just happen in a year. Like, 2011 they were still a good team. And then the next season they come back and they're suddenly awful. That doesn't happen! That SHOULDN'T happen! But it did.

Now, there's more of a chance of the Phillies to BE no-hit than to throw a no hitter, and we'll be lucky if Roy Halladay ever throws like he did 4 weeks ago, let alone 4 years ago, again. And while it would be nice if the Phillies got back to the top again, it just seems like the two teams currently there won't let it happen.

But again, who knows. Maybe October will be 'Out of the Bear Pit' territory. Or you know, it could just be another round of 'Pass me another scotch Danny Trejo'.

You know. Like in Anchorman.

Custom Card of the Day: Kershaw Edition

While I can say that I saw the downfall of the Dodgers coming yet again, one thing I didn't predict was the start its top pitcher would have. And you know what- that's great. Because now I can say that Clayton Kershaw surprised me this season.

I'm not saying I'm surprised that he's pitching well, because that's kind of a given. I'm just surprised that even when his team is doing poorly, he's still pitching consistently well (for the most part).

I love the guy, he's a great pitcher, and I hope he continues his great season, and, you know, doesn't injure himself in some odd way.

Coming Tonight: That mega-rookie from Texas everybody can't shut up about.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Upper Deck Edition

As a lot of you may have noticed, I'm mainly a Topps man. I collect Topps more religiously than any other, I don't collect unlicensed, and I only attempt to complete Topps set. And I only customize vintage Topps. However, I felt like changing that up, since I'm running out of designs. So, I'm customizing some early Upper Deck.

Now, this really ruins the purpose of customs, as they're basically meant to be vintage representations of newer players, and Upper Deck is so far from vintage. However, recently I attempted a 1995 and 1994 custom, and they're not very far from the present. So really, it was bound to happen. Of course, this does bring up a few questions.

How far into Upper Deck will I go? Tough to say, though I do want to avoid the foil-crazy sets of the late 90's. I don't know if 1993 and 1994 are that easy, as well as 1995. I might just stick with the first few years, as those ones are generally easy.

Will I do any 2000's customs? Too early to say. Really depends on the set, its general easiness in terms of customizing and watermarks, and the youth of the player I'm putting in. As of right now, probably not, though you never know.

Is the door open for any Fleer, Donruss or Score customs? Yes. However, to a certain point. I'm not looking for designs that are aloft in foil, or crappily done. I might use some early 80's Donruss and Fleer, and maybe a couple fan favorite stuff from the 90's (1993 Leaf? 1991 Studio?) But if the door's open to UD, then I can definitely try some other stuff.

Does that mean I'm phasing out of Topps? Hell to the no. Topps will still be my customizing priority, and it'll always will be. I'll just throw the other stuff in every once and a while just to seem fresh. This Michael Young above is a nice change of pace. I have a Lincecum coming up that also utilizes an UD design. I'm definitely not done with Topps, and I don't think I ever will be.

So yeah. The barrier's been broken. The only thing I won't customize now is football...AS OF RIGHT NOW...

Coming Tomorrow- I haven't done a Dodger in a while, so here's one. Probably the best pitcher in the NL right now.

Custom Card of the Day: Cabrera Edition

Not much to say this morning. Just let the card do the talking. Because it is pretty nice. It is the first custom made with my new Photoshop elements, after signing my own funeral notice by saying everything was working swimmingly with my new PC. So yeah. There is that.

I'll just let Miggy do the rest.

Coming Tonight: That aforementioned UD custom.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Miller Edition

(Yep, I'm doubling up again today. Get used to this.)

I find it very odd that there's a guy in the Major Leagues named Shelby. The only two people I know named Shelby are both women. One's a drummer for a one of those ever popular 'jazz-influenced alternative rock bands'. But I digress.

For someone who hates the Cardinals, the sudden influx of 'the Cardinals are amazing' coverage has made me increasingly infuriated. Hell, the NL is meant to be ruled by teams I do not loathe. We are already failing in this regard. Even worse, the Cardinals pitching has gotten so good that Sports Illustrated has already made them the cover-boys ONCE. Dare they do it once more.

I realize of course that a lot of them are actually worthy of merit. Shelby Miller is really pitching something wild for the Cardinals (nobody is allowed to get this pun), as are several of the other pitchers. Carlos Beltran, as usual with teams outside of California or Texas, is playing extremely well, bashing homers left and right and solidifying his status as a player too good to be considered for the Hall.

Still, I find it inclined to hate them once more. In approx. one month, if they're still the #1 team in the NL, I will make a custom of David Freese, or some other hated Cardinal. Really.

Coming Tonight: The reigning AL MVP, and all around good player.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Aoki Edition

Brief musing tonight, as I'm a bit tired.

I usually get my photos from a photo site that begins with Z that I have often criticized, mainly due to their lack of competence during Spring Training. However, there is one particular aspect of Z's photography that often baffles me, and that is their obsession with Japanese ballplayers.

This season alone, just like any other season, there has been an abundance of Japanese imports. However, unlike the past couple seasons, there have been many Japanese imports that have mainly been used for trivial roles, like set-up men and relievers. Kyuji Fujikawa, Hyujin Ryu, Muenori Kawasaki- all of them for instance are rookies from abroad that haven't really done too much this season.

However, every time I find a gallery of pictures on Z, what do I find? Approx. 20 pictures apiece of those aforementioned rookies, who maybe just play for a little bit or pitch for an inning, just as there's absolutely nothing for the players I actually want to customize. It's not even one instance- it is every game they even pitch one batter for. And even if they only pitch for a short time, there's like 5 photos of them pitching the one guy, and 7 more photos of the same guy on the bench, or warming up, or picking his nose. And this is some guy who nobody cares about, and I don't want to customize.

Now before you accuse me of being a racist, please know this: shut the hell up. I'm not a racist, I am simply one to point out an ongoing trend. I have nothing against any of these players (save for maaaaybe Koji Uehara). I even made a custom of Aoki here. However, I had billions to choose from, as he averages roughly 97 pictures per game. Only 9 of them feature him playing. This is not me being racist, it's me pointing out a photographer's bias.

Now again, it might very well be that a lot of the photographers are from the same country as the players they're assigned to hawk. It could just be the assignment from their bosses. They could just pay less to be photographed before and during the game. I don't know. I just know that Z needs to start paying a little more attention to the players in the game that actually matter.

(By the way, in case you STILL think I'm racist, here are some very clear facts: Chien-Ming Wang is one of my favorite players, solely because of his Taiwanese heritage. My dentist is also from Taiwan, and he's a great man. A lot of my good friends descend from Asia. I'm currently doing a project for Health class with one of them. So there. Your point is invalid.)

Coming Tomorrow- Fine, fine. After the Corbin post I felt I should give some justice where it's due. So tomorrow you're getting a member of the illustrious Cardinals bullpen. However, I've already done Wainwright, and I hate Garcia. 1 in 3 shot of it being your favorite.

Custom Card of the Morning: Valverde Edition

Good gosh, Jose. Stop laughing at me.

I know I've had a very inconsistent May, with notable gaps in posting all throughout. Being that you can't stop laughing at me, flaunting your chin bush and inadvertently conjuring the ghost of Scott Spiezio, I really have no choice but to explain some of my absences.

For one thing, I'm currently rounding out my junior year of high school. My teachers thought it would be fun to slam me with a gigantic research paper and a large project for health in the same week, and the same weekend, for God's sake. So, in trying to finish those, I may have missed some precious posting time.

Also, I have the priorities of a teenager, in that sometimes I was busy watching Donald Trump fire a few has-beens, rather than actually posting a card. I know it's a Cardinal sin to prefer watching Celebrity Apprentice to posting on the blog, but not ALL of those nights were spent on Trump. For instance, my Wednesday nights were always kinda tricky, as I was watching Survivor's credibility slowly slide down a hill. But I digress.

The main reason for these gaps in posting is probably the fact that May, the busiest month for pretty much everybody, was the exact time, in the perspective of my personal computer, to inexplicably stop working. So a lot of the time the PC was going through scans and/or getting its memory rebooted whilst singing 'Bicycle built for two', and therefore I really couldn't post a custom. Thankfully, this problem has since been remedied, as we've recently bought a new, sleeker, sexier box for the computer, and it's been working swimmingly ever since. Matter of fact, I'm writing this post on IE8. It's so awesome, but keep in mind that this blogger has never fully experienced the joys of a Mac computer. So there.

Either way, I'm inexplicably back on my old stance, for no other reason than a simple joy to do exactly what I was doing last year to the same amount of boos. Just like Jose Valverde.

(P.S.- The upside of all this? Customizing takes less time, so I can probably do a lot more per sitting. Which is nice for the three of you who still enjoy them.)

Coming Tonight, since I gotta get my consistency back: What's this? A custom of an UPPER DECK card? Is this a myth? Is it an imaginary tale? Is that a slumping former Rangers third basemen in Philly?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Corbin Edition

There's been a lot of talk about the Cardinals rotation, to the point in which it sickens me. I mean I get that those pitchers are great and all, but A.) Jamie Garcia's not pitching too well, B.) Lance Lynn isn't as good as he was last June, and C.) It's the fricking Cardinals.

Besides, there are more worthy pitching rotations in the NL worthy of merit. The Cardinals pitchers are getting all the hype, complete with ESPN love and Sports Illustrated cover stories. Yet they're not the best rotation in the NL. They are the most overhyped rotation in the NL. That doesn't always amount to field performance.

The Nationals' rotation is doing beautifully, with Jordan Zimmermann and Dan Haren having great seasons. The Giants' rotation, as per usual, is doing a fantastic job, despite the usual downgrade from Lincecum, with an addage of some great starts by Zito and Cain.

But there isn't a Nat or a Giant at the top of the post. Because the last time I checked, Patrick Corbin plays for the Diamondbacks.

Now I know what you're thinking. JORDAN!, you mentally exclaim. YOU'RE WRONG! YET AGAIN! The D-Backs rotation is FAIRLY DECENT at best, and isn't as good as you're making it out to be.

First of all, thanks for checking out the blog.

Second of all, I'd like to prove you completely wrong, by examining the rotation one-by-one.

5. Trevor Cahill. Trevor Cahill isn't really the greatest starting pitcher in the world. He was okay in Oakland and he's okay here. This is why he's the fifth starter. That's a bad example. Bear with me.

4. Brandon McCarthy. Head-injuries aside, when this guy's on, he's REALLY on. He pitches very well in those situations, and that was evident last season in Oakland. This year he's waned slightly, but he's still a strong pitcher, and he's still capable of pitching well.

3. Ian Kennedy. I'm putting him third because of his season-to-date, but in any other season he'd be the number one reason to watch the rotation. For a while he made me regret the Yankees let him go in the Granderson deal. He's raw talent, great materials, and he's a great pitcher. 2011 especially was a great year for him, and he's remained a solid, consistent starter. I hope he gets back up to speed.

2. Wade Miley. I've already talked a lot about Wade Miley, but lemme reiterate- this is his second season, and he's already finished high in ROY voting, and somewhat in the middle of Cy Young voting. He's a strong young pitcher, one who a lot of people have already taken notes on. He does everything he's supposed to do, and that certainly helps.

1. Patrick Corbin. So far the man is undefeated, which already says a lot. This is his second season, and while he didn't make the splash that Miley did, he's certainly heating things up now. Also, in his last start he had a complete game, striking out 10 and reclaiming his spot at the very top. He's good, and hopefully he'll continue to be good. I hope. I better not have jinxed him.

So there. All five of those guys can give you a confident start, as well as some major strikeouts. That's a solid, consistent rotation for you.

And if they keep it up, this team will be very, very big come September.

Coming Tomorrow- That annoying closer I talked about yesterday.

Because it happened must be documented in custom form.

Sorry this is a few days late. May is usually my busiest month, and I have a good dozen or so customs on the waiting bench. One of which I'll post tonight.

Still, Trout's expression is too awesome not to savor.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Quentin Edition

I can't think of anything to say about Carlos Quentin, so here's a sonnet.

In sport, one finds it very hard indeed
To keep one's anger totally in check
Or else the other roster tends to bleed
And one's own career winds up in a wreck
Are Selig's actions here so justified
To rob one player of only a few
When other players tell the world they've lied
And miss but fifty still- this can't be true
If Carlos wounds Greinke, it's barely seen
But still physical violence, tried by law
Yet when stars stuff syringes far between
It's THEY who get the blame, which we all saw
If violence, to Bud, gets nary a 'wow'
I'd love to see him meet with Pacquiao.

Coming Tomorrow- Another person who I don't like right now, only this guy's the closer for the Tigers.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Buchholz Edition



Sorry. Forgive me if I'm laughing over here like Tom Hanks in The Money Pit, but it just feels so good when a rival team gets what's coming to it. Or a rival of any kind. Admit it, you kinda cheered in the theater when Hans Gruber was hurled out the window. Or when Darth Vader threw the Emperor over the edge of the Death Star. It was well deserved, glorious, and people heralded it. Much like the fall of the Boston Red Sox.

Yeah, they had their time. It was last month. Now, the Sox are hurtling downward faster than the aforementioned Emperor. What they're succumbing to is injuries- they've gone through three closers in five weeks, a few starters are getting injured, John Lackey is down for the count again, and a couple other players are being tossed onto the DL like sweaty socks. Hell, even Clay "I swear I didn't pitch dirty on purpose" Buchholz is having a down week. Maybe he's stopped doctoring his balls, or whatever the hell they accused him of doing.

And yeah, I know they'll be back. I know this is a bittersweet victory, but I'm taking it as it is. I know they're just gonna build a new team, exactly the same as the old one, with a lot of the same materials and people manning it. And it's gonna be just as powerful, and just as much of a threat as the last one was. Much like a Death Star.

But still, right now the Red Sox are in third. And I'm incredibly glad that's the case.

(I'm also happy the Blue Jays are in last. MY are they fun to beat.)

Coming Tomorrow- I've posted a custom from each of the 30 teams, except for one, which will get its rep tomorrow, after a 5 game suspension. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Rack Pack of Gypsy Queen, plus Heritage

Yeah, still alive. May's not the more free month for me. I had a few things going on. Either way, I FINALLY got some cards, in a racker of Gypsy Queen. I also got a racker of Heritage, but it was mostly doubles.

Gypsy Queen Pack 1-
149- Tom Seaver. Always a highlight
135- Ryne Sandberg. Why did the Phillies give him up?
Collisions at the plate insert of JOHNNY BENCH! So far we're 3/3 on Hall of Famers, which is nice about this set.
91- Matt Holliday mini
242- Asdrubal Cabrera, whose Indians are doing well, surprisingly.
104- Paco Rodriguez

Pack 2-
120- Cal Ripken Jr. Always great to pull a Cal.
No Hitters of Warren Spahn, which is awesome
Glove Stories of Jayson Werth. Ex-Phillie
8- Andre Dawson mini
175- Brandon Moss
217- Neil Walker

Pack 3-
238- Angel Pagan
262- Hisashi Iwakuma, who's had a nice start for Seattle.
346- PHIL RIZZUTO. That's a nice one!
73- Casey Kelly mini
136- Salvador Perez
287- Tony Gwynn.

The guaranteed white paralells-
70- Bob Feller, a great pull as always.
284- REGGIE JACKSON! He's on the A's, but still awesome
257- Craig Kimbrel, another nice one.

The Highlights of Heritage-
83- Carlos Ruiz. Always nice to get Chooch
112- Emilio Bonifacio, who was really good last season.
156- Dayan Viciedo, the sole consistent performer for Chicago.
425- Joey Votto, my short print. Sadly, I think I have this one.
384- Ryan Doumit
263- Vance Worley. I dunno if I have this one or not.
136- Sandoval WS GAME #1
296- Rafael Soriano. I probably have this.
103- Gordon Beckham
194- Mike Moustakas BLACK BACK

Decent enough packs. Can't wait for Archives and Series 2.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Upton Edition

That is an awesome custom of a player who is playing awesomely right now. Bask in its glory. I don't have that much else to say tonight, other than look at that custom.

Coming Tomorrow- my big 'How the Mighty Red Sox have fallen' post.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: McCarthy Edition

This custom is terrible. The font's wrong, the watermark's in the way, it's sloppily put together. If it wasn't for the colors, it'd be a complete failure.

In honor of this terrible custom, here are five things that are terrible this week.

5. The Philadelphia Phillies pitching. With the exception of maybe Jonathan Pettibone, our once-heralded starters have gone astray. Hamels, Halladay and Lee aren't doing their best, and Kendrick is somehow our lone star picture, with the exception of the up-and-coming Pettibone. It's gotten pathetic, as for whatever reason all three of them decided to just not do very well this year. It's kinda pitiful.

4. Panini Prizm. I'll say it now- I have no intention whatsoever of collecting this set, simply because it's unlicensed, and it looks awful. It looks like something out of the 90's, only shinier and more half-assed. No touchy.

3. Josh Hamilton. Or at least this is the first week that he's been terrible and people have noticed. I mean, how the hell did he go from a huge star to a slumping failure in a span of a year? I really hope he picks up the pace.

2. Carlos Zambrano just signed with the Phillies. I do not like the looks of this. I know he had great seasons with Chicago, but need I remind you, he had great seasons WITH CHICAGO. Like, 5 years ago. He's since become a slumping, mediocre pitcher that doesn't need to be on my team right now.

1. The Boston Red Sox, losing 8 of their last 10 games. Which is pretty nice for the AL East, especially considering who's on top now. But to have a start like that, and to fall off the face of the earth like they did is almost Shakespearean.

So yeah. It's a crappy week for a lot of people. Just not the Yankees. Or Matt Harvey.

Coming Tomorrow- to quote John Malkovich in Red, "I've gotta check the files."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Moore Edition

Matt Moore was huge a week ago. Matt Moore is still kinda huge, and he still pitches well, but lacks the momentum he had last week when I made this. He's still pretty good, but his team sucks.

Streak broken. I'm tired.

Coming Tomorrow- If this pitcher was a Foo Fighters song, it would be 'My Poor Brain'. Aahahaha. You'll get it when you figure out who I'm talking about.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Gallardo Edition

Have you ever bought something, like, say a box of Triscuits. You pick them up at the supermarket because, hey, you like triscuits, they taste good, you might keep them around just in case. And you place them in the pantry, and expect to take a nibble at some whenever possible. And then a funny thing happens- you forget you even bought the Triscuits, and you keep on going in life, moving onto other snacks, and finishing them. Then one day, about 3 months later, you find the box of Triscuits, still unopened, collecting dust, and exactly six days past its expiration date. Just to check, you taste one, and your neglect for their well-being has turned them stale.

I mean, not word for word.

Everybody's had something like that. Be it a jar of pickles, a can of baked beans, a bottle of Tabasco sauce, or the one time you bought 3 bags of Bugles because they were on sale, not realizing that you can't stand the taste of whatever the hell Bugles are.

(Speaking of which, what the hell are Bugles? Are they corn-based, are they potato-based? Are they just some starchy stuff that was left from what the tasteful snack execs took?)

This custom of Yovani Gallardo is my dust-covered box of Triscuits, my month old can of baked beans, my rightfully neglected three bags of Bugles (evidently sized to fit a nonexistent family of people who enjoy Bugles). I made this custom a few weeks ago, and for whatever reason, not unlike Salt, and/or Pepa, I kept pushing it. I'm not saying I pushed any salt or pepper away, unless I needed more space on the table. But I digress (tm, G. Gagliardi, you don't know him).

I believe I would push this custom because I have a rule, a very Aspergery rule (which is fitting, since I'm a very Aspergery person), that I can't post a custom of a team or a design if there is one of the same team or design still within the last 7 pages. This is similar to my habit of waiting until 5 minutes after the last person in my house has showered to go in myself, to wait for the water to heat back up. It's silly, it's trivial, but it provides me with some of the tiny fibers of solidarity one needs at this age.

(This age is 17, by the way. Stop the snickering, you 40 year olds. And be thankful you don't have to complete persuasive essays on what exactly Nathaniel Hawthorne was trying to convey in writing the worst waste of paper ever accomplished.)

So I'd have this custom set to go, and then I'd have a topical custom take its place, or have another Brewer and push it back 7 days, or another 1990 custom, and push it back another week.

I forget when I even made this. I think it was during the whole 'Brewers in first place' phenomenon, right after the big Gallardo game where he pitched well and hit the home run.

That one. Nobody else remembers this. More people remember details from the aforementioned waste of paper than the game where Gallardo hit that one home run. April, even though it's not that far behind, seems very far behind.

But still, I found this custom today, sitting in my customs folder, still looking new, unused, and a little tasty. So I looked at it. And the sole difference between this and the box of Triscuits in the pantry is that this has the same style, the same overall feeling, the same enjoyability that I looked for when I made it last month (?). Custom cards, I've found, don't go out of style. Unless they depict Kosuke Fukudome, Daisuke Matsuzaka, or Zach Day. And for those of you snickering at that last one, I think I've proved my point.

So don't think of this custom as the stale box of Triscuits you find in the pantry after three months. Think of it as the box of Triscuits you find in your pantry after you've polished off the Cheez-Its, take a bite of one, and discover that it still has the same feel as before. I'm not saying Gallardo and the Brewers are as big as they were 3 weeks ago, but the custom is still as nice as when I made it.

At least there's that. At least the seven days until I post another one of the Brewers I made when they were big in April won't be completely useless.

And yes, that was meant to be ironic. Irony, not unlike Triscuits, doesn't go out of style.

(P.S.- Unless any Nabisco execs are reading this blog, in which case OH MY GOSH, SOMEBODY'S READING MY BLOG, I don't do ads. Or ad campaigns. For snack foods.)

(Two really good posts in a row, for those of you reading. Tune in tomorrow to see if I break my streak.)

Coming Tomorrow- A pitcher who hasn't really gone out of style yet, so I'm posting his custom before he does.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Pujols Edition

First of all, that custom is probably one of the best I've done in the five years of doing customs. It's like something you'd see in the 1970's. Or maybe a 70's movie.

I don't talk about this very much, since this is a baseball card blog, but I have a very keen interest in the art of cinema. I don't just review movies, I dissect them. I'm tall and thin enough to be a younger Gene Siskel, all I need is the impending receding hairline.

But tonight, I saw the latest film attempt at reviving F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. And, here's what I have to say about it: It has all the materials. Big stars, lots of cash, a reliable man behind the action, great locales, a trusted source material. Yet, it pounds so much in there that at times there just seems to be something amiss. And for every time where something is just like F. Scott intended it, there are more where it just doesn't work.

One could compare the new Gatsby movie to the current Angels team. Several have. More will.

Pujols is like Leo DiCaprio here. He's doing all he can to make things golden, and make the whole thing a hit. His performance alone boosts attendance, and rises the entire morale of the project. Hell, the whole thing's turned into his vehicle at times, not even realizing the rich history. And still, I imagine Pujols, like DiCaprio, will go on to higher fame and more accolades in the future.

Of course, for every performance that is right on par, you have someone like Josh Hamilton, or Tobey Maguire. They seemed like a logical choice for this role to begin with, but for whatever reason it doesn't work. They can't perform to the caliber that they did in other roles. Hell, even in those other roles you could argue that it wasn't 100% perfect. And here, it doesn't seem like it's genuine. Like maybe he's trying too hard to please everybody. Nothing's natural. And it's sad, too.

Then you have somebody like Mike Trout, or Joel Edgerton in this situation. They're younger, they're new to this game, and they do exactly what they're supposed to. So really, they're both doing things exactly right. I have really no complaints from either man, just as long as they keep moving at a steady pace after this.

But then there's Chris Iannetta, or Carey Mulligan. I really never got their appeal, and I don't think they really work in this sort of situation. In terms of their role, I could think of 20 other people who could work a lot better than they do in it. Hell, I imagine 20 different people have passed through before they signed on. And here, as well as everywhere else, it just doesn't do it for me. I don't know if it does it for anyone else, but it really drags everybody else down.

Everyone else plays their roles well, in smaller ways. But overall, it's too overstuffed, too grand, and too...big to really flow well. And that's its overall flaw. Don't get me wrong, I think that both the movie and the team had so much potential at the start of the year. But it didn't really pay off to anything. People are very let down.

But that's what I have to say, about the Angels, and Gatsby. If you want a thrill, regardless of the flaws, go and see both.

Coming Tomorrow- The Brewers have since gone down in the standings, but here's their top pitcher anyway.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Beltre Edition

Well, somehow the Rangers did it. Despite their big stars leaving, and some unreliable replacements, the Rangers have managed to once again reclaim the top spot in the AL West. And since they aren't the Yankees, this is being met with a collective 'meh'.

Good news is that Adrian Beltre, once again, is having a great season. I think he's been stellar every season he's had with Texas. And now, there he is, one of the anchors of the lineup, hitting well and playing well. I'm glad he's been a lot more consistent since the Overrated days.

Not much else to say about another filthy Ranger. Except that I love that custom.

Coming Tomorrow- I don't care if he hasn't hit well in 2 seasons. He is still, without a doubt, the best player in baseball. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Fowler Edition

I've only seen Dexter Fowler play once. And it was a good one, too. You see, back in 2008, the All Star game was at Yankee Stadium. And no, I did not go to the All Star Game. I went to the Futures Game two days before. And the lineup was pretty impressive. You had people like Andrew McCutchen, Nate Schierholtz, Brett Anderson, and a bunch of other people whose names I forget offhand.

Then, there's Dexter Fowler. He was the one guy that my dad and I were saying to each other 'he's gonna be big, he's gonna be really good'. I mean, Andrew McCutchen was in the game, and we overlooked him to see Fowler. Think about that.

So then, the 2009 Topps cards come out, and the 2009 rookies get cards. And everybody wants their Tommy Hanson, David Price, Andrew McCutchen rookies. Yet I believe I was the only person on the East Coast who got joy out of pulling a Fowler rookie. Because he was going to be huge, and we all knew it.

It has been four years, and with those four seasons I kept reminding myself 'he's supposed to be good'. And that became 'he was supposed to be good'. And then that sadly turned into 'why the hell isn't he as good as we all thought?'

Well, it's 2013, and Dexter Fowler, the man who we foresaw to be huge, is finally hitting. He's one of the Rockies' best hitters right now. Him, Cuddyer and Tulo are all off to great starts, but Fowler is the one I'm most interested in. Because I have a feeling that if he keeps it up, he'll be onto a few really nice seasons.

I'm not sold on him being absolutely huge anymore, but he's still good right now.

Coming Tomorrow- A third baseman for a team that shouldn't be as good as they are right now.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Soriano Edition

Yep. Still here. Had a busy couple days, didn't post. But I'm still here, and I'm still blogging.

It's weird that this is a profession in which people have to remind the audience that they're still alive. And speaking of reminding people that other people are still around, Alfonso Soriano's still on the Cubs everybody!

Remember back, like 6 years ago, when everybody was excited that he was on the Cubs, hitting homers and playing the outfield? Remember when he was still a dominant prescence in baseball, and not just 'the guy A-Rod was traded for'?

Now, Soriano's best days occur when he actually does something other than strike out, or actually plays through a season without some bone breaking in half. Sad to say, but Alfonso Soriano's really-good-player-to-watch-out-for-that-should-have-a-great-career days are over.

And it's not entirely his fault. As outfielder for the Cubs, he has to deal with playing for a team that doesn't give him the benefits he got while with the Yankees, or the Rangers. Or even the 2006 Nationals. And also, those three teams actually got wins every once and a while.

Can Soriano do anything at all to reestablish his ability to hit consistently? Well, it doesn't look like it, however if he's traded to a team that isn't the Chicago Cubs, maybe he can hit slightly better.

Coming Tomorrow- Once again, on the subject of the Rockies...damn. Their hot start is boosted by the homers from someone who is FINALLY performing after years of being in the 'prospect' category.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Zimmerman Edition

Tonight is another one of those 'not much talking, here's a card' nights. Because I'm exhausted. And I have to go watch Donald Trump fire somebody.

(Also, Prom went amazingly well, but that's neither here nor there)

 Coming Tomorrow- Someone else who I've already made and I'm too tired to remember.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Machado Edition

You know, there's something that needs to be said about youth: it's awesome.

You experience everything for the first time, and it's shiny and new. Nobody's expecting you to do anything or be anyone, and you're just making your own mark. It really is awesome.

I bring this up for two reasons. One, because as you read this tonight, I will be accompanying my beautiful girlfriend to my high school's Junior Prom. Yeah, yeah, it's wonderful, but let's not delve on that too long.

Two, because the man above, at a very, very young age, has become the commanding centerpiece of the Baltimore Orioles' lineup.Youth is great.

The Orioles are doing alright currently, but Machado alone is plowing them to second, or third, or wherever they are now. Machado is a great hitter, is great at his position, and is something that Orioles fans needed: their own Ripken-type player. Someone who comes in young, and excels at his position for a while. Hopefully Machado can be someone like that.

But, to reiterate my point, youth should be savored before it skips away. As I'll be savoring every moment tonight, Machado should savor every moment he fields, steals, and bats with the agility of a 20-year-old, rather than a 36-year-old

Coming Tomorrow- A Nationals pitcher not named Strasburg that's been doing very well.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Hunter Edition

Torii Hunter is a very consistent player. He has survived taking over for Kirby Puckett, a losing Twins squad, a deal to Anaheim, the arrival of Pujols, Trout and Greinke, and a deal with Detroit. Has he slowed down, or at least to a considerable degree? No.

I don't think Torii Hunter is a Hall of Famer. If there's a lot of careful consideration in the next decade or so from several historians and stuff, maybe there'll be one or two sportswriters that make a huge case for him, like the people making a case for Dale Murphy and Dave Parker with no avail. Think about it: people like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Ken Griffey Jr., Craig Biggio and Trevor Hoffman will all be going in within the next three years. I don't think that Hunter is up to that caliber.

I mean, he's good, he's very good. He hits homers, he plays his position well, he hasn't really slowed down in terms of consistency between teams. A case can definitely be made, but I'm not entirely sure if it'll amount to enshrinement. However, I can tell you that he's a great player, one I enjoy watching, and one who I hope sticks with one team for a while and doesn't succumb to the journeyman thing that affects aging outfielders like him. I'll say that the Tigers are lucky to have him, and he's probably going to end up having some mega-hit in the postseason or something that'll catapult him even more.

He's a great player, one that's fun to watch. And also, I hope he sticks around to give us some more awkwardly amazing card poses.

Coming Tomorrow- He's not Dylan Bundy, but he's one of the Orioles' best prospects.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Mauer Edition

Man, that was a nice April, wasn't it? Sure, there was a bombing, two Philly-less playoffs, and a crappy Tom Cruise movie, but for the most part it was a very nice way to kick off the 2013 season. I'm gonna start doing these monthly check-ins because the chaos is fresh right after it happens, rather than 12 months after.

So, what are five incredibly surprising things that happened in baseball this month?
 1. The Red Sox are ahead of the AL East. Everybody thought if the Yankees were gonna be 'out of it', the Rays or the Orioles or the Blue Jays would speed ahead and collect the title. The Red Sox have gotten off to a surprising start, with powerful performances by Mike Napoli, David Ortiz, and Jackie Bradley. And for once I'm not cursing my luck.
2. The Phillies dropped like a brick. I mean, okay, maybe it was obvious that the Phillies weren't going to be as good as their best years, but DAMN. They fell hard! All the new players aren't performing, all the old ones are getting old, everything's falling apart and nobody's hitting. But as the rich get poorer, the poor get richer.
3. The Cardinals' Pitching. I don't think anybody saw this coming. Westbrook, Lynn, Wainwright, and to a lesser extent Garcia, have been pitching up a storm for St. Louis. And it's definitely working, since they're currently atop their division, the batting not even doing too much. Especially Westbrook, who hasn't had a great season since his days with Cleveland, finally getting hot early.
4. First place Rockies. This may not be legit for the long run, but hot damn I'm enjoying it now. The best part about the Rockies' sudden incline is that the power is coming from people like Michael Cuddyer, Dexter Fowler, Rafael Betancourt, Jorge De La Rosa, and all these people that weren't performing well last season. I love that everything's coming together for Colorado, and I don't care how long it lasts.
5. Yankees hit off the bench. Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner, Jayson Nix, Lyle Overbay. All four of them are hitting very well for the Yankees off the bench. Wells alone has been a major surprise, cranking out homers right and left. And it's surprising because everybody counted us out. And here we are hitting. It's awesome.

And, here are five things that didn't surprise me at all.
1. Brian Roberts was on the disabled list within two weeks of the season starting. Never change, BriRo. Never change.
2. Justin Upton has been hitting well. Yeah, we all kinda saw that one coming once he moved to the Braves.
3. John Lackey managed to get himself injured very early. Saw that one coming a mile away. Whatever happened to the John Lackey that pitched well for Anaheim?
4. Last place Marlins and last place Astros. Well...yeah.
5. An Indians team that looked so good from the getgo and was very stacked, still managed to underwhelm everybody and fall flat on its face. And then beat the Phillies. Seen it before.

And, five things I want to happen in May:
1. Granderson to come off the DL and start hitting like crazy again.
2. Matt Moore to just chill down a little bit.
3. The Dodgers to start getting good again.
4. The Royals to stay exactly where they are.
5. Justin Verlander to be as hot as Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello are.

So, that's it. I chose Joe Mauer as my way to announce that May better be good.

Coming Tomorrow- Dunno if I'll get to tomorrow's or Saturday's, but expect a newly made Tiger.