Saturday, June 30, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: BriRo Edition


I feel like I've been supplying the Orioles fans tonight. First I give them a blessing for taking my beloved Thome, and now I'm doing a custom of their beloved second baseman. Fitting, really, but I'm all about fitting.

I've always had respect for the O's. They've always been my third favorite team besides the obvious. I've been to several O's games in the past, and this guy must have played in them all, considering we started around 2001. I've always liked Brian Roberts' play, and he's been pretty know, up until the injuries and the concussion. 

I'm glad he's back, and I'm glad he's getting ample playing time. I hope his injury-free streak sticks around awhile, too.

Coming Tomorrow- Wait, what's that coming out of Arizona? Is it a Vlad? Is it a Goldschmidt? Is it a highly touted prospect making his debut?

O Well


It's sad when one of your favorite players is traded. 

It's even sadder when the cause of the trade is Ty Wiggington. 

(I know his lack of defensive play factored into it, I'm blaming Wiggington)

But it isn't as bad when he is traded to a team that will definitely utilize him...and a team that I actually support. 

Fare the well, Sir Thome. May the sun never set on you, or on Baltimore. May the Orioles win even more games, now that you are among them. And may the prospects gained by the Phillies prosper, in time.

Godspeed, Jim. The Phillies will remember you.

Fine, fine, I'll make it official


Not the hugest Aaron Hill fan, but still, it's a season highlight, and it still warrants a custom. 

Can't somebody good hit for the cycle one of these days?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Rizzo Edition


Oh, the timing on this one. 

This post, which was supposed to be hailing the new rookie sensation for the Cubs, could not have come at a worse time for the team. This is brought to you by the same man who said the 2012 Phillies would clinch, and that Carlos Beltran would do nothing to help the Cardinals.

I made this custom two days ago. You know what else happened two days ago? The Cubs were repeatedly smashed against the side of the Citifield wall. It was kinda like a car kinda had to watch, but you felt bad doing it. And every time you'd poke your head in, things would get worse, or Ike Davis would hit a home run. It was ugly.

But, three days ago, all was well in Chicago. Anthony Rizzo was making his Cubs debut, or, according to stupid people, his ML debut. He played some games for the Padres last year people. Don't act like he's a rookie monster. Just because he's coming up huge this year doesn't mean he's a rookie (ESPN, you may wanna listen up. Mike Trout played games last year. A few of them, actually). 

And Rizzo actually hit well in his first game up. True, he didn't do as well as some other people back from the minors after a season away (Yeah, I'm still pretty happy about Utley), but he got some hits and riled the Chicago crowd, needing something to be amused by.

Of course, this amusement wore off, as the Cubs fell victim to the Mets...over, and over, and over again. And that was just in one game. Matter of fact, that game will be my supply of "Cubs are bad" jokes for the rest of the year. My work is cut out for me! 

Still, for a team that's been doing so poorly, a star rookie kinda needed to rise up, and I'm glad Rizzo's hitting so well. Him and Castro are some of the few Cubs that are playing the game correctly. 

Coming Tomorrow- The AL's version of "Eastern second-baseman coming back from injury and finally getting back into the swing of things, much to the joy of the crowd". While Utley may have won over the crowd a lot faster, this guy is helping his team to the top of the AL East.

A Message to Ruben Amaro Jr.

Dear Mr. Amaro,

Quite obviously, this season hasn't been the best for the Philadelphia Phillies. The loss of our two biggest stars have caused the offense to cave in on itself, and our best pitchers have gone onto the DL. It's a season of turmoil, and it's a season whose outcome is hazy at this moment. I know it's part of your job to make the team stronger, but according to sources, you're attempting to trade one of its biggest hitters, and most beloved players.

I realize that Jim Thome does not have the speed, or even the strength, he had about ten years ago. He's not gonna play everyday, and his career is on the downslide. That being said, the man has been hitting beautifully ever since coming back off the DL. He's hit countless home runs, and has given the fans something to hope for. Jim Thome is one of the few bright spots in the lineup, and for the period before Chase Utley came back, him, Hunter Pence and Carlos Ruiz were some of the only people doing most of the hitting.

Jim Thome is one of the things we NEED right now. So why are you telling AL teams that he's open?

Is it because he doesn't play everyday? That shouldn't be a reason to trade the guy? Is it because Ryan Howard's coming back? Even still, we might need someone to play backup every once and a while. Is it because you don't like him? That shouldn't factor into it. Is it because he's forty? He can STILL HIT! Is it because he's not gonna rack up 20 or 30 homers? You shouldn't look for that in him.

I just don't see a good reason to give up Jim Thome. Sure, you have people like Hector Luna and Ty Wiggington waiting in the wings...but Luna can kinda play any infield position. Ty Wiggington may be the reason, because he's the starter and he hits pretty well. But I don't think the fans like him as much as Thome.

Either way, it's up to you. Trade Thome, for all I care. Keep Wiggington. The fans are gonna hate it, because they love Thome, and whoever gets Thome is gonna be really lucky.


Jordan Schmidt
The Mint Condition kid

P.S.- Don't trade Hamels and Rollins.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Youk Edition


Is it bad that I waited until Kevin Youkilis was out of a Boston uniform to make a custom of him? Naw. He deserves it.

The first time I saw Youk play, it was in a Spring Training Game, on St. Patrick's Day. Which means tons of beer-sipping Boston fans were around us in Ft. Myers, watching the 2006 Red Sox attempt to look cool. First of all, I thought it was hysterical that the Sox were starting a breakfast cereal in center in place of Johnny Damon. (Said breakfast cereal is currently with Oakland, and he's not so GRRRRRREAT)

Then, whenever Kevin Youkilis got up, the entire stadium of Sox fans all shouted at once a thunderous yet slightly drunken howl of "YOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUK!" I thought they were booing him. This was the same confusion that led to my aunt always thinking Yankee fans would boo Lou Piniella. 

Of course, sometime after this, we saw a Yankees-Red Sox game, in the blistering heat, at the Stadium. And who comes beating down on my Yankees but Youk. This was before he started growing the trademark goatee that overstays its welcome and latches onto the underside of the chin (Kids, this is why we don't use Scott Spiezio as a role model). Still, he had a number of hits against us that day, and it kinda hurt. 

Our luck being our luck, how many other teams besides the Yankees did Youk repeatedly beat with a tire iton? Zero. Whenever Youk would play the Yankees, from 2006 to about 2010, he'd be on his game, to the point where it would be hard to whack the final mole and end the game. 

So, in a span of two years, Kevin Youkilis transformed from a harmless figure for (insert third drinking joke here) Bostonians to worship, into the second coming of Ellis Burks. And I did not like this guy one bit.

Granted, I'm kinda relieved that he's in Chicago right now, but I'll admit that I'll miss booing him. I'll miss repeatedly trashing the man, and I'll kinda wince when I move Youk down a few slots on my Least Favorite Players list (Cody Ross, meet the top spot. Top spot, meet Cody Ross).

One thing I won't miss- him hitting homers every time he played the Yankees. Hopefully this will cease in Chicago, where there are nicer, friendlier, more sober fans to yell "YOOOOOOOOUUUK!"

Coming Tomorrow- Speaking of Chicago, a prospect finally reaches his prime on the north side. Coincidentally, this one also got his start in Boston, but made his way here through a bunch of trades.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Phillips Edition

I can't think of anything for a post, so here's a sonnet.

To play second it takes a certain speed,
A strength not found in those on first and third,
A glove, two cleats- that's about all one needs
This man's among the best; haven't you heard?
A long-tenured anchor of a young club
Who'll grace thy fields with much speed and finesse
And though Uggla and Weeks may cause his snub
He'll make the All Star Team, at least I guess
As for the youth I mentioned early on?
They lie in every spot but the infield
In, oh, five years, these four may be long gone
Imagine the problems this fact must yield.
So, though his salad days are seen as dead
A brighter road comes soon for this strong Red

Well, now I know how to solve my writer's block.

Coming Tomorrow- Despite my hatred for him, I've never made a custom of him. Until now, that is. Hell, you might as well call him "The Greek God of Awesome Photos", cause I had a hard time choosing.

Gained and Lost


 First Chase Utley came back strong, with a homer on the first pitch back from an injury.

Then, two days after I commented of the strength of the Yankees' pitching staff, Sabathia and Pettite go on the DL. This is exactly the opposite of what we needed. I really hope we can rebound.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Simmons Edition


Atlanta right now has the best farm system in the major leagues. I say this because every one of their upcoming prospects hits pretty big. Ever since Jason Heyward they've been a powerhouse of young stars, from Tommy Hanson to Craig Kimbrel, to the man you see above.

The guy's a speedy shortstop prospect that a lot of Braves fans are hoping stays true to what they've heard. Judging by that shot alone, I say he's doing a pretty good job. 

Coming Tomorrow- One of the many second basemen that pull of tons of great shots for customs, only this one's still famous for being one of the compartments of the Infamous Bartolo Colon Indians deal, and finally getting good elsewhere in Ohio.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Nova Edition


Last year, the Yankees got lucky. 

Their offense alone pushed them into the playoffs, though helped slightly by their...uhh...interesting pitching staff. Sure, there was CC, but we had inconsistent players like Phil Hughes and AJ Burnett, and then we had oddballs like Bartolo Colon (and his Cuban mystery cream) and Freddy Garcia. It was a weird year, and we had a weird pitching staff.

Thankfully, most of the staff was purged, and only Sabathia, Hughes and Garcia survived. Although the one pitcher that improved the most this season was the man you see above. 

(Gives Toronto, Baltimore, Boston and Tampa fans a second to recover from wincing in fear of the man at the top of the post)

People have been calling Sabathia the star of the show, and people have said that Kuroda has been commandeering it well. But really, Ivan Nova is the most dominant of the Yankee pitchers right now. He's pretty imposing, and he can go innings without giving up runs. 

Just the sound of his name within a 5 mile radius of Boston makes Bobby Valentine crap himself.

Now it's true that the entire pitching staff has been doing pretty well this season, and they're all equally good. But Ivan Nova's really, really, really good, and he gives Yankee fans exactly what they want.

In other words, he is the anti-Michael Pineda.

Coming Tomorrow- He shares a surname with a weird bodybuilder, a first name with absolutely no one, and a skillset with some of the best shortstops in Braves history.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Good Riddance, or So long Youk

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Bobby grabs you by the cheeks, commands you where to go
So make the worst of this trade, and don't ask why
It's not a question, but a request, and we must try

It's something quite predictable, but in the end it's right.
Us Yankee fans will boo you all your life.

So take the broken bats, and goatees in your mind
Hang it on a shelf with injuries and no time
Tattoos of memories and 2 World Series rings
And maybe of New York fans yelling countless things

It's something quite predictable, but in the end it's right.
Us Yankee fans will boo you all your life.

So get your suitcase packed and head to Comiskey
And get prepared for being managed by Robin V
But just remember all the great times that you've passed
Look on the brighter side- you could still be in last.

It's something quite predictable, but in the end it's right.
Us Yankee fans will boo you all your life

Thanks for all the memories, Youk. Though we won't miss the countless times you've paraded the basepaths after a home run, we will miss flat out despising you. Enjoy Chicago, and dread whenever you have to play the Yankees.

(Please don't sue, Billie Joe Armstrong)

Good Luck, Brent

It's going to be incredibly tough to root against you, so I'll just be rooting against your team. Still, the man who created your iconic Twitter photo bids you good luck with playing on baseball's most notorious team.

(Oh, I know there's another part to that trade. I'll get to him later.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Archives Collation Fail

You're not gonna believe this.

Today, as I mentioned earlier, I picked up a pack of Archives along with my Series 2 haul. I was eager, having ripped three packs already and damn near hooked on the stuff. And by the way, for personal reference, here's the post featuring the first two packs I ripped of the product. Its relevance will be explained later.

Now, here's the pack I opened today:

2- Nick Swisher
52- Geovany Soto
102- Dee Gordon
152- Johnny Cueto
37- Jose Valverde
87- Clay Buchholz
139- Ivan Nova
58- Tommy Hanson
111- John Axford
162- Jayson Werth
231- Jack Clark sp
53- Adam Wainwright
141- JP Arencibia
154- Starlin Castro

With the exception of Jack Clark, do all of those card look familiar?

The entire pack was doubles, without the Clark. The Clark is the only one I actually need for the set, and the rest...are just filthy doubles. Keep in mind...for a man with a craving for Archives, this was not the best pack to open, where he only gets ONE CARD out of it.

So, as for the doubles...does any Archives set collector require them? Offer me some Archives cards I don't have (remember, I ripped some earlier this week). This will make me very happy.

2 Rack Packs of Topps Series 2

Due to the fact that I'm missing the Philly Show this weekend, I figured I'd treat myself to cards anyway. I scooped up some Series 2 packs at the local Target (I got a pack of Archives too, but that's a story for another post). This is only my second taste of the product, and it's a lot better than Series One.

Rack Pack 1-
402- Allen Craig.
450- Justin Upton. Probably the more accomplished of the Upton Brothers.
556- Stephen Strasburg. Now that Stras-mania is over, can we at least agree that Stephen's a really good pitcher?
387- Joakim Soria, the Artist Formerly Known as the Mexicutioner
560- JA Happ. Former Philly.
548- Charlie Furbush. Acquired in the Doug Fister deal.
651- Ryan Sweeney
487- Eric Sogard
Mike Schmidt A Cut Above. I love these inserts. They remind me of a mid-2000's Topps flagship.
Golden Moments of David "Big Poopi" Ortiz. These, on the other hand, I could do without.
429- Michael Bourn. We took a gamble and traded this guy to Houston. To paraphrase Sheldon Cooper, "That's an awfully big gamble, considering the prize is Brad Lidge."
565- Dan Uggla. Had quite a streak last year.
547- Jason Giambi. Career is on the downslope.
357- Aaron Harang. Never really appealed to me. Even if he's pitching well this season.
577- Dallas Braden. Pitched a no-hitter 2 years ago. What happened, man?
378- Brandon League
385- David Murphy. Is this guy the king of awesome Topps Cards? With his 2009 card, and now his current one, he's a certain Cardboard Appreciation Hall of Famer...on another blog that better not sue me for using the name of an ongoing series.
580- Tony Campana.
630- Logan Morrison. When will he bloom?
351- Corey Hart. Card back says he's an avid card collector. Hey, what a coincidence. Nobody should be saving your cards, dude.
479- Johan Santana. Earlier this year I said he was basically done, and would never return to his highs as a Twin. Also, I never tire of being wrong.
551- Pete Best...oh, I mean Joe Blanton. Yeah, that's who I just compared him to.
419- Cameron Maybin. Is thankfully returning to what he was hyped for.
652- Grant Balfour. I've never heard of most of these A's pitchers. This is an exception, mate.
558- Wade Miley. I'm not gonna make the Joel McHale reference. Somebody do it for me.
579- Dan Uggla checklist.
A-Rod Gold Standard
Desmond Jennings Gold Futures
A silly little ad for Topps' app. Yeah, no.
608- Paul Goldschmidt.
480- JJ Putz. Finally had a comeback last season. Now what?
346- Dillon Gee.
552- Kyle Drabek. Has yet to grow his father Doug's trademark facial hair. This disappoints me.
631- Ryan Kalish
492- Rickie Weeks. This guy has such good poses for cards
527- Aaron Hill. Just hit for the cycle. Does anyone care?
514- Brian Roberts. Hoping for a season that lasts more than 100 games from this guy.

Pack 2-
415- Rafael Furcal.
519- Gio Gonzalez. I really hope this isn't photoshopped. The man's having a great season.
476- Ramon Hernandez.
656- Carlos Santana. Fun Fact- once toured with Rob Thomas.
546- Matt Thornton.
597- Hank Conger. The Master of Appearing in Other Peoples' Cards
507- Norichika Aoki. There's a rookie I need. Now, all that matters are Yu Darvish and that other guy that Topps makes so hard to find.
534- Hector Gomez
Roy Halladay A Cut Above. Both of these I pulled to day have been Phillies. Win.
Golden Moments of Ryan Howard while we're at it. Please get healthy.
Jim Palmer Mound Dominance. I like these.
365- Aramis Ramirez.
654- Yovanni Gallardo. Good pitcher.
587- Chris Johnson
557- Zach Cozart
452- Robert Andino
624- Gerardo Parra
588- Mark Ellis.
601- Dan Haren. Where's the love for this guy?
513- Gaby Sanchez. Is kinda overrated
635- Brett Gardner. Please come back.
488- Nick SWISHAAAAHHH! Finally having a good season.
398- Buster Posey, who has gained my respect.
610- Cody Ross, my new least favorite player
554- RAAAAAUUUUUUUULLLLLL Ibanez, in a Yankee uniform. Photoshopped in, obviously. Yanks don't like goatees.
640- Jemile Weeks. Just as entertaining as his brother.
Joe Dimaggio Gold Standard
Dominic Brown Gold Futures. I've done well with inserts in this pack.
585- Jimmy Paredes
542- Jeff Samarsidnsjefokgjdgfdslsa.
632- Joe Nathan. Welcome back, buddy.
593- Marco Scutaro
520- Ryan Adams
645- Kyle Seager. Man, that guy's having a great season.
529- Luke Hughes
589- Alex Gonzalez

Great packs. Especially for Yankees and Phillies fans like me.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Kinsler Edition


First of all, isn't this custom awesome? This was thanks to the larger images the site I've been getting the pictures from has been supplying as of late.

This guy is probably one of the best second basemen in the AL. Him and Robinson Cano are always the best. It used to be Mr. Overrated, Adrian Beltre, but thankfully he's been DHing as of late. But Ian Kinsler's a great player, and he's good at his position. The only downside is that I tend to root against him when All Star Week comes up, because he's likely to challenge Cano for the starting spot. I don't think it'll happen this year, but you never know. 

Hell, Howie Kendrick could come out of nowhere again, but that's unlikely. 

 Coming Tomorrow- A member of the new most fearsome rotation in baseball, which just so happens to belong to my favorite team.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Romero Edition


You know, it's tough being in 4th place. Too bad the Jays have gotten so good at it.

It's a decent enough team, with people like Joey Bats and Ricky up there playing good baseball, but at the end of the day they lack the strength to contend with the Yankees, Rays or Orioles right now. Hell, they can beat the Red Sox all they want, for all I care. 

Ricky Romero has established himself, not only as a decent starter, but as the Blue Jays #1 guy. Within the three years Romero has spent as a starter, he's had time to develop, and in his forth season he's pitching like a pro. Last season was really the breakout year, but now he's coming off as an everyday pitcher. Hopefully either good things will happen to his team...or he'll be traded to one that goes higher than 4th every year.

(BTW- Just a fact. Both 1984 customs I've done thus far have to do with Canada. The LaRoche was requested by a Canadian, and this one is a Canadian team. Don't be surprised if you see a 1984 Russell Martin, cause I'll make it happen.)

Coming Tomorrow- While his team attempts to make a third straight trip to the postseason, a second baseman continues to contend Robinson Cano for the All Star Game, and inadvertently piss an entire borough of New York off.  

Update- Post #850 for me! I guess that's a milestone...I dunno.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Dice-K Edition


Remember this guy?

I'm sure a lot of Boston fans are seeing this custom, and swearing it's been locked away for five years. Because it's incredibly weird to see Daisuke Matsuzaka still pitching these days. It's kinda like, toward the end of Fernandomania, when he stopped pitching really well, and started becoming, well, Fernando Valenzuela. Dice-K's story is kinda echoing Fernando's except with a lot more injuries and from a different part of the world.

I have a bit of respect for Dice-K, surprisingly, considering the way he blanked my Yankees back in 2007. He was a very good pitcher back then, which is why I kinda feel for the guy when he's pitching out of injuries and succumbing to the MLB Blues. Because he really is a great pitcher, and the fact that he's been injured so many times have hindered this fact.

Oh well. At least they still have Beckett.

Coming Tomorrow- The sole reason people are coming to Blue Jays games besides Lawrie and the new uniforms.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Dickey Edition


Knucklers don't get any respect. And I mean that.

Only two knuckleballers currently reside in the Hall of Fame. One of them is Phil Niekro. The other is Hoyt Wilhelm. Both are very good pitchers, but among other greats they are misunderstood and rarely mentioned. Niekro...hell, he invented pitching into your forties. 

And still, for every knuckler that made it to the hall, there'll always be a Charlie Hough, or a Steve Sparks that didn't. Wakefield is probably not a hall of famer either.

But pitching isn't about aiming for the accolades. It's about getting the job done, and baffling your opponents. RA Dickey can do all of this very well.

Recently he had a one-hitter, and that's just the top of his awesome season. My Met-loving cousin had been bragging "how 'bout those Mets. RA Dickey...he's a star." I'm starting to agree with him. He's pitching well this season, is seconded in the rotation to Johan Santana, and he's giving knucklers their reputation back. 

He also proves you don't have to look good to be a great pitcher. That'll hurt tomorrow...

Coming Tomorrow- Five years ago he was baseball's biggest story. Now, as his team sinks further into the ground, he's hoping to be its biggest comeback.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Custom Card of the Day- Thome Edition


I've said too many times that Jim Thome made me become a Phillies fan. For three years he was an outstanding first baseman, and he could hit really well for us. When he left, yeah, I wasn't too happy, but Ryan Howard took his place full time and retained my love of the team. Of course, in those years since I still held a soft spot for Thome, who played for four other teams before rejoining the Phils this season.

Thankfully he's been a monster at the plate lately, hitting home runs as well as he used to. And also, like when he was on the team nine years ago, the team isn't doing very well. All I keep seeing is "Thome hits homer in loss to (insert team here)". And it's kinda sad. The year Thome rejoins the team is the same year the Phillies start tanking. Of course, it's mainly because Utley and Howard are out, but I blame the whole thing on David Freese. I don't know why...I just feel like blaming him.

 But still, Thome's been hitting like a champ for us, and that's really all I need to hear. He's a definite Hall of Famer, and while he may not go in with a Philadelphia uniform, Topps will still make cards with him in one long after he's retired. 

(I hope).

Coming Tomorrow- Tim Wakefield just retired. Somebody needs to step up to the Knuckleballer Throne! Somebody call the guy who just threw a one-hitter (as far as the MLB is concerned) in Flushing!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Matusz Edition


First of all, I love the fact that the Orioles are having a good season. I've wanted this to happen for years. The Orioles are probably my third-favorite team, behind the Phillies and Yankees. My dad's close friend is a big O's fan, so we go to games whenever we can. They're a fun team to watch, and a lot of their players (such as Wieters, Jones and Markakis) are really good. 

The one thing the Orioles never really had, after Erik Bedard left anyway, is pitching. Sure, they'd have Jeremy Guthrie or George Sherill for a few years, but aside from that, the youngsters kept getting picked off the plate. From Radhames Liz to David Hernandez to Jake Arrieta, none of the up and coming Orioles rookies made it. Hell, last year I thought the man above would sail out like his predecessors.

Thankfully he didn't. He's currently the Orioles' top ace.

He seems like a durable pitcher, and he's been having a great season. And being that he has a few young arms along with him this year (plus recently signed Jamie Moyer), it's likely that he'll finish out the season strong, like the rest of the team.

Coming Tomorrow- A personal sentimental favorite, playing on the team that made him a personal sentimental favorite. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Castro Edition

First of all, look at that card.

Second of all, I must address the decline of the Chicago Cubs this season. They're circling last, only propelled by the fact that they at least have redeeming qualities, unlike a certain team leaving the division this year.

Starlin Castro is their only real hope. He's young, he can hit, he's good at the position, and when he's on his game he's really good. He's not getting much attention, mainly because his team isn't. Hopefully the team will get better, or he'll get traded to a team that truly respects him.

Coming Tomorrow- The ace of a team that I've wanted to make a comeback for several years now. 

New Card Shop- Packs Galore!

It's not everyday that a new sports collectables shop opens up near me. There used to be a really good one not too far away, but I haven't been there in so long that it's probably closed down. In the past year a LCS opened up very close to my high school. So today, now that school's out, I finally went for a look. They're very nice people, with a pretty decent selection, and an emphasis on Philadelphia collectables.

This is just stuff I pulled out of the quarter bins:
2002 Topps Archives Donovan McNabb
2009 Topps National Chicle Asante Samuel
1989 Upper Deck Randall Cunningham CL. Why did they stop doing this with the checklists? When they ended in 2009, a checklist was just a card of another guy with a different photo. Originality, please?
2006 Topps Brian Westbrook. Hope he's still playing
The steal- 2004 Topps Jason Babin rookie. Very nice, and underpriced.

2012 Topps Domonic Brown, Placido Polanco. Two I didn't have.
2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Cole Hamels.
2007 Heritage Ryan Madson. Of the recent heritage sets, this and this years are my personal favorites. Maybe the colorful designs have a hand in it.
2007 SP Authentic Jimmy Rollins
2006 Upper Deck First Pitch Hot Stove Headlines of Jim Thome joining the White Sox. One of my favorite insert sets from UD. Close to finishing it, too.
The Steal (and I mean it)- 2000 Fleer Tradition Jimmy Rollins. That's right...I got a Jimmy Rollins rookie for 25 cents. It's amazing.

Of course, I figured I'd get a few packs as well, which they had.

2012 Gypsy Queen-

Pack 1-
296- Tom Seaver. Hands down the greatest Met of all time. Though David Wright is getting close.
232- Joe DiMaggio. Where have you gone?
225- Albert Belle. Such a fearsome athlete.
143- Dustin Pedroia. On the downslope.
120- Mickey Mantle. I'm a Yankee fan, and even I've had enough Mantles in Topps products
Sliding Stars of Jacoby Ellisbury. I still love these inserts
244- Roger Maris Straight Cut mini
194- Torii Hunter.
102- Pedro Alvarez
207- Matt Domiguez

Pack 2-
229- Ty Cobb.
226- Johnny Bench.
170- Cliff Lee. What a pitcher...just wish he'd get a win.
49- Adrian Beltre. Okay, I get it...he's not Mr. Overrated anymore
80- Ryan Braun
Sliding Stars of Ryan Braun.
3- Billy Butler Straight Cut mini
156- Michael Bourn. Oh, that Brad Lidge trade continues to cause me pain.
85- Adam Jones. Hey, Seattle? How did Erik Bedard turn out for yo- ohhhh, that's right...
144- Andrew McCutchen. Take notes, everybody.

Pack 3-
106- John Danks.
284- Todd Helton. Wish his numbers were enough to push him into HOF territory
115- Kurt Suzuki. Still not the most popular Suzuki in the AL East
299- Mike Carp
122- Casey McGehee
279- Jeff Niemann Black Mini
64- Jason Kipnis
169- BJ Upton
88- Erick Aybar


Pack 1-
78- Daniel Murphy
165- CJ Wilson. I wish he'd have the numbers he had last year
370- Koji Uehara
310- Jerry Sands. Remember, kids. I made him famous!
130- David Freese. Not played by Arnold Schwarzenegger
425- Wilson Betemit. Such terrible luck
New Age Performers of CHIPPAH JONES! How is he new age?
68- Vogelsong and Ethier, Friendly Foes. Yeah, right.
94- WIIIILLLSOOOOON Ramos. Glad he's okay.

Pack 2-
361- Alex Rodriguez. What a goofy grin. Hey, still a great player though.
116- Vance "The Vanimal' Worley.
347- CHIPPAH Jones. I sense a theme.
128- Seth Smith.
372- Scott Downs
34- Josh Collmenter
New Age Performers of Jered Weaver. There's a new age performer. Not Chippah.
48- Manny Acta
119- Matt Downs

And as a bonus, I went to Target and got some more Archives

78- Miguel Montero
130- Giancarlo Stanton
199- Mark Reynolds. I did a 84 custom of his teammate JJ Hardy
17- Mat Latos
175- Justin Morneau
34- Jaime Garcia
84- Nyjer Morgan. Make sure kids aren't watching when you yell the f-bomb in front of a TV audience
139- Ivan Nova. A double, so this instead goes into the regular binder
187- Nolan Ryan. Same with this one.
28- Melky Cabrera. Not this one. Though for some reason he's having a good season
42- Aroldis Chapman. Another double
125- David Freese.
80- Troy Tulowitzki.

All in all, great packs, and a hobby shop I'll be going back to soon.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Beachy Edition

 The man you see above currently holds the best ERA in the NL. He also has a solid record, and, along with Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson, is making up a solid three of pitchers. The Braves are doing okay in their division, being bested by Miami, New York, and Washington. Of course, that three game sweep by the Yankees did nothing to boost their morale.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Brandon Beachy.

Beachy's a terrific pitcher. I mean it. I guess.

Coming Tomorrow- The North Side's last chance for relevancy lies in its shortstop.

Year of the Pitcher- Round Two


With Santana, Humber, Weaver, combined Mariners, and now Cain, it's been a very good year for pitchers. That makes five no-hitters, and it's only June. Heck, if it weren't for minor details, I'd add Dickey and Verlander to that list, but unfortunately they were held to one hitters. 

The translation here- it's becoming shockingly difficult to focus on hitters. I guess that means progress in the decade following the steroid years. 

The big, strong, ball-bashers no longer matter. The fellows who stop them do.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Perez Edition


Whenever Mariano Rivera isn't the #1 closer in the AL, I kinda have to take notice. He's the greatest closing pitcher of all time, and if he's not ahead of all others at this craft, something's not right. I realize he's on the DL right now, and that he might not have a lot of seasons left, but curiosity in me feels like knowing who's ahead right now.

Last year it was Jose Valverde. This was a big no-no. Valverde is one of my least favorite players, and if he was the best closer in the league last year, THE OTHER 13 WEREN'T TRYING VERY HARD!! Valverde's thankfully sucking it up this season. All is currently right with the world.

So if Jose Valverde or Mariano Rivera isn't the best closer in the AL, then who is?

Well, Chris Perez is. And I couldn't be happier about this.

For one thing, Chris plays for the Indians, a team which I have the utmost respect for. Perez is a fun closer, and his Indians are finally having a great season, prompting the surplus of saves. Perez made the All Star team last year, which was pretty nice. Cleveland thinks of him as a pretty big deal, which is great, because aside from the youngsters, there aren't that many stars on the Indians. Also, he's the newest in the long tradition of bearded closers.

I can get my head around the fact that Chris Perez has the most saves in the AL. I'm just glad it's not Brandon League

Or Jose Valverde

Coming Tomorrow- In the grand tradition of Atlanta pitching teams, from Spahn and Sain, to Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz, to the current young group right now. The apparently leader is tomorrow's man.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Wang Edition

 Here in America, the man above doesn't get too much respect. And that's a shame.

In his native Taiwan, he's hailed as a pitching marvel, as one of baseball's greats. How Japan treated Ichiro? Yeah, that's miniscule compared to how Taiwan treats Wang. He's a king over there. Everybody loves him. My dentist, who hails from Taiwan, is a huge Chien-Ming Wang fan. And when he was with the Yankees, this was a thrilling prospect. People from Taiwan were watching Yankee games just to see this guy pitch. If a former MLB player were playing for the Yoimuri Giants, we wouldn't tune in to see him play. Unless it was Goose Gossage.

The saddest part came in 2010, the one season where he was injured. Instead of Wang, Hong-Chi Kuo was the big star, becoming the first Taiwanese player ever to pitch an All Star Game. However, nobody really cared about him. Only Wang really mattered.

Last year, when Wang came back, my dentist was thrilled. And, so was I. I had become a fan of Chien-Ming Wang, even after he'd left the Bronx. He pitched a pretty good season for the Nationals, and his comeback was taken into a account. Now he's pitching well, and his team is leading the division.

There may be a few other Taiwanese pitchers around, including the one in Baltimore, but only one matters, and it's Chien-Ming Wang.

Coming Tomorrow- Speaking of division surprises, the closer for the AL Central's wildest team is holding his own, and is currently the best closer in the league.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Papelbon Edition

Do you have any idea how infuriating it was when this guy kneeled down and started yelling at the sky right after he finished off the Rockies in the 2007 World Series?


Back in the 2000's, Papelbon was pretty high on my hate list, mainly for being the closer for my least favorite team. And then, in the last few years, he began declining, and sucking for them. This may have been fun to watch, but it's hard to hate someone who can't play baseball (insert JD Drew joke here). So he slowly crept off the list, and his spot is currently held by Cody Ross. I wanna punch that guy in every orfice of his body.

So then, right after he leaves my gaze of hateness, what does Papelbon do? Sign with my 2nd favorite team, of course. And he's been doing relatively well for Philly. Sure, he's not a veteran pitcher who can't even get one win, but he's a champ nonetheless. Hoping he'll do better than Brad, or Bad, Lidge.

Coming Tonight- Possibly the greatest Taiwanese ballplayer of all time. And he's one of my favorite current non-Yankees.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Arroyo Edition

Not that much to say about this one. Arroyo's a great pitcher, vastly underrated, and has a pretty okay career going. The Reds are happy to have him. Also, he has such great card poses, and a high leg kick.

Coming Tomorrow- A closer I never thought I'd root for...and now, here I am, rooting for him. 

Finally New Cards! Series 2 and Archives Rip!

I haven't bought a pack of cards since early May. I've had a busy couple months, dealing with schoolwork and whatnot, but after a yard sale earlier today I finally had some money to spend. I went down to Target and got some cards I'd been waiting a while for, including Archives and Series 2

Archives Pack 1-
118- Desmond Jennings. Not bad for a first card pulled.
169- Michael Morse. I really like the cardstock for this set, but I wish it was like a Heritage kinda thing.
42- Aroldis Chapman. Currently Cincinnati's only hope
80- Troy Tulowitzki. Nice player.
187- Nolan Ryan. That's a nice pull.
28- Melky Cabrera. Yeah, whatever, who cares about batting average. He's still terrible.
78- Miguel Montero.One of the few catchers who have yet to get hurt badly.
152- Johnny Cueto. Wow, I'm surprised this didn't end up in one of Night Owl's packs
18- Tom Seaver. Ryan and Seaver in the same rack pack. That's luck.
67- Justin Verlander. Probably one of the best current pitchers.
Cliff Lee Cloth Sticker. Oh, this is so cool.
27- Jose Valverde. So glad he's back to earth this season.
87- Clay Buchholz. Hasn't really made much of an impact to me. Sorry, Boston.
139- Ivan Nova. Alright, keep it up, man.

Pack 2-
2- Nick Swisher. Having a good start.
52- Geovany Soto. Career's practically over. Waiting for him to break his leg or something.
102- Dee Gordon. Heyyy...I did a 1980 Dee Gordon last year...ripoffs.
43- Wade Boggs Shiny Card. Very nice.
53- Adam Wainwright. Where's his rebound?
141- JP Arencibia, the prospect Topps has done a million, billion cards of, and yet I've never seen him actually do something.
154- Starlin Castro. Yeah, that's more like it. Why are there so many Arencibia cards when there should be more cards of Starlin Castro. He's a really good player.
58- Tommy Hanson. Gets injured every season.
111- John Axford. Looks like a nephew of Sam Elliot.
162- Jayson Werth. Okay, now that he's started hitting, can we lay off the hating on him?
Joey Votto Topps 3D. Jee, I'd really love a back to these cards.
108- Cliff Lee. Oh, I wish he were having a better season.
159- David Price. Insert usual Adam Sandler reference here.
41- Corey Hart. Insert "Sunglasses at Night" joke here.

I really, really, REALLY like that product. I might even start collecting the set.

Series 2 Pack 1-
497- Andrew McCutchen. Great way to start the series. He's such a fun player to watch.
440- Chien-Ming Wang. I'll always root for this guy, even when he's playing against the Yankees. And so will The Country of Taiwan.
344- Nelson Cruz. A tiny bit overrated.
364- Brandon Beachy
506- David Ortiz. I don't hate Ortiz. I only hate Pedroia, Ellisbury, Beckett and YOOOOOUK
641- Derek Jeter CL
637- Brad Brach
A Cut Above insert of Sandy Koufax. This insert set is really cool, so much better than a lot of the stuff from Series 1. And it's a die-cut. That's awesome.
Golden Moments of Paul Molitor. And back to the crappy inserts.
Mound Dominance of Dennis Eckersley. Another good inserts set. You bloggers aren't giving Topps enough credit.
559- Brandon Dickson
432- Wei-Yin Chen. Another Taiwanese Baseball Player. My dentist and the country of Taiwan enjoy this.
360- Nelson Cruz cl. Still overrated.
638- Derek Lowe. Jeez, how is he still playing?
336- Gavin Floyd. And the White Sox still believe in this guy why?
599- Zach Britton. I always confuse the Orioles pitchers.
653- Jordan Walden.
455- Jed Lowrie. Still reeks of Boston
546- Matt Thornton
625- Tommy Hunter
515- Willie Bloomquist. Why is he still playing?
373- Carlos Gonzalez
425- Carlos Zambrano. Surprisingly doing very well, despite being at the bottom of the charts last year...and the year before. Wait...those weren't charts, those were lists in Alphabetical Order
500- Alex Rodriguez. Oh yeah.
337- Glen Perkins
568- Jason Castro. Hey, isn't that the dreadlocked guy from American Idol who was always...dazed?
420- Barry Zito. If anyone was gonna be #420, shouldn't it be Tim Lincecum? I keed, I keed
Gold Standard of Chippah Jones. Blah. Not Chipper, the insert
Chris Sale Gold Futures. Got that right.
338- Jose "Not George" Costanza.
604- Juan Abreu. Once you've seen Juan Abreu, you've seen them all. (ducks tomatoes due to terrible joke).
578- Wade Davis
475- Chris Dickerson
359- Danny Espinoza. Winner of the Danny Valencia award of "Winning a rookie cup for being good despite not doing anything, and then fading into obscurity."
535- Joe Mauer. I really hope he finishes his career strong.
404- Jonathan Sanchez. Stupidly given up for Melky Cabrera.

Pack 2-
567- Mike "No wait, I'm not that crappy 90's pitcher. My name is GIANCARLO! That's the ticket" Stanton.
655- Ryan Doumit.
614- Andruw Jones. Oh, what could have been a Hall of Famer.
388- Chase Headley LaMarr
537- ICHIRO! They're back to just calling him Ichiro again. Very nice.
616- Tyler Pastornicky. I wonder if Pastor Nicky Tyler is a big fan of his.
423- Colby Rasmus. He better be good.
427- Rafael Dolis
A Cut Above of Cal Ripken. Very nice.
Golden Moments of Steve Garvey
494- Darwin Barney
469- Vinny Pestano
569- Travis Hafner. The back tells of a walk off homer against Toronto...which occurred during the Cleveland Game I attended last year. And boy was it an awesome homer.
411- Tsuyoshi Nishioka. I love his face.
380- Daniel Murphy.
401- Kenley Jansen
644- Andy Dirks
603- Lonnie Chisenhall. Great young player
583- Josh Tomlin
403- Bronson Arroyo.
334- Anthony Rizzo. Hopefully he'll become a star in Chicago.
447- Jair Jurrjens
407- Torii Hunter. Great card, with a laughing Hank Conger behind him.
362- Dayan Vicedio
396- The 3rd Hottest Rookie Card of the Year, YOENIS CESPEDES! YAY!
657- Dave Sappelt
Gold Standard of Derek Jeter
Jacob Turner Gold Futures
544- Josh Collmenter
550- Ian Kinsler.
349- Tim Lincecum. Needs to get back to his prime.
417- Carlos Pena. Has taken the place of Ellis Burks as the guy who only does good against the Yankees. And he effing kills us.
509- Travis Snider
348- Alfonso Soriano. Great player.
405- Nathan Eovaldi
353- John Mayberry. Nice way to end it.

Two very strong products today. I especially like Topps Archives, and I might collect it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Posey Edition

There is a thing that most fans can't negate
Regarding one position's downward cruise
It's that those working days behind the plate
Succumb to every blister, bump and bruise
Most spend their rookie year proclaimed as champs
High accolades and garments- all is well
Until a summer's achievements turn damp
And sophomore year is spent on the DL
The cycle has been going on for years
With catchers getting hit and missing out
Mauer, Posey, McCann- all jumpstart fears
Of a return to glory there is doubt
The sad thing is that many catchers find
After their summer, winter right behind

I really hope Buster Posey returns to his 2010 numbers, and I really hope that rules are changes so that catchers such as Posey and Mauer can keep playing catcher for a while.

Coming Tomorrow- Something much less poetic. A long tenured pitcher going into the final stretch of his career with Cincinnati.

(By the way, I might FINALLY be getting some cards tomorrow or Sunday. Archives and Series 2 have been screaming at me. And besides, in two weeks is the Philly Show.)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Seager Edition

This is such a colorful card. It's one of my best in a while, and it captures the essence of a pretty decent up-and-comer for Seattle. The Mariners, lets face it, haven't been the best team in the past few years, but they have been building their farm system and letting prospects come up. Seager is one of those prospects. He isn't a household name like Dustin Ackley, but he's a good player, and he's having a nice season so far.

Coming Tomorrow- 2010 was a great year for this up-and-coming catcher. Then, like most catchers in 2011, he got hurt. This year is the year he rebounds.

2012- Where's all the praise?

I'll admit that at the beginning of the year I was unsure of how the year in card releases would go. The flagship set looked terrible, and all in all it didn't seem like it was gonna be as good a year as last. My fears were realized once bloggers began trashing Series 1 and complaining of the gimmicks. It seemed 2012 was going to be another down year.

Then Heritage came out. It was a good set. Then Gyspy Queen came out. It was a good set. Then Bowman came out. Even Bowman was a good set. And now, just after Topps Archives has been applauded after its street release, 2012 is looking like a pretty good year for card releases.

Why hasn't anyone been talking about it?

You see, there are some people out there who criticize and blather on about how bad Topps sets are, and always point out the weaknesses rather than the strengths. And those people would have said how bland Bowman looked, or how ugly the Gypsy Queen base set looked, or how crappy the Bryce Harper gimmick was, were missing out on the good of the set. Gypsy Queen had better inserts than last year, and seemed like it improved in its sophomore season. Bowman put out its best set since the 1990's, and surprised most everyone with its success. Topps Archives, with the exception of the Harper gimmick, is probably what Lineage should have been last year, and is a really good nostalgia set.

And the bloggers aren't recognizing this. Most of them are going on about how they're only ripping one pack of things and then not collecting anything but the team set. And those people just don't see the upsides of these products. You can't have one little thing drag the whole product down. Design, gimmicks and inserts can be overplayed by the better qualities of the set. If you focus on those things, then you'll never really enjoy another Topps set.

So yeah, in my opinion, with the exception of the Flagship Set, 2012 is a banner year so far for Topps. Heritage, Gypsy Queen, Bowman and Archives are all tremendous products. Archives especially is quite awesome judging by what I've seen. It's so awesome, I should have thought of it myself.

Oh wait. I did. It's called Custom Cards.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Custom Card of the Day- Konerko Edition

I feel like it's incredibly hard to become a White Sox legend. The team has been around for over a hundred years, and I can name the team's biggest stars on one hand. Joe Jackson, Minnie Minoso, Luis Aparicio, Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko. Only one of those guys is in the Hall of Fame. One should be. One will be. Then there's Konerko.

Konerko, on any other team, would be washed up by now, reduced to the bench by young stars and made a DH by incoming youthful first baseman. But Konerko has become a Chicago legend because he's such a lovable player, and he's been so consistent. Remember, he only came to the team in 1999, and that wasn't even his first uniform. He's slowly become Mr. White Sock, and has turned into the unofficial team leader. Which is pretty awesome. 

When he retires, he may not be a Hall of Famer, but he'll definitely be a White Sox Hall of Famer. Unless he defects to the North Side.

Coming Tomorrow- A speedy young player for the team who's currently last place in a four team division.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Cabrera Edition

I feel late to the party in doing a Cabrera custom. After all, he's been having a great season, and he and Prince Fielder make a very good team. I find it odd that sportswriters are baffled that he grew into playing 3rd so quickly. It's almost like he played the position every day for six seasons or something. I dunno. Either way, he's been playing great this season, and is leading a strong Tigers team forward, into stronger waters.

Coming Tomorrow- Mister White Sock.

Gotta make it official

There. If there's a high profile MLB event, and Mint Condition hasn't made a custom of it, IT HASN'T HAPPENED!

(Don't worry, I'm still doing an actual Custom of the Day tonight.)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Lee Edition

No real comments. I just love throwback uniforms.

Coming Tomorrow- I need to make more. Any requests?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Custom Card of the Day: Burnett Edition

There isn't much I have to say about this guy. I saw him pitch in Game 2 of the 2009 World Series, and he was incredibly dominant. Then, the next two seasons he fell apart, and now he's doing okay in Pittsburgh. I kinda saw this coming, as I never thought he'd be as good as Sabathia. I was kinda right.

Coming Tomorrow- He's one of the most overrated players in the MLB, and he's leading the worst team in the NL somewhere higher than the Cubs.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Well, that silly Topps gimmick got one thing right. Johan Santana pitched the first Mets no-no in history.

They were just four years off. But Topps gets everything wrong.

Custom Card of the Day: Zito Edition

Remember five years ago, when it was a really big deal when Barry Zito hopped across the bay to join the Giants? How the media cared about him because he was the next big thing back then?

Whatever happened to that?

I know Zito has had some generally okay seasons since landing in San Fran, but where did the Barry Zito of 2002 go, the one that had all that potential? It's not like he has no potential now. He's a good pitcher, a good third man. But that's the problem- the Giants picked up Zito with the intention he'd be the #1 starter for five years, and after Lincecum and Cain got good, he was bumped to third. An even bigger slap in the face would be if they give the third spot to Madison Baumgarner.

I think Barry Zito is a pretty good pitcher that deserves a bit more respect.

Coming Tomorrow- In 2009 he was so promising for my Yanks. Then 2010 and 2011 came. Thankfully, he's stinking it up with a stinkier team now.