Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Cutch Edition

And the awesome customs keep on coming. McCutchen is one of my favorites to customize because he always gives out awesome photos to edit around. Of the five years I've been doing these, three have captures a raw horizontal McCutchen moment. Only this captures a flurry of hair that looks like a plate of green bean fries.

Coming Tomorrow- I believe another horizontal one, this one of a catcher for a surprisingly well-performing team.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Braun Edition

This week is a long string of awesome customs. This one up here is a beauty. Now if only I could remember to post one every night. Last night Gary Busey's antics got in the way. Sorry, guys.

But man, the next few customs are just as awesome, if not awesomer, than this one.

Coming Tomorrow- Andrew McCutchen works best went presented horizontally. Tomorrow, Andrew McCutchen presented horizontally.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Big Papi Edition

It's beautiful. It's elegant. It's well lit. It's well made. It's powerful. It's dramatic.

This custom is probably my best. Ever. It's everything that Boston needs right now. And I'm glad I made it.

Coming Tomorrow- A Milwaukee Brewer. Haven't decided which one yet, since I've made a million of them.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Revere Edition

So far, the Phillies have been playing poorly. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've seen this type of mediocrity from the Phillies since before Ryan Howard joined the squad. They've become a pathetic joke of a team, with players jumping onto the DL, pitchers getting hounded at the plate, and great pitching being spoiled by not having any offense to back it up.

However, one star that still shines in the Phillies' lineup is one they got from Minnesota. All it took was giving the Twins their best starter, and we have a nice fielding outfielder in Ben Revere. He's fast, he's young, and he's very good at his position. While he's not the world's best player when it comes to hitting, he's still very versatile and has been one of the few decent additions to the team.

Michael Young, while doing simply alright, hasn't done much to affect the offense. John Lannan has given lackluster pitching attempts to a team defined by its non-lackluster pitching. Even people like Domonic Brown and Eric Kratz have failed to produce more than just what they did in Spring Training. But I have a feeling that Revere will do well for the Phillies, and possibly lead them along to better days.

 Aaaaaaaaand he's been benched. Well, so much for that.

Coming Tomorrow- What's that? The Brewers have a gigantic streak going? Somebody get me a custom of that pitcher dude who's the only decent star besides Ryan Braun, stat.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Miley Edition

I don't have much to say tonight, mainly because I'm tired. Wade Miley's a good pitcher, his team's alright, and I think I met some relatives of his on a Carnival cruise, one that didn't break down. That's pretty much all I've got. I'm just very tired.

Coming Tomorrow- I have to check, but I think it's a newly acquired outfielder for my terrible hometown team.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Tulo Edition

The Rockies and the Braves both have 13 wins and 5 losses. The Rockies and the Braves, therefore, are currently tied for first place overall. Think about this for a second. Not the Braves part. The Rockies.

Last season, the Rockies were atrocious, making even the Padres seem formidable by comparison. They had no pitching, only a few specks of hitting, and sank lower than Delmon Young in a swimming pool. A lot of their stars were injured, or just not playing well.

I have no idea what happened, whether their pitching just got better, or the people that weren't hitting suddenly became great hitters, but they're leading the league right now. Again, this is absolutely improbable, and it wouldn't surprise me if the Rockies sink back to 3rd or 4th before the season's out. But, whatever they've been doing has been working. People like Dexter Fowler, Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gonzalez and the man you see above have all been playing very well. Tulo especially, finally giving some bang for the surplus of buck the Rockies have been giving him.

Again, the Rockies are huge, and I don't know if they'll still be huge in a month, but they are now. Woo hoo.

Coming Tomorrow- Meanwhile, in the same division, a once-great team slides to third, and hopes to reclaim the stuff of their earlier days (read: 2 years ago). 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Viciedo Edition

I feel like this week is 'Themes that Jordan has Mentioned Over 500 Times Week'. I mean, a few days ago I did a Cardinal, then I did a post on how terrible the Marlins are, and now I'm doing a post on throwbacks. Which means tomorrow's will most likely be deemed wrong by the end of the year. See? I'm consistent. Just sporadically consistent.

Anyway, as much as I think Dayan Viciedo is the future of the White Sox, and that he's gonna be big, I want to draw all the attention possible to that throwback. This was what the White Sox were wearing in the 70's and 80's those futuristic uniforms that baffled everybody. But they always looked cool to me. Hell, Tom Seaver even wore them for a season or two. And now they're having the White Sox wear them every few weeks (they just had them yesterday). That is awesome, because those uniforms are cool, AND I haven't done a throwback custom in that uniform.

Still, even if I've done what seems like 30,000 throwback customs, there are one or two uniforms that have eluded my grasp. So I'm going to list the top 5.

5. 1980's Mariners. You probably know exactly what I'm talking about. Blue hat, yellow S. Blue-teal uniforms with a mostly grey base. Those would be so cool to customize. They've already done the 70's ones, so there is hope. If not, I'll settle for the teal 90's uniforms.
4. Seattle Pilots uniforms. I don't care if the Brewers or the Mariners wear them. These ones are cool, and they're a great rememberence of a team that only lasted two seasons. Wouldn't it be awesome to see Ryan Braun and Jean Segura trudge around in pilots uniforms? That might not ever happen, but I'd love to see it.
3. Montreal Expos uniforms. Being that the Nationals are not in Montreal, this will probably never happen. However, I for one would love this to be brought back, simply because I do like those old uniforms, especially the 80's ones. Get Strasburg, Harper and Werth in those. That would sell. That would be absolutely awesome. Or, better yet, if you ever expand to 32 teams, just reinstate the Expos. They won't harm anybody.
2. 1970's Pirates. I know for a fact the Pirates have done these (they just did them yesterday I think), but the most infuriating thing is that I can never get the right picture. Like, they'll have the uniforms on, and they'll lose, and Zimbio'll only print pictures from the winning team, and just the pitcher, James McDonald or someone crappy like that. Or they won't have any good photos. Or they'll have good photos, just of people I've already done. Just do the 70's ones, with the yellow caps. Or better yet, do the yellow uniforms with the black circled hat.
1. 1990's Marlins. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the only thing that will make me respect the Marlins again is if they bring back their teal uniforms. Some may call them ugly, I call them genius. They were hip, and it only could have happened in the 90's. Which is why, for one night, the Marlins need to wear teal. I don't care if they don't want to, they just need to. I will manage to customize as many of them as humanly possible, or maybe just the stars like Juan Pierre and Giancarlo Stanton. Please. Just once.

Coming Tomorrow- Not a hoax! Not a dram! Not an imaginary tale! The Rockies, who last year were almost as bad as the Astros, are the best team in baseball. Here's their star shortstop.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Fernandez Edition

Oh, those pathetic Marlins. Look at them be pathetic.

(That right there is the topic of this post. So any Marlins fans who don't want to see their team be ripped apart by something other than their opponent's offense should best read something harmless, like dayf's blog)

Remember the winter of 2011? The Marlins sure want you to. They snatched a good number of stars, only to trade them all away (with the exception of Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Lee. I think), and start over again with a new roster of unknowns, including rushed phenom Jose Fernandez, who you see above.

Because I feel especially devious, I'm going to point out some teams that are currently doing better in the standings than the Marlins. I hate to do this, but some people out there would point and laugh at the one marathon runner finishing after a fat dude. And no, that joke isn't in bad taste because it's about a marathon.

The Cleveland Indians-  Man, these guys are disappointing. They have Nick Swisher, Drew Stubbs, Mark Reynolds and Jason Giambi all in the same lineup. And teams have been finding tedious ways to flabbergast them all. Like, oh I don't know, finding really good pitchers to strike out Mark Reynolds a couple hundred times. So right now they're pathetic. But they're not as bad as the Marlins.

Speaking of disappointments, look at those Toronto Blue Jays fall. Everybody said they'd do well this season, and I'm the one guy who got it right in saying the bottom would fall out halfway through April. Okay, I didn't predict April, I said 'early', but you get my point. Right now their Dickey is stiff and all the stars their hired to hit are too busy striking out. But they're not as bad as the Marlins.

The Chicago Cubs- I kid sometimes, that the Cubs are just kinda there to lose games and waste talent. Well, on those terms they've been doing very well. Their closer cannot close games, which is always a fun one. They're entrusting a position as a starter to a guy, Jeff Samardizijiandhfksoamdfj, whose first season or so as a starter did not go too well. Their stars are aging, and the ones who aren't are fading fast. Their pitching staff is a cobbled collection of 3rd starters from around the AL, who felt comfortable in having their careers marred. But not even the Cubs are as bad as the Marlins.

The most surprising one of there I have is the Houston Astros. Let's think about that one for a second. The Houston Astros, who spent all of last season on the DL, are still not the worst team in baseball. I'll remind you that the only decent player on the roster will likely be traded by the end of this year, and the people they hired to hit have been passed on by the other 29 teams. Rick Ankiel's on the Astros. Though it's likely that he can pitch better than have the bullpen, they pay him to strike out and possibly hit foul balls. And Carlos Pena is on the Astros. No doubt he'll only perform well when he plays the Yankees.

The bottom line here is that the Astros are a team with all young stars, some unreliable aging former All Stars, one or two decent players, a pitching staff of nobodies, that can't hit or score runs, and only win some of the time. So basically, these are the 1962 Mets. The Astros are the current embodiment of the 1962 Mets, and will be there to flounder for the rest of the season..


Coming Tomorrow- A much nicer post, about a much nicer throwback uniform.

Three Rack Packs of 2013 Topps Heritage

Yes, I am fully aware that Gypsy Queen is out.I am also fully aware that the set is generally unspectacular this year, so I'll leave it alone. And get some more of that awesome Topps Heritage stuff. Screw the haters who think the cardstock's crap. I like it. I like the design, I like the colors, I like it. Here are 3 more rack packs of it.

Pack 1-
17- Nick Markakis. Always a good start.
210- Speaking of a good start, here's Jacoby Ellisbury, a member of the first place Boston Red Sox. It's awesome that their fans can go back to going to games now.
421- Wellington Castillo. Cubs catcher. Poor guy.
373- Ted Lilly, a member of the surprisingly dour Dodgers
103- Gordon Beckham. Welll....where's the breakout? The fans have been waiting quite awhile, buddy.
425- Joey Votto, who took great pride in bashing my Phillies to bits recently.
483- James Shields, whose Royals are actually doing pretty well. Well, there's the short print.
350- Matt Cain. His Giants are doing...alright, I guess
324- Rookies of Adeiny Hechavarria and Tyson Brummett. The former is supposed to be good.
227- Jason Motte, who looks incredibly drunk, and injured. Wokka wokka.
304- Paul Goldschmidt, who's going to be really good someday.
254- Nathan Eovaldi.
268- Justin Ruggiano. Wow, two crappy Marlins back to back.
404- Barry Zito. Good to see he's back on top.
81- All Star Vets of Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw. An amazing Dodger card. I mean, that is a pretty awesome one.
209- Kyle Seager.
Flashbacks of Shea Stadium's opening. Ah, yes, the one that didn't have a Shake Shack.
131- Dan Haren. I have this one. Also, Dan looks like a Nirvana-era Dave Grohl here.
260- Drew Stubbs
110- Mark Trumbo, who's only been overshadowed a tiny bit. Just a smidge.

Pack 2-
239- Joel Hanrahan. After 6 seasons of being on perennially losing teams, he's picked a perennially losing team with a slightly better fanbase.
241- Geovany Soto. PffffffHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
354- Sean Marshall
185- Ian Kennedy, the one we thought was gonna be terrible and got away.
138- WS Game 3
319- Jason Isringhausen. No, he's not supposed to look old. Stop that.
443- Hiroki Kuroda, who pitched beautifully today. Also, this happens to be our short print, so how about that?
384- Ryan Doumit, who only had a slightly worse upgrade from an improving team to a declining one.
238- Joe Nathan. Should have one less save than he does now.
73- Steve Lombardozzi.
22- Andrelton Simmons, a member of the Unsinkable Braves
82- Pablo 'Kung Fu Panda' Sandoval. Unlike other nicknames, his makes sense.
410- John 'Injuries? I don't think they exis-OW MY ARM!' Lackey
340- Paul Knoerko, the White Sox' token legend.
383- Mike Scioscia, whose tragic illness made us smile, while Roger Clemens lay there on the barroom tile.
262- Rookie Stars of Trevor Rosenthal and SHELBY MILLER
180- Carl Crawford. Don't know if I have this one already.
275- Kevin YOOOOOOOOOOOOOUKilis. I think I have this one
72- Chase Utley. Hitting well lately

Pack 3-
194- Mike Moustakas. Might be great someday
38- J.D. Martinez
314- Shane Victorino. I'm gonna have a hard time getting used to him as a Red Sock
196- Chris Carter. Now sadly on the Astros
249- Josh Thole
355- Chris Tillman, one of the few good pitchers on the Orioles
Flashbacks of JEOPARDY...EXISTING!
102- Kirk Gibson
5- Leaders
202- Luke Hochevar. Jeez, what happened to him?
266- Lucas Duda, who had a multiple homer day yesterday
362- Ezequiel Carrera. Now on the Phillies
353- Chris Heisey
394- Brandon Inge.
219- Young Aces of Strasburg and Gonzalez. They're on the same team, and the only picture you could get of them together is from the All Star game?
161- Jason Hammel
77- Justin Masterson
336- Nolan Reimold, who everybody thought was gonna be good.
265- Lorenzo Cain, another piece of evidence that the first Zack Greinke deal was one of the better ones in MLB history
166- Dustin Ackley. And a Mariner to round out the packs

Well, once again, I really like that set. Even if I only got 2 short prints. I'll live

Friday, April 19, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Wainwright Edition

In case I haven't mentioned it already, I have a divine hatred for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Why? Well, I really don't know. I believe most of the backlash came from the 2011 season, when they overpowered my Phillies and stomped over everybody and got to the World Series. That was an infuriating team in that they shouldn't have won. It should have been the Braves getting one rung up and losing. The Cardinals snuck their way in there, and it pissed me off. It also pissed me off that they snuck into the NLCS this year. I mean, there's another infuriating team, winning the wild card, then getting past the Reds (or maybe it was the Nationals) to contend for a spot on the World Series.

Plus, one of my least favorite players, David Freese, is on that team. I don't know why I hate him either.

So, to pretend to support my spontaneously deep hatred for the Cardinals, I'm going to give my top 10 completely made up reasons I should have for hating the Cardinals.

10. The Cardinals are second only to the Yankees in terms of World Series appearances. Okay, that one's a real fact, but I'm putting it on here anyway.
9. Defeated the best team in baseball in the playoffs so many times that it's considered breaking the law.
8. Carlos Beltran killed 29 puppies during his tenure with the Mets. He's more than doubled that in his tenure with the Cardinals.
7. Caused the Spanish Inquisition.
6. Their closer is really just Fozzie Bear in a cheap disguise. And now he's injured. Wokka wokka.
5. The Warren Commission has revealed that Chris Carpenter's injury may not have been an accident, and may have been caused to keep the ace out of the picture for 2013.
4. Let the best player in baseball end up on a mediocre AL team.
3. Didn't follow through with fulfilling my wish to have David Freese run over by a tank.
 2. Hired extras from Lost as their infield, save for Rafael Furcal.
1. Those birds on all the caps? Yeah, those aren't drawings of birds.

(These are all fake. Please don't kill me, Fozzie.)

Coming Tomorrow- The Marlins are terrible. Here's their hot young star.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Posey Edition

I know it's sacrilegious to follow a Dodger with a Giant, but what are you gonna do? I didn't time it like that on purpose. I just happened to follow a great custom with another great custom.

I feel like the Giants have been very underwhelming so far this season. Today, for example, they lost to the Brewers, a thoroughly unspectacular group of players, on a homerun by an inebriated pitcher. So naturally, their slope is headed downward, which is sad, because that team is pretty fun.

I think that Buster Posey, if he stays healthy, has a chance to have a pretty nice career. I mean, in the two seasons he's been healthy he's won two World Series', a ROY and an MVP. Which are some pretty nice crudentials, and which means he's an MVP away from basically being Johnny Bench.

I don't know if the Giants will rebound this season, or if they'll just pave the way for somebody else to win the NL West, but hopefully Posey will have another high-Homer season.

Coming Tomorrow- What's that? I haven't done a St. Louis Cardinal all year? Well here's one. The pitcher that's kinda holding the team up with one arm.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Kemp Edition

First of all, that custom is beautiful.

You know, I find it very odd that even when teams compile everything and get all these raw materials for a great team, they never add up in the end. The same parable's repeated itself numerous times, with teams like the 1984 Phillies, the 1996 Braves, the 2010 Phillies and the 2013 Blue Jays (IT'S COMING!) falling victim to being overstacked. Yet the one I feel most sorry for are these perennial Dodger teams, unable to strike gold  in Fort Knox.

Even with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Ted Lilly, Hanley Ramirez, Zack Greinke, Dee Gordon, and countless others, they can't get past people like the Rockies and the Giants. And it's sad, because it's a good team. They have good materials, and they have good pitching and good hitting. The sad part is that doesn't amount to won games.

It's sad, because a lot of these people deserve better than third place.

Or whatever. I'm kinda tired.

Coming Tomorrow- The reigning NL MVP.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Reddick Edition

My gosh, look at that beard.

Of late, there's been a resurgence in excellent baseball facial hair. We've had people like Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, John Axford and Jason Motte giving the facial hair dynasty another run. However, this season we have someone who basically said 'screw this', and stopped shaving altogether.

This season, we had the first appearance of Josh Reddick's Prehistoric Beard.

I love that beard. If has overtaken Brian Wilson's for my favorite in baseball currently. That thing is overflowing, effervescent, and even has the long hair to go with it. I mean, look at that shot. The beard is enough, I mean the beard would have definitely taken that pose over the top. But the McCutchen-esque hair flowing out the back, that takes it to hyperawesome.

Imagine if he keeps it going. Imagine if he keeps growing that through the rest of the year. His hair will cover his uniform name, and his beard will look even more like a caveman than before. It'll be awesome. If he shaves it, it'll just be a letdown, like Jayson Werth or Dr. Phil.

Seriously, he's a great player, but he's even better with that beard.

Coming Tomorrow- Since I won't be giving you a Zack Greinke for a few months thanks to Carlos Quentin, tomorrow you'll get the perennial star of the Dodgers.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Santana Edition

Ervin Santana is a great player on a new team, and the card looks amazing. Yeah, yeah. But the man on the card isn't the main inspiration for this post.

Today is my dad's birthday. I'm not gonna disclose his age, except to say that he was born somewhere south of the first appearance of Elvis Presley, and somewhere north of the first appearance of Elvis Costello.

Like me, my father was into cards as a kid, and as a teen. He's one of the reasons I got into the hobby to begin with; his old stacks of 70's and 80's cards made me want to see the new stuff. And ever since we got a decent sized stack from his mother's place, I, as a kid, sorted them out, by year, by team, hell one time by position.

He started collecting sometime in the 70's, but the first set I remember having a decent amount of is the 1975 Topps set. Later on I found out that the 75 set is one of my dad's favorites, and I can see why. The varied colors, the great shots, the overall fun aspect. It was a cool set, and a great one to be introduced to Topps with. Now while my introduction to Topps cards wasn't as awe-inspiring (2007 Topps), I sorta envied that the 75 one was one of the first glimpses he got at cards. And I can see why he was hooked on them.

One of the things I noticed when I looked back at my dad's old cards was his own Update set. This is a bit embarrassing, but as a young kid I don't blame him. What he would do is take cards of people who had been traded, and draw on them with a crayon "TRADED TO:" and he'd put the new team. I own a particular version of a 1975 Jim Hunter of him on the A's. The 'A's' had been crossed out, and replaced with 'Yanks', and he even drew a Yankee emblem on his cap. These little variations were fun, and nice gems when looking over cards. Heck, I wish cards were still cardboard. I'd scribble 'YANKEES' on my Kevin Youkilis cards anyday.

Still, for his day I wanted to make a decent enough custom, one that would potentially belong in one of his favorite sets, and a gift that would make more of an impact than a bag of M&Ms that will be gone in a week, or a t-shirt that'll have a hole in it in five years. If I had more time to prepare, I would have made a Yankee, but I already have made enough of those in 1975.

Happy Birthday, Dad. You're one of my inspirations, in collecting, in writing, and in almost everything I do. Thanks for being there, and I hope you see 1,000 more birthdays after this one.

Coming Tomorrow- How do you follow one of the more heartfelt posts I've written? With a gigantic beard.

4/15 and '42'

Now's about the time I should get to talking about Jackie Robinson. Why? Because, around the league, it's Jackie Robinson day, which means every Yankee will be wearing Mariano Rivera's number. In all seriousness, it must be cool for Dodger fans especially to see everyone on their team wearing 42, and remembering one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

However, that's not why I wanted to talk about Jackie Robinson. True, today is a big honking deal, and it should be remembered, but Jackie Robinson's story was just featured in a biopic. And it came out last Friday. And yes, I saw it.

So what can I say about 42? It is detailed. Any sports movie's job is to be detailed, but it really shows its stuff. Every shot is well lit, well designed, with the right amount of subdued light. Every uniform is reminiscent of the ones from the 40's. Hell, a lot of the actors playing the players look like them, like the guy who plays Ostenmuller, or the guy playing Pee Wee Reese, or a bunch of the other Dodgers. A few exceptions to that are the known actors in those roles. Like when you see Christopher Meloni as Leo Durocher, you don't seen Durocher, you see the guy from Law and Order playing him. Or when you see Alan Tudyk from Dodgeball playing Ben Chapman. You sorta see the actor coming through.

However, two actors in this are truly remarkable, and disappear into their roles. The first, of course, is Jackie Robinson, played by Chadwick Boseman. He captures the personality, appearance and thoughts of Jackie Robinson, and he's really, really good. The way the movie's written shows us where he's coming from, and what he has to deal with, and he's very good in that department. There's a scene where Ben Chapman, the Phillies' manager, basically yells curses at him for five minutes, and he holds it in, and tries not to lose his temper. And he's very good. Of course, part of what makes Boseman fit in so well is the fact that he wasn't a very big star, and his largest prior credit was on a short-lived crappy show called Persons Unknown, which I believe I was the only person who watched.

The other actor, also unsurprisingly, is Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey. When I heard he was playing Rickey, I thought he'd really fit, and he'd add a lot to the role. He's brilliant here, taking the crotchety-but-wise aspect, and having some of the best lines of the movie. He also just fits into the character perfectly, and adds a lot of his own to the character. Thanks to Ford, Rickey comes off as a compassionate, driven-to-win kinda guy, who starts out wanting Robinson for the money, but ends up wanting him for something greater.

On the whole, the movie is beautiful, a brilliant baseball movie, one that should be universally loved and remembered through the years, such as Field or Dreams, Bull Durham and The Natural. However, this is different than any of those, in that it's a beautiful movie, but also a great portrayal of a real person, and a real year in the life of a team. Those movies are made up, but still classic. This should be a classic because it tells the story in a way to appeal to everyone who witnessed it, as well as everyone who didn't.

So to answer your question, I thoroughly enjoyed 42. Jackie would be proud.

(And I still have another post coming, because April 15th means something else to me besides Jackie Robinson.)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Harvey Edition

Dear Mr. Harvey,

It has come to my attention that your pitching performance alone has propelled the Mets to an early lead, and a position in the NL East standings higher than that of the Phillies. In your outings, you have shut down my Phillies, as well as decapitating the head of every Twins batter that wasn't Canadian.

As the season is still young, I'd like to request that you stop being so damn good.

No really, I understand. Your Mets have had a lot of setbacks recently, with a torrid 2012, and the loss of some huge stars as of late. Also, the other three teams have kinda left you for dead in the past. So I totally understand that you need to prove something whenever you pitch so well, and you're playing beautifully. You really are. What irks me is the fact that this is at the expense of my Phillies, who are ALSO playing well, and who should be a bit higher in the standings if it wasn't for your feats of bravado.

As much as your Mets need it, the Phillies need it much more. It's been five years since the Phillies won the World Series. Do you have any idea how much we've wanted another? Hell, in 2010 and 2011 we had the best team in the league. We were doing so well. And now that we fell off the face of the earth, we deserve a better season. And quite frankful, Mr. Harvey, you're not ALLOWING us one. You are denying us a season we have every right to enjoy. You're shutting us down at the door. And that's a bit mean.

Again, I adore you, and I think you'll be a great pitcher someday (for another team), but I, and a lot of Philly fans, would prefer you to stop being that guy. Everybody else on the Mets is doing exactly what they're supposed to do (read: nothing), and you're excellent style of play is the one thing propelling your team (with the exception of a third baseman I need to exchange words with.)

So, just loosen up a bit. Start throwing balls. Balk once or twice. Hit the mascot. Do whatever you want, except for winning games. You can do that in a season where we don't deserve to stop you.


A frustrated Phillie fan

(By the way, I have criticized the Mets this year more times than I have criticized Topps. Weird, huh?)

Coming Tomorrow- An amazing throwback uniform, and the next big thing out of Chicago wearing it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Rivera Edition

Last year, the Braves had one hell of a sentimental season. The man who, for 20 seasons, had been the proud, smiling anchor of their club, was leaving, and if anything they had to win every last game for them. While Chipper Jones' swan song was truncated by those stinking Cardinals, it was still very effective. And even today, it is bizarre to see an Atlanta Braves game without Chipper.

However, if you think Turner Field without Chipper Jones is bizarre, try picturing the ninth inning in Yankee Stadium with someone other than Mariano Rivera coming onto the mound. 

Yeah. Weird, right?

Sadly, that is the case. After nineteen seasons of being the best at what he does (actually, technically 17, since he was a starter in 95 and 96), Mariano Rivera will hang up his cleats after this season. And for fans of the Yankees, and fans of the game in general, this is a heartbreaking loss. Because even if everybody hates the Yankees, if there's a thought in every baseball fan's head that Yankee Stadium needs to be destroyed, and everyone who's ever played there needs to go down with it, they'd halt every bomb until Mariano Rivera was safe on the ground. And then blow everybody else to smithereens.

Mariano Rivera will go down in baseball history as The Greatest Closer that Ever Lived. Nobody else comes close. Screw Rollie. Screw Hoffman. Screw Wilhelm. Rivera has the most saves, and has garnered the most respect and fame out of every man who has ever closed a game. Yes, even Carlos Marmol.

And this isn't the kind of statement somebody would take offense to; Mo is universally respected, which is rare for a closer, especially a Yankee closer. Which is why it's so difficult for me to watch this season for Rivera, knowing it's his last. What's gonna happen next year? Who's gonna take over and capture our hearts? Is it Carlos Marmol?

Still, I'll enjoy watching Mo perform spectacularly this season, for one last round. In 25 years, I can tell my kids I saw Cal Ripken, or Rickey Henderson, or blablabla. But most of all, I'll say I saw Mariano Rivera, the most legendary closer of all time, work an inning and shut down a team. And they'll smile and react with the awe you'd expect from someone today hearing about Reggie Jackson or Jackie Robinson (who we'll talk about later).

Mariano Rivera is a gigantic part of baseball. Baseball without Mariano Rivera isn't as fun.

(By the way, this is my first 1988 Topps custom. It's tricky, but for Mo I'd do anything.)

Coming Tomorrow- He nearly no-hit Minnesota tonight. He's had some decent outings, one of which against my Phillies. He's a pitcher for a team who shouldn't be in second right now. And it's only his second season.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Martin Edition

You always feel sorry for the guy that comes after the legend. Just ask Richard Todd. He took over as QB for the Jets after Joe Namath, and is now a punchline in the NFL. Just ask Tony Batista. He attempted a herculean effort of being the new Orioles' shortstop the year after Cal Ripken left, and fans quickly found out that he wasn't Cal Ripken. Just ask Ray Handley. Yes, Giants fans, I am bringing up Ray Handley.

The most recent example of backlash against the guy who followed a legend in his position: Russell Martin. I really don't know why he got so much backlash during his two seasons in New York, though a lot of it might have had to do with the opinions of a certain Dodger blogger. I know that taking over for Jorge Posada is a tough thing to do, but I didn't think Martin was too bad. He had a few nice homers last season whenever I was in the room watching, and his .199 whenever I wasn't. He was a pretty good defensive catcher.

The main reason why the backlash must have happened may have had something to do with what he did for the Dodgers. Yes, he was an amazing catcher for the Dodgers, and he got numerous All Star nods and gold gloves and accolades. And he got none of those while with the Yankees. Maybe it just went downhill or something. Maybe it's just the backlash against New York in general.

Nevertheless, he's met up with another former Yankee who met a lot of backlash in his day (AJ Burnett), and he's currently playing pretty well for Pittsburgh (though not stealing the spotlight from Andrew McCutchen). I'd say the backlash has subsided, and maaaayyyybeee the Dodger fans will forgive him for his acts in pinstripes.

Though I imagine that they probably won't.

Coming Tomorrow- In 2014, in Yankee Stadium, during the ninth inning, you'll no longer hear Metallica's Enter Sandman. The Greatest Closer of All Time, making the rounds of his definite Hall of Fame season, is still soaking it all in.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Davis Edition

Okay, I had a few days without posting, but it's not like I could control that. I mean, I'm not gonna be able to perform every day of the season. I mean, look at Chris Davis. You have any idea how difficult it is to do what he started the season with?

Every game for the first four games, Chris Davis hit a home run. It's hard enough to his a homer TWO games in a row. Or even twice in one day. But Davis did it every day for four days, and that, along with his RBI, is a feat huge enough to be recognized in the annals of MLB history.

I don't know if the rest of Chris' season will amount to that much, but for a start to the season, you can't get much better than that. I don't care if he doesn't hit another homer for the rest of the season. That's still awesome, and in a few years people will still look back to that.

Coming Tomorrow- A former Yankee catcher, stranded in the Steel City

Monday, April 8, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Heyward Edition

Every year, for the past few years, with the Phillies being good, the Mets being bad, and everyone else filling in holes, I've always said the exact same thing at the beginning of the season:

"The Braves will come in Third"

Most of this time this prediction does not come true, as they usually find some way to mosey their way to the top. You have to hand it to those Braves; they are terrible at being terrible (also, their fans find inexplicable ways to get TMBG songs stuck in peoples' heads.) They're also terrible at sticking to the plan.

Also terrible at sticking to the plan: Jason Heyward. Every season since his rookie year, he's been plagued by comparisons and people thinking he's peaked, and this and that. What these people need to understand is that the pressure isn't making J-Hey any better. Last season he hit 20 home runs, and had a nice season in the outfield. It was nowhere near his 2010 effort, but honestly do you expect it to be? Hell, the only player recapturing the glory days of 2010 last season was...uhhh, Buster Posey. But THAT'S A BAD EXAMPLE!

I predict that J-Hey's gonna have a great season, one that's gonna put all the naysayers aside, and finally end all the backlash. The team's gonna outdo expectations too: they have way too many Uptons to just end up in third. I wouldn't be surprised if they traded Juan Francisco to Detroit for KATE Upton (rimshot). But I digress.

To sum up, J-Hey's gonna have a great season, the Braves will come in higher than third, They Might Be Giants songs are infectious, the same old stuff.

Coming Tomorrow- He set an MLB record by hitting four home runs with multiple RBI in his first four games. How's that for a return to form?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Bradley Edition

This is my first Red Sox custom of the year. I hadn't had any awesome photos of Victorino or Dempster, or any of those guys. I'm just happy customizing someone that might be very good for them for a while.

When this guy was called up and thrown onto the roster a week ago, it was a pretty big deal. Jackie Bradley Jr. had been a nice prospect for a few years, and it really felt logical to put him in, right next to Victorino and Ellisbury (I think).

As of late, he's been playing well, quickly hitting big and making fans. However, this may or may not help the overall fact that his division is wide open. As I explained a few posts ago, pretty much anybody could take it. The Rays could take it, which is pretty highly favored. The Blue Jays could take it if things go absolutely right for them. The Orioles could take it if everybody else gets injured. Hell, even the Yankees could ta- wait, what am I saying?

But the one team nobody has talked about here is the Red Sox. And they very well might do well this season. They started off the season by winning two out of three games against the Yankees, and sloshing them all over the place. They have decent enough pitching, a good lineup. It could happen. I'm not saying it will, but it very well could.

But that's how open the AL East is. When even I am saying that a Red Sox win isn't far off, you know there's something wrong.

Coming Tomorrow- Speaking of teams that spent their first three games sweeping teams I root for, this guy is FINALLY reclaiming the glory of his rookie year. And it couldn't have come at a better time.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Chapman Edition

Back when the Reds acquired Jonathan Broxton, I explained that Aroldis Chapman should be used more, and should be promoted to starter, which actually happened. However, looking back on it now, I have to say that my opinion was a bit skewed, and that Baker was right in moving Chapman back to closer. Why? Well, to explain that would mean I'd have to explain something I'd like to call "The Hulk Factor".

You see, back in the early 2000's, when every superhero was getting his own movie, it was decided that the Incredible Hulk should receive his own as well, directed by Ang Lee. It was too long, too boring, and too terrible. Five years later, they tried again, only with a French guy, Louis Leterrier, directing. It was shorter, but it was disappointing, and flawed.

For a while, it seemed like there'd be no satisfying version of the Hulk. Then last year, he appeared in the Avengers, and was arguably the best part of the movie. Why was that? Because if he was handled in smaller chunks, and given less duration, then he'd be an effective and awesome character. If you devote too much time to the Hulk, give him a needless emotional complex and some random plot devices, the character is non-effective, and you get bored with him.

Dusty Baker must have seen the Avengers, because what he did with Aroldis Chapman is very reminiscent of this.

You see, if Chapman had remained a starter, he would have blown out his arm, and overstayed his welcome. 7 innings of Aroldis Chapman once a week would be tiring, and his career might not last as long. Now if he  is switched back to closer, you get one inning every day or so of him pitching 100+ mph fastballs and wrecking batters. Here he won't overstay his welcome; here he'll thrive and people will finally see how awesome he is.

Just like the Hulk, Aroldis Chapman can only be enjoyed to his fullest extent in small increments. And every second of those small increments is a good one.

Coming Tomorrow- You know what we haven't had in a while? A good Red Sox prospect. Not like a good prospect for the Red Sox (Will Middlebrooks or Daniel Nava), I mean a good prospect for baseball in general (like Pedroia). And I have a feeling that this guy could be that kinda prospect.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Longoria Edition

Five years ago, around this point, not too many people knew about Bryce Harper. Not too many people knew about Mike Trout, or Starlin Castro, or even David Price. Worst of all, not too many people knew about the Rays' up-and-coming third baseman Evan Longoria. Weird times, huh?

In the years since his knockout rookie year, in which he dominated the charts, helped his team get to the World Series, and gave rookie collectors a scare, Longoria has settled into his role as one of the many 'pretty good' third basemen of the AL. True, he's not the best third baseman out there, but he's probably going to land in the top ten third basemen in terms of fantasy rankings.

It's sad because, just as Tampa hasn't made an impact since 2008, neither has Longoria. Okay, maybe I exaggerate, as he's had some pretty nice seasons, but none that really made him headline news, or made him as big as he was in 2008. Still, in the last five years Evan has seen the whole team (Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, Matt Garza, Carlos Pena) all leave, and a new batch of rookies spring up.

Will 2013 be the year for the Rays? It's too early to tell. As of right now, the AL East is pretty open, as the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Rays all have gotten some nice wins in the last few games. That doesn't mean anything for the long run, but it means that the division's going to be a tight race. I have no idea who's going to win it; even my Yankees aren't a lock for the division champs. And that's scary.

Still, if it happens, the Rays will do well with it. And hopefully Longoria will make an impact as large as the one he made in 2008.

Coming Tomorrow- The Reds' closer- no wait, starter- no wait, he's the closer again. Thankfully.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Weaver Edition

(Wow, have I really done 3 AL West customs in a row? Man, I need to change it up.)

Last year everyone thought the Angels were gonna win the World Series. They didn't. They landed with a thud in third place, thanks to a slow start by one of the game's best hitters. And now, they're still projected to win their division, and top the A's and Rangers. Can they do that? Well, now they have a stronger lineup, and a stronger pitching staff, so it could happen.

Of course, the pitching staff has always been kinda strong in Anaheim. Thanks in part to pitchers like Jered Weaver, the Angels rotation has been one of the most consistent in the AL. Jered Weaver is also one of the game's most ferocious pitchers, becoming a nice strikeout artist, and pitching a nice no-hitter for himself last year, which was nice.

This year, the Angels need to prove that they can put the formula together, and actually make a good baseball team out of those materials. If that happens, they might actually have a pretty nice season.

Coming Tomorrow- Wow, we haven't heard from this guy in a while. He was once considered to be an amazing third baseman, and then he spent 2012 on the DL. Now, he comes back at the exact right time, when his division is anyone's for the taking.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: I was Wrong Edition

If there was a running tally of how many times something I predicted happened with the opposite outcome, that thing would already have overflowed. Which is why it doesn't really shock me that my entire post from last night was deemed completely wrong not even an hour later.

For those of you who haven't read it, which is most of you, it regarded the sheer astonishment over the Astros winning the Opening match against Texas. I then said that this meant the Astros could do well, and that it might be the beginning of the end for the Rangers.

Well, there goes that prediction, right?

Not even an hour after posting this, I get the news that Yu Darvish is pitching a no-hitter into the 6th. And that's when it sorta turned for me. This meant that A.) Texas was playing well, B.) Houston was NOT playing well, and C.) I was wrong yet again.

I mean, when you look back at last night's game, the only Astros player (besides Lucas Harrell) who made a decent enough effort last night was that guy who broke up the no-hitter. And maybe the guy that hit him over to second. And also, the Rangers had a ton of hits last night. So basically, everything I said was untrue. The Astros cannot hit. The Rangers actually are great. The Rangers might actually do well.

That being said, I am pretty happy for Yu Darvish. I know the perfect game was halted by that unnamed guy (let's just call him Brendan Ryan, because he broke up the last no-hitter I was remotely interested in), but still, the guy had a tremendous game. I think he's a really good pitcher, and I think that he could end up doing really well this season, unless he gets injured or some crap like that.

As for the Rangers, I still don't think they'll make it to the postseason. However, don't quote me on it.

Coming Tomorrow- As promised yesterday, the top pitcher for the Angels.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Custom Card of the Day: Opening Day Retrospective Edition

I wouldn't want to have been in a Las Vegas casino on Sunday night, the night of the first game of the season between the Astros and the Rangers. If I was a passerby in any casino, I would have seen countless Ranger fans, as well as gamblers who know the game of baseball, walking out sobbing, throwing their empty wallet in the trashcan, and resorting to a flask for solace.

Nobody in Vegas would have bet on the Astros to win the first game of the season.Which is why it's so astounding that they pummeled the crap out of Texas.

Some may argue that Texas' lead was destroyed by two botched calls in favor of Houston. However, no blown calls prevented the Astros from scoring more points than them to begin with. Besides, some players, such as Bud Norris, Rick Ankiel, and Jose Altuve were smoking the ball that night, and their homers and brilliant games led to a deserved win.

What does it say about the Astros? It says that they're not as terrible than we all thought. Sure, they may lose every other game this season, but we all thought that they'd do poorly against people like the Rangers. Turns out they're willing and able to hit and pitch well against teams as well formulated as that. They may be the underdogs of the division, but they could win some games here and there in 2013. I'm not saying they'll win the division or anything, but don't quote me if I say they won't.

What does it say about the Rangers? It says that the glory days might be coming to an end. Josh Hamilton and Michael Young were the reason people went to Rangers games, hitting well every game, playing like champions. Now that they're gone, the Rangers, while still solid, are depleted. Their pitching staff is young, and faulty. Their batting roster has some major holes. And the Astros took major advantage of their faults Sunday night. Does this mean the Rangers are dead? Not necessarily, but it means they may or may not do as well as they've done in years past. However, this basically just sets them up to ironically win the division, unless the Astros do first. But again, don't quote me.

What does it say about baseball? That it never ceases to surprise its millions of fans. And that you can quote me on.

Coming Tomorrow: The top ace of Anaheim.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Custom Card of the Opening Day

Youtube will not be ending on April 2nd. Blogger has not banned humor in posts. And Peter Dinklage will not be replaced on Game of Thrones by the guy from Willow. All of those stories were made up for April Fool's Day, and are bullcrap. However, something happened on April 1st that ISN'T bullcrap: Bryce Harper hit two home runs against the Marlins. What Sophomore Slump?

As if the eyes of America were not already resting on Harper's shoulders, he proved that he was here to stay by blasting two straight homers off of Ricky Nolasco, proving once and for all that the Marlins were downright terrible. It also proved something a lot of people were waiting to prove: this Harper kid has some staying power.

Bryce Harper's rookie year was all that every scout that found him hoped it to be and more. He hit well throughout the season, scored an All Star Nod, and won the Rookie of the Year prize, all while infuriating every other fan watching. People couldn't believe it. They expected Bryce to go away, flame out and disappear like the other huge rookies, such as Joe Charboneau, Mickey Klutts, and Chris Coghlan.

But no.

Harper's two home runs on Opening Day made him the youngest player in MLB history to accomplish that feat, and remember folks that this is only the beginning. He hits two today. Imagine how many he'll hit over the course of 161 more games.

Bryce Harper is hopefully here to stay. Any other accusation would be comparative to that of a children's circus performer, sibling.

Coming Tomorrow- A much shorter post, on a much shorter player, whose chances at making the postseason are much... shorter.