Monday, June 30, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Crisp Edition

(Part of this complete breakfast!)

Once again, California has been commanding the MLB. The A's, Dodgers and Giants have all had tremendous records so far, and have already become some of the teams to beat this season.

Meanwhile, Coco Crisp is doing some of the same stuff he usually does...and that's working pretty well for Oakland. For the last four and a half seasons, Crisp has been their go-to 'strange outfielder that does well', and has developed a bit of a cult following.

I really hope the A's can hang on for a little longer, as they're fun, and easier to root for than the Rangers.

Coming Tomorrow- A former Yankee stuck in Cleveland.

2 $10 boxes of 2014 Topps Series 2

Topps keeps me going. I don't keep buying it because I adore it. I buy it because it's Topps, and I want to find as many 'star cards' as possible, before collation basically curtails my quest. So these ten dollar boxes, while nice, are still a tiny bit disappointing to me. Because Topps does that now.

Box #1-
428- Skip Schuaker. Already we have a subpar photoshopping.
368- Kyuji Fujikawa.
365- Dan Uggla, fresh from a stint below the Mendoza line.
369- Erick Aybar
642- Brandon Kintzler
343- Nate Freiman
356- Jose Reyes. Just as a reminder, the last time he led the league in something (triples), he was on the Mets.
537- Madison Bumgarner, who has become the ace in San Francisco, due to inconsistency from Lincecum and Cain.
611- Patrick Corbin, whose team is hurting after he left for the 60 day.
337- Zach Walters
398- Adam Jones. O's fans have a few days left to cram all the All Star votes this guy's way. He deserves them, too.
386- Mike Olt
533- Jose Veras, who has been with 8 teams in 6 seasons.
507- Justin Masterson, fresh off his pretty decent 2013 season.
452- Andrew McCutchen MVP
554- Maicer Izturis
413- Jose Fernandez ROY
573- Adam Lind.
Norichika Aoki Power Players. I...really don't care about these.
Saber Stars of Manny Machado
508- Sonny Gray red border
659- Ervin Santana red border
529- Jesus Montero red
596- Juan Uribe orange parallel
350- Carlos Gonzalez orange parallel.
653- Jose Iglesias
426- Koji Uehara
539- Trevor Bauer. Hey, remember when he was supposed to be amazing?
341- Mike Moustakas
541- Phil Hughes, former Yankees goat.
609- Jonathan Pettibone
481- Allen Craig
635- Josh Johnson, shopped into a Padres jersey. Man, I don't think he's ever gonna play again.
655- Derek Holland
631- PleaseStoppo Colon
355- Donnie Murphy
396- Brian Roberts, who hasn't played a full season since 2009, a member of my team now.
576- David Robertson, current Yankee closer.
536- Matt Harrison
342- Brad Miller
646- Dan Haren, who I wished was pitching better.
355- Jarrod Parker
478- Billy Hamilton cl
335- Miguel Cabrera MVP
376- Jeurys Familia
491- Felix Doubront
366- Zack Cosart
378- Ryan Zimmerman GOLD #'D TO 2014. That's a pretty nice one.
Kolten Wong the future is now.
499- Craig Kimbrel checklist RED SHINY
555- Adam Eaton
624- Alex Presley
494- Rob Wooten
353- AJ Ramos
585- Stephen Drew, the most overrated player in baseball history.
504- Kelly Johnson

Box #2-
534- Ian Kinsler
616- Zach McAllister, whose debut I witnessed firsthand.
610- Paul Konerko, sure to be Sox hall of famer.
525- Chris Davis, famous 2013 fluke.
551- Addison Reed
518- Chris Parmelee
430- Roger Kiechnick, who I imagine is related to Brooks.
567- Donovan Solano
400- HEY! It's Clayton Kershaw!
465- Justin Morneau, having a renaissance.
597- Mat Latos and his tattoos.
473- Mike Napoli, overrated Sox superstar
506- Rafael Furcal, who is still playing (!)
399- Hector Sanchez, sad San Fran backup catcher
643- Alex Guerrero, The Other L.A. Defector
552- Yasiel Puig checklist. How bout that. One after the other.
592- Simon Castro
448- Brett Lawrie
Cal Ripken Breakout Moments. I think I have this one.
Prince Fielder 89 mini.
425- Craig Kimbrel orange parallel. (all the other parallels were doubles).
more doubles
623- Chad Billingsley, who should have a permenant spot on the DL.
658- Wade Davis
384- Unexpected Tigers ace Rick Porcello
584- Tyler Flowers
377- JJ Hardy
625- Albert Pujols. I'm not saying that Topps stole my photo. I'm saying that I did it better.
340- Casey McGehee
549- Hank Conger
444- Robbie Grossman
385- A nice shot of Josh Willingham
436- Eric Young Jr.
608- Jeff Locke
347- Slumpee Matt Cain
540- Ike Davis, now in Pittsburgh
458- Vinnie Pestano
468- Wilin Rosario Future Star
562- Didi Gregorius
419- Lucas Harrell
579- Tyler Thornburg
410- AJ Griffin and his hair.
591- Jenrry Mejia GOLD #'D TO 2014
Dylan Bundy the future is now.
Greg Holland RED SHINY
351- mATT Garza
581- Tony Cingrani
511- Travis Wood
580- Todd Frazier, who's hitting really well right now.
334- Andy Dirks
433- Omar Infante
442- Angel Pagan
405- Jason Kubel
367- A nice shot of Brian Wilson
438- Jake Arrieta, whose back mentions the movie Rookie of the Year. Gary Busey, no!

Overall, very nice stuff.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Longoria Edition

Yeah, this is probably gonna be one of the best customs I make this year.

The photo is from a pre-game memorial for Don Zimmer. It's smooth enough to almost make me like Longoria, six seasons into his career.

Still, an awesome looking custom.

Coming Tomorrow- The A's are playing really well, and here's their veteran outfielder.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Nathan Edition

The Tigers are doing really well this season. However, you probably already knew that, because it's the 2010's. The Tigers are kinda meant to do well. It's kind of a given.

What isn't a given is the fact that the Royals are rather close to usurping their lead.

This is a Tigers team that is slightly downsized. Doug Fister and Prince Fielder are both gone...and not really doing too well. And they've added people like Ian Kinsler and Joe Nathan, who are, of course, doing really well. But, shockingly, the Royals are taking advantage of some of the brief droughts the Tigers have had, and are currently a few paces behind.

Right now the Athletics have more of a lock on the AL than the Tigers do. Which is rare, especially for June. By now, the Tigers already have the AL pennant wrapped up and hanging in Comerica by now. But for once, the Tigers actually seem human. This is rare for the Tigers, as well as James Bond. They're supposed to just automatically save the day and kick ass without any sign of harm.

My money says they're probably gonna hold on until September, unless something absolutely awful happens, and/or the Royals get really hot next month.

Coming Tomorrow: I need to check, but I think there's a surging Oakland A on the slate.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Pence Edition

Hunter Pence used to be with the Phillies. Remember that?

Most tearful Phillies fans do. And they usually follow these tears with a vengeful "RRRUUUBENNNN!!!!"

Either way, he's a valued member of the San Francisco lineup. He also has a World Series ring now, which is more than anybody else from the last two teams he was on can say.

I like Hunter Pence. I think he's a really fun player, and I don't just say that because I think he looks like Tyson from Survivor. I think he's a great speedy outfielder, good for some hits. Any team that has him should really use him right, and I'm glad the Giants are doing that.

Coming Tomorrow- One of the best closers in baseball now that (sob) Mariano Rivera is gone.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hollywood Never Learns

Almost two months ago, I told you about a depressing rumor that Brett Ratner, director of such cinematic classics as Rush Hour 3 and Tower Heist, was trying to make a movie about how Yasiel Puig defected from Cuba. And that was a pretty bad one. The dude's career just started in America, why exactly would you do that so early in their career?

Casey Affleck (whose brother, Ben Affleck, has starred in such cinematic classics as Gigli and Daredevil, and also directed such actual cinematic classics as Argo and The Town) has thought around this. You see, Casey Affleck knows that you have to wait until a player is either retired, or somewhat irrelevant, to make a movie about them.

Which is why he's already signed on to direct a movie about Josh Hamilton....who's actually still a generally big MLB figure. Come on, guys, learn a little!

The proposed Josh Hamilton movie is all about the big, heart-wrenching story about how he came close to burning out of the leagues on every drug possible, and then he came back and became a second-string outfielder with the Angels. Okay, maybe they're some more important crap in there, but I'm not in charge of writing it.

The funny thing is that I really don't have a problem with this movie. You can definitely do a Josh Hamilton movie, because he doesn't have that much left in his career, so that by the time the movie comes out, it'll be like, one of the last few things Josh Hamilton has to worry about. Plus, if it's a really good movie, then maybe it'll give Hamilton a reason to stick around in the leagues a bit.

I mean, yeah, it bothers me that one of the costars of the new Transformers movie will be playing Hamilton, but it's not a big loss. I mean, as long as we don't have any Ratner Interference, I think we'll be fine.


It is one thing entirely to no-hit a middling team when everyone else has counted you out.

It is another thing entirely to no-hit the same middling team two years in a row. That itself takes skill, which, surprisingly, Tim Lincecum still has a lot of.

Congrats, Tim. Should I pencil you in for another one next May?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Beltre Edition

There is nothing in this world that makes me happier than the fact that the Rangers are in fourth place right now.

I apologize to any and all Rangers fans, but to us Yankee fans, you guys are the big bad. The Rangers are the team that gobbles up all the discernible talent and contracts, and somehow always seemed to make a killing in the postseason. And the last time I checked, that was the Yankees' thing. Not cool.

At least you have Adrian Beltre doing something right. I mean, he usually has nice seasons, and this year is no exception, but I believe he's the only reason you guys are out of last. Okay, the Astros existing is a reason enough, but still. Adrian Beltre is STILL an elite third baseman. He can still hit home runs, and play the game well. And until his contract goes up, the Rangers will use him for that.

This season may not end the best way for the Rangers (???), but at least they'll have someone like Beltre.

Coming Tomorrow- A pair of Giants customs. And yeah, one of them involves a no-hitter.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Encarnacion Edition

It just blows me away.

The two top home run hitters in the American League come from the AL East. Neither of these hitters play for the Yankees.

I'm not trying to diminish the huge start that Edwin Encarnancion's having. Far from it, really. Him and Nelson Cruz are really hitting well, and I applaud Edwin for doing it without the use of steroids. But...didn't the Yankees just get a couple home run hitters for Christmas? You know...Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury?

Any other year, you expect somebody from the Yankees leading the AL in home runs. Because any other year, Cano, or Granderson, or A-Rod would be atop the list. All three of these players are out of commission, because they're currently in Seattle, Queens....and the Rodriguez Mansion, counting money.

Is that what it's come to? Has the balance of power in the AL shifted from the everywhere else in the AL East? I mean, you also have people like David Ortiz, Jose Bautista and Adam Jones bashing the ball around. You'll notice that nobody from the Rays has more home runs than people on the Yankees because...well, screw the Rays.

Mark Teixeira has 13 home runs by the way, and that is the most by any Yankee right now. Edwin Encarnacion has him beat by 11 homers. You know how many Yankees have that many home runs right now? Only one. Brian McCann has 8 right now. Bottom line- you could make an entire All Star caliber outfield made up of people who have hit more home runs than people on the Yankees. Hell, GEORGE SPRINGER, a guy who has been around this season for less games than most of the people on this team, has more home runs than anyone on the Yankees.

So really...guys, keep up the good work. Edwin Encarnacion, beautiful job. But...Yankees, come on, I need some more effort. You guys used to be the embodiment of home runs in the AL. Now you're being outfoxed by some Astro who's close to MY age. Pick up a bat and start hitting, please.

Coming Tomorrow- The Rangers are currently in fourth place, and this is a beautiful thing. Also, their third baseman is still playing pretty well...which is NOT a beautiful thing.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Three Rack-Packs of the Much Maligned Archives

Hey, fans of things nobody else likes! Here are three rackers of Archives! As a bonus, there are ZERO doubles from other packs I've ripped. Seriously!

Pack 1-
13- Jarred Cosart, who...isn't very good.
23- Chris Carter, who is the AL version of Mark Reynolds. Home runs, strikeouts, and absolutely nothing else.
10- Juan Gonzalez, a noted steroid abuser.
88- Evan Gattis, who shares a surname with the creator of Sherlock and the revamp of Doctor Who. If you already knew that, congrats! You probably have an angry tumblr about it.
136- Whitey Ford, a Yankee legend.
Ryan Zimmerman All Star insert, which is pretty cool.
162- Paul O'Neill, a more contemporary Yankee legend.
177- Carlos Gonzalez, who is injured a bit this season.
187- Hanley Ramirez, whose photo looks so cool that it was probably ripped off from Heritage.
192- Khris Davis. Very pekuiliar spelling.
139- Bob Feller. It is impossible to not like this guy. I don't wanna hear it. He was an amazing pitcher.
99- Salvador Perez. Boy, the folks who make Archives really have a hard-on for this guy.
73- Erik Johnson.
18- YAAAYY! Rickey Henderson!
94- Mike Napoli
113- Cal Ripken Jr., who I'm proud to say I watched play a few times.
142- Joe Mauer
134- Gio Gonzalez, whose star has faded slightly since 2012.

Pack 2-
131- Ian Kinsler, a nice one for a new uniform.
67- Jonathan Villar, who owes my fantasy team an apology.
87- Eric Davis. WOW! That's a cool one for a product like this.
38- Jason Grilli.
236- AWESOME! A Short Print of David Price. Very hard to come by.
28- Joe Kelly SHINY FRACTOR-ISH THING, #'d to 99. That is awesome. If any Cards fan wants that more than I do, go ahead and make an offer.
24- Michael Cuddyer.
5- Carl Crawford. I wish he played like he used to.
26- Juan Marichal
153- Fergie Jenkins. Loving the odd legends choices here.
173- Allen Craig
189- Jose Altuve
176- ADRIAAANNNN Gonzalez. Boy, a lot of '89's
184- Awesome, a Domonic Brown.
196- Prince Fielder, who isn't playing well so far.
70- Giancarlo Stanton.
90- George Brett, whose photo is pretty nice.

Pack 3-
64- Hisashi Iwakuma, the brilliant #2 to Felix Hernandez' #1
146- Starlin Castro
115- Manny Machado, Orioles superstar
170- Travis D'Arnaud, Mets prospect and former R.A. Dickey bait.
11- Adam Wainwright, the best pitcher in the NL (besides Clayton Kershaw)
Jose Fernandez All Star card, which is pretty cool.
97- Ivan Rodriguez, a great choice, especially in that uniform.
86- Shelby Miller
138- Warren Spahn! Nice!
96- A very young Robin Yount
49- Jonny Gomes
46- COLE HAMELS, husband to a former Survivor contestant, and all around awesome pitcher.
27- Tom Seaver, with a photo that was used in National Chicle.
76- Josh Hamilton
130- Matt Holliday, with a nice photo.
1- YUUUUU Darvish
12- James Shields.

See, kids? Not a single double. Great job, Topps. Really!

AT LONG LAST! Two Rack Packs of 2014 Topps Series 2

This weekend I had a big 'ol graduation party, and it was filled with balloons, cakes, Panchero's (for those unacquainted, it's like Chipotle but awesomer), and lots of people coming down from places like Baltimore, Staten Island, and many parts of Jersey. This explains why I didn't post for a few days. Grad party fatigue is rough, folks.

The most infuriating part of this party was my mission to Target a few days ago. I was told to get gift cards and Happy Graduation cards only. No baseball cards. So imagine my shock, horror, and general woe when I saw that Series 2 was out, in small capacity, and I lacked the time to get any. Sad, folks.

However, I redeemed myself today, as I marched into Target, and got TWO rack packs of the new product, plus three rack packs of the one everyone hates. I'll cover those packs later, plus, I literally just got back from my mailbox with even more of it.

But you people want Series 2. And I get it. Archives is nice, Archives is fun. But Archives is not Series 2. Here are my rips of Series 2.

615- Drew Storen, the closer for Washington. Nice way to start the packs.
538- Jon Jay. Of course I pull a Cardinal.
487- Jim Johnson. This card infuriates me. Not because of the awful Photoshop job. No, it's because Jim Johnson infuriates me to begin with.
463- Samuel Deduno. The one Twins pitcher I do Deduno.
660- Jose Fernandez. Out for the year.
497- Fernando Rodney. Great Moments in Photoshopping Closers, Part 2.
590- Brett Cecil
390- Bryce Harper Checklist. Bryce is currently injured. Huh,
338- Carlos Santana RED SHINY. Carlos has been following in his predecessor's footsteps, and has begun playing 1st base for Cleveland. Hate to break it to you, Smooth guy, but that only really works for Joe Mauer.
A SaberStars card of Mike Trout. Good news for fans of WAR, and fans of Trout.
SWEET! A 89 mini of STEVE CARLTON, only he's a St. Louis Cardinal. Nevertheless, Carlton in any uniform is a great pull.
MLB The Show BS card
530- Danny Salazar FS
407- John Jaso
579- Freddie Freeman, aka Mr. Atlanta Braves
379- Gerardo Parra, holding up a gang sign. lol, of course not.
492- Glen Perkins
423- Marco Scutaro, who is also injured
513- Jordan Pacheco
505- Homer Bailey. Hey, remember back when we thought he was gonna be a huge Reds star?
454- Brandon Beachy, who is ALSO injured. Sensing a theme here?
548- Jered Weaver, whose magic seems to have run out a bit.
586- Luke Hochevar. Man, him and Delmon Young should go out drinking.
559- Asdrubal Cabrera, still smoking it for Cleveland.
632- John Lackey.
545- Jeremy Affeldt. Jeez, he's still around?
The Future is Now insert of Freddie Freeman
Jose Veras Green Parallel.
462- J.A. Happ
542- Josh Zeid.
528- Shelby Miller FS.
358- Christian Yelich, who'd be a backup on any team but the one he's on.
517- Norichika Aoki.
411- Josh Rutledge
445- Sean Marshall
561- Welington Castillo.

Pack 2-
502- CHASE UTLEY!! Playing beautifully!
447- Christian Bethancourt
516- Mike Belfiore
574- Tyler Clippard, who seems to toggle between closer, middle reliever, and 5th starter.
653- Jose Iglesias, who...drumroll also injured.
421- R.A. Dickey, who is still the best knuckleballer in the MLB. Kinda has to do with the fact that he's the only knuckleballer in the MLB.
488- Brian Duensing
364- Mike Trout Checklist
643- Alex Guerrero rookie GOLD NUMBERED TO 2013. Wow. This is a pretty nice minor hit.
Breakout Moments insert of Cal Ripken Jr. Hell of a guy, too.
WHOA! I pulled an autograph.
Okay, it's a sticker auto, but it's still an auto. This is a Topps Autographs one of Starling Marte, which is a pretty nice one to pull. Definitely not complaining.
508- Sonny Gray FS.
659- A Badly Photoshopped Ervin Santana
529- Jesus Montero, whose trade is beginning to look like a generally even-sided one, though one without any real gain for either side.
336- Ben Zobrist
455- Danny Espinosa.
656- Grant Balfour
563- Colt Hynes
370- Jerry Blevins
391- Blake Parker
440- Ryan Raburn
467- Scott Feldman
570- Nathan Eovaldi.
422- Alexi Ogando, the 31-year-old who looks 50. He must be using the opposite of Bartolo Colon's arm thing on his face.
344- Kevin Siegrest
606- Kenley Jansen
651- Denard Span
Kevin Gausman Future is Now Insert
375- Adam Wainwright
373- Kyle Drabek.
562- Didi Gregorius.
419- Lucas Harrell
578- Tyler Thornburg
410- AJ Griffin, one of the few A's pitchers who got the memo to stay to healthy
562- Edinson Volquez.

Well, as far as a Series 2 rip goes, that's close to the top, thanks to the Starling Marte auto. If any Pirates fan wants it, let me know.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Bourn Edition

Of all the players that got really good, and then for whatever reason started slumping at the least opportune time, it saddens me that Michael Bourn is one of them.

Look, I know that people that the Phillies call up and trade away usually do pretty well. Right now, one of the biggest rookies in baseball, Jon Singleton, is an ex-Phil. Yes, we have really bad luck with this sort of thing.

Michael Bourn had a really nice career going, with great seasons in Houston and Atlanta. Then, after the Indians signed up, he stopped being an elite player, and ended up being...a Cleveland Indians starter.

Honestly I really hope he goes back to being a star player, because he deserves it, as an ex-Phil.

Coming Tomorrow- The AL Leader in home runs.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Cueto Edition

And once again, the Reds are doing...pretty well.

I mean, usually the division gets swerved toward somebody like the Pirates or the Cardinals, or maybe the Brewers, so the Reds are always somewhere in the middle. And once again...they're kinda there, playing well, just not too well.

Johnny Cueto has been their ace for a while now. Like the team, he always does well, but not well enough to be recognized. He's come so close to getting an All Star nod, only to come up short in the last second or so.

This year, I really hope he gets it, because he deserves it, and he really needs something to make the 2014 season different than all the other ones.

Coming Tomorrow- Two years ago he was a big deal with the Braves. Now, with a similarly named team, he's mellowed out and hasn't done much.

Making it Official

Once again, well done Clayton. You made a lot of Dodgers fans very proud. Now, onto the rest of the season.

Reestablishing His Status the best pitcher in baseball.

Congrats on the no-hitter, Mr. Kershaw. Every great pitcher deserves one. And remember, you're only seven seasons in. This could be the first of many. And let's hope it is.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Mauer Edition

Kurt Suzuki has every right to be disappointed about the fan reaction to him in Minnesota. Though, to be honest, whoever has to follow Joe Mauer as the day-to-day backstop the season he switches to first is just asking to be called a disappointment himself.

For a good 10, 9ish seasons, Joe Mauer was one of the best catchers in baseball. He hit well, he played like a champ, he racked up gold gloves and MVPs, and he became a household name in baseball. Hell, he made the cover of an MLB The Show. That's a definite milestone.

Now, after becoming the first baseman, he may be a little shaky, but he's still Joe Mauer. His sheer presence on the field is getting people to Twins games this year, and that says something.

I'm just happy he's having a decent season so far, because he's a great player that deserves good seasons.

Coming Tonight: A Reds Pitcher that is playing well.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Future

Change can be a very good thing sometimes.

I mean, it's daunting as hell, and going in is a little uneasy, but it can turn out to be something really cool.

This post is a bit of a transitional one for me, and a pretty momentous one, for a few reasons. And before you ask, no, I am not leaving the blog. I'd probably tell you first, anyway.

The first reason for all this change is that today I graduated from high school. I walked onstage at Temple's Liacorus Center in Philadelphia, which my high school had rented out, got handed a diploma, waved, shook hands, and walked off. That was it. Something that had taken me twelve years of training and preparation had ended with nothing more than a few handshakes and a piece of paper. And it's eerie, how it just goes by like that and it ends without really...ending.

But yeah. This custom is the first one I am posting as a high school graduate. My tassel's on the left side now. And don't be surprised if it shows in this blog's content over the rest of the ride.

The second bit of change also has to do with my future, and I figured I might as well get it out of the way. You see, next year I won't be blogging from my usual place of leisure. As with most eighteen year olds, I'm going to college.

No, I didn't get into Harvard.

Above all else, my passion is writing, as you may have noticed. So, for the next four years, I'm going to a quirky artsy school in the Westchester area of New York, in an effort to speed along my dream of being a professional screenwriter. The upside to being in Westchester is that I'm near White Plains. And yeah, I've heard they have a fairly large card show over there from time to time...

The downside is that I'll be away from my PC, which has been producing my customs for the last five going on six years. I thought about being away from customs, and Photoshop, and all the stuff I'd been doing for most of my blogging career, and I decided I didn't want the heartbreak.

So I got a laptop.

The custom attached to this post is the first ever custom made with my laptop. Even more, it was made with ACTUAL Photoshop, as in NOT Photoshop Elements, which I'd been using since the blog's inception. So this Matt Holliday custom is really the beginning of a new era for me. Which is kinda nice.

So yeah. New laptop, new photoshop, a change of venue around August-ish, and a new...motivation. That's all you can expect to change. I'll try to be the same old guy.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Ramirez Edition

Though the Dodgers have slowed down a bit after a while, Hanley Ramirez is still one of the game's most fun players, even away from the Marlins.

I mean, just look at the expression on his face here. He's in full control, having a lot of fun, and all in the excitement of everything. And that really matters.

Coming Tomorrow- A Reds pitcher who is finally having a really nice season.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Custom Card of the Night: Donaldson Edition

I don't know if I should be posting a card of the team that is currently in a series with my Yankees. I dunno if that's bad luck or anything. Either way, I've been away for the weekend, and this was on top of the stack.

Josh Donaldson has somehow become one of the stronger MLB stars right now, despite being a low-rate catching prospect just four years ago. Now the 2010 Topps Update card of Donaldson in catcher's gear is actually worth something. It's kind of like a Biggio thing, where he started at catcher, gave it up, and went on to actually becoming a really nice position player.

The A's need a hero like him, too. He's basically their version of Mike Trout. And with the way that Oakland is playing right now, he is their absolute star. People like Derek Norris, Brandon Moss, Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes are also doing their part, but this guy's at the head.

I hope the A's keep it going, because even if they beat your team, they're still fun to watch.

Coming Tomorrow- Meanwhile in Southern California, a shortstop regains control.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Custom Card of the Night: Polanco Edition

Not much else to say for a rookie prospect that basically leapt away from the clutches of my fantasy team. I still hope he does well, though.

Coming Tomorrow- A Dodger shortstop that has been doing very well as of late.

Custom Card of the Morning: Singleton Edition

If you're keeping track, I have made more customs of the team that is LAST in the AL West than I have of the team that is FIRST in the AL West. I have no idea why, they just haven't given me too many shots.

Singleton could be good for the Astros, mainly because everything else hasn't really been good for them. Him, Springer, Altuve and Keuchel are probably the only people on the team that are really doing their jobs this season. A shame this guy could have been a Phillie.

Coming Tonight: Another Rookie, this one from Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I Like Topps Archives!, he said to a blogosphere full of haters hear me out.

I consider myself to be someone who revels in the minority of a widely-believed opinion. Yes, I am the guy who thought Iron Man 2 was pretty good. I am the guy who liked the finale of Lost. I am the guy who doesn't really care for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

So honestly, I'm used to going against the current. Which explains why after a week of basically every blog I've read saying that Topps Archives is, once again, an unoriginal, contrived disappointment, I'm coming out and saying that I don't think it's that bad.

Does it have anything to do with the fact that for five years now I've been making cards very similar to the ones in these packs? Marginally. But while the idea isn't exactly original, it's still executed rather well, and pays enough homage to earlier sets, while still keeping the focus on newer players.

Now, the thing about it is that the set is...alright. I'd give it a B-, if not a C+. Yet everyone else keeps saying that it's horrible, and dull-looking, and lazy.

Just so you know, here are the two packs I opened today of it.

Pack 1-
197- Ryan Zimmerman
185- Doug Fister. Starting off with two Nationals in the 1989 design. Again, people think using the 89 design is unnecessary. It's not terrible! The recreation isn't perfect, but it could be much worse.
54- Marco Scutaro. Jeez, are any of these players active?
53- James Paxton. Two straight 1980 cards. Both are faithful, even if the back isn't perfect. See, here I am pointing out flaws. These flaws are not ruining the set for me, unlike most everyone else.
180- Chris Archer. Another 1989.
117- Mike Mussina. Here's what I like about this set. I like that it's creative enough to use someone like Mussina, who isn't exactly an A-list retired player. I'm glad they picture him with Baltimore, too. But they have his career stats UP TO 2005. Mussina played until 2008, folks. If you're gonna pay homage to a player, list his full stats, guys.
89- R.A. Dickey
63- Austin Jackson, who hasn't been relevant since 2012.
93- Xander Bogaerts. 3 straight 1980 cards.
75- Ken Griffey Jr. AGAIN WITH THE STATS UP TO 2005! Jeez, go the extra mile and give us everything, guys!
81- Todd Frazier. 5 1980's in a row.
129- Phil Niekro. Great photo, and I like how it contrasts with the design. The stats are still pissing me off, though. It just lops 10 seasons off his career.
141- Pablo Sandoval. They definitely did the 1986 design right.
172- Albert Pujols. There's a very nice star card. Like, well posed. SEE! THEY'RE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT!
62- Matt Moore. Two middling Tampa Bay pitchers in one pack.
145- Sammy Sosa. I think I like the 1986 design on these, because this Sosa card looks like one of my customs. the 1986 design, the CUBS lettering was RED, not BLUE.
133- Yovani Gallardo. And the BREWERS lettering was YELLOW, not GOLD! I am trying to praise your set, Topps. Stop pissing me off!
161- Johnny Bench. Curtailed stats aside, the retired players look pretty good on these.

Pack 2-
106- CLIFF LEE! There's a Phillie!
three doubles.
A 1987 FUTURE STARS insert of Jose Fernandez, who...isn't active. Still, the insert looks pretty good.
149- Madison Bumgarner and his facial hair.
164- Stan Musial. Great card, but his stats end before he hits 3000 hits. That's kinda weak.
156- Phil Rizzuto. Again, I'd be more pissed about these retired cards if they didn't look so good.
76- Josh Hamilton. Great to see a well-posed shot of him.
6- Marcus Semien. The first 1973 of the rip, and they look pretty good.
41- CATFISH HUNTER! I know, he's in an A's uniform, but there's a card of Catfish Hunter in this! That's awesome! Plus, because his career ended so soon, all of his stats are on here!
80- Hiroki Kuroda. YAAAY! YANKEE STARTER!
183- David Wright. I really, really like this card. Even if it looks like Wright's standing in front of a wall of tin foil.
165- Willie McCovey. Again, a great shot!
169- Kolten Wong, who really helped the Sox win it last year.
37- Wilmer Flores.
7- Dustin Pedroia, who is really helping my fantasy team this year.
116- Alex Guerrero, or as dilapidated backup catchers know him, Mike Tyson.

So there. I think the 2014 Topps Archives set, while flawed, is still pretty good, and worthy of at least some respect. I also think the last two sets are pretty good.

So, here's what I'm going to offer. If you don't like Topps Archives, of any year, and you want it to go to someone who will at least treat it well, then give them to me. I am collecting all three sets, and I will be posting the wantlists for them momentarily (they'll likely be below this post). So if you have Archives you want to get rid of, let me know, or shoot me an email (it's on the sidebar), and we'll work something out.

Bottom line: If I'm the only one who likes something, I should at least benefit from it.

WANTLIST: 2012 Topps Archives

Most of this set is basically completed, but the short prints, and a few base cards, are still floating around out there.

14- Yadier Molina
20- Robinson Cano
21- Jeremy Hellickson
25- Dan Haren
33- Jon Lester
44- Cal Ripken
45- Carlos Ruiz
54- Jemile Weeks
62- Hanley Ramirez
63- Tim Hudson
66- Andrew McCutchen
71- Jimmy Rollins
74- Ty Cobb
76- Victor Martinez
91- Ted Lilly
92- Jordan Walden
93- Matt Harrison
94- Anibal Sanchez
99- Brandon Belt
128- Shin-Soo Choo
132- Ben Zobrist
138- Joe DiMaggio
144- Ike Davis
145- Howie Kendrick
156- Ubaldo Jimenez
164- Kevin Youkilis
172- James Shields
174- Asdrubal Cabrera
177- Shane Victorino
183- Dan Uggla
188- Vance Worley
189- Babe Ruth
193- Lonnie Chisenhall
196- Andrew Bailey
197- Allen Craig
200- Derek Jeter


201 Don Mattingly
202 Mike Scott
204 Ken Singleton
205 Bill Buckner
206 Dave Kingman
207 Vida Blue
208 Frank Howard
209 Will Clark
211 Wally Joyner
213 Bill Madlock
214 Mitch Williams
215 Brett Butler
216 Bake McBride
217 Luis Tiant
218 Dave Righetti
219 Cecil Cooper
220 Ken Griffey Jr.
221 Jim Abbott
222 John Kruk
223 Cecil Fielder
224 Terry Pendleton
225 Ken Griffey
226 Jay Buhner
227 John Olerud
228 Ron Gant
229 Roger McDowell
230 Lance Parrish
232 George Bell
233 Oscar Gamble
234 Shawon Dunston
235 Ed Kranepool
236 Chili Davis
237 Robin Ventura
238 Jose Oquendo
239 Von Hayes
240 Sid Bream
241 Bryce Harper

WANT LIST: 2014 Topps Archives

UPDATED, 6/23- Getting a little better

2 Bruce Sutter - St. Louis Cardinals            1973

3 Freddie Freeman - Atlanta Braves         1973

4 Andrew Lambo - Pittsburgh Pirates RC                1973

8 Zack Greinke - Los Angeles Dodgers     1973

9 Josh Donaldson - Oakland Athletics      1973

14 Dennis Eckersley - Oakland Athletics 1973

15 Ralph Kiner - Pittsburgh Pirates            1973

17 Joey Votto - Cincinnati Reds  1973

20 Will Middlebrooks - Boston Red Sox  1973

21 Ty Cobb - Detroit Tigers           1973

22 Jake Marisnick - Miami Marlins RC      1973

25 Jim Palmer - Baltimore Orioles              1973

28 Joe Kelly - St. Louis Cardinals 1973

29 Carlos Gomez - Milwaukee Brewers  1973

30 Alex Gordon - Kansas City Royals        1973

31 Steve Carlton - Philadelphia Phillies    1973

33 Kyuji Fujikawa - Chicago Cubs               1973

34 Enny Romero - Tampa Bay Rays RC     1973

35 Patrick Corbin - Arizona Diamondbacks             1973

36 Carlos Beltran - New York Yankees     1973

39 Chris Sale - Chicago White Sox              1973

43 Josmil Pinto - Minnesota Twins RC      1973

44 Ernie Banks - Chicago Cubs     1973

45 Lou Brock - St. Louis Cardinals               1973

47 Tim Lincecum - San Francisco Giants  1973

48 CC Sabathia - New York Yankees         1973

50 Derek Jeter - New York Yankees         1973

51 Lou Gehrig - New York Yankees           1980

52 Michael Wacha - St. Louis Cardinals    1980

55 Jay Bruce - Cincinnati Reds     1980

57 Tom Glavine - Atlanta Braves                1980

59 Nick Swisher - Cleveland Indians         1980

60 Ozzie Smith - St. Louis Cardinals           1980

61 Matt Davidson - Chicago White Sox RC             1980

65 Starling Marte - Pittsburgh Pirates      1980

66 Craig Biggio - Houston Astros 1980

68 Eddie Mathews - Milwaukee Braves  1980

69 Mark McGwire - Oakland Athletics     1980

72 Evan Longoria - Tampa Bay Rays          1980

74 Jon Lester - Boston Red Sox  1980

77 Joe Morgan - Cincinnati Reds                1980

78 Dylan Bundy - Baltimore Orioles          1980

79 Duke Snider - Brooklyn Dodgers          1980

82 Matt Cain - San Francisco Giants          1980

83 Billy Butler - Kansas City Royals             1980

84 Tony PĂ©rez - Cincinnati Reds 1980

91 Roberto Clemente - Pittsburgh Pirates             1980

95 Matt Carpenter - St. Louis Cardinals   1980

98 Chris Owings - Arizona Diamondbacks RC        1980

100 Bryce Harper - Washington Nationals              1980

102 Goose Gossage - New York Yankees               1986

103 Orlando Hernandez - New York Yankees       1986

104 Jordan Zimmermann - Washington Nationals              1986

105 Tony Gwynn - San Diego Padres        1986

107 Michael Choice - Texas Rangers RC  1986

108 Carlos Santana - Cleveland Indians   1986

110 Yoenis Cespedes - Oakland Athletics               1986

111 Jason Heyward - Atlanta Braves        1986

112 Ethan Martin - Philadelphia Phillies RC            1986

114 Brian McCann - New York Yankees   1986

119 Andrelton Simmons - Atlanta Braves               1986

120 Yadier Molina - St. Louis Cardinals     1986

121 Kevin Siegrist - St. Louis Cardinals RC               1986

122 Larry Doby - Cleveland Indians           1986

123 Jarrod Parker - Oakland Athletics      1986

124 Trevor Rosenthal - St. Louis Cardinals              1986

127 Christian Bethancourt - Atlanta Braves RC     1986

128 Avisail Garcia - Chicago White Sox     1986

132 Felix Hernandez - Seattle Mariners  1986

137 Pedro Alvarez - Pittsburgh Pirates    1986

140 Tony Cingrani - Cincinnati Reds          1986

143 Mike Schmidt - Philadelphia Phillies 1986

144 Adrian Beltre - Texas Rangers             1986

147 Jose Bautista - Toronto Blue Jays      1986

148 Anthony Rendon - Washington Nationals     1986

150 Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers          1986

151 Joe DiMaggio - New York Yankees    1989

152 Anthony Rizzo - Chicago Cubs             1989

154 Harmon Killebrew - Minnesota Twins             1989

155 Lou Boudreau - Cleveland Indians    1989

157 Rod Carew - California Angels             1989

158 Willie Stargell - Pittsburgh Pirates     1989

159 Bob Gibson - St. Louis Cardinals         1989

160 Don Mattingly - New York Yankees  1989

166 David Holmberg - Cincinnati Reds RC               1989

168 Jonathan Schoop - Baltimore Orioles RC        1989

171 Adam Eaton - Chicago White Sox      1989

174 Andre Rienzo - Chicago White Sox RC             1989

178 Carlos Martinez - St. Louis Cardinals 1989

179 Chris Davis - Baltimore Orioles            1989

182 Curtis Granderson - New York Mets                1989

186 Gerrit Cole - Pittsburgh Pirates          1989

188 Jered Weaver - Angels          1989

191 Justin Upton - Atlanta Braves             1989

193 Matt Kemp - Los Angeles Dodgers   1989

194 Max Scherzer - Detroit Tigers             1989

195 Mike Zunino - Seattle Mariners         1989

198 Shin-Soo Choo - Texas Rangers          1989

199 Sonny Gray - Oakland Athletics          1989

200 Buster Posey - San Francisco Giants 1989

201 Babe Ruth - New York Yankees         

202 Luis Gonzalez - Arizona Diamondbacks          

203 Zack Wheeler - New York Mets        

204 Manny Ramirez - Boston Red Sox    

205 Mike Trout - Angels

206 David Freese - Angels           

207 Jorge Posada - New York Yankees   

208 Andrew McCutchen - Pittsburgh Pirates       

209 Greg Maddux - Atlanta Braves          

210 Clayton Kershaw - Los Angeles Dodgers       

211 Bo Jackson - Kansas City Royals         

212 Jose Canseco - Oakland Athletics     

213 Mookie Wilson - New York Mets      

214 Fernando Valenzuela - Los Angeles Dodgers              

215 Reggie Jackson - Oakland Athletics  

216 Robinson Cano - Seattle Mariners   

217 Jose Abreu - Chicago White Sox RC 

218 Nomar Garciaparra - Boston Red Sox             

219 John Smoltz - Atlanta Braves              

220 Sandy Koufax - Los Angeles Dodgers              

221 Hyun-Jin Ryu - Los Angeles Dodgers               

222 Edgar Martinez - Seattle Mariners   

223 Andy Van Slyke - Pittsburgh Pirates

224 Troy Tulowitzki - Colorado Rockies  

225 Wil Myers - Tampa Bay Rays               

226 Adam Jones - Baltimore Orioles        

227 Nick Castellanos - Detroit Tigers RC 

228 Brandon Phillips - Cincinnati Reds    

229 Wade Boggs - New York Yankees     

230 Billy Hamilton - Cincinnati Reds RC   

231 Paul Goldschmidt - Arizona Diamondbacks  

232 Nolan Ryan - Houston Astros             

233 Graig Nettles - New York Yankees   

234 Don Zimmer - Washington Senators               

235 Darren Daulton - Philadelphia Phillies             

237 Dusty Baker - Los Angeles Dodgers 

238 David Ortiz - Boston Red Sox              

239 Taijuan Walker - Seattle Mariners RC             

240 Mariano Rivera - New York Yankees               

241 Masahiro Tanaka - New York Yankees RC     

242 Deion Sanders - Atlanta Braves         

243 Willie Mays - New York Giants           

244 Jacoby Ellsbury - New York Yankees

245 John Olerud - New York Mets           

246 Justin Verlander - Detroit Tigers       

247 Stephen Strasburg - Washington Nationals 

248 Jurickson Profar - Texas Rangers      

249 Pedro Martinez - Boston Red Sox    
250 Yasiel Puig - Los Angeles Dodgers

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Verlander Edition

The 90's had Greg Maddux. The 60's had Bob Gibson. The 2000's had Roy Halladay. I firmly believe that the 2010's have their decade-long ace, and it's Justin Verlander.

I know, it's a little premature, seeing as it's only four years in, and this season isn't his absolute best, but in terms of consistency, Justin Verlander is showing the right numbers at this point in his career. He's already racked up an MVP, a CY Young, 2 no-hitters, and respect from everyone in the league. He's definitely made it very far.

The one skeptical factor is whether he'll stick it out for the rest of the decade. And I'm really hoping that's the case, because he's an excellent pitcher, and you don't want someone like that leaving early.

Either way, Verlander's already a legend in Detroit, and I hope the rest of the season is slightly better.

Coming Tomorrow- An energetic shortstop in L.A.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Altuve Edition

Let's not beat around the bush here, the Astros are by no means a good baseball team. They have little elements to a good team, but they don't have anything close to a full reliable roster yet. True, bringing up people like Jon Singleton and George Springer is definitely helping, and pitching by Dallas Keuchel is helping things, but they still have a ways to go.

They should be very happy they have a legitimate star like Jose Altuve, because without him the Astros would be nothing.

Back when Altuve came up, Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence were still with the team. For both players, that is two teams ago. For everyone else, that is three seasons ago. Still, in that time Altuve has stuck around and become an elite second baseman, or at least one of the stronger second baseman in the division (no, Robbie, I mean THIS YEAR).

He's probably going to be their sole All Star rep, just like usual, and he'll play an inning for the AL just for the sake of playing. But still, I'm glad that Astros fans have somebody like him.

Coming Tomorrow- one of the best pitchers in the game, still in Detroit.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Gomes Edition

This could actually pass as a shot from a 1990's Stadium Club set. And I'm really proud of it.

Coming Tomorrow: A second baseman for a crappy AL West team.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Freeman Edition

For the second or third year in a row, the NL East is so depressingly tight and pathetic that the team in front this time of year is basically in front because the other four teams suck more. True, the Braves are playing pretty well, but how well would they be playing without the collapse of the Nationals, Marlins, Mets and Phillies?

ESPN should say that they're in first place in the division, but have a little emblem next to it saying 'by default'. So if you want to see who is leading the NL East, they'll say it's 'The Braves, by default'. This should work for movies, too. If they want to advertise a really bad movie, like Sharknado 2 or something, they should bill it as "STARRING IAN ZIERING, by default'.

I kid, of course. The Braves are a really good team, as usual. After years of being shuttered to third place year after year, they finally have a promising team. It's kind of like their 90's squads. Which means Freddie Freeman is their answer to Chipper Jones.

Now I know what you're thinking, and yes, I know they play different positions, and played with each other for two seasons. But in all honesty, Chipper Jones acted as a leader to a team that effectively needed one. He was a defensive powerhouse, an offensive hero, and a generally nice guy off the field (now he's dating somebody my age, so I dunno what happened there). And now Freddie Freeman's doing basically the same thing.

I hope he sticks around for a while and becomes the legend that Jones did.

Coming Tomorrow- His team's not doing nearly as well as last season, but he's still going after the ball like crazy.