Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Well Done Anyway

As much as I wanted the Royals to win, I'm still kind of happy the Giants won. Either way, both teams played some amazing baseball, and I'm alright that the Giants came out on top. They had some great performances, especially from Bumgarner, Morse and Posey. I think that this postseason will definitely get Bumgarner a few more Cy Young votes than he would have gotten.

I'm happy for Hunter Pence, too. He's one of my favorite ex-Phillies, because he was so much fun when he played for my team. I wish him the best whatever team he plays for. As luck would have it, he's gotten himself two World Series rings over the course of two and a half seasons with the Giants. Clearly he must be doing something right.

To be honest, I'm happy for the Giants, and I'm kind of sad the season's over. No more fresh customs. I will definitely do some for December, and do some sort of Year-by-Year-ish format. I will be posting every day, but in what capacity I have no idea. Besides, I made a crapload of customs for teams that didn't advance in time for me to post them. So I have a bunch of unposted Cardinals and Dodgers customs that I'll need to shell out, as well as ones of all the guys I missed.

So yeah. I'll try to keep posting while I'm here. But still, I'm happy the season ended on such a high note.

Game Seven: Full Prediction

Well...tonight, the last game of the 2014 season will take place. Both sides are ready for a victory, and either one could easily take this one.

However, as is custom, I will detail the viewpoints and perspectives of the game, and see who I think will win in the end.

Who the audience wants to win:
Kansas City Royals.

Kind of goes without saying. Nobody thought that the Royals would make it this far, especially seeing as the Tigers came out strong at the beginning of the season. So it's making everybody so happy that they're in the World Series, and they're playing beautifully.

Plus, this is a fun team that has allowed itself to be rooted for by basically everybody. There are great players like Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson, Omar Infante, Alex Gordon and Yordano Ventura populating the roster.

If the fans had their way, the Royals would take it.

Who has the better team:
San Francisco Giants.

Yeah, it's kind of a fact that the Giants have more meat on them. They have better hitting, more durable pitching, a roster that has been through this before. They have a number of players (Bumgarner, Posey, Sandoval, and a few others) that have already won two rings. They've been through all of this already.

The Giants came close to taking their division title a few times. The Royals, with the exception of a midsummer boost, didn't really. The Giants have more overall strength, have hit more home runs, and are the stronger team.

Who Should Win:
Kansas City Royals.

Going into this game, the odds are with the Royals. They're playing a Game 7 at home, and the odds say that they'll be the ones to take it. But not only that--this is a team that has been playing like winners for the past few matches. Game 6 was a blowout because they allowed it to be, because they decided to play really, really well.

If they could take Game 6, and force the Giants to play one more game, I guess they'll be the favorite going in.

Who Will Win:
Kansas City Royals.

Not sure if this will happen, but I sincerely hope it does.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Giants Might Actually Win This: A Realization

We are five games in, and what started out as something unpredictable turned into the Giants taking the crucial lead. The Royals looked like they were in a fighting mood for a while, but they managed to give two at home to the Giants, one of which while Madison Bumgarner on the mound, which is never a good idea, no matter who you are.

So now, if the Giants win Game Six, it's all over. Predictability wins, Spontaneity Loses. No matter how hard the Royals fought, and no matter how strong they were, the Giants will end up with the glory.

And that's becoming hard for me to stomach.

This is starting to turn into a Quentin Tarantino movie, to me. And by that I mean it's bloody, glorious and fun to watch, but the important things like the story arc are completely abandoned.

I should clarify that, because 'story arc' is kind of an odd thing to think about with baseball. So here's what I mean. Prior to the playoffs, the stories that were popping up everywhere were the rise of the Nationals, the sheer dominance of the Dodgers, the miracle offense in Baltimore, and the comeback of the Royals. We've whittled those stories down to one, and it's the Royals. The Giants don't really have an arc--for the case of this, they're the antagonist, who starts out being kind of menacing, and then ends up being the bad at the end because nobody could stop them.

Now, what kind of story would this be if the team with the heroic arc, the Royals, lost to the team that had a demise coming to them from almost the beginning?

Tarantino will set up arcs and then watch as they don't really pay off. He'll set up a character that deserves redemption, and then kill her off before she even gets to see the character. And this is what this Series feels like. The Royals are gonna get killed off before they're able to redeem themselves.

Tomorrow night, the Giants and Royals are going to play Game Six, and the stakes are going to be high. And if the Giants finish them off, it'll be a great series nonetheless, but it'll feel like we, as the audience, got cheated a little bit. All of this 'Royals' business, all of that great baseball story...thwarted by a team we could kind of tell was going to win from the beginning of the year.

I'll be fine either way, but I think it'd make more sense if the Royals won. That's all.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Gone before he really got started. Great hitter, outstanding potential. A shame he left.

R.I.P. Oscar Taveras. I would have liked to see what you could do as a Cardinal. And I don't say that often.


From a statistical standpoint, this is one of the weakest world series match ups in years, and several sportswriters have already cited this fact. Giants suck this, Royals are lightweight that.

However, judging by the last four games, we may have one of our most tightly matched and suspenseful World Series' in a while. We're four games in, and already we have a tied series with four really nicely played games. Tonight's was no exception, as Pablo Sandoval and the Giants all took turns absolutely mashing the ball.

I've already spoken about how I want the Royals to win, but either way, and either outcome, people will still call this one a really exciting series. If the Royals win, it'll be an underdog story for the ages. If the Giants win, it'll be another chapter in the Giants dynasty of the early 2010's.

I'm seeing comparisons to the 2001 series, or the 2004 series. That close, that monumental, and yes, that good. Hopefully it'll only continue to get better.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hanger Box of 2014 Topps Update

Yeah, you knew I'd eventually get my hands on some.

Me, the master of showing people in different-looking uniforms. Of course I'd get Update eventually. I mean, what else am I supposed to do in October? Break fifteen-year-old boxes of stuff?

So yeah. I got a hanger box at Target of the stuff. Did I pull anything good? Well...

112- Alfredo Simon, who had a really nice start to the year.
111- Emilio Bonifacio, who has worn five uniforms over the course of three seasons.
287- Mike Bolsinger
19- Bronson Arroyo, one of the better fringe players in the MLB.
38- Jason Giambi, who has been playing for 20 seasons. I'm guessing this past one was his last one, though you can never tell anymore.
4- Mark Reynolds, who is not great for a fantasy team.
16- Andrew Brown
79- Clint Barmes
185- Juan Francisco
6- Jose Molina, one of the best backup catchers in the game.
78- Reid Brignac
107- Josh Collmenter
93- Troy Patton
86- Cesar Ramos
164- Joe Kelly, who may end up being the lone Boston ace next year.
46- Jake Marsinick, who may end up being a starter in Houston next season, which isn't saying much.
49- Willie Bloomquist
7- David Price, adorned in a Tigers uniform.
13- Andrew Heaney Rookie debut
267- Jonathan Diaz
237- Jorge Polanco
17- Yangervis Solarte. Headley was worth him.
330- Daniel Webb
52- Chase Anderson
154- Yu Darvish ASG
18- Aramis Ramirez ASG
258- Matt Carpenter ASG. Hey, remember when the All Star cards used to feature more than people just standing around????
30- Elian Herrera
224- Jared Burton
248- Brayan Pena
34- Gavin Floyd, who...still kinda sucks.
218- David Carpenter
194- Hector Santiago
70- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was apparently with the Marlins this year. Hm.
244- Daisuke Matsuzaka. Man, he's still relevant?
73- Francisco Cervelli
83- Brandon Hicks
85- Daniel Descalso, who is playing less...I guess?
296- Tyler Moore
116- Brett Anderson
240- Aaron Sanchez
172- Tucker Barnhardt
203- Cole Figueroa getting doused with Gatorade
117- Bryan Holaday
138- Asdrubal Cabrera
314- Corey Dickerson GOLD #D TO 2014
Power Players insert of Adam Wainwright. I like these. They remind me of the early 2000's Topps inserts.
29- Tyler Skaggs RED SHINY
The future is now insert of Yordano Ventura...and...
89 mini insert of BILLY BUTLER. Man, this pack wants the Royals to win.
All Star Access of Daniel Murphy
170- Matt Davidson
175- Oscar Taveras ROOKIE
222- Brandon Moss ASG
212- Randy Choate
94- Tuff Gosewisch RC
57- JACOB DEGROM Rookie Debut
250- Yu Darvish CL
206- Chris Perez
290- Cam Bedrosian
148- Kyle Parker
10- GEORGE SPRINGER ROOKIE. Man, two really good ones
176- Michael Brantley ASG
292- Chase Utley ASG
315- Carlos Gomez ASG
297- Zach Greinke ASG
289- Adam Wainwright ASG
2 doubles

Well, those were pretty damn good, especially by Update standards.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nostalgic Box Break: 1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice (Part Three)

It's been a couple days, but I'm finally posting the next nine packs out of this damned box. I've just had a busy week, filled with a midterm and some other random crap, but I'm back now. And now I'll be posting some more packs from this box, because I may have another box of cards on the way. Just saying.

Anyway, on with the break.

 Pack 19- Three sideways shots start the pack, including Rafael Palmeiro, who was still a big deal back then. Also, Walt Weiss, who always had really good cards back then, gets another one.

Two good shots of Dean Palmer and Mike Kelly during BP. Not much going on in this pack.

Pack 20- Silver sig of Mike Bordick. Also, rookie cards for Tony Clark and Paul Wilson, worth a shit-ton more back in 1995.

Three photographical highlights. Ozzie Guillen wearing a cool throwback, Darren Lewis holding onto a base, and Glenallen Hill sporting one of those awesome 90's Cubs variation uniforms.

Our You Crash the Game card for this pack is David Justice, still with the Braves back then. So, did David Justice indeed hit a home run on July 25th, 1995? Nope? Braves still won though, because this was still the '95 Braves we're talking about.

Pack 21- Two really cool full-bleed cards to start off the pack, including a card to pay tribute to Nolan Ryan, and a card to commemorate the fact that Mike Piazza was just starting to be awesome.

One of the odd themes to this pack was green. Both of these cards were taken during, I imagine, some St. Patrick's Day themed Spring Training game. I have no idea. Still, it looks pretty cool.

Two really cool cards, of a solemn looking BJ Surhoff, and Brian Hunter colliding with a wall.

And while we're here, here are two really awesome 90's Yankees stars. One of them is a Yankees legend. The other is a Hall of Famer. Both are totally going in my collection.

Pack 22- Those 'What's the Call' cards that keep showing up are so 90's, and so cool. This one's of Frank Thomas. Also, Chris Goodwin, even though he never made it, has a cool Future Foundation card.

Cliff Floyd was apparently still a star back in 1995. Meanwhile, I have no idea who John Dettmer is, but he has a pretty cool card here.

Meanwhile, here's our Hall-of-Famer, good ol' Tom Glavine, seen here during warmups.

Pack 23- Two cool  shots to start off the pack. Jeff Frye has a double play attempt, while Ron Karkovice attempts to stop a runner at second (I imagine).

Two stars at the time. Lee Smith is a borderline Hall of Famer. He'd be in already if Trevor Hoffman hadn't already broken his record. Meanwhile, David Justice looks silly here.

Two sideways shots of stars. Mark Grace looks like he's bowling here. Wally Joyner is probably striking out.

The two stars of the pack, both of whom I'm throwing in my binder later. Mussina is still the ace in Baltimore, while Delgado is just becoming the big home run hitter. He was still a catcher back then.

Finally, here's one more preview for the update set. Yeah, Fernando Valenzuela was with the Phillies, and evidently he was with the Padres after the photo deadline.

Pack 24- The lone star card up front is Kenny Lofton, famed base-stealer, still rocking it with the Indians.

Three impressive back-of-the-card shots. Greenwell is falling, Boone is sliding, and Brogna is diving. All in all, eventful backs.

The best card in the pack is this one, of Mike Stanley carrying his catching gear with him. Not really meant for star-power,  but mainly awesomeness.

Pack 25- Phil Nevin's rookie card starts off the pack. Man, this rookie class is generally pretty pathetic.

The only two cards worthy of photographing. Phil Leftwich is trying to scare people.

Pack 26- Two awesome, yet odd cards. Joe Carter's card commemorates his slaying of Mitch Williams in the '93 World Series. Juan Gonzalez' just looks ridiculous.

More St. Patrick's day goodness.

Shawon Dunston was still a big deal in 1995 apparently. Alright, I guess so. Also, Bret Barberie has a nice shot with his mask up.

Three really cool sideways shots. And I mean REALLY cool. Derek Bell has a nice slide shot. Kirt Manwaring is attacking a runner with a ball. Pat Borders is working on a rundown. Again, the photography here just blows me away.

Pack 27- Two awesomely awesome cards that mean absolutely nothing. The first commemorates Barry Bonds winning the gold glove. I don't collect him anymore, because steroids. Also, Travis Miller's card is phenomenal- he looks like he's trapped in an ice cube, and he's got snow in his glove. That's some great stuff, especially for an insert.

1. "...and if Danny Tartabull were here, I'm sure he'd say 'That's correct, Jerry...'"
2. My, those 90's Reds hats are awesome.

On the left, Roger Clemens, most famous for appearing in Kingpin, celebrating...something. On the right, Jeff Kent, most famous for cursing out Obama in his final words on Survivor, dashing to the base.

Don't worry folks, we've got one more You Crash the Game insert before we end the post. This one's of Mike Piazza. Did he hit a home run on August 27th, 1995?

No, he didn't.


So whoever got this card in 1995 would be sending this in immediately. That's kinda awesome. 2 homers, 2 doubles. And they won 9-1. So yeah.

Sometime soon, I'll post the last nine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Tonight, one of the oddest World Series match ups in recent history will take place, between the underdog Kansas City Royals...

and the not-necessarily underdog San Francisco Giants.

I will try to keep up custom-wise with the games, and try to customize as many players on both squads as possible.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Nostalgic Box Break: 1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice (Part 2)

We're nine packs into the box, and already I'm enjoying the set. Makes you remember how much effort they put into card sets back then. I couldn't imagine anything like this showing up nowadays.

Anyway, on with the break.

Pack 10- The two front-of-pack inserts include a silver sig of Mike MacFarlane, in a cool catcher's shot. Also, this pack has a rookie card of Joe Randa, one of the better fringe players of the early 2000's.

Cards of two sluggers who would both be on the decline after this season. Joe Carter's the better of the two, and his card has a very cool feel to it, especially with the stadium in the background. Meanwhile, Dante Bichette just has a powerful-looking pose.

Here are a few cool looking sideways cards, featuring Brian Hunter fielding a catch, Kirk McCaskill pitching, and Rich Becker waiting in the dugout.

Pack 11- Three cards that were worth a lot more in 1995. Listach basically stopped functioning after this season, Grieve never went on to be as big as the hype was in 1995, and Bonds...well, you know.

A few really cool shots, including a sliding Spike Owen and Eddie Taubansee picking up his catcher's mask.

Pack 12- Two cards of two very well known Hall of Famers. Brett must have been due to the late news of the slugger's retirement after the 1993 season, and it's meant as a tribute card. Puckett was still leading the leagues two years before his departure from the game, this time in RBI.

A nicely posed shot of Pete Schourek, and a shot of still-technically-a-star-era Jose Canseco. Man, if it weren't for Liar, Liar and that episode of the Simpsons, nobody would remember him.

Two cards of some 80's stars still in the game. Sutcliffe's on the bottom signing autographs, and that's a great shot. However, the standout is Orel Hershiser, who is one of my favorites, as he went to my high school.

Our Crash the Game card is of Manny Ramirez, back then still the slender, likable home run hitter for Cleveland. As per the rules, if Manny hit a home run on the printed date, August 13th 1995, this would be sent and redeemed for some prize of some sort. Unfortunately, Manny hit no such homer- the Indians' only homer against the 2nd-place-Yankees would be from Albert Belle.

Yet not even Manny was the best card in the pack...

Yep. That'd have to be Andre Dawson, in a really cool pre-game shot in Boston. Even with a season or two left in the tank, he still looks awesome, and he still has that commanding presence he had in his younger years.

Pack 13- Two full-bleed shots start the pack. One is a 'final tribute' shot of Ryne Sandberg, who bowed out halfway through the 1994 season due to injuries. Thankfully, he'd be back in 1996 for two more seasons in Cubbie blue. Meanwhile, Bob Hamelin won the Rookie of the Year back in 1994, and UD rewarded him by giving him a nice shot.

Three really nice back-of-the-card sets, which remind me how much I love Upper Deck products.

A bunch of cool front-of-the-card-shots, including Jose Valentin in action, and Mark Whiten hitting one out.

This is sort of a final tribute for Charlie Hough, the somewhat-legendary knuckleballer who was the first huge star in Miami, and was a part of some great rotations in Los Angeles and Arlington. Wish they would have given it the full-bleed treatment, but not complaining.

Pack 14- Meh inserts, save for the really cool drawn one of Mike Piazza.

Left to right- An overpaid, still being overpaid outfielder, a nice shot of a Dodger that nobody remembers, Beavis and/or Butthead.

Hey, what's goin' on Raul? Another You Crash the Game insert. So, did Raul Mondesi hit a home run on July 27th 1995? YES! YES HE DID! In a 9-4 win against Atlanta, Raul hit a home run, as well as essentially batter down Kent Mercker for the majority of the afternoon. Wow. Some kid in 1995 must have gotten something cool.

To follow that victory, here are two guys that will be on the Hall of Fame ballot this January. The guy on the left is likely getting in. The guy on the right is likely going to have to wait a while.

Prior to opening this box, I had no real idea that Jack Morris was a Cincinnati Red. Well, now I have proof, and now I have another great player in an unfamiliar uniform to add to my binder. Plus, on the offside chance that he makes the Hall of Fame soon, this could be worth something.

Pack 15- Base card highlights, including a Colorado Rockie with a name tag, and a sliding Roberto Kelly.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Larry Walker was traded to the Rockies in the offseason. So did Upper Deck evidently, so they made Walker one of the trade-in update set cards.

Pack 16- How's this for a mid-box pull? A semi-rookie card of one of the greatest shortstops ever to play the game. This is pretty nice, especially for a junk-wax era box. Plus, it's a great-looking card. It's like they knew.

A mixture of nice shots, including a double-play ready Chuck Knoblauch, and a ball-bobbling Don Slaught.

A couple of really nice back shots, including William Van Landingham trotting around the base paths in a jacket.

Two borderline Hall of Famers, who would be in opposite uniforms in five years' time. Baines had his shot on the ballot. Raines has been on the ballot for a while, and probably won't get in.

Pack 17- A couple of nice inserts. Larkin's is the silver sig. Yount's is a really nice final tribute. Mondesi's is is NY ROY card.

Some card back shots, including Greg Colbrunn wielding a bat sitting down, and a Primetime Bunt.

Our two highlights include an aging reliever and an up-and-coming Dodgers rookie, who would be the ROY in two years' time.

Pack 18- A nicely drawn fun shot of Griffey.

Photo highlights including Jose Rijo doing his impression of the guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark, John Wetteland, whom John Rocker briefly disguised himself during his three-episode-long stint on Survivor, and Manny Lee charging a slide.

BO! Any card of Bo Jackson is awesome, even if he's at the end of his career.

Well, those are another nine, so we're halfway through. I might get to post some more tomorrow.