Monday, November 28, 2016

2016 Topps Update Hobby Box (Part Four)

 Nine packs left of this long-lasting hobby box of 2016 Update. We've had our hits, but there's still some fun to be had. Let's just dive right into the festivities.

 Pack 28-
Rookie Debuts: 2/10
Cameos from 2016 Newsmakers: 2/10
2016 Award Winners: 2/10

 Peter Bourjos was a reminder that the Phillies are still far from the top, while Miguel Sano is a frightening warning that maybe those prospectors may not have been up to snuff.

 Michael Conforto had a fantastic start but fell fast, as did Gerardo Parra this season. Ian Desmond had a pretty consistently amazing season.

 Another lovely Ichiro insert, two great cards of players I collect with other players i collect in the shot, and a checklist of Max Scherzer tying the K-per-game record. Good stuff, especially for base cards in an inferior flagship set.

 Pack 29-
Fantastic Rookies if this is April 2016: 2/10
Fantastic Rookies if this is November 27th, 2016: 1/10
Trades That May Not Have Gone As Well as Promised: 2/10
GOATs: 2/10

 Tyler White and Junior Guerra had promising starts, and Yovani Gallardo had an injury-plagued season.

 Starling Marte had a HUGE season, proving that maybe he can anchor the team if Cutch leaves. Jay Bruce will likely be bigger next season. Also, nice to see a Kershaw GOLD #'d 2016.

 Corey Seager and Luis Severino are the Rookie Debuts on the pack. Obviously the former had a better season than the latter. Meanwhile, Mike Trout kicked serious ass in 2016.

 Pack 30-
Former/Current Tampa Relievers: 2/10
2015 MVPs: 2/10
Concerning Impulse Trades: 2/10

 Harper looking happy for once this season, Drew Pomeranz in a light moment with Boston, and Fernando Rodney, still closing games.

 Josh Donaldson and Alex Colome have nice Mustard-ASG warm-up uniforms. Brett Lawrie's another Gold #'D to 2016 parallel.

 Pack 31-
All dupes. Lovely stuff, Topps.

 Pack 32-
Washington Nationals: 3/10
East Divisions: 5/10

Two Underwhelming 2016 Nats: Lucas Giolito was poised for greatness, but was simply okay in his few starts in the bigs this year. Meanwhile, Bryce Harper had a down year after his MVP win in '15.

Mark Melancon and Andrew Miller were two closers who benefitted from the trade deadline, while Matt Szczur and Hyun-Soo Kim were two bench players that had some moments to shine in the postseason.

Pack 33-
Home Run Derby: 2/10
Product Placements: 1/10
Under-the-radar Rookies: 2/10

Trumbo and Frazier both had a ton of bombs this season, but Maliex Smith did a pretty serviceable job for the Braves before landing on the DL.

Craig Kimbrel was...pretty alright in his first season in Boston. Yadier Molina had another strong season, proving he can anchor the team on Matt Holliday's absence. Also, I still don't entirely get these Franklin inserts.

Pack 34-
GAAAAAH Inserts: 1/10
Reminders that the Phillies Weren't God-Awful in 2016: 1/10
Tired Players in New Uniforms: 3/10

Yonder Alonso's trade to the A's expected. He hit for average and played about 100 games. That's what you get. James Shields just fell apart, even after a trade to the White Sox.

Zach Britton, Francisco Lindor and Odubel Herrera had some great seasons, and all three deserved their ASG nods.

One of these two Trevor Story checklist base cards is a rainbow foil parallel. I forget which one.

Matt Kemp turned an already-nice year into a monster one upon landing in Atlanta. Anthony Rizzo's still one of the best players in Chicago, and this INSANE Fire insert proves that. Marcell Ozuna came up in a big way in 2016, and this is a pretty sweet card of him.

Pack 35-
Cards That Are Gonna Look Really Weird in Ten Years: 1/10
Dodgers: 3/10

Tim Lincecum was an Angel this season. At least you can say that.
Julio Urias is gonna be better next year, but here he is on his Rookie Debut.

Clayton Kershaw's still the best pitcher in baseball. Hyun-Soo Kim had a nice enough rookie season.

Bartolo Colon's homer gets a checklist. That's adorable.
Meanwhile, Giancarlo Stanton's HRD card is pretty great, plus Bachelor star Jojo Fletcher makes a relatively passable First Pitch.

Pack 36-
Legends in Odd Uniforms: 1/10
Rockies: 2/10
Players Who Have Already Been Traded: 1/10

Zack Greinke, even if he disappointed as a D-Back, was still a card-to-get for 2016. Rickey Henderson's 3000th hit came with the Padres, which makes this lukewarm insert sort-of worthwhile.

Trevor Story's Rookie Debut. ASG cards of CarGo, Stephen Vogt and Wil Myers. Cameron Maybin! All of them had base cards in the last pack.

That was a Hobby Box of '16 Update. And...that took quite a while. Definitely worth it, with a decent auto and some nice parallels, but mostly just exhausting to post.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Things That A.J. Hinch Might Have Forgotten

Here in Oakland, 1998, A.J. Hinch has forgotten something so important that he's slapped himself upside the head. Now, eighteen years later, and thanks to this issue from 1999 Fleer Ultra, we must ask aloud...what exactly did he forget?

  • His catcher's mask
  • His cleats
  • It's actually an away game, and he's showed up at home...on the day of a Raider game.
  • He's actually forgotten his pants and underwear, but luckily the name logo of the card is covering his privates.
  • His Chumbawumba CD (1998, remember?)
  • He was supposed to give Jason Giambi a lower back massage at 4
  • He forgot to wipe the superglue off of his helmet
  • He's actually wearing a Jets jersey instead of an A's one.
  • He's forgotten to pinch Jake Marisnick in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS
  • To call his mom before the game.
  • Whatever Mark Loretta was pointing at.
  • To raid Miguel Tejada's sock drawer
  • That he's on a last place A's team
  • Fritos
Any suggestions as to what A.J. might have been forgetting? Hopefully they're slightly funnier than mine.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Chapman Comes Around?

There hasn't been a lot of concrete news worth reporting in a while. Andrew Cashner signed with the Rangers...for some reason. The Cardinals wasted a few million on a four year deal for a middle reliever. There hasn't been anything big, so for now, all the news outlets are resorting to speculation.

Today...the SPECULATION hot stove pulled out a nice one. According to a report (which is most sportswriters' favorite phrase at this point in the offseason), Aroldis Chapman has been quoted in saying he wants to come back to the Bronx.

Now...that kind of sort of makes sense. Look, Aroldis Chapman just won a World Series ring with the Cubs, but the problem was that Joe Maddon overplayed him towards the end, and sort of threw up that Chapman card a bit too many cards- Mike Montgomery had to pitch the last out of the series because Chapman was too overworked. So Chapman wants to be somewhere that actually pitches him correctly...and the Yankees did a pretty nice job of that, back when they had their Three-Headed Monster. Andrew Miller's gone, but they can still do enough with Dellin Betances and a potential Chapman return.

And look, I get why Cashman traded him, because he thought the Yanks were going under and he didn't want to take any chances, but...Chapman A.) Liked playing in New York, and B.) Arguably did better in New York than he did in Chicago. So getting him back would be a very wise idea. Money would be that variable, but...the Yankees have a bit of that now that all the older players and a few of the contracts are going.

Again, right now this is just speculation, and at this point it could be wrong- he might end up re-signing with Chicago, or going to the Marlins or something. We don't know. I'd like for him to come back to New York, personally, but this isn't about me.

So all I can do right now is HOPE Aroldis Chapman returns to New York.

2016 Topps Update Hobby Box (Part Three)

I realize now, as we begin Part 3 of this box, a month after I broke it, that breaking into 4 parts may have been a bad idea.

Still, this has been a box, as I pulled an autograph of the AL Rookie of the Year, and a negative parallel of Jose Altuve, but, as usual, my November hasn't allowed me as many opportunities to post as I'd like. I do wanna hop back on that though, as I have one or two ideas.

But for now...part 3 of the box. 9 more packs of Update. We can get through this.

 Pack 19-
# of Players No Longer Playing for Pictured Team: 3/10 (Four if the Jays let go of Edwin)
#of Former Phillies: 1/10
# of Future Phillies: 1/10

 A few...surprisingly irrelevant veterans. Lowrie did his best in Oakland, but Juan Uribe found himself DFA'd as the Indians moved closer to October. Revere...did his best, but was one of the more ineffective members of the Nationals offense.

 I had no idea when I shot this, but pictured here is a former Yankee and a soon-to-be Phillie. I'm just that good.

 Two AL East standouts- Mark Trumbo had a killer season in Baltimore, and Edwin Encarnacion made a case for Best DH reign after Papi's absence.

 Pack 20-
Killer Bench Players: 3/10
Chicago Pitchers: 2/10
Short People: 2/10

 Freese and Pearce had nice enough seasons off the bench. Chris Sale is still searching for a Cy Young season, and it's looking like he'll likely get it away from Comiskey.

 An Altuve, a HRD Trumbo, another Ichiro insert, and Jon Lester. 2016 in a nutshell.

 Pack 21-
Rangers: 2/10
WHAT THE-: 1/10
Cool Rookies: 2/10
Cool Cubs: 2/10

 Jameson Taillon's rookie is a pretty nice one. Meanwhile...WAIT, WHAT? That's...that's a SECOND Steve Pearce card, vs. the one we got last pack? Why did we need TWO Steve Pearce base cards in Update? I'm very confused.

 Ben Zobrist makes a big play in the ASG, while our First Pitch insert is of Boston Marathon survivor Jeff Bauman, soon to be played by Jake Gyllenhaal in a movie I believe.

 Matt Bush's rookie is one I've been waiting awhile for. Chris Coghlan's back in Chicago where he belongs. Andrew Cashner's been moved to Arlington, but this card's a nice memento of his atrocious finish in Miami.

 Pack 22-
Japanese Players: 2/10
Sights I figured I'd never see again: 1/10
Green Monsters: 1/10
 Seung-Hwan Oh made a mark taking over for Trevor Rosenthal as the Cardinals closer, while Matt Joyce did some nice stuff off the bench in Pittsburgh.

 Fernando Rodney was a late addition to the ASG roster, but still did his thing in San Diego. Speaking of, Wil Myers was one of the few good things about the Padres this year.

 AJ Ramos' card is pretty fun. Johnny Cueto's is just ferocious.

 Pack highlights include Byung-Ho Park's rookie, THE RETURN OF JOSE REYES AS A MET, which warms my heart, and a cool First Pitch card of cancer survivor Brady Kahle.

 Pack 23-
Cool Rookies: 2/10
Former/Current Mets: 2/10
NL Central: 5/10

 Nomar Mazara's RD card, which is kinda nice, plus a rookie for Pirates hurler Chad Kuhl.

 Daniel Murphy and Brandon Belt, performing in deserved ASG spots.

 A 3000 Hit Club insert of Stan the Man Musial, and a base card of Asdrubal Cabrera and Curtis Granderson, celebrating a 2nd place finish.

 Pack 24-
People Who Allegedly DIDN'T take steroids: 2/10
Awesome Rookies: 2/10
Product Placements: 2/10
New York-related cards: 4/10

 Julio Urias is likely going to be much more powerful in 2017. But in 2016...he was alright.

 A trio of really nice photos. Taillon's my favorite of the three- whole stadium's there.

 Again, the landscapes are this set's strength- that David Ortiz is just a fantastic card all around.
Cano's is also nice, and...I forgot Will Harris was an All Star.

 Also, here's Ryan Braun in another insert/advertisement for Franklin.

 Pack 25-
Ugh. Ton of dupes in here.
Former Yankees: 4/10
 Robbie Cano had a nice go in the Home Run Derby, Eduardo Nunez was the lone All Star Twin before the trade, and here's another Ichiro insert.

 Pack 26-
Former Cubs: 1/10
Current Cubs: 2/10
Yankees: 2/10

 Romine was a steady backup this year, but Ben Zobrist (GOLD #'D TO 2016) had the better season, even nabbing an AS nod.

 Meanwhile, Dexter Fowler also had an amazing season, and Miguel Cabrera's was an excellent return to form for the almost definite Hall of Famer.

 I was really happy with how Starlin Castro did in his first season in New York. Nothing near his rookie season in Chicago, but not too bad.

 Pack 27-
People I Did Not Expect to be Good in 2016: 2/10

 Lucas Giolito didn't wow people in his rookie season, but he'll grow. Jackie Bradley FINALLY made his mark on Boston, and Jedd Gyorko had a killer season off the bench.

Frenchy, Jhoulys, Sam Dyson, and Salvador Perez. Cool stuff.

That was Part 3. I'll try to throw the last part on here relatively soon.