Friday, March 31, 2017

Spring Training Trip Part #3: Orioles vs. Red Sox 3/20/17

...Yes, this has taken me awhile, but I've had a very, very, VERY busy March.

I might as well get this last one out of the way, because it's the last of the three Spring Training games, as it's just as important as the last few. This one...also had Red Sox in it.

This was a few Mondays ago, my last day in Fort Myers, so fittingly my father, my uncle and I went to the nearest park to us, the Red Sox' facility in Fort Myers. The thing about this park is that they tried their damnedest to mimic the Fenway Park experience. This one was well-attended, complete with some 'state-of-the-art' elements, a statue of Big Papi made out of lego, and a facsimile green monster.

I was wearing an Orioles cap. I wasn't gonna root for the Sox. Not again.

Sadly, we got some pretty depleted rosters on both sides. Hyun-Soo Kim and Pedro Alvarez were the only starters for Baltimore, while only Kung Fu Panda, Mookie Betts, Han-Ram, Jackie Bradley and Sandy Leon were here for Boston. Hell, Wade Miley didn't even pitch- the O's brought in Vidal Nuno, which didn't especially work out too well for them.

THESE, BY THE WAY...were our seats. A few rows behind home plate, with plenty of leg room and a pretty amazing view. Not as good as our seats from the Twins game (thanks again to that friendly veterinarian), but still pretty fantastic. Hyun-Soo Kim was seen here warming up.

In terms of the actual game...I'd like to say that this was an evenly-matched staredown like the Twins-Sox game, but it wasn't. The O's barely showed up...and this is mainly because none of the Orioles actually showed up. The Sox, meanwhile, were phenomenal, with some great hitting from Sandy Leon, Hanley Ramirez, and more home runs guessed it, PABLO SANDOVAL. The big man is back in a big way, and this Spring is proving it.

It didn't help that the pitching was pretty futile- Kyle Kendrick was on the mound for Boston, and did well enough, but...again, he's Kyle Kendrick. Nuno was pretty feeble, as were most of the Baltimore relievers. It wasn't memorable, aside from a ton of runs from Boston.

I had to leave this game a bit earlier than I would have liked, but I still enjoyed it. The park was nice, it was a beautiful day, and it was baseball. That, for a few days back there, was exactly what I needed.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Surprisingly Awesome Hanger Box of 2017 Heritage

I went to Target today to get groceries, essentials, and things that were not baseball cards, all shouldn't be too shocked that I ended up getting a hanger box of Heritage anyway. I can't not. It's still kinda fresh in my mind. This hanger box, as it happens, yielded some pretty nice stuff.

201- Martin Maldonado, a much better choice at catcher for the Angels.
219- Pedro Alvarez. I saw him take some Spring Training reps, as the O's don't have a ton of other full-time DH options.
220- Joe Mauer. Not a Hall of Famer, but a legend. Glad I nabbed a shirt of his.
Phillies Rookies- Jake Thompson and...sigh...Roman Quinn, the guy my dad kept insisting about during the Spring Training
252- Ender Inciarte, who'll probably do better given a slightly better Braves roster this year.
355- Anthony Rendon, finally back to his old tricks.
251- Victor Martinez. Tigers could really use a season like his 2014, though last year wasn't too bad.
40- Jordan Zimmerman. Interesting to see what he does with a full season in Detroit.
1770 Mets Rookies of...two guys who aren't terribly impressive.
381- Matt Carpenter, who's somehow moving to first this season.
163- Brett Wallace
95- Eduardo Escobar. Nabbed his autograph a week ago.
382- Red Sox team card
60- Carl Edwards Jr., Topps' favorite rookie from last year.
248- Peter Bourjos. I forget if anyone signed him this season.
New Age Performers of...DELLIN BETANCES! Hooray, it's someone I collect, and a Yankee at that.
410- Short Print of Anthony Rizzo, another awesome person I collect.
Annd...Clubhouse Collection GAME-USED of...Rougned Odor.
Say what you will about his right hook, but I'm pretty impressed with this one. He had a nice season last year, and it's better than a game-used of someone I've never heard of. Plus, the swatch is blue.
359- Sonny Gray, who A's fans are hoping can be healthy in 2017.
269- Michael Brantley, who INDIANS fans are hoping can be healthy in 2017.
75- Brandon Finnegan, one of the few good pitchers in Cincinnati.
265- ASG- Josh Donaldson. I still love these.
226- Jed Lowrie
340- Jose Ramirez. Indians just gave him a nice contract. Deserves it, too.
230- Adam Duvall
362- Mookie Betts ASG
244- Hanley Ramirez. He's still looking pretty impressive for Boston.
152- WS highlights- Kyle Schwarber's insane Game 2
356- Huston Street. Hoping for a fuller season from this guy
45- Scott Kazmir. Unsure of how much playing time he'll get this year.
15- Logan Morrison
9- Leaders
92- RA DICKEY on the Braves. Great stuff.
82- Leonys Martin

Game used aside, this was still a pretty nice box, and I got a lot of nice stuff out of it.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spring Training Trip Part #2: Phillies vs. Rays 3/19/17

The middle portion of the trip was...well, that. Middling.

The Rays' Spring Training stadium is nice, but nowhere near as nice as the Twins'. It felt like a minor league field (and it was one in the offseason), and even if the Twins stadium was as well, the Twins' stadium felt a bit larger, with more going on. The Rays' was marketing to smaller part of the state, in Fort Charlotte. Additionally, there weren't any backfields or practice fields that were open to the public, like in the Twins' field, so there weren't any autographs to be had.

However, the one thing that made this game sort-of worth it, at least initially:

...those Fightin' Phils were the visiting team, and they got to use the field for BP, so as we walked around the stadium, we saw some Phils players warming up. The biggest takeaway was Pat Venditte, world famous switch-pitcher, warming up with both arms. I nudged my dad and mentioned that he'd probably be getting some hours today.

Today, the schedule decided to lie to us: Evan Longoria did NOT play in today's game, sadly- Daniel Robertson did an admirable job playing 3rd today. The Phils were without their two major draws, Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco, but they at least brought Hernandez, Galvis, Cameron Rupp and Aaron Altherr to make things a little better.

The pitching matchup between Justin Marks and Jerad Eickhoff...was exactly that, a pretty apt matchup. Marks only lasted a few innings, but the Rays bullpen helped him out a bit, as through eight innings the Rays were COMPLETELY dominating the Phillies, with perfection going for a while. My uncle was rooting for a perfect game, and I was rooting against seeing my Phillies humiliated.

My dad, on the other hand, had other rooting interests- he'd recently picked up the Phils' center fielder Roman Quinn in his local strat-o-matic league, and was rooting for him at every chance he got, with every insane catch in center and every hit that looked gone but ended up in someone's glove. Dad just kept singing the theme from 'The Mighty Quinn' the entire night. We all wanted to slap him by the end.

It was pretty painful to see the Phillies lineup so effete, so ineffective, to see Aaron Altherr, Cesar Hernandez and Cameron Rupp get blanked. Jerad Eickhoff was pitching well, but he was giving up runs, including a crucial home run to Corey Dickerson. Plus, our seats weren't as good as yesterday's, and while the game was indeed flying, it didn't have as many great moments as yesterday's.

Now, Philadelphia DID eventually get a hit, from personal favorite Tommy Joseph in the 8th, and we did get to see Pat Venditte fan some batters using both hands, but the Rays kept pounding, especially in the later innings when the starters were leaving.

Even though it was a nice day, and a pretty good pitching battle, it didn't feel as fulfilling as yesterday's on a number of levels. I did end up getting a pin from the gift shop, because I do that, but I don't have that much else to take away from this one.

Tomorrow, a much more exciting finale, at a stadium I never thought I'd attend, featuring a team I've already (reluctantly) rooted for on this trip, and one I root for willingly, duking it out.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Training Trip Part #1: Red Sox vs. Twins 3/18/17

Greetings, from Fort Myers, Florida.

I would have done an intro post for this trip like I usually do, some sort of 'hey, I'm gonna be hitting some Spring Training games this weekend' kind of number, but I was busy. Besides, you're smart people. You don't need a lead-up post. You want the real thing.

Today was the real thing. And I'm about to tell you why.

My uncle lives in Fort Myers, and for a few years my dad and I have been waiting for the right moment to come down for Spring Training. It's a matter of timing, scheduling, logistics, etc. Last year my schedule didn't match up, but my dad and uncle went to a few anyway. This year, it was my turn finally, and last night I touched down in Florida, meeting my dad at the airport, and ready to embark on three Spring Training adventures.

Today was Day #1, and...oh my gosh it's gonna be hard to follow.

(I'll preface the writeup by saying that last night, when I got in, my uncle gifted me with a baseball signed by two Red Sox organization members at the facility's open house- Deven Marrero and Josh Rutledge. He said the ball would last the rest of the trip, and any autograph could land on that ball, which was awfully nice of him.)

The thing about the Twins Spring Training stadium is that it's very simple, very cozy, and very relaxed. It doesn't need to be showy (like a stadium I'll be visiting in two days), but it does the trick, and it makes Twins fans happy. Driving into the lot, we passed a series of memorial street signs for the lots (Hrbek Drive, Gardenhire Way, Blyleven Curve, etc...), which let us know the hearts of the fans were in mind.

I came to the game in a Twins cap, as the opposing team was the Boston Red Sox, and I swore before the game that I wouldn't stoop to the level of rooting for them. Oh, how times were so simple pre-game..

Before the game, my father, my uncle and I went out to the nearby practice field, because you kind of have to in opportunities like these. It was very weird seeing Paul Molitor only a few feet away, standing behind the backstop glaring down the young guys taking BP. Baseball royalty, scratching his chin. Insanely eerie stuff. Eventually we went around and watched some of the minor leaguers practice, coached by someone we all assumed was David Eckstein. We also peered through the batting cages at someone taking extra BP, coached by someone teaching some bare-bones hitting stuff.

There was a moment where some players were exiting practice, signing some autographs. What the hell, I said. I may never be here again.

The tricky part about getting autographs from a team you're only sort-of familiar with is that you can't really yell out their names to get their attention. You just kind of have to weave through, get your hand in there and hope the guy signs it. The first guy that came out, did some signing...I had no clue who it was, but he looked like he enjoyed it, and he looked promising, so I gave him the ball to sign, and he did so gladly. My uncle told me afterwards that it was Eduardo Escobar. Not necessarily someone I collect, but a good enough player.

Eventually I found someone I did recognize.

Okay, I take it back. I didn't recognize Kyle Gibson immediately, but a few Twins fans shouted out 'KYLE!', I turned to see a big tall guy that could have only been a pitcher, and 1+1=2. Gibson I do collect, as he's got one of the best arms on the rotation, and he had a legitimately great 2015. So I weaved through to get his as well.

Kyle Gibson was pretty nice- this was routine to him, but he at least asked me how I was doing. I forget whether or not he was taller than me, but he's pretty tall. He ended up signing the ball, and adding a Bible scripture underneath, which I, as someone who isn't necessarily the most religious chap in the room, could not for the life of me decipher.

He handed the ball back to me, I said 'hoping for a great season, man', and I walked off, having gotten an autograph from a legitimately good pitcher.

Our seats were pretty good. I'm gonna stress that before I get to a later part of this post. Our seats were on the third base side, relatively close, and we had a really nice view. I was not complaining. We got food, beverages, and sat down to have a nice time and root for the Twins.

In terms of rosters, we had a pretty nice day. Most of the big Twins showed up, and only Xander Bogaerts, Sandy Leon and Hanley Ramirez were missing from the Boston platoon. Porcello vs. Vogey already looked like a one-sided pitching duel.

The first inning was already pretty explosive- the Twins attacked Porcello, as Mauer had a well-equipped RBI, as well as Max Kepler having a really impressive hit to get some runs over. The team started with a 4-0 lead in the first. Kepler, however, was the one unlucky part of the inning- he knicked his thumb on a slide, and looked pretty pessimistic about it as he left the field.

I watched Ryan Vogelsong's pitching as a cynic, having never been a fan of him on the Giants (he was the Kyle Kendrick of that rotation). I left...even more of a cynic. Vogey has an incredibly slow delivery, most of his pitches were in the 70s and 80s, and only his control, which waned after a while, was worth mentioning. The guy wasn't looking great, and started to get battered down as the game went on.

Around the third inning...the unthinkable happened.

My uncle's veterinarian, the guy who got us the seats in the first place, came by (he's a friend of my uncle's, as my uncle has had several dogs and has probably singlehandedly paid for a wing of this guy's house), and asked us if we wanted to chill in his section for a little while. I had a vague idea of where the seats were, and figured that they'd at least be an upgrade from the already-great seats. was indeed an upgrade:
This was my view.

...No, seriously. These were the seats we got for the rest of the game. Front row, directly behind the batter's box, and directly to the left of the Boston dugout. My dad was sitting right next to the dugout, and he could see John Farrell from two feet away. As the Red Sox batters got up to the batter's box, I could see them...insanely clearly.

If I had to pick a favorite...

This one, of Mitch Moreland. I liked it so much...
...that I made it into the first ever custom I've made where I've supplied the picture. This feels bloody amazing.

As I was surrounded by Red Sox fans in our section, as well as being bordered by, well, THE ACTUAL RED SOX, I had no choice to, for the first time in my life, root for the Red Sox. Although, I did this while wearing a Twins cap, so I'm not exactly sure if it was too effective.

Somehow, as I began rooting for Boston, they came alive. Pablo Sandoval, whom we relentlessly cheered on (having done so in San Francisco a few years back), had an INSANE day, hitting two home runs, and getting back his career. A great deal of people, including Pedroia, Blake Swihart, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley had some truly nice moments.

Meanwhile, we were right near Farrell, and the coaches, including Chili Davis, whom my dad thanked for some great moments in the Bronx, and Ruben Amaro Jr., who was having a nice conversation with the people behind us. My dad even asked one of the coaches who'd be pitching on Monday, when we'd be seeing Boston at their stadium. The answer- Kyle Kendrick. Irony.

After 7 innings, me, my dad and my uncle packed up and left. I managed to snag a Joe Mauer t-shirt, as well as a Joe Mauer pin (as I've been collecting a shit-ton of pins lately). We were tired, slightly dehydrated, and we felt insanely satisfied, after LITERALLY rubbing elbows with some Red Sox coaches.

So...that was day 1. I don't know what the final score was, but the Red Sox came back and absolutely killed the Twins.

Tomorrow is another game, and it's a little further, but it's worth it, as it's a rematch of one of the most important World Series match ups in recent history.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rockie Start

Not sure if it's the best sign if the injuries are happening in March, rather than during the season.

David Dahl, Ian Desmond and Tom Murphy are all reeling from injuries, most of which are going to affect them from contributing until a bit later. One of these holes, like the one at 1st base, is easily fillable- Mark Reynolds, re-signed as a precaution, will probably take the starting corner job. Also, Gerardo Parra could be an extremely easy fill-in for Dahl, completing the Carlos Gonzalez-Charlie Blackmon anchored outfield. Parra is still a pretty solid outfield choice, even if he was being phased out over time last season.

In terms of catching, I'm not exactly sure how they're gonna work that one. Nick Hundley is gone, and there aren't a ton of options at per usual this decade. There's the option of picking up Derek Norris, but some other team might get to him first. It's just not looking very clear.

It's a shame, because this Rockies team is just a few pieces away from contending. They just happen to be in the same division as the Dodgers and Giants, who are probably still going for 1st this year. These injuries might push them back a bit further.

With people like Trevor Story, Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado and DJ LeMahieu on the roster, it won't be ALL bad, but it's gonna be very tough for the Rockies to be truly great in 2017.

Coming Tomorrow- Not sure if I'll have a custom for tomorrow, but I'll definitely be posting about a trip I'll be embarking on very, very soon.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Rebel Yasiel: Why 2017 Needs to be Puig's Year

I honestly didn't think we would be nearing this point back in 2013, during Yasiel Puig's rookie season. Things were so good then that this period of 'if Puig doesn't hit then he's basically done in the MLB' didn't seem like it'd be a reality.'s 2017, and last season was a bit of a down point for Puig, spending some time in the minors, and we're all at the point where we're wondering how much longer the Yasiel Puig show goes for. A few years ago he was the biggest star in the MLB, with people clamoring for his write-in inclusion on the All Star ballot, people snapping up rookie cards left and right, and the Dodgers shipping Matt Kemp out of town just to make room for his stardom.

Has he done exactly what the Dodgers have wanted him to? Well...his first two seasons were pretty great, with some great stuff in the hits, AVG and RBI categories, and some definite versatility. His last two seasons were plagued with injuries, slumps, controversy and drinking. It's getting to the point where Dodger fans are gonna have to pick which two years they're going to want to go by to watch him this season- the two good ones, or the two crap ones.

There's definitely ways Puig can improve, and there's a chance that 2017 could be the comeback season he's been waiting for...but at the same time, this may be Kosuke Fukudome 2.0...we just don't know yet.

The other thing is, the Dodgers aren't especially relying on Puig to be Mr. Chavez Ravine- they have Corey Seager, Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, and, uh...CLAYTON KERSHAW, to rake in ticket sales and make beautiful baseball happen. Puig or no Puig, the Dodgers are gonna contend in 2017. It's just a matter of whether or not the right Puig shows up to put them over the top.

A few different possibilities here, but it's open ended...because it's early.

Coming Tomorrow- Tampa Bay's lucky to have this guy.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

What Happens When a Favorite Joins the Enemy

It didn't take Chris Sale a lot to become one of my favorite players.

He's around my height and build, and he throws fire. He was one of the best pitchers on the White Sox for a half-decade, he nearly won a Cy Young, and became one of the foremost strikeout artists in baseball. When I went to Comiskey, and around when I started my habit of nabbing a jersey-shirt from each of the stadiums I visited, I had to get a Chris Sale jersey. Nobody else made sense.

Well, this year, the exact thing I didn't want to happen to Chris Sale...happened to Chris Sale. Boston. Freaking Boston.

I'm not gonna hope that Sale doesn't have a great season- hell, that's the opposite of what I want. It's typical for Fenway to get the best of terrific left-handed arms, and I want Chris Sale to have an amazing season regardless of the different winds. I want him to outdo the cynics, even if we're probably looking at another case of 'would have been a Hall of Famer if he'd have stayed in Chicago'. I know it's a lot to hope for, but as someone who's rooted for Sale, it's valid.

I will say that a rotation starting with Porcello, Sale and Price will be pretty ferocious in the AL East, so much so that it's probably gonna be difficult for anyone else, especially the Yankees, to get a word in edgewise...THAT IS, if these three players are all healthy and hot this season. It's not a guarantee for the lefties (look at David Price's 2016), but it could happen.

I'm not exactly hoping for the Red Sox to go all the way, but I'm at least hoping Chris Sale can.

Coming Tomorrow- Someone who needs to make a comeback in 2017, or else me posting a custom of him in the first week is gonna seem rather foolish.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Cutch: Ode to a Hero

To see a hero in his days of youth
Then see said hero grow into a star
Solidifies the hope, to tell the truth,
that said hero's reign will last quite far.
The accolades and merits shower through
The hope of a once-dead franchise returns
But when the new breed enters in there, too
The hero doesn't scorch the earth- he burns.
The fan base starts to think the legend's spent
As other heroes burst into the fold
As several wonder where the hero went
The others conclude simply-- 'he got old'.
But hope still holds--in Pittsburgh, very much--
For one last charge from their dear hero, Cutch.

2017 could be a big year for Andrew McCutchen, and as a fan from the beginning, I hope he comes back in a big way.

Coming Tomorrow- Another one of my favorite players, this one having suited up for one of my least-favorite teams.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Royally Screwed: Second Custom of 2017

There have been a few 'What's gonna happen to the Royals' articles I've read so far, especially in terms of the preseason, so let's add another to the pile.

The AL Central race right now has two DEFINITE contenders, the Tigers and Indians, and two definite bottom-of-the-conference teams, the Twins and White Sox. So, in the middle, I'm assuming, is the Royals.

On one hand, they still, for the most part, have the bulk of the lineup they had when they won in 2015, with a few people (Kendrys Morales and Jarrod Dyson the main offenders) removed. The main issue is a few of them are coming back from injuries/down seasons (Moose and Gordon mainly), and it's hard to tell now whether or not we'll have a season to the caliber of their 2015.

The pitching staff has been improved...yet depleted at the same time. Look, adding Jason Hammel was a smart move, and he'll probably be a solid arm, and Ian Kennedy and Danny Duffy will be strong if they repeat their 2016 stuff. But, thanks to the insanely tragic loss of Yordano Ventura, that's all we've got. Nate Karns? Jason Vargas? Chris Young? Maybe Travis Wood if he can start games again? Not a ton is set in stone. Kelvin Herrera's gonna be closing games, which could be pretty nice I think.

Look, there's a chance that this team could outdo the Tigers, or even the Indians, for the title. But there are a ton of question marks that are preventing me from saying it's a guarantee. The once-dominant team might be showing its age, and it's gonna be 2017 that defines whether they burn out like the Phillies or rebound.

Coming Tomorrow, as I'm only doing one-a-day for Spring Training: One of my favorite players, and one that needs to have a comeback 2017 season or else his days with his squad are numbered.

Monday, March 6, 2017

2 Hanger Boxes of 2017 Topps Heritage

For the second time this year, Target let me down.

A month or so ago when Series 1 came out, and I raced gleefully towards the sports card aisle to grab some, there wasn't a single pack to be found. I had to get my Series 1 fix from Toys R Us, which was kinda eerie, to be honest.

So today, rounding that very same Target aisle, I saw dozens and dozens of hanger boxes of Topps Series 1...but no Heritage to be found, whatsoever. I wasn't gonna hit Toys R Us again, because...they usually just get flagship, so I figured...where else can I go that had Heritage, most likely?

Ah. Wal-Mart. You'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

They had some, but I had to make sure I spent only a few moments in there, or else I'd be forever scarred by the insane degree of unfortunate characters that lay within. I got two hanger boxes, sped to the self-check, left and went home. That simple.

Today, I'll rip them both. As it's a nicer product, there's 35 cards per box, but it's Heritage, so it's still pretty good.

Box #1-
122- Brandon Drury. As someone who's customized the 1968 design a trillion times, I'm relatively impressed with this design. Not perfect, but it doesn't have to be. Also, Drury is one of 3 billion Diamondbacks in this set, as it seems.
335- Carlos Gomez. Great to see he's back to playing well. Would have been interesting to see how he would have ended up in Queens instead of Cespedes.
114- Tom Koehler. Yeah, seeing post-68 expansion teams on this design is kinda weird.
263- MVP Company Combo Cart- Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper. Nice one, but I wish it was more than just some heads.
211- Jake Barrett. Another Diamondback.
287- Adrian Beltre. Future Hall of Famer, unless the sportswriters get snippy and keep him out.
298- ICHIRO SUZUKI. Well, I don't have to get anymore packs of this now, I got the Ichiro. If he's not a Hall of Famer, the system's broken.
234- Cardinals Team Card- of ALLLL TEAM CARDS TO PULL...
143- Marwin Gonzalez
290- Brandon Belt.
148- CLAY BUCHHOLZ IN A PHILLIES UNIFORM! HOORAY! Sidenote- people are now saying it was a bad idea for the Sox to give up Buchholz. Let's just see if he pitches well in Philly, then you can say that.
154- WS HL- Jason Kipnis.
94- Francisco Liriano. I'm thinking the Blue Jays want him to do mostly relief work in 2017, which is...quite foolish. You've got strikeout artist Francisco Liriano on your pitching staff. Let him throw more strikeouts!
116- Asdrubal Cabrera
284- Alcides Escobar, a rare action shot in Heritage. Though, sadly, this is not an action variation. Welp.
Then and Now insert of Lou Brock and...Rajai Davis. Not a great comparison. Not sure if Davis' 2017 will be anywhere near last year.
495- Jerad Eickhoff. Always nice to pull a short-print of a beloved Philadelphia Phillie. Good stuff, Topps.
Disc Insert of MANNY MACHADO
340- Jose Ramirez
230- Adam Duvall. Adam Dunn 2.0
362- Mookie Betts AS. I still love these
53- CJ Cron.
187- CHASE UTLEY. I don't care if he's still a Dodger, and I don't care if this is most likely his last season- he's still Chase Utley, and he's still a legend in Philly.
126- Matt Duffy, as a Tampa Bay Ray.
2- Batting Leaders
170- Andrelton Simmons, who better have a better 2017
294- Cesar Hernandez, who finally decided to show up in his first full season as the Phils' 2nd baseman.
41- Melky Cabrera
128- Twins TC
52- Welington Castillo, the new Orioles catcher. Not necessarily an upgrade from Wieters, but there ya go..
17- Rougned Odor
149- Justin Bour, who will hopefully be better in a full season
133- D-Backs TC.
341- Patrick Corbin. This concludes what was essentially a pack full of Diamondbacks

Box #2-
51- Derek Norris, now the Nationals' BACKUP catcher.
80- Eddie Rosario
319- Nationals Rookies. Haven't heard of either.
201- Martin Maldonado. The Angels finally have a good catcher.
219- Pedro Alvarez. Not sure if he's done or not.
220- Joe Mauer. Not necessarily a Hall of Famer, but a Twins legend for sure.
275- Phillies rookies- Jake Thompson is in there.
252- Ender Inciarte, who'll probably have a better season with a reformed Braves squad
109- Chris Iannetta
357- Mark Reynolds, likely backing up Ian Desmond this year.
371- Bryce Harper AS.
399- Sean Manaea
37- Mike Napoli. Sadly this was finished too late for the Rangers gig to be included.
90- Billy Hamilton. I wish he'd have come along at a better time for the Reds
361- David Ortiz AS. Okay, that's pretty friggin' cool, and nice of Topps
71- Pat Neshek
471- Danny Salazar FOIL #'D TO 999. Pretty nice pull if I say so myself.
'68 Play Ball insert of Mookie Betts, which is also pretty nice
432- A GREAT posed shot of George Springer
161- David Freese. I know he's on a better team now, but UGH
85- Brett Gardner, who cooled down slightly but is still a great Yankee presence.
279- Nationals TC
198- Zack Greinke. Hoping for a rebound season in Arizona.
115- Elvis Andrus
137- Adeiny Hechavarra, essentially the NL version of Elvis Andrus
129- Rockies TC
392- Rickie Weeks
207- Chris Tillman, who better stay healthy this year
142- Byung-Ho Park
16- Padres Rookies- Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, who are probably both starting this year.
33- Jhonny Peralta
184- Jeanmar Gomez, who started strong last year and finished...not so strong
178- James Shields, who needs to get back on track
385- Indians TC
326- Ben Zobrist, a pretty great way to end the rip.

Heritage is pretty nice this year- imperfect, but nice. I'll probably buy a bit more if I can.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Here We Go Again...

Well, it's March. Baseball's a month away, but my mind is on the game. Spring Training's a thing. And for your information, I'll be finding out firsthand how wonderful that is in a few days.

But...I had to wait for the right custom. There's not a ton of photos for newly-acquired players, so I had to start 2017 with an established player. It just had to look good.

So...this pretty awesome shot of Buster Posey is the first custom of 2017. It's that simple.

I'm gonna keep posting what I have throughout the week. Not a ton of HUGE names, but some good stuff nonetheless.