Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Stars are Out: Postseason Edition

 These aren't the last Stars Are Out customs of the year...as there are a few stragglers that are going to hit soon, but all of these occurred during the postseason, which means like 90% of these are gonna be MLB personnel. Which isn't bad. Just...don't expect a renegade rock singer or rodeo rider or anything.

I'm starting with Youk so I can get him over with first. Kevin Youkilis is obviously beloved in Boston for tormenting the Yankees for like 8 years or so, and hitting home runs like hell. So he was a natural choice for a first pitch, though...a bit less natural than the other 2 Red Sox first pitches coming later.

Onto teams taken out in Championship Series':

 The Astros had a few, mostly commemorating their 2005 WS gig, instead of past teams (though Mike Scott appeared, even if I didn't customize him). Lance Berkman is, of course, a hero over there, even after he went and joined not only the Yankees, but the state rival Rangers. His mid-2000s years are still remembered fondly there, even if he looks odd in the new orange.

As does Roy Oswalt. Another guy who's a legend there thanks to his sharp work in the 2000s, Oswalt was a perennial Cy Young finalist, a strikeout artist, and an NL Central horror figure. Even though his career was a bit less graceful than Berkman's, he still gets to come back and throw out a first pitch, which is nice.

Meanwhile, in the losing NLCS city:

 A few legends showed up in Milwaukee. One was Prince Fielder, because...of course he's a legend there by now. He and Ryan Braun even hugged it out. Prince, in a t-shirt and everything, came off like the Jack Black of baseball, and I mean that as a compliment. Plus, he's still young enough to have some velocity in that pitch, I imagine.

Bob Uecker needs no introduction in Milwaukee. He is their beloved voice, and the face, and vocal chords, of Milwaukee sports for several decades. The standing O must have lasted hours. Good for him.

 Next, some World Series players. Reggie Smith, having been a part of a World Series team in 1981, was a nice stroke of good luck for the Dodgers, as well as a treat for older fans.

And then there's Orel, who's a treat for just about everybody. A guy who won a Cy Young, an MVP of a World Series, an ALCS and an NLCS, and tons of respect from Dodgers fans, Orel was one of the catalysts behind the 1988 team, and a strikeout killer. Also, fun fact, Orel went to my high school. And so I collect him. It's that simple.

 And yes, the team that won the damned thing gets some as well. Especially Pedro. The last time he was anywhere near a World Series, he was saying the Yankees were his daddy, so this was kinda nice. Of course, Pedro's a legend anywhere he pitched, but especially Boston, where his Cy Youngs, strikeouts, and ferocity were beloved. Yeah, he also made serious playoff runs with the Mets, Expos and Phils, but he doesn't get a welcome there like he does at Fenway.

...Still, I've gotta end on Yaz. Carl Yastrzemski is Boston baseball, and was more than just Ted Williams' replacement. He was legendary, and he was an extraordinary hitter. And I can only imagine the respectful applause he got when he threw out a first pitch that night, in the World Series. He deserved it, too.

I still have one or two more of these left. I imagine I'll post them eventually.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Why Must the Baseball Gods be so Cruel?

As you all can tell, I didn't post at all during the World Series. There were a couple reasons behind this. I was swamped with work, I was out of town all weekend, and I was more focused on getting the box break out.

And, of course, there was the fact that the Red Sox were doing really well.

If I can remove my pinstriped bias for a moment, I can agree that there were some great players and moments with this team, and that it may have been one of the more overpowered World Series teams in recent history. But...why did this have to be a Red Sox team? Why must I suffer?

Steve Pearce was the obvious choice for World Series MVP, because he hit so many home runs this postseason that something had to be done about it. And after the recent spout of inconsistency the guy's had, I'm happy for him. He went from bench has-been to starter, to WS MVP. That is impressive, and I am here for it.

So...that was the World Series. The Dodgers put up a valiant effort, but even without their respective snafus, they just couldn't get past this Sox team. I don't think anyone could have.

I guess this means the post-heavy baseball season has come to a close. As per usual, I find it hard to fill the months without baseball with posts, but I will give it some actual effort this year. I wanna go back to the editorials of old, I wanna talk more about the card industry, and decisions, and I wanna be more active consistently. Yes, I do have a month before Uncustomed Heroes starts up and I can post every day again, but I don't want to have to wait for that.

Expect some content in the coming month. I'll try, for you guys.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Box Break: 2018 Topps Update Series (Part Four)

We've got 9 packs to go in this box. We've landed some cool base cards, some cool parallels, and a shitty hit. What more could await us in the last fourth of the box? Let's find out.

 Pack 28-
2018 Playoffs: 2/10
Guys Who Strike Out Too Many Times: 2/10

 Matt Kemp at the ASG, pre-slump, along with Felipe Vazquez holding the Bucs colors by himself.

 Reynaldo Lopez didn't have a base card in flagship? Man, Topps really underestimated some people that were clearly primed for big years in 2018. And Maybin's Mariners base card looks better than his season was.

Gleyber Torres' ASG card is dynamic as hell, and Todd Frazier's 83T insert is another nice one. That may be a personal favorite in terms of inserts, as it doesn't really screw up the design.

 Pack 29-
Cool Rookies: 4/10
2018 Playoffs: 4/10

 Of this bunch of rookies, Dereck Rodriguez had the best year, but Tony Kemp had some great postseason numbers off the bench.

 Some nice NL Central arms. Harvey had the most surprising year, but Hicks' relief numbers are scary. Don't count out Musgrove, though. Guy's stuff is scary.

Hero and villain- Sevvy had great ASG-caliber stuff, while Devers' 83T insert reestablishes how promising the kid is. And he's been great in the playoffs so far.

 Pack 30-
Cards that Make me laugh: 1/10
Cards That Make Me Sad: 2/10
 ...I love this card.

 Chapman deserved that ASG spot, and Asdrubal Cabrera was a fine upgrade for a Phillies squad that underwhelmed.

 Ian Kinsler's postseason stuff isn't bad at all, but the Don't Blink insert of Kris Bryant is definitely one of the more impressive ones I've seen.
Two great shots. Stripling looks ferocious, fighting for a rotation spot. Meanwhile, this is all a walk in the park for Todd Frazier, who's already become a fan favorite in Queens.

 Pack 31-
2018 Disappointments: 3/10
Absolute Legends: 1/10

 Two guys that could have done better to prove themselves this year.

 Greene had a great year as Tigers closer, and while the choice of Ripken for Storybook Endings may be a bit on the nose, I won't be mad with another card of his.

 Soroka had a great bunch of starts before an injury took him out. J.A. Happ continued his fantastic, ASG-worthy season in Toronto...in the Bronx.

 Max Muncy has an ASG card, but no base card. No sense, Topps.
At least this Seung-Hwan Oh card looks cool.

And...this card makes me smile. Just...Bartolo Colon deserves good stuff like this.

 Pack 32-
2018 Playoffs: 3/10
Ex-Rays (HA!): 2/10
 Three guys with unlucky seasons. Drury was just getting good pre-injury.

 Longo and Moose are ones I'd been meaning to snag, and both are great. Hicks' rookie is, sigh, another one of the many Cardinals I've been cursed to land this box.

Whatever, at least Aaron Judge's ASG card saves the day.

 Pack 33-
2018 Playoffs: 4/10
Ex-Cardinals: 2/10
 Joe Jimenez looks sharp in his ASG card, while Randal Grichuk managed to get a nice running shot on his premier Jays card.
Needed base cards of Profar and Vizcaino, a on-the-nose International Affair insert of Freddie Freeman, and a Meadows photo so nice that I think I used it for his custom.

 Pack 34-
Big Time Rookies in like 2014: 1/10
 DeGrom, still without his locks, throwing a great bit of the ASG, and Kingham's actual RC there.

 Sharp photography here on all parts. The Acuna RD is the most eye-catching, but I like the Seranthony.
 Ted Williams' Legends Card is a nice one, because who doesn't love Ted. And Bregman's HRD card is another one for his epic 2018 season.

Annnnd...here's Ohtani's Topps RC. That's gonna be up for serious dollars this Christmas.

 Pack 35-
Truly Great Shots: 2/10

 The Chatwood is a wonderfully dramatic shot, while the Crawford is awesome enough to feel like a Stadium Club snub. And that Reds combo is a reverse negative parallel. Not numbered, just...cool.

 Assorted rookies. Yairo Munoz had the best season, but don't count out McKinney.

Dee's 83T is a cool one. And Rhys' HRD card makes me happy, and hopeful.

 Pack 36-
Phillies Personnel: 2/10
Huge rookies: 2/10

 Two fantastic shots, even though Ramos had the better season.

 Treinen's is a nice summation of his huge year, and Ohtani and Gurriel are great additions to their respective rookie piles.

And we end with an alright Yankees rookie, and a classic Don't Blink insert of Bo Jackson.

That was a fine box. I have to check if I need any base, but I did a pretty nice job, hit notwithstanding.

I'm gonna be away from the blog this weekend, and when I come back...the Red Sox better not have won a World Series.