Friday, May 31, 2019

Barrel of Necessity

It had been a while since I'd made a CardBarrel run. I'd only made a haul from their once since their rebrand from JustCommons. And it had begun to show- several times, I'd throw out the contents of a cart because it had been too long and a lot of the cards weren't in the catalog anymore. So if I wanted to make a run at anything, I'd need to be quick.

And aside from one or two cards, including the ever-elusive lead singer of Pearl Jam, I succeeded in being quick this time out. I got a lot of set needs, a lot of OCD-needs for my own neurosis, and a lot of cool stuff. Let's dive in, year by year, shall we:

To clarify my neuroses listed above, one of my goals with players I collect is to nab all of their Topps issues as a backbone for their placement in my binders. I'll usually stack it so that canvas-esque, cooler cards go first, then other base cards from other sets, until finally, oldest to newest, a player's Topps base cards can be displayed. So I'm still rounding up a few of those, including two HOFers, like Biggio and Yount, as well as some fun fringe players like Robin V, Kenny Lofton and Lou Whitaker.

 Two unusual ones for me: Dale Murphy in Philly, and Harold Baines in Oakland. Interesting that the guy on the right is a Hall of Famer, and the other one isn't.

1994: HOFers on top, including that awesome multiple-exposure Ryno, plus a cool Ozzie. Favorites on bottom: you'll see a few more Dutch issues in here, but none more 90s.

1995: Fairly basic here, but I do LOVE that Daulton one. He looks so happy.

1996: This set is underrated as far as photography is concerned, man. Just some cool stuff going on, regardless of weird design. Lofton's and Ventura's are nice here.

1997: I swear, we'll get to non-Topps stuff soon, guys. Here we reach our first of many Bartolo Colons of this purchase, and a rare Topps issue of Tim Raines before Topps decided to stop making base cards of the guy for...some reason.

Great shots here, too. Obviously the Loftons weren't flying off the shelves, but that final Sandberg issue is a nice one.

1998: Obviously, Robin V wasn't selling out, either. That Edmonds one is a cool one, though. Been looking for that one for a while.

1999: A fun bunch of Indians players in this. Also, forgot that I needed the reigning MVP. Fun stuff.

2000: 2000 Topps is one of those sets I pretty much have covered, but every once in a while one card pops out of my grasp. Robin V was one of those. Not enough cards of him on the Mets, Yankees or Dodgers.

2001: Surpisingly needed a lot from this set, hence all these HOFers. I loved that this set wasn't afraid to go horizontal for surprisingly commonplace shots.

Plus all of these fun ones. A lot of coolness here, from the posed shot with Manny, to Nomo as a Tiger, to the ability to zoom back a bit on shots like Nomar's, to the cool red of Dunn's, which actually came from the traded set.

2002: Yes, finally some non-Topps-base stuff. I still have fond memories of old Topps inserts, and love that they gave one to J-Rol in his second year. Thank god they had one still.

Speaking of J-Rol, he's one of four UD40-man ones from '02 that I got. I honestly prefer the 2003 issue, as it's a bit more...set-like, but this one's nice too. These are some of the less-oddball choices from this set, but they still work.

A few 2003 Leaf issues, because nobody talks about that set anymore. And also because my search was clearly for Bart-as-Expo cards.

2003: Yes, but this is among the last of it. Feels weird that Omar was in Cleveland so long that he got to wear those odd 'I' hats and blue-maroon jerseys. Plus, I love that the Marlins were still rocking teal in 2003. Yes, they'd phase them out after the WS win, but...still cool.

Toldja I was after cards of Bart as an Expo. These ones had evaded me. The UD MVP insert is...very awesome.

2004: Okay, he's not an Expo here, but still.

2005: Some Update needs.

2008: Yes, I'm still trying to collect Trading Card History. And yes, both of these cards look awesome. THIS is why I'm still trying to collect this set.

2010-11: Too lazy to break these up by year, so here they are together. Getting more into finding old Pro Debut issues of people, even if they're not worth quite as much as Bowman. These are not only XRCs of both Jose Iglesias and Jean Segura, but they're both pictured for teams they'd barely ever play for: Iglesias for Boston, who'd trade him (and Frankie Montas) for Jake Peavy; and Segura for Los Angeles, who'd trade him to Milwaukee for Zack Greinke.

2012: These were the last two of three non-shortprinted 2012 Archives needs for me (Babe evaded me). I also threw in ONE short-print...

Yeah. Whatever. I'm from Philly, I can take it. I think he lives not too far from me, too, despite apparently being a horse's-ass in real life.

And an XRC of Marcell Ozuna for the road.

2013: Two of the hardest throwers in baseball this year. I'd forgotten Fried was a San Diego farmhand. Think they got him in the Kimbrel trade.

2014: These were the last of my non-SP base needs for 2014 Archives. That Ernie Banks card is a gem.

I've probably mentioned this on the blog once or twice, but 2014 Finest was a frigging awesome set. I try to get as many cool-looking commons from it as I can.

Although 2014 Stadium Club may be my favorite set of the decade. Just amazing all-around. And as I'm collecting that one as well, here are four more solid base needs.

And these two fireballers got decent horizontal shots. Down to my last few big ones for this set.

 2015: Look, I dunno what prompted these, but...2015 Bowman's Best was cheap, I collect all of these players, and these cards scan surprisingly well. What else is there to say?

A couple Detroit rarities. The Yoenis is cool because Yoenis never got a proper Topps card as a Tiger, and DK gave him a base anyway. Nice job Panini.
...and then there's that Jack White card, from 2015 Topps' First Pitch insert, which I have legitimately been looking for since it was announced. Yes, I'm a White Stripes fan, I like the Raconteurs, and I really like Jack's solo stuff. So finally getting this was therapeutic. Now the search for Eddie Vedder's card continues.

2017: Two more Pro Debuts. Honeywell hasn't made his debut yet, but he's coming, and he's probably gonna be really good for the Rays. Spencer Turnbull has been pitching well for Detroit so far, so I'd say this was a fine investment.

A...relatively rare issue of Rich Hill pre-Dodgers trade, and another First Pitch I've needed for a while, of SNL legend Jon Lovitz.

And now...let's talk about some Short Prints.

Yeah, for some reason, CardBarrel had a TON of cheap short printed variations from 2017 Update. Maybe they weren't so short printed, as I recall pulling 3 SPs easily from my limited number of packs I bought from that set. Maybe they threw 'em in to satisfy collectors who were upset about the lack of traded players (it didn't work).

Anyway, these three fun shots were from that year's All Star Game. Cano's is the classiest, Harper's is the most fun..

...well except maybe this shot, from the Home Run Derby, or the Kraken high-fiving with enemy Chris Sale. See, even Topps believes in unity between sworn enemies. Classy all around.

The 2017 SPs get weirder than that...

These two were also pretty affordable. Like...Reggie cards aren't usually too affordable these days, so that was nice. And that Eddie Murray card is just menacing as hell.

And then there was one I kinda HAD to have...


If 2017 Update was a normal set, this would be a common. But 2017 Update sucks, so this was a super-short-print that I had to wait 2 years to get my hands on. Why? Because Topps is hella lazy. Hell, I can barely even confirm that he's really in a Dodgers uniform, as some elements look a bit airbrush-y. But...this is the 2017 Update Yu Darvish card that could have just been...a regular base issue.

And at least I finally have the damn thing now.

2018: Cutch-a-palooza. As one of my favorite players has hit the 'we can't keep up with which uniform he's wearing' phase of his career, here are some solid entires from last year. As awesome as that Aurora insert is, it's an obvious Pirates uniform. And that Bowman's Best may be my sole card, so far AND ever, of Cutch as a Yankee. I will cherish it.

2019: One of the first real issues of Cutch as a Phillie. Hopefully the first of many.

...and let's end with cards of two of the best arms in the minors right now.

Sixto's is NOT his XRC, but it's close, and it's a zero-year card, as he's been traded from Philly to Miami, where he's been throwing fire in the minors.

Mize's...IS the XRC. At least from Pro Debut. That is Casey Mize's rookie card, which is a pretty damn big deal considering how well he's been pitching in AA. He could be a Detroit Tiger as soon as next year, or even, like September, the way he's blowing through the minors.

I could be wrong on both of these two, but I have a feeling that this may have been a good choice.

And that concludes my massive CardBarrel purchase. If you're stuck along for the entirety of this post...good for you. I'm glad people still do that. Hope you enjoyed the fun pictures.

Braves Update: Inches from Greatness Edition

In baseball, logic doesn't always translate.

You can get a team like the Phillies who have some bullpen flaws, one or two guys who aren't hitting, and a domestic abuser whose likeness is on collectible pins sold in the gift shop (I have one), but still get to be in first place.

And then you get a team like the Braves. Who are playing BEAUTIFULLY right now. They have the best lineup in baseball (nobody's hitting below .250), a bench full of successful hitters, a relatively solid rotation and two of the best young players in baseball, Ronald Acuna and Austin Riley. And they're stuck at second.

This is better than the early 2010's 'stuck at third' days, but...not by much.

So what is dooming this team? In a word...bullpen. Which, after being relatively clean in 2018, is now a disastrous mess of revolving heads and untested youth. Jacob Webb seems to be doing well as a reliever, and Luke Jackson is an okay closer, but...that's all the good news. Everyone else has an inflated ERA, injuries,, is a starter who isn't starting and is miffed about it. There's not a lot of positive progress, and it's costing games. It's like the 2018 Indians: they shouldn't have to worry about a bullpen roadblock like this, it is.

There's enough optimism with this team, because...I mean, Freddie Freeman is on, which means the team must be, but...I'm a little worried. If a Braves team with one singular flaw can't catch a Phillies team with many flaws, will they be able to catch them once they fix the bullpen?

Coming Tonight: Rather surprising talent coming from a bland team and a relatively uninteresting, made-up sounding name.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Second-Team Yankees (Can Still Win Games)

What's so...intriguing about this Yankees team, is that the Yankees spent most of the offseason putting together a team that would win them the AL East. And they worked so hard on putting all these pieces together, like getting James Paxton and Troy Tulowitzki, and keeping JA Happ, that you could tell how badly the Yankees wanted this team to win.

What's that the team that is currently leading the AL East, while it is still the New York Yankees, is not the version of the Yankees that Cashman and company remotely thought would be leading a division.

Most teams, you rid them of 75% of their marquee stars, then that's it. Then you just get tickets for next season. Not the Yankees. We're without Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino, Didi Gregorius and Miguel Andujar, the bulk of the power-core from last year...and we're still not only in first, but THRIVING.

Look at D.J. LeMahieu. The Yankees signed multiple-ASG-appearance LeMahieu to a multi-year a backup to Troy Tulowitzki. They were prepared to use this guy as a backup, which...wouldn't have been the greatest use of this guy's time. So thankfully Tulo and Andujar wind up hurt so Torres can swing over to short and LeMahieu can A) become a starter at 2nd, and B) get a shit-ton more at-bats, and promptly become the single best Yankee of the first two months.

Not Judge. Not Torres. Not Sevvy. D.J. LeMahieu. And he's excelling with flying colors, winning some definite fans, and becoming a fixture in a lineup he was supposed to be a backup for. Which, by itself, is fantastic.

But you also have Sanchez and Torres stepping out of the shadows of bigger Yankee personalities and excelling, Luke Voit hitting a ton of home runs, Domingo German becoming...much more than just a low-rate Severino, James Paxton getting back to throwing strikes, and Aroldis Chapman having his most dominant season as Yankee closer since joining the team. They're still an incredibly strong team that has regrown around its losses, and have ascended to the top more concretely than the 2018 squad ever could.

Now...where do we go from here? Up. Definitely the alternative to allowing the Rays to take 1st again, or even worse Boston. They need to stay in this sweet spot between total dominance and complete inefficiency, and not get too cocky. It'd help if Kendrys Morales and Aaron Hicks started hitting for average, but we can't always get what we want.

Already I'm proud of this team, though. Defied expectations in multiple ways.

Coming Tomorrow- Despite some competition from some ubiquitous rookies and second-year stars, he's still the leadership figure in Atlanta.

Ten Years Later, Zack Greinke is Still Good

Just for fun, let's look at everyone who's won a Cy Young in the last ten years.

Of the fifteen people who've won a Cy Young award since 2009, three are no longer playing (Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay and R.A. Dickey), four that are currently inactive (those three and Dallas Keuchel), two haven't come close to the top 3 vote-getters since (Jake Arrieta and Rick Porcello), two have come close to repeating but haven't, and probably won't (Felix Hernandez and David Price), three have repeated (Kershaw, Scherzer and Corey Kluber) and one probably will this year (Justin Verlander, unless I just jinxed him).

...and then there's Zack Greinke. Who has come the closest out of anybody to getting a second Cy Young, yet still gets underestimated a lot more than many of the people I listed above.

Let's get something straight. In 2015, the award was Greinke's to lose. He had an UNSPEAKABLY LOW ERA, held onto some scary leads he held at the All-Star-Break, and actually got a ton of MVP votes as well. I honestly think he would have been a better choice than Jake Arrieta that year, but Arrieta was the flashier choice.

And that's what works against Greinke a lot of the time. He's not flashy. He's not too loud, he's not too angry anymore. He just shows up every five days, throws 10 strikeouts and maybe allows a hit or two, then leaves with the win. And for some reason, in between those days, people forget that he's still got it, or that he had a lot of it to begin with. Zack Greinke is 35 years old, which is about the same age that most people are either thrice divorce, living in a van down by the river, or both, his hair is greying around the back, his eyes have sunken, and if he were an average pitcher, he'd be showing his age.

And judging from the first two months of play, where he's rocking a 6-2 record with 73 strikeouts and a 2.78 ERA, he's not average. He's never been average, even when losing 17 games in Kansas City. And he's still one of the most ferocious pitchers in the NL, even if his Diamondbacks are, admittedly, kind of average this year.

I worry that in about 10 years, when his Hall of Fame case is brought up, that statisticians and Tim Kurkjian types are gonna bring up ridiculous things like 'DID YOOOOOU KNOW THAT ZACK GREINKE LED THE LEAGUE IN LOSSES ONCE, BUT NEVER LED THE LEAGUE IN WINS?', just to keep him out for a few years. Which is bullshit, because Zack Greinke's one of the best pitchers in the game, one of the toughest strikeout artists to face, and someone, a lot like Bert Blyleven, who's done a lot in baseball without being a showy name like Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer.

So that's my Greinke spiel. Hope it's not as nonsensical as it was before I went back and edited it.

Coming Tonight: He is the DJ, and he is what he plays. Which means he is some awesome defensive 2nd base, man.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Injuries, and Lack Thereof, in Houston

Ask any casual baseball fan to name the core of the Houston Astros, and they'll give you three names: Carlos Correa, George Springer and Jose Altuve. Those three were brought up consecutively during the early part of the decade, won a few awards, and helped the team win a World Series.

All three are currently injured. Which, in most cases, would be bad.

However, the Astros are taking a page from the that despite injuries to crucial players, they're still trucking along and winning games. Because with the talent they've compiled this year, they really can't not.

And let's be honest, the Astros' once rock-solid momentum has slipped...SLIGHTLY. Not enough to get people worried, but enough to make a significant difference on a chart. And losing your two best infielders, and your best backup infielder, will do that. The Stros need to think quickly and find solutions they didn't think they'd need to find. And defensively, they've tried a lot of short-term stuff, like putting outfielder Tony Kemp at second, and calling up Jake Mayfield for short.

Thankfully, they're a lot better off offensively. Because despite the Springer-sized hole in that lineup...they still have Michael Brantley. And Michael Brantley is awesome this season. Like...he's pulling his best numbers since his youth in Cleveland. Dude's batting .330 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs. Granted, he's not at the point that Alex Bregman's at where he could lead an Astros team easily if given the opportunity, but he's still the offensive leader in a number of categories. Plus, as a guy who gets injured quite often, he's managed two months without doing so (knock on wood).

The Astros' rotation and bullpen have also largely gone untouched by the injuries, as Verlander, Cole, Peacock and Miley are all impressing. And look, even if Gerrit Cole's ERA and tendency to give up home runs is scaring people...he's still got 112 strikeouts in MAY. And you better believe that's the AL benchmark right now.

Bottom line: This Astros team is still capable of destruction, even without its most notable core members. Maybe they won't be gone for long, but even if they are...I imagine this team will stay strong amidst the...minimal amount of competition from below (and yes, A's fans, that includes you).

Coming Tomorrow- In the age of Kershaw, Scherzer, and strikeout the hell does this guy keep getting overlooked? Like, have you SEEN what he's still throwing???

Adventures at .500 with the Pirates

So...bit of a mixed bag in Pittsburgh right now.

On one hand...Josh Bell, Bryan Reynolds, Jordan Lyles and Felipe Vazquez. On the other hand...pretty much everything else.

This is the kind of team where there's a very steep divide between the good players and the not-great ones. You kind of hope that people like Bell, Trevor Williams and Gregory Polanco can save the team, but...everyone's just kind of playing okay.

You had like nine rookie call-ups, and the only one who's actually playing well is Bryan Reynolds. Even Cole Tucker, who was a highly-touted prospect for years, is disappointing so far. I mean, you bring some back around and they eventually do things, like Kevin Newman finally getting his first home run last night, but...other than that, you just get a lot of dead space.

The Pirates have the same record as the Cardinals...which is also just .500. It's important to note that while most of the NL Central has had relatively poor numbers in the past 10 games, the only ones with a bit of promise are the Brewers, ahead of these two in the standings...and the Reds...who are BEHIND these two in the standings.

So if the Pirates want to stay relevant, especially in the NL Central, they're gonna need to figure out how to quit idling and get back to the top. The problem areas include the bench, the outfield, and Chris Archer, so they just need to figure out what's going on there, solve as many problems as possible, and work on withstanding both St. Louis AND Cincinnati.

Coming Tonight: It's taken him a while to truly master consistency, and a year after staying healthy in Cleveland, he's off to the best start he's had in a new, better city.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A Different Kind of Buck

Um...I think the Twins have the best record in baseball.

I don't know how it happened. The Astros, Dodgers and Yankees are right there, and the Astros and Dodgers do have the same number of wins, but...the Twins have 1 less loss than the Dodgers, and 2 less losses than the Stros.

So yeah. First place Twins. Because nobody else in baseball can match the rate at which these guys are swatting the ball out of the park.

Four guys have over 10 home runs, and two other guys have 9. On the starting lineup, the lowest amount of home runs anyone has is 5. For comparison's sake, Houston's DH has only hit 1 home run.

And there aren't people who are coming out of nowhere with hitting abilities. You have people like Eddie Rosario, Nelson Cruz and CJ Cron, who we KNOW can hit homers. And then you have people like Max Kepler and Jonathan Schoop, who we knew could hit homers, but not to this caliber. And then you have guys like Mitch Garver and Jorge Polanco, who are insanely talented well-rounded players who just so happen to hit home runs. Hell, Miguel Sano has only been back for 9 games and he's already hit 5 home runs. The fact that they're all hot at once and hitting...that was bound to happen. You assemble a lot of this type of talent on one lineup, you can't be surprised when they all start hitting home runs.

It helps that the pitching is doing well, and that Martin Perez, Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson are all having comeback seasons (and I'll take this opportunity to give a big 'ol 'break a leg' to hometown hero Devin Smeltzer), and it helps that Blake Parker is finally getting his due as a closer for a competing team, but...this is clearly about the lineup, and about the power-hitting. And aside from Sano, the power-hitting isn't really killing anyone's averages, either.

This is just an insanely cool, insanely well-rounded team that even has room for a comeback year from Byron Buxton, who's doing his usual contact-hitting without a TON of homers, but...he still fits on this team. It's a team that hits home runs, but it's not completely defined by that kind of hitting, which is nice.

I hope they keep it up. They're ferocious, but they're fun.

Coming Tomorrow- One letter off from being one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood. But...being the top rookie in Pittsburgh isn't bad either.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Nostalgic Box Break: 2004 Upper Deck Series One (Part Three)

We have eight packs left in this delightfully nostalgic box of 2004 UD. We've already gotten our first hit, which was a fantastic Dustin Pedroia XRC jersey card, with one remaining. And we've still got some cool base shots to pull. So let's finish this one off:

 Pack 17-
Fun forgotten closers: 1/8
A decent shot of Expo Ron Calloway, died before the Expos did. Plus, interesting issues of Andy Pettitte and a bunting Vicente Padilla.

 Pack 18-
Hall of Famers: 1/8
Future Hall of Famers: 1/8
Borderline HOFers: 3/8
Current Managers: 1/8
Current Broadcasters: 1/8
 Some decent star developments with Miguel Tejada, Brad Ausmus and Nomar Garciaparra. All but Ausmus changed teams during the baseball year- Tejada left Oakland for Baltimore, while Nomar left Boston at the EXACT WRONG TIME for Chicago.

And then these three definite highlights. Barry Larkin was just rounding his final season as Cincinnati's shortstop, while rookies Mark Teixeira and Miguel Cabrera were just breaking into the league (hell, Miggy already had his first and only ring by the time this card was produced.)

 Pack 19-
Hits: 1/9
Hall of Famers: 1/9
 Lots to get to in this incredibly strange pack, so we'll start with these three. Moises was prowling the outfield for Chicago in '04, getting an ASG nod in the process. Derrek Lee would already be in Chicago with him by the time this card was released. And that Hampton card is a BEAUTY of a photograph.

 Let's get the hit out of the way first: that's a perfectly alright grey swatch of Jeff Kent of the Astros, in an Authentic Stars hit subset. This is a very boilerplate hit, as Jeff Kent was a good player and a terrible human being. Not even his inevitable stint on Survivor would save him for me. So...very meh hit, but at least it wasn't my only hit.
I love that Hinske shot.
Rafael Palmeiro was still doing season highlights even in the last years of his career.
And...that Halladay is fantastic. The American flag in the background is a nice touch. Way to go.

 Pack 20-
Hall of Famers: 1/8
Future Hall of Famers: 1/8
Um...what?: 1/8
 Shawn Green looked hella cool with that throw from the outfield standings. And...Edgar doesn't really need to try to look cool. This one seems to be from the 2003 All Star Game.

A card of Derek Jeter doing his damnedest, and uh..

Okay, let's examine this one for a moment:

There. You can see it too, right? I'm not crazy, right?

Okay. Let me explain how this one wound up in a pack I opened.

In 2004, with Series 1, Upper Deck would short-print eight First Pitch cards, and seed them one in every 72 packs. Why did they do this? I do not know.

The choices for the First Pitch subset were mostly A-list gets for Upper Deck. A few sports stars (Ernie Banks, Gordie Howe, LeBron James), a few celebrities (Ben Affleck & Halle Berry, as this was, in fact, 2004), and both George W. Bush and his dad George H.W. Bush.

And that's how I pulled a card of Dubya out of this unassuming box of UD flagship.

The most baffling part about this card is the fact that Bush is pictured in a Milwaukee Brewers jacket. Yes, this is one year before the Nats would make first pitches a lot easier for a sitting president, but the last time I checked, George W. Bush isn't from Wisconsin. No, as a matter of fact, I feel like he used to be the GM of a different MLB team before taking office. And I'd imagine that said Arlington-based MLB team would welcome him back for a first pitch anytime he wants.

It's not like LaDanian Tomlinson throwing out a first pitch in Arlington, where I don't get the connection because I conveniently forgot that he went to college in Dallas. I just...don't see why George W. Bush would do one in Milwaukee.

Then again, Halle Berry did hers in Montreal, and I don't know the connection there either. it stands, this is just a weird short-printed card for my collection, one that'll inevitably go next to the Jeter/Bush/Mantle card and the Mickey Mouse ASG card in my binder.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled nonpartisan box break:

 Pack 21:
Cards That Do Not Feature Ex-Presidents: 8/8
Guys Who Played Forever: 3/8
 A few guys who were big in the mid-2000s. I love Patterson's shot, while Willis' and Sheets' aren't bad either.

Juan Gone was still taking practice swings in 2004, though he'd spend the season not in Arlington, but in Kansas City.
Moyer was still bringing heat in his 40s.
And...despite my steroid-related qualms with Alex Rodriguez, that throwback uniform of his is hella cool. The Nats should bring those out more often.

 Pack 22-
Guys with cool nicknames: 2/8
Guys with cool names: 1/8
Da Meat Hook...and O-Hud. Not bad at all.

 Pack 23-
Future HOFers: 2/8
Interesting Closers: 1/8
 Two of the top arms of 2003, Matt Morris and CC Sabathia. Spoiler: the guy on the bottom would have a longer career.

I adore that photo of Ichiro talking to Mr. Met. It's so much fun.
This may have been one of Rod Beck's final cards, and it's still pretty cool.
And that's a Jhonny Peralta rookie. May have been worth more pre-HGHs.

 Pack 24-
Reds: 2/8
Current/Future Phillie Pitchers: 2/8
 Three more fantastic horizontal shots for you. The Dunn one is eerily related to Memorial Day weekend, so thank god I'm posting this today. Varitek's is just cool. And I love the angle on Mark Prior's.

And we end on a sliding, grimacing Reggie Taylor, and a gracious Roy Oswalt.

Very cool, very fun set. I feel like 2005 UD would be a step down from this, as it'd try a few bland suggestions to widen the audience for UD flagship, but they'd get things back in order by 2006. Decent hits, fun if scattered inserts, and not a ton of doubles. Excellent job, UD, yet again.

I'll try to rip something a bit more current in a few days. You deserve something fun and current.