Thursday, October 31, 2019

One Hell of a Way to Spend an Organization's 50th Year

The ratings won't exactly show it, but this World Series may go down as one of the most exciting ones in recent history. You had heroes and villains, heartbreak and upset, some of the best pitchers of our generation and a guy who comes up to the plate to Baby Shark. And at the end of the day, the Washington Nationals, who in an alternate universe lose Game 5 to the Dodgers, refused to stay quiet, and unleashed fury upon Zack Greinke and Will Harris in the seventh.

It was really a tale of two games- everything that Zack Greinke did in the first six innings, and everything he did on the second batter of the seventh inning. If he walks Rendon, we're not talking about this. But Rendon, Soto and Kendrick opened the game up in the 7th, and Soto and Eaton again made it a solid margin in the eighth. No matter what the Astros did, and they tried some things, the outcome became very clear.

Such a weird series, too. No home team won a game. Guys like Jose Urquidy and Joe Ross started games. Daniel Hudson, a guy who was the second man in the 2011 Diamondbacks rotation, got the final out. And Roberto Osuna, noted domestic abuser, was the one who got battered. This was such an interesting series to watch, and I love how it progressed through 7.

Unfortunately, this means we're done with baseball for now, which kind of blows, as I have to wait like 5 months to produce content. But, we've still got an offseason of moves, and some Uncustomed Heroes to roll out in December, so I doubt I'll be too quiet here.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

World Series Game 3: Streak Broken

First of all, I feel like this is the season of the under appreciated catcher. Because you think of the best catching performances of 2019, and it's all guys who've been around for a few years and have either been on crap teams or have been more defensively-focused. I mean, you have guys like James McCann in Chicago, Tony Wolters in Colorado, Roberto Perez in Cleveland, Omar Narvaez in Seattle, Kevan Smith in LA...and, of course, the crowning achievement...Robinson Chirinos.

To say Robinson Chirinos has been one of the defining pieces of this Astros team is an understatement- he brings defensive stability that Max Stassi and Brian McCann couldn't ensure, and he's surpassed his previous WAR totals, especially at the plate. And now he's become a piece of the Astros' latest postseason win, hitting a homer off of Anibal Sanchez to extend the lead to 4-0, and putting the cherry on top of a strong, pitching-centric win for Houston.

From a distance, it's Zack Greinke that did the heavy lifting by only allowing a run, but Josh James, Brad Peacock, Will Harris, Joe Smith and Roberto Osuna were equally dominant, and later. The bullpen that had struggled against New York and Tampa was FINALLY finding its footing, and away from home, no less.

This makes the series a little more interesting, and allows this series to be less of a shellacking for either team. However, tonight is Patrick Corbin vs. Jose Urquidy. So they're taking a risk in starting a relative unknown against a power player. Which went super-well when the Twins started Randy Dobnak. So...should be fun to watch.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

World Series Game 2: Who Predicted This?

The Washington Nationals have won eight games in a row. Which would honestly be pretty cool during the regular season. 8-game streak when you counted them out, yeah, that's rad. But the fact that this streak is happening NOW, in the postseason, against three of the toughest teams of 2019, the Dodgers, Cardinals and NOW pretty insane.

I got tired of the Nats doing their 'we have the best record in baseball since May 24th' schtick, because it was really annoying, and they did it every friggin game. But honestly, their comeback and rise is good for baseball. I always love teams who've never won getting a chance to, and...going up 2-0 against the toughest team in baseball is a sure sign as any that the Nats are in this.

Seeing Asdrubal Cabrera, Kurt Suzuki, Howie Kendrick, Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Taylor all beating up the Astros' rotation may have been the turning point for many sports bettors around the country. The Astros, regardless of solid nights from Alex Bregman and Justin Verlander, are no longer the surefire, runaway winners. And they're gonna have to work a lot harder to even the series in Washington, as the Nats start Patrick Corbin against their sole rotation weak spot thus far, Zack Greinke.

This has become a very surprising and entertaining Series. I hope it continues to follow this trend tomorrow night.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Diamond in the Rough

I lampshaded this yesterday, but...2019 Topps Update makes me sad.

With all this time, resources and personnel on this product, it STILL ends up being a really disappointing affair. The inserts are mailed-in, the base set must have been finalized in mid-July, and after last year's improvement in so many ways, this set feels like another step backward in a long line of them for Topps.

Yet, because of my desire to achieve copious amounts of traded players to fuel my neurosis, I went back today to get two more hanger boxes of the product.

I'm not posting the full results, because...90% of the two boxes were made up cards I had already pulled in last week's break. In the exact same order. Both hanger boxes were almost identical to each other. I must have 4 copies of the Skye Bolt card by now. It was a progressively saddening card-opening experience. This might be the worst-collated set Topps has ever put out, and I'm not gonna find out if this is the only card combination you can pull from Update, because I'm gonna get the rest of my base needs at card shows, or CardBarrel or whatever.

There was, however, one card worthy of showing. And it was a good enough pull to ALMOST make me happy I'd gone with this purchase. Almost.

On paper, this doesn't look like much. If anything, it looks like everything that's wrong with Topps Update from a design standpoint. This insert set is yet another iteration of the Topps Salute mega-set that they've been running through flagship products for the past 3 years. A lot of the times in card show 10 cent bins, I'll see these mixed in as well, because you can't exactly charge more for a card this un-insertlike.

I could get into a whole rant about the de-evolution of the insert card, or the fact that only sets like Stadium Club, or even Big League, make Inserts truly pop these days, but...I'm tired.

The other thing I don't like about modern Topps inserts is the use of color parallels that don't mean anything. Some Topps inserts just have a differently-hued border. Does it mean it falls rarer than other inserts? Not really. Does it mean it's numbered? Nope. Does it mean ANYTHING? No. Not at all.

So seeing this Pettitte card, which is already kinda cool as it commemorates his post-retirement 2-year stint with the Yankees, and noticing its red border, rather than the usual gold with this insert set, I wasn't expecting much.

Which honestly helps with Update. Go in with low-to-no expectations. And then flip it over anyway:

My, that foil stamping scanned well.

This is probably the lowest-numbered card I've ever pulled out of a pack. I need to check my game-used ones to see if any of them are less than 10, but...I've never pulled a 1/10 before, and the fact that it's...a legendary pitcher...and a legendary member of my even cooler. Like, usually when I pull low-numbered cards, they're all Cardinals. This is a VERY nice change of pace.

Besides that, it was nice to finally get a base card of Hunter Pence as a Ranger, though I would have preferred only pulling one copy of it. But...amongst all the crap that came from this box, at least I got one really cool card from it. Which, I guess, is enough.

World Series Game 1: Juan False Move

Well, any thoughts that this would be a low-scoring, pitching-heavy World Series have been thrown out the window thanks to Mr. Childish Bambino here.

Not that it's a bad thing. Hell, seeing George Springer hit a homer off Tanner Rainey, or seeing Soto chase Gerrit Cole all night, is one of the reasons why I love the World Series. The matchups not only feel like 'best vs. best', but they feel like the culminations of the whole season. That's why Kirk Gibson vs. Dennis Eckersley in 1988 holds up- both of their landmark 88 seasons had been leading up to that moment. Same with Rajai Davis vs. Aroldis Chapman, in a different way.

So, Juan Soto's landmark night felt like it made sense, because all of 2019 had built to it. His quiet start, his huge mid-summer months, his eventual 110-RBI year rivaling his already-awesome rookie year. And now becoming a postseason hero, and winning the Nationals' first-ever World Series game while playing the toughest team in baseball.

I want to say this'll set the mood for the rest of the series, but you saw how the Astros were fighting back. This doesn't spell out anything. The next game, like this one, belongs to anybody. And seeing as it's Justin Verlander vs. Stephen Strasburg, it's gonna be hard-fought.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

On Mental Health, Baseball Cards, and Holding On

Right. In honor of the drought in between playoff games, let's get serious.

I've been blogging for ten years, going on eleven. When I got into writing this blog, I was 13. And I'll admit it was very odd for a little while to be a young kid interacting with a lot of older collectors. Cause, you know, a kid's perspective can only get you so far, and you only know so much about the world when you're a kid.

I'm 23 now. I feel as though I'm still one of the younger members of this community (though I've seen people my age, like Drew from drewscards, come and go), but I definitely know a lot more about how the world works. Since starting the blog, I've graduated from high school and college, started my first professional job, and come to terms with my own anxiety and depression. Now, one year post-college, and in arguably the toughest stage of my life, it's been harder to keep everything stable. This is the first time in my life where I'm bowling without bumpers, in a sense- I've been on a track for most of my life, and now I'm figuring things out on my own, though still living at home, and it's a lot tougher.

I'd like to say that collecting cards helps, but...I look at where everything is now, and I compare it to where it was when I started collecting in 2007. And I ask myself, very plainly- would I start collecting if I got into it now, rather than in '07? And look, say what you want about the 2007 Topps flagship design, or gimmicked rookies or whatever, but there was more variety then, and there was more risk-taking then, than there is in current baseball card products. Now everything feels more homogenized, safer, and less genuine.

I'm not saying I'm done collecting. Far from it. It's one of the safest addictions a person can have, and it's still one of the few constants in my life. But, I'll admit that with current cardboard, it gets harder and harder to find things to write about, or something solid to say. I contemplated doing a post this year about how broken Update Series is, but that's a post I've written before. I don't wanna go in circles with the blog.

Perhaps there's more to say about older cards? I might do more Nostalgic Box Breaks in the future, but even then it takes energy to label every photo and space the posts out so they get the right traffic.

But, in a year when I've seen good friends alienate each other, and in a year when I've tried very hard to keep optimistic while working a job that's clearly not my end goal, it's very hard to just be satisfied doing the same custom posts, or breaking the same uninspired boxes of current Topps products.

There's a point to this, I swear to God.

In case nobody's told you this before, it's not a sign of weakness to ask for help. In any capacity. I struggled with this for years, because of some weird, misplaced pride kind of thing, and I still struggle, but...I'm learning. I see a therapist, as one does. I've been working with the guy for a few years, and it's one of those things where my old one left the practice so this one got assigned to me, and it's still a little fresh, but...he understands. He works with a lot of people who deal with a lot of other things, and as someone with a high-functioning neurological disorder, I'm probably a bit of a relief for him. Not to gloat or anything.

Anyway, we're talking today. And he asks me what I do to relax. And I bring up the fact that most of my house is lined with baseball cards, and I collect those and organize them. And as I bring up something else, he holds up a finger. "Hold on."

And he went to get a large, shoebox-type thing, and I'm already going "you're kidding me."

Don't worry, the whole box wasn't baseball cards. I can guess that some of the other people he works with need tactile enforcement or something like that, because the box had a disorganized mess of trading cards. But not like Pokemon or anything current. This was stuff my therapist must have grown up with. Old Batman cards, or picture cards, or one or two basketball stickers, or a rare Michael Jordan Hanes oddball set that came out in the 2000s. And he leafed through, saying "I think there's a few baseball ones in here."

There were.

Yeah. I had a similar reaction.

Of all places to find 1972 Topps cards, you don't expect to find them in a therapist's office. There were only a few baseball ones in there, and they were all 1972 Topps. I clarified, and asked if he actually meant that I should take them, and he said 'of course'.

Better in someone's collection than sitting in a box to be handled by people that don't appreciate them, I guess.

Looking through all these, I noticed how...atypical, ironically, these cards were, especially as specimens of the 1972 set. This one, for instance, is the only team-photo card from this set that isn't a posed shot, due to stadium concern issues I believe. I can only imagine people looking through this box unfamiliar with baseball, looking at the floating heads of the 1971 Chicago Cubs looking back at them, including Joe Pepitone, Billy Williams, Ken Holtzman, Ron Santo and Ernie Banks.

Perhaps this was the point. Perhaps these cards weren't meant to be normal cards, or base models of anything. Perhaps they were meant to spark interest in people who were doing their best to grasp concepts.

The rest of these cards were all from the infamous Boyhood Photos subset from 1972. Which I also found interesting. Maybe they were thrown in because younger clients could see something tactile, something about growth. See this young kid in a button up? One day he turned into a 4-time 20-game winner and World Series hero. It can happen to you too.

 Fregosi's better known for being the piece that got Nolan Ryan out of Queens. I honestly think he should be better known for this card. We need more cards with accordions on them. Get Flansburgh & Linnell to do a designer-set like Christie Brinkley and VJ Lovero did, and have 'em all carry accordions.

Maybe my therapist was trying to convey to people that some people don't change completely. Look at Wilbur Wood. By 1972, I imagine he was no longer a master fisherman, and I imagine he had a different sense of pants fashion, but he still has the same face. He's still the same person, no matter what exteriors, or interiors, have changed. 

Willie Horton falls into the category of 'team hero that never gets enough credit outside of his one city'. That city is Detroit, and they love him there, as he's a Tiger HOFer, and I believe his number might have been retired. But you don't see many sportswriters talking about Willie Horton these days.

Sometimes you just find your circles, I guess. You look for the people that love you and want to hear from you. Horton's is Detroit. The blogosphere might be mine.

You wouldn't think it, but these cards aren't in the worst condition, either. Granted, some are kinda bent, and some corners are kinda dinged, but compared to other more loved cards I've seen (there was a 75 mini in this box with a HUGE tear through its middle), they're fine. With 45+ year old cards, you take what you can, and if these were lying in a vintage dollar box at a card show, I'd certainly pick them up. Especially considering how rarely I see these subset cards, or just Sal Bando cards in general.

There were a few draws in this, as if I cared about those. Like Joe Torre's snazzy little suit here. Not sure what aged worse, the suit or the sideburns. Of course, the story is clear from '72- Torre bobs around for a few more years, becomes a player-manager with the Mets, gets bit managing jobs here and there, then gets the Yankees gig and becomes a Hall of Famer by winning 4 titles in 6 seasons.

A lesson I could take from that? Not every great opportunity happens early in life. Frank Langella has the story of seeing a fortune teller when he was in his 20s, and the fortune teller saying that he'd achieve his greatest success late in life, and Langella admitting "I thought she meant 40". True success comes to those who are patient, and those who are determined to achieve it themselves. I realize I might have to wait a little longer for my success, but...I'll be here for a while, I reckon.

This was the shock to me. It made sense, but it was a shock.

It made sense because it wasn't the first time I'd seen a Stargell vintage card in the wild. Years ago, looking through my friend's brother's binders, mostly from 2000, 2001, that era...I looked into one and I saw what was clearly a Willie Stargell 1966 Topps issue, which probably came from his Cleveland-sports-loving father. It seemed odd that someone so junk-wax based would just have one vintage HOFer in there.

It also made sense because another therapist I'd had at this practice, who'd also since retired, was a Pittsburgh Pirates lifer, and told me about first-hand memories of the 1960 team, and going back to meet members of the team for the 50th anniversary and meeting Bill Mazeroski and everybody. And talked about Three Rivers Stadium, especially in comparison to PNC Park.

So of course Willie Stargell was hiding amidst these other cards, waiting for someone who'd appreciate him. Which is an odd concept- Stargell, one of the nicest players to walk the fields, waiting for appreciation.

I also find it weird that, out of all of these, Stargell's old photo is the only one where he's holding a bat, in full baseball regalia. Yes, Bando's got a glove, but his is static. This is, while posed, an active shot of a future legend in action. Sometimes ability like that can be apparent from the beginning.

I don't know how many fingerprints are on these cards, or how long they've been in a therapist's office, or if the other people who'd seen those cards are any better or any happier than they were before,'s not my place to wonder that. All I can control is where I go from here, and how I cope with this...admittedly dormant stage of my life.

Things aren't going to get much easier, especially as I work towards getting a job in my field, but...the bottom line is I know when to ask for help, and I know when to tell someone how I'm feeling. Not because someone will see me as vulnerable, but because someone will see me as human. And I can't help but be human.

Once the World Series ends, I'm gonna try to do more basic posts about cards. Nostalgic Box Breaks, card prompts, custom subsets, or just...looking at some cards, and talking about them. I wanna write more clear, thought-out stuff on the blog, rather than just saying 'hey, here's some pictures and mediocre analysis, have at 'em'.

A post I intend on writing soon is another one involving anxiety, about the general anxiety behind trading through the mail. If you liked this one, you'll probably enjoy that one as well.

If you've made it this far, not just in this post but also from when you started reading my blog in general, thank you. I really appreciate it. I hope you like where I'm going with the blog next.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

ALCS: Inevitability Delayed

By Game 4, this series was over. So the fact that it lasted two more games and an extra half-inning is damn near insane on the part of the Yankees.

Game 5 was good enough, on the strength of Aaron Hicks and James Paxton alone. That was strong enough by them, even if they couldn't get past Verlander the rest of the day. And then once Game 6 started and they were already down from a Yuli Gurriel homer, the upward fight had to continue. Sanchez had an RBI, then Urshela had a solo home run, and then FINALLY DJ LeMahieu had a homer to tie it in the ninth, off Roberto Osuna.

The next bit was kind of inevitable. So the fact that they could do everything to that point, and fight back against the toughest team in baseball, is reward in itself. Yes, the Yankees lost. They tend to do this in October this decade. But this season is FAR from a failure for the Yankees, regardless of what Aaron Judge seems to think. This season could have been over in May when everyone got injured, but thanks to people like Urshela, Cameron Maybin, LeMahieu, Mike Tauchman, Brett Gardner, and especially Aaron Boone for keeping everything together.

Yes, we lost in the ALCS again. But we're certainly not done fighting.

Still, the Astros deserved the hell out of this win, even if it was probably gonna happen no matter who they faced. They're an insanely strong team, and they can go against the best of them. The Nationals have had a few days to rest, but they're still 100% starting Scherzer on Monday.

Game 1 of the World Series will be Max Scherzer vs. Gerrit Cole. And my god, is this World Series gonna be a pitching battle. Y'all better brace yourselves, cause we're looking at either a blowout or a fight til the bitter end.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

11 Blaster Packs of 2019 Topps Update Series

Well, quite obviously, I'm not getting a hobby box of Update this year.

This is the deal I have with Topps. If they actually put traded players in their sets, and not just the ones from January that should have been in flagship, but the ones from July that Update used to be full of, I'll get a hobby box. If not, I'll get a few retail packs, and just find singles of the other base cards I want. This is what happened in 2017, when they balked the traded players and kept the big one, Yu Darvish, to a short print. And this is what they've done in 2019. Yasiel Puig is the only player in a July-on uniform, and that's also a short print.

So, I got two blasters today, and that may be the most of the retail sales they'll get from me. So, fourteen packs...and three of them were EXACT REPLICAS of other packs in this break. Collation is so bad now that exact packs are repeating themselves. So those three will not be shown here (I might mention the inserts), but the first eleven certainly will.

Guaranteed Manu-Patch Cards: Warren Spahn & JD Martinez

Pack 1-
85- Robbie Grossman, quietest DH in baseball
95- Nick Senzel Rookie Debut. I really don't think they need to do these.
124- Raimel Tapia
63- Trent Thornton RC. There's something people actually wanted from this set, rather than roster pieces that were kinda set in January and BS-set-fillers.
163- Miguel Castro. Another thing Update should be used for- relievers. I wanna see more of these, and less filler cards.
89- Carlos Santana ASG GOLD #'D TO 2019. Nice pick for a gold card
84T insert of Jon Duplantier. Man, they really doubled down on this guy.
Bryce Harper Welcome to Philly insert. Okay, much as I enjoy Bryce-Phillies stuff...lemme ask you this. Topps has done these player-centric inserts for Judge, Bellinger, Torres and Ohtani, and now Bellinger. What happens if a big-mojo rookie comes into a no-market baseball city like Miami or Detroit?
205- Darwinzon Hernandez
203- Wilmer Flores
78- MIKE FORD RC. Okay, NOW I'm happy. If Ford's rookie wasn't in here, I woulda revolted. Though, Ford being here and Alvarez not being here, even if Alvarez debuted earlier, is VERY fishy
195- Nick Hundley
87- Willson Contreras ASG
92- George Springer ASG

Pack 2-
182- Andrew Knizner
123- Justus Sheffield RC
294- Josh Fuentes. Lots of rookies who were big in like May
282- Nate Eovaldi
236- Adam Ottavino. Alright, now I'm happy
65- Brad Hand ASG
Reds History insert of Johnny Bench. I kinda love they're doing this, as the Reds don't get a ton of love as is
187- CURTIS GRANDERSON 150-stamped.
115- Pedro Avila
262- Pete Alonso HRD. At the very least, this card is great.
296- Dan Vogelbach ASG
177- JP Crawford. It looks suspiciously like Topps PD's out the Spring Training patch
46- Tanner Roark. Outdated Update #1- Roark finished the season in Oakland
66- JT Realmuto. WOOOO

Pack 3-
170- Michael Chavis RC, which is nice
110- Marwin Gonzalez. This is a very nice card
211- Skye Bolt
132- Neil Walker
248- Ryan Helsley
137- Hansel Robles, which is a MUCH-NEEDED Update Series card
270- Homer Bailey. Outdated Update #2. Bailey also finished the season in Oakland.
27- JD Hammer SHINY.
165- Dwight Smith Jr.
275- Brandon Kintzler, who had a great season in relief for Chicago
286- Luis Cessa. Yeah, I'm fine with the excess relievers, except for the unneeded rookie ones
151- Mookie Betts ASG
214- Zack Britton. Ottavino and Britton in 2 packs. Nicely done
58- JT Realmuto ASG. Annd 2 Realmutos in 2 packs.

Pack 4-
108- Cole Irvin
277- Luke Weaver
199- Will Smith RC. This one looks nice.
184- Travis D'Arnaud. Very satisfying that this guy stayed healthy this year.
37- Tim Beckham and his 50-game suspension
194- Max Muncy ASG. Nice looking card, too
Perennial All-Stars of Sandy Koufax
Another Welcome to Philly Harper insert
103- Austin Allen
209- Justin Bour, post-awful LA season
27- JD Hammer again
134- JD Martinez ASG
292- Joe Biagini. Outdated Update #3- Biagini was traded to Houston
155- Charlie Morton, MLB's Mr. Life Begins After 30.

Pack 5-
243- Eloy Jimenez RD
153- Tyler Austin. Outdated Update #4- Austin ended 2019 in Milwaukee
295-Cavan Biggio RD
269- Craig Kimbrel as a Cub, perhaps one of the two important Update Series cards in this set
18- Christian Walker
162- Scott Alexander, sans-awesome-stache
84T insert of Carter Kieboom
202- Nicky Lopez
57- Clayton Richard
90 Blake Pakrer. Outdated Update #5, Parker was traded to Philly in July
128- GIIIOOOOOO Urshela. That's a nice inclusion
91- Ketel Marte ASG
25- Cody Bellinger ASG
47- Pete Alonso ASG. Man, imagine how much more they could do with this set if they ditched the ASG subset and made said subset a ToppsNOW exclusive thing for 40 bucks or something.

Pack 6-
240- Merrill Kelly RC. Not...necessarily a rookie
222- Martin Perez
198- Pete Alonso RD
119- Jesus Sucre. Okay, with Sucre's like 16 games in Baltimore, we did not need a card of him in this.
71- Queen City Kings. It's a Dietrich-Puig combo, and I am counting this as a Derek Dietrich card because he's featured more prominently
9- Masahiro Tanaka ASG
189- Another Combo, PACIFIC POWER, with Trout and Ohtani. Because it is called 'PACIFIC Power', I'm counting this as an Ohtani card, sort of like his Japanese-text combo card from earlier this year
Greatest Players of Alex Bregman
36- Jake Odorizzi ASG
111- Matt Festa
206- Dylan Moore
100- Austin Riley RC, which is kinda nice
152- Jordan Lyles. Outdated Update #6, Lyles went back to Milwaukee at the deadline.
72- Albert Pujols 2000 RBI Checklist

Pack 7-
139- Adam Haseley RC, which is a nice start
26- Mark Reynolds
169- Taylor Clarke RC
35- Derek Dietrich
210- Borque/Noll Combo RC
59- Jared Walsh. I love that the card credits him as a 1B/P. That is cool. I want them to do that for Michael Lorenzen
284- Clayton Kershaw ASG
1- Vladimir Guerrero...PHOTO VARIATION RC. Holy crap. This shot is of him pointing, which is different from the him-throwing RC. Photo variations are seeded 1 in 32 packs, so this is a NICE pull.
...and that is followed by...
84T AUTOGRAPH OF...Jason Martin. Yes, it's an auto of a career .270 minors hitter who played 20 games this year for Pittsburgh, but it's still a rookie autograph out of RETAIL Update. Hell, 84T autos are seeded 1 in 580 packs. FIVE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY. So to say I beat the odds is an understatement. Hell, let's multiply 1/32 by 1/580. The odds of pulling both of these is 1 in 18,560 packs. Holy crap.
49- Mike Moustakas ASG
74- Elvis Luciano RC
259- Alex Bregman HRD
28- Oscar Mercado
24- Lucas Giolito ASG

Pack 8-
1- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. RC. THIS IS THE REGULAR ONE. So...with this one, the variation, AND the variation I somehow got from S2...I now have 3 versions of Vlad's rookie card, and I'm not even a Jays fan
11- Brandon Brennan
81- Jose Iglesias
186- JR Murphy. Didn't exactly need an US card
268- Jose Berrios ASG
229- Kyle Dowdy
84T Xander Bogaerts, which is nice
Welcome to Philly Harper Insert. MORE. I know this is stupid, but MORE.
191- Brad Boxberger
120- Billy Hamilton. Outdated Update #7- Hamilton went from KC to Atlanta in August
192- Michael Chavis RD
279- Freddie Freeman ASG
232- Michael Brantley ASG
21- Melky Cabrera

Pack 9-
224- Yasmani Grandal ASG
67- Nick Ramirez
121- Asdrubal Cabrera. Outdated Update #8, left for Washington
94- Gregory Soto
166- Andrew Miller
Greatest Players of Paul Molitor
265- Syndergaard's HR and Shutout CL
62- Vlad Jr. RD. Yeah, they even make a Rookie Debut card for people who's debut was listless.
187- Curtis Granderson. They knew I'd be getting these boxes, I guess
109- Carter Kieboom
106- Yasiel Puig...sadly as a Red, not an Indian
257- Josh Donaldson, who had an awesome year
271- Ronald Acuna HRD

Pack 10-
51- Bryan Reynolds RC
118- Freddy Galvis. COME ON. Outdated Update #9, traded to Cincinnati.
235- Alex Jackson RC. This card wasn't necessary
234- Trevor Cahill
127- Kelvin Herrera, who had a very weak year in Chicago
261- Jeff McNeil ASG
151- Mookie Betts ASG FOIL
105- Luis Rengifo RC
77- Drew Pomeranz. Outdated Update #10, ended the year in Milwaukee
237- Domingo Santana
141- Brandon Woodruff ASG
13- Yasmani Grandal ASG
83- Whit Merrifield ASG

Pack 11-
73- Peter Lambert RC
226- Ryne Harper
131- Mike Moustakas. SO...MOOSE, who must have had a base card in flagship, gets a base card HERE because he almost switched teams in the offseason, but didn't?? REALLY, TOPPS?
138- Adam Warren
117- DJ LeMahieu ASG. Awesome
Perennial All-Stars of Jose Altuve
Bryce Harper Welcome to Philly. WOO
149- Corbin Martin RC. Outdated Update #11, traded to the Diamondbacks for Zack Greinke, who's ALSO not in this in a new uniform.
52- Keston Hiura RD
56- Fernando Tatis RD
272- Vlad Jr. HRD
45- Brendan Rodgers RD
112- Josh Bell ASG. Enthralling.

And the highlights of the 3 dupe packs:
Greatest Players of RHYS HOSKINS
213- RICHARD #'d to 2019. Yep. My favorite baseball name of the year, in gold. I love it.

So...yeah, Topps still makes a TON of bad mistakes here, an Update set, it's fine? I guess. I got some nice stuff out of it, including that INCREDIBLE Pack 7, which has gotta go among my all-time ripping achievements. But...idk if I'll go back to retail for much more. Especially if the collation's always gonna be this bad.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Championship Series Update: Overwhelming Satisfaction and Also the Yankees

...How about that. The Washington Nationals made a World Series in my lifetime. Granted, they're not a Montreal organization anymore, and there isn't anyone left in the leagues who played for the Expos, but this is still a win for a long-running organization that deserves good things.

Also, I think this means that only one MLB organization has never made a World Series. So, let's see how long it takes the Mariners to get to theirs.

Still, I'm very satisfied with this Nats team, as Patrick Corbin pitched a gem last night, the offense came alive in the first and stuck with it, and there's a lot of satisfying players, like Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg and Howie Kendrick, who are playing in their first-ever World Series, so I'm glad this is all going down.

Such a satisfying NLCS, and I'm glad we got a nice outcome out of it.

As for the departed...

Uh, well...the Cardinals got a lot further than a lot of us thought they would, thanks to a stellar last few months of the season. But...sadly, what they did to Atlanta in Game 5 last week was done unto them in this NLCS. They didn't have much of a chance, to be honest, even with nice performances from Adam Wainwright, Jose Martinez and Yadier Molina.

I don't know if this means they'll be back in full force for 2020, but...I kinda hope not.

And meanwhile, in the ALCS...

...we just...we just can't have nice things, can we?

Sevvy's on the mound, he's feeling great. Hicks is starting, he's back. And then Altuve and Reddick come right down on us and make us regret going into this so gingerly. The Yankees aren't scoring runs like they did in Game 1. They're lacking the offensive onslaught they had early in the playoffs. Whatever they had, they NEED to get back, because it's costing them crucial games. They have two more games in the Bronx to prove they belong here, and I really hope they make the most of them.

As for the Astros...they were gonna be this strong. Gerrit Cole was gonna do amazing things against this offense. The Yankees just need to go bigger.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

NLCS Update: Don't Make Me Move to DC Edition

This is fantastic. I don't think I've enjoyed an NLCS more in years. This is genuinely some of the most fun times I've ever had following the Washington Nationals. Honestly, I just wanna thank the Phillies for letting the Nats take second for most of the year, and...

...okay, maybe not that far. I'm not pledging overall allegiance to these guys. I mean, let's be honest, they may end up squaring up against my Yankees next week. But...considering what the Nationals are doing to my sworn enemies the Cardinals, a team that's been so nasty this decade that I once rooted for the Red Sox over them in a World Series, I have to give them some respect.

I mean, thank god I already have respect for Howie Kendrick after his short time in Philadelphia, but I have even more now due to his fantastic stuff during this playoff stretch, including going 3-for-4 last night with 3 RBIs. Unlike last game, you did get a lot more of the usual suspects helping out, like Zim, Rendon, Soto and Robles. But...the game couldn't have been won without Stephen Strasburg, giving another unbelievable, with 12 strikeouts in 7 innings. Yes, he gave up more hits than his two teammates, but...he still put on a performance to remember.

Tonight, with Dakota Hudson on the mound for St. Louis, the Nationals are going with Patrick Corbin, who's been shaky in previous postseason appearances. This is a game that could be an elimination game for the Cardinals...and even if it's only Game 4, I'd be very okay with this being the end of it.

And also tonight, we get Gerrit Cole vs. Luis Severino in the Bronx. I'm guessing a lot of people will be struck out.

Monday, October 14, 2019

ALCS Update: Kinda Asking for it Edition

This is what happens when they've got the heart of the lineup coming up and you still want to put in J.A. Happ.

Not to say this was entirely Happ's fault, as he's just had bad luck in general this year, but...this was kind of bound to happen. What's impressive is that they went for like 5 or so innings with just both bullpens firing from all cylinders, and sending the game into extras. Even from lineup-heavy teams like the Yankees and Astros, you still love to see stuff like this.

Great stuff from Correa and Springer, and a nice homer from Judge. It'll be interesting to see where this goes once we take it to the Bronx.

Tonight is Strasburg vs. Flaherty in DC. I'm not expecting there to be many runs scored.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Championship Series Update: I Like the Sound of This Edition

I had to make this one, because I kind of love that I can make current Expos customs with accurate uniforms. Hell, if the Nats do well enough in the postseason, maybe this can get some people to consider bringing the Expos back!

Anyway, yesterday was a day of pitching battles. Scherzer v. Wainwright was the first one, and while both performances were steady, it was Scherzer's that won out because...well, he's Max Scherzer. I mean, come on. You try going against that kind of power. Scherzer, as well as the bullpen, allowed only one run from the Cardinals (thanks Doo), while Daniel Hudson got the save after returning from paternity leave. It was also a nice day for Adam Eaton, Matt Adams and Michael Taylor, who shined in some moments of hitting and RBIs. I sincerely hope the Nats keep this up as they head back to Washington.

This one was also a pitching battle, and while you'd think Greinke-Tanaka would be a lot more have to remember how impressive of a postseason pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is. He set some sort of record about allowing 2 or less runs in each of his first 7 postseason starts, which is pretty damn insane, and should shut up some of the Tanaka haters, because even in the Bronx there are some.

Tanaka kept stymying the Astros, which is impressive enough, but GLEYBER TORRES may have had the flashier night, taking 5 RBIs, which was 71% of the Yankees' offensive output last night, which means everything other than solo homers from Gio Urshela and Giancarlo Stanton was thanks to him. Which is pretty awesome for a second-year player.

Tonight is Verlander vs. Paxton. Another tricky one, never know.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

NLCS Game 1: I Guess I'm a Nationals Fan Now Edition

So that was nice.

You look at this matchup from a distance, Sanchez vs. Mikolas, and you don't think anything's gonna come of it, but...this was a treat. The most interesting part about Anibal Sanchez throwing seven and 2/3rds innings of no-hit ball was the fact that he only had 5 strikeouts. Everything else was accomplished by the Nationals defense. This team has come a long way from May, and it's now strong enough to defend against an offensively volatile Cardinals roster. And the fact that this Cards team can be stopped by not Strasburg, not Scherzer, not Corbin...but Anibal freaking Sanchez? That is awesome. And I am glad it has happened.

Also, really classy of the Cardinals fans to give Anibal a standing O right after he gave up the hit to Jose Martinez (who has honestly become my target for hatred on this Cards team). That wouldn't have happened in New York.

Today we get Scherzer vs. Wainwright as the day game, and then Tanaka vs. Greinke as the night game. Sure to be some interesting matchups.

Friday, October 11, 2019

ALDS Update: That's More Like It Edition

Okay, so the outcome we were all kind of expecting from this ALDS matchup did end up just took longer to shake out than we thought.

All this means is that everyone who predicted the Astros would win the entire thing just need to adjust some figures, and say it may take a few more games for them to win a series. Or, considering that they had trouble with the Rays, and they're about to play a Yankee team that demolished the #1 home-run-hitting team of the year...yeah, maybe a few more figures as well.

Still, considering the offensive onslaught that came down on Tyler Glasnow's tipped pitches last night, thanks to Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley later off of Emilio Pagan, the Yanks might still have some real trouble with this team in the ALCS next week. Considering how sharp Gerrit Cole was, and considering where Zack Greinke could be when he starts Game 1 (I mean, this is assuming a lot), the Yanks' offense may be muffled quite a bit.

Still, glad they made it. Good for baseball.

That's not to say that a Rays win wouldn't have been good for baseball, but seeing as two surprise, bottom-feeder teams already made it into the NLCS, a third would have made Rob Manfred very angry. And we don't want him angrier than he already is at the single most calm game of the big four.

This Rays team certainly outdid expectations, I'd say. The lineup was strong through all five games, the bullpen came alive when it was needed most, and even Eric Sogard had a big postseason hero moment last night amidst the Houston dominance. But, unfortunately, they couldn't get past playing a division series against the Astros. As fun as it would have been to see them play the Yankees in the ALCS, and it might have been easier for them, nothing was stopping Houston.

I hope the Rays keep a great deal of this team around for 2020, because this one just really worked.

So...tonight, we're right into the NLCS. Nats-Cardinals in St. Louis. Sanchez vs. Mikolas. Battle of the teams that really shouldn't be here. Sure to be interesting.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

NLDS Update: UGHHHH Edition

[loud grumbling]

This was the thing that you weren't supposed to let happen, Atlanta. This is why we start Julio Teheran from the getgo instead of Mike Foltynewicz.

Oh, god, this was tough to watch. Folty and Fried got obliterated by the Cardinals lineup, scoring 10 runs in the first inning. It was one of the hardest-to-watch baseball innings of all time, because I still don't think this team was good enough in the regular season to warrant this kind of run. And the Braves...were. THEY deserved a chance.

But anyway. Cardinals won, it wasn't close, everybody had RBIs including Harrison Bader, and Jack Flaherty was untouchable. Argh.

And the Braves just deserved better. Their lineup was dynamite, and their bench was impressive as hell. This looked like the year they'd get far into the playoffs...and then the pitching staff ruined it for them. Looking back, you had guys like Dallas Keuchel and Mike Foltynewicz letting them down, to the point where it doesn't look like this pitching staff had any high points to begin with. Brian McCann just retired, and it happened literally the day of this loss, so that just says it all.

Meanwhile, this happened.

This, uh...kinda shocked me.

The Dodgers during the regular season didn't have any opportunities to look human. They just cruised. And the guys that finish them off are the NL Wild Cards, and a team that looked dead in May. This is what takes out Dave Roberts' Dodgers.

Now...the Nats DID break their streak of playoff series' without a win, and are finally looking like they've gotten a fine team together, ironically the year after Bryce Harper leaves, but...they are still the underdog in every subsequent race. Especially the upcoming NLCS, where the favorites are now the goddamned St. Louis Cardinals. So now...I must root for the Washington Nationals to make the World Series.

It sounds ridiculous, but with Anthony Rendon, and with this pitching could happen.

And there goes my World Series pick.

I really enjoyed this Dodgers team. They had so many good players, and so much good momentum, and...I really wish they'd been able to get past this. Because this was tough, but they've been much tougher. This has got to be heartbreaking, especially for Clayton Kershaw who made the comeback happen. I really hope these guys can finally put together a winning team next year, because this is just getting depressing.

Today...we have Rays-Astros. If the Rays win, the Yankees have an easy time. If the Astros win, it's better for baseball, and it's better for the AL's shot to win the World Series. So I don't know.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

ALDS Update: I Give Up Edition

With a winnable Game 4 on the line, and Justin Verlander on the mound... Rays 4, Astros 1.

I mean...this should have been simple. It's Verlander, the guy who's gonna win the Cy Young, albeit on shorter rest than usual, but still...against the Rays' opener and some spare relievers like Nick Anderson and Ryan Yarbrough. On paper, this shouldn't have worked for the Rays. And yet it did, thanks to Tommy Pham, Willy Adames and Travis D'Arnaud making quick work of Verlander's slider. It also helps that...Nick Anderson is frigging amazing. Like, he's probably one of the best relievers of 2019.

The only Astros run came from Robinson Chirinos, off Colin Poche. Going into Game 5 on Thursday, you've gotta be expecting more from this mighty, intimidating team than just a solo homer from the catcher. Look, for Game 5, Gerrit Cole will be on the mound, IN Houston, against probably someone like Tyler Glasnow. In theory, this could be easy. I just hope that the Astros actually show up to this one.

Today, though, we are gonna get some outcomes. Will the Nats upset the Dodgers and finally make it to the NLCS, or...will the hysterical option happen? Will the Cardinals anger me and take down the Braves in Atlanta, or will...yes, the hysterical option happen here as well? Hopefully we will find out.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Division Series Update: Climax & Anticlimax

So yesterday, four teams were in position to advance on a win. Three of them lost.'s damn great that the one team that won was the New York Yankees, or else I'd be sleepwalking through this post.

Oh, man, what is there NOT to beam about? Sevvy and Green combined for some sharp pitching early. Torres, Gardy and Didi continued their ALDS dominance, while Cameron Maybin got in on the fun with a late-inning homer, and Chapman's save sealed the deal on an already-beautiful ALDS. I'm very proud of these guys, and I hope this dominance and power carries over to the ALCS, no matter who they play. It's likely that it'll be the Astros, which should be VERY tough...

But seeing as the Rays just beat up Zack Greinke, maybe it'll be easier than I thought. Everybody was teeing off of the Cy Young winner yesterday, including Brandon Lowe, Kevin Kiermaier and Ji-Man Choi, leading to a Rays Game 3 victory over the favored Astros. I'm not exactly saying this spells doom for Houston, because they're likely going with Verlander today against Tyler Glasnow, which was a matchup that did them in last time, but...maybe they're more human than we all thought.

Meanwhile, in the NL...I just can't be happy for long, can I?

The Cards-Braves Game 4 went for 10 innings, with a tied-at-4 thing making it wide open for both teams, despite Dallas Keuchel making his short rest well-known with some home runs for Goldy and Ozuna. But...ultimately, Yadier Molina was the hero, sailing a Julio Teheran fly ball into left for an RBI, capping the game at 10, and...anticlimactically forcing a Game 5 in Atlanta. It worries me how close this matchup is looking. It also worries me that the Braves might be going with Folty for Game 5.

Annnnd Max Scherzer decided that there'll be TWO Game 5s on Wednesday. By sheer force of will, it seems, as only Justin Turner was able to get a run through for LA. Also, the Washington offense is still alive and well, taking Rich Hill out in the third thanks to quick work from Anthony Rendon, who was the non-Scherzer MVP of the game.

As the series goes back to LA on Wednesday, possibly putting the ball back in the hands of Walker Buehler (and maybe Stephen Strasburg?), could this lead to Washington's first-ever playoff advancement. Could my World Series winner pick end up flaring out thanks to a Wild Card? I legitimately have no idea how this one will go now.

Still, while we have time, let's eulogize the fallen:
I legitimately thought the Twins had more of a shot than this. I thought their home runs would seal the fate of the Yankees' uneven pitching. I thought that Nelson Cruz and Max Kepler would have field days with Chad Green. This was not the case. And it's sad, too, because the Twins had become such a fun team, even if they were playing mine.

I do think the Twins will be able to regroup and strengthen for 2020, and they may have more of a shot then if they sand off some of their inadequacies. But this was a heartbreaking end to what seemed like a strong year for them.

Today, we've got one elimination-level game left. If this one goes to five as well, I give up.

Monday, October 7, 2019

NLDS Update: Sounds About Right Edition

So, suffice to say, I'm enjoying how this Cardinals-Braves series is shaping up.

Look, I will give credit where credit is due: Adam Wainwright pitched a hell of a game. He's always been a sharp postseason pitcher, and his 7.2 innings of strong, 8-strikeout work is the stuff that his postseason legend is built on. If it weren't for Carlos Martinez' blown save, we'd be talking more about it.

But...Martinez let his guard down, gave up runs to Adam Duvall and Dansby Swanson, and the story is no longer about the Braves' lineup's ineptitude, but their come-from-behind victory to put the Cardinals in elimination position at home. nice.

Meanwhile, this guy had another unbelievable postseason game, breaking the game wide open in the sixth, teeing off of Patrick Corbin, who's had very bad luck this postseason, and jutting his team out to an 8-2 lead, made tricky by work from Asdrubal Cabrera and Juan Soto. Though the Dodgers have been a bit more human than I'd like to admit this postseason, they're still capable of big games, and Turner is still the big-game player he always was with the Dodgers.'s possible all 4 division series' could be resolved. All four have teams in elimination position. And, somehow, all four teams in elimination position will be at home today. Will any of them drum up a win? We're about to find out.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

ALDS Update: Continued Dominance

I will go back to yesterday's post, where I said that a matchup between Masahiro Tanaka and Randy Dobnak could be interesting. And it was- Tanaka morphed into his usual dominant October self, while Dobnak got absolutely shelled by the Yankees offense. And yet he wasn't even the one that gave up the grand slam to Didi Gregorius (that would be Tyler Duffey). Still, great work from Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Gardner and Gleyber per usual.

Game 3 is tomorrow in Minneapolis. Odorizzi, who the Twins should have started for Game 2, will be pitching against Luis Severino. Oh boy.

...and then Gerrit Cole happened.

Gerrit Cole set a postseason record with FIFTEEN STRIKEOUTS against the Rays. The dude went nearly eight innings without giving up a run, and the only run of the game came from Roberto Osuna loading the bases in the ninth. But with guys like Cole, and Verlander as well...the Astros may just pitch their way into the Series. The offense didn't NEED to do much last night- all it took was a homer from Bregman, and some RBIs from Maldonado and Correa. This win belonged to Gerrit Cole, and the Astros are lucky to have him.

Tomorrow is Zack Greinke vs. Charlie Morton, for advancement. It's Game 3, and the Astros are pitching Zack Greinke. That's how overpowered this team is.

Today, however, we get some NLDS matchups. None will be solved today, as both series' are tied. But we'll see if Ryu, Sanchez, Soroka or Wainwright can pull a performance like Cole's.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Division Series Update: Balance & Predictability

So, if Day 1 of the division series games was all about Walker Buehler's pitching performance, Day 2's was dominated by Justin Verlander. a tiny bit predictable,'s 2019, so I'll allow it.

Verlander gave up 1 hit in 7 innings, while fanning 8. Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez were responsible for the bulk of the offensive work, unfortunately at the expense of 2019's feel-good story Tyler Glasnow. I'm not saying that the Astros kicking the shit out of the Rays while Verlander's on the mound was predictable, but...come on.

Today is Gerrit Cole vs. Blake Snell. One of these people has a Cy Young award, and it's the wrong one.


These guys managed to get even with St. Louis, thankfully.

Look, I'm kinda glad that yesterday's game was the conclusion of the 'sportswriters yelling at Ronald Acuna' arc. Because sportswriters shouldn't be yelling at Ronald Acuna. Screw hustle. He's a baseball phenom, and he could be charming us for the next two decades. Don't piss him off now or we'll get another Antonio Brown situation. But yes, he hustled, and thank god for that, because if he didn't, then the fabric of the universe would collapse.

This is baseball in 2019. People are complaining about hustle and pace of play while the balls are becoming conveniently easier to hit home runs with.

Anyway, Donaldson and Duvall did their thing and beat up Jack Flaherty, and Mark Melancon got back to being a great postseason closer. All is well.


Yes, time to bring up the other thing sportswriters are bitching about this morning, which is 'leaving your starter in for an allotted period of time'. This one's a little more pressing, as Berrios was killing it, and I don't think they should have brought in Duffey so soon, but...Baldelli thought it would help, and it backfired, so...oh well.

Great day for the Yankee offense, though. Gardy, DJ, Edwin, Gleyber...they were all rolling. And Paxton, despite not getting the win and giving up some homers, was relatively sharp. I'm excited to see how we keep the momentum going.

Today's game is Masahiro Tanaka vs. Randy Dobnak. As much as I wanna call this a David-Goliath kinda thing, Tanaka has had a very shaky year, and Dobnak has had some nice starts, so this could be kinda even.

And here's the biggest upset of the night- Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg go against each other, and...Strasburg has the better night.

You can chalk this up to Kershaw's October struggles returning, but Kershaw is also significantly better at home in the postseason, and the Dodger stadium crowd wasn't expecting their ace to let them down so much. Stras, meanwhile, had 10 strikeouts and only gave up 3 hits. The man is still a beast on the mound, and I'm glad he can have big games like this one.

Tonight, we get some AL Games. Sure to be fun.

Friday, October 4, 2019

NLDS Update: Buehler's Day On & Not Again

So, anybody who was confused as to why this guy was starting game 1 instead of Ryu or Kershaw can go ahead and shut up now.

Walker Buehler has had a nice 2019 season, even if it was a little rockier than Kershaw's or Ryu's, but when he's on, he can be pretty deadly, as evidenced by his 8-strikeout shutout (with help) of the Nationals. They had 1 hit against him, and as the Dodgers are not the Brewers, they didn't let the bullpen screw this up.

Interested to see how Stras vs. Kersh goes tonight. Might be a ton of strikeouts.

The other game was a lot closer, and a lot more live. Mikolas and Keuchel were pretty strong throughout, and it was some bullpen choices that led to some late-inning home runs, like Goldschmidt, Acuna and Freeman. But, ultimately Atlanta's bullpen gave up more of a deficit in the ninth, one the barrage of homers against Carlos Martinez couldn't recover from. As horrifying as a Cardinals Game 1 win is, it's definitely far from a shutout.

Tonight is Flaherty vs. ....vs. FOLTY?? You don't start Mike Soroka with Game 2 on the line??? Okay then.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

AL Wild Card: I Guess I Misjudged This One

Of all people to hit 2 home runs tonight, I would have called Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Austin Meadows or Ji-Man Choi before I guessed Yandy Diaz, a guy who was injured for the last half of the year, and a guy who I forgot was even active.

So...way to outdo my expectations, Tampa Bay Rays. Way to go. And congratulations on outmuscling  the A's, making them the most popular wild card game loser of the 2010s. Good luck with those Astros.

And now let's eulogize the fallen...

I thought the A's had it again. It's kinda frustrated, because they have this fun, low-budget team, and they keep building up and breaking into the playoffs, and...I don't know if it's gonna happen. And it's a downer opinion, because these teams are so fun, and there are so many opportunities for stars like Mike Fiers, as well as fringe players like Josh Phegley and Mark Canha, to get into the mainstream. I want something good to happen to this A's team in 2020, and I don't want them to sell their souls to do so.

For what it was, they came even farther in 2019 than they did in 2018, and they should be proud for that. Sad it ends here.

Tomorrow we get some division series'. That'll be fun.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

NL Wild Card: Not Exactly Predictable

So I feel like a lot of people predicted that the Nationals would win, but like...not like this.

Like, the general thought with this matchup is 'oh, Scherzer's on the mound, game over'. But...Max Scherzer gives up a 2-run home run to Yasmani Grandal, and suddenly the odds are being rewritten. That was the most unexpected part of the night. That the day had to be saved FROM Max Scherzer.

The other bit of unpredictability is Josh Hader coming on, and everyone thinking 'oh, now he'll wrap it up'. He loads the bases, then Juan Soto gets up and gets a 3-run RBI sac TRIPLE, which...shouldn't have worked conceptually. But that's how Childish Bambino works, man. He's all for the team, and nothing for himself.

So...the Nats won, was a lot closer than a lot of us thought. Still, it's Stephen Strasburg's fault that they held off the Brewers' lineup, and even if it means he won't start til like Game 2 or 3 of the NLDS...Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez are more than ready for LA.

Excited to see how the Nats will do, though...knowing what they're up against, it'll be hard to see them finally breaking their winless streak in the postseason this decade.

As for the losers...

Man, they put up a fight. They came to life in September when everyone thought they were dead, and damn near beat out the Cardinals for the NL Central. But deep down, the 2019 Brewers just weren't as good as their predecessors. If you're trying to make a playoff run WITHOUT Christian Yelich, you're not gonna get very far. So even if guys like Grandal, Chase Anderson, Brandon Woodruff and Keston Hiura worked wonders for them in 2019, it just didn't work out, sadly.

Tomorrow night, we get our AL Wild Card. I'm expecting a high-scoring game.