Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sometimes You Need a Giant to Slay a Giant

The last time the Twins beat the Yankees in a season series was waaaay back in 2002. In an effort to bolster the back end of their rotation and eat some innings, the Twins signed Bartolo Colon. His first start was last night. Here are a few photos I took during his outing: 

Big Bart looms large in the bullpen before his Twins debut

Colon and his entourage (catcher Jason Castro and pitching coach Neil Allen)

The crowd cheers as Bartolo is announced as the starting pitcher

Colon deals the first pitch of the game, ball one. He'd finish the inning by striking out Aaron Judge.

Still dealing in the 4th inning, but Colon would run out of magic and was hit hard with a pair of doubles in the 5th. His final line was 4+ innings, 4 runs allowed.

Here ya go Yankees fans - here's Aaron Judge

Target Field from the concourse, looking towards Right Field

A cameo appearance from former Twin Justin Morneau (far right) on the Twins Telecast 

Brian Dozier takes a ball. He would Triple later in the at bat. 

The Yankees have their big inning, Twins Reliever Ryan Pressly gave up 3 hits and allowed 2 runs (not including the runners that he inherited from Colon) 5 runs scored in the inning. 

Colon got the loss in the game, and will make at least one more start for the Twins - Monday night in LA against the scorching hot Dodgers. Colon was reportedly mulling retirement following last night's start, I'm hoping he can turn things around and give the Twins some much needed support in the second half.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Going Clubbing

Aw. Yeah.

Stadium Club is back in 2017, and the base cards do not disappoint.

The inserts are a little bit on the boring side - do we need these . . .

When we could have 1-2 dozen more of these?

Lots of parallels - Gold, Chrome, etc. Beam Team is not a terrible insert. I didn't pull anything die-cut or clear/acetate this time, maybe they are more rare, or maybe there aren't any?

Gotta show the Twins! I am pretending the Danny Santana card is actually a Jorge Polanco card (Polanco is on the left.) I dig the card either way. Buds at the bat rack!

Pulled a Joe Mauer as well, but still short of the full base team set...

What about hits, you ask? I mean, the base cards are where Stadium Club shines. Even though it's nice to pull a Pujols /50, I'm more interested in base cards.

I'm conflicted - this is a SSP photo variation, so I should have been pumped to get this card from my favorite National League team. But Hamilton's regular base card is really cool! I didn't get one in the box, so hopefully I can find one in the wild.

Each box contains two signatures - Ryan Schimpf was pretty much what I was expecting to pull - either a Padre, a Marlin, a Ray... Schimpf is probably on the high end of my predicted autograph.

Kevin, check it out! So, I bought two boxes of Stadium Club- box number 2 is remaining sealed until it's my turn for the Transatlantic Triple Break, but I already pulled a great card for the break! This signature is a Refractor, numbered to just 10!

Overall, this box was exactly what I was hoping for - fantastic base cards, a few surprises, a few Twins. I still think they could reduce the inserts to just Beam Team and parallels, and I would have liked the box to have a higher number of base cards, but otherwise this is just what the doctor ordered.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

What A Difference A Week Makes

Photo from Rochester Red Wings' Facebook Page
Soooo.... As I was saying, Bartolo Colon drew interest from several teams, and the Minnesota Twins were able to swoop in and sign him to a minor league deal. Speculation is that he could be in a Twins uniform as early as Tuesday against the New York Yankees.

I took a trip over to my local card shop today. Since Three Star Sportscards expanded to a second location, the amount of items out of storage and on the shelves has gone up. There was a nearly full box of these 1990 Topps DoubleHeaders, a strange creation that combined an image of the player's rookie card on one side, and their 1990 Topps issue on the other.

There were 30 packs left, each with one DoubleHeader inside. oddly, there were only "Checklist A" and "Checklist C" packs in the box. 

The pictures are thin and glossy like magazine pages, and snapped into place in a plastic stand.

There was a little inconsistency about which card Topps considered to be a player's rookie. Sometimes, they used a Topps Traded version (like Barry Bonds above) or they would use their first flagship card instead. 

I splurged on this sealed box of 1993 Topps Series Two. It's probably all Derek Jeter rookies.

There was a nice collection of oddball sets on a table - Found a fun group of Tombstone Pizza cards for 2 bucks.

I also picked up a Joe Mauer pre-rookie card from his days with the Elizabethton Twins in the Single A Appalachian League.

The Saint Paul Saints release a team set every year- in 2008 the set commemorated 150 years of baseball in the state of Minnesota.

The Saints carried on a tradition from the Veeck family. The son of former White Sox owner Bill Veeck was the principal owner of the team and had no shortage of events and unique promotions to bring in the fans.

There's a familiar face! Strawberry threw out the first pitch in the 2008 All-Star Game. He played for the Saints briefly before making a Major League comeback with the New York Yankees.

My favorite card in the set - my first Bill Murray card! Murray is a minority investor / co-owner of the Saints, along with a couple other minor league teams in the independent leagues.

oh and I also bought a couple hobby boxes of Stadium Club, which I will talk about later....

Thursday, July 6, 2017

You're Older Than You've Ever Been - And Now You're Even Older.

Big Bart was officially released by the Atlanta Braves today. While he apparently is drawing interest from the Mets for a reunion (among other teams showing interest as well), many see this as the end of the road for Colon, who at 44 is the oldest player in the major leagues this season.

Assuming that he's really done, that leaves Ichiro as the oldest man standing. Just today he surpassed Rod Carew on the MLB hits leaderboard, making him the most prolific hitter born outside the United States.

Last week on twitter, various bloggers and baseball fans were sharing the names of the last player to play in the majors that were older than they were (most people were saying Jamie Moyer); as well as the first player in MLB history that was younger than they were.

For me, that guy is David Wright. *Whoops, this turns out to be wrong, not Wright. I will correct this with my next post* This Whippersnapper is just barely younger than me, and he made his debut way back in July of 2004, back when we were both 21 year olds.

Wright might not be done, though he is currently on the 60 Day DL for the Mets. His contract extends through 2020, so there may be some career yet to go for the dean of the Mets.

There is another active player who is younger than me, and older than David Wright. Ervin Santana made his MLB debut in May of 2005.

I didn't feel so old once I did a little research - I found that there were close to 50 players in the big leagues still older than me. Which one will be the last?

I felt a whole lot younger when I realized that 2016 Topps Rookie All-Star Seung-Hwan Oh was older than me. Can't be that old if a rookie last year was around before me, right?  . . . right?

Aw, get off my lawn!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Happy Independence Day - if this were a politically oriented blog, there would be a lot to say about the holiday and current events, but this is a baseball card blog, so I will leave the punditry to the pundits. Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable 4th!

Marvin Gaye's version of our national anthem  brought tears to Eric Clapton's eyes, and Clapton is British fer cryin out loud!

Burying the lede here, I made a very "American" acquisition this weekend, spending maybe a little more money than I have right now (thanks to my federal tax return and a little help from Visa!) but what could be more American than Mickey Mantle?

I opted to go with a graded copy just for a little added protection that the card would not be a reprint.
I didn't care what the grade was, and I will be freeing the card from jail soon.

I had been following searches on eBay for about a year and a half to get a sense of what the market is for this card now, and what I would be willing to pay to complete my 1956 Topps set. I had tried to win a few auctions earlier this year, but I was getting outbid routinely. I finally opted for this one at a fair buy it now price.

So there you go! Follow your dreams and if England calls, we're out there blowing stuff up and grilling hot dogs!