Natitude

I love the Yankees.  People give me a hard time about it and when they don’t, they are utterly confused…why in the hell would a boy raised in Texas and who has never ever been to New York City be a Yankee fan.

Seriously?

Why?

The Yankees?

The Evil Empire!

Well, I don’t have a great reason why other than when I was a very easily influenced 9 year old boy my favorite player became a Yankee.  He was an Athletic, and he became a Yankee.  Being a 9 year old confused little child I decided I would follow my player to the team.  Now, nearly 30 years later I am still a Yankee fan and love the history of the storied franchise.  I’m gonna miss the hell out of Jeet as i do Mo, Posada, Pettitte, Mattingly…etc…Over the past couple of years though, i’ve developed quite an attraction for the Washington Nationals.  Here’s my reasoning.  As you can tell, i’m a Redskins fan and i do everything I can to listen to Sports Talk radio from DC, and as one would expect they talk DC sports.  So, by default the past 6-8 years my affinity towards the Nationals has been building and building.  So much so that i am working all angles to get the kid to become a Nats fan.  They’re a lovable team, right?  Scrappy, hard working.  Dealt with tough losses in big games (looking at you Drew Storen…).  Built a strong organization from the ground up, albeit from many poor seasons and in turn drafting well with their high picks (hard to miss on Harper and Strasburg though, eh?).

I’m kinda old school in that i love it when players stay with a team their entire career.  I know this isn’t always the players fault, but i greatly appreciate it as a fan.  I also appreciate an organization that can draft, develop and lock up their talent for years to come.  You build a strong foundation with the kids in the minor leagues and infill with veteran leaders and role players as necessary.  You don’t chuck millions after millions for guys past their prime.  You take a chance on a kid that your program has developed and lock him up.  Make it so he doesn’t even want to look at another club.  Make him feel like he is a cornerstone to a strong future.  Now this is in total contradiction to what the Yankees have historically done…although, you can very easily argue that their last mini dynasty was due in part to the development and infill mentality rather than poach and overpay mindset.  So, i guess what i’m beating around the bush about here is that I will always love the Yankees, but i’m kinda diggin’ the Nats right now.  I’m sort of a baseball polygamist.

Albeit one American League Team and one National League Team.

I bought baseball cards.

Remember that part where I talked about wanting a player to stay with one team for the duration of his career?  Hanley is one of those guys that, well, he’s come full circle.  Red Sox, Marlins, Dodger, Red Sox.  Initially i was cool with the first Red Sox run because it was so insignificant in his career.  In my eyes he was a Marlin.  A Florida Marlin, not a freakin’ Miami Marlin.  He was a wonderful player on my fantasy baseball team for a couple of seasons and won me a really nice chunk of change one season.  I was cool when he became a Dodger.  I kinda like the Dodgers.  Great history.  Iconic Jerseys and who doesn’t love Vin Scully?

Seriously.

Vin Scully!

But now that he’s a Red Sock again.  I can’t do it.  I can’t collect his cards and feel good about myself, the Yankee fan inside me can’t handle it.  So, I’m only collecting him as a Marlin…Florida Marlin.

10 TT Hanley Ramirez Mini

Now to the Nats portion of the program.  Werth and Strasburg with some Game Worn Memorabilia on display below.  Other than Mariano Rivera, I don’t typically collect pitchers.  Too risky and their careers can be schizophrenic (is that not PC?).  I’ve always steered clear of them, but Stras is pretty special I guess.  So far he hasn’t lived up to the hype, but the hype was out of control that nobody ever could live up to that hype.  He’s still be very solid and hasn’t been overly fragile, maybe sensitive, but not fragile.  Now this Werth cat is something else.  His hair is amazing.  His beard is amazing, but the DUI isn’t really cool.  Maybe hit up the Uber app next time for a $900 ride home. #justsayin

24 TU Stephen Strasburg Jersey

14 TU Jayson Werth Jersey

Speaking of wonderful pitchers.  Jordan Zimmerman.  He has become the most important Zimmerman on the team the past couple of years and luckily isn’t related to the crazy Zimmerman in south Florida.  No, he’s a pitcher and a pitcher that will be an important piece to a potentially all time dominant starting rotation.  I have his autograph on a sticker on a card that has no logos.  I can imagine how annoying it would be to write Z I M M E R M A N every time you sign an autograph, but this is a little too much corner cutting for me.  Although I do appreciate the left justified approach.  Never know how long that squiggly line will need to extend at the end of Z I M M E R M A N.

13 PP Jordan Zimmerman Auto

HEY!  I snuck in a Redskin card!  But only because it reminded me of Rocket Pops.

Rocket Pops

This is a very patriotic, summer-y, popsicle-y card that I had to have.  This is one of those parallel cards that makes the rainbow collector happy…i’m assuming?

It’s Art Monk and I love Art Monk.

14 PP Art Monk Rainbow

Box Break: 2013 Bowman

Bowman is one of those in between sets for me.  Do I buy packs?  A box and build the set?  Pull my favorites out and part ways with the rest of them?

I’m not a prospector, but I love to pull some of the great rookies that I read about.

I don’t put together too many sets, but I love to buy packs and sometimes a box of cards that I enjoy openings packs of.

I like inserts, but too many of them become overwhelming.

Bowman has a way of providing a response to each of these contradictions in my collecting habits.  When Topps brought back the Bowman cards in 1989, my friend Alex and I were all in.  The cards were weird and big and didn’t fit well anywhere, but they were cool and had a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.  Griff was the man in 1989 and his rookie cards were something every kid in America that collected cards wanted.  I had them all, and loved the oversized Bowman version (after the Upper Deck version of course…)  Although the cards weren’t that great.  The photography was a little grainy at times and the overall design was weak…plus the stat on the back were quite confusing and took some getting used to.  Either way I was going to collect this set…and all other versions that would come out in the future.  That was, until 1992 rolled around.  The card quality became significantly better and the rookie class was pretty stellar at the time (I still have my Raul Mondesi in a screw down holder, iknowright!).  1992 was also the time I began to realize I can’t collect everything…because I couldn’t afford it.  So I never completed the set and ended up getting rid of my other sets from the previous years.

13 BB Mariano Rivera Chrome RC Reprint

Fast forward to the future that is today.  The card quality has improved exponentially and in relation to the other stuff that’s being issued, Bowman is quite affordable.  I’ve purchased a box of these the past three years and took a bigger step this year and bought the jumbo pack box from Dave and Adam’s card world.  Here is my review.

13 BB Josh Hamilton Chrome RC Reprint

Card Design – 3 of 5

The overall design of the cards is quite simple, which I love.

13 BB Robinson Cano

13 BB Hanley Ramirez

No extra weird things going on here, just some simple graphics and all the basic information you need on a baseball card.  I do like the subtle variation on the front of the card that differentiates the Bowman Prospects from the Major Leaguers.  Bowman also carried this through as they do on the back of  the card with the numbering and color of the card stock.

Photography – 3 of 5

The photographs are your typical action photos mixed in with awkwardly posed for photos of young men in uniforms.  There are a lot of beards and facial hair in general around the world these days and the major league baseball franchise is no different.  I’m thinking Panini needs to do a facial hair card set.  Maybe Josh Reddick get the coveted #1 card?

13 BB Matt Kemp Bryce Harper Gold Border

Hits – 4 of 5

Like I said before, I’m no prospector.  I simply don’t have the patience or wherewithal to invest in people I don’t know and Bowman counts on people doing this.  That’s what makes this set so wonderful though.  If you do pull a great auto of a young talented player or a refractor you have a nice piece of cardboard.  If you don’t, well, you have something shiny to look at i guess.  Another thing with the hits is that you have to wait a couple of years for these guys to pan out and get a year or two under their belts.  Just because you are a top 100 prospect doesn’t mean you are going to be a star in the bigs.  All that said, It’s nice to get the ‘First Bowman card’ of a potential star.

13 BB Eddie Rosario Dorssys Paulino Top 100

Another thing that i really enjoy about the Bowman cards and the young stars is the names of these kids.  Damn.

13 BB Oliberto Amaya Calderon Maldonado Chrome

Review

Bowman is always fun to open and the cards are always a very solid quality.  I’m not sure if I will buy a jumbo box next year unless i plan to start building the sets again…but getting 32 cards in a pack is pretty cool.

13 BB Rodriguez Bundy Reed Rowen Gold Sparkle

The overall look and feel of the cards is great, nothing to complain about here, plus the price is right with Bowman, especially for what you get.

Mini’s are cool.

13 BB Skaggs Hanson Bradley Hensley Minis

So are Flags…

13 BB Davis Upton Alonso Maurer Hometown

and blue or maybe purple cards?

13 BB Brett Gerritse Blue Refractor 60:250and who doesn’t love them some autographs!

13 BB Eddie Butler Auto

13 BB Yordano Ventura Refractor Auto 79:500

13 BB Alex Meyer Auto