A Big ole’ box of Memories

I pre-ordered a jumbo box of 1987 2017.  This is the big 30th anniversary for a set that is seemingly very popular with a lot of people.  Me though, i have a different memory of these vertically wood grained over produced cards.

I started collecting baseball cards in the fall of 1985.

I was 9 and had fallen in love with baseball and baseball cards.

I wanted to learn everything about baseball and own everything i could about baseball.

So, baseball cards met that need at the highest level for a young’n like me.  There weren’t many opportunities to buy cards at that time due to scarcity at my local Stop n’ Go or 7-11, but also my lack of funds…I was 9.  I did what i could back then.  When the 1986 cards rolled out, i was able to complete a set via trades and multiple pack purchases.  The way it was done in the old school days.  I had a little more money and ’86 turned out to be a fun year, a year that i became addicted to these damn cardboard things.

That all changed in the winter of 1987.

The very first packs of cards i bought that year were in the Stop n’ Go down the street from my home.  I was headed out to my very first camping trip for the local Boy Scouts troop…a trip that i wasn’t too excited about (maybe a story for later, but my BSA experience was very forgettable!).  My mom pulled in to the parking lot and gave me some money to get a special snack and a juice…i bought a coke and two packs of cards.  1987 Topps.  The cards had gum in them, so that’s kind ova snack, right?  Fearing that i had betrayed my mom, i kept the cards tucked in my pocket to be opened later that weekend…during a camping trip.  I made it successfully to the bus without anyone finding out about my card purchases and was able to procure a solo seat and open them on the ride to the camp site.  I had 34 brand new cards in my hands…and two horrible pieces of gum.  Little did i know that this was the start of an incredible amount of over-consumption of wood grained cardboard that i would later become overwhelmed with.

For me, this was my first understanding of over production of a product.  I was buying packs everywhere.  I was even able to buy a few boxes at our local Sams Wholesale Club…for about $18 each.  Now, t’ve never been a collector for the investment purposes but i also don’t like to buy junk…well that year i must have spent about $100 on 1987 Topps.  I was completely overwhelmed with them and grew to really dislike them…everything about them.  So when the set gets a re-up, i don’t jump for joy.  I’m old enough now and have some perspective to understand and appreciate the design, so maybe this year won’t be so bad.

I mean, they do actually look kind of nice and as others have mentioned, the wood grain is quite lighter than the original.  The cards stock as i remember it is quite better as well, significantly better actually…as i look at these cards, i can see why they are adored by so many…i have baggage that i need to let go of i guess.

They are nice, very nice.  Well done Topps.  You did a great job with these re-issues.  Tweaked some of the things that were of concern to me…thank you for listening 🙂  Some of you may have already seen the cards that i pulled as i thought it would be nice to pre-share over Twitter last night.  Just in case though, here is my very first 2017 Topps card of the year!

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Miami Marlins Giancarlo Stanton!  Pretty sweet first card eh?  Don’t think i know what my first card is for the past 30 years, but i would venture to say that none of them are as good as this one.

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This was my first card pulled for a favorite team, the Nationals or Yankees…Bryce Harper is cool, i mean…he’s probably going to have a good season.  Yeah, this card is fantastic for me not to mention that i got two in the box.  One for my flagship set and one for my Bryce Harper PC.  Collecting goals are being met.

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This was my first Yankee, Nathan Eovaldi.  It was immediately followed by Aaron Hicks, also a Yankee.  Guess that duo was a nice little mini Yankee hot pack…or not…?

Topps is also continuing with the buyback program, but stamping them differently this year with a  vertically embossed stamp along the right edge of the card that reads “REDISCOVER TOPPS’.  Nothing spectacular, but i have to admit these cards are in great shape.

One of the many inserts that you get are the foil cards which are great looking cards, assuming you can see them.  I passed up a couple of them and had to go through the stack again to make sure i pulled them all out and when i did…four of the five were team cards.  Feel a little gipped here, but i guess it would have only been successful if one of them was a player or team i collect.  The fifth was a Kurt Suzuki.

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Topps is also continuing to do the first pitch cards…and i think they are running out of celebrities or there just aren’t enough celebrities to go around.  Not trying to blast either of these two musical entertainers, but one of them is great and the other one is Mase.  I’ve tried to associate the connection of the First Pitcher to the team they are pitching for.  Mase, per wikipedia was born in Florida, but left with his mom for New York when he was three.  I guess maybe he’s always been a fan of a Florida team?  Ms. Jett is from Pennsylvania, so maybe she grew up watching Harry Caray and Steve Stone on WGN like me?  I kid…Joan Jett was one of my favorite rockers in the early 80’s, mostly due to my mom liking her music with The Runaways.  I like her biggest solo hit, a cover of ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll”

Speaking of hits, i have three of them…well, two and a half.  I don’t consider redemptions hits until i have them in my hand.  Here they are, in my current favorite order.  When the redemption is in my hands, that will be without a doubt my favorite one…assuming of course it’s a Yankee card.

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My timeline counter is starting on February 3rd, 2017.  Let’s see how long this takes to hit my blog post.  Ball is in your court Topps Corporation.17-tost-clayton-kershaw-3050

Clayton Kershaw Spring Training commemorative patch…it’s like a hard plastic’y metal’y thing’y numbered 38/50.  Not gonna complain at all.

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My favorite hit, currently, is this Addison Russell trip color patch…they snuck that white portion of the patch in there didn’t they?  Numbered 19 of 25 is pretty good too.  Kinda wish it was autographed, but i’m quite happy with this pull.  Russell is a great young player and nice to add to my collection.

d’oh!  I have a couple more cool cards to show off.  Nothing spectacular, but wanted to share.  First one is the Bryce Harper Then and Now…i always remember that moment when i almost pulled that card in a box.  The guy next to me picked the box that had it and i picked the other one…such is my luck…i always get the other one..Harper looks like he’s aged 10 years since the Bowman card, beards man…they make you look old.

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The other one is of the young Astros prospect, but aren’t they all?  Teoscar Hernandez…feels like his name should be spelled T’Oscar…but that’s not my lane.  I’m gonna stay out.  This is one of those reverse negative cards that are not printing plates, but every time i see one that’s the first thing that crosses my mind…kinda wished it was yellow.

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Well, that’s the haul from my one jumbo box that i purchase for each series.  Hope you enjoyed.  I will be posting the cards from the two silver packs that came with the box another day, so until then.  Enjoy some random music that i was listening to while writing this letter to you.

 

Rebuilding for the future.

I’ve been avoiding just about anything and everything Redskins on this blog since my team lost to the Giants a few weeks ago.  It was a tough loss to a division rival, a game that would have propelled the Redskins in to the 2016 playoffs.  Not to mention to a team that had a topless boating trip planned for South Beach the following day…no respect.  After seeing how some of the teams that made the playoffs and ended up losing, i can’t help but imagine what could have happened.  You know, the Washington Redskins were the last team to beat the Green Bay Packers.  It’s true!  In hindsight, that game was most likely the penultimate moment for the Redskins season as they put up 42 points on a Sunday night game.  A game under the lights which they have been miserable with the past forever seasons…Clearly, though, it was one of the lowest points for the Green Bay Packers…they were crushed by the Titans a week before…so you could go with either game i guess, but the Pack haven’t lost since and i would be quite happy for them to win two more games.

The off season for the Redskins has begun early as it does most seasons.  But instead of everyone cracking jokes about the Redskins winning the offseason, the talk is how everything is falling apart.  They lost a brilliant young mind in Sean McVay.  He was the OC for an explosive offense at times and is now the head coach for the Rams of Los Angeles…taking Joe Barry along with him to be an assistant defensive coach.  Honestly, i don’t think any Redskins fan is upset about the Barry loss…but McVay is a tough one.  Happy he was able to get a HC job, the youngest ever, but he has a huge task ahead of him. Luckily he has Bum Phillips son to help coach the defense…a defense that will see this guy next year.

The other big news for the offseason is whether or not the Redskins will/want to sign Kirk Cousins to a long term deal.  Personally, i really hope they do.  It’s been 20 years since the franchise has had a QB that has put up the numbers KC has in consecutive seasons.  Granted, he’s not perfect, but he is a top QB and i would argue a franchise QB that you build around.

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That said, if what i’m reading…and it’s all speculation at this point…but if they give him the franchise tag and attempt to trade him, they could get a really nice haul of picks in return.  Not to mention the nearly $30million of cap space they have going in to next year.  They could be well placed to rebuild quickly with young talented players.  Maybe a certain receiver could maybe get healthy and maybe make an impact in his second season…maybe.

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Really hope this kid pans out…i’m getting a ton of his cards and the price is falling on them.  That could be due to his lack of playing though.  Buy low kids!

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It would be seen as a season of rebuilding, but could possibly turn out to be the starting point of something really great.  The defense needs a significant amount of help and could use a great defensive coordinator, whomever that turns out to be…so many names, some good some bad.  Plus, if you are able to move Cousins, you would end up saving a $20+ Million investment in one player.  Who knows, maybe you already have your future QB on the roster anyways…

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This card is really beautiful in person by the way…the scan does not do it justice…but neither does that signature!

if i have to live through years of rebuilding again, i’m gonna need to get my pacemaker hooked up to a clapper…clap on.  Love El-P

We’re all snowflakes…

I grew up in Texas and snow is not a normal thing for me.  When i was 9 we had a huge blizzard in San Antonio, 14″ to be exact.  It was absolutely nuts…as a kid though, fantastic!    It was a freakish event that i will never forget.  Rafik and I missed a couple days of school and had the greatest time ever.  We watched Chris Marrou tell us about the school closures and hoped it would never end!  Our days were filled with bags of sugar to fuel the moments in between epic snowball fights and a rudimentary snow man construction site.  It was the greatest of times for every kid in town.

When we were able (forced) to go back to school, our classrooms had so many leaks that we were huddled en masse in the schools gym.  A very large, crowded and noisy gym.  A gym on the edge of child anarchy.  It was one conch away from being a snowy version of Lord of the Flies.  The teachers were on edge trying to keep us all in line for the couple of days.  We were being taught in a prefabricated building not suited for long division or lessons on social studies.  But they did it and they were the real MVP’s that week.

But now…

I’m a tall adult that likes collecting things like cards and books and also likes rap music.  I also like familiarity and something i can depend on…surprises don’t work well for me.  For the last month or so, my part of Portland has had 3 different weekends of snow…g’darn freakin’ snow!!!  Now, don’t get me wrong, snow is cool when you go to it and are able to look at it and touch it.  But when it comes to you as an unwanted guest, it’s a bit of an annoyance.  We haven’t have had a ruler lengths of snow, but enough to shut the city down a couple of days and keep me from work.  It’s also made my snow driving (sliding) skills ratchet up a tick or two.

All the snow that i was surrounded by made me cave and pick up a box of cards with snow flakes on them.  Subliminal marketing.  Well done Topps, you got me.  Now, let’s see what you gave me Topps.

One of the first things i noticed about these cards is the streaking on the card fronts.  Half of the cards in the blaster box contained the streaking.  Maybe the other bloggers have already touched on this and as usual, i’m late to the party, but it seems that the quality of these cards may have been left to be what they are.  Not super upset about it, but a little disappointed with these…especially the Kershaw card.

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Another thing that was very noticeable is the large amount of white space, most notably on the landscape cards.  Guess that’s the Topps blizzard parallel…?  Seems like a little gradient or transparency could have been a savior for Nick’s card.

These cards were awesome in their original issue and Ricky Bones seems to be dressed appropriately for this card, while Mike Trout is attempting to catch a tiny little snowflake.  Is snow flake one or two words?  snowflake snow flake…

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Dickey Flakes should be a cereal, f’real.

Please let me digress a bit here.  Not sure if you have heard of Krampus, I hadn’t until about two weeks ago.  He’s an incredibly evil Germanic character created to scare the shit out of bad kids…to be honest, i saw a video of him and was a tad scared.  We used the Krampus tactic over the holidays to keep our little snowflake/snow flake in line.  For the most part it worked…but i feel guilty about it in hindsight.  I would point out the window, similar to what Carlos Correa is doing and say “I SEE KRAMPUS!!” and my child of 51 months would run off terrified, similar to what Jed Lowrie is doing.  The things parents do to get done what they want to get done the way they want it to get done.  Not my best parenting story…but sadly, it yielded the result i was looking for.

We now begin the bumpy snowflake portion of the blog post with a couple winners.  Dexter and Kris.  It’s a shame Ernie Banks didn’t get to see these guys win the title.  RIP #14.

If the card on the right was Steve rather than Nori Aoki, the hair on this pair would be most epic.  But it’s just Jacob and Nori.

My game used memorabilia card was Adam Jones which is pretty cool.  I really like Adam and often wonder what his career would have been like if the Mariners kept him..also wonder what the Mariners could have done with his dependability over the incredibly fragile and unreliable Erik Bedard…hindsight is 50/50 man..

So that’s my highlights from a Wal-Mart box of snowflake cards.  Rumor has it we may get some more snow in the next few days up here, climate change ain’t no joke…remember that we are all snowflakes/snow flakes and nobody is like us…even though those Adam Jones cards are pretty much the same thing.

Rookie gambles

“…the kids better buy my rookie card now

cause after this year the price ain’t going down!”

These words were uttered by the lyrically inclined, Mos Def…or Yasin Bey.

The value of rookie cards have been a part of non-card collectors for many years and often referenced in pop culture.  Maybe not necessarily the value of a card, but the understanding that rookie cards generally carry a significantly greater value or general demand over non rookie cards.

I’ve never been a gambler, nor have i been a prospector.  I’m a collector, a team collector.  A team collector of an NFL franchise that has not been great for a few years and are faced with a high draft pick each year in the Spring NFL draft.  Typically a high NFL draft, assuming an offensive player or skilled defensive player will have valuable rookie cards.  When they are drafted by the Redskins, i have a collectors obligation to pick them up.  Typically, the sooner the better for me.  Problem is though, you never know how a guy is going to pan out in his athletic career.  Case in point, this guy.

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In 2012, i bought way too many boxes of football cars in hopes of pulling ONE…just ONE autographed RGIII card.  Never.  Not once did i have my wish granted…ironically though, i did manage to pull two Kirk Cousins cards that year.  At the time, i was slightly disappointed…that’s what it came to, i was disappointed to have a back up guy, not the main guys autograph, i mean c’mon man RGIII was the future!  As you may be able to tell from the card above, he is a distant memory for all Redskins fans now and something the Cleveland Browns are forced to deal with.  Now, don’t get me wrong i have some great memories, some not so great ones too, but the drama with this guy…not to mention the fragility with which he played.  Point is, you have to be patient and know when to strike on these young guys.  I think i’ve learned my lesson a bit and have managed to make a few good pick ups from the past couple of card shows with Kim.  Here are the few top Redskins rookies and cards with autographs.

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I’ve written about this guy a lot.  The main reason is that i’m feeling like he may be another Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas or Michael Westbrook or Rod Gardner or…you get the idea.  A highly touted rookie WR that isn’t able to meet the expectations.

Doctson has missed most of the season and who knows what the future will bring.  With the lull in his playing this year though, it’s time to swoop in and pick up some autos.

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I’ve been able to pick up a few for less than $5 each.  Not bad for a first round draft pick, skilled position player autograph and or jersey.

Another guy that i’ve been putting together a nice collection of is Nate Sudfeld.  A back up QB…worked well last time, why not try again!  I don’t believe Nate has suited up for any regular season games this season, which is great because that means Cousins has played great and has been healthy.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Kirk Cousins and hope the Redskins can sign him to a long term contract and hope that he is the long term answer.  But you need a backup and a good backup at that.  Worst case, he gets traded and stars somewhere else and i’m able to flip these guys for more Redskins.

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The digital camoflauge is always something cool to see on a card.  The autograph of Nate though…it needs some work.  I think these kids are asked to initial the stickers, not autograph them…oy!

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Next rookie that i haven’t really started my pursuit of but need to step it up a bit is Su’A Cravens.  He was a huge fan of Sean Taylor as a young’n and his play in some respects reflects the same intensity that Sean had.  Su’A is an intense young man that hits hard and plays with enough intensity to become playmaker in the future, so now is the time to strike if you ask me!

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Last kid for the night is Keith Marshall.  A rookie running back from the University of UGA…or Georgia.  Don’t know much about this kid since he was injured in the preseason and has been on IR all season…you can never have enough RB’s, especially the fast ones which i believe he is.

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I’m thinking of posting some Bowman cards i’ve picked up recently after i do some research on the nicer cards i pulled.

Hope you enjoyed the cards today.

Here for your viewing pleasure…Pharoahe Monche, Mos Def and Nate Dogg…OH NO!!

Sundays with J-Dox

 

Sundays around here can be a little chaotic.  Lots of chores to be done before the day is done, spending quality time with the family, and getting ready for the upcoming work/school week.  Not to mention finding a way to watch every second of every Redskins game.  The swings of my emotions would often swing directly with the results of the game and how each play played itself out.  I’ve grown up a little bit though.  I’ve been able to manage my expectations a little better and control my emotions and temperment…being a fan of a team that hasn’t been to the Super Bowl since 1991 will do that do you i guess.

The 23-31 loss to the Arizona Cardinals today though was quite frustrating.  Arizona has a solid defense and a few fantastic players on both sides of the ball…but i think the Redskins had many chances to win the game today…the defense just didn’t get the job done today.  Here’s hoping they can regroup for the Philadelphia Eagles next week in Philly and that DeSean Jackson has a big game.

Speaking of D-Jax, there seems to be a lot of build up about him returning to the Eagles next season.  Although i wouldn’t be overly happy about that, i don’t think i would lose much sleep over it either.  One of the reasons is this guy…Josh Doctson.

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Josh is a completely different type of receiver than Jackson.

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He’s also a very different kind of receiver than the Redskins have had in a long time.  Tall, fast guy that can make some plays on the edges and in the middle of the field…i just hope he can get healthy.  He’s been dealing with some odd achilles/foot injury all year and hasn’t been on the field too much this season…two games i believe.

Here are a few of the nicer cards i picked up from Brian the other day.  Brian is an Eagles fan.

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I’m always a sucker for jumbo patch cards like this…but i’m always a little curious about the crop of the player on these cards.  Jumbo patch or player photo…i’ll take the jumbo patch, especially with the burgundy and gold stitched together.

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The tri-colored patch is pretty cool, but the autograph is just aiight.

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So whether or not D-Jax leaves and Josh Doctson can fulfill his large shoes…or not is to be seen.  If J-Dox turns out to be a gem, i’ve got a nice start to his rookie card collection.

Thanks for reading…on to the Eagles!  HTTR!!

 

 

 

Christmas Eve Pickups

I had an extra hour today because I decided that work was so slow that I shouldn’t be there.  I left to run some errands and was able to get over to see the fine folks at Hoopla sports cards.  I had been in there many times, but never really had the time to look around.  They have a ton of stuff and are super friendly guys, so they helped me find a couple of things I was looking for…and of course some other things I didn’t know I needed.

As my building of the Tim Duncan collection begins, my main focus is on base cards and cards that I just like the look of.  Getting in to basketball cards is completely different…they don’t wear protective head wear so you get a great look at each players face.  Here are two pictures of Timmy’s emotionless face.  So stoic.

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I also picked up my first jersey card of Duncan.  That is one BIG STAR.

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I love the overhead view in this card.  There was a guy in the shop opening some high end version of Hockey cards…man, Hockey cards are REALLY AWESOME.  As an amateur photographer, I love the contract of the white ice and the colorful jerseys.  I’ve noticed some of these nice contrasts in the basketball cards…but not this one per se.

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Here are a couple of cards i didn’t know existed of Ryan Kerrigan and Jarvis Jenkins.  I also picked up Paul, Helu and Royster…but I like these guys more so I scanned them instead.

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The next one is a beauty.  A Stephen Davis Turkey Red jersey card.  This card is all kinds of wonderful and cost me $2.  Not bad at all for a jersey card.

06 TR Stephen Davis Game Worn Jersey

This is where it gets fun.  Heath Shuler.  He was a highly touted QB coming out of Tennessee and was to be the face of the franchise for years to come.  His QB guru head coach was going to groom him in to the next Troy Aikman, or at least some other great Hall of Fame QB.

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A lack of pocket presence and multiple injuries helped derail his career along with inability to really learn the offense that was tailored to fit his specific athletic abilities.

95 AP Heath Shuler Armed Forces

Luckily for the Redskins, they drafted another QB…you know, just in case The Man didn’t work out.  Why does this sound so familiar…?

2013 Topps S2 – Packs 7 and 8

I feel like a dope writing about 2013 Topps series two, but i will manage to get over it sooner or later…plus i have another post to go!

I’m not really sure where I left off on the Topps post, but these two cards really caught my eye…plus they were in my to be organized scan folder.  So here they are, Trouty and Alvarez.  Both amazing photos and both are landscape cards, which i LOVE in base sets!  Both cards manage to get the player and ball in the shot…great photography to the photographer.

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This sideburn slash sort of neck beard is disturbing…plus he’s a Red Sox guy.  Not much for me to like about this card.

13 T Koji Uehara Gold

Ah jeez.  Jackie and the Babe.  The only problem with Topps pushing out these old school legend cards is the lack of photo variety.  I’ve got 5 other Jackie cards with that same pose…wish they had access to other images, you know, to spice it up a bit?

13 T Jackie Robinson Babe Ruth The Elite

Bryce Harper.  Love this kid.  He is the newest addition to my player personal collection and a reason i started following the Nats a few years ago.  He seems like he can be quite a jerk sometimes, but he’s intense and he goes all out each game.  That is how I would want my son to play.

13 T Bryce Harper Making their Mark

Rizzo – Italien – Cub.

13 T Anthony Rizzo WBC

Joey Belle.  Remember how crazy this guy was.  Dude had a serious temper and would go off over the stupidest crap.  I’ve said too much…

13 T Albert Belle Cut to the Chase

This guy.  Love the Cuban players.  Did you hear, he won the home run derby over the all star break…it’s been that long since i’ve been blogging.

13 T Yoenis Cespedes Making their Mark Jersey

Good night.