Topps Series 1…in 2 parts

Once again i’m late to the party, but that’s cool.  I’ve always lagged a little in life but always seem to finish ok.  I like hanging in the background a bit to see what else is out there before i really develop my own opinions or thoughts on something.  Especially baseball cards and extra especially the annual Topps flagship.  As most of the other folks out there have noted, Topps really busted out some nice new graphical elements with this years set.  The colored border with a gradient base and texturing is something that typically appears on higher end sets or short print inserts.  Topps took the opportunity to add a much more visually appealing card this year…and finally got rid of the white border…the freakin’ boring white border is gone…for this year at least.  The backs of the cards are fantastic and i’m in agreement with Night Owl on the left justified alignment of the player description text.  The player stats and personal information both align, but the couple of sentences about the player are centered…so close!  Graphically though, the card backs are wonderful and are the best i’ve seen in a while.

15 T1 Jordan Zimmerman Back

The first card of the year bit that Keith Olbermann is kinda cool.  It’s something that i’m sure a lot of folks do, but they don’t have a sports show on ESPN so maybe it’s not very original, but it’s cool right?  What was the first card of the year for the Cardboard Hogs?

15 T1 Brian Duensing

In the past i’ve opened a pack or two and wrote a post about it, pack or two write post, pack or two write post, but like Topps I wanted to change it up a bit and break outta the box.  So I’m gonna jump around and show some hits and show some base, and yes, I am all about that base.  Another thing that i’m all about is jumping around and ANOTHER thing that i’m about is Derek Jeter and the card that every blogger has posted.  It’s hard to not post this card though, right?  It’s absolutely fantastic.  The child like exuberance.  Arms up in the air.  Having just won another regular season game in a 20 year career and this is how Derek Jeter acts.  It’s a brilliant card and deserves to be at the start of the set…although, doesn’t it seem that the #2 card would have been more appropriate?

15 T1 Derek Jeter

Along with the Jeter card, the first pitch cards have been getting a ton of buzz.  When i saw the list, i really wanted one of two cards.  The Jack White and the Eddie Vedder.  I’ve loved Pearl Jam since Ten.  I was a closet PJ fan since i loved hip hop so much and my friends didn’t get the whole grunge thing…not me though.  Eddie spoke to me.

Everyone remembers Jeremy from the first album, but Black

and Alive were the songs that hit home…like really hit home for me.

So pulling this card was fantastic and made the all the other First Pitch cards less significant.  I didn’t get a Jack White, but got a couple other interesting cards that made me smile…but not like Eddie rocking’ the Ron Santo t-shirt.

15 T1 Eddie Vedder 1st Pitch

So, there has been some debate about which card is the best card of the set.  Some of the action photos this year are fantastic and show a lot of passion and grit like the Mike Trout card…which is beautiful and a terrific action shot with the infield dirt kicking up in Trouty’s face.

15 T1 Mike Trout

But I gotta go with the Michael Taylor fully stretched out to catch a ball that is super intent on getting a glove on.  I love the tight crop on the card while managing to get the ball, glove and both feet in the shot, plus you get a nice perspective of his location on the field with the warning track just a few steps behind him.

15 T1 Michael Taylor

Speaking of the Nat’s.  The team cards are pretty dope again this year.  I loved the team celebration cards, but think the cropping could be a little better on this one right, maybe just a little?  I love to see the hands in the air like they just don’t…I think i care too much about cropping on cards…seems to be a recurring theme with most of my posts.  But man, look at Werth’s hair…so fabulous.

15 T1 Washington Nationals

This next card is fun on so many levels.  The digiflauge.  deGrom’s flowing locks.  D’Arnauds’ blue and orange chest protector amongst the camp and the excitement of winning!

15 T1 New York Mets

More to come tomorrow kids!  Enjoy!

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