Wednesday, March 27, 2024

A New Post for an Old Excuse

     Sorry that I haven't published in over a week. Once again, I'm having computer problems. Apparently, my computer doesn't want me uploading files, which is extremely annoying. Therefore, I cannot post with cards today.

    I've used this excuse before, and even though it's true, I feel it's a bad excuse for not posting. So then, what to write about? A-ha! I have two things; hopefully they'll be interesting.

    First thing first, since I can't upload any pictures, I'll make an announcement about MLB. I'm sure a lot of you have already heard, But starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery has finally signed with a team for the 2024 season. I had expected him to sign with the Yankees, but this didn't happen. No, he signed a one-year deal with the Diamondbacks worth $25 million. Funny that he signed with the team that he helped bludgeon in the 2023 Fall Classic. This deal was far off from the seven year contract that he wanted and waited stubbornly for, but what's he to complain about? He's making way more money than he probably should, so whatever. Then again, most major leaguers are making too much money (discussion for another day). Anyway, $25 million isn't too bad at all. The bad thing is that he waited until the day before Opening Day to get a team. At least he has one though, because he's on both of my fantasy baseball teams, and it would be a disaster if I didn't have him pitching. What I do wonder is what he'll do to get some work in. I don't know if he'll pitch in the minors for a while before making his season debut or not. I guess only time will tell.

    Now for the second item on the agenda. I'm running out of cards to post. As sad as it is, I've only got about three or four posts left before I run out. I'll be continuing to search through my boxes for more dancers or cards that tell an interesting story. I don't know, maybe I'll find something valuable. I can probably manage a few more posts just with my 2021-2023 binders, so I'm not too worried about finding more material.

    There is no third item on the agenda, so I will just fill this empty space with words. Like I said, Opening Day is tomorrow (March 28), and my beloved Rangers will be squaring off against the Chicago Cubs at Globe Life Field. Justin Steele will be starting for the Cubs and one of my fantasy teams, but this will not be stopping me from rooting for a Rangers victory. Turning on your own team is the worst part of fantasy baseball, and I have been able to keep myself from that corruption pretty well in my four years of fantasy experience. 

    Well, this was a nice little way to post after not doing so for over a week and without being able to use my cards. Hopefully I'll have the computer up and running within a few days. So, that'll do it for this post. I've covered everything on the current agenda and more. Happy collecting and be sure to catch your fill of Opening Day baseball. I'm out.

Monday, March 18, 2024

More Draft Results!

     My other fantasy baseball league had its draft today at 4:45. It was a little bit crazy because we didn't have the draft until about two hours before draft time, and two more players joined the league right before the draft started. Wild stuff. Anyway, we got 24 players with categories as follows.

    Batters: R, H, HR, RBI, SB, BB, AVG
    Pitchers: W, SV, K, HLD, ERA, WHIP, K/BB

    So then, who did I draft?

    1: Freddie Freeman LAD, 1B
    I had the fourth overall pick, and Acuna, Witt, and Betts were taken. Freddie Freeman, you know, is very good, so I decided to grab him first and take care of a major position.

    2: Marcus Semien TEX, 2B
    To be honest, I had no idea who to draft. At all. Semien's pretty stinking good though, and I got to cut down a middle-infield position with one of the best playes at said position.

    3: Bo Bichette TOR, SS
    As I've said before, the shortstop crop is very thin, so it was nice to grab a .300 hitter at that position, and I've already finished my middle-infield.

    4: Mike Trout LAA, OF
    I struggled a lot with outfielders in my other league, so I jumped on one early. I'm very skeptical about his health though.

    5: Max Fried ATL, SP
    Y'all already know the big deal with Max Fried. I got to get him in the fifth round this time though, so ha ha!

    6: Camilo Doval SF, RP
    Closers were being taken fairly early again, so I jumped on Doval. I'm very confident that he will suffer arm-injuries later in his career, but he's in his prime right now, so he's a solid pick.

    7: Evan Carter TEX, OF
    Evan Carter's one of my favorites, like I've said. Seventh round may be a little early, but he can run and has proven to be good at the big-league level.

    8: Justin Steele CHI, SP
    When I do mock drafts, I very often get Justin Steele. I think he's easily worth an eighth-round pick and is the second staple starter om my team's pitching staff.

    9: Josh Jung TEX, 3B
    I missed out on Nolan Arenado by one pick, and so waited a bit and grabbed Josh Jung. His Opening Day status is sketchy, so I'm praying he'll be fine.

    10: David Bednar PIT, RP
    The only reason I was able to grab Bednar so late is because he's going to start the season on the IL. It's unfortunate, but hopefully he won't be out too long so he can help my team rack up the saves.

    11: Shane Bieber CLE, SP
    It's surprising (to me at least) that I could grab Bieber in the eleventh round. I honestly think people are starting to forget how great he was as recently as 2022. I am now called a 'Belieber' by my brother, and I've gotten him in both of my drafts.

    12: Craig Kimbrel BAL, RP
    Again, I got Craig Kimbrel. Now I'm praying that Yennier Cano doesn't take his role as the closer. I doubt that he will seeing as how Kimbrel is a proven closer, but we'll see.

    13: Jordan Montgomery NA, SP
    Man I hope Jordan Montgomery signs soon, and man I hope he doesn't become a lefty in Fenway.

    14: Shota Imanaga CHC, SP
    Was grabbing Shota Imanaga smart? Man, I don't know. But he's striking out 17.7 batters per nine in spring training, so I hope he's good.

    15: Riley Greene DET, OF
    Getting my final outfielder in the fifteenth round is always going to be...interesting. While I'm not thinking that Greene will be a superstar that will carry my team, hopefully he'll be a decent option for a final outfielder.

    16: Mitch Garver SEA, C
    So here we finally find my starting catcher. After Rutschman and William Contreras were taken, I set my eyes on Gabriel Moreno again. But I failed. And had to draft Garver as my starter. He's doing well in spring training, so I hope he doesn't get hurt and stays in the lineup.

    17: Robert Suarez SD, RP
    I have no idea at all what the big deal with this guy is, but he was drafted in our other league and projected to save 25 games, so I took a chance on him as my fourth closer.

    18: Edouard Julien MIN, 2B
    I needed walks. If you look at my roster up to this point, walks weren't great. Julien walked 64 times in 408 plate appearances last year (which is pretty darn good), so I added him to the clun.

    19: Michael Wacha KC, SP
    I suddenly freaked out that I didn't have enough starters, and Marcus Stroman was taken just before I had a chance at him, so I went with Wacha. I forgot that the Royals will be much better this year.

    20: Joel Payamps MIL, RP
    Payamps will be getting the saves while Devin Williams is out, and When Williams is in, he'll get the holds. It kind of a win-win.

    21: Hector Neris CHI, RP
    Neris was great last year, so he may be competing for saves with Adbert Alzolay. And when he isn't saving games, he'll be holding them. I feel so smart right now.

    22: Jon Gray TEX, SP
    I dunno if this was necessarily a great pickup, but I only had six starters at the time, so I went with Gray. With injuries and stuff he'll be in the rotation, and he's had two spot-on spring training starts, so I'll hope for the best.

    23: Aroldis Chapman PIT, RP
    Again, while Bednar is out Chapman will be getting the saves, but when Bednar comes back, Chapman will be holding games. Very confident this was a good choice.

    24: Kris Bryant COL, 1B/OF
    Bryant is my only multi-positional player. I could have gotten Whit Merrifield but chose not to because he's 35. I am already regretting that decision, but hopefully it works out for the best. I have high hopes for Bryant, obviously.


    That will conclude my second fantasy draft. I have only one benched hitter, and he's my only player who is elligible for more than one position, so I pray that my players won't get hurt. Here are what I'm expecting my starting positions to be on Opening Day:

C: Mitch Garver
1B: Freddie Freeman
2B: Marcus Semien
3B: Josh Jung
SS: Bo Bichette
OF: Mike Trout 
OF: Evan Carter
OF: Riley Greene
UTIL: Edouard Julien

    Kris Bryant will probably get a fair share of playing time between Julien and Greene, especially if he hits well.

Team Strengths: Again, I like the power, and I think I have a really good offense overall. The bullpen is also really good.

Team Weaknesses: I think lack of walks will be a problem for my team, as well as just too many prospects. While I think I'll have one of the better starting staffs, I wish I had more MLB-experienced pitchers.

    Also, my team in this league is called Super Hot Spicy Squid. The reasoning for this is because I recently went to an Asian market, and the bakery was selling something called Super Hot Spicy Squid. It looked like shrimp chips, but with squid. They'd better be really good to, because they were selling for $26 a pound!

    That does it for this post too. Please tell me in the comments what you think and which team will be better between both of mine. I'm out.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Draft Results

     Today one of my two fantasy baseball leagues had its live draft, which ended at about 1:00. So, no cards today, but the results of said draft. 

    The categories for the batters are: R, H, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OBP, SLG
    The categories for pitchers are: W, CG, SV, K, HLD, ERA, WHIP, K/BB

    You get 26 players, and the positions are as follows: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, UTIL and SP, SP, P, P, P, P, P, as well as 8 bench slots, 5 IL spots, and a NA spot. So, here are my round-by-round picks:

1: Corey Seager TEX, SS
    Seager's coming off an MVP-2 worthy season, and with a fairly small shortstop crop and a ninth overall pick, it seems like a good choice.

2: Austin Riley ATL, 3B
    I've had Riley on my team since 2021, and since the 3B crop is very thin, I got the best one on the market (in my opinion).

3: Bryce Harper PHI, 1B
    Everybody who wants a good team needs a first baseman who can carry the team. With Matt Olson and Freddie Freeman taken in the first round, I was very content with Harper in the third.

4: Max Fried ATL, SP
    It was my goal to grab a starter in the fourth round. I also have a bit of a bias because I really like Max Fried. He was on my team last year, and I haven't forgotten his stellar 2022 season.

5: Jordan Romano TOR, RP
    One of the fellow competitors grabbed 7 closers, so I needed to get a few as fast as possible. With Edwin Diaz, Emmanuel Clase and Josh Hader gone, Romano was a good option.

6: Gabriel Moreno ARI, C
    Need a catcher. However, I drafted Moreno over Will Smith. I only needed to be shown the error of my way once (by GTT) to regret it. Oh well, he's still solid.

7: Jhoan Duran MIN, RP
    Somehow Duran was still around in the seventh round, and with closers being nabbed up fast, it was only logical for me to grab him.

8: Tarik Skubal DET, SP
    Love Skubal, and he was really good last season. Granted, he wasn't playing top-tier teams, but I'll take a chance anyway.

9: Shane Bieber CLE, SP
    Shane Bieber has been at the top of the game for a while now, so I won't let an injury season keep him from being considered an elite starter in my eyes. I really like this addition.

10: Zack Gelof OAK, 2B
    I may have made this pick a little early, but I needed a second baseman, and seeing as how Gelof is raking in spring training (.412/.459/.853 slash line), I didn't want to wait too long and miss out on him.

11: Craig Kimbrel BAL, RP
    The final closer that I got, he was the best available option because somebody was grabbing every closer he could get his hands on. With Felix Bautista out for the year, Kimbrel will be racking up the saves for Baltimore.

12: Eloy Jimenez CHI, OF
    Last year I waited until the eighth round to draft an outfielder and freaked out because it was too long. Well, I drafted my first one in the twelfth round, so we'll see how the rest pans out.

13: Chris Sale ATL, SP
    I let my heart choose this player rather than my head. He's done well in spring training and has impressive control, so we shall see. And he's not playing for Boston anymore as a lefty in Fenway, so that may help also.

14: Kris Bryant COL, 1B, OF
    Yeah, running out of outfield options. I dislike getting Bryant this early because, though a good player, I could have drafted him later as a sleeper.

15: Jordan Montgomery NA, SP
    Montgomery has yet to find a team, which is probably why I was able to draft him so late. Hope he finds one before opening day (fingers crossed it's the Rangers).

16: Jung Hoo Lee SF, OF
    Grandfather of the Wind was my 16th choice. I wish I wasn't so desperate on outfielders because I know I could have drafted him later.

17: Jackson Holliday BAL, SS
    Holliday should be on the opening day roster, but I wanted another shortstop because though they expect he'll be fine, Seager may not be playing on opening day.

18: Tyler Rogers SF, RP
    This league is a holds league, so naturally I should get somebody who gets holds, and not many more are better at it than the submarine-throwing Tyler Rogers.

19: Kyle Harrison SF, SP
    As we neared the end of the draft I wanted to get some more starting pitchers. Harrison was a decent choice, located in my 'Okays' section of the starters.

20: Christopher Morel CHI, 2B/OF
    I needed another outfielder as well as a backup second baseman, in case Gelof gets hurt or the A's are dumb enough to bench him. And Morel hit 26 bombs last season, so he was a good choice.

21: Bryce Miller SEA, SP
    Miller definitely has potential. I'm not super confident with this addition, but at the 21st round, I'm not complaining.

22: Jackson Chourio MIL, OF
    Up to this point, my only actual base-stealer was Zack Gelof. So I needed somebody else who could run, and though I didn't particularly want to draft him (since he has no big-league experience), Chourio will do for that.

23: David Robertson TEX, RP
    If Jose Leclerc struggles, Robertson may take over the closer role. I dunno. I will explain more about DaveBob with my next draftee.

24: Kirby Yates, TEX, RP
    Since Robertson and Yates are both on the late inning crew for Texas, I figured it would be nice to get double the holds for a Rangers victory.

25: Tyler Stephenson CIN, C
    I definitely wanted a backup catcher, and though I planned to draft Garver, I completely forgot about him until somebody else got him, so Stephenson was the next-best option.

26: Jordan Hicks SF, SP
    Though shown as a reliever on Yahoo Fantasy, the Giants are giving Hicks the chance to start in 2024. Maybe not a great choice since he's never been a starter before, but it's the last round; what the heck?

And, here is what I expect my starting lineup to be at the start of the season (for batters, because pitchers depends on who's starting that day).

C- Gabriel Moreno
1B- Bryce Harper
2B- Zack Gelof
3B- Austin Riley
SS- Corey Seager
OF- Eloy Jimenez
OF- Kris Bryant
OF- Jung Hoo Lee
UTIL- Jackson Holliday

Team Strengths: I think that home runs won't be a problem with Harper, Gelof, Riley, Seager, Jimenez, and even Bryant, with Morel as a backup. I think starting pitching is good, and my friend getting 7 closers may help me because my three will be the second most.

Team Weaknesses: My team will probably lose steals most or every week (trying to trade for Esteury Ruiz), and I think I drafted too many unproven prospects, so we may crash and burn.

    So, that wraps it up for my first fantasy baseball draft. Please read, enjoy, and tell me what you think of my team (which is called The Fighting Uruk-Hai). My next draft is an online draft on this coming Tuesday. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

A Nice Trip to the Card Store, Part 2

    The penny sleeves continue! Here will be shown the last 30 of the 65 cards that I bought for a quarter each. Taking pictures of the cards is such a pain, but I really like the hobby, so I won't make myself stop doing it. I'll stop talking and start with a will-be Hall-of-Famer:

    This card was so cool, it was only ethical for me to get four of them. I just figured since Pujols will be making the Hall in a couple years it couldn't hurt to own a bunch of his cards. And this 2012 Topps Home Run Legends card is really cool. I like how in the background of the photo you see a list of the all time home run leaders. It adds a nice touch.

    Paul Konerko was a pretty darn good player, and all of these cards look really good. The Cracker Jack Ball Players card especially got my attention.

I am not a fan of A-Rod, so I really don't know why I got these cards. They look nice, but...I honestly don't know why I got him.

One of the all time great Angels in Tim Salmon. I like all of these cards, but especially the bottom right card, which is from the lone Angels World Series year, 2002.

    We reach our first Hall-of-Famer this post in Frank Thomas. In his 19 year career, Thomas hit 521 homers with a .301/.419/.555 slash line. I find it interesting that there are so many cards out there of players signing autographs.

    I don't know why I like the design of the 2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary cards so much. I'm not gonna lie, they're really weird. Well, either way, these are two good pickups, being new Hall-of-Famer Joe Mauer and Josh Hamilton. Both of these players won an MVP during their careers, and both won the batting title their MVP years with marks of .365 for Mauer and .359 for Hamilton. Mauer won his AL MVP in 2009, and Hamilton won his the very next year.

Up next we have Jason Giambi. He put up impressive numbers in his career; including 440 home runs, but he admitted using PEDs. Therefore he has been denied the Hall of Fame. He's another player I don't really like, so I'm unsure why I wanted his cards.

These 1995 Leaf Limited cards caught my eye immediately. I started out just with Bret Saberhagen and found Aaron Sele later on. Again, the shininess of the cards won me over. I wonder if that will end up becoming a bad habit...

    Up next we have two Orioles. I've always like B.J. Surhoff, hence the reason you see him on the left. As for Billy Ripken; well, the picture on the card was very reminiscent of those Sidelines cards that I have. That is literally the only reason I picked out that card. 

    This card would be much better if it were a football card. Deion Sanders is in the football Hall of Fame, but it is pretty cool that he was also able to play MLB baseball. He was a career .263 hitter with 53 interceptions.

    I think this 1983 Topps Tom Seaver mini is supposed to be a sticker, because on the back it says to 'Bend here and peel back.' But it's a horrifying thought to destroy this... well, card. If somebody does know what this is, please tell me in the comments.

    And finally, we get these three Hall-of-Fame caliber pitchers. The only player currently in the Hall is P-Mart, but CC Sabathia will be making it soon, and Schilling's case is interesting. Though I'm sure you already know the story I will tell it very basically anyway. He didn't like what the Hall-of-Fame had become (a popularity contest rather than a place for the best of the best), and had himself removed from the ballot his last year on it. 

    The back of the Pedro Martinez actually looks really cool. Here it is:

    I seriously had to check to make sure that this was one card. The shadowing on the picture was so good that I thought there was a separate mini-card behind the full-size. But no, it's only one card.

    So, that will do it for part two. This took so long to make that I think I'll give myself a little bit of a break before finishing the giant post with part 3. Anyway, thank you for reading, and I'm out.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

A Nice Trip to the Card Store, Part 1

    Well, I've been working on this post for weeks, and here's the first part of it. I used some of my other posts to stall for this one, so it had better be good or else I wasted a bunch of time. Here goes:

    On February 17th, I went to that same card store that I would get the 600-card boxes from for only five or six bucks. Unfortunately, the prices of those boxes was raised to $15! Though still probably a good deal, it was a rather painful discovery. However, that didn't stop me from buying one (not sure how good of an idea that was).  I also got a birthday present for some friends and 65 (count 'em) quarter baseball cards, for a grand total of $38.16. I wonder what was going through the cashier's head when he saw me walk up with a fat stack of quarter cards that he had to count.
    Because I made a card purchase bigger than usual, I will split my spoils into three posts this week. The first two will feature the 65 cards I got for a quarter a pop, and the last post will feature the best cards I got from the $15 card box. Well, let's get started before I kill you all of boredom.

    As you can probably tell, I am a collector of Cal Ripken Jr. cards. I have probably 20-25 of his cards, including the eleven that I bought at the store.

    My favorite of the eleven Ripkens is the Upper Deck Cover Glory card. When I came across that one, I didn't need to think twice about grabbing it. Of course, if I ended up regretting it I was only out twenty-five cents. 

    I also saw a great deal of new Hall-of-Famer Todd Helton's cards. I ended up picking up eight of them. Here they are:

    It was tough for me to choose a favorite out of all these cards, but in the end I chose to go with the 2005 Donruss Playoff card.

    There were TONS of Scott Rolen cards looking for a home in the quarter box, and I chose eleven of them. There were still many left over, but considering the big pile of cards I had already picked out, I decided against spending more money on cards of the same guy. 

    This one was hard for me to choose a favorite. I really like a lot of these cards, and in the end call it a tie between the 1999 Upper Deck Hologram card and the 2003 Upper Deck Victory card. Upper Deck has some strong showings today.

    In addition to getting all of these cards, I also saw some nice John Smoltz cards that I decided to get. Contrary to my former pick-ups, I only grabbed five of these.

    And my favorite of these is the 2005 Upper Deck MVP Smoltz card. Upper Deck won my vote in three out of the four different player groups. 
    Well, that does it for this post. Please read, comment, and enjoy, and I'll be back in a day or two with the last 30 cards from the 65 that I bought. Thank you for reading.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

General Fan Feedback to Gunnar Henderson

    I was looking through my email drafts when I found the draft of an email that I feel is my duty to share. So, where does it start?
    Gunnar Henderson was on my fantasy baseball team at the start of the 2023 baseball season. He started out miserably, hitting just .184 through May 16th. I didn't keep him around the whole season, and my arch-nemesis in fantasy ended up getting him for the good stuff. Anyway, while he was playing badly, here is a draft of an email that I wished to send him, but didn't. The draft is dated June 1 of 2023, and Gunnar was batting .201 at the time. 

First Name: Dominic  
Phone Number: (intentionally not written)
Message: I like Gunnar Henderson, and he is on my fantasy team. However, he is stinking it up, and I just saw a hitting coach for tips. I need him so my team won't hit 0-29 like they did last week. Here are some tips:

First: When striding, step in the same place as you started. This will make it easier to rotate the back hip.
Second: Keep good balance with a good leg kick. It will help you to hit off-speed pitches.

Thank you. (And Gunnar, I need you brother!)

    Oh, that brings back memories. That draft was really fun to write and hilarious to read. Just by reading it I'm sure you can tell why I didn't actually send it.
    But, it seems that after I wrote the draft he decided to turn his season around. After June 1, Gunnar batted 112-for-406, which is .276. And I only had him on my team for a little bit of that time.

And, since this is a card blog, we must include a card of Gunnar Henderson, no?: 

Gee, I wish I looked like that after every game

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Finally Jumped on the Bandwagon

     Well, I finally got some Topps 2024 cards. After all the hype I've heard (and shared), I really wanted to grab some, and I finally found an opportune time. 36 cards for $7.98; could be better, but not bad as compared to the 2021 Topps prices.

    So then, let's show off the spoils, shall we?

    Favorite: Stone Garrett (top middle)

    Least Favorite: Isaiah Campbell (bottom left)

    Like I've heard, the team names have a nice touch of metallic shine. I really like photo taken for Stone Garrett. The salute after the slide makes for a nice snapshot. And Isaiah Campbell; his picture is kind of boring and anticlimactic. The cards on this first page - with the exceptions of Christian Yelich and Brandon Woodruff - lack star power. 

    Favorite: Future Stars Christopher Morel (top right)

    Least Favorite: Houston Astros Team Card (bottom left)

    Being a Rangers fan, I'm not too thrilled about the Astros team card, but, I don't really care. I got the ever-popular screaming Chris Morel card, and the color scheme for the Future Stars is cool. There were also some nice action shots out of Daulton Varsho, Jorge Mateo and Corbin Carroll. 

    Favorite: Evan Carter RC (top middle)

    Least Favorite: Stars of MLB Tyler Soderstrom RC (bottom right)

    Like I've said numerous times, love Evan Carter. Now I have his rookie card to go along with my autograph. The gold-border on Jonathan India is cool, and we get one of those weird blueprint cards. I don't mind the design on them, but it's not even a current player, being Derek Jeter. The Stars of MLB Tyler Soderstrom is ridiculous. He has only 120 MLB at-bats, and is only hitting .160 in that time! Star of MLB? I think not. Not yet, at least. Apparently though, Soderstrom is a Star of LMB. I got the same label on that card that has been pointed out by both Uncle Charlie's Shoebox and Wrigley Wax.

    Favorite: Tyler O'Neill or Jon Gray (top right or bottom left)

    Least Favorite: Carmen Mlodzinski RC (middle left)

    At this point, I'm liking the individual pictures on the cards. Tyler O'Neill gets a nice vein-bulge, and Jon Gray's wearing the Rangers City Connect jersey. Finally we get a true Star of MLB in Aaron Judge, although he doesn't seem to be doing much, maybe celebrating after a hit. It's hard to tell with the lack of background. At least the back says Stars of MLB. I don't mind Carmen Mlodzinski, but he was the only player on this page who I didn't know.

    All in all, not bad. I only got two Rangers, but they were good ones in Evan Carter and Jon Gray in the City Connect jersey.
    If I had to choose a favorite card in the whole package, it would be Evan Carter, of course. That was the only card that received an exclamation when it was pulled. My least favorite card of the whole package was probably the Tyler Soderstrom Stars of LMB card. But I'm not going to complain about the 36 cards for under $8. Glad I was able to find some of the 2024 cards at a decent price.