2018 TSR: The Best Laid Plans…

I had all kinds of things in mind for this post.

I was going to make an All-Star version of my original custom set, but nothing I did looked as good on my laptop screen as it looked in my head.

“That’s OK”, said I, “I will feature all of the players who’ve been traded, like Manny Machado!”

…But I couldn’t find any good photos of Manny as a Dodger, it’s too soon to feature recent Mets closer Jeurys Familia with the A’s, and I couldn’t find any photos at all of Brad “Aloha Mister” Hand with the Indians.

Dismayed, I decided that I’d do one of my 1988 throwback customs – because Topps didn’t give us a 1988 throwback insert this year – of an All-Star player I liked… Nick Markakis, perhaps, or All-Star Game MVP Alex Bregman.

Just as I was pondering whether to substitute “ALL-STAR” for the team name at the top of a standard 1988 card, I had a realization and did a facepalm at my own foolishness… There was, of course, an All-Star subset in 1988 Topps, complete with its own similar, but distinct design.

I set about spending more time than I really should making a new template, so I hope you’ll appreciate this:

If you’re wondering what’s with the funky bat, well that’s the All-Star Game MVP trophy, which is a crystal bat. It’s dark at the ends because the background was relatively dark.

So anyway, that turned out OK. For my second and third custom in this virtual pack, you’ll have to forgive me while I go on a small rant.

2018 Topps Allen & Ginter came out this week, and while some of the inserts look pretty cool (especially “Flags Of Lost Nations”), they dropped the ball with their “Exotic Sports” insert set. I have no quarrel with Sumo wrestling or Sepak Takraw, which are genuine sports and are truly exotic… but Cornhole? Speed Stacking? C’mon, Topps, this is a tremendous missed opportunity.

Case in point… Netball.

I’m vaguely aware of Netball through my friend Amanda. She grew up in South Africa and when we were newly acquainted she’d mentioned in conversation that she played tennis and netball in school. Me, being a lifelong resident of the United States said “Netball? What the heck is Netball?” Apparently, the answer is “a sport invented by someone who decided that basketball was far too rough and tumble for young ladies to be playing”.

I couldn’t decide between the two customs I made, so I figured I’d post them both.

Quick Netball rundown from what I can remember: It’s like basketball in that players are trying to throw a ball through a basket which is over their heads; it’s unlike basketball in that the net is lower, there’s no backboard, there’s no running more than a couple of steps while one has possession of the ball, and players are assigned to certain zones of the court.

I’ve probably bollocksed that description up, but it’s close enough for amateur blogwork.

From videos I’ve watched it’s an interesting yet odd sport. It moves fast – Pass! Pass! Pass! Pass! Pass! Pass! Pass! – and then everything slows down while the player with the ball shoots at the basket.

This video for England’s shocking Gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games gives a little taste.  If you watch it, stick around until the end for celebratory gymnastics which put Ozzie Smith to shame.

So, yeah… instead of truly exotic sports like Netball or Kabbadi or Australian Rules Football, Allen & Ginter give us “Quidditch”.  Yay.


I spent much too much time on the prior customs, so I’m going to quickly run through the “base cards” in my little virtual card set.

I’ve got nothing in particular to say about Justin Verlander, but I made this custom early on and it just came out well..

Same for this Curtis Granderson.

Each week I feature a manager on a card – because Topps doesn’t – and this week it’s Clint Hurdle, whose Pirates have won 8 straight games.

Back in Spring Training, when it wasn’t unreasonable to expect both the Mets and Orioles to contend for at least a wild card slot, I committed to featuring one custom of both teams each week. Here are this week’s… again, not a whole lot to say this time around.

Amed Rosario has been a top Mets prospect who’s starting at short this year.

Like pretty much anything involving the Orioles this year, the catching situation hasn’t played out quite as hoped… but Caleb Joseph has been hitting .333 in July, so we’ll take what we can get.

That’s all for this virtual pack; now, I’d better get on with my weekend to-do list.

4 thoughts on “2018 TSR: The Best Laid Plans…

  1. #1…I can’t decide if ‘Vixens’ is the best or worst name for a female sports team ever.

    #2…”Back in Spring Training, when it wasn’t unreasonable to expect both the Mets and Orioles to contend for at least a wild card slot” &-( You had a LOT more optimism than I did.

    #3)..I like this custom design a lot. That thin frame gives it a classy look without being intrusive.

    • 1) Judging from the team’s logo, it’s the “Female Fox” definition of Vixen. I forgot to mention that they’re a team in the Australian “Super Netball” league.

      2). I didn’t think that shooting for the second wild card was that tall of an order at the beginning of the season. Silly me.

      3). Thank you for the compliment, I truly appreciate it.

  2. Netball is definitely a thing in Singapore…they even had the world championships here a few years ago. Maybe I should check it out at some point. No netball cards here, I’m afraid….

  3. Looking forward to seeing your custom Familia card. It’s nice to see Oakland trying to strengthen their team instead of dismantling it.

    P.S. Sweet netball cards!

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