#WhoWentWhere2020 Customs: Three Guys Who Went To Asia

It’s been a while since I’ve featured any customs here, and since I’ve been watching Korean baseball every morning (and wondering if Preston Tucker’s card values have gone up a few cents over the past week) I decided to show off some “Who Went Where 2020” customs I made a little while ago but got temporarily forgotten by my Stay-at-home Brain.

I’ll start with the most jarring… Former Orioles star Adam Jones went from odd (a season with the Diamondbacks) to even odder as he signed a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Pacific League.

The Buffaloes finished in last place in 2019, so Adam’s got his work cut out for him… but I wish him well, and I desperately hope that if/when NPB starts up, someone will broadcast those games here.  I’m enjoying the KBO, but I’d really like to see some NPB.

Also jumping the Pacific Ocean and fresh off a World Championship, Gerardo “Baby Shark” Parra signed a contract with the Yomiuri Giants of the Central League.

The Giants finished in first, but got swept in the 2019 Japan Series by the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.

One other quick comment…  Along with broadcasting NPB games here, I hope someone can merchandise NPB here as well.  I’d love to get caps for the Giants and Hanshin Tigers.

While watching the Kia Tigers of the KBO, I saw a familiar-looking guy in the dugout.  I eventually found out that the Tigers are managed by former MLB player and manager Matt Williams!

Like in Japan, Korean teams are named for their corporate ownership, and yes, this is Kia, the car company… Sorento, Soul, Optima, Sportage, yadda yadda yadda.

The quality of the photo isn’t the greatest, but I’m still trying to figure out good sources of KBO photos.  This one actually came from the website of the Hyundai Motor Group…  Kia is owned by Hyundai.

That’s all of the overseas updates I have for now.  I’d like to make one for former Orioles pitcher Tyler Wilson, who’s now pitching in Korea for the LG Twins, but we come back to the “Still trying to find good sources of KBO photos” issue.

Since I’m here and posting, I’ll throw in a few more “Who Went Where 2020” customs, just to serve as a reminder of where certain players will be when things start up again.

The Mets signed former Yankee Dellin Betances.  How warmly the Queens faithful will greet Betances will depend on how well he pitches, but I’m sure there will be some who will never see him as anything but a Yankee.

Speaking of the Yankees, everybody knows that Gerrit Cole signed with them during the winter, but… you know, gotta keep the set complete.

Here’s a double reminder: Todd Frazier is in Texas, and the Rangers will have new uniforms.

I’ll wrap things up with Mike Matheny, who is the new manager of the Kansas City Royals.

Well, I’ve got to go mow the lawn now. Everybody take care, I’ll try to be better about posting customs… and posting in general.

More Who Went Where 2020 Customs

I’m back with more of my Who Went Where 2020 customs which I’d created to sort of “bookmark” where team-changing players were when everything got put on hold.

When I started this I should’ve set a limit on the size of my “checklist”, maybe 33 or 44 like a small Topps set, but it turned out to be fun and a bit therapeutic.  As of right now the checklist is over 70 customs, but a fair number of those are personal favorites that I did for myself without any real intention of posting or Tweeting.

If you want to know more about the set itself, click on the link at the top of this post and look at the first post in this series… for today, I’m just sharing a few and making a couple of comments.

The White Sox picked up a bunch of name players this winter, including 2015 Cy Young Award winning Dallas Keuchel, who signed with the team at the end of December.

Next up is new Padres manager Jayce Tingler who is sporting the new (and thankfully brown) uniforms representing San Diego… whenever it is that San Diego gets represented.

I’m currently in the process of organizing (and thinning out) my 2005 baseball cards, and I ran across a Jayce Tingler card from 2005 Topps Updates And Highlights.  Topps went a little overboard with the “First Year” players, and had I done the reorganizing even 6 months ago,I would’ve said “Why should I keep this card of some guy who peaked with 25 games in AA?”, but now I have another reason to hang on to the card (aside from his cool name).

The Brewers also have new uniforms.  I was a bit unsure about them when they debuted, but after seeing a few shots of them on the field I will give them my stamp of approval.  Brock Holt signed with the Brew Crew in February.

I was about to say that Mike Moustakas is heading for the National League for the first time, but then I remembered that the Brewers *are* in the NL.  I am now taking bets for how long it will take me to get used to the NFL’s Raiders not being in Oakland.

I like Wilmer Flores, as do most Mets fans, so I would’ve done a custom for him anyway, but due to a special request, I’m featuring him here.  Wilmer signed with the Giants in February.

Among the players I’ll be featuring are those coming the the Majors from other countries, like Korean pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim, who signed with the Cardinals… and because I don’t have to worry about licensing restrictions, I can refer to the team as the “Cards”, like it was in the good ol’ days!

Finally, for Gary Trujillo of the Coco Crisp’s Afro blog, here’s a custom of the Athletics’ most significant (relatively speaking) acquisition of the off-season…

Tony Kemp was acquired from the Cubs in exchange for a minor leaguer, and was expected to compete for time playing at 2nd.  I made this custom early on, when I was testing the design with different colors (green, brown, red, blue).  I was also going to test with purple, but the Rockies didn’t add any Major Leaguers to their 40-man roster over the winter…. So out of 70 customs I’ve made there’s not a single Rockie.

OK, gotta get on with my day.  Take care of yourselves and be excellent to each other!

The Why (And How) With Who Went Where 2020

My latest custom set came from how I love to see cards of players in new uniforms, but also about how everything in our lives has been put on hold or canceled.

Before I go any farther, and for those who haven’t seen my new customs, I call them WHO WENT WHERE 2020 and here’s an example:

This particular custom is a “blog exclusive” since it’s not one that I’d already tweeted (If you’re not aware, The Shlabotnik Report is on Twitter: @Shlabotnik_Rpt ).

Every year since 2012 I’ve created a original custom card design and more or less played pretend that I was a card manufacturer cranking out a licensed set (and doing a couple of things that truly licensed sets would not be able to do).  I have a design created for 2020, but I became hesitant to unveil it because who knows what’s going to happen with the 2020 baseball season at this point.  I didn’t want to take something I’d spent a fair amount of time tweaking and fussing over and then more or less waste it by having to use old photos, Spring Training Photos and “Photo Day” images.  I could always save it for 2021.

…But I *did* want to put something out to help me and all of you good people remember where we were when MLB hit the pause button.  I thought of doing something like the 1970’s Topps “Traded” sets, but I’ve played with those recently and in the past…

…and wanted to do something different.

Lately when looking for inspiration, I’ve been poking through the designs used in the 1980’s for football, hockey and basketball.  Although I don’t actually own any, I’ve always liked the 1981-82 Topps Basketball design.

1981-82 Topps - [Base] #20 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - Courtesy of COMC.com

1981-82 Topps – [Base] #20 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Courtesy of COMC.com


I suppose Topps was going for a sort of “comic book” motif – POW!  BAM! KABOOM!  and all those other concussive sounds – but I am always reminded of graphics they use on food packaging to draw attention to some changes they’d made…

NOW WITH PROTEIN!

A GREAT SOURCE OF VITAMIN D!

NO ARTIFICIAL COLORS OR FLAVORS!

My initial thought was to replicate this set in a sort of “Topps Archives” way, but I couldn’t get it to work the way I wanted, plus I didn’t have the same font that Topps had used for the team name.  I decided to lean into the who “NOW MADE WITH WHOLE GRAINS!” aspect of it.  I started with the sunburst, and went into my mental card graphic “junk drawer” for the top part of the custom card design.

I’ve been having fun with these and it has given me a distraction from other things going on.

As of my writing this, I’ve created over 50 of these, and I have plans to create another dozen.

I’ll admit, it’s kid of freeing to have a relatively simple design to work with and not worry too much about which players to make customs of… I just have a list of transactions from the end of the 2019 World Series up through the roster freeze that was implemented at the end of March, and I pull the names off of that.

…As well as managers with new teams.

In certain cases, when I feel comfortable that a Non-Roster Invitee would’ve already been on the team in other circumstances, I’ve included them as well.

I’m trying not to rely too much on the “Photo Day” portraits and getting some game shots in there… but I also prefer having the teams’ regular uniform when possible, especially given the Spring Training caps they’re using this year (they’re OK in a few cases, generally bad, somewhat disturbing in the case of the Orioles).

As I mentioned before, I like to go beyond what a regular card company would be able to do, and one type of player I’m hoping to feature is former Major Leaguers who are slated to play in Japan or Korea. Finding photos has been something of a challenge, but I’ve discovered that Instagram can be a good source. Keep an eye out for those in the future.

I’m open to requests, but keep in mind that this is all about seeing images of players in new uniforms. It would look a bit goofy to see, for instance, Yadier Molina on a custom that says “Now with Cardinals!”, because the natural reaction is “Well… YEAH…”

So there you go. Hope you like these because you’ll be seeing more of them. At this point I’ve spent too much time on them to NOT share them.

Thanks for reading, take care of yourselves and as Bill And Ted would say… Be excellent to each other!

Curling Customs: My Latest Batch For The Winter Olympic Sport

I posted a couple of these on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, and at the time I was going to  post them here after I’d made a bunch during and following the pending World Championships.  Well, it should come as a surprise to nobody that the World Championships were canceled, so I ended up being a little short on images, especially for the U.S. curlers.  I’m also finding that non-Canadian curling news is hard to come by, and I’ll get into that in a bit.

So the general idea was to make a Goudey-esque custom card featuring top curlers of the 2019-20 season, plus some favorites.  It’s still officially a work in progress, but things have definitely slowed a lot.


When it comes to international competition, I often root for Sweden, even though I’ve not a drop of Swedish blood in my veins.  It mostly comes from the Winter Olympics, where I’ve always enjoyed the Swedish style of hockey, and now it’s spread into curling… I’m not a huge fan of Niklas Edin’s team, but they’re up there in my personal rankings. Team Edin won the 2019 European Curling Championship this past December.

Same is true for Anna Hasselborg;  I have to say, the the finals of the Women’s European Championship was fun to watch.

I think the last major event of the 2019-20 season was the Tim Horton’s Brier (the Men’s Canadian championship).  Team Brad Gushue walked away with the cup for the third time.

On the women’s side, Team Kerri Einarson won the Scotties.  I didn’t know a lot about Einarson going into this season, so I don’t have much else to say…

John Shuster is probably the closest there currently is to a household name in the US, thanks to his team’s Olympic Gold Medal in 2018.  Team Shuster won the US Men’s Championship in February.

Tabitha Peterson, who took over as skip when Nina Roth went out on maternity leave, won the US Women’s Championship.

In poking around on my usual curling websites (all Canadian), I found out that Chelsea Carey, whose team won the Scotties in 2019, is now a free agent as her team has disbanded.

And on the American side, three-time US championship winning skip Jamie Sinclair is also a free agent, after her team dissolved… but because I don’t know of any good US Curling news sources, I don’t know what happened.

I’m intrigued because Jamie tweeted out “Good luck to Team Christensen next season”, which implies that Cory Christensen left Team Sinclair to form her own team again.  If it were just her, though, Team Sinclair could continue.  Did they all go their own separate ways?  Is Team Christensen basically Team Sinclair without Jamie?  I’ve been trying all morning to find out, but had no luck.

BTW, if anybody knows a good website or Twitter account I could use to keep up on USA Curling news, I’d appreciate it if you’d tip me off in the comments!

As for these customs… I may have another small batch coming.  If you have any requests, I’m all ears (conditional, of course, on my being able to find decent images of the curler in question).

 

What If There Were Exhibit Celebrity Cards In The 1970’s?

…That’s a question I was asking myself as I was shopping for Exhibit “Movie Stars” and “TV And Radio Stars” cards on COMC, and also while searching through the scanned images of the Jefferson Burdick Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. These postcard-sized blank-backed cards, which were sold in arcade machines for many years, would feature many names which are still well known today:   John Wayne, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart and Spencer Tracy.

But what intrigued me more were the lesser-known stars of the day, such as the ones I knew from listening to rebroadcasts and cassettes of vintage radio comedies… Mary Livingstone, Jim and Marion Jordan (aka Fibber McGee & Molly), Gracie Allen… even (gulp) Amos And Andy.

And then there are the ones where I had no clue at all… names like Bonita Granville, Ben Bernie, Jessica Dragonette, Brian Aherne and Preston Foster.  Maybe if I were more into classic films or knew more about other subjects I’d recognize them, but I don’t.

That got me thinking about some of the celebrities of the 1970’s, people that everybody knew at the time but are far less reknowned in the 21st century.

And it also made me think about how it would’ve been fun to have had the ability to stick a penny, nickel or quarter into an arcade machine and gotten a couple of photos in return.

So that’s when I decided to make a few customs to replicate the Exhibit look, complete with fake signature and salutation, but featuring some of the celebrities of the 1970’s.

One of the first acts I thought of was the husband and wife mime team of Shields and Yarnell. They had appeared on numerous shows, often performing as their robot characters “The Clinkers”, and had their own TV show in the late 1970’s.  Lorene Yarnell’s best-known work to younger audiences might be inside the “Dot Matrix” suit in the movie “Spaceballs”.

Vicki Lawrence was a cast member on The Carol Burnette Show, is famous for her character “Mama” (first in the “Eunice” sketches and later on “Mama’s Family”), and, of course, her 1972 hit song “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia”.

Wolfman Jack began his career as a DJ, had a breakout in his role in “American Graffiti”, and then – at least from my standpoint – eventually got famous for being famous.  I saw him on numerous shows, and I knew him primarily for being on numerous shows.

Rodney Allen Rippy became famous for a series of Jack In The Box commercials and also became a “thing” unto himself.  I never realized until just now when I was researching him, but he had a small role as a young Bart in Blazing Saddles (in the scene where his family was in a covered wagon and surrounded by Mel Brooks and other “Indians”

I might consider making more of these custom 1970’s Exhibits if this post gets any kind of response.  I’ve got better ideas of how to do the fake signatures instead of the Brush Script font that I used.

But right now… “Supper’s waitin’ at home, and I gotta get to it”.

I Stayed Up All Night Making These Customs!

Well, I *was* up most of the night, and I *was* making customs during the night, but the cause and effect are a little bit different than that.

Y’see, I work in IT and this weekend we did our monthly rebooting of servers (along with software updates and the like).  This month it was my turn to stay up and babysit and do a lot of small tasks, but the way our procedures are currently set up, I click on something, wait a minute or two, click on the next thing, wait a minute or two.

Since I was sitting there in the wee small hours of the morning and decided I may as well do something else in the recurring minute or two of downtime.  On my personal laptop I had a number of images which I never got around into making into Hot Stove customs, so I figured I’d make use of my tiny little fragments of down time.

I’m feeling OK at the moment, but I got hardly any sleep last night so forgive me if I start to babble or not make sense.  I’m really hoping I don’t say something blatantly wrong or stupid.

So we’ll start with of of the newest Blue Jays, Hyun-Jin  Ryu.  This one actually is from a couple of weeks ago, but I wasn’t going to do a post with just one custom.

The photo is from a press conference, which is why he’s wearing a shirt and tie under his jersey… but I decided to try removing the press conference background and do an old school Topps trick of making the background solid blue.  It’s not quite the same blue (old Topps used solid cyan ink), but it’s close enough for government work.

For a guy who just signed a contract for a shitload of money, Gerrit Cole looks pretty unhappy… Maybe it’s because he had to shave.

I should’ve lightened the photo and gotten more of the Yankee Stadium background, but this is what happens when I make customs at 2am.  Unlike a certain famous sportscard blogger, I am most decidedly not a night owl.

Equal time for the Mets, even if signing Betances won’t quite have the impact of a Gerrit Cole.

I do like the way this one came out, though.

Back in December… I think it was December… the Rangers unveiled their new uniforms which I suppose are meant for their first season in their new ballpark which replaces their horribly old former stadium which was built in the 1990’s if you can believe it.  I didn’t bother putting new backgrounds in for these, I didn’t think it was worth it.  Anyway, here’s manager Chris Woodward in the new home uniforms.

Looking at this custom I see the folly of having off-white borders when the photo itself is very much not off-white.  I do that so the custom is not solid white, but here it looks a bit silly.  I’ll have to ponder that before I use that on any future templates.

If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time since 2008 that the Rangers’ jersey actually says “Rangers” on it.  Shocking, I know.

Joey Gallo seems startled by the new powder blue alternates.  It’s funny how a number of teams have gone powder blue alts lately, but at least they’re all teams which had used powder blue in the past.  I’m not sure I’m a fan of the powder blue cap.

That’s about it for now… I did make other customs, but the mistakes on those are too great for me to post them here… They should show up next week after I’ve made some corrections.

“Hot Stove” Customs: Brewers, Managers And Will Smith (No, Not That One… Or That One…)

I’m a bit behind the times with this, but the Milwaukee Brewers released a new set of uniforms early this past week, and while the new uniforms are a big improvement over the previous set (which were “fine” in the somewhat dismissive sense), I’m still wanting something a bit more… but on the other hand, I’m not entirely sure what I would change.

The standard home uniform is pretty similar to what the team wore in the mid-1970’s, complete with wide (by 21st century standards) blue and yellow stripes on the sleeves. There’s also a pinstriped version which is similar to what they wore in the late 1970’s and all throughout the 1980’s.  (…and by the way, this is a Faux 3-D parallel of the Hot Stove set)

My unpopular take: I don’t love the ball-in-glove logo. Yes, it’s all clever and such with a lower case ‘m’ and a lower case ‘b’ forming a glove, but from the day of the original’s introduction, it always struck me as a little *too* clever for it’s own good. I’ll admit, this is probably a lingering emotional reaction to what 13-year-old me thought when they introduced the BiG logo the first time. I always kind of liked the serifed “M” that the team (*ahem*) borrowed from the Milwaukee Braves.

The road uniform isn’t much to talk about, but I have to say that I like the road alternate uniforms, even though some people have pointed out that it looks like the Cub Scouts uniform… Or maybe, on some level, *because* it looks like the Cub Scouts uniform. I was active in Scouting for a number of years, so maybe that contributes to my liking this alt.

All in all, I’m in favor of this change except for two things: I would’ve preferred Royal Blue instead of Navy Blue, and I would’ve liked powder blue road uniforms… but I suppose this all comes back to my wanting the mid-1970’s Brewers uniform back.

Time to catch up on managerial hirings… and I still haven’t made a custom for Joe Girardi… and the Pirates still haven’t hired a manager yet…

I’ve always been a fan of Carlos Beltran, even during his time with that *other* New York baseball team. While I went into the offseason thinking the Mets would do best to hire a manager with experience, I like Carlos too much to hold that against him.

And with Beltran reclaiming his traditional #15, it looks like Tim Tebow is going to have to wear a different number in Spring Training. Maybe he can adopt a Japanese convention and go three digits (Now batting… Number 115… Tim Tebow…)

Judging from the reaction I saw on Twitter, the Giants’ hiring of Gabe Kapler is not a popular one… and it’s not like I don’t understand. He had some talent on his Phillies team, especially in 2019, but delivered some very mediocre results.

I can only think that Kapler gives one hell of an interview… And with Brad Ausmus out of a job, Kapler is a contender for “Most handsome manager of 2020”.

As you can see, my manager “Hot Stove” customs generally come from press conferences, and feature the newly-hired manager wearing a cap and a jersey over a dress shirt. Joe Maddon would have none of that during his press conference, though. From the many photos I searched through, I could not find one where he’d buttoned up his jersey or put a damn cap on his head.

…But I suppose it’s just as well, because you know and I know that Maddon won’t actually wear a jersey once the season starts. What I did instead was find a more appropriate photo of Maddon in a Cubs hoodie and photoshop it into the likely Angels apparel.

I don’t know whether Maddon and actor Bradley Whitford looked much alike in their younger days, but they seem pretty much interchangeable now.

And now, on to Will Smith… No, not the actor… and no, not the Dodgers catcher. This is the relief pitcher formerly of the Royals, Brewers and Giants who signed a 3-year contract with the Braves. Since there hasn’t been a lot of player movement just yet, and because I felt like making a custom last week, I whipped up a quickie for Mr. Smith.  I’m not 100% happy with the results, but I’ll leave it to you to determine what I don’t like about it  (and once again, this is a Faux 3-D parallel)

Every year I would love to do a Hot Stove set that’s more like the 1970’s traded sets with simulated bad airbrushing and – ideally – guys looking skyward. Photos of guys looking up at a bird, at a plane, at SUPERMAN! are not the kind of thing you find out in the wild, however.

To wrap up, and just for giggles, I’m going to share the other four customs I’ve made of Carlos Beltran over the years.

2012 TSR

2013-14 TSR Hot Stove

2016 TSR

2016-17 TSR Hot Stove

Custom Sunday: 2020 NL West Uniforms And A Hockey Request

After last week’s debut of my “Hot Stove” customs, I’m sure many of you said “Managers at a press conference… Ho-hum”

Well, today I’m going to stretch the boundaries of what these customs can be, both in subject matter and…

…IN DIMENSIONS!

Daah duh DAAAAAAAAAH!

…Well, simulated dimensions, anyway.

Over the past couple of days we’ve had two teams from the National League West unveil new uniforms for 2020. Since the whole idea of the Hot Stove customs is to give us a sneak peak of what the next season will look like, and since new unis are part of that, I like to work these unveilings into the customs.

…And since these photos often come with a non-baseball background, I generally remove the background… and since I’m removing the background, I may as well put in a ballpark image with some horizontal motion blur, and make these customs into simulated 3-D cards… or 3-D “parallels”, since it’s the same mid-60’s Bazooka design made into faux 3-D, something which never happened in real life.

Are you with me so far?

So on Friday the Diamondbacks did a surprise – well, surprise to me, at the very least – unveiling of their refreshed uniforms. Apparently with MLB’s switch from Majestic to Nike uniforms in 2020, the D-Backs decided it would be a good time to get rid of the gimmick-y sublimated snakeskin patterns and goofy red shoulder thingies, and just go with a straightforward version of their existing design.

I don’t love the revised unis, but it’s still a big improvement.

They also ditched the dark grey on the road uniforms and went with a more conventional road grey.

This was very welcome news to me, because the D-Backs unis have been the worst in the Majors over the past few years.  There were also a number of alternates unveiled, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to get into these beyond the primaries.

Last night the San Diego Padres had a uniform unveiling which, they let it be known up front, is all about going back to brown.  In fact, when new manager Jayce Tingler was introduced, they gave us a sneak peek of the new cap only with the 2019 brown alts (and forgive me for “reprinting” a custom I shared last week).

The San Diego Padres uniforms of late haven’t been bad, but they’ve been completely uninteresting to look at. I know they were going for “understated classics”, but I’m sorry, they needed something. I liked when they added yellow trim during the All-Star season, but that went away as quickly as the lifespan of that Fox TV series “Pitch” about the first woman in the Majors (and in that show the Padres wore those nice unis).

So along with going back to brown, which the team wore from their start in 1969 through 1990, they also return to pinstripes, which they wore from 1985 through 2001.

I’m not sure about the overall design… it’s not bad, but I think I’ll have to see it out on the field.

Here’s another custom featuring the new home uniform.

There weren’t a lot of good shot featuring the road unis, otherwise I would’ve included those.  The primary road unis have a brown jersey with SAN DIEGO lettering, plus tan (or “sand” as the team puts it) pants.  Yup, no road greys, they’re road tans.  MLB also asked the team to have a lighter road uni for when the home team wants to wear a dark alternate, so the team has a pinstriped tan-colored uni set for use as a road alternate.

All in all, the look is a huge improvement… Yeah, while I’ll say it’s not a home run, it’s certainly at least a stand-up double.

It also got me thinking… These two teams have been my go-to for “worst uniforms in MLB” for the past couple of years, but now that both have been modified, I’m not sure what the worst is now.  There aren’t any truly bad uniforms, so “worst” is a very relative term.  Off the top of my head, the worst might now be the fairly uninteresting uniforms worn by the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians… or maybe the Miami Marlins, whose uniforms are OK, but have some poorly-designed hats and black alternates that look blank from any kind of distance.

Which uniforms would you say are now the worst in the Majors?

To wrap up, I’m going to share a custom I was commissioned to make… “commissioned” in the sense that Shane from Shoebox Legends asked me nicely and I wanted to make it before I forgot.

I’m happy with the way this custom design has worked out, but I’m not sure I love the blue type for the Bruins wordmark, but I can revisit that when I make another Bruins custom – and I’m going to make at least one more.  Here’s a hint:  The player involved was one of the few players I remember from before I walked out on the NHL back in 2004.

Custom Sunday: Postseason Ends, Hot Stove Begins

Before we move on to what’s new, let’s wrap up the Postseason and the Hostess-inspired customs that I created as an experiment and liked well enough to keep going for a while.

Simone Biles threw out the first pitch at Game 2, but before she did she did a backflip and twist from a standing position.

And here’s the super-short-printed backflipping variation

To wrap up the postseason, here’s World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg.

Seven years ago I made my first “Hot Stove” custom set. Over the years the general format has changed, but the basic premise has remained the same: Create customs using oddball designs and showing players and managers in their new uniforms.

I started out with Bazooka designs…

…Went faux-3D for a few years…

…And as a side note, while I recognize that these were quite popular, they also require posed “photo day” images, and finding those the past couple of years has become… um…. problematic.

Getting back to the Hot Stove recap, in recent years I took some side trips into other oddballs like Topps stamps…

…And did a couple of years of Post designs.

For 2019-20, I wanted to do something that was less involved than the 3-D or Post designs, and also something a little smaller than standard-sized… but not as small as the stamps. I settled on a return to Bazooka, with a new template based on the 1963-67 Bazooka baseball designs.

I’ll start off with new Cubs manager David Ross (who, I’ve seen referenced somewhere, would like to leave the “Grandpa Rossy” nickname behind with the 2016 World Champion Cubs)

Ross has some big shoes to fill with Joe Maddon, and will be expected to bring the Cubs back to the postseason. Oh, how the expectations on the North Side of Chicago have changed over the past five years…

Down in San Diego, Jayce Tingler another first-time manager is going to have expectations of “meaningful September games”, at the very least. This is what happens when your team has Fernando Tatis, Jr. and the very-well-paid Manny Machado.

The Padres also gave us a sneak preview of their 2020 uniforms by having Tingler wear the team’s new caps. The full uniforms will be premiered this coming Saturday and yes, brown is returning as a full-time primary color. (About freakin’ time)

Finally, here’s our first repeat manager, Mike Matheny who takes over the Royals after Ned Yost’s retirement. The Royals have lost 207 games over the past two seasons, so expectations for Matheny are probably not high.

Mike Matheny’s name still makes me think of Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, even though I don’t recall having heard anything by Metheny since his 1987 “Still Life (Talking)” album. There was an extended period in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s were I was getting pretty heavily into then-current jazz and new age music… Metheny, Special EFX, Andreas Vollenweider, Bill Meyers. Somewhere over the past couple of decades, my perceptions of this music have changed and much of it no longer appeals to me. Just one of those cases where one’s musical tastes change over time.

Anyway…

Time for a hockey custom, even though my attempt to get back into the NHL this season has fallen into the too-ambitious-for-my-own-good trap that I fall into far too often.

I heard that the New York Islanders have won nine straight games, and I was curious to find how many current Islanders I had heard of.  Now keep in mind that I have not truly followed hockey over the last fifteen years, and I’ve been gone from Long Island for over 23 years.

So how many Islanders rang a bell?  Not a damn one, Quasimodo.  So I decided it was time to learn something about *someone* on the Islanders, and I picked team captain Anders Lee (who, despite the first name, is not Scandinavian… at least not first-generation Scandinavian).

According to his NHL.com page, he’s from Minnesota and was a standout quarterback, pitcher and 3rd baseman in high school.  He was drafted in the 6th round by the Islanders and played 3 seasons at Notre Dame.  He was named team captain after prior captain John Tavares took his talents to Toronto.

In retrospect, I could’ve done a better job cropping the photo (which shows Lee high-fiving the players on the Islanders bench), but I’m not going back and re-doing it.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Speaking of “ain’t nobody got time for that”, I was going to do up a custom for today’s Steelers opponent, the Indianapolis Colts… but I ran out of time, so you’ll have to settle for Pittsburgh offensive guard David DeCastro.

OK, that’s about it for today. Pat Metheny, play us out!

A Few Customs, All Over The Place

On this particular Sunday morning I have to start with one particular Post(ess)Season custom of one particular player…

As they used to say in Marvel Comics, ‘Nuff Said.

Here’s a little bit of equal time for the upcoming World Series.

I collect Ryan Zimmerman and, to a lesser extent, Sean Doolittle… but sorry guys, I’m pulling for Houston.

The Steelers have a bye week, but I’ll push forward with a Football custom.

I confess… With everything going on this week, I paid very little attention to hockey. However, I did see that Billie Jean King was at a Blackhawks game and scored a goal from mid-ice during a between-periods promotion. The crowd, as they say, went wild…

…and I felt the need to make a custom.

I’m still catching up on my “Scoops” customs, and there damn well better be at least one Mets-related award once the World Series is over.