Certain Photos Just Beg To Have Customs Made Of Them

When I came up with my 2013 custom design, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to find pictures where part of the player’s head or arm or bat came up enough to be in front of the team name while still leaving the name somewhat legible. Over the past few months I’ve sorta trained myself to look for photos that have that particular attribute… However, I never thought I’d have an opportunity to use a photo where the it’s the player’s foot that comes in front of the team name, so when I did come  across one, well, I just had to.
2013 TSR #432 Scott Diamond

Thank you, Scott Diamond.  Unfortunately, this custom may have been the only thing to work out for him this week, as he had a poor outing and got sent down to AAA.

The A’s recently had a throwback game against the Angels, and I can’t say enough about how nice a job was done to replicate the 1969 A’s uniforms.
2013 TSR #499 - Grant Balfour

It seems like they got a lot of details right, from the lack of an apostrophe-s on the jersey and hat logo, the MLB Centennial patch, and the green and yellow stirrups over the yellow sanitaries.

The Angels also wore throwbacks  which seem pretty accurate, but aren’t anywhere near as colorful as the A’s.  They do have the very cool halo on the hats, though… You can kinda sorta see it on the top of Trumbo’s cap.

2013 TSR #435 - Mark Trumbo

It’s Been A While Since I Featured Any Of My TSR Custom Cards, Hasn’t It?

Oh, sure, I’ve done a bunch of my “Shoulda Been” Heritage cards, and I have more on the way, but my TSR virtual card set has been neglected. Let’s see what we can do about that…

This photo was one that just begged to be used with my card design:
2013 TSR #200 - Andrew McCutchen
The Pirates may not be the best team in the majors right now, but we’re past the halfway point and they’ve still got the third-best record. I sincerely hope they can avoid the collapses of the past couple of years and give the fans in Pittsburgh some postseason baseball. I’m a Steelers fan, but I would be very happy if the hearts and minds of the Iron City were not focused exclusively on football when September rolls around.

Kurt Suzuki may not be on the fast track to the Hall Of Fame, and his offensive numbers for the season aren’t particularly impressive, but it seems like whenever I watch the Mets play the Nats, Mr. Suzuki is causing us some kind of grief.

2013 TSR #155 - Kurt Suzuki

…and unlike a certain other player, he’s not averse to the name “Suzuki”.

Why A Div. III School In Phillies Country Loves The Mets… Kinda… Sorta…

Alvernia University is a Division III school located just over an hour from Philadelphia.  It’s in Reading, Pa., which is also home of the Phillies’ AA team, the Reading Fightin’ Phils.

…So why would anyone from Alvernia have any interest in the New York Mets?

I’ll give you two reasons: Mets catcher and Alvernia alumnus Anthony Recker…

2013 TSR #308 - Anthony Recker

…and infielder/Alvernia alumnus Zach Lutz.

2013 TSR #317 - Zach Lutz

Few Division III schools have had any alumni in the majors, but the Mets have two from the same school.  This is the first time two former Division III players from the same school were on the same MLB roster at the same time.  Recker is three years older than Lutz, but they did overlap at Alvernia, playing together in 2005.

And just to add to the jealousy of other D-3 baseball programs, neither one is the first Alvernia Crusader to play in the Majors.  That would be this guy:

2002 Topps Heritage Wade Miller

Wade Miller was the Astros’ 20th round pick in the 1996 draft and had a career 62-46 record with the Astros, Red Sox and Cubs.

A couple of the other former D-3 players currently in the Majors are Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia (Wheaton College in Massachusetts) and Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (University Of Wisconsin/Stevens Point).

“Shoulda Been” 2013 Heritage #1: Matt Wieters

As many of you know, Matt Wieters is not included in any Topps products; he’d signed an exclusive contract with Razor back in 2008, and while it seems that the exclusive expired long ago and Wieters is now ‘available’ through MLBPA licensing, he apparently never signed a contract with Topps. Wieters seems like a good guy, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that his agent is the poopyhead depriving us of Wieters cards.

Since Topps can’t do the job, I’ll have to take matters into my own hands…
2013 Schmeritage Matt Wieters

…and as long as I had “The Shlabotnik Custom Card Machine” fired up, I decided to go ahead and crank out a 2013 TSR Wieters:
2013 TSR #350 - Matt Wieters

There’s another prominent Major Leaguer who is not appearing in Topps products this year, and I’ll share his “Shoulda Been” Heritage card next week.

If your favorite player was not included in this year’s Heritage set, leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do to rectify the situation.

2013 TSR #285 Adam Dunn – Virtual Series Three Is Live!

2013 TSR #285 - Adam Dunn
If your local retailer doesn’t sell TSR cards, ask them why! The retailer might look at you strangely and claim to have no idea what you’re talking about, but don’t let that stop you! After you’ve insisted several times that they must have heard about TSR cards, they will threaten to call the police if you don’t stop hassling them. At that point, we at The Shlabotnik Report will tell the authorities we’ve never heard of you and don’t have any idea where you got these ideas from, but a dangerous person such as yourself needs to be taken off the streets.

Better Late Than Never: Chris Davis Was The A.L. Player Of Last Week

2013 TSR #135 - Chris DavisOn Monday, Chris Davis was awarded his second A.L. Player Of The Week Award of the season.

Last week, Davis led the league in average, hits, total bases, slugging percentage and runs scored, was tied for the lead in homers and was tied for second in on-base percentage.

As of this morning, he leads the Majors with 20 homers, a .740 slugging percentage and is tied with Miguel Cabreara for the lead with 7 intentional walks.

…and he still carries a career 0.00 ERA!

Custom Jean Segura – So Far This Guy’s Been Fantasy Gold

2013 TSR #139 - Jean SeguraI’ve got Jean Segura on my Fantasy team and the guy has been putting up crazypants numbers for a shortstop.  I’m in a points league, and even though he’s cooled off a bit over the past week or so, he currently has the 12th most points among hitters this season, just ahead of Robinson Cano.

He’s hitting .347 with 66 hits, 28 runs scored, 21 RBI, 5 triples and 14 stolen bases, which puts him in the top 5 in the Majors in batting average, triples and stolen bases, and in the  top 10 in  hits.

Segura is one of the three prospects the Brewers got from the Angels for Zach Greinke.  I’d thought he was a candidate for Rookie Of The Year, but he burned through his eligibility last year.

Custom Mattingly – Quickly! There’s No Time!; Also A Faaaascinating Card-Related Link

2013 TSR #234 - Don MattinglyThe Dodgers were pre-season favorites, but they’re languishing in last place.

Yeah, yeah, injuries, bad luck, blah blah blah.

What it really comes down to is the hard, cold truth that the Marlins learned last year and which other teams have apparently thought wouldn’t apply to them – big-name shopping sprees are no substitute for an actual plan.

And now Don Mattingly may pay the price for the Dodgers’ slow start. Does he deserve to take the fall?  I don’t know, maybe some of the blogospherical Dodger fans would like to weigh in on the subject.

Either way, I figure that if I’m going to make a custom of Donnie Baseball, I’d better do it now.

By the way, this custom and last week’s Rick Ankiel are from the just-released Series 2… which is completely meaningless other than the card numbers I’ve assigned fall between 133 and 264.

Paul Lukas, of Uni Watch fame, has a really interesting article and video on ESPN.com about the Jefferson Burdick collection at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Whether or not you know the general story, it’s a really interesting look into the collection that was donated to the museum by Burdick. Highly recommended.

Check out the ESPN article here

As well as the Met’s current Burdick exhibition, called “A Sport for Every Girl: Women and Sports in the Collection of Jefferson R. Burdick”.

Rick Ankiel Custom: Quickly! There’s No Time!

2013 TSR #215 - Rick AnkielWhen the Astros designated Rick Ankiel for assignment after he’d batted below the Mendoza Line while striking out in more than half of his at bats, I figured that was it for Ankiel… and that did make me a little sad, because I’ve been intrigued by him ever since he started to reinvent himself as an outfielder.

…but while the Astros are a bad team, the Mets have a worse outfield, and before I knew it Ankiel was wearing a Mets uniform with Dwight Gooden’s number on it.

At that point I realized I needed to make a custom while I could, because if Ankiel continues to hit around .200, he’ll probably be gone as soon as another outfielder passes through waivers.

…but it’s been several days and he’s still a Met.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

A Custom Featuring Braves Throwbacks From This Past Saturday

2013 TSR #42 - Kris MedlenThis past weekend was the annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game in Detroit, and while the Detroit Stars throwbacks were cool, I really liked the road Atlanta Black Crackers throwbacks that the Braves wore. What can I say, I love me some old-school drop shadow.

In fact, seeing this uniform lead to an idea… While I generally like the Houston Astros new look, the uniforms need a little something. Seeing these throwbacks made me think that maybe that something would be orange lettering with some black drop shadow… just take this uniform, substitute orange for red, substitute “HOUSTON” or “ASTROS” for “ATLANTA”, and I think you’ve got something.

Anybody with me on that?