A 3D Pat Neshek To Help Me Remember

You know those people that have a mind like a bear trap? Those people that never forget a face, a number or an event?

Well, that is most definitely not me.

I can’t even blame it on middle age; I’ve always been like this. But the thing is, the information is up in my mental attic, I just can’t always find it when I want to.

So with that in mind I wanted to take notes on how I go about creating my faux 3D cards, so that in the future if I decide I want to revisit them, I’m not sitting here trying to remember what kind of blur I used for the background (side-to-side motion blur).

And the easiest way to make sure I cover all the bases is to go through the process of creating one…. and so…
1968 Topps 3D Pat Neshek

I also wanted to post a custom to remind everybody that I create custom cards… It’s been a while since I shared one because I’ve been working on a couple of projects, not least of which is my 2015 TSR set, which is already behind schedule.

Update shortly after posting:
*sigh* I didn’t mean to post that just yet, I was still working on the text, but I absentmindedly clicked on “Publish” rather than “Save Draft”.

Oh, well. What’s done is done. I’ll just have to move on and have a better post for tomorrow to make up for it.  2015 TSR is coming soon, I promise.

“Hot Stove”: You’ve Got The Virtual Baseball Cards, Now Get The Virtual Cereal!

I’ve been making custom faux-3D baseball cards based on the 1974 Kellogg’s design for a while now.  During that time, it never occurred to me to take things to the next level until CommishBob from The Five Tool Collector complemented my customs by saying that “They look like they came right out of a Kellogg’s box”.

Had my wife been in the room at the moment I read his comment, she surely would’ve seen the cartoon light bulb pop on over my head.

After all, where should virtual Kellogg’s cards come from if not from a virtual cereal box?
2014 Cereal Box

If I do another batch of 3-D cards next winter (and I’m leaning towards using the 1976 Kellogg’s design, but that’s a long way away yet), I’ve got an idea to do a series of boxes as well… and those posts may well be like this one in that you won’t know what custom you get until you’re past the box and find that it contains…

Yoenis Céspedes!  After being traded to the Red Sox at the end of July, he found himself being traded to Detroit less than 5 months later.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #20 Yoenis Cespedes
If you combine the two Céspedes trades together as if it were one three-way trade that took a really long time to finalize, the Red Sox gave up Jon Lester, Johnny Gomes, Alex Wilson, minor leaguer Gabe Speier and cash for Rick Porcello and a 2015 competitive balance round B pick… given that Lester and Gomes became free agents, I would say the Sox came out alright on that one.

Getting back to the general concept of “Things I’d like to do differently next time”, I’m thinking I might carry two “Hot Stove” designs… One for the players I photoshop into new uniforms (like above) and one for the players who were photographed in a new uniform, like the Nelson Cruz showing off new alternate uniforms a couple of weeks ago, or like this Ichiro, which I did this way because I couldn’t bring myself to finish photoshopping him after I found this photo where it wasn’t obvious that he’s wearing a jersey over a dress shirt.
2014-15 Hot Stove 1968 Insert Ichiro
You know, just to make it easier to distinguish between “This is Matt Kemp photoshopped into a new uniform” and “This is Joe Mauer from a press conference where he was modeling the Twins’ new home uniforms”.

As of right now, I’ve got an idea in mind for the design of this “insert set” in the 2015/16 Hot Stove release, and it’s not based on a Kellogg’s set… but like I said, plenty of time there.

As long as I’m writing, I’ll just mention that my travels yesterday took me past three different Target stores and none of them had 2015 Topps… Although one had a shopping cart full of sealed cases that said things like “New Releases”, “Excell Marketing”, and “Display immediately”. Thanks, guys.

“Hot Stove”: Lester & Shark Converge On The Windy City

One thing’s for certain, it’s going to be an interesting summer in Chicago.

Both the Cubs and the White Sox have made significant upgrades to their teams… it’s telling that both teams are each getting their second “Hot Stove” custom this winter, while the teams I want to make customs for – my Mets and Orioles – have a grand total of one between them.

The Cubs scored a major coup by getting Joe Maddon, but they also traded for Miguel Montero, signed Jason Hammel, and also made a big splash by signing Jon Lester:
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #18 Jon Lester

Meanwhile, the White Sox signed David Robertson, Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche, while capping things off with a trade to bring Jeff Samardzija back to Chicago:
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #19 Jeff Samardzija

There’s no question that both teams will be better in 2015… what remains to be seen is whether all these changes are enough to get past the likes of the Cardinals, Pirates, Tigers and Royals.

I just read that Max Scherzer just signed with – UGH! – the Nationals, so perhaps I should fire up my copy of Paint Shop Pro and get working on another one of these custom cards (which are based on the 1974 Kellogg’s set, I should mention).

“Hot Stove”: Gordon Starts Fresh With Fish; Heaney Finds His Way To Angels

This week’s Hot Stove customs feature two guys who moved around a bit on the same day. As usual, these custom cards are based on the 1974 Kellogg’s 3-D set.

Dee Gordon is the son of former MLB pitcher Tom “Flash” Gordon.  Baseball America had him ranked as the Dodgers best prospect after the 2009 and 2010 seasons, as well as giving him accolades like “Fastest runner in the Dodgers’ system”, “Best athlete in the Dodgers’ system”, “Best defensive infielder in the Dodgers’ system”… but it wasn’t until this past year that he had his breakout and lead the league in triples and stolen bases.  As a reward, the Dodgers shipped him off to Miami and replaced him with Howie Kendrick.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #17 Dee Gordon
Dee Gordon was the first Dodger to lead the NL in stolen bases since Davey Lopes in 1976. As a Mets fan and Marlin hater I generally hesitate to wish anybody luck in Miami, but I don’t have anything against Dee Gordon… And let’s keep it that way, shall we?

All it took was one tweet from Andrew Heaney to make me say “I like this guy!”
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #19 Andrew Heaney
Heaney was traded to the Dodgers in the deal that sent Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to Miami, and then several hours later he was traded to the Angels for Howie Kendrick. After the second trade, this is what he tweeted:

Well, @Dodgers we had a good run! Great to be a part of such a storied franchise. #thanksforthememories

Heaney’s major league debut came against the Mets on 6/19/2014 and he took the loss despite giving up just one run in six inning. Over his 7 MLB games he’s 0-3 with a 5.83 ERA, but Baseball America has twice ranked him among the top 50 prospects in baseball. It’ll be interesting to see what he does in Anaheim.

“Hot Stove”: Catchers In Cars Getting Coffee

Even though I’m not a huge “Holiday Person”, I’ve still been very busy the past week or two. Everything’s been conspiring to keep me from things I really should be doing, like cleaning up the garage, organizing that file cabinet drawer, fixing leaky faucets…

…and most egregiously, making customs! I haven’t made one in nearly two weeks! *GASP*!!!!!

Fortunately for everybody involved, I had a couple in reserve, including one that features this winter’s first big splash, Russell Martin signing with the Blue Jays. Martin got a write-in vote or two when I ran a “Who should I do next?” poll, and if anyone was wondering why he wasn’t in the poll in the first place, it’s because I’d already created this custom, I just hadn’t published it.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #9 Russell Martin
For some reason, I always forget that Russell Martin is Canadian and his going to Toronto is a homecoming of sorts.

I made the Hot Stove Martin about a month ago, and the fact that it was something of a pain to accomplish is the only thing keeping me from re-doing this one. I’m not happy with the way the background “sells” the 3-D, and there’s a mistake on here that seems glaring to me, but I might have to point out to anybody else.

“Hey, everybody! Check out this custom I made but don’t like!”

As compensation for my kvetching, I’ll feature another custom, one that could be regarded as an “insert” to this set.

A while ago I ran across an image of Jerry Seinfeld wearing a Mets jersey, and I filed it away knowing that I’d use it at some point.

Today, that point has come.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #7 Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld is a huge Mets fan and seems like the kind of guy that any baseball fan would like to hang out with at a game, so it seems appropriate to put him on a baseball card, even just a virtual one.

And with that, The Shlabotnik Report brings 2014 to a close. I’d like to wish everybody a happy and healthy year in 2015!

“Hot Stove”: Rollins And Kemp, By Popular Demand

Last week I ran a poll to see which “Hot Stove” custom cards I should do next. The two players who got the most votes were Matt Kemp and Jimmy Rollins. Naturally, both trades also took the longest to become official, but today I have them in all their photoshopped-into-new-uniforms glory.

For those new to The Shlabotnik Report or my “Hot Stove” set, these are the latest in a series of custom baseball cards based on the 1974 Kellogg’s 3-D set, and featuring players who have changed teams over the baseball offseason. OK, that’s out of the way for another week…

After 15 years with the Phillies, Jimmy Rollins waived his no-trade clause and got shipped off to the Dodgers. Halfway through digitally removing every single red pinstripe from J-Roll’s uniform, I started to feel the pain that many Phillies fans are experiencing.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #15 Jimmy Rollins
You can just barely see the number behind the bat, but I did not give Rollins the #11 he wore with the Phillies because it’s currently possessed by (checking the spelling several times) Erisbel Arruebarrena.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a clubhouse deal made to get the number from… Arrrrrrrrrrrrrr…. from Erisbel.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a Dodger fan with all the changes they’re making this year.  It’s clear that new GM Andrew Friedman is determined to put his mark on the team.

Matt Kemp was sent from the Dodgers to the Padres in one of the offseason’s bigger trades. Unlike Jimmy Rollins, Matt Kemp has been with the Dodgers a paltry 9 years.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #16 Matt Kemp
I wanted to get the “Western Metal Supply” building into the background because I’ve found that hard edges in the background – preferably colorful hard edges – often do a better job of selling the faux 3-D.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a Padres fan with all the changes they’re making this year.  It’s clear that new GM A.J. Preller is determined to put his mark on the team…. Wait a minute!  Didn’t I say that before?  I’ve got this terrible feeling of deja vu…

I haven’t decided who’s next to get immortalized on a “Hot Stove” custom next, but Dee Gordon of the Florida Marlins got the second-most votes, and as he’s not a player who has pinstripes to remove or piping to add, there’s a decent chance that I’ll give myself a break and do him next.

It’s not too late – indeed it’s never too late – to put in your own request!  OK, that’s not true, it will be too late when Spring Training starts, because I’m not going to keep doing this after you can see photos of these guys actually wearing their uniforms.

Vote For The Next “Hot Stove” Custom! (And Check Out David Robertson While You’re At It)

Before I get to the voting part, let me share a custom that was about as easy to make as these things get…
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #13 David Robertson
When David Robertson went from the Yankees to the White Sox, I started doing some preliminary work for the custom.  I came across this photo of Robertson where he held his glove over the “NY” logo on his chest… and at that point my work was halfway done. Cover up the Yankees cap logo, add a White Sox logo, badabing badaboom, I got yer custom right here, buddy.

Prior to last week I was cruising along nicely with the “Hot Stove” customs, more or less keeping up with the ones I wanted to make, building a small backlog — and then the Winter Meetings hit. Before I knew it, there were guys flying every which direction, and I didn’t know where to begin.

So rather than try to figure out what you guys might want to see, I’m just going to ask you.

Just to be clear about this… This isn’t about doing just one custom, it’s more about prioritization. I want to know which players you’d like me to do first. You can vote for as many or as few as you like. You can also write them in – there were a few guys who changed teams but weren’t included for a variety of reasons (including the old favorite, “I forgot”).

Added Clarification:  The general idea behind these customs is to feature any uniformed personnel who will be wearing a new uniform in 2015, whether it’s a new manager, a free agent, a traded player, a Rule V guy, a waiver pickup, whatever…

As always, comments are welcome – I just thought the poll might get more responses.

The top couple of vote-getters will be featured over the next week or two. The remainder may or may not get customs, we’ll see where things go. I continue to hope that the Mets and Orioles will, at some point, give me reasons to make customs.

By the way, if the Kemp and/or Rollins trades fall through or if Dan Haren retires, then they will come off the list.

Thanks for participating!

Hot Stove: Cruz, Markakis & Miller View Baltimore Through Their Rear-View Mirrors

Last week was not a good week for Orioles fans.

I expected Nelson Cruz and Andrew Miller to go elsewhere… But to lose both of those guys AND Nick Markakis, the guy who had the longest tenure of any Oriole?  All within the span of 6 days?

Last week was not a good week.

But we must soldier on…  Perhaps we must, to beat a dead meme even more than it’s been beaten, “Keep calm and make customs”.

For those new to this blog, the following are all custom baseball cards based on the 1974 Kellogg’s set, and all three players in today’s post were “Photoshopped” into their new uniforms.  (Although I actually used Paint Shop Pro)

First we had Nelson Cruz head to the Pacific northwest.  Later, Cruz.  Front door, backside.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #10 Nelson Cruz
I kept my emotional distance from Nelson Cruz last year. The guy signed a below-market one-year contract late in the offseason, so I figured there were two ways it could go… 1) Cruz would have a good season and take off for bigger piles of cash than the Orioles would pay, or 2) Cruz would be worthless without the PED’s and the Orioles wouldn’t want him back. Either way, the guy was clearly a short-timer. I’ll miss his offense, I won’t miss him.

For what it’s worth, the Nelson Cruz custom was made before the official announcement, and was a means of killing time while I was on hold with my internet provider’s support line.

…And then there’s Nick Mar-kick-ass. For a long while it seemed that re-signing with the Orioles was a mere formality. Then talks slowed down. Then they stopped. And the next thing you know, I’m digitally putting Markakis into a Braves uniform.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #11 Nick Markakis
This just looks wrong, and I’m not talking about my work on the card. Nick is supposed to be an Oriole, what’s he wearing that damn tomahawk for?

For his troubles, Markakis is going to have to switch numbers; his customary #21 was retired for Warren Spahn, so he’s switched to #22.

Before we move on to the third custom, I’ll point out that the Braves will be playing in Baltimore in late July. Should be interesting to see how Nick is welcomed back.

Finally, Andrew Miller went to the Yankees… and you can’t even say he went just for the big payday, because the Astros offered him more. Frankly, I probably would’ve gone to the Astros – More money, and possibly a brighter future than you have in the Bronx (but that’s probably wishful thinking on my part).
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #12 Andrew Miller
Useless information: I adapted Miller’s Yankee jersey from an image of Ichiro. I think it’s fairly safe to say that in real life the 6’7″, 210 lb. Miller would not be able to wear the jersey of the 5’11”, 170 lb. Ichiro… But that’s the magic of digital photo manipulation!

I decided to combine the heavy shadow on Miller’s face with a nighttime Yankee Stadium background, thus creating my first night card for the 2014/15 Hot Stove set. You’re welcome, Night Owl.

So there you have it… Three former Orioles moving on.   Hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m making customs of guys coming to the Orioles.

2014/15 “Hot Stove”: Hanley, Panda Head To Beantown

Forgive the corny subject line; I was shooting for a fake headline like Topps might have used in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Since the Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval signings happened at the same time, I figured I’d give each a custom at the same time. I actually made these last week, but I don’t want to overdo it with the customs… I’m trying to stick to one and only one custom post per week.

A few comments about this first one:
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #5 Hanley Ramirez
I do realize that the Red Sox home uniforms don’t have the player’s name on the back. I figured the uniform numbers’ font is wrong anyway, so I was just shooting for “good enough”.

I tried something different on this card; the “piping” around the back of his collar started out life as a red line that I bent and tweaked using my software’s “warp brush”. It didn’t turn out quite as well as I’d like, but it’s a new technique to play with, anyway.

I didn’t know what position to give Hanley Ramirez… I’m not sure the Red Sox would know what position to give Hanley Ramirez… so I just went the “Infield – Outfield” route. If he ends up a pitcher, I’m going to have to slap somebody around.

If you’re got the inexplicable longing to purchase an oversized panda head, I think you might get some good prices in San Francisco.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #6 Pablo Sandoval
Maybe this is easy for me to say given that I don’t follow the Giants all that closely, but I think the fans will miss Sandoval more than the team will… especially for the money he’s getting. Of course, I’ll freely admit that I don’t care for the Panda, yet I couldn’t even tell you why I don’t care for him.

Sandoval’s piping and “Red Sox” wordmark were lifted directly from another photo, and then I used the warp brush to bend it into place. I also had to lighten the jersey, which was originally the Giants’ cream-colored home jersey.

“Hot Stove” Custom – Joe Mauer Modeling The Twins’ New Home Unis

Two weeks ago, the Twins unveiled their new home uniforms and whenever new uniforms are modeled by a current player, there’s going to be a “Hot Stove” custom made of it.

2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #3 Joe Mauer
Just to be absolutely clear, unlike the majority of “Hot Stove” customs I make, Joe Mauer’s image has not been altered. All I did was to remove him from the original background, put him against a generic faux-3D background and make a custom card out of him.

I was mildly disappointed in these uniforms. I’d heard in advance that they’d be losing the pinstripes and adding gold to the trim, but this almost strikes me as change for change’s sake. It’s not better or worse, it’s just different. The gold trim is subtle… almost too subtle. You can’t even see it in this custom, and I don’t know how much it’s going to show up in general. The gold looks fine on the sleeves, OK on the chest wordmark and like crap on the cap logo.

Aside from removing pinstripes and adding gold trim, the uniform no longer has the player’s number on the front and the word “Twins” is now navy instead of red (although the “win” part of the word is still underlined).

This has nothin’ to do with nothin’, but recent news stories about the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Belin Wall reminded me that “Mauer” is a German word for “wall”… as in “Die Berliner Mauer”.