2018 TSR: I Don’t Like Mondays (Meaningless Post Title)

Without getting into too much detail, something reminded me of the band Boomtown Rats when I started writing this post, so I stuck in the title of their biggest song as a placeholder and then couldn’t think of anything better.

As always, this is a post featuring a number of custom baseball cards, most of which have a design of my own… um… design.

Let’s rip this pack open!

I decided to work in a few customs featuring teams I hadn’t done already, and one of those is the Marlins… and who better to represent the Marlins than “Jarlin The Marlin” (and if that’s not already a thing, why the heck isn’t it?)

Jarlin Garcia got off to a very nice start this season… 6 shutout relief innings against the Cubs and a decent appearance against the Phils convinced manager Don Mattingly to put him in as a starter. He no-hit the Mets for 6 innings before getting lifted because of the pitch count, and then he started against the Yankees with 4 more no-hit innings. After that he had two outings where he gave up one run each and at that point he had a 1.09 ERA… and then he seemed fall apart. Seven earned runs, four earned runs, another four… His overall number still aren’t bad, but April and May are two very different months for Jarlin the Marlin.

Because of the dearth of manager cards of late, A.J. Hinch hasn’t appeared on an in-pack card since 2016, although he had a Topps Now card last year. I ran across this shot of Hinch hitting balls to his team and couldn’t resist making a custom of it.

The Astros have the third-best record in the Majors, but they would never get the attention that the Yankees and Red Sox get.

By the way, Hinch’s first cardboard appearance came as a catcher in the “Team USA” subset in 1993 Topps.

Time for the “Glasses Guy” of the week. The Rays acquired Anthony Banda in a three-team trade this February, so he appears in Topps Series 1 and Opening Day with the Diamondbacks. He’s put up good numbers in the minors but has yet to make his mark in the Major Leagues.

In 2014, the Brewers traded two minor leaguers for Gerardo Parra… Those minor leaguers turned out to be Banda and Seattle Mariner Mitch Haniger.

I first became aware of Colin Moran because he’s B.J. Surhoff’s nephew, but he’s put up some good numbers as the Pirates starting 3rd baseman this year.

Moran was drafted by the Marlins and had two cups of coffee with the Astros before heading to Pittsburgh in the Gerrit Cole deal. He’s batting .284 with 15 runs and 21 RBI.

The Mets didn’t have any one player who particularly stood out this past week (and who hadn’t already been featured on a custom), so I went with Michael Conforto, who’s become a favorite of mine.

Conforto was an All-Star last year and a Topps Rookie All-Star in 2015.

There’s not a whole lot of good going on with the Orioles these days, but at least “awful” has been replaced by “mediocre”. For the time being, my weekly Oriole custom will feature players I like, such as outfielder Trey Mancini

I’d seen Mancini play in the minors, so that gives him a leg up on the competition, plus finished third in A.L. Rookie Of the Year voting last year… Of course, Aaron Judge got all of the first-place votes so there was no way that Mancini was going to win, but it’s still something to point out.

This week’s “insert” is the 1988 Topps throwback of the week, featuring Mookie Betts.

Mookie went 13 for 31 this past week, hit 3 doubles and 2 homers, scored 7 runs, drove in 5, stole 6 bases.  If your not impressed enough by those numbers, for the season so far Betts leads the Majors in batting, slugging, on-base percentage, hits, doubles, homers and total bases.

So It turns out I jumped the gun – sort of – when I said it looked like Topps is not doing anything to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 1988 set. It turns out they’re using the 1988 design as an insert in a set which comes out this week – 2018 Topps Major League Soccer.  The following is a preview image.

Hm. While I enjoy watching soccer on occasion, I don’t follow any particular leagues or teams… So the only players on the checklist that I’m at all familiar with are Tim Howard and David Villa. Still I think I’m going to have to chase down one or two of these.

I know it would never have worked out this way anyway, but… wouldn’t it have been awesome if former MLS player Marvell Wynne were still active so he could be included in this tribute to a set that included his father?

Finally… Here’s the song referenced in the title and which, as I’ve said, has nothing to do with nothing.