Custom Sunday: More Scoops, More Football

Just a few scattershot customs today…

First off, I’m continuing to catch up on the “Scoops” for this season. I’d like to do this again in 2020, but I need to find a way to streamline my processes so I can do a better job of keeping up.

Since they got a good response and I enjoy doing them, I’m also going to try to keep up on these Football customs (based on 1973 Topps Football). Last week I featured Ben Roethlisberger and I admitted that I was tired of him, but now he’s out for the season after elbow surgery, so the Steelers’ starting quarterback from here on out is 2nd year pro Mason Rudolph. Rudolph looked pretty good from what I saw of last week’s game, so we’ll see how he does today against the 49ers.

I don’t want to make this custom set be all about my Steelers, so I’m thinking up ways of featuring players from other teams. This time around I’m featuring the Steelers opponents from San Francisco. George Kittle set a record last season for receiving yards by a tight end.

I might come up with other ways to pick players to feature… Each conference names an offensive, defensive and special teams player of the week, so if nothing else I’ve got six topical names to pick from.

I’ll also take requests… but with all of these, a lot depends on whether I can find decent images to work with.

One last custom, this time I’m reviving my original “Fauxback” template to feature a WNBA player who caught my eye when I happened to see a few minutes of a WNBA game a few weeks ago.

Diamond DeShields is a guard with the Chicago Sky, and if you’re asking “Is she?”, the answer is “Yes, she is”.

DeShields and the Sky got into the second round of the WNBA playoffs before losing to the Las Vegas Aces. He father is former Major Leaguer Delino DeShields and her brother is, of course, Texas Ranger outfielder Delino DeShields Jr.

So that’s it for this week’s customs. As a sort of bad tease, I’ll just mention that at this point I have little idea of what customs will be featured next week.

It’s “Crunch Time” For 2019 Baseball Customs

It’s been a couple of weeks since I did a custom card post and it occurred to me this morning that I need to get going if I want to get more of these done.

I’ve already scrapped my goals to make a custom of everybody to play in a game for the Mets and Orioles, although this is partially because my prior source for good images went away, so it’s much harder to find good photos of relievers and bench players.

At any rate, I figured I needed to prioritize at this point and start making customs of the guys I want to make sure are featured on my customs.

I’ll start with this one of Cubs’ reliever Danny Hultzen.

Danny Hultzen was drafted 2nd overall by the Mariners in 2011 – just after Gerrit Cole and just before Trevor Bauer. Along with Bauer, the M’s passed up on Francisco Lindor, Anthony Rendon, George Springer, Brandon Nimmo, Jose Fernandez, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Sonny Gray to draft Hultzen… But Hultzen looked like the real deal… until the injuries took a toll. Hultzen lost two entire seasons to shoulder surgery, so after 8 years in the minors it’s nice to have seen him make his MLB debut.

Last night the Mets beat the Dodgers on a 3-run homer by pinch hitter and reserve outfielder Rajai Davis.

For a guy who has appeared in only 20 games, he’s had a significant effect on the Mets this year. You may remember he made his Mets debut after taking a 2+ hour Uber ride from Pennsylvania (where the Syracuse Mets were playing) to Citi Field, and then helped the Mets win with another 3-run homer.

A former Mets prospect recently made his Major League debut with the Blue Jays. Anthony Kay was sent to Toronto in the Marcus Stroman deal, but I’d already “bonded” to him a little because he (like me) is from Long Island and needs corrective lenses.

Moving on to another Anthony… Anthony Santander was a Rule V guy drafted from the Indians and stayed with the Orioles through the 2017 season. At the time, all of the team announcers called him “san-TAN-der”, but I’ve noticed that this year they’re calling him “san-tan-DAIR”, which is probably correct (or closer to correct) given that he’s from Venezuela and not South Dakota.

I saw Austin Voth pitch in the minors several years ago and was impressed by what I saw. I kept an eye on him as he ascended through the minors, but apparently he wasn’t as high-level of a prospect as I thought. Never mind, he’s in the Majors now, hopefully to stay.

Although I’d made “Expos” customs, I realized with this custom that I had not made a Nationals custom. I’m not 100% thrilled with the colors I’d picked out for them at the beginning of the season – they’re the colors used in 1976 Topps for the Phillies and Angels – but in mid-September I’m not going to worry about that.  After all, it’s just the Nationals.  :-D

These two “Scoops” customs are pretty old at this stage, but I like them too much to let them go unposted:

And I’m going to wrap up with a new custom in what may or may not be a series… Over the summer I worked up a 1973 Topps Football template and had the idea of featuring a “Steeler of the week” custom for my favorite football team. As it turns out, last week’s game against the Patriots was one best forgotten by the Black And Gold faithful, so I’ll burn off this obligatory Roethlisberger custom.

You may be asking yourself “Why is a Steelers fan making a custom like that of the Steelers future HOF quarterback?” And the answer is because I don’t like him and am patiently waiting for him to retire so I can stop yelling at my TV. Yes, I am fully aware that he was a critical part of two Super Bowl winning teams. At this point I’m just tired of him.

I’m really liking the way the 1973 Topps Football design works for customs, so even if I don’t keep up with the “Steeler of the week”, I may just do a “Football player or two of the week”… or even use it for other sports, there’s nothing particularly football-y about the design.  We shall see.

2019 TSR: More Men On The Move

My lawn badly needs mowing and its a nice day for August, so I’m going to make this fairly brief and get on out there.

Zack Greinke was traded at the deadline for a number of prospects, giving the Astros an even more formidable rotation and – much to my dismay – most likely sending Shlabotnik favorite Brad Peacock to the bullpen once he returns from the IL.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was faking some 1970’s airbrushing when Greinke signed with the D-backs.

The Giants didn’t seem to be going anywhere this year, but they were a game above .500 in June and 19-6 in July. They decided not to sell off at the deadline and even traded for Scooter Gennett… and have gone 3-7 in August.

This all worked out pretty well for the Mets and Joe Panik. Panik must’ve seen the writing on the wall when the Giants got Scooter, and they were kind enough to DFA him around the same time that the Mets’ Robinson Cano went down with an injury.

Joe Panik was already a guy I liked, so I was happy with the move (and I’m keeping my expectations of Panik’s bat on the modest side).

Nicholas Castellanos got his wish by being traded to a better team. I was a bit surprised to find out that this is the first Cubs custom I’ve done for 2019 TSR.

By the way, I’ve decided that for future custom sets, when I’m making up some “promo cards” of a new design to make sure it works in number of situations, I will be using NICHOLAS CASTELLANOS as my “long name test”.

Jonathan Villar is here because I’m trying to get back to featuring a Met and an Oriole in each post. (And to the smart asses who are undoubtedly snickering at this… yes, there *are* Orioles worth featuring.)

I’m in my 46th season as a Mets fan, so I’ve had plenty of times where I got my hopes up only to have them tossed off a very high cliff and dashed on the rocks below. A month or so ago I expected nothing out of this season other than hopefully setting the groundwork for a more successful 2020 season, but the Mets have been raising eyebrows with their recent tear.

They’re now just a half-game out of the 2nd wild card spot, much to my surprise. I will enjoy things as much as I can, while keeping in mind that the Mets giveth and the Mets taketh away.

2019 TSR: Men On The Move (Plus “Scoops” For A No-Hitter)

The trade deadline has come and gone and I’ve been trying to find decent photos of players in their new uniforms.  It’s not always easy in a short timeframe, but I’m happy with what I’ve got.

Since I’m a Mets fan, I’ll start with the Mets’ surprising new acquisition, Marcus Stroman.  Stro struggled a bit in his Mets debut last night and got a no-decision.

To me, one of the strangest sights of the post-deadline world is seeing Yasiel Puig in a Cleveland uniform.  I was just getting used to him being with the Reds.

Speaking of the Reds and not getting used to players in new uniforms, the idea of Homer Bailey with the Royals hadn’t really sunk in at all, and then he was traded to the Athletics in the middle of July.

I was also surprised to find out that I had never made a final decision on which colors to use for the Athletics.  I hope this combination works for any Oakland fans out there.

Because of the draft pick compensation associated with Dallas Keuchel, he did not sign with a team until after the Draft.  So far he hasn’t been the All-Star pitcher of 2017, but I’m not sure he was last year either.

I’m going to wrap up with one of my “Scoops” customs.  I’m way behind on these, but I wanted to do a quick one for last night’s combined no-hitter by the Astros. Much has been made already about the fact that starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez made his Astros debut in such a spectacular fashion, but reliever Joe Biagini was also making his debut in Houston, so I made sure to recognize that (and the other two pitchers) in my custom.

Sorry about the quickie post, but I’ve got a full day planned.  I hope to have more traded players next Sunday.

Custom Draft Picks And Scoops

So I don’t have a lot of time for the writing part of the whole blogging thing, but I made a bunch of customs for a number of 1st round MLB draft picks, and I made a bunch of TSR “Scoops” customs, and I need to spend my Sunday doing some of the things I should’ve done when I was making custom cards during the week.

OK, so here are the first 4 picks in the draft;  I did the Rutschman custom because I’m an Orioles fan, but I also found images of the #2 – 4 guys because it wasn’t out of the question that the O’s would draft them.  Since I already had images, I went ahead and made customs for those players & their drafting teams.

#1 – Adley Rutschman, Oregon State University

#2 – Bobby Witt, Jr. – Colleyville Heritage HS (TX)
For those who didn’t know, Bobby Witt Sr. pitched 16 seasons in the Majors, mostly for the Texas Rangers.

#3 – Andrew Vaughn – University of California

#4 – J.J. Bleday – Vanderbilt University
I really hate these black-with-gold-pinstripes Vandy uniforms, but perhaps that just labels me as an old man.

I also did a few other draft picks for various reasons…

#10 – Hunter Bishop – Arizona State University

#11 – Alek Manoah – West Virginia University

#12 – Brett Baty – Lake Travis HS (TX)

That wraps up the draft picks… for now, anyway. If you ask nicely (and if I can find usable images, sometimes a very tall order), I’ll make a custom for your team’s #1 pick.

Moving on to the latest “Scoops” customs…

A lot of Mets fans… or at least a lot of the more vocal Mets fans… were calling for the team to ditch Jason Vargas and go after Dallas Keuchel. I’m OK with Vargas in his role as back of the rotation guy, and the Vargas faithful (relatively speaking) were rewarded this week when he shutout the Giants.

The Orioles remain on a pace to lose well over 100 games, but they’ve shown signs of being a team that might – MIGHT – suck less in the remaining games.

Pedro Severino, acquired on waivers from the Nationals towards the end of spring training, hit three homers against the Rangers and made a heads-up play to end the game by chasing down a wild pitch 3rd strike and throwing the batter out at first.

Yesterday the O’s were in Houston and Anthony Santander, playing in just his third game of 2019, made a impressive catch to rob Yuli Gurriel of a home run, and then doubled Michael Brantley off of first.

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth seeking out (and isn’t hard to find).

OK, I’ve got to get back to my to-do list. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everybody.

Custom Wax Pack for June 2nd, 2019

I went into this with the intended first line of “This is going to be a light week”. As always, I got in my own way and made more customs than I really meant to. My loss (of time) is your gain.

Justin Verlander is the unofficial Shlabotnik Report Pitcher Of The Month for May.  He may be the A.L. Pitcher Of The Month as well, those awards haven’t been announced as of my writing this.

During May, Verlander went 4-1 in 5 games, with a 2.29 ERA, a 0.594 WHIP, 42 K’s and 6 BB’s in 35.1 IP.

Josh Bell had more total bases in May (94) than any Pirate had ever had (Ralph Kiner had the previous record of 92 in June, 1947).  Bell had more total bases in May than anyone since Willie Mays in 1958.  Pretty damn impressive.

In May, Bell batted .390 with a .442 OBP, 26 runs, 31 RBI, 12 doubles and 12 homers.

This next custom is an idea I got out of the blue (and have already shared on Twitter – @Shlabotnik_Rpt )…  It’s a custom in the style of the late 1970’s Renata Galasso Glossy Greats sets, and it’s of Renato Nunez, so…

It’s a “Renata” of Renato!

Yeah, fine, both the original Galasso’s and my custom are just using the 1960 Leaf design.  Since it’s not a portrait with a “halo” behind the player, I’m calling it a Galasso.

Renato had a pretty good month of May… by Orioles standards, anyway.  While he batted just .217, he had 8 homers and 16 RBI.  For 2019 as a whole he’s already set career highs for runs (30), RBI (34) and homers (14).

With this next custom of Michael Conforto, I’m going to let you in on a little “custom maker’s secret”… The angled tops and bottoms of my designs sometimes makes it hard to fit photos in there without cropping out stuff I don’t want to crop out – like the baseball below.  To compensate, I sometimes cheat my way through it.

You see that blue outfield wall padding in the upper right corner?  That’s not there in the original photo.  I copied the upright padding from the right hand part of the photo, rotated it 90 degrees and pasted it up there.

…And now you know the REST of the story.

Getting back to the Orioles, they had a “highlight” the other day that was good enough to get a “Scoops” custom.  The O’s and Giants were having a black ‘n orange faceoff in Baltimore, and the Giants scored five runs off of starter Andrew Cashner in the top of the first.  Amazingly enough, that did not signal the end to the O’s that night.

The O’s scored 6 runs in the bottom of the first, thanks in part to Dwight Smith Jr.’s first career Grand Salami, and they went on to win 9-6.  Of course, the Giants kicked the Orioles butts the following night, but we won’t get into that…

I’m going to wrap up with a new “insert”.

The Dodgers recently called up a rookie catcher named Will Smith, and given that there’s already a veteran Giants reliever named Will Smith, it seemed the right time to make a new Pointless Pairings custom. For 2019, these Pointless Pairings will be in the form of a stamp sheet insert.

Catcher Will Smith hit his first career homer last night. Pitcher Will Smith has better stats than I’d expected a 2019 Giants pitcher to have; he’s got a 2.49 ERA, a 0.738 WHIP and 13 saves. He’s in a walk year, so expect him to be playing elsewhere by August.