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.

Looking For Feedback On Prototypes For My “Hot Stove” Set

Topps released a preview of their 2015 set the other day, and yesterday Jim over at The Phillies Room released a preview of his 2015 Chachi set, so I thought I might get in on the action as well.

For those of you who have not followed this blog through prior offseasons, I’ve been doing a custom set I call “TSR Hot Stove”.  The general idea is to show guys “photoshopped” into new uniforms and the like, while giving me the opportunity to flex some creative muscles and play with my Paint Shop Pro software.

If you’re curious about the prior sets, go up to the top, click on the “Galleries Of Custom Cards” tab, and scroll down to see the 2013/14 set (which was based on 1959 Bazooka) and scroll down even further to see the 2012/13 set (which was based on 1960-1962 Bazooka).

I like the idea of using a vintage “oddball” set for the design, but I don’t really care as much for the other vintage Bazooka designs.  As a result, I’d been toying with using the design from 1974 Kellogg’s for my 2014/15 Hot Stove set.

1974 Kelloggs Felix Millan

The one thing I wasn’t thrilled about was the lack of team identification, and also the fact that it shows only the player’s last name (something I’ve never cared for).

To see what I might be able to do with this, I first made a Bartolo Colon prototype without changing things a whole lot… sort of a “proof of concept”  Here’s what I got.
2014 Hot Stove Prototype 1
The only thing I changed from the original design was altering the text at top to read “2-D SUPER STARS”, just to acknowledge the fact that I’m not quite good enough at this to completely simulate the lenticular “3-D” effect.

I was pretty happy with that custom, so I went back later and decided to expand the box the name goes in, and add in the first name in a smaller font, kind of like Topps did in their 1974 set.

Just for fun and to give myself and all of you an idea of what this might look like “in production”, I went and looked at a list of prospective free agents, picked one of the bigger names and made a not-unreasonable guess as to where he’d end up.

Here’s the second prototype:
2014 Hot Stove Prototype 2

To fit the full name in, I made the box slightly taller, but I doubt that one could even tell without measuring.

So… what do you think?  Are you OK with the liberties I’ve taken, or do you prefer that I stay faithful to the original?  I’ll be honest, I’m still going back and forth on that.

But what’s more important right now is “Would you want to see more of these from November through February?”  I hope so, because as of right now I don’t have a “Plan B”.

 

Wrapping Up My 2013 TSR Custom Set And Looking Forward To 2014

Now that the World Series is over, now that Koji Uehara and some guys beat Carlos Beltran and some other guys …which is largely what the World Series ended up being for me…  now that the Postseason is over, we can get on with the business of the offseason…  Manager hirings can get announced, awards can be awarded, free agents can be free and so on.

With all the offseason movement will come my 2nd annual “Hot Stove” custom set, which I previewed back in September… but before we get to that, I need to put my regular “TSR” set to bed for another year and start looking forward to 2014.

2013 TSR #708 - Ben Revere

A lot of the customs I made this year ended up being a case of “Oh, that photo will work really well with my design”. Having the team name at the top and behind the player’s head, bat, glove, etc. made for a theme in and of itself.

2013 TSR #502 Lorenzo Cain

I’m far enough along with next year’s design to know that “Photos which go with the design” won’t be anywhere near as much of a factor next year. That being said, I kinda liked having a theme to the cards I made, and I’d like to carry that forward in some other way.

2013 TSR #715 - Hanley Ramirez

I could always do players from my favorite teams (Mets and Orioles), but I honestly like making at least one card for every team;  I think it makes it more fun for me and for you.

I could also do something along the lines of a “Player Of The Week”, which wouldn’t necessarily be the best player of the week, but more the player about whom I have something to say.

I’m sure I’ll figure it out.  If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment, I’d love to hear what you think!

Speaking of having something to say, I have something to say about the last three customs…

I made this Jim Leyland custom in the middle of  September, mainly to make sure that I had a Tigers custom in my “inventory”.  Little did I know it would be Leyland’s final custom (sniff).

2013 TSR #643 - Jim Leyland

Mrs. Shlabotnik looooooooooves Brian Roberts, and I would be ill-advised to ignore that fact when making customs… especially when he’s going to be a free agent.  I truly hope that he and the Orioles can come to some sort of incentive-laden agreement;  it would be too weird to see Brian in another uniform.

2013 TSR #701 - Brian Roberts

Finally, a sort of tradition I’ve established is to make a custom of “myself” which truly embodies the unique blend of grace, skill and sheer athleticism that I bring to any sport.

2013 TSR #792 - Joe Shlabotnik

…and that’s a wrap for the 2013 TSR set!  I hope you’ve all enjoyed them, and I hope you have a happy and safe Halloween!