2015 TSR: Series Two Is LIVE! (…As If That Means Anything)

You’re probably wondering what the point is of having different series within a virtual card set.  Well, to be honest, there isn’t much point…But I do it because I strive to make this virtual set everything that I wish an commercially-available card set would be.  Even though I started collecting in 1974 and just missed the boat on collecting sets that came in 5, 6 or 7 series, I still love the concept and would like to experience it someday.

Having artificial series also gives me a sort of breaking point to introduce new subsets, inserts and the like… Plus the opportunity to tweak the wrapper every six weeks.

2015 TSR Series 2 Wrapper

Just like the wrapper says, there will be some faux rub-on tattoos in this series, as well as some other new inserts… I’ll talk about them when I get there.

By a stroke of incredible fortune, nearly all of the cards that came in this pack just happened to involve players and events that have recently impacted my two MLB teams and my two Fantasy teams (points and Rotisserie).

On Sunday, the Orioles called up a promising rookie pitcher to start the game… and the new guy showed why people view him as promising.
2015 TSR #135 - Mike Wright
Mike Wright looked pretty darn impressive in getting the win in his debut.  He shut out the Angels through 7.1 innings, striking out six, walking none and giving up just four hits.  I ended up watching him pitch for a while rather than mow the lawn, and let me tell you, that is a major sacrifice on my part (nah, it really isn’t).

Although it wasn’t his debut, Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard was also impressive on Sunday, giving up one run and three hits over six innings, on his way to his first MLB victory.
2015 TSR #133 - Noah Syndergaard
I recently saw… somewhere… somebody commenting on what the Blue Jays’s outlook would look like if they hadn’t traded away prospects like Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud and Jake Marisnick. Not that I have anything against the Jays, but its nice to hear that kind of talk about a team other than the Mets.

OK, now it’s time for the inserts!

Up first is a faux rub-on tattoo… The idea for this came last September when Matt over at Heartbreaking Cards Of Staggering Genius busted a box of 1986 Topps Baseball Tattoos.  The tattoos from that set were appealing and colorful, but one thing that struck me about them is that they were simple.  “Well, shoot, I could do something like that”… at which point the tiny Barney Stinson in my head said “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!”

So here’s the first one, featuring the Mets’ Matt Harvey. (The name and logo are backwards because it’s supposed to be a rub-on tattoo).
2015 TSR Tattoo - Matt Harvey
I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, but this turned out much better than I expected.  The artwork is more simple than you find with the 1986 Topps tattoos, and I’ll be frank:  calling it “artwork” is being generous, it’s really just my digitally tracing over a photo.

For the time being, I’m going to enjoy the way it looks… for a little while until I start to worry about whether I’ll be able to do as good of a job on the next one.

Since early in the season I’ve been meaning to feature the Astros… and why not? Given their loaded farm system and a few years of hard knocks, I fully expected the Astros to show improvement this year, perhaps be reasonably competitive… But I did not expect them to be in first place and 10+ games over .500 in mid-May.

The Astros had some lovely throwback uniforms to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Astrodome, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and introduce another new “insert”.
2015 TSR TB-1 - George Springer
Trivia for you custom card nerds: The yellowing effect on this card was cloned from an actual 1968 Topps “Game” insert card I bought recently. It is authentic Topps yellowing! How can you not like that?

I also love these throwbacks uniforms… Frankly, I think they should use these everyday, but nobody ever asks for my input on these things.

Moving on from the inserts to “Joe’s Fantasy Corner”…. Earlier this month I picked up a pitcher on waivers, and that guy has payed immediate dividends for my floundering team… That guy being Shelby Miller of the Braves.
2015 TSR #153 - Shelby Miller
Since I added Miller, he’s thrown two shutouts and was one out away from throwing a no-hitter this past Sunday. What more could you ask of a guy who didn’t get drafted?

I’m hoping I get a similarly-outstanding results out of my latest acquisition, Delino DeShields. DeShields is a Rule V selection from the Astros (and if they weren’t doing well, they’d probably being saying “D’OH!!!!” about DeShields’ success so far) and he’s been doing quite well in Texas.
2015 TSR #134 - Delino DeShields
I’ve seen him referred to Delino Jr., but he’s got a different middle name than his father, so I don’t think that really makes him a “Junior”…

I’m going to gush over my own custom again… I like the way this one came out, because him looking up like that is very “vintage Topps”. The photo of Delino actually a “Photo Day” image, and I added the background of The Ballpark At Arlington.

Before I wrap up, I’d like to bring up another MLB happening from the beginning of the week…

As most of you know, the Marlins recently made an unconventional choice when they replaced their manager.  The word on the street was that they were going to hire someone who was inside the organization while still being an “outside the box” hire…
2015 TSR MAS-1 Billy The Marlin
…But Billy The Marlin turned the position down, so they put GM Dan Jennings in the job instead.

Thanks, I’ll be here all week, you’ve been a great audience!

Tip your waitstaff!

Fun At The Ballpark

1992 Donruss Triple Play Fun At the BallparkIt certainly seems like the Mets are having fun at the ballpark this year; while it’s early yet, they’re exceeding expectations with their 7-4 record, second in the NL East only to the red-hot Braves. There was also a lot of fun at the ballpark this past Saturday when rookie Matt Harvey no-hit the Twins through 7.2 innings.

…And all of this is meant as a lead in for my apology to Mets fans everywhere: I jinxed Matt Harvey.

On Saturday I had the TV on MLB Network, but I wasn’t paying much attention to it until I saw a crawl on the screen saying that Harvey had a no-hitter through six. I thought “Wow, wouldn’t it be something if the Mets went 50 years without a no-hitter, then have two less than 12 months apart?”

I had to take care of some things in another room, but when I got back to the TV I was happy to see that MLB Network had live coverage. Naturally, the very first pitch that I saw was hit out of the park by Justin Morneau.

Goodbye no-hitter, goodbye shutout.

Sorry. It’s all my fault.

It’s just like the bowling league I’m in; any time someone tells me to check out another bowler with a perfect game in the works, as soon as I start watching they leave a pin standing.

Just call me “Death To Perfect Things”.

2012 Pro Debut Mets; Are The Mets Doomed To Vegas In AAA?

Daniel Muno – Brooklyn Cyclones

The Rochester Red Wings extended their affiliation with the Twins last week, and that’s probably bad news for the Mets. The general buzz as the minor league affiliations come up this year is that the Buffalo Bisons would like to jettison the Mets and affiliate with the relatively nearby Toronto Blue Jays (100 miles by car).  If the Mets do end up leaving Buffalo, their options are not great.
There are several teams that have agreements that are expiring, but a number of them will probably never hit the free market. I would be greatly surprised if the affiliations between the Dodgers and Albuquerque, the Giants

Gregory Pron – Kingsport Mets

and Fresno, the Cubs and Iowa and the Cardinals and Memphis were not renewed.

So let’s say that all four of these are renewed, and Buffalo tells the Mets not to let the front door hit them on the backside. What would the Mets AAA options be at that point?
First off, with Buffalo off the table, all the remaining options are in the Pacific Coast League, which means that even if the home ballpark is relatively close to New York, there’s always the possibility that when the Mets need to call someone up, their AAA team will be on the road in Tacoma or Albuquerque or

Jeyrys Familia – Binghamton Mets

Fresno. Nashville and New Orleans might be the most palatable of the remaining options, but I don’t know how much interest either team has in the Mets.  New Orleans was a Mets affiliate in the past, but I don’t know if that was a particularly great association for either side (it lasted just the minimum two years from 2007-08). The other possibilities would be Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

I get the impression that the Mets have a reputation for not being very good about maintaining positive relationships to their minor league affiliates… if they hadn’t taken the Norfolk Tides for granted, they’d be continuing their long affiliation with them.  I see the Mets and the Las Vegas 51’s as the least-desirable dance partners in this affiliation tango, they’ll be the last ones standing when the music stops, and will enter into a forced arrangement.

Matt Den Dekker – St. Lucie Mets

I guess if nothing else, the Las Vegas uniforms have a cool Star Trek font.  Also, I’ll go on record and say that the Mets-ified Buffalo Bisons uniforms are pretty freakin’ ugly, so Buffalo will do well aesthetically by going elsewhere.
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I feel like I should say something about these cards, so… This is the full 8-card Mets team set from 2012 Topps Pro Debut. I got the cards at the National, but I bought them as individual cards from one dealer. I like Pro Debut well enough to buy packs, but nobody in my area sells individual packs, only boxes. As a result, I made a want list of base set Mets, Orioles, and guys I’ve seen in the minors, and filled that out at the National. I’ll live without the inserts.

Matt Harvey – St. Lucie Mets

Travis Taijeron – Brooklyn Cyclones

Wilmer Flores – St. Lucie Mets

Zack Wheeler – St. Lucie Mets

Mets Monday: Random oddball stuff and random thoughts

I’ve scanned a good number of Mets images and found that there are a bunch about which I don’t have much to say, so I figured I’d gather them together in a post.

I didn’t get this autograph in person, I got it from a dealer.  I figure there’s a good chance it’s authentic, because why would anyone fake a Tom Grieve autograph?

This is a Pacific Baseball Legends card;  I’m not sure which year, but does it really matter?  I like it when a “legends” set includes some lesser names;  I mean, unless you’re working on a player collection, how many Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax cards does one need?

I’m looking forward to this year’s sticker set, and I don’t know why.  Last year’s stickers are still sitting in a stack on my end table, because I can’t decide if I want to complete the set or just the teams/players I like, if I want to stick the stickers in the album or put the cards in albums, and so on.  Wishy-washy to the end.

I’ve always liked the 1991 Studio set, even though it’s not the type of set I usually like.  I’m a few cards away from completing it (and have spent more than a few dollars more than I really needed to on what amounts to a junk wax set)

I don’t have a scan of the regular Topps Jose Reyes card, but I got this Opening Day card because the photo is inexplicably different from that card, and the card is vertical instead of horizontal.  If anyone knows of a good resource on which Opening Day photos are different from the regular set’s photos, please let me know.

Despite the Mets awful Spring Training win-loss record, I’m champing at the bit waiting for the season to start.

Let’s go, Mets!