R.Jay Dickey

2012-13 Hot Stove #8 - RA DickeyBeing a Mets fan is an odd mix of hope and resignation, of optimism and pessimism. I’d hoped the Mets would keep R.A. Dickey, who was by far the best – and very often only – reason to watch the Mets this past year. After things didn’t seem to be going well with a contract extension, I became more and more resigned to the idea that Dickey would be elsewhere in 2013, and I began to hope that at least Sandy Alderson meant what he said when he talked about wanting a big package for R.A. Dickey.

It is something of a surprise and a relief that the Mets did get as good a return as they did.  After all, Dickey could go (as Graig Nettles once said) “from Cy Young to sayonara”.   Not that I’ll be hoping for that, I like Dickey too much to wish him any ill will in Toronto.  In fact, if I weren’t an Orioles fan, I would be rooting for the Blue Jays this year.  They’ve got two former Mets who are players I collect in R.A. Dickey and Jose Reyes.

I’m very excited about Travis d’Arnaud;  guy sounds like a stud, and I’m looking forward to watching him play.  My apologies for the inaccuracies in my photoshopping; While I’ve gotten pretty good at this, I don’t have the skills to add pinstripes or piping to a jersey… so Mr. d’Arnaud will have to make it to Spring Training with a bogus Mets jersey.

2012-13 Hot Stove #9 - Travis d'Arnaud

D’Arnaud has the distinction of being traded for two different Cy Young Award winners. Three years ago, he was part of the package going from the Phillies to the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay.

If d’Arnaud plays in AAA this year, he’ll have the distinction of playing consecutive years for the same minor league team while in different organizations;  the Las Vegas 51’s were the Jays’ top farm team last year, and their affiliation switches to the Mets starting in 2013.

I was surprised at the number of catchers going in both directions.  When was the last time 4 catchers were involved in the same trade?  I like Thole and Nickeas, but I don’t know how much I’ll miss them.  One way or the other, I guess either Travis d’Arnaud or John Buck will be starting for the Mets on Opening Day;  the only other catcher they’ve got is Anthony Recker, who the Mets picked up on waivers from the Cubs, and who has all of 22 games of Major League experience.

Final thought comes from a Blue Jays perspective:  They’d better do something this year, because they’ve done a number on their farm system.  This winter they’ve traded their #1, #2, #3, #5 and #8 prospects to the Mets and Marlins.

Pack Animal! 2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects

I’ll freely admit it:  Bowman products confuse the heck out of me.

It wasn’t until this year that I realized that Bowman Chrome has different cards than Bowman.  I’d thought they were just Chrome-y versions of the Bowman cards.

And numbering… there are cards with numbers, and those prefixed with BDP, BDPP, BDPDPBPDPBPBP and so on.  …Not to mention that Bowman has a #42 card which is different from the Bowman Chrome #42 card, and both are different from the Bowman DP&P #42 card, but they all  have the same card design… How the hell am I supposed to keep all this stuff straight?

You know what?  I don’t give a flying “Future”, it’s all far more effort than it’s worth to me.  Let’s just rip into this pack of DP&P and look at some cards.  I’ll bet some of them are SHINY.

Joseph Almaraz is from San Antonio, was a 28th round pick and played in the Gulf Coast League in 2012.
2012 Bowman DP&P Joseph Almaraz

Marcus Stroman seems familiar to me, but I’m not sure why… In looking him up I found out that, like me, he’s from Long Island and not what you’d call tall.  He’s also the first-ever 1st round draft pick out of Duke University, and Baseball America recently listed him as the #7 Blue Jays prospect.  For what it’s worth, he was #7 before the Jays traded a bunch of prospects to the Marlins, and he’ll probably move up more if/when the R.A. Dickey trade goes through.
2012 Bowman DP&P Marcus Stroman

This is the big hit in the pack… it’s a Blue Refractor, numbered 11/250.  Kole Calhoun was the Angels’ 2011 Minor League Player Of The Year, and appeared in 21 Major League games in 2012.
2012 Bowman DP&P Chrome Kole Calhoun

The guys in these packs are so generic to me that I hadn’t realized until after I’d scanned these cards that I had the regular and Chrome versions of the same Andre Martinez card in this pack.  Even though I don’t prefer shiny cards, I like the Chrome version better, if only because the player’s name is larger and legible.  Those tiny foil letters are a pain in the arse to read.

2012 Bowman DP&P Andre Martinez 2012 Bowman DP&P Chrome Andrre Martinez

I searched on Andre Martinez and found that he recently launched a new Fresco Bath collection, giving new Luxury design ideas for small bathrooms… but I think that’s the wrong Andre Martinez.  OK, here we go….  Andre Martinez was the 6th round pick of the Twins in 2012.

This pack was completely an impulse buy.  My friendly neighborhood comic store had some packs; I don’t normally buy anything beyond comics there, but everybody that works there is very nice and knows me by name, so I try to “throw ’em a frickin’ bone” every now and then.  I hadn’t planned on buying any packs of DP&P, and this pack didn’t inspire any future purchases.

Oh, My (Black Friday) O-Pee-Chee!

One of my favorite sorta-set-specific blogs is the fairly-recently-concluded “O, My O-Pee-Chee”, which featured every O-Pee-Chee baseball card which differed from the Topps set.  I enjoyed checking out each day’s cards, and I still want to go see what today’s card is, but then I remember that the blog has run through them all.  Doesn’t matter, the blog is still fun to go through and an excellent resource.

I knew going in that 1977 OPC had significant differences, but I wasn’t aware of many of the other different cards. Every time an interesting card was featured, I added it to my wantlist.

While shopping on COMC on Black Friday, I decided that I’d see how many OPC’s I could knock off my wantlist.

I’ll start with the 1977’s… Bob Bailor’s OPC card features the same photo as his Topps card, only he gets the card to himself rather than sharing a rookie card with 3 other guys. It’s a pretty decent airbrushing job, if you overlook the blank jersey front. Bailor was the Blue Jays’ first pick in the expansion draft.
1977 OPC Bob Bailor

Dock Ellis appears with the Yankees in both the Topps and OPC sets, and yet OPC gave him a different photo. It doesn’t fall under the “1977 OPC as an update set” idea, but who cares. It’s got a different photo, I want it.
1977 OPC Dock Ellis

I got three cards from the 1971 OPC set, even though two of them don’t really fit into my collection. The uniqueness was just too much for me to handle (and they were cheap).

Claude Raymond had two different cards in 1971 O-Pee-Chee; one that matched his Topps card, and this one.
1971 OPC Claude Raymond

John Bateman fans also got a double-dip in 1971; this is the “bonus” card for die hard Exponistas.
1971 OPC John Bateman

Ron Hunt was the first Met to start an All-Star game, and he’s a player I collect in or out of at Mets uniform.  This is a different photo and different card # from the Topps version; unlike Claude Raymond & John Bateman, Ron Hunt had just the one card (I think).
1971 OPC Ron Hunt

1992 wasn’t quite as significant as 1977 in terms of variations, but there were more significantly-different cards than most years. OPC ditched the All-Star cards and replaced them with a very nice Gary Carter tribute (which I featured here) and a number of players who didn’t make it into the Topps set. This is one of those cards. I wasn’t yet an Orioles fan in 1992, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting this…
1992 OPC Tim Hulett

I’m pretty happy with this specific subset of my Black Friday haul…  As you can imagine, there’s more where this came from (hint:  I got a shipment of 177 cards… no, I won’t subject you to each and every one of them.)

Jose Reyes On The Move

I may have donated my Jose Reyes t-shirt to Goodwill after he left the Mets, but I still like the guy. For his sake, I hope that the excitement he expressed about playing in Miami was just the happy talk of a guy who just signed a big ol’ contract.

In ten years time, we’ll probably be looking at Jose’s time in Miami much like we say “Oh, I forgot that Mike Piazza played for the Marlins”.

…or “I forgot that Iván Rodríguez played for the Marlins”…

or Andre Dawson… Darren Daulton… Paul LoDuca… Carlos Delgado… Charlie Hough… Walt Weiss…

Nerdy Custom Talk (Take Or Leave As You Will)

In an earlier post which featured my faux Bazooka cards, I said I’d point out when I used a color combination which hadn’t occurred in the wild… well, this is one. I thought I’d end up using several non-standard color combinations in my customs, but what sounded good in theory didn’t look good in practice. As a result, the purple and yellow you see here will be the lone new color combo added to the rotation.

I tried some different techniques when photoshopping the Reyes image, and I’m not unhappy with the way it turned out. The image I started with had Reyes in an orange Marlins alternate with black piping around the collar. I did a “Negative Image” on the piping to make it white and I colorized the jersey and then had to mess with the contrast and brightness to make it a deeper, less glowing blue. It still has a little bit of an unnatural look to it, so I’ll have to play with that in the future.

Third Dude Needs A Card

There’s a dude who’s in his second year managing the Toronto Blue Jays.  Because the Topps base set no longer does managers, and Heritage only does manager cards for certain teams, this dude hasn’t been on cardboard since the 2009 Heritage Red Sox coaches card.

Dude needs a card.

You can nominate a dude by leaving a comment. If you know a dude who’s a veteran, has played a not insignificant role with his team (or teams) over the past year or two and yet has not appeared on a card this year or last year, well… Dude needs a card.

Pack Animal! 2012 Bowman 3-pack With 3 Purple Parallels

Peter Parker picked a pack with purple parallels…

I stopped at Target on the way home from work and was presented with three 2012 Bowman choices:  $20 blaster, $9.49 Three pack, and $5.29 rack pack.  I went with the three-pack because the blaster was more than I wanted to spend, and the three pack is relatively feeler-proof… Well, more so than the rack, I suppose.

I don’t collect parallels, and I generally don’t collect Chrome or other shiny cards, so right off the bat I just bought 9 cards which I have little-to-no interest in.  Let’s see if things get better…

OK, first card is Jeff Locke of the Pirates.  I’d seen on someone else’s blog that the cards are not black-bordered, but it’s odd to see the cards in person.  Are you sure this isn’t some white-bordered parallel?  I don’t know, it’s almost disappointing… Instead of a non-descript black-bordered card, it’s just a non-descript card.

Last year, Jeff Locke was the subject of an Altoona Curve promotion I liked… Locke and Locke night, where they tied Jeff Locke into the TV show “Lost” which Losties know has a character named John Locke.
Here’s a Prospect card of Blue Jays prospect Eric Arce. Bowman has fulfilled one of my long-time Bowmany desires, and that’s having all the cards in the pack having a similar design theme. These cards are different, but they clearly go together, so down the road you’ll have a better idea of which cards are from which year.  Good job, Topps.  Would’ve been a great job if the back of the cards said something like “2012 Bowman / Prospects Subset”.

Oooh, Chromes of two minor leaguers with cool names:  Dean Green and Xander Bogaerts (Spelled it right without looking…)

Oh, look!  Gold parallels!  Less value for my money!  YAY!

Finally, here are the purple parallels, all of which are Prospects (Kyle Simon, Jose Osuna and Anthony Rendon)… It’s almost a shame, the purple cards aren’t bad looking, it almost makes  you wonder what this set would look like with black borders…  No!  No!  Not going there!

Final Verdict:  The only thing that makes this noteworthy is the white borders, otherwise it’s just another Bowman set.  Uninspired design, uninspired photos, lots of guys who won’t make an impact at the majors.  I won’t likely be buying more packs, but I’m not much of a Bowman guy to start with.  The veteran cards are sort of extraneous and there’s far too many parallels… And I didn’t even get any Mets!  Da noive a dose guys!

A couple of 1977 O-Pee-Chee Blue Jays

I’ve mentioned before (I believe) that I’m collecting those 1977 O-Pee-Chee Baseball cards which are significantly different from their Topps counterparts… here are a couple I’d bought recently.  These cards would’ve blown my mind in 1977;  For a young baseball fan, 1977 was the first expansion I’d witnessed first hand, but all the Blue Jays and Mariners in the 1977 set were airbrushed into their new unis.  Looking back, it would’ve been a nice opportunity for Topps to have done something like the Traded set they’d done just the year before.  But you know what they say about hindsight…

As it worked out, 1977 OPC is like a traded set because they went to press later than Topps and – unlike the previous years – dared to make significant changes to a number of cards, especially for the Expos and Blue Jays.

Both of these cards were instances where an airbrushed Topps photo was replaced with a Spring Training photo.  Here are the Topps counterparts:

Jim Mason was drafted 30th overall from the Yankees, and Dave Lemanczyk was drafted 43rd from the Tigers.

If you want to know more about 1977 O-Pee-Chee and other O-Pee-Chee cards which differed from their Topps counterparts, go check out Oh, My O-Pee-Chee.

2012 Topps preview: Photoshopped without changing teams?

One of the 2012 Topps preview images caught my attention:

My first reaction to this photo was “Check it out, they used a photo of him from a Blue Jays ‘Turn Back The Clock’ game, wasn’t that a good idea”.  After all, the 2012 Blue Jays uniforms are very similar to the original Blue Jays uniform, and very dissimilar to the recent Black Jays uniforms.  I amused myself by imagining someone at Topps, having knowledge of the direction in which the Blue Jays would be going, sending 49 photographers to a throwback game, saying “Get pictures of everybody!  EVERYBODY, DAMMIT!!!!”

But then I look a closer look and noticed that the logo on his jersey is the new logo, not the logo they’d use on throwbacks.  This has definitely been photoshopped.  I guess the only question would be whether the original photo was of a throwback uniform which they Photoshopically tweaked, or of a 2011 road uniform to which more significant changes were made.

Now I’m curious to see what the rest of the Series 1 Blue Jays cards will look like.

Pack Animal! Bowman DP&P — Retail mojo!

While running errands at lunch today, I bought a couple of packs of Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects at Target.  Before I went back to the office, I opened one of the packs… and voila!  Got me a prospect autograph!

Not too shabby.  It doesn’t scan well… the card is shiny, but not technically Chrome, I don’t think.  It’s always nice to get some mojo in a loose retail pack.  Baseball America rated Kelly the Cardinals’ #10 prospect going into 2011;  we’ll find out before too long where he stands this offseason.

The only name I recognized in either pack was Cole Kimball, who was claimed from Los Nacionales by the Blue Jays, and then later claimed back by the Nats.  I guess you can say that two teams wanted him, or that two teams lost him on waivers.

I don’t collect parallels, so the two Chrome cards which come in each pack instantly get filed in the going-to-COMC box.  Then I got a gold parallel in each pack, so that’s 2 fewer cards of any interest to me.  It basically boils down to one hit, 7 keepers and 6 cards to get rid of.

I don’t think I’ll buy any more of these packs.  It’s really no fun to buy a pack and then not keep much of it.  The autograph gave me my money’s worth this time, but had I grabbed different packs and not gotten a hit, then it would’ve been $6 worth of meh.  I’ll buy the Mets & Orioles prospects individually, and ignore the rest of the set.

I did at least get a Mets prospect in the pack… Michael Fulmer, Supplemental 1st Round draft pick.