Friday, December 12, 2014

One Pack of Topps Update

This is just the second pack of 2014 baseball cards I've opened. Really my hope was to get an Oriole or a Brave, and luckily I pulled one of each. Nothing gets you excited about the hobby like cracking a pack. 

Looks like the Orioles are interested in bringing back Delmon Young. I'm in favor of this based off of this hit alone.

Avilan had a 4-1 record for the Braves in 2014 but finished with a 4.57 era in 43.1 innings, a figure far off from his previous two seasons with the Braves.

A trio of rookies in one pack, I'll take it. Chase Anderson got one vote for NL rookie of the year, finishing 10th in voting after going 9-7 with a 4.01 ERA with the Diamondbacks.

An All-Star card of Yu Darvish, a red parallel of a Giants rookie who is pegged as a utility infielder in this article, and maybe my favorite photo from the pack, of Cole Figueroa.

Seems like a solid pack to me, but mainly it was satisfying to rip it open.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kemp to the Padres

Baseball moves are happening left and right, with the Dodgers and Red Sox making the most. I mentioned visiting Dodger stadium about 10 years ago which led me to follow the team through the years. While they fall below the Orioles and Braves on my favorite teams list, I do have a few small player collections of certain Dodgers such as Shawn Green, Cesar Izturis, Paul Lo Duca, Andre Ethier, James Loney, and Matt Kemp. 

By now you've probably seen that Kemp was dealt to the Padres earlier today. I don't know much about the guys the Dodgers are getting in return, but I do know that without Kemp the Dodgers are lacking power in their lineup. It looks like the players coming in return for Kemp may not remain with the Dodgers anyway.

But as we've seen the last of Kemp in a Dodgers uniform for now, I thought I'd share some Kemp cards from my collection. 

We start off with a pretty card from Bowman's Best, #'d out of 499. The back shows some power stats from his days with Single A Columbus. In 2004 he hit one homer for every 24.9 at-bats, compared to the Single A average of 48.1 at-bats. Fun fact, Matt Kemp and I are the same height at 6 foot 4, according to this card.

Turkey Red is a favorite set of mine. I opened a box of the basketball version of this set, pulling cards of some of the all-time basketball greats. Glad to have this Kemp rookie in my collection.

Wasn't going to make it through this post without showing a card from Heritage, this one from 2007. This Heritage card says that Kemp is just 6 foot 2. Hmm.

I probably could have ordered these cards better, as now we are back to a First Year card from 2005 Topps Update. 

My favorite card of the bunch is easily this Allen & Ginter relic from 2010. Just a beautiful card, and one of the few relics in any of my baseball player collections. 

The back of this Topps 52 Kemp from 2006 notes his hot start after being called up from Jacksonville. Kemp hit .375 with 7 HRs in his first 16 games with the Dodgers. 

His totals in 9 years with the Dodgers: 182 HRs, 648 RBIs, 170 stolen bases (most of which came between 2008-2011), 1188 hits, and a .292 average. Will be strange to see him in another uniform, particularly one in the same division. 

We will see what the pieces end up bringing back to the Dodgers.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Long Offseason

You may have noticed that my blogging in recent weeks has been essentially non-existent. Or maybe you haven't noticed because you just read whatever pops up on your feed. Or maybe you haven't noticed because my blog hasn't been around that long, and I imagine there are quite a few blogs that are short-lived and fade away as quickly as they appear. The truth is I've lacked the free time between work and family to slip away to work on the blog. I definitely don't plan to let this blog fall by the wayside. It's a great community of collectors and I've already been amazed at the generosity of the blogosphere.

My sports world has been bleak in the baseball off-season, with the other teams that I pull for struggling this winter. Virginia Tech football has fallen off to its worst season I can remember, the low-point being a 6-3 loss in double overtime to Wake Forest which I can sadly say I watched all of. It was a sad afternoon spent watching the game that went to overtime tied 0-0 and cleaning up our bonus room that was still cluttered with boxes and all the random stuff we didn't have a place for after a move from North Carolina last year. Virginia Tech basketball just lost to Radford at home. I don't think there's any more explanation needed there. The Indiana Pacers are struggling after losing Paul George over the summer to a horrific leg injury I still haven't watched, Lance Stephenson to free agency, and injuries to so many starters and rotation players that at times they've started games with several guys who couldn't even crack the rotation last season. The team having the most success is the Buffalo Bills who are clinging to playoff hopes at 7-6 with a quarterback who wasn't even with the team at the start of the season. It's just one of those years.

A bright spot in the baseball off-season was seeing one of my favorite Orioles go over to the Braves. I think it's a sign that I need to kick off a larger Markakis collection, which currently stands at a handful of cards.

One thing I miss about the fall and winter months is going to minor league games. The Greenville Drive are a short drive away, and it's been fun following the young Red Sox prospects. One player in particular, Mookie Betts, moved quickly through the ranks and looks to be a potential star. Another former Drive player to keep an eye on is Manuel Margot, who will likely start next season in High A Salem. has him as the 3rd ranked prospect in the organization. He definitely has speed and hits well enough to be a leadoff type guy down the road. 

I picked up my first cards of these guys recently. Was glad to see Mookie show up in the Topps Update set, more than once, in fact! I've added these guys to my wantlist under my player collections. I see that Mookie has a card in the Heritage High Numbers set. Will look to add that one next.

I can't guarantee daily blog posts anytime soon, but will certainly post more than once a month as I did in November. Can't even call that blogging.