Friday, April 17, 2015

Let the Bryant-Mania Begin

(Before I begin, I'd like to take a moment to say thanks and God Bless Francis Cardinal George, who passed away this morning due to complications to cancer. Rest in Peace, Your Eminence.)

In 2010, we had Strasburg Mania.

In 2012, it was Harper Mania.

Today, in 2015, it is time for Bryant Mania!!!

Since Theo and company took over the baseball operations of the Cubs, they have been able to stockpile a number of very prospects. And these last two seasons (well, really since the second half of the 2014 season), we have seen the arrival of heralded players such as Javier Baez (okay, so he's in the minors...for now), Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara, and before the end of this year (or in the near future), we'll probably see the likes of Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber.

But today, on Friday, April 17, 2015, the most heralded of all of the Cubs' prospects will make his major league debut.

If you haven't heard his name by now, meet Kris Bryant!

That's right, the guy who's Bowman card has been in the news lately for being sold for a mere $90,000 plus dollars, stepped onto a major league ballfield for the very first time today.

How did he do?

0-4 with three strikeouts (all swinging, all against James Shields) in a 5-4 loss.

Eh, can't win them all. Even Mike Trout went 0-3 in his MLB debut.

He did have a few dazzling defensive plays, which is amazing considering that it was his defense that they were concerned about.

Okay, so what about cards??!

While certain collectors, okay, many collectors, went insane over Topps' treatment over the Washington Nationals' duo (super short-printed cards, variations up the wazoo in Series 2 and other places, mega-short-printed autograph cards), it looks like Topps has been preparing for this moment, and it looks like Bryant's first Topps cards will be appearing in earnest.

According to the Number One Source in the Hobby, and confirmed by Topps' Facebook page, Bryant's cards will:
  • show up on a  prospect base (meaning INSERT!!!) card in 2015 Bowman Baseball (as scheduled). There will be inserts and autographed insert cards to chase,
  • (hopefully) have autographed cards as part of 2015 Tier One Baseball (hopefully, because they won't be packed out, but redemption cards will),
  • be rushed into 2015 Topps Finest Baseball as card No. 111, one of the short-printed base cards, and there will be autograph cards here as well,
  • be getting the Harper treatment for his Rookie Cards in Topps Archives (limited base cards and autographs),
  • appear in Topps Series 2 Baseball which releases in June. No indication has been made as to if it will be another SSP card, but based on how early it is in the season, there should be no reason as to why he won't be included in the base set and not card #702,
  • be added to this year's edition of Stadium Club, Allen & Ginter's and Topps Chrome.
Okay, he's here now. He's gotten his first game out of the way. Let the Hobby riots begin.


JayBee Anama

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    2015 Topps The Jackie Robinson Story

    In amongst all of the cards Topps included in packs of 2015 Topps Series 1 was a ten-card set featuring Hall of Fame second baseman Jackie Robinson. These cards were exclusively included in packs sold at Target stores across the country. These were beautifully done, and gives collectors a brief biography of this great man's life before, during, and after his playing career.

    It was a historic day in baseball history when Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1945, tabbed by manager Clyde Sukeforth to be the first baseman that day against the Boston Braves, batting second in the lineup. In four plate appearances, Robinson was 0-3, reaching on a throwing error and scoring a run in the 7th inning before being replaced by Howie Schultz in the ninth. The Dodgers went on to beat the Braves 5-3.

    It would be the first of 1382 regular season games he would take part in, all from 1947-1956. He finished the '47 campaign with a .297 average, 12 home runs, 48 rbi's, an OPS of .810, and led the NL with 29 stolen bases. He was named Rookie of the Year, and finished 5th in MVP voting.

    All this, while becoming the first black player in MLB's modern era.

    It is because of him that the door to playing in the major leagues was blasted open, allowing players of all races in the game. While many of the veterans of the Negro Leagues would sadly not get a chance to play in either the National or American Leagues, it is because of the courage of Robinson (and Larry Doby to follow) that we would eventually know the names of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Frank Robinson, et. al. By the time Pumpsie Green debuted for the Red Sox over 12 years later, all 16 major league teams finally integrated.

    But I digress.

    Today, as it has been done since Ken Griffey Jr. first asked Commissioner Bud Selig in 2007 if he could on this day, all major league players, coaches, and managers will be wearing the number 42. Now the number was retired in perpetuity in 1997, with only the handful of players who were currently wearing the number being allowed to have it if they chose going forward. When Mariano Rivera retired in 2013, no active player in the majors (and the minors for that matter) would be allowed to wear 42 on a regular basis moving forward.

    So today, as you're all finishing up your tax forms, raise a glass to Mr. Robinson. The game was forever changed for the better because of the courage he displayed on and off the field during a very difficult time in American history.

    Thank you.


    James B. Anama

    Friday, April 10, 2015

    Reports of 2015 Topps Team Sets are Showing Up on the Bay

    When the Cardinals/Cubs game was rained out on Tuesday, reports came out that fans who did show up bought Cubs cards for the players to sign. The thing was that these did not have the regular card numbers, but CHC-1, CHC-2, etc.

    That could only mean one thing...

    The 2015 Topps Retail sets are now live!!!

    After checking the bay, team sets are showing up thanks to a couple of sellers that I have bought from in the past. When I get a bit of cash next month, I'll probably take a shot at them. In the past, both sellers have offered all 32 team sets in an auction. I don't know if they'll do them this year, but you never know.

    The number one source in the Hobby has been kind enough to post checklists for both the Athletics and Padres cards that I did not have before, so without further ado, here are the checklists:

    Oakland Athletics
    • OA-1 Sonny Gray
    • OA-2 Coco Crisp
    • OA-3 Brett Lawrie
    • OA-4 Sean Doolittle
    • OA-5 Sam Fuld
    • OA-6 Jesse Chavez
    • OA-7 Ben Zobrist
    • OA-8 Scott Kazmir
    • OA-9 Stephen Vogt
    • OA-10 Drew Pomeranz
    • OA-11 Josh Reddick
    • OA-12 Eric Sogard
    • OA-13 Marcus Semien
    • OA-14 Ike Davis
    • OA-15 Dan Otero
    • OA-16 Tyler Clippard
    • OA-17 Billy Butler
    San Diego Padres
    • SDP-1 Matt Kemp
    • SDP-2 Alexi Amarista
    • SDP-3 Andrew Cashner
    • SDP-4 Will Middlebrooks
    • SDP-5 Jedd Gyorko
    • SDP-6 Justin Upton
    • SDP-7 Ian Kennedy
    • SDP-8 Tommy Medica
    • SDP-9 Carlos Quentin
    • SDP-10 Wil Myers
    • SDP-11 Rymer Liriano
    • SDP-12 Cory Spangenberg
    • SDP-13 Yonder Alonso
    • SDP-14 Yangervis Solarte
    • SDP-15 Tyson Ross
    • SDP-16 Derek Norris
    • SDP-17 Joaquin Benoit

    It's going to be a long month. But I know it will be worth it.


    JayBee Anama

    Sunday, April 5, 2015

    Opening Day is Here!!!

    It's Easter Sunday. He Has Risen!!!

    A month of spring training games have now whittled the rosters down to 25 players each (plus those on the DL, of course). This is it. Every prognosticator has made their choices as to who will win it all, but the games aren't played on paper. They're played on the diamond.

    And tonight, the first of 2,430 games will be played, opening up another season of Major League Baseball!!!

    The 2015 season opens with the St. Louis Cardinals taking on the Chicago Cubs at beautiful, but still being renovated, Wrigley Field. The bleachers won't be ready supposedly until June. And while modern technology has now started to take over the park (they now have a video board in left???), it still holds a lot of the charm and old-time feel the park has had in it's 100+ year history.

    But enough about the field. Let's get on to the more important issue. The I-55 rivalry starts in earnest. There's no hiding here. Both teams have re-tooled for this year with off-season free agent signings and trades to supplement their rosters. We welcome Joe Maddon, Jon Lester, Miguel Montero, Jason Heyward, and others to the rivalry.

    Right now, everyone is even at 0-0. Time to play ball.


    JayBee Anama

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    Happy Kazuo Uzuki Day!!!

    Let me just say that I love this card.

    It drives a certain Hobby blogger (now Twitter fiend) to the brink of insanity. But I think it's great.

    Long story short, on the heels of Daisuke Matsuzaka, Topps decided to add a card of the next great Japanese pitching phenom. This kid named Kazuo Uzuki. The bio on the back of the card talks of a pitching prodigy who was so close to making that first Japanese team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, but was prohibited by age. Here's the full bio:

    Already being called "The Uzi" by some for his 104 MPH fastball, kaz will be the first japan-based high-schooler to jump straight to professional baseball in America when he graduates in 2009. "He is, hands down, the best pitching prospect I've seen in 30 years," said one MLB scout. And one unnamed American League GM said, "The contract this kid is going to get will be astronomical." At age fourteen, he was the youngest player invited to the WBC squad trials and - though he was cut on the last day - he made a lasting impression with his 17 Ks in 7 innings of work during intrasquad matches.

    What a prospect. No wonder Topps added his card to packs of their 2008 Topps Series 1 product.

    But wait.

    People started to guess that something was amiss.

    There was no information anywhere on a Kazuo Uzuki. Nothing online about this wunderkid. And for all of the accolades, you'd think someone would have heard of him.

    And that's when things started to unravel.

    On April 1, 2008, Topps finally announced that this was an April Fool's joke, less than two months after the product went live. And go figure. Kazuo Uzuki means "first son of April" (if Wikipedia is to be believed).

    It turns out that the Japanese pitching phenom was really a New York University law student named Sensen Lin (who, oh yeah, is Chinese). When he was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, he said he had summered with Ropes & Gray LLC. I went to check, and according to his LinkedIn profile, he's been with the firm for six years now (and no, I'm not going to link his profile...are you kidding? Although, I may ask if I can add him as a connection...)

    So let's raise a glass to Mr. Lin, who so graciously is now a part of cardboard lore.

    Happy April Fools' Day everybody!!!

    Keep the pranks to a minimum, will you?


    JayBee Anama

    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    2015 Topps Team Set Preliminary Checklists

    As the 2015 MLB season is almost upon us, it is time for the writer of this humble, little blog, to do a bit of Internet searching. What for, you may ask?

    For any information regarding the 2015 Topps Retail Sets.

    In fact, last night I received a Twitter message from a guy named Edgar (@eg9413) asking:

    @eg9413: @bdj610 Any info on whether Topps is making the retail team sets for baseball this year?

    My response:

    @bdj610: @eg9413 I've been looking, info normally comes out just about now. As soon as I find anything, I'll post online.

    Well, guess what I found this morning??!

    Images (if you want to call them that) and checklists of 30 of the 32 team sets for 2015 (for some reason, my source did not have any information for the Athletics nor the Padres).

    Yes, this is what the blister pack should look like for the team sets (which should match the color border of your team...most are blue, and there are some reds, some oranges, a purple for the Rockies and I'm thinking one green for the Athletics. No cards yet, but the checklists are worth a look.

    Please note that these are always subject to change:

    Arizona Diamondbacks
    • AD-1 Paul Goldschmidt
    • AD-2 Trevor Cahill
    • AD-3 Chris Owings
    • AD-4 Aaron Hill
    • AD-5 Jake Lamb
    • AD-6 Tuffy Gosewisch
    • AD-7 Patrick Corbin
    • AD-8 David Peralta
    • AD-9 Addison Reed
    • AD-10 Cody Ross
    • AD-11 A.J. Pollock
    • AD-12 Mark Trumbo
    • AD-13 Bronson Arroyo
    • AD-14 Jeremy Hellickson
    • AD-15 Daniel Hudson
    • AD-16 Josh Collmenter
    • AD-17 Brad Ziegler
    Atlanta Braves
    • AB-1 Freddie Freeman
    • AB-2 Shelby Miller
    • AB-3 Chris Johnson
    • AB-4 Alberto Callaspo
    • AB-5 Mike Minor
    • AB-6 James Russell
    • AB-7 Julio Teheran
    • AB-8 B.J. Upton
    • AB-9 Arodys Vizcaino
    • AB-10 Christian Bethancourt
    • AB-11 Zoilo Almonte
    • AB-12 Andrelton Simmons
    • AB-13 Nick Markakis
    • AB-14 Alex Wood
    • AB-15 Craig Kimbrel
    • AB-16 A.J. Pierzynski
    • AB-17 Jason Grilli
    Baltimore Orioles
    • BO-1 Adam Jones
    • BO-2 Alejandro De Aza
    • BO-3 Miguel Gonzalez
    • BO-4 Ubaldo Jimenez
    • BO-5 Zach Britton
    • BO-6 Darren O'Day
    • BO-7 Manny Machado
    • BO-8 Bud Norris
    • BO-9 Jonathan Schoop
    • BO-10 Steve Pearce
    • BO-11 J.J. Hardy
    • BO-12 Chris Davis
    • BO-13 Delmon Young
    • BO-14 Chris Tillman
    • BO-15 Wei-Yin Chen
    • BO-16 Tommy Hunter
    • BO-17 Caleb Joseph
    Boston Red Sox
    • BRS-1 Pablo Sandoval
    • BRS-2 David Ortiz
    • BRS-3 Christian Vazquez
    • BRS-4 Mike Napoli
    • BRS-5 Dustin Pedroia
    • BRS-6 Xander Bogaerts
    • BRS-7 Hanley Ramirez
    • BRS-8 Rusney Castillo
    • BRS-9 Mookie Betts
    • BRS-10 Wade Miley
    • BRS-11 Rick Porcello
    • BRS-12 Clay Buchholz
    • BRS-13 Joe Kelly
    • BRS-14 Justin Masterson
    • BRS-15 Koji Uehara
    • BRS-16 Junichi Tazawa
    • BRS-17 Matt Barnes
    Chicago Cubs
    • CHC-1 Anthony Rizzo
    • CHC-2 Junior Lake
    • CHC-3 Starlin Castro
    • CHC-4 Brian Schlitter
    • CHC-5 Travis Wood
    • CHC-6 Javier Baez
    • CHC-7 Jorge Soler
    • CHC-8 Miguel Montero
    • CHC-9 Mike Olt
    • CHC-10 Chris Coghlan
    • CHC-11 Dexter Fowler
    • CHC-12 Jon Lester
    • CHC-13 Jake Arrieta
    • CHC-14 Jason Hammel
    • CHC-15 Hector Rondon
    • CHC-16 Tsuyoshi Wada
    • CHC-17 Kyle Hendricks
    Chicago White Sox
    • CWS-1 Jose Abreu
    • CWS-2 Tyler Flowers
    • CWS-3 Conor Gillaspie
    • CWS-4 Alexei Ramirez
    • CWS-5 Adam Eaton
    • CWS-6 Zach Duke
    • CWS-7 Avisail Garcia
    • CWS-8 Melky Cabrera
    • CWS-9 Adam LaRoche
    • CWS-10 Chris Sale
    • CWS-11 Jeff Samardzija
    • CWS-12 David Robertson
    • CWS-13 Jose Quintana
    • CWS-14 John Danks
    • CWS-15 Gordon Beckham
    • CWS-16 Emilio Bonifacio
    • CWS-17 Javy Guerra
    Cincinnati Reds
    • CR-1 Joey Votto
    • CR-2 Tony Cingrani
    • CR-3 Daniel Corcino
    • CR-4 Zack Cozart
    • CR-5 Todd Frazier
    • CR-6 Devin Mesoraco
    • CR-7 Manny Parra
    • CR-8 Brandon Phillips
    • CR-9 Aroldis Chapman
    • CR-10 Marlon Byrd
    • CR-11 Billy Hamilton
    • CR-12 Jay Bruce
    • CR-13 Johnny Cueto
    • CR-14 Homer Bailey
    • CR-15 Skip Schumaker
    • CR-16 Mike Leake
    • CR-17 Anthony DeSclafani
    Cleveland Indians
    • CI-1 Corey Kluber
    • CI-2 Trevor Bauer
    • CI-3 Michael Bourn
    • CI-4 Lonnie Chisenhall
    • CI-5 Cody Allen
    • CI-6 David Murphy
    • CI-7 Carlos Santana
    • CI-8 Jason Kipnis
    • CI-9 Yan Gomes
    • CI-10 Jose Ramirez
    • CI-11 Michael Brantley
    • CI-12 Brandon Moss
    • CI-13 Nick Swisher
    • CI-14 Ryan Raburn
    • CI-15 Carlos Carrasco
    • CI-16 Danny Salazar
    • CI-17 Mike Aviles
    Colorado Rockies
    • COR-1 Troy Tulowitzki
    • COR-2 Charlie Blackmon
    • COR-3 Rex Brothers
    • COR-4 Corey Dickerson
    • COR-5 Tommy Kahnle
    • COR-6 Jordan Lyles
    • COR-7 Wilin Rosario
    • COR-8 Nolan Arenado
    • COR-9 Justin Morneau
    • COR-10 DJ LeMahieu
    • COR-11 Drew Stubbs
    • COR-12 Carlos Gonzalez
    • COR-13 Jorge De La Rosa
    • COR-14 Christian Bergman
    • COR-15 Tyler Matzek
    • COR-16 LaTroy Hawkins
    • COR-17 Jhoulys Chacin
    Detroit Tigers
    • DT-1 Miguel Cabrera
    • DT-2 Alex Avila
    • DT-3 Al Alburquerque
    • DT-4 Ian Kinsler
    • DT-5 J.D. Martinez
    • DT-6 Anibal Sanchez
    • DT-7 Jose Iglesias
    • DT-8 Yoenis Cespedes
    • DT-9 Joe Nathan
    • DT-10 Anthony Gose
    • DT-11 Nick Castellanos
    • DT-12 James McCann
    • DT-13 Steven Moya
    • DT-14 Joakim Soria
    • DT-15 Victor Martinez
    • DT-16 David Price
    • DT-17 Justin Verlander
    Houston Astros
    • HA-1 Jose Altuve
    • HA-2 Jason Castro
    • HA-3 Matt Dominguez
    • HA-4 Brett Oberholtzer
    • HA-5 Evan Gattis
    • HA-6 Jon Singleton
    • HA-7 Colby Rasmus
    • HA-8 Marwin Gonzalez
    • HA-9 Chris Carter
    • HA-10 Jed Lowrie
    • HA-11 Jake Marisnick
    • HA-12 George Springer
    • HA-13 Luke Gregerson
    • HA-14 L.J. Hoes
    • HA-15 Scott Feldman
    • HA-16 Dallas Keuchel
    • HA-17 Collin McHugh
    Kansas City Royals
    • KCR-1 Eric Hosmer
    • KCR-2 Jeremy Guthrie
    • KCR-3 Greg Holland
    • KCR-4 Alcides Escobar
    • KCR-5 Salvador Perez
    • KCR-6 Jason Vargas
    • KCR-7 Yordano Ventura
    • KCR-8 Brandon Finnegan
    • KCR-9 Omar Infante
    • KCR-10 Mike Moustakas
    • KCR-11 Alex Gordon
    • KCR-12 Lorenzo Cain
    • KCR-13 Kris Medlen
    • KCR-14 Kendrys Morales
    • KCR-15 Luke Hochevar
    • KCR-16 Wade Davis
    • KCR-17 Alex Rios
    Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim
    • A-1 Mike Trout
    • A-2 Josh Rutledge
    • A-3 Josh Hamilton
    • A-4 Chris Iannetta
    • A-5 Garrett Richards
    • A-6 Matt Shoemaker
    • A-7 Erick Aybar
    • A-8 Jered Weaver
    • A-9 C.J. Wilson
    • A-10 Albert Pujols
    • A-11 Kole Calhoun
    • A-12 David Freese
    • A-13 Matt Joyce
    • A-14 Hector Santiago
    • A-15 Huston Street
    • A-16 C.J. Cron
    • A-17 Andrew Heaney
    Los Angeles Dodgers
    • LAD-1 Clayton Kershaw
    • LAD-2 Andre Ethier
    • LAD-3 Yimi Garcia
    • LAD-4 Adrian Gonzalez
    • LAD-5 Zack Greinke
    • LAD-6 A.J. Ellis
    • LAD-7 Carl Crawford
    • LAD-8 Brandon League
    • LAD-9 Joc Pederson
    • LAD-10 Yasiel Puig
    • LAD-11 Hyun-Jin Ryu
    • LAD-12 Yasmani Grandal
    • LAD-13 Jimmy Rollins
    • LAD-14 Howie Kendrick
    • LAD-15 Juan Uribe
    • LAD-16 Kenley Jansen
    • LAD-17 Brandon McCarthy
    Miami Marlins
    • MM-1 Giancarlo Stanton
    • MM-2 Steve Cishek
    • MM-3 Justin Bour
    • MM-4 Martin Prado
    • MM-5 Tom Koehler
    • MM-6 Bryan Morris
    • MM-7 Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    • MM-8 Carter Capps
    • MM-9 Christian Yelich
    • MM-10 Henderson Alvarez
    • MM-11 Adeiny Hechavarria
    • MM-12 Marcell Ozuna
    • MM-13 Jose Fernandez
    • MM-14 Dee Gordon
    • MM-15 Donovan Solano
    • MM-16 Michael Morse
    • MM-17 Mat Latos
    Milwaukee Brewers
    • MB-1 Ryan Braun
    • MB-2 Carlos Gomez
    • MB-3 Matt Garza
    • MB-4 Jean Segura
    • MB-5 Khris Davis
    • MB-6 Gerardo Parra
    • MB-7 Adam Lind
    • MB-8 Kyle Lohse
    • MB-9 Scooter Gennett
    • MB-10 Jonathan Lucroy
    • MB-11 Aramis Ramirez
    • MB-12 Jimmy Nelson
    • MB-13 Jonathan Broxton
    • MB-14 Wily Peralta
    • MB-15 Martin Maldonado
    • MB-16 Will Smith
    • MB-17 Mike Fiers
    Minnesota Twins
    • MT-1 Torii Hunter
    • MT-2 Brian Dozier
    • MT-3 Brian Duensing
    • MT-4 Eduardo Escobar
    • MT-5 Phil Hughes
    • MT-6 Ricky Nolasco
    • MT-7 Joe Mauer
    • MT-8 Glen Perkins
    • MT-9 Kurt Suzuki
    • MT-10 Trevor May
    • MT-11 Kennys Vargas
    • MT-12 Danny Santana
    • MT-13 Trevor Plouffe
    • MT-14 Josmil Pinto
    • MT-15 Aaron Hicks
    • MT-16 Oswaldo Arcia
    • MT-17 Ervin Santana
    New York Mets
    • NYM-1 David Wright
    • NYM-2 Lucas Duda
    • NYM-3 Dillon Gee
    • NYM-4 Curtis Granderson
    • NYM-5 Jenrry Mejia
    • NYM-6 Daniel Murphy
    • NYM-7 Matt Harvey
    • NYM-8 Zack Wheeler
    • NYM-9 Bartolo Colon
    • NYM-10 Juan Lagares
    • NYM-11 Dilson Herrera
    • NYM-12 Jon Niese
    • NYM-13 Wilmer Flores
    • NYM-14 Bobby Parnell
    • NYM-15 Travis d'Arnaud
    • NYM-16 Michael Cuddyer
    • NYM-17 Jacob deGrom
    New York Yankees
    • NYY-1 Masahiro Tanaka
    • NYY-2 Jacoby Ellsbury
    • NYY-3 Brett Gardner
    • NYY-4 Dellin Betances
    • NYY-5 Carlos Beltran
    • NYY-6 Stephen Drew
    • NYY-7 Brian McCann
    • NYY-8 Garrett Jones
    • NYY-9 Michael Pineda
    • NYY-10 Jose Pirela
    • NYY-11 Mark Teixeira
    • NYY-12 Bryan Mitchell
    • NYY-13 CC Sabathia
    • NYY-14 Nathan Eovaldi
    • NYY-15 Alex Rodriguez
    • NYY-16 Didi Gregorius
    • NYY-17 Chase Headley
    Oakland Athletics - Checklist posted on April 10, 2015.
    • OA-1 Sonny Gray
    • OA-2 Coco Crisp
    • OA-3 Brett Lawrie
    • OA-4 Sean Doolittle
    • OA-5 Sam Fuld
    • OA-6 Jesse Chavez
    • OA-7 Ben Zobrist
    • OA-8 Scott Kazmir
    • OA-9 Stephen Vogt
    • OA-10 Drew Pomeranz
    • OA-11 Josh Reddick
    • OA-12 Eric Sogard
    • OA-13 Marcus Semien
    • OA-14 Ike Davis
    • OA-15 Dan Otero
    • OA-16 Tyler Clippard
    • OA-17 Billy Butler
    Philadelphia Phillies
    • PHP-1 Chase Utley
    • PHP-2 Domonic Brown
    • PHP-3 David Buchanan
    • PHP-4 Darin Ruf
    • PHP-5 Cole Hamels
    • PHP-6 Ryan Howard
    • PHP-7 Freddy Galvis
    • PHP-8 Jonathan Papelbon
    • PHP-9 Ben Revere
    • PHP-10 Carlos Ruiz
    • PHP-11 Cliff Lee
    • PHP-12 Maikel Franco
    • PHP-13 Cody Asche
    • PHP-14 Jerome Williams
    • PHP-15 Ken Giles
    • PHP-16 Grady Sizemore
    • PHP-17 Jake Diekman
    Pittsburgh Pirates
    • PIP-1 Andrew McCutchen
    • PIP-2 A.J. Burnett
    • PIP-3 Gregory Polanco
    • PIP-4 Josh Harrison
    • PIP-5 Starling Marte
    • PIP-6 Mark Melancon
    • PIP-7 Jordy Mercer
    • PIP-8 Charlie Morton
    • PIP-9 Neil Walker
    • PIP-10 Tony Watson
    • PIP-11 Vance Worley
    • PIP-12 Jeff Locke
    • PIP-13 Antonio Bastardo
    • PIP-14 Pedro Alvarez
    • PIP-15 Gerrit Cole
    • PIP-16 Francisco Cervelli
    • PIP-17 Francisco Liriano
    St. Louis Cardinals
    • SLC-1 Adam Wainwright
    • SLC-2 Jon Jay
    • SLC-3 Lance Lynn
    • SLC-4 Jason Heyward
    • SLC-5 Jhonny Peralta
    • SLC-6 Trevor Rosenthal
    • SLC-7 Michael Wacha
    • SLC-8 Matt Carpenter
    • SLC-9 Carlos Martinez
    • SLC-10 Matt Holliday
    • SLC-11 Yadier Molina
    • SLC-12 Matt Adams
    • SLC-13 Peter Bourjos
    • SLC-14 John Lackey
    • SLC-15 Kolten Wong
    • SLC-16 Jaime Garcia
    • SLC-17 Sam Freeman
    San Diego Padres - Checklist posted on April 10, 2015.
    • SDP-1 Matt Kemp
    • SDP-2 Alexi Amarista
    • SDP-3 Andrew Cashner
    • SDP-4 Will Middlebrooks
    • SDP-5 Jedd Gyorko
    • SDP-6 Justin Upton
    • SDP-7 Ian Kennedy
    • SDP-8 Tommy Medica
    • SDP-9 Carlos Quentin
    • SDP-10 Wil Myers
    • SDP-11 Rymer Liriano
    • SDP-12 Cory Spangenberg
    • SDP-13 Yonder Alonso
    • SDP-14 Yangervis Solarte
    • SDP-15 Tyson Ross
    • SDP-16 Derek Norris
    • SDP-17 Joaquin Benoit
    San Francisco Giants
    • SFG-1 Madison Bumgarner
    • SFG-2 Brandon Belt
    • SFG-3 Joaquin Arias
    • SFG-4 Matt Cain
    • SFG-5 Santiago Casilla
    • SFG-6 Travis Ishikawa
    • SFG-7 Brandon Crawford
    • SFG-8 Joe Panik
    • SFG-9 Tim Hudson
    • SFG-10 Tim Lincecum
    • SFG-11 Hunter Pence
    • SFG-12 Buster Posey
    • SFG-13 Casey McGehee
    • SFG-14 Yusmeiro Petit
    • SFG-15 Andrew Susac
    • SFG-16 Angel Pagan
    • SFG-17 Gregor Blanco
    Seattle Mariners
    • SM-1 Robinson Cano
    • SM-2 Charlie Furbush
    • SM-3 Felix Hernandez
    • SM-4 Austin Jackson
    • SM-5 Dominic Leone
    • SM-6 Logan Morrison
    • SM-7 Fernando Rodney
    • SM-8 Kyle Seager
    • SM-9 Chris Young
    • SM-10 Mike Zunino
    • SM-11 Hisashi Iwakuma
    • SM-12 Dustin Ackley
    • SM-13 Roenis Elias
    • SM-14 Chris Taylor
    • SM-15 Justin Ruggiano
    • SM-16 Seth Smith
    • SM-17 Nelson Cruz
    Tampa Bay Rays
    • TBR-1 Evan Longoria
    • TBR-2 Alex Cobb
    • TBR-3 David DeJesus
    • TBR-4 Nick Franklin
    • TBR-5 Asdrubal Cabrera
    • TBR-6 James Loney
    • TBR-7 Chris Archer
    • TBR-8 John Jaso
    • TBR-9 Desmond Jennings
    • TBR-10 Rene Rivera
    • TBR-11 Jake McGee
    • TBR-12 Drew Smyly
    • TBR-13 Steven Souza Jr.
    • TBR-14 Kevin Kiermaier
    • TBR-15 Brandon Guyer
    • TBR-16 Matt Moore
    • TBR-17 Kevin Cash
    Texas Rangers
    • TR-1 Yu Darvish
    • TR-2 Adrian Beltre
    • TR-3 Michael Choice
    • TR-4 Shin-Soo Choo
    • TR-5 Elvis Andrus
    • TR-6 Prince Fielder
    • TR-7 Anthony Ranaudo
    • TR-8 Robinson Chirinos
    • TR-9 Rougned Odor
    • TR-10 Jurickson Profar
    • TR-11 Jake Smolinski
    • TR-12 Leonys Martin
    • TR-13 Mitch Moreland
    • TR-14 Neftali Feliz
    • TR-15 Yovani Gallardo
    • TR-16 Ross Detwiler
    • TR-17 Nick Martinez
    Toronto Blue Jays
    • TBJ-1 Jose Bautista
    • TBJ-2 R.A. Dickey
    • TBJ-3 Edwin Encarnacion
    • TBJ-4 Russell Martin
    • TBJ-5 Dioner Navarro
    • TBJ-6 Jose Reyes
    • TBJ-7 Marco Estrada
    • TBJ-8 Justin Smoak
    • TBJ-9 Aaron Loup
    • TBJ-10 Dalton Pompey
    • TBJ-11 Drew Hutchison
    • TBJ-12 Josh Donaldson
    • TBJ-13 Michael Saunders
    • TBJ-14 Mark Buehrle
    • TBJ-15 Brett Cecil
    • TBJ-16 Marcus Stroman
    • TBJ-17 Aaron Sanchez
    Washington Nationals
    • WN-1 Bryce Harper
    • WN-2 Doug Fister
    • WN-3 Gio Gonzalez
    • WN-4 Stephen Strasburg
    • WN-5 Wilson Ramos
    • WN-6 Anthony Rendon
    • WN-7 Jayson Werth
    • WN-8 Ryan Zimmerman
    • WN-9 Jordan Zimmermann
    • WN-10 Michael Taylor
    • WN-11 Danny Espinosa
    • WN-12 Ian Desmond
    • WN-13 Denard Span
    • WN-14 Max Scherzer
    • WN-15 Drew Storen
    • WN-16 Tanner Roark
    • WN-17 Jose Lobaton
    AL All-Star Team
    • AL-1 Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    • AL-2 Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox
    • AL-3 Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers
    • AL-4 Robinson Cano, 2B, Seattle Mariners
    • AL-5 Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros
    • AL-6 Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers
    • AL-7 Alexei Ramirez, SS, Chicago White Sox
    • AL-8 Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland Indians
    • AL-9 Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals
    • AL-10 Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore Orioles
    • AL-11 Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
    • AL-12 Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Detroit Tigers
    • AL-13 David Ortiz, DH, Boston Red Sox
    • AL-14 Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners
    • AL-15 David Price, SP, Detroit Tigers
    • AL-16 Greg Holland, RP, Kansas City Royals
    • AL-17 Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland Indians
    NL All-Star Team
    • NL-1 Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
    • NL-2 Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
    • NL-3 Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs
    • NL-4 Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves
    • NL-5 Javier Baez, 2B, Chicago Cubs
    • NL-6 Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals
    • NL-7 Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies
    • NL-8 Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins
    • NL-9 Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals
    • NL-10 Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
    • NL-11 Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds
    • NL-12 Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
    • NL-13 Giancarlo Stanton, OF Miami Marlins
    • NL-14 Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants
    • NL-15 Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants
    • NL-16 Johnny Cueto, SP, Cincinnati Reds
    • NL-17 Craig Kimbrel, RP, Atlanta Braves
    Some quick notes:
    • Nice to see that the All-Star Teams on both leagues consist of actual teams, with each position represented. Nice to see Chicago represented well on both sides of town.
    • I don't like many of the letters used for the card numbers (really, Pittsburgh has to be PIP instead of PIT???)
    • Every player listed above showed up with links in Baseball-Reference, which means there shouldn't be any typos.
    • You will see lots of first cards of players with their new teams before you will see them in Series 2 or Update Series later this year, so get ready for tons of variations.
    • Even though Ichiro Suzuki is no longer with the Yankees, I'm still seeing that he hasn't signed a deal with Topps. Shame. Matt "I'm-Still-Too-Good-for-Topps" Wieters doesn't appear in the checklist for the O's.
    When I find info on both the Athletics and Padres (had the same issue with the Padres' team set in 2011), I'll make sure to add their checklists here.

    Remember, all of these are preliminary and subject to change.

    I can't wait until these sets go live. If I get all 32 of these sets, I will have ten full years of team sets in my collection. I know I'm crazy to collect EVERY SINGLE SET, but I love seeing them all grouped together in a binder.

    The season couldn't start fast enough. Bring on April.


    JayBee Anama

    Saturday, March 21, 2015

    Enjoying the Hobby...One Tweet at a Time. #BlogtheHobby #Collect #TheHobby

    If you follow a lot of the Hobby Bloggers on Twitter (like me @bdj610 for example), you will notice that many of us are very passionate about the Hobby we all enjoy. Opinions about collecting cards, regardless of the topic, are positively or negatively expressed 140 characters at a time.

    Many times I agree with what's written, other times, not so much. Nothing wrong with opinions, both good or otherwise. It's great that there is a forum out there that everyone can share their points of view without repercussions. But sometimes, the negative statements bug me. And here's why.

    I love collecting Topps cards. Always have since I first learned about them in 1987 and then after seeing some of the neighborhood kids playing with them the following year. Collecting baseball cards exposed me to the game of baseball, and I've been a fan ever since. Before the interwebs, baseball cards were the best source of information about players and the teams. And let's face it, some of the designs were fantastic too. Now I'm sure if the neighborhood kids were trading Donruss or Fleer cards that I'd have become a loyal Donruss or Fleer fan. But they collected Topps. So to me, Topps was it.

    Back to my point.

    So on Thursday, March 19, one of the Hobby Bloggers (I think you know where I'm going with this and who I am talking about) went on his usual rant about his problems with the Topps Company. He's done it before, always finding something to nitpick about Topps and their recent lines of baseball cards. From "added value" (or the "lack thereof") to his increased hatred of short-prints (gimmicks), to the surprises (he wants full disclosure of everything for some reason) that Topps puts out there. He just finds something to complain about.

    Yet he doesn't even collect them. And has happily said so.

    And I've always wondered...

    "If you hate what Topps puts out to market, and say you don't even buy their new stuff, WHY ARE YOU STILL IN THIS HOBBY IN THE FIRST PLACE??!"

    Now I've said it before, but no Hobby is perfect. Whether it's stamps, coins, Beanie Babies, dolls, cow figurines, or even baseball cards, there are always things people can find that are good and bad about them. I would be totally naïve to say that everything Topps is great as well. I've had my questions about what they're thinking from time to time. But I still enjoy collecting the cards. I don't let the extreme SSP's, the variations, the Lincoln sightings, the sparkle cards (this guy likes to call them twinks...and I'll get to that another time) get to me because, with some exceptions, I'm not really on the hunt for them. For me, and I think many casual collectors, finding one of these cards in a pack is a bonus and makes for a pleasant surprise (or a quick buck if I'm desperate).

    However, this guy, and his defenders, continually whine and cry about Topps' latest efforts while at the same time wonder why they aren't coming up with new ideas to add to their products. It's as if nothing satisfies them, or at this point, nothing will satisfy them.

    Okay, so on with the tweets. This is the one that got me involved. I could easily add their names to what they wrote. I mean none of them read my blog and I'm very sure that the main guy un-followed me because of my LOVE of the Topps Company anyway. But because I did not go out of my way to get their approval to post their tweets on this humble little blog, I am going to change their names on the tweets.

    guyno1: Does anyone at @toppscards even give a "expletive" that their products are (literally) uncollectable? (Don't answer that, we know the answer)

    Okay, so who's "we" kemosabe? You and your fanboys who agree with every word you type? How can a company that focuses on collectibles make products that "are (literally) uncollectable?" And what makes you think that these people don't care?

    My response (and what got me involved in the conversation in the first place:

    @bdj610: guyno1 @toppscards Funny, but many people believe otherwise. They're still collectable. Maybe not to you. Maybe not your game anymore.

    And then I piled on:

    @bdj610: guyno1 @toppscards Maybe find a new #Hobby? I hear stamps are making a comeback. Coins too. Or you could start a button collection.

    guyno1 @toppscards Not the pins, but actual buttons that would be used for clothing.

    guyno1 @toppscards Plus, you don't even need to have them mounted on cardboard.

    That got his attention, and the attention of the people who share his views.

    Here was another tweet, again started by our favorite curmudgeon:

    guyno1: In a nutshell, everything collectors hate about @toppscards: RT guyno3 New post: Deep Heritage

    One of his fans decided to chime in with this statement:

    guyno2: guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 I would spend so much more on Topps cards if they would eliminate SPs from sets like H, GQ, Archives, TANG

    Here was my response:

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 Thanks to the WWW, it's much easier to get the SP's you want/need because it's available online.

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 And who even says you need them for your set? If you don't want to collect them, don't get them.

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 and then don't whine about how and why they make them. Or be patient...

    And that drew the ire of the second guy:

    guyno2: @bdj610 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 that's an ignorant statement. There were no SP before the Internet.

    What? Really? Card companies did not make short-printed cards before the internet? Now who made the ignorant statement? My response:

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 but can you imagine if there were way back then? And yes, there were always SP's/variations.

    The main guy chimed in:

    guyno1: guyno2 @bdj610 @toppscards guyno3 Ignorant statement, but not for that reason

    Really? What part of my statement was ignorant? Thanks to the Internet, not only is it easier to find and even acquire these "hard-to-find" cards for your collection, but the information can be easily accessed that they even exist! What's wrong there? And if you don't want to collect them, then don't collect them. But unlike the eponymous set, SP's in products like Heritage, Gypsy Queen, Archives, and Allen & Ginter's are relatively easy to find. And the hunt for them became a lot easier again, thanks to the web. He never really gave "that reason."

    @bdj610: guyno1 guyno2 @toppscards guyno3 Ignorant why? Because you refuse to accept the Hobby as it is now? Sorry you feel that way.

    Second guy:

    guyno2: @bdj610 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 hunting down 50-60 SPs one or two at a time is not my definition of easy either.

    Who said it was ever easy? If it were that easy to get everything at once, how is it fun? I'd love to be able to do that, but I know where I stand financially and accept that it's not realistic.

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 I never said it was. But it's that thrill of finding the one or two that keeps me going.

    And isn't that the point? It's the thrill of the hunt. Whether you buy tons of packs, visit stores or shops, or even scour the Bay (or COMC, or Sportlots, or Beckett, or any other place online), when you find a card or two that you need and are able to get it at the price you want, doesn't that excite you to no end (a 1992 Topps Jose Tolentino card comes to mind for me, and this was pre-Internet).

    guyno2: @bdj610 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 glad it works for you. It's the reason why I and plenty others no longer spend on those products.

    Okay, and here was the line that got him:

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 Then I have to ask, if you no longer spend on these products, why are you complaining about it.

    If he (and others) are no longer spend on those products (and they are well within their rights to do so), why complain? What is the point? You've just stated you're not buying what they're making. So focus your energies on something else other than whining and moaning about a product you yourself just said you're not going to get.

    guyno2: @bdj610 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 shame on me for wanting a more enjoyable collecting experience

    So you enjoy crying about how you don't like how the Hobby has evolved? You "want" a more enjoyable collecting experience?

    Time to go all-religious.

    I remember hearing a story long ago, and then somehow while flipping through channels, I came through the religion-based channels block and heard Joel Osteen (my parents watch his show from time to time so I recognized the guy) start repeating the story (in his own way of course):

    A guy is praying to God. "Please God, let me win the lottery."

    The next day, he doesn't win.

    The following day, he prays again. "Please God, let me win the lottery."

    The next day, once again, he doesn't win.

    A few days later, same prayer. "Dear God, please let me win the lottery."

    This time, the guy gets a response from God.

    "Son, meet me half-way here. BUY A TICKET!!!"

    See, the guy just wanted to win, but he didn't make an effort to do so. If he had done so by going to his nearby lottery agent, and bought a ticket, then at least he had a shot. But he didn't. So praying to the high heavens wasn't going to work.

    My point?

    If this guy wants "a more enjoyable collecting experience," he's going to have to find it.

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 Wanting and Finding a more enjoyable collecting experience are two different things.

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 You can "want" all you want, but what's the point if you don't go out there and find it?

    Make an effort. If something isn't to your satisfaction, wouldn't it be better to find another solution than to complain about how what's in front of you isn't good enough? This can be applied in lots of situations, not just the Hobby (please use discretion because this solution doesn't work in EVERY SITUATION).

    And no I'm not saying that finding something else is easy. It never is. But if you really want to find enjoyment in this Hobby, you have to go out there and find what actually makes you happy.

    guyno1: guyno2 Geez, I wish I had the unlimited bankroll and patience @bdj610 seems to have.

    ‏@bdj610: guyno1 guyno2 Patience I have. Bankroll, not so much. That's why I have to maintain patience. Otherwise...reality sucks.

    That should be self explanatory. I have patience, to a point. I try to practice this when it comes to whittling down my want lists. But sometimes, when it's there in front of me, I have this fear that I might not find something better and then when I come back, the card I want is gone. So my wallet has taken heavy hits from time to time. I wish I had the money to buy everything I wanted, but I know where I stand. Should I buy the cards in front of me that I might not see again for a very long time? Or should I go to the grocery store and stock up for the week? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

    @bdj610: guyno1 guyno2 You need to have patience. When you find yourself stressed about this or any Hobby, it's time to find a new one.

    The word Hobby is defined as: an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation.

    When the Hobby stresses you out, and you no longer feel relaxed, then why continue it? This goes back to finding another Hobby. Hobbies are supposed to be a release, a distraction, something to take your mind of the struggles of the real world and bring you back to a place that made you feel that all was right with the world.

    And if this one isn't doing right by you, then find something else that will. The Hobby of card collecting has so many other avenues to take, so when you find that one road hasn't been good to you, there is another to explore. Try again.

    guyno2: @bdj610 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 again though as long as it works for you that's really all that matters right?

    guyno2: @bdj610 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 THE HOBBY: Love it or leave it (expletive)!!!!! Great advice.

    I don't know. Maybe both of these guys should leave the Hobby. They sure aren't positive influences in it. And again, for every one person who leaves, another one might come in for the first time looking forward to what may be one of the greatest things he or she has ever come across and becomes a collector for life. Who knows.

    I mentioned patience earlier. A while back, the main antagonist of the story went to a card show and found some 2010 Topps legends SP's in a bargain box. He took a picture of them (2010 Topps SP's of Dizzy Dean and Honus Wagner...both I have by the way), and said something to the effects of "Fifty cent gimcracks. Explain how these "add value" again?"

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 ...I'll give guyno1 props for...

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 getting those SP's from 2010 at 2015 prices (which was a lot cheaper compared to) when I was getting them.

    Well, they were added value...back in 2010. And you're buying them now, six card-years later, so yeah, the "added vaue" is gone. But you have them now for your collection. Be happy. Not cynical. They added value when the demand was high for them. Now? Probably not as the people who wanted them already have them. (I'm still looking for some by the way. Please see the sidebar).

    After this exchange, all went silent. Both men probably had to go back to work and was spending their lunch breaks on the twitterverse. I did, however, make a new friend on Twitter.

    @Icampintense: @bdj610 wow. Straight roasting people in that little post about Topps. Very nice!

    ‏@bdj610: @Icampintense Thank you. guyno1's act of (mild expletive) about Topps and the state of the Hobby here on Twitter is getting as old as my love of it.

    @Icampintense: @bdj610 I've had that dude muted for well over a year. Can't stand him honestly. I prob spend too much time defending Topps.

    @bdj610: @Icampintense I do too, but I love pushing his buttons, especially when he goes on his rants. Probably why he un-followed me.

    Yeah, so I am a bit of a trouble-maker, aren't I??!

    And finally, the poor guy that got caught in the crossfire because his blog post was linked by our friendly neighborhood grump, chimed in:

    guyno3: @bdj610 guyno2 guyno1 The point of this is that SPs featuring franchise players is a cheap ploy to make people buy more.

    Congratulations. You win the prize for finally figuring out why Topps has been doing this in the first place!!!

    @bdj610: guyno3 guyno2 guyno1 If you're actively looking for them, then of course you'll be spending the money.

    @bdj610: guyno3 guyno2 guyno1 But for those who are not actively looking out for these, then getting one is a bonus and exciting.

    Of course, Topps would create short-printed variation cards of Clayton Kershaw, David Ortiz, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, etc. Because they know collectors will want them for their collections, no matter what, even if they wind up whining all the way to their goals. Do you think collectors (with the possible exception of team collectors) would show the same clamor around SP'd cards of the mop-up reliever or third-string catcher? Not so much.

    guyno3: @bdj610 guyno2 guyno1 ...saying "don't want, don't get" is just silly. SPs are fine if they're EXTRA, but not when they should be base

    Which brings me back to my point about the Internet, and the easier access to these cards online.

    @bdj610: guyno3 guyno2 guyno1 I'll give you that for the non-eponymous items...but even in those sets, the SP's aren't that hard to find.

    Let's face it. The idea of the proliferation of short-printed cards would not work in a pre-internet age. Because the options of notifying people about having or wanting them would be limited to Hobby Magazines and classified ads. It would be an even more frustrating endeavor. But we are now 16 years into the 21st century. We have the technology and the information at our fingertips. Make use of them.

    Make an effort to find happiness within this Hobby. It's out there. You have to go out there and look. Believe me, it's a lot more fun to find what makes you happy than it is to sit down and mope about the things that don't.


    JayBee Anama