Select The Player Who Should Be Added onto the 2014 All-Star Teams below as the HBC AL Final-Man

Select The Player Who Should Be Added onto the 2014 All-Star Teams below as the HBC NL Final-Man

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Sports Card Blogroll...Three Years Later.

It's hard to believe that it's been three years ago that I came up with the idea of creating the Sports Card Blogroll.  It wasn't an original idea as another blogger had created one prior (and was just reaching 100 blogs then).  The reason why I created it is on the sidebar of the big Blogroll, so I do need to thank dayf the Cardboard Junkie for the inspiration, and Mario for plugging my blogroll when Wax Heaven was in its heyday.

So in three years, the blogroll has listed just under 500 blogs dedicated to the Hobby we all share...Sports Cards.  Many have come and gone over the years.  All were filled with promise, all had potential, and most certainly, all made their marks in the blogging community.  Whether the purpose was to inform the collecting public about the latest products, give their opinions about anything regarding the Hobby, have an open access to trading, or just to entertain, the bloggers who devote time and energy to their individual sites show how much passion they have about the cards, the teams, the players, and the sports they love.

Since the last blogroll post, the SCB reached a blogroll high 341 blogs.  With 326 blogs going into July, that means that 15 new blogs were added to the active roster.  A number of existing blogs were also revised to update their new or proper names:
One of the rules about blogs staying on the blogroll is that they had to remain relevant.  What I meant then, and this still rings true today, is that for a blog to stay on the blogroll, it had to have been updated within the last six months.  The reasons for the six-month cutoff is that if a blog hasn't been updated in six months, the chances of the blog or blog writer returning is slim at best.  Now that is not to say that blog writers who stopped writing won't come back (a number of blogs were added back to the active roster), but to me, there was no sense in keeping a blog on here if the blog was either abandoned, deleted, or neglected after six months.  I certainly didn't want to hold onto blogs that show that they were last updated over a year ago. 

To that end, every month, I list the blogs that I am removing here for posterity.  One reader suggested that I create a kind of Sports Card Blog Purgatory/Graveyard (not necessarily in those words) when I thought of possibly creating a bloglist of the inactive blogs that were removed over the years.  I think that's a good way of keeping tabs of blogs from long ago, and in the event the blog writer finds his or her muse, and comes back, at least I would know to add them back as soon as possible.

Today, the blogroll removes the following sites from the active roster:
Eleven blogs that have not been updated since January, 2011, are now being moved to the sidebar for recently removed blogs.  That brings our total of blogs on the roll down to 330, meaning that the SCBR gained a net total of four blogs (from 326, +4). 

As always, if you or someone you know has a blog that focuses on the Hobby of Sports Card collecting, please let me know about it by e-mailing me at bdj610@hotmail.com.  If you're blog is being removed, or is no longer on the site, but you are planning on writing again, let me know that as well. 

To all who use the Sports Card Blogroll as part of your daily trip around the Internet, I thank you for stopping by and making the SCBR one of your stops along the way. As I often tell up and coming bloggers upon joining the Community, "enjoy the journey."

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Friday, July 29, 2011

Using My Vacation Time Wisely

It seems that I accumulated more than three weeks of paid vacation time at work.  And unfortunately, I have a history of not using them all during the course of the year.  So since Tuesday, I have been on vacation from work.  It's been nice so far.

On Tuesday, the family and I went to Six Flags Great America and now that the kids are old enough (and my son is tall enough), we were finally able to ride some of the bigger roller coasters together.

Wednesday was a do nothing day (except I did do some grocery shopping).  Thursday was my son's ninth birthday.  Even with everything that my son has gone through (and trust me, he's been through quite a lot), he is still one happy, but not so little anymore, boy.  We spent most of the day at home, he wanted and had breakfast in bed, and even birthday cake made from scratch.

But today, I am just staying home again.  We cleaned up the fish tank (it's been a full year since we did it last time...when I was on vacation then too).  And now besides typing, I am finally, FINALLY, putting my 2011 Topps Series 2 cards in the binder.  Let's see:
  • 330 base cards
  • 59 60-Years of Topps cards (regular backs, so glad Topps isn't continuing this series in Updates and Highlights...at least that's what I noticed in the sell sheets anyway)
  • 50 Kimball's Champions cards
  • 50 Topps 60 cards
  • 50 ToppsTown cards (I do have to visit the place again...it's been a while)
  • 30 Diamond Duos cards
  • 25 Diamond Stars cards (love the sparkly)
  • 15 Blue Diamond (Walmart) cards
  • 15 Red Diamond (Target) cards
  • 9 Topps Diamond Giveaway Code Card (need #12...anybody???  Can be used...Really!!!)
  • 7 Before There Was Topps cards
  • 1 Topps Attax Ad card (yes, I'm including this card as part of my set)
  • 1 Andre Dawson 1985 Original Back (thanks Glenn)
  • 1 Christy Mathewson SP (thanks Glenn again) replacing the Jim Palmer SP
If my math is correct, that should be 643 cards. So adding 643 to the main number in the sidebar of 47,853 cards, increases the total number of cards in my official card collection to 48,496 cards...and counting.

During the National, I plan on bringing my want list and a bunch of cards in the event people want to trade.  I'm nearby, so it's not like I'd have to make a long trek back and forth. 
One more thing before I forget, I finally have 16 virtual rings in the Topps Diamond Anniversery Giveaway.  With 15 different rings, I now have a Skinit code to redeem for my cell phone.  Now my daughter was with me when I was creating the custom skin for my Pantech Pursuit phone.  So she saw me pick out this design:


This is what my cell phone will look like when the Skin comes in.
 Please don't send me letters telling me what you think about the design. I am not a graphics artist, and I couldn't use a baseball card or the Topps logo here (although the company has designs for every major sports team in MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL - except the new Winnipeg Jets - and even MLS).  In hindsight, I know I could have done better, especially with the logo.  But that is what is coming, and I can't wait to see it, especially how that bdj610 logo looks (yes, it's dark...but red isn't my color).

But again, my daughter saw me work on this and now she wants one for her phone.  So I am going to ask the Hobby Community for help here.  If you redeemed more than 15 rings and DON'T PLAN on using your Skinit redemption code, please send me an e-mail at bdj610@hotmail.com and provide the code so my daughter can customize her phone.  Thanks.

Well, it's time to get to work.  But until this evening, when I make the monthly changes to the Sports Card Blogroll, I'll be putting these cards in sheets and into my album.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

To All Those Going to the 2011 National Sports Card Convention Next Week:

If you haven't been inundated with information about the National Sports Card Convention being held in my hometown (literally down the street from my house), let me just throw in a few more bits of information about the show.

On Thursday, August 4, Topps will be throwing a Q & A session with 100 collectors at the show at 4:00 p.m.  Now, I would be excited about this normally...and don't get me wrong, I am...

But...

I WON'T BE ABLE TO BE THERE!!!

And needless to say, I'm totally depressed.

Now don't get me wrong, I will be at the show.  Come heck or high water, I am going to be there on Friday and Saturday (possibly Sunday, I'm not sure).  Along with my trusty Topps cap and my black Topps gym bag, I plan on taking in the atmosphere, the sights, and possibly meeting many of the esteemed Hobby Bloggers attending the convention. 

There's just so much to see and do that I don't think even two days will cover the entire show.  I don't plan on doing any major buying on the first day (unless something really grabs my attention), but definitely on the second day, I plan on shrinking down the want list.  There are lots of free samples (auction catalogs), business cards, and other things I want to gather besides cards.  But most importantly, I just want to be there.

So to my fellow Sports Card Hobbyists, I look forward to meeting you all in my backyard (well, not literally, but did I mention that I live up the street from the show???).

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, July 25, 2011

2011 Topps Archives: Roberto Alomar

It's been almost two years since I last did a post for the 2011 Topps Archives Project, and what better time to bring it back again than the day of the 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.

For those unfamiliar with the project, let me provide a bit of background.

In 2009, knowing that Topps would celebrate their 60th Anniversary, I proposed that one of the sets they should bring back is the Archives set, similar to their successful 2001-02 product. If you remember, the '01 set consisted of reprint cards from Topps' 50 years of the first (rookie) and final cards of 200 HOF players, fan favorites, and managers, record breakers and playoff highlights. Now the original set consisted of "first" cards ranged from 1952 to 1985 (players last cards reached all the way to 2000 Topps...and there were no cards from 1999 included as either a first or last card). This new project would now include rookie cards of players in 1990's (the cutoff being 1995...give or take a couple of years.  And the kicker is that the player should not have been featured in the 2001 set (so no Aaron, Mays, Clemente, Ryan, Blyleven...et. al). 

Now, in reality, we know that Topps isn't going to make this kind of set (MLB Properties decreed no full-retired player sets could be produced).  That's why Topps has lovingly mixed them in with current baseball players in almost all of their products, even as SP's in the eponymous Topps set.  But if they could...

Well, to dream.

So today was the day that Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar (along with Pat Gillick) were formally inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame.  But Mr. Gillick doesn't have a Topps card (as far as I know anyway), and Blyleven was already in the 2001 Topps Archives set.  So that leaves us with today's subject, Roberto Alomar.

And I'm kinda torn about it. 

No, not because of the player himself, nor do I want to go into a debate about who should or should not be a Hall of Famer (face it, different eras and times call for different ideals of what a HOF should be...and the time of Ruth, Cobb, Mathewson, Wagner, and Johnson is most certainly different than Alomar and Blyleven). 

No.

I'm torn about which design to use as a "first" card.

Now, I know two years ago, when I added Mark Grace to the series, I put on a vote to determine which card should be the end-all "first" card:  his 1988 Topps Traded or his 1989 Topps card (with the Rookie Cup).  And the majority ruled that the Traded card be considered his first card (31 of 48 votes).

So the same situation applies with Alomar's first card.  He did appear in the 1988 Topps Traded set, and his first regular card is the 1989 Topps set (which is my favorite set design EVER...and I'm biased this way anyway).  If I were to follow the ruling of my readers from two years ago, I'd use the card below as part of my virtual 2011 Topps Archives project:

First card:  1988 Topps Traded #4T.  Final card:  2005 Topps #626.

If I went with the four voters who said for me to make the decision, you'd see the cards below:

First card:  1989 Topps #206.  Final card:  2005 Topps #626.

Even though his final card (from 2005 Topps) shows he was a member of the Devil Ray, he never did play for them.  He retired as a player with the D-Rays when he didn't make it on the squad out of Spring Training.

From his beginnings with the Padres, to his rise to super stardom with the Blue Jays (he won two World Series titles), Alomar was truly destined for greatness.  He was an offensive and defensive star with both the Orioles and Indians, before finishing his career with stints with the White Sox, Mets, and Diamondbacks.  He was a 12-time All-Star (from 1990 to 2001...twelve straight years), a 10-time Gold Glove winner (2,320 games played at second base presently ranks third on the All-Time list), a 4-time Silver Slugger, a 2-time WS winner (including a 1992 ALCS MVP), and finally, a 2011 Hall of Famer. 

So now it is time for this humble, little blog, to add Roberto Alomar into the 2011 Topps Archives project.

This should mark the return of the series.  I do hope to have it finished by the end of the year. I still have the list of people who were suggested by the readers, and I do encourage you to throw your suggestions in as well in the comments. Maybe 200 players (the total I originally suggested) was a bit too much.  I think if I can get this series to 100 players, I'd be happy.

So, once again, congratulations to Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, and Pat Gillick on entering Cooperstown.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, July 21, 2011

@TheGinterCode Tweets

I don't know how much these are supposed to help in your quest for cracking the Ginter Code, but if you're not following the Codemaster on Twitter, you might want to consider it.

Then again, when his (or her) first two tweets are these...
  • As my uncle Reginald V. Thorpwell III said: Codebreakers are defeated and bitter, who don’t follow the Codemaster on Twitter. (July 15)
  • I've been composing a poem that may be of interest to some of you. A few rhymes to work out, then we'll see what you think. (July 19)

Maybe you're better off sticking to getting the cards together. 

Good luck.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Friday, July 15, 2011

Working on the 2011 Ginter Code???

Nah, me neither.
 
But, since I've mentioned it, and since the 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter product hit the shelves this week, I thought I'd try and at least those (who still reads this blog) out a bit in getting closer to cracking the code than I ever will be. 
 
This year's Code involves all 350 cards in the set.  They are all parallels to the regular 350 set (I'm not sure if the SP's in the regular set are SP's in the codebreaker set).  The main thing you will notice on these cards is that there is a pattern (black or gold) that appears on the corners of the cards.  Different patterns appear on each of the corners of each card (not saying ALL of them will have a pattern on every corner), twenty different patterns total.  You are basically reconstructing the cards in order that they were printed on the sheet before they were cut (bonus points if people happened to snag uncut sheets...yeah, good luck with that happening).  Let's figure there are 300 regular cards and 50 SP cards.  That would mean that if the sheets were printed 10 X 10, you would at be looking at four full sheets when putting all the cards together.  But then again, they could be split 5 x 10, so that's seven half sheets.  And then again, the regular cards might have been printed in a different order than the code cards. 
 
However they're printed, I would like you all to consider the design of 1990 Topps when putting the puzzle together.  Remember, cards in the middle of the sheet should have all four codes together.  Cards with patterns on two corners may be the edges of the sheet.  Cards with one pattern may be the corner of the sheet.  Cards with three patterns...well that means I'm horribly wrong.
 
I'm thinking too much here, and I'm not even attempting to break the code that Jason Wong, Mike Gellner, and Nick Jacoby have all done in the past (told you that you were getting a card Mike...)
 
Now the backs of these cards have a four leaf clover type pattern on the back, the same ones that are appearing on the corners of the code cards.  Depending on what actually appears on the back of the card my be the clues to crack the code.  Now, this is not to say that the design on the back will actually appear on the front of the card...you never know.
 
If you want to see scans of all the patterns, the guy who runs the toppsarchives.com has all the pictures you need of the twenty patterns in question together and has samples of the cards put together (not necessarily in the right order, but it gives you an idea of how to go about it) here. (Thanks to Blowout Cards' forum for the info).
 
The guys at FCB are trying to crack this one as well and they are saying that the ad cards for the Ginter Code contest also may have a clue.  The card has a guy trying to crack the code and there is a mirror in front.  The mirror shows a clock (behind the guy).  The clock apparently has different times on it depending on the front of the card (one person says he has eight different ones out of 48 cards he's pulled) and the backs could contain a code that would signify a number (a nine of diamonds has been spotted, a card with the number "twelve" and what supposedly is the Mayan number signifying 16).  There may be 36 of these cards (one for each letter and the numbers 0-9).
 
As the code contest is in it's fourth year, sellers on the Bay are figuring out how to make a quick buck off the people who are seriously attempting to figure out the code by selling to the winning bidder a picture of the scan of the back of these cards.  Is it a crime to do this?  It's not, but it does make it a bit costly for people going this route.
 
Topps has opened a twitter account for the Ginter Code.  I'm going to follow them during my lunch break. 
 
This is as far as I am going to go.  If any of this information helps you crack the code, thank the boys and girls on the forums of FCB (that's Freedom Card Board) and Blowout Cards.
 
And maybe in your bio for your card next year, you could put in a good word about some blogger who writes about Topps cards...(heel Ego, heel).
 
Maybe the above information will help you crack the code, or maybe it will throw you off the trail.  Maybe I'm being helpful, or maybe I'm trying to sabotage everybody's attempt to do it.  All of the above is pure speculation on my part.  Take the information as you will any piece of advice.  Run with it, or choose to ignore it and move along.  Either way, good luck to everyone in this year's "Crack the Ginter Code" contest. 
 
 
Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Maybe It Wasn't Such a Good Idea to Keep These Cards a Surprise

A few weeks back, I mentioned the MLB Network and Topps' joint promotion called Prime 9.  To review, check here.  If you don't want to click on the link and want a cliff notes version of the premise and rules of this promotion, here goes:

Starting July 18, the MLB Network will announce the Prime 9 subject for the week. Ideally, the identities of the subjects being chosen will be kept a secret until the announcement. The subject could be an active player, could be a legend, nobody knows for sure. But the key is that there will be one player per position!!!

Now collectors with these cards can bring the cards, after each announcement is made of course, to their nearby HTA store and the store, if participating properly, will reward him or her with a Prime 9 chrome refractor card. Each card that is submitted will enroll collectors in a sweepstakes. The grand prizes (2 of them) include either a trip to the World Series, or a trip to the MLB Network to meet and greet the talent. Other prizes will be announced later.

Emphasis on the words "if participating properly."  Because the cards were shipped to the HTA stores this week.  And guess what showed up on the 'Bay not soon afterwards:




No, not these...

THESE!!!




There goes the surprise. (Picture from one of the handful of auctions found on the Bay).

I think it would have been a better idea to have these cards redeemed online (like the Red Hot Rookie promotion from the last three years) instead of having them redeemed at the local HTA store.  Because if you're expecting people in the Hobby to keep things secret, that will never, ever happen.  Not with the Internet anyway.

Now that the element of surprise is gone...at least the player selection is good.  Can't go wrong with a 1-9 lineup like what you see above.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Trading Away A SP Card. Why Would I Do Such a Savage Thing???

A while back, I wrote that I bought a Target 4-pack of 2011 Topps Series 2.  And one of the cards in the pack was this beautiful short print. 

2011 Topps Jim Palmer SP #393

Now, I have the most rotten luck when it comes to finding packs with SP cards.  So to even get one is an accomplishment.  Now, friend of the blog Glenn Savage sent me an e-mail wondering if I was willing to part with it.  Seeing that he is from Maryland, and he's been so generous with all the cards he's traded to me, I couldn't say no.  He listed what he was willing to offer, and I told him what I would want in exchange.

The package came yesterday.  Included was a Topps Gold card of Dodger pitcher Jonathan Broxton, an Andre Dawson 60 Years of Topps Original Back (1985), and this...

2011 Topps Christy Mathewson SP #102

Yes sir, a Christy Mathewson SP card.  A short-printed card of a HOF pitcher for a short-printed card of a HOF pitcher.  Seems like a fair exchange to me.

Also included in the package that came in the mail yesterday were seven Series 2 Diamond Giveaway cards.  All used.  I just needed the code cards for my collection (darn the fact that they are numbered).  I am only missing TDG12 and the set is done.  Now, all I want is the card, used code or not.

I am also sending him a couple of other cards that I think he will enjoy.  Thanks again, Glenn.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

2011 All-Star Game Notes and Observations

Needless to say, I am thrilled that the National League won the All-Star Game 5-1.  I just finished reviewing some of the video from the game, and with my scorecard (yes, I actually keep track of the game by scoring it at home), I have a few things to comment about the game.

1. Loved the opening ceremonies again.  Cheers were great for the Diamondbacks reps, and the boo birds were out for EVERYBODY wearing a Red Sox, Dodgers and Giants uniform (more for the Dodgers for some reason).

2. Way to go Buck.  Must have mixed up the pages in his script when trying to introduce Miguel Cabrera (as Seattle pitcher Felix Hernandez).

2½.  Of the 84 players named as All-Stars, four Yankees and Chipper Jones didn't make the trip out west.  I can understand Chipper not making the trip, and even ARod's absence is understandable.  But if you're an All-Star that CAN make the trip to the ASG, even if you're not on the team...MAKE THE TRIP!!! 

3. Did they say that Roy Halladay only threw nineteen pitches totaling two innings of work???  And why did Jered Weaver throw for one inning?  He could have easily stayed out there longer, Skip.

4.  It's one thing to get hurt before the All-Star Game, but Ron Washington is going to have to explain to the Boston fans why Josh Beckett got hurt (of course it's not his fault, but he's going to be blamed for something down the line).  Miguel Cabrera (or was that King Felix...) also had to leave earlier than expected.  Maybe he (Washington) is just trying to make it easy on his team come playoff time...(conspiracy theory time...)

5.  Play of the night...Hunter Pence getting Jose Bautista out in that fourth inning.  Any momentum that the AL could have had ended with that play.

6.  And how about our Chicago reps.  Starlin Castro (he even has the word Star in is name...he is destined for greatness) with two stolen bases (yeah he was thrown out at home...pitcher made he right decision based on where he was in relation to the plate even though he was LUCKY to have been able to field it bare handed).  Two assists in the field, and one error (figures he'd do it against the White Sox).  And yeah, he struck out in his only plate appearance, but what a night for a star-in-the-making.

7.  Carlos Quentin and Paul Konerko combined went 0-3, reached base on Castro's error (Quentin), and a walk (Konerko), and ended the game in the ninth (with Starlin redeeming himself on that final play). I get nervous in the ninth inning of All-Star Games, ever since the 2006 debacle when Konerko led that rally with two outs in the ninth.  No such luck this time.

8.  Did you see that home run by Adrian Gonzalez???

9.  Reviewing the scorecard, there were 14 strikeouts.  All were of the swinging variety.

10.  How do you win a ballgame when you allow a hit to the only man you face?  When the inning ends with a throw home to get the runner out (see note 5).

11.  Daughter question #1?  Why are they booing the Reds outfielder when he was at bat?  A:  They weren't booing.  They were saying "BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE!"

12.  A passed ball?  By Matt Wieters?  That's what you get when you don't sign with Topps, Matt!!! (Kidding...)

13. Miguel Montero was the only person who didn't get to bat (he would have led off the bottom of the ninth, but I'm thinking he's happy that he didn't have to do so).

14. Congratulations to the NL All-Star Team.  And congrats to Prince Fielder, the MVP for the 2011 showdown.

15.  The broadcasters were talking about baseball is a "selfish game" and how Michael Young is the most unselfish, most team-oriented player in the majors today. Personally, I think if Craig Biggio gets into the Hall of Fame, Young should be inducted as well. You don't see many of these kinds of players nowadays who genuinely has a "team first" mentality in his approach to the Game.


16.  Speaking of Young, he wound up being the third-string third baseman (behind Adrian Beltre and Kevin Youkilis).  Is this the first time that two players from the same team wound up playing the same position (not counting pitchers) at an All-Star Game?  Konerko ended up being the backup DH.

17.  On the other side, the NL utilized three DH's.  Carlos Beltran started, then Andre Ethier had a hit, and Gaby Sanchez of the Marlins was the third.  I don't think I like the idea of the NL with a DH.  But you have to admit, being a DH would have been the only way Sanchez would have gotten into the game.

Of the 68 active participants for the ASG, only eight did not appear in the game: Russell Martin, Josh Beckett (he was warming up for the second inning before he felt something wasn't right), Ricky Romero, Aaron Crow, and Jose Valverde from the AL; Kevin Correia, Tim Lincecum, and Ryan Vogelsong for the NL.  The Royals were the only team to not have their rep appear in the game. To the AL manager for next year's game...better make sure your Royals rep gets in the game somehow, otherwise you won't be leaving Kansas City alive.

I enjoyed the game.  I can't believe I'm still up writing this. The All-Star binder will stay intact until the end of the week (and you thought I was making that stuff up about having one).

It's time to go to bed. Good night all.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

And Now, Your Starting Lineups

(The power came back on at 1:24 am CST last night.  I scheduled this post to run at 3:00 pm this afternoon, only to find out it didn't work).

As announced yesterday:

For the American League:


1. Curtis Granderson, NYY, cf
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE, ss
3. Adrian Gonzalez, BOS, 1b
4. Jose Bautista, TOR, rf
5. Josh Hamilton, TEX, lf
6. Adrian Beltre, TEX, 3b
7. David Ortiz, BOS, dh
8. Robinson Cano, NYY, 2b
9. Alex Avila, DET, c

And the National League:


1. Rickie Weeks, MIL, 2b
2. Carlos Beltran, NYM, dh
3. Matt Kemp, LAD, cf
4. Prince Fielder, MIL, 1b
5. Brian McCann, ATL, c
6. Lance Berkman, STL, rf
7. Matt Holliday, STL, lf
8. Troy Tulowitzki, COL, ss
9. Scott Rolen, CIN, 3b


The starting pitchers for the 80th ASG are Jered Weaver of the Angels and Roy Halladay of the Phillies.

Enjoy the game everyone.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blogging By Candlelight

For the second time in two weeks, storms have knocked out power in our neighborhood. The last time this happened, we were out of electricity for 48 hours plus. This time the electric company can't even give us an estimate as to when our area is up and running again.

So here I am blogging over the phone (second attempt...the first one got lost somehow so I am doing it over) sitting at my table with five candles glowing while I re-sort the cards in my All-Star binder (what...you thought I was kidding when I said I was pulling out cards for this???).

Until today, I had the teams sorted in the following order: Starters, pitchers, position players, and Final Man Candidates. Now that the starting lineups were announced, I have to re-sort the cards in this order: Starting Lineup, then the rest of the players by team affiliation (sorted by city), just like they do it during the player introductions.

My favorite part of the All-Star Game has always been the player introductions. Seeing the players standing side by side in the uniforms of their respective teams, listening for the crowd reaction to hear if they're cheering wildly (always for the home reps, meaning Montero, Upton, and MGR Kirk Gibson, who was named a coach for thre NL side will get the loudest ovations), booing with reckless abandon (reserved for players within the division of the host team), or clapping indifferently (most every other player).

But because we're out of power, unless I sit in my car, go to somebody else's house, or go out to eat where there is a TV tuned to it, I am going to miss the game on Tuesday!!!

SOB!!!

I would have scanned the cards of both teams' starting lineups, as well as the pitching matchup. I even scanned the cards of the eight participants in this year's Home Run Derby for another post. That's all down the tubes now.

Well if I can't catch the game, at least I'll have my All-Star cards and binder to keep me company...even if I have to substitute the team cards for Wieters, Robertson, League, Ogando, Kimbrel, and Vogelsong.

It's getting late now. Time to blow out the candles and hope for the best.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

How to Fit 84 MLB All-Stars into the 2011 Topps Update Series Set.

So I'm looking over the preliminary checklist for the 2011 Topps Update Series, and unless I counted incorrectly, the checklist makes room for 60 TBD All-Stars.  For kicks, here are the card numbers the Topps Company reserved for the All-Stars:
 

US4 TBD All-Star

US10 TBD All-Star

US14 TBD All-Star

US18 TBD All-Star

US20 TBD All-Star

US21 TBD All-Star

US31 TBD All-Star

US38 TBD All-Star

US42 TBD All-Star

US43 TBD All-Star

US49 TBD All-Star

US50 TBD All-Star

US52 TBD All-Star

US58 TBD All-Star

US59 TBD All-Star

US60 TBD All-Star

US68 TBD All-Star

US75 TBD All-Star

US84 TBD All-Star

US85 TBD All-Star

US91 TBD All-Star

US98 TBD All-Star

US105 TBD All-Star

US109 TBD All-Star

US113 TBD All-Star

US118 TBD All-Star

US130 TBD All-Star

US138 TBD All-Star

US140 TBD All-Star

US143 TBD All-Star

US144 TBD All-Star

US146 TBD All-Star

US147 TBD All-Star

US154 TBD All-Star

US162 TBD All-Star

US163 TBD All-Star

US172 TBD All-Star

US195 TBD All-Star

US204 TBD All-Star

US207 TBD All-Star

US229 TBD All-Star

US230 TBD All-Star

US238 TBD All-Star

US249 TBD All-Star

US258 TBD All-Star

US260 TBD All-Star

US268 TBD All-Star

US273 TBD All-Star

US275 TBD All-Star

US278 TBD All-Star

US287 TBD All-Star

US291 TBD All-Star

US293 TBD All-Star

US304 TBD All-Star

US306 TBD All-Star

US309 TBD All-Star

US310 TBD All-Star

US316 TBD All-Star

US321 TBD All-Star

US323 TBD All-Star

 
I also noticed that Topps has 8 cards slotted for the participants in the 2011 Home Run Derby.  Here are the eight card numbers reserved for the following players:  Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Matt Holliday, Matt Kemp, David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, and Robinson Cano.
 

US6 TBD HR Derby

US78 TBD HR Derby

US80 TBD HR Derby

US126 TBD HR Derby

US127 TBD HR Derby

US218 TBD HR Derby

US242 TBD HR Derby

US299 TBD HR Derby

 
I know in the past few years that the Update & Highlights/Update Series set includes the players who made the All-Star teams.  But there's a slight problem.
 
See, there are 68 players on the active rosters.  And there were 16 other players who were named and then replaced because of injury, Sunday ineligibility, or decision to stay home.  That's 84 players total.  And there are only 60 cards reserved for the All-Stars.
 
I know that there are players who Topps has not signed that will participate in Tuesday's game (cough...Wieters...cough).  My concern is that somehow, Topps is going to include some of the 16 players who ARE no longer on the active rosters, even if they are going to be in Phoenix to take in the atmosphere, thus keeping someone who might actually get in the game from getting an All-Star Game card.  Meaning a guy like Justin Verlander may get a card, even if he's off the active roster, and his replacement Michael Pineda of the Mariners won't (if you're a Verlander collector, please don't send me a nasty e-mail about this...I'm not picking on the guy...this is just an example...replace Verlander with any of the other 15 guys taken off the squads...and you get the idea).
 
The ideal solution here is that Topps keep the 8 All-Stars who are participating in the Home Run Derby and leave the remaining 60 spots for all the other players on the active All-Star teams.  You don't need to have both a Rickie Weeks Home Run Derby card AND an All-Star card (if you're a Weeks collector, please see the note about Verlander).  You can put both the All-Star logo AND the Home Run Derby logo on their cards.  Throw in an extra logo because all 8 are in the starting lineup for the actual game. 
 
I just don't want to see an All-Star card of CC Sabathia (who was named as a replacement, but was also deemed ineligible because of the Sunday rule) and find out that Aaron Crow of the Royals (who was actually named to the original roster) won't be included in the subset.  And no offense to Shane Victorino, but I'm not going to be too thrilled if I see you AND Andre Ethier with the All-Star Logo on your card, even if you won the Final Man roster spot. 

Get the idea?  Let's save these subset cards for the players who are actually on the official rosters.
 
Now I know that the heads of Topps don't really read this blog.  But in the off-chance that they do...
 
Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

More All-Star Roster Updates. Too Many to Mention in the Title of this Post.

Confused yet? So am I, but I think I have it figured out.

Before we get to the news, cards, roster updates, I just have one thing to say.

To Aramis Ramirez, who I know is never going to read this unless he stumbles upon it by accident:

You are definitely deserving of being named an All-Star.  I respect your decision to decline as family should always come first.  I just wish you were there to stand amongst your peers as a member of this year's NL All-Star Team. 

For those trying to figure out why a player is chosen (and another is not), here is what is happening.  Let's see if I have this right:
  • If a player was voted onto the starting lineup and has to be replaced, the player selected by the players (who should already have been named onto the team) takes his spot in the starting lineup.  That player's replacement on the bench is selected by the manager.
  • If a player was voted onto the team by the players/coaches/managers and has to be replaced, the player next in line from the players' ballot takes the roster spot.
  • If a player was selected by the manager and has to be replaced on the team, then the manager selects the replacement.
Earlier in the day, I mentioned CC Sabathia and David Robertson were added to the AL All-Star Team.  Sabathia had started today's game against James Shields, the All-Star he was replacing.  With Sabathia now ineligible as well, Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogando (who does not have a card in either the regular set or the 17-card retail set) takes Sabathia's place on the 34-man roster.  To alleviate this malady, card #543 (the Texas Rangers card) will fill in for Ogando, who is making his first appearance on the All-Star team.


Felix Hernandez of the Mariners also pitched on Sunday, making him ineligible.  His replacement, by virtue of the player balloting was Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester.  Lester, however, is on the DL, so he can't play, but feel free to get card #3 or BOS11 anyway. He's officially an All-Star.  Taking Lester's spot on the roster is Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero.  This is Romero's first All-Star game appearance.  Card #'s 148 and TOR16.


Justin Verlander of the Tigers pitched on Sunday as well, so he can't participate in the ASG either.  To take his spot, rookie Michael Pineda of the Mariners was selected to take his spot on the team.  Pineda is the third Mariners' third pitcher (following King Felix and closer Brandon League) on the staff.  His Topps card number is #595 (no Mariners team card).

The changes continue on the NL side as well.


Placido Polanco of the Phillies is now taking the game off due to injury.  His back up, Chipper Jones of the Braves, is already on the 15-Day DL.  Now, at the beginning, I mentioned that Aramis Ramirez declined, unfortunately, to take part in the festivities (if they had asked him YESTERDAY, he would have made plans for Phoenix).  Scott Rolen of the Reds, who took Chipper's spot on the roster is now the starting third baseman on the NL side.  Taking Polanco's spot on the team is Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero.  Montero. It is his first All-Star appearance as well.  Montero joins teammate Justin Upton in welcoming everybody to the All-Star Game.  His card numbers are #234 and ARI8.


Jose Reyes, the NL's starting shortstop, is also out of the starting lineup due to injury.  Taking his spot on the team (and I don't know who got the call first between him and A-Ram) is Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval.  The "Kung Fu Panda", is making his first appearance on the All-Star team, and joins pitchers Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, Brian Wison, and Matt Cain on the squad.  Sandoval's cards are #188 and SFG12 (you are keeping track right???).

Speaking of Matt Cain.  He also pitched on Sunday, so he's off the roster too.  So enter Atlanta Braves pitcher Craig Kimbrel.  Kimbrel is the Braves' rookie closer and leads the NL in saves.  This will be his first All-Star appearance too.  However, he has no cards in either the Topps set or the Update set.  So use the Braves' team card #319 as a fill in until he (hopefully) shows up in the Update Series.


And finally, Cole Hamels started on Sunday, so he is now off the team.  Taking his spot is Pirates pitcher Kevin Correia.  With the Pirates surprising rise in the NL Central standings, the Bucs deserve more than one player on this staff.  Correia has been among the league leaders in wins (11-7 record in 19 starts), and is also making his first All-Star appearance.  He is now the third Pirate to be named to the active squad, joining teammates Andrew McCutchen and closer Joel Hanrahan.  He is on card #47 (with the Padres) and PIT15 on the Pirates team set (which I don't have yet, but I did find the picture of the card for the purpose of this article.

So right now there are 43 AL and 41 NL players who are officially All-Stars for the 2011 season.

Whew. 

And the scary thing about all of these changes is that there still may be more to come. 

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Price and Shields out of the ASG, Sabathia and Robertson Named Replacements.

As we get closer and closer to the All-Star Game, there are more and more roster updates to report (and there will be plenty).

Thanks to the "Sunday Pitcher" rule, James Shields is now ineligible to appear in the ASG. Teammate David Price, out with turf toe on his left foot, is also now off the 34-man roster.

In their places will be two Yankees pitchers. But there's a bit of a hitch to it.

With Shields ineligibe, CC Sabathia was named to take his spot on the roster. The problem though is that Sabathia started Sunday's game against Shields and the Rays. So now he is ineligible to participate in the game as well. Still, he gets to be part of the festivites on Tuesday. This would be his fifth appearance at the ASG.

Price's replacement is Yankees reliever David Robertson. Robertson leads all AL relievers with 56 strikeouts heading into today's game. He also sports a 1.27 ERA, which is second lowest among pitchers with 35 innings of work. This would be his first ASG appearance.

If you're going to add both Sabathia's and Robertson's 2011 Topps cards to your All-Star binder, save yourself some time looking for Robertson. As a middle relief pitcher, he does not have a card in the eponymous set nor the retail set (surprising considering he's a Yankee). Use the Yankees' team card in his place 424 (making him the fourth person without a card). Sabathia's cards are #102 and NYY2.

More roster changes (and you know there will be) to come soon after the Sunday starters are replaced (at least six of them...maybe more???).

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Braun and Chipper out of the ASG, McCutchen and Rolen Named Replacements.

As we get closer and closer to the All-Star Game, there are more and more roster updates to report.

Yesterday, both Chipper Jones of the Braves and Ryan Braun of the Brewers were placed on their respective teams' 15-day DL. Their replacements were announced last night.


With Chipper out with a right knee injury (a torn meniscus), Scott Rolen of the Reds takes his spot on the NL bench. It will be his seventh trip to the ASG, his second with the Reds, whose contingent also includes Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce for the National League.


Braun received the most votes of all the players chosen to start this year. But with him now going on the DL with a strained left calf, what seems to have been another major league slight has now been averted. Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, probably THE reason why the Pirates have surprised everyone (except for themselves) in baseball as contenders for the NL Central title, has been named as his replacement. There is no word yet as to who will take the start (although if you follow the balloting by the players, that role should fall to Matt Holliday...but you never know). McCutchen joins Bucs' closer Joel Hanrahan on the NL side.

If you're going to add both Rolen and McCutchen's 2011 Topps cards to your All-Star binder (please...PLEASE... I can't be the only one doing this), Rolen's cards are #228 and CIN6, and McCutchen's cards are #60 and PIT2.

More roster changes (and you know there will be) to come soon after the Sunday starters are replaced (at least six of them...maybe more???).

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama