Friday, November 11, 2016

To The Men and Women Who Serve in the United States Armed Forces 11-11-16

This was written six years ago, but the sentiments remain the same.

November 11, 1919: President Wilson proclaims the first Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." The original concept for the celebration was for the suspension of business for a two minute period beginning at 11 A.M., with the day also marked by parades and public meetings.

On June 1, 1954, President Eisenhower signs legislation changing the name of the legal holiday from Armistice Day to Veteran's Day. (from The History of Veterans Day)

To the Men and Women who serve in the US Armed Forces:

I will not pretend I know the infinite different reasons why you made the decision to join the US Military.

I can only imagine what your basic training was like (I'm not even sure the movies do any justice).

I will not pretend to know the feeling of being away from family, friends and all of the comforts of home, having been assigned to a foreign land, serving the interests of our country.

I will not say that I necessarily agree with ALL of the reasons why our country has gone to war.

I will not pretend to know what it is like out in the battlefields, not knowing if I was going to live to see another day.

But I will say this.

Thank you.

Thank you all for your service to our country.

Thank you for the sacrifices you made so that we can continue to live with the freedoms that we enjoy.

Your courage is nothing if not inspiring. Your stories become tales of legend that deserve to be told again and again.

For these, and countless other reasons, I give you my respect.

And I give you thanks.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I Guess I Can No Longer Say This...

After seven years, an exclusive with another card company, and no Topps cards other than an eTopps card from 2009 or random cameos on other player's cards (like the 2012 Topps Padres Carlos Quentin card...retail team set only)...

Yes, ladies, and gentlemen, Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles now has an official, regular, eponymous, Topps card. Okay, it's part of the Update Series.

But isn't it about time??! Orioles fans can finally get a complete team set of their team.

On an unrelated note, I do have a few packs of 2016 Topps Update Series. I haven't opened them yet, but as soon as I do, pack break results will be forthcoming.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, November 3, 2016

And Just Like That...

The 2016 MLB season has now come to a close. And for the first time in my lifetime, I am happy with the end results.

Yes, I know that I've seen a World Series championship in Chicago before...and nothing against the White Sox, but I did not feel the enthusiasm. But last night, I went through the wringer regarding my emotions.
  • I was nervous at the start of the game
  • I was happy when Fowler hit the home run
  • I was cautiously optimistic when it was 5-1
  • I was in a state of worry when it was 5-3
  • I was relieved when it was 6-3
  • I totally lost it when it was 6-6
Yes. I actually went into my bedroom, layed in my bed face down, and just did not want to move. I thought at that point, it was over, and that all the Indians needed was a home run and it was "Celebration Cleveland." I did not even see the bottom of the ninth because I was numb.

My daughter came into my room and asked if I was all right. Of course I wasn't all right. I was a wreck.

She actually started screaming when the Cubs scored in the 10th. I had no idea that there was a rain delay and when I came out to the living room, I had thought that the Indians had a really long bottom of the ninth. The Cubs had the bases loaded when Montero got a hit to drive in an 8th run.

After the inning ended, I was breathing really heavily. Not necessarily hyperventilating, but close enough.

After Carl Edwards, Jr. got the first two outs, and then walked the next guy, and then Rajai Davis struck again, driving in the 7th run, I had almost collapsed.

Then when Mike Montgomery induced that final groundout (which, by the way, Bryant had slipped as he was making the throw) that I thought was going to go over Rizzo's head but he caught it.

Pure jubilation.

I dropped the remote control on the table and it slid into the fish tank. (Don't I need a new remote).

For the first time in 108 years, the Cubs are World Series Champions. My family was screaming. The Facebook Feed went nuts. The Twitter Feed went nuts. It was finally over. The jokes, the curses, the "Lovable Losers" nickname...all gone. The team had finally done it.

My wife wants a WS shirt for her birthday (which is tomorrow). I'm getting outfits for everyone.

And as soon as Topps comes out with the retail set celebrating the Cubs...guess who's getting one.

Congratulations to the Cleveland Indians organization. Your team was just as hungry. Your fans were just as enthusiastic. Your team was built to win, and had all the momentum on your side.

But more importantly...

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs. Thank you for taking this Cubs fan, and generations of Cubs fans, on the ride of a lifetime.

I'm thinking of my grandmother right now. The lady that brought me to my first baseball game back in 1988 and introduced me to the game the year before. She would have loved this and I'm sure she's watching wherever she is.

World Series Champions. Has a nice ring to it. It'll definitely make watching those "Top 20" shows on the MLB network more bearable to watch during the offseason.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

As Today is November 2, 2016

November 2 is traditionally All Souls Day. It is the day where we celebrate the lives of family and friends who have passed away. Many will go to cemeteries and pray, some may even picnic on the grounds. It is not really a day of mourning, but a day of reflection. Remembering those who we strongly miss.

Personally, I would like to honor my grandparents, Felix Anama, Leonor Filoteo Anama, Gloria Y. Nichols, Ruben S. Menguito, Sgt. Clinton H. Nichols. As well as countless great aunts and uncles too numerous to list.

Today I want to remember the seven souls who died on January 8, 1993, at the Brown's Chicken in Palatine, Illinois: Michael C. Castro, Rico Solis, Thomas Mennes, Marcus Nellsen, Guadalupe Maldonado, Richard Ehlenfeldt, and Lynn Ehlenfeldt.

I would like to remember the people I've met over the years who left us too soon: Lynn Swoboda, Shannon McNamara, Linda Beyer, Gail Leff, Lois Winesburgh, Mary Jo Scanlan, Nancy Huber, Joseph Nasca, Antoinette Nasca, Dan Doles, Chris Stufflestreet, Thomas Scanlon, Darrin Steffey, Katie (Olin) Wood, Erin (Ryals) Semerad, Leonard "LJ" Marek, Rob Swanson.

On behalf of my wife, I would like to honor her grandparents, uncles, and especially, her mother (since I have not asked for my wife's permission to do so, I am not adding their names here).

Finally, I would like to take a moment to remember the families, the loved ones who were left behind.

Now that the personal side of the blog has been taken care of, I would also like to take time to remember 87 more people. Between 11/02/2015 and 11/01/2016, 87 people who can lay claim to playing major league baseball, 1 of whom had the honor of being a manager of a major league franchise (even for one game), passed away. Many lived long productive lives, even after their careers ended. Others, tragically, either passed away before their potential could be fully reached or before they could enjoy the fruits of their retirement.

Today, I take time out of my humble little baseball card blog to remember:

Eddie Milner
Fred Besana
Tommy Hanson
George Genovese
Carmen Castillo
Jim Stump
Kerry Dineen
Ken Johnson
Willie Royster
Bobby Gene Smith
Ramon de los Santos
Bob Dustal
Bob Martyn
Gus Gil
Jim McAnany
Hal Brown
Evelio Hernandez
George Burpo
Jim O'Toole
Dave Henderson
Ed Mayer
Frank Malzone
Jay Ritchie
Lance Rautzhan
Alton Brown
Monte Irvin
Luis Arroyo
Frank Sullivan
Walt Williams
Clyde Mashore
Ron Stillwell
Virgil Jester
Tony Phillips
Brock Pemberton
Jim Davenport
Kevin Collins
Bob Spicer
Steve Kraly
Bill Whitby
Joe Garagiola
Fred Richards
Tom Butters
Orlando Alvarez
Mike Sandlock
Ron Theobald
Milt Pappas
Harry Perkowski
Joe Durham
Gordie Sundin
Charlie Beamon
John Young
Dick McAuliffe
Sammy Ellis
Ron Henry
Ken Ramos
Jim Ray Hart
Lou Grasmick
Lee Pfund
Ruben Quevedo
Chico Fernandez
Phil Hennigan
Joe Schaffernoth
Jim Hickman
Turk Lown
Hal Hudson
Mike Strahler
Gordon Massa
Steve Nagy
Doug Griffin
Jose Arcia
Alan Brice
Robert Ramsay
Mike Brumley
Choo Choo Coleman
Steve Arlin
Charlie Sands
Bryan Clutterbuck
Juan Bell
Neil Berry
Paul Dade
Joe DeMaestri
Steve Korcheck
Don Minnick
Carl Miles
Dick Adams
Jose Fernandez
Gair Allie


JayBee Anama

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Time To Vote for Card #1 for the 2017 Topps Set

For the second year in a row, Topps is allowing fans and collectors to select the first card in their eponymous set. Unlike last year, where there were 34 players in the initial poll, including a representative from each major league team, and then a final five balloting to select the subject for #1, this time, a pool of 16 players have been chosen and there will be only one voting period.

The players for this year's ballot:

  • Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers
  • Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
  • Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
  • Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
  • Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
  • Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
  • Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
  • Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
  • Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
  • David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
  • Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
  • Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees
  • Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (and last year's #1)

Now having fewer players in the pool is fine, and I can see now who would be the favorites (cough...Trout...cough), and Ortiz is a good sentimental pick (maybe save him for a double zero number). My vote is for Bryant if only know.

Want to vote? Click here.

October is usually a busy month for this humble, little blog. End of Year All-Star Team selections will be forthcoming (after I post who were on the teams in 2015), and the comparisons between the 1996 and 2016 MLB debut classes.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, September 25, 2016

RIP Jose Fernandez 1992-2016

This was just pointed out by TradingCardDB on twitter. Please check the blurb on the back.

It has been reported that Marlins superstar pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident this morning. THIS MORNING! While the bit of information has only appeared on a trade rumors website, nothing has come up yet on or the Marlins website.

Regardless of whatever facts may come out about what happened this morning, MLB as a whole has lost another young star in his prime.

My condolences go out to the Fernandez family, the Marlins organization, Major League Baseball, and the fans. Not just Marlins fans, but all baseball fans.

UPDATE: WSVN, the ABC affiliate in Miami, is reporting that Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami beach.

The Marlins have officially released this statement:

The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernandez. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time. Today's game against the Atlanta Braves has been cancelled.

So this humble, little blog, will also send prayers and condolences to the families and friends of the other two victims in this tragic accident.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Two Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy-Four

My son is now a high school freshman. My daughter is a junior. She was just over a year old when it happened. My son wasn't even born.

In school, they learn about the events of September 11, 2001. It's a history lesson for them. They learn about what happened based on what is written on a page, what they see on a video, what they read online. It is sad yes. The chain of events, the heightened awareness, security at the airport, the news, all of it, is normal to them.

But prior to what happened fifteen years ago, it wasn't.

We weren't always at war. We didn't need to take our shoes off at the airports. We didn't have to worry about our safety to that extreme.

I wrote the words below in 2011. For that article, and when I re-ran the story since, I used the total number of people I had heard to have died due to the events of that day, not including those who heinously perpetrated the attacks. That number was 2,974. Depending on where you read it, it could have been 2,977. Tallies since then have brought the number up to 2,980. But regardless of the number, that's too many lives lost.

So while I know that it's been almost a month since my last post on this humble, little blog, I thought I'd come back and honor the memories of the people for whom this country still mourns, and think how the events on that fateful day changed the course of American history, fifteen years since. By the time this posts goes live, it is nightfall...fifteen years ago that the final plane crashed in a field somewhere in Pennsylvania.

Two thousand nine hundred seventy-four.


That's the number of people who lost their lives when everything was finally taken into account. Countless lives were affected by this national tragedy. Even if you didn't know anybody on those planes, at the World Trade Center, or the Pentagon, you grieved along with those who did. You stood there in shock, in a daze, just glued to the television or radio.

Our lives have not been the same since. My daughter, now eleven, asks what we (her parents) were doing that morning. "We were just going about our lives," was my reply. "We watched the morning news, getting ready for work, and couldn't believe what we were seeing on the screen." She was just over a year old. She couldn't have understood what was going on then. But she will learn that what she sees as "normal" now, really wasn't before that Tuesday morning.

Two thousand nine hundred seventy-four. It is the number of reasons why we never forget what happened fifteen years ago today.

On this day, the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, my family and I send our prayers to those who lost loved ones that Tuesday morning. We pray, and will continue to pray for:

the children who lost their parents that day.

the children who would never meet their fathers because of the events of that day.

the firefighters and policemen and women who risk their lives doing their jobs, running into the face of dangers as many are running in the opposite direction.

those servicemen and women fighting for our freedoms away from home, whether or not we agree with the conflicts they battle.

for our leaders, regardless of their affiliation, that they make the right choices to keep the citizens of our country, and others, safe.

And finally, we pray for peace. Peace amongst ourselves as family, as a community, as a nation.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Marketside Pizza Party...That Somebody Had Earlier This Year

Right as the 2016 MLB Baseball Season started, some collectors who rely on one of the big box stores (that would be Walmart or Target) made an unusual discovery upon wandering the frozen food section of their local Walmart.

Pizza Courtesy of Dean aka The Cardboard Examiner

That's right...Walmart was including Topps cards as a "prize" in their house-brand pizzas. Each pizza would include 3 cards and a Topps bunt code card, along with some coupons for some early season baseball card products (think Series 1, Gypsy Queen, Heritage, and Bowman).

I don't get to go to Walmart often, and by the time I was able to (around middle of April, I think), either the store I went to didn't have them yet, or they were all gone. I'll go with the former as there would be no way the store could have run out of this stuff...

But I digress.

Now this wouldn't be the first time Topps would include cards in a food product (not counting their gum). For many years, Topps has included cards in various food products, from cookies to pizza. However, in almost all cases, because these were only approved by the MLB Players' Association, the player's cards mostly featured a headshot and an airbrushed (and in many cases, really badly) cap. With Topps holding the exclusive rights with MLB Properties, now Topps can add logos and such to these kinds of cards.

There are 50 cards in this set, so if you were to try to collect the full set by doing nothing but buy the pizzas, you'd be in for a very expensive shopping trip. Walmart sells their Marketside Pizzas from anywhere between 7-10 bucks, depending on the type of pizza you prefer (plain cheese goes for around $7, pepperoni is about $9, and the ultimate meat for $10). So if we were going on the hope that one could get all 50 cards in the set without hitting a double, we'd be spending at least anywhere from $119 to $170 for seventeen pizzas. And for those who buy pack after pack of regular cards, you know that the odds of completing the set is near impossible.

I love pizza as much as the next person, but I don't think my family would have approved of me buying a ton of pizzas for the sole purpose of getting these cards, so my best option would be to see if anyone was able to pull of completing a set and then see if they were willing to trade or sell their cards online.

As news of the discovery of these cards started to come out, people were, indeed, putting these cards on the Bay. And cards of the usual suspects (Trout, Harper, Bryant) were going for big dollars ($10-$20), while cards of superstar players (think Sale, Perez, Machado) were going for anywhere between $5-$10. But no sets to speak of. Of course a 50-card set that could only be collected 3 cards at a time, of course nobody would have been able to get a full set right away.

It's now August. The season is now in pennant chase mode. We're getting a clear idea of which teams will add games in October. By now, somebody has to have been able to complete this set. I'm sure they went through the usual channels, whether it was on the Bay, trading, or other online means (ain't the Internet grand??!) And sure enough, sets have been popping up on the big auction site. As of today, August 10, 2016, the furthest record of a complete sale of a set of 50 cards comes from a BIN in May for $65.00. Someone was able to sell a couple of sets for almost $75.00 BIN. Auctions ended anywhere between $30-40.

Last week, one sold for $25.00 BIN.

That one, was bought by me. Today the cards came in the mail.

2016 Topps Marketside Pizza Set of 50 cards.

So I am adding this 50-card set to my 2016 Topps set binder. In the coming days, I will also be getting the 9-card Lids set.

2016 Topps New Era Lids Exclusive 9-card set. Coming soon.

So while I may not have been busy on this humble, little blog, rest assured that I have been very busy on the Hobby front.


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen, Introducing 2017 Topps Baseball

It's the most...wonderful time...of the year.

Yes, we still have two months more of baseball season (not counting playoffs), and 2016 Topps Update Series hasn't come out yet. And don't forget National Baseball Card Day this Saturday.

But in August, at least the last few years, Topps introduces the new design that we will all be after once the 2017 Baseball Card Season starts. This year is no exception.

Are you ready?

Are you excited?

I know I am.

So what are we waiting for?

Ladies and Gentlemen, here is the design for 2017 Topps Baseball:

Continuing with the gray-transparent corners (there has to be some kind of design element that looks like a border...even though this is Topps' second "borderless" design), this year's major design element is the big slanted "X" that holds the player name, position, team name, and team logo. Think basepaths? The top of the card looks a bit pixelated. Maybe it's my screen and may not be an actual design point, but this is definitely an improvement. The smoky design on some of this year's cards, while a nice touch, did detract from some of the pictures.

I'm really liking the design, and I don't have the cards in hand yet. Hopefully Topps will come out with a press release or something explaining the reasons for the design, and maybe a sell sheet.

But what do you think? Do you like the design? Hate it? Thoughts?


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

And Now, Your Starting Lineups...

As announced at All-Star Media Day:

For the National League:

1. Ben Zobrist, CHC, 2b
2. Bryce Harper, WAS, rf
3. Kris Bryant, CHC, 3b
4. Wil Myers, SDP, dh
5. Buster Posey, SFG, c
6. Anthony Rizzo, CHC, dh
7. Marcell Ozuna, MIA, cf
8. Carlos Gonzalez, COL, lf
9. Addison Russell, CHC, ss

And the American League:

1. Jose Altuve, HOU, 2b
2. Mike Trout, LAA, cf
3. Manny Machado, BAL, 3b
4. David Ortiz, BOS, dh
5. Xander Bogaerts, BOS, ss
6. Eric Hosmer, KCR, 1b
7. Mookie Betts, BOS, rf
8. Salvador Perez, KCR, c
9. Jackie Bradley, Jr., BOS, rf

The starting pitchers for the 87th ASG are Johnny Cueto of the Giants and Chris Sale of the White Sox.

Enjoy the game everyone.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Quintana Replaces Salazar on AL ASG Roster

On Sunday, it was announced that Indians All-Star pitcher Danny Salazar is dealing with mild elbow discomfort. While it's not bad enough that he has to be placed on the disabled list, it was decided that he should rest instead of participate in the All-Star Game. So while he will still most likely make the trip to San Diego, someone will have to take Salazar's spot on the roster.

It was announced today, as Chris Sale was getting his All-Star jersey, and Todd Frazier was getting one as well because he's heading to SD to defend his Home Run Derby title, that pitcher Jose Quintana of the White Sox will be taking Salazar's place on the All-Star Team roster.

Quintana is having a great year for the Pale Hose, although his 7-8 record doesn't show it. He has a 3.21 ERA, 105 strikeouts and a 1.11 WHIP (good for sixth place on the leaderboard) in 117.2 innings pitched. This will mark his first trip to the All-Star Game.

So add Quintana's #582 card or his CWS-10 retail team card to your binder. Will there be more players added? Who knows at this point. Stranger things have happened. Stay tuned.


JayBee Anama

2016 Topps Pro Debut at the Futures Game

The All-Star festivities are now in full swing and the highlight of this first day's events is the annual Futures Game.

Since the first Futures Game in 1999, more than 120 players who were named to either the US or World rosters have become MLB All-Stars, with many of them are participating in this year's All-Star Game. Twenty-seven players on last year's roster have already played in the majors.

Back to the point.

Today, the best minor leaguers from the United States take on the best prospects from around the world (Dominican Republic, Canada, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Lithuania, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Virgin Islands...and there was one player from South Africa who was originally selected, but is now injured). Of the 54 players (50 on active rosters, plus 4 selected players who were replaced due to injury, a MLB call-up, or suspension) who were named to either team, 26 of them appear in the 2016 Topps Pro Debut set. Who made the cut?

From Team USA:
  • Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox (#152)
  • Phil Bickford, P, Giants (#69)
  • Alex Bregman, IF, Astros (#142)
  • Willie Calhoun, IF, Dodgers (#192)
  • David Dahl, OF, Rockies (#60)
  • Clint Frazier, OF, Indians (#123)
  • Carson Fulmer, P, White Sox (#147)
  • Amir Garrett, P, Reds (#107)
  • Jeff Hoffman, P, Rockies (#29)
  • Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates (#49, injured)
  • Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres (#159)
  • Dominic Smith, IF, Mets (#148)
  • Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers (#61)
  • Dansby Swanson, IF, Braves (#1)

From Team World:
  • Willy Adames, IF, Rays (#22)
  • Jharel Cotton, P, Dodgers (#118)
  • Yandy Diaz, IF, Indians (#31)
  • Eloy Jimenez, OF, Cubs (#44)
  • Reynaldo Lopez, P, Nationals (#112)
  • Manuel Margot, OF, Padres (#63)
  • Jorge Mateo, IF, Yankees (#39, suspended)
  • Josh Naylor, IF, Marlins (#172)
  • Tyler O'Neill, OF, Mariners (#189)
  • Alex Reyes, P, Cardinals (#151)
  • Amed Rosario, IF, Mets (#96)
  • Raimel Tapia, OF, Rockies (#136)

This is a prospector's dream with many ready to sell if their guy has a breakout game. Team USA has won the last five Futures Games, and own a 11-6 record over their World counterparts. With many of these players ranked in their respective team's top 30 prospect list, this won't be the last we hear from any of them.

Let the games begin.


JayBee Anama

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sanchez Replaces Kimbrel on AL ASG Roster

With Craig Kimbrel of the Boston Red Sox placed on the DL with a "left knee medial meniscus tear," he will be out of commission for about 3-6 weeks. While he's gone, the Red Sox made a deal with the Diamondbacks, getting closer Brad Ziegler in exchange for some prospects.

But while the Red Sox has taken care of their needs, who Ned Yost, with the help of MLB, name to take care of Kimbrel's spot on the roster?

Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez will take Kimbrel's spot on the American League All-Star team. Sanchez, in his first year as a starting pitcher and another first-time All-Star under the age of 26 (he's 24 folks, feel old yet?), heads into the break with a 9-1 record, a 2.97 ERA, 103 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.19 in 118.1 innings of work.

With Sanchez going to San Diego, the Blue Jays contingency grows to five. He joins Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, Final-Man Michael Saunders, and pitcher Marco Estrada on the AL team.

Take out your binder and add Sanchez' #113 card from the main set, or his TBJ-12 card from the 17-card retail set to it.

Wow, I've posted more today than I have in the past three months. Maybe I'll make it a habit.

Stay tuned for more All-Star team roster updates as they happen.


JayBee Anama

Syndergaard, Cespedes, and Fowler are out of the ASG. Pomeranz, Marte, and Bruce are Named Replacements

Last night was not a good one for the Mets. Both of the players who were announced as All-Stars on Tuesday were taken out of the game against the Nationals. Noah Syndergaard (arm fatigue) and Yoenis Cespedes (right quad strain) will not be able to participate in the game on Tuesday.

In the meantime, Dexter Fowler of the Cubs has been on the DL since late June (right around the time of the Cubs' recent struggles). He had been hoping to be re-activated in time for the ASG, but it looks like it was decided that he take the break off as well. All three players will probably participate in the festivities, lining up alongside their fellow All-Stars.

Both Cespedes and Fowler were voted onto the All-Star team as starting outfielders. Now that both aren't able to play, Marcell Ozuna of the Marlins and Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies will take their places in the starting lineup. But who takes their places, along with Thor's, on the active roster?

With the help of MLB, Terry Collins has tabbed Starling Marte of the Pirates, a Final Man candidate, and Jay Bruce of the Reds as replacements for Cespedes and Fowler respectively, while Padres pitcher Drew Pomeranz will take Syndergaard's spot on the roster.

Marte, who finished an extremely close second in the Final Man voting, heads to San Diego with a (as of this writing) .316 average, with 6 home runs, 32 rbi's, 27 stolen bases, and a slash line of .360/.463/.822. A first-time All-Star, he joins closer Marc Melancon as the Buc's representatives on the NL squad.

Bruce, now a third-time All-Star, heads into today's action with a .265 average, 18 homers, 62 rbi's (third in the NL), 46 runs scored and OBP/SLG/OPS numbers .313/.539/.852. He joins fellow Reds outfielder Adam Duvall on the team.

Pomeranz will take the field as the host team's second All-Star, joining first baseman Wil Myers in welcoming the best in the game to "America's Greatest City." He comes into the break with a career high in wins (8-7 record), along with a 2.47 ERA, 115 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.01.

If you've been following along with me and adding cards to your All-Star binder, you should already have Marte's #83 or PPI-7 cards already out. Get Bruce's #199 or CR-8 cards and add them to the binder. If you're looking for cards of Drew Pomeranz? He's now the ninth player named to either All-Star team without a card either in the eponymous set or any retail team set. (He does have a Topps Heritage card - #336 - so it's up to you if you want to use it).

Now Craig Kimbrel of the Red Sox has been placed on the DL and will be out of action for about 3-6 weeks. While the Red Sox found a replacement for him by trading for D-Backs closer Brad Ziegler, the AL All-Star team has yet to announce who'll take his place on the roster. So stay tuned for more details to come.


JayBee Anama

Saunders and Belt win the Final Man Vote!!!

On Tuesday night, after the All-Star rosters were announced, fans were given the opportunity to add two more players to each of the league's All-Star Teams via the Final Man Vote. Seventy-two hours later, millions of votes were tallied. MLB Network even had an actual political analyst discussing up-to-the-minute vote totals and trends. While I have yet to find the complete number of votes tallied this time around, in the end, Michael Saunders of the Blue Jays and Brandon Belt of the Giants were added to their respective All-Star teams after winning the Final Man Vote.

Michael Saunders, aka "Captain Canada", had the support of almost the entire country (guess which one), and by the end of the day, earned an astounding 17.7 million votes, earning more votes than outfielder George Springer of the Astros, second baseman Ian Kinsler of the Tigers, second baseman Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox, and third baseman Evan Longoria of the Rays.

Going into Friday morning, Brandon Belt was still in second place in the five-man NL ballot. But when the final votes were counted, his 10.4 million votes were more than enough to hold off the rest of the field, including Pirates outfielder Starling Marte, rookie sensation Trevor Story of the Rockies, the Diamondbacks' Jake Lamb, and perennial All-Star Ryan Braun of the Brewers.

Saunders, a first-time All-Star, is the fourth Blue Jay player named to this year's AL All-Star Team and the second in four years to win the Final Man Ballot (Steve Delabar-2013). He makes the trip to San Diego with fellow Jays Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, and Marco Estrada.

Belt, also a first-time All-Star, is the first Giants player to win the Final Man Ballot and the fourth Giant making the trip south to Petco Park along with Buster Posey, Johnny Cueto, and Madison Bumgarner.


JayBee Anama

Strasburg and Bumgarner out of the ASG, Scherzer and Colon Named Replacements.

Another round of player replacements were named yesterday as both Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals and Madison Bumgarner of the Giants will not be participating in next Tuesday's All-Star Game. Both pitchers are fine.

Strasburg pitched last night, becoming the first NL pitcher to notch a 12-0 record to start a season since 1912. And even though Strasburg made the NL All-Star Team, he and general manager Mike Rizzo "mutually agreed that Strasburg would not pitch in the Midsummer Classic after going through an upper back strain a few weeks ago."

While Strasburg will still take in the festivities (he is a San Diego native and attended San Diego State University), teammate Max Scherzer will take his spot on the roster.

Scherzer is also having a fine season for the Nationals, with a 9-6 record, a 3.21 ERA in 18 starts this year. He also has 155 strikeouts, a 0.97 WHIP, and a BAA of .195. He joins a growing Nationals contingent that includes second baseman Daniel Murphy, outfielder Bryce Harper, and catcher Wilson Ramos.

On the other hand, Madison Bumgarner is scheduled to pitch on Sunday. Because of that Sunday starter rule, he could either be replaced on the roster by another pitcher, or he could choose to participate, but possibly be put on an extremely strict pitch count. Bumgarner decided against pitching in the game on short rest, so Terry Collins tabbed Bartolo Colon, the elder statesman of his starting rotation, as his replacement.

The 43-year old Colon, now a 4-time all-star, sports a 7-4 record, a 3.28 ERA. and 65 strikeouts in 17 starts. He has been a steady presence on a Mets rotation that, while full of young arms, have had a bit of growing pains. It will be his first All-Star Game trip since 2013. He joins (? - I'll get to this in a minute) fellow pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, his manager, and the rest of the Mets coaching staff to San Diego.

So add Scherzer's card #'s 209 or WN-9 and Colon's card #'s 381 or NYM-16 to your binders (I'm trying to help here...)

To the (?) part of the program. In last night's ballgame against the Nationals (you know, that 12th win for Strasburg), both Syndergaard and Cespedes were taken out because of possible injuries (arm fatigue, right quad strain respectively). Get ready for more All-Stars making the trip to San Diego before Tuesday.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Diaz Replaces Carpenter on NL ASG Roster

2015 Springfield Cardinals Grandstand #3 Aledmys Diaz

In last night's game against the Pirates, Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter strained an oblique muscle as he was trying to check his swing during his at-bat in the third inning. He suffered a similar injury back in 2012, and the MRI results indicated that he would have to be placed on the DL to recover. He is the fourth Cardinal to be placed on the DL this week alone.

Even though Carpenter was the only Cardinal named onto the NL All-Star team, Terry Collins could pick anyone from any other team to take his place. But he made sure that a player from the St. Louis team would have some representation on the active roster.

Aledmys Diaz, the Cardinals' rookie shortstop, was named as Carpenter's replacement. His credentials include a .319 average, 12 home runs, 44 runs batted in, 54 runs scored and a slash line of .382/.534/.916 (that would be OBP/SLG/OPS). He is among the league leaders in batting average, runs scored, and doubles.

The 25-year-old now joins the swelling ranks of first-time All-Stars, and players aged 26-younger attending with full All-Star honors.

If you're looking for any Aledmys Diaz cards to add to your roster, you're out of luck. He presently has three minor league cards, all regional releases. No Topps cards to speak of, not even on the retail end. So attached is his 2015 minor league card.

Stay tuned for more All-Star team roster updates as they happen.


JayBee Anama

Kluber Replaces Estrada on AL ASG Roster

One night after being named to the American League All-Star Team, Marco Estrada of the Toronto Blue Jays was placed on the 15-day DL due to continuing soreness issues in his lower back. While he has been taking cortisone shots for the pain, the team decided that it would be best for him to take the time off and use the All-Star break to rest. He still will make the trip to "America's Finest City," with fellow Blue Jays Josh Donaldson, and Edwin Encarnacion. But now that he was placed on the DL, a replacement for him needed to be named.

That replacement will be the 2014 AL Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians. As of this writing, Kluber has a record of 8-8 with an ERA of 3.79 in 17 starts. While that initially doesn't look all that great, he has 114 strikeouts in 114.0 innings pitched, a WHIP of 1.04, and three complete games, two of them shutouts.

Now a first-time All-Star, Kluber joins fellow Tribesmen Francisco Lindor and Danny Salazar for the festivities in San Diego.

So add Kluber's #64 card from the 2016 Topps set or the CI-2 card from the retail set if you have it to your All-Star Binder. Please tell me someone else is doing this too. I can't possibly be the only one.

Stay tuned for more All-Star team roster updates as they happen.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The 2016 All-Star Rosters Have Been Announced...What Do You Think???

Yesterday, ESPN hosted the MLB All-Star Team Selection Show. Starters that were voted by the fans, the reserves selected via the player ballot and by the respective managers, were announced officially.

I love this time of year, if only because it allows for a break in what is a long season and celebrates the game's best players. And what I do, as I have done every year since I really stated following the game, is take out the cards of the players who made each roster and put them in a special binder (my All-Star binder...if you will). I do this because it helps me not only recognize the players who became all-stars that particular year, but during the game, I use it to keep track of who's in the game as it progresses. Yes, I'm a geek.

So without further ado, here are the 2016 MLB All-Star Game rosters as announced on Tuesday night (with 2016 Topps Card # and retail team set # if applicable, for those of you playing along and putting them into your All-Star Binders):

American League Starters

1B-Eric Hosmer, Royals (#9, KCR-2)
2B-Jose Altuve, Astros(#317, HA-7)
3B-Manny Machado, Orioles(#175, BO-1)
SS-Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox (#368, BRS-54)
OF-Mookie Betts, Red Sox (#84, BRS-5)
OF-Jackie Bradley, Jr., Red Sox (#425, BRS-7)
OF-Mike Trout, Angels (#1, A-11)
C-Salvador Perez, Royals (#50, KCR-1)
DH-David Ortiz, Red Sox (#126, BRS-1)

American League Pitchers

P-Marco Estrada, Blue Jays (#466, TBJ-17)
P-Cole Hamels, Rangers (#588, TRA-11)
P-Danny Salazar, Indians (#460, CI-12)
P-Chris Sale, White Sox (#160, CWS-1)
P-Steven Wright, Red Sox
RP-Zach Britton, Orioles (#63, BO-13)
RP-Wade Davis, Royalsº (#307, KCR-13)
RP-Andrew Miller, Yankees (#218, NYY-14)
RP-Dellin Betances, Yankees (#369, NYY-15, selected by MGR)
RP-Brad Brach, Orioles (selected by MGR)
RP-Alex Colome, Rays (selected by MGR)
RP-Will Harris, Astrosª (#331 selected by MGR, replaces Davis)
RP-Kelvin Herrera, Royals (#393, selected by MGR)
RP-Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (#13 with the Padres, BRS-12, selected by MGR)

American League Reserves

1B-Miguel Cabrera, Tigers(#250, DT-1)
2B-Robinson Cano, Mariners (#268, SM-4)
3B-Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays (#200, TBJ-1)
SS-Francisco Lindor, Indians (#439, CI-1)
OF-Carlos Beltran, Yankees (#567, NYY-10)
OF-Ian Desmond, Rangers
OF-Mark Trumbo, Orioles (#39 with the Mariners, BO-8)
C-Matt Wieters, Orioles
DH-Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays (#89, TBJ-7)
SS-Eduardo Nunez, Twins (#534, MT-12, selected by MGR)
C-Stephen Vogt, Athletics (#506, OA-8, selected by MGR)

American League Final Man Candidates

2B-Ian Kinsler, Tigers (#275, DT-3)
3B-Evan Longoria, Rays (#388, TB-6)
2B-Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox (#246, BRS-4)
OF-Michael Saunders, Blue Jays (#630)
3B-George Springer, Astros (#53, KCR-10)

National League Starters

1B-Anthony Rizzo, Cubs (#327, CC-6)
2B-Ben Zobrist, Cubs(#447, CC-5)
3B-Kris Bryant, Cubs (#350, CC-1)
SS-Addison Russell, Cubs (#562, CC-4)
OF-Yoenis Cespedes, Mets (#407, NYM-17)
OF-Dexter Fowler, Cubs
OF-Bryce Harper, Nationals (#100, WN-1)
C-Buster Posey, Giants (#300, SFG-1)

National League Pitchers

P-Jake Arrieta, Cubs (#264, CC-9)
P-Madison Bumgarner, Giants (#600, SFG-9)
P-Johnny Cueto, Giants (#416, SFG-15)
P-Clayton Kershaw, Dodgersº (#24, LAD-1)
P-Noah Syndergaard, Mets (#43, NYM-11)
RP-Jeurys Familia, Mets (#190, NYM-14)
RP-Kenley Jansen, Dodgers (#458, LAD-13)
RP-Fernando Rodney, Marlins
P-Jose Fernandez, Marlins (#118, MM-10, selected by MGR))
P-Jon Lester, Cubsª (#151, CC-8, selected by MGR, replaces Kershaw)
P-Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (#637, WN-8, selected by MGR)
P-Julio Teheran, Braves (#52, AB-7, selected by MGR))
RP-Marc Melancon, Pirates (#336, PPI-12, selected by MGR)
RP-A. J. Ramos, Marlins (#42, MM-12, selected by MGR)

National League Reserves

1B-Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks (#259, AD-1)
2B-Daniel Murphy, Nationals (#554, WN-5)
3B-Nolan Arenado, Rockies (#12, CRO-1)
SS-Corey Seager, Dodgers (#85, LAD-8)
OF-Adam Duvall, Reds (#584, CR-6)
OF-Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies (#683, CRO-2)
OF-Marcell Ozuna, Marlins (#572, MM-8)
C-Wilson Ramos, Nationals (#658, WN-2)
1B-Wil Myers, Padres (#625, SDP-4, selected by MGR)
3B-Matt Carpenter, Cardinals (#616, SLC-5, selected by MGR)
OF-Odubel Herrera, Phillies (#68, PP-8, selected by MGR)
C-Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers (#344, MB-1, selected by MGR)

National League Final Man Candidates

1B-Brandon Belt, Giants (#424, SFG-2)
OF-Ryan Braun, Brewers (#298, MB-2)
SP-Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks (#288, AD-5)
OF-Starling Marte, Pirates (#83, PPI-7)
SS-Trevor Story, Rockies

º Injured, will not participate
ª Named as replacement

The rosters once again will consist of 34 active players. Each team is already at 34 players and we haven't even gotten the final man voting in yet. Why is that?

Wade Davis of the Royals is on the DL. So manager Ned Yost added Astros closer Will Harris to the AL bullpen. That was announced off the bat (pun intended).

On the National League side, Clayton Kershaw was just placed on the DL, meaning a replacement needed to be named. After finding this article on ESPN's website, I think it's safe to say that Lester was named as his replacement.

Without clicking the article, Terry Collins initially had nine "manager choices," including finding representatives for six teams (Braves, Brewers, Cardinals Padres, Phillies, Pirates). After naming players from each of those teams (Teheran, Lucroy, Carpenter, Myers - would have been Rodney had he not been traded last week -, Herrera, and Melancon), the other three players he picked were Strasburg, Fernandez, and Ramos. This leaves Lester as the only possible choice as the replacement.

Including the players on the Final Man balloting, eight players do not have cards in the eponymous Topps set or any of the retail sets. Those players include pitchers Brad Brach, Alex Colome, Steven Wright, infielder Ian Desmond, and catcher Matt "No-Topps-Cards...Yet" Wieters on the AL side, and pitcher Fernando Rodney, outfielder Dexter Fowler, and shortstop Trevor Story from the NL. Each should have cards in the expanded Update series. In the meantime, every other player has a card that at least features them on their current team as long as you count the retail sets.

As it seems to be the case these past few years, there is a lot of youth on both rosters, as well as a ton of first-time All-Stars to boot (about 26 at last count, 13 on each side). Of the 17 elected starters, twelve of them are 26 years old...or YOUNGER!!! If you look at the Final Man Nominees, all ten candidates are hitters.

Chicago is extremely well represented this year with eight players between both teams, including the entire infield for the Cubs (Rizzo, Zobrist, Bryant, Russell). Look, I know the Cubs have been (up until these last two weeks) very dominant. And while this doesn't top the eight Cubs that represented the team in 2008, the fact that more than half of the starting lineup are Cubs makes me happy. I voted...once. That was it. I know you could vote more than that, but how is that fair? Boston has six players punching their tickets to San Diego, and a possible 7th if Pedroia wins the Final Man.

Rumors have it that Bumgarner is scheduled to start on Sunday. The rule is in effect that if any of them are in line to pitch that day, they will have to be replaced. And today, Marco Estrada of the Blue Jays landed on the DL. This is just the beginning. If history is an indicator, expect both active rosters to dramatically change by the time July 12 comes. As always, I'll make sure to help you add cards to your All-Star binders by providing card numbers for the players added onto the All-Star teams.

Let's hear the answers to these questions:

Who do you think should have been chosen that wasn't (not even for the Final Man ballot)?

Of the players selected, who shouldn't be going to the game?

Were the guys you wanted from your team chosen?

If not, then who should have represented your team?

Let the debates begin.


JayBee Anama

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Fourth of July!!!

Hey Anonymous:

Just to let you know that I haven't abandoned the blog, even though it's the first time that I've actually missed posting something at least once during a month (and for the record, it's six months of inactivity before I remove myself from the SCBR).

But I will be back. After all, the All-Star Game is coming soon, and this humble, little blog gets very busy once the All-Star rosters are announced.

So get your All-Star binders ready. On Tuesday, when the initial rosters are announced, you'll want to fill them with your 2016 Topps cards, whether they're from the eponymous set or the 17-card retail sets.

Until then,

Happy Birthday America!!!


JayBee Anama

Monday, April 4, 2016

It's MLB's Opening Day (or Was that Yesterday)!!!

Work keeps me busy and away from this humble, little blog. I do have drafts of articles I want to post on here, but then a project comes up, so reality comes first and the blog goes back to the back burner.

But that's last month. Spring Training is now over. Yesterday, six teams started their 162-game quest to reach the postseason. Today, eighteen teams do the same (two games have already been postponed thanks to the snowstorms in the east coast).

Hobby wise, I've been keeping track of the comings and goings. I joined Topps Bunt this year and have a decent amount of cards so far. I'm having fun with it and as crazy as it sounds, I'm going to try for a complete "virtual" set of 2016 cards. I've also joined the contests...okay one anyway. Thanks to my 9-card lineup, I have a grand total of 840 on the scoreboard (heavy on Cardinals...they lost, right?). Should have picked Liriano as one of my cards instead of Wainwright. Trying again today, so wish me luck.

Regarding MLB Debuts in 2016, on Opening Day, two players took the field for the first time in a MLB uniform:

Jeremy Hazelbaker, an outfielder who joined the Cardinals after a seven-season career in the minor leagues (with Boston, Los Angeles, and St. Louis). He was added to the Cardinals' roster after Ruben Tejeda was placed on the DL. He appeared in the seventh inning, leading off as a pinch hitter for Adam Wainwright, striking out in five pitches against the Pirates' star reliever Tony Watson.

With Wainwright now out of the game, the Cardinals sent Seung-hwan Oh, an eleven-year veteran of the Korean and Japanese baseball leagues, to pitch the bottom of the seventh. He faced five batters, walking Matt Joyce, inducing John Jaso to ground out 4-3, walked Andrew McCutchen, and struck out David Freese (looking) and Starling Marte (swinging).

Hazelbaker does not have any Topps produced MiLB cards. His only cardboard appearances were back in 2009, with autographed cards in the 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition set. He also appears in the 2009 TRISTAR Prospects Plus set.

Oh signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in January. He already had a storied career in both Korea (seven-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year 2005, five-time KBO Relief Man Award) and Japan (All-Star 2015, CLCS MVP 2014), In eleven seasons in both leagues, he has recorded 357 saves, a 1.81 ERA, and 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 646.1 IP. He was also on the 2006 Korean Team for the World Baseball Classic. He has no baseball cards in the US.

It's going to be a great year for baseball in Chicago. There are extremely high expectations on both sides of town. Should be a lot of fun.

Are you ready?


JayBee Anama

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Éirinn go brách! Celebrating at Home...Again.

For those wondering what happened to me, I'm still here. Work has been extremely busy, and that's a good thing.

Some quick Hobby Notes:

I have completed my 2016 Topps Master set. With all of the Heritage hub bub lately, I take comfort knowing that the Gypsy Queen (the 2016 edition anyway) will set sail soon.

There is a big card show this weekend down the street from my house. Do I plan on buying stuff? Maybe. I'm hoping to get a lot of free stuff. But more importantly, I'm there to feel the environment. I love these big card shows. I love watching the people. I might not go for the autographs, but to see fathers (and mothers) with their sons (and daughters) sharing the Hobby we all love, makes me appreciate all that is good about it.

But I digress.

Today is St. Patrick's Day. It is the day that honors St. Patrick, who is the patron saint of Ireland. It also commemorates the arrival of Christianity to the Emerald Isle. In fact, it is said (thanks Wikipedia) that he used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity.

My family will be enjoying boiled corned beef brisket with all the veggies (potatoes, carrots, cabbage) tonight. I would like to apologize to my sister...AGAIN...because we will not be able to join her and the rest of the family for dinner (it's a school night, there are still dance classes happening). Meanwhile, I've been playing Irish music on the computer all afternoon, just to get into the mood.

If anybody says, "Top of the morning to you," to you today, make sure to respond in kind, "And the rest of the day to yourself."

Public Service Announcement (as my wife just said that she found the Bailey's): As you celebrate St. Patrick's Day, please remember to celebrate responsibly.

Now for the baseball portion of the program. If you're wondering, while there are many baseball players of Irish descent, 47 native-born Irish men made at least one appearance in the majors.
The last native born Irish player was Joe Cleary. Born in County Cork, Cleary only appeared in one game (08/04/1945) in 0.1 inning of work for the Washington Senators. But in that eventful inning, he struck out one batter (the good news), but allowed five hits, three walks, and seven earned runs to score. Saving time for the math, but seven runs in 1/3 innings equals an ERA of 189.

So now, a quick toast to everyone, Irish or just-for-the-day:

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be at your back.
May your cards collections grow to unmeasurable heights in both volume and value.
May the quest for new cards be swift.
May the journey of life treat you well today and always.
And may a certain North Side baseball team win it all this year (just have a decent season...please).
If you catch my drift.



JayBee Anama