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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Marlins Dynasty… Should have been

The Marlins that we are familiar with are the annual laughing stock of the National League East. Here is a look at the current starting lineup from July 13, 2013.

1-      LF    Justin Ruggiano (current team leader in HR… with 12)
2-      3B   Ed Lucas
3-      RF   Giancarlo Stanton (Legitimate franchise OF)
4-      1B   Logan Morrison (Twitter sensation)
5-      CF   Marcell Ozuna (Talented rookie OF)
6-      2B   Derek Dietrich (Rookie)
7-      SS   Adeiny Hechavarria (Rookie SS with some serviceable MLB talent)
8-      C    Jeff Mathis (kicked around veteran C that provides some type of consistent leadership)
9-       SP  Jose Fernandez (Very young, VERY talented kid that needs to learn from veteran SPs)

Ok so this is the best daily starting lineup, and as long as Stanton and his power bat stay healthy in the 3 hole there can be 70-75 wins in their seasons. Is this the type of team that deserves to have a brand new stadium worth 100s of millions dollars built for them? Let’s take a look at some of the talent by position that has passed through the Marlins team roster. In the last 7 years. Granted I am picking and choosing only a few people, but this is just an illustration of what could have been.

OF- Giancarlo Stanton, Alejandro De Aza, Cameron Maybin,
3B- Miguel Cabrera(3B/1B),
SS- Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez(SS/3B)
2B-Omar Infante, Dan Uggla
1B- Gaby Sanchez,
C- John Buck,
SP- Anibal Sanchez, Mark Buehrle, Jose Fernandez, Andrew Miller, Ricky Nolasco,  Dontrelle Willis, Carlos Zambrano
RP- Steve Cishek(closer), Heath Bell, Edward Mujica , Leo Nunez

    Ok so with this limited list of players that have come through the Marlins system in recent years, how is it so tough for the management of the Marlins to hang out to these players for the prime production years of their careers? Ineptitude, that’s how. The ownership is all about the $ and not prestige. MLB is a multi-billion dollar per year business and the marlins sure act like it. One of the lowest if not the lowest payrolls in the league and possibly one of the worst fan bases if we take the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals as any indication. Looking at this roster that the Marlins have assembled in less than a decade if they could have persuaded a few key members to stay imagine what could have been? How hard would it be to attract some free agents to come to Miami and fill in the gaps in this roster? No state tax, a brand new stadium, and even if Miguel Cabrera had stayed and had the bat of Giancarlo Stanton in the wings to provide protection, there would be high profile free agents knocking on the door of the Marlins to sign with them. Not the other way around.
    Just for fun let us make a starting lineup for tomorrows return from the All Star Break with the players that they have had combined with their current roster.

1-      SS    Jose Reyes
2-      3B   Hanley Ramirez
3-      1B   Miguel Cabrera (2012 Triple Crown winner)
4-      RF   Giancarlo Stanton
5-      2B   Omar Infante
6-      CF   Cameron Maybin
7-      LF    Alejandro De Aza
8-      C     John Buck
9-      SP   Jose Fernandez (2013 All Star)

Now this is a team that could inflict some damage on an underachieving National League East, and possibly make the playoffs at least a wildcard spot. Just sayin. Last off season when they attracted high profile guys like Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell was a great stride but trading them all the next off season in one deal to the Blue Jays for far less talented prospects was a regression. The tumultuous roller coaster of the Miami Marlins is a head scratcher at best. I just wish that the ownership would take their role serious in MLB and that is to produce a competitive team to run out there every day. With common sense and maybe an open wallet they could have had a playoff team in the last decade. It’s sad really to see great young players (Stanton, Fernandez, Ozuna) already being talked about in trade rumors and eyeing a way out after their initial contracts. Just an observation from a baseball fan.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

2012 Bowman Platinum review

Product: 2012 Bowman Platinum
Box Price: 100$+
Distribution: 20 Packs/Box  5 Cards/Pack
Hits: 3 per box (2 autographs, 1 autograph relic)

My Grade: A
This is my favorite mid-level set for the 2012 season. up until this point I had been enamored with Topps Heritage but Bowman Platinum has stolen my heart with its great mix of stars, prospects and inserts, and not to mention the resurgence of Die-Cut cards. With the high profile rookie class this year much of the products retail value is going through the roof with the prospect of pulling a high level prospect. i.e. Yu, Harper, Trout, Machado, etc. Bowman Platinum's debut in 2010 opened my eyes to another great product with a very collectable set (100 base cards, and 100 Prospect cards). These cards are Amazing looking this year. definitely an upgrade from last years edition. Check out the pics below as some evidence to support my infatuation with this set.

First picture is the Yu Darvish RC from the base set. The cards have a refractor like surface that have a rainbow finish on them and sleek design.
 Next Picture is The Bryce Harper RC from the base set.
 The picture below shows the gold parallel base cards that fall 1 in every 2 to 3 packs. There are also Emerald color variations that fall 1 in 5 packs and Ruby variations that fall 1 in 10 packs. this makes for fun collecting with all the different color variations.
The picture below shows the 2 different types of Prospect cards. on the left is the standard Platinum Prospect design but it is the regular refractor variation of it. Each prospect card, like the base cards, have color variations. but the prospect color variations are serial numbered. (see next pic)
The card on the right is the Top Prospect insert card. The Top Prospect set have Die Cut Variations that are serial #'d /25
 Pictured below is the Green color variation of the prospect card. these are all Serial #'d /399.
 Pictured below is an example of the Blue variation of the Prospect base card. the blue variations are serial #'d /199. There are also Gold variations that are serial #'d /50 and reds /25.
 Pictured below is an example of the emerald variation of the base cards.
 Pictured here is an example of the standard Platinum Prospect Autograph. These cards look amazing in person and really catch the eye. there are color variations of the autographs as well that are all serial #'d.
 Pictured below is one of my favorite aspects of the 2012 Bowman Platinum set. It is the Cutting Edge Die Cut insert set. These inserts have brought back a card fad that I love in the die cut styling and then taken it to the next level with relic and autograph versions of the cards.
 There is one thing about the Hobby Box of Bowman Platinum that I bought that really rubbed me the wrong way. and that is the fact that I got 2 redemption cards in my box. so that means that 2 of my 3 hits I have to wait 6 months or more before I have them in my hand because the Topps company is NOT exactly timely in distributing these. The reason it rubs me the wrong way is I like to have the hits in my hand... not theirs. Anyways if that is the ONLY thing I have a problem with, that's not a bad box of cards. Bowman Platinum is one of my favorite products of the year from Topps/Bowman and I cannot wait to see what they do with this set next year. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my opinion on new stuff. As always, Peace and Baseball Cards!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012 Bowman Review

Product: 2012 Bowman
Box Price:80-100$
Distribution: 24 Packs/Box  10 Cards/Pack
Hits: 1 Chrome Auto per Box

My Grade: A-  I have never really been a fan of Bowman sets because they include a large number of prospects that I have never heard of and will never hear of because they will never make it to the bigs. HOWEVER, With the great number of incoming premier prospects like Bryce Harper and Yu Darvish I decided to buy a couple 20$ blaster boxes and was really pleasantly surprised by the look and quality of the cards. Bowman has been doing the same thing for years which is the big reason I gave them such a high grade is because they are not trying to be something they are not. They do include a good number of parallel variations but this adds to the collectability of the base set. I feel like I have talked too much already. Pic time!

Pictured above is a look and the base cards in the 220 card set. I was pretty happy with the number of stars and up-and-coming prospects that I pulled from the boxes that I got. The base cards have a Beautiful design and make me want to build the entire set. 

This is a pretty cool insert/parallel that they do. Its called the 'International' variation and instead of the standard picture back ground the player featured on the card are depicted on top of the flag of the nation of origin.

Picture above are some of the parallel variations included in the set. top left are the retail Purple variations. these are all bowman 1st year cards and can only be found in retail rack packs.
Top right is the Orange parallel and is serial #'d /250
the bottom row are all base card Gold variations. The gold variations can be found one in every pack.

Pictured here are a couple examples of the Chrome Prospect cards included in every pack. There are refractor variations that are serial numbered from the standard refractor /500 and including color variations all the way down to the Superfractor that is numbered 1/1.

In one of the blaster boxes I was lucky enough to pull an autograph. The only way that this could be any better is if the signature was an on card auto. The whole sticker autograph is a little depressing but still cool when you get a chance to pull one.

This is one of the inserts that has been around for years now. It is the Bowman's Best inserts. These inserts have a great look and include both current stars and the stars of tomorrow.
This set has changed my perception of Bowman and I hope that they can keep this momentum going for the upcoming sets in coming years. This set is not too big (220) so it would be a pretty easy one to build including the chrome prospect inserts for a total of 440 cards. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope it provides you with valuable information in your collecting. Thanks again and as always.... Peace and Baseball cards!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

2012 Topps Tribute Review

Product: 2012 Topps Tribute!!
Box Price: $280+
Distribution: 6 Packs/box 5 cards/pack
Hits: 6 Hits per box (3 Relics and 3 autos)

My Grade: B
   This is product that my collector friend Jon and I get the most excited about after seeing the product in 2011 our minds were blown by the quality of the cards and uniqueness of the set. The 2012 set followed up 2011 with another great design and more unique cards. However there is one big difference in the cards this year. Topps decided to put each of their autos and game used jersey cards in non-circulated  sealed cases almost as if to say, "keep your grubby hands off of this card you just bought, we cant trust our collectors to care for a card properly." Now this may be because Topps didn't want to compromise the integrity/quality of the cards, but I like to think up my own little dialogue that I think a Topps executive might say.
    Since I can't personally afford to drop 300$ on a box of baseball cards. Jon and I split a box to open. what we pulled was NOT fantastic, however the product looked great. just to give you an idea of just how bad our box was. Logan Morrison and Adam Lind made up 2 of our 3 autos from the box. as great of players as they are to their respective teams, thats NOT who we wanted to see come out of those packs. Here we go. Here are some hits that I have picked up along the way from this years' Tribute.

First of all here are the base cards. Each card has a rainbow finish on the surface of the card and is printed on thicker stock cardboard. The Eddie Mathews card on the bottom right of the picture is one of the serial #'d parallels. There are #'d parallels from /299 /199 /99 /60 /25 /10 /1. Very cool looking and collectable cards. Lets get to the fun stuff.

 I have never really been a fan of redemptions just because they take FOREVER to get back to you, but I was actually pretty excited to see this redemption come out of our box and somewhat save it.... I am still waiting on it from Topps.

After Tribute had been out for a couple weeks I bought a single pack and pulled this little Gem. It is a Mike/Giancarlo Stanton Gold autograph serial #'d /15!! I love seeing cards like this just because there are so few of them available, and it looks Amazing!

After Jon and I managed to get some money for the bad pulls we had from the box we had just enough to buy 1 more pack each... this is what my pack contained... NOPE, MOVING ON!!

I love the aesthetics of this years set so I have been looking for good deals on Ebay and managed to find these Tulo Game Used cards for pretty cheap so I scooped them up. On the left is the Superstar Swatches 'Tulo Time' card, and on the right is the Positions of Power 'SS' variation card. you can see how unique the cards are with the jersey swatches and card designs.both of these are serial #'d /99. 

These are a couple more of the cards that are available in the set on the left is the Carlos Gonzalez Debut Digits '28' card, and on the right is the Miguel Cabrera Positions of Power '1B'. Both of these are serial #'d /50 and are really cool looking cards. Overall I am pleased with the look of this years set but what could be better with a high end collector/hit seeker set is the selection of players included. there aren't too many collectors that I know that get excited about spending 50$ for a pack and pulling an Alexi Ogando or Adam Lind auto #'d /99. Oh yeah and get rid of these uncirculated sealed cases, these cards aren't made of gold or anything. anyways, This set is for the select collector that can afford the high dollar card. if you have the money laying around I thing that Triple Threads or Museum Collection might offer a better option but Tribute does have some very unique designs that aren't found anywhere else. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and as always...
Peace and Baseball Cards!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

2012 Topps Gypsy Queen review

Product: 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen
Box Price: 110$+
Distribution: 24 packs/box  10 cards/pack
Hits: 2 Autographs + 2 Relics in each hobby box

My Grade:  B   Topps has followed up its base set, Tribute, and Heritage with another solid set with unique inserts and parallels. I love the look of the base cards and most of the inserts with only a couple minor gripes.
Pictured below are the base cards from the set. Grey borders along with cream colored accents and a small, but not too small, name and product logo banner along the bottom. It is nice that each pack has 10 cards in it and typically has one or two insert/parallel cards in it. not always though. The base card set is not too large to collect as a secondary set at right around 300 base cards + 50 SP's.

These are the mini parallels that fall one per pack. The minis also have parallels like the green border(1:24 packs) you see in the top left of the picture and pictured below as well. But the minis also have different parallels that have different designs on the backs of the cards. there are the 'straight cut' backs, 'gypsy' queen' backs.

Most of the different inserts are shown here. Future Stars, Hallmark Heroes, Glove Stories, Moonshots. also show here are the retail framed paper parallel cards that are almost a bronze color and add a great parallel to the collectability of this set. One of the inserts from the Gypsy Queen sets is the Gypsy Queen/King inserts that actually depict real gypsies and have relic and autograph. Although they are very rare and the autos and relics are even more rare does something like that really belong in a baseball card set? I am gonna go with no on that, but thats just me. I feel that it detracts from the legitimacy of this set.

shown below is another picture of the retail Framed Paper parallel cards. This type of parallel/insert almost makes up for the Gypsy King insert cards because they look so good.
 Shown here is a Mini Green Border parallel of Cal Ripken Jr. These mini green border parallels fall 1:24 packs and also have black parallel versions that fall 1:12 packs.
 I wish I had a relic and an autograph to include in this post. but from what i have seen online they have a framed relic that resembles very much the Allen and Ginter framed Relics. The standard relic is not framed and looks just like the base card with a jersey swatch in it. The autographs look very nice There are large variations and mini autos and are written right on the card.
Topps has created yet another solid product and hopefully they keep up this momentum through the rest of the sets this year.Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and as always, Peace and Baseball cards!!

2012 Topps Heritage Review

Product: 2012 Topps Heritage
Box Price: 80$
Distribution: 24 packs/box 9 cards/pack
Hits: 1 Relic or Autograph per box.

My grade:  B.   The hobby box that I opened was not great but the product is a great looking set and takes after one of the most iconic Topps designs in its 60 year history.

   When I saw the pre-release pictures of the 2012 Topps Heritage cards at the end of last year I was excited because the design was aesthetically pleasing and the inserts and parallels seemed to fit the theme of the set. The inserts included in the set have received criticism because they are bland and understated. In my mind the inserts fit very well to the theme of the set. Heritage is supposed to be an homage to the Topps set of 50 years prior, not to wow you with flashy inserts and parallels. That being said without further delay here are the pics of the 2012 Topps Heritage set.
Pictured below are the chrome parallels of the base cards. Each of the chrome parallel cards are serial Numbered /1963, and there are also chrome refractor parallels that have a rainbow finish are serial numbered /563.

 Pictured here is an original 1963 Topps Heritage 50th anniversary buyback card which fall 1 out of every 2 boxes. you can tell its a buyback card buy the foil '50th anniversary' stamp in the top left corner of the card. This is a pretty cool little bonus in the box which was considered a box loader card. this was much better than pulling one of the three card sheets that pretty prevalent in these boxes.
     Top left: Josh Beckett New Age Performers.(this is a returning insert set from previous years.)
     Top right: Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Iglesias Short Printed base cards fall 1:3 packs
     Middle: Mini sticker inserts. These are pretty cheesy inserts, but very nostalgic.
     Bottom: Now and then inserts picture an old time great with a current star on the same card. Very cool cards
 Pictured here is a short printed base card variation that is called an "image swap". If you notice the small picture on the bottom right of the card is the image that should normally be the larger/main image on the card. This is a really cool variation and there are also color swap variations that have different color name banners than the base cards.
 This is the relic that I pulled from my box. Very cool looking, simple card. Jimmy Rollins Clubhouse collection card with a jersey swatch has a bright red pinstripe through it. The clubhouse collection cards have randomly inserted Auto/relics that are serial #'d. Wish I could have pulled one of those. Other hits for this set include cards that have coins imbedded in them. I have no interest in these cards as they are a novelty. There are also Real One Autographs that are hand signed, on card autographs. and Real One Red Ink Autos that are hand serial numbered /63.
This set is a classy tribute to an iconic design. i would try to build the set if it weren't 500 cards big. This set is one of my favorites of the year. One way to improve this set would be to include more than 1 hit per box. even if the box would have cost 10-20$ more it would have been worth it to see an extra hit. Overall this is a great set that is worth the time to build the set and collect the cards of your favorite players. Thanks for taking the time out of your day to read my blog and as always, Peace and Baseball Cards!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The many injustices of Slo-Mo Murphy...

1990 Upper Deck provided us with some of the newest and best Baseball card pictures and technology any had ever seen. The Man, The Myth, nay... the LEGEND Rob Murphy has been able to harness the power unlike any other flash in the pan major leaguer. This is where our tale begins....

Deion, as usual, took the field expecting frivolous compliments on his pearly white headband and his fresh Jerry-curl. Something about today wasn't right. Deion sees and injustice occurring at the hands of the resident prankster Slo-Mo Murphy. THIS HAS TO END!!

HEY WADE!! whats wrong man?? Why are you moving like that?? You need to get your dogs back and come over here and talk to your boy Prime Time...
DDDDeeeiiiioooonnnn, nnniiiiccceee hhhaaaiiirrr bbbbrrrroooo. IIII aaammm fffeeeeellliiinnnggg aaa bbbiiittt sssllluuggggiissshh tttooodddaaayy. hhhaaavvveee yyyoouuu ssseeeeennn MMMuuurrrppphhhyyy?
Ha!!! CLASSIC! This slo-mo machine NEVER gets old!!
GUYS???!!! I don't feel so good!! I think Murph has me too! IIII CCCAAANNNTTT MMMOOOVVVEEE!!
HAHAHAHAH you crazy Murph!! That slo-mo do-hickey NEVER gets old!! OH SHOOT, SHHHH, Carlton is watching!!
Murphy! Not cool man! NOT cool.
Carlton ALWAYS ruins the fun. Isn't he happy being one of the best catchers in history? He has to ruin all of our fun too? Its just practice Carlton!! Save the frowny face for the game vato!

Thanks again for reading my latest installment. As always, Peace and Baseball Cards!!!