Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Trade Deadline Day: MVPs ON THE MOVE?

This afternoon marks the end of the nonwaiver trade deadline and we could see some big names get traded today.

Last night news broke that the Nationals are indeed willing to trade Bryce Harper.  Could one of the faces of the game be traded in the coming hours?
Harper is a 5 tool talent that is a true game changer when on the field.
We have seen some of the best 5 Tool talents in the game get traded before so it shouldn't come as a surprise if one of them gets moved.

The green swatch from the Harper in the above 2 Hits Memorabilia cards is actually from a St. Patrick's Day Spring Training game cap.

I have a few Harper relics ranging from single jersey swatches to hat swatches to patches.  One of my favorites though is this extremely tough to find triple jersey featuring All-Stars Andrew McCutchen, Joc Pederson, and of course Bryce.

I also like when I know when I can pinpoint where a jersey relic is from.  The red and black swatches were from the workout jerseys.

One name we likely won't see get traded is Adam Jones who already has used his 10-5 rights to veto a trade to Philadelphia.  I respect Adam's decision to want to stay in Baltimore because of his family and the amount of charity work he does in the city.  That shows that he is a greater person than ballplayer.

Adam Jones is a very consistent player that usually puts up an average in the .270 to .280 range with 25 HR and 80-90runs/RBI.

This octopatch booklet is just ridiculous.  It had 8 of the top outfielders at the time of the card's production (minus Mike Trout).
Injuries derailed Tulo from a HOF career.
This dual button is still one of my top 10 cards in my collection.

There he is!!!! Mike Trout!!!!  He likely won't be traded.

What former All-Stars will be traded today?

Former All-Star Zach Duke was traded yesterday to the Mariners as they hope to solidify the diversity in their bullpen.

Oh you didn't know that Zach Duke who has been a lefty reliever was at one time an All-Star? Well he was in 2009 when Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel added him as a late addition to the roster.  He was also a 2xRookie of the Month in 2005 (July and August).

There are reports that the Indians and Phillies are very interested in Cutch, while it also seems possible that the Yankees would look to acquire the former NL MVP

I can see Cutch going to the Indians as that would be a great fit and he will be available to play daily.

Philly and NY look to be a platoon position if they were to acquire him as their outfields are already pretty crowded.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A $9 bid lands me a $90 redemption

I said I was going to ease up on the amount of cards I was buying and overall I have done very good with resisting the temptation.  I had heard that Cutch was a redemption for the 2018 Archives Active Players Autograph release.  While I didn't want to waste a lot of money on a redemption (we have all heard the year long process with some of these redemptions) I was willing to take a $9 gamble on a case break.

Boy am I glad I did.

These redemptions have been selling in the $80+ range.

I have no idea what card will be autographed when Cutch signs the buyback, but I am looking forward to it.

In order to enter the redemption, I had to break the seal to scratch off the back.  Once entered, I threw the redemption in a top loader and took the 2018 Archives Mag Case to place one of my favorite in person signed cards.

The reality of this card actually being made is a possibility as Cutch, Harrison, and Marte all signed for the 2018 Archives release.  If this actually gets produced (likely as a 1/1) I would need to add it to the collection.  For now though I am happy with my in person triple auto of the All-Star tandem of Cutch (2011-2015), Harrison (2014 & 2017), and Marte (2016).

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Scripture Sunday 1 Samuel 16:7

Andrew McCutchen is one of the most outspoken Christians in the game today.  While so many other players are trying to create their own brand and image, Cutch reminds everyone daily on the ball field that he was created in His image.
We are all created differently and unique making us all a Limited Edition, but we are all created with love from our creator.

Today's scripture is 1st Samuel 16:7
"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

There's a cliche saying "he wears his heart on his sleeve", well for baseball star Andrew McCutchen, he truly does.
Since 2015 Cutch has worn an armband in team colors bearing a cross.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Shark Attax

Shark week may be over, but the documentaries and movies don't have to stop.

I know it is dated, but Air Jaws is still my favorite of all the documentaries that have aired during Shark Week.

It's important for us all to remember that sharks are incredible creatures that should be considered dangerous when confronted in the wild.

Here are three Attax cards I have to finish of shark week...because well...sharks attax

These particular cards are from 2010.  The following year Topps would change the look of the product to appeal more to actual card game players.

Friday, July 27, 2018

More Sharks in the Tank

Shark week continues...
The Shark Tank was the nickname for the Pirates 2013 bullpen.

Headed by 36 year old veteran Jason Grilli, the bullpen was one of the best in the majors and paved the model for the 2015 World Series Champions Kansas City Royals to use and become the way the game is currently played.

The relievers got an official shark tank put in the clubhouse and you can see many of them posing above with their fins.

Keeping in mind that one bad outing could ruin a reliever's entire season numbers, let us look at the core members and their appearances, innings, and ERAs of the Shark Tank which included

Jason Grilli 54 games, 50 innings, 2.70ERA

Mark Melancon 72 games, 71 innings, 1.39ERA

Tony Watson 67 games, 71.2 innings, 2.39ERA

Justin Wilson 58 games, 73.2 innings, 2.08ERA

Vin Mazarro 57 games, 73.2 innings, 2.81ERA

Bryan Morris 55 games, 65 innings, 3.45ERA

I don't have any other cards of Cutch with the former members of the Shark Tank, but Cutch is currently team mates with Mark Melancon and Tony Watson again.  Both Cutch and Watson came up through the Pirates minor league system and made stints with the AA affiliate, the Altoona Curve.

This year, the Curve are celebrating their anniversary with bobbleheads voted by the fans for some of the most fan favorite players at each position.

Both Cutch and Watson made the cut.
At this time, I only have the McCutchen

I would love to add the Watson to the collection in addition to the others in the set.
I have said many times that the marketing group behind the Altoona Curve promotions is brillaint with the different bobbleheads they come up with.
Alex "Not Elvis" Presley
Josh "Need More Cow"bell
Jordy Mercer dressed as Jim Carey's character Lloyd Christmas
Jameson get your Tie-On Taillon

All those are great and I am ashamed to say I don't have them yet.  One of the best promotions though occured in 2014 when the Curve released a figurine of former Curve Shark Tank members riding a shark.  The figure was supposed to include Bryan Morris also, but he was traded by the Pirates before the final product was in process and the Curve chose not to show the former Pirate with his Curve team mates.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Tiger Sharks, Tiger Printing Process

Tonight on Discovery Channel's Shark Week is a special about tiger sharks.  Of all the sharks, tiger sharks are one of the most dangerous to humans.
Tiger sharks get their name for the stripes they have.  They have beautiful grey, black, and white skin that make these majestic creatures stand out in the oceans.

I will be missing the episodes tonight as I have to close the store.
As a fan of the Discovery Channel, I wonder if Cutch has been watching Shark Week.
I have half of the printing proofs used to make this card (still need the yellow and cyan). These are really cool in person as they aren't numbered and don't have backs.  They are strictly just like the blank backs that Topps puts out, but only feature one color of the printing process.  Panini has been doing the same thing with their Donruss line recently, but have been numbering those.
This proof resembles the colors you will see on a Tiger Shark.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Ruby + Rose = Shark Week Cameo

Last night on Shark Week actress Ruby Rose appeared.  She is starring in the new shark movie, The Meg that releases August 10th.

As silly as the concept may be for a dinosaur sized shark attacking the oceans I can't deny my joy and excitement I have for this movie.  Then again I just love shark movies.
I also have a weird love for hot girls with tattoos.

So what kind of cards do I have that can tie together my love of Andrew McCutchen baseball cards with an upcoming shark movie starring Jason Statham and Ruby Rose?

How about two baseball cards produced by Topps?

First up the Ruby parallel numbered to 1/1 from 2016 Triple Threads.

Then a 2017 Topps 1987 Rose parallel numbered to 25 copies. (This card will make another appearance in October as part of the SaveTheBoobies pink Breast Cancer Awareness feature I do.)

It's the 30th anniversary of Shark Week this year and last year was the 30th anniversary of 1987 Topps.  Fitting segue, right?

I hope for those Finatics out there you are all enjoying Shark Week. I know I am.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

(Mark "The ) Shark" Week

Jason Grilli might have started the shark tank, but no one understood what it was like to be a shark more than Mark "The Shark" Melancon.

Mark fully embraced the Shark Tank and his nickname by even swimming with the sharks in New Zealand which you can read about here.

Continuing with Shark Week is a card of Mark "The Shark" Melancon featured on an AJ Burnett card with Cutch.

It's the black parallel numbered to 64 copies. I am still looking for all other parallels of this card besides the black and pink.  If you come across any please send them my way.  This includes the base.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Shark Week

The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates was my favorite team I rooted for. (EVER!!!)

They would go on to have their 1st winning season in 20 years.

The bullpen lead by Jason Grilli was dubbed the Shark Tank.  Grilli would even go as far to get the team a shark tank for the clubhouse.  They began to use a 3 headed back of bullpen (Watson-Melancon-Grilli) in the same way that many teams are using bullpens today.

Look up the ERAs of the core members of the Shark Tank in 2013 and you will see that when there was blood in the water, these sharks fed like a frenzy.

Yesterday I used a bible quote involving the fish in the sea trembling at His presence.

For the rest of this week I will look at some cardboard featuring Cutch with members of The Shark Tank and why batters trembled in their presence.

Let's begin with the mastermind behind the Shark Tank, Jason Grilli.  Nicknamed Grill Cheese he would lead the Pirates into the All Star game with over 20 consecutive saves converted.  He lead the NL in saves at the break and even was the cover athlete for Sports Illustrated highlighting the Pirates miraculous season.

Shortly after the SI article, Grilli would land on the DL (thanks Sports Illustrated curse) and hand the reigns of the closing role to Mark "The Shark" Melancon.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Scripture Sunday - Ezekiel 38:20

Today we are going to look at a verse from the Old Testament in the book of Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 38:20
"The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground"

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Cutch V Batman: Dorkness Recesses aka F**k Batman

San Diego Comic Con is in full effect at the time of typing this.  I had always wanted to attend it just once as I am a nerd deep inside.

Fans were previewed a trailer for the new Titans TV show exclusive to DC's streaming service.

The trailer begins with Robin saying "F*** Batman".  The DC Universe aka Zak Snyder's playground is always so dark.  When I think of the Titans I think more fun than brooding and morbid.  The show should have followed in Marvel's footsteps and did something similar to how the characters of Guardians of the Galaxy interact.  Instead we get "F*** Batman"

Let me clarify something, I am a big fan of Batman.

I am not a big fan of the Reds.  They historically have beaten my Pirates in all the important games.

Let's travel back to the year 2012.
With the Pirates on the cusp of finally breaking their 20 year losing streak they would have to face the Reds in the final home series and win out or risk losing their 82nd game and thus ensuring another losing season.  That year, like the previous year, the Pirates were in first place at the All Star break.  Like the previous year the team suffered a second half collapse.

On September 28th, 2012 the Pirates would face Homer Bailey.

Homer Bailey, who looks an awful lot like Christian Bale, made sure the Pirates would lose their 82nd game in a way only the Pirates and their faithful fans could bear witness too.  Bailey was masterful that day as he pitched a no hitter using 115 pitches over 9 innings.

His only blips were a walk to Andrew McCutchen and an infield error that Scott Rolen booted off a Clint Barmes one base error.

With Bailey having a terrible season, it seems appropriate to show off how well Cutch has hit Bailey over his career.

Oddly enough, the only year that Bailey contained Cutch was during Cutch's MVP 2013 season.

Following the 2013 season, Bailey met with new Reds manager Bryan Price and wanted to make sure the team was heading in a direction of winning divisions and competing for the postseason.  The Reds seemed determine to go deep in October and signed Bailey to a 6 year $105million extension in February 2014.  It is currently one of the worse contracts given out in the past few seasons only being outdone by the Chris Davis Orioles contract.

I took advantage of a 20% off coupon on eBay a few months ago and snagged this card that I had long desired.  While the price is still too high for a guy who has had a WHIP over 2 and ERA in the 6s the past few years, I wanted the card to remember the guy who secured the Pirates 82nd loss of the 2012 season as it would be the last time the Pirates would have a losing season for 3 years.

Oh and "F*** Batman" this is one of only 2 copies in world.