Monday, March 31, 2014

2014 Phillies Opening Day Lineup

The Phillies get the 2014 season going today against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. Here's the Phillies Opening Day Line Up.

Leading off, in center field is Ben Revere (2013 Topps Allen & Ginter #14)
Revere was supposed to be a major force for the Phillies last year but he ended up being hurt most of the season. He hit .294 in 21 games in Spring Training.

Batting second, shortstop Jimmy Rollins (2014 Topps #312)

It's hard to believe but J-Roll starts his 14th season with the Phillies.  As often as not, he's the spark plug that makes the Phillies go. He had a slow spring, only batting .173 with 3 home runs in 19 games.

Batting third, at second base, Chase Utley (2014 Donruss #62)
Utley, starting his 12th season with the Phillies, also had a slow spring, hitting .217 in 21 games. The important thing is that he's healthy.

Batting cleanup, as usual is Ryan Howard at first base (2014 Topps Opening Day #203)

After 2 injury plagued seasons, the Phillies need Howard healthy this year.

Batting fifth, in right field is former Phillie Marlon Byrd (2014 Donruss #151)
Byrd, in is 13th season played for the Phillies from 2002-2005. He's traveled quite a bit since then. His last two seasons, with the Mets and Pirates were pretty good. The Phillies must think Byrd has something to offer since the signed him to a 3-year $24MM contract. He hit .298 with 2 home runs and 8 rbis in 21 games in spring training.

Batting 6th, as the DH is Domonic Brown (2013 Topps Heritage #135)
Brown is the guy we're all waiting for to bust out. He .272 with 27 home runs in 2013, but looks to have had a terrible spring.

Batting 7th and catching is Carlos Ruiz (2013 Bowman Gold #311)
Carlos lost a lot of games last year after failing a drug test. Let's hope that is all behind him. He is one of the best catchers in baseball.

Batting 8th is third baseman Cody Asche (2014 Topps Red Target #4)
Asche opened some eyes as a replacement 3rd baseman last season after the Phillies gave up on Michael Young. He didn't have an impressive spring but he's got the starting third base job anyway.

Batting 9th, of all people, is Tony Gwynn Jr. playing left field (2012 Topps #284)
Junior is not exactly his daddy. In 7 years he has a .232 average and 6 home runs. He spent last year in the minors where he hit .300. The Phillies signed him as a free agent last December. He had a decent spring.

Opening Day pitcher Cliff Lee (2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Relics)
Lee is coming off a 14-8 season with an ERA of 2.87. He pitched 24 innings with a 2.55 ERA this spring.

Friday, March 28, 2014

2014 Topps Opening Day - The Inserts

I bought a single blaster box of Topps Opening Day, and 5 lose packs, which is more than enough. I'm not going to post any base cards because you already know what they look like. In case you don't, they look just like Topps base cards except the silver swoosh and player's name are just gray instead of silver foil and the logo is white instead of silver foil. And there is the Opening Day logo added.  The Opening Day base set includes the Rookies and All-Star Rookie Cup subsets, as well as the new Future Stars subset.

The box cost $9.99 and had 8 packs (advertised as a 7-pack box with one extra pack). Wow, and extra pack!  Not a bad price. Although I generally like insert cards, Topps has increased the number of insert cards this year and they sure put a lot of them in a box. I pulled a total of 22 insert cards from the 15 packs. If you were a set collector (which I'm not) this would be maddening.

Baseballcardpedia says the packs have 7 cards including one insert. I did way better than that, pulling 22 inserts from 15 packs.

There are relics and autos in the set but the odds are low of every seeing on if you buy only one box.

Topps Opening Day Blue
Topps has had the blue parallel since 2010, like last year they made it a foil backed card. The cards are serial numbered to 2014. They don't seem to hard to get, I pulled 5 from the box.

Topps Opening Day Breaking Out
One of the new inserts. They just as easily could have called this "Freaking Out". There are 15 of these and I got 3.

Topps Opening Day Mascots
Mascots has been around for awhile. Interesting they should compare Gapper to the Phillie Phanatic. Gapper was designed by David Raymond, the man who was the original Phillie Phanatic. The Reds have 4 mascots and according to Wikipedia, Gapper is the lease favorite, getting only 6% in a recent poll.

Topps Opening Day Fired Up
The other new insert. Also could be called "Freaking Out". There are 25 of these and I pulled 4, including 2 of the Pence.

Topps Opening Day Stars
This is also a long-running insert. Although it's impossible to tell from the scan, I think the 3D effect is more eye-popping this year. I pulled 3 of this 25-card insert set.

Topps Opening Day Superstar Celebrations
I also pulled 3 of this returning insert set.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2014 Topps Heritage - Finally

What we don't do for our hobby. I was driving to a local Target this afternoon, when this happened.

Yeah, that's my car being towed out of a ditch near my home. I was on a busy 55 mph two lane street, when a woman, with cell phone to ear, pulled out of a side street from my left. I saw her just in time to say "Oh, sh*t". She got me on the driver's side rear tire, and spun me completely around. I ended up on the shoulder with the front of the car pointed into the ditch. I'm OK. I've got some aches on my left side from the side curtain air bag. Man, it felt like someone hit me with a cinder block. There's not too much body damage but the wheel doesn't look good.  The other drive appeared unhurt. She freely admitted to me and the nice policeman who finally showed up that it was all her fault. Several eyewitnesses, including 3 people in the car right behind me and the guy who lives in the corner house agreed, it was all her fault. I love this car and hope it is repairable.

My daughter and I went out for dinner later and she was nice enough to visit the near by Walmart with me. Success!

More to come.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2014 Donruss - The inserts Part 2

OK, this is the end of my posts about 2014, at least until I hear from Panini about my missing relic card.

Donruss Stat Line Career #44 Xander Bogaerts
This is another parallel. For each card they picked some random stat, like Career Minor League Home Runs, then produce a mirror finish parallel, numbered to the stat. This is another throwback parallel. Donruss started these with their 2001 reboot. I pulled two of these.

Donruss Stat Line Career #68 David Wright
The backs look just like the regular cards. There is similar parallel based on season stats that I didn't get.

Donruss Breakout Hitters #7 Jean Segura
I think this is also based on an old Donruss insert. The cards feature spot gloss on the front (the player and the flying bricks). Segura, in his second season last year, hit .294 with 12 home runs and an All-Star berth.

Donruss Breakout Pitchers #13 Jordan Zimmermann
There is a similar insert for pitchers. Zimmermann, in his 5th season with the Nationals, was 19-9 with an All-Star berth.

Donruss Power Plus #10 Ryne Sandberg
Hitting power plus defense. Get it?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Random Cards from My Collection #59

Card #37056
2013 Topps Emerald Foil #248 Colby Lewis

Comments on the card: I think I make a joke about baseball in The Matrix every time I post one of these cards.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.27/card for a blaster box from WalMart in January 2013.

Card #27738
2011 Topps Walmart All-Black #303 Luke French
Comments on the card: Everybody was pretty excited about this parallel when it first appeared in 2010. Not so much in 2011.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.22/card for a blaster box from WalMart in June 2011. Note cards were 5 cents cheaper in 2011 than in 2013.

Card #35394
1991 Ultra #397 Gregg Jefferies Checklist

Comments on the card: From the first year of Ultra. Considered a premium card then, even without gloss or gold foil. identifies the player as Jefferies.
How/When acquired: Don't know, but probably I probably got this in a repack.

Card #35127
2006 Hero Deck Phillies
Comments on the card: Each card of the 52-card deck features a different Phillie from through the team's history.
How/When acquired: I bought the deck in a sporting goods store in Philadelphia in 2010.

Card #2420
2004 Topps #345 Jim Thome/Richie Sexson/Javy Lopez
Comments on the card: I like the way the back of this card is laid out.
How/When acquired: $0.26 in June 2004.

Card #12062
1996 Pacific October Moments #1 Ken Griffey Jr.
Comments on the card: This card is from a 20-card insert to 1996 Pacific. The cards were inserted 1 in 37 packs, so it was a pretty tough pull. Lots of gold foil.
How/When acquired: I got this on eBay for $3.74 in March 2009.

Card #2808
2002 Fleer Tradition #161 Brad Ausmus
Comments on the card: If the design looks familiar it's because it's based on 1934 Goudey. Not familiar with that, well think 2008 Upper Deck Goudey. Fleer had used the Goudey name a few times in the early 2000's so apparently it owned rights to the name and design. I've often wondered how modern day card companies got the rights to old time card names and designs. Upper Deck acquired it when they bought Fleer in 2007.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.12/card for a hobby box of Fleer Tradition in February 2003.

Card #4697
2005 Classic Clippings MLB Game Worn Jersey Collection #31 Omar Vazquel
Comments on the card: This is from a 72 card relic insert to 2005 Classic Clippings, a Fleer product. It's a piece of an Indians jersey worn by Vizquel. He actually played for the Giants in 2005, hence the Giants logo.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.32/card for a blaster box of Classic Clippings in May 2005. From back in the day when you could actually get relic cards in a blaster box.

Card #25350
2011 Topps Opening Day #181 Josh Beckett
Comments on the card: Topps cheaper set, parallel to Topps.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.13 for a blaster box in March 2011. Note it's 9 cents cheaper than the 2011 Topps Walmart card above.

Card #9268
1989 Score Rookie/Traded #70 John Kruk
Comments on the card: Kruk came to the Phillies in June 1989, soon enough to get photos of him as a Phillie in the Fleer, Score and Topps update sets.
How/When acquired: Don't know.