Saturday, January 7, 2017

That New Cardboard Smell

Atlanta weather in the winter is about as bipolar as it gets. Now, in the summer, it's very consistent -- between 85 and 95, a bit humid, sometimes some thunderstorms. But in the winter, well, it's all over the place. In December alone, it was 75 degrees on Christmas Day but then, on New Year's Eve, it was a high of 45 degrees. Today, it might not even break 32.

All of this has conspired to give me one heck of a cold. I could only wish that I could smell the cardboard of the cards that Tim from I Love the Smell of Cardboard in the Morning. Tim sent me a packed mailer before Christmas, and it's taken me this long just to get it all scanned and sorted.  Let's break them down by player.

Ryan Braun

It's sort of funny that the Topps Ticket to Stardom set from 2009 called Braun a "Seasoned Veteran" considering that, in 2009, Braun had a grand total of 264 appearances in the major leagues. Of course, in those first two seasons, he hit 71 HRs, won the Rookie of the Year award, was named an All-Star, won a Silver Slugger Award, and led the NL in Slugging as a Rookie with a .634 SLG. 

Since then, of course, he's had his ups and downs but seems to have rebounded to the point where teams are considering trading for him -- I've heard everyone from the Dodgers, the Giants and the Phillies to the Orioles and Blue Jays being possible landing spots. 

While everyone in the national media seems to believe that Braun being traded is a fait accompli, there is a significant portion of the Brewers fanbase that believes that Braun has shown that he could still be a part of the next winning Brewers team. Now, that could be homerism, certainly. The team could be worse this year than last. We'll see.

Prince Fielder

Big Prince. Fielder had to retire after his second spinal fusion surgery. What was going on for him was that he had a herniated disk which led to pressure on his spinal cord. That pressure led to weakness in his left arm, causing him to be unable to swing a bat properly. Prince is lucky. As Kevin Mitchell detailed in his appearance on The Hall of Very Good Podcast, he was suffering from the same issue without it being diagnosed -- leading to him dropping down to 145 pounds and being paralyzed for a while. Seriously.

Prince is still owed about $104 million by the Tigers and Rangers through the 2020 season so money is not an issue. Aren't the guaranteed contracts in baseball great? I mean that seriously. The contracts are great for the players. Contrast that with the NFL, where far less money and far fewer years are ever guaranteed in what is a far more difficult, far less certain, far more violent sport in which to play. 

Ben Sheets

That Prime Patches Quad Relic Autograph 😍  πŸ˜»  πŸ™Œ  πŸ™…

I just noticed that I can now add emojis to my blog. My life is now complete. 🎷 ⚾ ⚾ ⚾

Yovani Gallardo

Yovani just was traded to the Mariners by the Orioles. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto was quoted as saying that, "after examining the free agent and trade market, Yovani is the best fit for our club as we move forward this offseason." Was their analysis of the free agent market limited to the California Penal League?

Seriously, Gallardo had a bad, bad season last year in Baltimore, and it should not have been a surprised. His strikeout rate has declined every year since 2013 at the same time that the league's strikeout rate has increased. Gallardo also hit the DL last year for shoulder problems. It does beg the question of what analysis that Dipoto and his staff did. Wishcasting?

Carlos Gomez

Lots of Golden Gomez here, with the highlight being the 1983 wannabe Gomez from 2015 Topps Archives being a parallel serial numbered to 50.  

Talk about a guy with a good agent and all the promise in the world: Gomez was absolutely terrible in Houston -- a terribleness that it always appeared he had in him, seeing as his idea of patience at the plate is to wait to start eating until after his dinner companions take their first bite. He got released by Houston, which slashing at .221/.277/.342 over the course of 126 games pretty much deserves. He gets signed by Texas and his 33 games there convince the Rangers to sign him for one year at a raise of $2.5 million a year -- to $11.5 million.

It is very telling that his most similar comparable player for his career (and #3 through age 30) is Corey Patterson. Patterson struggled to identify pitches he could hit, he did not walk much, he had good speed on the bases and was a good defensive player. Patterson also crashed out of the major leagues after the 2011 season at the age of 31 (though he spent 2012 essentially serving as Gomez's backup by being the starting CF for the Nashville Sounds in the Brewers organization). 

It should be an interesting year for Gomez.

For the rest of this post, I'm going to show off a few parallels and inserts that Tim sent:

Look at all the pretty colors! That Wes Helms Gold Refractor is actually a damn good looking card in hand, as is the sepia refractor for Aramis Ramirez. 

On the other hand, that "bubbles" thing going on for Nick Ramirez...not so much. Speaking of Nick Ramirez, it appears that his career is stalling out in Double-A. He's spent three seasons there, and he has not exactly lit the world on fire -- .229/.323/.402 in nearly 1400 Double-A at bats is an established level of play. I have my doubts that anything will come of his career at this point, but we will see. I mean, he turns 28 this year on August 1. 

There is one last card that I do need to show off:

I still like Luc, and this card being numbered out of ten floored me. I'd forgotten about that parallel for A&G in 2015 -- probably lost amidst the mist of parallels that Topps has put out generally. It happens.

Many thanks to Tim for the great cards -- and I hope that he enjoyed my Secret Santa envelope to him.


  1. I heard you guys were getting a little bit of snow.. My roommate listens to HLN all the time, so between the Fort Lauderdale airport updates everything was about the snow..

  2. Ugh- I'm so sick of winter. We were at -14 degrees the past couple of mornings, with about 14" of snow on the ground. They're forecasting another 6-12" today/tomorrow. On a lighter note... was bummed to see the M's basically swap Nate Karns (who was traded for Jarrod Dyson) for Gallardo.

  3. Glad everything arrived safely and that you enjoyed these! I was able to figure out that you were my secret Santa. Thank you for those. I was especially thrilled to receive that Tiffany Bernie RC.

  4. Ah man, I can't see the emojis.. just boxes.. 😍 😻 πŸ™Œ πŸ™…

    However there is a weird spinning pie chart in the "For the rest of this post" sentence. I kinda like it!

  5. There are actually about 1 million 2015 A&G Lucroy cards out there, but just 10 with a stamp, which just can't get me excited.

  6. Great cards here! RE: Nick Ramirez- sounds like he's trying to convert himself to a pitcher this season! The days are only getting longer!