Thursday, October 22, 2015
Something new ... happy?
Lately I've gotten the feeling that I'm boring readers.
Oh, not the diehard regulars, the ones who comment all the time. I'm still connecting with them and very appreciative. I'm referring to the casual readers -- the ones who appear in January, when the new baseball cards pop up and the buzz is in the air and then disappear at this time of year, when they've completely lost interest.
It happens every year. I've been around the block a few times now and I notice the readership numbers taking a dive every fall. It's that ADD epidemic, you know.
So I press on, because readers aren't the only reason I do this, and write about what interests me. That usually involves cards of the past, and the last few posts have been related to that. I actually think they were semi-interesting posts, examining the best of the 1983 Topps set, and how Dennis Eckersley's cards should get more play than they do.
I devoted quite a bit of time that I really don't have to pulling cards and scanning them and writing about them and then putting back the cards, all in order, to the tune of crickets. Yeah, I understand that the playoffs are on and people are a little distracted, but people are still wasting time at work, right? Has every office invested in a card blog filter at the same time?
So desperate times call for desperate measures. It was time to find some new cards to draw some readers who are bored with cards invented before they were born.
I've been trying to get to the store to buy a light bulb for a week and a half. It is literally that busy in my world where I've had to stumble around in the dark because life isn't letting me shed some light on it. Today was the day I could finally break away for a few watts.
I stopped at Target and grabbed a hanger box of Topps Update -- about as brand new as it gets. And I did it for you because it would have been a lot more logical to buy some Series 2 seeing as I'm very far from completing it.
Let's see what's in this set. I promise it's all people with modern haircuts.
#US30 - David Phelps, Marlins
A former Yankee who is now a Marlin. I had a lot more to say about Dennis Eckersley.
#US325 - Matt Kemp, Padres
Poor Matty is doomed to third-to-fifth place finishes for however long he can stand it. Maybe the Dodgers will trade Carl Crawford to get him back.
#US205 - Andres Blanco, Phillies
It wouldn't be Update if I knew everyone. Blanco played in over 100 games so I probably should know who he is. But like I said, I can't even find time to buy a light bulb.
#US157 - Noah Syndergaard, Mets
Here's the deal: if the Royals advance, I'm rooting for the Royals. If the Blue Jays advance, I'm rooting for the Mets. But really I'm rooting for a decent headline for the moment when whichever team wins it all.
#US122 - Marlon Byrd, Reds
Poor Update can't keep up with GM maneuverings. Byrd moved on to the Giants in their failed attempt to weasel their way into another postseason. It didn't work.
#US263 - Pedro Strop, Cubs
Not the least bit sad that the Cubs lost. I'd list reasons but I need readers, remember?
#US49 - Mark Canha, Athletics
#US348 - Jonathan Broxton, Cardinals
#US60 - Branden Pinder, Yankees
#US172 - Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers, All-Star
The first Dodger is in one of those goofy All-Star caps. I feared that these would appear in Update and they have. Those caps were pretty cool in the late '70s when they were all the rage (and I owned a Dodger one -- there is a photo out there with me wearing one, but nobody needs to see pre-teen night owl). But they don't look good now. At all.
#US369 - Cory Rasmus, Angels
#US202 - Manny Machado, Orioles, HR Derby
Home Run Derby cards. Still the worst part of Update.
#US222 - Arquimedes Caminero, Pirates
#US296 - J.B. Shuck, White Sox
#FHR-27 - Kolten Wong, Cardinals, 1st Home Run insert
#FHR-23 - Ryne Sandberg, Cubs, 1st Home Run insert
#US302 - Chris Sale, White Sox, All-Star
This seems like one of the 497 variations in Update this year. I'll have to look it up.
(I looked it up: it's not).
#US33 - Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, checklist
There's the feel-good comeback story of the year right now! I don't know about you, but I expected him to hit .146 and shoot-up steroids right there on the field. Who knew that Alex Rodriguez could swing a bat?
#US114 - Jason Garcia, Orioles; Scott Copeland, Blue Jays
I like these rookie combo cards. They're both old-school (reminiscent of the late '60s/early '70s 2-rookie cards) and new-school (action photos). Too bad the back doesn't include minor league stats like the old days.
#US154 - Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, All-Star
Goldschmidt and Trout. Two guys the Dodgers have no interest in seeing.
#US159 - Darren O'Day, Orioles
I like the photo, but you've got to help out the non-American League fan here. Can I get a "right" or "second from right" on the back, please? That's a little advice from the guy who writes captions for a living.
#US52 - Cody Anderson, Indians; Phil Klein, Rangers, Rookie Combos
#US134 - Steven Matz, Mets
Had no idea former Dodger Tom Goodwin was the Mets' first base coach.
#US82 - Francisco Lindor, Indians
#US291 - Eddie Butler, Rockies
#US257 - Josh Hamilton, Rangers
This card reminds me of the warm-fuzzy days of Update in the '80s when you could view the big stars who were traded in mid-season in their new uniforms. Granted, Hamilton was a Ranger before, but this card makes me happy I bought some Update.
#US297 - Wade Davis, Royals, All-Star
#US345 - Blaine Boyer, Twins
#US171 - Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals, All-Star
The man at left is Albert Pujols, because he doesn't have enough of his own cards.
#US330 - Nate Karns, Rays
#US27 - Nathan Eovaldi, Yankees
One of about 20 former Dodger pitchers that they could have used this year.
#US5 - Ryan Vogelsong, Giants
#US379 - Cameron Maybin, Braves
#US32 - Blake Swihart, Red Sox
#US382 - Dan Uggla, Nationals
#US35 - Justin Bour, Marlins
#US390 - Donovan Solano, Marlins
#US334 - Clint Barmes, Padres
#US179 - Adam Libatore, Dodgers
I am rather impressed that a moderately used relief pitcher made it into Update. Nice work, Update.
#US352 - Jose Reyes, Rockies
#US112 - Conor Gllaspie, Angels
#US200 - Adam Jones, Orioles, All-Star
#US132 - Gerardo Parra, Orioles
#US12 - Travis Ishikawa, Pirates
#US354 - Brandon Finnegan, Reds
#US63 - Kelvin Herrera, Royals, All-Star
Red-and-black Royals cap. You mad-cap MLB, you.
#US88 - Marc Rzepczynski, Padres
#H-63 - Babe Ruth, Braves, Highlight Of The Year insert
That's supposedly Ruth as a Brave. I don't need another Ruth card, but at least he's a Brave.
#RS-21 - Albert Pujols, Cardinals, Rookie Sensations
This happened 14 years ago. I'm old.
#US367 - Frank Garces, Padres, gold
Night Owl yawning loudly.
#R-11 - Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians, Rarities insert
This seems like a promising insert, celebrating rare feats. I kind of like the look, too.
#MLB - 18 - Max Scherzer, Nationals, All-Star Game Access Insert
These, meanwhile, look like something that fell out of Opening Day. They're retail only.
#WW-7 - Joe DiMaggio, Yankees, Whatever Works insert
These, I think (I'm so knowledgeable) refer to player superstitions. The back mentions how DiMaggio would always touch second base on his way to and from center field.
#US395 - Dexter Fowler, Cubs, gold
Stop crying in your beers, Cubs fans, it's a goldie!
#US71 - Joakim Soria, Pirates
OK, hold on to something, it's a Chicago-centric string of cards ...
#US208 - Addison Russell, Cubs
Future superstar who will bring the Cubs 12 straight World Series titles.
#US228 - Geovany Soto, White Sox
Former chemically-induced Cub.
#US244 - Colby Rasmus, Astros
Not Chicago-related, but scary-looking dude who should always be pictured from a distance.
#US283 - Kris Bryant, Cubs
Captain America. You know what? He's just a nice, down-to-earth guy who just loves baseball and is not a cranky bastard who is full of himself thanks a lot all you non-Cubs rookies who offended our very delicate sensibilities because you flipped a bat or wore lots of eye black. Jerk-offs.
#US268 - Troy Tulowitzki, Blue Jays
I've missed virtually the entire postseason. I don't even know if I was supposed to be outraged over Tulowitzki getting thrown out of that one game.
#US306 - Vidal Nuno, Mariners
#US136 - Byron Buxton, Twins
#US91 - Brad Boxberger, Rays, All-Star
DO YOU KNOW BASEBALL? GUESS YOUR RAYS! (P.S.: It's not Chris Archer).
#US128 - Brock Holt, Red Sox, All-Star
#US18 - Michael Blazek, Brewers
#US267 - Joe Ross, Nationals
#US130 - Jonathan Villar, Astros
#US129 - David Ross, Cubs
One of the few very slim Dodger connections on the Cubs this postseason.
#US280 - Mike Bolsinger, Dodgers
Let me clue you in on something, and I like Bolsinger. He will never be a star.
#US207 - Chris Young, Royals
#US103 - Joey Gallo, Rangers
#US141 - Glen Perkins, Twins, All-Star
And there you are. New enough for you?
Don't get me wrong. I wanted to buy the Update. There is still a part of me that likes the 2015 design so much that I want to complete all three series.
In fact, I ended up forgetting to buy that light bulb.
So I'll be making another trip again tomorrow.
We'll see if I get something sensible like Series 2.
Readers be damned.