For several years on this blog, I wrote an annual "if I was king of the postseason" post to kick off the baseball playoffs.
It was fun -- just me riffing on who my favorites and least favorites were for that particular year -- but it was a lot of work. Then it started getting repetitive/monotonous and also a couple people got their undies in a bunch about what I wrote. I don't need to be dedicating a lot of time to something just to get a bunch of grief out of it, so I stopped. I don't miss it.
But I do miss writing about the postseason a little. I thought it'd be fun to take a look at each of the wild card matchups in a lighthearted fashion -- no overt rooting here -- with the help of TCDB and my collection.
I'm going to take a look at the oldest and newest cards in my collection for each team, plus a random card selected by the TCDB randomizer. There are some interesting connections between these teams.
Here we go:
RANGERS VS. RAYS
(cards in my collection: 2,367. Overall rank: 21st)
Oldest card in my collection: 1972 Topps Ted Kubiak ("oldest" for a lot of these is the card to appear first in a given set. Kubiak is card #23).
Newest card in my collection: 2023 Topps Heritage Josh Smith (#384)
Random card from my collection: 1979 Topps Richie Zisk
Thoughts?: Wooo, two of the three guys here I've interviewed! (I promise I didn't fudge the results). The other guy, Josh Smith, sorry, I don't know who that is.
Tampa Bay Rays
(cards in my collection: 786. Overall rank: 31st)
Newest card in my collection: 2023 Topps Heritage Josh Lowe
Random card from my collection: 2011 Topps Heritage Manny Ramirez
Thoughts?: God bless the late 1990s, you've got two guys who never made the majors to kick off your coverage of the Rays. ... Lowe is a high number! I was today years old when I found out that the Rays' Josh Lowe and the Rangers' Nathaniel Lowe are brothers. Hey, that's why there's the playoffs.
Who I want to win: Rangers
BLUE JAYS VS. TWINS
Toronto Blue Jays
(cards in my collection: 2,032. Overall rank: 25th)
Oldest card in my collection: 1977 O-Pee-Chee Otto Velez
Newest card in my collection: 2023 Topps Heritage Matt Chapman
Random card from my collection: 1988 Topps Willie Upshaw
I'm sure players enjoyed having nine years in the majors and Topps pulling out stuff they did in the minors.
Thoughts?: The O-Pee-Chee card automatically makes me want to root for the Blue Jays, but let's check the Twins out now.
(cards in my collection: 2,561. Overall rank: 15th)
Oldest card in my collection: 1962 Topps Don Lee
Newest card in my collection: 2023 Topps Heritage New Age performers Luis Arraez
Random card from my collection: 2000 Topps Doug Mientkiewicz
Thoughts?: I just showed that Luis Arraez card two posts ago. I'd say it'd be interesting if Arraez had a chance to face his old team in the World Series, but that would mean a Marlins-Twins World Series. ... The back of the Mientkiewicz says that a manager once called him Doug Meningitis, which made me laugh.
Who I want to win: Tough call. Probably the Jays but fine with either.
BREWERS VS. DIAMONDBACKS
(cards in my collection: 2,382. Overall rank: 20th)
Random card in my collection: 2010 Topps Update More Tales Of The Game insert, 'There's No Tying in Baseball'
Thoughts?: Ha ha on the random card, the Brewers franchise will always have that dumb thing following them around ... The red Christian Yelich was a pull out of one my gift card blasters. They're wildly unnecessary and make my brain go right to 2024 Heritage and how many border parallels there will be in that.
(cards in my collection: 783. Overall rank: 32nd)
Oldest card in my collection: 1997 Bowman Kevin Sweeney
Newest card in my collection: 2023 Topps Heritage Ketel Marte
Random card from my collection: 2007 Topps Chad Tracy
Thoughts?: Player cards created for a team a year before the team debuts seems like a bad idea. I think Kevin Sweeney, who is a Buffalo boy, might even agree after not getting out of Class A.
Who I want to win: Brewers
MARLINS VS. PHILLIES
(cards in my collection: 1,061. Overall rank: 28th)
Oldest card in my collection: 1992 Donruss Bonus Card Florida Marlins
Newest card in my collection: 2023 Topps Heritage '74 Stamps, Max Meyer, JJ Bleday, Jazz Chisholm Jr., Sandy Alcantara
Thoughts?: Now, that's how you do a card made the year before the team starts, create a cool logo card! ... Two players on the Heritage stamps "card" are currently playing for the Marlins. JJ Bleday is with Oakland and Max Meyer was not in the majors this year.
(cards in my collection: 2,868. Overall ranking: 5th)
Random card in my collection: 2009 Topps Chrome Geoff Jenkins
Thoughts?: OK, we now have a REAL TEAM with 1956 TOPPS CARDS. Ron Negray is so real that in my '56 binder he is directly below Ted Williams. ... Aaron Nola is the Game 2 starter for the Phillies, maybe I'll put it next to my TV for luck. ... 2009 Topps, and that includes Chrome, gives me the warm fuzzies.
Who I want to win: Phillies.
OK, there you are. Now that I put that out in public, the Rays, Twins, Diamondbacks and Marlins will advance out of the wild card round.
Maybe I'll do this again for the Division Series. Or maybe not. Let's see how fired up people get.