Saturday, February 23, 2019

I am the Keon King - A 2019 Goal Met

One of my 2019 collecting goals was to become of the "king" of something on the Trading Card Database. Well, less than two months into the year, I have done it. I am now officially the TCDB's #1 Keon Broxton collector. Not only that, but I've done it with ONLY Brewers cards - even though Keon has both Pirates and DBacks cardboard available. 

So why Keon Broxton? Why a guy who played just a single full-time season with Brewers, never made an All Star team or won an award, and is now with the Mets? Well, it's pretty simple - Keon Broxton was a ton of fun to watch and has a lot of great cards. 

This is the bunch that put me over the top - a six card lot of Topps High Tek that I picked up on eBay for a few bucks. The fact that not many other collectors are into Keon helps, as his stuff is usually pretty cheap. This lot yielded two numbered cards, for example, and cost me less than a buck each.

Keon spent most of 2018 in AAA and has, despite from gaudy numbers, probably been no more than little better a league-average player so far in his three-year career. He strikes out a lot and doesn't hit for much of an average. And despite his speed, he doesn't rack up many doubles or triples. But when he connects, he can generate filthy power. He hit 20 homers in 2017, included a 489-foot monster in St. Louis that was the longest ever hit at Busch Stadium.

But he's someone that can really, really shine at times. He is something of an expert at robbing home runs. So much so that many of his cards are devoted to it.

Does anyone else have TWO Topps Now cards dedicated to game-saving homer-robbing catches?

He also got a Now card for his ridiculous game June 29 game against the Reds. Just a few days after his first game back with the Brewers (he was called up when Lorenzo Cain went on the DL), he hit two homers and made a great play in the field. It was one of a number of circus catches he made in his first week back. So impactful was with the glove that per, he had amassed a defensive war of 1 FOR THE WEEK. A 1 defensive war is a pretty decent season.
And aside from all this, I've always felt like Keon seemed like a pretty fun guy in general and someone you just wanted to pull for. He's personally liked TWO of my tweets about him and his fun-loving nature made him very gif-worthy.

milwaukee brewers massage GIF by MLB

milwaukee brewers GIF by MLB

milwaukee brewers cap tip GIF by MLB

But sadly, Keon didn't really have a place on the Brewers roster and a month or so ago they traded him to the Mets where I really do hope he finds regular playing time and lots of success. He saw some action in the NLDS this year - he even hit a homer - but as far as ways go to end your regular-season career with a team, there was really no better way to do it than this:

So long, Keon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A tour of my 2018 BREWERSNOW set - Part II

Here we go... after a mild twitter shaming from Vossbrink, I am back at posting my 2018 BrewersNOW set. You can check out the first 32 cards of the set here.

I am proud to say that between me, Nick, and Marc Brubaker, we've managed to create a nice little stir in the hobby. The wonderful SABR Baseball Commitee blog wants a post summarizing our experiences, so I've been compelled to contribute this post, which will be linked in the SABR post.

Of course, with the new season approaching, there has been much chatter about rebooting the idea for 2019. Nick and Marc both used designed their own sets with photoshop-type programs (I'm hopelessly dumb when it comes to stuff like that) and then had them printed in sheets (Marc has yet to do this, as of this writing, actually) and cut them up. Nick sent me some of his a few weeks ago and DAMN was I impressed. They were on much thinner stock than my Rookies App cards, but the photos were sharper and he, of course, had much more leeway in the design and backside features. They were also MUCH cheaper than my cards, which ran about 80 cents each (I think Nick's cost about a nickle each). But I am still leaning towards using the Rookie App for 2019 - if I do a 2019 set. 

My reticence is only that the 2018 season was SO great for the Brewers - literally the best year of Brewers baseball I've been around for, that trying the same thing in 2019 would be a set up for a let-down. Of course, the Brewers could very well repeat as NL Central Champs and make another playoff run, but there was something special in the symbiosis of this idea and that season that would be hard to replicate. 

AHHHAHAHAAH. Who am I kidding? I'm a junkie for this crap. Of Course I'm going to do it again. Anyway, on the second half of the player cards. 

 33. Jhouyls Chacin

 34. Matt Albers

35. Domingo Santana
Domingo had a very rough start to the year and spent most of 2018 at AAA. He did come back up in August and September and had some huge hits along the way. He was traded to the Mariners in the offseason. 

36. Wade Miley
I made this card during DL stints for Miley (this is actually him leaving a game with an injury) and didn't expect he'd end up anything like the team's defacto ace come October. 

37. Nick Franklin
One of the guys everyone forgets played for the '18 Crew, Franklin played in a single game and was injured, as depicted here. 

38. Derek Johnson
Another guy who won't be back in the 2019 set, DJ jumped to the Reds this winter. 

39. Tyler Saladino
This might be my second-favorite card in the set to the Lorenzo Cain from the previous post. That's Saladino in the dugout after his inside-the-park homer in Arizona. 

40. Dan Jennings
With relief pitcher photos limited, I had to horizontal-ize a few to get them to fit properly. I kind of like the sideways photo in the standard design, like Upper Deck used to do when horizontal cards were still a novelty. 

41. Carlos Subero

42. Corey Knebel
The only card I redid due to an error, in which I spelled his name "Knabel."

43. Freddy Peralta
A hell of a debut for Freddy, in which he fanned 13 Rockies and took a no-hitter into the sixth. 

44. Brandon Woodruff

45. Boone Logan

46. Alex Asher
This is the only photographic evidence I was able to find of Asher as a Brewer. I lifted it from a tweet from the team announcing he'd been sent to AAA. 

47. Zach Davies

48. Jason Lane

49. Erik Kratz
Along with the Suter and the Counsell, these were the three I re-did to upgrade the pictures. Like with Counsell, I had to use an emotional moment to best capture the season. We see the beginnings of a chat between Kratz and ornery prick (who I totally love) Joey Votto that eventually cleared the benches. Kratz gave the quote of the year after the game, when asked what prompted the heated moment. "We were discussing the Canadian dollar and flawed systems in our two governments. He was coming from a different side of it, and we were just discussing those kinds of things."

 50. Brad Miller

 51. Keon Broxton

52 Mike Zagurski
He will be the answer in a future Sporcle quiz about the 2018 Brewers that no one will ever remember. 

 53. Aaron Wilkerson
You'll notice we're kind of into the woods now. I made these cards mostly as the players debuted with the Brewers, so we're at the point in the season when lots of short-term bullpenners were being cycled between Milwaukee and AAA.

54. Nate Orf

55. Corbin Burnes

56. Joakim Soria
Here were have out first trade pick-up for the Crew. Soria was decent, but not spectacular. He won't be back in 2019. 

57. Mike Moustakas
Moose was the big get the Brewers, picked up at the deadline from KC for Brett Phillips and Jorge Lopez, both of whom have cards in the first half of this set. This is a pic from his Brewers debut.

 58. Jonathan Schoop
The Brewers also added Schoop at the deadline, but he struggled mightily in Milwaukee. 

 59. Jordan Lyles
Lyles was decent for the Brewers, but in an anonymous kind of way, thus I couldn't even find a picture of him in uniform where his face was showing. Oddly enough, he drew a walk and scored the winning run in a wild 13th inning walk-off against Pittsburgh, but I couldn't find any images of him from that night. 

 60. Gio Gonzalez
It took so long for Gio to get into a game after the Brewers picked him up, I had to use something like looks like a dumb Topps variation image. 

 61. Curtis Granderson
So far, this is the only Granderson Brewers card aside from a single Topps Now issue. I NEED more Grandy Brewers. 

 62. Xavier Cendo
Fitting, perhaps, that the final player card in the set is the only guy who is missing from my All-Time Brewers set. Despite having seen action in EIGHT different MLB seasons, he is without an MLB card and only has regional Minor League issues. He's appeared in 249 games, for hell's sake, give him some love, Topps. 

So, that makes 62 cards. One shy of seven complete pages. I have no more coaches or players to add... what should I do? What can POSSIBLY complete this set??

63. Bob Uecker
The only way to end it.

I'll be back soon with my game highlight cards!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

A Fellow Blogger Judges Me

See? I told you I was serious about keeping up the blog in 2019!

Last week, AJ from The Lost Collector posted some of his pulls from his first try at 2019 Topps on Twitter. He hit a Lorenzo Cain photo variation card and, after I commented on how prudy it was, he said he'd send it my way and to send back whatever I felt was a fair swap for it.

Blind trades!! Fun for all!

Today, it arrived in the mail...

And purdy it is indeed! Checking out, it seems that the picture is from the July 31 game, with Cain asking for time after a run-scoring double that accounted for the only run of a Milwaukee win. Fun! And I certainly do thank AJ for the card. He also included this note...

Hm. A Judge auto? That seems a bit steep. I mean, it's a nice card and all, but I'd hate to part with either of my Judge autos...

Judge Elana Kagan and Judge Sonia Sotomayor. I got both of these via TTM a few years ago. It's not easy getting Supreme Court autos, and - even though I really like the Cain - I'm afraid I've got to hang on to these. 

Ohhhhh. Not that kind of Judge. I feel like a real turnip. Of course, he must have been talking about this Judge Auto...

Again, not to be ungrateful, but this Jim Pittsley Signature Rookies (Old) Judge auto is part of my All-Time Brewers collection, so I actually do need it. Probably more than most peopled a Jim Pittsley auto. 

So, shucks man, it looks like I'll have to find something else for you, since I can't really part with any of my Judge autos right now. Too bad you didn't get to me back in 2017, when I was just dying to get rid of an Aaron Judge auto I got TTM. Oh well. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

2019 Topps... Because I can't Not

I have resolved to get back to card blogging. Once a week, I'll post. 

(let's see how long this lasts)

Anyway, there's no time like the present to get back into the swing of things as the new 2019 Topps cards were released this past week. I was involved in a Jumbo case break with my team collectors group, which yielded me about five full team sets and a handful of inserts. 

It was a kinda-underwhelming return from a case break, but I did get some very nice Christian Yelich additions - including a HR Challenge card (I picked April 1 again the Reds).

As for this year's set... I kinda like the design. It's mostly clean-looking, save for that stupid pock-marking or whatever you'd call around the lower edges of the image. I like the color swoop and I REALLY like the backside, to which full stats have mercifully returned. 

I also picked up a blaster (off Amazon, off all places) just for the fun of it. 
99 cards (BUT AN AUTO AIN'T ONE)? Is that more than years before? I've seen that Topps has jumped the retail price of their packs from $2 to $3, but has also added a few more cards per pack. Does it all wash in the end? Who cares?

I opened that heavy bastard first, the manu-patch pack, which officially makes it my first card of 2019...

Not bad. I still mostly think that manu-patches are dumber than relics and I really don't care at all for relics, but it's a nice, bright card of a legend. It would be the highlight, sadly, of the box. 

There have been a lot of complaints about collation so far with Topps 2019, but I didn't see much of that in my box. I won't bother to recap the base cards, but I did find a few nice inserts. 

I dig that Khris Davis in the 1984 design. I really like these 35th anniversary inserts and I liked them last year too. However, I'm not at all looking forward to next year, assuming they'll dust off the 1985 design - which I've always hated. 

My favorite card of the box by far was this very pretty Henry Aaron Grapefruit League Legends. I liked the idea of a Spring Training-themed set, and I do admit that these cards look pretty nice, but my gripe was that - except with recent photos - you can't really tell if these are actually Spring Training shots or not. But the Aaron does tell a nice story on the back, about how Henry got his shot in the Majors after Bobby Thomson broke his ankle sliding into second. Aaron stopped in and hit a homer in his first ST game. So, it's nice to some copy on the back to tie the theme together. 

The same goes in a way for these cards - part of whatever they call the 2019 sets that generically depict retired players and reprint old Topps cards. These concepts are SOOOOOOOOO tired. Just let it go, Topps. Or take it a new direction. Oh! How about a "Never had a Card" insert set so I can finally get a proper Ron Rightnowar card? Or reprint some NEW stuff for once? Stuff your 1975 Younts in sack... I want a glossy, new take on the 1990 Chuck Crim. SURPRISE ME, TOPPS!!!

Oh, hey, here's a surprise... an ad card for Topps now. Depicting a card that probably cost about $800 when it was issued. And note that it isn't even a picture of the actual card, but just the mock-up they put on the website. Well, at least the back probably talks about the card a bit, how many they sold... OH, maybe it goes int the process of actually getting these signed. That'd be interesting... do they send a guy with a platinum suitcase to the Angels Stadium to get these scribbled on? Well, let's flip 'er over and take a...

...oh, of course. It's a copy-paste from the ABOUT tab on the ToppsNow website. Yippee. 

I also snagged this. Anyone have a suggestion for when Oz might go deep?

I probably won't build the 2019 set. I've done a lot of set-building over the past few years and I've grown a little tired of it. Even though I like the design, I dunno, it just doesn't feel like there is anything in it for me. Perhaps I'll do some rando packs throughout the year and then pick up a hand-collated set for the price of a couple of blasters in the fall.

So please forgive me as this blogging has made me weary. I am have grown too unaccustomed to the practice.