Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Late at the Plate

I'm still working through a folder of scanned cards from the spring and summer. Where has time gone??

Anyhow, Brian from Play At The Plate sent me pretty much all the 2015 Bowman Yanks he pulled, including a sweet Rob Segedin auto. It's a few years too late for Segedin, once a very promising player in the Yanks system. However, I could never get him TTM for some reason, so I'm very happy with a certified auto.
When I got these two cards, I never figured each would make his MLB debut this year! The Yellow Sanchez is sharp.
Finally, a sweet Refractor of Bernie! I liked these RC Flashbacks. Nice job there, Topps.
Thanks again, Brian!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Relics from the Lost Years

I believe I have most Tino Martinez relics. There are variations, but for the most part, I own 'em all. I have 32 Tino relics in total.

But every so often one or two pops up, and it just so happened two I hadn't even seen came into my eBay feed within a few days of each other.

These are both relics of Tino while he was with the Cardinals, part of his Lost Years from 2002-2004. Still, I want 'em. Plus, the swatch below is game-used pants from the Yanks, according to the back of the card.
The quad bat is pretty cool, with some solid players on there. Who knows if these are actually pieces of their bats, or if the person making this card kept the little wooden triangles straight. Probably not, but still a cool card.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

See you never, Redemption

Back in the spring, I redeemed this on Topps' super modern looking redemption website:
Now, I already have a Ty Hensley 2014 Bowman Red Ice Auto redemption that is outstanding with Topps and has been for over a year. Not happening, I know. The Hensley/Montgomery is from 2013 Bowman Sterling.

So my chances are slim, right?

But here's the thing. The card exists in Bowman Platinum! It's been on ebay! Look:
So where is the Bowman Sterling one if Platinum exists? Did Topps run out of stickers? The set seems to be all stickers, so what gives?

Topps doesn't have answers and keeps offering me a replacement. Nope, sorry, guys. Give me my card.

Friday, October 9, 2015

CustomZZ and AutographZZ

I have so many scans to clean out of my folder. It needs to happen. I don't even know when these were from, but hopefully I am forgiven.

Zippy Zappy makes some cool custom cards that he ends up getting signed. Like, pretyy much all of them. He also gives them to players, friends, and family members. It's a super cool thing he does, and I know the players appreciate it.

He was nice enough to send me one for my Ty Hensley collection, as well as spare one of LUUUUIIIISSSSSSS!

The scans came out dark for some reason, but they are a nice gray to match the SI Yankees uniforms. You better believe that I added the Hensley to my PC and am counting it as another unique card.
ZZ also sent me a Fred Lewis certified Bowman auto. Lewis seemed like a good relief prospect, but was unfortunately released this past April after a couple of games.
Kenny, thanks as always for these cards you sent me like 6 months ago.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Showing off my Junk

Dude, no.

I'm talking about a box of cards I received from my pal, The Junior Junkie.
You see, I won a contest of at the Griffey Card World Headquarters. I simply guessed a number and somehow came away the winner. The number I guessed? 24 for Seattle Griffey, then 30 for Cincy Griffey. 2430. How do you like that? Rigged!

The prize was 100 different Griffeys, all of which I'll give to my son and put in his binder as I force him to like baseball cards. I promise, all of these will go to him.

While there were 100, true to his word, here are a couple that I liked the most, including the iconic bubble gum card:
And of course, he won above and beyond and sent me some great Yanks, including this 1991-1992 Rising Stars book and card set that includes Tino (he's in there, I promise):
Here are a few of the Yanks, many from the '90s and early '00s. It brought back a lot of memories to go through them. We're talking Pacific Private Stock, Gallery, Zenith, Topps Stars, etc.
Topps Stars was one of the coolest sets back in 1997. It had a cloth-like feel, and the cards felt premium. They were hard to find. You definitely weren't finding them at CVS. It was a huge deal for my to get the Tino from that set, and it took years for me to track down his card in the 1997 Topps Stars All-Star insert set. It was a tough, tough find.

Unfortunately, Topps got cute in 1998 and did the whole "all cards are serially numbered" thing. Not necessary. However, this is one of those sets that I wouldn't mind them raising from the dead for a year or two.
TJ, thanks my man. The Griffeys for my little guy will surely be treasured. Hope you had a good birthday!

Monday, October 5, 2015

The New Core

A reputation is a hard thing to shake. Even after someone changes, their past seems to follow them around forever. It's no different in sports.

Just look at the NFL. The Bengals, my favorite NFL team, were a joke in the mid 2000s, with a new player getting arrested seemingly every week. Now, they rarely have any players with off-the-field issues. However, just watch the NFL Draft, and everytime someone with character concerns is in line to be drafted, they are connected to the Bengals because of their past draft choices.

For a long time, the Yankees traded away many of their top assets in order to help the Big League club. It left them with very few high-level prospects. Their farm system became a joke, and the butt of many jokes around baseball.

But that was a long time ago. They have not traded a top prospect since 2011, when Jesus Montero was sent to Seattle. However, he was sent for a young ace, Michael Pineda. He wasn't shipped off for some utility infielder at the trade deadline.

In fact, Brian Cashman has been very stingy about trading his upper-level prospects in recent years. Any deal involving a prospect now usually comes from a surplus. Yet, once the Yankees had some good prospects in AA and AAA this year, no one seemed to take it seriously because of the lack of help the Yankees had gotten from their farm in recent years.

Cashman held firm at the trade deadline, and the results are really starting to show.

The Yankees are playing in October this year in large part because of a young group of Yankees prospects who were thrust into a pennant race, and performed exceptionally well. In fact, they probably performed better than any deadline acquisition outside of Cespedes, Price, or Tulo.

Cashman said he would not trade Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Greg Bird, or Jorge Mateo. He actually was ready to include Mateo in a deal for Craig Kimbrel. Mateo was in A ball while the other three were in AAA. He could afford to lose a prospect that was a few years away from the Majors, but the Padres balked.

Right after the trade deadline (in which NY only acquired Dustin Ackley...again dealing from a surplus), Severino and Bird got their time to shine. Severino stepped right into the rotation and pitched 62 strong innings for the Yanks, finishing with a 2.89 ERA and 56 Ks. I'm not sure a a veteran pitcher would have done that for NY, yet here is a 21-year-old kid carrying the rotation down the stretch.

While Greg Bird was called up with Mark Teixeira still healthy, it didn't take long for him to be the everyday 1B after Teixeira got injured. The results? 11 HRs and 30 RBIs in 45 games. I'm not even sure Teixeira would have hit 11 more dingers for the rest of the season.

If the Yanks beat the Astros tomorrow night, there's a very real chance that Severino will get the ball in Game 1 or 2, while Greg Bird will undoubtedly be starting at first and hitting in the middle of the order.

But it doesn't stop there. John Ryan Murphy became one of the best backup catchers in baseball and is just 24. I'd have to imagine the Yanks might get some enticing offers from him in the off-season if they dangle him.

A slew of OFers and relievers also contributed all season long. As a prospect fan, it was gratifying to watch.

And to think, the Yankees most exciting prospect, Aaron Judge, is still waiting in the wings at AAA and should see ML time next season. Their top choice from this June's draft is a SP who should climb the ladder quickly next year as well.

It's an exciting time to be a Yankees fan. While a lot of the team gets older and their contracts come off the books, I'm really anticipating watching a new group of homegrown stars over the next few seasons.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Cool with the Wild Card

As a Yankees fan, I'm probably supposed to be disappointed by a Wild Card berth.

It's trendy to be mad or consider a season a failure if another World Series title isn't added to the mantle. However, I'm not upset at all. I'm very happy to have October baseball, and to get what is essentially a Game 7 on Tuesday night. Win or go home. Do or die.

I am disappointed that a large division lead was lost. That did stink. But at the same time, many, myself included, did not think this team was capable of making the Playoffs way back in April. There were so many question marks heading into the season. And for the most part, things went right.

We all waited for Masahiro Tanaka's elbow to blow out. It didn't. He threw 154 solid innings.

Big Mike had a great start and put the staff on his back through June. Although he did experience an injury and didn't pitch well at the end of the season, he still threw 157 above-average innings.

Right there, that's over 300 innings from guys the Yanks didn't know if they'd get 100 from.

Who would close with David Robertson gone? Andrew Miller, that's f'ing who.

Didd Gregorius showed that he's a Major League shortstop after an abysmal start.

Where would the power come from? Well, Mark Teixeira and A-Rod both hit over 30 HRs. Teixeira's season came to an unfortunate end after fouling a ball off of his leg. However, he was replaced in the lineup by Greg Bird, who has 11 HRs in 43 games since Teixeira went down.

That brings me to another point. The Kids.

The amount of meaningful innings played by Yankees farmhands was impressive. Bird is a legitimate force in the middle of the lineup. Luis Severino has held down the rotation. Slade Heathcott blasted a huge in an important September game. John Ryan Murphy is the best backup catcher in baseball at the age of 24. From Chasen Shreve to Mason Williams to Robert Refsnyder to Brandon Pinder to Nick Rumbelow, the Yanks got more production from their farm than I can remember.

Not everything went right. CC Sabathia was horrid. Stephen Drew, while hitting for some power, batted under .200 for most of the season...again. Ivan Nova wasn't good in his return from Tommy John surgery. Jacoby Ellsbury was an MVP candidate before he got hurt. Nathan Eovaldi developed into a legit starting pitcher, only to be shelved for (likely) the rest of the season with an injury.

It's been a fun season, and I really hope the Yanks can win on Tuesday night and have a shot in the ALDS. All you have to do is get to the Playoffs, and anything can happen. I'd rather have that shot than no shot at all.